It’s the Leftover That Never Ends

I don’t know about you but I’m not really a turkey fan. I mean I’ll eat it. I don’t refuse turkey or anything like that but let’s be serious I only really eat it once a year unless it’s on a Chef Salad.

Why? One, it takes bloody forever to cook a turkey. Think about it. All those jokes about getting up at 4 am to start the turkey? They’re only funny because we have to get up at 4 am to start the turkey.

Then there’s the leftovers. Honestly, at my house it seems like the leftovers get together in my fridge and have a dirty, dirty turkey orgy and breed more leftovers. Usually dark meat. Did I mention I hate dark meat?

So here’s my easiest way to combat this:

  • Go to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving. Refuse leftovers
  • Invite all your family to a local restaurant hosting Thanksgiving. There are tons of places near us in Lancaster, PA that do this. If you’re lucky, there are places near you too. Pitch it as “we can all spend time together without having to worry about the dishes”.
  • If you’ve got a small group – use a turkey breast. It takes less time to cook and since it’s smaller—less leftovers. At our house this year we had just enough leftovers for one lunch and one dinner.
  • Push leftovers off on everyone you know. Persuade them to take leftovers for people they know and you don’t.
  • Turkey Tortilla Soup – It’s the same as the recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup but with leftover turkey instead
  • A local restaurant here in Chester County PA—Capriotti’s—has a sandwich called a Bobbie. My interpretation to make at home is below:

 

The Bobby

Ingredients:

Thick Hoagie Rolls – I’m serious the thicker the better you’re going to be putting that bread under strain

Baked Turkey Leftovers – I recommend White Meat

Leftover Stuffing

Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Mayo

Leftover Mashed Potatoes and Gravy (totally optional this is a Ben and Ainsley style Bobbie. Me I don’t like potatoes on my sandwich so I omit them.)

Directions

  • Split the hoagies down the center
  • Slather with a light coating of mayo on one side. I go for the bottom, the mayo marries well with the turkey.
  • Load up a thick layer of leftover turkey onto the bottom of the bread
  • Add one scoop of stuffing
  • Optional – Add one scoop of mashed potatoes
  • Add half a scoop of cranberry sauce – I add a full scoop because I am a cranberry sauce fanatic. (Trust me if I could just eat Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving I would be thankful)
  • Optional – heat gravy in microwave for 30 seconds and then dribble over the top of everything else.

 

This entry was posted in cooking.

Fat Girl Diaries Week 18 — Shutting Up My Brain So I Can Go The F*#$ To Sleep

Insomnia. It’s a side effect of my anxiety disorder. I’m exhausted at 9:30. I snuggle up in bed and get warm. Then I drift off to sleep. For two hours. Or an hour. And I’m up again. Tossing. Turning. And at 4 am I’m up and I’m not getting back to sleep. According to the Morpheuz App on my Pebble less than 15% of my sleep is “Deep and Restful”. The other 85% is either “Light” or “Restless”. My sleep graph looks like the heart graph of someone going through a severe cardiac episode and being shocked with paddles. Deep zig zags. No real lulls in the deep sleep valley.

So first I tried yoga. It’s exercise that also helps you relax. I try it at home and end up cross legged on my mat, staring as an incredibly perky blonde bends herself into pretzel shapes. And I still didn’t sleep. So I tried a yoga class because I was assured by a friend who is a yoga fiend that the good vibes would totally last the ten hours between the class and bedtime.

I ended up behind a man who was freeballing in running shorts. With a teacher who had decided todays asana was going to involve a lot of “Go into downward dog and now LIFT your head as you breathe in.” The yogic bliss of downward dog in a sweltering room didn’t last ten minutes—much less ten hours—but my yoga buddy was right. The class stayed with me for a LOOOOONNNNNGGGG time afterwards. So long that when my actual dogs stretch I still sort of “ewwgh”.

Because let’s be serious ladies. Men are beautiful creatures. They are truly works of art. Just like women are. But there are a few spots on the human body that just aren’t pretty. The backs of your elbows. Nose hairs. The back of a pair of hairy balls. Those things are placed in a way that even God wouldn’t have to look at them.

So yeah, yoga? Maybe not for me.

Next, I tried warm baths before bed. Hot tea. Neither of those helped. So then I tried OTC sleeping pills. I still tossed and turned and the next day I felt like I’d been dragged through the ringer.

Honestly? I’m not judging. If you need a sleeping pill and it works for you then use it. But me? I’m better off sleep deprived than groggy. I can work under sleep deprivation. I have worked for years with insomnia. Grogginess just isn’t an option for me.

But I want to sleep. I like sleep. I’d like to do it daily for about 7- 9 hours. I think it would be a wonderful hobby to take up. Except for that whole insomnia thing.

So I start researching new ways to help myself get to sleep. And one of the most popular things that is mentioned is meditation. Meditation can help people who suffer from anxiety. It can help with insomnia. Not to mention all those neural pathways it’s supposed to light up and help prevent Alzheimers and stuff like that.

I read up on what meditation is supposed to be like. I find a pillow. I sit down. I close my eyes. And immediately I start to fidget. My nose itches. The dog has climbed into my lap and is licking my nose. My butt feels weird. I shift again. I wonder what’s on television. I have to pee.

This doesn’t work.

So then I try lying down and meditating. And I fall asleep. Half an hour later I’m awake again.

I try Headspace. It works ok. I can get through the meditation app but after a month I still didn’t feel less anxious and I was still sleeping just as badly.

Then a friend mentions that hypnosis really helped her stop her smoking habit. Maybe it could help me sleep? And even better, there’s an app for that as well.

So I go onto ITunes and I buy the Surf City hypnosis apps End Anxiety and Sleep Well.

That night, I plug in. I turn on the hypnotic booster and start listening to Sleep Well on repeat for 6 cycles – until just past 4 am. I’d like to tell you it was great and relaxing and well honestly? I don’t remember a damn thing. I slept the whole night through. I woke up at 6 am. I checked into the Morpheuz App on my Pebble. 45% of my sleep was “Deep and Restful”. I’m ready to cry from relief because OMG I forgot what being well rested felt like. Honestly? I wanted to go back to bed and sleep some more.

I’m now a week in on the Sleep Well app. Is it weird wearing earbuds in bed? Yes. But I’m getting used to it. Because honestly? Being well rested tops not feeling weird about wearing ear buds to bed.

I’ve also noticed my generalized anxiety decreasing. Does this mean I’m magically cured and can now tell you unequivocally that all you need to deal with a complicated diagnosis like anxiety is just a hypnosis app on your phone and you’ll never have another anxiety attack.

NO!

Anxiety and insomnia and just about anything else that has to do with the workings of your brain is really, really, REALLY complicated and there are no “cures” especially super quick click this link here cures. But for me? Right now, in this moment in time, Sleep Well is helping me get a full night’s sleep and alleviating my symptoms of insomnia without having to take a sleeping pill that’s going to make me feel worse instead of better in the morning. And the seven hours of sleep I’m getting? That’s helping me be more aware of my surroundings, it helps me stay mindful and it’s reducing my symptoms of anxiety. Reducing – not eliminating. But even when I do feel anxious and overwhelmed having a full night’s sleep helps me keep my head and remember all the behavioral management techniques I’ve learned to help me cope with my anxiety instead of just letting my body spiral into a full blown anxiety attack.

It’s about maintaining and right now, in this moment, laying down at night and listening to a hypnosis app is helping me do that. Plus, unlike meditation I don’t suddenly find that I really, really have to pee the minute I sit down. And unlike yoga I don’t unintentionally end up seeing the underside of an older guy’s hairy ball sack.

This Is Philly – We Got A Dip With Steak In It

Look, even before I moved to Philly I knew about cheesesteaks. It’s a thing here. In fact, it’s so much of a thing that when we first moved here – some of my husbands coworkers made it a point to take us to the local hole-in-the-wall cheesesteak place in the town where he worked. Just to make sure we knew where the real stuff was made.

People in Philly take these things seriously.

So I knew when I saw a cheesesteak dip recipe online – it wasn’t going to pass muster with real Philly people. Not to point fingers but what do you expect when the blog is out of Wisconsin?

So I set out to make my own. Gluten free and enough like a cheesesteak that the Philadelphia people in my life wouldn’t steal my shoes and dump me out of the car somewhere in New Jersey.

Gluten Free Philly Cheese Dip (enough to feed 10 guys watching the Eagles game with no one saying “What we’re out of dip?”)

Ingredients:

2 red onions – diced

4 green peppers—diced

1 8 oz can of sliced mushrooms drained of liquid (optional but come on)

2 lbs of lean cut sirloin steak – when I go to the butcher I get the steak that’s already been cut up for stir fry to save myself some shredding time

2 8 oz blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese softened

1 lb of provolone cheese

Olive oil

 

Directions:

Coat skillet with olive oil and turn on to medium heat

Add chopped red onions to oil and cook until semitranslucent

Add steak, shredding with spatula as it cooks. You want it thin and tendril like not big honkin chunks

Add diced green peppers and drained mushrooms

When steak is medium – still pinkish – drain into strainer so the meat and the onions remain but the oil does not

Pour strained meat and onion mixture into a large crockpot set on low heat

Add philly cream cheese and mix together over low heat while that cream cheese melts

Cook for 1 hour on low heat

Cut provolone into strips or shred if you’re feeling ambitious

Add provolone to cream cheese, veggie and meat mixture and stir until it’s a big gooey mess

Keep crock pot on low and put out slices of French bread, crackers, or corn chips for people to dip

I also put out plastic bowls and forks because some of our football fans skip the dipping and just make themselves a bowl.

Serve with Youngling, Labatts, or get creative and try one of Philly’s local area microbrews like Earth Bread and Brewery’s Shines Like Gold, Troegs Dreamweaver Wheat, Sly Fox 360 IPA, Yards Brawler, Lancaster Brewings Oktoberfest, or my personal favorite – Spring House Beer’s Big Gruesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout

Fat Girl Diaries Week 17 — There Are Days You Fail

Sometimes for all your best intentions, all your diet plans, all your calorie counting, you fail. You overeat. You eat the wrong thing. In my case? Someone puts cake in front of me. And all that willpower just goes out the window.

If you put cake in front of me most of the time I can ignore it but some days the temptation is just too much. And then I crumble.

And I used to feel guilty about this. Like really guilty. Like well I failed so I might as well give up the whole diet, eat 10 packages of Oreos and three pints of Ben and Jerry’s while squirting whipped cream into my mouth levels of guilty.

That was always my weakness. I slipped up. I felt guilty and then boom I was a failure and it was over. But this time I decided I wasn’t going to fail. And I talked to a nutritionist before I got started and she told me outright, sometimes you will fail. You will overeat or eat something that isn’t good for you and that’s okay. The trick is to enjoy the treat, not feel guilty and then remind yourself to get back on track the next day.

And mentally I scoffed at her. I scoffed for six whole weeks of not breaking my diet plans. Six weeks of recording every calorie. Of making smart food decisions. Six weeks without caffeine. Without French fries. Six weeks of I’ll take that without buffalo sauce thank you so much. Six weeks of flat whites and spinach wraps from Starbucks instead of White Chocolate Mocha’s and Pain de Chocolates.

Then, one day I had to run to the grocery store to pick up batteries. And there it was—one single chocolate cupcake with chocolate filling and chocolate icing on top. It was the Da Vinci of cupcakes.

It was beautiful.

And it was so not on my new healthy eating plan.

Suddenly those strawberries and that kale and the pumpkin seeds and everything else? They were forgotten inside my cart.

I don’t even remember putting that cupcake on the conveyor belt and paying for it. The next thing I knew I was in the front seat of my car and staring at an empty cupcake wrapped. I don’t even remember eating it.

And that’s when the guilt set in. Because after six weeks? I’d done just what that nutritionist said I would. I’d cracked. And I couldn’t even remember it.

I was like a crack addict with a cupcake.

I was ashamed.

We see all these things about food being addictive and we think yeah, yeah, okay sugar is as addictive as crack. So go off sugar like you go off crack. Just don’t have it. Break the addiction. Break the cycle.

But here’s the thing that no one thinks about. Sure, sugar and junk food is as addictive as a class 2 narcotic. But you don’t need a class 2 narcotic to live. Without food you will die. It’s called starving to death and lots of people do it.

And people will say but you don’t need cupcakes to live. No, you don’t. But think about this. We tell drug addicts to avoid temptation to keep from sliding off the wagon. But how do you avoid the grocery store? How do you get milk and eggs and bread and fruit without having to go past the bakery – which is in the front of the store. In my supermarket the cupcakes are next to the yogurt.

It’s like looking at a heroin addict and saying hey you’ve been assigned to a methadone clinic right next to your favorite shooting gallery. Now don’t fall off the wagon. Oh and by the way – we’re going to run commercials about heroin during all your favorite television programs.

Any addict would fail in that situation. Maybe not the first time. Or the second. But what about the twenty second?

And that’s what my nutritionist was trying to tell me but I didn’t want to hear. As long as you need food to live occasionally you will make a bad choice because the bad choices? They’re right there, tempting you from their place beside the good choices.

When you get past the scare tactic click bait articles it comes down to this. Everyone fails at eating healthy all the time. It’s whether you get up the next day and keep trying that matters.

And that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to move on from my shameful moment with that cupcake. I’m going to remember not to go to the grocery store on an empty stomach or with a friend to keep me grounded and I’m going to keep trying to do my best. And if I fail again? Well then I’ll just keep trying. After all, it’s that or give up. And I’ve worked too hard to do that.

It’s the Most Pumpkiny Time of the Year

Like every other middle class white woman who makes her home in suburbia I have a serious pumpkin spice addiction. Sure it’s seasonal because let’s be serious no one likes pumpkin spice in July but come October 1st the cravings kick in and by lunchtime, even when I tell myself I won’t, I’m in that Starbucks line ordering myself a pumpkin spice latte. It’s shameful. I know.

But let’s be real for a second. Starbucks is expensive when you’re feeding a pumpkin spice addiction one Venti Latte at a time. So if I’m not going to max out my credit cards on Starbucks during October and November – and let’s be serious I need that credit limit for Christmas shopping—then I’ve got to figure out a way feed that pumpkin spice addiction that doesn’t cost a lot of money.

So cue my pumpkin spice baking onslaught.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

 

Ingredients for 2 loaves

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Mix

¼ tsp of apple cider vinegar

1 whole egg

4 egg whites (or ¾ egg white if you’re using the carton kind)

¼ cup of butter

1 2/3 cups of milk

2 cups of sugar (I find GF bread really sort of bitter so when I’m baking bread I always add some sugar in.)

1 can Libby’s Pumpkin

Directions

Follow the Bob’s Red Mill directions for the most part but here are a few things you want to change.

 

After you’ve added the bread mix into the wet ingredients follow it up with the two cups of sugar.

 

Then, add the can of pumpkin and follow the rest of the directions. The only thing you might want to do differently is I find that when I add additional wet ingredients it takes approximately an extra 15 minutes on the baking time. So 75 minutes instead of 60 minutes but that could just be my oven so if you’re being smart bake for 60 and then do the fork test and then bake for 5 more and fork test, repeat until fork comes out clean and not covered in soggy bread dough.

 

Finally, once you’ve eased your bread out of the pan and let it cool, slather the loaves in icing (if you want) and package up in Ziploc bags. They last about a week in the fridge without getting weird or you can freeze them (don’t icing if you’re freezing).

 

This entry was posted in baking.

Fat Girl Diaries Week 16 — Some Days You Just Can’t. And That’s Okay

I suffer from migraines. I have since I’ve been 12 years old. They’re brutal. Like stay in a dark room, cling to the bed and try not to throw up levels of pain. And exercise helps. I’m not lying. I’ve found that now that I’m watching my diet and getting into shape the migraines have not only decreased in frequency but also sometimes in intensity.

But they still happen. Especially when the weather turns cold. And some days it’s just a small headache and I can go out and I can jog a little bit. Maybe not as long as I would normally but still something to warm my blood up. Or some days I can’t deal with being outside and I can climb in the pool and do a light workout. But some days? Some days it’s still cling to the bed and pray for unconsciousness levels of pain.

Those days I will not be working out. And the first time it happened I tried to make myself go workout anyway. I got dressed and dragged myself out to the car. I pulled over twice to throw up because driving hurt. But I got to the track and I got my earbuds in and I stretched out – stopping to vomit and cry because it hurt so bad—but I was going to work out damn it. And I made it 1/3 of a mile, tears leaking down my face, stopping to vomit over and over again. It was bad.

So bad I decided to not even try to drive myself home. I called my husband and had him and a friend come meet me so that she could follow us home in my car. And I had to accept that some days working out isn’t going to happen. I’m not going to be able to stick to that schedule. I’m not going to be able to sub in a workout video to make up for the fact that I had to take the kids to a doctor’s appointment instead of hitting the track.

Some days I will not be able to play injured. And if you’ve ever read Stephen Pressfield’s The War On Art (I love all his books fiction and nonfiction so if you haven’t read them check them out) you know that means when it comes to running I am an amateur. Heck, when it comes to my career some days I am an amateur and not a pro because there’s no writing with a migraine for me either.

And it hurt for a second to admit that I am not a pro at this part of my life. That I can’t play hurt. That there is something that limits me occasionally because my head it does not like to move when I am in pain.

But what I realized is that sometimes it’s okay to say “I can’t do it”. Don’t punish yourself. Don’t give up your rest day as punishment or to make it up. Let that shit go. Sleep. Take care of yourself. Don’t use it as an excuse to not workout for piddly things but real things? Painful things? Take care of them.

Being human is about working with what you have to make yourself better. Getting in shape was about getting healthy. Not about winning. Not about breaking records. To be healthy. And sometimes the healthiest thing to do is to say “right here, in this moment, it’s better if I don’t do this to myself.” And love yourself enough to know that it’s okay to do that when you need to.

Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I’m lying in bed with a migraine, trying not to feel guilty because I’m not on the track.

Fat Girl Diaries Week 15 — I’m Starting To Like Being Chased By Zombies

I’ve been using Zombie Run and I love it. At first it was a bit weird, I’ll admit. Here I am, alone in a park, it’s gray outside and suddenly there’s a voice in my ear talking about how I’m being dropped into a settlement and then I hear alarms and we’re going down. And then it’s Zombies. I’m running for my life from zombies. And I’ve got a voice in my ear and they’re talking me through things and a few times I actually checked over my shoulder because those zombies? They sound real and they sound real close.

Now, I’m not delusional. I know that zombies aren’t real. I know that it’s all going on in my earbuds and it’s a story and it’s programmed and nothing is going to jump out and bite me. But I have an active imagination. I always have. I like to believe that it’s one of the things that makes me good at my chosen profession of making shit up and putting it in books that my publisher then makes readable and flogs to the masses in an effort to make both of us a living.

But here’s the thing, you get to paying attention and you’re walking and then you’re running and it becomes immersive. And the story is good. You’re learning about these characters and this world and you become a part of it and that desire to give up because OMG running is hard?! Well if you quit running you have to stop the mission and you don’t find out what happens next. And what’s a bigger temptation? Knowing how this episode ends or stopping?

For me it’s always story. I’ve always got to find out how something ends. And two days later I’m back on that track because I need to know what happens next.

And running from zombies? If it doesn’t kill you – it will indeed make you stronger.

Just maybe don’t do it for the first time. Alone. In an empty park. When it’s gray and cloudy out. Alone. With creaky swings swaying in the wind. Alone. And definitely don’t listen to anything from Nightvale productions on your Iphone on the way home either. Just saying. Learn from my mistakes. Unless you like glancing nervously over your shoulder every five minutes for the next two days…

Then again… I wonder if the paranoid have a better chance at zombie survival?

 

https://zombiesrungame.com/

Fat Girl Diaries Week 14 — I Stole Them and I’m Not Giving Them Back

So, I’ve been using swimming as my secondary form of cardio for the days I’m not abusing my knees running around in a circle. And I love it. I do. Once you realize you aren’t going to drown there’s something nice about immersing yourself in a big pool of water and just getting on with your workout. You don’t have to deal with other people (you might have to split a lane but that’s just sort of a nod and then one of you scoots over) or sweat or listen to really lousy “blood pumping” music like you would in an exercise class. And it’s nonimpact so if you’re running three days a week here’s a chance to give those joints a chance to not take a pounding every single day. Also—unlike biking or road running you don’t have to pay attention for cars who aren’t paying attention to you.

There’s only one problem. I go exercise once my kids have both gotten off to school and that puts me in the pool right at water aerobics time. Which is ok. I mean they leave two (sometimes three) lanes open for swimmers and those are mostly empty. I have plenty of room, I have water. I even have some nice older ladies who have started to say hello and tell me how nice it is to see me again. One even mentioned yesterday that she’s sure my butt is getting smaller and I should be careful because you don’t want to let a good asset get “too small”. Bless you nice older lady. Bless you.

Anyway – problem. Water aerobics? It has a soundtrack. A loud, blaring soundtrack. And a peppy (lovely woman) instructor. And while I like the nice ladies in the class and the wonderful, supportive teacher, I swear to God in Heaven if I hear Elvis sing Hounddog one more time…

Then it hit me. My oldest is a competitive swimmer. And she swims distance. In the off season she likes to go in and “commune with the water” as she calls it. Endless laps to rebalance the chlorine to blood ratio in her veins. And last year we bought her an MP3 player specially designed for swimming. The earbuds hook over the back of your ears, and then you pull your cap over them to keep everything in place. The MP3 player itself has a hook to attach it to your goggles.

Yesterday I waved Oldest off to the bus. I put youngest on his bus an hour later and then I went upstairs and snagged the MP3 player – I asked first I didn’t just steal my kid’s tunes. Then I headed to the gym. On went the swim suit. In went the ear buds. Next comes the cap and they feel pretty secure. I slid my goggles on, turn the MP3 player on and head out to the pool.

I hop in and it’s Adele wishing me a good morning with Hello. As I pushed off the wall, ready to die, a bit later it was Beyonce singing about how she woke up like this and how a winner don’t give up on herself. There was Selena Gomez singing about how I just might be perfect. Florence + the Machine telling me to shake the demons off. As I really thought I couldn’t do another 50 The Kills started to croon in my earpiece about how it’s the last goodbye and I think to myself “I can make it through just one more song.”

And boom, it’s been an hour and 1500 meters. My arms are dying. My shoulders feel like I should probably chop them off and put them out of their misery. The backs of my legs are burning. There’s a moment when I’m sucking down water that I honestly believe I might need the lifeguard to help me actually get out of the water.

The hot shower I took afterwards? There are few things in my life that have ever felt that good. I mean honestly? Really good sex and then being hand fed eclairs while still in bed levels of amazing. Take a nap afterwards amazing.

I might have cried while washing my hair and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Then, as I was leaving, the old lady who was so concerned about my apparently shrinking tush informed me that I whatever I’d done today I needed to keep doing it because I was glowing.

Tunes make a difference. Especially when you’re doing something that leaves you stuck inside your own head like running or swimming.

Yesterday it gave me confidence and drive and kept me moving. And in that water, Alison Mosshart crooning in my ear, I felt a peace in my head that I haven’t felt in a long time. And if a big body of water and a little bit of Kills music can do that on at 8 in the morning then who am I to complain?

And yes, I went ahead and bought myself an MP3 player of my own.

It might be the best $20 I ever spent.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011WYMWIU?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00

Fat Girl Diaries Week 13 — My New Smart Watch

My hubby – he of the wonderful Google Fu—recently decided that I needed what he called a “support present”. It’s been three months of steady working out and trying to eat healthy and I’ve lost some weight. Plus, there’s a holiday coming up. So, to support my workout ambitions my husband picked me up a new smart watch. And because he’s a Google Fu master he did a lot of research before he plunked down the cash.

First up, he looked at the Apple Watch. And quickly realized that it could not be worn while swimming. Which I do three days a week as my off workout to running. So the Apple Watch was a no go. (Seriously Apple? You didn’t make it waterproof? The mind boggles.)

Next, my husband went to a store that should probably send me money with the way I spend there (one competitive swimmer, one aspiring competitive swimmer and me)—SwimOutlet. Trust me, if it’s on SwimOutlet it’s waterproof. And he looked at 36 different watches ranging in price from $35 to $500.

The first thing to go was anything with a heart rate monitor strap. Because my hubby knows me well enough to know that I’m already self-conscious about just how much more milkshake I’ve got compared to the other, skinnier, ladies in the pool and I’m not going to want to wear something that says “hey look at my mammaries!” The next thing to go was anything that cost $500 because I am not wearing a watch that costs $500 without becoming neurotic. And slowly, through researching and comparing, my hubby – over three days because the man is nothing if not dedicated—comes to the decision that the best smart watch to surprise me with is a Pebble Time Waterproof Smart Watch that is Swim.Com compatible.

When I get it I smile nicely, say thank you, and promptly think – there is no way I will ever actually use this thing. I don’t wear a watch. But it comes out of the box fully charged and we start installing apps and watchfaces. Pretty soon he’s showing me how Swim.com will not only keep track of my swimming time in the pool (no more squinting up at a clock) but will measure my distance so that I can just glance down instead of trying to keep count (harder than most people realize when you’re also simultaneously trying to convince yourself that you really aren’t dying after you’ve gone more than 50 meters). He also sets it up so the watchface tells me the temperature outside, how many steps I’ve walked, and allows me to get text messages on my wrist instead of having to constantly dig up my cellphone from the pocket of my hoodie or wherever else I’ve shoved it during the day when I hear it buzz. Also? No worries if my phone is on silent that I’ll miss a call because the Pebble actually vibrates when it gets a call.

All in all? It took 30 minutes to set the whole thing up. I’ve been wearing it a week and I don’t think I could live without it now. It tracks my sleeping (great for someone like me who suffers from insomnia) so I can compare between multiple nights (I did this today and slept like this and yesterday I did that so I should not do that if I want to sleep sort of thing), it sends workouts back to my phone so I can keep track of the calories I’ve burned and I’ve actually sort of gotten addicted to reading my texts and my Facebook private messages off my wrist instead of having to constantly dig for my phone.

Could I live without it? Yes. Do I want to? Not really.