Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bethlehem Birthday Weekend

Turning 36 has been pretty great so far.  I don't know why I never thought to drag out my birthday celebration over an entire week before?!  Genius.  It was nice to have a few extra days off this weekend to visit with extended family and friends that I don't see often. 

The weekend started off with me driving up Interstate 95 in a snowstorm Friday morning?!  The first day of Spring brought 3-6 inches of snow from MD to PA.  It was weird.  It felt more like the middle of winter but whatever.  I am holding fast to the notion that Spring is here despite the bipolar tendencies of Mother Nature.

On Saturday, my parents took me out for a delicious Italian meal.  It was full of carbs which proved to be integral to my long run the next day.  I mean, Italians really know what they're doing when it comes to carb loading.  Behold:

My mom got a smartphone last year and she really loves taking pics with her phone now.  Therefore, she felt the need to document me eating dinner:

She also knows how to put fancy filters on her photos.  Look at those SKILLS!  The restaurant told us they were just starting to feature Vegan Treats on their menu and they gave me one gratis for my bday!  Just winning all around at that meal.  I love that local businesses are featuring my beloved bakery. 

After that giant meal, I went to visit one of my best friends and her family.  I got to hang out with her kiddos, including the new baby!  Who despite being 1 month old now still looks just as tiny as when I first met her.

I have no idea how we knew to coordinate our outfits.  We must be psychically connected.  My friend also surprised me with a non-dairy birthday cake!  I never forget that I have the best friends in the entire world.

On Sunday I knew I needed to get a long run in.  Last week I did 10 so anything greater than that was fair game.  It was pretty cold and windy in PA but my running felt really good that day so I decided to go for the whole 13 to get an idea of where I was time wise.  Not too shabby Bean.  Not too shabby at all.  The one thing I forgot to do here was put some fuel at the halfway point or in my pants (#twss) so by mile 11 I definitely felt like I needed some glucose.  Next time!

I came back from that run to the smell of my mom's homemade sauce on the stove.  She was having our extended family and friends over for yet MORE birthday celebrating!  The good thing about having multiple birthday cakes is that you get MULTIPLE wishes! Am I right?! 
Sunday dinner featured (what else) MORE pasta, sausage, stuffed shells (def NOT vegan), garlic bread, salad, bean dip, artichoke dip, and shrimp cocktail.  If you are a part of my family, or if you are invited to a family gathering, there is 0 chance you will ever be hungry.  I'm pretty sure Italians think eating can cure any ill.  You have a headache?  Eat something.  Stomachache?  Eat something?  The flu?  You better eat something.  HAHAHA  That's my mom on repeat. 

I had lots of help from all my cousins, nieces and nephews blowing out those candles. 
And to top off that epic weekend of family, friends and eating, I stopped at Vegan Treats to get the bubblegum ice cream they featured for me that weekend!

I hate to admit this, but it was TOO sweet for me.  I hadn't had bubblegum ice cream since I was a kid, so I guess it's not a stretch to say my taste buds have changed since then.  This got me thinking about memories and the way we perceive things in our past.  I think memories have a way of endearing themselves to you, and making things sometime seem more perfect and rosy than they actually were.  This little ice cream reminded me that it's important to stay in the PRESENT and experience things as they are NOW, instead of pining for the way things WERE.  You can never go back in time, and there's probably a reason for that.  Thank you deep spiritual guru soft serve.

Well, I think it's time I finally conclude my birthday celebrations, as well as this post.  I've been rambling forever.  I hope you had a great weekend and encourage you to celebrate your next birthday as many times as possible!

Does your family celebrate special occasions with giant meals?!

Do you think you sometimes see the past through rose-colored glasses?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I Wish I Could...

Perhaps I'm still in a birthday kind of mood, but I've been doing some wishing this week.  I'm not going to put all my birthday wishes out there (because duh, then they won't come true!), but I am linking up with MamaKat for her writing workshop today, and blogging to the prompt:
I wish I could...
...time travel. 
...get a glimpse into my future 10 years from now.
...do math calculations as quickly as I pick up the latest TSwift lyrics (total right brainer over here)
...taste bubblegum ice cream again and not die (oh wait, I will THIS WEEKEND! Thank God for Vegan Treats)
...average closer to an 8:00 min/mi than a 9:00 min/mi during my 13.1's
...apply makeup like I knew what I was doing.
...save every homeless pet in every shelter in the world.
...write a children's picture book series.
...turn back time because my nieces and nephews are growing up way too fast.
...speak my mind more often.
...show myself as much love and compassion as I show the kiddos in my life.
...Hike the PCT some day.
...go streaking! 
...be the person my cats think I am.
...find a pair of jeans that fit that don't come from the juniors section.
...stop living paycheck to paycheck but still be able to do good, meaningful work that I believe in.
...know the exact day and time I'll meet my future mate (so I can learn to apply makeup before that, see above, and make sure I'm wearing a fantastic dress!)

The thing about wishes is, yes, sometimes I believe they really come true out of the blue.  Call it karma, divine intervention, luck, or what have you.  But I also think sometimes they need a little help from the wisher too.  Hopes and dreams might just forever stay that way unless they are met with some action.  Kind of reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry reserves a rental car but is told they have nothing available.  "You know how to take a reservation, but you don't know how to HOLD a reservation.  And that's really the most important part of the reservation. Anyone can just TAKE a reservation." 

Millions of wishes are made all across the planet every day.  With a little luck and some hard work, I think many of our deepest wishes can come true.  Now, I just have to remind myself of this a little more often.  First up, tackling time travel.  I'm off!

"When you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." ~ Paulo Coelho

I'm headed home tomorrow for a long weekend to continue the celebration.  I'll be back Tuesday.  Hope you all have a great one!

What are you currently wishing for?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Weekend Snapshots and It's my Birthday, Shorty!

Go shorty, it's your birthday.  We gonna party like it's your birthday.  We gonna sip Bacardi like it's your birthday. And you know we don't give a F it's not your birthday.
Except it IS my birthday!! Wahoooooooo.  It's going to be real crazy up in here today.  I'm at work so that means we'll be sipping on water and milk instead of Bacardi.  We'll probably break out the toy drums, maracas and xylophone and party real hard toddler style.  Hahaha
No worries.  I celebrated with a friend over the weekend, and I'll be going home for an extended weekend on Friday to celebrate with family and friends (and get my bubblegum ice cream!!) so I'm going to keep this party going for days.
Hope you all had a nice weekend too!  Here's what I was up to:
Birthday week = automatically a win.  Make it awesome!
Any birthday advice for a brand new 36 year old?!
What were you up to this weekend?


Friday, March 13, 2015

Fitness Friday: Half Marathon Training, and some Friday Faves

Well hello and happy Fitness Friday to you!  So, this finally happened last night:

And it's about time because apparently the registration deadline is March 15th?! Leave it to Bean to leave everything to the last minute.  That's my trademark.  I was hemming and hawing on registering for this because I felt my running has been spotty and somewhat lackluster this winter.  The snow, all my random illnesses, etc had me feeling like I wasn't in the best shape.  And I only just recently started what I would call 'training' for this.  And by 'training' I mean ensuring I'm running 3x/week and slowly upping the mileage on my weekend runs.  And this race is only 6 weeks away.  Oy.  I always do this.  Ideally, if you are training for a half marathon your training cycle should be about 12 weeks (I'll talk more about this later). 

To give you an idea of what my training typically entails, I'll share the workouts I did this week:

Sunday:  8 mile run outside
Monday:  20 min bike interval workout // 1000m rowing // 1 min plank
Tuesday:  5K interval/speed workout (treadmill) // 30 pushups // 1 min plank
Wednesday:  Strength training - Upper and lower body (combo free weights & machines) //static crunches and Russian twists w/ 12lb dumbbell
Thursday:  5K easy outside (in shorts!)
Friday:  Rest day (Planned)
Saturday:  Rest and/or cross-train (Planned)

I think I will feel more confident if I can get at least a couple double-digit runs in over the next few weeks.

Now, back to the topic of training for your first half marathon.  I ran my first half in 2011 in Atlanta:

Prior to that race, I had never done a double-digit run.  So if you're in the same boat no worries!  If you have a plan, you'll get there.  I didn't follow any specific plan for mine, but I did research some of the big ones and then created my own plan around those.  Below are some of the best resources for choosing a half marathon training plan:

Hal Higdon
Runner's World
Jeff Galloway

Most of these resources have plans for beginners, intermediates and advanced runners.  One caveat here:  Before attempting any training plan you may want to consult a professional.  You should also be running regularly (at least 2-3 times/week) and can run a minimum of 3 miles at one time.

My half marathon training cycles usually look like this:
Running:  3x/week  (2 shorter weekday runs/1 long weekend run)
Cross-training:  1-2x/week (Biking, Hiking, Walking, Swimming, HIIT)
Strength-training:  1-2x/week

Some half marathon training plans prescribe 4 days of running per week.  Personally, I find that to be too much.  With my history of shin splints, I need a day off between each run day and I've always trained with only 3 days of running.  But if you can do back to back run days, then more power to you!  If you want me to go into more detail in the future re: half marathon training plans, please let me know!

And now to end this post with some of my Favorites from the week!
  • I got 7 hours of sleep on Wednesday night!  Glorious.  I usually average 5 hrs/night during the week so this was a nice treat.
  • I love folding baby laundry at work.  I find it adorable and relaxing.  I also love washing dishes.  I have a dishwasher but don't use it and wash all my dishes by hand :)
  • On the same note, is there anything better than a baby falling asleep on your chest?! Heaven on earth, truly.
  • I got an email this week entitled "The Best Bras for Big Boobs" HAHAHA Good one.  Maybe in my next lifetime.
  • And I ran outside, in SHORTS yesterday.  Thanks Daylight Savings Time.  You're the best.

That's it!  I'm going to live it up TSwift 22 style this weekend because come Monday, it seems I'm going to find myself in my late 30's?! 

Have a great weekend!

If you run half marathons, where do you get your training plans?

Tell me some favorites from this week!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Bits & Pieces

IT'S SPRING!!!  Well, not officially but we're getting warmer.  Just look at the forecast for this week:

50's all week and 60 on Wednesday?! Yes, please.  I don't even care if it rains. 

Also, the sun didn't set until 7pm last night and it was glorious.

I've been craving avocado more lately.  I didn't eat them much all winter.  Maybe because I think of them as more of a 'summer food'?  But this is what I used to fuel myself up for my hour of shoveling last Thursday:

While I was out there digging out my car, I got to talking to a woman doing the same a couple cars down from me.  She told me she just recently moved from Connecticut, and the last time she went home to visit, they had 4 1/2 FEET of snow!?  I didn't even know how to respond to that.  I hope Spring is truly here for you New Englanders.
I was able to get out for a long run again this weekend and there was decidedly less snow.  It was also sunny and warm!  Like 49 when I went out.  It put me in such a good mood :)
Still hoping to run a half at the end of April so I hope this weather continues.  I've pretty much had it with the treadmill for this year.  I feel like a rat on a wheel on that thing.  It's just not natural.
I burnt myself on the toaster oven last night.  See that little white spot on my middle finger?  On a scale of 1 to 10 how bad would you say that is?  Because it felt somewhere around a 250.  I took some Tylenol and it somewhat improved.
I re-watched This Is 40 over the weekend and it reminded me how much I love this song:

And finally, I am apparently going to be 36 in a week?!  ONE WEEK.  I dk where the years of my life are going.  It's really true as you get older that time seems to move faster.  I wish I weren't turning 36 but I guess it's good that I still only look about 21?!  In all seriousness, this year has been pretty good so far and I feel like it's just the beginning of big changes and good news to come.  For some reason, I keep feeling like things are going to come full circle this year but I can't quite put my finger on how/why.  But then this happened on Friday:

I follow Vegan Treats on IG where they often showcase their soft serve flavors for the week.  Gives me something to dream about from Baltimore.  A few days ago they posted a new flavor: Bubblegum!  A bit of back story here.  I always say that I don't really miss dairy anymore and I could go forever without cheese, pizza, yogurt, etc., but there are 2 things I would give the world to taste again.  One of them is a Snickers bar (used to be my fave candy as a kid) and the second is bubblegum ice cream.  It was my favorite flavor.  We used to go mini-golfing at a dairy farm that made their own ice cream when I was a little kid.  It was this bubblegum ice cream that first got me sick and took me down the long and winding road to discovering I was lactose intolerant.  It hasn't touched my lips since.

Soooooooo, anyway, I responded to Vegan Treats on IG and asked if they would consider featuring this flavor when I come back to Bethlehem for my birthday in 2 weeks.  And they responded and said they WOULD!  Full circle baby.  It's been at least 20 years since I've had bubblegum ice cream and I am finally getting it again two weeks.  This is big.  This is huge.  36 IS MY YEAR!

Let's do this Monday.  Have a great week!

What have you been up to?

If you are an ice cream eater, what's your favorite flavor?

Is the weather becoming gloriously warm in your neck of the woods yet?  I hope so!

Friday, March 6, 2015

On Love, and The Top 7 Things Your Single Friends Do Not Want to Hear

I should prob try that
The title of this here little blog is 'Live, Love, Run'.  I pretty much talk about my life ad nauseam and there's always mention of running thrown in there too, but you may have noticed there hasn't been much talk of love lately.  I mean, I wish that weren't the case, but there hasn't been much to report in that area.  I haven't been doing much dating lately.  There have been some attempts and some dates here and there but nothing exciting to report. 
Also I've abandoned Tinder.  Here's a tip: If you want to see where 95% of your city's misogynists hang out, go on Tinder.  I guess I knew going in that it was pretty much a s*itshow and I can definitely confirm for you that is the case!  Additionally, I just read this article yesterday that states if you want to upgrade to Tinder's new premium version they are going to charge double the price if you are over 30!?!?  First of all, I'd never pay for Tinder, but second and more importantly, age discrimination much?!  I thought I couldn't hate Tinder any more but I officially do.  #boycottingforlife
Dating is definitely harder in your 30's for many reasons.  The big one for me is that just about all of my friends/family/sisters/relatives are years deep into their marriages and have kids and families of their own.  [I have participated in, attended and planned more bridal showers, bachelorette parties, weddings and baby showers than I can count.  My closet legit looks like Katherine Heigl's in '27 Dresses'.]  This significantly reduces not only the time I spend with them, but the possibility that they have any single friends with which I can mingle!  When we were in our 20's we were all in the same boat - going out, having fun pretty much any time we wanted, and there were lots of single people in the mix.  That just isn't the case anymore.  People are either spending massive amounts of time at their job, or they're at home with their kids and families.

Today I'm going to run down a list of some of the most overused and clichéd pieces of advice I've been given over the years.  If you're single, you've probably heard a bunch of these and rolled your eyes too.  If you're not single, and you're tempted to say any of these things to someone who is, I'd advise against it.  We really can't bear to hear them one more time!

1.  Have you tried online dating? 
This one usually comes from relatives in their 60's and/or people in relationships who have never once tried online dating.  Yes, we've tried online dating.  Anyone who is single in this day and age has tried online dating, and NEWSFLASH it's not some magic pill for finding the love of your life.  It may work for some people but not for everyone.  Do I think everyone is and should be a runner?  No.  There are many different ways to exercise just as there are many different ways to meet people.  Online dating is not the be-all, end-all. 

2.  It'll happen when you least expect it.
Oh I love this one. What does this even mean?! Do you even know what you're saying?  I haven't expected it for years and nothing ever happened.  So I just disproved your tried-and-true theory.

3.  You're not putting yourself out there enough.
Again, what does this mean?! I work, I go to the gym, I hang out with YOU, my friends, my family. I travel. I am not a hermit living under a rock.  Ohhhhh, perhaps you meant I need to 'let it all hang out' and dress more provocatively? Gotcha.  I'll try that.  That's probably a good look for a nanny.

4.  You're not trying hard enough.
Really?  I find this one to be particularly judgmental.  Most of the people I know who say this met their significant other/husband/etc in the normal course of their life.  They didn't have to go through the trials of online dating, blind dates, etc that we do now.  And honestly, I don't follow the school of belief that says dating is just a 'numbers game', ie. the more people you date, the more likely you are to find the love of your life.  If I go out and buy 100 lottery tickets, I'm just as likely to win as the guy who just bought 1.  I know people who barely dated at all and got married young and there are people out there who are serial daters and still not settled down.  The number of people you date really is not relevant.  Would you ever tell someone who was trying to conceive that perhaps they're just not TRYING hard enough?  No?  That would be insensitive and inappropriate, you say? Well, I agree and it's not appropriate here either, so zip it.

5.  You'll get married if you want to.
Ummmmmm, I want to win the lottery.  Like I really, really want to win. Do you think that will happen too?!  Or did you  mean I should consider becoming a mail-order bride because that's a sure thing??  This is another one that doesn't even make any sense.  Just don't.

6.  You're not in the right time/place/etc in your life.
Hmmm.  What exactly is the right place and when will it be the right time?  Cause if you could give me a roadmap or timeline that would be really helpful.  I don't like this one because it implies that we're currently doing something WRONG with our lives and until we figure out what, it's just not going to happen.  So not only are all my dating attempts futile in this current time/place, but now I also have to try to solve some kind of riddle as to what I should actually be doing/living in order to attract a mate.

7.  It'll happen when it's supposed to.
Cliché.  Vague.  Not helpful.  Pretty much meaningless and a waste of words.

I wanted to make this a Top 10 list because it sounded cooler but I couldn't think of 3 more at the current moment!  There are probably a ton I've forgotten or missed here.  Believe me, I've been the recipient of a lot of these over the years.  But the point I'm trying to make is that when we're feeling lonely, or hopeless, or frustrated, we just want to be heard, and listened to.  We don't want to be blamed, or judged, or hear clichéd statements that have no meaning.  Just try being the friend we know you are and listen without telling us that it's our fault.  If you're lucky, we might not make the bridesmaid dresses for our future wedding THAT hideous :)

Exactly what I plan on doing
If you're single, have you heard any of these?!  How do you respond?
If you're attached, what do you say to your single friends?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pisces for Life and Breaking up with Winter

OMG it's my BIRTHDAY MONTH!!!  Happy March.  And happy birthday to all the other dreamers out there.  #PiscesForLife 

I am welcoming March in with every fiber of my being, and not just because of my birthday.  Can we just be over Winter now?!  Woke up to this again yesterday and I just can't anymore.

Thank heavens I decided to do my long run on Saturday, otherwise Mother Nature would've screwed me again.  I've been doing most of my running on the treadmill for months and am hoping to do a half in April so I kind of need the weekend weather to cooperate for the next 2 months so I can get my long runs in out there.
Speaking of that run, I cursed more than I have in weeks out there on Saturday.  It has been A WEEK since our "giant" snowstorm here in MD (and by giant I mean 8-10 inches) and 90% of the sidewalks on my hour-long run STILL HAD NOT BEEN SHOVELED.  Baltimore City law gives homeowners and businesses 3 HOURS after the snowstorm to clear their walks.  It's been 7 DAYS!!!  I was plodding through snow and ice, twisting my ankles, throwing my hands up and looking in every window of every house I passed and cursing the residents therein.  I prob looked like a madwoman.  I don't care.  I even passed some businesses that hadn't cleared their sidewalks?!  Apparently I've still not calmed down.  I dk who these Marylanders think they are but up in PA everyone I know shovels their sidewalk right after a storm because they aren't RUDE.  Ughh, ok I'm done ranting.  But you can bet your bottom dollar if I would have seriously injured myself on someone's sidewalk S*it would've gone down. 

Mooooooooooooving on.  I made a sweet potato for the first time ever this weekend and it was incredible!  Here's a little tidbit about my food preferences:  I strongly dislike potatoes.  Baked potatoes especially, but I also don't like mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, potato wedges...shrimp salad, shrimp stew, shrimp gumbo.  Oh wait, different list.  Every once in awhile I'll eat French fries but if they're too 'potato-y', NOPE.  So, I guess I always thought that my taste buds would also reject sweet potatoes.  Plus, whenever anyone prepared sweet potatoes they were always loaded with butter so trying them wasn't even an option for me.  Well, last weekend my mom baked sweet potatoes with dinner and offered me a plain one.  I decided to throw caution to the wind and try one, fully planning on it triggering my gag reflex.  Well what do you know I LOVED IT! 

So this weekend I made one for myself in the microwave and topped it with some Smart Balance Light (vegan butter alternative) and cinnamon.  I ate this after my freezing, treacherous run outside, and not only was it delicious, it also somewhat settled the litigious urges I had against all of my neighbors.
Lastly, I wasn't even into "the dress" saga that was all over the internet on Friday, but somehow curiosity got the best of me.  However, after being force-fed article after article on my FB feed, I am still pretty unclear as to why everyone was seeing different colors?!  I guess I'm an idiot.  For the record, I'm team #WhiteandGold but I think regardless of what colors you saw we can all coexist in harmony. One love. (I mean, but really, how can you see Blue and Black here?!) Ok I'm done.
I am counting down the days to Daylight Savings.  5 more to go.  I'm about to tell Winter IT'S OVER.  It's time we see other seasons.  It's not me, it's you.  IT'S DEFINITELY YOU.

Have a great week!!!

Do you like sweet potatoes?

Do the residents of your neighborhood do the right thing and shovel their sidewalks?!