Well That Was Quite A Run: Part 2

Thursday, March 28, 2013

We'll, I think I'm officially not allow to chose running routes anymore.  If you'll remember a few weeks ago there was this debacle.  Yesterday Alanna and I decided to do our five mile run right after work.  I checked out maps of the area around my office and found a trail that ran along the Merrimack River.  From my office to the end of the trail and back was exactly five miles.  Perfect!


It took us a solid 20 minutes to even find the trail.  We were wandering around hotel parking lots and somehow ended up in a field of satellite dishes.  Is it weird that this reminded me of Jurassic Park?

Finally we found the trail and it started off pretty good.  Nothing too scenic but at least paved.  Then after about 1000 feet the pavement ended.  The trail became a narrow, rocky, snowy, muddy, uneven, you name it... this trail had it.

We did attempt to run down it for a little while but then found ourselves creeping along under one of the biggest highways in Massachusetts.  It was actually pretty cool but in no way conducive to running.

Finally we decided to turn around and we then weaved and zig zagged back through hotel parking lots and along main roads until we got the rest of our miles in.

I guess it's going to be trial and error for a while until we find some really good trails but for now I'm going to let Alanna decided on them!

We of course made sure to stop for photo opportunities.

Real Talk Tuesday: I'm Being A Bad Blogger

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It was only on my drive to work today that I realized Kayla and I hadn't once discussed a topic for this week.  Usually we'll bounce ideas back and forth a few times before Monday but we've both been pretty busy these days!

I feel like I'm still playing catch up from my trip to DC.  I love being busy but I dislike that other things in my life (blogging especially) get neglected.  I'm sure all bloggers go through phases like this but I miss having my blog time!  By the time I get home and get caught up on my reading I'm ready for bed and can barely put together thoughts let along a half decent blog post.

Completely off topic but I read today that JK Rowling was 25 years old when she came up with the idea for Harry Potter.  This is almost as depressing as not getting my Hogwarts letter at 11.  I never realized she was so young.  Or maybe years ago when I was reading the books I just thought 25 was old.  I still have every hope that I will find my perfect calling in life.  25 IS still young.

Anyway, tomorrow is supposed to be WARM!  There was a hint of it today but the forecast calls for 50s for the next few days and I cannot wait.

Well, thank you for reading my ramblings and thank you to everyone who has linked up this week and in the past!

Simple Bliss

No Words Needed.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Half Marathon Training: Week Four

This has been a great week for running.  I've given up trying to get the dog to run with me.  I think eventually he'll be a great running partner but for now I've been taking him for a short walk then bringing him back home and headed out for my run.  Once the snow is finally gone and we can avoid the drains etc. I think he'll be much better.

We started puppy school for Mac on Monday which meant that it was a treadmill run that night.  Treadmill runs are miserable... even a few miles feels like an eternity.

We had (another) snow storm on Tuesday but luckily the roads were clear enough to get in four miles on Wednesday.  I was amazed to see how "hard" running on the treadmill is compared to outside.  I can go at a pace at least a minute faster when I'm outside and I enjoy it so much more.  It's a win-win and it makes me dislike the treadmill even more.

Thursday's run was great, too.  The air has been very cold but once I get moving and warm up it feels like the perfect temp.  I'm already nervous about trying to run a few months from now when it's actually hot!

Today Alanna and I attempted to run on another rail trail.  It was, of course, buried in snow.  We ended up running around a random town for six miles.  It wasn't bad but I would have much preferred the trail. If I had known how many rail trails existed in this area I think I would have gotten into running a lot sooner.  I love the idea that all of these towns are repurposing the old rail roads.  It throws a little history into the mix.  I also like the more scenic car free environment they provide.

We are very attractive runners.

Real Talk Tuesday: The Workplace

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Good morning everyone!  Another snow day here.  I'm getting pretty tired of all the snow but at least I can still work and get paid on snow days and I don't have to worry about making up any time.   Speaking of work... we're talking about office drama today!

I  feel truly blessed that my current company seems almost entirely free of drama and internal problems, but I think the only reason I appreciate it as much as I do is because I have had at least one pretty horrific former employer.

While I don't like speaking ill of anyone, I though I would just recap a few stories here so if I ever forget my experience there I can easily come back here and remember.

- At some point during my time at that office my boss decided that I should also be his babysitter.  I was getting paid next to nothing so I agreed to it once in a while.  Then, one day, a massive snow storm rolled in.  His kids were let out of school early and he told me to go pick them up, take them out to lunch, and then stay at home with them (meanwhile the office had closed and everyone else went home).  They lived on the top of a huge hill and my car failed to make it up three times... I had to find another route up there and there was no way I would be going back down to take the kids out to lunch.  I called my boss (who had gone to the mall with his wife) close to tears asking him to please get home as soon as possible because the storm was only going to get worse and I lived an hour away.  He and his wife ignored my phone calls and eventually texted me to say they'd be gone for the afternoon.  Needless to say after that I refused to babysit anymore and within a month I had applied to my master's program.

- At this same office I was once "promoted" to a new position.  The woman who was previously doing my job was also moved into a new position.  I didn't realize it at the time, but they wanted to fire her but wanted to make sure that I could do her job before they let her go. They had her doing menial office work for two weeks while she watched someone else take her job.  I felt terrible but was truly unaware of what was going on until it was too late.

- One of the worst stories to come out of this office was when one of our attorneys was driving to meet a client to sign some documents.  When he arrived at the clients house he had a massive heart attack (just one sign of how stressful our company was!).  Instead of visiting him in the hospital with a gift basket and a 'get well soon' card, my boss sent someone down there with termination papers and fired him.

I think I've blocked out much of my time there but I know there a dozen other stories that made this company the poster child for what not to do if you want a successful business.  It was almost always a gloomy and stressful atmosphere and for not real good reason.

Looking back, it was because of this work situation that I decided to go back to school for my master's degree and it is also what pushed me into business since I knew there had to be a better way to manage a company. So, as miserable as it was, it was a great learning experience for me and motivated me into bigger and better things!

Simple Bliss

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It's crazy to think that this time last year I was running around the streets of Dublin.   Oh how times have changed.  Someone at work asked me on Friday about my big plans for the weekend and I responded with, "what do you mean?"  They just assumed that any 25 year old (especially one who just returned from living in Ireland for a year) would have some great St. Patrick's Day celebrations planned, but nope.  Nothing.

A few of us did end up going to our usual bar but it was so crowded that we didn't get out regular seats so we had to go upstairs to a new spot.  Yeah, we like to live on the edge.

I did manage to sneak in a few obligatory Guinness' but that's not really different from any other weekend at the bar.

I was still in home and in bed by midnight.

Other than that my weekend consisted of several photo shoots with this little one.

The Creation
She had watched "The Bible" on History
Post bath baby
Practicing baby planks
Got her green on!

Oh, I've also finally made my debut on Instagram.  I've had an account for a while but never got the urge to post anything.   I'm not sure how often I'll used it but if I do I'm sure there will be a lot of adorable pics of my niece!

Half Marathon Training: Week Three

I realize I kind of skipped over my week two recap, but that was mainly because it was just treadmill work with this one ridiculous run at the end.

Day light savings really helped me out this week because I could actually get home and get a few miles in  before the sun sets.  I'm also finally able to run on parts of the sidewalks again which is awesome, but we are expecting another storm on Monday so that won't last long.

I honestly can't even remember if I did my run inside or outside on Monday but I know it got done.  On Tuesday I ran around Reston, VA while down there on business and it wasn't great but I was very proud of myself.  I made the time to get out and run when I could have easily just sat back and enjoyed room service but I didn't... until I was done with the run, of course!

Thursday's run was not so great.  After traveling for two days I was pretty tired at work but still had every intention to run when I got home.  I felt a little light headed when I got home but I still headed out.  What I didn't plan for was the freezing cold outside.  I think it was around 18 degrees and after half a mile I was close to tears.  I tried continuing on the treadmill but I had lost all momentum and really felt like if I pushed myself I'd end up tripping over my tired feet and get hurt.  I was mad that I stopped after two miles but I was very happy when I woke up the next day and was still exhausted and even a little sore because I knew that not much good would have come from pushing myself during that run.

Alanna and I enjoyed running together last week so we decided to do it again this week.  We are both very much beginner runners so we're on the same page with our pacing and distance.  We decided to check out a rail trail in a nearby town since we're both tired of the same neighborhoods.  It took us a while to actually find it but it was a nice change of scenery even if we both agreed that we would never want to run there alone.  We did our five miles though and we both agreed that we could have done more but neither of us want to push our luck.

I'm still very early in the training for this but I have to say (if I haven't said it already) that I'm enjoying it so much more than when I was trying to prepare myself for a 5k.  I like that each week I have a goal that I've never reached before but I push myself to do it and then realize that more and more is possible. Looking forward to the week to come!

WTF, Spam?

Friday, March 15, 2013

I've seen a lot of people post recently about an increase in spam comments but I never really had a problem with that... until today.  I'm going on my 13th spam comment this morning and it's starting to get annoying.

What's funny is that they are all on the post My Love / Hate Relationship With the Duvet.  I blog about a lot of random stuff but this is by far one of the most random and pointless posts I have.  The most recent spam comment states:

"It's nearly impossible to find educated people in this particular topic, however, you sound like you know what you're talking аbout! Thanks.

Yes.  I am considered the leading scholar on the daily struggles of duvet users.  I get paid lots of money to study it.

This one makes me feel pretty important, too:

"Wοw, this article is fastidiouѕ, my sister is analyzing ѕuch things, thus I am going to inform her."

And half of them just make no sense whatsoever:

"I used to be suggested this website by way of my cousin. I'm now not certain whether or not this post is written via him as no one else understand such special approximately my problem. You're amazing! Thanks!"

Glad I could help your approximate problem!

I can't even figure out what it is about this post that attracts the spammers. 


There's also a lot of chatter about the changes at Google and, although no one seems to really know what is going on, you can always find me at BlogLovin. I was using the Feedly app on my phone for a while but I had a lot of issues with it freezing or not reloading so I'm kind of looking forward to relying a little more on BlogLovin anyway.

Business Trip

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I'm exhausted to the point where all I want to do is go to bed, but I'm too tired to get up and shut all the lights off so I'm blogging instead.  Great logic there.

I was up at 3:45 this morning to be up and out of the house by 4:15.  I caught Logan Express into Boston and was a perfect two hours early for my flight.  I always feel better being extra early.  I was able to buy myself some breakfast and settle in to people watch.

About ten minutes before out flight was supposed to board we were told there was going to be an hour and a half delay.  It's funny how a delay is almost a good think when you're just traveling for work and not for pleasure.

The flight itself was uneventful and we arrived into Dulles just in time for lunch!  After that I met dozen of people and toured the office.  I then had to spend a few hours actually working.  Boo.

After checking into our hotel I went out for a run.  The hotel boasts pre-mapped routes you can use.  Having their little map was helpful however the route itself was terrible.  I was basically running along a small highway.  The N11 in Dublin was the first thing that came to mind.  There was also a lot of hills, wind, and intersections.  The hills I need to get used to, and we can't do anything about the wind, but I had to stop so many times and also had to run back and forth across four lanes of traffic when the sidewalk stopped abruptly several times.
The one scenic spot on my run.
Not the run I was hoping for but I did it anyway!

I've only stayed in a hotel alone once before but it was a late arrival/early leave situation so I didn't really get to enjoy like I should have.  As much as I love my family and my pup a night alone is exactly what I needed.  A nice long hot shower, slowing sipping some tea, and some room service (!) has made feel like I just had a spa day.

And I topped the night off with some passion fruit gelato. My favorite.  I guess I should get some sleep now.  Another long day of meeting new people, working, and traveling tomorrow!

Real Talk Tuesday: Books

I apologize in advance for the delay in this post (if it gets posted at all!).  I’m currently sitting at a Jet Blue terminal, waiting for my flight down to DC.  There doesn’t seem to be any free wifi available so my genius plan of writing my Real Talk Tuesday post here this morning seems to have been thwarted. 

So our topic this week was books.  When Kayla mentioned this topic to me I struggled to think of a clear answer to the prompt. I have loved books for a long time now but which one stand out above all the others? Which book do I see as the most influential in my life?  To be honest, I don’t think there is a right answer.  Or at least not ONE right answer.

There is, of course, Harry Potter.  I think few people of my generation will be able to say that this book didn’t define their childhood, and if they can they probably just didn’t read it.  Hermione motivated me to excel in school, Harry showed me the power of being brave, and Ron taught me how to be a good friend.  Blah ,blah, blah, if you’ve read the books then you don’t need to hear it all from me!

Beyond Harry Potter, there are still a few books that I hold near and dear to my heart.  All of Tamora Pierce’s books had a huge impact on me growing up.  Most of her characters were strong young women… kind of like the Katniss of the 90’s.  I actually remember writing an email to the author well over 10 years ago and she personally responded.  It’s hard to describe how happy that made me as a young girl but I still have it saved today and I look forward to the day where I can someday share her stories with my future children.

Although I haven’t read it in years I also remember Watership Down being very moving for my young self.  I’ve had intentions of reading it again but I’m afraid that whatever it was I loved about it as a kid I won’t see there again.  Sometimes it’s easier to just keep things as a memory than to try to recreate it.

Brian Jacques’ Redwall series was also big for me as a child.  All of his wonderful talking animal characters may have played a role in me becoming a vegetarian for almost 7 years.  I was surprised at how upset I was by his death a year or two ago. 

I would like to think that I could come up with some more mature, classic novels on my “most influential” list.  Don’t get me wrong, I have read and loved many of them but when I truly look back at the books that I think REALLY defined me, the list consists of all of the books I was reading between 10-16 and they all lean towards fantasy.  Perhaps that’s why even today I have a very strong imagination and regularly let it run wild.

Simple Bliss

A Winter Trip To The Beach

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Today was another beautiful (albeit snow covered) day.  My parents decided that they were going to drive up to the beach to look for cottages for this summer.  Since I missed last summer's trip while I was  in Ireland, I was eager to get up there, even if it was going to be cold and far from summer like.

We spent a few hours checking out cottages before we finally decided on one.  It's pretty small but we spend so much of the time outside that it doesn't really matter to us what it looks like on the inside.
Unfortunately Mac's Shack was not available

After that we stopped into Seaglass for a late lunch/early dinner where I got my seafood craving fix.

 And really, what an amazing view to eat by!

 After that we check out some storm damage.  This has been a pretty devastating winter for much of the MA/NH coastline.  This is some, but definitely not the worst, of the damage the coast has seen.

I often look at other blogs and feel jealous about the awesome places they live, whether it's another state or another county, but I sometime forget how lucky I am to live so close to the ocean.  It is truly a beautiful sight and I know that no matter how hard I tried I could not live far from it.  

An Engagement

I am still confused by the idea that I am an adult.  A close friend got engaged a little less than a year ago and last weekend another couple got engaged.  Kind of like my confusion at being a morning person, I continually find myself surprised by the fact that I and my friends are all grown up.

We went to our local bar to celebrate.  We all huddled around the table to hear the proposal story and then once the girls all started getting into dresses and flowers the boys snuck away to the bar to do some extended celebrations (aka shots).  I should check in on them since I'm sure they are all having rough mornings today.

The ring had to be sent away to be resized so we had to get creative to show it off.

Unfortunately there is only red eye corrector and no demon eye corrector
Although I was exhausted, it was great to get together for such a happy occasion and I look forward to many more of them to come!

Well That Was Quite a Run...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Today my friend Alanna and I decided to do our long run together. My other three runs of the week were all on the treadmill so I knew I had to not only get out of the house but also get out of the neighborhood.

It was beautiful out so we decided to head into Lowell to the Boulevard which we were hoping was plowed.  From what we could see where we parked the car it was clear.

 We started running and had to cross a bridge which clearly wasn't plowed but we figured we'd just walk across and continue running on the other side.  The bridge seemed pretty much never ending while we were slipping and sliding and getting our shoes soaked in the melting slush.
Unfortunately, the other side of the bridge wasn't any better.  It was a good high knees workout until we decide that we'd rather just risk our lives walking in the street than to ruin our new sneakers in the snow.

This left us dodging in and out of traffic for a few miles before we finally hit a plowed area.  When we reached the next bridge that we were supposed to cross over we found it in even worse shape so we turned around and had to repeat the trek back.  On the bright side we did close to five miles even though we were only supposed to do 4 and neither of us were feeling tired. It was also too beautiful to be bitter about the run.

Kayaking in March... normal.

When Did I Become A Morning Person?

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I would enjoy a good sleep in, but because I never really get to anymore, I think I've by default become a morning person. Words I never thought I'd hear myself say (or type)! I have already been up for three hours today, walked the dog, mapped out my run for the day, eaten a nice big breakfast, slowly sipped my coffee and now I'm sitting here trying to figure out what to do next.

I decided I was going to get my nails done (which I've never done before) but I'm angry to find out that the nail salon doesn't open until 12.  I have to wait TWO hours to get my nails done?  Who waits until 12 to open?  I guess a lot of places do but I never noticed because I was always sleeping until noon.

I think declaring myself a morning person is a little premature, but I've definitely gotten used to being up early every morning and I can't say that I mind it too much.

It is slightly less enjoyable when I'm up drinking wine until 2am and still get up before 7 but that's something we can work on in the future!
Sometimes we like to be fancy and take the pram out
I think I'm addicted to taking pictures of this
beautiful little girl!

Surprise! Here's Two Feet of Snow.

Friday, March 8, 2013

When I left work yesterday we were expecting 3-6 inches of snow today.  When I woke up this morning we already had about 12.  By the afternoon we had 22.  Whoops.  Pretty much everyone in the office stayed home including myself though so I won't complain.

I did something big last night... I went to the grocery store.  I've written about my hatred for grocery stores in the past and they really haven't become any more enjoyable since then.

But, since I've been living with my parents, I've missed cooking a bit and I had a few recipes I wanted to test out.

This picture is deceiving, but I made the stupid mistake of trying to fit everything into one basket and spent 20 minutes waddling around carrying about twice my body weight looking for frozen fruits.  And, yes it was important that I bought two bottles of wine. I at least tried hide the second bottle.

Since I cook so rarely, I don't really share any recipes here but I think I might have a few for you all over the next couple of days.

First up is a smoothie!  One of the best parts about running again is that my body is craving health foods.  I was trying to think of how to get all of the energy I need in the most efficient way possible and of course smoothies came to mind.

I asked my friend Laura if she had any recipes and she had about 54 just ready and waiting for me!

I didn't follow one specific recipe and I have only rough measurements for you but I can tell you that it was delicious and healthy and fuel-y so if you're looking for something like that I would try a combo of the following:

two cups unsweetened of Almond milk
Half a frozen banana
a cup(ish) of mixed frozen berries (mine had straw, blue, and black)
two big handfuls of spinach

Even with all the spinach it still looked super appetizing and it tasted even better.  I wanted to add chia seeds but the store didn't have any.

So that's all I've got for you.  I'm off to watch chick flicks and drink wine with the girls.  Have a good weekend and cross your fingers that this snow melts by tomorrow so I can finally get outside for a run!

Liebster Awards From Amanda & Ericka

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I was nominated for a Liebster Award from both Amanda at Things to Hold and Stir and Ericka at This Crazy Thing Called Life. I'm going to consolidate these two because I only have a short lunch break to get some writing in.  Thank you ladies for the nomination!

  1. What is your most irrational fear? My teeth falling out.  I have nightmares about this ALL the time!
  2. Red, White or Champagne? Firstly, best question ever, secondly red but white comes in a close second.
  3. What is your most recent cringe-worth moment? Ugh, work related screw up. Luckily I fixed it with only minimal damage.
  4. All expenses paid, where are you taking your next trip?  ANYWHERE warm. 
  5. How did you spend New Years Eve this year e.g. was it an accurate reflection of 2013 so far? I was sick on New Years and spent it on a friend's couch.  I'm not sick anymore but I haven't done much beyond sitting on couches so still pretty accurate.
  6. Do you prefer e-readers or actual books? I still love my books but I will admit that since I got a nook I haven't read a real book.
  7. Last concert you saw or wish you saw? Florence and the Machine at Phoenix Park!
  8. Who is your fashion icon and why? What is fashion?
  9. Do you blog as a job, hobby, latter hoping for former? Hobby.  I'd love to writing for a living but I don't think this blog would be the way!
  10. What is your dream job? Traveling & writing & eating
  11. Do you have any pets? My wonderful Mac
  12. What is your go-to outfit or accessory? See question 8.
  13. Who is your favorite band/musician? This changes too often for me to put it down in writing.  I can safely say that classic rock will always be my go-to favorite genre. 
  14. What is your favorite place to go on vacation? The beach!  
  15. What is your favorite movie? Shawshank Redemption 
  16. If you could go on a $1000 shopping spree, where would you go and what would you buy? I really need a new wardrobe but can I just give the money to someone else and have them shop for me?
  17. Do you have any weird or hidden talents? I mimic sounds really well.  This generally just annoys people so I guess I also have the ability to annoy people without talking.
  18. What is your signature dish/meal that you cook? I make a mean omelet. 
  19. What was your favorite subject in school? History!! 

Real Talk Tuesday: In Five Years

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Welcome back to Real Talk Tuesday.  Thanks to everyone who participated last week! It was great getting so many different views on college.
Simple Bliss

Today's topic is one of the scariest for me because in 5 years I will be 30.  Which means I will no longer be "twenty-something." I will be a real person.  I'm sure I said that five years ago about 25, but I still don't quite feel "real" just yet.

For pretty much all of my life I could base my goals around school, but now I've reached the point where that is not an option anymore. I haven't really put too much effort into thinking about five years into the real world but I guess better late than never!

While I have a feeling few of these will work out as planned, here are a few snapshots of how I picture my life to be in five years:

  1. I hope to be in a serious relationship.  At the rate I'm going I doubt I will be married, but I least hope to be with the person that I will marry.  
  2. I hope to have my student loans paid off.  I know this is kind of ambitious but I'm making good progress already and if I keep it up at the rate I'm going I think it's actually doable.
  3. I hope to have a clear goal for my job.  I don't expect to be exactly where I want to be by 30, but I hope that I have a clear path to whatever it may be that I decide on.
  4. I hope to own a house.  I am still torn between wanting to live in a big old farm house in the country or a modern house in the middle of a bustling town, but I hope that at some point in the next five years I'll figure that out to some degree.
  5. I hope, most importantly, that I am happy. There is still so much uncertainty in my life right now.  While I think the uncertainty makes life interested, I am looking forward to a day in the future when I know what I will be doing everyday, where I will come home to, who I will come home to, and feel comfortable in all of it.