Filet-O-Fish Kind of Day…

Look who is back!! 2015 was a bit of a crazy year and I just couldn’t find the time to sit down and keep up with my blog. I’ve missed it.

Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday. I don’t get to church as often as I should – but I do my best (when not traveling) to get to Ash Wednesday services. It not only is the start of the most important season of the Catholic church but also makes me think of my Mom-Mom.

My Mom-Mom never missed church (unless she was sick or there was a blizzard) and even then we had to convince her it was ok. She never learned how to drive but that didn’t stop her from being an extremely independent woman.

I moved back east in 2001.  And the main reason I had been working to move back was to be closer to my Mom-Mom (I had less than 2 years with her).  One of the special moments I had with her during that time was making sure she got to Ash Wednesday Services and a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish meal.  It was a real treat for her (and me)!

I’ve cut out lots of processed food and very rarely have fast food – but I had my Filet-O-Fish meal Wednesday night and it was AWESOME!  I enjoyed it!  I’m sure Mom-Mom was looking down and smiling! 🙂

My Sweet 16 with my Mom-Mom - we must be related with that head tilt.

My Sweet 16 with my Mom-Mom – we must be related with that head tilt.

Enjoying my filet o fish - ashes and all!

Enjoying my filet o fish – ashes and all!


Am I a ‘runner’ now? Hmmm…

Today I had the opportunity to run in The Perfect 10 Miler (such a great message celebrating Women – “a chance to celebrate who you are inside and out – raising awareness of a positive self-image!”) first ever Bosom Buddy Relay! Each runner runs 5 miles – either first leg or second leg.  I had originally signed up for the 10 miles but with my new job – I knew early on that I just wasn’t going to get all the training in that I needed.  Through a friend I was able to find a buddy – we met for the first time this morning.  She opted to go first – and it was probably better – she is a little bit faster than me.

And then it was hurry up and wait for the tracker hand-off (due to traffic in the park needed to be there around 6:30 am – I live about 5 minutes from the park – so much for being able to get to a race a little later).  I think in the end there were about 50+ of us in the hand-off area.  We warmed up as a group and then the anticipation of looking for our runner.  It had been raining earlier in the morning but around the start of the race it had stopped – but then when I started – it started raining – a light rain and it stopped before I got to my first mile marker.  All in all it was a great day for a race (except the music in my app stopped playing so I heard one song and ran the 5 miles without music – a first for me).  With all the waiting I did like the fact that when I started running – it wasn’t part of a large pack – I could run my race.  I finished my 5.04 miles in 1:09:14 or a 13:43 minute pace (better than any of my training paces)!!  As a team we came in for our 10 miles at 2:09:09 or a 12:55 minute pace!  It was so great having my My BP Sisters cheering me on right before that final .4 and at the finish line (and I came in sprinting)!  It was also great cheering on some of my fellow sisters.  What an accomplishment by ALL!!!

Finisher Medal!!!

Finisher Medal!!!


So back to the title of this post – Am I a Runner?  And I think I may have to start saying I am – I realized today that I have completed Cupid’s Chase (Feb15 – a 5K), The Philly Love Run (Mar15 – 13.1), Hair of the Dog (May15 – 5K) and The Perfect10Miler (Oct15 – Bosom Buddy 5 Mile Relay) (and the year isn’t over yet!!!).  The first words out of my mouth was – ‘Holy Crap!’  This girl who has been proud to say she is a NON-Runner – may have to admit I am a runner.  I am not a fan of training, I’m anxious the night before and anxious the day of the race – but once I start I do enjoy it (I think).  Although I do prefer running in cooler temps (the Hair of the Dog almost turned me off running – it was too humid).

I’ll leave you with this quote from The Perfect 10 Miler – “I Try and Fail, But Never Fail to Try.  And That is Why I’m a PERFECT 10!”

A Name, A Date and A Saint

I started reading the St. Chrysostom’s Churh Blog earlier this year because they had a great post on the Annual Blessing of Homes.  I read this post today on celebrating the date of your name.  My date is November 25th (for my given name – Catherine and all of my nicknames) – I’ll have to mark the calendar!

It got me thinking me thinking about who I was named after – my Mom, Grandmother – and I think she was named for an Aunt – but in the end we were all named after St. Catherine of Siena.  Catherine was way ahead of the times – she spoke her mind and demonstrated it (she cut her hair in protest).  The celebration of her day is April 29th – my Pop-Pop’s birthday – it will be easy to remember.  She was a smart woman and died at a very young age – just 33.  She left her mark though.  I think I would like her – love her spirit – I’d like to think I’ve got a little bit of her in me!

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” ~Catherine of Siena




My Adventures in FreeCycle

As I mentioned in my Declutter 2014 post, my goal this year is to really declutter my house. I’ve accumulated so many things and never had a chance in either of my big moves to get rid of things.

Over the past year, I’ve been donating quite a few things via Good Donor. I love it – they pick up and leave you a tax deductible receipt.

So my new favorite is FreeCycle.  It encourages recycling via reusing – all items must be FREE.  I love this concept as I really hate throwing items away because I no longer use them and they are still in good working order.  And I’ll be honest some of the items I’ve recycled aren’t necessarily items that I want to deal with selling via eBay or at a Consignment store (note:  I do have some items I’ll be using eBay and Consignment Stores in the area – I’ll share my experiences in later post).

I belong to the Mercer County FreeCycle Yahoo group.  I’ll be honest with you, I was a little apprehensive to list items on a site and then have people come and pick them up at my house.  However, it is super easy – I leave the items at my front door and people pick them up.  Anything you want to Recycle you post as OFFER.  Once you get a response you post PPU (pending pick-up) and once it is picked up you post TAKEN.  If you are looking for something in particular you post WANTED.  I’ve been completely impressed with how quickly some of the items get responses or how many responses I actually get.

Here is what I’ve FreeCycled already:

  • OFFER:  4 Head VCR and VHS tapes – 4 interested; first email in less than 10 minutes
  • OFFER:  3 Unopened bags of Halloween candy – 5 interested; first email – 4 minutes after posting.
  • WANT:  Table Lamp and Clip on Light.
  • OFFER:  50 Misc (non dry cleaner hangers) – 1 interested; less than an hour
  • OFFER:  4 Ceramic Tile and Stone Grout Finish – 3 interested; less than 10 minutes on first inquiry.
  • OFFER:  35 Historical Romance Books (and yes I like to read trashy novels on vacation!  🙂 ). – 1 interested; 4 minutes from posting and picked up within an hour of posting – WOW!!

So I’ve gotten rid of quite a few things in a short period of time and I’m not cluttering another room as I stockpile waiting for the larger good donor pickup.  I will still use Good Donor – I have a pick-up already scheduled for February (and remember with Good Donor you get a receipt – so tax deductible).

What I’ve learned – delcuttering can be very overwhelming (I haven’t even made a dent at my house – I have a long way to go) but also liberating – I get pumped once I post something to see how long it takes for a response.  I know I’m odd!  But is also encourages me to continue to focus on this decluttering journey! 🙂

I’m Electric…

Either that of I just have dumb luck with electronics.

Remember my post about my UP Band by Jawbone and how much I loved it – well I haven’t posted much on it so because it died within a month. And then it took me another month to call Jawbone. I will tell you the experience with their customer service was awesome! I think part of the reason I was putting off calling them is I didn’t want a hassle (I had read some posts on their Facebook page that wasn’t that great).  I told them what the issues was, what I did to try and fix it and they offered to send me a new band (easy peasy).  Even asked if I wanted the same color – so I took the opportunity to get a more neutral grey – in between black and the light taupe grey I had.  It arrived a day early and it is charging now – I’m so excited to start using it again!  I really love that you can track your sleep (which is so important for me lately) and your steps – which I need to do more of to help with some stress management.

Ok so back to why I think I’m electric – this isn’t the first electronic device that stopped working within a month.  Within a month the external speaker of my iPhone stopped working – Apple sent me a new one – and more than a year later everything is fine.  Earlier this year I got an iPad and within a month it started freezing up.  I did multiple hard and soft resets and even complained that I hated my iPad.  A friend actually mentioned, ‘she never heard anyone say they hated their iPad’ – well I did.  I now have a new one and all seems to be ok.  So either I’m electric or I just have really dumb luck and get the lemons the first time around on electronics. 🙂

Happy 100!

Happy 100th Birthday Mom-Mom!  I can’t believe it has been 11 years since you joined Pop-Pop.

I have so many fond memories growing up from our trips to LBI, spending a week with you during summer vacation, to all the wonderful Barbie clothes you made for me, to eating Thomas’ English muffins with your homemade strawberry jam watching the birds feed at the window (to this day I know what a Tufted Titmouse looks like), knowing there was always Breyer’s ice cream in the freezer (although not very good anymore), our Thanksgiving traditions (I’m still pretty much in charge of setting the table, the relish dish and cranberry sauce) and so many others.

The memories didn’t stop in childhood, they continued as an adult.  I always enjoyed our rides up to my parents house at Christmas (listening to the Christmas carols) when I was living in NJ, VA and even Dallas (and of course the pizza before the drive), Ash Wednesday McDonald’s Fish Sandwich run, sorting the homemade Christmas ornaments (with your watchful eye making sure I was splitting them up fairly – my tree has my beautiful ornaments on it every year) and so many others.

My beautiful Christmas tree with many of my Mom-Mom's (and Pop-Pop's) ornaments

My beautiful Christmas tree with many of my Mom-Mom’s (and Pop-Pop’s) ornaments


I have little reminders throughout my house so you are always nearby wheather it is things you made, some of your knick knacks and of course my favorite – the diamond earrings Pop- Pop gave you – one of my most cherished items because I know how much you loved them – I love them as well.

I think of you often whether I see or hear something that reminds me of you or something you would say or do.  It makes me smile.

My Sweet 16 with my Mom-Mom - we must be related with that head tilt.

My Sweet 16 with my Mom-Mom – we must be related with that head tilt.

Happy Birthday and I hope you are enjoying a nice cold one with Pop-Pop!  🙂

My Coffee Habit :-)

I didn’t start drinking coffee until I moved to Dallas – and it wasn’t even coffee – Starbucks Cappuccinos and eventually Lattes from the DoubleTree connected to our office (I used to drink Diet Soda in the AM).

Last year I was making an 6-8 cup pot of coffee and probably drinking most of it. I bought myself a nice big Kuerig for Christmas (I have a personal one just for a single cup) and I reduced my coffee habit in the morning. However, I was still probably drinking 4 – 5 cups in the morning (not counting my afternoon pick me up).

If you will recall, when I started this blog it was to capture my observations when I started the Clean program.  One of the items you no longer have is coffee.  I just went back and read my blog from around that time about how I wasn’t really missing it and it didn’t really taste that great.  Well I do love my coffee – including the taste!

However, after reading The Shift, I decided to tweak some of the things I’ve been doing – one of which was unlimited coffee in the morning.  I don’t add sugar, but I am a heavy pourer of the light cream in the coffee.  I decided to limit myself to 2 cups in the AM and measure out the light cream.  So far so good – I’m only in a few days.  I will tell you since I know I can only have 2 cups I really make that last one last a long time!

And for those that know me – I can’t give up coffee completely – what would I do with all of my coffee mugs (that should be a blog too – ‘My Coffee Mug Habit’)?!

A gift from my co-workers after I resigned from my Advertising Sales job - circa 1991 - they liked how I took control of the situation!

A gift from my co-workers after I resigned from my Advertising Sales job – circa 1991 – they liked how I took control of the situation!

Fall Transformation

Today was the first day of the 6 week fall transformation! I started my prep for the week yesterday – drank 70 ozs of water, 8 hours of sleep, completed my shopping for the week and got myself a new pair of sneakers!

Aren't they pretty? :-)

Aren’t they pretty? 🙂

I’m really picky about my sneakers – I bought a pair before vacation (and I’m kicking myself I didn’t return them).  They are Brooks and they just don’t fit me right – and they weren’t cheap – I think I’ve worn them maybe 5 times -argh!  I am happy now- I’m back in a pair of Asics – so reminds me of college and they do seem to fit me the best.  And no special inserts from the running stores – just plain old simple Dr. Scholl’s Active Support inserts for my high arches – go figure!

We had a great workout tonight and I’m please to say my feet – in particular my arches weren’t bothering me – WAHOO!!  Fingers crossed it continues.

Stay tuned for more updates during the Fall Transformation – I’d like to say I’ll post something everyday – I just don’t think that will be reality – but I’ll give it a shot.  Until next time – have a great evening!




1000 Rep Challenge

Last Monday night our workout was a 1000 rep challenge.  It is a timed workout (not quite sure how much time).  You compete against yourself to complete.  I completed 7 rounds or 700 exercises.  Not too bad since I couldn’t do the jumping jacks (my knee is bothering me) – so I did butt kicks (instead of 10 I did 20 to make sure it was even).  I know that cost me some time.  🙂

The workout is below – it is one you can do when traveling – just need weights from the hotel gym (and if you don’t have access to weights you can substitute other other exercises).  Enjoy!

  • 10 each Mountain Climbers
  • 10 Plie with Calf Raise
  • 10 Jumping Jacks
  • 5 each Supermans
  • 10 Deadlifts
  • 5 each small band tricep (make sure tight to your arm or you could end up launching it like a rubber band – that is what I did). 🙂
  • 10 rocking plank
  • 10 chest flyes
  • 10 glute bridges
  • 10 bent over rows

FIG – Vodka, Sauce, Salad, App…

So what made you click on this post today?  Was it the thought of Fig Vodka, a Sauce, Salad or an App?

I really enjoy figs – my Dad has some really great recipes – one is an appetizer with a balsamic reduction – note to self – get recipe.  I have FIG(s) on the brain today.

A friend shared with me a new vodka – it is Figenza Vodka – I’m looking forward to trying the Fig Mojito – 3 ozs of Fig Vodka, 2 ozs of Club Soda, muddled mint and lime (this is their June cocktail).  I could also try the Sunkiss – 3 ozs of Fig Vodka, 1 oz of Club Soda and muddled oranges (this is their July cocktail) – this is definately on the list for vacation.  I’ll let you know what I think of it.

In December, I hosted Christmas and due to the size of my house (and the age of my oven), we normally celebrate ‘Easter’ at Christmas – which means Ham.  I get an awesome Spiral Cut Ham from Kansas City Steaks.  I decided this year to try a different sauce.  At first I was going to make a fig sauce but found on Pinterest a sauce I could purchase that was just a good.  It was Stonewall Kitchen’s Vidalia Onion Fig Sauce – it was a hit.  I think it would great on a nice pork loin or chicken too – I have one bottle left and I see this as a grilling option real soon.

Since I don’t have my Dad’s recipe for the appetizers – thought I would try this recipe – Roasted Balsami Fig Salad – Blue Cheese.  Looks easy and delicious.

So now for the true reason for this post – the FIG Wellness App – available on iOS and Android.  I had a work/life balance lunch and learn for my team with my trainer, Lindsay Vastola.  The feedback from my team was fabulous.  And the interesting thing was a lot of the feedback was that they had the work/life balance, but didn’t have the life/life balance.  I wanted to figure out a way to  reinforce what we learned, but I also wanted to help my team have overall balance.  I’m a true believer that a well balance employee – is a productive employee.  I rolled out a little voluntary incentive for my team – 21 Day Challenge (pre-vacation for my team) – the objective of the incentive – set a goal, track results and share your findings.  The incentive is all about participation – each week they participate the get a ‘ticket’ for a drawing and if they particpate all 3 weeks – they get another ‘ticket’.  There will be two winners of some fabulous prizes.  I wanted to find something to help us track results, keep each other accountable and I wanted us to be mobile.

It was easy to search for some wellness apps – I found FIG to have the best ratings.  We started yesterday – I like it so far – you can create goals and activities.  Some of the activity categories are related to eating, exercise, refresh (sleep, relaxation), connect (family, friendship, community), feel (awareness, gratitude) and go further (faith, longevity).  I thought this was perfect because it wasn’t just focusing on eating and exercise – it focuses on the entire being.  You can invite participants to be your ‘friends’ so you can see how everyone is doing – lend a ‘cheer’, ‘assist’ or ‘rally’ your friends with words of encouragement.  You can track your items very quickly.  My week 1 goals are drink 10 glasses of water per day and do my Hard Body workouts 3xs per week.  I made my water goal yesterday and got a nice YELLOW Star!!  The only thing I don’t like is that everyone has to invite each other vs. a one time invite from me.  I think I can get over that.  So far so good and I think I will use this post our 21 Day Challenge.

I’m off to drink a glass of water!