Girls with Goals


The Food Snob

Mousse decorated with peaches, whipped cream, ...

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  • Beer.
  • Tea.
  • Soup.
  • Molten chocolate cake.
  • Lobster.
  • Fish.
  • Crab.
  • Tiramisu.
  • Mousse.
  • Home-made mac and cheese.
  • Clam chowder.
  • Chile rellenos.
  • Pancakes.
  • Pastrami.

What do all of these foods have in common? These are things that I’ve only started liking within the last year–many within the last 3 months.

Why do you care? Well, you probably don’t! But The Pioneer Woman can get away with making lists, and I feel like I can make lists that rank up with the best list-makers out there.

These foods are actually accomplishments of which I’m very proud. My whole life I’ve been a picky eater–and often I still am. Well, guess what?

I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore! (name that movie!)

I can’t for the life of me figure out why I would force myself to not like something or not, at the very least, try something. Where was my head?

It seems that one day I just got sick of being so picky. I didn’t like having to tell waiters to leave off a certain ingredient, or to have three dinner rolls and a small pile of turkey on my plate at Thanksgiving. It got tiring being the person everyone had to accommodate.

And, yes, being a picky eater was much better for my waistline. But still. It’s like I’ve been introduced to new friends! The kind of friend that even if you don’t see her for months or years, you can come back together like you were never apart. It’s easy between us now.

Plus, this goes with my goal to try new things and be adventurous. And I’m well on my way!

Just for the record, here are some foods that I still don’t like, but maybe one day we’ll get to know each other better and forge a trusting relationship:

  • Wine.
  • Onions.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Yogurt.
  • Shrimp.
  • Scallops.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Peas.
  • Asparagus.
  • Cabbage.
  • Whipped cream.

So please, if you’re a picky eater, and you really don’t understand why you still are, go ahead and try a new food for me. Just give it a shot. I promise you’ll come across something new to love that you weren’t open to before.

– Allegra

P.S. I also don’t understand adventurous picky eaters. You know, someone who jumps out of a plane for the heck of it but grimaces at the thought of eating something with sour cream on it. You know who you are.


Water weight and a liquid diet

I know I’m not fat. But that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable in my skin these days.

If you’ve followed my progress toward getting back to what I believe to be a comfortable size for me, you know that I’ve been working out regularly–in fact, relentlessly–at a studio specializing in Ballerobica classes, the fusion between ballet strength and toning and aerobics. Now I’m averaging 9 hours a week! In fact, I fully expect to win the studio’s New Year Fitness Challenge–each class is worth a certain amount of points, then you subtract one point for every dessert you have over the challenge–January 1 through February 13. I have 168 points–they’ll be handing me my 3 free ballerobica DVDs any day now (even if I do win because no one else has turned in their points yet). I’ve been working my butt off (literally) and I deserve the prize!

Anyway, I’ve decided on an additional weight loss goal for the month of March. It’s kind of a diet plan, but I don’t plan on being meticulous about food–obviously I’ll eat healthy, but I’m not going to starve myself or give up foods I absolutely love. I’ve heard that drinking a lot of water is healthy, right? At first I intended to drink only water for the entire month of March. But that’s just not realistic, so I widened my scope.

March Liquid Diet:

1. water

2. flavored carbonated waters (for when I feel like I need a pop, I really like Cascade Ice waters, and I only like the flavors that have 2 calories or less anyway)

3. tea (many have little to no calories)

4. protein shakes (I’ve been drinking these for breakfast)

5. alcoholic drinks at social functions, but here’s the caveat: for each drink, I must have a glass of water

Basically I’m avoiding soda, juice, milk, and any other higher-calorie beverages for the month of March. I figure it is an easy way to cut back on unnecessary calories that will still allow me to eat some of my favorite foods without too much guilt.

Is this idea completely crazy? What weight-loss strategies have you tried? How do you hold yourself to them?

I’ll keep you updated on my progress!

Stay healthy!


P.S. I’ve lost 7 pounds (from all the ballerobica), and my calves are fantastically toned! Now I just need that to make its way up the rest of my body.


“Career Move Mondays” – Building a Business

Buttercream swirls are piped onto the sides of...

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I’ll try not to make this post too cryptic, but since this blog is intended to give us some anonymity, I can’t reveal specific details. Sorry!

Here is the first thing you should know: I decorate cakes.

Here is the second thing you should know: I don’t want to open a bakery.

A few years ago I started taking cake decorating classes. I absolutely fell in love with decorating cakes. Sitting down with some frosting and fondant and creating something beautiful is one of my favorite things to do. I find it both relaxing and challenging–when everything is going right, I get into a groove and out of nowhere 7 hours have gone by, but when everything is going wrong–which is likely to happen when using food to look like it’s not food–it can be hell.

A while after I took the classes I kept making cakes for friends and family to practice, and I eventually became a cake decorating instructor. I absolutely loved my students and seeing what creations they came up with. But there is a little red tape involved in working for not just one, but two companies, and I couldn’t stand that.

I eventually began to develop my own idea for a business, and pursued it particularly after I graduated college last spring. I got the business cards, the website and some marketing materials, I planned the classes I would teach, and even had a small grand opening celebration/test class with family and friends.

Everything went great. All my students thought it was a fantastic idea for a business and they all learned something new. However, not one of them booked a future class. And supposedly they liked it? Seems a little fishy.

Anyway, from the beginning I expected this endeavor to just be a part-time side job, and concentrated on finding a full-time job. Check! So what’s happened to my business? I haven’t done even one paid class. And I didn’t have the momentum to push the business.

Although I didn’t put as much money into my business as many budding entrepreneurs do, I certainly don’t want all the effort I did make to go to waste–plus, I still think I have a good idea on my hands.

So this is the year of my business. I’m giving it a chance.

First of all, I’m reformatting. There had to be a reason I couldn’t even get friends to book a class…money? convenience? difficulty of the material? the types of classes?

So I’m reconsidering everything. Overall, the business model will remain the same. But I’ve already got a few ideas in the works for something new and improved.

But the way I’m really going to push myself is by applying for a student entrepreneurship grant through the university I work for–and technically I’m still a student, so I qualify. Many of the other students I would be competing against really need the seed funding–many of their businesses are highly technological. While some money would be nice, I’m applying for this to receive the guidance and advice from entrepreneurial experts.

Over the next few months I’ll be attending info sessions and submitting a concept proposal in the hopes that someone else sees the value and potential of my business. Wish me luck!

Oh, and by the way, HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

We love you!

– Allegra


Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now?

As a kid, Dr. Seuss’s “Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!” was my favorite book. After the narrator suggests a number of ways in which Marvin can, “go, go, GO!” I would yell the infamous line, “Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now!” with all of the dramatic frustration that a four year-old can muster.

A lesser known tidbit about this book is that in 1974 Art Buchwald of The Washington Post published a version of the book substituting “Marvin K. Mooney” with former U.S. President “Richard M. Nixon.” Ten days later, Nixon resigned. You can read more about this here and here (read the original Washington Post article here).

To keep the New Year’s theme going, I would like to look at the flipside of the New Year’s list of goals some of us posted earlier this month. As we eagerly and optimistically welcome into 2011 a slew of new goals, good habits and earnest promises to ourselves, what negative things are we asking to leave? To what “Marvin K. Mooney’s” do we need to demand a farewell in order to become our fabulous 2011 selves?

Here are mine. The substitutions I made are in italics with an * around them.

“*Poor body image* will you please go now!
The time has come.
The time has come.
The time is now.
Just go.
I don’t care how.
You can go by foot.
You can go by cow. 
*Procrastination* will you please go now!
You can go on skates.
You can go on skis.
You can go in a hat.
Please go.
I don’t care.
You can go
By bike.
You can go
On a Zike-Bike
If you like.
If you like
You can go
In an old blue shoe.
Just go, go, GO!
Please do, do, do, DO!
*Losing my temper*                                                                                                                          I don’t care how. 
*Sleeping past my alarm* 
Will you please
You can go on stilts.
You can go by fish.
You can go in a Crunk-Car
If you wish.
If you wish
You may go
By lion’s tale.
Or stamp yourself
And go by mail.
*Driving too fast*                                                                                                                         Don’t you know
The time has come
To go, go, GO!
Get on your way!
Please *not thinking before I say*                                                                                                                                                 You might like going in a Zumble-Zay.
You can go by balloon . . .
Or broomstick.
You can go by camel
In a bureau drawer.
You can go by bumble-boat
. . . or jet.
I don’t care how you go.
Just get!
*Being judgemental!*
I don’t care how.
*Nagging my husband*                                                                                                                  Will you please
I said
I meant . . .
The time had come
So . . . 
*making excuses for not kicking bad habits* WENT.”

So maybe it doesn’t rhyme and it definitely doesn’t flow as well as Dr. Suess’s version, but it’s a fun way for me to say goodbye to my old ways. And it’s still really REALLY fun to yell, “Will you please go now!” What are your Marvin K. Mooney’s?


Imparare, Giocare, Dare

To learn, to play, to give.

This sums up my 2011 goals. I summed it up in Italian, in case you noticed, because that’s where I’m headed this summer. After studying French for eight years during high school and college (and by the way, my last French class was 10 years ago) and visiting Paris for the first time last year, I have shifted my sights southeast of La Tour Eiffel and am planning a belated honeymoon to Roma.

But that fast forwards us to July and it’s only Jan. 3. I didn’t make a new year’s resolution, but I far too easily can imagine a smiling, happy and healthy me on Dec. 31, 2011 toasting a year gone by that was full of productive, enriching, stimulating and selfless acts. Though I  couldn’t begin to tell you what these acts might be. I just know that I want to make that darn toast.

Which leads me to my personal LA Girls quote. “A goal without a plan is just a wish” (that’s by author Antoine St. Exupery). So here’s my plan, as it falls under imparare, giocare and dare.

Imparare (to learn)                                                                                                                              1. Learn basic Italian – I am basic enough in French that I could vacation there without uttering a word of English to any Parisian. I don’t dare hope to get to that level in Italian, but I loved the experience I  had in Paris and speaking the language was a huge part of that experience. If I  can learn enough to order food, go shopping and know whether something is on the left or the right side of the street (or of me for that matter), I’ll be able to check this goal off of my list.

2. Learn what the next phase of my career will be – This is another aspect of my life to which I want to get to the bottom. I know, I know, there are so many cheesy quotes that tell me that getting there is half the fun and that it’s the journey, not the destination, etc. I’ve been pigeon-holed into one career path since high school. I’ve gone quite successfully down that path, but I am certain that I ‘m ready for a change. Or a shift at the very least. I draw a blank when I try to think of something else I could do. Which tells me that this is exactly why I need to do it.

Giocare (to play)                                                                                                                                   1. Go to Italy – This one is easy. I want to play in Rome, Florence and Venice. Do I need to explain why?

2. Spend more time filling my fun meter – I think it’s safe to say that women in their 30’s tend to let a sense of duty pinch off the opening to their fun meters. I know I have. I have a salary to make, a house to clean, a figure to keep slim, a car to maintain, a dog to care for, a husband to put before myself…the list goes on. While these are all things for which I  am thankful to have, I am going to be kinder to me by letting myself sleep until noon, get lost in a book on a rainy Sunday, eat the hot wings I am craving and get a little drunk at happy hour (with a responsible person to pick me up, of course).

Dare (to give)                                                                                                                                        1. Give more and better time – Instead of spreading myself thin with the responsibilities I mentioned earlier, I’m going to give more time to the people in my life who make it a priority to do the same for me. Not only will I give more time, I’ll make it better time. Rather than grabbing a rushed cup of coffee together, let’s try making a new recipe we both thought sounded good or tagging along on each other’s Saturday errands to make it more fun. Another cheesy quote – quality, not quantity.

2. Give more encouragement – In a world in which people are quick to offer criticism, nothing goes further than a word of encouragement. Unfortunately, bosses and even other family members too often are full of the former and far too stingy with the latter. Offering a compliment or even a text message to say, “Good luck today on your (fill in the blank),” can change the mood of someone’s day – even yours.

Happy 2011!


Fortune Cookie Goals

I’m not a writer. I’m certainly not a blogger. And I’m definitely not one to share my every life moment, especially with the entirety of cyberspace! I can’t deny that I love being a part of The Life Anonymous Girls, though, and it would be rude to make Freckles maintain this blog’s awesomeness all on her own. So, here I am! Trying to add a tiny bit of awesomeness, and probably a whole lot of babbling.

There isn’t a more perfect time than New Year’s Eve to set goals. So what do I want to accomplish in 2011?

First and foremost, I want to figure out if the norm will be to say “twenty-eleven” or “two-thousand-eleven”. For the past year I’ve said “two-thousand-ten”, but I feel like part of a minority. We all need to come to a consensus here.

The rest of my goals, like most people’s, can be outlined using fortune cookie messages. I save ALL of my fortunes, mostly because they all seem to suit my life perfectly! Yes, I know they are made to suite everyone’s lives perfectly, but whatever. At least I don’t read a daily horoscope.

Here are my top three fortunes from this year:

1. “Your many hidden talents will become obvious to those around you.”
Great! If any of you are aware of any hidden talents I have, please let me know. I’m at a point in my life, like most any other girl my age, where I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. I’m just floating through life hoping my true calling will magically present itself to me. I’m not delusional; I know this wont come easily. But in two-thousand-eleven, I want to poke and prod myself (metaphorically!) and really try to figure out what my talents are and how to apply them to a career, hobby, charity, etc… How does one release secret, hidden talents?

2. “You will make a change for the better before the end of the year.”
Not gonna lie, I was banking on this one before the end of 2010. In my head, this fortune applied to getting a new job. Now, I don’t HATE my job, but I certainly don’t love it. It’s been great for the past (almost) two years. I’ve learned a lot and had a ton of fun. But, I’ve outgrown my training wheels and need to take them off before I get stuck riding with them forever. If I don’t have a new job by this time next year, it better be because I won the Millionaire Raffle, invested my winnings wisely and am retired.

3. “You will always be surrounded by true friends.”
This is always a toughie. My whole life, I’ve made an effort to only surround myself with genuine people who make a positive difference in my life. I really don’t even bother with people who don’t live up to a pretty high standard I’ve created over the years. For the most part, this has worked for me. After all, quality is more important than quantity! I love my friends and there isn’t a single one I would ever want to lose or replace. Throughout the coming year, I will make a solid effort to nurture these friendships to keep them going strong. And just maybe, hopefully, I’ll meet someone new who fits my stringent friendship requirements!

Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s to a great 2011 (twenty-eleven,
or two-thousand-eleven… gahh!)!


I’ve always wanted to be a ballerina…

Classic ballet-dancer

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…and this is as close as I’m going to get.

arabesque, demi-pointes, plie

Just like probably 95% of the population, one of my goals has been to tone up. Without getting all TMI on you lovely readers, two years ago I was tiny. Small enough that people would sneer at me and say with disdain, “You’re so skinny.” I couldn’t help it! I could eat 18 inches of a cheesesteak sandwich and not gain an ounce! One year ago I had filled out nicely. I actually liked my body’s proportions. Even six months ago I wasn’t embarrassed to wear a swim suit. One month ago I almost started crying in a Kohl’s dressing room.

I don’t know what happened between now and then (I do have a theory, but it’s not a topic for good company). My diet hasn’t changed–if anything it has improved. My level of exercise hasn’t changed much–I hardly exercised before because I never needed to. However, sitting here contemplating Why I Jiggle has surprisingly produced little–if any–results.

These past few months I’ve tried a few different work-out routines, some more whole-heartedly than others. I worked out at a gym twice. I got bored and knew I wouldn’t be able to commit to such a chore. I’ve tried various Jillian Michaels DVDs, and even made a daily routine of them. While I liked the idea of sweating and panting in private, I also got lonely. And bored again.

Along came The day after I signed up, a coupon for one month’s unlimited classes at a ballet fusion fitness studio chimed in my inbox. I took five years of tap, jazz and hip hop dance classes through junior high and high school, as well as both salsa dancing and yoga/Pilates in college. But I had never taken ballet because I started dancing so late that I would have been in a beginning class with all four-year-olds. Would’ve made for some darling recital photos!

Anyway, today I tried out a Stretch and Tone class (leg, arm, and ab work from a ballet barre), as well as a Ballerobica class–the fusion of ballet strength and stretch techniques and an aerobics work-out.

This is a program I can see myself sticking with. Adult, beginner, social, supportive, rigorous, effective. And I’ve only had two hours!

Now, readers, here is where you come in. Although I say I can commit, I want you all to make sure I do! Yell, berate, scold, and give me the evil eye. I want to lose 10 pounds by my birthday, January 14. Help me out!

What work-outs have worked best for you? How did you get yourself to actually do them?

I love you all,