Friday Favorites 12/12

Did anyone else notice the subject line of J. Crew’s promo email yesterday morning? “News Flash: You have 2 weeks to get gifts.” Great, thanks very much for that reminder, kind folks at J. Crew. I definitely wasn’t already stressed out about how quickly time is flying by or anything like that. Nope, no panic to be seen here.

I confess, I’m having a hard time really embracing the holiday vibe this year. I’m hoping that all changes this weekend, though. I’ve got plans to bake Christmas cookies tomorrow with some family, and on Sunday my mom and I are taking my grandmother to Wayside Inn to celebrate her 91st birthday. We spent a lot of holidays there when I was growing up, but it’s been well over ten years since I’ve been out there, so I’m looking forward to it.

To help me get into the spirit, I’m making today’s Friday Favorites holiday-themed and sharing all of my favorite ways to get into the Christmas spirit. Once again, I’m joining with Heather @ Housewife Glamour, Katie @ Running4Cupcakes, and Clare @Fitting It All In for today’s link up. Make sure to check out these awesome hosts and show some love to the other bloggers joining in this link up!

Favorite Christmas Song

It’s not Christmas until I hear this song for the first time… and then proceed to play it every day, sometimes multiple times a day, until the tree comes down and I concede that the season has past. Few things bring a smile to my face like this version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

Favorite Christmas Cookie

Pizzelles were the very first cookie I ever learned how to make. My grandmother had the iron pictured in this recipe, and we would make stacks and stacks of these cookies every Christmas. I don’t have the faintest idea why my grandmother, who came from 100% Irish stock, owned a pizzelle iron, or why she started making these cookies, but she passed the tradition along to me. When I was in high school, our heavy iron cookie press broke, and we bought one of the nonstick versions, but the cookies were never the same. The nonstick cookie iron couldn’t get the cookies thin and crunchy enough for my taste, so I stopped making them. Earlier this year, though, a mysterious package arrived without warning at our doorstep; my uncle had found a replacement for our original, amazing pizzelle iron. I scoured the internet to find the original recipe we followed and I cannot wait to make these this weekend!

Favorite Christmas Movie

This is a tough one – White Christmas came in a close second. But I have loved A Christmas Carol ever since I first read it as a child, and the Muppet version is second to none in my book when it comes to holiday movie entertainment. I knew I had found friends for life when my Mudderella teammates and dear friends confessed to sharing my deep, undying love for Gonzo as Charles Dickens, and last week we gathered together to kick off the season with wine, brie, and a laughter-filled showing of this holiday classic.

Favorite Homemade Christmas Treat

I can’t remember how I first stumbled across this recipe for bourbon spiced pecans, but they’ve become my go-to homemade holiday treat. I have been known to buy out the entire stock of pecans at my local Whole Foods in order to make these nuts, and I give them out to friends, coworkers, and as hostess gifts when attending holiday parties. I like to add more spices than what’s called for in the recipe – I particularly like ginger and nutmeg as well as cinnamon – and the easiest method is to make a huge batch of the spiced sugar at the outset, rather than measuring everything out for each batch. Pour a tasty bourbon cocktail to sip while you’re cooking and you’re good to go!

What are some of your favorite things at this time of year? How are you getting in the spirit? 

 

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Friday Favorites: Nov 14

Someday, all the lovely drafts I have waiting for my attention will see the light of day. Someday, they will become real posts. I promise I have lots of very valid excuses for the slow posting week! Once we get past November in my office, my real-world job should get back to a normal number of hours and leave me with some more time for this here blog.

I had my official measurements yesterday for the #6W2C challenge I’m doing at Studio Poise. I was bracing myself for bad news — seriously, October was a terrible horrible no-good very-bad month when it came to eating and exercising. However, I actually held steady in my legs and arms, and my chest, waist and hips are comparable to where I was at the midpoint of my previous challenge, so it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. I also wore jeans this morning that were a celebratory down-a-size purchase earlier in the summer, so it just goes to show, don’t trust the scale. I have been doing a lot more lifting and strength training and I’m excited to see that pay off as I clean up my diet and get back into the clean eating, meal-prep swing of things.

With that good news out of the way, how about we dive into a little Friday Favorites? Once again, I’m linking up with Housewife Glamour, Fitting It All In, and Running4Cupcakes. Make sure to check out the linkups and share some love with the other bloggers participating!

Favorite New Kitchen Purchase: TFal Nonstick Pan

Embarrassing confession: I have a master’s degree and graduated from an Ivy League university, but I was 29 years old before I learned how to properly cook an egg. I shudder to think about how much money I gave to local breakfast joints for egg sandwiches before I mastered the art of a fried egg! Omelets, however, continued to elude me. I just could not get the hang of it – until this pan entered my life. The nonstick surface is amazing, and the heat indicator in the center of the pan tells me when it’s time to add the eggs. BAM, suddenly I can cook omelets like a pro. And yes… this does mean I’ve had an omelet for dinner pretty much every night this week after getting home from the gym. I am keeping the egg industry in business these days.

Favorite Treat Yo’ Self Moment: Sunday Dinner at Loretta’s 

Country bar demands country hair. Also, is it just me, or do drinks just taste better when served in mason jars?

Country bar demands country hair. Also, is it just me, or do drinks just taste better when served in mason jars?

Have I mentioned that I really, REALLY love country music? I do. A lot. So when I needed to pick a place to meet friends for dinner and drinks Sunday night before the Andrew McMahon concert, I suggested Loretta’s Last Call, a relatively new addition to the Fenway area here in Boston. I had heard good things about the food there – yummy Southern homestyle cooking! – and the drinks were supposed to be amazing (ALL. THE. MOONSHINE.) We were super excited to find that they had a band playing covers of current pop-country to accompany our dinner. The vibe of the place was great! Now, this dinner definitely fell into the “cheat meal” category, but I had taken a spin class earlier that day and was prepared to dance my butt off at the concert, so I didn’t feel too bad. I will also say that compared to some other Southern restaurants I’ve been to, both in Boston and elsewhere, the portions at Loretta’s felt very reasonable. Sure, you’re still eating fried chicken, but it’s not an entire bird on your plate plus a mountain of sides, so it’s not as unhealthy as it could be. I’m really excited to come back here with friends who are bigger fans of country music, as I think they’ll love the place as much as I did!

Favorite Beauty Tool: Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1

I swear, as soon as November hits, my skin starts warring against me. My lips, in particular, are definitely NOT fans of cold weather. I have had issues with chapped and peeling lips for my entire life, and I’ve tried basically every lip balm on the market – from the $2 Chapstick at the CVS checkout all the way up to the super pricy Fresh Sugar Lip Balm (which IS amazing… but I can’t justify $25 for a tube of something that I am absolutely 100% going to lose multiple times over the course of the winter). I got a tube of Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1 in a gift set a few winters ago, and it totally changed my life. I have tubes of this stashed everywhere – in my purse, in my desk drawer at work, in the pocket of my ski jacket, you get the picture. At $7, it’s a price I’m comfortable spending, especially since the tube seems to last forever. It’s the only thing that can keep my lips looking and feeling good through the harsh New England winters. I like to look for gift sets around this time of year – Kiehl’s offers great gift combos, and last year I picked up several 4-packs of the lip balm in a variety of flavors. I gave them out as stocking stuffers for friends, and kept a few for myself, as well.

Disclaimer: I haven’t been paid by any of the above-referenced companies. These are all things I genuinely love, and I’m not getting anything in return for mentioning them on this lil’ blog. 

Friday Favorites: 11/7

Is anyone else feeling like this week deserves an extra-special celebration just for getting through to Friday? I don’t know if it’s because of the time change or just an exceptionally crazy time at work, but this week has been rough. I am looking forward to the weekend, even if it is jam-packed. Without further ado, let’s jump into this week’s roundup!

Favorite Fall Recipe: Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup

Image courtesy of PopSugar – click through for recipe.

I never really loved squash when I was a kid, but I’ve come around as an adult, and now I look forward to autumn because it means the return of tasty squash-based dishes! Butternut squash soup is one of my favorite fall recipes, but it can be deceivingly high in calories if you add heavy cream to thicken it. FitSugar shared this dairy-free slow cooker recipe earlier this week, and I made it yesterday. It made six 2-cup servings (I love these Ziploc containers for soup – they seal really well so I don’t have to worry about lunch bag leaks, and they hold a perfect 2 cup serving). Each serving comes in under 300 calories. I’ll likely eat the full two cups for a filling lunch, or have half a serving alongside a salad or sandwich. I love the idea of using white beans in place of dairy to cut calories while retaining the richness of the soup! I will say that this recipe, as provided by FitSugar, is a bit on the bland side. I used 4 cups vegetable stock and 2 cups chicken stock which helped, and next time I will bump up the spices – salt alone is not enough! This time around, I’ll likely add salt & pepper, and possibly a bit of hot sauce, to my servings when heating them up to kick up the flavor.

Favorite Fall Resolution: Use the Office Basement Gym!

Arms day in the office gym!

Earlier this year, my office building opened a new gym in the basement, which is free for all employees to use. It’s a small space and is pretty basic, but does have everything you need to fit in a decent workout. I find that between running, at-home DVDs and my studio classes, I’m getting plenty of cardio, but I could use more weight training in my life. Body Pump has filled that need at home, but I don’t always feel like waking up early to do a DVD. I made a resolution to begin using the work gym more often, and to help with this commitment, a friend and I set up biweekly gym appointments in our Outlook calendar. I love having someone to help keep me accountable, and I’m using this time to focus more on weights and on strength exercises. On Tuesday I tried out these resistance band exercises with mixed results – my legs were so sore the next day but I didn’t love the core or arms offerings, so I’m on the hunt for more types of band exercises to try (please leave recommendations in the comments if you’ve got any that you really love!) And yesterday, I focused on arms. I did Body Pump Pump & Burn at home before work, but that 35-minute DVD focuses on legs, core, and back. I didn’t want to neglect my arms, and this printable workout was perfect. I started with 10lb weights and hope to build up from there!

Favorite Shopping Find: Ebates!

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Okay, maybe I am really behind the times here, but a friend recently told me about Ebates and I am totally jazzed about the site. Retailers pay Ebates a fee for referring shoppers to their sites. When you make a purchase, those retailers pay Ebates – and Ebates returns a percentage of that income to you! The homepage features sales and deals, and they also have promotions for double or triple cash back. Earlier this week Nordstrom was 9% back in combination with their clearance sale, so my first Ebates purchase earned me almost $15 cash back! I’m not getting paid to advertise this site, I just think it’s a really smart way to get some money back if you’re already a high volume online shopper. Check it out and sign up today! (Disclaimer – while I’m not being paid for this, the link above is an affiliate link — I do get a bonus if you sign up using my link. Thank you for your support!)

Housewife Glamour

You may have noticed that the title this week changed from “Friday Roundup” to “Friday Favorites.” I’m linking up with Housewife Glamour, Running4Cupcakes and Fitting it All In for their Friday Favorites series! Check her out and click around to some of the other bloggers sharing their favorite things from this week. Have a great weekend!

Friday Roundup: 10/31

Happy Halloween! How are you celebrating this holiday? I already had one costume party last weekend and have another tonight – plenty of chances to show off my costume! I need to take some great pictures while I’m all dressed up tonight and I’ll share those in the next few days.

I’m taking a slightly different approach with this week’s roundup. Since I’ve been traveling this week and haven’t had a chance to post, I thought I’d take the opportunity to write up a recap of the past week, highlighting some of the fun things going on in my life!

Last weekend, I spent Saturday evening at a Halloween party hosted by my dear friend Stephanie and her husband Matt. Stephanie is the creative mind behind Sandpaper & Glue, and I don’t know anyone who loves Halloween as much as she does!

I had a minor costume malfunction halfway through the evening, but I figured all would be well – a DIY queen’s home is the perfect place to be when you need to fix something! Unfortunately, Steph and I had both been active participants in the champagne flip cup earlier that evening, and we went a little overboard with the spray glue…

Let this be a lesson to you all: Don't attempt to DIY after an hour of champagne flip cup.

Let this be a lesson to you all: Don’t attempt to DIY after an hour of champagne flip cup.

I spent Sunday at a baby shower for my friend Jenn. The party was lovely, and Jenn looked amazing! She’s going to be a great mama when Baby Zoey arrives in a few months, and I can’t wait to meet her. Jenn’s shower gave me an excuse to break out my hot rollers again – aka my new style obsession. I’ve always had super straight hair and usually wore it in a bob, so now as I’m growing it out I’m experimenting for the first time with other styles. I am 29 years old and I honestly never knew my hair could look like this. MAGIC.

It took me 29 years to discover that my hair could look like this. In my defense, my mom gave me some truly terrible haircuts over the first ten years of my life, but that's an issue for me to tackle with my therapist.

It took me 29 years to discover that my hair could look like this. In my defense, my mom gave me some truly terrible haircuts over the first ten years of my life, but that’s an issue for me to tackle with my therapist.

Unfortunately I couldn’t linger at the shower, as I had to make my Amtrak train to New York City that afternoon for a few days of training. I had to spend my days cooped up in an office building working through meetings, but that left my evenings free and clear! I went to college in NYC and love any opportunity to be back in my favorite home away from home, and this trip was no different.

flywheel collage

Monday night, I took my first Flywheel class at their Chelsea location. Flywheel Sports is a national chain that offers a unique spinning experience. Every bike is outfitted with a small monitor to help you measure your resistance (or “torq”), your RPMs, and your overall effort/output. You can also opt into the class’s “torq board,” which shows how your effort compares to others in the class. I am super competitive so I loved this feature, and I was pretty pumped to come in fourth place among females, especially after a very tiring workday! Best of all, the class was taught by a friend of mine, and he definitely helped to push me harder – he even called me out at one point! If you’re in the city, be sure to check out Matt R.’s classes – he’s a great guy and a great instructor! I don’t know how often I’ll be able to make it to the Flywheel Boston location (in the Prudential), but I definitely want to go back again at some point in the future, and it’s great to know that this is a chain I enjoy for when I’m traveling to cities with franchise locations.

I could fib and tell you that Flywheel was indicative of my overall wellness on this trip… but actually, it was an effort to offset some less-than-healthy choices. I left Monday’s class and proceeded to meet a friend at a bar, where we indulged in 20 cent wings and delicious fall beers while watching Monday Night Football. Balance is super important for overall wellness, and my mental health definitely benefitted from this night out.

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. Most of my time was spent on work, and I didn’t get to fit in a run along the Hoboken waterfront as I had hoped. I stayed in the W Hoboken, and there were some beautiful running paths with views of the NYC skyline – I’ll definitely keep this in mind for my next visit and will make sure to pack my sneakers and GPS watch.

Since I hadn’t worked out, I wanted to be mindful of my eating choices for the rest of the trip. I expected this to be nearly impossible on Wednesday as we were returning to Boston. The last time I took Amtrak, several years ago, there were pretty limited options in Penn Station – and yes, there are still a ton of fast food places. I’d be lying if a crunch wrap supreme didn’t dance through my head when I saw the Taco Bell sign! However, I was super excited to find a takeout place called Chickpea. I was able to get a hummus bowl with grilled chicken, an assortment of fresh chopped veggies, some feta and tzatziki. It was filling and delicious – I may need to recreate this meal idea at home! I love that healthy options are becoming easier to find when traveling.

photo 2

I also keep healthy snacks on hand when I’m away from home. These almonds saved my life before class on Monday night! I like to have access to nuts, healthy bars (like Larabar), and fruit, so that I’m not tempted by the hotel minibar or the candy for sale on the train. Whenever I fly, or head out for long road trips, I always make sure I have my bag of snacks handy! I also keep a water bottle handy so that I stay hydrated. When you’re on the road, it’s easy to neglect your hydration, which wreaks havoc on your skin and on how you feel. I find that bringing my own reusable bottle helps me to remember to keep drinking water throughout the day, instead of continually refilling the free coffee on hand during meetings.

What tips or tricks do you have to stay healthy while traveling?

Friday Roundup: 10/24

I have to say, these Friday Roundups might just be my favorite part of the week! All week long I mentally save things to put in this post. This has been a trying week (more family health drama!) but looking forward to writing this post has helped me to keep a positive mindset.

I’m going to be traveling through Wednesday of next week for work, so posts will be sparse for a few days. I will try to sneak something in while I’m gone, but I make no promises! Apologies in advance – I promise to be a better blogger in November. Now, on to the good stuff!

Kitchen Excitement: New Lasagna Pan & Cookbook

photo 1

I have to say, surprise presents are definitely the best presents. A box showed up on my door yesterday containing this gorgeous All Clad lasagna pan and Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian CookingConfession time: I adore Italian food. It’s my favorite food to eat, yes, but it’s also my favorite cuisine to cook as well! Americanized Italian food (think chicken parmesan, with fried chicken cutlets drenched in melted cheese) is definitely not even remotely healthy, but true Italian food can actually fit really neatly into a clean eating meal plan, as long as you seek out high quality ingredients and are careful to keep your macros balanced. Marcella Hazan is credited with introducing classic Italian methods and cuisine to America, and I’m really excited to dive into this cookbook. Nerd confession time: my favorite cookbooks aren’t filled with glossy photos perfected by food stylists. They’re books like this one, light on imagery but heavy on history. This cookbook is filled with explanations of where recipes originated and detailed information on various ingredients – it aims to teach so much more than just the recipes. I’m also pretty giddy about this pan. It’s branded as a lasagna pan, but it’s a perfect size for roasting vegetables and smaller cuts of meat – I’m thrilled to not have to break out my gigantic turkey roaster whenever I want to roast something. So thank you, Uncle Richard – one of my most loyal blog followers from day one – for this wonderful, thoughtful gift. I promise that a proper written thank you note is on its way, but I also just had to share my excitement here on the blog, and I can’t wait to share some recipes!

Fitness Steal: Les Mills Pump On Sale!

pump edited

Before I joined Studio Poise, I had a membership with Boston Sports Club. I wasn’t the best at sticking to a workout schedule, but the one class I attended regularly was Les Mills’ Body Pump. I absolutely loved the workout, and I have to say that while I love everything about my SP classes, I do miss Body Pump. So I was totally pumped (I couldn’t help it…) to see that the at-home DVD and barbell set was on sale for 40% off, and contemplated the set for all of 30 seconds before placing an order. The photo above shows everything that came in the basic set – the DVDs, a nutrition guide and a program guide, plus the barbell and weights (two 10 lb plates and two 5 lb plates; I also added two 2.5 lb plates to my order). I’m psyched to add this into my ever-changing rotation of at home routines!

New Music: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

1-2-3 honesty, I’ve typed and deleted and retyped a paragraph about this album more times than I can count. I’ve been a fan of Andrew McMahon’s music for a long, long time – from his first band, Something Corporate, through his time headlining Jack’s Mannequin, and now am so excited to see his work as a solo artist. I could gush on and on about his music and completely embarrass myself, but instead I’ll just say this: trust me when I say that you need to give this album a listen. If you want to download the MP3s, you can order the album through Amazon, but it’s also available to stream through Spotify. 

Holiday Fun: Halloween Adventures

I’ll be honest, Halloween has never been my favorite holiday, but I can’t help but get excited when I see how seriously some of my friends take the holiday. (Don’t believe me? Check out Sandpaper & Glue – I would never show up to her Halloween party without a costume!) I hemmed and hawed over what to dress up as this year, because I refuse to buy a costume. For one thing, store bought costumes tend to be insanely expensive for a flimsy bit of cheap polyester; but more importantly, they all seem to be made for women who are significantly smaller than I am. No thank you! I did, however, find a costume online that inspired me, and I decided to dress up as a minion. I already own a denim dress that is reminiscent of the minions’ overalls, and I’ll wear it over a yellow long-sleeved shirt and yellow tights. Add in some craft store projects for the accessories and I’m pretty psyched about my homemade costume! I will share pictures after my Halloween parties over the next week or so, but if you follow me on Instagram you might get a sneak peek. And yes, I absolutely will be wandering around those parties speaking only in Minion-ese.

What’s your favorite cuisine to prepare – any healthy twists on favorite classics?
What are you dressing up as for Halloween?
Let me know in the comments!

Friday Roundup 10/10

The Real World is doing everything in its power to make me the Worst Blogger Ever. At the very least, I’m winning the Worst Blogger for October 2014 award. I promise there’s a lot going on behind the scenes – I’m working on some things with Pinterest, I’ve got a few recipes to share, and a few other posts are in early draft form. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to be a productive human in all the many areas of my life, and this past week, my real job that actually pays my salary had to be my top priority.

However, Friday Roundups are one of the easiest and most fun posts for me to write, so I have no excuse not to get this up here for you guys! Here are some of the things that I’m loving these days.

New Gadget: Garmin Forerunner 10

I recently treated myself to a Garmin Forerunner 10, a GPS-enabled watch to use when running. I had always relied on apps to track my runs, but I run with my phone zipped in a pocket, and I found myself really wanting to know my stats on distance and pace at a glance. I’m waiting until after my first race (next weekend’s 10K) to share an official review, but so far, so good! I am loving having my basic stats on my wrist, and tonight I plan to test the watch’s run/walk timing feature.

New Music: New Found Glory’s Resurrection

Will you guys still love me after I admit that my taste in music hasn’t really evolved since my high school days? New Found Glory is one of those nostalgic bands that I still really enjoy even now, more than 10 years after I first started listening to them. They released a new album earlier this week, and I am totally loving it. I can’t wait to hear some of the new material next week when NFG plays the House of Blues here in Boston! You can give the album a listen on Spotify, and if you love it as much as I do, then I highly recommend purchasing the MP3 album from Amazon. I pay $10/month so that I can stream Spotify from my phone and iPad, but when an artist I care about releases a new album, I always try to buy the album, even if it’s available for streaming. Streaming music services are great for consumers but not so much for artists, so if you want to support the musicians you enjoy, and you can afford to do so, I definitely recommend continuing to purchase music. (And now I’ll get off my soapbox, thanks for putting up with that little tangent!)

Something Silly…

This was shared on the “I F#@king Love Science” Facebook page earlier this week. I’m not sure if you guys have figured this out yet or not, but I’m kind of a super-nerd. This cracked me up – I actually sat at my desk laughing out loud for a minute after I first saw it, and I just had to pass it along.

Winter Treat: Stratton Season Pass

This is definitely my favorite thing about this week. As you might recall from earlier posts, I only started skiing a few years ago, and I am super excited for another season on the slopes. Earlier this week I got a promotional email from Stratton Mountain advertising their season pass rates, and I made the mistake of actually clicking through to check out the prices. Turns out there’s a pass – the Strattitude pass – that’s only available for skiers between the ages of 18-29. It’s only $299, and it’s good every day the mountain’s open – no blackout dates! A comparable pass jumps to $949 when you turn 30, so I took this as a sign from the universe that I need to spend the last winter of my 20s skiing at my favorite east coast mountain as much as possible.

Weekend Festivities: Cadillac Ranch

What’s Cadillac Ranch, you ask? Why, IT IS THE PLACE WHERE DREAMS COME TRUE. Caddy Ranch calls itself “New England’s Premiere Country Line Dancing Destination,” and my friends, they aren’t overselling it. It’s a country-themed bar in Connecticut that features line dancing and a mechanical bull, and it is easily one of my favorite places in the entire world. I try to go with my friends a few times a year, and we’re heading out there this weekend for some drinking and dancing. The photo above was taken on my birthday two years ago; they have sadly since gotten rid of Big Buck Hunter, but luckily I’ve gotten better at the line dances, so I can keep up with the regulars.

What are your plans for the weekend? Any fun finds from this week that you’d like to share?
Let me know in the comments!

Friday Roundup

T-G-I-mother-effing-F, guys. It has been a week. But Friday is finally here, and that means the weekend, and that means…

For the record, my 29-year-old self considers the following to be a successful, kick-ass weekend: getting off the wait list for Sunday morning piloxing, fitting in time for a pedicure, spending time on food prep for the coming week, and making it to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning before everything is already picked over. I know, I know. Try to contain your excitement, my life is beyond thrilling.

It’s been a completely insane week, so I was a little nervous that this roundup might be on the sparse side, but luckily my ADD internet habits paid off despite wall-to-wall meetings and personal commitments. What can I say? I’m a giver.

Book rec: Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You

Betsy Myers spoke at my office about a month ago, and I finally got around to purchasing her book this week. She served as the chief operations officer for Obama’s 2008 campaign, worked in the Clinton administration, spent several years at the Kennedy School, and currently serves as the founding director of Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business. Much of her insight rings true to me as a female in a management role, but it also resonates with my personal interest and investment in leadership and helping others to find their inner leaders. She organizes her book around seven basic tenets: authenticity, connection, respect, clarity, collaboration, learning, and courage. I highly recommend checking out this book – I’m loving it and it’s definitely helping me to improve my business skills.

Sunday Funday – The Quest for Healthier Football Snacks

Fall is here, and that means the triumphant return of Sunday Funday. I live for fantasy football, red zone, and spending my Sundays on the couch or at a bar watching the Patriots. Let’s be real for a minute here – it’s really freaking difficult to feel like I’m indulging in a relaxing Sunday Funday without totally undoing my healthy living efforts for the previous week. That means just saying no to the nachos and pitchers of beer, but I have been spending more time combing Pinterest for healthy twists on some of my favorite football snacks. I created a Sunday Funday Pinterest board to help keep track of my finds, and I’m very excited to try this Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Dip this weekend. I’ll be subbing low fat cream cheese and reduced fat shredded cheese, and may also incorporate some shredded chicken for a protein boost.  (Yes, I know that gif has absolutely nothing to do with healthy football snacks, but I will never ever ever skip the opportunity to share the #buttfumble. Sorry, not sorry.)

New Fitness DVDs to Try! The Firm Zip Trainer Medicine Ball Kit

I was at book club last night and mentioned offhand that I wanted to try a bosu ball style workout as one of my next adventures. One thing led to another, and I ended up leaving book club outfitted with this DVD set! Our super generous book club host (who happens to be my former AP English teacher and a kickass educational blogger – check out her stuff at Scholastic, the Center for Teaching Quality, and HuffPost.) offered up this set; she had tried it and it didn’t really click with her preferred workout style, so she passed it along to me to try out. I can’t wait to tackle this over the weekend and will definitely report back on my experiences!

 10K Training Update

As you may recall from last week’s Friday roundup, I signed up for my first 10K! I’ll be running the Firefighters’ Memorial 10K on October 19, 2014. I’m fundraising for College Bound Middle School in Dorchester, MA – click here to donate! – and have just about 5 weeks to get myself into decent enough running shape that I won’t be totally mortified by my time. On a friend’s recommendation, I decided to check out Jeff Galloway’s training program. Naturally his 10K training is set up for 13 weeks… so I’m a little behind the curve… but I’m willing to try anything! I tried Couch to 5K when I ran my first race last December and the program really didn’t work for me – I just wasn’t a fan. I’m excited to try Galloway’s system of alternating run/walk intervals to help improve my time and build up my endurance. Galloway is also the go-to training system for the RunDisney events, and as I’m hoping for my first half marathon to be the 2015 Wine and Dine half with Dheerja, I figured now is as good a time as any to try out the system. Updates to follow!

What were your highlights for the past week? Any tips for me as I approach my first 10K?