Not Your Hello Kitty Yoga

Happy Christmas Eve²!

I can’t believe Christmas is nearly here – time sure flies when you’re busy. Although Wednesday is usually my day off for running, I decided to do a fast 30 minutes on the treadmill (Yes, my name is Jennifer and I’m a running addict) knowing that I may not run on Friday. About an hour after running, I headed to the gym for a much-needed 60-minute yoga session.

12.23 hello kitty yoga

Don’t let this picture fool you. There was nothing cute and cuddly about this yoga class. I have to admit, this class kicked my A-S today! Of course, I haven’t been to yoga since October, so the a-kickin’ was to be expected. Every pose seemed harder than the next. I had to really concentrate the whole time, when I can usually relax and just go with the flow. The only person that seemed to be having as much trouble was the 60-year old guy next to me – not a good sign on my part. I really think I overdid it between running and then yoga (and barely eating breakfast). I actually felt sick during shavasana but tried to lay there calmly to let the nausea pass. 

Anyway, I did get to show off my new yoga shirt from Lucy…

12.23 Lucy bag

Each year about this time, Lucy comes out with its limited edition Breathe t-shirts. I don’t know why I haven’t seen these shirts until this year, but as soon as I saw them I just had to buy one…

12.23 Lucy breathe shirt 1

Merry Christmas to me! How perfect is this for yoga, running, or really any sport! In addition to having “breathe” written on the front, the shirt sleeves also were creatively detailed. Too bad the shirts only come in white and black, otherwise I think I would have bought more (maybe that’s a blessing to my bank account!).

12.23 Lucy breathe shirt 4

After yoga, I spent the rest of the day wrapping gifts – save for an hour or two getting my hair cut (finally, time to relax!). I think I counted 35 gifts that I wrapped just today! I wrapped about 10 over the weekend, and that doesn’t even count the gifts that I already gave to my family members in Michigan over Thanksgiving. I really think we went way overboard on Christmas this year. Did anyone else overdo it on presents this year?

Gotta run to prepare for all of the festive fun for tomorrow. Have a wonderful night! 

Oatmeal Inspiration

Good morning!

Hope your day is off to a good start. I started my day with a fast 4-miler on the treadmill. I opted NOT to run outside today because of all the new fallen snow. Plus, after two 40-minute outdoor runs in a row, my hips are actually starting to hurt.

For breakfast, I was inspired by Kath’s oatmeal and decided to make a bowl of my own…

12.22 oatmeal with walnuts 1

I used about 1/4 cup whole oats combined with about a 1/2 cup of skim milk, then topped it all with bunch of walnuts and a little brown suga-baby – hmm..hmm…good!

12.22 oatmeal with walnuts 2

I ate it while looking out my back windows and enjoying the beautiful winter scene…

12.22 snowy backyard1

So what’s on my agenda for today?

  • Trip to Goodwill to drop off my donations
  • Mucho Christmas wrapping
  • A little more shopping (can I be done already!)
  • A LOT of studying

But, before all of that – I’m meeting my friend Anne for lunch at Big Bowl – it’s going to be a stir-fry kind of a day, whoopie!

Have a good one!

The Cheese Cupid

Hello All! 

I’ve been meaning to tell all of you about this great new Web site for wine and cheese pairings! The Cheese Cupid is a Web site developed by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board that helps you pair your favorite wine/beer/liquor with the best cheeses for that wine or vice versa. It’s super easy to use and it gives you photos and descriptions of the cheeses and wines. And better yet, it even has a free iphone application – perfect for when you’re running around buying last-minute party items.

A few weeks ago, the Cheese Cupid actually sent me some cheeses to try….

Wisconsin cheese

They sent a block of cheddar, edam, gruyere, and gorgonzola for me to sample. I ended up trying the edam and cheddar at a dinner party I had over the weekend. The cheddar tasted – well, like cheddar. It was good, but nothing too special.

12.21 cheese tray

However, the edam was fantastic! I have never had edam before and had never even heard of this type of cheese. It was a mix between Swiss and cheddar and was so mild yet flavorful. So yum, I wish I had more! I did attempt to use the Cheese Cupid site to pair my cheese with a recommended wine. But, it turns out, I never ended up drinking wine that night!

Ok, enough cheesey talk 😉 I had another fabulous but chilly run outside this morning! I wonder if I’m getting addicted to winter running?? 

Today, Scott and I finally bought our Christmas cards. We are just now beginning to write them out to about 50 people/families. I highly doubt any of these will get delivered before Christmas, but better late than never!

Tomorrow, I’m headed to lunch with Anne, a long-time friend and former colleague. We’re headed to Big Bowl – yummy Asian stir-fry.

Gotta run. See you all tomorrow!

Tea and Goodwill

Hello All! 

I had such a fantastic Sunday! I am actually sitting here sipping on some tea, thinking about how wonderful the day – and whole weekend was.

12.20 Celestial Seasonings Peppermint Tea2

I’m drinking Celestial Seasonings Peppermint tea tonight. I’m still trying to follow Jenna’s challenge’s of drinking tea in place of coffee (haven’t been to Starbucks since Wednesday!!). So, after yesterday’s afternoon tea, I’ve been craving more peppermint tea. We usually have peppermint tea in our HUGE stash of tea but I just couldn’t find a quality peppermint tea in the mix, until I saw this….

12.20 Celestial Seasonings Sampler

We don’t usually buy Celestial Seasonings tea. I’m more of a Harney and Sons or Tazo kind of a girl. But Scott must have slipped this in when I wasn’t looking 😉 It’s not that I don’t like Celestial Seasons. I think it all comes down to the fact that their tea sachets do not have strings. There’s something a little uncouth about having to dip into your tea with your spoon or fingers to retrieve your tea bag. Anyway, this peppermint tea ended up being just the thing I needed to settle me down for the evening. Plus, it helps that I’m also having a little bedtime treat…

12.20 Raspberry swirl cake

More raspberry swirl cake! Hmmm…so goood! And, a perfect combination with the tea.

12.20 Celestial Seasonings Peppermint

So, back to my Sunday….

Believe it or not, in spite of the cold temps (32 degrees) I went out for a 40-minute run this morning and it was GREAT! Yes, it was cold, but I bundled up from head to toe and, for the most part, felt toasty the whole time. The biggest issue wasn’t the cold either, it was watching for black ice which means danger for runners in the winter. It was gorgeous outside too – very picturesque with all of the snow on the trees and houses. 

After my run, my sister and I hung out for a bit before she, my brother-in-law, and little nephew had to get on the road to head back to Michigan. Then I mailed Shauna’h’s giveaway followed by tackling a bunch of house projects (aka goals for my Christmas vacation). This included going through all of my clothes to find those to donate and then sorting through all of my items for Goodwill.

12.20 Goodwill clothes

As you can see, I had a trunkload of clothes to donate to Goodwill, plus a bunch of household items. When you donate items to Goodwill, or anywhere else, and intend for them to be a tax write off, you’re supposed to document each thing that you donate and what condition it’s in. Imagine doing that for SEVEN full bags of clothes! I hope to drop them off at GW tomorrow. It will be so nice to have all of those things out of the house. The less clutter the better, if ya know what I mean…

Can you believe it? I am only 3 days into my 10-day Christmas vacation and I’ve already crossed two of the five Christmas vacation goals off of my list! I love it when I’m productive on vacation! Now, I just have to:

  1. Wrap all of my Christmas gifts
  2. Get to a yoga session this week
  3. Study for my personal training certification test
  4. Sort through clothes to give away
  5. Sort through and document all Goodwill items

That’s enough for tonight – see you all tomorrow!

Nutcracker Tea

Hi Everyone! I had such a wonderful and festive Saturday! A big part of my day was spending time shopping, chatting, and eating with my sister, Carrie, who drove in from Michigan for a visit. Today, we headed to a tea shop for a little afternoon tea – Nutcracker style!

12.19 Nutcracker ornament

That’s right – the tea sitting was themed after the Nutcracker and each place setting had a little nutcracker ornament for everyone to take home. It was a very nice touch. This is an annual tea that the restaurant serves around the holidays. You typically have to make reservations weeks in advance – which I did – in order to get a spot. Today, the place was packed with groups of women – young and old – many of whom were wearing fancy hats. Sadly, I was not wearing a hat, although I plan to come better prepared next year.

Our indulgences started with individual pots of tea – mine being Republic of Tea’s Lemon Wintergreen Tea. Hmm…sooo good – this may just be my new favorite winter tea!

12.19 teapot

The tea was super flavorful and the peppermint was such a nice, fresh taste to pair with the foodie items. One problem though…even though I poured with quite a steady hand, I still managed to get tea leaves in my cup…

12.19 Lemon Wintergreen tea

No matter though- it was all good. That’s the beauty of being with your sister, you can ask her to look in your teeth to see if there are any stray tea leaves 😉

12.19 Jen Tea 2 Say Tea!

Our full tea service also included a three-tiered tray full of sweet bread, scones, cookies, finger sandwiches, and chocolate-covered delights…

12.19 Tiered tea tray

Absolutely De-Lish! And so pretty for picture taking, don’t you think? On the very top tier laid two very large gingerbread cookies. I’m not a huge gingerbread fan, although even if I was, these cookies were just too cute to eat…12.19 Gingerbread cookies

The desserts included a chocolate-covered strawberry, chocolate-covered lady fingers, and bite-size brownies. By the time we got to the dessert, we could only eat the strawberries and lady fingers – oh-please, twist my arm would you! The brownies were just too much for us so we ended up taking them home for “the guys”.

12.19 tea desserr

After our very filling tea, we walked around a few of the neighboring shops. It was an absolutely perfect snowy winter scene, with the soft, fluffy snow covering the old houses-turned shops and the covered bridges. Gorgeous! But we quickly learned that we are both marshmallows when it comes to the cold so we headed back to the car.

By the way, we never ended up wrapping gifts last night, so we’re about to jump into that right now!

Have a great night!

Pretty in Pink

Hi All! Well my sister and I had fun-filled day of shopping! We found ourselves all over the place, including…

  • Crate and Barrel
  • Bath and Body Works
  • Gap
  • Ann Taylor Loft
  • Lucy 

Whew! Now were so exhausted, but not too tired to have a little late night dessert…

12.18 raspberry swirl cake

Raspberry and white chocolate swirl cake with a side of Edy’s peppermint ice cream – so yum! And I love the pink colors – how girly, don’t ya think?

Now, we’re getting ready for a little gift wrapping party – fun, fun, fun! Tomorrow, we’re headed to a Nutcracker-themed afternoon tea. I love the practice of taking tea in the afternoon – it’s so old-school British! We’re also hoping to go for a morning walk/run – although it might be too cold (30 degrees – brrrrr…)

Signing off for now, but stay tuned for pics of my cool loot from Lucy!

10 Days of Christmas Goals

Today was officially my last day of work until December 28 – whoop whoop! I LOVE being off the whole week of Christmas. It’s so nice to just concentrate on the holiday instead of worrying about work (and my commute). We used to get the whole week of Christmas off as a freebie, but now we actually have to take vacation time, other than Christmas Day.

To maximize my 10 days off in a row, I have decided to set a few goals for myself. Some of the goals are holiday related, while others are just plain goals.  

12.17 wrapping paper:

Goals for the Christmas Break…

  • Wrap the enormous amount of Christmas gifts that I have stashed around the house. Seriously, I have like 40 gifts that I need to wrap. I can just feel the pressure building.
  • Go through all my clothes and set aside the things that I want to give away
  • Take a bunch of stuff to Goodwill. It’s a tax write-off ya know!
  • Practice yoga at least once (sorry, Jenna, that’s about all I can give right now!)
  • Study for my personal trainer certification. I’m hoping to take the test by the end of January – yikes! I get nervous just thinking about it!

Ok, I think that’s enough for 10 days. So, what are your goals for Christmas break?

 My sister is in town now and we’ve got a busy weekend planned. I’m signing off for now – have a great night!

Relaxing With Charlie

Hey everyone! Hope you’re having a wonderful evening. Only 7 more shopping days until the BIG day! Just curious, has anyone out there NOT started holiday shopping yet?

I just finished a whirlwind evening of shopping, which included a stop at Trader Joe’s! Oh TJ, how I love thee 🙂 I know I’ve said this before but I’m gonna say it again, the people at Trader Joe’s are SO nice! Anyway, after shopping, I did a little LOT of cleaning! And now I’m relaxing, listening to a little Charlie Brown Christmas and lovin’ the jazzy tunes. They are actually making me quite sleepy – yawn…

charlie brown tree:

You know one thing I don’t understand about the Charlie Brown Christmas special is …Where the heck is Peppermint Patty? She’s in every other holiday special out there but, for some reason, she’s left out in the cold on Christmas.

Anyway, back to cleaning….I LOVE when my house is CLEAN – you know, the kind of clean where you only need to “maintenance” clean for a couple weeks. And the REASON that I cleaned like a mad woman tonight? ….

My sister and her husband and my two-year old nephew are coming into town tomorrow – yeah! I’m so excited – can’t ya tell? We have big shopping plans for the weekend and my sister and I are going to afternoon tea at a snazzy tea shop. Fancy hats are optional, but I’m going to try to get one ahead of time. Any suggestions for a place to get a great hat to wear in the winter?

Ok, gotta get to bed or else I may just be too tired to run in the AM (yeah, like that would ever happen 😉 ) Have a great night and I’ll be back tomorrow with more pics of my holiday lunch with my team at work.

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.


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 😉 )
  • 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!

"The Office" Holiday Party

As I mentioned last night, today was my office holiday party. Each year there’s a different theme or piece of entertainment to go with the party – this year, it was literally The Office holiday party. Our whole office arrived at the steakhouse around 11:30 AM to find little bobblehead Joe dolls on the table…

Dwight Bobblehead

I was soo excited to find Dwight at my table! I know he is the antagonist of the show, but I think his character is hysterical! It turns out that one lucky person at our table would actually get to take that bobblehead home – it was my boss! However, since he has NEVER seen the office, I offered to take the doll off of his hands, but then so did several other people. Being the fair guy that he is, he offered to pick names for the winner. Unfortunately, I was NOT the winner (I’m still bitter – don’t ask) and my winning co-worker promptly traded Dwight for an Angela at the next table…

Bobblehead Angela

I seriously can’t believe she chose Angela over Dwight – Dwight epitomized the bobblehead! Bitter I tell ya, just bitter.

Anyway, before the main lunch was served were enjoyed a few appetizers and cocktails and then all settled down to our salads…

12.10 Green Salad 1

A fresh and leafy green salad, a perfect way to start the meal. For our entree, we could choose between a filet of salmon or beef or risotto. I do not eat beef or salmon, so I had the very tasty spinach and mushroom risotto…

12.10 Risotto 1

It was served on HUGE plate that dwarfed the rice, but there was actually more in the bowl that I thought. I ended up eating the whole thing (minus a few overwhelming mushrooms) and I was really full.

12.10 Risotto 2

12.10 Risotto Name

Just prior to dessert, they held a raffle, that included cool prizes like 1-2 night stays in downtown Chicago hotels, gift certificates to Borders, etc. No, I didn’t win – but one of my team members won 6 dozen bagels and gave everyone on the team a coupon for a free dozen bagels – it’s all about sharing the wealth baby! I’m still not crazy about bagels, but they are a little more tempting when they’re free.

Dessert was slightly disappointing. Seriously, there were 2 bite-size brownies, 2 small cookies, 2 tarts the size of a silver dollar, and a 2 oz ramekin of creme brulee – this was for 4 people! That’s not dessert, that’s a snack! My boss and I kept waiting for something else to come out – actually hoping for something to come out – but it didn’t.

12.10 Creme Brulee

I’m not a creme brulee fan normally, but I decided to try it today. It was good, but my boss and I were still contemplating a Dairy Queen run.

To Bonus or Not To Bonus

And now – the moment we were ALL waiting for – Bonus Time! We anxiously awaited to get our holiday cards – the vehicle for our bonuses. Although I was pleased to still get a bonus, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed because it was lower than last year. I shouldn’t complain though – most people do not get bonuses. Considering the economy, I think it’s very generous for my company to still keep this tradition.

It’s Personal…Training That Is!

Tomorrow afternoon, I start my very intense personal training class. At one point, I thought I could skim through books ahead of time, take the class, study for a couple weeks, then take the test. I have officially comes to terms with the fact that this plan is NOT going to happen. Of the two books I have to use as study materials, the one book is about 3 inches thick. OMG, I nearly passed out when I started reviewing the anatomy section! I’m giving myself a new goal of taking the test by the end of February/early March, but that’s even a crap shoot.

OK, gotta get some rest so that I am ready to go to my class. Take care everyone!