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December 23, 2013

Love, Love, Love

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve...which basically means tomorrow is Christmas...since my family celebrates Noche Buena.

Christmas Eve is also the one night of the year that I forgo my vegetarian lifestyle in favor of the delicious roast pork that my mom makes.

I'm usually a giant Grinch at Christmastime but this year, I haven't been a Grinch at all!


I'm not really sure what it is about this year that has gotten me really excited for the holidays. The Pilot loves Christmas. It could be that. It could be that this year was hard in a lot of ways, but also brought a lot of wonderful things and I just know I have a lot to be grateful for.

This weekend, The Pilot was home! He hasn't been home on a weekend all month and we took advantage of the 65 degree temperatures and enjoyed our weekend.

Saturday, we took Peyton out for a looooong walk on the Mount Vernon Trail. We let her run around and roll around in the mud and then promptly walked her to get a bath. We spent the afternoon wrapping Christmas presents and cleaning the apartment and then I went to get a hair cut.

(I'm not sure how I feel about my cut yet. I was trying to keep it long but just wanted some layers and dimensions and I just don't really love it...don't hate it, but don't love it either.)

That evening, we decided to take a drive to the National Harbor to check out Christmas at the Gaylord.



We had gone to the Gaylord in Nashville two years ago for Christmas and their Christmas is way better than DC's Maryland's.

We spent some time walking around the Harbor in the shops and then made our way to Old Town for dinner.

Sunday morning, I had to work my retail job. I got out a little bit early and headed home to finish wrapping presents and clean the apartment. The Pilot and I went to evening Mass and then we had our Christmas party with the kids I volunteer with at church.

We came home and I was in a mad dash to finish cleaning the apartment and pack for the week. We ended the night by watching Home Alone.

Today, I'm working at both of my jobs and then heading up to New Jersey later this evening with The Pilot and The Puppy in tow and well, tomorrow is Christmas!

So that's that! See you on the other side of the holiday! I hope everyone who celebrates has a wonderful Christmas! 

December 20, 2013

2013: Looking Back

2013 has been a whirlwind of a year.

3 days before the start of the year, The Pilot and I packed up and moved to our little apartment in DC.

I love it. I've never been happy living anywhere else. It's true that DC is a transitory city...I've had 3 friends take off and move out of the city just since I moved here...but I have no plans to leave any time soon. In fact, I'm looking to make the move a little bit more permanent and The Pilot and I are saving up to buy property in the District.

Looking back on this year, with all of its ups and downs, I can honestly say that I have never been happier in my life.

I've been at my new job for a month and I work for a wonderful team of incredibly bright people who make coming to work every day tremendously enjoyable.

I have an incredible group of friends, who are always up for doing something interesting...whether it's miniature golfing at a museum, donning hats for the Kentucky Derby party or picnicking on the waterfront.

This year has had its moments...both good and bad, but those are the moments that test us, make us stronger and make us human. Let's take a look back, shall we?

In January, my baby sister turned 16. Just 5 days after moving to DC, The Pilot and I took off to Texas for her Sweet 16.


In March, I ran the DC Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon with Ally and the Marine Corps 17.75k...one of the most challenging races I've run, but one of my proudest finishes.


April brought on the tough parts of this year. I unexpectedly lost my godfather and took it pretty hard. I had never even been to a funeral before then and it was really hard. The weekend after his funeral, I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, dedicating the race to him. A few weeks later, I headed to Denver for the world's longest business trip...which brought on the profound realization that I needed to leave my job.

In May, my little brother got married. The Pilot and I headed to Texas for not only the wedding, but for a giant family reunion, in which my six siblings and I all got together for the first time in 13 years.



June brought the start of a 30 Day Yoga Challenge...and my first running injury. 19 days into the challenge, I headed out for a run home from work and had to stop half way through it because of knee pain. Whether I was doing too much with running and yoga or the three marathons I ran in 2012 were finally catching up with me, my first running injury had come and has yet to go.

In July, my mom and I took a trip out west for a wedding. Two weeks later, The Pilot and I went for an evening stroll around the monuments and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. 

As you know, I said Yes. 
September was a loaded month. The Pilot and I made our way to Texas for the third time this year for an engagement party hosted by my dad. While The Pilot and I got busy planning our wedding, I made the tough decisions to drop out of the Marine Corps Marathon and quit my job. At the end of the month, my grandfather, who had long been struggling with Alzheimer's, took a turn for the worst and in October we lost him.


In November, The Pilot and I dove head first into wedding planning and I was offered my new job. I started just before Thanksgiving and dove head first into the organization's busiest time of the year.

This December has brought some adjusting, getting back into the routine of having a full time job, the start of physical therapy and looking forward to the New Year. This time last year, I was gearing up for my big move to DC and I'm happy to say that I've settled in quite comfortably.

This wasn't the year I hoped it would be in terms of racing and losing two family members was tremendously difficult, but if this year has shown me anything, it's shown me true love. When The Pilot and I announced our engagement, I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love shown to us by our family and friends. Through two funerals, I was again overwhelmed by love from family and friends. Reuniting with my siblings this year was an unbelievably special moment and I can't wait to do it again at my own wedding next year.

2013 wasn't easy, but I will say this. I grew up a lot this year. I have a saying that I'm getting younger every day, and I'll say that as long as I live, but this year, I learned a lot about life. I grew up a lot. I felt 26 and while I still have a lot of living and learning to do, I'm going to continue to do it with the getting-younger-every-day approach, because of everything I've learned this year, the most important thing is just how precious life is.

How did your year turn out? What lessons did you learn and what are you looking forward to for 2014?

December 19, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. Physical Therapy - I started PT on Tuesday for my knee. My therapist says my biggest issues are inflexibility and weak hips, so that's what we're working on to get me running again. I'm kicking off a 30 Day Yoga Challenge in January (hopefully making it past Day 19 this time) in the hopes that that, along with PT, will aid in flexibility. There's a new spins studio opening up near my job in January, so I'm hoping to spin at least once a week, do yoga and PT and be back on the pavement in early Feb and training for Nike Women's. Optimistic? Yes. Realistic? I think so.

2. Vacation - I started my job exactly one month ago and I'm tremendously fortunate to work for an organization that gives us the entire week between Christmas and New Year's off. At my last job, I would have had to work until 5:30 on Christmas Eve and been back the to work on December 26. I'm so so happy that I'll get to take this week off, without using any vacation time, especially since I haven't accrued any vacation time and I'm trying to save what I do get for the wedding!

Other than heading up to my Mom's, I have no idea what I'm doing for said vacation but I'm totally ok with that.

3. Goals/Accomplishments - I'm putting together my 2014 Goals and 2013 Review and should have them up in the next few days. It's always so interesting to review the year and look forward to next year. 2013 was such an eventful year...for good things as well as bad and 2014 is just going to be a whirlwind, I mean...talk about big life changes! But it's all really exciting!


December 17, 2013

Love/Don't Love

1. Even though I worked on Saturday, I still feel like I finally had a weekend...for the first time in ages. Love.
2. After my "I'm in a Slump" post, I feel like I'm getting my life back in order. My apartment is on its way to being clean, Christmas presents are all shopped for (just one DIY gift and I'm all set) and I've finally started working out again. Love.
3. I started Physical Therapy for my knee this morning and my back is killing me. I have no idea if it was last night's hot yoga with Megan or the PT exercises, but I'm super sore. Don't Love.
4. Yes, I went to yoga last night. Sunday, I did the elliptical for 30 minutes. After not being physically active for 3 weeks, I was getting antsy, so I'm committing to at least 30 minutes of exercise every.single.day between now and the end of the year. Love.

On that note, does PT count? Do I still have to work out today? I'm tired.

5. Sunday night, I went to bed and didn't fall asleep until around 5am. Last night, I went to bed at 10 and woke up again at 2am and didn't fall asleep until about 15 minutes before my alarm went off. I'm exhausted. Don't Love.
6. Saturday night, I was planning to stay in and veg out in sweatpants. Megan texted and invited me over to share a bottle of wine. We watched The Parent Trap (Lindsay Lohan's version) and drank the wine. Then, I went to my apartment and made banana bread...which rose and spilled out onto my oven leaving my apartment with that terrible something-burned-at-the-bottom-of-the-oven-smell that is awful. Love/Don't Love.


7. This morning, I finished Shanghai Girls, the book I posted about last week, and it was just as good at the end as it was when I wrote about it last week. I highly recommend this book. It was sad, but in the way that demonstrates pure and utter resilience. I love those kinds of stories. Love.
8. I'm hoping to start working on a 2014 Goals post this week...despite the fact that my 2013 Goals didn't go so well, but in racing news (haven't talked about that in awhile!), I got into the lotteries for both the Nike Women's Half Marathon and the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, both here in DC, both next April. Love.

This basically means I can start talking about running again.
I mean, this is a running blog after all!

9. There was a small fire in my apartment building last week. Everything was fine but Peyton was terrified. Since we had to go outside in the cold in the middle of the night, she was super cold when we got back in, so she slept with a blanket that night and it was adorable. Love.


*Note: She does not wear a sweater or a coat when she goes outside. The Pilot tried to get her to wear one and she ate it. I get really angry when people tell me that I'm cruel for not putting a sweater on her when she goes outside.

So that's what's going on over here!
1 week till Christmas!

December 12, 2013

Wedding Things III: Saving the Date

When we got engaged, there were two things I absolutely didn't want to do: take engagement photos and send Save the Dates.

In my opinion, these were just extra things that cost a lot more money that I would rather save. 

When we decided to get married in DC and set our date over a year out though, I realized that we would need to let everyone know when the big day was so that our friends and family traveling from far off places (Hawaii, North Dakota, California...) could plan accordingly. 

The Pilot wanted to send magnets. So, I reached out to my sister who is incredibly creative with things like this and she started working on some designs. 

While we aren't having a DC themed wedding, we wanted our Save the Dates to be all about DC since about 90% of our guests have never been here. 

My idea was to take one of our many, many pictures of us here in DC and stick it on a magnet. We decided to use Vistaprint to do all of the printing to keep the costs minimal. 

Once we finalized the design, my sister converted them to the necessary format, only to get a message that our picture wasn't a high enough quality for mass reproduction. The only solution was to take an engagement photo.

We reached out to our friend Kris, one of The Pilot's fraternity brothers, who has a knack for photography and asked him to get a couple of nice photos of us on the Mall so that we could pick one. He offered to do it for free (despite our offerings to buy him alcohol in return) and we headed out to the Mall one Friday afternoon in October to take some pictures.

We started at the Capitol.


Made our way over across the Mall.


Took a few shots at the World War II Memorial where we got engaged.


Finished at the Lincoln Memorial, and called it a day.


We were really happy with the way our pictures turned out and when we sent them to Vistaprint, they were running some really great promotions and we ended up getting 100 of them (which was all we needed) for $60. They were in our apartment in less than a week! They came out great and we were so happy with them!


The envelopes came free with Vistaprint and I downloaded a pretty font and made labels. I ordered this return address label from Etsy and was really happy with the way it came out!

While I didn't want to bother with Save the Dates or Engagement Photos, I'm really happy that we did both, especially since it didn't set us back at all! Sure, it was a bit more work to do them ourselves, but saving the money made it well worth it!

So, our Save the Dates have been sent and wedding planning is on hiatus until after Christmas!

December 11, 2013

Currently...

Reading: "Shanghai Girls" by Lisa See. I have read some unbelievable books this year and I've tried (very unsuccessfully) to keep track of them. I read Lisa See's other book, "Snowflower and the Secret Fan" earlier this year and loved it. This book isn't disappointing at all. It offers the same premise of overcoming all adversity, but in a much different sense than Snowflower. The story tells of two sisters living in Shanghai who are married off to Chinese-Americans living in Los Angeles to pay off their father's debt. The story is remarkable and it's definitely a page-turner.


Eating Drinking: My morning coffee. Homemade with pumpkin spice creamer. I typically switch to Peppermint Mocha once December rolls around but I have just a little bit of Pumpkin Spice left before I can switch to holiday coffees.

Watching: ABC's 25 Days of Christmas on repeat...which I should just stop doing. I think they've shown How the Grinch Stole Christmas about 25 times. Not to mention the two abysmal Jenny McCarthy/Jenny Garth movies they have. There are much better Christmas movies out there...and a lot more that they don't need to show The Grinch 25 times. #endrant

Missing: Working out. The Pilot. Ugh. It's been three weeks since I've done any form of exercise. I don't want to talk about it. The good thing is I'm actually motivated now, rather than just lazy. Working two jobs has basically left me with zero time for myself. Throw in The Pilot's schedule, and I'm not seeing much of him either. I think Sunday morning might be the perfect time to drag him out on a run with me =)

Anticipating: Christmas. It's already two weeks away. This month has moved pretty quickly. I still have some shopping to finish, but other than that, I'm looking forward to heading home for the holidays and having a week off from work.

Wishing For: Nothing at all. I've got everything I want right now.

Loving: My new job. It's a little bit stressful and a little overwhelming and I'm still trying to find my rhythm but I love it. I love the work, I love the people and I love that I'm happy there.

Listening To: Ingrid Michaelson on repeat. I love her.

So that's what's going on in my neck of the woods. I just found out my yoga studio is kicking off another 30 Day Challenge in January. Since I never actually got around to my full 30 days this year (only made it to 19 before my knee injury), I'm committing to 30 days in January. It's going to be fantastic.

What's on your 'Currently' list?

December 5, 2013

I'm in a slump

I think I've worked out a total of three times in the last month.

My apartment is an absolute disaster.

I haven't gone grocery shopping in close to a month and I don't think I've sat down and planned my meals since June.

What in the world is going on?!

I know how it all started. When I quit my job and moved over to retail temporarily, my hours were horrific. I had to be up at 5:30am just to get to work. I would get home at 5pm after being on my feet for 9 hours straight and basically collapse onto my couch for the rest of the evening. I had absolutely no energy to do anything. This job was sucking the life out of me. Then, Daylight Saving Time rolled around, eliminating what little chance there was of me working out after work.

As for my apartment? I haven't bought a lot of clothes in the last few months...at all. A few tops here and a couple of new work pants there, but we don't really have a dresser and lately, it's just in piles...on the floor, on top of the closet, in the living room...everywhere. It took me twenty minutes to find a pair of leggings this morning and that was it. This weekend, I'm buying a dresser. There is no way around it. I can't handle having a messy apartment. I'm way too much of a neat freak for that and right now, I don't even want to be in my apartment, it's that bad.

Again, when you work 50 hours per week and you're on your feet for those 50 hours, you have very little energy to come home and clean.

As for grocery shopping? Ugh. I like Trader Joe's. It's the only place I really like to shop. I like the food, I like the prices, it's where I want to shop. However, I don't have a car, which means that to get to Trader Joe's when The Pilot isn't around, I have to switch lines on the Metro. Since I usually do my grocery shopping on the weekends, this means it can be up to two hours round trip (for a 10 minute ride) because the DC Metro and the Orange Line in particular are absolute freaking disasters.

Aside from that, it's really hard to cook in a vegetarian/non-vegetarian household...especially when The Pilot hates quinoa. So, I need to start getting really creative about cooking. Since he's only home 3-4 days a week, this shouldn't be that complicated.

I know that all of these sound like excuses, especially now that I'm not working retail anymore and haven't been for three weeks. So guess what I'll be doing this weekend?

Working out. I haven't started PT yet so I probably shouldn't be running, but my yoga studio (remember when I was going to yoga every single day) is running a special on 10 class packages right now and I think I'm going to start with that).

I'm going to buy a dresser and reorganize my entire apartment...including my pantry and refrigerator...when will then be fully stocked with things ready to be cooked.

I'm going to prep food for the week. Slice veggies, make food, etc. I did that once this year. It took all day on Sunday, but it was so worth it. I had so much extra time over the next week, that I know I need to start doing that.

So, there you have it. I love my new job. I'm happy. I just need to get my life a little organized and start working out again (it's really easy to make excuses when you're injured) and I'll be set.

Any tips for getting out of these types of slumps? Any recommendations for recipes that are easily interchangeable as veg/non-veg?

Happy Thursday!

December 3, 2013

If You Aren't Happy

I knew long before I actually moved to DC that I wanted to move to DC. This wasn't a matter of if, it was a matter of when.

When I finally got the call that I had been offered a job, I was ecstatic. It was two weeks before Christmas and I threw myself into the big move.

Three weeks into said job, I knew I didn't like it. I was happy enough, but I knew it wasn't a good fit for me. By April, I was miserable. I threw myself into the job search and waited. I went on a few different interviews and none of them panned out.

I woke up one morning in August and realized that I was absolutely miserable. I was so unbelievably unhappy. I had gotten engaged three weeks before, and I still had this cloud hanging over my head. This was supposed to be the best and happiest time of my life, and I was coming home from work, nearly (and very often) in tears almost every day because of what was going on at work.

Something needed to change. My dad always taught me that if you aren't happy, do whatever you can to change your situation. The problem was, I couldn't just quit my job and nothing was panning out for me. Here I was, applying to at least a dozen jobs a week, and nothing was working out. I reached my breaking point at the beginning of September at my job and put in an application to work as a manager at a running store here in DC. Three weeks later, I put in my resignation.

It was terrifying. The retail job paid significantly more money than what I was making at my other job...which should give you an indication about that position...but I was absolutely terrified that I was committing career suicide. Retail was supposed to be temporary, but what if it wasn't? Here I am, paying off thousands of dollars in student loans for a Master's degree that I wasn't putting to use. It was all incredibly stressful and terrifying, but at the end of the day, I just couldn't be that unhappy anymore.

I started at the running store in October and was offered an interview that same week, for the job I'm now at. Part of the reason I'm still working retail is because I didn't want to leave them without a manager going into the holidays and they were more than happy to be flexible with my schedule, not to mention that the extra cash is nice this time of year.

So why am I telling you all of this? Well, for starters, this post was supposed to be about how I've completely fallen off the workout wagon in a way I never have and it's affecting my mood and I need some motivation...somehow it turned into this. The bottom line though...if you aren't happy, change your situation. If your situation is so bad, that it's affecting your ability to be happy in your life outside of the 9-5, then it isn't worth it because eventually, that negativity is going to spill over into the good things in your life, and then you're really in trouble.

I've been at my new job for two weeks now and I absolutely love it...everything about it and it feels so, so good. I love the people I work with, I love what I'm doing and I love that I can be happy outside of work because I don't have this dark shadow hanging over me anymore. It's a wonderful feeling. It came out of a lot of stress and a lot of tears, and a lot of big, scary things, but it's all turned out just fine...it always does, doesn't it?

December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend

This year, for Thanksgiving, The Pilot had to fly. Not wanting to be alone and not really wanting to travel, I convinced my mom to come join me for a quiet Thanksgiving in DC. It was perfect.

She came in on Wednesday night and we ordered food and stayed up talking, looking at bridal magazines and watching TV.

Thursday morning, we woke up and made cinnamon rolls and mimosas while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (our long standing tradition).


I had learned just a few days before that the Smithsonian museums are open on Thanksgiving Day, so after breakfast and the parade, Mom and I headed down to the Mall. We sat and drank hot chocolate while watching all of the ice skaters at the Sculpture Garden and then we went to the American History Museum.


After museum browsing for a few hours, we made our way over to Lincoln where we had a Thanskgiving Feast.

It was perfect. I know the idea of going out for Thanksgiving is really bizarre to some people, but my family has just never really done a big Thanksgiving. It was so nice to just have that time with my mom - just the two of us. The food was spectacular and I loved every second of it.

Friday morning, we were up bright and early to try on wedding dresses! We had gone once before and by the end of that round, I realized that I wanted something completely different than I what I thought I wanted, so we went to try on different types of dresses. After we left the bridal salon, we walked up King Street in Old Town, browsing through all of the shops and such before heading over to Chinatown to check out the Holiday Markets.

We had lunch in Chinatown and then headed to World Market for some holiday shopping before heading home. Mom was leaving on Friday night to head back home so we just vegged out for a bit before she left.

Saturday, I had to work my retail job all day but met up with Jenna and Teri for Saturday Happy Hour afterward. I had to work again on Sunday morning but was out in time to head home and so that The Pilot and I could put up our Christmas tree!

Last week, I came home from work to a number of boxes that I hadn't been expecting. My future in-laws, knowing that it was our first Christmas together and that Christmas decorations are expensive, sent us a tree, lights, ornaments and an angel. It was so unbelievably thoughtful and I'ms so grateful that we have a beautiful Christmas tree...and didn't have to spend a fortune on it!


We put up our tree and then went to see The Hunger Games (which I loved...not as much as the first one though), came home, finished decorating our tee while eating chocolate chip cookies, drinking hot chocolate and watching The Grinch on ABC Family.

All in all, it was a pretty perfect weekend and I couldn't have asked for a better one. I'm grateful for the long weekend (even though I worked for part of it) and am ready to kick off the holidays!

How was your Thanksgiving?
Have you ever gone out for Thanksgiving dinner or are you a traditionalist?

November 26, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Christmas!

Thanksgiving is unusually late this year and while I'm usually a staunch opponent of decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving, the late start to the Christmas season this year has actually had me itching for Christmas.

Guys, this is huge. I'm a giant grinch so for me to be getting excited for Christmas is a BFD.

This weekend, The Pilot and I are going to decorate for Christmas. We were planning on going out and buying a tree and then making the trip to target to spend a fortune on Christmas decorations until we came home one day to find that his parents had quite literally bought us Christmas.

They sent us a tree, lights, ornaments, an angel, a tree skirt...everything. It was amazing. It was so unbelievably thoughtful of them to realize that we don't have any of this stuff and that it's expensive and to send it our way.

So I'm excited to put up the tree, drink hot chocolate, and watch Elf and Love Actually (my two favorite Christmas movies).


I'm also excited to spend hours on the internet doing my Christmas shopping and avoiding all of the crowds. I've been eyeing all of the gift guides out there and am starting to put together my Christmas list. While I'm doing that though, I have a Christmas list of my own that I've put together, so here's my list of things on my 'Dear Santa' list...


This bag from C Wonder. It's my favorite color and it has my initial on it! I have a Longchamp bag but it has short straps and no zipper. This chic bag is perfect for work or every day.


A bright colorful blazer for work. I love the idea of taking a regular staple-wear item and making it bright and bold.

A double dipper crock pot. I am a vegetarian. The Pilot is not. Dinner in our house can get tricky. My sister has been trying to convince me to buy a slow cooker for months, but I never saw the point given the differences in our diets. Then, I found out about this guy.


When The Pilot and I went out and bought our wedding bands, I spotted this sport watch in the jewelry case and fell in love. (My dad would be so proud.) I was surprised at how much I love it because I actually hate rose gold, but I think it looks really nice on the white rubber strap. I only have one watch that my dad bought me for my college graduation and I love it, but it's really dressy and I would love a sport watch to wear when I'm not quite so dressed up (one that doesn't clock my pace per mile).
A simple pair of nice, flats for work. I always buy super cheap flats and they fall apart within months. Since flats are the go-to shoe of just about everyone who uses public transportation, a new pair of flats that will last me longer than one season would be great. I love the idea of bright, bold flats too though. I'm really into bright colors this year.

So that's that. There isn't anything I really need this year. There are a lot of kitchen appliances and things that I want, but I'll save those things for my bridal registry! Right now, I finally have a job that I love and am excited to dress up for, so I just want fun work clothes!

So what's on your Christmas (Holiday) list this year?

November 21, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. 11/22/63 - This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the JFK Assassination. Over the last week, tons of specials have aired shedding light on the conspiracy theory and everyone is coming out of the woodwork to talk about what happened on that day. I've always had a fascination with the JFK Assassination and am reading/watching/listening to everything talking about it right now. Earlier this year, the Newseum launched an exhibit on JFK and I've been to it twice...and am planning to bring my mom their next week when she's in town.

This time last year, I read Stephen King's latest book on the subject, 11/22/63, about a man who goes back in time to stop the assassination. While obviously fiction, the book was heavily based on fact and was really interesting. Last night, The Pilot and I watched the National Geographic film, Killing Kennedy, which provided interesting insight into Lee Harvey Oswald, but otherwise wasn't very well done. Either way, I'm excited to curl up this weekend and keep reading/watching all of the things about Kennedy.


2. Knee Update - For a blog that is primarily about running, I sure haven't talked much about well, running since my decision to withdraw from the Marine Corps Marathon. I finally went to the doctor and was diagnosed with tendinitis with a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and 4 weeks of PT. This is exactly what I wanted. I don't have any race plans in the near future (not until March or April) so I'm hoping that this will help me get better and get in prime shape to tackle my next 26.2 because damn it, that sub-4 elephant on my back is really weighing me down.

3. DC Living - The Pilot and I renewed the lease on our apartment for another year and I'm ecstatic. You guys, this is officially the longest I have lived in one place since 2010. Seriously, I've moved almost twice a year since then. With all of the turmoil over my job situation this year, I'm excited to start a new job and live in one place and actually have some stability in my life. Oh hey and this means that I should probably start organizing things in my apartment that were haphazardly thrown around after we moved. I would like someone to give me money in the form of Container Store gift cards to organize all the things. Please and thank you. Maybe then I'll actually get around to posting a tour of our apartment...like I said I would do...in January.

That's that! Happy Thursday friends!

Tell Me: Are you just as fascinated by the JFK coverage as I am? I read an article that said that America is still recovering from the JFK assassination and I think it might be true. It's just all so interesting.

Have you ever had tendinitis? Did PT help you? Am I realistically looking at being able to run a spring half/summer full?

November 20, 2013

Wedding Things II: Getting Into It

Since I last updated you all on our wedding plans, we've checked off another few items off of our giant To-Do list.

First, I should say that one of the first things I did after getting engaged was to get organized. After a friend sent me this fabulous timeline/check list, I went through and took out the pages I didn't need and organized it into sections, put it all in a binder and have been checking it almost weekly as we go through things.


The Type A personality in me was ecstatic at the idea of having an entire binder to keep things organized in with a year-long check list of things to do. I love it. I absolutely love planning things, organizing things and writing to-do lists. I probably should have been an event planner because I thrive off of scenarios like this.

That being said, I surprisingly haven't been as on top of things as I would like. One, we have a lot of time and have gotten a lot of major tasks out of the way. I know, I know...everyone keeps warning me that it will be here before we know it, but we're in a really good place and I refuse to let wedding planning dictate every aspect of my life...especially with so much else going on!

Right now, the biggest thing we're working on are our Save the Dates. One of my sisters has an amazing talent for things like that and she designed them. Using Vistaprint, we were able to print out 100 of them for just $60! Now, I'm in the process of creating labels...something that was made remarkably easy thanks to Postable...but at the same time insanely frustrating due to some issues with Microsoft Word. 

Either way, we should have all of our Save the Dates packaged and ready to go by this weekend. I might hold off on sending them until the following week just because of the holiday but we'll see. Once they all go out, I'll upload the design so you all can see what they looked like!

We're also in the midst of our Catholic marriage prep, which has its own long list of things to do and we secured an officiant for our ceremony, a new priest at our church who we get along with great and are really excited to have!

We've decided on not one but two bakers to satisfy our enormous sweet tooths and are in the process of finalizing things with them. 

Moving into the holidays when wedding planning is going to take a big backseat, I'm feeling good. The biggest things on my plate for early next year are figuring out transportation, looking into florists, and trying to come up with ideas for centerpieces that use flowers as accents, rather than being large floral centerpieces. Since the girls in my bridal party are scattered all over the country (seriously: New Jersey, Texas and Connecticut), I'll be making my way around trying to figure out what my girls will be wearing!

So that's that! We're at 10 months to go (and counting) and the deeper we get into the planning, the more I can't wait to see everything come together! It's a super exciting time and I know that once January rolls around, things are going to fly by!

Tell me about the weddings you've been involved in: Your own? Your friends', sisters', cousins'? Was there a planner involved or did you do it all yourself? What kinds of DIY projects did you take on? What were some of the biggest headaches in planning? Or some of the easiest things?

November 18, 2013

The Week...and Weekend

I haven't posted in a week...oops.

Last week, my college bff (who is also my Maid of Honor) finally came to visit me in DC. She got in on Tuesday afternoon and The Pilot and I took her to our wedding venue to check out the space.

We spent the evening catching up over dinner at Matchbox before heading home and drinking hot chocolate because it was 0 degrees in DC.

Wednesday morning, Danielle and I headed to the International Spy Museum to check out the exhibits there. It was my first time and I highly recommend a trip to anyone who has been to DC and is looking for something new to do.


From there, we went over to the American History Museum to visit the Julia Child and the First Ladies exhibits (my two favorites!). Next, we took a little stroll through Georgetown for some window shopping before making our way over to Lincoln for dinner reservations.



Danielle just happens to be friends with the Chef de Cuisine at Lincoln and we were treated to an absolutely fabulous assortment of the menu items. I've never been to a restaurant where I was personally welcomed by the chef...or brought off-the-menu items and let me tell you...it was absolutely phenomenal. I've already made reservations to take my mom back there next week when she's in town!

#foodporn
Post-dinner, we met up with Leanna, Jenna, Farber and Christine at Iron Horse for drinks and cupcakes to celebrate lots of things.

It had been a long, long day for us so we got home and went straight to bed.

After all, we had an early morning planned for Thursday because...


The Anchorman exhibit was opening at the Newseum! I've posted about it before but I love The Newseum. So much so that The Pilot and I have annual memberships...and very seriously considered having our wedding there (until they slapped us with a proposal that was $15000 more than they originally quoted us...but that's a story for a different day). Regardless, it's my favorite museum in DC and they are currently holding an exhibit dedicated to the movie Anchorman.


It was amazing.

Afterward, we checked out the JFK Exhibit...which I love...before Danielle hopped back on her train home and I headed to work for the afternoon.


We had an awesome time together and I was so so so happy to show her all of my favorite things about DC. I can't wait to have her in town more often as she helps with all of the wedding planning!

The weekend was pretty low key. I was super under the weather with a nasty cold on Friday/Saturday and spend most of the day at home.

Sunday was for church + brunch + shopping + manicures. All in all, it's been a great couple of days! I hope to be back to my normal schedule and blogging more frequently in the next few weeks so stay tuned!

November 11, 2013

There are Five Things Very Right with My Life.

If you don't know what movie/book the title of this post is in reference to, we can't be friends anymore.

One.
I have the greatest mom in the world. Today is her birthday. This weekend, I jetsetted home for approximately 18 hours to go see her. She made a feast with yummy things likes sangria and butternut squash soup and guacamole (all homemade)...and then there were a hundred desserts. It was perfect. I was so glad to be able to pop home to see her...even it if was just for a bit!

Mama and me at Graduation last year
Two.
It's tremendously cliche to say that I am the luckiest girl in the world, but my fiance makes me feel exactly like that. We celebrate 4 amazing years together on Wednesday and I am so unbelievably excited to marry him next September. I still wake up every morning just as excited as I did the morning after we got engaged. Sometimes, it's hard that he isn't here most of the week, but at the same time...having to miss him every single week, makes it so much sweeter when he does come home.


Three.
It's almost been a year since I moved to DC and I love the friends I've made here. They are exceptionally amazing and fun people and I'm lucky to have them. At the same time, I love my old friends. My best friend from college (and Maid of Honor) is coming to DC this week and I'm so freaking excited to have her here and show her all of my favorite places and spend most of our time uncontrollably laughing like we always do.

Four.
On that note, I love living in DC. Things have not at all turned out the way I thought they would, but despite that, I'm 100% confident that it is the right city for me to live in. I hated New York and I didn't love Boston. DC is just so much more my speed. There are a lot of people who think I'm batshit crazy for leaving New York for DC but I love it. It was a fantastic decision and I'm so happy to have made the move with someone who loves this city just as much as I do.

<3
Five.
I GOT A NEW JOB!!!!!

I'm over the moon about my new job. I was really unhappy at my last job and was really itching to get out.
My new job is in an area that I have a some experience in, but have always wanted to be more involved with (nonprofit fundraising) and I can't wait to start and share my ideas and join what I already know is a fabulous team.

So, there you have it. There are five things that are very right with my life right now. 2013 has been a year of a lot of downs but things are finally starting to look up....way, way up.

So Tell Me: What's going very right with your life?

And if you've never read 'Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging' or seen the film adaptation of it, please do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of either. I promise, you will laugh uncontrollably. 

November 6, 2013

Product Review: Dr. Scholl's Active Series

With all of the issues I've been having with running lately, I'm looking into every possible option that's going to work to minimize my risk of injury.

I've had a terrible year for racing this year. I ran a 5k and 3 Half-Marathons...that's IT. I ran a great race in Cleveland, but I didn't train for it the way I wanted to and I squeaked out that 5 second PR on sheer dumb luck.

I'm craving a strong race...with or without a PR...though the PR would be nice of course. So, the next few months are all about getting myself strong and healthy to enter into next year's racing season.

Enter a new set of insoles. I've always run with insoles that I buy from Road Runner Sports and have them custom fit to my feet, but I find that they don't really do anything to change the way the shoe feels.

A few months ago, Leanna hooked me up with Influenster, an online community where you review products and get access to new products to try and review.

When Influenster reached out to me about trying Dr. Scholl's Active Series Insoles, I jumped at the chance.


This weekend, I finally slid them into my shoes and headed out for a run and let me tell you...they felt amazing! They're super light weight, and mold to the structure of the shoe, so they aren't changing anything in terms of fit, but they just make the shoe so much more comfortable. Throughout my 4 mile run, I just felt like I had an extra spring in my step and the run - my first in two weeks - just felt easy.


I ran in them again tonight with the same feeling.

They're designed to reduce the shock that your feet are subject to during a run by 40% and mitigate the risks of shin splints, plantar fascitis and runner's knee (aka all of the issues I've been having this year).


I've seen them at CVS and Target, but you can also buy them online from Amazon.

So tell me: Do you use insoles? Have you tried the Dr. Scholl's Active Series?

*Disclaimer: I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. I wast not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own.


November 4, 2013

Love/Don't Love

1. I got some exceptionally good news on Friday. News that I've been praying about and hoping for since April and I'm over the moon about it. Love.
2. I am so insanely thankful that it is November. The month of October just flat out sucked. Love.
3. I didn't do anything tremendously exciting this weekend. I slept and caught up on emails, worked on some things for the wedding and read a lot. Love.
4. While going through my computer this weekend, I found pictures from The Pilot's and my first trip to DC back in 2011. It was on that trip that I set in to motion my plan to convince him to move here...and where we discovered the World War II Memorial...where we got engaged 2 years later. Love.


5. Yesterday morning, I woke up early to watch the NYC Marathon. It was amazing to watch the race and track all of my friends online as they made their way through my former home. Love.
6. That being said, I still have absolutely no desire to run the New York City Marathon. Every time I run a Fall race, I absolutely hate the part of sitting around in the cold waiting to start the race. Doing that for 6 hours on Staten Island...to not even run for that amount of time...just sounds awful to me. Don't Love. 
7. It's November and it's time to be thankful. I'm thankful for the exciting news I got in #1, my mama who celebrates her birthday next week, my handsome fiance, living in DC and the amazing friends I've made since living here. Love.

Happy November friends! I hope it's a good one! 
I'll be sharing my news as soon as I can!

October 31, 2013

Three Things Thursday: Running Shoes Edition

Let's talk running shoes.

After all, my blog is called 'Planes, Trains and Running Shoes.'

When it comes to running shoes, I haven't always been the smartest runner. I tend to run my shoes to the ground, realizing one day on a run that's 2 or 4 weeks before race day, that I desperately need new running shoes now.

This has happened for almost every race I've ever run...since I started running...and it needs to change. It isn't healthy and I'm pretty sure is a huge reason for the various issues I've had this year (plantar fascitis, IT Band strain), etc.

For the last year and a half, I've run in the Saucony Guide 5s. Four different pairs of them. Before that, I was running in the Nike Pegasus. I tried the New Balance 890s for a bit but they didn't even last 200 miles and I thought that they were a waste of money. The Nike Pegasus is a Neutral running shoe. The Guide 5 is a Stability shoe.

I'm not necessarily sure that I need a stability shoe. I tend to overpronate very slightly on my right side and I am definitely a late stage pronator. Since backing out from Marine Corps, I haven't done too much running, but I've been doing a lot of research into running shoes, something I've never done before, and looking into not just one training shoe...but possibly three. These are the shoes that are currently on my radar.

1. Newton Gravity - Newton is doing something really interesting with their shoes. The deep panels along the balls of your feet encourage mid-foot striking. Prior to my IT band (and simultaneous hip issue), I was a pretty solid mid-foot striker. The reason I'm looking into the Gravity is to try and correct my form and get back to that. Right now, I think Stability shoes are just allowing my feet to continue to pronate, rather than correcting the issue. Newton describes the shoe as a daily training shoe that is both supportive and structured and perfect for the runner who does tempo runs or intervals every now and again...aka me. So, I'm looking at the Newtons as my every day running shoe...something that I wouldn't run anymore than 8 or 9 miles in and would also use for tempo runs and maybe speed work.


2. Mizuno Wave Sayonara - This is a beautiful shoe. Not only does it come in amazingly fun colors, but this is a shoe that was built to be a running shoe. It's extremely light, has excellent traction and has the cushioning that you need for higher mileage (something I'm used to from running in a Stability shoe). I have yet to confirm this, but someone told me that the Women's shoe is entirely different from the Men's...that it's specifically designed to be a Women's shoe, which is an interesting feature. The Sayonara is designed for fast training and racing, so I 'm looking at for tempo and mid-distance runs (9-16 miles) and possibly as a race day shoe.


3. Adidas Energy Boost - Adidas is making a huge push into the running shoe market and I think they're on to something. For years, running shoes have been made with a standard EVA foam. The Energy Boosts are made with their boost technology which is designed to be soft and springy, but still supportive. The arches have low support to design for a more fluid stride. I spent some time talking to a marathoner who runs in these and he said that your foot will feel the same at Mile 1 as it well at Mile 26...which is crazy impressive. These shoes just look comfortable. I'm looking at these for long runs (18 and up) and possibly as Race Day shoes.


Now, I haven't gotten into any of these shoes yet. I KNOW. But, I'm doing my research which means I'm learning what I both want and need out of a running shoe, so I think that even if these particular shoes don't do the trick, I have an idea of what I'm looking for. Either way, my goal for next year is to train smart...and that starts with the most important element of my training...running shoes. I'm determined to not only have a full, successful training cycle next year but to finally, finally get that sub-4 I've been chasing for three years.

Do you run in any of these shoes? Thoughts? Opinions? I'd love to know!

October 29, 2013

The Weekend

This weekend was entirely too short. I felt like I didn't have much of a weekend at all, in fact! 

I can't even remember what I did on Friday night...clearly it was eventful.

Saturday morning, The Pilot and I were up early to clean the apartment before we had a baker come over to bring us samples of all of her fun and delicious treats! A cake tasting that comes to you? I love it! 

I wish I could say I took pictures...but we dove in before I even thought about it! Let's just say that our wedding is definitely going to cater to both of our sweet tooths...teeth?

Saturday night, I headed over to Leanna's for Game 3 of the World Series...aka the game with that awful Obstruction Call...ugh. That happens maybe twice a year. What a terrible way to end a game!

Sunday morning, I was up bright and early for the Marine Corps Marathon! Except this time, instead of waking up at 4:30am to toe the line, I was up early to spectate...which I am terrible at. Not only did I forget my cowbells, but I completely missed Jenna running the 10k...and my chance to jump in with her.

Clearly I am much better at running these things than spectating them. 

Oh well, I still had an absolute blast spectating with three of my favorite people. 

Peyton came too!
She loves cheering on all the runners chasing after all the squirrels.
We were stationed in Crystal City right between Miles 22 and 23. 

We saw the wheel chair division come through first, followed by the male lead (who was leading by over 2 minutes), the 2nd and 3rd place male runners (who were neck and neck) and a handful of other men before the women started coming through and the rest of the pack. 

My goodness to be that fast and have that much of a lead. 
I kept cheering until shortly after the 4:00 pace group (tear!) came through before heading over to Eastern Market for celebratory brunch with Jenna and friends.

Sunday afternoon, The Pilot and I lounged around watching football before heading to church. I was feeling absolutely terrible and skipped out on my Sunday school classes...which I was super bummed about, but I needed to just come home and go to bed. We picked up some soup from Whole Foods for dinner and called it a night. 

Monday, I was cranky and not feeling well at all. I worked late and was exhausted, but today, I'm feeling a million times better. I'm hoping to get in a much needed run tomorrow and try out some new shoes I've been eyeing. I'll keep you all posted on that!

October 24, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. Marine Corps Marathon - I've calmed down a little bit since Friday in my itch to be part of the race. Mainly because I did some sets of straight dead leg lifts on Monday and my hamstrings are still recovering. In all seriousness though, I'm ok with not running the marathon. I'm still up in the air about the 10k but whether I'm running my least favorite distance race that morning or on the sidelines spectating, I'll be happy either way. This was the smart decision to make and I just need to keep that in mind amidst all of the race excitement.

2. Coffee - I am not one of those people who can't start the morning without a cup of coffee. More often than not, I drink coffee to keep warm than to wake up. Every once in awhile, I'll need that morning boost. On Monday, my coffee maker exploded. Literally. After brewing my morning cup, I went to turn it off and it went up in smoke, sending sparks flying everywhere. This was not only terrifying, but it has left me without a coffee maker.

Thankfully, I live in a building where I can get coffee before work if I need it, but I do need a replacement. I love brewing coffee and my little 4 cup coffee maker, but I'm the only one who uses. The Pilot doesn't drink coffee, but will occasionally drink tea. I have a tea kettle that I use for such occasions. I don't think I want something like the Keurig, but I'm wondering what kind of coffee makers everyone out there uses?

3. Blog Redesign - Thanks to the fabulous Sarah over at Venus Trapped in Mars and her Saturday Sessions, I'm in the process of redesigning my blog. I've had the same look for the last year or so and it's time for something fresh and new! I'm working on everything in a Test Blog but here's a little peak of what I'm working on!

Thoughts?

So that's what's going on this Thursday! I hope you're all looking forward to the weekend as much as I am!


October 23, 2013

Can we go back to Paris?

Please?

I love Paris. Love. I went there for the first time in 2007 with friends and went back again last year with The Pilot. We spent the entire weekend eating macarons and delicious French food, strolling the Seine and getting lost in the gardens at Versailles.

It was the perfect vacation.

Lately, I've had such an itch to get back to Paris and maybe even take some time to head to the south of France. Visit the French Riviera, see Cannes and Nice...take a ride to Monaco or Marseille.

But let's get back to Paris for a minute....I love it. Take a look at my bedroom.


Ahhhh Paris. Those lamps? Eiffel Towers.

So where am I going with all of this? Well, Go with Oh, my newest favorite website and the place to go to scout out apartment rentals all over Europe, is having a blog competition. All you have to do is pick your favorite apartment in any one of their 17 European cities and write a post about why it makes you go weak at the knees.

So, after spending countless hours scouting their apartments all over Europe, I kept being drawn back to the Parisian apartments. I spent even more hours scouting out the almost 400 Paris apartments before finally settling on one that I absolutely adored.

Described as a 'Charming studio ideal for couples in the Ile Saint-Louis area,' this apartment first caught my eye (or, should I say click) because it had the same portrait of Paris as the one I have in my bedroom.


The apartment is a small studio on the Ile-Saint Louis, which is just across the bridge from Notre Dame and very close to Pont Marie Metro station, making it very accessible to the rest of Paris.


I absolutely adore this studio. The accents on the Juliet balcony, the wooden beams on the ceiling...it's adorable.


It's small and doesn't have a full kitchen...but who needs a kitchen when you're in Paris? The last time The Pilot and I were in Paris, we ate all of our meals out and spent almost all of our time exploring the city that we only really went back to the hotel to sleep before heading out again the next morning.


The apartment is on a quiet, shop-lined street on Ile-Saint Louis and it just looks like the perfect spot to go for a morning run while The Pilot is still sleeping.


Even the bathroom is perfect. Sleek glass doors with a double shower head? There is nothing better than a long, hot shower after a full day of walking around sight seeing.



There isn't too much to this quaint little studio, but it's perfect and I love it. Excuse me while I go book two tickets to Paris so that we can jet out tomorrow. I would love to test out this apartment and peruse the quiet little streets of Ile Saint-Louis. Not to mention that my wardrobe could use a little European refresher.

So, Go with Oh, there you have it...this is the apartment that makes my heart skip a beat...and the destination at that!

Tell Me: Have you checked out Go with Oh? Have you ever stayed in an apartment versus a hotel while traveling? If you could guest test a Go with Oh apartment, which of their 17 cities would you go to?

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