Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bad Blogger

It's been a few days since my last post, I have to admit, I've been a bad blogger this week. With all the wedding prep, the blog has taken a back seat, sorry readers! This blog may get a little "bridearific" these next couple days too as we prepare for our nuptials. I can't believe they're actually almost here! After 15+ months of engagement, it's hard to believe. It's seems crazy that it's my wedding this time too, I go to weddings, I don't get married! But here, I am, with boatloads of family and friends arriving in town as I type this.

Tuesday was my last day of work, and my co-workers surprised me with a DQ Ice Cream Cake (which lovingly depicted my not-so favorite fruit, bananas) and a princess crown to wear the rest of the day. They literally surprised me, I went into an office to have what I thought was a meeting with my manager and they jumped out of the corner and yelled, "Surprise!" What a fabulous wedding send off!
With the Banana decorated cake!

Anyway, in my true spirit, I did try out a great Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe this week for Spinach Pesto with Pasta and LOVED it. I made a half serving because it said it served four and it was just Ben and I. The recipe was super easy, and if you don't have a food processor, you can easily make this in your blender.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Skinny on SkinnyGirl Margarita

Over the past few weeks I finally figured out who Bethenny Frankel is. Well, that's not true, I knew who she was, one of the Real Housewives of NYC, and I had seen her preggers wedding picture and then adorable daughter's picture in my celebrity gossip research.
Anyway, last week I started watching her new reality show on Bravo Bethenny Getting Married? about her engagement and four week wedding planning (yes, four weeks) to Jason Hoppy and I loooooved it. The appeal isn't just that I'm getting married in six days after a 15 month engagement and wanted to see how she pulled this off in four weeks, plus career and carrying a child, but because she's so darn funny!! She's a social butterfly, but a complete wanna be hermit at the same time, I can completely relate. I had never seen her on Real Housewives of NYC because I'm a Real Housewives of New Jersey gal, but her spin off has me hooked!

As I read about her I became intrigued, and decided I had to get a copy of her book, Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting. I've been reading it for a few days, and I can't put it down (I read it tonight while eating a brownie-- she says you should indulge sometimes, give me a break here!).

Then, last night, it happened. I walked into the liquor store and staring back at me on display was a huge cutout of Bethenny herself and a huge display of her signature drink, Skinnygirl Margarita!!
I literally let out a huge gasp, followed by a squeal of, "The Skinny Girl Margarita, oh my gosh!!!"
Luckily, it was five minutes until closing and there were only three people in store, all employees, and all men of course. Some of them gave me a weird look, but one guy smiled and said, "that stuff is really popular!" To that, I decided to spout off to him all I knew about Bethenny (he gave me the same blank look my fiancee did when I explained her getting married show to him).

I got home and ripped open the bottle to pour myself a drink; I had to try the drink that's always being name dropped on her show.
And after one drink, let me tell you folks, YUM!! This gal got it right again.

Here's the detes on the nutrition facts: 100 calories for every four ounce serving. It's made with Agave Nectar and Premium 100% Blue Agave clear tequila. It is 25.4 proof for alcohol content.

The thing I like best about this drink, isn't so much that I don't feel as guilty having my favorite cocktail with this, it's that at first taste, you don't get blasted with that sugary, sweet flavor you do with regular margaritas. You get a nice, softer sweet taste that doesn't leave you feeling bloated like so many sugar laced drinks do.
With my new go to cocktail!

As far as price point, 750ml cost me $14.99 plus tax, not bad in my book, but I'm also a light weight, so this is a few nights worth in a bottle for me.

If you're trying to lead a healthy lifestyle like me, next time there's a girls night, or you're asked to bring a bottle of spirits to share at a party, pick this up, seriously, your friends will thank you, and so will your pants the next morning when they still fit.

Also, Bethenny's website has great healthy recipe ideas, she started out, and still is, a natural foods chef, check it out!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Forever Young?

How old did you think you would be when you got married? I always thought I would be 23, don't know why, but I always thought 23 was that magic age. Maybe because I knew I would have my college education by then, and ready to head out into the "real world" and it just seemed logical to think I would get married at 23, maybe have a baby by 26.

Yet, here I am, 14 days shy of turning 27, childless, and 10 days shy of my wedding day, and I don't feel "behind." In fact, I feel ahead of most of my friends. Despite one friend who got married at 21, most of my friends are just settling into long term relationships. My sister-in-law just got married at nearly 32. My brothers were 29 and 31 when they got married.

So, what am I leading to here? Today I read this interesting article from the New York Times titled, Long Road to Adulthood Getting Even Longer, and it brought up some interesting points about how my generation doesn't define "growing up" the same way past ones have.

It really speaks to how marriage and "settling down" used to be the true sign of adulthood, but now it's seen more as a life choice. I find that observation funny because here in the Upper Midwest, if you're not getting married by a certain age (especially as a woman), people start to wonder, and they equally wonder when couples don't have children.

28 year-old Laura Tisdel, who is quoted in the article, is engaged, but stated that although she and her fiancee are ready to get married, they're hesitant to have kids yet because, “We’re both nervous about what would be lost." This statement is easy to relate to, as we have so many more choices now that are socially acceptable than even our parent's generation had that cause us to put off having children.

This article sparks an interesting point of what it means to really "grow up." So many young adults live with the majority of their income coming from their parents, that it's become a rarity to see 20 something's who aren't able to lean on their parents for financial support. I think this article brings to light, however, that there's a delicate balance between knowing your parents are there if you need them, or depending on your parents as a source of income.

So, no, maybe marriage isn't a sign of "growing up" anymore, but financial responsibility sure is, and always will be.

Oh, and if you're wondering what I was doing at age 23 when I thought I would be getting married, I was living in a small Iowa town, pursing what I thought would one day be a dream job. And in this town, people thought I was crazy for being single and loving it. But, it was 13 days shy of my 24th birthday that I meet the man I'm going to marry in 10 days. =)

23 year-old me at the World's Largest Truck Stop in Walcott, Iowa with my favorite Old Lady, Lauren.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I tried a not so healthy recipe this week that I had already tried once and it didn't turn out exactly right, so I had to give it a go again. It's these Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares from the Pioneer Women. They are delicious and addictive, especially when served about 20 minutes out of the oven!

The first time I made them, I didn't get the crust creamy enough, the butter was too chilled. So I let the stick of butter sit out all day to warm up before I used it this time, and also used my hands to kneed the dough, and that did the trick. Try them out, but be sure to have an event to take them too or something, you don't want these yummy suckers in the house for long!

I finally watched the Glee finale this past Sunday, all I can say is, WOW. It was so amazing; their Journey set was so great (not to mention I'm a huge Journey fan). Check it out here.
I do notice that their performances are heavier on the vocal side than the choreography side, but off camera most of the actors have admitted they're more singers than dancers. This is the former show choir geek talking in me. Want proof? Go to the last frame of this You Tube video and you'll see the curly haired, 17 year-old version of me.

I'm totally jealous of the volume of the all the girl's hair in this clip, I think they have to be using Bumpits!!
How else would you get that much volume?? Oh yeah, Hollywood hair stylists. Plus, their hair doesn't look as phony as a Bumpits does.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Aaaaand That's a Wrap!

This is going to be a quick post, as this was a quick weekend, and now it's nearly ten o'clock on Sunday night, and I need to hit the hay!

A wonderful weekend that started out with running the Back in Shape 5k with these gals:
Mary, Yours Truly, Jen & Cindy

Then, I was lucky enough to have my two friends Emily and Kelsey come over to assist me in creating these cute, chocolate filled place cards for the rehearsal dinner.
Saturday Night, we attended two different birthday parties and two places we had never been before, broadening our horizons! The Village Pub in St. Anthony Village and The Muddy Pig in St. Paul. Both were a lot of fun!

Today, I somehow pulled myself out of bed and ran 10 miles, thanks to friends who ran parts of it with me!!

I also spent some time picking out recipes to try this week for dinner, I'll be sure to provide ample reviews!

AND, that is why folks, I'm ready for bed right now. How was your weekend??

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A New Adventure in Desserts: French Macarons

This week, I decided I had to try French Macarons. I had been hearing so much about them, and I will admit that when I went to see Sex and the City 2 they were munching on them in Abu Dhabi and they looked beyond delicious (OK, so the movie got to me a little bit, just like the show did with cupcakes five years ago, oh how I love cupcakes)

Anyway, my friends had mentioned their love for them, so I decided I HAD to try them. And just my luck, on a lunchtime adventure with my co-worker Kim to look for a dress for my rehearsal dinner I walked by Cocoa and Fig in Gaviidae Commons on Nicollet Mall, and macarons were staring back at me from the display case. I decided to splurge and get them, I just HAD to. So, I tried one of each flavor, Salted Caramel and Pistachio.
These little delights served as the perfect afternoon treat. Each was light, and fluffy, but had this little bit of sticky, sugary consistency (nothing that would get on your hands) that made them extra sweet and delicious.
I'm not sure of the nutrition facts on these, but I'm sure it's not great. Luckily, they come in small portions.

I highly recommend you try these if you're by Cocoa and Fig, or if you have a favorite place that serves them, I'd love to hear about it (although, I need to make sure these stay a rare treat). I'm actually starting to think these may be a good favor for the wedding if I can pull it off without breaking the bank.

Has anyone ever made French Macarons before?? After this little adventure in trying them, I think it's time I whip up a batch!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sex and the City 2 Thumbs Down

Thanks to all the people who left me such great comments on the Minneapolis Half Marathon, you've reminded me that I need to look at the positive, not the negative. I cut my time and finished a half marathon, I should be reveling in that!!

Monday Night I took a class at Whole Foods called "Health Starts Right Here" with Jen. She does a great recap of it, over here at Prior Fat Girl, so I'll send you that way to check out her review of the class. I will tell you, I thought all the foods we tried were delicious, and of course ended up leaving with $25 worth of new groceries, they totally got me, hook, line and sinker!

This past weekend I finally saw Sex and the City 2 with my college roommates; the four of us used to watch the show for hours on end when we lived together. I went into the movie with low expectations based on the trailers and I had seen and the reviews I had heard. My review? The movie was lame, just plain lame. Carrie spoke the whole time about needing a "sparkle" in her marriage with Big, that same "sparkle" was lacking in this movie.
We always knew that the lives of Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha weren't all that realistic, but SATC 2 really jumped the shark. Charlotte- the stay at home mom with a full-time Nanny, Carrie- who buys her husband a Rolex for his birthday (Ben, don't expect more than a Fossil), Miranda- who is financially stable enough to just up and quit her job when she's treated poorly and Samantha's one liners that were once perfectly timed during the series, are now forced and seemed like drab Middle School humor from a 50+ woman.

The clothes were fantastic per usual, and the flashbacks of them in the 80's when the girls all first met were hilarious. The Big/Carrie story line with Aiden thrown in (although John Corbett looked so gooooooooood) is just getting so old. Another wrench thrown in their relationship? Puh-lease.

So, if you can't resist going to see the movie like I couldn't, just remember, it's not the same girls that made you go, "I've dealt with a guy just like that!" years back. Instead, you may tilt your head to the side like a confused dog and leave the movie saying, "huh?"

So, that's why I'll continue to fondly think of Sex and the City as it was during the HBO series, I think this clip sums it up well.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Minneapolis Half Marathon Recap

Minneapolis Half Marathon yesterday, what a race, what a course. I'm going to say it first things first, I didn't finish how I wanted to today. I'll get to that, but it's not like I wasn't prepared. The night before, I got a good nights sleep (The race started at 7:00, I was up at 5:30 a.m.). Plus, I attended a potluck with my training buddies (pictured below) full of lasagna, Gatorade, delicious breads, salad, brownies etc. We talked strategy, goal times, past races, and got ourselves pumped up and carbed up!
The bottom line is: I didn't pace myself the way I should have, and the weather didn't help. I know what you're thinking, "What??!!!? The weather this morning was beautiful!!" And it was. beautiful for spending a day outside around the lake, or a leisurely walk or rollerblade, but for running a half marathon, IT WAS HOT. Trust me, it could have been A LOT worse (i.e. driving rain or any Minnesota weather in January), but it didn't do me any favors. It is summer now though, so I need to be able to handle the warmer temps and not use them as an excuse.

The course was hard. People weren't kidding about the hills, I did my best to run them at a steady pace, in part for training for the San Francisco Women's Marathon I'm training for in October. That course is going to be nice and hilly. Also , I didn't want to give up on hills, because I had patterned a lot of pacing to be able to handle running them better, so I wouldn't loose as much time, turns out I didn't pattern my pacing enough.

Despite my complaining about my time, I still beat my time for the Monster Dash Half Marathon last October (my first half) by about three minutes, which is awesome! I've just come so far in my training for running and strength training since that race, that I expected better out of myself. I've decided I will need to do another half marathon sometime in August or September to prep me for San Fran, and have me feeling more confident.

There were SO many great fans out for this race. So many familiar faces, my former colleague and web guru Chris was there to take this picture as I ran across the Stone Arch Bridge.
My former college roommate Emily was there around mile 11 to cheer me on, just when I needed it.

Randomly, I saw Jen from Prior Fat Girl and her adorable dog Iggy twice along the course, including right at the finish line.

Throughout the race, I was lucky enough to have my fiancee Ben and our dog Cooper cheering me on at several spots, I think I counted at least five different places! Ben is not a morning person, but he really is a dedicated partner in my fitness journey, especially as I become more dedicated to running. He dropped me off at 6:30 in the morning, then went home and changed and was back at mile three with a bag of ice and my camera. He even snapped this picture of Cooper loving being a race spectator.
These races would not be the same without the spectators, so I have to give them a hand. The spectators at these races keep us going when things look bleak. Seeing a friend or loved one along the way gives you a burst of energy and adrenaline you can't get anywhere else. I am so thankful to the people who came out.

Not to get all sappy, but some men send flowers, or are constantly showering their women with "I love you's" every other word, but Ben truly shows me he loves me when he's there for me on days like today. Not a lot of people would get up and sacrifice time or sleep like he does, for something that never directly benefits him (OK, I get buffer and hotter by doing these races, so it does benefit him. ;) It just shows, how having a support system can really help you achieve your goals. I poke fun a lot at my future husband on this blog, but this post is for him, he is my constant supporter and fan, on the course and off.
Post Race with my Cheering Section

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New Ice Cream Treats and Walking Club Changes

This week I found a GREAT new frozen treat, Weight Watchers Dark Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Bars, yum!!At only 80 calories and 4.5 grams of fat a pop, they're a PERFECT treat. For you Weight Watchers point counters, they're two points of goodness each. I am a huge fan of berries and chocolate, and these totally satisfy that craving. Here I am enjoying one after work this week!
And check out that Raspberry Low Fat Ice Cream inside the Dark Chocolate deliciousness!!
I found these at Super Target, I can't remember the exact price, but it wasn't crazy expensive and 12 of them came in box.

If you want to see something that will make you wonder, "How is this someone's job?" or "Who in the world approved this?" or even "Wow, my job looks really amazing right now compared to this." Check out this rapping weatherman. I'm glad Dave Dahl sticks to doing weather the old fashioned way...

P.S. I wonder how those tunes go when there's severe weather??

In Walking Club news, Cindy and I both have conflicts this Sunday (mine, the Half Mmarathon, no way I'll want to walk after that, and Cindy is hosting a wedding shower!), so we are going to change up the June schedule for Walking Club. We also realized we scheduled one of our walks for Father's Day. Therefore, we will meet ONCE during the month of June on Sunday, June 13 to walk Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. We will meet that night at our usual time at 6:00 p.m. Thank you for understanding!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Lake Calhoun Shirt Monster: An Urban Legend, Or Is It???

It starts around this time every year, the first 80 degree day, and it emerges, deep from the heart of Uptown, it slithers it's way out of Cowboy Slims, maybe makes a stop at the Drink, and then heads down Lake Street to Lake Calhoun, the Lake Calhoun Shirt Monster, and last week on my run around the Lake, I saw that the monster had indeed, struck again. That's right folks, he's baaaack.
The shirt monster creeps up on men who think that once the temperature hits a certain degrees fahrenheit they must strip off their shirts, and show the people who decide to dwell around this dirty, inter-city lake that while you were polishing off the Christmas cookies over winter break, they were hitting the gym (then, there's the ones who think they were hitting the gym, and that is even scarier). While you have the Scandinavian, translucent color reminiscent of a Minnesota winter, they were hitting up Darque Tan like it was their second home.

You won't see this at most other lakes in the area to the extent you see it at Calhoun. You won't find these guys in high numbers just around the bend at Isles, or up the hill at Lake Harriet, but Calhoun has enough foot and car traffic in the area that the these men feel the need to give way to the Shirt Monster.

However, disgusting and ludicrous so many of us think these men are, don't fret, come sundown, the shirt monster retreats. So these men throw on their button up Express dress shirt, or Ed Hardy t-shirt and head to the Stella's roof top to buy mojitos for unsuspecting women.

The Shirt Monster must also be closely related to the "look at my butt there's writing on it" Fairy, who also appears this time of year and strikes women with big and small back sides alike, but seriously... don't even get me started on that.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Goals

Although the wedding has been a major job for me this summer, it's not the center of everything (are some of you shocked hearing that??). There are certain thinks I've been wanting to do, and want to accomplish this summer, some of them bigger than others, and in order to hold myself accountable and not look back and say, "why did I never get to that??" or "where did this summer go?" (OK, that's an inevitable thing I'll be saying) I'm putting it out there for you, my readers to know.

So here they are, my summer goals to accomplish before the Labor Day weekend is complete:
  • Paint Bathroom Orange and Redecorate Bathroom with Bright Theme
  • Redecorate Entry Way
  • Not spend too much money at Crate and Barrel doing said redecorating
  • Make a Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from scratch (any good recipes to share?)
  • Eat at Manny's Tortas
  • Eat at the Loring Pasta Bar
  • Complete at least four 20+ mile runs (any good route suggestions in the area?)
  • Strength Train a least once a week
  • Go to at least two Twin Cities area water parks
  • Volunteer in my local community at least twice
I'll check back in with you and these goals the week after Labor Day (you may already know the answer to some of them, if I blog about such happenings!)

What are your goals? Any projects you want to accomplish? A garden you want to look perfect? A destination you want to travel to this summer? Or a race you want to finish?? If you comment with your summer goals, know that I'll be making sure to hold you accountable for them too!