Celebrate the good, Holidays, moving forward

2019 recap

Looking back on 2019, I can say it was one of the hardest years of my life to start out, but that it ended well.

I started out 2019 with a wretched case of Bronchitis that lasted over 6 weeks long. Literally, day ONE of 2019 and I was down for the count. I had a half marathon to train for, and couldn’t take a breath. Needless to say, the Gasparilla half marathon in February was one of my worst times to date…BUT, I ran it pain free and I have Novorenew to thank for it. No knee pain, no ITB pain, nada…just long…slow…miles.

In March we visited my folks in Arizona, and it was our first trip out to see their new house. We had a great time, enjoying great food and learning all about the different climate that they live in and enjoying all of the things they love about Arizona!!!

Shortly thereafter, on April 17, I lost my best friend, 4 legged companion, my therapy dog, my HEART. They say time heals all wounds, but I’ll be honest…THEY are liars. While I can say I don’t ugly cry on the daily anymore, the physical ache in my chest really hasn’t lessoned. The months that followed were tremendously hard, and my running/working out pretty much came to a halt. I drank all the drinks and ate all the food and am still paying for it to this day….

May brought a last minute visit to Chicago to see my nephew graduate, and it was SOOOOO nice to be home with family. Our one thing missing here in Florida is being close to our family and friends. We haven’t made bonds like the ones we had in Chicago yet here in Florida.

The summer is beyond hot here which is not conducive to running, but I did my best to walk in the evenings, and continued to do so thankfully to taking Novorenew on a daily basis. I continue to promote this wonderful product, not only because of the amazing benefits of the 8 all natural ingredients, but also because it’s such a game changer for all active folks. Check it out, HERE.

June came…and with it some amazing opportunities. I was selected to be the Administrative Officer of the Laboratory I work in, and to say I was elated is an understatement. This was the move (although lateral in pay) that I had been dreaming about!!!

I started said job in July, and it’s been going GREAT. Every day I am feeling more comfortable and learning new things all the time!

My sister and her family came for a week over the summer, and it was SOOO nice to share my happy place (THE BEACH) with them, along with just spending good quality time together!!!!

My daughter came to visit in August, and we made it back to Chicago for another quick visit for our best friend’s daughter’s baby shower in October. I haven’t written a whole lot this fall/winter, but I am slowing getting back in to the routine of working out AND eating better. You will no longer catch me hiding in the pantry snacking on my daughter’s snack packs of chips…I may or may not have gone through three bags in one sitting.

November my hubby and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary with a simple trip to Orlando to get away for an evening. It was wonderful to have time for just us. I also had a lovely weekend get away with one of my Air Force best friends that I am blessed to have living just 40 minutes away from us!! 24 hours of fun in the sun, enjoying quality time away in Orlando was perfect!!!

We had an untraditional Thanksgiving, and escaped to Disney Springs to let someone else do the cooking. It was glorious.

December has been filled with more efforts to work out more and eat better, even despite celebrating Christmas. I only cheated, a little….I’ve lost 1.5 of many lbs. left to lose…so there’s that.

I don’t do resolutions, so January will be my reset, my restart, and my continued journey to live life the very best I can. I’ve got 8-10 lbs. to lose (I blame the chips and wine, sadly) and I know with hard work I can get it off…Menopause I am sure isn’t helping, not lack of sleep, but I am determined to do what I can to feel better about myself.


How was your 2019? Any big goals or resolutions for 2020?

Happy New Year!!

Holidays, marathon training, moving forward

Merry Christmas!!!!

I hope you are all having an amazing holiday season!!! I am thankful to report I got a new Microsoft Surface Pro laptop for Christmas so I will be blogging more regularly!!!

I wanted to share a few pictures of our holiday weekend before I get back to cooking Christmas dinner!!




It’s been so nice having my 19 year old daughter home for the week. I will be so sad when she leaves on Friday.

In running news, while I have missed a few short runs, I am happy to report that my hubby and I finished our long run of 5 miles yesterday and I felt fairly good. I struggled with breathing for some reason, so we walked through my side cramps. My new knee braces seem to be helping.




Dinner is a standing rib roast that I seared off in the cast iron pan with butter, garlic and herbs. It’s slow roasting in the oven as we speak.

How did you celebrate the holidays? What’s your favorite holiday meal? Anyone else get some miles in?

Happy Holidays!! Cheers!



Holidays, Uncategorized

Birthday weekend wrap up

For the last 42 years, ok not that long but for a LONG time, I have hated my birthday.  I wish I could honestly figure out where this hate comes from, although I have a few sneaking suspicions that I will keep to myself.  Yet as I have grown into a middle aged adult, I truly have worked at embracing my birthday as a day of celebration of life vs. a battle of time.

And this weekend, I was reminded how very blessed I truly am.  I was surrounded by friends and family, and made to feel more special than I can even describe in words…

So this post will have less words, and more pics, because I truly can’t find the words to describe the blessings I feel today, and always.  And of course…food pics.  Because isn’t this why we run so much?  LOL!!!

Make a wish!  You're never too old, right?
Make a wish! You’re never too old, right?
Cherished gifts from my first Chicagoland friend, Carolyn. XO
Cherished gifts from my first Chicagoland friend, Carolyn. XO
My kind of birthday cake....crème Brulee
My kind of birthday cake….Crème Brulee
Birthday wine at Fox Fire in Geneva IL, delish!
Birthday wine at Fox Fire in Geneva IL, delish!
These amazing people planned a surprise birthday brunch for me.  #sigh
These amazing people planned a surprise birthday brunch for me. #sigh
Birthday dinner of twin lobster tails, YUM!
Birthday dinner of twin lobster tails, YUM!
Me and my friend Melissa
Me and my friend Melissa ❤
Walked today, for #megsmiles
Walked today, for #megsmiles

So after quite a bit of deliberation I found myself looking hard at my circle of friends once again today.  I am cutting back more on social media, removing negative forces from my world, and realizing not everyone has the best wishes for us in life.

But…some people DO want nothing more than the best for us…and those are the gifts that I hold true to my heart on days/weekends like this…

Here’s to a new week, more miles, amazing relationships and even better food!

Questions….Do you enjoy your birthday?  What’s your favorite birthday treat?

❤ Michelle


Holidays, Uncategorized

Goodbye 2014

I read back to my goals for the year, as I am not one to make resolutions.  The beginning of 2014 was pretty tough on me…I found out I was losing my job, and we were buried deep in sub zero temperatures for MONTHS it seemed.  #Chiberia and I officially were NOT friends, and my miles and mood disintegrated at a very rapid rate.

BUT…spring came along, and I found a new job that I currently still am working at.  YAY.  I also PR’d my half marathon by a minute, at 2:01, trained for and ran my hubby’s first half marathon with him, as well as prepared for months for my Master Chef audition in Chicago.

Over all, it was a pretty good year.  My mileage isn’t where I had hoped, but I did lose 5 of the 10 lbs I set out to lose so I am pleased with that fact.  I also remained consistent with my blog, which was another big goal of mine.

Next year brings on new adventures of training for my 3rd full marathon, the Grandma’s Marathon that I will be running with my sister.  I swore I’d never run another full…but yeah.  We all know how that goes, right?

This past year I have been documenting my favorite recipes, and REALLY want my e-cook book to come to fruition this year…#fingerscrossed

For next year, I have a few personal goals that I want to keep up with that I’ll keep to myself for now, as well as over all I just want to keep movin’ forward.  I lived in the past for too many years.  I hope to continue to see my sister more often, as well as have ALL. THE. FUN. running another marathon with her on June 20th, 2015.

Lastly, I’ll share a couple of my favorite photos from last year!

Last year winter running buddy
Last year winter running buddy
Naperville Half, Nov'14
Naperville Half, Nov’14
MasterChef audition, meeting Kira!
MasterChef audition, meeting Kira!
Fox Valley Marathon sisters
Fox Valley Marathon sisters
Hubby's first half <3
Hubby’s first half ❤


Cheers, and Happy New Year to you all!!


❤ Michelle

goals, Holidays, moving forward

Post injury blues

Today as I laid on the couch watching football, and soaking my thumb in warm water to get the blood clotting bandage to dissolve, I found myself feeling…sad.

Meet my nurse maid and moocher, Sammy LOL
Meet my nurse maid and moocher, Sammy LOL

It’s Sunday…as most of you know, we have a Sunday supper tradition we started earlier in the year where I prepare a “fancier” dish to celebrate my awesome family each week and all that we accomplished in the past week.

But I still can’t cook.

And I can’t run.

Two of my favorite things to do to release stress…Someone I thought was a running friend said, “You don’t need your thumb to run.”  And I had to re-read that comment several times while choking back the tears.  If they knew the severity of my cut I hope they’d never say such a mean thing…I mean, really?  What happens when you run?  YOUR BLOOD STARTS PUMPING!  Right?  I have a freakin’ open wound on my thumb that could burst at any time.  Sorry…I DO need my thumb healthy in order to run.  So to this person, I say…thanks Capt. D-Bag.



Our supper included take out from one of our favorite local Thai places.  This made me feel slightly better.  Spicy seafood over noodles.  Yes please…

Courtesy of Thai Town!
Courtesy of Thai Town!

And now, with my bandage changed, and still slightly handicapped I am found a bit lost in my thoughts.  Thankful for the amazing support from my family and friends, slight put off by people who didn’t bother to even ask how I am, and ultimately blessed at the end of the day.

Wound, post injury post 3 days
Wound, post injury post 3 days

This injury may set me back…but it won’t stop me.  And I will forever remember those who helped me during my dark times, vs. those who celebrate my sorrows.

Here’s to a new week.  I plan on walking this week despite working the next 5 days.  I have some steam to burn off.  What are your plans this week?

*Pardon any typos…I am fat fingering while typing.

❤ Michelle



I think I found it…

I wrote my last post, pretty down in the dumps, wishing the Christmas fairies would sprinkle their dust on me.  I was being a bah hum bug, and truly was getting on my own nerves.  But last month, after some shifting of funds, saving money, and using the hubbies travel points we were able to schedule our 3rd annual family trip to Chicago during the Christmas season.  The kids had no clue…they kept asking, “Aren’t we going to Chicago this year for Christmas?” to which we would just smile, and say, “Maybe not this year…”

For the last couple years we haven’t traveled past a state or two, having gone to Michigan last summer for 4 days, and Chicago a handful of times.  We don’t spend money on fancy hair cuts, and have cut out all luxuries to include massages, nails, cable, and eating out at “regular” restaurants for the most part.  I cook at home more times than not.  We are truly frugal, shopping consignment for clothes, and EBay for many gifts.  BUT…we don’t cut out good food, or nice places to stay when it comes to our family.  We simply believe it’s important to teach our kids to be frugal, but also appreciate the good things in life.

So to get a deal of half off at The Drake Hotel, and be able to use points was a win/win for our family.  Our kids have always begged to stay there, but as most know, a one night stay can cost a pretty penny.  Saturday night we advised the girls to get to bed early, and pack an overnight bag.  They were GIDDY.  “Where are we going?”  We just smiled.  Pulling up to the Drake was priceless, as the girls just were beside themselves with joy.  And THERE…was my Christmas spirit.  I finally found it…in my children’s laughter.  YAY.

So here are some pics from our 24 hour trip to the city we’ve grown to love.  Chicago.  Despite the gray, overcast, and dreary weather, I found myself coming alive this weekend.  And all due to my family’s joy of being there, with, me.  We enjoyed good food, shopping, and some much needed down time.  Oh…and we walked 5.1 miles just on Sunday!  Win again!

Beef shank for dinner at Quarntino!
Beef shank for dinner at Quarntino!
Say Cheese!  At Eataly!
Say Cheese! At Eataly!
The city looked AMAZING this weekend.
The city looked AMAZING this weekend.
My people.  The mirror to my soul.
My people. The mirror to my soul.
Fondue from Quarntino  YUM even though I don't do cheese often.
Fondue from Quarntino YUM even though I don’t do cheese often.
Yes, this is Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio's initials carved in on their wedding night.  SO COOL
Yes, this is Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio’s initials carved in on their wedding night. SO COOL
Roasted Octopus from Quarntino.  More winning.
Roasted Octopus from Quarntino. More winning.
Our tradition to buy an ornament each year in Chicago left us with THIS. Love.
Our tradition to buy an ornament each year in Chicago left us with THIS. Love.
yes, I got the 15 year old to sit on Santa's lap...More winning.
yes, I got the 15 year old to sit on Santa’s lap…More winning.
Sisters...my heart!
Sisters…my heart!
And here is where I found my spirit...in these two little people's eyes...joy.
And here is where I found my spirit…in these two little people’s eyes…joy.
Eggs benedict from Bar Toma.  DELISH.
Eggs benedict from Bar Toma. DELISH.
True love...TRUE love.
True love…TRUE love.
Zappoli's from Quartinos...have you been there?  You MUST GO!
Zappoli’s from Quartinos…have you been there? You MUST GO!

Sooooo…at the end of the day, besides being tired, I find myself full of Christmas spirit finally.  We were able to spoil our kids at the mall due to being TRULY frugal all year, and seeing their faces made my heart melt.

And yes…there was mad jumping on the huge bed in our hotel room, just to add to the fun.  My kids were LAUGHING and my heart sang.

There it is… my Christmas spirit.  I am so glad I found it. Family…food…feel good stuffs.  YAY.

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays everyone!

❤ Michelle