Foodie Pen Pals – January edition

Good morning!

This past month I tried something new.  After reading about this program on Tara’s blog, I decided to give it a go and joined the Foodie Pen Pals program, coordinated by Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean.

I love food and used to LOVE having a pen pal, so I figured it was a win-win situation.

I was paired with Jill, a blog reader (both readers and writers can participate).  She sent me a great intro email asking me about some of my food preferences.  It was so exciting to hear from her.

I think I honestly checked the mail every day.  I was so anxious to see what she’d put together for me.  And really, who doesn’t get excited about getting a package in the mail?

I was elated when I came home one day to a box underneath my stairs, gently sheltered from the rain by my mail-lady.  Woo hoo!

Super elated when I opened it and saw all this…

Thanks Jill!!

This past week has been busy so I haven’t had a chance to try everything just yet, but I can’t wait.  I kind of like that it will be drawn out over time as it allows me to enjoy it even more.

I love the note that Jill sent with it, which told me a bit about each component.

Of note…the chili garlic.  I told her I wasn’t much of a fan of garlic but she said I must give it a try.  I’m sure DJ is excited to give it a try.  Also, the apple butter.  Apple butter on its own isn’t too crazy, but what is was her serving suggestion…on pizza!!  I’m definitely intrigued by that.

I’m drinking some of the coffee as I type and it’s great.  I expect to get to some of the other stuff shortly.  The Justin’s packets have been calling my name all week but I didn’t have any bread.  I’ll definitely share the deets as I try everything.

The person who sends you goodies is not the same person you send stuff to.  If you’re curious about what I sent, check out Nicole at Apples & Arteries.

Does this sound like something you’d like to do?  If so, here are the details…

Pen pals are assigned on the 5th of the month (so you need to express interest by the 4th).
The spending limit is $15.
Items must be shipped by the 15th of the month.
Your package must include something written (this could be anything from a note to a recipe).

If you are interested in participating for February, please email Lindsay at and include the following:
Your full name
Your email address
Your blog name/address
Your twitter handle (if applicable)
Whether you are a US resident or Canadian resident

Remember you can do this whether you’re a reader or a blogger.  I definitely recommend it, so give it a go!


It was a great experience and I’m already looking forward to next month.


Here we go again

Good morning!

Weekend recap:
Weekend was good, nothing too exciting, but nice.  Friday was low-key.  I had a Spin Odyssey captains meeting and then went out for dinner.  Saturday the family came up for a visit and to do a little more work on the office/closet.  Then Sunday was a pretty lazy day which was just what I wanted and needed.

I taught on Saturday morning and then again this morning.  For both classes I used a 45 minute of my January BRR ride.  I’ll try to get that up later today, but really I removed a couple of songs and moved things around a bit.  Not overly different from the original 60 minute version.

Work on the office is moving along sloooowly, thanks to painting.  I have a serious love/hate relationship with painting.  I love choosing a color and the outcome, but once I’m in the midst of the painting part, I tire of it pretty quickly and wish it was faster.  When I first moved in I hired someone to paint, which was great.  But since this is a small space, it’s all me.  Thing is, even with it being a small space, it’s taking forever and requiring multiple coats.  Ugh!  Then because it’s in a closet it gets a little dark so I think I’m good and then the next day, the sun’s shining and I see all these spots needing more paint.

Here’s a tease on the color…

For just a moment I’m going to complain about WordPress.  This is the second or third time that I’ve hit “publish” only to have it publish about 75% of what I wrote.  Where’s the other 25%?  Great question.

So let’s try this again.

This week seems pretty uneventful, although a bit busy.  I’m teaching 4 more times this week.  Twice on Wednesday and then my usual Thursday and Saturday classes.  It’s been ages since I’ve taught 5 classes in a week and I haven’t really missed it.  I guess it’s all good prep for Spin Odyssey.  Then we’ve got the Super Bowl on Sunday, crazy.

Is it really almost February??

Friday – Odds and Ends

Good morning and happy friday to my weekday warriors!  We’ve just about made it to another weekend.  Nice!

Sorry I went MIA.  I honestly can’t say I know where the days went.  Stuff here has been BUSY.

Between work and Spin Odyssey stuff, I have very little free-time and seem to constantly be doing at least 3 things at one time.

On the to-do list for today…
Home Depot – need to buy paint for the closet
Print and drop off flyers for upcoming Spin O benefit
Spin O captains meeting tonight
Clean (ugh!)
Turn my 60 minute ride from last night in to a 45
and oh yeah…WORK

Spinning this week was rough since I’ve picked up my effort level in my TRX classes, really trying to push myself.  Not such a big deal on Tuesdays, but on Thursdays when I TRX at lunch and then teach at night, it’s tough.

I never posted my ride from Wednesday, so I’ll put that up.  It’s a true 45 minute ride (including one cool down song) since I have to scoot out in time for the yoga class.

Last night’s ride was BRAND NEW.  So that’s going up here too.  In both cases, my descriptions are a bit vague, so as usual, if you want more details, leave a comment or email me and I’ll give you the deets.

One other thing…I decided to add color to my ride posting, so hopefully it’s not too much of an eyesore.

Summerspin 45

January BRRR (like the creative name??)

As usual, feel free to give me feedback, especially if you use any of these songs.

And now it’s time to be PRODUCTIVE.  Have great and safe weekends!!

The land of disorganization

One of the things I’ve been saying I need to do forever is organize my spin rides.  They’re in a state or organized chaos if you will.

I keep track of every ride I do every time I teach a class.  This is the pile of calendar pages I carry around with me.  You can see that it goes back to December 2009.  I actually had older pages but needed scrap paper and realized it probably wasn’t necessary to know what ride I did in October of 2009.

I’m thinking it might be time to transition in to a small bound calendar.

Do you keep track of your rides and if so, how?

Here we have the mess that is all of my rides.  Some are handwritten, others are typed.  Some are on index cards, others are on plain paper (full page, half page).  Some have cross outs on them as I update the rides.

This is where I’m just not sure what to do.

I guess the first step is probably to go through and remove any rides that are no longer relevant (or any good).  There are definitely a few in there with songs that now seem very dated.

The next step should be to decide how I want to write out my rides and then stick with it.

I also need to figure out how to organize them.  Right now they all live in that CD case since when I started teaching I worked predominantly off CDs.  Now I’m an ipod girl, although I always have a few CDs with me in case the ipod decides not to work.  I’ve thought about maybe getting a binder or an index card box.  Any suggestions?

Please help, I’m starting to drown in my spin disorganization!


Operation Closet Office

Even though I’m trying to keep this blog more spinning/fitness related, I still can’t help but share other things.

As I mentioned before, I now work from home full-time and as a result need a home office.  Since I’m not willing to give up a bedroom to make an office, I had to think creatively.

Enter the Closet Office.  My second bedroom has two closets so I decided to convert one in to an office.

It’s not done yet, but it’s heading in the right direction.  This weekend should finish things up.  Here are a few photos (silly me forgot to take a before photo).  (Sorry the photos are a little limited but most had my dad in them and he doesn’t need to be on a blog.)

Desk top


Desk top with some stuff on it


Desk top, shelves, stuff, and some paint swatches

Stay tuned for the finished product next week!


Super spin weekend

The weekend got off to a rough white start.  Snow.

I was up at 2:30a to make a trip to the airport.  Sense the excitment?  Got home around 5:30a.  The trip back took a bit longer than the trip down since the roads had gotten worse.  I was so excited to sleep for a few hours.  At 7:30a my phone rang and it was the 9 o’clock instructor asking me to cover.  I didn’t really want to, but I said OK.  I will admit, I did toy with contacting one of the instructors who lives within walking distance of the gym to cover, but I didn’t.  So up I got.

Off to the gym to teach 2 classes.  The first had only 3 people (all men).  The second (my usual class) had 12, which given the weather was fine.

Back home to find out that my parents still wanted to come up to work on Operation Closet Office, so the rest of the day was spent with some manual labor.

Woke up Sunday early to teach the 9:15a (and allowing time for icy roads).  That class was an hour but thankfully it was packed (32 of the 33 bikes were filled).  I’m a bit spun out.  But here are the rides.  Nothing new.

Saturday 9a – Jessica 10

Saturday 10a – Ready Steady 45

Sunday 9:15a – Hill Repeats 60

It’s all about the East coast!

Good morning!

Definitely not my best photo, but you get the idea.


I’ve really only been a football fan for about 10 years.  In that time, I’ve never really cared much about the teams who made it to the superbowl.  I know the Giants were there in 2007 but for some reason I have ZERO recollection of that game.  So to have my team be in the superbowl is just crazy!  Plus, to have the Pats as the opponent…is the rest of the country even going to watch the Superbowl?  I know they will, because I have every year, but you get the idea.

It was a crazy weekend here.  I ended up teaching 3 classes in the past two days, so I’ll come back later with all the rides.  Wow, I’m tired just thinking about it.

Friday odds and ends

Good morning and Happy Friday!

My mind is a bit scattered today, so I figured I’d pass that on to you.  Very kind of me, right?

So let’s see.  There’s snow in the forecast tomorrow (3-5 inches).  No me gusta!  My parents are supposed to come up to being Operation Closet Office.  Hopefully the forecasters are wrong, but I guess we’ll find out manana.  Are you digging just how bilingual I am?  🙂

Some time ago (might have been on the old blog site), I mentioned that I had been making the banana bread protein pancakes from Peanut Butter Fingers.  Well, due to not always having the right ingredients on hand (i.e. bananas), I’ve been playing around with it for sometime and I think that I have finally come across what I believe to be the perfect recipe.

I call it apple cinnamon raisin protein pancakes.  (obviously you need to like raisins to like these bad boys)
It’s simple…1/2 cup oats, 1/4 cup fat-free cottage cheese, just shy of 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce, 1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg beaters), a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a handful of raisins (I’ve been using golden raisins).   Add all ingredients (except the raisins) and then blend the heck out of them with an immersion blender.  This makes the cottage cheese all but disappear and turns the oats in to something more flour-like.  Then add raisins and stir.  Cook on medium/low heat as you would any pancake.
I’ve been enjoying these with a touch of PB and some sugar-free syrup.  YUMMY!!

Now some spinning stuff…

Instructors…can we talk about stretches post class?  What do you do?

My current routine consists of hamstring stretches, quad stretches, IT band stretches, glute stretches, and calf stretches.  All of these are done OFF the bike.  My questions is really about whether or not you do any stretches ON the bike.  I have occasionally done the calf stretch where you put the pedals to 3 and 9 and then shift your weight back.  However I’ve also read that this isn’t good for the pedals.  Is there any truth to this?  Any suggestions are much appreciated. 🙂

In sticking with my promise, here’s the ride I did last night.  I could have sworn I already posted it somewhere but can’t seem to find it.  Oh well.

The Eve (60 minutes)

And now time to enjoy the fact that it’s Friday.  Have a great weekend and stay warm!  Go GIANTS!!

45 minute spin

I’ve been spoiled in that I always teach the last class.  Or rather, for the past year plus I’ve always taught the last class of the day.  What does this mean?  It means that I don’t have to worry about rushing to finish and getting out of the studio in time for the next class.  While it sounds basic, it’s quite a luxury.

My Saturday class is used to me running a bit over and even occasionally doing a 60 minute ride (bad Jessica!).  With no class afterwards it’s not a huge deal if things get delayed.

Unfortunately my Wednesday class is followed by a Yoga class in the same studio, so I really need to be out of there in time.  Therefore it looks like I may have to go through my rides and edit them down a bit so that warm up and cool down are included in the 45 minutes alloted.

This is the ride I did last night.  I ran late.  I think it’s because I started late, but in all honesty, I created this ride so long ago that I’m really not even sure.

I’m keeping the descriptions basic here, but if you want more info, just leave me a comment.

Jessica 7-2 (even more creative than the last)