When it snows in March … We feast on treats!

I really can’t believe it’s March. It’s still cold. And snowy. I mean, I know they say that March “comes in like a lion” but I’m ready for at least 30 degree temps, especially on my weekends!

It was cold and snowy this weekend, which meant it was a perfect weekend to stay in, bake, and eat comfort food. So that’s pretty much what we did.

On the schedule for Saturday (I just started my training plan for the Cleveland half marathon) was an easy 5 mile run (hooray for “long” runs under an hour!), and because I haven’t been too brave or running outside lately, the 13 degree temps (feels like single digits) didn’t sound appealing to me so I decided to run inside on the treadmill. It went by fast, and with a warm up and cool down and some walking while B ran, I got in more than 7 miles. (Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Training Tuesday and I’ll share my entire week’s schedule)

It was also a cold day, perfect for some baking. I first made some peanut butter chocolate chip cheesecake bars. I had found a few recipes, but none of them were exactly what I wanted so I pretty much decided to just combine 3 or 4 recipes and keep my fingers crossed that they would turn out. And they did. Definitely sharing the recipe soon.

Peanut Butter Cookie Cheesecake Bars

Peanut Butter Cookie Cheesecake Bars

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This weekend was also our monthly Ladies Craft Beer Society meeting – I look forward to our get togethers every month but especially this month: our craft was BAKING! We gathered at Nicole’s apartment and made homemade salted caramels, vanilla honey marshmallows and almond marshmallows. Oh, and of course we had plenty of snacks to enjoy while we were baking. And craft beer.

So many snacks!

So many snacks! Chips and huac, pizza dip, spinach artichoke dip, tortilla green chili rollups, my cookies and more!

I loved making the caramels! They were so delicious when they were done and after wrapping them they were pretty cute looking.

homemade caramels

homemade caramels

To keep up with the theme of comfort food, B and I went out to dinner for a belated Chinese New Year feast at one of our favorite local Chinese joints, Wonton Gourmet. And feast we did – we got Chinese broccoli, Szechuan fish, crab rangoon and lomein. I think B has gotten more adventurous in his eating after our Asia trip which is great. Oh and other good news? I wasn’t too hungry after all the glorious food at Ladies Craft Beer Society so we have plenty of leftovers. Yum!

Yummy Szechuan fish

Yummy Szechuan fish

Sunday, B and I woke up to a snowy slushy day. Ick. I had a cross training or rest day on the schedule, so somehow I managed to convince B to take a walk. When it’s a nice day, we like to run the bridges, a 4 mile route downtown, so instead, we took a walk – stopping along the way for coffee, tea, and groceries.

First stop, Cleveland Tea Revival for some Ginger Turmeric tea.

First stop, Cleveland Tea Revival for some Ginger Turmeric tea.

<3 tea. For those of you that are familiar with the background, yes, I'm enjoying tea at Rising Star Coffee (B got a pourover).

Seen on our snowy walk back

Seen on our snowy walk back

Last stop on our walk? The new Heinen's grocery store downtown to pick up some food for the week. Yup, I took a picture of the grocery store and I wasn't the only one - isn't it beautiful?

Last stop on our walk? The new Heinen’s grocery store downtown to pick up some food for the week. Yup, I took a picture of the grocery store and I wasn’t the only one – isn’t it beautiful?

Even though the weather was messy and the roads were in no way clear, I’m so glad we got out there – I still managed to hit my fitbit 12,000 step goal even without a run or elliptical workout and felt good about not sitting around all day and not moving (which very much could’ve happened with the snowy weather we were having).

Sunday night, we enjoyed dinner with B’s family – they had pork, quinoa and Brussels sprouts. I gave up meat for Lent so filled up on the other goodies. And of course – dessert!

ice cream sundaes!

ice cream sundaes!

How was your weekend?

  • What’s your favorite food at Chinese restaurants?
  • What’s your favorite type of Asian food?
  • What’s your favorite herbal tea? Usually anything with ginger. I love the turmeric ginger that Cleveland Tea Revival has!

My parents in the CLE! (and that weekend I ate a lot of Italian food)

This past weekend, my parents came to town. It was very up in the air at first – if the weather looked iffy, they wouldn’t make the 8ish hour drive from NY – so I wasn’t expecting them to come. We’ve had a less-than-stellar winter in Cleveland – very cold and snowy – and I expected this weekend to be the same.

It was -5 when I woke up on Friday. Thus the day started with a treadmill run. Again.

It was -5 when I woke up on Friday. Thus the day started with a treadmill run. Again.

Thankfully, even though the weekend did have a dose of cold and snow, my parents were still able to make it! They came in Friday night and left Sunday morning, so we really only had one full day with them … so we packed in as much wintry fun as we could!

Friday night, we had reservations for Cibreo. Sidenote – it’s Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week, so if you’re in Cleveland, be sure to check out the list of participating restaurants and get yourself to one this week!My mom and I both dined off the Cibeo restaurant week menu and it was great – we both had the arugula butternut squash salad, salmon and lentils, and split both desserts (zeppoli and a custard). B and my dad got off the regular menu. Everyone loved their meals – I love Cibreo and their great Italian food.

The salmon from the Cibreo restaurant week menu - my mom and I both got it and had leftovers so I have lunch for this week!

The salmon from the Cibreo restaurant week menu – my mom and I both got it and had leftovers so I have lunch for this week!

Friday was pretty frigid – like single digits plus wind. So after dinner, we relaxed in our apartment, showed off some photos from our Asia trip, and well, that was the extent of our Friday night.

Saturday started off with a 4 mile run and then some Insanity cardio abs. Ouch. I haven’t done any Insanity workouts since B and I did them right before our wedding, and this only 15 minute workout killed me. In a good way, of course.

insanity cardio abs

After that, I met my parents and we walked to the West Side Market! The weather was warmer than Friday, but super snowy. Still, it felt SO good to be outside and walking! It had been so long since I’d been outside for an extended period of time and I was really getting stir crazy.

Selfie during the walk

Selfie during the walk

After walking to the Market and picking up some groceries, we walked over to Hingetown to my favorite tea spot. Yes, this was the third time I’d been to Cleveland Tea Revival in one week and I’m not ashamed. Their ginger tea = amazing. My mom also loves their tea and even ordered some ginger turmeric to be shipped to New York.

Family at the tea shop

Family at the tea shop

By then, we were all pretty hungry so we walked back to Ohio City and got some soup at Souper Market. Yet again, I got the mulligatawny so I’ll spare you another photo of that soup – it looks the same each week and now that I’ve given up meat for Lent it was the easiest soup to select.  AND I have some leftovers for lunch next week!

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After driving back downtown (B had met us at the market and gave us a ride – we had walked enough already), my parents and I checked out the North Coast Harbor Ice Festival. It was cool to see the sculptures – I have no idea HOW people make those!

My mom and I goofing around with the ice sculptures

My mom and I goofing around with the ice sculptures

Anchors away!

Anchors away!

Then it was time to relax a bit – we had been walking a lot and we were all a little tired after going nonstop since the morning. We decided to watch a movie that was on TV, the Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise. Have you seen it? I have NO IDEA what the ending was about. Seriously – if someone has seen it, please tell me what happened!

For dinner we decided to brave the snow and cold yet again and drive to Little Italy for Pizza at Mama Santa’s and dessert at Presti’s. I think my favorite comfort foods are Italian and soup, and I got both in one day. Pretty lucky!

Disclosure: I had mushroom pizza (no meat for Lent). But I ate the slices before I remembered to take a photo.

Disclosure: I had mushroom pizza (no meat for Lent). But I ate the slices before I remembered to take a photo.

Cannoli=happiness. I ate the one on the right - every single bite.

Cannoli=happiness. I ate the one on the right – every single bite.

Sunday I decided to take a rest day. That means no elliptical, no running. This was the first rest day I’ve taken since we got back from Asia (more than a month ago) and with training for the Cleveland half marathon starting this week, I convinced myself somehow that my body needed some time off. Instead of working out in the morning, I joined my parents for breakfast before they hit the road. After saying goodbye (never easy), B and I took a walk, which always seems to help me get my mind off things. We went back to the ice sculptures and spent an hour exploring the area and other parts of downtown. It was a nice feeling to yet again be outside, enjoying the weather even if I had a day off from working out. Oh yeah, and we had some sunshine!IMG_20150221_211231

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SUNSHINE AND BLUE SKIES!

Sunday dinner was per usual with B’s family and we had even MORE ITALIAN comfort food – this time, lasagna and ice cream sundaes for dessert. Pretty much the cherry on top (yup, pun intended) to a wonderful weekend.

B's mom's lasagna. One had veggies in it and the other had meat.

B’s mom’s lasagna. One had veggies in it and the other had meat.

How was your weekend?

Do you still eat ice cream in the winter?Yes! Year round please.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Soup or Italian food. 

A LOVEly Weekend

I’ll admit it – I like Valentine’s Day. I like any holiday that celebrates love – how can you not? I consider it a day to celebrate ALL love – love of your family, friends, significant others, etc. That’s how I was brought up (yes, my parents still send me a Valentine’s Day card and I send my brother one!) and I LOVE it.

That being said, I’m not one of those people who expects to celebrate myself all weekend long – with Christmas in late December and my birthday being in late January, there’s hardly a reason for me to expect any gifts, a big celebration, etc. BUT I do enjoy celebrating in other ways … like good food, good company, good drinks and well – goodness all around! Luckily, that’s how the weekend turned out.

Friday night was cold and snowy, so B and I decided to stay in, watch the Interview, and get takeout Vietnamese to eat with our new chopsticks we’d bought in Vietnam.

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Saturday morning I woke up somewhat early to get in a little treadmill and elliptical action at the gym. I had thought about doing the Chili Bowl 5k (last year, B and I ran it after doing a 9 mile training run) but the weather was cold, super windy (20+mph winds), and snowy so I was happy to stay inside and run while B slept. And of course the elliptical and treadmill helped me work up a hunger for brunch! That’s right, B and I went to Phuel for brunch – I got my favorite (granola, fruit, yogurt and honey) and B got his standard order – banana chocolate chip pancakes.

B and his pancakes. He's probably thinking "Please take the picture so I can eat these soon"

B and his pancakes. He’s probably thinking “Please take the picture so I can eat these soon”

Glorious homemade granola. Not quite as good as my mom's recipe - but the closest thing here :)

Glorious homemade granola. Not quite as good as my mom’s recipe – but the closest thing here :)

After brunch it was time to get in some of our weekly shopping at the West Side Market. We picked up some treats too – a cannoli for the night’s dessert. We had plans to cook a homemade Italian dinner and I of course wanted my favorite Italian dessert.

So many types of cannoli!

So many types of cannoli!

After the Market, B stopped in Hingetown for a coffee/tea stop. I decided to try a new tea at Cleveland Tea Revival – not my standard Ginger or Ginger Turmeric – and I wasn’t disappointed. Their Shark Week Tea may be a new favorite of mine.

Shark Week tea. I just googled what that meant and whoops! I'll still drink it.

Shark Week tea. I just googled what that meant and whoops! I’ll still drink it.

cleveland tea revivial

We also were able to stop off at Gallucci’s to pick up some supplies for dinner. I wish I had taken a photo of my cart – Gallucci’s is like Target to me. I go there with the full intent to buy 3-4 things and come out with 10+ items.

I <3 Gallucci's - and not just for their wine.

I

For dinner, B and I prepared an Italian feast together. My favorite way to spend the night! We prepared homemade pasta, sauce and chicken cutlets. With some bubbly and cheese and meat as an appetizer and I was in heaven.

love me some cheese!!!

love me some cheese!!!

Pasta making experts.

Pasta making experts.

Prosecco and crystal. Because why not?

Prosecco and crystal. Because why not?

I love going out to dinner – don’t get me wrong, but there’s just something about spending the time making a meal together – B and I made the pasta and chicken together, so instead of having a 1-2 hour meal at a restaurant, it turned into a whole evening activity. And it was delicious!

Dinner.

Dinner.

The pistachio cannoli from the West Side Market

The pistachio cannoli from the West Side Market – and homemade limoncello

Sunday was another COLD day. And I’m talking super cold – I woke up to -1 degree temps with 15mph winds meaning it “felt like -25″. So of course B and I decided it would be a great day for a “Lazy Sunday.” Which for me meant doing as very little as possible – but enough so that I wouldn’t get bored. I decided to play it safe and run inside again, bringing this week’s mileage to 36!

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After the workout, I wanted to do some meal prep for the week. I roasted a chicken (usually B’s job), sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and acorn squash.

A bit of meal prep

A bit of meal prep

Then it was time for dinner with B’s family. We were celebrating my niece’s birthday (can’t believe she’s SIX!).

my contribution to the dinner - salad!

my contribution to the dinner – salad!

The gorgeous red velvet birthday cake B's mom made

The gorgeous red velvet birthday cake B’s mom made

blowing out the candles!

blowing out the candles!

We go over there almost every week, but this week was special not only for the birthday but it was also a goodbye dinner for B’s brother. He’s is traveling abroad to Germany so we had a big family meal before he leaves this week. I’m so jealous – I loved studying abroad and hope he has as much fun as I did!

A throwback to my days in Ecuador - at a futbol game!

A throwback to my days in Ecuador – at a futbol game!

Some questions for you:

  • Love or hate Valentine’s Day?
  • Did you study abroad?  If not, where do you wish you would have visited?
  • What’s your favorite type of meal to prepare?

 

Celebrating the Season

Warning- this post was written after a run, while listening to some holiday music, so it may be a little too cheery and full of holiday spirit.

What a great weekend! I really love this time of year and I definitely got my fill of holiday cheer this weekend.

Friday night I finally got to check out the lights in my neighborhood downtown. It was slightly warm and drizzly, but don’t they look great?

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Then B and I went out for a late dinner at Cowell & Hubbard. We enjoyed a few appetizers (including a cheese plate and clams with chorizo!), a great meal (I love skatewing …) and festive drinks (I had a spiced mulled cider with rum). I have leftovers too to enjoy thank goodness. My meal was amazing.

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Saturday, B and I went out for a 5 miler together. I hadn’t run with B outside of a race in forever – so I was so grateful to have him with me. He paced me the entire time so we were able to finish with a sub-9 minute mile pace.

After our run, we hit up the West Side Market. Again, it had been so long since we’d ben there – and the place was all decked out in holiday lights and even a live band playing holiday songs!

Then it was time for my monthly Ladies Craft Beer Society meeting. This week we were making holiday cards! Finally, a craft I could somewhat excel in. Earlier in the week I had seen this story on the Today show about a 6-year-old girl whose dying wish is to receive hundreds – or more – holiday cards. So sad – I couldn’t get it out of my mind. So LCBS made our cards in honor of Addie – I can’t wait to send her and her sisters all the cards next week!

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When I got home that evening, it was time for an Italian feast! Well sort of. B had bought all the goods to make sauce and homemade pizza and I finished making homemade limoncello while we decorated our apartment for the holidays and listened to Christmas tunes.  I told you – it was a festive weekend!

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homemade limoncello – almost done!

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We finished the night watching my favorite holiday movie – can you guess which one?

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Sunday, B had tickets to the Browns game with a friend, so I was able to spend the afternoon being somewhat productive – I did some laundry, cleaned up a little, listened to more holiday music and even caught up on some work. And since the sun was out, I had to get out for another 5 miler. Without B to pace me, I wasn’t sure if I could keep up the same pace we had done yesterday, but I decided to put on Serial (if you’re not listening to this podcast you MUST) and was able to get in the groove and get it done.

This used to be easy ... i've gotten slower this year!

This used to be easy … i’ve gotten slower this year!

Sunday afternoon we met up with B’s family for another Italian meal-this time in Little Italy.

After dinner, we all caught the Christmas performance by the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus. What a great show – I always love to hear them perform Christmas music and it really gets me in the holiday spirit. As if I needed any help, right?

Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra, lit up for the holidays

Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra, lit up for the holidays

How was your weekend? Did you do anything to get into the holiday spirit? Yes, see above :)

What’s your favorite holiday movie? It’s a tie between Love Actually and Christmas Vacation and Muppet Christmas Carole :)

If you could eat only one genre of food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Oooh a tough one (not sure why I am asking this – I don’t like difficult questions!). I’d choose Italian.

Wonderful Wintry Week In CLE

Brrrrrrr. Okay, while it’s only November, it’s clear that winter is here. For those of you in Cleveland, you know what I’m talking about. That’s right – SNOW.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Northeasterner at heart so I know snow. It’s pretty. I’m familiar with it. I hate people who complain ever year as if they’ve never seen it before. Still, the first snow of the year is always difficult and that is what hit us this week.

Still – what a fun week we had! I know I typically write weekend wrap-up posts, but we had so much fun this weekend I figured, why not share our fun from the week as well? It’s a nice reminder that even in the winter in Cleveland when things get cold and dark, there’s still so much fun to be had – any day of the week. So now – a few sentences per photo for a quick look at this week:

nano

One night, B and I met up with his siblings for an impromptu trivia night at Nano Brew, a local bar that features pretty good food (I love their chorizo bean chili!) a wide selection of beers and – that’s right – trivia on Tuesday nights. It was fun, but we didn’t win. We did get all the final questions right, though, and ended with 76 points!

giant slice at edisons

Another night we hit up another place for Trivia, Edison’s in Tremont. The game wasn’t as much fun but the food – omg. LOOK at all those veggies on that pizza!

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NEWSIES is in town! B and I had tickets and I enjoyed every single minute of the performance. I sang along (in my head) and smiled the whole time. I loved the movie as a child and even though the show wasn’t 100% the same it as still so much fun.

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The mural was at a house B and I looked at this week. It took up the entire all next to the kitchen and living area. It’s kinda dark but you can see there’s a dog playing piano and someone passed on on the right with a bottle …

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Crockpot meals are the best when you have a long day at work and the weather is cold. I made a spicy black bean soup and topped it with avocado and Greek yogurt. The leftovers for lunch were so good and with the 5 jalapeños I put in there (plus hot sauce and chili powder) it was definitely spicy. I may have to share the recipe.

That’s it! How was your week?

  • Did you get snow? What’s your favorite snow activity?
  • Do you use a crockpot? Favorite soup recipe?
  • Spicy foods – yay or nay?

Back in the CLE

Just in time for fall, B and I are back in Cleveland for a weekend. We’d been gone the past few weeks traveling (don’t worry, more vacation recap posts are coming soon) but we were back this past weekend and had a great time. Here’s how the weekend went –

Friday night B managed to get suite seats to the Eric Church concert. I honestly hadn’t heard of many Eric Church songs before but made sure to listen all day Friday and then by the time of the show had a great time. A few Facebook friends even requested some songs that I listen to to get in the mood for the show – so if you’re not familiar with him, here are some recommendations: Springsteen, Drink in my Hand, Country Music Jesus, Give me Back my Hometown, The Outsiders, Over When it’s Over, Smoke a little Smoke, Love Your Love the Most.

Anyway, the show was GREAT. Eric Church put on a great show – he rocked the house. And the Q was the most crowded I have ever seen – it had people in every seat, from the floor to the highest levels – and the show was great.

Hanging out in the suite before Eric Church came on

Hanging out in the suite before Eric Church came on

FULL house!

FULL house!

We invited Dave and Anson to come with us - thanks to Anson for the photo!

We invited Dave and Anson to come with us – thanks to Anson for the photo!

Saturday morning B and I went for a great fall run. I honestly hadn’t expected us to have such a good run after staying out so late on Friday, but both B and I were feeling pretty good the entire time. And it was a beautiful fall day! We have less than one month now until the Savannah Half Marathon.

We ran all the way from downtown to Case.

We ran all the way from downtown to Case.

Saturday night B and I got all dressed up for his job’s annual black tie event.

All dressed up!

All dressed up! And my fro-worker Cari did my hair and makeup – wish I had a better shot you could see.

The place was all decked out in CLE-themed swag

The place was all decked out for the CLE-themed evening

A photo of a photo! They always take professional photos at the event for us to bring home.

A photo of a photo! They always take professional photos at the event for us to bring home.

Sunday was a laaaaazy day. An easy workout, a little work, watching some football, some weekly meal prep and catching up on a few episodes of Damages. B and I have now finished the third season – have you seen the show? Wow. That’s all I can say.

Some questions for you:

  • How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?
  • Any long runs or races this weekend? Congrats to all my friends who completed the towpath marathon and half!
  • Are you an Eric Church fan? What’s your favorite song?
  • What was the last concert you went to?

B is for B’s Birthday!

This weekend was a fun-filled, pre-planned celebratory weekend for B! Why? Because B had a milestone birthday. I’m not going to say how old … but I’m sure you can figure it out :)

Anyway, we started off the celebrations somewhat early – Thursday night, I planned a night to Hilarities to see one of B and my’s favorite podcast stars – Pete Correale. I also invited some of B’s friends AND family to join us in the celebration! We had people over before the show for drinks, sliders and pulled pork (thanks to B’s mom!), and some snacks I prepared like buffalo chicken dip, hummus, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies and buckeye brownies (recipe is coming soon!).

thursday night

After the show, we got a chance to say hi to Pete and even get a picture – he was such a nice guy and none of B’s friends were familiar with him but I’m sure they’re fans now; he put on a great show!

pete correale

Friday night I let B decide how he wanted to spend the evening and what he wanted for dinner – so of course, we ended up at Parnells for drinks and then Superior Pho! After dinner we walked around and caught some of the outdoor movie playing downtown – a Cleveland classic, Draft Day. And of course we enjoyed some leftover cupcakes for dessert.

superior pho

outdoor movie night!

outdoor movie night!

Saturday was another awesome day where I basically told B that we could do whatever he wanted. Because he’s the best, the day started with him making me breakfast and cleaning the apartment while I worked out (I know – he cleaned our apartment while I got to work out … he knows the way to make me happy). After that, we picked up our CSA and then headed to the Cleveland Flea! I love the Flea and it was a cool fall-like day – perfect for walking around and grabbing a few drinks.

B @ the Flea

B @ the Flea

Then, B chose to hit the driving range. We each hit a bucket of balls – and I didn’t do that bad.

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After the driving range, we went out to the lake. It had started to get cloudy – and windy – and it was fun to see the water so rough. Hard to believe last year on this same day we were on the beach in LA!

For dinner, B decided he was craving buffalo chicken wings. Wings and beer – not too bad for a birthday I suppose. And then after dinner, it was time for the next part of our plans – another comedy show! Jim Jefferies, another comedian I was introduced to from a podcast, was in town after canceling his show in June and playing in one of the local theaters. He was awesome – he put on a nearly TWO HOUR performance and it was so much fun to see him in real life after listening to his cast and watching him on TV (he used to have a show, Legit).

Buff chick salad!

Buff chick salad AND a PUMPKING (aka my favorite fall brew)

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Sunday was another great day – it included watching the Browns WIN their home opener (probably because B was wearing his birthday gift – the Brian Hoyer jersey), some meal prep for the week and a 5 miler with B. Not a bad way to end a birthday weekend – hopefully B agreed!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you watch Sunday football? Who do you root for? Sometimes – I didn’t grow up watching football but if it’s on and I can multi-task (a.k.a. I don’t have to ONLY watch it) I’ll root for the Browns.
  • Meal prepping – do you do it? Yes, if I get a chance to, I love working with my Fresh Fork finds and preparing lunches in advance. It makes my week so much better and there’s something so relaxing about preparing food. I find it therapeutic! 
  • Any favorite comics? Do you like podcasts? Which do you listen to? I like to listen while working out, especially if I’m indoors – I go for the Pete & Sebastian show or Stuff You Should Know.
  • What would your birthday meal of choice be?