Monday, September 22, 2014

TGIF - Thank Goodness It's Fall!

It seems I'm not alone in this sentiment but I'm SO happy Fall is officially here today. Fall is my season. My happy place. 

I love the cooler temps so I don't go outside and sweat off my deodorant immediately. I can go running in the morning or when I get off work. I can wear jeans and boots and sweaters. I get to look forward to my birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up. I use football games as an excuse to eat queso and drink beer. Just a few of my favorite Fall things! 

Yesterday Sarah, Ryan, Peter's mom and little sister and I went apple picking at 9AM. Unfortunately it didn't feel like Fall outside with the temperatures getting into the 80s but it was still fun as the first Fall activity of the season. We got plenty of apples to make applesauce and an apple pie. We got 3 pumpkins to decorate the front porch with (I've already named them George, Wade and Lavon). Then Ryan and I watched the Redskins v. Eagles game while eating queso and drinking beer. 
Virginia being pretty
pumpkin George 
big fan of these people :)
The only bummer is that Peter isn't here to enjoy the season with me. We've always had a lot of fun during these months, making pies, going on walks, decorating Halloween cookies and celebrating my birthday. I can't wait for him to be home during Thanksgiving though so we can do a few of these things.

Welcome Fall, please stay awhile!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Runner's Tell All: Race Bucket List

The last few Runner's Tell All topics, I've forgotten to write something for but I've read most of the blog posts because they're all so interesting! The remaining topics for the year I want to write about because they're easy to talk about and hello, free blog post idea!

This month's topic is about your race bucket list. When I was on the cross country and track teams in high school, I did those races and a few random 5k and 10k races with my mom. Since I ran my first half marathon in 2011, I think I've done 10 races between then and now. I love doing races because it's nice to see hundreds of other crazy people that are awake way too early on a weekend going out to x number of miles. I like running around a new place and helping to support the cause of the race. I especially love running a race with friends! But I think the biggest reason I don't run more races is because it can really add up.  A cheap 5k race these days is $25. I only paid $42 for the half marathon I'm doing in December because it's a small race and  I got $5 off because I didn't need the t-shirt. Right now my pesky student loans are keeping me from doing too many races so for now I'll continue to do the more budget friendly ones. 
My mom forcing me to take a picture at 7AM
About to cross the finish line on my first half marathon
Post 5k kisses from puppy Hunter!
So this race bucket list consists of races that I would love to do if I had plenty of disposable income!

1. Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon
I may have mentioned it once or twice on here how much I enjoy wine… :). Julie and Debbie did this race last year and said it was such a pretty course and well-organized. The only thing is it held in the summer so it can get hot on race day. And the registration fee is $115...

2. Big Sur
I visited California in 2009 and drove on the Pacific Coast Highway. I'd love to run next to the ocean for miles - though I could do without the giant hills. The marathon is $150 + my travel costs because it's kind of the other side of the US.

3. Boston
I mean it's Boston. There's a reason why BQ is a common terminology among runners. I've watched this on TV for the past couple years and it just seems like a great race. My uncle lives in Boston so luckily I could stay with him if I went. There's no way I could qualify for it though so my only option would be trying to do it as a charity runner. Though BAA sets the fundraising minimum at $7,000 so if I figure out how to become a fundraising queen, it may take a while for this to happen.

4. Berlin Marathon
This could really be any European race but since Peter speaks German, I feel like we could find ourselves in Berlin at some point. I'd probably make him run it with me so that way he can read any course signs that are in German to me so I don't get lost. 

5. Great Wall of China Half Marathon
I saw the ad for this race while I was waiting to watch a Youtube video. And it happened a few more times. Just being curious I actually went to their website to check it out. There's a marathon and half marathon but the half only goes up and down the Great Wall once so that sounds better to me. I just think it would be so cool to say you did a race on the Great Wall! I'm sure the views are amazing. It's not impossibly expensive but it would definitely take months of planning and saving to make it happen. 

These are definitely my top 5 races at the moment but there are other ones on my, let's say race bucket list B, that I want to do. A half marathon in Minnesota with Erin, duh. A half marathon with Kayla and Erin in Cincinnati, of course. And a million more half marathons/marathons/any distance race with my boomies, Julie and Kelly!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Running For A Cause

Last year Julie, Kelly and I raised money for the charity Alex's Lemonade Stand while training for our half marathon. They sent us T-shirts and we got to set up our own fundraising website with our catchy name Hokie Runner Girls. Thanks to our friends and family, we raised over $600! You can even see our picture on their website under Options For Participating page right now!

As I was planning for my next half marathon, I wanted to do something like this again. It seems like charities sponsoring runners at races is pretty popular these days so it was actually a tough decision to choose which one to do. Did I want to do a big name charity or find a small one? Did I want to try and get a race slot they've reserved or choose my own race? I even looked up what it takes to be a charity runner for Boston and yeah, I don't think I could raise $7,000 unfortunately. 

Then I was reading one of my favorite running blogs, rUnladylike and she had mentioned she's a part of Team Momentum as she trains for the Chicago Marathon. Team Momentum raises money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. When I researched more about muscle disease on their website, the first thing I noticed was how many different types there are. Then reading all the inspirational stories really did me in. 

When I'm trying to fight through a bad mental state at the beginning of a run or getting up and over a hill, it's really nothing compared to what these people are going through and I need that reminder. Running is a gift - I'm lucky to be able to do something I'm passionate about. A lot can happen during a 12 week training session, good and bad runs, weather and injuries. Giving this training cycle more purpose than just crossing the finish line is what I was looking for and I've found it with Team Momentum. 

I registered with them on Tuesday and set up my own fundraising site. If you'd like to check it out, you can find it here. I'll be doing a race of my choosing. The lady I've been in contact with has already been so supportive. Since this will be my 5th half marathon, my goal is to raise $500!

Here's to making progress on the cure for muscle disease one mile at a time!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tracy Asked Me For It

Last week one of my favorite people/fellow Hokie, runner, smooth peanut butter enthusiast, Tracy,  nominated me for the Liebster Award! I did it once last year when I was still a nebbie blogger. I really enjoyed the questions she asked so here's 11 more random facts about me and my answers to her questions!

1. One of my pet peeves is when the microwave hasn't been cleared and isn't showing the time again. I clear it at work all the time.

2. Next May I'll have worked at my company for 5 years. Pretty cool to say for someone who graduated college last year. 

3. I've donated my hair to Locks of Love 3 times so far.

4. I absolutely will not watch scary/horror/thriller movies. No nightmares for me.

5. The only jewelry I keep on when I go running is my earrings.

6. For my 17th birthday, my then-boyfriend and Peter got me the same present. I returned my then-boyfriend's instead of Peter's hehe.

7. I wish I was brave enough to shave my head one day for St. Baldrick's.

8. When I was 10, a dog came up and bit me on the stomach. I still have a scar from it but I'm still obsessed with dogs. 

9. I hate pumpkin pie but I love pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

10. I can't sleep with socks on.

11. Apparently I did not like Stuart Little the first time I read it at age 10.

Tracy's Questions:
1. What's it like having a twin? Pros/cons?
Having a twin that isn't the same gender is probably pretty different than two girls or two boys. It usually just feels like I have another brother and luckily we aren't too competitive. 
Cons: Spend a lot of time together. Always have to share your birthday. People may confuse you for your boyfriend/girlfriend... True story: Peter used to see us walking home together from school and assumed that…so so awkward and weird!
Pros: Always have someone to play with. People's reactions when you tell them you're twin. Pretty great bond and cool to say you've known them literally your entire life. He's fiercely protective of me and would do anything to make sure I was okay. 
If you want to know more of my thoughts, I wrote about it here too!

2. What did you major in in college? If you could have gotten a degree in something else, would you and what would it be?

Business Management. I would have liked to get an interior design degree because I really enjoy it but it was under the Architecture program and seemed really hard. Maybe in my next life!

3. Would you rather have a relaxing vacation with no plans, or have lots to see and do?

You can probably tell by my weekend recaps that I like my down time. On vacation all I want to do it relax with a few activities to do here and there.

4.  If you could move anywhere would you? Where?

As I've started traveling more, I've come to appreciate where I currently live/have grown up even more. But if Peter got a job offer in Germany or Austria, I would definitely move! I could finally put what I've learned on House Hunters International to good use. 

5. What's your favorite song to run to?

Hmm I tend to listen an artist's entire CD when I run so a few favorites are:
Gavin DeGraw's Make a Move album - especially Heartbreak / Soldier off Sweeter
One Republic's Native album
Mat Kearney's Young Love album
Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory

6. What's your earliest memory? 

I think Kiefer and I were maybe 2 or 3 but I remember us playing ring around the rosie in our kitchen. My dad has it on video somewhere.

7. What age has been your favorite so far? 

I really enjoyed being 22. I was a senior in college. I was living with my two best friends, going on adventures, being silly and going to Kroger daily. Peter was right around the corner and we always had a lot of fun things planned. I had been at my job at school for 4 years and they felt like family. Graduating college was such a big milestone and I was glad to have such great people to celebrate with. 

At my age now, sometimes I feel like I'm just waiting for the next chapter. Now that school and those milestones are over, I keep feeling like I need something else to happen. I'm working on just enjoying the moments these days.

8. What's something you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I hope in 5 years I've run a marathon. I keep going back and forth on when I should do it but I think when the right time comes I'll know. I'm sure this running goal was a shocker :P

9. If you had $100 and had to spend it today, what would you buy?

Fall clothes! I have a shopping cart on JCrew Factory that is begging to be bought - if only my bank account agreed.

10. What was your favorite class in high school?

My first thought that came to mind for this question was "which classes did I have with Julie?". No class really stands out to me for it's interesting curriculum but more of who was in my class. Julie and I took AP History together. I hated the content but oh boy did we make that class fun for ourselves. We may have dressed up our textbook in a tuxedo and took pictures with it on Homecoming. And made sock puppets rap for our final project :)

11. What are you looking forward to?

Thanksgiving! Peter will be home for the week and I'm taking the whole week off to spend as much time with him as I can. I sure do miss that guy!

Now I would like to nominate Laura! Her stories in her posts really make me laugh out loud, especially with lines like this about her finally discovering the greatness of Pinterest: I sat on the couch and scrolled through page after page after page after page…after page… of ways to style chambray shirts.  I couldn't stop.  Matt was sitting next to me and after about fifteen minutes he said, “What are you looking at? The denim channel?”

Here are my questions for Laura:
1. If you were the lead singer of a band, which band would it be for?
2. What is your favorite candle smell?
3. When you have the night to yourself, what's your favorite thing to do?
4. What is your go to outfit for a night out?
5. What is your favorite Midnight Snack?
6. If you could change your first name, would you? If so, what would it be?
7. If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would it be?
8.  If you could get paid for doing anything, what would it be?
9. What is your favorite part about Thanksgiving?
10. What is your must have make up product?
11. Do you have a favorite charity?

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Five Favorites from My Weekend

1. Friday night Sarah, Ryan, Zoey and I hung out in the backyard playing Washers. I won both rounds and made the toss the automatically wins the game.

2. Saturday morning I ended up 5 miles instead 4 because of the cool weather and listening to my Parachute playlist.

3. Saturday night my friend and I met Parachute for the THIRD time and fell more in love them with them. They're so nice, talented, funny and put on one hell of a show!

4. She was the one that introduced me to them so we definitely sang our hearts out that night. It was the best! We were sorely missing our other Parachute-lover Kelly though!

5. Sunday afternoon Julie and I enjoyed a glass of wine and mountain views at a local winery. It was such a pretty day out and a great way to get in some girl time.

Today is Day 1 of half marathon training! I'm hoping to have a great training cycle and looking forward to getting half #5 in the books!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Not Being Judy Attitudy

Yesterday I got off work late which I can't really complain about because it doesn't happen often. The only thing that stinks is sitting in more traffic. I only work 11 miles away and yet on a bad day it'll take me an hour to get home. Like yesterday.

But when I pulled up to the traffic and thought "ughhhhh" I quickly realized that being mad about it isn't going to make anything better. Judy Attitudy is my phrase for those stuck in a bad attitude (mainly because it rhymes). 
So instead I focused my attention on thinking about all the things that are currently making me happy. And thus a blog post is born!

+ My Mom. She makes me laugh and is my absolute #1 supporter. I could tell her I'm going to run the entire Great Wall of China and would say "Of course you can!!!"

+ "I miss you" texts. It's nice to hear when you're feeling it too :)

+ Snapchats from Kayla. Pretty much my only snapchat friend and I love our little picture conversations!

+ After taking the summer to run whenever I felt like it, I'm excited to have a training plan again! Half marathon #5 here I come. Fall training, prepare to be enjoyed!

+ Pretty flowers on the side of the road.

+ That my niece could be here in 2 short weeks!

+ A co-worker/friend just came back from vacation this week and brought ME back something! She said "I thought it would be good to run in!". So stinking sweet and it is so stinking comfy! 

I finally got home and was feeling totally fine. I actually went on a walk with Zoey and Sarah as soon as I did and it was nice to enjoy the weather. I had dinner, watched Ellen videos and crawled into bed at 9pm. It's funny how the right attitude makes anything better. 

Especially on the anniversary of today - cherish the blessings in your life!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Weekend Highlights

I wrote about 5 sentences of this post on Sunday and then decided to take a nap so it never got finished. Naps > blogging on Sunday - it's the truth.

Since it's Tuesday and the weekend was days ago now, I'll give you a quick highlight of mine because it did include some fun!

Friday after work I drove out to my mom's house to hang with her, my step-dad and dogs/cats for the night. They are getting their basement finished and my mom has been wanting me to come by to see it in progress. We ran to Home Depot so she could pick out tile for their mini wine cellar and then she bought my subway for dinner. Thanks mom! I also downloaded emojis on her new iPhone and it's been hilarious.

Saturday morning I slept in so I got a late start to my run. It was 10am and for some reason I didn't think 80 degrees and sunny would be that bad. Yeah…I wanted to faint at the end of it. I struggled the whole time and felt like I was running in a heat blanket. I am not a summer runner. But it was a good reminder that running is something you can always work harder at and it motivated me to have a better run next time.
Hang out at my car for 30 minutes trying to recover..
Saturday night we went to a Gatsby-themed Twilight Polo match. We bought VIP tickets months ago and had a group of 15 people meeting us. All signs for a great night…except it decided to start storming the moment we got there. It couldn't have rained at 3pm or anything. Also not as many people as we thought were dressed up. So instead we packed up and headed back to our house to watch the Tech game. We were recording it and going to watch it afterwards but we caught up after 20 minutes. Holy nail biter. But hello #17 ranking :)
Wrapped my hair in a headband - so comfy and cute!
some of the ladies! Peter's sisters are the one next to me and the one in the middle!
dressed up men - these two have been since they were 3! almost 30 years of friendship!
Sunday I made the most delicious chicken salad in all the land. When I was visiting Peter he made it and I insisted he send me the recipe. He sent me an email with it in a Word document and added his own chef's notes hehe. After slicing one finger while chopping the onion in half…it ended up being SO good. Yesterday at work I was dying for it to be 12pm so I could eat it. I love having a good lunch!

The rest of the day was spent with football and reading outside. I'm about 30 pages into this book but haven't decided how I feel about it yet. I think I need to keep reading. 

One last mention because I know my fellow Fall runners (Tracy, Meagan) are agreeing with me. I went running yesterday at 5pm in capris and T-shirt and I did not die of humidity or drown in sweat. It was glorious!!! I'm so glad Fall running is here. Thank you Mother Nature!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

September Goals

First a recap on how my August Goals went!

1. Blog 3x a week…. I only went one week with just two posts so 2/3 completed.
2. Run 5 times before work….I ran 3 times before work so 3/5 completed.
3. Read a book from the library….Unfortunately this didn't happen but hopefully this month.
4. Go on a hiking adventure….This didn't happen either but I went on adventure around Chicago which I'm half counting because I was still outside being active.
5. Send two pieces of snail mail….Fully completed! I sent a thank you card to my grandma and a birthday package to my favorite optometry student Kelly!

And now on to this month's goals.
This picture made me giddy for running on leaf covered paths!
1. Wake up an hour before work on non-running days. You'd think after 15 months in the real world I'd get used to waking up early. Instead I've perfected getting ready in 15 minutes. Time to get my lazy butt up and get the day going!

2. Start training for half marathon #5. I'm getting serious this training cycle and hoping to break two hours (eek). Speedwork, hill workouts and yoga - I'm coming for ya!

3. Read a book from the library. Hello free books - what more do you need Becky?!

4. Love on my new niece. The family is pretty much on call the next few weeks waiting for her arrival. I've never actually held a new born baby before - I can't wait!

5. Update my About Me, Running and Contact tabs. Erin redid my blog design months ago and I still haven't added anything to those sections whoops.

Bring it on September!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Chicago Weekend Recap

I wrote this while sitting on the plane ride home last night. I figured it would be a good distraction from my slight fear of flying to write about one of my favorite weekends to date. Prepare for a lengthy post :)

I think the past month before visiting Peter it didn't completely hit me that he was really 700 miles away. I kept feeling like he was just working long hours. I would get insanely sad if I thought about it too much so I chose not, gotta love denial. But I think this made leaving him a bit harder this weekend because I saw and interacted this new chapter in his life. Though in turn it made me feel better because he really is doing something great and I'm proud of him for moving away from his friends and family to a completely new place for a wonderful job opportunity. Hopefully that all made sense…girl thoughts. Now on to the recap of weekend!

I'm going to start with Thursday night. I decided I should get a hair trim to get rid of the split ends and look healthy. Because I'm sure Peter was going to be very excited to see my healthy hair...I went to a Hair Cuttery I had tried once before and wasn't crazy about but it's right up the road from home. I told her just a 0.5 inch trim and everything seemed to be going fine. She asked if I wanted layers still and I said yes because I have a few at my ends. Well when I saw her cut a piece of hair short that wasn't short before I freaked a little in my head. She gave me more than I had before and shorter than I wanted. Then she thinned the bottom of my I ultimately left there with a mullet. The only thing I liked were my bangs. Luckily my sweet friend Erin assured me it wasn't really the end of the world. I will now be wearing my hair pulled back or in a pony tail until the mullet grows out. Peter didn't really notice until it was completely down and nicely said "Really it looks okay, it just doesn't look like quite your style". Sigh, thankfully hair grows.

Friday I took off work so I got up and went for a nice 3 mile run. I wish I could run at 7:30 every morning - light outside but not too hot yet. Peter's mom was nice enough to drop me off at the airport so I drove over there and she feed me some delicious zucchini bread. Luckily the airport is only about 15 minutes away from us and I got to the gate with an hour to spare before boarding. It was so fun to text Peter "see you after work!!!". The flight ended up being pretty easy and not too much turbulence thank goodness. Peter was working summer hours so his office got out at 1:00 that Friday afternoon. I landed around 2:00 and by the time he got home to get his car and come to the airport I only had to wait about 30 minutes. Reuniting with someone you love has to be one of the top 5 greatest feelings!!! We drove about 20 minutes and got to his house. He currently has a room in a house in the suburbs of Chicago. A lady owns it, her son lives there as well as another girl. The lady and son were gone for the weekend so it was nice to have a quiet house. The other girl that lives there I never saw once...Peter said he's only ever seen the back of her head. Hasn't even been able to introduce himself to her in the month he's been living there...maybe he will by the time he leaves next summer haha. Since the lady was gone on vacation, Peter offered to watch her dog for the weekend which I didn't mind at all because you all know I love dogs. He was a border collie mix and super cute. We took him lots of walks so it was a fun way to see his neighborhood. The houses were all so different and it was interesting to see the huge ones with a small lot or the more dated ones with big yards. 

Friday night we took the train into the city and went to see Millennium Park aka the Bean. It was smaller than I assumed for some reason but still neat. Then we went to see the Buckingham Fountain because Peter said it would be lit up at night. Since we were taking the train home, we had to decide on the 8:40 or 10:40 one. By 8:00, I knew I wasn't going to make it to 10:00. Since the fountain was a bit far from the train station we were those tourists walk/running in the nice humid night. We got there with about 5 minutes to spare and Peter realized there was actually a 9:40 train haha. It made for a fun story though :)

walking around the city
da Bean
the building roof said Y Teal? and I was wearing teal haha
da Fountain!
Saturday morning we woke up early to go to an Irish pub in the city to watch a premier league game. I think I've mentioned it a few times that my team is Manchester United and Peter's is Chelsea. Manchester United was playing at 6:45am that morning... but Chelsea was playing at 11:30am so a little more reasonable for drinking :P. We got to the pub around 10:30 and ordered some lunch appetizers and beer. The pub was full of other soccer fans so it was really fun to watch. It ended being a great game too with 9 goals! Chelsea won 6 to 3 so Peter was excited. After that we walked towards the Navy Pier to see the beach. It was really crowded so we just look at it from a far. We headed back to the train station and stopped at a used bookstore someone recommended to him. It was quaint and fun to roam around. We got back home around 5 and got chipotle for dinner. All that walking made us hungry! One of Peter's winery friends sent him two bottles which was super nice so we enjoyed the white Petit Manseng that night outside in the deck/pool area. I was fast asleep by 10 after that.

pretty great seats

Sunday morning we got up a little later and went to a local place for crepes. We got a sweet (peanut butter and banana) and a savory (it was called hail cesar) to share. They were both pretty good though there is a place here in Virginia that still holds the #1 spot in our stomach for crepes. There's at least 30 different options and they're all delicious. Come visit and I will take you to the amazingness! We went into the city to go back to Millennial Park in the daytime. We saw the Lurie Gardens and finally asked a stranger to take our picture. Smartphone-less Peter isn't big on selfies (yet). We went back to the Buckingham Fountain and sat on a bench for a while. It was one of my favorite parts because we were just sitting there talking enjoying the sights. We saw a wedding party taking pictures and may have shared some thoughts on a for now our hypothetical wedding ;) We walked back to the train but this time took our time. We got back around 3:30 and went grocery shopping. We made dinner at home that night and Peter needed stuff for the week. Pretty cute store name.

It was funny because afterwards we were both commenting that we missed just grocery shopping together. Peter's house in Virginia is on the way to Trader Joe's from mine so I would pick him up and we would go together often. We just made roasted tomatoes and pasta but boy was it delicious. You all need to make it stat if you love tomatoes - it's super easy too! The lady who owns the house came back from her vacation that night so I finally got to meet her and we shared some of our wine with her. She was really nice and fun to talk to. The rest of the night Peter watched something on Netlfix and I may have fallen asleep at 9pm. He did wake me up at 10pm for ice cream which I wasn't mad about because he brought it right to me :)

Monday morning we got up and went for breakfast again. We were going to get a muffin and coffee at this cafe but it was closed. We went to a more sit down place around the corner but it was good. I got oatmeal and berries which filled me right up and Peter got blueberry pancakes. It was a nice way to spend our last morning together. My flight wasn't until the afternoon so we just relaxed at his house. Time went too fast and somehow it was already 3:30. As I was gathering my things, he pulled me into a hug and the tears started. I get sad thinking that the hugs were back to being limited until the next time I saw him. We got to the airport and had another farewell with a few more tears. Saying goodbye is the worst but I'm already a day closer to seeing him! It probably won't be until Thanksgiving but he may come from the whole week and I would take it off too.

Overall it was seriously the best weekend and I'm so happy I could go visit. We had a blast exploring the city and just spending time together. I sure do love that guy :) If you stuck it out until now, thanks for reading! And thanks for all the well wishes on my safe travels!! 80ish days to go!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Chi-Town Here I Come!

Happy Friday!

This is the face of a girl who hasn't seen her boyfriend in 4 weeks but will finally see him in a few short hours!!!!!!!!