Midnight Madness Run

17 Jul

Despite the fact that I didn’t see Harry Potter (still don’t want to either) – didn’t go to the beach – and didn’t venture up to Penn State for a weekend of debauchery – I had an amazing weekend. Here’s a quick re-cap.

1st Kayak Trip Ever! Our friends invited us to join them for an afternoon kayaking trip down the Brandywine River. Who knew there was a little country-bumpkin place about 20 minutes away that offered kayak / canoe / tube rentals? This is probably the best news I’ve ever heard. Anyways – it was a lot of fun, even though it hasn’t rained in forever and the water was maybe 1 inch deep in certain spots, so we had to get out and walk our canoes downstream. Also – I may be the only person to FLIP their kayak while floating down an extremely calm, 1 inch deep river. I’m not joking. I flipped the damn thing. What a joke. I’m just walking entertainment, people. I wish I had pictures to share, but the whole idea of taking a camera out into the water seemed like a poor choice (and I was obviously right, given the flippage of my kayak). Ugh. But trust me, it was awesome.

1st Time Cooking Spaghetti Squash! As I was wandering around the produce department at Wegman’s, I saw some spaghetti squash and decided to finally  try it out. My mom gave me a recipe called “Confetti Spaghetti Squash” and I was good to go – well minus the whole cutting the damn thing in half. Does anyone have suggestions as to how to cut a spaghetti squash? Or should I buy an axe? Anyways – once it was cut in half (and I got my arm work-out in for the day) it was ridiculously easy. I baked the squash for 40 minutes and then proceeded to watch magic happen.

Seriously, it’s just like spaghetti. It’s the most peculiar thing I’ve ever seen. I added in some sauteed zucchini, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and seasonings (and Steve cooked up some tilapia) – and I had myself a whole new dinner.

I really enjoyed this dish – although it could have used a bit more seasoning. Next time I think I’ll cook it with some white cooking wine or perhaps some lemon juice. It was good, just could have used a bit more flavor. But honestly, if you’ve never had spaghetti squash, try it. It’s exciting.

Back on My Feet Midnight Madness Run! I decided a few months ago to just sign up for every race I could find, and so I decided that a race at midnight in downtown Philadelphia was a great idea… Not gonna lie, yesterday at 9pm when I had to get ready to leave, I was wondering why the hell I signed up for it. My normal bed-time is midnight. Parking in Philadelphia is a bitch. I haven’t been training for an 8.4 mile run (or any length run for that matter). But I packed up all of my glow-in-the-dark gear, put on my neon pink shorts, and headed out into Philadelphia with Steve. Surprisingly, parking was ridiculously easy – and once we were parked, we heard music blaring and saw people everywhere. I was shocked at how big of an event the ’20 in 24 Back of My Feet’ event was! The relay teams doing the entire 24-hour event were camped out all around Lloyd Hall, hanging out in tents, having a good time. And all the midnight runners were decked out in glow-in-the-dark gear. There were a ton of people, lots of music, a great crowd. It was awesome! I really want to get more people together next year! Plus, I really love the ‘Back on My Feet‘ organization, so it was a good choice.

After hanging out for a while & taking in the sights – we were finally ready to go (at midnight)


The course was an 8.4-mile loop on Kelly Drive and West River Drive, following the Schuylkill River. I’ve always wanted to run this loop – so why not at midnight, right? They did a great job of having bike escorts and police stationed along the course – and also had abundant water stops for the runners. Since we were running the opposite direction as the 24-hour relay & ultra marathon runners, it was also great to cheer them on & have them give us encouragement in return. I loved it. The course was obviously really crowded at the start, but after the 1st mile, it really opened up & for a long time, Steve & I were kind of on our own.

I had a set a goal a while back to finish the loop in 1:15.00 – holding about an 8:30 pace. (I previously ran a half-marathon at a 9:00 pace, and I wanted to crush that). I checked my Garmin throughout the race, and we actually kept up our ~8:30 pace really well! I was proud that I didn’t start too fast or burn out at the end. Even though my right leg (hip flexor / outside hip) has been really hurting lately. Around mile 7, it got pretty painful, but then I saw this beautiful sight.

Garmin Distance / Time: 8.63 miles in 1:13.55 (8:34 min/mile)

Event Distance / Time: 8.46 miles in 1:14.25 (8:47 min/mile)

Either way – I finished in under 1:15! Booya. I’d also like to go with my Garmin, because this event wasn’t timed with a chip, so my start time was a bit different than the actual start time (I started in the back). I know half of you reading this could finish that distance in under an hour, and probably another half of you might struggle to finish this distance at all – but that’s not important. What’s important to me is that I hit my goal time! I pushed through my leg pain & really picked up my pace at the 8 mile mark to make sure I hit my goal. Woohoo!

Haha Sorry these pictures are so ghetto. I didn’t think that bringing my nice camera into Philadelphia at midnight was a great idea – and this was the best my cell phone could do. Deal with it.

Hope you all had a great weekend as well!

For real, suggestions on cutting spaghetti squash!?!

Have you ever done a race at some ridiculously random time like midnight!?

Flashback Friday: Wedding Flowers

15 Jul

Happy Friday! Even though I didn’t go see Harry Potter, and I’m not going up to Penn State for Arts Fest, and I’m not going to a beach (like every other person I know) – I’m still pumped about the weekend. I’ll get to kayak, run a midnight race, look at some awesome classic cars at the car show, and relax. Sounds wonderful. But before that all starts, it’s time for my weekly wedding flashback.

I figured I’d talk about all the decorative details of the day – including my flowers & centerpieces. As dumb as it sounds, I honestly might have taken a longer time decided on centerpieces than anything else. I had a very particular look in mind and I wasn’t settling for anything less.

1. Flowers!

  • So my middle name is Rose. My new last name means “Rose” in Italian. I love roses. Obviously, there were going to be roses in my bouquet. Easy enough.
  • My wedding colors were blue, white, and silver. Now think about it – have you seen many blue flowers? There’s a lot of purple-blue flowers, but not many that are truly blue. And I wasn’t all about dipping flowers in blue paint. No thank you. So I was set on finding some kind of blue flowers.
  • I don’t like nosegay bouquets. I wanted something more elegant and unique.
  • Pretty much, I saw this picture & I wanted to copy it.
  • I LOVED how the bridal bouquet was like an “explosion” of flowers. I loved the way the flowers cascaded down in front of her.
  • I also loved the bridesmaids very simple, very elegant cala lillies.
  • With that said, I didn’t want any flowers in my wedding aside from the bouquets and corsages. It’s January. There’s no point in having flower-y centerpieces for a wedding with a snowflake theme.
I met with 3 different florists to get ideas and test out pricing. Everyone warned me how expensive the cala lillies would be, but I didn’t much care. It was my wedding and I wanted cala lillies. My mother also said she felt that cala lillies reminded her of funeral flowers. Thanks, Mom. Anyways – I was dead set on white roses and white cala lillies, but I let the florists introduce me to some other beautiful blue flowers.

  • Blue Delphinium – Perfect for the “explosion” bouquet I wanted

  • Blue Dendrobium Orchids – the world’s most beautiful flowers. I saw one picture and knew I had to have them. I’m obsessed.
I thought the hard part was over, but who knew how many options there were for grandparents & parents & readers & everyone else you can think of. I pretty much left that all up to the florist – but made sure that the mothers just had a single white rose to carry. Wrist corsages can get annoying really fast when you’re hugging people all day. And I didn’t want them to have to pin their dresses. God forbid something should snag.

Here’s how it all worked out!

I was amazed at how beautifully everything turned out. Michelle at Brides & Butterflies did an amazing job – and I would highly recommend her services to any bride in the Pittsburgh area. Not only did she design the bouquets and give me a great price, but her company also made a seating chart and helped out with some of the hall decorations. I was a very happy bride when it came to all things flowers.

My advice on flowers:

  • Be as specific as possible when you are meeting with your florist. You aren’t going to see the bouquets (or the centerpieces if you have a florist design them) until the day of your wedding. If you don’t like them, it’s already too late. Be very, very specific. Bring pictures.
  • Be open to your florist’s suggestions. Chances are if you love a flower that’s really expensive, she can find something very similar for half the cost.
  • If you have your heart set on a certain flower, don’t let anyone talk you out of it. I could have easily been talked out of the cala lillies, but I’m so glad I stuck with them because they turned out exactly how I wanted.
  • If you like the idea of my “explosion” bouquet over a nosegay – be prepared for it to weigh about 50 pounds. ha Don’t get me wrong, I loved my bouquet, but I was shocked at how heavy it was.
  • A lot of florists put the bouquets in water to keep them fresh for when you walk down the aisle. Take them out of the water way before you walk down the aisle. You don’t want them to drip or possibly stain anything with dye from the ribbon of the flowers themselves.
  • If you’re looking for an easy way to make your MOH stand out at the wedding, make her bouquet different.

I was going to also write about my decorations / centerpieces today – but this was really long without it… so I’ll save that for another Friday!

Today’s Workout: Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 SKIPS [200 each of Swim, Kick, IM, Pull, Swim]
  • 100 Fast on 1:30 (Touch between 1:10 and 1:15)
  • 200 Swim on 3:00
  • 300 Pull on 4:30
  • 4 x 200 on 3:00 [1st 200 – 4th 50 sprint. 2nd 200 – 3rd 50 sprint. 3rd 200 – 2nd 50 sprint. 4th 200 – 1st 50 sprint.]
  • 300 Pull on 4:30
  • 200 Kick on 4:00
  • 100 Cool-down easy
  • Total: 3,000 yards

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Playing Catch Up

14 Jul

After my long hiatus from the blog world, I’ve decided to check in today & play catch up.

1. Weekend Re-cap: Parents Visit

See,  my parents are probably the best parents in the entire world, so anytime I get to see them, I’m a very happy daughter. I also love when they visit because it gives me an excuse to do something new & exciting, or to actually go into the city. We did all of the above this past weekend.

First up: We went to a local farm and picked our own fresh blueberries. I’ve never picked my own fruit before – but I’ve been dying to go here and try it. It was awesome. I’ve never seen so many blueberries in my life. We ended up picking 4 pounds of berries. And since they’re straight off the vine, they tasted perfect. Nothing like a perfect blueberry (or 4 pounds of perfect blueberries)

Next up, we ventured into the city to see some of the historical sights. My dad had never been in Philadelphia before, and thoroughly enjoyed “people watching” – oh he also enjoyed his cheese-steak.

We stopped at a bar on South Street… where I discovered my new favorite beer.

Overall, we had a great time just wandering around, seeing the sights, enjoying food, drink, and the company. I wish weekends would last forever.

2. I finally gave in & bought New Rules of Lifting for Women

Since Steve had gift cards to Barnes & Nobles that he’s been neglecting for the past 4 years, I decided to steal them for myself and buy this book that’s taking over the blog world. (Check out Tara’s, Kelly’s, Meghann’s or Christy’s blogs for evidence), and  I’m already fascinated. I actually got off to a late start this morning because I couldn’t put it down. I think I’m going to take some “before” photos & post them right before I start this program. I better look like a damn goddess when it’s over.

3. My life is chaotic.

I wanted to briefly elaborate on my last post about being MIA and trying to get my life in order… but I don’t want to be too specific because there’s no use in making plans that don’t end up working out. Here’s some insight. My fabulous husband is currently in a role that will eventually require us to move. Where to? No idea. When? Eventually. I’m totally on-board with moving, especially because I hate the cold and I hate snow and I want to move south at some point in my life. With that said, I know that I also want to go back to school at some point. This would be easy enough since I’ve already taken my GRE’s and I’ve done enough research to know what courses are required for the degree I’m seeking. However, it would be incredibly pointless for me to apply to schools, start classes, and then have to move either mid-semester or just in the middle of the program. I don’t want to deal with transferring credits or dropping out or any of that jazz. So I have no idea what to do.

4. Working out keeps me sane.

Even though I haven’t blogged about it, I’ve been keeping up with my work-outs. Everyone has their own coping mechanism for stress… luckily mine is exercise. I think I’d legit go insane without working out. 

  • Saturday: Spin + Lift
  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: Spin + Lift
  • Tuesday: Rest (aka Work owned my life)
  • Wednesday: 5 mile run + Lift
  • Today: I’m hopeful on another 4-6 mile run after work
Lastly, thanks to everyone who reads my blog / leaves comments / keeps me motivated. It means a lot to me!
How do you deal with stress?
Have you given in to the ‘New Rules of Lifting for Women’ craze / Have you seen results?

Sorry I’ve been MIA

13 Jul

It’s almost been a week since my last post. Where does time go!?!?! I apologize for my lack of posting as of late, but I really need to focus on getting my personal life in order before I spend hours diving into my blog world. I really hope to get back to normal posting soon because I love all of your comments and I love following all of you.

In the meantime, here are some fun things that I’m pretty excited to catch you all up on.

  • I finally gave in & bought the ‘New Rules of Lifting for Women’ – I’m going to read it and start implementing it soon! Yay 🙂
  • My family came to visit for the weekend, and as one of our activities we picked 4 pounds of fresh blueberries! I’m going to need to find some fun blueberry recipes.
  • I discovered my new favorite beer: Banana Bread Beer!
  • I am running an 8.4 mile race at midnight on Saturday – eek!
Wish me luck in figuring out my life – I’ll be back soon, hopefully happier & healthier! 

Flashback Friday: Pittsburgh Wedding Venues

8 Jul

It’s very fitting that I’m doing a wedding post today because today marks the *Half-Year-Anniversary* of my big day 🙂

Happy 6 months Steve!

Today I figured I’d write about choosing the venue for the reception – which apparently is one of the most daunting tasks when it comes to wedding planning. I am so glad we had a year & a half to plan our wedding because it took us a WHILE to find the perfect venue. For one, we were both still in school… a solid 2 hours away from where we were getting married, so we had to pack a lot of venue visits into weekend trips home. Secondly, we didn’t have a clear budget to work off of, which makes it really difficult when pricing things out. Anyways – we must have looked at about 2304895 venues before finally making a decision.

I’ll go through some of the places we considered, since going through all of them would take forever. And I’ll offer some of my own thoughts looking back.

1. Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium

Pros: This was the most unique venue I could think of. I love animals, I love aquariums, I loved the idea that guests could walk around and take pictures and see the entire aquarium as part of my reception. It would give the kids at my reception something to do other than dance. I LOVED this option.

Cons: Being that it’s an aquarium, it kind of smelled like fish. It was also on the smaller side. The pricing was also confusing mainly because alcohol wasn’t included – so we’d have to buy our own – and I have not the slightest idea how much alcohol to buy for 150 people.

2. LeMont, Mt. Washington

Pros: See above picture. I’m obsessed with Pittsburgh.

Cons: As you can imagine, this place was fairly pricey. And by fairly, I mean it was expensive.

3. DiSalvo’s Station, Latrobe

Pros: This is an old train station converted into a restaurant, so it has so much history & charm. The tunnel entrance was gorgeous, the inside was adorable, there was a downstairs cigar lounge, and it was reasonably priced. This was actually our #1 choice until…

Cons: We went to pretty much seal the deal & go over details with the venue’s wedding coordinator… and the man was the most un-professional, annoying, condescending idiot I have ever spoken to. I couldn’t imagine working with him at all. Honestly, if they would have had a better coordinator, I would have had my reception here.

4. Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory

Pros: See above picture. This was the most amazing / stunning / beautiful place i have ever seen. It’s an old Cathedral converted into a banquet hall. Imagine the beauty of old Catholic Cathedrals & then imagine them offering a winter wedding deal where they decorate everything in blues & white & have an actual snow machine sprinkling snow from above. This was my ultimate dream venue.

Cons: It was super, super expensive. It was downtown Pittsburgh, it was gorgeous, and I’m pretty sure they had no issues getting people to book this site, so they weren’t really negotiable on price. I could have booked it anyways, but then I would have had to make a lot of sacrifices elsewhere…

5. Syria Shriners Hall

 Pros: This was my mom’s favorite venue. It was quite the grand hall with the high ceilings and the world’s largest chandelier. The staff was very friendly and accommodating and the price was very reasonable.

Cons: While my mom loved the look, I thought it looked straight out of Aladdin. It was just a little too middle-eastern for me. I wanted something more contemporary.

6. Lakeview, Greensburg

Pros: This place was very affordable, and close to home.

Cons: The “lakeview” they speak of is a view of a very green-ish lake, so that wasn’t impressive. And for some reason, they put up a miniature statue of liberty next to the lake as a 9-11 Memorial… and who the hell wants a life-size fake statue of liberty in their wedding pictures? We also heard some negative reviews.

7. Stratigo’s Banquet Center

*My Reception*

Before I get into the pro’s & con’s… I’d like to say that I REFUSED to look at Stratigo’s as a venue for the longest time. Like it wasn’t even an option (I’ll explain below). Once again, I was so wrong.

Pros: The food was excellent. The staff was professional, friendly, helpful, accommodating, personable, & friendly. The venue was beautiful. They offered a 30% discount for my “winter” wedding. It was close to home / to the church. All of the DJ’s / photographers / bakeries were very familiar with the venue and the set-up. There were flat-screen TV’s in the bathroom. Their menu options were extensive. They provided the alcohol.

Cons: It wasn’t close to hotels (for the guest’s sake). And… I had my high school prom there. Dun Dun Dun. This was the reason I refused to look at this place. Prom. With my ex. Not exactly what I pictured for my wedding. (Although it looked so totally different for my wedding, that it didn’t even cross my mind when it came down to it)

Overall Thoughts

  • Location. Just like in real estate, the closer you are to a major city, the more expensive it will be. I would have LOVED to be downtown, but in the end, it wasn’t worth sacrificing on the small things to be in the city.
  • Staff. I didn’t consider how important the staff would be when it came to the venue – but trust me, you want people at your venue to accommodate your every wish – no matter how big or small. It can make a huge difference.
  • Cost. Your venue will most likely the majority of your budget. But you want to make sure you leave enough room for all the little details that creep up at the end. I could have picked my dream location in the city – but I probably would have had to make a playlist on my iPod instead of getting a DJ.
  • Food. People are traveling & likely paying a lot of money to come to your wedding. The least you can do is pick a place that offers GREAT food.
  • Alcohol. It was nice not to have to worry about providing my own alcohol because with my luck, we would have ran out half-way through and been screwed since PA liquor stores close at 9. The open bar was key. Plus we paid by the head, not the bottle, so there were no surprises at the end of the night.

Hopefully this was helpful! Especially to any Pittsburgh brides 🙂

And just to keep up with my work-outs….

Friday’s Workout: Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 SKIPS [200 each of Swim, Kick, IM, Pull, Swim]
  • 4 x 200 Pull on 3:00 [1st 200 – Sprint last 50. 2nd 200 – Sprint 3rd 50. 3rd 200 – Sprint 2nd 50. 4th 200 – Sprint 1st 50]
  • 100 [50 easy, 25 scull, 25 swim]
  • 200 Fast
  • 5 x [100 Pull on 1:30, 50 Sprint on 1:00 – trying to touch between 35 & 40 sec]
  • 150 Cool-down
  • Total: 3050 yards

Countdown To My 1st Tri

7 Jul

Today marks ONE MONTH until my very first TRIATHLON!

Sorry about all the caps locks – I’m just super excited / nervous / pumped / scared / ready to kick ass / all of the above. If you’ve known me for a while, then you’re aware that I’ve been wanting to do a triathlon for years. I seriously considered joining the Tri Club at Penn State, and I’d always look for triathlons to compete in… I just never followed through with any of it. I think I was just too nervous – which is really weird because I’ve been a competitive runner & swimmer for years now, and I rode my bike everywhere in college, so by all means – I can physically do a triathlon. No problem. I’m physically fit and I have no doubt that I could go out today and swim .5 miles, bike 15.7 miles, and run 3.1 miles with no issues what-so-ever. It’s all the logistical stuff that totally psyched me out.

Reasons I was too nervous to sign up for  Tri

  • I don’t know what to wear. Seriously – do I need a wetsuit? Do I need a special tri suit? Can I just wear a sports bra & bike shorts? And not to over-share, but I need some extra support up top, so a bathing suit top isn’t going to cut it for the run.
  • I needed a road bike. Well I finally have one now – and I love it. But it’s a big investment that I just didn’t have the money to make when i was a poor college student.
  • How do I get everything where it needs to be? My first tri is in downtown Philadelphia. I’m going to have to drive my bike down there at like 4am and try to find somewhere to park & figure it all out & I’m just envisioning insanity.
  • I’m afraid I’ll be blown away by the pro’s. Well on one hand, the actually professional triathletes should beat me. That’s why they’re professionals. But for experienced triathletes, I know they’ll intimidate me with their $5000 bikes & aerodynamic helmets & super sleek wetsuits… Ich.
Anyways – it’s time to stop making excuses and go for it. I’m competing in the Philadelphia SheRox Sprint Tri – a women’s only triathlon with the aim of empowering women. So I’m going to go, feel all empowered, and hopefully walk away knowing more for my next triathlon. (There will be more, including a Half IronMan… and eventually a full IronMan). I know I’ll figure out all of the logistical stuff as I go – and it won’t be nearly as overwhelming as I’m envisioning!
Since I was all excited about how soon my tri is, I decided to do a Brick work-out yesterday to see how I felt.

Wednesday’s Work-Out: Lift, Spin, Run

  • Lift upper body – mainly biceps & triceps
  • 60 min Spin
    • Warm-up
    • 15 minutes of varying combinations of seated climbs, standing runs, and hover for 1-2 minutes each, adding resistance every minute. (I can’t remember the sequence but it definitely got my heart rate going)
    • 4x [30 sec of jumps, 15 sec rest]
    • 2x [30 sec sprint, 15 sec rest, 30 sec jumps, 15 sec rest]
    • 45 sec each x [seated climb, standing run, hover, jumps]
    • 1:00 each x [sprint, seated climb, standing run, hover, jumps]
    • Cool-down
  • Run 3.1 miles on the treadmill (27:00, 8:42 min/mile average)
    • It was entirely too hot for running outside.

Surprisingly, I felt pretty good throughout my entire work-out. I’d obviously like to run a lot faster on race day, but I’ll have adrenaline on my side then.

Do you have any races that you’re really looking forward to?

Do you ever psych yourself out before a race?

My Feelings on the 4th of July

5 Jul

Sorry I’ve been MIA recently. I was at the beach this holiday weekend and had extremely spotty cell service. Surprisingly, it was kind of refreshing not to be so reliant on my phone and it’s social networking capabilities. Maybe I should turn it off every once in a while… (Who am I kidding? That’s not going to happen) Anyways – I’ll fill you in on my weekend now.

Steve & I went away to the beach this weekend – in Breezy Point, NY. I definitely had a great weekend catching up with friends & family, and enjoying the ocean – but I had a bit of a rough time with the whole eating healthy & exercising aspect of my long weekend…

I struggle a lot mentally when I don’t work out. I’m fully aware that my appearance didn’t change over the weekend… but I just feel awful. When I drink alcohol, I feel bloated and uncomfortable. When I skip a work-out, I feel lazy and guilty all day. If I eat some “non-Jess” foods, I feel sick to my stomach. You’d think that all of these feelings would be a constant reminder to drink less, work out more, and eat normally, but it’s never that easy.

Eating “non-Jess” foods really does mess with my entire body. I honestly don’t think too much about what I eat when I’m home. I buy foods I enjoy, I cook meals that I like, and I feel good, both mentally and physically! But apparently the foods I buy aren’t exactly “normal” to the average family. Before leaving for the beach, I actually went to Wegman’s to buy food to take with me. I picked up some soy milk, cereal, Chobani yogurt, granola, cherries, and Sun Chips. I also brought up some tuna & salmon. If Steve wouldn’t have told me to do this, I would have been SOL all weekend. I didn’t realize how much other people rely on fried eggs & bacon for breakfast, lunch meat for lunch, and beef for dinner. I guess to most people, this is completely normal. But for me – those meals are completely out of the question. And because of it, my stomach felt off all weekend. Ugh.

I stuck to my own food as much as possible, but I there were some discrepancies. For breakfast, I had some scrambled eggs. I love eggs and have no problem eating them – but these eggs were fried in bacon fat and included the whole egg. I normally make egg white omelets over margarine. So my stomach wasn’t happy. For lunch one afternoon, we went out to a Thai restaurant – and while I normally enjoy a curry dish with tofu & rice, I decided to try Pad Thai. It was good – but it was cooked in so much oil that my stomach was in revolt the rest of the day. And when my stomach is upset, I’m upset and I don’t want to be around other people. Luckily, for dinner I made up salmon on the grill while everyone else enjoyed bbq chicken, ribs, and filet mignon. Call me crazy, but I thoroughly enjoyed my salmon! I’m not posting this to make anyone feel bad about what they eat… I’m posting it to show how much my body is aware of what I feed it. If I don’t stick to a routine, there are some serious issues.

My highlighted eat of the trip: MooLaLa frozen yogurt. It’s one of those build-it-yourself type places where you pick your flavor & toppings and pay by weight. My concoction – vanilla frozen yogurt, mango, granola, and almonds. It was amazing. (I don’t care if vanilla is “plain,” it’s the best)

I also had all intentions of working out… it just didn’t work out so well. I was planning to take Saturday off – and wake up early Sunday for a bike ride along the shore. Except it rained all day Sunday. Not exactly biking weather. So then I was determined to go for a run on Monday morning – which I did, for about a mile. I was drenched in sweat about 5 minutes into the run because the humidity was pushing 110%. Not fun. So we ran as far as we could, ran straight to the ocean, and walked the whole way home.

Did I mention that the beach is attached to a bird sanctuary? We saw this sign running to the beach and largely ignored it – until we were getting dive bombed by the most insane birds I’ve ever seen…

Unfortunately I didn’t take a lot of pictures this weekend, but we definitely had a blast. We got to see almost all of Steve’s family – his grandparents, aunts & uncles,  and cousins. We got to meet up with Ken (our Best Man) and finally meet his new girlfriend Sam. We met up with Brenna (Steve’s best friend from childhood) & her sister Lauren. We watched fireworks over the Bay with beers in our hands. I got to catch up on my reading. And I got to spend time with my husband 🙂

Despite some minor setbacks in my stomach’s ability to handle food, it was a perfect weekend. I wish I could stay at the beach all summer and forget this whole “real world” thing. Ew. At least it’s a short week, right? Tomorrow I’m gonna get right back into the whole workout routine & start getting serious about my triathlon on August 7th 🙂  But for now, I’m off to bed. Sweet dreams.

Do you find that your whole body feels off when you change up your diet?

How do you maintain “normal” eating when you’re on vacation?

Flashback Friday: Winter Weddings

1 Jul

Happy 4th of July weekend! I’m going to do my Flashback Friday Wedding post this afternoon.. and then I’m not sure when I’ll get to post again because I’m heading to the beach all weekend and won’t have much internet access. (Darn.)

It seems like choosing a wedding venue / date is the biggest decision in the whole wedding planning process. Luckily, I had a year and a half to plan my wedding, so there was no rush. Unluckily, I planned my Pittsburgh wedding from State College and it required a 2-hour trip home anytime I wanted to be useful.

Choosing a date

  • To break it down, Steve and I got engaged in July 2009. He graduated in December 2009. I graduated May 2010.  I guess normally, we would have chosen to be married the following summer (2010)… but I felt stressed out even thinking about finishing classes, finding a job, finding a place to live, and planning a wedding all at the same time. So summer 2010 was out. Fall 2010 was out because Steve’s brother was studying abroad. So… winter 2010-2011? Random. I hate cold. I hate snow. I hate winter. But I also didn’t feel like waiting 2 years to get married. So – a winter wedding it was.
  • Alright so we narrowed it down to winter. I figured I’d try to pick a date over the holiday break so not to interfere with anyone’s finals, etc. Well – in 2010-2011, both Christmas and New Years Day fell on a Saturday. Fail. Apparently people were a little busy the Saturday before Christmas as well. How about New Years Eve? Sounds awesome, right? Until you figure that the reception should go through midnight, which means it wouldn’t start until 8 or 9 with a typical 5-hour reception. That’s just weird to plan. Plus, places were already booked.
  • Magical Date: January 8. If you would have told me when we were first engaged that I’d be getting married on January 8, I would have laughed. I wanted a summer day that ended in a 7. Fail again.

Positives to a Winter Wedding:

  • Cost. If you want to save some serious money on your wedding day – get married in the winter. It’s such a slow season that pretty much every vendor will give you a crazy discount just so that they get some business. My reception hall gave us a 30% discounton our whole package because we chose January. That’s HUGE.
  • People aren’t very busy in January. As nice as summer weddings are, it can get crazy / expensive / cumbersome to travel to a wedding every other weekend in the summer. Plus, in the summer you’re competing with family vacations so guests might have previous plans. We found that most of our guests were excited to have something to do in January other than tear down Christmas decorations.
  • Availability. Chances are you’ll have your top choice of vendors available in winter. You’ll also have your choice of date. There’s no competition. You get what you want. Personally, it helped that no one else had booked my venue at any point the whole weekend, so my mom was able to go in and set up decorations (DIY) on the Wednesday before the wedding. She made sure everything looked perfect in advance so there were no surprises on the big day
  • Christmas Decorations. If you get married close enough to Christmas, a lot of places still have their twinkle lights and other decorations up – so you get them for free. Free decorations = good decorations.
  • Escape the cold on your Honeymoon. We could not have been more happy to arrive in Hawaii after a winter in Pennsylvania. I mean, Hawaii is going to be amazing no matter when you go – but it just makes you feel good knowing that you escaped winter.

Negatives to a Winter Wedding:

  • Weather. This is obvious. We got married in January in Pennsylvania. It was effingcold. It was always a small fear that we could get a blizzard and flights could get cancelled / delayed or that our limo wouldn’t be able to drive in the snow.We were so lucky. It snowed a solid 2 inches. Just enough to give an even white coating without causing any travel delays. However, our bridal party wasn’t too thrilled about my idea for snowy outdoor pictures in the freezing cold. Oh well, the pictures look AMAZING.
  • Indoors. There were some venues that could only accommodate a small number of guests indoors. Most of these offered an outdoor tent or outdoor areas, but we obviously couldn’t use them in the winter.
  • It gets dark really early. We had to make sure that we could take pictures before the sun went down – which is crazy early in the winter. Not only would it look weird to be in the dark, but it also got even colder. No one wants to be cold.
  • Flowers aren’t in season. I digress on cost when it comes to flowers. Flowers aren’t really in season in January. You’ll pay extra. I wanted cala lillies. They’re tropical. The cost reflected that. But I didn’t have any flowers for decorations /centerpieces – I only used flowers in the bouquets so it didn’t matter to me.

In the end, the date isn’t nearly as important as  you might think. Either way, you get to marry your best friend – and celebrate with friends & family. So even though I got married on probably the most random date I could think of, everything worked out beautifully.

Putting a Price on Healthy

30 Jun

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard that obesity is on the rise – not only in the US, but around the world. And since you’re reading a blog on healthy living, I’m going to imagine that this disgusts you. (As it should). Not only does this whole obesity thing disgust me – it flat out pisses me off.

For some reason, a burger in this country costs more than a salad. I wish someone could explain this one to me. You’re telling me that it cost more to grow that head of lettuce than it did to feed that cow, butcher it, process it, and fry it up into some greasy patty of “meat”? Doubtful. Nonetheless, I can walk into a McDonald’s right now and pick up a double cheeseburger, small fries, and a small Coke for $3. THREE DOLLARS. Cheap. Cheap. Cheap. Meanwhile, if I want to order one of their McHealthy salads, it’s gonna cost me $4-$5 depending on the location. Seriously!? Why do they punish people that are trying to live a healthy lifestyle?

I’d also like to point out that when I was on a business trip recently, I stopped at a McDonald’s in the morning for some breakfast, under the assumption that they had a low-fat yogurt / granola concoction (I had no idea where I was and McDonald’s was the only place I could find). I was wrong. This McDonald’s only served coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Since I was starving, I ordered an orange juice and an Egg McMuffin. That “sandwich” reeked so horrifically that I threw it out, headed over to the local gas station and bought a ridiculously over-priced granola bar for breakfast. Lesson learned.

But since I plan to never walk into a McDonald’s again, I’m going to shift gears. Apparently Salad Works is the latest craze. They offer super healthy options and make-it-yourself type deals which sounds great to me. Except that they charge you like $57.26 for a salad. Wait, you wanted a scoop of almonds on your salad? That will be an additional $2.50  (I’m exaggerating, but it’s expensive!) So as much as I’d enjoy a nice, quick salad for an on-the-go option, I’m not about to spend as much on a small salad as I would spend to go to a sit-down restaurant.

Even at the grocery store – produce is one of the most expensive things I buy! And if you want organic produce, you’re going to pay even more! But if I decided that I just wanted to live off of Pop-Tarts, Ramen noodles, Easy Mac, and chicken fingers, I think I’d easily save about $300/month. It’s ridiculous.

Luckily, I have a good job and I can afford to eat foods that I feel good about. But this brings me around to my original point – obesity pisses me off because it’s kind of being forced upon the lower class. Some people can’t afford healthy food. They can’t afford to buy fresh produce at the market. They have to buy greasy burgers off of the dollar menu and options like Easy Mac at the grocery store. And while there’s absolutely no excuse for laziness (at the very least, people can take walks everyday) this epidemic isn’t going to disappear until eating healthy becomes affordable.

With that said, I had an amazing home-made healthy dinner last night (and even Steve enjoyed it, so win-win).

  • Red Quinoa & Mahogany Rice – cooked as per directions
  • Chopped zucchini, portabello mushroom, some sweet peppers, and onion, satueed in olive oil, teryaki sauce, lemon juice, and topped with minced ginger
  • Gardein chicken for me – and normal chicken for Steve
  • Throw it all together.

Wednesday Workout:  Spin & Lift

  • Warm-up
  • Intervals: 1st set at 45 sec, 2nd set at 1:00, 3rd set at 1:15 [Sprint, Seated, Standing, Hover, Jumps]
  • 1 min Seated, 1 min Hover, 30 sec sprint
  • 2 min Seated, 2 min Hover, 30 sec sprint
  • 3 min Seated, 3 min Hover, 30 sec sprint
  • Rolling hills [Seated, Standing Hover] repeats
  • Cool-down
What’s your favorite *affordable* healthy meal / snack?

Pass it Forward

29 Jun

Thanks to the lovely Tara over at XC Foodie, I’ve been tagged! If you haven’t checked out her blog before, you probably should. Do it.

And as part of this fancy little award, I get to give you all a little bit of trivia about myself. Woo!

1. Favorite Cartoon Character: Rainbow Brite

  • I’m an 80’s child so it’s fitting that I love an 80’s cartoon icon. My family & friends can attest to my fascination with this character. I still have a t-shirt with Rainbow Brite on it. (Judge me).

2. Favorite Thing to Photograph:
  • Nothing beats nature. It’s just so beautiful.
3. Favorite Thing to Cook: Cupcakes
  • I’m so obsessed that for my 22nd birthday, my roommates bought me a set of pink mixing bowls and a book called ‘500 Cupcakes’ with 500 different recipes. Love.

4. Favorite Way to Exercise: Dancing

  • I wanted to keep it interesting, since I’m sure you were expecting something more conventional (in which case I think I would choose biking… or maybe swimming… it’s a toss-up) Anyways – I go all out when I’m dancing and if I could attend weddings everyday just to dance, I would.

5. Favorite Movie: V for Vendetta
  • While V is definitely my top pick of all-time, some of my other favorites include The Departed, Blood Diamond, The Hangover, Wedding Crashers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, Inglorious Basterds, and most recently, True Grit.

6. Favorite Clothing: Spandex.

  • Although I vowed never to go out in spandex like the hoards of sorostitutes at Penn State, I now live in my work-out spandex. It’s just so comfortable.

7. Favorite Flower: Roses (and dendrobium orchids)

  •  My middle name is Rose. And for those of you who know me personally, you know that my new last name is also Rose in a different language. Safe to say I like roses. (Although I also like dendrobium orchids and cala lillies) I’d post a picture of my wedding boquet, but I’m making you wait for another Flashback Friday post for that 😉

8. Favorite Breakfast: Cereal
  • Cheers to anyone who actually wakes up early enough to make something more complicated than cereal. I’m not even going to pretend that I do.

9. Favorite Book: Catcher in the Rye

  • If you like sarcasm and dry humor, this book is amazing. I highly recommend it. Otherwise, I’ve also enjoyed the Clan of the Cave Bear series.

10. Least Favorite Food: Seafood that’s not fish
  • I don’t really know how to describe this one. I love fish. I hate anything else that comes from the sea. Specifically, I refuse to eat shrimp, squid, lobster, clams, oysters, mussles, scallops, etc. I do like crab though. Weird?

Alright now I’m passing the fun along. Here are some of my favorite little blogs right now – I suggest you check them out as well.

Hopefully you enjoyed some insight on my antics. I’ll be back to posting something more normal tomorrow! (Including my work-out and amazing dinner from tonight)

What’s the most beautiful landscape you’ve ever seen / photographed? 
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