C is for COOKIE and Cookie is for ME!! Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Many of you saw my post from this weekend when I baked (and finally nailed) my pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe!  I made some tweaks and most of the made for a healthier cookie.  Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a health cookie.  I just made some swaps that were better alternatives than the usual recipe.  For example, I swaped half the butter for 1/2 cup of pumpkin.

The recipe is below and please note that I’m not a recipe writer so if you aren’t sure about something, please do ask!  Hope you enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

-1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter

-1/2 cup pureed pumpkin

-3/4 brown sugar, packed

-3/4 cup of Stevia (this is a 1:1 for the other half of the brown sugar.  So if you don’t do sweetners then do this as brown sugar instead)

-1 tsp of baking soda

-1 tsp cinnamon, ground

-1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground

-1/2 tsp cloves, ground

-pinch of ground (or fresh) ginger

-pinch of sea/kosher salt

-2 tsp vanilla extract

-2 large eggs

-1 1/4 cup All Purpose flour

-1 cup Oat flour (I made my own–cheaper and easier–by blending Quaker instant oats in my food processor)

-2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

(NOTE: this is the part where I may miss a detail because I bake so much it’s just natural and I don’t think about certain thing.  SO…IF you have any questions or need clarification, please feel free to ask)

1) Preheat oven to 350* F

2) In a mixing bowl (I make mine in my KitchenAid mixer) blend sugars, butter and pumpkin for about 1 min until mostly combined.  If you use a mixer use low-medium speed.

3) Stop the mixer and add the vanilla and the eggs.  Then continue to mix again until combined.

4) Stop the mixer once more and add the spices and baking soda.

5) With the mixer on low add in the flour–one cup at a time–until combined.

6) Stop the mixer and add the chocolate chip.  Only turn on the mixer to combine the chocolate chips into the dough, maybe about 30 seconds.

7) Scoop dough into about 1 inch balls onto a lined/greased baking sheet–twelve (12) scoops will fit on a standard size baking sheet.

8) Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes and then allow to cool on the baking sheet for about two minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

ALL DONE, repeat until all the cookies are made! Simple as that!

For my Weight Watchers friends, I got these to 2 Points per cookie…not bad!

Focus Forward–Letting go of yesterday and embracing today for a better tomorrow!

Better tomorrow

Everyone carries something from their past into every day, I’m no exceptioni.  In fact, this is probably my greatest weakness and burden in my life.  I know that I’m the only one who has control over it.  In my day to day life, I’m a purger…can’t stand clutter!  But when it comes to memories and past hurts I can’t seem to purge as easily.

Throughout my weighloss journey I recognized that my weight was due to some of this “baggage” that I’d been carrying around for (years in some cases) too long and I wasn’t even conscious of it!  So as these pasts started to resurface, I”d deal with them and then purge.  My running actually helped a lot with this process because I was able to expell any energy these feeling/memories left in me and would enter a type of meditative state in the process.

Just like how my weight loss (I’m learning) is not a “one and done” process, the purging of these types of feelings and memories/experiences is an ongoing process.  2014 has been a challenging year, I said it was, something in me just knew that I’d have a year of overcoming ahead of me and boy was I right!  But Instead of wallowing in said challenges, I’m embracing them for what they are (growth/learning opportunities) and moving on.  I’m a firm believer that “everything in life happens for a reason” and at the time in our lives when it’s supposed to.  Our control is in how we handle these things that happen.

People often ask how I was able to find such success after a devasting loss and my answer is simple.  In my case (and in many others) I feel that you have two choices in those moments.  1) You can choose to get up (as challenging as that may be in itself), dust yourself off and learn/grow from what happened.  Or 2) you can stay knocked down and wallow in your loss.  I didn’t want to continue to feel the way I did after my losses–days of endless sadness and despair.  I wanted to feel happy again and not guilty for living my life.  But in that moment I also realized that I didn’t have much time left if I went back to living the way I was.  I was reckless and careless with my life and I wanted many years of thriving ahead of me.  So instead of “going back to normal” I sought out my new normal and embraced it.  It made for some defininte “growing pains” but those were good “pains” and they made me a better person.

I had that wallowing feeling rresurface the other day.  Like many, I’ve been struggling with maintaining a healthy weight and I found myself slipping back into old habits–and I”m not just talking about how/what I eat.  Seriously!  I had an aching pain in my stomach because of something that happened this weekend and it immediately flashed me back to my life about 7 years ago and I didn’t like it one bit!  It was a blessing because it was a very eye opening moment to how much I’ve changed both inside and out!  That pain made me realize that even though I may have slip ups every now and again moving forward, I’ll never be that girl that I once was, again!  I almost couldn’t believe how grateful for that I was.  I spoke my mind to the person(s) who needed to receive it and that was that.  Since that feeling, I’m continuing to move forward.  I see the rest of my 2014 and I embrace it with all it has in store for me.  I know it’s going to close on a happy note and I’m looking forward to that!

Most importantly, I feel empowered!  In that pain moment i remembered what it felt like to not feel in control or empowered of myself.  It shook me to my core and I needed that.  A gain of 15lbs is simply that.  But my choices and actions after realizing that are what count more.  I know that I’m not slipping back into the person I once was.  I found myself seated at a restaurant with friends at 10pm at night and I wasn’t even hungry but we ate because it was somewhere we can’t go at home and I was there.  I split an order with a friend and only ate half of my portion.  While i could easily get wrapped up and consumed in I ate even though I was not hungry. I chose to focus on the fact that I recognized that in the moment and while I made the choice to taste while there, I didn’t over indulge and moved on.  Before I would have never even done a “gut check” of if I was hungry or not and I probably wouldn’t have split a dish either!  So celebrating the little things!

This extra weight will come off with time.  I’m far from a couch potato…but it will take longer than it used to because I don’t crash diet.  I live and lead a healthy lifestyle…I will clean up this week and in time the weight will start to come off.  But–same as with my past–I’m not stressing over it!  My focus is forward and in order to keep it there, I’m letting go of yesterday and exciting for what’s ahead!

Week 1 Complete of #EatPrayRun–AKA #DreGettingHerGrooveBack

So it’s Friday and I’ve pretty much am a week into my new mindset and life philosophy of #EatPrayRun and #FindingBalance.  I think my small changes starting out have been good.  Look, this isn’t my first “rodeo” and I don’t have a lot of weight to shed like I did before, so I know my small changes will be slow to show and subtle.  But the difference is that nowadays I’m much more accepting of that.  So what do I have to be proud of this week?  Well for starters I didn’t quit on myself!!  Hello, HUGE victory right there!!!!  I half joke but am also totally serious when I say that I’m usually the only thing in my way when I haven’t reached a goal I set out for myself.  It usually comes down to my mindset.  So I’m well aware and very much an advocate for #HealthyMind = #HealthyBody = #WellBeing.  People say you are what you eat, but I think it’s more you are what you think.  That’s the root of it all.  We know what’s good for us and what’s good fuel for our bodies, but we choose otherwise.  I know healthy food makes me feel good from the inside out–better energy, my skin is clearer, no more headaches, etc.  

Many of you know that a good amount of my 170 lbs shed was done after I went back to WeightWatchers.  The plan wasn’t anything earth shattering but the support I got from my meeting group/leader and the accountability that it gave me helped me reach my weight goal.  Yesterday I battled with myself about whether or not I should go to a meeting while I’m in LA.  The thing I was hung up on (and asked a bunch of people about) was that I’d have to weigh in.  I knew I had a great week but I wasn’t necessarily ready to get on a scale yet.  The good thing about where I’m at this week–no scale.  I can often get handcuffed to a scale and stuck with what it reads.  I know that living a healthy lifestyle is more than that.  As a Lifetime WW member, I’m only required to weigh in once a month.  The answers from my friends and family varied.  Honestly, I could’ve asked a million people and the decision ultimately come down to me. 

I got up and went this morning…weighed in and everything.  And you know what?  I gained and it didn’t phase me one bit.  I wasn’t “whatever” about it, I wasn’t upset about it, I honestly wasn’t anything about it.  It was astonishing to me.  I sat down listened and actively participated in the meeting.  Which was nice to be at considering I was somewhere where no one knew me as a leader so I could 100% be a member! And I left to go run the rest of my errands, in a good mood.  I was happy because the results of the scale didn’t deter the rest of my day!  It didn’t ruin my day.  It didn’t give me the attitude of “well F that I’m going to go eat whatever I want”, etc. 

I surprisingly felt empowered by the whole experience.  I went grocery shopping for good/healthy food, I went to the gym, I got my work done, I cooked my dinner, etc.   I even planned my next day and actually through my return home!  Bring it on new week!

So what’s my update from my first week of #EatPrayRun and #FindingBalance….do what makes you FEEL good…genuinely.  I talked to family and friends this week–one convo even got me motivated to get up and out to a run–prior to I was finding an easier way out to do my workout.  I ate what I wanted to and it was healthy too!  I logged/tracked what I ate, even if I exceeded my daily target.  Once I did, I didn’t feel guilty about it.  Which, for me, often leads to consuming even more out of spite.  Say YES to you and NO to others.  What do I mean by that?  Well…sometimes you need to say ‘no’ to others requests/needs of you in order to provide self care for yourself.  It’s just like the instructions on the airplane when the oxygen masks come out–you put yours on before helping others.  Take care of your needs and then, if you have the time, energy, money, etc. go and help the others in your life.  Forgive yourself.  May sound silly but I noticed that often times my actions are reactions from something else and they are usually rooted in me feeling guilty about something.  So I’m learning to forgive myself when necessary. 

More to come next week!

Happy and healthy weekend!

 

Eat Pray Run: My Journey of Healthy Mind + Healthy Body = Well Being”

People often ask how I did this, why I got started and how I kept going.  I seem to have a form answer to give but really I don’t think I was as conscious of this all in the moment as I am now.  I’ll never forget that month of August in 2008 when I lost my job while my Mom was terminally ill in the hospital.  A week later, shortly after she was allowed to go home (not because she was better but because there was nothing more, medically they could do to improve her health) I lost my Mom.  About a week after that, I lost my grandmother who’d been battling heart disease.  What a four weeks right?!

Although it may seem like it, this isn’t some “aha moment” that happens where something “clicks” and all of a sudden this whole process becomes easy.  Quite the contrary…and it took a while too!   But at the time I did know one thing, genetics wasn’t in my favor (from both sides) and while I didn’t have control over that, I did have the option to have control over my weight. Don’t get me wrong though, I didn’t do this because I was afraid dying.  I don’t fear dying–we are all here for a purpose, once we fulfill it, that’s it and we don’t have control over that.  I made changes to my health because I wanted to start living my life.  I realized just how precious and (possibly) short it can be and I wasn’t going to take it for granted.  In my current state of being at the time, I was far from living life.  I wanted to thrive and I was barely surviving. 

So that’s how I started.  I guess the “easy” part was that I did have a clear start and a why.  That all evolved over time, what was rooted in the passing of my Mom and grandma internalized and was more focused on me.  It all happens with one step at a time and a consistent focus forward.  Looking back to learn is ok, but staying there isn’t an option that you can keep while on this journey. 

Even now, maintaining a healthy weight seems more challenging than losing-I’ve spent most of my life losing weight but rarely if ever maintaining a healthy one.  So how does one maintain a healthy weight, live a healthy lifestyle and enjoy the life they’ve been blessed with?  Great question and I plan to find out!  Some of my favorite (and regular “go to” movies have themes like this.  While I don’t have the means to jetset off to Europe or Asia or anywhere else in the world, I know that I can have similar growth wherever I am (now a days that’s a moving target, LOL).  

So I invite you to join me on my journey I’m deeming “EAT PRAY RUN” where I find my balance in living healthy and happy–both inside and out, because a Healthy Mind + Healthy Body = Well Being. 

My activity of choice may be obvious to many of you who know me, but for those who don’t I’ll share some details….When I first started trying to live healthier staying active was challenging, I was over 345lbs.  So I started by walking, my Mom was an avid walker and I felt more connected to her when I’d go out for these walks.  Over time, my walking has evolved into running and in August of 2012 I ran my first half marathon.  Now I’ve completed 12 more and counting!  If you’ve never done one, the training programs alone can seem daunting.   13 weeks of running with long runs ranging from 5-12 miles long.  Now that doesn’t seem as long to me anymore but doing them on a regular basis since 2012 has and I recently hit burn out mode.  But in my heart I love running and know I don’t want to give it up, but we have been on a bit of a break.  

So enter in my “EAT PRAY RUN”!!  We all know what’s best to eat vs what’s not, but many of us don’t do it.  But I know how good I feel when my body is fueled vs fed.  By that I mean, when my eating habits are centered around fueling my body for optimal performance (day in and day out, in training, or competition) versus feeding my body either based on emotions or feelings.  When I “feed” myself, it’s usually higher in fat, salt, and sugar.  When I fuel myself it’s usually healthy fats, low sodium, minimal/no sugars and lots of water.  I feel my best when I eat like this, I end up having better and more sustained energy and sleep better too!  So there’s the EAT of my “EAT PRAY RUN”.

The PRAY is more about allowing myself time to reflect internally.  I’d confidently say that most of my energy/focus in a day is externally given–work, family, friends, etc.  It’s not a complaint, just an observation on my part that there needs to be more of a balance there in order for me to be able to provide my best self to those that I love and care for.  My PRAY will be spent in morning “me time” where I quietly reflect on what my day has in store, morning yoga and a motivational short read.  Additionally, in the evening I’ll plan to do some “me time” through reflection and meditation.  I figure that’s a good way to wind down my day.  I don’t know that I’ll have something to check in with here daily, but if I do, you can be sure that part of my PM  PRAY will be a blog. 

Finally, RUN.  Kinda obvious what that will consist of, right?  LOL.  But in all seriousness, I want to fall back in love with running–whole heartedly.  I know that part of that is realizing that I do run (as a wise person told me once) because I can and want to, not because I have to.  Also, someone else shared some wisdom with me in that, not every run needs (or should be) treated as a competition.  PRs (personal records) don’t need to be achieved at every race.  These are both important for many reasons, one being self care for my body.  Even elite athletes have time off from competing, and I’m far from an elite athlete!  But seem to neglect working in the balance of training and resting.   Finding and practicing this balance will be part of the RUN of my EAT PRAY RUN. 

All three aspects are key in me learning the balance of living this weight and healthy lifestyle, which is ultimately my goal.  I know the yo-yo living of training hard to burning out is a reflection of the way I used to live.  In order to truly not go back to that, I need to change how I live day in and day out–internally.  What I think, I do.  So I will do my best to keep it mostly positive because I know that ripples to many other aspects of my life.  It can easily break me when I’m struggling with food or a workout.  Which can just as easily domino beyond just one day!

This year August will be different…I will do more than survive…I WILL thrive.  I will take what I learn each day to build on to the next.  Each small step leads to bigger change.  I will stumble but that’s part of the process.  I will get back up, dust myself off, and continue on…I’m that determined to find the balance in my healthy lifestyle–i prefer and enjoy it over the alternative and I want it to become easier over time.

Stay tuned for more on my #EatPrayRun, #FindingBalance and #DreGetsHerGrooveBack!!

For daily check ins, you can find me on Instagram and Twitter at @ReNewedMe

Pamper Yourself

So part of health and wellness is taking and making time for yourself right?  Some TLC goes a long way!  This week I got the (somewhat) unexpected surprise to do a little of that for myself!  With 2014 being as full as it’s been, that’s often been hard to do!  In the past I’d take a mini trip to wine country or a spa day but it’s been challenging (time and finances wise) to make that happen.  It doesn’t change the need for it though!  So when this blue box showed up on my doorstep I was thrilled!  I didn’t know what would be in it and although it was small it was packed full of great goodies–and I’d like to share them with you!!

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I was immediately drawn to a few things in particular and couldn’t wait to get them open and in use!  The only item in the box I’d tried and/or purchased before was the Tide To Go Pen–which works very well by the way, especially in the moment!  Much more subtle than dipping your restaurant napkin in your water glass (or *cringe* licking your napkin) then attempting to dab out your stain!

So first product I tried was of course the Sally Hansen nail polish! Love to girly it up every now and then–plus, if i feel late night mindless snacking coming on, it’s a great way to keep me from dipping into anything!  Can stand taking the time to paint my nails then ruin them!  Fun color of barracuda and their applicator tip was rounded, which I’d never seen!  It’s genius because now with that tip you are less likely to paint the edges of your cuticles/fingers in addition to your nails!  Made my non ambidextrous self feel more capable to paint both hands well and not just one!

 

Next, so I’ve always had an issue with acne–ever since puberty kicked in–and it hasn’t gone away.  At 32 years old, that’s more than frustrating.  Two of the products in the box were geared towards improved skin health!  The Eco Tools sponge and Olay Regenerist Moisturizer.  The sponge is an affordable option for sensitive skin needs–there’s also an exfoliating one.  The texture is quite unique and I’m still squishing it because it’s just like nothing I’ve felt or used before.  Out of the package it’s hard but add water and it softens right up!  For me, the Olay made me think “I’m too young for that!”  But really, skin health–especially your face–is important at any age!  Also, after just three nights of adding this to my regimen I’m a convert!  I see and feel the difference in my skin.  It’s smoother and my acne seems to be more in control–for me that’s an improvement!  My face is noticeably smoother as well!

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So lastly, I’m not quite headed down the aisle but after browsing their site, when I am my first stop will be Riley & Grey!  The card included in my @Influenster #VoxBox offers 50% off for your own personal wedding site!  In addition though, they have so much more!  Inspiration for not just weddings but honeymoons, baby showers/parties, and fashion and reception!  They have a modern flare with a classic/traditional inspiration!

So my moral here, is don’t forget to scribble in some time for you…whatever you may be doing or in the middle of!  Even things as simple as painting your nails or giving yourself a facial can help boost your mood/energy!  The wedding website, instead of being a part of the process you dread or groan about, may be something you look forward to instead!

Take time to enjoy the “little things” and your gratitude will multiply your abundance!

For the FUN of the RUN–my 1st Race Recap (ever) of my 10th Half Marathon! RnRSF

In August 2012 my goal for my first half was part serious and part joke–I kept saying that I just wanted to complete all 13.1 miles, upright and cross the finish line on my own two feet.  Then I started training and decided I could finish and that I wanted to complete it in under 3 hours; I ended up finishing in 2:35 so I was thrilled!  Then I did my 2nd half and beat that time by almost 20 minutes, then my 3rd half and PR’d again by another 5 min, and so on.  PRs became something I was getting used to and using as my focus/goal for each race.  Then the inevitable happened and I didn’t PR.  I was kind of bummed at first but I got over it, it was bound to happen at some point and I really hadn’t trained as well as I could/should have.  Then it happened again…I not only didn’t PR but I came in at the same time I did as my 2nd half and here I was completing my 9th!  Something dawned on me then…

This past Sunday I completed my 10th Half Marathon, it’s still amazing to me that within less than two years I’ve completed 10!  So here’s some background.  I am born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area–hills are part of my regular training/runs.  I did the RnRSF last year for their inaugural race and it had some good hills in there.  This course was a “go big or go home” kind of hill course and if you don’t know SF, then you should know that “inclines” are anything that are not pancake flat and “hills” are some serious climbs–whether that makes them short but steep or long.  Comparing this year and last year’s courses felt like night and day!  Once I faced the facts of what the course had in store from me I decided my goal was going to be “enjoy the views…and yes that was definitely a plural!”  This course started us out at the beach at sunrise for 0.25 miles then we headed up our first set of (many) hills into the sunrise itself–we had hills for breakfast!  Once we got into the Presidio and Sea Cliff it was all postcard views from there–and we were going to earn them!  I could talk about them but I will just post some of the pictures that runners took along the way.  I thought of stopping but I chose not to except for once and that was with some fellow bloggers who were cheering runners on along the course between miles 2 and 3!

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@pointonemiles and @pavementrunner

Explaining these views is pointless, they speak for themselves.  But for someone from here, they even got me to consider stopping because they were SO BEAUTIFUL!!

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From top/bottom and L to R @sojomy, me, @pointonemiles, @katietheactor, @hayz808,  @pavementrunner, @run_westin, @runrocknroll

This weekend was more about why I enjoy running and not about how fast I could finish it!  Isn’t that what life in general is about?  Enjoying the journey and not focusing about how fast you arrive at your final destination?  I was so proud of myself for my finish but I was elated at the finish line because the amazing fun-filled weekend I had was well spent and worth the hurt (and tiredness) that I felt!  I met people who inspire/motivate me daily via social media and I feel like we all really know each other like any other friend I’ve had for years!  We all instantly click when we get together like we’ve never been separated by distance.  We encourage each other to keep going when it feels hard or hurts, to go further when we feel we’ve gone the distance, to keep our heads up when we keep ourselves down, to be proud of what we’ve done because we couldn’t at one point, and to enjoy the view and have fun because in the end that’s what it’s all about!

This weekend I conquered the hills of San Francisco, I completed my 10th half marathon (and plan on completing many more), I was blessed with some AMAZING views and I’m grateful to be a part of this running community that spans over many miles, ages, demographics, experience, etc.  We all have one common thread and it keeps us together through all the ups and downs–or in this case peaks and valleys!

 

 

For more great views check out RnRSF recaps at  http://www.pointonemiles.com/  and  http://pavementrunner.com/rnrsf-2014/

 

Pre Race “Cold Feet”–Am I the ONLY One?

Many times, especially when I first started out, I’d get to be a “ball of nerves” pre race day.  Often times it’d keep me from getting decent sleep the night before, my stomach would be in knots the morning of, I’d jump out in the beginning of the race and go too fast for my normal pace, etc.!  Am I the only one?!?

I’ve come to learn that running is just like many other things in life, it’s something we practice and the more we practice we not only get better at it but we also get more comfortable doing it.  I’m at a point now where I can feel my pace/stride and that’s an achievement for me but I still get some of those nerves/cold feet!  It wouldn’t bother me so much if it didn’t also trigger some negative thoughts. :(  Am I the only one?

I can often catch myself in these moments and consciously work to correct my negative thoughts into positive ones.  Or I’ll pause and reflect on my past and realize that there was also a time when running wasn’t something I was capable of doing because of my weight and mindset.  These help me in the moment but now I wonder if these nerves are something I’ll always have or if it’s possible for me to overcome them.  I’m running my first half of 2014–wait, maybe that’s part of my problem….maybe I’m keeping myself this way by always focusing on the “first” part of this.  Instead shift my focus to I’ve run this race before, I’ve run 13.1 miles nine times before this and I’ve run 10+ miles many times in addition to that!  Focus on adding more miles to my life and enjoying the view instead of focusing on the speed in which I get from point A to point B. 

I keep running (and the longer distances) because I enjoy the “runners high”–I let go of all the things “weighing me down” and just enjoy being in the moment; it’s like meditating.  So I don’t know why I get so wrapped up in the “can I do this” pre race nerves!  Maybe this blog will help me release that and the more I practice releasing it, it will eventually cease to exists.

Thoughts…feedback…advice…?

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Food Musts for your RnRSF ‘Runcation’

All right, we are less than a week away from our race day and it’s time to talk fun!  Most of the runners I know train hard and play equally so!  This is why our races give you free beer at the finish line–**ahem** ALL the Rock n Roll series! So have you planned your non-run related outings while you are in San Francisco this weekend?  Where are you eating post 13.1?

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But seriously, I don’t run to eat (like the illustration) I eat to enhance my running. I’m also a foodie and I enjoy indulgent food even more now since I’ve started running.  Why? Well it’s taught me that while I’m training I need to fuel my body to support my performance–healthy, clean and natural food. Being that many runners (myself included) are always in a state of training, race weekends tend to be my runcations (race vacations) and I allow myself at least one indulgent meal.  If the San Francisco Rock ‘n’ Roll is going to be a “runcation” for you, I’d like to point you in the direction of some must eat spots while you are here!

Breakfast/Brunch:

-Louis’ Cafe is actually just north of our race route along the Great Highway. It has a scenic view of the Pacific Ocean and tasty all American food with some local specialties–like their Dungeons crab Benedict! Note they are a cash only location so hit the ATM before you go!

-Just for You Cafe is well off our race route but still a tasty detour! Its authentic Southern fare is a hidden gem in SF’s Dog Patch neighborhood—if Chicory coffee and fluffy beignets are your thing then you don’t want to miss this place!

-The Ramp is the place to see and be seen in SF. Just south of AT&T park (Home of the SF Giants) this hidden shack-like eatery is mostly patio seating with a full bar. If it’s sunny, then expect a long wait to get a table!  But they have some good brunch cocktails to hold you over while you wait!

-Blue Bottle is some of the best coffee you’ll find in The City. They have their own store front in the Ferry Building and a number of other SF locations. It’s bold, smooth and good to the last drop! We start early so this may be a good stop post 13.1!

-SF Ferry Building Farmers Market is bustling on any Saturday especially if the weather cooperates! You are smart if you get out there early but there’s still plenty to see if you are looking forward to sleep in at least one of your mornings. My recommendation is to do a walk through first–it’s a big spread that starts in front of the building, wraps around the right side and takes over the back area behind the building. Vendors vary from produce, fresh proteins, sweets, and local eateries! One of my favorites is the lavender lemonade from Happy Girl Kitchen, it’s refreshing and sure to quench your thirst! 4505 Meats usually has some unique and tasty breakfast options while the oyster po’boy from (add their bacon, or eat the bacon on the side) Hayes Street Grill (they are usually right across from Happy Girl)!

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Lunch:

-Pier 23 is a long-time “fixture” along the SF water front.  Just north of the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero sits a small one level building with plenty of patio seating where you can enjoy our SF sunshine!  They have an awesome crab sandwich and a full bar with tasty brunch drinks as well!  The old time photo of the cowgirls in nothing but their hats and boots is also located here. ;)

-Plouf is my new favorite French spot! It’s located on Beldin Lane which is lined with eateries along the border of the Financial District and Chinatown. You definitely have to try their tar tar starter and share one of their many versions of their mussels–ask for extra bread, you won’t want any of that sauce to go to waste!

-La Corneta is the south of the border stop you can’t miss!  Running 13.1 miles can work up an appetite, their super burrito will satisfy any size hunger you walk in with!  My favorite is their steak and shrimp burrito–surf and turf baby, and go supreme!  Perfect to fill you up after a long run!  They have a number of locations in the Bay Area including the Glen Park neighborhood in SF.

-Gott’s may be one of the more expensive burger joints you visit but it’s pays off in taste, creativity and quality!  I often try to order something different any time I go. Their original location (originally called Taylor’s) has been a staple up in wine country where it’s drive-up and picnic style seating only. During any time of the year you go, it’s always busy!  That alone should tell you how good this place is. Lucky for us, they opened up a location in the Ferry Building not too long ago!  Try any kind of burger and you can’t really go wrong–ahi tuna, Texas, etc! Their milkshakes are tasty too–too bad they don’t have an “adult” style shake on their regular menu. Just look for the big red G!

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Snacks/Sweet Treats  :

-DeLise is a sweet heaven on earth! This hidden gem is located just a few blocks from Pier 39 on Bay Street (@ Powell). Her menu has some staples but also some great seasonal items like the miso rice crispy treat, Peking duck scones, chocolate stout ice cream, etc! If you have a sweet tooth, you MUST stop here!

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-Liguria Bakery is the heart of North Beach (the Italian neighborhood of SF). So while you are waiting in line at Mama’s for breakfast or  zig zagging your way down Lombard Street, swing by Liguria (on the corner of Stockton and Filbert Sts.) but don’t look for their sign they don’t have one!  They are the original owners–as they say the ovens don’t move but you’d wish they did after tasting their focaccia!  They are closed Sundays/Mondays and when they run out of product (and they WILL) they close their doors for the rest of the day, so your best to get there early!  Don’t underestimate their plain focaccia, it’s my favorite, as is their pizza!

-La Boulange isn’t exactly an old staple to SF and yes some of their products can be found in your local Starbucks but one item in particular can only be found at their stores!  They chocolate hazelnut croissant is AMAZING!! No, it’s not a Nutella filled croissant, they purée the hazelnuts and combine it with chocolate in a buttery flaky croissant, get it toasted! They have tasty coffee too!

-Mitchell’s is another “worth the wait” SF eatery!  Take a number and peruse their menu of good ol’ and unique flavors–Mexican chocolate to grasshopper pie (kinda like those minty cookies those girls sell once a year). Perfect for any weather we get in SF!

Dinner:

-Coqueta is one reservation you better make now!  Spanish tapas are a big thing as of late and Croqueta serves them up in a rustic yet upscale setting. Start with some of their small plates and then finish with some sangria and family style paella! But seriously, make your reservation now!  It’s still “shiny and new” for us here and so everyone wants to go!

-Cha Cha Cha set in the SF’s Mission District and one of the neighborhood staples!  It’s another tapas style menu (small plates) so it’s fun setting to fill your table with lots of tasty treats!  Everyone will advise you to try their plantains and they are right!  Go for it!  And then if you feel bad for eating any of it, just dance it off!

-Lark Creek shouldn’t be counted out just because it’s located in the Westfield Center.  It is your place for steak—always a nice post run treat–and don’t overlook their seafood entrees!  One of SF’s staples is the Dungness crab and LC serves it up in style!  Lastly, PLEASE do yourself a favor and save room for dessert; specifically the chocolate creamux! It light and rich all at the same time, take it in with a bit of the salted caramel sauce a crunchy crumble that accompanies it and you’ll thank me for that little bite of heaven on earth!

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Bars with Food

-Mikkeller is a great gastro pub hidden on the outskirts of Union Square and not far at all from our finish line! Their beer menu is longer than their food menu but the food they do have, they do it well!  Go ahead and try their bacon wrapped pups (it’s protein :) )! But when in Rome…so go for their wings platter as well!  My advice would be to walk or cab it there so you can enjoy more than one of their beers that they have on tap–by the way, it’s all on tap!

-Giordano Bros is Pittsburgh in SF’s little Italy! Who needs sides though when those Burghs put it all in one sando! Your first thought may be “fries in my sandwich?!” But don’t knock it til you try it!  You can get just about any kind of meat you want–steak, turkey, sausage, pastrami, etc., but the rest remains the same! Beer is good and so are their wings.  Small joint but enough TVs to show any sports event you could want! Fun staff too–they also have a location in the Mission District.

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There’s no way you’ll leave San Francisco hungry with this guide! And no regrets, you just ran 13.1 miles!

 

Leaders (Weight Watchers) Need Love Too

I’m a leader who called out sick this week for some meetings.  Why?  Because I caught whatever is going around and I’m down for the count! I’ve tried to write this blog I’ve titled numerous times, but I end up allowing myself to get pulled away by other things.  But I sit here now and recognize that this post isn’t just for others but also for myself.  Had I sat down and written this the numerous times I started to before, it probably would have come off more like and rant or venting session from me.  But my intent for this is just the opposite.  This message goes for mothers, fathers, care takers, teachers, etc. ALL of you out there you naturally put other’s well-being before your own on a day to day basis.

When I decided to join the WeightWatchers team I remember thinking that this would be a great way to hold myself accountable to my maintenance efforts.  Quite the opposite has lived out…I find myself putting my job(s) before my own needs and it’s having side effects on my body.  I spent this last week sick.  I don’t get sick often, in fact since I started taking better care of myself and living a healthier lifestyle I pretty much haven’t gotten sick at all.  But this past winter I’ve caught bad colds twice from interactions with others who’ve chosen not to stay home and take care of themselves but go out and end up infecting others.  I know I’m not living in the time of the plague but still….PEOPLE, I’m not asking you to stay home if you are sick for my sake but for YOUR OWN.

Why do we neglect to take care of ourselves or to do so last instead of first?  I find that many of my old habits like this are coming back in my new role as a WW Leader.  In talking to other leaders in my territory I find that many of them have similar habits and it saddens me.  Why is is that we who are so motivated to help others neglect to help ourselves?  In reality I offer my best self to my members when I am at my best.  They inspire me, they motivate me and they encourage me through their own actions to be the best version of myself.

So I’m leaving this post short and with a sweetness to finish….Leader, members, all people of this world…please don’t forget to take care of yourself first and foremost so you can really offer the best versions of yourselves to those you encounter!  Take time for yourself on a daily basis, eat well, be active, sleep soundly, and wake up with hope in your heart that each day is the day you will positively impact someones life!  Set yourself a solid foundation so you can build great things upon it!

 

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I am here to Rock ‘n’ Blog!!!

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Some of you may have guessed it already, but I’m here to make it official tonight with the reveal of my announcement of #RunWithDre!

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Last April I ran my first Rock n Roll Series Half Marathon in San Francisco; ironically it was also my first hometown half!  It was a great memory (and PR) made that foggy Sunday!  Tonight I’m grateful and excited to announce that I’ll be back again this April to run AND blog for this event!

If your 2014 Bucket or To Do list includes getting health(ier), getting fit, running a half marathon, challenging yourself, having fun and/or simply to take a trip to San Francisco then I’m PERSONALLY inviting you to #RunWithDre this April 6 through the scenic streets of San Francisco and even over the Golden Gate Bridge!!

Some of my most favorite running memories are those I’ve run with friends, family, and fellow bloggers (so don’t worry, you won’t be going at this alone)!  If you’ve never been to San Francisco–have no fear–I’ll be blogging with some travel and site seeing tips!  If you haven’t run much lately or at all, I’m (and many other RnR bloggers) are here to help with that too!

The first step is up to YOU–register before it sells out!  Last year RnRSF sold out by mid January (lucky for you, we still have some spots left)!  To entice you, I also have a promo code you can use– RUNWITHDRE (Valid for $10 off the Half Marathon registration fee)!!  There’s a limited number of registrations that the code is good for and it will expire, so sign up to #RunWithDre TODAY!!

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Oh, one last thing…you know those #TweepUps we are always posting about, we’ll have one of those too (in addition to all the race expo, running, and post race concert fun…did I mention there’s a free beer, of course for the 21 and up?!) for you to look forward to!

Now GO!!

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