Samara O'Shea

Archive for February, 2011

My Food Diary

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

I’m looking to lose some weight. Not too much—twelve pounds or so. I’ve been fortunate in my life not to have had too much concern with weight. I’m tall with a quick metabolism, and that’s all I’ve needed thus far. But in the last few years I haven’t been able to work out as often as I’d like, and I weigh now more than I’ve ever weighed. Yikes!

I’ve read many times that if you want to lose weight, you should keep a food diary. It’s how you hold yourself accountable. It goes without saying that I love diaries, but writing down everything I eat doesn’t seem like something I’m going to keep up with. Or maybe I could handle the writing down part but not the adding up calories and figuring out what I can and can’t eat. That’s not my forte. Until – that is – I found An electronic diary is just what I need in this case because it does most of the work for me.

You (meaning me) tell the site your age, height, weight, gender, and how much you want to lose and it tells you how many calories a day you can consume. Even if you don’t want to lose weight but just maintain it—it’s great for that, too. You then plug in everything you eat. They have a mass database, so the chances of the nutritional information of your food being in there are good. If not, you can enter it manually. The system will remember it and you don’t have to enter it more than once. You tell the system what you eat, drink, and when you exercise. Naturally, you earn calories back when you exercise.

The program also keeps track of your sodium, sugar, cholesterol, iron, Vitamin A & C, and calcium intake—telling you when you’ve had too much or not enough.

I am loving it because you start fresh each day. If you have a day of dessert day (which we all need once in a while) then you forgive yourself and begin again tomorrow. It costs $9 per month and is well worth it. So far I’m having fun with it, but don’t know if I’m really losing weight. I’m on the lose 1 lb a week program, so I won’t weigh myself until April. I’ll let you know what happens then!

My Vacation in Cocktails

Friday, February 4th, 2011

What brought me to Honduras specifically was a wedding. It’s a country I may not have traveled to otherwise, but I’m so glad I went. One of my cousin Kate’s good friends was getting married, so we decided to turn the festivities into a full vacation. All drinks appear in chronological order:

We arrived in San Pedro Sula on a Friday afternoon. Once settled, we went out to dinner at an open air restaurant—the name escapes me. I remember well that the grill was enormous and the Honduran football (soccer) team was playing. The bride to be, Karla, ordered for us. What came next were two mammoth plates of meat—pork, beef, chicken, and sausage. A carnivore’s delight! We drank Barena, which is a Honduran beer similar to Corona. It was a perfect pairing.

The wedding took place on Saturday afternoon and the reception went well into the night. The bar’s specialty were these cute little Piña Coladas, so that’s what we drank. Until they started pouring the wine that is.

On Monday, what was left of the bridal party got on a bus and went to Copan—a small city centered around some extraordinary ruins left by the Mayan people. While there, we went out to dinner at a lodge/restaurant called Hacienda San Lucas, which is situated on a hill offering spectacular views. The restaurant is at the top of the hill and at the bottom are stumps and extra large stones offering a front-row seat to the sunset. We ordered our drinks at the top of the hill, and I was beyond impressed when the staff brought them to the bottom. It was a mighty balancing act that enabled me to savor an Argentinean Chianti and the view.

A romantic dinner for twelve at the Hacienda San Lucas.


On Wednesday, we said goodbye to the newlyweds and their kin and headed off to Roatan—one of the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras. My first drink on the island was a Monkey La La. Yes, you heard me correctly. This is the island’s signature drink and all the bars serve it. It’s made with vodka, Baileys, Kahlúa, and I’m guessing cream. The Baileys stands out among all the other flavors. It’s a glorified milkshake.

To accompany my reasonably-priced lobster dinner, a Margarita on the rocks (yet still in a ridiculous glass) with salt.

After dinner, the owner of the restaurant offered us a shot of this stuff. You can’t see it very well, but there is a plant in this bottle. Apparently you mix some liquid with the plant and volia—you get a drink that tastes like black jelly beans.

It is, admittedly, a little shady to drink such a strange thing but since it was the owner and not some random guy on the street (or at the bar) offering we took our chances. The shot wasn’t my taste, but it also wasn’t laced with anything. A win/win I’d say.

More Monkey La Las to celebrate the fact that we have nothing to do in the middle of the day.

This is either a Tequila Sunrise or a Strawberry Margarita, which are strikingly similar when you think about. In any case, it was a great trip—an ideal mix of culture, adventure, Caribbean breezes, fabulous food and memorable drinks.

Good News of Great Joy

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Last night I received a text from Tom (the friend I wrote about yesterday). He told us he’d gotten out of surgery six hours ago and everything went as well as it could. Now we hope for the best regarding future surgeries—that they are completely unnecessary! I am most grateful to those who sent good vibes.

I also got the CD from cousin Kate with all the Honduras photos on them. Here are two of me and an adorable monkey named Sonny. He jumped right on my back! It’s incredible to feel a monkey’s furry hand wrap around your finger. Most animals have paws, but monkeys have little bitty hands. More photos tomorrow: I have something fun planned. Until then!



Life’s Little Punches in the Face

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

This morning at about 6 a.m. a friend of mine went in for his second cancer surgery. He’s handling it very well, and he’s expected to make a full recovery–it’s just so strange. He’s in his mid-thirties and seemingly very healthy. Life just comes to a poignant pause, an endless ellipsis . . . when tragedy strikes. I am sure someday he’ll tell his little girls (he has two), “You were too young to remember when I had my operation.” But for now, there is a break in the proceedings of his life and the lives of those who love him.

Here, his wife wrote a moving and honest blog about it.

Google Art Project

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

This is kind of amazing: Google has just launched the Art Project. A site where you can virtually walk through museums and marvel at the structures, columns, ceilings, and, of course, the art work. I just took a stroll through the Palace of Versailles. This might get us through the winter. Here’s a preview of the program: