Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

I hope you all had a great holiday!  My birthday party on Friday was SO fun.  I'm thankful for everyone who came.  Our house got small quick with 20-25 people in it at once :) Christmas was nice.  We stayed home this year with saro's mom, sister and her husband.  I am writing this from my new iPad!  It's really fun.

I got right back on track today.  35 minutes of Pilates and a 20 minute walk in the snow with Murphy.  There is about 3 inches of snow out there.  Maybe we will have a delayed opening at work tomorrow :)

Hoping for a run this weekend.  I got a two mile run in on Sunday morning.  Better than nothing!

Saro's daughters are on their way from PA now.  They'll stay until Sunday or Tuesday so I'm sure we will do something fun with them and celebrate Christmas again!

I am looking forward to another body challenge via Bridal Boot Camp.  Although I'm still following the clean eating and her you tube work outs, I can't say I didn't cheat this weekend!  Beef, potatoes, homemade mac and cheese, cheese and crackers, desserts, wine!  Gosh I love cheese.  It's harder to stay on track during this time of year!  How do you stay motivated?

Have a good night!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Is it Friday yet?

I have been wondering this since Monday morning.  It has been a rough couple of weeks.  On a lighter note, tomorrow is my 29th Birthday and I'll be celebrating with Saro, my cousin & her husband, my sis-in-law & her husband and some of our closest friends.  Instead of going out to dinner, I invited them over for appetizers and drinks.  Here is what I'm making and I will post pictures after the party!

Brie with raspberry in fillo cups
Tomato & mozzarella bites with pesto for dipping
Various cheeses with crackers and rosemary breadsticks
Homemade hummus (Saro makes the best) with celery and carrots
Goat cheese & avocado dip - thanks to my best friend, Ang!
Fruit salsa with cinnamon sugar chips
Cohen's Hors d'oeuvres
Christmas Sangria (white wine, sparkling apple cider, mint, cranberries, apple, orange)

Needless to say, I am not really watching calories tomorrow night but will have a fruit/protein shake for breakfast and a light lunch :)

I am hoping to get a run in this weekend or maybe even Christmas morning if it's decent outside.  Next up - Bridge to 10K, Week 3, Day 1 - Three 17 minute jogs (that's an additional 6 minutes total, compared to week 2).  It doesn't seem like a lot, but it is - LOL.  However, I can remember back in March/April when running 3 minutes seemed like a lot.  It's truly amazing what your body can do and how it can adapt. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bridge to 10K - Week 2, Day 3

Finally!  Tonight's run was not easy though.  I resorted to the treadmill.  I decided I need to set up a fan next to me.  Running in a basement with lack of air/breeze isn't necessarily easy.  I cracked the window down there but it didn't help much.  Anyway, here are my results:

Distance: 5.00 miles
Average pace: 12:05/mi
Duration: 60 minutes
Run pace: 11:50/mi

This is slower than my last few runs BUT my last run this long was 3 weeks ago so I blame it on that and running in a warm basement.  Now that I've run in 90 degree weather and 35 degree weather, I think I prefer the cold!  However, 50-60 is ideal.

I had some leftover chicken and ratatouille for dinner.  We made another big batch 2 days ago.  So easy, healthy and filling!  Yum.

After the holidays I plan on buying some type of light weight but warm jacket to run in, and some ear warmers.

I am not unhappy about tonight's run but I know I can do better.  It felt good to get some frustration out after a rough day.  Goodnight, all!

'Tis the season

I still have not made it down to the track and I'm bummed about it.  I feel like it has been raining for days or the nights I can go, Saro is working late and as mentioned, I'd rather not go alone in the dark.  Tonight I will probably resort to the treadmill and do some Pilates after my THIRD dentist appointment for the same problem!  Grr.

So although I've been on a health kick since March, I love to bake around the holidays.  I'll sneak a few but I like to give them out as little gifts.  So far this year I made chocolate chip coconut macaroons, walnut snowball, and chocolate chip peanut butter cookies.  They came out great if I do say so myself!  Here are a few pictures.  It was my first time baking with real vanilla bean.  I'm not sure I can tell the difference between that and extract except the price, LOL.  So I think I'll stick to extract.

I like all the cute Christmas-y cookies I see recipes for but I don't really have the patience for cookie cutters and then decorating them, haha.  Last year I make red and green swirl cookies from a Pinterest recipe - super cute but difficult to make, especially with all the butter the recipe called for.  On Sunday when I baked, I put the chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge for about 2 hours and I found this helped the cookies to not spread out on the sheet as much.  I baked them for only 9 minutes and they came out nice and soft.  I'll remember this for next time.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Flyin' week!

This week is flying - which is a good thing!  I'm super busy at work and have been busy outside of work too.  Last night we had our monthly girls night get together.  We've been doing this for a little over 2 years now.  We went to a Cuban restaurant.  Since I'm on a 4 week body challenge, I tried to keep it simple.  We all split an appetizer sampler and I got the carribean salad with skirt steak.  I REALLY wanted the shrimp with coconut lime sauce but I opted for the healthier choice.  This morning, I switched up my breakfast to a shake.  It was 1 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk, about 1/4 cup bluberries, 1/4 cup frozen raspberries and 1/2 cup frozen peaches with a heaping tbsp of vanilla protein powder.  I drank it on the way to work and it kept me full until about 10:30.  I usually have an apple or celery around then.  Today was an apple with all natural peanut butter - Smuckers.  The label should only read "peanuts" if you want the real stuff.

I'm finding it harder to get runs in, during the week especially since it's dark by 4:30!  Saro usually works 1-2 late nights per week and I don't feel safe going without him.  There are usually other people down at the track but I don't know - with my headphones on and focusing on running, you just never know.  I guess I'm paranoid.  I love the winter, snow, and cold weather but this year I'm looking forward to Spring already!

The treadmill isn't the same, although it'll do for now.

Tonight we'll be having steak and vegetables for dinner.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Happy Sunday, all!  I never got around to week 2, day 3 of Bridge to 10K last week.  It was a really hectic week!  This weekend was fun.  Saro's daughters were here and it was Caitlin's 16th Birthday.  We celebrated with sushi and Red Mango for dessert :)  Today I worked and did my twice monthly trip to Shop Rite.  I usually dread going because A) I work part time in a supermarket on Sunday mornings so I've already spent some time in a store and B) The Shop Rite I go to, as most Shop Rites are, is very busy at around noon on Sundays.  I like to go and get it out of the way so Sunday afternoon/evening I can do other things like clean and cook :)  Before Saro left to take the girls back to PA, I said "I'm going to rest after I vacuum."  His reply? "I vacuumed yesterday."  Yes!  Thank you...  I thought to myself.  So I decided to work out but didn't head outside because it's cold and rainy and I felt like staying in.  Instead I did about 25 minutes of Pilates and then jogged 3.1 (5K) on the treadmill.  I finished in 35 minutes.  I even had to open the window down there because it's warm with the furnace being near the treadmill.  Overall I'm happy with the results.  I'm hoping to get down to the track one night this week with Saro.

Tonight Saro made us ratatouille (eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and tomatoes).  It came out really good and we have leftovers for the week!  We try to only cook 2-3x a week so we have leftovers for 1-2 days.  It helps with our busy schedules.

Christmas is only 16 days away - it came SO fast this year.  Thankfully, I'm almost done shopping.. just a few more things to pick up.  Speaking of that, I think I will wrap some of Saro's gifts and get them under the tree before he gets home.

Have a great week!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Half Marathon in San Francisco?

Saro and I are thinking about training for a half marathon in June in San Francisco.  We'd make it a vacation too.  We love San Francisco and figure we have 6 months to get ready for 13.1 miles.  We are pretty close to 6 miles in about 1 hour now, so I think we can definitely do 13.1 in 3 hours (you have to finish in 3 hours or else you don't receive a medal) :)  It's called the Wipro San Francisco marathon.  They have a full marathon, two half marathons and a 5K.  Here's the link if you want to read more about it.

I'm going to read more about training for a half and then we will decide for sure but as of now, it's looking promising.  I always like to have something to look forward to and this is a great, positive goal.

I don't see myself getting to the point of running a whole marathon but hey, I didn't think I'd be at this point either - wanting to run 13.1 miles.  One day at a time.  What helps me is good music.  Sometimes I want to stop and then a good song comes on which allows me to keep going even further.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Deck the halls!

Well, I did not have a chance to run this weekend but I plan on going tomorrow.  I heard it is supposed to be 68 degrees!  That is very warm for December in New Jersey.  This week I am looking forward to NO double shifts and a cookie swap with friends on Thursday night :)  This weekend we decorated our house.  Here are a few pictures.  Thanks to my Mom for giving me *some* of her ornaments and decorations.  She has a TON of great Christmas stuff.  We went to the local YMCA on Friday night to pick up a fresh tree and garland for outside.  I have to say it's probably the best real tree I've had!  Not one needle fell off while decorating.  It's very healthy and full!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Butternut squash "sauce"

Okay, so I stole this from my trainer friend, Daniela but it came out really good and I wanted to share.  I added sauteed spinach to it and poured it over pepper seasoned grilled chicken.  It boomed with flavor!

One butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes (or buy the pre cut package)
Two broccoli crowns
1-2 garlic cloves
1 cup chicken stock
olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut broccoli into florets and lay them along with the butternut squash on a sheet pan.  Drizzle olive oil over them and season with the salt and pepper.  Mix thoroughly until well coated.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes.  Place vegetables, garlic and chicken stock into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Very yummy and healthy!!

Here is a picture:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday to Murphy

The shelter said his birthday was November 28th, 2011 but that's just a guess because they don't really know exactly how old they are when they get them.  Our dog Murphy is a German Shepherd/collie mix.  His body and features resemble that of a German Shepherd mostly but his coloring is more collie, we suppose.  He is a great dog and super fun.  Our guess is that he's about 75 lbs now.  He loves going to dog camp, bully sticks, Happy Hips treats and chewing on towels.  Just yesterday, he chewed up his crate mat that was on TOP of his crate.  He somehow grabbed it and when I got home from work, the stuffing from it was everywhere.  To date, that's the worst thing he's done!  He's tan and white.  Here's a collage :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

B210K, Week 2, Days 1 & 2

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!

Here are the last two runs.  One was on Black Friday and the other was Sunday afternoon.  I had the option to go to a friends for Football Sunday but Sunday's are the only time I really get to be at home or to do things I enjoy, or have to do (clean, laundry, etc).  I like starting a new work week with a clean house and not much to worry about.  Also, I know if I go, I will drink beer and eat bad foods which I'm trying to avoid.  I guess it's a lame excuse for not spending time with friends.  I suppose I need more self control.

My results from 11/23/12:
Distance: 5.25 mi
Average pace: 10:57/mi
Duration: 57:29

My results from 11/25/12:
Distance:  5.86 mi
Average pace: 9:43/mi (big difference from two days prior!)
Duration: 57:00
It was very cold.. about 37 degrees and the sun was setting.  After mile #1, I warmed up and it became easier to keep going.

I'm going to invest in some good winter work out clothes.  The running store, where I got my sneakers recommend non cotton clothes and socks because when you sweat, it just sticks to you.

I am very happy with these results.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Back on Track...

...eating wise.  After throwing all of our food out due to losing power after Hurricane Sandy, we were eating out a lot.  I was waiting to food shop because we then had a snow storm!  I was afraid we'd lose power again.  Then we had company from CA and France for Saro's sisters wedding so that was more eating out, drinking wine, etc.  I signed up for another body challenge with my friend Daniela who owns and runs Bridal Boot Camp.  I have to say I've been pretty good since probably March (when we started running).  We cut back extremely on pasta, bread, ice cream, etc.  It's really about making lifestyle changes and not just doing a diet for a month and then stopping.  What's the point then?  I notice the more carbs and sugar I eat, the more hungry I am.  Example - we went out for Greek last night.  We had a few appetizers and then I had grilled chicken with pita.  I woke up STARVING this morning.  I just had two eggs and a slice of Ezikiel bread for breakfast.  Around 11 I'll have some fruit.  I know Thanksgiving is Thursday and my HS reunion is Wednesday but I will try to be as good as possible.

On another note, we went to see Loni Love at Levity Live in Nyack on Saturday with some friends.  Sydney Castillo was also there and both were super funny.  At one point, tears were coming down my face because that's how hard I was laughing.  Here is a picture:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bridge to 10K - Week 1, Day 3

What a hectic few weeks it has been!  Between the storms, family visiting for Saro's sisters wedding (which was amazing), work, etc.  Last night we went down to the track for Week 1, Day 3 of Bridge to 10K.  Again it was a warm up walk for 5 minutes (this is about 1.25 laps), Run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute, run 10, walk 1, run 10, walk 1, run 10, walk 5.  Here are the results:

Distance: 5.01 miles
Time: 53:03
Run Pace: 9:52/mi
Walk pace: 13:29/mi
Average pace: 10:35/mi

I'm happy with these results!  I found it a bit hard to run in the cold weather as it was about 40 degrees last night.  I wore pants, a long sleeved shirt and a sweatshirt.

I am hoping to stick with it throughout the Winter, depending on the weather conditions outdoors.  If it's super cold (below 30), I will probably stick with the treadmill although I am not a fan.  I like the track or running on flat streets - at least there is scenery!'

I also signed up for an at home body challenge which begins next Monday, the 19th.  A girl I went to high school with started her own side business, Bridal Boot Camp.  In the spring/summer, she offers boot camp once a week in a local park, so I did that from June-Oct.  Plus, she has some You Tube videos which I've done a bunch of times at home.  I did another body challenge of hers about a month ago and lost a few lbs and inches.  It's a tiered eating plan and each week will be different.  I'm already looking forward to it since I had some "practice" during the last one.  It's not a diet but rather learning what to eat and what to avoid.  She says to have one cheat meal per week, avoid alcohol during the week, LOTS of veggies and some carbs (yams, brown rice, Ezikiel bread, etc).

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bridge to 10K - Week 1, Day 2

Good evening!  I completed Bridge to 10K's week 1, day 2 on Tuesday, November 6th.  We have a treadmill in our basement so I figured I'd use that since it's getting cold outside.  After two weeks off, it was pretty tough.  Between the storm and other stuff going on, I haven't been as active as I'd like to be.  I did 3.5 miles in 45 minutes.  Day 1 was 5 miles in 50 minutes so quite a big difference!  It's okay though.  I am hoping to get a run in this weekend since it's supposed to be in the 60s!  However, it is my sister in law's wedding which I'm really excited for!!  Maybe I can squeeze it in Saturday morning.

Thankfully I have had no knee pain since my tendonitis issue a few months ago.  I have bunions on both feet though, and they are sometimes painful, especially after a run.  I wear protective gel pads which helps somewhat.

I haven't signed up for a 10K yet but hopefully in the Spring.   I'm sure there aren't many in the winter.  10K=6.2 miles so I can see it taking a few months for me to get there.

On another note, I haven't food shopped since we threw out ALL of our food during Hurricane Sandy.  The only things in the fridge are - milk, eggs, half and half, egg whites, yogurt, an onion, two potatoes and some condiments that were saved.  Only ice in the freezer.  I was waiting until the NOR'EASTER passed before doing a big shop.  However, now it will wait until after the wedding weekend :)  Tonight's dinner was lentil soup (Alessi brand which is really good) and some leftover Italian bread with butter.  Sometimes you just work with what you have!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy came and went...

...but she's still lingering.  The effects of Sandy are unspeakable and needless to say, running has been on hold since October 24th.  I've tried to remain somewhat active by walking and doing some clean up in our yard.  I hope to jog at some point this weekend.  It's going to get harder as it gets colder out.  I might need one of those face mask warmers.  Here are some photos of our yard post Sandy:

Most of this has been cleaned up since Wednesday.  We are glad that no one was hurt and there was no damage to the house.  I'm thinking about all of those tragically or severly hurt from this storm.  Mother nature....

Friday, October 26, 2012


Apparently our area is expecting "Frankenstorm" early next week.  We had an ice storm last Halloween and now this?!  I am sure work will be TONS of fun (sarcasm) this weekend.  I work part time at a supermarket.  We don't know why people stock up on perishable foods.  We are expecting to lose power and all of that food will go to waste.  Stock up on other things - water, canned soup, pb&j.  Just some words of advice from someone who has been in this business for 12 (!) years and has experienced dozens of times where customers panic due to do a storm :)

On another note, my shins are pretty sore so I think I'm going to rest today and tomorrow.  Running 2-3x a week is plenty for me, especially now that we're increasing mileage.

The scale hasn't moved in 2-3 weeks but overall I am happy with the 12 lb I've lost in the last few months.  This time of year is tough with the holidays and all the delicious foods.  Plus, I love to bake!  I have to say I usually don't eat what I bake though.  I'll have a piece but I'd rather give it away.

I came across this some e-card this morning and couldn't agree more.  Christmas comes earlier and earlier each year!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bridge to 10K - Week 1, Day 1

Hello everyone!  Well, we (my boyfriend, Saro) headed to the middle school track for week 1, day 1 of Bridge to 10K (a phone app).  It picks up where Couch to 5K leaves off.  We completed our first 5K back in June.  Shortly after, I had a knee injury (tendonitis) which prevented me from running for a couple months.  I could do a few laps but that was it.  I let it rest while still keeping active by doing other things - yoga, pilates, and some of Jillian Michael's DVDs.  My knee hasn't hurt in a good month or so, so I decided I wanted to keep going with my running journey.

Week 1, Day 1 was : Warm up walk 5 minutes, jog 10 minutes, walk 1 minute, jog 10 minutes, walk 1 minute, jog 10 minutes, walk 1 minute, jog 10 minutes, cool down walk 5 minutes.  I thought - hmm, I don't think I'll make it.  That's 40 minutes of running and I have only done about 30.  Adding an extra 10 minutes is a lot - close to another mile!  Well, 50 minutes and 4.91 miles later, we did it!  We were at each other's side the whole time and it was very motivating that way.  Saro can run a little faster than me and I kept up.  I find that when I'm alone, I run slower but I KNOW I can go a little faster.  Last night was just over 10 minutes/mile which to me, is good.  I just purchased new Brooks and arch inserts which made it a lot easier as well.  I was wearing the wrong type of shoe for my feet/step.  I went to Fleet Feet in Mahwah on Monday and watched myself run on the treadmill (they video tape you and then replay it for you) and my ankle was leaning in pretty bad.  The Brooks have a special insert to prevent that and I purchased arch supports as well.  The owner said they recommend getting new shoes every 350 miles.

Week 1, Day 2 and 3 are the same as yesterday's work out.  I think it's true what people have said - the 1st 2 miles are a warm up.  They seem to be the toughest but then that runner's high kicks in and you want to keep going.  I'm feeling good today.  My chins are aching a little bit but I also did a tough Jillian DVD on Tuesday night so it could be from that too.

Have a great Thursday!