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December 24, 2010

“There is nothing impossible to him who will try.” -Alexander the Great

Merry Christmas Eve!

I apologize for only having one post yesterday. We were on the road all day and didn’t make it back to Florida until close to one this morning! Needless to say, my mom and I were exhausted!

On the way home last night, my mom and I made a quick stop in Jacksonville to pick up a package! I signed up for the blogger gift exchange hosted by Tina and was super excited to get my package! And my secret blogger was…….

Jen at Canoe of Life!!!

I was so excited to get the package that I opened it in the car (but took better pictures this morning of the contents)

In the box:

Homemade Peanut Butter…

A box of…

Candy Cane Hershey’s Kisses! (My Favorite!)

My very own copy of the Operation Beautiful Book…

A pen and two pads of Post-It Notes to spread the love. 🙂

Jen, you absolutely NAILED it! Thank you so much! The gifts were perfect! 🙂 Have a wonderful Christmas and I can’t wait to read your blog more! (I’ve added you to my Google Reader!) 🙂

Go check out Jen’s blog! Also, go check out Mary at Fit This, Girl! She was MY gift recipient!

Oh, and here’s a “backstage picture”

I slept in for the first time in awhile! I was exhausted from my trip! I rolled out of bed just before 9:30 and went down to make breakfast. We didn’t have any yogurt so I had to improvise with what we did have. I found some fat-free cottage cheese in the fridge and made do:

In the mix:

  • 1/2 c. fat-free cottage cheese
  • 2 T TJ’s Pecan Praline Granola
  • 1/2 T. Jen’s Homemade Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 T. TJ’s Cranberry Apple Butter
  • 1 TJ’s Cat Cookie

With a grapefruit on the side…

Ginger Cat Cookie says “Have a wonderful Christmas Eve!” 😉

Have a great day everyone! 🙂

Cupcake Wars and Road Trips

December 23, 2010

(FYI: Don’t advertise “free wi-fi” if you don’t have it. I cannot tell you how many places we stopped at with this so called “free wi-fi” until I finally got it! That’s like a 24-hour gym being closed…. Oh wait. ;))

Happy Christmas Eve Eve! 🙂

Hope everyone is getting ready for the holiday weekend. I am currently en route back home to Florida, just in time to spend Christmas with my dad. 🙂

Let’s recap to last night shall we?

Dinner last night was made by my aunt. She made three lovely quiches (which I couldn’t get pictures of because my family already cut them!). One was a spinach, bacon, and onion, another was a mushroom and bacon, and the third was crab. Normally I’m not a big quiche person (not a fan of the texture), but I figured I should try the crab one- besides, I am not one to turn down crab. 😉

The quiche was delicious! My aunt truly outdid herself. 🙂 She also made some roasted veggies which were to die for (I came back for seconds!)

Yesterday while I was out I picked up six cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes in the Georgetown District of Washington, DC. I brought them back to the house and they were all cute in their pink packing box:

But when I opened the box I was shocked!

Cupcake meltdown! 😦 I don’t blame the bakery for the mess. I blame it on the mile long walk back to the Metro station, the stop at Trader Joes, the two train transfers, and the hour-long train-commute for the mess.

Besides messy and all they still taste the same right?

(From L-R: Top row- Cookies and Crème, Lemon Berry, Gingerbread. Bottom row- Chocolate Ganache, White Chocolate Peppermint, Rudolph Red Velvet)

I set up a tasting plate and we had our own “cupcake wars” to determine which one we liked the best:

I read out a description of each flavor as we tested it.

The competition was stiff, but only one flavor could reign supreme!

The winner was Lemon Berry! We didn’t have a second place but a three-way tie for third- Gingerbread, Cookies and Crème, and Rudolph Red Velvet.

My favorite was the Lemon Berry, then Cookies and Crème, with Gingerbread coming in third.

I was disappointed with the red velvet since that is what they are famous for. It was a bit dry for my taste (maybe I got a “bad” one?). Overall the cupcakes were delicious!

Also during the evening festivities we opened some more gifts. The only reason why we are opening gifts early is because we won’t be around each other on Christmas day and we wanted to see each other’s reactions!

I gave my cousin a very special book that I hold near and dear to my heart, Operation Beautiful.

In the book, I put a few notes for my cousin to find when she reads it. 😉

I wish I had this book in high school because I think it really would have helped me. I am so glad that I was able to give it to her, especially since she had never heard of it! Once I explained it to her, she couldn’t wait to read the book and start leaving notes around her school. 🙂

Oh, and P.S.- I haven’t forgotten about my challenge! I’ve taken most of the photos on my phone and need to transfer the pictures to my computer.

The evening was a perfect way to spend my last night in Maryland. 🙂

This morning my mom and I woke up at 7:15 to pack up and hit the road. I had a quick breakfast with what I could find.

In the mix:

  • 1 container TJ’s Plain Greek Yogurt (TJ’s was great but I can’t wait for my Chobani again!)
  • 1/4 c. pomegranate arils
  • 1/4 c. multi-grain oats
  • 1 heaping T of Tj’s Cranberry Apple Butter

This fueled me until we stopped for lunch at Ruby Tuesday in North Carolina. I was seriously CRAVING a salad and I love their salad bar. I helped myself to not one…

But two salads. 🙂

Half a biscuit.

And a heaping spoonful of PB in the car.

On the road again….

A Day in Washington DC

December 22, 2010

Do you have a place where you feel perfectly comfortable and completely in your element? For some people it may be their hometown; for others it is doing an activity they love to do.

My place is Washington, DC.

No matter how many times I come here (I’ve been here 3 times this year alone!), I never get tired of it. I know how to get around the city without a Metro train map. I know many of the shortcuts to get places and every single time I come here, I get lost less and less (actually I didn’t get lost at all today!).

This is my happy place. My home away from home. My city. 🙂

Ok, anyway, enough with being all dramatic! I can’t wait to tell you about my day!

I made it to The Mall just after 10 am, having NO idea what I wanted to do. I walked around for a little (The Mall was dead! I’ve never seen it so quiet- usually I’m having to weave through people!) and took in the scenery.

I eventually stumbled my way into the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. This is a favorite of mine, but I haven’t gone in awhile.

I mostly looked around the space exhibits, since I am a space nerd. 😉

I stuck around for a little less than an hour and a half. The museum hasn’t changed too much since I came a few years ago.

My tummy started growling, so it was time for lunch! Lucky for me, as I was looking on my phone for a place to go, I received a comment from Faith suggesting I check out a place called Busboys and Poets. After a quick glance at their website, I decided it was the perfect place for me!

Before I headed out of the museum I checked out the junk museum store for some souvenirs, but found nothing.

Anyone ever buy this as a kid? I used to be addicted to the stuff!!!

I hopped on the Metro and made my way to the restaurant. Of course, I WOULD pick one of the worst stops to get off on. (Word of advice, if you go to DC, avoid the Chinatown Metro stop. The area isn’t the best. 😉 There was a better Metro stop I should have gotten off on, but I didn’t. Oh well, it was an experience. ;))

Busboys and Poets is a restaurant like no other I have ever gone to! The place was hip and cool and had a very vegetarian and vegan friendly menu! Everything looked DELICIOUS! 🙂

After much deliberation, I decided to get the Tempeh Panini with a salad. There are only four words to describe this sandwich…

OH.

MY.

GOODNESS.

YUM.

I think it’s safe to say that I liked it. 😉 Busboys and Poets has three different locations in the area, so if you are up in DC, go check them out! It’s amazing! I will be going again on my next visit! Thank you Faith for making such a great suggestion! I owe you. 🙂

Oh, and my favorite part of the day came during my visit at Busboys and Poets. I was sitting at the bar 😉 and taking pictures of my lunch when the Maitre D’ comes over and asks if I am a food critic for The Washington Post. I smiled at him and said no, that it is for my own personal blog, but maybe one day I will be. 😉 I wish I had a business card to give him with my website on it (must get on this!).

After lunch I made my way over to the Georgetown District to do some shopping! 🙂

I love Georgetown! It’s a pretty area with TONS of great shopping. I headed over to H&M (one of my favorite stores!) to look for some new clothes.

I didn’t really like anything. Nothing was hitting me right. 😦 Oh well, I got a cute hat for $5. 🙂

One of my favorite parts of the day was buying cupcakes!!! If you watch TLC there is a show called DC Cupcakes. The show is about two women and their cupcake shop in the Georgetown District of DC. I love the show and I find it funny! Anyway, since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to stop by Georgetown Cupcake and see what all the hype was about!

Apparently the hype is big because I had to wait outside in line for 20 minutes!!!

The shop is absolutely ADORABLE and the cupcakes look so perfect in the display case! The atmosphere was lively and happy! I ended up getting six different flavors of cupcakes to share with my family. Tonight we are going to have a “cupcake war” and decide which one we like best! 😉

I’ll have a full recap later of which cupcake tops them all! 😉

What a great day! I don’t want to head back to Florida tomorrow! 😦

Magic Number

December 22, 2010

Good morning everyone! Here is a SUPER quick post since I’m about to head out the door to explore DC! 🙂

This morning I was up at 7:30 and out the door by 7:50 to do a 4 mile run around the neighborhood. All in all it was good, but MAN was I tired from yesterday’s run. It took me until mile 3.5 for me to hit a good rhythm and groove and before I knew it, 4 miles was done! Uh, what? Which made me realize that I think my “magic number” or “magic mileage” is 5 miles. I feel nice and strong when I run 5 miles. It’s not too short where I am still trying to find my pace and it’s not too long where I am dragging. 5 miles is nice. 🙂

Anyway, my 4 miles this morning took me a little longer than expected- 33:24 with an average pace of 8:21. Ouch! Well, that’s what hills do you you! 😉

After my run, my stomach wasn’t feeling all too happy, so I showered and then ate breakfast (sorry for the bad lighting!)

  • 1 container of TJ’s Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 honeycrisp apple
  • 8-10 almonds
  • 1/3 c. multi-grain oats

I may not have a post until later today! DC is calling my name! Have a great day everyone! 🙂

What is your “magic number” for mileage? Have you ever been to DC?

An Early Christmas With The Family

December 21, 2010

I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking since I’m exhausted and have to get up early tomorrow (4 mile run and then I’m hitting DC!).

Tonight my mom, two cousins, two aunts, and uncle headed over to my other aunt and uncle’s house for an early Christmas dinner. 🙂 It was the first time all of us have been together in a very long time. The evening was full of games, prizes, presents, good food, and laughter. 🙂

Games…

Prizes…

(I ended up winning a dollar! Going to the D-SLR fund. ;))

Lots of food…

I had some fresh veggies…

A salad times two….

Lot’s of fruit…and almost all of that pasta…

Half glass of wine 😉 … with water of course…

And I can’t forget the desserts…

I had a small bite of everything…

  • Three different types of the holiday bark I made (I went back for a few more small pieces)
  • A cookie
  • A bite of blueberry pie
  • A bite of lemon sorbet
  • A sliver of fruit cake (which I actually liked!)

Some presents were opened…

And photos were taken…

All four sisters together again at last. (From youngest to eldest) 🙂

Silly dog! 😉

A great evening. 🙂

Night everyone! 🙂

Running Is My Therapy

December 21, 2010
tags:

Fact. Running 5 miles when you are frustrated and/or angry WILL make you run faster. (Well, at least for me)

I was planning on going to a gym after this morning’s post. When I got to the (24 hour!) gym, it was closed. How is a 24 hour gym closed? Really? Explain that to me.

Anyway, the gym was a no-go so I resigned myself to running in my aunt’s neighborhood. I really didn’t want to go. It is cold, the neighborhood is very hilly, and for once in my life, I actually wanted to run on a treadmill. *sigh*

When I began my run I was super angry. And stressed. And frustrated. Not just about the gym being closed but with other personal matters going on in my life right now. So I ran. And ran. And ran. I ran up hills, down hills, around snow and ice…I zoned out and before I knew it, I had already pounded out 2 miles- and I was going fast. Too fast for a five mile run. I slowed my pace down a little and kept running.

When my Garmin beeped for the 5 mile lap I took a double take- 40:29 (8:06 pace). Really? That’s the fastest I have ever ran 5 miles (okay, by a second, but still!). I haven’t ran 5 miles that fast since November 9th- prior to my injury. And at the end of my run- I didn’t feel like I was going to die. I actually felt great physically and mentally! How’s that for therapy? 😉

I didn’t get back from my run until 2, and I had a lot to do before going over to my other aunt’s house for dinner. I made a quick lunch that would hold me over for a few hours, while I made some chocolate bark for later. 😉

I mixed equal parts peanut flour and water (2 T each) and spread it on a Thomas Bagel Thin with a honeycrisp apple.

I also had a carrot and a Peppermint Delight Cookie I received in the mail yesterday from Heather! 🙂 I won them in the Holiday Bake Sale Tina hosted a few weeks ago! The cookies are delicious Heather! 😉

I’m off to get ready for dinner with my aunt! Hopefully I will have a lot of pictures from tonight’s festivities! 😉

Have a great evening! 🙂

Christmas Concert

December 21, 2010

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.” -Tim Duncan

Nifty little quote huh? 😉 I thought it was clever.

I have to hand it to all the parents of children under the age of 13… elementary/middle school holiday concerts are quite the experience. My 6th grade cousin’s school had their annual Christmas Concert (I can say Christmas since it is a Catholic school). The band played and the children sang. It was cute and very adorable, but it felt LONG! My goodness…. I was on a tweeting spree!!!

You know… I have to catch up with the blogging world. 😉

Before the concert, I made a quick breakfast:

In the mix:

  • 1 container TJ’s Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/8 c. TJ’s Country Pumpkin Spice Granola
  • 1/8 c. multi-grain oats
  • Large handful of blueberries (I wanted to finish the pack)
  • 10 almonds

I’m off to the gym!

See you guys later! 😉