Friday, October 31, 2014

Pile On The Miles + Burpee Challenge!

Happy Halloween! Kinda not feeling it this year. No parties, plans or costumes.

I've committed to doing 1,000 burpees starting TODAY through November 30th. Click HERE for more information and feel free to join in! 

I also signed up for Monica's Pile on the miles challenge again. Last year I walked 48 miles in November.  This year, I'm still aiming for 50 because that's an average of 12.5 miles/week and on top of the burpees, Piyo and T25, I think that's more than enough. I will aim for 2 lunch walks/week and two 5K runs. Since it'll start to get dark at 4:45 pm next week, I may even get ambitious and wake up early to run. Or Saro and I will go to the track after work where it's lighted.

Have a good weekend!

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

5K PR + 5 Reasons To Run In The Rain

I finally hit my sub 30 minute 5K last night!!! My total time was 29:54! So I just made it, but still, it felt great!

Also, it was raining. That being said, here are my 5 reasons to run in the rain:

1 // Maybe it's just me but you tend to speed up because you want to get it over with! 

2 // Not many people are out. Last night we ran on a paved trail which is usually packed with runners, walkers and bikers. We only saw 3 other people when we would normally see 20+.

3 // The rain drops cool you off.

4 // A hot shower feels that much better after a rainy run.

5 // At the end, you're glad you didn't use the weather as an excuse to skip your workout.

Also, Lindsay won my Halloween goody bag giveaway which I'm shipping out to her today - yay!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall Decor & Butternut Squash Recipe

If you haven't heard of Paper Source, I highly recommend it. They have awesome paper products, gifts & decorations.

I recently bought this "give thanks" garland kit and we put it together last night and added it to our fireplace mantel.

Currently, we are getting these steps replaced to create a bigger platform on top which is much more convenient with Murphy and winter/trekking in snow, dirt, etc. The town wouldn't let us do a mini deck which we really wanted but new steps will have to suffice. They were old and needed to be replaced.

The "T" kind of looks like a "J" but oh well ;)

Do you like butternut squash? It's my favorite kind of squash. I'm not a fan of spaghetti squash and to me, zucchini & summer squash is so blah. However I did find and make a great recipe on Pinterest for zucchini ricotta cakes. Wouldn't you agree that cheese makes everything a bit better?

Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash, about 3 lbs.
4 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 yam or sweet potato
1 apple
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp corriander
1 tsp nutmeg 
1 tsp curry powder or paste (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut milk (optional)
Chopped walnuts (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°. Chop and saute the onion in the butter for 5 minutes. Add curry and cook for 2 minutes. Peel and cube butternut squash (you can do this ahead of time or buy pre-cut). Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 15 minutes. Add to crockpot with all other ingredients except heavy cream and walnuts. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Process in batches in food processor until smooth. Add back to the crockpot with the heavy cream and simmer for about an hour. Top with walnuts and enjoy!


Lastly, me and Murphy just chillin' on Sunday.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Goody Bag Giveaway!

Whether or not we want to believe it, the holidays are coming. With that being said, crazy crowds and lines at the malls give me anxiety. People fighting for parking spaces, etc. Do what I do and shop online. Thanks to ebates, I've received over $500 cash back. Sign up here and then pass along to your family & friends using your referral link! It's LEGIT.

I'm feeling generous.  Enter below to win a fun Halloween goody bag!  It might show up after Friday though : )

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Combining Piyo + Focus T25

Last week concluded 16 full weeks of Beachbody's Piyo. My honest results are - I lost 3 lbs. Unfortunately, I did not measure myself before but my clothes are definitely baggy. I had to purchase some new work pants in a smaller size and my stomach feels leaner. My jeans are too big on me also.

Throughout the 16 weeks, my eating was good but not great. I've been having Shakeology almost every day for breakfast. 

My office. I love my office so much. They're so kind and generous to us especially with FOOD so it's hard to stay focused and on point there. My weaknesses? Bagels - which I scoop the dough out and only have half :-/ and sometimes when they bring cannolis and coffeecake from Carlo's aka Cake Boss!  Anywaayyyyyyyy....

I really love Piyo. It works muscles you didn't know existed and it's low impact. I think it has truly helped strengthen my core which in turn has improved my running. It's very different from T25 which we did in January through April. 

With both programs, I really didn't lose much weight but I feel that I'm in really good shape and again, blaming my thryoid/medication for inability to lose weight. That really has to be the main factor. I try to stick to 1,300 calories on MFP and not eat the "extra" calories after a workout.

I decided to start combining both programs for the next 8 weeks.  I found this hybrid schedule so I'm going by that. Tonight we have a work event so knowing I won't be home until late, I got up an hour early for T25 cardio and it felt great!  I think I will try to do that on the T25 days since they're short.

Have you done Piyo, T25 or any other Beachbody program?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chef Movie

 Last night we had planned to go out for free movie Tuesday only to learn that they did away with it a couple years ago. That shows how much we've been out to see a movie recently!

We've been on a bit of a tighter budget recently and to go out for a movie always leads to snacks and whatnot and ends up being $30 or more. Not to mention if we grabbed a bite to eat before or after the movie.

Instead we rented the new movie "Chef" on demand for $5.99 and Saro cooked dinner while I got a T25 workout in :)  

We both really enjoyed it! There are a lot of great actors in this movie. I also loved the soundtrack. I don't want to give anything away in case you choose to watch it.  So in case you're trying to decide on a movie, watch this one and let me know what you think!

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Five on Friday // Etsy Wish List

Today I'm sharing five things from Etsy I've been eyeing. I love Etsy! I purchased a ton from there for our wedding and I've purchased stuff for our home also.

This bag seems perfect for Fall and Winter.  

These layered necklaces.  

These hand painted vases/candle holders made in Poland.  Cute with the festive greens!

This pillow although it wouldn't really go with our currently living room decor.  

This wrap bracelet.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rainy Park Run

I feel like there are a lot of excuses one can use for not working out, and I'm guilty of it too.  Tired, sick, no time, the weather (if it's outdoors), our favorite shows are on, etc.  I rarely get sick *knock on wood* and when I do, I tend to stick to a workout because sometimes sweating it actually out helps.

Last night when I got home from work, it was windy, warm and muggy and we knew rain was on the way.  I know today I won't have time (see?) for a workout because I have a hair appointment after work and I'm usually there for 2-3 hours.  I've worked out late (9pm) at night before but then I have trouble sleeping.  I could have forced myself to get up at 6am for Piyo but I didn't.  Lately, I've been too hard on myself about getting work outs in and truly, 6 days/week is a lot.  It won't kill me to have a couple rest days.  In fact, it tends to help my performance.

Anyway, Saro and I went to the park for a trail run.  It's exactly 1.5 miles each way, so it's perfect for a 5K distance.  My map my run literally stopped at 3.10 when we got back to the car.  It's a little hilly and this trail includes about 30 stairs.  It rained poured pretty much the whole time but we managed.  It actually felt nice!  Next time I'll have to remember a baseball hat so I'm not looking down the whole time.

After that, Saro made a great dinner - Bow tie pasta with grilled split chicken breast, artichoke hearts, white beans, sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms in a white wine lemon sauce.  I can't wait to have the for leftovers for lunch :)

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fall Swag Swap

I was so excited to participate in my first blogging swap!  I was paired with Lindsay from Bourbon, Lipstick & Stilettos!  She is so nice and I'm glad to have made a new friend!  We seem to like a lot of the same things although I have yet to hop on the bourbon train ;)  Her blog is so fun - be sure to head over to her blog and see what goodies I sent her :) 

Lindsay sent me an awesome package which included a Starbucks card, a caramel pumpkin swirl candle from Bath and Body Works, cute pumpkin paper straws, a Happy Halloween kitchen towel, a little wooden decoration that says Trick or Treat, and some samples from Birchbox - nail polish, cheek stain, Benefit lollitint and the PORE-fessional.  I love everything!!!  Thanks again Lindsay and thanks to these lovely ladies who hosted the swap:

Desiree // Macke Monologues

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New 2 mile PR!

I am convinced that doing Piyo before a run, and in general is really helping my speed!  It's a great warm up and stretch.  My 2 mile PR wasn't last night but I did run 2 miles in 19 minutes flat.  My first mile was 8:48 which I think is my quickest mile since the 5th grade.  I tend to slow down after the 1st mile.

Last week however, I ran 2 miles in 18:48 which was the PR.

I think I'm ready for that sub 30 minute 5K - hopefully soon!  I've been looking up races to sign up for in November.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

A Tarot Reading

Yesterday, a friend of a friend posted something about it being a Mercury Retrograde through October 26th.  Astrology has always been interesting to me but I've never been that big on it (like reading my daily horoscope and whatnot).

Said friend offered the first 10 people who responded, a free reading.  With my current mood and feelings, I decided to see what mine read.  

"You received the Tower, reversed.  This card represents much chaos and turmoil in your life in that you thought you once had a strong foundation, but something came alone to completely undo that.  If it were in the upright position, it would mean that it has more to do with outside influences, but because it is reversed, it is you who is shaking things up.  I would urge you to shift your focus from the external of what is causing havoc in your life and put it on what part you are playing in perpetuating some of this turmoil.  That is where you will find harmony and balance."

This is definitely a little eerie, however without going into detail, I think it is pretty accurate but a bit exaggerated.  He did another one of my friend's readings and hers seemed on point as well.

You can read about mercury retrograde here.   For the Wikipedia description, here.
I had not even heard of it until yesterday.

I was born on the last day of the Sagittarius sign, 12/21.

Do you follow/believe in astrology?

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Soul Cycle For a Cause

Last night I went to Soul Cycle which is a spin studio.  My office was raising money for Partners For Women & Justice so it was for a good cause.  The studio is really nice - new, hip, fresh and relaxing.  The room is dark, music is loud and they had candles burning which gave it a nice ambiance.

Unfortunately, it's a good 40 minutes from my house so I won't be able to go on a regular basis.  I would definitely recommend it though.  Right now, there are studios in NYC, NJ, MA, DC, CA, & CT.  Check it out - maybe there's one near you!  Your first class is $20 and then it goes up from there.

I was a great workout.  I burned 531 calories in 55 minutes.  My butt hurts today from the bike seat - ha!

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sunshine Blogger Award

Happy Hump Day!

Thank you Desiree for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award!  While we live on complete opposite sides of the country, we seem to have a lot in common - mostly our love of running and all things pumpkin/Fall!

1. For purely selfish reasons, what is your favorite go-to dinner dish? I've long since run out of new, easy, good recipes, and looking to add to our weekly staple rotation!  Grilled chicken with brown rice and a vegetable OR shrimp with coconut cous cous.  Both are so quick & easy!
2. When someone asks for a book recommendation, what is the one book you always suggest?  Eek.  I haven't read a good book in a while!  I love reading so I don't know why I haven't!
3. Name a talent you have that others probably don't know about.  I think I'm a great baker.  I seem to enjoy it better than cooking.  Of course I do love all.the.sweets but I like to bake to share with others!
4. Sunsets or sunrises?
 Sunsets mainly because I'm still awake to see them!  We live on top of a hill although you really can't tell unless the sun is setting (or until you go around the block and can see the Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan).  I can see the sunset from this little window in our living room and I love that.  I keep telling myself one of these weekends I'm going to get up for a sunrise run, and I should because the sun is currently rising closer to 7am!  Is it weird that I check the sunrise and sunset time every day on my weather app...?
5. The best way to unwind after a long day is…A good workout.
6. Any guilty pleasures?  Sometimes I think it's OK to eat ice cream after a really good workout.  Last night might have been one of those nights.  We went to the best homemade ice cream place for pumpkin ice cream BUT I only ate half  ;)
7. What is a character trait you hope people associate with you?  Loyalty.
8. Favorite words to live by? "Everything happens for a reason."
9. If you could go to dinner with any one person (alive or deceased) who would it be, and what are two questions you would be sure to ask them?  The first person that comes to mind is my Grandpa Fred.  He passed when I was 2 & 1/2  and I don't remember him at all.  Hmm, questions I'd ask him?  There are some personal ones.
10. The last concert you attended that you insist others must see, too.  Hmm, it must have been Dave Matthews a few years ago.  Of course I insist but a lot of people don't like him soo..
11. Your favorite blog post - be it yours, or a post written by someone else.  This one is hard but I think I will choose my half marathon recap post.

I now nominate the following or if you're reading and I didn't nominate you, feel free to participate!

Please answer in your own post and then pass along to your nominees with different questions.

The questions:

1 - What's your favorite season and why?
2 - Coffee or tea?
3 - Where were you born?
4 - Do you like to cook?  I feel like people either hate it or love it.
5 - What is your favorite current TV show?
6 - Where was your last vacation?
7 - Are you a sports fan?
8 - Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
9 - What's your favorite smell or a smell that reminds you of something?

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Recipe - Apple Pie

If anyone wants to try the apple pie I made, here's the recipe!  I have to say the crust was amazing.  I sort of combined a few different recipes plus changed it up a bit on my own.

This is NOT a low calorie or "skinny" recipe  ;)

Sour Cream Crust:
2 1/2 cups flour.  You could use 2 but with the extra 1/2, I was able to cut out the stars.
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
10 oz butter (yes that's more than 2 sticks - eek) - cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup full fat sour cream

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and sugar.  Add cubed butter and using clean, dry hands, mix with your fingers until the butter is in pebble sized pieces.  Add sour cream and knead.  Separate dough into two equal parts, forming a ball and then a disc.  Sprinkle with flour, wrap in Saran and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Apple Filling:
3-4 lbs (I used 5 large) apples, peeled, cored and sliced.  
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp cognac/brandy (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar (can use more if you want)
3 tbsp flour

Mix all ingredients.

I let the filling and crust refrigerate over night but you don't have to.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove both crusts from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.  Roll out each crust on a floured surface until it is 12 inches in diameter.  Place one in the pie dish and press down.  You should have about a 1 inch over hang.  Add apple mixture.  Place 2nd crust on top and press edges of both crusts together.  Cut slits in the top crust and then using your egg wash (1 egg yolk and 2 tbsp cream, beaten), brush on top crust and around the edges.

Place foil on the bottom of the oven for drippings.  On the 2nd to lowest rack, bake at 375 for 20 minutes.  Lower heat to 350 and bake for an additional 50 minutes.  

My crust didn't burn!  If it looks like it's starting to burn, use a foil tent and place on top of pie.

This pie came out a little more tart than sweet.  I think next time I will add 1/4 cup raw honey and some walnuts for my husband.  I plan on making it again for Thanksgiving!

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekend Recap

It was a great weekend for sure!  Friday after work, Saro and I went to my cousin's for dinner and to spend the night.  We had the most amazing burgers from Whole Foods.  They have a burger "bar" in their meat department where you can choose your meat and what you want in it.  They're hand made.  I chose a beef burger with cheddar cheese and cooked onions.  It was literally the best burger I've ever had.  I have to see if the Whole Foods near me offers that.  She said they were around $2.50 each and they were HUGE.  If we ordered that out, it would have been $10 or more.

Saturday morning, my cousin and I ran a 4 mile race.  It was pouring rain the ENTIRE time.  It stopped right as we finished - figures!  My cousin just had a baby on June 21st and she really did great!  My time was 45 minutes and hers was 49.  Not my greatest time recently.  My clothes were soaked which added weight and my heart rate was above 200 almost the whole time.  Usually it's around 195 when I'm running.  Not to mention we had to dodge puddles and be careful not to slip on wet leaves.


After 4 months of my avocado pit sitting in water, it sprouted about 6 weeks ago and this weekend I was able to transfer it to a pot with soil.  I've heard it can take years to grow but it's worth a shot!

Lol it's so tiny and fragile.


Yesterday, we went to Applefest in Warwick, NY which is about 45 minutes from us.  It's basically a HUGE farmer's market/fair which 40,000 people attend.  It was the perfect day for it and we spent a good 4 hours just walking around.  They had some really awesome vendors there.  Some stuff was pretty pricey but we did get a few things.  

They had an apple pie contest which I entered but didn't win.  We did get to try it after they judged and I have to say it was the best apple pie I've made!  I combined a few different recipes plus added my own flair to it.  It was fun though!  The one that won looked like it had a crumb topping.  Meh, I'm a fan of a good buttery, flaky crust.

Did you partake in any Fall festivities this weekend?

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Five Months Of Marriage

Wow!  Well the last 5 months have certainly flown right by.

Since Saro and I have lived together for nearly 4 years, not much has changed with our living situation, finances, etc.

I think I mentioned that my step daughter is currently living with us, working and going to community college.  She moved in a month after we got home from our honeymoon, on the night of her high school graduation.  She lived in PA for the last 5 years with her Mom.

Overall, it's going well.  She works 20-25 hours a week and attends school part time this semester.  She is taking the bus until she gets her drivers license.  She can walk to work and we are usually able to pick her up.

It has definitely been an adjustment for me mainly because I've only lived with one person at all times in my 30 year existence - hello only child syndrome.  Now, for the last few years I've obviously known this day could come, and fortunately, I get along well with the girls.  The girls have been coming to our house every other weekend for nearly 4 years so that routine I was fully used to.  

I don't act as a disciplinarian as there is really no need for me to.  

She's doing very well for herself and has come pretty far in 4 months.  I'd like to think we are positive role models for her.  She sees that we both work full time and lead healthy, busy & active lifestyles.  She seems comfortable talking to me about school, work, boys, etc. which I am glad about.

Still, it's an adjustment.  I'm 30 and she's 18 and I will be totally honest and admit that I do not think I was quite ready for this.  However, it just so happened that we got married the same year she graduated high school.  There was talk of her coming to live with us after high school but with the wedding planning for the last year, it was in the back of mind during that time period.

Saro and I still have weekly date nights - out or at home; and we are planning a big trip for next year.  My other step daughter is a senior in high school and she could very well be joining us next year as well.  

I also feel anxious in general when I don't have anyone to talk to who can relate to something I'm going through.  I'm thinking about attending a step mom group.  I know someone else who goes and I am thinking it can't hurt.  I'd like to hear other people's experiences and stories.


Another thought in the back of my mind is that my reproductive endocrinologist wants me to see an infertility specialist to confirm 100% that I do not have any eggs.  I told him I am 99% sure I don't.  He called me a pessimist which I didn't really appreciate.  I told him I am not negative, I just think everything happens for a reason and I'm not sure I'm all for egg donation or adoption.  We would also have to do a lot of research on both before deciding.

So I'm always saying WHAT IF to myself - what if I DO have eggs?  We would have a baby and then WHAT IF we have to sell our house and move to a bigger one?

But I don't want to move.  We've put sweat, blood and tears into our house.

  I start to drive myself crazy and get really worked up over it.  


I hope you all have a good weekend and thanks for reading this longer than anticipated post!

I'm looking forward to my 4 mile race with my cousin tomorrow and then going to Applefest with Saro on Sunday.

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