Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Humor

Halloween Treats
Halloween Treats

Happy Halloween!

What kind of "treats" are you giving out today?

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trek Women: Getting Started with Cycling

On the eve of our ZOOMA Great Lakes half marathon, we had the pleasure of attending Mocktail Hour with Trek Women and Barefoot Bubbly.

ZOOMA Great Lakes
ZOOMA Great Lake Mocktail Hour with Trek Women and Barefoot Bubbly

The info-filled hour psyched me up to take my cycling to the next level.  Right now I have a Trek mountain bike, which I enjoy taking on gravel trails with my children and on the trainer for cross training purposes.  For my next bike I would buy either a road or town bike.  It's a tough call - I'm not sure if I would be serious enough for the road bike, but also not sure if I want to just "cruise" around either...

Trek Women Mountain bike
Cycling at Waterfall Glen

The Trek ladies stressed proper bike fit being key to comfort and power.  For proper bike fit, take your bike to the shop, especially if you're a beginner.

Couple things mentioned -

  • legs should be extended but not so much that hips would have to rock back and forth
  • right saddle makes a huge difference
  • support with core - less movement on saddle (less soreness)
  • arms and shoulders relaxed, slight bend in arms
  • bend at hips not waist

As with most sports, correct gear and fit make a huge difference for comfort and performance.  Some essential gear includes:

Cycling shoes that clip in help with comfort and efficiency.  When you "clip in" your feet work on the up and down giving you more power and a smoother ride.  It sounds scary to me, and the speakers didn't hide the fact that it's tricky to get started (and most likely beginners will fall down several times before getting the hang of it).  They assured us though, once you get the hang of it, it really makes a huge difference in the ease and comfort of riding your bike.

Chamois (or padded shorts) give a little padding and protection.  They are usually made with spandex, but also in baggy form and  always worn without underwear.

Padded gloves support and protect the hands (and help catch a drippy nose).

Last but not least - safety gear...

A helmet should always be worn.  Worn correctly it sits close to the brow - not back protecting your pony tail.  

Reflective gear helps with visibility and lights are a good idea for visibility and to see where you are going. :)

Have any other tips for a beginner cyclist?

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Meatless Monday: Lentil Goat Cheese Salad

Here's a nice simple warm salad for fall...  

Lentil goat cheese salad
Lentil Goat Cheese Salad
Prepare lentils as indicated, using vegan or vegetable broth and a garlic clove for added flavor.  

black lentils
Black lentils

Let cool slightly.  Cut in goat cheese.  Season with herbs, salt and freshly ground pepper and mix.  Serve on spinach, in a wrap or by itself.  Enjoy! 

In a pinch you can find pre-made lentils and herbed goat cheese.  We buy ours at Trader Joe's.

Trader Joe's lentils and goat cheese

MMAZ Better With Veggies 

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Happiness is Friday

Happiness is Friday

Happiness is Friday. Friday for us is the start of the weekend, which means family time! This weekend is soccer, and pumpkin carving, and getting ready for Halloween.

What's on tap for your weekend?

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Three Things Thursday

After pounding the pavement of my hilly half marathon (see yesterday's ZOOMA Recap), I had some achy knees, but am happy ecstatic to say I'll be heading out for a run today.  Can't wait to try my Newton's!

ZOOMA and Newtons
ZOOMA Ambassadors with Sara Hall and my new Newtons:)

Kovas and I have participated in some virtual wine tastings - thanks to 50 States of Wine and some generous wineries:).  Last night we had the pleasure of tasting some Australian Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz from Chateau Tanunda.  Last week's line up included Finger Lakes sparkling and icewines and Concha y Toro's Gran Reserva Serie Riberas wines.  For tasting notes, head over to 50 States of Wine!

Chateau Tanunda and Conch y Toro line up
My childrens' school has pledged to participate in National Geographic Kids Run for the Planet - an attempt at breaking a Guinness World Record for the most people running 100 meters in 24 hours.  The event takes place starting tomorrow at noon ET and ends at noon ET October 27.

NatGeoKids Run for the Planet
100 meter Run

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ZOOMA Lake Geneva Half Marathon Recap

It was an honor to be a ZOOMA Great Lakes ambassador!   ZOOMA's mission is to inspire women to live healthy, happy and active lives.  Their Lake Geneva half marathon and 5k was a great show of their mission.  A fun "girls' weekend" atmosphere complete with female celebrities and jewelry as finishers medals and well organized races - the event was a blast to attend!

ZOOMA Ambassadors with Sara Hall, Skinny Runner and Tricia Minick
ZOOMA Great Lake Ambassadors with Skinny Runner, Sara Hall and Tricia Minick.
 A friend and I headed up Friday night for packet pickup and expo at the Abbey Resort and Spa.  Our swag consisted of a messenger bag and a cute black SkirtSports tech tee.  After a quick bite to eat, we headed on to the Mocktail Hour with Trek Women and Barefoot Bubbly.  The ladies at Trek, with the help of Skinny Runner, went through the basics of cycling, stressing the benefits of cycling as a cross training for running - definitely a worthwhile hour for me - one of my goals for the coming year is to increase my cycling miles:)

Mocktail Hour with Trek Women, Barefoot Bubbly, and Skinny Runner
Mocktail Hour with Trek Women, Barefoot Bubbly and Skinny Runner
 Saturday morning we woke up bright and early.  The half marathon was a point to point, so we stayed at the Cove thinking we would be at the start of the race, but there were no shuttles back after the race.  No biggie, we drove up to the Abbey and loaded onto school buses which, taking the actual race route, brought us to the starting line.  It was funny to hear one lady say, "wow this is hilly - I hope our course isn't this hilly":)

ZOOMA start collage
Waiting for the buses at the Abbey, Sara Hall and us at the start.
 At the start, Sara Hall wished us good luck and we were off.  It was a chilly, sunny morning - perfect for a 13.1.  Our course was challenging with hill after hill around beautiful Geneva Lake.  As we finished mile 10, we were near the Abbey and heard the cheering of spectators only to pass them and continue on to run the 5k course.  This was kind of a bummer.  I prefer to be finished when I get close to the finish line, not have to do another 3 miles of grueling hills...

ZOOMA elevation according to my Garmin
Check out these hills!

Finally at the the finish line, we were rewarded with cute finishers "medals"- a Satya necklace.  I  love that I can actually wear it all the time.  Lunch, Barefoot Bubbly and music capped off the event, and we headed home.
Zooma Great Lakes Finishers Pendant

All in all a great event - lots of positive energy, well organized, beautiful location, challenging course - I would definitely do it again next year!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Meatless Monday: Pumpkin Cream Pie Oat Bran

I'm always searching for interesting, healthy breakfast options especially that incorporate seasonal fruits and veggies.  This morning we tried a new recipe from Peas and Thank You - Pumpkin Cream Pie Oat Bran.

Pumpkin Cream Pie Oat Bran

Makes 4 servings.

1 cup canned pumpkin (or baked, pureed fresh pumpkin)
1 cup water
1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
sugar or maple syrup to taste

Cover and bring to a boil.  Stir in
1 1/3 cups oat bran

Blend using immersion blender (or carefully pour into blender) on high speed gradually adding
1/2 cup milk

Blending gives the cereal a creamier consistency - and as Sarah Matheny, the author of Peas and Thank You, says the "preparation technique ensures that there's nary a lump."  My husband prefers more texture, so I pulled out his serving before blending:)

Serve with a tablespoon of almond butter on top.  We added slivered almonds for some crunch.

It's no problem if you have no pumpkin - try bananas instead.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Fashion Friday: ZOOMA Edition

Tomorrow I will be joining the other Ambassadors, along with 1000s of other women (and maybe a few men), to run the ZOOMA Great Lakes Half-Marathon (some will run a 5k).

Weather is a bit of a concern, as it has been alternately sunny and rainy, cold and warm, windy  and still around here lately. A running outfit is tough enough to decide on for a normal race, but the weather is definitely adding a whole other wrinkle. Here's what I have planned (lots of options!):

Brooks PureCadence

I had great success with my Brooks PureCadence with DryMax socks during The North Face Endurance Challenge Half Marathon - why mess with success?

Zooma Great Lakes Outfit

I normally like to run in my Patagonia running skirt, but the outfit they sent us as Ambassadors is so cute and comfortable, I'm sure it will be great!

Zooma Great Lakes Top Layer

Final layer is the most difficult, so I'm packing all of the above, everything from arm sleeves to my Icebreaker LS to a Columbia zip LS and a Brooks full-zip jacket. One of those will work, right?

Really looking forward to this, even though I know I'll miss my kids and my superstudly husband. It's only for one night, however, and the lure of sparkling wine and jewelry is a temptation I can't pass up. :)

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Three Things Thursday

ZOOMA Great Lakes is this weekend!  The predicted weather looks perfect for the race - sunny and high 58, low 39.  I'm also looking forward to the Trek Women Ladies Night on Friday at the Abbey Resort & Spa.  If you haven't registered for the race, you can still do so in person at the packet pick-up locations today (at Fleet Feet in Chicago from 3-8) or tomorrow at the Abbey (from 2-8).


Kovas and I had some delicious and healthy Indian cuisine with amazing wine pairings at Bombay Spice in Chicago.  Head over to 50 States of Wine to read the full review!

Bombay Spice - healthy, delicious Indian cuisine and wine

The kids and I (and Kovas too!) are excited to try our new Bento lunch box - eco-friendly and perfect for school lunches, travel, play and portion control and balance for adult meals!

Laptop lunches - bento box

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Yay - new trail shoes from Mammut!

Mammut trail shoes
Looking forward to trying them on the trail soon!

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Meatless Monday: Couscous Chickpea Feta Salad

Here's a simple delicious salad that we tasted at our local Trader Joe's using a great new (to us) vegan find - Goddess Dressing!

Trader Joe's Goddess dressing

Prepare couscous as directed.  I used a vegan broth for more flavor.  Let cool.

For salad combine:
2 cups couscous
1 cup cooked chickpeas (or from a can)
1 cup Goddess dressing
Crumbled or cubed feta (omit for vegan version)
Sliced scallions
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Couscous Chickpea Feta Salad

We combined ours with spinach - great as a wrap filling also!

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Funnies

Here are some funnies from

funny delusional

funny encouragement

funny nurse

funny sassy pants

funny tasteless hilarious

Happy Friday!

Any fun plans for the weekend?

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Three Things Thursday

So excited - I received my Newton Lady Isaacs today!!  Can't wait to try them out...the idea behind Newton Running is forefoot striking and land-lever-lift.  And now through October 31, customers purchasing a new pair of Newton Running shoes have 60 days from the date of purchase to return if not completely satisfied!

Newton Running Lady Isaacs

Our Healthy Kids Committee at school created a (second) butterfly garden and had it certified as a "Monarch Waystation." Monarch Waystations are places that provide resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration.  Milkweeds and nectar sources are declining due to development and the widespread use of herbicides in croplands, pastures and roadsides (  Monarch waystations are easy to create and maintain - even at home, if you have a little bit of space:)

Monarch Waystation

For our Meatless Monday, we had delicious "chicken" fajitas using soy curls that we got from is a one-stop shop for all your Fake Meats and is owned by Steven and Kim (of  Check it out!

"Chicken" Fajitas
Recipe from, but made by Kovas (of 50States of Wine)

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Michigan sunset
We were lucky to catch this beautiful sunset over Lake Michigan
...unfortunately one of our last for the season:(

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Janji: Run for Another

What is the global food and water crisis? Put simply, it is the more dire and pressing issue of our time - around the world, hundreds of millions of people lack the basic necessities of human life. 

Families without clean water must travel hours to retrieve it, or worse, they’re forced to drink contaminated water, leading to disease, parasites, and often death. 

Children without proper nourishment become physically, emotionally, and intellectually stunted for the rest of their lives. 

Villages find themselves unable to grow their own food - families suffer and once proud communities are disbanded. 

Janji's solution:  bring in the runners!

Runners are great at taking up causes and supporting them, evidenced by the thousands of cause-related races around the country! Instead of putting on races, Janji will take on the global food and water crisis through running apparel that both caters to the high performance needs of runners and also displays the country that the apparel benefits. With each piece of apparel sold, the running community tangibly gives food and water to those in need. Together, we runners can give communities hope. 

Janji sent me a pair of Run for Kenya shorts to publicize their cause.  These technical shorts run a bit small so I requested a size up.  They're soft and silky feeling and comfortable to run in.  The vibrant red with green accents is fun and refreshing.

Janji is more than an apparel company. It’s a movement of runners dedicated to running not simply for themselves, but for those less fortunate around the world.

More info on the Janji website,  Facebook,  and Twitter.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog – courtesy of Janji. I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give it a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the websites, the opinions are my own.)

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