Wednesday, March 31, 2010
"So, she tells me, 'but I'm not that technical,' and I'm thinking, 'essentially it's un-plugging a TV and re-plugging in in.'" But you know, man, they're women, and you know what they're like... they're... well, um.. er, well, they smell nice..."
I had to contain my laughter, I literally had to tuck my chin to my chest and purse my lips not to let out a huge laugh at this guy and let him know that although I was a good few feet ahead of him, I could hear his entire conversation.
I carpooled with a guy for awhile who said if he could, he would make a big coffee table book featuring the people of the skyways. He would make millions, MILLIONS. I see such a wide variety of characters, it's unbelievable.
There's the guy who always has his hand up this ear in deep conversation, but is that a blue tooth he's talking on?? Nope, Nope, he's talking to himself.
There's the man who walks down the skyways and will randomly burst into song, that guy makes me smile, and sometimes down right startles me.
There are the people who will pass you with a, "hi" in the morning, but give you a slurred, "F**k you, " in the afternoon.
I watched a kid off school for Christmas break puke all over his mom and the skyway carpet after experiencing Macy's walk through. Not more than five minutes later, I saw the real life Billy Bob Thorton version of "Bad Santa" walking around with his coat unbuttoned, and the fake beard pulled under his chin so you could clearly see his brunette five o'clock shadow. I wondered how many kids that were off school that day and roaming downtown were scarred forever by this site.
Surprisingly enough, I've only seen one person preaching the "word of Lord" and trying to "save" everyone who passed them.
Oh, folk of the skyway, you keep my day entertaining... keep it up.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Anyway, it's a heat wave in the Twin Cities this week (if you haven't figured it out, that's why this blog is called, "My Tale of Two Cities") With all the nice weather, I'm trying to plan as many outdoor workouts as I can. Went for a run around Lake Calhoun tonight, rollerblading tomorrow, Happy Hour Wednesday-- what?! How did that get in there??? Sitting on a patio counts as exercise, right?? It's exercise for a relaxing mind. =)
If you haven't already read my millions of name droppings of Jen, the Prior Fat Girl, here's another one! Jen and I went to a strength training and abs class yesterday morning at a near by gym (the class started at 8:30 on a Sunday, we deserve medals for getting out of bed for that) and it was taught by another great gal we know Meghan! Anyway, on Jen's blog today she featured a picture of her and I pre-workout (I really need to use more of that Jergens self tanner stuff on my face, holy Minnesota pale) and her and Meghan post workout, it's awesome! This class was really great, but today my calves and sorer than they have ever been in my life! I didn't even realize I worked them that hard! Also, my triceps are feeling a bit sore, which is awesome as I prepare to put on the wedding dress (less than three months now-- holy crap!)
Well, I know the reason you're all reading this, you want to know who won the Pop Chips give away, am I right?!?!
Amy said this,
"I would like to try! I have so many food allergies, it is tough for me to find a healthy alternative for a snack.. I am allergic to carrots and celery, just to name a few!!!! Cheddar potato have always been a fave! This is so exciting!"
Amy, leave a comment with your e-mail address, and I'll e-mail you to get your info and get it to the people at Pop Chips, congratulations!!
Also, thanks to everyone who entered, it was fun to hear why you want to try this new favorite snack of mine, and how it would help you stay healthy. I highly recommend stopping at Target, Whole Foods or Amazon and picking up a bag! I'm sure there will be many other great give aways in the future!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Anyway, this Friday we had the surprise party at Bunny's in St. Louis Park (looooove that place) and it was kind of a challenge to pull off! Because Ben had no idea of the party, he had no idea we were on a time table, finally, I had to inform him that we had a foe dinner reservation to get him moving so that we would only be a HALF HOUR late for the estimated surprise time I had given everyone. We made it to Bunny's and thanks to friends who I texted the whole night, it went off without a hitch, and Ben was surprised!! We didn't take too many pictures, but here are a couple.
Me diving into cutting the cake with the Birthday Boy looking on.
Friday, March 26, 2010
This gift pack is pretty sweet, more than I was expecting, a snack size bag of many of their fabulous flavors, a pop chip chip-clip, some coupons for free or reduced pop chip purchases in the future, AND a hand signed card to wish me happy snacking, SCORE!
Well, I had to share the Pop Chips love, so I spread around these snack size bags to a few of my friends, including my runner pal Katy, she and her husband Jon enjoyed the Sour Cream and Onion and the Salt and Pepper Flavors.
OK, so now I want to share the love with all of you too!!
Pop Chips has agreed to send one winner the same variety pack that they sent me, how nice is that?! Now you can find your favorite flavor of Pop Chips! There are a few ways you can win:
1. Follow me on Twitter, @AlexaTC, and retweet this message, "@AlexaTC is sponsoring a great @PopChips Give Away, check it out! http://tinyurl.com/ydepu9y" then, leave me a comment with a link to your tweet
2. Go to http://www.popchips.com/ and comment below to tell me what flavor of pop chips you want to try
3. Leave a comment below telling me how Pop Chips will help your health initiative!
So, there are three separate ways you can win!
Here is the fine print: This give away is open U.S. Residents only. Entries must be received by Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. CST. A Winner will be announced on Monday, March 29, 2010 and the winner has until Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. CST to contact me, otherwise a new winner will be picked. The winner will be picked at random.
Can't wait to hear from you all! Happy Snacking!!!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Holy great recipe alert! Straight from the kitchen of one of my favorite ladies to ever pick up a Spatula (Martha Stewart, naturally), I made this Lighter Macaroni and Cheese for dinner this week. YUM! I've tried a couple of other Lighter options for Mac & Cheese in the past, and haven't been impressed, but this one had be wanting seconds! I know this recipe isn't perfect, but if it satisfies my craving for cheesy, carby goodness without having me eat two days worth of fat and calories, I'm sold.
I changed up the recipe a little bit, since I don't own any Ramekins (LOVE that I'm registered for tons of cooking stuff for showers and the wedding, so I can have more fun items like that!), I baked the dish in my beautiful Martha Stewart brand (of course) Enameled Cast Iron hot dish pot from Macy's like this one:
I can't say enough about these pots. Totally worth the money (or watch for those Macy's coupons that are always floating around for a better deal). I have one in red, and we registered for another one in white because they come in so handy!
Anyway, I also didn't add the tomatoes on the bottom as suggested, because from the posts you've seen before, Ben has the pallet of a six year-old when it comes to vegetables, and these tomatoes wouldn't fly (and in all honesty, I'm not that much of a tomato fan either).
Annnnnd, in another substitution, I used these Rozini Healthy Harvest noodles instead of regular macaroni, I just see no point in using non-whole wheat pastas anymore.
Also, the title of this entry is dedicated to the creepy Kia commercial that's on right now with those over-sized toys, that monkey scares the crap out of me! When he's bowling, when he's getting that tattoo sewn on, WTF?!?! I would put a picture for reference, but I don't want the creepiness on my blog. Here's a link to the commercial on YouTube.
And, I know, you've been checking back for it all week, but tomorrow is the big Give Away!!
Monday, March 22, 2010
As I teased yesterday, Ann, Cindy and I sat down yesterday to set up a great way for people of all athletic abilities to get active this summer, a walking group!
The group will meet the first and third Sundays of the month at 6:00 p.m. at a different lake around the Twin Cities. We want to emphasis that it's for walking, and a non-intimidating way for people of all exercise abilities to get moving and enjoy the beautiful summer weather. We also don't want to make this an over commitment thing, so come if you can, don't come if you can't, but know that these days you have people who want to walk around and get active with you!
Here is a tentative schedule:
May 2: Como Lake, St. Paul 1.5 Miles
May 16: Centennial Lakes Park, Edina 1.43 Miles
June 6: Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis 2.5 Miles
June 20: Shops at Arbor Lakes Man Made Lake (I need to get exact name) X2, Maple Grove 2.0 Miles
July 11: Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis 3.1 Miles
July 18: Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis, 3.5 Miles
Aug 1: Como Lake X2, St. Paul, 3.0 Miles
Aug 15: Lake Harriet, Minneapolis 2.8 Miles
Aug 29: Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis 3.1 Miles
We would love to wrap up the summer with all of us (or those who are interested) walking and/or jogging a 5K together over Labor Day weekend and have a cookout that day to celebrate our successes.
If this is something you would like to be a part of, check back at my blog every Thursday before the scheduled walk, to see exactly where we will be meeting at the alke. Out of respect for everyone's time, we will leave promptly at 6:10 p.m. (giving anyone time in case they get lost). Leave a comment if this is something you think you'd want to be a part of, the three of us would love to gauge the interest!
Hope you had a great Monday folks!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
This weekend Ben and I, along with some other folks from my usual running group ran the Team Ortho First Annual Lucky 7K as I had mentioned earlier in the race. This is, by far, the most fun race I've done. It was 4.5 miles on a different route through Northeast Minneapolis and concluded on the Stone Arch Bridge. Before the race, Cory, Katy, Wendy and I were ready to rock as we warmed up in the Guthrie!
The one thing I can say about yesterday's race, was that I completely over layered. I was SO hot that half way through I started stripping off layers. First the neck gator, then the hat, then the jacket all together. It was finding that delicate balance of how long could I stand being that hot, and how long could I stand being annoyed with my jacket and it's accessory stuffed pockets being tied around my waist. It was so windy from the river and the temps had dropped so much since mid-week last week, I thought I was dressed perfectly, wrong! I was deceived and my time ended up suffering because of over heating.
My hats off to all the ladies in the picture above though, Katy is faster than the rest of us, but ran back so we could all finish the race together, I can always count on Wendy to run with me and keep me going, and Cory is our constant mentor, always encouraging, and keeping our pace on track; she is everything a coach should be!
The best part of this race was the after party at the Kierans Irish Pub in Block E. First of all, the free beer coupons came in handy, but I'm not a post race beer drinker, so I had a Jameson and Ginger (i.e. the famous "Big Ginger") instead. =)
Another added bonus was the totally FREE buffet, Kierans was offering that we had no idea would be there. It was full of their yummiest menu items: Chicken Shots, Caesar Salad, French Fries, Spinach and Artichoke dip, Mashed Potatoes and Chicken Sliders, YUM!! So, pretty much, we all gained back the calories we ran off that morning, plus some. Check out Ben enjoying the mashed potatoes in the awesome Get Lucky sweatshirt we all got for finishing.
Also, this weekend, I had an exciting meet up with Cindy and Ann today about a new and exciting venture we're creating for people who want to enjoy the beautiful Twin Cities this coming summer. But this is just a tease, for details, tune into the blog later this week.
AND, if that wasn't enough to keep you coming back, there will also be a fabulous give away this week on the blog. My only clue is that I'm a huge fan of this product and hope you will be as excited as I am about it!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
In other news, picked up my bib and chip for the Lucky 7K this weekend to be put on by Team Ortho, and I am PUMPED. They put on great races, hands down. Check them out! Anyway, Ben is running the race as well, which will be fun, we've never run longer than a 5K together.
We picked up our stuff at a running store called Gear on 44th and France that I had never been to before this and it had something that blew my mind--- Running Skorts with capris or pants attached!! Me Loves!! They look similar to this:
Mine of course are some fun colors. =) I am in love with these for a few reasons:
- I love running skorts
- But most running skorts that I try to wear for actual running, and not just cross training, make me chafe (I said it, chafe)
- In these type of recent temps, I love putting my skorts over my tights, but as it gets warmer, this isn't a good option
- I don't like people to see my butt in tight running pants or capris. Yes, I respect my booty, I've worked hard for it, but I'm not a booty flaunter.
BTW: The products I got at Gear are made by Skirt Sports, I'll report back on how they hold up when I put in a few miles.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I decided to use one of the one tablespoon packets I received at the meet up on my apples that I normally dip into Crunchy Peanut Butter.
this one I found interesting, about the benefits of it. I won't be giving up Peanut Butter, or breaking the bank to buy Almond Butter, but if I can get my hands on it, I totally will.
Also, thanks to all the people who have reached out to me over the wedding stresses I wrote about yesterday. I LOVE planning this wedding and events in general, so it's not like I'm on the ledge here, but it was nice to let off a little steam (I mean, what else is a blog for?! =) and also hear other people's stories, that make my stresses seem like nothing! You have all made me realize just how good I have it, thank you!!
Monday, March 15, 2010
This weekend, I meant to run six miles on Saturday. Wellllllll, the ladies I was running with and I got a little lost around Cedar Lake and we ended up doing 8.3, oops. Glad to know I can do it though, but after my stress fracture 18 months ago, I'm always very cautious about ramping up too fast. Then, yesterday, I did the Irish Traditions 5K in St. Paul. Lake Como was great, I've never ran there, so it was really nice to mix things up. Check out Ann from Twelve in Twelve's post about the race. Although we never found each other, she PRed at the race--awesome!!
Today, however, my hips and knees pretty much hate me to say the least. Therefore, tonight was all about a light work out (strength training for arms and abs, and light cardio), so that I don't end up over doing it.
As I've mentioned, I'm planning a wedding, and it's getting closer and closer (3 months and 11 days, but who's counting!?!). I said I wasn't going to get stressed about this wedding, I really did, but lately, it's been a bit much.
OK, that's not exactly what I look like right now, but that is probably close to how I looked when our florist told us they were going out of business! (it's all resolved now, and we're going with Arts & Flowers out of St. Louis Park, but for about six hours, I was freaking out).
Right now, we're trying to get our invites out in the next two weeks, so that in itself is a lot of work. We're also trying to put together a slide show with our baby pictures, younger year pictures, etc. This has proved to be a bigger project than I thought, compiling the pictures, finding an application to do it, finding songs, and just all around a big project. I'm trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel with this one though, because having this slide show is something we've both always wanted, and will be really nice.
So, as we prepare for the wedding, I can't help but think about the honeymoon!! We're going to Maui for a week, and it's going to be the best post-wedding adventure I could ask for. So, this weekend, in between races, and stamping invites, I made my way to Super Target to grocery shop and found this little ditty that I had to have for Hawaii (as displayed on my couch).
I'm in love with this swim suit cover up! I love black and white stripes and it just looks so comfortable and gives me hope that spring and summer weather will soon be here! You might thinks it's crazy to buy it three+ months ahead of time, but they were nearly out already, and it put a smile on my face, which makes it totally worth it.
Speaking of great weather, yesterday was fantastic! 60+ degrees in March, yes please! I spent much of the day enjoying the weather with these two boys.
Ben and I took Cooper to the park in our neighborhood where he ran circles until he was full of mud, dirt and sand. He was happy as a clam in the warmer weather as he ran free with a big smile on his face and his tongue wagging...happy, that is, until he came home and wound up in the bath tub. =)
Friday, March 12, 2010
While at Red Stag I really wanted to enjoy all of their menu, I started the night out with a great tasting Side Car Martini, my entree was a Six Ounce Flat Iron Steak with blue cheese crumbles and creamy sweet potatoes and steamed vegetables; for dessert (yes, I HAD to have dessert) I had their brown bottom Cream Brulee. The entree was great quality meat, and very tasty, I licked the plate clean, but in my opinion not worth the $26. The drinks and dessert were delicious and completely on price point. I will be back to this restaurant for sure, but I'm not raving about the way I do other places in the area.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
My fiancee is a travel FREAK, and I enjoy traveling, but not as much as he does. However, recently a friend of mine mentioned to me how her Dad had a terrible experience just a couple weeks back being jerked around by Delta. He is one of those guys who travels all the time, is the elite of the elite, and before they even boarded him every thing that could have been inconvenient for him, happened.
So, upon boarding his flight that particular day he flatly told the flight attendant, "I f*cking hate Delta." Oh man, the number of times I've wanted to say that! Like when NWA (now Delta) lost my luggage and sent it to Detroit instead of Baltimore a couple years ago. Or, just last month when Delta didn't have room for our checked luggage that we payed the fee for (but had plenty of room for the luggage of people who didn't check there's, but it couldn't fit in the over head bins), so they just didn't send it with and told us it would be there the next day. Oh airlines, if you didn't get me to such fabulous destinations in such a short time, I would be even more resentful.
Anyway, my point here, this story reminded me of this hilarious New York Times blog from a few years ago, check it out, and you'll know every scenario, because they've all happened to you, enjoy!
Monday, March 8, 2010
We all know pop isn't "good" for you, from what I've read it can make you hold on to fat longer, and as an Acid Reflux sufferer, I know the carbonation isn't good for my already deteriorating esophagus. So, instead of reaching for a pop this morning (there is FREE pop at work, and lots of yummy flavors too), I grabbed a couple of these packets of Crystal Light.
The reason I usually reach for a pop first thing in the morning, is because I need something with a little flavor, I like that bit of sweetness to kick off the day. This morning, I tried these Crystal Light On The Go's out, and at 10 calories a pop, YUM! They're perfect and I drank a lot more water today-- and didn't even miss the caffeine (there are some days, I will miss the caffeine, and for those days the skim latte will come in handy, after all, that milk has good calcium!). I'm going to keep giving these Crystal Light things a try to up my H2O consumption. I also need to invest in a water bottle for work as well.
I'm not giving up pop completely, if I want it as a treat, or as the designated driver, or too avoid excessive liquid calories while out with friends, I will go for it; I'm just trying to not have it be a crutch in my every day diet. I know there are a lot of people who are self professed Diet Pop addicts so this post is for you as well, we can do it!!
UPDATE ON THE WATCH HUNT. I got such an amazing response to my last post (mainly people who posted comments on my facebook link,) and after researching, I have decided to go with the Garmin 305. I can do interval training, track mileage, and it is a heart rate monitor and can track my calories burned. BUT, as my future mother-in-law told me, "don't let the calorie counter make you feel entitled!" Boy is she right. Per the advice of another runner, I bought the watch off Amazon and got a great deal. Check out Amazon if you're in the market for one too!
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Saturday I hit the trails and got in five glorious miles. I can't get enough of this weather, it's perfect. I'm hoping it sticks around and that (knock on wood) we don't get any March snow storms this year.
So, yesterday afternoon I headed off for my hometown of La Crosse, Wisconsin and stayed at my parents house last night. Going home was exactly what I needed, however quick it was. I could completely relax, I didn't bring a lick of wedding stuff home to accomplish, and being at their house didn't allow me to look around and see all the projects I should be doing. Instead, it warranted me 8.5 hours of glorious sleep-- look even Cooper was relaxed this morning! (please ignore my finger)
The reason I went down to the La Crosse area was to attend my cousin's baby shower, and it was a great time! Two more months and we'll have another little girl in the family.
I'm asking for help from my readers again, this time, finding a running watch. I've asked so many people about this, I don't need a heart rate monitor (I've used them, they're great, but I don't find them that necessary), but here are my short requirements:
- Measures Mileage
- Can do interval training (i.e. I run 5 and 1's)
- Tracks total time
Thursday, March 4, 2010
I need some girly DVD recommendations. I’ll have some time this weekend to have the TV all to myself, so I’m planning on watching some new chick flicks to spare Ben in the future, and I know that a bunch must have come out DVD that I need to see—so send me your recommendations! (I’ll take non-chick flick recommendations as well). I do enjoy the predictable chick flicks though; I LOVED He’s Just Not That Into You and recently really enjoyed seeing Valentine’s Day.
In other total randomness and things that aren’t really productive, if you’re not watching The Good Wife on CBS, you need to start, NOW. This show is written so well, and has such a great cast, Julianna Margulies of ER and The Soporanos fame and another personal favorite, Josh Charles from the, gone too soon, sitcom Sports Night. I’m not going to explain anymore about the show, you can read more here, but just trust me people, it’s awesome. If you don’t want to start mid-season, start DVR/Tivoing it this summer and start from the beginning. This show is one of the few shows where I don’t want to multi-task while I watch it (i.e. clean the kitchen, organize recipes, fold clothes, etc.) I’m just so into it, that I sit on my couch glued to the TV—all while poor, poor Cooper cuddles up in my lap and takes a nap. =)
Did I forget to mention another great part of this show?? Mr. Big is also in it, (AKA Chris Noth, but he'll always be Mr. Big to most of us ;)
In fabulous food news, I'm loving the Fiber One 90 Calorie Bars, they're only available in the two original flavors of Chocolate or Chocolate Peanut Butter, but they're great. I received this sample at the Prior Fat Girl meet up this past weekend, and at 90 calories, plus teaming it up with a Sargento Reduced Fat 60 Calorie Sharp Cheddar Stick, this makes a great afternoon or morning snack, as you can see from my munching below. These bars aren't as dense as the 140 Calorie option, they're a bit lighter, and remind me more of a rice krispie bar, than a granola bar, but you won't miss the heavier Fiber Bars, these satisfy your sweet tooth and help you get in your Fiber, a double win!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
All of my posts lately, have been about food, and today is no different folks. Most of us who have to watch our figure have a love/hate relationship with food, and it's what fuels us! Anyway, did you know, that you can order food online?!?! Why has it never occurred to me before two weeks ago that you can?! While working out with a pal a few weeks back she informed me that she bought five pounds (yes pounds) of gummy cherries on Amazon, because she and another friend got to thinking, "why don't we see gummy cherries in the store anymore??"
Well, with Pop Chips arriving in such good order, I was ready to grocery shop online again. This time--VitaTops!! OMG, these are the most delicious things ever. Like Pop Chips, they're 100 Calories for a very satisfying serving. Even my picky finacee thinks they're great! With one of the VitaTops deals you could buy two dozen and get a half dozen free, so I did it, ordering: Triple Chocolate, Fudgey Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Mint. Not only are these satisfying for 100 Calories, they're down right delicious, and give you six grams of Fiber and three grams of Protein to boot! Check out the goodness!!
Monday, March 1, 2010
So, I watched the movie that most people saw forever ago just last week, while while whipping up this Real Simple recipe, (with added green beans for my man who hates zucchini, look at those beautiful green veggies!).
I had read the reviews that people thought Amy Adams character wasn't the show stealer, that it was Meryl Streep, and I can't agree, or disagree. I loved both characters, but having known the history of the real Julie Powel, and based on the interviews I've seen with her, she is no where near as sweet as Amy Adams, and frankly I think has a sour personality. It doesn't help that after rising to fame with her blog both she and her husband then had affairs--way to stay grounded people.
The Julia Child portion of the movie was cute and endearing. I found it funny that Stanley Tucci played her husband after he played her muse in The Devil Wears Prada. Julie Child and Julie Powel's ambition, did make me want to keep whipping things up in my kitchen. So, if you want inspiration to avoid stopping for a quick take out meal, and to keep you cooking, check out this movie.
On a TOTALLY unrelated note, today I went for my first solo run outside after work in forever. It finally isn't getting dark before 6:00 p.m., so I came home, laced up and headed right back out. I was in a real mood today, and this definitely cured it! I swear, feeling spring-like weather and pounding the pavement jamming out was just what I needed; and how could I not be thrilled when I come home to this face to support me!? (I'm channeling Jen at Prior Fat Girl here by putting up my post-workout, "I did it!" picture however scary I may look in my running hat!)