Monday, February 28, 2011


Sitting at my computer on a rainy day at the end of February is not my ideal day, but it will do.  I am sitting here staring at my calendar

dreaming that I was somewhere else.  I think it would be pretty great to be laying on a beach chair along the water there... what do you think?

Anyways, those dreams led to me dreaming about other things such as running.  First, I am so excited that warm weather will be here soon because I miss running comfortably outside.  Also, our new apartment is less than 4 miles from a bike path right along the water.  YES PLEASE.  I have to go over one bridge to get there but if it's open to pedestrian traffic, perhaps I can run to the bike path when my runs get longer again! 
Obviously that's not the part near the water, but go down a mile or so and there it is!  I did several long runs there this past summer but it will be nice to have it so close!

Daydreaming like that got me thinking about my running dreams.  I use the term loosely as I'm not a great runner, meaning I'm not that fast.  I do love it though.  I had wanted to do a marathon this year but it's definitely not going to be this spring as I just am not willing to commit enough of the free time that I do have to running.  We'll see how things look for the fall.  That being said, I have been better about committing my free time to running.  Even on a night where Jess was home last week I chose to go run, and you know what?  It made me feel a lot better.  She hasn't been pressuring me to come home rather than running, it's just something that I felt guilty about.  I've decided that I need to get over it because I am a much nicer lady when I run.  Just ask Jess.  :)

So here are my goals:
- Run a marathon!
- Run Boston (obviously I will be a charity runner, which is just fine by me!)  P.S.  I will be there again this year cheering people on... I'd love to meet up with some fellow bloggers to say hey and give you high fives!
- Run an ultra... I just think this sounds awesome, maybe it means I'm crazy but SOMEDAY it would be really cool
- Never stop running... I feel that in the past few years I have been happier than I have ever been in my life (hmm, it also coincides with being married to Jess) and I know running has been a huge part of it.  I love how it makes me feel so I hope that I never truly get tired of it.  I struggle with motivation sometimes, and sometimes it truly lingers, but I keep coming back for more.  And I hope I always do.

What are your dreams?


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Three Tangent Thursday

I neglected to do my "three things" on Tuesday as I wanted to talk about my trip so I am going to do it today!

1.  I love to read.  I had forgotten how much joy it brought me until this past weekend when I read an entire book in 4 days while I was gone.  My favorite books include "The Diary of Anne Frank," "Vanishing Acts" by Jodi Picoult, the entire Harry Potter series and "Ultramarathon Man" by Dean Karnazes.  They are all box that I've read several times and I will read them many more times in my lifetime. 

2.  We are getting ready to move soon and I am very anal about packing.  Each box will be labeled with the proper location and an example of the contents.  Just call me Monica.

3.  I love journals.  I have always been a collector of cute notebooks and journals.  Currently I have several "Active" journals.  My running journal, my daily journal, my quote journal and my life list journal.  Writing is very cathartic for me.  I use it as a tool when I'm happy and sad.  I try to keep track of important events.  I don't have all of them with me today but you get the idea :)

So there you go, 3 wonderfully interesting facts about me!!

I went to the gym last night after work and did 2.7 miles on the treadmill (I did 3.3 in DC and needed to even it out!)  My plan for the rest of the week (Sun-Sat) is run either tonight or tomorrow morning and Saturday afternoon.  I am feeling good!

How are your workouts going?  Tell me three random things about you!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DC weekend!

I had a great time in DC with the girls!!  Lots of good memories came from the weekend.  I wrote a little bit on each day so I just put them together.  I look forward to catching up on all of your blogs!!

When I arrived to the Cleveland Airport, much to my surprise, I saw this:

McAlister's was my favorite place to eat in Oxford, Mississippi, when I was in school.  I hadn't been to one since 2005.  It was soooo tasty:
Cheese spud

It was just as I'd remembered!!  What a great surprise!  Friday night we went for drinks before heading to dinner:
Mom & Aunt Suzie
Me and MacKenzie
Dinner was great.  We ate at a restaurant called Founding Farmers.  I HIGHLY recommend it if you are ever in DC.  Great local food, all made fresh. 

Saturday we had a great day and spent a good deal of time shopping.  I didn't buy much but I saw this at DSW:
My new best friend
As I'm sure most of you know (since most people who read this are women!), DSW has amazing sales.  I got this little gem for $20.98.  I still can't believe it.  I love it!!! 

On Sunday, I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It was such a heartbreaking experience. The hatred and violence that was promoted by Hitler is startling. I've read much about the Holocaust in my life as I always found it interesting yet terrifying at the same time. I remember doing many reports on Anne Frank while I was in school and to this day, The Diary of Anne Frank remains one of my favorite books. It was an amazing experience in that it documented so much of a part of history that touched so many people. At the beginning of the tour each person took an identification card of someone that saw first hand the horrors of the Holocaust. At the end, you find out if your person survived. My woman, Magda Hellinger, survived. "During a forced march out of Auschwitz, Magda was rescued by partisans. After first returning to Czechoslovakia, Magda emigrated to Israel. She later moved to Australia." It was a really interesting way to find out more about someone who I would never have heard of otherwise. At the end of the regular part of the museum there was an exhibit for genocide that is currently happening around the globe. There was a station where you could write your pledge of how you planned to help make the world a better place. It was an interactive pen so after your pledge was written on a card it was then projected on the screen above the tables. It was really humbling and reminded me how lucky I am to have been born where I was. It also made me want to do more. I went into my profession with the intention of making a difference in the world. I know that what I do is important but it isn't what I want to do for the rest of my life. I'm not truly passionate about it. What I am passionate about is helping the underprivileged and oppressed. My Master's thesis was on homelessness in the United States. My Bachelor's project was helping raise money for an upstart emergency shelter for abandoned, abused and neglected youth. THAT is what I'm passionate about. I love helping people. I love bringing awareness to a problem. I truly want to do something that changes the way people live. All of that has been sitting dormant in my heart for the past several years until today. Today I realized I need to do more. Now I just need to figure out what "more" is. Unfortunately politicians don't seem to care about allotting funding to social service agencies that provide the basic needs to those less fortunate. It is for that specific reason that I work elsewhere as I have student loans to pay off, amongst other things. So now I need to focus on where I can volunteer in my "spare time" since working at one of these places seems out of the question! Then I remembered the organization called "Back On My Feet," which encourages the homeless to rehabilitate themselves by running as well as assisting with basic needs. The nearest one to me is in Boston but I am going to look into volunteering options. Wow, sorry for the long winded comment.

What is close to your heart?

Cool statue
 On Monday, I ran from our hotel to the Washington Monument. It was an amazing experience that I can't accurately describe. On my way to DC I purchased "A Race Like No Other" about the New York City marathon so I already really had running on the brain. It was my only run of the weekend and I'm okay with that. It was a cool 45* in the city and I saw so many other people running. A few people waved. It made me want to get back to the running community because overall we're a friendly bunch. I remembered that my new apartment is near a bike path that I ran on several times over the summer. It is something I am looking forward to doing again. During my run I paid attention to how I felt rather than my watch. I ended up with 3.3 miles on my Garmin with an average pace of 10:22 which is pretty speedy for me for an "easy run." I felt really good when I got back to my hotel. Now if I can just keep this feeling. I was able to catch earlier flights home which worked out well as the other flights were quite delayed due to weather in Cleveland. I am actually typing on my iPod currently from the airplane and will publish this Tuesday morning.

I really wish I remembered the name of this statue I passed.
My destination in sight!
Do you get obsessed with running sometimes? I absolutely do. I saw someone wearing a NYC marathon shirt this weekend and just thought it was so cool. I also went to another lululemon store and wanted to buy everything in sight. I didn't.

Sorry that was such a long post!  I hope you all are well.  Can't wait to see what you've been up to!!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


This is my 100th post!  How exciting to think about!  I started this blog almost one year ago (Feb 25, 2010) and it has made many changes since then.  Thank you all who read my blog and give me constant motivation and feedback!!

The hockey game last night was great!  The Maple Leafs won!!  Bruins fans were not that excited.  Going into the city with my favorite person is likely my favorite thing to do!  While I was there, I did get super excited about baseball season.  It is almost here.

I am going to run OUTSIDE this weekend when I am in DC.  It is supposed to be nearly 70* on Friday when I get there and will be in the 50s all weekend.  I'd be stupid NOT to run outside!  I am pumped.  I need to plan what to take for running clothes.  I'd like to run as much as I can while I'm there since I will actually have time!!

 I plan to enjoy some good food, lots of laughs and shopping!  As lame as it might sound, I don't do well sleeping when Jess isn't next to me (thankfully it doesn't happen often!) so I am already worrying about that a little.  Do you sleep well away from your significant other? 

Still trying to figure out what all I'm going to pack, including two books.  I'm currently reading "The Tenth Circle" by Jodi Picoult and I look forward to finishing it but I want to take a backup book as well.  What are you reading?


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Three Tangent Tuesday

I liked doing this last week so I think I will do it again!

1.  Today is day 14 of "no caffeine."  I'll be honest... I miss this a lot...
I never got any headaches though and I feel a lot better and more full of energy.  I guess it worked!!!

2.  Tonight I am going to my first NHL game!  I am so excited.  I love being in Boston, no matter what the reason is!

I am secretly a Toronto Maple Leafs fan but I have agreed to wear neutral colors!!  :)

3.  I have already made a packing list for my trip to DC this weekend to see my mom, sister and aunt!!  Watch out DC!!
This was at the surprise engagement party my aunt threw for Jess and me in August 2008.
Looks like we need an updated picture of the four of us!!!

Do you like major league sporting events?  What's your favorite?  I LOVE baseball games.  Baseball is definitely my favorite sport.  I am pretty excited about this hockey game though!!!  The last major sporting event I went to was on Marathon Monday last year when I saw the Sox lose to the Rays.  Good game but very cold!!!  (Good running weather though!)

Happy Tuesday!


Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 10

of no caffeine!  I feel good!  I like not depending on it when I wake up in the morning.  It feels good!

Last night after work I drove to the gym and there was NO parking.  This has happened many times now and it's very annoying.  So I went home and popped in my Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred

and it totally kicked my butt!!  I am not used to doing a video or hopping around like that.  My knees started popping a bit and it made me nervous.  I think it was a good workout though.  I enjoyed it!!

I am getting out of work early to go look at an apartment with Jess.  I hope we like it and everything works out!  I'm tired of looking.  She took my car to get an oil change and bath this morning.  THANK YOU!  I hate doing stuff like that.

Tonight we are going to order in and watch our Netflix movie.  Tomorrow we work and then tomorrow night we have a date with our nephew while his parents go out for  Valentine's Day.

What are you doing to celebrate Valentine's Day?  We are going to the Bruins v. Maple Leafs game on the 15th.  Woohoo I can't wait!!!!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Is it Spring yet?

Man this weather is getting old!  Every morning I walk outside hoping that spring has sprung.  A few more weeks.

Tuesday evening I went to the gym after work:

2 miles on treadmill
4 miles on bike
3x10 Chin-ups (assist of 70lbs)
3x10 Dips (assist 70lbs)

I felt awesome!  It was nice to do something other than running for a change.  It was cool to switch it up.  When I got home, Jess made an awesome tofu stir fry and it was delicious!!  We watched some Biggest Loser and looked online for a new apartment.  Moving is one of my least  favorite things.  We had hoped to stay where we are for 2-3 years but it didn't work out that way.  We have a smoker living below us, a family of 6 living above us in a 2 bedroom (illegal!) and are on the end so we hear EVERYONE slam the door and stomp up the stairs.  Oh yeah, and my rims & tires were taken from my car in November.  We're all set.

Yesterday I had group again after work (not as long of a day as Monday, but still long) but after two days in a row of running/exercising I decided to skip a day.  Spent a nice relaxing evening falling asleep on the couch.  It was much needed!!!

Tonight after I see my clients I will be going to the gym and running again.  My motivation is definitely up and it feels GOOD!  You should go over to read my guest appearance on an AWESOME blog at runjodirunThis lady is a hardcore runner!  Definitely follow her if you don't already!  Thank YOU Jodi for helping me with my motivation!

The trucks are headed down for spring training.....
Are you excited?  I am!  I LOVE baseball!!  Who is your favorite team?  I am a HUGE Red Sox fan but as a kid I grew up loving the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers.  My Grandpa is a die-hard Tigers fan and has been to over 60 ballparks in 60 years.  He's been having trouble keeping up with them as so many new ones are being built!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Three Tangent Tuesday

Okay so I'm going to be one of the cool kids and do "three tangent Tuesday" this week.

1.  I went to The University of Mississippi (aka Ole Miss) for undergrad and got my Bachelor's in Social Work.  I was in college from August 2001- May 2005.  Oxford, Mississippi is one of the most beautiful places on this earth.  If you have never been, I highly recommend it.  Nothing like going to a concert in the town square sippin' some lemonade and eating fried chicken on a stick!  I met some of my greatest friends there and it was an incredible four years!

Hotty Toddy!

Double Decker Festival
You must try Chicken on a Stick if you are ever in Oxford.  It tastes best at 2am.
2.  I started graduate school 5 days after I graduated from undergrad.  I went to Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts.  I received my Master's in Social Work one year later in May 2006 as I was in an "advanced standing" program that was only a year long. 

3.  I was born in Fort Worth, Texas.  My parents were high school sweethearts in Michigan.  My Dad joined the Air Force and was transferred down there.  My father lived in Texas most of my life and it is a beautiful state.  When I travel there I truly "feel" different.  I haven't been there in years at this point but I'd still love to take Jess there sometime.  I love being in the country, driving along with the windows down.  One of the best feelings ever!
That's all for today.  I will be going to exercise (either the yoga class or running) after work and I can't wait!  Hope everyone is having a great  Tuesday!

Tell me some cool things about you!  Where'd you go to school?  Where are you from?


Monday, February 7, 2011


Who feels good?  THIS GIRL!  As many of you may know, Monday is my LONG day at work.  I worked 11 hours today, including running a group.  I drove straight to the gym afterwards, intent on getting a workout in.  I started my run with only one goal...
The sweat kind rubbed the ink off
run!  (I wrote it on my hand this morning so I would be thinking about running all day.  Guess what!  It worked.)  So as I was running I was trying to figure out how long I would run.  I covered up the distance and just began focusing on the time.  I ended up running a super easy 4 miles.  I feel great right now!

My motivation is up and I feel great!  I am going to try the hand trick again tomorrow!  I've found that if I break things down into smaller goals, it seems more manageable and less overwhelming, especially with my work schedule.  Things should be smoother now that the acreditation board is gone!  My goal for tomorrow?  Exercise!  I don't care if I run or if I do the class.  I just want to get to the gym! 

Does anyone want a coupon for  I have a $5 off coupon code that I can give to the first person who asks for it.  The coupon expires 3/31 so let me know!  I definitely recommend wearing a RoadID!

Last but not least, my dear bloggy friend, Janae, is having an AWESOME giveaway on her blog at Hungry Runner Girl that you should totally go check out.  I mean come on, you can win Swedish Fish, what better prize is there?!?!

Did you get your workout in?


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Laziness lifts

Currently making some more fabulous chili while we wait for the Superbowl to start!  Today I enjoyed a lovely day with Jess, my sister-in-law (Jess' twin), and our nephew!  We went to the mall (I got a new white button down and a black sweater from Express!) and then went to Whole Foods for groceries where we actually ran into Jess' other sister and her boyfriend!  Small world!  It's good to be home now and being lazy on the couch.

It has been a pretty hectic week.  We had the accreditation board at my work all week, but the good news is that we are reaccredited for 3 years!  At the end of the week I got this gift made by one of my students:

I love getting projects that my guys have worked on.  It's always such an honor that they thought to give it to me.  I can't throw away their artwork so I guarantee I will have millions of pictures that my future kids draw!

Yesterday I went to the gym after work.  It was so good to run again.  I felt so powerful and motivated.  I used some machines after my run.
Don't let my legs blinnd you.  I apologize for the whiteness.  I am going to go to the gym again tomorrow.  I need to start holding myself accountable again.  I felt so strong and powerful when I was there and actually ran at a pretty decent clip.  I think I got so focused and involved with running that I got burnt out and that's not a good feeling.  Too much of anything can be a bad thing, right?  I have shifted my goals and readjusted my dreams for myself.  I want to be in good shape and feel good.  I'd like to FINALLY join one of the classes at my gym (like I've been saying for the past several months) and run several times per week.  I can feel my mood shift when I don't exercise.

Help me keep my motivation.  Give me some of your tips!!!

What are you making for the Superbowl?  I made chili!  So good!

Who are you rooting for?  I'm rooting for the Packers.  They have prettier colors.  :)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Watch out Rachael Ray!

Okay everyone, I did it again.  I cooked!  I am actually really beginning to like it!  I wish I had time to do it every day.  Tonight I made a Vegetarian Chili that my friend Sarah came up with.  It is SO good!  I topped it with cheese and man oh man, is it good!
Sarah's Vegetarian Chili
To clarify, I am NOT a vegetarian by any means but I have been experimenting with a lot of different healthy dishes and a lot of them happen to be vegetarian.  I topped the chili with shredded cheese too!  Yummy! 

Also, for dessert....
Brownie batter... almost just ate it with a spoon!
The brownies are currently in the oven and they smell SO good!  I will admit, it is a mix from a box.  I think sometime soon I will try it from scratch but I have never, ever made brownies before so I wanted to try it this way first.  My blueberry muffins from scratch were good so I bet my brownies would be killer!

I have never been the type of person to cook -- it just wasn't my thing.  But I am now finding that I thoroughly enjoy it!  I wish I had time to cook like this every day because it is actually fun!  I am looking forward to scouring the net for recipes this evening while I watch Biggest Loser. 

Today was a big day for another reason as well.  I said farewell to my dear friend...
My oldest friend
Today was the last day of my taper off caffeine.  I am a little nervous about tomorrow morning but I am just trying to have faith that it will be fine.  Wish me luck!!

Another snow storm is on it's way here.  It snowed quite a bit today actually but it's also supposed to turn into freezing rain and all that other crud.  I'm not looking forward to driving tomorrow.

As far as running goes, well, it's been a few days.  I have been thinking about it a lot and wanting to get back out there but I just feel like there are so many other things I want to be doing.  I will get out of this funk, I promise.  Please stay with me through it!  This weather has just got me in a crummy mood and I always struggle with exercise in the winter. 

Okay, here is the finished product of the brownies... 

Did I mention that they are Ghiradelli brownies??  I have to let them cool before I eat them, unfortunately.  Hopefully there are some left over for when Jess gets home.

Do you like to cook?  What's your favorite thing to make?  I am definitely beginning to like it and so far everything has turned out great!  I really like both the casserole and chili that I've made!

Do you struggle through the winter?  What gets you out of it?  Ugh winter SUCKS.  Spring is what snaps me out of it!  Ha!

Vegetarian Chili Casserole (approx 6 servings) -- Found on my Whole Foods Market App on my iTouch


Olive oil
1 lb cornbread (I bought mine premade at whole foods rather than baking corn bread lol)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can vegetarian chili beans
12oz medium salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese
3 scallions

Preheat oven to 350

Grease 9in square baking dish with olive oil
Crumble half of the cornbread on the bottom of the dish
Mix the drained black beans, vegetarian chili beans and salsa in a large mixing bowl
Pour the mixture evenly over the layer of cornbread
Crumble remaining half of cornbread on top of the mixture
Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the cornbread
Bake for 30 minutes
Slice scallions and sprinkle on top
Wait 5-10 minutes to cool down & serve!

Thank you all for your motivation and support!!