Thursday, April 28, 2011

T minus 3 days!

T minus 3 days until I run my first 13.1 miles!  The nerves and doubts are starting to kick in a little.  The furthest I have ever run is 8.5 miles... yikes!  Anyway it's going to be a crazy weekend, not only because of the half, but I also have a lot of other stuff going on too.

  • Tons of homework/finals studying
  • Hosting a Lacrosse Conference Tournament (thank goodness I'm not the director so I don't have to be there both days)
  • End of the year work party (I am in charge of this though...busy, busy), and...
  • My boys coming to visit me!
So it is going to be a busy tizzy weekend... be sure to check in for a recap on Sunday night!

In other news I desperately needed to grocery shop so I went to Aldis for the first time (based on my sisters recommendation).   The organization of the place drives me bonkers, but the concepts they have going on there are great.  For example you pay a quarter (which you get back when you leave) to use/unlock a shopping cart.  This cuts back on the need for employees to gather carts, hence cutting the costs ultimately for the customer.  They also charge you for paper ($.06) and plastic bags ($.12)  (you don't get that money back) which also ultimately lowers costs for the customer and keeps it green!  All of their efforts to keep prices low, definitely show in the store.  I bought a lot of groceries today for just $28, which buying those same items at any other grocery store would've easily cost me $40.  Moral of the story... I now look forward to grocery shopping :)

Alright off to bed, before my last run tomorrow morning before the half.  Can't wait for the feeling of accomplishment I will feel after finishing!  My hope is to make it under 2 hr 10 mins.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hot BBQ Roast Beef + Yoga

For those of you who did not know, I am a huge Biggest Loser fan (even bigger after having met Patrick from last season).  In typical Biggest Loser fashion I found myself parked in front of the tv watching the show tonight.  However, tonight was different from other nights that I have watched the show.  Tonight I made a change, because last week I realized that somehow (ironically) I always found myself eating junk (ie: cookies, chips/snacks) while watching the Biggest Loser!  I decided something is TERRIBLY wrong with this picture, most people would probably be doing the exact opposite and would be inspired to eat healthier food at this time.  Tonight I decided to make a change, put a stop to this weird trend I noticed, so I did yoga during the Biggest Loser!

(I only did 15 minutes of this video) 

I know yoga is meant to be a reflective and focused exercise, and that me doing it while watching tv shows just how crazy my life is that I have to multi-task to fit a bout of yoga in my day... sickening I know, but better then than never, right?!

P.S.  What the heck was Rulon thinking?!  I need an explanation!

Yesterday I did a crazy amount of moving around outside of my workout.  I started my day off with a 3 mile run, then over the course of my day with running errands and going to and from work I biked 50 minutes!  It felt so nice to be biking in the fresh, crisp air.  

Today I biked for 35 minutes and did 15 minutes of yoga. 

Today I made the most amazing creation with my left over roast beef from Easter!  I was so incredibly excited because it tasted like it was straight from Subway or a restaurant!  I didn't take a picture of it, because it really wasn't anything special to see... but it was definitely something special to taste!  In the mix...

Roast beef
Jalapeño peppers (I used 5)
Green olives (I used 5)
BBQ sauce (to taste)
[Note: This was a single serving]

All I did was chop the jalapeño peppers and green olives and then mixed it in with warm roast beef and BBQ sauce.  Serve on a kaiser roll or wheat bread. 


I would make this in bulk and serve it at a party it is so good! 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hoppy Easter!

Easter is full of traditions for my family... traditions like Easter egg dying!

My niece...

My nephew...
My sister...

My boyfriend and I...

Made these B-E-A-utiful eggs!

What traditions do you have for Easter?

Happy Easter all!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

N.O. Part IV- Popular Appearances

If you have missed the first two posts in my New Orleans/NIRSA series, feel free to catch up and check them out--- Food, Mardi Gras World, and Site Seeing!

Every year NIRSA hires and brings in volunteer speakers, this year we had three phenomenal speakers at our conference... Archie Manning, The Ripples Guy, and Dr. Maura Cullen!  We were also fortunate to have Patrick House come visit us!

Archie Manning

Archie was the speaker for our opening ceremony... it was a fantastic way to kick off the conference!  He spoke on leadership and shared many of his own experiences as a player with the Saints and then on into being a father of the Manning boys in the NFL now.  His speech was entertaining, hilarious, and very heartfelt all in one.  One of my favorite quotes from him was "Being a leader is like being a lady, if you need to say you are one, you're probably not".  Initially it made me laugh, and the more I thought about it, the more it sank in as a true analogy.  He did not stick around for autographs or anything that I know of, which I was bummed about, but it is still cool to be able to say that I heard him speak.  Here is a video that has clips from various talks he has given, many of the clips are things he mentioned to us. 

The Ripples Guy

Also known as Paul Wesslemann, was an incredible speaker!  He had a LOT of energy and never lost your attention for a second.  I liked him so much that I went to two of his sessions, one of stress and one on motivation.  Paul was grateful enough to email me with a an overview of what he talked about during the stress management session.  Here are the four keys to stress management:
  • Assess
  • Acknowledge 
  • Act
  • Appreciate 
Here is a sneak preview of how great he is... this is a speech similar to the one he gave at NIRSA.

If you're interested in learning more about the four keys shoot me an email or leave me a comment and I would be more than happy to share the overview with you.  Some of you may know Paul as the guy who sends out little bits of joy everyday through quotes like "Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth... tame the dragon and the gift is yours".  Some days these messages speak right to you, other days they may be meant for someone you know, hence the "ripple" effect.  If you would like to get connected with The Ripples Guy or learn more about him you can do so the following ways:

Twitter: Ripples Guy
Facebook: Paul "Ripples Guy" Wesselmann

P.S. How can you not love this guy, he's from Wisconsin :)

Dr. Maura Cullen

Dr. Cullen is an incredible woman, with incredible experiences and knowledge.  I went to two of her sessions, one session was on diversity and the other was on lessons learned on the playground.  She does a fantastic job at getting her audience involved.  In fact during her lessons on the playground session she brought out the kid in a lot of us by inviting us to come up to the front and dance (don't worry I did).  She also invited us all to do something we didn't think we could do or questioned we could do... break a archery arrow by holding it between the wall and the soft spot on your neck!  I was incredibly nervous when she was showing us how to do it, but then I tried it and I realized there was nothing to be sweating over.  She has a way of making you believe in yourself and believe you can do anything you set your mind to.  

Sneak preview time...

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Cullen or purchase her book check out her website.

Patrick House

I don't know how many of you are Biggest Loser fans, but I know I am... I LOVE the show!  I know that the way they do things is not necessarily the healthiest way to do it, but you have to give them credit for doing it, for losing it, one way or the other.  Weeeellll, I had the chance to meet last season's Biggest Loser at NIRSA! 

He's so adorable! 

Patrick did not speak at this conference, he was actually there with Cybex.  He works for them now as a traveling person, but he was there for a Q & A session and hung out for a couple days at the fitness expo.  For any of you Boston Marathon watchers or runners, he and some of the other Biggest Losers from his season ran in the Boston!  Did any one see them?  Granted I did not get to spend a whole lot of time with him, my friend (in the picture above) and I were GEEKING out at the chance to meet him... we made sure to let him know :-p  I was bound and determined to become Facebook friends with him, but I still haven't gotten my friend request from him ;)

This is probably my favorite post about New Orleans, because I met and heard so many great people I wish I could listen to them everyday.  They all gave me such a fresh and positive view on life and my job.  If you have any questions about any of these people, feel free to let me know :)

Laissez le bon temps rouler!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

N.O. Part III- Site Seeing

A day in the life of a tourist in New Orleans!  
P.S. If you missed my other posts about New Orleans check out my posts on food and Mardi Gras World.

Jackson Square with the Cathedral in the background

The St. Louis Cathedral up close

Inside the Cathedral


Harrah's Casino

When walking through the streets you might see some of these things...

Getting educated 
Star of David... Holocaust Monument

Founders of New Orleans

In remembrance of Hurricane Katrina victims & the city of N.O.

Famous "poser" on the Riverwalk

Bands & musicians everywhere on the streets

Patty O's

Hope you enjoyed your virtual tour of New Orleans!

Laissez le bon temps rouler!

Monday, April 18, 2011

N.O. Part II- Mardi Gras World

In case you missed it yesterday I began my series of posts on my trip from last week that I spent in New Orleans for a NIRSA conference.  Yesterdays feature post was on the food of New Orleans, today I will be diving into one of my favorite things that I saw there...Mardi Gras World!

One of our socials that was put on by NIRSA was the Mardi Gras social.  For this social we went to Mardi World, a place where many of the floats from Mardi Gras are stored for site seeing.  If you want to see more pictures or learn more information about this amazing place check out this website.  Along with seeing many of the floats from the 2011 Mardi Gras parade, we were able to sample many foods (ie: jambalaya, crawfish beignets, mufalettas, etc.), hold gators, get tarot card readings, and have caricatures done. Here is a pictorial tour of my night at Mardi Gras World!  PS Be sure to check out the video below, this is what I walked into Mardi Gras World to see/hear :)

Welcome Mardi Gras World!

Let the floats begin

Drew Brees

Kisses for the Saints

Reggie Bush

Float making shop

Gorilla in the making 

The party leading umbrella


Last night I made a veggie salsa/dip with the following ingredients...

1/4 c Red wine vinegar, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, corn, black beans, onion, 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning 

Mix it all up and let set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours so the flavors can soak in.

I didn't want to do a ton of grocery shopping this week, so I made a quick run to the co-op and picked up these four items.  The rest of my meals will be made from items in my pantry and freezer, since I tend to overlook those things so much.  

Sprouts, eggplant hummus, jalapeños, nonfat vanilla yogurt
A combination of these items and my veggie dip made up my lunch for today. 

Hummus, jalapeño, sprout and cheese sandwich 
That's it for today, check back tomorrow for the next post of my New Orleans series!

Laissez le bon temps rouler

Sunday, April 17, 2011

N.O. Part I- Food

This past week I spent an amazing time in an amazing city that I love going to for an amazing conference and met many amazing individuals!  This year the annual NIRSA (National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association) was held in New Orleans, the Crescent City.  For those of you who do not know, I spent a weekend in the Big Easy in December for the first time (well I was there in middle school, but that doesn't count) and fell in l.o.v.e. with the city, the people, and the culture.  When I found out our conference was going to be held in New Orleans I made sure that I was going to be there.  Over the next week I plan to share my experiences while in the city and at my conference.  Some posts to look forward to...

  • Mardi Gras World
  • Site seeing in NO
  • Popular appearances at NIRSA
  • Traveling Trips
  • How to fund an expensive conference
A few more may also be added to the list as I go through and reminisce on my pictures I took.  Today I will share with you some of the phenomenal foods that I got to eat! First stop... Huck Finns

This is where I got my first and FAVORITE meal of the trip.

Jambalaya Wrap
I actually didn't even eat my fries, because the wrap filled me and quite frankly there was nothing special about the fries... why eat it if you don't like it!  I'd eat this wrap every day if I could :)

On a couple of occasions we had ourselves some beignets, a real New Orleans treat.  One time I had them at Huck Finns and the other time I went to the famous Cafe Du Monde.  Last time I was in N.O. I got some of the boxed mix so I could make them at home, and surprisingly they are close to the real deal.  

Margaritaville was another great restaurant we went to.  For those of you who have not been to one of these before, I recommend it, not just because of the food was great but also because the restaurant is InCrEdIbLy colorful and bright!

 I ordered a quarter muffaletta and gumbo... both great dishes.  The only downside to muffalettas is that they are super greasy from the meats and olive "salad"/spread put on it.  

Here's the crew at Maragaritaville :)

Another one of my favorite dishes that I got, which was from Mulates, was shrimp etouffee.  My boyfriend's mom makes this sometimes and hers is actually a lot more spicy than this since she uses garden peppers and we never know how hot they'll be... both renditions are awesome! 

Also in this picture is an enormous glass of sweet tea! Two things about this drink, 1.) all glasses are ginormous there! 2.) The sweet tea recipe that I posted was pretty darn close to the delicious sweet tea I had in New Orleans! I ordered sweet tea for pretty much every meal... "When in Rome" right?!

That's all I have for the foods I ate while in the Big Easy.  I was able to try a couple other things at socials, but  did not get a chance to take a picture, many of them we varieties of the things I previously mentioned.  Have you been to New Orleans?  What foods would you recommend? 

Hope you all enjoyed Part I of New Orleans!  Were any of you at NIRSA 2011 or have you been in the past?  If you have any questions please feel free to let me know!  And as they say in the Big Easy "Laissez le bon temps rouler"!  Let the good times roll!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Final Countdown

The final countdown to my take off for New Orleans... 2 days!  Wahoo and yikes at the same time!  I have so much to do between now and 5 am on Tuesday!  Wish me luck! You'll be fully updated when I return on Saturday :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Grandma's Home-cooked Cabbage

When you were growing up were there things that your parents or grandparents used to make that you absolutely, positively refused to eat?  Well my grandma's home-cooked cabbage was one of them... and look at me now, I'm blogging how to make it, because I love it in my "old age"!  So here's to Grandma Bien's Cabbage :)  It is a super simple dish to make and is low in calorie.

First, start by cutting up the cabbage. (I cut up about half of the cabbage head, which made a little over 2 servings.)

Then toss the cabbage in with some skim milk.  The amount of milk depends on how much "soup" you want to come with the cabbage.  You should have at least enough to cover the bottom of the pan, because you will be steaming the cabbage with milk.

Steam the cabbage on the stove over medium heat with a cover on it for 10-15 minutes (depending on how soft you want it).  Stir every minute or two.  Towards the end of that time, add salt and pepper to taste.  Be sure the milk does not boil, if it starts at all turn down the heat.

The final product looks like this!  Enjoy!

I also cooked up some sweet potato in the oven.  Normally I sprinkle my sweet potato with dill weed, but I wanted to try something different so I did half of it with dill and the other half with a little pumpkin pie spice.  The verdict: superb!  (Just be sure that you don't over do it!)

I also had a glass of my new obsession on the side :)

Have a WONDERFUL night!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Another Reason to Love Target

Not only did I get all of my great purchases last night from Target, but when I got home from work I found a lovely package in my mailbox from Target!

When I first saw this box I thought they had sent me a VHS, and I was like what in the world!  BUT, when I flipped the box over and saw "Target beauty is my bag" I knew what it was!  A few weeks back I saw a post from the Krazy Coupon Lady about receiving a FREE beauty gift bag from Target!  I did not miss this opportunity and signed up.  I cannot lie, I did not really know if I would ever receive this beauty package, but sure enough Target proved me wrong! So what did I get you are wondering?!

For starters I got this cute little make-up bag.  It's not real big, but that is okay... maybe a purse make-up bag?! Inside the make-up bag were the following goodies...

In case you cannot tell what those things are there is a Patene shampoo, Fekkai shea butter shampoo and conditioner, Nivea express hydration daily lotion and a booklet of "Beautiful Bucks" for Target.  You betcha' I'll be using those!  A big thanks to Target and the Krazy Coupon Lady!

Oh and in case you were wondering, I am now obsessed with this little refreshing concoction...

Tonic water + kiwi slices!

Seriously try it! 

Good night world :)