My New DSLR!

My wedding anniversary is just 8 days away. Some husbands get their wives jewelry for an anniversary, others buy clothes or go out to a fancy dinner. What did my husband buy? Take a look…

Yes, he bought me a brand spankin’ new DSLR – A Canon Rebel T2i to be exact. My husband is awesome! I won’t even begin to tell you how much this camera costs – with two lenses and a camera bag, but let’s just say it was NOT cheap.

If you recall, last year around this time, my husband lost our Canon point and shoot while camping. Within a few days, he surprised me with a brand new Canon, an even better one, but still a point and shoot. I really like my point and shoot – it’s super convenient and very easy to use. However, in the last few months, I feel like my photography needs are changing. With all of the travel I have planned in the next few months – San Francisco, Napa, Vancouver, Baltimore, etc. – it really seems like the right time to upgrade to a DSLR.

Now, the next issue is…I need to learn how to use it! Stay tuned for that adventure!

Fall is Here, Hear the Yell

(Photo Source)

Don’t you just love…fall? It makes me want to shop for back to school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name… – You’ve Got Mail

The cooler weather reminds me of my college days, when all of my friends would head back to school. We were all so excited to catch up with old friends, walk around campus, and check out our classes. We also looked forward to Saturday morning football games – of course!

Because I was in a sorority, we’d all gather at “the house” or our brother fraternity’s house for a pretailgating event, which usually involved mimosas, spicy hot chocolate, and bagels. We’d start out around 8/9 AM drinking and socializing until around 10:30 when it was time to head over to the field for the real tailgating. These mornings always had a chill in the air, just enough for you to need jeans, a hoodie, and your favorite warm beverage to keep you from shivering – and having a fraternity boy to snuggle with wasn’t so bad either! I have to admit, the preparties and the tailgating were often more fun than the football game itself. Oh how I miss those days!

I’m sure many of you have similar memories, but I’d like to know –  What’s your favorite memory about going back to school in the Fall?

Clairefontaine Journal Giveaway Winner!

And last but not least, the winner of the Clairefontaine journal is…#2 – Anita!

Anita – These notebooks are so cute and I love how it’s magnetic. I’m a big list person, so instead of using post-it notes, I would use a notebook to make them!

Please send me your address so I can ship your tres chic French journal ASAP! Stay tuned for more Clairfontaine and Quo Vadis giveaways in the coming weeks!

Sunday is Giveaway Time!

With such a busy travel schedule coming up, I find myself making tons of lists:

  • To do lists
  • Packing lists
  • Shopping lists
  • Clothing lists

…and so on. When making my lists, I try to keep them in the same notebook or folder, so that they are easy to find and refer to. However lately, I find that I’ve filled most of my little notebooks and have resorted to making lists on sticky notes or on Word documents on my computer. Although this helps get my items on “paper”, I’m not always in front of my computer and I tend to lose the sticky notes after a few days.  This obviously makes my life more hectic and stressful, and I definitely do NOT need more stress in my life right now!

In addition to lists, my schedule pretty much forces me to keep a detailed calendar/schedule for all of my trips, family functions, and other responsibilities. I really don’t like living my life on a schedule, but c’est la vie. This is the main reason I attended the Time Management session at the Healthy Living Summit a few weeks ago. I wanted to learn how to become a better time manager, although not a micro time manager. It was at HLS where I learned about the Quo Vadis day planners, notebooks, and other products that help make scheduling life easier.

For weeks now, I have been looking for a stylish yet functional notebook as well as a planner and had my eyes set Quo Vadis. The parent company of Quo Vadis, Exaclair, very graciously sent me several notebooks, mini-notebooks, planners, and notepads to try. Although I have not tried the planners as of yet (because they are for 2011) I’ve tried the Rhodia dotpad and the Clairefontaine magnetic journals. The dotpad is perfect for making lists – you can tear your list out and take it with you when you’re done, or you can leave it in the pad to save for reference. The Clairefontaine journal is equally handy for journaling daily thoughts, making “life lists”, etc. And what else I love about this journal is that it is hard cover and comes in a very Eurochic design, complete with a faint old-fashioned map of the Mediterranean…

The magnetic strip is a huge bonus – I don’t have to worry about it falling open or flapping around when I’m writing outside on my deck.

As you can see from the pictures above, I received way more Quo Vadis goodies than I can actually use. So you know what that means – it’s giveaway time!

Clairfontaine Journal Giveaway!

I will be hosting several giveaways on both RWC and Bistro Chic involving these awesome notebooks and planners in the coming weeks. The first giveaway will be for one of the stylish magnetic notebooks (the brown hardcover picture above). As I said before, it’s perfect for keeping track of your day-to-day thoughts and activities, and it’s also small enough to fit in your laptop bag or even your purse. So whenever you have a new idea to add to your list – voila! – just pull out your Clairefontaine journal and go to it.

There are two very easy ways to enter the giveaway for one of these awesome Clairefontaine journals:

  1. Comment – Leave a comment on this post tell me how you would use the journal if you won. Or
  2. Tweet – If you don’t have time to leave a comment, you can tweet this post out as a chance to enter.

You must do one of these two things by 9 PM Eastern, Wednesday, September 8, 2010 in order to enter.

I just had another great idea – I’m off to write in my journal!!

Good luck everyone!

Winner of the Frito Lay-Crate & Barrel Giveaway!

And the winner of the Frito LayCrate & Barrel Giveaway is (via random number generator)….

Brittney Posted August 27, 2010 at 6:56 am

I really like Baked Lays. They’re not all greasy and still taste good!

Congratulations Brittney! Please email me your address at jennifer (at) runningwithcake dot com, so that you can receive your awesome Crate & Barrel chip and dip bowl, with extra dip bowls. And don’t forget the yummy bags of Lay’s, SunChips, and Tostitos Scoops! I’m hoping it reaches you in time for Labor Day. I’m so jealous – Enjoy!

Thank you EVERYONE for entering the giveaway and telling me about your favorite Frito Lay snack. I see I’m not the only one who’s a snacker :-).

Stay tuned for more giveaways coming up very soon on both Running With Cake and Bistro Chic!

Summer Days, Drifting Away….

Apple in a tree

Tomorrow marks the first day of September and there’s only 5 more days left until the unofficial end of of summer. Where did the time go? Although I will miss swimming in our pool, I am truly looking forward to many things about the Fall:

  1. Pumpkin spice lattes and toffe mochas from Starbucks
  2. Big Ten Football
  3. Apple and pumpkin picking
  4. Donuts from the cider mill
  5. Crunchy leaves
  6. Listening to James Taylor’s Greatest Hits, Tori Amos, and Sarah McLachlan (their music reminds me of Fall for some reason)
  7. Watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”
  8. Cooler temperatures so we can finally turn off the AC!
  9. Thanksgiving – when I get to go home to Michigan and see my parents and family
  10. Fall running – you knew I couldn’t leave that out!

What are you looking forward to most about the Fall?

Why Am I Smiling?

So why am I smiling? Well, mainly because I have big things on the horizon. Let me explain….

As most of you know, work has been crazy busy and will continue to be that way until the end of the year. I’m in charge of a $3.5 million project at work that will hopefully lead to many good things in my career. But that’s only part of the reason why I’m smiling. I also am smiling because:

Fitness – I can honestly say I am in the best shape in my adult life. Quite honestly, I’ve never been out of shape in my adult life, but this summer, I have really been ramping up the running and yoga, which makes for great toning!

Blogging – I have major things in store for Running With Cake and Bistro Chic which will include site redesigns, several giveaways, food, travel, and more! I wish I could share more with you but mum’s the word for now.

Travel – Although my job is very stressful, it is about to take me to some wonderful cities, including San Francisco, Vancouver, and possibly NYC. I’m looking forward to meeting up with Annelies from Attune Foods, One Healthy Apple, and Suki, who all live in the San Fran area. It will be like our own mini Healthy Living Summit! By the way, if there are any HLS or Fit Bloggin attendees from Vancouver, drop me a note – I might have time to meet up!

Family – I have an incredible husband who is not only tech/social media savvy, but he is also very understanding when it comes to blogging and trying to reach my goals. Mr. C and Ms. M are also wonderful and very patient when it comes to their blogger mommy. And my in-laws are a God-send for all the help they provide with the kids and the house. I couldn’t do all of these things without you!

So as you can see, things are moving very quickly in my life. I hope you stick around and find out what happens on my personal “reality show”!

And on that note….

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

– Ferris Bueller

Life-Long Marathon

(Photo source)

Today, I woke up intending to walk instead of run. I’ve been toying with the idea of only running 4 days a week, walking 1 day, and then doing yoga on the 6th day. Why the change? Oh, many reasons. I’m starting to feel the impact that running has had on my body for the last 20 years – sore hips, tight hamstrings, etc. But more than that, I want to expand my fitness regimen – try new things, work out different muscles in my body. But let me tell you, it is hard to stop running, even if it is just one day a week.

Case in point…my morning walk didn’t turn out how I had planned. It appears that my body does not know what walking is and that, try as I might, it is programmed to run after all of these years. I started out with a fast walk which turned into a fast trot, which turned into 45 minutes of interval running. Every few minutes, I told myself – just go 2 more minutes and then walk. Obviously, that didn’t work. I ended up running 4.2 miles at about 8:10 minute miles. Fast? Yes. My intention? No. Why is it so hard for me to walk or “not run”? It’s almost as if I’m in training for some imaginary race. Or maybe it’s that I’m having a competition with myself – running a constant race in my head.

It’s funny how running reminds me of my job. I “run” all day long and even when I want to stop (ie. take a break), I keep running in order to reach a deadline, prepare for the next day, or just look good in front of my boss. In work terms, walking means just getting by or performing my job at a slower rate compared to the rate I would go if  I was “running”. Having a good “run” means I finished my task before deadline or exceeded expectations. Walking means status quo and running means getting ahead.

Only in my case, I feel like I’m running a never-ending race – the rat race – my own life-long marathon.

And on that lovely note…good night.

HLS Swag Bag Winners!

Hello All!

Thank you all so much for entering my Healthy Living Summit Swag Bag Giveaway! I don’t want to keep you waiting any longer so here you go—

And the winners are (via random number generator online):

  • Jenna Z Posted August 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm | I am a Quaker ADDICT! I LOVE oatmeal, in bowl, bar, cookie, ANY form! Once for vacation we stayed at Quaker Square Inn, where the hotel rooms are INSIDE the grain silo at the former Quaker factory. And they have an oatmeal bar everyday for breakfast!   AND
  • Krista B. Posted August 19, 2010 at 12:47 am | Hi Jennifer! This is actually my first post on your blog. I discovered you a few weeks ago and have been reading it ever since. I don’t consider myself to be an avid runner – yet. Like you, I enjoy staying in shape but LOVE food! Your blog has become an inspiration to me. 
My personal favorite of the products would be the Stoneyfield Yogurt.
Especially when I top it with mixed berries and Kashi granola! Yum!
I’m looking forward to reading more! 
~ Krista

Jenna and Krista, please email me your mailing addresses at jennifer at so I can send you your swag!

Stay tuned for another awesome giveaway next week!

Surely You Jest?

Yesterday, Scott and I took the kids to the Renaissance Faire at the local library. I have to say – my local library is awesome!!! When I was growing up, we had a terrible library – or at least a terrible kids’ section. But my local library now is very modern and has all kinds of activities for adults and children. This summer, they’ve even been lucky enough to host the Harry Potter traveling exhibit – the only library in the area to do this! So yesterday, we drove 5 minutes to the library to be transported into Harry Potter’s World and to experience a little Medieval living.

The Harry Potter Exhibit had more than I thought it would have. From life-size cut-outs of the characters, to interactive and hands-on activities for kids (and me). As you can see from the photos, I was not shy about being sorted into my Hogwarts’ House – Gryffindor of course! Ms. M put the hat on and it completely engulfed her head – she was not crazy about that. After the exhibit, we headed outside to see a little Medieval fighting. Of course, Mr. C loved the fighting and the costumes. What’s crazy is that grown men actually do this as a hobby, going from exhibit to exhibit. What’s even crazier is that I like it!

OK, have to get running! I’m still not feeling the greatest today. But I’m going to take some Tylenol and hedge my bets. Have a great day all!

Time For My Beauty Sleep

(photo source)

Hey all,

It’s been a rough day! I’ve been going on 3 hours of sleep due to Ms. M falling out of bed, then waking up every 45-minutes after that. I did end up running despite my lack of shuteye. However, I gave myself a break and only ran about 4.5 miles. This made me slightly more awake, but then I started to crash (not literally!) on the way to work. Nothing a little Starbucks couldn’t handle – although I hate relying on expensive, sugary coffee to keep me awake. Sleep deprivation can be fueled by caffeine, yet, ironically, caffeine is what we turn to when we are sleep deprived. That’s something to ponder when I’m not so tired.

I hit my ultimate low around 3 PM. I caught myself staring expressionless at the computer for what seemed like 15 minutes. Lucky no one saw me.

Anyway, I’d love to stay and chat all about the weekend, the Healthy Living Summit, the new book I’m reading, and more, but it is time for me to turn in.

Night all!