Monday, February 28, 2011

Motivation Monday

I'm back! It's hard to believe that I took nearly 2 weeks off from posting on this blog. And how is it the end of February? Wow, that month flew by.

So 10 mile training is going so so. I got a couple runs in while I was in Paris and got in all my training runs last week. I will be ready when race day arrives. Will I PR? It's doubtful. Do I care? Heck no. It's a vacation. I don't really need to PR, I need to enjoy myself and take in all the sights!

That said, this week I am going to shift the focus away from running and towards something else health related. As I have mentioned over the last couple of months, my complexion is awful. AWFUL. I am not exaggerating either. I've been to the dermatologist multiple times - he currently has me on 3 different medications. Ay yi yi, I feel like a freaking pharmacy. It's gotten a bit better, but it's not great yet. The next option is Accutane and that stuff sort of scares me. You can only be on it for 6 months and you need to take monthly pregnancy tests or something like that? And the side effects are not so great either... Anyways, I really am not comfortable with the thought of taking it, but if I have to, I guess so be it...

But before resorting to going on that medication, I am going to take the advice of the girl who does my facials. She's had clients w/ similar complexion problems that have removed dairy from their diet and have seen a great improvement in their skin. I don't have the energy or time to research why removing dairy could help and honestly at this point, I am willing to try anything - esp if it doesn't involve yet another freaking prescription.

So starting tomorrow, I will be going dairy free. So I'll be gluten free and dairy free. I am going to give it 2-4 weeks. We'll see how it goes. I actually don't think it will be too bad. Sure I will miss cheese and the dairy creamer I use in my coffee, but it's a sacrifice worth making if it helps my complexion.

So wish me luck. I'll have to get more creative in the kitchen so I will probably share some recipes with you along the way. This weekend I plan on making this vegan lasagna which has quinoa in it (which I love) and uses strips of zucchini for the noodles. Amber raves about it so I am excited to check it out!

Wish me luck!

Have you ever made a major dietary adjustment?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lights out...

Good morning and Happy Thursday! Today is my Friday since I leave for France tomorrow!!!

Just a reminder, for the next week or so, the lights will off on this blog. Instead I'll be posting over on my France blog. The first post is up! Click over if you'd like to see what I'll be up to during my vacation in France!

Au Revoir!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Party Recap!

As promised, here is a recap of my 30th birthday party! The party really could not have gone better! In the morning, I headed over to my friend's house to begin the party preparations. We had lots of appetizers to prepare but I had lots of help - including the help of my friend's little boy, Elliot! Isn't he adorable?

Making the stuffing for the stuffed mushrooms!

The day went by so fast! Soon enough, it was 7:30 and the guests started to arrive! I'll let the pictures do the talking for the rest of this post!

My parents, brother, sister-in-law, and I

Posing with the fabulous hosts, Brooke & Amanda!

Food station #1 - roasted pecans! They are SO good (and very addicting!)

Food station #2 - Fromage, GF crackers, veggie tray!

The main food station - I totally forgot to take a picture before we started eating! Whoops!

All in all, it was a very successful party! I really could not have had a better time and it was the perfect way to celebrate my 30th!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Another set of questions from the lovely Chelsea of Roots and Rings!

1. What’s your favorite kind of donut?
Well, donuts have gluten in them, so I don't eat them. And I can't say I've ever been a huge fan of them in the first place!

2. Do you use the snooze button?
Rarely! I used to but I broke that habit!

3. Do you write in cursive, print, or a combination of the two?
Sort of a combination of the two - it's barely legible. I really do not like my handwriting.

4. Tell us a joke.
A carrot and a mushroom were dating. One day, the mushroom said, "I'm sorry, we need to break up, this just isn't working." The carrot asked why. The mushroom said, "Because you're not a fungi." Ha.

My dad spoke at a carrot convention once (yes, there is such a thing as a carrot convention). I told him he should tell this joke. He didn't. That was probably a good decision. Joke telling is not a strength of mine.

5. How many languages do you speak?
Sadly, only 1. I know enough French to get by and ask all of my questions/order in French, but that's about it. I'd love to be fluent in French some day!

6. Why did you start blogging?
I started my France blog so my family would know what I was up to when I was in France for 3 weeks in 2008. I enjoyed blogging so much, I started this one when I got back!

I'll be posting in on my France blog when I am in Paris next week so add it to your reader (if you care to read about what I am up to over there!).

7. Do you use bar soap or liquid body wash?
Bar soap.

8. Do you buy bottled water?
Only when I am traveling.

9. What did you think of the Super Bowl Half Time Show?
I thought it was actually pretty entertaining and I enjoyed it - well, the parts when Fergie wasn't singing. I can't stand her. I don't have a good reason for this. Just the sight of her annoys me.

10. How do you feel about Steve Carell leaving The Office?
I am ambivalent because I no longer watch this show!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Motivation Monday: 10 Mile Training, Week 3

Oh vey, I have not ran much lately. Yikes. I guess this is what happens when I totally over-schedule myself! Life has been fun, but hectic lately, and running has fallen on the list of priorities. I do plan to turn this around, though. I have a virtually unplanned week - well, aside from that trip to Paris. ;) The trip to Paris will be good for my training, though! I am bringing my running clothes and my goal is to run 4-5 times that week. I figure a run along the Seine in 30-50 degree weather is going to be pretty darn fantastic!

I did run outside last week for the first time since November!! Yikes, it had been a long time. On Friday morning, I had to pick something up at Walgreens so I decided to run there. The temp was around 18 degrees, which is pretty nice considering it was below zero with the windchill last week! So I threw on a couple of layers and headed out. I was reminded how much HARDER it is to run on snow-packed sidewalks. Some of the side walks had not been shoveled since Monday's snow fall, so I took it slow to avoid any potential falls. My pace was pretty craptastic, but I decided not to let it bother me. Traffic was light so on the way back from Walgreens, I ran on the road - which was significantly easier than running on the sidewalks!

My goal this week is to get to the gym Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I arrive in Paris on Saturday and plan on going for a run on Sunday morning. I need to ease back into training so will stick with 3-4 mile runs for now. Hopefully by the time I get back from Paris I can start to increase my mileage a bit.

When's the last time you ran outside? How cold is 'too cold' for you to run outdoors? For me, I prefer to run outside when it's 15F (-9C) or warmer! I just can't do anything colder than that!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


The big birthday has arrived - today I turn 30 and will celebrate the passing of another decade of life. I've gone from dreading 30 to being afraid of 30 (embarrassingly) to being excited for 30 over the course of the last year.

Even though I told myself I'd use that 30 before 30 list to focus on things in my control, over the past year my mind still gravitated towards the things that are not in my control. However, I am getting closer to accepting that not everything is going to work out according to the time line in my mind.

So today, I am letting go of focusing on the words that don't define me (girlfriend, wife, and mother) and am celebrating the words that do. In the past 10 years, I graduated from college. I bought my first condo on my own. I became an aunt to 4 adorable nephews. I got my MBA. I ran 2 marathons. I started a blog and have met some fabulous fellow bloggers - and have plans to meet more in 2011! Most recently, I started a job that I can actually say I love! It helps to list the great things that have happened in my 20s - it reminds me how fortunate I am and how many great memories I will carry with me into my 30s.

I learned many valuable lessons in my 20s. I learned how to love and be kinder to myself. I learned that being in a relation does not necessarily = happiness. I learned that you can be more lonely in the wrong relationship than you will be when you are single. I learned that I have to make myself happy before I can be happy with someone else.

So here's to a new decade! I can't wait to see what milestones and lessons the next 10 years will hold!

And what better way to start it than with a fabulous trip to Paris! I fly out on Friday - the countdown has begun!!


What lessons did you learn in your 20s?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Time for a Soiree!

I do not know how this is possible, but the weekend of my 30th birthday has arrived. I know I sound like a broken record when I say this, but where in the heck did the last year go? Or the last 5? Seriously!

My 30th birthday party is tonight and I am so, so excited! It will be a small party with family and close friends. I've been thinking about this party for months so it will be fun to see it come to fruition!

Luckily, two of my closest friends are hosting the party so I have had lots of help! Of course, it will be a French-themed 30th - what else would you expect from a Francophile like me? Before I even started to think about the menu, I was shopping for the perfect dress! I purchased this dress back in November during a Shabby Apple sale! Stripes strike me as Parisian and I like that it has sleeves - I think it'll be the perfect outfit for my soiree!

Here is what we'll be serving! Not everything is French-themed, but the majority of the aps/sweets are!

  • Baked Brie
  • Olive Tapenade
  • Gourgeres (French for cheese puffs)
  • Spiced Pecans
  • Stuffed Mushrooms
  • An Assortment of French Cheeses w/ crackers & French breads
  • Proscuitto wrapped chicken
  • Macaroons
  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

I am sure I will have pictures to share next week!

Be sure to stop back on Sunday - I'll be posting my thoughts on turning 30!

Au Revoir - I am off to the kitchen!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Trip Recap: St Louis!

Greetings! Today is my Friday since I have tomorrow off! This has been a really busy week for me! My schedule has been full of fun things like haircuts and baking nights with a friend, but I haven't been home before 8:30 this week, which leaves me feeling a bit frazzled!

I wanted to do a trip recap while it is still fresh in my memory! I had an absolutely fabulous time in St. Louis. From the fabulous weather (sunny + 45 degree = amazing) to the much needed girl time to the shopping, it was an all around wonderful weekend! Unfortunately, I did not take many pictures - I was too busy enjoying myself, I guess you could say! Here are some of the highlights, bullet-point style!
  • Seeing Nora's beloved penguin exhibit at the zoo! You can get so close to the penguins - they can actually splash you!
  • Eating the most delicious crinkle cut fries ever!
  • Walking through a super cool used book store!
  • Sitting on Nora's bed, paging through magazines while listening to the local Gen X radio station. It brought back memories of the simpler pre-driver's license days when we were housebound and had to entertain ourselves.
  • Meeting Nora parents! Her mom has been to Paris - it was fo fun to talk about my trip with her! I jokingly referred to her dad as Michael Corleone - he is TOTALLY the Italian father. There is no mistaking this man's heritage!!
  • Meeting Nora's boyfriend - who happens to be absolutely fabulous!
  • Enjoying shopping and a movie on Sunday afternoon. We saw The King's Speech, which is just as good as everyone says it is - go see it!
  • Enjoying a delicious home cooked meal! Nora is a wonderful cook! The stuffed chicken breasts were so yummy - I will definitely be attempting to make those some time!

I am sure I am leaving something out, but this captures the bulk of it!! You can read Nora's recap here!

This trip, like my trip to Tucson, was really restorative for me. It's good to be reminded of the good things in life. So when my mind drifts to not so fun thoughts, like this...


I will chase away those thoughts by focusing on memories made on this trip!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review: Lonely

Last week I finished Lonely by Emily White. I was drawn to this book because of the the subtitle: Learning to Live with Solitude. I would not describe myself as a lonely person - sure I have my moments when I feel lonely but in general, I would describe myself as quite content. I do spend a decent amount of time alone, though, and while I haven't completely given up hope of getting married someday, I do know that there is a chance that I will always live alone. It's positioned as a memoir interwoven with cutting-edge scientific research. After reading it, I would say that it's a book with cutting-edge scientific research, interwoven with White's story - meaning, the bulk of the book is the regurgitation of research White has done on the subject of loneliness.

White asserts that she feels there is less of a stigma to saying you struggle with depression than saying you struggle with loneliness. There is a perception that loneliness should be something you can control, or that it is a result of being lazy or uninteresting or unattractive. I didn't really agree with her opinion that depression has less of a stigma because, as someone who has struggled with depression in the past, I think there is a pretty pervasive belief in society that a depressed person should also be able to 'fixed themselves'. That said, I can sympathize with how White felt during those years when she was battling loneliness and hopefully the fact that loneliness is receiving more research attention will shift the perception about it and lessen the stigma that is currently attached.

Because I was expecting more of a memoir, this book did not appeal to me. If you are interested in the research that has been done in the field of loneliness, then this is the book 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, February 1, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. What is your favorite childhood memory?
Spending time with my cousins at the lake.

2. What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I am very determined - when I set my mind on something, there is no stopping me!

3. What is your favorite thing that your child does?
I have no kids, but I love it when my nephews tell me they love me!

4. What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
I love to curl up with a good book and a freshly brewed cup of coffee!

5. What is your favorite restaurant? And what is your favorite thing on the menu?
That's a tough one... Maybe Barrio? I love their guacamole and their steak tacos. Yum.

6. What is your favorite piece of jewelry (besides your wedding ring)?
My friend Heidi got me this Paris necklace a couple of years ago - one side has a pic of the Eiffel Tower, the other side says 'Ooh La La'. It's a fun piece to wear!

7. What is your favorite night of the week M-TH? And why?
Tuesday night because Parenthood is on. That is one of the few shows I watch these days!

8. What is your favorite dessert?
Chocolate mousse

9. What is your favorite item in your make-up bag?
Probably my mascara? I really like Neutrogena. It doesn't clump!

10. What is your favorite smell?
The smell in my mom's kitchen on the morning of Thanksgiving. I think it's the smell of the stuffing that I adore. Mmmm...