Sunday, May 30, 2010

Double Dead Legs

Happy Memorial Day weekend all! I hope you're maxing and relaxing as much as possible. And on to how I got double dead legs...

Friday, I rode to work to snag a free donut and coffee on the bike path (local event at which I donated $5 toward breast cancer research) and of course to get the exercise and save the planet. During the lunch hour, I hopped on over to the gym to do a nice 20 min aqua jogging session. I got home around 4pm and decided to take Jonah Bell (dog) for a short run in the sun. Three miles later, we were sweaty and tired.

I didn't have intentions of doing this the day before my long run. But when manfriend and I started chatting about our weekend plans, it became apparent that Saturday should be my LR day. We promptly headed to our favorite Italian restaurant, Beppe and Gianni's Trattoria.

Image found here.

The restaurant is just the perfect comfort, cozy and classy for a relaxing date night. And what goes better with carb loading than a good bottle of red? Not much.

Saturday, I woke up a little parched from the vino. I chugged some water, had some coconut black tea and ate my Kashi cereal. An hour and a half later, I was out for my 12 mile run. And I tell ya, from the minute I started it felt like disaster. The legs were having none of this running stuff. The running, swimming and biking on Friday MAY have been overkill.

But I kept pounding the pavement thinking okay, maybe I can do six and do a long run on Monday? Around 3.5 miles the legs miraculously found some new life and I chugged up into the hilly trails. I even managed to run one of the steep parts of the trail that I often walk.

What worked for me was counting down from 60 (like seconds), telling myself I could walk if I wasn't up the hill in 60. Amazing how hard a 60 sec hill seems when you don't force yourself to run it. What mind tricks do you play to keep yourself moving when your body just wants to stop?

I got back to my car with 12 miles done in 1hr 50min, did some much needed stretching in the grass and headed home to make myself this beautiful bowl of goodness...

Instead of making a sandwich, I had the brilliant idea to microwave brown rice, black beans and broccoli and then add red and green bell peppers, greek yogurt and a little bit of cheddar cheese. I also used Food Should Taste Good multigrain chips to scoop with. This was such a tasty and nutritious recovery meal.

In all actuality, this post should be named triple or quadruple dead legs because today I did a semi epic ride with the manfriend. If I'm ever able to upload photos from my non iphone, I'll show you. End of story, legs should be donezo (done, finished, no more) tomorrow. But of course, I have schemes of a run or ride on the brain.

I hope everyone has a fabulous DAY OFF! If only every week could be four days long with three day weekends. In my dreams...

Friday, May 28, 2010

What I'm loving this week...

I appreciated my ability to rest for a few days when I was sick. Marathon training is going to start shortly and I know my body needs to be in tip top shape for that mileage.

I really liked A's skirt and low slung belt this week. It just feels summery and fun, yet put together.

I was humored when I asked my running coach for suggestions on my hamstring tightness and she said that 75% of women who think they have a hamstring issue actually have a hip misalignment that can be corrected by a chiropractor or physical therapist. Manfriend swears by chiros so it looks like that's where I might be heading shortly.

I loved this girl's attitude. Who would spend their day in a bad mood if you said an affirmation like this each morning??

I don't love that J.Crew shipped my package of adorable cropped pants and jacket to Lake Forest, IL where I do not, have not and most likely will not ever live. J.Crew, step it up.

And finally, I love that it's Friday and I have a no stress sunny weekend ahead. Manfriend will be bike racing, I'll be spectating, we'll be hiking, I'll be running and we'll be bbqing.

What are you loving?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Seriously the best buns you'll ever taste

Today I bring you...May Day Buns at the end of May!

Thanks to the Transplanted Baker, I had the opportunity to test my hand at dare I say the best baked good I've ever made? Well, the sweet potato cheesecake with maple whipped cream comes pretty close, but for a pastry, these May Day Buns are not to be dismissed.

Why you ask? Well friends, I must profess that it's all in the cardamom (and the sour cream and blueberries). Before Sunday, I'd not touched a recipe with cardamom. I ran to the store (literally) and bought 1 tablespoon of the stuff because and entire container was $15. This spice I tell you is quite strong when you first take a whif, but baked in, it's truly something amazing.

But first, you must be patient. There is lots of dough rising time necessary.

And don't skimp on the butter. I'm usually guilty of such an act, but not this time.

The recipe called for straight blueberries, but because I was using mine from a Costco bag of blueberries, raspberries and marionberries, I allowed some of the other berries to sneak in.

Before baking with a little sugar sprinkled on top...

Piping hot from the oven...

Once you pop one of these into your mouth, you'll be happy you spent a few days babysitting this dough. I honestly proclaimed that this was the tastiest pastry I'd ever made with my own two hands. The pairing of sour cream with blueberries and cardamom is something divine.

What is your favorite pastry that you can make yourself or that buy at your favorite bakery? Oh and I forgot to mention that these things are really healthy. Hello...sour cream (calcium) and blueberries (fruit and antioxidants). Nevermind the butter.

Who else is happy it's almost FRIDAY?! Doing anything fun this weekend? We Oregonians are just hoping this monsoon breaks sometime before Memorial Day Weekend. And I wouldn't mind a little sunshine and a hike.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Far too tired and exercising serious restraint

It's true, I'm far too tired for blogging. It's to the point where my head hurts...but then again, maybe that's the sickness talking. Either way, I managed to force myself NOT to workout for a second day in a row, although I did go to work today.

Well, if you don't count a few little yoga sessions, a 30 min bike ride and a few walks. But, seriously, I had to restrain myself from heading off to the gym after work. I'm weird like that. Instead, I drove directly to our local take-n-bake pizza joint and picked up a delite (thin crust and light on the cheese) pizza for the manfriend and I.

I drove home, baked it and we watched The Princess and the Frog and we liked it. Yes, apparently I'm five. And apparently my Netflix queue is empty so I need your help again, blends (recently learned that stands for blog + friends). Whatcha got for me?

Okay, it's officially time for me to face plant into bed. Night!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Black Bean Fiesta Burgers

I woke up this morning with a bad sore throat. Perhaps that's why I was in dire need of a nap last night around 7pm? So, I stayed home today to rest up. I'm not very good at resting, but today I did a decent job of laying low, reading, watching the Grey's Anatomy finale (holy intense!) and trying not to do anything strenuous.

Tonight, I was set on making something new for dinna. I settled on black bean fiesta burgers! I used a few different recipes to make mine.

In the mix:
1 can rinsed black beans
1/2 can corn
1/4 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 red and green bell pepper
1 egg white
1/4 c dried bread crumbs (1 piece dry bread)
1/4 c or less of shredded cheese
chili powder
garlic powder
salt and pepper

First cook the onions in some olive oil for 5 min, then add the rest to cook for a few more minutes.

Let things cool a bit and transfer it all to a bowl. Here you'll add the egg white or whole egg and the shredded cheese and mix well.

Next, squish the patties together and place them on a greased pan to cook for 4-5 min per side.

Then put them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-15 min for a crisper black bean fiesta burger! And add some sliced sweet potato for your side.

We had ours on Oroweat whole wheat buns w/ tomato, avocado, more cheese, mustard and ketchup inside. This burger has great flavor and packs a punch of protein. It would also be great on top of a bed of rice or lettuce.

This was fun new recipe to try. I'm currently watching The Bachelorette and some of these guys seem ridiculously cheesey. Did anyone else watch it? I just hope Ali doesn't get charmed by one of the duds. Okay, this sickie needs her rest. Off to bed!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Never enough limes...

Instead of boring you with one of those posts about how a few of us left the party with tears rolling down our faces, or how we couldn't really say anything other than "bye," I'll tell you about key lime pie. That's waaaay more exciting, right?!

For starters, it has one of the easiest ingredient lists...

Graham cracker crust (buy one or make it w/ graham crackers, butter and sugar)
5 egg yolks
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup lime juice
zest of half a lime

First you bake the pie crust for 8 min at 375 and then let cool. Next, make the filling and pour it into the crust. Bake for 8 minutes. Let it cool and put it in the fridge or freezer until 15 min prior to serving. Whipped cream is optional.

It takes a lot of eggs...

Beware: it also takes A LOT of limes to get 1 cup of lime juice. I didn't have enough juice with 6 limes and it didn't come out quite limey enough for my tastebuds.

But the best thing by far, is how cute it looks when you slice little pieces of lime on top.

And finally, one of my favorite photos from Kristin's going away party. Yes, I decided it was necessary to make her a tube top made out of streamers.

On the workout front, I fit in an early 4 miler today, which was fast and hard on the legs. After work, I busted out 25 minutes on the Precor (elliptical w/ arms type machine), a tough 30 min lifting session and I even made time for stretching. It does a body good, I tell ya. I'm reminded that every time I actually listen to my body and make myself stretch for 5+ min. How often do you REALLY stretch? Regularly, once a week, only during yoga, never??

Well, today is my Thursday (full day of work tomorrow) so I'll be up early for a little workout. I might even go easy on myself and do JUST yoga. Gasp! Have a great weekend y'all!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's not easy letting someone go.

I've always been pretty terrible at saying goodbye. Whether it was elementary school when my best friend Angela moved away. high school when we were all heading off to different colleges, or present day when K leaves Eugene for the honky tonks of Nashville.

Flashback to the night before my first of my high school friends headed off to college. I stood in the streets of our small town balling my eyes out, finding gasps for breaths as we hugged goodbye. Even though I knew I'd see these friends on holiday breaks and summers, it wasn't enough. You could say this girl is not good at goodbyes.

I was the only person in Society in Nature (senior rite of passage, outdoor-focused class) who absolutely was not ready to leave high school. I mean maturity wise, I was ready, but emotionally, I did NOT want to part with these people...some of whom I'd known since I was five. Give me a break.

Well today, I'm 27. And I don't want her to leave town, but I know she has to. Sometimes it hurts so much you just don't know where to channel that energy. We had a party to pillage through her stuff on Sunday and take what we wished. Part of me wanted to grab stuff because it reminded me of her. Part of me wants to convince her to stay. But alas, Vanderbilt is calling her name!

K, I'll miss you immensely. Thank you for the last three awesome years of friendship.

Tonight, we'll have her going away party. I wouldn't be surprised if I don't make it through the night with dry eyes. This is not easy, people. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Busy Busy Bee

This has been a busy week around here...planning a going away party, running, fitting in yoga, biking to work, getting ready for a busy Friday AND Saturday of work meetings and events and simply trying to not get stressed about it all.

This morning I woke up at 5:30 for no real reason. While I would have liked another hour to sleep, the body was not allowing it. I hopped up and did some reading. Yes, you heard that right...I finally got my butt in gear and am reading a book from my bookshelf.

The book: A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve

I like Shreve's writing. Her words are calming and make reading a relaxing activity as it should be. This story takes place in the mountains of New England in a bed and breakfast where a group of old high school friends are reuniting for a wedding. Doesn't that sound quaint?

After a chapter or so, I rushed out the door with Jonah Bell for a 20 min walk. Then I quickly switched into my cycling gear and got a sunny 10 miler under my belt in just 40 min. So much was accomplished by 7am!

Besides sappy novels, I'm probably ingesting more sugar than I need to this week. Sometimes you just find a way to cope and sugar is an easy go to for me. What's your coping mechanism?

The good thing is that because I know that sugar is an easy fix, I try to have healthier options available. This week, I've been bringing just three of both dried apricots and yogurt covered pretzels to work as my treats. It's a little sugar fix, but not over the top "Oh my lord, I'm on a sugar high right now and am going to crash any minute" kind of fix.

On another note, my dear friend T just got a fabulous new job where she'll be able to use the workout facility and trainers for free. She is excited to be re-energized in her new opportunity. I'm so happy for her!

Training update: I have just three more long runs before the Helvetia Half Marathon! I guess that means it's time to up the mileage just a mile or two more. I've been doing 9-10 mile runs with the group for the past several weeks, but I'd like to do a few 11-12 milers.

Does anyone else feel like this summer is going to fly by? Between bike races, weddings and other fun adventures, the calendar is filling UP! I guess it's time to sit down and figure out the marathon training schedule. Long runs, here I come.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Let there be pizza!

The truth is, there's nothing better than a homemade pizza. Sure you can enjoy restaurant pizzas, but they're not the same as the ones you kneed with your own two hands, chop the veggies and place on your very own.

Plus, your homemade pizzas can be shaped into crazy things you never the state of Idaho or Nevada? The perfectionist in me doesn't love when the pizza dough won't make one happy circle, but you can't fight the dough. Sometimes, it just has a mind of it's own.

Here's what I suggest:
Trader Joe's garlic and herb pizza dough
your choice marinara/pizza sauce
veggies (I used red peppers, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, olives)
a little ground black pepper
a few shakes of red pepper flakes
corn meal for the pan before you place the crust
*For best results, cook dough for a few min before adding anything. Assemble pizza and bake 10 min at 450 deg.

As divine as it smells when you pull it out of the oven, be sure to give it a few minutes to cool before slicing.

Manfriend and I enjoyed our pizza while watching the Miss USA pageant. It was much less entertaining than I remember it and the evening gowns...ugh.

Well, back to the grind! This was the first weekend that really felt like summer for me. It seemed like it could last forever, until it didn't. ;) Happy Monday!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A leggy adventure

Yesterday, it was sunny and in the 70s so I dressed the legs. From all this running and cycling, they sure better be dress worthy.
The dress is actually my college graduation dress. I probably weighed 15-20lbs heavier when I bought it than I do now. It definitely fits me better now. My photographer had already left for work so I apologize for the sub par photos.

I love the diagonal stripes on the bottom half of this dress and the twisting at the bust.

Jean Jacket: Old Navy
Dress: Ann Taylor LOFT
Sandals: Bandolino

And for another leggy adventure, check out lizzy punch's adorable skirt and fabulous legs in her dress your best post. Confession: I really wanted to wear this skirt this week because it's poofy and has pockets, but I just couldn't seem to get creative with the thing. Perhaps another day.

Okay, I'm off to take the pooch for a little run because she keeps sighing at me and it's not even 7am. Then it's on to a 38 or so mile bike ride. Gotta keep these legs in order!

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend and thanks again to the academichics for putting on a great challenge. I can't say I did an outstanding job, but it definitely got me thinking about how I dress my bod and the kinds of nice things I should try to say to it more often.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fun Fact Friday

Happy Friday, everyone! I'm still recovering from Wednesday's boot camp that involved far too many dumb bell squats to overhead presses, leaving my inner thighs quite sore. And then there was yesterday's daily double run where I fit in a 25 min run in the am + 25 min session AND a 40 min run w/ some tempo during the lunch hour.

So, on to fun fact Friday.

1. I'm going to attempt to ride my bike to work all of next week because it's bike commute week in OR. I've signed up through and every day you log miles, you're entered to win some great prizes at local eateries, bike shops, etc. Once the weather gets sunny, I try to ride the bike to work at least two times a week. Are you bike commuting?

2. One of my best friends and running buddies, Kristin, is graduating from law school next week and leaving Eugene for good. While I'm beyond proud of her and excited for her new adventure in Nashville, it's really hard to let people go. On the other hand, I now have an excuse to go to Nashville, one of my favorite cities.

3. I'm getting pretty stoked for June's Helvetia 1/2 Marathon. I kind of feel like I'm gonna rock it. Although, I've yet to check the course profile. Perhaps I should see how hilly it's going to be before I start boasting about a speedy time...

4. Participating in the Dress Your Best week from the chics, was a good learning experience. One in which I realize a) my creativity just does not happen when I try to pick out an outfit in one minute every morning b) we should look more at our bodies and how they serve us rather than scold every damn part that's not perfect c) don't settle for outfits you don't'll notice it all day d) i could use some pants that are better suited for my 5'3" curvy figure.

5. I tried to go to the newest donut shop in town this morning to get donuts for the office. When I got to the location, they had no sign identifying their business, but a handwritten note that said "Voodoo Donuts not open until 2pm on Friday. Sorry!" Um, seriously, how can a donut shop not be open in the morning on a Friday?

While I should have taken that as my sign not to get donuts, I remained determined. I went to the local vegan donut shop that was still on my way to work and picked up a nice selection of goodies because they were OPEN. However, being a small business, they only take cash or check. I had no check book and $1 in cash. The cashier let me take the donuts and simply said "Don't worry about it. Just come back later today and pay." Only in Eugene...

What are your Fun Facts for today?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What's in a neckline?

Some beautiful bones, that's what.

In my effort to Dress My Best, I pulled out this fabulous Forever 21 top that shows off the neckline better than any other item of clothing I own.

On top of that, it's uber comfortable so I don't mind wearing it all day at work. And sticking with the theme, it's blue and anything blue brings out the blue in my eyes. Score!

E of the academichics showed off her neckline earlier this week with a cute floral dress she reworked to better fit her bod and style. I'm so impressed by people who are crafty and know their way around a sewing machine. I should have taken home ec rather than band...

I paired the top with a brown pair of pants from Express. I don't love them, but they're different than my usual selection of black work pants.

Do you have a go to color in your wardrobe? If you look at my closet, it's made up mostly of black, blue or pink. I'm simply drawn to those colors. This year, each time I was drawn to ANOTHER black sweater, I just repeated the mantra "Put it down, sass. You already have 5 more of those at home."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lunch dates, feet and salad wraps

Today I took a day off from work just because I could. Sometimes, it's exactly what the doctor ordered. Know what I mean?

On top of that, I had a very important luncheon planned with two girlfriends and a pedicure appointment. These things are soul soothing. If you haven't had one lately (a pedicure or lunch date), I highly suggest you schedule one.

My lunch dates...

I chose the french tip style today because I know I can't do it on my own and honestly, I just crave it when the weather gets nice. It's hard to take pretty pics of wide frog type feet.

Speaking of which, my frogish feet have been putting me in a bind lately. This is probably the third or so time it's really flared up in the past three years. Basically, I have a bunionette on the outside of my foot, which is generally caused from wide feet being mashed into too narrow shoes. Thanks for the wide feet, dad!

Trust me, if it were avoidable, I'd try harder. But as it is, I purchase wide running shoes, wear Danskos several times a week and sometimes go up a 1/2 to whole size larger in non running shoes just so the width doesn't strangle my tootsies. Does anyone else have this problem?

Don't even get me started on trying to find cute (ish) work/fun shoes. It's impossible. My Danskos aren't even wide enough for my feet, but they're better than a lot of brands.

Alas, it doesn't help when I'm running a lot because it means the foot gets a lot of rubbing along the side of my shoes for long periods of time. And seeing as how I will be ramping up the mileage shortly to prepare for the Portland Marathon, sassy would like her feet (and left hamstring) to cooperate.

Doesn't all this foot talk make you hungry for dinner? Ha! Tonight, I'm whipping up thai salad wraps with peanut sauce for din din! Mmm...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Running takes a back seat (temporarily)

This weekend, out of no real intention, running took a back seat. Friday, I managed to hit the pool for 25 min of aqua jogging and 15 min of lap swimming to work on that tight hamstring.

Saturday morning, I fit in an early 2.5 mi run with the dog before setting off to see my mom. Later that evening, I squeezed in 15 miles on the bike in an hour before manfriend and I jetted off to a dinner party.

And Sunday, well, I was set to do a long run with the group. But manfriend, as nice as he is, wanted to go riding with me. Since my long run was being abandoned, I demanded we ride long and incorporate hills. That we did. The weather was nice so I didn't have to wear crazy layers, which I love.

We passed a big lake, went up some hills, saw a few deer and wild turkey, took a wrong turn, stopped to use the restroom and grab fuel, contemplated eating lunch and finally, made it home.

After several hours of riding (4+), we arrived home famished with 46 miles of pavement behind us. The rest of the day was pretty much shot because I felt like a zombie. I did however, manage to cook up a mean lasagna. More about that later...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dressing your best?

In an attempt to dress my best, this morning I played to some of my positive attributes. Things ankles, blue eyes and freckles.

The goal here is that those of us bloggers who signed up for the challenge are attempting to dress our bodies to compliment our assets rather than try to hide parts we don't love (ahem-thighs, upper arms, love handles).

Because it was rainy out (and the weekend went by far to fast) and I didn't have any meetings today, I selected my Ann Taylor LOFT modern skinnies, Nicole flats via DSW and my favorite BR sweater.

While you can't see my ankles, I feel like the skinny jean just makes the ankle look so cute. And these flats, no matter how terrible for my feet, are just fabulous.

This is what you call "the best I can do without a tri pod or personal photographer at home."

Sometimes you don't make it in the shot...

As I was leaving the house, I realized I needed a little something more an grabbed my blue pashima to really make the eyes (and freckles) pop.

Over the years, my freckles have seem to become more abundant and pronounced. While some people try to cover them up, I say, let the freckles shine!

Just be sure to wear your sunscreen. My product of choice is Dove's spf 15 Deep Facial Moisturizer.

And I just want to know, is there anything cuter than a completely exhausted, but just barely awake pup? I think not.

Well, it's bed time here. I'm going to try to come up with a few more outfits this week that play up my assets. It's actually a little more fun getting dressed when you think about it that way. And, not gonna lie, a little healthier on the mind and spirit.

As I was heading out the door, all this body focus got me wondering what weight I was at. I hadn't stepped on the scale in MONTHS. Manfriend checks his weight daily. It's always a game because one day he'll be up a few pounds and the next, after a hard ride, he's down 7lbs.

Contrary to my hopes, I was at the same ole weight as usual. I guess I know that it's pretty healthy, especially if I'm not going to live on salads all the time or avoid sweets. That extra five will always be hanging around. Sometimes, you just gotta let it go...or be happy you have cute ankles and bright blue eyes to distract onlookers from your less favorite areas.

How do you deal with body talk (negative or positive)?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

One year ago today...

I can't believe it's been a whole year since friend A and I boarded the plane in Seattle to venture off on our first European adventure.

Those bags were heavy. Mine was about 25lbs and A's was about 20. And look at that looong hair! I kind of love my short hair compared to this length.

A few of my favorite moments were...

exploring beautiful Cinque Terre

drinking capuccinos w/ flower petals on top

biking in Berlin, Paris & Munich

and hiking in the swiss alps

Amber is currently having an equally awesome time in Europe. Well kids, I gotta run. I'm off to spend some quality time with the momsie and enjoy the 70 degree weather!