July 29, 2010

2 Moore Stitches

Check out my new beach bag - I'm so excited to have one of these hand made bags! This bag is made from a friend of a friend, who lives in the Carolina's, and uses her fabulous sewing talents creating custom hand made bags of all shapes and sizes. The beach bag is her latest original design. After many trips to the beach and needing several bags to hold everything for her family, the owner of 2 Moore Stitches decided to come up with an original design that holds up to 4 or 5 towels, has 2 large pockets for bottles of sunscreen and a personalized pocket sized to fit your cell phone.
These bags are made from outdoor upholstery fabric so they are sure to stand up to the sand and other weather conditions out at the beach. In case you are wondering, here are the measurements: 23 1/2 " wide x 18" high with an 8 1/2 " bottom.
I can't wait to debut this bag when we take our next trip to the beach. That's not on the radar for us this year, so I'll be carrying this one to the pool for sure before the summer's over! I was also thinking that it would be a good bag to have on hand for lots of things - like a weekend get-a-way or a bag for food snacks for a long road trip. This is actually my third purchase from 2 Moore Stitches. Last fall I ordered two custom purses for my best friends as thank you gifts for being a part of our wedding party. One great thing about her bags is you get to pick everything - from colors, to designs - all you do is send her some colors you'd like to have, she'll go to the fabric store and email you some suggestions and then you're off and running towards having a 100% custom hand made bag and how fun is that!
If you're on Facebook, check out the awesome page that 2 Moore Stitches has set up. Just do a search for them and click the "like" button. I have no doubt that you'll enjoy browsing through all her photos of the many bags she's created. If any of you wonderful readers are interested in getting in touch with 2 Moore Stitches, please leave me a message in the comments section on this post and I'll be happy to pass along her contact information and answer any questions you might have on things like cost and delivery fees.

July 24, 2010

Tour d'Burg 2010

We participated in a 25 mile bike ride a few weekends ago up in the 'Burg. The interesting thing about the Tour d'Burg ride is that there's not much of it that's actually in the 'burg. It starts and ends in Miamisburg, but the majority of the ride is through some surrounding towns.
JJ had to preform some minor surgery (aka bike maintenance) on my Dolce before we got started. I was having some trouble shifting into the larger gears, which is not so great when you're gearing up for a road ride. But because JJ is a rock star and knows how to fix just about anything, he was able to get the Dolce back in good shape in no time.
JJ's Dad and his wife joined us for the second year. We all joked that we could just skip the 25 mile ride and instead ride down to a local greasy spoon for breakfast, but since we'd all already paid our registration fees, we pushed through the early morning fatigue and all loaded up on the bikes ready for a fun morning.
That's the best part about being out on the bike. Once you get started, it's like there's this energy that sets in and you're crusin' along, enjoying the miles as they're racking up. I felt really good out there on the Dolce this year. We enjoyed a leisurely pace for the first 12 miles, enjoying the scenery along the route. One fun part about the beginning of the ride is that one of my work buddies and his girlfriend came up to the 'Burg this year for the ride. It was really fun to start off riding with them and showing them that area that I call my hometown.
We hit the rest stop at the half way point and enjoyed some refreshingly cold water and gatorade. I remembered from last year's ride, that the rest stop also had some sweet trail mix, so I was happy to see that it was there this year too - it was tasty! We caught up some friends who were riding the 50 mile ride so it was great to see them and hear how their day was going.
After we re-fueled, we got back in the saddle and headed out for the remainder of the ride. Overall, it was an awesome day spent with family and friends. After the ride, we cruised the vendor area and chilled out at TJ Chumps restaurant for the afternoon. Chumps is fun place hang out after the ride because their patio sits right along the official race course for the professional riders. So, as we were enjoying some adult beverages, every few minutes a huge pack of cyclist would fly by as they were competing in the different races.

July 23, 2010

Food at work...

Another day, full of temptations...

Seriously, this is a true test of will power on someone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle.. Lord, give me strength!

July 22, 2010

The Hamburger Wagon

This past weekend, we went to my hometown of Miamisburg for the Tour d'Burg bike ride (more on the ride on my next post). Miamisburg, or the 'burg as I like to call it, has really undergone some wonderful revitalization's since I used 45342 as my zip code and it's great place to visit.

There are several community events throughout the year that are fun to attend - things like Cruise The Burg (car show), Thunder Burg (motorcycle show), Boo in the Burg (Halloween party), and the Spring Fling Art Show. The downtown 'burg area has exploded over the last few years, with restaurants offering patio seating, a wine shop, an ice cream parlor, an outdoor adventure store and a movie theater is in the works to open soon, all of those business are situated right along Main Street.

One long standing tradition is still going strong among all these new comers - the Hamburger Wagon. According to their website, this white wagon stand has been dishing up burgers around Miamisburg since the early 1900s. This link will take you to their website, where you can read more about the history of the Hamburger Wagon.

Now, nothing about these small bite size burgers is healthy. It's kinda like mystery meat, rolled into a ball, smashed flat and then cooked in lard. Yes, I said lard. The wagon's only big enough for two people - one burger maker and one order taker. When it's your turn in line to order, it's kinda like ordering hash browns at a Waffle House - you know, I'll take an order of hash browns scattered, covered, smothered, and chunked. (That's hash browns with cheese, onion and ham, for those who are curious!) There are no condiments at the Hamburger Wagon - it is a simple set up bun, burger, pickle, onion, salt and pepper. That's it. They buns are lined up right on the counter with the toppings ready for the burgers to come out of the skillet. Ordering goes like this:

Wagon Order Taker: "How many do you want?"

JJ, when he ordered: "10 - 6 regular, 2 no pickle, and 2 plain" And that's it. You pay cash, because they only take cash, and you wait off to the side of the line for the order taker's arm to hand out a sack full of greasy burgers. Now, the whole time you eat your burgers, you're thinking - I should not be eating this! And you're asking yourself "Do these even taste good?" But, if you know Miamisburg and/or you grew up there, then you know the Hamburger Wagon and you eat them with pride, even though you know they are not one bit "good" for you. They remind you of your childhood, and that's a good thing! So, I end this post with a shout out and thank you to the fine folks of the Hamburger Wagon. Thanks for being part of the vendor scene at the Tour d'burg event. Indulging in two burgers, no pickle for me, was just what I needed to get back some energy for the afternoon after the 25 mile bike ride - or at least that's what I'm telling myself!

July 19, 2010

Brains on Bikes make it to DC

A few months back, I wrote a blog post about the Brains on Bikes group. Two strong and powerful women, cycling across the country to raise awareness for brain cancer. Well, here's some awesome news...
I am happy to report that Anne Feeley and her friend Gundy have completed their Brains on Bikes journey and arrived safely in Washington DC on July 17th! A huge CONGRATS to them and their supporters - what an amazing, life changing journey. Together, these women cycled nearly 4,000 miles, covering 9 states beginning in San Fransisco traveling all the way to Washington DC.
All of these photos are posted on the Brains on Bikes facebook page - if you spend time of facebook, check them out. There are tons of amazing pictures from their cross country journey and you'll also be able to keep up with them on future efforts to spread awareness for brain cancer research and developments. (The rights to all these photos are attributed to the Brains on Bikes facebook page & fan photos)

July 15, 2010

It's a 'Jungle' out there...

Last weekend I met up with my cousin Kara and we headed out to Jungle Jim's for the afternoon. It was a fun day of catching up with each other and checking out all the unique items the international market has to offer.
Just look at the picture below, all of those jars are filled with honey. According to their website, this is known as the Jungle Jim's Honey Table. The table offers hundreds of varieties of honey and more options can be found throughout the store along the international aisles. Now, that's just sweet! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)
Now this aisle below is the whole reason I wanted to make the trip up to this mega store...
It is an aisle dedicated to chocolates, candies and biscuits from England. I was extremely fortunate to travel to London in the summer of 2000 and participate in a study abroad program. While I did fall in love with many things while traveling to this wonderful place, thinking about all the candy varieties I tried while on that trip brings back some really fun memories! We would have class in the mornings, break for lunch at the Queenslarder Pub in the Bloomsbury neighborhood, where I stayed, and them some classmates and I would stop off at the corner market to stock up on sweets before our final afternoon class.
Below are the ones that I indulged...the Double Decker by Cadbury is by far my favorite. It's a crispy cereal bottom layer, a chewy nougat top layer, all covered in delicious milk chocolate. There is said to be a slight hint of coffee in there too - now I know why I got addicted to them for the month I lived in London!
Kara and I found ourselves in the beer and wine aisle, where the choices were just overwhelming! She picked up a blueberry beer she had heard good reviews on and I bought a build-your-own 6 pack with some summer brews for me and JJ.
Have you been to the 'jungle'?
What are your favorite aisles at Jungle Jim's?
Share, why don'tcha!

July 13, 2010

Food at work...

It is impossible to not be tempted by all the food that is often brought in where I work.

You name it, it is usually around - chocolate chip cookies, salty chips, ice cream stocked in the freezer, homemade cakes for birthdays, free samples sent in by new restaurants opening, etc.

This picture below shows my point...

Seriously people, brownie wars! Today I gave in to temptation - I was simply forced, for the good of humanity, to eat two brownies - and they were delicious!

My vote was for #1, but maybe I should have another taste test just to make sure...

July 12, 2010

A Day on the Loveland Bike Trail

Saturday morning was a beautiful day in the 'Nati so I dusted off my bike and headed out for a ride along the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail. My running buddy and I met up in historic downtown Loveland for our jaunt north towards the town of Morrow. The portion of the trail we road covers 13.2 miles. We enjoyed a nice leisurely ride out the 13 miles and stopped off at a very cute ice cream shop called Miranda's. This is a great place right off the bike trail that offers ice cream, BBQ sandwiches, and a restroom - which is very nice! We enjoyed our sweet treats and took a break from the bikes for a few minutes to soak up some of the gorgeous sunshine the day was offering. The fine folks at Miranda's also put out a huge jug of ice water for local bikers to use when they stop at their restaurant. Thanks Julie for introducing me to Miranda's - I'd definitely recommend checking it out if you find yourself cruising along the bike trail in Morrow.
After our stop, we snapped a self portrait and headed back south for the 13.2 mile return trip.
We wrapped up the day with a stop for beverages and lunch at Paxton's bar and grill back in Loveland. Paxton's is right on the main street off the bike trail and offers a nice selection of "bar food" to snack on after a day of exercising. And nothing beats a hot day on the bike trail like a huge glass of water and a pint of Bell's Oberon Ale - d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!
All in all, a great day spent enjoying the summer weather in Cincy & a fun day out on the Dolce.

July 08, 2010

Shrimp Scampi with Penne Pasta

(white wine, not shown)

My version of a recipe from Tyler Florence from the foodnetwork.com website. It calls for linguini, but I only had a box of penne on hand and it worked just fine.

  • 1 pound linguini pasta
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons on garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves

Cook pasta according to directions on box. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Saute the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes until the shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan; set aside and keep warm. Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons oil. When the butter has melted, return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley and cooked pasta. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pan, stir well and season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately and enjoy this yummy seafood and pasta dish.

July 05, 2010

Lemon Herb Pork Chops w/ Veggies & Rice

This was a delicious twist on grilled pork chops. I usually use BBQ sauce on the chops, which is good, but this lemon herb marinated was a great way to get in some citrus flavors, which is perfect for summertime.

Grilled Lemon Herb Pork Chops:
Juice of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
couple dashes of a mixed herb seasoning of your choice
4 pork chops
*In a large zip lock baggie, mix together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add pork chops and marinate for at least 2 hours (save some of the marinade for basting). Grill marinated chops on medium to high heat, they will take about 5-7 minutes per side. Baste the pork chops frequently with the lemon herb marinade.
Veggies and Rice:
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
small bunch of asparagus
olive oil
2 cups of whole grain rice
*Chop up all the vegetables and toss with olive oil. I used a grill basket and cooked the veggies right on the grill at the same time the pork chops were cooking. Cook the rice according the package instructions. Most directions call for rice to be cooked in water, but I always use chicken broth to cook my rice - I think it gives the rice more flavor. Once the rice is done, add in the grilled veggies.
The finished product - Mmm, enjoy this fabulous summer grilling dish!

July 01, 2010

Inspiration from anywhere

I thought this quote was fitting given my current interest in running...

While this is not from some great source of quotable intelligence, it did provide me some inspiration as I ate my way through a piece of Dove milk chocolate!