I Heart Geneva

Thank you to everyone for your inspiring words about tomorrow’s half marathon!  I went today to pick up my packet and although I am not super excited about tomorrow’s race, I’m not that nervous either.  I’m sure it will all hit me tomorrow morning, but it makes me feel better to know that you’re cheering me on! 




The good news about packet pick up today…this adorable new race shirt.




And…I got to try on the Brooks Pure Cadence shoes that I have been eyeing online.  I took them for a spin on the treadmill and I was impressed with how comfortable they are.  They felt like they were made for my feet.  I didn’t buy them YET because they are $120 AND I really want the bright blue color.




After picking up my gear, I headed 10 minutes south to the lovely town of Geneva.  I don’t know what it is about Geneva, but I seriously love it there.  The tree lined streets are quaint and old fashioned with some unique shops, restaurants and art galleries.






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The landscaping along the roads is bright and colorful, and there are gorgeous paths along the river for biking and running.


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I had a few places that I wanted to go, and I found a few new shops to explore.


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My first stop was the Olive Mill, where I walked out with two new bottles of olive oil and some recipes.


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My next stop was Starbucks for a warm drink.  However, as I rounded the corner, I saw tucked behind the Starbucks a Great Harvest Bakery.




I used to live near a Great Harvest and fell in love in with a few of their breads.  I didn’t even know there was one in Geneva, but I was thrilled to sample a few breads and cookies.  This bread freezes well, and I was so excited to take this warm, fresh bread home for a sandwich (although I did grab a slice in the car first).


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The next stop was Starbucks for a Green Tea Soy Latte, and then I headed back down the street to do some more shopping.




I discovered an adorable gift shop, and of course this BACON sign caught my attention.  I knew the BOY would love it!  Maybe it can be a ‘Happy Finals’ gift at the end of the semester.



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I had to head back to the tea shop that I enjoyed so much last year.  The Black Mango is a favorite, and I went through it quickly.  I got an even bigger bag this year and got some good tips on tea brewing from the owner. This store ships coffee and tea, so check out their website.




My last stop was the Spice House to stock up on some of our favorite seasonings. 




Now that the BOY has discovered how good these spices are, they are disappearing quickly.






Finally, I headed home with my car stocked with goodies!




Check out my stash!







Geneva reminds me a little bit of Door County, Wisconsin, which is one of my favorite places to visit.  Speaking of Door County, the BOY and I are already planning our DC getaway for this summer.  I can’t wait!  I had a fabulous Saturday shopping and exploring, and the kitchen is restocked with some of my favorite breads, teas, and spices.  You can bet that I dove right into some kitchen baking with a cold glass of ice tea when I got home!  Tasty recipes to come…after tomorrow’s race!

No Alarm Saturday

Today began with 9 incredible uninterrupted hours of sleep!  For me, one of the benefits of a Sunday race, is a Saturday DAY OFF from training.  The BOY is right in the middle of second semester finals, and I am typically up bright and early for long runs, so we both appreciated the extra time in bed.  It was a treat to sleep in and not jump right out of bed.  The day before a race, I like to eat a carby breakfast, so I offered to make the BOY and I pancakes or french toast (I was dreaming about these pancakes).  But, he wanted a bowl of cereal. 

PB+ Cheerios = I can’t say that I blame him!




I went with a breakfast stirfry.




And inspired by a South Beach omelet that I had last weekend, I added in some avocado.  It added a warm and gooey element to the eggs, which I topped with salsa.


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What a great breakfast!  (Even with today’s To-Do list in the background).




The bad thing about not starting my day with a long run is that I don’t really know what to do with myself.  Since the BOY will be spending his entire day at the library, I’m on my own.  My plan…go pick up my packet for tomorrow (which is near Geneva) and play in this fun city.  It doesn’t look like it will be as nice of a day as the last time I was there, but I do need to stock up at The Spice House.



Not the most traditional Cinco De Mayo, but I am looking forward to it!



How are you spending your day?  Are you celebrating Cinco De Mayo?

If you are, I definitely recommend these Grilled Fajitas.




And this Black Bean and Corn Dip or Cream Cheese Corn Dip.





Are you watching the Derby?  This Fruit Salsa is a healthy and refreshing appetizer for the early races!




And for dessert, I recommend this Elegant Chocolate Mousse or a crowd pleasing Kahlua Cake.





If you are having a no alarm Saturday like me, then there will be tons of time to get working in the kitchen.  And, all of these recipes are super quick and easy to make!



One last suggestion for you Chicagoans out there.  Check out the Green Festival at Navy Pier this weekend!!!


Enjoy your Saturday!!!

With an Extra hour A Day…

What would you do? 


My mom and I were chatting about this earlier in the week.  I feel like every day I am asking for an extra hour, so when she asked me what I would do, a list came pouring out.  It would be different each day, but I would…

  • do an hour of yoga
  • phone a friend
  • enjoy a meal sitting down at a table
  • clean
  • workout
  • cook a healthy meal
  • blog
  • watch a full TV show without interruptions
  • enjoy a cup of tea while reading a good book
  • take a walk with the BOY

So many ideas come to mind!!! Like many women, I always feel like there is not enough time in the day.  I like to try to get 8 hours of sleep per night.  There is always something that doesn’t get done, and I find myself wishing for just one extra hour.

Ironically, I ended up with some ‘found’ time today.  With the big storms that rolled through Chicago, we didn’t have power (including computer servers and phones) at work today and therefore, I got to leave early.  So…what did I do with my extra hours? 

  • I took a long overdue trip to Costco
  • then brought dinner over to a friend and her new baby
  • spent time hanging out with friend and of course the NEW baby!
  • baked a cake for the boy (yellow from a box with chocolate chips)
  • wrote some long overdue emails
  • baked Angela’s Vegan Zucchini Raisin Loaf
  • sent some June birthday cards
  • thought about balancing my checkbook but decided against it
  • prepared veggies from my CSA for dinner
  • and now I get to sit, blog, and enjoy an hour long TV show

And there’s still a few hours to go before bed time!

Luckily, it was my scheduled day off from training, so a great day to catch up on things around the house and enjoy dinner sitting down at the table.  I used the asparagus and Hakurei Turnips from my CSA box, added lemon juice, some seasoning, and roasted them on the grill.  The BOY took care of the meat and we enjoyed dinner in the dining room with some of my brother’s homemade brew.  And of course, the amazing zucchini bread for dessert!

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What would you do with an extra hour each day?

Don’t be shy…you know you’ve thought about it!

Adventures in Geneva (Illinois)

The BOY took Monday off of work and we spent the afternoon exploring Geneva, IL.  I started my day with a brutal hill workout at Palatine’s Payton’s Hill.  My Trainer and I went out there for 8 hill repeats (running) up a long and steep hill.  It was a hard workout, but I felt strong afterwards.  Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of the actual hill that we ran.

I have only been to Geneva once.  It is an adorable city along the Fox River with little shops and restaurants.  It reminds me of a smaller Door Country which is probably why I enjoy it so much.  One benefit of living way out in Suburbia is that Geneva is only 35 minutes away!  They have great bike paths and next time I go, I will definitely bring my bike.

Unfortunately, many of the businesses are closed on Mondays.  Luckily, we found a little Mexican place with an outdoor patio where we enjoyed a tasty lunch and some good conversation.

The menu had a light section and it even had lighter, no-sugar added versions of my favorite Mexican drinks. I ordered a Skinny Mojito and the BOY ordered a Cadillac Margarita.

For lunch,  I ordered Fish Tacos with black bean, corn, and pico salsa and a side of guacamole.  The salsa was unbelievable and the flavors really complimented the tacos.  The guac was chunky and wonderful! If we weren’t walking around afterwards, I would have taken a big container to go.

After lunch, we walked around downtown exploring the unique stores and enjoying the beautiful weather.  We made sure to stop into the best store, THE SPICE HOUSE, for refills on my favorites and as always, I walked out with a few new flavors to try.

In the end, we discovered a quaint little tea shop and an oil and vinegar store.  We bought some new tea flavors (perfect for making iced tea this summer) and a garlic olive oil.  I picked up three new spices from The Spice House, and we took some chocolate dried cherry bark (as seen above) in all three flavors and caramels to go.

We had a fabulous day in Geneva!  I almost felt like we were back on vacation.  I am looking forward to visiting again this summer for some biking, eating, and there’s always time for more shopping!  I’m sure I’ll be needing refills on my spices and teas!