April 30, 2015


Feeling... ready for the weekend. Remember when I said I didn't sleep at all on Sunday night? That never makes for an easy week. I'm ready for a refresh.

Reading... "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. I adore this book. I almost don't want it to end. It is so beautifully written and every morning when I get to work, I'm disappointed that I have to stop reading.

Watching... "Friday Night Lights" and "Mad Men"

Thinking about... Baltimore. It makes my heart heavy...that police brutality is still an issue to protest...that Freddie Gray's family has to sit and watch their city burn down when they're trying to mourn their loss...that people feel that rioting is the only way to affect change because it worked 40 years ago...except that the riots of 40 years are for very similar reasons than the riots of today.

Working on... MARATHON TRAINING PLANS BECAUSE I GOT INTO CHICAGO!!!!!! I will run this race. I recognize that I've run two good races this spring, but I'm still treating this training like I'm going into it injured. I want to have a strong training cycle and I'm going to be very particular about the way I train for this marathon.

Needing... to start running! I haven't run since Cherry Blossom...part of that has to do with me being sick, but I'm itching to get out for a run...especially now that it's starting to finally be warmer for most of the day.

Grateful for... time with The Pilot. It was a long winter with him being away and it's so nice to have him home right now.

Loving... spring.

Excited about... Megan's book challenge! This, on top of the other book challenge I'm doing, has me reading more books this year than ever before and I love it! I'm trying to make up for all of that lost time in college and grad school when reading for fun was impossible.

What's on your 'Currently...' list?
Are you running a fall marathon? If so, let me know which one! I've got an idea cooking!

April 28, 2015


I don't have any particular attachment to the city of Chicago. I've been there twice and had a great time both times.

That's all about to change.

On October 11, I'll be toeing the line of my 6th marathon.. My sixth marathon should have been the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon, but my injury kept me away from that.

I've been able to successfully run two races this year and I'm confident about this one. I've missed the marathon distance since I last crossed it and I can't wait to be back.

What does this mean? Once again, this blog will be a running blog again (don't worry, it won't change too much!). Once again, my life will be consumed by talk of long runs, speed work, track work, cross-training, and fuel...and I can't wait for any of it.

I fell in love with the marathon distance at Mile 18 of my first marathon. I've run some great races and some not so great races.

This race will be a great one. Why? Because I'll never take another mile for granted again.

Who else is running Chicago?

April 27, 2015

Weekending with Mom

Last night I was so tired it hurt. I thought that the second I put my head on the pillow, I would be out like a light...and then I never fell asleep. Not once. At all. 

This week might be tough.

This weekend was great though. My mom came down to visit and we had a nice, easy low key weekend exploring our neighborhood. She hadn't been here since we moved to our new place so it was fun showing her around.

She got in on Friday and we went to Sona Creamery and ate so much cheese it was ridiculous...and glorious.

Saturday morning,  we headed over to Ted's Bulletin in Eastern Market for brunch. We all got some form of a breakfast burrito and chased them down with some Key Lime pop-tarts. Yum.

We spent the afternoon wandering around Capitol Hill and stumbled on this adorable little market that sold Polaine Bakery Bread! 

Polaine is a bakery in Paris that The Pilot and I visited on our honeymoon. They don't have any US locations so the bread had been made in and shipped from Paris that morning! We picked up some Lavrot cheese (another honeymoon favorite) and went back home and had a little wine and cheese picnic outside.

From there, we took a trip to Union Market and wandered around sampling yummy things before heading to dinner in the Navy Yard.

Mama and me!
Sunday morning, we got coffee and pastries before Mom had to head back. The Pilot and I took an afternoon trip to Ikea and then spent the night in and watched "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen."

This weekend was exactly what I needed after being bed ridden last weekend and half of last week. It was a perfect weekend and I'm so glad my mom made it to town!

Aside from being really tired, I'm feeling pretty good about this week. I'm hoping to start running again (I haven't run since Cherry Blossom) and I'm really hoping the temperatures will warm up again! It's been a cold couple of days in DC!

What did you do this weekend?
{Linking up with Running 'n' Reading!}

April 23, 2015


Feeling... better. I've had a rough week. I won't go into details, but I missed some work and was mostly bed ridden for a few days. I'm slowly starting to feel a little bit better, but I'm still not feeling like myself.

Reading... "Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen. I'm about half way through this one and while it's not as good as "Pride and Prejudice," who doesn't love a good Jane Austen novel every now and again?

Watching... "Friday Night Lights" and "Mad Men"...they've both been on my list for awhile and while I was under the weather this past week, I spent a lot of time making my way through the first seasons of both shows. I don't think I like "Mad Men"...I'm only a few episodes in though. Does it get better? Or should I just give it up?

Thinking about... going for a run and getting back to yoga. Right now, those both seem really far off.

Working on... my 30 before 30 list. I started this blog as a 25 before 25 list...why not continue it with a  30 before 30?

Needing... warm weather. I  can't believe the temperature dropped again. It was freezing this morning!

Loving... our hallway gallery wall that we finally got up this weekend.

That's what's on my list...what's on yours?

April 21, 2015

If I could change Major League Baseball...

It's baseball season...my favorite time of the year. While I haven't been to a game yet this season (sad!), you better believe I'm live streaming every Mets game (they're having such a good season!!!) and Rangers game (what is going on with them?!) and planning my stadium visits for the year!

Last week, The Pilot and I went out for dinner and, as it always does this time of year, the conversation turned to baseball.

We talking about the Cuba embrago being lifted...something that, as a Cuban American, I've been following very closely...and that, as a baseball lover, I'm very curious about.

We started talking about Dominican baseball...and that horrible book I read...and how soon it would be before the MLB starts scouting in Cuba...and then we started talking about the League in general and how so many of the players out there should really be playing Triple A. The game just isn't as competitive as it could be.

The influx of Cuban talent into the League is going to change that by bringing a lot more players to the game. Baseball is going to become a lot more competitive and 30 teams just might be too much for the competition. Wouldn't the game be a lot more interesting if the MLB eliminated two teams.

I've been saying for awhile that the MLB needs to shift things around. Houston moving to the AL was an excellent idea but I think some restructuring is in order. Eliminating two teams would help with that. Which teams? Well, that depends on a lot of factors. We talked about record, fan base, stadium attendance, team perception...everything.

Some of our contenders...Colorado, Arizona, San Diego, Kansas City...this was a long conversation, with a lot of Googling.

Who did we ultimately decide to axe?

The Tampa Bay Rays - With the 2nd to worst stadium attendance in the League (Cleveland's attendance is the worst)...and arguably (well, honestly I wouldn't argue this at all), the worst stadium in the League...it's time for the Tampa Bay Rays to hang up their helmets and call it a day.

Efforts to build a new stadium have been unsuccessful. As recently as this fall, rumors of moving the team to Montreal had surfaced with the team's owner threatening to sell the team if a new stadium isn't built. My thoughts on moving them to Montreal will be discussed in a minute, but if the population of Tampa can't get behind financing the stadium publicly and they aren't showing up to games, they aren't all that interested in having a team, so adios Tampa Bay.

Who puts an indoor stadium in Florida??

The Toronto Blue Jays - Get baseball out of Canada. I repeat. Get baseball out of Canada. Moving the Montreal Expos to Washington was an excellent idea. Moving the Tampa Bay Rays to Montreal would be a terrible idea. Baseball didn't work there the first time. It's not going to work again. When I went to Toronto and headed to a Blue Jays game...every single Canadian I spoke to said "Why? There are so many other things to do in Toronto." The only reason the game was well attended is because the Yankees were playing and all of the Yankee fans in Buffalo had crossed the border for the game. The Blue Jays are actually a decent team, but Canadians are too interested in hockey to really care about baseball all that much.

You know what else I would do? Move the Miami Marlins...to Orlando. With a brand new stadium and the 4th worst attendance in Major League Baseball (the White Sox are third), the Marlins need help. When the Marlins 2012 Manager Ozzie Guillen praised Fidel Castro just after the stadium opened, he pissed off just about every Cuban in Miami...and, in case you don't know...Cubans hold grudges. (The vast majority of 1st generation Cubans still hold a grudge against the Democratic Party because of the Bay of Pigs invasion.)

Orlando is a huge metropolitan area with a lot of Minor League teams and a high enough number of tourists visiting every year, that you'd get a good number of baseball fans who would take their Disney vacations as a chance to cross another stadium off the list.

So, there you have it...if I suddenly replaced Bud Selig as MLB Commissioner...this is what I would do. I have nothing against any of the teams listed here...these are just mine and The Pilot's fun musings on the League. Neither of us anticipate either of these changes actually taking place. 

What do you think?

Protein Packed Blueberry Almond Smoothie

When spring finally rolls around, I always have such an easier time preparing breakfast in the morning. Once the temperature climbs above 60, it becomes all smoothies all the time! I love making smoothies because they're an easy breakfast option to just grab and go and I can make several of them in a matter of minutes and have breakfast planned for the entire week!

Being a vegetarian, I make it a point to load up my smoothies with protein so that I start the morning with something really filling and get the majority of my protein in first thing in the morning.

One of my favorite smoothie recipes combines blueberries, almond butter, milk and homemade Greek yogurt for a protein packed, delicious breakfast that's awesome to start the morning with!

-1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
-1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
-1/2 cup milk (soy or regular)
-1 tbsp pomegranate juice
-2 tbsp almond butter
-1 tsp honey
-1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pour milk into a blender followed by yogurt, pomegranate juice and vanilla. Add blueberries, almond butter and honey. If using fresh blueberries, add a few ice cubes. Blend until ice is thoroughly blended.

I use my own Greek yogurt (recipe here) which I don't flavor. If you prefer, you can use vanilla yogurt and skip the vanilla extract. To get the full protein packed version of this, it's important to use soy or regular milk. Other nondairy milks don't have the same amount of protein.

Nutrition Info

That's 36 grams of protein JUST for breakfast! The recommended protein intake for women is 46 grams per day so this recipe provides me with almost my entire daily protein intake just in one meal, which is awesome!

Do you pack your smoothies with protein?
What are some of your favorite smoothie recipes?

April 20, 2015

Semi-Charmed Summer 2015 Book Challenge

In case you guys haven't noticed, I love to read . My poor mom had the hardest time grounding me when I was a kid because I would just lock myself in my room and read a book. I have always been a book nerd. If someone were to buy me every book on my Amazon Wish List right now, I would be love them forever.

Every year, I try to set a goal of reading a certain number of books. For the past few years, I haven't been successful in meeting those goals because I've taken on some of the longest books ever written including Anna Karenina (964 pages), War and Peace (1,392 pages), (1,796 pages), and since I don't like reading more than one book at a time, it has definitely slowed me down.

While I have some long books on my list this year, I'm still not so secretly trying to make my way through this 2015 Reading Challenge and while I'm in the middle of that, I've also decided to make another attempt at one of Megan's book challenges. Megan was one one of the first bloggers that I started reading and every year, she does a Winter and Summer Book Challenge. Last year, I tried to do her Summer Book Challenge and never followed through with it after I someone won in the first month. This year, taking the "I don't have to win" approach, I'm tackling the challenge again, especially since some of the categories will also count toward the other book challenge I'm doing.

The challenge starts on May 1st and ends on August 31st. I'm hoping that I'll be taking a lot of long plane rides during that time that will help me get a lot more reading done than normal. Each book must be at least 200 pages long and can only be used toward one category. The challenge is worth 200 points and the first five people who get to 200 points get to pick a category for the next challenge.

Taking into account all of the books I'm itching to read this year, I've put together a preliminary list of books I plan to read for this challenge.

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules. Undecided. Will probably be my Book Club's May pick.
10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before. (Just go to a shelf and pick a book based on the cover, the title, whatever you want!) "The Angel of Losses" by Stephanie Feldman
10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you've had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.) "My Beloved World" by Sonia Sotomayor
10 points: Read a book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014. "Yes Please" by Amy Poehler
15 points: Read a book by an author who is completely new to you. "The Buried Giant" by Kazuo Ishiguro
15 points: 
Read a book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.) "The Lacuna" by Barbara Kingsolver
15 points: Read a book with "light" or "dark" in the title. (Or "lightness" or "darkness.") "All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr
20 points: Read a book with the name of a city, state or country in the title. "Last Train to Istanbul" by Ayse Kulin
20 points: Read a book with an animal on the cover. Undecided.
25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books. "The Giver" by Lois Lowry
25 points: Read a book that is longer than 500 pages long. — Submitted by winter finisher Kristen from See You in a Porridge. "The Bully Pulpit" by Doris Kearns Goodwin (910 pages)
30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it's worth the most points!) "Love's Labor's Lost" by William Shakespeare

There you go! While Megan's challenge doesn't allow you to read one book for multiple categories, I'm allowing it for my own personal challenge! 9 of the 10 books I've listed here will count toward the other challenge, which is awesome! I'll be posting monthly updates on how I'm doing with Megan's challenge, and of course, you can keep an eye out for my second quarterly book reviews post sometime in June!

Have you read any of the books I've listed here?
Any that you recommend? Maybe some of these you don't recommend?
What's on your summer reading list?

April 16, 2015


Feeling... awful. My back hasn't hurt since after I went to the chiropractor last Friday but yesterday, it started bothering me and this morning, I woke up in excruciating pain. My walk to the Metro left me with stabbing pains up my back with every step. I'm going back to the chiro tonight but I might need to see a doctor if that doesn't help.

Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver. I started this last week and should finish it by tomorrow. Even though it's been almost two years since I read the prequel (The Bean Trees), it picked up easily enough.

Watching...  Last Man on Earth on Fox. I started watching this show with my family when I was in Texas and it's hilarious. I roped The Pilot into it this week and we've watched all 9 episodes in the last few days. It's so good!

Thinking about... doing a sugar detox...and by thinking about, I mean seriously researching. I've always had a sweet tooth but lately, it's been out of control. There's no reason for me to be craving sweets as many times a day as I am. I've been working on eliminating refined sugars from my diet this year and it's concerning to me that my sugar cravings have increased in spite of this.

Working on...
our apartment...story of my life.

Needing... a fix to this situation with my back. I've had back injuries before, but I've never had pain like this.

Loving... that The Pilot is home. I haven't posted about this but in January, he was offered a job as a Captain for a different airline. It's an exciting promotion but it meant that he had to head to training for 3 months. He was able to come home some weekends, but never for more than 36 hours. For the last stretch, he was gone for almost a month and it was really hard.

Excited about... my mom coming to visit this weekend!

What are you up to today?

April 15, 2015

Book RANT: The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris

I've come across a lot of books that I didn't like...books with bad characters, books that would have been better if they had ended differently...but until now, I've never come across a book that infuriated me as deeply as The Eastern Stars by Mark Kurlansky.

I first learned of this book over a year ago and hadn't been able to find it anywhere...not even on Amazon. When I stumbled on it at a Georgetown bookstore's sidewalk sale, I  started reading it right away.

Within the first few pages, I was fuming. I immediately had to call my mom and vent and she was just as pissed off as I was. I actually took notes on this book for this post.

Before I go any further, here's the book's synopsis from Goodreads:

The intriguing, inspiring history of one small, impoverished area in the Dominican Republic that has produced a staggering number of Major League Baseball talent, from an award-winning, bestselling author. 

Now, full disclosure. I am Dominican. My mom was born there and I've been there a few times. I'm related to one of the baseball players mentioned in this book. As a Dominican baseball lover, I was dying to read this book. After all, nearly 1/4 of all baseball players right now are Dominican.

Instead of a factual, nonfiction book that needed to be written about the prevalence of Dominicans in Major League Baseball, this was a poorly researched, factually incorrect book that was not only outrageously offensive, but was less about baseball than about...I'm not sure what...the sugar industry? Maybe?

Kurlansky starts the novel by saying that the Dominican Republic has no culture...that even the name of the country is "less poetic" than other Latin American countries, thus proving it's lack of culture. He claims that everything that is inherently Dominican actually comes from somewhere else. So, by that logic, the US also has no culture.

The Dominican Republic was colonized by the Spanish in 1492 after Columbus landed there. It's Native Dominican culture (the Tainos) was destroyed by a genocide and the DR  went through over 400 years of colonial rule (by the Spanish, French and Haitians, then the Spanish again) before finally achieving independence. Sure, because of this, dances like merengue and bachata and foods like mofongo might have their roots somewhere else, but they're just a few examples of the various things that make up the truly iconic Dominican culture. (Come to Christmas dinner at my house and tell me that the DR has no culture.)

If you have only ever been to resort towns like Punta Cana, then sure, go ahead and say that the DR has no culture. You'd be wrong, but I can see your point...but if you've been anywhere on the island, as the author supposedly has, you can't say that. I find it tremendously ironic that Kurlansky, an American author writing about baseball can say that "even baseball isn't Dominican" when baseball doesn't even have it's roots in America! Hello, cricket anyone? To argue that a country has no culture because it's roots come from somewhere else is to argue that every single country in the world has no culture...including the US.

After bashing the country's "lack" of culture, he then goes on to say that most Dominican baseball players are illiterate which is simply untrue given the fact that the country has a 91% literacy rate (the 9% illiteracy most likely stems from the Dominican-Haitian border, the country's poorest region NOT San Pedro de Macoris, where this book is referring to). To add to his seeming generalizations about Dominican education, he claims that the average Dominican didn't even know about WWII when it was happening. The Dominican Republic wasn't involved in WWII. This was before mainstream television so even if this was true, where would the information have come from?

In continuing with his offensive generalizations about Dominicans, he consistently refers to migrant workers in the DR (mostly Haitians) as "cocolos" which is actually a pretty derogatory word. In discussing race in the DR (a fascinating topic that I do not feel qualified to discuss having not grown up in the DR) he says, that 'some pregnant women eat white food to make their babies white' which is not only untrue but a hard generalization that is again, incredibly offensive. To see an interesting artistic portrayal of race in the DR, check out this article).

Aside from his cultural "observations," he also goes on to say that the Dominican Republic was, until recently, the poorest country in Latin America...beat out by Nicaragua.

What? Almost all of the countries in Central America have had a lower GDP than the Dominican Republic for years! The DR probably hasn't been at the bottom of that list since before independence.

When Kurlansky finally gets to talking about baseball, it's a negative portrayal of the players who haven't made it with only a few sentences about the noteworthy players. Robinson Cano, one of the best ball players of our generation (which it pains me to say not being a Yankee fan) is discussed in all of 3 sentences, while almost an entire chapter talks about his father's lackluster career through the Minors. The book then goes on to discuss Sammy Sosa's and Alex Rodriguez's steroid use, before discussing any of the real accomplishments of Dominican ball players. In fact, some of the players he mentions aren't even Dominican!

After the minimal discussion about the accomplishments of Dominican ball players, Kurlansky turns his criticism to their philanthropy and how seemingly none of them give back to their communities...despite the fact that President Leonel Fernandez disagrees citing that most of them return to the DR in the off season and build bigger houses for their families and retire back to the DR, contributing to the Dominican economy. This isn't a country that people leave and never return to. Some do, but many of them go back after they retire, living in the US only to play baseball.

In the end, this book was truly disappointing. It wasn't a book about how baseball changed the Dominican town of San Pedro de Macoris...or even about how baseball has changed the Dominican Republic. I'd love to read that book...provided it was written by someone actually qualified to talk about baseball.


This post got really long, but you can tell I'm passionate about this. I love baseball and I love my heritage. I'm proud of it and this book didn't do either of those things justice. If you really want to learn about the rise of Dominican ballplayers in the Major Leagues, I highly suggest you watch the 2008 film Sugar.

What's the last book you read that really made you mad?

April 14, 2015

Recap: My Last Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run

The Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run and I have a history.

In 2011, I didn't run it after my flight from South Bend, Indiana (where I was speaking at a conference) was delayed due to maintenance forcing me to miss my connection and spend the night in Chicago.

In 2012, I didn't run it after I woke up the morning before the race with a pinched nerve in my back and could barely walk.

In 2013, I finally ran it...but almost didn't when I had an unexpected death in the family and had to go home for a funeral two days before.

In 2014, I didn't run it when my the knee injury that still plagues me was at its worst.

This year, for the second and last time, I ran the Cherry Blossom.

Holly had come in for the race on Saturday afternoon and we had a low key post-race dinner (with drinks) at Tonic with Jenn. I didn't eat my normal pre-race meal of pasta and I didn't keep to my pre-race tradition of not drinking and I didn't feel great about that.

Sunday morning, Holly and I were up bright and early and I just felt off. It didn't feel like race morning. I wasn't excited or nervous...I just felt like I was going to work or something.

When we got to the Start, I lined up in my corral and waited for the race to start. There were several announcements about who was running and where they came from, etc. I heard all of them...or so I thought. I didn't find out until after the race that the course had been cut short by about half a mile due to an earlier car accident.

Right off the bat, I didn't feel right. I felt like I was running on a trampoline...my feet just weren't hitting the ground the way they should have and I just didn't really want to be running. I was being elbowed and pushed from all directions and I was getting so frustrated.

The race starts in front of the Washington Monument and then circles up and around the Mall to the Memorial Bridge. The Bridge is an out and back and by the time we got about half way back, my knee started hurting...a mile and a half in.

A few adjustments to my form and pace and we hit the first water station, where I stopped to stretch. It was there that I decided to drop out. I would run to the Rock Creek Parkway turnaround and jump out, walk to Foggy Bottom and metro back to the race. I felt awful and I was so mad. I just didn't want to be running this race anymore.

This was the first time since 2007 that the Cherry Blossoms hit peak bloom during the race and all of a sudden, I started thinking that I had to run through them. So, I decided that I would try to run a little bit further. By Mile 3, my knee felt better...better than better...it felt fine...something that has never happened during a race. So, I started to push the pace a little bit and I started thinking of something that a colleague said at work earlier last week.

"Whatever you water will grow." I had been so negative during the previous few miles of the race and I was just harboring negativity. All of those negative thoughts and feelings were only growing the more I fed into them. I was thinking about this as we came onto Mile 4 and another water stop which I couldn't even stop at because of how crowded it was...but I knew that from this point on, every step I took would be beneath the Cherry Blossoms, so I pushed on.

The trees were gorgeous.

I can't name a single runner in DC who will tell you that they love running Hains Point. It's long, it's boring and it's typically unshaded, leaving the blistering sun to just wear you thin on any run...but this time? The trees created a gorgeous canopy over the road and it was beautiful to run through. 

Taken mid-run...because everyone else was doing it.
No, I didn't stop mid course to take a picture, I kept moving.
We came to the 10k mark and I started feeling so much better. I chatted with some runners and started to pick up the pace. I didn't want to worry if my knee would start hurting again, so I just ran. It felt so good to be pushing the pace. I haven't done that since the 2012 Cleveland Half.

As we rounded Hains Point, I spotted someone that I thought looked familiar and tried to catch up to her. When I finally did, it was Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC! I introduced myself and we ran together for a little bit and then I got the urge to just let it all go. I started bolting. I loved watching the pace on my Garmin steadily get faster and faster. As we rounded Hains Point, I knew there would be an incline at the end (DC just loves to end you on an incline) but I powered up it. (Power up the hill, recover on the down hill...that's what I always do). I saw the 800 meter sign and then spotted my friend John among the spectators. I waved to him and pushed along. Just when I didn't think I could  maintain that speed on the hill any longer, we were cruising down hill to the finish.

1:35:35. Only 10 minutes off my PR and a solid 20 minutes off of what I expected to run (25 if the course had actually been 10 miles). I was elated! As soon as I finished, I needed to lay down. I hadn't run a race like that in 2 years. I made my way to the finishers' area, snagged some water, a banana and my medal and picked a spot on the grass to lay down and wait for Holly (who PRd!).

There you have it. I ran a great race. So why did I say that this would be my last Cherry Blossom? This was my 5th consecutive attempt at running this race and only my 2nd time running it. Even as late as Friday, I wasn't sure if I would be able to run. The Cherry Blossom is a really great race, but moving forward, I'll save my lottery spot for someone who will hopefully have better luck than I have. I'm just happy that I could "retire" from this race on a high note!

Have you run Cherry Blossom before?
Is there a race that you have a history with?
Ever retired from a certain race?

If you ran this year's Cherry Blossom, don't forget to link up your recap with the Cherry Blossom Race Recap Party!

April 9, 2015


Feeling... exhausted. Tuesday night, Peyton got sick in the middle of the night. I spent all night up taking care of her/cleaning up after her and when she got sick for the 3rd time at 5am, I decided to take her for an emergency trip to the vet. She seems to be doing better now, but the vet said she isn't totally in the clear.

Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver. I read The Bean Trees in 2012 after discovering Barbara Kingsolver and reading almost everything she wrote. This sequel to The Bean Trees has been on my Kindle for awhile but somehow I forgot about it. I'm on a reading roll right now and read Tuck Everlasting yesterday (in 1 day!) and finished 1776 yesterday morning (the only book to effectively make me fall asleep mid sentence...more than twice).

Watching...  "Last Man on Earth." I started watching this when I was in Texas over the weekend and it is hilarious.

Drinking... this bottle of Vouvray. I opened it up a few days ago and it's delicious.

Thinking about... my back. It's been bothering me for almost two weeks now. I made an appointment to see a chiropractor for tomorrow morning and that visit is going to be the deciding factor as to whether I run Cherry Blossom or not. I haven't run since last Thursday and when I tried running on Tuesday, I couldn't make it more than a couple of blocks without having to turn around.

Working on...
a 30 before 30 list. I started this blog as a 25 before 25 list, and I definitely want to take it back to its roots with another list. Speaking of 30...I'm in the middle of Helene's #30photosinbetween Instagram challenge. It's Day 9 and so far, it's a lot of fun! I've found some awesome new accounts to follow!

Needing... to make a trip to Ikea. My 'needing' entries on these posts have almost all been about our apartment since we moved in. One last trip to Ikea and we'll be all set!

Grateful for... an understanding boss who was more than willing to be flexible over Peyton's health issues yesterday.

Loving... seeing this on my Goodreads account. Last year, I hit the goal of reading 30 books and I was behind from the beginning. I blame the six weeks it took me to get through The Complete Sherlock Holmes.

I'm secretly hoping to get to 50 but with a couple of  600+ pages on my list this year,
that might not happen.
Excited about... Holly's trip to DC this weekend for Cherry Blossom!

Have you ever had a sick pet?
I've never been to a chiropractor, anything I should know before my visit tomorrow?
What are your plans for this weekend?

April 8, 2015

Recipe: Arroz Sin Pollo

Arroz con pollo is a staple in just about every Spanish speaking household. You may not have ever had it since it doesn't really appear on the menus of Latin restaurants (except for the really authentic ones) and is pretty basic, but I grew up eating it and it's one of my favorite dishes.

My grandfather (on my mom's side) was an unbelievable cook and, despite being a vegetarian for 9 years now, I can still taste his arroz con pollo. My grandmother (on my dad's side) makes a pretty good one too!

When I was at Sundance, we rented a condo and spent our first night shopping for groceries. One of the girls in the group is a chef and cooked a fantastic meal for us. She's Puerto Rican and gave us her spin on arroz con pollo. Taking her recipe and making a few changes of my own, omitting the chicken of course, I present to you Arroz Sin Pollo (translation: rice without chicken).

The ingredients are fairly simple but there might be a few things you don't have on hand. 

-Long grain rice (white rice is traditional but brown works too)
-1 can crushed tomatoes
-1 packet sazon (found in the Spanish section of your grocery store)
-Adobo seasoning
-Red & green bell peppers (2 each)
-1 yellow onion
-2-3 cloves garlic
-Juice of 1 lemon

1. Cook rice over the stove top (not the rice cooker) with the lid off until approximately 3/4 an inch of water remains in the pot.
2. While rice is cooking, prepare all vegetables: chop the peppers and onion, peel and chop the garlic.

3. When the water on the rice has mostly soaked into the rice, stir in 1 packet of Sazon and the can of crushed tomatoes, bring to a simmer and allow the liquid from the tomatoes to soak into the rice. 

4. Heat olive oil in a separate pan. Stir in the garlic, onion and peppers. When the vegetables have been cooked, mix into the rice.

5.  Season liberally with Adobo. Drizzle lemon juice over the mixture.

Serving suggestions: If you absolutely need the chicken, you can season it with a mixture of adobo and flour and drizzle it with some lemon juice before cooking. Alternatively, you can season some shrimp with the Adobo seasoning and saute. For a more substantial vegetarian dish, serve the rice stuffed inside peppers.

I find that fresh goat cheese sprinkled over the top adds a nice tangy addition if you have some on hand. 

Notes: There are a few types of Sazon and Adobo. I use Sazon con Azafran and Adobo All Purpose Seasoning. 

This definitely isn't the most traditional version of arroz con pollo, but it's one I've been cooking up a lot lately and I love it!

Do you think you'll try this?
What are some traditional foods that you like to cook?

April 7, 2015

Love/Don't Love

1. It's BASEBALL season! The Mets won their home opener against Washington and we're off to a great season! Love.

2. I had one of my longer travel days yesterday when it took me 11 1/2 hours to get from DFW back to DC after my little weekend getaway. Don't love.
3. I had a great weekend in Texas with my family. Love.

<3 Sisters
4. I brought DC'S miserable weather to Texas with me and the weekend wasn't the glorious spring weekend I was hoping for. Don't love.
5. It's finally starting to feel like spring in DC. Love.
6. My little sister and I attempted homemade macarons. They weren't pretty. Don't love. 

At least they tasted good!
7. Taking yesterday off meant that I only have a 4 day work week. Those are the best. Can we switch to them permanently? Love.
8. I didn't run all weekend because my back was in pretty bad shape. Don't Love.
9. I'm feeling much better now though after my dad worked on my back and I got some rest. I'm hoping to get in 2 or 3 easy runs before Cherry Blossom this weekend! Love.

I hope everyone had an awesome weekend and a wonderful Easter!
How did your weekend shape up?

April 2, 2015


Feeling... stiff. My back has been bothering me for a few days. I went to yoga last night and I think it made it worst!

Reading... "The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris" by Mark Kurlansky.

I've been eyeing this book for a long time now and I stumbled on it at a bookstore sidewalk sale in Georgetown over the weekend. I'm not sure how I feel about it. The first two chapters provided a history of the Dominican Republic and I found it...slightly offensive. The author claims that the Dominican Republic struggles with a true sense of identity and that of all the Caribbean nations, it has the "least distinct culture" citing that "the others all have poetic names." I'm going to continue reading it, but I don't think its fair to say that the name of the country equates to its cultural identity.

Watching... Parenthood. The Pilot and I have been watching this show since the first season but we missed the last three episodes, including the series finale.

Listening to... the Classical music station on NPR. It makes me so much more productive than just listening to whatever hodge podge on Pandora.

Drinking... hot water with lemon. It's part of my new morning routine. I've found that I haven't needed coffee since doing this.

Thinking about... the Germanwings plane crash. This one hit close to home...more so than the Malaysia disappearance or anything else. I've avoided coverage about it because I honestly can't listen to or watch it. It's devastating and my heart is grieving for the families of the passengers, but especially for the family of the pilot who was locked out of the cockpit.

Working on...
our apartment. It's almost where I want it to be. It's been a slow, steady progress, but we're almost there and I'm planning for it to be completely finished just in time to have friends over as the weather gets nicer.

Needing... to clean up my computer. Both mine and The Pilot's computers are pretty old. I'm hoping I can clean mine up and extend its lifespan until I'm ready for a new one.

Loving... the feedback on my post yesterday. This was the first time I wrote a post that I wasn't sure about posted, but everyone has been great, so thank you!

Excited about... Easter weekend!

What's on your 'Currently' list this week?

April 1, 2015

What You May Not Know About Coming Off The Pill

A few weeks after our wedding, I had a bit of a health scare. I won't go into too much detail but after talking with my doctor and doing some research, I decided to stop taking hormonal birth control.

Before I did, I picked up the book "Taking Charge of Your Fertility," a bible of sorts for those looking for more natural methods of birth control and pregnancy achievement. The author is an MPH and the book is exceptionally well researched and a best seller on Amazon.

While the book taught me a lot about how birth control works (while you're on as well as when you get off the pill), there were a few things I've experienced that I wasn't expecting. We always hear about the side effects of medication, but rarely do we consider the side effects of stopping medication.

Since coming off the pill, I've experienced a number of side effects...most of which I wasn't fully prepared for. Upon endlessly googling, I've learned that all of these things are normal, however I've decided to share my own experiences so that anyone out there looking to make a similar lifestyle change can be aware of what the side effects might be.

Before I go into detail, I need to start with the disclaimer that I am not a doctor, medical professional or healthcare practitioner of any kind. What I'm writing about is based on my own experiences. The recommendations provided are simply recommendations based on what has worked for me. Please consult your doctor before taking any of the following recommendations into consideration.
I've always had very clear skin. Sure, I get the occasional pimple now and then but breakouts had never been a problem for me...until now. Within weeks of stopping HBC, I started breaking out like a 12 year-old boy. My forehead is the worst. It was so bad at first, I thought I was having an allergic reaction to the wax at my eye brow place but when it kept happening again and again, I realized that it was a side effect of stopping the pill.  
Recommendation: I read that vitamins help with a lot of the side effects I'm referencing here, so I stocked up on a regular multivitamin, some fish oil and zinc. Within a week of this vitamin regimen, my face started to clear up. The breakouts have since returned, but I blame that on me skipping a few days of the vitamins around my period, when the breakouts are the worst.  
Heavy Periods
When I first stopped taking the pill, I didn't get my period again for 35 days. When I finally did get it, I sat at my desk in tears because my cramps were so bad. It had been two hours and nothing was helping. One of my coworkers suggested I go home and I wouldn't because the thought of getting up and taking the Metro or a cab just seemed like too much effort. I've never had cramps like this. They come in waves, like what I imagine contractions would be like, and literally take my breath away. Working out? Not an option. All I can really do is hole up and wait for the day to be over. 
Recommendation: Heating pads, Pamprin and Lemon Ginger tea. This combination is the only thing that seems to mitigate the symptoms, but honestly? I just have to wait it out. I'm hoping that in time, as my cycle regulates, things will get easier.  
Horrible PMS 
PMS starts 4-5 days before my period with me gaining an extra 5 lbs from bloating and being horribly irritable. I've found myself picking fights with The Pilot, getting angry at nothing and wanting to cry about everything. This past weekend, all I wanted was to have a good cry. I tried to watch "Les Mis" but our DVD player is broken and I was so angry that I couldn't watch it and have myself that cry that I started to cry. Totally rational, right? 
Recommendation: The same list as above...again, they mitigate the symptoms, but don't really do much to alleviate them. 
Anovulatory Cycles
I knew this one before hand. The pill stops you from ovulating and it can take months or even years to start ovulating again. While I'm not currently trying to get pregnant, every month that I chart my cycles and see that I haven't ovulated, I get really frustrated that my body isn't doing what it's supposed to. 
Recommendation: I don't really have one for this. I'm taking multivitamins, eating healthy and exercising regularly. I know that it can take awhile so I'm just waiting. I recently bought a supplement called Vitex but haven't started taking it yet. I'm due for my annual in June so I'll talk to my doctor than if my cycles haven't regulated themselves and I'm still anovulatory. 
This isn't the kind of topic that I normally talk about on my blog, but I wanted to share this because I think it might be helpful to other women. I will say that there is one positive side effect and that's knowing my body better. I can't really explain it but I just feel better being off the pill. I'm using the Fertility Awareness Method and taking my temperature every morning and charting my cycles has definitely made me understand my cycle a little bit better.

As I'm working to adopt a more natural lifestyle (eliminating processed foods, using all natural cleaners, etc.) this shift couldn't have come at a better time and I'm really glad that I'm giving my body time to work everything out before we decide that we're ready to start a family.

If you're looking to make a similar change, I highly recommend reading "Taking Charge of Your Fertility," it's an unbelievable resource and I find myself referencing it frequently. If you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them to the best of my ability. Just remember, I'm not a doctor!

Thanks for reading!

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