Food & Fitness

Birthday Celebrations and a Guest Post

Birthday Celebrations

I’m turning 22 today! Such fun.

Tonight the boyfriend is cooking me dinner. We made an agreement to not give each other gifts at holidays; instead, we’ll make dinner for each other (we are both pretty good cooks and enjoy it), or else go out for a nice dinner. The reason for this is that gift-giving can sometimes feel a little contrived.

If we happen to see something that we think would be perfect for the other, then we’re going to get it and give it to the other, regardless of the time of year – why wait for a special occasion to give a gift? It also takes a considerable amount of pressure off. Also, by staying in or going out for food, we can both enjoy the celebration.

Food is a classic form of celebration. The sistertraveller has a great memory for all the places she’s travelled to by remembering the food that she ate in each place. Westwood was telling me just the other day about how happy she was to receive a very specific kind of homemade cake for her birthday last year. I’ll never forget when a friend baked me a pie for my birthday in high school – or the number of times that the mother dear has baked me pies (yes, whole pies for just me. Tis dangerous!). The mother dear always requests beer and chocolate for holidays, and was saying yesterday how much she appreciated getting homemade truffles from the sistertraveller and I one year. Clients bring home baked goodies to say thank you at the vet clinic I work at. Food is celebrated in and of itself. And I am all for having whole, natural, real, healthy(ish) foods to celebrate 🙂

I would love to know: what are your thoughts on gift-giving? (Don’t get me wrong, I like to both give and receive gifts – I just think that “consumable” gifts are some of the most practical and enjoyed by everyone, and I also think that “just because” gifts are some of the best kinds). Does food play a big role in your celebrations?

Westwood is going to take the reins for me here at Living Healthy in the Real World while I go off to enjoy my birthday. I thought that her guest post was particularly fitting to publish today: last year, she gave me a Metric concert ticket for my birthday present. While I was there, I met a couple of her other friends that were at the concert with us, including this guy:

Yep, that’s the boyfriend! Essentially Westwood’s present last year was for me to meet the boyfriend. Westwood, you rock.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Guest Post: Shorts Review

Sagan kindly gave me a pair of Valeo shorts to review, and of course I jumped at the opportunity. I had no prior information about them, knew nothing about the company or what the shorts were designed for. Sagan suggested that they might be ‘multi-purpose’. However, the shorts initially confused me… they look like the offspring of cycling gear and a wetsuit. I wasn’t really sure what to make of them, but I thought that the cycling look was a good place to start.

This was right for a few reasons. Foremost, they worked fairly well as cycling shorts. Secondly, they would look rather ridiculous if used for any other purpose. They are very high in the waist, extremely stiff, and made of a material that I couldn’t identify. They were decently comfortable for cycling, but I found them too stiff and ungainly for core body or running. So I took them out for a spin (literally) on the Bishop Grandin Greenway as well as for a muddy off-road workout in the lovely Bois Des Esprit Forest. Now, I am primarily a commuter cyclist with a focus on speed, but I have never acquired the proper gear to really fit in (I’m sorry, but I’m not into those extremely unflattering rain-jacket-type-things with the fluorescent stripes, coupled with ‘shorts’ that sink into cracks that should never be visible). However, with my Valeo shorts on, I actually got ‘the nod’ from a super-cyclist. Yes, one of those Neoprene-clad he-men with thighs twice the width of his shoulders actually acknowledged me as he sped past on his three pound, four thousand dollar bike. In that moment, those shorts made me feel like a million bucks.

Unfortunately, the feeling quickly faded when I peeled them off at the end of my hour-long jaunt. Sweat-wicking properties were definitely not a design feature. My thighs were slick and slippery with a sheen of warm, disgusting sweat that left me thinking I would definitely end up with a case of diaper rash. And, a day later, my skin is not as pleased about the experience of looking like a cyclist as I was. Ultimately, Valeo seems to be offering a trade-off between self-esteem and dermatitis. And I think I will keep the shorts, if only just to get ‘the nod’ again.

Thanks for the review, Westwood! I’ve got to shamelessly plug her by pointing Living Healthy readers in the direction of some of Westwood’s other fabulous writings at The Uniter. Read about everything from concert-going faux pas to the Olympics to homosexuality to stealing time to brain scanning to environmentalism by clicking here. She wears many hats!


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  2. Holly

    FIRST of all – HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Sagan! I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating! 🙂

    Second of all, the boyfriend is v. v. cute – if you don’t mind me saying so!

    And I LOVE the no gift idea. I completely agree….I think sometimes it takes away from holidays and birthdays if we only focus on getting the “perfect gift” – not to mention, for people like me, it’s so stressful coming up with something! I’d much rather have time with a loved one, and a free homecooked meal. 🙂

    1. Sagan Morrow

      I concur, he is really, really ridiculously good-looking 😉

      It always seems so strange that we stress out about things that are SUPPOSED to be happy, relaxing times. Yet often holidays are when people get especially stressed out. It’s better to be able to enjoy it, hassle-and-worry-free.

  3. liz wx

    Happy birthday! Hope you are having a great time. I kind of agree re presents, but what I really love is finding exactly the right thing for someone, buying it, then waiting till their birthday and producing it out the blue. Mike shares this view and is excellent at it!

  4. Jody - Fit at 52

    OMG, my youngest stepdaughter is way older than you! I am old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Happy bday & enjoy! I take my bday as a day to enjoy myself but mostly with sweets.. 🙂 That is what I prefer to treat myself on. I eat healthy & then enjoy my treats!

    YIKES on those shorts!

  5. Pubsgal

    Happy Birthday, Sagan! (And dang, girl, wish I’d had my stuff together at 22 as well as you do!)

    Well, we do presents on birthdays and the holidays, but we definitely lean more toward consumables. (Our house is small, and we definitely don’t need more stuff! Plus if we need something, we buy it when we need it.) Or experiences, like going fun places together. The kids definitely take up more of our thing-buying time and thought right now.

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