Tuesday, April 30, 2013


You know how all the experts say you're not supposed to wash your hair every day claiming that skipping some washes makes it healthier and stronger? Well, I've never been one to be able to do that. My hair is blonde and thin which is not a good combination for hiding grease on a dirty hair day. Plus, I work out six days a week and sweat like the dickens so skipping washes is not always possible.


Nevertheless I bought some dry shampoo at Ulta a few weeks ago and finally had the opportunity to try it out. The travel size was $2.99 as I didn't want to commit to a full bottle but even the full size is only $5.99.

One day when I was a slacker and skipped my workout, I decided I would give it a whirl. The next morning, I shook up the can, lifting up my hair and sprayed it on the roots. You let it sit for a minute and then comb it through. You guys, I was shocked that this actually worked! It sucked up all the oils, didn't smell chemically and gave my hair more body and life. John swore up and down my hair didn't look dirty. Success!!!

The best part was that even after I did wash my hair the next day, it already felt healthier. With just one washing skipped! Unfortunately, I don't think I'm ready to use it on dried, sweaty hair. That seems a bit too dirty for me. But, when I don't exercise during the week, I will definitely be employing this method. I will say that after spraying the Pssst, I curled it instead of straightening. The curl added more volume whereas straightening might make it too easy to see grease, potentially. But, even my bangs fared really well.

So, I guess those experts were right.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Town Like Paris

As I am trying to absorb all things French prior to my European adventure, I thought I'd check out something other than a travel book.


Good Reads' Synopsis: "At the age of twenty-eight, stuck in a dead-end job in London, and on the run from a broken heart, Bryce Corbett takes a job in Paris, home ofl’amour and la vie boheme; he is determined to make the city his own—no matter how many bottles of Bordeaux it takes. He rents an apartment in Le Marais, the heart of the city’s gay district, hardly the ideal place for a guy hoping to woo French women. He quickly settles into the French work/life balance with its mandatory lunch hour and six weeks of paid vacation. Fully embracing his newfound culture, Corbett frequents smoky cafes, appears on a television game show, hobnobs with celebrities at Cannes, and attempts to parse the nuances behind French politics and why French women really don’t get fat. When he falls in love with a Parisian showgirl, he realizes that his adopted city has become home. "

What I Thought: This was a fun little memoir. Bryce is likable with an easy writing style. His stories were amusing and his friends were entertaining. I probably liked this one specifically because I'll be in Paris soon. If you haven't been to or are not going to France, you probably won't like this one all that much.

Rating: * * 1/2

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Beer Me: Wheach

I had this a couple weeks ago but forget to tell you about it! It was perfect for the day. Sunny and warm, and then of course since this is Ohio, we were back in the 40's the next day.

Look at this happy bottle!

This is Wheach from O'Fallon Brewery out of Missouri. O'Fallon is really consistent about producing good, quality beer at a decent price but in my town, they are sometimes hard to find. I can usually only find it at Kroger.

From the site: "Imagine our smooth, clean wheat beer with a touch of peach and you get the idea behind O'Fallon Wheach, our peach wheat beer.  Light,  refreshing and crisp, it's perfect for any occasion!"

Peach + Wheat = Wheach! It may only be April but I'm declaring this my favorite beer for the summer. Low on alcohol, high on taste. If you like peach and you like wheat beers, you'll LOVE this. Their regular wheat is also one of my faves but I love the addition of fruit here. Lots of beers take on orange but I like the outside-the-box peach flavors here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I didn't post anything about the Boston Marathon bombing last week because I wasn't sure what to say. While I don't ever have designs on running a full marathon let alone ever having the ability to qualify for Boston, as a runner I still felt totally shocked and saddened by the events. After being devastated for those who lost their lives and all of the injuries others sustained I can't help but also think about the hard work that went into training and all that was ripped away from the athletes. The families and friends who only wanted to be supportive of the accomplishment.

The day after the bombing, I ran my 4 short miles thinking about that horrifying scene. I don't think there is a runner anywhere who would say, "Well that's it, I'm not going to race anymore because of what happened." From everything I've read, it seems quite the opposite. The support from a running community rocked by terror will never fade.

The only thing to do now is, of course, keep on running. For health. For healing. For catharsis. For Boston.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Touring Ohio: Rivertown Brewing Co.

The wine club is branching out! Between the four of us, we have been to pretty much all of the local wineries and were looking for an excursion of sorts. Enter Rivertown Brewing Co.

Located in a warehouse-y, industrial area of Lockland, a suburb of Cincinnati, Rivertown Brewing Co. has been bringing some of the finest brews to your pint glasses since 2008 (I think I have that year right). They have one of my most favorite porters ever, Roebling (my review HERE), and everyone we've shared it with loves it too. In the fall, their pumpkin is easily in my top 5. But, they also offer a number of other varieties year-round that easily hold their own.

On Fridays at 6:00 pm and Saturdays at 3:00 pm, they offer tours of their operation in Unit 6 (you know, in the strip of offices/warehouse). Unit 6 is also one of their beers, an American Hefeweizen, the name a nod to their humble home. For $5.00 you get the tour, a Rivertown pint glass and a pint of beer to drink on the tour. What a deal!! And when's the last time you got to take your drink on a tour? Even wineries don't let you walk around with a glass in most places. Granted, the beer may have made the ladies in our foursome giggle a bit much and not pay attention like the guys were but no harm, no foul.

The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and I learned a lot about the brewing process. We were allowed to taste the various malts they use and smell the hops (smelled like an IPA to me!). They recommend you get there about 30 minutes early and we were glad to have gone even earlier than that. I don't know that they cap the tour but there were easily 30 people on ours in a relatively small area. Arriving early also allowed us to try some beers (at $1.00/taste) before the throngs pushed forth.

In their tap room, they also fill growlers to go at really decent prices. We were all impressed with the tour and set up and of course, the beer. Even the non-beer drinker of the group enjoyed her pints. The newest addition I tried was the Fat Happy Monk, a Belgian style session high on alcohol that could definitely sneak up on you but full of flavor. I also tried McKibben's Dry Irish Stout. We all agreed that it was dry and smoky but good.

This is a definitely a new spot to take visitors of the beer-drinking variety. We are always looking for new things to do with out-of-towners. This one gets added to the list! By the end of summer, we'll have amassed quite the collection of pint glasses. If you're in the area, please check this place out. Great way to spend an afternoon. Oh! And free pizza in the tap room too plus a food truck outside. :)

Also, there was, inexplicably, this giant truck with an airbrushed Shania Twain on it. So.....there's that.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Recipe Reblog: Baked Vegetable Penne

Back in the kitchen with a new recipe this week! I feel like I let dinner down when I don't try new recipes in a week. Anyone else?

Baked Vegetable Penne: Although we're trying to get away from eating as much pasta in an effort to lower carb intake, this bake pumps up the veggie quotient quite high. So, I'd like to think they even each other out. This was delicious! You roast off the red peppers, onions and zucchini first and then mix in marinara, pasta and cheese and finish in the oven. I asked John if he wanted to throw in ground turkey and luckily he said no. There wouldn't have been enough room in the pan! If you are missing your protein on this, cut back to just one of each vegetable and you should have enough room in a 9x13. I think this would be a crowd pleaser. It makes a lot!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

March Sewing Project

I started this in March so I'm counting it for my March sewing project. I make the rules around here. I've had this pattern and this fabric in my stash for more than a year so in the interest of using what I've got on hand, I got down to business. This is Lisette 2211 from Simplicity. I like the Lisette pattern and fabric line a lot. You can find it at Joann's.


My focus is on the short sleeve blouse with peasant sleeves. It's called the Market Blouse.

My fabric was a simple lavender cotton with white pin dots. I simply cannot pass up a good polka dot. For one thing, you are always happy when you're wearing dots. Fact. #2 Polka dots, while more prevalent in stores these days, used to be a lot harder to come by so might as well so my own, right?


From the Back

Placket & Button Details (wrinkles cost extra)

Obligatory Blogger looking down shot

This blouse sewed up relatively quickly. I really like the Lisette pattern line for its descriptive instructions. The details like the placket and sleeves make it seem a little less home sewn (I hope.) I selected white, plastic ball buttons and I love them. I think they look like little gumballs. The buttons are for decoration only. Let's talk sizing. I normally wear a 10, sometimes an 8, or a Medium in blouses. I cut and sewed this as a 12 and I'm glad I did. The only adjustment I made was to curve it in on the sides at my waist to give it a bit more shape. I'm wishing I had added some more length to the bottom though and may go back and do that. Nothing worse than a too short shirt. But, overall, I'm pleased and I would sew this again for sure.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Healthy Obsessions

I have two new things to tell you about that are dominating my healthy side these days. One is a drink and one is a workout. Get excited!

We're all familiar with Dr. Oz, yes? He has a recipe for this amazing green juice. I love green smoothies but they're thick and sometimes hard to drink quickly. (Pssst.....don't tell but they're green from spinach) Juicers are expensive and it takes a whole lot of fruits and veggies to garner one glass of juice. But this green juice...oh yes. You can use your regular old blender (although a high powered one would be nice) and while it still has a thickness to it, it's not nearly as gloppy as a smoothie. Here's the best part, it is CHOCK FULL of vitamins and nutrients and good for you stuff. And it tastes fresh. Now, if you're unfamiliar with green juices, the first couple times it definitely does taste like you just licked your lawnmower. But, now I L-O-V-E it so much.

Some of you are scared by the contents and maybe your apprehension is totally normal. Cucumber, spinach, celery, apple, parsley (yes you read that right -- it's an insane antioxidant!), lemon juice, lime juice and fresh ginger (that's the best part). I also added a small amount of apple juice to thin it out. Not too much, we don't want that sugar. You could do mint instead of ginger for something different. I'll be trying that once my garden goes in the ground.

Now, here is Dr. Oz's official recipe. But, I like the modified version on this blog because you don't have to have as much fruit and I don't think my blender could handle carrots. This amount of ingredients barely fits in as it is. Let me give you a blender top from my blender guru, John. Grind up the bulky stuff first (apples, cucumber, celery) and then add in your spinach, liquid, etc. Then blend blend blend until desired consistency is reached. Oh, I also add ground flax seed for those awesome Omega 3's.

Please say you'll at least try it. John was a skeptic like you but halfway through the first blender-full, he was in love too. We made it on Monday and each had about 6 oz. in the morning. I leave the pitcher in the fridge and just reblend each day to mix it up a bit.

Healthy Obsession #2

I love going to exercise classes and I love running but it's important to get in that strength training too, right? I don't think I need to give you all a lesson in why building muscle is super crucial to your well being. It's also cheaper,  faster and easier if you can do it at home. Enter the 1,000 Rep Workout! I've been finding these on Pinterest and I cannot get enough. They are a killer workout and you are dog tired at the end, if you do it right. Plus, they usually add in a cardio element so you're getting the benefit of a circuit workout. It's not 1000 reps of one exercise but a bunch all put together. For instance, my favorite one is 50 reps of lunges, squats, mountain climbers, etc and so on. There are 20 different exercises. It's from PBFingers and can be found here. I just started following her blog and can't wait to try out some of the treadmill workouts. I also liked this one from BodyRock TV and it had a video to demonstrate form too. It's called It Will Rain Sweat and holy cow, did it ever. Strength training + Sweat = a happy Ashley. Can't wait to seek out more 1,000 Reps and get my sweat on.

What healthy thing are you obsessed with lately?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Scenes from a Weekend

Hey, hey it's Tax Day! I hope you've filed. I file as soon as I get all necessary papers so I can get my money fast. Then, I spend it even faster. Ha!

I finally made it back to hot yoga on Saturday. Praise the Lord! It's been a month since I had the chance to go to class and I was missing it hard core. Felt good to get sweaty but there was a moaner in class. She moaned and groaned something fierce during every pose and then moaned in relief after every pose finished. Yikes. Also, a 60+ year old, muscle-shirt-wearing man was doing push ups next to me before class started. Why?

I got to wear my new Y-Tank from lululemon. Let's just say it was pretty amazing and I looked way cute.....even though this picture is small. Five years and I still can't figure out how to size iphone pictures right on here. Darn you, Blogger!

After yoga, John and I ran countless errands and encountered several odd cashiers at various locations. It also took the barista at Health Foods Unlimited an insane amount of time to make a latte. She apologized, but dang. It's just coffee.

Then we came home and did some serious garage cleaning and organization. I mean SERIOUS. We hung some Rubbermaid fast track things on the wall and now everything has a place. I also threw out a bunch of crap and swept the floor. We know how to have fun.

We dined at a local restaurant and went to our little wine bar that we haven't been to in 2 months. When did I get so busy and yet how do I feel like I have no life?

There was live music, a father and son duo. In between sets the dad worked the crowd and when I complimented his rendition of Sweet Baby James and asked for more James Taylor he said, "How about some Elton John instead?" I said that would be great. (BTW - Elton John just came to Dayton for a concert. Dayton, of all places. It was $$$$ so we passed). In the second set, the musician says, "Here's some Elton John for the lady in the corner." ME! I was the lady in the corner. So, I'm pretty famous now. NBD.

Then, for the second night in a row, I fell asleep on the couch and woke myself up at 2:00 AM to head up to bed. I told you I know how to have fun. P.S. Sadie woke us up at 5:30 both Saturday and Sunday. Not cool.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Beer Me: Voodoo Doughnut & Good JuJu

Maybe you've seen this Pepto-Bismol pink bottle in your local beer aisle. Maybe the price tag ($12.99 for 22 oz) deterred you, as it did me for so long. But, after seeing the label "Bacon Maple Ale" so many times, your curiosity piques and you saddle up to the register.

From the Site: "Rogue Ales has collided with Voodoo Doughnut to create Bacon Maple Ale! This unique artisan creation contains a baker’s dozen number of ingredients including bacon and maple syrup from one of Voodoo’s signature doughnuts."

I wanted to like this so badly, especially for what we paid for it. The fact of the matter is, I just don't really like bacon and HOLY COW (pig?) is this heavy on the bacon flavor. I love maple and was hoping that would come through a lot more. John, a self-proclaimed bacon lover, even deemed this a weird sipper. Liquid bacon with a hint of maple sweetness. If you have the opportunity to do this as a tasting without committing to the bottle, by all means, please experience it for yourself. But otherwise, spend your hard-earned dollars elsewhere. That's why you have me to try these things for you and tell you where it's worth it and where it's not. You're welcome.

But, I don't want to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.


If you like ginger, and I mean serious ginger, you will LOVE this one. This is Good Juju from Lefthand Brewing Co.

From the Site: "Fresh ginger kisses the lithe malty body, copulating with the hop in this pale ale ancestor.
Emancipate yourself from the dead of winter, none but the vernal equinox can free the light. A refreshing frivolity. "

I was super impressed by this. This is similar to ginger beer (non-alcoholic like root beer) so if you like ginger beer, you'll go nuts for this. Don't go in expecting ginger ale, my friends. There's a freshness to this ginger that I was not expecting but it's not overly sweet. Low on the bitterness and on alcohol content. Get it while you can though. This is a seasonal and I haven't seen it in stores by me, just on tap at a local watering hole. I've liked both of the only two from Lefthand I've tried, the other being their Milk Stout. Can't wait to seek out more from them.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sharp Objects

I read and liked Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn that has received a lot of attention over the past year so I decided to check out one of her previous books.


Good Reads' Synopsis: "WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart 
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg 
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle 
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable."

What I Thought: I love a good, twisting mystery and this fit the bill. Camille is a great character trying to focus on work while fighting her past and living once again under her mother's stringent rules. It was fun to follow along and try to figure out whodunit. Also, if you were disappointed by the ending of Gone Girl, you won't be disappointed here. Much better! Give it a shot.

Rating: * * * 1/2

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Recipe Reblog: Chocolate Stout Bread

The minute this recipe popped up on my reader I knew I had to make (despite its sugar content) and I knew who I had to share it with. The Beeroness has done it again!

Chocolate Stout Bread: I used a bottle of Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewing Co. but any chocolate stout will do. I also subbed in 1 cup of whole wheat flour for white. Otherwise, I stuck to the recipe, although I do think I could have skipped the melted butter on top. This bread was full of flavor! The stout-ness did not really cook out though so if you don't like beer we can't be friends, you might not be super into this. But, if you like chocolate and you like beer, you will LOVE this. It won't last long.

Today is the day.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Beer Me: Peanut Butter Cup Coffee

This one isn't new to me but it is new to you, my thirsty readers. I'm talking to you northern Ohioans because it hails from the Willoughby Brewing Co. and they don't distribute yet.

This is their Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter. Yes, that is a lot going on in a beer. Don't be scared.

From their site: "A consistent award-winner and truly unique taste experience brought you only by Willoughby Brewing Company. We start by brewing a robust porter and infusing it with locally roasted coffee and then adding special peanut butter and chocolate flavor. The result is a beer like no other you’ve had before. Some people say they taste more coffee than peanut butter, others say the opposite. Which is it you taste?"

There is all kinds of goodness going on in there. I get more peanut butter with coffee on the finish but most of the others tasting it with me found the coffee stronger. Either way, it's delicious. Smooth, no bite. 5.5% ABV and a 30 on the bitterness scale. You can buy growlers to go so if you should find yourself in that area, check it out!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs popped up as a suggestion on my Kindle. It was available for reading right then so I snapped it up!

Good Reads' Synopsis: "A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. 

As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here - one of whom was his own grandfather - were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason.

And somehow - impossible though it seems - they may still be alive."
What I Thought: This was quite the interesting little story. I wasn't really sure where it was going but I'm glad I stuck with it. Somewhat of an intriguing mystery with quirky characters. I also just discovered there's a second book coming! This is good news because the ending left me a little bit wanting. Come to this one with an open mind and I think you'll enjoy it. Good writing, fun characters.

Rating: * * * 1/2

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

March Running Round Up

It's APRIL! My birth month. The end (we hope) of winter. The beginning (we hope) of some outdoor miles. March was a good running month for me. Don't believe me? See for yourself!

Mar 3: 7.1 mi in 1:04 

Mar 5: 4.1 mi in 33:53, 9:23/8:24/8:10/7:56! 

Mar 7: 5 mi in 43:02, 8:36 avg pace 

Mar 10: 6.1 mi in 55:59, 9:10 avg pace 

Mar 12: 4.1 mi in 35:59 9:10/8:56/8:43/8:23, glute pain 

Mar 17: 8 mi in 1:14, 9:20 pace 

Mar 19: 4.1 mi in 34:43, 8:52/8:27/8:20/8:10 

Mar 24: 6 mi in 57:24, hamstring pain, 9:36 avg pace 

Mar 26: 4 mi in 33:26, 8:48/8:22/8:21/7:55 !!, 400 repeats

Mar 30: 2.25 mi OT in 21:??

Total: 50.75 miles

I met my 50 mile goal with a day or so to spare. It's definitely time to register for the half marathon John and I want to do in September. I'm afraid it's going to sell out soon and the price just went up $5 a person. Better get on that!

I also got new shoes this month! They're the newest Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 series. I really like their fit and weight (super light for a stability shoe). But, I wish they came in more exciting colors. All of the other Brooks styles have fancy, neon versions and mine are boring old gray, white and blue. I'm working on wearing them without my orthotic inserts too and so far, so good. I've been wearing orthotics for several years to correct pain in the balls of both feet while running. I'd love to not be as dependent on them and they diminish the comfort of the shoe because they're only sort of pliable. We'll see.......

In the coming months as I lace up to go outside, I need to work on keeping up the speed I've acquired on the treadmill. Basically I need to push myself harder. I'm up to the challenge!