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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mizuno's Mezamashii Running Project-My free shoes!!

Last week I posted about winning a new pair of running sneakers and they came in the mail that same afternoon! Check out my new bright orange Mizuno 13's! Now I have absolutely no excuse to not run and have to go out and buy matching running gear, yaaaay!

I just finished running over 4 miles in them and........They are so comfortable and support the arch of my foot(which has been painful lately) better than my last pair. The cushioning creates a pillowy, bouncy surface in which to springboard forward creating a nice floaty running experience.

If you'd like a chance to win a free pair of Mizuno running shoes click HERE and enter the drawing. Good luck! And let me know if you win :)


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Guest Post by Frantzie: Paris and My iPhone

Memories are so much better than photos, but I thought I'd share some here.

La Siene in the evening.
A peek at the Obama's America Exhibit at Dorothy's Gallery.
Dorothy's Gallery. The most contemporary American art gallery in Paris.
Paris on a shoestring. Schwarma for under 10 Euros from Chez Hanna. 

Berthillion. Best Ice Cream in Paris.

Peach glace from Berthillion.
Afterwork at VIP Room. One of Paris' most famous night spots.

Le Comptoir General. A unique Parisian hideaway. Ask for the "Seccou."

Inside Le Comptoir General. 
Velib - Paris bike share. Best way to travel around the city.

Inside Le Loir dans la Theiere.
Traditional US Hot Dog from La Mosaique in Le Marais.
Brioche, relish, ketchup and fresh mustard from La Mosaique in Le Marais.
La Mosaique - Pat's US Hot Dog in Le Marais. 
Le Loir dans la Theiere. Tea shop in Le Marais.
L'as Du Falafel in Le Marais. Best Falafel ever.
The Frog & Princess. Monday Night Football overseas? Come here.
Schwartz's Deli. The Parisian version of Katz's deli.









Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Guest Post by Frantzie: First Time in Paris







It's been a little over a week since my travel mate and I arrived in France. The time has crept by like light years. So fast. It's not a bad thing. I can't tell. I'm zooming along with the present. I had grand expectations for myself and my thinking after deciding to exchange my Brooklyn life for a much different one in the most romantic city in the world for a month. To call Paris the "City of Lights" is an understatement. It's illuminating. Cupid lives here. From the countless couples exchanging conversations in front of cafes to the women that tug their beaus by the hand for brief kiss, there is love on just about every corner. It's true. The cafes are indeed the living rooms of Paris. Even on the chilliest nights, you'll find droves of Parisians lounging outside at a cafe with blankets and heat lamps. Parisians love to converse. It's all about the conversation. Human interaction. And, Parisians love New Yorkers. To the Parisian, the New Yorker is funky cold medina. There's no such thing as time in this magical city. I've yet to see business men running like bulls near the financial district or in combat for a taxi.  

Before I arrived, I was told to expect the French to be arrogant, especially because I couldn't master their language. It's quite the opposite. With as little as "Bonjour," everyone has been quite sanguine and ready, willing, and able to help. Everyone rides a bike, the young and old considering it's less expensive at 1 Euro to rent one for the day than riding the Metro. The cyclists ride with an indifference I've never seen before. Buses and heavy traffic don't scare them. They ride along with traffic, alongside buses, and sometimes on the busy sidewalks of Le Marais. But, no one curses at each other. There's room for everyone. You'll find your bank executive to even the most extravagant dressed woman riding her bike in the city with her pumps and a satchel. 

On days where I just need to rest, I love sitting in the attic apartment and listening to hustle and bustle of our neighborhood in Central Paris. Horns, shouting, and scooters zooming by. This could quite possibly become my favorite city in the world. I have to take deep breath when I round a corner and realize the Eiffel Tower is sparkling back at me. Or, when I'm wandering aimlessly in the evening and remember that the beautiful river flowing right next to me is the Seine. It makes me stop and think how amazing it is to be alive.  I've eased into local life, trips to the boulangerie for a foot long piece of a crispy crusted baguette, chocolat au viennoise with friends and wine during any time of the day. 

My single time in Paris has been amazing. Of course, I drool over couples necking or making a commitment to their love by locking it along the Seine. But, Paris is a great destination for the solo traveller and single woman. You don't have to try so hard to meet people. Some are just dying to practice their English with you, hear more about the United States and just connect. The men are friendly. I've danced with almost everyone to dated American hits. I feel pretty and fabulous everyday of the week. I smile more and at strangers. I wave enthusiastically with every "Au revoir." I'm able to put myself first and do whatever makes me happy. Most importantly, I'm getting to know myself. 


The ecstasy of the city hasn't even begun to fade. In fact, it engulfs you you. As a single woman in Paris, I feel an intense love for myself. I was beating myself up for not sitting down to write and post pictures more frequently, but I realized I've just been living my best French life. Criticizing and being disappointed in myself is unproductive and not going to produce inspired behavior. I've let go of my expectations. After all if you don't think you're worthy in your heart, you're not going to receive. I want all of the juicy goodness that the City of Lights has to offer. 





- Frantzie

You can catch my travel mate's, Lyneka, experience at paristobk.blogspot.com.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Inspiration Mondays: World Food Day-My Article!

I know I'm late posting this because World Food Day 2012 was last Tuesday, October 16th....BUT as instructed by one of my professors I wrote an article on a timely global health issue, submitted it to my hometown newspaper, AND IT WAS PUBLISHED!!!! Below is the full article from Fort Wayne, Indiana's Journal Gazette newspaper. Find out more about World Food Day and the current global food crisis at www.worldfooddayusa.org.

Being published at such an early stage in my graduate school career is definitely an honor. I was absolutely elated when I received the news and really couldn't focus on much for the rest of the day. PLUS, to add more distraction to my day, after running my 1/2 marathon two days prior, I received an email from Mizuno shoe company notifying me that I'd won their weekly drawing for a BRAND NEW PAIR OF RUNNING SNEAKERS!! I reluctantly entered the drawing more than two months ago after a running buddy won a pair. I was thinking, "Yea, right, I'll never win a pair with thousands of other people entering every day...", but alas I did and they are on their way to me now :)

The moral of both of my stories today is be inspired to go after what you want! No matter how out of your reach an opportunity may seem; Seize it, Try it, and Go for it because you never know what the outcome may be.
-Be Inspired!!


Crop diversity can ease food crisis

This summer’s droughts in the United States and Europe have caused price increases of 25 percent for corn and wheat, and 17 percent for soybeans. As a result, Americans will pay more at the grocery store for staple food items and those in other countries, especially the poorest countries, may not eat at all.
Because of the lack of diversified crop growth, the global community has been increasingly dependent on corn. Coupled with the use of corn crops to make ethanol fuel and feed for cattle, we are not able to meet high corn demand in times of severe drought. Corn is unique in that it can be used for several different food and non-food products, but its versatility is meaningless during droughts because of its need for ample amounts of water. Temperature increases resulting from climate change are inevitable; therefore, a change in what we grow and how we grow it needs to be considered.
With the presidential and congressional elections drawing closer, now is the time to act. President Obama recognizes the issue of world hunger and has created initiatives such as Feed the Future, but we have yet to see results.
On a global scale, the World Bank has set up different emergency agencies such as the Drought Response Plan for the Horn of Africa ($1.8 billion) and the International Finance Corporation’s Critical Commodities Finance Program ($1.6 billion) to deal with the crisis, but we as a global community can do more.
We need to go beyond emergency, reactive solutions and come up with a preventive solution. Let’s feed the future by feeding our researchers to come up with concrete, effective measures.
As concerned citizens, Americans need to seize the opportunity, during these last few weeks before the election, to visit their representatives at each election event and/or debate and ask the hard questions we so desperately want answered. Specifically ask that your representatives vote to reduce the production of biofuel using corn and explore more environmentally friendly and cost-effective options.
This decrease in corn usage will lower the demand for corn, in turn lowering corn-product prices. A combination of the use of biotechnology to create seeds that withstand extreme weather conditions such as droughts, dry-farming (an irrigation technique that preserves the crop’s water intake during rainfall to be used during drier times), and the tried-and-true old agricultural methods of growing diverse crops could all be put in place to take the pressure off corn production and provide diversification of food supply.
So in celebration of World Food Day today, let us think about truly moving into an age of food innovation and creation and not picture ourselves fighting for a chance to eat in the real-life Hunger Games.
Christian Brewer, a Fort Wayne native, is working on her masters of public health degree at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She wrote this for The Journal Gazette.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Inspiration Mondays: 2012 Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon

It's been awhile since I've posted but I've been super busy! Between graduate school and (kinda) training for my 1/2 marathon, October has kept me busy! This past Saturday was the 2012 Baltimore Running Festival. There were many races; Kids Fun Run, 5k, 1/2 Marathon, the Relay Marathon, and the Individual Marathon. My running buddies and I headed to Baltimore at 6:30am from D.C. to get there early! I'd only slept for 4 hours because of adrenaline and attending the last Washington Nationals Baseball game...tears, we lost..I digress.  After munching on peanut butter toast, bananas, oatmeal, free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, and hydrating with H2O we were ready as ever! My adrenaline was recharged every time I heard a "You Got This!", "Only X miles to go!", or "Wow, I couldn't run that far, lol". I finished in 2 hours and 17 minutes, with an average pace/mile of 10:19. Afterwards I felt like a little old lady, barely walking, limping, and wincing in pain walking down the stairs. But 48 hours later with a massage and plenty of rest, I'm about 95% healed!

Thanks to Black Girls Run! for all of your inspiration and cheering squads. You ladies rock!! Thanks to their regional Facebook page I found a running group in my neighborhood, started running consistently and am now looking forward to my next 1/2 marathon in May!

Pre-race dinner at the deliciously filling Da Marco Restaurant in Silver Spring,  Maryland
Free Chicken Sandwiches 90 minutes before the race!! I just ate the buttery bread :)
Pre-race Photo with Toni Carey, co-founder of Black Girls RUN!
On your mark, get set, GO!!!!!
Right after the race....Can you see the pain in my smile??
It's OVER!!! Now time for milkshakes and pancakes!!  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Guest Post by Frantzie: My Packing Challenge: One suitcase, a purse, and three countries


I've been obsessed with minimalism and how it enables you to live a more meaningful life for a while now, but I haven't quite mastered it, yet! I've coined myself a modern minimalist. Almost there, but not yet. Last year, I became one of the super organized. And, I've stuck to it since. I'd love to think that I'm flexible, whimsical, and easy-going. I even come off that way. But, it's just not true. I like my things organized and uncluttered. And, I love options. I'm new to traveling for more than 10 days and wanted to share my packing challenge. I'm determined to head to three countries (United Kingdom, France, and Germany) with one suitcase and my purse, while still maintaining my personal fashion sense. I want to be cute! I don't mind looking like a tourist (I love looking like a bag of Skittles.) I want to avoid being the amateur traveler at the luggage carousel struggling to get her bag in it's rightful position - under prepared and over packed. In theory, it seems like a great tool to meet men, but I don't want to take that risk. 

The weather in Paris in the fall is spazzy. I'm trying to embrace the colder months, considering I'm from South Florida. The fall gives me a great excuse to be cute. What's a girl to do when she's travelling for one month and three days and needs to stay light and nimble on her feet, but doesn't want to sacrifice fashion? Honestly, I don't know. Newly single, I realized what if I meet a Jean Dujardin look-alike in a cafe and he invites me to dinner? Four black shirts and two pairs of black jeans are not going to make the cut. I did a little research (with Google, of course) and I came up with a combination of packing tips. I just hope my luggage weight meets TSA standards. Yikes. 

Breaking my needs into categories (Basics, Extras, Dresses, and Shoes), here's what I came up with:

Basics - Your Must-Haves:
Flat, cute walking shoes - Not the flimsy ballerina kind. 
Light zip jacket- For those "it's fall, not quite winter, but still summer" type of days. Talk about confusing.
Pashmina scarf- I hear all the Parisians have them. Go figure. So does NYC.
Waterproof, black walking boots. Two-in-one. Great, I don't have to lug around bulky Hunter rain boots.
2 dark wash jeans- I can wear them more than once and you won't notice.
3 T-shirts- I'm still not sure about this, but I guess I can always layer it with a blazer or wear them underneath a sweater for extra warmth.
Flip flops- Another must have. I haven't decided on any hostels yet, but I'm not trying to come back to the states with foot fungus. 
Corduroy skirt- All my skirts are more than four inches above the knee. I like a little thigh action. These were the only appropriate length I had.
Leggings- It's cold. My knees are knobby. And, it'll make me look less like a tramp with my short skirt.
2 thin cardigans- One boyfriend style. I may even double them up one day.
Undergarments- I'm carrying enough underwear for seven days. The old adage "You never know how much underwear you may need," is just not true. Anything can be hand washed.
Yoga pants- Everyone does yoga, right? I hope.
Ex-boyfriend's t-shirt- And leggings you wouldn't be caught dead on the street with. Makes for great sleepwear.
Devacurl Products- My curls have to be fresh at all times.

Extras
Skinny dark print slacks- I can dress them up or down. I hate all black anything as Audrey Hepburn and fly as it can be. I need color in my life.
Footless leggings- Who travels without leggings?
Black tank- Goes under every shirt. Can wear it alone with a cardigan and chunky necklace.
One extra printed cardigan- It's so cute. I can wear it alone, too. I guess I'll be covered in the warmth department.
Black V-neck sweater
2 Black turtlenecks
One dark long sleeve shirt
One oxford shirt- I figure I can belt it. Layer it under a pull over.
One gray sweater- You always need neutral colors.
Skinny pink pants- Yup, I wasn't leaving without them. I was so hoping to wear neon at least once this fall.
A cape- For the superwoman in me? I really do own a cape. My imagination is wild.
Two skinny belts- Accessories make everything better.
Two big belts
Blazer
Handmade Clutch- That my aunt made for me. It's gold, but I make it go with everything.




Dresses
6 dresses. That's what the experts suggested. They all seem layer-able. Long sleeve. And, one includes a LBD.

Shoes
Running shoes- I have to exercise after the damage I'm about to do to my body in Paris with unlimited wine and baguettes under my nose.
Basic black platform pump- (even though I can barely walk in them).
Wedge chukka booties- Because they're the cutest things I've ever seen and I don't have to sacrifice my comfort for fashion. 



More extras
My laptop and charger
Universal travel adapter
Vitamins and pain reliever
10 Gallon size Ziploc baggies- I read somewhere these were great for carrying your passport and currency from different countries.
Pen and notebook- For the writer in my soul. 
My iPhone charger
One book- Am I really going to be reading?
External Hardrive- Where am I going to save all of those pictures? Everyone needs a backup! 




I skipped toiletries and the like. Of course, they're a must and they all fit. Luckily, everything else fit in one suitcase. The controller in me feels like I may have missed the most basic of items. I'm naturally over prepared. What I'm looking  forward to most is realizing that I do need something I didn't pack while overseas and getting lost and trying to speak the language to get it. Maybe meet a new friend in the process! That's the whole point of the adventure!