We’re ba-ack!

From the honeymoon, that is.

It was lovely.  Honestly, this post will probably be pretty light on text, because, well, we didn’t DO much.  And it was glorious. 

Since we love driving and road trips, and saving money, we decided to road trip it to and from the honeymoon cruise.  So…Kansas City to New Orleans.  A 14 hour drive, if you were to do it straight through.  But that’s no fun.

We left early on Friday morning and drove through the day until we arrived in Memphis just in time for dinner.  It was when we sat down here I realized, “Ahh, vacation!” for the first time.

We went to Bosco’s, a brewery/pub type place.  Tim relaxed with a beer.

Honeymoon 054

The beer was awesome.  The food (we got individual pizzas) was just so-so. 


Honeymoon 055

We stayed the night in northern Mississippi, and drove from there to New Orleans (about 6 more hours) on Saturday morning.  Our cruise was on the Carnival Triumph to Progreso and Cozumel, Mexico.

Embarkation was kind of a clusterfuck, frankly.  We sat in traffic to get parking at the Port of New Orleans for at least an hour.  Once we parked, it was long line after long line after long line in the heat to get everything checked in and secured and whatnot.  I get that it’s necessary and all, but it was a pretty big buzzkill.  We also got a notice that because of the oil spill, we’d be leaving at 9 pm rather than 4 pm, which would have been nice to know beforehand so we didn’t have to get up at the asscrack of dawn to get there on time.  But, alas.

Eventually we made it through and got on the boat and took  pictures.  New Orleans!

Honeymoon 056

Honeymoon 057

Honeymoon 058

Honeymoon 059

Honeymoon 060

After all the travel hectic-ness, I needed a drink.

Honeymoon 039

With an umbrella, naturally. 

One of the nice things about Carnival was their beverage policy.  Although the cruise did not include the cost of soda or alcohol, they allow each guest to carry on (not check) a 12 pack of soda and a bottle of wine (not hard liquor).  We each carried on soda, so we didn’t pay for that all week, and a bottle of wine, which contributed to two fun, boozy nights.  We did end up buying a few mixed drinks, but the prices were reasonable (about $5 for an Absolut vodka/tonic, about $7 for a fancy mixed drink or top shelf booze) and the drinks were STRONG. 

Here is a montage of what we did pretty much the entire trip.

Honeymoon 061Honeymoon 041

Honeymoon 048

Read and laze.  Yes, I got sunburned.  I swear to you, it was accidental—no joke, Tim and I used an entire spray can of SPF 30 the first day on the boat and we both got burned anyway.  I’d brought two cans, but the aerosol thingamajig was not working in the second one, and the store on the boat was closed, so we spent our second day in the shade!

Our first port was Progreso, Mexico.  We didn’t get off the boat for very long—we just browsed around a duty-free shopping area near the dock.  Nothing too exciting. 

Progreso is not the most scenic.

Honeymoon 042 Honeymoon 043

The second port was Cozumel, which I don’t have any pictures of.  We did debark that day and take a snorkeling tour, which was fantastic.  I’d never snorkeled before, but it was so much fun!   Definitely the highlight of the trip.

A few random photos inside the boat.   The lobby:

   Honeymoon 046

The barstools that made us crave Reese’s:

Honeymoon 047

Our stateroom:

Honeymoon 064

Honeymoon 065 

Assorted towel creatures:

Honeymoon 049

Honeymoon 062 

Honeymoon 063

And the ONE picture we got together on the whole honeymoon:

Honeymoon 068

My impatient debarkation face:


All in all, we enjoyed cruising.  While we decided we’d probably both go on a cruise again, we’d probably not go with Carnival.  Here are the pros and cons, in my opinion.


  • Service was great.  Our stateroom steward and dining room waitress were both very nice and helpful, and all the other Carnival employees were perfectly attentive and polite.  They were really a highlight of the trip—anything we needed or wanted, they would get it for us.
  • The boat was very clean and well-staffed. 
  • Cozumel was a beautiful port.  We didn’t see enough of Progreso to judge it fairly!
  • The drinks we ordered at the various bars were all really good and made strong.
  • I really liked the breakfasts on board, especially in the main dining room!  The omelets I had were great, and I liked generally that the portion sizes were fairly small so you didn’t overeat too much.
  • We really loved the excursion we booked in Cozumel through Carnival.
  • They show movies outdoors at night, and we really enjoyed (re)watching the most recent Harry Potter movie with a bottle of wine on our last night!


  • My biggest issue was the food.  We agreed that the Lido deck (buffet style area) was about one click up from college dorm food, and the main dining room was maybe two clicks up.  We had a few things that we really liked (Tim had lamb he said was great, I had a few good pasta and fruit dishes), but everything else was pretty unremarkable or just kind of bad.  But, we recognize you get what you pay for, and we were on a budget. 
  • There was one show we wanted to see the entire cruise—a comedian—and the lounge was packed, standing room only, when we showed up 20 minutes early.
  • SMOKING.  It seemed like everyone on the boat had a cigarette dangling from their mouth or fingers the whole time.  It was really annoying.  If there were non-smoking areas on the boat, they weren’t enforced.
  • I did not like being constantly hounded by photographers to take cheesy posed photos.  We said “no thanks” every time, but it was a little annoying after awhile.

Anyway, just my opinion, take it with a grain of salt!

After we debarked, we set out to explore New Orleans for the day, mostly with our stomachs.  Our first stop was for beignets and coffee at the iconic Cafe du Monde.

Honeymoon 069

We split an order of beignets and whoa, they were good.  (But, you know, it’s pretty hard to screw up fried dough coated in sugar.)

Honeymoon 070 

We walked around the French Quarter for awhile.  It was HOT!

Honeymoon 071

Honeymoon 073

Honeymoon 072

You guys, I have a confession to make.  Our second gastronomic adventure of the day MIGHT be my #1 highlight of the entire honeymoon.  (Um, except spending lots of time with my husband.  Right.  Tim > ham sandwich.)

For lunch, we visited the John Besh (who is kind of a total hottie, and OMG did I just say hottie?) restaurant Luke.  (There is a dotty thing over the U, but I am too tired to figure that one out.)  I am 99% certain this was the best meal of my life.

I ordered the Croque Madame.  In normal terms, a ham sandwich with Emmentaler cheese and a fried egg on top.  With French fries.

Honeymoon 052

You guys, I cannot even explain this sandwich.  It was out of control good.  Everything.  The egg, the ham, the bread, the cheese…to die for.  I mashed up the yolk so the whole sandwich was nice and eggy and ate it with a knife and fork.  It was obvious the ham was not just HAM, but…god, I don’t know.  Made from a golden pig, or something. 

Tim liked it, too.  He got cochon au lait, which was basically some kind of pulled pork and ham sandwich with cherry mustard, Emmentaler cheese and cornichons.  I tried a little and it was also from the same gilded pig that made my sandwich.

Honeymoon 051

We spent the afternoon exploring the garden district (no pictures, because I was driving) and then set out for our final gigantic decadent meal of the day at Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA.

28975_861971051100_15908788_46920072_3742017_n 28975_861971240720_15908788_46920075_3395408_nMy meal was just okay.  Tim raved about his, though, and we both loved dessert there.

On Friday, we drove through to Tim’s parents’ house in southern MO, stayed there for the night, and drove the last few hours home this morning.  It feels good to be back, although I’m flying to Fort Lauderdale for work Wednesday through Sunday!

In other news, I went to my favorite running store today and bought the running shoes I hope will solve my problems—neutral, wide width, half size larger New Balances.  They feel like clouds on my feet.  Cross your fingers that these will be “the one.”

                     Honeymoon 074

Can you believe marathon training starts officially in a WEEK?  Not me.  I’ve missed regular running and racing with all the wedding mania that’s been going on the last two months!  I’m working on finding and registering for some races in June and July to keep me occupied—we’ll see how it goes!

Did I miss anything big?  What happened in the blog world last week?

Playing it by ear

Thank goodness it’s Friday!

Today did NOT go according to plan…but in a good way!

My boss owed us all a lunch out, and she announced that today was the day!

So I abandoned my packed lunch in the fridge in lieu of lunch out.  Hooray!

I had a soup and salad combo—chicken noodle and Caesar (easy on the dressing.)  I also had one or two of the appetizer she ordered for the table—Portobello mushroom “fries”!  They were pretty awesome.  The chicken noodle soup was great—it was really different.  It was almost more like a chicken tortilla soup because it was spicy, but I liked it!

No pictures because I’m camera shy at work (when my office door is open.)

My boss came back late…because she’d stopped at a bakery to get us all chocolatey desserts!  What a lady.

I wasn’t really sure what mine was, although it was mildly phallic.

0423 001


0423 002

It was kind of like a fancy pants Three Musketeers bar.  I had two bites and tossed the rest—it was good but not great.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty easy.  My boss has specifically stated that I’m not going to get assigned anything TOO in-depth until after the wedding.  Apparently I’ve looked a bit frazzled lately!

I was prepared to hit the gym after work, but then I got an e-mail…the gym was closing today at 5 for a special “thank the gym employees” event!  So, home I went.   It’s probably for the best, because my left shin has been complaining intermittently all week.  STILL.  Ugh.

We decided to celebrate the weekend with an animal photo shoot.

0423 003  0423 005 0423 006 0423 008 0423 010

Please ignore my godawful roots.  I’m getting my hair dyed tomorrow!

This is the big project this weekend: 0423 011

Programs.  They will be done this weekend if it kills me.  And it might. 

Anyone else get a fun surprise today?


Hi, guys.  Sorry no post last night–we just needed some unplugged couple time together.  (And red wine, and dark chocolate.)

Anyway, early yesterday I decreed it pajama day–all pajamas, all day long.  We played a lot of video games (Super Mario Galaxy on Wii for me, Assassin’s Creed on XBox for Tim), watched TV (the Soup, West Wing on DVD, Tivoed Gilmore Girls reruns), and I spent a particularly glorious hour reading in bed with a mug of hot chocolate with Milhouse and Buckley.  We made homemade pizza and a salad for dinner and it was yummy.

Today started out in perhaps the best possible way–Tim woke me up with homemade waffles!  He is really the expert on non-egg breakfasts around here, as his pancakes and waffles are really, really good, and mine always wind up awkward and half raw.  I had two, with a little maple syrup (way more than I intended because the spout was fast!) and almond butter.  And coffee.

I was planning on a run today, buuut my iPhone indicated that the temperature was a frosty -1 degree outside today.   I am hardcore, but negative digits are not my friend.  I’m taking the weekend off so I can be fresh for half mary training, which starts officially on Monday!  Whee.

Today’s plan involved a few random errands.  I had some checks to deposit, and we decided to get the wedding tuxes all squared away.  We ended up going to Men’s Wearhouse and picking out a simple, classic, two-button black tux with a white tuxedo shirt.  They only rent out clip-on bowties, which make me gag, so we are going to buy black silk bowties for the guys to wear.

We also got some groceries and had a late lunch at Panera.  We didn’t get much–oranges, bananas, pears, an onion, some potatoes, whole wheat flour, red wine (we’re cabernet junkies now), and soup (I’ve been on the I love soup train lately).

Plus, a few random protein bars I found on sale.

They were $.88 each, and at 280 calories and 20 grams of protein each, will be split in two, so $.44/serving.  For a protein bar, that’s practically unheard of!  Unfortunately I let my bargain hunter side take over and forgot to check for HFCS, and they do contain it.  Boo, hiss.  I’ll eat them, but I won’t re-buy.

Also, on New Year’s Eve, I went to Costco and stocked up on a few basics.  Tons of Chobani, a massive bag of dried cherries, 40 slices of cheese (oh yeah), shampoo, chicken breasts, and lean beef.  I also purchased the world’s largest box of oats.  (Are you in shock?  Me too.  I’m definitely a breakfast cookie junkie now, but you still won’t catch me eating hot oats in the morning!)

For scale, I needed a volunteer:

Oats > cat.

Anyway, after shopping, we went to a second mall so Tim could get one of his favorite dress shirts, then we went home.  Now we are planning on another chill night at home with the animals–I’m making a simple whole wheat pasta with chicken, olive oil, garlic, and parmesan for dinner, along with a green salad.  I’m attempting to master my mom’s perfect non-salad dressing vinegar and oil combo!  It’s heavenly and so good for you–it’s just olive oil, apple cider vinegar, oregano, fresh garlic, salt, and garlic powder, but it’s so hard to do it just like my mom does.  I’ll report back if I get it right tonight!

Have a great Saturday.  Don’t forget to enter my RoadID Giveaway!

Bar Review

This post will be more fun than actual bar review, which I suffered through last summer and sucks a lot. Yuck!

I love bars.  I’ve always loved granola bars, but as I started looking more and more into nutrition I tried to figure out ways to make them work for me.  Here are some criteria I look for in a good bar:

  • Not just empty carbs.  A bar should have a fair amount of protein OR a fair amount of fat, both of which keep me fuller than carbs.
  • No high fructose corn syrup.
  • Pronounceable ingredients. (Sometimes I let this slide for the sake of a protein boost.)
  • Not sickly sweet, but still tasty
  • A few grams of fiber

Anyway, I consider myself a bar connoisseur.  Here’s a rundown of every bar I’ve ever eaten, the good, the bad, and the ugly!  (I have eaten a LOT of bars, so be warned!)

Clif Bar

Clif bars are a big, thick, hearty bar that are usually pretty calorie dense–240ish calories or so.  I generally eat them split in half for a snack or a whole one for a light breakfast on the go.  I find that they’re good pre-run fuel!  They are heavier on carbs and lower on protein, which is also good for that.  They also come in a handy mini size, which are great purse snacks.  Clif bars are practically indestructible–you can leave them in your purse for months and they’ll still be edible and mostly non-smashed.

Clif bar flavors I’ve tried:

  • Chocolate Chip (good! Like a chocolate chip cookie.)
  • White Chocolate Macadamia (so-so.  A little sickly sweet for me.)
  • Banana Nut (so-so.  Would be great warmed up with peanut butter!)
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter (good!  A basic, yummy peanut bar with chunks of peanuts.)
  • Chocolate Brownie (Second favorite!)
  • Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch (so-so.  A little too sweet.)
  • Chocolate Almond Fudge (LOVE.  This is my favorite flavor.  The almonds keep it from being too sweet.)

Luna Bars

When I was losing weight, I “treated” myself with a Luna Bar for dessert every night.  I loved them!  They are great refrigerated.  They’re a little less calorie dense than a Clif Bar and have more protein (about 180 calories/9 grams of protein per bar).  I burned out on them after about four months of eating one every single day and I’m just now getting to a point where I can eat them again.  Currently, I have the Luna minis in my desk (pictured below)–about 70 calories and perfect for a little bite when you need it.

Luna Bar flavors I’ve tried:

  • Nutz over Chocolate (so-so.  The “nutz” part doesn’t take particularly nutty to me.)
  • Caramel Nut Brownie (Second favorite!  Has a nice, thick layer of caramel on top.)
  • Chocolate Peppermint Stick (good!  Tastes like a Girl Scout Thin Mint.)
  • Lemon Zest (Barf.  This is one of few bars I’ve tried, taken a bite, and thrown away instantly.)
  • Dulce de Leche (so-so.  Very, very sweet.)
  • Peanut Butter Cookie (good! Has a very realistic peanut butter cookie flavor.)
  • Iced Oatmeal Cookie (good! If you like cinnamon and raisins, you’d love this.)
  • White Chocolate Macadamia (so-so.  Again, I’m just not a white chocolate fan.)
  • S’mores (so-so.  I burned out on it.)
  • Chocolate Raspberry (Favorite!  Typing this made me wish I had one.  I generally don’t like chocolate and raspberry together, either.)

Clif Builders Bars

These bars are high in calories and high in protein.  I ate them when I was doing lots of heavy weightlifting–3 or 4 days a week–and needed a huge protein boost.  They are very, very good as far as protein bars, but a bit pricey!

Clif Builder’s flavors I’ve tried:

  • Chocolate: Probably the best.  Basic, chocolate protein bar.  I like that all these bars have a little crunch to them!
  • Peanut butter: Also good.  Has a nice chocolate coating.  The PB flavor is a little fakey though.
  • Vanilla almond: Meh.  You’d like these if you liked white chocolate more than I do.

Clif Mojo Bars:

One of the pros of these bars is that they’re generally high in healthy fats from nuts, which I like.  When I track calories, I often find I don’t get enough fat and nuts are the way to go to balance that out.   They are around 200 calories and also have 9-10 grams of protein.  They are more of a trail mix type bar than a granola or protein bar, which is a nice change!

Clif Mojo bar flavors I’ve tried:

  • Mountain Mix: A basic trail mix bar with yummy chocolate chips.  This is awesome–pretzels, nuts, raisins and chocolate!
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly: This is a new flavor!  The bar is bright purple with a peanut butter coating on the bottom.  It’s really different, but I like it a lot.
  • Chocolate Peanut: Also good!

Clif Kids Z Bars

I prefer these bars to regular granola bars any day.  They are soft and chewy and taste incredibly decadent, and have 120-140 calories, a few grams of protein and a few grams of fiber.  They also rate high on the indestructibility scale–I can leave them in my purse, gym bag, or desk for months with minimal damage.

Z Bar Flavors I’ve tried:

  • Chocolate Brownie (LOVE!  My favorite.  Chewy and delicious with chocolate chunks)
  • Chocolate Chip (Also awesome.  Tastes like a chocolate chip cookie!)
  • Blueberry Muffin (Yet again, a winner.  Doesn’t quite taste like a blueberry muffin, but still yummy!)
  • Honey Graham (So-so–I like them, but they’re not my favorite.)
  • Peanut Butter (Pretty great.  I actually haven’t had a bad Z Bar yet!)

Zone Bars

Zone bars are based on the popular (and surprisingly, reasonable and healthy) Zone diet.  This means that they are 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbs, which many people consider to be a perfect “macro split.”  They usually weigh in around 200 calories, and I like them for a pre-workout snack!  However, these are the most “artificial” tasting of any of the bars I’m reviewing, generally.  I like them, but they’re not my favorite.

Zone Bar flavors I’ve tried:

  • Chocolate Mint (yuck.  Not that great.)
  • Chocolate Coconut Crunch (Yum!  Probably my favorite.  I’m a sucker for chocolate and coconut together.)
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter (So-so.  Very sweet.)
  • Double Dark Chocolate (Yum!  Second favorite, probably?)
  • Dark Chocolate Almond (also good)
  • Chocolate Caramel Crunch (is still in my desk drawer!)

Balance Bars

First off–a bit of a warning.  Some Balance bars contain HFCS, so you have to read the ingredients on each flavor!  I’ve accidentally had a few with it in it, so be careful.  However, I do find these bars to be a really great protein bar with yummy flavors.  They are about 200 calories and have around 15 grams of protein.  They don’t particularly travel well because most of them have some kind of chocolate coating, which melts, and they are soft and smash easily.

Flavors of Balance Bars I’ve tried:

  • Almond Brownie (An acquired taste.  I do like them, though!  They are different from most bars and have a very chewy, almost fruit leathery texture.)
  • Mocha Chip (I hated this at first but after a few bites I was hooked.  It’s very dark and rich, so if you like that this is a good choice.)
  • Peanut Butter (Surprisingly, my favorite!  It’s a PB bar with PB coating and it tastes almost exactly like my aunt’s PB fudge.  If you like PB, this is the bar for you.)
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter (So-so.  A pretty basic protein bar.  Nothing special.)
  • Cookie Dough (I like these but don’t love them.  They’re really sweet, but do have a pretty good cookie dough flavor!)
  • Caramel Nut Blast (Love these.  They taste very, very similar to a Snickers bar!)
  • Bare Chocolate Cashew (These are a little different and basically Balance’s equivalent of a Larabar.  I love, love, love these too.  They have much more natural ingredients than most Balance bars and are still yummy and filling.  Thumbs up!)


Generally speaking, Larabars are a little low on the protein scale for me and high in carbs and sugar.  But, I like their flavors and I like that they’re totally natural.  They are hard to find in my area for some reason, unfortunately!

Larabar flavors I’ve tried:

  • Apple Pie (I don’t remember this one.  Sorry.  I know I’ve had it, though.  That should tell you something.)
  • Coconut Cream Pie (I love coconut so I had high hopes, but this was just way too sweet.)
  • Cashew Cookie (I like that it features cashews, but it’s pretty boring.)
  • Peanut Butter Cookie (So-so.  Pretty bland.)
  • Cherry Pie (mouth-puckeringly tart!  Way too much so.)
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly (Yum!  Second favorite.  The sweetness of the cherries nicely balances the less sweet flavor of the peanuts.)
  • Chocolate Coconut (Favorite!  Again, I’m a sucker for chocolate/coconut combo.)
  • Banana Bread (Not bad, would buy again.  Nice to have a banana bar that isn’t fakey tasting.)

Kashi Granola Bars

Kashi granola bars are kind of a lightweight.  They’re about 120-140 calories and usually have 4-6 grams of protein (which is pretty good).  They are not my favorite, BUT they do travel well and I pick them up when they’re on sale to have on hand.  Of note: these are the only bars I’ve found that go stale.  After opening the box, eat them within a month or so.  They get really dry and hard if you don’t!

Kashi bar flavors I’ve tried:

  • Peanut Peanut Butter (Like this.  It’s a very light peanut flavor.)
  • Chocolate Raspberry (Yum!  Not a big fan of chocolate/raspberry but this is a pretty good combo.)
  • Chocolate Coconut (These two are always a winner in my book.)
  • Cherry Dark Chocolate (My complaint about this bar is that if there’s no cherry chunk or dark chocolate in your bite, it tastes like nothing.  Otherwise it’s good.)
  • Trail Mix  (Blech.  These were totally flavorless.  I threw the box away.)
  • Mocha Almond (VERY strong coffee flavor, so if you’re not a coffee lover throw these away!  I liked them but I’m not sure if I’d buy them again.)
  • Honey Almond Flax (Good, but these taste quite different from the cereal.)

Okay, I think I’ll go nuts if I review another bar.  I’ve also tried several varieties of the Atkins bars, Pure Protein bars, a Bumble Bar, and a Bear Naked granola bar.  If anyone is dying for a review of any of these bars, let me know and I’ll do a bar review addendum!

One day left to enter my Thankful Tee Giveaway!

What’s your favorite bar?  Anything I should try that I’m missing out on? After reading Susan’s blog the last week, I’m going to pick up a Kind bar next time I see them in stores!

Fit bride fail?

Some days I do not feel like a fit bride.  Today is one of those days.

As you know, I’m in Chicago for a work related thingamajig.  Said thingamajig presented some interesting challenges.

Breakfast was a whole wheat bagel (okay) with a little bit of cream cheese (no big deal) on half with a bunch of fruit salad (great).

Lunch was my nightmare and I think part of the reason I sometimes panic-eat.  We were presented with an array of sandwiches, potato salad, fruit, and cookies.

The problem with this was me.  I am picky.  I have condiment issues.  MAJOR condiment issues.  (Tangent alert.)  When I was in grade school, I simply did not like ketchup because I thought it was gross looking (and still do).  It is red and gelatinous and icky.  Well, my classmates found out and thought it was HILARIOUS that I was so WEIRD.  And their response?  Open up ketchup packets at lunchtime and squirt the ketchup at me.  It would land on me, and my food, and I would freak out.  It was awful. Anyway, to this day I cannot eat condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, BBQ sauce) and I have an actual visceral fear of ketchup.  When someone is using a ketchup packet near me I want to vomit and run away and I sweat and my heart beats fast.  It is awful.

But anyway, let me backtrack.  Lunch.  These sandwiches?  Positively dripping with mayonnaise and various liquidy sauces.  Gross.  Potato salad?  Coated with mayo.  So, my lunch was a big plate of fruit, a Zone bar (eaten while hiding in the bathroom so I wouldn’t have to explain my condiment issues to people), and a cookie.

(P.S.: This bar kinda sucked.  I like the Zone dark chocolate ones much better.  This was super artificial.  Ick.)

Then we were stuck in Chicago traffic for two hours and now my flight is delayed so I won’t get home to Kansas City until 9 pm-ish, meaning that this will be, oh, a 13 hour work day.  I was planning on a healthy dinner and run or a workout DVD when I got home (which would have normally been at 6:30).

Instead I ate dinner at the airport with my co-workers.  I had a ginormous slice of cheese pizza because the healthy options looked like shite.  (Honestly, I swear, I was dying for a good salad—romaine, spinach, goat cheese, grilled chicken, dried cherries, and carrots with balsamic sounds heavenly to me right now).  I did at least manage to add a fruit cup to the side.  (Today’s theme is fruit salad, apparently.)  I did buy a food-related book to read, though!

Then, when I FINALLY got into KC,  I forgot where I parked my car and ended up crying on the phone to T, eventually finding my car, coming home and eating some leftover mac and cheese, wine, and ice cream.

Anyway, I’m feeling a bit down about it all.  I hate complaining and blaming things on my busy schedule, but…it’s been a hell of a day.

I think what makes me not a total fit bride fraud is that I felt bad about this all.  I WANTED to work out.  When I was sitting in the airport, I wanted nothing more than to be home with the dog running down my blog with a healthy dinner waiting at home.  Obviously, I have to work on my travel strategies…but, I know I can do this.  I know I can.  Tomorrow is a new day, and my lunch bag is packed with that awesome spinach/carrot/dried cherry/goat cheese/balsamic salad I’ve been craving, Greek yogurt and berries, and a slice of my souvenir bread.  Huzzah!

Anyway, I’m exhausted and cranky.  Good night!

What are your favorite foods to travel with?


Cliff Hanger Run 8K Recap

Well, it turns out my fears about this race were totally unfounded.  My body is still in good shape despite my cut back in running the last few weeks, and my lungs didn’t rebel (much)!

I woke up this morning feeling kind of sluggish and not into the whole idea of racing today.  I hit the snooze button a few times before finally getting up.  I debated for a few minutes whether I should stick with my planned long-sleeved tech shirt, or go for the short sleeves, since the high today is going to be 70 degrees.  I took Milhouse out for a short walk and decided to stick with long sleeves, figuring I could always push them up if I got hot.  I ate some blueberry toast with almond butter, and we were on the way!

We arrived about 15 minutes before the start.  T decided to take a fake action running shot of me beforehand:


Lovely.  As you can see, the scenery was, well, scenic.  The whole race had a lot of very pretty fall foliage.  Also of note: I bought a 2-pack of cheap gloves at Target for $1.50 since my hands froze in my last race.  I wore one pair.  They were nice for the first half of the race, but were a bit hot and itchy towards the end.  They’d be great in slightly cooler temps, I think.  Also (TMI alert), they were lovely for wiping snot off my face and stray pieces of spit.

Anyway, they sung the National Anthem.  And then resumed playing Eric Clapton music?  An odd choice.  And, we were off.

Mile 0-1 involved a lot of jockeying for position.  I started mid-pack, and of course I had to dodge 5K walkers who don’t quite get the concept of “runners in front.”  I picked two guys that I wanted to follow–they looked like they were keeping a pace similar to mine, and they were both wearing KC Marathon Finisher shirts.  I kept with them for the first half of the race, and then kept them in my line of sight for the rest, although they were ahead of me.  I hit the first mile marker at almost exactly 10:00, which is what I was shooting for.  I also saw the people who were clearly going to win the 5K, and dang, they were fast.  I know a lot of people hate out-and-back courses, but I like them because I like cheering for the leaders (especially the lead women) and getting cheered for by the walkers on the back.

Mile 1-2 was mostly downhill, with a slight hill near the end.  I have to say, I was expecting a hilly course but this wasn’t bad at all.  The inclines were gentle and long rather than short and steep like in my neighborhood.  I spent a lot of this mile amused by a couple pushing a double baby jogger with an angry baby in it that kept throwing its blanket out of the stroller.  Eventually the kid successfully got rid of it and the parents didn’t notice, so, hope he wasn’t too attached to it.  We split from the 5K crowd at the mile and a half mark and I had a quick sip of water at the water station.  I hit the mile 2 marker around 19:45, meaning I’d picked my pace up nicely.

Mile 2-3 was probably the hardest part of the race for me, because I kept thinking that I saw the 8K turnaround just ahead…but it wasn’t quite there.  Finally, I hit the turnaround and got a little more water.  I don’t really remember much of this mile, other than just saying, “You do NOT need to walk.” repeatedly.  And I didn’t.  I think I clocked in at mile 3 again just short of running 10:00 miles–maybe 29:45 or so.

Mile 3-4 I remember being somewhat uphill and very twisty–lots of curves.  It was here, I think, that we started to catch up to the people who were walking the 5K.   I remember having to do a lot of maneuvering to pass groups of children, people with strollers, groups walking 4 and 5 across.  It was annoying.  I also recall seeing a “mile 2” sign, which I assume was for the 5K people, but I freaked a little nonetheless.

Mile 4-5 I pushed hard.  I really, really didn’t think I’d be able to hit my initial goal of running the race in under 50 minutes because of the lung problems I’d been having, but when I finished Mile 4 at about 39:50 I knew I could do it if I just kept up the same steady pace I’d been running.  I picked it up, especially after seeing the half mile sign, and once I saw the finish line I literally sprinted.  In fact, I started sprinting so soon that about 50 yards from the finish line I almost had to stop because I didn’t think I had it in me.  But I did!

My final chip time was (drumroll please) 49:38!  I beat my goal without even thinking about it for the first few miles.

Unfortunately, I told T that I’d probably be finishing at about 51:00-55:00, so he wasn’t ready with the camera when I finished.  Instead, he got this highly flattering shot of me about 20 seconds after finishing:


Oh, T.  One day I will get a photo of me actually crossing the finish line in a race.  I swear.

After a brief investigation to find out my chip time, we hit up First Watch to refuel post-race.  I had an omelet with potatoes and an English muffin, two cups of coffee and a whole lot of water.  Well worth it!  If nothing else, here are before and after shots of my food:




Mmm.  According to my Polar, I burned 756 calories during the race, with a maximum heart rate of 202, so obviously I needed to refuel accordingly.  (It’s now maybe 1.5 hours after lunch and I’m already feeling my tummy rumble again.  I think a snack is in order soon!)

Anyway, even though I may have had kind of a shite attitude going into this race, I’m super proud of how I did.  I feel 100% confident that I’m going to be fine for my half marathon in April, and pretty soon I’m going to try to get together some winter/spring races to prep.  I’d like to do at least one 10K before the half, so hopefully I’ll be able to find one that works.

Thanks to all you guys for your support!  I thought of you when the going got tough!

Annnd we’re off

So, in a few hours we’ll be on the road, making the long haul from Kansas City to Chicago (about 8 hours by car) for our sister-5K-wedding-extravaganza weekend.  Here’s the lineup:


  • Drive eight hours home.  Arrive sane at my mom’s house.
  • Sleep.


  • 5K with my sister
  • Reception food tasting with T, my mom, and my sister
  • Hair salon consultation
  • Meeting with pastor
  • Dinner with my oldest friend (and bridesmaid) and her husband


  • Meeting with florist
  • Cake tasting (!!)
  • Dinner with my aunt and uncle


  • Drive home

Phew!  We’re going to be busy.  I have some great guest posts all ready to go, so keep checking in to read some fun stuff from some of my favorite bloggers!

As far as the 5K, my goals are no walking (it’s a flat course, so I feel like this is definitely achievable) and finish in under 31:00.  (My secret goal is under 30:00, but I’m not sure I know how to pace myself that well yet.  I think 10 minute miles is do-able.)  I’m not sure if my sister and I are going to stick together, or if she’s just going to take off and smoke me, but we will see.  I’ll have a full race report when I return!  Wish me luck!

Have a great weekend!  Any fun plans?


When T and I got engaged, we talked priorities.  “Awesome food” was number one.  Honestly, neither of us cared at all about how pretty our reception location was, as long as it wasn’t heinously tacky, if the food was good.

Anyway, our reception location is pretty cool-looking anyway (kind of reminds me of a 1940s lounge or something) and we like it.  But now, we are dealing with picking a menu.  Our dinner will be served family style, so large dishes will be brought to each table and passed around and refilled as needed.  We get two appetizers, two salads, two pastas, two entrees, and two desserts (plus wedding cake).  Since we are doing our tasting on Saturday and are limited in the amount of stuff we can take, this is what we roughly have listed as definite selections or contenders for each course.


  • Stuffed mushrooms: Jumbo mushroom caps stuffed with spinach and topped with our seasoned breadcrumbs and house cheese; served in a white wine chicken broth. (definite.  These are to die for.)
  • Bruschetta: Italian garlic bread toasted and topped with a tomato bruschetta relish made of diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and roasted garlic. (definite.  We both love it and it’s a crowd pleaser.)


  • Spinach: Tender leaf spinach tossed with roasted red peppers, sweet roasted onions, gorgonzola cheese, apple cider vinigrette and topped with smoked bacon and toasted pine nuts. (Definite.  We love spinach and spinach salads.  Lettuce doesn’t often find it’s way into our house.)
  • Italian tossed salad: Iceberg, Arugula, Kalamata Olives, Red Onions, Pepperoncini & Italian Vinaigrette (Contender.  We’re sampling it on Saturday.)
  • Tomato and mozzarella caprese:(Contender.  Sampling on Saturday, and oddly there is no menu description of this)
  • Italian antipasti (Contender.  Ditto above.)


  • Rigatoni “D”: Rigatoni pasta, herb roasted boneless chicken, mushrooms and onions, tossed in a light Marsala cream sauce. (Definite.  We love this and want to have one cream-based and one tomato-based pasta)
  • Baked ziti and sausage: (Contender.  No menu description.  Sampling this on Saturday.)


  • Chicken marsala: Chicken breasts sauteed with marsala wine, veal sauce, mushrooms, onions and basil. (Contender.  Sampling on Saturday.)
  • Beef braciole: (Contender.  Sampling on Saturday.  No description.)
  • Oven roasted pork loin with a balsamic glaze: (Ditto above.)


  • Wedding cake!  We’re sampling this on Sunday, yum, but that will probably involve chocolate.
  • Profiteroles and vanilla ice cream: Pastry shell filled with vanilla bean ice cream and topped with our own hot fudge and fresh whipped cream; dusted with cocoa powder and powdered sugar. (Contender. Sampling this on Saturday.
  • New York style cheesecake: New York style ricotta cheesecake topped with fresh berries and whipped cream. (Contender.  We’ve had this before and it’s fantastic, even though I’m not really a cheesecake person.)
  • Tiramisu: Ladyfinger cookies soaked in espresso and coffee liquer layered with mascarpone cheese;dusted with cocoa powder and served with chocolate (Contender.  We’ve had it before, and it’s T’s favorite, but I’m not a big fan.)

So, what do you think?  What do you like/don’t you like?  We are not sure if we have to build a veggie option in or if they will have something, but don’t worry–we have a few vegetarian guests and will definitely accommodate them.

Because this post has no illustrations…here’s a picture of Southpaw showing off her latest interest–drinking out of the toilet.  Classy.

kittens 012

My (not-so) secret hobby

I love grocery shopping.

We go every two weeks for a big shopping trip, and I get so excited I start making the list a few days beforehand.  I clip coupons and prepare menus.  And when I’m there, I read labels and compare prices and calculate how much things cost per ounce.  My favorite time to go is late in the evening, when it’s almost empty and I can take my sweet time and nobody cares.  T used to go with me, but for his sanity now I just let him stay at home.

So, today I took pictures while I shopped!  My first stop is the produce department.  Today I got honeycrisp apples, bananas, Bartlett pears, carrots, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes:

grocerystore 002

We shop at Super Target.  Our other options include Wal-Mart, Hy-Vee, and Price Chopper.  Wal-Mart produce and meat isn’t very good in my experience, so that’s out.  Hy-Vee has a nice health food section and bar selection, but they’re far more expensive.  Price Chopper just seems kind of dirty and is a little bit more expensive.  Plus, I like that I can pick up non-grocery things at Target–today I bought two Champion running shirts!  It’s getting a little chilly here, and the temperature for my race next week is probably going to be in the 40s-low 50s.  I generally hate having fabric on my arms when I work out and only have tank tops, but I broke down and got a short sleeved shirt and long sleeved shirt with some mesh ventilation in them.  Hopefully I like them.  But anyway, back to grocery shopping–my cart’s full at this point!

grocerystore 003

Close ups:

grocerystore 004

grocerystore 005

At the check-out:

grocerystore 006

grocerystore 007

And all packed up in the trunk.  I have a motley assortment of grocery bags, most of them freebies for various things (blood donations, attending a baseball game, charity walk) but they do the job.  Bonus: I get $.05 off my grocery bill for every bag I use:

grocerystore 008

Here’s what we wound up getting today:

  • 4 honeycrisp apples
  • 4 bananas
  • 2 yams
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • cashews
  • Gatorade mix (I’m going to try drinking this on runs)
  • frozen green beans
  • 2 boxes of risotto
  • 1 pound lentils
  • contact lens solution
  • egg noodles
  • spaghetti sauce
  • crushed tomatoes
  • lasagna noodles
  • skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 pounds extra lean ground beef (on sale! I stocked up.)
  • 2.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (ditto!)
  • 1 pound stew meat
  • 1 pound round steak
  • 1 loaf whole wheat bread
  • 1 loaf cinnamon swirl bread (not a usual buy, but I’ve been craving it)
  • multigrain bagels
  • 1.5 dozen eggs
  • cheese of various kinds (mozzarella, Mexican blend, string)
  • 1 gallon milk
  • orange juice
  • 2 large containers of yogurt
  • granola
  • laundry detergent (the cool new sheet kind! I’m excited)
  • ziploc bags
  • biscuit dough
  • beef broth
  • tomato paste
  • deli meat
  • frozen yogurt
  • Annie’s mac and cheese
  • teriyaki sauce
  • 2 running shirts

This stuff should last us roughly the next two weeks.  Sniff.

Bonus!  Check out my guest post on Susan’s blog, The Great Balancing Act, about some fitness-related things I’m thankful for!

Emergency strategies

Sorry for the late posting today.  I got a summons for jury duty today, and I was expecting to be dismissed pretty quickly since I’m an attorney (albeit unemployed, but still).   I wrote a whole fun blog post from the iPhone WordPress app, and then somehow it didn’t publish and got eaten in the process.  So, here’s me trying to recreate that post.

Since I expected to get dismissed so early today, I didn’t bring a lunch.  Sure enough, lunchtime rolls around, and I’m still there.  Boo.  Unfortunately, I don’t live in sunny and healthy tofu and salad bar California and Florida like a lot of other food bloggers.  I live in the Midwest, in a town widely celebrated for its superb barbecued meat products.  My options for lunch were Panera, Subway, Chick-Fil-A, Arby’s, pizza, Chinese buffet, and Wendy’s.  Not exactly healthy!  I debated between Panera and Subway, the two places where I know I can do relatively okay and still get a decent meal, and chose Panera because soup sounded good.

I ended up getting a You Pick Two with chicken noodle soup (picked this over yummy creamy soup for the healthy factor) and a sandwich of just turkey and gouda on tomato basil bread.  (I don’t like veggies as condiments, I like them on their own, as side dishes or salads!)  I picked an apple for a side dish instead of a white baguette or potato chips.  I didn’t miss the bacon or creamy sauce that was supposed to come on the sandwich at all.  It had a lot of flavor, and wasn’t too bad calorie wise since I opted for half instead of whole and cut the gross stuff.

jury 001

I only finished half the soup, because it was a little saltier than I like it.  (And yes, I do drink diet soda.  Unfortunately.  I’m trying to give it up so that I only drink it when I’m out for lunch or dinner, but it’s tough.  If it’s my only vice, I feel okay about it.  Nobody’s perfect!)

One thing I was also happy I did today was bring a snack.  I almost always throw some sort of bar in my purse before I leave the house in case I get a case of the hungries.  I love to snack, and I hate being without one.  I also keep bars in my car console for emergencies like this.  The key here is picking a kind of bar that travels well.  This means nothing with chocolate coating or icing on it, and nothing soft that will smush too much.  My favorites for this are Kashi chewy granola bars and Larabars.  Clif Kids bars work pretty well, but smush a bit.  Balance bars do not travel very well.  Here was my snack of choice today in my purse, a Kashi Peanut Peanut Butter chewy granola bar.  I ate it on a court recess around 3 p.m. and I was so glad I had it!

jury 003

Please excuse the grainy iPhone pictures.

In the end, I wasn’t picked for the jury (not surprisingly), but I was a little disappointed because it sounded like a really interesting case.  I’m skipping the gym tonight because my body is telling me that it’s tired and I want to see T since I haven’t all day.  I’m not concerned–life happens, and I’ll still get in at least 4 good workouts this week, AND I was pretty active yesterday.  It’s all about balance!

What are your emergency strategies for when things don’t go according to plan?