How Should Bloggers Reject a Free Sample?

Hey all. I am really ready to crash right now. It was very challenging for me to concentrate all day with only five hours of sleep.

For lunch, I brought the last of my homemade turkey chili

9.14 lunch

You probably can’t tell, but it has baby spinach in it. I love that you can put baby spinach in just about anything and have it blend so much that you don’t notice you’re eating it.

After lunch, I stepped outside for a 20 minute walk to wake me up. It was 85 degrees and sunny here today so the walk was quite warm. But, it was also well worth it. I love these last days of summer. The afternoon went by very fast, although I felt extremely tired around 3 PM so I popped open a diet coke. Ah…a cold diet coke on a hot day – love it!

I arrived home around 6 PM and was pretty beat. But, I still managed to pull off a fab dinner – a creation of my very own I am proud to say…

9.14 dinner

I made, what has become, my signature dish. It’s my Italian sausage-pasta dish with tri-color peppers and leeks. This is such an awesome one pot recipe and it really makes a lot more than you think so it’s great for leftovers. For all of you vegetarians out there, you could probably substitute tofu or portobello for the sausage – just a thought.

After dinner, I scooted off to the library to return some books, then it was off to Party City to get a few supplies for my first staff training program I’m implementing on Thursday this week. Then, I headed to the local dairy/ice cream store for Scott. He loves mint chocolate chip ice cream and had a special request for it tonight.

I decided to save money and just eat the leftover Breyers vanilla bean ice cream at home. But, I added a few extras – like dark chocolate chips and watermelon, for all of those antioxidants you know!

9.14 dessert

Question of the Day

Ok, now for the question of the day, what do you do when you keep getting emails from a company that is trying to give you a sample of a product you absolutely loathe? There is a company that is trying to send me samples of cigarette pack decals/decorations, I assume to make them trendy. But, I am against smoking in every way. Do I not answer their emails? Do I politely say no thank you, or do I really tell them that I think their product disgusts me? At the very least, they really need to get a better PR firm because they obviously did not check to see what I write about – health and wellness. And, since when do cigarettes promote health and wellness?

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

Time For A New Pair of Running Shoes…

Morning everyone! I had intended to run 8 miles this morning, but only ended up running 6 miles in a little over 50 minutes. I woke up later than I had planned and sometimes, the only way to get back on schedule is to shorten your workout a little. 

Prior to my run, I thought I’d break out my first ever CLIF bar. I’ve heard they are more for “guys” but because they were on sale for $1, I thought I’d give them a try.

9.13 Cliff bar

The chocolate chip peanut crunch bar has 260 calories. To me, that is quite a few calories for a power bar. I decided to only eat 1/3 of the bar, so about 85 calories, before my run. The CLIF bar was pretty tasty, although I’ve tasted better. I’m sure, because it’s more gear toward highly active men, that taste wasn’t their #1 priority. Overall, I’d say the bar is a little too much for me in calories, plus it’s huge compared to other bars. I would probably get sick mid-run if I ate the whole thing. 

My run went very smoothly for the most part. At the beginning, I felt a little sluggish, but once I got over that Sunday morning slump, I really felt great. Although, my calves and hips are a little sore. I’m thinking it’s time for a new pair of shoes! I can always tell when it’s about that time because parts of me that normally don’t ache, like my back and glutes, start to get sore. 

For breakfast, I thought I’d try the new Kashi cereal I bought yesterday. At just $2 a box on sale, I thought I’d try the Go Lean High Protein & High Fiber Cereal with 10 g of fiber and 13 g of protein. I think that’s the most fiber I’ve ever seen in a cereal!


Instead of eating a full cup/serving of this cereal (I didn’t want to shock my digestive track), I decided to go half and half with the high fiber version and the the Go Lean Crunch…

9.13 breakfast1

The cereal mixture was lightly sweetened and packed a great crunch. I also added handful of fresh raspberries – ‘cuz berries are so good for you! Along with the cereal, I also chugged my Daily Wellness shot from Zola.

9.13 breakfast2

We’re headed out to do a little shopping, then work around the house. I also think there is a homemade apple pie in store for tonight, so stay tuned for the yummy photos!

Tricking the Office Snack Monster

Evening everyone. Wow, talk about temptation. Because my office had a special meeting/course being held onsite all week, there has been food everywhere – and not much of the healthy kind either. For instance, today, there were all sorts of Panera sweets, bagels, and then for lunch, deep dish pizza. 

How To Trick the Office Snack Monster

I do have a little trick that helps me pass up these high calorie, low-nutrient foods. If I see something that looks good, like a coffee cake, I will take one small slice and wrap it up to save for the afternoon. This way, I don’t feel left out in the merry-making, but I make myself wait all day to make sure that I really want the treat and am not just eating it because it’s there. Many times, by the time afternoon rolls around, I get too busy to eat it. Or, I decide I’m not really hungry enough to eat it and just toss it in the garbage. I’m telling you, this works like a charm! Although, it can be a bit wasteful I guess.

For dinner tonight, I defrosted some of the homemade chili I made a few weeks ago. The chili was made with turkey meat, red and green peppers, grape tomatoes, and spinach – kind of a cross between a veggie and regular chili!

9.10 dinner2

I served the chili over Barilla Plus Multi-grain pasta with added Omega-3. And, it has 7 g. of fiber per serving! Some people (like my father) refuse to eat anything pasta/bread product that is NOT white. I just don’t understand it when the multi-grain or whole wheat kind is so much better for you. My father also refuses to eat any lettuce other than iceberg lettuce, even though I’ve told him it is the equivalent of eating paper because it has zero nutrients. If I could only convince him to change his eating habits, even a little, I’m sure he wouldn’t have as many ailments as he does.

Sorry for the digression. After my chili bowl came dessert! I wasn’t really craving dessert – which is a good thing really – but decided to have a few of the brand new French cookies I bought the other day.

9.10 dessert2

The Le Chocolatier cookies, or biscuits as they are known in Europe, are chocolate covered wafers that are layered with both chocolate and cream. They are really yummy, but man do they get stale FAST. They need to be sealed up tight (like in a ziploc bag) or else any humidity will ruin the cookies.

9.10 dessert1

I had 3 of the cookies which totaled 150 calories, plus a little more than a shot glass of milk. Ahh, cookies and milk before bed, now that’s what I called being a kid again – right Mia? I think the only thing that could have made these cookies better is if they were dipped in peanut butter – already planning that little experiment for tomorrow!

Ok, I need to head to bed. I’m usually off on Fridays, but I’m going into work tomorrow to catch up on a bunch of projects. And, there WILL be more food there tomorrow. You can run but you can’t hid from the Office Snack Monster!

Night everyone!

Walnuts – Small in Size, Big on Nutrition

Hey Friends! My hair is officially shorter than it was this morning thanks to a brand spankin’ new haircut! I do like it, but it’s styled a little too flat for me right now (and that’s saying a lot since I like my hair straight) so I decided to wait until tomorrow to take a photo.

Prior to my haircut I ran to the grocery store and to Trader Joe’s just to pick up a few odds and ends, including Yogi antioxidant green tea which my husband loves. For lunch, I originally made a simple sandwich, but then doctored it up with a few Mezzetta red pepper slices and provolone cheese…

9.4 lunch

For some reason, I’ve been in a potato chip mood lately. Today, I had more of the Cape Cod low-fat plain potato chips – love them!

After lunch, I was able to get a little work done answering emails and even doing a little house work. Then, I actually sat outside in the warm sun and read my new Real Simple magazine – and I just happened to have a Starbucks mocha frap in my hand at the same time. I’m such a multi-tasker like that.

Friday nights are typically my night to cook. But, whenever Friday rolls around, I never seem to want to cook anything. Tonight followed that same pattern. So instead of me cooking the planned chicken stir fry, we opted for pizza takeout. I know, it’s such a cliché Friday night dinner, but it was gourmet pizza!

9.4 dinner1

My husband and I split a plank-style pizza. His half had pepperoni, spinach, and red peppers; mine had spinach, goat cheese, red peppers, mushrooms, and pesto sauce. I’ve had this many times before and it is so awesome each time I order it.

9.4 dinner2

I was pretty full after I finished my pizza (all but two pieces) but just a few minutes ago I decided to end the night with a little spumoni….

9.4 dessert

I had about 3/4 cup Edy’s spumoni and added about 1 tbsp of walnuts to the cold, creamy treat. I’ve been adding walnuts to everything lately – well, nearly everything. Most people know that walnuts, and many other nuts, are high in fiber and good fats (MUFA). But, new research from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that walnuts may actually help lower cholesterol more than fish. I am so glad to hear that news because I do NOT like fish, but LOVE walnuts. Finally, I have an argument for not eating fish!

Tomorrow, we are headed apple picking with my husband’s whole family. It’s a tradition we started a few years ago. After that, we all go out to lunch, then head home to start out apple-treat baking. I think a homemade apple pie is in my near future. Stay tuned for a recipe!

Have a great night all.

Almost like "Hot" Yoga

Good morning friends! It’s another unseasonably cool and crisp day outside. I actually had to wear a jacket to yoga this morning. Yoga was fantastic today! The yogini really took her time with the class. She was also very patient when 24 people showed up to a class that is supposed to be maxed at 20. But, in true yoga fashion, we all just picked up our mats and moved as close as we could to one another without getting into each other’s personal space. With the extra bodies in the room, it was VERY hot – almost like bikram yoga, which I am not used to. People were actually sweating, which I almost never see. But we managed.

After yoga, I tried out a new organic health drink that was sent to me in the mail….

Zola Energy Smoothie

The makers of Zola drinks sent me a big box of juices, smoothies, and a juice-shot drink.  The juices and smoothies are made from a Brazilian recipe and contain superfruits like Acai berry. 

Zola Energy Smoothie2

I had an Tropical Blend Energy Smoothie made with Caja Fruit, Acai, and a bunch of different kinds of fruit purees and juices, like pear, apple, and pineapple. It even has green tea in it.

Zola Energy Smoothie3

I usually shy away from fruit smoothies and juices because they can be loaded with calories and even fat. This smoothie is 125 calories a serving and has 2 g Fiber – not bad for a smoothie drink. The drink itself has a great flavor, although is not as thick as a typical smoothie.

8.29 Zola Energy

Would I buy this smoothie at the store? Yes, I would definitely buy the juice, particularly for the great flavor and the fact that it is loaded with healthy ingredients. But, because I’m not really a juice drinker, I think I would save this drink for times when I needed an extra boost of energy or vitamins, like when I feel a cold coming on.

Aside from the juice, I also made a small bowl of Strawberry-peanut butter oatmeal…

8.29 Breakfast2

I started with 1/4 cup whole oats mixed with 1/2 cup skim milk. After I microwaved that for 2 minutes, I added 2 strawberries, 2 tbsp of walnuts, and dollop of MaraNatha all-natural creamy peanut butter. Hmm…so good..

8.29 Breakfast1

I think we’re now headed out to do a little site-seeing downtown or maybe just do a little shopping. 

Have a great afternoon everyone!

Think Green, Live Pink: Free PINK Body Lotion

Ok ladies – it’s time to Think Green and Live PINK!

PINK, the bath and body store from Victoria’s Secret, is giving away 1 oz containers of PINK Energizing body lotion. Click here for the coupon, then just print it and take it to a PINK store by September 7. Hurry, the offer is only good while supplies last. I was able to pick mine up on Monday this week…

8.28 Pink Lotion

The lotion has a fantastic citrus orange-mint scent and is just the right size for your car, your purse, or as a travel-size cream. Plus, it’s made with 100% organic and vegan ingredients, so it’s good for you and the environment.

Hope you’re able to take advantage of this GREEN opportunity!

Addicted to Running?

As many of you know by now, running is one of my passions and when I am not able to run, I get anxious and sometimes, downright cranky. This morning, it was pouring down rain again so I opted to not run. But, after making that choice, I began to feel guilty and anxious once more. Luckily, this feeling faded after I reminded myself that I have already run 3 times this week and have 2 more days left in the week to get in my runs. But, there was a time, a few years back, when missing a run would have devastated me.

Race the World

I am definitely not alone when it comes to feeling this need for running. New research from Tufts University shows that the endorphin rush of a “runner’s high,” can also provoke feelings of anxiety and despair when something prevents avid runners from getting in their daily running fix.

I know this feeling all too well. A few years ago, when I was training for the Chicago marathon, if I would even miss one run or have to shorten my workout I became very upset. When I look back at that time, I could have been addicted to running – and not in a good way.

After doing some research, I learned that there are definite signs of running or exercise addiction, including:

  • Missing important obligations (including work) to run
  • Giving up interests, like friends, to run more
  • Feeling depressed or irritable if you can’t run or workout
  • Running through illness or injury
  • And more

Jen-grass cropped

I think, at one point, I had the majority of these telltale signs. Thankfully, something happened that woke me up from my addiction – I became completely burnt out from running and decided to scale back my workouts. I also took up cross-training in the form of yoga. Both of these changes helped me tremendously, mentally and physically.  I am much more mellow about running now. If I miss a run, I may get a little irritated, but I know that there’s always tomorrow.

If you think you might be addicted to running or exercise, try slowing things down a bit by reducing the length of your runs or the number of times you run per week. Or, talk to a health-care professional, a personal trainer, or even a trusted friend about your potential addiction. Talking things out, might actually help you to find the root of your fixation and help you change your addictive attitude about running.

Treat a Cold With Chicken Soup?

Hello All! I had another highly productive day today. I was so productive, that I gave myself a break this afternoon and had a nice big treat….

8.18 snack

A great big chocolate chip cookie from Panera Bread. It was a little dry, so I only ended up eating about 2/3 of the cookie. I also enjoyed some hot chamomile tea from Higgins and Burke while eating my cookie (forgot my Tazo at home)….

8.18 tea

I never did end up going to Whole Foods. I was on the conference call for longer than I had planned, then had another spontaneous meeting. I’m going to make a concerted effort to go tomorrow.

Tonight, Scott was working late so I decided to make dinner simple and have leftover chicken soup…

8.18 dinner

…which tasted mighty good!

The Healing Powers of Chicken Soup

Chicken soup may be very simple but it is simply amazing. It is low in calories and fat, is a great source of protein, vitamins A, C, and a whole host of others. But, what’s really amazing about chicken soup is its ability to heal. Nearly 10 years ago, a landmark study in the journal CHEST found that basic chicken soup really does help to prevent or treat a cold or the flu, because of its potential anti-inflammatory effect on the body. See, mom really was right when she told you’d feel better after eating your chicken soup! I wonder what else she was right about..hmm…

After dinner, I cleaned up the house a bunch because it was left in such disarray this morning – and I can’t stand a messy house!

Then, I was in the mood for something sweet so I topped off the night with a little dessert…

8.18 dessert

One scoop of Breyers all-natural chocolate and vanilla ice cream and 1 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips. Just enough.

Now, I need to get some work done before heading to bed. Have a great night everyone!

Relieve Stress With Lemons and Lavender

I woke up extra early today for my Monday morning run. Come to find out, there was a huge thunderstorm passing through my area. So I opted NOT to run outside and hopped back into bed. NOT running on days I had planned on running tends to stress me out a little. So, although I went back to bed, I didn’t go to sleep. I just laid there thinking about not running and all of the work-related projects I have yet to accomplish before our big meeting at the end of the year. All of these racing thoughts can really stress a girl out. Maybe I need some lemons…


Why, you ask? Well, a new study shows that certain scents, like lemon, mango, and lavender, can actually help boost your mood and help reduce stress. The way I’m feeling right now, I think I need to combine all three scents to get the maximum relaxation effect – he he!

Well, I don’t have lemons, mango, or lavender in the house at the moment. So, rather than just laying there being stressed, I decided to get up and start getting ready for work. Then, I had a little breakfast..


Breakfast was a nice bowl of mixed cereal, 1/2 Cheerios and 1/2 Kashi Go Lean Crunch. Then, I headed out the door to work, bypassing Starbucks. Instead, when I arrived at the office I made a huge cup of Tazo Awake Tea. I probably should have had chamomile to calm my nerves, but Awake helps me start my day with a clear head.

Now, I need to be heads down for the rest of the day – which, ironically, ends at 2:30 PM for me because I have a doctor’s appointment – and not for a stress test!

By the way, if you have a favorite, all-natural stress reduction tip, please give me a shout!

When you're sick, even pizza doesn't taste good

Hello All. I’m feeling better this evening, but still have a sore throat. When I have a sore throat or am just plain sick, nothing seems to taste as good as it usually does. Take dinner, for instance. My husband and I went out to our local Italian bistro and ordered a full pizza.

8.15 dinner2

My 1/3 of the pie (and I mean third, because my husband felt that I would not eat a 1/2 all by myself) included pepperoni, spinach, red peppers, and goat cheese. I’ve written about this pizza before and how much I love it. Well, tonight, it was just ok. In fact, when I think about it now as I type, I will likely not order that pizza for quite a while. It could be because I’m sick – and when you’re sick, even you’re favorite pizza doesn’t taste good. Or it just be that I need to try something different. Could be a bit of both.

After pizza, we tried to walk around for a bit, but I just wasn’t in the mood for mindless wandering. I really wanted to just sit down, or lay down, and relax.We headed home and a little while later, I decided to see how my taste buds would react to a little dessert…

8.15 dessert

Thankfully, my taste buds did not protest at these two little butter cream cookies with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. My in-laws brought these over today, along with the coffee cake. These cookies were seriously like butter – the cookie part just melted in my mouth. 

Now, I’m going to finish a few things on the computer and head to bed – 9:30 PM seems sooo early to go to bed on a Saturday night. Because I was sick yesterday and today, I really didn’t get a whole lot of work done – except for a little laundry. So tomorrow is a work day, or at least a partial work day. I’ve blocked out about three hours for me to review a bunch of work-related things in order to get a jump-start on this week.

Have a great night everyone.