Thursday, October 30, 2014

Currently...

Feeling... Excited! The Pilot and I saw an apartment this weekend that we really liked and we got it! We'll be moving in December and I can't wait!

Reading... The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory. It's the third book in her Cousins' War series and I love it. Each book has focused on a different character, and it's interesting to see how their stories all collide and how you can go from loving one character in one book, to hating them in the next. Historical fiction is my guilty reading pleasure.


Working on...  Reorganizing my summer and winter clothes, starting the process of packing/moving, my plan for my blog redesign.

Eating... a granola bar.

Anticipating... Getting our wedding video. We should be getting it today and I can't wait to see it. Related: wedding pictures.

Watching... Well, the World Series is over so it's back to Fall TV. I'm still hooked on Scandal but haven't started anything new this season. Any recommendations?

Loving... scouring the internet Pinterest for new apartment ideas. It's a very different layout from what we're in now and I'm determined to make it look awesome within the first month or two of us living there.

There you have it!
What's currently going on in your world?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: Mizuno Wave Rider 18

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC and Mizuno. I was provided the shoes for review and compensated. All opinions are my own.

I haven't been tremendously adventurous when it comes to running shoes. I ran in Nike for my first year or so of long distance running and then switched to Saucony. Sometime last spring, I started reading more and more about switching up your running shoes during a training cycle. Being injured, I did a lot of research, but wasn't testing anything out. That doesn't mean I didn't buy a lot of shoes.

One pair of shoes I bought was the Mizuno Wave Sayonara. The Pilot has a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspires that he loves and I decided to give them a shot. I haven't gotten a lot of mileage out of them because I've spent most of the year injured, but I was really happy with the few runs I did get out of them.

So, when Mizuno sent me a pair of the new Wave Rider 18s, I was really excited to try them out. They're have a great design and while I love neon running shoes just as much as the next person, I found the sleek, black and turquoise ombre design to be refreshing and modern.


Mizuno describes the shoe perfectly as hitting the "sweet spot" for neutral runners with just enough support for other runners.

The long-term stability shoe runner in me loves this...and found it to be remarkably true.

First, this shoe fits like a glove. Mizuno uses what they call Dynamotion Fit uppers which make the smooth mesh fit like a glove. That being said, I recommend sizing up in Mizuno shoes. I wear a half size bigger in Mizuno than I do in any other brand.


As soon as I put these on, I was eager to head out for a run. I took Peyton out for a walk in them first just to get a sense of how they felt, and then headed out for a few miles in my neighborhood. The first thing I noticed is how well they absorb shock. They have such a smooth, natural motion as your foot strikes the ground and lifts off again that you don't at all feel as though you're bouncing, which I've always thought to be a normal feeling of running. They're also really light and in general, feel great.

Specifications
Weight: 7.8oz (8.2 for Men's)
Drop: 12mm
Price: $119.99

In the next few weeks, I'll start base training (more on this later) to finally start getting ready for my next 26.2. While I'm still running minimal distances (I attribute this to being sick post-wedding-and-honeymoon, as well as a hesitation and slight fear of just getting back out there), I definitely plan to add these to my rotation during my next training cycle.

Have you ever run in Mizunos? Do you alternate different types of shoes during a training cycle? If so, I'd love to hear what's in your rotation!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What I've Been Up To

In my rush to get all of our honeymoon posts up as quickly as possible, I haven't really updated on what's going on with me lately. Here's what we've been up to in October.

I've been sick. It's been awful. I got sick on the last day of our honeymoon and had the most miserable travel experience of my life coming back. I got some meds and started my job that week but never really recovered and ended up getting sick again last week. This time around was worse and I ended up missing three days of work. I still don't feel like myself and it's awful. I want to run and go to yoga and be active...I'm tired of putting on my pajamas at 6:30 and falling asleep on the couch.

We went to a wedding. Our dear friends Drew and Laura got married this month and we went to New Jersey for their wedding. They had a gorgeous day and their wedding was beautiful. We danced like fools and had a great time.


I tried zumba. One of my college roommates opened a zumba studio in NY about a year ago. I've been dying to take one of her classes and check out her studio but it's not too close to where I usually travel to in NY/NJ. When I looked up directions for the wedding, I realized that her zumba studio was 2 miles away from the wedding venue! I called her right away and was able to go to one of her classes. It was awesome. I had SO much fun and would definitely do it again! It's a great cardio workout and if you love to dance, it's perfect!


We've been apartment hunting. We've been in our current apartment since we moved to DC and we've been really unhappy there this year. Aside from a myriad of issues with the building's management, we just want something bigger. We move out in December and I'm just so ready for a new place.

I've been looking at making some changes to my blog. All good things, but I'm getting a little tired of the layout and in looking at different layout options, I started to explore a lot of other options. That's all I'm saying for now!

We watched the Marine Corps Marathon. My friend Emily stayed with us the Friday before the race and we had a great time. (She also beat her 3-year-old PR!)Between MCM and Chicago, I have major marathon fever. I'm not running the race I had been thinking about running last year and am hoping that I start feeling well enough to start base training for the spring marathon I'm thinking about in the next week or so.

Emily in her shiny new finishers' shirt
One of my big sisters paid us a surprise visit. She called me Saturday afternoon and asked if I had plans that night. Then asked if we could have dinner. She lives in TX and had popped up for the weekend with her boyfriend. It was so awesome to see her!

So that's that. It's been a busy October, but we've tried to have fun! I'm just hoping I can finally kick whatever it is that's been ailing me so that I can make the most of November before winter really sets in (hiking anyone?).

What has your October been like?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Our Honeymoon, Day 12: Paris, by Mouth

Ahh, I've been so excited to write this post! Our honeymoon was incredible, but we definitely saved the best for last, and I'm so excited to wrap up these posts with my favorite thing that we did on our honeymoon - a food tour of Paris.

Doesn't that sound divine?

One of my co-workers went to Paris in the spring and came back raving about this tour. I knew we had to do it! We were so tremendously lucky to have it gifted to us by my big sister Zuzy as a wedding present.

Paris by Mouth is a website about food and wine in Paris. They also run food tours conducted by food and wine professionals who have a passion for eating in Paris. They run a few different tours exploring different neighborhoods of Paris, and even host wine and cheese workshops!

In this post, I'm going to walk you through our tour. It'll be picture heavy, and it will make you hungry. So sit back, grab a glass of wine (or a cafe au lait, depending on what time it is) and enjoy!

The Pilot and I woke up eager to start our morning eating our way through Paris. We made our way to the St. Germain des Pres, our favorite neighborhood in Paris, to start our Tour.

We were instructed to meet at The Polaine Bakery. Our tour guide was an American chef and restaurateur named Sarah, who has been living in Paris for 4 years.

1) The Poilane storefront, 2) A chandelier made out of bread, made for Salvador Dali,
3) Poilane's famous sourdough loaves, 4) Apple tarts...made with croissant dough
The Polaine Bakery was founded in 1932 by Pierre Polaine, who shocked the French when he built a bakery that, to this day, does not sell baguettes. Poilane is famous for those gorgeous sour dough loaves you see in the bottom left picture above. The loaves are handmade daily with four ingredients: stone-ground flour, sea salt, water and a sour dough starter that has been used since the bakery opened. The loaves are than carved with that beautiful 'P' and sent into a wood-fire oven.

The whole history of the bakery can be found on their website. (You can even order a loaf and have it shipped to you the same day!) But to summarize briefly, Pierre Poilane passed the bakery down to his son Lionel in 1970. Lionel Poilane and his wife kept the bakery running until 2001, when they were both tragically killed. At the time, their oldest daughter, Abigail, was an 18-year-old studying at Harvard. She took over the family business and continues to run it, true to her grandfather's tradition, today.

We sampled some of Poilane's bread, along with some punitions (small butter cookies) and the apple tarts you see above...which were baked with croissant dough and were absolutely amazing.

That was just the first stop on our tour. Our next stop: Pierre Herme, a pastry shop with to-die for macarons in exotic flavor combinations like pumpkin and corn, chocolate and passion fruit, and chocolate and foie gras.

Are you hungry yet?
We tried two of his specialties: coffee-orange and lychee-rose. They were heavenly. Macarons are quite possibly my favorite treats in the world. We even served them at our wedding!

Our next stop continued down the sweet, rather than savory, path and brought us to the chocolate shop of Patrick Roger (Ro-jay), a bronze sculptor turned chocolatier, awarded the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF), the most prestigious award for craftsmen in France.

That is a lion...made entirely of chocolate. 
Patrick Roger makes delicious flavor combinations of chocolates...like basil-lemon (to die for), pistachio-marzipan, and almond-orange-grape.

Our next stop was the Marches Couvert. The Pilot and I stayed in the St. Germain the last time we were in Paris and must have walked past this Market every day without ever going in. It really didn't seem like anything special at all. What we didn't know was that it houses one of the best butchers, and one of the best fromageries (cheese shops) in all of Paris.

Clockwise from Left: 1) Serge Caillaud with one of his famous black footed chickens, 2) The Marches Couverts, 3) The Sanders, a husband and wife team that runs one of the best cheese shops in Paris, 4) Serge Caillaud hard at work, 5) Sea urchins! 6) CHEESE!
Our first stop was the Boucherie Au Belle Viander, the butcher shop (boucherie sounds so much better) of Serge Caillaud, a famous butcher who appears on French cooking shows all the time. We spent some time talking to Monsieur Caillaud. I love that people buy whole chickens in France...the food there is just so fresh. That chicken he's holding? Sells for some 25 euros A POUND.

Next up, we made our way over to see the Sanders, a husband-wife team that sell a delightful assortment of cheeses.


We picked some charcuterie from Monsier Caillaud and some cheeses from the Sanders before making our way to Le Dernier Goutte, a wine shop that exclusively sells bio-dynamic wines. Sarah, our tour guide, knows the owner of Le Dernier Goutte and he lets her use the little room in the back of his shop for tours. 

So, that's where we went and laid out our spread of cheese, charcuterie, chocolate, and some wine we picked up on entering the shop.


From there, the tasting began. We sampled both a red and white wine along with our assortment of cheeses which included: a Fermier goat cheese, an ashed Fermier goat cheese (I love ashed cheeses), a Livarot (cow, and the smelliest, most terrible cheese I've ever had), a Comte (also cow, and my favorite), a Brie de Melun (a savory version of the Bries we're used to here in the US), and a Roquefort (sheep).

We sampled the cheese with the wine and the chocolates and talked about all things food, wine and cheese in Paris. I even tasted duck confit. I hated it.  But the afternoon was absolute perfection.

Our last stop of the day was La Maison du Chou. Another MOF owned shop, this one specializes in cream puffs that are filled to order so that they never get too soffy. The filling is fromage blanc and it is flavored with either vanilla, chocolate, coffee, or a filling du jour. I had butter salted caramel. It was divine.


The tour was by far the best part of our honeymoon. We enjoyed an amazing three hours sampling all of the best breads, cheeses, pastries, sweets and wine that Paris has to offer. I would go back and do this tour again and again and again, exploring every other neighborhood where they're offered!

So, there you have it, our last day in Paris, the last day of our honeymoon. It was tough to come home, but we were ready to face reality. The Pilot had to go to fly the next day and I was starting a new job on Monday. Our honeymoon was absolutely perfect and we had an amazing time. I know we'll be back to Paris, and I really hope we make it back to Crete some time. Even if we don't, I know we've got thousands of other adventures ahead of us as we start our married lives together!

The Details: 
The tours cost 95 euros per person.
They're offered every day. Some days, there are as many as three tours offered. 
All of the tours are conducted in English. 
Once on the tour, everything is included (aside from any extras you want for yourself or as gifts).

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Our Honeymoon: Day 11, Disneyland Paris

Our flight from Crete landed in Paris on a cold, rainy Wednesday. We were both tired and hungry and went out in search of food. It was Fashion Week and we paid a fortune for a hotel that we already knew we hated, and it was in an area that was a food dead zone. There was nothing around. After an hour of searching, and both of us getting hangry, we opted for sushi.

I don't remember when we realized we were going to have an extra day in Paris, but when we did, I proposed the idea of going to Disneyland. Neither of us had every had much of an interest in Disneyland Paris (formerly EuroDisney) but it seemed like a fun thing to do and a change of pace from everything else we had done, so we went with it!

The train from Paris takes about 45 minutes. Once we got there, we had the option of going to either Disneyland Park or Walt Disney Studios Park. We decided to go to Disneyland Park.

First up, Aurora's Castle. I was super bummed when I realized that it is Aurora's Castle. Belle was from France, shouldn't it have been Belle's castle? Plus, Sleeping Beauty already has a castle California, she doesn't need one in France too. (I'm not a big Sleeping Beauty fan, can you tell?)

Cinderella's Belle's Aurora's Castle...with the wrong evil villain inside.
The whole place was decorated for Halloween and it was awesome. I've never been to any of the Disney parks during a holiday and it was really cool to see. The decorations looked like they've been there year round!


Next up, rides! We started at It's a Small World, then went to the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast (my husband still loves Toy Story just as much as he did when he was a kid). There weren't a lot of people in the park so the lines were minimal, which was awesome. I attribute that to it being a cold Thursday in the fall!

1) A replica castle in one of the rides, 2) Small World, 3) The Pilot and his ultimate super hero, Buzz.
For lunch, we headed back to Main Street (which was still Main Street USA, but would've been better as the main street in Belle's provincial little town). I was really surprised to see that the food in Disneyland was so much cheaper than the food at any of the other Disney parks. It was actually priced similarly to the rest of the food in Paris.

After lunch, we made our way to Adventure Land and went on the Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean rides. We made our way through Peter Pan's Adventure Isle, and then went on the Peter Pan ride. (Peter Pan is a close second to being my favorite Disney movie.)

1) The Jolly Roger, 2) The saddest Disney movie of all time, 3) AGRABAH!
We made our way around to Frontier Land for a ride on Thunder Mountain before lining up for the parade. I felt like I could take or leave the parade, but it seemed like the whole park shuts down for it, so we went and I'm so glad we did. It was awesome and definitely made me feel like a kid again.

L>R 1) Elsa, 2) Peter Pan!, 3) Minnie Mouse!
4) M-I-C-K-E-Y
Having worked for Disney for years, I really appreciated how well done the parade was. After the parade, we went on another one or two rides, took a stroll through downtown Disney, and then made our way back to Paris.

Evening shots of Disney
When we got back to Paris, we decided to take a trip to the Eiffel Tower. We hadn't been there when we were at the start of our honeymoon, so we really wanted to go back. I just love seeing it at night, and one of my favorite things to do in Paris (as cliche as it sounds), is to eat crepes under the Eiffel Tower. We were both hungry (and low on cash), so we each ordered a crepe - 1 savory and 1 sweet (nutella, of course) and shared and looked up and marveled at just how gorgeous that tower is.

Honeymoon!
We were pretty worn out from the walking around and riding all the rides that day, and we caught the Metro shortly before it closed. The next day was our last day in Paris...and of our honeymoon, and we definitely saved the best for last!

The Details
We got a discount on tickets to Disney which ran us around $75 USD each.
In hindsight, I wish we had gone to Walt Disney Studios Park instead Disneyland Park. The Park we went to wasn't much different from the Magic Kingdom in Disney World (Orlando), whereas Walt Disney Studios Park (we later learned) had a bunch of different, and exclusive to Paris, rides like a Ratatouille ride, and a Cars ride.
I had heard some bad things about Disneyland Paris. The one thing I will say, it is definitely not as impeccable as Disney World, but it was still a lot of fun and I would recommend it. I might even go back to the other park, if we ever find ourselves with an extra day in Paris.