Fun With French Macarons

Hello everyone!

Thank you all for your kind words about my last post and my 2 babies! I really struggled with whether or not to tell all of you about them. But then I realized that it’s really hard to talk about some aspects of my life (like travel, stress, etc.) without mentioning that I have children! Now you can understand why I’ve only been posting once a day and so late at night ūüėČ

Anyway, the day started off per usual, with a fast 40-minute run on the t-mill, followed by a big, green, juicy pear – just ripe for the pickin’ eating…

1.5.10 Pear

And it looks too cute on my oh so pretty plate from Anthropologie!

On Friday, I will head out to Phoenix/Scottsdale for the 1st of 6 trips I have planned for the next 5 months (5 of the trips being work-related). So this week, I’m trying to get a bunch of things done before leaving the office on Thursday. I really want to use any extra free time I have on this Phoenix trip to STUDY for my personal trainer test. It’s only about 5 weeks away – yikes!

Lunch ended up being leftover chicken noodle soup from Sunday, along with another LUNA bar. I was actually in the middle of a project when I paused for lunch and completely zonked on the picture taking.

Scott doesn’t start teaching his night class until next week, so he was home tonight! Thank goodness too, because he had dinner almost ready by the time I came home from work (and from picking up Mr. C and Miss M). He made an awesome one-pot meal of sausage, leeks, and tri-colored bell peppers…

1.5.10 Sausage Leek 1

I do want to point out that I made this dish FIRST, so in essence, I taught Scott everything he knows about this lovely meal!

1.5.10 Sausage Leek 4

After dinner, I was soooo wanting a cookie or another somethin’ somethin’ from Barnes and Noble Cafe. But, seeing as we just started our Restaurant Diet, I went to freezer to see if it would magically reveal something that I like – and it DID!!

1.5.10 French Macaron 2

I bought these little beauties just before Christmas at Trader Joe’s! Who would have thought that TJ’s would have French macarons (yes, they are spelled with just one “o”, unlike American macaroons). Now I absolutely adore French macarons – love them, love them, love them! So, when I saw them at TJ’s, I just about squealed with delight. Normally, I would prefer fresh macarons from a patisserie but seeing as those are few and far between in the Chicago suburbs, TJ’s macarons would do just fine – and that they did!

1.5.10 French Macaron 5

After about 15-20 minutes of thawing, I anxiously tried the vanilla flavor. Oh my – this cookie was so light and creamy and the flavor was incredible! Since they are a Trader Joe’s product, you know that they are using natural ingredients. Plus, they are only 45 calories per cookie – perfect for a little after-dinner treat.¬†

Ok, enough fun with my macarons, it’s time to hit the books. Have a wonderful night!

You Know You're a Runner When…

This morning, I woke up at 3 AM unable to sleep. When my alarm finally went off for my 5:45 run, I contemplated going back to bed due to lack of sleep. As I lay there, thoughts raced through my head. I anticipated my long day of being tired and in a foul mood because of my decision not to run. This thought, combined with the fact that I still could not go back to sleep, was enough for me to get up and running, literally.

runners

This is not the first time I’ve experienced this runner’s anxiety. And, I’m sure I’m not the only runner that has felt this way. I truly think that runners are a special breed of people. Some people are born to be skaters, bikers, dancers, etc. While others are born to run – that is me. Runners share a special bond – we know what each other goes through, whether it’s the challenge of finding time to run or feeling depressed because you can’t run due to injury or some other obstacle. No matter what group or club you belong to, when you’re a runner, you automatically become part of a worldwide team – a family – of runners. But how do you truly know if you’re a part of this running family? Let’s find out…

You Know You’re a Runner When…

  1. You plan your whole week (and everyone else’s) around your runs.
  2. You wake up for your morning run after 5 hours of sleep, decide not to run, lay there thinking about why you’re not running, then get up and run anyway.
  3. The highlight of the year is either a big race ¬†you’ve been waiting for or when the new running shoes are unveiled.
  4. On your “off” day, you feel like everyone is running but you.
  5. When going to a new city, the first thing you find out is the best place to run.
  6. At any given moment, you can recite all of the cities/countries you’ve run in and you remember those places based your running experience
  7. You are giddy when your favorite running magazine arrives in the mail.
  8. While attending a business function or party, you can easily spot the other runners in the room.
  9. You wave or nod at everyone when you’re running – it’s a runner thing.
  10. You can’t understand why people walk, when they can run.

How would you finish this sentence?You know you’re a runner when...

And so, to all my fellow runners out there РHappy Holidays and may the New Year take you back to all of your favorite running spots Р and introduce you to a few new ones too!

And Away She Goes…

Hi Everyone!

I’m so glad that you all enjoyed my tips for staying healthy and not gaining weight during the holidays. We all know that food temptations are abundant from October through December, so it either takes a lot of will power or a little planning (or both) to make sure that we’re staying on track with our health goals.

Gingy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41754875@N00/2137900541

Case in point 

I walked into our office today to find many goodies up for grabs – candy, chips, and even individually wrapped Cheryl and Co cookies. I already know what they taste like and know that the sugar cookie with frosting is my favorite. There were no frosted sugar cookies in sight, so I passed on taking one for myself – although I did take a snickerdoodle for Scott. Was it will power? Maybe. But it could also have been that I had a big bowl of Kashi Go Lean Crunch this morning…

12.14 Kashi Go Lean Crunch

But, if it wasn’t for Kashi, I may have been all over those cookies!¬†

And Away She Goes….

I found out today that I am adding at least two more trips to my Spring 2010 travels. Yikes – I think I’m going to be away on business more than I’m going to be at home! Now I know how flight attendants feel – or at least a little.

So far, here are the trips I have planned:

  • January: Phoenix and Washington, DC
  • February: Orlando
  • March: Baltimore (FitBloggin Bound!)
  • April: Orlando and Miami (and I’m hoping Key West ūüėČ )
  • May: New Orleans
  • June: Washington, DC
  • October: Vancouver, BC

Whew! My head is spinning just thinking about it. I should probably write a few posts about how to stay healthy while traveling for business – I sure have experience with it! Although business travel is not as glamorous as it looks it in the movies, it definitely has its perks. You can be a regular traveling gourmet, eating at nice restaurants with someone else picking up the tab. ¬†And, when you’re lucky, you can actually take in a few of the local sites.

I’ll be sure to give you all a heads up before leaving on my trips. I’d love to hear your ideas for great restaurants or sites in these cities.

Ok, I’m off to bed. Have a great night all!

Finding My Life's Purpose in 7 Questions

If you love high-end bath and beauty products, check out this awesome giveaway from my alter ego blog¬†–¬†Bistro Chic!¬†You may just win a fabulous gift from¬†Crabtree & Evelyn.

Hello Everyone –¬†

Last night, Scott sent me a link about how to find your purpose in life, by asking yourself a few simple questions. Both of us have actually been struggling with what we want to do in our careers – for me, it’s more about whether or not I want to go into business for myself (writing, editing, fitness advisor, etc). I thought it couldn’t hurt giving these questions a try. So, here it goes…

Westminster Abbey

7 Questions to Finding Your Life’s Purpose¬†

  1. What do you love to do? I love to travel and also plan trips for myself and other people. Discovering new places makes me so incredibly happy! But, figuring out a way to fund my travel adventures makes me very unhappy. I also love helping people live healthier lives – knowing that I made a difference in keeping them healthy is a big plus.
  2. What do you do in your free time? I do a LOT of research for my blogs, as well as vacation spots. But, I also try to sightsee locally (Chicago). Of course, running/exercising is also a huge part of my free time.
  3. What do you notice? I notice how fit people are and I especially notice if a person is a runner, or not. Don’t ask me how, you can just tell. I also notice people’s accents, whether they are from the South or England or Israel. I love hearing different accents and trying to guess where people are from (in my head, not outloud!)
  4. What do you love to learn about? I love learning about new ways to get and stay fit/healthy. Likewise, I love to learn about nutrition and overall wellness. Aside from those things, learning about travel destinations is something else that I love, although it makes me a little sad thinking that I may never get to those places.
  5. What sparks your creativity?¬†Travel – plain and simple. Whether it’s an overnight business trip or a week-long vacation, going on any sort of trip somehow makes my life become clearer. After my trip, I usually feel empowered and more confident about the challenges ahead.
  6. What do people compliment you on? I often receive compliments on my dedication to health and fitness, particularly running, but also my strong public speaking/presentation and writing skills. These skills may or may not be apparent on my blogs, but writing is about 50 percent of what I do at work.
  7. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Take a year hiatus from my current job to become a travel or health/fitness writer/review – ie. a cross between Samantha Brown and Gabby Reece. But know that I could get my old job back at the same pay with no problem.

Travel Writer: http://www.flickr.com/photos/60843921@N00/23094429

Where do I go from here? I’m not really sure, but these questions sure make you think. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – I love my employer and what I do in my current career, but I KNOW deep down that I am meant to do something greater than this.

So, I charge you, fellow food and fitness bloggers, to step back for a moment, and ask yourself, what do YOU really love to do? Because, if you love writing for your blog more than you do your 9 to 5 job, it may be time to make a change.

The Traveling Blogger

Hi Everyone!

Hope you enjoyed my Veterans Day post from earlier today.¬†Although today was my day off from running, I was up and at ’em around 6 AM. I even arrived at work at 8:30 AM because traffic was SO much lighter, no doubt due to the holiday. Which brings me to the question of the day – Did you have Veterans Day off from work or school? If so, how did you spend your day off?

Before work, I made myself a big cereal mix of Honeynut Cheerios and Kashi Go Lean Crunch…

11.11 breakfast

I know, surprise, surprise. Work was a little busier today because my boss was actually back in the office, which translates into more meetings. Although, he is leaving for the next two weeks, going partly to Korea for a meeting and then taking a vacation. I don’t think I’ve ever been away from my job for more than two weeks – at least not anytime recently.¬†

For lunch, I drove about 30 minutes from the office to attend a very cool luncheon/meeting. At the luncheon, I listened to a presentation by two former top broadcast news journalists and than chatted/networked with a bunch of older ladies. I would love to show you pictures from the luncheon, but I really couldn’t find a good, inconspicuous time to take photos of the food! I did end up having a really yummy turkey sandwich with brie and tomatoes, plus a little fruit salad, and a chocolate chip cookie.

On my way back to the office, I got a little turned around and actually went out of my way about 10 minutes. But, thank goodness for the navigation system!

Dinner was homemade turkey chili courtesy of Scott.

11.11 dinner

Because I’m trying to add more veggies into my diet, I added about 2 cups of spinach to my chili bowl. I honestly couldn’t taste the spinach that much, but it’s great to know that I got all of the vitamins with it.

I booked another business trip yesterday, this time to Phoenix/Scottsdale. If anyone has recommendations for restaurants for that area, please let me know. It looks like I’m going to be traveling quite a bit in the first half of of 2010. Right now, I have at least one trip planned for each month – yikes! Here’s the line up thus far…

  • January – Phoenix/Scottsdale
  • February – Orlando
  • March – Baltimore (Yeah – Fit Bloggin!!)
  • April – Miami and Key Largo
  • May – New Orleans or Washington, DC

There may also be a last-minute trip to DC in there somewhere as well. I’m pretty certain I’m going to be sick of traveling (or at least airports) by June! However, I’m hoping to indulge in some seriously cool restaurants in each of these cities (great blog fodder) and do a LOT of running.

If there are any bloggers in Miami (or Southern FL) or Baltimore who’d like to meet up, let me know!

Have a wonderful night!