Monday, September 23, 2013

Goals for Race Week

The week is finally here - less than 5 days until my second Half Marathon.  There are a few things that I'm going to REALLY focus on this week with the hopes that it will make me as prepared as possible for Saturday.

Running Schedule
I have to get 2 runs in this week - a 4 mile and a 3 mile and I HAVE to get them done today and Wednesday.  I want two days off between my 3 mile run and the race.

Time to carbo load!!!  This is never a problem for me... I love pasta.  I'm also planning to have a night of sweet potato hash, and probably beans and rice YUMMMMMM!

I also need to make sure I'm getting in some good protein, which means I'm probably going to get up and have an egg each morning - not something I'd normally do, but hopefully it will do my muscles good.

I can't go without my one morning cup of coffee - I just can't, but I'm going to get to work each day and start my morning with this...

The bottle and tall cup are 24 ounces each.  The small cup is 16 ounces.  In case you can't do the math, that's 8 cups of water... aka the recommended amount of water someone should drink EVERY DAY.  For me, this is something I have to focus on - this is something that I will only accomplish if the water is sitting on my desk staring at me, and I'll probably set some alarms for myself on my phone and/or calender that remind me to drink water.  My goal is to drink this much water EVERY DAY.

I really have to commit to stretching, icing and rolling (on my foam roller) every night this week.  I also need to make sure I'm getting away from my desk while I'm at work so I don't get stuff from sitting.  I'm guessing the 64 ounces of water will help - I have to get up to go to the bathroom.

Early to Rise, Early to Bed???  I know - that's backward, but that's how I have to do it.  It takes me forever to get sleepy at night.  It is not uncommon for me to be more awake at midnight than I am at 3 pm, but I have to get up early on Saturday morning and get going, so I'm going to have to practice!  It's going to be hard - my cousin has a game tonight (Go LA Sparks!!) and it doesn't start until 10 pm.  We have game night with friends tomorrow, so I'll be out later than normal on a weeknight.  BUT I am going to force myself to get up by 6:30 am every day this week and hopefully by Wednesday or Thursday night, I'll be ready for bed early.  I know to a lot of people 6:30 am probably seems like sleeping in, but I am rarely up before 7:30 am and it's usually 8 am so that's a big change for me!!

I am probably going to pack on Wednesday night and make sure I have everything on Thursday.  I'm heading out a little early on Friday afternoon so I want to be able to just pick J up and head to Fort Wayne so I can get my race packet and go have a delicious dinner with family on Friday night.  I'm going to have to give myself options.  I know what sports bra, shorts, socks and shoes I'm wearing.  I'm going to have to give myself some top options that will let me layer and probably find a long sleeved shirt that I don't mind dumping on the side of the road along the way.

I think if I can focus on my prep throughout the week, it will help to keep me from getting nervous about Saturday - I guess we will have to wait and see!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Last Weekend at the Lake

Last weekend was our last weekend at the lake before the construction begins.  We arrived on Friday evening to a beautiful sunset on a cool evening and I spent a few minutes at the end of the dock to enjoy the calm water and the beautiful sky.

The property has been in our family for a long time.  It was originally owned by my dad's grandparents and somehow, it ended up being handed down to my dad and my Uncle.  In the early 1990s, there was a storm that blew a tree over, and right through the middle of the original cottage I remember.  We rebuilt the house, from a small fisherman's cottage to a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house.  

My grandmother spent a number of years living here before she passed away, and while she was there, central air was added and a garage was built that is large enough to hold a car and a boat, with storage underneath.

Next week, construction materials will be delivered.  The roof is being raised on the house, and it's turning from a story and a half, to a full two story house with a master suite on the front.  Once that's complete, my mom and dad are going to move there full time and they will sell their house in Fort Wayne.  It's going to become a 4 bed, 3 bath house that should have plenty of room for visitors in the summer, and I can't wait to see how it all turns out!

We'll be up to the lake one more time in October to take the dock out, but we won't be able to stay there, so this was my last weekend at the lake house where my cousins and I grew up - where we had people sleeping all over the floor in the summer, and where I got to spend time with just my Grandma when I was in grad school in Indiana while my parents were still in Texas.

I'm excited for the next chapter of this house - the chapter that will eventually include my kids and my commitment to always have a place where my cousins and I can continue to gather!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wedding Wednesday - I Couldn't Resist

I know it's been a long time since I've done a Wedding Wednesday post, but I just could not resist when I saw this on Pinterest!  It took J and I a long time to come up with groomsmen gifts, and I know that if I'd seen this while we were planning, it would have been a STRONG contender!

Personalized Corkscrew and Multi-Tool - Groomsmen Gifts - Wedding Party Gifts - Wine Opener on Etsy, $12.00
As are so many amazing things, this is an Etsy product!  The seller (MyPersonalMemories) has a lot of great stuff on her site, but these are definitely my favorite!  I loved that it's something that's personalized, but more importantly USEFUL!  Don't get me wrong, the pocket watches we gave to our groomsmen were great, and I liked the idea, but I'm guessing they aren't carrying around in their pockets all that often.

You can check out this and all my pins on my Wedding Wednesday Pinterest Board!
Happy Hump Day!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

America the Embarrassing

I didn't watch the Miss America pageant last night - it's not something that I really care that much about, but when I saw on Twitter that this year's Miss America is has an Indian heritage, I thought it was great that the Melting Pot that is America was highlighted!

THEN, I saw some of the comments that were being made and I was totally embarrassed by the fact that people in this country are (a) so completely ignorant, (b) so incredibly mean and (c) so quick to share their stupidity from behind their Twitter handle.

Miss New York - now Miss America, is beautiful - and that's what it is... a beauty pageant.

Nina Davuluri, Miss New York 2013
No, her parents were not born in this country, but she was, or she wouldn't be eligible for the pageant.  She grew up here, she went to school here and she has been a citizen of this country from the time she was born.  Had her parents emigrated from Italy, would this conversation be happening?... probably not.  It is so disappointing and totally embarrassing to know that Americans are still so racist, still so ignorant and so closed minded to understand that the color of her skin, her kids skin, her grandkids skin and so on will likely never be "white".  There are a number of Americans with a different color of skin who are generationally more American than I am.  My grandfather wasn't born here - he was born in Greece, but he immigrated here, established himself as an American and proudly bought in to what American stood for.  There are people in this country whose skin is darker than mine, but whose families have been here longer - does that make me less American than them?

My hope is that the children of those people making negative and racist comments about our new Miss America can rise above the hate that their parents were taught and become better people than their ancestors, which is ultimately what we should all do - work to be the most accepting and united America that there has ever been.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ready to Run

It's finally Friday and it has been a SUPER busy week for me! Luckily it was a good busy, one where a glass of wine on Friday evening is a perk instead of a necessity. 

Tomorrow is my last long run before my half marathon and lucky for me, my new running accessory came just in time for me to give it a try before the big day. 

My calves and ankles have really bothered me during training this time around, and compression socks have seemed the help. These are made for running and don't feel as tight as the ones I have been using so we will see how I feel tomorrow. 

On another note, I was excited to wake up this morning and put on jeans and a sweatshirt - it was in the 90s earlier this week and now we have a lovely 60 degree day!!! Hopefully this means that Fall is finally here!!!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11 - Always Remembering

It doesn't matter that it's 12 years later - every year on 9/11 I wake up and think about the day that I experienced on 9/11/01.  I woke up this morning and showered and as I got out of the shower, I looked at the clock - it was about 7:50 am, which is just about the time that my college roommate and I were awoken by her dad calling to let us know he was ok.

Her dad was a pilot for Northwest at the time, and when he called and woke us up, we had no idea what was going on.  We turned on the TV to see this site...

We sat there, still half asleep, but completely in shock and watched as the second plane hit the other tower.  From that point forward, we were glued to the TV - we sat there all day and watched... went downstairs and got food and brought it back to our room to watch more.  We watched the attack on the Pentago and sat both terribly sad yet extremely moved by the actions of the passengers on the plane that was diverted from its intended target and downed in Pennsylvania.  We were so lucky - her dad was not on any of the flights that day.

My mom worked at a high school in Texas where a number of the kids had parents who were either pilots or flight attendants.  They had a number of tense hours of trying to get a hold of parents and parents trying to get a hold of their kids.  They were lucky - no one was on any of the flights.

4 years later, as troops were still deployed, a friend of mine who was a Marine reserve was informed that he may be called overseas.  We were so hopeful that it wouldn't happen, but it did.  He was sent to Afghanistan to work with a very specialized unit, and not a day went by that I didn't think about him and pray for him.  We were lucky - he returned home safely. 

There were so many that were not so lucky - so many who were lost and whose friends and family are so greatly affected by that day.  So many families return to the site of the attacks each year to celebrate and remember the lives of the ones they lost.

I never understood what my parents felt when they talked about knowing exactly where they were when Kennedy was shot, until I experienced this day 12 years ago and I remember this day more vividly than I do most... I remember what we ate, what we talked about and how I felt as we watched and watched and watched.  I know I am lucky - that my memories, no matter how vivid, are memories of relief.  So, as I remember what my 9/11 was like 12 years ago, I pray for those whose days did not end in relief.

Monday, September 09, 2013

YUMMMM - Night out in Ann Arbor

This was the first weekend that we've been in Ann Arbor and I didn't have a lot going on at work.  We decided to stick around instead of going to the lake, and had a really great weekend with friends!

On Friday night, we went to a Club Rugby game (Michigan won - GO BLUE) and then decided we would head downtown.  Because it was Notre Dame football weekend, it was extra busy here and the couple of bars that we were talking about going to were extra busy.  We decided we were all hungry, so we decided to go for high quality food, and we went to Frita Batidos.  It's "Cuban Inspired Street Food" and it definitely did not disappoint!

We all had Fritas, which are basically hamburgers, BUT BETTER!  I had a Chorizo Frita, which the guy who took our order said is the original and the best.  I was also the only one who was brave enough to get it "Loco" - which means I got all the toppings on mine... Muenster Cheese, a Sunny Side Up Egg, Cilantro-Lime Salsa, Tropical Slaw and Avocado Spread.  All of the Fritas also come with shoestring fries on top and are served on a really delicious flaky egg bun.

And here it is...

That dish of stuff to the right is called "The Best Snack Ever" - coconut ginger rice, refried black beans, melted muenster and cilantro lime salsa.  I ended up taking it home with me.  It was good, but not as good as their Garlic Cilantro Fries that my friends got!!

It was definitely not cheap, but it was totally worth it and I'll definitely go back!!!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Guest Post -

Fall in Love With These Thrifty Seasonal Decorating Ideas

By Jennifer Osieczanek,

We've flipped the calendar to September, and while the heat isn't subsiding, pumpkin spice lattes are back, so let’s just pretend it’s fall, OK?

When the seasons shift outside, I like to bring a little of that magic inside. Here are a few tips to incorporate the essence of fall into your home without breaking the bank.

DIY decor. A simple project to bring fall into your home – quite literally -- is to frame four patterned sheets of paper with the letters FALL printed on them.

If you’re like me, you've somehow amassed a collection of picture frames not being used or are ready to part ways with a few of the pics you have on display around the house. Simply gather up four frames -- they don’t have to be the exact same size or style -- but make sure they are all one color. Black would be best and spray paint is your friend.
At a craft store, pick out four sheets of patterned paper in fall prints. Think oranges, deep reds and yellows or browns. Keep the patterns simple and delicate for a polished feel.
Cut the sheets of paper down to fit your frames.

The next step depends on whether you love your handwriting or have access to other crafting tools. I've got a Cricut, so I’d use that (find it at craft stores or Walmart) to cut the letters to spell “FALL” out of black construction paper.

I’d also vary the fonts for a fun look. If you don’t have a tool to cut out letters, you could simply draw your letters by hand with a black marker. Then you just glue them to the printed paper.

The final step is to frame your letters and display. This would be perfect for a mantel or entry table.

The great pumpkin. Another way to make your home festive for fall is with pumpkins. Instead of buying actual pumpkins, which can get quite pricey, pick up a couple fake ones at a craft store or online ( has lots of coupons for Hobby Lobby). By purchasing foam pumpkins, you’ll save in the long run because you can use them year after year. Create a centerpiece with small to medium pumpkins and add some candles. Simple, easy and classic.

If pumpkin orange doesn't fit with your current decor, you can find white and black options, too. Or, get really creative and paint them to up the style-factor. Think white with black polka dots or a black-and-white checkerboard pattern. Your imagination -- and steady painting hand -- are the only limits.

Not the crafty type? No worries. I found this super-cute owl online at

Yes, he’s more than $46, but by using coupons via, you get free shipping and an extra 2 percent Cash Back (in addition to the 5 percent you already get with a RED card).

I’d mull painting him bronze to make him a little more fall-like, but he’s also good-to-go as-is, depending on your personal style.

Now, if only it would feel like fall outside.

Jennifer Osieczanek writes for

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

WELCOME - Shop at Home

I was contacted by Shop at Home with a request to be one of their featured bloggers! There are going to be "visiting" on Thursday with some really great ideas for home decor on a budget. I haven't had a chance to use their site yet, mostly because I haven't been purchasing anything lately, but it's a one-stop-shop for all of your money saving needs.  When they approached me, they said: 

From travel discounts, beauty deals, apparel, and more ShopAtHome scours the web for the best deals out there so you don't have to. Through its partnership with thousands of online retailers, catalogs and magazines, fulfills its mission of offering the latest products, up-to-the-minute deals and Cash Back for consumers who shop online.

You can find my blogger profile here or you can click on the link in my left side-bar to check out the site.  Another great feature they offer is referral credit - tell a friend and you BOTH get $5.  I hope you'll take some time to check out the rest of their site to see if any of your favorite stores are on there (I bet they are)!

I'll continue to share great deals and give-aways from the site as they come up - and I'm looking forward to sharing their post at the end of the week!

Hope you have a great (short) week!