August 31, 2012

Olympics Recap 3 – The Best Day

The Best Day in the Olympic Park was……Synchronized Swimming Duets!  I bet you didn’t see that coming, especially after the last Olympic recap about Phelps, hottie Lochte, and Missy F.  I have always had a soft spot for these athletes.  Growing up I was so enamored with the ladies and their cool swim caps…


My mom got synchro lessons for me! Let me tell you it is really hard to float on your back AND get your leg up AND keep time to music AND be coordinated with someone else, let alone a GROUP of someone elses, AND then SMILE on top of it.

We had amazing seats, second row right behind the press…..

and then also crazy Russians with Euro-mos like I have never before witnessed in my life.  Business in the front, party in the back does not quite describe their hair.  It was more like business on the left, party on the right, and then business in the front, party in the back, and then weird shaved bits in odd places.  Crazy town.  Distracting even.  WISH I had a photo of that.

Back to synchro swim.  We could see right into the judges computers.

We shouted Go TEAM USA and the girls looked right at us and waved.

We were so close to the pool we basically got splashed.  Awesome does not describe it.  These were THE SEATS.  To top it off.  It was a medal round!  We saw Russia win (the crazy hairs went wild!) Spain surprised everyone and came in for the silver and honestly I can’t even remember who won bronze.  I blame the crazy hairs for distracting me.  (It was Japan.  I looked it up.)  Next to getting engaged, getting married, the eventual birth of my Godchild this December and my own future children, this was one of the top 5 best days of my life.  Why?  Because I met a Team USA Synchro Swimmer Mary Killman and had my photo taken with her!  It was incredible!  Her hair was shellacked and shiny.  Her makeup made me think of all the drag queens in the west village on Saturday nights.  I loved every minute of it.  This is the stuff of dreams my friends, the stuff of dreams.  She and her partner Mariya Koroleva came in 11th.  Out of 12.  I couldn’t care less.  To me, she is a hero.  They both are.

August 23, 2012

Olympics Recap 2 – Phelps and Lochte and Franklin, Oh my!

My second event at the games was swimming!  Now I am a true fish at heart.  As a kid I swam year round.  I was even asked to join a competitive swim team around age 8-ish.  I was not into the competitive thing nor did my parents want to get me to the Y for training at 6am before school.  Oh well, an Olympic swimmer I was not meant to be.  BUT, I can totally appreciate how amazing the swimmers are.  Especially doing butterfly!  That stroke is HARD and they get so high up out of the water.  I really don’t know how they do it.  Butterfly kicks my ass every time.  We are watching recaps online as I write this post and still, it AMAZES me how far out of the water they get.

The entrance to the Olympic Park.

My family lovingly teased me that it was an “Emma Olympics” since my favorite color is pink, the hotter the better.  All the signs all over town and all over the park were in shocking pink.

Here is a shot of the “art” in the park, called the Orbit designed by Anish Kapoor.  You can go up it but we did not.  You had to have tickets and we missed the boat on that one.  Oh well, another time.  It is not going anywhere (sadly).  It is supposed to be as beautiful and have as much as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but personally I think it looks like someone took a roller coaster and mangled it.  Bummer.

Ah, the Aquatic Center.  It was super hot in there, we heard on the news some of the American athletes were complaining it was too hot.  I expected it to smell like chlorine.  It did not.

This is my sister Ruthie and me in front of the rings right below the center and then the entrance to it.  There were 71 steps up to the entrance. I counted.

Here is a good view of the pools

Even the tickets for the games are beautiful

Can you tell that this says Phelps in lane 4?  Seeing him swim live was legen…wait for it…dary!

We also saw Lochte and Franklin and many others that day.  It was a round of heats and it was so exciting, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.  I could have sat there and watched those amazing athletes swim all day.  My father, so smart, brought binoculars.  I watched Lochte swim through the binoculars and it was awesome.  I get why he gets so much attention in the press, the “hunk” of American swimming, if you will.

Here is my family by the pool, that is my mom (with the dark hair), my dad, my Ruthie, and my mom’s only sister, Auntie.  We stayed at her lovely home in London for the games.  What a time we had that day!!!!  The husbands did not miss out, they went to a football (soccer) match that day!



August 22, 2012

What I ate in London

Hi Everyone! Sorry for the radio silence.  Jet Lag, working and moving apartments last week really did me in.  But I am back today with more Olympic recaps!

England gets a bad rap when it comes to food.  I say, bullocks to that! (yes, I know that’s is a horrible thing to say in England but I am in America and that word has no meaning here other than “typical British slang”).  Here are some of the snack foods I existed on while I was over there that I really wish we had here in America.

Innocent Smoothies! Coincidentally, Innocent sponsored the Olympics so it was easy to grab one at the park.

This one tasted like a Pina Colada sans alcohol yum!  And at 50 calories, the same as a typical apple, who can resist?

I drank them as snacks when I didn’t have fruit with me.  As you can see they are made of all fruit!  No preservatives! No junk!  No dairy, no fillers.  Just fruity yummy heaven!

I drank them as meal supplements.  As you can see below I had a strawberry banana one with the inside of a Cornish Pasty which is beef, potato, onion and carrot.  Since I don’t eat flour, I just skipped the pastry on the outside – trust me, it did not go to waste, my mother and John enjoyed it very much.  The sauce on the pasty is HP or brown sauce, another British treat.  You CAN get that here. Hard to explain the flavor of that one, it is just tangy and interesting.  Very good on fries, burgers.  Anything ketchup goes on.

In fact, here is John enjoying his first (of many) Cornish Pasty.  He ate them almost daily after I introduced him to this delight.


August 12, 2012

Olympic Recap 1 – Dreams Come True at Wimbledon

Hi Everyone!  I am safely back in the USA and watching the closing ceremonies on BBC online.  This was the trip of a lifetime and I am so grateful to my parents who sponsored Team Stefanski (that’s my maiden name).  I witnessed amazing feats of strength both mental and physical.  I met and had my photo taken with a member of Team USA!   To quote the BBC “these two weeks changed the way we (I) looked at sport.”

First up, tennis at Wimbledon!!!!  The original Stefanski’s; Mom, Dad, Ruthie and I, attended a day of tennis at Wimbledon.  Ruthie was a champion high school tennis player and for her, for the three of us who supported her every step of the way, a day at Wimbledon, was a tennis dream come true.  In fact, my sister, not known for emotional displays (sometimes I wonder how we are related), cried a little as we entered the stadium.

This pic above is the official entrance into Center Court – it might be hard to tell it says “The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club” on the gold sign.  During the actual Wimbledon games, this is the hallway through which the players go.  I was so excited to be there!!!!!

We had tickets for Court 1, second only to Center Court.  We had AMAZING seats, so close to the net.

We got there really early because of the security lines, it was like going through airport security.  This is our view before they put up the net.

Putting up the net:

We saw the second longest match in Olympic History, Tsonga beat Raonic in 6-3, 3-6, 25-23.  I didn’t know this before but in Olympic tennis rounds, they only play three sets.  Tsonga is HUGE, like super tall and very charismatic.  He kept talking during the match sort of to himself and to the crowd.  He changed his shirt a few times during the match and after winning threw the shirts to the crowd.  Ladies, that was an Olympic sight to see! This match was THE LONGEST match in history until Federer beat Del Potro in the semi-finals before loosing to Murray in the medal round (GO Team GB!  Side fact, Team GB only won 1 gold medal 16 years ago, WOW have they come along way.  This is not to say that I am not so so proud of Team USA! WE WON THE OLYMPICS!)

Raonic in the red and white:

Of course, there was a rain delay during this game.  How typically English and typically Wimbledon!

So during the rain, we walked around the grounds.  It wasn’t pouring, just enough rain to make playing on grass slippery.  While the Tsonga-Raonic match was long, it was nothing compared to this!

We made it to The Hill where we watched the Center Court game.

Love all the Union Jack umbrellas!

And my sister in her poncho, you can’t tell but she is over 20 weeks pregnant here!  She looks kind of like an adorable cone-head, no?

Of course we had to have the traditional Wimbledon snack:

Here is what the strawberries and cream are like.  They have no sugar, you can add sugar to them if you like so they were perfect for me!  English cream is different from cream here in the US.  It is thicker, creamier, tastes um creamier?  I don’t know how else to explain it.  This is not clotted cream, that’s a whole other animal.  This is just plain old cream and it is heaven.

Stay tuned for the next event, SWIMMING!  I bet you can guess who we saw….!


July 29, 2012

London Calling!

The most epic family vacation of all time has begun.  We are here in London for the 2012 Olympic Games!

I cannot wait to see this in real life, it is just fantastic!  Excuse any of my slang, the brit in me comes out whenever I am here.  Side fact, I am a dual citizen of the US and UK.  My mother is from England originally, she only became a US citizen post-9/11. I have two passports which is cool, but I have never actually travelled under my British one. 

We are all staying at my aunt’s beautiful home in the center of London – loads of history here, this house was built in the early 1800’s.  Pics to come, pardon the jetlagg today.  Speaking of jetlagg, here are some tips to stay healthy while traveling. 

  1. Fail to plan or plan to fail.  I have a plan in place for my food and activity the entire time we are on vacation.  That plan includes lots of food that is easy to eat on the go like fruit and nuts.
  2. Eat BEFORE you get on the plane.  I had a beautiful salad with chicken at the airport (who knew airport food can be good AND good for you?!).  Good thing too because the inflight meal was chicken teriyaki which was breaded accompanied by a sugar-laden sauce then a croissant for breakfast.  Not on my food plan. 
  3. Take snacks.  I packed pre-measured 1 oz portions of nuts and some apples to get me through the flight if I got hungry. 
  4. Know before you go.  I looked up the health food shop and the gym before I came so I didn’t have to fuss upon arrival.  I also stalked my aunt to make sure she has a blender (she bought one today for me) so that I can make smoothies for breakfast. 
  5. Easy does it!  Know that with travel often comes the need to be flexible and fly by the seat of your pants.  Even the most prepared healthy traveller is thrown a curve-ball from time to time.  I won’t be beating myself up if I have to make changes to my plan or vary my food slightly because let’s face it, its the Olympics and you never know what is going to happen.  I mean, come on, Lochte beat Phleps for gold and the US lost to the French?  Need I say more?