Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Remember Senioritis? That time in high school where your transcripts were in and graduation was on the horizon? Well I think Senioritis is goes around this time of year. We had a record number of guesses for my office's "Where in the World is JLME?" contest that appears in our monthly e-newsletter. This just leads me to believe that people are slowing down and getting into vacation mode.

It's hard not to get swept away by the holidays when decorations are all around! Not to mention when Santa is showing up on your morning commute. I had a cookie exchange over the weekend, an office party tomorrow, and then another cookie exchange Thursday. So easy to be tempted this time of year!

Last night at Body Pump, the instructor asked us why wait until January to start your resolutions? Why not start now? She was specifically talking about pushing through a set of reps, but she makes a good point! I definitely thought about my 2012 fitness goals and pushed myself a little harder. I know I want to improve on my weight training and look great for the wedding, but what other goals do I have in mind?

Such a small idea, but the instructor definitely got me thinking! Rather than surrender to the holiday season, I think I'm going to tackle goals head-on. I can't think of a better way to start the New Year then to already be on track!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Santa, Can You Give Me a Window?

Thursday was a weird day. It started off pretty normal. I went to my group training session at 6am. The trainer announced she's canceling this session for the winter. Apparently not enough people want to head to the gym in the snow to have their butts kicked at 6am. Weird.

Can someone explain why NONE of the cameras are on Santa?
I was late leaving my apartment (I can actually blame this on Rob as he was running late, so I had to wait until he was done in the bathroom to shower and such. I guess I could come into work sweaty. Next time!) Leaving late let me have a little Santa sighting! Santa totally saw me taking his photo. Hope that doesn't mean I get coal in my stocking! I'm leaving out extra cookies this year.

Even though I left the house like 20 minutes later than usual, I somehow arrived at the office only 10 minutes later to work. This leads me to believe that the MBTA totally runs in some parallel universe where normal schedules and time tables don't exist. In this world, things that have no expiration date expire. True story.

Should have asked Santa for a new window
I open the door to the office, and it's freezing! Not a huge shock, but definitely colder than normal. I can hear the wind howling and it's breezing...inside. I go over to my desk and see the liner of my trash can flying about and notice a couple of my photos have fallen. Oh, and a giant crack in my window!

Eventually, maintenence came, and taped up the window with tape. They also forbid me from sitting in there, and highly discouraged us from going in. It was really windy yesterday so I was actually worried that some of the glass was going to fall! I managed to snap a photo of the outside of the window from the ladies room. The window wasn't magically repaired overnight, so I'm working at a co-worker's desk. So disorienting being in someone else's space! I'm hoping to come in Monday with things back to normal.

With no big plans for the weekend, I foresee running, Christmas shopping and lots of veggie out in the future!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Let me tell you the story of a man named Charlie

A quick PSA to all my friends in Boston...

The CharlieCard was released by the MBTA on December 4, 2006. This little update made getting on the T as simple as tap and go. Like many commuters, I just stuck the card in my wallet where the machine could read it, and it's rarely moved since.

Now as we celebrate the 5 year anniversary of the CharlieCard, commuters should be aware that their cards could be expiring soon. I was surprised on my morning commute to tap and read "EXPIRED" on the gate screen. I had just purchased a December pass, so I went over to a fare vending machine to verify. It told me that my SmartCard had expired. I hadn't gotten a warning, and more importantly, I had my T pass on there! My train was arriving so I coughed up $2 for a ticket and went on to work.

A visit to the MBTA website confirmed that the CharlieCards do expire! Who knew?

While I'd threatened to boycott the T all month, December in New England doesn't really lend itself to walking. (Neither does my laziness) So I made the trek down to the T pass office at Downtown Crossing, where I was told they'd transfer the fare (Harvard has one as well).

It's not often I get on the T at Downtown Crossing, so it took 3 tries before I finally found the entrance where the office was located. I lucked out with no wait and approached the window. Before I even finished my request, the gentleman asked for my card, and a few minutes later handed me back a shiny new T pass. I was tempted to ask him to throw on the $4 I'd spent that day in T fare when I had a perfectly valid pass, but I am braver in my head then in real life. Plus, I had shiny new CharlieCard distracting me.

Lesson of the day? Check out the expiration date of your CharlieCard, and you could save yourself an annoying errand (and $4).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pro, Con, Con, Pro

In college, I was in a sorority. Twice a year sororities had recruitment (aka rush) to get knew members. During this time we would have discussions about the girls we met and would take a "pro, con, con pro" format so that you always started and ended with something positive. I think this is a good approach, so I'm adapting it to today's post.

Pro: I started my day with a workout! It's always a challenge for me to get up early enough for a morning workout, but today there was success! I tried out a new gym class, and I can now relax when I get home! Yay!

Con: The class I really wanted to attend was last night's Body Pump. My gym opens up class reservations 24 hours in advance, and by the time I logged on at 8pm on Sunday night (1.5 hours after registration opened) the class was filled! I refreshed and tried my luck all day yesterday, and was finally able to pick up a spot about an hour and a half before the class. Unfortunately, the front desk must have printed up the list prior to my sign-up because I wasn't on their list. So I was placed 4th on the wait list and didn't make it in. I did a bit of speed work on the treadmill, and decided to squeeze in weight training by attending the class this morning. That class was ok, but no body pump. As you all know, body pump is my new love.

Con: Apparently the smartcards (or Charlie Cards) used by the MBTA expire. The physical cards themselves. I learned this the hard way as I was denied this morning while on my way to work. Funny how I just put a month long pass on the card a week ago. MBTA, putting a month pass on a card that expires in a week doesn't raise any red flags??? How about printing an expiration date on the card? Seriously, I was totally blind sided by this and had to pay to use the T this morning. I don't have the money to buy another pass for December, so here's hoping a trip to the Downtown pass office helps! (Con 2 part B: the "free evening" I earned with the AM workout will be spent at the T office. Swell.)

Pro: I was this week's winner for the Delta Style Pile on the Miles Challenge! Whoooo!

Ending on a Pro is always better! Thinking about the good stuff is a sure fire way to lift my mood! Happy Tuesday everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dress for Success

Happy Friday! Hope everyone has some great weekend plans in store.

I'm totally inspired by a meeting I went to last night, so I'm going to take a moment to tell you all about a fabulous organization!

For three years, through the Junior League, I worked with Dress for Success Boston (DFSB).

The mission of DFSB as stated on their website is:

"At Dress for Success Boston, our mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women. We do this by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life."
Pretty amazing, right? As a volunteer, I worked with clients who had interviews scheduled but nothing to wear, and unlike me when I wear the same outfit twice because I'm lazy, these women really don't have the right clothes to wear. Can't get a job if you don't have professional attire, and can't afford professional attire if you don't have a job. DFSB helps solve this by giving the women a suit (jacket and skirt or pants), a blouse, shoes, a purse, and accessories. The volunteers work with the women to help them find an outfit that's right for the interview, and they coach the clients a bit on how to dress in the work place. It's like shopping, but for a great cause.

The transformations the women make is incredible. Many of the women will have never worn a suit, and they come in pretty skeptical about it.There's an element of coaxing them out of their shell and helping them discover a side of them they've never seen before. It's an incredible moment when you see the woman look at herself in the mirror and discover confidence she didn't have before.

The support doesn't stop there! DFSB has a career center that helps with interviews, resume writing and computer skills. Plus, once a client gets a job, she can come back for a few more items of clothing to help her build a work wardrobe before her first paycheck. There's also a monthly Professional Women's Group that where experts come in to talk to the women about things like personal branding, tips for filing taxes, workplace etiquette, and so much more!

I'm very excited that the Boston affiliate is starting a Young Executives for Success (YES) program! I'm going to be a part of the committee and will talk about it more as it gets going. Basically it's going to be a series of events open to YES members that give everyone a chance to network. Members are required to volunteer at at least one DFSB event and make a $50 donation. So you benefit DFSB while getting to do fun activities around the city. Sounds pretty good to me!

If anyone is interested in learning more, just let me know and I can fill you in!

A Series of Confessions

Welcome to December! I spoke too soon about nice weather, as it is COLD today!

I have a few confessions to make:

1. I am wearing the same dress today that I did Monday.I work in a small office, and it was just me and my boss Monday. Today, he is out and my other co-workers have yet to see the dress (this week). In my defense, the dress is warm, as I mentioned it's cold, and I accessorized with differently today. I'm wearing a black belt and chunky black earrings today, while Monday there was no belt and I work a long necklace and pearl earrings. Night and day, right?

2. I was 20 minutes late to work. It took me way to long to decide if I should wear the belt or not. Like 20 minutes too long. The whole point of wearing the same dress was that it would be a time saver, as my morning workout ran late. FAIL.

3. I am not wearing make-up today. See item 2.

4. My bum hurts. I went to spinning last night. I totally forgot how uncomfortable the seat is. My bum is paying for it today.

5. I still love Ace of Base.  "The Sign" just came on my Pandora, so I'm having a mini dance party at my desk.

6. I am mad at the race photography from not getting better photos of me and my brother. Or rather no one together.

Go Bueges!

I should be blaming Purple Shirt girl. See we were close!
In fact, they went out of the way to make us look like we were miles apart. Seriously I was right next to him. Next time I'm holding his hand. Or better yet, he's giving me a piggy back across the finish. He's going into the Marines next month, where he'll probably have to carry more weight than little ol' me. So this really isn't as cruel as it sounds. Right?

6b. I steal race photos. Whoops....

That's it for today's confessions. (Unless you count that I wish it was Friday, because I do.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Big or Small?

Today is the last day of November, and amazingly it is a beautiful day here in Boston!
The view Boston (and some Cambridge) from my office

We've been lucky with great weather this fall. It has been perfect for running! Though with the early sunset, I haven't done quite as much as I would have hoped. I did manage to squeeze in a speedy 3 last night before my Junior League meeting. Just one more run, and I'll meet the Pile on the Miles goal for this week! (Though I'll need to cram in many more with Disney around the corner!!)

Having a deadline definitely made me run faster! I ran a sub 9 minute mile pace for most of the run, and finished strong with a pace of an 8 minute mile. After a quick shower, I was ready to head to the Junior League Headquarters for a quick meeting.

Each year, Junior League Boston (JLB) members are required to attend at least two General Membership Meetings (GMMs). These are huge meetings at a hotel where dinner is provide, different councils give updates, and a speaker presents to the group. Being a shy person, I find these things so intimidating. I always panic about where to sit and if I'll see anyone I know. These meetings cause me an unnecessary amount of anxiety, as I almost always run into someone I know, and we enjoy catching up.

Last night I participated in a Regional Membership Meeting (RMM). RMMs are held several nights at the Junior League Boston headquarters. This means there are many options of dates and times, and the headquarters is a quick walk from my apartment. Plus, it's a much smaller crowd and no awkward dinner chit chat. Because of the smaller group size, the League uses this as a time for interaction. I think most people would agree that being part of an interactive meeting is much more interesting and rewarding than sitting in a crowd simply listening.

The RMM yesterday was particularly fun because we talked a bit about how Junior League makes us a better employees/volunteers/family members. It was really fun to hear about what everyone takes away from the League. I know that the League helped me be a better leader, and it definitely helped me get over some of my shyness. When I managed to League volunteers for Dress for Success Boston, I had to run a meeting of 20 women every other month. It was a growth opportunity, and I got to help people in return. Plus, I am now more closely involved with Dress for Success Boston and plan on helping them in the future! All around a winning situation!

I definitely am better in small groups than big ones. I picked a small sorority to a bigger one. I work at a small non-profit, not a huge corporation. I attended a small college rather than a big university...oh wait. Fail on that one. I suppose sometimes, it's definitely better to get out of your comfort zone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thankful for Body Pump

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving. It's awesome to spend time with family, be thankful, and of course eat lots of delicious food. Yum! But my favorite part of Thanksgiving is the running! There are so many great races around and on Thanksgiving. I think it's one of the few times where I'll race twice in one week!

With my little brother post race
This year, I was home in Georgia and got to run the Marietta Gobble Jog with my little brother. We signed up for the 10k, which is just the 5k loop twice. Normally I hate loop courses (when I see the finish line, I want to finish!), but my brother was kind enough to run with me the whole time.

We never seem to catch each other on the phone (or more like he's not home when I call my parents), so we had plenty to chat about. He's going into Officer Candidate School for the Marines in January, so it was interesting to hear about. So scary to think of my baby bro in the Marines, but so proud because I know he worked very hard to get in!

Anyway, Thanksgiving, being home and traveling totally threw off the healthy track. Funny how the holidays can do that. So I decided to pick up my game last night, and FINALLY tried a Body Pump class at my gym. I have been wanting to incorporate more strength training into my week, but I am so useless on my own.

I'd heard great things about Body Pump from friends and online. When people talk about Body Pump, they don't just like it, love it, or think it's a great workout. They use words like obsessed. Obsessed with a workout? This is something I knew I had to try. It's been on the "to-do" list for months, but there's always been some reason I couldn't go. The class would fill up, something would come up, or I would just be too intimidated to pull the trigger.

Why was I scared to go? Well, I'd never done a barbell work out before, so I didn't know what weight to use or even how to assemble them. I was nervous about setting up my station and not grabbing the right equipment. I'd read that you should go early to familiarize yourself and talk to the instructor, but my gym has a tight class schedule, and there is usually another class immediately before Body Pump. Not being able to get in early meant that this would be trial by fire.

I definitely awkwardly stared at people as they set-up (good thing too as I had no idea the weights were held on with these clip things). I told myself that the purpose of the class was just to try Body Pump and to familiarize myself with the class. I am actually really glad I went in with this purpose in mind. It kept me from grabbing too heavy of weights. I went with two 2.5lbs and two 5lbs weights. I think I can go up a little next time, but I am definitely feeling the workout today! Love that feeling!

I can see why people are obsessed with Body Pump! You work a different muscle group each track/song. The counts on each move get changed up, which definitely changes how you feel the burn. I loved the variety and pace of the class. Plus the music was so much fun!

The instructor was awesome! She made suggestions through out the class on what weight people should use and helped guide us newbies. However, I would have like some of this during set-up, because at times I didn't have the right weight to follow her suggestions. It also took me awhile to switch out weights between muscle groups. The class format allows for this, but still, it was awkward and broke up my momentum. Plus being the cardio lover that I am, I missed having some cardio in the mix. Also, it's super popular at my gym, so I foresee getting in being a problem in the future.

Overall I lover the class, and I definitely want to make this part of my weekly routine!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Then the Sun Comes Out

Early Saturday evening, I got some disappointing news. The news really upset me, so I sobbed and Rob consoled me. While the hugs and sympathetic looks are nice, I felt the overwhelming urge to run. It was almost as if I was in autopilot as I threw on my sweats and sneakers and headed out the door. I did a fairly easy 3 miles as I had a race Sunday. I came home, showered, and cried some more. I still wanted to run. I found it somewhat comforting to know that as long as my legs work, I will have a way to cope with my problems. Running takes me to a zone where everything just fades away.

Sunday was a good day. The race was fun (though my performance was just ok). Then I headed to a friend's house for some yummy food and great company. It was a beautiful day, so she and I ended up walking along the water, doing a bit of shopping, and enjoying the Thanksgiving festivities in the town.

Monday, I dragged myself into work, still in a bit of a funk from the news. To my surprise, I got a special delivery! My fabulous future husband brightened my day with this arrangement. And a teddy bear? He's a keeper!

Then, our photographer send a sneak peek of our engagement photos! We had these taken at the end of September, but with the busy New England wedding season, I knew we wouldn't have to wait a while. I can't wait to see the rest, which should just be later this week!

The rest of the work day went on pretty normally. No more big surprise deliveries or w-updates. At the end of the day, I packed up my stuff, grabbed my flowers and hopped on the train home. The building manager stopped me as I entered the building, and she asked for my birthday. I figured she was asking because of the flowers I had in hand, and I gushed about how sweet Rob is, blah, blah, blah. I went on my way.

When I entered the apartment and passed our kitchen, I was a giant bag from Sweet, a Boston cupcake store. Much to my surprise, I received a dozen cupcakes as a belated birthday gift!
Confession: I had a Cupcake for dinner.
Yesterday was just an unbelievable day! Anyone of the surprises would have been noteworthy, but three in one day? Amazing! To top it off, it's a short week for Thanksgiving! It just goes to show that when you're down, the only way is up! It took some reminding, but I believe that something good is always around the corner! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all the wonderful people in my life who cheer me up when I'm down. I'm thankful for running, which keeps me sane. And of course, I'm thankful for cupcakes, flowers, and teddy bears.

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Preparing for Thanksgiving

This last week has been so productive! Early in the week, Rob and I joined his parents to look at rehearsal dinner spots. My parents came into town on Thursday, and the rest of the weekend was spent picking wedding invitations, doing the tasting at the hotel, and shopping for shoes!

I can't begin to say how much fun the tasting was! It was nice to have something that could include my dad and Rob. The boys seem to (happily) be left out of many wedding planning elements, but food and booze are up their alley. Not to mention the hotel staff was so amazing and attentive! I think it's my favorite part of wedding planning so far.

Monday, my parents left, but I will be seeing them at Thanksgiving next week. Saying good-bye is much easier knowing we'll be together again soon.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I made some delicious low-fat pumpkin cupcakes with a spiced pumpkin cream cheese frosting. The best part was using some holiday cupcake decorations my mom gave me.

Pumpkin is an amazing baking ingredient. The cupcakes are nice and moist but there is no butter, no eggs, and no oil! Use reduced fat cream cheese and some more pumpkin, you get a healthier way to enjoy fall flavor! In fact, I'm off to go eat one now!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Back on Track

Hello, yummy birthday cocktail! I'll have 5!
It's been too long since I last blogged. In my defense, October was a crazy month! There was the marathon in Chicago, then my bridal shower and 10 year reunion in Atlanta, and then back to Chicago for work, then to Pittsburgh for work. Then November hit and there was my birthday. I was so lucky to have a chance to celebrate with great friends (even a few out-of-towners!) So much fun but definitely kept me busy!

With all the traveling and busy schedules, things got put on the back burner. There wasn't much wedding planning being done. My apartment is in shambles. The to-do list at work kept getting longer. I was so busy that workouts were skipped and junk food was eaten.

See? I love running!

This week, I made a commitment to myself that I would get back on track. It's only been four days, but I already feel like I've taken back control. I am tackling many of the tasks that have been building up. I am back to going to bed early, which lets me wake-up early to workout (morning workouts are underrated). I'm eating better, and just generally fee back in control.

So here I am, back on track and back to blogging!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just 5 Months to go!

Today marks 5 months until I get to marry Mr. Smith!

I am so excited! Though we have a ton of the big stuff figured out (venue, band, florist) I realize there's still a lot to get done! We I need to get the tuxes figured out, need to find invitations, need to figure out the menu, and so much more!

My office's wedding checklist.
Additionally, there's all the fun non-ceremony/reception details that we I need to organize, like honeymoon, rehearsal dinner, and of course the bachelorette party. (Yes, I'm planning a party for myself. I'm just super classy like that). I have a feeling that 5 months is going to go by even more quickly then I thought!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Guess this is Growing Up

This past weekend I went home to Georgia. This wasn't just any ol' visit. I went home for my bridal shower and my 10 year high school reunion!

I can't believe the wedding festivities are starting, and even more surprising that high school was over 10 years ago!

I came into Atlanta Friday night, and my parents picked me up from the airport. Saturday morning I woke-up to my alarm at 7am. Guess it was still set from my pre-marathon wake-ups!

I get greeted with signs at home...(leftover from the marathon or telling me to run away? Hmmm)

At a more reasonable hour, I woke-up and got ready for the shower. My mom and I headed over to my MOH's parents house. Katie and her mom are probably the two cutest people on the planet. They had all the guests wear aprons which they gave me at the end. They greeted me with a corsage and a mimosa. Clearly these ladies know me.

The attendees were mostly my mother's friends who live in the area. I hadn't seen some of them in years, so it was fun to catch-up! We then opened presents. I was simply blown-away by everyone's generosity. I am so shy that I felt so awkward having everyone watch me go through the gifts. I didn't seem to mind at all my childhood birthday parties. What happened? I just hope everyone knows how much I appreciate their awesome gifts!

We then had the most delicious lunch. Chicken salad sandwiches on croissants (one of my favorites!), asparagus, cheese straws, frozen fruit salad, and cake. Just thinking about it is enough to make me hungry!

With my mom and the best hostesses ever!

Things wound up after the meal. I got home and squeezed in some Scrabble before I had to get ready for the reunion.

I was definitely nervous about seeing everyone, but once I got there, I was just so excited to talk to everyone. I discovered a couple classmates had also just run the Chicago Marathon, another classmate had read "Born to Run", and another's wife was also a marathoner. I was thrilled to talk about running for so much of the night!
Yay school spirit!

Clearly people are very different at 18 than at 28, but still I was surprised how much people had grown-up. The 20 graduates all seemed so happy to see one another. While at high school events, we all stuck to our groups. Now people mingled and chatted with just about everyone! I was hesitant to go, but ultimately, I'm thrilled that I went.

Such a fun trip home! I definitely miss my family and the old days, but the shower was certainly a good reminder of the amazing things to come!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Chicago Recap

I'm not entirely sure where to start with my recap. The weekend was amazing. The race was incredibly. My family was awesome. Chicago is wonderful. My race performance...well that's another story.

Best hotel key ever!
On Friday, the future hubby and I got up at the crack of dawn to catch our 6:45am flight to Chicago. I was fighting off sickness, and the early wake up call didn't help things. I passed out pretty much as soon as our flight took off. Two hours of rest later, we were in the Windy City.

We grabbed our bags and a cab and headed to the hotel. After sitting in rush hour traffic (really didn't think about this when booking the tickets. Whoops!), we made it to the hotel. Check-in was 3pm, so we planned on having them hold our bags while we hit up the expo. The man at the Hilton instantly became our new best friend when he told us we could go to our room right then.

The Hilton was the Marathon headquarters, so the entire staff was wearing Chicago Marathon t-shirts, the elevator doors were covered with Marathon images, and there was a shuttle that would take runners directly to the race expo. Even the key to our room was Marathon themed! It instantly got me excited for the race.

We went to our room and settled in for a bit before opting to head the the expo. The expo had a ton of booths to check out, and everything was very spaced out. I remember feeling totally cramped at the NYC expo, but didn't feel that here. Between being sick and the 4am wake-up call, I was in a total fog, so I didn't explore as much as I usually do. We decided to head back, grab food and then nap.

My brother and Mom came into town that afternoon, and the four of us walked around Millennium Park for awhile. The park is filled with very cool art and lots of greenery. I loved the outdoors feel with the city skyline as a background. The race would start in the park area, so it was great to feel out the lay of the land.

Mmmm Peanut Butter
Upon rummaging through my race schwag, I discovered we got pretty much the best giveaway ever. A nice big sample of Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter. Not only is this one of my all time favorite kinds of peanut butter, but PB makes a perfect pre-race fuel. Saturday, morning we all met up for breakfast in the hotel. They had a great spread including whole wheat english muffins and bananas. I made some comment to Rob about how I had to smuggle these items out and then I'd be set for my race breakfast. He brought two english muffins over to the table, and before I knew it, they mysteriously disappeared. A guy who is willing to steal food for you? He's a keeper.

My mom and I hit up the Chicago's Magnificent Mile, when my running buddy Erin joined us. Erin and I basically only talked about the expo and the race. Luckily, my mom was preoccupied with shoe shopping. Happy day for all.

That night carbs were consumed, race gear was laid out, and cold medicine was taken. I even put a few cough drops and tissues in my race pouch right next to my Gu. I was prepared.

Ready to Run!
Typical race anxiety hit around 3am, making the next few hours of sleep difficult. My alarm went off at 6am. With a 7:30am start, this was on the late side for most races. That was definitely a huge perk to staying at the official hotel. We were nice and close to the start! I threw only gear, chowed down on my english muffin and peanut butter, applied body glide, and headed out.

I had on my "throw-away" clothes, which I'd worn to keep from getting cold before the race. I had planned on just tossing them once the run warmed me up, but as soon as I got off the elevator, I knew I was over dressed. The lobby was FILLED with other runners, all in shorts and tanks. I ended up checking the shirt and sweatpants and was totally comfortable in my sleeveless top and shorts. I knew I was in for a hot race!

Erin and I met up, and headed over the start. We couldn't even get into the corral it was so crowded! As we prepped for the race, Erin realized her ipod wasn't charged. I felt kind of bad putting mine in right in front of her, so I tucked my headphones into my tank top knowing I could grab them once we were separated.

Soon enough, the crowd started walking, we hopped into the corral and made our way to the start. I tried not to think about how far I had to go. I told myself to take it easy for the first half and then see how I was doing. Going out too hard is a killer for such a long event.

As we approached the start, we all broke into a run, Erin and I managed to stick together (a first for us!) and we started our journey. I was so glad not to have my music! The crowds were amazing! I couldn't believe how many people were out for the start of the race! We approached an underpass (I actually didn't wear my Garmin because I'd heard this underpass would screw up the signal) and spectators cheered from above.

Erin and I stuck together until the first aid station. I was thirsty before we even started, so I stopped for some Gatorade. I kept my ipod tucked away and just enjoyed the crowd. I even started to tear at a couple points. I get so emotional during marathons!

I trucked along stopping for water at the next few stations, eating a Gu at mile 8. My family had planned to see me at mile 2, 13, and 23. I had missed them at mile 2, and now things were getting a bit tough for me, so I kept counting down until 13. I briefly saw Erin at mile 11 (yay!). Again, I lost her at an aid station. While they were very well organized, the water stations were a bit crazy! So many people use it as an opportunity to walk, so there's a lot of weaving and running into people.
Yay Marathon!

Mile 13 came and went. No family. The crowds were still pretty awesome. I'd never run with my name on my shirt before, and I highly recommend it. So much fun to hear people cheering for you! Each time it was a huge boost. I remembered how during Boston, I loved when runners acknowledged my cheers, so I tried to wave or fist pump every time.

Around mile 14, I was hot and disappointed that I missed my family. I took my first walk break for a couple of minutes, and finally put in my ipod. I knew I had a long road ahead of me so I tried not to loose hope.

I thought about how awesome this race was. The crowds were amazing. The course was nice and flat. The bridges were carpeted. Yup, instead or running over the grates, there was actual carpet on the ground. Nice and cushy! They even handed out wet sponges a couple of times. So nice and refreshing! (Though running on discarded sponges made the next mile a bit of a challenge)

Clearly, less excited here.
At mile 17 I was pushing through a bridge when I heard someone cheering extra loudly for me. There was my family! I ran over, and pretty much threw myself onto Rob. They said I looked good (lies!) and that a family friend wasn't too far ahead of me, so I should try to catch him (ha!). I looked at my little brother, who I should add is training for the Marines, saw he was wearing sneakers and said "at mile 23 you want to hop in with me?" My stunned and confused brother agreed, and I went on knowing that in 6 miles, I would have a buddy.

I really don't know what I would have done without the energy of the crowd. They definitely pushed me to keep running. At this point, I'd taken 2 Gu gels and had planned to take another around mile 20, but at this point I was feeling too hot and felt if I had anything besides water that I would throw up. So I kept trucking along counting down until 23.

I swear the first 10 miles of a marathon fly by, 10-20 were slower, but 20-26 breaks all the rules of time and some how lasts as long as the previous 20. At this point, I was walking through every aid station and then some. Around mile 22, I looked at my watch and saw I was at a little over 4 hours. At the NYC Marathon, I was done by that time. So weird to think about! I knew that this Marathon was going to be a slow one for me but I just wanted to finish.

At 23, I didn't see my mom or Rob, but around a turn I saw my brother by his lonesome. He jumped in with me and was exactly the motivation I needed! He got the crowds cheering and would tell them to cheer for me! I told him he could hop out after a mile, but being the awesome brother that he is, he stuck with me. We hit the sign saying just one mile left, and I admit, one mile felt so far! 

They kicked my brother out shortly after the 800 meters left sign. He told me I could do it, and I knew he was right. I pushed myself as fast as I could, and soon the giant finish sign was in sight. I was just under 5 hours, but I crossed that finish line! I had finished the Chicago marathon!

Eventually I made it through the crowd, said hi to Erin and met up with Rob. He escorted me back to the hotel, where this sign greeted me.
I did it!!
My mom is such an artist! I was so happy to have her there in Chicago! I have to say I am so pumped for the Disney Marathon, and this race only inspired me to work harder. I took a break from running  this week to rest up, but look forward to returning to it this weekend.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Fun of Registering

The future hubby and I had quite a big week in the wedding planning world. We booked our florist, had our engagement photo shoot, and registered!

I'll admit I was a bit nervous about registering. Having lived together for over two years, we pretty much have all the basic home items covered. (Especially with our recent blender addition.)

Then I talked to family and friends, who pointed out we would "need" to register for china, entertaining items, and general updates of what we have. Hmmmm, sounded like fun. Between roommates, moves, and general wear and tear, our basic home items are a bit warn. Out with the old and in with the new!

Our future china pattern!
Once I realized this, registering became much more fun. I only needed to get the boy to realize this. He didn't seem excited by shopping, the promise of new items, or even using the registry gun. As we sat down with the registry expert to set things up, I could see his eyes glaze over with boredom. When china patterns came up, I'm pretty sure he had a few daydreams about hanging himself with a table runner. After handling the administrative details, we got our gun and were sent on our way.

After looking at formal flatware, I saw a display of beer glasses and mugs. I saw my fiance's eyes light up as I asked, "Do you want any of those?" I gave him the gun, and I could see the scowl lift from his face. We wandered through cookware and kitchen appliances, and he happily zapped away. It wasn't until we got to the bath section that he became drunk with power. He'd sneak off into the corner, and I'd hear the faint beep of the gun. There were more than a few surprises when I got home to look at our registry online.

"Did you see the hot chocolate?" he asked with a grin. The box was identical to the kind we had in our cabinet for almost a year. Delete!

Other surprises I kept on for the moment, figuring no one would get us shampoo and conditioner dispensers.

A few days later, when talking to his mother, she mentioned someone had already bought something off our registry. I dreamed of KitchenAid attachments, the new bedspread that I fell in love with, or perhaps the toaster (yup, I currently make all my toast in the oven). His mother then told me it had been then handless soap dispenser. Not a Margo-picked item. Figures.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Adventures in Breakfast Making

I am useless before I have my AM cup of coffee. A fact that was only reinforced by my mornings this week. Take today for example. We have a Kerig coffee maker. Kerig pretty much is as easy as coffee-making gets. You fill a mug with water, pour the water into the machine, put a coffee pod in the machine and hit the brew button. Easy, right? I followed those steps and walked away. A few minutes I came back and realized I hadn’t put the coffee cup underneath the brewer. Luckily, Kerig has idiot proofed the machine to have a tray that holds exactly one cup of coffee. So easy to clean-up!
Panera, please deliver to my bed.
I’d like to say that this was my first coffee mistake of the week, but alas, it’s not. The husband-to-be and I have a reusable pod that you can fill with coffee grounds. In order to use this you have to remove part of the Kerig pod holder. This part has a tiny needle that pokes a hole into the coffee pod, allowing the water to go through the pod and brew delicious coffee. Earlier this week, I removed the reusable pod but didn’t put in the pod holder. I simply stuck my pod in and hit brew. When I came back, I put milk in my cup and was about to take a sip when I realized that my coffee looked like, well, milk in a cup of hot water. Happy to report I noticed before taking a sip!

Other morning adventures include dropping a smoothie covered frozen strawberry down my white shirt I had planned on wearing to work. (the smoothie was sooooo good though!) I also reached into the cupboard above our sink to grab a mug, only to have a travel mug come flying down into our sink of dirty glasses, shattering a pint glass. Broken glass in the morning=not fun.

From now on, I think I should just stick to buying my coffee...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vitamix it Up

Happy Monday!

It was hard going back to work after such a great weekend. Luckily I took Wednesday off, so knowing it's a short week certainly made today easier.

I came home to find a very special package at my door...

It's my new blender! My mother was nice enough to give me and my future husband this generous engagement gift. As if my mother doesn't do enough for us! 

I forced myself to go on a five mile run before playing with my new toy. Running in the afternoon heat was easier knowing I could make a cool smoothie once I got home. 

I want to make it all!
Upon investigation I saw that the blender came with a handy recipe binder. The manual came hole punched and there was a hole-punched pocket that held the warranty information. Both fit nicely into the recipe binder. This is totally brilliant. 

After reading the instructions and cleaning the mixer, I got started on my smoothie. I threw in some blueberry greek yogurt, skim milk, frozen berries, a couple tablespoons of chia seeds and a big scoop of peanut butter into the mixer. I figured it was a bit of a PB&J inspired smoothie. 

Perfect Summer Dinner
I think the berry flavors actually masked the peanut butter. I could barely taste it. Note to self: Add more PB in the future. Rookie mistake.

Ok, time to investigate the recipe book and watch the Patriots play some Monday night football! Go Pats!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Case of the Mondays

Mother Nature has a
case of the Mondays
Happy Monday Tuesday everyone! Three day weekends are always such a treat, especially when a short week follows. Though starting on a Tuesday always seems to throw off my internal calendar. Today just feels like a Monday, and the rainy weather only makes it feel more like a Monday!

Working at a college, it definitely feels that summer is over. The students are back, and the first day excitement is in the air. Coming into work, there were actually people out and about on campus. Poor kids who have an 8am class on the first day. Yuck! In college, I definitely liked to sleep in. I think the earliest class I ever took was a 9:30am, which was an intro to Communications class that was required by everyone in my major.

The weekend was relaxing. I did a ton of reading and finished Super Sad True Love Story on Friday night (like the cool kid I am). A friend had invited me to go see Sarah’s Key on Monday, but I wanted to read the book first. So Saturday, I started the book and finished within 24 hours. Despite being a heavy subject matter, the book had very short chapters and ended up being a quick read. I also finally bought Born to Run. I've heard it's a "must read" for runners, so I have high hopes!

You may be wondering how I got so lucky to lead the glamorous life of reading on a Friday night. I actually cooked myself a big pasta dinner and enjoyed a low-key evening, because Saturday morning I had a long run!
I’ve been slacking in the training department, so the run didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I did get in 16 miles with quite a few walk breaks. It was a beautiful morning to run, and I listened to an audiobook on the run, which was really enjoyable! We’ll see how this weekend goes…
On to the work week!

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Yellow

Happy Friday! The good news is that not only is it Friday, but it's the Friday of a long weekend!

The bad news is that it's the last Friday of summer. This means no more of my summer Fridays, where I get out at noon. 
As I was walking home from the T station, I was a little bummed that I hadn't done more with my summer, taken full advantage of the half days or the beautiful weather. Then I saw the Copley Farmers Market! So many people were out enjoying the day, it was fun to walk around the area and people watch.

I browsed the stands at the Farmer's Market. There were tons of beautiful flowers, jams, and delicious looking produce. I was picking up some fabulous looking zucchinis when I saw a sign for yellow watermelon. About a month ago a friend, told me about this fruit, and I've been dying to try it since. I was so excited to see it, I immediately bought one. The watermelon at the stand was on the smaller side, so I knew it was the perfect opportunity to try it out.

On the outside, it looked just like a regular watermelon. In fact on the way home, I worried I didn't actually have a yellow watermelon in my bag. I mentally prepared myself for disappointment.  

I came home and cut open my purchase. I was thrilled to see the juicy yellow fruit. It was kind of hard to tell where the yellow ended and where the white of the rind began. 

I'm skeptically tasting it
I sliced myself off a piece and was surprised to taste...well, watermelon. I don't know why but I kind expected it to taste somewhat special.  I think it'd be a really fun thing to put in a fruit salad with red watermelon, especially if you were having people over or something.

I'm skeptically liking it

I'm excited to have some watermelon in the house. I don't know why I don't buy it more often. I always crave it after summer runs. It's so tasty and refreshing it's the perfect post-run treat. This is especially good since I'm due for a loooooong run this weekend.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ready, Set, Blog!

So, I have no idea how to start a blog. I’m pretty sure that anyone reading this already knows that I like to run, bake, volunteer, and that in a few months, I will be marrying my fabulous boyfriend.
The World Wide Web can blame thank Jane for my ramblings. A long, long time ago not too far away, Jane told me that I should start a blog. Well ask and you shall (eventually) receive.
To kick-off my blog, I went to Jane’s first post for a little inspiration. Thank you, Jane…

Hi, my name is: Margo

Never in my life have I been:  Tall enough to reach the top shelf in the kitchen. Cute when you’re a kid, now kind of a pain.

The one person who can drive me nuts is:
I have one or two people who fall into this category, but if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

High school: My school was really small. I was really quiet. The 10 year reunion is coming soon…scary!

When I’m nervous:  Get really quiet and fidgety.

The last song I listened to was:
 “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton

Me with Katie as her MOH
If I were to get married right now my best man/maid of honor: My high school best friend Katie.

My hair is:  Blonde
When I was 5: I was in Kindergarten.

Last Christmas: I got engaged!!!

I should be..:  getting ready to run.

When I look down I see:  My feet, which are in desperate need of some TLC.
So very happy!

The happiest recent event was:
Attending my friend Danielle’s wedding in Florida. So much fun seeing old friends and celebrating the happy couple!

If I were a character on ‘Friends’ I’d be:  Well I wish Rachel, but probably really more like Marcel the Monkey.

By this time next year:  I will be planning my 30th birthday. Yikes!

My current gripe is: That summer is almost over.

Me with That Girl
I have a hard time understanding: when people talk quietly. I am probably going deaf.

There’s this girl I know that: Inspired this post! 

I like when: I help someone 
My parents, looking so proud.

If I won an award, the first person I would tell would be:
Whichever parent picked-up the house phone. I feel like no one is ever more proud than your parents.

Take my advice: Everything is easier with a smile.