Friday, January 28, 2011

One step closer...

You may not know this, but my boss is one of my very best friends.  I'm so fortunate to have her in my life, her family has become mine and vice versa. She's been by my side through all of my ups and downs and I hope she would say that I've done the same for her.

The last couple of years have been anything but easy for her.  In August 2009 she was diagnosed with a soft tissue cancer, opted for surgery and radiation. Exactly one year later she found out the cancer was back, and in the exact same spot.  This time they were treating it with surgery, radiation, and then 5 rounds of intensive chemo.  Exactly two weeks ago she finished chemo and today she had her first post-cancer PET scan...the results are in and the news is wonderful!
  Of course she still has a long road ahead of her, but today is a great day! She's one step closer to beating cancer once and for all...and in my book that's a pretty big deal! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesdays

These beauties would certainly make the dreary slush filled St. Louis days more bearable...

Hunter 'Original Tall' Metallic Rain Boot (Women)

and when paired with these welly socks they would be sure to keep my toes happy!
hunter welly grizzly sock courtesy of nordstroms

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vegetable Soup with Dumplings

Last Wednesday night St. Louis got hit with a pretty serious snow storm and thanks to me living in the City and the City not plowing secondary streets, I took a snow day!  I've always said that I wouldn't be very good at working from home, but I'm proud to say that I actually got a whole lot of work done that day. It was fabulous to be able to shower and then put my favorite Soma pajamas (which are incidentally on sale for a killer price) right back on.  In addition to real work, I was able to get a couple of loads of laundry done and make an awesome lunch. 

I had some veggies that I needed to use before they went bad so I decided to whip up a big pot of vegetable soup.  I normally make my own noodles for my soup, but my mom picked up a package of Mary B's frozen dumplings for me so I used those instead.

Mary B's Dumplings


Here's what I used:

One package of Mary B's dumplings
1/4 of a yellow onion
Fresh garlic (I used 3 cloves)
Salt & pepper to taste

Here's what I did:

Bring the stock and water to boil - I equal parts of both.  Once the broth is boiling, drop the dumplings in ONE AT A TIME. This is very important, if you don't drop them in individually they will all stick together - trust me on this one.  Then I dumped all of the chopped vegetables in and dropped the burner down to medium heat.  You will need to stir the soup pretty much continually so that the dumplings don't stick to the bottom of the pot. I can't remember exactly how long it cooked, just until the veggies were tender and the dumplings were finished - no more than 30 minutes. 

Finished product
This made a ton of soup, but that was great for me because I just threw it in containers for leftovers. I kept a couple in the fridge but also froze a couple.  They'll be perfect on cold days when I don't feel like cooking - nothing like warm homemade soup on a cold and snowy St. Louis day!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Goofy Challenge...that wasn't read that right. This race report is about the Goofy Challenge that didn't happen.  Mark this down as a big ol' DNF for this lady.

I arrived in Orlando much later than expected on Thursday evening due to some mechanical issue with the plane (which they said they were fixing with tape...YES TAPE!) and as soon as I was checked into my hotel MaddyHubba arrived to whisk me to the expo.  I'll be honest - I thought the expo was...meh. I was expecting to see some pretty cool stuff since it was Disney and all, but we left without spending a dime.  The highlight of the expo was definitely spending time with Maddy and meeting a new friend, Chris!

After the expo, I got settled into my hotel room and slept a bit until Lee & Isis arrived much later than expected due to delayed flights.  We got up the next morning and went to the expo again. I think we each bought a new SPIbelt (yeah for waterproof!) and I got a cool (cheap) new watch.
The Running Couple & me chilling at the expo

That evening I attended the TNT Inspiration dinner which was amazing.  It's a very cool thing to see so many people ban together for a cause.  If I'm remembering correctly there were just over 1,200 Team in Training runners and millions of dollars were raised.  GO TEAM!!!

Bedtime was early Friday night because my alarm was set for 2am Saturday morning. When that alarm went off I wanted to throw my phone across the room - seriously. I was waking up when all of my friends were still out from the night before. Insanity! After a quick breakfast of oatmeal I was ready and off to meet up with my team for some photo ops.  This would be repeated Sunday morning.

Gateway Team in Training's Half Marathon crew - apparently I didn't take a photo of the Marathon crew
  We hopped on one of the first buses and I want to say we were at bag check by 4:15.  I was able to meet up with a bunch of twitter friends before both races, which was great. Shortly after 5 we began the long shuffle to the starting corrals.

Twitter Crew Pre-Marathon
 I had a great half marathon back in November, 2010 so I was fortunate to be placed in corrals B & C, respectively, for both races even though I had no business being there.

I started the half feeling pretty good, but quickly realized that my stomach was not happy with me. I'll just say this - thank God Disney had porta potties and real bathrooms available every mile.  Going into the race my only goals were to finish and have a good time. Once I started having stomach issues I said "Screw it" and set off to have a blast for the rest of the race. I stopped and took pictures with every single character I saw, regardless of the length of the line. I chatted with other runners and just enjoyed myself. 

Chris and I after the half - Florida humidity is not kind to girls with curly hair!
After the race I felt great and did my best to eat bland meals the rest of the day not wanting to visit 26 bathrooms on Sunday. I pretty much stayed off of my feet and felt like I got as much rest as I reasonably could.  I woke up Sunday feeling ok, but I certainly had no desire to run 26.2 more miles. Turns out I should have just stayed in bed.  About 1 1/2 miles into the marathon I started getting a weird pain in my right foot.  It hurt when I ran and it hurt when I walked. I thought maybe I had tied my laces too tightly so I stopped and loosened them a bit, but that didn't help. This went on a few more miles but I knew there was no way I was going to endure that much pain for the next several hours. I was done. I refused to be as miserable as I was in Chicago and I was really afraid of seriously hurting myself. 

Maddy and I relaxing after her HUGE marathon PR

I got back to the hotel room and had a pity party for a few minutes, but I knew I had ultimately made the right decision for myself.  Isis convinced me to get dressed and go with her to the finish line to cheer for our friends.  We ended up getting a great spot about 500 meters from the finish line and were able to catch a couple of my teammates, Lisa, Dre, Maddy and Lee finishing! It was bittersweet for me to be at the finish line, but I was so happy for them and was very glad I was there. After all, when you boil it all down, seeing friends is really the reason behind why I do this stuff anyway.

My Donald Duck half-marathon medal

Now that I'm a week and a half post-marathon, I'm totally fine with what happened. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I'm not disappointed, because I am, but I realize that things happen. My foot is still hurting pretty badly and I haven't run at all since the 9th, stopping was the right call. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning so hopefully I'll get some answers then. 

The weekend may not have gone the way I had planned, but I had a blast and got to spend time with some truly amazing people.  It also helped me realize that I may need to reevaluate my 2011 goals...but this post is long enough so I'll save all that for another day :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ShoeDazzle - January

Ok kids - here are my January options:


What do you think?

I'm pretty sure I've had Bliss in my showroom before (maybe in black??).  I can't remember why I didn't buy it in black because I'm really diggin the brown. 

And I really like Emmy, but I'm a little concerned because of the satin. If it was a leather shoe, I'd jump on it. I'm just not sure how well the satin will hold up and I'm thinking that takes this shoe out of the running for wearing to the office. 


Can I just tell you how bummed I am that Ciji is out of stock?

This color combo is to.die.for. but was already out of stock in my size when I logged in on January 2nd :(

The other color options are navy/gray and a deep red. Neither of those really did anything for me.

And finally, Audrey...I can't decide what I think about this shoe.

Initially I hated it (and incidentally almost every pair of shoes shown to me this month had the same type of platform), but after a couple of minutes I started to dislike it a bit less.  In fact I almost threw it into the running for this month, but when I went in to add the picture today, I hated it again.  Is this type of platform the new "in" thing for shoes? I sure hope not!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A New Chapter

My montly post at is up.  Here's a portion of the post:

Most of you don’t know my story. I grew up in a wonderfully typical upper-middle class family, wanted for nothing, went to a private college, and was blessed to graduate and transition right into a full-time job. A few years after graduation I met a boy who would eventually become my husband. We had the wedding of my dreams and we were featured on TheKnot. From the outside, everything seemed perfect, however, my reality was anything but.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

You Know what they say...

Everything is bigger  in Texas!  And the Texas Marathon held in Kingwood, TX on January 1 was no exception!

I arrived in Kingwood on the 31st and had dinner with Ron and his son, Nick then I was off to bed. I'm pretty sure I was asleep before 10:30 on New Years Eve - that had to be a first for me!

My alarm went off bright and early on New Year's Day and after a quick breakfast of coffee and instant oatmeal, we headed to packet pickup which was marked with an inflatable rubber duck!

My friend Nancy & her boyfriend came to cheer me on - this is her on the inflatable duck!

Parking was easy (it was in a residential neighborhood) and packet pickup went smoothly. It was well organized and the line moved very quickly.  All runners received a duffel bag, coffee mug, long sleeve race tee, a hat with the race sponsor's logo and some other stuff that I can't remember right now.

The marathon started at 8, and the half at 8:15. I was very happy to be in the group starting at 8:15 (we were the smart kids) - that meant I only had to run 13.1 miles.  The course was a 6.55 mile loop on a paved bike path in Greentree Park with a few out and back sections.  The park was gorgeous - we ran through woods, two lakes, and around neighborhoods of beautiful homes.

This was the first lake that the course took you around - I wish I would have thought to take more pics out there.

I loved the loop/out and back course - it was so much fun for me to see Dat, Greg, Sandra, Ron, and Nick out there. I also saw runners from my last couple of races on this course which was a fun surprise! Apparently wearing bright colored running skirts makes you memorable :)  Everyone was so friendly, other runners were high fiving & saying good luck to everyone they passed. The atmosphere was wonderful, you could tell everyone was happy to be out there!

The course was narrow, maybe wide enough for 4 people to stand side-by-side, which made some spots a little congested at times. 99% of the runners/walkers were courteous and moved to the right so other could pass, but there were a few groups of people that didn't seem to know course etiquette (ahem couple walking SLOWLY holding hands the whole time). For me, this was only a problem when crossing the bridges and going under the short overpasses, not really a big deal at all. 

After finishing, you were handed a rubber duck with your place written on it, a duck hat and a giant (and heavy) red box. This red box contained the largest marathon/half marathon in the US! The half marathoners received the same medal as the marathoners (this is why I said I was one of the smart kids - half the work for the same goodies!).

2011 Texas Marathon medal

The finish line was complete with pizza, cookies, drinks and friends and families hanging around cheering on other finishers. It really had a great family feel!

Medal and my duck stuff. 2012 is the Year of the Pink Pig!

All in all this was a great event. Hats off to Steve and Paula Boone - they did an amazing job with this.  I can't recommend this event enough. I will be there in 2012 and you should too, especially if you live in the Houston area.  This event sold out sometime in the summer of 2010, and I would imagine that the 2012 race may sell out even faster.  Registration is already open - and at $60 this race is a great value!

Ron and I after the race

Next up....Goofy!