Shoes.. Let’s get some shoes

Greetings, Friends! After a short work day on Thursday, I went home and first things first, I took sweet Louie on a walk. He’s always the cutest face to see when walking in the door!!

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My running for the day was rather odd – my legs felt even more sore today, and I didn’t have much motivation to run. I ran 1.5 miles at an 8:30 pace to make sure I kept up with the Runner’s World Running Streak, but I headed inside after that to call it quits for the day. Miraculously, I had a surge of energy right before dinner time, and recruited Derek to go on a 4+ mile run with me. We ran all over Bayshore and kept each other entertained.. Running with a partner > running by my lonesome (usually).

watch

Our run ended up being a little over 4.5 miles I believe (my Garmin lost connection to the satellite for a bit when going through a tunnel).

After coming in from our run, I was ready for some dinner! I noticed that Tilapia was on sale at Publix this week, so I thought up a quick pan seared tilapia recipe to cook.

Pan-Seared Peppered Tilapia

1 lb. tilapia

1 tbsp cumin

1tbsp oregano

1 tbsp black pepper

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

juice from 1/2 of a lemon

In a small bowl, combine cumin, oregano, and black pepper. Squeeze 1/2 of the lemon juice over both sides of fish and scatter chopped garlic over the top of the fish. Season tilapia with your herb and pepper mixture. Let sit for 30 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm one tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Sear tilapia for about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a serving dish, and squeeze remaining lemon juice over tops of the fish. Serve with vegetables.

I served the tilapia with sautéed onions and steamed green beans!

tilapia2

Now, I need you guys’ help on a super important decision. I’m in the market for some new running shoes. In the past, I’ve always gone with Nike so that I could link my shoe up to the app on my phone. Now that I have a Garmin running watch, however, that’s not necessary anymore and I’m ready to transition into some better running shoes! After some research on the internet, I’ve narrowed it down to the following 5 choices.

Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 13 $110

brooks

Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 16 $115

Mizuno

Newton Distance $155

newtons

New Balance 860V3 $115

new balance

Saucony Women’s Kinvara 4 $100

SauconyAs you can see, the shoes range in price from $100-$155, so they are all pretty comparable as far as price goes. Does anyone have positive experiences with these shoes? Is there a pair I should steer clear of? Any advice is welcome!

Have the happiest Friday! I’m off to an Xtend Barre class with Megan, followed by a meeting with a florist 🙂

DIY Gold Mason Jars

Hi peeps!

It’s been a while since I got crafty, and I was hankering to use my gold spray paint, so I decided to make something fun out of a few mason jars we had lying around the house.

This was super simple and took all of 30 minutes (including dry time!).

Materials/Tools: 

Metallic Gold Spray Paint

Mason Jars, or other small jars/vases

Newspaper to cover your work space

Set out mason jars upside down. Shake spray paint can vigorously, and spray the jars individually, in a sweeping motion. Be careful not to apply too much, as the paint may drip. After you achieve a desirable color, let dry 15 minutes. Voila!

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These can be used for flower arrangements, to hold makeup brushes, or for decorative accent pieces around the house.

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mason1

I’d love to hear if you give this project a try, and I’d love to see your finished products!

Heavy Legs = Slow Mal and WIAW

Good Afternoon, friends! At this point, we are more than half-way through the work week and I couldn’t be happier. I started my day off with a large cup of coffee and some tasty steel-cut oats. I also added a spoonful of PB for some added flavor.. I’m fancy, huh 😉 ?

I’m going to be honest with you all – after breakfast this morning, my legs just weren’t feelin’ a run day. Soreness from biking, running, my leg work out and kickball has officially kicked in. BUT, I committed to participate in the Runner’s World Summer Run Streak, so I knew I’d have to get push through my 3000 lb. lead legs and move. I participated in the run streak last summer, and was so excited when I saw on Runner’s World’s Twitter feed that it was that time again. The streak calls for runners to run at least 1 mile (preferably more) every day from Memorial Day until July 4th. Since I felt less than 100%, I checked day 3 off with a 2.5 mile jog. I followed the jog up with the following arm workout

may28 arm workout

After showering and packing food/snacks for the day, I headed out the door for my long day on campus. With work and class today, I’ll be here for a whopping 10 hours. There aren’t many tasty/healthy food options on campus, and I don’t have access to a microwave, so I’m all set up for a heavy snacking day. This should be a funny day for a first WIAW (what I ate Wednesday), right?

almonds

Snack 1: Almonds (I ate about 10 before I snapped a pic!)

pita chips

Snack 2: laughing cow cheese and home made pita chips (I make these sort of like I make home made tortilla chips. I also ate some of these before the pic)

apple

Snack 3: apple

carrots

snack 4: carrots and a couple red pepper slices

salad

Dinner on the go: salad with a bit of pico de gallo, carrots, red peppers

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And last but not least, a detour bar in case I’m starving on campus!

I do hope that everyone else’s eats today were much more exciting and tasty than mine were. Twice a week for the rest of the summer I will have 10-12 hour days on campus, and will be forced to snack all day. If you all have ideas for yummier/heartier snacks, I’m begging you to tell me!

Mango Madness

Hey guys! How goes it? Tuesday was a pretty standard day for me – aside from my evening activity which I will share in a minute!

I started my day with a cup of coffee and a 4 mile run before heading out the door for work. I made myself a mango strawberry banana smoothie for breakfast which hit the spot. My grandparents have a luscious garden in their backyard, and are constantly giving me fresh fruits and vegetables, including HUGE mangoes. I love when we have tons of fresh fruit to choose from because the smoothie opportunities are endless. My smoothie was simple and came together like this:

Mango Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Ingredients

1 Banana

1 Mango

6 large strawberries

1 cup of ice

1/2 cup to 1 cup of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

Slice your mango, banana and strawberries and toss them in the blender with your ice and almond milk. Blend.

fruit for smoothie

blender Pretty simple, right?

smoothie

The finished delicious product

After a typical day at work, I met with Derek to get my team-sports action on. Derek has been asking me to play on his firm’s kickball team for a few months now. Tonight I had no excuse: no class, no dinner plans with friends, no pencils to sharpen.. I just had to go with him. Although we lost, it was a lot of fun and I hope I’m invited back (not sure if I will be, my performance was nothing to write home about).

kickballEn route to kickball game

I hope everyone had a great day! I’m about to cap off my day and wind down with Tina Fey.

Homemade Tortilla Chips + Mango Salsa

Howdy, Y’all! Happy Memorial Day to everyone! I hope you all enjoyed this holiday and took time to be grateful for all the service men and women who’ve given their lives for our country. As a daughter of a Navy Veteran (and sister of a navy vet, niece of a marine vet and granddaughter of an army vet), I’m taking a little extra time today to count my blessings and be grateful that I live in the U.S.A.

Before I share some festive recipes with you, I’ll recap you on the last couple of days. This long weekend was a wonderful one spent with family and friends. Derek and I managed a 3.1 mile outdoor run on Sunday in between spending the afternoon by the pool and having a cook out with friends.. I didn’t snap a pic of my burger, but Derek told me his was blog-worthy and that it should be posted.

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I think he was right. These burgers were delicious, thanks to Sara and Ben!

We got to spend some more time poolside on Monday (after lathering on much SPF of course) with my family and my nephew, Parker. I passed the time reading Tina Fey’s “Bossypants”, while trying to fend off tidal waves caused by cannon balls. I personally think Tina Fey is a comical genius, and I’m enjoying this book just as much as I enjoyed Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me? And Other Concerns” and Chelsea Handler’s “Are You There,Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea”. I love a book that constantly makes me laugh out loud.

My workout on Monday was a bit all over the place. It started with a 1M walk and then a 1M run with Samdog Millionaire. After he was worn out, Derek and I headed to the gym and I hopped on the treadmill because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. That lasted all of about 1 mile and I switched to the bike for 3 miles. To finish things off, I did the following leg workout two times through

  • 50 calf raises
  • 15 dead lifts (w/ two 10 lb weights)
  • 20 walking lunges (w/ two 10 lb weights)
  • 15 squat/rows (w/ two 10 lb weights)

With the leg work, biking, and running, I have a good feeling I will wake up not wanting to walk tomorrow!

Now on to the good stuff!

While I do try to maintain a healthy lifestyle most of the time, those of you who know me well know that my favorite food group is snacks. I LOVE crackers, chips, cheese (a charcuterie spread when I’m feeling extra fancy).. If it’s salty and it’s got a crunch to it, sign me up. In the name of my love for snack foods, I tried my hand at some homemade tortilla chips!

These chips were super tasty and enjoyed by all members of mi familia.

Here’s my recipe for these finger lickin’ chips:

Homemade Tortilla Chips

Ingredients:

12 Corn Tortillas (or flour tortillas if you prefer a more baked taste)

2 Tbsp Canola Oil

2 Tbsp Chili Powder

A pinch each of salt, pepper and cayenne

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stack up the corn tortillas – using a pizza slicer, cut the tortillas into 6 wedges each (cut it like you would a pizza – you should have 72 tortilla triangles at this point).

Toss the tortilla triangles in a bowl with the canola oil, and all of the spices. Make sure to coat each wedge.

Spread the wedges on 2 baking sheets. Bake for 20-25 minutes, shuffling the chips around periodically, until golden and CRISPY! Enjoy with salsa, pico de gallo, queso or guacamole!

(Note: try your batches out with different spices, such as sea salt and pepper, lime, garlic and salt, cinnamon and sugar etc.)

If you’re going to have chips, you must have something to dip them in, right? Today I made a Mango Salsa to bring to a Bachelorette-watching get together. I think (hope!) everyone enjoyed this spin on salsa.

vegetables

Mango Salsa

Ingredients:

6 plum tomatoes

1/2 of a large red onion, diced

2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro

1 clove minced garlic

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1/2 of a mango, diced

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to tupperware and chill up to 12 hrs. Serve with chips or vegetables.

photo-38mango salsa

If you make these and serve at a party, I think I should be invited to said party 😉 .

Does anyone have any fun plans this week? I know I’m looking forward to a 4-day work week!

Oatmeal Pancakes and a Margarita Festival

My best friend Megan has been talking about an oatmeal pancakes recipe she saw on the Today Show for a couple of weeks now, and I woke up yesterday with a serious craving. After trying out different ingredients, amounts, and combinations, I finally achieved the perfect batter consistency to make some killer pancakes!

Oatmeal Pancakes
Ingredients
3/4 cups instant oats
1/2 cup flour
1 egg white
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 individual all natural apple sauce (substitute for vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1 packet Stevia natural sweetener
Optional: Mashed banana (if you want banana pancakes)
Mix oats, flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl until evenly mixed. In a separate bowl, whisk the vanilla extract into the egg white. Add in apple sauce and stir until incorporated. Combine your wet mixture with your dry mixture and stir vigorously for about one minute. Pour batter onto a lightly buttered frying pan (about 1/4 cup batter per pancake). Cook on the first side until the top of the pancake begins to bubble and the bottom is golden brown. Flip the pancake and cook to achieve an even color on the other side. Serve with syrup or your topping of choice!
Instead of maple syrup, I heated some honey and added about 1/2 teaspoon of strawberry jam to the honey. After mixing it up, I poured atop the pancakes. I didn’t expect to, but I LOVED this little syrup and preferred it to the traditional maple.
I enjoyed my morning meal with my coffee that I drank out of a lovely Eataly cup that Megan brought back for me from her most recent trip to NYC!
coffee
After a late breakfast, Derek and I went to the gym. I knew we were on a time crunch, and I wanted to work on speed a little bit, so I did some longer intervals on the treadmill. My run had me super sweaty and looked like this:
Work out May 25
I had a couple minutes left after the run while Derek was finishing up his workout, and did some planks and ab work on a stability ball. After the gym we did some painting at the new house, followed by Tampa’s MARGARITA FESTIVAL!
I’ll pretty much go to anything that has the word “festival” in the name. Honestly, I really dislike tequila, but I was still so excited for this event in downtown Tampa. 6 of us went and had an awesome time – I drank a SkinnyGirl grapefruit margarita and it was  so delicious and really refreshing (it was a mere 95 ° outside).
friendsMegan, Myself, Kasey and Jessi
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When dinner rolled around we went to my aunt and uncle’s house and had a family cook out. My dad did most of the grilling, and made some AWESOME grouper and vegetables. As he was preparing everything in the kitchen, he asked me, “Hey Mal, do you want to take some pictures of my grouper for your blog?” I had a chuckle, and replied, “OF COURSE I DO, THANKS FOR ASKING DAD!!!!” Here’s a pic of the grouper before we grilled it:
grouper
And the finished product:
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We ate asian slaw and cornbread with the grouper – it was a wonderful meal and I love when someone else cooks for me 🙂 I’d share the recipe with you all, but Dad says he doesn’t remember what he did.. Next time I’ll write it down as he goes!

I hope you all have a happy weekend and Memorial Day!

Ikea Hack

We’re currently in the process of furnishing Derek’s new casa, and I’ve found so many pieces over the last month that I have to get. Obviously they can’t all come home with me (apparently money really doesn’t grow on trees), so I’ve decided to “DIY” some of them. I recently turned 2 Ikea “Lack” side tables into ottomans/coffee tables.. Here’s how my dad and I did it!

Tools/Supplies

2 Ikea Lack side tables

2 pieces of 32 inch x 54 inch fabric of your choice

upholstery foam

super glue or spray adhesive

upholstery scissors (or other sharp, heavy duty scissors)

staple gun

hammer

1. Apply super glue or spray adhesive to the top of 2 Ikea Lack tables. My dad and I bordered the edges with glue, and then filled in the center with scattered dots of glue.
Tables1

2. After measuring and cutting upholstery foam to fit the top of the table, set the foam to the glue-applied table. Press down all around for 30 seconds to make sure the foam adheres. tables2

3. Measure and cut your selected fabric to fit around the table and foam. Make sure you have enough that it stretches about 1 1/2 inch over the underside of the table.tables3

4. Using a staple gun, insert 3 to 4 staples on each side of the table. Fold the corners of your table to your liking (I went with a gift-wrap type corner). Hammer in the staples to make sure there are none poking out.tables 4
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5. Screw in table legs into the holes in each corner of the table. Try to avoid uneven amounts of fabric in each corner, as this could make your table legs wobble-y when sitting on the ground.tables 6

6. Use your new pieces as a coffee table or bench for the foot of your bed!

tables

ottomans2I’m a DIY/Furniture repurposing freak – anybody else out there like me? If so, please share your projects!

Happy Saturday!