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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Christmas Wish List

Hey all!  Today I'm sharing a few things on my Christmas list.

I have a hard time choosing things that I want, because as I've gotten older, I have a hard time having other people buy me things. Most of the time, if I want something, I work harder, save up for it, rethink it, rethink it again, and then buy it.  Anyways, it would be awesome if a few of these showed up under the tree this year.

One: Housekeeping

I would be 100% happy if this was the only thing I got this year.  I'm a little terrified of keeping our new house clean.  It's much bigger than our current house, and it's going to be a lot to clean.  I know that with living closer to George's family, we will be entertaining more often.  If there are going to be people in my house, IT MUST BE CLEAN.  Anyways, it would be awesome to have some help with the deep cleaning every once in a while.

Two: Subscription to Runner's World

Now, I'm no pro runner here, but I think that having this come in the mail every month would be an extra kick of motivation to get out there and bust out a few miles.  I need all the motivation I can get during these cold months.

Three: Comfy Socks

These socks from American Eagle are my favorite.  They have the best, thick socks that are perfect for wearing under boots.  You can never have too many socks.

Four: Victoria's Secret Gift Card

I would never ask my friends or family to pick out underwear for me, so this way, I can get my own.  I'm TERRIBLE about putting my bras in the washer and dryer, just loose, so they're in sorry shape.  TMI? Don't care.

Five: Toms

I've been on the fence about TOMS for a while, but I think I've finally found a pair that I would really like.  These are lined with a warm, woolen material, so they'll keep my feet warm.  When it's too cold for flats, but you're sick of boots, these might be a good substitute.

Six: Crew Neck Sweater

Typically, when the weather is freezing, I don't like v-necks.  I much prefer crew necks, because they are warmer.  Old Navy has a ton of these in different patterns in colors, and they're cheap!  Solid sweaters are my favorite.  You can dress them up with jewelry or scarf.

Seven: Burberry Classic

My mom has worn this for as long as I can remember, and I'm obsessed.  It's the perfect warm scent for fall and winter.  I just ran out, and I'm already going through withdrawals.

Eight: Chunky Scarf

This particular scarf is from Old Navy.  It is chunky, but not so big that you can't wear it inside.  I like creams and greys because you can wear them with anything.  (Like one of the crew neck sweaters above.)

Nine: The Body Shop Ginger Sparkle Body Butter

My skin is ridiculously dry during winter.  It's gross, really.  I can use all the help I can get.  I love to take a hot bath during the cold months, exfoliate, then use handfuls of this body butter.  My skin drinks it all up, and stays moisturized for at least 12 hours.... before it turns back to a dry scaly mess.

Linking up with Annie and Morgan

 What is on your Christmas wish list?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

December Favorite Things

Hey all, really quick...

I just wanted to remind you about Kylie and I's linkup on December 2nd. We want to know what your favorite things are for December.  What have you been loving?

Beauty and the Greek

For more info click here

Will you be linking up with us?

Monday, November 25, 2013

It's Taper Time!

Hey all,

So since I've last posted, I've been spending a ton of time at work, getting peed on taking care of sick people.  On Monday, I had an amazing 6 mile run.  It was incredibly windy, but sunny, and I kept around a 9:20 pace.  It felt good to run "fast" and stretch my legs.  I had a little nagging posterior tibialis pain, but nothing terrible.  Tuesday, I ran on the treadmill and had to stop at 2.5 miles due to increasing pain.

I took off until Saturday when I did my long run.  Saturday was supposed to be 20 miler number two.  It was super cold this weekend in Indiana, so we scheduled it for noon instead of early morning.  It was WINDY AS HELL.  I'm talking wind gusts that take your breath away.  When we first set out, I was pretty sure I was never going to make it.

I should have taken a screen shot of the other weather app where it
said that the wind chill felt like 9 degrees. 
At around 10 miles, I got my second wind, and felt like I could actually complete this.  My dad was incredibly helpful throughout this run.  He not only ran the first bit with us, but drove around and met us every 4 or so miles with our water and snacks.

The girls are gonna kill me for posting this picture of them eating their snacks
Around 14 miles, things kind of took a turn for the worse. The wind became harsher, the skies were grey, and we were all starting to feel like crap.  My injuries were starting to hurt, and I felt like I was doing more harm than good.  My phone was literally frozen, and stopped tracking my mileage.

I turned around and told Joanie and Lana that as soon as I saw my dad's car, I was getting in it.  Not 15 seconds later, he pulls up right beside us.  We were all frozen, hurting, and just done.  We ended up doing around 16.5, and I'm totally fine with that.

I wasn't really pausing my watch when we'd have to slow down to cross the street, but I'm thinking that 11:20 is probably a pretty fair pace.  We were going slow, and there were a lot of nasty hills.

Afterwards, it took me a good hour and half to get warm again.  My lips and toes were blue even after a long, hot shower.  I'm REALLY hoping that it is warmer in Alabama in a few weeks.  Currently, their highs are in the low 40's, which is totally do-able.  I'm just hoping it stays that way.

Now, I'm on to taper.  This weekend will be a 10-12 miler and the weekend after will be 8. I'm going to get short, easy runs in during the week, but not stressing about them. I'm also doing a Thanksgiving day race.  I've always been super jealous of the people that got up, burnt some calories, and then had a wonderful meal.  Now, I get to be one of those people!

So, for any of you that have done a marathon... any tapering tips?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Greek Eats

Hey guys!  I want to introduce an awesome blogger, Jacqueline. Her food is healthy without compromising flavor.  It's pretty "fancy" food but not intimidating...if that makes sense.  You could serve this, people would think you're an awesome culinary genius, and you didn't spend all day slaving in the kitchen.  She also gets extra points in my book for making a Greek inspired dish. 

Do yourself a favor and follow her on Bloglovin' here.

Well hello all! My name is Jacqueline and I blog over at The Legal Shrimp. I am a twenty-something attorney based out of New York, with a knack for turning fattening dishes into figure-friendly meals. I absolutely love to cook and as of the beginning of 2013 I have cut out meat and most animal products from my weekday menu, which forces me to get creative. I consider myself a weekday pescatarian - and so the name "The Legal Shrimp" was coined (it also has to do with my small shrimp-like stature). I do eat some meat on the weekends and it really allows me to feel that I can cheat when I need to while staying healthy for a large portion of the week. I really believe in balance and I never ever want to feel deprived. The second I feel deprived, I binge out on carbs and candy. I have also acquired a passion for running this year and completed my first Half Marathon just two months ago. That was a great experience and really tested my physical limits. I try to stay pretty active and incorporate cardio, toning and yoga into my weekly work out regimen. My blog is devoted mostly to food and living a healthy life, with a few other fun posts devoted to fashion, beauty, and vintage d├ęcor. When asked by Emily to do a guest post on her site, I was so honored! I have been following her for a few months and I absolutely find her posts about her favorite things and about running so inspiring!


Now on to the food. . . I love Love LOVE to make fattening food healthy. I love to trick my senses into thinking I'm devouring a decadent, calorie loaded meal, when in reality, I'm eating a nutrient rich and low-fat dish. One of my weekly posts is devoted to Fake-Out Take-Out. I love loading on the seasoning so your palate is never bored. I have an affinity towards foods from all regions of the world too. This week I made a really healthy version of Falafel that involves pan searing the chickpea rounds in oil spray and then baking them. This cuts out SO much fat because these are traditionally deep fried. I also made sure to stuff them into a whole wheat pita with organic hummus and my deliciously healthy Greek Salad and Tahini sauce.



1 can of chickpeas
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 onion finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cilantro
salt and pepper
2 tbsp + 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
Pam spray

Directions: preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Next add all ingredients except the flour into a food processor and blend until smooth. Then, in a bowl, mix in the 2 tbsp of flour. With the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, make a pile on the side of your work space and roll the chickpea mixture in 1-2 inch discs. I didn't make them into round balls because I wasn't deep frying them. This makes about 12 discs. Dredge them lightly in the flour. Heat a skillet on the stove on medium high heat. Spray it with Pam and add the felafel disks in the heated pan. Cook for approximately 7 minutes on each side, being careful to not burn them. Spray with more Pam if needed. Next put these onto a sheet pan and place in the oven and cook for another 20 minutes so that the insides cook fully. This is best served inside whole wheat pitas with Greek Salad and hummus or tahini- Hope you enjoy this!
Nutrition Facts: Makes 4 servings: 240 Calories 3.1g Fat 11g Protein

Monday, November 18, 2013

Running Update: Not really "Piling on the Miles"

Hey all!  It's Monday, but I'm off work, so it's really just another day.

In early November, I "signed up" for Monica from Run Eat Repeat's "Pile on the Miles" challenge.  I was thinking that it would be perfect to keep me accountable for my mid week runs.  I pledged to run 120 miles in November, roughly 30 miles a week.  Now... this is the minimum that I'd like to be doing for the month prior to my marathon.  I should be doing more...

...But I'm not feeling it. The weather is getting colder and windier, it's getting dark earlier, and I'm not finding the energy.

Two weekends ago, I had an amazing 20 mile run.  It was daunting, but Lana, Joanie, and I did it!

After our run, we went to Cracker Barrel and had the most amazing breakfast.  I then went home, and passed out on the couch until it was time to get ready to go out to dinner.  I had steak, mashed potatoes and red wine (I don't drink anymore...long explanation).  Considering that I drink pretty rarely these days, I had a killer hangover on Sunday... from two glasses of wine. <- loser

The rest of the week, I had a really hard time getting my runs in.  I ran 11.6 miles for the week, which is ok after coming off a 20 miler, but all of them sucked pretty hard.  I blame the cold winds.

This last weekend, I set out to do 15 miles.  Around mile 9, I noticed a nagging pain in my right achilles.  I guess it was changing the way I ran because my right knee and hip started to cuss at me ache too.  My group decided to call it a day at 12 miles.  I have a really, I mean REALLY hard time cutting a run short.  The whole drive home I was telling myself to get back out in my neighborhood and finish up the last three.  This is my crazy talking.

I've come to grips with the fact that I'm not going to meet my Pile on the Miles challenge, and I'm ok with that.  I'm going to take these 25 days before the marathon and enjoy my runs.  My goal was not to run 120 miles in November, it was to finish this marathon without getting kicked off the course.  

Anyways, I'm excited for my runs coming up, and I'm excited for my second 20 miler.  I can't believe this beast is less than one month away!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Products That Suck

Hey guys!  Happy Friday!  It has been a while since I've done a Five on Friday post, so I thought I'd get back into the swing of things.

I often talk about my favorite products whether it be beauty, food, stuff for the house etc.  Speaking of, don't forget to link up with Kylie and me for our linkup on December 2nd and share your "Favorite Things."


I thought I'd share some of my least favorite things, or products that suck.  Just as I love telling you what is worth the money, I'd also like to tell you what not to waste it on.

So here we go.  Products that suck (in my opinion):

Maybelline Rocket Volum' Express

This has a nice brush, but ends up leaving the bristles really short.  It doesn't comb out your lashes as you apply it, and just clumps them together.  It only makes them look short and stubby and is surprisingly difficult to remove at the end of the day.

Better Option: Covergirl- Clump Crusher or Benefit- They're Real

      Glam Glow Youthmud (Mask)

Ok, to be clear, this mask works fine.  For the price though? It's a total ripoff.  I've seen those crazy pictures all over Pinterest about how this stuff sucks the gunk out of your pores, leaving you with a squeaky clean, blackhead free, oil free skin surface.  Not so much... I'd go for a mask that works the same, but for half the cost.  

Better Option: The Body Shop- Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask

         Vaseline Lip Therapy

I have super weird lips that peel if there is too much sitting on them.  It's really odd.  I love the slippery feel of Vaseline, and it provides just enough shine.  This stuff, however, is really thick, no sheen, and not even moisturizing.  I get that it's probably unisex, but I'm not digging it.

Better Option: Rosebud Lip Salve or EOS Lip Balm

The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Bath & Shower Gel

I mostly love products for The Body Shop, but this stuff is really disappointing.  I've tried the Pink Grapefruit (which kind of smells like cat pee...not at all like the body butter) and the Coconut.  For the price, you get a very small size.  The lather isn't great, and it isn't very moisturizing.

Better Option: Caress- Burnt Brown Sugar Body Wash

Bumble and bumble Bb Spray de Mode Hairspray

I got this in a travel size for my Europe trip in August.  I was so excited because I really love most of the Bumble and bumble products.  This spray doesn't have ANY crunch to it at all, rather it almost weighs hair down with a waxy and oily feel.  I was super disappointed in this product.

Better Option: Not Your Mother's She's a Tease Volumizing Hairspray


What do you think?  Love or hate any of these?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

We Have A Roof!

Hey guys!

Last week, George and I were able to go to Peoria and work on some house stuff.  We got a TON done, and I'm feeling much more at ease with the decisions we've made.

We met with an electrician and home audio guy.  At this appointment, we walked through the entire house picking where we wanted our cable jacks, outlets, light switches, home audio stuff, etc.  It was a super chilly morning, so I started saying, "I don't care" more and more.  My toes were freezing!  During these walkthroughs, I was able to snap some updated pictures of the house.

This is our great room, sun room off of the kitchen, and you can see a small part of the kitchen on the far left.

This is the "sun room" in the basement.  I'm hoping that this will be a workout room with a treadmill, bike, and weights.

Here is the downstairs living room that connects to the basement bar/kitchen.  My favorite part is the fireplace downstairs.  I can't wait to have gas fireplaces!  They make everything so cozy.

This is probably one of my favorite parts about this house... the closet.  I know that I wont have the space for an island, but I'm hoping to do a peninsula eventually.

We were also able to officially mark our slabs or granite and marble.  This has been a somewhat tedious process for us, but now that it's done, it feels great.

I can't believe that I didn't take a picture of the kitchen granite!  So here is a picture of "Juperana Persa," that looks really similar to ours.

Our kitchen is going to be warm brown tones with "greige" walls (Revere Pewter).

The basement has darker grey walls and everything is a little more industrial and modern.  This granite is is my absolute favorite.  If you look at it up close, there are a ton of clear and silver flecks.

Master Bath
For the master bath, we're doing honed marble.  At first, I was a little worried about marble being a little softer and more porous.  This "Imperial Danby" marble is one of the harder kinds, so it should be fine, especially in a master bathroom. I love the streaks of black and brown.  It will match our shower and tub tile perfectly.

Next, we picked out plumbing fixtures and lighting.  I was super bad about taking pictures, so I only have a few.

This is the light fixture that we will have in our entry.  The dining and breakfast nook will be similar, but not the same.  I also chose this faucet for the kitchen in stainless steel.  It will go really well with our farmhouse sink.

That's all I have for the house updates!  We're going back in December, so I can't wait to see how far they've come then.

What do you think so far?

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Veteran, My Dolphin Pup

Hey all,

It's Veteran's Day as I'm sure you know, and I want to tell you a little bit about a veteran that is incredibly close to me.

I'm pretty sure this is the look Aly would give me when I would tell her that it was the orientee's job to place the rectal tubes.
My friend Aly, do I put this?... one of the coolest, bravest, baddest chicks around.  She is soft spoken and sweet, but just as crazy as I am when you get down to it.  Aly is definitely one of the most interesting people I've ever met.  Besides working just about every job you can think of (baggage person at Air Tran, working at Sea World with the dolphins (video of her speaking dolphin here), teaching, waitressing, being a nurse) she is also an active member of our military.  Aly has done one tour in the middle east and is about to leave on her second.

I met Aly in September of 2012.  She had just graduated from nursing school, and I was her preceptor.  When you are a new grad, you spend A LOT of time with your preceptor.  About 3-4 months of working all day, every day with them.  Your preceptor teaches you how to be a nurse in that particular department.  I mostly just taught her bad habits. :)

We had too much fun together.  While we took amazing care of our patients, we grew to be great friends.  Aly had to move to Louisville for her husband's job, so she's now working in a large trauma center.  I miss seeing her around more than I can express on here.  We were partners in crime, and I don't know if I will ever form a work friendship as close as the one I had with Aly.

Aly is leaving for Texas the day before Thanksgiving and will arrive in Afghanistan on Christmas.  She is going to be a nurse out there but not one that is safe on the base.  Aly will be out flying around in a helicopter and treating the critically wounded.  She has chosen to put herself in danger to protect the rest of us, and I am beyond thankful. 

Even though Aly is older, stronger, wiser, and faster than I am... I still feel like I need to protect her.  The thought of having her out there in such a dangerous place makes me sick to think about.  I will definitely be counting down the days until the she back in the U.S. and safe.

So listen here, my Aly-Poo & Dolphin Pup (I have some very odd nicknames for this girl), you be careful!  All of us at St. Francis will be praying for you and sending you lots of love and cookies!  We miss you and thank you for your service!