LIFE + STYLE BLOG

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you are spending this day with your family and remembering all that you have to be thankful for.

Since Thanksgiving is November 24th, here are 24 things I am grateful for in particular order:

1. The fact that Ben has always called for me when he wakes up over anybody else.
2. Health.
3. J's grandparents and the fact that they've gotten to meet all of their great grandchildren.
4. My sister moving back from Atlanta.
5. Always having food in the house.
6. Pintrest.
7. Friends who can make me laugh.
8. Heat when it's cold.
9. Umbrellas.
10. The support of my parents.
11. The fact that I am able to work.
12. A free country, no matter how much people complain about it.
13. My computer.
14. A grocery store within 5 minutes of my house.
15. The opportunity to go to college and grad school.
16. God's love.
17. Television and DVR.
18. Autism research.
19. Ice cubes.
20. J's family.
21. Health insurance.
22. Dinner with friends.
23. Musical Theatre.
24. Family to spend Thanksgiving with.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My first 1/2 marathon!

Finally... the recap from my first half marathon!

On October 23rd I ran my first 1/2 marathon in St. Louis, MO. The most important thing? I survived. While my time was anything but stellar (3:28) I finished.

All the training, running, getting up early, it was all worth it.

Something about running with 20, 000 other people is just so exciting. The run started in downtown St. Louis facing the Arch. With so many people, the race began in waves, and you were lumped in corrals  with other runners based on your estimated finishing time.

I started off with a good pace and finished my first two miles at an 11 mile pace. Honestly the first 9 miles weren't bad and flew by pretty fast. My goal was to maintain a 13 minute mile throughout the race.

One of the most amazing things about the race was all the support from spectators. Complete strangers cheering you on and offering words of encouragement. Whether it was waiting at street corners downtown or on their front porch in the suburbs, people were there the entire 13.1 miles. When I found myself getting tired, their hoots, hollers, and signs were my driving force. I found myself having to hold back tears at one point. It was just a great experience.

And then I hit mile 9. I was ready to be done. In order to push through I counted down the next 3 miles one at a time. I told myself only three more miles. If I could just get to mile 12 then I was almost done. If I could just get to mile 12 I only had 1.1 miles to go. Those next 3 miles were the longest 3 miles e.v.e.r.

I had expected to get tried, but I thought it would be more cardiovascular type tired. You know the out of breath, lungs burn, holy crap I'm running 13.1 miles kinda tired, but for me that never really happened. Where I really hurt was my hips and calves. By mile 10 I was stopping almost every 1/2 mile to stretch. Keeping my pace was now out of the question. Now it was just about finishing.

Mile 11.5-12.5 were huge hills. Who does this? Hills at the end is just cruel. I wanted to cry. I told myself I was never doing this again. I was going to die. They are going to have to come pick me up in a golf cart. I can't make it. I'm not running into the finish line. I'm honestly walking through the finish line and I don't care what anyone thinks.

And then I saw it. The 12.1 mile marker. 1 mile left to go and I had never been so happy in my life. And what do ya know? My legs started picking up the pace and before you know it I was running across the finish. I had done it. And I was so proud and so glad to be done.

Even though the race was over, I still had to walk to my family. I literally thought I could not walk anymore. I just wanted to sit down and never get up again.

Ben was so happy to see me come around the corner and told me that he was saying, "run mommy run" the whole time.

I had expected to be sore the next couple of days, but the race day was the worst of all.

So what did I learn from all of this?

I will never love running. People always say that once you do it you'll start loving it and want to do it all the time. Not true. Not me.

If I set my mind to do something I can do it. It wasn't easy, but I did it.

Despite what I thought at miles 9-13, I will do this again. Because although I don't love running, I do the atmosphere surrounding races and  I love feeling strong and having a goal to train for.

And because what's a post without pictures, here ya go...
6:30 am. 

Nervous before starting

Coming in to the finish. Can you see me? 

Okay, don't judge this picture. I was deliriously happy to be done and see my family.
And then I remembered how much pain I was in:)

Who wants to run the next one with me?
Sunday, November 20, 2011

Art for Autism

A few weeks ago my work hosted an Art for Autism event. Our clients and their siblings create all different kinds of art which is then showcased in a local gallery. We also hosted a reception for the public to tour the gallery and pieces.

The best part of the whole thing? I got to spend time with some old-coworkers and enjoy a delicious dinner.

Brooke, Moi, Megan, and Anna next to some of the kids work


What a fun night with great friends!
Saturday, November 19, 2011

Truths and Lies: The Reveal

Well, a whopping two of you responded with your guesses. Let's see who got the most correct shall we?


1. I hate peas TRUTH
2. Until age 22, I was deathly afraid of escalators TRUTH...embarrassingly true
3. J was my first boyfriend LIE...although he likes to pretend
4. I have been to Spain TRUTH
5. On our first ultrasound, the technician originally thought Ben was a girl LIE
6. I laugh when I get really uncomfortable TRUTH...not always appropriate
7. My sister and I are 7 years apart LIE...we are 11 years apart
8. I broke my arm in first grade falling off the monkey bars LIE...I've never broken a bone (knock on wood)
9. I was on a flight with Woody Allan TRUTH...when J and I flew to California
10. I have never swam in the ocean LIE

So, whose the winner? Drum roll please......................

Ms. Molly over at Molly's Musings. Congrats! Here is your award...
Now it's your turn to pass this along!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Katie over at Keep Calm and Carry On posted this cute idea and I decided to play along.



Win: Starbucks Red cups are back
Lose: The really really good drinks have a bazillion calories.

Win: It's light outside when I'm getting ready for work.
Lose: It's dark before I even start dinner.

Win: I own 3 really cute pair of sunglasses.
Lose: I've lost them all.

Win: My friend Mrs. Bojangles is about to have her baby any day now.
Lose: Absolutely nothing!

Win: Scarves. Lots and lots of scarves.
Lose: J hates when I wear one.
Win: I wear them anyway:)

Win: Christmas is only 44 days away
Lose: I only have 44 days to get everything decorated, bought, and wrapped.

Win: Weekends
Lose: They only last 2 days



Want to play along? Ya know you do:)
Friday, November 11, 2011

Truths and Lies

Let's play a little game shall we? There might even be a prize in it for the winner:)

Tell me, which ones are true and which ones are lies...

1. I hate peas
2. Until age 22, I was deathly afraid of escalators 
3. J was my first boyfriend
4. I have been to Spain
5. On our first ultrasound, the technician originally thought Ben was a girl
6. I laugh when I get really uncomfortable
7. My sister and I are 7 years apart
8. I broke my arm in first grade falling off the monkey bars
9. I was on a flight with Woody Allan
10. I have never swam in the ocean

Check back on Monday to find out if you were right!
Thursday, November 10, 2011

Babble

The thought of putting together a blog post all on one coherent topic is just too much right now. Do you all ever have those days? Part of it might be that, tomorrow is FRIDAY!!!! So, in no particular order...

I wonder how many parents dread "Fall back?" Unlike many of my friends, I did not get to sleep in an extra hour because even though it was 6:30am to Ben it was 7:30 and time to get up! On the plus side, I did get to spend an extra hour with my bebe.

I still need to post about my 1/2 marathon. Must.get.pictures.from.parents. Although this probably covers it.
 

Another positive thing about the time change? Going to the gym at 5am is not as bad since it is actually 6 o'clock the old time. Please tell me ya'll do this too. Keep switching between the new time and old time...i.e. It's okay if I eat lunch at 11 because it's really 12:00 with the old time.

For some reason I have been craving cranberry juice. Not necessarily with vodka although that ain't bad either:)

Some people I went to high school with posted this picture on facebook. Love doesn't even begin to explain how I felt when I saw this. I hope they entered a contest. Oh, and the middle witch, that would be Will. 
If you don't know who they are we can't be friends.

Monday seemed like the loooonnnngggggeeessstttt day ever. EVER.

I've officially begun my Christmas shopping. I bought two things for J for Christmas and have given them to him already. I have a hard time resisting the urge to want to give them to him now.

Welp, that's all I got folks. What are your random thoughts?



Keepin it Real

Alright folks. As much as I love posting about the joys of my life and how great things are, I live a real life where, let's face it, things aren't always so great.

It doesn't get much realer than what I'm about to post...

I didn't pass my BCBA boards.

To know it is one thing, but to write it for the whole bloggy world to read is another. My ego kinda needs one of these.

The worst part about failing? I missed it by 12 points. 12 freakin points. If I'm gonna fail I'd rather it be by 100. Knowing I was so close, this close, sucks.

Apparently, I chose the hardest testing period to take it in considering the passing rate was 46%. 46. In the past it has been around 70%.

The weirdest thing? I was fine all day except when I had to tell J. For some reason telling him made it seem so real. This was something we both wanted so badly. Can I just say...I've never wanted something so badly in my life.

The worst part? Not really the studying and re-taking it (although lets face it, I'm not exactly thrilled), but I'll have to wait for what seems like an enternity again for the results.

The silver lining? I have great bosses and co-workers who are supporting and encouraging me as I get ready to retake it in January.
So what's next? I'm going to think positively, start studying now, and lock myself in the library the entire week before the test.

And if I start to feel sorry for myself I'll remember it could always be worse.



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A busy family weekend

This past weekend was spent hanging out as a family and checking several things off my to do list.

1. Daddy re-designed Ben's Thomas the Train track and he couldn't have been more thrilled!

2. We ran a few errands including a trip to Sam's and the grocery store. I wanted to make sure I got all the ingredients so I could make these bad boys.
I got the recipe from Pinterest, but decided they should be breakfast potatoes.

Here is my OOTD while running around
Top: Gap
Jeans: Franchesca's
Boots: A store in San Francisco that I don't remember the name of

3. Ben and I also put together these little baggies filled with things like shampoo, body wash, floss, etc to take to our local women's shelter. I'm always getting samples in the mail so I save the ones we will use and them stockpile the ones we don't. Once I have a lot of items, I throw them in a baggie and take them to be donated.

4. I created this fall lovely, inspired by Cassie over at Hi, Sugarplum!

5. Sunday Ben woke up bright and early-thank you time change-and we headed off to church.

OOTD
Sweater: Ann Taylor 
Skirt: Maurices
Tights: Kohls
Booties: Target
Scarf: Walmart (yes, Walmart) it was $5 people! Have you checked out their scarves lately?

Little man also wanted his own OOTD pic:)

6. And last but not least....I finally found my bridesmaid dresses and I'm happy to report that they all like it, or at least that's what they're telling me.
I think it's simply, classy, and even something they could wear again. Btw, I also got to try my dress on again as it arrived a few weeks ago. Good news? I still love it:)
Sunday, November 6, 2011

Time at the Zoo

Since I had to be at the 1/2 marathon at the crack of down, J and I along with my family went to St. Louis the day before and stayed the night. The weather was in the 70's and it was the perfect day for walking around at the zoo. Apparently everyone else in St. Louis also had the same idea because it was crowded! None the less, we had a great time and Ben got to do his favorite thing, ride the train.

The baby elephants were so darn cute.

And because I'm all about the nostalgia, here is our family pic in the same spot in 2009. Ben was 71/2 months old.

Riding the train. Ben would have been happy doing this the whole time.
Friday, November 4, 2011

Recipe Review

It's been far, far too long since I've posted a recipe review. As you can see, Menu Monday's are out, so I'm trying something new. I've made lots of new recipes so let's get to it. 

Cheesy Chicken Empanadas via Pinterest
Grade B+, although J would give it a C. I really liked it, but J isn't a huge fan of Pie Crust. 
One tip is to definitely over stuff these babies or you'll end up tasting more of the crust than the filling.

Jalepeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich via Pinterest
Oh.my.word. So good.
Grade A. J and I both loved this and I will definitely be making it again. 
Tip: I used canned jalepenos instead of fresh. If you do this make sure you rinse them off first or it might be a little hotter than you would like!

Oven Baked Frito Pie via Pinterest
Grade A-. Yummy, easy, and it was even good left over. When I reheated it the next day, I just removed the existing Fritos which had gotten a little soggy, and replaced it with new ones.

Apple Nachos via Pinterest
I made these for a recipe party that my work does every month.
Grade B+. Once again another yummy and easy recipe. Nothing spectacular, but good. The best part? Because there's apples in it it's kinda healthy :) 

Penne Alla Betsy via Pinterest
I feel like there should be a disclaimer on this one because I changed the recipe quite a bit. I used chicken instead of shrimp, didn't add all the tomato sauce it called for(I used~about 3/4 of the can) and added grated Parmesan instead of shredded. 
Grade A. I loved this. I just shredded a rotisserie chicken which made this even easier to make and it was great as leftovers the next day as well. 

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches via my sister
My sister made this last weekend when we went over to her house and it was delicious! The best part is since it cooks in the crockpot you can set it and forget about it. 

Here's what you do: Put the roast in the crockpot, add beef broth (enough to cover the meat), and 1 packet Lipton Onion soup mix. I also added a little Au Ju seasoning. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. 
Once the meat is done, shred, place on a roll, and top with provolone cheese. I served mine with a side of the broth from the crock pot.
Grade B+. J loved this. I thought it was good although I liked my sister's better:) Next time I would add another packet of the onion mix.

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes via Pinterest
&
Parmesan Seasoned Fries via Pinterest
We have hit the HOLY GRAIL.
J said this was one of his favorite meals I have ever made. The fries? He scoured the kitchen for more. I will never eat store bought fries again. My sister made similar fries to go with the French Dip sandwich she made last weekend that I posted about above.
Grade A- for the sandwich, although J would say A+. I thought it could have had a little more juice to make it a little sloppier.  
Grade: A+++ for the fries. And so simple. I actually fried the fries instead of baking which probably attributed to their greatness. 

What new Pinterest recipes have you tried?