Showing posts from December, 2014

2014 Reflections

2014 was a really fun and memorable year!  I read more, traveled more, ran more, blogged more, saved more money, stayed healthy, practiced yoga more consistently, managed stress more effectively, and spent quality time with friends.  I added another continent to my list of places traveled and we had an incredible honeymoon in Ecuador.  I competed in more races than ever before, including two half marathons and a really tough off-road triathlon.  I became involved in the Girls on the Run nonprofit organization and took on more leadership opportunities at work.  I watched several good friends marry the loves of their lives.  I got to know my niece, Rielle, and celebrated the birth of my cousin's son, Oliver.  I ran with my dad in his first 5K in Minnesota, paddle boarded with my mom in Virginia Beach, had sisters' weekend in Nashville, and spent an amazing weekend in Chicago with my brother.  I celebrated my first anniversary with my incredible husband, and we started the proces…

Best Books of 2014

This year was a big year for reading!  I had a goal of reading a book per week, and was able to surpass that and read 56 books altogether.  There was a great variety -- from novels, mysteries and thrillers, to biographies, nonfiction and travel books.  I love to read because it gives me the chance to escape into unexplored territory, to view ideas from a new perspective, and to broaden my own views and beliefs.  Here were my favorite 10 books of the year:

The Books that Changed Me in 2014:
(including a few re-reads)

Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura 
Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood
Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, by Alexandra Horowitz
The Giver, by Lois Lowry
Beach Music, by Pat Conroy
Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

And a few runners-up...

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
The Round House, …

Ricotta Cheese Cookies

I was introduced to Ricotta Cheese cookies in college and they have become my favorite holiday cookie.  Whenever I bake them I am reminded of the wonderful Christmas seasons I spent in my sorority house, where the only way to survive Gen Chem and Histology finals was to play holiday music over the intercom system, drag the Christmas trees and ornaments down from the (haunted) attic, and procrastinate on Sunday afternoons by baking cookies and lounging around the kitchen.

I am making a bunch of these to bring home to Minnesota next week, and since the recipe yields a large batch I'm sure I'll be bring a few plates to work as well!  The ricotta cheese keeps these cookies moist and fluffy, so they almost have a cake-like consistency, and the glaze is absolutely the best part.  They stay fresh for several days and are a huge hit at every gathering.  Enjoy!

Modified from

2 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks butter, softened
15 ounces ricotta …

Holiday Running Streak 2014

Today is Day 18 out of 36 of my second annual Holiday Running Streak!  The  HRS is a nation-wide challenge from Runner's World to run at least one mile each day between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.  This is often the most difficult time of the year to maintain fitness, with countless commitments, errands to run, food to prepare, gifts to wrap, parties to attend, traveling, etc.  However, it's also the most important time to make exercise a priority as we are constantly tempted by cookies, large buffets, grande peppermint mochas, food-centered work functions, calorie-filled cocktails, and general laziness as we watch Elf for the eighth time and watch the snow fall.  (Confession: Even my breakfasts involve dessert during the holidays.  I supplemented my oatmeal with a Ferrero Rocher candy and white chocolate covered Oreo this morning.  Oops!)  
For me, the HRS isn't about training (I don't have any races in the near future), and it's not about weight loss (su…

Winter Hiking and Macaroon Kiss Cookies

It's been unseasonably warm in Santa Fe lately (as previously mentioned, as our Jingle Bell Run was in 40+ degree weather), but we did get a few inches of snow last night, just in time for opening weekend at the Santa Fe Ski basin!  I didn't make it up to the slopes this weekend, but I did take Kua on a snowy hike along the Winsor Trail.  

The beginning of the hike was a little slushy, but as we ventured deeper into the woods there was definitely enough snow for snowshoes.  The fresh snow along the trail and lining the tree branches was so beautiful.  Every time the wind blew we got a light dusting of flakes.  Kua had a blast prancing in the fluffy snow and taking in all the sights and smells!  The road up the mountain was icy, deterring many from driving all the way to the top, so it was pretty quiet up on the trail this morning.  

After hiking, I won "Wife of the Year" award for trying out a new cookie recipe - Coconut Macaroon Kiss cookies!  These are so delicious, …

Jingle Bell Run

Today was the first annual Santa Fe Jingle Bell Run for Girls on the Run!  This was the 5K race that my girls in Girls on the Run have been working toward for the past 12 weeks, and was also open to other runners and people in the community. When it was originally announced that our end-of-the-season race would be in December, the other coaches and I anticipated bitter cold temperatures and snow, but we were fortunate to have an extremely warm week in Santa Fe and temperatures in the 40s for our race!

A little background information about the program... Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a national non-profit organization that provides healthy lifestyle education to girls in 3rd through 5th grade.  It is a curriculum-based after school program that meets twice a week and teaches the girls important lessons about relationships, teamwork, peer pressure, decision making, and health through activities, games and running.  Throughout the season, participants make new friends, build their confidence…