Monday Musings

Jan 26, 2015

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  1. On weight loss and running.
  2. C is for Cookie, core.
  3. Happy birthday Betty! Now I want a flash mob...
  4. Broccoli slaw, seven ways -- genius!
  5. Naughty dogs, 2014.  Thank goodness Miles isn't THAT bad...
  6. A swagger wagon -- HILARIOUS.  Still don't want one...
  7. Healthy eating diagrams
  8. Freezing office syndrome -- I'm a victim, and I have a space heater.
  9. (belated) Martin Luther King Day
  10. On treating pasta like croutons -- I certainly consume far more than a serving. Yikes.

What are YOU musing about this Monday?

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Good Morning, Gorgeous.

Jan 23, 2015

Best laid plans.  Or, as my other half likes to call it, "a symphony of alarms and snooze buttons". Potato, potatoe...

My (goal) morning routine looks a bit like this: rise at my first alarm (sans snooze) for a sweat session, shower, get dressed, make a smoothie (or something else easily edible to consume whilst driving) and head out the door -- on time.

This goal is seemingly easy considering I'm no stranger to hard work, after all, I helped cut down our Christmas tree one year...

Now some truth talk -- we are is a safe place, right? Great. 

My morning routine actually looks more like this: hit the snooze button until after my last alarm (amid groans from my bedmate to "get up or turn it off, for goodness sake"), rise in a panic. Shower, get dressed, make breakfast, and head out the door - totally and epically late.  

Regardless the depths of my tardiness, I always begin my day on a well balanced note (with my bags packed and ready to go the night before), setting the tone for the rest of my waking hours.  Let's face it, if I begin the day mindful, I'm less like to dive face first into a pool filled with french fries and double cheeseburgers.  mmm, french fries...

Here's how my stars align: Am workout = boundless energy, while healthy breakfast = beginning my day with enough protein, greens, and deliciousness to hold me over until lunch.  And if I get both those magical things done, before I leave the house? 


I scour the surface of the earth for recipes, Aloha has some great ones, more on Pinterest that will keep my taste buds happy, with enough oomph to keep me awake, without robbing my fragile soul of my days calories in one meal. Bonus points for less ingredients without sacrificing taste. The constants in every recipe I use are: fruit, greens, and a scoop of plant based Protein Powder (Aloha + Vega have great ones). Then, I blend till my heart is content, using either the Magic Bullet (super convenient, less dishes to clean) or Vitamix (heavy duty, makes more than one serving).

There you have it, my morning ritual, debunked. I should also note if I don't get my lazy bones out of bed to workout before work (which is ideal), I do so after work, which is less fun because I miss out on some quality time with my family. 

So tell me, what do YOUR morning routine look like?

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A few of my favorites (December) edition

Jan 21, 2015

food + drink

So.Much. Food.  Favorites are denoted in parentheses.

House of Wong, Peacemaker (crab), Black Thorn (pizza), Crepes Etc (preztelmon roll + Central West End), Favazza's, Bristol (lobster cobb salad + lobster bisque), Sugarfire, Eleven Eleven Mississippi (Lobster BLT -- shown above), Scottish Arms (Duck Hash), Clementines Ice Cream (Bourbon Kentucky Pie)


Bruno Mars -- Uptown Funk


Benched -- Clutch the pearls! Season one ended with a bang. I miss it already...


The Honest Toddler -- hilarious. Only read about 1/3 before my attention span wore off, but for those with children, maybe you'll stay to the end.  Regardless, its worth a try. 


Sleeping, HARD after our wedding week after the last guest departed (It took me a good week to recuperate from all the fun). Baked a cake for my mom's birthday and surprised her at work. Spent the day in my car with Mark working my way up north to visit his family for the weekend.  Seeing Mockingjay with Jaleesa, having Ginger over for dinner. A slumber party with Angie, Miles getting sick (boo), and celebrating the New Year by staying in, cooking together and playing phase 10.

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Monday Musings

Jan 19, 2015

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  1. A teenagers view on social media.
  2. Charlie Belle. I love this, so much. (thanks Jennifer!)
  3. A different perspective on, bad customer service.
  4. These heels. Yes.
  5. Smoothie meal prep - how did I not think of this before? I've wasted so much spinach...
  6. I wanderlust over this entire list. Can we go, now?
  7. Scheduling drinks with a friend. The struggle is real.
  8. Trader Joes' has a brother?!?!
  9. Love this --starting in March.  Dinner parties I mean.
  10. Brown bag lunch idea -- trying this next week...

What are YOU musing about this Monday?

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Sweating to the tune of my own drum

Jan 16, 2015

Twenty Fourteen was a record year, for many reasons (health wise) -- I got my food allergies semi under control, and ran my first marathon.

Treadmill + TV + Me = major mileage

Granted, every mile logged was not via treadmill, but I logged the most yearly mileage (for me) in 2014!

I also got considerably (gross understatement) burnt out post marathon, and if we are being honest, I'm still slowing getting my mojo back.  If anyone has advice on how to not take  one million breaks on the sides of the treadmill, I'm all ears.

Presently, it has been back to basics with Tracy Anderson to refocus my goals, heater included. While I'm not packing up my Mizunos anytime soon, I plan to focus more on strength training, and less on racing for the time being.

Since we got back home (from Christmas) I've made a concerted effort to make the time and show up for myself. To stop complaining about my (perceived flaws) and work on them.  So far, so good.

If only I could get back into the habit of am workouts, life would be easy peasy. Pray for me, the struggle is real.


Sun 12/28 -- Rest (travel day)
Mon 12/29 -- The Ultimate Yogi yin yoga (60)
Tues 12/30 -- Run (2.5 miles), Tracy Anderson mat (level 10, day #1)
Wed 12/31 -- Run (1.0 mile), TAM mat
Thurs 1/1/15  -- Run (1.0 mile), TAM mat, plank (1m), TAM vabs
Fri 1/2 -- Run (.90 mile), TAM mat
Sat 1/3 -- TAM mat, TAM Dance Cardio, TAM vabs, TAM GOOP Arms
Sun 1/4 -- Run (2.0 miles), TAM mat
Mon 1/5 -- Rest
Tues 1/6 -- TAM 12 min arms, planks (45s x 2), gymnast abs, purely fit challenge (day #1), TAM mat
Wed 1/7 -- Run (1.25 miles), TAM mat, planks (30s x 2)
Thurs 1/8 -- Run (1.0 mile), TAM mat, gymnast abs, purely fit challenge (day #2)
Fri 1/9 -- Run (fartleks 1.0 mile), Purely Fit Challenge day #3, TAM Mat (day #10) 


(re)Realizing fitness is not an "all or nothing", doing a few youtube videos in spare moments in addition to my workouts have left me energized and motivated.  Level 10 of Metamorphosis Abcentric Continuity focused on body weight, utilizing an exercise ball which was tricky to get used to, but truly amped up my workout and left me feeling stronger and challenged. 

In the coming weeks, my goal is to complete level 11 of Abcentric, in addition to cutting the  bs out of my runs. I signed up for training team (I have no races scheduled for 2015 as of yet) again, which should whip me back into running gear -- but it was 20 degrees last Sunday so we all know I didn't attend. 

Here's hoping for some warm(er) weather so I can dig myself out of this running funk.

What have you been up to lately fitness wise?
Are you stuck in a rut too?

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Dingle, hopper

Jan 14, 2015

In case you missed it, part one of our Irish adventure. 


After Rock of Cashel we loaded back into the cars and headed off for our home the next few days in Dingle -- from Kilkenny to Dingle was about 3 hours or so, weaving through quaint towns, and roundabouts. Ireland loves themselves some roundabouts. This was the only time we had rain during our trip, which boded well for us since it was during our travels. I napped to nature's lullaby.  Everyone wins.

Sunset was upon and those darn roundabouts really are confusing (especially in a foreign language), so despite turn-by-turn directions from our host, we stopped in downtown Dingle to double check  because it was pitch dark out. Thankfully a kind lady helped us and turned out our directions were correct and we were on course, so we followed them, verbatim, to the house. 

Here are the directions -- hats off for that kind of detail with nary a street number.


The best way is to take the N18 from Shannon to Limerick it is well signposted, so just keep following the signs for Limerick. (Google directions get very complicated, so i would not go there, but a copy of the map is no harm, with the directions I am giving you.)

As you are coming close to Limerick (you do not want to go into the city centre), you will begin to see signs for Tralee, Cork and Killarney, You will follow the signs for Tralee N21. There are two routes to Tralee, so be careful to watch out for Tralee, Cork and Killarney signs. You will stay on the N21 all the way to Tralee.

Once in Tralee, you will be looking for signs to Dingle (An Daingain), which is the N86. The N86 will bring you right into Dingle (AnDaingain).

There will be a fork in the road about 8-9 miles outside Tralee. One is the N86, which veers to the left and the other is Connor Pass. Please take the N86 if weather conditions are not to good.. The Connor Pass is a beautiful route, if it is a beautiful day, with no fog, rain.... If any of these conditions exist it can be very dangerous at the top of Connor Pass. In both instances (N86 or Connor Pass) follow signs to Dingle (An Daingain). 

Once you are in Dingle (An Daingain) follow the the Marina (waterway) leaving town. You will then come to a roundabout in approximately 1 mile. 

Follow signs for Feothanach (so go straight through if you came along the waterway). 

You will travel approximately 6 miles and there is a fork in the road. 

Stay to the left at fork. 

You will then travel approximately 3 miles (you will pass a school, local hall on right and couple hundred yards down the road there is The Cuinne Pub (pronounced Cuneya) on the left.

Just before the pub there is another fork in the road. 

Stay to the right. 

You will then pass over a little bridge and approximately 100 yards after the bridge there is a curve in the road. You will be taking a left turn at the curve in the road.

Your vacation home is the third house on the left. Please note that there is a house at the curve, the second house is at the top of the hill and your house is directly behind the second house. You cannot see your house very well from the road. You literally will be doing a U-turn into the driveway just past the second house.


Accurate down to the kilometer. Whomever penned that is my spirit animal.

Somehow Eric (brother #3) got lost (poor guy was so uncomfortable driving -- opposite side of the car and road), so a group went to look for him and another to the local bar (post house tour) when I got sick. SUPER sick. It was horrible. I spent the remainder of the evening in bed. Robyn was so kind and somehow found some sprite, but my stomach was having none of it. The next day I was fine, a bit dehydrated and my stomach was super sensitive (PB and crackers saved the day), but all was well thankfully.

Back to the house tour.

The housekeeper was welcoming and super helpful with the lay of the land (we got there at night so we had no idea where we were).

All bases were covered -- extra water heaters (and boosters) so everyone had a hot shower, how to use the electronics, tour of the house, where trash goes, etc. She even left the essentials: coffee, cookies, milk which was epic and awesome considering we arrived after stores closed.

Meet, Baile Ghaith (pronounced "balla gaw")

Backyard patio
I still dream about this house. 

That  body of  water is the Atlantic Ocean.  


I could live there, obviously. I've said a million times, vacation rentals make a vacation. It truly feels like home.

Mark and I stayed in this room, upstairs. 

Living Room
Each bedroom had an en suite, plus two additional half bath off living areas.  

Palatial, without being over the top. Perfect for a group our size, cozy enough without being on top of one another

Entertainment Area

Those windows are magic.

Step 1: open window

Step 2: push open for mini balconies. 

A hot mug of tea and I had a grand time right here.

Kitchen dreams are made here. It was literally the size of a studio apartment with windows on three walls.

Many a yummy meals in Dingle.  Emily (my sister law), made french toast one morning, and Deb made beef stew. 

Also, brown bread is a food I vehemently stand behind now, and I want to eat it everyday.

Town of  Ballydavid
Looks like a postcard. It felt like -- peace.

My heart was very happy in Dingle.


Somehow we couldn't figure out the dryer (so.many.knobs), so the laundry line came is handy.

A man that does laundry. Deb taught her boys well.

Ever since we saw the house online I was salivating over the fact there was a hiking (read: running) trail steps from the house. It goes without saying I HAD to find it.

The trail was plush. So plush it was reminiscent of trail running, on down pillows.

Instead of breaking an ankle, I trudged along slowly, and took lots of selfies.

I came to a locked gate and turned around, in doing so running into an adorable elderly gentleman and his dog who said "that was a quick". After I explained the gate was latched, he matter of factly said "unlatch it, the trail goes all the way up the mountain, the gates are just to keep sheep contained."


At that point I was already gone for about 30-45 minutes and without a phone (I just use wifi abroad), so I headed back so no one would worry.

Grabbed anyone willing, and set back out on the trail. This time through the gates.

Robyn, the sheep whisperer.

Deb and Rex, my mother and father in law. 

Big hearts, those Pipers.

Shopping (Strand was lovely), lunch at the Chowder Cafe (chowder was insane),  and ice cream in town (the house was on the outskirts of town in Ballydavid). 

Mark got my birthday gift, brillant, because what better gift than something Irish.  He did good. 

Gotta teach em' young.

When a ball rolled into the hole, she'd erupt in giggles and clap.

Snacking + Reading

Since my first run didn't actually get very far, I decided to pound the pavement up Slea Head Drive to get in a training run.

Unbeknownst to me, the dingle marathon was the day we departed Dingle. Had I researched better I so would have stayed behind a few hours and run it.

Next time.

I set off, telling Mark my route: right out of the driveway, taking a left at the fork and that I'd be back in an hour or so (I was hoping to get in 8-9 miles).

The roads, as I've detailed before, were tiny. one US lane = two lanes in Ireland. There is no shoulder. Marathoning training or bust I decided against ipod+headphones, opting to blast the countryside with whatever music was on my iphone through the speaker.

The cows loved it.

Once I got my rhythm (of not be hit by a car, speed limits are a suggestion), it was fantastic. Seeing the town on foot and shaking out my legs from all the travel via planes and automobiles was perfect. 

At the fork I went right, Slea Head Drive is super windy and one lane over a cliff, gorgeous, but nowhere for me to be on foot. Passed a b and b and briefly thought of going in to use their wifi and tell Mark where I was, then thought better of it, and pressed on. Little did I know, upon my return he was walking out the door to come find me because he was worried since" I have no sense of direction" and I'd been gone for almost two hours. Oops.

While I was running, a group (remember there were eleven of us?) decided to do Slea Head Drive (its a driving tour stopping at a ton of notable places) and had packed lunch while I showered.

Reading about St. Brandon

Beehive Huts

Mark said, post this on Facebook with the caption "our new home"

Lunch on the beach. Those chips...

Fairly certain I housed 2/3 the bag alone.

We only got semi stuck on the one lane road (massive tour buses were afoot), did some hiking, and got about 2/3 around before we headed back. Beautiful drive, definitely recommend.

Back in Dingle proper, we took in a boat tour and some live Irish music...

We saw Fungie, the Dingle Dolphin.  Family fun for everyone with history facts and spectacular views.

A dog, on a donkey.

I'm always happy with ice cream in my hand. And yes, I count that as one serving. No wonder my jeans don't fit...

To round out our live music fun, we found a local restaurant (recommended by the music store owner) An Canteen for dinner before the show.

Owned by two brothers, An Canteen was cozy and popular.

Smoked Haddock was delicious.

Live Irish music at Siopa Ceoil, a local legend.

The store converts for concerts, so there was no bad seat in the house. Great live music venue, super intimate. 

Performing were: David Geaney + Pauline Scanlon (Carnegie hall). After the concert we went to another bar where Paula was singing.  Good times.

During intermission traditional Irish Coffee was served. Heavy on the booze, with the freshest of whipped cream. 

I like that place.

Our last day in Dingle we hiked Mount Brandon.

Beware, thistles abound.

Family feasting at TP's on the Dingle harbor.  

Best. Smoked. Haddock.

Sadly, our time in Dingle had come to an end. I got into the car, fully stocked with Kinder bars and coffee for the drive. Ate them, all, then wondered why I had a belly ache...

Next stop. Dublin! 

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