Jello Arms

I LOVE the Starbucks holiday cookies and this one comes on a stick! Isn't he cute??

Hello friends! I woke up this morning with some angry achilles tendons. Normally, I don’t run consecutive days in a row, and this week, I ran 3 in a row, and didn’t ice as much as I should have. I woke up wanting to run so that I could avoid strength training (which used to be my fav, but now I would rather do just about anything else…except row!), but as I hobbled out of bed, I knew that I needed to do something else. Okay tendons, I get it. I will not run 3 days in a row anymore, now can you chill the heck out please and not f up my program? That’d be great, thanks.

I know some people can run way more often than me and be fine. I also know that I will take myself out of commission if I don’t do what is best for my body, so I am listening. So after an hour of sitting around lazily, I finally made it over to the gym for an upper body strength training session which I will now attempt to actually put into words. Don’t judge my lack of terminology, or my wimpy arms. I’m hoping posting the weight amounts will motivate me to work a little harder and get strong again! 😉

Superset 1 (3 sets): Pushups (body weight) and incline chest press (30 lbs)

Superset 2 (3 sets): Skull crushers (20 lb bar) and bicep concentration curl (15 lb dumbell)

Circuit (3 sets): 3 point shoulder press (5 lbs dumbells), bicep curls (10 lb dumbells), and overhead tricep press (20 lb dumbell)

Lat pull (3 sets) @ 65 lbs

Reverse V up on exercise ball (3 sets)


By the time I left, my arms felt like jello. I am recommitting myself to AT LEAST 1 day of serious strength training per week. My body needs it. After my work out, I walked over to the Bux for my coffee

And then I got so excited when I saw this!!!

I LOVE the Starbucks holiday cookies and this one comes on a stick! Isn't he cute??

Well, I quickly changed my tune, because you know what is not cute? A 400 calorie cookie.

Sorry snowman, you are just not worth it.

As I sipped my coffee, I got to chat with Kara about our final weeks of training for PF Chang’s. Can you believe we are already mapping out the end of training??? I seriously can’t. But, I feel ready for it. I kind of wish I was doing the Vegas 1/2 on the strip this weekend. I think I could do it now if I had to, but deep down I am grateful for the extra time and ability to up my mileage a bit before the actual race. I know I will feel more comfortable knowing I’ve run 12 miles, than if I did it after 10. I need to go in with no doubts. And of course my original goal was just to finish, and now I have a time goal in my brain. Arg. It’s not a fast one by any means, but it’s there and I do NOT plan on sharing because I don’t want it to be my focus. I really do just want to finish my first big race.

Kara and I also had a chance to map out our work outs for the rest of the week and I am happy to say that my week is looking pretty legit.

Sunday: short run

Monday: speed run

Tuesday: strength training

Wednesday: run…we shall see how long and how fast it ends up–it’s Kara’s first run back from injury! Hooray!!

Thursday: spin

Fri: off

Sat: long run

I like having a plan. I like even more planning with someone else because it holds me accountable. Okay, I’m off to work. Have a great day friends!


It’s the Most Wonderful Time

This is our Chrismukah tree. I tried to suggest we put it out sooner and call it a Thanksgiving tree, but I was vetoed.

I’d been asking Steve if we could start decorating for the holidays since my epic day off on November 11th. He had been a big jerk kindly told me that we were not going to be “those people” and we had to wait until after Thanksgiving. Well you better believe the first thing we did Friday morning was get out the tree!

This is our Chrismukah tree. I tried to suggest we put it out sooner and call it a Thanksgiving tree, but I was vetoed.

Whoever decided trees were only for Christmas was a big dope. Didn't they know that Hanukkah is the festival of lights?! Look at those lights being festive!

Did you catch out menorah ornament? Mom? Dad??

Last year we bought some basic colorful (of course) ornaments and then a few personalized ones that we plan to add to each year. I pick one out every year that represents Steve and he gets to pick one that represents me. I bough the penguin one to represent *us* and Lisa got us the engagement one for Christmas. I think that one’s my favorite. Either that or my Lion King ornament that Bethy got me when we lived together. It was my very first ornament and our roomie Christmas was one of the best ever!

Of course we couldn't resist getting Winston and Clementine ornaments. Too bad they don't really look like them at all haha. Note the hippo--it represents my favorite Christmas song ever. "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas! Only a hippopotamus will doooo!"

We also put up some decorations around the house. Most of them are from Hobby Lobby and Target, two of my favorite stores on Earth!

Look, family, a menorah! And Steve's swear jar. He has a profanity problem. Who else thinks the proceeds should go to me?

It wasn’t until Sunday that we finally got to the outside decorations including one extra special decoration! Steve did most of the work while I played assistant and photographer. Winston was scared and hid inside and Clementine played spectator.

Just to warn you, I took a lot of pictures. It’s my first time getting to document the experience! :)

"Look at me! I'm cute and I hang the lights!" Somehow I feel like my interpretation of Steve thoughts must be wildly inaccurate. "Noooo, look at me! I'm cutER and I sniff things." That one seems about right ;)

"What is this fancy contraption? Can I eat it?"

"What about these? I can eat these, right???"

"Fine, I will just sit here starving to death because you never let me eat anything." In my head, Clementine is really good at the Jewish guilt.

I always feel like there is no right place for our wreath since we can't put it on the door. Does this look odd to anyone else?

Finally, it was time for the main event! You remember this guy don’t you??


Putting him together was…well…interesting.

"I don't need to read the instructions!" Ugh. Men.

Clementine was very confused by the flamingo.

"You don't look like a dog."

"You don't smell like a dog."

"Lower, dad, I can't see!!"

"You don't play with me like a dog,"

"What are you????"

The best decoration ever, Clementine. That is what I am.

"See, I stand on one foot."

"What were we talking about again? SQUIRREL!"

We still have some more lights and decorating to do, but we’re off to a great start and I am pretty much puking up holiday spirit. Did I mention that I love this time of year?

What are your holiday/decorating traditions?

Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich

Okay, so speedy for me is like an other person's power walk, but I was pretty happy with it ;)

Hello friends, I hope everyone had an amazing holiday weekend! I had three glorious, consecutive days off. It was fabulous.I did lots of baking, and spent time with some of my favorite people. I had two different running dates Saturday and Sunday. Saturday, I ran around my neighborhood with Carolyn before heading over to Nicole’s taffy pulling party (Nicole is the BEST hostess). Then yesterday I convinced my bestie to get on the running train with me! I met Bethy at the lake with the duckies and after not running for quite some time, she ran 3 miles with me! I’m soooo proud of her!!

This morning it was kind of nice to get out there just me. I love running with friends, but it’s also nice to be able to zone out and focus on myself and some speed!

Okay, so speedy for me is like an other person's power walk, but I was pretty happy with it ;)

Okay, so lately I have been having seriously strange food cravings. I don’t know if it’s from running more or what, but yesterday I asked Steve if we could make steak this week. Ummm, I don’t really eat red meat. I mean, I don’t label foods as “off limits” anymore, but typically I just choose white meat poultry and fish. However, a nice juicy fillet mingon still sounds so amazing. I’m going to have to make it happen. Then yesterday as I ate my delicious sandwich at Dilly’s Deli, I found myself thinking “I wish this had bacon on it!” Also, my appetite is all kinds of out of whack. I’ve been hungry 24/7 for going on 5 days in a row!! You’d think I would have had my fill from Thanksgiving, but I just feel like a bottomless pit. Not cool.

So with my weird cravings, I cannot confirm that what I have dubbed the best Thanksgiving leftover sandwich ever actually is in fact that, but it tastes pretty amazing to me 😉 I started by toasting 2 slices of cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread. I spread fig butter on one, topped with leftover white meat turkey and topped with leftover mashed sweet potatoes. On the other piece, I sprinkled goat cheese and dried cranberries. Then I put the whole thing in the oven on burn broil until warmed and the edges of the bread and cranberries were browned, then topped with apple sliced and put it all together. Yummmm.

I wish I had an other one right now.

Is it normal to be this hungry? I feel like when David After Dentist says “Is this gonna be foreeeevvvveeerrrrrr?”

My Holiday Wish List

Okay, confession: I’ve been wanting to post about what I want for the holidays for like a month, but I felt like that sounded greedy, so I have refrained. But here’s the thing, it’s fun to talk about things you like and want to have. It doesn’t necessarily mean you expect people to buy them for you. And here’s the other thing, I get asked what I want a lot. So I figured I’d have fun doing a little online window shopping and if friends or family decide that this is helpful to them, then yay, if you decide that I am a greedy person who spends hours on end thinking about all the things you should get me and you now don’t want to get me anything, then you’re half right and that is a okay 😉

Okay, commence things I want in my life!

This rug from Pier 1 Imports

For the library!

This oh so expensive running shirt from Lululemon

Oh Lululemon, I want to own everything in your store.

Pretty much any running gear from Lululemon

I haven’t looked too much, but I have been thinking about a red (Kitchenaid if possible) waffle maker, and a donut pan (for baked donuts!) Pretty much any baking tools and cooking gadgets that I don’t own are always perfect!

Muppets Christmas Carol on DVD. I seriously have so much love for this movie.

It’s almost Academy Award season and movies are pricey for this starving artist! I love and always get good use out of movie theater gift cards!

And how cool are these? Well, really, how amazing is every item sold in Anthropologie!

I also would love running type things, but I’m so new to this, I have no idea what to ask for except for this

Not necessarily this exact one, but I have been wanting a spibelt to keep my phone in!

And my new favorite thing of all time

It’s true. I’ve become a stereo type and I love bread. I love it so much I could shout about it’s amazingness from the roof tops. I think I have a special appreciation for it after the horridness of months on end of carb diets. Blech. I’m on a new carb diet. It’s called all carbs, all the time. I like it much better 😉

Okay, the truth is, I kind of suck at ideas this year. I love everything. All gifts. Homemade, sentimental, and totally unnecessary are often my favorite. I like silly things I would never buy for myself but love to have. I just love being thought of. :)





Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal Cookies


I have a lot of ideas floating around in this crazy head of mine. Sometimes I think I get too caught up in looking up other people’s recipes and basing my own off that, but I’m trying to just come up with things off the top of my head more and trust that they will be good. I mean, with baking, I always use someone else’s base recipe to make sure the science is right, but the rest of this one is all me. And, they were a hit!

You’d think after Thanksgiving, I’d be totally over baking, but not me! Yesterday, I wanted to test out a couple recipe ideas for the blogger cookie swap. I made 2 totally different batches. I can’t share the recipe for the batch I will be sending yet, but I do have recipe #2 for you!

Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal Cookies

yield 50-60 cookies

  • 1/4 cup light whipped butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup fat free cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbs sugar free maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat buttermilk
  • 1  cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/4 cups oats
  • 1 cup marshmallows
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 cup grain sweetened white chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter, cream cheese, sugar, syrup and extracts. Add egg and buttermilk.
  2. In a separate bowl (unless you’re me and like to skip this step and dump everything into the same bowl) combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Slowly, beat dry mixture into wet mixture.
  4. Fold in oats.
  5. Gently fold in white chocolate chips, marshmallows and blueberries.
  6. Roll into one inch balls and drop on greased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 10-14 minutes until tops are just set and slightly golden (mine baked for 12 min).
  8. Cool on wire racks, serve and enjoy!


Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars


Hello friends, it has been a super busy weekend and I have lots of catching up and sharing to do on here! I figured I’d start with dessert since it’s my favorite. This is the third year I’ve done pumpkin cheesecake, but the first time I made it into bars. I like the bars because the portion is smaller and then you can have more than one dessert! Regular cheesecake slices are just too thick and this was way easier to serve. I loved it and plan to keep it around!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

yield 30-36 bars

  • 1-1 1/4 cup crushed whole wheat graham cracker crumbs
  • 2-3 tbs pumpkin butter
  • 2 8oz packages fat free cream cheese, softened
  • 2 8oz packages reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 15oz can pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbs sugar free maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup Splenda
  • 2 tbs brandy (can omit)
  • 2-3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine graham cracker crumbs and pumpkin butter (I used my hands–it’s fun!) and press into a sprayed 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Bake for 8-10 min until set, remove and cool. Drop oven to 300.
  3. Meanwhile, beat cream, then gradually beat in sugars, Splenda, extracts and syrup until smooth.
  4. Beat eggs in one at a time.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, Brandy, flour, and pumpkin pie spice, then gradually add mixture to cream cheese mixture until just combined.
  6. Pour over prepared and cooled crust and bake for 60-80 minutes (if your oven is like mine, I suggest turning it around half way through), until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool for one hour, then transfer to the refrigerator and cool at least 8 hours.
  8. Cut, serve and enjoy!

Thanksgiving 2011

"Good job, mom. I'll sit here and keep watch while you stretch."

Hello friends! I hope your Thanksgiving was as fabulous as mine! I started the day off with my first double digit run ever. After that, I was pretty emotional all day long. In the morning Clementine helped me while I stretched out my tired legs.

“Good job, mom. I’ll sit here and keep watch while you stretch.”

Legs hurt less with a Clementine. It’s a proven fact.

Pretty soon, I was back to work on snacks, sides and setting up. For the snack food, I made Skinny Mini Corndogs (recipe to come–they are a hit every time!) and Baked Sweet Potato Chips with a Yogurt Dipping Sauce. Lisa made her famous Deviled Eggs and Judy brought chips with homemade salsa. So much yum.

Ok, they look kinda funny pre-cooked, but just trust me.

I put Charlie to work on sweet potato flipping. Careful about coming to dinner at my house, I will put you to work!

Steve asked me at 7am when I returned from my run if I wanted to open the champagne which I thought I would, but even I can’t handle it that early so we waited until after noon 😉

“Friends! I ran 10 miles and cooked a lot of food, so please drink with me!”

“Oh, you still wanted some too? I was just going to switch off between my glass and the bottle…”

You know you like my Thanksgiving outfit.

Before it was time to make the last couple of things for dinner, I was able to spend some time actually hanging out with friends, family and the puppies. Imagine that! I hosted and got to be social! Success.

Charlie and Kara always take the best pictures together!

I seriously cannot imagine my life without this little guy. He is the most loving dog on earth!

Seriously, look at how he hugs me!

I got legitimately upset with Steve for only taking pictures of Clementine. In true Steve fashion, he took about a million pictures of Winston afterwards.

Most beautiful photo of my mom ever.

Mathew and Lisa

Deann and my mom

Carolyn was visiting from Tucson for the weekend, and I am so glad she was able to make it as well! She even brought me a hostess present, and I didn’t even tell her for the entire month before that she was supposed to. I mean, not that I would have done that to anyone. 😉

Fig butter and honey apple butter!!! We all know how I feel about anything with the word butter in it. Yummmm. She also got me a Starbucks gift card! This girl knows the way to my heart!!

If you’re looking for a blog with some kick butt work outs that can make you feel like your work out is lame no matter how hard you think you’ve worked, you should check hers out. She has made so much progress and looks absolutely amazing!

Because Carolyn was hanging with Kara and Charlie, I think she was asked about 5 times whether she also worked for Starbucks haha.

My dad, Janie, Grandma, and Hank

Finally, it was time to finish up the cooking and carve the turkey!

Wild mushrooms, fresh rosemary, bay leaves, olive oil, chopped garlic, s&p. Baked @ 375 for 20-30 min.

I had almost forgotten that last year we painted our own turkey platter at As You Wish. I absolutely love this.

Steve’s turkey came out absolutely perfect. 2nd time was a charm ;)

Eventually we all sat down to say what we were thankful for. My favorite part of Thanksgiving.

After dinner, Hermano finally arrived (Soooo happy!!! I missed him all day!) andSteve gathered all the family into the living room for a photo.


And then afterwards, I insisted on a friends picture, and while I am not a fan of the photo in general, I love my friends, so i posted it anyway.

Then, it was time for dessert. I cannot wait to post all of these recipes because they came out amazing! There was Super Simple Pumpkin Brownies, Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars, and ice cream (buttermilk, white chocolate and vanilla bean). And, yes, every single thing I made was at least healthy-ish. I mean, I didn’t go nutty about it, but I made everything the way I wanted to make it.

No one had any complaints 😉


“Is it bed time yet?”

The whole day was pretty perfect from start to finish. I love my family. I love my friends. I love my Winston and Clementine.


A Milestone

This is where I'm crying. I do not look cute in a single one of these pictures and I do not care in the slightest!

They say if you can run 10 miles, you can run 13.1. At least I’ve heard people say that. I never imagined I would train for a half marathon. I never really thought I’d be able to run longer than a couple of miles. But today, I hit a milestone that I will always remember. And I did it alone. No one else to push me through. Just me. It was the first long run (since back when 4 was a long run!) that I have done all alone.

As soon as I walked in my door, tears came immediately. I did it. I got up on the day I’m about to host and cook for 20 people and I WANTED to run 10 miles. And I made it happen. I know for people that regularly run this distance and have completed full marathons, it may not seem like much. But who would have ever dreamed that this girl would run 10 miles?

Yes, I am carrying soda, donuts and a mocha. And I used to wonder why I was overweight haha

I sometimes can’t believe I am the same person. I have been through so many highs and lows, ups and downs when it comes to my weight and relationship with food, and one day at a time, it is finally getting better. I am finding balance. That version of me could not have run 10 miles, but neither could the me who obsessed over everything I ate. I have spent a lot of time picking my body apart, but here is what I know to be true. My body is doing amazing things for me. Things other people wish they could do (and don’t know yet that they CAN). My body is amazing and whether or not I ever make it to my “goal weight” it can’t change that.

So today I say, hey legs, YOU ARE FREAKING AWESOME!!!!! Thank you for carrying me those 10 miles and not giving up when the going got tough. I am thankful for you.

So this morning I woke up at about 4:30am with no hope of falling back asleep. I never sleep well before a long run. I’m always too nervous and excited. Finally at 5, I got up and made myself breakfast. I have felt the last two long runs like I ran out of fuel, so I was determined not to let that happen today. I made 2 slices toast with almond butter and banana slices like I read on almost every single running blog I read, and let me tell you, that breakfast is legit! It did not upset my stomach and I felt nourished and fueled the entire 10 miles. Fabulous.

My plan was simply to run until the Garmin said 5 miles, then turn around and come home. At mile 5, I stopped at a gas station, got some water and took a coffee flavored gu. It was hard to get down–so sticky, blechhh–but I think it helped a LOT. I never got to a point where I really wanted to stop or where I felt overly exhausted except in the very last mile when I was running as fast as humanly possible to try to improve my time haha.

As soon as I turned around to head home, the sun started to come up and I was running right into the sunrise. It was beautiful and I just felt so happy to be out there running, and so grateful that my body was cooperating and things were going well. For the second half of the run, both of my achilles were definitely bugging me, but honestly, I almost didn’t care. It was a minimal amount of pain that I kind of knew would hurt worse later, but in the moment, it just couldn’t tackle the feeling of awesomeness.

As soon as I could see that the end was in sight, I picked up my pace big time and just enjoyed the feeling of knowing that I was about to accomplish something great. Something I’ve worked really hard towards, and dreamed of. I know I’m not to the race yet, but I honestly do feel this wonderful and accomplished after every new distance. The race is something to work towards, but every long run feels like I’ve already won.

I finished 10.1 miles in 1:40:43 with *almost* all negative splits.

And oh my gosh, I have never been so sweaty.

This is where I’m crying. I do not look cute in a single one of these pictures and I do not care in the slightest!

This is where I’m thirsty.

This is where I’m happy.

Good lord, my legs HURT. I stretched for a while with Clementine. Cute pictures of that will be posted later. She likes to sit on me and lick my face while I stretch. Winston just lays there and looks at me haha. I foam rolled (ouch) and then sat in the ice cold pool for an “ice bath”. Brrrrr. There is nothing that feels better than a hot shower after sitting in a freezing cold pool, let me tell you!

Steve has been so amazingly supportive. I came home to a congratulations card from him, Winston, and Clementine and sat there and cried before even opening it. He also bought me a camelback as a hostess present so now I will have water on my long runs! How did I get so lucky??

This is a Thanksgiving I will never forget. I am so grateful for my body and my life. I never in a million years thought I’d be able to say I’m grateful for my body.

Now I need to get ready for guests! Can’t wait to spend the day with the people I love. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Thanksgiving Eve


It’s so close, I can taste it! Literally 😉 Was everyone else as busy as I was today? Steve and I woke up at 5am–gross. He wanted to get into work early so he could leave early and I had cooking on the brain and couldn’t fall back asleep once his alarm went off. Before I really got started on everything, I had a physical therapy appt that luckily did not involve any scraping action today. I did watch some other people get it though and apparently I really am a wimp because no one else was screaming in pain. But maybe I’m not a wimp, because look at my polka dotted leg!

I know my bruises are small, but small bruises hurt too!

After PT, I went to town on my food to do list.

1) Slice sweet potatoes for Baked Sweet Potato Chips ✓

Steve came home just in time to take some beautiful food photos and make fun of me…a lot.

Still somewhat amused by him

No longer amused. Maybe when I'm holding the knife is not the best time to be a butthole :)

2) Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars ✓

Crust. My favorite part!

3) Super Simple Pumpkin Brownies ✓

4) White Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Ice Creams ✓

5) Yogurt Dipping Sauce for #1

Not to mention putting up some decorations 😉

I love these silly little cups from Hobby Lobby

Soooo much to do! Luckily my family knows I don’t like to work alone, so they dropped by to keep my company :)

I am so lucky to have married into the BEST family ever!

"I've had a hard day too, mom. Do you have any idea how hard it is to act cute so people pet me for hours at a time?"

"In case you weren't aware, I'm also cute in color."

My little sister is so pretty. Steve is going to beat the boys off pretty soon.

After cooking essentially all day long, I was off to work. One of those days where it’s a good thing that most of the time I really love what I do, otherwise it would have sucked. I ended up having a great time with my kids though and didn’t mind being there. I especially loved hearing the kiddos tell me what they were thankful for, and when some of them said the theatre, my heart melted. I am so proud to be a part of something that changes these kids’ lives! Anyway, while I went to work, Steve got to work on brining!

21 pounds of turkey people

Let me tell you, I love to cook, but I am SO glad to have Steve to take care of the turkey! That would stress me out like nobody’s business. Meat has always intimidated me. And this means all I have to do tomorrow is the mini corndogs, bake the sweet potato chips, and make the stuffing balls. I have big plans for early in the am, then I plan on coming home, popping open some champagne and enjoying the day with some of my favorite people 😉

This Thanksgiving there are a few things that I am especially thankful for

  • I am in a healthier place with food than I have ever been in my entire life. It feels amazing.
  • I am proving to myself things that I always imagined were impossible. My body is capable of amazing things. I am so lucky to have a body that can do what I ask of it.
  • My dad has found the most amazing woman to spend his life with that brings joy to his life and our whole family. Janie has also encouraged all of us to make my grandma a bigger part of our lives and I am so grateful for that because I spent a lot of time taking her for granted.
  • And of course every day I am thankful for Steve, Winston, Clementine, my family and my incredible friends, as well as my amazing students that inspire me every single day.

I have so much love for this holiday. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!

The Cooking Begins

Vanilla bean scraping. It's serious business.

The plan for today?

  • Grocery shop ✓
  • Cornbread for stuffing balls ✓
  • Ice cream prep ✓

Success. Still need one more thing from the store, but otherwise I am right on track! You know what else I did today?? I almost couldn’t believe it. I actually got my butt to the gym and STRENGTH TRAINED!!!! I know, that shouldn’t be such a big deal, but it is something I’ve been so bad about since I started training for PF Chang’s. Also, whenever I do strength train, I always want to post what I did, but I don’t know the names for half of it. So let’s just say I did abs, biceps, triceps, shoulders and lats. Hooray! I haven’t been so sweaty in a weights work out in a while. Unfortunately, I don’t feel quite as strong as I did when I was really focused on that leading up to the wedding, but it will come back. I just have to stay focused on the big picture.

After coming home from the gym, I immediately got to work! What makes hosting Thanksgiving about 100x more fun? Having most of your work done in advance! If all goes according to plan, my actual cooking on Thursday should be minimal and my drinking company enjoying should be maximized! Before I go into the prep work, let me just say that as much as I love the dinner and hosting part of Thanksgiving, I have something planned that morning that I am even more excited for. You’ll have to stay tuned for what it is, but I will say that I plan to be more thankful than ever! :)

Okay, back to tonight.

Vanilla bean scraping. It's serious business.

Can we just talk about how one vanilla bean costs about $9 at Whole Foods and only $4 at Sprouts? I freaking love Sprouts.

"What next ice cream??? Give me the answers to all life's questions!"

Look at all this stuff we have lined up to cook with! And that's not even the half of it!

Cornbread crumbs. Not only baked, but crumbed. Is crumbed a word? I decide it so.

I ♥ my kitchen

"Mom, when do we get to eat the food? Can it be Thanksgiving for us too?"

Egg yolks and sugar. Spoon, please.

What should I put in this cute little leaf? I feel like it needs to hold something amazing.

The fun will continue all day long tomorrow, and then, you know, the actual holiday. Can.not.wait. Happy early Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all are as happy and excited as I am!


Thanksgiving 2011: The Menu

After hours spent on pinterest, foodgawker, and recipe blogs, my Thanksgiving menu is complete and I couldn’t be more excited! Not super fancy, but all things I am very very excited to be eating!


  • Skinny Mini Corn Dogs
  • Baked Sweet Potato Chips with Yogurt Dipping Sauce (Inspired by this recipe)
  • Deviled Eggs (made by Lisa)


  • Cornbread Stuffing Balls (Inspired by this recipe)
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows (made by my mom)
  • Cream of Pumpkin Soup (made by Janie)
  • Roasted Veggies (made by my mom)
  • Roasted Garlic Mushrooms


And of course there’s turkey, but honestly the turkey is the least important part of the meal in my opinion! Bring on the carbs!!!

I am so excited!!! Holiday cooking begins tomorrow!! Also, did I mention I am cooking for about 20 people? Holiness.

What’s on your menu?



Hello friends! I am so glad to be over the lame-o sickness that got in the way of my work outs the past two weeks. This morning I woke up and it was a little drizzly out which is actually a lovely treat here in Phoenix. I only planned on running 3 miles, but decided to change up my route and went just under 4. I tried to focus on just letting myself run this morning, not worrying about speed or impressing anyone with my time. I’m still a little sore from my consecutive runs this weekend, so it was nice to just get out and not really think about anything :)

And guess what!! I got my Garmin in late September. My first run was September 26th and today I hit 100 documented miles!!!!


After my run I hurried over to my physical therapy appt. On Friday she mentioned that she wanted to have one of the other therapists perform a scraping technique on me. What? SCRAPE? That sounds awful. I asked if it hurt and she played it off like it was maybe minor pain and then said “Well, some people bruise.” Bruise???? So when I got there today, she informed me that ready or not the scraper was coming. Oy!!

There were these two new big football player guys there today. While I warmed up and stretched they were cracking me up. I don’t even remember what they were saying but they were loud and they were funny and I was amused. That is, until just before the scraping when they said “Oooohhhh you’re being scraped???” Then proceeded to scare the crap out of me about it. Thanks, guys. I wasn’t already nervous enough. I informed them that I no longer liked them and they told me to join the club haha. I asked one of the assistants to photograph the scrape sessions so I could give you a visual. They all thought I was kind of a freak, but I’m kind of used to that 😉

See that tool in his hand? He's going to use it to scrap the crap out of my leg and foot.

Here I'm pretty sure I was actually crying a little. Don't judge me.

"Is it over yettttt?????"

The technical term for the procedure is Astym (A-stimulation). The theory is that it releases scar tissue and promotes healing. I even found a video on youtube, except the video doesn’t show the patient jumping out of their seat in pain. They must not have legitimately been doing the therapy.

I had it done on my left calf, achilles tendon and the bottom of my foot–that was the weirdest spot because it tickled and hurt at the same time. I am one of those people that twists and laughs uncontrollably during a pedicure. This was not a pleasant tickle though. Not at all. But, to be honest, if it even gives me the hope of being able to run, dance, and live my life without my tendons giving me pain, it will be so worth it. I haven’t been without pain since high school, so it would really be incredible.

Have any of you ever had this done? What’s the weirdest medical thing you’ve ever experienced?