December 17, 2013

That Rock…

I’ve been hiding under…
I’m finally crawling out from under it for a day or two. Since it’s been over a month since I wrote a blog post, I figured the best way to bring you up to speed would be some lovely iPhone photos…

Justin and I toured Mt. Washington

I increased my mileage up to 6.5 miles

I traveled back to Indiana for work and found this gem

We had our annual work conference in Orlando and stayed at the Disney Coronado Resort. My room key was this awesome bracelet.

While we were there we went to Universal Studios…they closed the park for us…NO WAIT TIMES!

We tailgated and went the the UT/Vanderbilt game

It was sooo cold out! I had on a bazillion layers…but the free pom poms made it all worth it

Speaking of cold, it was 24 degrees on Thanksgiving morning. I was still able to convince Dad and Justin to run Fast Freddie’s with me. It was my 11th race, dad’s 2nd, and Justin’s 1st!

My goal time was 46 minutes…I killed it!

Mom sent me a St. Nick’s gift

Which I have used pretty much every day since

My dog, Hinkle, helped me decorate the house for Christmas

I think it turned out pretty nice

Justin was a groomsman at his friend Daniel’s wedding

And last but not least…this is the to do list that is standing between me and Christmas vacation…

Only 5 more working days this year!

Enough about me already...what have you been up to?

November 4, 2013

National Running Safety Month

Running safely is always important, but it’s especially important this time of year. Daylight savings was yesterday and for runners that means running before the sun comes up and after the sun goes down on most days.

Running in the dark is dangerous for many reasons. Drivers aren't looking for runners. Also, in the dark, it’s harder to see other dangers in the road such as potholes, branches, and slippery leaves. If you’re like me though, you have no choice but to run in the dark mornings/evenings. As your head out for your runs this fall, keep these tips in mind.

Run Safe in the Dark:

Be Visible
Wear bright colors and reflective gear. I have my eye on the entire Brooks Nightlife line, but for now, my Target Gear works just fine. I have 2 blinking lights that I clip to my tights for extra visibility.

Obey all traffic laws & run against traffic
We’re all guilty of assuming the car will stop as we cross an intersection as we dart across. Crosswalks, especially the ones regulated by stop signs, are very dangerous for runners. Try to make eye contact with the driver so that you know they see you before crossing

Carry Identification
When I lived close to my parents, I used to write their phone number on the back of my hand before I went on a long run by myself. I’m still trying to get into the habit of carrying my license with me when I run by myself. You could write your name and phone number on the tongue of your running show too.

Pay Attention
If you’re like me, it’s easy to zone out while running. Stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings.  Also, leave the iPod at home when running in the dark. You need to be able to hear traffic and other people who might be out on the road.

Power in Numbers
Schedule your run with a friend. Not only is it safer to run in a group, the conversation will make the run go by faster. If you don’t have a running buddy, ask a friend to bike next to you while you run. If you do have to run solo, make sure to let someone know what time and where you are running.

You can find more nighttime running tips and information about National Running Safety Month here. 

What are your tips for running in the dark?

What is your favorite reflective gear? 

November 2, 2013

Date Night Part 2: The Worst Hibachi EVER

Remember that Groupon I told you about? The Hibachi Groupon that we planned our date night around last week? We were crazy excited when we saw a $25 for $50 worth of Hibachi Groupon last week. We both love Hibachi – I’m pretty sure Justin could eat it every night for the rest of his life and not get tired of it.

A few months ago, we went to SAGA Hibachi Stakehouse and had the most amazing experience. The food, the service, everything was five-star. The Groupon was for a relatively new Hibachi place called Dragonfire Stakehouse. We had very high expectations walking into this place….

We had a 30 minute wait so we grabbed a seat at the bar. I ordered a glass of Merlot and Justin ordered a Sapporo. When our drinks arrived, my wineglass had lipstick on the rim. I pointed it out, the bartender poured me a new glass, and everything was peachy.

When we got to our table, the waiter took our drink order. The waiter told me they were out of Merlot so I asked what other red wines were available. Turns out, they were out of red wine altogether (and vodka according to our hibachi table friends). I asked for a glass of white. When it arrived, there was lipstick on the rim of the glass!! I am NOT even kidding. I sent it back and the waiter brought me a new glass….or so I thought…upon closer inspection it turns out he just tried wiping off the lipstick and was not 100% successful. So I did what any reasonable consumer would do and asked for a to-go cup. That’s right folks, I drank wine out of a Styrofoam cup at a high-end restaurant. Classy.

After looking at the menu, Justin decided on Chicken and Scallops (I stuck with chicken and steak…the usual). When he comes back to take our order, the waiter informs us that they are out of shrimp and scallops. A few of our table friends, including Justin, switched to lobster. A few minutes later, the waiter comes back and tells us, they only have two lobster tails left and we have to decide among ourselves who would get the lobster! Justin got lucky and got one of the lobster tails (a good thing because we were considering bailing at this point).

While waiting on our chef, we ordered another round of drinks. (I know what you’re thinking…THREE glasses of wine….luckily (?) we were in the restaurant for THREE hours). I kid you not…the restaurant was down to ONE option for white wine (and still completely out of red). It’s a good thing I’m not picky about what I drink out of Styrofoam cups.

Our chef was very entertaining, but our food was prepared completely backwards. I got my steak first…and the rest of the meat was served. While we hungrily scarfed that down, our vegetables were prepared. We inhaled those as our rice was prepared…or should I say tossed around on the grill and served still crunchy. Justin was a trooper (or maybe he was just starving) and ate all of his under-cooked rice and veggies. I couldn't stomach it and left all of mine on my plate. I really hope for their sake that this is not how they operate on a normal Saturday night.

The date was saved by my amazing fiancé who left the restaurant and drove directly to the nearest FroYo place. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. GO TO FROYO.

Moral of the story: If you are ever in Pittsburgh and are craving Hibachi, go to SAGA. Stay as far away from Dragonfire as you possibly can.  

October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!!

First things first: Awkward Halloween Twinsie Picture!! I was trying to make my excited face which turned out to be open mouth as wide as possible face. I told The Boy to make an excited face and he chose instead to take a giant bite and make a "I hope no one recognizes us as we awkwardly take pictures outside of Dunkin Donuts" face.

Now, let’s all take a moment to appreciate this awesome Halloween doughnut. It was delicious.

I don’t know about you all, but I plan on eating Halloween treats All. Day. Long.

Did you know that 72% of all candy spending this Halloween will be on chocolate. Are you handing out any of the Top 10 Candy Bars
 My two favorites were ranked #8 & #9. Absurd. Clearly I need to buy more to get them ranked higher next year J
If you’re not handing out chocolate favorites this year, make sure you’re not handing out candy on this list. I was actually surprised that Candy Corn is the most hated Halloween treat. 

Speaking of Candy Corn, I saw this infographic this morning and had to share it. The National Confectioners’ Association (I wonder if they’re hiring…and if employees get free candy…) conducted a survey asking Americans how they liked to eat Candy Corn. Check out the results:

I'm with the majority on this one!

Did anyone else see Google’s list of Top Costume Searches for 2013? The top trending costume is the Minion fro m Despicable Me and the second top trend is Miley Cyrus. If any Mileys knock on my door tonight, I’m not answering.

What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Did you dress up this year?

Do you have any Halloween traditions? 

October 29, 2013

Date Night Part 1: Hot Dogs & Basketball

Hello there. I feel like I've been in hiding this month. Let me bring you up to speed with what’s been goin' on.

October was a very busy month and it was awesome. I had visitors 3 out of 4 weekends….I love visitors! Justin came up in mid-October and is here for three weeks (our longest stretch since last Christmas!). We found a Groupon for a new-ish Hibachi place and planned a date night for last weekend (review coming soon). Our date night ended up turning into a date weekend. On Friday morning a friend at work offered us her Pitt Basketball tickets for that night. She couldn't go and didn't want them to go to waste. As excited as I was to get into my sweatpants after work, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to watch a college basketball game.

Since we hadn't been over in that area of town before, my friend recommended a restaurant we should go to for dinner, The Original Hot Dog Shop

Turns out this hidden Pittsburgh gem is actually quite famous. They've been on Food Network’s Unwrapped and they were voted best fries in the US by CNNThe atmosphere at the place was awesome. I’m not a hot dog fan, but Justin LOVES them (Fiance Fun Fact #12343). He said they were top notch hot dogs. 

The fries were pretty darn awesome and the beer selection was incredible. The Original Hot Dog Shop has here by been awarded the Justin & Kimberly Seal of Approval.

 We walked up to Petersen Events Center after dinner. It’s a very impressive venue. It took us a while to figure out how to get to our seats…did I mention they were COURTSIDE? 

 I felt like I was famous. Then I felt terrified. I had to really focus on the game, which was difficult because my attention span is about 2.5 seconds. I knew the moment I looked away I would get pegged in the head with a basketball! Luckily, I did not get pegged in the head with a basketball and we had a fabulous time watching the game. It was the perfect date night :)

Blurry iPhone selfie FTW

October 8, 2013

Favorite Fall Foods: Chicken Pot Pie

Since I have class three nights a week this semester, I've been making meals on Sunday that will get me through the week. I learned the hard way that if I didn't prepare, I would end up eating frozen waffles three nights a week. Two weeks ago, Justin and I (minus the “I”) made a giant homemade chicken pot pie. We Googled a bunch of recipes and then took bits and pieces of all of them to create our own. This savory pot pie is delicious right out of the oven and made really great leftovers too!

Favorite Fall Foods: Chicken Pot Pie

Here’s What You Need:
¼ cup of butter
¼ cup of chopped onion
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 (10.75 ounce) can of cream of chicken soup (we used Campbell’s Healthy Request)
1 ½ cups of milk (we used skim)
8-12 oz cubed chicken breast (cooked)
29oz mixed veggies (we’re fans of Veg-All)
2 (9 in) refrigerated pie crusts

Here’s What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Melt the butter and stir in the onions until translucent
Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper to make a paste
Mix in the cream of chicken soup and the milk
Cook & stir until smooth (sauce will thicken)
Mix in the chicken and vegetables
Line a 2 quart casserole dish with one of the pie crusts (fold and press the edges around the dish)
Pour the chicken/veggie/sauce mixture into the casserole dish
Lay the second pie crust over the mixture (fold and press the edges to seal the crusts)
Cut several small slits in the top crust
Bake about 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling


October 2, 2013

Running Adventure, Chicken Pot Pie, and Pumpkin filled Crescent Rolls

I've been slacking on one of my goals for this semester. I have tons of half written blog posts in my notebook, but I've been struggling to get them posted. I’ll keep working on it. I am really proud of myself for keeping up with my workout schedule. Most of my runs were on the treadmill last month so I was super excited when Justin suggested we run through downtown this week.

We started our running adventure in Station Square near the Duquesne Incline.

 We ran across the Fort Pitt bridge and through Point State Park. 

There is currently a 40ft duck floating in the river by the point so we had to stop and get our picture taken with it…It’s not every day you get to see a 40ft duck!

From the point we ran across the Fort Duquesne bridge and down to PNC Park. The lights were on and someone told us the Reds were in there for batting practice. We walked around the entire stadium and weren't able to catch a glimpse of Joey Votto. Sad Day.

After we left PNC Park, we ran down to Heinz Field. I think they play football there or something.

From Heinz Field we retraced our steps across both bridges and hit the 4 mile mark. We stopped to enjoy the view and then walked the last little bit to the car while figuring out what we wanted for dinner.

We (and by we, I mean Justin) made a homemade Chicken Pot Pie. It took longer than expected to make and we were STARVING when it came out of the oven. It was definitely worth the wait. It is the most delicious pot pie I have ever eaten. Stay tuned for the recipe :)

I needed something sweet after the savory pot pie so I whipped up some pumpkin filled crescent rolls. In case it’s not obvious from my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts, I’m a tad obsessed with pumpkin so these really hit the spot.

What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe? 

Any Pittsburgh runners reading? What’s your favorite downtown route? 

September 19, 2013

Instant Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal

I am really making an effort to eat breakfast every morning. Now that I am back on my workout kick, I am working hard on my nutrition too. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It can provide the nutrients and energy that you need to get through the day.

I like to sleep until the last possible moment so it doesn't leave much time to prepare breakfast. I've been eating granola bars, bagels, and oatmeal, but I've started getting bored with those options. I worked from home yesterday and since I had some extra time in the morning I got

creative with the few ingredients I had laying around my kitchen.

Instant Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Here’s What You Need:
2 packets of instant oatmeal
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 heaping tablespoon of peanut butter
1 cup of milk
A little bit of sweetener (I used Splenda – 1 packet)

Here’s What You Do:
Combine all of the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl
Microwave for 2 minutes

It’s super simple and tastes like a no bake cookie. It’s a quick, delicious, filling, and mostly healthy breakfast. 

September 10, 2013

Copycat & Perfect Timing

The new trend on the blogs I read is posting a weekly workout recap. I have every intention of being a copycat because I think it’s a wonderful idea. It’s a great way for me to keep track of my workouts and hold myself accountable to keep up with my workouts.

A few notes:
  • I was a bit of a slacker last week. I had class three days and I skipped my run on Friday to go to Happy Hour.
  • I've been trying to include arms in my workout rotation this month, but don't really know what I'm doing

Since it was Labor Day, I could run in the morning which is my favorite time to run!
4 mile run in 39:00 flat
Bicep curls
Tricep dips
Lateral raises
1:00 plank

3 mile run

5 mile run in 47:54 (2013 PR!)
Bicep curls
Tricep dips
Lateral raises
1:00 plank

I've been struggling with figuring out the best way to keep up with running this semester while juggling everything else. It's really been bumming me out. Last Sunday (perfect timing), Janae posted this article, Maximize Your Training,  and it was exactly what I needed to get out of my funk. While my goal isn't necessarily to run fast on limited miles, it is to run on limited miles. Since I only have 4 days a week, I want to make those 4 days count.

Goals for this week:
  • Run all 4 days – don’t skip Friday!
  • Figure out how to fit in a small workout (or some kind of physical activity) on days that I have l class. I’m thinking of walking on my lunch hour on Tuesday & Thursday. I hate running at lunch, but I can definitely fit in a 2-3 mile walk and still have time to eat. 

I’m hitting my 15 day mark this week and I think I want yurbuds.
Does anybody out there own a pair?
Are they worth the investment?

September 8, 2013

Fantasy Football & What's a 4th Down?

When football season kicked off last year (pun intended!), I reminded you all just how much little I know about football. Here we at the start of another season and I could not be happier that Peyton Manning is back in my life.  He was really busy in the off season...
Shooting Rap Videos


and NFL Promos


but we are now back to our regularly scheduled, weekly dates :)

You are not going to believe this, but I am playing fantasy football this year - my cousin needed more players in his league and I volunteered! I think Justin was more excited than I was. He printed off worksheets and forced me against my will planned time to sit down and explain the ins and outs of football to the girl who barely understands what a 4th down is. That lasted about 5 minutes (when Justin realized how little I actually knew and I realized that the website listed player rankings).

It turns out, I actually learned something by listening to all Justin’s football talk :) When draft time rolled around, I was really surprised at how many players I had heard of…I was even more surprised that I knew things about them!

Check out my awesome team…

I didn’t get Peyton (and I cried for 18 minutes), but I am still pretty sure I’m going to win the league with this hard working group of players. I called each of them this morning to give them a pep talk. Even though we have a bye week this week, there is no reason for them to take it easy. Justin and I have a bet on who has the better fantasy football team and every point counts!

Prepare yourself for 6 months of football talk…and watch these Peyton Manning Commercials.

Are you in a fantasy football league?
Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a fantasy running league?
What’s your favorite Peyton commercial? 

September 6, 2013

Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies

Although fall is my favorite season, I am always a little sad when summer is over. A friend gave me a recipe for Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies earlier this summer and I never had a chance to make them. I didn't want to miss my chance, so I ran down to the Giant Eagle last weekend to try and find a decent looking bunch of strawberries (insanely difficult task in case you were wondering).

Here’s What You Need:
¾ cup of butter
½ cup of brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 ¼ cups of flour
4 ounces of instant cheesecake pudding mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 pack of crushed graham crackers

Here’s What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Mix the butter and both sugars until fluffy
Add the eggs
Bet in the vanilla
Add the cheesecake pudding mix
Add in the baking soda, flour, and salt
Mix, mix, mix!
Fold in the strawberries
Roll the cookies in the graham cracker crumbs

*This is where I got a little crazy. My cookie batter was a gooey mess :( I am not savvy in the kitchen so I have no tips or tricks for you. I ended up dumping the crushed graham crackers into the batter and mixing them in. That helped a bit. Then I added more flour until I could get control of the batter.

Once you get your batter onto the baking sheet, bake for 12-15 minutes
This recipe makes 18-24 cookies
Let cool and store in the refrigerator for best results.

Since I added the extra flour, my cookies were a bit floury (shocking). They still tasted pretty good (aka I ate 5 as soon as they came out of the oven because I have no self-control when it comes to fresh baked cookies) although they weren't near as delicious as the sample I had (from the person who gave me the recipe).  I sent her a HELP ME e-mail to try and figure out where I went wrong. By next summer, we will have this recipe perfected!

Why was my batter so gooey?
(I think it might have been the strawberries)

What is your favorite season?

What will you miss most about summer?

September 2, 2013

Chuck's 5K & I've got some work to do

First things first – Happy Labor Day! I spent the morning doing homework and will be spending the afternoon the same way. I really hope you are doing something more exciting!!

I’m two weeks late with this post, but hey, better late than never. I ran my first race of the year on August 17th – Chuck’s 5K. My friend Chuck puts on the race and it benefits my high school team, the one I ran on and the one I coached for three years. It was good to be back running with my running community. I had forgotten that feeling of being surrounded by hundreds of your closest friends.

I wore my new green shorts and looked like a watermelon

Justin was still training for his triathlon at that point, so he made the race a brick workout. While he was on his 18 mile bike ride, I was catching up with friends and did a quick half mile warm up.


The adrenaline when the gun goes off, the thrill of passing the person in front of you, knowing at mile 2.5 that you have just enough strength left for a kick….I LOVE RACING.

Post-race "we're so awesome" picture

I ran WAY faster than I expected. I was planning on a 9:00 pace and taking it easy. It turns out running with my friends motivated me.

Chuck's 5K Splits
Mile 1: 8:04
Mile 2: 8:42
Mile 3: 8:25
.1:       0:46

Time: 25:57 – my fastest 5K of the year! The first mile has a lot of downhill and was pretty fast in general. Mile 2 has all of the hills. I also recognized that 8:04 was waaaay too fast so I slowed it down. I rarely have a kick, but when I turned the last corner and saw the time on the clock, I found that kick. I wanted to break 26:00 so bad, and I did!

The race is known for unusual awards..monkey's in a barrel this year!

I was 11th place for women (there were no age group awards) and Justin was 21st for the guys. I can’t remember his time, but even after getting off the bike, he ran faster than he thought he would. It was a good running day for both of us.

I don’t have another race on the calendar until November. It’s a 5 Miler on Thanksgiving and I have a big goal: I have to place in the Top 500. This will be my 11th year running this race (and Justin's first year!). The Top 500 finishers get their name on the back of the T-shirt and I would hate to break that tradition. Last year I was 176th with a time of 38:31. To make the Top 500, I have to beat last year’s 500th place time of 46:06. I ran 5 miles yesterday in 49:46…I have some work to do before November :)

August 30, 2013

Back At It

This week marked the start of the Fall Semester and for some crazy reason I decided to take 3 classes again (actually, it’s not a crazy reason – I want to graduate ASAP!). I survived taking 3 classes in the summer, but that was just 8 weeks. Luckily, this is the last semester I have to take 3 classes…only 13 weeks to go.

I’m really excited about this semester. What am I taking? Well, I’m glad you asked!  

Marketing Management
Did someone say marketing plans? I do this for a living…if I fail the class, I’m in trouble :)

Consumer Behavior
Individual consumer? I shop all. of. the. time. I wonder if we can get extra credit for shopping? That would be a really good excuse to shop every day now through December…

Public Affairs Management
I don't have a witty comment for this me out people!

I have a few goals for Fall Semester, outside of the classroom.

The first goal is to keep up with my workouts. Since I started grad school in January, it’s been a struggle to fit in runs between work, class, and sleep. This semester I have a plan. It’s in writing – in pen, even – so I have to stick to it. I only have class 3 days a week, which means I should definitely be running or doing some workout on the other 4 days. I’ll do my best to post recaps on the blog (see goal 2) so that you all can keep me accountable!

The second goal is to keep up with the blog. I barely blogged at all during the spring and summer semesters. I’m going to blame it on the whole “move to a new city, attempt to survive 14 hour work/class days” thing. Blogging is a good outlet/stress reliever for me so I am going to try to make time to write during the week.

The third goal is to keep my apartment from looking like it is constantly in battle with a tornado. Last semester it was shoes, clothes, books, papers EVERYWHERE. This is the least likely of the three goals that I will actually achieve because, let’s be honest, if I have to pick, running and blogging trump cleaning any day. 

Now, for all of my readers: YOUR GOAL is to help meet achieve all of my goals! Hold me responsible when I skip workouts, calm me down when I get stressed out, and remind me to do laundry every once in a while....seriously...that last one is important!

Any readers out there working on their MBA or other graduate degree?

What's your best tip for staying organized? 

August 29, 2013

Pictures from Home

The last three weeks in Louisville were pretty awesome. I was going back through the pictures on my phone and decided that you all should look at them too!

August 14th was my sister's 23rd birthday. My mom hosted a bithday dinner and made chocolate surprise cupcakes (the surprise is a peanutbutter cup in the middle!).

Yes, I am wearing running clothes. No, I had no idea what Justin is doing.

After eating way too much food we went on a family walk to see the set up of The Moving Wall. I decided I would try to skip the mile home (I made it 100 ft). I guess Justin decided to pretend to be an airplane...and Brittney & Shane are behind up acting like they don't know us...

Later on in the week, Dad and I went back to The Moving Wall to see all of the exhibits (since they were still in the set up stage the first time we went).

The wall listed the name of every person killed during the war.

This is a replica of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - complete with a 24 hour guard.
Dad and I also visited Sam's Club while I was home. When I grow up, I am totally becoming a member. I love free sample day.

Fruits & Veggies anyone? We got enough to feed 10,000 people.
While in Knoxville, we went to the Sunspot for a bottle of wine and dinner. The wine was a perfect choice. You need to try it. I had the Rattlesnake pasta which was also fabulous. I ate it too fast to take a picture though.

We went to Orange Leaf about a bazillion times while I was home.I had different flavor combinations every time, but always added a sour gummy worm. You can't have FroYo without a sour gummy worm. I know you don't really want to see a picture of my empty cup, but one of the Orange Leaf's I visited had these awesome dividers.

One last thing - and I don't have a picture for it - Tuesday's post was my 

Thanks for reading everyone - I hope you're as excited as I am for the next 100 posts :)