March Comes Out Like a Lion?

You know the saying “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb?” Well, not the case with this month … this March definitely is going out like a lion. This weekend was cold, cold, cold … but we still made the most of it!

Friday night started out pretty low key – B and I had plans to run 8 miles on Saturday morning, so we decided to get dinner at my favorite vegan place, the Flaming Ice Cube. They were out of kalebouli, so instead of my typical kalebouli wrap I got a pesto vegan burger.

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After dinner, B and I caught up on last season of The Walking Dead. We are finally finished with season 4 … now onto the current season!

Saturday morning B and I hit up the park for 8 miles. We haven’t run outside downtown in FOREVER so it was great to get out in nature.

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B took a picture of me while running - just finishing our 8 miler!

After our runs, we hit up the West Side Market for some of our weekly groceries. Even though we go to Heinen’s a lot now that they have a downtown location, we still hit up WSM when we can because it’s fun and cheap.

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And for lunch? It was a perfect day for soup and bread. The cauliflower chickpea curry soup at The Souper Market was delicious!

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After we got back to the apartment, I knew it was time for some baking … I decided to make some lemon bread. It came out delicious!

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Saturday night, B and I decided to head to Winking Lizard for a few drinks while watching hockey (and take in the NCAA crowds) and get some wine at Heinen’s before dinner.

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B made dinner – mushroom pizza with some leftover homemade sauce. And of course there was lemon cake for dessert!

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Sunday morning started out with a walk – it was sunny (but cold!) and Nicole and I had plans for some morning tea at Cleveland Tea Revival.

a whole pot of ginger turmeric for me!

a whole pot of ginger turmeric for me!

Sunny day for a walk!

Sunny day for a walk!

Sunday afternoon I ended up having to work so no fun photos of that. But Sunday night B and I grabbed dinner at Heinen’s before heading out to see another movie at the Cleveland Film Festival.

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We saw All Stars, which was a really fun movie. I don’t have any hand-eye coordination but still played softball somewhat when I was much younger (my dad was even a coach for a little while!) so it was fun to see a movie like this! Definitely brought back some memories.

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like tea? What’s your favorite type?
  • Favorite pizza toppings? I love lots of veggies and meat on my pizza. A pizza with just cheese is boring and uninviting to me. Since I gave up meat for Lent, pizza with mushrooms (And tons of cheese!) hit the spot. 
  • Did you get any baking in this weekend?

 

Running and Wine-ing

How is it TUESDAY already Where did the weekend go? Guess that’s what happens after an awesome weekend! Here are a few scenes from an awesome weekend of running (a 10K race plus 5K before), and wine-ing. Yes,I may have made up that word …

Friday night included my favorite pre-long run meal – a kalebouli and hummus wrap from Flaming Ice Cube.

you've seen this picture before... my favorite- kalebouli! (in the background is the artichoke appetizer we got!)

you’ve seen this picture before… my favorite- kalebouli! (in the background is the artichoke appetizer we got!)

Saturday started EARLY at least for me. The 6 a.m. alarm was NOT welcome, but we had plans to fit in a 3-4 mile run before our 10K race we had signed up for. We only ended up getting in a 5k beforehand, but that put the day at 9.3ish miles. Not too bad! Oh, and I think that 10K is my least favorite racing distance. Too quick to enjoy/pace yourself (like a 10 miler or half) and too long to go all out (like a 5k).

Being silly with B an Mary after our run.

Being silly with B an Mary after our run.

Post-race photo opp! So cold.

Post-race photo opp! So cold.

Saturday afternoon came and it was time to head out for my froworker Cari’s bachelorette party! Of course, we all know what happens at bachelorette parties STAYS at bachelorette parties, but here are a few highlights to share 🙂

some wine samples. classy with a diet coke, plastic cups and goldfish :)

some wine samples. classy with a diet coke (i was tired after waking up early and our run!), plastic cups and goldfish 🙂

Me and the gorgeous bride-to-be! Can't believe she's getting married in a week!!

Me and the gorgeous bride-to-be! Can’t believe she’s getting married in a week!!

What bachelorette party would be complete without Ryan Gosling?

What bachelorette party would be complete without Ryan Gosling?

We got to see how the wine was made!

We got to see how the wine was made!

 

I stole this photo ... but it's during our private wine tour!

I stole this photo … but it’s during our private wine tour!

Sunday morning we woke up with a beauttttiful view. I mean how awesome is this view from where we stayed?

view from window at the lodge geneva

Anyway, Sunday was a LAZY day. After getting back from the wine weekend, I pretty much spent the day prepping for a presentation I had on Monday, doing laundry, getting in an easy workout (the elliptical is my best friend the day after a long run) and then of course dinner with B’s family. The weekend went by WAY too fast!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite race distance? Least favorite? 10K  is definitely my least favorite as of now. Maybe I can work on liking it – by preparing for my next one! Any tips for how?
  • What’s your favorite way to spend a lazy day? I need at least part of my day to be productive – so even if it’s just doing laundry or baking, I need to get something done (to justify all the couch-sitting going on)!

 

Summer Is My Favorite

Summer is my favorite. No, but really. Summer is my favorite season. I know, it should be fall or spring, or another season that girls love (if I hear another girl proclaim how much fall is her favorite season and how she can’t wait for it to be fall I’m going to scream), but I LOVE SUMMER and want to proclaim it and scream it at the top of my lungs.

This weekend was probably the perfect summer weekend – and that is not an exaggeration. It was warm. It was sunny. It was relaxing and yet there was so much to do. Thus the longish post that follows.

Friday night started with a walk to Flaming Ice Cube for our favorite appetizer (Buffalo “chik” dip) and my favorite meal – kalebouli wrap!

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Look at that wrap. So much hummus and kalebouli!

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And then we walked home, admiring the new artwork along the street. We may have had a detour at Rothschild creamery. This is mango twist soft serve. AMAZING.20140808_195127

New outdoor art.20140808_182657

Saturday started somewhat early. I wanted to catch the informal opening ceremonies of the International Gay Games (which are in Cleveland this year!) and participate in the 1 mile Rainbow Memorial Run, which remembers those who have lost their lives to AIDS and breast cancer, as well as others lost in the Gay Games family.20140809_083711

Everyone participating in the event got to wear a different color shirt. So we made all the colors of the rainbow!20140809_083207

Along the course were some balloons with designs on them designed by local students. The designs talked through the history of the fight for AIDS awareness and gay rights.IMG_20140809_141406

I chose a blue shirt. And made sure to wear my rainbow everywhere else on my outfit.20140809_083232

After the run, B and I did a few more miles on our own, bringing our total to 8 for the day before it got too hot to run.

Including my run on Sunday (below), I ended the week with another 30+ miles!

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Post-run, I met up with my friend Ali and we hit up the West Side Market. There were rainbow flags all throughout Ohio City in honor of the games!20140809_121946

And after the market, B and I hit up our CSA pickup and the Cleveland Flea. I love the Cleveland Flea. We ended up picking up a few goodies and some more produce. It was a perfect day to just walk around and enjoy people watching and all the Flea has to offer!

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Post Flea, we met up with B’s family for mass and dinner. It was a somewhat early night (after an early morning) that also ended with B and I finally participating in the ice bucket challenge. In case you haven’t been on Facebook in a year, or watched the news, or just want a refresher, the ice bucket challenge has been sweeping social media. It involves dunking yourself with a bucket of ice to raise awareness for ALS. You’re able to challenge some of your connections, and if they don’t complete the challenge in 24 hours, they must donate to the cause (and even those that participate are encouraged to donate). I’ve heard that ALS organizations are up more than 100% in terms of donations and if anything, the challenge is helping to raise awareness for ALS.  A fellow BC grad from my year, Pete Frates, was diagnosed from ALS, so many of my friends are doing the challenge in honor of him. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you may have seen the video, if not – here’s at least a screenshot.

video screenshot

video screenshot

Sunday morning I met up with Nicole for an easy run around downtown where we were able to catch part of the Gay Games triathletes finishing up their race and others start the running portion. How inspirational! It was fun to watch the athletes and break up our run. Post-run, I met up with Ali again and we walked over to Ohio to catch the North Union Farmer’s Market, which recently started a Sunday farmer’s market. We browsed through the stands, I finally got my hands on Cle Kraut (love the gnar gnar!) and some more produce.

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And when I got home, I checked out my haul. Hmmm … I may have gone overboard on the produce and farmers markets this week? I spy beets, onions, tomatoes, apples, hot peppers, sweet peppers, nectarines, potatoes, cherry tomatoes and a giant zucchini. Oh, and the canteloup and blueberries and kale are in my fridge.

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Sunday afternoon B and I hit up the beach and met up with Dave and Anson. It was the perfect beach day. We read, sunned ourselves and I even went in the water. TWICE. (well only “swimming” once) Which is a big deal for me. I ended the day with some slightly sunburned legs. My FIRST sunburn of the year and it’s mid-August. #Fail20140810_142521

Sunday night we hit up Winking Lizard for some more buffalo chicken, wings, and summer beers. Can summer last all year long? Please?

A few questions for you:

  • Which is your favorite season? Summer!
  • During the summer – which do you prefer, beach or pool? Beach all the way! I do love the ability to swim and do laps in crystal clear (and often warmer) pools, but there’s something so relaxing about laying on the sand and listening to the water.
  • When at the beach are you a tanner? A swimmer? An active person (frisbee/volleyballer, etc.) Typically a relaxer/sleeper/reader. I don’t often go swimming unless it’s hot out. But if it’s hot and the water is calm, I’m in!
  • What’s your favorite farmer’s market produce? I love those mini cherry tomatoes and mini sweet peppers. Perfect for healthy snacking! Also, any fresh fruit, especially nectarines.

Weekend Update – Cleveland Marathon Weekend

I’m still feeling the endorphins from a great half marathon weekend and my second sub-2 hour half marathon for this year. That’s right – even though I didn’t plan on running too fast and just wanted to take it easy, Sunday morning ended with me running another 1:58 half marathon race during the Cleveland marathon. (Mostly because of B’s sister, Mary, but I’ll get to that later)

I knew I wanted to take it easy this weekend – I was just getting over a cold and a few late nights, and I realllly wanted to feel good and rested for my Sunday morning race. That’s code for “I was really boring this weekend.”

Friday night B and I went to the movies for the first time in forever. After an amazing (as usual) dinner at Superior Pho, we hit up the movie theater with all the teeny boppers in Cleveland to see Neighbors. Don’t worry, the teeny boppers were seeing Godzilla or something else. The movie was actually pretty good – I didn’t have high expectations but I had a few pretty good laughs out of it. The previews don’t do it justice – it was more than just a stupid movie I promise!

Summer rolls = happiness

Summer rolls = happiness

my favorite salad at Superior Pho

my favorite salad at Superior Pho

Saturday was another lazy day. We walked to brunch at pHuel cafe (yes, again…I know this is two weeks in a row) where I had their granola (yes, again) and B had their pancakes (again … but with banana this time).

Another Saturday, another pHuel Cafe breakfast

Another Saturday, another pHuel Cafe breakfast

Ginger Tea from Cleveland Tea Revival

Ginger Tea from Cleveland Tea Revival

After brunch we headed to the West Side Market to pick up some snacks (Apple Fritters FTW!), but not too many groceries for the week since I’ll be traveling. After the Market it was time for my favorite ginger tea and then laziness time. That’s right, aka Melissa watches several episodes of Damages while waiting for her dinner. We had dinner plans with Mary and a few of her friends at my favorite pre-race dinner place, The Flaming Ice Cube. I swear – they have the perfect pre-long-run dinner and I live by their kalebouli wraps before a race.

Flaming Ice Cube Kalebouli Hummus Wrap

Flaming Ice Cube Kalebouli Hummus Wrap

We came home after dinner to a surprise – my Go Vox Box from Influenster arrived! It was such a perfect pre-race surprise – I can’t wait to try out the orthotics (for walking, I’m not messing with my existing running orthotics) and the protein powder and shaker. B and I have protein we use already, but I’m always up for trying out new ones! And BLUEBERRY almonds? Anyway, I digress.

Check out all these goodies from Influenster!

Check out all these goodies from Influenster!

Sunday morning was race day! I was not looking forward to my 5 a.m. alarm – but Mary and I met up before the race so we could start together. Mary was running the full and I was just planning on running the first 10 easy with her before the half marathoners split up from the full marathoners. Mary had other plans – to aim for a sub-4 hour marathon, a PR of about 20 minutes from her last marathon time (Mary is a beast and this is her third race). And she asked if I’d run the first 10 with her – how could I say no?

Mary and I at the starting corral

Mary and I at the starting corral

So out the door went my “easy, enjoying the sights” half marathon plans .. and instead, I ran with Mary for the first 10, trying to keep up with the 3:55 pacers. We did it, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I breathed (or huffed at this point) a sigh of relief when the marathoners broke up for their final 16 as I finished my final 3ish.  Mile 11-12 was all up hill and in the sun, and I was dying. I felt like I was going at a snail’s pace and don’t know how but I managed to somewhat spring the final mile to the finish. The end result:

A surprise - under 2 hrs!

A surprise – under 2 hrs!

post race photo op with the medal

post race photo op with the medal

Post race, we met up with some of the members of the “Ladies who run in the morning” club (yes, I just came up with that name) for brunch. I know – two weekends in a row, four brunches. Who am I?

Ladies who Run in the Morning together

Ladies who Run in the Morning together

Some questions for you:

  • Drinks at brunch – yes or no? If yes, what’s your drink of choice? Mimosas? Bellinis? Beer?
  • Morning runner or evening workerouter (that’s a word)?
  • What was the last movie you saw?
  • Clevelanders – how did you do this weekend? Did you like the new course? Congrats to all you who participated and thank you to ALL who came out to cheer. It really does make quite a difference in how we feel.
  • Runners – what’s your evening-before-a-race meal of choice?

 

What I’m Loving Lately: Snacktime Edition

Snacks on snacks on snacks! I’m not one of those people who eats three meals a day and that’s it. I have always been a snacker – I love eating several times a day and definitely get int that 3 p.m. snacktime mode. Here are a few snacks I’ve been enjoying lately:

Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans

B and I picked up these beauties in Costa Rica and I can’t tell you enough HOW GOOD they are. They’re sweet and caffeinated at the same time – a great afternoon pick-me-up or really just anytime snack. I personally love the white chocolate (they taste like lattes!) but the dark chocolate aren’t that bad either (am I the only person who prefers milk and white chocolate to dark chocolate?).

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My Oatmeal: 

I got a chance to sample this for free thanks to a Sweat Pink promotion and I am IN LOVE! My Oatmeal has a ton of fun oatmeal varieties (like PB&J Cupcake!) and they also let you make custom oatmeal from a a variety of ingredients listed on their website – they then ship your custom oatmeal to you directly. There are about a bazillion combinations (okay, maybe not that many) and the one I opted for had the following: rolled oats and flax, brown sugar and oatmeal cookie flavors, with coconut, ginger, date, mangos and apricots. YUM! Oh and of course I called it Melissa’s Blend because I’m just that creative.

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It arrived while I was on vacation and it was such an awesome surprise to open after we got back. I was pumped. Take a look!

IT HAS MY NAME ON IT

IT HAS MY NAME ON IT

Look at that dried fruit!

Look at that dried fruit!

Obviously you can eat it as regular oatmeal. But some other cool things you can do:

  • Make granola with it. In my favorite granola recipe, just swap out the oats with the oatmeal! You probably can use less dried fruit if you want to since my blend has dried fruit in it AND less sweetener (brown sugar and/or honey) if you choose an Oatmeal that’s sweet.
  • Make cookies! I love oatmeal cookies and don’t doubt that adding some of this oatmeal would be a delicious add-in.
  • Eat it dry. I’m not gonna lie – I took a bag with me to work to eat as a snack – and just ate it dry. I had fully intended to cook it up and then just ate it dry. And I enjoyed it.

Kalebouli

I love tabbouleh and the first time I tried kalebouli I also fell in love. One of my favorite ways to eat kalebouli is actually on a wrap with hummus (okay I guess this isn’t quite a snack) – and the Flaming Ice Cube in Cleveland has an amazing kalebouli wrap.

But if you want to try making your own kalebouli so that you can try it as a snack – here is a recipe from the blog, Fragrant Vanilla Cake. You can make yur own pita chips and dip them in the kalebouli, or serve it with chopped veggies, pita, and hummus. Yum!

 

My standard from the Flaming Ice Cube - Kalebouli Hummus Wrap!

My standard from the Flaming Ice Cube – Kalebouli Hummus Wrap!

 

Some questions for you:

  • What are your favorite snacks to beat the 3 p.m. hunger? All of the above. Also a fan of anything sweet/salty – chocolate covered pretzels, Chex Mix, etc.
  • Are you a snacker? Prefer 3 meals a day and that’s it? Yup, i’m a snacker. But B isn’t. He has pretty much breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes he’ll eat carrots and peanut butter at work but that’s it. I bring LOADS of snacks and get pretty hangry when I don’t!
  • Do you like oatmeal? Do you ever eat it “raw”? I can’t be the only one ..
  • Dark chocolate? White chocolate? Which do you prefer?

 

Disclosure: I was given a free sample of My Oatmeal to try out via Fit Approach. All opinions are my own and I was in no other way compensated for this post. I have not been given any free kalebouli, free Flaming Ice Cube (unless you count the gift card my parents got me for my birthday?) or free chocolate covered coffee beans – but I’d love any of those! 

Scenes from A “Do Nothing” Weekend

We all have those weekends. Those weekends when someone asks you what you’re doing and you’re SO happy to say, “Nothing!” Or maybe you’re not happy. But I was happy to be able to say that about last weekend. After a few weeks of traveling, and looking at my calendar and realizing that I’m traveling likely every weekend through April 19th, I was looking forward to a weekend of doing nothing. And boy, was it a GREAT do nothing weekend.

Here are some of the highlights:

Friday night included dinner at one of my favorite places, the Flaming Ice Cube. I love their vegan, carbolicious food before a long run! B and I split the Buffalo “chicken” dip, and I got the kalebouli wrap. I could eat kalebouli every single day and be happy.

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Saturday started early with a 12 mile run with B and his sister. Despite not getting the pace we wanted (B was shooting for 9 min/miles for the whole time) I felt pretty good the entire time. Perhaps the key to feeling good is running slower? Mary kept on going for 15 total miles – I was very happy to be done with 12. And I think my body was too – after our run for a few hours I had some shooting pain down my back right side – from my glutes to just above my calf. Thank goodness it went away!

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Post-run, B and I picked up some supplies at the West Side Market for meals for this week. I won’t be able to shop there until the end of April, so I took advantage of the opportunity to get tons of food – probably too much. I’ll be eating spaghetti squash, eggplant and butternut squash for a few days 🙂

Love the fresh produce!

Love the fresh produce!

Did I mention we also got lunch at the Souper Market (LOVE their bread and Mulligatawny) and shared a giant Apple Fritter from the West Side Market?

seriously, these are the BEST apple fritters

seriously, these are the BEST apple fritters

After the market, B and I decided to get coffee and tea. Well, coffee for him (Rising Star) and tea (from the new Hingetown Tea Revival shop) for me. I LOVED my ginger turmuric infused tea. And how cute is the shop?

After our Ohio City escapades, B and I decided to do some outlet shopping. I actually didn’t end up with anything (surprise! I’m saving money for our upcoming vacation) but B left with 2 new suits that actually fit him. I didn’t realize how big the suits he’d been wearing were on him until he tried on the new suits. WOW – what a difference! I can’t wait until he wears them 🙂 If he lets me I’ll post a photo because they looked really good.

And the night included a few drinks out and then a lazy evening of watching Game of Thrones (and I didn’t fall asleep during the episode!), homemade pizza, and wine.

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Sunday I ended up having to work most of the day so I spent the day at a coffee shop before meeting B’s family for dinner. Today is B’s mom’s birthday (Happy birthday!) so we celebrated Sunday evening with more pizza, more wine and other Italian food.

Food, family and a good run. That’s what I call a pretty good “do nothing” weekend – don’t you?

I know it’s already Wednesday. But how was your weekend? Do you enjoy “do nothing” weekends? Do you already have plans for this weekend?

It’s Almost March?

I get it. February is a short month. But, how the heck is it almost March? To be honest, I’m okay with February being done with – I am looking forward to a new month – and hopefully a new start. AND this weekend was definitely a step in the right direction – filled with a few days of my favorite things: running, baking, watching movies, and some of my favorite food. I really can’t complain. Hope your weekend was just as fabulous!

Friday night started with dinner at one of my favorite restaurants – The Flaming Ice Cube. It’s a vegan restaurant right near where B and I used to live. Even though we don’t live practically above it anymore, it’s well worth the walk.

My standard from the Flaming Ice Cube - Kalebouli Hummus Wrap!

My standard from the Flaming Ice Cube – Kalebouli Hummus Wrap!

Then, we caught a movie – the LEGO movie! I actually really enjoyed it. Have you seen it yet? I don’t know why – but lately I have started loving children’s movies. First, Frozen, now the Lego movie. Then, I can’t wait to see the new Muppet movie.

Saturday started with a 9 mile run with B and his sister. As much as I don’t like waking up early on the weekends, it was nice to be showered and ready for the day before noon! After our run, B and I decided to spend some time in Ohio City- first with lunch at the Souper Market, then some treats and shopping at the West Side Market, and finally coffee at Pour.

Sunny Saturday

Sunny Saturday

Latte from Pour

Latte from Pour

Oh yeah. And that awesomeness was all before 1 p.m. on Saturday. And what about the rest of the weekend?

Also included getting my nails done. 

manicure

I’m feeling the bright colors of spring. Even though it’s going to be single digit temps again this week…

Finding some deals on my favorite holiday beer – 12 Dogs of Christmas – and enjoying it, yes even two months past Christmas.

12 dogs of christmas

And then getting some pizza from Angelo’s.

(photo from Angelo's website but this is pretty much what our pizza looked like)

(photo from Angelo’s website but this is pretty much what our pizza looked like)

And some Sunday night baking while watching the finale of Downton Abbey.

Hershey Kiss stuffed cookie. Recipe coming soon :)

Hershey Kiss stuffed cookie. Recipe coming soon 🙂

See, not too bad a weekend, huh? How was yours?

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like seeing kids’ movies? Have you seen Frozen or the LEGO movie?
  • Clevelanders – did you go to JBB? I heard it was a blast, like always.
  • Get in any miles outside this weekend?
  • Do you enjoy Christmas-y beers? What about in February?
  • Favorite month of the year? Least favorite?