Trek Women
April 28, 2009

Why you go to Germany...

Switzerland 018The guys and I fly in and out of Munich, Germany - a wonderful place and also notable for being the inaugural city for our annual New Year's Eve trips. I'd like to say that we went to Munich because the airfare was cheapest - it was a pretty good deal. But the real reason is probably in the photo.

Oooooh cheesey, gooey spaetzle with fried onions on top. It's the equivalent of homemade German mac 'n cheese. This is the first bowl full of goodness that we ate at 10:30 am after getting in to the city from the airport. Many more bowls followed over the course of the trip. Add a bier and you're in business!

January 31, 2009

Good gravy...

I’m back from Little Rock and I did good up until Day 4, then I broke. The gravy made me do it. Our conference (which was a smashing success BTW) was at the CA Vines 4H Center, which is actually in the country outside of Little Rock – meaning, you couldn’t go anywhere. An ice storm, kept us inside – meaning jumping jacks in your room for exercise. The Center is really nice; but rustic – meaning you make your own bed. The meals were served elementary-school-cafeteria-style – meaning, you ate what they were cooking or you didn’t eat. Also, everything featured some form of pork/ham/bacon with gravy on top. It was interesting if not slightly frightening.


I was doing my best to hang in there – I ate my oatmeal, my Fiber 1 bars, huge plates of salad from the tiny salad bar and granny smith apples that I stuffed in my bag from the “Break” snacks (found next to the M&M cookies). But by Day 4, my buzz was getting drowned out by my inner devil voice saying “I'M NOT SATISIFED! FEED ME SOMETHING GOOD!!”


That night, after the conference ended, we drove to a restaurant and that’s when I broke and ordered a gin and tonic with a side of mashed potatoes. And they were good. It’s best not to talk about Day 5 (yesterday) and my arrival home.


BUT – I got up this morning, went to the gym and I’m putting myself back on track and into gravy detox. Well, at least I lasted longer than day 2 – that’s a positive.


January 25, 2009

What's the buzz...

You know when you eat a lot of garbage, you just feel like crap. And then you just want to eat more because you figure, what the heck, I’ve already blown it, might as well go for broke and a Chipotle burrito with guac and sour cream.


I’m more than 2 weeks back on the Weight Watchers wagon and I don’t feel like crap. In fact, I’m feeling pretty fine and the weight is starting to come off. I’m bike commuting to work every day (even in the frigid temps), teaching spin, taking classes at the gym, and cooking up a fresh, non-processed-food storm. Between eating better and exercising, I’ve got a healthy little buzz going on. How did I forget that part? I literally have an internal energy hum happening.


Next week will be a big challenge though – I’m going to a conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. It’s going to be tough, but I’m ready. I’ve packed some instant regular oatmeal packets to have for breakfast and Fiber 1 bars to have as a treat every night instead of indulging in dessert. The conference center is rustic and doesn’t have a gym – so I’m bringing sneakers and sweats for daily power walks.  On past biz trips, I usually cave by day 2; but this time, I’m gonna make it. I don’t want to lose my buzz. I’ll let you know how I fare!

January 12, 2009

Je t'aime Paris...

P1010215 I love me Paris (a rough translation of the title of this post). Our trip was fantastique despite being one of our coldest so far. It also earns top awards for most cheese consumed, most red wine consumed and cheapest (good) red wine consumed. We rented a four-bedroom apartment in the Marais neighborhood of Paris on the right bank about 3 blocks from the Centre Georges Pompidou and a 10-minute walk to Notre Dame in one direction and about a 15-minute walk to the Louvre in a slightly different direction.

I’m completely convinced that apartment-rental is the way to go from now on. Upside. it’s wonderful having a place to hang out with friends. Part of the fun of each day for each person was to stop at a market and pick up an interesting-looking cheese/sausage/loaf of bread/bottle of red wine that costs under 5 Euros (roughly $7). Only downside, you have to share bathrooms.


Anyway, every night after sightseeing all day, we’d have some nosh and vino, then head out in search of dinner. Our favorite place was a little café called the Station Rambuteau, named after the nearby metro stop. It was tiny with probably 10 tables inside. I think between all of us we tried everything on the menu with our favorites – Beef Bourguignon and Duck Confit – getting multiple orders. After dinner, more vino at the apartment and, well, there was the night of the 2 a.m. crepes with Nutella-run. We went in our pajamas. They were that GOOD!


In the pictures, you’ll see some of the places we visited. Scroll over the “icon” to read commentary. I included lots of photos of the Eiffel Tower because (a) you don’t feel like you’ve arrived in Paris until you’ve seen it, and (b) I literally took 54 pictures of it from all angles at all times of the day. In the meantime, here’s a list of my Paris “shoulds”…

1)       You should go up in the Eiffel Tower at night and stay up there for when it flashes for five minutes on the hour. The top level was closed the night we went; but the second level is high enough.

2)       You should take a boat ride on the Seine and even if it’s freezing, sit outside. It’s pricey for an hour ride; but the best way to admire Paris’ many bridges and get some history. As Wayne said, “it’s very romantical.”

3)       You should eat a crepe every day. My preference is actually the savory crepes over the sweet. Go for the ham and cheese! Nutella and banana is my runner-up. Bonus points for being super-cheap, filling eats.


4)       You should find a small neighborhood café. We do this on every trip. You kind of become a quasi-local when you drop by for a coffee, drink or meal every day.


5)       You should buy yourself something pretty. I treated myself to a purse from a shop off the Rue de Rivoli, it’s very funky. I also bought a refrigerator magnet and a small watercolor from a street artist. No shoes purchased this trip (and for those keeping count, I didn’t wear my red heels either.)


6)       You should promise yourself that you will come back to Paris again, so there is no need to run around like a crazed tourist trying to see everything. I aim for seeing one “thing” per day (museum, castle, etc.) and spending the rest of the day wandering.

7)       You should travel with good people. Thanks Jen, Russ, Wayne, Steve and Bill for a great time!!!




December 12, 2008

A swig of the nog...

Eggnog Last year, I posted 10 tips healthy holiday eating tips. This year... not so much. I wish I could take credit for the 10 tips below; but I can't. They're from an email an old friend sent me today. Enjoy (maybe with an egg nog chaser)!!!

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.  

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory
celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Have fun at those holiday parties this weekend!!!

September 19, 2008

Lost and found...

Oh happy day, oh happy day -- I got my shoes back!! I was straightening out my desk at lunch yesterday and came across the number for the airport lost and found office. I decided to call one last time before throwing out the slip of paper. The woman who answered the phone said that "I think I saw that bag, let me go check." At last, someone who understood the importance of fabulous footwear. To make a short story shorter, the bag was there, I went to my boss and said I had to leave early to go on a rescue mission and that is that.

Day 4: After getting back from the airport, did a kickboxing tape at home then mosied down the street since Russ was cooking some of my favorite German dishes, tweaked to be low-fat (schnitzel, spaetzle and red cabbage). That was some GOOD grub!

August 11, 2008

Happy anniversary...

Laura_at_dumbarton_oaks2_3 I can’t believe it. I missed my own one-year anniversary as a Trek Woman Who Rides.  It was August 8th last summer that I posted my first blog for Trek. (Wo)man oh (wo)man, has it been that long??? I’ve never been one for keeping a diary or journaling – maybe because I write for a living, it felt like work to me. Yet every day, I think of some new thing I want to blog. I don’t always have the time, but I do carry a notebook to jot down ideas or funny conversations and a camera with me at all times .

Back when I started this whole deal, I imagined that I’d write stories about weight loss, training, travel, cool Trek stuff, tasty treats and more. Since then, I’ve gained/lost/gained/lost/gained weight; did my first triathlon and getting ready for my second; traveled to Iceland, Greece, Holland and around the U.S.; talked Trek; got a new job; got certified to teach spin: started bike commuting again; went on some bad dates; introduced you to my family and friends; met some cool cyclists; cooked with Emeril; and basically tried to share my own unique lunacy with whoever cared to read about it. So, thanks for reading, for caring and for sharing your comments.

It has been quite a trip so far. I’m glad you’re along on this trek.

July 14, 2008

My 15 minutes...

Only a few more hours til the show airs. Agggghhhh! Thanks to all who sent me emails saying, "I saw your commercial." Russ texted me after he saw it on Saturday. I wrote back.... what did I say, what did I do, did I look cute? He wrote back like a typical guy, you were wearing a baby blue sweater and walking through the store. I'm pretty sure he knew that, like a typical girl, what I was really asking was how fat did I look. I wouldn't touch that one either.

I still haven't found a place to watch it here in Rapid City, SD. I did see Mt. Rushmore though and some bison and a prairie dog town, that was cool. Pre-thanks to my fellow Trek chick Jen and Mr. Jen for recording the show for me.

Here's a few secrets from the set to tempt you... I told the makeup person to give me cheekbones like Oprah. I don't like eggs. See if you can spot the Trek gear. The Marines in my spin class had their mandatory physical fitness test that morning - so before the taping they had already run 6 miles for time and done pull-ups and some other strength tests. I did about 10 clothing changes total for all the images that aren't in the Whole Foods Store.

Here's the link to Planet Green again...

July 10, 2008


Img020 I am kind of freaking out right now. This coming Monday, July 14 at 8:30 pm EST, I’ll be making my cable TV debut cooking with Emeril on the premiere night of his new show called Emeril Green on Planet Green, a new channel from the Discovery network! My episode is called “Light for Life.”

Back in April when I did the taping, it seemed like a good idea to help promote women, cycling and healthy living. Now, all I can think about is am I going to look like a big dork and how many fat rolls are showing. (Though I invested heavily in top-to-bottom, suck-it-in Spanx.)

Ah well, who cares. It was a once in a lifetime experience to meet Emeril and spend the day with him. He loves to be teased and joke around. Between segments, he’d give me a wink or throw his arm around my shoulder while we waited for the camera crew. Pretty much, I was either laughing or tasting different foods (and then I’d laugh again and I’m sure food fell out of my mouth.) I wasn’t a bit nervous.

I'm not sure what will end up on the episode and what will end up on the cutting-room floor; but there will definitely be some shots of me riding my bike; riding with Russ, who also got interviewed; a spin class with my Marines; my “big pants” perhaps; and lots of Capitol Hill flavor. Let’s just hope they don’t use the shot when I stumbled down my front steps – that’s what I get for wearing those heels. What I do hope is that my story about how cycling helped me to change my life will inspire others to hop on their bikes and ride too.

The bummer is that I'll be in Rapid City, SD at a work conference, so I'm going to miss it. The channel is not a basic one. The good news is that Discovery replays the heck out of their shows, so I’m sure I’ll see it one of these days.

P.S. Emeril rides a bike, too. I invited to take him for a spin anytime he’s in town. :)
P.P.S. If you watch it, then, yes, that really is my voice.

May 2, 2008

Beets, broth, big pants and bikes...

Make_up Two months ago, I’m scanning a list serv and a notice catches my eye that a world-renowned chef is launching a new cooking show and looking for real people with culinary challenges. What the heck, I thought to myself – I’ve got challenges to go around. I send the producers an email about how I teach indoor cycling to Marines in the morning, work all day, write a blog for Trek and train at night and by the time I get home, I’m running on empty and looking for something fast and healthy. Oh, I also mentioned the part about losing weight. I get an email back and they invite me to a casting call to see how I’d do/look in front of cameras. Shoot, I went to film school – video cameras don’t bother me.

Fast forward and in the same week, I interview and am offered my awesome job at the Association, put in my notice at the old job, plan a trip to Holland, get certified to teach group exercise classes and learn that I’m going to be on TV. My head was spinning! (It still is!!)

Last week was my shoot for the show – a two-day event that took me 2+ weeks to get ready for. The first day was to capture footage to create a bio piece about me, my life and my culinary challenge. They wanted to tape me with the Marines, riding with Russ and Wayne, working out, at work and at our house for an interview and shots of me cooking. That’s how I ended up steam-cleaning the carpet on my birthday. My inner Martha (Stewart) took over and there I was starching pillowcases at 2 a.m. the night before the camera crew arrived.

The next day was my shoot with the chef. I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you who it is now. Let’s just say it involved beets, some broth and lots of talk about fueling up for bike rides. I even brought in my old big pants to show the chef why eating healthy is so important to me. I had a blast!!

I’ll let you know when the show will air – sometime in late June/early July. It was A LOT of work; but, maybe my message about how cycling helped me to change my life will inspire other women (and men) to get out there and ride too. I hope so.

P.S. The photo is me getting my make-up done before the shoot. My thanks to the chef, producers and crew for a great experience!!!