Friday, December 30, 2011

First Day back Running

Hobby of the Day: Running and Gear

New Running Gear
So I haven't run in about two weeks.  Right up until Christmas break I was swamped with shopping, baking and wrapping, not to mention cleaning and packing.  Then, I got sick over Christmas break, which I am still currently fighting off.  I was mostly lethargic during break and slept a whole lot. Thankfully  I did not eat too much and therefore, NO WEIGHT GAIN! Score one for me....haha.  That doesn't mean that I still don't have lbs to lose.  I gots to get ready for Spring Break 2012.

Today I  busted out a lot of new running gear. Thankfully this new hobby of mine enables loved ones to buy me unlimited amounts of running gear.  Gary and I only ran 4 miles and that was a mess for me.  I am still struggling with breathing (thanks cold) and therefore have difficulty swallowing since I keep sniffing.  I wore my new Brooks Ghost 3 shoes, my feet need to get used to wearing nice new shoes. Hopefully I can break them in after a week or so.  The only real setback for me running was that my feet really fell asleep. They usually fall asleep around 3-4 miles but always wake back up, but today, maybe because of the new shoes they fell asleep hardcore, to the point where I couldn't even feel that I was running on feet and my ankles also fell asleep too.  We'll see, the last race I did I don't think my feet even fell asleep, but I had also been running a lot more frequently and also in shoes my feet were familiar with. 

My brother-in-law got me some new running tights from Under Armour, the coldgear frosty compression tights.  I have had trouble with running tights in the past.  I feel like they are constantly falling down, or that that they are sagging so to speak.  These tights got good reviews, I always read reviews, just to give me some insight.  I wore those today.  They were nice and tight around the ankles, so no ridding up.  Unfortunately I am short so these tights fit well but could have been a little shorter for me, they did bag up a little around my thighs, but I kinda pulled them down.  These tights do not have a draw string, I always feel like drawstrings give me an extra sense of security, but they do have an elastic band and because the tights are so "tight"  they definitely do not ride down.  First day of wearing them: success.

I also wore my new running shirt from Northface, women's impulse 1/4 zip, courtesy of my good friend Jenna.  It fits well and it has thumb holes which I love.  Thumb holes were such a great invention!  I love the color of this shirt, I tend to lean a lot towards pink for some reason, so this teal color is great! It is a half zip and also has a pocket, score again.  I always need pockets for keys and chapstick. For some reason my running gets hindered if my lips are not moist. Weird huh? The only problem that I found with this shirt is that the sleeves are a little too long. Again I am short and I do think my arms are shorter than they should be, so while standing/resting the sleeves are way long, but while running it seems to be ok because I like to have my hands covered. The only thing is I also feel like I hold on to the shirt more too thus clenching my fists. 

I did not however wear the new gloves my mother got for me Nike Women's Lightweight Run Glove.  It's cute, my mother is not an athletic person, nor does she follow sports, but she wanted to be supportive of my hobby, so she bought me these super cute gloves.  I wanted these earlier this fall they have a key pocket on the palm, perfect for me.  Way to go mom!  Love her!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


When I used to run back in middle/high school shoe brand didn't really matter all that much to me.  I wasn't a super serious runner and I never had a lot of money to by extras.  I usually went to Kohls, which was of course the best place to buy running sneakers.  My checklist were usually, not expensive, comfortable and "cute" (i.e. nice colors).  I typically would keep the same sneakers for about 2 years or so.  Since I have become more "serious" about running I have tried to be better about buying good running shoes. 

Nike Turbo 8- My Shocks
Prior to last year, I had only gone once to a legit running store, but not to purchase sneakers I purchased running spikes for sprinting.  I've also shopped at the Nike outlet for sneakers.  The last pair of Nike Sneakers I bought were,  the shoes above.  I bought them because I love pink and I liked the design, I just assumed that they would be fine for running and they were.  However, I've now had these Nikes for a little over two years now and they've definitely seen better days.  Shoes are just so dang expensive!  
Last year Gary and I went to the Georgetown Running Company and they had me run on the treadmill to see how I planted my feet.  They recommended that I get shoes with more support, surprisingly my husband who has plantar fasciitis needed a more neutral shoe.  Sadly, I purchased these Pumas.  After using them at the gym a few times I realized they really hurt my feet. They gave me support all right, too much in the heel area and not enough at the ball of my foot, so it felt like I was pounding the daylight out of them.  Similar to wearing heals with no platform in the front.  Sad to say I've only worn these shoes 4 times.  As you can see there is some dust/hair gathered at the toe.  Ooops :-)

This year I discussed running shoes with many of my running friends.  They recommended Brooks, Mizuno and Asics.   I purchased these Brooks ghost 3, not the newest of the ghost series.  I still have yet to run out on the roads in these, but I did try them out on my mother-in-law's treadmill and have been wearing them around my house.  Tomorrow I will break them out for the first time. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Unlike my husband who can blog almost every day, I struggle.  It isn't that I don't have things to say, because I am quite a fascinating person:-)  It's just that I lack time.  With the whole Holiday season upon us I was baking and cooking almost every night, as well as doing last minute Christmas shopping and wrapping of gifts, mine and wrapping Gary's to give as well.

For some reason without fail before every vacation I get sick, Thanksgiving, I was sick and now Christmas and I am sick.  It could be because I assume that I will have tons of time to sleep in, so therefore I can now stay up late and let my health slip.  Apparently being around kids most of my days has caused my immune system to go wacky.  I don't usually pick up my kids illnesses, but before a break, you better believe I will come down with a cold of sorts.  With traveling, visiting friends and family and being sick I just haven't had a lot of time to blog.

I am a huge fan of traditions, well certain traditions, ok mostly traditions started by myself.  Every Christmas for the last 7 years or so one of my best friends, my husband and myself get together to exchange gifts and eat at Olive Garden.  Who doesn't like unlimited soup, salad and bread sticks?  We meet, engorge ourselves and unwrap gifts, some slightly more humorous than others.   Meg (my bestie) and Gary have a fun relationship.  They've known each other for 11 years, since our freshman year of college and I've known Meg since 3rd grade (you can do the math).  Gary and Meg are more like brother and sister, which is great, because who doesn't want their best friend and husband to get along so well?  This year, however, with traveling up to NJ before Christmas we couldn't stop at Olive Garden, much to my dismay, instead we went to The Cheesecake Factory.  Now, one cannot  complain about this place, I mean who doesn't love yummy food and of course, Cheesecake?! 

The hustle and bustle of Times Square

Someday I will stay here at The Plaza....someday.....

This is close to being as good as Italian Pizza
Another tradition that I love is one that Gary and I started our sophomore year of college: we go to NYC every Christmas.  There is nothing better than going to NYC at Christmas time, yes the cold can be pretty harsh and the crowds unruly, but truly, I LOVE IT!  In the past we used to go up a few weeks before Christmas and actually try and do our Christmas shopping there, that was a little much.  Now we go in and just walk around.  We usually go to Macy's, Times Square, 5th Ave (of course, I drool a little), Central Park, Saks and the tree at Rockefeller Center.  We always get nuts from those little Nuts 4 U stands, roasted almonds and as we are leaving the city I always get roasted chestnuts.  Some other favorites are Carnegie Deli- Nom Nom! and Grimaldis down under the Manhattan Bridge (DUMBO). If you are looking for good, sorry no Great NY style pizza than go there. It's a walk, but you get to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and there are some great views from there. 

We've also bought a Christmas ornament in NY every year, usually we buy one from Saks, it's pretty much the only thing we can afford there, but then at least we get the snazzy snowflake bag.  We have also started going over to Bergdorf Goodman to buy ornaments, let's just say some day we will have a very expensively decorated Christmas tree.  However, until we get a bigger place the ornaments will just have to stay neatly packed away in their beautiful boxes.

I also want to make it tradition now to read the Christmas story together Christmas Eve, if we go to Christmas Eve service than I want to make sure as a family we read it together on Christmas day.  It is after all the whole reason for Christmas, not just the red and the green and the giving and receiving.  My first year teaching one of my students said "the best gift that we get at  Christmas is that Jesus came." Couldn't have said it better myself kid....brought a tear to my eye and joy to my heart.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Hobby of the day: Running

I have never been much of a long distance runner.  When I was in middle and high school I did run track and play field hockey, but I tried as much as possible to stay away from distance runs.  I chose to be a sprinter, it kind of chose me too I suppose.  Running the mile for the President's award was a necessary evil..... Treadmill running was also of no enjoyment. I was more of a elliptical kinda girl. 

I never enjoyed running at home either.  About 2 years ago I looked up some easy 5k races, the one in particular was The Race for Hope, the fight against brain cancer.  This was a race that really hit home, since my father passed away from one.  I signed my husband and I up for the race and began to "train." I use the term loosely because I didn't really do it very well.  My husband can run for miles on the treadmill, but doesn't really interest me.  Unfortunately the day of the race was very hot and humid, but I did finish and Gary stayed with me the whole time which was really nice.  

I  have also had trouble with my feet falling asleep, they typically fall asleep at around 2.5 miles, but since I have been doing more and more running they fall asleep later and then they eventually come around again, thankfully!  

Since my first 5K I have run one other 5k, a 10k, 10 miles and an 8k.  My next "big" run that I am currently training for is a half marathon.  Just typing it gives me shivers.  But, I figure, I've done 10, what's 3.1 more miles?!  I will also be slapping that 13.1 sticker on my car too! People have asked if I would do a full marathon. I just don't really have a desire too.  My before 30 goal was to run a half so I have about 2 months to get ready for it, but that shouldn't be too hard.  It's the Rock N' Roll half after all in my hometown. 

I love living in the city and I love city running, especially in the Nation's Capital, always something to see and always people out and about.  The only thing is, it's winter now.  So Gary and I only get to run in the dark, which isn't too bad, but it's also cold. It's hard to come home after work, then wait until Gary gets home and then go for a 1-2 hour run.  Thankfully Christmas break is coming up, so hopefully we will get some daylight running done.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tortilla Espanola!

Hobby of the day: Cooking

About 8 years ago I had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain.  I was junior in college and was majoring in Elementary Education, but decided to choose a minor in Spanish.  I thought it might be beneficial in this day and age.  Unfortunately I was not very prepared.  It was a near disaster. I was homesick the majority of the time and had culture shock like wow.  I think the idea of studying abroad is great, but I went knowing no one and my Spanish was no where near where it should have been. All the friends that I met there only had to get a passing grade, my school unfortunately took my grades.  That was just another pressure on me.  I stayed with an elderly Spanish lady in Barcelona.  She spoke Spanish and Catalan, the primary language of Barcelona, but no English.  We did not get along very well. 

However, this is not all about my Spain disaster.  This is about the food, of course! 

I found many dishes that I LOVED! Several of them my senora made much to my delight.  She made this amazing arroz al cubano, which I have yet to perfect.  The other favorite that she made was tortilla espanola.  Since Gary works 3 nights of the week I have 3 nights to play with dinner wise.


1/4 cup Onion
1 potato
5 eggs (or so)


Chop up the onions and saute the onions with some oil until soft, put aside to cool. 
Chop up the potato and add to the pan with some oil, put heat on low cook until potatoes are soft.  I typically also add some salt to give the potatoes some more flavor.
Crack the eggs into a dish and beat, add the cooled onions and eventually cooled potato (if you add hot potatoes the egg will start to cook)
Add the combined mixture to a smaller frying pan and heat on low, so that the mixture will cook through.
Cook for about 20 min on one side covered.  When the egg doesn't seem runny in the middle flip it over to the other side either using a plate, or spatula.
Cook for about another 10 min.

Serve with bread.


Voila! Finished Product!

The highlights of my Barcelona disaster were by far the food and of course cafe con leche. The best! 

Yes, I did enjoy the Gaudi and Dali, but food seems to be one of my great passions and probably a downfall too.  Thankfully while I looove to bake, I don't actually eat much of my goodies, but at least my husband is one of my biggest fans!   

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Cookie Exchange

Hobby of the day: Baking

Every year the book club that I am in has a Christmas party at the host of the month's house.  The Christmas party fell on my month. Score!  I didn't have to pick any books since we all bring a wrapped book to exchange and or steal.  This year I also included a cookie exchange.  As we know, baking is a huge hobby of mine.

A cookie exchange is where everyone brings their favorite cookie, several dozen and then we all get to choose from the variety an deliciousness and walk a bunch of new cookies. Let's just say, we all know why we make New Year's Resolutions. Christmas is not a very forgiving holiday.

I made white chocolate chocolate cookies:


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar ( I used half white and half brown sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or just until set. Cool slightly on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

A friend made amazingly delicious thumb print cookies!!! I could eat them for breakfast, oh wait, I  did. :-)  Easy Recipe

Thumb Print Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 - 1.5 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose sifted flour
Jam of your choice
2 cups (or more chopped walnuts)


1. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in extract.

2. Sift Flour. Gradually add flour until dough forms a ball.

3. Cover and freeze for 30 minutes. Remove from freezer and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. Roll into 1-in. balls. Roll in walnut mixture. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Make an indentation in the center wtih your thumb. Dont flatten them at all as the jam will leak out. Fill with jam.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal
Chocolate Chip

Peanut Butter Cookies with Hershey Kiss

Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Fudge

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jingle All the Way 8k

Last weekend my husbands and friends ran the Surfin Santa 10 miler down in Virginia Beach.  

This weekend I decided, "Why not try and also do the Jingle All the Way 8k in DC." I told Gary that he didn't have to run with me and tried to convince my other friend to run with me.  I have apparently become addicted to runs.  I have been told not to call them races since I will most likely never win, nor am I really competing for a prize. Those people are insane.  They run in 34 degree weather in tiny shorts and tank tops, maybe even sports bras.  I don't do that even in just hot weather. These are also the people who run 15 min 5ks and 24 min for their 8k. Wow! I don't even pretend to know what that's like. 

Cute Shirts!
I didn't sign up online so I had to go the pick up area and sign up.  I flew out of school at 2:00 hoping that I would make it to there before 3:00.  I got there and signed up.....then some nice lady was offering 10$ gift cards for some Mexican Restaurant if we just called a friend and asked them to run.  I said, "sure, why not?"  So I called up my friend and asked her if she changed her mind on the race, she said, "Yes."  So I signed her up. Win Win!

The race was at 9:00 am.  Apparently I miss timed it. We got to Union Station to metro to the starting line and found out that the trains were sharing tracks and of course running late.  So, I suggested taking a taxi which we NEVER do.  No DC taxis take credit cards apparently, so we had to get cash. Roads were closed so it took us a little while to get there.  I was nervous, but I also know that we wouldn't be starting in the front so it just matters that we cross the start to start the timing. The race did not start on time.  

Made these for our hair
There were however so very cute costumes.  I saw a bunch of penguins, of course your typical Santa and reindeer.  I saw some very cute toy soldiers too.  I was not dressed up for the 10 miler.  I got myself and Jenna hair ribbons and super cute fake fur socks, red with white polka dots.  Lots of people were wearing the super cute Christmas socks from Target (pronounced tar jay)  Shout out to Target!

Jenna and I think run at about the same pace. Gary, my husband runs much faster and we usually don't run together at all.  It was an interesting course. A lot of lops and whatnot.  The water station wasn't very well manned and a little chaotic. I don't think that they had enough volunteers.  The water was literally being poured into some people's cups.  

My New Running Buddy!
As we running down Pennsylvania Ave towards the finish, which I could see they directed us down another road only to loop back up. Good thing I hadn't started sprinting to the finish.  When we finally did see the finish I did sprint to the end. Thankfully Gary was kind enough to grace us, so early and cold in the morning, with his presence.  He took some pictures for us. Thanks Love

We finished the 8K at about 53 min which is about a 10 min pace.  

Next Race: Rock n Roll half DC in March. Let the preparation begin!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Movie Favorites

Well, tis the Season....
ABC Family is celebrating the 25 days of Christmas. Some of their choices of Christmas movies are a little perplexing.  I don't quite understand the how Harry Potter emulates Christmas. 

Here are some of my must watch at Christmas (in no particular order)

The Polar Express ( Who doesn't wish that the Polar Express would pull up to their house in the middle of the night. Hot Chocolate served by singing and dancing servers, Yes Please! I have the movie and the soundtrack. This was a great movie to see in 3D IMAX!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (You're a mean one! Cindy Lou Who, adorable...where are you Christmas?!) I mean, Jim Carrey as the Grinch, classic.

Little Women (Yes, it's Christmasy, at least it is to me. It's one of my mother and my favorites.     I love Jo and Laurey and wish that they had gotten together. I prefer the little women when they were younger, not when they grew up and realized what life was really like.)

The Holiday (I'm not sure if you call it a true Christmas movie, but it does take place of the Christmas season, I just love Cameron and Jude.  I would really love to houseswap with someone, but fear who might take up living in my residence, it's truly a real thing)

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Don't you want a family like that?  A crazy Uncle and a boss that gives away your Christmas bonus.  Nothing like a classic Christmas comedy.)

Elf (Yes! Will Ferrell in tights! "Buddy Elf what's your favorite color?" The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing aloud so all can hear.  )

Home Alone 1 and 2 (I'm sure we've all wished that our parents would leave us behind while the rest of our crazy and insane family went on vacation.  I'm pretty sure that I would have been a lot more worried that Kevin was when he realized his family was gone, but then I don't live in a huge family.  He's a pretty good decorator and such a booby trap genius....someday I will stay at The Plaza when I've made my millions lol. P.S. did you know that the Home Alone House for sale ?

Miracle on 34th Street-old and new  (Just believe.....What a great story. Do you believe in Santa?  If I made a wish, could I get a new house too?  If only... 

White Christmas (Nothing like a classic music filled holiday movie.  Oh Bing. I love the dancing too. Man those girls have itty bitty waists....if only, guess I need to run more and bake less....)

It's a Wonderful Life (Have you ever wondered what life would be like without you?  Not trying to be morbid, but I've wondered if people would miss me, did I touch any lives?  Would things be different? It's hard to remember what we have during hardships. Be thankful every day, I tell my students that everyday. It's the little things that count.....and big too:-))

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Second attempt at a blog

Once upon a time (no not the beginning of a fairy tale) I started a blog. I encouraged my husband to also start a blog, needless to say he blogs quite frequently, while my other blog, well, died. It was created originally to be a outlet for my teacher creativity.

So, I will try this again. Writing is not a huge hobby of mine, though I used to journal quite a bit in college, old school with pen and journal.

The goal of this blog is to document my "hobbies," baking, cooking, painting and running.

The hobby tonight: Cooking
Tonight's dinner: Zuppa Toscana (very much like the Olive Garden special)



  • 12 links spicy pork sausage, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chicken soup base
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 potatoes, halved and sliced
  • 2 cups sliced kale
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Place sausage links on a baking sheet and bake 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Slice into 1/2 inch slices (I like them chopped up a little more).
  3. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent; add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  4. Stir in broth, water and potatoes; simmer 20 min or until potatoes are soft.
  5. Reduce heat to low and add sausage, kale and cream; simmer until heated through and serve --I tend to like my kale soften than crunchier so I let it simmer for about 4 minutes.

If you want to thicken it, add a little more creamer, or add some corn starch.

I also mashed up some of the potatoes to give the soup a little more texture and added some hot pepper flakes for a little more heat

Add grated parmesan cheese

Serve and Enjoy!
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