Thursday, July 29, 2010

Do you speak Hipster?

So, Friday night when I ventured into Uptown for dinner, as noted in the past post, I decided to a do a little light shopping post meal. I headed to Juut for hair supplies and then decided to browse around Urban Outfitters. I've never been a huge fan of the store, but randomly I'll find cute things there on the sale rack.

Well, browsing the racks of "Urban," as the kids have short termed it, I saw this book, "I (heart) Your Style: How to Determine and Refine Your Personal Style."
Ummmmmmmm, what? Aren't the people (cough: hipsters) who shop at these types of stores, and hangout in Uptown supposed to be the independent thinkers?? So, you're telling me you worked for 20 minutes on that sloppy pony tail to look like you just rolled out of bed girl at Chino Latino sipping your $15 martini? You're not into Duran Duran, you just have the shirt because it looked vintage? What??

This book got my blood boiling a little, how about you just wear what you like, and don't wear what you don't like? If hipsters (there, I just said it with no reservations) are such non-conformists, why do they work so hard conforming to look different?? So, I started snapping pictures around Urban Outfitters, and taking note of the high price people will pay to look "shabby chic" (or oftentimes in my opinion, homeless).

For instance this outfit on the mannequin, who would wear this? A tank top over a button up shirt, buttoned to your neck. Separate, these could be cute pieces, but together, it looks ridiculous. Plus, a swift breeze could have both these items falling apart, let alone one trip through the washing machine, but someone would shell out $50+ for this??
OK, and this horse looks like a shirt Alan from the Hangover would wear if he was a girl.
Here's an outfit I actually like, but I wouldn't dare pay what they were charging.
Anyway, I get that for some people this is legitimately their style, but going to Uptown, and seeing these over priced threads, reminded me what some people will do to fit in, when all you really need to do is be yourself, and the people that matter, will love you for it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Uptown Cafeteria Review & Funky Monkey Winner

Hi Friends, hope you all had a fantastic weekend and your week is starting off great. This past weekend I took a trip to a relatively new restaurant, the Uptown Cafeteria in Minneapolis. I went with my Journalism School pal Lindsay (who, coincidentally just like me, uses her degree for something completely different!)
I love catching up with Lindsay, we seem to always end up meeting up at fun restaurants for our "dates" as we've coined them and Uptown Cafeteria was no different. As you can probably guess, it's supposed to be like an old fashioned diner or cafeteria and has padded, very comfortable seats, lunch trays you can buy to take home (not sure why you would), and lots of interesting menu choices for breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner.

I have to say, Uptown Cafeteria was delicious, I wish I would have taken more pictures of our food. Here are our delicious drinks: a Raspberry Cosmo and a Blood Orange Mimosa, YUM!
For dinner we split the Grilled Chicken Lettuce Wraps and the Summer Veggies Pasta that came with squash, zucchini, red onions, mixed with olive oil and feta cheese, delicious!

But, the highlight of our meal was splitting the Red Velvet cake for dessert. Holy Moly, this was the best Red Velvet cake I've ever had in my life. At $9.95 a slice, it was huge and could easily feed a table of four. It came with strawberry ice cream, and fresh strawberries as well. It had thick cream cheese frosting, and the cake was wonderfully moist. I really wish I would have taken a picture of this beauty, but Lindsay and I were so entranced in gabbing, in between huge bites, that I completely forgot to pull out my camera.

In other news, I have a winner for the Funky Monkey give away! The winner is...


Demmi tweeted about the give away! Demmi, leave a comment with your e-mail address, or DM it to me on Twitter and we can exchange contact information.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recipe for a Good Meal and a Happy Hip

Last night I made a recipe that's become a favorite in our house (OK, a semi-favorite to Ben, who doesn't like to eat much fruit), this Coconut Mango Chicken with Black Beans recipe from the ever annoying Rachael Ray. I got this recipe from her magazine, it used to be a great read, now I think it's gone down hill and I canceled my subscription. My go-to cooking magazines are now Food Network Magazine, Everyday Food by Martha Stewart, and occasionally I'll pick up an issue of Cooking Light if it looks appealing from the newsstand.

This recipe is pretty cheap to make, and gives Ben and I both dinner and usually ends up making a lunch for me too. It's easy to whip up too!
I don't include the mint that's called for, I don't want to buy a bushel to just use a pinch of it, really defeats the purpose of this awesomely cheap, yet delicious meal if you spend like that on one little thing. If you wanted to spice this up like Mango Chicken served at Thai restaurants, you could add some bits of chopped peppers.

Had my first session of physical therapy last night, and it was a little daunting, however, the reassured me that while we're working together for the next six weeks, he would make me stronger though and help me complete my goal. Thank Goodness!

He reiterated what the doctor told me about needing to gain strength in my glutes, and gave me a few exercises to do once a day at three reps of ten.

He also reminded me about listening to my body, taking rest days (I feel like a bum when I do that though! and I feel like I take too many of them already!), and that by doing this he can help me cross the finish line in San Francisco. Yeah! Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

Tonight, I listened to his advice and did a nice light workout with my pal Emily of 35 minutes on the elliptical, and stopped when I started to feel like my hip was becoming just a bit fatigued.

I'm going to attempt my fist run back this Sunday, as that will be seven days off of running, here's hoping my exercises from the therapist will make that run easier.

Also, don't forget to enter the Funky Monkey giveaway before tomorrow night!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Funky Monkey Giveaway

Today's giveaway is a food I discovered while at the Prior Fat Girl meet up this past winter, and I've been hooked ever since, Funky Monkey!

Basically, Funky Monkey is freeze dried fruit, and I think it's delicious. It has a sweet little crunch, and keeps me satisfied when I'm craving sweet things (OK, not all the time, sometimes that mini Kit Kat from the candy jar is going to be the only thing that can get me through a stressful situation) and it's a good choice at 45 calories a serving. Today I enjoyed the Pink Pineapple flavor as my mid-morning snack.
My friend Amy over at The Savvy Celiac will be happy to hear that Funky Monkey snacks are Gluten Free. They're also vegan and all natural if you're into that.

The good folks over at Funky Monkey will be giving one of my readers a value pack of their different flavors like the one below, plus a Funky Monkey T-Shirt to boot!

Here's how you can win:
  1. 1. Follow me on Twitter, @AlexaTC, and retweet this message, "@AlexaTC is sponsoring a @FunkyMonkeySnck Giveaway. Check it out here to see how to have your fruit & eat it too" then, leave me a comment with a link to your tweet
  2. Go to and comment below to tell me what flavor you want to try, or already is your favorite
  3. Follow @FunkyMonkeySnck on Twitter and leave a comment saying you are a follower
  4. Sign up to Follow my blog, and leave a comment saying you are a follower
So, there are four separate ways you can win!

Here is the fine print: This give away is open U.S. Residents only. Entries must be received by Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. CST. A Winner will be announced by Monday, July 26, 2010 and the winner has until Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. CST to contact me, otherwise a new winner will be picked. The winner will be picked at random.

Monday, July 19, 2010

He was Injured, Injured Bad

OK, I'm not "injured bad," but I'm not in tip top shape either, but I couldn't resist the chance to put up a link to this You Tube video as a reference to being injured. That little guy is so cute! Whatever firm came up with that ad, kudos to them!

Anyway, I went to the sports medicine doctor today for the pain I've been having in my right leg, and she told me that not only is my IT band tight, but the main cause of my problem is Hip Bursitis. She said this stems from my glute muscles not being strong enough, and this is common in runners.

This had me scratching my head, because I've seen "most runners" and I understand why they don't have a lot of glute muscles, they're twig skinny!! But, have we met?? I have a backside, not a baby got back or anything, but I've got some cushion for the pushin. Apparently, it isn't as toned as I need it to be though, so I'll be going to physical therapy once a week, and have to take it easy this week. This is frustrating, but better than having this happen two months from now when San Francisco is so close.

In brighter news, tomorrow I will have a fabulous and healthy giveaway for all of you, so keep your eye on the blog.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekend Update

I wish my weekend updates could be as hilarious as when Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon hosted them on SNL, but alas, here's my update anyway. =)

This weekend has been GREAT! It started off Friday with heading to the Mall of America for the Nordstrom Anniversary sale and get a few other items. Some people hate MOA, where as I love it. All of my favorite stores are in one place there, and I find it easy to navigate if you know where you're going. The Anniversary sale had some great deals and it was fun to shop by myself and go where I wanted to, and take as long as I wanted to in stores like Sephora and Aveda as well.

Saturday, I was up bright and early with running pals Katy, Rachel and Brooke and we got in nine miles before the heat really hit, as we're all training for fall marathons in Chicago, New York and San Francisco, so we can't let the weather get in the way of our training. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday to run at 6:00 wasn't too fun, but it was sweltering with heat and humidity by 8:30 a.m., so it was well worth it.

That afternoon Ben and I headed to a couple's wedding shower for my former college roommate Emily and her fiancee Teagan in Rockford, Minnesota.
I've never been to a couple's shower before, and it seemed pretty much like a big cookout with gifts. Some of our friends wrapped up a couple bottles of Smirnoff Ice, telling the couple they'd been "Iced," has anyone heard of this?? Apparently it's a viral marketing campaign from Smirnoff, that if someone "ices" you before you "ice" them, you have to chug a Smirnoff. That sounds like a recipe for praying to the porcelain God in my book!

Anyway, at the shower we could paint wine, beer and champagne glasses for the couple, I painted this ocean scene (along with a few others, but they all looked like one of Emily's kindergarten students did it, I'm no artist people!)
Today, we tried out our new Wii for the first time, so exciting!! We bought it with some of the Target gift cards we received for the wedding, and it was well worth the money! I figured out that I am a better Wii bowler than regular bowler and that Ben can kick my butt in Wii Tennis any day as well. Ben had a lot of fun with the new Wii, here he is perfecting his baseball swing.

So, despite the heat, followed by quite the storms (Cooper and I were hunkered down during them!) it was a great weekend. How was yours???

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Post Wedding Work

Hello Weekday Warriors, how is everyone fairing this week? I feel like things are just NUTS. Work is very busy right now, and so are things at home. I have a bridal shower for my college roommate Emily this weekend, plus, I want to hit up the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale that starts Friday to get some staple items for work at a good price. If you've never been to this sale, it is AWESOME, however, things sell out fast, because of the high quality items at good prices, so I try to make it there in the first few days of the sale. You can check out the catalog for the sale, here.

Anyway, I know what you're thinking, how are you so busy now that your wedding is over?? Well, something no one tells you about the wedding process, is that afterward, you have a house full of gifts (which is AWESOME, by the way, thank you to all of our generous friends and family) that need organizing. So, I have been busy getting our condo in order with all the beautiful new items we have, and trying to clear out our den that one week ago you literally couldn't walk into because of the wall of gifts.

The best part about post wedding is not only not planning anymore like I mentioned previously, but using all the fun stuff you received and redecorating and organizing. Check out these hurricanes from Crate and Barrel with candles and pebbles to match (Thanks to Kerstin and Matt for this gift!)
Also, I love cooking with the new pots and pans (thanks Ben's aunts and uncles!), eating off new dishes (thanks Mom and Dad!), and using new kitchen gadgets (thanks to pretty much everyone!)

There are also quite a few other loose ends to take care of post wedding:
  1. Ordering and getting out Thank You cards
  2. Preserving your dress: will I bag it or box it?? And who knew it was this expensive??
  3. Changing my last name. This been a lot of work--my friend Molly was right, always have your marriage license with you for the first year of marriage, you never know when you'll need it. It has also been randomly emotional, actual conversation from yesterday:
Work Receptionist: Alexa, I have your name badge with your new name on it
Me: Great, let me grab that from you (get badge, stare at it for what seemed like forever)
Receptionist: OK, I just need your old one
Me: What?... Why?
Receptionist: Because you have your new one, with your correct name
Me: So... you're just going to take it? (voice starting to shake, eyes welling up) you're going to just take my maiden name one?
Receptionist: That's what we usually do
Me: Oh, well, OK... (tears starting roll down my face)
Receptionist: Why don't you just keep it, (starting to talk faster as I look more vulnerable) we don't really need it
Me: OK (proceed to me running to bathroom before anyone else sees me)

Yes, so one minute I can send in everything to the government to change my name and feel fine, but the next minute, I look at my new last name and loose it-- I don't get it?!?!

Anyway, I wanted to share one more wedding picture with all of you, of all of them we have seen from both our professional photographer (the lovely Jan Kentala) and from friends and family at the wedding, this is the favorite, I'm sure you'll see why. =)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Babys Got Sauce

This weekend Ben and I checked out a new restaurant in the West End addition in St. Louis Park. This is a pretty new area with a lot of new restaurants and stores, including the pizza joint, Sauce. My friend Jen had told me she liked this place, and since Ben is a big pizza guy, we had to check it out.

It is a "fast casual" place like Noodles & Co or Damico and Sons, where you order at the counter, get a number, and within five to ten minutes your food is delivered to you.

The place is really charming, with video menu boards, wine, beer and soft drinks to choose from and both indoor and outdoor seating.
There were quite a few choices for pizza on the menu, Ben stuck with his old standby Pepperoni, but I got the Mozzarella, Fontina Cheese & Basil pizza pictured below.
It was quite good, not as good as a Punch Pizza Margherita Pizza, but still good; I'm a sucker for basil though.

Along with my pizza, I also got the Chicken, Spinach and Apple Salad with Gorgonzola & Candied Walnuts, and it was downright delicious, mmmmmm, mmmmmm.
I thought I'd take part of this salad home and finish my pizza, but I was wrong, I ate nearly the whole salad and brought half of the pizza home. It was the perfect blend of fruit with meats, spinach and cheese, and nice and light with the dressing on the side.

On the good deal front, Sauce is offering a deal for the summer where you can get one pizza, one salad and two glasses of wine for $20, NICE! I'd say this is great for a meal out with your girlfriend, but won't be enough food if you're eating with a guy, and definitely not enough food for two guys to share.

So, I think Sauce is a great place for a casual, inexpensive meal when you don't feel like going all out, but don't want fast food when you're not in the mood to cook. I can't wait to try it again soon!

So far, Sauce has the one Minnesota location in St. Louis Park, and locations in Arizona as well.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Walking Club and Birthday Clubs

A reminder, I know we've been MIA for awhile, but Walking Club will meet this Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. at Lake Calhoun. We'll meet by the Tin Fish Restaurant. There are bathrooms and a bubbler (drinking fountain) on the side of the Tin Fish where we will meet. Look for both Cindy and I! Per usual, we will leave at 6:10 p.m. If you've never walked Lake Calhoun, it's 3.1 miles, and has a great paved path, can't wait to see you there!

So, Tuesday I touched on the free burger coupon I had from Red Robin, because of their birthday club. I am a HUGE fan of e-mail clubs that send you coupons, especially the ones that give you free stuff on your birthday. I have a separate e-mail account, just for this kind of stuff.

So, I thought I would share with you my list of the best Foodie Birthday Club e-mail lists to get on, where you will get free goodies for you b-day. They may not all be the healthiest, but it's fun to splurge sometimes, especially when its free!

Birthday Clubs:
Noodles and Company
Famous Daves
Majors Sports Cafe
Einstein Brothers Bagels
Brueggers Bagels
Ben and Jerry's
Cold Stone Creamery
Red Robin

Know of any other good ones?? Let me know!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Latest Food Finds

OK, well the kitchen is starting to get in better order, and all of our laundry and suitcases are put away, woo hoo!! I'm starting to feel much better about things around the house.

So, tonight, as I didn't want to make yet another mess in our kitchen, I asked Ben if we could hit up Red Robin. I had a coupon for a free burger there because of their birthday club (yes, along with getting married, I turned 27, yippee!). I knew Ben would eat the burger, but what would I have?? I spotted Ensenada Chicken Platter on the menu, and after looking up the nutrition facts on my phone, I was sold! You could reduce the chicken breast to just one (all I needed) and it weighed in at 727 calories, awesome! I have to admit, I did have some of Ben's bottomless fries that came with his burger though. =)

Another great food find I had heard about but never tried, is Cranberry Raisinets, Yu-HUM!!!
As you can see by the package, these are only 100 calories a pop, and they taste great! I've found them a bit hard to find (I found them at a Chevron in Hana, Hawaii, one of the most desolate hard to get to places on earth, but couldn't find them at Kwik Trip in Rochester, Minnesota earlier this week or Super America in Minneapolis). Next time I find them, I'll be sure to pick up a few packages to have on hand when a candy, sweet craving hits, they're TEN times better than regular Raisinets.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Are you there Blog? It's me, Alexa.

I've been MIA for nearly two weeks now, sorry loyal readers!

I'm coming to you right now, in a mad house of a home. I'm surrounded by wedding gifts that I started to put away, a half organized kitchen, and baskets of folded and unfolded laundry from our trip to Hawaii.

So, unless you're coming across this for the first time you know, on June 26th Ben and I got married, then the on June 28th we left for our honeymoon for a week in Hawaii. As much as a love you all, I wasn't going to pay the twenty cents a minute or whatever it was for internet at our hotel to blog while we were there, so I took the time off to just be a newlywed and have fun, sooooooooo glad I did!

Cliff notes version of the past two weeks:


And now I'm home, ready to tackle the routine again. As much as I love vacations, and had an amazing wedding, I am a creature of habit, and ready to hit the schedule again. Eating homemade meals, training for my marathon, hitting up yoga classes, and of course going to work!

People keep telling me that they missed wedding planning, who are these people?! I am SO relieved to not have to plan anymore for my wedding!! Although I love planning (and am day of coordinating for a former co-worker next June, yay!), I'm glad to have more of my normal life back.

Now, if only I could get my kitchen organized and my laundry put away...