Weekly Wanderings…November 5th-11th

Hello All.

My wanderings were a bit singular in focus this past week and had little to do with fitness, although I did get in a few solid workouts. Do certain things ever seem to catch your eye over and over again? This week I guess I was just feeling a little…blue:

1. Blue skies & fancy free

Flatiron building blue sky
The Flatiron District is one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city, especially on days like this one.

2. You can do anything but don’t step on my blue suede…Pumas.

Blue Shoes - Buckyball Madison Square Art Exhibit
Based on the cool-factor of his shoes, I’m assuming this older fellow was also listening to Jay-Z. Can I grow up to be like him someday?

3. Vroom vroom.

Baby Blue Vespa
Isn’t this one of the prettiest things you’ve ever seen? I. want. it.

4. Flea-ing the scene

NYC Flea Market - blue wall
Snapped this beauty at the West 25th St. Flea Market. Who wants to play the license plate game?

5. Keep Good Going

Keep Good Going
Ok you caught me. This may be the tagline for a life insurance company but…it was inspiring at the time.

What caught your eye this past week?

Forever wandering,

– Kristen

Weekly Wanderings…November 5th-11th

Weekly Wanderings…October 29th-November 4th

Hello All,

It’s been a long week! Hurricane Sandy definitely took the city by storm but I’m glad to say that NYC knows how to take a punch and it bounced right back. That being said, there are still areas, especially Staten Island and the Jersey Shore region, in which cleanup and rebuilding will take months. If you’d like to make a donation to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy, you can click here: American Red Cross Disaster Relief Effort.

American Red Cross LogoWhile Sandy took the wind out of my sails a bit (seems a little counterintuitive…), I still managed some wanderings this week. Here’s a view of what I’ve been up to besides reading my Twitterfeed via iPhone by candlelight:

1. It’s UNREAL (Candy)

UNREAL Candy

So this past week was Halloween, aka Candy Overload-oween. Thankfully I discovered UNREAL Candy at CVS, which is a new brand of candy that does not use any artificial ingredients, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, GMOS, or corn syrup. So although I was still ingesting unhealthy amounts of sugar while waiting out the storm, at least I avoided all of the crazy weird chemicals used to create everyone’s favorite Hershey & Nestle varieties.

The backstory behind the UNREAL brand is pretty interesting and it all started with a sack of confiscated Halloween candy, go figure:

Unreal Candy backstory

So pretty much this 13-year old kid named Nicky (with his highly-connected, serial-entrepreneur Father who founded the digital ad-firm Digitas and financial-rewards company Upromise) set out to “unjunk” candy while still keeping it tasting great. Let me tell you – Nicky & Co. succeeded. You can read more about the UNREAL story here.

Oh, and Gisele, Tom Brady, Matt Damon, and Jack Dorsey all Love UNREAL candy. How’s that for an endorsement?:

I taste-tested a few of the different varieties: the healthier, less-junky dopplegangers for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, Milky Way, and M&M’s. While the peanut butter cup counterpart didn’t blow my mind, the Milky Way and M&M’s did. They were BETTER than the originals. I better you didn’t see that coming. I think it’s because UNREAL uses pretty high-quality ingredients. The M&M’s were my favorite, they were super rich & creamy – maybe from the cocao butter they use?

Unreal Candy M&Ms

UnReal candy M&Ms nutrition info

While candy is still candy and not in fact healthy, sometimes you just need a sugar fix. I highly suggest reaching for some UNREAL candy the next time your sweet tooth beckons.

2. Rawr. Cave Bear skeleton New York is brimming with local oddities. I thought this one in particular was quite relevant for the Halloween season. I frequently walk past this skeleton of Ursus Spelaeus (Cave Bear) from the Pleistocene period (2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago) located in the window of Astro Gallery of Gems on the corner of 34th and Madison. Random, right? You would think this beast would be pretty hard to miss, but I wonder how many people actually notice it when they walk past?

3. A Very Muscly Halloween Black Milk muscle tights Halloween

I actually celebrated Halloween last Friday before Sandy hit and have just got around to posting about it. I was “Bodies – The Exhibition“, like the exhibit located at the South Street Seaport. While the Black Milk “muscle” tights are a tad…revealing, they felt awesome to wear and I got a few pretty good reactions out of them. If not on Halloween, then when? I go to all of those spin classes for a reason ha.

4. Post-Sandy Breakfast of Champions  Cafe Delectica Menu post-Sandy

My go-to spot for breakfast on the weekends is Cafe Delectica on 38th and 3rd. Not only is it super close to my apartment, but the food is high quality, pretty healthy, and reasonably priced. It has a very relaxed vibe and there are always a ton of regulars chit-chatting away over some coffee. This past weekend I was delighted to find that Cafe Delectica opened up shop despite only getting power back late Saturday night. As a result, their menu was extremely limited but this made me branch out and try something new.

7grain avocado chipotle omelette sandwich

I typically order the omelette sandwich on toasted 7-grain bread with tomato, avocado slices, and a dash of chipolte mayo. It is to DIE for.

Granola and Oatmeal breakfast - Cafe Delectica

Instead I tried their hot oatmeal bar and amped it up with some toppings – slivered almonds, blueberries, and some granola. Perhaps not as savory, but still a very hearty way to start Sunday morning. Did I mention that their orange juice is fresh-squeezed? Best I’ve ever had – I highly recommend it.

5. Wasted Time Wasted time can't be recycled

Words of wisdom to glean for passerbys like me. Reminded me of the importance of setting measurable goals for myself and going after them.

Cheers to a brand new week.

Forever wandering,

– Kristen

Weekly Wanderings…October 29th-November 4th

Weekly Wanderings…October 22nd-28th

As the worst of Frankenstorm is ahead of us, I thought it would be a good idea to write up my weekly wanderings before Con Edison preemptively shuts off our power in NYC. Stay safe everyone!

1. Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co.

Chloe's Soft Serve Fruit Co. Union Square

Chloe's Soft Serve Fruit Co. 2

I thought I’d test out Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co. in Union Square this week. Although it looks like your typical froyo, Chloe’s is actually only made of 3 ingredients: real fruit, filtered water, and a touch of cane sugar. I decided to try the pumpkin flavor with blackberries and white carob chips. I actually couldn’t really taste the pumpkin very well but the soft serve fruit was super cold and refreshing. While I prefer froyo, this would definitely be a great treat for the dog days of summer.

2. If Lisa Frank Made Socks.

Socks - Lisa Frank

Picked up these gems at Paragon Sports. Don’t they look like they should be sold with a pack of Lisa Frank stickers?

Lisa Frank - LeopardLisa Frank Stickers

3. Leaves are a Fallin’

Madison Sq. Park - Reflecting Pool

Madison Sq. Park - Leaves

I walk through Madison Square Park quite frequently and, although it’s small, it’s one of my favorite parks in NYC. Here are a few shots of the reflecting pool littered with the colors of Fall.

4. Lounging with Art

Madison Square Art - Buckyball

Madison Square Art - Buckyball 2

There’s a new Madison Square Art installment up (just in time for Hurricane Sandy) and it really is quite nice. The installment is called “BUCKYBALL” and was constructed by the artist Leo Villareal. It’s hard not to be hypnotized by the ever-changing colors in the hexagonal art structure. There are even some cool wooden lounges set up as part of the exhibition for art-gazers to kick back, relax, and enjoy the light show.

Madison Square Art - Buckyball 3

Madison Square Art - Buckyball lounge chair

I finally nabbed a spot on one of the wooden lounges. Surprisingly comfy!

5. Trader Joe’s Hurricane Hysteria

Hurricane Sandy - Trader Joe's Hysteria

Trader Joe’s was INSANE on Sunday since everyone was stockpiling food, bottled water, and of course pinot noir for the pending storm. I have no idea why I was lucky enough to avoid the line outside the store, but it was out the door, down the block, and around the corner when I walked outside with my hard-won groceries in hand. The checkout line wrapped around the entire store as well (typical) but it moved pretty quickly and I’m happy to say I am prepped with lots of tasty goodies to wait out Hurricane Sandy.

Forever wandering (from my couch until the storm subsides…),

– Kristen

Weekly Wanderings…October 22nd-28th

Weekly Wanderings…October 15th-21st

Hey all,

I’m a bit late in posting my wanderings, but here they are! While last week started off a tad rainy and gross in NYC, we were lucky enough to have amazing Fall running weather this past weekend. Rain or shine, I still managed to wander:

1. Sensational strawberry oatmeal smoothie

Strawberry smoothie

Here’s another super simple smoothie recipe I tested out last week. It takes about 2 minutes to make and is especially handy for those mornings that you happen to oversleep and are running late for work (not to say that Ever happens to me!…)

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

  • 1/4 cup uncooked oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk (I prefer almond milk)
  • 7 strawberries, cut up (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 tbsp honey (optional)

Add all ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts - Strawberry Oatmeal Smoothie

2. Ezekiel 4:9 pasta

Sprouted Grain Pasta - Ezekiel 1

Another week, and yet another interesting Amish Market food find. This week I discovered Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted grain pasta. Sprouting grains unlocks nutrients that would otherwise remain dormant, and cooking and baking with these grains results in a bevy of benefits, including:

  • Increased Digestibility
  • Increased Absorption of Minerals
  • Increased Antioxidants
  • Increased Vitamin C
  • Increased Vitamin B

While it’s kind of difficult for the layperson (like me) to measure the above health claims of sprouted grain products, the key takeaway I gleaned from my pasta dish was that I did not feel like crap after eating it. For the most part I have stopped cooking pasta since I graduated from college two years ago because it typically upsets my stomach. However now that I’ve been running and training more, I needed to find an easy and relient way to incorporate more carbs into my diet.

While the Ezekiel pasta is not “gluten-free”, it was much easier on my stomach and it tastes good too. I will definitely be searching out more sprouted grain products in the near future.

3. Running weather – Central Park

Central Park Running

Here’s a shot of Central Park featuring the amazing Fall weather we had this past weekend. Hopefully this good weather stays with us – I am not looking forward to bundling up to run any time soon.

4. Patiently waiting

Patient bike

I caught this shot while waiting at a red light on Lexington Ave and 42nd St. I love the orange glow reflected off of the bike. Someday soon I too will gather the courage to ride my bike through NYC traffic…*gulp*.

5. If I only had a…brain!

Pumpkin Scarecrow

I was really getting into the Fall spirit this weekend, in part due to the fantastic weather. Here’s a cute Jack O’ Lantern/Scarecrow hybrid I picked up at Duane Reade. I hope it didn’t scare my roommate too much when she first saw it!

Forever Wandering,

– Kristen

Weekly Wanderings…October 15th-21st

Weekly Wanderings…October 8th-14th

I wanted to recap my week before getting to the nitty gritty of my Rock ‘N’ Roll 10K experience. Check out my weekly wanderings pre-10K:

1. Breakfast of Champions

Blueberry oatmeal breakfast smoothie

I can’t believe I’ve never thought of doing this before, but it seems to be very popular on Pinterest to mix dry oatmeal into smoothies. I tried this blueberry-oatmeal smoothie for a quick breakfast on Wednesday:

  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup almond milk (or any kind of milk, I just like almond best)
  • 1/4 cup dry oatmeal

BAM. The flavor combo was nutty and naturally sweet, and the smoothie actually kept me full until lunch. Oh –  and it’s pretty much impossible to screw up. I think I’ll be testing out a few more of these simple smoothies next week.

2. (ORGANIC) HULK ANGRY

Organic Hulk

Spotted this gem on a coffee & juice cart in Union Square. I wonder if the Hulk is vegan too?

3. A Sunny Disposition

Yoga Mats - Lululemon

These colorful yoga mats caught my eye in the Union Square Lululemon store window. I think it’s time to get more zen in my life. Does anyone know any good yoga studios in NYC for beginner/intermediate yogis?

4. Pre-Race Carbs

Pre-race dinner - Libretto's NYC

I had an awesome pre-race dinner on Friday night at Libretto’s Pizzaria. In addition to the amazing house salad, I carbed up with their whole wheat penne primavera dish –  pasta cooked with zucchini, yellow squash, and broccoli in a light tomato sauce. The perfect way to fuel my 10K.

5. #2354

RnR # 2354

I had a blast at the Rock ‘N’ Roll 10K on Saturday. While I don’t think training for a marathon is in my near future, I do believe I may just start a collection of these bib # things…

Forever wandering,

– Kristen

Weekly Wanderings…October 8th-14th

Weekly wanderings…October 1st-7th

Hello there.

It’s starting to look and feel a lot like Fall in New York City. There’s a chill in the air and Trader Joe’s is regularly selling out of any and all pumpkin flavored/spiced/labeled products. I’m gearing up for my 10K next Sunday and finally bought some new running kicks. All in all, life is good. Go ahead and take a look at a few of my wanderings from this past week:

1. Look Ma, I can bake!

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Muffins

Ok so…I cheated a little. My hands-down favorite pumpkin-related product from Trader Joe’s is the easy Pumpkin Bread & Muffin mix. Just add 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, and 1 cup water to the magical mix and voila! – pumpkin muffins that are not only edible, but seasonally delicious.

2. Don’t get in the way of a Girl and her Bike.

Bike Girl

Just don’t. It will never end well for you. (Taken in Grand Central Terminal)

3. Just Do It.

Nike Flatiron Art

How awesome is this drawing on the wall in the Nike Running Store? I don’t think my feet are that flexible though, even in my brand spanking new Nike Frees. More on that later.

4. The Grapes of Wrath.

Dog and Grapes

I was meandering through the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday morning and caught this Yeti of a dog sniffing up the grapes. Grapes can be pretty toxic for our canine counterparts so thankfully his owner intervened. Plus, grape juice on that beautiful white coat would just be a major faux pas paw.

5. Nuts.

Squirrel and Acorn

As I was taste-testing some of my greenmarket finds, this little fella scampered past at full speed. I’m just glad he wasn’t stalking me for my food since these creatures no longer harbor any fear of human beings. Unless of course, you try to steal their nuts.

Can’t stop. Won’t stop.

Forever wandering,

– Kristen

Weekly wanderings…October 1st-7th

Weekly wanderings…September 24th-30th

Here’s a hodgepodge of wanderings from the past week:

1. She’s Flying! (or Falling With Style)

Mom diving off the high dive

I recently found this picture from the 70’s of my mom looking infinitely graceful and athletic going off of the high dive at a public pool in Gering, Nebraska – confirming my suspicions that she is indeed, Superwoman. Thanks mom, for teaching me to swim, encouraging me to compete, and doggedly reminding me to point my toes whenever possible.

2. Avocado & Sunflower Seed Bread

Avocado spread

Luckily, the avocado I bought earlier in the week from Grand Central Market was perfectly ripe when I pulled it out of the fridge. Spread like butta’ on the last bit of sunflower seed bread I had left from last week’s Amish Market expedition. Monosaturated fat never looked (or tasted) so good.

3. 5.5 miles, 7.37/mile pace

Nike+ 5.5 mile run

KB-ed (Kicked Butt, obviously) on my Saturday morning 5.5 mile run. You can check out my route along the East River running path here.

I surprisingly averaged 7.37/mile pretty comfortably. In my opinion, I think I’ve improved my pace in such a short amount of time because I’ve actually been running less and cross-training more. Working different muscle groups + interval training on the spin bike = reduced risk of injury/overtraining + killer cardio endurance. Only two weeks left until race day! I can’t wait.

4. East River Running Path

NYC East River running path

Between avoiding fisherman casting their lines and dodging renegade cyclists who enjoy party crashing the running path, jogging along the East River is an adventure more often than not. Without fail, I have to duck under the random wheat stalks pictured above in the midst of my run around 34th St. I suppose this route has yet to be boring!

5. Full Moon

Full moon over Brooklyn

I went for a quick walk along the East River on Sunday evening and was fortunate enough to have caught the full moon on its upward ascent over the Long Island City skyline. It was an unexpected and beautiful way to end the weekend.

More wanderings soon,

– Kristen

 

Weekly wanderings…September 24th-30th