Category Archives: Blogging

Let’s Read: Book Club

Hey, friends!  How’s it going?  Yesterday, I briefly mentioned an exciting announcement, so let’s get to it:  Jen and I have teamed up to start the Fitness and Frozen Grapes & Jen’s Best Life Book Club!


We’ll read one book each month, and since we’re both healthy living bloggers, we plan to select readings that address these types of themes:  think athletes’ biographies to trending wellness texts to food and nutrition best sellers.  Each month, our group will meet in New York City for a potluck gathering on a Sunday afternoon (obviously, food would be involved!), and there will be a virtual discussion component as well; on the following Tuesday, Jen and I will blog about the in-person discussion and include links to your digital book review if you choose to write one.  Oh, and we have an official hashtag too:  #FJBookClub!

So what will we read this month? Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life.


We selected this book because intuitive eating is a popular topic these days, and plus, we both approach nutrition from an athletic standpoint—fueling our workouts, replenishing calories post-workout, etc.—and cleaning eating is important for peak performance.  Overall, we’re curious about intuitive eating, but we didn’t want a book that purely functioned as a how-to guide.

Here’s the description:

With the scientific expertise of Dr. Lilian Cheung in nutrition and Thich Nhat Hanh’s experience in teaching mindfulness the world over, Savor not only helps us achieve the healthy weight and well-being we seek, but also brings to the surface the rich abundance of life available to us in every moment.

If you’d like to join us, then just fill out this Google form.  We’ll send information about the NYC meet up, and we’ll also keep you posted on the virtual discussion and blog link-up.

So go sign up!

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

Saturday Thoughts … and a Big Announcement

Happy Saturday, friends–and woohoo for the weekend!  Any big plans?  First, I have to thank you for your thoughtful and amazing comments on my Nautica South Beach recap.  You know how to make a girl feel loved!  Since coming home Monday, I’ve been bouncing around all over the place, trying to play catch up, which means this post has virtually no structure.  Have to go with the flow, right?

1.  You don’t want to know what I would do to be back in Miami right now.  I would do the race again in a heartbeat—and partake in the post-race festivities.


Just taking over the hotel pool.  Hey, carbo-reloading while floating in a water sounds like legitimate recovery, right?

2.  Post-SoBe, my Full Throttle Endurance workouts have been a little easier this week:  low-key tempo work Tuesday and recovery indoor cycling session Wednesday.  However, I totally attacked the water during Friday’s swim, and not to jinx myself, but things technique wise seem to be clicking.  Like really clicking—guess who will be in the fast lane number one next week?  Woohoo for progress!

3.  This Facebook update from Brooklyn Cupcake totally made my Friday.


My love of cupcakes (and Brooklyn Hijinx) knows no bounds.

4.  And the big news:  I got a part-time job at JackRabbit, a New York City fitness store that specializes in all things running, biking, swimming, triathloning, and yoga-ing.


I actually held off on going public with this update for a while (shocker!) because I wanted to make sure it was A-OK with the company for me to mention this news.  You know how much I love JRab—remember when I went to the Craig Alexander event and bought my Saucony running sneakers?—so applying for a position seemed like a no-brainer.  Plus, since my current internship is part-time (and ends in May), I needed to make moves and lock down a steady paycheck. (Although it’s entirely possible my paycheck will go directly back to JRab—how can I say no to new gear at an employee discount?) Anyway, Friday was my first day, and it was great!  My coworkers are so awesome and friendly; I mean, they’re all runners and triathletes, so that’s not really a surprise.  And yes, there’s a learning curve, so even though I have to digest a lot of information regarding specific product features and general retail protocol, I’ve been around athletic apparel and bought enough gear over the years to know a lot about it.  And I feel very confident talking to customers about their fitness goals and figuring out which products they need.  I’ll definitely blog more about my experience as I gain–ya know–more experience.

Have you worked in retail?  What did you think?

What’s Your Archetype?

Good morning!  Back to the grind today, right?  Le sigh.  Oh well—can’t complain about a three-day weekend.

Workout #1 – Running

After yesterday’s tough team workout, I was happy the training schedule called for an easy run.  Even though it wasn’t freezing outside (around 34 degrees Farenheit), it took me longer than usual to fully warm-up.  On the bright side, that ensured my pace remained in the steady ballpark for 35 minutes.

Workout #2 – Strength Training

Immediately after running, I went to my building’s fitness center for a full-body strength training workout.  I’ve been upping the weight recently, and it’s crazy to think that for some of the exercises I’m lifting heavier than I was during my college basketball days, yet I’m not “blowing up” and gaining weight; I’m actually leaning out and developing some definition.  Moral of the story:  don’t be afraid to lift heavy, ladies!


My tummy has been acting up (I totally blame the Whole Foods pizza dough—never again!), so I went with my classic spinach and egg-white breakfast sandwich this morning.


I’m off to the office shortly, but first, I want to share an interesting quiz:  ArchetypeMe.  While doing work-y things on Friday, I popped over to The Fit Stop (my company’s blog) and found a post that featured this survey—Find Your Archetype, Reach Your Goals.

For most of us, it’s been a while since high school English class, so here’s a refresher:


And the available archetypes:


Onto the two-minute quiz.


It takes literally two minutes, and the results are quite telling.


Quite an interesting combo, right?  Not that I’m surprised.  My top three archetypes included athlete, intellectual, and caregiver.  Like my Chinese horoscope, my archetype results are so accurate it’s scary.

Athlete: tomboy, adventurer, outdoorswoman, competitor

“… you love being in touch with your body and love to push yourself to see what you can achieve … athletes are forward-looking …”

Intellectual: scholar, professional, sage, thinker

“If you’re an intellectual, you’re always seeking knowledge and wisdom. Rational, well-read, and deliberative, you tend to think before you talk … While intellectuals enjoy giving answers, they delight most in asking questions, either of others or of the universe. They are rational in their quest to figure things out, methodical too.”

Caregiver: nurturer, mother, sister, best friend, teacher, heroine

“… someone who lives to give and needs to be useful … you throw yourself into all kinds of supportive efforts …”

As the percentages indicate, I definitely identify more as an athlete and intellectual, but I do have a fair amount of caregiver qualities.

What’s your archetype?

(Sort of) Trending

Hey, hey—happy Monday!  And Happy Presidents’ Day!


Because everything comes back to chocolate, right?

Last night, Jen and I hosted our third #TriChat, and it went really well!  We welcomed ENERGYbits as a sponsor and guest host—which fit perfectly with our theme of pre-/during/post-workout nutrition and fueling strategies—and three lucky participants won samples.  The highpoint of the night occurred toward the end of the Q&A session when I glanced to the left of my newsfeed.


Trending for the win!  Technically, though, this is in terms of Twitter’s “tailored trend” algorithm. (For those unfamiliar with Twitter, its “tailored trend” shows hot topics based on your location and who you follow; its old system showed hashtags in reference to the wider-world of Twitter.) So even though #TriChat didn’t trend on a global scale (yet!), it still made its mark in triathlon and fitness circles.  Very cool!

Shameless plug:  Feel free to join us Sunday, March 3 at 8 p.m. EST for the next #TriChat!

Workout #1 – Running

Let week seven begin!  There were only 10 of us at our Full Throttle Endurance practice this morning (a bunch of guys went on a ski trip), which changed the group dynamic, but still lead to a great workout.  Like our previous sessions, we started with technique drills and barefoot running before doing tempo work on the track and tempo/hills on the treadmill.  On paper, this was the most challenging workout to date (our ‘mill incline values increased from 3.0 to 3.5 to 4.0), and it was also the strongest I’ve felt mentally and physically.  As you know, I read Chrissie Wellington’s book yesterday, and one idea that resonated with me was turning your brain on “autopilot,” which I did during this workout.  I’ll definitely talk about this concept more in the book review, but basically, even though it’s important to have a constant stream of assessment and feedback during training and races, it’s also crucial to know when to override your brain, shift into “autopilot,” and somewhat disconnect your head from your body.

Workout #2 – Swimming

Although tempted to call it a day after the running workout, I knew I needed to spend some quality time in the pool.  It was only 40 minutes, and nothing groundbreaking to report—except for the really cute (and obviously legit) guy wearing a TEAM USA swim cap.  Uh, what?!  He definitely wasn’t Vince Vaughn or Michael Phelps … I need to get to the bottom of this!


Breakfast started off with a spinach and egg-white breakfast sandwich, plus coffee.


And about an hour later, I also ate an unpictured banana with some PB.  Swimming revs my appetite big time!


I ran some errands this morning and heated up a piece of leftover pizza for lunch.


Yes, I totally impulse-bought whole-wheat pizza dough at Whole Foods yesterday.  They saw me coming!  I also had a peach for dessert.

Later this afternoon, I multitasked–doing laundry and baking.


Seeing as how I’ve eaten five of these banana “cookies” already, this recipe is a keeper—and coming your way later this week!

Are you guilty of impulse buying while grocery shopping?  What items typically find their way into your cart?

Being a Horse in the Year of the Snake

Good morning, friends, and happy Tuesday!  I kicked off my day with a run and strength training session in my new Sauconys.


So far, so good!  I wore them for the warm up and technique drills at yesterday’s Full Throttle Endurance run workout and slipped into my Mizunos for the 40 minutes of tempo work.  (We completed the same workout as last week, alternating between tempo pace on the track and tempo pace on the ‘mill with hills.  It still kicked my butt, but not as much as it did last week.  It’s all about progress.) Anyway, I’m slowly breaking in the new sneakers, so I’ll keep you posted.  The feel a little heavier than the Mizuno Wave Elixirs, but they offer more support, which is a fair tradeoff.

On the walk home from practice, I received a lovely notification via my countdown app.


Six months and counting!

So, at work yesterday, I was doing work-y things when I found a story about the Chinese New Year.  Basically, we’re now in the year of the snake, so I obviously needed to see what my Chinese horoscope projected for 2013.  Umm, this reading is dead on. (As you’ll see below, I’m a horse.)


Guilty as charged.  As a type-A person, I thrive off organizing, planning, scheming, moving, socializing, you name it; I’m always moving full force ahead, and I totally have trouble sitting still, slowing down, and stopping to smell the flowers—or switching from a gallop to a walk, according to my horoscope.

Next, there’s this injury projection.


Does triathloning count as an extreme sport?  In all seriousness, though, a bike wipeout could totally happen.  I’ve been really lucky on that front—even though I anticipated it, I didn’t get up close and personal with the pavement when I got clipless shoes and pedals—so I almost feel like a crash is inevitable.  If I had to guess, I’d say it will probably occur during one of my first few rides outside when I go aero. (On a semi-related note–triathletes, do you have any recommendations for an aerobars-compatible saddle?  I definitely need to get one installed this weekend.)

Let’s talk travel.


Miami here I come!

Like the previous sections, this next paragraph is totally true.


Even though there were classes and classmates and professors I didn’t always enjoy, I really loved college and had a great experience; I definitely miss the academic/intellectual side of it—reading theory, doing analysis, and having critical discussions.  At least it says biking can help keep “depression at bay”—yikes.

And with Valentine’s Day coming up, this horoscope couldn’t overlook love.


Yeah, I’ll admit I’m critical and have high expectations—hello, type-A!—and patience isn’t exactly my virtue.  This stems from the fact that I hold myself to very high standards, so I expect the same from others.

Good news ahead, though!


Does this allude to my now full-time big-girl internship?  Or maybe I’ll find an official big-girl job!

Oh, and I have this clause somewhat under control.


In college, I took three economics classes:  I convinced my adviser to let the introductory course count as my math requirement (remember my powers of persuasion?), and I took two upper-level courses as a senior—Introduction to Investments and Portfolio Analysis.  I learned a ton about navigating the stock market, investing wisely, and building a balanced portfolio.

Please check the original link and let me know if your horoscope is as accurate as mine!

Do you check your horoscope often?  What does your Chinese horoscope say about you?  Have you ever been read by a psychic?

Avoiding Nemo

Happy Friday, everyone!  Have anything fun planned for the weekend?  As you might have heard, New York City has issued a blizzard warning in anticipating of Nemo.


I couldn’t resist!  In all seriousness, though, the next 24 hours are all about staying safe and avoiding Nemo.


A bunch of NYC offices closed early today (including mine), and a ton of fitness stores like JackRabbit Sports have cancelled Saturday events.  Even Chelsea Piers has adjusted its hours.


Better safe than sorry, right?


As a former CNYer, I have trouble grasping the fact that 10 inches of snow warrants this amount of precaution—but I do understand the city can’t handle it, and after Hurricane Sandy, I’m not dismissing anything.


I went with an old stand-by for dinner last night—baked salmon with roasted veggies and sweet potatoes.


Lately, I’ve been loving the EVOO, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, and basil combination.

Workout #1 – Swimming

You know it’s time trial day when you’re warming up in the pool and minding your own business when Full Throttle Endurance’s head coach suddenly arrives and starts hooting, hollering, and clapping.  Twice.  Before the actual time trial occurred.  My teammates and I decided the head coach didn’t sleep last night due to sheer excitement—ha!  Anyway, the test went OK.  Andrew assigned us a heat (one, two, or three) and lane number, and I made the cut for the first wave.  Each lane contained two swimmers to help us race and push ourselves, so I shared with another girl.  Honestly, I got a little nervous right before the start, but that’s only because Andrew started counting down from 20 seconds á la Hunger Games.  Since it was a 200-yard test, I used the first 50 to find my stroke, progressed to what is probably my race pace for the next 100, and then tried to lay down the hammer for the final 50—and it burned, but in a good way.  I think my time was in the 2:50 ballpark, and I have no idea if that’s a respectable time.  I do know I was the second girl to finish, though!

Workout #2 – Running

After the rest of swimming practice, I headed to the dreadmill for a tempo run.  I couldn’t get into it mentally today and felt really ancy and unsettled; after 15 minutes on the ‘mill, I switched to the indoor track.  Meh—lesser of two evils, I guess.


I made a quick stop at Whole Foods after practice to stock up for Nemo, and I surprisingly restrained myself from the hot food bar!  Anyway, I was ravenous by the time I got back to my apartment, so a two-slice-of-bread breakfast sandwich was in order.


Hit the spot!


Before taking care of some Nemo prep, I made a quick wrap for lunch.


Turkey, spinach, and some cheese.  I always fold it up quesadilla-style to eat, but it looks more photogenic this way, right?

PS – Fitness and Frozen Grapes was featured on Be @ Home’s Best of the Web series!

When you’re stuck indoors due to the weather, what do you do to keep yourself busy?


At approximately 8:41 a.m. this morning, I turned 23 years old.


Holy cow—talk about old!


Ballet days throwback.  My grandparents included this photo in the above birthday card–aren’t they sweet?

It seems like yesterday I was playing high school basketball, then hanging out at CampHoho going to college.  Where has the time gone?


In all honest, though, 22 treated me very well.


I rang in my second year of official adulthood with plenty of homemade cupcakes and Pinot Grigio.


I ran my first relay race, the Seneca7, with some awesome Writing and Rhetoric teammates.



What?!  Who doesn’t like pondering grammar?

I had so much fun fully embracing the sweetness of senior spring—after completing my Honors project, of course.



I survived my first wine tour.




I graduated?!





I decided to give blogging and triathloning a shot.


I volunteered at the Syracuse 70.3 Ironman—and watched MB kick some serious butt!


I partied through ran the Boilermaker 15-K with Sara.


I bonded with Zelda at the Grapehound Wine Tour.


I finished my first triathlon—and was instantly hooked!


I completed my second and third swim-bike-run events.


I moved to New York City, survived Hurricane Sandy, and found a big-girl internship.


I explored Brooklyn with Gabby and Connie.


I spent lots of quality time with my family during Thanksgiving and Christmas.


I officially started training with Full Throttle Endurance.


I trigeeked out and met Craig Alexander.


Twenty-two was pretty sweet, but 23, I’m ready for you—let’s do it!

Top Health and Fitness Blogs Award

Happy Hump Day!  I hope you’re staying warm; it’s crazy cold here.


Since I’m from the tundra Central New York, I should be used to this weather and shouldn’t be complaining.  On the bright side, at least there’s no snow.  Anyway, I have some exciting news to share today:  Fitness and Frozen Grapes won an award!


eCollegeFinder recently released its list of the best “wellness, health, and fitness blogs on the Internet,” which it calls the “greatest resources in the health and fitness blogging community,” and someone (thank you!) nominated me!  If you want to add more blogs to your reader, then definitely check out the other winners, including Alex and Hollie!

Workout #1 – Biking

Another Wednesday, another Full Throttle Endurance indoor cycling session.  During our 10-minute warm-up, Andrew confirmed this week is our last big push for the month, meaning we’ll back off the intensity on Monday.  With that in mind, we completed a killer workout today that focused on increasing cadence and building strength.  It wasn’t exactly like Monday’s “shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker” workout, though.  We started off with some high turnover rate drills (one minute greater than 110 RPM, then one minute at 90 RMP; repeat four times).  Next, we increased resistance and maintained cadence, and finally we completed four intervals at 80-90 percent effort.  Whew!

Workout #2 – Swimming

Next, I hopped in the pool for a reverse-brick workout. (The training schedule called for a swim, but a few of my teammates brought sneakers so they could practice running off the bike, which I plan to do next week.) Let’s just say it’s a good thing the bike comes after the swim during an actual triathlon.  I tried to work through the drills and maintain good technique, but I felt totally gassed after 20 minutes.  I wanted to push through and swim for half an hour, but I could feel my form going down the tubes, so I called it a day.


After having my hair freeze walking back to my apartment, I wanted oatmeal and not my usual breakfast sandwich.  Since I have a few super ripe bananas, I figured “oatless” oatmeal would be perfect.


And it was indeed—with some strawberries and almond butter.  So not only did my breakfast choice prove surprising, but so did my luck shopping for big-girl internship clothes!


The Gap came through—dot legging jeans, print denim top, navy blazer, and three pairs of socks.  I guess navy/denim is in right now?  Ha!  Would it be bad to say another purchase made me just as excited?


The indoor cycling studio at Chelsea Piers has a state-of-the-art Suunto heart rate training system, so people can wear compatible heart rate monitors that track and display data on three huge screens located at the front of the room. (The system also emails the wearer stats at the end of each workout, so they can track improvement.) During our spin sessions, Andrew relays target heart rate percentages for each drill (70 percent, 80 percent, etc.), so this Suunto monitor ensures I’ll be on track.


More leftover spicy black bean quinoa.


There’s some wilted spinach underneath the avocado and quinoa, promise.

Would you rather shop for “real”/work clothes or fitness apparel?

Introducing #TriChat

Good morning, friends!  Happy Tuesday!  Before heading into the office this morning, I want to pop in quickly and tell you about #TriChat, a Twitter-based conversation Jen and I will be hosting this Sunday, Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. EST.


Jen and I “met” during #RunChat—a biweekly Q&A session for runners of all ages and abilities looking to connect with one another—and even though this conversation always promises fun times and plenty of motivation, I wanted to have similar interactions with triathletes.  Long story short, Jen and I began brainstorming, planning, and advertising, and now, we’re set to moderate the first official chat!


Like #RunChat, #TriChat will take place on Sunday evenings at 8 p.m., and since there’s a lot of crossover between runners and triathletes, we decided to host the event on the first and third Sundays of each month. (#RunChat occurs on the second and fourth.) On the 20th, we plan to ask a few questions about the 2012 season before discussing goals for the 2013 campaign.  We’re also happy to report that USA Triathlon will join us as a guest moderator on Sunday! (Check out this press release—talk about legit!)

Let’s recap quickly:

Who:  Triathletes of every age and ability, wannabe triathletes, general fitness fanatics

What:  #TriChat

When:  Sunday, Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. EST

Why:  Because talking about triathlons is awesome!

Jen and I hope you join us!  Be sure to “like” Tri Chat on Facebook and follow the account on Twitter.  Following USA Triathlon on Twitter (@USATriathlon) would also be a good idea, and since Jen (@OneLovelyRun) and I (@CarrieStevens25) will ask the questions, you should follow us too.  And feel free to pepper your triathlon-related tweets with #trichat, #trigeek, two of our favorite hashtags.  We hope to see you there!

Do you participate in Twitter chats?  Why or why not?  What do you like/dislike about these Q&A sessions?

The Liebster Award

Hiya, friends—Happy Saturday!  I’ve been sitting on this post for a while—both Meghan and Haley nominated me for the Liebster Award—so since I’m shopping with my mom and sisters today, now is the perfect time to share the survey.


First, I have to share 11 random facts.

1.  I have the best family ever.  My parents, sisters, and I are very close, and we see my mom’s side of the family—grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins—sees each other almost every weekend.


On Sunday, there’s a huge Italian feast with pasta, pizza, homemade meatballs, all the classics.

2.  Twins definitely run in my family.  My younger sisters are twins, and so are my aunts. (Actually, one of my aunts married a twin!) Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of my sisters or I have twins.

3.  I’m always cold, and I have no idea why.

4.  My powers of persuasion are unparalleled.  As a high school senior, I essentially talked my way out of taking both math and physics, and as a first-year college student, I cut a deal with my Russian professor so I wouldn’t have to take the oral portion of the final exam.  Some of my best work occurred last year when I convinced my Economics prof to curve our midterm exam and make our final exam a take-home “essay.” (As a Writing and Rhetoric major, I do not consider a two-page response an essay.) Maybe this explains why I like rhetoric so much?  Ha!

5.  My morning routine includes turning on the coffee maker, brushing my teeth, and making my bed (in that exact order); I can’t function without making my bed.

6.  If you can make me laugh, then we’re going to be best friends.

7.  During 7th grade, my family lived with my grandparents for a year because we renovated our house.  The project was supposed to take a few months, but it ended up lasting nearly one year!  Even though it was tough making the 25-minute commute from their house to school (and to sports practices and games and …), it was definitely a year I’ll never forget.  How many people can say they lived with their grandparents?

8.  I can’t fall asleep without put on ChapStick and hand cream, specifically Crabtree and Evelyn’s Avocado, Olive and Basil.

9.  I had braces from the end of third grade until the middle of sixth, so I also wear a retainer every night.  So cool, I know.

10.  Two things you can always find on me include my water bottle and a banana/bag of almonds.  Never know when hunger will strike!

11.  Coffee cures everything.


Next, I have to answer the questions Meghan and Haley asked.

1.  What was your favorite subject in school?  Your least favorite?

English, although I enjoyed French and Spanish, too.  Actually, I even received the foreign language award at graduation.


And as you can tell from above, math was definitely my least favorite.

2.  What’s your dream job?

My immediate dream job would be writing and/or managing a diet and fitness publication (a la Lucy Danziger), and down the road, I can also see myself going to grad school, getting my masters and PhD, and becoming a college professor.  Talking about writing and rhetoric all day sounds pretty baller!

3.  Is there a time in your life you wish you could go back to?

Some days, I do miss playing high school basketball and hanging out at Camp Hoho going to college, but I wouldn’t go back.

4.  Where’s your favorite place to shop?

For “normal” clothes, my go-to stores include Gap, Anthropologie, J. Crew, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, and DSW Shoes.  For athletic apparel, I obviously love Fleet Feet and Syracuse Bicycle, and I also like JackRabbit Sports and Paragon Sports.

5.  If you could write a novel, what genre would you write?  Why?

Literary fiction—I’ve met a lot of interesting people who would make great “characters.”  And although it isn’t a novel, a memoir would be a lot of fun to write.

6.  Name three favorite foods.

Salmon, Greek yogurt, and (dark) chocolate.

7.  What’s one food you hated as a child that you now love?

Hmmm … I used to hate tomatoes; I don’t love them now, though, but I do tolerate them.  I’m also starting to appreciate sweet potatoes and spaghetti squash.

8. How many different places have you lived?

Cazenovia, NY (hometown); Canastota, NY (with my grandparents during our house renovation); Geneva, NY (during college); London, England (during my semester abroad); and now, New York, NY!

9. Who is your role model?

I’m very fortunate to have inspirational friends and family members, plus a couple college professors.  I think inspiration—and role models—can be found anywhere; you just have to look.

10.  Why do you blog?

Because it’s fun!  I love writing and interacting with likeminded people, so blogging about healthy living everyday can’t be beat.

11.  What’s the accomplishment you’re most proud of from 2012?

Completing my Honors project and graduating from college. (Was that really this year?  It seems like ages ago!)


(Although finishing my first triathlon would be a close number two.)

Your turn:  What was your favorite subject in school?  What are your three favorite foods?  And since the new year is quickly approaching, what 2012 accomplishment are you most proud of?