Thursday, December 30, 2010

Always a Benanna Moves

Hey everyone -


I've decided to move my blog over to wordpress.  You can now check out everything at http://www.alwaysabenanna.wordpress.com

Make sure you change your feeds/links/blog rolls to the wordpress site to catch all the updates.  Postings will probably appear on both sides for a brief period of time, but not more than a week. 

Overall, a good end to 2010

Today is my Friday! Our office usually gives us two days off for Christmas, but since the holiday fell over the weekend, they gave us one day for Christmas, and one day for New Year's Eve.  So today was my Friday.  YAY!

I've had two particularly good runs this week.  So after each I've taken some time to reflect what made these runs better than the others.

1. My goals

I tend to set some pretty terrible goals for myself, runningwise.  For example, I'll head to the gym after not running for a couple of days and say "oh I'm gonna run for 40 minutes non-stop"  or "I'm gonna run 5 miles today non-stop."  For me, the first mile is always the toughest, both mentally and physically.  But once I get through that first mile, I'm ok.  However, when I'm still in the first mile, I start thinking "omg, I can't do this for 4.5 more miles," and I doubt myself, making it harder to keep going.

However, the past two runs I've set realistic goals for myself.  Tuesday morning I got up and ran before work.  Because time was tight, I set the timing and 25 minutes and just had myself go.  No promises to run non-stop.  Once I was about .75 miles in, I evaluated how things were going and saw that 2 miles was a realistic option for me.  I ended up running the whole time without stopping.  However, if I needed to, I was prepared to stop and walk.

Today when I ran, I updated my pace a bit from Tuesday.  Because I upped the pace, I told myself that if I needed a short one or two minute walking break between miles, that was fine.  And that is what I did.
  • .75 miles - moderate pace
  • .25 miles - fast pace
  • 1 minute 20 seconds - brisk walk
  • .75 miles - moderate pace
  • .25 miles - fast pace
  • 1 minute  30 seconds - brisk walk
  • 2 minutes - moderate walk
Not putting so much pressure on myself really helped me to keep going.
not actually my feet - source


Breathing

Breathing when you are running is different that how you breath the rest of the day.  At least it is for me.  When I don't focus on my breathing, I seem to take in a lot of quick, short, shallow breaths.  As a result, I never really feel like I have the oxygen and energy to continue.  However, this week I've really focused on concentrating on breathing.  For me, its four counts in, six counts out.  Is it normal for my exhale to be longer than my inhale?  For some reason I thought they were supposed to be the same length, but that hasn't worked for me yet.  This 4/6 count seems to work the best for me right now.  I also think focusing on my breathing and running, and not the numbers on the treadmill screen in front of me, has  helped a lot.




Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Five goals for 2011

2011.  Its a big year.  I'll be a quarter century years old.  I'll change last names.  And as expected, I'm working on a list of goals for 2011.  Here is what I have so far. 

 
1. Maintain a workout regimen: get at least 2.5 hours of exercise per week.  Since most of my exercise tends to be on the active opposed to moderate style, that puts me above what the government recommends for a healthy lifestyle
 
2. Cook more: Cook at least one new meal per week, and to have a dinner that does not focus around pasta at least 2 other days of the week. I can not eat pasta forever.  Ok, I probably can, but it wouldn't be a good idea.  Maybe I'll find a cook book to cook my way through (a la Julie and Julia!)

3.  Get married with as little stress as possible:  I try and make my goals measurable and concrete.  Not sure stress level is really measurable.  But I think this is an important one. I will do as much planning and organizing up to the wedding as possible to make things move smoothly during the weekend's festivities.  Any idea how I can make this goal more measurble?

4. Blog Blog Blog: Keep on blogging.  Every day isn't realistic right now for me.  But I will find a schedule that works for me and stick to it. 

5. Excel at work: Again, I don't get too specific about work things on here, so lets just leave this here and ya'll can trust me that I have a plan.  Cool?

Are you developing a list of goals for 2011?  What goals have you set for yourself?  Any ideas how I can make my stress free wedding goal measurable?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Four Days in October

Last night, Ben and I watched ESPN’s 30 for 30 movie Four Days in October. 

The movie is about games 4,5,6 and 7 of the Red Sox/Yankee ALCS Championship game.  The movie skips games 1-3 (because they sucked), and focused on the amazing comeback of the Boston Red Sox. 

It was fantastic.  Maybe it was the nostalgia in me.  Maybe it was my love for all-things-Boston (especially the Sox!).  But I loved every second of the movie.  I found myself sitting there going, “omg I forgot about that part!” or “I remember that – it was awesome!” throughout the whole movie. 

Especially at the end when they showed the streets surrounding Fenway Park after game 7.  Not gonna lie – I put the TV on pause and tried to find myself in the crowd. 

If you were in Boston during October of 2008, I highly recommend you watch this film, if only for the memories!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Top 5 stories of 2010

As its the end of the year, it's time to recap 2010. 

1. The Engagement
Sure, the actual engagement happened in 2009.  But waking up engagement on January 1st and having my family coming into town was pretty exciting.  Plus, planning this wedding was one of the biggest topics of 2010, and it all began with the engagement. 

2. Ben and I move in together
Shortly after the engagement, Ben and I moved in to our apartment just outside of D.C.  Living together has been exciting and we've learned so much more about each other during the past year.  I absolutely adore our apartment, and we were both devistated when we thought we were going to have to move this January (don't worry, we aren't moving). 

3. Securing a wedding location
After tons and tons of research, we finally narrowed our wedding location to three places.  Each different but awesome in their own way.  But when another couple wanted one of our location, we were given less than 24 hours to stake our claim.  After lots of analysis, talking and tears, we decided to take Hibernian Hall.

4. Haddis' passing
 The death of Haddis was both shocking and sad.  Ben lost his best friend and a groomsman in our wedding.  I'll never forget when Ben recieved that phone call.  Some days, it doesn't seem real. 

5. Running a 10K
When we all decided to run a 10K, I wasn't sure we were actually going to follow through with the plan.  But somehow, we did.  Despite getting lost, running a mile warmup, and being 10 minutes late, it was an amazing experience.  It has inspired me to keep on running.  Bring on Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon 2012!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Blizzard False Alarm

Well, I wasn't totally sure that I was going to make it back to D.C.  They predicted a huge snow storm to hit the east coast.  Well, it hit some of the east coast, but it didn't cause nearly the hassle predicted. 

Both my mom and my sister were very concerned about the drive back to D.C.  Like didn't want me to go concerned.  They spent a good portion of Christmas night trying to talk me into staying.  While staying would have resulted in me working from home on Monday (while my mom makes me breakfast and lunch), it also would have meant a long train ride and not getting back to D.C. until like 11:00 on Monday night.  Not ideal.

So the kid I was carpooling with and I left at 9:00 in the morning and we were prepared for the worst.  For the first hour, as we drove to Philly, we had some moderate snow.  Visibility was fine, but the snow was definitely falling around us.  From the moment we entered Pennsylvania until the moment we entered D.C., we didn't see a single snowflake.  And once we got to D.C., it was extremely light flurries. 

After arriving home, Ben and I made wings (hot wings for him, honey bbq for me) and put away all our Christmas presents. I'm just sad there is no Eagles game to end the night!
 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas at home

Nobody decorates for Christmas quite like a mom.  Its no nice to be home and see the house decorated for the holidays.


Our Christmas tree.  Totally in the wrong room of the house.  It's been in our family room forever, but recently my mom decided to move it into the dining room

Ever since I was in the Nutcracker when I was in the 2nd grade, my mom has collected nutcrackers.  We used to have enough ornaments to fill a second tree.  One of the books in this display has my entire cast's signature.  

Remember when I told you my mom had every piece of the Lenox Holly china.  To show I'm not exagerated, above is a picture of not one, but three small lamps that are part of the Holly china collection.  See, the collection expands beyond plates and dishes.  We also have a lovely china nativity collection.  When I was little I was afraid to go even NEAR this nativity set for fear that I would break a piece.


Cute little mini-town

I guess Ben should be lucky that I only decorated our apartment a little bit, and didn't turn the whole thing into a Christmas wonderland :-)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'll be home for the holidays

Well, my day started here:


source

and ended here:



source
and now I can work on a computer that lets me update with photos!  I'm exhausted now, but look for more posts throughout the weekend!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

T-3 Days

Christmas is just 3 days away! I'm so excited!  Things have been super super busy, so I am very ready to head home for the holidays.  Just one more day of work and then off to my parents I go!

Well, I've been an epic fail regarding the Yoga 31 Day Challenge.  With the craziness that is December, I totally fell off the bandwagon.  I've done a handful of yoga classes, but I can't really say I've been really good about following it.  But at least I've been thinking about doing yoga?

I have however, started to work the elliptical into my workout routine.  I haven't done the elliptical in forever.  In college, I could just jump on to the elliptical and go for hours.  But give me a treadmill and I would practically cry my way through a mile (little did I know that after the first mile, it gets better).  The first time I jumped back on the elliptical, I thought, "well that blew!"  So I've decied to start weaving it the elliptical back in with running. 

Speaking of... off to the gym and then to pack for my trip back home!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Holidays!

What a weekend.

Thursday night was the office Holiday party at Panache in the Golden Triangle.  The company rented out the whole restaurant and we had apps and cocktails.  It was a lot of fun to be able to mingle and meet everyone's significant others. 

Friday night we went to Shiro, a Japanese habichi steakhouse, with Tal and Geoff.  The place had amazing fried rice.  I went with Chicken Teriyaki and Ben had Filet Mignon - both were excellent choices.  Afterwards Tal and Geoff came back to our place to hang for a bit.

Since we are spending Christmas with our respective families, Saturday night we made a special steak "Christmas dinner."  Then this morning we woke up early and opened the presents under the Christmas tree.  Both of our parents were nice enough to mail us some presents to have under our Christmas tree.  Mrs. B got us a pasta maker and a bunch of Le Creuset cast iron cookware.  My mom got us some fancy tea cups, lots of tea and an indoor golf putting range that spits the ball back out at you. 

I'm working on my computer, which is holding on by a thread and not letting me upload pictures to the blog (its barely registering all the letters that I type....).  Hopefully pictures can be put up later. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Today's regularly scheduled program....

Today's scheduled yoga workout video review has been interrupted due to ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas and Home Alone 2.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Cookies

It's December.  While I adore making cupcakes (and I think this month's open-ended Mystery Cupcake Challenge sounds like a great idea), to me, Christmastime means cookies.

So, now I just have to decide what cookies I want to make. 
  • I know I definitely want to make some sugar cookies.  Last year, I got some great cookie cutters in Christmas shapes for Christmas.  I think some sugar cookie trees and angels sound delightful. 
  • I'm also thinking about making some thumbprint jam cookies.  Cookie+strawberry jam = wonderfulness that is totally worth the calories.
  • Peanut butter cookies.  This comes from the girl who keeps a jar of peanut butter at her desk and snacks on it by the spoonful.  Are you really surprised?
  • White chocolate cranberry.  I absolutely love these cookies, but I can only make them during the holidays.
What are your favorite holiday cookies?  

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Yoga Challenge

So, I kinda fell off the yoga band waggon.

"But Anna, it's only December 5th.  How have you fallen off already?"

 Well, December 2nd was the day we get to get our Christmas tree.  We left right after work, and by the time we got home, I was ready for bed.

December 3rd...I forget what happened.

On December 4th, I had the pleasure of babysitting Parker.  Babysitting was from 3:45 until about 10:45 (including travel time), and then Ben and I decorated said Christmas tree until after midnight.  While I know about said evening plans, I forgot to schedule in yoga during the first part of my day.



But, today is December 5th, and I am back on yoga!  Today, I decided to try YogaDownload.com.  I downloaded a few different free videos to try.  Today, I did the Yoga for Weight Loss #1 - Beginner.  I probably could have down an intermediate level class, but I always seem to start with beginner.

Overall, I liked this class.  While still a beginner class, I feel like I got a better workout than with the "21 Day Yoga" video I tried out on Dec. 1.  If there was a day that I needed a lighter workout, I would definitely do the Yoga for Weight Loss #1 again.  Today I did a quick run (a little over a mile at a faster pace than normal), so pairing this yoga routine with the run was perfect.

I also downloaded Yoga for Weight Loss #2, so I'll have to let you know how that one goes.

Have you used YogaDownload.com?  What videos from there have you found to be great workouts?  Have you tried yoga routines from other sites that you think I should try?

Christmas Time!

Thursday night, Ben and I headed out to get what was to become my very first real Christmas tree!

Growing up, my family always had a fake tree.  So I'm super excited to have my very own, real Christmas tree!

Picking out the tree!

Me with the tree hanging out of Ben's jeep
Our tree!

Well, we weren't able to actually decorate the apartment until tonight.   So first we set everything out to prep tree decorating.





While watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, we put the lights, beads and ornaments on the tree.  The lights are mostly white (warm white LED lights - we had to go to two different Targets to get enough) with a bit of red scattered around the tree.  Then we put the red beads draped around the tree with silver and red balls, clear and silver icicles, and silver snowflakes.  And of course, a red star at the top!



 We also decorated the rest of the apartment.

Christmas pillows for the couch

Vase with silver beads and sparkly flowers






MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

31 Day Yoga Challenge

After talking to Jane last night, I decided to partake in the 31 Day Yoga Challenge (also seen here). 

Basically, the challenge is to do at least 20 minutes of "structured" yoga each and every day. 

I was hesitant at first, as I'm pretty positive I won't be able to do yoga EVERY single day during December.  However, I'll  decided I'll be happy if I can set aside time for 75% of the month (23 days) for some daily zen.  75% is better than never getting in the game, right? 

Since my December won't really jive with me taking part in any time of formal class, most of my yoga sessions will be through videos from On Demand or downloaded from the Internet.  I figure I'd also provide a review of the videos as I try new ones throughout the month.  

So last night, while Ben was watching the Duke game, off I went to our bedroom to start the challenge.  I went to the On Demand section of Verizon FiOS and chose the 21 Day Yoga Workout (similar to this).  The workout ran 21 minutes long (just over the 20 minute requirement!).

This yoga workout is very low-impact and I felt like it focused more on stretching than building muscles.  It is a pretty good video for a beginner.  While it may have been a short 21 minute video, I was expecting it to be high impact workout.  Instead, I barely broke a sweat! 

Would I do this workout again?  Possibly if:
  • I'm doing it the day after a long run and I'm sore so I need to get a good stretch in
  • Or I'm using it as a cool down session after a more intense arm/weight workout

Are you a yoga fan? Are you doing the 31 day yoga challenge?  What yoga resources do you follow when you can't get to a studio?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Goals!

Let's hope that I do better with December's goals than I did with November's...

December Goals:
Get a real Christmas tree and decorate it and the apartment for the holiday season!
  Make at least one batch of Christmas cookies!
Run at least 20 miles throughout the month (including this short week, that’s just 4 miles a week)
Do at least one hour of yoga each week.  Whether its once a week for an hour or six 10-minute sessions, it doesn’t matter.
Pack a real lunch at least 3 days per week (throwing a granola bar in my purse and calling that and a bag of chips “lunch” doesn’t count)
Create a training plan for the upcoming March 8K
Confirm all the loose ends on wedding planning
Plan the honeymoon
Schedule engagement photos

Here's to December!

Thank You

Thank you to everyone for your comments, texts, Facebook messages, and phone calls.  Ben and I truly appreciate your kind words, thoughts and prayers during this time.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November goals check-in

As November comes to a close, I figured I'd check in on the goals I set earlier this month...

Run a 10K! - check!
Turn 25 - check!
Participate in the Mystery Ingredient Challenge - oops. This somehow slipped by.
Attend one networking event - oops.  I had plans to attend a few, but random things got in the way. 
Identify an organization to work with and in what capacity I can volunteer - I planned on doing this during late November, but life got in the way. 
Figure out finances - check
Confirm flowers/rentals/decorations for the wedding -again, life got in the way, but this has become a TOP PRIORITY
Make AJ’s risotto - I keep forgetting to buy the rice to make risotto.  And then the couple of times I remembered, the store was out.  Epic fail. 
Begin to work arm exercises into my routine - check!  Not doing it all the time, but I've started to work them in here and there. 
Read one book for fun - umm...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

RIP Haddis Girma

This post is dedicated to an amazing guy whose life was cut way too short. 


Last week, Ben's best friend Haddis passed away.  Haddis was one of the most chill, fun-loving, dedicated, and inspirational person I had the opportunity to meet during my time at Boston University.

I remember when the girls in my sorority used to joke with Ben that his guy friends, such as Haddis, didn't exist.  That they were his "imaginary" friends.  And then I got a chance to meet Haddis.  I can't quite remember what we were doing the night we met, but I remember being wicked nervous.  This was my new boyfriend's best friend after all.  But Haddis welcomed me with open arms and gave me a big hug.

And then in the Summer of 2009, Haddis moved to D.C. to start dental school at Howard.  Ben and I were so excited to have him live near us. 

When Ben and I moved last winter, Haddis offered to help without hesitation.  He even did one better, he brought along one of his friends from dental school to lend an extra hand.  He helped carry all the big boxes and spent all day with us, even though he had an exam coming up.  That was just the kind of person he was - willing to help a friend no matter what. 

We'd see Haddis fairly often.  Ben would have him over, I would cook a big meal for us all and then head to bed while they had boy talk over cigars and bourbon on the porch.  Recently, Ben started to teach Haddis how to play golf.  They two of them would head out to the driving range and hit balls for hours together.

And its so surreal now.  I can't believe he's gone.  It makes you ask why - why such a sweet, caring, fun-loving, dedicated person.  This kid worked so hard to get where he was.  It wasn't easy, but he worked hard and perservered and truly earned everything he accomplished.

RIP Haddis Girma.  You are so, so missed. 

Somehow this is the only picture I can find right now that has all three of us...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ok...so this Thanksgiving post is a bit late.  But I've had one hell of a week, so cut me a break!

I ended up coming home Thursday during the day opposed to Wednesday night.  I walked in the house right as dinner was finishing up.  We had pumpkin soup as a starter and then turkey, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, an apple/butternut squash concoction, sausage stuffing, cranberry sauce, Cope's corn, and roasted broccoli and carrots.  Everything was fantastic.

That night, my niece slept over.  I had an awesome sleepover party with a four year old.  We watched all sorts of Christmas movies (Grinch, Frosty, Rudolph) and then had "girl talk in bed."  I don't think she fell asleep until like Midnight.  I was shocked that a four year old would stay up that late. 

Friday morning, I woke up and made my niece breakfast and we hung out for the day.  Then I got sick :-(.  The four year old got me sick.  So I've basically been in bed ever since.

So here is a brief list of things I'm thankful for:
  • Benjamin :-)
  • Family
  • Awesome friends
  • Amazing bridesmaids who are always willing to help!
  • Great future in-laws
  • A job that I love
  • My lovely apartment that feels oh-so-homey

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Roomie Visit!

After a long week, I slept in until 9:30 when I woke up to go meet this girl for brunch



I met Molly at my favorite brunch spot - Founding Farmers.  I got the Belgium waffle with a side of  pepper maple bacon, and Molly got the Farmers Breakfast (eggs, toast, bacon, hashbrowns).  As always, it was fantastic.  What I was most shocked about was that we had NO wait.  I've always just done breakfast there on Sundays - when you need reservations weeks in advance or you need to wait at least 45 minutes.  Today, we had no wait whatsoever.

Afterwards, we decided to continue catching up (walk off the calories-hello, bacon!) and we walked down through Georgetown.  During our walk I came across this adorable item:

It's a silicon cupcake liner that is shaped like a teacup and comes with a little saucer.  It was adorable!  While slightly unpractical, its still combines two of my favorite things!

After the walk, I took a brief (20 minute, max) nap and Ben and I went for a quick 15 minute run around the neighborhood.  It was such a tough run.  My thighs felt super heavy like they were weighing me down.  My Endomondo running app didn't work AGAIN (it also failed during last week's 10K), so I'm not quite sure how far we went. 

On the way back, we picked up some chicken parm from Cafe Italia on Restaurant Row.  It's a cute restaurant with a lot of character.  The chicken parm was pretty good.  Not the best I've ever had (although not sure anything beats the parm from The Palm), but I would get it again when the craving hits.  We've only gotten takeout from this place, but I'm hoping we can dine-in sometime soon. 

Now we are curled on the couch watching Lie to Me on Netflix.  Cool cats on a Saturday night. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Would You Like a Spot of Tea?

One of my latest obsessions has been tea. 

I found myself going through a gazillion cups of coffee a week, so I decided to slowly trade some of those coffees for tea.  While I still enjoy the occasional cup of coffee, I've become much more of a tea person.

My favorite tea by far is Teavana.  Ben originally introduced me to these fine little tea leaves.


Teavana is all loose-leaf teas that come in a wide variety of flavors and types (white tea, black tea, chi, ect).  I've been a big fan of Snow Geisha - "Delicate rose petals upon snow-white tea leaves are punctuated with luscious cherries and a hint of tropical fruits."  Its delicious!  Ben's a big fan of the MateVana.

The only thing about Teavana is everything is loose leaf.  Not very work-friendly (ok, if I tried hard enough I'm sure I can do it at work. I'd just have to purchase an additional steeper for my desk and make sure I'm good about cleaning it).  So at the office I try and stick with something a bit easier.

So lately, I've been sticking with Tazo Zen. 


 You may be familiar with Tazo, as its the brand carried in most (if not all) Starbucks.  I'm a big fan of this green tea version, as it has just a hint of lemon and mint.  Its perfect for the 3:00-pick-me-up, or just to sip on something warm on an otherwise cold day. 

Have you ever tried Teavana or Tazo?  What are your favorite teas?
 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Planners!

There is something about a hard-copy-pen-and-paper planner.  There is something concrete and permanent about writing everything down.

Last year I got my BlackBerry Tour in hope upgrading to the technology age.  It sounded great, but after a year I miss writing things down in a planner.

Sure, doing everything online is convenient (can access it anywhere) and it makes it super easy to color code everything (super organized!).  But, I find myself  not taking my to-do lists seriously when they are online.  Something about them living "in the cloud" makes them less real.  Plus, you don't get the satisfaction of crossing something off your to-do list when you delete it online. 

So I've decided to go back to my old-trust paper and pen planner.  A few years ago my friends got me a fancy "adult" planner

photo credit
So the other day I brought my handy planner off the shelf and decided to bring it back.  Now I just need to decide what type of refills I need.

Option 1:


Option 2:
I'm leaning towards option 1, as I don't really need my planner broken down by the hour.  But I love how organized it is.  A place for to-do lists! And phone calls to make!  

Thoughts? Opinions? What is your favorite planner?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Delta 10K!

Well, we did it.  We actually did it!  On Sunday, Miranda, Kate, Jane, Christen and I woke up super early and ran the Veterans Day 10k!

This race was my very first race (it was most of our first races actually). You would think for a first race we would have chosen something a bit shorter – like a 5K perhaps. Nope! You know my motto – go big or go home. So run we did all 6.2 miles of it!

We had a bit of a stressful start. Ben and I got turned around and were totally confused as to where the race started. He ended up dropping Christen and I off at the Jefferson, which was prob a good mile from the actual starting point. Talk about a warmup! Christen and I ran around the monument area, hoped a fence, and somehow found the starting point. Due to my lack of direction, we started twenty minutes after the gun. But off we went together and Christen definitely kept me going.

Mile one was ok – the first mile is never fantastic. But mile number two was brutal. At one point, Christen and I looked at each other like “we must have missed the two mile marker. That one way up in the distance HAS to say 3 miles.” Nope. It said 2 miles.

Somewhere between mile marker two and three, we found Kate and Miranda who had already turned around at the half way point. Shortly after, we found Jane! And then at mile three, the boys were waiting with a smile to cheer us on! When Christen and I hit the turnaround point, and then she took off! I needed a bit of a break and didn’t want to hold her back. The second half was what I call a “healthy mix” of running and walking. Once I hit the five mile marker however, I took off! I had gone that far I wasn’t going to walk into the finish line! Once I got back into my stride everything felt ok.

I ended up crossing the finish line in 1 hour and 14 minutes. Yes, I’m a bit slow. But considering I walked a “healthy mix” and was able to keep my pace under 12 minute miles, I was pretty happy. Pretty much I was just happy that it was OVER!

Afterwards we went to breakfast at Crystal City Sports Pub and had a good laugh at what we had just done. Oh and we ate – a lot – and enjoyed some birthday mimosas. We found ourselves saying “should I have that [second mimosa, plate of bacon, second helping]? Sure, why not – I just ran a 10k!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm on a Boat!!

Since next weekend will be consumed with running my first 10k, this weekend I celebrated my birthday with both Ben and my parents.

On Friday night, the celebration was just Ben and me.  Ben kept everything a surprise.  He even met me at the metro station (with flowers!) near my work so he wouldn't have to tell me what metro station to get off at.  The surprise was dinner on this

Photo credit

I've wanted to do one of these dinner cruises since we moved to D.C.  Ben upgraded our ticket to include an open bar and a window seat.  So we could have all the drinks we wanted while enjoying the view.  It was absolutely beautiful.  The trip traveled down the river past Old Town Alexandria and the National Harbor.  We had an awesome time!




Then Saturday morning my parents came down to celebrate.  We did a tour of the Capitol first and then went to dinner.  The original plan was to go to Matchbox in Chinatown, but it was an hour and 15 minute wait.  An hour I could have done, but waiting for more than that I just couldn't justify.  So we switched plans and went to Clydes.  The food was really good.  I got the filet and it was cook perfectly.  My mom got a butternut squash ravioli (with dried cranberries and walnuts) that was amazing.

Afterwards we had reservations at Coco.Sala for dessert.  While I've never been, I've heard its fantastic.  For those from Boston, its kind of like Finale but a bit more on the trendy/night out side.  While the food was fantastic, i was less than impressed with the overall experience.

Pros
  • Our waiter was   very attentive, quickly refilling our water glasses.
  • Once the food arrived, it was very very good.  I got "Nutty but Nice" - a peanutbutter cheesecake with a chocolate coating on top.  It came with a side of rum bananas foster with chocolate shavings.  It was awesome.  It also came with a peanutbutter and jelly chocolate.  Everything was fantastic and it all paired together quite nicely. 
  • The portion size was more or less what I expected.  Not a huge dessert, but very satisfying.
Cons
  • First, our table wasn't ready at our reservation time.  And the fact that we showed up 10 minutes early really threw the hostess.  We were finally seated about 10 minutes late.  10 minutes is not a big deal, but when you have a reservation, you want your table ready at that time.  And since it was at 9:30, its not like it was peak time.  And considering we arrived 10 minutes, we had to wait a total of 20 minutes. 
  • 40 minutes after we ordered, our waiter came back to tell us that they were out of the white chocolate necessary for my dad's dessert.  First of all - not sure why the desserts took 40 minutes, but even less sure why it took them 40 minutes to realize they were out of the white chocolate.  Another twenty minutes passed before our desserts came out.
Overall, it was a great birthday celebration!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I've been ready  reading a lot of posts/having a lot of discussions with people about our country's education system.  While I don't really want to get into a whole political post about it (although I'm sure I will eventually),  I do want to share a few brief thoughts on the concept.

  • While I firmly believe in a well rounded education (BU is a liberal arts college afterall), I think high schools need to do a better job at helping students identify what they want to do with their lives.  You're pretty much expected to know what you want to do with your life on your first day of college, if not before hand.  What career you want to pursue after college can shape if you go to college, what college you attend, and (if it is a university) which section of a college you attend.   If we aren't exposing the youth to a variety of options, how can they decide what is the path for them?  And in turn, which is the best program for them?
  • More finance classes in high school.  Lets face it - whether they enter the work force directly from high school, or they go to college with its ever rising costs and the newfound independence, I believe high school students should be required to take some personal finance class. 
Do you agree?  What other opti

Monday, November 1, 2010

November Goals!

November is a great month, don’t you think?  It’s the start of the winter holiday season.  It (hopefully) is the last bit of semi-decent weather before the harsh winter begins. 
 
Below is the list of my goals for the month. Check back to see how many I can cross off!

Run a 10K!
Turn 25
Participate in the Mystery Ingredient Challenge
Attend one networking event
Identify an organization to work with and in what capacity I can volunteer
Figure out finances
Confirm flowers/rentals/decorations for the wedding
Make AJ’s risotto
Begin to work arm exercises into my routine
Read one book for fun

Turning Into My Mother

I know we all turn into our mothers eventually.  I had one of those moments the other day.

Ben and I went over to Macy's to work on our registry.  While in the china section, which is conveniently also the registry section, I noticed the very very large display of Lenox Holly holiday china.  And I wanted to put it on my registry.  All of it.

For as long as I can remember, my mom has had what we would call a robust collection of the Lenox Holly china.  And it sits in display cabinets all holiday season.  And then we use it for Christmas dinner.  I think she has a place setting for like 12 or something.  AND a setting in the plastic version for my niece.  (BTW Mom, I checked.  They didn't have the plastic version so we could pick up a second set.)  And now I find myself wanting a set for holiday dinners.  Not that I'm going to be hosting any type of Christmas dinner anytime soon....

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wow...

Ben just made himself a green giant veggie medley for himself.  After taking a bite he goes, "this is good.  better than french fries." 

WHAT?

We're just gonna have to agree to disagree on that one, babe....

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mr. and Mrs. Awesome

So, this is my blog.  I'm allowed to brag a bit.  Especially when I have exciting stuff to brag about....the past couple of weeks have been pretty awesome for us.

In early October, Benjamin was promoted to a GS09.  The GS system is how the government ranks their employees.  Most people only jump one level, but with the classes, trainings and real experience Ben is getting, he was able to jump two levels.  I was super super excited and proud of my baby!

Then, about a week later, my manager put my review on my calendar.  She actually scheduled it for the morning we were leaving for Charleston.  The review went very very well, and I was promoted.  I moved from an "Associate Account Executive,"  to "Account Executive."  My day-to-day won't change much, but it allows for more opportunities to do things.

But just wait.  It gets better.  I was very confused when I found out Ben had been promoted to a GS09.  It kind of happened without fanfare - no review, no meeting.  It just kind of happened.  We this past week he finally had the review (although, with already knowing he received the promotion, we knew it would probably be a positive review).  Positive doesn't describe it enough.  Ben hit it out of the ball park.  He received one of the best scores in his program and got a pretty good bonus.  I was such a proud wifey-to-be!

This week we went out to celebrate.  I don't have pictures of our meal, but it was fantastic. But best of all, it  was great that our promotions went hand-in-hand, so we could celebrate together!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Political Dinner

I was reading The Washingtonian and I got inspired to write a posting/series: For Dinner - a roundup of people that I'd like to have over for dinner/drinks.  Being a D.C. based poli-sci dork, the theme of this roundup will be political/election based.


First Lady Michelle Obama
While President Obama would be an obvious choice for some, I think it would be more interesting to hear what Mrs. Obama has to say.  She is an intelligent woman and I'd love to hear what she has to say, without all the politics.

Karl Rove
Clearly, this man knows political strategy.  What does he think of the upcoming election?  How are Republicans framing the issue?  Is it too late for the Dems?  What does he see being the next big issues.


Tony Snow
I would just love to pick this guy's brain and hear about his career experiences.  This one isn't as election focused and general political communications.

Steven Colbert
Comedic relief anyone?

Charlie Cook
When it comes to analyzing elections, Charlie is your man.  I had the opportunity to hear him speak at a work function, and he is just really tuned in.  I heard what he thought 2-3 months ago, I want to know what he thinks now that we are a week out.


Whose election analysis would you like to hear?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Apple Crepes

Ben and I had a a bunch of leftover apples, so I decided to use them for breakfast yesterday morning.  I wish my camera wasn't dead so I could post pictures because it came out amazingly! 

I hadn't used the crepe maker Mrs. B. gave us in a while, so I broke that out and made up some crepes.  Its a great machine.  I have a picture of a similar one below -

photo credit
 - you simply dip the surface in crepe batter and then flip it and let it cook for like 30 seconds.  The light goes off and the crepe is cooked and slips off the pan.  Quick, easy, and tasty. 

I cut up all the leftover apples and cooked them in a pan with some butter, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice until they were soft.  Fill the crepes with the apples and drizzle some of the melted butter/sugar mixture on the top - perfection!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Night

Ben and I spent tonight watching the Phillies/Giants game.  I know the Giant's are the underdog.  And everyone loves the underdog.  But....



GO PHILLIES!!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

To Do List for This Week

Follow up about the bar for the wedding
Follow up about decor pictures for the wedding
Follow up about flowers for the wedding
Find a DJ for the wedding
Wedding planning much?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wedding Planning

Sorry for the delay in updates.  It's been a very busy week or so.  Here is my best attempt at a recap (without it being too long)

Charleston Vaca

 Ben and I just got back today from a 4 day semi-vaca to Charleston.  I say semi-vaca because the point of the trip was to make progress on wedding planning. 

  • Rehearsal Dinner - FMIL, FFIL, Ben and I headed out to Middleton Place for a tasting.  We planned out the evening, tasted a variety of food items and planned out the menu for the rehearsal meal.  
  • Reception Dinner - Again, the four of us went to taste a variety of menu items for the reception.  Let me say, I am VERY happy with our catering decision.  The food was fantastic.  I don't want to give too much away, but lets just say there will definitely be something for everyone.  
  • Other Wedding Planning - We also met with a florist and a florist/design expert to discuss decorations and flowers for the wedding.  I was really impresses that both were able to get our vision for the evening very quickly and give us some great suggestions. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Baking Update

Well, I didn't really get to blog about it, but a few weeks ago I made Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cupcakes.  I found the recipe in one of the blogs I read (and actually, I can't even remember which blog).  It sounded fantastic.

In actuality,they were only OK.  I took them into work for a co-workers birthday, and everyone seemed to like them.  But I think they were only OK.  I think they feel to the "too much of a good thing" category.  It was a chocolate chip cookie batter, with cookie dough filling and then cookie dough frosting.  I would prefer a regular vanilla chocolate chip cupcake with the cookie dough filling and frosting with a tad less brown sugar.

Now I'm debating what my next challenge will be.  I've been in the mood to make an apple cupcake (maybe I'll use Amanda's recipe).  Or...

Also, late last week, they announced the 4th Mystery Box Challenge - Orange.



The left the challenge a little broad this month.  That way people who want to do pumpkin/Halloween can, but those who want to do something different can make a fall themed cupcake.  I'm not a huge pumpkin person, so I'm thinking orange frosting would be the path I'd take.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Three Things

Jane gave us some insight into the meaning of her blog address.  



It's basically three words that she wants to incorporate more of in her life.  It got me thinking - if I could incorporate three more things into my life, what would they be? 

Positivity - I've been on a "no" kick lately.  The negativity is not something I need right now.  Its weighing me down.  And I'm tired of saying no.  I feel like I say it all the time.  So I need to find a way to yes. 
  • While I don't have the list of addresses done, I have XX number of addresses to put in and I will send it to you by 10:00 tonight. 
  • Yes, I've started to look at bakers, but I'm not really sure which one we will use since we haven't tasted any yet. 
  • While I don't have time to clean my bedroom, I do have time to clean this corner of the room.
Motivation - Of course, then in order to follow through with my "yes",  I need to motivation to actually do it.  It's all well and good to say I'm going to come home and actually do some wedding planning.  After working for 10 hours a day, I just want to come home and turn off for a bit.  Some days, the thought of doing wedding planning is just impossible. 

Patience - I'm a fairly impatient person.  Sometimes I just need to take a deep breath and relax. 
 

Monday, October 4, 2010

things from my childhhood that prob won't live up to the memory

Another great blog topic that I'm taking from Secret Society of List Addicts - "Things from my childhood that probably won't live up to my fond memories of them."

No seriously people.  That blog is awesome.  You should check it out.  I get very happy when I see it turn to bold in my Google Reader.

Back to the posting.
 
  • Alice in Wonderland TV Show on Disney - There used to be this show on the Disney Channel that was loosely based on Alice in Wonderland.  I used to watch it every day.  Every single day while getting ready for school.  I'm sure it was terrible.  In fact, I think I tried to watch it again a few years later.  And it was in fact, terrible. 

  • Run the Bases - In the summer, we used to always play this game on the beach, Run the Bases.  Basically, you set up two "bases" and place them a decent distance apart.  Then two "ends" each "guard" a base and throw a tennis ball back and forth.  The "runners" then try and run back and forth between the two bases.  If you get pegged by the tennis ball, you become an "end".  There is no way to win this game.  You just never want to be an "end".

  •  Bubble Tape

[photo credit]


Yeah you remember this.  I'm pretty sure this was NOT quality bubble gum.  But it was awesome because you could chew AS MUCH AS YOU WANTED.  Nothing like hanging out by the baseball fields in elementary/middle school with a roll of bubble yu



and I totally agree with  Secret Society of List Addicts for this last one:

  • Easy-bake Oven - There is no way cookies made from a mix and baked by the heat of a light bulb taste as good as I remember. No. Way. 

Anything I've missed?  

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Weekend

If I were to sum up this weekend, I would use one word: sleep. 

I thought I was fighting off being sick all week.  Apparently I was right.  Because I slept till like 11 both Saturday and Sunday.  And I look a two hour nap yesterday.  So basically, I got A LOT of sleep. 

But yet I still managed to be a bit productive. 
  • Yesterday, Ben and I headed over to Macy*s to check out crystal stemware for our registry.  We narrowed it down to 4 patters. 
  • Today, I headed over to Williams-Sanoma and went to town with the registry gun.  I just love that store.  And everything in it.  Put a ton of stuff on the registry.  I'll have to go back and look at it once I'm off the shopping high to finalize things. 
On a different - I'm watching the Sox game right now.  As you know, I absolutely LOVE Varitek.  He just had his last at bat, to a standing ovation.  The Sox set him out in gear for the 9th, and then pulled him before it started so he could have his final good bye to the fans.  So moving. 

Now I'm making a broccoli, chicken cheddar casserole and waiting for Ben to get back so we can turn on the Skins-Eagles came.  

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Another One Joins

Last night, Ben and I enjoyed a nice bottle of wine.  We then called our friend Kristin, when Ben informed her that it was time for her to come visit because we miss her. 

Then I got on the phone and told her she needs to start blogging.  Like legit.  She told me it wasn't happening.

And then this afternoon, I woke up from a nap and found this - Prescription for Life.  A DR. KRISTIN blog!!

Welcome to the world of blogging, Kristin.  And now about that trip to D.C.....

Friday, October 1, 2010

Autumn is Here!

The weather is starting to cool down here. I actually had to wear my light coat to work today. I mean, it is October 1. It’s guess autumn is allowed to begin.

And while autumn has never been my favorite season (what can I say – I love the first beautifully warm day after a long winter), it always brings back certain memories for me.
  • Back to school – I know I don’t really go “back to school” anymore. But this time of year still brings back urges to getting myself organized and ready for a “fresh start.”
  • Cheerleading – Again, I know I’m not a cheerleader anymore. But something about the cool, crisp autumn air that brings back memories of putting on the cheerleading uniform and spending my Friday night at the football field. I mean, I did cheer for 11 years – that’s almost ½ my life! (btw Mom - doesn’t that seem weird. It was SO long ago, yet it is still just shy of ½ of my time here on earth.)
  • Apples – I don’t even really like apples. But something about the fall makes me want to go apple picking. For the past two years I’ve made my wonderful, caring boyfriend drive the hour-plus each way so we could spend an hour or so running around an apple farm somewhere in Virginia. And then we buy TONS of apples. And that night I make apple pie. And then I never touch the apples again.
  • Football – I separate this from cheerleading because I think it deserves its own category. GO EAGLES.
  • Crock-pot dinners – Full disclosure: I’m yet to make a crock-pot dinner that I actually really like. I’ve tried. And I’ve definitely failed. But something about fall makes me want to break the crock-pot out and try again. Maybe because I think of making soup in crock-pots and soup is a fall-weather favorite of mine?
  • Fall workouts – I don’t know if it’s the years of cheerleading, girls tennis being a fall sport at my high school, or part of the back-to-school-fresh-start-get-my-life-in-order feeling, but I love outdoor workouts during the fall. Good thing since I have that 10K coming up…
What do you love about fall?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

If I ruled the world

The other day Cheryl gave us some insight into what the world would look like if she ruled it. I particularly like the idea of bringing back "please" and "thank you" and children wearing shoes.

I can think of lots of great things that can’t really be changed (like ending rain during rush hours and making ice cream and pizza a healthy, acceptable meal).

But regarding the things that could actually theoretically be changed, I find most of my frustrations with the world deal can ultimately be linked back to two concepts: Be respectful and responsible.

Yes, I know being an adult can suck sometimes. But you had the first two decades of your life to pull the young, immature, and the “I didn’t know any better” cards. Now it’s time to take responsibility and be a respectful member of society.

But to be more specific:
  • When getting on/off the metro, do not push, shove or run to the available seat. Also, when you see a pregnant woman, elderly person, person with a small child, person with disabilities/injuries, etc., offer them your seat. It’s the right thing to do. You won’t die if you stand during your commute to work. If you have a legitimate reason to need the seat, fine. Don’t just push everyone out of the way and then play on your BlackBerry the whole time so you don’t have to make eye contact with that old woman who should really have your seat.
  • If you don’t want to walk up the escalator, please stand to the right. Leave the left side for those people who are in a rush. And definitely don’t stand in the middle taking up the WHOLE step.
  • Don’t throw trash on the ground. Yes, I know I’ve done this at times. But really. Find a trash can. Or even better, when appropriate, a recycle bin.
  • While yes, I agree it’s nice when boys open doors for girls. But it doesn’t ALWAYS have to be that way. Walking into a building and there is a boy (or anyone for that matter) coming behind you, hold the door for them.
  • When approaching an elevator, if the doors start to shut do not run and throw your arm to make them pop back open. Let the people peacefully take their elevator ride, and wait the 30 seconds for the next one. (Please note that I do NOT apply this concept to public transportation. You never know when the next bus/train will arrive.)
  • Blogger would like me type a blog posting in word and then copy and paste it into the blog function. I like working in Word. You make this difficult.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Things My 24-Year-Old Self Does That My 16-Year-Old Self Would Hate

Another blog topic from Secret Society of List Addicts: Things My 24-Year-Old Self Does That My 16-Year-Old Self Would HATE.

  • Wear my hair curly - When I was 16, my hair was always straight.  I hated it curly.  I used to think it looked like a lions mane.  

Me with curly hair




  • Wear Dresses - I hated dresses.  I hated skirts.  Now I can't get enough of wearing them.  In the summer.  Even in the winter.   
  • Eating tomatoes - I refused to eat tomatoes for the first 23 years of my life.  Like if I had the option of regular or white pizza, I ate the white pizza.  I wouldn't eat pasta once it touched sauce - if you rinsed it off I could taste the sauce. Now, I love tomatoes.  I add them to everything.  I even get a little mad when we are out of tomatoes in the apartment and I can't add them to whatever I'm making.  
  • Not wearing Uggs every day - I remember being happy when my tiny little feet had FINALLY grown to whatever was the smallest size Ugg made.  I'm talking back in the day.  Before it was "trendy" to wear them with Juicy Jumpsuits and miniskits.  Before the celebrities were sporting them all of LA and NYC.  I wore Uggs every day.  Usually clogs, but I was also a big fan of my boots.  They were a staple in the closets of those in my hometown.  Now, I rarely wear my Uggs. Apparently, I've moved on.  
Ugg Black Tasman.  My first pair of Uggs. 



Photo credit: www.halloweencostumes4u.com

Thursday, September 23, 2010

mystery box challenge

As you may remember, earlier this month I discussed joining the Mystery Box Challenge

Well, I didn't exactly enter.  After Val's comment about the blueberry/maple cupcakes, I had to try and make them.  As I said before, I'm still perfecting the recipe.  But, I never got around to creating my own cupcake based on my childhood.  And I never entered Val's idea. 

But just because I didn't enter, doesn't mean you shouldn't check out all the cool cupcakes that DID take on the challenge.  Flav-R-Ice Cupcakes?  That sounds spot on for childhood memories.  I used to love playing baseball while eating those things.  I also think the cheeseburger cupcake is really creative.  Check it out.  And maybe next month I'll enter!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Expiration Date

Like Jess, I've also always been a compulsive expiration date checker.  I would always eat/drink things up until their date.  And then you couldn't convince me to touch it with a 10 foot pole.  It was like on the magical day stamped on the bottom of the carton, a "make food bad" fairy zapped the food and made it no longer edible.

Every late summer/early fall, I find myself checking expiration dates more and more often.  Not to see if they have gone bad, but to see if they expire on my birthday.  Don't ask me why I care what goes bad on the most celebrated day on my calendar.

Today, I was debating making cupcakes.  I walked over to the fridge to see if we had all the necessary ingredients.  Butter, check.  Brown sugar, check.  Eggs, check.  Milk, hmm.  what's this I see?

Happy Birthday to Me
I guess I'll have to start looking for things that expire on my wedding date soon!

Bad decisions I habitually make

So I stole this topic from one of my favorite blogs: Secret Society of List Addicts

Bad decisions I habitually make:
  • Waking up late - When I was little, boy was I an early bird.  I would wake up ridiculously early.  Some point in high school, I got tired of always being the first one awake (and the first one to fall asleep), and so I just taught myself to sleep late.  Now that I'm an adult, sleeping until noon is no longer acceptable.  But sometimes, it just feels so good.
  • Ice Cream - what do you mean a pint of ice cream isn't a single serving?
  • Making leftovers, and then eating them - When preparing dinner for the night, I always think "oh perfect, I'll make enough to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow."  Then I  eat my dinner.  all of it.  leftovers included.  And then I don't have lunch for the next day.  fail.
  • Sleeping with lots of blankets - Doesn't matter if it's 90 or 30 degrees out, I always want lots of big fluffy blankets wrapped around me.  Even though I get hot and kick them off in the night.  
  • Thinking little hair clips and bobby pins will hold my hair - I always try and do my hair up in something cute/fashionable/profession with hair clips and bobby pins.  Note to self: these things will NEVER hold my hair for more than 10 minutes.  Never have.  Never will.  Stop trying. Embrace your thick hair of curls. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Boardwalk Empire

Monday Sunday night was the premier of Boardwalk  Empire on HBO. 

For those of you who don't know - its HBO's newest series that takes place during prohibition-era Atlantic City.  It's the story of "Nucky Thompson," based on real life gangster Nucky Johnson, and his reign over Atlantic City.  

Last night's episode was very good.  I won't go through the play-by-play.  The acting is really good and the cinematography is excellent.   Although what else would you expect with Martin Scorsese directing?  I'll definitely be setting my DVR for Boardwalk Empire. 

Ok, so it's pretty cool to watch it and see sets that look like home.  Because while Atlantic City has changed a lot over the past 90 years, somethings about a city never change.


Update: 9/21 - Glad to see I wasn't the only one who liked Boardwalk Empire.  HBO has already ordered a second season of the show.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Layout Design

Got tired of my old design.  Trying this one out for a bit.  What do you all think?  Let's see how long this one lasts. 

Long Week

Sorry for the lack of blogging.  Last week was really really long week.It started last Sunday, when we got an email from our building saying the power would be out hour an hour. 12 hours later, at 4 in the morning, we finally got our power back.  Needless to say, I didn't sleep at all that night. 

Now for some life updates:

Wedding
  • Save the Dates: I was finally was able to pull together addresses so we can send the save-the-dates.  Benjamin should have his addresses soon as well.  Yay for checking this lingering thing off our plate!
  • Alcohol:  While our caterer does provide bar services, we aren't required to use them.  Considering their bar pricing was outrageous, we have been looking for better options.  This weekend, we found our bar service.  Basically, we just need to check and make sure they aren't gonna overcharge us for glassware and then we can send in the check!  
  • Invitations: We've narrowed it down to two invites.  Who knows which one we will pick.  You'll find out when it appears in your inbox. 
Life in General
  • 10K Training:  This is still going on.  I'm not running quite as much as I would like, but I'm getting there.  This weekend Ben and I went for quite a long run.  It sucks, but was awesome at the same time. 
  • Baking:  Last week I attempted the blueberry maple cupcakes that Val suggested.  They were fantastic!  I frosted 1/2 with the maple frosting, and 1/2 with cream cheese frosting.  Ben preferred the maple frosting; I liked the cream cheese.  I want to play with the recipe a little bit.  I think the batter needs more sugar and definitely needed more blueberries.  Next up: chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Farmer's Market

Maybe I was inspired by Val's most recent blog posting.  Maybe it was the fact that Ben and I have been talking about how much we miss going to Eastern Market on the weekends.  But today I decided to venture off and try the Crystal City Farmers' Market.

It was a cute little market.  The options are, obviously, not as plentiful as Eastern Market.  But it was a pretty good market! 

For $12.00 I got:
  • two nice sized white peaches
  • two yellow nectarines
  • a large french baguette
  • more spinach than I think i could ever eat
  • an eggplant
Not sure what I'm going to do with the eggplant.  I'm not a huge fan.  But the guy who I bought the spinach from threw it in at the end for free.  I'm not sure if Ben likes eggplant.  Its not something we ever buy.

Ok, I'm gonna do it.  I'm gonna try the eggplant.  How should I make it?  If you were to make me my very first eggplant dish - what would it be? 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day!

To celebrate Labor Day, Ben and I traveled home for the long weekend.  We left Friday night (got in about midnight) and got back this evening.

Saturday we woke up and went for a run on the boardwalk.  Ok, so mine was more of a walk/run than a solid run.  But whatever.  We went from my house to Albany ave, and then ran interval sprints back.  It was just under 4 miles.  So at the end of the day, it was still a good work out.

We spent the night having a fabulous mommy-cooked dinner, playing cards and picking out wedding invitations.  Maybe.  We still have some samples coming in the mail, and the ones we picked were a little pricier than what we originally wanted, but they are really nice.  We have a few details to work out first, but if we got the ones we picked out Saturday night, I would be a very happy bride.

Sunday, Ben and I got up and went to the beach for a bit.  Then we headed over to my Aunt and Uncle's house for a wonderful celebration - it was my niece Shannon's birthday (she's FOUR!!!) and my cousin was home from California with her newborn, Delia.  Delia is such an adorable, well -behaved baby.  I'm so glad I got to meet the  baby!

Me and the birthday girl!!
Today, we woke up and headed to the outlets in Atlantic City.  I got some great tops and a skirt that I can wear to work.  Ben got some clothes too.  Very successful shopping trip on all fronts. 

How was your Labor Day?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mystery Ingredient

As its just after the first of the month, Sweetest Kitchen has announced the Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge for September.
This month, the mystery box challenge does not focus on an ingredient.  Instead, it asks bakers to create a cupcake based on a memory: childhood.  Sweetest Kitchen writes:

"this month you will need to create a cupcake that is based on your favorite childhood memories – this could be a particular flavor, or perhaps your favorite childhood dessert"

I've decided to participate in this month's challenge.  Because making a cupcake based on a childhood memory sounds like such a fun, creative experiment.  I'm not quite sure what I'm going to make, but I've got some ideas floating around in my head.  

If you were to create a cupcake from your childhood, what would it be?