Category Archives: Holidays

Home For The 4th (and 5th) of July

Hiya, friends!  I hope your long holiday weekend is going great so far!  On Wednesday, I hopped on a flight home to Syracuse, and I’ve been fully enjoying Central New York.

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A little different than New York City, right?

My first stop after the airport was Wegmans.  Obviously.

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I have yet to find sushi that even comes close to this in NYC.

While home, I needed to complete a tempo run, so I signed up for my hometown’s 4th of July 5-K.

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I debated whether or not I should write a race recap, but honestly, there isn’t too much to say.  I did a quick warm-up mile on the high school track, and excluding two big hills at mile one and two-ish where my pace creeped up to 8:1X, I hit and held my tempo pace.  Official finishing time was 23:36 (7:36), which I’ll take for not “racing.”  Shortly after, I took Zelda for a “recovery jog.”

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Good news—the Mizuno Wave Sayonaras can withstand both road racing and greyhound walking!

Anyway, later that afternoon, my entire family—aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents—came over for 4th of July festivities.

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My uncle’s girlfriend’s mother made this patriotic fruit salad, and I had to try really, really hard not to put away the entire spread.  The fruit was delicious, but it was the dip that proved to be my demise: fluff and cream cheese.  Yum!

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Other shenanigans ensued.

And yesterday, I completed a five-mile recovery run before hitting the pool.  I mean LAKE!

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Words cannot begin to describe how much I missed open-water swimming here.

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My 20-minute “workout” consisted of a 10-minute warm up and 10-minutes of intervals.  I swam steady to a predetermined point, then swam hard back, and repeated this cycle.  My mom and dad spotted me, and this was the first time since last year they’ve seen me swim, bike, or run—and they were floored.  They said I looked like a completely different swimmer.  Woohoo for progress!

The rest of my day consisted of napping outside and trying not to get sunburned.

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My extended family eventually visited for round two of festivities.  No pictures, but I will say we polished off a bottle of limoncello and citrus-flavored vodka.

How did you celebrate the 4th of July?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Good morning!  I’m off to work shortly, but I wanted to pop in quickly and wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day—from Zelda.

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She wasn’t exactly feeling the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday night.  But she got her act together and sent me a cute care package, which is so kind of her because this is usually how I feel about today.

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Also, I joke that races are the only things I want to commit to right now—ha! (Speaking of, I solidified my travel plans for Miami last night—South Beach, I’m coming for you!) Anyway, Zelda spoiled me.  Have you ever seen a greyhound card?

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Neither have I.

How about chocolate?  Dark chocolate to be specific.  Or a greyhound beanie?  This is too cute!

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And just so this post isn’t all about V-Day, I had the best brick workout to-date yesterday.  After a 75-minute indoor spinning class with my Full Throttle Endurance teammates, we quickly swapped our cycling shoes for sneakers and headed to the indoor track to run off the bike.  Andrew said going forward, we’ll always run after these Wednesday cycling classes, but we shouldn’t push the pace today; the goal was to slowly get acclimated (acclimated being relative, of course) to the jello-to-lead leg feeling.

For the first two miles, I ran with one of my pace group teammates, and we clocked 8:0X miles.  I don’t know whether I should credit wearing my new Sauconys, following the “shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker” approach, or just becoming more triathlon fit in general, but this pace felt manageable.  Very manageable.

As we finished mile two, we caught up to two guys from a faster pace group.  Technically, they should’ve been out in front, so we dropped our pace to 8:20-8:40 and finished the final two miles with them.  Sure, I experienced some rough patches mentally—do you really think you can hold this pace for four miles?—and I have to credit my teammates with pulling me through.  For the final two laps, the guys sped up (probably to 7:30-7:40), and I told my female teammate, “Let them go.”  That didn’t go over well; she responded, “No way!  We’re going with them!”  So we matched their pace for three laps (they started before us, so we had another 400m to go when they were done) and finished strong.  The final lap was tough, but I willed my body to respond, and plus, I didn’t want to let my teammate down.  Honestly, I questioned whether I had enough gas in the tank for this pace, but I did.  Granted it hurt, but in a good way—the kind of pain that means you’re working.  Overall, I was so amped with how this brick turned out; I would literally smile to myself at random points yesterday just thinking about it.

Arguably more exciting than yesterday’s brick, I think my teammates view me differently now.  Not that they didn’t like or take me seriously before, but I’ve known everyone for about a month now, and they’re getting to know me better too.  Not to mention completing these tough, early morning workouts bonds people.  Plus, in the case of my running pace group teammates especially, they feel comfortable enough pushing me—or, in the words of Andrew, refusing to let me “punk out” when the workouts get tough.

Do you like working out solo or with a team/teammates/friends?  When your workouts get tough, how do you push yourself to finish?

Being a Horse in the Year of the Snake

Good morning, friends, and happy Tuesday!  I kicked off my day with a run and strength training session in my new Sauconys.

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So far, so good!  I wore them for the warm up and technique drills at yesterday’s Full Throttle Endurance run workout and slipped into my Mizunos for the 40 minutes of tempo work.  (We completed the same workout as last week, alternating between tempo pace on the track and tempo pace on the ‘mill with hills.  It still kicked my butt, but not as much as it did last week.  It’s all about progress.) Anyway, I’m slowly breaking in the new sneakers, so I’ll keep you posted.  The feel a little heavier than the Mizuno Wave Elixirs, but they offer more support, which is a fair tradeoff.

On the walk home from practice, I received a lovely notification via my countdown app.

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Six months and counting!

So, at work yesterday, I was doing work-y things when I found a story about the Chinese New Year.  Basically, we’re now in the year of the snake, so I obviously needed to see what my Chinese horoscope projected for 2013.  Umm, this reading is dead on. (As you’ll see below, I’m a horse.)

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Guilty as charged.  As a type-A person, I thrive off organizing, planning, scheming, moving, socializing, you name it; I’m always moving full force ahead, and I totally have trouble sitting still, slowing down, and stopping to smell the flowers—or switching from a gallop to a walk, according to my horoscope.

Next, there’s this injury projection.

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Does triathloning count as an extreme sport?  In all seriousness, though, a bike wipeout could totally happen.  I’ve been really lucky on that front—even though I anticipated it, I didn’t get up close and personal with the pavement when I got clipless shoes and pedals—so I almost feel like a crash is inevitable.  If I had to guess, I’d say it will probably occur during one of my first few rides outside when I go aero. (On a semi-related note–triathletes, do you have any recommendations for an aerobars-compatible saddle?  I definitely need to get one installed this weekend.)

Let’s talk travel.

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Miami here I come!

Like the previous sections, this next paragraph is totally true.

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Even though there were classes and classmates and professors I didn’t always enjoy, I really loved college and had a great experience; I definitely miss the academic/intellectual side of it—reading theory, doing analysis, and having critical discussions.  At least it says biking can help keep “depression at bay”—yikes.

And with Valentine’s Day coming up, this horoscope couldn’t overlook love.

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Yeah, I’ll admit I’m critical and have high expectations—hello, type-A!—and patience isn’t exactly my virtue.  This stems from the fact that I hold myself to very high standards, so I expect the same from others.

Good news ahead, though!

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Does this allude to my now full-time big-girl internship?  Or maybe I’ll find an official big-girl job!

Oh, and I have this clause somewhat under control.

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In college, I took three economics classes:  I convinced my adviser to let the introductory course count as my math requirement (remember my powers of persuasion?), and I took two upper-level courses as a senior—Introduction to Investments and Portfolio Analysis.  I learned a ton about navigating the stock market, investing wisely, and building a balanced portfolio.

Please check the original link and let me know if your horoscope is as accurate as mine!

Do you check your horoscope often?  What does your Chinese horoscope say about you?  Have you ever been read by a psychic?

Happy 2013!

Hi, friends!  Happy New Year!  Did you have fun celebrating last night?  We went to my aunt and uncle’s house for appetizers and soups.

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So much food!  We hung out for a few hours before coming home to pop champagne with our immediate family.

Workout – Running

Did you do a resolution run (or workout) today?  I slept in and headed outside around 9 a.m. for snowy 45 minutes.  Nothing too exciting to report—expect some unplanned speedwork when a dog started chasing me!  Luckily, it was a small doggie that promptly returned to its owner when called.  Whew!

Breakfast

Since we were out of spinach this morning (the horror!), I added chopped red pepper to my egg-white sandwich.

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Plus some Sriracha,.  My mom and I had some errands to run, so I also ate a sliced pear with PB.

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Random, but delicious.

Our first two stops this afternoon included a visit to my grandparents’ house to pick up a sewing machine and a trip to Barnes and Noble so I could get a book for the train ride back to New York City.  Before I found a copy of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, I stumbled upon this display.

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And if being ambushed by Downton Abbey spinoffs weren’t enough, the section next to it included a ton of triathlon books.  Well played, B&N.  I almost bought Race Weight:  How to Get Lean for Peak Performance by Matt Fitzgerald, but I didn’t want to carry another book home.  Don’t worry—I added it to my Amazon.com shopping cart.

Next up, we went to Wegmans, aka the happiest place on earth.

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Although I’ve become a fan of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, Wegmans will always be my favorite.

Lunch

A trip to Wegmans meant my standard sushi and soup for lunch.

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Citrus tofu roll and rotisserie chicken noodle soup for the win!

While at Wegmans, we also picked up a new toy for Zelda.  Besides some chew sticks and cookies from the Union Square Holiday Market, she didn’t get any real Christmas presents; Zelda tends to destroy new toys in minutes, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep buying her stuff she rips apart.  However, this squirrel’s package said it would be “long lasting,” so we figured what the heck.

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Zelda’s been playing with the squirrel for 30 minutes now, and it’s still intact!

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Typical!

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What did you do for NYE?  How did you spend your first day of 2013?

So Much Snow

Happy Thursday, friends!  I hope you had a great holiday and have started to recover accordingly.  My family and I spent the day hanging out, reading, and organizing Christmas leftovers.  The first order of business included putting cookies in Tupperware and burying them in the freezer.

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Out of sight, out of mind, right?

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I haven’t broken into these frozen stashes yet, but I did eat wayyy too many of my grandma’s Italian venetian cookies.  So many, in fact, that they’re all gone, which means no picture.  Whoops.  Anyway, we also laid low yesterday because of a winter storm warning for Central New York; we got easily 10 inches of snow last night, and it’s still coming down.  Plus, the lake finally froze over.

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The bad weather even caused my local pool/fitness center to close, which I discovered after digging my car out of the snow and driving there.  Oh well.  Fingers crossed it’s open tomorrow.

Breakfast

My breakfast started off with an unpictured banana I ate before going to the pool, and after coming back home, I made “oatless” oatmeal an hour or so later.

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I followed the recipe, except I substituted almond extract for vanilla.  I didn’t taste a difference, but that’s probably because of the huge glob of Justin’s chocolate almond butter.  Would you believe Santa put a jar in my stocking?  He knows me well! (And there’s no way it will last more than a few days!)

Workout – Running

After letting my breakfast digest, I headed outside to run.  This wasn’t the greatest idea—the temperature notched 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and the snow continued to fall—but I will do anything (and run in anything) to avoid the dreadmill.

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One of my go-to routes takes about 45 minutes to complete, but it took me an hour to run it today.  Yeah, it took my body about 40 minutes to warm up (ha!), but the roads desperately needed to be plowed again—no sign of pavement.

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Please note the snowbank on the left; it reached my hip!  I would’ve been better off running in snowshoes!

Lunch

After showering, I heated up a bowl of homemade shrimp bisque.

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Mmmm!  I was still hungry, so I put together a plate of Christmas leftovers for round two.

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My uncle’s girlfriend made these delicious jalapeno-stuffed peppers with cream cheese, sausage, and cheese, and I also had a little wild rice.  I’m thinking an apple with some chocolate nut butter is in order!

How are you recovering from the holidays?  Have you taken down Christmas decorations yet?  What about your tree?  Would you ever run in the snow?

Christmas 2012 in Pictures

Happy day-after Christmas, friends!  I hope you had fun with your family and loved ones!

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Santa gave this greyhound ornament to my sister, which was long overdue; it’s our first Zelda-related Christmas ornament.  I didn’t do too great on the picture front the past few days, but I will share some of my favorites.

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On Christmas Day, my sisters and I did our stockings first, and my parents opened a few presents, too.  Then, it was time for breakfast!  We made an egg bake with tomatoes, mushrooms, and red and green peppers, plus gingerbread pancakes with sautéed pears.

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This was the only food photo I took during the holidays, which is because the pancakes tasted super moist and delicious; we’ll definitely make them again next year.  After eating, we moved onto presents.

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My indoor bike trainer was my “big” (and early) Christmas present, so I got smaller gifts, which was totally fine—less stuff to lug back to NYC!

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This pile of books sums me up pretty well—ha!  My sister gave me Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle, which has some great recipes (and spice blend ideas!), and Santa got me Sex, Lies, and Triathlons and the Baby Lit version of Pride and Prejudice, which is super adorable.

A few hours later, we headed to my aunt and uncle’s house for our Yankee swap and Christmas Day dinner feast.  I didn’t take any pictures, but there were so many appetizers—shrimp and cocktail sauce, veggies and dip, crackers and cheese, fried fish, scallops wrapped in bacon, spinach and artichoke dip, etc.  We joked there were enough apps to last until Easter!

Later, we did our annual Yankee swap—similar to a white elephant gift exchange—which was a ton of fun.  This was my first year participating, but I had a good strategy thanks to many years of spectating.  In the end, I walked away with a bottle of very nice red wine (woohoo!), plus a jewelry set and some saltwater taffy.  My grandparents also gave presents to their kids and grandkids; check out these treats.

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Each bundle contained seven tiers of homemade cookies my grandma made.  So seven tiers times five kids (really six, but my uncle and his family live in Pennsylvania, and they couldn’t make it) equals a boatload of cookies.

After the gift exchange, more eating and drinking ensued, and we may have polished off a bottle of cinnamon roll rum.  Chocolate martinis also may have happened–ha!

Was Santa good to you this year?  What’s your favorite gift you gave/received?

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, friends!

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(And for those who are obsessed with Syracuse basketball like me, Happy Rakeem!)

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[source and source]

I wasn’t sure if I’d post today, but since we’re still waiting for a few family members to wake up, I figured I’d pop in and wish you a happy holiday.

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After doing stockings, eating breakfast (egg bake and gingerbread pancakes, yum!), and opening presents, we’re going to my aunt and uncle’s house for our Yankee swap.  I can’t wait to see everyone! (We had a small party of 11 last night for Christmas Eve surf and turf.) Enjoy the day!

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve, friends!

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We went to Lights on the Lake last night, a two-mile long drive along Onondaga Lake Park that features a ton of (you guessed it) light displays like the Victorian Village, Land of Oz, and the Wide World of Sports.  We go every year, and it’s fun to see new additions.

In other news, we’re done baking Christmas cookies for now!  Can you believe we made five different types of treats?

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Oh, and Margaret even baked a special Christmas Eve cake.  Hopefully Santa—and the family!—enjoys everything.

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I hope you have a great holiday filled with lots of family, friends, and laughs!

My Christmas Survey

Happy Christmas Eve Eve, friends!  Who’s excited for Santa?

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I’m spending the day baking more Christmas cookies and hanging out with the family, and I figured now would be a good time to share my responses to a survey Courtney shared last week.

1.  Favorite Christmas album/CD/song?

As I shared in a previous survey, I have a serious soft spot for Mannheim Steamroller and Bing Crosby.  In fact, my sister and I listened to both yesterday while we made cookies.  ‘Tis the season!

2.  Run on Christmas morning or take the day off?

Hmmm, I’ve done both in the past.  During my collegiate basketball days, I would take the day off (mostly to spite my coaches–ha!), but I’m pretty sure I ran last year; I participated in the first Runner’s World Run Streak that challenged runners to tackle at least one mile everyday between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, so I think I ran.

3.  What do you usually eat on Christmas morning?

We always have a special breakfast—like baked French toast—on Christmas morning.  This year, we’ll have an egg bake and gingerbread pancakes.

4.  Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition?

After Thanksgiving, my family goes to Critz Farms to cut down our Christmas tree.

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Speaking of …

5.  Real tree, fake tree, or no tree?

I’ve grown up always having a real tree, but I have nothing against artificial ones.

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Any tree is better than no tree, right?

6.  Christmas pajamas … yay or nay?

Way back in the day, my mom used to sew Christmas jammies for my sisters and me.  Time for some throwbacks!

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She even made some for Ellen’s doll!  Mildly embarrassing, but whatever; I loved my Christmas jammies.

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Clearly, the late 90s were a tough era for me—ha!

7.  Where do you spend the holidays?

We usually host Christmas Eve dinner, and we head to my aunt and uncle’s house for Christmas Day festivities.

8.  Food that you always have during the holiday season?  Favorite Christmas food/treat?

My grandma’s crack!

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Er, homemade toffee!

9.  Open presents all at once or take turns?

My sisters and I open our stockings first, and we usually stagger present-opening a bit.  It’s fun to watch their reactions!

10.  Favorite Christmas(ish) movie?

Is it a copout if I say Elf?  It’s just so good!

Your turn:  What do you eat on Christmas morning?  Real or fake tree?  Do you love Elf as much as me?

Snapshot Saturday – Home for the Holidays

Hello from Central New York!

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It feels great to be home for the holidays!  Even though I saw my family last weekend, we haven’t been together at home since Thanksgiving, so I’m happy and thankful we’re all together again.  Including Zelda.

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I missed her so much!  Today’s been a low-key, relaxing day.  I watched the Syracuse basketball this afternoon, which I do not want to talk about.

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Yep, Jim Boeheim was seriously peeved. (And yes, my beloved Orange lost to the Temple Owls.) I then proceeded to drown my sorrows by baking some Christmas cookies.  First, Margaret and I made fudge-filled sandies.

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We split one for “quality control purposes,” and they tasted yummy!

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We also baked a batch of gingerbread men.

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We’ll decorate them tomorrow, and we also have at least three more types of cookies to make, so we’ll be busy!  Oh, and between measuring flour, setting the timer, and moving cookies to cooling racks, I totally OD’d on my grandma’s homemade toffee.

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You can’t stop at one piece; the stuff is seriously addicting, so we call it crack–ha!  Hopefully there will be more at our family dinner tomorrow.

Do you bake Christmas cookies?  What’s your favorite type of cookie to make—or eat?