I am reliving my 3rd grade days and giving myself a glittery star sticker in my daily planner when I complete a workout.  Obviously, it does not take much to motivate me to get to the gym each morning.  Dangle a glittery star sticker in front of me and I will run.  (Or a piece of chocolate.)  I have been lacking motivation for the past few months and came up with this idea to get me to stick to a routine.  Laugh all you want, but I stuck to my plan!
It is also an added bonus that I can keep track of my workouts.  I find that if I plan my workouts ahead of time I am more likely to stick to them.  It is similar to when I have trained for a marathon.  I would print out a daily schedule and do my best to stick to it.  Here is my week coming up:
You may notice I do not have any specific numbers wtitten down. Reason being that I am trying to adjust myself into a daily running routine.  I think it is best to listen to our bodies and slowly build up mileage each week.  Last week I planned to run Monday-Friday, but ending up taking a cross training day on Wednesday.  I didn't beat myself up for not sticking to my plan.  A cross training day was just what I needed and I got back to running the next day.  This new workout plan is a tool to help me build it into my schedule and to stop making excuses.

What helps you stick to your daily exercise regimen?
Ok, so I'm officially back to blogging again.  Took a little vacay from the blogging world but I'm ready to get back to it.  While I took a vacay from typing I did a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
The hubby and I went to Alaska in September to celebrate our 5th year wedding anniversary.  And we saw lions, and tigers and bears oh my!!!  Well, actually we only saw some bears and a moose.  We saw some bears in the the wild and saw one moose in the wild at dusk.  Since I didn't bring a super duper crazy camera with a ridiculously expensive lens, I was unable to get a good picture of her.  But, I snapped this great picture of a moose at a the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Park with my awesomely sweet point and shoot camera.
I didn't see a lion on the trip but I dressed Temp up as one for Halloween. 
Lets not forget about cowboy Kensington.
The last exciting thing during 2012, was running the Philly Half Marathon.  Originally I signed up for the full marathon, but I switched to half because I was not keeping up with my long training runs.  I'm glad I switched to the half because it really is the perfect distance for me.
I finished!!  While we are on the half marathon subject, it brings me to my 2013 goal.  My goal for the big 2-0-1-3 is to run a half marathon each month.  This goal is proving to be very difficult.  It appears as if the entire Northeast takes off from running races during the winter months.  So stay tuned because I may need to adjust my goal to something slightly different.  I was lucky enough to find a race in NYC in January so my first 13.1 of the year will be the Manhattan Half Marathon on January 27th.

What are your 2013 goals?  Anyone have running goals this year?
I took my bike out of hibernation and cleaned off the cob webs.  No joke.  I have not rode my bike since last summer and it was time to get it up and going because I do have a triathlon in 4 weeks.  I have been going to indoor cycling classes about 2-3 times a week for the past few months (except while I was away).  I am crossing my fingers those classes have kept me fit and ready to ride.  I decided to go out for a 7 mile ride.  First mile was super easy.  Downhill the whole way.  Then I made my way to the bike path.  The path is a little bit rocky and has some small hills but nothing I can't handle.  Unfortunately, my water bottle couldn't handle it and ended up being a casualty.  Oops.
I am not the best bike rider as I've mentioned before.  I tried to get my water bottle from the holder while riding and it didn't work out so well.  I started swerving, dropped the water bottle, ran it over and broke the nozzle on top.  Better the water bottle than me.  After removing my road kill water bottle, I hopped back on the bike to finish my ride.  My ride was going along pretty well until the last mile.  Remember when I said the first mile was downhill?  That meant the last mile was straight uphill.  What goes down must come up in my situation.  It was brutal and made me feel completely out of shape.  I had to get off and walk my bike for a bit, but I finally finished...with a smile.
I am going to go ahead and assume everyone likes pizza.  What is there not to like about it?  The only thing that holds me back from having a diet of pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner is the high amount of carbs.  It was last summer, when I jumped on the low carb bandwagon and HAD to come up with a way to have pizza low carb style.  We are talking life or death situation here if I could not create a low carb pizza.  Luckily, I found these low carb tortillas at my favorite place....Costco.
I used these tortillas as a substitute for the typical bready crust.  Because it was summer time, I made a fresh pesto sauce in place of  a pizza sauce.  Be careful when you buy pizza sauces at the store because some can have extra added sugar.  I coated the tortilla with the freshly made pesto sauce, then added some grated mozarella.  The amount of cheese is really up to you.  I prefer mine with cheese and the hubby orders his with extra cheese.  Then I sliced up some local tomatoes and sprinkled the pizzas with some garlic powder and italian herbs.  To make it a meal, I cooked up some chicken cut into small pieces and added it to the top.  I tossed it in the oven at 425 degrees until the cheese was melted and golden brown.
For those interested in the pesto recipe:
Summertime Pesto

1 1/2 Cups of Basil leaves
3 garlic gloves
1/3 cup of toasted pine nuts
5 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Sprinkle of salt
1/3 cup of olive oil

Toss the first five ingredients into a food processor and slowly add the oil to the mixture.  Once the mixture turns to a paste its ready to be used. 

**Pine nuts can be pricey, but I have found that Trader Joes has the best price.
I had some bison burger meat and two avacados that needed to be used up so dinner last night was burgers and guacamole.  I would never eat a plain avacado, but when you mix it up with other goodies I'm all for it.  I've made guacamole before with just an avacado and lime juice and it was nothing to rave about.  This time it was tasty. 

I mashed up two ripe avacados, added about 1/2 cup chopped vidalia onion, 1 chopped medium tomato, a sprinkle of salt, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, a sprinkle of cumin, about a tsp of minced garlic and a dash of sirracha sauce.  I just started adding stuff until I got the flavor I was looking for.

For the burgers, I added one  beaten egg, a dash of worcestershire sauce, a tsp minced garlic and some panko crumbs to a pound of ground bison. No need to pull out the teaspoons and tablespoons for this meal. 
Along with guacamole burgers we had some fresh greenie beanies and corn on the cob that my parents brought out for us from Lancaster county.  Delicious summer meal!

How do you spruce up your summertime burgers?
The hubby and I arrived home safe and sound last Wednesday.  The jet lag has been brutal in my attempt to face reality, but I think I am pretty much settled in.  After a month long hiatus of not blogging and running its time for me to get my butt in gear.  I tried blogging in Indonesia.  The internet was so terribly slow it was almost torturous to wait for the post to upload.  Considering I didn't take a hot shower for most of the time during our travels, I think I was pretty darn lucky to get an internet connection at all.

I packed all my running gear in hopes of logging a few miles while traveling, but I only ran a total of three miles in one month.  You can just call me littlemissnotarunner.  Running in Indonesia seems to be an extreme sport.  Why?  The roads in Indonesia are very narrow and are loaded with cars and motorbikes.  Driving there was a free for all with no rules.  There is no speed limit, no stop signs, very few stop lights, everyone passes everyone, tailgating, no cell phone laws, lots of traffic, and quite frankly straight up scary. 
Then you had to be able to dodge the street dogs.  I ventured out on a walk one day and encountered two street dogs running towards me.   Needless to say, I turned around and high tailed it out of there to safety.  There were also crazy steep hills and pot holes.  I can deal with pot holes, but I'm to lazy for the
hills.  I run because I find it relaxing and it makes me feel good.  Running in Indonesia was sadly, anxiety producing.

For exercise, aside from lugging all of our stuff around Indonesia...
The hubby stuck to his daily surf sessions and I rode a bike around and walked it up the hills.

Indonesia is known for all of its water activities.  It's a good thing I am scared of the water and fish.  But, I decided to face fear full force and indulged in what Indonesia had to offer.  (It was either water activities or continue to walk the bike up the steep hills everyday.)  When in Rome......
I tried snorkeling for the first time ever in my life.  There were lots of tears and hyperventalating, but I finally calmed down and came to the conclusion fish are not all that scary and my chances of being attacked by a school of clown fish (Nemos) is greater than me winning the lottery.  FYI, I don't play the lottery.
I also learned how to paddle board and surf.  Unfortunately, I waited until the last day of our trip for the hubby to teach me how to surf.  He has been wanting to teach me for years.  It was a lot of fun and a major workout!!  My arms hurt for days afterwards.
All in all, I'm glad I took the plunge (literally) and got in the water.  I have 5 1/2 weeks until my triathlon and I think this trip helped a lot with me attempting to get over my fear of the water and fish.  Now I have just need to get those legs going and back to running! 
At home I almost always buy Sumatran coffee beans for our daily fix.  Since Sumatra is one of the islands in Indonesia, I was super excited to be traveling to Bali and drink some yummy, fresh coffee.  Unfortunately, I was more wrong than Paris Hilton's singing career.
Most places offer only two choices for coffee.  We get to choose between Nescafe or a Bali coffee.  I assumed that a Bali coffee must be better than an instant Nescafe.  Hello, we are in Indonesia where
some great beans are grown.  My assumption was wrong and in my opinion Bali coffee resembles the taste of dirt.  After talking to others, I am definitely not the only person that dislikes the coffee.  Bali coffee is a low quality, powdery like grind that is mixed with hot water to create the oh so famous Bali coffee.  Unlike instant coffee, the powdery mixture never dissolves and leaves a sediment on the bottom.  Yuck!
On one of our adventures we went to the Spice Gardens and tried some coffee.
We saw some coffee bean trees.  These berries were green so that means they are not ripe yet.
When the coffee berries look like red berries they are ready to be picked or be eaten by the cute little Civet cat.  How adoreable is he?  
The Civet lives in tropical areas and eats the coffee berry for its red fleshy coating around the coffee bean. Then this furry little monster digests the beans and poops it out. See...poop coffee beans.  
They are then cleaned very well, dried out in the sun and roasted.  Then us crazy coffee drinkers pay $$$$$ for cat poop coffee also known here as Kopi Luwak.  The beans are very expensive and could run up to $160/pound.  Of course the hubby and I bucked up and shared a cup.   We traveled to the other side of the world and had to at least try it.  Wouldn't you? 
Somebody seems to like it.....I thought it was good but not good enough that I would pay $160/pound. My budget is maxed out at like $8-$9/pound.

Along with tasting Kopi Luwak we tried some other teas and cocoa.  My favorite was the Ginseng coffee and thankfully that was in my budget.
After our visit to the SpiceGarden and coffee tasting we had lunch overlooking the volcanos and Lake Batur.
We then drove by the rice terraces in Tegallantang.  There are many rice terraces located in Bali and you are almost guaranteed to get a serving of rice at every meal. 
Stay tuned for more of our adventures in Bali!
I have not had much time to blog, because the hubby and I packed some bags and traveled 12 hours into the future.
Our first flight from NY was 7 hours to Germany.  After our 2 hour layover in Frankfurt, we flew for 11 hours to Singapore. We went on a bus tour in Singapore during our 10 hour layover and from there we hopped on our last plane for a 2 hour flight to Bali, Indonesia.  Add that all up and that equals a lot of travel time and the two of us being 12 hours ahead of EST.  Geesh.

We booked our first three nights in a cute hotel in Uluwatu.  Uluwatu is on south side of the island.
Those were the only three nights we booked on our trip so from here on out we have no specific plans. 
I am currently biting my nails because I'm not so keen on "just winging it".  But we were advised to "just wing it".  So far, so good.  Keep your fingers crossed. 

Since we are in a surfers paradise the hubby was raring and ready to go surf and I was ready to hit the beach.
After walking down tons of steep steps we got to the water, but  to my surprise..... no beach.  Unfortunately, at high tide there is no beach but surfers still have the option to paddle out through a cave to go surfing.

Once low tide kicks in, the beach is beautiful.  
There is also a lot of reef when its low tide so surfers need to be careful or they end up with the unwanted "Bali Tattoo".  Thankfully we brought a first aid kit and were able to fix the hubby up.
We have been enjoying the beaches and I even got in the Indian Ocean and went for a dip.  Like 10 times.  It's insanely hot here and the only way to cool off for a split second is to go in the water.
There is a lot more than just going to the beaches and surfing here.  The hubby and I like to explore and learn about the culture when we travel.

One night we went to go see the Kecak Ramayana & Fire Dance.  This dance is an ancient ritual and was amazing to see.
So far we have visited two of the many temples here.  Bali is 85% Hindu so there are many temples to be found around the island for worshipping.  They are kind enough to let us in to explore and take pictures.  Sarongs must be worn and women can not be menstruating.
The Indonesians also leave out gifts for the "spirits".  Everyday these are  laid out in front of shops, houses, in cars, at temples etc.  They can be found everywhere.  Literally, they are everywhere.
Yesterday we saw a girl and her mother along side of a busy road laying one out and our driver/tour guide told us that the girl fell off her bike and was giving offering to the spirits and thanking them for her being ok.
It's our last day in Uluwatu then we head up north to Seminyak.  Check out some more pictures of our time in Uluwatu and visiting temples.
Looking for something quick and easy to make for dinner?  How about a big ol' salad?
Salads tend to be on the menu almost every night of the week in our house.  And since this restaurant serves up salads almost every night, I try to make them different.  I like variety when it comes to a salad.  My typical go to salad is made with a red or green leaf lettuce and some fresh, colorful veggies.  Always topped off with cheese.  
I'm not a huge fan of fruit on my salad, but strawberries are in season so I gave it a try.  Key word here was try.  I used some arugula, added sliced local strawberries, not so carmelized onions, toasted pecans, and baked goat cheese, tossed with a honey mustard dressing.  I would have to say with a little bit of tweeking this salad could be a favorite.  Next time I will carmelize the onions rather than burn them and I would use a better dressing recipe.  Store bought dressing may be the way to go for this one.
This salad is my favorite to make and it looks pretty.  Oh and it tastes good too.  Double bonus!  First, I chop up some lettuce and put it on the platter.  Next, I cut up cucumber and tomato (I just use whatever I have on hand whether it be plum, cherry, beefsteak tomatoes.....) and toss them with a lemon dressing (I use half the recipe).  Spoon the cucumber and tomatoes on top of the bed of lettuce.  Sprinkle with some feta cheese crumbles and toasted pine nuts.  Top off with the other half of dressing.

 Lemon Salad Dressing
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. basil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 garlic gloves (minced)
Salt and pepper to taste

Wisk all these items together.

Any good salad dressing recipes you want to share??
This past weekend I went to the Italian Market in Philly for the first time.  That's right, I have been living in Philadelphia for seven years and have never gone to the Italian Market.  Since there was a festival at the market this weekend, I was told it was going to be the normal Italian Market times 100.  And it sure was.
The Italian Market is open everyday and the street is lined with vendors selling fresh produce, meats, baked goods, pasta, cheese and dancing cupcakes.
Well......maybe the dancing cupcakes are not there everyday.  If I had to guess, they only showed up for the festival.
Me and my Kermit the frog pants enjoying the best drink ever......Iced Coffee.
I stopped into Talluto's and got an amazing Tomato and Mozzarella salad.
I love a tomato and mozarella salad.  I just made one a couple weeks ago.  Making it is easy peasy.  I used fresh mozzarella (from Costco) cut into chunks, cherry tomatoes, and drizzled that with some olive oil.  I also added some salt, pepper and cut up some fresh basil from my herb garden.  And just like that you have a fresh salad.
Next time I need to get my cheese from the Italian Market.  Sorry Costco, but your cheese can't hang with the Italian Market cheese.