Well, there was no way I was going on opening day or even the weekend because I knew it would be crazy busy. I went today around 4:00 and while the parking lot was crowded and there were plenty of people in the store, it was easy to get around and I didn’t have to wait in line but for a few minutes to check out. I went up and down every aisle and was there less than an hour. Score!
So what did I get?
- Diet root beer (6-pack)
- Roasted veggie no cheese pizza
- Strawberry and peach soy yogurt
- Non dairy creamer (for Josh)
- Edamame with red chile and garlic (so excited to try this!)
- Frozen veg panang curry with rice
- Chipotle pepper hummus
- Veg soy chorizo
- Masala veggie burgers (4-pack)
- Twin pack of sprouted tofu
Now for the really shocking part. How much did all of this cost me? I would have expected much more than $26!!!
Granted, I only got stuff for me this time and didn’t happen to need any produce but I still can’t imagine ever spending more than $50 here in a single trip. I would bet that the same stuff above at Whole Foods or another grocery store would have run me more like $40. I was happy.
A couple of things worth noting: the roasted vegetable pizza was the most expensive thing on my receipt at $4.29. The Amy’s roasted veggie pizza I usually buy which is almost identical is $6.49 and that’s at Kroger where it seems to be the cheapest. On the down side, I didn’t realize it until I got home and drank one that the Hansen’s diet soda contains Splenda. Stevia is the only “artificial” sweetener I like to use but I guess even that has some drawbacks. Still, I won’t buy those diet root beers again.
I wasn’t going to but since I was already there, I decided I might as well stop into the wine shop and see what was up. It was really small but they had a great selection, many “Available only at Trader Joe’s” wines and while they did have an expensive section, most were well under $10. I decided it was time I met this Chuck guy everyone talks about.
I got the two above bottles plus a nifty little Trader Joe’s wine carrying bag for $7. Yep, I guess that’s why they call it Two Buck Chuck. I tried half a glass of Shiraz tonight and it was just as tasty as one I would have paid a lot more than $2.99 for. I foresee some Christmas presents coming ;)
A lot of my friend’s don’t get the hype over TJ’s and think the last thing Louisville needs is another grocery store and another store on Shelbyville Road at that — the place is already known for horrific traffic at certain times of the day. Also, a few friends were turned off by the packaging of produce — many items are already placed in plastic containers or bags. I can see their point, but at the same time, having exactly 1 lb of organic grapes in a container seems like a time and cost-saver to me.
I found a couple of articles about the store to be really interesting. First, The Best and Worst Products at Trader Joe’s — I need to go back for the falafel and veggie burritos, definitely! Another, a local article entitled Seven Things That Make Trader Joe’s Different, pointed out some things about this store I can really appreciate. No sales, no coupons. You will always know how much everything costs and how much you would spend. I can dig that.
What do you think? Do you have a Trader Joe’s in your area? What do you like/dislike about it?
- Very exciting weekend ahead (seesaraheat.wordpress.com)
- How to survive your first trip to Trader Joe’s in Louisville (ashleeeats.com)
Wait, what blog is this? Who am I? Where have I been? Ha ha!
Sorry for the sporadic posts about who knows what all the time. I feel like that’s the new purpose of this blog. It’s no longer a food only blog, no longer a chronicle of my past weight loss or the many races I have ran, but instead just random — just like my life :)
This weekend there are some very exciting things going on that I felt the need to tell you about.
First, today, the very first Trader Joe’s is opening in Louisville (first for Kentucky too)!
Notice the teeny sign at the bottom and then check it out in the background :) If you are interested in seeing what it’s like right now, check out Ashlee’s photos on or search #traderjoeslou on Twitter.
I’m waiting until Monday to go because I saw the pictures of the line this morning for the grand opening (you would have thought it was Black Friday) and my good friend Mari says to avoid that place at all costs on the weekends. And when Mari tells you something, believe her ;)
Another cool thing going down this weekend is the Mighty Kindness Harvest Hootenanny at the Louisville Nature Center (across from the Zoo).
It’s a free community festival featuring all sorts of things — music, art, crafts, food, coffee, workshops, yoga, massage, etc. I will be there with the Louisville Vegetarian Club selling vegan baked goods and of course, promoting a plant-based diet.
There will be trick-or-treating, food trucks (can’t wait to eat Morel’s again!), and so much that there’s no way I could contain it all in this post. You will just have to come!
However, since I am not above a shameless plug (or two), I have to tell you my friend Kristin will be there selling her crocheted goods and jewelry at the KB&T booth :) You can also check out her esty site if you can’t make it on Saturday.
Last but not least, on Sunday from 5-7 p.m. my church, Hunsinger Lane Baptist, is having a Fall Festival! And I’m in charge!
There will be a lot of stuff for kids as you can see above so if you or anyone you know has kids, bring ‘em on out! We will also have adults there hanging out and socializing. I’m hoping to make a lot of new friends through this event. Everything is free! This is my first year being the director and I have learned a lot already and have a lot of ideas for next year.
As you can probably guess after reading this post, I have taken a day off on Monday to recover (and make that inaugural trip to Trader Joe’s)!
Have a great weekend :) What are your plans?
- My favorite things about Fall (seesaraheat.wordpress.com)
I love Fall.
Do you call it Fall or Autumn? I never say Autumn but I like how it’s spelled. Either way, it’s one of my most favorite times of year.
The only bad thing about Fall is that it means Winter is just a little bit closer. But, except for the snow/ice hazards and the extremely bitter cold days, I have learned to appreciate that season more as well. But let’s not jump the gun. I’m here to talk about Fall because it’s what’s almost here!
I started this post about a month ago when we had a break in our seriously hot weather. But then it got hot again and didn’t feel like the right time to be talking about Fall just yet. Even though it was 94 yesterday, it seems that the cooler weather is just about here to stay and it is almost October so I did not want to delay any further!
I’ve also been thinking about Fall a lot because I work on a college campus and once the semester finally started, the students came rolling in and the restaurants and coffee shops went back to their normal hours (read: later than 2 p.m. and places that have been closed all Summer are finally open!) and there will be other exciting events going on here between now and the Christmas break.
Most days, the mornings have been on the cool side, cool enough as my friend Carrie said “to have a cup of hot tea in the mornings again!” She’s right about that. It’s also been darker in the mornings when I go out to walk Suzie and it’s been getting darker earlier at night. As much as I do love my daylight, it’s sort of cozy when it gets dark early and that makes me want to go to bed earlier, which is a good thing for me.
I have been feeling inspired :) Change is good.
Fall means a lot of things to each one of us. But I think we can all agree that it’s generally a fun time of year. Now I just thought I would share a few of my favorite things about Fall with you :)
Seriously, as soon as I see this stuff, I’m stocking up again! It’s been too long!
I like to bake with it, put it in my oatmeal, make soup with it, pumpkin dip with ginger snaps, you name it. I’m also excited about pumpkin spice tea and pumpkin flavored coffee (not the syrup but the actual coffee flavor) and anything else coffee shops, cafes or companies come up with to entice me into trying something. If it says pumpkin on it, I will probably at least give it a second look.
2. Art fairs, charity walks, outdoor events, etc.
St. James is the event that really kicks off the Fall for me and it’s just a little over 2 weeks away. It also has the most unpredictable weather! I believe this picture is from two years ago, while last year we were in shorts! You just never know ;-) But I’m kind of hoping for a chilly morning this year, just not too cold!
I am one of the co-coordinators of this year’s Walk for Farm Animals (Farm Sanctuary) on October 22nd and I am really excited about all that we have planned! Last year, we had a decent turnout and raised a good amount of money through our walk and a bake sale that we had beforehand. I’m looking forward to topping all of that this year! If you would like to sign up to walk or donate to my walk page, click here (thanks!)
The Hootenannies take place in the Fall and in the Spring (on Earth Day) and it’s another time of rather unpredictable weather. Last year’s Fall Hoot was absolutely freezing and then the Earth Day hoot this year kept a lot of people at home because of rain/storms. Hopefully this time we will have a better day. I will be working at the Louisville Vegetarian Club booth this year and I hope my friend Kristin (pictured above in the hat and sunglasses) is there selling her goods again too :)
While I haven’t decided to run any races this Fall (yet), I am going to be supporting my friends Farrah (pictured above on right) and Chloe in the Louisville Marathon on October 16th! I know it sounds corny but it’s long been a dream of mine to be on the sidelines cheering for someone else :) This will be the first marathon for both of them and I can’t wait to see them cross that finish line!
3. Haunted Houses and horrors!
I don’t scare easily but I do tend to jump at loud noises! My husband and I love the Halloween season. Soon we’ll be busting out our collection of horror movies and lining up on a Friday night to go through some scary forest, hotel or whatever attraction we choose to visit this year. We are also big fans of the Danger Run, even though we usually end up arguing and get lost at some point. All in good fun!
4. Football (sigh…)
Never in my life did I think I would include this on a list of my favorite things about Fall. But the truth is, I do enjoy watching some football. It gets overwhelming when there are several games on in a week or when my husband is in the basement yelling at a particular team and I can hear him two floors up.
He’s not the only one who does this, but I just don’t like it when people get so mad about a game that they say terrible things to a team they claim to be a fan of and they just plain ruin my good time! But most of the time, it’s enjoyable to root for your favorite teams while spending time with family and friends over some chips and salsa.
We used to host Monday Night Football at our house every year but since we just moved and aren’t quite unpacked and my husband’s work schedule is a bit unforgiving (he wakes up at 4 a.m.!) we have decided not to do it this year. I kind of miss it already but hopefully we can get some people together for a game sometime this season!
I’m sure there will be some other adventures that I’m not even aware of yet but I will leave it at that for now. We are still settling into our new house and hopefully someday I will finally sit down and do a before and after post on some of the rooms we have redone and how the place looks now that we actually live here :)
What are you looking forward to this Fall? Anything not on this list that I should check out?
On Monday night, a few girlfriends and I met up at the new Adobo Mexican Restaurant which has now taken the place of the old Our Best on Bardstown Road in Fern Creek. It looks exactly the same, just with a new paint job and different decor on the inside. I’m glad we chose it as Mexican restaurants are usually a safe bet for me as a vegetarian and the location was good for all of us to meet up in the middle.
The restaurant wasn’t too busy when we walked in and were seated right away. As we walked back to our table, we spotted the “Guacamole Bar” which I wish I had gotten a photo of. Basically, they make their guacamole fresh right when you order it. We couldn’t resist!
This appetizer was $8 but I swear, it was enough for the four of us and then some! Totally worth it too, I’m not kidding when I say this is the BEST guacamole I have ever had. It was fresh, creamy and even a bit spicy. Sorry, Qdoba, you have been replaced!
Like many Mexican restaurants do, they offered 99 cent margaritas on Mondays, so I decided to try one, you know, to review for the blog ;-)
It was really tasty. I usually don’t do “on the rocks” but I tried it because the frozen version was $1.99, which isn’t bad either but I thought I’d pick the cheap one this time ;-) I’m glad I did because I think I might like it better this way!
I forgot to take a photo of my entree but I ordered the veggie burrito with no cheese or sour cream. The vegetables in the burrito were surprisingly tasty and included zucchini, broccoli, onions, peppers and beans. It came with a side of rice.
Sometimes without the cheese and sour cream the dish can suffer (because they don’t try to do anything else with it) but this one did not. There was a nice garnish of lettuce, onion and spices on the side that I spread over it, plus a few dollops of guac :)
I enjoyed it very much, took the other half of it for lunch today and it was just as good reheated. It wasn’t the best Mexican restaurant I have ever been to but for a new place in a city with so many restaurants, it did stand out to me. The guacamole bar was really unique to me, I had never seen that before.
The prices were good too. For my entree, plus the drink, plus half the guacamole (me and a friend split the cost for the table) my bill came to $15 and I had leftovers so you figure that for 2 meals, not bad :)
We’ve all been bragging about it to our other friends and definitely want to go back soon. Although the veggie options are not plentiful, I’d be perfectly fine just eating the chips & guacamole!
In my 17 months as a vegan, I have been to many, many potlucks, a cookie exchange and other gatherings surrounded by food. It’s so nice to go somewhere and not have to say “what’s in this?” or “can I eat this?”
But it wasn’t until this past weekend that I went to a vegan cookout! And it was so much fun :)
Saturday was Derby Day here in Kentucky but the Louisville Vegetarian Club decided to have an “alternative” cookout held at Tyler Park here in Louisville. This event was sponsored by Tofurky and Rainbow Blossom (a local health food store) who both donated food items!
What a beautiful day it was!
And the food was yummy too!
Tofurky brat on a Rudi’s hot dog bun with relish, mustard, ketchup and some organic tortilla chips with Athenos roasted garlic hummus :)
And of course, the rest of the crew brought some really delicious food to share!
Carrie‘s black bean quinoa and Seana’s vegan macaroni salad
Somebody knew my birthday was the day before and made this amazingly decadent chocolate cake with ganache and strawberries :)
Thank you Carrie ;-)
I also had some spicy pasta salad a la Karen and these insanely addictive peanut butter chocolate chip blondies. Let’s just say I did not need to eat the rest of the evening!
I have to thank everyone for coming out and for sharing some truly wonderful dishes. You guys are so wonderful and I’m so glad to have this group in my life :)
It is so hard to believe that as of this past Saturday, I have completed the Kentucky Derby Festival mini-Marathon four times!!!
Each one has been a unique experience and every year following 2008, I have just a tiny bit of regret that I did not train the way I’m “supposed to” for this race. In 2008, I had only been running a few months when I decided to train for the mini. I was so dedicated! I followed the program religiously and ran the entire thing without stopping and had a great finishing time. While I’m very proud of this accomplishment, I have found it hard to go back to that mentality since or even set a time goal near the one I had in 2008.
Because training for and completing that race burned me out, physically and mentally. I never wanted to run again. And when I did, I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I can’t pinpoint one thing in particular that made it seem that way but I took me well over a year to love running again (I walked the mini in 2009). Ever since then I have had a more laid back approach to half marathon “training.” I want to have fun, not get sick or injured and not feel the pressure to keep beating myself. So I basically just run 2-3 times a week, usually around 3-5 miles and then I try to do a long run here and there.
The Triple Crown of Running really does help prepare you for the mini too. But this year, I missed the Papa John’s 10 miler and never ran more than 8.5 miles from January on. Oops. But, even as Saturday grew closer, I never dreaded signing up for the race again. When I went to get my packet on Thursday afternoon, it felt real and I remembered why I found running and races so exciting to begin with. There is nothing quite like crossing that finish line. Especially when just 4.25 short years ago, I was a very unhappy, unhealthy 216 lb version of myself. It’s easy to forget those days sometimes.
When Saturday morning came, I had every reason to think this race was not going to go well. My stomach was not cooperating (runners know what I mean), I was running late due to traffic (we’ve had flooding so some routes to downtown that we’d usually take were closed off), and I was not able to meet up with any of my friends who were doing the race too. But, thanks to this new laid back approach I didn’t worry and I lined up for the race with confidence and no expectations whatsoever. As for the friends thing, that was okay because I trained for my first mini alone and ran that entire race by myself. So it was not new territory for me. I like to switch it up, even if sometimes it’s not intentional ;-)
I wasn’t far back from the front so almost as soon as I lined up it was time to cross the starting line.
I had in my mind that I would at least run the first 3 miles and stop at every other water stop. When I reached mile 4, I stopped to use the port-a-potty, which took at least 5 minutes off of my time but it was well worth it. It was starting to get warmer outside so I took my long sleeved shirt off and tied it around my waist. I got a drink of water and then started running again. I was able to run the first 7 miles with no walking breaks, impressive for not much training! I felt my strongest from miles 5-7, like I was floating on air.
During miles 8-11, I walked for 30 seconds to a minute whenever I felt my running pace slowing significantly. You know like when you are jogging so slow that people walking are passing you? Then we would pass a cheering crowd and I would suddenly have the energy to start running again. It was getting even warmer outside, so I switched from every other water stop to all of them.
When it got down to the last two miles, my legs were not happy with me. They ached, burned and I wanted to stop. So I walked for about half a mile, I’m guessing (I didn’t wear a watch). Then eventually, I was able to alternate walking and running again, even running a good chunk of mile 13, which was great because I ended up seeing my mom on the sidelines and got to run over and high five her! Thanks Mom :)
Not long after that, I walked again, because I knew that the finish of this race was elusive. When you come around that last turn you think “Yes! I am almost there!” but I have learned in years past that if you start sprinting too soon, you won’t make it. So I waited until the finish line was in clear view, then I picked it up a little and then started running my fastest to the finish line, passing a lot of people in the process. I didn’t hurt anymore, I felt strong and of course teared up as I came across that finish line for the 4th time, thinking of the “old” me and how far I had come in this journey called life.
Official time: 2:54:38
This is my third fastest half marathon time but my second best for this particular race (I ran the Louisville Half Marathon back in October). While I ran my first mini in 2:12:08, I decided not to look at this race as 42 minutes slower but rather this time is a major improvement on the last two years (3:07 in 2010 and 3:30 in 2009). Negativity is never the way to go!
Now for some highlights of this year’s race:
- Seeing a couple walking a beagle down 3rd street which made me think of my Suzie :)
- The “Duh! Winning!” sign on 4th street
- The crowds cheering everywhere, thank God for you people. I want to be on the “other side” one of these days to cheer someone on!
- High-fiving Mom at mile 13, the same place she and my dad were for my first mini in 2008 (nostalgic)
- I chose to have iTunes “randomly” fill my iPod and it picked some great upbeat songs, I think it knows me
- Even though I’m not a fan of horse-racing, this was the first year the horses were actually exercising around the track when we went through Churchill Downs. What beautiful creatures they are :)
I’m sure there are more and if I remember anything else, I will add it to the list!
I’m happy to say that thanks to a hot shower, Advil and proper refueling, I am not very sore from this race. A little achy in the quads but that’s it. I also iced my knees, shins, ankles and feet but accidentally forgot that other important part of my leg. Oops!
So what’s next?
I’m not sure. Part of me wants to give “real” training another shot and either try to PR the half marathon or perhaps complete my first full marathon! Part of me wants to just stick to shorter races like 5 and 10k’s and work on speed. And finally, part of me wants to take some time off, re-evaluate my goals and be a spectator for awhile.
But I’m not ready to make that decision yet. So in the meantime, I will just run when I feel like it and not worry about what the future may or may not hold for me. We’ll just have to wait and see! It’s never really what you expect or plan for, right? ;-)
Last Saturday was the Papa John’s 10-miler!
I was really looking forward to this race, even after a disappointing finish in the Rodes City Run 10k two weeks prior. And I knew this race would help me get ready for the mini-Marathon a month later.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a recap for you. For the first time in my entire running career (nearly 4 years!) I had to miss a race due to illness. :(
I started feeling bad late Wednesday night. I had chills, felt feverish and my throat was really sore. I thought I was just getting a cold and that running with the sniffles would be no big deal. I also thought that since it was Wednesday, I had plenty of time to drink some tea, take some vitamins and “get over it.”
Thursday came, I got worse. I felt so bad Friday that I didn’t go to work. I debated all day and night about whether or not to run the next day but Friday night, as I laid on the couch feeling like death, I finally texted my friend Farrah and told her “I can’t make it.” It was hard for me to do that but I knew it was the best thing for me. The thought of running 10 miles in the cold, not being able to breath and not having much energy sounded like torture to me.
Luckily, my friend Chloe was able to run in my steed and she kicked butt! :)
I was really bummed Friday night but by Saturday afternoon, I was happy with my decision. Sometimes you just have to know when to say no. Sunday I felt my absolute worst and finally on Monday I went to the doctor — sinus infection! I ended up taking a complete week off from running and other exercise.
Now that I am feeling better, I am really excited about the Derby Festival mini-Marathon on April 30th. I’m glad I have 29 more days to get ready!
It took me a while to write about this race because I really had to process my feelings about it.
Before the race, I was feeling pretty confident but then I think I fell into that trap of “oh, I can so beat my time on this” or at least match what I have done in the past. However, I did not run this race last year and it is more difficult than I remembered or gave it credit for. Not to mention for the two weeks prior to the race, I had not consistently ran enough to be ready for it.
So with that in mind, I’m happy that I finished. Yes, it was my worst 10k time to date, but hey…I ran a 10k! I need to take pride in that alone. It’s way too easy to fall into those traps of negative thinking. I’m glad I pulled myself out!
When the race started, the weather was mild but windy and the sun was shining. There were a ton of people at this race, but probably not as much as the Anthem 5k.
I lost my friends almost as soon as we started because they run faster than me and I refuse to push myself that hard at the beginning of a 6 mile race. My stomach wasn’t too happy with me at the beginning but it got better as the race went on.
My favorite part of this race is always running past the church where I got married, almost 6 years ago!
Then we made that turn and started what I find to be the hardest part of the race. That slow, steady incline coming up Grinstead Drive around Cave Hill Cemetery. Oh my Lord. No matter how long I’ve been running or how much I’ve trained, I am never prepared for inclines or hills. They just take so much out of me. But I kept it slow and steady and managed not to stop.
Once we got to miles 4 and 5, I was feeling pretty good and knew that even though I would not match my previous 10k times for this course, that I would still finish about where I wanted to. But then, that last 1.2 miles felt like an eternity. I started getting frustrated and my legs were starting to hurt.
But somehow I managed to finish and boy was I glad when it was over! (Official time: 1:09:37)
You see, that’s not usually how I feel. That’s what made me sad. If running always felt like that I wouldn’t do it. But this was just a not-so-good one and I have to take it for what it was and move on. Luckily, a week later (this past Saturday), I went out and ran 8 miles on my own and felt glorious. Hopefully that is how the 10-miler will go this upcoming weekend :)
This past Saturday, I participated in my fourth consecutive Anthem 5k, the very first race I ran back in 2008. It’s amazing to think of how many 5k races I have completed since then (not to mention the longer ones!) and hard to believe I was back at this one for the fourth time already. Time really does fly! This year, there were also more than 10,000 participants for the first time ever :)
We took our usual starting place, right in the middle of the crowd!
Saturday morning it was cold. This race is always cold. I think in 2008 it might’ve been in the 40’s, but I’m pretty sure every year since then we’ve been near freezing at the start. And even though I am the self proclaimed “Queen of Layering” I could’ve used a bit more on the legs and feet. They were pretty numb for the first half mile!
The rest of the race was kind of a blur. I felt like I kept a pretty good pace throughout. Not my fastest but still good considering I have not been running frequently and for how numb I was at the start. I was also dealing with some lower back pain which has now thankfully subsided :)
Before I knew it…I could see the finish line!
I finished the Anthem 5k in 30 minutes, 40 seconds. I did not have a blog when I completed this race in 2008, but this is the EXACT same time I finished in that year as well. So now of course, I have had “Feels like the first time…” in my head ever since.
I will admit it. I teared up a bit when I finished. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been running, how many races you’ve ran (or walked!), the distances you’ve covered…there is just something special about completing a race. Any race. In any time.
It made me think of a post I read on The Anti-Jared, where he commented on a post written by a runner who thought that someone having a “3.1” sticker was silly.
Every race is a BIG deal. In two weeks, I will run a 10k, then two weeks after that a 10-miler. Then a month later, a half marathon. But this 5k is still very special to me and I am freaking proud of it.
“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.” -Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder