As I mentioned on Monday, this weekend was out annual Princess Brunch. Prior years, we have celebrated all things princess-like at The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry; however with crazy cold weather and busy schedules, when the reservation was attempted they could not accommodate our party. Turns out, some one had actually ordered the Pig Dinner for brunch. Thankfully, we were able to be accommodated at The Prime – An American Grille located in Hastings on Hudson.
Now, for the record, this was not my first meal at The Prime. Doc and I check it out back in January for my birthday. I will say on my first visit, our service was excellent and we liked the food. Doc and I split two burgers, which the chef was kind enough to cut and plate for us. We split the “The Radio City” an 8oz burger with mushrooms, Swiss cheese, and carmelized onions, and “The N.Y. Pretzel” which was again an 8oz burger with spicy horseradish and hot mustard on a pretzel bun. We also split a brownie sundae. I will admit however, I was a little annoyed with the hostess, as she sat us all the way in the back of the restaurant next to a family of 5 with young children, even though the restaurant was pretty empty. Things like that really annoy me. I don’t want kids running around my table, and the parents don’t want their kids to over hear my uncensored thoughts or language. But I digress…
We were a large party for brunch, seven ladies. We were seated at two circular tables moved together in the windows of the restaurant. The nice thing about brunch at The Prime is that they offer a bottomless mimosa, bloody mary or belini option for two hours. The menu has a very diverse selection for brunch ranging from french toast to a crab cake sandwich. Since I’m back on the low/no carb kick, I opted for the steak and eggs option; grilled hanger steak with two eggs served to your liking with a side of home fries. Everything was cooked perfectly and tasted great. I lived vicariously through The Flash, who ordered a delicious looking and smelling stack of chocolate chip pancakes. My Aunt, Gbeans, and her twin sister all ordered the French Toast which all three really enjoyed. My stepmom ordered the spinach white omelet, filled with spinach and goat cheese. Cousin Zibby ordered eggs beendict which, according to her, was impressive and I will tell you, in the realm of eggs benedict, she is a hard woman to please so this is a huge complement to the chef.
Since it was princess brunch, most of us indulged in dessert as well. Warm apple pie, banana splits, and cookie ala mode all grace the menu but for me, the brownie sundae is the winner. Their brownies have walnuts, just like home made. They are delicious! moist, chewy, and chocolatey, just like a brownie should be.
Whether you go for brunch, lunch, or dinner, I do not think you will be disappointed in the food at The Prime
Souzapalooza note: apologies for no photos, I was so involved in conversation and food enjoyment that I didn’t take any. However, there are wonderful photos of some of the menu items on their website. Click HERE for visual stimulation and an overview of their menu.
The Prime – An American Grille is located at 19 Main St, Hastings on Hudson, NY 10706. Call 914-478-1147 for reservations.
Open Mon – Sat: Lunch: 11am – 5pm, Dinner: 5pm – 10pm, Bar: 11am – 2am Sun: Brunch: 11:30am – 4:30pm, Dinner: 5pm – 10pm, Bar: Noon – Midnight
Here is the first guest post from the team of friends filling in for me. I present a post from my good friend, Dart Girl.
In deciding what to write to help Souzapalooza out, I was torn between writing about my love of food and my love of my cat, Elvis. Then I decided not to torture everyone and post 999 pictures of Elvis in various forms of resting (a.k.a. sleeping), though I must still say that he is the most loving, adorable cat that ever walked the planet!! So instead – I decided that since I just renovated my kitchen, I would share some of my favorite recipes, some that I have tried out in the new kitchen and some that are old favorites!!
So you may have seen last week that the 2014 edition of Oprah’s Favorite Things were released, just in time for the holiday shopping season. Incidentally, am I the only one who feels this is starting earlier and earlier each year? Personally the only things I really liked were the Heart Snapshot Photo Collage from Minted.com and the Nate Berkus dessert plates from Target. I did like the Footnanny gift set but I would never pay that much when I could get the Shea Socks from Bath and Body Works for $8.50.
Regardless, the list is out and unless you are Oprah, the average person on a budget may need to take out a small loan to cover the retail price of this list. According to Jezebel.com, the list ends up costing you about $13,054. So, in the spirit of a thrifty, yet joyous holiday, I present Souzapalooza’s 2014 Super Stuff! (I’m not calling this my favorite things cause I’m sure Oprah has some sort of copyright on it and will sue Cuff Turtle & I!) These are items I have given, received, or have a Xmas crush on and am putting on my list! (Mom, pay attention!). A week before Christmas I will do a list of Souzapalooza Stocking Stuffers for a few last-minute ideas to throw in a stocking.
Souzapalooza’s 2014 Super Stuff
1) Key Smart Minimalist Key Organizer – I actually ordered this item for my dad for Christmas (No one tell him!) It is an amazing little key organizer that reduces a key ring that makes you looks like you are a night janitor, to a small sleek Swiss army knife size. Available at The Grommet and starting at $19.99
2) One Line A Day Journal – I bought myself one of these and although some days I forget, I do write a little synopsis of the day good, bad or indifferent. A unique gift for the writer or historian of your family. Cost about $10 depending on where you buy it.
3) Flux Capacitor – Now any car can be a time machine thanks to the Flux Capacitor USB Car Charger. Available at ThinkGeek, this replica of Doc Brown’s Flux Capacitor has two USB ports to charge your phone, ipod, or other USB devices while in the car. Retailing for $24.99
4) Nourish Snacks – Developed by Dr Joy Bauer of Today Show fame, Nourish Snacks is a new line of snack foods developed to be free of GMOs, preservatives, artificial colors and preservatives. They are gluten-free, dairy free, and vegetarian; with each packet being under 200 calories. It is a subscription based delivery however, you can order a variety box of 20 packets for $36. These are a way healthier choice than Oprah’s Mini Filled Bagels!
5) Adagio Teas – Tea of the Month Club – Here is a gift that keeps on giving. Ka-Ka and I ordered this for Aunt Sweetie last year and she seemed to really love it. Every other month, she receives two flavors of loose tea leaves which should yield about 75 cups of tea. They have a few different options to choose from including flavored teas, herbal, black, green and decaf. You can also decided if you want to order a 6 month or 12 month program. Price is dependant on the tea and length of the program but can range from $39-$94
6) Cooking Light Way to Cook – For the chef in your life, I highly recommend this wonderful cookbook! This cookbook was produced in 2009, and has since inspired a few other versions such as Way to Cook Vegetarian, Way to Bake, ect. Way to Cook is a great book for novices and pros a like. Not only does it have amazing recipes but it also explains tips and techniques to have them come out properly. This book covers everything from seasonal vegetables, cuts of meat, and how to prepare it all. Retails around $20
7) Momentum Jewelry Wrap Bracelets – I saw these on Fitfluential and I have a little crush on them! I love things that motivate and empower and these little wrist reminders do just that. There is an extensive line of jewelry but the wrap bracelets seem to be my favorite. They are designed by workout enthusiasts, and claim to not rub, slip, squeeze or chafe so you can wear them when you work out. With phrases like “Strong is the new Beautiful”, “Don’t think, just run” and my favorite “be the best version of YOU”, these beauties will be a reminder that you can do it! Retails for $20
8)Blender Bottle ProStack – For the athlete on the go, this is a great item. It is a traditional blender bottle with attachable storage containers for protein powder, UCAN, and your vitamin supplements. This is available at Bed Bath and Beyond for $12.99. However, I do recommend giving this gift with your athlete’s favorite supplements, which will be a bit more money. I’m partial to Protizyme Protein (all flavors),Quest just launched a new protein powder line I’m eager to try, and of course UCAN so I can be like Meb!
9) Nick & Nora Flannel PJs from Target – I have a wonderful pair of gnome print pajamas by Nick and Nora that I wear on really cold nights in the winter. They are super comfy and come in fun prints and patterns. Browsing the Target website, this winter they have prints that include Flamingos, Penguins, and Monkeys on Skis. I personally prefer the pants/shirt set, however they do have a one piece feety versions for the kid at heart. They range from $24.99-$29.99 and have both men’s and women’s versions; and don’t forget you get 5% back if you use your Target Red card
10) Too Faced Natural Eye Neutral Eyeshadow Collection – I rarely wear make up, but when I do, I always grab this palatte. It’s colors are natural but not boring. When applied (with the help of the built-in “how to” guide) can really make your eyes pop! It retails for $36. To read a real blogging beauty expert’s take on the palatte visit Darling Dee Dee
11) HoodieTravel Pillow – Another favorite from Bed Bath and Beyond that I personally want this Christmas. Traveling takes a toll on your neck and spine. A travel pillow is an ideal item on long flights and especially red-eyes where you want to sleep. The Hoodie Pillow has a hood built-in to the inflatable pillow’s cover to keep your head warm when leaning against the cold plane wall (I always sit next to the window). Retails for $19.99
12) Gnosis Chocolate Cacoa Elixir – If you are going to have chocolate, it might as well be good chocolate. Vanessa Barg developed Gnosis Chocolate as a gift for her health coaching clients but it has become a well-known brand in the organic realm. Her chocolate is ethically sourced, organic, vegan, kosher and free of dairy, soy and gluten. On of my favorite products is her Mayan Heat Elixir which is sweetened with low glycemic coconut sugar and spiced with cinnamon and cayenne pepper. It will warm you up on a cold winter day. It also comes in a bar, but I prefer the hot cacao drink. Retails for $12.99
13) Tide Odor Eliminating Laundry Travel Bag – A great gift for the Bikram Yogi or other sweaty athlete in your life. This little bag can store your hot sweaty yoga clothes inside your nice clean yoga bag until you can get home to deal with them. I actually have the sports version that is a drawstring back pack construction, however I would prefer the travel version to keep the strings from getting tangled with all the other stuff in my bag. Retails for $17.99
14) Unbroken – I have been wanting to read it for a while, but haven’t had the chance to grab a copy. Now that Angelina Jolie has turned it in to a movie being released this Christmas, I need to get on it. The story, written by Laura Hillenbrand is about the remarkable life of Louie Zamperini. I still love real books, not ebooks, so head on down to the Barnes and Noble! Paperback $9.60, Hardcover, $17.76
15) Star Wars : The Complete Saga Episodes I-V1 – I don’t own Star Wars. Yes, I am embarrassed to admit this being such a fan. SK2 & Irish Kat watched her copy at my house on Halloween and I realized, I really need to get my own copy. This is the pricey item on my list, the Blu Ray 6 disc set running about $84.99 on amazon. However, the set of my favorites, the original trilogy (Star Wars A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, & Return of the Jedi – My 3 favorites) is only $34.96.
What do you think of my list? What’s your favorite item? Do you have any favorite things to recommend for the holidays? Please share them in the comments below?
I’m doing something a little different today on The Souzapalooza Blog. In honor of NYC Marathon Week, I’m sharing some amazing running advice, from my good friend and seasoned runner, Brad Benson. Brad and I worked together back in the day, and became fast friends. Brad is incredibly friendly, out going, witty, talented, creative, and absolutely hilarious! He is also a running enthusiast who has been incredibly supportive of my endeavours and is incredibly generous with his time and his knowledge. As a result, he created an incredibly thorough list of tips that support both seasoned runners and novices a like. Brad has been running for about 6 years and started out hating running. He now has a total of 6 Ragnars (One of those with me! You can read about them HERE and HERE), 5 half marathons, and 3 marathons under his running belt! All the FAQs on what to wear, how to train, and what to expect race day are covered in his points below (and there may be one of two additions from your’s truly, noted accordingly). New runners, seasoned runners, or just considering starting to run, Brad’s got you covered! When I approached Brad about sharing his work, his response was simple – “I wrote it to help people, so any means of furthering that cause, I’m very happy to do!” So please, continue to share his wisdom with others that may be interested.
My Advice to Fellow Runners – by Brad Benson
Shoes: Go to a place that will rate your gait (like Jackrabbit). They’ll recommend the best shoe and style to correct any pronation, etc. I ran for a some time in the wrong shoes and had a decent amount of foot pain by doing so; when I got new ones, it was gone in 2 days.
Pro Tip: If your shoes are dirty, don’t wash them in a machine washer (it can degrade the quality of the shoes), but instead, squirt some soap inside and wear them in the shower -it’s like a soapy, pleasant puddle!
General: (good) socks, shorts, short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt, hat/bandana (to catch sweat)
Cold Weather: (insulated) tights, winter hat, light gloves, pullover/running jacket
What to Wear: Runners World has an excellent app on their website:http://www.runnersworld.com/what-to-wear Generally, I wear pullover/gloves/hat around 32degrees, tights under 40degrees, long sleeves under 50.
Shirt: In my experience, the tighter the shirt, the less the chaffing, so I wear pretty form-fitting shirts (bonus: you look like a super hero!). Also, wicking material is pretty clutch.
Layering: Always smart, because you will be at a different temperature at standstill than you are in process. If you shed during a race, try to arrange someone along the course to hand-off any clothing you want to keep.
Socks: It’s worth it to buy a couple pairs of the more expensive running socks. They wick, cushion, and will save you from blisters.
**from Souzapalooza –Sports Bra: For the ladies, make sure you have a proper sports bra, especially for long distances. Look for bras that are made specifically for “High Impact”. Look for a bra that has adjustable straps and/or backing clips to help lock the girls down!
Water Belt: Get one. It’s worth it to hold your wallet, any chomps/Gu, phone, and most importantly, water. Even during races with water stations, I’d recommend carrying water -you’ve got it for whenever you need it and you can avoid congestion at the water stations. Also, carry a ziploc bag to put your phone/wallet in if you’re anticipating rain. **from Souzapalooza – I carry my water in my hand (but I’m weird), and wear a SPI-Belt for all the important items Brad mentioned
Headlamp: Buy a headlamp. It’s great for running in the dark and makes you unmistakable to motorists. It also comes in handy if you’re using a bathroom with no light at a race that starts before the sun rises.**from Souzapalooza – mandatory for anyone signing up for a Ragnar as part of their safety requirements
Documentation: Use a service like RunKeeper, MapMyRun, or Nike+. Not only can you plan routes, but it tracks your progress and will give you an idea of your natural pace.
Do It: There’s tons of free ones on the Internet (here’s a few on About.com, which I used for my first). I ran my first 1/2 not following a training program and had difficulty walking for almost a week; following one, I’ve run full marathons then went to weddings/performed later that same day.
Skips: The long runs are most important (usually scheduled on the weekend). If you’ve got to bounce them around a bit here & there, that’s fine to fit them in. No biggie if you have to skip a few of the shorter distances. Ultimately though, you get out what you put in.
Speed/Hill Work: I rarely do speed/hill work, but if you want to get faster, think about it. Running outdoors in a similar area to the race should give you the elevation change you need. Lean ever-so-slightly forward to aid running uphill, and when running downhill open-up and take longer strides to take advantage of the momentum. Keeping a steady pace will make that level-out feel that much better!
Treadmill Running: Knock the incline up to 1.0 to give your knees/joints a break, and as a bonus it makes running on flat courses slightly easier and you faster!
Chomps: I like the chomps the best (as opposed to Gu, sports beans, or Gatorade). There’s tons of flavors that are basically fruit chews with electrolytes & stuff. If you’re doing chomps, don’t do (much) Gatorade, etc.; it’ll mess with your stomach. I usually eat a chomp every 2-3miles, but test it out for yourself -too many can cause indigestion. **from Souzapalooza – I use sport beans or Gatorade chews at every 3-4 miles depending on how I feel. Everyone is different and these things can be tested on your long runs
Water: Don’t drink too much (it can give you cramps). I usually take a swig each mile, which also gives you a systematic action to break up the miles. That means for a half marathon, I prob don’t even drink 12oz total during the race. It’s more important to hydrate the day before and a little the morning of! **from Souzapalooza – Unless it is insanely hot, I try not to start drinking water until mile 6 because after a while I get a sloshy tummy (where you can feel the water bouncing around). Do feel free to dump it over your head if you are getting hot and need to cool down.
Protein: I’ll usually follow-up with a protein shake after 8mi run, or a solid 1hr of running.
Pre-meal: I usually eat about 2hrs before, generally a light meal of protein/carbs/fat.
Headphones: I usually run with only 1 headphone in order to 1) still be aware of what’s going on around you, and 2) to be able to hear the crowd cheering you on -it’s one of the best parts!
Curated Playlist: Have your friends/family suggest a song to add to your playlist; it’s a nice little pick-me-up thinking of them when you’re tired & sore!
Running Plateau: I hit my running plateau between miles 6 & 8 (but it’s different for everyone). From that point on, you feel pretty unstoppable (the runner’s high). Up until that point, meh.
Stretching: Some people do it, some people don’t (I do not). Stretching won’t do much for those who don’t typically do so and vice versa. Just stick with what works best for you.**from Souzapalooza – I believe in the power of my foam roller post race!
“Fakes & Pains”: For the first 1-2miles, your body will psyche-you-out with what I like to call “fakes & pains;” don’t worry, they (usually) fade away. If they don’t and you’re in pain, don’t push it and stop running.**from Souzapalooza – This is also where you start to question your sanity for running….that fades too.
Bathrooms: Just warning you, a 3-5mile run works better than coffee. Know where there are accessible bathrooms.
Bridges: They tend to offer more of an incline than you’re expecting, and also an unobstructed path with decent mileage, so they’re a great resource!
Running Loops: If you’re running loops, alternate between clockwise & counter-clockwise; it mixes up elevation changes and the encourages balanced muscle activation.
Running as a Mode of Transport: Use running as a means of getting from one place to another (work to home, practice to home, etc.)… that way, it’s a means, not a chore. Wearing your running clothes makes you that much more committed to following through!
Run Towards Traffic: If you’re running along a street with no sidewalk, run on the side TOWARDS on-coming traffic so you have a full visual.
Start/End: Strategically start AND end routes at your apartment, especially in bad weather- to minimize transport time. Nothing like finishing a long run and immediately jumping in a hot bath!
Pauses: If it’s super hot, I stop every couple miles to collect myself, sweat, and drink water. Stopping allows your body to fully sweat, which when you restart offers a nice cool-off. If you’re worried about conditioning yourself to stop during races, don’t worry: your adrenaline will prevent that on race day!
Temperature: I saw a great infographic (not sure that’s exactly it, but it says about he same thing) a few years back about temperature and running; basically (don’t quote me on this), 53degrees is ideal and every 10 degrees above/below can make you as much :30/mile slower… just good to be aware of that!
Explore: Run through new areas/neighborhoods. It’s one of my favorite parts of running and really gives you a feel for your area!
Carb-loading: The night before is a myth -what you really want to do is eat a carb-heavy meal 2 nights before (to give your body time to process). The day before, still eat healthy & balanced.
Lay Your Clothes Out the Night Before: You’ll likely be tired & nervous, so better to have everything ready.**from Souzapalooza – This includes your belt, your number (and pins), sneakers, socks, ect. If you have spectators coming to see you run, take a “Flat Me” picture of your outfit so they know what to look for race day.
Morning Meal: I usually eat no later than 2hrs before running. The ideal meal is 1/2 bagel smeared with peanut butter (mostly carbs + some protein & fat). I drink coffee too.**from Souzapalooza – I pre race with Cheerios and coffee.
Allow ample time to get to the start: You’ll be surprised how many people and how congested things can get.
Don’t check a bag: If you need something post-race, have someone meet you after the exit. Checking a bag is a waste of time (even if it’s for a jacket, you have to check it well before the start of the race, so it will only help up to a point)
Alternately, a lot of cool weather races will collect discarded clothing at the start line to donate, so grab a 2nd-hand pair you aren’t worried about parting with.
Restrooms: They’ll be lines of port-a-pottys that get pretty gross, pretty fast. If you need ‘em, go there first (see coffee note above). Take a small bottle of hand sanitizer and always confirm there’s toilet paper!**from Souzapalooza – If you know that a potty has no paper, let people know, especially men who just need to pee. It helps thin down the lines more than you’d think
Pack Mentality: You’ll start much faster than you think. Avoid the pack mentality and try to stay at pace! **from Souzapalooza – I tend to stick to the mid/back of my corral in order to avoid going out too fast.
Navigating a Crowded Course: Races tend to have a lot of congestion, especially at the start. Be aware of people around you, especially when moving left/right across the course.
Be Aware: Half-marathons, especially, bring out amateurs, in a sense people don’t properly train, hydrate, or run so they’re unprepared for the actual event. People will cut you off, stop, and generally flop around because they’re pushing their limits, are tired, & sore. Not much you can really do, other than know it will happen. **from Souzapalooza – It is recommended that if you have to stop, move to the closest side and put your arm up to signal that you are slowing down.
Splits: Aim for negative splits, i.e., save your energy for the 2nd half. If halfway through you feel great, speed up a bit ‘cause you’ve only got half left!
Name: Put your name somewhere on your shirt/hat so people can cheer you on by name (FYI: duct tape doesn’t work because it falls off with sweat)!**from Souzapalooza – Disney puts your name on your bib. I can’t tell you what a difference it made hearing people call out my name during my first run!
Water Stations: Are typically a slippery mess of people crossing the course, stopping, dropping cups, spilling water, etc. If you run with a running belt, you can likely avoid them (or only deal with the ones you need).
Scheduled Spectators: Based on your average pace, give people an idea of where you’ll be & when. Know their cross streets and which side of the course. Popular races get A LOT of spectators, and it’s difficult to pinpoint friends randomly.
Enjoy it: You’ve worked to get there, don’t let a goal time/pace prevent you from enjoying the moment. Also, a lot of factors will be out of your control (congestion, temperature, weather, etc.). Just enjoy the moment! **from Souzapalooza – This is the fun part!! Have a good time! If others on the course around you look like they are struggling, toss them a few words of encouragement as well, they will appreciate the motivation.
Exit: Depending on the size of the race, it can take some distance/time just to exit (the NY Marathon exit was a 2mile walk that took 40min). Just be prepared… there will be fruit, bagels, and lots of water along the way.**from Souzapalooza – If there is bling at your race, finish line area volunteers are usually more than willing to take a picture of you so don’t be shy to ask for that, or anything else you might need in the moment. They are there to help you, make sure you are safe after your race, and that you have a great experience.
If you’re sore: pop an ibuprofen and soak in a hot tub (I rarely ice, but some say it helps).
RICE: Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate any injuries.
Wear your medal all day. You trained for months, people can deal with 1 day! **from Souzapalooza – Carry it around to show to all your friends and family. You sacrificed time with them to train, you should get to show off your accomplishment!
Thank you Brad for sharing your wisdom! Follow Brad on Twitter @badbrad002 If anyone has any additional tips, please feel free to add them in the comments below!
I was super excited to come home from work today and find my Abs Protein Pancake Mix. I totally forgot that I had ordered it and I was very excited to have an alternate option to the meat loafs that have been sustaining me all week.
Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he? – It’s A Wonderful Life
Tonight, I am reaching out to you from a deep place in my heart and asking for help from each of you; tonight I am asking you to pray for Super Dylan. Super Dylan is a child, my friend’s child actually, who is battling through the final stages of brain cancer.
This weekend, the Farmer’s Market at Stone Barns had zucchini for $1 each… just ONE dollar! not per pound, per zucchini! I got two, one that is 15 inches long, and one slightly smaller at 13 inches long. So what am I going to do with these beauties? Make one of my most favorite things, Zucchini Bread! I got my recipe from Simply Recipes – it is for muffins, but I use it to make loafs in greased loaf pans. Continue reading Zucchini Bread→