Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking back on 2010

As so many bloggers are doing, I wanted to take a look back at this year and some of my best posts or life events. When I was trying to brainstorm what really happened this year, I couldn't think of much until I went back to my archives.

One thing I love about blogging (in addition to the amazing community), is the ability it allows me to capture moments in life and keep them online to look back on. A paper journal couldn't hold a candle to a blog in this department. So for what it's worth, here's a quick recap of some of the highs (and lows) of 2010.

In 2010, I ...

gave my 30 day notice to my landlord and officially moved in with the manfriend. As they say, things got more serious.

planned a weekend getaway with a bunch of my high school girlfriends. We will soon be repeating this trip on MLK weekend in the exact same cabin as we rented last year!

brought you lots of Fun Fact Friday posts on fashion, my inner most thoughts and Movember.

rode another 75 mile supported bike ride (by myself...ahem, manfriend)

dealt with some hammy issues during my Portland Marathon training. Luckily, I decided I still loved running.

drove down the 101 through the Redwoods with the manfriend to see two good friends from college get hitched in Monterey.

packed up and flew off to Nashville to see Kristin and Barley.

baked up some delicious treats

ran my 5th full marathon (and 2nd Portland Marathon) in pouring.down.rain. and met up with two fabulous blogger friends to boot!

After looking back through my archives and being reminded of all these events, epic weekends, and fond memories, I'm realizing 2010 was jam packed with greatness. I can only hope the next year will bring more of the same and some interesting challenges as well.

I have some more scheming to do for my 2011 goals so I'll let you know once I've got that figured out. Hopefully, it will be sometime before 2012. ;)

Now go ahead, try it. Click back through a few months of your 2010 archives. Tell me one or two good surprises you forgot about. And, what are you most looking forward to in the year to come?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Visions of peanut butter blossoms (and sunsets)

It's no lie, I'm still having visions of these dance in my head.

There were a few of these here and there...

but mostly lots of these (in 3s). Three for breakfast, three after lunch and a few more for dessert.

I'm already missing the view of the frozen lake and a beautiful sunset.

I managed to fit in a 3+ miler this morning in 14 degree temps. I was proud of myself, but running in 50 degree weather is more my style.

We're back in Chicago now and heading out to sushi shortly. Man, I love a city with so many BYOB restaurants. It makes a night of celebration a wee less painful on the pocketbook. Does your city have BYOB restaurants?

On the 25 Days of Yoga front: While it may have seemed to go unnoticed, we actually finished 25 days straight of yoga (for those of us participating)! Yippee! I definitely feel like I've made stretching more of a habit because I was forced to do yoga each day. I also think my arms and abs are a little stronger for it, and my hammy may be just a wee bit happier. Did you see any change?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Who else needs a little detox?

Whew! If only those cookies wouldn't keep staring at me and jumping into my mouth! We're having a great time relaxing and enjoying our vacation, but I won't lie, I'm looking forward to being cookie free.

Luckily, it's just the nature of the holidays. You eat a little much because it's just what you do. Yesterday, for example, I had about 3 cookies for my first breakfast and then about 3 more that afternoon, in addition to other snacks, dinner and a piece of pumpkin cheesecake.

So, what's my big plan for holiday detox? Not a whole lot. We'll lay off the sweets and alcohol for a bit (it's amazing what a drink or two here and there will do) and focus more on veggies and protein.

Another piece of my big plan is to not step on the scale for a week or so. Ultimately, I know there are 5 or so extra lbs hanging around, but I don't need to see it on the scale. I'll let our nutrition and activity regulate and the scale will come right along with it.

One thing I'm proud of, is that I've made exercise a priority on this trip. Sometimes, I guilt myself out of doing something that's so important to me because others don't want to. But this trip, I've exercised 5 out of the 5 full days we've been here. Four runs and one indoor cross training workout.

Are you due for a holiday detox?

We're heading to Kalamazoo, MI to see the manfriend's sister and take a little tour of the town. I hear it's about the same size as Eugene, OR.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Meeeeerry Christmas!

We are enjoying some cozy downtime in the manfriend's parent's house watching Christmas movies (and ESPN), smelling the sweet scents of holiday cookies and chatting.

Yesterday, after arriving and napping to try to revive myself in this new time zone, I decided to hit the streets for a little run. I felt so tired (almost drunk like), the freezing wind on my face and the ice and snow under my feet was just what I needed. Finished off 5 or so miles in 43 minutes.

This morning, we both wanted to get out for another run to ward off those treats we'll be consuming today. After some coffee and a cookie, we headed out into the cold.

My legs were really feeling it after the past two days of pavement runs and long, busy days. We called it quits a bit early with 30 min and 3.6 or so miles under our belts. Good enough, I say.

The manfriend's parents live on a small lake in Michigan, which is currently frozen/snowed over. Although the white stuff isn't falling from the sky, I'll consider this a White Christmas.

It's pretty cold out there. After standing outside taking photos with no gloves on, my hands were bright red. I think I'll stay inside for the remainder of the day, unless snow decides to make an appearance. :)

I hope you and your family are having a great day! I'm trying to keep up with my family on the west coast via text. My pumpkin cheesecake is ready to put in the fridge and the manfriend's mom is making peanut butter blossoms. The house smells divine! Are you contributing anything fun to your Christmas feast? Was Santa good to you?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Streets of Chicago

Last night we arrived at the manfriend's brother and wife's house just in time for some healthy snackage and wine. Vegetables, apple slices and goat cheese filled dates was just what we needed after eating only pretzels, nuts and candy on the plane all day.

Next, it was on to a three course meal that included butternut squash soup, a citrus salad (grapefruit and orange slices on top) and butternut squash lasagna. Our contribution was Trader Joe's joe joes (peppermint oreos) of course.

We crashed about 11 pm and slept for 9 glorious hours. I could have slept longer, but a run was calling my name. The manfriend graciously joined me on a 5 mile run around the neighborhoods on some icy/snowy sidewalks. It was just what these airplane legs needed. In the last five minutes, the manfriend played "Drop Lauren like it's hot" with his speed. It was all I could do to keep up.

After blueberry pancakes and showers, we headed downtown to do some shopping and look at the festive holiday decorations and lights.

The stores were packed with last minute shoppers. We walked up and down Michigan Ave, to the bean, etc. We were unlucky enough to have the worst lunch ever. Apparently some delis don't understand that condiments are necessary for a sandwich. My turkey sandwich consisted of wheat bread and mustard, no lettuce, no tomato, no mayo, NOTHIN.

After a few hours and a few miles of walking, we were pretty tuckered out. Fun tidbit: the bean (above) had a layer of snow on top. Luckily, the temps haven't been too bad. 30 degrees is doable for this Oregon girl. We're ordering pizza now because we're feeling too lazy to head out on the town again.

I can't believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve! It definitely doesn't feel like it when you're not in your usual routine. But the frenzied shoppers and the decorated store fronts made it clear Christmas is here. Tomorrow morning we head over to the manfriend's parents' house via train. See ya on the flip side!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The friendly skies

Oy vey! We woke up this morning at 3:30 AM (if you could call that morning) to catch our flight. After taking public transportation from my brother's apartment to the airport, checking our bags and going through security, we're now safely seated at Starbucks.

A perfect oatmeal w/ all the toppings and a banana from home was the perfect breakfast. And let's not forget some coffee (for him) and orange blossom tea (for her). Now we're just watching weary pajama-clad travelers mosey through the airport.

I'll check back in later on during our trip with fun Chicago photos, hopefully. But for now, I'll leave you with this: when we get on the plane and are taking off, I'm going to surprise the manfriend with a digital camera! I'm pretty sure he has no clue. We weren't really getting presents for each other this year because we bought our plane tickets to the midwest.

I'll let ya know how it goes! Hope your week is going well. My two day week was surprisingly productive and not too rough.

Have you ever surprised someone with an exciting gift?

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Santa's Helper

It was a busy weekend filled with baking, laughing, runners partying, volunteering for less fortunate children, an early Christmas, running in a monsoon and then driving under blue skies.

It was festive, fun and exhausting. I can't wait for vacation to be here. Thank goodness for two day weeks!

Don't take any fashion advice from me. I'll be lounging in my new pj's and figuring out how to make Dansko clogs look like cool Chicago footwear during our vacation.

In attempting to pack for the midwest, I've realized I only own thin little cotton type sweaters. Layers, here I come. Are you doing anything special this year for the holidays? What are you most looking forward to?

I'm looking forward to seeing the manfriend's family and having some much needed down time. And don't you worry, I'll be continuing that 25 Days of Yoga! I've noticed my shoulders and abs are definitely getting stronger.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Cookiestravaganza

Last night, my friend Jenn and I had plans to do some holiday baking. It was a fun excuse to get together (she lives 2hrs away), use lots of butter, and sing Christmas carols while covering cookies with powdered sugar.

The 3 cookies we baked were:
-peppermint sugar cookies
-almond/butter/flour snow balls (I don't remember the real name)
-gingersnaps w/ red and white sugar

Because the cookie making was going to take a while, the manfriend picked up two delite (thin crust) Papa Murphy's take n bake pizzas. Hit the spot for two busy bakers and a manfriend. Now on to the baking...

I got the peppermint sugar cookie idea from who else but We Are Not Martha. Jenn and I however used a box mix of Betty Crocker's sugar cookies, added the appropriate butter and egg and then added the mint extract and the crushed candy cane. Sometimes, shortcuts are perfectly fine.

I'm not usually a sugar cookie fan, but these are just right.

Someone (me) forgot about a batch of sugar cookies in the oven. Who likes the burnt ones?

For the snow balls, we realized sprinkling powdered sugar on them wasn't so pretty. Because I don't have a sieve, we improvised by using my loose leaf tea strainer! It totally worked.

Yep, they look just like the photo on the recipe.

Give me gingerbread anything and I'll love you forever.

And the final product! Jenn bought these cute Martha Stewart Boxes from Macy's.

It was about 11 PM when we finally wrapped up the baking and started cleaning up one hell of a messy kitchen. I was ready to pass out. The end.

In case you missed Mama Pea's adorable peppermint wreath making video, please watch it. For the sake of cute kids and spoiled dinners everywhere. Happy Christmas! I hope you're baking something festive this weekend!

Now I'm off to tackle a vegetarian lasagna for a runner holiday party tonight and a pumpkin cheesecake for tomorrow. Whew. When's nap time??

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fun Fact Friday: a winter edition

In honor of some chilly temps we've been having around these parts lately (27 degrees this am when I walked the dog), I thought it might be fun to do a winter-inspired version. Here in Oregon, we don't get much snow or seriously bad weather, but there are a few things that remind me it's winter. Often times it's something running related.

I know it's winter when...

1. Those cheapo $1 gloves just don't quite cut it anymore. Must buy running gloves.
2. I can't tell if my face is cold during a run from sweat or the wind
3. I have to defrost the car for a few minutes to remove ice from the windshield
4. I don't feel too guilty about driving to work
5. Long running tights are a necessity
6. Eating out sounds like a good idea every night of the week
7. Cookies or something sweet are baked at least once a week
8. All I want to buy is boots

What reminds you its winter? I'm jealous of all you snow runners. I'm crossing my fingers I get a snow run in while visiting the manfriend's family in Michigan.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just Bust a Move

Tonight's workout was a focused one. I left work shortly after 5 to jet over to the gym. With a wine tasting date with friends at 7:30, I wanted to get a serious workout in, go home, shower, eat and drive to the wine bar in a short amount of time.

Whew! With a little focus and some planning, I got my sweat on even though I was missing Lifeforce Fit.

The workout:

Treadmill - 16 min, 1.6 miles run
Weight lifting - 30 min
Spinning - 15 min
Treadmill - 11 min, 1 mile run

Weight lifting routine:
-tricep kickback (3 sets, 15 reps)
-bent over rows
-weighted squats (12lbs, 12lbs, 15 lbs)
-obliques w/ weights (24 lbs, 12lbs)
-decline ab crunch (2 sets)
-push ups
-assisted pull ups and dips (2 sets each, 55lbs assist)
-hamstring curl (12 reps: 50lbs, 55lbs)
-side plank (2 sets, both sides)

Tonight, I noticed that with a short amount of time and the goal of getting an equally tough workout as Lifeforce Fit, I was really forced to push it. My heart rate stayed elevated during the weights and I felt my muscles working.

In just 75 minutes, I had sweat a ton, checked off both cardio and weights and had time to freshen up! For some reason, I can easily stay at the gym forever. 90 minutes just flies by for me.

Okay, chugging water now. Time for sleep. The wine was just too good tonight. I don't think I'll be making it to that 6:30 am hot yoga class.

Do you lift weights? In case you missed it, Emily from the Front Burner wrote an awesome post about the weight room and how important weight lifting is to your fitness. Just bust a move!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On flexibility, the wheel & cranberry muffins

Because of the chaos in life and work in general, I've been lacking in focused posting lately. Perhaps you've noticed. Anywho, that will change in the new year. It has to.

The wheel: the pose I really want to work on. It's so good for you and while I can do it, I can't stay too long. My goal is to really work on my back flexibility and arm and leg strength in this pose.

One thing I've been thinking about lately is flexibilty and not in the yoga sense. With so many social events coming up, I've found myself overwhelmed with trying to fit it all in without letting my workouts slide. I don't know how parents with full time jobs and children do it!

In some ways, it's great because I don't just let anything get in the way of my fitness and health. But on the other hand, mentally, it might not be the best way to operate.

For 2011, I've been thinking that I'd like to work toward being a little more flexible. I won't be throwing my routine out the window, but giving up a little workout occasionally (and listening to the manfriends suggestions now and then) couldn't hurt me. Or maybe I'll just have to become a morning workout chica.

Tonight I whipped up these vegan cranberry walnut muffins after dinner. They're definitely a semi sweet breakfasty type muffin.

I'm planning to heat one or two of these up tomorrow and throw a little peanut butter on top. Mmm...

Have you been thinking about your goals for 2011 yet? I've never really stuck to my resolutions, but it is nice to have something to work on. Apparently, if you write it down, you make it happen?

Song of the night: Feliz Navidad

What's your favorite Christmas song?