Archive for December, 2011

My Best Friend Garmin

Posted on December 30, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Today for my half marathon training I had a simple 3 mile run on the training schedule.  Today was also the day for my Garmin to make it’s debut.  Before going for the run, I went to work for a little bit this morning, came home to meet up with Justin and then headed to Friendship Heights for a little food and shopping.

We hit up the Whole Foods hot bar and went straight for the Indian food – I couldn’t resist the chana masala.  Truth be told, I got a little bit of everything, some pulled pork, a little bit of mac and cheese, curry chicken – I mean it was 2 pm and I had eaten breakfast so much earlier!  It was all quite tasty and filling, but not sickly filling.  We did the few shopping errands we had and then headed home.

I was still feeling a little full from lunch, but not enough to keep from me heading out on my run.  I suited up in my new, very fluorescent running jacket.

No cars will hit me!

I put on my Garmin watch and headed outside.  From what I read and what the watch kept beeping at me was that I needed to be outside to reach the satellite signal for the GPS.  I’ll admit now, I did not read A LOT about  how to use the Garmin before this run and that was evident as soon as I got outside.  Let’s just say the Garmin came for a run with me today, but didn’t provide any information back to me.  Luckily, I asked Justin before I left for a new 3 mile route to run, so I didn’t have to rely on time or the fancy new watch to tell me how far I had gone.  The run was not my best, I was feeling weighed down by my lunch and didn’t even feel like I was moving.  That’s not all the surprising, I realize, I’m just glad I only had 3 miles to tackle.

When I got home from the run, I grabbed my reading material for my watch and explored it some more, I am definitely not an expert…yet, but I think I at least learned from my mistake.  Alas, on the next run we’ll really become best of friends!

Addy

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Products I Love

Posted on December 29, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

No, don’t get too excited. My first Birchbox was not delivered yet. It’s coming in January and I’m so excited! But I did recently buy two products that I am loving right now and felt the need to share…right this instant.

First up, is the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit . A few weeks ago when my friends were in town, two of them recommended Bobbi Brown for under-eye coverage. And sometimes a girl just needs some serious under-eye coverage. I hadn’t really been using any except for a super old tube of concealer that did nothing to help me so I went to Blue Mercury and gave it a go. The compact comes with a cream concealer and then a very light powder. You really don’t need to use a lot of it at all in order to get stellar coverage and look like you’ve slept for 12 hours. While it may be pricer than most drug store make up ($32), I definitely see it lasting a very long time.

Second, the Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Mask. Even though I just had 4 inches hacked off of my hair, the winter weather is already giving it a beating and this conditioner is doing wonders. I’ve been using it twice a week (Wednesday, Saturday) and I really see a difference in my hair. And the best part is that I picked it up at CVS for $6.99. Woo!

I’m gearing up for my drive back to the District tomorrow…yes, I didn’t leave today, NJ needed some more lovin’

Stephanie

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Running and Christmas

Posted on December 28, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I wanted to keep a good base of running going while in Costa Rica so that coming back and starting half marathon training wouldn’t kick my butt.  I can in no way compete with this guy, but I did do a few runs with him on the steep, dirt roads.  Those runs killed my calves and instead of continuing on the road, I opted for a beach run in the morning.

A nice view

I had the beach all to myself in the morning, except for a little hermit crab dodging.   The beach wasn’t that long, so I tried to do laps from one side to the other for at least 20 minutes.  The runs were lovely, but also made me sore in new places – like the sides of my calves and my hips.  As sad as it was leaving Costa Rica, it was nice getting back to DC and doing a TRX class and running on some pavement again!

We woke up in DC on Christmas Eve, missing Costa Rica a lot, but happy to start the holiday – and open the presents below.  I was psyched to give Justin his gift, a Bose iPod dock!  We’ve both been coveting the Bose surround sound for some time, but haven’t pulled the trigger, so I figured this was a nice in between.  Justin got me a Garmin watch – woot, now I can officially know all my splits while training for my first half marathon! He also gave me a bike trainer – so I can train on my own bike indoors throughout the cold months.

Our Tree

We left DC for the Central PA tour – celebrated on Christmas Eve with Justin’s family in Halifax then back to his Dad’s house for Christmas morning in Millersburg and then to my parents house in Hummelstown.

My brother always does Christmas dinner right with prime rib and twice baked potatoes.

I might have eaten 2+ of these

I mean, I could have eaten like 5, but then I wouldn’t have had any room for the tasty prime rib, so I drew the line somewhere!

Justin and I were both anxious to get back to DC after only having one night there upon returning home from vacation, but we couldn’t leave without meeting my best friend’s 5 month old baby!  It was a real treat to meet him, he was such a smiley, happy, sweet little baby!!!  I can’t wait to see them again when we visit St. Louis!

We also caught up with Justin’s pal and son for a bit, we played with trains and matchbox cars before heading on our way to DC.

I’m with Stephanie, I love coming home and unpacking and putting everything back in it’s place, it’s one of the most satisfying things.

This week half marathon training has officially begun and so far so good. I swam today instead of running, which felt good to give my legs a little bit of a rest!  I haven’t used the Garmin yet, but as soon as I do, I will report back.  I’ve also decided to check off my work outs on the training sheet that I printed out.  I did this when I did my first triathlon and it held me accountable. Frankly, I’m scared I won’t be able to run for 13.1 miles straight come game day, so I’ll do whatever I have to and then some to make sure I’m prepared!

Now it’s time to stuff my face with the rest of the swedish fish.

Buenas noches y hasta luego.

Addy

 

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Return from Pura Vida

Posted on December 28, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I have been putting off my return from vacation blog post because there is so much to say and I don’t know how to get it all out!   But I will try!  First off, I missed you too, Stephanie!

Costa Rica is simply amazing.  I could not get enough of these sunsets every single night.

We stayed at the Hotel Sugar Beach and as the Lonely Planet book states, “luxury at the hotel is simple and understated.”  I couldn’t agree more, the biggest luxury is the fact that you are right on the beach with maybe 10 other people at any time.  It was hard to leave the hotel and our beach to explore the rest of the area!  The staff here was incredibly friendly and super helpful with planning some of our activities for the week.

We spent a solid 3 days on the beach relaxing, reading, sipping the national beer of Costa Rica and soaking up the sun (I only got a little burnt!)

Soaking up the sun

Sorry for the back to back photos – but I was so proud of this beer picture, I had to get it in somewhere.

Imperial Light, oh so tasty

After we soaked up enough sun, we ventured out for a canopy tour.  We had a driver, Martin, pick us up and drive us on some crazy steep, pot holed roads, through creeks to American tourist central.  It’s brilliant, don’t get me wrong, but there is no question that the 250+ people that come through there during the day are all from the United States. Everything in the gift shop was priced in dollars and you can pay $5 bucks at the end to play with some monkeys in cages.

I had never done zip lining before, our driver and now canopy guide, Martin gave us a quick tutorial and then we were off.  All I needed to know was don’t put your hand in front and use your stronger hand for the brake.  The first go for me was a teeny bit scary, but once I was used to stopping – and not fearing for my life running into the tree, I was golden!

Zipping!

We really picked up some speed along the way and the longest line was 9 1/2 football fields long!

Honeymooners on a zipline

Martin drove us back to our hotel and then it was time for us to get ready for our sunset sail.  We wanted to make sure we got some lunch in before the sail.

at lunch

The food in Costa Rica (only picture of food is below) was good, but nothing amazing.  At this particular meal I had the typical lunch fare, a casado which consists of rice, beans, chicken and usually french fries.  Rice and beans are a definite staple of the diet there.  What is the most amazing thing food wise about Costa Rica is the fruit.  The pineapple, bananas, watermelon and papaya were mouth watering good!

Pineapple, watermelon and bean dip 🙂

The sunset cruise included a snorkel tour, followed by the above food spread.  Those little sandwiches were ham, cheese and ketchup-yum!

I never get psyched about snorkeling, I find the mask to be a pain and having the snorkel in my mouth is usually just annoying.  I prefer to be able to breath out my nose!  I always go along with it for a little while and I do enjoy seeing all the fish swimming by. Lucky for me, this snorkel tour was like no other. Our fearless guide and first mate, Emilio, literally dove down among the rocks to bring fish to us to “pet.”  We got to see AND touch a porcupine fish, a trigger fish – that makes a noise when you push his dorsal fin down, and a freakin octopus. I didn’t want to touch the octopus at first, but then finally did – he immediately suctioned to my finger and when Emilio went to put him back, he sucked off his ring!  Not to fear, he went back for it and found it.

The Sunset

We hit the jackpot with this boat, it was only us and 1 other couple – as I was getting off the boat, I thought I couldn’t feel any more relaxed than I did at that moment.

We briefly visited Playa Grande and Playa Conchal, but our hearts belong to Playa Pan de Azucar – so we went back to our beach for the rest of our time!

Playa Grande

We eeked out the last few minutes of daylight for our final sunset at Sugar Beach, it was bittersweet to be sure.

Watching the final sunset

And fit in one last pina colada.

SO good

The honeymoon was definitely worth the wait and our week in Costa Rica was just perfect!

Addy

 

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Home for the Holidays

Posted on December 28, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I’ve been home in NJ for the past 7 days and man has it been great. It’s just so great to be away from my usual routine and out of the office. I’ve been sleeping in, eating delicious food, spending time with family and just kind of bumming around. I’ll be honest I haven’t worked out at all…except for the one long walk my mom took into town and it rained on us. Score!

In my defense, I think my body needed this break. After arriving on Thursday, I woke up on Friday feeling like complete crap. I thought I had a sinus infection and spent half of the day trying to find someone who takes my insurance so I could get some meds. I ended up at a CVS Minute Clinic – diagnosis ear infection (apparently I’m a 5 year old) and a bagful of antibiotics to kick off Christmas. Yippee!

While it’s been a great visit home and I still have an afternoon of cousins ahead and a dinner with friends, I am looking forward to heading back to DC to the comfort of my apartment. I think I’m going to hit the road tomorrow, hopefully a smooth, traffic-free ride, and get settled into my place and ready for the New Year. I love coming home from a trip and unpacking. I know, nerd-alert! I hate packing but I LOVE unpacking and putting everything away and back in its place. Get some laundry done, hit the grocery store and the gym. Gear up for the first day back at work and kick off 2012 with an organized bang. Yup, I just said organized bang.

My December fitness goals have gone to shit so there is just January ahead which will be filled with Barre Method. Woo!! They just discounted their unlimited monthly pass so it’s an even BETTER deal to sign up for the month of January. So excited! And the best part is that my co-worker is also signing up so we can motivate each other to go to class (especially the early morning ones). I know I said I don’t make resolutions but I have been thinking about what I want to accomplish this year and I have to say that I’m really excited for the new year ahead and I already know it’s going to be a good one.

Ok, enough of this rambling. I’m off to purchase some books on my new Kindle Fire 🙂

Stephanie

Honestly, I’m not even going to go through the workouts/meal highlights for the past five days. This little ditty will recommence in 2012.

P.S. I read Addy’s husband’s recap of their vacay and it sounds amazing. I bet hers will be even better and even more picture filled 🙂 Get pumped!

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Flexible

Posted on December 23, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I really hesitate to use the word diet but that is in the title of the book. A book I read cover-to-cover after it arrived in the mail the other night. I love meat. There, I said it. I love a good, juicy hamburger. I love my favorite Armenian dish – lamb stuffed tomatoes & peppers. I love it all. However, I am looking for ways to eat a more nutritious and healthy diet and cutting back on meat and processes foods seems like just the ticket.

What is the Flexitarian Diet you ask? It’s a mostly vegetarian diet that gives the flexibility to add meat into meals from time to time without guilt. It’s a lifestyle that uses real, whole foods that give you the nutrients you need to lose weight and be healthy. For more information on the diet, check out this page.

I’ll be honest. I’ve tried a ton of different diets – Weight Watchers (multiple times), Atkins, South Beach, Paleo – and none of them have truly worked for me because I never wanted to stick with any of them. I also found on that on all of these diets, I ended up using low-fat, fat-free processed foods as short cuts. Eating microwave meals and fat-free cheese just isn’t cutting it for me anymore. I don’t want to eat that crap anymore and I’m going to start the new year by slowly changing my diet. After reading the book and looking through the 5-week menu plan, I really think the Flexitarian lifestyle is a great program to follow. Here are a few reasons why I’m giving the Flexitarian Diet a try and why I think it will work for me.

1. The recipes REALLY are easy. In fact, for most of them I already have the ingredients. The author comes up with a lot of really unique recipe ideas mixing foods and flavors I wouldn’t have thought of before. Most recipes are 5 ingredients or less and use real food only. Yum!

2. Directly from the website, “Flexitarians weigh 15% less, have a lower rate of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and live 3.6 years longer than their carnivorous counterparts.” Yes, please to all of that.

3. I can still eat meat! I’m not getting rid of anything on this diet or restricting in anyway. And like I said earlier, it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. If I want a burger tonight, I’ll get a burger tonight and won’t let any guilt get in my way. Hello, that’s what being flexible is all about.

4. There is no calorie or point counting. Woo!! I think I’ll probably still put all of my meals into MyFitnessPal.com but there is no need to be super stringent about calories and to drive myself crazy with every bite. On the Flexitarian Diet the idea is to eat 3-4-5 – a 300 calorie breakfast, a 400 calorie lunch and a 500 calorie dinner. Plus snacks and dessert of course!

5. It will be easy to entertain with this new lifestyle. I will still be able to have friends over and won’t feel guilty giving them food from this diet and these recipes because they are still delicious, filling and flavorful. There is nothing worse than ruining your entire diet when you have some guests over.

For full disclosure, I haven’t started the diet yet. I just finished the book this week and will be heading home tomorrow so it will be a challenge but this new lifestyle is in the back of my head during all of my meals. I don’t want to say it’s going to be a resolution for the new year – because I don’t do those – but it will be a huge factor in my life starting in January. My first post-holiday trip to the grocery store will be on January 2 and I plan to buy foods that support the Flexitarian Diet and work my way up to 5 meatless meals a week. Wish me luck! I will report back on how all of this goes…of course. Get pumped, people.

Stephanie

Wednesday’s workout: Walked home from work
Wednesday’s meals highlight: Nada

Thursday’s workout: In the car all day!
Thurdsay’s meals highlight: Hoboken Gyro with my sister

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Results

Posted on December 21, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Results of the work place gift swap –

A box of expired women’s vitamins.

$14 in lottery ticket winning.

I AM NOT JOKING.

Lesson here – do not have work place gift swaps.

Anyone else miss Addy or is it just me?

Stephanie

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Wrapping Up

Posted on December 21, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Today we are having a holiday lunch at work and doing a Yankee Swap…otherwise known as a White Elephant. I am so anti-gift swaps and I really don’t even know why. We do Secret Santa amongst my cousins because there are just so many of them and it’s fun for them to pick out a gift for their cousin. It’s actually quite adorable to see one 9 year old watch a 7 year old open the gift they picked out for them. I love it. I’m hoping to end up with a Starbucks gift card or something that is actually useful for today’s swap. We’ll see, I’m not holding my breath.

Last night I met up with a friend for dinner at the new Mexican place next to my apartment and I didn’t take one picture because it was an epic fail. The restaurant is a chain so I had been to its other location many times before and while it wasn’t the most outstanding food, it was good, cheap Mexican. And after listening to the construction for the past 6 months, I was ready to eat and enjoy. Well, it was not good. I know that they just opened but the service was awful. We waited a very long time for our food and when it came, my pork tacos were absolutely disgusting. They were supposed to be shredded but instead there were diced chunks of pork and they were undercooked. I took one bite and completely freaked out and the waiter had to take my plate away immediately. Undercooked pork = grossest thing EVER.

They gave me a replacement quesadilla that was mediocre at best and while I definitely ate the whole thing (it was 9pm at that point and I was starving), there was much to be desired. When the bill arrived, the pork tacos had been removed but the quesadilla was on the bill and I just couldn’t have it that way. My friend and I decided that we were going to take action and say something. We did and the manager was very nice and accommodating and gave us a new bill. I understand that when a new restaurant opens that there are going to be kinks. I really hope that this place steps it up a notch and gets into a groove so I can enjoy some delicious Mexican food often. We shall see.

On a happier note, I went to Macy’s last night on my way to dinner to pick up a small Christmas gift for my friend’s baby I’m going to see tomorrow. I got the cutest onesie that is candy-cane striped and has a reindeer on the butt for less than $3! The sales are happening, people. Get out there!

Stephanie

Monday’s workout: Step
Monday’s meals highlights: Nada

Tuesday’s workout: None
Tuesday’s meals highlights: Veggie sandwich at lunch….definitely NOT the pork tacos!

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I Love Lemon

Posted on December 19, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I love lemon. It’s true. I love lemon cakes with lemon icing (which my mom made for me for my first like 9 birthdays – usually in the shape of whatever age I was turning too – go mom!). I love lemon cookies, lemon bars, lemon candy and basically all things lemon. So imagine how happy I was to discover True Lemon.

These little packets of pressed lemon goodness are the perfect addition to my water bottle at work. Something about lemony water just feel healthier and more refreshing and I hope it will help me get through all the hydration I need throughout the day.

Lemon = yum.

Stephanie

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See that girl, watch that scene, diggin’ the dancing queen!

Posted on December 19, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This past weekend was one of my favorite weekends of the year – annual Christmas tea with my London girls! I studied abroad my junior year of college in London and met three of the most wonderful women in my program. Only one actually went to the my college and the other two had taken the plunge and decided to study through a program outside of their schools. I am so happy that they did or I never would have met them! We usually get together twice a year – once in the spring/summer time and then in December for tea. We have met for Christmas tea for 7 years now and it really is a great tradition.

We started off the weekend just hanging out at my apartment with wine, snacks and delicious hot chocolate.

On Saturday we got all dolled up and headed to the Willard for Christmas tea. We’ve gone to the Willard for 5 years – last year we went to the Mandarin Oriental and the first year we had tea at my apartment – and they really do tea well. Along with an individual pot of tea they have scones (with clotted cream, lemon curd, raspberry and apricot jam), tiny sandwiches and an array of desserts. We get endless refills of hot water and just sit among the lovely holiday decorations and catch up. There was a harp player there this year and while she was a bit earnest at times, it was quite lovely. Have I mentioned this is my favorite weekend of the year?

Following tea, we headed home for some relaxing and to get changed for dinner. We went to Lincoln for dinner. I had been there once before and thought it was good but this dinner experience on Saturday night really blew me away. Every bite was delicious and the service was fantastic. I feel like we ordered one of everything on the menu. After starting off with some delicious cocktails – I had the Gettysburg Address (Beet purée, lemon, Square One Botanical, Veev, barkeep aromatic bitters). Sounds crazy but it was so good! The stand-out dishes were definitely the scallops (we had to order another one so we could all have more), the gnocchi, the kale salad (I bought ingredients to try and recreate it this week) and the brussel sprouts (they really are all the rage right now). I tried to snap some pictures but was not very successful as we dug in.

Sunday morning we went to The Tabbard Inn for their delicious brunch. We were too ravenous to take photos but I had cheesy grits with poaches eggs, pork belly and a tasty spicy sauce. SO. GOOD. After brunch we did some shopping in Dupont and just enjoyed the beautiful weather and soon it was time for everyone to head home. I’m sad to see them all go but know that we have only more good times ahead. I feel like even on this cold Monday morning I am still glowing from my weekend.

Not only have I known these women for 7 years but I still feel so incredibly close to them and can open up to them about anything. Parts of the weekend felt cathartic to me as they listened, gave great advice and shared their highs and lows as well. We are all looking forward to Christmas and a fresh new year ahead.

Stephanie

Saturday and Sunday’s workouts: None
Saturday and Sunday’s meals highlights: EVERYTHING. Literally.

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    Two friends living and working in Washington, D.C. writing about life, food, fashion, design and living an active lifestyle…so, basically everything!

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