This past weekend I was invited to a crawfish boil. I’ve never been to a crawfish boil before, nor have I ever eaten crawfish, but I like shrimp and lobster, so I assumed I’d also like crawfish because they seem to be the mid-ground between the two. My friend’s husband (<– still getting used to saying that) was the boiler. From what I understand, you get the crawfish while they are still alive and have to take out any that are already dead. Then you put the live crawfish into a pot with corn, potatoes, and bunch of spices and let the magic happen. Once they are done, you just dump the whole pot onto a big table and digs in. Take a look at the pics below to get a better idea of what happens here:
The Crawfish in their final moments of life. Also known as “crawdads” or “mudbugs”.
What it looks like on the table – SO DELICIOUS!!
Mike with Lupe
Friends hanging out:
How you eat crawfish: 1. pinch 2. pull off “butt” 3. suck out delicousness…or if you are me, you can (very messily) take the meat out with your fingers and eat.
Our cook, Doug, and his attack dog:
Our host, Bryan – the Birthday Boy
Just a bunch of UConn Alum watching our team win! GO HUSKIES!!
To top off an amazing weekend, I went on a nice hike with my oldest friend! We went to Gillette Castle, located in East Haddam, CT and walked around for a while. Unfortunately all the trails we hiked were loops that were about 5 minutes long, and we didn’t realized that there was also a bunch of other trails on the other side of the parking lot, which may or may not have been longer and more “hike-like”. It doesn’t really matter though, because we had a fantastic time! Sometimes its more about the catch-time and socialization than it really is about the hiking and exercising. We saw the castle, which overlooks the Connecticut River, and although it’s “off season” so we couldn’t go inside, the outside was amazing and we took a ton of pics.
According the The DEP, Gillette Castle sits on the most southerly hill on the Seven Sisters. The land was purchased by actor William Hooker Gillette, most famous for his portrayal of “Sherlock Holmes”, and most of the castle and grounds were designed by him personally. The castle itself is built of local fieldstone, and supported by a steel frame, and took 5 years and 20 men to build. Gillette created a system of walking trails, which are still available for people like us to walk on today. He also had an underground vegetable cellar (like the one on Alaska: The Last Frontier, for you Discovery Channel watchers), a railroad station, and a goldfish pond. The fact that the castle is still a tourist attraction and upkept for visitors would have been the wish of Gillette, who gave specific instructions to see that the property did not fall into the hands “of some blithering saphead who has no conception of where he is or with what surrounded.”
On our way home we stopped at The Town Tavern, in East Haddam. It was quite the interesting establishment. It was super fancy when we walked in, with long maroon curtains with gold silk overlays. The funny part was, it was not a fancy place. It was just a regular bar with regular bar food. It was basically like the Holiday Inn trying to be the Ritz-Carlton. It wasn’t a bad place though! The food was delicious! I had a BLT, which you can’t really mess up, unless you get it at Hanifan’s in Glastonbury, CT. I got one there once and in addition to it not being a B (Bacon) L (Lettuce) T (Tomato), was just horrible all the way around. But I digress, like I said, the Town Tavern, while a very nice place to eat, seemed a little too fancy for it’s own britches. This was especially evident by the time we left, if by nothing else, by the clientele. When we arrived, we were the only ones there, but by the time we left the bar area was crowded with multiple mechanics, landscapers, and even what looked like a set of grandparents with their teenage grandson…in pajama pants. haha.
Growing up I was always skinny. I never really had to worry about “eating right” or dieting, and to be honest a diet for me never really lasted longer than about 2 hours. But really, they would have lasted longer, but then I would get hungry and eat whatever was in my fridge or pantry. I’ve always been really active so, being lucky, I never really had to worry about my weight. Then about a year ago, I really started to get self conscious. Since I had been out of college for a couple years and most of my day was spent sitting, instead of playing sports, or walking across UConn’s enormous campus I was noticing that had put on a few (ok maybe more than a few) extra, unneeded, lbs! My clothes started not fitting right, and it was at that time that I vowed: I will NOT buy bigger clothes to make myself feel comfortable. I WILL change my life to feel comfortable in the clothing I own. After all, isn’t that how people get fat? They eat too much, get uncomfortable in their tight clothes, buy bigger clothes that have some spare room, and repeat cycle. It all starts innocently enough, but before you know it you’re not allowed on amusement park rides and are buying two plane tickets for yourself. And that, my friends, is no way to life.
Anyways, back to my story: About a year ago, I really started to notice changes in myself and I didn’t like it, but since I had always been active and never really dieted (my idea of a diet was having only 4 slices of pizza instead of 7), things didn’t really start out so well for me on the weight loss front. I tried exercising in the form of running, but I’ve been an avid runner since the age of 11 so that didn’t do anything for me. No seriously, I trained diligently, and rain a full marathon (26.2 miles) and was literally the exact same weight after. I also tried every “diet” out there: Atkins, South Beach, Veggie Cleanse, Smoothies, Juice Diets, Slim Quick, Fasting…They would work for a short period of time, and then OF COURSE because they are only a “quick fix” I’d be right back to where I started…sometimes even worse off! Turns out the only REAL way to lose weight is diet and exercise, muscle confusion to be exact…who would have ever guessed!
So, thanks to my patient boyfriend’s encouragement, I decided to try p90x. I had already been through months of boot camp classes, and not for nothing, because they were amazing, but I really needed more. More intensity, more times a week, and unfortunately I really couldn’t afford more than 2 times a week at boot camp. May 6 was my day. Decide. Commit. Succeed. The initial plan was to go from Adele to Jillian Michaels (*see bottom) in 90 days…needless to say, that didn’t happen, but I’m proud to say that I for the past 13 weeks I have done every single main workout (60-90 minutes) and all but 2 of the ab workouts (16 minutes) in addition to running, biking, and hiking. I’ve also tried my best to stay on track with the p90x nutrition guide. Of course I’ve failed many times, but I’m only human, and I can only learn from these experiences. I’m not perfect, and I’m no super model, but I’m definitely much stronger both mentally and physically now than I was before.
It’s funny because as I started the 90 days, I thought to myself…wow this is so easy! Not easy in the sense that the workouts were easy (they weren’t) but easy in the fact that I enjoyed working out and the workouts were similar to those that I have done in bootcamp and other classes at my gym so it wasn’t difficult to motivate myself to do the workouts. It was about week 6 that I hit my first wall. I was tired (most days I had to get up around 4:45AM to fit it all in) and to be honest I just wanted to be lazy. But that wasn’t an option. How could I be mad when nothing was happening to my body if I wasn’t doing anything differently! I’ve seen that with too many people, and quite frankly I find it annoying so I chose not to let myself fall into that category. I mean like anything, there were some days that were way easier than others, and some days that I literally hoped I would fall and break my ankle so I wouldn’t have to continue. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t break my ankle or any other body part for that matter, and am even more glad that I stuck with it and am on my way to reach my goal.
To say that I did it alone though would be lying, so I really have to give credit where it’s due. Of course, thanks to my loving boy who encouraged me every single day for the past 90 days . Next, I have to thank an amazing co-worker, Andra, who was nice enough to take a look at my food log every single week not only to keep me on track, but also to give me some helpful tips and motivate me. She also helped me get on track with some great vitamins and supplements! She rocks! Then of course some of my girlfriends, Liz, Carrie, Erica who have gotten up at ungodly hours to do workouts with me and forced me to believe that I could get through it when I was mentally or physically fried – Especially Erica who would do extra workouts with me just to keep me company on a low day! Additionally I found motivation through fellow bloggers, loseitbig, roundtoravishing, and theblissproject whose blogs I found motivating, inspiring, and many times entertaining! (I especially appreciated loseitbig – he’s hysterical!) Finally I gotta thank my bestie Stef. She’s so far away (I’m in CT and shes in CO), but since we both have the same mind set and similar goals and are both working out and eating right so we look to each other for support, and it always means a lot to me.
Feel free to read more about my exercise regimen, food log, measurements, and success on my page Eating Clean & Getting Lean! I’d also love to hear some of your own personal success stories or challenges! cheers!