Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekday Buys: Target

I haven't shopped at Target in a while, but the other day I ran in to quickly buy some office supplies.  I then took a detour towards the clothing section and got stuck there for an hour and left with a few things.  It happens.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I’ve got cramps

And not the lady kind. I have been getting terrible cramps in my arches for a while. It’s happened a couple of times in yoga, and when I’m painting my toes. When I ran Austin I felt a sharp pain in my arch towards the end of the race, but it wasn’t a full on cramp. Now that I think about it I’ve had my outer toes cramp up when I’ve been doing a body pump class. Hmm…

Well last night while I was sleeping I had the worst cramp in my arch. I was almost in tears as I hobbled around trying to get the muscle to loosen up. My foot still hurts today (did I pull a muscle?).

Have you ever had cramps in your arches? Any suggestions? I’m wondering if rolling my foot on a tennis ball would help. I added banana to my oatmeal this morning, but I’m thinking that’s not going to help. Any advice would be much appreciated!

Also, highlight of my day:

(As I’m putting my black coat on at the end of the day)
6th grade boy #1: You look like you’re about to get into a limo, Miss.
6th grade boy #2: Yeah, you look very LA.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Updated Race Calendar

Two more races have officially been registered for!  I'll be heading up to Waco in March to run The Bearathon.  I cannot believe it.  I know it's going to be tough, but I'm excited nonetheless.  Plus, I get to see old friends and roommates, and reunions are always fun.  AND I get to get a cupcake from What About Cupcakes, yum!  Just have a box of those waiting for me at the finish line and I will definitely finish that race!

I also came across the Earth Day Houston 5K in April.  Hello, I love Earth!  And an organic tee to boot?  Loves it. 

If you're in the Houston area you should sign up!  The registration fee is $20, and there will be an earth-lovin' party after at Discovery Green.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weekend Buys

Why do weekends go by so quickly?  I think 4 day work weeks need to be standard.  You're forced to be more productive in that short amount of time and then get plenty of time to recoup.  Vote for me for president!

Shopping was kept to a minimum and I only ventured into my two secret stores (My friend S and I came up with secret stores when we would compliment the other's clothes and then ask where it came from.  We both confessed that on top of the regular stores everyone hits up, we had *secret stores* that are not so much on the radar but that are part of our shopping trail.)

Secret store #1: Kohl's
Apt. 9 Button Down Blouse

AB Studio Top


Secret Store #2: JC Penny
St. John's Tee

a.n.a Metallic Striped Tee

I'm very glad I tried on the flower blouse.  It's not a material I usually choose and it's shirred on the sides, but when I tried it on it fit great!  I plan on wearing it this week with slacks to work, and this weekend with black skinny jeans and my patent leather wedges. 

I also need to say I love my secret stores because they both carry items in petite.  Three out of four tops are petite, which makes me even more satisfied with my purchases because I know they fit well.

I've also realized my jewelry options for work have been limited to earrings since I have to wear an ID around my neck.  Long necklaces get tangled up with the lanyard and short necklaces look awkward.  I've been doing a good job with the earrings, but my bracelet and ring options are minimal.  I'll be keeping an eye out from now on though.

Fun rings

I couldn't resist this owl ring with blinged out eyes. 
$9 from Aldo Accessories, available in sliver or gold.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

{Veggie} Pot Pie Casserole

While browsing through the December/January Rachel Ray mag I came across chicken pot pie caserole and thought that sounded delish.  The recipe used rotisserie chicken, and that is right up my alley since it’s already cooked and cheap! I also liked the idea of topping the pie with sliced bread instead of dough or biscuit mix, and thought this recipe would be a great way to use up bread that has been sitting in my fridge for a while.

However, when I got to the store I saw a lovely butternut squash and thought a veggie pot pie sounded better :)

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (+1)
• 1 large carrot, peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (used baby carrots and chopped them)
• Salt and pepper (+ marjoram & thyme)
• One 8-ounce container sliced mushrooms (+4 oz)
• 2 tablespoons flour (+1)
• 3/4 cup heavy cream (substituted 1 c. of veggie stock)
• 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, meat torn into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups) (substituted 1 butternut squash and 3 baby zucchinis)
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for sprinkling
• 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling (omitted, but that sounds good!)
• Six to eight 1/2-inch-thick slices Italian bread (40 cal sliced bread)

(For the original directions follow the link, I’m going to tell you what I did)

1. In a large pan, sauté onion, carrots and celery in EVOO on medium-high heat.
2. Add chopped squash and mushrooms, and sprinkle flour and spices on top. Mix well. Pour veggie stock in; reduce to medium heat and cover for 15 minutes)
3. If mixture is too dry, add stock. If too wet, uncover and lower heat until some liquid is evaporated.
4. Toast bread and serve on the side as pictured, or cut into crouton-sized pieces and sprinkle on top.

Um, this is good! I’m not sure why Rachel Ray didn’t add any other spices, but it definitely needs some. I think the thyme was a good choice, but I’m going research what other spices usually go into a pot pie and add them next time.


Last week I enetered a contest over at Steve in a Speedo?! Gross! for a Road ID.  I rarely enter giveaways but thought that leaving a comment for 1 entry was feesible.  What's that lotto saying? You gotta play to win? (sidenote: I'm sure it's "You have to play to win," but being from Texas I think "gotta" is more authentic) 

You could do a few more things to get extra entries, but the comment thing was easy and one entry was enough for me.  This morning I noticed he announced the winners.  As I scrolled through the blog I saw that he gave a few readers extra entries for leaving a good comment.  What a shock to see that I was one of the four he gave an extra entry to!

Yes, Steve is funny and I do enjoy his blog, but when he mentions his wife I always read a bit more carefully.  She is super sporty too.   He recently had a post dedicated to his wife Pharmie's love of the Enell sports bra, which is what prompted me to go out there and find a new one of my own.  That post is hilarious and will give you a great glimpse of Steve's sense of humor and excellent writing, so check it out! (omg, my other favorite is when Steve got glitter stuck in his peesh.  I died.  I'm laughing again just thinking about it)

Anyway, I didn't win.  But the shout out was a prize in itself.  I thought about ordering my own Road ID, but felt like I could better spend that $20 on something clothes, or going to watch Valentine's Day.

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Race Pics - ATX Half

A sparkly start!

I'm on the far right!

I love running.  I love lamp.

Checking the Garmin, and by that I mean my $9.99 Wal-Mart sportswatch.  Hollaback, it gets the job done!

What What!  I'm done!

Tropical Oats

This week I’m back to eating my oatmeal. I’m sorry, egg whites and toast just don’t compare.

Oats, water, 1 tbsp PB, dried berries, unsweetened coconut

So good!

Curry up!

For this week’s bird food (I call it bird food because I have to peck, peck, peck at it all week long), I made the Vegetable Curry recipe that was featured in the February issue of Fitness Magazine. It says it serves 6, but I’ve already had it 3 times and have tons more to go. I make an easy curry recipe of chickpeas and canned carrots, potatoes, and peas, but I have to say that the fresh potato and sweet potato really make this curry delish.  And the cayenne! Ay yi yi!  I like when things are so spicy they make my lips big, so clearly I used a little bit more.

The only thing I added to the recipe was a bit of cinnamon, but I should have added a few cloves of garlic. I like my curry extra smelly!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion, halved and cut into thin wedges
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups cauliflower florets
1 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup loose-pack frozen peas
4 1/2 cups cooked couscous or brown rice

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, cumin, garam masala powder, and cayenne pepper. Stir well and cook for one minute.

2. Stir in the cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broth, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the peas; heat through. Serve over couscous or brown rice.

Cals: 284
Fat: 3
Carbs: 55
Fiber: 7
Protein: 9

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ready for another half?

I wasn't lying when I said I am addicted to the half.  I may have been crazy and angry on those Austin hills, but you know that night I was already planning on going for it again.

And then I remembered the Bearathon.

The Bearathon is a half marathon put on by my alma mater, Baylor University.  It's nicknamed the Toughest Half in Texas because a good bit of it takes place in super hilly Cameron Park.  Cameron Park has great trails, and moutain bikers love to come and test it out because it's so challenging.

And I'm thinking about running through it?  Yes.

It's on March 20, so I'll have about 30 days to train.  This is about the same amount of time between the Houston and Austin half.  I'll for sure have to do bridge runs, at least three, if I decide to do it.

I have until the 26th of Feb to decide...

I really want to find a race for March!  omg, I have a feeling I'm doing this race.  This is both exciting and scary...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Race Recap: Austin Half Marathon

I got a late start Saturday morning, or maybe I was just moving slow, but I took my time getting ready and packing. I had to make a stop at Kohl’s to pick a blanket (more on that later) and also Academy to pick up some GU and a new pullover. I decided that I would wear a half-zip pullover and my tights, but wanted to find a pink one since it would be Valentine’s Day :) I found one for $14.88 by the BCG brand. I actually loved it and am going to pick up another one.

I met my friends at the Expo. I was surprised how small the venue was and how few vendors were there. I made a bee-line for the marathon merch to find a shirt, and was sad to see most things had been picked over. This race gave you a backpack instead of a cotton tee, and while it’s pretty cool, I really wanted a shirt and was willing to buy it. I’m going to look for them online.

We arrived at our hotel/apartment, Hotel Allandale. This was one of the race hotels and the marathon actually ran right past it (PS: The hotel is far up north, off Mopac and Spicewood--insane they ran that far!)  The hotel is actually an apartment complex that has been converted to extended stay motels? I wasn't expecting that.  It was decent, but judging from the website I was a little hesitant about sleeping on the bed. Hence, bringing my own blanket and pillow. You can never be too careful.

We tried to go eat dinner downtown, but being a Saturday night and Valentine’s weekend we knew we wouldn’t get a table anywhere. We ended up at Olive Garden and waited way too long. Oh well. The guys loaded up on carbs.

I really wanted to visit friends in town but was so exhausted by 8:30. I went back and painted my nails and then fell fast asleep in my clean fleece blanket.

4:45 a.m. came pretty early. I do not sleep well before big events. I woke up multiple times throughout the night just ready for it to be 4:30. We all got up and ate breakfast (English muffin with PB and banana, and a little water) and got ready. Our hotel provided a shuttle (super nice!) and we were on the road by 5:30 a.m. I was really nervous about it being crazy cold, but it was bearable. I wore gloves that I bought at Wal-Mart last night—little boy Spiderman set, clearance for $3.

Sparkly fireworks went off when the race started—so fun! It took about 4 minutes for me to reach the start line and take off. Now, Austin is known for its hills, and I have done zero hill training (or serious training in general for that matter) so I was worried. The first 3.5 miles had lots of molehills. Not the way to start off a race. There were also very little spectators during that stretch. Miles 4-8 were relatively flat and by then I was feeling good. Miles 8-9 started getting hilly again, and then came Enfield. Omg.

Basically you’re already running up a gradual incline and you see everyone ahead of you make a sharp turn right and head straight up. Enfield had lots of hills. Some of the down hills were great and fast, but it didn’t make up for having to climb back up. At mile 10 I felt like I was doing good. Energy wise and physically I felt 10 million times better than I did in Houston. I think mentally I let those hills discourage me. I had 45ish minutes to run the rest of the race and beat my time. I had heard that the last section of the course was downhill. Lies. When I got to mile 12 a HUGE climb greeted me.

Maybe I turned and told a 50+ year old lady, “This is effing ridiculous,” to which she replied sweetly, “I know, would you like some energy?” She offered me some GU. I told her no and kept going. Why did I say this to stranger? I was crazy. I’m so glad she was so nice.

I made it to the top where the Capitol Building sits. From there you just run around the building and you’re done. I was so happy.

I hit the line and took about 4 steps and came to a dead halt. There were tons of people just backed up. I was no longer happy. My legs immediately started cramping. There was no way of getting out of the line because the Full Marathon finish line was to the left and chain metal fence was on the right. Apparently they thought it would be a good idea to immediately hand out finishers shirt at the finish line and also give you your snacks. It was awful! I heard someone behind say that the line had backed up behind the finish line. Can you imagine running all that way only to have to wait to cross the finish line? Just a little ridiculous.

My overall feelings about this race are mixed. Everyone I met at the Houston Marathon told me Houston’s was the best, even better than most Rock’n’Roll marathons, and I have to agree now. Houston spoiled me.

Pros about Austin Marathon
Cool logo/merchandise
Neat backpack
Run Austin tattoo? Yes please
Fast course if you have trained for hills
Cool medals!
Hills—it's good to be challenged!

Cons about Austin Marathon:
Crowd support was weak in most stretches
Expo was mediocre
Not enough merchandise
No cotton tee
Poor logistics at finish line/celebration after
Hills—my knees are going to fall off tomorrow

I improved my time by 2 mins, and was really hoping for more, but I'll take it. a PR is a PR.  I know that if I ran up more of those hills I could have shaved some more time off, but it just wasn't happening. I'm going to be making a few dates with the Kemah bridge soon.

I won’t lie, I think I’m addicted to the Half. I really have no desire to run a full at this point in my life, but half marathons are becoming addicting. I was almost tempted to sign up for another next month. I’m going to pass. I’m thinking of finding a 10K or 5K.
Race goodies & necessities

Before the race.  You can see the Capitol in the background.  We were running the half, half, and full!

Sitting with my bling on an Austin curbside.  Not the first time...haha

Celebrating with Kev (middle). He finished the full in under 3 hours!!! A sub 7 min mile pace, and his first marathon!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

hearts & runnings shoes

I heard yesterday that Starbucks had cute Valentine's cups, so clearly I had to spend $4 to have one!  I also treated myself to a reduced-fat cinnamon swirl coffee cake.

Totally worth it!  It made my day!

During my break I saw a huge moving truck back up towards the school.  I was interested in seeing what was being brought in, and was thrilled to see the entire truck filled with heart balloons!  These were Valentine grams that were being delivered later that day.  So fun!

I love Valentine's.  I wore my heart earrings and pink and black.  I gave out cards to the teachers and even got a few gifts too.  I even got a balloon from one of my super sweet kiddos!  So kind!

After work I met up with some friends and Texas Land & Cattle to eat some beef.  Not.  I thought about it, but I went with grilled shrimp and mashed potatoes instead!  I haven't had potatoes in forever, and again, I treated myself.

I loved me yesterday apparently :)

This morning it's time to pack for Austin and the race.  I'm bringing a couple of options for tomorrow morning, and am excited to check out the expo today.  I need to buy some more Gu (I liked the berry, and am scared to try the vanilla or chocolate), look for a new running pullover, and buy a charger for my Shuffle since I broke the last one.  Then  I'm ATX bound!  Me, the road, This American Life, and some coffee!

Ausitn folks running, we need to somehow meet up!  I would love it.

Good luck to everyone running tomorrow and Hapy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Impulse Purchases

I've been running in and out of stores this week and have made random purchases along the way.  We're doing secret pals at work this week, so on Monday I stopped by HEB to pick up a snacky gift.  I spotted the new OPI Alice in Wonderland campaign and had to grab a polish.

"Thanks So Muchness"
This polish actually reminds of Dorothy's red slippers.  It looks great with a clear top coat on it.  I'm looking for "Mad As a Hatter," a confetti glitter polish.

Then one morning I stopped at Wal-Mart to grab my pal some cute Post-Its (who doesn't love fun office supplies?) and remembered I've been out of brown and black eyeliner for weeks now.  I grabbed CoverGirl Outlast liners.*

Today I stopped by Bath and Body Works to pick up a gift card.  I never really go in there, but during Christmas I stepped in and liked two scents. I checked them out again but was still torn and didn't want to spend money on something I wasn't excited about.  BUT THEN!  As I was paying for the gift card I saw a 50% off rack.  Not only was the fragrance I was interested featured on it, but it was in a small roll-on applicator and for $3.50!  SOLD!  One Fragrant Waters Roll-On in Black Amethyst for me!

*This morning I was putting on my eyeliner at school and a teacher came in to talk to me.  I had only lined one eye and she was having a semi-serious conversation with me.  Clearly I was stressed out and not really listening to her.  I felt like the guy on Clockwork Orange.

Cheap Greek Yogurt?

While I was at the grocery store I spotted Yoplait's new Greek style yogurt for $1. I grabbed one of each of the flavors: blueberry, strawberry, plain, and honey vanilla. 

I tried the blueberry yogurt and it's really good.  Not at all overly sweet tasting like most fat free yogurts.  While $1 a yogurt is still sort of pricey (Rachel's yogurts are $.79), Yoplait is still cheaper than other brands.  It's not organic though...

          Honey Vanilla         
            Strawberry             Plain
Cals:          130                   100
Fat:               0                       0
Carbs:         19                     10
Sugar:         18                       9
Protein:       12                     14

Google search: white bean kale soup

And one of the recipes that will pop up will come from Whole Foods.  It's cold and rainy, and I've eaten too much Valentine's chocolate already, so I needed a veggie soup tonight.  I found this recipe via the blackberry on my way home and stopped by the store to pick up the ingredients

Chop 1 c. onion

Saute in some EVOO for 3 minutes, then add 4 cloves of minced garlic

Add 1 can of Italian diced tomatoes, 32 oz of veggie stock, and a can of drained carrots

Add 4 c. chopped kale (I used one bunch of swiss chard) Cover and simmer until leaves are wilted and soft

Stir in 1 can of drained and rinsed Great Northerns and heat through.  Serve with some grated parm.

Tasty, cheap, and easy!  This wasn't the white bean soup I was looking for, but it definitely did the job.  I bet it will taste even better tomorrow for lunch.  I wasn't a fan of the broth I grabbed or the sweetness of the tomatoes.  I'll probably use plain diced tomoates next time and my usual broth.  There was also no spices, salt, or pepper mentioned, and it definitely needed some s&p.  Still, it was good!

Serves 4

Cal: 230
Fat: 8*
Carbs: 32
Fiber: 7
Protein: 8

*The recipe calls for 2 tb of EVOO to cook the onions in, but I used a litt EVOO Pam Spray so my fat intake was probably less.  That's OK since I more than made up for it with that 5-15 mini peanut butter cups I had today.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Music

I received an iTunes gift card in my stocking and have been taking my sweet time using it up. I guess since I don’t spend much time at home in front of the computer or make long drives anymore I’ve neglected my iPod. These days I mostly listen to NPR during my commute.

I have purchased a few new tunes and thought I would share:

Say Hey (I Love You) by Michael Franti & Spearhead
Off of the Valentine’s Day Soundtrack. It’s really fun, listen to it!  Also, I'm not a fan of romantic comedies usually, but I do want to see this one!

Major Tom by Shiny Toy Guns
Currently featured on a car commercial I think? I thought it would be a addition to my running mix.

How He Loves by David Crowder Band
Such a sweet little song, and I love Dave’s rendition.

Need You Now by Lady Antebellum
I heard this during the Grammy’s.  Apparently they’re considered a crossover act? I had never heard the song before, but oh lawd I loved it! So true, so true.

Imma Be by Black Eyed Peas
This song is all about attitude and confidence. It may sound a bit slow, but I think it has a good steady beat for a steady pace. Going on the running list too.

Animal by Kesha
This is the only song I really like off of her album, and it’s a cute angsty love song.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Chick it out!

I registered for the Austin Statesman Capitol 10K a few weeks ago.  I mailed in my registration instead of doing it online because I was going to save $4 (I won't do that again).  I was getting worried since my check hadn't cleared and I hadn't received an email confirming my registration.  A few days ago my check cleared, but still no word from them.

Today I opened the mail box and saw a large envelope.  It was from the Statesman!  I ripped it open to find lots of unexpected goodies.

I registered for the race through the Run Like a Girl program, paying only $1 more than the regular registration fee.  Today I got a letter thanking me for signing up through the program, a couple of bumper stickers, a cute grocery list notepad, and my t-shirt!

"Chick" out the back of the shirt!

How fun!  I thought I was only getting the shirt, I didn't know about the extra goodies!  You can still register for the race.  Do it!!

PS: Apparently I'm also eligible to win a pair of "red hot" Stuart Weitzman pumps valued at $265?  Send me good vibes!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Let's get LOST tonight

I'm not sure if I've shared this, but I love LOST.  I've been watching since season one and am so excited/sad as this last season starts to unfold.  What will take it's place?

The in-house artsit at the church I attend created a series of portraits of the key characters.  They will be on display until Saturday, so go check them out if you're in Houston (and then go eat yummy Greek food at Niko Niko's)

Paintings by Scott Erickson

"What makes a saint? What happens when simple life actions are the ingredients for religious inspiration? Scott Erickson explores the characters of LOST, honoring their downfalls, broken pasts, and uncertain furtures through iconic representation of the popular television show."

On display 1/14 - 2/13

Location: Xnihilo Gallery | 2115 Taft | Houston, TX