Monthly Archives: March 2011

So Much Love

I’m in love with the love that has surrounded me over the past few days.

For one, I won Kristina‘s Love Grown Foods granola giveaway. And we all know about my little love affair with granola. It’s pretty clear this package made me a very, very happy, full-bellied girl.

The almond packages are both already demolished, and the cocoa goodness is beckoning to me every single time I open up the pantry. Mmmm!

you rock, Kristina!

I’m in love with my growing little puppy.

Check out her newest trick!

I’m in love with all of the love I’ve gotten from you guys, from friends, and from my family. Seriously, it’s amazing how supported and loved you all can make me feel. Special shoutout goes to Rach… thank you – you’re so awesome.

I’m in love with the obnoxious amounts of sun dresses I purchased last week online. Helloooo, Springtime!

some green off-the-shoulders fo me..

I want to traipse around a garden in this dress. on my bike with a basket.

I've got a big thing going on with the color purple right now.

and blue will always be my constant.

I think I’m ready for some warm, sunny day drinking weather. Now, where are my day drinking shades? Cause I love those, too.

Speaking of Spring, tomorrow is opening day of baseball season (for the Phils, at least, A.K.A. the only team that matters). And I love it. It’s the Most! Wonderful time! Of the yeeeaaaarrrr.

go Phillies!

I can finally break out all my Phils gear I’ve been staring at longingly in my closet since last October.

I love the fact that I busted out a whole new dresser and bedside table in a matter of two days.

Maybe all this love is due to high levels of paint fumes ;)

before... with the help of Chloe and Napolean Dynamite

aaaand... ta-da!

I love having a big, new dresser, and I love my sweet Poppop for letting me have some of his old furniture.

What are you loving right now?

An E-mail

There is nothing like an e-mail to make you feel inferior. An e-mail to make you feel like you’re not good enough, or to make you feel like you did something wrong.

Know what it made me realize? That God is doing something right.

After two years, an e-mail tells me that he isn’t good enough.

God has an interesting way of working. And I’m thankful that he didn’t let me waste any more of my time, love, thoughts, and energy on something that could end so hurtfully.

I’m thankful he didn’t let me give up everything, like I had offered, for someone who doesn’t deserve it.

An e-mail is absurd. An e-mail is laughable.

And I’m glad I’m now free to find someone who realizes what they have when they’ve got me.

Someone who couldn’t imagine living their life without me.

Someone who would never send me that e-mail. After two years, two months, or two days.

Now, on to the real question. Who’s ready for some serious wine nights in Virginia Beach? Just don’t e-mail me. ;)

chuckin' up the deuces.

My First Marathon – Fundraising Woes

Know what I could happily eat every single day?

Philadelphia soft pretzels.

I adore them. And aside from a quality cheesesteak, Philly soft pretzels are what I miss most about living in a South Jersey suburb of Philadelphia. Every time my mom and I would go to the mall, we’d get a “braid” pretzel to share.

The result? Every single time I hit the mall, I’m salivating for a pretz.

NO, not an Auntie Ann’s pretzel. Those are cheap knockoffs. And they don’t compare.

In fact, after the Shamrock Half Marathon last Sunday, I saw some chick holding a soft pretzel. I closelined her and asked her excitedly if they were giving them out at the post-race party. She laughed and told me that no, she had brought it.

I pouted.

And I’ve been thinking about that soft pretz ever since.

That’s a long time to lust after a pile of salty carbs. But really, I never said my palate was reasonable.

Guess what I’m doing today?

These babies are getting replaced!

I’m hoping my shin splints and toesie issues are a product of badly needing some new running shoes. I’ve always been an Asics girl for my skinny feet and neutral stride since I started high school track, but I’m gonna go see what the guys at Running, Etc. think about that. Yay for new shoes!

And what am I gonna do with those new shoes?

Run with a Norfolk Running Club… yaaay! I’m putting complete faith in Rob that these guys run a reasonable pace and won’t leave me and my busted toes in the dust.

First Marathon Woes

So, Anastasia, a.k.a my running twin and the reason I even run half marathons, has always dreamt of running the Marine Corps Marathon. We decided it made sense to make THIS our first marathon rather than the Shamrock next year so her family can be a part of the race.

The only problem? The race is full.

In order to race this marathon, I would need to sign up with a charity and raise the money to earn my bib. Although this is a fantastic goal and an amazing opportunity, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. $750 is a LOT of money to try and raise, and I’m not feeling like it’s a realistic goal. I’d feel like a deadbeat asking people for money for me to run my first marathon, especially since my family and friends helped me raise money for my first half marathon back when I was a poor, starving college student.

I feel like it’s now or never when it comes to my first marathon, and I’m not sure I’d do it without my running buddy.  Any words of wisdom from you marathon veterans?

What food do you crave from your childhood/hometown?

Are any of you Asics lovers out there converts to another shoe brand?

CAAAAAKKKEEEE!

I get to play Wedding Planner Helper Lady/Paparazzi with my friend Lisa-Marie, and I love every second of it. Didja know my original career plan was to be a wedding planner? ;)

Her wedding is coming up FAST, so we got down and dirty on the planning this weekend!

“CAaAaAkKKKEEeeEEE”

Does this picture remind anyone else of one of my favorite posts on Hyperbole And a Half?

she is a genius.

Anyway, Lisa-Marie and I had a blasty blast trying and testing different kinds of cake, cake fillings, cake frostings, and cake icings. CAAAAKKKKEEEE!

The first place we visited was Bliss Bakery. I know, they went to be just like me. But they spelled it wrong. Their cake was yummy, and their design proposal sounded pretty great, but we were anxious to compare our experience to the next place: La Chocolatier.

This place kinda blew Bliss Bakery out of the water (which I hate to say, since Bliss had such a great name, and all…). From our first bites of cake, Lisa-Marie and I looked and each other, eyes wide, knowing this would be the winner.

even the presentation blew us away.

At La Chocolatier, LM got to pick out her cake, filling, and frosting flavors pre-consultation. Let’s just say her choices didn’t disappoint… especially the dark chocolate almond and the red velvet!

The final cake design is perfect and goes with LM and Seth’s wedding theme and colors perfectly.

Let’s just say… I’ll probably be first in line for cake at this wedding. ;)

**Note: if anyone in the Virginia Beach area knows someone who needs an apartment in the Chesapeake area near Regent, Lisa-Marie is trying moving out of her apartment A.S.A.P. and looking for a sub-letter. Puh-lease spread the word and let me know if you’re interested!

And guess what else I finished this weekend that was cake-related?

Katie‘s bLyss Designs giveaway-winner shot glass!

Katie asked for her name and a cupcake, so I went with a theme that kinda matched her bloggity blog. This baby will be shipped out to her this week so she can enjoy lots of goodies from it ASAP. ;)

raspberry + chocolate = a winning combination

And to top off a productive weekend, I enjoyed a nice raspberry chocolate pudding smoothie.

How do you make it pudding-like? Add too much xanthan gum! ;)

To make this baby, add the following to the blender:

  • 10 frozen raspberries
  • 1 scoop chocolate truffle protein powder (I use Nectar Whey Protein Isolate)
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 3 pinches xanthan gum (for thickening… use less if you want it less pudding-like)
  • a big fat squirt of sugar-free chocolate syrup
  • 1 packet of Splenda (if you like super sweet things like I do)

choco-raspberry-licious

And voila. A pretty chocolate raspberry protein pudding smoothie. Serve in a martini glass like me if you’re feeling saucy.

I’m looking forward to a week full of training (yep.. our next half marathon is less than a month away already!) with a running club and a friend movie night. Hoooo-rah!

Have you ever been wedding cake tasting? What was your all-time fave?

What’s your take on running clubs? I’m overly excited to try this one in Norfolk.

My First Guest Post!

I was so excited when Katie asked me to write a guest post for her AWESOME blog, What Katie’s Baking.

She’s got some fantastic dessert recipes goin’ on over there. She won me over with her Gooey Surprise cupcakes.

It’s a cookie. In a cupcake. I’m in love.

ANYWAY, Katie asked me to provide some dessert recipes, so I pulled out all my NO-bake favorites: the balls.

Oreo balls, peanut butter pretzel balls, and bourbon balls.

Go read my post. Go say hey to Katie. ;)

A Serious Breakthrough

I had an amazing, fantastic, spectacular running breakthrough yesterday.

I’ll set the scene:

It was my first day doing anything cardiovascular since the Half Marathon on Sunday.
It was the first time I put on any close-toed shoes (my toesies were feelin’ fresh.. finally).

It wasn’t the first time I’ve gotten totally pumped for my post-work workout and forgotten a sports bra.

Womp, womp.

Allison even gave me a nice, guiltless “out” from hitting the gym altogether.

Love her!

But my boday was telling me it needed a nice sweat session. I had to do something. So I sucked it up, I put on my running clothes, and I sauntered into the gym feeling like “that girl.”

Ya know, the one with the pajama pants and hoodie. Or that one with the velour sweatpants.

Can I just strap a sign on my back saying, “Forgot real gym clothes. I swear I know I’m not supposed to exercise in this.”

Since no treadmills were open anyway, I snagged an arc trainer and bopped around on it for 10 minutes. Then… the machine reset.

I had no choice but to snag the (now) open treadmill.

I ran four miles, and it was one of the best feelings I’ve had in a long time.

No, I didn’t run a long distance. No, I didn’t run it fast. No, I didn’t have a magazine or a T.V. in front of me. Yes, my muscles were still sore from the half marathon, and yes, I needed a sports bra.

Somehow, none of it mattered. I used to obsess over my runs. If my playlist wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t going to be okay. If my left shoe wasn’t tight enough, it would run my run. If I ate the wrong thing, I’d totally have to stop. None of this bothers me anymore. The old me would have said there was no. way. I’d run without all my real gym clothes.

At the risk of sounding cliche, I was just running. And I had this overwhelming happiness I don’t think I’ve ever really felt.

I love running.

I love the way it makes me feel, I love the good things it does for my body, and I love putting myself under pressure to see what it can do.

Because I’ve been working toward a goal for so long with my running, I don’t think I’ve had the chance to realize how much I just love the feeling of running.

And it is this that brings me to my conclusion that I will most definitely be running my first full marathon in the Shamrock Marathon 2012.

I want to do one before I die, and what better time than now? I’ve done three half marathons. I need a new goal. And I’d love to return to the Shamrock knowing I already “rocked” half of what I’m about to do.

And the best part? Anastasia’s onboard, too. ;)

thank you for being a crazy person with me.

Don’t be afraid to call me crazy. I used to think everyone I know who said they “love” running were crazy, too. ;)

Baby, I Liiike It!

After my first disappointing go-around with greek yogurt, I was a little hesitant to try out the other types you all urged me to try.

But I got brave a few weeks ago, and after a quick run to Farm Fresh for all the goodies Food Lion doesn’t offer, I nabbed these three flavors of Chobani.

with fruit! on! the! bottom!

And do I have good news.

Chobani 0% Peach made an all-star appearance in my lunch first, and it gets two great big thumbs up! I was anxious to try the Pomegranate and Vanilla flavors, and although they were good (you can totally taste the arils  in the Pomegranate), my favorite so far is the blueberry. I REALLY want to try the lemon, but I can’t find it on the shelves anywhere!

Three cheers for a new passenger on the greek yogurt train!

You guys were right. Thank you.

On the subject of “right,” I finally found the new Thomas’ Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Thins in the grocery store last week, and they have been a staple in my healthified egg mcmuffins. The cinnamon raisin flavor just adds so much to the egg, cheese, and turkey.

I did, however, utilize the ol’ Everything Bagel Thin in a new twist on my usual tuna salad. And gosh, was it good.

tuna + laughing cow light swiss + bagel thin = heaven.

To prepare my usual tuna salad, I chopped an onion and celery, then mixed it with the tuna, a dollop of free mayo, a dash of salt, and lots of pepper. Paired with the Laughing Cow Light Swiss cheese on an Everything Bagel Thin, it was a fantastic Omega-3 meal.

I served my little healthy tuna melt with some garlic and onion-sauteed green beans and celery with pepper jelly.

Sidenote: does anyone else have a slight pepper jelly obsession? I had a jar from Rosemont Winery from my birthday weekend, and I demolished it faster than I typically consume a jar of Naturally More Peanut Butter.

And you all know those don’t last long in my house.

Maybe a homemade pepper jelly recipe is in my future? ;)

the goods.

Lyssa needs her new camera. stat.

And guess whose race pictures came in?

Apparently, the downside to a rockin’ PR is a sloo of obnoxiously unflattering pictures. Cool how the photogs all hang out at the finish line where everybody’s too gassed to smile, huh?

"I can fly!"

clearly, my most flattering.

and, my favorite, recovered from the “Lost & Found” section…

oh, hey! just 9 miles in...

That second to last one deserves a frame around it. ;)

Which gives me an idea.

How many of you are brave enough to send me a hilarious race picture of yourself? It can me a professional, pedestrian-taken, whatever you’ve got. I see a quality post of “very attractive” race pictures in the Life of bLyss lineup… who’s with me?

Send your goofy-lookin’ race pictures to me at alhalter8@gmail.com. If you’ve got a blog, hit me with the address, too, so I can link you up. :)

So, what’s your favorite flavor of Chobani? Have you gotten a chance to try the new flavors?

Happy Thursdeee! We’re almost to the weekend!

Race Weekend Extras

Yesterday’s Race Recap, although fun, was getting obnoxiously long to include all the other fun weekend activities we took part in. SO, I saved them for you today. :)

We started our fun race activities at the Expo on Friday night. There, we indulged in lots of “treats” (samples), race paraphernalia, and fun informational booths.

A college friend of mine had these running shoes (Newtons), and couldn’t say enough good things about them. I’ve been lusting over the hot pink ones ever since. Has anyone tried these babies out/know much about them?

I’m on the fence with these. I need to replace my current Asics, but I need a neutral stability shoe for skinny feet… which is why I LOVE Asics.

clearly, we're Asics girls.

the perfect saying for me. AND her.

Anastasia and I were thisclose to buying these sleeves… but opted for a cheaper option.

see that? "will run for wine."

And my 13.1 car sticker is getting a little weathered, so I got a new one. AND another great addition. ;) Where can I find a half marathon that gives me wine at the post-race party?

On Saturday morning, Anastasia, Lisa-Marie, and I went to cheer on the boys while they ran the Shamrock 8k. Their team came in first place, and they finished in 35:00!

8k champs

During their post-race party, us spectators focused on our Camelbaks. Hydration is so key one day out from a half marathon!

hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

No beer for us half-ers.

Cheapo Racing Sleeves

We also discovered a very smart (and cheap. and easy) trick for cold race days.

See: Above racing sleeves. They were $18.99. And they were cute, but that’s a lot of money to spend on something you’re not sure you’re gonna want to wear for an entire 13.1 miles.

SO.. we got a little creative. Anastasia and I patrolled Target for some long socks. We cut the little feet off, slid them on our arms, and… ta-da! Perfect cheap sleeves we could rip off and toss on the side of the road if we get too hot.

AND they make you look tough.

Interestingly enough, we never did take them off (it was a chilly/windy morning!), but I would have totally discarded them on the race route if I had gotten too overheated.

So, go get some long socks for your upcoming Spring race. After you toss ‘em, you won’t feel the least bit guilty. ;)

So… have you ever used the pricey running sleeves? I’ve gotta say, I was very tempted by the “Some girls chase boys… I pass ‘em” slogan.

And for you skinny-footed neutral runners, are you Asics fans? Do you know anything about Newton running shoes? What’s your favorite running shoe brand?

 

“Run Today, Brag Forever.”

Today’s post title is inspired by a little boy sitting on his mom’s shoulders during the Shamrock. He was holding a hand painted sign, “RUN TODAY. BRAG FOREVER.” I fell in love with him.

I hope you’re ready for a baller race recap, cause I’ve got an overshare of pictures comin’ your way. But, really, who doesn’t like visuals? ;)

Let’s cut to the chase first – the BIG NEWS.

I cut 13 minutes off my half marathon PR. I finished in 1:42:56.

16th place (top 2.5%) in my age group. 537th place out of 6869 runners.

Yuengling has never tasted so good.

And my toes still really, really hurt… but it was so worth it.

I’ll set the scene on Saturday night: lots of water (thank you, Camelbak). Oodles of pasta. Stuffed animals and a pre-race slumber party. Yaaaaay, we are running twins and we are 6 years old!

so cool. ...we're also wearing our Shamrock shirts for luck.

Fast forward to 5:15 a.m. Sunday morning. Anastasia and I are up, we’re stressing over going to the bathroom (honestly), we’re eating a breakfast of light carbs, and we’re visualizing this:

there's nothing like a boardwalk finish line.

Garmin Forerunner at the ready, iPods and Gu in hand, and potty stop complete, we’re running to the starting line, late as usual, and slide into corral 3 (oops.. we were supposed to be in Corral 1, but we never seem to make it in time for our accurate starting place).

we ran this... (route in yellow)

like this!

Haaha.. that’s the pace calculator stats from my Garmin. Can you tell where our water breaks were? And that I sprinted the last mile at a 6:30 pace before forgetting to turn the Garmin off as I dizzily wandered to the bananas just past the finish line? ;)

This is how we felt post-race.

like. a. bamf.

If it weren’t for this girl, I would have never even tried to run a half marathon. Ever. Now, thanks to her, I’ve completed three!

so much love for my running twin.

And the Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon post-race party goes down in history as the best I’ve attended. By far.

"A Team!"

And, although we all planned to meet up for the after-party, we even saw John during the race!

running pals fo lyfe.

Lisa-Marie and Seth even cheered us on when we passed the beach house on the oceanfront. It’s such a great feeling to see your friends cheering you on from the sideline.

Rob gets big props as the best supporter/photographer we’ve got. I’m pretty psyched for our plans to run another half in May. Half marathon #4, here we come!

we run fast together.

It goes without saying we had a blast at the after-party. There was a little Yuengling, a lot of dancing, and a little stretching.

stretchin' those legs

And THEN… our results were announced.

see that joy?

We ran the entire race together except for the last mile. We shaved a collective 27 minutes from our previous personal records. HIGH FIVES AND HUGS ALL AROUND!

WE RUN! and it feeeeels goood!

success. happiness.

WOOO-HOOO!

...now let's get fat.

Because, let’s be honest… what’s the point in running 13.1 miles and not pigging out on tuna wraps, fries, nachos, and froyo afterwards? ;)

Dear Shamrock Half Marathon 2011: Consider yourself dominated.

Love, the A Team.

Post-Race Ouchies

I have big news!

The Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon was amazing. It goes down in history as my favorite race yet, from start to finish.

And the success I had is only part of all the love I’m giving this race. ;)

best. medal. ever.

P.S. …My medal is a bottle opener.

However, I’m going to wait to share my big news for when I have all the pictures to share with you all.  My camera is still en route to me, and Anastasia took all of the pictures on her camera.

SO… a full race recap, including our times, will materialize tomorrow. Get excited!

Preview: I have never been so, so spent at a finish line in my entire life. And I came in 16th in my age group!! :-D

In the meantime, I’m going to nurse my sore muscles and my [almost lack of] second left toenail. I didn’t realize it until I took my sneakers off around 5 p.m. yesterday, but I truly ran my toesies off. Sick, I know.

we actually saw this sticker at the expo on Friday...

I’ll spare you of the gory visual (I really hate feed and will avoid them/talking about them whenever possible), but trust me, my toe is purple. And it hurts when anything touches it.

Dear mother nature, will you pretty please give me some really warm weather for a while so I can keep wearing flip flops everywhere? :)

gimme some of THAT weather.

So… I’m now calling all you runner’s toe pros. Anything I should do for this baby to make it feel better?

Other than get lots of loving kisses from my baby, that is.

Chloe's back home!

Check back tomorrow for a full race recap! ;)

I have to add a HUGE thank you to all of my loving friends who commented, send messages, and commented to cheer me on. It made me feel so loved!

What did you do this weekend? Have you ever experienced “runner’s toenail” before? Ewww, I know.