Springing Ahead

I don’t know about you….but by January 2nd I was so ready for winter to end this year. I would consider myself a summer person, I guess growing up in a beach town that is TOTALLY dead between the months of November-May will do that to you. I try to make the best out of winter around here (or I move to Costa Rica…) but this winter was so long, so cold, and just so seemingly never ending.

 

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It’s finally mid-April and sunshine and warmish weather have made their way (slowly but surely) to Boston and the only Winter coming anytime soon is on Game of Thrones. Here’s whats going on now that I’m coming out of hibernation:

I have a yoga class! My first very own weekly class! I’ve been teaching for almost a year now, but on a very sporadic schedule. Now you can find me up ridiculously early Monday mornings to teach a 6am Rise & Shine Vinyasa class at Charlestown yoga. There is nothing I would rather do before dawn than share my practice with some amazing students! I’m looking forward to improving my teaching, and knowing I have a class to teach each week helps keep me on track with my own practice during the rest of the week (you’ve got to practice what you preach after all) and I’ve also been ramping up my own at-home practice (hello headstands!) and putting together some great playlists.

Traveling: I have a busy month at work with marathon season in full spring! I’ll be working the Boston Marathon expo next weekend- stop by the Marathon Tours booth and say hello if you are running/going to be in Boston for the marathon weekend! It will no doubt be an amazing and emotional weekend in Boston after the events last year, and I am so excited to get to be part of it. I’m not running Boston this year, but I really want to do it again some day. Add it to the bucket list!  After Boston I’m headed out to Monterey, CA for the Big Sur International Marathon (again, not running, but working the expo) and the weekend after that going to be in Vancouver, Canada for the marathon expo there. Lots of flying (did I mention that I hate flying?) but also lots of fun cities and people to meet.

Between yoga and work and traveling for work, it will be a busy spring, but a fun one. Last night we went out to dinner at Papagayo– the fish tacos here are strongly recommended, at least 5 of us ordered them last night. We are nothing if not original.- and then we went out for drinks and dancing at Bell in Hand to celebrate a friend’s birthday (25th birthday, hence, Faneuil Hall). I’m impressed with myself for the fact that even though I’m 30 now, I somehow managed to stay out all most of the night (we may or may not have been one of the first to leave) and still make it to the gym for a killer workout this morning. Boom!

Tonight we are meeting friends to try a new restaurant Steel and Rye in Milton, MA. Ross & I tend to have our favorites and not always be the best about branching out to try new restaurants (we also just don’t go out to eat that much in general) so I’m really excited for this! I’ve also already extensively read the menu online. Fact: If I don’t do this, I’ll spend most of the night reading the menu and ignoring my friends who I’m there to see.

What are you up to this weekend? Are you as excited about spring as I am?! (Ignore this question if you live in the Southern Hemisphere. Or Winterfell).

Lemon Ginger Echinaca Juice = Comfort in a Cup

erWhenever I’m in Trader Joe’s, I pretty much end up buying anything they give out as a free sample. Genius marketing really, giving out samples of delicious, healthy foods and beverages that sell at affordable prices. Why didn’t I think of this?!

Normally when food shopping, I try to be good and stick to “the list” (at least when I remember to make “the list”. Or when I actually remember to bring the dang list to the store with me). This list rule works just fine at most places. It’s not very often I walk into one of the large local grocery stores around here and get blown away by some amazing products they are offering. I’m usually blown away if the meat doesn’t expire well before the sell by date….

Trader Joe’s is a different story. I go in each time excited about what new experience I will have and what new discoveries I will make. Today, Ross and I discovered Trader Joe’s Lemon Ginger Echinacea juice. I’m not even a juice person (I’d rather eat a piece of fruit, feel fuller and consume less sugar and artificial flavoring), but there is something special about this beverage! Similar to apple cider, I’m told it’s good hot or cold (I’ve only had it hot, and probably only will!) It tastes more like a tea than a juice (and since ginger tea is a main ingredient, this makes sense). The spicy ginger, zesty lemon and soothing honey are the perfect winter warming combo. Since apparently everyone and their mother currently has the flu right now, I think we can appreciate the health benefits of echinacea.

Echinacea aside, if you’re looking for a fitness drink, this isn’t it. It’s more of a cozy treat to help get you through the long winter months and the even longer colds that we often suffer during these months. If you’re already getting a little tired of the hot cocoa and herbal teas you’ve been drinking all season, I definitely recommend giving this a try! If you’re feeling extra ambitious you could even add whiskey and concoct your own Hot Toddy recipe using this.

LGE Juice

Monday – 1. Me – 0.

You win Monday. You win. I really had good intentions of having a good day. I sang along to Christmas tunes during my morning commute in the rain, had my workout planned out and packed a healthy lunch.
Then Monday kicked my ass. A lot of last minute urgent stuff came up at work, I didn’t get to the gym I didn’t even eat my grilled chicken and quinoa but instead mindlessly snacked on yogurt and chocolate during the day. I guess I needed the sugar high overdose to get me through the day?
Somehow I did make it though. I sang along to more Christmas music on the rainy commute home, ran a few miles outside with Mango and heated up the chili I made yesterday to enjoy during Monday night football tonight.

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So today sucked in a lot of ways, but it’s not all bad. Days like this make it easy to want to just complain, be miserable and keep the bad mood going further into the week, but you see that is exactly what Monday wants. Don’t give in to that!

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Feeling Festive

ABC Family’s 24 Days of Christmas has invaded our home and our lives. Once you start with the cheesy holiday movies it’s impossible to stop. I feel like I’ve been in the house watching movies and baking holiday cookies for eternity and there is still a few more weeks to go! We did however manage to break away from the holiday movie watching and decorating a bit this weekend:

Friday night Ross and I drove up to Gloucester after work to attend a fundraising event for a friend who is currently battling a rare form of cancer. It was really amazing to see the whole community come together for such a great cause. I have not lived on Cape Ann for about 10 years now, but this weekend I felt very proud to call it “home”.

The weather Saturday just made me want to crawl under a blanket and stay there until July. Snow in December? Bring it on. Cold wet rain? Blah! We had breakfast out with my sister, bro-in-law and niece.

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After a Bloody Mary (pictured above) Ross was able to convince me to venture out in the cold wet woods to cut branches from pine trees to make garland. While pine trees seem to be everywhere when you aren’t looking for them, they are pretty scarce when you are. We had to hike all the way to the North Pole,  it took awhile but we collected enough pine just before the frost bite set is.

Pine tree branches + green wire = really pretty looking (and smelling!) garland.

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Back in Boston this morning we had an incredible treat… An authentic Costa Rican breakfast with some other gringos who have lived/taught there. I have been pretty homesick for CR lately and it’s amazing how much some gallo pinto, mucho cafe and shared memories can help.

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Can’t forget the Chikys!

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I’m ending this weekend full and happy. Let the holiday movie marathon commence!

Weekend Update

Hey Sunday! You came fast. I hope everyone has been enjoying the weekend- it’s be sun filled and mild here in Boston. The boys and I spent another weekend at home, we are usually all over the place on weekends, but lately I’ve just been too tired by the end of the work week to get up and out. How bad is that? I blame the commute and the change of seasons. Mostly the commute. (the bad weather and daylight savings have not been helping my already long daily drive). Do you have a long commute?  This is how I’m dealing with it:

Yeah. So anyway…

Friday I got home around 7pm after sitting in traffic, nearly in tears and tried to convince Ross we should rush to catch the 8pm yoga class we had planned to attend. Ross, knowing me better than I know myself, realized that the best thing for me to do would be to immediately get into sweatpants, have a glass of white wine at watch 90s movies and pass out at 11pm.

Good call Ross! I woke up early Saturday morning feeling much better! We took Mango for a walk, went to a 9:30 am hot yoga class at Prana, stopped at Starbucks (I got a feta spinach wrap and grande coffee with 1 peppermint shot and skim milk. This drink is almost as good as the Peppermint Mocha latte, for less calories and $$$) then did some grocery shopping for the week at Trader Joes.

Saturday night we went to dinner and a movie. How original are we? Dinner was at Stoddards. I’ve been there for drinks before but never for food. I was surprised that almost all the dinner tables were taken at 5pm! Ross absolutely loved his burger and french fries, and I was pretty happy with my vegetarian pot pie with root vegetables (and half of Ross’ french fries). As I recall, the cocktails here are amazing, but since we had a movie to catch (and stay awake for) we both choose an IPA from their extensive beer list. After dinner, we saw Argo. Great movie! Not my favorite of all time, but very interesting and suspenseful. We spent the rest of the night discussing our conspiracy theories about the CIA, as well as conspiracy theories about the sodium content in movie theater popcorn  🙂 It’s been awhile since we had a date night, I think they are important  for our relationship and something that we should be better about doing weekly or at least bi-weekly.

This morning I made multi-grain pancakes with fruit for breakfast, and as a result have been super hungry all day. I love pancakes, and while the idea of a pancake breakfast makes me happy, it never fills me up for long. Perhaps it’s the lack of protein? Next time I’m going to try something like this this recipe from Men’s Health.

But for today, back to the carbs! I went for a post-pancake  2 mile run (I had scheduled a 6 mile run this weekend, but it just didn’t happen.)  A little later, our friend Scott came over for football, pizza and beer. I partook in the pizza and beer, but chose to do some blogging/ researching DIY Christmas gift ideas on Pinterest in lieu of actually paying attention to the game today. Priorities.

What are you up to for the remainder of your weekend!?

What the hill was I thinking?!

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“What the HILL was I thinking?”This was the phrase we saw on a few people’s shirts this past weekend, and it was quite appropriate for the Twin Lights Half Marathon. Beautiful course, but definitely hills the whole way, and the one between mile 9 and 10 was not for the weak, thank goodness to the man blasting the Rocky theme song from his minivan on that hill, it was probably the only thing that could have gotten me through without stopping. Yeah I kinda felt like this after I made it to the top:

 

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I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed in our 2:08 finish. I had trained a lot for this, and I’ve also done several half marathons in under 2 hours (which is what my goal was for this) Tough races happen though, it’s part of running life. I was  dealing with a lot of pain in my lower calf,shin and ankle,and pretty much fired my right leg halfway through the race, NBD. So, it wasn’t the easiest run, there could have been a few more water stops (they ran out of gatorade at every water stop, and out of water completely at a few,,not acceptable for a half marathon in 70+ degree weather). The volunteers who were there did a great job though, and it made me really want to volunteer at a race sometime soon.

 

I did not get pictures of us before or during the race, I’m hoping there will be some posted online, because I’m sure pictures of me dehydrated, in serious pain and hopping on my left leg are going to frame-able. My biggest complaint is that they didn’t give out MEDALS! Only the top 3 finishers recieved medals 😦 I think it may be the 1st race I ever ran that didn’t give them out to all finishers, and I hope it’s my last. It made finishing so anti-climatic!

We spent the rest of the day with Moms (our Moms) walking stumbling around Rockport and enjoying the sunshine. Please notice my twin Lights shirt in front of the Motif #1. It doesn’t get much more Rockport than that folks:

 

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Ross and his Mom found their own little piece of Rockport named after them (Donovan’s Corner, which also appears to be Tuna Wharf. I would like to point out that Ross’ last name is in fact Donovan, and not Tuna)

One of the highlights or the weekend was our dinner at Giuseppes. I’m usually more of  a seafood fan when in the North Shore, but this little Italian restaurant was so much fun, you don’t even notice the food (which wasn’t bad at all by the way, and as I North End resident I feel I have a bit of knowledge in this area). They have a piano bar, literally the piano is a bar and it is the centerpiece of the restaurant. People go up and sing, some voluntarily, some get forced/bribed into it, and some even get challenged to a sing-off. 2 out of 3 of these situations applied to me Saturday night, can you guess which ones? Good news is, we totally won the sing off!

Race is done, Moms are spoiled and I have piano bar bragging rights. Goodnight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Women’s Day : Thoughts on Hair Removal

Happy International Women’s day!

How did you celebrate? I took some time tonight to go for a run and enjoy the near 60 degree Boston weather. The boys (Ross and Mango) stayed home and made me dinner:whole wheat pasta with EVOO, sauteed peppers and spicy Italian chicken sausage topped with a little shaved Parmesan and Romano cheeses. Yum!

Before this celebratory dinner, I decided to stop in CVS on my way home from the run to pick up a few necessities: toothpaste, candles, mint face mask and razors. I haven’t had to buy many of these things since being back in the States, because both our families did a great job at buying us life necessities for Christmas presents and we’ve been fully stocked on shampoos, soaps, laundry detergent and the like. I’m sure they put a lot of thought into these gifts (ie it is no longer acceptable to be a dirty, hippie, backpacker. Take a shower, put on clean clothes and get a J.O.B)

While shopping for most things came back to me naturally, I did get stuck in the razor department in CVS. For one thing, razors costs like a million dollars. That may be a slight exaggeration, it’s more like 10-17 dollars a pack, but dang those things are expensive. With this kind of financial commitment, I decided I needed to pick out the perfect razor(s). But how? My first plan of action was to read the literature on the package to find out why one razor was worth twice as much as another. Unfortunately, most of the print wasn’t in English, and it took me awhile to translate. Nonetheless I definitely recommend taking the time to do this! Otherwise you might find yourself paying extra for SCENTED HANDLES. Why would someone want the handle of their razor to smell like raspberries? Does anybody really want this?

Once you get past the raspberry issue, there is the blade number. You can buy razors with anywhere from 1 to 1,000 blades. I usually go with a happy medium, like 4 blades/razor. I still don’t understand the blade/razor ratio. I thought a razor was a blade (hence razor-blade). Is it better to have one razor with lots of blades, or many blades but just one razor?

While I’m pondering this, I’m going to go ahead and book a waxing appointment. I highly recommend Jacquelyn’s Waterfront Spa in the North End. It’s super cute, very affordable for Boston prices, and raspberry handles are not included.

Finger Paints and Fried Clams

My weekend started early Friday morning when I hopped on a train home to Rockport, MA. I got to babysit my adorable niece Halle. We spent the day kissing, coloring and eating gingerbread. As if that wasn’t fun enough, when my sister got home from work we went to Island Art and Hobby, bought some paints and did some finger painting!

At first Halle seemed a little worried as to why the crazy grown-ups were sticking her hands and feet in gooey paint, but she was loving it by the end.

Halle’s Masterpiece.

All this finger painting inspired Alaina and I, and after bathing a paint-covered Halle, putting her to bed, and having a few glass of wine we decided to stay up all night and paint.

Alaina’s whimsical tree (notice the high-chair easel)

My African Elephants

Mom’s Mudroom turned art gallery.

After being up to 2am painting, this crazy person got up at 7:30am and ran 6 miles. I can’t resist running in Rockport, it’s one of the most beautiful and serene places I have ever been. It makes me want to give up city life and move home and paint and run next to the ocean every morning.

Later that afternoon I took my boys (Ross and Mango) to the beach for lunch and playtime. I was starving after my run and couldn’t resist ordering the fried clams and clam chowder (along with a healthy salad of course). I do not do a lot of fried food and cream, but if there is any time to splurge on that it is on New England seafood.

Not the easiest thing to eat on the beach, but delicious nonetheless.

My lunch dates

I’ll include a few more fun beach pictures, if for no other reason than I want to post the pictures while I have them. Shortly after these were uploaded, my 4 year old camera decided to stop turning off and tell me the lens is broken. Off to the camera shop tomorrow…

Happy SUPERBOWL Sunday. Go PATRIOTS!!!!

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.

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