Friday, January 18, 2013

Liebster Award and Versatile Blogger Award

Happy Friday to all!

For the first time in my professional career, I have next Monday off for Martin Luther King Day.  Yay!  My 3-day weekend is made even brighter by tomorrow's official return of the NHL (post-lockout).  I am looking forward to a weekend filled with much hockey-watching.  I will also be catching up on all of your blogs.  Woo hoo!!!

Shannon and Irina were both so kind as to nominate me for the Liebster Award, and Erin so kindly nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award.  Thank you very much to all three of you.  I am honored!!!

The general guidelines for both of these awards are to provide some random facts about yourself, answer some questions from your nominator, create new questions, and then nominate others.

In this case, I am going to punt on the random facts since I've already got 100 of them here.  But let's tackle these questions!


1.  Best thing about your life?

There are so many good things - most notably my amazing friends and family.  But my good health gets special recognition.  I have family members that struggle with diabetes and other life-affecting health conditions, and it is daunting to hear what they have to go through.  I am very, very blessed to have the health that I do.

2.  Scale, yes or no?

No.  The numbers on the scale can change drastically within a very short period of time due to so many factors, many of which are out of our control.  So I don't bother with the scale.

3.  Worst running injury?

I have ongoing knee issues, most notably ITB syndrome.  Two summers ago my left knee was so painful that it hurt just to walk on an everyday basis.  Thankfully with ongoing physical therapy and stretching and wearing a cho-pat strap, my knee problems seem to be under control now. 

4.  Favorite place to visit on Vacation?

My three favorites to date are Bali, Italy, and Hawaii.  I wrote a bit about Bali here.  And I love Italy and Hawaii so much that I wish I was Italian or Hawaiian!

5.  Favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

Cooking/baking.  Also, watching my two favorite teams (the Blackhawks and the Penguins) play hockey!  (Regarding the Blackhawks, see Exhibit 1, Exhibit 2, Exhibit 3, Exhibit 4, and Exhibit 5.)

On a side note, I enjoy the Hawks' and Pens' adventures off the ice, too.  Two of my favorites:



6.  Favorite piece of exercise equipment?

My running shoes, of course.  I wouldn't be able to run without the proper footwear, and I've learned the hard way what a difference it makes to wear the right shoes.  I'm on a self-imposed hiatus from buying any more pairs of running shoes right now, though.  Based on my current shoe rotation and my estimated weekly mileage, I won't NEED to buy another pair of running shoes for at least three years.  Sigh.

7.  Favorite Season?

Spring and fall.  I love spring for its warmth and for being synonymous with new life, and I love fall for the crispness in the air and the foliage.

8.  One thing from your bucket list you have done? 

How about three things?  Last April, I wrote a post about my life's to-do list.  Since then, I've been fortunate enough to cross a few things off the list, most notably completing my first marathon, visiting the continent of Africa (Morocco), and going to a Steelers game at Heinz Field. 

9.  Favorite Celebrity?

Hard to name just one, but I'm fascinated by Anthony Bourdain, Ina Garten, Julia Child, and Warren Buffet.

Since I'm such a hockey addict, I'll also add Antti Niemi (I wrote about him here) and Max Talbot to the list (this video epitomizes why).  Too bad both of them have moved on to different teams now.  =( 

10.  Favorite holiday and why?

Independence Day!  Picnicking, barbequing, summertime, fireworks... what could be better!?!?


11.  Favorite food and drink?

I like all food.  I am an equal-opportunity food eater.  But my very favorites are Chicago-style deep dish spinach and mushroom pizza (see more about my pizza opinions here), and chocolate.

In terms of drink, I love orange juice.  I drink it like water and I consider it to be THE miracle beverage. 


1.  What is the worst kitchen disaster you’ve ever had?

Once I got overzealous with trying to incorporate vegetables into my dishes to health them up.  I thought I would sneak cauliflower into a chicken marsala dish.  It was horrible.  Cauliflower and chicken marsala do not a tasty dish make!!!!!

2.  If you could change your name, what would you change it to?

For last names, I like:

- Kemoeatu (Pittsburgh Steelers fans, you'll recognize this name from Chris Kemoeatu)
- Hjalmarsson (Chicago Blackhawks fans, you'll recognize this name from Niklas Hjalmarsson)


I also think Filipino names are cool in general.  One example: my friend Rose's middle name is Alvarado, which I really like.

3.  What’s your favorite store to shop at?

I worked at JCPenney when I was in high school, so I am still very partial to their clothing and merchandise.  I also like New York and Company very much.  Amazon is terrific all around.  Running Warehouse is great, too.

Do grocery stores count?  If so, I love Woodman's and Mariano's for their incredible selections.  I'm like a kid in the candy store when I go to a good grocery store (if that makes sense)!

4.  What would you do if you won the lottery and had unlimited money?

I'd go to the office and write a financial due diligence report!

Just kidding.

I would travel the world.  Some friends and I once talked about if we had a year to travel the world, how we would allocate the time to all the available options.  Our conclusion: a year is not nearly enough time.

5.  What’s your favorite kitchen utensil/gadget?

The slow cooker!  Hands down the best kitchen invention known to humankind.  So simple to use, so easy and convenient, and no better feeling than to walk in the door after a long day to the smell of a slow-cooked dish waiting for you to devour.

6.  What was the last vacation you took?

Adam and I just went to Las Vegas this past weekend.  Prior to then, we went to North Carolina's Outer Banks last September.  Had a blast on both trips.

On a related note, here's a picture that Adam took of me while in Vegas.  He aptly describes it as me taking my love of shoes to a new level.


7.  What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?

I've read several amazing books on new product development.  One in particular that stands out to me very much is Brainsteering: A Better Approach to Breakthrough Ideas by Kevin and Shawn Coyne.  Solid, practical, down-to-earth ideas and concepts that reflect real-world challenges and offer great perspective on existing innovations.

8.  What is your favorite beauty product? Share your secrets!

In terms of beauty products, I'd have to say that any kind of blush is my favorite.  It's so quick to apply and I think it does wonders to make you instantly look healthy.

9.  What is your dream job?
Either Guy Fieri's job as host of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, or Samantha Brown's job as a world-wide travel show host.

10.  If you could have one magical power, what would it be?
I'd love to be able to fly!  I have a fascination with aviation, I hate traffic, the world looks so much more peaceful from the skies, and it is always awesome to see the curvature of the earth.

I've wanted to get my pilot's license for quite some time, but I am intimidated by the associated high costs.  Maybe someday...

This might be the closest I'll ever get to being a pilot 
(taking an air tour of the Na Pali Coast in 2006

11.  Quick – what are the three most important things in your life? List them off without thinking!

Friends, family, and health.  Fairly self-explanatory, I am sure.


1.  Best vacation so far? 

A solo trip I took to Bali several years ago, which I had also mentioned above.  I wrote a bit about it here.

2.  Mac or PC? 

Having worked for accounting and consulting firms my entire career until recently, I've really only ever used a PC.  I'm going to say PC but only because I don't know enough about Macs to have a point of comparison!

3.  Do you consider yourself to be a morning person? 

Only on weekends.  On weekdays I struggle to get out of bed by 7:00 AM.  But on the weekends I'm usually up and bouncing around by 6:30 AM.  Funny how that works, eh?

4.  Pie or Cake? 


5.   Describe one of your phobias. 

It's difficult for me to receive criticism.  I try not to take it personally but for me it's hard not to.  So I'd have to say that one of my biggest fears is being a public failure.

In all seriousness, as much as I do enjoy blogging, I've found that it also brings with it the potential of being more vulnerable.  In blogging, I put a lot of my goals and dreams out there for the world to see.  Working towards those goals and dreams also brings the challenges, the trying moments, and the frustrations.  It's scary sometimes to put the tough moments out there.  And on occasion I've certainly thought, "If I am not able to achieve X, then I'll have to face up to it on my blog."  But thankfully my fellow bloggers are all amazing people and are always overwhelmingly supportive, no matter what happens.

6. Least favorite food? 

Tripe.  I won't go into detail other than to say that I can't even look at it without getting a sick feeling.

7.  What is something you think you SHOULD do but you just don’t bother?

I should brush my teeth after every meal, and I should floss every night.  But I don't.  My dental hygienist and dentist reprimand me every time I go in for a check-up.  Sigh.

1.  What motivates you?
2.  What is the next thing on your bucket list that you'd like to accomplish?
3.  If you could go back and do something over, what would it be?
4.  What TV show or movie can you watch over and over and over again?
5.  Do you agree with how others see you or is there more to you than meets the eye?
6.  What was your first job?
7.  Have you ever googled yourself?
8.  If you could live anywhere other than where you live now, where would it be?
9.  Who is your favorite cartoon character?
10.  What is your favorite charitable cause?

Feel free to answer any or all of these questions either in the comments or in your own blog.  I love learning about y'all!


  1. I just went to the dentist this week and got a wristslap for not flossing as much as I should, so I feel a little better than I'm not the only grown-up that's bad about that! Why is it so hard to get into that habit?!

    And I've been there with the cauliflower disaster. I find that all of my cooking mishaps are a result of trying to cook something healthy - for some reason, unhealthy stuff always turns out just fine!

    I've been working on a Liebster post for a few weeks now, but I'll answer one question here.... if I lived anywhere other than Chicago, it'd be Colorado (I'd say Hawaii, because it sounds awesome, but I've never actually been there). I love it every time I go out there! The fresh mountain air, beautiful scenery, and everyone is so active!

    Hope you enjoyed the return of hockey today :)

    1. I am glad that I'm not the only one who is challenged by flossing! For me, when I brush my teeth at night I'm usually just ready to hit the sack - and flossing just delays me from getting to bed! It's a poor excuse, I know, and I am sure that my dentist/dental hygienist are sick of all my excuses. Sigh.

      I couldn't agree with you more that unhealthy food always turns out just fine. Mucho delicioso, in fact!!! Why is that!?!?!?!?

      I am looking forward to reading your Liebster post when it is ready! I love Colorado, too. It would be so much easier to stay active when you've got such beautiful scenery and crisp air on a year-round basis. Sigh.

      I hope you enjoyed the return of hockey this weekend, as well. =)

  2. Thanks for taking the survey!! I love love love when bloggers post's one of my favorite types of posts to read. People are so quirky :) Don't even talk to me about flossing. I absolutely DO NOT do it and my dentist scolds me for it every.single.time. I have a permanent retainer in the back of my teeth so flossing is simply a hassle I can't deal with (worst excuse ever I know...). Fall and Spring are my favorite seasons as well, in that order. I think I simply like the changing of the seasons because they signify new beginnings and a "clean slate." I think your very very first comment is great - being grateful for health is something that so many of us take for granted until it's too late. Appreciate it every day!

    1. I have a permanent retainer on the back of both my upper and lower teeth, too, so I feel your pain with how difficult it is to floss. =( I do also love the changing of the seasons and how they signify clean slates, too. Funny how our winter this year has been so on and off, eh? Wonder if that means we're going to end up having snow in June? (I hope not!)