Starbucks and Fitbloggin: Who's Ready?

Hello All and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Although I have kissed the actual Blarney Stone in Ireland (said to give the kisser the gift of gab), I am far from being chatty tonight so I will let my cupcake friend say it all…

I’ve had a busy day at work and at home. At this point, I’m ready to crash on my bed right in the middle of all of my clothes for Fitbloggin that I still need to pack. Speaking of packing, I am sooo happy someone invented packing cubes – packing cubes are absolute genius! It must have been a woman who invented them, ‘cuz Lord knows that women appreciate anything that can make packing easier.

For anyone going to Fitbloggin, the closest Starbucks is .1 miles away from the Marriott. I predict that is going to be one busy Starbucks this weekend!

Ok, gotta run. See you on the flip side.

Do Not Disturb

Hey All,

I didn’t sleep well at ALL last night. It doesn’t help that I was:

A) Up late picking out clothes for Fitbloggin
B) Up even later worrying about my clothing choices Fitbloggin
C) Distracted by Miss M who, at just 2 years old, insists that she is not tired and would like to play with cars in the dark

    Ugh! Sleepless nights are hard and they make for even harder mornings. So, it may be no surprise that I did NOT run today as planned. I had hoped to get an extra hour of sleep, but that plan didn’t go over very well.  I need to hang a sign on my door that says Do Not Disturb – too bad Mr. C and Miss M can’t read yet. The other day, Mr. C so kindly asked me, do they let you sleep at work? No, mommy does not get nap time at work – or at home apparently.

    Maybe I’ll actually get some sleep at Fitbloggin – he he! Unless of course, we’re all going out dancing, at which point I will stay out all night reliving my sorority girl days. I’m hoping Ashley can give us all the scoop on the Baltimore restaurants and nightlife!

    Aside from Low and Behold, has anyone else started packing yet? I’m usually like Low and pack a week or so in advance just because I’m so excited. But, I literally feel like I just unpacked from my trip to Orlando, so I’m not motivated to start packing yet. Aside from my trip to Baltimore, I’m headed back to Orlando just after Easter, then back to Washington, DC, for a week in May. Anyone else have travel plans for the Spring/Summer?

    The other day I went to the grocery store and found myself in the produce section, as always. I’m very frustrated that fruit costs so much, yet you’re supposed to eat 4-5 servings a day. Looking at all the fruit, I was reminded of the healthy eating tip about buying several single pieces of fruit and placing them in a big bowl on your counter or desk at work. Then, when you have the urge to snack, you eat a piece of fruit.

    I tried that, but unfortunately, the fruit is not ripe and won’t be ripe for a few days. So it is just sitting in my cute little bowl mocking me as I contemplate what snack I can actually eat. Some chocolate chips are sounding good right about now.!

    Oooh, wait. Scott just came home with 4 quarts of ice cream from our local dairy…

    This is exactly what happens when you’re fruit is not ripe – he he!

    Have a great night.

    Oooh, So Spicy!

    Hello All and  Happy Monday! After my 4.5 mile interval run, I had an another awesome, and very French, breakfast..

    I try not to eat a whole lot of bread, but when I do I want it to be good. This morning, I smeared some Bonne Maman raspberry preserves and all-natural peanut butter on a fresh French baguette. Hmmm…so good! I really think I should move to France just so I can have fresh French bread everyday and have it be normal. I also had a couple strawberries just ‘cuz they’re so good for you.

    I am really looking forward to warmer weather when I can enjoy these types of breakfast out on my huge front porch. Spring/Summer can not come soon enough.

    It was status quo at work today. Even lunch was a meager 1 1/2 cups of chicken soup and a couple Dr. Kracker flatbreads. But late in the afternoon, I enjoyed some purple yogurt!

    If you have not tried Dannon’s Greek yogurt yet, I highly recommend the blueberry flavor -it’s fantastic! I think I may even like this better than Trader Joe’s vanilla Greek yogurt – I can’t believe it either!

    Dinner was some very spicy chicken stir-fry a la my husband who can’t tell things are too spicy when he’s congested.

    Oooh, so spicy!

    After dinner, I headed out to the mall for another fruitless, 2-hour shopping trip. I think the retail gods are laughing right about now at how much time I’ve spent searching for new clothes.

    I’m going to make one more attempt at shopping this week, before Fitbloggin. If I can’t find anything, just remember I tried!

    See ya all tomorrow 🙂

    Yogurt Sundae

    Hello Everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing Sunday. After my typical Sunday morning run, I made a super yummy yogurt parfait for breakfast…

    I layered the parfait with the following awesome ingredients…

    • 5.3 ounces of Trader Joe’s nonfat Greek yogurt, vanilla
    • 1/4 cup Galaxy Vanilla Almond Granola
    • 1/8 cup blueberries
    • 1 huge strawberry, chopped

    My own Greek Yogurt “Sundae”. This was, by far, the best breakfast I’ve had in a long time.

    And, if you can believe it, the whole parfait added up to less than 300 calories – now that’s a great breakfast!

    Scott and I took the kids to church at 11 AM then headed to Jason’s Deli for lunch. It really wasn’t too exciting, but I did snag a couple of Dr. Kracker flatbreads for a snack at work tomorrow – he he!

    After lunch, I headed back out shopping. I am trying to find something fun to wear for Fitbloggin. There’s been a little chatter about going out dancing, which sounds really fun. Unfortunately, my dancing days post-kids are few and far between and my fun, party girl close have taken a hit because of this. I shopped for more than 2 hours at Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, etc. and only found one thing that I remotely liked.

    Is it just me or is anyone else having a hard time finding cute clothes for Fitbloggin and Spring in general??

    For dinner ….it was taco night at the RWC house tonight.

    Scott makes fantastic turkey tacos – really juicy and just the right amount of spice. He makes it all from memory too. As you can see, I had my fair share of the taco fiesta…

    After letting my stomach settle, I hopped on the treadmill again for a fast 2-mile run. I had to shorten my morning workout a bit due to church so I wanted to make up for the lost time tonight. I used to do double workouts/runs quite often – mostly in the few months post-pregnancy. I love how strong the fast bursts of exercise make me feel. However, I stopped doing them so often because running in the evening tends to make it difficult for me to fall asleep.

    Anyway, post evening run, I enjoyed a little sweet treat…

    Double chocolate Ghirardelli brownies. I cooked them a tad too long, but they were still ooey and gooey!

    Time to plan my wardrobe for the week and for Fitbloggin! Have a great night!

    PBJ – French Style

    It’s hard to believe that two weeks ago today I was just starting my week-long vacation in Florida. How time flies! This morning, I jump-started my day with a 5 mile run outside. Woo Hoo! I love running outside! My calves are killing me though which is so weird since the terrain is pretty flat.

    After running, I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast…

    I cut a few slices of the French bread I bought last night and topped them with all-natural creamy peanut butter and Bonne Maman raspberry jam. This breakfast was so awesome! I even gave some to Mr. C and Miss M who asked for more. I guess I wouldn’t normally put peanut butter on a baguette, but I really wanted the protein and MUFA. I wonder how the French would feel about peanut butter on a baguette!

    This morning was a first for me – the first time I ever ate a fresh plum (that I know if anyway). It was pretty good too – tasted a little like a peach that was not fully ripe. I would definitely buy plums again though, just for a change.

    Scott and I took the kids out for lunch today – surprise, surprise. Fridays during Lent are also a little iffy when it comes to meals. I don’t like any type of seafood, so I’m pretty limited on what I can eat. Today, we headed to Go Roma for a veggie panini made with red peppers, spinach and basil, and goat cheese..

    Great sandwich, as always. I was in charge of dinner tonight and had no clue what to make. You may find it hard to believe but we did NOT go out to eat again for dinner. I cooked up some whole wheat pasta and mixed it with Newman’s mushroom marinara…

    …meatless and adequate – so it met the requirements for today.

    I’m contemplating what to do tomorrow…shop for new clothes for Fitbloggin and/or head downtown for a little fun – we’ll see!

    Random Grocery Trip

    Hey All,

    I just got back from a totally random trip to Fresh Market. When I say random, I mean the opposite of having a list and plan. You know what this means – danger, danger Will Robinson.

    My trip ended with the following grocery items:

    • A French baguette – it was still warm and so soft!
    • A red plum – I have never had a plum before, that I know of anyway, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.
    • Two dates – I really have no idea why I bought these. I’ve never had a fresh date before. I’m not even sure how you eat them.
    • Four bakery cookies – This was really what I went to the store for…toffee and chocolate cookies!
    • A green pepper – I assumed we needed one for my pasta primavera dish I’m making tomorrow. I had pepper remorse for this one small pepper cost $1.65! Yikes – no more random pepper shopping.
    • Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves – Thought it might go well with the French baguette. Besides, I’ve heard great things about this jam and wanted to try it.

    So I went into the store intending to buy about $2 worth of cookies and came out with $12 worth of random items. Has this ever happened to anyone else?

    Anyway, my day started with an awesome run outside – yes, outside! Can you believe it? It was nearly 50 degrees at 6:15 AM this morning – that’s pretty mild for March weather in Chi-town. After my run, I refueled with more Kashi and blueberries…

    I also stopped at the ‘Buck to pick up a skinny ‘nilla latte – hmm..hmm. good. The great thing about lattes is that even when they get cold, you can warm them up in the microwave for 30 seconds and they taste all steamy and creamy again :-).

    Lunch was a cup of minestrone soup from Go Roma with a small bread stick…

    I love soup. I swear I could eat it every day. Maybe I should move to Belgium where eating soup every day is the social norm. A few hours after lunch, I snacked on a Luna sunrise bar then headed out the door to enjoy the last hour of sunshine in Chicago.

    For dinner, I threw together a salad using leftover greens from our fajita dinner, plus added some parmesan baked chicken and shredded cheddar…

    This was just filling enough to make a solid dinner – one that saved room for a chocolate toffee cookie – oh yeah!

    Alright, enough randomness for one night. See you tomorrow!

    Spring Tease

    Not sure how it was by you today, but it reached 61 degrees in Chicago and was sunny for most of the afternoon! Too bad that I didn’t get to enjoy much of the weather since I was inside all day 🙁 But, just feeling the mild temp and seeing the snow melting gave me hope that Spring is just around the corner. Yay!

    This morning was an “off” day for running. I was really contemplating a late-afternoon run but just couldn’t get home in time. Breakfast was a cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch with flax and about 1/4 cup blueberries…


    I just love the way blueberries look in cereal – they add so much color, not to mention they have a ton of antioxidants which are great for your skin.

    Work went by rather slow and when that happens, I tend to eat more – ugh! Lunch was leftover risotto and a small piece of chicken from the other night – nothing special, but satisfying. Then all hell broke loose as I proceeded to eat a clementine, pretzels, and a few pieces of chocolate!

    Dinner was nearly ready when I arrived home – which, I have to admit, is sooo nice!

    Scott grilled some Italian sausage which he paired with sauteed peppers and steamed carrots – oh, and low-fat Cape Cod chips too 🙂

    Gotta go, time for the season finale of Psych!

    Lovin' My New Lill Bag!

    Hi there! As many of you know, a few weeks ago, I headed downtown with Anne to design my own bag at 1154 Lill. Well, three weeks later, my bag has finally arrived!

    Introducing my new 1154 Lill Erika bag. It’s big enough to hold my Macbook Pro and a few odds and ends. The bag has a plum base color with a Queen Anne’s Lace accent stripe…

    On the inside, I decided to show my wild side with an African cheetah print…

    I love my Lill! After making this one, I so want to make another one…hmm, maybe for my birthday!

    Alright, enough about my new chic bag…on with the day…it started with a 30-minute run on the t-mill followed by some fast walking and an ab workout. That makes 5 days of running straight – I think I’m ready for a break.

    Breakfast was about 3 oz of Trader Joe’s vanilla Greek yogurt with some of my new Galaxy Granola

    The folks at Galaxy sent me 3 bags of their awesome granola while I was on vacation. I was so excited to get it and practically tore into it on the spot. I really admire the Galaxy brand and its new Web site promoting granola made with Fruit Not Fat. Many of the granola brands out there are loaded with sugar, fat, and ingredients that I can’t even pronounce. That’s the main reason why I try to make my own because I can control my own ingredients. Galaxy Granola seems to have recognized the importance of making a product all-natural because they make their granola with naturally healthy ingredients like applesauce and honey, instead of corn syrup and oils. Now that’s my kind of granola!

    The vanilla almond flavor also had whole almonds in it, which made my yogurt extra crunchy…

    So yum and so filling – good thing I only used 1/2 a carton of the yogurt and 1/8 cup granola! On my way to work, I also picked up a skinny vanilla latte, since I missed out on my treat yesterday. Ahh, how I’ve missed my Starbucks.

    Lunch ended up being some leftover risotto which was good, but just not filling enough. I snacked on a banana, some lemon tea, and a few “thank you” cookies…

    I call them “thank you” cookies, because each cookie had the words “thank you” on them, but in different languages. As you can see, I ate 1/2 of the merci cookie before I took the picture 🙂

    Dinner was a family favorite – Scott’s homemade pasta sauce with a big ‘ole side of broccoli…

    OK, that’s enough for tonight. I’m off to repack my Lill for tomorrow!

    Ciao!

    It's like I never left…

    Hey All! Going back to work after being on vacation always seems a bit hectic. I didn’t check a single work email for ten days, so I had to sift through about 600 email messages – non of which were too urgent.

    Luckily, I anticipated a very long day and started out on the right foot. I jumped out of bed just before 6 AM for a 4.5 mile interval run on the treadmill. Then, it was an energizing breakfast  – 3/4 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch with flax..

    I know flax is supposed to be good for you, but does anyone else think it leaves a weird aftertaste in your mouth?

    On the way to work, I wanted to treat myself to a new Starbucks drink – the cherry mocha. Has anyone tried this yet?? Because I was running late for work, per usual, I was hoping to zip in and zip out of the ‘buck. However, as fate would have it, there was a sign on the counter that said they would only be making brewed coffee and tea drinks today due to equipment problems. Foiled again, Batman!

    Work ended up being a pretty normal day – like I never left. I don’t know if that’s a good sign or a bad one???

    For dinner, Scott made another one of his specialities – chicken fajitas!!!

    This is usually his go-to summer dish, but for some reason he was craving fajitas – maybe it has to do with March Madness ;-). Scott makes his fajitas with all the fixins, like bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, lettuce, and guacamole. I made a fajita salad in order to avoid unnecessary calories from the tortilla.

    Now, it’s off to bed for me. But wait!  Stay tuned tomorrow for a peak at my new 1154 Lill bag. It was delivered to my door the day we arrived home from vacation – how’s that for timing?

    Have a great night!

    Desserts and Dreams, Disney Style

    Hey All! As most of you know, I was at Disney World all last week on vacation. Scott and I have been to Disney several times together – after all , we met at Disney while working there so it’s kind of nostalgic for us. On most of our previous trips, we’ve stayed at Disney’s “deluxe” resorts, but this time, we decided to give one of Disney’s moderate resorts a try. We stayed at the moderate for less than 24 hours, then – by a strange twist of fate, we found ourselves staying at Disney’s flagship resort – the Grand Floridian – for the remainder of our stay.

    The Grand Floridan is a Victorian-themed hotel (think My Fair Lady or Mary Poppins) with beautiful landscaping and an amazing lobby. Upgrading resorts took us from a room of 315 sq ft. to a room of 460 sq ft with a balcony and view of Cinderella’s Castle. As you can imagine, from the time we checked into our “new” room, we had the most amazing and magical time – a dream come true.

    Even though the weather was in the 60s practically the entire time, we made it to the parks 5 of the 7 days we were there. The kids loved exploring the parks, riding the rides, and meeting all of the characters…

    I loved all of those things as well, but I also loved being pampered by the hotel and, specifically, the amazing housekeeping staff. It was so nice to come back to a relaxing, luxurious room every night, not to mention a few Belgian chocolates on the pillow…

    As I mentioned in a previous post, we decided to try the Disney Dining Plan for the first time. I wasn’t super thrilled with the plan – to put it bluntly – no one really goes to Disney for the food. And, coming from Chicago – a city of amazing food – Disney has never really impressed me with its culinary offerings. However, I enjoyed the daily desserts that were included on our plan – 2 desserts a day to be exact!

    Instead of giving you a long review of ALL of the food I ate while on vacation (no entrees really stand out), I’m going to take you through some of the wonderful desserts that crossed my path and my lips 🙂

    Early on in on in our stay, we ate at Le Cellier in Epcot where I ordered the maple creme brule – it was fabulous, and that is saying a LOT coming from a person who doesn’t really like creme brule. Next up, the kids and I split a giant cupcake (it’s not vacation without a cupcake!) made of chocolate cake and frosted with creamy white frosting coated with crushed butterfingers…

    Again, this dessert/snack was fantastic, although I had major cupcake remorse after eating it!

    Finally, on our last night there, we ate at Le Cellier again at which point I ordered the s’mores dessert, which was a concoction of graham cracker and chocolate cookies that sandwiched vanilla ice cream, all topped with two candy-covered marshmallows. OMG – I can’t believe I ate this whole thing!!

    For those of you who are wondering, I did run four days while I was there and walked a TON of course. Somehow, I still managed to gain two pounds – can’t imagine how 😉

    Now, it’s back on track for the next two weeks – Fitbloggin here we come!