Christmas Survey!

Merry Christmas!! 

Forgive the large gap in postings, I have been at home since Friday and have been busy with lots of shopping and cooking/baking, and more importantly just spending time with my family.

I feel very grateful to have been able to come home and spend so much time here.

I will do a better recap of my Christmas (with recipes!) soon, but for now here’s a fun survey I’ve been seeing around the blog world 🙂

1. Favorite Christmas Album/CD/Song? 

I always like Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas, and N*SYNC – Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, however I don’t really have any ultimate favorites. This year I discovered Christmas on Pandora, which I’ve listened to my past few long runs – love!

2. Run on Christmas morning or take the day off?

This was the first year I ran. Usually I take the day off, but with my race coming up I wanted to keep up with my normal running schedule. I’m glad I did it – it was one of those runs where I just felt FANTASTIC afterward.

3. What do you usually eat on Christmas morning? 

Hmm, it really varies! Someone in the family always cooks the traditional menu items (mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing, etc), but I like to make my own variations and/or extra vegetarian items. This year I contributed a lentil loaf, sweet potato grits, and roasted brussel sprouts.

4. Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition? 

I love going to pick out the tree and decorate with my family while Christmas music plays in the background. I also love making Christmas cookies from scratch – rolling the dough, dying the icing, etc. When I was young, we had a tradition that everyone would choose one gift from under the tree to open on Christmas Eve, but I’m not really sure why it hasn’t been happening the past few years 😦

5. Real tree, fake tree or no tree? 

Real! We had a fake for years, but one year decided to go real and haven’t turned back. Can’t beat that smell!

6. Christmas pajamas… yay or nay?

YAY! I have been wearing the same pair for 5 years… 🙂

7. Where do you spend the holidays? 

All over! Christmas morning is at my dad’s, then later in the day I usually go to one of my aunt’s houses where my mom’s side of the family is.

8. Food that you always have during the holiday season? Favorite Christmas food/treat?

Aforementioned Christmas cookies, for sure.

9. Open presents all at once or take turns? 

Christmas morning = take turns. One person passes out gifts then we all go around in a circle one at a time. Stockings (best part!) are last, and kind of a free-for-all; everyone just pulls everything out at once. When exchanging with extended family, it’s usually an all at once kind of thing.

10. Favorite Christmas(ish) movie? 

Elf all the way! However, this year was my first year (!) really watching A Christmas Story all the way through, and I have to say I was a fan.

Hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas (or any other holiday you celebrate!!)

Advertisements

Bye Bye, Hair!

Happy weekend! Another long week on my end.

I can see the end in sight, though! One more week then I’m headed back to Texas for the holidays. Icantwait!

However, I am actually looking forward to the rest of my time here. Tomorrow I am going to a family Christmas party! I also have lots of baking on the agenda for this week, as I am planning to make a few treats for my co-workers and friends. A good hunk of my morning was spent deliberating which recipes I wanted to use, and creating lists for the ingredients I’ll need (I’ll do a post with the creations later this week!)

I’m also looking forward to catching up with a couple friends mid-week, and a holiday shopping trip we have planned with the students on Wednesday.

One other bit of random exciting news: I got into the race I mentioned in my previous post – I will be ending the year in style with a half-marathon on New Year’s Eve morning!

Ok, so onto the title of my post! So, last night I did something I never thought I would do – I chopped off nearly 10 inches of my hair!!!

I was talking with my friends a few weeks ago about how annoying my hair has been lately; I was tired of having to braid it all the time to work out and sick of it being tangly all of the time. I was in desparte need of a trim (it had been over a year, I know, I’m terrible).

Anyway, my friend started talking about how she was thinking of donating hers. I had never even considered doing the same with mine, but as soon as she said it I really didn’t need any convincing! We decided sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas we’d do it together.

Everyone I told about my plan asked me if we were going to donate to Locks for Love, but we’d both actually heard it’s a bit of a sketchy organization – that they charge people for their wigs and don’t even necessarily use the hair sent.

After some research of our own through the American Cancer Society website, we decided that Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program was best for us. They are partnered with ACS, the minimum is only 8 inches, and they provide very clear directions about the process. 

Here are the before and after photos! 

Before 

hairdonationbefore12/14/12

hairdonationbefore12/14/12(2)

After: 

hairdonationafter12/14/12

hairdonationafter12/14/12(2)

hairdonationafter12/14/12(3)

So happy with how it turned out! It feels so much better. And I’m hoping at work I will be mistaken for a middle schooler a little less frequently 😉

I’m off to whip something up for tomorrow’s party. I am thinking these will be first?? Peppermint = always a winner! 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks!

San Diego Marathon Recap – Part 2

I left off in my last post right after I had crossed the finish line with a final time of 5:07. Not super stoked about this time, but so happy I finished that I didn’t even care (more about this in reflections at bottom of post).

I had been instructed to go to the Team in Training tent to check in immediately upon finishing. I started to wonder around, looking for the tent and/or anyone I knew. I kept seeing signs, but the actual tent was no where in sight.

On my way over, I was stoked to find some potato chips (not sure why I was craving them so badly), but much of the other post-race food was gone by this point. I really wanted to find out where the bag pick-up was because I was eager to get my phone to call my parents. Fortunately, I spotted it before finding the tent, which was a good thing because the tent was still another good .5 mile away. Seriously?!?

After checking in at TNT, I wanted nothing more than to sit. So sit I did. I spotted some teammates and called them over;  there was no way I was getting up, especially with those potato chips in hand.

We took a couple of photos, then headed to the shuttle back to the hotel.

Winners!

When I got back to my room, I was in a bit of a mental funk. I wanted to take an ice bath, but also knew I needed to eat a real meal. I decided delivery was the way to go, so I started looking up places on my phone while alternately trying to figure out the bath situation. I usually just do really cold water (no ice), but the water was not getting cold, and I definitely did not feel going to the ice machine 1032492 times.

After looking through delivery menus with no success (either places were closed or had nothing I wanted), it occured to me to look at the room service menu. Umm, duh? They had a tofu breakfast burrito that sounded amazing,  but it was post-breakfast hours. Luckily, they were still able to hook it up! Score.

Once I had ordered, I made a single trip to the ice machine to fill up my ice bucket, and I got into a semi-cold bath. By the time I was done, I wasn’t sure if I’d have time to shower before the room service came, so I just changed back into clothes and decided to wait. I felt absolutely disgusting, so as soon as the food came I tried to quickly shower, however that ended up being a mega fail because it took me 19319 minutes to detangle a huge knot in my hair. The braid system failed me.

Finally clean, I was more than ready to eat.

Devoured.

At this point, it was about 3:30. I debated taking a nap, but decided my time would be better spent hanging out with friends for my last few hours there. Plus, I figured then I would actually sleep on the plane. I slowly got my act together and headed to a friend’s room. We laid on her bed and recapped/gossiped for about an hour. Then, it was time to get ready for the Victory Dinner! 

The dinner turned out to be a bit of a bust. It was a come-and-go kind of thing, very informal. Also, vegetarian options were really lacking. It was still fun to see the whole team, though! Lots of congratulations, hugs, and photos were had. 

After a while, everyone was ready to move on. They wanted to go get drinks elsewhere, but I decided to head back to the hotel because we were leaving in about an hour for the airport and I needed to finish packing and do some stretching. 

Luckily/coincidentally, my two coaches were on the same flight as me. I was absolutely exhausted by the time we got to the airport. After going through security, we had a bit of time before our flight, and decided to get some beverages to help us sleep a little easier 😉

Hydration Station

The flight was not so great. I slept, but not restfully. I woke up several times and could not get comfortable. When we landed, I just wanted to get into my bed. I actually started to feel really nauseous in the cab back to my apartment, but eventually it subsided and I was able to get to work.

Everyone was really understanding at work and tried to help me out as much as possible, which was great because the slightest movements were quite a task.

As soon as work was over, I came home and ate lunch, and promptly passed out for 3 hours. It was a fabulous nap 🙂

Since then, I feel like I have definitely caught up on my sleep. The first few days my legs (especially quads) were pretty sore – stairs were a total joke. Now, I can go up and down them at a normal pace and they don’t feel sore at all. My knee is definitely not healed, so I am going to continue physical therapy and give it as much rest as it needs – although I am already getting runner envy. I have been taking it easy this week and going to yoga a lot though, which I definitely feel has helped. 

Reflections

1. I am so happy to have been able to have this experience.

2. I would definitely recommend Team in Training to anyone training for their first endurance event. First of all, they really take care of you and prepare you in every way possible. Additionally, they are such an amazingly supportive group of people, and I feel like I have really formed some great friendships that will last beyond this race.

3. I would definitely like to do another marathon sometime in the next year or so, after my body has totally recovered. As I mentioned, I wasn’t stoked about my time, but given my injury all I really cared about was finishing and I am so happy I achieved that goal. That being said, I definitely have even more motivation to see what my body can do when it is not injured

4. Things I would do differently next time:

  • Not be injured during training
  • At least two 20mile runs beforehand – I don’t think the one 18-miler this time was enough to prepare my body for the 26.2 mile distance
  • Yoga at least once a week

And that concludes my recap and reflections – hope you enjoyed reading them!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Things I’m Loving Lately #1

Sooo usually sometimes I don’t really have a cohesive topic for my posts.

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of people making posts about things they are currently into. I LOVE this idea, because to me it’s cohesive randomness.

Here’s a look into my current loves (in no particular order)

  1. Smoothies! Especially in my new to-go cup(CVS, $7.99)…it’s freezable so it keeps them cold extra long. Will be perfect for summer camp! *planning to post very soon about my fave smoothies!!
  2. Mangos . They are so darn good. But, I HATE cutting them. Any tips?
  3. Bedside fan. I always use this for the noise when I sleep, but I put it on my nightstand this week to keep me cool…no idea our apt would be this hot already – it’s not that hot outside

  4. Tofu. I’m not really a huge tofu fan… I’ve always liked it but don’t think to buy it that often. That may change soon… I made followed these directions the other night, and have been eating it in different ways all week! Love the versatility...and the texture created by preparing it this way!

    Cookin’

    Done! + leftovers for the week

    W/ roasted veggies & balsamic vinegar

    On top of salad


  5. This ice pack. For making me forget about my knee pain. Temporary bliss.
  6. Friends! Are you really surprised?
  7. Older country songs. The radio has been driving me nuts lately. Today I was in the car for an obnoxious amount of time and dug out an old mix CD that had a lot of country on it…some faves: Billy Currington – I Got a Feelin’  , George Strait – Check Yes or No
That is all for now! I’m off to bed – can’t believe tomorrow I’ll be packing up for San Diego!!
Goodnight!

Let’s Play Catch-Up!

Once again, it has been 103189 years since I last blogged.

I do have a LOT to catch up on, so I’ll just dive into it!

Running / Knee Status 

Apparently, the last time we chatted was before my longest run. The good news is that it went well! I didn’t have much pain until the last few miles.

The bad news is that my run this past weekend (about 10.5 miles) was TERRIBLE. My knee felt awful beginning at mile 4 and lasting until the end. I stopped and stretched several times, and almost threw in the towel, but no one was available to pick me up at the moment. I stretched and iced, and then tried running again today. It started to bother me pretty quickly…not a terrible pain, but definitely noticeable.

Needless to say, I am really discouraged and totally freaking out about the fact that the marathon is in 12 DAYS!

Weekend Highs 

One of the reasons I haven’t written in so long is that I was at home this past weekend…I was having way too much fun to be tied down to the computer!

The trip was actually planned a while ago – mainly around going to the Dave Matthews Concert

But, let’s start from the beginning of the trip. I arrived on Friday night, and was picked up by my aunt and mom (thanks guys!). We went straight to get our nails done, which was a belated b-day gift. I got the gel nails, which I was super excited about, as I had never had them done before. They came out great! 🙂

On Saturday, I was up bright and early to run, then I headed to the lake for a couple of hours to ride around on the boat with the fam. Enter: sunburn. Whoops! 

After that, I went home and got ready for the concert! I went with my friend Matt, his older sister, and brother-in-law, who are all huge DMB fans. We arrived a couple of hours early to tailgate, which was a great time.

Then came time for the actual concert, which was just as amazing as I expected it to be.

Braid twins!

Overall, this was definitely the most fun night I’ve had in monthsTotally carefree and happy. With a side of grape vodka 🙂 

I think I’ll leave it at that for now – I promise to return later this week! Cross my heart.

Have a great night! 

Life Lately

Hi friends! 

Hope you all had a wonderful week! 

I haven’t had anything too eventful going on, but I do have a few updates on the knee situation along with some recipes I’ve neglected to post about! 

Running/Knee, Lately

The knee itself seems to be doing better. I’ve still been going to physical therapy twice a week, and the other day my therapist said my IT band was really knotted up. She worked on it a lot, which was painful, but probably necessary. Bruising occurred. 

Sexyyyy

The past few times I’ve run I’ve been feeling a LOT of tightness in my left hip flexor. Like, it hurts the next day too. I’m a bit worried about how it will do tomorrow for our 20 miler (!) so I’m taking it easy tonight and stretching a LOT. Tomorrow’s run is our longest before the marathon, which is only about 3 weeks away! AHH!!

Food, Lately

Last week, I made this recipe for Quinoa Falafel. I didn’t make the sauce, and swapped the sesame seeds for chia seeds (didn’t have sesame). The flavor was great, however they didn’t really hold together very well. I think next time I’d probably bake them in the oven for a while after searing them on the stove.

Processing

Frying

Enjoying!

Last week, I also made White Bean Basil Pasta that I’d bookmarked a while ago from Clean Eating Chelsey

It was good, except I had a total goof up with the ingredients. I opted to buy store-bought Sun-dried Tomatoes, which would have probably tasted fine, had they not been Smoked Sun-dried Tomatoes. Definitely changed the flavor for the whole dish. However, I do loooove me some fresh basil, so I will definitely try this again with the proper tomatoes!
Finally, the other day I made some Breaded Baked Tofu. I have baked tofu several times before, though I have never attempted a breadcrumb coating. You can find the recipe I generally followed  here. My only change was to make my own breadcrumbs by toasting two pieces of gluten-free brown rice bread and then throwing them in the food processor.

I’m not sure why, but the breadcrumb mixture did not stick well at all. Also, this probably sounds weird, but the breadcrumb mixture alone tasted wonderful! I kind of wanted to eat straight-up it with a spoon.

Dippin & flippin

Last night, I had this with a side of sweet potato fries. 

Tonight, I had it with a Mexican-style salad. 

Salad topped w/ tofu, red bell pepper, avocado, and quinoa w/spices

I love making things (like this tofu) that are versatile – a simple change and it’s like a whole new meal! Definitely keeps things from getting too repetitive 😉

Welp, I’m finally off to bed…way too late of course… I definitely foresee a post-run nap tomorrow  😉

Goodnight!

Birthday Weekend and Girls on the Run Volunteering!

Wowza, it’s been awhile! I meant to post a few days ago, but life was busy

Birthday

As I mentioned, my birthday was on Friday!

I baked up a batch of these cookies for my class. Coincidentally, the other aide that works in my class had her birthday the day before mine, and made chocolate chip blondies, so I wanted to make something different. Thumbprints came to mind, and coincidentally Angela had just posted this recipe! 

Mixin’ it up

Finished product

They turned out delicious! I didn’t roll them in the coconut because I didn’t have any. My only complaint was that they were very doughy – I had expected them to have more of a bite. I think it was because either a) I didn’t bake them long enough, or b) I stored them in a plastic container. Side note: I’ve read before that soft cookie storage = plastic containers, while hard cookie storage = glass containers. Oh well, I will just have to make them again another time 😉 

My class sang to me and a few students made me some very cute cards/drawings. The student I work with even brought me flowers – so sweet!!! They smell like perfume.

In other birthday-related news, my dad e-mailed me on Monday, asking if I wanted a visitor for the weekend. I replied with, “sure!” and just like that, his trip was booked! I was super excited, because I didn’t have much planned for the weekend after having had celebrated with my friends already. Plus, he had not yet seen my apartment since I moved here in October!

I mentioned trying to find some tickets on StubHub for the Red Sox game on Friday, but my dad took it upon himself to score some tickets via a friend of the family. He works in the box office and sometimes has tickets available at the last minute. By a very lucky chance, he was able to get us tickets in the FRONT ROW OF THE GREEN MONSTER!!! Anyone who knows/lives in Boston knows that this is pretty awesome! 

My aunt, uncle and two cousins joined us, and we all had a fabulous time (despite the less than stellar weather) 

Saturday

We were up and at ’em early on Saturday, because I had a training run with TNT. My dad drove me to our meet up spot (a large room in a local college), and hung out at a coffee shop until I was done. The run was 105 minutes (about 10.5mi), and went by very quickly. I am happy to report that I didn’t feel much pain at all! Although my left hip flexor was SUPER sore…I thought I may have pulled it, but it actually feels a lot better today. I did a quick change and stretch, then reunited with my dad. 

From there, we went straight to the Girls on the Run 5k! Here’s a bit from the website about the GOTR program. 

Girls on the Run® is a 501(c)3 positive youth development program which combines an interactive curriculum and running to inspire self-respect and healthy lifestyles in pre-teen girls. Our core curriculum addresses many aspects of girls’ development – their physical, emotional, mental and social well-being. Lessons provide girls with the tools to make positive decisions and to avoid risky adolescent behaviors.

Girls on the Run® is a life-changing, experiential learning program for girls age eight to thirteen years old. The program combines training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The goals of the programs are to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development.

Pretty awesome, right? I have been trying to get involved with the organization for months, and committed to volunteering for the 5k event a few weeks ago. Originally I was supposed to help with face painting and hair prep, but one of the teams was delayed because the subway shut down, so not many girls were there early. Instead, I manned the water stop with another girl.

The whole event was fabulous! It was very well organized and there were tons of decorations (lots of PINK) and other various signs of encouragement to support the girls. I was amazed at how many people participated! Talk about inspiring

**Previous picture found on organization’s website

After volunteering, my dad and I headed back to my apartment so I could shower and pack up for my grandparents’ house. We stayed there for the night, and had a very relaxing evening just hanging out and catching up with each other. We stuck with the relaxing theme and lounged around in the morning, until it was time to head to the airport so my dad could fly back to Texas

What a great weekend! Thanks again for coming, dad! 🙂 

I just got done watching Desperate Housewives (unreasonably sad it’s almost over), and now I’m going to shower and crash! Goodnight!