Category Archives: Gifts

A Modernation Christmas

In our family, Christmas lasts 3 days – so this Christmas post is a little delayed.  This year Christmas was a true Modernation affair.  We did everything in moderation, even moderation.  I started the festivities off with a 5K run on a 25 degree Christmas Eve morning.


We spent the day making our food gifts and then went to my aunt’s for dinner with my mom’s side of the family.

Christmas day is now a day for Aaron and I relax in sweats just the two of us (plus the fur babies).  We took the dog for chilly walk and then came home for present unwrapping and breakfast.


This year we went with the no-cook breakfast which was such a good idea.  I put together this delicious smoked salmon platter while Aaron made a fire.  We were able to leisurely breakfast and no one had to slave over the stove.


As usual, Aaron got me such thoughtful gifts – including these beautiful new sunglasses!


And I am excited for Aaron to break in my gift for him – a Weber Smoker!


In the afternoon we went over to our friends’ house for a couple hours.  The weather was so nice – we were hanging out outside by the firepit.  Love that!


Christmas night, we had a delicious dinner that we tag teamed.  Aaron grilled a rack of lamb and made a chimichuri and salad while I whipped up some homemade blue cheese risotto. It was so delicious we ate it before any photos were taken!

Monday is the day we celebrate our Italian Christmas with my Dad’s side of the family.  After a quick workout at the gym, we headed to Napa for the day to feast on crab, clams, and mussels and open gifts from our Secret Santas.

This photo of me and my grandfather from the wedding is one of my favorites.  He was really happy we gave him a framed copy!

My secret santa really went all out for me.  We got the Ravioli Maker and Pasta Press attachments for the Kitchen Aid mixer.  So excited to play!

I am pretty proud that over the 3 days of Christmas I managed to get a good hard workout in twice, and did something active each of the days.  That is pretty impressive because snuggling on the couch in sweats is so much easier!

2011 Holiday Gift Guide

Last year and in 2009 I wrote about some gift ideas for the health-nut in your life.  All of last year’s items are still high on my list, so check that post out for even more ideas. I thought I would repeat the series this year.  Some of these products are ones I have and use and love, and others are ones I want or think other people would like.  Hope you enjoy!

Water Bobble:  Do you find that when you travel you hardly drink any water? Between TSA liquid regulation and the lack of quality filtered water on the road, I always slack on my water intake.  And traveling is when you need it the most! Rather than buying your weight in bottle water, these Water Bobbles are great.  They have several different sizes and they have a built in filter.  Nasty hotel bathroom faucet water is magically turned into clean filtered water.  I have the 32oz. size and my only complaint is it makes a weird hissing sound after every sip, but you get used to that.  The filters are good for something like 300 bottles, so they save a ton of money and the environment if you buy a lot of bottled water.  I got mine at Target, or you can order them online.

Nutrition Supplies
As a runner and cyclist there is nothing worse than getting ready to go on a long run or ride and finding you used your last Gu or Sports Drink and forgot to restock.  You will make the athlete in your life smile when you fill their stockings with Gu and Drink Powder.  My favorite are Espresso flavored Hammer Gels and lemon lime HEED sports drink.  And the individual sports drink packets are my favorite for travel and pre-measured servings.

Vibram Five Fingers: For me, these fall into that perfect gift category of something I would probably not buy for myself but would like.  I have had my eye on these for a long time. I know they look ridiculous and I probably wouldn’t run more than a couple miles in them, but I think they would be a nice break for my feet from bulky running shoes, and provide more support than ballet flats and flip flops. Plus, the benefits are pretty appealing.

Race Bib Display:  Last year I mentioned the race medal display (which Aaron bought me), but what about race bibs?   These are some options to the traditional framed collage.


Compression Gear:  I have such a hard time splurging on race entries and new gear.  Once I do, the investment is always worth it, but it feels selfish to spend money on something that is just for me. I have been interested in compression socks, sleeves and pants for sometime as I have read a lot about the benefits and recovering from long runs.  If you know someone who is training for a marathon or half marathon, I think they would love these.

Toe Warmers: If you know a cyclist who doesn’t have toe warmers, get them these.  They make such a difference on windy or cold rides.  No more frozen toes!

Dog-Friendly Running Gear: I love running with Cash but sometimes it can be cumbersome – and dangerous. When I take him down to the trails by the river and he gets to run off leash, it is best for both of us – but then I have to run with a bulky leash in my hand. It’s not a big deal, but then I saw this in Runner’s World:

MyRadDog Collar + Leash in One = Release N Run
 Just pull the handle when you want to extend the leash, and let go when you want the leash to retract into the collar.

Or the Hands-Free Leash with Running Belt:  This option looks awesome.  I little fanny pack addition to hold a key, mp3 player and doggie bags.

Lululemon Speedy Hat:  This cute hat has a little zipper pocket for a key, money or ID!

Nordic Track 3 in 1 Foam Roller:  How cool is this?  Two different density foam rollers, plus a massage stick.  And they all nest inside each other!

Ice Pants:  These are expensive, but are pretty awesome.  Total recovery pants.  Compression material that also has little pockets for ice packs.  No more ice baths!  Although, I don’t think anything can be as effective (and painful) as ice baths. These would be great if you had a long drive after a race or didn’t have access to a bath right away.  They also have knee sleeves and other variations to suit your compression and icing needs.

So, which ones are highest on my list this year?

  • The hands-free dog leash and running belt
  • Compression calf sleeves
  • Race bib display or coasters
  • Vibrams


In Your Face Motivation

Does anyone else have the same problem as me? Do you have a collection of race bibs and medals just waiting to be put on display? For years I have said I was going to do something with my race bibs (a collage or something like that), but never have.  Most of them ever still have the safety pins in them.

So for right now, I have them on my magnet board in my office.  It provides me some in-your-face-motivation to remember all those races I have completed.

And last year for Christmas Aaron got me this AWESOME medal display:

Both displays are in my office and help me feel accomplished even on the most un-productive or stressful work days.

I really want to do something cool with my race bibs.  A framed collage would be great, but what about:

A duffle bag:

Or this cute display? This would great for being able to add more bibs in the future and to display whichever was my favorite of the day.


What about coasters?

Any brilliant ideas for what to do with race bibs?


Productive Friday

As hard as waking up for a 6:30 conference call is every Friday is, it starts Friday off on a productive note.  By the time I am usually getting work started, I am already hours in.  And those few early morning hours are my most productive.

I hadn’t been on a Friday morning call for a couple weeks thanks to the wedding and honeymoon, so today I went gang busters all day with productivity.

I took a mid-morning break to join my boys at the park for a family walk. We drove to a nearby park to change things up a little bit. I am hoping we make this a new tradition on Fridays when the weather is decent. Cash was so excited to see so many people, dogs and sniff to his heart’s content. You’d think he had never been outside before. We walked 2.4 miles.

In addition to working the rest of the afternoon, I helped Aaron organize some of our newly acquired kitchen gadgets.  We bought a very useful 5-tier shelf from Target and it fits in a little nook in our kitchen.  The hope is that having all this equipment organized and readily available will encourage us to use it.

This shelving unit will come in handy for a long time.  Even if it doesn’t fit in future kitchens, it will work great in an office or garage. Do you see some of the awesome goodies on there?  The Kitchen Aide mixer is very exciting. And on the bottom shelf is an 8-bottle wine fridge! Now we just have to figure out how to keep a stock pile of wine. We normally buy it, drink it, do it again.

The next/ongoing project is my office.  Since it was also our wedding storage room, it is in a bit of a transition period. And I would LOVE a new desk – mine gets me by, but just isn’t that functional.


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope everyone is having a great time with family and friends. So far our holiday has been pretty low key.

Last night we catered a Christmas Eve party for 50 or 60 people. It went great but wore us out. Luckily today was nice and relaxing.

We woke up and took the dog for a long walk.

Then we enjoyed mimosa and coffee while opening presents. I got all sorts of great, thoughtful gifts and practical ones too. As much as I love getting gifts (who doesn’t?), I really like watching people open gifts I got them.

After presents Aaron made breakfast-French toast, eggs and bacon. Merry Christmas!

Tonight Aaron is making prime rib and cauliflower gratin. Yum. Tomorrow we are off to Napa for family stuff and crab. Then I have all next week off! We have some fun stuff planned like a trip to San francisco and the casino!