The chief enemy of creativity... is "good" sense. ~Pablo Picasso

A clean fiend

Well if there was any doubt about running out of cleaning supplies this year... Please don't fret ;) anyone who knows my mother won't be surprised at this latest revelation...

As I was doing a little cleaning the other day it felt like I was playing a game of memory. I had a can of Pledge in my hand and I put it down somewhere. A few minutes later I was under the sink looking for something else and saw a can of Pledge. A little confused I peeked around the corner just to verify this wasn't the one I had just been using. Nope. I had two. And upon another sweep under the kitchen cabinet it turns out... I actually had three.

I took a deep breath and nodded my head... After some research it became obvious that much like my overflow of toiletries epidemic... There's a surplus of cleaning supplies at my house too. I'd like to place all the blame on Costco. But it's the holidays... So I'll blame my mother! Ha

After research and revelation... I have two and in some cases three of each cleaning solvent. Comet, Clorox Wipes Windex, toilet bowl cleaner, etc. enough to fill two laundry baskets... Mom... Wanna come "visit" ;)

Collegiate Christmas Cookies

I have a sweet tooth. But it's a very specific sweet tooth. Most of the time I can scroll through a dessert menu and walk away... because to me, it's not even worth wasting the calories on half of it. 

I prefer, warm, doughy, gooey, chocolate or vanilla, usually no fruit and if possible... undercooked. 
Salmonella - been there done that, but never with dessert and I've eaten more dough than actual baked goods so the track record is looking good. 

That being said, there is one baked good I will devour in dough form and in baked form. My sister-in-laws sugar cookie recipe. I don't even really like sugar cookies, unless they are so soft they fall apart as you pick them up. I probably undercook them slightly but as far as I'm concerned, a snappy cookie is as good as trash. 

If I "overcook" (to the time the recipe calls for) and they turn out hard. I'd just as soon throw them away. It sounds wasteful, I know, a little hypocritical during this whole being less wasteful stuff, but I'm embarrassed to even GIVE snappy cookies away. Of course the irony is that some people prefer snappy cookies, and therefore there are probably just as many people who hate my super soft cookies. Well, my brother has turned my hair green via swirlies with 2,000 flushes blue, I suffered through bad teeth, braces, bangs, mullets, perms, an off handed comment from JuanPelota about my home state... so I think I can handle if you don't like my mushy cookies :)

That being said, I try to win hearts by personalization... ha so these were a few of the "Christmas" cookies I gave out this year.

I'm no Martha... but damn they taste good. 

Bikes on Mantles...

With the holidays upon us comes tree trimming and outdoor lighting and in my case, attempting to make homemade ornaments for my friends. 
Well so far, they're not so great. 
I mean heck, if I'm hanging Xenergy cans on my tree, imagine what that box of ornaments I'm sending you looks like...

Ok, so maybe I need to spend a little more time with Martha or Nate next year but I'm still adamant that trees and decor should reflect you and/or your family. 

For example, my parents have a brown piece of construction paper that is the size of my preschool foot, with light brown construction paper "antlers" that are the size of my preschool hands and of course a red fuzzy nose just for good measure. 
It's an ornament I blessed them with (my first go round) at preschool, and it still, very carefully gets hung on their tree each year. 

Some people have those really nice looking tress, that usually sit in those really nice looking (hardly ever used-sometimes even forbidden) front rooms that the world can see as they walk down the sidewalk... While the real Christmas tree, complete with the homemade ornaments sits in the real living room where the real people live. 

Well... I don't have a nice front room with nice unused furniture, therefore I do not have nice, but meaningless ornaments either. 

Therefore... you can probably gather that I also don't own a lot of fine art, or heirloom statues to adorn my mantle either. Nor should I. I mean really... do I seem like the Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn living room person? I'd have that stuff broken in no time...
And yet... I still find myself looking at all their nice stuff...

It dawned on me as I was writing the Christmas card this year, that all the pictures I was including were pictures that included bikes. No cute professional holiday pictures with the dog or beach shots of that non-existent get-away... because, let's be honest... we don't have either of those pictures. 
We have bikes. 

And so instead of scouring the thrift stores hoping to run across an abandoned Pottery Barn vase I can pawn off as my own... I've embraced that it just ain't gonna happen...
 I've been fighting this for awhile now... but without any new purchases this year, I suppose it was bound to happen.

Fine... just put it on the mantle. 

However... if Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel were to design a bike... I'm pretty sure this orange and gray, accented with vintage leather handles and seat... would be it. 

It's the Trek District

Even their logo says... "Where fashion meets functional"

According to recording Great, and classy... artist Ke$ha... "We are who we are" :)

Lew, Lew, Lew :)

I'm in love. It's kind of all or nothing with me. 
One of the people I love is my 81 year old Ironman Great, Lew Hollander. 
If you've read "My midnight date with a Great" - you probably love him too. If you haven't read it - a quick run through will bring you up to speed, but get some tissues :)

I had three hours to kill in the Houston airport yesterday. Headed back from Miami. FYI I have a lot of people ask me which race is my favorite. I've never really had an answer... but after this weekend, Miami was certainly one of the best race weekends... ever.
My voice is gone after that race  this weekend - for good reason of course... and so my usual go-to (talking to someone to pass time) wasn't going to work. 
Then the magazine wall called me. 
Since magazines are on the "illegals" list this year, I just thumb through a few of them from time to time just to make sure I know what year it is and move on...
 and usually buy some Nibs or Fig Newtons or something. 

The headlines make me ill. More Teen Mom drama, or Kardashian Khaos, Demi is too skinny and Will and Jada??? There's really no need to even flip through them. 

Real Simple is more up my alley right about now. 
Maybe they'll help me out with this whole homemade ornament idea that so fair has been nothing but an #epicfail. 
I'm not entirely sure what that means but I see it a lot on facebook... so I'll give it a whirl. 

Well near Real Simple and some of the magazines that actually offer some sort of "content" I notice someone I recognize. And not the usual suspect. It's a triathlete named Andreas Raelert. and not on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It's Outside Magazine.

Intrigued I pick it up and take a look...but it's when I open it... that my heart starts to flutter...

 There he is. My buddy Lew. The oldest Ironman finisher, 2 time defending age group champ (80+ division) and one of those guys who just always brings me to tears. 

Of course... cover model Andreas Raelert certainly doesn't disappoint the eyes either... :)

I'm know being featured in my blog was probably flattering... ha but to make it in Outside Magazine... Glad I can say I knew you when Lew :) I hope next year you'll land the cover. 

A little kick in your Christmas step

So it seems everyone is posting pictures of their Christmas trees online this year...

Well, before you judge my tree, let's paint a little picture. 
I'll be Bob Ross... you be, the awestruck PBS Saturday afternoon viewer. 

Some people say I'm hyper - I prefer energized.
Others might call me A.D.D. 
 Maybe it's just that I can think outside the box, and bun, the bag....look squirrel!

I suppose it's true...when I wake up in the morning, my mouth usually opens the same time my eyes do.
That being said, every once in a while I need a little pick me up.

Coffee is ok, in a pinch but it can make my stomach feel ill.
And most energy drinks just have that weird aftertaste.

Most... energy drinks. 

I've become rather enamored with an energy drink I tried a few years ago. 
One night I was desperate...  I had to go out to the clubs. 
It sounds awkward just remembering it, and I'm sure my face echoed the sentiment. 
You see, normally, when the sun goes down... I go down. As in, asleep. 
I am not... a big 'clubber'

Part of my "job" is to keep the dance party going on the finish line at our big races... and I have found one energy drink never lets me down.
 It's pumped full of B Vitamins, it doesn't have a weird aftertaste and no weird jittery feelings either. 

So... you're probably wondering where I'm going with this....

What do you do when you've vowed not to buy anything new for a year, but you don't really have cool ornaments, and your'e a little impatient 
(maybe because you've already made a load of crappy homemade ornaments for the poor souls who are friends with someone who can't buy you a sweet, new, real gift?).
.. you rummage through the recycling. 

My recycling happens to have a LOT of shiny Xenergy cans....

I'm hoping since they're the official energy drink of the UFC... it doubles as a security system for any peeping toms. ha

Food for (Christmas) Thought...

So where I live, it's not actually beginning to look at all like Christmas... But it almost is.

This is something I've had a little anxiety about since this whole nothingnewforayear thing started.
My thoughts have gone from, the feeling that I really don't want other people suffering through homemade gifts just because of a choice I made this year... to - the reality that for most of the people in my life who I would normally give "gifts" to... they don't really NEED a lot... to the time honored homage that the holiday season isn't really, and shouldn't be focused on material gifts, but the gifts and opportunities and families we are all grateful for. 

With all that being said, it is tradition to give gifts and Lord knows I love traditions.
So... I've been paying close attention to my friends "needs" more than their "wants" if that makes sense and the only thing people really "need" to survive is food. (and water) right??
 Yes Mom, we also need love :)

Well good news... Food is in! Bad news, the food that travels well, are foods made with preservatives, ie, candy, baked goods, etc :)
 I think we can all agree we have plenty of holiday parties with trays of tempting sweets and most people usually find themselves with too much at the end of the holiday season. 

Of course during my research over the last few weeks Kim Kardashian decides to get a divorce. Big question arises... what will they do with all their gifts? According to Emily Post and the wedding etiquette teams around the world, if the marriage doesn't last a year, the gifts are supposed to be given back. Well it seems Kim K decided she'd rather donate to charities instead... I'd like to see the documentation on that one, but it did dawn on me that perhaps I could do the same...

I know this has become a new trend at weddings: 
in lieu of party favors we've taken that money and made a donation to a good charity, etc

I work a lot with the running community where a HUGE trend has people running to raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, Team Future, etc. 

Of course food is in the "ok" column right... so what if I donated to Food Banks on behalf of my friends?! 

It sounds ingenious! 


So here's the big question. 
Would you rather
1. Receive a package in the mail that has this imprint?

2. Receive notice that a donation to a food bank in your name has been given...


I'm really looking for some opinions... you can even remain anonymous or unanimous as my niece says! ha

I confess... I Bathe(d)

Ok. so the rule was, no taking hotel toiletries out of the hotel. 


Not all hotel toiletries are created equal. 
These are particularly good smelling and quality goods.
I can promise you that the Holiday Inn Express in Brooklyn, did not offer the same amenities that THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay provided... On second thought, were there ANY toiletries at the Holiday Inn Express??

The same goes for overseas flights! Have you ever flown Emirates Airlines??? 
Me either! But I have a friend who after druling over his complimentary toiletry kit from his flight gave it to me... it was that impressive. That was also more than a year ago, but I still have the little cologne sample!

It comes with Bulgari fragrances for Pete's sake!

Anyway... I made an executive decision that this was one exception to the rule, especially considering the fact that I probably had to use up my own stuff at the Holiday Inn Express... right? 
The other clarification I'd like to make is that I only brought home what was left in the bottles, I did not rob the cart in the hallway for extra. 

Yes, I know that happens. I know that because, at the Lodge at Vail... they give out Haribo gummy bears with their daily cleaning and I've been a culprit of that offense. There. I said it. 

Someone also reminded me that I am the "boss" of this whole nothingnewforayear, but I've got a terrible Poker face and I knew it was bound to come out sometime. 

P.S. I was confessing this to one of my co-workers (who concurred my decision was justified
And she said La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, CA has hands down the best toiletries.... just FYI :)

Maybe we should start a hotel toiletries review board like Zagats... or Yelp...

Gatorade/Grand Columbian 140.6 Video #3

Something's gotta go!

I sinned in Sin City! well... kinda
I was in Las Vegas this weekend working and apparently the dress I brought for the "Stiletto Dash" wasn't quite "Vegas" enough. 

Good news... or bad news is, they put someone else in charge of rectifying the situation. A few hours later I got word that a different outfit had been arranged for me... Gold and sparkly... the dress that is made with Vegas in mind! 

I was going to be accompanied by Brooke Burke for a little while and we all know what that means... you just try your best to not appear as an ugly stepsister - hard to do next to a woman like that but... thankfully most of the pictures turned out like this... Brooke in full view with a shot of the side of my head :) 

Heather Ford also came decked out in sparkly garb so I guess it's good someone was looking out for me and my lack of sparkles. 

What you can't see are the shoes I was lucky enough to wear...

The entire event was benefiting Opportunity Village - a local employer of people with disabilities and Operation Smile and... a 3rd grade teacher went home the big winner. Someone who can really benefit from an extra $5,000.

... of course this means one of my pairs of shoes and a dress must go. Unfortunately I don't think I own a pair of shoes that is of equal value but I'm going to rummage around and see what I can find that might add up! ha. wish me luck

Striped Socks...

So I have a small obsession with tall socks. I'm not exactly sure when it started or why, but I have managed to incorporate it into part of my job... which justifies it. Thankfully. Only problem... no new socks this year. I have plenty, don't get me wrong, but I do love them. 
Since I haven't been "shopping" at retail stores in the past few months I haven't really been privy to what I've been missing... until today. 
I'm in Las Vegas for our Rock 'n' Roll Marathon this weekend and I was hungry. Started walking around the hotel for something to eat... and what do I find...

And this is only what could fit into the picture. All the walls were lined. 
Many scenarios went through my mind. 
These were the two most logical... 

1. It's a work expense... does it count?


2. What if I hit the black jack tables, made money I wouldn't have had anyway and used that... does it count then? (Presupposing I actually would win anything of course)