Running in Capris and Red Velvet OREOs

And just like that, another weekend has come and gone in Cleveland. This weekend included some baking with friends, running, wearing capris on my run (it was 45 degrees, people!), trying out some Red Velvet OREOs (you must try these) and an impromptu night out … some of the highlights:

Running with B on Saturday-  it was a little chilly out but the sun was shining and the streets were relatively clear! Anytime I can get outdoors in the winter AND run with B, I’m happy.

saturday run with b

saturday run with b

saturday outdoor run

Enjoying Mulligatawny at the Souper Market. Each Saturday, B and I plan to get brunch or go somewhere else – but we always find ourselves at the West Side Market and Souper Market for lunch. Not that I’m complaining – a cup of soup and a chunk of bread=happiness. Oh, and an almond milk latte from Rising Star helps!

soupermarket rising star almond milk latte

Margarita(s), chips, guac and bowls at Barrio. The new Barrio opened downtown and B and I got a seat at the bar there Saturday night.

20150207_170403 barrio

Which was followed by a few drinks at Parnells. It wasn’t a planned night out, but it was a fun time. Especially since I got to try a Crème Brûlée beer! Have you ever had one? It was good, but a little too sweet for me.


A late night out Saturday meant a later than expected morning Sunday.  Thank goodness I had plans with Nicole to do some Valentine’s Day baking, otherwise I never would have gotten off my couch! As it would have it, it was 45 degrees out (YES 45 DEGREES IN FEBRUARY), so I pulled myself out of bed, went for a run (in capris!!), and found myself just seeing where the road would take me. Some roads were still icy, but since I didn’t have a planned route I didn’t mind. 7 miles later, I was feeling great, and ready for some baking!

Look, capris!

Look, capris!


Baking with Nicole was awesome. She, myself and her friend Jess made cookies and cream Chex Mix (made with the new red velvet OREOS which are amazing!), black and white red velvet cookies, all while catching up on a Say Yes To The Dress marathon. If that’s not a perfect Sunday (followed by spaghetti and meatballs at my inlaws for our weekly C-Family Sunday Dinner), I don’t know what is!

Isn't Nicole adorable? Her kitchen is too...check out the lobster plate!

Isn’t Nicole adorable? Her kitchen is too…check out the lobster plate!

Chex mix is complete!

Chex mix is complete!

The bag (as well as my tired self) is not as attractive

The bag (as well as my tired self) is not as attractive

Complete black and whites!

Complete black and whites!

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever tried Creme Brûlée beer? What did you think?
  • What’s your go-to Mexican order? Are you a margarita person? I love anything with guacamole, especially bowls and chips. I want to like margaritas, but I always think they’re too sweet, especially in the winter.
  • Did you get outside and enjoy any good weather this weekend?

Getting Back in the Running Groove

I have a confession. I fell out of my running groove for a while.

It wasn’t 100% my fault. I know, I shouldn’t blame anyone but myself, but this is my blog, so I can do what I want 🙂 … here are my excuses:

I was on vacation.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I was out of the country and on vacation for about two weeks at the end of the year. I’ll be honest – I didn’t run much while we were abroad. Not being familiar/comfortable with the area (not sure how safe it would’ve been running alone in Cambodia or Vietnam), combined with lack of access to treadmills, the heat/humidity, and lack of motivation, I only ran 4 times – 2x on a treadmill in Hong Kong, 1x on a treadmill in Macau, and once outdoors in Vietnam with B. This is more than I had expected to run, and I am not regretting spending the time instead walking or touring and enjoying the trip with B, but when I came back it was SO hard to get back and running.

This was the bank of treadmills at our hotel in Macau! No gyms in Cambodia or Vietnam :(

This was the bank of treadmills at our hotel in Macau! No gyms in Cambodia or Vietnam 😦


When I got back, it was really hard. I was out of shape! I really missed running. The day we got back, even on little sleep, I had to get out there. And get out there I did – and it was difficult! I shouldn’t have been surprised, but my legs, body, lungs, etc. were all tired. And it’s not like we did nothing on vacation – most days I got in more steps just from our walking around and exploring than I do on a normal work day even with a run!

It’s winter. And then, the weather. It’s been cold. It’s been snowy. It’s been icy. And I’ve been making excuses to NOT go outside (I don’t want to trip and fall … I don’t know how to put my YakTrax on and B is sleeping … It’s too cold).

The one morning I went out - look how deep it was at some parts!

The one morning I went out – look how deep it was at some parts!

But, as a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador this year, I felt like I had to share this with you. I couldn’t pretend that all was hunky dory and I was getting in 30 mile weeks without pain and suffering, right?

I’m pleased to say – I think I’m back. And here’s what I learned while I was gone:

It’s okay to take a break from running once in a while.

Sometimes a break in running is just what you need. It can help you clear your brain of all those frustrated running thoughts we sometimes have and help you focus on what’s important – you, just you, enjoying the run.

It’s not impossible to get in a run or workout while on vacation!

I didn’t expect to work out at all, but still managed to get in 3 treadmill runs and a short run in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We happened to get up early one day and noticed that down by the river there were quite a few locals walking and doing tai chi – thus we found the perfect spot for our run! Was it the ideal conditions? Hardly – it was 90 degrees, smoggy and we had to dodge a few locals, but it was a great way to start our day!

This is what running on vacation looks like. Not in Vietnam (sorry no picture) but see it can be easy!

This is what running on vacation looks like. Not in Vietnam (sorry no picture) but see it can be easy!

After a running break, you WILL feel out of shape. For some time. 

I’ll admit that after I got back from vacation, the first few runs were rough. I was running inside on a treadmill and had to stop after a mile or so to rest, catch my breath, blow my nose (I had a cold), etc. which I don’t usually do. I didn’t give up though – I kept at it. And surely, after a week or a little more, I began to feel like my old self.


You’ll get your groove back – eventually. And when you do, it will be glorious!

I had one of those “I feel great!” runs this weekend. It was 45 degrees out, I was wearing capris and running outside. In February. I had no planned route, no planned pace, and I ended up just seeing where the road took me. What I assumed would be a 10 min/mile paced 4 mile run turned into a 9 min/mile 7 mile run. And I enjoyed every second of it! I was my running self again and I had to wipe off a goofy smile I knew I had at some points – yes, I was that girl running with a big smile on her face. I was back!

Feeling good after a run!

Feeling good after a run!

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever taken a long time off from running or another sport and had trouble getting back into it?
  • Any tips for getting back in shape?
  • What’s an excuse you make for not running/getting out of bed?

A Day in Macau

Okay, tell me honestly. Are you tired of hearing about our recent travels and trip to Asia? Are you dying for recipe post or posts about running? Well, you’re in luck – this is the last post about our recent travels. Then, it’s back to your regularly scheduled broadcast 🙂

Due to flight schedules, we had a flight out of Hong Kong a day after our flight in from Hanoi, so we decided to spend the final day (and night) of our trip in Macau. What a fun experience – it’s a shame it was only a day (well, less than a day – we got into Macau around 4ish and had to catch a ferry out at 11:30 the next morning) but I’m so glad we did!

Some highlights from our day:

Walking around the old part of town and seeing some of the old Portuguese architecture, old churches, cobblestone streets and holiday decorations.


Eating an amazing 7 course dinner. B and I had a room booked in the Grand Lisboa (the nicest hotel room I’ve ever stayed in! – it had a sauna and steam shower and Jacuzzi) and one of the restaurants in the hotel was a 3 star Michelin restaurant. For our last dinner, we splurged and had dinner there.

NBD - just a huge chandelier and piano in the lobby of the restaurant.

NBD – just a huge chandelier and piano in the lobby of the restaurant.

Oh. My. Goodness. Our meal was the best I’ve ever had. Each course was amazing. OH, and there were THREE DESSERT courses. A pre-dessert, a dessert and an after-dessert course. I was in dessert cart heaven.

This was pre-dessert. Yes, that's a thing.

This was pre-dessert. Yes, that’s a thing.

Course #2 - frog's legs.

Course #2 – frog’s legs.

Course #3 - lobster risotto. SO GOOD.

Course #3 – lobster risotto. SO GOOD. And there were more than 7 courses total.

B and the stuffed onion dish. It was one of my favorite courses.

B and the stuffed onion dish. It was one of my favorite courses.

me and my main course

me and my main course

Doing a  little gambling. I’ll be honest – I’m not a big gambler and while I’ve played a few slots here and there I decided to just people watch and enjoy letting B do his thing. We spent some time in a few casinos, mostly just walking around (and getting stared at – we were a little out of place to say the least) and then B played some black jack.

grand lisboa macau

The amazingly nice hotel we stayed in and the casino. Our dinner was at the top!

Getting in a workout at the hotel gym! The gym opened at 8 a.m. (of course I was there at 7:45 and had to come back – what kind of gym doesn’t open until 8 on a weekday?!) and I was able to get in a VERY slow 10k run before our flight. I know – what kind of vacation highlight is a dreadmill run, right? But seriously – it’d been SO long since I ran and it felt so good slash bad at the same time. It’s amazing how out of shape you can get so quickly!


Just seeing Macau in general. Our hotel and the others were pretty insane. The area we were staying in was not what I expected – I was expecting a big Vegas-type strip – but instead there were just giant buildings among normal city buildings, schools, old architecture, etc. which was really interesting to see. And of course the casinos were so gawdy – ours was gold on the outside, had blinking lights at night and so much gold and crystal inside. So fun!

dressed up for dinner :)

dressed up for dinner 🙂

And that was the end of our Asia trip. We flew back on our 15+ hour flight and somehow managed to keep ourselves occupied for at least a little while by reading, blogging, playing games on my phone (Dots), eating the 3 meals they gave us and doing laps every so often. I don’t know when I’ll get to travel again, but I can say that this trip definitely satisfied my travel bug/urge … for at least a little while!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s the longest flight you’ve ever taken? How did you keep yourself occupied?
  • Do you like gambling? What’s your favorite game?
  • Any phone game recommendations? I never play games on my phone but after this trip I’m so glad I downloaded Dots! What else should I download?

Missed the other posts? Full recaps of our Asia trip, including Vietnam and Cambodia and Hong Kong are here.

WIAW: Yesterday’s Eats

I had so much fun  last week with my first What I Ate Wednesday, that I’m bringing it back for this week! Again, this is a pretty planned out day because it was a normal work day, in the office. If you had only seen my last Thursday eats (on the road half of the day) or even Super Bowl Sunday … I guess I’m grateful I don’t have photos of all of that junk goodness!

Per usual, my day started with egg whites and veggies, made by B. I had made some spinach and Brussels sprouts Monday evening and got to pair them with my eggs for a pretty good breakfast. I ate it around 8:30 a.m. shortly after getting into work.

wiaw breakfast

Lunch was leftovers! I know, it’s a pretty big lunch, but I was starving by 12:30 p.m. for some reason. Half of a spicy chicken burger (from the West Side Market), cauliflower and Brussels sprouts I had roasted on Monday with Pam and a splash of olive oil and garlic, and a cabbage and carrot slaw I made with some oil and rice vinegar. Oh, and leftover spinach from breakfast as well.

wiaw lunch part one wiaw lunch part 2

Snacks during the day included:

Carrots and mixed nuts


Apple (I took a bite out of it first …)

wiaw snack!

Chewy ginger candy. I love having one of these after a meal. Or two …

wiaw ginger chews

And dinner! I made dinner for B and me and it was pretty good. An Asian marinaded salmon, asparagus, part of a sweet potato with cinnamon and coconut oil and roasted cauliflower. Yup, cauliflower twice in one day makes me happy – I am weird like that. (Confession- I also ate some raw cauliflower as a snack but didn’t take a photo … so I guess it’s 3x in one day)


And for dessert? A mini cookie bar – leftover chocolate chip cookies with a meringue topping from the Super Bowl. They were so good – I’ll be making them again!


How was your day? Any of these eats look good to you? Any not up your alley? I want to know!

Welp, it’s February.

Phew. Ever end a weekend needing another one? That was my weekend. I don’t know why – it wasn’t terribly tiring, crazy, physically demanding, etc. But I definitely could use another 2 days off!

Friday night started out pretty lazy – B and I ordered takeout Vietnamese food, tested out our new chopsticks (from Vietnam!) and caught a few episodes of Walking Dead and Downton Abbey. Which got me thinking – what if there were a zombie show about zombies during Elizabethan era England? Huh? No, don’t quit my day job?  Okay …

takeout with nice chopsticks!

takeout with nice chopsticks!

Saturday, I got up semi early for another treadmill workout. I walked/ran (As most of my treadmill runs are these days) a 10K, did some kettle bells, arms and abs – and then met Ali to go to the West Side Market! We walked home and it felt so good to get in a longish walk – it’s been so chilly and snowy and I haven’t gotten a good walk in really since our trip. After our trip to the Market, we spent a few hours cooking! We both had Asian vacations recently (she to Thailand), and that definitely influenced our cooking. See for yourself – papaya cabbage salad and a red vegetarian curry:

Ali cooking

Ali cooking

Using a mandolin for the papaya (last time Ali used one she almost lost her thumb ...)

Using a mandolin for the papaya (last time Ali used one she almost lost her thumb …)

The finished product!

The finished product!

Then, I met up with B and his parents at Butcher and the Brewer for a drink. Their Midwest Mule is pretty amazing.

Sunday morning I woke up at 7 for no real good reason. I got in a 5.55 mile interval run – not as fast as I would’ve liked, but my first interval run in ages – and then it was time for brunch! Wet up with some friends at Market Garden Brewery for Sunday morning beverages and food. Food not photoed. But look at my amazing champagne flight – oh my goodness. We were stuffed and even though it was super snowy, I’m glad B and I had decided to walk the 40ish minutes to the restaurant and even looked forward to our 40ish minute walk back.

pretty drinks!

pretty drinks! my flight of mimosas

It was a little snowy

It was a little snowy

Sunday afternoon included some Super Bowl prep – check out some of the cookies I baked –

Butterfinger cheesecake cookie bars

Butterfinger cheesecake cookie bars

and we made spring rolls for an appetizer!

B rolling some spring rolls

B rolling some spring rolls

spring roll time! (totally normal super bowl appetizer right?)

spring roll time! (totally normal super bowl appetizer right?)

and then of course, it was Super Bowl party time! The spread also included ribs, drumsticks, chips and dip. Oh boy. I of course pretty much watched for the ads and the tweets, but WHAT A GAME (and the last minute?!!) and loved the Katy Perry halftime show.

How was your weekend?

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite type of ethnic food to make?
  • What’s your go-to Super Bowl appetizer?
  • What was your favorite Super Bowl ad?