Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WTF Wednesday - A bunch of random

I've done it before and I am doing it again - stealing a theme from one of my favorites, Running off the Reese's.  There are a few random odds and ends things that I would like to share with you that really have nothing to do with anything else and have nowhere else to fit in but here.  In this random numbered list.  Please enjoy.

1.  The other day I found my first bug within my apartment.  Everyone had warned me that the bugs get bad in Atlanta and I tried to prevent them from even ever coming in by spraying my whole apartment with repellent but that somehow was not enough.  I am SO DISGUSTED that this giant bug was able to get into my home.  It took me a while to work up the guts to get rid of it, but I finally did.  However, I am not okay with the fact that another could very easily get in.

2.  The elevator in my office building always has random scrolling news features on the little TVs in them.  The other day I noticed that the TV had a feature called "Foreign word of the day" and the foreign word was "baseball" and it also let you know that in Italian, German, and French that word is all still "baseball."   How is this at all helpful information, people??

3.  My building also has an incredible fountain out front that I have been obsessed with taking pictures of lately.  Every single day I think "Wow that is beautiful" and snap some variety of a picture.  Why is this fountain so cool to me??  When am I going to decide that I have enough pictures of it?!?!

4.  This is all.

5.  I thought I looked cute the other day so I wanted an excuse to share this picture that I took.

6.  This is the back of my friend's phone.  I am obsessed.

7.  The other night I saw Sammie perform.  Do you remember Sammie?  Of, "I like it giiiirl, don't you know I like it?"  Yup, that Sammie.  He did not perform that song, and he is my age (28) and he is really short.  You're welcome for reminding you of his existance.  

8.  My friends are really beautiful.

9.  I have a flight coming up and just before I realized that I booked the flight departing a day early.  I nearly had a panic attack and luckily Delta was incredibly helpful.  I felt like the biggest idiot ever though.  Has anyone else ever done that?

10.  The other night for dinner I had a BLT but it also had in some cheese AND the "T" was a fried green tomato.  It was everything.  Dear lord, I love living in the south!!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

A week of exercise and a weekend in the New England

The week after Kristen left was another busy one in Atlanta, which was why I didn’t get the chance to write. Some things going on at work caused me to work a few evenings, which I don’t mind doing, but just means that I have less time to do other things (such as blog!)

I worked hard to try and make smart choices with eating and also get some good runs in! I have been a little worried about my running this month because compared to last month, I feel like I am slacking big time. I had told myself that pushing to run 100 miles in a month was something that I was going to do for the month of April and that’s it. But mentally I am now having a hard time cutting back. I want to be running more and I want to be exercising harder but sometimes there just isn’t enough hours in the day to do everything that I want to do!

However, I got some great workouts in:

I joining the Run Smyrna group on Monday night for 3.5 miles of hill repeats (this was TOUGH!).

On Tuesday morning I met up with a friend from M+P for a 6 mile run from Atlantic Station out to Buckhead and back. Part of the return back was running on the upcoming July 4th Peachtree 10K route – including the infamous “Cardiac Hill.” I am getting really excited to tackle this race in a couple months after trying the route out so much! It is not often that I RACE a route that I am familiar with.

Last Wednesday I was able to continue the strong workouts getting in two separate sweat sessions in. I started with upper body strength training before work in the morning and a tempo run in the evening. I pushed myself to try and run my 2nd half of the 4 mile out-and-back route faster than the first, which I accomplished and was pretty proud of myself for. It was a beautiful night along the Chattahoochee!

Thursday I did two-a-days as well, but this time getting in my strength training at lunchtime. This was something that I used to do regularly in Albany but haven’t done yet in Atlanta. To be honest, I wasn’t totally convinced I was going to workout at lunch but I felt really, really tired and hoped that getting to the gym would wake me up a bit. And you know what? It ABSOLUTELY did the trick. It was exactly what I needed and put me in a great mood for the rest of the day. All employers should encourage this, because I was so much more energized and ready to work once I had gotten in that gym session!

It was a day of firsts I guess on Thursday because that evening I also joined some friends for a night run. We ran the route that is mostly our regular Sunday flagship route through the city, but extending it a bit to be able to get in 4 miles rather than 3.1. It was really fun to run as the sun went down and with a smaller group and I had a lot of fun with it.

Friday morning I kept my routine of doing the Master's swim workout and it was actually really awesome because the guy swimming in the lane next to me was about my speed and if I pushed really hard I could beat him.  It kept me motivated during all of our sprints and I was determined to beat him on every interval.  I hope that we swim like that more in the future because I know I worked harder than I would have were he not in the lane right next to me.

I was glad that I was able to get in a good workout on Friday AM before work because that evening I flew up to Boston to spend the weekend at home with my family and friends.

I got in late on Friday night to my mom's and went to bed shortly after.  I planned to run on both Saturday and Sunday but ended up not being able to on Saturday, which was okay, because I also got to see my grandparents on Saturday and go up to my sister's for the day and spend time with my niece and nephew.  I swear, these babies get cuter every single day and I was so happy to be able to see them.  They just turned 7 months old and I hadn't seen them in a few months, which is a lot in baby terms!

It was such a fun day and I am already looking forward to when I get to see those little babes again!  I knew when I moved to Atlanta that not being able to see the babies as often as I would like would be a challenge, and it really is hard.  I'm lucky that with technology I get regular picture and video updates but there really is no substitute for baby cuddles and squeezing their chubby cheeks!

After spending the day with my sister and the kids, we went back to Rhode Island and had an early bedtime before getting up in the morning for the true reason why I went home.  I started the day with a 4.4 mile run and then got dressed to head to my best friend Meag's wedding shower!!

Last year my group of the "Fab Five" girl friends I have had since kindergarten had our first wedding of the group.  E got married and had the 4 of us by her side as bridesmaids.  This year we are repeating the fun by celebrating an equally as wonderful couple within the group, Meag and her fiance Jon!  The wedding is in September and this weekend marked the official start of the festivities!

The shower was held in Rhode Island and it was so incredibly beautiful!  I loved being a part of it, including making a slideshow of pictures of Meaggie throughout the years with various video and photos I have stocked up.

Having friends since kindergarten means that your moms are friends too and everyone gets invited to weddings!  It was great to see everyone and I wish we had more time to actually socialize and catch up at the shower.  It went by too fast, but was still a wonderful time.  I felt incredibly blessed to have this group of girls and was sort of amazed to sit and think about the fact that the five of us live in completely different cities -- Chicago, Boston, New York City, Washington D.C., and Atlanta -- yet we all made the effort to be there to celebrate.  It was such a fun and special day to spend with the girls.  Last year at Erin's shower, KO and Meaggie both couldn't be there, so it was really fun to have us all there.  Plus, we also had another engagement in the group recently so we had even more reason to celebrate!!

It was not too long after the wedding shower that I boarded a plane to come back to Atlanta.  It's funny, I got back on Sunday evening, got ready for gym in the AM and then work and was at my desk in the office by 7:30 a.m. after working a full day on Friday as well.  It felt like the weekend had barely even passed.  It is amazing how air travel can make weekends like that possible.  It was a lot of travel and it is also very expensive, but it is great to be able to not have too much disruption in my regular life here in Atlanta but still be able to fit in wonderful family and friends filled weekends such as this one!

I went to spin this morning and then worked a full day, came home, binge ate some Dove Chocolates after dinner, brushed my teeth so that I would stop eating, and am now here writing for you!  Hope you all have a great week ahead!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Vacation weekends in my own city!

So guys, it’s been a while since I’ve written just to tell you what I have been up to and I apologize for that! I hate missing out on writing about this stuff, even if it sometimes gets boring, because I like reflecting on all the things I do, sharing photos, and having this here for years to come. Nowadays when I think of memories from a few years ago, I so often some to this blog and search through to reread things. I just did it earlier today and was looking for my brother’s college graduation and realized that I didn’t write about it because – life got busy – and I traveled to Germany immediately afterwards. But I so wish I had!

Therefore, let’s take a couple steps backwards. My brother visited the first weekend in May and that’s about where I left off. I spent that week celebrating cinco de mayo, doing a short trip to Kansas City, where I ran a fast and hard 3.5 miles with my coworker (repping Moves and Pacers in my shirt!), ate some ammaaaazzzing brisket sandwich with cheese and mushrooms and onion rings from Joe’s Kansas City BBQ, and then when I got back from Kansas City, I had a little bit of time to do some cleaning up at my apartment and get ready for my next visitor to come!

The weekend after my brother visited, my friend Kristen, who actually went to Kansas City with me the FIRST time back in the fall when I ran the marathon and she ran the half – came in on Friday morning to Atlanta from New York City! It was sort of ironic that my second trip to the “Paris of the Midwest” occurred immediately before getting to see Kristen again. Her and I must have some sort of spiritual connection with that city I think.

I got up early on Friday morning to get a workout in and did the Master’s swim workout at my gym. It was tough and pushed me hard and I loved it and decided that even though I smell like chlorine for the day afterwards – this should be my new Friday morning routine. I want to try and cross train on Mondays with spin class and Fridays with swimming, and then run Tues-Thursday and Saturday and Sundays.

So anyways, I did the AM swim and headed to the airport to pick her up, but it turns out that I had planned her arrival a bit too early and was at the airport two hours too soon! Woops! So it was a bit of a chaotic morning, but eventually, I had Kristen back at my apartment, she was able to freshen up and relax after the flight, and I was able to work for the day from home.

Once I was free and the weekend was officially able to start, we went out to a late lunch at one of my favorite spots – Ladybird, which is right on the beltline. I had eaten here when Teenie came to visit and although it took FOREVER for our food to arrive, once it did, it was great. The place also has an ideal location, a great atmosphere, and easy parking. I invited one of my friends in Atlanta to join and just didn’t mention to them that the service had been bad the first time around.

For my second time at Ladybird, let me just say that the food was still great, the atmosphere was still awesome, the parking easy, and the location on the beltline still ideal. And yes, the service was still questionable this second time around. Luckily, we were all weekend ready and laughed about it all, but we had a ridiculous time with our waiter, a long wait for the food, and a few funny conversations with the staff. However, the restaurant made it up to us big time by comping ALL of our meals! I have never had that happen at a restaurant, where they covered every single person’s entrĂ©e, but they did at Ladybird and it was a pretty awesome surprise.

The funny encounters and laughter that we had about it all at Ladybird was pretty much par for course for how the ENTIRE weekend turned out with Kristen visiting. My friend Brick, who joined us for lunch, became the third amigo in our weekend adventures and we laughed so much and had SO many belly laughs as a result. I can pinpoint a few other weekends like this in my life where you just laugh the entire way through and without even really planning it, they turn into something epic and fun where you are already laughing at the memories of the things that happened, even just moments or hours after they happened.

After the late lunch, we walked the beltine a bit to give Kristen a feel for that part of the city and then picked out our next destination for the afternoon. Since it was in my mind from the previous weekend and had been a nice spot, we headed over to Six Feet Under for drinks on the rooftop. A few other friends came and met us out and it was such fun chatting and drinking and eating and enjoying the sunshine.

From there, we hit up another place for more food and drinks in a different neighborhood in an attempt to show Kristen all that Atlanta has to offer (at least all the eating and drinking Atlanta has to offer…)

After much shenanigans, laughter, and conversation, we decided to call it a night and head home and get to bed at a decent hour. Ha… That was the plan until I got a phone call from another friend on the way home who lives in my neighborhood and we all decided to meet up again and ended up closing down the bar. Seriously, since when did I become able to stay up until after midnight??

It was really a fun day and I was so grateful that so much of my running family/friends I have made in Atlanta were able to join us, which made the night that much more fun. Kristen has always been a friend who can easily assimilate into different groups and when we go out end up meeting and making new friends. She fit in very well with the crew I’ve become a part of here in the south!

Saturday we slept in a bit (despite initial attempts at runs, races, and boot camp workouts) and then headed out in the morning on what we thought would just be a quick-ish outing before returning home. We started the day visiting the Civil and Human Rights Museum in Atlanta, which is right in Centennial Olympic Park near the aquarium and Coca-Cola museum. I just recently learned about this destination, as I think it is overshadowed by its more well-known neighbors, however, I was excited to check it out!

It did not disappoint. The museum was phenomenal. The exhibits were incredibly well laid out, extremely interactive, gave a very thorough history of the civil rights movement in Atlanta, in the U.S. in general, the individuals who were a part of it, and also was very well connected to TODAY. The museum didn’t just stop at explaining the past, it explained where the individuals who were a part of the movement are today. It talked about the continual struggle for equality for black Americans and the global fight for human rights around the world. There are still SO many populations of people who are discriminated against, seen as less than equal, and who are persecuted, or killed, on the regular for just being who they are. It highlighted the problem, as well as the INDIVIDUALS who are helping to make change in this world. The whole museum was very educational, emotional, and moving. It motivated me to do more on a day to day basis and I am thankful for that.

We actually went right from the museum to a not-for-profit event that was being held at a local restaurant/lounge that I had been to recently for a show called BQE. We planned to stop by and drop off some donations for the fundraiser, listen to music by my friend who was DJing, and meet Brick again for lunch. When we arrived a few other friends were also there and we all sat down for a delicious meal. Kristen and Brick both got the chicken and waffle sliders, which come on red velvet sliders. They looked delicious, but I was MORE than happy with the shrimp po’ boy that I ordered for lunch and promptly ate all of. I ordered it with a side of spinach, which also did not disappoint.

This stop was the first of many for our Saturday, which turned into a tour of Atlanta’s neighborhood drinking and eating establishments. When we ventured out in the morning, we fully had the intention that we would make it back at some point before night. But as the day went on, our crew grew larger and fun continued to be had so we just kept the party going! I won’t go through all of the details but the day after BQE consisted of first a walk through the Municipal Market in the old Fourth Ward, then some (alcoholic) slushies – which were delicious on the 90 degree day – at Wet Willies, followed by a day party at Rose Bar, dinner at Twin Peaks, then back over to Edgewood (where BQE and the market were located) to visit a few bars there – including a speakeasy hidden behind a bookcase in the back of a pizza shop, and then the day/evenings final destination was the crew’s regular Saturday night late night dancing spot. This day was forever.

It was also SO much fun.

Like the weekend that Jeff was visiting, I felt like I was on vacation in Atlanta, exploring so many new to me places and also some favorites of mine. Meeting up with different friends in different spots, having our crew grow and expand throughout the afternoon. Making friends out of the blue. Laughing and telling stories. Dancing in the middle of the day. And in general, acting as if we had not a care in the world, a bill to pay, or a worry on our mind. It was a fantastic day and one that you can’t plan or recreate or that you cannot (or would I want to!) have every weekend. But it was fun and the weather was perfect and I enjoyed everything about my Saturday with Kristen in Atlanta!

Sunday morning started slower than Saturday’s morning and our original plan of finding a brunch location with bottomless mimosas was immediately cut. This was not something any of us needed or wanted in our lives for the day! We hit up brunch at The Flying Biscuit, which was a spot that Kristen had asked about before she even visited. It was a long wait due to Sundays being a big brunch day in general, but also Mother’s Day. However, it was worth the wait and I really enjoyed the meal and the company – as we were met up by a few of my friends who were in town from Greenville to Atlanta for a music festival that they were attending that weekend. It was great to see and catch up with an old friend from Albany (he moved to Greenville the same time that I moved to Atlanta) and realize how much we were both enjoying our new locations.

Brick joined us for brunch as well, which was awesome, and also spurred my comment to Kristen, “I hope you like Brick, because we’ve now spent the entire weekend together!”

After brunch, we all opted to take a break from our busy-ness all throughout Atlanta and instead of going to hang out in Piedmont Park, returning to my place for naps. We all lounged a bit, which was much needed, got a little shut eye, before then heading out for the Movers and Pacers Mother’s Day run!

The flagship Movers & Pacers run is every Sunday at 2:00 p.m. but this week the run was moved back to 6:00 p.m. (before now moving to 7:30 p.m. for “summer hours”) As I mentioned after my brother’s visit – my new rule is that everyone who visits has to come and run with us! And luckily, Kristen was down when I let her know that before her trip! She IS training for the New York City Marathon after all (so proud!)

There were lots of surprises for the Mother’s Day run including signs, cards, roses, and cheering squads for the moms that came out and participated and it was a really fun and celebratory 3.1 miles. I was really happy to be a part of it and to have a friend see this run as well.

Since we were afraid we’d go through separation anxiety if we closed the weekend off without spending every last minute we could with Brick, after the run the 3 of us stopped at one of the Atlanta pizza locales, Fellini’s for some pie. The pizza was DELICIOUS and I am so excited that I know this pizza exists. I had never tried it before and right now it is my favorite pizza in Atlanta. If there is better pizza, I am excited to try and discover it, because this ish was good! Even the New Yorker agreed!

After pizza we headed back home, had a lazy night, before I had to take Kristen to the airport Monday AM before going to work. It was another successful weekend hosting an out-of-towner and another weekend for me where I felt SO thankful to live in the city of Atlanta. I truly love it here with all of the things to do, people to meet, friends I have made, beautiful weather, variety, diversity, frozen slushies, crazy night life, and active running community. The list could go on and on but I am so happy that I am based in Atlanta and love showing people the city, of course, with the help of my friends.

More to come this week on what I've been up to and this most recent weekend, but a quick thank you for Kristen for making the trip down to Atlanta to visit, I had a great time last week!