Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Brunch is Dumb

Thanks to everyone who said nice things to me after my crappy race recap post. Even though Tim said every single one of those things ("It's just one race! You'll be back in no time!" etc.) somehow from online strangers it made me feel better. So thanks, guys.

After a weekend of laziness, reading and candy I figured I should try to deal with the intestinal drama and the leg pain business instead of ignoring it and then complaining again in a month. Right now I'm in day three of working out the very second I wake up. I don't know about you, but typically I need food RIGHT AWAY after waking. The people who do brunch are dumb and 11am meetup times mean I need at least two snacks first. But my thinking is that if there is nothing in my stomach, I can't be sick. GENIUS. 

Maybe genius isn't EXACTLY the right word choice...

Slightly less genius is the fact that if there is nothing in my stomach, working out feels roughly one billion gazillion times harder than normal. That's just a rough estimate, I'll get the correct numbers to you soon. And I haven't even really been running - mostly spinning and strength training. Somehow I feel like 6 or 7 mile runs would be impossible without eating. 

If you work out in the morning on an empty stomach, do you eat a massive dinner the night before? Drink gatorade while you workout? I'm thinking liquids could definitely help. A few of you gave suggestions on Daily Mile - I appreciate it. Anything that helps me not feel like death while working out is awesome.

If any of you are doctors, stop reading this blog because it is making you dumber and I don't want to go to a doctor who thinks cheesy self portraits are cool. But if you are reading, feel free to give me your super medical advice. Also welcome is advice from people who took a biology course in college that one time or watched every episode of Grey's Anatomy.

On the plus side, I got a killer arm workout yesterday. It wasn't on Daily Mile though, and it just worked one arm. (Minds out of the gutter, people!) Nope, my workout was trying to make risotto with brown rice. I stirred and stirred and added roughly a gallon of broth and ended up with crunchy rice after an hour. Since my shoulder felt like it was going to fall off, I called it a day and turned it into soup. Which tastes bad and now no one wants to eat. SUCCESS!

Do you ever work out on an empty stomach?
Normally, never. I get light headed typically so I eat snacks beforehand. I'm hoping I get used to it over time and figure it out though!

If you screw up dinner, what's the appropriate way to deal with it? 
A) Salvage what you can, eat it anyway. 
B) Cover in cheese, pretend to enjoy it. 
C) Throw away immediately. 
D) Feel guilty for wasting it, store it in fridge for a month before it molds and THEN throw it away. 
Aaaahhh....D. It's so bad. I hate throwing food away but if it's in the fridge after two weeks it's never getting eaten, I need to face facts.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sorry For Being a Bummer - Here's Some Free Makeup!

I feel a little bad for burdening everyone with my pity party yesterday. While writing the post I basically made my mind up that I would never run again. I decided I would start lifting weights, maybe cycle, become a yogi...something like that.

Last night, hubby looks over my shoulder and asks what I'm looking at. I swear, I tried to block the screen like I found nude Ryan Gosling photos. What was on the screen? A race calendar. Four hours after crying about running I was looking up new races. It's a sick addiction, people. Sick. 

I did refrain from running today and got in an upper body and core workout instead, along with 30 minutes of spinning. I'll take it, but I already miss running. Ugh. 

To make up for being a downer I figured I would hand out some free makeup to your guys. Remember the box I mentioned a while back that I got from Vocalpoint?

Well they grossly overestimated how many friends I have. Typical. It's fine though, I have you guys to give stuff away to. The best stuff from the loot was the mascara:

And the wrinkle cream:

I'm not going to pretend to give some in-depth review of either because I'm no makeup guru. The mascara makes your lashes longer and blacker and the creme takes away wrinkles....I think. I'm 24. I don't generally deal with that quite yet, you know? Whatever. I put together a little pack for two winners. Each will contain 3 full size mascaras from Covergirl and four packs of the Olay Regenerist creme, along with some random samples thrown in for things like toothpaste, teeth whitener, etc.

In order to win just leave me a comment. If you mention mascara and wrinkle cream in there, awesome. If not, that's fine too. I'll pick a winner on Friday, March 2nd. 

Winners get: 3 tubes of Covergirl Mascara, four packs of Olay Regenerist and some random samples. Two winners will be picked. I received all the goodies as part of the RSVP Vocalpoint program, but no reviews were required. Good thing because me saying "the mascara makes your lashes black" is basically the worst review ever. You're welcome. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Feel Free to Skip This Post

No, really. Nothing to see here. Come back tomorrow and I will post a picture of some yummy food, or have a motivating life lesson or something. Promise. Today? I've got misery. And misery loves company, so be prepared.

Yesterday morning I woke up SO READY for my half marathon. Honestly, I wish I could tell you I was exhausted, or sick or something - I wasn't. I felt positive and excited. Ate breakfast. Got dressed. No internal bleeding. Just a good day, you know?

Drove up to Chattanooga - more good vibes. Packet pick up was great, thought everything was awesome and sparkly and fun. Goofy pictures were taken to commemorate what was sure to be an awesome race.

I'm not even kidding about how giddy I was. You'd think I was running this race with Santa Claus or something. Apparently even the chip timer on my shoe was exciting enough to take a picture of:

The first two miles of the race were pretty much on target - 8:53 at first and then a 9:10 because I told myself to slow down a little. Mile 3? Vomiting episode #1.

I wish I could blame what turned out to be a poor race on the several occasions where I was able to fertilize the plants on the side of the road, or the IT band that left me hobbling by the end of race, but I can't. At mile 3, I gave up. Not physically, because I kept running, albeit slower. But mentally? I was gone.

I have no doubt that I could have kept going, vomiting as I kept up the pace. The IT band was nothing a few aspirin couldn't fix. I just gave up - the worst possible thing you can do in a race. 

There were tears.
There was walking.
There was an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, who kept suggesting I find the nearest place to get off the course and find a payphone to call Tim for a pick-up.

I shut the little red guy up but only one thing motivated me for 13.1 miles - the realization that when it was over, I could stop running. About 7 times during the race I swore off running forever. I'm still leaning toward that, at least until I can head to the doctor to figure out what is causing all the intestinal distress.

The final time for my half marathon was 2:17:53 - a full 18 minutes longer than I was aiming for. I hate to say there is anything wrong with that pace, because there's not. But it was the same as my full marathon pace, so obviously not indicative of my training or ability for the distance. Maybe in a few days I'll be able to put a positive spin on this experience, but not today. Today I feel sad, disappointed and angry. Disappointed that I can't run a race without vomiting, sad that I wasted great race conditions on a dud run and angry at myself for not digging deeper.

I don't know what you guys do when something is really disappointing, but I like to hide. I have avoided the computer at all costs since the race, preferring to retreat into a different world. On Friday night I started reading the first Hunger Games book. On Saturday afternoon I bought the second, and this morning the third.

I'm done all three and already bummed I have no excuses anymore - time to get back to reality again. I've eaten my weight in licorice jelly beans, avoided anything that looks or tastes remotely healthy and wallowed in pity. I know blogs are supposed to encourage you to just write "You're Beautiful" on a post-it note and change your mood instantly, but I'm giving myself the rest of the day to be miserable. Tomorrow I'll do my best to get back to normal.

Ugh. Just reading this for spelling mistakes is depressing. Not to mention self-centered. I forgot to mention that yesterday Tim ran a 5k while I did the half, and he was amazing and set a new PR of 25:28. Must have forgotten to mention that while I was trying to drum up sympathy for myself. My bad.

Have you read the Hunger Games?
I assume I'm the last person on the planet to jump on this bandwagon, but if for some reason I'm not - go read them.

Are you an inherently peppy person or do you allow yourself some time to wallow?
It's funny, because on the blog I guess I'm pretty upbeat, but in real life - I love me some wallowing. Preferably with a large container of candy and a good book or sad movie.

Friday, February 24, 2012

T Minus 12 Hours!

The Garmin is charging.
The clothes are picked out.

I avoided fiber like the plague all day.
I carbo loaded with a sushi dinner.

I tapered this week (with the exception of 18 miles on Monday).
I'm foam rolling. Hydrating. Putting on compression socks.

Even my cat is encouraging me to run tomorrow. Can't let the kitty down, can I?

I plan on running each step of the half marathon tomorrow planning my post-run food. Does anyone else do that? Really keeps me going on long runs.

What do you dream about for post-race food?
I always think it will be something sweet but I typically crave something salty like Pizza or chips. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Come See How Good I Look! (Thanks Photoshop)

There is an issue that has been on my mind quite a lot lately - editing photos. I've mentioned it before in passing, and I wasn't surprised to hear that most of you are on the same page.

If I say that I eat three bagels for breakfast each day and DON'T - people would be up in arms.
If I say that I run 8 miles each day and DON'T - ditto for the grumpy mcgrumpersons. 
So if I say through photos I look a certain way but DON'T in real life - is that ok?

I'm curious where you draw the line on this one. Is it cool to delete stray pimples in an otherwise profile worthy pic? Wrinkles? Love handles in that bikini shot? Everyone has seen those photos that have edited beyond belief (usually making women skinnier, tanner and um, a little more "endowed"). It's nothing new to see these pictures, which have been recycled on websites:

But what about when those people in the crazy edited photos are bloggers? Case in point:

On the left: normal photo. On the right: a little airbrushing, blemish remover, self tanner, lipstick and something that makes me 30% "thinner". Insta-diet. This took me literally five minutes, and was my first time editing photos. It's not hard to do. Think they look similar? Click on the picture to make it bigger. I have what I would dub "Barbie skin" - smooth like plastic.

Would you, as a reader, be annoyed if my pictures were all digitally enhanced?
I realize that I'm about 8 years behind on the photoshop scandal. I really didn't know how easy it was to edit yourself in a matter of minutes!

What kind of editing is ok?
Honestly, I'm not sure. I guess it's no harm done to me if people edit their Facebook photos, blog photos or even the photos in a magazine. But it's just ANOTHER thing women (and MEN!) have to keep in mind when comparing - ugh.  

*Edited to add: You know what's seriously messed up? In that picture of (the real one) I actually thought I looked pretty good. My hair was down, I had makeup on. Yet, after looking at the digitally altered one for a minute, the one on the left now looks bad. Damn, that was quick.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Is a PR Possible?

Last October I set out to run the Dalton Half Marathon and had one goal in mind - to break 2 hours. I felt it could happen, I had put in the work and even tapered that week. There was only one hiccup on race day, but it turns out that vomiting in the bushes at mile 6 is a pretty big hiccup. Final gun time: 2:01:22. My chip time disappeared somewhere but it was a small race so I don't imagine it was more than 20 or 30 seconds less, max.

That was the sole picture of me post race. If you look closely, you can even see a little of the vomit that made it onto my white shirt (bad call on that one). I wish I was joking. I was not a happy camper after that race. SO FREAKING CLOSE and yet so freaking far away from breaking 2 hours. A few weeks later I ran my first marathon, got injured and started all over again.

This Saturday I'm giving it another try at the Scenic City Half Marathon in Chattanooga. Part of the reason I ran my long run in Chattanooga on Monday was to run on part of the course - which I didn't do much of, thanks to my impressive navigational abilities. However, I have heard that the course is reasonable for this area of the South (read - only a few hills and bridges) and the elevation chart looks pretty good to me:


To recap - the course is as flat as I'll get around here, the temperature is supposed to be around 40 degrees and sunny, I'm not injured and I plan to taper over the next few days.

Wait! I forgot the number one rule when it comes to blogging about races....create plenty of excuses BEFOREHAND. Kara and Alyssa reminded me to do that a while back, I can't take all the credit. So let me just say that my IT Band is definitely still giving me trouble, I'm still totally used to running on a treadmill, and my version of tapering included an 18 mile run 5 days before the race. Whew! Think I have all the bases covered there.

Bottom line - I want to break 2 hours on Saturday. If I don't, I'll probably be pissed but write a blog post about how it's still so great I finished anyway. Goals:

A Goal: Break 2 Hours. Be awesome. Celebrate with champagne.
B Goal: New PR (Anything below 2:01 I guess?). Be happy and grab some frozen yogurt.
C Goal: Finish the race without vomiting. Have a protein bar and water.
D Goal: Finish the race even with vomiting. Probably won't want that protein bar either. Brush teeth.

Do you create excuses for upcoming races or just focus on the positives?
I definitely justify my race results after the fact - "Oh, I was really tired" or "I didn't expect so many hills!" but I usually plan thinking I'm going to rock every race.

Would you rather run a completely flat course or one with some hills to break it up a little?
Flat. Flat, flat, flat and then slightly downhill. I'm guessing that's a result of running on the treadmill too much. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Behind the Scenes of a Blog

I get a few emails each week from readers asking personal questions about weight, fitness or food that I am happy to answer because it gives me a chance to share something with a new friend, reader or fellow blogger. I also get a few emails that are essentially about blogging as a whole. While I appreciate that people consider me a resource on the subject, it's kind of....well, boring as dirt to anyone who isn't concerned with changing their blog around, getting paid advertisements or expanding their "brand."

To deal with some of these questions, I decided to create a tab along the top of the blog called "Behind the Scenes." It will not be a cool way for me to dump leftover photos and earn more page clicks, sadly. I know you were all hoping for blurry camera phone pictures, right? Don't worry, I have plenty of those to go around.

Old. Blurry. Sad.
Instead, it will be a mini journal where I update every few days when something blog-related happens that someone might be interested in. It will include opportunities I get from companies, getting paid for blog content and the like. I realize that this won't be for everyone. I'm guessing 99% of you will find it all terribly dull, which is why it won't be actual blog content but a little folder up there at the top. But if you are interested in gaining new followers or reaching out to companies, it might be of interest. Plus, it will have my opinions on whether or not it is worthwhile to join organizations like Foodbuzz, Pure Bloggers, BlogHer or FitFluential.

If I'm not mistaken (Lord knows I could be) there isn't an option for people to reply to that page or the updates. However, that doesn't mean I don't want to hear from you, especially if you have questions for me. Just leave a comment on the current post or shoot me an email instead. (*Edited to add: It took about 5 seconds for someone to teach me how to allow comments on that page. Please, please don't email me about anything technological.)

See? I have a computer. I can send emails and everything. Totally unstaged, that one.

Do you have any desire to get paid for your blog?
I did the math once and learned I get paid less than $1 per hour for blogging, so I think it's safe to say it doesn't make a difference either way. 

What kind of behind the scenes topics interest you, or would be something you would like to know more about?
Today in the "Behind the Scenes" I talked about Google Adsense vs. Foodbuzz. I also want to talk about things like drafting sponsorship letters, making sure freebies are legal and creating new subject matter. Any more suggestions?

Monday, February 20, 2012

18 Miles, Canolis and Mean Old Ladies

The last couple of months I have been doing about two runs each week with my friend Julie, who is training for her first marathon this April. Although it's nice to have someone to run with, it also means that I have to coordinate my schedule with someone else. Today was our long run, but technically it was for last week...if that makes any sense. It's entirely possible that I'm not even typing coherent thoughts since I just ran 18 miles, so bear with me.

Anyway, we decided that a change of scenery would be nice and headed up to Chattanooga to run on the Riverfront. It was supposed to be 8 miles out and 8 mile back, with a little extra to make up the mileage. But did it work out like that? No, it did not. Of course not. I got lost and dealt with a few too many bridges and steps for my liking, but the best part is that now I'm done and I don't have to run anymore. Score. Time to drink copious amounts of hot chocolate and refuse to leave the couch.

I parked in Whole Foods up in Chattanooga because I figured people who can afford to buy organic groceries were less likely to steal my car. I know, I'm a stereotyping genius. Also a wise choice because once we were done we could go and spend a fortune on post-run food. I naturally gravitated toward the bakery section and started drooling at these bad boys:

I hope the cream filling in canolis has protein so I can justify it as recovery food. Anyway, while I was deciding what to get some mean old woman tried to convince us NOT to buy things from the bakery because it was just putting the calories back in that we burned off. Even after telling her that we had run for 18 miles, she was still tsk-ing at us.

Woman, DO NOT come between two very hungry runners and their baked goods. Seriously. I'm not the violent type but even I wanted to slap the lady. Apparently aggression toward geriatrics is frowned upon so I let it go.

I've got nothing left to do today but slowly consider the possibility of making dinner (slim to none unless ordering Papa John's is "making" anything) and having a little dream date with Mr. Don Draper:

People keep telling me his name is Jon Hamm but I am really not interested in the actual man, just the character. Tim gets pretty angry when we watch Mad Men and I call it the "Don Draper Show".

Do you watch Mad Men?
Yes! I love it and I'm really excited that it's coming back next month. Plus we can actually watch in on TV this season. In Hong Kong we had to wait until we could download it a few days after each episode aired. 

What is the ultimate post-run dessert?
In the summer it's ice cream, but lately I have been SO COLD after runs I can't handle it. In all honestly those canolis were only so-so. Usually it's just candy and hot chocolate all the way for me.   

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sexy Jeans and a Photo Shoot

In the last few years I have become an awesome, speedy and efficient shopper. Not in the grocery store, (where I pick up new items, read labels and just drool in general) but when buying clothing. I know what I want before I get there, pick up my size, try it on - done. No browsing or window shopping for me - I can stay home and not spend money just fine, thanks.

There is one item, however, that I cannot buy without extensive research, multiple trips to the dressing room and thorough analysis. Sexy jeans, you are my Everest.

When I was 17 I worked in England for the summer and lived with my grandparents. My grandmother, being the nice lady that she is, offered to buy me a pair of new jeans. Eight hours and goodness knows how many stores later, she declared that she would never ever take me jeans shopping again. And she hasn't. Maybe I'm just picky, or maybe it's because my butt decided to be four sizes larger than my waist, but I hate shopping for jeans.

My absolute favorite pair of Gap jeans have lasted me several years but they look kind of ridiculous now:

Finally I have a reason to look bad in a photo- I was genuinely trying to look frumpy and showcase the unflattering and far too big jeans. As for the rest of the photos, I have no excuse. Sorry.

I saw an ad for "curvy" jeans from Old Navy at the same time I realized they were having a 40% off sale...coincidence? Yes. Because I tried those jeans on and they were terrible. BOO. I headed to the Gap Outlet next door instead and fell in love with the perfect pair of jeans. You know that one pair that looks great with flats or heels? The one that makes you feel damn sexy as soon as you slip them on? The pair that makes you pretend you are a model and prance around the house?

I hope I didn't lose you guys on that last one.

I might have gotten a little too into the posing there. Since clearly I was turning a simple "baby, can you take a picture?' into a full on photo shoot, I figured I would practice "smizing" à la Tyra Banks. I still don't get it. All the results either showed clear constipation or a lazy eye. I guess I can kiss my modeling career goodbye.

Do you enjoy shopping for clothes or is it a chore for you?
If I don't have money to spend, it's basically torture and I would rather stay home. If I don't need anything, ditto. I would much rather be in and out quickly. (That sounded dirty, my bad.)

Please, please tell me what the heck smizing it. She just made it up, right?
I ask because I know there are clearly plenty of high fashion models who read my blog late at night on a Saturday and hang onto every word. Yep. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Do I Eat Enough? Tricks Bloggers Use...

Every once in a while I'll get a comment or email from someone who questions one of two things:

a) Whether I eat enough
b) Why I feature so much unhealthy food on my blog when"clearly" I don't eat it.

I guess I find it kind of comical because those are basically opposite ends of the spectrum, right? I mean, it is possible for me to be eating too much unhealthy junk and at the same time not be eating enough?

I guess cookies confuse me too...

The jury is going to have to stay out on what I eat or don't eat and whether it's enough. The bottom line is that I don't want to talk about every single thing I eat and don't plan to start anytime soon.

I don't want to make this some lengthy defensive diatribe. What I DO want to say is that no blogger is telling the full story. Honestly. Even those ones who post three times a day and send out 64 tweets an hour! So here are some things to keep in mind:

-Dinners aren't always what they appear. That big plate you see in the photo? That portion could belong to the blogger...or her husband. After his long run. On a cheat day. You never know.

-The "handful" of candy? Could mean 3 M&Ms....or the entire family size bag. It happens

-Eating donuts and staying skinny doesn't mean a person has a crazy metabolism. It means they ate 400 calories of donut that day instead of 400 calories of quinoa. It's science - calories in, calories out. 

-Professional bloggers often have time to create entire meals/desserts that never even get eaten. It's their job to whip up that batch of cookies, but not their job to eat them all. 

-Not everyone runs "for fun". Sometimes it's to not be embarrassed on race day or just because the jeans are getting snug. 

Not every run can be this fun.

It's no secret I love reading blogs. I prefer the smaller ones though, just because I find everything to be so much more genuine. In the spirit of honesty, I'll admit three things that rarely get said in the blog world:

1. I care about my weight. There. I said it. I'm a little vain. I don't eat everything I want every day in massive portions because if I did, I would gain weight.

2. I do try to eat healthy foods. A lot of my more exciting dinners out are what make the blog, but 80% of my intake is healthy and made with good ingredients. I don't shy away from carbs or anything but I make sure there's some protein and greens on almost every plate.

3. I'm not in control 100% of the time. I eat sugar/dessert at least once a day but it is generally controlled - i.e. one or two portions of something. However, sometimes those treats aren't planned and I go overboard. Case in point - today. It was NOT in my plan to have hubby pick up a twelve pack of conversation hearts on sale yesterday. It was NOT in my plan to start eating them at 10am this morning. It was NOT in my plan to eat ten boxes throughout the day. But in happened. And I'll get over it.

My photos are garbage. Literally.

 I'm curious to know how people view this subject. Do you know that bloggers only reveal part of their lives? Are you are a blogger who tries to be honest about everything?
I will be the first to say that while I wouldn't lie to your face (ok, to your computer screen) I keep plenty to myself with this blog. It's a small part of what I choose to show to the world, and I'm okay with that. 

Why do you think it is so rampant today for women to not only need to be in shape, but also to appear as if they don't work for it?
This is something you see in the celebrity world a lot ("How do I stay in shape for Hollywood films? Oh, I'm just so busy I eat hamburgers on the go and stay a size 0!") I'm always happy when I see someone admit they yes, they eat healthy foods and workout every day. That's the "magic secret"!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'm Re-Lay Excited to Head to Colorado!

If I started a blog post without a horrific pun, how would you know it was mine? I apologize for the "re-lay" though- even that's a stretch for me. So what am I getting so excited about in Colorado? This summer's Ragnar Relay! I will be running 187 miles this July - well, kind of. I will be running a little portion of the total distance, which is divided into 36 legs run by 12 people.


The team is made up of 12 bloggers, which is going to be a lot of fun. Plus, I won't feel embarrassed when I want to bust out the camera every 6 minutes to document super important stuff. Like snacks. So who have I tricked into running with me? The following ladies:

Van 1:
1- Me! No pressure being the first runner, geez!
2- Danielle @ Happy, Healthy and Strong
3- Lisa @ Because I Can
4- Jill H. @ Run for the Hills
5-Lauren @ Duck on the Run
6-Amanda @ Run to the Finish

Van 2:
7- Julia @ Pain, Pride and Perseverance
8- Rachelle @ Running for Trevor
9-Ashley U. @ Ashley and Diz
10- Ashley R. @ Redonk Runner
11- Jill C. @ Fitness, Health and Happiness
12- Kara @ Mile High Maven

This will be not only my first trip to Colorado, but my first relay race of any kind. We are in the process of getting some sponsors, and Handful was one of the first I thought of. I've already talked about my love for their bras in the past (here) and I'm not shy about it:

So when I got another bra from them a few days ago, I was in heaven. Whoever said that "one handful is enough" was lying to me. Clearly I needed two. Last week I thought I could handle a different sports bra for a long run and got chafed like CRAZY in the chestage area. No pictures because it borders on something you should really have to pay for. Learned by lesson - stick to Handful!

What you can see if this video that Handful put out recently to learn about their bras. Yes, it's an ad- but it's super cute and I like it. It's not the first ad I have watched on repeat online and I'm sure it won't be the last. How they managed to make a sports bra so sexy is beyond me.

Have you ever run a relay like Ragnar? Any advice for training for something like this (or running at high altitudes?)
I've never run a relay of any kind like this. I'm definitely a little worried about elevation but I hope it that training in the GA summer and humidity is at least a little bit helpful. 

Any good team name suggestions? We're playing around with a few but haven't settled on anything.
Something about blogging/the web would be neat since we're all bloggers but really anything goes. "Beast Mode" was also a possibility!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sweet, Spicy and Vain - The Perfect Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Unless you already ate all the candy your mom gave you and now you have to go home and feel sick while watching the Notebook for the 17th time and imagining how awesome it is going to be when Ryan Gosling FINALLY wakes up and realizes you're the one.

No? Yeah, that never happened to me either. Moving on...

Sweet: The mass amounts of candy consumed around the world makes me happy today. Not least because of what we have at home. Ali sent me a package that I got in the mail last night and while I pretended to have a secret admirer in front of hubby I finally broke down and admitted the new man in my life was a toddler in Canada. I'm pretty sure Tim is cool with it now.

Spicy: A few people asked me for the recipe for the Thai chicken satays I made for Tim's birthday so I wanted to share the recipe on here. I'll be honest here and say that while the recipe itself is EASY, the ingredients aren't necessarily typical pantry items for everyone. I say make the marinade with what you have on hand and it will be fine as long as you include some sweet/spicy elements to the mix.

Start by making a marinade at least a few hours before you plan to cook (I usually try for overnight if possible). I made a pretty traditional marinade but STILL didn't have all the ingredients from the recipe here. If you have galangal and fish paste at home, you're a better person than I. Here's what went into my marinade:

Soy Sauce
Chili Pepper Flakes
Ground Coriander
Diced Lemongrass
Diced Pickled Ginger
Diced Garlic
Black Pepper
Olive Oil
Rice Wine Vinegar
Black Pepper

Technically you're supposed to measure everything out perfectly but it's a marinade. Pour a little of everything in and use common sense. Love spicy? Load up the chili pepper flakes. Hate garlic? Maybe don't use that, hey? Mix it up with a spoon and toss in your chicken breasts or thighs that have been sliced or diced. Let it soak for a few hours in the fridge.

Then all you do is load up the marinated chicken onto skewers. Toss them onto the barbecue if it's seasonally appropriate or just put them into the oven set to broil while on the highest rack. (Note! If you broil them in the oven soak the skewers in water first so they don't catch on fire.) They cook in about 15 minutes, flipping them over once.

Voila! Dip them in a homemade peanut sauce if you feel super into it, or be lazy like me and buy a pre-made Thai peanut sauce. They're definitely ideal for a cocktail party with finger foods, but tonight we had them over rice with some broccoli and it was perfect.

Vain: I have a confession to make. Until a few days ago, I rarely admired myself in the mirror. We didn't have a full length mirror and the bathroom (where there is a little mirror) is cold. Then on Sunday we bought a full length mirror and hung it up. It's completely defective because it kind of curves UP at the bottom. Know what that means? It means that I look like a freaking runway model in the mirror. It's seriously a funhouse mirror that stretches you out and makes you look six feet tall.
 I'M IN LOVE. <3

I'm pretty proud of the fact that I have avoided talking about how awesome Tim is and how much I love him, especially because I genuinely do enjoy Valentine's Day and I'm a sucker for romance. So here you go:

Do you get discouraged at a recipe with a LONG list of ingredients?
Not usually. Mostly because I rarely follow a recipe exactly, so I kind of just ignore the ingredients I don't have. Probably not the culinary mastermind response I was supposed to give. 

Valentine's Day - love or hate?
Love. I like candy. I like sappy movies. I like attention.   

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekly Recap and a Little Sneak Peek

I think you all know the drill by now. I pretend for a couple of paragraphs that my blog is a workout diary, ooze false modesty but demand compliments on my fitness. You may now begin.

Monday: Ran 5K, walked 1.5 Miles
Tuesday: Ran 8 Miles
Wednesday: Ran 5 Miles, walked 2 miles
Thursday: Ran 5 Miles
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: Ran 14 Miles
Sunday: Ran 2.5 Miles, 15 minutes of abs/upper body

Total Mileage: 37.6 miles of running. 

See that last ditch frantic effort on Sunday night to do some speedwork and strength training? It would be super cool if next week I could do that midweek. For three times as long. And repeat a few times on other days. Yeesh. Cross training is tough.

In other news, I ran 10 miles today. My running partner of late was away for a week and needed a medium length run in the schedule and I figured it was a good chance to run outside before we get some snow! I know most of you are like "yawn, snow" but this will be the first of it we really see this year so I'm excited.

So, the sneak peek. As you might have gathered by, face, I'm not much of a makeup gal. I use eyeliner and mascara some days (read: days I leave the house) and I also own blush and bronzer - both of which are several years old. I think someone clued into that fact and felt bad for my readers who have to look at my face because I got this in the mail today:

Since last time I checked I have but two hands and can't apply 12 tubes of mascara at once while simultaneously rubbing on ten tubes of wrinkle reducing cream, I have a feeling there might be a giveaway in the future. Stay tuned.

What's your opinion on snow? Awesome fluffy stuff to play in, annoying hazard while driving or fantastic excuse not to go to work?
Unless it starts snowing in my living room I have a feeling I'll be working tomorrow. If I don't have anywhere to go and it happens infrequently, I love it. After a couple of years in Pennsylvania, I hated it. 

How many items of makeup do you put on each day? What about special ocassions?
Every day = smudges of eyeliner left on. Shopping/meals out = mascara, eyeliner and blush. Fancy date or want to remind hubby I'm a girl = all of the above, but more of it. If I ever go somewhere truly fancy I can only imagine I will have to fill in my entire eyelid with black eyeliner because apparently to me, more makeup equals special.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy Birthday (and a Hangover)!

Guess who is super handsome and is celebrating a birthday today?

This guy!
Tim and I have both had an amazing weekend celebrating. Yesterday I got my 14 mile run in during the morning in honor of Sherry Arnold, which I was happy to do. As I read more posts from people who participated I feel part of something big and I am so proud to be one in a large group that honored the life of Sherry.

Post-run it was time to get ready to celebrate something else - my wonderful husband's birthday. We had a few friends over for a fun dinner, plenty of drinks and some impromptu guitar playing and singing. My kind of night. I made a bunch of foods with no discernible theme other than they are Tim's favorites:

I made bruschetta, a big salad, Thai chicken satay with a spicy peanut sauce, veggies and pita with hummus and a massive plate of sushi. (Homemade brownies and cookies and cream ice-cream for dessert!) I'm not going to lie - I wasn't sure if the food would be well received by everyone. Turns out everyone loved it. A few people tried sushi for the first time and were fans!

Today after a breakfast of Nutella crepes I gave Tim the gift EVERY husband wants for his birthday. You know what I mean.....a table saw. Oh yeah. We went to Home Depot to get it and then stopped in at Old Navy to get hubby a new pair of jeans. I picked up a new sweater too, apparently the one I was wearing with elbow patches is unfashionable? Whatever. I rock it. 

So hostesses with the mostesses (run with it, I know it's not a word) - do you prefer to make simple food for parties everyone likes or try something new?
Normally I say stick with stuff everyone already likes, but I really wanted to make Tim's favorites last night. It worked out though, thankfully!

What is the sign of a better party - beer in red solo cups or glasses of wine?
I started out with sauvignon blanc but ended with beer in a red solo was one of the those nights. AKA - hangover today!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Baby Got Backne!

Oh, you're going to be humming Sir Mix-A-Lot for the rest of the day? My bad. The awful pun in the title was just too good to pass up.

I've always been pretty lucky acne-wise. Sure, I had pimples as a teenager that made me think the world was like, totally, like, going to end. (High school with a zit? No thanks. Cough, cough. I'm sick. Staying home.) But overall, my skin was probably pretty average. So could someone please explain why my chest and back are breaking out at the ripe old age of 24? I'd really appreciate that.

Seriously, this is an important issue for several reasons. Most importantly, because in order for me to show off the girls tops need to be low. Like, LOW. There's no under the chin cleavage going on over here. By the time I get low enough to the hint of chest that reminds people I'm a woman, there's acne. I don't need any more reasons to be self conscious of my chest, honestly.

I am going to say that this has definitely gotten worse since I started running and working out on a more regular basis. I'm guessing sweat = acne. Rude. So I'm curious - do you find that more exercise = more acne? Has it gotten better or worse with age?

For the last 10 years off and on I've used this St. Ives scrub on my face most days:


P.S. I'm not plugging this product. But if the people at St. Ives want to sent me a lifetime supply of the stuff I WILL TAKE IT. Thanks. Since I use that stuff on my face and it seems to work I'm guessing I should just lather my entire body with it? That could get expensive, fast.

I Googled sports induced acne (AKA "research") and got a bunch of really unhelpful information. Namely, that sports induce acne. Freaking genius figured that one out. I need remedies, people! This article actually had a decent scientific explanation - read it if your idea of a good Saturday is learning about acne. For what it's worth, I came across several articles saying that exercise was GOOD for acne. Here are a few things that tend to help:

-NOT wearing sythetic fabrics. Maybe the old cotton tee really is best?
-No makeup when exercising (totally guilty of this - left on from the day before)
-Showering immediately after exercise (again, guilty!)
-Don't reuse sports bras or shirts

I'm embarrassed about that last one. Sometimes I hang up a sports bra and wear it the next day, or give it a quick shower rinse and call it clean. Apparently that makes me some kind of nasty monster.

Do you deal with sports induced acne? Or do you find that regular exercise reduce skin problems?
VANITY ALERT: I always think my skin looks best right after a workout. I have a glow that doesn't come naturally for a hermit like me. But definitely, more exercise - more body acne. Ugh. 

Do you plan to hum "Baby Got Back" for the rest of the day?
No shame. We're all friends here.  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I'm Feeling a Little Un-American

I've mentioned before that even though I'm a resident of the great 'ole state of Georgia, I'm only half American. That's right, half of my blood is tainted with tea and crumpets and those weird hats that the British guard guys wear:

While finding that photo I learned that each one of those hats is made from the fur of an entire Canadian black bear. I wouldn't throw red paint on a good looking leather jacket or anything, but bear hats are where I draw the line. Weird.

So despite the fact that I drink tea with my pinky finger in the air and occasionally pronounce "tomato" oddly, I generally consider myself to be American. Over half of my life has been spent in the states (Hawaii, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and now Georgia), I have an American passport, I talk a lot and I own a fanny pack. Ergo, I am American.

So what's making me question my authenticity as a citizen? The date of our British Airways flight booked for this summer:

I know. Boo-hoo, someone call the waaaambulance because I have to go on a European holiday. Woe is me. I'm actually pretty dang excited for the trip, but did we really have to leave America at night on the 3rd of July and arrive in ENGLAND of all places the 4th of July? I'm pretty sure they don't celebrate "It's a bummer we lost that whole massive colony" day. At least not with fireworks and corn on the cob.

Last summer was hubby's first Fourth of July and we did everything right. Barbecue, fireworks, corn on the cob, watermelon, wearing red, white and blue, high-fiving soldiers and getting a little drunk. Just like we were supposed to.

This year? I can only imagine we will be in some place called Dottingly on the Bridge-ford-shire-town drinking tea and having scones with some Lords and maybe a Duchess. Feel free to insert any other British stereotypes in here as well. (Hey, maybe we'll be at the dentist! Or at a football match with a bunch of hooligans!)

What are some things that make you feel American? Or, if you live elsewhere, what reinforces your nationality?
I'll admit I'm a little bumbling when it comes to this. Sometimes I feel super American and other times I feel a bit lost. BUT - I love American politics and always feel really connected when reading/watching anything to do with that. I rarely feel British though. Tim always needs to remind me of my heritage. 

Do you have any summer plans in place yet?
I know it's early, but thanks to the London Olympics this year we needed to get tickets ASAP. For the record, I would not go anywhere near London during the actual Olympics. Crowded enough normally. We're spending a couple of weeks in England and Germany to visit family. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cabin Fever and My Husband's Modeling Debut. For Hay.

There are plenty of great things about working from home. Yes, I get to start work whenever I want to. I don't have to commute each day. I can work in my pajamas and no one can complain. (Ok - hubby can complain but I ignore him) There are a few downsides though, too:

-Sick/vacation days are also known as a "days you don't earn money". So they happen infrequently, needless to say.

-It's super fun when people assume that "work from home" means my blog. Um, yeah right. I wish. As soon as Foodbuzz decides to pay me fulltime I'd be all over it, but until then? I'll keep my job, thanks. Samples of bars aren't going to keep me fed.

-I go stir crazy. Imagine waking up and running on the treadmill at home. Then working from home. Then making dinner at home. And then blogging at home. At home. At home. At home. Sometimes I go like three days and realize I haven't left the house. Seriously? That is not ok.

If I get a little crazy and realize that I am in desperate need of some fresh air and Vitamin D, I coerce hubby into a walk before dinner around the area. It's nice to hang with some new folks - even they're just cows.

You know you're hitting a new low in your social life when cows are your buddies. In fairness, normally I get out a little more but I'm trying to get a lot of work done this week so I can party it up this weekend with hubby for his birthday. We're having a party on Saturday night and then a fun little Sunday planned. BOOM. Who has friends, now? That's right.

Also, I took a photo of hubby and he laughed at me for something about lighting shadows/camera nonsense. I still like it because he looks like he's in a magazine ad. I don't know what he would be advertising in this picture though. Hay? Fencing? Whatever. I like it.

After that strenuous walk - I'm lying, I walked at like a 74 minute mile pace - I ran 5 easy miles on the mill. I really tried to make the morning workout thing work but I'm kind of over it. Nice while it lasted. Then it was dinner time, AKA heat up leftovers. Black pepper steak, jasmine rice, broccoli and ginger:

I don't know what's up lately but all I have been craving lately is RICE. And don't even think about handing me brown rice. Sticky white rice all the way.

Do you edit your photos at all? What software/programs do you use?
I'm the last person on earth who doesn't even know how to do this. I saw something about airbrushing/photo editing recently and I definitely need to start. Girlfriend needs A TAN. 

What's the most used appliance in your kitchen? Don't say fridge. Just play along, people.
Sadly, I think it's the microwave. Mostly just to reheat leftovers or defrost stuff - and make popcorn. The biggest surprise is the rice cooker. Totally getting that $14 worth lately.