Monthly Archives: August 2015

Bar Review – Clif Bar Berry Pomegranate Chia – and Trying New Things

Clif Bar just came out with a new flavor – Berry Pomegranate Chia.

photo 2_3I’m a huge fan of Clif bars already, so there was a huge chance that I’d like this variety as well. One might say, I set the bar pretty low…. ba-dumch! Sorry, sorry. Bad puns are to me as oxygen is to other people – necessary for life.

BUT, sometimes I have this problem. I love the bars I know. I love Clif Bar Carrot Cake, Chocolate Brownie, Coconut Chocolate Chip, Spiced Pumpkin Pie……. Not like I have a sweet tooth at all or anything.

Anyway, I love the ones I know. So, do I risk it trying something new? 

I think the answer has to be yes, at least often. If you never try anything new, you don’t expand your horizons. You get stuck in your rut, even if it’s a very good rut. You might never discover a new love. You lose the opportunity to cultivate gratitude for what you have.

I’m not saying don’t have favorites or old standbys. There’s something about walking into a coffeeshop where they know you and your usual by name and already have it brewing as you’re walking up. There’s something about Panera where I pretty much always have to get their broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl.

The problem is not in enjoying the same thing. The problem is letting fear of the unknown hold you back from greater, or even just different, enjoyment.

photo 1I tried the new Clif Bar, and it was fantastic. There’s a great blend of berries adding sweetness to the bar, and the chia adds good interest, texture, and fiber. The bar is on par!

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Running in the Rain is Better than Singing in the Rain

TSP_10428934Okay, so I don’t know if it’s really true that running in the rain is better than singing in it. Both are pretty great. All I know is some guy shouted it at me around mile 11 this morning and it got me running faster.

This morning I ran the Hotlanta Half that wound its way through the neighborhoods of Atlanta. We went by the World of Coke and the Aquarium, the golden-domed capital building, the Olympic rings, the beltline, Piedmont Park, and more.

Well, 13.1 miles is a lot of time for thinking, so I got to it. Here are some of my reflections from the day.

During the week, sometimes even 8 am feels early. For a run, rising in the dark NEVER does.

Getting up early for a race NEVER feels early. Getting up on a weekday for school/work somehow retains that power, despite being 2 or more hours later.

It’s pretty awesome to run in the rain. It trains you well, both your body and your mind. Nothing like a puddle 8-inches deep to put a pep in your step and make you feel unstoppable. It also reminds you – not every run is going to be perfect. Just like life, sometimes you have to get out there on those days where the conditions are less than favorable, where you have 20 things to complain about and 30 things to do. We can’t control a lot of life, but we can control our responses to it. Running in the rain is an opportunity to let go of some control and add in a dose of flexible acceptance.

I’ve got a SERIOUS love of running. And maybe a bit of a problem. I kid you not. I was driving back from the race and passed a bit of one of my running routes. My first thought was, “Oo, I could go for a run right now.” Mind you, that running route is a 6 mile loop. Thankfully, I decided to at least pretend like a sane person, and I went home and showered instead.

Running is supposed to be fun. Duh, I know. But here’s why I forgot that. TMI warning. I’ve been having GI issues for the last month or so. It’s seriously put me off my feet and off my running game. On good days I was able to get 4 miles in before making a more speedy run in the direction of the bathroom. I tried to keep my running form up by doing short jaunts on a treadmill or longer stints on an elliptical, but as you all know, it’s not the same. Even a treadmill doesn’t compare to getting out on Atlanta’s hills, amidst the heat and humidity. I was worried going into this race that I wasn’t going to do well, until I caught myself. It’s not like I was running to be a top female finisher. Heck, at the end of the day, the goal isn’t even to PR. The goal is to have fun. But suddenly I was robbing myself of that with all my concerns. I took a breath and ran to enjoy the sights and sounds and the way my body could move…. and I got a PR! It’s a nice perk, but because I wasn’t caring about it, I would have had a nice run without it. The PR is just the icing on the cake – and let’s face it, some cakes are rich enough that you don’t even need icing. For those of you icing aficionados out there who think I just spoke some sort of blasphemy, just let me make you my chocolate cake. Challenge accepted. Also, Imodium is the greatest.

Properly drenched, thoroughly happy.
Properly drenched, thoroughly happy.

 

2L Year!

I start the beginning of my second year of law school tomorrow at Emory University, and I am so excited!

During 1L, you mostly take the same core classes that all 1Ls across the nation take – Property, Torts, and Contracts, oh my! 2L year though, you have much more freedom picking your classes. This means I get to take fun criminal classes like Constitutional Criminal Procedure, Sentencing Practice, and Kids in Conflict with the Law……. all to properly prep me for a future as a prosecuting attorney! Additionally, after interning in a District Attorney’s office this past summer, I’ve have seen how vital knowledge of the rules of evidence is – and at 8:45 a.m. tomorrow morning I get to dive right on in!

There’s a saying about law school. 1L they scare you to death, 2L they work you to death, and 3L they bore you to death.

Well, in the words of Monty Python: “I’m not dead yet!” (of course, that character is then told that they will be soon…. so hopefully the parallel isn’t quite perfect). Plus, the things I have to work on this semester are worth it to me – worth the stress, the long nights, the feeling like if I could only have 25 hours in my day I could make some headway. I’ll be working on the International Journal and serving as President of the Criminal Law Society and as Student Deputy Prosecutor.

And, when it comes to stress, who can guess what I’ll be doing to cope? That’s right, running! (and also sleeping, and also calling my mom in a teary mess….. we can’t all be put together 100% of the time)

So, that said, y’all are going to get some interesting posts! I hope to have the usual ones about running, food, and life…… but that life now includes law school. Also, please bear with me if there’s a short post or a late post.

More adventures to follow!

New Heights – Meditations on a 3-Layer Cake

This week I made a 3-layer cake for the first time in my life.

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Oh I’ve made cakes before. Plenty. Too many? No such thing. And I’ve made 2-layer cakes before. But 3 layers is a new level – approximately 2 inches – higher than I’ve ever been.

It got me to thinking. Sometimes we do things just to say we’ve done them. We hike Mt. Everest or run a marathon or add extra weight to the barbell or extra layers to the cake just to say we’ve done that.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with the doing of these things. I loved my first marathon and can’t wait to run another! The problem comes in the attitude. Doing something just to do it robs the thing you do of fullness. You stop enjoying the thing, because you’re not appreciating the thing itself. You’re appreciating the way you can check it off your bucket list or the way you can post about it on social media. You’re appreciating the DONE nature of the thing, but not the DOING nature of the thing. You’re cheating yourself and robbing yourself of so much fuller experience in the present.

Let’s get back to doing things because we WANT to do them. It’s a simple concept, and yet so hard sometimes. Sometimes I find it hard to even know what I want, because there are so many voices out there telling us what we should want and what we should do.

Maybe the best way to tell if we really want to do something is to ask: would I still do this if no one knew about it? or would I still do this if everyone knew about it?

For me, I definitely WANTED to bake this cake. I actually didn’t set out to make a 3-layer cake…. it was just a product of having too much batter for the pans I had. That actually made the new accomplishment nicer. It was a surprise that I wasn’t trying for and wasn’t expecting. I was just living.

Without further ado, the cake!

I followed this Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake recipe and boy is it good! This girl knows what she’s doing when she crafts a recipe, let me tell you!IMG_2311

You start by getting your eggs, butter, and cream cheese to room temperature. 3 sticks of butter. Yep, it’s gonna be a good cake.

Next, you do all the classic cake-making-steps like adding in flour and sugar and all that goodness.

But here’s something I learned. Before folding in the blueberries, you toss them with a tablespoon of flour. The flour coats the berries and prevents them from all falling to the bottom of the pan. Don’t ask me why…. as far as I know it’s magic. But I do know I’ll be using this trick from now on, in muffins or cakes or anything.

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After filling up the tins and popping these in the oven, it’s time to make the icing. Excuse me, the CREAM CHEESE icing. Life doesn’t get much better.IMG_2322     IMG_2327

Then, you have just enough icing to coat the cake. The recipe says that it doesn’t make a bunch of frosting, and that’s true. You get enough for each layer and the sides to be coated, but you’re not swimming in it. I thought it was the perfect amount. You do have to be carefully conservative when icing the bottom layers though, just to make sure you end up with enough.

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Dig in!

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Bar Review – Bear Naked

Anyone else get super excited over energy bars?

When energy bars are on sale, I go to TOWN. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I’m like a squirrel storing nuts for winter. I stock up like the apocalypse is coming.

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The spoils!

 

Added to my already massive stock-pile. I may or may not have more bars that aren't pictured....... but no, I don't have a problem.
Added to my already massive stock-pile. I may or may not have more bars that aren’t pictured……. but no, I don’t have a problem.

If you’ve got a Kroger near you, go! They almost always have some sort of 10 for $10 deal on bars, including bars like Clif, Luna, Larabars, Powerbars, and more! And, they usually give you the $1/bar price even if you don’t buy 10. Hungry runner, meet Kroger. Kroger, meet the person who’s about to clear out your shelves.

I always try some new bars and stick with some old standbys. You can’t get more classic that a chocolate PowerBar, but I’m also all for these new kale citrus chocolate bars. The chocolate part is a must though. I think it physically hurts me to buy a bar that doesn’t have chocolate. White chocolate doesn’t count.

Recently, I tried a new brand of bar called Bear Naked. They’re really good! Since there’s a million ba-jillion different types of bars out there, I’ll tell y’all what some of the ones I try are like. Then, discerning consumers that you are, you can wage your assault against the shelves of energy bars with every tool at your disposal.

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For Bear Naked, I tried both of these bad boys – Almond Cranberry and Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter. I saved the Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter for last because I figured it’d be better. Let’s face it – chocolate and peanut butter, is there anything ever wrong with that picture? (pst – the answer is no. unless you’re allergic to peanuts, I guess, in which case I mourn for you and your taste buds). Surprisingly, the Almond Cranberry was better. Better texture, better natural taste. Although, if they had drizzled the top with chocolate, it would have been perfection. (no, I don’t have a chocolate obsession, what makes you ask?) Both bars are thick and have a really good texture – think Clif bars but less concentrated – so that you can really see the ingredients that go in. They pack around 8-9g protein too, so they’re great for the hungry runner.

Would I get them again? Absolutely. Although I might skip the Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter one. There’s a lot of bar companies out there that do some chocolate/pb variation, and Bear Naked’s just isn’t the top of the list. The Cranberry Almond, though, is a winner every time.

Check them out!

Do you have a bar I should try?

What’s your favorite bar?