Living a balanced life with lots of creative food, exercise and exploration!

Trip to NYC – Good Eats!

I went to New York a few weeks back to celebrate an anniversary.  We had a great trip, filled with Broadway and Bagels.

First and foremost – the eats!  I stumbled upon an article in my VegNews (awesome magazine btw, tons of great articles plus vegan recipes and insights) that totally peaked my interest.  I can’t find the article, but basically it told the back story of this wonderful vegan restaurant called Candle Cafe in New York City.


The restaurant opened in 1993, after it’s owners – who already owned a health foods store – won the lottery!  They took their winnings and opened one of the first vegan restaurants in NYC.  Thank goodness they won!  Read more about their journey on their website 🙂   They later opened Candle 79, a more upscale restaurant, and then Candle Cafe West with a similar menu to the Upper East side location.

We went to Candle Cafe East, and it was absolutely delightful.  The menu was fabulous, too much to choose from for sure.  Check it out here.  They had some really interesting salads, including the Aztec salad which had BBQ tempeh and spiced pumpkin seeds, and the Living Crunchy Sprout (cool name!).  The entre’s looked just as fabulous, but we had eaten a late lunch so didn’t indulge   Particularly enticing?  Thai Grilled Tofu and Porcini Crusted Seitan.  Also would have loved to try the Seitan dumplings…can’t tell you how cool it is to see tempeh and seitan on the menu, instead of normal restaurants where if there even is a veg option, its tofu.

Anyway, on to what we actually ate!  We started with a delightful lemonade which was a blended frothy light piece of a lemony sweet cloud.  It was SO good.  Can’t even describe how yummy this was, definitely set the stage for the meal.

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My partner in crime went for a lentil soup, which had great flavor and was really filling.  On the side was house made bread.  Yum!

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I had the BBQ tempeh sandwich with wilted kale and shallot-sage aioli.  The sandwich was awesome.  It was filling and tasty  great textures and really unique flavors.

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The close second choice was the Cajun Seitan Sandwich – “Cajun crusted seitan . . . served on toasted foccocia with ancho chili aioli.”  Whoa.  And the tofu club.  These people have sandwiches on lock.

After a truly delectable dinner on the Upper East Side, we headed down to Broadway for a show!

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We waited in the TKTS line the afternoon of the show, and while in line we had multiple recommendations for Bring It On: The Musical.  I had never even thought of suggesting this show, but, the reviews were too much to pass up and we scooped up our tickets.

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SO glad we did!!  It was an unbelievable show filled with totally legit cheer moves and booming vocals, with some added comic relief.  Wonderfully acted and just a really fun and entertaining show.

Then, lo and behold, we *accidentally* wound up at Lindy’s Cheesecake?  Oopsie!  When we went to NYC last year for New Years Eve, we actually did accidentally stumble upon Lindy’s out in Brooklyn, but this time was slightly less of an accident…

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What is Lindy’s you may ask?  Well first off, shame on you for not knowing!  As the child of a New Yorker, I was introduced to NY Cheesecake at a young age…as well as the age old rivalry between Lindy’s and Junior’s.  So I decided it was my personal mission on this trip to settle the debate, once and for all!

I can’t find Lindy’s cheesecake, but maybe that’s because heavenly bodies can’t have a URL.  It was TO DIE FOR.  The cheesecake was creamy and sweet and decadent and succulent and … wow.  SO amazing.  Best cheesecake I’ve ever had.  Seriously.  Man I want some right now…


Phew.  Hard for me to come off that…As to Junior’s?  Tried it the next day.  NOT good.  As in SERIOUSLY not good.  And it cost $10 a slice!  It was dry, crumbly, not at all creamy, and had hardly any flavor.  Boo.  TOTAL win for Lindy’s.  Debate ended.

To work off the cheesecake we took a walk around Rockefeller Center, and saw the famous ice skating rink.  So festive!

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And then, at the Lego store nearby, a really cool lego rendition of the icon:

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Hard to tell them apart 😉

So what else was on the table? Pizza and Bagels.  Obvi.  Bagels at a Bagel and Bean near Central Park, and they were definitely superior to any DC bagel.  Now, you can get decent bagels in DC for sure, but these are on another level.  Poppy and Cream cheese, of course, because my momma didn’t raise no fool 😉

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After a long walk through and all the way around Central Park, we walked through the Columbia University Campus.  Then took the subway from the Upper West Side to the Lower East side, in hopes of finding a Kettle corn vendor which has the best kettle corn on the planet, which we tasted over New Years.  Unfortunately, because of Hurricane Sandy, much of the waterfront area was closed.  We did however find a really cute farmer’s market…with an unbelievable amount of pickle vendors and Kimchi vendors.  Odd, I know.  After walking through we found a hole in the wall Pizza joint, and settled in for our final iconic food group.

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Greasy.  Crunchy.  And delicious 😉

Our New York venture came to a close, but not before we got a good glimpse of the New Years Ball, which actually stays up all year but is risen I think on New Years Eve to be dropped for the count down.  You can see it right above the 2012.

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Then we had this to come home to:

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Such a good welcome home 🙂

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Do It Yourself Decorations: Fabric Accent Frame

Last weekend, I suddenly realized I hadn’t done any decorating in my new place, which isn’t so new considering I’ve been there 6 months. 😮  So, with a sudden tunnel vision, I set about making some strides toward turning my house into a home!

First order of business:  Change my comforter set.  I was completely sick of my old ones, and felt I had out grown the one I was currently using (considering I’ve had it since college).  Plus, it left my completely uninspired…which was reflected on my bare walls.  My best friend told me I needed an “inspiration piece” to guide me towards colors/patterns/themes.  I used this gorgeous scroll the Boy brought me home from China, which used black, white and pink. 

I went to a bunch of department stores, picking up odds and ends for both my bedroom and living room areas.  I first bought an awesome bedding set, all black and white with a cool design, and I added pink sheets for a pop of color.  Next, I needed something to put above my bed, behind the headboard.  Thanks to Pinterest, I got the idea to use a fabric I really liked, and just frame it.  SO out of my normal realm of creativity!  Off to Jo-Ann Fabrics for a pattern, and Michael’s for a frame, and suddenly I found myself DIY-ing my decor.

Step by Step!

1.  The Fabric

2.  The Frame. 

I got one of those floating picture ones, only because it was the right size (though in retrospect  I could have gone bigger), and had a minimal frame that would accent but not detract from the pattern.

3.  Lay out the fabric around the glass insert, and cut to size

4.  Position fabric on glass

Because this is a floating frame, there were two pieces of glass.  I laid down one piece, placed the fabric on top, then placed the second piece of glass on top of the fabric.  I then pulled the fabric tight and smooth before the next step…

5.  Mount fabric

i.e. for me: Tape it in place…very professional 😉

6.  Iron out any wrinkles.

Set the iron to a low heat (I was worried about melting the glass), and gently iron out any remaining kinks.

7. Place fabric glass in frame and secure

8. Install hanging pieces

Thank you eye glasses screwdriver 🙂

9. Hang on wall

To determine center, I measured the length of my headboard (x), and the length of the frame (y).  Then, I subtracted y from x, which gave me the leftover space, and divided by two, to see how far away from the end of the headboard the frame should be on each side. 

10. All together!  With my new comforter set

Gotta say, I’m pretty proud of myself!  I’m not sure how I feel about the asymmetry, but my mom has always said not everything in life has to be symmetrical…which doesn’t really jive with my super Type A personality, but we’ll see how it goes.  I’m going to need a new lamp shade, as you can see that one matched my old set.  Plus, a pink accent pillow, and some accent decorations.  All in all, I’m pretty happy with it!

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Product Review: Vegan Purse from Namaste Inc.

Vegan Purse?  If you’re like most people, probably the term vegan only refers to food.  As I recently learned, however, “vegan” can be used to define a multitude of products beyond food, basically meaning a product that is made without harming animals or using animal products in any way.

Cut to my work briefcase/purse just not cutting it.  It wasn’t easily accessible in court, didn’t have enough pockets, and couldn’t fit both my case files and code book.  #sillylawyerproblems lol

Problem is, most really nice briefcases are made of leather.  My mom and I have argued about this before, she thinks the quality is more important than other considerations, and usually that quality is found in leather.

Anyhoo, I came across a deal on Vegan Cuts, a website you’ll find on the right, which is basically a LivingSocial/Groupon type website for vegan products.  I saw one for Namaste, Inc.  I clicked on the link, and immediately fell in love.  GORGEOUS purse, with tons of compartments and pockets, and quite fashionable I might add.  And, all animal friendly with faux leather.  So I *hinted* to my mom that I had found a bag, and she generously offered to buy it for me as a congrats for a semi-promotion at work.  (Yes, I’m still a bit spoiled… 🙂 )  It was a great compromise, because we were able to get quality, but I still felt good about the product on a personal level.

So, we picked one out that we both agreed on, though not so much the color, and waited anxiously for it’s arrival.  I chose “The Monroe” in Eggplant, a dark purple which will match most suits but add a little color.  When it arrived, I was immediately impressed.

Full shot:

I’m really impressed with the purse and the company.  It’s so great to know that I can both be true to myself and views, and be fashionable.  This company seems to really focus on quality and aesthetics.

Get a load of those compartments 😉

As you can see, the purse is divided into three.  The middle is a shorter, and doesn’t zip.  The outside compartments each have a large open pockets to fit my phone in one, and business card holder/work keys.  Plus, a big planner, pens etc.  I’m VERY happy with the purchase 🙂 Off to court!

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Race Expo and Good Virginia Beach Eats!

Sorry for my VERY long absence, probably the longest since I’ve started blogging!  Things have just been nutso between work and helping the Boy move and lots of other stuff.  But, as promised, here’s some pics from the race expo and some good food finds in VA beach!

Race expo:  The race expo was held in the Virginia Beach Convention Center, and it was HUGE!  I spent the morning relaxing, and then we headed down from the Bay side where we were staying to the beach.  When we walked in, there was a huge display of Rock n’ Roll branded merchandise.  Everything from shirts and shorts to hats to cups, frames, and glasses.  I picked up a super cheesy frame with waves crashing over the emblem…and then promptly bought a race photo, which pretends that I’m all happy lol.  But, at that point, it was over, so I was pretty happy to be done!

Picking up my race shirt:

Thought this was super funny…wish I had an inner Kenyan!

This was pretty cool.  It was the Brooks Heavenly fit (or some such name) display.  Everything was decked out in white and plush decorations, complete with toga-clad technicians analyzing stride, gait and strike for various patrons.  The goal was to get fit for a perfect shoe.  I didn’t try (mainly because the line was so long),  but it was a super cool idea!

Pseudo finish line!  Man I wish that had been my time…

After the expo, we headed over for a nice lunch.  There’s not much vegetarian friendly food to be found on the boardwalk, so I pulled up a website I found earlier in the week.

AWESOME find!  We headed over to Heritage Natural Market Cafe.  It’s a whole foods store with a cafe nestled in the back.  The store itself was amazing, after ordering I wandered around in complete bliss.  Every kind of vegan and vegetarian food you could think of, with more variety than I’ve seen before.  For lunch, I ordered the special of the day, a Tempeh sandwich with Spinach and swiss cheese.  I don’t know what they did to that tempeh, but it was SO tasty.  They went a little overboard with the cheese, but that was an easy fix.  Definitely a good pre-race food: Packed with both protein and fiber.

On the way home, we stopped by Tini’s, a self-serve yogurt spot.  I didn’t want a ton of dairy and sugar in my system, so I tried to keep it *kinda* healthy.  This place was highly recommended by our hosts, and man were they right about this place!  Lots of yogurt choices, but more importantly, a plethora of toppings from fruit to baked goods to cereal and candy.  YUM.  We may have gone here more than once over the weekend…

My choice: Plain tart yogurt with kiwi, strawberry, blueberry, walnuts…and a touch of chocolate for good measure 😉

Post race was tough.  I got pretty sick, as I described later, and my previous dreams of a pancake buffet disappeared.  Instead, we stuck to something simple: a nice whole wheat bagel.  It was spot on.  It made my stomach calm and replenished some much needed energy.  We hit up a place creatively called Beach Bagel Bakery, and set to it.  The Boy ate next door at Boardwalk Fries, a much more festive choice!

After going home, cleaning up and having a much needed nap.  We headed out for dinner before the show.  Dough Boys is a local chain that was pretty heavily promoted by the race.  Knowing there weren’t really other choices down there for me, we decided pizza is always a solid choice.  What’s funny is that it calls itself California Pizza…um. Wrong coast.  Anyway, we split a salad and set to the main course: Pizza!

It was pretty good, felt nice to eat a full meal 🙂

All in all, I’d give VA beach a thumbs up, but not emphatically.  I think with more time perhaps we coulda found some more gems, but definitely have to search for them between the cheesy beachy places!

Special Shout out to, who provided a good map of where to go!  Wish Bombay Paradise had still been open, they made it sound SO delicious.  Still though, thank you 🙂


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Philly Part 2 – Much delayed!

So, we left off near City Hall, my favorite building!

Just in case you forgot – Gorgeous.

After doing a bit of a historic tour, we headed down to University of Pennsylvania to see the campus, then back to check in to our hotel.  We stayed at a Crowne Plaza again, and were once again disappointed.  Bad service, screwed up the reservation, just a general annoyance.  Only plus they got was strawberry and cucumber water…so I filled up my water bottle and took my attitude upstairs to relax 😉

We cleaned up and got ready for dinner.  The Boy wanted to drive the bike course, and we didn’t necessarily want to venture back into the city, so I hit up Google for some good veg places to eat nearby.  I found a couple places north of us, and we decided that was a more relaxing choice.  Choosing between Mexican and Pizza, we decided to go for a pizza place with a vegan option.

So glad we did!  The restaurant was up in a neighborhood/area called Manayunk.  It’s a super trendy, seemingly young professional/up and coming vibe.  We were fortunate enough to catch a street fair on our way to dinner.  It was gorgeous.  Hand made crafts…everything from wood work to jewelry to beautiful works of art. Really fun area, such a gem!  I’d describe it like Dupont meets Eastern Market with the diversity of restaurants of U Street, but, it really was its own thing.

I thought I had taken more pictures, but here are just a couple:

We found The Couch Tomato (definite points for creativity and naming) and ordered two different pizzas with a salad to share.  We got the “Where’s Waldorf” Salad, which was super yummy – mixed greens, spinach, dried cranberries, gorgonzola cheese and – the most important part – candied pecans.  The sweet of the pecans mixed with the salty cheese was delicious.  For Pizza, we both chose from the rather impressive, 8 option vegetarian section of the menu (which was in addition to vegetarian options all over the rest of the menu).  I got the Florentina, a garlic oil based pizza with ricotta, spinach and tomato.  The Boy went traditional, with the Margherita with Mushrooms.  Both were pretty good, but the ambiance and vibe were really the top seller.

P.S. Had we had more time, and hopefully on a different trip, I REALLY want to try Vedge, a vegetarian restaurant which I discovered over at Choosing Raw, a super informative and fun blog.  The idea behind the restaurant is to really focus on vegetable and plant-based dishes, instead of attempting to make meat replacements or substitutes.  This sounds like a fabulous restaurant concept! She posted about this restaurant way back in April, and I made a mental note.  It didn’t fit into this trip, but I hope to make it back soon!  In the meantime, check out her review here 🙂


On to Sunday Morning – race day!  I wanted to get my own workout in first, so I set out on my LSD – a 9 miler.  It’s actually fun to do these in new places, distracts you from how horrible the running part is 😉

First, I passed Boathouse Row.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take a great pic from the east side of the river, but here’s what it looks like:

Image Credit:

For the rest of my running recap, including proof I was actually there, check out my workout recap 🙂

After the race, it was Philly Cheesesteak time, round 2.  I went back for a vegan version from Basic 4 Vegetarian cafe, and then we went downtown to Geno’s for the Boy.

Mine, cooking it up:


Verdict:  Mine was awesome, his was kinda dry and he didn’t like it as much as Tony and Lukes. For my recipe, which in my humble opinion even beat this delicious fare (though isn’t vegan), click here.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of the AMAZING murals that are just all over the city.  Random sides of a building over a canvas for incredible art.  It really added a special feeling to the city and really gave it a unique character.  Enjoy!

Love this one – the blend of the modern and the Victorian style was really interesting and creative

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Philadelphia! Aka Philly. Aka PHLY.

This past weekend was spent in Philadelphia, taking in the sites and watching the “PHLYTRI” – the olympic distance triathlon held on Sunday morning.  For a full race recap. click here.

We arrived in Philly around 11 on Saturday morning, without too much traffic delays or trouble.  (Though I get unreasonably upset and personally offended by the tolls, but that’s another story!) 

We headed over to the race expo first, which was actually in the Northern part of the city.  The expo was up by the “Please Touch Museum,” a Children’s Museum which looked really cool and in which, had it not cost $14, I definitely would have gone!

Anyway, the race expo was pretty good, but nothing terribly awesome to write home about.  From there we went straight into the city to get some quality tourist action in.  First Up:  Philly Cheesesteaks, obviously!  Battling mid-Saturday traffic, we travelled all the way down to the South City to Tony Luke’s, of Man v. Food fame.  Being foreign to the city, we didn’t know which place was best to try, so we thought this would be a safe bet.  Tony Luke’s boasts an unassuming facade in an obscure location, and despite brandishing a long line, we excitedly walked right up to take a bite of culture!


Although I couldn’t partake, my companion eagerly devoured the fare.  Order: Cheesesteak with provolone and cheese wiz (there is a much cooler, Philly dialect way to say this, but I’d only embarrass myself by trying!).  Classic.  Review?  He loved it…it was everything he expected 🙂



Next up: historic district….with a slight detour.  On the way up, talking about cheesesteaks, I mentioned that Philly is also known for its pretzels, a treat which would allow me to take part in a little city tradition as well.  Driving up to the downtown area, we spotted a pretzel frontage stand on a random street.  WAIT!  Pull over!  Despite a bewildered look on his face, The Boy pulled over and looked to the right to see the cause of my sudden outburst.  Ah.  No longer confused.  I excitedly hopped out, and ordered a plain salted pretzel with cheese sauce (perhaps my homage to the cheese wiz I just missed out on!).  Review: it was tasty, ball park style (crunchy exterior but soft baked) as opposed to Auntie Anne’s style.  I have to admit I’m partial to the latter, with the softer and buttery-er appeal, but this was one of the best of this style I’ve had 🙂

Alright, enough gastronomical detours…it was time for the history!  This city was the capital of the country at one point, and was the host of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, from which our Constitution was produced (and for those of you that know me, I ❤ the Constitution!)

We started at the Independence Visitor Center to get a tourist map and learn a little bit about our surroundings.  We walked around the Market Street area, viewing the Old City Hall and passed by the Liberty Bell Center (but didn’t go in because the line to see it was insane…plus neither of us <embarrasingly> could remember it’s significance and both have seen it before).  If you’re curious, according to the reputable site of Wikipedia, the Liberty Bell was cast in 1752 with the words, “”Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”  The bell apparently cracked the first time it was rung.  Oopsie.  And it “may” have been one of the bells run when the Declaration of Independence was signed.  Anyhoo, we then walked around the National Constitution Center, but since we had both seen it before and again weren’t to keen on the $15 price tag, we passed. 

Using my fabulous navigation skills (me + maps = I can get you almost anywhere, in any city, with alterations made for traffic), we journeyed through Chinatown and past the Philadelphia Convention Center. 

We stumbled upon Reading Terminal Market….which was a gem. “Let’s go in here” he says.  I reply “I mean if it has to do with food I’m obviously intrigued…”  Wow was this place awesome!

Enter: heaven.

ANY kind of food you can imagine, from all over the globe.  American: You got deli sandwiches, cheesesteaks (obviously), soul food, and cajun.  Then tour of Asia – Thai, Chinese, Japanese.  Throw in some Afghani, Indian and Pakistani for food measure.  Then French and Italian eats and bakeries.  Plus, the fabulous Amish section, reminiscent of my FAVORITE place in Annapolis.  These pics don’t do them justice, but here are a couple!


Apparently I got the fudge shop twice, but from different angles.  One bakery, the Flying Monkey, offered vegan goods, and as we all know, if it’s vegan, I’ll buy it.  And, it was super yummy!  “Doesn’t even taste vegan,” was the review 😉

They even had a vegetarian place called Basic 4 Vegetarian Snack bar, but it was closed on Saturdays!  NO FAIR.  Don’t worry after further research (awaiting the start of the tri) I discovered they were open on Sunday AND had awesome reviews for their Vegan cheesesteak.  Done and Done.  We emerged with many treats, and continued on our path to the City Hall before turning back.  Here are some tourist pics for your viewing pleasure!

City Hall was by far my favorite building in the city, possibly one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring I’ve seen.  It was absolutely amazing.

That’s about all for now folks, this post is getting rather long!  More later on: an evening in Manayunk, the triathlon, and Round 2 of Philly Cheesesteaks!

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Work it Out :)

Monday: Last week’s delayed LSD

Tuesday: Speedy tempo – 4 x 1 mile

Averaged about 8:23 pace.  The fourth one was especially tough but over all felt pretty good.  Walked about 2 min in between, and had 1 mile cool down for 5 miles total.

Wednesday: Body Pump class – this time the class worked a little more evenly between upper and lower body, so I was pleased with that!  (Instead of the first couple times which were very upper body centric)

Thursday: Tempo – 6 miles with 1 mile warm up and cool down.  Not quite as strong as last week unfortunately, but still got it in!

Friday:   Hills – 5 miles

I actually worked out after work, which is quite shocking if you know me.  I bailed out early (5pm) and just willed myself to go.  I absolutely couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, and knew I couldn’t work out Saturday because I’d be travelling, so it was then or never.  It wasn’t really pleasant (since I’m not used to working out on a non-empty stomach), but I was proud of myself for doing it).  Workout was my typical ladder incline (from 3% to 7% alternating 2 min flat and 2 min incline, up then down).

Saturday: Off, walking around Philly!

Sunday: LSD – 9 miles

Longest I’ve ever run.  I ran along Kelly Drive  on the Schuylkill River Trail in Philly.  A beautiful trail overlooking the river.  It was in the upper 60s when I left, and most of the path was shaded.  Honestly, it was the best outdoor run I’ve had in a while and I am stoked I could accomplish that distance.  The way out conveniently landed me at the Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum right at the turn around point.  Definitely had to run those! (And by “run” I mean jog so slowly it was almost a walk.  Hey people-I was running 9 other miles!).  The way out was mostly shaded and a slight decline, so by the time I hit the turn around I felt solid.  After taking a picture break, the trip back was harder, and I reaaaaaally had to push the last 2 miles.  The uphill reared it’s ugly head!  All in all though, couldn’t have asked for a better run.  Plus, it made me feel all accomplished when I went to the triathlon!

Check out the run photos 🙂

First, we start with the “take-a-picture-of-the-street-you-parked-on-just-incase-you-forget-pic.” 😀

Then, about a mile in, I saw this spray painted on the trail from a previous race…definitely made me smile and started off the run on a happy note.


Really pretty overpass/tunnel

View of the water and the transition area for the Triathlon:

And…without further adieu, the “Rocky Steps”

View from the top

Just to prove I took the pics 🙂

And a beautiful skyline pic showing a row of international flags in the Parkway Museums District





Rev 3 Race Recap and Running Photo Tour of Knoxville – Weekend part 2

Saturday morning, I woke up and decided to take advantage of the weather by running outside.  I didn’t go out with any goals, just to run and explore Knoxville.  Here are some campus pics I took along the way:

I started in Market Square, in downtown Knoxville.  The square hosted a Farmer’s Market in the morning, filled with vendors selling farm fresh and local produce, meats, cheeses, and baked goods, along with clothing, soaps and art.  I definitely had to come back after the run to really check it out!

There were some really neat sculptures around, as well as stunning sidewalk art.

Women’s Suffrage sculpture

View of Gay Street, one of the main streets filled with restaurants and a theater.

View of the infamous Neyland Stadium from across the river.  University of Tennessee Football is very serious business around here, with 100,000+ people  at every game and fans parking their boats along the river behind the stadium to watch the game on the jumbo tron.

Picture of the Lady Vol’s Boat House (also the start of the Swim for the Rev 3 triathlon)

Random pic along the bridge, you can see another bridge through the hole in the fence, looking through some abandoned metal piping.

Neyland Stadium, from the Front and Side

A statue on campus of the “Volunteer Creed,”  a man holding an eternal flame in one hand, and justice in another

Random chalk, and proof I’m actually the one taking the pics!  See my Kinvaras? 🙂

Laporte Stadium, the track and field

Pretty successful team!  Remember Justin Gatlin?  He ran for Tennessee in the early 2000s before competing in the Olympics, and later attempting to overcome allegations of steroid use.  Anyhoo, more recently it looks like the Women’s Team has been pretty successful!

Hills.  The whole campus is full of them…made for an exhausting but fun run!

World’s Fair Park (Knoxville Hosted the fair in 1982)


Fresh Limeade!

Cinco de Mayo begins at Soccer Taco in Market Square, voted Knoxville’s Best Mexican.  And for $6.95 for a vegetable fajita, I was sold on it! Plus, a giant margarita…hey I wasn’t racing the next day!

“Mariache” band – I use the term loosely…

Tennessee Pride.  Even in Walgreens

Triathlon recap!

Now time for details about the Rev 3 Triathlon.  First, I’d have to say this is probably one of the most well-run sporting events I’ve been to.  The expo was easily accessible and well organized, the location was lovely, and it was just a fun atmosphere.  One really neat thing about this race is that there were some pretty big named professionals there.  Now, we’re literally talking world class triathletes, and they were just haaaaanging out like the rest of us!

Professional Triathlete siting:  Matty Ryan, in his role as dad 🙂

Transiti0n area for the professionals, super hardcore pictures!  Men and the Ladies:


 Male professional top 2: Greg Bennett and Cameron Dye

Female professional top 2: Kelly Williamson and Lauren Goss

And some local bloggers, meeting for the first time at the finishline:  Check out their race recaps here and here 🙂

Wonderful trip 🙂

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Knoxville Trip and Caroline Can! – Weekend Part 1

Whew, what an exhausting but wonderful weekend.  This weekend I reclaimed my role as stellar spectator, rather than race participant.  The Boy and I departed early Friday morning for the 500 mile journey down to Knoxville, TN for the Rev 3 Triathlon Series.

 After arriving in Knoxville, we quickly changed and hit the road to attend Moonpies and Moonshine, an event benefiting Caroline Can! I cannot begin to describe how wonderful this event was.  We arrived at a beautiful Southern home, on a balmy Spring night.  Everyone was in good spirits, and incredibly warm and welcoming.  We dined on traditional eats: coleslaw, potato salad, and some pork BBQ for the meat inclined, then topped dinner off with some key lime pie and warm peach cobbler.  OMG yum.  We ate our dinner on the dock as the sun set over the river.  Could not possibly ask for a more serene and peaceful environment.

After dinner we headed up to the house to watch a video and learn more about Caroline Can.  This organization and story are nothing short of inspirational.  The namesake, Caroline, suffered a traumatic brain injury 5 years ago.  She began her treatment at the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center, and through the strength of her will, the support of her family, and the amazing care and support from the Rehab Center, Caroline has been able to progress and inspire others.  Her family is probably the most supportive, positive and selfless bunch I have ever encountered.  They set up the campaign in order to raise money for the Rehab Center, to give back to the organization, and help others who have suffered similar injuries.

The video was beautiful.  It was emotional and raw, while uplifting, touching and exciting.  Caroline’s exuberance was contagious, and the atmosphere was so positive and warm.  The video was followed by a performance by Us Two and Him, a Bluegrass group whose lead singer just so happens to be Caroline’s Uncle Phil, the “him” in the title.  Their performance was fun and humorous, and really just capped off an unbelievable evening.

In addition to the event, Caroline and her brothers continue to inspire by actually competing in the Rev 3 OLYMPIC distance triathlon.  That’s 1500m swim, 26ish mile bike, and a 10K.  In the water, Caroline is pulled by her brothers, Reid and Jay, in a canoe-like apparatus.

This race, the bike wasn’t in working condition, so the boys rode on together.  Here’s what it looks like normally (top middle):


Caroline rejoined them for the run, and they finished strong!

Family Support 🙂


Rewinding just a bit to earlier in the day…

Conveniently, Blacksburg, Virginia, home of the Virginia Tech Hokies, was due to be passed riiiiiight around lunchtime, perfect!  A bunch of my high school friends went to college there, but I had never been so I was really excited to check it out.

The campus was lovely.  It had unique architecture, which gave the whole campus a unified feel.  There were tons of students out and about, probably celebrating their last few days on campus, since it was Graduation Weekend.  We travelled to the main strip on campus, where there were local restaurants and shops.  It was a super cute college town, and it was really nice to just be able to walk around and enjoy it.

We sought gastronomical guidance from a VT grad who gave us two perfect options:  1. Cabo’s Fish Taco’s (described as “the best fish taco’s” our recommender had ever had, so who could resist!), and 2. Gillies, a vegetarian friendly restaurant down the block.  While the Boy enjoyed his fish taco delight, I pondered the options at Gillie’s.  It’s certainly not often I have too many options as a vegetarian, and I was rather excited by it.

I decided to go bold: Tofu Reuben.  Whoa.  I figured, when in Blacksburg…get a veg New York specialty??  Okay, perhaps that logic doesn’t quite make sense to some, but it was a perfect choice.  The tofu with the sauerkraut and melted cheese with the Russian dressing and marbled rye danced over my taste buds and formed a perfectly delicious and balanced sandwich.  Win.


Stay tuned for a running tour of Knoxville and a Race Recap!

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Pre-Race Recipes – Quinoa Breakfast Bars and Almond “Brie”

So, my big race is Sunday.  I’ve been training for it for about 12 weeks now, so I’ve put a fair bit of pressure on myself.  Unfortunately, with the move and new job stress, I didn’t stay as on top of my training as I would have liked.  Regardless, now’s not the time for excuses.  What I can do now is try to get in my last few miles, and put some good nutrition in my body so I don’t feel weighted down and sluggish on race day.

Menu items for the week:

Breakfast:  Quinoa Breakfast bars, adapted from fANNEtastic food

Lunch: Hearty Salad

Dinner: “Brie” and green apple wrap

So Let us Begin!

For breakfast, I usually tend to grab either a banana with raw nuts or a protein/breakfast bar.  Often Luna, which are made by Clif bars and have almost entirely ingredients I can pronounce but tend to be higher in fat than I’d like, and sometimes Special K etc, which are decidedly less natural but lower in fat).  The chemicals are what bother me in these bars, and I’d prefer something more natural and preferably vegan.  Enter: Dark Chocolate Quinoa Bars from fANNEtastic food.  The recipe looked interesting, and I thought I could veganize it, so off I went!

Ingredients –> with my modifications


  • 1 & 1/2 C cooked quinoa
  • 1 C chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour  –> I used Whole Wheat Pastry flour because I didn’t have garbanzo, but I’d prefer the garbanzo which doubles the protein)
  • 3/4 C brown sugar  –> I used 1/2 cup regular sugar with 1tbs of maple syrup because I ran out of brown sugar
  • 1/4 C ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Cooked Quinoa


  • 1 C skim/low fat milk (or non-dairy substitute)  –> soy milk
  • 1 large egg –> 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C dark chocolate chips  –> Sunspire Carob Chips

You can find the instructions on Anne’s site, it’s basically mix the wet and dry separately, then add wet to dry, and bake!

Makes 8 bars.  Nutrition:

Calories 216
Fat 4.5g – 7%
Carb 40g – 13%
Fiber 3.5g – 14%
Protein 3g – 6%


On to the Salad.  I kept it simple with Spinach and mixed greens, tempeh (using my go to recipe and method), and steamed green beans.  If I can get my hands on some kumquats, I intend to throw some in!  Dressed with an all-natural dressing I had on hand, Cindy’s Kitchen Balsamic Vinaigrette.


“Brie ” and Green Apple Wrap

Now for dinner, I got the idea of wanting a cheese-y wrap…but without the cheese.  I thought of Cashew cheese which I’ve heard of before, and wanted to do some research on other types of nut cheese since Cashews aren’t exactly the healthiest member of the family.  Google brought me to this super awesome website, Rawmazing, with a page dedicated solely to nut cheeses.  Score!  With the idea of a brie and apple wrap, I set off with this slightly altered recipe:

  • 1 cup almonds, soaked, drained and skins removed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil1 clove garlic
  • Pinch of salt (shoulda used more, maybe a full ts)

Pretty tastey…albeit a little too garlic-y and not enough salt.  Great counter balance to tart green apples 🙂

Skipped the wrap part today.  Great tip for keeping apples from browning before lunch: damp paper towel.

Nutrition:  1/10 recipe, about 1.5 tbs

Calories 80
Fat 7g – 10%
    Saturated fat .6g – 2%
Carbs 2.5g
Fiber 1.21g
Protein 2.5g – 4%