Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My race bibs love the RACER

I like my bedside table.

It was my Mother's when she was a teenager, I inherited it when I bought my house, and it matches our bedroom set perfectly.

Want to know what I keep in the drawer of the table?

My race bibs!

I have my race medals hanging from a rack in my bedroom, where I can see them whenever I walk into the room.  They are a source of pride, but when you think about it, my race bibs are too.  They tell more of a story of a race than the medals, because they are literally covered in sweat, tears, GU, water, and other fun substances. 

This is where RACER Wall Frames come in.

RACER frames capture "The Art of Racing," and are a perfect way to display race bibs, photos, basically anything that is the width of a sheet of paper.  It's a plastic frame, and really easy to use.  You just pop the top off, place your bib inside, and pop the top back on.

The first bib I chose to frame was from my dream race, the NYC Marathon.  This race was a life long goal, I dealt with injury during training, but my run couldn't have gone any better. I raised almost $3,000 for The Children's Tumor Foundation, and I had family and friends supporting me and cheering me on the whole way.

There is a good size hole in the back of the frame, so I had no problem hanging it from a small nail in the wall. I removed a clear sheet of plastic that protected the frame from scratches, see how shiny it is? You can see the reflection of my lamp in it.

Now for the fun stuff.  Between now and March 15th, you can use this code: "ARTOFRACING" for 25% off purchases at the RACER website.  In addition, every person who purchases a RACER Wall Frame online using this code will be entered into a pool to win the grand prize of ONE FREE RACE ENTRY OF THEIR CHOOSING (not to exceed $200).  So go check them out!

*Note: I was provided with a frame for the purpose of this review. My opinions on the product are my own.

Friday, February 22, 2013

What a nice way to end the week

My husband has been home with me the past couple of months.  His company had a round of layoffs and we were both let go.  It really stunk because it happened right around the holiday's.  Although I had a couple of freak out moments, I stayed positive, and had faith that something would come along.

And it has! Mike landed a great new opportunity, and he starts next week!

As this next chapter starts, looking back, I'm surprised that with all the time we've spent together, we haven't wanted to kill each other.  Although the first few days were an adjustment (I would find him sitting at the computer in the morning, when it's my routine to sit there after the kids go to school, enjoying my coffee) we got along quite well.  While the kids were in school we did the shopping together, went to the library, walked the dog, went to a couple of matinees (Mike gets major props for seeing Breaking Dawn Part Two, although I had to see Les Mis with my Mom).  Sometimes I felt like we had fast forwarded 30 years because we were always around retirees.  After a stressful couple of years, we're in a really good place.  One time, after seeing all that I do in a typical day, Mike told me how much he appreciates all I do for our family, which really made my day. 

I'm still searching for My Next Thing.  I'm in that weird limbo of someone who has solid experience, but has a big gap in my resume because I stayed home to be with my kiddo's.   Although I'm exploring some opportunities, it's almost to the point where I feel like I want to forge my own path and see where it takes me.

So we'll see what happens. 

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who entered the Albion Fit giveaway, I used random.org, and the winner is Amy Lynn! Send me an email and I'll get you set up.

Happy Running and Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Play in Four Acts: A Dog And His Couch

Act One: Dog Loves Couch.

Act Two: Because of too much love, parent's need to buy a new couch.

Act Three: Parents spend 20 minutes trying to keep dog off new couch.

Act Four: Dog Claims Couch.

Parent's Sigh.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Giveaway from Albion Fit!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I know that you should show your love every day of the year, but it's nice to have a day where you can shower extra love.  I like to put little surprises in the kid's lunches, like heart shaped turkey sandwiches and a box of heart candies.  Although I'm no longer allowed to kiss Luke in public, so I hope he isn't too mortified when he opens his lunchbox, surrounded by all his buddies in the cafeteria.

In the spirit of this lovely day, here is a gift for you ladies (or gents, if you have a lady in your life), a giveaway from Albion Fit!

Albion is a line of women's fitness wear, designed by women, for women, so they obviously know what we look for in workout clothes.  Their line includes tennis skirts, yoga pants, bike shorts, hoodies, and even swimwear.    

Albion is committed to keeping their manufacturing facility as green as possible, and as an added bonus, they use earth friendly materials in their products.

In keeping with the Valentine's Day theme, would you like a chance to to win their Love Racer top in hot pink? 

To enter, please do the following:

1. Like the Albion Fit facebook page, which you can find here
2. Pin one of your favorite items on Albion Fit onto one of your pinterest boards, and please leave a comment below with the link to that pin. 

For bonus entries you may:

1. share the giveaway info on twitter, facebook, or your blog
2. tell me what you're training for!
3. which do you prefer on a day like today? Chocolate, or flowers?

I will choose a winner using random.org on Friday February 22nd.  

Good Luck!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Music is my motivator, as well as Team Gab

It's Mardi Gras!

I'll consider this a Time Warp Tuesday photo, I think it says 2001 on my US Open shirt.  It was taken during one of our trips to The Big Easy, but not the trip where I slipped coming out of a bathroom and broke my ankle.

The E.R. in New Orleans is an interesting place, but that's another blog post.

Tomorrow is Lent, and I toyed with the idea of giving up wine for 40 days, but then I came to my senses and decided to give up chips instead.  It's been too easy for me to snag a couple from Mike's lunch plate, or grab one or two or three out of an open bag. Those add up, so away they go.

How GREAT were the Grammy's??? Aside from Taylor Swift and all her elaborate singing from her seat, the whole show was the ultimate running playlist.  I love Kelly Clarkson, I've been known to dance on the treadmill when "Stronger" comes on my iPod, and my pace kicks into high gear when I hear to Mumford & Sons.  I still can't get over the fact that Sting is 60, I used to wear one of his concert tee shirts to field hockey practice in high school.

Do you ever forget that you have certain music in your library?  I was watching the Parenthood season finale and it ended with Eddie Vedder's "You're True", which is another fantastic song to run to:

Loooove me some Eddie.

I thought my next race was a four mile Shamrock Run on March 3rd, but I signed on once again for Team Gab's Virtual Race.

I'm sure you're a reader of Marathon Running/Disney Loving/Sparkle Skirt Wearing/Eat All The Things Giraffy's blog, a few years ago her daughter Gabby was diagnosed with leukemia.  She is getting closer to the date of her final chemo treatment, and to celebrate, G is holding her second annual virtual race to benefit pediatric cancer research.

I've been sticking to runs in the four/five mile range, I figured I can kick it into gear and do a 10k for Gab.

Go and check out the race details here, and join in the fun!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Winter's Not So Bad

I don't mind running in the cold.

As long as you dress appropriately for the temperatures, getting outside on a sunny winter day is really invigorating.

Mike introduced me to snowmobiling, and the kids love to go out when we're in the Adirondacks.

Although it's nice to stay indoors once in a while.  
Eliza told me the other day that she needs a skating skirt.

I love cold little faces in hand-knit caps (thanks Aunt L!)

Although, winter sports can be dangerous at times.  
Like when I bent down to tie Luke's ice skate, the same time he lifted the skate up.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Let's Chat With Coterie Cuisine

We're in the second month of the New Year, which for me, is a good time to check in and see how I'm doing with my goals for the year.  Usually that involves staying on track with my healthy eating, but I can always use a boost of inspiration.  That might be trying a new recipe, or talking with some of my friends to get some inspiration.

Coterie Cuisine is a catering company founded by self taught chef, Nicole Rand Weiss.  She's based in NYC, and besides cooking fabulous food, she does grocery and green market tours, does wine pairings and can help organize your kitchen.  I picked her brain a bit about her take on eating healthy, while eating well.  

So Nicole, what is your food philosophy?

In my cooking for my family and for clients, I believe in only using the freshest ingredients and try to use local and organic ingredients whenever possible.  I believe in eating and cooking with the "right" fats and being able to take any recipe, even chicken parmigiana or lasagna, and making a healthier version of it.  I don't believe in depriving your body of food but eating in moderation, and paying attention to how one feels after putting certain foods in one's body. I can almost guarantee that you feel better after eating a hearty lentil soup and salad, instead of a cheeseburger and fries.  It isn't brain surgery, you may feel differently at certain points in the day with specific foods (i.e. I love to eat a green apple with a bit of almond butter for a snack, but it works better for my system if I eat this within a hour or two of a high intensity workout.  You should fill your plate 2/3 with vegetables, I am a pesce-pollotarian: I eat poultry and fish, but not red meat.  I primarily eat vegetarian, but can't live without sushi, it has been a mainstay for me for 30+ years.  In my business, I only cook what I will consume, I feel it is important to taste everything I prepare for a client. I do not eat beef, lamb, veal or pork, so these are not offered as menu items.

How did Coterie Cuisine come to be?

Sitting around my dining room table with good friends, great food and wine, during tough economic times, a friend said to me, "Nicole YOU should have your own show on the Food Network!" I passively said "Thanks." That evening after the dishes were done, I really thought about what they had said. I was told over and over how people would pay for my cooking and self taught knowledge of food and wine.  That year I began the process of thinking about what a catering business in NYC might look like.  After brainstorming with friends, Coterie Cuisine came to be! The thought of a "coterie" or "intimate" environment to gather friends and loved ones, sounded right for people living in NYC. I considered many avenues in which to explore, in the end, after hosting many dinner parties, and catering for friends and loved ones, my company as a private chef came to be.

Which foods do you always have in your fridge or cabinet? 

I like to juice every morning, so I always have plenty of ingredients for juicing: organic red swiss chard, organic kale, lemons, ginger, parsley, organic green apples, organic carrots, persian cucumbers and celery.  Additionally, I always have arugula and beets in my fridge for salads and good balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil in my cabinet for sauteing, making dressings, etc.

Do you have any tips on shopping locally, or at green markets?

I think that shopping at a Green Market or local purveyor is the way to go so that you really know you are eating seasonally and locally.  I love the colors you see at a Green Market and just by taking a stroll you can see things you would probably not see at your neighborhood supermarket (i.e. purple cauliflower).  

It's important to become familiar with the different farms at your market and establish a relationship with their staff. A Green Market, depending upon the size, can become overwhelming as many different farm stands sell the same things but at different prices.  If you establish a relationship with a certain farm stand, the likelihood of getting the best "bang for your buck" and freshest ingredients is far higher than just going stand to stand.  Additionally, it's fun to know truly where your food is coming from rather than just grabbing it off the shelves.  Lastly, I think the Green Market is a great way to try new vegetables and fruits that you may have been wanting to try or possibly have never even heard of.  In New York City, we have many different options of Green Markets depending upon the seasons and I like to try out different markets to see the variety that they bring to the city.  

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?

Right now I would say my favorite gadget is my juicer. I just throw things in and out comes a great, tasty and healthy juice that I have everyone morning.  Around October, I decided to try juicing daily instead of my morning coffee and it works!  I have great energy for my workouts, I can feel my synapses firing, it gets my system going and I don't get that high and low that you can get with caffeine.  I just feel good (and highly recommend it)!

Which recipes would you suggest for someone who has made a resolution to eat healthier, or for someone who has become a vegan/vegetarian?

During the winter months, making soups and stews in bulk are a great way to eat healthy and not have to cook on a daily basis.  Over the weekend, I usually make two soups, stews or chilli's for the week.  All three can be put in the freezer for future use and easily defrosted for a quick meal.  If someone is choosing to go the vegan/vegetarian route for the first time, it is extremely important to know how to get enough protein into your diet.  It is important to be more conscious about protein when you are not eating animal proteins. Adding things like quinoa, farro, brown rice, tofu, and legumes is a great way to start.  Be careful though....just because a restaurant or menu states that it is vegetarian or vegan does not necessarily mean it is 100% healthy.  Make sure to stay away from fried foods, heavy oils and filling your stomach with only carbohydrates.  Eating lots of leafy greens (kale, chard, collard greens,  mustard greens, turnip greens) and other vegetables will help keep you in check.

You can check out Nicole's website here, follow her on twitter here, or on facebook right here

Friday, February 1, 2013

Forty Plus One

Yesterday was my birthday.  I was given two things, a chocolate cake just for me (okay, I shared with the kiddos when they got home from school), and a new appliance, so I can make more cake.

Mike said that he thought if he gave me something for the kitchen that I would divorce him, but I've actually really wanted one of these babies for a long time.  There comes a time in a person's life where gifts such as a new washing machine generates as much excitement as a pair of earrings.

We are getting a ton of snow right now, but had a warm, windy Wednesday (that would be a perfect title for a blog post) so I took Frank for a run. It started to rain about a mile in, but he's been smelling like corn chips again, so I figured the shower would do him some good.  It was a quick three miles, I made sure the wind was at my back to use it to our advantage.

Frank keeping watch in the backyard.

My mileage for January was decent, one of my New Years Resolutions was to not get hung up hitting a certain number of miles, unless I'm training for a race.  My goal right now is to do something six days a week, and mix it up between running outside and doing either speed work on the treadmill, or a slower pace, paired with a very high incline.  My plank a days are more like plank every other day, but I'm up to two minutes which is great.

FYI, 60 seconds on a stop watch is much slower than counting to 60 in your head.

Since I'm no Martha Stewart, I get my holiday decor from places like Target.....or more likely, the Dollar Store.  To spruce things up for Valentine's Day, I bought some glittery hearts for the front door, but I don't know, they kind of look more like mittens to me.

Sunday means the Super Bowl, which means chili in the crock pot, and beer instead of wine. Since neither the Giants or Jets are in it I'm not too excited, but I've been assured it should be a good game.

Happy Running, and Happy Weekend!