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NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon Weekend!

As always, the weekend is going by far too fast.  But it’s been a great one and I’m going to enjoy the few hours I have left!

Friday after work, Frank and I went out to Pier 3 in Brooklyn to pick up our bibs for the Air B and B NYRR Brooklyn Half.  The pre-party presented by New Balance was awesome. They do such a great job with music, mini golf, food trucks and more.




Free Van Leeuwen’s cones–this was the vegan cherry–yum!




After a long walk along the water, we headed back to Manhattan.  We ordered some pasta for Piccolo while watching Pitch Perfect. I’d never seen it, it was cute, but I’m not rushing out to see PP2 while it’s in the theaters.  Then it was early to bed for our 5:15 wake up call.

When I got up in the morning, I just had to get dressed. I was shocked and thrilled that my outfit color coordinated perfectly. I did nothing to encourage this, as I don’t care about such things, but it was indeed serendipitous.

There was a chance of rain, so I wore the NB race top, under armour capris, a brook’s jacket and my asics <–very brand diverse. I decided to forgo a hat and just took sunglasses.  I pinned on my bib, put my gu chomps in my pocket and metro card in my pocket and we were off.

We got on the 5:59 4 train and were getting off at Franklin Ave by 6:22.  We basically exited into the metal detectors, which we breezed through.  I had a lot of time in the corral before my 7AM start, but the porta potty line was hopeless, so I gave up on that.  Even when the BK Half started in the park, the bathroom lines were the worst I’d ever seen. Fortunately, this is the only negative thing I can say about the BK half organization.

Finally, the gun went off and so did I, sort of. I crossed the start line 17 minutes after the gun.  The first mile was great.  I just wanted things to stay exactly the same for the next 12.1 miles.  My first 5K was the fastest at a 9:55 pace.  While the next 3 miles felt pretty strong, they were actually my slowest at a sluggish 11 min/mi pace. I tried to enjoy the park since I knew that a whole lot of highway was ahead.

I had only done 3 long runs and the longest was 7 miles, so I knew I would probably want to walk a little bit. I decided to do a modified Galloway method and I walked 15-30 seconds at every  water station.  If you are going to walk, I think it’s always smart to have a plan, otherwise, you can be walking yourself into a dark hole.  Fortunately, the small walk breaks seemed to help my pace, which went back to just over 10 minute miles.

Around mile 9 it started to rain.  I don’t usually like running in rain at all, but it actually wasn’t so bad. My Brooks jacket had a hood, which was a lifesaver, even if my sunglasses spent the rest of the race on my head.

Theodora had mentioned in a blog post that the streets go up from A to Z, I remembered this at Ave M and it kept me occupied until we were almost to mile 12.  Backing up, around mile 11, I realized that if I kept it together I could finish around my usually time of 2:12-2:14, as opposed to my goal of just finishing under 3:15.  My goals was literally just not to be swept up and driven to the finish line, which happens if you fall below a 15 MPH pace.  I set the bar real high, I know.

Unfortunately, the last mile was tough. I was mentally falling apart when usually I can summon what’s left inside for the final 1600 meters.  I ended up finishing at 2:16:27. While it’s nothing to write home about, I was fine with it. My actually race training will start in June when I start focusing on the NYCM.

The finish had all kinds of fan fare.  Even if you only run on the boardwalk for .1 miles, it is really fun and exciting.  After exiting the course, I found this guy!


When we finally got home 21 stops on the Q train later, I took a short nap before meeting Frank at the Brazen Fox to watch the Ranger WIN.   We lazed about the rest of the day until we met friends for a late dinner at Upland.  Thanks for the recommendation Pete Wells.

Sunday started early with a trip to the dog park followed by a trip to Petco.  I let Pettitte pick out a bag of treats and he selected a duck and potato combo which he seems to enjoy immensely.  I also picked up his usually Blue Buffalo treats, a ball and two other bags of treats. Petco is my new target.  Can’t stop at one item.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, Ashley and Bo invited Pettitte to join them for brunch at the Pavilion, which is one of my favorite warm weather spots.  The restaurant was so nice about Pettitte, and Ashley managed to snag a table right next to a big patch of grass.


It was a lovely brunch.  The iced lattes were to die for and I loved my salad/fry combo.

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Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend! Summer is off to a great start.

Super Fresh Salad

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of enjoying a fun event with Panera Bread at a lovely venue called The Kitchen.

Panera has been working on eliminating all preservatives and artificial ingredients from their food for several years and they recently  announced their commitment to removing artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, sweeteners and meat from animals raised with antibiotics from all of their products by 2016. The NYTimes released an article about it last week.


Panera invited bloggers, nutritionists and health professionals to meet their Head Chef David Kish and some of their nutritionists to discuss how they are making the move to 100% whole foods.  Honestly, it was really amazing to see such a large company so committed to putting health above the bottom line.  Panera was actually one of the first companies nationally to put their nutritional information on their menus even in cities where they don’t require it by law.

Chef David was extremely personable and he explained that as they went through the menu item by item looking at the ingredients, they quickly realized that removing fake sweeteners and preservatives was pretty easy.  Often ingredients are just unnecessarily placed in a product and if it’s never questioned those yucky ingredients tend to stay there.

We started out by making flatbreads–either the tomato mozzarella flatbread or the Mediterranean chicken flatbread. IMG_0722The chicken flatbread had cabbage, carrot, cucumber, lentil hummus, tzatziki and feta.

The tzatziki was one of the ingredients they had to revamped to make it free of preservatives. To accomplish this, Panera continued to use their organic yogurt, but they packaged the herbs and spices separately so they could be mixed with the yogurt in each store in small batches.  Maybe I’m a nerd, but it was fascinating to hear the different ways they changed their dressings, breads, sauces and recipes to eliminate unnatural ingredients.  Most chains use a ton of salt and sodium in their products, but Panera has eliminated the majority of salt from their recipes and rely on the salt that occurs naturally in foods.

After the flatbread snack, we watched Chef Dan make and beautifully plate three salads: the Strawberry Poppy Seed, The Mediterranean Chicken Quinoa Salad and the Power Kale Caesar Salad.

I have to say, watching a salad be made is surprisingly excited.  Salad are just so gorgeous and full of goodness.  I love light, fruity summer salads!


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I need to learn to plate salad like that! After watching the prep, we sat down to enjoy a leafy feast and panera’s lovely sprouted grain rolls.

IMG_0785It was a really great evening. I’ve always liked Panera, I’ve been going there for years, and now I feel even better about choosing them when I need a meal on the go.

What else is going on? I’ve completely unprepared to run the Brooklyn Half on Saturday, so that should be scary.  I also just tried the Fhitting Room and I think I’m in love, so more on that soon!

Panera invited me to attend this event.  All opinions are my own. 


A Girl and a Meal Plan

First of all, congrats to all the Boston Marathon runners–Meri, Tina,  Sarah, Anna, Katie S. and the loads of people who I am forgetting!  Amazing job out there! Marathons are just so inspiring!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on the blog, but a few years ago, Frank got me the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan for Christmas. I really like the tips, workouts, recipes and motivation.  Their most recent plan, the Bikini Series Plan, is easily my favorite.  Some of the other ones were just not enough food, but this one is generally realistic and there are many delicious meal ideas.  That said, it requires preparing 5 meals a day, which is just not a reality for me.  Even so, it has inspired me to make more meals at home.  Sadly, some weeks I only make 2-3 meals at home.  Believe me, this is embarrassing to admit on the blog. I’ve been hiding it from you and I can’t live a lie any longer. I often grab something at the deli for breakfast, my employer generally provides lunch or I get a salad at Fresh and Co, and dinner tends to be ordered from seamless or eaten out most nights. My only pathetic defense is that I don’t have a dish washer and I hate spending hours (and it does take me hours) washing and putting away dishes all week-long.

Clearly, there is serious room for improvement.  This weekend I challenged myself to break my ordering trend and spend some time in the kitchen.  With a tone it up inspired plan, I headed to Whole Foods with my shopping list and started filling my basket.

Here’s a look at the haul:


Lots of produce.  The only things I didn’t get from my list were ground turkey, broccoli, frozen vegetables and almond butter.  The turkey and broccoli selection was dismal; I got distracted by goat cheese on my way to the frozen veggies; and I couldn’t bring myself to pay $9 for almond butter.  The PB is for Pettitte who gets a PB and dog food filled kong every morning when we leave.

I picked up my missing items from Westside Market on Sunday.

So what was on the menu?

Saturday Night: Salmon Stuffed Avocado

Sunday Night: Southwest Turkey Burgers with sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli

Monday Night: Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes

Breakfasts: Fage and berries

Night one was the Grilled Salmon Stuffed Avocado. This was the fanciest looking meal and hands down the easiest to make.  12 minutes people!  I came across on youtube and there is a great video that explains exactly how to make it!



I made a few small substitutions to the simple recipe. I skipped the olive oil for grilling the salmon since three fats is a lot of fats, even if they are all healthy. I also subbed greek yogurt for sour cream since it’s the same thing and I always have greek yogurt on hand.  I also added shredded carrots, since they were already in my fridge.  The recipe suggests using a whole avocado, but I had some guac for a snack and went with just a half



In the end, I actually had some extra filling, so I dumped everything onto a plate and sliced the avocado on top.  If I was serving to guests, I would have definitely left the salad in the avocado cup.



This was amazing. I’ll definitely make it again. So darn easy

Night two was Southwest Turkey Burger Night.  I was looking for a turkey burger recipe and this one from Rachael Ray had great reviews.  Sorry for the less than appetizing photo, I totally forgot to take it until I had eaten half my meal!



The turkey burgers were delicious. I skipped the bun and used guacamole and salsa for toppings instead of the bacon suggested.  I am so into roasted broccoli lately, just a tiny drizzle of evoo and it’s amazing.

Tonight I had Super Loaded Sweet Potatoes. 

Sweet potato, goat cheese, black beans, salsa and mixed vegetables.




I realized that I forgot half a left over turkey burger and some garlic powder because clearly I needed more toppings.



Honestly, this was divine.  So easy and so good. I couldn’t even finish it!

I’m pretty proud of myself for making three dinners in a row!  As long as I can find recipes that don’t require tons of dishes and allow me to recycle ingredients so I don’t throw tons of things out at the end of the week, I could definitely get back on the made at home bandwagon.

Stitchfix Review

I decided to order myself a stitch fix for my birthday! It’s always fun to get a box of surprises! You can see other posts on my stitch fixes here and here.

What came this month?

A striped dress with tie sash


I love anything nautical and I like that this can be worn in spring, summer or fall depending on how you style it! Keep.

Blue textured pants


I’m sorry that this a pretty bad picture of the actual pants and that my sports bra is showing through my shirt, but you get the idea.  The textured pattern and bright blue color are not me at all.  Although I do think I requested fun pants, since I love my black textured jeans so much!  Frank absolutely loved these. I kept thinking he was joking, but he actually wanted me to wear these all over town.  Ultimately, these are way out of my fashion comfort zone!  Returned!

Black pants with gold ankle zippers and green top


Again, sorry that this is a terrible photo of the pants.  The best detail, the gold ankle zipper is cut off! I actually loved the zippers and they fit well, but I didn’t think the fabric was really that high quality considering that these were $90.  I also didn’t think they were that flattering. I was pretty on the fence, but ultimately, they were returned!

I also asked for nice tops for evenings out.  This was a cool top, but I didn’t find it terribly flattering, so it was also returned.

Peach, space-dyed cardigan


While I don’t really need anymore cold weather clothes, I really liked the color of this sweater.  It is also good for the very cold spring weather we are experiencing. It’s something that I can where to work or to weekend brunch and I know that I’ll actually get a lot of wear out of, so it’s a keeper.

Both items minus the $20 style fee came out to about $128.

Ultimately, I decided that this would be my last stitch fix.  I took a look at the items in my wardrobe that I wear the most often, and none of them were stitch fix pieces.  I often keep something just so I don’t lose the $20!  I love the idea of my own personal stylist, but I don’t think I even know what I want to articulate my needs half the time.  Plus, I live in NYC, so it’s not like I am hurting for shopping options.

I think the idea is super clever and clearly it’s been a huge hit, but it’s just not for me!

In other news, this guy turned 9 months today!


He is such a big boy!


Week in Austin, Weekend in North Fork

Well, I’m another year older.  The week leading up to my birthday I was in Austin and  I spent the weekend wine tasting in North Fork, so I can’t say getting older is all that bad.

I was in Austin for the SXWSedu conference. It.was.awesome.  I’d never been to Texas, so it was great to check out the capitol city and the conference was so innovative and inspiring. It really raised the bar for all conferences in my future


During my sessions, I got some great food recommendations.  On our list of things to try were: bbq, tex-mex and breakfast tacos.

First up was BBQ.  We went to Micklethwait.  We thought it was a restaurant, but it was actually a food truck.image5

This plate was filled with the most amazing beans and potato salad, brisket and two deliciously fluffy slices of sour dough.  I don’t go crazy for bbq, but this was awesome.


My group also got a dessert sampler of one of each pie!  Cheesepie, pecan pie, chocolate moon pie and peanut butter moon pie. My favorite was the chocolate moon pie!



One of the first of many many reception/parties hosted by SX was at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library. It was the coolest place! I loved the replica of the Oval Office! The University of Texas campus was also stunning.


There were lots of skinny margaritas!



I wish I had a picture of my tacos, but alas I was so hungry that I forgot to snap a pic!

I saw this at the conference bookstore! Has anyone read it?  It looks interesting.




My top 3 recommendations for Austin are:

After four days in Austin, I unpacked, repacked and we headed to North Fork.

We once again stayed at the Fig and Olive.  They are so nice.  This time there was another couple, so we exchanged winery notes over breakfast each morning.

We hit up a bunch of wineries, my favorites of this trip being Bedell, Osprey’s Dominion and Lenz.


The first night we ate at the Frisky Oyster.

The second night we went to Jedidiah Hawkins. We started with a drink in a speakeasy downstairs.


For some reason, my main course photo was deleted by wordpress, so we’ll skip to dessert.  It was a vanilla lemon parfait.  Custardy, curdy, light and refreshing.


Our final day of tasting we hit up four wineries and the fabulous new outpost of the Greenport Harbor Brewery.  It was a great day, rain and all.

We saw these geese marking down the fields, it was there kind of weather.


We left pretty early on Sunday morning, but not before yet another fabulous breakfast made by Lisa!

It began with coconut chocolate chip bread (unpictured) and was followed by roasted pears with walnuts, cinnamon and vanilla yogurt.


The main course was grilled cheese stuffed with peppers, onions and bacon and finished with a fried egg on top.  Pure food heaven.


We caught the Jitney back to Manhattan to have a late lunch with my parents at the new(ish) Park Avenue Winter.


Workout Playlist (Barry’s Tribute Edition)


Is there anything better than a workout class with great music?  Personally, I don’t think so.

I often wish I had access to the instructor amazing collection of remixes.  Does anyone know where to access this?  Throughout my month at Barry’s, the music was consistently amazing.   Thank you Niv! Below are some of my favorite tunes from the month. A  lot of the songs have a club feel, which reminds me of being in Ibiza. 

Lately I’ve been struggling to find new music beyond what’s on the top 40 list, so I’m super excited about this playlist. I hope you enjoy it too!

Barry’s Tribute Workout Playlist

FourFive Seconds-Rihanna, Kayne, Paul McCartney


Love Me Like  You Do-Ellie Goulding  (here’s a remix version)

Blame–Calvin Harris

Uptown Funk-Mark Ronson

I Need Your Love-Ellie Goulding and Calvin Harris

Prayer in C–Robin Schulz and Lily Wood

Rather Be –Clean Bandit

Clique- Kanye and Jay-Z

GDFR–Flo Rider (remix version) <–This was one of my favs! I love sprinting to it!

Outside–Ellie Goulding and Calvin Harris

Hanging Tree-James Newton Howard Featuring Jennifer Lawerence (Rebel Remix)


Barry’s Academy Week 2 and 3 Recap

I can’t believe I only have 3 classes left in the Barry’s Bootcamp Academy!  In case you missed it, I signed up for the February academy, which entails taking a Barry’s Bootcamp class every weekday of the month at the same time each day. Here’s the week 1 recap.

Week 2 was actually pretty great. I felt strong and I could really push myself on the sprints.  I really liked Niv, who has taught almost all of my classes so far. He has an impressive arsenal of techno remixes.  I liked feeling absolutely spent at the end of each segment.  There were a couple downsides, 1.) getting up in the morning didn’t get any easier and #2 is that I haven’t seen any real results.

Week 3.  This was a tough week. My body was just tired.  Even jogging hurt and by the end of each running segment. I also developed  a shooting pain in my foot.  I kind of felt like I was falling apart, but at least the classes had a lot of variety.  I was able to recover from the nagging pain in my foot with a combination of compression and icing.   It was still hard to get up and walk through -2 degree weather each morning, but we did it. Probably what I like best about Barry’s besides the intensity of the workouts, is that each class is different, which kept me motivated.

Frank also recreated a Barry’s shake at home and has been making it each morning.  Here’s his recipe for an adapted orange creamsicle shake:

  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. honey or agave
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 cup ice

blend /vitamix all ingredients for 1 HUGE shake.


I’ll see ya in a few for the final recap!


Valentine’s Day Weekend

I hope everyone had a lovely long weekend! Despite the frigid temperatures, we had a fabulous weekend.

It all kicked off on Friday with a girls only  fondue night!

We had chocolate and cheese fondue and plenty of dipping options.

IMG_8369 IMG_8373 IMG_8374Plus, lots of vino. Needless to say, it was a fun night.

On Valentine’s Day, Frank and I had a full day planned.

We  relaxed in the morning and watched some of our favorite food network shows.  Then I got a manicure before we met up to head to Dos Caminos for an amazing cooking class. I had gotten an email about a Valentine’s Day cooking class that included breakfast, unlimited cocktails, a cooking class with Ivy Stark, a four course lunch and a copy of the Dos Caminos Tacos cookbook. It was all for less than the cost of dinner for two,  so I signed Frank and I up.

We nibbled on some breakfast and had some delicious coffee before we were seated for the class.  Ivy Stark is the executive chef for all Dos Caminos and she was funny, talented and very witty.  She recently was featured in Well and Good, as she is on a mission to show people that mexican food can be healthy.


From the second we sat down, the drinks were flowing, margaritas, sangria, tequila shots, it didn’t stop!  Frank and I did our best to pace ourselves, but the one thing that was totally worth it was the Mexican hot chocolate with chocolate tequila and passion fruit marshmallows.



It was just insane.

We learned how to make blue cheese and fig  cheese empanadas, spiced rubbed filet minion with arbol chile sauce, chocolate mousse and mojito de limon tea.  Chef Ivy and Chef David were a great pair and answered all kinds of cooking questions.


Then it was time for a four course lunch!

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We actually left before dessert was served  because we had a big dinner planned for the evening.

Can you guess where we went for Valentine’s Day?


Dinner, dancing, old school New York?

If you guessed the Rainbow Room, you are right!  It recently reopened and it was a really fun way to have a very classic New York Valentine’s Day.  The live band was great and there were some amazing dancers on the floor.

The dinner menu was a nod to Rainbow Room classics with a modern twist.

We had a wide assortment of canapés and breads to start, that I forgot to photograph.

I asked for an alternative to the appetizer options and they suggested an endive salad, which was nice and light.


Frank got the  amish chicken salad, which wasn’t what we expected, but was interesting.


The seafood course was a delicious and perfectly prepared scallop.  I never order scallops because they are usually overcooked, but these were perfection.


For my entree, I had the dover sole with crab tortellini.  Again, nice and light.


To finish, we shared the baked alaska, which I had never had–so retro. It was our favorite course of the night.  Do you see the igloo?


We had a great night.


They gave us (well, me) a rose and some chocolates and a few petite fours to finish of the evening.

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It was a perfect day from start to finish.

On Sunday, we hung out with our furry Valentine.  Petty’s rigorous workout schedule included some yoga.

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He also enjoyed some time cuddled up on the couch.

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On Sunday, we had brunch with friends at Norma’s, which happens to be participating in restaurant week!

A weekend filled with my favorite people and my favorite puppy, I couldn’t ask for anything more!


Barry’s Bootcamp Academy Week 1 Recap

I can’t believe I’m already looking back at my first week of Barry’s Bootcamp Academy.  5/20 classes in February are done!

If I had to sum up my thoughts on the week in one sentence it would be: it could have been worse.

Prior to starting week 1 I wasn’t sure I would be able to handle 2, let alone 5, back to back Barry’s Bootcamp classes in a row. I’d never taken more than 2 classes a week and I’d never taken 2 classes on consecutive days.  I thought I’d be wrecked by the third day. My main and worst fear was that I’d be injured the first week and have to throw away the rest of the month and a ton of money.

Fortunately, none of that happened.  I made it through all five classes with the expected and appropriate amount of soreness.  A bit of icing was all I really needed to keep  myself together week 1.

The nice thing about Barry’s is that each day of the work week focuses on different muscle groups. Monday is abs and arms.  Tuesday is legs and glutes. Wednesday is arms, abs and chest.  Thursday is hard core abs and Friday is full body.

Even though only two days are officially arms days, there is still way more arm work than I would ever do on my own and sometimes it seems like everyday is arms day, you get through it. I will say that I can rarely do even the lightest of the recommended weight range and I often have to drop down further. When I try to take the weights they recommend, I typically can only do 30% of the workout.  I’m one part wimp and they are one part insane!

Goals for Week 1:

  • Don’t drink alcohol Mon-Thurs.: Fail. I had a glass of wine at the cocktail hour on Tuesday.
  • Finish Week 1: check

I was starving pretty much the whole week, so I ended up gaining weight. I’m hoping at least a bit of that is muscle–see notes about heavy weights above.

Goals for Week 2:

  • Don’t Drink Alcohol Mon-Thurs.
  • Finish Week 2
  • Less snacking in general, but definitely less snacking on crap.
  • Make more dinners at home
  • Increase sprints by .5 MPH

Just one overall observation was that I had 4 different instructors week 1, which was great. I loved the music in each and every class.  It basically made it all worth it.

Valentine Gift Guide for Him

I used to have a hard time buying gifts for guys.  However, I now find it pretty easy to pick out a gift for Frank.   We tend to celebrate small and big events alike and Valentine’s Day is no exception.  If you are looking for last minute gifts for him, here are a few ideas…

A Slim Wallet 


This one from Vineyard Vines is perfect for a night out because he  can tuck in just the essentials and lose the bulk of a traditional wallet. It’s like a clutch for dudes. $58

Buffalo Nickel Cufflinks


Cufflinks are one of my go to gifts.  These Buffalo Nickel pair is really fun.  $98 from Brooks Brothers, but I think etsy has them too.

Tom Tom Multi Sport Cardio Watch




If you’ve got a bit more to spend, this sports watch has a built in heart rate monitor (no annoying chest strap!), GPS and can track cadence and altitude. $299. Tom Tom is offering 20% off 12:01AM from 2/12 – 2/14 using code  20% off the MS Cardio.

Personalized Golf Markers



Golf anything works for Frank. But I really like these brushed brass magnetic golf markers customized with initials. $17 for two.

Cocktail Making Kit


This kit will help him make a bar worthy cocktail at home. Shaken or stirred? $39.99


Valentine’s Day is a great time to make something truly from the heart.

Love Letters


A thoughtful love letter is perhaps the best gift around, and Feb. 14th is a good reason to finally write one to your love. Check out Rachel’s article, Tips for Writing an Amazing Love Letter, to help you get started.

Why You’re Awesome



If you need a bit more of a guide, this book is funny, romantic and charming all in one. You fill it out madlibs style with a sweet thought on every page. $10 Urban Outfitters.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries


In high school one of my girlfriends had a chocolate making and cookie making Valentine’s Day pre-party every year.  A bunch of girls would get together and make tons of sweets and then deliver them to our crushes/boyfriends/friends.  This year, I’m reviving the tradition by having a girl’s night fondue party.  While we’ll be eating a lot of chocolate covered goodness ourselves, we’ll also be making some for our Valentine’s.

Those are my suggestions.  What are yours?

If you’re looking for something for a lady, you can check out my holiday gift guide for sporty ideas.