Friday, December 31, 2010


Here we are, New Year's Eve, time to look back and look ahead. 2010 has been truly amazing for me, there are so many reasons why. It will be hard for 2011 to top this year, but I'm hopeful for another great year ahead. So, in pictures and tidbits, here's why 2010was amazing:

First, the obvious fact why 2010 rocked, I started this blog, hello!!

My amazing friends who through me this great bachlorette party

The lovely women I met through this blog who threw me this surprise wedding shower/Mexican Fiesta

Marrying the greatest man in the world. Spending this holiday season with him has reminded me how lucky I am to have him

Then going on amazing Honeymoon together in Maui

My nephew, Andrew Edwin Enzo, being born on August 25, he is so cute, smart and happy

Training for, and completing, my first marathon. What an incredible journey!

And of course my baby Coopair, he makes every day brighter!

All of you made 2010 great! I'm so thankful for all of you readers, and get forward to sharing more time with you in 2011!! Make it a safe, and wonderful New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 Races

Along with teaching my 10K clinic this winter, I'm putting out there what races I'd like to complete this coming year. I'm trying to cut back on spending on needless ones, but there are some ones I'm for sure doing!

I am also still contemplating doing the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco on October 16, but I will have to see on that as well. I'd like to do the half, so I won't be as warn out, or resting up, from the race and can experience more of the city of San Fran.

Holiday Hangover

OK, Christmas is over, it's that week in between. New Year's Eve has yet to arrive, I'm at work for 2.5 days this week, and most everyone else is off. I love these weeks. The office is quieter, I can run my errands during lunch break without all the crowds, and we get to dress casual, score!

Christmas was really nice. We left Boise the day after Christmas on a 10:30 a.m. flight, so we had to be up and at 'em to pack pretty early that morning. It was hard to leave, we had such a nice visit. Ben's mom surprised us all with pajamas on Christmas Eve to wear while we opened presents the next day. All the girls had matching tops, and so did the boys, and then we all had different holiday themed PJ pants.

Ben and I exchanged gifts before we left for Christmas, and I love when we do this! Since our condo has no fire place, we hang our stockings from the island in our kitchen, and stuff them with little treats. This year, I stuffed Ben's with: gum, dark chocolate, shampoo and vodka. He seemed to enjoy that. =)

Ben is also the king of creative Christmas tags, he likes to mix it up. I've always saved the one from our first Christmas together. We had been dating six months, and he got me a Ray Nitschke throw back jersey (a former Green Bay Packer great for all you non-NFL fans). I was so shocked, surprised and happy that this Vikings fan would go out on a limb to get me this jersey.

I've saved the tag from that gift, because I absolutely loved it. This was the first year Ben experienced my true love for the holiday season, so he kindly tagged that gift for "Miss Xmas." I've had that tag pinned on the fridge since that Christmas Day 2007. It even successfully made the move from my little apartment in Uptown, to our place when we moved in together.

This Christmas I added a special tag to go along side of that first Christmas tag that Ben created:

(Please ignore the "Jimmy is a Pyro" magnet as the child pictured sets a dollhouse on fire, that's another story)

I love the little things like these tags that remind me how happy I am to have such a great husband, and great family and friends during the holiday season! I hope you all had a great holiday and were able at least get a little extra time off from work.

Now, I need to cut back on my cookie in-take and start spending my gift cards!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Greetings from the Gem State

Ben and I flew out to his parents house in Boise, Idaho yesterday to spend Christmas with his family. It was our first time flying with Cooper, and he did great; I love that they allow small animals in the cabin with you! However, it was an experience bringing the extra stuff for him, and getting through security and all with him, I can't imagine flying with a child, or multiple children!

The weather here is fantastic, it reminds me of late October/Early November in Minnesota. 35-40 degrees during the day, no wind, lots of sun. They have some snow on the ground here right now, but even that is pretty rare for them. I went for a 2.75 mile run this morning on the trails, and it felt fantastic, just look how beautiful it is running by the river.

Speaking of running, I had a guest post on Prior Fat Girl this week talking about my marathon training journey, and encouraging others in the Twin Cities area to join the 5K and 10K run clinics starting January 3rd. If you're still interested, leave a comment with your contact info and I'll send you the details.

Also, I completely forgot to list the Panko Lemon Pepper winner earlier this week, how absent minded am I?! I guess it's the holidays and preparing for this trip that had it slipping my mind... sure, we'll blame that! =)

Anyway, the random winner is... Jenny!

Jenny said, "I would use the panko crumbs on fish, bass and sunnies. We have a stock pile from fishing this summer."

Congrats Jenny! Leave a comment with your e-mail address by 11:59 p.m. central time on December 31, 2010 and I'll get your contact info to send to the good people at My Blog Spark.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Fighter

This past weekend, Ben and I went to see the new movie out, The Fighter, it's based on the true story of two half-brothers, living in the Boston area training to be boxers. The older brother Dicky, played by Christian Bail, is the washed-up has been, who's addicted to crack and trains his younger brother Micky, played by Mark Wahlberg. The film also co-stars Amy Adams, of Drop Dead Gorgeous fame, as Micky's girlfriend, Charlene.

I'm not a fan of boxing, or professional fighting in any means, but I had heard the acting in this movie was superb, and it's more of a story about over coming obstacles, and letting nothing stand in your way, along with a unique family dynamic, and that's what led me to go see it. I often covered my eyes during the boxing scenes, as the sport is just too brutal for my taste.

The acting, however, did not disappoint. Mark Walhberg seemed to effortlessly play the character of Micky, and there are many articles out there right now, about how he fought to get into pristine physical shape for this role, and to get the movie made at all. Amy Adams is a foul-mouthed, no excuses woman, who lost her shot at an athletic or academic future, and now has put all her chips on Micky.

By far, the best acting came from Christian Bale though. It's obvious to see the physical changes he went through for this role, but the way that he can morph into the character of Dicky Eklund, is amazing. From watching him play Lori in Little Women, to Batman, and now this, it has been proven, he is an amazing actor.

Another great part of this movie, that you may not hear about from other critics, is that it's based in the 1990's and the fashion is freaking hilarious. Guess jean skirts, Body Suits, BAD hair, acid washed jeans, belly tops, etc. Some of it may have been more local with their Massachusetts neighborhood, but man, was that fun to watch as well.

I highly recommend going to see this movie, if you want great story line, great acting, and a movie that leaves you feeling as if you can over come just about anything, this is for you.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Party of All Parties

Every year, Ben's work hosts a fabulous Holiday party. One of those, that in these economic times, most companies don't host anymore, and let me say, I'm soooo glad his employer has continued the tradition of this party!

It's held each year, the Saturday before Christmas at a hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Women wear fancy dresses, men wear suits, and it feels like a real night out on the town! This past weekend, Ben and I attended, and can I just say, the party was even better than ever this year!

My preps started with my friend Lindsay coming over to help me do my hair and make up.

Thanks Lindsay!!

The party starts every year with a shrimp buffet that is usually talked about all year long leading up to the party. There are rumors the shrimp is flown in that morning from the east coast; I'm not sure where it comes from, but let me tell you, it's delicious.

Following the awesome cocktail hour, is a delicious dinner. This year, Ben and I sat with a table of many fun people, some I've known for years, some we just met that night!

Following the delicious three course dinner, there is, you guessed it, more food! Each year they have a dessert buffet that could have me up a pant size in about five minutes. This year, it included a fruit cobbler bar. Many different types of fruit cobblers for the choosing (cherry, blueberry, peach, apple cranberry, etc.) and people there to top it with ice cream and whipped cream!

I was so impressed by the cobbler bar, I had to pose with it!

I had the apple cranberry cobbler, topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

That, along with my four glasses (yes, FOUR) of Sangria, had me on a sugar buzz like no other (I subsequently crashed from it around 1:15 a.m.).

The last part of the night is the best part, and of course I have no pictures of it-- the casino night. You can play the tables, and win more raffle tickets for the wide array of prizes they have to offer at the end of the night; playing black jack, without the consequences of real money!

Plus, I guess I got lucky somehow, during the raffle I won a $50 gas card, and a $50 gift card to a local restaurant, alright!

So, that pretty much sums up my weekend. Does your work have holiday parties? Are you doing anything special at work this week get in the spirit of the season??

Friday, December 17, 2010

I have a confession to make...

I love fashion. Not just like fashion, LOVE it. Not those runway, crazy fashions that you could never actually wear in real life. But, the little trends, that make my day, and that I can wear functionally to work, or out to dinner with friends. I'm obsessed.

I've read that people who love shopping, love it because when they see a certain outfit, pair or shoes, piece of jewelery, etc. they envision a fantasy of what they'll do in that piece; how it will make their lives better, or a new version of themselves they can be with this new addition to their wardrobe. That is TOTALLY me.

Since getting married and combining finances, my husband has helped bring me back down to earth on the spending of "Keeping up with the Joneses" trends, and I actually appreciate it (sometimes). I've found so many fun things to do with the stuff in my closet I already have, fun new combinations, tops I've worn once that pulled out and accessorized feel brand new to me!

There are certain blogs I follow to keep up on their fashion: Much love, Lily and Economy of Style, to name a couple. And, don't be surprised if I see a picture on your blog, or your facebook page, of you wearing an item I like, if I e-mail and ask where you got it. Consider it a compliment when I'm sporting that same piece a week later. =)

Just this week I bought these Rocket Dog Boots:


And last week, I had to have this Banana Republic Dress (and I got it at 40% off to boot)

So, what's the point of this post? I feel like I haven't explained to you my readers, this big part of my life so far. How, a lot of times when I'm working out, it's because I want my clothes to look good and feel good on me (don't we all!?); it's a huge motivation for me to keep going. Yes, I want to be healthy, and live a long life and fitness along with healthy eating will help with that, but I want to look good doing it!

Just last week when I bought that dress pictured above from Banana Republic, I tweeted my joy afterward when I had to buy a smaller dress size instead of my normal one. Now, THAT is a great feeling! I read in the book Eating Thin for Life that people who realize that these bigger victories, like buying a smaller size, not feeling overweight, etc. more than the immediate gratification of eating unhealthy foods, are the ones who ultimately succeed in the weight game, and that theme has really rang true for me.

So, if you see me at Mall of America this weekend, know that I'll be Christmas shopping... but keeping my eye on the fashions for me as well (and as Carrie Bradshaw said, "shopping is my cardio!").

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Dinner Give Away

I don't even know where to begin on this weekend, we got a foot and a half of snow in Minneapolis. My husband walked to Dominos to get our dinner since I didn't plan well enough to have food in the house during the "snownami." The Metrodome's roof fell in, and my Vikings loving husband is dismal about it.

BUT, I did get SO many things done around the house being snowed in. My parents were here and we baked, and cleaned, got copious amounts of laundry done, and that reminded me of this great give away I have for you folks!

Winter is the time to make delicious, warm meals when we're indoors together, and Progresso has these new Lemon Pepper Panko Bread Crumbs to help spice up your cooking.

As a always trying to be healthy eater, when I hear "breaded" I cringe, so I was skeptical about this product. But, I used the bread crumbs, mixed with some egg whites, and put them on some chicken breasts and baked them up, and it was delicious! Not bad on the nutrition charts either!

So, the folks over at Blog Spark are giving you the chance to win these Lemon Pepper Bread Crumbs to try in your kitchen, and TV Chef Michael Chiarello's book on Italian cooking and wine.

There are two ways you can win:
  1. Subscribe and follow this blog
  2. Tell me how you would use the Lemon Pepper Panko Bread Crumbs in your cooking
A separate comment is needed for each entry.

Entries must be received by Sunday December 19, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time. A random winner will be announced by Monday, December 20, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time and the winner have until Monday, December 27, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Central to contact me, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

*The information on this product, and the items to giveaway were all given to me from General Mills through MyBlogSpark, but the review of the product is all my own.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cookie Swap!

On the theme of the holidays again, this past weekend I attended my friend Molly's annual Cookies and Cocktails party at her house. Each person brings a different recipe, and the ingredients and makes cookies, and we divide them up at the end and each go home with a bunch of different Christmas cookies!

As you can imagine, the temptations run high here, I'm a sugar freak, and I sampled a few of the cookies throughout the day.

All the baking gals making the yearly Corn Flake Wreaths

I made these Paradise Macaroons, courtesy of Mellisa at a Fit and Spicy Life. She raved about them on her blog, and I love coconut, so I had to try them, and they turned out great!

With my lovely macaroons

We also ordered Chinese food from Bill's Garden, the best Chinese Food place in Minneapolis in my opinion. The fried goodness of sweet and sour chicken, and cream cheese wontons kept me happy that afternoon as well. So, granted this, isn't a healthy get together, but it sure is a fun one, and worth every calorie!

Tomorrow, I'm heading out for a run, (to work off the damage I did at the cookie swap) as it's supposed to be a 30 degree+ heat wave with my pal Anne! Here her and I are freezing our butts off after a cold, and painful run around Lake Calhoun a few weeks back:

I feel like no matter what the cold weather running picture, my face looks like a big, round butter ball, especially compared to tiny Anne!

Tomorrow, I'm also attending an event that will name the Top Ten Titans in Social Media in the Twin Cities. If you need to add to your blog roll, check out the list of the nominees, and you'll be in love. All of these people have true talent, and I can't wait to celebrate it tomorrow!

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Favorite Ornament

As stated previously, I love the Holiday Season. So, when Missy from the Marketing Mama told me about a blog carnival where everyone writes about a favorite ornament, or holiday item that has meaning to them, I had to hop on.

My personal favorite, are the ornaments I have from our Christmas tree growing up. A set of cloth, stuffed Peanuts characters ornaments that I don't remember ever spending a Christmas without.

I'm not sure when my mom purchased them, but in college when she asked me if I wanted any of the ornaments she was no longer going to use, and I saw these in the pile, I quickly snatched them up.

My husband asked me this year, after seeing me get so excited to place these certain ornaments on the tree each year, why we had cloth ornaments. The only response I could think of was, "probably because my brothers and I were too destructive for anything else??" I suppose that's why people use non-breakable ornaments for a certain point in their life.

They remind me of many fun Christmas Eve's at my parents house, where we would sit around eating taco tip (yes, our Christmas traditions include taco dip) and cookies after going to Christmas Eve mass. They remind me of waking up Christmas morning, as a kid and eating a huge doughnut for breakfast before diving into opening presents. I hope that one day when Ben and I have kids, they'll have a certain item that brings back wonderful memories like these ornaments do for me.

Check out the links below from other area bloggers to see their favorite holiday item! Also, feel free to comment with your favorite holiday memories, I can't wait to hear them. =)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Grown Up Christmas List

Because I am a person who loves Christmas (and the holiday season in general), and loves buying and receiving gifts, I'm going to be so self-indulgent (after gloating last week that I wasn't by not telling you all what I'm thankful for) and make my little perfect holiday wish list.

Are they hints for my husband and friends? Why yes, they are. Is this my way of feeling like a kid again looking at the JC Penny catalog? Why yes, it is. And, just maybe, it will help give you some ideas. So often as adults if we want something, we buy it, so that leaves us stumped when someone asks us what we're wishing for for a birthday or holiday.

Without further ado, here we go:

This infinite scarf from Nordstrom, I'm in love with it, and their Juniors Department is so reasonable at only $20

Gloves for my touch screen phone. Whoever thought of this is a genius, because I hate pulling my fingers out of my gloves at the bus stop to try and use my phone. They turn into icicles as I try to tweet, e-mail, text, etc.
Dry Fit Arm Warmers for Running, the ones I wore for the Nike Women's Marathon were an impromptu pair from Walgreens my friend Breck bought me, and they're all but spent after that race, so I'd love a dry fit pair that will last for the long hall for when the seasons are changing and running wardrobes have to be flexible.

An Apple Peeler, so that I don't end up spending many hours, nearly sacrificing my fingers each fall while I try to peel apples.

Of course, either of these adorable aprons from Anthropologie. They're so beautiful, and I know I would love to cook and bake in them, but I can't bring myself to spend $32 on an apron for myself.

Aveda Hand Relief. The best lotion ever. I always try to keep a big bottle on my nightstand, and a travel size bottle in my purse. It's the only way my hands survive Minnesota winters. It's not too greasy, but heavy duty enough to keep my hands, cuticles and nails moisturized.

I am also a huge proponent of Gift Cards. I know some people think they're lame gifts, but I love them. They help me cut down on my weekly coffee spend, they give me a big discount on a pair of shoes I otherwise may not have been able to afford, or they give Ben and I a nice way to go out to dinner and not blow all of our spending money.

So, there it is, my very self-indulgent list. I hope it got you thinking of what's on your list, so the next time someone asks you don't go, "hmmm, I don't know... anything really," and end up with a shirt you'll never wear, or a book you'll never read.