Thursday, March 31, 2011
I really wanted to like this book, but it sort of fell flat for me. I have sort of come to realize that I do not care for male authors. I realize that is a grand generalization, but I just feel like male authors emphasize events and circumstances differently than women authors. Which makes sense since we think differently. For example, I feel like male authors fixate on things like sex scenes or sexual tension more than female authors do. That was definitely the case in this book. There was some sexual tension between the main character and one of his employees, and I could see where he wanted to go with this story line, but dear God he drug it out for WAY TOO LONG.
My final complaint about the book was that there were no chapters. Instead, the book was broken into 3 parts. I kind of need chapters to break it up a bit...
In general, though, it was an entertaining book. It took a little while to get into, but once I got about 100 pages in, I was curious about how it would all work out. Would he find his daughter? Would she go through with the wedding? Should she go through with the wedding? I also thought that the author's description of the failure of the main character's marriage was well done.
Do you have a preference on male or female authors? What's your opinion on chapters? Are you ambivalent or, like me, do you kind of need a book to be broken down into bite sized pieces for you?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from TLC Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
1. What is a food that you never thought you would try, but then tried and liked? I never thought I would like sushi. Then my brother talked me into trying it when I moved to Minneapolis and it's now one of my favorite foods. I could seriously eat sushi every day - and I crave it!!
Monday, March 28, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
So not a success, but I have had plenty of flops when baking/cooking. Plenty. It's bound to happen from time to time! Luckily her directions said to only put sauce on the serving you plan on eating since it doesn't keep well so I didn't waste much pasta!
This recipe took very little time to make, so when it didn't turn out, I really wasn't too upset. I sort of shrugged my shoulders and moved on. That's progress for me. I have been known to maybe call my mom in tears when something doesn't turn out in the kitchen... As if she can fix it from 200+ miles away!
This weekend, I am going to try another recipe of Angela's - I'll be making her mushroom risotto. I like all the ingredients, so I think this one will be a hit with my taste buds!
Do you handle it well when recipes flop?
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
1. What condiments are always, always in your fridge?
Ketchup, mustard, and salsa. Yes, salsa is a condiment in my world.
2. How do you like your steak cooked? Your burgers?
I like my steak medium rare and my burgers medium well.
3. What’s your favorite use for fresh tomatoes?
I like them diced up on a salad. Or just sliced up with a little salt and pepper. Mmm. I love tomatoes. When I was child, my mom had an ginormous garden and grew so many tomatoes. I bet we harvested hundreds each summer. It was a shock to the system to have to actually pay for produce when I started living on my own!
I am going to attempt to grow some tomatoes on my patio this summer!
4. What’s your go-to dinner when you haven’t planned anything in advance and you don’t feel like going out?
A can of soup.
5. What’s your favorite snack food lately?
Chips & salsa. Or tortilla chips with pickles on them - odd, I know, but don't knock it until you try it!
6. What’s your favorite weekend breakfast to make at home?
Scrambled eggs with diced veggies.
7. What’s your favorite thing to grill? How do you do it?
My favorite thing is my brother's grilled chicken. How do I do it? I sit back and watch. Ha.
My condo association only allows electric grills and I don't think electric grills 'count' so if I want grilled food, I need to invite myself over to my brother's or go to my parents' cabin!
8. What’s your favorite wine for under $10? If you’re not a wine person, what brand of beer is your favorite?
I like Yellowtail. I do not have a well developed palette when it comes to wine, so buying expensive wine is a waste for me!
9. Give us your most delicious cocktail recipe.
This is actually my sister's recipe for Margarita's, but it's one of my favorite drinks so I am stealing it!
- 1 can lime aid concentrate
- 1 squeezed lime
- 3/4 c. of Tequila
- 1/4 c. of Triple Sec
- fill blender with ice
Simple right? And SO good.
10. How do you like your eggs?
I prefer them either scrambled with salsa on top or over easy if I have some gluten free toast to dip in the runny yolks. Mmmmm... I really, really love eggs. Best breakfast ever!
Monday, March 21, 2011
Are you noticing a pattern here? Amber and I trained for a marathon together and she got engaged! Charbelle and I are training for the 10 mile race and she got engaged. Hmm... Perhaps I am a good luck charm! So maybe if you are looking to get engaged, you should train for a race with me. ;)
This week I got 4 training runs in, which I am really happy with. My long run was an 8 miler. I was planning to do this outdoors as the weather forecast looked good when I checked late in the week.
Mother nature had something else in mind, though. I woke up to rain on Sunday morning. Even though I ran an ENTIRE MARATHON in the rain, I just could not make myself put in 8 miles in the rain. Plus, it was a cold rain. So I went to the gym. Luckily I scored a treadmill right next to a fan. Sweet!
But those might have been the longest 8 miles of my life. I have no idea how people train for a marathon on the
But I put the miles in. And that's what matters. Next week, rain or snow, I am doing my 9 mile run outdoors. It will be my last long run before the race, which is 2 weeks away! Eeks! So excited!
What is the longest you have ran on a treadmill?
Friday, March 18, 2011
Last week I made a 'thank you' dinner for the 2 friends who co-hosted my 30th birthday party. I wanted it to be healthy, delicious, gluten free, and dairy free. I worried that wasn't possible, but it was actually a total success. We started with some steamed edamame, which I made in the microwave since it's super easy. The main dish was a Chinese Chicken Salad, which is sort of a signature dish of mine. Whenever I have a work potluck, I bring this because it's a healthy, filling salad.
Dessert was the tricky part... What could I make that was dairy free and gluten free? Well, luckily Amber came through once again with a great suggestion - Banana 'Softserve'. It's super simple, healthy, and delicious!
First you freeze some cut up bananas (but not over-ripe ones like you'd use in banana bread... I don't think that would work for this). Put them in a food processor.
Add maybe 1 T. of milk (I used almond milk) and let it blend away for about 5 minutes or so...
It's like banana soft serve! You could add some chocolate sauce or maybe a little melted peanut butter or some fresh strawberries or raspberries. Or it's really good on its own.
My girlfriends were both very impressed and said they'd both make it again. I will say, it works best to do this in a food processor. I used my friend's blender when I made it for them but it didn't turn out as well as using a food processor.
Lastly, I have to say that my skin looks really good right now. I've had multiple people comment on how great my complexion looks. Is it 100% because I removed dairy? Who knows. It might be too early to tell, but so far, the results are encouraging!
This weekend I am planning on making this vegan alfredo! The recipe intrigues me... Will the combination of all of those ingredients mimic the taste of alfredo? I'll be back next week to let you know! Have a fabulous weekend everyone!!
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Then a couple of weeks ago I found out that I need to pass 2 licensing exams before I can really be effective in my job (the series 7 and 63). My boss thought these could wait until after the CFA, but I can't meet with clients or write any articles until I have passed these tests, so we moved them up to April. These 2 licensing exams are not bad, but coupled with the CFA - and it's a lot.
So now I am juggling work + studying for multiple exams + training for my 10 mile run + attempting to be a good daughter/sister/aunt/friend/etc. Truth be told, I have been feeling a little overwhelmed. I have actually started to dream about things like options and financial market regulations. No joke. In the grand scheme of things, I know the stress I am dealing with is a walk in the park compared to what others are going through (like dealing with the aftermath of an earthquake and the potential for a nuclear disaster), but it's a lot for me. So I had to make some small adjustments to make things just a little bit easier and life a little bit happier:
- Housekeeping. As I mentioned on Tuesday, I hired a cleaning service. I feel a bit sheepish about this because I am single and childless. I should be able to find time to clean, right? Well, I am gone at least 13 hours a day, and then I come home and study. And then I spend the majority of the weekend studying. So I finally accepted the fact that I just don't have time right now to clean my own condo. My mom told me not to feel guilty about this and she is the ultimate "do it all" mom. Hearing her tell me this was a good decision makes me feel a lot better. The service comes every other week. Walking into a spotless condo = priceless. I realize that this is a luxury and not something that is economically feasible for everyone. So I get that I am lucky that I can afford this. That said, I don't eat out often. I don't buy beverages from places like Starbucks. I don't spend very much money on clothes. I've decided to continue to drive my paid off car v. buying a new car. So I make choices in other areas of my life so that hiring a cleaning service is feasible.
- TV. The list of unwatched recorded shows in my DVR was starting to stress me out... Who gets stressed by their freaking DVR? So I cut the number of shows I watch down to 3: How I Met Your Mother, Top Chef, and Parenthood.
- Changing race plans. I had planned on doing the Fargo 1/2 marathon in May. I was so excited about this race as I have so much family in Fargo so I knew I'd know some spectators on the course! Well, the race is a couple of weeks before the exam and I decided that it is just not wise to go out of town a couple of weeks before the exam. So I have decided not to do that race. I am bummed, but I will just have to find a race in August. Then I will have the time to dedicate to training and can enjoy my training runs.
- Blogging a little less. My blog posts will be a bit less frequent and I might not get a chance to comment on as many posts.
The good news is that these exams will be behind me after June 4th - and regaining all that time spent studying will make a world of a difference. I am thankful for the fact that I will be able to enjoy my summer and won't be chained to my study materials!
What adjustments do you make when you find yourself getting stressed out?
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
1. What is your cleaning style like?
I sort of go in spurts - I'll just pick up week to week and then I will go on a cleaning spree and will do a deep clean. That said.... I recently hired a cleaning service because life hs gotten a bit too busy lately and I just couldn't find the time to clean.
2. What is your favorite thing to add to an outfit to take it from casual to classy?
3. Do you like stormy weather?
I like thunderstorms, as long as I am not out running or planning on running. I do not care for winter storms. They make my commute horrible. I mean, it's a nice thought to be 'snowed in' but that just never happens because there is no such thing as a "snow day" in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
4. What is your favorite cold treat on a hot day?
5. What is your favorite warm treat on a cold day?
Hot cocoa or a bowl of soup.
6. Who is your favorite animated character?
Even though I am deathly afraid of mice, but I think Ratatouille is an adorable character.
7. What do you keep your jewelry in?
A jewelry box.
8. Do any of the rooms in your house have a theme?
All of the art in my bedroom are Paris prints. That's about it for a 'theme'.
9. Do you watch any interior design TV shows – if so, what is your favorite?
Never. I suck at things like interior design - watching a show on tv is not going to help someone like me.
10. When was the last time you did something risk-taking?
Before I could apply for my new job within my company, I had to get the permission of my boss since I had been in my previous role less than a year. He had the right to tell me that I couldn't apply, but luckily he let me as he knew it was in my best interest as my new job was a promotional opportunity and a perfect fit.
Friday, March 11, 2011
So it's been just over a week since I removed dairy from my diet. I am going to try this for 4-6 weeks to see if it helps my skin at all. I realize that I am sort of 'grasping at straws' at this point, but I want to try one last thing before resorting to trying Accutane. I had my follow up appointment with my Dermatologist last week. While my skin has improved over the past 3 months, it's still not great but he suggested we give it another month. We did discuss my concerns with Accutane and I do feel better after having that conversation. If things aren't better next month, I'll have to give Accutane a try. We'll see how the next month goes.
Removing dairy has actually not been too bad. I am sure that I will miss cheese eventually but so far, the adjustment has not been bad at all! It's been fun to research recipes and come up with tasty dairy free & gluten free options. Luckily there are a lot of great vegan blogs out there to help!
The first recipe I'd like to share comes from the blog, Peas and Thank You (clever blog name, right?). After hearing Amber rave about it, I made her Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna. It did not disappoint!
- 2 zucchini, cut into 12 thin, 1/4" thick slices
- 1 c. quinoa, rinsed
- 2 c. vegetable broth
- 1/2 c. tomato sauce
- 1/4 c. minced onion
- 1 t. dried oregano
- 1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 T. organic or non-dairy cream cheese (optional - I did not include this)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 jar organic marinara sauce
- 1/2 c. organic or non-dairy cheese, i.e. Daiya (option - I used Daiya)
First, cut the zucchini into strips - these will serve as the "noodles". Place "noodles" in a colander and sprinkle with salt, layering paper towels between the noodles. I do not really understand why this happens, but when you sprinkle them with salt, I think it takes the moisture out of the zucchini because it will start to look like you had wet the zucchini with water? Who knows. Set aside and let the salt work it's magic.
Next, combine the quinoa, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, onion, and oregano.
Bring this to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes (or until all of the liquid has been absorbed). Then add in the chopped herbs (and the cream cheese if you are using that ingredient) and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Honestly, you could stop at this point if you wanted to and just eat a bowl of this quinoa mixture. It is SO good. But I resisted the urge to curl up with a bowl of this and proceeded with the recipes...
Spread some marinara in the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish. Pat the noodles dry with a towel to remove the salt and moisture. Layer 4 noodles on top of the marinara (I had an extra noodle so this layer had 5).
Spread 1/2 of the quinoa mixture over the noodles.
Top this with marinara and repeat with another layer of zucchini, the other 1/2 of the quinoa mix, and more marinara. Add one more layer of zucchini, then the rest of the marinara, and top with cheese (if you are using it).
Bake @ 400F for 30 minutes.
Yum. It was really good. I used a spicy arrabiata marinara sauce so mine had a little kick to it. I think I would also add in some crushed red pepper next time because that is how I roll.
My first vegan recipe was a total success! You could obviously modify this & use real cheese if you wanted to. I don't even think that top layer of cheese is necessary, but I was surprised to find that vegan cheese actually tasted pretty good! I'll definitely make this again!
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
1. How did your parents decide on your name?
My father named me after a character from a soap opera he watched. My dad is a total man's man so the fact that he used to watch soap opera's? I think that's hilarious.
2. Do your initials (First, Middle, Last) spell out anything fun/funny?
My initials are LAD. My parents actually wanted my middle name to be Suzanne, but then they would have been LSD, so they went with Anne instead!
3. Did you take your middle name from childhood or did you take your maiden name as your middle name? (If unmarried, what do you plan to do?)
Gosh, if I made my last name my middle name, that would potentially make for a really long name... So when/if I marry, I will most likely just take my husband's last name and ditch my current one.
4. Are you or will you name your children thematically (ie. same first letter, all of same origin…)
5. Did you decide on baby names as a little girl? Did you stick to them or change your mind?
I do not remember thinking of child names as a little girl... These days, I have names I like but nothing I am dead set at using when/if I have kids!
6. Does your family have any names that have been passed down through generations?
Not that I know of!
7. Do you look at the meaning of the name or just the name itself?
I just look at the name itself. If it happens to have a neat meaning behind it, then great.
8. Do you name pets with human names (Sally, Henry) or with pet names (Fluffy, Mr. Bo Bo)?
I am gone 13+ hours a day most days... I would have the most neglected pet, so I don't have any pets. We had 2 cats when I was in high school that we named Allegro & Fritz. Fritz bit the dust but Allegro is still alive and kicking (and living with my parents). I love the name Allegro, it fits him so well. We chose that name because its musical meaning fit the cat's personality.
9. Are there any names that you have an affinity or dislike for based on a childhood experience/someone you once knew?
Childhood, not really. Adulthood, yes. I have dated so many Brians and Ryans, I think I can rule those out as future name choices. That's about it, though.
10. What are some of your favorite names? Why?
For boys, I like Paul (my dad's name), Neil (my maternal grandfather's name), and Liam (for no particular reason).
For girls, I like Claire, Lydia (but only if she was born with dark hair, I don't picture a Lydia being blond), and Colette (because it's French & I think it's beautiful - I know this will be a tough sell with my future husband, unless he's French, since it's a bit different).
Monday, March 7, 2011
Last week was a decent training week for me. I got 4 runs in, which I am happy with considering my schedule these days. And one of those runs happened after consuming 2 vodka tonics at a happy hour so I think I get bonus points for completing that run!!
My "long" run of 6 miles, though, didn't go so hot. Funny how 6 miles is long now when that was an easy run this fall. I am definitely not in marathon shape anymore! Anyways, when I got to the gym yesterday morning, all of the treadmills by fans were being used - and the thing that REALLY annoyed me is that they didn't even have the fan running. That's another pet peeve of mine. Don't pick a treadmill by a fan if you aren't going to use the fan!
My Y seems to think it's a good idea to keep the work out area warm which is why I really try to get a treadmill by a fan or I will over heat.
Which is what happened yesterday. I got way too hot and nearly got sick - and when I say that, I mean I literally started to gag. Gosh I could not get off the treadmill fast enough. Luckily I did not actually get sick - that would have been mortifying because the gym was PACKED.
Le sigh. I really hate my gym. I think it's time to find a different one that doesn't keep it so toasty. I mean, shouldn't they keep it a little bit on the cool side?
Since I only got 4.5 miles in yesterday instead of 6, I am going to try to do 6 tonight. Here's hoping I get a treadmill by a fan!
And here's hoping it's warm enough and not snowing next weekend so I can run outdoors. In hindsight, I should have just braved the cold and ran outdoors yesterday.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Bed size: Queen. Best furniture investment ever. I adore my bed.
Chore you dislike: Cleaning the bathroom - especially the shower!
Dogs: No thank you. I like the idea of having a dog to go running with, but that's about it. I get very nervous around dogs, especially when they jump on you...
Essential start to your day: Scrambled eggs w/ lots of salsa. Best breakfast ever.
Favorite color: Either pink or navy.
Gold or silver: I prefer silver for engagement/wedding rings, but I like gold better for every day jewelry. Which I rarely wear, so this question is sort of irrelevant for me!
Instruments you play(ed): Trumpet & piano
Job title: Fixed Income Analyst. But I usually tell people Investment Analyst because when I say "Fixed Income", many people have no idea what that means...
Kids: Hopefully some day.
Live: Suburb of Minneapolis, MN.
Mom’s name: Marlys. It's the most mispronounced name ever. It's pronounced: Mar-Liss. Super simple, but boy people come up with some interesting pronunciations!
Nicknames: Lees, Dotz, and D-Rod. The last 2 are because of my last name. There are also some less flattering, like Sleaza. I am not at all sleazy, but my friends started calling me this in college and it sort of stuck. In fact, one of my friend's moms calls me Sleaza...
Overnight hospital stays: I spent about 3 days in the hospital when I was in 6th grade because I got a horrible sinus infection and was so so so sick.
Pet peeve: Just one? Then I have to go with tardiness. It makes my blood boil when people are late!
Quote from a movie: I love Anthony Hopkin's speech about love from Meet Joe Black but that's sort of long... So I will go with a quote from Notting Hills: "After all... I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."
And my favorite funny quote: "I have nipples, Greg, could you milk me?"
Righty or Lefty: Righty
Siblings: 2 older brothers, an older sister, and a younger sister
Time you wake up: 5:15 during the week. Around 7:30-8 on the weekends.
Underwear: Yep, I wear them.
Vegetables you don’t like: Sweet potatoes. I think they are so trendy these days, but I do not care for them. I like my vegetables to be savory, not sweet!
What makes you run late: Sending 1 more email or commenting on 1 more blog.
X-Rays you’ve had: Arm when I fractured it and neck when I had neck a couple of years ago. I think that's it!
Yummy food you make: I don't really have a signature dish... I don't cook for others very often. My fave dish that I make for myself is Beef w/ Pomegranate sauce served with mashed potatoes w/ pureed Navy beans for a little extra protein. Mmm.
Zoo animal favorite: Monkeys!
Enjoy the weekend, everyone! I have absolutely nothing planned, which I am happy about! I plan on studying, sleeping in, and hopefully running outdoors for a change!! Do you have any fun plans?
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
My favorite look was the dress that I wore for my 30th birthday party! I think it looked so Parisian!
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
1. What type of cell phone do you have and how would you rate it?
I have a Blackberry. I think it's a pearl, but I can't remember... I loved it for the first 9-12 months. Then it got RIDICULOUSLY slow. These days I have to take the battery out on nearly a daily basis, which is annoying. For that reason, I rate it as a 3.
I will be eligible for an upgrade in May and I plan on getting an iPhone. CAN'T WAIT. I've patiently waited for 3+ years for Verizon to have an iPhone! Woo hoo!
2. What has been your most serious injury?
A hairline fracture to my wrist in 3rd grade. So nothing very serious!
3. What is one movie you hate and why?
I would have to say the movie Magnolia. It's the only movie where I have actually gotten up and left a movie theater. When it started raining frogs I said - enough is enough, this is terrible. It is hands down the WORST movie I have ever seen. Hated it.
4. How many email addresses do you have?
3: work, gmail, and hotmail. But I only check work and gmail on a regular basis.
5. What website do you waste the most time on?
Maybe Facebook? But I am barely on there.
6. Which mexican restaurant makes the best salsa?
I love the salsa at this local place called Pepitos. But I have really not met a salsa I didn't like. I adore salsa.
7. What is your dream car?
Um, I don't have a dream car. My dream car is one that is driven by someone else - meaning, a chauffeur. It could be a pinto - as long as someone else is behind the wheel, I am happy.
8. If you could spend up to $100 with no strings or restrictions or guilt, what would you buy?
I would use it to book a massage for myself. Life has been a bit stressy lately so I could really use one!
9. What is your favorite board game?
Trivial Pursuit. This is a family favorite - we tend to play it on all the major holidays. Love it.
10. How often do you change your hairstyle?
Rarely. I am a creature of habit!