Archive for ‘Random’

April 16, 2013

A Running Battle

Earlier, I was eager to settle in with my laptop and give you the rundown of yesterday’s kick-ass race but after today’s tragic event, I don’t really know what to do or say. I’m still speechless with a permanent knot in my throat from an afternoon of choking back tears, haunted by the news that hit a little too close to home. The sense of accomplishment I experienced as I crossed the More/FITNESS Half finish line has been stripped and the strength I felt as my legs seemed to float across the hillier-than-I-remember Central Park has been depleted. I’m stunned, disgusted, sick to my stomach and angry because a selfless act of terror has forever changed the sport’s arguably most iconic event.

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I, like so many fellow athletes, run for that sense of freedom you feel when you reach your “happy pace.” It’s a rhythmic escape from both the good and the bad with a healing power unlike anything else. After the Boston Marathon bombing, that haven has been altered…challenged. The finish line is where our family members band together to cheer us on. It’s where we truly turn on the jets to test our body. It is there where we learn if the blood, sweat and tears we endured in training really paid off before setting goals for the next–a hopeful end to a new beginning. I felt better than ever yesterday, pushing myself to shatter my 2:03:18 Vegas race for a new PR of 1:47:23 but today’s frantic texts to friends and family put everything into perspective. My heart goes out to those in Beantown. I pray for the running community’s strength and perseverance. God knows, it’s one group that doesn’t and won’t give up without a fight.

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

April 8, 2013

Spring Has Sprung

Price Pritchett (who the hell is he? I couldn’t tell you!) once said, “Change always comes bearing gifts.” That’s why I adore spring. After months of brisk, blustery weather and corresponding drab ensembles, I welcome the turn in temps. I mean, I’ve been in heaven en route to work each day, sporting my sunnies, boat shoes and pastels, soaking up that vitamin D and taking a whiff of cheerful, potted daffodils. I feel like I’ve been a grinning goon, but luckily I’m not alone. The city is buzzing! This weekend I embraced the gifts change has already given me, alongside the exciting “presents” that await in my near future. Let’s just say they include a two bedroom with two baths, a gorgeous kitchen that will be sure to store any appliance my heart desires (wish list: juicer) and a walk-in closet Carrie Bradshaw would approve of. Granted, it will showcase my sneaker collection…not Loubs. Eeeee!

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No dotted lines have been signed just yet but I’m glad to say that after Saturday, we’re one step closer to a big move. Yes, it’s a bit depressing to think my city slicker days are already coming to an end. I’ve caught myself sulking as I savor every last Manhattan sunset and even wandering through yucky Times Square during prime tourist rush. A girl’s afternoon full of mani/pedis, shopping and lunch at Cafeteria with my gal pal, Allie, today further made me realize my love for the convenience and excitement NYC provides with its endless opportunities for all things fun. But after getting a taste of a different gorgeous view full of seagulls, sailboats and even a distant city skyline, I have a different outlook on what’s next. All-you-can-eat sushi just minutes away? That’s going to be dangerous. Stamford’s new Chelsea Piers outfitted with a FlyWheel, women’s hockey and lacrosse pick-up games, alongside tennis courts, gym, etc.? Holy heaven. Oh, and a Zara without New York State tax? Welp, see you never, paycheck. So yeah, things were put into perspective this weekend, to say the least. The city isn’t going anywhere…I’ll still be here Monday through Friday for work! Plus, did I mention some of my closest people are in that area? That may be the greatest gift of them all.
What are your thoughts on change?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

January 2, 2013

Hello, 2013. It’s a Pleasure to Meet You.

My birthday, the holidays and ringing in the new year has officially come and gone in the blink of an eye. What a whirlwind the last month or so has been! Ever since Vegas, I’ve been go, go, go. As you can see, blogging has been low on the priority list between all the celebrating, baking, working, ’tis the season shopping and wrapping. Welp, sue me. Let me get you up to speed. The night before my birthday, my nearest and dearest gathered at my apartment for chili, wine and Christmas cookies with tons of laughs in between, just what I wanted. Mike was out of town on business for my actual birthday and I may have had a mid-20 crisis/breakdown (ahem, when I say mid-20, I of course mean 23…), but luckily Emily came to the rescue for a quick sweat sesh and dinner at the new Tommy Bahama restaurant. Hey, it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. Our meal was too good, as was the company (Em, her dad, Bob, and Bob’s girlfriend, Dianne). Live music, a tropical setting–I literally felt like I was on vacation–and birthday cake? Perfection. Thanks again! Mike made up for his absence the following day with a perfect-for-me dinner of salmon and roasted veggies over quinoa and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. I’m. So. Spoiled.

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Soon enough, it was Christmas. I headed back to Connecticut for good food, family and thoughtful gifts (13.1 was a common theme!) with new traditions and a new stove…FYI the holidays are never a good time for a stove malfunction but luckily, ours went on the fritz the day before Christmas Eve. Plenty of time to scramble and get a new one, right? 2012 had its fair share of ups and downs. I was in and out of New York interning, cruised with some of my bests for spring break, graduated from UConn, mourned the loss of two family members, enjoyed a summer of a whole lot of nothing, moved into Manhattan with my boyfriend of 5 years and started my dream career. I ran [my first] two half marathons, tackled a Tough Mudder and ran up the mountain I’ve skied down since I was a tot. I went dairy and gluten-free after suffering from tummy troubles for years. Fellow recent grads can probably relate when I say that this has been a weird limbo chapter of my life but certainly an exciting one. I’ve embraced city living more than I ever had expected although I still all too often find myself retreating to my comfort zone. This year, I need to start living, as I’ve put it. I have an itch to explore, learn and try new things. I have set an ambitious goal of six half marathon races this year, I want to get my spin on (SoulCycle every other week with my old roomie, Allie, why not!?) and have decided my body needs yoga again. Like desperately. Oh, and I have already signed up for another obstacle mud race in the summer. I never thought I’d say that. If 2012 has taught me anything, it is to be grateful for all that I have, appreciate loved ones and be patient, for hard work always pays off in the end. So cheers to 2012 but boy am I glad to start fresh this year. Let’s do it.
What fit goals/resolutions do you have set for 2013?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

December 8, 2012

Vegas (According to Instagram)

The past week or so has been a blur–especially with the time change/travel–and although I got back from my Vegas adventure Monday, I have yet to unpack. My apartment is a mess, I’m behind on all of my favorite shows and haven’t read a single blog, let alone blog myself. So let’s rewind. Last Friday started off er, well…interesting. I guess “an adrenaline rush” would summarize my trip to the airport. My reserved car service never arrived, I went to the wrong airport (how you mix up Newark from LaGuardia, I couldn’t tell you…) and I paid over $200 in cab fare to make up for my blonde moment from hell. I learned my lesson so I guess something good came out of the whole thing but still, I’m not made of money! I considered that my “loss” in Vegas. That’s right, who doesn’t hit the slot machine or play a little black jack in the gambling capital of the world? This girl. It could have been worse. Somehow I made it my flight with time to spare and, after treating myself to a blissful holiday cup of red eye perfection, I boarded my flight. Phew! Four hours and three friends later (25D, 25E and a fellow racer), I landed in Sin City. Watch out, lame soon-to-be 23-year-old coming through! (NOTE: birthday countdown = 9 days. Ew. Let’s not talk about it.) 

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Remember my friend Chelsea? She met me and my parents out there, how freaking awesome is that? The now brunette has been living in Cali since this past summer–tough life, I know–and brought a whole lot of fun to the trip. First item of business? Bury Grandma. No, I’m not joking. My mom carried her on the plane (yes, United Airlines was aware and yes, this is what she wanted…to be laid to rest out there with her late husband) in a lunch box. Burial? Half-marathon? What kind of Vegas trip was this? Not your typical one, that’s for sure. Need another example? Chel and I had fully intended on hitting the Strip like normal people our age a few nights (she even brought me club appropriate ensembles, since clearly my J. Crew wardrobe wouldn’t cut it) but we never made it out past 11:30. We preferred our luxurious Imperial Place hotel room, I mean Palace…ahem, please note the sarcasm. (The first “a” in “Palace” no longer lights up outside of the construction site. Little did my mother know that when she booked it. “But the photos online looked so nice!” Yeah, mom. That’s what the place will look like in a few months.) Anywho, more to come on my second half-marathon and all…I just can’t think straight at the moment. It’s officially the holiday season! Holy craziness.
Have you ever been to Vegas?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

November 5, 2012

Post-Sandy & 4-Ingredient Cookie Dough Balls

I can’t remember a time I felt as scared or alone as I did just seven days ago. Sandy was making her way toward the city I now call home, leaving a destructive path behind her and I didn’t know what to do or how to prepare. After being in denial for most of Halloween weekend, I had only bought a few bottles of water (peer pressured by the mass chaos I witnessed in Whole Foods). I had made another big batch of pumpkin chili to surprise Mike with and roasted up enough veggies to last me a few days, just in case, but that was it. I figured everyone was blowing this whole “Sandy” schtick out of proportion. As the storm got closer, though, the more severe and real things became. Mike’s flight from Denver was cancelled, my office was closed and I began to panic, feeling stranded on this island with no way out. In a high rise with two bedroom walls being floor-to-ceiling windows, I was petrified beyond belief when the winds started to whip. As my roommate, Russ, and I watched lower Manhattan go dark (pictured below), I felt helpless.

In this big city, it’s so easy to feel small and Sandy made me all too aware of that. I ended up being one of the lucky ones with power and my norm was relatively untouched. I felt incredibly spoiled living in a bubble of luxury as I watched the haunting aftermath images on the news. My heart ached (and still does) for those who have lost their lives, loved ones and homes because of the storm. I can’t even begin to tell you how eerie the city has been but in spite of all the sadness and helplessness, these past few days I have witnessed a glimmer or two of hope. The star-studded relief concerts, the support New York City marathoners provided in Staten Island today…it has all been incredible. Yesterday, I had chills standing in the TKTS line with my visiting running pals, Adam and Mandi, as a flash mob of ING runners came barreling through Time Square with smiles on their faces. The cancelled event wasn’t going to slow them down! Tourists lined the streets, cheering on the group for their dedication and hard work. It is with this spirit that New York and all of the Eastern seaboard, for that matter, will get through this devastating time and rebuild for the better.

 

After a strange week, it was nice to have these familiar faces around for the day. We shopped, ate and saw Mary Poppins, which was absolutely incredible, especially since we scored second row seats! I fell in love with the little Michael Banks (ahem, Bert wasn’t too shabby to look at either…) and suppressed my urge to sing along to the upbeat, whimsical music. Next on my “to see” list: Newsies. In preparation for a long day of venturing, I made nut balls Friday night for my guests. They were a hit as a late afternoon snack and in the wise words of Mandi, “Everything tastes better in ball form.” Couldn’t have said it better myself, doll.

 

Ingredients
(made 7 medium balls)
1/4 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
10 large dates, pits removed
Dash of vanilla extract

The nut/dried fruit concept is nothing new (remember my Mocha Coffee Protein Balls and Apricot Almond LARABARs?) but something about this combination just plain rocked. Seriously, I thought I was eating cookie dough batter. In a food processor, pulse everything together until thoroughly chopped and mixed. Roll into balls and refrigerate. That’s it! Sweet, gooey but with a crunch that will keep you energized between meals. Yeah…you need to make these. They will be a staple snack of mine from now on for cubicle munchies!

Pumpkin Turkey Chili recipe to come! Blame it on Mike…he took his Nikon (which he so graciously lets me borrow for blogging purposes) and has been traveling the past two weeks. I swear it’s worth the hype.
Have you witnessed a glimmer of hope after super storm Sandy?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

October 23, 2012

Get Muddy or Die Trying

Yesterday I crossed another fit feat off my bucket list: a Tough Mudder. Just wanted to give you a head’s up that I survived…well, barely. Looking back, it was a great adventure and one that I’m incredibly proud of but let me tell you, it was tough and COLD. Every time I took the plunge into muddy water, I couldn’t help but think about a hot shower and big bowl of Pumpkin Chili. So that’s exactly what I did when I got home from the Jersey obstacle course of hell…I somehow found enough energy to whip up a homemade batch of heaven. Recipe to come! Believe me, you’re going to want to check it out and make a pot-full for yourself. Super tasty!

In other news, exactly six weeks from now I will be on a flight home from finishing my second half marathon. Remember? Let the training begin…although I started it off today with a much-needed recovery day. My battle wounds needed some major downtime. Can you blame me?
Have you completed an adventure race?

Sprinkled with Love and currently covered in ice packs,
Lauren

October 2, 2012

What’s Up, October?

Wow. So it’s October. Where has the time gone? I honestly couldn’t tell you. It’s funny how fast a month blows by when you’re working — and enjoying every second of it. Part of that territory, however, has been a lack of culinary creativity and blog inspiration, as you may have noticed. Sorry but after a long day of editorial work, whipping a post together and/or an interesting meal consisting of anything but a green smoothie and omelet just isn’t high on the priority list. I hate that and I’m really going to work on it. I’ve missed the blogosphere and remember, this whole thing is new so there’s still hope!

Here’s an attempt to reclaim my blogging dignity after weeks of leaving you all in the dark. This past weekend, my mom and I took a road trip to visit my sister for her Family Weekend. I had only ever been to her school, UNH, once way back in my field hockey days so it was great seeing her campus, touring her sorority house and shopping around nearby Portsmouth. Although the weather was less-than-stellar, we had a great time. (Well, besides the fact my mom and I barely slept a wink in the crappy Comfort Inn we stayed in…thanks to a few hot messes of a bridal party who were staying the room next to us. UGH.) Kru is Little Miss Popular on campus, has a new boyf and navigated us around the gorgeous area like a champ. I’m so happy and proud of her. Unlike New York, fall was in full swing, which was fun to dress for and every restaurant we went to had seasonal menu items we took advantage of!

I recently was talking with two friends over lunch about how little I miss college (I know, I’m weird but the real world has been treating me too well!) but being back in that environment made me extremely nostalgic. Piling two bowls to the brim with salad bar fixings in the dining hall, seeing my sister’s sorority sister getting ready for a fraternity party across the street and just the cozy, rainy weather in general (the best days to skip class and watch movies in bed….) made me want to go back. It’s utterly depressing to think that I’m too old for that now, that I’ll never get to do that again. Well, the cozy rainy days, yes, but only on the weekends. 

Anyway, today I’m back to reality and coming to the realization that it’s October, fall and that my years of sorority squats, homework, dining hall eating, etc. are behind me. It took me one weekend after five months of being out of it to really sink in. I’m scared for how I’ll be feeling two weeks from now, when I head back to UConn for my first Homecoming as an alum. Sad face. Instead of ending this post on such a sour note, I want to highlight what I love about this season.

1. Pumpkin-flavored anything. Surprise, surprise. I’m no different than any other food blogger out there! Oh, and anything to do with apples: apple picking, baking, eating…you know the drill.
2. Boots. I’m thinking about pulling the trigger on these babies. Aren’t they gorg? Too bad I’m cutting my first rent check today. Bye, bye money.
3. Running. Nothing out of the ordinary here but isn’t it just glorious to 
trot along in the crisp air with crunching leaves under your feet and the smell of a burning fire?
4. Layering. Fall ensembles I think are my favorite simply because you can make anything look chic, thanks to layering. Flannels, skinny jeans/cords (ahhh hello, corduroy! I’ve missed ya) with a jean jacket or quilted vest. Like.
5. Soup. Mike and I have already been plotting our first batch of chili! Remember last year?
What’s your favorite thing about fall?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

September 3, 2012

A Lazy Sunday

After crossing so much off my to-do list Saturday, Mike and I enjoyed a doubledate night out on the town with friends, Bre and Anthony. Thanks to the awesome Living Social deal us gals purchased, we enjoyed cheap laughs ($20 for two tickets and two drinks) at The World Stand Up Comedy Club before heading back to our apartment to continue our fun on the rooftop–with a quick pit stop for $1 slices thrown in there.

As if my last post jinxed me, yesterday I wasn’t as productive as I had planned, work-wise. I’ll have to make up for that today. However after an early wakeup–my mental alarm roused me from my slumber at a not-so-lovely 6:50–I made breakfast in bed for my man and myself using leftovers from a spicy veggie-filled quinoa and convinced him to go for a stroll. After months of living off Muscle Milk, he has certainly been eating like a king since I moved in. This morning he got his new favorite “hot chocolate oats” as I’ve been calling them, which includes 1/2 cup Earnest Eats Mayan Blend, 1/4 cup regular oats, 1 cup milk, 1 scoop of Chocolate Muscle Milk powder and topped with a scoop of peanut butter, sprinkle of stevia, cinnamon and frozen berries. He’s so spoiled.

 

So back to our romantic stroll. We. Walked. Far. Let’s just say we left a little after 9 and didn’t get back to our place until, oh, 2:00. We had intended on just walking up to Central Park but found ourselves gravitating toward the water first, enjoying the Hudson and views of a lone sailboat. We discovered the Hudson River Park, where I plan on running after I finish this here post, and watched a sorority’s philanthropy race along the way. After making our way up into the high 70s, we cut over to Central Park and weaved our way through, seeing the Conservatory Water, Zoo, among other things. Halfway through our walk, I smiled to myself realizing how little conversation we had shared in the woods. We were both lost in our own thoughts, enjoying the sounds of nature and patter of our strides. 

We emerged near Fifth Ave. when realized how much of an appetite we had worked up. Insert “Operation Find a Place with Large Portioned Salads.” We wandered and wandered some more before coming across the Renaissance Diner’s extensive menu and outdoor seating. Done and done.

 

We both toyed with the idea of an Acapulco Salad (organic greens, mango, orange, yellow and red peppers, topped with chicken, shredded coconut and orange dressing) but decided on a spicier alternative, a Mexican Salad with marinated chicken, avocado, mango and a cilantro lime dressing, was what we were jonesing for. Fueling up on a hearty salad and a big cup of tea energized me enough to squeeze in a 3-mile jog on the treadmill later while shamelessly watching old Hills episodes on MTV. The rest of the afternoon was lazy…


He was pooped. Sorry I’m not sorry for being a stalker, Mike. I skipped nap time but was in bed by 9. Yep, wild Labor Day partying for this gal! Well, I’m off to go back to where our journey started yesterday for a nice slow jog. Lots to do today to prepare for the upcoming week, including some meal prep I hope to share with you–I haven’t forgotten about my lunch talk! 
What fitness fun has filled your holiday weekend?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

September 1, 2012

Productivity and Ex-Roomies

Yesterday was quite productive. Don’t you just love that? I even slept in! By noon, our entire apartment was scrubbed, vacuumed and organized. Two loads of laundry were washed, dried and put away. I even squeezed in a sweatastic workout DVD. Seriously, I was dripping. What a great way to start off my 4-day holiday weekend! Now, you may have just noticed the whole “our apartment” thing. Well, I have an exciting announcement. Mike and his roommate decided to resign their lease for another year. The best part of the deal? I was invited to stay. And so cohabitation begins! I think they just like the fact that I cook and clean…well, whatever I love the location, building and the company I’ll be sharing it with. Plus, the fact that Mike and I will be splitting rent isn’t too shabby. Next project: redecorating.

 

After making a refreshing post-workout spinach and banana smoothie bowl, I got ready and headed out to meet my gal pal, Amy, for a much-needed girlfriend afternoon. We got mani/pedis in between my place (ahhh! sorry, it’s so weird to be able to officially say that now!) and her work. My toesies are still a sad sight to see without two nails–uh thanks, running–but the Essie’s Smokin’ Hot on my fingers make me so happy. The color is a rich, glam gray, reminding me of mink. It might be my new favorite fall hue. The photo doesn’t even begin do it justice!

After getting pampered and caught up (neither of us read a single page of the magazines we pulled to indulge in during our pedis…), I decided to introduce Amy to the love of my life: the nearby market I cannot stop blabbering about. She was in shock. The Park Slopean–did I just make that up? Possibly.–even bought some items to schlep home with her! Our dinner purchases included three zucchinis, a bunch of Brussels sprouts, four large beets, an eggplant, four lemons, plus a few other items we needed for our own refrigerators. We then went next door to get salmon. Grand total for a dinner party of four? Roughly $25. Unreal, right?

 

We were too hungry to do anything special, seasoning-wise so simply baked the Brussels sprouts and fish while grilling the veggies. Fresh ingredients, appreciated for each of their individual flavors and topped with a squeeze of lemon? Now that’s what I call a delicious, nutritious dinner…on a budget! I giggled when Amy asked if I had nooch or liquid aminos, both in which I recently introduced her to have become staples in her eating. It was great hangin’ with my old roommates, who lived with me and G in 143 three years ago now. With Em settling in her new apartment yesterday/today and my news of officially moving in, it was fun to see how far we have come since our days in Storrs, CT. Although I’ll be living with two guys for a year, it’s reassuring to know I have such amazing, close friends here with similar values…most of which include great eats! The best part of the whole night? Our decision to make this a monthly tradition, taking turns hosting and meal prepping. Like.
Did you have a productive start to your Labor Day weekend?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

August 30, 2012

No More Nerves

I’m a quote hound, as some of you may know. Sometimes I seek them out when I need a little encouragement, inspiration or push. Other times, I’ll stumble upon words of greatness from, well, someone great that I simply love and have to make a conscious effort to store it in the back of the ol’ noggin (let’s be honest, it’s normally Pinterest) for future referral. One of my all-time favs is from Steve Jobs, who said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

I don’t think I need to keep looking because I have found what I love. Actually, saying that I’ve been loving what I now “do” is an understatement and a half. Judging by my lack of posts the last week or so, I’ve been busy getting acclimated to the employment life. I was concerned, honestly, about making the leap to a 9-hour workday and all summer my start date of August 20th seemed to loom overhead⎯with all the anxieties and excitement that came with it. As soon as I stepped into my office, though, those nerves fell by the wayside. I’ve adjusted back into the editorial way of thinking just like riding a bike. I leave feeling accomplished and ironically more energized than if I had lounged around all day. Time flies by because I enjoy my work so much that a few times, I have found myself snacking at my desk after completely missing lunchtime. I may not have my hour+ gym workouts anymore or a beach to putz along at sunset, but I’ve been squeezing in sweat sessions with workout DVDs, quick cardio routines and even a few fitness class events work has sent me out on. Rough, right?

This weekend I hope to get blogging and cooking back on track. Surprisingly last Sunday’s trip to a local market has kept me fueled all week…all for $20. Can you believe it? Hey dad, I guess I can live in the city on a $20/day budget and in this case even SAVE some money. Who would have thunk. What lunch combos have been packed in my old Vera Bradley lunch bag each day? You’ll have to check back tomorrow to find out!
Do you bring a bagged lunch to work?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren