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Friday, October 29, 2010

Scared spinless!

 As promised, I put together a Halloween ride.  I know I'm a bit late with my timing, but without further ado, here is what I came up with.

Scared Spinless

Highway to Hell, AC/DC - 3:28
Let's warm up.

Phantom of the Opera Remix (unknown source) - 6:29
Let's hit that hill hard!  First hill, high energy.  Starting moderate/heavy, only getting heavy.  I haven't done it yet, but I might mix some jumps in there if the music dictates it.  Play around, but keep it hard!

Tales from the Crypt, Theme - 1:27

Superstitious, Stevie Wonder - 4:29
Let's find a moderate hill and then jump.  Six counts to start, maybe mixing it up at the end.

Beautiful Moster, Neyo - 4:11 and Screams (sound effects) - 0:34
Add some more resistance and stay in the saddle the whole time.  Let's really start to feel that hill as we progress.

Ghostbusters, Ray Parker Jr. - 4:00
Take it out of the saddle and let's mix up our movements.  Starting at 2 (jog), then 3, then back to the saddle, and keep repeating.

Adams Family, Theme - 1:24

Sympathy for the Devil, Rolling Stones - 6:19
Out of the saddle, let's climb.  Starting at a 6 or 7 out of 10 and then getting a bit heavier as the hill progresses.  Try to keep those legs at a nice pace.

Devil Went Down to Georgia, the Charlie Daniels Band - 3:36
Take some of that resistance off, but not all of it, and let's sprint.

Munsters, Theme - 2:54
Add some resistance and let's start that final hill.  Moderate and quick to start.

Thriller, Michael Jackson - 5:57
How could a Halloween ride not have this song?  Let's finish up our hill, playing around with resistance (always getting heavier) as well as positions.  Ending heavy and hard!

Monster, Lady Gaga - 4:10
Cool down.

Great work!  Have a happy and safe halloween!

raspberry squares

Lazy day here.  Super sore from boot camp last night and hating and loving it at the same time.  It's my lower back that's sore, which is an odd spot for soreness.  One on hand it feels good to use those muscles, on the other hand you realize just how much you use those lower back muscles for stability in every day activities.

In an attempt to be super productive, I made my contribution to the Halloween party tomorrow night tonight.  Since this was my go-to recipe for quite a while I figured I'd share.  It originally came from some fitness-related magazine, although I can't remember which.


Raspberry Squares

5 tbs butter, cut in to small pieces
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 cup raspberry fruit preserves

Preheat oven to 350.
Coat an 8 inch square baking pan with foil, making sure it overhangs on two sides.  (You will use this overhang later to remove the squares from the pan.)  Spray the foil with cooking spray.
In a food processor, combine butter, flour, oats, sugar, and vanilla.  Process until crumbly.
In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup crumb mixture with the coconut; set aside.
Press the remaining crumb mixture into bottom of pan.  In another bowl, which preserves until smooth.  Spread preserves over the crumb mixture in the pan (crust), stopping just short of the edges.
Sprinkle with coconut/crumb mixture.
Bake 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Cool on wire rack.  Remove from pan with foil and cut into squares.

In case you were wondering, here are the nutritional facts.
Makes 16 servings, 128 calories, 1g protein, 20g carbs, 5g fat, 1g fiber

Thursday, October 28, 2010

All Hallows eve eve eve

Halloween is coming!

Traditionally, I love Halloween!  I love pumpkins and costumes and all the candy and decorations in the stores.  Yet for some reason, this year I'm just not feeling it.  I will however, fake it.

I have a party to go to on Saturday night and the theme is prohibition (aka the 20s).  I'm going as a Gangster.  Just might post photos if you're lucky.

Sunday I plan on either not being home or pretending I'm not home. How horrible is that?  I just don't feel like dealing with trick-or-treat'ers this year.  It's cute to see the kiddies in their costumes but handing out candy to teenagers isn't so fun.  So I'm skipping it.  Bad Jessica, I know.

Just so you know I'm not a total grinch, I did buy a little devil costume and dum dum pops for my Saturday spin class.  Redeemed?

What are your plans?  Any good costumes?

Putting together a spin ride today (hopefully!) and will share asap.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Me silly, not you.

I can't even say I know where I've been.  My schedule has been a bit off, but it's on the mend.

You know that new phase, when you meet someone new, and since you want to see them, you're kind of willing to shake up your schedule a bit?  Well that's where I am now.  I did meet someone (through a mutual friend) and since it's new, it's exciting, which leaves me feeling nice (i.e. willing to uproot my routine).

For example, I normally take boxing at 7p on Tuesdays.  Last night I was told that was too late to have dinner together.  So what did I do?  I offered to go earlier and skip my class.  Seriously?

I actually explained this to the instructor and we had a nice chat about how it's funny how nice one can be at the beginning.  Nice and willing to make sacrifices.  Not to sound like a b*tch, but that's not my usual style.  I'm big on my routine.

So that aside, I said I'd share some good spin music, so here it is.  It all goes with a ride idea that came from pedal-on.  It's a tough, leg-busting hill, but the tunes I chose are good.  Check them out and feel free to use them for your workout.

Memories (clean album version) - David Guetta feat Kid Cudi (this song has been my fave for the past few weeks)
Funky Goes to Hollywood - DJ Earworm (great spin/cardio song)
Samba Trance - Hilight Tribe
Yeah Yeah Yeah - New Politics
Kashmir - Escala feat Slash (awesome instrumental cover!)
Krazy (promo only clean edit) - Pitbull feat Little John (love Pit!)
Clocks (dance remix) - Coldplay
Gone Daddy Gone - Gnarls Barkley
'Till I Collapse - D12/Eminem
Wavin' Flag (Coca-Cola Celebration Mix) - K'naan
Universal Mind Control (clean) - Common feat Pharrell

This playlist/ride uses a bunch of songs that people might not know, however the rhythms are good and it seems to be getting good reviews.

If you choose to use any of these songs (for yourself or for a class), let me know what you think.

Happy sweating!

Monday, October 25, 2010

the weekend in photos

Took full advantage of the beautiful (warm) fall weather that we had here on Saturday.

Then on Sunday I had homemade pizza that was seriously OFF THE HOOK!  (I did not make it.)  I was told it would be good, but I had no clue it would be this good.    Delish and a great way to end the weekend. :)

Sweet italian sausage, peppers, and onions


The perfect fall weekend and I am so sad that it is over. :(

Top of the morning' to ya!

Where oh where did the weekend go?

I had a wonderfully pleasant weekend and am sad that it's over.  I have pictures to document but the memory card is at home and I am not.  I will post some later today.

This is my first week back to my full schedule of teaching.  While my cold is pretty much gone, it has left me with a few residual breathing issues, which is interesting since it was never actually a chest cold.  It's very frustrating to be leading a class and getting out of breath for no good reason.  Oh well, it will pass.

Hope you all had beautiful weekends.

Any halloween plans?  Costumes?

I put together a new spin ride on Friday night (thanks!) and will share the music with you in the next day or so.  I used some songs I knew and others that were new to me, but overall though it was a great pairing.

Have a fab start to your Mondays and I'll catch ya later!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The weekend is in sight

Happy Thursday!

My first 8 Minute Dating event was last night and it was a SUCCESS!  Everyone had a great time and I got good follow up scores, so what more can I ask for?  I think I may have found my calling. ;)

Tuesday night I went to the Yankees playoff game.  I was with a big group of party-ers, which was awesomely fun.  The game started at 8 and ran long, so it was a long night with quite a few too many drinks. 

Late night + lots of drinks + not enough sleep = miserable spin class the next morning

Like that equation?  Kind of obvious though.

Thankfully my class was at 9:30, not 6a, but still, I was a mess.  I was dizzy and just overall slow moving.  I figured I'd sweat it all out on the bike.  Thing is, I guess I was so dehydrated that I barely even sweat.  It sucked, but I did power through and didn't let it affect the class (just the instructor).  Immediately after class I went home and took a nap.   Lesson learned.

Back to the grind today.  Haven't done boot-camp in weeks so hopefully won't die tonight.

I desperately need new spin rides and am looking for song recommendations.  Any suggestions?  Hit me up in the comments.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recession Concessions

I like to think I coined that term.  I haven't heard anyone else say it, so I guess in my world I did.

The recession has hit me hard.  Hard as in a 16 wheeler doing 65mph hitting a wall.  In case you were wondering.  I am a recession casualty.

Obviously I've had to cut back on many things.  Those are my Recession Concessions.

Here are a few of them...manicures, pedicures, waxing, car washes, dental insurance (sad, right?), and dinners out (most of the time at least).

Those are the ones that came to mind immediately, yet I'm sure there are others.  With the concessions also came a lengthy wish list for when things get better, but I don't feel like going in to that right now.

Have you made any recession concessions?  Any great finds/ideas in the process?

Monday, October 18, 2010

My my my, it's Monday

Good morning! Back to my routine this week and of course was up bright and early before the sun.  I am amazed at how clear the sky is early in the morning.  There are so many stars and I always try to take a few minutes to stare up and appreciate them before starting my day.  How zen of me, right?  ;)

Last week was a blur, as was the week before.  Totally out of my routine, late nights, skipped gym sessions, name it.  And while it was great fun, I am happy to try and get back in to the swing of things as my body definitely feels better when I'm on a schedule.

Class this morning was tough.  While my cold is pretty much gone, I'm in that lovely phase where all the crappy congestion wants to come out.  TMI?  So my breathing is a little off and I can't stray too far from a box of tissues.

After class #2, I'm treating myself to Panera's Orchard Harvest Salad (love!), and then have an MRI of my right knee scheduled.  Will let you know how that goes.  Obviously the ice/Aleve didn't exactly aleve-iate the pain (hahaha).

My first 8 Minute Dating event is on Wednesday and I'm one man short.  Help!  Know any eligible single men in CT between the ages of 25-35?  If so, PLEASE encourage them to sign up.  But I have a ton of stuff to do in preparation for the event.  I think I'm even a bit nervous as most of last night's bed time was spent tossing and turning and thinking about all the ways the event could fail.

When I'm stressed or have something on my mind, it usually comes out at night.  I can be perfect all day, but the moment my head hits the pillow the concerns come out to play.  Anyone else deal with this?

So I'm back and I promise more posts this week, and hopefully interesting ones too.

Have a fabulous Monday!

Quick ? for my spinners out there

Hello lovelies!

This one is a question for any of my readers who spin (as an instructor or student).

But first, do you have orthotics?
If yes, then do you wear them in your spin shoes?

Here's why I ask.  I do have orthotics.  I could barely walk without them, but I never used them in my spin shoes.  Lately I tend to experience some foot pain while riding and am thinking maybe I need them in my shoes.  Thing is, that means I need new spin shoes bc my orthotics are hefty.  Therefore this isn't a decision to be entered in to lightly.

My orthotics cost $500 (yikes, right!?!) and were not covered by insurance.  My other thought was that if I do opt for a new pair of shoes to try a cheaper orthotic.  Right now there are many options out there, although I'm sure none of them are as good as the doctor made version.

Thoughts?  Experiences?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I've been a-missing

The recipe post was supposed to go up earlier in the week, but in true blogger fashion for some reason it didn't post when it was supposed to.  So the poor blog has been blank since last week.  Uh oh.

So here I am.

Last week my schedule got a little twisted around.  I ended up out late a bunch of nights in a row and not sleeping well, so everything suffered.  The weekend was good but I was still tired, then this week got off to a similar start.

Then Wednesday morning I woke up with the beginning of a COLD.  Yuck!  I'm feeling OK today, but not great.  Going to just focus on eating well and resting up.  I'm visiting my girlies in Philly this weekend and want to be in tip-top shape (or as close as possible).

I'll try to do a better post tomorrow, but just wanted to apologize and explain.  Stay healthy!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gimme some spin music! OK, here it is

I desperately need some new rides.  What I have been doing is modifying older rides by just mixing some new music in, but I'm realizing I need some completely brand new rides.  My goal is to bang out at least one this week.  Fingers crossed!

That said, here's another ride.  As usual, creatively named Jessica 1 (you can see my numbers are definitely not used in order).

Ray of Light - Madonna - 5:21
Warm up.  This is a longer warm up so towards the end I'll try to get the heart rate up a bit more than usual.

Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin - 8:00
Climb, climb, climb.  The beginning of this song is a bit slower than I'd like, but it seems to work anyway.  Come out of the saddle right at the beginning and stay there for the whole 8 minutes.  Starting at about a 6/10 to be sure that your hill warrants being out of the saddle.  Add as desired, ending heavy.

Animal - Neon Trees - 3:32
Love this song!  Recover/sprint.  Sprint on the chorus', 3 times.

Gettin' Over You - David Guetta - 3:06
Time to climb again.  Mix up in the saddle with running.  Play off the song.

Breathe In (or maybe Machinehead) - Bush - 4:16
Keep climbing, take it to the top.  Out of the saddle, ending heavy.

Tainted Love - Soft Cell - 2:39

Do It - Nelly Furtado - 3:29
Climb, 5/10 to start, adding every minute.  On the rap, jump for counts of 4 or 6.

One More Time - Daft Punk - 5:21
Still climbing, let's take this whole song out of the saddle ending heavy.
My original thought with this song was that I'd have them add resistance every time he says "one more time".  I told this idea to my class, but also told them I realized it would be cruel.  One "show-off" decided she'd try it anyway, she must have added resistance at least 15 times. :)

The Way I Are - Timbaland - 2:59
Let's back the resistance off to moderate and jump!  Jump for the whole song, 6 counts.

Here it Goes Again - OK Go - 3:00
Straight from the jumps to climbing.  Keep the resistance where it's at and add every minute, in the saddle.  Get that hill nice and heavy.  Make those legs want out.  One more song to go.

Requiem - Metallica - 2:59
Nice heavy instrumental to end our heavy hill with.  Out of the saddle, add add add.

Seasons of Love - Rent - 3:05
And recover!  Nice work.

The perfect fall dessert

On Friday I made apple-crisp as dessert for Friday night dinner.  This is the second time I've made this version and since it turned out so yummy I figured I'd share the recipe.

As usual I've attempted to tweak an existing recipe to make it (a bit) more nutritious.

Apple Crisp

6 Macintosh apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick of butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a 9 by 12 baking dish, combine apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, and sugar.
In a small bowl, mix flour and oats, brown sugar and butter together using the tines of a fork and your fingers, working until even, small crumbles form.
Sprinkle topping evenly over apples and bake 15 to 20 minutes until apples are just tender and topping is golden brown.

You can of course serve this with vanilla ice cream, but personally I don't think it's necessary.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Why are you eating my pumpkin?

Lots of blogs (and friends on Facebook) have been really excited by the influx of pumpkin season, whether that be pumpkin spice lattes or just incorporating pumpkin in to everyday recipes.

I too love pumpkins, although I prefer to look at them than eat them.  But I do plan on playing around with canned pumpkin a bit this season.

As I do every year, I bought pumpkins to put out on my stoop.  Last year I bought one and it's carcass can still be found in the hedges.  I figured the animals would want to eat it.  They didn't.

This year, after being outside for one day, one of my pumpkins had bite marks in it.  Today I came home and it was eaten through to the seeds.  WTF? 

So I want to know, who (or what) is eating my pumpkin and why didn't this same eater partake last year?

Side note:  I started this post, then decided to run outside and take a picture of the pumpkin, so I grabbed my camera and went out.  The moment the door shut I realized it was LOCKED.  Uh oh!  So long story short, the fire department came and saved me.  Embarrassing!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Follow up

As a follow up to my rendezvous with the pull up...I am SORE.  Not just sore, but SORE.

My workout was Thursday afternoon, it's now Sunday afternoon and I'm still sore.

I did manage to do a little more upper body work on Saturday, then tossed the football around for a bit.  But by Saturday night I couldn't straighten my right arm without a significant amount of pain.

Unfortunately this is still the case.  I know it's just muscle related, so I'm not concerned, I'm just ready for it to go away because it hurts (and I feel like a gimp).

Hopefully tomorrow will be better!

Just a quick way to touch base on the weekend.  Hope you're enjoying it!  I'm off to try to find the energy to finally leave the house.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The dreaded (and revered) pull up

Good morning and happy Friday!  We've just about made it to the weekend.  Woo hoo!

I hope all of your weeks have treated you well.

Yesterday I hit up the gym for a nice upper body strength training session.  I had planned a bunch of the usual exercises plus some jump roping.   As I'm getting settled one of the trainers walks in, we make small talk and somehow the topic of pull ups comes up, so of course i say I can't do one, but it's a goal of mine, to which he says I can do one, to which I laugh. :)  So he invites me to work out with him, and of course I said yes.

He's a really good trainer.  He thinks outside of the box and uses tools that aren't available to the average gym-goer.

Going by memory I will try to explain what we did.

Remember the rope I mentioned here?  Well this was a shorter version and we jumped rope with it.  Definitely felt the burn in the shoulders.

Then it was over to push ups with resistance. (not exactly like this, but close)
Then it was pull up time, before my arms got too fatigued.  I did assisted pull ups (he did not).

This is exactly the outfit I was wearing too.  Ha!

Then Bicep curls, only coming halfway up.

Then we switched to a bunch of chest and back exercises using the resistance tubes.  I know I remember all of them, but can't write it all out right here.  Then we finished each of those sets with push ups.  Ugh!!

My arms felt like jello yesterday.  Actually, they felt stiff and fatigued, but still good.

Throughout the moves he was constantly telling me to tighten my abs and glutes (depending on the exercise).  I know that I should tighten my abs but when I'm working out alone I apparently forget.  This time he'd poke me in the stomach, which was a good reminder.  Today my abs are SORE, and I love it because I did not do one sit up.

Is there a moral to my story?  I'd say that maybe working with a trainer one or two times (if you can't afford more) is a great way to bust out of a rut and mix things up.  Try to watch the trainers before choosing one so you can make sure to choose someone who's style you like.  For me, that means out of the box exercises with fun tools.

Do you train?  If so, what do you think?  If  not, why?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The show offs

The other day I took a class at one of my gyms.  I was run down, my body was aching, and my mood was just off (with reason).  But I wanted to take this class, so I went.

A few of the usual suspects were there, but in addition, a couple of other girls, who I'll call the show-offs.  I honestly feel that these two were there just to be seen, and what they did in the class was clearly driven by this desire.

The class was specialized (i.e. boxing/step/cardio kickbox), but the instructor held the class circuit style.  Most of the circuits were  related to the class, with a few general fitness stations mixed in.  Personally I was focused on what the class actually was.  However these two girls were much more interested in doing something difficult in front of people than doing anything that had to do with the class.  I'm trying to keep this vague because I never know who is reading this, but it's hard.

So instead of doing a non class specific circuit and then moving on, these two show offs stayed there for a few rounds.  Now why take a specific class if you have no interest in doing things related to that specialty?

Maybe I was just moody, but it drove me nuts.  I'm not a show off, I never have been and never will be.  And when I see people like this it honestly makes me like them less and want to stay as far away from them as possible.   Oh well.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

scaling back, or trying to

The plan today was to try and make a dent in all the leftover veggies that I have from game night, yet all I want to eat are the leftover spinach balls and tater tots.  I will try to overcome, but it may end up being more of a hybrid sort of day.  Hopefully the veggies can hang in there until Thursday.

This morning I did something that I never do, I turned down someone when they asked me to sub for their spin class.  I never do this.  I am Old Faithful and am always willing to help.

Yet I'm taking my leg pain as a wake up call from my body and attempting to scale back on the spinning for a bit.  I'm even toying with subbing out all my classes next week.  I have a doctor's appointment next Wednesday as a follow up for my right knee.  Unfortunately it's now also my left knee and left shin.  Wake up call, right?

Thing is, other activities really don't bother me.  I think it's the repetition from the pedalling.  Although in most cases, I feel fine during the activity, just achy after.

Getting older is not fun.  So I'm trying to scale things back.  Wish me luck.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Blog-o-sphere blowout

Of course I couldn't not mention the healthy living blogging article in the most recent issue of Marie Claire (a magazine I actually really dislike).

Just looked to see if it was on the Marie Claire website, but it's not.  Not that I'm surprised.

It's generating a ton of hullabaloo in the blog world.  My thoughts on it later today.  Stay tuned.

Edited later in the day...

The gist of the article was that there are a "Big Six" of the healthy living blog world.  These six put together the Healthy Living Summit which was in Chicago this past summer.  That's all well and good.  The article proposes that these "healthy" blogs are in fact not so healthy.  The article claims that constant analysis and sharing of food and exercise is leading to eating disorders and body issues.  MC sites examples of severe calorie restriction and over training.  One blogger apparently ran a 5K, 10K, and a marathon all in one weekend.

Before I even knew that this topic had blown up in the blog world, the article struck a chord with me.  However to me the article was in some ways spot on.  I know that blogs have helped many people find healthier habits, shape up, or lose weight and I recognize that blogs are communities and in many cases very helpful.

Personally though, I have found many "healthy living" blogs to have an unintentional (or not) holier than thou attitude.  I feel like some bloggers are almost bragging about how ridiculously healthy they are and how they're cooler because they ran a million miles and consumed two calories.  This is not healthy.

Part of what I hate about being in the fitness industry is the competitive factor.  I can of course be competitive, but in this area, I don't want to be.  I don't want anyone to think I'm better than they are because I can do a push up, or that they're superior to me because I can't.  Fitness and health are specific to each individual.  And yes, there are general rules and concepts, but what works for one isn't necessarily the right choice for another.

My blog is small.  I don't have many readers but I am constantly making a conscientious effort to assure that the information I provide is helpful and NEVER makes anyone who is reading feel like I think I'm better than they are, because that is not the case.  If for some reason I ever make you feel less than great, I encourage you to call me out on it and I'll do everything in my power to rectify the situation.

If you have some spare time, I'm sure a google search on the MC article will yield some interesting results.  And now, I'll shut up.  :)

PS - Sometimes I feel like my corporate background shows through in the words I use (i.e. rectify).  I'm such a nerd!

Just another manic monday...wish it were sunday...

Good Monday Morning loves!

Hope you all had fabu weekend.  Mine was nice.  Game Night was a success (as was the food) and then the rest of the weekend was spent with my parents/sis in NY.

Slept like crap last night so I'm thinking a nap is in my future.  Anyone watching Next Iron Chef on the Food Network?

Speaking of food, here's the butternut squash soup recipe I used.

Easy Butternut Squash Soup

1 onion, diced
about 2 tbs olive oil
1 butternut squash (about 2.5lbs)
6 cups broth (I used 6 cups of water and 5 chicken bullion cubes)
2 tbs brown sugar
salt/pepper to taste

In a large pot on medium heat, saute the onion in the olive oil.  I always choose to brown my onions a bit, but that's up to you.  Once onions are cooked, add broth and squash.  Cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the squash is tender.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture.  You can also use a regular blender, blending the soup in batches.  Once blended, add sugar, stir well, then add salt/pepper to taste.  Voila!

I love making this soup and tend to play with the flavor profiles.  Sometimes I'll put some red pepper flakes or cayenne in, other times maybe nutmeg.  I've even heard of people using curry (not something I'd use, but still an option).

Game night left me with TONS of leftovers, so I'm doing my own veggie rich/raw diet for today and tomorrow.  I have dinner plans tonight so that obviously won't consist of the veggies, but besides that I figured I'd give it a go.  I probably have enough to do Wednesday too, but I can't chance stomach issues on a day where I teach twice.  Will let you know how operation raw leftover annihilation goes. :)

OK, off to create some flyers for 8 Minute Dating.  Enjoy your Monday!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Finally friday...

While I am ecstatic that it is Friday, I'm going to start this post off on a more serious note.

Whether or not you know, I've (unfortunately) been out of work since May 2009.  I had a short term consulting position, but other than that I've been on the job hunt non-stop (more or less) for about 17 months now.  There's no sugar coated way to say this, it sucks.

Do you ever have days where it seems that everyone is moving forward yet you are incredibly stagnant?  People getting engaged, married, having babies, promotions at work, new jobs.  You name it, I feel surrounded by it.  And what's new by me?  A big fat NOTHING.

I am a very positive person and do try to make lemonade out of lemons but sometimes it's just not possible.  On those days I give myself permission to wonder what the #!$* is going on.  As long as the good days outnumber the bad, I think I'm OK.

OK, now that that's off my chest.

Tonight I'm hosting a GAME NIGHT.  I believe it will be just ladies and we'll dine on appetizers and play games.  Very much looking forward to it!

I was really stumped on what to serve and ended up with a hodge podge of cuisines and types of food.

What's on my menu?
  • Spinach balls of course!  (was going to skip them, but then had a request)
  • Hummus - made from scratch! my first time, so I'm psyched
  • Black bean and corn salsa (great recipe)
  • Tater tots (trader joe's) - my friend is bringing pigs in a blanket so i thought they'd be good compliment
  • Onion dip (what's a party without it?)
  • Veggie birds nests from TJ's - these are frozen so if they don't get used I'll try them another time
  • Butternut squash soup - yes, I know it doesn't really fit it, but it's been cool and rainy all day and I thought something autumnal would be perfect.  To make it more appetizer like we can eat it out of coffee mugs.
  • Brownies - thanks to Duncan Hines for these.  Used the lower fat version on the box and was pleasantly surprised
And then we'll see what others bring.  Should be good regardless!

Now I'm off to shower and do some last minute tidying up, not to mention take the immersion blender to the soup.  Enjoy your Friday evenings and have a fabulous weekend!! xoxoxo