Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014, In Review!

Oh 2014, what a year it's been!  We've had so many highlights. I went back through my blog to pick out a few of my favorites from this year. Enjoy this year's summary, and enjoy your last night of 2014!

A big theme throughout my posts from January, February, and even March was SNOW! We were lucky enough to enjoy many snow days last winter. I am beginning to wonder where they have been this school year. I hope they find us soon! During one of those early January snows I remember binge watching episodes of Orange is the New Black. I recently heard somewhere that Netflix is one of the biggest game changers of 2014, and I have to agree. Binging on OITNB and Breaking Bad were great breaks from reality. And our Breaking Bad finale party was a fun night to begin our fall.

Spring was full of big achievements! Matt graduated with his Masters in History from George Mason. It was a great celebration of a lot of hard work, late and stressful nights and weekends. Also in the spring, I completed my first ten mile race and half marathon! In the realm of big accomplishments might also fall my relinquishment of coffee, not to say there haven't been some cheat days :)

The summer of 2014 was my best in a long time. For the first time in a long time I chose not to work during my time off from school. We started the summer off with a trip to Dewey Beach for a few days. Soon after we drove to Boston to celebrate Matt's sister's wedding. The rest of the summer was filled with lots of funsies with friends around town and by the pool. I also very pleased with the amount of leisurely reading I did. There was also some time spent being tourists in our own town. Most recently, as DC tourists, we were able to get up close and personal with the White House.

Of course no year would be complete without our families or our friends. We had plenty of game nights and other events to keep us occupied on the weekends in Virginia. Visits to Massachusetts and Pittsburgh, or visits from our families, for holidays and other exciting times, are always our favorites.

Going back to school after a fun summer is usually a little bit of a drag, but this year I have had some exciting things going on to make my time at work a little more pleasurable. I was given my own classroom to use for my lessons! And I have also been enjoying holding some book clubs with my fifth graders. This fall Matt and I also found the illusive Bull Run Mountain and hiked to the top not once, but twice.

I am so looking forward to going through our Boston Baked Bean Pot tonight to find some more happy memories. I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for us! If our plans for January are any indication, I know it will be a great year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Marathon Monday

My goal this past week was simple. Just remember to do some miles. I knew things might get a little lazy around here having checked off my last really long run, combined with winter break, combined with traveling for Christmas. Not the most motivating factors coming down the homestretch. Thankfully, I kept up with my training schedule pretty well.

Monday and Tuesday, while still in Virginia, I did two 5k runs around my neighborhood. While I was running I realized I hadn't done any short runs in my neighborhood in forever because of daylight savings time. It was nice to be done so quickly compared to my weekend long runs. Wednesday I took a walk around my parents' neighborhood with my mom. This is when I was seriously thankful I don't have to do training in Pittsburgh. The hills are ridiculous.

On Friday I wanted to do four miles, but the thought of having to run the hills in my parents' neighborhood was way too much to handle. I dragged my mom and Matt to the Franklin Regional High School track to make things manageable, and reminisce about the class of 2002 (kidding). After about five laps on the track, things got boring. I then decided to 'run the complex' (a favorite of any former FR Lady Panther, kidding again) to get a little variety in my life. After my second mile around, I opted to finish out on the flat track. I ended my 13.51 miles for the week with a walk to the grocery store on Saturday afternoon. I can't believe how quickly time is passing, time off work will do that. Only 11 days until the half marathon, and less than that until Florida!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Recipe of the Week!

Bacon Wrapped Dates
Matt and I made these little treats after being inspired by a night out at Founding Farmers. We ordered them as an appetizer and decided they could be easily replicated at home. We made ours without almonds, but I recently had some at a Christmas party with almonds, and they were good as well. These are super easy to make, and are a nice addition to any party. It's also something a little different than the usual party food.

Ingredients:
12 pitted dates
12 pieces cream cheese (I cut the cream cut to match the size of the dates)
6 slices bacon, cut crosswise in half
12 almonds (optional)

Directions:
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Stuff 1 piece of cream cheese and 1 almond (optional) into each date, then wrap one piece of bacon around each date. Arrange dates, bacon seam down, on a shallow baking pan.

Bake 5 minutes, then turn dates over with tongs and bake until bacon is crisp, 5 to 6 minutes more. Drain on a paper towel.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Marathon Monday

Lots of miles happened this week. I am pretty happy with almost all of my outings this week too. I started off with an 8 miler on Sunday. I was dragging my feet getting started, but knew it had to be done. Matt helped me get on the road by offering to do some of the miles with me. That was super helpful. Pretty soon after getting started I knew I had too many clothes on. It was a super sunny day and it was relatively warm. Quite the opposite of the week before. Matt stayed with me for my first 3.5 miles, but then we went our separate ways. I had a hard time toward the end, electing to walk most of the 8th mile, but I was happy to have finished the eight and check it off the list!

I did a short run on Monday, continuing to take advantage of the nice weather. The run was pretty uneventful, but one of my quickest paces. It made me feel a lot better about how I finished my miles the day before. Wednesday was the return of my buddy runner! So exciting. We got a late start after having to attend an after school meeting. We planned to do two since it was late, but got to a little over three before we were really running in the dark. This is the best part of having a running buddy...even when you are feeling lazy (like Sunday), or have a decent excuse (Wednesday), having a buddy provides a little extra motivation and stay accountable to your training plan.

Friday was my last day of school for this year. My running buddy and I decided that we should do our last longest run on Saturday, our first day of break, to get it checked off the list. I can't say I was too excited to get out from under the blanket I was laying on the couch with, but the thought of tapering after this run after was exciting. At about .5 miles in, we saw one of our students who we tease all the time about ringing his doorbell to join us for a run. When he saw us, he turned and sprinted in the opposite direction. He ran into his garage and hid by the car. He then decided to join us for a half mile jog around the block. Hilarious. It was a training first. Our last ten miler brought me to 24.33 miles for the week! Only 18 more days until Disney. The time is going to fly with all the excitement in between!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Marathon Monday

This past week's theme: WIND. Oh my goodness was it windy. You might remember that I was having a rough go of it last week. I rebounded pretty well. I did my long run for the week last Sunday. That's when I thought it was windy (Wednesday hadn't happened yet). It was pretty chilly out, but kind of sunny. I got dressed and stood on my porch for a couple minutes to make sure my outfit was weather appropriate. I thought it was, but then I left my porch and found out I probably should have a warmer top on. The first two miles of that run was like running in a wind tunnel, but the wind was swirling. Crazy. During mile six I think the wind chill was frostbite like. I was very happy to finish after eight miles.

My other two runs this week were after school on Monday and Wednesday. Monday was cold, but fine. I just did a quick 3.14 miles around my school. Wednesday was so cold and so windy. There was one point on my Wednesday run where I swear I wasn't moving forward. The wind was so strong. I felt like maybe my miles should count double. I was so disappointed on Friday...I wanted to try to do some miles, but when I went to go change after work I realized I had forgotten my running stuff at home. Ooops! I guess 14.77 miles is better than the 7ish last week. There is now under one month left until my race, 25 days to be exact!

On a side note, I was feeling lazy and not so motivated on Saturday evening when I was thinking about my long run for Sunday. Then I got this very kind text from a friend. Big thanks to Chris Miller for helping me find some optimism and helping me get my self in gear.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas at The White House


The Cross Hall and Grand Foyer with the Blue Room tree in the background
Yesterday Matt and I went to the White House! Back in July, when we were on a mission to be tourists in our own city, we asked for a tour. I suggested Christmas time so that we could see it all decorated. Little did we know at the time that it would be perfect timing with the program that we went to at the Archives on Thursday. The program definitely helped me spot details and know a little bit extra background information.

The Blue Room's 18 foot tree, decorated with the theme America the Beautiful
Close up of the 2,000 ornaments
This post is going to be few on words and heavy on pictures. Overall the tour was only OK. It is self guided and you don't get to see much of the White House. I suppose security really should be the priority. And speaking of security, it took us longer to actually get into the White House than the time we actually spent inside. Those things mentioned, I'm still glad we went. The decorations are very beautiful and the whole place smelled so good. It really just smelled like you think Christmas should smell! And obviously it's really neat to be inside. I leave you with the rest of the pictures and the details I remember :)

The White House Library
Vermeil Room
The China Room, decorated with Gingerbread Cookies

The East Room
The State Dining Room displayed the decorating theme this year, Winter Wonderland
The 300 pound Gingerbread White House 
A close-up of the trees in the Cross Hall and Grand Foyer
The icicles, snowflakes, and stars on the trees and trims represent a child's wonder
In front of The White House, we didn't even have to jump the fence!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Love

This week was so busy! My little friends at school are keeping me on my toes, and I'm sure they will be making sure to do so next week too. I have definitely earned my weekend. We are taking a trip to the White House tomorrow! I'm really excited, and I can't wait to share more about it on my blog soon. Have a great weekend!

{ONE}

Soup Exchange Party. I read about {this} idea for a winter party on another blog earlier this week. I love this idea! I'm thinking about trying with my friends after the holidays. Anyone want to join me?

{TWO}



Marcel the Shell. This might be the most ridiculous thing I have seen, but also the cutest. I was laughing out loud on multiple occasions. I even watched the other two videos. I don't even like YouTube videos. Oh, Marcel.

{THREE}



Our Christmas Tree. I was feeling a little grinchy and had kinda decided to forgo a Christmas tree this year. I thought we wouldn't be home enough to enjoy it, and it's always such a process to bring all the stuff out and then to put it all away. I had a change of heart last weekend and decided we would forgo all other decor, but put up the tree. I suppose it was a good idea.

{FOUR}

Our Fireplace. The day we put up the tree, we also decided to turn on our fireplace. Best idea ever! We have been enjoying it ever since. I'm only slightly terrified about the bill I am going to receive as a result.

{FIVE}

The whole panel
History of the Holidays at the White House. Last night Matt and I went to the Archives to listen to a panel talk about decorating the White House for the holidays. It was the perfect event for us. It had history for Matt, and decorating and Tim Gunn for me. The other panelists included Lynda Johnson Robb (daughter of LBJ), Genevieve Gorder from HGTV, former White House Chief Usher Gary Walters, and Coleen Christian Burke, author of Christmas with the First LadiesEach of the panelists had some experience being in the White House during the holidays. My favorite part was listening to the stories of the White House Usher and the author of the book. I really liked that even though the program was very historical the panel kept it funny and entertaining. It was a lot of fun!

Lynda Johnson Robb's stocking from LBJ's last year in office



Monday, December 8, 2014

Marathon Monday

So here's the truth. Sometimes I still strongly dislike running. Sometimes I have no motivation. Sometimes the weather is crappy. And sometimes miles just don't really fit into the schedule. Last week was alllll of these things. Then there was the fact that I was just being super negative about training.

I just felt very 'done' with the training process last week. I was wishing I could have already run the half marathon and just not have to worry about getting these miles in. I think my schedule was just off with traveling to Pittsburgh and then hosting Matt's family for an extended Thanksgiving celebration. I'm glad to say I am already back on track and in a more positive mood this week. I need that attitude to last at least another 32 days!

The very short two runs that I did do last week were after school. Neither of them were great, and one was in the rain. I'm disappointed in my 7.16 miles, but at the same time, if I'm trying to be positive, I guess that's better than none. Here's to a better month ahead!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thanksgiving Break


We had a wonderful time visiting Pittsburgh over the Thanksgiving holiday. In addition to spending Thanksgiving day with our family, we were also able to take advantage of some Pittsburgh culture and a last minute side trip to Penn State. 

Warhol's Silver Clouds
We ended up getting a little bit of a bonus day the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Matt had already taken the day off from work so we could leave around lunch time when I was finished with school. We changed our minds on Tuesday evening when winter weather was predicted for our route to Pittsburgh. We decided to take our extra day and spend it at the Andy Warhol Museum downtown.
Silk Screenings
The museum is seven floors completely dedicated to the life and artwork of Warhol. It is recommended that you take the elevator to the top of the museum and work your way down. That's what we did. What I really liked about the museum was the way that it was organized, each floor showed a decade of Andy Warhol's life. I also liked going and looking at Warhol's artwork that was recognizable and relatable to someone like me. I felt like the museum also did a good job showcasing Warhol's other endeavors and the events in his life as well. They also made connections between the artwork and American culture at the time. 

Warhol's Screen Tests
On Friday we were able to go to the Penguins game with my parents. We had tickets that were right on the ice. We had a good time watching and feeling like we were part of the action. We had a lot of hockey players being shoved into us and pucks flying at the glass. It was a little bit scary, but definitely really cool. I don't think there is any other sport where you can get so close to the action.





Saturday we took an impromptu trip to Penn State. My sister was given some extra tickets and Matt and I decided to take advantage of them. We arrived in State College right before game time, so we didn't have much time to spend in town or tailgating, but since it was so cold that probably worked out for the best. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see a very good game, but it's always fun and exciting to be in Beaver Stadium and to visit Penn State!



After the game we drove back to Virginia. It was a long day, but definitely worth it. Now we are back into the work routine and looking forward to Christmas break! Only 2.5 more weeks!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Marathon Monday

2014 Pittsburgh Turkey Trot
My training schedule was quite action packed this past week! I started out my week with a long run on Sunday. It was a little rough keeping the motivation to get out of bed and get started, but once I got going things went very well. I did 10 miles...the longest I have gone by myself in a long time. And it was at my fastest pace ever for that distance! 

Tuesday I was determined to get some miles in before leaving for our Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh. I dragged my friend along with me. We had just enough time for two miles before the sun was gone. The sunset that night was beautiful. Below is just one stage of it. 

Benefits of Daylight Savings Running
Thanksgiving morning I had signed up for the Pittsburgh Turkey Trot 5 miler. Last Thanksgiving I participated in the 5k race and it was FREEZING. I was very happy that while it wasn't warm, it wasn't 8 degrees. The weather ended up actually being pretty close to perfect for running. I really enjoyed the first 3-4 miles of the race, but after that it got a little redundant. We kept having to loop around the same area. I finished the race in under my goal time. The race also made me really hungry for Thanksgiving dinner!

Finally, on Saturday I decided to try the treadmill in my parents' basement. It was a nice reminder that the treadmill is just not for me. I stuck it out for four miles. All the while fretting that I would fall off or bore myself to death. Luckily, neither happened. Later that day I added four more miles gallivanting the Penn State campus.

I am also pleased to report that the beginning of this week brought us into the threes for my Runcation countdown! After my 25.2 miles this week we are down to 38 days! So exciting!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Recipe of the Week!

Turkey Cheesecake
Don't know what to do with your leftover turkey from Thursday? Well this is delicious and different. This fabulous recipe is brought to you by the Rimkus Family. I know turkey cheesecake may not sound the most appealing, but trust me, it's good. This recipe is also very simple to make. The hardest part is waiting patiently for it to finish baking. It can also be made with chicken. If you have a springform pan, that would be the best thing to use. My mom didn't have one, so I just used a stone pie dish and it worked out just fine.

Ingredients:
12 oz. French onion dip
Three 8 oz. packages cream cheese
4 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp dill
1.5-2 pounds shredded, cooked turkey
Cranberry sauce

Directions:
Beat together cream cheese, onion dip, dill, and flour. Once combined beat in one egg at a time. Fold in turkey. Place batter in a lightly greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour and a half, or until a knife comes out clean. Serve with cranberry sauce on the side.



Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving!

My Entire Family
We had a fabulous Thanksgiving yesterday! For the first time in a long time every member of my family was home and we celebrated together. Our dinner was delicious and the company was even better. I only wish there was a videographer. I'm fairly certain the event could have been picked up as a reality show for Bravo. We are all very lucky to have each other and be able to celebrate as one large family.

The Girl Cousins 
To commemorate the occasion we had to take an entire family photo. Again, it should have been a video instead of a single picture. In case you are wondering who took the photo, it was the ever so lucky significant others of two of my cousins. I'm not positive they will be coming back for Christmas festivities. 

All the cousins and Grandma Nancy
Earlier in the morning some of us participated in the Pittsburgh Turkey Trot. I will be posting more about this as a part of Marathon Monday. It was MUCH better weather than last Thanksgiving. I was definitely thankful for that. It was also great to be able to work up an appetite for all the great food later in the day. Overall, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with so much to be thankful for this year. More to come on other outings in Pittsburgh during our visit soon!!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Marathon Monday

Last week I was busy racking up the miles. This week, not so much. Just a little over 13 miles total. My long run this past week was only to be six miles, a step back from last week's nine miler. That combined with the fact that we had some unseasonably COLD weather didn't prove well for even coming close to last week's accomplishments.

Sunday we did our 6 miles around my neighborhood. For a change of pace I decided we should do the route backwards. It's always so weird doing stuff like that. All the hills you think you are running up never seem hilly going down them, yet all the regular downhills seem like mountains to get up.

My other two runs, on the manageable weather days this week, were just as uneventful. I was pleased with my pace though. And it was exciting to use my new headphones, which very happily stayed in my ears. Upgrade! The two days included a little over three miles on Monday and four on Thursday leaving right from school to try to beat the sun setting. If nothing else it's nice to have somewhere different to run around rather than my neighborhood or my friend's.

The best part of this past running week was entering into the 4's on my countdown. Only 46 days until half marathon funsies!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Friday Love, On Saturday

I went out last night! I hardly ever (more like never) go to Happy Hour, especially on a Friday when I can barely make it to bed without falling asleep on the couch. So my {Friday Love} didn't get finished on Friday, here it is on a chilly Saturday morning. Have a great weekend!

{ONE}

Mr. Terupt Falls Again. I talked a little bit before about how I was starting book clubs at school this year. I LOVED my first one. We read 'Because of Mr. Terupt.' Last weekend I read the sequel, 'Mr. Terupt Falls Again.' Sadly I will not be reading this with my group (it has too many teenage issues), but I am looking forward to sharing the first Mr. Terupt book with a new group soon.

{TWO}

Cousins. I LOVE my cousins so, so much! I can't imagine my childhood, or life today, without them. I saw this {funny article} about which cousins are coming to Thanksgiving and it made me laugh. All my cousins are 'the good cousins' and we have the best time at every holiday. Can't wait til Thursday!

{THREE}

New Shoes. Brooks came out with their new Adrenaline running shoes a few weeks ago, and I was more than ready for a new pair of running shoes. The two pairs that I had been wearing were past their prime. I actually bought two new pairs due to the amount of miles that will be put on them the next six weeks. I love, love the colors they did this year! What a difference some cushioning can make :)


{FOUR}

Ciabatta, Pancetta, Chestnut Stuffing. I am a stuffing hater. I can't describe to you how much I dislike the stuff. It's always so mushy and chicken broth tasting. Then one fateful Thanksgiving years ago my sister made {this stuffing}. My life was changed. This stuff is good. So good. I'm telling you if you make this, you will never make another stuffing in your life. It has REAL bread, drastically improving the texture, and the flavor combination of the pancetta and rosemary can't be better. It's a Thanksgiving miracle!

{FIVE}

Sport Clip Earbuds. You might remember the tragic story of my headphones breaking mid-run last weekend. Thankfully, I was able to find myself a new pair and they are quite an improvement. They stay in my ears without me having to adjust them regularly. It's great!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Marathon Monday

Last Sunday started my training week off strong. My running partner and I planned to do eight miles around the lovely rolling hills of Bristow complete with water stop and bathroom break. We started off with our typical five mile loop around my neighborhood. We stopped back at my house for what was supposed to be just a couple minutes, but for some reason decided to take our good old time having snacks and chatting. Once we finally went back outside to do the remaining three miles, starting straight uphill, three more miles seemed like a lot. Ironically, though, at the last minute we decided to tack on an extra mile at the end to give us nine for the day!

We had last Tuesday off for Veteran's Day so we decided to take advantage of our daylight hours and do another five or so miles. I went to my friend's neighborhood this day. She decided to try to change our route. I swear to you it was all uphill. I felt like I was on one of those switchback roads going up a mountain. I was struggling. Looking back, though, it might not have been the smartest to do 5.61 miles after doing our longest training run a few days before. A three mile run might have been a better decision. Lesson learned.

I ended my training week with two shorter runs. Friday I went immediately after school for a little over three miles. Not only are we suffering from what I feel like are extremely short days, but a serious cold front took over at the end of last week. Friday evening's run was COLD. My legs and arms were so cold by the time I was done, but I kept reminding myself that anything is better than those hot, summer runs.

Saturday afternoon I kinda forced myself to do 3.5 more miles to get myself over 20 miles for the week. I was moving along the first half mile when my RunKeeper lady told me that I was actually moving along quite quickly. I decided I would try to break my pace record at this point. So I got myself in the zone. I was still doing well about a mile and a half in when tragedy occurred. My headphones cut out in one ear. I tried to jiggle the wire around to fix it. That's when the other ear cut out. I stopped to try to fix everything, but they were officially dead. This not only means I couldn't hear my RunKeeper lady that helps me know how I am doing, but also my music which helps me keep my mind off the ideas that I might be dying. It was a challenge, but I was determined and I beat my former fastest pace/mile by 18 seconds! It was exciting. I was also excited to purchase new headphones the next day. Whats even more exciting is that Saturday's run bumped me up to 21.35 miles for the week, and there's only 53 more days until Florida (next week the days will start with a 4)!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Recipe of the Week!

Pizza Bombs
So a couple weeks ago Penn State had a night game and I decided this warranted eventful cooking. Cooking that Matt should also be involved in...I told him he should pick a recipe and we could make it for the game. He chose these pizza bombs. I thought it sounded easy and it was good football food. What could go wrong? Wellllll apparently quite a bit. I will never make these again. I like the idea, but the ingredients were all wrong. The dough portion was the worst part. There was no way to seal the cheese and pepperoni inside. I was expecting these to be more of a stuffed dough ball, but in reality it was more like pepperoni and cheese on a dry bun. Lesson learned...don't believe the internet and trust your own culinary skills. I'm sure this little story just convinced you to make these so the recipe in below :)

Ingredients:
12 frozen white dinner rolls
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
24 bite size pieces of mozzarella
1 package pepperoni
Marinara for serving

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Place 12 dinner rolls in the microwave on defrost for about 2 minutes (or until dough is no longer frozen, but not cooked). Cut dinner rolls in half. Cut the mozzarella cheese into 24 even pieces, about ½ ounce each.

In a large bowl melt butter. Add Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Stir to combine. Set aside.

Flatten and stretch each piece of dough. Add pepperoni and a piece of cheese. Pull the edges of the dough together to create a ball. 

Place pizza bombs in the bowl with the butter mixture. Lightly toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (reserving a little for the last few minutes in the oven). Place pizza bombs in prepared dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese the last 5 minutes of bake time. Remove from oven and serve with marinara or alone. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

11.Eleven.11, Three Years Later


Three years ago today Matthew and I got engaged. (I really feels like it's been so much longer!) It was quite an eventful day. You can read about it {here}. It's my very favorite blog post. I am happy to say that today I woke up feeling MUCH better than I did on November 11, 2011. We celebrated by going to lunch and to the movies. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Marathon Monday

This week in training started off with a lot of drama. Weeks ago, before things got serious, I might have suggested we go hike Bull Run Mountain with some friends. Matt decided to hold me to that idea. I was forced to go hiking even though it was SO COLD and I was in serious fear of injuring myself and thus forfeiting all the training I have been working on. I was not even close to a happy hiker that day. I might have had a point, though. I slipped about 34 times and full out fell down good old Bull Run mountain during the course of the morning. Luckily, I came out mostly unscathed. I was glad that was over. In any event that hike counts toward my miles for the week.

Tuesday I had a different work schedule because of conferences. I was able to do five miles before going into work for the day. It was great to be able to do that since the daylight is hard to come by recently. This daylight savings business is really, really putting a major damper on things. That was pretty much the theme of the rest of the week. Both Wednesday and Friday I planned to do at least three miles after school. Even with trying to leave in a timely fashion after putting everyone on the bus and going to my running buddy's neighborhood closer to school, three miles still ends in the dark, which is scary and not fun.

I guess you could say it's been a week of lows (daylight savings and that rough hike) and highs (multiple days of buddy running!). This week did not contain a long run, but I still covered 16.47 miles. Only 60 days left until Disney, which seems so close (and SO EXCITING)!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Love

{ONE}

Humans of New York. Occasionally I scroll by a post by them on Facebook. I enjoy reading the stories. I saw {this one} earlier this week and it made me laugh. 

{TWO}



Holiday Cups & Holiday Drinks at Starbucks. Even though I don't frequent Starbucks, or even drink much caffeine anymore, the appearance of the holiday cups at Starbucks is still exciting. I had a good excuse to stop by this week and have one :) 

{THREE}

Masterchef Junior. A new season of the show premiered this week. I have never regularly watched Masterchef or Masterchef Junior, but Wednesday night's viewing was a gem. These kids make my recipes look like a joke. They mean business. Their stuff is restaurant quality and it's seriously beautiful. There are also two girls on there that are just too much. Abby and Oona...check them out. 

{FOUR}

Kitchen Library. Two of my favorite things combined. What a {great idea}. 

{FIVE}

Facebook Messenger. Seriously. I've read some articles about how people HATE messenger with a violent passion. I, however, don't know if I could go on without it. It's free texting, friends! This statement may be dramatic, but there was a time when I was in big trouble for over texting people out of network. Facebook messenger has saved me. Thank you Mark Zuckerberg. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Marathon Monday

I swear the fall foliage was better looking than this.
Last week started with my Sunday long run. My goal was to do eight miles. In reality I was OK with only getting to six, so my goal was really more like at least six, no more than eight. I also asked Matt if he wanted to come along, and he surprisingly said yes. Historically, running together has not gone well. He goes too fast, I go too long. It's never worked out, but I am happy to report this time things went quite smoothly. At least the running together. I, however, was struggling. I knew two miles in that I was dehydrated, but kept making myself go. Really not the best idea. I ended up having to stop and collect myself a couple times. We stopped at about seven miles when I could take no more. 

Tuesday after school I was really not feeling it, but knew I needed to do something. I wanted to just get a couple miles in, but as I was gallivanting my neighborhood I started thinking about the rest of my week and realized that time was limited the rest of my days. I forced myself into doing a little over four miles because I knew the time wouldn't be there later in the week. Toward the end, some lady started being my cheerleader. She was telling me what a great job I was doing and then telling me all about the other places she had seen me that afternoon. 

Thursday I had a whole bunch of stuff to do, so I left school pretty quickly and got my run out of the way. I was super excited about my pace, one second off my fastest pace ever. I think I should run under pressure more often. 

This weekend we had Sunday plans to go hiking, so I did my long run on Saturday. Two long runs in one week technically. Matt joined me again for this one. I made up a new route and hoped for the best. After getting through the first couple miles things were going really well. I felt super good and the temperature was much cooler than the weekend before. I ended up getting my fastest pace for six miles which was exciting. This brought me up to 20.39 miles for the week. Only 67 days left until Disney...seems so close, yet so far!!!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Recipe of the Week!

BIG NEWS! Matt cooked! The rest of this post is written by him. It's With a Little Flare's first celebrity chef posting :)

Chicken Teryaki
This recipe was a challenge for me.  Its actually pretty simple but my cooking repertoire is not that extensive.  It includes salad, pasta, and juice.  This is not the start of the list it is the list. That’s the reason the recipe came from “Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen Cookbook,” which includes things like “Mom Tips.”  My total lack of cooking skills not withstanding, I thought it was time that I make dinner since I am the beneficiary of all the other great recipes on the blog. It also was Columbus Day, which I had off but Erin still had to go into work.  The recipe calls for using the broiler but Erin quickly pointed out that that was above my kitchen skill level so I took a baby step and just used the oven.

Ingredients:
· 3 tablespoons soy sauce
· 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
· 1 tablespoon corn oil
· ½ teaspoon ground ginger
· ½ teaspoon garlic powder
· 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
· 2 boneless chicken breast halves (About 10 ounces)

Directions:
· Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, ginger, garlic powder, and black pepper in a mixing bowl and set aside
· Cut the chicken into small strips
· Add the chicken to the bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours
· Preheat the oven to about 450 degrees (This is a guess since the recipe did not give a temperature)
· Put tin foil on a large baking sheet
· Spread the marinated chicken out evenly on the backing sheet
· Put the chicken in the oven for about 4 minutes per side until the chicken is completely white and just starting to turn brown.
· Serve immediately.

Rating:

· I think Erin gave it an “Its pretty good” or, in other words, better than expected.
PROOF

Monday, October 27, 2014

Marathon Monday

I started off this week of training with a Sunday long run. Sunday was a little chilly (no big deal, better than being hot) and very windy. I'm telling you it was like swirling wind in every direction we turned. It was great resistance training. Sunday was the most enjoyable part of my training week. Then the weekdays came...

The weekdays had me so wishing we owned a treadmill. It rained a lot. And it was serious rain. No chance for running on Monday or Tuesday, and after two days of having a great excuse to do nothing, it's difficult to get motivated again. Wednesday it was still raining and secretly I was hoping the rain wouldn't stop, but then it did. My excuse was gone. I made myself do the miles and surprisingly they didn't go that bad. Thursday after a very crazy day at work I was glad to go out for a few walking miles, and then I finished my week of miles on Friday (Saturday was a rest day since I have been doing my long runs on Sundays). Friday was a little painful and it was dark. I was happy to be finished with 16.44 miles for the week and happy the weekend was starting.

When this week is over it will be November! Last November I was just starting to train for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. It is exciting to think about how far I have come since then. It was challenging just to do two miles at a slower pace than I do now. And I think my mental toughness has definitely improved. Only 74 days until my second half marathon!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Love

{ONE}

Second Grade Foodies. It's a not so little known secret that my favorite, favorite age group is second graders. I also love to talk about food. And {this video} shows second graders eating at one of NYC's most upscale restaurants. They give quite the review. I loved it.

*Disclaimer: I really love all my K-5 friends, but if I had to pick...

{TWO}

October. I love October for is lovely cooler, but not too cold, temperatures, colorful fall leaves, and what seems like nightly sunsets that are gorgeous. Those companied with football season and the beginning of warm, delicious fall/winter foods is just fab.

{THREE}

Chai Tea. Yes, tea has made an appearance on Friday Love. I have trouble believing it too. I was trying to find a coffee replacement so I started with some decaf chai. It's not that good, but I have been working on trying to like it. I found out that if I let it steep for a while and add some almond milk and a tiny splash of half and half its not that bad :)

{FOUR}


Pretty Fall Flowers. My sister-in-law sent us some lovely, cheerful flowers after a very dramatic and tragic start to our week.

{FIVE}

Friday Nights. Friday nights are always just such a relief for me. I'm not in a race to do miles, make dinner, pack lunch, get ready for the next day, get to bed at a decent hour, etc. It seems like on Fridays it doesn't matter what time we finally get to eat dinner, or what time we get to bed. I just enjoy being able to relax and not be in a race against the clock.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Marathon Monday

I have been doing my long runs on Sundays. Last Sunday was ROUGH. I was struggling the majority of the time. Every so often when I am running I have terrible calf and shin pain. Sometimes it loosens up and it's OK. This was not the case on Sunday. It just wouldn't go away. I have never been so happy for 6.13 miles to be over.

Last Monday I had a professional development day ALLLL day long. After Sunday's experience I was really not wanting to do any miles, but I forced myself since I was home earlier than usual and since I basically sat all day. I can't tell you the difference. It was seriously such a good run. My legs felt great and my time was my fastest pace ever by a lot. To make that day even better, Matt made dinner (recipe to follow) because he had off for Columbus Day.

I finished the second half of my week with a Wednesday run after school with a friend, and then on Friday doing a little over four miles before going out to socialize. I was a little more focused on getting those four miles done and out of the way with the promise of 'Rimkus pizza' after it was over :) Friday's run brought me up to 16.75 miles for the week and today we are 81 days away from my half marathon, and only 80 days from the 10k I will do the day before. I'm already excited, but it's still a long time to wait.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Marathon Monday

Well friends, not every week in half marathon training can be magical. It's not like this past week was bad, just nothing exciting. I mentioned just briefly last Monday that I was finally reunited last Sunday with my running partner. That was the highlight. Running with a friend is always more entertaining than logging the miles on your own in my book. I have a lot less of {these} crazy thoughts when running with someone. We did our long run for the week together and then I did three more weekday runs alone, for a total of 15.27 miles this week.

Weekday runs are my biggest challenge. Somedays it's just the last thing I want to do, but I have been trying to keep myself in a good routine. I bring my clothes to school and change before I leave. That makes it easier to come home and get going, or to just do my miles around my school. I am hoping that my motivation and self-discipline can hold out for the next 88 days. Going on a RUNcation is definitely a motivating factor :)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Love

Happy Friday! I'm so glad it's the weekend. We don't have major plans, but I'm happy with that. I hope to run a bunch of miles on Sunday morning, and we are going to one of my favorite DC restaurants on Sunday for dinner! What are you up to?

{ONE}


Katy Perry on Gameday. My first three loves go back to last Saturday. I like Katy Perry and I really like College Gameday. I was so excited it was a two for one deal last Saturday morning. She was the celebrity picker, and seriously she was so much better than a lot of the fools they get on there. She even had props.

{TWO}

Corso vs. Katy Perry. Lee Corso brings a lot of hilarity to the last 10 minutes of my favorite Saturday morning tradition...you never know what might happen, really. Last week, though, KP blew him out of the water pick wise. Look at {this} run down. This is how we do.

{THREE}

Ole Miss vs. Alabama. Football is really the only sport where I can watch a full game, beginning to end, and be invested, when one of my teams is not involved. I was loving the Ole Miss Alabama game last week. I was very invested in an Ole Miss win, and it happened!

{FOUR}


Gas that Starts with a 2. This is my gas station! Gas prices in the 2's...WHAT?!?!

{FIVE}

Running Thoughts. Crazy stuff goes through my mind when I'm logging my training miles. Mostly when running alone I do a lot of math trying to figure out how much longer. {This article} is so funny and I have legitimately thought almost all 75 things on the list. Especially the ones about finding bodies.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Recipe of the Week!

Pork Tenderloin with Zesty Dry Rub

Alright, I have a confession. I can't remember how I made this. I started with a recipe I found online for the rub and modified it, but I can't find that recipe either. Truth be told, though, you aren't missing much. I just wasn't into this. I wanted to try something new because we eat {this awesome pork tenderloin} all the time...and we are going right back to it. It wasn't terrible, it just wasn't amazing. Worth a try for something different I suppose. So here is my best guess for what I put in it...

Ingredients:
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1.5 tsp. chili powder
1.5 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. oregano
1 tbsp. paprika
1.5 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. granulated sugar
1 pork tenderloin (about 1.25 lbs.)
2 tsp. olive oil

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, combine everything except the pork tenderloin. Rub the mixture all over the pork tenderloin, making sure to coat it completely. Place the tenderloin in a pan in the oven until cooked through. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Marathon Monday

I have just had the most fabulous week in training! Let's start with last Sunday (because I'm not trying to drive myself crazy with Tuesday-Monday weeks this go around). I couldn't do my long run on Saturday because we had morning plans and then Penn State was on, and after that it just gets to be a little bit warm. So last Sunday...I tried experimenting with a little variation on my normal 5ish mile route because I'm already getting a little bit bored. My new trial route was nothing amazing, but it ended up going very well. I achieved my fastest pace ever for 5-6 miles. Good way to start the week.

Both Monday and Tuesday we had back to school night at BES, so those days had to be no mile days because I have given up my morning miles since it's darker and the temperatures are now more manageable in the afternoons. After the longest start to the week ever, I was happy to have a reason to leave work at a reasonable time to get some miles in on Wednesday. I had to work a little bit harder to keep my enthusiasm for after school on Thursday. I decided maybe a random route would cure my boredom with my 3ish mile weekday route. After inhaling serious fast food grease smells and gas fumes while running this random route, followed by my RunKeeper malfunctioning, I didn't have high hopes for my pace as I was getting closer to end of my run. I was pleasantly surprised when I got home and my RunKeeper informed me that I set a new record for pace...and it was by quite a bit!

I ran both days this past weekend, but only Saturday's miles count in my total for the week. I did another 5ish miles. This time my usual 5 mile route. The weather was pretty nice, but the sun was a little warm. The best part was that I beat my Sunday time by one second! The best part about the whole weekend, though...I FINALLY REUNITED with my running partner yesterday! Seriously so much better than dong the miles by myself. Not only that, but it was nice and cool, but still sunny, and I got a change of scenery! I was just thrilled for myself.

After 16.51 miles this week and consistently doing the miles at a good pace, I feel like I am getting back to where I was in the spring. Good thing because we are now less than 100 days (95 to be exact) away from Disney!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Love

{ONE}

Book Club. One of my goals this school year is to do some book clubs. I started my first one this week, and now I am even more excited. I'm sure you will hear more about it on my blog. I am starting with six fifth grade girls reading the book Because of Mr. Terupt. Can't wait to see how things progress.

{TWO}

The Count-selor. I get asked all kinds of questions in my line of work, but this week I got asked a question I have never heard before. I was talking with student who is new to my school this year. We didn't really know each other. He kept asking me where my kids were (because he thought I had a class that should be in my office). I reminded him I was the School Counselor. Then he asked what I COUNT all day. I was laughing so hard. I tried explaining what the counselor actually does. He just wanted to know if I count money.

{THREE}

Cooler Weather. I am SO SO SO excited for some actual fall weather this weekend. I'm celebrating by making my first pot of chili!

{FOUR}

Maps & Charts. You might know that I'm a little bit of a map lover. I don't know why, its just a thing. Well last week I saw {these maps & charts} that show statistics and make comparisons. More things I really like. Check them out, some are surprising.

{FIVE}

Coffee Saturdays. I quit coffee back in July. I was pretty strict about it back then. Now, though, I have loosened up a little bit. I just couldn't handle College Gameday and football Saturdays without it. I look forward to my coffee fix each weekend!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Marathon Monday


MARATHON Monday! It's officially back! It's back because I signed up to run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January!

Here's the story:

I have a friend who does Disney's Marathon weekend every year, and last year a lot of my friends went, but not me. After they came back I was convinced that I was going, but wasn't sure what race I would register for, if any...maybe I would just go on vacation. Registration opened in April - and sells out very quickly - and at that time I wasn't really sure where my life would be in January, and I still hadn't run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon yet, so I wasn't completely sure half marathoning was for me. So in April I signed up for the 10k held that weekend and figured I could at least walk the 6.2 miles if nothing else.

Fast forward to two weeks ago...I was wavering about even going to Florida. I was thinking I was just going to take my registration for the 10k as a loss and stay home. I was also considering registering for the Richmond Half Marathon in November since I had started doing miles again. Matt was encouraging the Disney trip, but I felt like there was a lot to consider, and a lot of reasons to not go. Then suddenly Disney decided to open up more spaces in the half marathon. I didn't sign up immediately. I was having major heartache over this. Really, I was. I couldn't decide if I should abandon my Florida plans completely or solidify them by registering for the additional race. Matt was extremely sick of hearing about it, so finally I decided that if it was still open on Friday morning I would register. And guess what...it was.

I filled out all the information and really stared at the 'submit payment' button for a long time. I finally clicked it. I can't say all of my reservations were gone. I felt sick until at least lunchtime. I'm still not sure I made the right or best decision, but at least it's a decision. I'm going to Florida in January...to run a 10k on Friday and half marathon on Saturday...