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...

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Love


Final Decisions. I am a person who loves to know what they're doing. Someone who almost always has a plan. I have been wavering on a few decisions that needed to be made, and I finally made one this week. It feels so much better to have made a decision. I'm going to let you in on the details on Monday :)


Something to Look Forward To. This Friday one and two are related, so I not going to give away too many details, but I'm sure you know the feeling I'm referring to...big, exciting plans to look forward to.


Doc Nix & the Green Machine. There was a video that went viral earlier this week of George Mason University's band, the Green Machine, playing a Rage Against the Machine song. I wanted to tell everyone who watched it that it really did them no justice. Matt attended GMU for graduate school so we attended a few events there. The Green Machine performed at all of them. Seriously they are better than the event you are going to see...so much fun to watch. And Doc Nix, the pimped out director, is a show in himself.


The Return of Primetime TV. Even though we did some great throwback TV watching via Netflix this summer, it's exciting to have some of our favorite shows back this fall. I'm especially excited about Modern Family and Parenthood being back in the rotation.


Coworkers. I have A LOT of interesting coworkers. The cast of characters that make up that staff is truly something special. This week at work was busy, eventful, and not always positive, but each day at least one of my coworkers made my days with a hilarious story, exciting plans, or just by being a nice person. I am also super excited that my new co-counselor is awesome!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Recipe of the Week!

Vanilla Cupcakes (with meth)
You may have read last week about our Breaking Bad finale party. Well here's the Heisenberg cupcake recipe. I just did a basic vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream icing. It was not the best cupcake of my life, but really it was more about the decoration anyway. I also used these silicone, reusable cupcake liners...not my favorite. They are annoying to clean. Sorry green people, I'm going back to paper.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 whole egg plus 1 egg white
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

-Icing Ingredients-
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 1/2 tbsp milk, plus more, if needed
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

This recipe is for 12 cupcakes. Preheat an oven to 350°F. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl (I used my electric mixer) beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and egg white one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture, beating until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until the cupcakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes. 

For the icing...I used my electric mixer again...combine the confectioners sugar, butter, milk, vanilla and salt and beat until combined.

I added blue raspberry rock candy for Heisenberg's meth and did a little decorating with the Breaking Bar logo and other key phrases from the show :) Enjoy, Bitch!

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

We Broke Bad

Last Friday night we watched the final three episodes of Breaking Bad. You might remember that we started watching this summer with our friends the Rimkus', so naturally we had to end together as well. It was so exciting, yet so sad. Matt and I have been missing our nightly episode each evening this week. Watching the end of the show obviously warranted a themed party, even if our love for the show developed a few years late, and we were the only people throwing a finale party in 2014.

We ate chicken and tator tots just like Los Pollos Hermanos and had meth cupcakes with some periodic table labels and phrases from the show. (Cupcake recipe coming soon!) The we watched! And the final episodes didn't disappoint. It was great writing and suspenseful up until the end. I had heard mixed reviews on the ending, but in my opinion the show ended the right way. If you haven't watched Breaking Bad, I highly recommend it. It's among the best shows I have watched/starting watching on Netflix. Now I am looking for something new to watch. Suggestions are very welcome!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Thirty One.

When you Google "31" the first thing that comes up is the ever popular Thirty-One bags that every brings their lunch in, or takes to the pool. When you Google "31 years old" you learn a lot about what other people who are 31 are doing to screw up their lives. Suddenly I feel so normal and smart. Why did I Google this? I don't know. Maybe last year (at the time) seemed like a big deal. Thirty. Milestone. But thirty one, who really cares? I mean it's not a big deal to turn thirty one, but I sure am glad to have a new number.

Thirty was not my best year. It wasn't my worst either. I would say that was 23. Don't get me wrong. Thirty had some high points. I completed my first half marathon, we took some fun trips, I had the summer off, day-to-day living with family and friends was great. Let's just sum the low points up as a lot of 'life is not fair' lessons learned. While I'm completely sure that no matter what number I am, life will always have it's challenges, I am excited to begin a new year. Here's to birthday wishes coming true and a better year ahead!

Oh and PS, in case you are wondering...I made my 31 miles by thirty one goal. I finished with 37.87 :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bull Run Mountain

I've lived in Virginia for eight years now. Six of them in Northern Virginia. And I'm at the start of my seventh year working for Prince William County Schools. I've heard a lot about Bull Run Mountain, but I've never really seen the mountain. It's possible that I have said that I didn't think Bull Run Mountain actually existed, but I have also been in love with Bull Run Mountain for a long time now. It is our best bet for getting a snow day! Well yesterday I decided that we should spend some time today hiking the mountain as a little birthday activity.

It was only about a twenty minute drive from our house. It was super easy to get to the trail entrance, but I was a little nervous because there were no maps available. We just decided to go with it. We also later figured out that all the trails pretty much loop into one another. And somehow we took a different way down than up, but it all worked out. The hike was pretty nice. It had about a half mile stretch where you thought the incline might never end, but most of it was pretty easy. The view from the top was nice and there were some good rocks to sit on and take in the view.

It was also nice to do another form of exercise other than my usual walking or running around my neighborhood trails, streets, and sidewalks. This fall I would also really like to try to do the Old Rag hike in Shenandoah, but I have heard it's quite a bit more challenging. Has anyone done it? Anyone want to do it with us? 

Monday, September 8, 2014

31 by Thirty-One

One of my favorite things about this summer was the weather. Typically Virginia summers are brutal. Hot. Devastatingly humid. Overall miserable. This summer, though, was a total gem. Bearable heat, little humidity. Perfect. Don't you know that back-to-school rolls around and the weather gets miserable. Mostly I care about this for two reasons. One, bus duty. Not pleasant. Though it doesn't quite beat the opening week four years ago when it poured down rain with hurricane like winds for three days straight before they just closed school on the fourth day. And two, naturally this is when I started to get back into a running routine. 

The heat has been hard. I trained for the Pittsburgh half mostly through a brutally cold winter (which I really don't think I will ever complain about again), so this has been an adjustment. I still haven't signed up for that race I'm considering, so I decided to set a short term, small goal to keep myself in line. I'm calling it 31 by Thirty-One. I started it last Sunday. I decided I would try to get 31 miles in by my 31st birthday. So far I am at about 18.6 that means I have 12.4 more to do between now and next Monday. I'm hoping to drag myself out of bed before work twice this week to make a dent and then finish over the weekend. I think I'll make it :)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Love

It's the first {Friday Love} of back to school and guess what?!? I'm so tired! I've been tired all week. In fact we are just about to leave to go to dinner because who could possibly cook after a four day work week :) So this will be a quick post.

Only one thing this Friday...this article has appeared on two blogs I follow this week and I love it. It's about a Friday night dinner tradition...spaghetti and meatballs. It's no secret how much I love food and social events. Read it. I want to start it! Who is with me? I'll make the meatballs...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Motivation Monday

Happy Labor Day! Last week I was laboring away...both being back to school and trying to get my walk/run life back together. I am actually pretty excited about how many miles I did get in last week. After learning a lesson about running in the heat last weekend and early last week I decided that it might just be worth getting myself out of bed early in the morning and getting miles in before work. I told myself Tuesday would be my first morning.

Well Matt's alarm went off and I immediately started thinking about how I should probably just go back to sleep, but then I gave myself a little pep talk about how I can't quit on the first day. It worked. I got up and did it, and it was great. The weather was so much cooler and all day I just kept being so excited that my miles were already done for the day. It went so well that I did morning miles again on Thursday.

My favorite day of running was Saturday. I set my alarm to get up early again. Penn State was playing in Ireland so the game was being televised at 8:30 and I wanted to be finished by then. I also made a deal with myself that if I got up and did the miles I could have real coffee while watching the game. It worked, and the miles actually weren't as terrible as some of my others this week.

So I guess you could say that things are getting back in line. My goal for the next few weeks is to keep getting up in the mornings until this awful heat and humidity leaves town. I am feeling more motivated to register for a half marathon, but haven't quite bit the bullet yet. Hopefully with a few more miles and some cooler weather I will make the commitment.