Category Archives: Holidays

You Should Put That on Pinterest

Today was all about decorating for Christmas.  Well – at least a little bit of the day was all about that.  It was SOO cold this morning that we started a fire right when we woke up.

Later in the morning I took a break from work and we took care of our decorations.  As Aaron said, it is really nice that our holiday decorations are confined to two boxes (and one of those is for the tree).  After not much more than an hour, the tree was up and decorated, the garland and stocking hung by the fire and the wreath was on the door.  Yesterday Aaron hung our Christmas lights, but we have been having some technical difficulties with those. 🙂

I grew up with a fresh tree every year, but I have got to tell you, I am a fake tree convert.  They look so good now and having the lights already on it is huge!

And then I did some DIY.  As much DIY as I can handle.  We have these awesome hurricane vases/candleholders from our wedding that I never know what to do with.  The small one is filled with wine corks and the big just sits on our storage rack in the kitchen.  I had a brilliant idea to try to do something for the holidays with it.  We had some extra multi-colored Christmas lights, so I put them in the hurricane as filler and placed two large candles inside.

It is really simple and a five year old could do it, but it looks really nice at light.  Aaron said, “You should put that on Pinterest.”  I love that my husband knows about Pinterest!  He even said Etsy today, too!  That’s what happens when you plan a wedding I guess.

As I type we have a roaring fire going, the tree and mantel are lit up and my little craft project is twinkling on the dining room table. We went from zero to Christmas in one day and I love it.  Now I am ready to start shopping!



I fully intend to attack a turkey later this afternoon just like every year!

I am thankful for so many things and people this year.  This year has been one of the hardest years, but it has also been THE BEST. It is hard at times, but I truly believe all the hard times are so worth it and just make the good times that much better.

I am thankful for:

My family.  Look how fun they are! And so supportive, encouraging and inspirational.

My friends.  I truly do not know where I would be without my friends.  You can’t pick your family, but you can choose your friends.  And I have picked some good ones!  Always there for advice, to make me laugh or just to listen.

I am so thankful that we were able to have the wedding of our dreams and share it with the most important people in our lives.  I feel so lucky and blessed that we were able to have the perfect day in the perfect place and that I was able to marry my perfect man.

I am more than thankful for this man

He makes me laugh every single day, encourages me to reach for the stars and most importantly loves and supports me no matter what!

And of course there is this little guy

Cash reminds me everyday that we are lucky just to wake up and to appreciate the little things in life. He can’t wait to get the day started and all he needs to be happy is love, walks, carrots,  peanut butter and a couple meals a day.

His brother isn’t half bad, either.  Look at that face!

I am thankful I am able to make a difference in young girls’ lives in our community.  Girls on the Run brings me so much joy, pride and inspiration.  These faces make me want to be a better person so that I can be a healthy role model for these girls.

And lastly, I am thankful for my body that lets me do the things that make me happy.  Thank you for carrying me through countless runs, bike rides and workouts. My health and happiness rely greatly on you!

So much to me thankful for!!!

P.S. – I am also thankful for our awesome wedding photographer, Kevin, for capturing our big day! He is amazing!!

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

It’s almost Thanksgiving!  Are you excited?  I am.  A couple days off work, lots of food, family. Plus, my 10 year high school reunion and Aaron’s championship game!  Busy, busy!

This will be my first gluten free Thanksgiving.  In my family, Thanksgiving is pretty gluten-free friendly.  But this past weekend we went to our friends’ house for a Friends-Giving pot luck and I realized not all Thanksgivings are especially gluten-free friendly. Let’s just say my plate was very beige.

Here are some tips for how to make sure your plate doesn’t only contain turkey and mashed potatoes.

If you are hosting:

  • Make some substitutions people will never notice.  Make stuffing with gluten free bread.  Udi’s bread has such a great texture (similar to sourdough) that when mixed with all the good stuffing fixins no one will be the wiser.  We brought mac n’ cheese this weekend and Aaron made me a small batch with gluten free noodles.  I think you could make a whole batch of it and no one would miss the gluten.

If you are contributing a dish:

  • Offer to bring something that traditionally has gluten and make it gluten-free. Appetizers, Stuffing, Mac n Cheese, Green Bean Casserole, Pie.

General Tips:

  • Skip the traditional green bean casserole and make sauteed green beans with mushrooms and garlic.  In our family we typically do this anyways.  I am going to make a version of these beans I found on Pinterest.
  • Bring apps that are naturally gluten free.  Let’s be honest – most people fill up on appetizers before the meal even begins.  Use that to our advantage and take control of the apps. Many appetizers are naturally gluten free.  Stuffed mushrooms are always a hit – fill them with anything you have on hand like sausage, cheese, zucchini, herbs. Make a yogurt-based dip that everyone will live and serve it with traditional and gluten free crackers and veggies.
  • Let your hosts know (if they don’t already) that you are avoiding gluten.  And make it easy on them by informing them of certain ingredients that have gluten like breadcrumbs, some turkey stock, etc.  Set them at ease by letting them know you will be able to eat plenty and offer to bring a couple extra dishes.
  • If you can’t live without the pie, offer to bring a gluten free version.  Or just stick to the ala mode minus the pie. Or snag some Pumpkin Ice Cream at the store to bring along (as long as yours isn’t already sold out like mine).
  • Let your host know you can bring some gluten-free flour for thickening the gravy and that you promise no one will know the difference.

All in all – show your friends and family that gluten free is not a scary thing, and that it doesn’t mean you can’t eat anything or have to miss out.  Know that you might have to pass on a few things and be sure to bring a couple options you know are safe so you aren’t asking for a full ingredient list on 12 difference dishes.



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


The Honeymoon is Over

Literally, but not figuratively.

We got back from a week in Hawaii a few days ago and returned to Fall weather and today even some heavy rain, thunder and lightening. But the honeymoon was fantastic.  We rented a convertible and drove all over the Island exploring a new beach everyday, volcanoes, waterfalls and eating and drinking to our hearts’ content.

Our family friends were so incredibly generous and gave us their condo for a week as a wedding present! Ah-mazing! This was our backyard for a week:

Our first day we rented snorkeling equipment for the entire week and had them in the trunk of the car wherever we went.  The snorkeling on the Big Island was great. We saw so many colorful fish, lots of turtles and eels. I can’t wait till we get the underwater camera back to see how those pictures came out.

We named this turtle (and every Turtle we saw all week) Terry. I literally almost stepped on this guy as he was sunning on the beach.  Rough life!

We stayed on the west side of the Island in Waikoloa Village but took a road trip to the other side of the Island to see the volcanoes and waterfalls.  We spent the night in a little “B&B” in Hilo and woke up to browse their famous farmers market before continuing on to drive all the way around the Island.

The convertible was to best decision.  It made driving so much fun! We didn’t have to worry about missing out on tanning time because we were couped up in the car. 🙂

We enjoyed some nice dinners and plenty of nice drinks during our trip. I would always recommend staying in a house or condo if you are going somewhere for a long period of time. We had breakfast at home everyday, several lunches and made dinner at home as well.  So much better than eating every meal out.

As amazing as the honeymoon was, it is always nice to come home, wake up in your own bed, snuggle with the fur babies and get back to our old routine. Fall is my favorite season and it has definitely arrived. I am looking forward to all the fun stuff coming up like pumpkin carving, Thanksgiving and the holidays! And blogging, too!