Dear Readers,

I have an announcement to make. After 5 years of blogging, I finally bought my own URL and have a whole new site design.

Please come and visit me, check out my redesign, and follow me there!

There will be a random winner selected to win a prize – so come and leave me a comment!




To follow up on my last post, no I haven’t found a running skirt for the half yet.

But I did find this article that compares 15 of them! Yes, I suffer from the need to obsessively research before I buy something (or decorate a room, or go on a trip…).

[Update: I decided on a skort! This was a close second (in “berry”), but I like the gray/pink ones because they are a) inexpensive, b) not glaringly pink because, let’s be honest, when this is over will I really want to wear a hot pink running skort?), and c) it’s got a nice compression short liner in it to reduce chaffing. Can’t wait to get it and to break it in!]

My child woke up at 5:30 this morning, for no apparent reason. She was crying when I walked in bleary-eyed and was going on and on about Nemo. WTF? Consequently, I’m tired today. Really tired because, of course, I went to bed late. Why? Because I’m incapable of watching just one Buffy episode (which I watched after Lost). I had my usual 1/2 cup of coffee at home, but I needed another when I got to work. Much to my surprise there were leftovers from a meeting in the break room and I scored a lovely pastry.

In order to justify that ooey, gooey cherry pastry I ate, I thought I’d let you know what I’m doing, training-wise, for my big half marathon in April.

A typical exercise week looks like this (from here on out anyway – my birthday celebrations put everything on halt):

Tuesday: 1 hour Zumba class (with a teacher that I have quite the story about*)
Wednesday: 1 hour yoga session taught by my lovely friend who blogs about television shows over here
Thursday: 1 hour walk with my hoop trainer
Saturday: a brutal hoop walk training that will be at least 2 1/2 hours long from here on out (last week was 7 miles and I think we’re doing 7 again this weekend)

*So, my Zumba teacher. There’s no other way to put it: she’s hot. Doing Zumba 5 days a week means she has an incredible body (and she has 3 kids! what an inspiration!) and I happened to mention it to a few people. I made the joke that if I played the other team, she’d be in trouble. Well, my big mouth got me in an embarrassing situation because one of the friends I was telling this to? Not only does she know my teacher….she’s her freaking sister! So embarrassing, especially because she of course had to tell her sister about what I said. Oy. There goes Victoria T.M.I. Winters again. We all had a good laugh and nothing was awkward with last night’s class – don’t worry.

For the half marathon I think it would be really cute to run in a jogging skirt – a pink one to match my hoop. It’s super girly and silly, I know, but I am hula hooping a half marathon after all! Can’t get more girly and goofy than that! I’m starting to research prices now. Here are some that I like – I’m hoping for one under $40. Drop me a line if you have an recommendations!

Running Skirt

Our house is finally getting back to normalcy. I know, I know I had a party with a few people last weekend. Big deal, right? Well, it seems to take us a while to get things back to normal – for all the dishes to be washed, for laundry to be resumed, for all the leftover wine and cheese to be consumed, for meal planning and grocery shopping to be resumed – oh, and that minor thing called my full-time job. And a 2 year old to take care of. And a spouse to hang out with. Oh, and that silly half marathon I’m training for. How do women do it all? Seriously! I’m tired, y’all!

Speaking of the half marathon, I just got back from a hoop presentation ceremony where each of the 72 hoopers were given our hot pink hoops that we’ll be hooping the half marathon with. In case you don’t know why I’m doing this yet, other than to brag about the fact that I actually hula hooped 13.1 miles!, it’s to support breast cancer survivors. Check out the organization here. Having experienced thyroid cancer just one year ago, this is close to my heart and I’m very excited and proud to be part of a team of 72 women doing something fun, physically challenging, and so public in order to make a statement of support to those cancer survivors who want to take hoop classes in my community. I’m hooping for hope, baby! I’ll be the one with the huge smile, the sore knees, and the still visible scar on my neck that I wear as my badge of surviving cancer.

Speaking of being tired, yesterday was a big day as far as hoop training goes. I skipped the previous weekend due to birthday festivities, so this weekend was tough. Not only were we no longer in the confines of Shelby Bottom Park, but we hooped a whopping 7 miles! It was amazing being in clear view of the public as we walked the sidewalks all the way from East Nashville, through downtown, almost to Vandy, and back again. Cars honked, a full church bus full of teenage boys clapped and whooped for us (thanks to pent up hormones, no doubt), people gawked and inquired. It was tough on the knee (my right one in particular) mostly because I think it’s such an abnormal rhythm and stride and also because the shoes I have are several years old (I took care of that by dropping some serious change for some new ones at Fleet Feet yesterday). But it was also exhilarating and went surprisingly fast because of our cheerleaders along the way. It took 2 hours and 15 minutes which is a pretty good pace for hoop-walking. I have some friends on Facebook who have requested video of what I look like because they can’t picture it, so as soon as I find the time (ha!) I’ll have Huz record me and will share.

Until then, I ask you working women and mothers: how do you do it all? I want to do everything I do well – how do you find the time and energy to be a good parent, a good wife, a good friend, a good employee, a good housekeeper, and good to yourself?

I know it’s taken me a while to post about my recent birthday celebration – let’s just blame it on getting old.

Thursday night entailed going out with co-worker friends and getting lots of too-sweet drinks (one amaretto sour from my hairdresser after getting highlights at 3p.m., one fruity margarita from my friend’s ex who happened to be at the restaurant, and one house margarita with an extra shot of orange liqueur I bought myself). The end result was finally experiencing what all of you likely experienced in college. Yuck. Not fun.

Hookie Day Friday (my actual birthday) was wonderful. (And, for the record, I drank nothing but water or tea all day and night.) It’s not that I don’t like my kid, because you know I adore her, but having an entire 8 hours as a couple again is so refreshing. We could to be spontaneous; we could go shopping for a stretched out period of time (without chasing a 2 year old around); we could go out to eat twice without having to think about the menu and if it could accommodate Claire’s allergies to dairy and egg; we could go to a movie in the middle of the day; and we could spend time at the cheese counter at Whole Foods, carefully selecting the rich and fatty chunks of cheese that were to be the highlight of my party. It felt luxurious!

I told Huz not to bother with getting me a gift because, frankly, getting to dress up and have friends over to sip wine and eat cheese was enough for me. But he really surprised me by thinking hard about what I would like and, boy, did he hit the nail on the head. He replaced a pair of tan leather boots that Neville chewed up a few years ago. I’ve been wearing them, even with holes in the heel, because they were expensive boots that he bought me when we lived in Chicago and I really do like them. He remembered that the holes bothered me though and actually did research on Zappos (!) to find me a new pair. He got these darling boots for me and, I have to say, the boy knows my style to a “T” even if he says he was nervous while shopping for me.

Talk about sexy, right? The leather is buttery soft and the gathers are perfectly bohemian and sexy. But the great gift-giving didn’t end there! Remember when I told you that I took the interior design quiz in Real Simple a few weeks ago? Well, Huz noticed that under each design category there were book recommendations and he bought me two books that totally speak to my type of design!

What an amazing guy! It got even better when he spent all day Saturday preparing for my wine and cheese party. Based on the cheeses we had picked out together the night before, he bought a bunch of wines that complimented them perfectly. He then baked french bread and an amazing devil’s food cake that is, quite literally, the best cake I’ve ever had. Since I was just newly inspired by the books he got me, I decided to go to a local thrift store to find some china plates for the party (I got 11 for .99 cents a piece). I also aquired a nice cheese board for a mere $2.99 and a few glass bowls to put flowers in. We had a lovely time enjoying decadent cheese and wine, getting all dressed up with friends, and chatting the night away. Bonus: Claire didn’t wake up once, even when someone dropped a (full, unopened) bottle of wine on the tile floor!

Got my smoky eye on:

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We labeled all of our cheeses (with wine pairing recommendations):

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The cheese and wines we had were:

Belle Chevre from Alabama – a creamy, tarty, sweet goat cheese that paired well with Sauvignon Blanc
St. Andre from France – an amazing triple creme, soft, buttery, intensely tangy cheese that paired will with Cotes du Rhone (This was my favorite of the night.)
Appleby Double Gloucester from England – a rich, nutty, mellow, butter cheddar that paired well with cotes du Rhone and Sauvignon Blanc
Rogue River Blue from Oregon – a sweet, earthy, pungent blue cheese (that won best blue in the world in 2004) that paired well with Coted du Rhone or Riesling
Petit Agour from Basque – a buttery, sweet, nutty sheep’s milk cheese that paired will with Sauvignon Blanc and Cotes Du Rhone (This was my 2nd favorite.)
Manchego from Spain – a nutty, sweety sheep’s milk cheese that paired well with Rioja (My 3rd favorite.)

.99 cent plates that looked like a million bucks:

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The spread:

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Me and my lovely friends:

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Notice my dress changes in this shot. I bought a great convertible dress that can be worn 9 different ways, so halfway through the party my girlfriends took me to my room and changed it up!

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The utterly amazing cake Huz made for me:

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I’m not the only one who thought my birthday books were cool:

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Needless to say, I had a great time. I’d like to thank my friends for getting all dressed up with me and for their love, support and friendship over the past 5 years here in Nashville. I’m especially grateful for my husband who put an enormous amount of thought and energy into giving me a perfect birthday. I feel loved and blessed. Can you tell in this picture? I can.

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Went out for drinks with co-workers last night, got sick on booze for the first time in my life.

Am playing hookie today with Huz – we dropped the kiddo off at daycare and ate a lovely breakfast at Marche. Now we’re going shopping for some fun new clothes, then will watch a matinee, then will go pick out cheeses from Whole Foods for my wine and cheese party tomorrow night.


I love birthdays!!!

Here are some lovely rooms that inspire me and make me drool at the same time.

I think it’s safe to say that I like a splash of color!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope everyone had a nice time with their loved ones. Huz, Claire and I spent the whole weekend together since Huz submitted his dissertation last week and, for now, isn’t holed up in the library all day on Saturdays.

I hope you got to eat something sweet.

Claire did, obviously, and so did the adults as you’ll see at the end of this menu list. Good thing I hoop-walked 5 miles (!!) on Saturday in order to work off all the chocolate.

I hope you got to spin and twirl and giggle as my two favorite people did while I prepared a Valentine’s dinner.

And I hope you acted a little crazy.

Now, to what we ate this week:

Monday: (leftover jambalaya from Superbowl Sunday)

Tuesday: Huz made bacon, leek, spinach and cheddar quiche. Easy and good.

Wednesday: (leftovers)

Thursday: I made asparagus, potato and goat cheese pizza. Even though some may be taken aback by potatoes on a pizza, don’t fret. They were really good. Next time I’d serve a salad on the side, but it was a very easy and delicious weekday recipe.

Friday: Huz made smothered turkey burritos (using leftover frozen turkey and mole sauce).

Saturday: We enjoyed breakfast together at our local deli, eating french toast, bacon, sausage, grits…the works. We enjoyed burgers for dinner at Five Guys. (Not too healthy, I know, but like I said…5 miles….hula hoop walking….)

Sunday: I had a mean craving for some Pho for lunch, but the place that serves it was closed. Watanabe’s Udon pork soup was a fine substitute though. In celebration of Valentine’s day, I made Zinfandel-braised short ribs with rosemary-parsnip mashed potatoes for dinner and Huz made some lovely milk chocolate souffles with nougat whip. Suffice to say, it was a glorious meal.

I admit that I cringed when I had to pour an entire bottle of wine into the pot. Sunday in TN is a bad time to realize you don’t have anymore wine in the house, but thanks to a friend who loaned us another bottle, we actually had some to drink with our meal.

It was totally worth that bottle of wine though.

I’m afraid I didn’t get a photo of our dessert, since I was too eager to devour it. It looked something like this (especially the empty bowl part).

Today: Since the roads were so icy this morning (I got stuck and spun out a few times while trying to take myself to work and Claire to daycare), I turned back home and declared a snow day. The only way to have a proper snow day is to make homemade hot cocoa and homemade marshmallows. Yum!

What did you eat this week?


I desire a space on the web that reflects my aesthetic tastes – a place that is clean, organized, and, well, pretty. I have something in the works and will reveal the new, beautified space in a few weeks. Yes, it will mean another address change (*groan*), but it’ll be permanent because I have decided that this blogging thing (that I’ve been doing for 5 years now!) is something I really like. So I’ll be buying my own URL and will have a nice wardrobe change to show you just as soon as the design is done. Just you wait. I have lots of ideas and want to start doing more with my photography, love of food, art, television, and parenting experiences. I hope you’ll hang with me where I end up. I don’t enjoy it without you and your comments!

Since I skipped Wardrobe Wednesday last week….here is a little something I put together that I’d totally wear.

Speaking of aesthetics, I took the design style quiz in the recent Real Simple magazine that arrived in the mail because, I don’t know about you, but I have no idea how to describe my taste. Do I like modern? Some of it, but not all of it. Do I like vintage? Some of it, but not all of it. Do I like country? No. So, what do I like? Well, the quiz said I liked comfortable classic (or something like that), but the accompanying picture was boring, white and slip-covered country which is not what I like. Second place was vintage ecclectic which was much more what I’m drawn to (the rich colors anyway, but not the uncomfortable fainting couch). I give up on labeling what I like, so here’s a sampling of pictures instead. What would you call my tastes?

Sunday: Pork Stew with Hard Cider, Pearl Onions and Apples (I loved this so much I dedicated an entire post to it already) and Apple and Maple Bread Pudding (delicious and satisfying!)

Monday: (leftovers)

Tuesday: Ham, Artichoke and Potato Gratin (another hearty, satisfying winter meal full of bold flavors thanks to the ham and smoked gruyere cheese)

Wednesday: (leftovers)

Thursday: Lasagna (that I had made and frozen a few weeks ago), spinach salad with an orange vinaigrette, and some amazingly good chocolate olive oil blood orange cupcakes. I couldn’t find blood oranges at my lame Kroger, so I substituted with minneolas instead. These are so moist and chocolaty with a bit of citrus thrown in – even better, they are safe for Claire to eat as they are egg and dairy-free! These trump any of the vegan cupcakes I have made from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Try them. Really. I know mine aren’t as pretty as Love and Olive Oil, but they taste great.

Friday: Oven-Roasted Yogurt-Marinated Chicken with cauliflower and rice from 1,000 Indian Recipes We decided to order pizza from our local pizzeria instead of cooking tonight.  It’s our little way of celebrating Huz who just submitted the final version of his 290 page (!!) dissertation today (that and I bought him a special little time-waster too).

Saturday: Oven-Roasted Yogurt-Marinated Chicken with cauliflower and rice from 1,000 Indian Recipes

Sunday: We’re having friends over to watch the Superbowl with us and we’re going with a New Orleans inspired dinner. Huz is making Jamablaya, I’ll be making bacon-wrapped jalepeno poppers, and our friends are bringing the ingredients to make this fine Southern cocktail. Sounds like a party to me!

What did you eat?