September 30, 2011

My Dream Job

Recently, I was searching the world wide web (vintage) for crock-pot recipes because they are so convenient and usually easy-peasy. I found this sweeeeet crock-pot-recipe blog and started looking around her site to see what else she's writing about. I saw a link called "The CrockPot Diet" so I immediately clicked on it and read through the post. She referenced Jennette Fulda's blog and book, Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir, chronicling Jennette's weight loss of 186 pounds through diet and exercise alone. Since I received a handy-dandy nook for my birthday, I downloaded the book and went to her blog right away, formerly called PastaQueen, now called JenFul. Holy hell. This is what I hope to do with my blog: get paid to write about myself. I read some of the book online and the first 10 pages or so are MY LIFE. Granted, this woman was morbidly obese through her 20's and my story is not as extreme as hers by any means, but I'm sitting here nodding my head and thinking to myself "YES! YES! I know what you mean!!!" It's like she's speaking TO me. Needless to say, I can't stop thinking about going home and reading her book to see what else she has to say. Also, don't judge me for getting excited to go home and read.

Whenever I find a new, interesting blog, I like to read the first few posts to see how the blogger started and what he/she blogged about in the "early days." Jennette's second post on November 30, 2003 included 7 Habits of People Who Lose Weight and Keep It Off:

1) Expect failure, but keep trying
2) Don’t deny yourself
3) Weigh yourself often
4) Exercise regularly
5) Find ways to add little bits of physical activity into your daily routine
6) Eat a high carbohydrate, low fat diet
7) Eat about five meals a day starting with breakfast

Her first blog entries mirror my own weight-loss struggles. Jennette's weight loss was urgent due to her health issues and she absolutely understood that. But she also writes, "I feel like I’m missing a major period of my life by being fat. It affects my self confidence. It makes me self-conscious in crowds. I’d like to feel good about the way I look for once." (source) That's how a lot of young women feel, regardless of size, myself included. Honestly, it's hard out here for a chick! I can really relate to each and every blog entry she writes and I have so much respect for her ability to write about her struggles and emotions honestly and openly. I didn't even start my blog until after I had lost a significant amount of weight. There is no way I would've started blogging about my goals without accomplishing some first. I'm not a huge fan of failure in the first place, and documenting it would be too damaging for me personally. That's why Jennette is so remarkable to me: she wrote about it and actually DID it. Anyone who has attempted to lose weight and either succeeded or failed at reaching their goals knows how difficult it can be. She is the exception to the rule and that's what makes her story so unique and sellable.

Lately, all these people are turning their blogging in to a career (The Pioneer Woman, Jennette, crock-pot lady Stephanie O'Dea) and that would just be my dream come true! Hopefully someone out there will hurry up and discover me! Until then, I'll be here, waiting...

September 28, 2011

Jams, etc.

Since my original post deleted itself and I'm too tired to try and re-create it right now, I'll instead share some songs I'm digging as of late:

Florence sans The Machine
"Don't Gotta Work It Out"-Fitz and the Tantrums

"Take The World"- She Wants Revenge

"Colours"-Group Love

"What The Water Gave Me"- Florence + The Machine

"Block after Block"- Matt & Kim

"The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie"-Red Hot Chili Peppers

"Helena Beat"-Foster The People

"Around My Head"-Cage The Elephant

"New York City Moves to the Sound of LA"-Funeral Party

"Future Starts Slow"-The Kills

"Junk of the Heart" -The Kooks

"Punching In A Dream"-The Naked and Famous <-- my favorite band name

"Swim"-Surfer Blood

"I Stand Alone"-Theophilius London

September 27, 2011

annoying things to spend money on

I had to buy stamps today and I got to thinking about how annoying it is to spend money on a book of stamps. And of course every time I need just ONE stamp, I never have any. And of course, every time I'm at the store, I forget to get stamps, so I almost always have to make a special trip for the stupid things. It made want to make a list of other annoying necessary purchases, some of which are below.
Do you know what this picture is from?

1. Stamps!

2. Shampoo/conditioner

3. Contact solution

4. Nail polish remover

5. Swiffer wetjet sheets

6. Gas

7. Tissues


8. Gum. I always forget to buy this at the store and have to make a special trip for it. Usually to Target. Where I then end up spending $50. And all I wanted was a piece of gum.

9. Tissue paper (for gifts) because I always buy a pack but never use the whole thing on one gift but then can't find the left-over pieces when I need to wrap my next gift.

10. Brita pitcher filters.

There was something else that girls can relate to but I'll omit it from my list for all my male readers out there :) You're welcome.

Self-checkout machines...yay or nay?

I read this article yesterday that said some grocery stores are starting to phase out the self-checkout option. I quickly scanned the article to make sure Kroger or Giant Eagle weren't listed as stores considering bagging the self-checkout (get it? scanning and bagging? yeah, I'm hilarious.) I, for one, am a HUGE fan of the self-checkout option and use it almost every time I'm at the grocery. Sometimes the store has a sign saying you must have 15 items or less to use it but I still use it even if my cart is full and no one has stopped me yet. Livin' on the edge! It's just so convenient and I can put things in bags the way I want them. I hate when the baggers put too many items in one bag so that it spills out all over my trunk on the drive home, or when they put refrigerated items in with chips. Exsqueeze me for sounding like a bagging snob but I've been going to the grocery for many years now and I've spent more than enough money to expect my things to be packed correctly. So sue me if I want all my canned items together. (Please don't sue me.)


The article also says that most people prefer the regular checkouts over the self-checkouts which I find surprising. I feel like people run in to the grocery to buy one or two things more and more these days, and I feel like waiting in line at the cashier would take more time than scanning the items yourself. I will go to a cashier line if all of the self-checkout lines are full and there is a line for them, because a line's a line, ya know? But if there is a self-checkout available or if there is only one person waiting, then I'm all over it. Kroger and Giant Eagle have even added more machines, going from 4 self-checkout machines to 6 or 8, so I haven't had to wait for a machine the past 5-6 times I've gone to Krogs. So suck on that!

I can see how self-checkout machines can be a pain to the store. I may be incriminating myself, but I have, on one or more occasions, forgotten about an item in my cart and didn't scan it, only to discover that I accidentally stole it when I got to my car and started unloading my cart. I've also had, for example, one bag containing a yellow pepper and a red pepper, but indicated that I'm buying two red peppers on the machine when that is clearly not the case. It's just easier than separating the items, weighing each individually, then silently praying the machine doesn't yell at me when I try to place the items in my bag. I'm not sure if it makes a difference in the price, but I'm sure it screws up inventory if they are keeping track. I can imagine that a grocery store wouldn't need to employ as many people if they have more self-checkout machines, making for less jobs and therefore more unemployment. But, for the sake of convenience to shoppers, I really hope they keep the self-checkout machines, at least at Kroger and Giant Eagle, because as a consumer, it just makes my life a tiny bit easier.

What do you prefer: cashier self-checkout?

September 26, 2011

Overnight mah belly

Back to posting about things I'm obsessed with, I thought I would dedicate this post to overnight oats. They are tremendously easy to make and so filling- sometimes I feel like it's the only thing that can fill me up after my morning workouts at That Gym. Plus, they are versatile (much like my beloved smoothies) and all you need are three ingredients. From there, the possibilities are endless!

The three things you'll need are milk (I use my favorite: unsweetened vanilla almond milk), old-fashioned oats, and chia seeds. Yes, the same chia seeds you used on your super cool cha-cha-cha-chia pets. And no, you do not grow grass in your belly when you eat them. They are a nutritional powerhouse and they thicken the ONO to create a nice texture. Now, before you get too excited about eating your chia pet, the seeds aren't very easy to find. I haven't been able to find them any place other than at Whole Foods, which is annoying since I usually shop at Kroger or Giant Eagle. So, if you find them anywhere else, please let me know!

To make ONO, just put the milk, oats, and seeds in a bowl or tupperware container and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The next morning, add whatever toppings you'd like, scoop into mouth, and rub belly in enjoyment.
My go-to breakfast and what I eat before long runs is the Carob Banana Chia Vegan ONO:
adapted from Oh She Glows

1/3 c old-fashioned oats
2 tbps chia seeds
1tbsp carob powder
1-2 tbsp walnuts (optional)
1 c milk
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 banana
spoonful almond butter

Mix together dry ingredients (oats, chia seeds, cacao powder, optional nuts.) Add wet ingredients (milk, vanilla) and mix. Cut up the banana and stir into mixture. Let mixture sit in fridge overnight. When you're ready to eat, add a spoonful of almond butter. Note: if eating this before exercising, omit almond butter. It may give you a mean side cramp.
Another version that I love is Pumpkin Pie Vegan ONO (and perfect for fall!):
adapted from Oh She Glows

1/3-1/2 c oats
1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8th tsp nutmeg, 1/8th tsp ginger)
3/4 c milk
1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/3 c canned pumpkin
walnuts (topping)
1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup (topping)
raisins (topping)
Mix the oats, chia seeds, and spices in a small bowl. Add the milk and maple syrup and whisk until mixed. Add in the pumpkin and whisk again until fully incorporated. Place in the fridge overnight. Before eating, top with raisins, walnuts, and maple syrup.
I haven't tried this version yet but it sounds friggin' amazing and one that I might try this weekend since I'll have some time--
Banana soft-serve Vegan ONO from Oh She Glows:
1/3 cup regular oats
1 c milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 chocolate protein powder
In a small bowl, mix together above ingredients with a whisk and throw in fridge overnight.
Banana Soft Serve
1 large frozen banana
splash of almond milk
In the morning, process frozen banana and splash of almond milk in a food processor until smooth and creamy like soft serve.
Layer the overnight mixture with the soft serve and serve immediately.

Give them a try and let me know what you think!

September 24, 2011

26 things...

26 years ago today, a little curly-haired baby was brought in to this world and changed the lives of Dan, Lora and James Dupler forever.... (end scene.)

If you didn't know, today's my birthday! Hip hip hooray! I technically celebrated last night and it was a blast in a glass! I am so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life. I really cherish my friendships; my friends have stuck with me through thick and thin and I am so grateful to be surrounded by such wonderful people!

party animals

I always love when my actual birthday falls on the weekend because, let's be honest, it's so much nicer to celebrate anything on the weekend! Well, joke's on me because, out of a handful of Saturdays that I actually have to work on throughout the year, my birthday happens to fall on one of those few Saturdays this year. However, the party last night was certainly enough to ring me in to my 26th year of life AND tomorrow is a special day because Ella is getting baptized! I love that, for the rest of our lives, I can tell her, "you were baptized the day after my 26th birthday." Plus, we're doing a family celebration tomorrow and I'm excited for some yummy brunch courtesy of the best cook I know, Tiff!

arrrgh matey
 I've been doing a lot of thinking about how much my life has changed over the past year and wanted to compile a list of 26 things to commemorate that. But, since this blog is mostly about self-reflection, I'd like to do a list of things that I haven't quite perfected yet. I know, I know, it's quite a lengthy list for someone who is as close to perfect as they come ;) Yeah RIGHT!

26 Things I Have Yet To Learn

26. Don't take your health for granted. This is something that I remind myself of daily. I used to take it for granted and I lost my passion for living a healthy life. As much as I've worked on this over the past year, I still have a ways to go and I need to remember that losing weight isn't just for physical appearance, it's also to improve your quality of life. My dad's recent diagnosis has reinforced the importance of not taking your health for granted.

25. How to make poached eggs. I've never tried, but I'd really like to learn.

24. How to control my temper. This one's a work in progress. Heh.

23. How to drive stick shift. My dad taught me when I first started driving how to drive stick on his Jeep but I haven't done it in years.
22. How to cook without using a recipe. I can only make one thing without looking at a recipe: BCD.

21. Eliminating Jealousy. No, not the song by Gin Blossoms, the actual emotion.

20. Appreciate every day for what it is. Let's be real, not every day is going to be awesome. It is what it is, I can never get this day back, so might as well take it for what it's worth.

19. There's no rush. One of the reasons for this blog: it allows me to slow down and reflect.

18. How to make buckeyes. Crossed this baby off the list over Labor Day weekend with Tiff.

 17. How to sew. I should learn how to do this before I'm anyone's mother or wife.

16. How to change a flat tire. Thank goodness for AAA!

15. How to start a fire. Ryan started the fire!

14. How to cook a turkey. Again, very useful for future mothering and wife-ing.

13. How to eat just one cookie. I think this one may be impossible.

12. How to go to Target and not buy something. And now with the produce? fahgettaboudit

11. How to break dance.

10. How to be more patient.

 9. How to not cry every time I see those dang Sarah McLachlan commercials.
Curse you Sarah McLachlan!

8. How to run a marathon. I attempted to train for a full but decided to stick with the half. I just couldn't wrap my mind around running 26.2 miles at one time.

7. How to fly a plane.

6. How to not watch Friends when it's on TV.

5. How to sing on key.

4. How to mow the grass. The benefit of living with a father who actually enjoyed mowing the grass.

3. How to enjoy yoga. I've only done it about 6 times, but I hate it. I know it's an excellent workout, especially for runners, but I hate it.

2. How to watch soccer.

1. How to be the best person I can be. I think this one will be on many lists to come :)

Just an FYI, this list took the whole month of September to compile. It's hard to think of 26 things you need to learn!

September 21, 2011

A Declaration

I've always described myself as a morning person. I've known this ever since I can remember; I like to get up early and get things done so I can relax at night. My co-workers make fun of me because I go to bed by 10pm every night. In high school, I would wake up and run first thing in the morning to get it over with, but with college and real-life getting in the way, I forgot how much of a morning workout person I am. Today, I officially declare it.

My work hours recently changed to reflect the time schools are open. My job requires recruiting and managing elementary, middle and high school across Central Ohio to collect spare change for blood cancer research. The campaign doesn't officially start until February but we recruit in the fall before school calendars fill up. I have two temporary employees who call these schools so from September to December, my hours change from the regular 9am-5pm to 7:30am-3:30pm because what's the point of calling a school at 4pm if all the teachers are gone by 2:45pm? I used to work out with Demi at That Gym from 7-8am, which gave me about 45 minutes to get ready for work at 9am. Since my hours have changed, I changed my workout time to 4-5pm and I am just not feeling it. I feel like my afternoon workouts are so much harder because I really don't have the energy to work as hard as I do in the mornings. I also feel so much more awake and alert in the mornings if I've worked out and it literally puts me in a better mood. Also, as we all know, things tend to get scheduled after work: meetings, dinner with friends/family, happy hour, naps, etc...I'd rather get my workout done in the morning so I don't feel bad about missing a workout because something came up.

I went in to workout with Demi at 6am this morning for the first time since my hours moved. I'm thankful it takes about 30 seconds to get there now that I live so close so I can literally roll out of bed, change, and go over there. I didn't even turn on a light this morning. The only problem is that I only have 15 minutes to get ready for work. However, I think I can sacrifice a long shower and drying my hair for a good workout.

I was talking to my brother and Tiff about this the other day, trying to figure out a better workout schedule for myself, and while I was telling them how much more I like morning workouts, Jamie made a face and said "I am the complete opposite." He used to drive me to high school before I had my license and I was always ready to go before he had even opened his eyes in the morning. I think I got my "morning person" genes from my dad who was always up and out of the house by 7am while he got his "afternoon person" genes from our mom who wouldn't go to bed until 1 or 2am.

Are you a morning person or an afternoon person?

September 20, 2011

Treats for my Peeps

I know it's only Tuesday but my mind keeps traveling to Friday. I'm sure you're thinking "duh, whose isn't?" However, this Friday is special: my friend Brittny and I are celebrating our 26th birthdays! Her birthday is actually on Friday and mine is the next day, but since I have to work all day on my birthday (yaaay...) we decided to throw a party on Friday at my place. Brittny and I lived together our junior year at Ohio University (also known as the #1 party school in the Nation...although I probably shouldn't be so proud of that), along with our other friend Katie (I'm the Maid of Honor in her wedding next year!) and we all celebrated our 21st birthdays together five loooong years ago as Katie's birthday is one day after mine, September 25th. Katie has to attend a wedding this weekend so she can't join in the festivities. I'm sure we'll make her proud though! :)

Brittny, me, and Katie celebrating our 21st
 I always get a little bit of anxiety knowing I'll have to "entertain" guests. It's no big deal, and none of our guests really expect anything fancy or out of control, but I still like to make my guests feel warm and comfortable. I also like to have tasty treats because no party is complete without food! I've been thinking about what I can make that will be able to sit out for long periods of time so people can eat whenever they feel like it. I've decided on a few options that are easy, inexpensive, and should taste delicious.

I'm definitely going to make the corn and black bean salsa I made a few weeks ago. I usually make a fan favorite buffalo chicken dip (it's my specialty) for events such as these but I feel like I make it alllll the time and I want to add some variety. However, I'll probably end up making it just because it is SO GOOD. And easy. AND GOOD.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

  • 2 10oz cans chicken, shredded
  • 3/4 c hot sauce (I use Frank's Red Hot Buffalo)
  • 2 blocks cream cheese, softened (I use 1/3 less fat)
  • 1 c ranch (I use reduced fat. I've tried using fat free but it makes the dip taste weird in my opinion.)
  • 2 c shredded cheddar cheese (I use finely shredded because it melts easier)
  • Tortilla chips for dipping
  • Combine chicken and hot sauce in saucepan over medium heat. Once heated through, add cream cheese and ranch dressing. Mix until smooth. Mix in shredded cheese until dip is melted and smooth. I usually add about 1/2 cup at a time to make sure it's melted all the way through.
At this point, you can transfer the dip to a 9x13 baking pan and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. I used to do it this way and I would sprinkle shredded cheese on top so it would come out of the oven with a crispy top. However, I now transfer the dip to the crockpot and put it on the "keep warm" setting so it doesn't burn. I like using the crockpot because it keeps the dip hot for a long period of time and it makes the chicken tender the longer it sits. Either way it's fabulous.

If I were pulling a Fat Mac, Buffalo Chicken Dip (aka BCD) would def be on my list of foods to eat to gain weight. I have a love/hate relationship with it. It is one of the things that made me gain so much weight my senior year of college. I'm embarrassed to admit that I would literally make it at least once a week and eat it as two or three meals for the day. It used to be a trigger food for me but I've gotten control of that big time. I think I ate it so much that now, when I eat too much of it, it makes me sick. It also gives me crazy heartburn and I think knowing how sick I will feel after eating too much has helped me control my cravings for it. Nevertheless, this dip is hella good! Just typing the recipe makes my mouth water (but not too much)!

Of course no party is complete without some sort of sweet treat, especially a joint birthday party, so I'm going to make peanut butter rice krispy treats with m&m's. I stumbled upon Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and I absolutely love her blog. She is hilarious; I only hope for my blog to make other people laugh as much as this woman's blog makes me laugh. And she has some kick butt recipes on here! I'm def going to make other things from her website for future parties!

Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats with m&m's

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 1 10oz package of marshmallows
  • 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 5 cups rice krispies
  • 1 1/2 cups m&m's
  • Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside
  • Heat the butter in a large nonstick saucepan over low heat until melted. Stir in the peanut butter. Add the marshmallows and continue cooking, stirring until smooth, 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove pan from the heat and add the cereal and m&m's. Stir until well mixed.
  • Press the mixture into the prepared pan. Cool completely until set, about 20 minutes.

Last but not least, my good friend puppy chow will be making an appearance! Let the games begin!

September 19, 2011

A soupy kinda day

What a gloomy Monday. I woke up thinking today would be the perfect day for soup. I'm not even a huge fan of soup and I was craving it before breakfast so clearly, the Dupe was getting souped.

I left work about a half hour early to visit my dad at his first chemotherapy treatment. He was at the hospital in outpatient for this initial dose, but the rest of his treatments here on out will be at his oncologist's office. He seems to be in good spirits, even cracking some jokes with the nurses when I arrived. My Patient Services Manager Mike told me that the first dose of rituxan is usually the worst because the docs give you a lot to see what you can handle and then decrease the dosage as you continue. My dad's only side effects today were stiffness and chills. I talked to Mike after we found out my dad's treatment plan and he's actually having a speaker come in to talk about rituxan next month. Perfect timing!

After checking in with dad, I ran by the grocery store to pick up supplies to make pumpkin soup. It's thick and creamy like tomato soup but tastes like fall! My friend Kristen sent me a bunch of pumpkin recipes and I figured today would be perfect to try out the pumpkin soup recipe.

Pumpkin Soup
Serves 6

2 pumpkins, about 4 pounds (or one large can of pumpkin puree)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
 Salt to taste
2 1/2 cups heavy cream, 1/2 cup reserved
2 cups chicken stock

Directions: If using whole pumpkins, preheat oven to 375°. Cut each pumpkin in half, remove seeds. Place the halves, skin side down, in a shallow roasting pan; add ¼ cup water. Cover with foil and bake until tender, about one hour and 15 minutes. When pumpkin is cool, scrape out pulp.

Place pulp into a pot and toss with butter, sugar and spices. Add the chicken stock and heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Purée the soup in a food processor until smooth. (If using canned pumpkin, you do not need to purée in a food processor.)

Use ½ cup reserved heavy cream to make whipped cream, add a pinch of salt and whip until soft peak stage in an electric mixer. Garnish warm soup with the whipped cream, run a toothpick through to make a design. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, or a star anise.

The verdict: I used canned pumpkin because it's easier and I didn't make the whipped cream deal for garnish. I also just used 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice instead of the ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. To make it more pumpkin pie-y, I'd add more but I liked the flavor enough with just the one tablespoon. The soup was really good! The chicken stock really makes it taste more like soup than pumpkin pie and I added just a little more cayenne pepper to kick up the heat. It's very hearty and definitely hit the spot. I didn't have anything to eat with it but I'd like to try it with cornbread or saltines. Sweet and salty are my weakness (enter: chocolate covered pretzels.)

No soup for you!

I spent all of yesterday (literally, all day) finishing A Discovery of Witches. It was good and definitely ended on a cliff hanger, making me anxious for the sequel. The book seemed to go on forever though so if you're looking to read it, make sure you have some time on your hands...

Until next time, friends! Don't forget about The Roast of Charlie Sheen tonight!

September 16, 2011

Fat Mac

Any Always Sunny fans out there? The show's 7th season premiered last night and apparently someone has been doing the opposite of what I've been doing since the beginning of the year. Rob McElhenney who plays Mac, currently known as Fat Mac, has gained 50 pounds for the sake of comedy. He literally looks like he's wearing a fat suit. You mostly hear of celebrities losing weight (Kirstie Alley, Jennifer Hudson, Jonah Hill) but you rarely hear of celebs gaining weight on purpose. And the ones that do are mega celebrities doing it for a movie role, not a TV show. Just one of the many reasons I love this show: they just want to make people laugh.
I spend a lot of time working on losing weight, I read a lot of articles about it, and I think about it constantly. But Fat Mac is a nice change of pace. Although he has had some health issues due to the rapid weight gain and he's already lost about 20 of the 50 pounds he put on, I still think it's a pretty clever way to gain some viewers, press, and laughs. Granted, it is a MAN gaining weight; I doubt I'll see a show were a woman gains weight for the sake of a comedy television show. HOWEVER, I am a bit envious he gets paid to be fat. It makes me wonder what I would eat in order to deliberately consume 5,000 calories a day...I bet a lot of mac and cheese and pizza would be involved. And cookies!


Hello and Happy Friday! I bet you're wondering what I did last night. Oh, you're not? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway. I spent my time last night raising money! Shocking, I know.

I was asked to be the captain of our Chapter's Greene Team for our Light The Night Walks. The Light The Night Walks are a fundraising campaign for LLS and the Central Ohio chapter has three walks in the fall: our Zanesville walk is on September 22; our inaugural Springfield walk is on September 24; and our Columbus walk is on October 15. All LLS chapter staff across the United States and Canada are on the Greene Team and we're basically "competing" to see which chapter's staff will raise the most money. Fundraisers that LLS staff have done in other chapters is bake sales, breakfast sales, cookouts, etc. Well, since I am in charge of our chapter's Greene Team this year, I decided to up the ante and have two happy hours at a local bar, King Avenue 5. I chose this bar because it's a pretty nice place and they are super easy to work with. I just called and told them what we're looking to do, raise money for blood cancer research, told them how many people we expected which was around 40-50 at each event, and they hooked us up big time!

Last night was the second of our Greene team happy hours and it was a lot of fun! We charged people $20 at the door, LLS kept $10, and that got each person got three drink tickets and an appetizer buffet. We also had a raffle and each staff member at our office, which is a whopping 8 of us, was responsible for getting an item for the raffle. LLS kept all the money raised from the raffle, so that was our biggest money maker. I noticed at the first happy hour that the biggest selling items were gift cards so we had quite a few gift cards at this second raffle: BW3's, The Buckeye Corner, BP gas card, and a local diner. We also had some OSU t-shirts in the mix and a s'mores kit. As I'm sure you can imagine, the s'mores kit was the most popular item. And, if you couldn't tell by our raffle items, last night's happy hour was a "tailgate" theme.


Our goal for each of the happy hours was to raise at least $500 and we exceeded that goal each time. Last night we raised around $530!! Our overall Greene Team goal is $4,000 and we are at...drumroll please...$4,203.23!! We're also expecting another $1,500 so when that comes in, we'll be at $5,703!! Whoop (there it is)!

I hope everyone has a grrreat weekend! Here's hoping OSU can pull out a win against Miami (FL). Since both teams have been in a legal pickle since the summer, it should be interesting...

September 15, 2011


I'd like to share some books I've read over the past few months and also wanted to get some suggestions on good reads for the cold winter ahead.

If you haven't read The Help by Kathryn Stockett yet, you defintely should. And you DEFINTELY should read it before you see the movie. Already saw the movie, you say? Well, then, still read the book. It's sooo good. The movie is actually one of the better I've seen adapted from a book but it leaves out a lot of detail, as most made-from-book movies do, and it also leaves out one particular scene that I think is very important to the story.

Bossypants by Tina Fey is a great read. It's hilarious, naturally, but she also has some serious points in the book when she's talking about being a woman in a male-dominated career. You also get an inside look at her nine years at Saturday Night Live, how she came up with the idea for 30 Rock, her thoughts on her Sarah Palin impersonation, how she got that scar on her face, and how she handles working, bossing, mothering and wife-ing. I also read all of Chelsea Handler's books, which were funny, but Tina's Bossypants has a little more substance and more of a purpose, whereas Chelsea's books were all just a bunch of her life shenanigans.

I just finished Heart of The Matter by Emily Giffin. I have to admit, I didn't love this book. It was an easy read but it kind of makes me never want to get married. It is told from two perspectives: the first by Tessa, a woman who is married with two young children, who quit her job and is married to the "perfect man" but, even though everything looks perfect from the outside, there is a lot of insecurity and doubt within her marriage. The other perspective is from Valerie, a single mother who has only loved one person her whole life, her child's father, but he left her before she could tell him she was pregnant. Their lives cross paths because of Tessa's husband's job, and spoiler alert, there is infidelity. I didn't like that you never get the husband's perspective on his life and marriage, just Tessa and Valerie's, so you never know what or how he's feeling. It also talks about how Tessa's dad cheated on her mom, and some other woman's husband cheated on her, and so on...basically, not the best book for feeling like marriage is forever....

I'm currently reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I'm about half-way through and I really enjoy it. It's along the lines of the Twilight series and True Blood: witches, vampires, and daemons live among humans, and the main character, a powerful witch, is on the run against the creatures. As you can probably guess, the witch falls in love with a vamp. Apparently, this is the first book in a trilogy and Warner Bros. recently acquired the screen rights for a possible movie. Even though I haven't finished the book yet, I'm excited for the movie (if they ever make it.) I love to read a book and then see who they cast for the movie (ex. Hunger Games and Jennifer Lawrence? We'll see...)

If you have any book suggestions, send 'em my way! :)

September 14, 2011

Family Matters

This morning I went with my dad to his doc appointment to find out what treatment he'll be receiving for his lymphoma. He'll be doing chemotherapy three days a week, once a month, starting Monday. So, he'll have chemo Monday-Wednesday, then be off until three weeks later where he'll start again the following month. Dr. Blair, his oncologist, said he'll do this for four months and then he will have another scan to find out how the treatment is progressing. Everyone reacts to chemo differently, but he said there should be minimal side effects. Since my dad is already bald, he only has to worry about his mustache hair thinning. This was good news to my dad who asked me a few weeks ago, "Do you think my mustache hair will fall out? I've had this since '66." Dr. Blair also said they will control his nausea with medicine so he'll probably only have flu-like symptoms for about a week or so. I just hope the fatigue doesn't get him down because my dad is not used to laying around...he went for a three mile walk one week after his toe was amputated.

I'm feeling hopeful that the chemotherapy will really do work on his lymphoma. My biggest concern is that my dad will not deal well with the fatigue and flu-like symptoms. He's been on medicine before with these same side-effects, so it's not new to him, but I just don't want him feeling lonely while he's feeling sickly. We have quite a few family events coming up over the next four months (my birthday/Ella's baptism, Thanksgiving, Ella's first birthday, Jamie's birthday, Christmas...) so I'm hoping being around family will perk his spirits.

In other news, my brother is following in his little sis's footsteps and has started his own blog! It's mostly about sports, most of which I don't understand, but it's pretty funny. Check him out!

September 7, 2011

Comfort food

Oh my gosh. I am overwhelmed with the love and support I've received since writing about my dad's most recent diagnosis. Less than 24 hours after I posted about him and my fundraising, I've hit my goal because of the generous people I am so lucky to know, people who haven't even met my dad but still want to help him and me in finding a cure. I told him how fast everyone was to respond and he said, "wow, that's pretty sweet." In Dan Dupler language, that is a HUGE thank you!

If you've never fundraised before, for any cause or for any reason, I highly suggest you do. I've been doing it for three years now and I am still blown away by how generous people are. It really makes you feel like paying it forward. If you're looking to get involved in something, LLS is a great place to start! :)

Shifting gears, I've been really feeling like eating comfort food lately. The weather is wet and cold which makes me want to eat hearty foods I haven't been in the mood for during this hot, hot, HOT summer. Also, with my dad's diagnosis, I feel like all I want to do is eat. Not cool. I know where that road leads, and it ain't pretty (for me.) Luckily, I have some healthy alternatives already waiting in the wings to help fulfill my comfort food craving.

Since I'm a huge fan o' pumpkin, I decided to change up my usual morning breakfast to incorporate the yummy orange fruit. I've recently taken a liking to overnight oats. It's like oatmeal but you let it sit overnight in the fridge so in the morning, it's a nice, thick, oatmeal consistency. I would love to have my oatmeal warm especially when it's chilly in the morning but since I have very limited time in the mornings, my hours have recently changed to 7:30am-3:30pm, I've found overnight oats are a nice alternative. This morning I made the pumpkin pie vegan overnight oats from Oh She Glows and it really hit the spot. It leaves me feeling full but not too full, and it helps me get through my long mornings so I'm not dying of starvation by lunch.

Another comfort food I usually turn to when I need it is pasta. I loooove pasta. Let's be real, who doesn't? I haven't had it too much since I started dieting but if I make a whole pot, I can freeze what I don't eat and pull it out at a moment's notice. A pasta dish I've really enjoyed before and am dreaming of making soon is Bethenny Frankel's chicken, pasta, peppers, and onions. It's spicy so it warms you up but it's not so heavy you feel like you can't move after eating it. Of course, pizza is my all-time number one comfort food but I'm trying to avoid it like the plague. It hasn't been working so well...

Something else I've stumbled upon that I just canNOT get enough of is MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Peanut Spread. Yes, you read that right. It is good on everything. And by everything, I'm talking bananas, apples, strawberries, toast, pretzels, graham name it, it works! It's not as sweet as peanut butter or nutella but it's all natural (with less than 10 ingredients!) so I don't feel too bad when I eat it every day...which I pretty much do. Try it out; you won't be disappointed!

What are your favorite comfort foods? What are you looking forward to eating in the colder weather?

September 6, 2011

Update on the Dadster

Hello world. I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend! The weather yesterday was perfect for laying around and not going to work!

As some of you know, my dad has been going to a blood oncologist since the beginning of this year because of some "alarming" lymph nodes. He's been seeing a fantastic physician, Dr. Scott Blair, who I know personally from my job at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. About two weeks ago, my dad had a lump on his neck that was painful, along with night sweats and flu-like symptoms, so he went to the emergency room and had a cat scan. He wasn't admitted but because of the results of the cat scan, Dr. Blair asked that he get the lump removed. He had two lumps removed last Tuesday and on Friday we found out that my dad does indeed have lymphoma. So, the disease that I've been working towards finding a cure for for the past three years is the disease my dad is now fighting. Oh, the irony! I do feel confident he will be able to get past this but I don't think it's going to be pretty or easy. He is no spring chicken, and with the possibility of chemotherapy, I worry about him being sick and by himself. You never like to see your loved ones sick with anything, so it's definitely not going to be a good time. However, my dad is a fighter, having almost every kind of health problem you can imagine (including getting a toe amputated) and he's still kickin' it, so I have faith that he will get through this, no matter how shitty it is.

That being said, I would really appreciate donations toward my fundraising and training for LLS through our Team In Training campaign. I've mentioned this before on this blog, but I'm training for the Columbus Half Marathon while raising money for blood cancer research. This is my third half marathon this year and my second TNT event. My first was the Capital City Half in May of this year, and literally two days after that race, I signed up for TNT again (before thinking it would ever be to help someone in my family, let alone my dad.) I'm committed to raising $750 and I'm at about 61% so I still have a ways to go. The money is due the end of this month, so I'm really cutting it close. I have a give-away on my fundraising website to win a certificate for 1 dozen bagels and one coffee tote once a month for a year. I've had some people ask about this so I want to clarify: one person wins the certificate and they can use the certificate to get a dozen bagels and a coffee tote once a month until October 2012. Each $10 donation enters your name to win the certificate, so if donate $20, your name will be entered twice, if you donate $100, your name will be entered 10 times, if you donate $1,000, I'll just give you the certificate. I really appreciate anything you're willing to donate because shit just got personal.

September 2, 2011


Since it's still hot and humid (which I am NOT happy about, FYI) I decided to whip up some delicious food sans oven. I am a stage 5 snacker for sure. I would rather snack on a plethora of things than sit down and eat an actual meal. I don't know what it is, probably the convenience and accessibility. Either way, I made some mighty tasty snacks last night that I just had to share with my salty sweater-ers.

The first thing I made was black bean and corn salsa. I love this salsa because it's inexpensive, easy, light, refreshing, and mighty tasty. Tiff made it a few weeks ago when our sister Kate was in town from the Dirty Jersey and it really hit the spot. It's also the perfect thing to take to, say, an Ohio State Football tailgate party, you know, as an example...just sayin'.

This picture doesn't do it justice
To make, just take one packet of Lipton's Italian Dressing seasoning, halve the liquids on the back of the packet (vinegar, water, and oil), mix it all together, and pour it over two cans of black beans (rinsed) and two cans of corn. You can chop up some cilantro and add that to mix if you like a little bite. I also added some lime juice before sticking that mother in the fridge to marinate. My favorite chips right now are the Tostitos Hint of Jalapeno and man does that salsa taste fab-u-lous with those babies! YUM!

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a baking blog called Chip Chip Hooray with all sorts of good dessert recipes! They aren't health-centric necessarily but sometimes you just need a little chocolate in your life. Am I right?! I really like this blog because I feel like I have a lot in common with the girl who writes it. She has a boyfriend but he doesn't live close, so she has to cook for one most nights, which can get tricky because it's hard to just make enough for one without having a week's worth of leftovers. I chose to make her peanut butter cereal bites pretty much just because I already had all the ingredients on-hand (a Bethenny Frankel tip) and, obviously, no oven is required. Another bonus: it only makes 5 bites, the perfect number for a single gal.

1 tbsp unsalted butter *I used salted because it's all I had
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 (generous) tbsp honey
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup Cheerios *I used multi-grain Cheerios
Handful of raisins
Handful (plus a few for you) semisweet chocolate chips *I used dark chocolate chips
Cupcake wrappers (for the finished cereal balls to set)

1. In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt butter, peanut butter, and honey together. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
2. Remove from heat and let cool for about 2 minutes.
3. While the sticky mixture is still warm, stir in oats, Cheerios, and raisins.
4. Let mixture cool for about 3 more minutes. Then stir in chocolate chips. (Wait a little bit longer if you don’t want them to melt as much.)
5. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the warm mix into cupcake wrappers and arrange on a plate or small tray. Place in the fridge until cool and set, about 15-20 minutes.

Makes about 5 cereal bites.

nom nom nom

Happy snacking! Oh, and Go Bucks!


September 1, 2011

Psyched for September

Happy September people! FINALLY. I think I can speak for most when I say that I am ready for the heat to end. Granted the rest of this week is going to be pretty humid and hot and not so much fall-like weather, but hopefully in the next few weeks, it will break and we can actually go outside without sweating. So, in honor of the best month ever, I thought I would post my Top Ten Reasons Why I Love the Month of September so much.

10. It's my birthday month. I put this at number 10 because it's not even the most important reason why September is the best month ever.

9. The first weekend of the month is a three-day weekend. Cha-ching!

8. There's a change of season. Which just so happens to be the best season, in my opinion.

7. The return of pumpkin-flavored everything! Beer, coffee, cookies, muffins, donuts...

6. Football starts. This is also the reason why I won't be allowed to get married in September. Seriously. My dad literally told me he wouldn't come to my wedding if it is in the fall.

5. New clothes. September gives me an excuse to go buy new jeans, sweaters, jackets, scarves, leggings, and boots!

4. It reminds me of back to school. I would always be heading back to OU in September, and it was so exciting and refreshing to be back in action!

3. You won't be judged (as much) for wearing furry boots. Boots with da fur.

2. HOODIES! duh.

1. September wouldn't make a horrible first name. Say, for my hypothetical future child. (just kidding......maybe.)

What's your favorite month and why?