Thursday, January 27, 2011

more HGTV

Between HGTV and Trader's Joe, I don't think I talk about much else on here.  Anyways I made it to the YMCA this morning in time to see another episode of "Save My Bath."  Today's episode included a lovely (not) bathroom decorated with blue and purple butterfly wallpaper.  Whoever thought wallpaper was a good idea is dumb.  Anyways the finished room looked a whole lot better and I managed to get my run done:
  • 3.16 miles in 28 minutes - 1 minute walking warm up, 26 minutes running, 1 minute walking cool down.  I had a cramp during most of the run and wanted to give up numerous times but kept pushing on with the thought of 500 miles this year. 

I ventured onto the Run For Your Life website and started looking at the running schedule for this season.  So far the first race I'm excited about is a Shamrock 4 miler on March 19th.  Hopefully I'll sign up for this one and a bunch more!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

rain rain go away

I'm so glad that today was my day off from running.  I woke up to the sound of rain and had no enthusiasm for doing much more than just snuggle with Honey.  Eventually I did get out of bed and got myself ready to head out.

Not sure when this became the norm, but suddenly wearing rain boots is fashionable.  I'm all about trends so I jumped on this bandwagon when I realized how helpful rain boots would be in Charlotte snowstorms.  Although the Hunter rain boots are the popular choice among celebrities, I couldn't justify the hefty price tag when making my rain boot purchase.
Rachel Bilson wearing Hunter rain boots

I found a great pair of blue rain boots from Banana Republic while I was Christmas shopping and was lucky enough to purchase them while on sale (they're still on sale for $34.99).

splish splashin' in the rain

Today I got to wear the entire rain ensemble ... trench coat (also from Banana Republic), rain boots, and broken umbrella from NYC that I bought during one of my last visits.  The best part of the rain today was seeing the sun shining around 5pm after the rain had finally stopped.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

mmmm blueberry!

This morning I dragged myself out of bed (again) and made it the Y in time to watch my favorite show "Save My Bath" on HGTV.  For some reason I find a show about redoing strangers' bathrooms strangely motivating during my runs. 
  • 3.62 miles in 32 minutes - 1 minute walking warm up, 30 minutes running, 1 minute walking cool down
After some stretching in the gym I drove over to Trader Joe's for a few necessities.  I stocked up on baby spinach, bananas, organic half and half, and greek yogurt.  I've recently discovered their Greek Style Non-fat Yogurt, priced at $0.99.  It's delicious, only 120 calories, loaded with protein (13 grams), and quite the bargain.

get in my belly!

Monday, January 24, 2011

case of the mondays

What a surprise ... I didn't want to get out of bed this morning.  In my defense Honey didn't want to get out of bed either, but I digress.  I finally made it to the YMCA and ran:
  • 3.32 miles in 30 minutes - 1 minute walking warm up, 28 minutes running, 1 minute walking cool down
So far I have run approximately 30 miles during the month of January.  Still quite a bit to go to reach my goal of 500 miles in 2011.

No matter how much I hate dragging myself out of bed (especially when it is so cold outside) I always feel much better after I have run.  Looking forward to tomorrow morning's run ... seriously, no sarcasm. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

YMCA part 2

Yesterday I drove to the YMCA for a second time and finally made it onto a treadmill! 

winter wear to the gym ... parka and gym shorts

Another crowded afternoon at the gym meant lots of people racing away on the treadmills.  Luckily I didn't have a wait and was able to jump right in.

  • 4.02 miles in 35 minutes = 1 minute walking warm up, 33:30 minutes running, 30 seconds walking cool down
My legs are very sore today and I'm starting to feel congested again ... last thing I need is to get sick before the big VEGAS trip tomorrow.  So far I've ran 13.25 miles this month which means I still have 486.75 miles left to go for my 500 mile goal for 2011.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

closed due to inclement weather???

This morning I made every effort to run on the treadmill at the YMCA.  Last night I de-snowed and de-iced my car in preparation for this morning's drive.  I put on my gym clothes and drove extra slow to the Y since the roads were still icy and snowy from our recent winter weather.  I slid into the parking lot and noticed there weren't many cars in the parking lot.  I didn't think much about it and headed towards the front doors.  And then I saw it ... posted on the front doors of the YMCA:

"Closed due to inclement weather.  Will re-open on Wednesday at 10am"

Nooooooooooooo!  I hadn't run since Saturday and the only exercise I had done was the 30 day shred program by Jillian Michaels yesterday evening.  This is some sort of conspiracy against me by the universe in order to thwart my plan to run 500 miles this year. 

Looks like tomorrow will be my last shot of running before Las Vegas.  VIVA LAS VEGAS!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

will run for a juicy lucy!

I realized since I've had this blog I haven't made any delicious cheeseburgers.  Sure I've eaten quite a few, but I've neglected to make some burgers in the comfort of my own home.  Ryan has been craving a burger for days now.  It was actually getting to be quite irritating to hear him ask for a burger night after night instead of being content with the tasty meals I was preparing.  On my walk home today I stopped by the grocery store and picked up some ingredients to make homemade burgers.  I didn't want to make just any normal burger though ... I wanted something special, restaurant worthy.  So I looked up a recipe for "Juicy Lucy" and here we go.

Juicy Lucy
adapted from

1 pound ground beef
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 slices Colby jack cheese
2 hamburger buns, split
various toppings

1. Mix together beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Form 4 thin patties from the beef mixture. Each patty should be slightly larger than a slice of cheese.

2.  Cut each slice of cheese into 4 pieces; stack the pieces. Sandwich one stack of cheese between 2 ground beef patties. Tightly pinch edges together tightly seal the cheese within the meat. Repeat with the remaining cheese and patties.

3.  Preheat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Cook burgers until well browned, about 4 minutes. It is common for burgers to puff up due to steam from the melting cheese. Turn burgers and prick the top of each to allow steam to escape; cook until browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside; about 4 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns.

ingredients for burgers
burger patties with cheese

2 patties in 1

toppings for burgers

burgers cooking in the pan, 4 minutes for each side

finished product with a side of spicy ketchup and french fries

ooey gooey cheese oozing out of the burger.  success!

crepe-y saturday

Our Saturday started off a bit rocky.  Honey had kept us up all night with some incessant sneezing.  We called the local vet's office and although they were fully booked, they agreed to let us wait in their office in case they had time in between other clients.  I made us some to-go coffee and we were out the door by 9am.

At the doctor's office they examined Honey and said that she did not have a fever (after checking for a temperature with a thermometer up her butt), but did have some respiratory problems.  They prescribed her some medicine and gave us a bag of treats to go along with the pills. 

Once we got home it was time to eat some breakfast.  I made Ryan and myself a huge breakfast spread, complete with eggs, Canadian bacon, home fries, toast, and cottage cheese.  The filling meal gave me the necessary fuel to face the very crowded Target store. 

Around 2pm Ryan and I realized it was past lunch time and we should probably head out for our second meal of the day. I convinced him to go to the Crepe Cellar Kitchen & Pub over in the NoDa arts district.   It was our first time dining there and I was pleasantly surprised.  The service was superb and the food was tasty.  Ryan ordered the "black and blue po boy" which had blackened chicken breast, cheddar cheese, blue cheese crumbles, ancho chili aioli, all on a baguette with a side of french fries.  I ordered one of the savory buckwheat crepes, "ham & Gruyere" which had a bechamel and maple Dijon glaze with a side of mac & cheese.  The restaurant had a really neat ambiance and some delicious beers on tap (ie. Chimay) which really makes us interested in going back some time soon to do some drinking.

I tried to wait enough time in between my meal and heading to the gym but unfortunately I don't think I waited long enough.  I had the worst side cramp almost my entire run.  It made it really difficult to run and I definitely did not enjoy it like I usually do.
  • 3.65 miles in 35 minutes - 1 minute warm up, 33 minutes running, 1 minute cool down

Monday, January 10, 2011

friday date night

Friday around 4:00pm was a very crowded time at the YMCA.  Instead of hitting up happy hours across town, health conscious people piled into the gym and ellipticized their little hearts out.  Not me.  I stuck to the treadmill and ran the following:
  • 3.33 miles in 31 minutes - 1 minute warm up, 29 minutes running, 1 minute cool down

I was in a hurry to get my work out done since I had big plans with Ryan that night.  We went to dinner at DeeJai Thai and had some of the best Thai food I've had in a while.  We split crab rangoon as an appetizer and then each ordered a ginger salad.  For our entree we split the spicy crab roll (they had a sushi menu) and shrimp pad Thai.  Since I'm still on an anti-alcoholic streak I ordered the Thai iced tea.  All of the food was delicious and the service was incredible.  I can't wait to go back to this awesome restaurant or order take out when I'm too lazy to cook. 

After dinner we walked over to the Manor Theater where I had bought tickets from Fandango for "127 Hours."  The movie was based on the true story of Aron Ralston and his terrible mountain climbing accident.  James Franco did an excellent job portraying the emotions that Aron must've been going through during those 5 days.  Although I did keep my eyes averted from the screen for at least 10 minutes I really did enjoy the movie. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

new breakfast drink

Anyone who knows me knows about my obsession with Trader Joe's.  I mean, come on, I make it pretty obvious that I absolutely love that store.  My latest shopping trip included the purchase of some instant chai latte mix. 
I figured a fun Friday drink was in order to start off my day.  After heating up some water in my "J" mug I added one scoop of the spicy chai latte mix and tada!  The chai latte was delicious and totally reminded me of some fancy coffeehouse drink.  Plus I saved myself $4 and the walk to Starbucks.  Sorry Starbucks!

Fun drinks aside, I still haven't felt the motivation in the morning to head back to the gym.  Hopefully I'll have some time later this afternoon to run some miles on the treadmill.  I'm still not feeling 100% but after a relaxing weekend I should be back to normal by Monday.

By the way, since moving to Charlotte I've developed this obsession with checking the weather on my phone.  I look at my weather app (I have an iPhone) at least 12-15 times a day.  It's kind of sad that at any given time I can tell you what the weather is predicted to be 4 days from now.  Anyways the low for next Wednesday is 5.  Just 5.  There's no 3, 2, or even 1 in front of that.  I'm pretty sure I'll stay indoors all day and hibernate at that point.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

first run of the new year

After being sick for over 4 days I decided today I was feeling well enough to try running again.  Since my last run was a week ago I was very rusty and already out of running shape.  Ryan and I ran outside around our fourth ward neighborhood and did 2.25 miles.  I didn't keep track of the timing but am figuring we ran for 20-25 minutes.  It was nice running outside again since that last time I ran outdoors was on 12/25 (Christmas day in St. Petersburg, FL).   

Mileage goal for 2011: 500 miles
Miles ran on 1/6: 2.25 miles

497.75 miles to go! 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Honey-Orange Chicken

Sunday night's meal featured a recipe from Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express .  The cookbook is composed of "404 inspired seasonal dishes you can make in 20 minutes or less."  The book is split up into each of the 4 seasons; summer, spring, fall, and winter.  Each section includes recipes for appetizers, main dishes, sides, and desserts. 

I looked through the "winter"section and settled upon #62 honey-orange chicken.  My only complaint is that he lists all of the recipes in paragraph form and does not itemize the ingredients (see below for exact recipe):

"Pound chicken breasts to half-inch thickness and season with salt and pepper.  Mix together one-half cup of orange juice, one-half cup of honey, and one tablespoon ground cumin, salt, and pepper.  Sear the chicken on both sides in two tablespoons of vegetable oil for about four minutes total.  Add the orange juice-honey mixture, cover, and allow it to simmer for about six minutes.  Serve over mixed greens."

The only difference that I made from the original recipe is that I dipped the chicken breasts in egg whites and then lightly breaded them in panko crumbs to make it more of a crispy chicken dish you would order at a Chinese restaurant.  Instead of serving the chicken over mixed greens, I served it along steamed broccoli and white rice.  The recipe was easy to make and the sauce reminded me of some delicious take out. 

finished product

Broccoli and Arugula Soup

Tonight's meal featured a recipe from GOOP, Gwyneth Paltrow's website. The soup was featured as one of her detox recipes and looked pretty easy to make. 

The only changes I made to the recipe is to increase the amount of garlic, salt, and pepper (I love my seasonings). 

from GOOP:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced (I used 2)
- 1/2 yellow onion, roughly diced
- 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 tsp each coarse salt and  freshly ground pepper (I used closer to a full tsp of each)
- 3/4 cup arugula
- 1/2 lemon

heat the olive oil in a medium nonstick saucepan over medium heat.  add the garlic and onion and saute for just a minute or until fragrant.  add the broccoli and cook for 4 minutes or until bright green.  add the water, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cover.  cook for 8 minutes or until the broccoli is just tender.  pour the soup into a blender and puree with the arugula until quite smooth.  be very careful when blending hot liquids; start slowly and work in batches if necessary (you don't want steam to blow the lid off).  serve the soup with a bit of fresh lemon.

garlic and onions

broccoli florets

being blended

finished soup

All in all it wasn't very hard to make and it made me feel like I was eating really healthy.  The lemon helped make this otherwise bland tasting soup mildly tasty. 

resolutions and a cold

Want to know the worst way to start off a new year?  With a cold ... a terrible, terrible cold, complete with headache, sneezing, runny nose, coughing, and a whole lot of feeling worthless.

After spending 2 days in bed or on the couch I finally feel well enough to wear something other than pajamas and venture outside.  Baby steps.  I'm even eating real meals and drinking coffee again.  Woo Hoo!  Sadly I'm still days away from going to the gym and running which really bothers me.

With so much free time the past 2 days (in between napping, blowing my nose, and coughing), I came up with a short list of New Year's Resolutions for 2011:

1) run 500 miles (averages out to roughly 10 miles a week)
2) read 6 books (1 every 2 months)
3) visit one Charlotte or North Carolina landmark or tourist spot every month
4) blog more
5) be a better version of Jessica (eat better, work out more, be nicer)

happy new year!

2010 was full of changes and experiences ... Ryan and I got married, I lost my job at the bank, and we moved to Charlotte, NC.  There were many other memories, but none as life changing as those.  I'm lucky that I have such a supportive and encouraging husband to tackle all of these changes with. 

Our group of Charlotte friends had some visitors to bring in the new year with.  Sunny paid us a visit and was there to help me find the perfect dress for midnight.  Chad and Brittany travelled straight from Boston (where Chad just proposed).  Sue's friends Jill and Jeff drove up from Jacksonville, FL to share in the celebrations.  Brandon organized the travel arrangements and we had a party bus drive all 15 of us to Andrew Blair's for the big New Year's Eve party.  The night was chilly, full of drinks, and lots of fun. 

the boys

me and my handsome husband

my beautiful partner in crime, Sol

Ryan, Sunny, and Lori clowning around