Thursday, February 28, 2013

What I'm Loving Today: Personalized Dog Collar

I have two wonderful dogs.  It's true.  My black labrador retriever is one of the loves of my life.  I even call him Lord Byron because I am convinced he was reincarnated and was previously a romantic poet.  What else could explain all the love he has?! Right? But his basic red dog collar, which is 8-ish years old, stinks. I mean peeeee=uuuuuu.  I came across this wonderful little site that specializes in monogrammed dog collars.  I'm thinking of getting this one for Jameson in his manly red and this one for Lulu (our not-very-bright beagle-basset mix) in raspeberry since it's girly.  Although it might seem costly, I like having that they are personalized with their names and contact information, without the jingling of tags.  Perfect updates for my pets!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Workout Wednesday: How to Headstand

In the past few yoga classes I've taken, inevitably the headstand is introduced toward the end of class. I don't know why, but I get intimidated when doing this pose in the middle of a room.  Near a wall, I don't mind.  But it just seems tough to flip my legs high in the air and maintain my balance.  So this is the one pose that will be a work in progress.  If you're interested, Lululemon walks you through How to Headstand.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Another Year Older

Go Bridget Go!
Red Velvet Cake after Dinner at Momocho

Monday, February 25, 2013

Meatless Monday: Penne Rosa

I stumbled across this blog and I loved her story about why she set out to recreate this dish in a healthy manner.  For this installment of Meatless Monday, I will pass on the meat.  But feel free, as she did, to add shrimp to really up the protein.  Can't wait to make this and pair it with a light salad of fresh greens and a crusty piece of bread! Mmmm...

Penne Rosa
  • 12 ounces whole wheat penne
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes (about 1/2 lb.) chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 10 ounces medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Cook penne according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet with a lid, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add in garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 2 minutes or until garlic begins to soften.
  3. Add in mushrooms, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to release their water.
  4. Turn heat up to medium-high and add in shrimp. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and opaque. Remove from heat, add in spinach and cover skillet. Let spinach wilt for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and place skillet back over low heat. Add the penne, Greek yogurt and pasta sauce. Stir until sauce is mixed well and all pasta and veggies are coated. Heat until just warmed through. Divide into pasta bowls and serve topped with parmesan cheese.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Lovely Weekend

My weekend in one word: LOVE. On Saturday, I had the wonderful opportunity to run and share my love of running with my youngest daughter as she ran her first 1-mile race. Then on Sunday, I celebrated my birthday with my family, whom I love, at a place that I adore (Momocho!).

It truly was a lovely weekend.

Oh, and my birthday present will require some research. Husband got me a gift certificate for a KAYAK at Appalachian Outfitters. It's going to be so much fun over the next few weeks figuring out one person or two seats, red or tie-dye, and all the other important options that I'm not even aware!

I hope you had a lovely weekend as well.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Today Was Full of Awesome

What a fantastic, fun-filled day in the 216.

We got up bright and early to run a race. Yes, we. Bridget ran her first 1 mile race at the Bay Snoball Run. She actually wanted to run this race because they put Duck tape in each goodie bag. Go figure! Duck tape. And it was the coolest of cool. Each participant received Duck-brand tape with bright colored peace signs. As if that wasn't enough, she got her very own race shirt AND a coupon for a free scoop of Mitchell's ice cream. Ladies and gentlemen, the little lady is hooked on racing now.

How do you top such a wonderful day? Well, for me, I ran back home (B went back with Greg via car), which was a lovely way to squeeze in an extra 5.5 miles. Awesome!

Rest afterwards? No way. We decided since we didn't have anything planned for the afternoon, we'd make a trip out to Chagrin Falls. A little browsing and a trip to sample Jeni's ice cream made the afternoon...dare I say, AWESOME!

Here's to hoping you, too, had an awesome day!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Travel Thursday: Mission Accomplished

Two weeks ago, I lamented about how I've been on the ultimate search for the "perfect" carry-on luggage for trips lasting 4+ days. I came across an incredible sale for Victorinox luggage several days ago. So I did a little research just to be sure. The price was right so I figured I'd see if this one was for me. Today, it arrived and I love it.  I bought the Victorinox Travel Werks 4.0 20-inch carry-on. It's lightweight, has a sturdy handle, and wheels. There's a compartment outside for travel papers and magazines. I loaded it down with a bunch of Bridget's toys and stuffed animals and I can actually pick it up. I'm thrilled.

Now I need somewhere to go!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Workout Wednesday: Stairs

Due to the cold temps being back, I've taken up running the stairs at work.  We only have a 3-story building so I try to make the best of this workout.  I run 25 sets, which comes out to about a mile and half of climbing up and down.  My first attempt at this workout was much tougher than I thought and I had major calf exhaustion! So hopefully adding stairs a couple times each week will build calf and thigh strength and maybe (just maybe!) result in a decent half marathon finish time at the Cleveland Rite Aid half marathon.

What is your go-to workout this week?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Odds and Ends

Bridget and I had a wonderful day off compliments of President's Day. We enjoyed the Fairytales and Frogs event at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, where B got to meet Cinderella, dance to Disney Channel tunes, and walk through the rain forest. To top it off, they had cupcakes for all the princes and princesses.

And to finish off what little bit of energy I had, I made a trip to Lowe's on my day off. Anyone who has ever "made a trip to Lowe's" knows that also means you will have great difficulty getting out of bed the next morning. Yep, this would be true. I painted our bedroom AGAIN as the last color 6 weeks ago was not satisfactory. Thank goodness I love how this color turned out because painting is such a brutal task. And what muscles didn't already hurt from running the stairs on Friday, running 5.25 miles on Saturday as well bowling on Saturday, definitely hurt today!

And more good Nike Fuel news: I just hit 100k fuel points!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Meatless Monday: Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas Recipe

Yield: 10 enchiladas
Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 25 min


  • 2 cups cooked sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 15-oz can Trader Joe's Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 4-oz can Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Diced Green Chile
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 jalapeƱos, diced
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 12-oz jar of Trader Joe's Salsa Verde
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, add the sweet potato, black beans, garlic, green chile, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, jalapeƱos, and lime juice. Mix to combine, and add a bit of salt and pepper.
  3. Assemble the enchiladas: Warm the tortillas for a minute in the microwave, or one by one in a skillet. In a large baking dish, spread enough salsa verde to lightly cover the bottom. Add 1/10 of the filling to each tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, and roll it up. Place the enchilada seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat for the remaining tortillas. Top the enchiladas with the remaining salsa verde and cheese.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and tortillas look slightly golden.

Source: Trader Joe's Vegeterian Recipes Cookbook.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fun Stuff in CLE on President's Day

If you're lucky enough to have the President's Day holiday off, there's plenty of wonderful things to do in and around Cleveland. You could:

  1. Go hang out at the Cleveland Aquarium. Sea Monsters - Truth or Tale is the special feature at the Cleveland Aquarium and, at just $19.95 for adults and $13.95 for kids, it's a real value.
  2. Enjoy Fairytales and Frogs at the Cleveland Zoo's Rainforest.  We participated in this event 3 years ago and it was absolute fun.  Bridget dressed up as Sleeping Beauty, which was so cool. Everyone is encouraged to dress like a princess, prince or frog.  We have a Zoo Membership (best money spent!), but daily admission to the Rainforest is just $8.25 for adults and $5.25 for kids.  The Zoo is free on Mondays to Cuyahoga County residents.
  3. Take in the beauty of Orchid Mania at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. Adults are $9.50 and children 3-12 are $4.00.  There's even a chocolate-scented orchid to enjoy.  The Glasshouse has always been my favorite features of the CBG, featuring Costa Rica Rainforest and the Spiny Desert of Madagascar.
  4. Medina Ice Festival for some amazing ice carving and ice wine.
  5. President's Day Extravaganza at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Parents are $12.00 and kids are $6.00 for a day of fun.
  6. Any of the Cleveland Metroparks Reservations for some great hiking. There's a Skunk Cabbage hike from 10-11 a.m., Little Explorers: Winter Birds from 10-11:15 a.m., as well as activities at the Brecksville Nature Center and the Rocky River Nature Center.
So no matter how you spend the day, you can never go wrong by spending it in Cleveland!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

More Fun in the CLE

Pretty busy day in the 216 and I couldn't be happier.  Managed to squeeze in a nice 5.25 mile before noon.  Off to another lunch at Dave & Buster's (Megan and Bridget's favorite place to spend a snowy afternoon).

While in the neighborhood, we stopped in to the Backpacker's Shop for their kick ass winter clearance sale.  Meg got a Patagonia pullover for 40 percent off! B got a Sigg water bottle for 50 percent off and I found a great running top for $20.  Score!

Later, we had the reservations for moonlight bowling at our local bowling alley.  I can't believe how long it's been since I've been bowling, but wow, we had so much fun! Bridget even had a strike! I won the first game, but once again I peaked too early.  Games 2 and 3 were just ugly for me - and thank goodness we had the bumpers on for Bridget because they came in handy for me more than once!

Hope your Saturday was just as fun!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Funny: Fast Food

I'm still laughing over this one!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

I got the best Valentine's Day gift - my whole family was together! Happy Valentine's Day to you and your family!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Workout Wednesday: Yoga

I've been making an effort this year to be more consistent with my yoga practice.  I know...we're just 7 weeks into 2013.  But I find I perform better when I take in yoga on a regular basis.  For work, I find that yoga helps minimize my stress level...and a clear mind is a sharper mind.  For running, yoga keeps my hamstrings stretched and I notice that I perform better on my long runs.

But the hard part is finding the time and a teacher I like.  For the past couple of years, I have enjoyed the classes taught by Jen or Kristen at Inner Bliss.  I recently tried an instructor at a studio in Lakewood.  She was so nice, but I just didn't click.  There was a student in class who asked questions about every 5 minutes and I found it so distracting.  I think it's important to feel comfortable with the instructor to ask questions about whether you're in a pose correctly, but the volume of questions was just so distracting.  And her music just didn't work for me.

Music is an important piece for me.  I love getting lost in a good song.  I remember being in one of Kristen's classes when she played Eddie Vedder's Breathe about half way through and it just felt right. 

I then tried a class near my work during lunch.  It was convenient and priced at $10 a class.  The class was actually not bad, but the music was a bit too spiritual for me.  Just not feeling it here either.

Tara Stiles has been getting a lot of buzz the past couple of years so I checked out a few of her YouTube videos and I'm hooked.  I like her voice, the flow of movement, and I especially like how her videos are geared toward athletes and tight hamstrings.  I found one that's just 7 minutes long and easy to do in the mornings. And best of all, it doesn't cost $10-15 per class.

Hope you're enjoying your workout today, whatever it may be.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Just Registered for My First Race of 2013

While watching the Grammy's Sunday night, I registered for my first race for the year - St. Malachi 5-Mile Run.  I had the best of intentions to get in a snowshoe race in February, but my race was first rescheduled for the following week, then cancelled the night before it was to occur.  Bummer.  But I am excited to be running a well-organized and fun local race.

On another note, I have decided that I want to add being a back-up dancer to Bruno Mars or the tamborine guy in the Lumineers to my list of dream jobs.  Or maybe Jack White's make-up artist (such a talented artist, but what was with his eyes and lips?).  All of these jobs would be way more fun than my day job! I did love that the Black Keys gave a shout-out to Akron.  Such a great duo.

What was your favorite Grammy moment?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Meatless Monday: Quinoa Risotto with Arugula and Parmesan

I came across the Mayo Clinic's health recipes site, which has a division for meatless recipes.  The one I plan to try tonight is Quinoa Risotto with Arugula and Parmesan.  I think it will pair nicely with crusty french bread and maybe a glass of pinot noir. 


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Kids Night at the CAVS Game

On a whim, we decided to grab some seats at the CAVS game since it was Kids Night - all kids received a Cavs t-shirt.  So much fun for B.  She got to meet one of the Cavs cheerleaders, who signed her t-shirt, followed by a Cavs tattoo and red and gold hairspray (yep, that looked awesome at church this morning).  She even made a sign for Moondog.  The game was up and down and up, and sadly ended with a loss for the Cavs.  But we had a great family night.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Most Excellent Day

I ran for 4 wonderful miles, had a great afternoon at the Home and Garden Show, and a delicious Guinness Pint at Flannery's. As Ice Cube said, today was a good day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Funny: Bridget vs. Siri

While we were at a restaurant a few days ago, Bridget was playing games on Greg's phone before our meals arrived.  This is normally uneventful until we heard her talking to Siri.  She's asking Siri to tell her a good joke (she's heard Greg do this before).  Siri replies, "Ok, Greg." At that point, Bridget says, "No, Siri.  I'm Bridget.  Greg's daughter." We laughed because we're pretty sure Bridget doesn't fully understand that Siri isn't alive nor would a 5-year-old understand the concept of artificial intelligence.  But short of that, it sure was funny listening to her explain to Siri her relationship in this family of iPhone owners.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Travel Thursday: Suitcase Struggles

I can't find the RIGHT suitcase.  I've tried...oh, how I've tried.  I've spent bunches and oodles of money hoping that the *next* one would be the *right* one.  I found a fantastic backpack at Target that is perfect for weekend trips.  It's ideal for weekend races in which I'm flying to the destination because it fits in the overhead bins on an Embraer as well as under the seat.  But it's the week-long trips that I'm struggling.  I have purchased at least 3 additional bags and dislike them all.

One bag was considered the top pick on ebags and came with rave reviews.  However, it's really rather uncomfortable when carried. It can be worn as a backpack (yeah, right, if you're a giant).  It came with a handle, but no shoulder strap (I missed that important detail when ordering).  It can't be wheeled.

I bought one suitcase on clearance for $49 and it's ok...but, just ok. And it just feels like a rectangle...a big, inflexible rectangle.

I bought my husband a Tumi carry-on, but when I tried it on a recent 4-day trip, it was the heaviest darn thing when loaded with clothes.  I struggled to pick it up and put it in the overhead bins.

I think I have better success with shoes than I do suitcases.

Do you have a go-to bag that you love?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Workout Wednesday: A New Nike+Fuel Goal Met

It finally happened.  I've had to walk around the house A LOT. The benefit of this doggone thing is that Jameson is going for A LOT more walks.  Bridget is enjoying the jogging stroller again.  I'm not sedentary at work and I'm taking the stairs all the time now. This past Saturday while at Target, Greg commented that he was convinced that the reason we were going up and down the aisles in what appeared to be random chaos is so I could score extra fuel points (I am the poster child of random chaos).

But I finally made it.  I managed to meet my daily points goal 7 out of 7 days this past week. Woohoo! Best of all, I get to relish in my stats.  I can't believe that I logged in 16.9 miles during the week, especially since only a few of those miles were from running.

I think in the Spring, when the weather improves, I might increase my daily fuel points goal.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Delving into a Good Book

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~Anna Quindlen

I came across this reading nook while playing around on Pinterest one day...and adored it.  How lovely to have a space like this to delve into a good book.  It's the kind of place that you could escape, deep into your book, without all the sound, interruptions and clutter from the outside.  I've started reading Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton and I already feel like this is the kind of book that I could spend an entire Saturday enjoying.

So what good books are you reading?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Meatless Monday: Hummus Club Sandwich

I was searching for a good recipe for hummus and came across this incredibly simple one. 

Spread one slice of whole wheat bread with hummus.  Top with Bibb lettuce, tomato slices, sprouts, and red onion slices.  Serve with grapes.  Mmmm...simple, yet yummy!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

That's How I Roll

Doesn't it just figure that I have the *one* kid who loves to ride in the jogging almost age 10 inches of snow! And Jameson, he's happy as a lab can be! Happy Jogging Day, everyone!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Snowshoe Race that Wasn't

I laid out my clothes Friday night to eliminate any excuses for backing out of the snowshoe race. With frigid temps, backing out would be so easy! Before going to bed, I checked the race website one last time. Crap! Race rescheduled. Ok, so no clumsily running in snowshoes.

Since I've been making a serious effort at meeting my Nike fuel points each day, I took Bridget and Jameson out for a walk. B jumped into the jogging stroller, which was SO heavy to push through the 6+ inches of snow. But she and Jay loved the snow and I got in a good workout. Score!

The race has been scheduled for next weekend. I'll once again lay out my clothes and hope for good weather!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Funny: Mad Libs

Who doesn't love Mad Libs?! If you can't get enough, check out iTunes mad lib app for on-the-go laughter.