Fitness, Food and Photography

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Happy New Year!!

Hubby and I were lucky enough to get a date night on New Years Eve.  One of our favorite local bands, The Dirty Guv’nahs, was playing a concert in downtown Knoxville.  We scored the tickets months ago when they first went on sale.


And I was feeling pretty good after finishing my last working for 2012 …. a 4.2 mile run at Lakeshore Park.  I was so excited that they closed our offices early – at 2:30.  It meant I had time to get in a quick run.  It was only 37 degrees outside, but it didn’t feel that cold.  And I warmed up fast.

lakeshore run

Hubby dropped the kids off at my Mom’s house while I was getting ready.  We had a hard time deciding what to do for dinner.  Too many good options – Downtown Grill and Brewery, Crown and Goose, Nama, etc.  But we decided on Sunspot for a few reasons:  one – the beers on tap, and two – hubby found a the description of a burger on their website.  It had egg, bacon, avocado, and more wonderful goodness on top.  It sounded like the perfect burger!


Unfortunately, that burger was LAST week’s special and therefore no longer available.  😦

chips and menu

So instead, hubby ordered the Steak Tacos and I got a Salmon BLT.  And LOTS of fries.  LOL  I haven’t had fries in a really long time … they were SOOOO yummy!!!!


Here’s a close up of the Salmon BLT.  It was uh-may-zing!!!  Oh my goodness.  I would go back tomorrow just to get another Salmon BLT.  Although, I’m pretty sure I can recreate this at home.  It’s just blackened salmon with bacon, lettuce and tomato.  The aioli sauce might take a little trial and error, but I think I’m up for the challenge.  🙂

salmon blt

After our bellies were completely full, we headed downtown.

gay street

(Not the best downtown shot I’ve ever taken of the lights on Gay Street, but it gives you an idea.)


This is the HISTORIC Tennessee Theatre.  It’s a gorgeous venue.  Recently renovated, too.

tennessee theatre

There were 2 opening acts.  The first was a singer/ songwriter Neal Carpenter, who is from Nashville.  I gathered that he knows the Guvs from University of Tennessee, which is where they all went.  I was impressed by Neil’s songs.  The lyrics were really good.

James and Chris (from the Dirty Guvs) joined him on stage for his last song.

neil carpenter

The second opener was a band called A Thousand Horses.  I’d never heard of them before, but they totally killed it.  They rocked the house.  While I wasn’t cazy about all the long beards I saw, I was super impressed by their stage presence.


Finally, around 10:30 the Guvs finally took the stage.

(Followed by a phone call from my Mom telling us that Lucy has a fever.  Great.  Good thing we packed the Tylenol just in case.  A fever is not an emergency.  I am not leaving a concert because of a FEVER.)


Back to the concert.  Our seats were in the center section, 6 rows back.   Pretty. Darn. Good.

The funny thing was … we could hear the people behind us talking.  The guy had never heard of the Guvs.  Really?!?  Why would you come to a special concert on New Years Eve to hear a band you don’t know play??  Furthermore, we purchased our tickets the first day they went on sale, months ago.  I imagine to get the seats behind us, they had to do the same.  So he’s had tickets for over 2 months now …  he couldn’t have looked them up in that time to see if he liked them before coming to a concert?!?  People are weird.


I kept waiting for the song ‘Brown Little Bird’ but they never played it.  😦   Instead, they played a few songs that weren’t theirs, like Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bruce Springsteen.  They were great covers, don’t get me wrong.  But here’s how I feel about going to a concert …  I paid money to come hear you sing YOUR songs, not other people’s songs.  Is that silly?  Am I the only one that feels that way?


To answer the question from the Daily Post about where I was at the stroke of midnight:

My phone died at some point so I had no idea what time it was.  They were in the middle of playing a song, stopped, and we counted down the 10 seconds to midnight.  There was no ball dropping, no fireworks (except for my kiss with hubby), it was mostly non-eventful as they went on playing their song afterwards.  But that was fine with me …  there was no where else I would rather be than with my hubby listening to the Dirty Guv’nahs play live!


They played til 12:30am.  It was an awesome show!!  My ears are still ringing!

So, tell me – what did YOU do for New Year’s Eve??


What I Ate Wednesday – 12/5/12

Wow is it really Wednesday again so soon??  Which, as I’m sure you may have figured out already, is one of my favorite days.  Not only is it Hump Day, but it’s also What I Ate Wednesday Day.  So I have to give a quick shout out to Jenn at Peas and Crayons and say thanks for the fun linkup.

And I’m loving that new holiday banner!

Confession time:  I have a new favorite.  Move over Kale Protein Shakes, there’s a new breakfast in town.  Egg sandwiches.  And this is coming from a girl who never really cared for egg much the first 30 years of her life.  Now I love them.  Can’t get enough.  And if I ever did eat scrambled eggs before, you better not dare put anything in them.  Now I love omelettes.  Bring on the veggies!!  Crazy, huh?  It’s so strange how your tastes change.

egg sandwich

So that’s an egg with spinach on a whole wheat English muffin (except Trader Joe’s calls it a British muffin – LOL).

breakfast ingredients

But, the piece de resistance (said in my best French accent) is the Red Pepper Jelly.  Yes, I said Red Pepper Jelly.  (By who else, but Trader Joe’s, of course!!)  It was amazing!!!

Outfit of the Day

Outfit of the Day

Here’s my #ootd pic I posted on Instagram with the hash tag “all dressed up and no where to go”.  I didn’t have any meetings scheduled, just sat at my desk and worked all day.  Well, not the whole day – I went for a run at lunchtime!!  🙂

pre-run snack

pre-run snack

Yep – I ran on my lunch hour!!  Go me!  I felt I had to take advantage of this gorgeous weather we’re having in December.

Lakeshore Park

Lakeshore Park

I’m getting pretty good at this running on my lunch hour thing!!  I can change clothes, get over to the park, run for 45 minutes, get changed again and back at my desk in just under 70 minutes.  I’d say that’s pretty good!

Post-run lunch

Post-run lunch

Let me first say that I bought this yogurt without even looking at the nutritional information.  I’ve never seen pumpkin-flavored yogurt before, and since it was Trader Joe’s brand, I knew I would love it.  So it’s way high in sugar content.  (But hey – I figured I just ran 4 miles, I kinda deserved it).  It’s also really high in protein (score!!).  And it was deeee-freaking-licious!!!  The only thing missing was a little granola crumbled on top.  Pumpkin flavored granola, at that!!

fancy caramels

We have carrier reps sending us all kinds of crap during the holidays.  This time of year our counters are full of donuts and cookies and you name it, it’s probably there.  Rarely do they ever send the healthy baskets.  Anyway, there were these cute little caramel candies.  I couldn’t resist trying one.  (While you see there a picture of 4 caramels, I promise you – I only had one!  Which one do you think I tried first??  The espresso, of course!!)

For dinner, we originally made plans to go to a local place called the Stir Fry Cafe.  I have one of those Groupon deals I bought where you pay $10 for $20 worth of food.  (Love Groupon)!  Anyway, once we pulled out the printed certificate we realized that there is a restriction – you can’t use the deal on Wednesday nights for Half Price Sushi night.  Bummer.  Well, I already had it in my head that I wanted sushi.  So, by darn I was getting sushi.  Even if I had to pay full price for the half price sushi.  lol

eating a spring roll

I have to apologize … these pictures are horrible.  It’s really dark in the restaurant and the camera on my phone has been acting up lately and not wanting to focus.

I started with an appetizer of 3 Thai spring rolls. The kids loved them!

Here’s a funny story – as soon as we got home from school, my 7-year old ran upstairs to put his jammies on without me realizing.  When he came back down, I told him he needed to change back into his school clothes because we were going out to dinner.  He gives me this big huff and asks “Why?”  My response was “just because”.  (Mostly the answer was because the fridge was bare and the only other option was to go to the grocery store, which I didn’t want to do because I didn’t have my list or my coupons ready – but I didn’t tell him all this).  He asked me who we were meeting at the restaurant.  I said no one, it was just us.  He looks all puzzled and asks, “Then why are we going?”  I guess he didn’t think we could go just the 4 of us.  We rarely go out unless it’s a special occassion and we’re celebrating a birthday or something.  Kids are funny.

fish tacos

The hubs ordered fish tacos, of course.  I think we’ve tried them at almost every restaurant in town.  And Marlin and Rays still wins hands down!!


The White Diamond and Red Dragon rolls

There’s another local place called Nama, which to me is the standard by which all sushi should be judged.  Nama has the BEST sushi I have ever had.  While these rolls were good, they weren’t Nama-good.  And now that I’ve had mid-grade sushi a few times in the last couple of weeks, I think I’ll be making a trip to Nama soon so I can remember what the gold standard tastes like.  (Get the Soy Joy if you go)!!

So that was what I ate Wednesday!  Now head over to Peas and Crayons to see what everyone else ate on Wednesday.  🙂


TGIF: How I De-Stress

I don’t know if anyone could be as excited as I am that it’s Friday!  It’s been a hell of a week.  Client meetings, presentations, and deadlines made for a stressful week and more than a few late nights.

So how does one celebrate that the week is over??  With a long run, of course. After work, I headed to my favorite greenway. It’s actually a beautiful,  old (read: expensive)  neighborhood on the Tennessee River.  Down the middle of the street is a wide, tree lined median with a gravel path.  Shaded, but hilly, it’s 5.2 miles round-trip.


It was rough starting out. My legs were heavy and tired from the hill sprints I did last night. But I pushed on.


I won’t lie, there was some run / walk action. But it was a respectable run / walk. Maybe 50/50, but I sprinted the hills and only walked when I knew my heart rate had just spiked.

I was glad when it was over, though. My legs were jello. My quads are sore. I’ll feel it tomorrow for sure.


And finally, I’ll leave you with the sunset from this evening. It was stunning.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!!

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Monday Motivation

Geez.  Monday again already??  Anyone else feel this way?

That’s ok.  I’m ready.  We spent most of Sunday afternoon and evening getting prepared for the week.  We have our menu planned, the food purchased, the fridge organized, and vegetables chopped.  While we were making dinner last night, we even made a breakfast casserole for the kids that should last several mornings this week, as well as the whole family’s Monday lunches.

Benjamin Franklin said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  And I don’t plan on failing.  Not this week.


Bring it, Monday, let’s see what you’ve got!  I’m hoping for another really productive day at work.  Then tonight when I get home, I plan on doing the 100 Workout.

hiit workout

Repeat twice, for time.

Make it a great day!!  🙂


I’m Back! … with Eggplant!

I must apologize – I’ve been MIA this week.  It’s been a crazy busy week with school starting and getting back into a normal routine.

I even missed the ‘What I Ate Wednesday’ post, which I really hated to do!  I love doing the WIAW pictures.  This Wednesday, my firm hosted a seminar on Healthcare Reform for our clients.  (Don’t even get me started on Healthcare Reform – maybe I’ll save that for another post another day).

It was a catered event so there were the usual pastries, muffins and cereals.  Carb overload.  So I refrained.  I was going to take a picture of the buffet for you, but I was too busy talking to clients.  Because I had skipped breakfast, I was starving for lunch.  I scarfed my salad down before I even had time to think about taking a picture of it. But it looked something like this:

homemade salad

That’s Thursday’s salad.  I ate it at my desk while I worked.  Then on Thursday night, the hubs made us some amazing fish tacos:

homemade fish tacos

But all of that wasn’t too exciting.  It was what I did on Friday that I’m excited to share with you.  I had the BEST day on Friday!!  I don’t know what it was.  Maybe I finally got the hang of the new school routine.  Maybe it’s because I was wearing jeans.  Or maybe it’s because my hubby snuck some eggplant into my kale shake.  Yes, you read that correctly.  EGGPLANT.  In a Protein Shake.  It sounds disgusting, right??  He didn’t tell me until I had drank the whole thing.  And I couldn’t tell anything different.

(Kale Shake recipe here)

In fact, I had just gotten to work and as I sat down, I had an email from the hubs asking me if I liked my shake.  I replied yes.  To which his follow up question was, “Could you tell what the secret ingredient was?”  I had 3 sips left, so I took a big swig, swirled it around in my mouth, furrowed my eyebrow and responded “No.  What is it?”  And then he dropped the bomb.  Eggplant.  Seriously??  We had leftover grilled eggplant in the fridge from dinner two nights before.

grilled eggplant

Not being the kind to waste food, we like to use our leftovers rather than throwing them out.  But he’s never gone so far as to put leftover grilled veggies in our breakfast shake.  Weird.  But it worked.  And eggplant is brain food.  So I really think it helped me have the most productive day I’ve had in a really long time.  I was even offering to help other people get their work done.

I had so much energy by 5pm, I went for a run after work at my favorite place:

Lakeshore Park

Lakeshore Park

It was a beautiful day, but still so very hot.  I remembered why I don’t like to run outside in August!!

So that was the end of my week.  I apologize for being absent for the last couple of days.

I’ll leave you with a sunset picture and a promise….

I promise not to miss a post next week, especially the WIAW post!!  (It’s my fave).  Oh, and stay tuned on the 31st when I reveal my foodie pen pal box!!

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Ran Out of My Funk

I admit – I’ve been in a funk all week. It was nothing in particular that got me there, but rather a series of events. And as I told you yesterday I’ve had something weighing on my mind.  But after a full night’s sleep and a 4.2-mile run, I’m feeling much better. It’s hard to be in a bad mood after a run. Oh, and did I mention I don’t have to go back to work for 10 days!?!  That alone is enough to lift my mood.

So back to my run this morning.  One of my favorite places to go is Lakeshore Park.  It’s a 2.1 mile loop around an old mental institution and wastewater treatment facility.  I know it sounds weird, but it’s very family-friendly park with soccer fields, baseball fields, playgrounds and picnic areas.  The best part is it’s very hilly!

Here’s a picture of the first hill I run up. I used to be afraid of hills, but now I just take them as fast as I can.


There are 2 different ways you can run the loop.  If you go clockwise, you’ll run down a huge hill first and the rest of the way has short but steep inclines.  (The “easy” way).  But if you go counter-clockwise (the way I go) you’ll encounter more hills and potentially get a better workout.  Towards the end of the 2.1 mile loop, there is a huge hill with a switchback.  Right before the hill, there is a quarter mile straightaway. I take that opportunity to sprint as fast as I can, just to see how high I can get my heart rate. Today, 175 was the highest. I consistently kept it in the 150-160 range throughout the tempo run. (My resting heart rate is about 52-54.)  So I was definitely in my zone!

It was really muggy out today, even at 8am. I was sweating like crazy.

When I got home, I chugged a mixture of chocolate protein powder and Mike’s Mix, with a splash of coffee. Yum.  It’s a great recovery drink.

We finished it off the workout with a round of pushups and pullups –  P90x Chest and Back DVD. Hello shoulders. 🙂

What workout did you do today?

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Confession Time

I have a confession to make – I blew it.  And not even just a little bit.  I totally went off the deep end.

I wish I could take it all back.  I’m almost embarassed to admit it.

Ok here goes – I ate Papa Johns last night.

There, I said it.  And it was so good.  Well, at the time it was good.

Now I regret every last bite.

I wish I could blame it on the kids, but it was totally my idea.  We had accumulated these Papa points which would allow us to get a free Large 3-topping pizza.  But we had to use those points by the 25th.  My son had an awesome week at karate camp, and on top of that had just lost his second tooth.  So I wanted to surprise him.  Plus, I wasn’t in the mood to cook.

So I ordered the free pizza, then I added an order of wings…. for protein.  My hubby wanted breadsticks.  And then somehow, I’m not even sure how, the cinnapie dessert pizza jumped into the cart too.  We ended up paying $20 for this “free” pizza.

After I ordered, I had planned to eat only one piece of pizza and a couple of wings.  But all that flew out the window when the food arrived.  I ended up eating one breadstick, two pieces of pizza, four wings and a one piece of the cinnapie.  Holy crap.  I really don’t even want to know how many calories and how many carbs that totalled.  I should enter it into My Fitness Pal, but it would probably just depress me.

I figure confession is good for the soul, right?  So I had to get that off my chest.  Although, I’m sure the food didn’t go to my chest area – I’m sure it’s sitting right on my hips.  I think I’ll feel better if I get it off my hips!!  And with that, I’m out the door for a tempo run.  I don’t know how long it will take for me to burn all that glycogen stored from dinner, but I’m hoping an hour will do it.

Have a great Saturday!!  🙂


Paralyzed by Indecision

We actually have an entire weekend without the kids.  Just me and the hubs.  In the last 7 years, we haven’t gotten much time alone.  So, we want to make it special, but at the same time we want to be productive.  We made a list of all the things we can’t do when the kids are around, such as paint/redecorate, or go on a long, difficult hike, or visit a winery.  The list is so long, in fact, that there’s no way we can do everything we want to do.  So how do we choose?  I think I’ll start off with a long run while I think about it.  What would you do with an entire weekend free??


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