• About Allison

    I am a 26-year-old married Michigan gal living in Sarasota, Florida. This blog is a chronicle of my journey toward a healthier lifestyle! I started running in January 2009 and began to change my eating habits in May 2009. Now, I am dedicated to training smart and eating right. Join me as I seek to balance running and eating healthy, local foods with my crazy work life and hilarious home life.

    Contact me: allisonisactive@gmail.com

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A Perfect Friday!

Last night, Mike and I joined a bunch of my co-workers for drinks an appetizers at Hyde Park Steakhouse in downtown Sarasota.

I had read good things about their happy hour specials, and the fact that we can walk to this restaurant from our house is a huge bonus!

I had a glass of pinot grigio:


The Husband had two margaritas, which were on the happy hour special list!


We were also starving upon arrival, so we split a plate of mini sliders.


The wine and the mini-burgers were both very good (as were the fries!) and the Husband said his margarita wasn’t too bad.  However, the service at this restaurant was horrendous.  We had empty drinks for over an hour without being visited by a water, and our food took probably 45 minutes to an hour to arrive.  We had a huge table of people trying to order a lot of alcohol and food and couldn’t get our waiter’s attention!  We won’t be going back!  I’m not sure what their dinner service is like – maybe it’s much better since they’re a fairly upscale establishment – but the happy hour service was not good!

After our happy hour, the Husband and I decided to go out to dinner – we sought out Ceviche, a Sarasota tapas restaurant that our neighbor has raved about to us.

This restaurant did NOT disappoint!



Our meal started with warm bread and a pesto dipping sauce.  (None for the Husband – pine nuts!)



The Husband and I had fun picking our favorite options from the meat and vegetable section of the hot tapas menu.

Our small plates showed up one at a time, which worked out perfectly for sampling!

I don’t remember the Spanish names for everything, but I can describe it!  First, we had a bunch of sauteed veggies in a “potato basket”:


Next, we had herbed goat cheese in a tomato basil sauce:


Then, our “carne” dishes showed up!  First of the meat dishes was assorted skewers with tenderloin, chicken, chorizo, and vegetables.


Pork tenderloin with an onion-olive sauce and roasted potatoes:


And to round out the meal – spicy chorizo with onions and potatoes!  (This was the Husband’s favorite.)


Yum!  Everything about Ceviche was fantastic from the decor to the food to the service.  My two favorite were the herbed goat cheese spread, which was so good on the bread and fun to match with various vegetables from the tapas plates, and the grilled meat and vegetable skewers.

I had three or four bites from every plate and was completely stuffed!  We ended up taking home a bunch of food, so our fridge is stocked with goodies.  The Husband is already talking about turning some of it into a hash with eggs tomorrow morning!

So, even though the service during happy hour wasn’t great, it was super fun to spend time with friends and have some drinks.  And Ceviche was an unplanned stop, but ended up being a wonderful dinner!  What a perfect Friday night!


House Work Day

Our Ikea trip yesterday resulted in a blue dresser and some storage shelves:


Mike spent last night putting together a dresser while we ate takeout Chipotle and watched Fanboys.

We are putting together Ikea furniture and rearranging our bedroom and back porch today – I’ll be back later today (if I survive this process, that is!) with a real post about food and running.

Mini Pizzas and a Busy Saturday

It’s only 10:00 and I’ve already accomplished so much today!  Unfortunately, my to do list is still huge… but it will all get done!

First, let’s skip back to last night when I made mini pizzas!

My friend Stephania is a Pampered Chef rep and I always buy their $1 cookbook when she has parties.  This particular recipe from Pampered Chef is super fun and easy!

You cut rolled pizza dough into small circles and lay them out on a cookie sheet:


Then you top them with a mixture that involves cream cheese (I use low fat and it still tastes fine), cheddar cheese, bacon, red pepper, and jalapeno:




They’re so good!  The crust and the veggies are nice and crunchy, while the melted cheese is super gooey.

My plate, which also included Garden of Eatin’ yellow chips and some cheesy salsa:


(I also went back for two more mini pizzas!)

I enjoyed my mini pizzas with a glass of Erath Pinot Grigio:


The husband picked up this wine for me at Whole Foods recently because he knows I like white wines from Oregon.  I’m not very good at describing wines, but if you like Pinot Grigio from the Pacific Northwest, you will like this! 🙂

The Husband, meanwhile, enjoyed his pizza with a giant margarita in his new Detroit Tigers Tervis Tumbler:


Tervis Tumblers are made in Venice, which is just south of Sarasota.  Those are peaches floating in his margarita, by the way – the Husband is very creative with mixed drinks!

Now, on to my run…


6:30 A.M. and I am ready for my run!  (The sleeping Husband was not too happy with my use of indoor flash photography this morning…)

My 3-miler with the Galloway group went swimmingly!  I enjoyed chatting with a couple different girls, one of whom gave me info about the Sarasota Young Professionals, and the other of whom is a teacher and commiserated with me about parent problems at school.  That’s why I love my running group!  It was a slow an easy three miles or so – we’re never very exact – and the time was about 40:00.

After the run, I listened to a talk from an exercise and nutrition counselor about hydration and nutrition for running.  Some of her main points were:

  • Drink 64 ounces of water every day
  • Drink 6-8 ounces of water every 15 minutes or so on a run (about 20-24 ounces in an hour)
  • Heat or cold doesn’t really make a difference; you should always drink water on a run, no matter the weather
  • Don’t plan on water stops or drinking fountains – always carry your own hydratio
  • Fuel with 100 calories of carbohydrates for every hour you run, and choose the variety that works best for you (gels, chews, stuff that dissolves in water)
  • Eat some carbohydrates 90 minutes to 2 hours before a long run
  • Eat meals that involve a carbohydrate and a protein
  • Listen to your body and do what works for you!

A lot of her information was stuff I had already read in running books, but it’s always good to have information backed up by multiple sources!  It’s also good to hear it again because sometimes I forget.

When I got home, I fueled with peanut butter toast… (carbohydrates and protein!)


… which I ate on my walk to the Downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market!  I’ll be posting about that later today, once I check some more things off my to do list!

Good luck to everyone else on their weekend lists!  Hopefully your list involves some relaxing like mine does. 🙂

Starbucks Friday!

My initial plan for this Starbucks Friday was to get a cold beverage (my favorite is an unsweetened passion tea lemonade) so I brought my really cute cold drink cup:


I bought this cup in a Starbucks in a hotel lobby in St. Louis when I was there for a work conference, and I love it!  The straw is very handy.

However, I walked in and all of a sudden, I wanted a hot drink!  So I abandoned my cup and ordered a decaf tall one pump skinny vanilla latte.


This is my all-time favorite drink from Starbucks.  I order it decaf with sugar free syrup so that I don’t get a headache (caffeine and sugar are major migraine triggers for me), and only get one pump of syrup so the vanilla taste isn’t overpowering. It’s the best.  (And I can order like a pro because I totally worked at a Starbucks in Orlando for a long time!)

I also ended up ordering an oatmeal instead of a pastry today.


I got my oatmeal with all the fixings – brown sugar, nuts, and dried fruit.  Yum!  The Starbucks variety of dried fruit was a nice change from the Craisins I always put in my oatmeal at home.  I have to start buying a wider variety of dried fruit!

I ate a healthy morning snack during DEAR time – broccoli and carrots with ranch:


Very filling!

I feel like between all the fresh veggies and my pumpkin bread from a Cooking Light recipe, I have accomplished my goal of bringing healthy snacks to work this week!  (If you remember, I was going hungry last week because I wasn’t packing any snacks!)

My lunch included chili with corn chips, but I left the cheese at home to make my meal a bit lighter.


On the side, I ate the last two small slices of pumpkin bread (sniff.  Goodbye, pumpkin bread!) and a mini Twix bar!


Between the pumpkin bread and the hearty chili, it was a very autumn lunch.  🙂


Even though our income has stayed the same since our move, and our rent has significantly increased (we used to live in Celebration, Florida, which is exorbitantly expensive), I feel like we don’t have a good handle on our monthly budget.  Between moving, dealing with new utilities and different rates, buying new furniture, and our trip to Disney, our finances have taken on a life of their own!  This morning, I was thinking we needed to figure out where most of our money was actually ending up.

I got on the computer this morning and used Bank of America’s budgeting tools to create charts of exactly how we’ve spent our money the past two months.  I then set up some budgeting goals for the next month.  The Husband is just as into being frugal as I am, so we’ll probably look over it tonight and see if there’s anywhere we need to cut spending or allocate more funds.

I am a person who actually really likes dealing with budgets and financing, so this kind of thing is fun for me! I know this is a healthy living blog and not a money blog, but I feel like being “financially fit” is an important part of a healthy lifestyle!  I feel better when we are in control of our cash flow.

Do you like dealing with money and numbers?  How do you set your household budget?

Two Dinners at Disney

I’m back with more of my Race of the Taste weekend eats!

Saturday night, the Husband and I planned dinner at Kona Cafe in Disney’s Polynesian Resort.  We love the Poly, and have had lunch before at Kona Cafe.  It’ s not my favorite Disney restaurant, simply because it’s on that level between quick counter service meals and signature dining where you feel like you’re being rushed.  However, the food is still good!


There I am, all ready for dinner at Kona, with the Husband, who is still brushing his teeth.  (I wore my most “tropical” shirt, which has flowers embroidered all over it.  My dad tells me it makes me look pregnant, but I think it’s cute!)

For an appetizer, we split the duck and veggie pot stickers.  I’ve had better pot stickers, but these were still very good!


I’m going to warn you right now:  I really love steak and ate it two days in a row this weekend. This is why I consider the weekend such an indulgence – even though I like steak, I try not to eat red meat that often!

Anyway, my steak at Kona was a teriyaki glazed New York strip with pineapples, broccolini (again!) and roasted potatoes:


This was soooo good!  The sauce was awesome.  It was very tropical and Hawaiian in flavor without overpowering the meat or veggies.

The Husband enjoyed tuna oscar, which came with asparagus, friend green tomatoes, and fried lump crab.  I would have hated this, but he said it was perfect.


After this dinner, we headed to the Magic Kingdom because it was open late.  We planned to ride a few rides and maybe grab some dessert, but the park was too crowded and we headed out way early.  Besides – I had a race to prepare for and didn’t want to stay up late!

Sunday we had a special dinner planned to celebrate my first 10k.  We made reservations at our favorite restaurant in Disney, the Yachtsman Steakhouse in the Yacht Club Resort.  This is a pretty fancy steakhouse that we stumbled upon by accident two years ago.  This is also where Mike took me for Valentine’s Day in 2008, so we’ve had a few special dates there!

I’m not going to lie – I ate steak again!  (Vacation, remember?!)  I ordered filet mignon with potatoes and added a side of carrots to get in a veggie:



Now, if you think my red meat consumption for the weekend was high, in three meals, I didn’t even equal the amount of meat that the Husband at at this one!  He definitely ordered a 24-ounce porterhouse!


It was an absolutely silly quantity of food, and yet the Husband completely ate every last bit!  Amazing.

At the end of the meal, nothing on the dessert menu was jumping out at me.  Our server still brought out a little congratulations platter with some chocolates on it, though!


This was accompanied by an adorable celebrations card that included the signatures of ten Disney characters, including Mickey, Minnie, Cinderella, and Belle.  It was sooo sweet!

Whew! That was a lot of food and I know it.  I am now getting back on my regular eating schedule and will start posting about “normal” food again tomorrow!  (It’s sure to involve chili, because I made a big batch on Monday!)

I’m headed to bed now because I have a 5:00 A.M. training run planned for tomorrow! It’s only 30 minutes, but I want to make sure I recover from the race properly and get ready for my 6-miler this weekend!

How do you treat yourself when on vacation? (For me, if it’s a short trip, I definitely chow down!  I am more careful on longer trips, though, because otherwise I get sick!)

Sooo Much Food at Roy’s!

I thought I might write this last night, but I crashed at 9:00 after our crazy weekend.  Here’s the promised recap of our weekend activities and eats!

Friday we took off for WDW around 3:30 and went straight to Wide World of Sports for packet pick-up.


I love our suitcases – the whole set was a wedding gift from my parents.


I am a super-crazy vacation organizer.  The Husband parents have family friends who refer to trip over-planners as “Team Smart” and people who go with the flow on trips as “Team Fun.”


The Husband referred to this itinerary as my “official application for Team Smart”:


The packet pick-up wasn’t very exciting because there wasn’t a whole expo like there was for the Princess 1/2 Marathon.  I did, however, try on a shirt which I ended up buying:

GEDC1580(The swag bag for this race included a pint glass instead of a shirt, but I still wanted a shirt!)

We then checked in to Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort, checked out our room, and promptly settled by the pool with some drinks.

GEDC1590You can see my strawberry mango concoction in the foreground, and the Husband with his margarita in the background.  (Yes, he’s sporting a Pabst Blue Ribbon shirt.  Sigh.)


That’s our building at CBR, Aruba.  I must say, I really loved this resort!  I have never stayed at a Disney moderate resort before, only deluxe and value resorts, and I was so happy with CBR.  The room was perfect and we really enjoyed the huge pool, beach, and the food options on-site.

As we were leaving CBR on Friday to go to Target, we were trying to decided where to eat.  Well, during our Central Florida years, the Husband worked at Roy’s Orlando.  We LOVE Roy’s, but didn’t think until eating there until we were in the car!  He made the suggestion, and I of course agreed.

We intended to have a quick meal with just entrees, but the staff and managers all love Mike and sent out an appetizer as soon as we got there.  (I forgot the picture!)  I also munched on a LOT of edamame!


For dinner, I ordered the braised short ribs with garlic broccolini and mashed potatoes:


Husband had a sushi roll:


We were, by that point, totally stuffed, but our server was a good friend of Mike’s and brought out dessert even though we didn’t order any it!  The platter included creme brulee and pumpkin mousse.


I don’t like creme brulee, but this pumpkin mousse was to die for!  Seriously it was like a lighter, fluffier pumpkin pie.  I could only manage a few bites because I was so stuffed, but the Husband and I agreed that I need to figure out how to make this for Thanksgiving.   If you live near a Roy’s, go order this soon!

So, our Friday dinner turned out to be a lot more exciting than we had originally planned, but I had a wonderful time at Roy’s and the food was amazing, as always.

Up next:  Kona Cafe and the main meal event of the weekend – dinner at the Yachtsman Steakhouse, our favorite Disney restaurant!

Eight Great Things

Eight Great Things About Today:

1.  I am currently wearing a new running skirt, a SkirtSports GymGirl that I bought just for Race for the Taste.  It looks like this:

Seriously, the best part of running is the skirts!

2.  I had a YUMMY lunch (leftover pizza and veggies) and an AWESOME afternoon snack (Kashi TLC bar and pineapple):


(I know pepperoni pizza isn’t the healthiest, but I haven’t found a veggie that I like on pizza.  They all taste slimy!)



3.  We had a GREAT cheerleading practice today!  I love the girls on my team – they are all very coachable, but they’re also super silly and just make me laugh all the time.  Also, I have fantastic assistant coaches.

4.  I stopped by my favorite Sarasota running store, Fleet Feet, and picked up some fuel for this weekend’s race and some other gels and chewies to try in the future:


The strawberry banana GU is for 10k fuel and the lemon sublime and Hammer Gel are for future experimentation.  The GU Chomps are back-up fuel for the race, and the Luna Moons and Clif Bar are for post-race snacks if I need them!

5.  I know this isn’t a teaching blog, but I have to talk about it for a minute.  I love using foldables in my classroom, and I cam up with an idea to use foldables with the parts of plot.  Here’s an example I made to put at the station:

GEDC1542See?  Under each flap goes the definition so they can study for the quiz!  I just learned about foldables this year from our math teacher, and I use them all the time.  And the kids love them!  Whenever I’m like, “At Exploration Station #2, you’re going to make a foldable,” they’re like, “Sweet!”

6.  I get to pack a suitcase tonight, and I love packing suitcases! Of course, that’s because it usually means I am going somewhere fun.  🙂

7.  IN 24 HOURS I’LL BE IN DISNEY WORLD! And on Sunday morning, I’m running in my first ever 10k!

8.  The Husband is currently in the kitchen making a veggie-licious dinner for us.  I better go help him out!

What are some great things about YOUR day?