September 30, 2016

Reading Lately: September (Harry Potter and some Tear Jerkers)

September has been a great month for good books! After what felt like an endless string of bad books, I kind of gave up on reading anything new and launched into rereading the Harry Potter series to avoid reading another bad book. Two fifteen hour flights this month gave me ample time for reading so I've almost caught up on my GoodReads challenge!

Here's a look at what I've read this month:

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" by JK Rowling - I hated this book. I couldn't believe that this actually went to publication. If you haven't read it, here's the spolier-free premise: Harry Potter's son uses a time turner to try to change something that happened when his dad was in school. The only logical explanation I can give for this book it that J.K. Rowling was under the Imperius Cursed when she wrote this, and I refuse to believe the argument that "she didn't write it" because her name is the first name on the book and she has given more than enough interviews touting how proud she is of this project.

"The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry" by Gabrielle Zevin - I read this book at Kristen's recommendation and absolutely loved it. It's a beautiful story about a young, grouchy bookstore owner on a small island in New England. It will move you to tears but it's one of the best books I've read this year.

"Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies" by JK Rowling (Pottermore Presents, #1) - I read through these Harry Potter e-books on the flight to Australia in about two hours. I really liked them. They offered insight into some of the characters' histories and some fun back story. My favorites were about Professors McGonagall and Lupin.

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists by JK Rowling (Pottermore Presents, #2) 

Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide (Pottermore Presents, #3) by JK Rowling - I loved the stories in this one, especially about how King's Cross Station came to be!

"The Messenger" by Markus Zusak -  I loved this book. It was so different and had such a unique story. I didn't know Markus Zusak was Australian when I picked this book up in Sydney will looking for something by an Australian author. The Book Thief is one of my all time favorite books and I think book really shows Zusak's talent and diversity as a writer.

"Lilac Girls" by Martha Hall Kelly - This was a really difficult book to read but it's a story that O think needed to be told and I'm glad I read it. A WWII historical fiction novel, Lilac Girls follows three women and their experiences during the war. Caroline, a New York actress and debutante working at the French embassy trying to send supplies to French orphans, Kasia, a young Polish girl sent to Ravensbruk as a political prisoners with her mother and sister, and Herta, a young German doctor, faithful to the Nazi party and the German cause, sent to Ravensbruck to be the "doctor" at the camp. This book was shocking and harrowing. I knew I'd Ravensbruck but I never knew it was an all female concentration camp strictly for political prisoners and "enemies of state," rather than Jews, though many Jews were later sent there when the Germany started losing the war.

I picked up a lot new books at Little Free Libraries all over DC last year so my to-read list is a little out of control. My goal for the next month is to start chipping away at those books so that 1) I can read more! And 2) I can make room on my shelves for more books!

What have you been reading lately? You can link up with Carolann and me below!
Happy Reading!

September 29, 2016


Feeling... Exhausted. I didn't fall asleep until 4:30 this morning. Normally, I work from home on Thursdays, but of course, today I have to go in on no sleep! I don't know if I'm still jet lagged or what, but my sleep schedule is way off.

Reading... "My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry" by Frederik Backman. Since I couldn't sleep, I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning reading this. I love this book. It''s laugh-out-loud funny, very well written, and tells a wonderful story about not quite 8-year-old Elsa  who has always been told she's "different" and her wild, crazy grandma who tells her wonderful stories. I haven't finished this yet but I highly recommend it.

Watching... Fall TV! "New Girl" is back and just as good as the first few seasons. "Once Upon a Time" is back and just as weird as ever. I loved the first episode of "Pitch." I have to catch up on a few premieres I missed while we were in Australia, but I'm waiting for The Pilot to come home. He's been gone for a week!

Working on... Our apartment. We've been here almost 2 months but I've only been home for 3 of those weekends. I finally unpacked the last box last night, but there's still some work to be done.

Needing... a serious plan to get back on track with marathon training. I've been sick since coming back from Australia and tried to run this week and it didn't go very well. I have a plan, but I need to get better and make it happen.

Wanting... to get back to posting and regularly updating my blog. I'm in the midst of Q4 planning at work and thought it would be a good idea to do that with my life too!

Excited... for my friend Steph to get to town tonight. She's visiting from San Francisco!

Hoping... that the rain holds off for this weekend! It's been raining nonstop since yesterday!

What's on your list today?

September 22, 2016


I can't believe it's been since June that I've written one of these posts! Remember when I tried to start a link up with these? Oops!

I started my "new" job in February and it's the busiest job I've ever had. Seven months in, I'm finally starting to understand my new normal and I'm hoping that I can start spending more time on my blog again! I pulled together a drafting schedule for the month of October, and I really hope I can stick to it! For now, I think a 'Currently' post is a great way to update you all on what's going on with me!

Feeling... sick. I caught a terrible cold in Australia! Luckily, I didn't actually start feeling sick until our last day there, but I've been fighting this off since we got home on Monday night.

Reading... "Lilac Girls" by Martha Hall Kelly. If you're part of the Beyond Bloggers Book Club (or want to be!), you still have time to read this before we link up about it next Friday! It's a historical fiction book about WWII and so far, I like it.

Watching... nothing. I've been gone for the last two weeks, but even before that, things were so busy with work and running that I haven't really watched much TV lately. I am excited for Fall TV to come back, though. I'm most excited for "The Mindy Project," "Once Upon a Time," and "Scandal"(maybe). I'm pretty excited for the new show "Pitch" too, about a woman who makes it as a Major League pitcher.

Thinking about... resting up and picking up marathon training where I left off. I ran while I was in Australia, but I definitely wasn't training like I should have been. I hope that the solid 15-miler I put in before I left sets me up to pick up where I left off.

Working on... my posts about Australia! It was the most amazing trip I've ever taken and I promise it won't take me three months to get those posts up like it did with my Paris posts!

Needing... a new pair of running shoes. I've bought three this summer and returned all of them after they make my feet go completely numb about 5 minutes into the run. I have no idea why this is happening.

Craving... biscoff cookies. Yesterday, I was trying to sleep on our flight home from LA but we were in the last row of the plane and it was impossible. The flight attendant left me a biscoff cookie but I was still trying to sleep. When I woke up, she had cleared my tray table and taken it away!

Annoyed by... the complete and utter incompetence of 50% of the people on an airplane.

Excited... to start cooking my way through the cookbook I bought in Paris. The AWFUL movers we hired lost the original book I bought (it was in a bag I told them specifically not to touch but they didn't listen) and I just picked it up isn't the same, though, since it doesn't have the Shakespeare and Company stamp =(

Hoping... to rest up and recover with a lazy weekend, but also to get some miles in!

What's on your 'Currently' list this week?
Any fall TV shows you're looking forward to?

September 21, 2016

Summer in Paris: Part 2

If you haven't read my other posts about my summer trip to Paris, you can read about our itinerary, the post I didn't want to write, and part one of my adventures in Paris!

Day 6: Our 6th day in Paris, and The Pilot's last day, was filled with awesome new-to-me experiences! We started our morning doing a self-guided tour of the Opera House. I only recently learned that this was an option, after always assuming that the only way to see the Opera House was to see a performance. Of course, I had to see the famed Opera House that inspired The Phantom of the Opera, and it didn't disappoint. Though, after spending the morning roaming the Opera House, I know that on my next trip to Paris, I'll absolutely go for a performance!

The views from the balcony offered a wonderful glimpse into morning rush hour in Paris. We left the Opera House and made our way to the famed Shakespeare and Company bookstore. While this is, arguably, the most famous English-language bookstore in the world, it wasn't until a few days before we left when The Pilot and I watched "Midnight in Paris" (which I highly recommend) for the first time, that I learned of the bookstore. 

My family had to practically pry me out of the store and I came home with a few too many books!

We spent the rest of the afternoon strolling along the Seine on our way to an unbelievable dinner at Verjus.

After dinner, we finally made our way to the Eiffel Tower at night. When my mom had first been to Paris, the tower wasn't lit at night, and, while we had seen it from afar a few times, we still hadn't made our way to see the Tower lit up at night. 

Day 7: The next day, I went for a morning run in the Luxembourg Gardens while my mom and aunt wandered the gardens. We took the rest of the day pretty easy, did some shopping, and went for a long stroll in the Marais, stumbling on some adorable hidden passages with little shops. 

Day 8: On our last day in Paris, we took the metro up to Parc de Buttes Chaumont. This park was massive and I loved exploring it! I wish I had found it earlier, as it would have been a great place to run in, although, it's very hilly! We wandered the park, had lunch in one of the park's restaurants and took in the stunning views of Montmartre. 

While we were exploring, my aunt found out that her nephew had gotten to Paris that morning, so we met up with him and his wife in the Latin Quarter for dinner and drinks before heading to a bar to watch France win the Euro Cup semi-final. It was ridiculously fun and such an awesome way to end our trip to Paris.

We got up early the next morning, headed to the airport, and made our way home. Another successful Paris trip in the books!

Does this post make you want to hop on a plane to Paris?
It definitely makes me want to go back! I'm sorry it took so long for me to recap my trip! 
It's been a busy summer, but I hope you enjoyed reliving my trip with me!

September 12, 2016

Summer in Paris: Part 1

Ah, Paris. It's been two months since I came back from my favorite trip to Paris, and I'm finally writing about it.

I always like to go on vacation for the 4th of July, a trend I started after realizing that DC during the 4th, while awesome, is really quite insane.

When we first started planning this trip, it was going to be me, my mom, and, if he had time off, The Pilot. A few months into planning, my mom's sister decided to join (my Tia), and when The Pilot found out he was going to have 5 days off (unheard of), we knew it was going to be a great trip!

Day 1
My mom, aunt, and I landed in Paris on a very cold Friday morning. We checked into our hotel in the St. Germain des Pres (my favorite neighborhood), and then made our way to climb the Eiffel Tower.

I did this on my first trip to Paris at about 10:45 at night, just before they were closing, and I thought it was the biggest waste of money, but my mom and aunt really wanted to go up.

Well, climbing the Eiffel Tower at night is probably a waste of money, but during the day? Oh my goodness. Breathtaking. It was incredibly cold and windy, and raining while we were up there, and we were actually pretty miserable, but it was so worth it!

We spent some time wandering the Eiffel Tower grounds (it had stopped raining when we came down) and then called it a day!

What an incredible shot for wedding photos!!
We were there during the Euro Cup and Paris was definitely celebrating!
Day 2
When we started planning our trip, the first thing my mom said she wanted to do was to go on a food tour like the one The Pilot and I went on while we were on our honeymoon. I booked us the Taste of the Latin Quarter and it was every bit as wonderful as the first food tour we went on. Our guide, Emma, was brilliant and I immediately fell in love with her and her knowledge of French cheese!

After our food tour, we went to our hotel to pick up The Pilot who had arrived that morning! We immediately set off, first, making a stop at Poilane, for their famous apple tarts (imagine an apple pie baked into a croissant). We dropped my mom and Tia off at Notre Dame and The Pilot and I went to discover the Ile St. Louis. This was the best part of our trip, getting to see the usual sights while exploring a lot of new-to-me places!

Day 3
The next morning, we made our way to Montmartre. My mom, Tia, and The Pilot all went to Sacre Cour and I meandered off on my own to visit Espace Dali, a permanent collection of Salvador Dali's works. I fell in love with the artist while living in London and was really excited at the opportunity to visit this space! I highly recommend it!

Then, of course, we paid a visit to the Moulin Rouge and wandered to the Canal St. Martin.

Day 4
Another cold, rainy day in Paris. We made our way out of the city to the Palace of Versailles. We explored the palace, and then The Pilot and I left to rent row boats while my mom and Tia wandered the palace grounds.

We all met up afterward to visit Marie Antoinette's Estate, which I hadn't seen on my first trip to Versailles and explore the further edges of the palace grounds. I really love Versaille and would visit on every trip to Paris if I could, even if it was just to spend a day on the grounds! There are always tons of runners out and about and I would love to run Versailles sometime!

Day 5
The Louvre! Ok, I have a confession to make. The first time I went to Paris, I spent 20 minutes inside the Louvre. I paid, walked in, saw the Mona Lisa, and left. Of course, I knew there was much more to see, but the Louvre truly blew me away.

Most interestingly, aside from all of the art, is the history of the Louvre, which used to be a fortress. They're uncovering the basement (for lack of a better word), which used to be the moat around the fortress! We got to wander around the moat, which was so cool! No joke, I always used to say when I was a kid that I wanted a moat around my house.

We left the Louvre and made our way down the Champs d'Elysees, meandering, window shopping, exploring, before climbing the Arc du Triomphe, which I had never done before, and now tell everyone I know that it should be the very first thing they do in Paris.

Climbing the Eiffel Tower is great, but when you're in Paris and you want a view, what you really want is to actually see the Eiffel Tower. The views from the Arc du Triomphe are absolutely incredible and 100% worth the steep climb to the top. Though, if you're claustrophobic, I wouldn't recommend!

Our first five days in Paris were a perfect mix of seeing iconic can't-miss sights, as well as exploring new places in the city. I loved hearing my mom talking about what has changed since she was in Paris as a teenager, and showing my aunt around the city for the first time! It was so fun to play tour guide, and to realize that after so many trips to Paris, I'm really starting to know my way around!

I hope you've enjoyed this post about my first few days in Paris! If you follow my on Instagram, you know that I'm in Australia right now! The long haul flight over was perfect for finally putting this (and another) post about Paris together, and I hope you've enjoyed reading!

September 1, 2016

August Recap

August was exhausting. 

We moved into an apartment with a gorgeous pool that closes this weekend and I haven't been in it once. I was all over the place this month and I'm really looking forward to having a weekend to relax and not do anything.

Here's a look at how the month went in numbers:

Miles Run: 41.6

Minutes of Yoga: 55

Number of Spin Classes: 1, if you count the spin workout I did on the spin bike at the gym.

Number of Books Read: 5
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • Salt to Sea
  • The Tales of Beetle the Bard
Trips Taken: 4
  • Seattle/Vancouver
  • NJ
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Mystic, CT
Blog Posts Written: 9 (Much better than the 3 I wrote last month!)

30 Before 30 Items Completed: 1
  • Run another race abroad - Sea Wheeze, Vancouver, BC
  • Running an awesome race in Vancouver; meeting my new nephews
  • Being gone almost as much as The Pilot this month and being absolutely exhausted as a result
The Month Ahead:
Our anniversary is coming up and The Pilot and I taking off on an awesome trip. We both desperately need a vacation and I'm hoping that this trip will be just what we both need!

Before I start packing, though, I need to unpack the many suitcases I've been swapping out all month and spend some much needed time by the pool! 

I'm looking forward to ramping up marathon training and getting into those really long runs! 15 on deck this weekend!

How did your month shape up? 
What were your favorite memories from August? Anything fun in store for September?

Remember, Autumn doesn't start until September 22 and September is often the best time to go to the beach! No crowds!
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