One in a million

Today’s run was one in a million. It was one of those runs that inspires you to keep running consistently even though you hate it it’s challenging both physically and mentally 85% of the time.

I set out in the mid-afternoon sunshine without an exact plan in mind. I ran around the river, and just kept going, enjoying the weather and my stride. I didn’t really glance at my Garmin until I was almost finished, and I was surprised to see I had gone 7 miles. I felt like I could have kept going forever, but do to the fact I have a life and obligations (including a sick puppy at home) I made myself stop, get off my runner’s high and come back down to Earth.

Although most of my runs aren’t this easy and enjoyable, this run made me remember why I put in all that hard work and effort. If you are new to running, or coming off of a rough spell, just keep moving! Need more motivation? Try signing up for a road race. I’m all signed up for the Twin Lights Half Marathon on the North Shore this May. That leaves plenty of time to train!

After some sleepy-time tea and several homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (one for each mile?) I’m ready for bed. Here’s to hoping the puppy has a healthier night.

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Rough Night

It was a rough night for everyone in our house last night, but I think Mango suffered the most. Our poor little pooch was up with an upset tummy ALL night long, which means none of us got a lot of sleep.

We went to bed around 11pm per usual, but around 1am Mango started crying. Sometimes he cries at night because he is thirsty or wants a toy, but this was not the case last night. Ross finally got up to take him out, but it was too little too late. Mango had already relieved himself in the hallway. We were angry (and tired) and just thought it was one accident, but just 2 hours later it happened again, and again and again. Ross gave him a bath at 1:30 in the morning (complete with a blowout) I got up and took him out every hour or so after that, but when I fell asleep on the couch around 6am I woke up 30 minutes later to find Mango relieving himself in the bathroom. I could hardly be mad, I mean he was obviously sick and in his defense, he did go into the bathroom.

Around 7am Mango and I went out for a walk by the waterfront, it was snowing a bit, the sun was bright coming up over the ocean and it was really beautiful. I realized that even though having a dog is a huge responsibility, and on nights like last night it seems like a ton of work, it is so rewarding. He is a great friend, a perfect exercise buddy and such a little love bug!

Maybe we can invest in some doggie diapers?

He seems to be feeling better now, I’ll keep him on the supermodel diet (only water and ice cubes) for the rest of the morning and try feeding him some bland rice/chicken mixture later this afternoon. I’m assuming it’s something he ate, since he eats EVERYTHING. Feel better little Mango!

I was tired this morning, but still wanting to make the best of this Monday. So when life gives you lemons, make cinnamon french toast (with fresh cinnamon bread from Bovas) with maple syrup and bananas:

Ingredients:
2 Eggs
2/3 Cup Milk
Dash of Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
6 thick pieces of bread

Whisk 4 first ingredients in large bowl, coat bread slices with mixture and place on preheated/buttered pan. Flip a few times until both sides are toasty brown.

I’m going for a run to enjoy some more of this sunshine.

No Football? No Problem!

I’ve been loving this football season, I’m so proud of my Patriots and can’t wait for the big SUPERBOWL championship one week from today. That being said, I’m happy to have a break from football today. I was a little stressed by last weeks game, which caused my blood pressure and anxiety to skyrocket. Was that just me?

I’m a Boston sports fan, but admittedly, not a very good one. I get involved during the big championships, I want to marry Tom Brady and I buy $15 dollar Bud Lights at Fenway Park, but other than that I’m pretty ignorant. For example:

I was walking down the street in the North End Waterfront with my sister’s fiance recently. He said ‘hi’ to some guy walking by pushing a baby carriage, and then announced to me excitedly “that was Chára, I knew a few of the players lived in this area”. I turned back to look at said player, and not wanting to show him what an uninformed, bad sports fan that I am, I replied confidently “Oh yeah, Chára, you can tell those Celtics players anywhere, they are soooo tall” to which he responded “Chára plays for the Bruins”. Ooops. What is a 6’9″ guy doing playing hockey anyway?

After sitting though 2 games, roughly 8 straight hours and 4 bowls of chili last Sunday, I am ready for a change. I’m going to walk the pup, make a fun breakfast and a food plan for the week that does not include a drop of chili. I’m going to go to the gym and workout myself, instead of sitting on my butt consuming tons of food while watching a bunch of other people run around burning calories.

Lastly, I’m going to watch Desperate Housewives. Yes, that show is still on and it’s the last season! Do you have any favorite old cheesy tv shows you just can’t let go of, even if it means spending $150 dollars on the entire Gilmore Girls collection. Again, was that just me?

Some Friday Favorites

Our Chinese New Year celebration was incredible last night! The family who throws it is a family I used to nanny for all through college. They have one daughter, who was always an amazing little kid and she is now growing up to be such an intelligent and sweet girl!

(Kata and me about 5 years ago on a beach in Sentosa Island, Singapore)

Us catching up last night at the Chinese New Year party last night

I woke up this morning feeling very excited for no reason in particular; just because it’s Friday, because I was going to yoga and looking forward to the weekend in general. That excited mood lasted until I stepped foot outside the door and was hit by cold rain and instantly wet Ugg boots (it’s what I deserve for still wearing Ugg boots I guess). My mood is definitely effected by the weather, and I’m glad I didn’t take the time to look out the window this morning or watch the news before yoga, otherwise I’m pretty sure I would have just stayed in bed all day.

I’m trying to overcome this in a way other than buying a one-way plane ticket back to Costa Rica. Yoga class with Sarah at the Beacon Hill Athletic Club was uplifting, and here are some other things I’m excited about today (other than snuggling on the couch with Mango):

-Turning my bathroom into a spa by using aromatherapy shower tablets I bought at Wholefoods yesterday

-Planning out a long run for tomorrow, I think my running weather will be back!

-Making a Quiche (anyone have a great recipe they want to share?!

-Going to CVS to print out some pictures and actually make use of all the beautiful picture frames Ross’s Mom got us for Christmas.

-Meeting up with some good friends downtown this evening.

If you need some rainy Friday cheering up, I recommend reading this hilarious, adult-only children’s book. I bought this for my sister (who is a new mom) but I think anyone who has ever had a child, who has taken care of children or even just heard other peoples stories will be able to appreciate this!

You can hear Samuel L.Jackson read it online <a href="<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CseO1XRYs9I“>”>here

The Great Escape

Last night my sister Alaina and I made a little escape of our own to the aptly named restaurant Great Escape in Salem.

Sometimes it’s hard to step away from work, household chores, exercise routines and family duties and just take some time for yourself, but going out with friends (or in this case, sibling friends) is a great way to relax and recharge!

The restaurant is in an old jail and they are working that theme in a really fun way, similar to the Liberty Hotel downtown Boston.

The service was fantastic, as was the food. We split the bruschetta for an appetizer, and I ordered the steak tips for my main course. We only ate half our dinners, we had to leave room for dessert of course! Alaina had told me she loved the canoli there and that it might be better than any she’s had in the North End. Being a North End resident and a lover of North End canolis and food challenges in general, I couldn’t just believe this to be true and had to try it for myself. I have to report that she just *might* be right.

#shesright #Imscaredofthemafia ;/

Exciting News!

Let every day be the first day of the rest of your life,
but especially let today be a new beginning.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

A few days ago I alluded to having some good news to share on here, and now that it’s *officially* official I can happily announce I have accepted a job at a wonderful company, and couldn’t be more excited!

My first day will be almost exactly one year from when I started teaching in Costa Rica. Wow, it’s AMAZING how much can change in a year!

I think it’s a widely accepted fact that the job searching process can be a difficult time, filled with ups and downs, disappointments, false hopes and some seemingly impossible decisions. It can also be a great way to brush up on your writing, take a good hard look at yourself and find the connection between what you are really good at, and what you really love to do.

I was very lucky to have the time and support to be able to make finding a job my full-time job this the past month. I read the 2012 edition of “What Color is Your Parachute”, I researched companies on job sites and then individual websites, I did some networking and took time for some serious self-reflection.

It wasn’t easy, but it certainly has proven to be rewarding. My advice to anyone in the position of searching for a job or a new career path would be: Use your time as efficiently as possible, be gentle with yourself and don’t lose hope! As I said, it’s not easy, but I promise it’s worth it!

It’s especially worth it if your wonderful boyfriend brings home flowers and champagne to celebrate the job (somebody’s happy not to be footing the bill anymore… hahaha…. but seriously.)

Bright Sunshiny Day

It’s hard to believe just two days ago we were playing with Mango in this:

Well, there isn’t much of that white stuff around after today’s sunny 55+ degree weather! Rachel and I soaked up the sun while running around the Charles, please note that Rachel is running in only a T-shirt in January!

We took it slow and ran/walked about 5 miles. After, we stopped at Wholefoods and spent about a full hour in the body/retail shop there and between the testers and free samples, I think we managed to get away with a free full facial.

The older I get, the more self-conscious I am becoming about my skin, or rather what is happening to my skin (hello wrinkles!) I’ve never been the best about taking care of it, and I want to get into a better routine before it’s too late. As much as I wanted to purchase everything in the store, I decided that before spending a ton of money on any products I should do a little more research and shopping around. I guess that is growing up, wrinkles and practicality.

I did end up stocking up on Chobanis (on sale for a $1), and bought some great salmon for dinner. Did you know fresh salmon is good for your skin, cheaper than some facial lotions and certainly tastier.

There’s still some sunshine left, so I’m going to finish my Chobani and head out for walk #2 with Mango, then hopefully get my stretch on at yoga this evening, all this running lately has got me feeling tight!

Happy Chinese New Year!

If you didn’t get those New Years resolutions going already (or if you’ve already broken them) here’s another chance! 2012 is the year of the Dragon, symbol of prosperity, luck and good fortune.

I know it’s a tradition for many people in the United States (or at least New England- do other places do this too?) to order Chinese food on New Years Eve.

This made me wonder, do the Chinese celebrate their new year by eating pizza and cheeseburgers in return? The answer: Absolutely not. Here are a few menu options you might find at a Chinese New Year party:

* Lotus seed – signify having many male offspring

* Ginkgo nut – represents silver ingots

* Black moss seaweed – is a homonym for exceeding in wealth

* Dried bean curd is another homonym for fulfillment of wealth and happiness

* Bamboo shoots – is a term which sounds like “wishing that everything would be well”

And what you won’t find:

* Fresh bean curd or tofu is not included as it is white and unlucky for New Year as the color signifies death and misfortune.

I started celebrating the Chinese New Year in college, when I was working as a nanny for a Chinese/American family. I’ll be attending their annual New Year’s party on Thursday, and you better believe I’ll be all over that black moss seaweed platter.

Mmmmmmm

I have been super busy lately, and will *hopefully* have some very good news to share on here very soon. I don’t want to jinx anything, but it is the year of the dragon after all…

Let it Snow! Yeah, I said it.

I know, a lot of people complain about the snow. It’s inconvenient, cold and makes for terrible commutes. It’s Saturday though, I don’t have anywhere to go, I don’t have a car in the city AND I missed all the crazy snow last year so I’m going to totally enjoy this gorgeous white stuff that I woke up to!

Last night my friend Kristina flew in to Boston and spent the night with us! She lives all the way in LA, so it’s always a special treat when she visits. We went out to City Bar last night, it was small and there was a really loud DJ (terrible combination) but the drinks and service were wonderful!

She took the early train to Gloucester this morning. I was sad our visit was so short, but we got to have a fun walk in the snow before she left.

All this snow does put a damper on my outdoor running, but gives me a great excuse to start at free week trial at the Beacon Hill Athletic Club right down the street. They are offering a free week trial for the month of January, and while running on a treadmill doesn’t sound super exciting to me, the steam room option does!

I’ll try to get there this afternoon, but right now Ross is making an amazing smelling turkey breakfast burrito (he found this recipe from the Biggest Loser that he really wanted to try) and I’m snuggling on the couch with my puppy, watching the snow fall on Hanover St, drinking coffee and thinking how nice it is to finally be *home*

Wine Connoisseur-ish

I am a huge red wine fan, so much so that I actually missed it a lot while we were in Costa Rica all last year. There was red wine there of course, but it wasn’t that good (excluding a few Argentinian and Chilean options), it was pretty expensive (Yellow Tail sold for over $15 dollars a bottle there, to put things into perspective) and who really wants to drink red wine in all that heat and humidity? Luckily, winter in Boston is a great time to enjoy red wine (and all those health benefits that come along with it, of course).

Although I enjoy picking out different wines, I am no Connoisseur. I always mean to write down the names of the kinds I like, but after a few glasses of wine, who is really making lists?

So, while I have no idea what I’m doing, I do have a bit of a system down for picking out wine:

1. I like to read the descriptions in the store. Trader Joes always has fun signs, and so do some liquor stores. Of course a store trying to sell the wine is always going to give it a good write up, but I’m a sucker for this. For instance if I see: “Strong tannins, fruity, goes well with cheese and pasta” I think how much I love cheese and pasta, so I buy the wine. Is there really a wine out there that wouldn’t pair well with cheese and/or pasta? If so, I haven’t found it yet.

2. The price. This is more important when ordering in restaurants for me (where the price is 5X higher than in the store). I was once told by someone (I can’t remember who, but they must have been a very reliable source) that it’s best to pick a wine in the mid-price range, the lowest probably isn’t very good and the highest are just ridiculous. So, when in Trader Joes I don’t normally go for the 2 buck chuck (which is actually $3 dollars in Massachusetts)

2. The label. Come on, we are all suckers for this! A witty slogan, a cute animal or any kind of theme and I can’t resist. Last night, I picked out a bottle of wine called ‘Tres Pinos’ because there is a food company in Costa Rica that I really liked called ‘Dos Pinos’ (who also makes great cheese, at least great cheese for Costa Rican standards.)

I realize this makes no sense, but the wine was really good (and a perfect compliment to our grilled Kobe beef burgers and roasted brussel sprouts) so maybe I’m on to something!

Do you have a system for picking out wine? Any real connoisseurs out there who would like to share some favorites and/or insult my very ineffective system??

Salud 🙂