Friday Favorites: Family time

So I know it’s currently Saturday morning and I’m way behind on my posting schedule, but I have been busy getting to spend a lot of time with my family. Everyone is in town for my niece’s 4th birthday party (today). My sister flew in from LA, Jarob and I came up from Atlanta and we’re all ready for one big My Little Pony Party. Speaking of, check out these rainbow cupcakes we made with my niece yesterday. I think they fit the theme of the party. (And they are an adaptation from my Candy Brownie Cupcakes).

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Outside of all the fun times, I still managed to get my 11 mile training run. Did you know I have never once trained past 10 miles? Every half marathon schedule i have followed kept me at 10 miles and under. That last 1.2 miles or so of yesterday’s run were pretty killer. I hate when you’re running into the wind the second half of your run! Sucks the energy right out of you as if you weren’t tired enough already.

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For the first time,  I used a handheld water bottle (purchased at Dick’s for $19.99).I remember seeing people running on the Chicago Lakeshore path with those things in their hands and thinking how goofy they looked, while also promising myself I would never, ever carry one of those. (I believe I was capable of running no more than 6 miles without dying at that time, so it’s amazing how much I’ve learned and grown over time! haha)

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I also wanted to mention that if you’re in need of Brooks running shoes head over to Dick’s Sporting Goods (or their website) ASAP! Most of their selection is $30 dollars off! I bought another pair of the Ghost 8 because I know I will be needing them within the next month or so. I have never seen these shoes on sale. PLUS you can download and print off a $10 off when you spend $50 coupon from the Dick’s website (or download it here) and get the shoes for a total of $40 off. That coupon DOES EXPIRE TODAY. I believe the Brook’s sale only lasts until 5/2 as well.

I’ll recap more of the weekend and all the fun in Indiana when I get back home to the ATL. I hope you all enjoy your weekend and happy running!

 

Weekend Recap: Tourist in Atlanta

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a great weekend. It was warm and sunny here in Atlanta and we had friends in town to share the weekend with. The main event of our weekend was the Sweetwater 420 Fest 5k, but we also crammed in a lot of other tourist activities. Since we haven’t lived in Atlanta very long, most everything I do in the city is a first time experience.

We started the weekend with a trip to the World of Coca-Cola. Nestled right off Centennial Olympic Park, the World of Coke can be toured for less than $20. After entering, you’re greeted immediately with a beverage of your choice (Coke, Diet Coke, or Coke Zero) and taken into a room full of historical artifacts. There’s lots to look at in this room, and an ambassador for the brand walks you through important points in history for the beverage. Next up, a movie theater type room, where you get to witness a short film made by Coca-Cola that actually made me tear up at points. It was one of those movies where they showcase the “greatness” of the brand and how it’s a part of important moments in people’s lives. Worked for me! After the movie, you have the option to guide yourself through the rest of the building. There’s a secret vault, photo ops with the Coca-Cola bear, a chance to learn about the processing facilities, and most notably, a tasting experience room where you can try Coke products from ALL OVER THE WORLD. Get ready to get your sugar/caffeine buzz on. This room is like Station Cool from Epcot on steroids.

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After the World of Coke, we headed to a well-known barbecue place for lunch, Fox Bros Bar-B-Q. For a 2:30pm lunch, this place was PACKED. We waited 45 minutes for a table, but it was well worth the wait. This restaurant is recognized as one of the top BBQ places in the city and I have been told by several people I work with that it’s the place to go once you land at Hartsfield Jackson. A couple of pulled pork sandwiches later (and some AMAZING TOTS. Yes, I got a pulled pork sandwich with tots) we headed back to our neck of the woods for a peaceful evening at home.

Saturday marked the 5k. We headed to Centennial Olympic Park for the start of the race. I have to say, this race was organized pretty poorly. Runners lined up in a giant group, then walked across a few streets while police were actively shutting down the roads the runners would be taking. Only half of each two lane side was closed to run in, meaning you could be running right next to a moving vehicle. The roads themselves weren’t in the best shape, there were not wave starts, strollers were allowed and people crammed themselves to the front of the start line when all they planned to do was walk. It took a good 5 minutes to get around strollers, walkers, confused runners and other obstacles to finally feel like you didn’t pay $40 to want to pull your hair out. Also, (yes one more gripe), the mile markers were displayed on tiny knee-high signs on the very right of the road, meaning most of the time you had no idea how far you had gone. Since this was only a 3 mile race, I knew it would be over before I realized it, and the fact that we were able to do something fun with our friends would supersede the shortcomings of the race. Plus, when you did get to the end, you got to enjoy a rather large Sweetwater Beer. I don’t think I will be signing up for this race in the future, but I am glad I got to get my first taste of running in the city of Atlanta.

The rest of the day was spent at Top Golf in Midtown, in and around Buckhead and finally back home. Sunday we laid low and enjoyed the day before it was time to take our friends back to the airport. I spent more time in Atlanta proper than I ever have and I am feeling like I am barely scraping the surface. I am excited to continue to get to know this city (and learn my way around it!). This week Jarob and I will be heading up north to celebrate my niece’s 4th birthday as well as a wedding shower for a beautiful friend. Can’t wait to cross the Mason-Dixon line for the first time in 4 months!!!!!

 

Friday Favorites

Yayyy it’s Friday! So here you have it… this week I am obsessed with Heather McDonald’s Juicy Scoop Podcast

Heather is a stand-up comedian, former cast member/writer for Chelsea Lately, and has a million other roles in Hollywood. While I have watched some of her standup online, it’s her passion for celebrity gossip that really keeps my ears glued to the iPhone each Thursday. Heather pours through tabloids, adds her two cents, and any information she has from her inner circle. She is good friends with Kris Jenner, so there’s that. She’s obsessed with the OJ Simpson trial, she has a bunch of other famous friends and does some really interesting interviews. She also throws in hilarious predictions about celebrities and includes snippets into her own life regarding how hard it is to stay relevant and working in Hollywood.

Her comedy special “I Don’t Mean to Brag” is streaming on Netflix currently and is pretty darn funny. It’s a good way to get to know Heather’s humor if you haven’t heard or seen her before.

I’m not saying this is great learning material. But it is certainly a way I like to spend my time when I’m cleaning the house, walking around the neighborhood or on a long car ride. Heather keeps things light and funny, and is a Bravo TV FANATIC. Anyone who is obsessed with Real Housewives gets an A in my book! You should probably go subscribe to Heather’s podcast right now. Click here to do so!

And lastly, we have a winner for the Fig Bar Giveaway! Congrats to Joy Mills (@Jemrah1). You have been selected as this week’s winner. I will be in contact with you shortly to get your information!

 

Distance Run & Last Day Giveaway

Yay! I’m on the other side of my distance run this week. I hit my 10 mile goal at just under a 9 min/mile pace. I also incorporated water and snacks into my run for the first time… and it went a little something like this:

At mile 4, I grabbed a water bottle I had stashed in our yard and drank it through our neighborhood loop, then tossed it back onto our property before leaving the neighborhood. It was actually a lot easier to drink from then I thought. I hate the cups they give you at races because the liquid splashes all over your face if you don’t slow down to drink it. With this eco-friendly less-plastic-whatever-generic water bottle I was able to avoid spilling and then fit the bottle into my grip for over a mile before tossing it.

Just before mile 6, I ate 5 of the Teddy Grahams I brought (in a ziploc inside my Fitletic Waistbelt). Classy, I know. But I am new to this game. I also brought my inhaler with me and used this right around the same time. I came into mile 6 feeling like a new woman!

From miles 6-8 I was feeling pretty great, until I hit the hardest hill in this whole route. I include this hill on purpose, since I’ve read it is great to train with hills, however it reallllly took it out of me, nevermind the several smaller hills  before and after it! Somewhere between mile 8-9 I decided to see if any more Teddy Grahams would help the wall I was currently feeling. One Teddy Graham decided to jump ship, so I only had four left to eat. I got them in my system and told myself that I could definitely finish this run, but it was going to take all the mental strength I had. At mile 9, my legs were literally feeling glued to the ground. However, trying to reach above and beyond the fatigue mentally I was able to finish and keep my pace.

All in all, this was a good run. I decided on Teddy Grahams for my snack since they’re bitesized and I read twizzlers, pretzels and Teddy Grahams can all be good options if you don’t want to buy into the higher priced sports beans or gels. I don’t know if I took the right amount with me, I’ll have to look further into how many carbs/snacks to bring on these runs. I also don’t plan on using them for anything under 10 miles.

And last but not least, post run I stretched and refueled with my favorite flavor Fig Bar, Mango. It’s important to eat something within 30 minutes of running, and usually I would rather just chug water and wait to eat, but I really want to try what those who are smarter than I am are saying! About an hour post run I am feeling great and definitely in need of a shower. IMG_1847

Speaking of Fig Bars. Please please please enter my giveaway. The winner will be chosen tomorrow morning. You will win a selection of 5 flavors of Fig Bars sent to you from Nature’s Bakery. You can choose which flavors you would like! It’s a great way to try this product and if you’re reading this because you run, it’s a great refueling option post workout. All you have to do is follow Nature’s Bakery on Twitter OR Instagram and leave a comment on this or the original post OR TWEET me to tell me who you would share your fig bar with!

@GingerJamsBlog my #figbarfriend is @jimmykimmel

Running schedule this week 

After traveling back from work in Tennessee yesterday, my schedule feels a little backwards. I did manage to get in a 3 mile run after being stuck in the car much longer than I would have liked to be. Isn’t it amazing how much your brain can tell you just to throw some PJs on and climb into bed with Netflix, but you must persevere through it and get your miles in? I never regret pushing forward with a workout when I am feeling like doing anything but. So glad I got that run in. 

This week my long run is 10 miles. My 9 mile run went pretty well last week.. I’m starting to learn what foods work best for me for breakfast to give me enough energy and not leave me feeling fatigued after the first few miles. Right now, peanut butter toast with either sliced apple or banana works great. I’ve read a lot of distance runners have peanut butter bagels before their races so I am falling right in queue. I need to work on incorporating water into my runs… I usually just try to push through without anything. In the past, I have stopped at maybe two of the drink stations in half marathons. I wonder if my splits would be positively impacted by incorporating more water in my training and in my races. I plan to work on that this week. 

 
After the 10 mile, my husband, myself and some friends of ours are running in the Sweetwater 420 5K in downtown Atlanta this weekend.  It’ll be my first Atlanta race and I am excited to see what kind of crowd shows up. I always had a general idea of the running scene in Chicago based off of who I saw on the lakeshore path each day, but since I have been training on backgrounds and neighborhoods I don’t tend to see too many people out and about doing the same thing. 

The Hotlanta Half marathon is less than 2 months away! I feel like I am progressing pretty well and am glad I’m going to be doing our 5K around the same area that the half will take place to help me get mentally prepared for the scenery. And a heat wave broke here in Georgia yesterday so I got my first taste of 80 plus degree running weather. Yikes. I’m in for it! 
I hope you all have a great weekend. Don’t forget to enter the fig bar giveaway this week! A winner will be selected on Friday morning. For info click the Giveaway Link ! 

FIG BAR GIVEAWAY

The moment has finally come to unveil the details behind my Nature’s Bakery Fig Bar Giveaway. There’s a few simple steps to enter into the contest (see below). A winner will be chosen at random and their prize will be a selection of samples sent to their home. Please note, shipping can only occur to the U.S. and Canada.

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You will get to pick which flavors you want to try

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To Enter:

  1. Follow Nature’s Bakery on Twitter @NaturesBakery (click here) OR instagram (click here)
  2. Follow my blog by entering your email on the right side rail (under the search bar, kudos to you if you follow already. WordPress users simply click “follow”)
  3. Compose a tweet to @GingerJamsBlog (that’s me) with the hashtag #figbarfriend and tag a friend you would split your pack with. (yes, fig bars have 2 per pack and sharing is caring… although this is hypothetical and you are not required to share in real life)
  4. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE TWITTER, leave a comment on this post following the same format below:
     

That’s it! Social media follows to Nature’s Bakery, one blog follow of GingerJams and one tweet/comment showing your selfless love of sharing a fig bar pack.

I will be verifying the follows/comments and will be announcing a winner Friday morning. You can send as many tweets as you like so you’re sure to get noticed. All tweets will be read and a winner will be chosen by 9am EST Friday. The winner and I will be in communication through DM on Twitter so I can get your details for shipping and get the product in your hands.

 

Let’s Eat: Two Bean Turkey Chili

I will be the first to admit that if it is eaten with a spoon, I’m probably already in love with it. Ice cream, soup, cereal, yogurt, oatmeal. For some reason most of my favorite foods are spoon-worthy. Much to my Florida raised husband’s confusion, I love to make a big pot of soup a week. While he doesn’t understand the need for that since he grew up in 80 degree weather 99.9% of the time (ok, a little exaggerated) and I grew up in the frigid climate of Northwest Indiana where you get like, 100 days of summer, soup was a part of my weekly diet for years.

My mom has a way of cleaning out the refrigerator and making some wonderful tasting soups. We ate a lot of soup growing up and I know when I visit home I can almost count on one of these concoctions waiting to be warmed up for a meal. Soup is still part of my regular diet and after trying out a few different recipes and make a few alterations, I have found my new favorite turkey chili and I’m ready to share!

I make this recipe in a crockpot, however, I’m pretty sure you could accomplish the same thing in a dutch oven.

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Being a redhead means…

Outside of being a genetic mutation, there are many things that being a redhead blesses you with from the moment of birth (or when you decide to grow hair.. which would be past 1 for me). Here are my top 10 “redhead-isms” that help define what life is like for your every day ginger.

  1. Get used to being asked “is that your natural hair color?” If this happens to you when you are in a salon, get out, do not pass go and do not collect 200 dollars. I cannot tell you how many bullets I have sweat hearing the very person cutting my hair asking me if it’s natural. YIKES.
  2. People will be able to spot you in a crowd. This has been a favorite of my husband’s. He can find me almost anywhere, even if I’m surrounded by 200 people. Just look for the hair and it’s a dead giveaway. Great if you’re lost. Bad if you want to blend in.
  3. People will offer you sunscreen ALL THE TIME. True, you may be paler than most people, but not all of us are allergic to the thing high in the sky. Some of us may be able to bronze.
  4. People may want to play connect the dots with your freckles. I don’t have that many, but I would have loved to pass time in Algebra doing this to some of my ginger friends.
  5. You better refer to yourself as a Ginger, because everyone else will. And they’ll do it with a stigma, so once you own it you don’t have to worry about what they say. I didn’t call this blog GingerJams for nothing!
  6. If there’s another redhead in sight, people are going to ask you if you know them. (Yes, and we’re all related, too).
  7. Strangers who need to get your attention will call you Red. So will people who have forgotten your name.
  8. No matter what anyone says, you do have a soul! Thanks SouthPark! haha
  9. You will get asked “where does your hair come from?” or “were you adopted?” if they don’t see that your parents or siblings have the same hue.
  10. In some weird way, even though people make fun of you for your hair or bring it up as a punch line, they will always work in that “their beard grows red hair sometimes,” or that “with the right lighting, they’re a redhead too.” They just want to be like us!

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    Baby Margo

Product Review: Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars

Hello all! I hope you had a marvelous weekend and are ready to hit the ground running this week (pun intended if you’re a runner… just a saying if you’re not). I have something exciting in store for you, a continuation of a product review for Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars AND an upcoming give away so you can win some of the goodies I’m writing about! For real, I have partnered up with Nature’s Bakery to stuff my face silly with a healthy and great tasting product and get you in on the action as well! #Exciting

One of my first posts was about how I discovered the world of Fig Bars on an American Airlines flight and decided to tell the world about the yummyness that could be discovered 32,000 feet above land (hey dad, is that still a typical cruising altitude? you can answer in the comments below). The good news is that you can enjoy these treats at home and can pick them up at most of your local grocery stores. The BETTER news is there is a gigantic array of flavors to choose from. Seriously, see all the kinds you can bite into in regard to the Stone Ground Whole Wheat Variety:

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Friday Favorites: Peanut Butter Banana Stuffed French Toast

Two of my favorite things to combine are peanut butter and banana (see, it fits with Friday Favorites!). I usually slice up some banana on top of my toast when I have it for breakfast in the morning, however, today I decided to get a little more creative.

Yesterday I made a recipe that called for half of a banana, so I had this other half just begging to be used. I also had a brand new loaf of bread that was gifted to us by Jarob’s dad when he returned home the day before. Real crusty, whole grain bread. The kind that makes for great french toast! Since peanut butter has been bringing food items together since Reese’s Cups, PBJs, and as an accompaniment to apples everywhere, it seemed like the perfect echo to a french toast frenzy (on a Friday).

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So, here’s how I did it:

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