Vermont Soap Giveaway!

Vermont may be know for maple syrup and skiing, but it is also home to this organic soap company!

I recently received a box of homemade soap products courtesy of Vermont Soap Organics, the purveyors of everything soap – from cleaners to wash your counters to sultry body soaps for your shower and tub. If any of you follow my other site Bistro Chic, you know by now how much I love soap products, especially little guest soaps, so I just couldn’t pass up a sample or two. And, after doing some research about the product, reading about the ingredients and history, and more, I was smitten with the little soaps.

Like the name says, the products are made from all organic ingredients, handmade from hypoallergenic vegetable bases like coconut and palm oil. The facial and hand soaps are made to fit any skin type from sensitive to dry. Plus – and this is my favorite part – many of their soap products come in a number of scents, including lavender, citrus, butter, and honey. Ooh la la!

Vermont Soap Organics Giveaway!

Now, I have quite a selection of soaps on hand, too many for me to use – so I have a great idea! Why not give some away and let you try them!

One reader will receive a selection of soap products from Vermont Soap Organics, including:

  • Liquid Sunshine for cleaning
  • Lemongrass Zen foaming handsoap
  • Shea nut butter to soothe chapped lips
  • Little bar soaps

To enter, go to Bistro Chic and leave a comment on Bistro Chic telling me which Vermont Soap Organics scented soap intrigues you the most. Or, you can always Tweet or Retweet the Bistro Chic post!  You must enter the giveaway by 9 PM Eastern on Wednesday, October 13, 2010.

Good luck!

Food Bloggers and Their Favorite Celebrity Chefs

For the last 6 months, I’ve been running steady at 5 days a week. During these workouts, I’ve alternated between long runs, my longest being 10 miles, fartleks/interval runs, and speed runs. This schedule, although it may seem like a piece of cake for those in training, is a significant schedule for me, as a I juggle a full-time job, writing assignments on the side, two kids, and a husband.

I am now in the thick of my busy season as work – a season that lasts from September-November. As a result, I have decided to give myself a break. I’m cutting my running back to 4 days a week, which may not seem like much, but it frees up a whole morning of running for me, allowing me to sleep in (at least sometimes). I actually started running the 4-day a week schedule 2-3 weeks ago and have found that I not only am running better/stronger, but I am eating less and maintaining my healthy weight. Hmm…maybe 4-day a week runs will be a more permanent schedule? We’ll see!

Cookbook Giveaway Winner!

And now for the winner of the Simply Suppers Giveaway….that would be Erin from A Girl and Her Mutt! She commented…

I LOVE Cat Cora! It’s not often enough that you get to see a great female chef bring it hardcore like she does.

I am also a HUGE fan of Mario Batali.

Congratulations Erin! And a HUGE thank you to everyone for sharing the names of your favorite celebrity chef. Leave it to food bloggers to name them all – ha! There were so many names mentioned including Cat Cora, Mario Batali, Paula Deen, Rachel Ray, the Barefoot Contessa, and more. I have to admit, I got a little weepy when I read all of the chef names. I used to watch the Food Network and my favorites chefs all the time. Now that I don’t have cable, I barely watch any TV at all, including the Food Network.

Have a great night everyone 🙂

Travel Writing To Feature Walnuts, Grapes, and Gourmet Food

Grape Harvest

(Photo source)

As some of you know, I have many exciting trips planned, via writing assignments, from now until the end of the year. And now, I finally get to reveal a few of them!

Chicago Gourmet: This weekend, I will be attending Chicago Gourmet as an official Foodbuzz Correspondent. I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Foodbuzz community and to share my coverage of the event with Foodbuzz readers. One thing I am just dying to do is interview Cat Cora, aka the first female Iron Chef and Bon Appetit Executive Chef. Keep your fingers crossed that she can fit me into her schedule!

Walnut Harvest: Just a few weeks after Chicago Gourmet, I’ll be headed to California to cover the walnut harvest. I am a huge walnut fan, which makes it so much easier to say yes to trips like this. I am really looking forward to learning more about how walnuts are harvested, how to cook with them (beyond the typical cereal, oatmeal, granola, etc.), and about their health benefits. For someone who doesn’t eat fish – or seafood – at ALL, it’s extremely important to know that walnuts have as much or even more omega 3 fatty acids than fish. Thank goodness for that!

Grape Harvest (aka Crush): Exactly one week after the Walnut Harvest, I will be heading back to San Francisco, stopping off in Napa to cover the wine scene and the grape harvest. I’m also planning to review a very popular restaurant in Yountville – can you guess what it is?

Foodie Scene: After Napa, I travel up the coast to get a taste of the foodie/tourist scene in Vancouver. Vancouver is fresh off the Olympics and has so much to offer travelers. I can’t wait to explore the city and the sites in the fresh mountain air!

I’ll be planning full stories related to these trips for both RWC and Bistro Chic. You will definitely not want to miss them or the pictures – plus, you never know when I’ll throw in a giveaway!

And speaking of giveaways…

I just realized that I forgot to post who the winner of the Mighty Leaf Tea and Sympathy Giveaway is! The recipient of the giveaway, via random number generator, is…

Lisa Smith
Posted September 20, 2010 at 5:45 am | Permalink | Edit
I Love my green tea! I drink it most during the winter months the P.M.

Lisa – be sure to send me your address and I will send you the very relaxing tea package ASAP! Thank you all so much for entering the giveaway.

Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage of my cross-country adventures!

The Golden Hour of Running

Morning Runner

(Photo source)

“I run in the morning, before my brain tells me not to.” – anonymous

I am a morning person and, therefore, running comes easier to me in the morning. I want to clarify that I’m not one of those extra happy people in the morning, who just can’t wait to say hello to the world. I’ve actually been a cranky morning person my whole life – just ask my parents. And, like most people, I do find it hard to get out of bed on some mornings. But if there’s one thing that makes me happy, or at least not grumpy, in the morning, it’s knowing that my morning run is just minutes away. I’m not saying that running in the morning is right for everyone, but it works for me – for a number of reasons:

Fewer Distractions – I get up very early, sometimes before sunrise, just so I can make it out and back before my children and husband wake up. This is my “golden hour”. I find that I’m less distracted with family and house things in the morning, which means I’m more likely to stick to my running schedule. Getting my run out of the way first thing in the AM also means I’m less likely to talk myself out of running or make an excuse not to run.

Less Noise – If I can get out the door by 6:15 AM, this usually means I’m rewarded with a near barren road – with few cars and even fewer people. I also tend to avoid the noisy construction or lawn maintenance workers early in the morning, which means more peace and quiet – just what I want on my run!

Feel energized – Running in the morning makes me feel empowered for the rest of the day. It really produces a natural energy, a natural motivation, and even a natural mood booster. When I run in the morning, I feel like I can accomplish anything.

No matter what time of day you run, the key to make it convenient so that you’re more likely to stick with your workouts.

When is your “golden hour” for running or working out?

Happy running!

Warm Up With My Mighty Leaf Tea Giveaway!

The official start of Fall is just a few days away. You all know how I love the fall – especially for fall running. But the cooler weather is also a great time to start drinking my favorite teas again. I drink tea quite a bit in the Fall and Winter months, mostly because it keeps me warm on those cold days but also for the fantastic health benefits. However, I tend to slack off a little from April-August when the temps start to rise. I know that many people drink hot tea all year long (like this guy), but when it is warm outside, a cold Starbucks coffee just hits the spot.

A few months ago, on a rare occasion when I was drinking tea in the summer, I bought my first box of Mighty Leaf Tea. I had tried the tea at a restaurant a few days prior and just had to have a box for myself. The organic breakfast from Mighty Leaf has a classic taste – similar to an English Breakfast, completely full-bodied and delicious – particularly with a little cream.

Mighty Leaf Tea Giveaway

Fast-forward to the present where I am very excited to report that Mighty Leaf Tea has kindly sent me a few of their products to giveaway. Here’s what one lucky reader will get….

  • A stainless steel Tea Top Brew Travel Mug – (still in the box!) It’s awesome for drinking your tea in the car on the way to school or work!
  • 12 pouches of Mighty Leaf tea – 3 each of Green Tea Tropical, Orange Dulce, Organic African Nectar, and Organic Detox Infusion
  • A copy of Green Tea Living – This is a freebie from me! It’s an awesome book about the health benefits of tea and all the awesome things you can do with it!

To enter, you can either:

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite flavor of Mighty Leaf Tea is or which flavor you’d most like to try. OR
  2. Tweet/retweet this post over Twitter

You have until Tuesday, September 21, 2010, at 9 PM Central to enter the giveaway. I can’t wait to hear all your comments! You are seriously going to love these giveaway items!!

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!

Headed to the Chicago Triathlon

This morning, I went out for a fast 5-mile run, which was fantastic! It’s been really cool the last few mornings – around 60 degrees with no humidity. Yeah, Fall is coming! About halfway through my run, I noticed one of those speed monitors sitting in the road up ahead. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen one while running, but it’s the first time I saw one and had my iPhone with me to take a photo! As you can see, I was running approx. 7 miles per hour, which is roughly 8.5 minute miles – not bad!

On another note, I want to send a huge thank you to Life After Bagels – I was the winner of her Terra Chips giveaway! Yesterday, I came home from work to find a big box waiting for me. Ooooh, who says good things come in small packages 🙂 I tore open the box to find 4 large bags of Terra chips…

As well as chip clips – always handy -, a recipe book, and a martini serving bowl for the chips – how clever!

Terra chips are super yummy and they DO really taste like veggies. The sweet potato ones are my favorite but I’m dying to try the Mexican and the Mediterranean flavors.

I may be out of pocket on Saturday and at least part of Sunday. Scott is doing the Chicago Triathlon on Sunday so we’re heading downtown tomorrow to check into our hotel and do “race stuff”. I might be doing some live tweeting from the event on Sunday -so stay tuned!

FYI – if you’re wondering why I’m not doing the triathlon, it’s because I do not swim or bike – I run and that is what I do best. But I give HUGE amounts of credit for people who can do all three back to back! Good luck to all of the Chicago Triathletes!

Chip and Dip Bowl Giveaway!

When I attended the Healthy Living Summit, I was fortunate enough to go on a tour of the Frito Lay plant in Wisconsin. I learned so much about Frito Lay chips and was quite impressed at all of the steps they are taking to make healthier and greener products.

Now, you all know I’m a chip addict. But I also love dips! I love dips of nearly every kind – bean dips, fruit dips, taco dips, veggie dips, chips dips, etc. However, I’m quite aware that dips often contain high amounts of calories, fat, sugar, and sodium. That’s why I was so glad the girls at Frito Lay sent me a fantastic dip recipe made out of plain Greek yogurt.  Take a look at the recipe – it’s so much healthier than most dips. Hint – it only has 45 calories per serving!

Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Dip

Serves: 8; Serving Size: ¼ cup


  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and seeded
  • 1 ½ cups nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Cumin to taste


  • Grate cucumber halves by hand or chop in a food processor until coarse, but not mushy. Place grated/chopped cucumber in a strainer and cover with a paper towel to squeeze out the excess juice. You may need to change the paper towel a few times.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, chives, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Fold in the cucumber and season with salt and pepper. Add cumin to taste.
  • Refrigerate until chilled, about an hour.
  • Nutrition Information (per ¼ cup serving):

    45 calories, 5 g protein, 3 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 2 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 91 mg sodium

    The other day I was craving something crunchy and salty, so I promptly made this dip and paired it with some Frito Lay SunChips. Fantastic! The creamy, spicy dip was a perfect combo with my SunChips, although I probably ate more chips than the dip! But hey, they have 18g of whole grains per ounce!

    Frito Lay Giveaway

    As I mentioned last night, I will be doing more giveaways in the future. And guess what? I have another one for you right now! Frito Lay has graciously offered to give one of my readers a fabulous Crate and Barrel chip and dip bowl, with extra dip bowls. Plus, they are throwing in a bag of Lay’s, SunChips, and Tostitos Scoops!. And all of this just in time for Labor Day weekend! I sooo wish I could enter this giveaway myself! But because I can’t, I’m giving it to one of you.

    How to Enter

    All you have to do to enter is either:

    • Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite Frito Lay product OR
    • Tweet/retweet this post on Twitter

    You must enter the giveaway by 9 PM Eastern on Wednesday, September 1, 2010. After that, I will pick a random entrant and post the winner on the my blog. Easy peasey, don’t ya think?

    Good Luck! Now, let’s get snacking!