Well, Well, Wellness

V excited to be a guest contributor for Mind Body Green!  It was certainly a challenging article to pen, as I was restricted from using the word “calorie” and was not allowed to be self-deprecating or sarcastic.  So essentially this piece has next to no Mandy in it (even my very vanilla submission was edited beyond much recognition), but the blog has 2.5 million readers and I suddenly have all kinds of interesting new Twitter followers, so whatever, I’ll take it!  Thanks guys! Peace and love!

Check out the Mandy Levy wellness guru information overload HERE! (Sorry, I was sarcastically-repressed.)

Road Dog Giveaway!

Hey Road Dogs!  Thanks for tuning into my Calorie Accounting spot with Meredith & Jay on Freewheelin SiriusXM!!  I didn’t realize we can’t do giveaways on-air (sorry again!), but here’s what we’ve got:  Email mandy@calorieaccounting.com with subject line “ROAD DOG” for your chance at a Calorie Accounting Swag Bag, complete with a signed copy of the book!  Many will enter, many will win!

Keep on truckin’,
MANDO

Dieting on Vacation is a Terrible Idea

It’s been exactly one month since returning from my Great American Calorie Accounting Summer Book Tour, and I miss my scrappy minivan every day!!  The hometown Chicago audience has certainly been getting an earful though–we’ve been in the papers, on the tee-vee, and in various urban and suburban bookstores and gift shops and health clubs, singing the gospel, LOLing those love handles away!  But I miss #tourlife so badly.  Someone give me an RV and a million dollars and I’ll be the happiest camper (truly) there ever was!!!

Anywho.

You might recall that before heading out on the road, Travelzoo and Huffington Post asked me to share my plans for keeping true to my diet on tour.  That was cool, and I had good intentions, but…

Dieting on vacation is a terrible idea.

I am apparently full of false promises to myself, because I never did one calisthenic in the back seat of the van and I only lived on vegetables for one of twenty-one days.  I ate my way through a good cross-section of our splendid United States.  Because I had to!  Because I was on vacation!  HOWEVER!  (And here’s the good news.)  I still remained “accountable” in my own sneaky way, and good gracious, I am proud to tell you that I DIDN’T GAIN A POUND!*

*Eating as many hot dogs as Joey Chestnut over 4th of July Weekend is another story, but for the purposes of the 3-week tour at hand, let’s call it even. 🙂

Here’s the followup post!

hotdogmandy

Good Morning, Good Morning

Wooooooo doggies that was fun!!!  I had the best time ever with Chicago’s Kathie Lee & Hoda, Melissa Forman & Jeanne Sparrow!!!  Thank you so much WCIU and everyone at “You & Me This Morning“–I had such a blast rapping about how to get the most bang for your caloric buck in our “Designer Impostor” morning show segment!  Check it out!–

http://www.wciu.com/videos/youandme/calorie-accounting

Some select photos too, courtesy of everyone’s favorite paparazzo Billy Hot Chocolate:

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#star like all the rest of ’em in the green room

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me and my man svengoolie

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almost showtime

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doing my mantra: “poop is funny, poop is good”

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#bffs

Designer Impostor Recipe Ideas

Hey guys!

If you caught me bright and early on WCIU’s “You & Me This Morning,” you got a sneak peak at some low-cal ideas to help deflate that Fourth of July intertube around your waist.  As you know, we Calorie Accountants equate calories to cold hard cash-money, and we’re constantly scouring the sales racks to get the most bang for our caloric buck.  Here are the “Designer Impostor” knockoffs that won’t break the bank but taste like a million bucks.

DESIGNER – Buffalo Hot Wings, 420 calories (for just 6 wings! 70 cal/wing!)
IMPOSTOR – Buffalo NOT Wings, 77 calories 

Prep: 2 minutes
Total time: 2 minutes
Yield: enough dinner to last through one episode of Felicity

Ingredients
1 large cucumber, peeled (31 calories; if you’re too lazy to peel and leave skin on, it’s 46 calories)
10 grape tomatoes (25 calories)
6 baby carrots (21 cal)
Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Sauce (0 calories)

Directions
Wash a bushel of grape tomatoes. Throw in a bowl. Peel a cucumber and slice into 1/2-inch thick medallions. Throw in the same bowl. Remove a handful of baby carrots from a bag; dump ’em in too. Pour as much freaking zero-calorie buffalo sauce as you want into a lil’ dipping dish. Take out to living room. Find an episode of Felicity on Netflix, dip your crudités in your hot sauce, and imagine you’re eating 25¢ buffalo wings at the sports bar down the street as you work through internal conflicts about Noel versus Ben.

DESIGNER – Buttery Noodles with Parmesan & Hot Sauce (“Mandy Spaghetti”), 450 calories
IMPOSTOR – Shirataki Miracle Slop, 30 calories

Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 2 minutes
Total time: 3 minutes
Yield: 1 bowl of wonder munchies during Jimmy Fallon

Ingredients
1–2 packages shirataki miracle noodles (or 5 packages, who cares!? 0 calories)
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray (0 calories)
Louisiana Hot Sauce (0 calories)
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (30 calories)

Okay guys. Three truths:

–This shit is legitimately a miracle.
–It’s best to eat it late at night, as a drunk/high munchie, so you’re not as aware of the hard-to-shake fishy stink.
–Be mindful if you’re able. Sometimes I’m so grossed out by the stank and the thought of the stank, even if the stank ain’t there no more, that I just pile on more and more Parmesan cheese to mask the stank, and soon I’ve added as many calories as if I’d just eaten real noodles. So. Just know what you’re getting into.

Directions
Take the package of stink noodles, cut them open, let them pour out into a strainer with all their stank. Rinse with cool water. Meanwhile, put some water on the stove and bring to a boil. When stink noodles are satisfactorily rinsed, boil ’em for 2–3 minutes, until their stink has subsided. (Somewhat. It will never disappear completely.) Once you’ve extinguished the stink to the best of your ability, strain and dry a bit with a paper towel. Pour I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray all the hell over the noodles, and plop squirmy mess in a dish. Smother with hot sauce and Parmesan. Plug your nose and bon appétit!

DESIGNER – Blueberry Pie a la Mode, 1,021 calories
IMPOSTOR – Blueberry Soup a la Cool Whip, 143 calories

Prep: 30 seconds
Cook: 1.5 minutes
Total time: 2 minutes
Yield: 1 dessert/snick-snack

Ingredients
1 cup fresh blueberries (83 calories)
1 packet Stevia (0 calories)
1 dollop Fat Free Cool Whip (15 calories)

Directions
Dump a washed bushel of fresh blueberries into a microwave-safe bowl. Take a fork or a spoon and lightly mash blueberries, until about half of them are popped. Stick bowl in microwave (you might cover with a paper towel if you don’t want purple explosions all over your microwave), zap on high for 90 seconds. During this time you can take a quick wee or pluck a stray eyebrow. When timer goes off, remove bowl from microwave—Achtung! Could be HOT!—and mash hot blueberries a little more, to a liquidy pulp. Leave a few whole berries for the illusion of a pie-filling-like confection. Open pack of Stevia, sprinkle atop your soup, stir, and go to town! If you can afford it, add a dollop of fat free Cool Whip for a 15-calorie à la mode bonus. (To earn it, you can run in place for 1.5 minutes while your soup is microwaving instead of tending to your brows.)

DESIGNER – Mojito, 260 calories
IMPOSTOR – Watermelon Faux-jito, 51-116 calories (depending on if you’re raging or not)

Prep: 2 minutes
Total time; 2 minutes
Yield: 2 drinks

Ingredients
2 cups watermelon, pureed (90 calories)
1 can Fresca (0 calories)
¼ cup fresh mint (12 calories)
Ice (0 calories)
*Optional* 1 oz rum (65 calories)

Directions
Take 2 cups cubed watermelon and throw into a blender. Puree until smooth. Fill 2 tall, summery glasses (probably from Anthropologie) with ice. Distribute watermelon juice equally into glasses. Top off with delicious Fresca zero-calorie citrus soda! Garnish with a fresh mint leaf. If you have straws—preferably the hard plastic kind shaped like hearts or stars, or even leftover penis ones from a bachelorette—it really completes the “fancy drink” feeling.  And if it’s a party, throw in some Bacardi! Pitbull knows what’s up!

 

 

 

Eastbound & Down

Sad face.  It’s the third and final update for the Calorie Accounting World Southwest-West-Coast-Semi-Midwest-American-Regional Book Tour, and I am majorly depressed about it!!  The thing is, #tourlife really works for me.  For the most part, anyway.  I am addicted to the idea of living and dying by the tightest schedule imaginable, where every on-time appearance feels like the hugest victory, and the whirlwind receiving line of friends and family (and dareisay fans!) coming to cheer us on in every city gives us the rush and the high we need to peel out and haul ass to the next one.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  (Though ironically, #tourlife allows for fewer showers than one might consider ideal.)  The only thing that really got to me was the fact that our XM radio gave out after Week 1, and eventually the entropic clutter that came to be in the back half of the minivan was definitely messing with my head.  But besides all that, it was heaven and I never wanted it to end.  Let me take you through the final act…

We left off where I was about to take a run through the ridiculous hills of San Francisco, right?  Well, that was about the most embarrassing exercise session of my life.  I don’t know how you Frisco Joneses do it!  You must have the best butts in the business though, I tell you what.  I was huffing and puffing like a snuffleupagus.  But it was a good workout, and unfortunately, admittedly, the last one I was able to fit in on the road.  V. important, because I followed it up with the most glorious picnic at Baker Beach, full of delightful summer salads, blackberries, cheeses, and some hard-earned Anchor Steam.  This might have been the best afternoon of the whole trip.

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I also helped a man with his fish:

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Once I was satisfactorily sunburnt, it was time to head over to Pause Wine Bar for the evening’s event.  I was thrilled with the turnout–old friends from my pre-teens, angsty-teens, and terrible-twenties all showed up!–and I was able to convert a handful of perfect strangers at the bar into eager Accountants as well, so Mission (a little San Fran humor for you) accomplished!!

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After the SF show, we had to drop Sister Sam off at the airport for her redeye back to NYC, and Billy and I drove as far as we could into the night, Portland-bound.  We stayed at a haunted/dragonfly-infested Twin Peaks-y motel (my fault; we should have gone for the Motel6 but I can’t resist the kitsch), then in the morning, as if lumberjack country was laughing right at me, I drove over an ax in the road and we had to get a new tire.  (A travel tip for those not in the know–your car rental company will reimburse you with the receipt!  Learning!)  Despite the detour, we miraculously made it to Portland’s adorable Annie Bloom’s Books on time, and I did my reading/discussion/signing, where a feline was a part of the audience for the first time! (But hopefully not the last!)

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Shame we couldn’t stay any longer in PDX; it’s my favorite place to gain ten pounds in a weekend.  But for our purposes, maybe that was a good thing.  It was on to Kansas City.

On a Wednesday, Billy and I drove 1200 miles.  TWELVE HUNDRED MILES.  We drove and drove and drove and drove.  I’d drive and sing along to the Killers while he slept, then he’d drive and react to sports radio while I slept, then we both slept and left a box of books on the gas and crossed our fingers.  Somehow, after a day and a half, we ended up in the fantabulous Zona Rosa shopping mecca of Kansas City, hey hey hey.  We had a very fun and very fruitful meet-n-greet, made friends with the proprietor of the Kansas City Mark Zuckerberg Book Club, learned that Kansas City Italian weddings cost more than your house (and that if you pawn your engagement ring to pay for the cake your fiancé will be upset), and got super jazzed for the eagerly-anticipated release of Jurassic World.  (We’ve since decided we’ll wait for it to come out on video.)  In a word, it was weird.  In two words, it was weird and wonderful.  And soon enough, like lightning, we were on our way to Cincinnati.

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Cincinnati, Ohio.  I talk about it a lot in the book.  I spent four kind of random years of my life there.  It might almost be my favorite place I’ve lived.  There’s literally no place like Cincinnati, so full of energy, and history, and reinvention, and support, and love, and creativity, and art, and goings-on, and involvement, and community.. it’s like a little bubble of fun and productivity, and hardly anyone knows about it.  But I’m happy I’m in on the secret.  As predicted, our Cincy show was a smashing success, and the West Chester B&N signing a couple days later was a real hoot too!

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And then…homeward bound.

After returning Old Nellie (the minivan, for those who have never road-tripped with a Levy), I was able to enjoy a couple of days to sleep in (yeah right, I had to go immediately back to work the following morning), and find clarity (yeah right, I was out of my mind at my office desk and didn’t know where/who I was), before wrapping it all up at one of my top 5 suburban Chicago childhood malls, Orland Park.  It had my favorite Contempo.  I was completely blown away with some total surprise guests–blasts from the pasts who I hadn’t seen in years, in some cases decades.  (I used to watch TGIF with one of these lovely ladies back when Family Matters and Step-by-Step were still in the top slots!!)

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And…scene.

I’m going to take a teeeeensy tiny break, watch some Orange is the New Black, lay out in the sun a bit, and I’ll be back in a couple weeks.  City Lit Books, Logan Square Chicago, July 9.  The day after Weezer at Taste of Chicago, if that keeps things more organized for you.

Love you guys.  I just lived the most incredible 3 weeks of my life, and that’s for real.

Stay PHAT,
Mandy

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Go West, Young Mandy!

Omg Calorie Accountants, I think we’re like two-thirds of the way done here and I could cry! This summer book tour has been nothing short of amazing. We’ve had a reunion every night of the tour, spending lovely time with so many friends and family scattered across the country. We’ve been meeting tons of new people, eating (generally lo-cal but not always) dinner in a new city every night, singing the Calorie Accounting gospel from coast to coast, laughing, performing, meet-n-greeting, sell-sell-selling, Q&A-ing, hugging, thanking, getting nervous, being humbled, experiencing mad FOMO (fear of missing out, for squares—this is a particular brand of depression I battle every time I have a good time in a place I don’t live in permanently), and on top of all that, I can hardly believe it but we’ve actually been on time for every event! God bless our little minivan; she has done us good. But let’s see if I eat my words when we have to somehow miraculously make it from Portland to Kansas City in 36 hours… More on that later.

In the meantime, another quick update!

Last you heard from guest-blogger Billy Hot Chocolate, we’d wrapped up our dates in NOLA and Texas and were enjoying a pleasant ride through New Mexico (where we got one heck of a deal at the Days Inn in my favorite new roadside town Las Cruces–$50 for a lovely room, great TV selection, nice gym, and a winery/pizzeria down the street! Hello!), on our way to blaze through Arizona and California. It’s freaking hot in June in Arizona, but I felt pretty cool presenting Calorie Accounting to a participatory audience in the Children’s Reading Corner at Barnes & Noble Pima & Shea. Being surrounded by titles such as “The Berenstein Bears: Too Much Junk Food” felt very relevant. Got a few new Accountants on board the next night too, at B&N Desert Ridge. Sister Sam’s shamelessness on the loud speaker helped wrangle up a good crowd—and a few shoppers mistook my headshot for Cameron Diaz’s! They came to check out my presentation, but turned right back around when they realized I was some schmuck about half her height and twice her width. No worries, the whole thing felt like a win for me!

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Onward to California. Billy and I both used to live there, and we have a huge community of very dear friends out in LA. Our release party in collaboration with Skylight Books at the Red Lion was a roaring success. A wonderful reading, an enthusiastic discussion, and even a heartfelt testimonial or two from some locals on the plan. And when the night ends with Mando taking the mike and singing show tunes with the piano man, you know I’m in a very happy place. It was the best. And my goodness, Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade B&N on Saturday morning is the place to BE, son! It was a whirlwind of activity for 3 solid hours! Definitely our most successful B&N event to date. We met so many wonderful new people, sold tons of books, and I even got mistaken for Meghan Trainor! This is nice but I think it means the In-N-Out buckle was a mistake.

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After a quick detour to Pioneertown for a beautiful wedding (and a requisite photo shoot in the morning because I own this outfit)–

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–we headed out to San Fran… which is where I am now… we’ve got a reading and signing tonight at Pause Wine Bar in Hayes Market, but in the meantime, I’m going to force myself to take a jog around these ridiculous streets (Fleetwood Mac should help me through the ups and downs), and will earn myself a burrito reward while laying out in Golden Gate Park.

Do I have to ever come home??? I don’t want to. #TourLife is my jam.

LOVE YOU GUYS! MORE SOON!

xoxo
Mandypants