Archive for March, 2010

Four Seasons of Running
March 29, 2010

Ask any runner and they will tell you one of the best things about being a runner is experiencing the seasons and seasonal changes first-hand.  Runners also get to look around and enjoy mother nature much more than we normally do in our fast-paced, office-inhabiting, rush hour driving lives.   I personally love being a runner because I can take in the little things before anyone else.

Summer
You’re the first one to start getting a tan, even if it is a shorts- and socks-lined tan.  You break the first sweat.  And you start seeing all the spring baby animals as they grow up on your early morning runs to avoid the heat.

Fall
You’re the first one to notice the changing colors of the leaves on a daily basis.  You also get to see the first leaves as they fall.  Then you get to breathe in that wonderful crunchy leaf smell as you run over them.  You can finally come back from a long run without being completely drenched in sweat and fatigue, and feel like you could almost take in another run.

Winter
You’re the last one to bundle up, because you can still get away with less clothing on a run.  You feel the first crisp air that smells of snow.  You change your running time and get to experience another time of day and angle of the sun.  You’re also one of the few who really gets to get out and enjoy nature instead of being cooped up and bundled up inside.

Spring
My favorite, maybe because it’s taking over now.  You’re the very first to notice the buds on trees and the flowers as they start to poke through the ground.  You see the explosion of color that seems to happen over night, bringing the trees back to life.  You’re also the first to choke on the fresh mulch of the season, but it’s worth it for the visual delight that is a rainbow of flowers and their scent that eventually takes over.  And you can run virtually any time of day.  You also get to experience the occasional rainy day run that is a baptism of sorts.

I’m very thankful to be a runner and experience the little things in life, even if for only 20 minutes, that I would normally just allow to pass me by.

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Sally’s Helpful Hints – food and kitchen tips
March 26, 2010

Here are some new food and kitchen related tips.  Enjoy!!  As always, these are hints that I have personally tried myself or discovered by accident.  I’m always looking for new stuff, so feel free to leave a comment.

Too Much Spicy
Ever make a dish and accidentally over season it with spiciness.  I’m a bit of a wuss with some heat-inducing spices, and I sometimes get a little overzealous with Thai Chili Sauce.  So, all you have to do is add some VINEGAR until it cuts the spiciness.  Just be careful, you are adding a very thin liquid and it will thin out any sauce or dish, so you may need to cook longer or add other ingredients if necessary.

Pasta
I’m a runner so I eat a lot of pasta.  I mean a lot!  I hate when I start making pasta and I realize I don’t have any sauce left or I just don’t have the energy to make sauce for a small lunch snack sized portion.  Just add some OLIVE OIL, sprinkle some seasoning such as cracked pepper.  I also like to add some diced tomatoes and/or olives if I have them on hand. Voila, easy pasta without the need for spaghetti sauce!

Pineapples
I love pineapples and love adding them to dishes, such as salad.  But I also really like pineapple on my pizza.  There is just something about the sweet citrus mixing with the acidic tomato sauce, savory cheese, and the doughy crust.   So one day I sat around trying to think of other ways to recreate this flavor combination.  Duh, in PASTA!  I’ll add big chunks to my pasta as “vegetarian meatballs.”  But I especially like to make a baked ziti dish with the pineapples mixed in with the sauce and pasta, then layer with cheese and bake.  Note, this flavor combination is only useful if someone actually enjoys the Hawaiian pizzas, and if you do, then try it out!

Microwave
This is an old trick, but works for me.  I’m a big fan of reheating in the microwave (hello queso!), but not all bowls or plates have a convenient splatter guard lid, and sometimes that darn paper towel just won’t stay on top of the dish rotating in the microwave.  Seal it with PLASTIC WRAP.  It will help prevent splatter and explosions and can also help steam your dish too if you’d like.  Just be very careful removing the plastic wrap, steam escapes very quickly and is very hot!  Making a small puncture hole will help some steam escape during cooking.

Dieting
If you’re trying to learn to eat less or just eat slower, sometimes it comes down to what you’re eating with, not you.  Try using a smaller plate so you have smaller portions, but it will seem bigger as it fills up the small plate.  Also, use chopsticks whenever possible.  Believe me it will slow you down and usually force you to put smaller bites in your mouth at a time.  Your brain will have time to catch up to your stomach to tell you whether you’re full.

Drink Napkins
Here’s another oldie but goody!  I hate when the condensation on my glass of a frosty beverage (ahem cocktail!)  makes the napkin stick to my glass.  Simply grab the salt shaker and sprinkle some salt on the napkin.  There are two ways this works, first the salt crystals create a small distance from the napkin and it’s no big deal if salt is stuck to the bottom of your glass.  But more scientifically, it creates more of a hypo-, hyper-tonic situation with the water and the salt.  Then again I could be wrongly remembering my high school biology.  Regardless, it works and your napkin stays on the table and the cocktail in your glass on its way to your lips.

It’s Spring
March 22, 2010

…and it’s freezing!  Yes, that’s right.  We had a beautiful 70 degree day on Saturday and there are reports of flurries today in some areas.  Ahhh, Middle Tennessee how we welcome your schizophrenic tendencies, allergen inducers, and violent weather patterns in spring, as well as the inability to ever have just one wardrobe out at a time.  If you put away your sweaters and heavy coats, we’re guaranteed to have snow.  If you put away your summer clothes, we’ll have a heat wave.  If you love surprises, you should live here!

Sweet Sixteen
March 19, 2010

I have some very exciting news.  There is a Baby Barbie in our midst!  And she’s Sweet Sixteen today; 16 days that is.  I’m so overjoyed for Barbie and her man and her pup, that they have a beautiful Baby Barbie in their lives.  It was quite a surprise and a blessing at the same time.  The best part is that Baby Barbie was born here in town, which means that not only is Barbie sticking around (and only a couple miles from my house) for the next several months, but so is Baby Barbie!  I have my favorite Lady back from Canada for a little while and get to spend time totally spoiling the Baby Barbie as well!  Tante Sally is smitten!

46 Day Challenge – holiday update
March 17, 2010

Hope you wore your GREEN today!  Get in that workout before you enjoy partying tonight!  Here’s my “keeping me honest update.”  And in the spirit of honesty, I’ve really had some difficulty getting in my daily exercise the past couple weeks due to illness and other major events that have come up, and I probably would have given up on the challenge if it weren’t that I had already committed to it in writing here.

2/28 – Hoop walk 7 miles
3/1 – Run 2.55 miles
3/2 – Yoga 1 hour
3/3 – Run 2 miles
3/4 – Walk 1 mile
3/5 – Hooping 20 min.
3/6 – Hooping workshop 1 hour
3/7 – Hoop walk 7 miles
3/8 – Run 2.5 miles
3/9 – Yoga 1 hour
3/10 – Elliptical 10 min.
3/11 – Run 2.4 miles
3/12 – Run 3 miles
3/13 – Elliptical 10 min.
3/14 – Hoop walk 8 miles
3/15 – Elliptical 10 min.
3/16 – Yoga 1 hour
3/17 – Run 2.4 miles

Only 17 more days left to the challenge!  How has your fitness routine been?

Sally’s Helpful Hints – beauty hints
March 12, 2010

Here’s the Beauty Hints edition of Sally’s Helpful Hints.  (I’ve got tons of these “hints” saved up…stay tuned…I just might decide to have a special surprise soon à la Helpful Hints!)

Nail Polish
Have you ever started to paint your nails and suddenly realized you don’t like the color or  you made a mistake?  Or you want to change to a lighter nail polish that doesn’t cover the original dark color, but don’t have any polish remover?  Just swipe a coat of the polish on top of the paint you want to remove, then quickly wipe it off with a cotton ball or cloth.  The wet paint interacts with the old paint below and they both wipe off cleanly.  This doesn’t necessarily work with any paint you got on skin, but it definitely works in a pinch for the nail!

Shaving Cream
I hate when I start to shave my legs and realize that I only had enough shaving cream left for only one leg!  But one thing I always have plenty of is: CONDITIONER!  Hair conditioner actually works wonders for shaving and many fancy bikini shaving creams are actually just regular hair conditioner.  It softens the hair follicle and makes a nice smooth surface for the razor to glide over.  It’s also great if you’re traveling and can’t find a travel-size shaving cream can!

Scuffs on heels
I hate when I scuff up and make long scratches on my black heels, especially on new shoes that are otherwise in great shape.  I especially hate when I discover said scuff just before I’m heading into a meeting or interview.  I just simply take a black SHARPIE and color in the scratch.  This also works if you have a brown sharpie on some wooden heels as well.  Unless someone is inspecting your heel closely (weird!) they will never notice!

Chapped Lips
This time of year especially, I’m constantly fighting flaky dead skin on my lips.  And putting lipstick on it just doesn’t help.  So when I brush my teeth at night, I also make sure I use my TOOTHBRUSH on my lips as well to help slough off the dead skin.  Then I liberally apply some chapstick to moisturize the fresh skin underneath.

Static Hair
Winter is a nightmare if you have long hair!  It’s also a nightmare for your cat, who becomes a walking ball of static shock.  I simply “pet” the cat with a DRYER SHEET to remove all the static electricity and to give her a pretty sheen to her coat.  Guess what, this works with your own hair as well!

Tired Puffy Eyes
Wake up after a late night or a little bit too much fun?  Is allergy season making your eyes feel miserable?  Brew a cup of tea.  Then cool the TEABAGS and place them on your eyes.  The natural chemicals in the the tea leaves actually reduce the puffiness and some of the dark circles!  I actually prefer black tea because some of the caffeine in the tea will actually help wake up your eyes, and the cup of tea probably will help you recover from last night as well!

Just when I thought they were extinct…
March 8, 2010

It’s been so long since I found a dino.  I started to wonder if I’d ever find them again.  During our hoop-walk training on Sunday, I found this beauty downtown on the back of a Walk-Don’t Walk sign.  I feel like a paleontologist!

Sally’s Helpful Hints – Products Edition
March 2, 2010

Here’s another edition of Helpful Hints.  I thought I’d highlight some of the most wonderful products I’ve found that really make my life so much easier and better.  Or little things that have really surprised me.  I have tried out all of these products and can vouch that they worked for me.*

Band-Aid® Friction Block® Stick
Ever find the perfect pair of strappy sandles the day of a big event, but then realize that those cute little straps will become torture devices by the end of the night?  Enter this product, found in the band aid aisle at your local store.  You can wear any brand new shoes after you rub some of this on your feet where you anticipate blisters or other painful spots.  Best part, it smells nice and does not stain your shoes, socks, or feet.  It comes in a tiny, little deodorant-type container that makes application super easy.  It seems to be a very similar product to Body Glide used by runners (that also works wonders!).  Say goodbye to blisters and hello to super cute shoes!

Tide To Go® Stain Remover Stick
You may have heard many celebrities talk about this product, but I’m not paid to love it.  I unknowingly spilled some red wine on a T-shirt and woke up to find it had set in overnight.  I rubbed the stick over it according to directions.  A couple hours later, I couldn’t find the wine again.  It’s magic!

Instead
I discovered this product many years ago in college.  It is incredible and will completely change your monthly cycle!  It is much safer for your body.  Developed by a woman.  Can be worn much longer than any other product.  Has minimal mess, once you’re used to using it.  And the best part…you can use it during…ahem… “intimate moments” without mess and without your partner even noticing.  I LOVE this product.  Sometimes they are hard to find, but I have been very lucky lately to find them in Walgreens in the feminine aisle.

Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Oil Blemish Stick
One of my fave foodie bloggers reminded me in my first Helpful Hints post that tea tree oil is very good on acne.  She is so right!  So, run to your nearest Trader Joes in the hygiene products aisle, you will find a small tube about the size of a tube of lipstick.  It has a roller ball for easy application, it smells great, and easily fits in a purse or makeup bag.  Oh, and Barbie reminded me that this works wonders on itchy mosquito bites!!

* I have not received any special promotions or benefit from any of these products or their manufacturers.  This is just a pure, honest review of each product.