Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Who Doesn't Love Seasonal Treats!!

I LOVE Christmas time and all the flavors associated with the holidays! Peppermint, cinnamon, and gingerbread are all the flavors I look forward to this time of year, and it's so fun to see all these treats in the grocery store. Obviously food companies must be in the holiday spirit!

I freakin' love Oreos. I saw these in Walmart the other day and I wish I got them. How awesome would these be in Oreo balls? Now I might have to go get these...
I love Luna bars and eat them all the time! I had one of these festive Chocolate Peppermint Stick bars as my snack this afternoon! They are filling and also low-cal. Luna for the win!
If y'all drink coffee, you HAVE to try these! I'm not a huge coffee person, so I can also vouch for the magnificence of these added to hot chocolate. They taste amazing. I love the eggnog and peppermint mocha in hot chocolate, and the eggnog is good in coffee as well.
I mentioned these the other day but I still think it's great that an energy gel is available in holiday flavors! A little bit of Christmas on your run! Have one while pounding out some miles and jamming out to Christmas carols! I know I'm not the only one who does this...
Seasonal Clif bars! I LOVE Clif bars! I've had the gingerbread flavor and liked it. I'm dying to try the cranberry one!
Candy cane Hershey kisses!! These taste great melted in hot chocolate! And when you eat them straight out of the bag...and on top of cookies. I actually used these in an awesome brownie recipe. Now that I think of it, I'll have to post the recipe for y'all! Super easy holiday treat.
Holiday silk!! I know normal eggnog is a staple on the grocery refrigerated shelf in December, but how cool is it that Silk makes it too? I bet any of these flavors would taste awesome in hot chocolate, your morning smoothie, or with granola.
Speaking of eggnog, EGGNOG ICE CREAM! I have to find this.

Y'all know how I feel about m&ms. I LOVE them. And red and green m&ms are even better.
They are so beautiful.
They even have pretzel holiday m&ms!
Someone restrain me.
And everyone's favorite, Starbucks holiday drinks! I used to work for Starbucks in college and I always looked forward to making drinks in the red cups. I have to try one of the skinny peppermint mochas they have new this year! Who has tried one? How is it? And the dark cherry? Is that yummy?

Aren't the holidays so tasty?!

I'm watching the Christmas in Rockefeller Plaza special on TV tonight while I edit thesis chapters. I'm going to NYC in a few weeks so I'm looking forward to getting a preview of the tree!

Happy Wednesday!

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Gifts for Runners!

With the weekend being surrounded by huge sale days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I've had Christmas gifts on the brain!
Picking out gifts is not easy! Everyone wants to give the perfect gift to each recipient.
Runners are a tough bunch to buy for. The first gifts that come to mind for runners are items such as shoes or clothing. While receiving these items as gifts are awesome, these products are tough on the wallet. It's also hard to buy clothing or shoes for runners since each runner is different and has (usually very specific) preferences on styles and brands.

I've compiled a short list of some alternate gifts that every runner will love! I tried to pick wide range of prices so everyone can find something in their budget.

1. Fuel: Energy gels, bars
Most distance runners use some type of gel fuel or energy bar on long runs. Popular fuels include GU gels, Clif Shot Bloks, PowerBar Gel, Sport Beans, and Clif Gel. There are tons of different kinds out there!
If your favorite runner likes GU, they just released two new flavors: Peanut Butter (YUM!) and a festive Peppermint Stick!

2. Nuun
Nuun is a drink tablet that fizzes after you drop it in water. It is electrolyte-enhanced, under 8 calories, and tastes pretty great!

How cute would a basket filled with energy gels, nuun, pasta, granola bars, Gatorade, and peanut butter be? Any runner would love a running themed basket like that!

Now that I think of it...who wants to make me one of those baskets for Christmas? Ha ha :)

3. An iTunes gift card
I like to run with music, so an iTunes gift card to add some new jams to a running playlist would be a welcome gift. I also have listened to audiobooks on long runs. iTunes has a section for audiobooks if you're interested!

4. A GoSport ID
I think it's really crucial that runners acknowledge the importance of safety while headed out running. There are several brands of ID bracelets, such as GoSport ID (pictured here) and RoadID. I personally have a GoSport ID (love! and awesome colors!), but I've heard wonderful things about both brands mentioned.

5. Tervis Tumbler
I use Tervis Tumblers ALL the time! They are shatter-proof and guaranteed for life. Tervis Tumblers also have a double wall so no sweating! They keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot! I love the 26.2 design they have, as well as a 13.1 design.
They also have this cute Runner Girl (and a Runner Boy) tumbler!

6. Foam Roller
I LOVE foam rolling! It helps so much with tightness and sore muscles, especially after long runs. There are several brands around, such as Trigger Point or Pro-Tec.

7. Fuel Belt

Fuel belts are great for long runs and summer runs when you're dying of thirst. I personally have a FuelBelt brand belt that has 2 bottles. I love everything about it except the Velcro closure...I wish it had a clip closure. But it stays put and I love it! There are other brands such as Nathan and Camelbak as well.

8. GPS Watch
These are pricey but I am dying to get one! GPS watches track mileage, splits, elevation, time, etc. Garmin is the most popular brand and they have several models. Who wants to get me one of these? :)

9. Compression sleeves
Y'all if it weren't for my compression sleeves I have no idea how I would have made it through my half or the recovery. These help a TON! Compression sleeves aid in blood flow and I seriously have no soreness when I run with them. Which is why I want compression tights so my whole leg feels like this! I use the Zensah brand but there are others such as CEP, Nike, and CW-X.

I hope you enjoyed my list of great gifts for runners. If anyone has ever given or received a great running (or active in general) gift pass it along!

I also recently started a Facebook page for my blog so it would mean a lot if you would "Like" me on Facebook! Thanks so much!! Click HERE

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Three in a Row! My Last MSU Game As a Student

I love Thanksgiving weekend because of food, family, and FOOTBALL! This weekend is also known as Rivalry Weekend in college football. This weekend I was cheering on my Gators vs. FSU, Clemson vs. SC, Tennessee vs. UK, and Mississippi State vs. ole miss. Unfortunately, my Gators, Clemson, and UT didn't have great weekends. I was so disappointed they all lost :( But Mississippi State beat the Rebs for the third year in a row!

We started out Saturday with a 3.4 mile run before coming back to get ready for the tailgate. I made gingerbread cookies shaped like footballs and dog bones, and peppermint chocolate brownies. Since it's Christmas season I made festive desserts for the last tailgate!
We had a great time at the tailgate spending time with friends. Zach and I will both graduate in the spring-summer so this was both of our last football games as MSU students.
We played lots of cornhole against Scott (Zach's best friend, surely y'all remember him from the last painted face) and Scott's friend Shea, who are both in the army. It was fun having them come for the Egg Bowl.
Zoe also rolled in the grass and got lots of attention from a little boy at the tailgate next to us so she also had a blast at the last tailgate of the season.
Zoe says Go Dawgs!

We headed into the stadium and sat in the rain most of the game. We were soaked and chilly but wanted to stay until the end to yell: "Hey Ole Miss! We just beat the hell outta you! Maroon! White! Fight fight fight! Mississippi State! Damn right!
It was way worth sitting in the rain to watch our Dawgs beat That School Up North for the third year in a row! 31-3 Go Dawgs!

MSU is going bowlin' again this year!

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all are enjoying a great holiday with family and friends! I started out Thanksgiving morning with a very hilly 4 mile run around Zach’s grandparents’ house. We decided to have our own Turkey Trot since there wasn’t one near us. Afterwards we all got ready and headed to Zach’s parents’ house.

We even dressed Zoe up in her Turkey bandana!
I brought pumpkin dip with cinnamon graham crackers, red velvet gooey butter cookies, and gingerbread cookies to the festivities.
We had a delicious Thanksgiving late lunch/early dinner and I enjoyed every bite!

What was your favorite Thanksgiving dessert? Are you headed out to do Black Friday shopping?

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Visiting Kentucky: Maker's Mark Distillery

Saturday, Zach and I traveled (with a detour in Knoxville) to Lexington, KY. We had a great day yesterday shopping, relaxing, and visiting with Zach's cousin Shawn, who works here for the UK team shop.
Today we headed to Maker's Mark Distillery to take the tour! I'm not a fan of bourbon or whisky, but the scenery was gorgeous and I like hearing the history of a local product.
If any of y'all have been to Vermont, Kentucky reminds me a lot of Vermont. The distillery had all black painted buildings with red or green trim. The distillery was surrounded by rolling hills. The views were just unbelievable!
We walked around the grounds before the tour started. The whole place had the most adorable, charming Christmas decorations up. They were simple but so perfect for the way the distillery looked.
It really made me excited for the holidays!

Zach was able to dip his own bottle of Maker's Mark in the famous red wax. They also let him stamp it. It was really fun to watch!
I love the way it turned out!
We got started on the tour and learned the process of making bourbon and whiskey as well as the ingredients that make Maker's Mark unique.
I loved walking around to the different buildings and seeing the process and the Christmas wreaths! I bet it would be so pretty at night when the lights were lit up!
It was a really enjoyable afternoon activity in Kentucky and if you are ever around the area, I highly recommend it!
Tomorrow we are headed back to Starkville for one night and then Wednesday we are off to Jackson for Thanksgiving!

I hope y'all had a great weekend and Monday!

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Run Happy

I recently got this shirt (made by Brooks):
I loved the simple message: Run Happy

And this morning, that's exactly what I did.

I set out to run my second speed workout of the week, but after I started, I just felt like running long. I was in the groove, was comfortable in the weather (chilly but I definitely wore the right outfit), and just turned my music on and zoned out and just ran.
I didn't worry about pace and I barely remember listening to any of the music that was playing. I thought about random things like how many Christmas cards I need, what I'm baking for Thanksgiving and the Egg Bowl, and what to give my sister for her birthday.
I chomped on some Sports Beans between miles 3-7 and just loved every second of today's run!
8 miles and my long run for the week down!
Sweet outfit.
Zoe also ran all 8 miles with me and then took a 3 hour nap. Silly pup.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas Too Soon?

This has been a huge topic of conversation recently. How soon is too soon for Christmas decor?
I have to admit, I do not like Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. It doesn't really affect me if someone decorates though, so if you are a pre-Turkey Day decorator, I don't hate on you. But I do think that rushing Christmas makes the season less special. I don't know about you, but I think I would burn out on Christmas movies and music if I listened to it from November 1 to December 25. That's almost 2 months! I would rather enjoy the fabulousness of Thanksgiving and then start celebrating the Christmas season the Friday after. I love how Nordstrom will be doing just that:

After all, how awesome is Thanksgiving? Cooking great food, traveling to see loved ones, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, watching football on Thanksgiving Day and the college rivalry games that weekend, eating turkey shaped gingerbread cookies (is that just me?) and other pumpkin wonderfulness, and wearing an autumnal Thanksgiving Day outfit. I also love doing Turkey Trots/Hobble then Gobble/Thanksgiving Day races. And of course, think and reflect on how fortunate we all are. It's important to remember to be grateful for what and who we have in our lives.
If you agree with me, take the Respect the Bird pledge! I found out about this through Carrots 'n Cake's blog and I took the pledge! Bring back Turkey Day!

How do you feel about celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving?
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Speed Workouts, Weights, and Pizza!

Yesterday was supposed to be my first day of Mississippi Blues Half training. I had the speed work workout scheduled. I woke up yesterday and just wasn't feeling it. I felt tired and achy, like I was getting sick. I was going to try to run last night, but Zach and I wound up walking with Zoe for about 45 minutes and watching a movie instead.
This afternoon, I was determined to get this workout done! I'm not falling behind in the first week! We started out and a half mile into our warmup, it started raining! Ugh! I normally love running in the rain but with Zoe and my iPhone, we opted to bring her back home then finish the workout at the gym.

I did the following workout:
-Half mile warmup
-1200 m at goal half marathon pace with 400 m recovery
-2 x 800 m at 10k race pace with 200 m recovery for each
-4 x 400 m at 5k race pace with 200 m recovery for each
-Legs and arm weights

I wanted to run one mile as a cooldown but I was STARVING!
So we came home and made pizza!
One side is broccoli, peppers, and onions and the other side is peppers, onions, and turkey (gross...turkey on pizza? No thanks). I bet y'all can tell which side is mine! Broccoli all the way!

Tonight we are watching Chopped (obsessed with this show!) and designing Christmas cards on the computer.
For dessert I'll be enjoying my new favorite froyo mixture:
Pumpkin froyo (our local frozen yogurt shop sells pre-packed containers of some of their flavors), with Thanksgiving sprinkles and crushed up ginger snaps!

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Lists for Monday

While catching up this morning on some of the blogs that come to my email, I read Ali's blog and just loved her idea of making lists on Monday and also the lists she came up with! I thought I'd do a post similar to hers!

5 Things I'm Looking Forward to This Month:

-Going to Tennessee/Kentucky this weekend! Zach, Zoe and I are on the road again this weekend! We are headed to Knoxville to see Jim and hopefully go to the UT game and Lexington to visit Zach's cousin Shawn.

-Baking for Thanksgiving! If only I could decide on which recipes I want to make. So many cookies, not enough time!

-Thanksgiving! We are going to visit Zach's family for Thanksgiving. They live in Mississippi about 2 hours south of us. I love eating and visiting so yay for Thanksgiving!

-Decorating for Christmas! This will happen on Black Friday while watching Elf. I can't wait to bust out the lights and glittery gold decor. And my Santa. And my wreaths. I just love decorating for the holidays!

-The Egg Bowl! Mississippi State vs. That School Up North (TSUN/ole miss). Go Dawgs! Beat those Rebs!

4 Things On My Christmas List:

-Wall shelves. Weird I know. But I finally found the perfect wall shelves at Target while we were in Savannah so I hope I get them!

-CWX Stabilyx Compression Tights. I love compression anything. They work like a charm!

-A dark brown/chocolate colored cardigan. I cannot for the life of me find a normal brown cardigan anywhere! So I gave this item to my mom. If anyone can find one, she can.

-Asics Thermopolis Gloves. My hands get so cold running in the winter, and these are way needed. Especially since we are headed north to Yankee Land for Christmas!

-A pizza stone. Zach and I make homemade pizza all the time so we asked for one for Christmas. I think this will make our crust better so we can finally achieve the epic level of homemade pizza we've been aiming for.

3 workouts I'm doing this week:

-Speedwork sesh x 2. Yea my speedwork workout didn't happen today. I just didn't feel that good and I was super lazy. It happens. I will get BOTH of them done this week though!

-Long run. 7-8 miles. Somewhere in that range.

-Yoga session. I need to stretch more as well as cross train. Killin' two birds with one stone.

2 Goals For This Week:

-Eat no meals out until the weekend when we're away.

-Finish my defense presentation. Who knows when I'm actually defending. But while I have more spare time than usual waiting for my advisor to return to work/edit my papers/edit my thesis/exist in general I'm going to work on my defense presentation so I can be extra prepared for when life gets chaotic again pre-defense.

1 Thing I'm Thankful For:

-My goofy sister. She calls me, says the most random stories, plans out our NYC trip in 5 minutes, then hangs up. So weird but funny as all get out. Speaking of her...she's turning 22 next week! Any ideas for a gift??!! :) She likes Boston Terriers and gluten free things. And peace signs.
This is us impersonating our dogs. Zoe is happy and goofy as y'all know, and her dog Riley is a bug eyed Boston Terrier with jowls haha. So funny.
Don't judge.
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