Friday, January 13, 2012

Last Year's Firsts

I started a list of all of my "firsts" from last year, things I'd done that I hadn't done before and I'm going to keep it up for 2012 as we'll be doing some things that we've never done before (Sailing in Tuscany!) and more new exciting things.  

2011 Firsts:
First time to Rome
First time flying on a plane in Italy
First visit to Chamonix, FR
First Fondue Chinoise (on New Year's Eve)
First Cheese fondue cooked with champagne instead of white wine (In Chamonix)
First time eating Escargot (will not be a second time anytime soon...)
First time eating roasted chestnuts (interesting...and gross, at the same time.)
First Wedding Anniversary!!
First time making homemade hummus
First class in taught in Italian that wasn't meant to teach me Italian!
First owned pair of Italian handmade leather boots
First Driver's License from another country
First year using Linux/Ubuntu OS
First full year living in Switzerland!

What "first" things did anyone else do last year, and what do you intend to do this year?

Happy musing!

Allie H.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Let's pretend we made some healthy New Year's Resolutions

I know, I know.  I promise I'm not going to write one of those long drawn out blogs on how your every day life would benefit from dropping the sugary sodas and a big bags of potato chips and how exercising even just 20 minutes a day can do our bodies good.  I'm not so good at making New Years' Resolutions to stay in shape and sticking to them.  But I ran across this article from Family Circle Magazine online about the benefits of drinking enough water every day, which some days I'm good at, and some days not so good at. There's the standard "8 glasses of water every day" rule which apparently, according to the article, is a variable, especially for women.  They made it really easy to break down.  (And yes, we're talking plain, natural water, not sparkling flavored waters.)

Sipping Pretty
Water can do wonders for your health, but exactly how much do you need to gulp each day? It depends on your weight, how many caffeinated and alcoholic beverages you down, and how active you are, says Esther Blum, RD, author Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous: A Nutritionist's Guide to Living Well While Living It Up (Chronicle Books). Her advice: First, divide your weight in half to get the minimum number of ounces your body needs each day. Then add 8 ounces for each caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you consume (because both are diuretics) and another 8 ounces for every 20 minutes of exercise you do (because you sweat out water). A 144-pound woman who drinks a cup of coffee in the morning and a glass of wine at night and exercises regularly should drink 13 glasses of water a day. Here's the math:
Weight (144 lbs. / 2) 72 ounces
Coffee (one cup) + 8 ounces
Alcohol (one drink) + 8 ounces
Exercise (40 minutes) + 16 ounces
Total H2O 104 ounces or 13 glasses/day

According to this math (if I exercise for that 40 minutes and have 2 alcoholic drinks a day), that means I'm supposed to be drinking 105 ounces or roughly 13 glasses of water a day as well.  And as I know that I drink more than two alcoholic drinks when we go out, I know I need more!  Seems like a lot, but the benefits of drinking just plain water is so good for you!  I used to hate drinking water when I was a little kid, I wouldn't drink just plain water for two or three days in a row and I'd come home from school dehydrated and sick and my mom would have to take care of me.  After I started camping, hiking, and backpacking as a pre-teenager I couldn't get enough of it!  I started to understand why it was so good for my body.  Drinking water is so good for your skin, your circulatory system, your immune system, tension headaches and migraines, etc, etc!  When I worked I used to have one or two cups of coffee first thing at work and and then it would be ice water all day long.  Every time I finished a glass I'd go right back to the office kitchen and refill it, whether or not I was thirsty.  I just made sure I had it on my desk when I needed it, along with whatever soda I was drinking.  I try to make sure I take a glass of water to bed with me so if I wake up in the middle of the night, I drink it.  I usually end up drinking most of a glass of water overnight that way and I feel so much better in the morning when I do.  I keep a large bottle of water in the fridge and refill it when needed because I personally prefer cold water first thing in the morning after one too many drinks.  Drinking plenty of water and keeping yourself moderately hydrated all the time is just overall better than thinking that drinking diet sodas and herbal teas is better than calorie loaded designer coffee drinks from Starbucks and the super-sized Coke from that fast food place down the street where you get lunch.  If you're not into weekly gym appointments and counting calories all day long but still want to launch a healthier New Year in general, WATER is a good way to get started.  (If you're not into just plain tasting water all day long, add lemon or lime slices.  I'm thinking of adding tangerine slices as I buy bagfuls of them from the store and can't get enough of them.)
Be hydrated (and healthy!)
Allie H.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!!

I absolutely cannot believe it's a new year, 2012, even.  I can't remember wondering when I was a teenager what 2012 was going to be like but I don't think I could have possibly imagined I'd be sitting on an entirely different continent with a husband and a dog, having already been there for a year and a half, having been to parts of France and Rome, Milan, struggling with the Italian language because we live in the gorgeous Italian region of Switzerland!  Never in my wildest dreams.  I've always dreamed of traveling, going to exotic places like Egypt and romantic spots in Paris, but I never thought when I was in high school that I'd actually live abroad while being able to travel, being all the closer to "the other side of the world."  

We have plans to eventually see more sights, visit more countries, reach some more goals which we're working towards.  The Dutch bloodline in me wants to see Holland; the dream to sail the world has us taking a sailing course to get our International Skipper's License so we can sail anywhere in the world, charter a boat on our vacations.  Kris has seen the southern coast of Italy and I would love more than anything to go and see it with him, and sail the waters of the Mediterranean.  Chloe's goals are no more lofty than going anywhere we go and tasting different cheeses and other whatever treats we're willing to dispense.  She's pretty easy to please!  

We've been pretty lucky to have this chance in life-living halfway around the world and meeting new people, making new friends, seeing new things, and we're hoping that this year will be even more profitable in new experiences and stamps on our passports.  It's been the most incredible start to our marriage, picking ourselves up and whisking ourselves away to a new place, and we're only hoping to continue seeing amazing things happen.  I can only hope that everyone else out there is finding just as amazing things for themselves and their loved ones as we're been finding for ourselves.  I'm wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and many more Happy New Years to come.

Allie H.