Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Foodie Pen Pals

A couple of months ago, through my daily Twitter stalking of foodie and fitness bloggers that I love, I stumbled upon a program called "Foodie Pen Pals." The name itself intrigued me, and the more I read about it the more I wanted to get involved.

Essentially, Lindsay from the Lean Green Bean Blog is nice enough to organize this shindig and connect people to form a network of Foodie Pen Pals. You send, and receive, a package of foodie goodies to and from different individuals each month. To read more about the program and how it works, you can visit the Foodie Pen Pal page of Lindsay's blog here.

Brown paper packages tied up with strings really are one of my favorite things. AIM, text messages, emails, Snapchat and the like all pale in comparison to the feeling of opening a letter or a package, never mind one filled with delicious treats.

I was lucky enough to be paired with Erin of Divatastic Gladiator. I checked out Erin's blog and immediately knew I would like whatever she sent my way. She had shared a recipe for a Brie Salad that I cannot wait to try, and since then has added a few more drool worthy ideas. (Umm... hi Quadruple Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes and Salty Caramel Panna Cotta, nice to meet you.)

After attempting to fend off a cold last week only to have it attack full-force after running the Hyannis Half Marathon in the cold and rain on Sunday, I was anything but excited for this week. I received Erin's package Monday morning at the office and it was the perfect pick-me-up.

Erin had read one of my first blog posts, a recipe for Slutty Brownies, and had included the dry ingredients to make them in her package. She had also written a sweet note wishing me luck with my race, adding that the Slutty Brownie recipe looked like "the perfect naughty indulgence" after such a big event. I couldn't agree more!

I'm particularly excited about the mysterious looking jar in the upper right-hand corner of the photo - homemade pickled jalapenos. Erin included a few ideas for using them in her note, and also included a great recipe for a Hot Pepper Sauce that sounds amazing. I can't wait to try them.

Erin did a great job with this package, and I loved the combination of sweet chocolate indulgence and a spicy bite. I'm definitely looking forward to digging in!

I sent a package of goodies to Mattie down in North Carolina and received a sweet thank you email from her Tuesday afternoon. I was happy to know that it put a smile on her face. 

February was my first month as a part of Foodie Pen Pals and I will definitely be participating in March. It's such a fun program, and a great way to connect with others who share the same love of delicious treats. Thank you to Lindsay for organizing!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Life Lately

Clearly things have been a little hectic since I haven't posted in ten days. Such is life, and it has been busy in the best ways - filled with snow, love, birthdays and, of course, chocolate and pavement.

So here's a quick photo update of life during the past week or so.

Here's to a productive week, a good taper and getting excited for the Hyannis half next Sunday!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Eggs a la Office

I'm not your typical morning breakfast person. I can't eat right when I wake up, the thought of it makes me nauseous. It's something I've always battled with - especially as a runner.

On a typical weekday morning I'll get into the office, weed through emails and easy-to-check-off-the-to-do-list projects and make a cup of coffee any time between 8-9am. 

Fun fact: I hate hot coffee. I can do lattes from Starbucks, but that's about as far as my hot caffeine adventures go. As a result, my cup of coffee sits in the freezer for anywhere between 30-60 minutes to cool before adding ice.


Around 9:30/10am I'll get around to breakfast. I wait partially because of my lack of appetite early in the day and partially because if I do eat early on, I find myself ravenous within a couple of hours. Probably not the most healthy diet decisions, I'm aware that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I choose to wait.

I have several go-t0 office breakfast choices, all of which are pretty healthy options. This excludes, of course, the occasional bagel Friday or rare sprinkled donut that I just can't say no to when a dozen appear in the kitchen. Oatmeal, Greek yogurt and fruit, overnight oats, whole wheat English muffins with peanut butter and eggs all make the rotation.

Eggs, you ask? In the office? Heck yes. It's possible, it's delicious, and I so wish I knew how to make them back during my college days. One of my co-workers so nicely introduced me to the concept and I've never looked back.


1 egg
2 Tbs milk or half and half (whatever you have available in your company fridge)
1/4 C+ chopped veggies
1 English muffin, tortilla or slice of bread
Cheese, salsa, ketchup or other toppings as desired

Whisk egg and milk in a bowl or Tupperware with a fork until scrambled. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Stir in veggies.

Microwave (uncovered) in 25 second intervals 3-4 times, scrambling with a fork after each interval. Once eggs are nearly cooked through, add your desired toppings. Microwave another 15 seconds if needed to melt cheese.

Top toasted English muffin, bread or tortilla with eggs and enjoy!

  • Chop your veggies and round up your ingredients the night before. It's easier to grab a tupperware of everything you need an go rather than fuss with prepping it while you're trying to get out the door.
  • Prep in bulk. If I'm chopping veggies, I'll usually make enough to last me 2-3 days of breakfasts. Similar with cheese and other toppings. I'll prep enough for a few days to make it even easier to grab and go.
  • Store in one place. I'll store all my ingredients, eggs included, in a bigger Tupperware container rather than try and grab 5 different things.

Egg, chopped carrot, green and red pepper, salsa, low fat
cheddar cheese and a slice of whole wheat bread.

What are your go-to office breakfasts?
Do you eat early in the morning or later on?

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Weekend Home

When I was applying to colleges (cringe) 7 years ago, I had  decided that I only wanted to seriously look at schools that were close enough to home that I could visit when I wanted but far enough away that I gained new experiences and felt independent. Bentley allowed me that freedom, as has staying in Boston post-graduation.

I'm very close with my family, and I love that about my life. I value their opinions, enjoy spending time with them and couldn't imagine things any other way. As a result, when I get the chance to escape the craziness of Boston for a weekend and head out to western Mass, I take it. This was one of those weekends.

It was filled with dinner, laughs and hugs with grandparents. Treadmill miles, car repairs, lunch with Mom and grocery shopping for Super Bowl snacks. Bruins hockey, watching my little sister get ready for a school dance and walks through the woods with my Dad, stepmom and puppy.


My weekends home are the definition of hectic, they always have been and always will be, whether I like it or not. From the minute I drive over the mountain and into the Pioneer Valley the rest of my time there will be spent doing something. It's both exciting and exhausting - before it even starts.


Having divorced parents means trying to spend time equally with both families. For me, it often means feeling guilty when I'm leaving one to go see the other, or when my time is cut short with them because I have somewhere else I need to be. Being home makes me feel both whole and happy, while at the same time feeling a little empty because I can never seem to manage my time well enough to make it all work.

The sisters and I before Anna's 1st Dwight Night dance.

Yes, I know I can't make everyone happy. Yes, I know they're just grateful to spend time with me. Yes, I know they love me regardless and understand that I can't do it all. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean I don't still feel bad that I can't be in 100 places at once. I'm working on it, it's a constant battle. Remember? I'm a people pleaser.

Lucky for me, being home always puts things in perspective. As busy as I am while I'm there, there are those moments that make you slow down, step away from everything else and just appreciate how lucky you are. I got a full hour and 45 minutes of that perspective on Sunday afternoon during my run.

Sometimes I forget that the elevation factor is slightly different at home.

Overall a great run and 3 weeks out from half marathon number one of 2013. I was happy with my pace, given that it was much hillier route than I've run in awhile. My legs were also tired from the 4.7 miles on the treadmill from Saturday and the 5 miles of walks through the woods with the pup.

Truthfully I didn't know if the long run would happen this weekend. After a failed attempt Saturday morning due to nearly negative temperatures and my hatred of the treadmill, I almost opted out. As always, I'm glad I went, if only for the peaceful time and the views.

How can you not appreciate places like this?

Like all of my whirlwind trips home, I was happy to get back to Boston last night. I was exhausted, but in the best way. I unpacked, rallied, and enjoyed the commercials, the blackout and, of course, Beyonce and Destiny's Child. I think there may have been a football game as well.

Friday, February 1, 2013

One Hundred and Seventy Percent

I stumbled upon a pretty cool infographic via Women's Running on Twitter yesterday of "The Running Boom", or the awesome increase in the popularity of and participation in the sport of running.

It highlights some pretty fantastic statistics and effectively illustrates how more and more people are joining the ranks of one of the fastest growing athletic communities.

Here are some of my favorite stats:

The competitive road race has seen a 170% increase 
in participation since 1991, from 5.2 to 13.9 million.

Half marathons are the fastest growing racing event, 
comprising 10% of the top timed road races in 2000 and 42% in 2011.

Since 2000, the number of U.S. marathon 
finishers has increased by 47%.

The number of marathons has more than tripled in the U.S. 
since 1985, surging from just 200 races to 720 in 2011.

You can see the full infographic here

I think it's so cool to see how popular running has become, and how fast the sport continues to grow!

What was the first distance race you completed? 
My first official race was the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon in June 2011.

VA Wine Country Half Marathon
6/4/11 with Team Challenge