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New Year, New Goals


1. Got married

2. Had a baby

3. Got a snazzy new job as System Programming Coordinator for a library system in Central NJ

4. Graduated from Rutgers with my Masters in Library & Information Science

5. Started writing my third novel

6. Bought a new house and moved into it

7. Won 2nd and 3rd place in my age group in two separate races

Now that 99% of my free time isn’t being spent studying and writing papers for my degree, I have a whole new slew of goals. Yay!

Here are a few of them:

1. Place 1st in my age group in a 5k

2. Run under a 8:00/mi in said 5k

3. Finish my novel

4. Work on home improvements (garden, patio, and any other projects!)

5. Improve my woodworking skills

6. And of course the usuals: eat better, workout more, spend time with friends, be a loving wife and be a kick ass mama!


Happy New Year! 🙂

The Secret of Success

  I’m reading a book by Bear Grylls called Mud, Sweat and Tears. It’s very good as Grylls is an interesting man and has led an adventure filled life. But when he was twenty, he chose to attempt to gain entry into an elite group of the British Special Forces through a very extensive and grueling program. (Spoiler alert!) After four months of being physically, mentally and emotionally beaten by the rigors of daily instensive training, Grylls failed to finish one of the daily tasks under the time limit given. He was disqualified, disheartened, and entirely spent. But he was given the rare invitation to try out for the Special Forces a second time – but from the start. It was Grylls’ passion and life goal to be a member of this elite team, but that meant going back through the hell he endured the first round plus whatever it took to get him through to the end. Yikes!

  When faced with this crossroads in his life, Grylls writes, “Our achievements are generally limited only by the beliefs we impose on ourselves.” And one of his closest friends advised, “So often, God’s callings have a birth, a death and then a resurrection.” Grylls knew that he’d faced his birth, his death and was now chosing his resurrection. He reentered the training and (another spoiler alert!) made it into the elite British Special Forces.

But what struck me was what Grylls said about the beliefs we impose on ourselves. I’m a firm believer that faith and looking to the successes of life will make us successful. Our successes may not always manifest in ways we had invisioned, but I believe that if you want something enough that you’ll put the work into making that goal happen.

When I was younger my dad asked a neighbor if she had read anything interesting lately, as he was an avid reader himself. She responded that she loved to read, but she just didn’t have the time. Later, he said something that’s stuck with me all these years – “If she truly loved to read, she would make the time.” It’s so true. I realize that it’s not healthy to forsake all else for the sake of another, but I do think there’s a healthy balance where we can still work toward making our goals into success stories.

Whoopie! Pies

  Fall is here (according to me) and that can only mean one thing – pumpkin recipes! 😀

I love anything pumpkin and I while I love making my favorites from years past, I also enjoy discovering new ways to add pumpkin to my recipe repertoire. I was working at the library when I stumbled upon a new book all about making whoopie pies. While I wasn’t a big fan of the chocolate, white-cream filled ones of my youth, the pictures gracing the cover looked so appealing I just had to check it out.

The book was dedicated to whoopie pies of all kinds including a tasty looking pumpkin cream cheese filled whoopie. Yay!!! My girlfriend and I were invited to a friend’s house for Sunday football and I decided to make the pumpkin whoopies then take them over for some taste testing. They were a huge success! I’ve been asked for a repeat soon as well as orders for several other flavors after posting my success story on facebook. 🙂

Here’s the recipe, but I recommend getting the book too as it is chock-filled with other tasty whoopie treats. Enjoy! 🙂

Pumpkin Whoopies

  (My notations in italics)

1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened

1 c light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 extra large egg

2 1/3 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground allspice or nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

pinch of salt

1 c canned or fresh pumpkin puree

2 tbsp buttermilk (I used regular)

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray like olive oil – worked great and didn’t change the taste).

2. Put the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract in an electric mixer bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.

3. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and salt into the bowl and stir together. Add the pumpkin and milk and stir until combined.

4. Drop by the heaping tablespoon 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. (These should be about the same size so you can match equal halves together later and look like the back of a turtle shell – smooth and round.)

5. Bake for about 10-12 minutes (make sure to check because less is more). Transfer to wire rack and let cool.

6. When the whoopies are cold, match equal whoopie halves and spread cream cheese filling in between (I used a palette knife like you would ice a cake with and it was very easy). Press together and enjoy!

Cream Cheese Filling

1/2 c regular cream cheese

5 tbsp butter, softened

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

4 1/2 c confectioner’s sugar (I just added this until it was the taste/consistency I liked – not nearly the amount called for…)

1. Put the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy.

2. Sift in the confectioner’s sugar and beat together until well combined. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.

Whoopies! by Susanna Tee

What’s In a Name?

I’ve decided it’s time for a change. A name change to be specific. I started this blog primarily to chat about running, but as I progressed I realized I kept gravitating towards books. I love blogging about what I’m reading and writing and visiting other blogs that shared my bookish interests. And, let’s face it, my fellow book bloggers ROCK! 🙂

So as I pondered my new name the light bulb went off – why not combine two of my favorite things into one blog? Thus my new blog name – Booking It With Runner Sami. Sweet! 😀

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I’m taking time off from blogging because of the busy holiday season.

See you in 2011!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Runner Sami

Happy Thanksgiving!


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Random Acts of Kindness or How I Got Yelled at For Doing a Good Deed

I know you’ve heard the phrase “random acts of kindness” before and chances are you try to be kind to others throughout your day. But what happens when you go out of your way to help someone only to be berated later by friends and loved ones?

Here’s what happened:

I worked the night shift at the library the other night when a youngish woman (probably recently out of college) comes to the circulation desk. While she looks healthy and put together she is checking out armfuls of books on domestic violence. My colleagues and I give her a few plastic bags we have behind the desk because not only is she walking home, but it’s pouring out. After she leaves, we talk about how we hope those books weren’t for her and that she doesn’t have far to walk.

When I leave work after closing, I notice that same girl walking (I would say trudging but want your unbiased opinions at the end so I’m trying to tell the facts without my writer’s embellishments) along the sidewalk close to the library. I stopped, said I worked at the library and would she like a ride home. She was beyond grateful and when we finally reached her home, I realized it would have taken a long time for her to reach her abode not to mention the heavy bags of books AND it was pouring!

I thought I had done a good deed. Something I would have wanted someone to do for me. That is until I told my girlfriend, and later a friend at work, what had happened and I got the same response from both of them – WHAT WERE YOU THINKING??? Well, I was thinking I was being nice…. Apparently, they both were of the opinion that I should have never picked this woman up as “You have no idea who this woman is.” No, I didn’t, but I couldn’t not stop – the double negative totally fits here. Yes, I was running a risk, but I weighed those odds before I stopped the car.

My opinion is that while this may have been a risky move on my part, a feeling exacerbated by later comments by friends, it felt worse to me to let her walk at night carrying heavy bags of books through the pouring rain. And, I mean really, would I really want to risk ruining all those library books through water damage?

But I want to know what you think – would you have stopped?

Fitness Friday!

Being injured sucks…big time.

I think that some people do have a greater propensity for injuries than others. Unfortunately, I fall into the former category, but didn’t realize it until I got injured. Now I’m forced to back track and take precautions I should have taken before trying to do too much too fast. Good news is my efforts are starting to pay off! My goal is to be able to run as much as I want without any pain and, although it’s a slooooow process, I’m beginning to notice my legs returning to their former, non-injured state.

For those of you who are dealing with a pesky injury, I advice the following:

1. Visit a sports therapist/doctor who has knowledge of your sport and can advise helpful ways to rehabilitate without you going crazy because you can’t run/bike/swim as much as you would like.

2. Strength Training – I’m a big fan of lifting weights and love the multitude of benefits that having strong, healthy muscles brings. However, make sure to talk to someone who knows how to lift so you can learn proper form and not run the risk of injuring yourself more.

3. RICE – Rest (Give yourself time to recover! I know this is hard, but it is also a crucial part of recovery), Ice (I normally try to ice an injured area, even if it’s not hurting at the moment, twice a day for 10-15 min each time), Compression/Elevation – I mostly suffer from pulled muscles and don’t practice these last two, but they are crucial if you have a severe injury.

And my favorite:

4. Read! There are a lot of great books, magazines, websites for different injuries and how to treat them. Opinions differ though, so make sure you take any advice with a grain of salt and read many different opinions before choosing the recovery plan that’s right for you!

Stay injury free and have a great weekend! 🙂


Sometimes when I haven’t had made time to write in a while, it’s difficult to get motivated. I’ll find lots of things I just have to do before I set aside time to write. Once I start writing I’m fine and the story flows out, it’s getting started that proves to be the tricky part.

My question is: What motivates or inspires you to write?

Rails to Trails

New Jersey just keeps surprising me!

Before I moved here, I was like a lot of people (ok, everyone not from NJ) who thought the state was the blight on the face of America. But ever since I moved here, New Jersey has proved me wrong. It’s a quirky little state filled with an overabundance of pride. Where I live in central Jersey, I’m surrounded by green. Parks, farms, fields, playgrounds, and trails are abundant. There’s not a day when I don’t see a mass of brightly colored cyclists or runners or dog-walkers taking advantage of these scenic offerings.

When Alissa stopped by for dinner the other night she mentioned her discovery of an amazing trail close to where she lives. It’s called the Columbia Trail and with it only being a twenty minutes drive from my house, I had to check it out.

The Taylor Steel Workers Historical Greenway is one of many trails that run through scenic areas of NJ. Once a railway, its last freight train ran in 1976 and the trail was built in 1990. It had been in operation since 1876 running iron ore along its lines. There’s a national conservation movement called Rails-to-Trails Conservancy whose goal is to convert old railways into greenways for bikers, runners, walkers, and cross-country skiers to be able to use.

The trail is packed gravel, perfect for running and biking, and is 14 miles out and back. Tall trees shade the trail and a river runs almost the entire length of the trail. It’s an ideal place for my long Sunday runs.

And there must be something magical about the trail too. Everyone is friendly and waves or says hi or good morning. It’s great! Also, there are little treasures along the way too with tiny wooden houses, homemade benches, and even a hidden gnome standing in front of a small door that’s been hinged to the bottom of a tree. I don’t even feel like I’m running half the time because there’s so much to look at and marvel over. 🙂

For more information about Rails-To-Trails Conservancy and trails near you: