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4 years!

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I can’t believe that it’s been 4 years since I woke up a single woman.  4 years since I got my hair done (and cried when I saw it).  4 years since I first saw my bouquet of pink roses & peonies and wished that I could have a bouquet JUST.LIKE.THAT.ONE. every day of my life.  4 years since I walked down the aisle with my veil covering my face, getting stuck on my eyelash extensions.  4 years since I held the hands of my love at the altar and professed that I would love him.  Forever and always.  4 years since we wandered through the vineyards, awkwardly talking about our amazing families and friends, while being followed by an even more awkward photographer.  4 years since we danced to Louis Armstrong’s “A Kiss to Build a Dream On”.  4 years since my buddy drank all the tequila at the wedding and really made it a party.  4 years since we passed under the sparklers held up by our guests, toasting our special day.  Happiest of Anniversaries to my love.

What You Don’t Know Won’t Really Hurt You…

Some might call me the worst blogger in the world.  Why?  Because I’m not really keeping up my end of the bargain on my whole “Blog a Day” Challenge.  Skipping days = failing the challenge.  But, I contend that you’d rather have something well thought-out than just some rubbish I type up rambling-style…  So because I spent last night at a 4-year-old’s birthday party (wine & carrot cake included, of course!) instead of blogging I went to sleep.  Because playing trains, and castles, and reading pop-up books will tucker a girl out!

Dixie would like to greet you - cross-eyed & all!

But, I will not let you down this weekend, my friends!  I’ve got some great posts planned, and you’re going to want to stay tuned.

Mason, posing. Tail in full poufy-ness.

First things first:

5 Things You Don’t Know About Me

Yes, I normally do these on Fridays.  But, work was busy (gasp!), then we had the birthday party (yay!), then we went to our fave sushi place for dinner (yum!).  Once we got home, and Kanye West’s Gold Digger got out of my head (that was the background music for sushi, not the birthday party…  not sure which would be weirder), I was exhausted!

Mason about to knock me over...

1.  I gag easily.  Bleu cheese?  gag.  Canned tuna?  gag.  Cleaning out the fridge?  gag.  Cleaning the litterbox?  gag.  Not sure what to do about it.  I’ve tried thinking that I’m eating/doing something else.  Nope, gag.  I gagged this morning at the dog park when a dog peed in the water bowl, then proceeded to drink out of it.

And then Mason drank from the same water bowl...

2.  I got really sick in France when I was in college.  I had studied abroad, and was traveling that summer with friends.  I’d just left them to meet up with my then-boyfriend in his hometown of Toulouse, France.  That night, instead of he, his mother, and I going out to dinner together, they got stuck with car trouble, so I grabbed a chicken gyro in the town square.  Big mistake.  While it was tasty, 3 days later, I was a mess.  14 days after that, I’d seen 4 doctors in 4 different countries.  According to them, I was pregnant or had the flu.  Finally, the last doctor in Switzerland told me that there was something really wrong with me and when I got home to the US (I was leaving the next day), I should go to the Emergency Room.  So, I flew out.  Took 4 planes (yes, 4! — Geneva to London, London to NYC, NYC to Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh to Milwaukee).  When my parents picked me up at the airport, I asked them to take me to the hospital.  Where I immediately fainted in the ER.  My mom says that she’s never seen anyone admitted to a hospital (without a trauma) so quickly.  I spent 4 days in a specially designed room, because they thought I had some sort of exotic disease.  Then they thought that I had cancer.  So I filled out an advanced directive and completed a living will.  Have I mentioned that in all my genius, I decided that for that summer I didn’t need health insurance?  No? Well, I didn’t have any.  (I was financially independent of my parents for tuition reasons, so I was in charge of procuring my own health insurance…  That’s another post all together!)  So the social workers would come to see me, trying to figure out how I was going to pay for this crazy stay…  On the 4th day, as I was being prepped (for a 2nd time – see gagging comment above) for a colonoscopy, the doc came in and said that they’d figured it out.  I had salmonella food poisoning, and my body just couldn’t fight it.  But I’d be discharged the next day, since there was nothing more they could do for me (I was now able to hold down water, so I had that going for me…).  And that’s the story of why I didn’t go into the Peace Corps or Law School, as planned, after I graduated from University.  Because I had $20,000+ of medical bills, plus loan payments for University costs, all because I ate a friggin’ chicken gyro.

3.  I get a boatload of magazines.  A boatload, I say!  I have a bunch to read this weekend – and so I will!  I read them before going to bed, while on the elliptical, and while sitting on the couch.  I’d much rather read a good magazine than watch TV or a movie.  I have yet to find a great way to organize the things that I pull out of them (recipes, music recommendations, book recommendations, products I want to try, gift ideas, etc.)  Any fab ideas for me?  If I read them online (like on an iPad) could I pin these things and post to Pinterest for organization?  

  • Better Homes & Gardens
  • Bloomberg Businessweek
  • Clean Eating
  • Cooking Light
  • Glamour
  • Los Angeles Magazine
  • Marie Claire
  • National Geographic
  • Self
  • Shape
  • Women’s Health

And, I was reading Redbook at the dermatologist’s office yesterday, and realized that I really liked it.  Hmmm, no more mags allowed though!

She looks so FAST!

4.  I love kitchen gadgets.  And will continue to look for others to make my kitchen complete.  Even if I didn’t realize how much I needed it.  My Top Gadgets:

  • Strawberry huller.  This thing is awesome.  You never knew you needed one until you don’t have one & have a pint of strawberries to cut up.  Swear to goodness.
  • SodaStream.  It’s a water sparkler.  Meaning that it adds CO2 to your water, to make sparkling water.  Add some of their syrups, and you have soda!  I love it.  I drink WAY more water this way – I can easily finish a liter bottle before dinner, and another during dinner.  But it’s basically free!  Woot!  I used to buy cases of Pellegrino at Costco.  No more!  Add a lemon (from our over-producing lemon tree) and it feels so fancy!
  • Electronic kitchen scale.  I can’t be bothered to tare my “regular” scale, so I bought one that would tare at the press of a button.  Perfection.
  • Toddy Cold Brew Coffee System.  This makes cold-brewed coffee concentrate.  I tend to make a batch on Saturdays (or, hopefully, if I’ve remembered on Friday evenings, so I can drink it on Saturday morning).  It takes 12 hours for the brew to steep, then about 30 minutes for it to drip from the plastic (BPA-free) brewing compartment into the glass carafe.  Hold the glass carafe in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  When you want to drink, dilute with water & milk.  Add some cinnamon on top, and voila!  Perfect iced coffee at home!  The cold brew system is better than just brewing coffee and chilling it because it creates less acid.  And I have a bit of an awkward tummy.  So I can’t handle a lot of acid, but I love me some coffee…  You can even nuke some of this (after diluting, of course) for hot coffee…  Love this.
  • Calorie King.  Ok, so it’s not really a “kitchen gadget” per se, but it is amazing.  And it helps me in the kitchen.  Helps me to decide what I should & shouldn’t be eating.  Provides recipes, support, and challenges to keep me on the weight-loss track.  Reminds me what a serving of food really is.  And gives me an outlet when I want to eat, but I’m not really hungry (in the dictionary next to emotional eater…  yep, picture of me.)
  • Garlic press.  Yes, I’m lazy and don’t like having my fingers smell like garlic.  Sue me.
  • Silicone pastry brush.  Because, again, I’m lazy.  And the silicone is WAY easier to clean than the normal natural ones.
  • Misto – Olive Oil Spray.  I find that using a spray of oil is much better than using a tsp or Tbsp of oil.  The spray covers the surface and makes sure that my food doesn’t stick, and I use MUCH less of it!

Mason showing you how he fetches!

5.  I have a black thumb.  Any plant that I try to take care of will die.  In short order.  I now have 2 basil plants on the counter.  1 is stripped clean of basil leaves, the other has about 1/2 of the leaves left.  I assume that both will be dead in about a week.  We have gardeners come to the house every Wednesday, because we have a lot of tropical plants, really nice flowers, and flowering bushes.  If I were to attempt to take care of them, they’d die almost immediately.  I used to have a whole herb garden.  Dead.  People (like my mom) send me plants sometimes.  Dead.  My husband did get me a tulip plant and a succulent garden for Valentine’s Day this year.  Tulips = dead.  Succulents are surprisingly alive.  Of course, that’s because I don’t need to do anything to it.  Luckily, I’ve kept alive 4 animals, so we assume that I won’t forget about our children when we do have them…

Still alive, though she may be a bit dead behind the eyes...

Have a great Saturday!  I’m off to run errands while the hubby fixes the pool.  Mason decided that the wire attaching the chlorinator looked delicious.  Which means our pool is rather, um, green at the moment.
How do you organize your magazine pull-outs?
What are your favorite kitchen gadgets?  
Do you have a green thumb?  What’s your secret?

What I Ate Wednesday – Take 3

Sorry that I’ve been MIA the past couple of days – my parents were in town and we were hanging out…

Parents > Blog readers

Very important to get priorities straight!  And I’ve got ’em!  Sorry, friends!

Anyway, today is What I Ate Wednesday…  What better way to get back to you!

This morning’s breakfast = Breakfast of Champions…  Cold pizza with iced coffee, of course!  (Not sure that you’ll find any other bloggers posting their pics of cold pizza in their office at 7:30 AM…  Or, maybe you will.  I dunno…  At least it’s not oatmeal!  (Which I love, and eat 4 out 5 days – the other day is something crazy like cold pizza – sue me.)

Leftover pizza from Monday evening in wine country. Arugula, garlic, artichokes, ricotta, and mozzarella. SUPER good!

Went out for lunch to Whole Foods.  One of my employees has a birthday tomorrow, but she’s off to Germany (lucky duck!), so we celebrated early.  I was in charge of picking out the celebration dessert!  Photos of the birthday dessert to come later…

Picked up an Avocado al Fresco sandwich, some bulk Parmesan potato chips ($0.66 worth!), and a Zevia Dr. Zevia…

Wait, what?  You wanted a pic of the sando?  Okey-dokey!

Vegan Wheat Roll with avocado, goat cheese, arugula, tomato, olive oil, salt & pepper.

Super yum.

Afternoon snack was the aforementioned birthday celebration food.  Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, golden raspberries, and strawberries on strawberry shortcake cakes, granola, and non-fat whipped cream.  It was SUPER good.  And, much better than our normal birthday cake celebrations from Ralph’s…  I love being able to pick it out!  Being the boss does have its perks!

BUT…  I don’t have any pictures of it.  I KNOW!  I KNOW!  Worst food blogger ever.  Except, my team doesn’t know about the blog.  Work life vs. blog life.  You know…  Anyway.  I’ll make it up to you.

After Pilates, I didn’t feel like cooking.  So, the salmon in the fridge will have to wait.  Tonight’s dinner was a mishmash of leftovers.  Friday night’s not-so-super pasta dish (whole wheat pasta, parsley, basil, ricotta, and heirloom tomatoes) and Saturday night’s Tuscan chicken with mushrooms in a cream sauce.  Add a hunk of French bread on the side, and a glass of diet Root Beer from Soda Stream, and it was a perfect dinner…

But, for dessert, I had a second helping of shortcake, berries, and whipped cream.  Skipped the granola on this one…  Had a few handfuls on my way to Pilates that I didn’t cop to earlier…

See, the pic was worth the wait!  I wouldn’t let you down…  again.

More posts tomorrow!  Promise!

2011 Nautica Malibu Triathlon

This morning’s Facebook post:

There is no can or cannot.  There is only TRI.  It’s go-time. 

Of course, I posted that as I was getting up at 3:30 AM.  Yes.  3:30 AM.  Crazy!

This was the 2nd year that I participated in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon.  I was bound & determined to beat my time from last year.  And last year, I was only 2 minutes (2 minutes!) away from making it onto the podium in 5th place.  So I pushed myself to beat last year’s time by at least 2 minutes, and I’d have a spot on that podium.

Sadly, I did not make the podium this year.  On the bright side, I cut 8 minutes (8 minutes!) from my race time last year.  The person in 5th place was still 5 minutes (5 minutes! – are you sensing a theme?!?) ahead of me.  This whole time I thought I was racing against the woman in 5th place, when really I was racing against myself.

2011 – Nautica Malibu Triathlon Results:

  • 0.5 mile Swim Time (Pacific ocean):  0:16:08
  • Swim Rank:  295
  • Transition 1:  0:04:03
  • 18 mile Cycle Time:  1:03:43
  • Cycle Rank:  783
  • Cycle MPH:  16.9
  • Transition 2:  0:01:49
  • 4 mile Run Time:  0:42:21
  • Run Rank:  978
  • Run MPH:  10:35
  • Total Time:  2:08:09
  • Overall Rank:  748
  • Rank in Division:  6
As compared to last year, 2010 Nautica Malibu Triathlon Results:
  • 0.5 mile Swim Time (Pacific ocean):  0:18:29
  • Swim Rank:  388
  • Transition 1:  0:04:53
  • 18 mile Cycle Time:  1:06:31
  • Cycle Rank:  947
  • Cycle MPH:  16.9
  • Transition 2:  0:3:10
  • 4 mile Run Time:  0:43.42
  • Run Rank:  1130
  • Run MPH:  10:55
  • Total Time:  2:16:47
  • Overall Rank:  933
  • Rank in Division:  6

So, the difference – 2011 to 2010:
  • 0.5 mile Swim Time (Pacific ocean):  Decreased time by 0:02:21
  • Swim Rank: Increase in overall rank by 93
  • Transition 1: Decreased time by 0:00:50
  • 18 mile Cycle Time:  Decreased time by 0:02:48
  • Cycle Rank:  Increase in overall rank by 164
  • Cycle MPH:  Increase in MPH by 0.7
  • Transition 2:  Decrease in time by 0:01:21
  • 4 mile Run Time:  Decrease in time by 0:01:21
  • Run Rank:  Increase in overall rank by 152
  • Run MPH:  Increase in MPH by 00:20
  • Total Time:  Decrease in time by 0:08:38
  • Overall Rank:  Increase in rank by 185
  • Rank in Division:  6
Looking at it, I decreased my time in each and every event!  Woot!  My biggest issue this year and last was the run; my best was the swim, both years.  This year’s bike felt really good, although my right hip started with pressure around mile 13, and then it started radiating towards my lower back.  I highly recommend the Yankz shoe laces!  I credit that with my decrease in my Transition 2 time!
Comparing myself to celebrities, I did not beat any of the celebrity relays.  I did beat Ali Vincent, Winner of The Biggest Loser, Season 5!  Only by a minute and 12 seconds, but still!  She is so amazing, I’m so psyched that I was able to power it up to beat her!  The only guy celebrity that I beat was David Denman (i.e., Roy from The Office or Tony from Drop Dead Diva) – who I saw last year.  This year, I refrained from yelling “Woohoo!” at him as I was running out and he was on his way back in…
I have a number of pics (just call me psycho paparazzi) of the various actors from The Office:  Including Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute), Ellie Kemper (Erin Hannon), Andy Buckley (David Wallace), Ed Helms (Andy Bernard), and Paul Lieberstein (Toby Flenderson).

David Denman & Rainn Wilson

Ed Helms

The triathlon was run really, really well!  I was very impressed with the whole thing.  The t-shirts are great, and I love the baseball cap.  For raising more than $750, I also received a donation prize of a Nautica jacket.  It’s really nice, and completely unexpected.  To me, it’s unnecessary, and I’d really rather that the money for the jacket go towards Children’s Hospital of LA.  But, I know that some people raise money in order to get the fundraising prizes, so I know that it’s really a good thing that Nautica is doing for the group.

Finishing the swim. I was in the LAST wave of racers, in the light pink cap. I passed all those yellow caps!

Sheena Easton was the singer for the National Anthem.  She really did do a good job with it.  Sometimes, people do a poor job with their “rendition” of the National Anthem.  I find that type of thing annoying — I’d much rather someone took the song seriously and sang it with feeling – and didn’t sing it to put their own stamp of approval on it.  Anyway, she did a great job.  Wondering if she’s trying for a “come back”?
I’m psyched about how well I did.  I’m so happy that my hubby and my parents were here to watch, and were willing to get up at 3:30 AM to watch!  We had a great time down in Malibu today!
The rest of the day was a bit of a lost cause.  I’d burnt 1500+ calories (per my HRM), so I wasn’t too worried about what I ate for the rest of the day.  But, instead of going out, I decided that I’d rather go home and get comfy there.  After showering, I made some leftovers, then took a nice nap!  After getting up, my parents showed me all the things they brought me from home (old-timey wooden skis that we’ll use as decor in the living room, an embroidered chair that my great grandmother sewed from 1880, and a bunch of other items).  We had pizza (more Trader Joe’s pizza crust!) and wine.
Such a good day!  Time for bed!

Off to Bed!

It’s 8:30 PM – time for this triathlete to head to bed.  A quick post documenting what I’ve packed (this doesn’t include any of the stuff on my bike, like 2 tubes, tire levers, CO2, etc.).

Starting with the Amgen Triathlon Team Tri Uniform.  It’s made by K-Swiss, and seems really nice.  This will be the first time I’ve worn it though (poor planning, I know!)  I love the DNA on it!  🙂

Front of my Tri Uniform

Back of Tri Uniform

However, I’ve identified a few issues with it:

  • It’s white.  And will get wet.  Therefore, I’ll be wearing a bathing suit underneath, (with a sports bra under that for support).
  • It’s tight.  Not as tight as maybe it’s supposed to be, but tight enough to make me look like sausage casing.  Best plan to beat sausage casing:  wear a bathing suit underneath.  Kind of like Spanx for Triathletes.

Here’s what I’ll be wearing in the morning when I leave the house:

  • Bathing suit
  • Sports bra
  • Amgen Tri Team Tech tee-shirt
  • Amgen Tri Team hooded sweatshirt
  • Polar Heart Rate Monitor
  • Flip flops
  • Workout pants
All the rest of this has made its way into my Triathlon bag:

Swimming stuff

  • Wetsuit
  • Body glide & Tri Slide
  • Speedo Baja Goggles
  • Amgen Tri Team swim cap (will go on first, then goggles, then 2nd swim cap)
  • Colored swim cap from the race
  • 2 beach towels in a bright color
  • Head lamp to walk from the car to the racking area

Bike Stuff

  • Helmet with my number already on it
  • 2 water bottles to wash sand from my feet after coming from the water
  • Baby power to help dry feel after washing them, before putting on socks
  • Socks
  • Cycling Shoes – Shimano WR40
  • Cycling gloves
  • Shot blocks (will go in bento box on bike)
  • Sporty Spice sunglasses
  • Neutrogena Wet Skin sunscreen

Running stuff

  • Puma shoes with quick laces
  • Racing belt, with number already attached
  • Visor for run (because after coming out of the water, going into a helmet, my hair’s gonna be BAD!)
Off to sleep, my loves!  Have a great night!  And if you read this some time between 8 and 11 AM (Pacific), say a bit of a prayer for me, and toast with your mimosa or Bloody Mary!

The TresLaLa Abode

Today being cleaning day and all, I decided to invite y’all on into the TresLaLa Abode.  Won’t you stay awhile?  Can I get you a glass of wine?  Some brie and leftover saltines?  (Sorry, I don’t have real crackers, only saltines from my crab cake recipe last night…)  Forgive me?

Let’s start with the front of the house:

Moving into the office / workout room / wine cellar / crafting area / drop-zone.  Don’t judge.  This IS clean!

Up next is the living room:

Pay no attention to the crooked candles. PS: Those were our unity candle lighting candles. What does that say about us? Yep, we're usually tipsy. Ha!

Another view of the living room:

That painting on the wall? It's an elephant footprint from Zimbabwe!

Moving into the dining room, which isn’t really moving very far, because it’s open to the living room…  Ceiling is super high in here…

And, the family room – i.e., the room where we spend all of our time.  That living room, above?  Not much  living happens there.  Unless you count the dogs.  They LOVE that room!  They love the family room too, though.  Mason’s laying at my feet as I type!

And, from the other view…

Moving into where all the recipe magic is made – the kitchen!  Not pictured:  Awesome french door stainless fridge next to the pantry, complete with a door that says “Pantry”.  (If anyone wants to come over and accidentally shatter the frosted glass, I promise I won’t be mad…)

Heading up the stairs, here’s a view looking back to the first floor…

Up into the Man room, all set up for this weekend’s visit from the Pops:

And the other side — this is usually just a folded wooden futon bed…

And the guest room – reserved for my mom this weekend!  It’s a very girlie room…

When we get pregnant, hope it's a girl... that way we don't need to paint!

The spare bathroom (I didn’t get a pic of the one downstairs…  It wasn’t anything special.  Promise.):

The hallway upstairs has a bunch of storage!

I took those photos - they're my favorites from Europe about 13 years ago!

Do you see Prissilla running away from me in the pic above?  She knows that I’m making my way into the Master bedroom.  Now, you’re not allowed to judge.  It’s ugly.  But I’ve done all that I can with it, until the hubby allows me to re-paint.  It’s too much.  I know that there will be people who enjoy this kind of thing.  Like my hubby.  But I am not one of them.  So, to set the record straight:  I did not have this painted.  I would not have had this painted, and it’s become a big joke.  However, the hubby has agreed that we can have it repainted (or wall papered, whichever I decide) once we need to paint the rest of the rooms.  Which will happen after we re-do the 2 spare bathrooms.  And none of that will happen until we get pregnant – don’t ask about timing.  I don’t get it either.  Anyway…  Here are what I lovingly refer to as the “Before” pics:

Oh, and Tinkerbelle wanted in on this photo shoot…

But, here’s the reason why I agree to live with the mural that gets me seasick:

Yep, it's my closet. With an ISLAND! Woot! It used to be a bedroom, and I am so grateful to the evil genius who convinced a previous owner to do this...

On 1 side of the bedroom, we have french doors that go to this balcony, facing the front of the house:

Yes, the table needs a good cleaning. Soon...

And, finally, our bathroom.  Not super exciting after the walk-in closet with an island, but the shower has 2 shower heads…  No, I didn’t take a picture of THAT!

That’s today’s open house!  Hope you enjoyed!

What I Ate Wednesday – Take 2

Today has been a bit of a whirlwind…  I feel like a crazy person running around with my head cut off (or, err, is that a chicken?).  See crazy person, right here…

Early morning meetings, a big project sent in at the end of the day, swimming at noon, jogging after work, pup walks, dinner, AND we have to pick up the house, because tomorrow is the best day of the month!  The cleaners are coming, the cleaners are coming!  (Sung in the form of The Jerk‘s phone book, of course…)  <– Big dork.

Anyway, the house needs a good tidying, and I need to finish up a bunch of laundry before they come.  Nothing better than a house completely pulled together (and cleaned by someone else!).

But, let’s get down to business…  It’s What I Ate Wednesday!

I started my day with a cup of iced coffee on my way to work.

Breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal with strawberries, pineapple, peanut butter, and granola.  The strawbs were hidden under the oatmeal, so they got all nice and warm!

On my way to swimming, I had a Luna Protein Bar with some agua.

Lunch was leftover tilapia from last night, served with some tabouli, with a sprinkle of non-fat feta cheese.

Lunch dessert = watermelon!  Love me some lunch dessert!

The pups were interested in saying “Hi!” today!  Please disregard my hubby’s make-shift brewing area on the fire pit!

Afternoon snack was a chunk of Irish soda bread, Apple cinnamon flavor.  Do you see Mason’s tongue there?!?  He’s such a goof!

Dinner was another winner!  I am on a roll this week, friends!  Tonight I made:

Crab Cakes with Red Pepper-Basil Tartar Sauce
Adapted from Coastal Living – September 2010
Serves 4

  • 8 oz Fresh lump crabmeat, drained & picked (I used some that I found in my fish section of the grocery)
  • 1 Green onion, sliced
  •  1/2 c Crushed saltine crackers (this is 10 crackers)
  • 2 T Mayonnaise (I used vegan)
  • 1/4 tsp Fresh ground pepper
  • Dash Salt
  • 1/2 c Whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
  • Sprinkles of Garlic Gold
  • 2 Tbsp Canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp Prepared tartar sauce
  • 5 leaves of Basil
  • 1 tsp Red pepper
  1. Stir together crabmeat, onion, crackers, mayo, pepper & salt.
  2. Shape into 4 patties.  Place breadcrumbs & Garlic gold in shallow dish & dredge both sides of patties.  Fry in hot oil (I did 2 patties at a time, using 1 Tbsp oil for each “batch”) 2 minutes each side or until golden.
  3. Drain on paper towels.
  4. To make fancy-schmancy tartar sauce, slice basil into prepared tartar sauce, and add enough red pepper to give it a kick.  (Benefit of this is you don’t need to use a lot of it!)
All that, served with some Soda Stream Diet Cola and steamed green beans (microwaved!) on the side.
I’m being summonsed to help pick up…  Cheers!

A Day of Remembrance

It was difficult to get out of bed this morning.  10 years after massive terrorist attacks on the US, I wonder how we can live such a normal life (at least I can).

When I did get up, I put out the flag that we reserve for the 4th of July, Veteran’s Day, and the anniversary of September 11.  It’s not much, but at least I feel that I’m doing something

And then I went on with my day…

We started the day with iced coffee and more breakfast tacos…

A rainbow of colors for Sunday brunch. All veggies were the leftover grilled veggies from last night, except for the tomatoes, which were still fresh...

I used 6 egg whites and 2 full eggs, plus about 2 Tbsp of Fage 0% Greek Yogurt.  The Fage adds a bit of creaminess to the eggs, but they’re not runny (like when I used to add skim milk).  They also give an extra pump of protein!

Because the Fage doesn’t mix super well in the eggs, I mix them in the bullet blender for about 5 seconds, just enough to get the Fage all mixed in and creamy.

I sautéed the onions first, since they were still pretty spicy last night, because they weren’t fully cooked.  

Pour over the eggs, and scramble away!

Add into corn tortillas, topped with Mexican Red Sauce, and voila!

After breakfast I started making the meal plan for this week…  Stay tuned for a post on that later this week!

This evening, our friend Christina came over again, this time to help me make cupcakes!  We made Jenna’s Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting from Eat, Live, Run.  Except we doubled the recipe (to make a total of 18 cupcakes), and added 1/3 a bag of chocolate chips, because you know I love some chocolate!  And the best part?  I got to break out the new stand mixer that my hubby got me for my birthday!

Mmmm, cream cheese frosting!

The cupcakes turned out well – although they were pretty ‘molasses-ey’.  I’m not sure that’s a word, but I might cut the amount of molasses next time.  And Jenna was right – they’re very muffin-like in texture.

Pay no attention to the messes at the bottom of the oven...

Of course, the frosting more than makes up for that!  Yum.  I cut the tip of my make-shift pastry bag too large, so my frosting skills aren’t fantastic here.

But that just means more frosting.

How could that ever be a bad thing?

Of course, the cupcakes were for dessert.  I packed up 1 for Christina to take home, 11 to take to work, and 2 for Matt & I tomorrow evening for dessert. Remember – I’m trying to LOSE weight here.  While one cupcake once in a while isn’t going to kill me, 18 of them will.

Dinner was a salad with these toppings:

Yellow grape tomatoes, red peppers, heirloom carrots, baby beets, goat cheese & Garlic Gold... On top of butter lettuce with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

And we made a pizza…  Whole wheat pizza crust from Trader Joe’s (surprisingly amazing!), all-natural pizza sauce, sweet chicken sausage, red peppers and yellow grape tomatoes, topped with mozzarella cheese and Garlic Gold nuggets.  Of course, I forgot to snap any photos while eating, but behold the aftermath…  The middle pieces were messy, but the crust held up really well.

The crust was PERFECT!

We’re watching the History Channel’s special on the terrorist attacks from September 11, featuring home movies from civilians watching as the towers in NYC were hit.  It really was a terrible, terrible day in US history.  I was shocked to hear on NPR on Friday and read in this morning’s paper that most schools do not teach about this day.  I don’t care about your politics – and I don’t want this to become a political blog.  But teachers are made to teach to the test, and are not able to teach to what’s most important.

Never forget, my friends.  Never.

Busy, Busy Bee

Saturday was a full day!  I feel like I fit a whole weekend into the 18 hours that I was awake…

6:15 AM – Alarm goes off.  I’d been lying awake, trying to get back to sleep – too much booze on Friday night.  Booze + Lara = No sleeping!

6:30 AM – Out of bed, brushing teeth, running around (nekkid!) looking for my HRM & a clean bathing suit

6:50 AM – Load up the car with my bike, wetsuit, and 2 (yes, 2) gym bags that include clothes for biking and running

6:55 – 7:25 AM – Drive to Malibu & head over to the beach

7:30 – 9 AM – Swim practice in the ocean.  Run in, high knees with surf at knees, dolphin diving (x3) when the surf is at my waist, then swimming.  Sounds so easy.  It’s not.

9:30 AM – Finally head out with the team for a 15 mile cycle; basically the race route for next week’s race.  But, somehow it was 3 miles shorter (?!?).  Weird.  A good ride, except for the rain on the way back (like daggers!) and the wet roads.  There were also loads of people on the side of the road with flat tires.  Not sure what that was all about!

10:30 AM – Call my friend who I’m supposed to meet for lunch at her place in Santa Monica.  I’m not really feeling going out in trendy SM, so I ask if we can meet at a restaurant in Malibu instead, where I have a Groupon.  Luckily, she agrees!

11 AM – Arrive at Starbucks, where I order the now-famous pumpkin spice iced coffee.  Eh.  Kind of gross.  I don’t need to muck up perfectly good coffee with that stuff again.

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM– Brunch at Coogie’s Beach Cafe in Malibu.  I got the Breakfast Quesedilla, no cheese, sub egg whites.  Eh, it was OK.  Nothing special…  But, after last night’s indulgence, I don’t really need a fantastic  breakfast!  Bill came to $25, which was exactly the amount for our Groupon.  I tossed in cash for tip, and we were all set!

1 PM – While checking my email at Starbucks, I got an email from Road Runner Sports, letting me know that today was the last day to sign up for the Reyes Adobe Days 10K race, on October 1 at a discount.  And if I signed up in store, I’d get an additional 10% off.  So, I headed over there, to sign up for the race ($29, includes after party and a tech-tee) and pick up a new pair of running shoes!

1:30 PM – Home.  Shower.  Nap.

3 – 3:45 PM – Head to the grocery store, to pick up sustenance for today’s BBQ.

3:45 – 4:20 PM – Clean the kitchen & vacuum the tile.  Our friend Christina was coming over & our house was a disaster!  Cried a bit when Coach Kill from University of Minnesota was having a seizure on the sidelines of the UM game.  So scary!

4:20 PM until 8 PM – Chatted with Christina, watched UVA with the game (woot! – it was a close one, and the hubby was not pleased!), made dinner, and flipped through catalogs.  Christina & her hubby just bought a new house (eeek!), so they’re looking to furnish it!  FUN!

Dinner was grilled bison burgers (0.9 lb ground bison, 1 egg, 3 cloves garlic, salt & pepper; form into 4 patties), topped with marble cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato, plus grilled veggie kabobs (zucchini, red & green bell pepper, onion & mushrooms with olive oil spray, sea salt & pepper) and steamed corn on the cob (with butter, of course!).

Small burgers, large buns (it's all they had...) - about 1/3 of this bun ended up in the garbage before I even started eating!

With the burger veggie toppings

A few tasters of the hubby's IPA - super good!

8 PM – Midnight:  Blogging (3 posts!, phew!), reading blogs, checking Facebook, watching Nascar…  Another exciting weekend night at the TresLaLa abode!

On the docket for tomorrow?  If it’s warm & sunny, hang out in the pool.  In the evening:  Mix up some cupcakes using my new stand mixer!  Woot!

What do you prefer?  Busy weekends or lazy days?

… And, I dropped!

I’m a shopper.  I really love the little rush I get when I find something that I really want at a great price.  When I was little (think 8 or so), I had a t-shirt that had this picture of a shopping dinosaur, with the definition of a Shopasaurus (n) 1. A creature who delights in browsing thru malls and other retail stores.  2. Any beast gratified by obtaining merchandise in exchange for currency, plastic cards, or personal checks.  

Source

My Mom had bought this t-shirt for me – and I wasn’t even with her…  She knew that I was a shopaholic.  Thinking back on it, I realize that this was probably her fault.  Going shopping was the ultimate treat – we went every year for my birthday.  Of course, my birthday is in August, so we were really just school clothes shopping (my brother’s birthday is in August too, but he didn’t want clothes, of course).

As a pre-schooler, I was just a tad materialistic.  Not that we had a lot of money, mind you.  But I told my mom that I would only wear shirts with an alligator, jeans with a horse, and shoes with a swoosh.  I got plain-pockets jeans from JCPenny’s.  As much as my mom fed my shopping addiction, she knew that she didn’t need to spend a lot to make me look good.  I distinctly remember looking through the jeans at Burlington Coat Factory (in Burlington, WI) for Guess! Jeans that the little triangle patch hadn’t been stolen from.

In the past*, I’ve struggled a bit with keeping to a budget.  But, I find it hard to pass up a good deal.

* Also in the present

Like yesterday, when I stopped in a Road Runner Sports during my lunch hour.  I’m a frequent visiter of RRS.  The managers know me because I used to train with them for my half marathons (Hot tip:  If you have a RRS near you, check to see if they have running training programs – they’re great, and they have fantastic raffles/giveaways!).  Even though I haven’t trained with them in over a year, they still know me by name – pretty cool for a “corporate” store.

When I stopped in yesterday, the manager, Jim, was working in the ladies’ section.  We chatted for a bit, and he mentioned that all the fall “fashion” had come in.  SCORE!  It’s still 95* in SoCal – I don’t need “fall fashion”, but I could use some more tanks and shorts.  And there they were:  3 racks full of clearance items!

I love the RRS running pants; they’re better than any other brand that I’ve tried (and I have tried a LOT of work out pants!).  Of course, the best part is that they’re big enough & don’t cut me off in the middle (not too much of a sausage casing!).  I was able to pick up 2 pair of grey capri pants on sale.  I also picked up a running skirt (surprisingly flattering on these gams!), a workout jacket that I’m convinced should not have been on the clearance rack, 2 tank tops, and 3 packs of my favorite hair bands (Nike brand thin ones, 3 per pack, with little dots of sticky on the back… I’m very picky…).

Behold some of my loot:

Gray pants with a purple t-backed tank. The tank has a little waist at the bottom, which will be great once I'm pregnant, but not telling anyone!

Bright pink tank with great ribbing with the running skirt. Sorry that there are no pics of my legs - they're way better than you'd think they'd be, based on these pictures! 🙂

Next time I post a picture of myself, I will have on make-up and do my hair.  I promise I don’t always look like I just woke up.*

* Actually, lately?  Usually I do

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