Thursday, October 1, 2015


Feeling... like it's Friday. I'm in serious need of a weekend. I'm feeling run down and I desperately need a reset. We're supposed to get hit with a hurricane this weekend so I may not leave my house.

Reading... The Best American Travel Writing 2013, edited by Elizabeth Gilbert. You might be surprised to know that I don't read travel writing but one of the categories on my 2015 Book Challenge is a book of short stories and I picked this up at a Little Free Library in my neighborhood. It's a nice change of pace from the novels I've been reading all year. I read a phenomenal story about Cuba, an interesting perspective on the running of bulls in Pamplona, a terrible story about a woman in Egypt who wore a burqa in Egypt but called it a Niqab, and some others.

Watching... "The Goldbergs." The Pilot started watching this show awhile ago and I never really got into it, but we started watching it from the beginning and it is hilarious. It's about a family living in the 80s. Adam Goldberg, the producer, created the show based on his real life and at the end, he always shows actual video clips from his family. Last night, we watched an episode that was In Loving Memory of the Video Store.

Thinking about... a lunch time trip to the grocery store to pick up some comfort food necessities for the weekend.

Needing... to run. I haven't run all week. I've just been too tired.

Waiting... to find out whether or not I was accepted into the London Marathon.

Hating... the metro. There was a fire last week (nothing major) that has basically thrown the entire system into collapse. It hasn't taken me less than an hour to get to or from work in two weeks and they're saying it's going to be another 6 months of this...which in Metro-speak means more like 18.

Planning... a weekend of cleaning my house and laying in bed watching movies and reading books. A Harry Potter Marathon might be in order.

Loving... pay days!

What's your favorite way to spend a lazy weekend?
Have you ever read any travel literature? Any recommendations?
What's on your 'Currently...' list?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

3 Perfect Days on Oahu, Day 1

When I posted that The Pilot and I weren't going to be able to take a trip for our anniversary, I didn't think things would change...especially when The Pilot didn't get home until a day later than he was supposed to. Flying on his day off though, meant that he got another day off. Schedule change approved, two bags packed and four hours later, we were boarding a flight to LA, Hawaii bound!

We landed in Honolulu at around 9:30 pm and...didn't get lei-ed. Apparently, that only happens in the movies. How rude!

Carolann and her Mister picked us up from the airport and we were off to start our Hawaiian adventure sleep. Carolann had recently written a blog post about what she would do with One Week on Oahu and I was determined to do almost everything on her half the time.

Day 1 - Hanauma Bay, Kona Brewing Company, Kailua Beach and Farmers' Market

Our first day started bright and early with a trip to Hanauma Bay. It was gorgeous and easily one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I couldn't get over how beautiful it was and I was so happy we had made it!

Hanauma Bay is great for snorkeling. Carolann had some gear, but I rented enough so that all three of us could snorkel and we spent hours swimming around with some of the biggest, most colorful fish I had ever seen!

We worked up quite the appetite on our snorkeling adventure so we headed to Kona Brewing Company for some "liquid aloha" and poke. 

The beer was cold, the poke was delightful and I was loving Hawaii. After lunch, we made our way back to Kailua where Carolann and I treated ourselves to massages at Nori Kohana. The Pilot meandered around downtown Kailua while we got pampered and 60 minutes later, I felt like I was really on vacation. 

We stopped at one of Carolann's favorite places, Chad Lou's, for homemade ice cream sandwiches before heading to the Kailua Public Library's book store. Carolann and I have been sending each other books for almost as long as we've known each other and most of the books she's sent me this year have been from her local library's book store, so I had to stop in! Way too many books later, we headed to Kailua Beach for a sunset swim before making our way to the Kailua Farmers' Market for dinner.

The Farmers' Market was amazing! Live music, tons of people milling around and dozens of vendors selling delicious food! It was almost impossible to decide what to get! I stopped by a table that had the biggest avocados I've ever seen...they were the size of watermelons! and had one of the best meals I've ever eaten - tempura kale chips with poke, spicy mayo, ponzu and scallions. 

After dinner, we headed back to Carolann's to get some rest. It's a six hour time difference between Hawaii and DC and we were absolutely exhausted! We also had plans for an early morning the next day and The Pilot and I were out the minute our heads hit the pillow. It had been a perfect first day in Hawaii and I couldn't wait to explore more of Oahu!

Stay tuned! My next post will be all about Oahu's North Shore!

Have you been to Hawaii? Which islands did you travel to?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chicago Marathon Training: Taper Time

So I'm running a marathon next weekend.

You may have forgotten this since I haven't talked about it in 4 weeks. Oops. 

The last time I posted a training recap, I had just finished my first 20 miler of the cycle. My knee started twinging at Mile 19 which I wasn't too worried about. When my mom came to visit for Labor Day though, I woke up to do my long run on Sunday and my knee wasn't feeling all. First thing Tuesday morning, I booked myself an emergency PT appointment, and that's where I've been for the last month. 

When The Pilot and I went to Hawaii, I skipped running in favor of hiking and swimming. I didn't feel great about that but my PT did. I had 20 planned for last weekend but only did 12. I hadn't run more than 7 in over 2 weeks and I didn't think spiking up to 20 would be the best idea. My PT agreed. So, while I should have already been tapering, I headed out this Sunday for my second run of the week (4 on Saturday) and ran 20 miles. The Pilot ran alongside me for the first 6 and then biked with me for the rest. Yea, he's pretty great. 

The funny thing is that when I woke up Sunday morning, I was convinced I wasn't going to run...and if I didn't do run, I wasn't going to race...but I did. I dragged my feet. I woke up late, I did some cleaning, folded some clothes...I put this off for as long as I could, and when we finally headed out, it was almost noon. Thankfully, it wasn't hot out. (This is the only thing I like about fall!) It was slow but it wasn't painful. Did I feel like I could run 6.2 more miles after that? No, but racing 26.2 is totally different from running 20. 

I'm nervous about this race. It will be my first marathon in 3 years and I feel like I've been tapering for a month. I'm trained, but not the way I wanted to be. What I'm trying to figure out though is how much that matters. 

All I want to do is go out, have fun and finish the race. I would be devastated if I hit the wall or fell apart and I need to do everything I can in the next two weeks to mentally prepare so that that doesn't happen, so that when I do cross that finish line, I can do it with a smile on my face and finally say that I'm back.

How do you mentally prep for a marathon?
What are your tips for getting through the hardest parts of the race?
Have you run Chicago before? Are you running it this year?

Monday, September 28, 2015

8 Books to Read for Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read. Launched by the American Library Association in 1982 in response to a surge in the number of books being challenged, Banned Books Week continues to celebrate literary freedom and fight censorship.

In honor of Banned Books Week, I've pulled together a list of my some of my favorite banned books (in no particular order).

1. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi - The first graphic novel I've read, Persepolis tells Marjane Satrapi's story of growing up in Iran during the Iranian Revolution. Banned for featuring gambling, offensive language, a political viewpoint, as well as being "politically, racially, and socially offensive" with "graphic depictions," Persepolis is one of the 10 most challenged titles of 2014.

2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - I first read The Kite Runner in 2007 while living in London and soon after, read A Thousand Splendid Suns. Khaled Hosseini is a genius and cannot write books fast enough. The Kite Runner definitely deals with heavy subject matter, but it's beautifully written. Banned for featuring offensive language and violence and being "unsuited to age group,"  The Kite Runner is also one of the 10 most challenged books of 2014. (I'm not sure what age group is in question, but I definitely wouldn't recommend this to anyone  younger than high school age).

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - I just read this book this summer after seeing the movie when it first came out and I adored it. I'm upset I had never read it be
fore. I would definitely read this over and over. It's been banned for featuring drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language and being "unsuited to age group". Anyone who pretends that the issues dealt with in Perks doesn't happen in high school is out of their mind...especially in a day when heroine use among teenagers is on the rise.

4. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - I  read Gone with the Wind before a trip to Atlanta in 2010 and it easily became one of my top 5 favorite books. A Pulitzer Prize winner that later won an Oscar for Best Picture (if you haven't seen the movie, I don't think we can be friends.) Gone With the Wind was simultaneously praised and banned for its realistic depiction of life in the south during the Civil War. Banned for offensive language and for depicting slavery too truthfully, Gone with the Wind broke social norms and caused a lot of controversy, while giving us Vivian Leigh in stunning gowns and Clark Gable, who is still making us swoon more than 75 years later.

5. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson - When I read Bridge to Terabithia, it was a summer reading assignment and at the end of it, I sobbed uncontrollably for three days. If it had been banned for causing uncontrollable sobbing among pre-teen girls, I would wholeheartedly support the banning, but since it was banned for "occult/Satanism" (umm what?) and offensive language, I can't support the banning. I watched the movie on a flight to London two days after a bad breakup and the flight attendant had to make sure I was ok...multiple times. Good book. Good movie. Check them both out.

6. Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison - The first time I read this book/series, I was in the 7th grade and I uncontrollably giggled. The last time I read this book/series , I was a fully fledged adult and I uncontrollably giggled like a crazy person on the New York City subway. Easy to read and a Top 100 Banned Book, Angus is the diary style saga of Georgia Nicholson. Another great book series, with a fantastic film version (with an awesome soundtrack, which I watch an embarrassing number of times) Angus has been banned for age inappropriateness and language. Believe me though, the titles of the books are way more age inappropriate than the books themselves.

7. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - I read this book in high school and loved it. It's been on my "To Re-Read" list ever since but, I don't remember too much of it. A school board member in favor of banning it likened it to Penthouse, but its also been banned for being offensive to Christians.

8. Harry Potter (series) by JK Rowling - The Harry Potter series has been banned for a multitude of reasons. I remember going to see the films and coming back to my windshield to find fliers talking about how Harry Potter was evil. Chamber of Secrets and Goblet of Fire are easily my two favorites, but these booked shaped my childhood and early adulthood and I don't think any list of Banned Books would be complete without Harry Potter.

Have you read any of these books? Will you be reading any Banned Books this week?
What are your favorites? Do you agree with the censorship of any of these?
What's your favorite banned book?

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Thursday, September 24, 2015


Feeling... exhausted. This week has been a mess. Between early PT appointments, major metro delays and the pope in town, this week has just been exhausting. It has taken me close to or more than 90 minutes to get home from work on the metro every day this week.

Reading... Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. It's the third and final installment in the Miss Peregrine series. I'm only about 100 pages in and not finding it as easy to get into as the others, but we'll see.

Watching... "Once Upon a Time" and "The League." I haven't caught any of the fall premieres yet.

Thinking about... our next adventure.

Working on... catching up on sleep and blogging. I've had late nights and early mornings every day since coming back from Hawaii and I'm desperately in need of a couple of days to reset.

Loving... that The Pilot actually got a schedule for next month. His schedule for the last 4 months has been all over the place...with 4am calls pulling him to the airport, 2 day trips turning into 6 day trips, his schedule has been entirely unpredictable. I'm glad that he's going to have some stability next month and hope it stays that way!

I'm off to count down the minutes until the weekend.
How's your week going?