Friday, December 16, 2011

My Christmas Wish List

Christmas is around the corner and being an adult in her 30's, Christmas really isn't about me. It's about my two stepdaughters mainly, the about my parents. James & I just bought a house and took a big trip to Las Vegas, so that is pretty what what we're getting for Christmas. But in a world of make believe, there are some things I'd like if I Santa was real and brought me things that I didn't have to pay for myself. Here are some of those things -

1. an iTunes Gift Card
I really want these cds -

*Country Strong Soundtrack - we all know my obsession
*New, and by new, new to me because this has been out for a while, Sara Bareilles cd

*She & Him christmas cd

*there were some others but I can't seem to remember them

2. Orange Bowl Tickets, a flight and a hotel room
I have been to years and years of crappy bowl games. The Music City Bowl, the Champs Sports Bowl, the Peach Bowl (3 times), and now that we're finally in a BCS bowl, I can't go because of the house/vegas trip. But since we're dreaming, Santa, can you bring me 2 of the 3 items above for christmas? Preferably the most expensive ones, the flight and hotel?? Thanks

3. Toms
I want some Toms - the end. 

4. New Everyday China

I really really really want these but they're $30 a place setting which is kind of a lot for everyday

*****all of these are from Bed, Bath and Beyond

5. A Year Membership to Pivotal
This gym is right across from my house and although I plan on building a gym at home, it takes time and money, so in the meantime, I'd like a membership here please. 

6. Black Boots

these are at Dillard's

7. A Winter Coat (even if it's 70 degrees here today)

but I want the one in camel

So, that's my make believe christmas list! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Country Strong

Yesterday, I went home from work early because I was so sick. I don't know what caused it, but at 4 pm, I was laying on the couch watching Sweet Home Alabama, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and finally, the movie Country Strong.

I don't really like Gwyneth Paltrow or Tim McGraw so I was a little worried but I LOVE Leighton Meester and country music, so I definitely had to watch it. 

There are so many things about this movie that I loved, I don't even really know where to start. 

1. The Soundtrack 
The thing I love about country music is that it can be laid back, fun, something you want to hear in a bar simply because it's lightens the mood. There are also those songs that are heartfelt and make you want to sing along, out loud in the car, volume up. This soundtrack has all of that. I did not hear one song that I did not like. I will definitely be purchasing this in the next month. 

Songs that were my favorite - 
*A Little Bit Stronger - Sara Evans
*Give Into Me - Faith Hill (that's it on the soundtrack, but in the movie, it was Beau and Chiles)
*Coming Home - Gwyneth Paltrow
*Fly Again - not on the soundtrack

2. The Story Line
The whole premise behind the story is that Gwyneth Paltrow's character is just getting out of rehab and performing a comeback tour. they need an opening act, so they find Chiles Stanton and Beau to come along. Basically it's a story about relationships, how they're mended, not mended, develop and fall apart. I'm not going to say anything more about it because if you haven't seen it, you should, and I don't want to give too much away. 

3. The Characters/Actors
*Gwyneth Paltrow - I don't typically like her but she does an excellent job of portraying an alcoholic, caught in the middle of her disease and how it can be so difficult to overcome. She was very convincing and I forgot that she ws Gwyneth immediately. I totally bought into her from the get go. 

*Leighton Meester - I love her so much in Gossip Girl so I wasn't sure what to expect. She ended up doing such a great job and I totally bought her southern accent. One of my pet peeves in movies is when actresses try to do a southern accent and completely destroy it. She was awesome. 

*Tim McGraw - He also did a great job of portraying someone who is completely co-dependent and although he was totally in love with Karen (gwyneth), he had been hurt by her so much over the years that he was also angry. As much as I dislike Tim McGraw, he was awesome. Much better than his role in the Blind Side. 

*Garrett Hedlund - I didn't think I had seen him before, but according to Wiki, he was in Troy. Either way, his character, Beau, was in love with Karen (Gwyneth) and just along for the ride. He never had any desire to be a famous country singer, but enjoyed playing in the local bar wherever he was.

I enjoyed how each of the characters impacted the other and felt they all did a really good job being who they were supposed to. 

Overall, I recommend you see this movie. It made me want to be a country singer and live in Nashville, which is a city I don't even really like. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies - kind of

I've been dying to make something out of this cookbook I bought last year

I've mentioned it on here several times, but have never done it. One thing I've been waiting for is I've been trying to find mesquite flour. I found some yesterday and ordered it, but in the meantime, I wanted to go ahead and try to make these cookies using a couple of substitutions. 

I am a BIG believer in whole ingredients or ingredients that have not been chemically processed. This book has a lot of recipes on substitutions for standard items such as flour, sugar, etc. I've already been making my usual baked goods with whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour as well as cane sugar vs white sugar,  kosher salt instead of regular salt, etc. I just recently found out that sea salt is better than kosher salt because kosher salt is still processed chemically, so once I run out of that, I'll buy sea salt. Also, you'll see in the picture below that I still have regular baking soda and baking powder. I definitely will switch once these are out, but I'm not going to throw away a full package of something so... 

The recipe calls for  -

1 cup mesquite flour
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups of raw cane sugar
3 eggs
1 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups rolled oats
1 package of semi sweet chocolate chips

I didn't have mesquite flour so what I did instead 
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat your oven to 375 and grease your cookie sheet (I personally use my stoneware because I like the way it cooks better)
Mix all of your flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and set aside. 

cream butter until smooth - my butter did not come out smooth, it was clumpy and separate
add sugar until a frosting like consistency - still clumpy
add vanilla - this is when it started smoothing out
add 1 egg at a time, allowing each one to blend into the butter/sugar mixture - really smoothed out
add flour mixture
add oats
add chocolate chips

Each cookie should be 1 tablespoons so that it looks like this - 

So one thing I took a chance on was the amount of extra flour I added. It called for a cup of mesquite flour which typically is substituted 1/4 cup per cup of flour. I thought, ok, so I'll just use 1/4 cup of flour instead of the full extra cup. What ended up happening was the cookies melted out a little too flat. I noticed that as I was cooking the first batch, so I put the last cookie sheet in the fridge. That batch turned out a little better. Next time, I will go ahead and add 1 cup of flour. 

The cayenne pepper added a little heat which was kind of nice. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the final product but they were crispy which I like. If you like a chewier cookie, adding more flour will help that. They had a good combination of chocolate, oats, a little heat and cookie dough. I actually really liked them and hopefully, my adjustments for next time will make them even better. I also ordered some mesquite flour so we'll see what they taste like when I do that. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Planking for Noah

I know that I've mentioned my friends, Brian and Jeanne Boughner, on my blog. They are in the final stages of adopting a baby boy from Ethiopia. It was been a long process - over 2 years - and they have a court date early part of 2012 to go to Ethiopia.

I am writing this blog post to ask for your help. On their trip, they are going to take some much needed supplies with them to give to the orphanage. If you can, please donate. It's for a worthy cause.


As most of you know, I haven't been running or really doing anything other than yoga for the past 6 weeks. It's been difficult for me to get started because I have been too tired to get up early, busy at lunch and unmotivated at night. Yes, I did just run a half marathon, and got my worst time ever so motivation has been an issue.

Last night, I got home and again didnt' want to run. I thought, I'm just going to run a mile. That is it. I made my husband go. So, we warmed up for 5 minutes, ran for 10 minutes and cooled down for 5. That's all I did but I was excited to actually go out and do something. Tonight, I'm doing yoga because my right ankle hurts and I think it's leftover from the half and instead of creating a new nagging injury, I'm just going to ease back into it. Tomorrow, I might got for 2 - woo hoo

I don't have any specific goals right now other than to just move every day. If I can get into the habit of that, I think I'll be okay. The other thing is that my movement is going to be whatever I want it to be. If I only want to run 1 mile, that's what I'm doing. If I want to do a nike training club workout, I'll do that. If I want to do zumba, I'll do that. But I'm not going to follow any plan or force myself to do anything I don't want to for now. I think that was the problem I had this past time is that I was just SO FRIGGIN TIRED OF FOLLOWING A PLAN. And also, when every run has to be 7-8 miles or longer, it gets old when you've got a bunch of other stuff going on.

I was going to do the Half Marathon resolution run in January, but i'm downgrading to the 5k. I'm also not doing the Greer Earth day but am doing the RnR nashville, a race I said I wouldn't do again. Oh well. I change my mind a lot.


You know what I really want - 

this - 

I want orange, of course. Or Green or like a light blueish color. 

I could bake so much more if I had a daggum electric mixer. Like a stand mixer, not a hand mixer. 

Tonight, I'm going to try a recipe from 

It's mesquite chocolate chip cookies and hopefully they'll turn out okay. I can't seem to find mesquite flour, so I'm going to try my regular whole wheat flour and add cayenne pepper. I'll report back tomorrow with some pics. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lunes, Lunedi, Lundi, Montag

It's Monday!!! How different does German look from latin based languages? It's like, one of these things is not like the other. Anyways, today's post is going to be mainly focused on Race etiquette because 1) I still have yet to add my photos to my computer and 2) that's on my mind right now. A couple of things first -

1. Check out Tina's post about spandex and obesity. Let me know your thoughts, I'll probably post something about this later.

2. One of my yoga buddies, Peggy (who is so awesome), let me borrow a couple of vegan cookbooks. I'm not going vegan, but I'd like to try out some different recipes because there's a whole land of food out there that is different from the way I eat and I'd love to try all of them. So this morning, I made "Oatmeal Medley" from one of the books, of course I can't remember the title so I'll have to find it and give tell you about it.

Recipe -

2 cups of rolled oats
4 cups of water
1/2 cup coconut (it calls for unsweetened but of course, I accidentally bought the sweetened)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Just cook all of the ingredients together on the stove for about 10 minutes. Add the blue berries and cook another 3 minutes.

It was delicious. I did add some honey which is not vegan, so whoopsy, but you get my drift. It was really really good and I kind of struggle with rolled oats, so I was pleasantly surprised about how delicious it was. I'll be discussing some other recipes on here as well. I also should've taken a picture.

obviously, this isn't my oatmeal and we'll just pretend that's what it looked like image source


Now to our main topic, Race Etiquette. 

As I was running in Las Vegas, I saw a number of things that could have happened to make the race much more enjoyable for everyone involved. I was not upset because honestly, how do you know what to do if you've never raced before. And even if you have, if it's never been explained to you, then again, are you just supposed to use psychic powers? So I'm hoping this post will come across as something more helpful vs bitchy because I mean it all in a nice way. 

1. Choosing a Corral 
If you're in a race that's actually big enough to have corrals, i.e. any RnR race, you have the option of choosing where you start. This may not seem like a big deal, but actually, it's huge in making sure that you are comfortable as well as others around you. And this goes to runners at all paces. Here are the issues if you sign up for the wrong corral - 

You are rushing past every one in the first 3-5 miles. If you're in mile 5, and you're still running past everyone and weaving in and out of traffic, you signed up for the wrong corral. If you're in mile 5 and people are rushing past you still, you're in the wrong corral. If you're a 8 minute mile runner, please don't sign up for the 2:15 finish. You're going to be rude and weave in and out of everyone because you signed up to slow. If you're an 11:00 mile runner, please don't sign up for the 1:45 finish. And lastly, if you sign up for the pace you actually are, then start in your corral. If you get there and realize that your friend is in a different corral than you, you either need to run at the pace of your friend or not run together. 

2. How to pass
Honestly, I'm not sure the rule for passing. The one thing I do know is that if you need to walk, then typically, you should be on the outside edge of the road so that you are not prohibiting people that are continuing at their same pace. So my assumption is that faster runners stay towards the middle. One thing that gets my goat is when people do a walk/run ratio and they walk in the middle. No, you need to go to the side and walk, out of the way of others. So the other side of that is this, if you are a faster runner - especially if you've signed up for the wrong corral - whizzing by slower people on the outside. It ends up being a cluster when it really could be a lot more organized if we all followed the same rules. 

3. Finish Line
Once you cross the finish line, keep moving. Move out of the way until you get to an open spot. The fact that people got trampled at the RnR Vegas is so absurd to me because most of the hold up was that people were stopped in the road talking to other runners. One thing I will say, RnR typically has you take a pic with your medal after the race so that slowed the process way down. They need to fix that. But after I passed through the picture taking part (I went around the outside because I didn't want one) and people were still just standing there. I can see how people get frustrated but to get crazy and start trampling people, that seems a little wild. I guess people just felt trapped. I know that when I was walking through Mandalay Bay, I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the crowd. 

4. Extras
This is a little bit of common sense, but don't push people out of the way. When I was running, someone pushed me out of the way. Not Appropriate. 

Listen, I get that we're all competitive and we're trying to beat our times and all of that but people and how you treat them are more important than your time. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Why are you running this race? It's an extra curricular activity unless you're an Olympic runner and if that's the case, you're not running in corral 18, so let's get real. Sometimes, as runners, I feel like we get a little caught up in our time and lose sight of the fast that this is for our health and it doesn't matter at the end of the day. If you don't PR, you're not going to die. So, please be nice to others, stay calm and remember this is all temporary. You'll run a different race, you'll have a better time at some point, you'll get out of the crowd, you'll get your race t shirt and your medal, just chill. It would be a good time to practice deep breathing and meditation. :)