Monthly Archives: January 2011

No Sleep & “Zero Calorie” Weight Watchers Soup


My cousin Kristie is always saying whenever she wants another baby, her husband should just buy her another puppy.

Ramses when Kristie first got him as a birthday surprise!

This weekend, I completely understood what she meant.

none of this was goin’ on on saturday morning.

On Friday night, after a girls night and a visit with our lovely friend Meghan, Chloe and I hit the hay around 2 a.m.

Chloe ❤ Meggy!
new fave playmate
it’s love.

Since she needs to be let outside to go potty at least every 5 hours, I was up at 6:45 a.m. to let her out. After that, my sleep was replaced with yelping until I fed her at 7:30.

After a quick meal and another trip outside, I brought her back to bed with me. Thankfully, she was happy watching TV in bed until around 9 a.m.

Helloo, life of being a mama!

The weekend went by in a blur, and I wrapped it up with a day of wine glass orders, Criminal Minds, and some zero calorie soup my mama made for me!

Natalie’s order in progress.. an animal print base!

And the soup. It’s so, so good… but pretty heavy on the onion and garlic. Keep the mouthwash handy if you’re gonna dig into this stuff!

Homemade Zero Calorie Soup

Zero Calorie/Need Lots of Mouthwash Soup

6 cups Vegetable or Fat Free Chicken Stock
cooking spray
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 lg. onion, diced
3 tsp. garlic
bag of ‘slaw
1/2 lb. frozen green beans
4 tbs. tomato paste (a use a whole small can)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1 lg. zucchini

Spray large pot with cooking spray. Heat to medium high and add carrots, onion and garlic, cooking for about 5 minutes. Add broth and remaining ingredients, except for the zucchini, and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes on medium, checking that beans are tender. Add zucchini and cook until tender.

Enjoy! I’ve got a whole ‘nother tupperware full of the stuff, so I’ll be digging in again soon. 😉

Real live Chloe – in video form!

>Chloe turned 8 weeks old a few days ago.

What a great excuse to make the first bLyss video!

Enjoy a 40 second clip of Chloe hopping around thinking my camera is her toy, of which I’m so rudely denying her. And check out her attacking me at the end and almost taking my finger off.

If you can’t see the above video, click here.

Since Chloe is debuting her first video, I figured I’d keep things focused on her today. She sure is a people-pleaser!

On to Chloe’s first bath. I played photographer while Gigi did the honors of lathering up the dirty doggy.

“okay, I know I like to swim in my water bowl, but this is a BIG water bowl.”
“well, it tastes good..  don’t mind if I doooo…”
“SOAP? hokay, I’m done.”
“the things us women go through to be beautiful.”

Post-bath, Chloe showed off her new pink bomber jacket on a chilly walk through the Plantation.

“don’t you ever leaf me!”

I’m not really one to play doggy dress-up if she’s uncomfortable, but I’d much prefer her jacket over her shivers. She got used to it quickly and attempted to keep up on our short walk.

The “attempting” only lasted a few minutes.

“okay. I’m tired. can we go back now?”

Baby steps. It’ll be a long while ’till this pup can run with me.

On the agenda for tonight, Chloe will meet some of the wonderful Tortugas girls (old work friends) for a wine night at Aasia’s. This’ll be her first party, so I’m going to try to limit her intake of homemade sangria.

Chloe is really looking forward to meeting all the girls, and she’s really disappointed Katie’s stuck in Arlington and Katlyn’s stuck in Honduras (poor thing).

tortugas girls and Chloe. “so happy togetheeeeerrrrrr….”

We’ll be seeing you girls TONIGHT!

Total Body Weights Workout

>Yesterday, I was having one of those days where I just wasn’t feelin’ the treadmill. Plus, it was a yucky rainy day, so I surely wasn’t going to be taking my run to the sidewalk.

I took my “blah” running mood as a great opportunity to “mix it up,” something I’m not so great at doing when it comes to my workouts.

I’ve mentioned before that I get into routines and tend to stick with ’em, so this was a step in the right direction. Plus, it felt goood!

I modified Julie’s Total Body Workout II into a total body workout that targeted all the muscles I wanted to tone.

I should note: This total body workout is much heavier on the arms. I don’t want my legs to be too sore to run, so I focused on everything else a little more.

I ran into our group exercise room for the 15 minutes between classes and framed that workout with 30 minutes of weight machines and dumbbells in the main gym.

This took me about 45 minutes to get through it all. I’m one who prefers to work the same muscle a bunch of different ways, so I tend to only do 2 sets of each exercise, then work the muscle again later.

Just diagnose me with some workout A.D.D.  😉

Some of these I’ve obviously named myself. The Bicep half up/full curls are regular curls, but after each full curl, add one that only goes up halfway. A little bodypump flare for ya!
I also added up the weight I used in each hand to come up with those numbers. No, I’m not curling 30 lb dumbbells in each hand. I think you check out my scrawny arms and conclude as much.
And as for the seatbelt should press, that would be Ryan’s little move Julie so kindly introduced to in video form a few weeks back. And man, does my soreness prove it works!
And guess what else happened yesterday?
livin’ the good life while mama works
Chloe officially made Virginia Beach her home. She had her 8 week shots on Tuesday, and all is going according to plan. Other than her gaining FIVE pounds since I’ve gotten her!
Stop growing, Chloe. Stop it right now.
My cousins Greg and Devin own this awesome doggy supply site, They have great goodies for dogs, and I sent in an order for some travel bowls, a pink sweatshirt, and a few toys. They loaded me up and sent it out so fast! If you want some great inexpensive toys for your pup, stop on by their site and tell them I sent you. 🙂
spoiled Chloe got loaded up with some freebies from!
She’s a little young to like leather, but I won’t reel her in just yet. That causes kids to rebel, right?

Sa-weeeet Chicken Salad

> In continuation of my Fresh Foods Mission, I made one of my favorites.

chicken salad should be a food group.
When I first created my chicken salad recipe, I adapted the recipe quite a bit. My version of chicken salad is a light, sweet, crunchy one.
do you see the “mystery” ingredient?
In my chicken salad, I use:
   boneless chicken breasts (grill, bake, or boil them)
   a little dollop of fat free mayo
   celery, chopped
   lemon juice
   Craisins or raisins
   a couple tablespoons of the “secret” ingredient
I take a Rachael Ray approach to my recipes. Don’t worry about measurements. Prepare the chicken salad to taste. The key for the mayo is to only use enough to hold the chicken together.
a winning combination
I prefer to pull the chicken rather than chop it. Then, add a dollop of mayo, a nice splash of lemon or lime juice, and all the aforementioned components. Add the Splenda last, mix it well, and add more if you like it sweeter.

The above amounts yield one hefty serving. I’d use four chicken breasts if you plan on serving two, and multiply from there.

Serve as a wrap (sooo good), in a sandwich, with celery sticks, or on a bed of spinach.
Can any of my foodie blogger friends figure out what that mystery bag is that just brings this whole recipe together? 😉
Go try this recipe. It’s a winner!

Heathified Egg McMuffin & Some ‘Slaw


Is everyone else as fuh-fuh-freeezing as I am? Thank goodness for my ceramic space heater in my office, because I just couldn’t get warm yesterday.
gimme that HEAT!

And how awful is the gym this time of year? I think December is my favorite gym time. Everyone is busy with their holiday prepping and parties, and they have no time for the gym. But NOW, all the “resolutioners” are over compensating for their holiday indulgences and working hard to take off their extra poundage in the gym.

The obnoxious pushy girl in me wants to yell, “get off my treadmill!”

The patient, nice girl that is typically present on the outside of me waits patiently as the walkers huff and puff for 30 minutes on the tread. For the past few weeks, I’ve been scrambling to get on right as someone cleans off their machine.

Oh, the woes of January. Haven’t these non-regulars usually petered out by now?

I need a “half marathon training” pass that automatically lets me kick walkers and small children off the treadmill. “Because I need it more than you do.”

After my gym time and a quick grocery run, I made an old favorite that I’ve noticed a lot of my fellow bloggers lovin’ on as well.

The Healthified Egg McMuffin!

yum, yum, yum, and just as good as the real thing.
with a side of ‘slaw.
oops.. almost forgot to snap this one before it was gone!
Who else is extremely over my awful camera phone pictures? I’m sorry.. the search for my camera continues.
speaking of coleslaw… who remembers this beauty?

My H.E.M. (healthified english muffin) last night consisted of:

   1 “everything” flavored bagel thin (I sometimes use light english muffins)
   a couple slices of deli smoked turkey
   2-4 egg whites
   1 wedge of laughing cow light cheese (french onion or garden herb flavored are my faves!)
   a dash of salt, a sprinkle of pepper

open-faced H.E.M.

Fry the egg whites and stack them on the warmed bagel thin, fry the turkey for a minute, and melt the cheese on the bagel thin for a warm, delicious treat.

For the coleslaw, I mixed a bag of Food Lion coleslaw with a splash of milk, apple cider vinegar, fat free mayo, and salt and peppa.

An easy AND a goodie. Yum-o!

Half Marathon Training & The About Me page… finally!

>Well, I’ve finally done it.

I’ve been working on an “About Me” page since the start of my blog, but it was quite the struggle to sum myself up in a page.

It took much longer than it should have, and I finally finished as Chloe supervised.

“I’d prefer you hurry that up and play with me.”

I rambled, I over-shared pictures, and I’m done.

Enjoy here.  😉

Also, as The Shamrock Half Marathon approaches, I’m checking the Hal Higdon Half Marathon Training Guide. As this is my third half, I’m assuming I should be following the “advanced”training guide.

For my first half marathon, I was worried I couldn’t even get through it. I followed our running guide to a T. For the second one, I did my own thing while checking the guide every once in a while to see where I should be.

When I checked it this time around, I realized I’m pretty ahead of schedule… again.

The below schedule from is the one I used for my first half, and it differs a little from Hal’s plan.

10-Week Half Marathon Training Schedule
Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Total
1 3 Rest 3 3 Rest 4 Rest 13
2 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 5 Rest 15
3 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 6 Rest 16
4 3 Rest 5 3 Rest 8 Rest 19
5 3 Rest 5 3 Rest 10 Rest 21
6 4 Rest 5 4 Rest 11 Rest 24
7 4 Rest 6 4 Rest 12 Rest 26
8 4 Rest 5 4 Rest 9 Rest 22
9 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 8 Rest 18
10 3 Rest 3 Walk 2 Rest 13.1 Rest 21.1

Whenever I train, I’ve been running a whole lot more than these two plans call for.

To my runner friends, how do you tend to train? Do you follow a plan, or do you plan your own routine? I want to know if I’m the only one out here over-training, and if I’m doing something wrong. Leave me a comment with your input!

Laughables & Wine Glasses

>Ever had one of those weeks where you really need some funnies to keep you going? I’ve had a week of that sort, and my discovery of “Dear Blank, Please Blank ( really has me snickering in my chair.

Consider this the new “FML” or “Texts From Last Night.”

If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re probably not a college student.

Some of my favorites from

Dear Facebook,
Please stop changing, my mom can’t keep up.
Sincerely, sick of teaching Mom how to do wall posts

Dear margins, footnotes and double spacing,
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Sincerely, barely made that one!

Dear creators of Sesame Street,
Kids are still fat. Can I come back now?
Sincerely, Cookie Monster

Dear people in workout videos,
Jokes on you.
Sincerely, just sitting on the couch.

Dear cereal part in Lucky Charms,
Please get out of my bowl of marshmallows.
Sincerely, it tastes like the box it came in.

Dear perfect man,
Welcome to the club!
Sincerely, Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny and The Tooth Fairy

Dear Taylor Swift,
Call me when you need something that rhymes with Gyllenhaal.
Sincerely, Dr. Seuss

Dear shoppers,
We don’t give you a flashlight because we don’t want you to see the prices.
Sincerely, Hollister

See? Hysterical, right?

Now, go look for yourselves. You’re welcome.

bLyss Designs was a busy business last night. I finished up a few orders for Chelsea and Alyssa, and here’s a preview:

Alyssa ordered this beauty to use as a gift with a bottle of Little Black Dress wine! How creative is she?
Chelsea’s momma “Ursie the Nursie” reps the big “Med Lakes,” and I’m hoping she loves this gift!
everything’s better with a little sparkle, no?
introducing, margarita glasses! “I Need A ‘Rita!”

In other good news, I get my baby back today! Tonight will be night #4 in crate training, and Chloe’s struggling a little.

after 5 p.m. tonight, you’re mine, Chloe.

Fantastic Food Finds of the Kellogg Variety

>In my quest to eat more fresh foods, I’ve been spending a lot of time perusing the grocery store for inspiration. In my mission, I’ve found quite a few new goods.

I’m a huge Special K lover. I’m also one of those people who can pour herself 16 bowls of cereal and still want more. The solution? “Don’t buy cereal, Alyssa.”

Because of this little “problem,” I typically save cereal for a quick snack right out of the box, as a topping for yogurt when I’m out of granola, for or pre-run fuel. But this new guy was calling my name.

oh, hello lover.

It’s awesome. If you’re Honey Bunches of Oats-obessed like I am, you’ll love this leaner version. Yuuuum!

Which brings me to my favorite new find. ANOTHER Special K product. Gimme, gimme!

thank you, Special K, for solving my Pop-Tart problem.

Who else feels a personal jab when those toaster strudel commercials dis the beloved Pop-Tarts? I used to eat four Pop-Tarts for breakfast every morning as a kid, and I really miss the days my metabolism could handle that. But these babies are a healthified Pop-Tart, and I’m obsessed.

Just to add fuel to my Special K fire, they’ve also created a fantastic potato chip called the “cracker chip.” They’re available in sour cream and onion or sea salt, and the SC&O variety are out of this world.

just try and limit yourself to one handful. impossible.

While I’ve been stocking up in the produce section and avoiding the frozen food aisle, I still came across an interesting newbie…

fruit and granola? in pizza form?

Honestly, it looked GOOD. Until I turned over the box…


Eeemm.. 13g of fat for that little jitty? I’d rather eat a real pizza. And trust me, the thing is tiny.

Chloe’s update

>Since Mom’s a working lady and Chloe needs lots of attention at only 7 weeks old, she is staying with her Opa and Gigi for the week. In North Carolina with them, she can be fed 4 times a day, taken outside to potty every  three hours   one hour  thirty minutes, and get her 8 week shots.

Gigi loves puppy-sitting!

Chloe is still learning how to be an appropriate member of society. Last night was her first night not sleeping in Mama’s bed, and it sounds like she had a pretty rough night.

get… me… outta… here!

I received the following e-mail from somebody on my mom’s e-mail address:

Dear Mom,

You think these people are nice, but you are crazy! They expected me to sleep in this crate in a bathroom. Do you believe it? I showed them. I howled from 1AM until 1:48. I took a short nap and then banged the sides of the crate for an hour after Gigi tried to take me outside in the cold. Now Opa won’t even let me take a shower with him!


xo Your sad daughter,


Oh, Chloe. She’s still learning.
when can I come home, Mom?

I’m missing my little baby, but I was able to drown some of my sorrow into the Bath and Body Works Semi-Annual Sale. I’ve been wearing Creamy Coconut since high school, and I stock up on it every January since it’s not available in stores anymore. Thank youuu, BBW!

all stocked up and smelling naaaaice

Does anybody else have to buy their scent online? I feel like other classics have been in stores since I was in 4th grade!

hang in there, Chlo. Mama’s coming to get you soon.

Meet my new baby, Chloe


Can you all believe it? Because I’m still recovering from the shock of actually getting my little baby. After three days with my new baby, I finally know what it’s like to love and worry like a mama.

Now, you must hear the story.

I went home for a relaxing weekend in North Carolina to my parent’s house. On Friday, we opened my birthday gifts, and my dad told me he needed me to go look at another house with him. Since my dad flips houses, he’s constantly searching for his next project, so this was a pretty good cover.

The next day, when we headed to this “house,” I was a little confused to see a nice neighborhood with newer houses. As we pulled into the driveway, I spotted some kennels in the back. It occurred to me what may be happening, but since my dad didn’t return my smile, I just assumed I was getting ahead of myself. My parents have laughed at my puppy wishes for so long, I couldn’t believe I’d actually get one.

Once we walked in the door of this nice house, a young couple and their gorgeous black lab greeted us at the door. I crouched down to pet her, telling her she looked just like my old doggy, Emma.

My dad said “Stacey, Alyssa doesn’t know why we’re here.”

I looked up. It was then that I noticed the big nursing nipples on the dog I was petting. And the little “yip yip yip”s coming from two little kennels in the room.

I picked the one in my arms. 😉

Would you believe me if I said I started tearing up and hopping up and down?

I was SO excited. I love surprises, I wanted a puppy SO bad, and I was on cloud nine. I think I started getting dizzy when the three girl puppies I was able to choose from came pouring out of the kennel.

daddy got playtime with the three sisters

These breeders had a smart system. They kept track of their puppies by their collar color, and I had to choose between an adorable “red,” “black,” and “blue” pup.


Worst task ever, right? I had to go with my gut on this one. The red-collared puppy was the calmest, the most drawn to playing with me, and the least rambunctious.

I just found my new 7 week old baby.

gimme those s

On the car ride home, I told my parents I really liked the name Chloe for a puppy. No reason- I wouldn’t name my puppy after a Kardashian (she’s Khloe, anyway), and I don’t watch 24. I just like the name Chloe for a pretty black lab. 🙂 We then decided her middle name should be some tribute to our wonderful black lab who passed a year ago, Emma.

we miss our Emma every day.

When we got home, my dad pulled out Emma’s lineage papers. What are the chances that her mother’s name would have been Chloe? There is no way my 6 year old self knew that at the time, so I think it’s pretty darn perfect that I chose such a name.

what song did I sing on the ride home? “you make me smiiile like a sun, falllll outta bed, siiing like a bird…

Chloe came at a time when my family really needed something happy in our home. With recent events, we’ve been dragging a little, and Chloe was the perfect addition to our lives. Which brings me to her middle name – Ray. Because she’s my little ray of sunshine. 🙂 It may sound sappy, but it’s oh, so true.

sleepy baby. what a tiring day!

The best recommendation from our breeder? Chloe has slept in my bed with me the past three nights to “bond” with me. Helllooo, heaven!

A couple typical fun facts about Chloe Ray: She loves shoelaces. She will not go potty in the rain. She has a bling-bling’in pink collar. She thinks any cords are the most interesting thing in the world. She likes snuggling with my shoes. She already sits for treats. She likes playing in her water bowl. She thinks walks are stupid. She finds mirrors mesmerizing. And she loves following her mama throughout the house.

I’m in love.