Posts tagged ‘chocolate’

March 21, 2011

Forehead-slapping moment

by Zen Gray

There’s this great thing that some bakeries offer to engaged couples…. wedding cake tasting appointments!
Cake Tasting at Torrance Bakery
David and I saved our cheat hour for the amazing cake-tasting event at the Torrance Bakery today since they are one of the sponsors of the Ultimate Wedding Experience. They brought out a selection of:

  • White cake with fudge filling
  • White cake with lemon filling
  • Strawberry angel food cake
  • Banana nut with custard filling
  • Red velvet with cream cheese frosting
  • Chocolate cake with raspberry filling

Each one was more delicious than the last. You’ve never heard more “Mmmmm!!!” sounds from a couple in your life. (At least not in public.) But in the end, you’ve got to pick a favorite — and David and I LOVE chocolate so we knew our cake was going to be chocolate with some fudge in there.

We were told initially that we couldn’t get chocolate icing but when we were flipping through the cake book, David found a chocolate wedding cake with chocolate flowers… and his face lit up.

Homer Simpson in the Land of Chocolate

“Could we get THAT?”

The lovely woman helping us couldn’t have been nicer or more excited for us when we told her that we were one of the wedding contest finalists. She brought us out the cake samples, some bottled water to clear our palate in between flavors, told us what size cake we’d get if we won, and shared our enthusiasm for the joy of picking out this wedding-day delight.

She laughed, “Well, you can get chocolate fondant with the sugar flowers for a premium, if you like.”

And David said, “Yes, we’ll take the chocolate cake with chocolate filling with chocolate, chocolate, chocolate…”

And I added laughing, “Yes, can we get it with chocolate forks, chocolate napkins, on chocolate plates served by chocolate people?”

The lady laughed, “We’re still working on the technology to make everything chocolate.”

It wasn’t until a few minutes later that it struck me.

I said “chocolate people” to this woman — who happens to be African American. OMG. She probably thinks I’m a racist – when I was truly just taking a walk down chocolate lane in my mind like Homer Simpson in that episode when he dreams of the land of chocolate…

When we left, I turned to David and said, “That was really fun and I loved all of those cakes… but…um… CHOCOLATE PEOPLE?!!! WHAT. WAS. I. THINKING?!!!”

He laughed hysterically, “I knew you were just going with the chocolate extreme scenario…”

“OMG. Do you think I offended her?” Then I slapped him playfully, “Why didn’t you SAVE me?!!”

“What was I supposed to say? That it’s ok because my stepdad is black? That would have made things worse.”

I both laughed at my ridiculously inappropriate  comment… and groaned all the way home. I wasn’t planning on eating my foot today, too.

Idiot.Open Foot Insert Mouth Mug

March 13, 2011

The Wedding Contest

by Zen Gray

About a month ago, David and I became finalists in a contest to win a wedding. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to get married and have all of your friends and family there WITHOUT having to freak out about the cost of the reception site, the ceremony, the dress, the bridesmaid’s dresses, the flowers, the tuxes, the catering, the menus, the cake, the DJ, the videographer, the photographer, the album, the wedding coordinator, the event planner, the transportation and even the honeymoon suite? It would be AMAZING, right?!!!

Well, we’ve got a great shot because we’re one of twenty five couples that could win this event called “The Ultimate Wedding Experience.” We had to create a video and write a short essay and get approved by the powers that be… and we did. To vote for us, please click here. (Please enjoy our puppy’s cameo and remember that I never claimed to be a singer.)

Today just happens to be the last day for people to vote. They don’t post how many votes each couple has but they do allow people to post comments under the video. I’m not exactly sure how I feel about that. Does that mean they’ll just pick the couple they like the best and not even care about the voting? Is it really the number of COMMENTS that make a difference? If it is, then we’re screwed because some guy dressed in drag to re-enact his first date has over 200 comments to our paltry 90 comments. And what are the judges looking for? For a couple that looks like they’re in love? To the couple that looks most desperate for help? For a couple most connected to all the sponsors? You just don’t really know.

And that made me think… so many times, you just don’t know what people are looking for and what their criteria is for choosing the way they do. There’s no reason to take things personally if someone isn’t looking for your background or type on an audition or job interview or even a love interview (a date). All you can do is be yourself and do your best to do the things that make you happy. It sounds so simple – but I forget sometimes.

Can I just say that I really want to win this wedding? I really do. I embrace this possibility for my love, my family and my friends and have visions of laughing and dancing with David. However, I’m so grateful for the many blessings in my life already… winning this contest would just be more buttercream icing on the wedding cake.

Wishing YOU much love and happiness and unlimited possibilities!

~Zen

February 17, 2011

Post Valentine’s Glow

by Zen Gray

It’s the day after Valentine’s

And all through the house

Are goodies of chocolate

given by your spouse.

We know the boys mean well though, don’t we? My fiance managed to find me dark chocolate covered almonds, which are tasty as well as heart healthy with antioxidants, flavanols and magnesium.

Are you still nibbling on chocolate treats or have you banished them yet? With my fitness competition diet in full swing, I admit that a little chocolate felt totally decadent on Sunday night (when we decided to celebrate Valentine’s.)

It’s so interesting how my perspective shifts on things like food and exercise. For example, I used to think that running 2 miles was quite an accomplishment. Now after running a marathon, I think that 2 miles is a decent warm up. With my food consisting of chicken breast, oatmeal, protein powder, brown rice, yams, white fish and green veggies, now I think that marinades and sea salt are totally indulgent. Weird.

And then I wonder, “Is it normal to think about food this much?” For those times that I’m in the best shape, I have to say that planning my meals becomes a necessary evil. I’m sorry to say that great abs don’t just happen. At least not to me or anyone I know, especially for those of us celebrating more than one 29th birthday. (Have I mentioned that I plan to be perpetually 29? At least for ten more years. Then I will claim to be in my early thirties until I have to get cataract surgery.)

I’m realizing that much of my motivation for diet and exercise comes from wanting to LOOK youthful. (Apparently, I’ve got some vanity issues but I’m trying to be honest.) But I also have this devotion to balance:  celebrating life (with food!) and maintaining good health.

I don’t want to be one of those starving actresses who look AMAZING on the red carpet because I think that takes too much work and it negates one of my favorite parts of living – dining with family and friends.

I just saw Moulin Rouge again and I think that Nicole Kidman looks gorgeous in those corsets – but she gets paid a lot to be hungry.

Perhaps if I had her lifestyle and wardrobe, I could easily amuse myself with week-long spa treatments and trips to exotic islands instead of food.

Or how about Natalie Portman in Black Swan? I hope that most women walked away from that movie realizing that her character was sick and her body unnaturally thin because that is what is expected of a prima ballerina that devotes her life to ballet.

The following questions are very important to me and I ask all my clients: Do you need to be as ripped and lean as a leather-clad Hollywood action heroine? Are you willing to do all the work and miss out on all the tasty food that everyone around you is eating? If the answer is no, then I think we should stop comparing ourselves to the photoshopped, air-brushed, professionally dressed, primped and coiffed Hollywood elite. If looking at fashion magazines makes you feel ashamed or disappointed with your body — then stop it.

I just pulled a few images of some of my favorite celebs I think look sexy, happy and healthy: Eva Mendes, Kim Kardashian, Scarlett Johannson and even Queen Latifa.  I’m pretty sure that most of us could still be thrilled to look like this, right?

All I’m saying is, you’ve got choices. If you want to be shredded like Angelina Jolie in an action film, then go for it. But don’t bitch about how hard the workouts are or how you can’t have pizza anymore. (And depending upon your body type, you might STILL not get the results you want because you’re not Angelina.)

My goal right now is to do ONE fitness competition and know how to share that knowledge with anyone who wants to be that disciplined, too. After the competition, who knows?

I guess I just want to be healthy… and for me that means enjoying celebrations with my sweetheart and my family, my curves, my workouts, discovering new healthy vegetable dishes and even the occasional cleanse to balance out some festive eating. But I know that I can’t get down to 12-13% body fat for a competition if I celebrate too much.

But what’s Valentine’s day without a little chocolate as well as a lot of love?

January 25, 2011

I Heart Cupcakes

by Zen Gray

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to start a diet I usually give myself a few days of “preparation” before I actually begin it. Unfortunately, my few prep days typically turn into, “Oh, I better eat this now because I won’t be able to while I’m back on the wagon…”

I’ve noticed this lovely phenomenon happening last week. While waiting for my coach to get back to me about what fitness competition I’m going to do, I’ve been having a food free-for-all. I know once I’m committed to a diet that I’ll stick to it, but that eating plan hasn’t officially started, so I’m in limbo land where chocolate cupcakes dance upon my counter tops.

Perhaps that doesn’t sound like such a huge deal since I still workout and teach spin classes every week.  But even as an active person, high carb/sugary food messes me up. It’s not just the added pooch (which I could contribute to monthly hormonal chick stuff) but increasingly pissy moods and aches here and there.

I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but there it is. I eat lots of chocolate sometimes. And David, my fiance, loves me so much that he wants to get me WHATEVER MAKES ME HAPPY. He sees my face light up at the mention of dessert. So, I have to try DOUBLY hard to say no… both to him and to myself… when I’m being more strict with my diet. He’s what you’d call an enabler… and I love him for it. Ha! And that’s one of the reasons why love can make me fat.

BUT because David loves me so much, he has made a deal with me. As soon as my coach sets the fitness competition date (one of my New Year’s Resolutions), then we’ll start whittling down my body fat and David promises to refuse my pleas for dessert when I’ve committed to a strict dieting phase. (I must note here, though, that my competition diet WILL include a cheat HOUR once a week so I will be able to eat dessert… just not as often as I’d like.)

So, here’s my question to you:

If you’ve gained weight in your relationship, are you being enabled or are you the enabler?

As you know, I won’t judge you no matter what. I believe that everyone has struggles. It takes courage to fess up to your weaknesses or mistakes and then ask for help. If you’re dealing with some issues, talk to SOMEONE about them and look for guidance. Even the best athletes in the world need a coach, right?

Sending love to you and all your perfect imperfections.

~Zen