Learn to Stop Eating Before You're Full

Hey all! Apple picking was so much fun! I have loads of pictures to share but I’m going to wait until tomorrow AM to post those. Otherwise, I would have WAY too many photos to put in one entry.

After apple picking, we all headed out to lunch. We went to a very popular Chicago chain restaurant called Portillo’s (if you’re from the Chicago area, you know exactly what I’m talking about!). Well, I normally LOVE Portillo’s but today, I just wasn’t in the mood for their food. Luckily, there was a Corner Bakery, another Chicago-area favorite, just  a few doors down. While everyone else was ordering their food at Portillo’s I ran over to Corner B and got me a bistro-style lunch to bring back and eat with the others…

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I had a cup of baked potato soup with bacon and a Mediterranean salad. As I’ve mentioned before, this soup is one of my absolute favorites to eat and it’s super filling. It was so filling that I couldn’t even eat the salad that came with it! It didn’t help that I chowed on the equivalent of two Gala apples just an hour before. But apples are healthy and full of fiber, so I didn’t care.

I took the salad home and had intended to eat it for dinner, but my husband had other plans. With summer winding down, chicken tacos seemed to be a great grill-friendly dinner to have on a cool and comfortable evening. We started out dinner with a little Frontera all-natural salsa and tortilla chips…

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If you’re not familiar with Frontera salsa, it is made by the famous Chef and restauranteur Rick Bayless who is the Chef at Chicago’s Frontera Grill. Scott and I have eaten at Frontera and loved it. Now, Scott wants to eat at Bayless’ Topolobampo, Frontera’s sister restaurant, but it’s really expensive (for gourmet Mexican food) so I’ve been holding off for a really special occasion. One thing is for sure, Chicago has some of the most amazing restaurants in the US and I’m looking forward to trying all of them some day – ha!

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The salsa in a jar was very good as well. It has a roasted tomato flavor which I love, just a hint of garlic, and not too spicy. Love it!

Then came the main event – grilled chicken tacos!

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They tasted as amazing as they look – no joke! The chicken marinade my husband uses is similar to his fajita recipe, but not as tangy. I stuffed my whole wheat soft tortilla so much that it nearly fell apart (but that’s what forks are for, right?)

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See, it’s bursting at the seams – hah hah! I only had ONE taco and then ate a little more Trader Joe’s guacamole and salsa – I’m all about the appetizers!

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And, if it’s one thing I know, it’s to stop eating just before I get full (or when I feel satisfied). I very rarely let myself get stuffed because I hate that “just ate a bag of rocks” feeling in my stomach. I also try to eat slow so that I actually recognize that I’m full (or not) before I eat too much. That’s a key factor for me in keeping my weight down and being able to fit into my Gap jeans year after year. Try this strategy, you may be surprised at how it can work for you.

Now, I’m sitting at Barnes and Noble contemplating a Starbuck’s night cap – should I get a skim hot chocolate or a new pumpkin spice latte – hmm…decisions, decisions.

Stay tuned tomorrow morning for an apple extravaganza!

Small Breakfast Leads to Major Hunger Later

Afternoon everyone! Although today was my rest day for running, I set my alarm with the intent of getting in a quick 2-3 mile run to jump start my day. Well, when 5:30 AM rolled around, I looked at the clock and decided to stay in bed. I think my body is so used to taking a break on Wednesdays that it just expects to have extra rest on those days.

Because I didn’t exert my usual energy this morning, I wasn’t very hungry at ALL. In fact, I even felt full – which was weird because I only had soup and a couple pieces of bread last night for dinner. But, I never skip breakfast (unless I’m sick). That would not be RWC way! Besides, there’s tons of research showing that if you don’t eat breakfast, you are more likely to eat more calories than you normally would throughout the day, which can obviously lead to weight gain.

So, to accommodate my lack of appetite, I made a very small yogurt bowl – because even a light breakfast is better than no breakfast at all.

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My yogurt bowl consisted of 1/2 a carton of Trader Joe’s plain nonfat Greek yogurt. Plain Greek yogurt is NOT my favorite but it was already open so I wanted to use it up. I topped my yogurt with some fresh blueberries and a dollop of MaraNatha all-natural creamy PB. I would love to say that this was a great combination, but for some reason it just didn’t taste right today. It could have been my tastebuds, appetite, or the fact that the yogurt had already been open and sitting in the fridge since Sunday.

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Needless to say, I had a few bites of this and then just tossed it out. But, I did have another shot of Zola’s Daily Wellness drink…

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Hmm, now I’m waiting for that burst of energy to kick in – he he!

Well, eating such a small breakfast caught up with me around 10:30, I was so hungry I was ready to eat just about anything. But, I remembered that I stashed some crackers in my drawer the other day…

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I received these Kashi original 7-grain snack crackers for free and thought they were quite good. The 1 oz bag had a total of 130 calories, 3 g of fat, 2 g. of fiber, and 3 g. of protein. However, it was such as small bag that it only subsided my hunger for a little while. It’s definitely not meant to replace breakfast.

I decided to eat an early lunch at 12:30 PM (usual lunch is at 1 or 1:30) because I was still hungry after my meager breakfast…

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I put together a nice size taco salad bowl, full of red leaf lettuce, Tillamook Vermont White Cheddar Cheese, a few random tortilla chips, and about 6 oz of turkey taco meat. Oh my, this tasted REALLY good!

Now, I’m headed out for a brisk walk in the sunshine and 75 degree weather.

Have a great afternoon everyone!

A Childhood Favorite

Evening everyone. I had a super productive afternoon at work reviewing a bunch of health and medical studies that will be coming out next week. I also edited a few product videos that will be released in the next month or so. See – you can accomplish quite a bit on a Monday – even without Starbucks!

Late this afternoon, i snacked on some yogurt that I brought from home…

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I had Trader Joe’s nonfat Greek yogurt, blueberry flavor. I swear this yogurt tastes like blueberry muffin batter – no joke!

I didn’t get home from work until nearly 6:15 PM (again – ugh!). Even though I was pressed for time, I was able to make the fastest turkey tacos ever. They were on the table, ready to eat by 6:45 PM. Snappy, snappy!

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They were also really tasty. My taco consisted of a bunch of chopped roma tomatoes; at least a cup of red leaf lettuce; Tillamook Vermont white cheddar cheese; taco meat made with ground turkey, yellow and green bell peppers, onions, and taco spices; and a big dollop of Wholly Guacamole – all on a whole wheat soft tortilla – so YUM!

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For dessert, I made a childhood favorite, Rice Krispy Treats..

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I like to make them using about 3/4 of the butter that it calls for in order to cut down on some of the unneeded fat. I also added a few red and blue sprinkles to this batch just to give the krispies some color and add a little fun!

Now, I’m headed to bed…need to be up by 6 AM for my very cold run – it’s supposed to be 45 degrees tomorrow morning. There may even be a frost…I can’t believe it will only be September 1!

Also stay tuned tomorrow as I start my own daily shot of wellness with Zola juice shots. 

Have a great night everyone.

A Panini Novice Makes Good

Hey Everyone! Sorry for the late post, but I’ve been gone for most of the day. I went to see my brother-in-law compete in the Chicago triathlon, which was awesome! But, I’ll get to that in a minute. 

Before we headed to the city, I did my typical long Sunday run of 6 miles. It was perfect weather for running – really cool and no wind. After my run, I chowed on a protein-packed breakfast because I didn’t know when we would be eating lunch…

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I had a container of Trader Joe’s vanilla Greek yogurt mixed with blueberries, walnuts, and a big dollop of MaraNatha all-natural creamy peanut butter. I wasn’t sure how the pb would taste with blueberries but it was fantastic!

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So creamy and yummy – like peanut butter fluff! I also had a little more of my Zola Energy smoothie…

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After breakfast, we headed downtown for the event. Traffic was really light going downtown and thankfully, parking was a breeze. We met up with my in-laws and my sister-in-law and her three children near the finish line.

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Isn’t this an awesome photo! I am definitely not the triathlete type – I can swim to save my life, but that’s even debatable. But, I saw the finish line and all of the spectators and it so made me want to run a marathon. We only waited about 30 minutes before my brother-in-law came into view. And, while he was running his last 100 yards,  his youngest son ran on the course with him and they jogged hand in hand over the finish line – so cute!

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This is the triathlete’s medal of honor – how cool is that!

After the race, we all chatted for a bit while the kids ran around. I started to get hungry so I munched on a Luna bar I had stashed in my purse.

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This is my first ever LUNA bar and it was pretty tasty, although it had a slight aftertaste.

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I had the peanut butter flavored bar which had 180 calories, 3 g of fiber, and 9 g. of protein. I’m sure this bar would make a great post-run or post-workout snack.

As it turned out, it took over an hour before we actually sat down for lunch at an outdoor cafe in Millenium Park. By this time, I was so hungry that I could have eaten fish – ok, not that hungry.

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I did split a chicken sandwich with my father-in-law. It was good, but not worth the $12 we paid for it. After lunch, we all said our goodbyes and we headed back home. It took about 1 1/2 hours to get home (way longer than it should have) so we stopped at Barnes and Noble for a Starbucks refresher. I had my typical Frap and enjoyed every sip (sorry, no photo!)

For dinner, we decided to use the panini maker that we borrowed from my in-laws. I made a Greek-style panini…


This was my first time making a panini – a panini novice of sorts – so I was not sure how it was going to turn out. I made my panini with red pepper hummus, sauteed red and green bell peppers, spinach, hot peppers, and feta cheese. I topped it with a homemade cucumber-yogurt sauce. It was absolutely outstanding! I actually made the sandwich for Mezzetta’s sandwich contest, so I don’t want to give the recipe away just yet! But you may find it on my other blog – Bistro Chic – pretty soon!

Now, I really need to get to bed. All of this fresh air has made me exhausted. Have a great night everyone!

Good Luck Chicago Triathletes!

Hello All. I just arrived home about an hour ago from a very busy afternoon and evening. I’ll try to make this brief because I have an early day tomorrow – you’ll see why at the end – he he!

After breakfast, my husband and I headed out to run errands, go to Target, etc. Then we stopped for lunch at a Chicago favorite – Portillos! I do not eat fast food very often, in fact very rarely. But, I do love Portillos. I usually get an all-beef, Chicago style hot dog, but today I went the semi-healthy route…

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I had a gourmet garden salad with mixed greens, green peppers, carrots, grape tomatoes, and cubed cheddar cheese, topped with raspberry vinaigrette. It wasn’t the best salad that I’ve had, but I needed something healthy to balance the other thing that I ate…

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Yummy crinkle-cut French fries! I try to avoid eating French fries for the most part, because when I eat them, I just can’t seem to stop. And, Portillos fries are some of the best I’ve had – thank goodness they are not bottomless like Red Robin!

After lunch, we headed home to do a little work. My husband did paperwork for his consulting business and I did research for work and answered a few emails. I then became so sleepy that I dozed off for about 30 minutes. It was a perfect cat-nap to keep me going for the rest of the day.

Around 5 PM, we headed to a local fair/car show near our house. It was located on the grounds of a school and they were raising money for charity. I am not a car person, whether the car is old or new. But, the fair also had many local vendors displaying their products/crafts, which were fun to browse. 

Dinner was a quick one at TGI Fridays. When my husband and I first moved into our house, we went to Fridays nearly every week. I have no idea why we were such loyal patrons other than, at the time, there were very few good restaurants in the area. After doing that for a couple months, I became burned out on Friday’s and never wanted to go there after that.

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Tonight, we did a double split – splitting both the appetizer and the entree. We started with one of our old favorites – the Tuscan spinach dip. It was really good and tasted just like I remember. Next, we split the parmesan-crusted chicken with 3-cheese tortellini and a side of caprese salad.

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I had so much spinach dip that I seriously could have not eaten a bite of the entree and been fine. However, I did end up eating about 1/4 of the chicken, 1 bite of the tortellini, and scoop of the caprese salad. The meal was good but I will probably not be heading back to the restaurant anytime soon. There are too many other restaurants to choose from to rely on Fridays for my meal.

After dinner, we headed to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few staples, like feta cheese, yogurt, and whole almonds. I was so surprised to see how busy the store was and it was after 8 PM! 

Well, I am now off to bed. I know, 10:15 PM is so early for Saturday, but my husband and I are headed to downtown Chicago tomorrow to watch the annual triathlon! I’m so excited because it’s the first triathlon I have ever seen in person. My brother-in-law is racing in it and he starts around 8 AM. I don’t plan on getting down there that early, but we want to see at least one transition and see him cross the finish line. I can’t wait to cheer on all of the athletes. I remember running in the 1/2 marathon and feeling so appreciative of all the people who came out to cheer for us.

Because Sunday is my run day, I need to get up extra early (like 6 AM) in order to be done with my run and ready to leave for the event by 8 AM. We’re driving down there and parking somewhere near the finish line, which is probably a mistake because it’s going to be a madhouse down there. Oh well, I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

Good night!

Running in the Rain

Well, it is raining for the third day in a row. I know we need the rain but come on! When I woke up this morning, it was just drizzling a bit, so I laced up my running shoes and headed out the door. It was chilly so I wore running capris and a light rain parka with a hood. I was determined to not let the rain stop me – although I’m sure my ipod had other ideas. I actually don’t mind running in light rain. It definitely keeps me cool. A light misty rain also seems to clean away all of the dirt and grime from the ground and leaves things smelling fresher than before. And, somehow, everything just seems quieter, maybe because there are fewer people outside milling about. 

After my wet, but awesome run, I made a quick breakfast parfait….

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It almost looks like ambrosia salad in the photo! But really, it’s not. I mixed one container of Trader Joe’s nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt with strawberries, blueberries, and walnuts. 

Seeing as it is my day off, I leisurely got ready and then headed out the door to the mall to see if there were any end-of-summer deals. Well, no real deals to speak of, but Lucy’s Fall line of running gear looks very promising.

On my way back from the mall, I met my husband for lunch at our favorite Italian hot spot…

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I had a personal pizza topped with (very few) black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese – oh my, this was gooood!

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I also had a small Misto salad, made with mixed greens, grape tomatoes, topped with goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.

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It’s time to clean up the house and do a little more reading before heading back out into the rain this afternoon.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

New Diet Book in the Mail!

Hey All! Hope you had a great afternoon. I’m winding down for the evening, as I’m sure many of you are. Tonight, I had planned to read through the new book I received in the mail – The Full Plate Diet (January 2010), but am just too tired to read anything that I need to pay attention to. And, with all new health, fitness, or nutrition books – I want to give this my full attention.

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From my very brief look at the book, the diet – which is more of an eating plan rather than a restrictive eating regimen – focuses on adding fiber to your meals throughout the day. The pictures and layout look awesome! But, I’m really interested to see what tips the authors give on how to add daily fiber without feeling too full or bloated (a problem many people have). I’ll keep you posted on that one! Also, be on the lookout for my review in the next week or so.

As for my afternoon, my schedule was packed with more meetings and other desk work. I did manage to snag a few birthday cookies as an afternoon treat….

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Hmm, they were so yummy, it was hard to stop at just two.

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Per usual when I’m eating sweets, I enjoyed the cookies with a spot of hot tea – this time it was Bigelow Chamomile tea.

I didn’t arrive home until after 6:30 PM today. My days just keep getting later and later. Pretty soon, I’ll be driving home in the dark – ugh! Because I arrived home so late, I didn’t feel like making a big dinner, so I warmed up leftovers from Monday night…

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I had my husband’s pasta sauce over Trader Joe’s whole wheat penne with a side of fresh green beans. Honestly, the sauce even tastes better after it’s been sitting around for a few days. So, having leftover pasta and sauce is always a welcome meal for us.

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It’s really easy to overeat when it comes to this sauce, but I tried very hard not to tonight. 

Now, I am headed to bed. Tomorrow is an early run as long as it’s not raining too hard – blah. I shouldn’t complain though because we need the rain.

See you in the AM!

Rainy Day Blues…

Hey everyone! I am so glad that today was not my day to run because it was pouring down rain when I woke up. Or I should say, when I got out of bed. I actually woke up around 3:30 AM and could not go back to sleep because of the noisy rain and my racing thoughts. If anyone has any recommendations on how to fall back to sleep during these situations (other than my husband’s obvious suggestion), I’d love to hear them.

When I finally got out of bed at 6 AM, I made a cheerful and eye-opening breakfast…

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I mixed 1 carton of Trader Joe’s nonfat Greek Yogurt – vanilla flavor – with 2 chopped strawberries, 1/2 cup blueberries, and 2 tbsp walnuts. After that, I was good to go until lunch! It’s amazing how Greek yogurt can fill you up – and the added MUFA from the walnuts doesn’t hurt either.

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After a series of meetings, I was finally able to get a big chunk of work done – reading, writing, reviewing, etc. I hope I can be as productive this afternoon, although I’m feeling the itch to bolt out of here early.

Lunch was nearly identical to yesterday…

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Low-fat salami and ham with a piece of Swiss cheese on Brownberry Double Fiber bread. Only today, I had it with carrots instead of tomatoes.

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It’s someone’s 30th birthday in the office today and she brought a bunch of bakery treats. I am so wanting a piece of the chocolate coffee cake and the sprinkled butter cookies!

OK, back to work for me!

The Secret is in the Sauce

Hello All! Hope you had a great day. My whole day flew by today, probably because I was super focused and productive. 

Unfortunately, I was not able to get out for lunch so I just ended up eating at my desk – blah!

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But, at least I had something good to eat – homemade chili with beans, grape tomatoes, and spinach! It was just enough to push me through to the late afternoon. But, around 4 PM, I started to get a little hungry so I grabbed a quick and healthy snack…

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An Oikos Greek yogurt – vanilla flavor with a 1/2 Nature Valley All-Natural Oats and Honey granola bar mixed in. The granola bar was kind of an impromptu snack – there were a bunch of granola bars leftover from a meeting and I was able to snag a couple before they were all gone!

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I didn’t end up leaving work until after 5:30 PM because I really wanted to finish the project I was working on. I never ended up finishing it, but I came pretty close.

By the time I arrived home, it was after 6 PM. To my surprise, my husband had spent most of the day making his famous homemade pasta sauce. I swore that I would not disclose the recipe, but let’s just say it’s made with a whole lot of tomatoes, ground turkey, and a bunch of other fresh ingredients.

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The recipe has been handed down over three generations and really hasn’t changed much in the process. But one thing is for sure, the art of making the sauce takes quite a bit of time so my husband literally quadruples the recipe, which makes 12 quarts. Luckily, we have an extra huge sauce pot to fit it all in!

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The sauce can be used for a number of different dishes, including baked ziti, lasagna, meatball sandwiches, or just plain pasta and sauce. Tonight, we had the sauce over Trader Joe’s whole wheat rotini noodles with a side of steamed carrots. Totally yum!

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We always end up freezing at least 10 containers (thankfully we have two freezers!). It makes for a tasty and quick midweek dinner, and can easily be beefed up with a salad or other veggies on the side. And, if we ration out the sauce just right, all of these leftovers may last us until Christmas! 

After dinner, I had to run a bunch of errands. I was able to get to the library, Costco for gas, and 3 other stores all in 1 hour – and I was even driving the speed limit! My last stop was Barnes and Noble to pick up a cookie at the request of my chef-of-a-husband. I did have a about 1/4 of the giant chocolate chunk cookie with some skim milk (not pictured) and it made for a nice bedtime treat.

Now, it’s off to bed for me. As a reminder, check out RWC on alltop, I am now listed! Yeah!

Night everyone!

An Autumn Tease…

Oh my, what a chilly morning and a chilly day! It feels like Fall and it’s not even Labor Day yet. The Midwest is headed into a cool couple of days, with highs in the high 60s to low 70s. Although I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to summer, I feel like I should do something Fall-ish, like apple picking.

After my morning run – which was awesome by the way because of the cool weather, I had a little breakfast.

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Cheerios Muligrain! If you’ve never been a Cheerios fan or have written-off Cheerios as old people cereal, I suggest you try this new kind. It’s higher in fiber than regular Cheerios, is made with whole grains, and has a great flavor. Today, I added about 1/3 of a banana and 1 tbsp of sliced almonds for added monounsaturated fat (MUFA).

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After breakfast, I had to run to Target to pick up a birthday present for my nephew, a task to which I was unsuccessful at completing. Target never seems to have the birthday gifts I need at the exact time I need them. Somehow, I still spent $30 and came out with things I had never intended on buying. Has this ever happened to you?

Next up was Trader Joe’s. I always have a great experience at Trader Joe’s, no matter what time of day or the day of the week. The people there seem to genuinely love their jobs – and you can’t beat the all-natural food products! I stocked up on Trader Joe’s Low-fat Greek  yogurt, as well as olive oil, walnuts, and jasmine rice. If you haven’t been to TJ’s in a while, they now sell these cool reusable shopping bags (Whole Foods has them too), that are made with 100% recycled materials. They’re way cool and they have the typical Trader Joe’s Caribbean themes. Plus, they are only 99 cents! I didn’t get one today because they were all out of the specific design I wanted, but I plan to get one next time.

After TJ’s my husband and I met for lunch at the local Red Robin. Not the fanciest place, but they have great sandwiches.

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I had the California chicken burger which was fantastic! It was really a burger, but rather a grilled chicken breast topped with provolone cheese, guacamole, and pickles – everything I love. Red Robin’s burgers are so huge that I only eat 1/2 and take the rest home. This is a great way to indulge in some great-tasting, but not-so-healthy, fun food, and not overdo it.

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It’s on the verge of raining right now, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do for the rest of the afternoon. Now that I think about it, a nap sounds like a great idea!

Have a great afternoon everyone and see you tonight.