Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Opportunity to Support the Fight for Air Climb or Great Strides Walk!

As part of my 2014 goals, I will be participating in two events that are both perfect combinations of fitness, fun and fundraising!

If either (or both) of the causes below resonate with you (and you are able), please consider making a small donation. I would greatly appreciate it, as I know the respective organizations will as well.

American Lung Association's Fight for Air Climb

In March, I am joining hundreds of others in the important fight for children with asthma, teens who are pressured to start smoking, people with lung cancer and emphysema, and everyone who wants to breathe healthy air.

I will be climbing the 52 flights of stairs to reach the top floor of 555 California in San Francisco. Yes, 52 flights! That's 1,197 steps! I did this event last year, when I was completely out of shape, so needless to say I am super excited for take two.

Bottom line? I am climbing because I CAN.

If this cause is meaningful to you, and you are able, please click here to make a donation.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Great Strides 5K -- April 12, 2014

I am participating in this walk to support one of our newest and littlest friends, Buster! Buster was born on May 3, 2013 and he has cystic fibrosis. That means that he cannot digest his food like you and me, any infection is very serious for him and he takes several medications, breathing treatments and chest physiotherapy daily.

I am walking to support Buster and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which funds and supports the development of the drugs and treatments that can give Buster, and thousands of other people living with CF, as many tomorrows as possible.

If this cause is meaningful to you, and you are able, please click here to make a donation.

More on Cystic Fibrosis (CF): CF is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the U.S. In the 1950s, few children with CF lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January Cure 2014 Updates! Days 7-14

I may be a *teeny* bit behind...and/or doing things a little out of order. Oh well. Also, in working on this blog post, I accidentally deleted my "Days 3-6 Updates" post. *groan* I'm a little sad about its disappearance but I'm not going to try to rewrite it...

Moving on...

This post is going to cover a lot of days. So get ready. Pour a glass of wine, get comfortable...

Day 7: Friday, January 10 and the weekend of January 11 & 12
Assignment: Flowers, Kitchen Organizing and Cleaning
See full assignment here.

This was a particularly busy weekend, and our poinsettia from the holidays is still alive and well, so purchasing more fresh flowers didn't happen. Neither did a kitchen cleaning but much of that was taken care of later. Like cleaning out and reorganizing our "pantry" cabinets. I took care of that on my day off on Monday. Among many other things...

Day 8: Monday, January 13
Assignment: Plan a Get Together!
See full assignment here.

I contacted friends who we have been meaning to get together with for ages and set up a dinner date at our home on February 1. Now to figure out what we will be cooking. Indian food, perhaps?

Day 9: Tuesday, January 14
Assignment: Create a Landing Strip
See full assignment here.

We generally use the corner of our kitchen counter as our landing strip, which is near our garbage and recycling cans and with a paper shredder conveniently located nearby. I'm thinking about getting a little mail organizer thing where we can put paperwork that needs to be taken care of in some way. In the process of looking online for something that may work, I found this pantry organizer thingy on Amazon and I think it could add some storage space to our hall closet. Hmm...

Day 10: Wednesday, January 15
Assignment: Media Fast
See full assignment here.

I like this one. I want to do this more often. It is nice, and good for me, to disconnect every once in a while.

Day 11: Thursday, January 16
Assignment: Project Progress
See full assignment here.

We have chosen the two photos that we plan to print and frame! One is of the most beautiful window I have ever seen.


Day 12: Friday, January 17 and the weekend of January 18-19
Assignment: Flowers and Bedroom Cleaning
See full assignment here.

Bedroom cleaning was successfully completed and flowers did happen this weekend! Make that two bouquets of pretty pink flowers that I turned into four...

Day 13: Monday, January 20
Assignment: Organize Paperwork and Files
See full assignment here.

A work in progress...

Day 14: Tuesday, January 21
Assignment: Clean Up Cord Clutter
See full assignment here.

This is one that we are fairly good at already. Whew.

To learn more about the January Cure, check out Apartment Therapy.

Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 Goal Updates! My 4th 5K & a Recipe Roundup!

*My full list of 2014 goals can be found below. 

2014 5K #1: Sunday, January 12 -- Hot Chocolate 5K. This was a fun one, although very crowded. So crowded that I couldn't run at the pace I wanted until at least the Mile 1 marker. There were a few spots in the beginning where I was trying to run but realized that I could walk faster than the people "running" in front of us. (Really, they were just bouncing slowly along with the crowd...) What is it with people walking four- or five-wide across a narrow path, sidewalk, etc? (This annoyance obviously extends beyond this event.) Shouldn't this be like driving? Slower people to the right, faster people to the left...right?? Sorry for the mini-rant but I needed to get that off my chest. I feel better now. Now on to the good stuff!

Waiting to start.

This run was in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco (like the Awesome 80s 5K) and although it was really cold at 7:30 was a gorgeous day and Golden Gate Park is an incredibly beautiful place to be, running or otherwise.

I ran this 5K with my honey (it was his first!), my friend from my first 5K in July and my friend from the Awesome 80s 5K in November. We were a good team and all finished within a couple minutes of each other. My final time was 38:19. Not my fastest (that was the Temecula 5K) but over two minutes faster than my last 5K in November. Not too shabby, seeing as I didn't run much prior to this one.

The especially cool thing about the Hot Chocolate 5K is that they give you hot chocolate (hence the name) AND fondue at the end. The chocolate was surprisingly good and I thoroughly enjoyed it with the dippers they provided -- a banana, marshmallow, rice crispy treat and a wafer cookie. It was all served up in this cute finisher's mug.


In addition to running a 5K, we walked 3-miles roundtrip to and from the event from our friend's home and another few miles to and from brunch. We have established a nice 5K + Brunch tradition and I am loving it. Here's a photo of what I stuffed in my face that day -- fresh crab, avocado and a perfectly poached egg on an english muffin with salad on the side. 


New Recipe Roundup! January 10-15, 2013:
  • Spaghetti Squash Primavera from Skinny Taste -- I may have used a little extra cheese. Healthy and delicious. I highly recommend this one and you can make the spaghetti squash the day before for an even faster dinner.
  • Mom's* Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole from Cooking Light -- Our milk had gone bad (whoops) so I subbed low sodium chicken stock. I also added a bit more liquid and stirred in 2 cups of cooked brown rice and heated it all together before pouring it into a baking dish, topping with cheese and broiling. I just had the last of the leftovers for lunch today. I really liked this one but my honey didn't really care for it. I don't think he likes the "just chicken" from Trader Joe's. He thinks it tastes too processed. I think I will try this recipe again, but with rotisserie chicken. 
  • Balsamic & Bacon Brussels Sprouts. Recipe from a friend. -- The combination of ingredients in this dish is incredible. We ate it as a side dish with bun-less burgers topped with a little gruyere cheese. I will be making it again soon to fine tune a few things and then I will post the recipe here. Stay tuned!
I am already at seven new recipes so far this month and I am making a new mushroom and barley soup recipe tonight and we have a new pork tenderloin recipe scheduled for later this week. Overall, I feel like I have been doing really well with my 2014 goals and posting updates here has helped keep me accountable. Lots more work and fun ahead...

*Not MY mom.

2014 Goals
  • Complete January Cure
  • Blog January Cure and goal progress minimum 1x/week.
Fitness/Health - Reach Goal Weight & Maintain:
  • Hot Chocolate 5K (January); Fight for Air Climb (March); Great Strides 5K (April); Stars & Stripes 5K (July); Fall 5 or 10K TBD.
  • Hikes 1x/month minimum. 
  • Schedule and track all fitness. 
  • Complete five personal training sessions.
  • Group gym classes 2x/month minimum.
  • Track all food and pay attention to portion sizes.
  • New recipes 8x/month.
  • Meatless lunches/dinners 4x/week minimum.
  • Read 12+ books. 
  • Dates with friends 2x/month minimum. (May be combined with fitness fun.)
  • Daily Challenge by me you health. (Overall well being.)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Recipe: Ginger Chicken & Bok Choy Soup

As promised...a recipe for the Ginger Chicken & Bok Choy Soup I made last week!

I'm going to crawl on out on a limb and assume that some of the people who read my blog live in places that are actually cold right now. I, on the other hand, do not happen to live in a place that is currently experiencing winter appropriate weather. It is supposed to get up to 70 this week. 70! In January! Needless to say, I won't be making any soup this week.

However, if it were cold outside, I would make this soup. It is super duper yummy and cozy but you can have your fill without feeling too stuffed. It is based on a Martha Stewart recipe but my version is less labor intensive, perfect for a weeknight, post-work dinner.

Ginger Chicken & Boy Chok Soup
Inspired by this recipe: Poached Chicken with Bok Choy in Ginger Broth

Serves: 4-6

  • 8 cups Miso Ginger Broth 
  • 1 lb chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
  • 10-ounces sliced white mushrooms
  • 3 green onions
  • Unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • Low sodium soy sauce
  • Sriracha

  1. Bring the miso ginger broth to a boil in a large stock pot. 
  2. While broth is coming to a boil, cut your chicken and bok choy into bite-size pieces and slice up your green onions. 
  3. Once broth is boiling, add the chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  4. Add in the boy choy, mushrooms and green onions and simmer for an additional 10 minutes or so, until chicken is cooked through and veggies are nice and tender. 
  5. Ladle soup into individual dishes and season each with rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and sriracha, to taste!
  • Our Trader Joe's carries Miso Ginger Broth but if you can't find any, you can make the broth in the original recipe (link above).
  • This soup saves and reheats well. Perfect for dinner one night and then taking to work the next day for lunch. 
  • Feel free to experiment with ingredients! I am going to try grilled or roasted tofu (instead of chicken), extra veggies and some rice noodles next time.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 Goals Update -- January Cure, Hiking, Recipe Roundup and Books!

*My full list of 2014 goals can be found below. 

January Cure: Got to admit, I'm not taking this year's cure quite as seriously. As in, if I already "sort of" did the daily assignment, I'm counting it as done. Not completely failing but definitely not my usual overachieving self. I'm still committed to getting this done, don't get me wrong, I may just be cramming here and there, as opposed to doing it on the daily. More updates on this goal, coming soon!

January Hike: Saturday, January 4 -- 11.16 miles with my honey and our good friend. 1,524 feet of elevation although my guess was a BILLION. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, mid-60s with a nice breeze once we got climbing.

Power Poses. Approximately halfway through our hike.

Personal Training Sessions: Step 1: Purchase personal training sessions. DONE! My plan is to schedule my first session in late February, when the new year's gym rush has hopefully died down, and schedule sessions every other Friday. (My regular day off.)

Other Activity: It has been a good week so far! Sunday was a much needed post-hike rest day but I did hop on the elliptical (love having one at home) for a bit to get in some extra steps. On Monday I did back-to-back Couch-to-5K trainings and an additional walk to get over 12,000 steps. My goal has always been 10,000 steps/day but I upped it this week for a FitBit challenge. Yesterday I got up early and did an hour walk before work and today I did a run/walk after work. Tomorrow is a long walk before a delicious sushi dinner.  (Notice the run/walk trend?) 

New Recipe Roundup! January 3-8, 2013:
  • Lighter Fettuccini Alfredo (Cook's Illustrated) and a Rainbow Chard and Radicchio Sauté recipe from Bon Appetit. The pasta is five stars, for sure. (Not surprising from Cook's Illustrated, right??) I think I enjoyed it more than the full fat version. As for the chard&radicchio, I think I used too little chard and/or too much radicchio, which is on the more bitter side. I think the ratio should be 2/3 to 1/3 or even 3/4 to 1/4.
  • Zucchini and Basil Lasagna (Cooking Light) -- I made a half batch for lunch and we enjoyed leftovers for lunch on Monday. 
  • Chicken and Bok Choy in Miso Ginger Broth -- The premise of this recipe is an old favorite, one that I have always made based on a Martha Stewart recipe. This time I decided to try a short cut with Trader Joe's miso ginger broth...and it is definitely a keeper! How I know that it is a keeper, aside from my own palate, is that my honey went back for thirds. THIRDS. Oh, and it is super simple to throw together on a weeknight and perfect for chilly weather. Recipe post coming soon!

Ingredients for Chicken & Bok Choy in Ginger Miso Broth. YUM.

Books! I am currently reading A Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy Toole) and thoroughly enjoying it. It is set in New Orleans and we also just started watching Season 1 of I feel like I've got a good theme going. I have also been working my way through We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lionel Shriver). 

Months ago, a friend started a private Facebook group for some of our lady friends called the Ladies' Book Referral Service. The sole purpose of the group is to find out what everyone is reading and provide a communal focus for recommendations. I have gotten so many great ideas from the group and one member had the brilliant idea (and follow through) to plan an in-person get together. This Saturday, we are gathering to drink wine, talk about books and start a rotation of excellent reads. I plan to bring Little Bee (Chris Cleave) to share. 

2014 Goals
  • Complete January Cure
  • Blog January Cure and goal progress minimum 1x/week.
Fitness/Health - Reach Goal Weight & Maintain:
  • Hot Chocolate 5K (January); Fight for Air Climb (March); Great Strides 5K (April); Stars & Stripes 5K (July); Fall 5 or 10K TBD.
  • Hikes 1x/month minimum. 
  • Schedule and track all fitness. 
  • Complete five personal training sessions.
  • Group gym classes 2x/month minimum.
  • Track all food and pay attention to portion sizes.
  • New recipes 8x/month.
  • Meatless lunches/dinners 4x/week minimum.
  • Read 12+ books. 
  • Dates with friends 2x/month minimum. (May be combined with fitness fun.)
  • Daily Challenge by me you health. (Overall well being.)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January Cure 2014! Days 1 & 2

Day 1: January 2, 2014
Assignment: Create a Project List
See full assignment and sign up for the January Cure at

I started by copying my updated project list from the end of January 2013. Some additional things were completed last year so I went ahead and crossed those off, as well as add the potential projects for 2014. I know that this list will grow and change during the January Cure, as well as through the year!

Project List: 
Completed in 2013
Not completed in 2013
New for 2014

Clean out/reorganize hall closet
Paint front door
New door mat
Deep clean floors
Clean out/reorganize hall closet

Living Room/Dining Room
Print Cuba photos for large frames in dining room
Print, frame and hang photos in living room
New coffee table (glass top)
Fireplace insert
Entry table/cabinet/hooks/something?
Screen door
Deep clean floors (these are the same ones as the entry)
Deep clean living room
Put away holiday decorations
Reorganize china/booze cabinets
Hang mirror


Organize pantry cabinets -- containers for dry ingredients
Deep clean floors (see above)
Deep clean kitchen
Hang NOLA signs above stove
Hang paper towel holder
Purchase/hang light(s) above sink -- Hang second light.
Hang photo canvases

Family Room
Screen door
Clean out/re-organize DVDs/Blu-rays
Paint shelves -- Get second shelves for other side of couch or new side tables?

Clean out/reorganize closet
Hang diplomas
Hang guitars
Fix closet doors
Declutter and reorganize books/shelves
Declutter and reorganize paperwork

Guest Room

Guest bed and side table
Move elliptical 
Small TV -- hang in front of elliptical
New light fixture
Hang Bosnia photos
Clean out/reorganize closet
Hang mirror


Hang Croatia photo
Jewelry organization
New light fixture
Wedding photo - printed and framed
Deep clean bedroom
Reorganize dresser
Print, frame, and hang photo(s)
Clothes and shoe repairs


Deep clean bathroom
Declutter and reorganize under sink cabinet
Purchase/hang new towel rack(s)
Purchase/hang wall cabinet -- shelf/counter?

Day 2: January 3, 2014...and the Weekend of January 4 & 5
Assignment: Flowers and Floors
See full assignment at

I had already made a trip to the store on Thursday, and we still have a pretty poinsettia from the holidays so I am going to wait to pick up flowers when I go to the store this Saturday. Floor cleaning -- vacuum and mopping is on our to-do list for today!

Check out the links above to read more about the January Cure and/or to sign up! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 in Review & 2014 Goals

2013 was a really fabulous year! Some of the highlights include our trip to Mexico and Cuba last spring and lots of fun with family and friends. We also had the pleasure of attending four weddings, the most recent on NYE!

Sunset over Old Havana | April 2013

Top: 5K Mud Run.
L to R: Stars & Stripes 5K, Temecula 5K & Awesome 80s 5K.

One of my biggest accomplishments of the year was making significant changes to my fitness routine, eating healthier and improving my health overall. I have big plans for continuing the process in 2014, including a bunch of 5Ks, San Francisco Walking Adventure Part 2 (Part 1), sessions with a personal trainer and experimenting with a lot of healthy recipes. Below is my full list of goals...

Celebrating our friends' wedding...and NYE!

2014 Goals

  • Complete January Cure.
  • Blog January Cure and goal progress minimum 1x/week. 

Fitness/Health - Reach Goal Weight & Maintain:
  • Hot Chocolate 5K (January); Fight for Air Climb (March); Great Strides 5K (April); Stars & Stripes 5K (July); Fall 5 or 10K TBD.
  • Hikes 1x/month minimum.
  • Schedule and track all fitness.
  • Complete five personal training sessions.
  • Group gym classes 2x/month minimum.

  • Track all food and pay attention to portion sizes.
  • New recipes 8x/month.
  • Meatless lunches/dinners 4x/week minimum. 

  • Read 12+ books. 
  • Dates with friends 2x/month minimum. (May be combined with fitness fun.)
  • Daily Challenge by me you health. (Overall well being.)

These may seem lofty, and perhaps they are! However, many are a deepening of 2013 goals. That and I'm up for the challenge. We already have our January hike planned for this weekend and lots of weekend plans with friends. As one of my goals above states, I plan to blog more this year and I will share the January Cure challenges, new recipes, goal updates and more!