Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Best Things About a Day Off

If you've been reading for a while, you may notice a trend with my vacation days. They often include a hefty dose of coffee shop time and good food. Because really, I wouldn't have it any other way (that is, unless I'm laying on a beach in Mexico).

Oh, Mexico... Hard to imagine that just a year ago, Pete and I took that fantastically sunny vacation. I'm so ready to go back!

Sporting the shades 

Jeans & polka dot Vans

Latte art - Do they have foam design contests? Because they should. 

Breakfast for lunch. After all, breakfast is the best meal of the day (in my opinion).

Orange zested soaked challah bread french toast with scrambled eggs on the side

Smile inducing flowers

On Monday, I bought this bouquet of Trader Joe's flowers for my friend Jenn's birthday. They were so beautiful I had to snag a photo.

I have a few errands to run this afternoon before heading to the Thursday night speed workout with The Flyers for some fast 800s and 400s. Have a great one!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Premarital Counseling: the low down

Howdy! Today is my Friday as I'm taking Thursday and Friday off work (the adult version of Spring Break). Yahoo!

Today I thought it would be fun to talk a bit about premarital counseling as it's not something that's talked a lot about. Nor does every couple do premarital counseling prior to getting married. My grandfather is a semi-retired minister and I have always heard positive things about premarital counseling from friends or family members, so I knew I would want to go someday. 

I'll admit that I was skeptical whether the manfriend would be on board from the get go and he wasn't gung ho immediately, but he was willing to do it for me. While we weren't looking to solve any serious issues, I figured it couldn't hurt to start our marriage off on the best possible foot/feet.

Plus, my health insurance covered a decent amount of the cost --> check your insurance plan to see if it's covered. I was seriously shocked that it was included in my plan.

We had six, one hour long appointments in all where our therapist/counselor got to know us, understand our relationship and personal styles and talk about important issues within relationships.

After a few sessions, we each took a relationship quiz (at home) that had over 200 questions in it to see how compatible we were on a lot of subjects: expectations of the relationship, each other, finances, faith/religion, sex, having a family, raising kids, etc.

It was really interesting to see where our answers differed quite a bit. Sometimes it was a matter of our personalities (I'm the one who wants to have control over things, manage the finances, etc. whereas he's the one who might prefer to be told what to do). And sometimes we simply hadn't discussed the issue much (how are we going to discipline our future kids??). And sometimes we just understood the question differently. 

A few interesting things I learned: 

  • The manfriend was often more comfortable discussing things with our counselor than I was.
  • Some things are just too personal to talk about with a stranger.
  • Communication is key.
  • According to our counselor, most relationships end because the couple doesn't communicate well when they have small issues and those grow into large problems.
  • We need to create a budget and financial plan. Blech. 
  • I want to grow old, sit on a rocking chair on our front porch, and gossip about the neighbors with the manfriend. Kidding, I already knew this a while back.   

How did we choose our counselor? While I looked on, in a small city, I figured a personal recommendation would be best. I asked a friend who is also a counselor within our running group for a recommendation. Our counselor was good, but I would have preferred she had a bit more life experience as she was about 30.

Because Pete and I already live together and we're not very religious, counseling allowed me to feel like we were officially on our journey toward marriage together. It helped us get in that future frame of mind. And now I'm excited to plan our ceremony together along with my grandfather as it feels like that next "official" step on this marriage journey! 

Did you or would you do premarital counseling? 

Video of the week (starring Ericka of The Sweet Life): The Anti-Bride

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Eats as of Late

I haven't been taking many photos of my meals lately, but I have a few from the last few days for you. 

After Saturday's painful 10K, Sunday's 'shake 'er out' 6.5 miler with friends was anything but easy. I wanted to stop and walk at mile three, but didn't. #thepowerofrunningbuddies

After studying and a trip to Trader Joe's, I came home to make this egg sandwich with onion, spinach, mushroom and tomater on top. And I couldn't resist a half piece of toast with jam on it. 

Last week I picked up a loaf of Dakota bread from Great Harvest. I always forget how much I love this bread. Seedy, nutty and moist. 

Yesterday, I took my last A&P test for the term! I'm so happy to be done with it. Granted, I still have two terms of it in my future as it's a three class series. 

After Lifeforce, I whipped up a little layered veggie taco pie. I sauteed the veggies in a pan for a few min, added some taco seasoning and then piled it on top of corn tortillas that I ripped so they would fit in the dish. Finally, I shredded a little cheddar on top and baked it at 350* for ~20 minutes.

After dinner, the manfriend and I headed to Sweet Life for dessert & decaf.

Dulce de leche for him, chocolate mint fudge for her

Someday, we'll only order one dessert because really, that's all we need. Ahem, the manfriend says that's all I may need, but he needs an entire piece. 

Other foodie thoughts: Lately, I've been trying to avoid consuming a lot of dairy. As I say that, yes, we had cheese and cake with dairy in it last night. BUT, overall, I'm using cheese sparingly and primarily use almond milk for cereal, oats and green smoothies because I notice my stomach is happier when I do.

My face has been breaking out a lot, likely due to stress and random eats, so I'm trying to make a few changes. As for stress management, hopefully taking a break from classes and doing more yoga will help.

Purely for humor, here's what I wore to Sunday's St. Patty's Day group run - as much green as possible. Yes, it may have been a bit obnoxious, but sometimes you just have to embrace the holiday!

I think I look like I'm heading to crossfit or something.

Truth: I've never tried crossfit and secretly don't want to because I can see myself getting addicted and not wanting to fork over the $$ for it. Strength workouts (and seeing progress) motivates me, but for now I'll stick to my at home M/W/F strength work.

How's your week going? Any truths you want to tell me about? 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

How NOT to Do What I Did

Dear Friends, 

This post is a "How Not to Race Well" if you will as yesterday's Lucky Clover 10K didn't go so spectacularly. 

Saturday morning I walked the dog, rode my bike to yoga and took a fabulous 1h 15 min class. After baking a chocolate cake for the manfriend (easy peasy recipe) and doing some studying, I needed a serious nap by 3 p.m. 

The manfriend went to run some errands and I told him to be back by 4:15 so we could leave for the 5 p.m. race. Well, I ended up sleeping until exactly 4:15 when he walked in the door... 

I woke up, scarfed down a piece of chocolate cake (due to paranoia that I needed some more fuel in me) and groggily threw on my running clothes. 

We were on the road by 4:30, but I was pretty nervous we'd be cutting it close. And we did. I bailed out of the truck 12 min until race time as the manfriend found a place to park. 

I opted to run the 5K road first because there is a decent hill you have to run over and back and wanted to get it outta the way. Mile 1: 7:57, Mile 2: 7:20, Mile 3: 7:40 (who have liked to keep this pace)

Within the first mile, I could tell my stomach was still attempting to process the cake, which wasn't exactly conducive to running fast. The next two didn't feel great, but I kept pushing. At the halfway mark, you come back to the start area where you do a little transition loop and head out to the trail. 

The second half was much worse than the first. Parts were muddy and rocky and my stomach was even rockier. By mile 4, I was wondering if I might vomit so I didn't push the pace. 

The frustrating part was that I could tell my legs could have pushed harder, but the rest of my body just couldn't. 

Mile 4: 8:04, Mile 5: 8:24, Mile 6: 8:48.

The last mile was pretty slippery, but fun and had me reminiscing of all those fun trail races I've done. So happy to be finished. Possibly the first time I didn't touch an ounce of post race food or drink. 

Somehow (thanks to the Luck of the Irish  it being a small race), I came away with a third place medal for my age bracket with my 49:57 finish. In fact, nearly our whole running group won awards!

Oh, and I voluntarily did an Irish jig (my own rendering) in front of the crowd and won a $20 gift certificate to use for a future race - #winning!

Disclaimer: The race itself was great, but when your stomach isn't cooperating and you're half asleep, it's hard to appreciate the details to their fullest. Eclectic Edge, as always, put on another well organized, unique and fun running opportunity. 

I was also lucky enough to meet Raina of Small Town Runner who lives about an hour outside of Eugene. She was volunteering at the finish line. 

Raina is just coming off two full weeks of rest from running to heel an injury. We all know how mentally painful not running can be. 

So in case you're wondering, my tips for how to avoid this in the future would be... 

Tip 1: Don't overdo it on race day.
Tip 2: Opt for a 20 min power nap instead of a sleep fest.
Tip 3: Don't eat within 90 min of a race, especially one that is less than 10 miles. 
Tip 4: Get to the race at least 30 min prior so you can get your bib, warm up and pee with no stress. 

To make up for a less than stellar feeling race, we met some friends for a cold beverage at the new Plank Town Brewing Co. in Springfield. It definitely gets two thumbs up in my book for good food, beverages, friendly staff and atmosphere.

Happy St. Patty's Day! Hope you're wearing your green! Is anyone doing anything fun to celebrate? I'll be studying because nothing says party like taking notes on A&P!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Notice. Honor it. Slow the heck down.

Thursday as I finished work and headed to change into my running clothes, I noticed how much my brain hurt. Youch! It got me thinking about the things that make us tired and the things we think make us tired.

For example, I never used to think running really made me tired... until I trained for a marathon. Hello naptime on weekends and decent bedtime always, I need you.

Work can be... well challenging, rewarding and stressful. Enough said. I'm tired just thinking about it.

And then I thought about wedding planning. At first, I wouldn't think it to be "tiring," but if I'm spending a few hours in a day researching and contacting vendors or even debating colors, invitations or whatever, it takes a lot of energy.

Oh and then there's the whole school thing. From focusing on a lecture, trying to understand said lecture and then spending a little time studying, the brain is just about zapped. While I want to be doing it and I signed up for it, it's a real challenge.

So, mix all of those fun things together and you've got one tired chica.

My point here is not to get a bunch of "oh you must be so tired"s, but rather to point out that once in a while it's good to notice how much you're doing. Honor it. And slow the heck down when you can.

Speaking of which (hint of sarcasm)...

Last night I ran a little 5K as part of the Oregon Track Club Thurs night series (free for members, $5 for non). Let me tell you, I am not in 5K shape, but because it was our speed group workout, I did it. This should make Saturday's Lucky Clover 10K interesting...  {Finished the 5K in 22:15}

Speaking of which, I'm actually excited for it even if it's going to be a tough race. Lucky Clover takes place in Dorris Ranch, one of my favorite spots to run a few miles. For the 10K, you get to choose whether you want to run the 5K road or 5K trail portion first. Which would you do first? I still haven't decided.

Happy Friday to you! What surprising thing makes you extra tired? 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Opposites (Attract)

Today's post isn't so much about relationships, but rather opposites in food enjoyment. The other day as I was shopping at our Fred Meyer (Krogers in other parts of the country), I passed by this garlic bread that my mom used to buy on occasion to go with spaghetti dinners. 

I thought "I would almost never buy that now, but I remember how good it tasted." I also knew how much the manfriend would appreciate this stuff. 

A week or so later, I picked up a loaf to go with our pasta and yep, it still tastes the same! French bread slathered in butter with lots of garlic flavoring and popped in the oven for 10-15 minutes...yum. 

Don't mind Jonah Bell passed out in the background.

Just a little PSA that even if you know it's not health food, it's okay to indulge occasionally.

And in the opposite corner, I present to you my new favorite mixture of greens.

Typically, I'm a spinach all the way girl, but I've been enjoying this mix of power greens, including spinach, mizuna, chard and kale. Proof that branching out once in a while can't hurt.

And finally, we've been having a few days of spring like weather around these parts! Shorts weather, I kind of love you. 

As much as I love bundling up after a cold, wet run, there is something refreshing about feeling the sun on your skin during a run. Bring on the Vitamin D!

In other news, Anatomy & Physiology I is almost over! Yesterday we dissected a rat. Not going to lie, it was not easy. I had trouble just watching the video prior to doing the hands on piece. Luckily, we were able to do it in partners.

Do you have any opposite food favorites right now? How's the weather in your neck of the woods?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Ski Day

Hope your weekend is going well! I just wanted to pop in and share some photos from today's ski day with my youngest brother Max (who ventured with me to the top of Bolan Mt). 

The sunrise on our drive up to the mountain was beautiful. 

We went to Mt. Hood Meadows, which is about an hour from Portland. The mountain is big and their runs are varied and well groomed.

The view from the mountain wasn't bad either. I seriously wanted to find a chair and just sit down on the mountain and do nothing. But we paid for lift tickets, so ski we did. 

Max typically snowboards, but recently bought downhill skis so skiing for both of us it was. I have skied since elementary school when my dad forced me into it. While I HATED skiing for years (thanks to the forcing and cold factors), I really enjoy it now.

Today was epic skiing weather - bright sun, blue skies, temps in the 40s and no wind!

Hello bro!

We stopped for lunch and then called it a day around 3:30 p.m. My other brother Kyle and his wife Sabrina met us as they were there cross country skiing.

Don't mind the goggles and helmet, which I've owned since high school. Need a reminder you're no longer cool? Head to a nearby mountain. All the cool kids have these matching (but non matching, you know what I mean?) outfits and all the accessories.

All in all, we did about 21 runs and over 5 miles of skiing. Max has a season pass to Mt. Hood Meadows so he's able to log in afterward and see how many runs, miles and elevation he's completed each day. 

Skiing is one serious workout. I know the quads and calves are going to be feelin' it tomorrow. And on top of that, there's nothing like post ski day exhaustion. On the drive home, I had a hard time formulating sentences I was so tired - waking up at 5 am probably didn't help either. ;)

Do you ski or snowboard? Anyone else forced into sports or activities as a child? While I hated many activities at the time, all that forcing was a blessing in disguise.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Wedding To Do List

Happy Friday! I don't know about you, but this week just flew by for me.

Whew, it's been a while! I feel like I owe you guys some {wedding} updates, but guess what, not a lot is going on.. until last weekend that is. Thankfully, winter term ends in a few weeks so I'll be able to focus more on every single detail I've put off.

For my own sanity, I have decided not to take any classes this spring term because I think it would set me up for failure and stress me out to the max.

What's on our to do list?
  • Manfriend's ring - Did some research...
  • Manfriend's suit/tux  - Purchased last weekend!
  • Finish registries
  • Colors - Too many to choose from
  • Wedding shoes!
  • Flowers
  • Rehearsal dinner - Did some research and contacted a few restaurants
  • Invitations
  • Music - The manfriend researched and contacted a DJ
  • Ceremony
  • Cake
  • Table scapes/centerpieces - Stress me out more than they should
As you can see, we still have a LOT of important things left to do (and this isn't the entire list). After last weekend, I'm not freaking out as much. I know that once we make a few decisions, we can easily check certain items off in a matter of a few hours.

We are opting to have a registry through Macy's and probably one other store (TBD), as well as a registry. allows the couple to register for pieces of their honeymoon, like a dinner, guided tour, night at a hotel, etc. and guests to purchase those things.

This is a nice option for those who prefer to give cash anyway, but in a more focused direction. Our dream is to go on a European honeymoon the summer of 2014, but we'll see. A tropical destination is sounding pretty perfect right about now...

Areas I'm doing more research/waiting on: flowers & shoes

I'm leaning toward either having pretty bright flowers or something more pastel and vintage feeling. As I've yet to talk to a florist, or decide what I'm willing to commit to flowers budget wise, this is on hold.

Image: Chelsea & Co

In a few areas I feel like I'm holding back on decision making because I know how spendy things will be. In the end, I know it will all turn out fabulous no matter what, but it's easy to agonize over every little detail and dollar.

For shoes, I'm looking for something with a pop of color that I can walk in (as in 3" or shorter). Feel free to include links of your favorite dressy shoe brands or retailers!

In the last few weeks, we sent out our save the dates and I've had a few moments where I've had to remind myself that we have to do what feels right in our hearts and not necessarily what pleases everyone else. This is by FAR the hardest part of wedding planning. I hate disappointing others, but chances are people understand and after all, this is our big day!

What's the biggest thing you stress out about when throwing a party?

Random thought: It's hard to even imagine that in four months the Pete and I will be getting hitched. YIKES! Let the wedding planning get rolling...

Something to try: Katie McGregor's Maintenance Routine with Carrie Tollefson (great hip/core strengtheners for runners)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

How easy is too easy?

(No, I'm not talking about running.) I think I officially found my yoga limit of ease. This week, I've been taking things pretty easy for my leg's sake and the fact that I've felt a little under the weather.

As a result, I decided to make use of this month long yoga pass ($39 for first time students) I have to try a few more classes.

Tuesday was my rest day so I stayed away from cardio, but figured it couldn't hurt to get my stretch on as my hamstring is painfully tight this week. As in, bending over and trying to straighten my left leg completely makes me wince in pain.

I went to an "exploring yoga" basic yoga class and found my limit and patience for ease. Yes, I knew it was going to be a slow, gentle class, but I didn't expect we wouldn't do a single full sun salutation.

Sorry, but I believe yoga is all about the sun salutations and flow and this class was pretty much the opposite. No flow, pose here, pose there, back bend, savasana. Thank goodness for the two rounds of yogi push ups and triangle to half moon so I could give my left leg a nice stretcharoo.

Anyway, it's rare that I find a fitness class that I'm so frustrated by that I want to walk out, but Tuesday was one of them (I didn't walk out). Suffice it to say, I'm still searching for a yoga studio in Eugene that just feels right.

Lindsey and I go to Kira's Saturday morning class at Lifeforce Fitness (which is amazing), but I'm often busy on the weekends and would love a challenging, but zenlike class to take midweek.

For now, I think I'm going to have to roll out the mat at home to get the kind of practice I want.

Best part of your week so far? Have you ever walked out on a workout class?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Boston Simulator

Well, I'm happy to say my left leg survived yesterday's Boston Simulator run! Sure, I didn't feel like Prefontaine, but I ran slow, laughed with friends and knocked out 13.7 hilly country miles. 

Pre race hanging out at Lonn's house. Lonn is the amazing host of this run and the Over the River and Through the Woods 10K each year. He and his family are complete saints to let 50+ sweaty runners take over their house, not to mention, cook amazing food for us! 

We hopped on the "bus" bound for Hopinkton (not really, but kinda) at 8 a.m. and barreled down the hill to the start line.

Two "buses" of runners unload

Final course instructions were given for 8, 10, 13, 15, 18 and 20 mile alternatives before we ALL sung the national anthem in unison. 

And we were off! A few of us opted to run ~13 miles slow. I tried to remind myself to just take it easy. No reason to push the pace. 

The other awesome thing about this run? Lonn sets up legitimate aid stations with people manning them, food (Picky Bars and gels), Gatorade and water. 

I finished with 13.7 on the watch, while a few speed demons finished their 20 milers at the same time. Womp, womp...

When we got back to the house, lots of Boston inspired food awaited us, including: homemade Boston cream pies, sweet potato pie, baked beans, clam chowder, bacon and Boston lager!

The view from their back patio isn't too bad either...

During the run yesterday, I kept thinking how lucky I am to be part of this amazing running community. If we ever leave Eugene, it's going to be hard to find a group to top this one. 

Overall, the leg muscles and joints are a little sore from the run, but not bad. This morning I did a short spin session, yoga stretches and PT exercises (hip strengthening stuff) at home to let things recover. 

Yesterday, we cranked out several big wedding tasks - purchased Pete's suit, looked at wedding bands and a little registry stuff. This took a lot of weight off my shoulders to get a few more big things done. Okay, gotta jet. We're off to a coffee shop to do more wedding planning! 

How was your weekend? How's the weather where you are? We're having a surprisingly sunny weekend, which I love. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ann Curry on Ethics in Journalism

I hope your week is truckin' right along! Today's post isn't food, fitness or fashion related (the horror!), but instead I'm going to geek out about my love for Ann Curry and her views on journalism.

Last night I had the privilege of listening to Ann Curry speak on the topic of ethics in journalism at the University of Oregon's 2013 Ruhl Lecture.

Every year someone notable is selected to talk about their efforts in maintaining the ethics of journalism. As one who has covered many wars overseas and heartbreaks in our country, Ann Curry was no doubt a perfect selection.

As an alumnus of the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon, it's an honor to hear from such a well respected fellow Duck and female journalist.

Fun fact: Ann Curry went to high school in little ole Ashland, OR.

During the lecture, the "J School" had a twitter feed going, which kept folks engaged and sharing key points that resonated with the crowd. 

I wrote down a few of my favorites to share with you guys.

"What people don't know, doesn't exist... It's a journalist's job to realize what's important and tell those stories." 

"How can we not be obligated to give voice to the voiceless? People rarely heard are the ones who often have the most to say. Look for the dark corners and shine a light on them."

Whether or not you're a fan of Ann, she is truly passionate about telling a story in its entirety. After all, she said, "compromise does allow for excellence. If something is valuable, you just have to do it."

She mentioned talking to execs who were worried that this or that story wouldn't fly with an audience (ratings wise), but in the end, those stories would be the ones to exceed everyone's expectations. Her point was not to think of it from the business side when you're the journalist because the audience is human and wants to hear the story. 

After her 30 min lecture, the dean of the "J School" lead the next 30 minutes where Curry was able to answer questions that people had tweeted in related to ethics in journalism. Afterward, she stayed in the building chatting with attendees and taking photos. I just lurked. 

On a somewhat Friday Fashion related note, Ann was looking adorable in her red dress, gold topped heels and black rimmed glasses. 

If you're wondering, this student she's chatting with is trying to get an internship at NBC. 

As she made her way out of the building after a photo session with attendees, she gave one final inspiration speech to the students. She basically said "Don't take no for an answer. If you really want to do journalism, go out and do good work and be honest." 

Thank you, Ann. You are truly inspiring. 

To think what you could do if you just took that simple "Don't take no for an answer" advice to heart. Personally, I'm always finding ways to put up walls so I don't hear the word no!

While I'm not a hardcore journalist, I do write both in this space and at work and she inspired me to think a little differently.

One thing that resonated in regards to the blogging world was her reminder that journalism is a service job. I think it's easy to forget in this day of social media and branding to remember that the real stories and helping others is what all of this stems from.

"Please don't forget journalism is a service job. It's a 'I want to help you' job. It's not an 'all about me, I'm going to tell you what to do' job."

Anyway, I hope this left you with a little food for thought and a view into Ann Curry's beliefs on journalism.

Have any plans for your evening? The manfriend and I are doing date night (it's a rarity) because I've had post work events almost every night this week and it's been a while since we've gone out to dinner.

What's up, Running? A friend is hosting his annual "Boston Simulator" run tomorrow with all kinds of good eats afterward. While my few runs this week have been slow and easy, I'm hoping to be able to do 8-10 hilly, slow miles with the gang. After all, if I don't go running, it's hard to see my friends... That's what happens when 90% of them are hardcore runners!