Monday, August 30, 2010

A Slow Go

Week 1 of half-marathon training has begun. My first official run with Jessi was on Sunday. I will be the first to admit we were not the most prepared for our little weekly run. In an attempt to learn from my mistake and amp up my motivation, I created a list of what I did wrong:

1. We had a few drinks the night before...Fun, but definitely NOT a good idea.

2. Along with the drinks, we stuffed our bellies at The Burger Barn with fried cheese, French fries, hamburgers, and strawberry shakes. Ooooo, but it was good!

3. Stayed up too late playing Quelf. If you haven't played this board game, you are missing out! Quote "Whether you're answering hilarious trivia, performing ridiculous stunts, or obeying silly rules, Quelf will inspire you to use your creativity, wit and sense of humor in ways you've never imagined" Seriously, you must play this game!

4. We started a tad later than I would have liked. The weather definitely wasn't as nice as it has been the previous week. 

5. Forgot a watch to track our time (Yep! No clue how long we ran)

6. Forgot my iPod mileage tracker (Yep! No clue how far we ran)

While we were very scatterbrained for this so-called 'planned' run (that's right, a scheduled run), we also did a few things right:

1. Had a good light breakfast that gave us energy and kept us going strong

2. (After the run) Had a perfect second breakfast of protein and fruit. Yum!!

3. Plenty of water intake during the run

4. Stretched to our little muscle's desires!

Result? A sluggish run/jog? which can easily be blamed on a number of things (if suffering from short-term memory deficits, please see list above).  I am determined to finish the week with a strong run that I will be proud of. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Running Story: The Beginning

Well, I'm doing it again...I said I wouldn't, but I am.

I just signed up for my second half-marathon: The St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon. It's in exactly 100 days...eek! Don't call me crazy; people who are much older than me run much farther and much more all of them crazy.

In 2009, I trained and ran my first half marathon. Before that year, I would have never called myself a runner (still don't). Yes, I had ran/walked a few 5Ks, but never had any desire to do much more. Here is how it all started:

Spring of 2009 I was living in Cabot, going to graduate school, and becoming rather 'relaxed' with my exercise/healthy eating routine. I knew I needed a change. Well, lucky me, the Cabot 'RoadRunners' Running club was joining with clubs all across Arkansas to participate in the Woman Can Run/Walk 5k- a clinic that trained and encouraged woman to get off their lazy bums and finish a race. They offered training 3-days a week for a variety of activity levels: walkers, and novice, experienced, and advanced runners. Knowing that I wasn't a novice but definitely NOT experienced, I flipped back and forth between the two groups (depending on that week's motivation level). Half-way through, I recruited a new friend who I had met through our church, Megan. Little did I know, inviting her to run with me was going to change my feelings toward running...FOOOORRREEEVVVEEER (weak Sandlot reference)
Megan and I took to each other like pb and jelly. Neither of us were very 'good' at running and kept the same slooooow pace, but we LOVED the pre-scheduled runs and female camaraderie (weak Harding reference). Before we knew it we were scheduling extra time to run and pushing each other farther and faster. 
This was the first real 'training' I had ever done and I felt elated being able to do it with a friend. All of a sudden, it was May 9th and we were running a 5K. Not only did we run a 5K, but we were laughing and talking the whole way. We finished side-by-side crossing the finish line - couldn't have been any better. We weren't worried about time or correct pacing, we were just dog-gone proud that we did it! We felt like we could conquer the (racing) world.
That accomplishment, that euphoria, is what led to Megan and mine's next aspiration: A Half Marathon.

To Be Continued....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Who's Keeping Count?

I was bad this weekend. Bad indeed.

Started the weekend with some brownies.

Then Saturday I made sliders for my hubby and his friend.

And of course there had to be dessert!

Sunday I traveled to Fayetteville for a little home-decor shopping, so obviously I had some FroYo.
And Sunday night called for a big glass of wine.

But who's keeping count...right?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Perfect Ending

I come home from an eventful day at work and my hubby has a homemade dinner made! 

Shrimp & Crab toast and yummy salad!

Plus a little Mad Men...

Couldn't be a better night!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Born in the Wrong Era

Before you read this post, let’s set a few things straight: I have the absolute perfect job and I am blessed beyond measure. I work in the perfect setting, I have amazing co-workers, and I truly love making a difference in my patient’s lives. I could not ask for more.

Since becoming married, I have enjoyed creating a little home for Josh and I. Because we are far away from our family and friends, it has been important for me to make this new place not just a pretty house, but also our home- a comfortable place where many ‘firsts’ for our marriage happen. These next few years will create the stories that start with “Remember that time when…”  

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be the stereotypical housewife and stay-at-home mom. My dreams of becoming a veterinarian, then teacher, then speech pathologist were always paired with the exception “but when I have kids….”. Did I glamorize this homemaker role? Definitely. Do I still dream of it? Absolutely. 

This ever-present desire makes me contemplate a few things.

1. Was I meant to be born in the era of Mad Men (aka. The 1960s)?

I mean, look at that style! Classic!

2. Am I being tricked into believing this is ‘Who I’m Suppose To Be’ to have the seemingly perfect family? If I want my husband to feel proud of me, and my kids not to turn out like whack-jobs, I need to be some kind of Mom/Wife/Chef/Seamstress/Volunteer/PTA-going/Church-Attending Super Woman? Is this some kind of culture-staged prank that I have blindly accepted?

3. Or was I designed to fulfill this role? I was purposefully made to be a mother, a nurturer, and a caretaker of our home- to provide for my family in a very specific and meaningful way.  This long-standing desire isn’t some crazy notion, but a true calling.

Well, all that being said, I currently love where we are in life. I love using all this knowledge that I have worked hard to obtain and I love the moolah that comes with it.  Being a sugar-momma to my student-husband sure has its perks.  Additionally, we are nowhere close to starting to have kids. So I have plenty of time to debate the origin of this longing.

But until then, I will live vicariously through Betty Drapper (except with a faithful husband) and dream of the day when I can wake up with my kids, bake all day, and have dinner on the table when my husband comes home. (Trust me, I know life will never be that simple)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekend Recap

My weekend was wonderful and full of fun and relaxation.

Weekend recap:

Got home a little late from work. 
Headed to Fayetteville for the weekend.
Had dinner with The Leonards + Orange Mango for dessert. (Don't even get me started on how addicted I am to Orange Mango. It is a self-serve yogurt joint that I demand we visit each time we go to F-Ville.)
Hit the sack around 1230. Exhausted!
Fayetteville Farmers Market!! Loaded up on a bunch of fresh fruit and veggies.
Jessi and I attended some killer classes at her gym (total=2 hours of hardcore exercise)
We made some vegan energy bars (recipe here). (Verdict is still out on their outcome - The hubby tried a bite and wasn't too impressed. I have yet to eat one)
Made our way to Tontitown (home of The Duggars) to experience the famous Grape Festival. It was quite an event.
Muscles screamed at me, mad from yesterday's workout, as I stumbled out of bed.
Attended West-Ark CofC in attempted to find a church home. Verdict is still out on this one too.
Sewed an adorable little clutch...more on this at another time.
Did laundry-snore.
And watched this beautiful sunset with my True Love.

How was your weekend?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A new me?

Ladies and Gentlemen

(I can now use plural nouns because you have personally let it be known that more than my mother and husband read this)

I did it.

I finally chopped my hair off.

Following in the steps of so many newlyweds before me.

And I love it!

Dare I say, maybe a little shorter next time?
Have I unleashed a monster??

Thanks to Emily Beaty for the wonderful reference to see Loren at Pure Bliss Salon.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

When life gives you cucumbers...

Last weekend I took on the little adventure of canning, which was very appropriate because it happened to be National Canning Week! I stumbled onto this website and tried to do as much research as possible…I read blogs, found forums, and watched tutorials. If it's not obvious by now, I was VERY nervous about this uncharted-cooking territory.

Canning…How nerve racking! How does it even work?! Where do I get all the supplies?! Is it even going to be worth it?! These were all the fear-based questions I had as I got out my ‘Canning Kit’ and cracked open my instruction booklet. Luckily, the recipe I used was for small amounts, it was simple, and made me feed confident in my canning potential.

I decided to make pickles as my first experiment, mainly because I had accidentally bought cucumbers instead of zucchini at the farmers market and I HATE cucumbers… When life gives you cucumbers, make pickles!

I started by slicing 6 cups of cucumbers and 2 onions, with some pickling salt poured to the specific amount of 1/3 cups.

Mixed all together then drowned in some water. I let this sit for 2 hours.

The recipe called for a glass bowl and I was nervous to steer from the instructions; my trifle dish was the biggest bowl I could find.

After these steps I was too preoccupied (and nervous) to pick up a camera to document my progress. Quick Recap: I heated vinegar, sugar, and other spices to the perfect temperature, then mixed in the cucumbers and waited anxiously until the concoction was done. Then I placed the mixture in the cans exactly ½ inch from the rim then dunked the jars in the boiling water for the allotted time to finish the preserving process.

It might not sound too bad but this (from the manual) kept me on my toes: "This is not the time to experiment. Even a slight change can throw off the balance of a recipe, turning bliss into blah." -Scary!

Finished project: 3 beautiful cans of pickles cooling to room temperature.

Now, today I am testing the fruits of my labor.

The verdict?


They were super good! Better than store-bought pickels...and incredibly fresh! This got me excited about my next attempt. Maybe this coming weekend has Blueberry Syrup in the forecast? Lets hope the Farmer's Market has some goodies!