Sunday, December 19, 2010

Race Recap - Venice Christmas Run

I realize I'm a bit late getting this post up, but it's the holidays. Everyone gets cut a little slack during the holidays, right?

I've been having some knee pain recently (another post, another day) and was really nervous about how this race was going to go. I knew I had it in me to reach my 55:00 goal, but, I was so, so scared that my knee was going to give out during the race.

But, on Saturday morning, I got up bright and early to make the 20-mile trek across town to the race. At 6:30 on a Saturday morning, I figured 30 minutes was plenty of time, right?

No. Wrong. First the 110 was closed. Detour.

Then the 405 was closed. Detour.

Then race parking was a zoo. I had at least expected as much. So, my trusty sherpa (ahem. Albert) dropped me off half a mile from the start, with less than 2 minutes til the start of the race. I jogged to the start line (nice, warm up!) With a brief detour through the porta-potty line, natch.

I found my sister and her husband, who had picked up my bib and t-shirt for me (thank you!) Also around this point, I heard the emcee wish the runner's good luck, and I vaguely remember a starting horn? sherpa was nowhere to be found.

I frantically searched around for race registration, hoping I could leave my goodie bag and t-shirt with them, because I was NOT running 6.2 miles with a plastic baggie in my hands. Uh uh. Not gonna happen.

Thank goodness for chip timing and long corrals. After I finally got situated, I hopped in the corral and took off about 3 minutes after the start of the race.

I spent the first mile or 2 dodging slow pokes, walkers, strollers, and a guy in a red-unitard (no, seriously. I think he was supposed to be "Santa". Right.) and settled into a comfortable, if not ambitious, pace.

At this point I was really worried whether my knee was going to start bugging me. I felt that familiar twinge around mile 4, so I backed off a little bit, but at mile 5 I realized my knee was going to hold out for the last mile, and pushed it to a new personal record....drumroll please...

51:43~! (Official chip time, 8:20/mile pace)

I was in shock. I knew I had been running fast, but I was trying to pace 8:50 miles, to meet my 55:00 goal, so imagine my shock when I got in under 52:00!

This is what happy looks like:

(My awesome sister PR'd too.) We smashed this race!

I will definately be back next year...maybe a sub-50 is in my future...? I have a whole year to train...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Big winner

There are certain validating moments in a blogger's life that make us realize that we're REALLY a blogger.

For example, getting your first comment from a stranger. (Someone else is reading this, Mom!)

Or, more recently in my case, winning your first blog giveaway! WOOT!!

I won this:

From here. Thanks Hilary!

And if I do say so, I'm pretty sure there is no better prize up for grabs online these days. I hit the blog-giveaway jackpot!

Now, any ideas how I'm gonna use all these up? Please send recipe suggestions!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Great Pumpkin


It's EVERYWHERE. And I couldn't be happier about it. Truth be told, I've been putting pumpkin in pretty much everything since it appeared on Whole Food's shelves in mid-August (smoothie's, yogurt, oatmeal, spooned directly into my mouth you get the picture).

I've always loved pumpkin, but until this year, I chalked it up as just another one of my strange tastes. Don't get me wrong, I know most people love the pie, but I figured that was pretty much the only reason anyone was buying the canned stuff.

Oh, I was wrong. Seems there is a whole bunch of healthy-living bloggers (here, here and here, for example) who are just as obsessed with the pumpkin as I am. And here's another funny thing - they're all shockingly brand loyal to the Libby's.

I didn't get it. Sure, I'd HAD Libby's, but I figured all canned pumpkin was created equal, no? Glance at the ingredients list. There is precisely ONE ingredient in all the major brands - pumpkin. So what difference does it make, right? Wrong.

Inspired by Libby's mania, and determined to see what all the fuss was about, I grabbed a super-size can as soon as it appeared on the shelves of my neigbhorhood Fresh & Easy (shameless plug, Kiki) and stockpiled it away with the rest.

And, inspired by Emily's post I decided to do a little pumpkin-off of my own.

The contenders:

Trader Joe's Organic - last purchased at TJ's for $1.99/15 oz.
The verdict: What was I thinking? Watery, runny, mushy and BROWN. How did this used to be my go-to pumpkin?

Farmer's Market Organic - last purchased at Whole Foods, for $2.39/15 oz. (on sale)
The verdict: Better. Orange (at least) and generally less watery. A good fall-back plan.

Libby's - last purchased at Target, for $1.29/15 oz. (on sale)
The verdict: I finally get it. Of the three, this tastes the most like PUMPKIN.

(And yes, you read that right, $1.29 at Target as of last night week. I made A buy me 7 more cans. And then carry them home.)

So I guess Libby's can add 1 more convert to their cult-following. I still don't get WHY it tastes so much better, but it SO DOES.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Salted caramel hot chocolate

Ever since I saw this on the Starbucks holiday drink menu, I've been wanting to try it. I mean, come on? How many perfect elements can you fit into ONE drink?!

Until, that is, I looked up the nutrition stats online. 450 calories, 16g of fat? Um, no thanks.

So, tonight, I decided to made up my own (much healthier) version:

Healthy Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate for 1


In a small saucepan, bring 1 mug of almond milk to a low boil. Add 2 tbsp cocoa powder and 4 tbsp sugar-free caramel Torani syrup. Whisk together, until smooth. Add Splenda and sea salt to taste.
Sip, and enjoy guilt free. This version has 80 calories and ZERO grams of fat.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give Thanks

I first saw this lovely idea over on Melanie's blog and thought it would be a fantastic way to start my Thanksgiving morning. (Well, that and a 10 mile run to make room for all the TURKEY!)

So today, in no particular order, I am thankful for:
My husband and best friend:

My healthy and supportive family:

(I'm thankful for Mom too, but she wouldn't get on the swing...)

Wonderful friends
Long runs:

A body that LETS me go on long runs
My job, especially in this economy

My treadmill:

Wine :)
Eclectic 24 and good music in general
A warm (well, not so much lately), safe place to call home
Curling up with a good book:

Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea
My yoga practice (which I promise to stop neglecting)
Spinning classes with Sami - Hooooo!
Modern Family

Fall colors
Long talks with old friends
This amazing life

That's it - 4 minutes, and so very much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone - gobble gobble!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why I hate global warming

A list of the reasons why I HATE global warming:

1. It didn't get get truly COLD until this weekend. (This is the first 10 day forecast where it doesn't get above 70 once!)

2. Having to wait to wear cute seasonally appropriate warm clothes:

(I missed the Uggs! And, my blanket-sweater. Mmm, cozy.)

3. Farmer tans from running in tanktops/shorts. See exhibit below:

May I direct your attention to November 4th. The day I RAN to Alhambra to pick our car up from servicing? NINETY FIVE. Yes, you read that correctly.

Or how about November 13th, my first post-wedding long training run? Relief - only 80 degrees. Yet I still managed to come home sun-burned. In NOVEMBER - lovely. (Yes Mom, I was wearing sunscreen.)

It's no secret that I love Fall, probably more than any other season. And this year, I feel gipped, Mother Nature. I'd like my money back. What's that you say? You don't offer refunds?

Earlier this year, I read that book, No Impact Man, and it got me thinking about all the ways I am contributing to the warming of our planet. And for awhile, I was doing a REALLY good job of improving my wasteful behaviors. Like only using a cupful of water to brush my teeth. And walking/running all my local errands. Or, the great paper-towel embargo (which was is NOT so fun - oh, the LAUNDRY! I swear, I am washing more towels than Burke Williams every day.)

But I'm getting disheartened. I need to see some results, people! I mean, how many paper towels will it take to GET.FALL.BACK where it belongs on the calendar. You know, in September?

Please, PLEASE just don't hit me with winter next week...I really just don't think I can take it...

Monday, November 15, 2010

'Runs' in the family (get it?!?)

To say running is a huge part of my life would be a total understatement.

As I mentioned here, I signed on for another year of daily running, but even more exciting is that this time, I've got company! My sister, Kiki, decided to take up the daily run challenge with me, and has started her very own blog about it! I couldn't be happier!

So far this year, I've been shaking things up in my running routine.

After a year straight of daily runs (1012 miles, WOOT!) things were getting too easy. Not like I am a sucker for punishment or anything like that, but I just wasn't seeing the same benefits of my daily runs anymore.

Why not?
1. I was running too slow. So, now I am picking up the pace.
2. I was running too long. So, hello - intervals!
3. I wasn't challenging myself. So, I'm doing hill work (oh, joy...)
4. I wasn't cross-training. So, I joined a gym (Equinox, swoon) and started spinning.
5. I HURT EVERYWHERE. So, I added yoga classes at the gym and started icing and foam rolling. (I LOATHE foam rolling, BTW, but, I must begrudgingly admit, it helps.)

See? Lots of changes.

One thing that has really helped me run faster is focusing on pacing and turnover. (Runner's World suggests optimal turnover is 180 steps per minute. At first this feels like your legs are on crack, but you get used to it.)

What's getting my pace up these days? New running music:

I'm hoping all these changes will help me to a 10K PR next month, here:

(I'm hoping for under 55:00)

And, I'm following this training plan in hopes of finishing under 2:00 in the Huntington Beach 1/2 marathon in February:

Monday, November 8, 2010

In with the new

Plenty of people warned me that with marriage comes change. And I listened, I did. But really, kind of with one ear only. ("in one ear and out the other" comes to mind...) I figured, with 4 years under our belts, and having lived together for the past 2, what, really would change?

There was nothing particularly spectacular about this past weekend, but it sure did kick off a wave of change.

On Friday, there was this:

My old desk chair was so uncomfortably worn out that it was time for something new. This one has padding in all the places, where sadly, I do not (if you catch my drift..) and a full back that supports my neck when I start to nod off on conference calls. Um, that never happens...

This chair is SO much better.

On Sunday, it was this:

This tea is all the rage in the healthy-blogsphere. Since I haven't been able to win it in any giveaways, when I saw it at Cost Plus last night, I decided it must be worth the hefty 7.99 price tag. 17 bloggers can't all be wrong, can they?

Actually? Yes, they can. I should've saved my money and bought 3 more boxes of my old favorite:

Don't get me wrong. It's not like it was awful, but it sure didn't live up to the hype. Oh well.

Sandwiched between all that, we unofficially started house hunting. I'd say we've probably looked at 30-40 houses over the past 2 years, just to get an idea what is out there and how far our housing dollars would stretch. But, this weekend something changed.

We found the first house that I think could actually be a contender:

And it is comfortably affordable. Like, wouldn't-blow-our-nest-egg comfortable. Like, one-income-family comfortable. I didn't think this existed.

I've been daydreaming about it all day. Can you imagine cooking in this kitchen?

(Probably my favorite room in this house, but really, the whole thing is beautiful.)

But there's a catch. I don't love the neighborhood. I mean, the immediate neighborhood within a 2-3 block radius is freaking adorable. But, the major streets bordering the neighborhood? Kind of dumpy. Supposedly it's an up-and-coming area, but, what if it never quite gets there? And how long is it gonna take? (Patience is not one of my strong suits...)

So here is my question:
Is the trade-off worth it? How much does the neighborhood matter if you love the house, and love the price even more?

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I have a confession to make. (I skipped Spinning this morning. And I had already reserved my bike. Bad Betty!)

Why did I skip spinning? Because my body is EXHAUSTED. I am still (STILL!) jet-lagged, more than a week after getting home. I have been passing out on the couch somewhere around 9:00 every night, and yet, struggle to get out of bed NINE HOURS LATER.

Huh? I NEVER get jet lag. Never. I firmly believe it is all mental. I really do believe that if you put your mindset in the time zone you're travelling to, when stepping foot on the plane, that the mental clock is much more powerful than the body's clock.

Clearly, I am wrong, and this interminable exhaustion is my body's giant f-you to my mind.


Instead, I baked!

pumpkin cheesecake tartlet

(Okay, not so much "baked" per se, considering this is a refrigerator treat. But still!)

I'm planning on making a version of this for Thanksgiving, but need to work out a few kinks in the recipe. Stay tuned for the final results!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Back to life. Back to reality. Back to blogging.

I'm We're back.

From here:

And this:

To here:

And this:

But that's okay. Truth be told, I'm such a sucker for routine, that I've really missed the normalcy.

And, somewhere in all the wedding/travelling/eating mayhem that was October, November snuck up on me.

Things I'm looking forward to this month:
* Blogging more regularly (including a wedding recap, honeymoon recap and some running updates)
* Hosting my 1st Thanksgiving!
* Cooler temps (please? PLEASE!)
* UCLA tailgates
* Recipe posts

But until I get around to all of that, here's a wedding pic to tide you over in the meantime :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Goals and Milestones

It may be a rainy, dreary day outside, but so far it is shaping up to be a lovely day for me.

Why, because I hit 1,000 miles today. A whole 5 days before the wedding.

Back when I set this crazy goal, I was WAY below where I needed to be to hit the 1,000 mile mark on October 9th. So, I stepped it up a bit, and apparently overcompensated. Oops.

But have no fear. I'm going to continue to run every day this week. We'll see where I end up after my run Saturday morning, mileage-wise.

More importantly, I've loved every day of this past year so much, that I've decided I'm not stopping. I'd love to say I'll run every day FOREVER, but I'm not really sure how realistic that is...

For now, I'm adding on another year. And a couple more goals:

1. Venice Christmas Run, December 11, 2010 at or below 55:00
2. Pasadena Half Marathon, February, 2010 sub-2:00:00
3. Nike SF Marathon next October...? (If I can get in through the lottery)

That should keep me on my feet :)

It's been a fantastic year of running. Thanks to everyone who has supported and encouraged me along the way.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bachelorette weekend!

Hooray! It's finally here!

We're spending the weekend here:

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

I will be logging plenty of time in here:

Sipping on one of many of these:

And tasting organic wine here:

Casa Barranca Winery

I'll be back Monday, rested and relaxed, with a full recap.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Outfit inspiration

So, it's never to early to start planning one's Honeymoon wardrobe, right?

I saw this image on AT (seriously digging the "must-have outfits" tab) and HAD to recreate:

Until then I saw this one on BR:

At which point I realized, that the perfect solution would be to combine them all together into ONE AMAZING SUPER-OUTFIT*! (Commence wild shopping spree...)

Imagine if you will, the top 1/2 of outfit 1 with the bottom 1/2 of outfit 2:

Clockwise from top left: Shawl Collar Tunic - Ann Taylor; Dusk Til Dawn Hobo - Red by Marc Ecko (Macy's); Floral Linen Scarf - H&M; Inka Boots in Cognac - Steve Madden (Macy's); Skinny Jeggings** - Celebrity Pink (Macy's***).

* Sound familiar to any Friends fans? "Hat's are back." (Rachel) "And this time, they've all ganged up to form one giant SUPER-HAT!" (Chandler) Anyone, anyone?

** Yes, I own something called a 'Jegging'. It's a jean legging. The 80's are back and they are NOT going anywhere. Get used to it.

*** Yes, Macy's is having a CRAZY sale, on top of which, I somehow persuaded the woman in front of me in line to 'loan' me her 20% off coupon. (Thank you!)

All told, the damage was under $200. Not bad. (P.S. Did you know that Ann Taylor offers a 20% student discount? I ain't too proud to beg, yo.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

2 months to go!

The wedding is only 2 months away! And, while I am feeling stressed and panicky (so much to do!) I am also feeling really good and confident that we can get everything done...hopefully, with some time to spare.

Since last month's post, we've gotten SO much done on our to-do list...including writing a to-do list...seeing the entire population of what needs to get done REALLY helps me kick into high gear. And, has a strangely calming effect.

This month I scratched another 134 miles off my to-do list (And, started to think about organizing some sort of pre-wedding fun-run to cross of that 1,000th mile...too ambitious?) I'm down to just 205 miles to go before the big day!

Also during this past month, we had my bridal shower (so FUN!)at Malibu Wines:


With all my bridesmaids

Mom and Kiki did an AMAZING job putting this all together

As I was heading home from the shower, I got really sad realizing that this once-in-a-lifetime event was over. What made me sad wasn't realizing that the shower was over, but realizing how fast the day goes by, and how quickly our engagement has flown past.

For all those days when I've wished silently to my self for the day to just 'hurry up and get here' I'm starting to regret not enjoying the whole planning process just a little bit more.

So, I'm going balls to the walls here for these last 2 months, and planning to enjoy every last second!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


As I sit here writing this, I am being TORTURED by one of the 10 best scents of all time - fresh baking bread.

I'm a jane-come-lately to the Jim Lahey no-knead bread recipe, but by George, I don't think I'll ever buy another loaf of bread again. I breezed right past the bakery stand at the Farmer's Market on Sunday, because I would SO much rather have this:

Considering our apartment is only 1,000 square feet, after a mere 12 minutes in the oven, I was SO distracted by the smell (which, in 1,000 square feet is basically inescapable) that I had to start writing about the bread.

Throw out the bread machine, step away from the KitchenAid. There is NO excuse not to make this bread. It has 4 ingredients. It takes 12 minutes of your time. You don't have to KNEAD!

I followed Deb's repost of the recipe here (which I would highly suggest, especially after reviewing the extensive comments, #29 of which had some GREAT suggestions to make this even easier.)

Basically, it boils down to this:
Mix 3 cups of flour, 1/3 tsp active dry yeast and 1.5 tsp salt.
Combine with 1 5/8 cups of water (heated to 110 degrees).
Cover with plastic wrap, and walk away.
Come back in 18 hours, flour dough and bowl thoroughly, and walk away again.
Come back in 2 hours and bake.
Wait in sheer agony for the next 45-60 minutes while your home smells better than you ever thought possible.
Cool bread on rack (or, burn fingertips and roof of mouth, your choice...)

Yes, clearly I've abridged a lot of important information - which is why you should follow the link above to the 'real' recipe.

But seriously - doesn't this sound like something you could easily do? Don't you want a piece of this:

Pardon me - the timer on my oven just beeped. I've got bread to eat, people.

* Admittedly, not necessarily the best title for a blog post...

Friday, July 30, 2010


One year, one hundred posts!

I can't believe it - today is my one year blogversary. And, coincidentally, this is my 100th post. Who would've thought I'd have so much to say!?

I'm taking the rest of the night off to celebrate :) with a delicious pesto and shrimp pizza, some homemade cookie dough truffles, and a delicious glass of port.

I'll be back next week with a recap of my bridal shower (tomorrow!) a delicious bread recipe, and some eye candy I'm currently longing for.

Have a lovely Friday!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cheesecake frozen yogurt

I have a confession to make. I love frozen yogurt. LOVE.

As in can't walk past a Yogurtland without going in to taste the new flavors - love.

As in, will drive 10 miles out of my way for Menchie's - love.

As in, won't finish my entire dinner, and will pawn leftovers onto A, so that I can stop and get some on the way home - love.

Except, I hate that I don't know what's IN it. Specifically, ingredients, nutrition facts? Don't get me wrong, I checked out the nutrition facts here and here, but, I have no idea if I am portioning out exactly 83 grams of the stuff (um, who am I kidding, most likely NOT!) nor can I remember which flavor I got, whether it was non-fat, low-fat, etc. TOO MUCH WORK. Especially for a dessert. And especially, when I can make it myself.

I know what you're thinking. "Cottage cheese? In frozen yogurt? Gross." I know, because I thought that too. And maybe you'll try it and STILL think it's gross. But not me. I am hooked. (P.S. It is WAY cheaper than $0.35 per ounce...and SO much healthier.)

Cheesecake 'frozen yogurt':
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 scoop protein powder
1 tbsp sugar-free almond Torani (you can buy this at Cost Plus)
1-2 packets of Equal (if you are a CRAZY sweet tooth like me)

Combine all ingredients in a Cuisinart or food processor (I would not suggest a blender - too hard to get it out.) Blend until consistency is smooth. Spoon into a bowl, and freeze for 40-60 minutes, to preference. Top with berries.

Now, tell me that doesn't taste like cheesecake filling.

Enjoy not ruining your diet, meeting your protein needs for the day, and saving $5.37 and a trip outdoors in your jammies :)

Nutrition Facts: Calories - 130; Fat - 1g; Protein - 23g; Carb - 5.5g; Fiber - 0.25g

Friday, July 9, 2010

3 more months

It's July 9th.

That means only THREE.MORE.MONTHS.

Three months! (Commence panic attack)

Three months to:
* Find supplies for our favors
* Start dress fittings
* Buy shoes to go with the dress
* Taste and pick food and wine for our reception
* Panic
* Nail down the ceremony
* Find the groom's suit, and shoes
* Meet with the DJ and pick music
* Get a marriage license (where does one get one of these, anyways? Does it take long? Am I behind? Ack.)
* Panic late into the night
* Run 340 more miles
* Collapse into heap of rubble

This wedding planning business is some time and labor-intensive, scary stuff.

But, I have no fear. I'll get it all done.


Because tonight, I am going to be preoccupied with THESE:

That's right. Figs are back in season! We got a HUGE 2 lb container at Trader Joe's last night and they are DELICIOUS. I think I've consumed about 10 of them already...

On tonight's menu:

(Image courtesy of Martha Stewart)

Yep, that's right. It is pizza friday after all.

Yum. I'll deal with the stress tomorrow.