Friday, July 30, 2010

Flashback Friday: GoldRush Dance Team

Hmmmm if you know me at all (or keep close tabs on this blog), you know I was a dancer and that I miss it more than ever. Even though I may have started my training late in the game, I advanced pretty quickly (in ballet) and seriously considered double-majoring in Dance. Actually, that was the plan all along--double major in Dance and Business....but in the end, I didn't like CU's dance program all that much because it is really modern focused (and not even like "modern" that most people think of, they take modern to a whole new level). Plus it would have taken me even longer to graduate since both majors required absolutely different classes (apart from the business & dance classes which obviously would be different). Anyway, the whole dance major didn't work out. But that didn't stop me from keeping dance in my life.

Right before Freshman year I tried out for CU's varsity dance team, Express. There were like 300 girls who tried out and it was my first audition of any kind. Needless to say I was a bit overwhelmed, especially with all the amazing dancers there. I mean, many of the girls who make this team go on to dance on the professional teams like the Denver Bronco Cheerleaders (I tried out for them too!). I didn't get on the varsity dance team, but then I auditioned for a different dance team on campus (there were 3 at that time--the varsity team, the club sports team Buff Gold, and the danceline for the marching band GoldRush). I made the cut for GoldRush and was super excited at the opportunity to dance during the half-time shows at our football games among other events.

I really enjoyed the year I was on the team and the people I met. It definitely made for an awesome Freshman year. I thought it'd be fun to share some pictures from that unforgettable year. Pardon the quality, these were taken on those old school film cameras and then scanned!

Our biggest game of the year: CU vs. CSU in 2003 at Invesco Stadium, home of the Denver Broncos. Number of people attending the game: over 71,000

Action shot of us on the field in front of everyone. I'm the girl on the left (not the one that is cut off though).

Before the K-State game:

Before heading out on the field during the K-State game:

Dancing during a different game at CU's stadium:

Two group shots....can you find me in each??

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

All Grown Up & Beautiful

Dulcinea is pretty much out of her puppy stage, what with being 1 years old and all. I know they say dogs continue to act like puppies until about 1.5 or 2 years, but I'd have to say that Dulci is doing quite well. Not only that, but she was in heat last month which pretty much verifies that she is now a "woman". (Note-we are planning on getting her fixed after much debate. So the plan is for no more heats.)

Christian got some great pictures of Dulcinea on Saturday July 24th. She looks so beautiful and mature.

To see more of Christian's pics, either of Dulcinea or other stuff, check out his Flickr site or his blog.

I think we might have to get this pictures printed and framed. If not for our apartment here in Chile, then definitely when we move back to the States.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dulcinea's 1st Birthday

June 3rd was Dulcinea's 1st birthday and so we held a party in honor of her. The party's theme was a "Completada & Karaoke".

First, let me explain for those of you who don't know what completos are. Chile is known for its completo sandwiches which are hot dogs that pile on every topping imaginable: ketchup, mustard, mayo, palta (avocado), onion, pebre (similar to a spicy salsa), tomato, etc. Thus making the hot dog "complete" (which is the translation of completo). For more information, check out the Ode to the Completo Chileno.

Anyway, so the "Completada" part of the theme was an ode to Dulcinea's being a salchicha (wiener dog). The karaoke part of the theme was an ode to the fact that Dulcinea likes to sing, as can be seen in the following video:

We invited two of Dulcinea's bestest doggie friends, Panchito and Brunito, as well as some of her human friends who also happen to be our friends too. While we didn't get many pictures of the humans enjoying the party (ya know, with all the karaoke that was going on), our pro photographer did get some shots of the canine children:

The Three Musketeers (L-R: Bruno, Panchito, Dulcinea)

Next year we hope that Dulcinea can celebrate her birthday with her Grandma in Colorado since they have birthdays only 2 days apart!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekly Recipe Round-up

Since venturing into this eating whole foods vs. processed foods change of lifestyle, I have started cooking up a storm and trying out a ton of new recipes. I mean, I don't follow a zillion Food/Recipe blogs for nothing. :) Actually a lot of the Fitness/Personal Balance blogs also post recipes too that are delicious. So I am going to start sharing the recipes I make and which ones are good or bad in case you too would like to try some new stuff!

Before jumping into the recipes I made this weekend/for the up-coming week, I'd like to revisit the ones I mentioned I'd be making in this blog post and let you know how they came out, if I'd make them again, etc.:
  • Curry Chopsui a la Heather: Delicious! I was a little nervous when making the coconut milk sauce because mixed with the spices, it seemed waaaayyy too strong. But once I put it on the veggies, it magically became perfect. I didn't use any meat by accident because we didn't have any chicken on hand. I served it with rice noodles instead of rice and I loved it as it was (veggies no más), however Chris definitely wanted chicken. He loved it too though, he as asked me several times to make it again and the only reason I haven't is because I need to pick up more coconut milk.
  • Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair: I was super pumped about this recipe because, hello artichokes are delish, but unfortunately this recipe did not live up to its expectations. It wasn't terrible, it just seemed too greasy or something. Maybe that was thanks to breading the chicken? I don't know, but I won't be making this again.
  • Indian Lentil Soup: I first made this with green lentils because I didn't have any red ones. It was super yummy and tasted even better the next day. I have now learned to make lentil soups one day ahead because they are a million times better the next day! I definitely plan to remake this recipe.
Now for the recipes that I made this weekend:
  • Spicy Butternut Squash Soup: Amazing soup! First time I blended a soup to make it creamy after cooking it and you definitely can't skip that step. Just make sure to only fill up your blender 1/3 or 1/2 of the way so you don't burn yourself when blending. The changes I made to the recipe were: no rosemary, no bay leaves, no chili, no celery. I used chili powder from the States and doubled up on it since I didn't use a chili pepper. I used a mix of chicken and veggie stock (from bouillon cubes). I also added some black beans that I had frozen to give it a protein boost. Those got blended too. And the perfect side dish is homemade garlic bread! Oh and I didn't use the whole butternut squash, but about 3/4 of it. I froze the rest. The hubs loved it too! Here's a pic he shot:
  • Red Lentils for 2: I doubled this recipe which is why it is "for two" instead of "for one" as the actual title of it. I served it with palta (avocado) on top and made it a day ahead of when we actually ate it. So yummy. You can get red lentils at Organisk. Even though I think the owner of the store is an a-hole (he is always rude to us for absolutely no reason), I still shop there because it is close to my house and has a ton of variety that you can't find elsewhere. Christian gave this a thumbs-up too.
  • Curry Chickpea Burgers: I love Angela's recipes, but I can't normally make a lot of them because some special products that she uses are just not available in Chile. So I was super excited when I knew I could make this. Christian at them on a hamburger bun with gringo mustard. I ate mine alone, on the side of my Red Lentils for 2. I will definitely be making more of these and probably freezing some for a quick protein when I don't have other stuff in the house.
  • Vegetarian Paella: Technically we haven't eaten this yet since I made it for lunch tomorrow and Tuesday along with the chickpea burgers, but I did steal a bite or two away to try it and yum yum!!! The changes I made to this recipe were: no green bell pepper (ew still hate these) and I halved the rice (arroz integral that is not quick cooking) and the veggie broth (I used 1 cup). Since the rice wasn't quick cooking, this recipe took about 45 minutes to cook up, and even reducing the veggie broth, it was moist. But not soupy. I am super excited about eating this mañana and am pretty sure I'll be making it again.
I must say, I don't do all this cooking alone. Christian has really stepped up to the plate to help me with what I need since it is a lot of work to cook this much. He normally helps me out with chopping up vegetables. He also does the dishes when I ask him (most of the time). And if we have any recipes with meat, he is the one to cut it up and cook it. I may mix the seasonings, but I really don't like dealing with raw meat. In fact, I haven't even really liked cooked meat that much lately which is why you see all these vegetarian recipes!

If you end up making any of these recipes, let me know how they come out!! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

And just for the heck of it, I'll leave you with a picture of my baby that I took on Saturday afternoon. She was in her camita (bed) next to the estufa (heater) keeping warm.

Must See: The Story of Cosmetics

After watching this, I just had to post it and you MUST see it. Consider it part of my interesting links post from earlier today. Once you watch it, check out this website and click on "What You Can Do" to help fight for better products to be put on the stores' shelves.

Interesting Articles

I haven't posted links to interesting articles in a while, so here are a few I have found through the various blogs I read:

Too much milk? -- Discusses the two viewpoints on milk. If you never gave a second thought that milk could be bad for you or that there was a flipside to the coin of all those milk mustache adds, this article does a great job at summing them up in addition to stating where science actually is within the whole debate.

Drinking green tea really might help burn off extra weight -- Not sure I could drink 4 cups of green tea a day, but the article brings up evidence that if true, is pretty cool considering green tea is natural.

On beans, rice, and everything you ever wanted to know about protein quality -- This brings me back to my Nutrition class in college that I took with one of my best friends Staci. If you don't know much about protein and getting good quality protein, this article will give you a basic overview.

USDA Admits Link Between Antibiotic Use by Big Ag and Human Health -- Ok seriously, this is pretty much enough for me to stop eating meat any other big ag products. I mean, really are you that greedy that it is necessary to pump the animals full of hormones just so you can produce more? That is just terrible. And I know it's been going on for a while, but I guess I was just never that conscious about it before. Oh and a big thanks to them for continuing to fuel the antibiotic resistance epidemic.

A rose may be a rose but perhaps a calorie's not a calorie -- Whoa, this is really cool. This study shows that eating the same amount of calories from processed foods or whole foods does not mean the body is effectively consuming the same amount of calories.

Artificial sweeteners, including Splenda, are not good for you -- This isn't just one article, I have come across many (like this one). And it makes me sad to find out Splenda (sucralosa) is not good for you. It has its bad side effects, even if they may not include producing cancer like aspartame. It is also super processed, which makes it not anywhere near natural. We are all better off consuming a few calories from natural sweeteners like honey, non-refined sugar, etc. than trying to be calorie-free by using these artificial sweeteners which actually may cause you to crave more sweets and bad calories. I think the hardest place for me to cut out these sweeteners is in gum, but we all know the gum in Chile sucks so it isn't as if I chew that much here anyway. If you want to get off artificial sweeteners, check here. Otherwise look at the affects of each type of artificial sweetener thanks to The Daily Burn Blog:

Infographic by

Study proves that organic tomatoes are more nutritious than non-organic tomatoes -- Even just reading the abstract will tell you the bottom line of the study. No wonder the tomatoes from Jumbo and Lider have ZERO flavor and zero color. Anyone who has started to eat whole non-processed foods can vouch for the fact that besides being more nutritious for you, they are WAY more flavorful.

Supersize Me -- Ok, this one is not an article, but a documentary from 2004. I know, I know, I am way late jumping on the bandwagon to see this movie now. But the hubs and I watched it Friday night. If you haven't seen it, watch it. We all know fast food isn't "good" for you, but seriously you will be surprised at just how BAD it is for you and more so how HARMFUL it is to your body. Props to this guy for putting himself through this. The documentary is light and sometimes funny even though it touches on a really important topic to not just Americans, but the whole world. Chileans could stand to watch this movie as well. Although I'd like to add it not only fast food, but all the bread, sugary drinks and mayo that they eat here. No wonder children's obesity in Chile surpassed that of the US, which Kyle discussed here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Great Reads Page

Not sure if you noticed, but I took off the blog links that I like which used to be to the right under my blog post archives and instead, published them on the link above titled "Great Reads".

I just got done updating it and just wanted to give you a brief overview:
  • Chile Expat Blogs: blogs of other expats living in Chie
  • Other Interesting Blogs: blogs of other people I know and/or enjoy reading
  • Fitness/Personal Balance Blogs: blogs related to fitness, exercise, personal balance, being healthy, etc.
  • Foodie/Recipe Blogs: blogs that post recipes that I enjoy
  • Personal/Professional Development Blogs: blogs that discuss personal & professional development such as personal finances, etc.
  • Stores About Dulcinea: links to all the blog posts I wrote at Who's Your Dachshund
  • Dulcinea's Favorite Blogs: blogs of dachshund's that Dulci likes to keep up with
I included the stories about Dulcinea as a quick reference since I am no longer blogging at WYD. I honestly don't have the time to keep up with the commitment required and it would be irresponsible of me to keep going forward knowing that I couldn't meet the time requirement. I had a great time blogging over there and wish I could keep going. But things have changed, I have other responsibilities to take care of right now and focus on and I had to make the decision. So that probably means that Dulcinea will get featured here more often, if I get around to blogging about her. I have plenty to tell, it is just a matter of sitting down and documenting it. Kind of like with everything else I want to blog about. I have a list of a ton of topics to write about, and sometimes on my way to work I even craft the post in my head.....but somehow, it just never makes it to the blog.

Anywho, enough babbling. If you want to check out some other great blogs, check out my Great Reads page.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Is There Ever Enough Time?

Back in college, when I was involved with a million extracurricular activities, going to school full-time and working part time, I used to schedule out my time in an Excel document so that I could fit it all in. It was always the ideal situation of how I could spend my time and even if I didn't follow it 100%, following it 80% was a heck of a lot better than not having a schedule at all. It allowed me to use my time wisely and well, being the type-A personality that I am, was a fitting way to figure things out. It also allowed me to not have to worry about what I would do on any given day since that was already pretty much planned out. It worked really well for me back then.

I didn't think I'd need those scheduling skills again, but alas, the time has come again and I have made myself a weekly schedule. Why? Simple: too many things to do in our limited time called a week. And the things I have to do are not things I can keep putting off.

Besides work, which occupies my day from approximately 9am to 6pm (or later on some days), I have to prepare my food for the day (GM for breakfast, our lunches and snacks throughout the day) and go to the gym. In an ideal world, I would go to the gym 5 days a week and that is how I have it planned in my schedule too. But we all know that life happens and maybe some weeks (or most) I won't make it 5 days. I have learned not to be hard on myself for missing a gym sesh and instead, my goal is 5, but really anything is better than nothing.

I also have to do some Rosetta Stone every or most days. My work gave us Rosetta Stone Language classes and we have deadlines to complete each level. This means I have to be consistent in actually doing it even if the first level is really basic compared to my Spanish. Oh well, it serves as good practice.

The other obligation on my plate is working on my NSEP scholarship requirements. I was lucky enough to get the NSEP scholarship for my study abroad, but part of receiving the scholarship means that I have to work for the Federal government for 12 months in return. So searching for and applying to Federal jobs is also part of my weekly activities. I have to admit, I haven't been very good at doing this since graduation. It was hard to do when I was planning the wedding so now the heat is on to find something since my deadline is coming up. I think it would be cool to find a job where I could use my Spanish skills and knowledge of L. American cultures. Really that is the whole idea of the scholarship, however as I search for these positions, I find it is much harder to qualify for a Federal position that I once believed.

Of course, I also included things in my weekly schedule like time with Christian and skyping with my parents. The weekend is mostly left open, but I did have to include some of these not-so-fun activities on my Sat and Sun mornings just based on the fact that I have more time on the weekend to get them done.

So am I totally crazy and too detail-oriented? Maybe. But if making a weekly schedule means I can get it all done and not stress about it, then it is totally worth it to me.

I guess I should get back to my schedule. I didn't include a blog post for Monday nights :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

What is Your Life Policy?

"My head isn't a neighborhood that you'd want to walk in a lone at night." Just one of the great quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert's speech that you can find here.

I can definitely say that I need more self-forgiveness. That knife-to-your-own-throat that she mentions....I know exactly what she means. And I definitely need to go easier on myself. In some ways, I think I have made leaps and bounds from where I used to be, but I still have a long way to go.

So I, too, try to do better each day with what I have. And I try not to be too hard on myself when the to-do list doesn't get crossed off, when I don't make it to the gym every day or when I am not my best on a particular day. But I think it's the intention that counts. It is all about trying.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

This Is What Makes Me Nervous....

....about moving back to the States: American Dream Is Elusive for New Generation

So most people know that we plan to move back to the US in the relatively short-term. And while I am BEYOND excited to go back, see my family and friends, eat my favorite food and start our life up North, I am also scared about how that life will be. Every day I feel like the news about the US economy and job market gets worse. They say "oh we think the worst is over" and then a month later, "we've hit a new high on the unemployment rate". Not only that, it doesn't seem that unemployment is affecting just one age range, but all of them.

When I was in college, we were all under the assumption, due to how the market was, that getting a job would be a piece of cake. Not only that, but you the person seeking the job, had the upper hand over the company who wanted to hire you. Why? Because multiple companies wanted you, and so they had to fight to get you, to show you why they were better than their competition, woo you, negotiate with you. Now, understand that some people really did take advantage of this, stringing companies along for the ride. I would never do that. But when you have several companies who want you and who offer great opportunities, all of which you are interested in, how they heck are you to decide?

Now, however, the job market isn't like that. At least from what I have heard from friends and from what I have seen in the news. So why, and how, can we just up and leave our great jobs here to the unknown there?

I worry that we won't live as well there as we do here. Not that we live like kings here, but by Chilean standards, we have it good. We save half of what we make, we live in the downtown business district, we have a car and enjoy social events as they arise. Compared to the average Chilean household, yes, we live a nice life here. (See Andrea's description of the segmentation in Santiago.) And so obviously that is what we expect there too.

I have voiced these concerns to Christian. Because they don't only have to do with the job situation, but also health insurance. We all know insurance in the States is ridiculous and as Emily pointed out, Chile's health insurance system is pretty darn efficient if you have private insurance. But I'll leave the health insurance topic at that for now. So what was Christian's reaction to me babbling on and on about how I feel like we are going to fail in the US? "Bueno, si nos va mal.....siempre podemos regresar a Chile." Translation: If we don't do well, we can always move back to Chile.

And you know what? That hadn't really crossed my mind. And he is 100% right. If we can't find jobs up there and aren't living the life we want, we can always move back to Chile. We know we can get good jobs here because we already have good jobs. And Christian having experience in the States (read: fluent English) will only make him more of an asset here.

But while that is an option, it is still scary and I don't really want to find myself in that position of having to make the decision to move back because of financial/job issues. So ya, that NY Times article I linked to makes me nervous as heck. It makes me worry even more that I won't be able to find a good job--not to mention the fact that I don't even know what I want to do when we get back. Should I stay in accounting? Transition into a different career? What job will I love? What will Christian do? Will he be able to find something without stupid racist people discriminating against him? (In case you are wondering, we won't be moving or ever visiting Arizona so at least I don't have to worry about that.)

I guess we just have to make the jump, even though it is scary and there are a lot of unknowns. I obviously don't do with well all that uncertainty, especially when it has to do with things that are out of my control. But I feel like it is now or never. And if we don't make the jump, we'll always be left wondering. I just hope it turns out the way I see it in my dreams....

Monday, July 5, 2010

Feelin' Good

It has been a little over a month since I started going to the gym again and despite the knee & hip pain, I have been feeling really good lately. Even though I had to tone my workouts down a bit and start slower than I wanted to, it has all worked out for the greater good of things. I am doing yoga at least twice a week if not more and lifting weights as well. I am continuously working on stretching out my hips to avoid the pain coming back. I can already tell a difference in how my yoga practice has improved and how much stronger I feel in general.

Green monsters have become a morning staple for Christian and me. It is a great way to start the day and I am happy to be able to incorporate more veggies into my diet as much as possible. I have mentioned how the change in my eating habits has also made me feel good, so coupled with going to the gym...I'd venture to say I don't know when I felt this good last.

I am so aware of my body and how it feels. I find myself with more patience in general. I know when to push myself and when to let things be. I have more energy.....even though I still love sleeping.

Two weekends ago, I took a Bikram yoga class in Viña del Mar. Holy mother of peace. It was divine. Just what I needed after a stressful week at work to help detoxify my whole body and mind. I can't wait to go back for another class, even though they are kind of expensive. I think it'll be a treat to myself when we go to Viña. Even though I take yoga a the gym (in the Body Balance-or Body Flow class as it is called in the US), it isn't the same. And change is good.

For the first time, probably ever in my life, working out and changing my eating habits isn't for the sole purpose of losing weight or getting "bikini ready" or any of that other nonsense that we women tell ourselves. It has been about getting healthy, about feeling good and about being the best me I can be--whether that means losing weight or not. Now, I'm not going to lie and say I wouldn't be happy to drop some inches, but that would just be icing on the cake. I want these changes I have made to be permanent, to keep me on the path of being the most healthy person I can be. I don't want to starve just to fit into size 2 jeans. I'd rather stay in my size 4 jeans and enjoy life and feel fulfilled. Pleasure in food, in friends, in family and in treating my body well. That is my new goal.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!!

Happy 4th of July to all my fellow gringos!!!!!! I hope you had a wonderful day!

This was my fifth 4th of July spent in Chile, And I'd have to say it was the best yet.

The day started with breakfast in bed made by my lovely husband. He made crepes filled with nutella and red-white-&-blue fruit (strawberries, bananas and blueberries). So yummy! I don't have a picture for you because I scarfed that delicious-ness down all too quickly.

After breakfast we got ready and went to the US Embassy in Santiago. The Embassy has a celebration every year on the 4th for all US Citizens and their families. In the past, it has been pretty early in the morning--starting at 9am. But this year, they started it later at 1pm with the doors opening at 12pm. It was sunny out (although still cold in the shade)--but it could have been raining. We were served a piece of Papa John's pizza, some chips & salsa, a free pop/water and cake. The Chilean Air Force Big Band played the National Anthem, "When the Saints Go Marching In" and among other songs. The US Marine unit presented the flag. Community leaders spoke about their experiences in Chile and the Ambassador Paul Simons spent his last day as the ambassador sharing stories of his 3 year stint here, including how much the American community has collaborated to help out in the earthquake relief efforts. Did I mention this was all free? Ya, it was pretty awesome and while there may not have been any fireworks or hot weather, it was a special celebration in and of itself.

Christian took most of the pictures at the Embassy, but here is one I grabbed of the two of us:

Disclaimer—La Chilengüita is a blog created upon my personal experiences and which expresses my personal opinion that in no way represents the views my employer, family or friends.