Monday, December 31, 2012

Rewind It, 2012.

I talked to my brother the other day, and he said he spent six hours on Christmas Eve night putting together a toy kitchen for my nieces.  He watched A Christmas Story over and over, and at one point he started talking back to Ralphie so that he wouldn't lose his mind.  Which made me feel better about the Air Swimmer that Santa brought my kids.  Thank Goodness for YouTube, and the video that helped me to not lose my mind while I put this sucker together. 

When I was finished, Luke played with it for ten minutes, said "Thanks Mom!" then went upstairs and read a book. 

Yeah, that relaxing two days I was looking forward to didn't go exactly as I planned. I did get to spend a whole day in bed, but it was because of a stomach bug, and not laziness.  Luckily everyone was okay by Christmas Eve, and we could fully enjoy our time together.  

Christmas Eve feast with the kiddos and my Mom-in-law:

Post Christmas Morning Melee, the kids, their favorite gifts, and Daddy:

It's been a relaxing, lovely, snowy vacation, but reality is knocking on the door. 

Time to look back on 2012.  

I think there must be some law of averages in that a good year is followed by a not so great year.  Mine could have been better, we dealt with several lousy things, but we were still so fortunate.  

Time with family:


Lots of time spent in the Adirondacks:

40th Birthday Celebrations:

Running wise I stuck to my plan of not having a plan.  I took races as they came, and the underlying theme among each one was that I had a great time running with my friends:

More/Fitness Half:

The Boilermaker 15k:

I'm the type of person who likes to literally turn a page to a fresh start, and I can't wait to hang up my 2013 calendar, with a fresh new year for me to tackle.   I said to Mike the other night that I finally feel like ME again, and I am going to do everything I can to be proud of myself again. To be the best Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and Friend that I can possibly be. 

I wish you a Happy New Year! 

May 2013 bring you much happiness, peace, and love.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Today is a Me Day

It was absolutely pouring this morning, but I walked the dog, brought my neighbor her newspaper, and got the kids off to school. When I saw the rain turn to snow I looked at Frank and said "Enjoy the couch, I'm going back to bed."

I'm relishing the fact that I have two whole days to just make cookies and wrap presents, watch Christmas specials with the kiddos, watch this with Mike:

and enjoy the lights on the tree. This has been a tough year, but I'm an incredibly lucky girl, and I am going to enjoy this time to the fullest.

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway, the two winners are Shelley from A Runners Fuel, and BDD! Congrats! Send me an email and I'll get you guys set up!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nervous Nelly is in the house.

I needed a new pair of jeans, so I bought a skinny version, in a dark wash.

They're flattering and look cute when I tuck them into my Frye boots, and go well with this year's Christmas sweater:

Not to be confused with a different Christmas sweater:

Or my casual sweater:

I can't help it, I like grey sweaters.

I went to book club last night, and as we hung around, eating, drinking, and not talking about the book, I looked down at my fingers and panicked a bit.

They were blue. Really blue.

Almost oxygen deprived blue.

Before I freaked out and asked everyone to pick up their phones and call 911 (although we had a nurse in attendance), I took a breath and remembered that the tag I cut off of said new jeans said something along the lines of "wash separately as colors might bleed."

Like onto my fingers.

Crisis averted.

Did ya see my tech shirt giveaway?? Check it out here, as you have one day left to enter!

Monday, December 17, 2012

May they be at peace.

My heart is heavy, and my stomach is in knots over what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary.

I cry for those little souls, for the unbearable grief those parents are enduring, for the heroic teachers and staff, and for their community. 

Mike and I decided to talk about what happened with Eliza who is six, and Luke, who is eight.  We knew they would hear about it at school, and we wanted to be the ones to explain it.  We chose our words carefully, but I was completely taken aback when Eliza said, "if that happens at school, we have to do a Lock Down." 

So matter of fact, but I don't think she really gets what a Lock Down drill really means.

Luke was okay, but that night at bedtime he got upset, because his school is one of his favorite places to be.   I showed him the email from his school district, detailing the extra safety steps they are taking, and told him that his teachers will keep him safe.

Then I hugged and kissed him, extra hard.

My thoughts and prayers are with those little angels and their families.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 Tech Shirt Giveaway!

There are twelve days until Christmas, and Hannukah is well underway, so I think we need to celebrate with a Holiday Giveaway from! is the brainchild of three friends, one is a marathon runner, and all have backgrounds in design.  They know what active folks look for in a tech shirt, thin moisture wicking fabric, flat seams, and a soft interior.  The shirts are cut well for guys, and fitted for the ladies.

Plus they're cool to look at!

I think the "What's it gonna be today" is my favorite:

You can customize the "See __ Run" shirt with a washable marker:

I do like my gams:

They're currently having a Holiday Sale on their website, which you can check out here, but I have two shirts to give away, one for the guys (Eff Treadmills) and one for the ladies (your choice)!

To enter please do one or all of the following (you may leave one comment, just list everything that you did):

1. like the facebook page HERE
2. follow on twitter HERE
3. share the giveaway info on twitter, facebook or your blog.
4. for a bonus entry, let me know your fitness goals for 2013!

I will choose a winner using on Friday December 21st.

Good Luck!!

*Note: I was sent a shirt for the purpose of this review/giveaway, the opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Moms On The Loose

This year my friends and I all turned the Big 4-0.  I was the first to reach the milestone back in January, and by August, we were once again the same age.  We've been friends for over 25 years, and between Sweet Sixteens, Graduation parties, turning 21, engagement parties, bridal and baby showers, weddings, turning 30, nights in, as well as nights out, we know how to have a great time together.

And it usually involves food, wine, vodka, and coffee. Not necessarily in that order.

It's funny how our conversations flow, we know each other so well that when we're together, we pick up right where we left off.  After we kept circling back to the various ailments we've developed since hitting "old age," pulled muscles, having to squint to read, having heart flutters, and having pain in general, my friend Jennifer said we should use the word "click" as a signal to change the subject, in order to not sound like old biddies.

After my sister picked me up from the airport, I had time to kill before our dinner reservations at Cookshop, so we were able to have a quick drink, which was an unexpected bonus.

We don't look anything alike.

Dinner was fantastic, I had the whole roasted porgy with potatoes and sauteed spinach, which I scarfed down so quickly I forgot to take a photo!  Actually, aside from maybe two pictures, my friend Jennifer took all photographic evidence of the weekend, which she happily sent to me for my blog post : )

I don't go to the gym anymore, once we bought our treadmill I made the basement my gym.  We were all up fairly early Saturday morning, there is a gym in my friend's building, so four of us were able to workout together, which hasn't happened since high school. There was an outdoor track on the tenth floor of the building, and it was neat to run around outside while ten floors up. Since I don't do much weight training, I did a circuit of the machines, and also did the elliptical.

Then it was time for lunch, which meant my favorite, PIZZA.

Then we had to shop, travelling from the East Side, to Bryant Park, to Fifth Avenue, then down to the Village, then back to the East Side.  Just in time to get dolled up, debate the merits of a traditional straight iron versus one that straightens, as well as curls, then head to our friend's apartment for Pear Vodka & Fresca on his terrace.

He lives on the 50th floor, and I stayed faaaaaar away from the railing, but the view was fantastic:

Oh yeah, then we had to eat again, at China Grill!

The night got off to a rockin' start, when the server accidentally dropped three pear sangrias, one Shiraz, one martini and one seltzer all over our table.

But that didn't ruin the fun.  We ordered a bunch of dishes to share, I chose the grilled garlic shrimp, with black fettuccine and red curry coconut sauce. Soooo good.

It had these pieces of what looked like shrimp skin, that was wiggling around on top of the plate, which gave us a start, because it seemed alive.  Which it wasn't.  Which was weird.

Since our spilled drinks ended up not only on the table, but on my friend Adele, the server brought us a special Birthday dessert. I was all over the chocolate layer cake.

I won't show you the after photo.

After an obligatory visit to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree:

we went on to Culture Club, to dance the night away to tunes from the '80's, including our favorites, Depeche Mode and Duran Duran.  Where we worked off all that food and became a sweaty mess. 

Sunday morning I woke up earlier than I do on a normal weekday, but I couldn't bear to stay in bed, when my time with my BFF's was quickly coming to a close.  So what did we decide to do? Eat breakfast! 

This is my spinach and goat cheese frittata from Le Pain Quotidien, paired with lovely mint tea.

After that my friend Gonca rolled me to the shuttle bus that transported me to JFK for my flight home.  Of course, as usual, I cried when I said good-bye. 

But there is always next time. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Colorful Christmas

I grew up in a house that sat on a corner, surrounded by a white picket fence.  Seriously.  Every Christmas we would string a line of white lights along it's entire length, that you could see as soon as you turned onto our street. It was so Christmasey, so pretty.

I'm not big on decorating, but I wish I were, especially at Christmas.  The front of our house is fairly plain, we have no columns around the door, no front porch or railings.  We don't have any trees on the lawn to string lights on, and our bushes are a mish-mash of various sizes.  So for a craftily challenged person like myself, I feel limited.

I think white lights look so nice against the snow, but Mike isn't a fan.  When we were first married, he  let me have a tree decorated in silver and white glass balls and white lights.  That lasted exactly one year, it's been multicolored lights ever since.

But I don't mind, as long as we have one huge tree,

and one baby tree.

Luke switched out his normal glasses for the spy goggle variety.

Mike scored a bunch of little trees that light up, which, if we ever get snow, will no longer be seen. 

 Plus, Frank won't cross through them to come in the house.  Maybe he thinks it's a wall of fire.

Who needs an Elf on the Shelf when Harold the Elf (circa 1972) 
has kept the peace the past few years.

I think the festive season has officially started. 


Friday, November 30, 2012

I like to eat VitaPizza before nuun.

I've noticed that when you are currently out of a job, and the children are gone for eight hours a day, you can still stay very busy.  

Case in point:

The laundry is always done.
The dog enjoys longer walks. 
The Christmas cards are not only ordered, but I have already received them.  All that they need is a festive stamp, and they're ready to go to the post office.
The beds are all made. 
I can go for a run any time I want between the hours of 8:30 and 4:00.
It's not even December, and my Christmas shopping is 90% complete.
I found every single Lego that has been strewn in every single corner of my house. 
I can go to the library a couple times a week, and score books like "Kyle Richards: Life Is Not A Reality Show" off of the new release shelf.
I can have lunch with my husband three days in a row.  And after one such lunch, take in a 12:40 p.m. screening of Breaking Dawn Part Two.
I can plan my race schedule for 2013, which includes finding four other running friends to make a relay team for Seneca 77.7.  Which isn't until April. 
I know that I will busy for a few hours one day next week, when I go to the movies to see Breaking Dawn Part Two for a second time.
And although it took me over 45 minutes to complete an online application for a job I am interested in, I really didn't mind.

I can also eat pizza for breakfast.

Make that a guilt free VitaPizza.

I tried both the cheese & tomato, and the meatless pepperoni supreme.  It took ten minutes to bake in the oven, but you can also microwave it. The toppings were spread evenly over the whole wheat crust, I thought it could have used a bit more sauce, but that's just me.  Honestly, if the mood strikes, and I can eat a low fat, low calorie, nutrient dense pizza, that has less calories than my breakfast smoothie, why the heck not?

The past two mornings I went running with J&N, it was cold today, and the roads were icy yesterday.  Winter has definitely arrived, I don't mind it really, but it's hard to believe that summer was just 12 weeks ago.

I've been drinking nuun for a while now, I discovered it a couple years ago while marathon training.  I like the convenience of it, you drop a low calorie electrolyte tablet in a bottle of water and you're good to go.  

nuun recently came out with nuun All Day, it has less than 8 calories per tablet, along with a blend of A, B, C, D, and E vitamins.  I would bring a couple of bottles of the All Day to the pool, and share it with the kids.  I preferred the grape raspberry, the blueberry pomegranate flavor was a bit diluted.  Again, I love the convenience, and compared to other hydrating drinks, it's a cost effective choice, especially when you're on a budget.

I also liked going to the pool.

*Note: I was sent samples of VitaPizza and nuun for the purpose of this review, my opinions are my own.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Not Everyone Who Wants To Be A Parent, Get's To Be A Parent

One of the things I love about blogging are the connections I've made.  I have friendships with people who I would never have met, if not for our blogs.  Blogging also gives me an opportunity to give a voice to other people in my life, mostly race recaps in the form of guest posts.

I'm going to switch from my usual blogging topics, and give the floor to my dear friend S:

My husband and I have been struggling with infertility for about 5 years now. I have done 11 IVF procedures and we still do not have a child. 

IVF is no longer an option since I have tried so many times. I have wanted to be a mom my whole life and the recent bad news has left me devastated. Our only real hope now would be a private adoption since we spent so much on all of our procedures. 

I will make a great mother if given the chance. I am a teacher and my husband is a Senior Specialist of Learning and Development at Global Foundries. We have a nice home and are able to provide a loving and stable environment. I have never wanted anything more than this. 

 If you know anyone in a situation where that person is looking into giving their child up for adoption, could you please keep me in mind? I am willing to answer any questions.

This is really our last hope. 

If you would like to contact S, please send me an email.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sunglasses Shop Ray-Ban Contest!

Win a pair of designer sunglasses

Once upon a time, Mike went out and bought a very cool pair of Ray-Bans.

He looked great in them, and he wore them everywhere.  Then one weekend we spent some time at his brother's house, and Tag, his weimaraner, got a hold of them.

No more Ray-Bans.

So he decided to go out, and buy a new pair.  I thought they were even nicer than the first pair, and he wore them everywhere.  Then one day, we were rushing around, trying to make a flight to Long Island for my Grandmother's funeral.  As we were packing the car, Mike put his sunglasses on the roof of the car, then got into the drivers seat, and we drove off to the airport.

No more Ray-Bans.

He waited a while to buy a third pair, making due with a pair of cheapies he bought at the mall.  I urged him to get a decent pair of Ray-Bans for the summer, so he finally did.  Which he wore everywhere, to work, to the pool, to play golf.  Then one day he went to a golf outing for work. He went inside the club to have lunch, and while he was eating, he put his sunglasses on the table next to his plate.  After he ate, he went outside, and realized he left his glasses on the table.  When he went back inside, someone had taken them!

No more Ray-Bans.

Since Christmas is coming up, I decided to look for a new pair of sunglasses for Mike, just like these 3183 Ray-Bans:

I think if he opened these up on Christmas Morning, he would be a very happy boy.

Don't you? 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Memories Review and Giveaway!

Before I get to today's review, here is the winner of the JumpStart Giveaway......congrats to Ali at Running With Spatulas!  Send me an email and I'll get you set up!

I take a lot of photos.  Most of them are in folders on my computer, or in albums.  But I love photo books.  My sister gave me one for my birthday, and I made a huge one from our trip to Disney.  So I was curious though, when My Memories contacted me about their digital scrap booking software. 

The software is easy to use, I downloaded it from the My Memories website.  At first I wasn't sure if I should do a custom book or not, so to keep it simple, I chose one of the templates that came with the software. You aren't limited to those, there are literally dozens on the website that you can download for an additional cost.

I decided to make a book of running memories, I chose a template, then a page arrangement.  You can delete, add, or move the different pages around to your liking.  When it's time to select your photos, the options are either manual, which means dragging each photo into the spot you prefer, or you can select the fast fill option.  The software then decides where the photos go.

My book was titled "Running and Racing"

Here are two of the pages:

And another page:

Once your book is complete, you can save it as a jpeg, or if you have a quality printer, print the pages out on your own.  There are ways to make so many other things, such as D.I.Y. Printables, custom facebook page headers or blog headers, which I want to figure out how to do. 

Well? Are your creative juices flowing? Would you like to win a set of My Memories software of your own?

To enter, let me know how you preserve the important events in your life.  For additional entries, please visit one or all of the following: My Memories on facebook, twitter or their blog., and let me know what you would create.  I will choose a winner on Wednesday November 21st, using 

*Please note, I was provided with a set of software from My Memories for the purpose of this review, my thoughts on the product are my own. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

How does Betty make you feel?

When I hear the name Betty, I think happy thoughts.

Betty Rubble.

Apple Brown Betty.

My 92 year old Great Aunt Betti.

And now, Betty Designs!

Betty Designs is a line of cycling, running, swimming and triathlon clothing created by Kristin Mayer, a podium age group triathlete who has designed suits and kits for World Champion triathletes, cyclists and teams.  Looking through the website, I thought everything seemed funky, fun, and functional!  Kristin was kind enough to send me the Daisy Cycling Kit, which was a welcome addition to my training gear.

These past few days have been unseasonably warm for Syracuse, I'm talking 71 degrees in November.  It isn't rare to see snow on Thanksgiving, so this is a treat.  What did I do with myself on a warm, but windy day?  Hop on my bike in my Betty Gear!

Mike was out with the kids, so I took a before photo myself, I'm loving the happy yellow color.

Luckily they were home when I was done with my ride so I roped Mike into taking some sweaty photos of me.

To train hard, you have to be tough, but I'll admit it, I want to look cute too.  The Daisy top and bottom is the perfect mix, I felt tough, yet sweet! 

Tough skull right bicep.

Sweet butterfly left bicep.

Tough and Sweet! 

And again!

Definitely check out the Betty Designs website or twitter page, and find something to make you happy!

*Note: I was sent a cycling kit for the purpose of this review, my thoughts on the gear are my own.