Monday, April 30, 2012

A Day on a Farm

Oh another Monday is here, marking the end of a great weekend!

Saturday started bright and early with Kids in the Kitchen! This week, we worked with the girls to quickly make some veggie sandwiches in mini pitas, bagged veggie chips and grapes. We needed a nice portable lunch, because we were headed out on a field trip to Brookwood Community Farm!

We got to the farm and were greeted by Maggie, a farmer at Brookwood. She was great with the girls (and the volunteers too, as I'm pretty sure we had just as many questions!) We started out by visiting the greenhouse. They plant the seedlings and grow them in here until they are ready to be planted outside. It's been pretty chilly up here, and Friday night there had been a frost, so greenhouse was quite full! They also had to cover some of the crops to keep them warm enough.

After the greenhouse we walked around the field. We saw herbs like thyme, and the girls tried mint picked right from the ground. One skeptical girl was happy to report "tastes like a mint!"

We also tried radishes, arugula, and onions. We picked garlic, which the girls were curious to smell. I loved that one of the girls stated the the farm clearly had so much garlic to keep the vampires away.

Next we headed over to the bee hives. The girls were a bit nervous, but as another volunteer pointed out, the bees were much more interested in the hive and dandelions than in us. I know that this made me feel better about being only feet away!

Next Maggie taught us how to plant onions! She let the girls get to work, and they seemed to have fun getting dirty. I was really surprised that they trusted the girls to do this chore, but they did a great job! Much better than I did when I took my turn.

We finished up the day by enjoying our lunch on the picnic table. It has been a long time since I've enjoyed a picnic lunch, and I don't know why I don't do it more often! It was so nice to eat out in the sun.

Going to the farm was so much fun! The girls had a blast, and it piqued my interest in signing up for a CSA or Boston Organics. Has anyone done a CSA? What are your thoughts?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy Bagel Friday

So happy it's Friday! Even better, it's Bagel Friday!

My office celebrates Friday by all getting bagels together. Things have changed over the years, staff members have left and others now work from home. Now, Bagel Friday is usually just me and my boss.

Why yes, I do have a Dilbert cartoon about Bagel Friday at my desk

With my boss on vacation and the other employees working at home, I am alone in the office today. I figured I could use the opportunity to get exactly what I wanted. I'm currently obsessed with Panera's blueberry cream cheese and have been craving a Starbucks latte. They're a couple stores down from each other, so it was easy to grab my bagel, stuff it in my purse and head over to get coffee.

Mmmmm, that's a very happy Friday treat! Volunteering, drinking, and running are on the agenda for this weekend. Hope everyone out there has a great weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Eye of the Tiger

Womp, womp.

No NYC Marathon for me this year. Oh well. Where I've run it before, I'm hoping some newcomer who has never experienced the awesomeness of NYC "took" my place.

This status from the Marine Corps Marathon cracked me up.

Erin has promised that if I run the Philly Marathon that she will run with me at 23 and will serenade me with "Eye of the Tiger" for the remaining 3.2 miles. So clearly, that just about solidifies my fall marathon plans.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Running Story

While I was growing-up, my dad was an avid runner. He'd head out for a few miles just about every other day. He'd sign-up for a few 10ks here and there. He was consistent, and he was going farther than I could ever dream. I was the girl in gym class who would run a quarter mile and then walk and talk with friends for the other 3/4 of the time.

It wasn't until after high school that I started going out with my dad for a run here and there. I would run half a mile with him before he continued on. It was a slow process, and I remember how accomplished I felt when I reached the 2 mile mark. I didn't go too much farther before going off to college, where on occasion I'd go out for a run. That year, I watched the Boston Marathon for the first time. I strolled over the Kenmore Square, and though to myself that I could do that. About 2 years later, I ran my first 10k. The race was sponsored by a track club who included a training plan for their half marathon in the bib packet. I remember thinking that anyone who did a half marathon was really impressive.

Two years later, I had graduated college, moved back home, and was running more and more. I started running with a neighbor, and she told me she was doing the half marathon for a 2nd time. She said I could definitely do it, and the seed was planted. My dad had filed away the old training plan. He and I talked it over, and plotted out my training calendar.

My parents are great cheerleaders!
I knew nothing about training. I didn't train with water or fuel. I ran 3 times a week, and I don't think I tapered at all. At the race expo, I saw more running gear than I knew existed. The race had a full marathon portion, and as I saw all the 26.2 t-shirts, stickers, and other gear, I knew that one day I would run a full. I finished that race in 2 hours and 25 minutes. My dad was at the finish and drove me home, where I proudly wore my race shirt then fell asleep on the couch until Thanksgiving dinner.

I didn't run a half marathon again until 2 years later. I was back in Boston. I had been dating Rob for about 6 months when I met his sisters. One is a runner and she and I began to chat. She raved about the Boston half marathon, so I went home and looked it up. It was T-accessible, so I signed up. I knew no one else doing it, and when I was in line for the port-a-potty before the race, a father and daughter were talking in line behind me. It made me miss my dad who had been my primary running buddy thus far. I ran alone but loved every moment of the race. I finished and felt so great that I started to walk home. I stopped at a Starbucks before deciding to just take the T. After all I had just run a 1hr and 57min half marathon.

I couldn't wait to do another half, so I signed up for the Atlanta Thanksgiving day race. It was rainy and my poor mother stood out in the rain at mile 12 cheering me on. Seeing her out on the gross day was amazing.

My next race was a full Marathon that June, which Erin talked me into over drinks at the White Horse. It was scary, but she told me that the first step was just to sign-up. During training, I found out about the NYC lottery. The marathon was scheduled for my 26th birthday. The deadline was the same day as my first marathon. I was nervous about signing up for a 2nd marathon before I'd even finished my 1st. I figured it was a lottery, and if it was meant to be, then it would happen.

Sure enough, it did! I rocked that race, and I and my amazing cheerleaders wound up on the Runner's World website.

At noon today, there will be another NYC Marathon Lottery. Once again, I wait to see if I'll be running in NY this fall. It won't be my birthday, I probably won't be photographed by Runner's World, and I will have a slower time, but if I get in, it will be a race to remember.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Did you see Google's homepage today?

Those folks are so smart.

Apparently it is Gideon Sundb├Ąck's birthday. He helped develop the zipper. Gideon, lazy people everywhere thank you. Because of you, "button fly" is just something you accidentally grab from the stack of jeans at the Gap.

Google's display inspired me to make today's blog post MarGoGoGo Unzipped. So below are 5 random bits of (not so) interesting secret trivia.

1. I want to run an Ultramarathon.
I blame Dean Karnazes for this one. Ever since I read UltraMarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner I have been intrigued by the idea of running an UltraMarathon. I don't really have any desire to do a 50 or 100 mile race, but an Ultramarathon is anything over 26.2 miles. I'm thinking I have a 50k in me and would love to cross that finish line someday.

2. I'm making Rob celebrate our 1-month anniversary (which is today)
This is super lame/dorky/high-maintenance, I realize. Most dating couples celebrate their anniversaries. While Rob and I dated for over 5 years before tying the knot, we never once celebrated our anniversary. Not really our style. Plus our dating anniversary falls right around my birthday, Thanksgiving, his birthday and Christmas with Valentine's Day in the wings. The last thing we needed was another "event" on the schedule. We both agreed that our wedding date would be our only anniversary. In honor of that, tonight we have plans to sit down and eat a meal I prepared. As we usually each do our own thing, this is a big deal for us. Doesn't sound like much of a celebration? What do you expect from the couple who didn't do anniversaries?

Think 1-month anniversary is corny? Here's us at our 1-week dinner

3. I had a cookie for breakfast.
Sunday, I was craving chocolate chip cookies. I looked up a healthy version, and bought the ingredients at the store Sunday night. However, we went to Rob's parents for a bit then came home and made dinner. I didn't finish dinner until well after 10pm, and at that point, I didn't want to get into a baking project. I managed to whip up a batch last night, and couldn't resist eating one this morning as I was packing one to go with my lunch. There's oatmeal in them, so that's really practically breakfast anyway.
Don't these scream nutritious breakfast?
 4. I forgot to call my father on his birthday
My dad's birthday was Saturday. I woke up, thought "I should call my Dad later." Of course I didn't remember until 10pm, and my father goes to bed around 8. Plus the gift I got him was back ordered and didn't ship until yesterday. I am a horrible daughter.

5. I am thinking about eating another cookie.
Remember how I ate breakfast cookie while packing lunch cookie? Lunch cookie is calling my name. I think I can have two cookies before noon, after all it is my anniversary.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Will Run for Wine

Happy Monday!

I enjoyed the weekend with a little wine on Friday, lots of Gossip Girl on Saturday, and running on Sunday!

The wine was from an event called Wine Riot, put on by a company called The Second Glass. The company's mission is to basically make wine and discovering wine fun. The Wine Riot is an event where about 40 different wineries and vendor come and have their wine available for tasting.

Last year, I discovered Jam Jar, a sweet shiraz from South Africa, and it was again a favorite. There was also a Jam Jar moscato that was quite tasty! I also really enjoyed the wines from Main Mead Works. They use honey in their wine, which gave it interesting flavor. I tried their Blueberry Mead, Semi Sweet Mead, Lavender Mead, Dry Mead and Dry Hopped Mead. The Dry Hopped Mead actually tasted quite a bit like beer, which was surprising! They are located in Portland, so I would love to make a road trip up there some time!

Another notable find was Mionetto Il Spr!z. It's a semi-sparkling wine with orange and herbs. It tasted a bit like orange soda, but better. I think this would be a fun summer drink.

How am I able to remember all these wines? The Wine Riot had a cool app that allows you to rate what you taste. It's so helpful! Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to remember half of the great wines I sampled! Other fun touches included a temporary tattoo station and a photo booth. We got clued into the secret that a man was proposing to his girlfriend at the photo booth at a specific time, so we were able to witness the happy moment!

My weekend was pretty lame until Sunday morning, when I drove up to Beverly for the Energize the Earth 10K. Jane and I met up there, and both agreed we were under dressed for standing around. I knew we'd be okay once the event started, but we still hid out in my car until closer to the start time. I did manage to get a little tour of the park pre-race. She and her husband had their engagement photos taken there, so she showed me the rose garden and the beach. I never would have ventured over there without her, so I'm happy she had a connection to the location.

The race had a 5k and 10k portion. The 10k route was just the 5k twice, which I was a little bummed about, as I thought it would be boring. Beverly is so cute though, that I barely noticed. I did this race without an ipod, and I loved it! I admit that I totally listened in to other runners' conversations. Nothing juicy was overheard, but just enough of a distraction. I also ran by one girl who was listening to very loud music. I heard Survivor by Destiny's Child, and that definitely was stuck in my head during the race. I hadn't heard it in years, and it's a great running song, so that worked out well.

After the first loop, I noticed I started passing people fairly frequently. Racers of the 5k definitely went out stronger, and I think maybe a lot of the 10k participants went out too fast in the rush. The roads weren't closed, so at one point I was behind a guy on a narrow sidewalk for a few blocks. Around mile 5.5, we turned a corner and headed back into the street. I took the opportunity to push myself a bit harder, and I heard the guy drop the F-bomb. He totally got chicked. If I'd had my music, I might have missed his reaction, which only fueled me to push harder.

I finished in just under 56 minutes with a 9:01 min/mile pace. Not too shabby considering I haven't gone that far since the Disney Marathon.

To end the race, I ran into my freshman year college roommate! I hadn't seen her since we graduated! Her employer was a race sponsor, so she was working and couldn't talk long, but fun to catch up briefly! I don't think I have any races until Memorial Day weekend, though I have to racing bug, so we shall see!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Free Fitness Opportunities

Did you guys hear about the guy who finished the Boston Marathon on his hands?

Pretty awesome, right? Though on the Runner's World website, they point out that the guy's number is on the back of his leg and upside down. So spontaneous? No. Awesome? Yes.

He finished the Boston Marathon in that heat, and still managed to have a memorable finish. Good for that guy.

In other fitness news, did you all know that Lululemon stores offer free classes? To find your local store, visit the Lululemon website. Click on the store name and a calendar of store events will pop up. The stores near me have upcoming classes for yoga, boot camp, and zumba. They also have weekly running clubs. It sounds like an affordable new way to mix-up anyone's workout routine. I hope to check out one of the events in the future!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Boot Camp

Apparently Jane and I were twins last weekend.

Before the BAA 5K

Marathon watching

Only one of these was planned. I promise. I also promise that I actually ran the BAA 5K even though MarathonFoto managed to get zero action shots of me at the event.

In other news, I am officially in love with my boot camp (which is no surprise as you already know I love sweat).

I think I've mentioned before that I adore my gym. In addition to having a welcoming environment and quality equipment, the gym offers great group classes and other programs.

During wedding prep, I started signing-up for small group training classes. These classes consist of anywhere from 4-8 women who work with a trainer to further their fitness goals. Different groups can have different focuses like boxing, yoga, or TRX. I wanted to focus on weight training for the wedding and needed the extra push, so I started doing the Boot Camp style workouts last October. I figured I'd just drop it after the wedding, and timing wise, the class I was in ended the week I was on my honeymoon.

Well, I got back from St. John to an enthusiastic email from the trainer asking if I was signing up for another session. The previous session was tiny (only 3 of us!), so we had all become friendly. I realized I missed the trainer and the other girls, and I was feeling sluggish from an indulgent vacation. So I registered again. After all, summer is just around the corner!

In addition to the social aspect, what mainly kept me going back was the results I got. On the honeymoon, I put on tiny bikinis without feeling self conscious. Considering that last June I went on a long hunt and splurged on a ruffled tankini that I could hide in during my friend's bachelorette. I honestly can't remember ever going to a pool of beach and not thinking about how I looked.

Beyond cosmetic changes, I know I am getting stronger. In October, lifting 8lbs weights was challenging. Yesterday, I used 12lbs and will probably move to 15lbs next week. I can run up 8 flights of stairs without feeling like death is around the corner. I can do 20 push-ups in a row on my toes and not on my knees. At the beginning of this session, we counted how many push-ups and squats we could do in a minute and timed how long we could hold a plank. At the end of the 6 weeks, we'll do these again and see our improvement. I'm so excited to have a concrete measurement to track my fitness. I'm anxious to see how I improve.

The major downside is the cost. You pay extra for these small group trainings, and on top of an already pricey membership, I probably can't continue much longer. It has definitely been a great experience while it has lasted, and I will keep you all posted on the final results!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Sweet Smell of Honeymoon

I love hotel toiletries. The quality of bath products totally factors into my evaluation of a place. I will often snag a lotion for the road that I'll keep in my purse and use for a month after the hotel stay. Our honeymoon was no different. I grabbed a lotion, which I've been keeping at my desk at work.

The first time I used it in Boston, the fragrance immediately brought me back to our honeymoon. I didn't realize it on the vacation, but I used excessive amounts of this lotion every night, trying to make my spray tan last or hydrating skin dried from the sun. I was surprised to have such a strong link between the trip and the scent. Now at work, when I put a little of the white tea aloe lotion on my hands, I am reminded of St. John and the happy trip Rob and I had.

The bottle is fairly small and near the end, so I started plotting how to make it last or could I find a lotion with a similar perfume? That's when I saw the bottle had the Westin shop website listed on it. Sure enough, the lotion is available for purchase (along with numerous other white tea aloe products like shampoo and candles) Smart thinking Westin!

Any particular smells remind you of something specific?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Boston Marathon 2012

Today is what I call "Marathon Tuesday." It's the day after the race where a decent amount of the city is hungover, I am voiceless from screaming at runners all day, and you hear people talking about how they almost want to do a marathon. I know I came home and started looking at races, training schedules, and thought about running this morning. Being sick though, I decided to get the extra sleep this morning.

Now on to my marathon recap....

Marathon Monday is my favorite holiday! I stayed up late making a sign and woke up early to head out to Mile 23 in the course.

While waiting for my friends, I ran into Starbucks for an iced coffee and ran into another Junior Leaguer. Both commented on the sunscreen that I was wearing. Guess I put a little too much on? Better to be safe than sorry!

It was HOT out! It was over 80 before noon. Boston actually offered to let runners defer until 2013. The runners of this race were amazing! They hung in despite the heat, and I hope they are holding their head that much higher for finishing what must have been a brutal race!

My friends and I camped out on the curb and watched the wheelchair racers go by. The first place racer was so far ahead of the others! Not only did he win by over 3 minutes, but he set the world record time for the field.

A while later, we saw the pace car approaching. The women elites were on their way! 

Next, it was the turn for the men!

I was unfamiliar with this year's elite field, as most of the famous American runners are prepping for the Summer Olympics. Even though they were unknown to me, I loved seeing the runners! They make it look so easy, and yet they run the full marathon is about the time it takes me to do half the distance. So cool to watch!

After watching the elites, we headed into a local bar for some drinks. Here, I finally got to try the 26.2 Brew!

 It was really good! The perfect drink for Marathon Monday! We watched the race on tv and waited for updates on our runner friends. I got the alert that Rob's sister was at the 30K mark, so I finished my drink and headed out to cheer on the runners.

I had a double sided sign, with "Go Becky, Leanne, Katie!" on one side and "Run Total Stranger Run" on the other. Eventually I spotted Leanne! A friend had hopped in with her, and they were looking great!! I quickly tried to turn my sign around, and after she ran off, I realized that it was upside down. Oooops!

Shortly after, Jane's friend Katie went by...erm flew by! She was rockin' it! We stuck around until about  5pm to see a friend from my old running group. She was in great spirits!

All these women ran for charity, so not only did they train for the long distance, but they raised a ton of money for great causes!

As always, it was so fun cheering on all the runners. I saw former Patriot Tedy Bruschi (running for his charity Tedy's Team) and the mom of Celtics player Ray Allen. I saw the Hoyts and a man "joggling." Truly an inspirational day! I am so inspired; I know I will be running a lot more in the coming weeks!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Marathon Prep and the BAA 5K

I wrote two fabulous posts last week, that I just noticed never actually posted. FAIL!

In other news, this past weekend was the weekend I look forward to all year... the weekend of the Boston Marathon!

For the past week, I've seen workers blocking off streets and preparing the set-up for the finish. There was even a pop-up Boston Marathon merchandise tent in Copley Square!

Friday after work, I kicked off the weekend by heading to the Marathon Expo to pick-up my number for Sunday's 5k.

I'll admit, I'm usually a bit overwhelmed by the giant expos and this was no different. There were tons of exhibitors and tons of people and tons of Boston merchandise. It got me so excited, and even though I couldn't run the 26.2 on Monday, I was happy to be racing something!

I saw Bart Yasso at the Runner's World booth, checked out cute outfits at the Running Skirts booth, and bobbed my head to the music at the Lululemon crate. I also bought a couple cute headbands before heading home to get ready for a wine and cheese night with the girls.

For the record wine + cheese + cupcakes = an awesome Friday night. In short, a recipe for awesome. Rob hadn't been feeling to well, and on the T ride home that night, my throat started hurting. I knew I was catching a bug.

Saturday morning, I woke up feeling fairly sick. I took a few Dayquil and headed off to Kids in the Kitchen. We taught the girls about portion size, did pilates, and cooked up a healthy lunch. I spent the rest of the day in bed or on the couch. Around 8:30 pm, I was feeling a bit better, so Rob and I met up with a couple friends for a drink. Wasn't until I ordered a Sam Summer that I saw this:

Um a Marathon beer? AMAZING! The Boston Marathon and beer go surprisingly well together, so I'm happy that Sam Adams seized the opportunity.

The next morning, I met up with Jane for the BAA 5K! I love this race. The marathon energy is in the air, and you get to run through downtown Boston!

The race starts in Copley and takes you up around the Public Garden and the Boston Common. There's one long hill, but otherwise, not a bad course.

I ran this race its first two years, but took last year off as I was out of town for a wedding. I had forgotten how crowded the race is! Jane and I started toward the back of the pack. While I had hoped to finish around 25 minutes, I knew the cold would make that impossible. I hadn't decided if I wanted to push myself or not. I started with Jane and was enjoying talking to her, but shortly after we crossed the timing mat, she turned to me and said "Go be fast!" Jane's a smart girl, so I took off.

I had to weave around the crowd, which is always wasted energy, but it was interesting to see the various people in the crowd. I saw a man dressed as a toothbrush, runners running blindfolded with escorts (they were with a charity for the blind), and families running together.

Around mile 2, I felt really tired. My legs still felt great, but it was tough to breathe. I knew I had a sub 25 min 5K, but that was not going to be the day. I still gave it what I could. Turning the corner onto Boylston, we could see the Boston Marathon banner marking the finish line. This 5K crosses the actual Marathon finish line, which is inspirational. I pushed myself and finished in 27 minutes and 36 seconds.

I loved the medal, and they had great giveaways at the finish. With a race under my belt, I was ready and excited to cheer on the Marathon runners the next day!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Honeymoon Reads

When people ask for stories about my recent honeymoon, I don't know what to say. We did a lot of sleeping, drinking and hanging out by the pool or on the beach.

During this time I did a ton of reading. Rob surprised me with a Kindle a couple of weeks before the wedding so I could have it on the honeymoon. It was truly the perfect gift! So light and portable. Not to mention I could update my reading list to match my mood. I was able to finally read authors and books that I've been meaning to read for months or even years.

Since reading was my primary honeymoon activity, I thought I'd share with you all a list of what I read and my thoughts on each read. (As you can tell from my comments like "the author is really good" I should clearly write for the NY Times and you all are getting this content free. Lucky ducks)

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
Back in college, I got into the Shopoholic series on spring break. It was the perfect beach read. Since then I've kept up with her books, and I've Got Your Number is her latest release. I wanted to kick off vacation with something light and fun, and this didn't disappoint.

In the book, the main character Poppy has lost her engagement ring during a hotel fire drill. During the confusion, her cell phone is stolen. Poppy then finds a cell phone in the trash, and she decides to take it so the hotel can reach her if they find her ring. The phone's owner Sam is not happy about this. Events unravel as Poppy and Sam's lives become intertwined through messages, emails and phone calls.

I'll admit it was definitely a fluffy read. It was pretty predictable, but in typical Kinsella fashion, the quirky protagonist is endearing even when her actions are ridiculous. If you're looking for a cute chick lit read, then this is a good pick in my opinion. On a side note, I would opt for a hard copy over the Kindle for this one. Kinsella uses a lot of footnotes which are quick little jokes in a book, but a lot of work when you have to scroll and click and link in the Kindle.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
I have no idea why I never read Sedaris earlier. I've heard good things, and I love memoirs personal essays with a bit of snark. Augusten Burroughs' and Chelsea Handler's essay style books are some of my favorites. So I figured vacation was as good of a time as any to read some of Sedaris' book.

In Me Talk Pretty One Day, Sedaris tells tales of growing up in North Carolina, learning French, and life with 6 brothers and sisters.

I can't say I loved this book as much as I thought I would. The book is divided into two parts, the first half is mostly focused on his childhood and other bits of his life, and the second half focuses more on his life in France. I think the second half definitely worked more for me than the first. It just felt more cohesive. While this book may not be a favorite of mine, I am willing to read Sedaris again.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
The Kitchen House is about Lavinia, a white Irish girl who is orphaned at 7 years old and works as an indentured servant on a plantation. She lives and works with the slaves in the kitchen house. The book alternates between the point of view of Lavinia and Belle, a slave who is the master's illegitimate daughter. The book follows the lives of these two women and the worlds that divide them and the relationships that bond them.

I loved this book. I thought Grissom's use of the double narration was the perfect way to enlighten the reader. The young Lavinia is naive and optimistic, and adults often shelter her from the griefs that plague the slaves' lives. While Belle's chapters are much shorter, she is blunt and able to provide the reader with more insight. The two balance the story and prevent things from being too heavy or handled too lightly. I wondered about some of the historical accuracies, but if you're just looking for an engaging story with memorable characters, then this is a great read!

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
Again, I'd never read a Nicholas Sparks book, though I had seen plenty of movies based on his books! I figured it'd be a good beach read, and after The Kitchen House I was in the mood for something a little less intense.

Logan Thibault is a US Marine in Iraq. On a run, he finds a photo of a girl. After a series of nearly fatal encounters, it is declared that this photo is Thibault's good luck charm. He returns back to the United States, and he decided to find the woman in the photo. His quest brings him to Hamilton, NC to Beth, a single mother. As he begins a relationship with the woman and her son, Thibault keeps his story a secret, as he befriends Beth and her family and animosity grows between Thibault and her ex-husband.

I liked this book, and it was the type of book I was looking to read at that moment. Definitely has the same feel as the Sparks movies. With the exception of The Notebook, most of his movies have the same sort of feel. They follow a formula, and I don't think this is any different. I know they're making a movie of this book, and I can totally see that. The couple's romance is quite touching, and the leading man says and does the perfect things at the perfect time.  The relationship grows until some twist threatens to tear them apart.  That being said, I think Sparks did a great job with Thibault's past and the current story line. I also loved Beth's grandmother, who is known for her strange comparisons. There's not a ton of substance to it, but it hit the spot.

Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay
This is one of the many reasons I love the Kindle. I had never heard of this book, but it was recommended to me in the Kindle shop after I read The Kitchen House. It was on the New York Times Best Seller list, and it had a high rating, so I decided to download it. I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of the cover, and having never heard of it before, probably would not have picked it up in a book store. This is exactly why they say NOT to judge a book by its cover.

A Massachusetts assistant district attorney's life goes astray when his teenage son is accused of murdering his classmate. The story follows ADA Andy Barber and his family as they deal with the accusation and the consequences that follow.

I am probably biased as I really enjoy when books are set in Boston or the area. The main characters live in Newton, which added an extra level of enjoyment. That being said, I thought this story was really well done. As the reader I felt torn as Andy discovers troubling secrets about his son, and I felt divided as the drama threatens his marriage. The narrative jumps between a court transcript of Andy's testimony and his internal memory of events. The book had a touch of suspense, interesting characters, and I thought realistically showed how even an accusation of one person can change an entire family's life. While the subject matter was a bit hard to read at times, I definitely recommend this book.

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
After being an accomplished pastry chef and cookbook author for almost 20 years, Lebovitz decides to move to Paris, a city known as a culinary and cultural mecca. Each chapter ends with some recipes.

I've been in love with Paris since I visited in 8th grade. It was interesting hearing about so many different aspects about life in Paris. From fashion to the supermarket to etiquette, I definitely feel like Lebovitz does a great job of showcasing the differences between French and American lives like his experience with the French healthcare system and his alarm at having to administer his own iv. The recipes were one of my favorite additions. They range from chickpea crepes to chocolate mousse and blended iced coffee and apple tart. My one wish would be that we could have learned more about Lebovitz's personal life, but c'est la vie.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
A woman responds to a wealthy man's ad for a reliable life, but she has a plan to kill him, inherit his wealth and take care of the man she really loves. She doesn't anticipate falling in love with him, but he too has a plan of his own.

This book was interesting. The constant sexual references made it skewed a bit on the trashy romance side, but the web of deception gives it a bit of a thriller feel. This book surprised me multiple times. I never really liked any of the characters, which made this difficult to get through. I picked this book because I'd heard several good reviews, but this was mostly a miss for me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Too Many Cocktails

Some people drunk dial. I prefer to drunk register.

That's right, I officially entered my name into the lottery for the NYC lottery. At 2:30am on Saturday. After a night out at the bar. I blame Erin. And Runner's World, which I finally had time to read on the honeymoon. It really renewed my interest in running and racing. Good timing as race season is finally here and I have a 5k this weekend and a 10k next weekend!

I ran the NYC marathon 3.5 years ago. It was an amazing experience! Not only is it an incredible race, but it was my birthday, I PRed, and I was photographed and interviewed for the Runner's World website! Not to mention I had some amazing friends who came to cheer me on--with a bunny shaped sign! Not sure I can top that experience!

Erin and I are also looking for a fall marathon to do in case we don't get into NY. We're thinking Philly? The jury is still out on this. Apparently we both feel a need to do a fall marathon.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Wedding: Ceremony and Reception

The bridesmaids, my parents, the planner and I paraded down to the Wharf Room where the ceremony was to be held.

A couple last minute guests slipped in, the wedding party lined up, and I stood around the corner to stay out of Rob's view when the doors opened. As my dad was walking my mom in, I was alone with the coat check girls (who I don't think spoke English, as when I asked if they could see the lip gloss I tucked into my dress they said "yes, yes, very good"...) My heart was racing. This was it.

My dad came back and took my arm. The staff straightened out the train on my dress, and I heard "Here comes the bride" begin to play. The doors opened up, and I could see nothing but the smiling faces of family and friends. I looked up front to Rob, and saw him smiling. Nervous, but happy. 

I felt surprisingly calm as we approached the front. I could hear my dad start to choke up. I knew if he started to cry, I would too. The moment passed, and all I felt was such joy. We got up to the front of the room, where my dad kissed me and sat down. Rob and I couldn't start looking at each other. The JP quietly leaned over to Rob, asking him "Doesn't she look beautiful?" Thank you JP for the nudge!

I can barely remember the words that were said. Both Rob's sisters (my current sister-in-laws) did a wonderful job with the readings. Leanne read "i carry your heart with me(i carry in)" by ee cummings and  Jen read a Sankrit reading that Rob picked. 

I was so grateful when I was able to hold Rob's hand. I know there's no other way it could be done, but it was so nice to be going through this together! He stumbled a bit over the vows (they were long, and I was a bit relieved that I got to hear them twice!) and I had trouble slipping on the ring, but these things just made me smile even more. Then the JP pronounced us husband and wife and declared "you may now kiss!" Katie, my Maid of Honor, reminded me to take my bouquet, then Rob and I headed back down the aisle as husband and wife.

We then headed outside, where the wedding party braved the cold for some pictures!

Everyone went off the the cocktail hour while Rob and I finished photos up. We were then escorted to a small room that was filled with beers, sodas, wine, and champagne. The wedding planner bustled my dress and replaced my veil with a tulle flower comb, then Rob and I had a quick wedding toast. We started practicing our first dance, and we quickly discovered that something was off. My dress was a bit too long. Luckily, Carla had been at the dress fittings and was able to come downstairs and fixed the problem. She totally saved the day!!

Next, the guests were escorted back to the Wharf Room, which was now ready for dining. Once they were sat, the bridal party gathered outside to prepare for our entrances. The band leader introduced herself, and quickly went over everyone's names. We all had a laugh as she almost introduced "Erin and Peter O'Malley."

Each couple of the wedding party made their entrance with "Dirty Water" playing in the background. Rob and I entered and hit the dance floor for our first dance. Our song was Calico Skies by Paul McCartney.

It's a short song, but to our surprise, the band cut out the second verse. Only made a difference because Rob and I had a cue in that verse to head toward the center of the floor for the big finale. As I noticed the continuous repeating of the final words, I realized they'd cut their version, and quickly told Rob to get ready. The dip may have actually happened after the final notes, but I doubt the guests noticed.

We then headed to our seats, and it was time for the speeches. My Dad got up and talked about involving the crowd, and I have to admit that I got a little nervous for that one. He ended up leading the group in his version of Bingo with lyrics like "There was a father who had a girl and Margo was her name-o, M-A-R-G-O." He also lead everyone in a special rendition of the "Popeye" theme song, featuring "Paul the ex-sailor man." All in all, he rocked it!!

Next was Katie, who gave a cute and sweet speech that only a childhood friend could have given. It was perfect! Rob Roberts also knocked it out of the park with a funny and kind speech. We totally lucked out with some really talented loved ones!

We sad down for salad and dinner, then it was time for cake cutting and parent dances! The cake cutting was the only time I had a taste of the cake, because I was busy dancing and chatting during dessert.

Next my father and I danced to "You are the Sunshine of My Life." It was nice and peppy, which I am grateful for. I may have cried if we'd done a more emotional song.

Rob and his mom danced to Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I hadn't heard the song before Rob picked it, but the lyrics are really sweet and totally fit the occasion.
After most of the formalities were over, it was time to do some dancing! The band was fantastic! I hadn't heard them live before the evening, and I am so happy that they were even better than I had hoped!

Sweet Caroline was a favorite, shortly after all the Delta Delta Delta ladies started singing "I am a T." Everyone else, probably thought we were crazy. It's become quite the tradition at Tri Delta weddings.

Dancing with Spectators
It was so much fun being a bride. Everyone wants to talk to you, and I couldn't get close to the bar without some staff member bringing me a drink. A prize should also go to my friend Abby, who had a glass of champagne for me almost every time I turned around.

Soon it was time for the anniversary dance, which I opted to do rather than a bouquet toss. I personally always hated being dragged up with all the single ladies, and with only a few single friend (erm or friends period), I thought giving my flowers to the couple married the longest was the way to go.

All married couples were brought to the dance floor, and periodically the band would tell couples married less than X amount of time to leave the dance floor. The couple married the longest was the one remaining! My husband and I were quickly kicked off when the band declared, everyone married less than 10 hours to sit down. 

At this point, I realized my mom's pin was still on the bouquet. I quickly made Rob take it off and return it safely to my mom! 

The last couple were some family friends' of the Smiths. They have been married 50 years! The wife seemed so touched when I gave her my bouquet. I felt so great about my decision.

My cousin Dana told me the night before that she had been practicing for the bouquet toss, so I pulled her aside and Katie, my MOH, was nice enough to donate her flowers to the cause. 

Everything just flew by. There was more dancing, more drinking, and good times with family and friends! Such a wonderful time! I managed to get a glimpse at the favors, and I think they came out well! I think some people must have really liked them and taken a couple extra, as neither Rob, my parents nor I got one!

As I heard "Stand By Me" start to play, and I knew the night was coming to an end. Rob and I hit the dance floor for our final dance of the evening. When the wedding ended, we headed up to my parents' room to retrieve my things before going to our hotel room. 

I am disappointed that I didn't get to say goodbye to everyone before they left. I just hope that everyone, especially my bridesmaids and parents, know how much I appreciate them being a part of the big day! The BEST part of the day was having so many loved ones all in one place. It was truly a gift!

Can't believe the day has already come, and Rob and I have been married for 2 weeks! Time certainly flies, but I am so grateful that this is just the start of a wonderful life with a fantastic man!

(The fantastic photography is thanks to Meghan, Carla, and Cheryl!)