Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Getting Crafty

I really thought hell would freeze over before I'd do a craft-related post.  No joke.  But here I am, bringing you a little craft project. 

Last week, I got together with a couple of girlfriends for a little crafting.  We get together every couple of months for crafting projects, and I am notorious for saying, "I am just here for the conversation," because my crafts never turn out (I am so not right brained!)  But this project?  Totally turned out!  And if I could make it, that means you could make it, too.  As could a 5 year old because that's where I'd peg my artistic ability...  Well, a 5 year old that you'd trust with a hot glue gun.

So here's the process in pictures!

First, cut a strip of fabric.  Yes, it looks like I closed my eyes and cut this blindly.  I swear I went to kindergarten, you just can not tell.  The good thing is that you don't even have to cut it straight, it will still turn out. 

Next, cut a circle of felt...  Or, if you are like me, ask your capable friends to cut a circle for you because otherwise it might look like this...

Yes, I know what a circle looks like.  Apparently I just can not cut one.
Tie a knot at the end of the fabric and glue to the felt.
I don't have a picture of the process of making the fabric flowers because it was hard enough for me to handle a glue gun without burning myself too much (there was a lot of yelps of pain from my corner of the table), so action shots were not happening!  But you basically twist the fabric and start winding it around the knot, gluing it with a hot glue gun as you go!

And voila!

I made the flower on the left, my friend made the other flower.  You take another piece of felt and then glue the headband between the two layers of felt. 

I also made a little hair clip.

Pretty easy.  And very, very cheap.  And again, let me emphasize - if I can do this, ANYONE can.  :) 

Do you consider yourself crafty?  The only crafty-type thing I am good at is knitting - and that requires me to follow a pattern, so while it counts as craft, it's a very methodical one.  Go figure. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Good morning!  Here's another batch of questions from Chelsea!

1. How many blogs do you read every day and what are they? (I’m talking the ones you NEVER miss)
I read maybe 3-5 every day consistently.  It is getting increasingly hard for me to keep up with reading/commenting/posting so I don't get to people's blogs are regularly as I used to...

2. How many “best friends” do you have? Do you have different “besties” for different areas of your life?
I don't like the word "best friend" - it works for some people, but I could never say that one person is my BEST friend.  Instead of have a tight knit group of people that I consider close friends.  I have different groups of close friends, though - college, blogging-friends-turned-real-life-friends, family members, and work friends.

3. What’s your daily make up routine?
I put my make up on the exact same order every day.  I use bare minerals.  I always wear foundation, concealer, eye liner, and mascara.  Some days I wear blush.  I rarely wear lipstick as I feel like it looks ridiculous on me...

4. What is your ideal girl’s night?
A girl's night in.  We'd cook dinner, read magazines, watch Sex and the City, and then someone would paint my nails because Lord knows I can NOT paint my own!

5. Do you keep up with your nails/toenails or are they au natural?
I do not keep up with my nails/toenails - see above comment about my inability to paint my own.  Sometimes I will put on a clear coat. 

6. What’s your best roommate story (assuming you had a roommate at some point in your life)?
When I was a freshman in college, one night my roommate came home and saw that the door was locked.  I wasn't super good about locking the door when I was home so she thought this meant I was not home.  She started to celebrate and shout about how happy she was that I was gone.  Boy was that awkward when she opened the door and saw that I was in my bed.  Awake.  Lovely.  We were like oil and water, but looking back, it was a good experience for me because it taught me to be more tolerant of others. 

7. What’s your “go to” outfit that you wear more than anything else?
In the summer, it's a summer sundress of some sort.  In the winter, it's jeans, black heels, and a black top of some sort.

8. Do you have a beauty secret?
Not that I can think of!  Honestly, I am a pretty low maintenance girl so I am not one to really have lots of beauty trips up my sleeve!

9. Did you read Seventeen magazine growing up?
Yes, I did.  And Teen!  Loved those magazines!

10. How did you learn to put on makeup?
I definitely taught myself.  Which is probably why I am really not that great at it!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter!

Greetings and Happy Friday!  And especially Happy Friday to those of you who get this day off!!  Even though the markets are closed, I still have to work?  Oh well, it will be a good day to catch up on some projects with minimal interruptions!

My whole family, with the exception of my younger sister and her husband, will be coming to Minneapolis.  I can't wait!  It will be so nice to not have to travel for this holiday.  Everyone is staying in a hotel close to my brother's house, so I am crashing in my parents room which means Easter = a staycation for me this year!  Here's what I am looking forward to:

  • Celebrating my youngest nephew's 3rd birthday! 
  • Seeing all 4 of my nephews.  Hopefully I can get a picture with all 4 of them!
  • Seeing my sister & sister-in-law who are both expecting!  My sister is due in late May, my sister-in-law is due in September.  Neither are finding out the sex.  I predict a boy for my sister & a girl for my sister-in-law.  When I asked my oldest nephew what he thought my sister was having he said, and I quote, "I don't know...  I am just going to love the baby no matter what."  Isn't that the sweetest thing?
  • The Saturday Easter Vigil Mass.  It's my favorite mass of the year (even though it's also the LONGEST)  My sister-in-law is converting to Catholicism and I am her sponsor.  It's been a special experience to go through RCIA classes with her so I am looking forward to the mass where she will formally join the Catholic church.   
  • Enjoy a little holiday from being dairy free.  I'm responsible for bringing the veggie tray + spinach dip.  I like toffutti sour cream but if I used that in the spinach dip I am pretty sure no one would eat it.  And I do NOT need to eat an entire bowl of spinach dip. 
  • Hiding Easter eggs.  Holidays are so much more fun with kids around!  I hope the weather cooperates so we can hide them outdoors.
Have a fabulous Easter weekend, everyone!  How will you be celebrating?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Always... Sometimes... Never

It's been awhile since I've done one of these type of posts. It's a good way to expound upon the random thoughts floating around in my head these days...

I always...
- smile when I think of my time in Paris. That city is just plain magical - I can't wait to return some day!
- sleep better in my parents home. Is it the fact that the room is darker since I usually sleep in a basement room?  Is it because it's one of the few times I feel taken care of?  Whatever the reason, I sleep deeply and peacefully when I am home.

I sometimes....
- wonder if I will ever have someone besides my parents to put down as an emergency contact.
- miss marathon training.  I never thought I would say that.  And that doesn't mean I will run another marathon (I am pretty sure I won't).  It just means I miss being in a frame of mind where I was so focused on running - and in such great shape.  I miss the days of long runs when the miles just effortlessly ticked by.  I'll get back to that state again.  Just not until after the CFA exam.

I never...
- thought it would be so easy to give up dairy. As a cheese lover, I honestly thought my heart would ache for cheese. I actually don't really miss it... yet!
- would choose to relive my junior high/high school years.  Seriously. Those were dreadful, dreadful years.

Ok, your turn - what's your Always... Sometimes... Never?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

First things first, a big congratulations goes out to Nora - she got engaged on Saturday night!  You can read all about it (and check out her gorgeous ring) here!  Last year was totally the year of the baby as multiple friends found out there were expecting.  2011 is totally the year of the engagement!  First Amber, then Charbelle, now Nora!  And, ahem, I have or will have run races with these 3 ladies.  Granted Nora and I haven't started training yet, but we've registered.  So I am 3 for 3 on racing partners getting engaged.  I might register for a race and start to refer to myself in the 3rd person and see any of my luck rubs off on myself... 

Anywho, back to the regularly schedule post...  Chelsea's Ten on Tuesday is a book themed one.  Woo hoo!

1. When someone asks you for a book recommendation, what is your go-to book?
One of my favorite books is the travel memoir, Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach.  She takes a sabbatical from her job and travels to Paris, Italy, and Oxford.  Some (or maybe all, can't remember) of the chapters begin with a postcard that she sends to herself at home.  Brilliant idea, right?  I kind of wish I had done that on my Paris trip...

2. Do you buy your books, or are you a library patron?
I mostly buy books...  The books I want to read never seem to be available at the library - especially books for book club.  Sometimes I am not patient enough to wait months to read a book so I just buy it.
3. E-readers, yay or nay?
Love them.  I have been meaning to do a post about my nook for awhile...  I resisted e-readers for the longest time and finally caved and bought one last fall.  Best.  Decision.  Ever.

4. What was your favorite book as a child?
It was a Mickey Mouse version of the Sorcerer's Apprentice. 

5. If you could be any character in a book, who would you be?
Maybe Madeline so I could live in France.  Except, I'd want to be an adult version of her.  I have no desire to be a child again. 

6. What book would you love to see turned into a movie?
That's a tough one...  Maybe City of Thieves?  I really enjoyed that book and I think the plot lends itself well to a screen play.

7. What is your all-time favorite book?
Tuesdays with Morrie.  I usually read it about once a year when I need an attitude adjustment!

8. How many books do you read at once?
Usually just 1.  I get confused or lose focus otherwise!

9. What is your favorite book genre?
Travel memoirs!  Especially if they are set in France.  :)

10. Which Harry Potter book is the best? Or haven’t you read them at all?
I don't think I can pick a favorite, I love them all!

Monday, April 18, 2011

MIA: My motivation & love for running

Missing:  Lisa's motivation & love for the sport of running.  If found, please return to Minneapolis, MN.  Thanks.

Oh my goodness, I have lost my motivation lately - basically since I got back from DC.  Granted, those 10 days after I got back were intense as I took the review course for the 7 and studied every night in preparation for that exam.  My mind was engaged from 6:30 am until 9-9:30 pm when I would hit the sheets, so running just did not fit into my schedule unfortunately.

That test is behind me and unfortunately the motivation for running has not returned.  I basically have to talk myself into going on each run.  Of course the winter-weather we've been having lately is NOT helping.  I mean, I woke up to a layer of snow on Saturday and when I ran yesterday, it was 34 degrees w/ a STRONG wind.  This weather officially sucks.  I guess it could be worse - some parts of North Dakota got 12-14" of snow on Saturday!!! 

I am hoping this is just a little phase I am going through.  Pretty soon I'll start training for the 10k that I am running with Nora.  I think being back 'on the grid' for a race will help.  And warmer temps/sunshine will help, too (if the weather ever warms up.  There is snow in the forecast for this week.  Le sigh.)

I know I can't give up on running.  So for now, I'll continue to drag myself out onto the running paths.  I'll keep moving my feet in the hopes that my heart catches up with us and the love of running returns. 

Does your motivation for exercising ebb & flow?  This is pretty typical for me - I always seem to struggle to get back into running around this time of year, especially when the weather is so uncooperative!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dairy Free Friday

Happy Friday, everyone!. I've got another great recipe from Oh She Glows to share with you: Spicy Rainbow Rice and Bean Salad. This is a great mid-week meal as it requires VERY LITTLE slicing/dicing, and the ingredients are all standard things that you might already have on hand! I only had to buy a onion to make this recipe - I love it when I have the majority of the ingredients!

This recipe also scores points with me because it has a nice kick to it! If you aren't a spice monster like me, maybe leave out the crush red pepper... I probably increased the spices by about 1/2 because I love spicy food. :)


1 cup uncooked rice
1 tbsp oil of your choice (I used EVOO)
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion (I used a red onion)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (optional - I included)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 green onion, chopped (optional - I did not include)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1 tsp Earth Balance, to stir in

And here is the recipe, in pictures!

Saute onion over medium-low heat until softened/golden. Add spices, garlic, and optional green onion and saute on low for a few minutes until the spices start to bubble (careful, don't burn them!) 

Add the black beans and Tamari sauce (you could use regular soy sauce). Heat for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Now comes the rainbow part. Add in the frozen pea & corn and the shredded carrot. Heat for another 5 minutes on medium heat.

Add in your grain & 1 T. of Earth Balance (or butter for dairy eaters) - I went with basmati rice (which I made in my rice cooker) because that's what I had on hand. I think next time I will use quinoa!
Serve up. Maybe garnish with some fresh cilantro. I don't really do garnishes because when you are cooking for one, I don't feel like a garnish is worth the effort. ;)

See? Easy peasy. And further proof that you can cook delicious, flavorful, healthy food without gluten or dairy!
Have a fabulous weekend, everyone! I'll spend mine studying, but am rewarding myself by going to my brother's to grill a little surf & turf! I haven't had a steak off a grill since I visited my sister in January! Can't wait!

What are you up to this weekend?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I am very happy to report that I passed the Series 7 exam yesterday!  It feels wonderful to have that monkey off my back.  This was my first experience of HAVING to pass a test for a job.  Sure, I've taken important tests in the past, like the ACT in high school and the GMAT to get into an MBA program.  But this test was a little different because not passing meant my job could potentially be in jeopardy.

So phew.  It's behind me.

Taking this standardized test was an interesting experience.  I went to a testing center where they were administering a plethora of exams.  When I checked in, the receptionist say, which a look of dismay on her face, "Oh my, you are the lucky girl taking the series 7...

Odd, right? 

Then when I went to see another person to get seated for the exam, she said, "Oh honey, you are taking the 7?  Oh my.  We are going to put you in your own room, because you are going to be with us for quite awhile."

She seated me in my own little room, gave me a look of sympathy, and wished me luck.

Bizarre.  Luckily I am a pretty good test taker.  Yes, I was nervous, but I don't really get test anxiety, thank God.  But sheesh - imagine if I was a nervous test taker!  I think my anxiety would have gone through the roof.

So the 7 is over and done with.  I celebrated by buying some new running shoes and then I treated myself to tacos + guac + wine from my favorite Mexican restaurant, Barrio.

Yes, I drank at noon on a Wednesday.  Don't judge.  ;)  It was my first alcoholic beverage in 2.5 weeks!!

Did I spend the rest of the day reveling in my success?  Not really.  After my leisurely lunch, I went to a coffee shop and resumed my studying for the CFA, which I will take in June.  I mean, that is the beast of all the finance exams I will take this year, as the pass rate is 35-40%.  I figured I better not waste any time and better get back to studying.  The good news is that I am almost done with the 16th section... out of 18 total.  The end is in sight and the reviewing can commence soon!   

I did end the day with a massage, which was glorious and a wonderful way to reward myself for all the studying I've done! 

So tell me, do you consider yourself a good test taker?  Or do you struggle with testing anxiety?  I am VERY thankful for the fact that I am a good test taker.  My challenge is that I tend to get test ADD - meaning, I can't bear to sit there very long, so I tend to read through the questions uber fast (it took me 2.5 hours to complete the exam...  they give you 6...), which means I can skip over key words and make stupid mistakes.  And I don't go back and check over my answers because I just want to be freaking done with it.  So those are my test taking weaknesses.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Chelsea's 10 on Tuesday questions are ones that I came up with!! So answer all or a few in your comment!
1. If you work, do you drive to work or take public transportation?
Both. I drive to a park & ride, and then take a bus downtown to work. I love taking public transportation since I hate driving!

2. How often do you get your haircut? Do you go to the same person every time?
I get it cut about 3-4 x's per year and I always go to the same person. I've been going to her for about 2 years now and I just love her. It's like catching up with a good friend when I get my hair cut.

3. Do you read the newspaper? If so, a hardcopy or the online version?
I read the news, but not a physical newspaper. I pretty much only read the news through Bloomberg at work (it pulls in economic/headline stories from a bunch of news sources so makes it easy to keep up on what's going on).

4. What is the best book you have read this year?
Probably "The Invisible Bridge" by Julie Orringer. Great novel about WWII.

5. What is the best movie you have seen this year?
The King's Speech.

6. Do you tend to crave sweet or salty foods?
Definitely salty. I am not really a sweets person... They are fine, but I don't really crave them. But chips or pickles? Yes please!
7. Do you eat breakfast every day? If so, what do you have? Hells, yes. I would probably collapse if I didn't eat breakfast. No joke. I have eggs nearly every day - over easy w/ GF toast these days. I heart eggs.

8. If you celebrate Easter, what Easter treat/candy are you most looking forward to? I know I just said I am not a huge sweets person, but I have a weakness for those big egg-shaped peanut butter cups. Mmm...

9. How late is “sleeping in” to you? 7:30-8. My mom's jaw probably dropped when she read that as I have never been an early riser... But now that I get up at 5:15 for work, my concept of sleeping in has changed... and I don't think I could possibly sleep past 9 unless I was on tranquilizers or something...

10. Where are you going on your next vacation? I don't have anything specifically planned... I will start to travel for work this fall, though, so am hoping to fly in early/stay longer and make a vacation out of my trips to Boston and Charlotte since I have blogging friends that live in those cities!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Trip Recap: DC!

A week after getting back from DC, I am finally getting around to my recap post!

I had an absolute blast in DC. I think it is a beautiful city and I couldn't have picked a better time to visit as the Cherry Blossoms were simply break taking. Becky has some great photos, but I think you have to see it in person. So yes, you will probably fight massive crowds, but I think it's worth checking out! So throw it on your travel list if you haven't been to DC during Cherry Blossom season!

I have some of Becky's photos to share, but thought I'd do a 5 faves list to start things off:

1. Finally meeting Becky after reading each others' blogs for, gosh, years I think? And meeting her husband - who is awesome, by the way. I never felt like the 3rd wheel around these two!

2. Meeting Charbelle after reading each others' blogs for over a year. She really helped me when I was going through my break-up with the Barrister and was always so encouraging so it was great to finally see her in person. I know I'll be seeing her again this year as I will likely be heading to Charlotte this fall for work. Can't wait for another rendezvous. Hopefully next time around I'll feel well enough to share a bottle of wine with her (my stomach was NOT up for any alcohol on this trip)!

3. Introducing Becky & her husband to some new gluten free foods (quinoa pasta - mmm) - and then having them love them! :)

4. A blogger meet-up dinner w/ Charbelle & Jess on Sunday night. I felt well enough by this point to eat a meal - and the restaurant had a gluten free menu. And mashed potatoes. I was in heaven.

5. The weather was so nice on Monday - I was warm in my t-shirt when we went to Mt. Vernon! It felt fantastic. I did not want to go home!!

So there you have it. Now for some pictures!

Becky & I

Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Monument with Washington Monument in the background. I am so bummed that the reflecting pool was under construction - this would have been a great Christmas card pic otherwise!

Standing in front of the WWII Monument, which was my favorite monument!

Charbelle & I on race morning.

WWII Monument at night!

Standing in front of Mount Vernon - such a beautiful estate!!

I got to thinking last week... In the past 6 months, I have been to Vancouver/Seattle/Portland, Tucson, St. Louis, Paris, and DC. Holy moley that is a lot of traveling! The trips have all been amazing, but truth be told, I am a bit worn out. Also, I think it's pretty cool that 3 out of 5 trips were to visit other bloggers. Technically, I could say 4 out of 5 because my sister is a blogger, too.

I will be home every weekend between now and the CFA on June 4th. We'll see what the 2nd half of 2011 holds for me as I will likely start to do sales office visits. But this summer? I need a break from plane rides.

Have a great week everyone! It will be a busy one for me as I take the Series 7 on Wednesday... I can't wait to have it behind me!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dairy Free Friday

Greetings, readers. My this has been a long week. I owe you a recap of my trip to DC, but this week has sort of kicked my butt, so maybe I will get around to that next week? In the mean time, hop over to Becky's blog and check out the video of photos that she put together!! I watch it when I need a little pick-me-up.

I have spent all week in a prep class for the series 7 test, which I take on Wednesday. Please God, let me pass this test on my first attempt. I will lose my mind if I have to study for this for another month. I added up the # of pages read/quizzes I have taken? Oh, it's somewhere in the range of 950 pages. Add in the # of pages I am reading for my CFA and that = overwhelmed/cranky/not-so-fun-to-be-around-Lisa. I am basically the human equivalent of Eeyore.

Anyways. Enough about that. This week I thought I would talk about some of the dairy replacements I've been using since going dairy free last month.

Do you see what I see? Yep, I found dairy free sour cream! Oh vey that was exciting. Note to self: You know your life is a bit lame when you get excited over finding dairy free products... I tried this on a baked potato (total comfort food for me) and it was GREAT!! I swear you could do a blind taste test with earth balance and the average person would NOT be able to tell that it wasn't butter/margarine. It comes in a tub, as pictured above, or in stick form, which is great for recipes as it's tricky to scrape out a tablespoon from a tub, you know? I love this stuff!! Definitely my favorite dairy free alternative out of all the products I am talking about today! This is the dairy free cheese that I used when I made that quinoa lasagna last month. I was really impressed with how it melted and tasted. No, it does not melt as well as regular cheese - it more so melts like reduced fat cheese I would say? But still, it's a great alternative. I had in on salads and that was great, too. Would I eat this stuff from the bag? No, it's not THAT good. And it's not something I really crave like I would crave cheese... But - it's a good alternative!
Last but not least, a milk alternative. I am not a milk person and I never drank milk when I was eating dairy, so I don't drink it now. However, I do use milk in the occasional recipe. Out of soy, rice, and almond milk, I prefer almond milk.
So there you have it!! Lots of great alternatives available for you if you are trying to cut back on dairy! What are you up to this weekend? I have my last series 7 class tomorrow and then will spend the rest of the weekend doing practice exams. I have about 8 to do between now and Wednesday. Thrilling, right?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Ufda, Chelsea's questions are all date related... I am not dating right now. As I have told friends/family - I am so not dateable right now because of my study schedule... And truth be told, even when my schedule does clear up, I am a bit pessimistic about my dating life because in Minnesota, Minnesota 30 = OLD. Trust me on this. Every single college girlfriend is married. And has been for years. So believe me when I say that 30 is old.

1. What is your idea best date?
A date when the conversation is so good, you don't want the date to end. As far as location goes, I think it would be fun to go to this local place called "Chatterbox" where you can play board games.

2. How long does it take you to get ready to go on a date?
Hmm... maybe 30 minutes? Depends on whether it's a weekend night date or week night date. If it's a week night date, I usually go straight from work so I don't really spend any time getting ready.

3. What would you wear on the date?
If it's a weekend, probably jeans and heels - unless it's summer, then I wear a sundress usually. Week night - I try to select an outfit that is work appropriate but also date appropriate.

4. If you are married, how often do you go on dates? If you are single, when was your last date?
I am single. I haven't gone on any date sinces my break-up in late December.

5. What was your worst date?
The one where the guy wanted to argue about religion. He asked what religion I practiced, I said Catholic, and then he tried to convince me that Catholicism was not a Christian religion??? Weird. Awkward. Awful.

6. Do you/Did you kiss on your first date?
It really depends. I'd say in general, no.

7. If married, how long before you knew he/she was the one? If single, how long before you know if the person is marriage material?
I know pretty quickly. I might not know if the guy is 'the one' right away, but I definitely know if he isn't.

8. Do you prefer day dates or night dates?
Night. I prefer low lighting. It's much more flattering.

9. How old were you when you first were allowed to date?
I think 16 maybe?

10. What is the most embarassing moment you have had on a date?
When I was in college, my date dropped me off and I decided to walk across the snow covered yard instead of taking the side walk, I slipped and pretty much superman dove and fell on top of my to go box. My date was watching to make sure I made it to the door, so he saw it. Lovely.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Music, Books, Miles, and Looks of March


7 Years by Cedar Avenue - This is actually a local band! This song was featured on the Cities 97 Sampler, which is a local acoustic album that is put out each year. I love this song so much, I bought the album (which is great).

Without You by Keith Urban - I am not usually a huge country fan, but I really like Keith Urban - especially his ballads.


Slow reading month... Studying for the CFA and the Series 7 has consumed my life so I have a hard time finding time to read for pleasure! I'll make up for it this summer when I am done with these dang exams!

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer - I really, really liked this book. It's definitely one of the better books that I've read in the last 6 months. It tells the story of 3 Jewish brothers living in Paris, Budapest, and Italy during WWII. It's a harrowing story and some parts are very difficult to read, but I really enjoyed it. Plus, part of the book is set in Paris. :)

You Don't Love This Man by Dan DeWeese - You can read my review here.


Last month when I did this, I set a goal of 50 miles for March. I ended up running 60! Woo hoo - 20% more than planned! My mileage goals for the next couple of months are going to be modest because with the CFA exam, I just don't have as much time to spend running. I want to keep running 3-4 days/week, but most of those runs will be short 3-4 milers so my mileage will remain pretty low until this test is behind me.


Hmmm.... I really did not have a social life this month, so I don't have any fabulous outfits to share with you... But I did get this fun new top at Ann Taylor Loft a couple of weekends ago!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Race I'd Like To Erase

Well, I did the 10 miler... It was a pretty horrible race experience. I jokingly told Becky and her husband that I feel like I left my dignity in DC on that dang race course.

I am not even going to mention my time because it was THAT awful, I can't bear to write it down. I felt nauseated pretty early on and then I got sick twice on the race course - briefly at mile 7 and then again at mile 9.5. It was horrible. Especially when I got sick at 9.5 as there were SO many spectators. Talk about embarrassing.

But I finished. So I am giving myself credit for that because I know that not everyone would keep going and finish a race when they felt so terrible. But I do not give up. I even ran that last 1/2 mile as I just wanted it to be over with so bad. Becky was at the finish line and shouted my name, but I was so in the zone, I did not see or hear her. She got some good shots of me, though - and you can't tell how miserable I am (or that I got sick) since they were side profile shots.

I don't really know what went wrong. My training runs all went pretty well and while I certainly didn't feel super prepared, I was prepared enough that it shouldn't have gone that badly...

So it's over and done with. I had a good cry - while I was on the metro, talking to my brother - classy, right? I was a train wreck, on a train.

Anyways, I need to let to it go and probably delete that run from my Garmin so I don't have to see the stats. There will be other races and I will redeem myself. I am trying to cut myself a break and not be so hard on myself as this spring has been SO incredibly stressful between studying for all of the exams.

I've got another race on the schedule for July - I'll be running a 10k with Nora & her boyfriend, which I am really looking forward to.

Onwards & upwards from here, I guess. I don't think. I mean, I couldn't possibly have a worse race, so the worst is behind me.

Off to our blogger dinner! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Tomorrow we are heading to Mt. Vernon to tour George Washington's estate and then I fly out in the evening!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dairy Free Friday

First off - today is an especially happy Friday because I am flying to DC this afternoon!!! I will finally get to see Becky & Charbelle in person! I won't say "meet" because after reading their blogs, emailing, chatting on the phone, and texting, I've already met these girls! But seeing them in person? It's going to be fabulous! And I've never been to DC so it will be fun to check out another city. And then there's that 10 mile race... which I feel a bit unprepared for, but oh well! I'll schlep through those 10 miles.

I've officially been dairy free for a month now. I can really tell the difference in my complexion and have had a good amount of people comment on it as well. I should have taken before and after pictures, but I didn't think to do that. These 2 pictures give you an idea though. The first was in mid-January. It's not super close up, but it gives you an idea of how bad my skin was, especially down my my jaw line (oh, and I am holding my beautiful faux-niece Elle).

And here is a horrible self-photo.

Is my skin perfect? No, but it's significantly better. I still have some redness from previous breakouts, but that's starting to heal as well. I have a follow up with my dermatologist in 2 weeks and I think I'll be able to go off one of the 3 medications I am currently on! Fingers crossed!

And this whole dairy free thing? It actually has not been that hard. There are so many great recipes out there! I never felt like I was depriving myself. What I miss the most is sour cream (I love baked potatoes with sour cream) and real cheese on my salads.

What I don't like is that being gluten free and dairy free makes me, well, a bit of a high maintenance dinner guest... But I think I will allow myself to have dairy occasionally so if someone invites me to dinner, that will just be my day for dairy, I guess!

So, now for this week's dairy free recipe! I made Mushroom risotto on Saturday night. I had previously made risotto for the Barrister back in December *shakes head in an attempt to erase memory* but that version was cheesy (and delicious) so I was worried this wouldn't compare.

Well, there was nothing to be worried about. This is probably the best recipe I've made all year - dairy or no dairy! So if you like mushrooms - I HIGHLY recommend it! It's a time intensive little recipe, but so worth every stir of your spoon!

Click over to Angela's lovely blog for the recipe! Here it is in photos!

All chopped up & ready to go! Look at all those mushrooms!

Saute the onions, then add the mushrooms! It looks like A LOT of mushrooms, but don't worry...

It totally cooks down!

Add a sprig of rosemary, salt & pepper, balsamic vinegar. Slowly add arborio rice and vegetable broth.

Cover and continue to stir every couple of minutes. Add more vegetable broth if need be. I used about 3 cups, I think? When it's done, stir in 1 T. of earth balance (or butter for the dairy eaters)

Serve up (preferably in a pretty bowl) and enjoy!

So there you have it! I think the crucial ingredient was balsamic vinegar! Or maybe the fresh rosemary? Mmm, it was so good! It's one of those recipes that makes me wish I had a dinner guest because it would have been nice to comment about it with someone. Instead I bbm'd about it with Amber - which was a good substitute!

Alright this blog is epically long! Time to wrap it up!! Question for you: Should I continue the dairy free posts? You won't hurt my feelings if you tell me to move on and talk about something more interesting/relevant/etc!

Happy weekend, everyone!