Monday, December 28, 2009

Week 3 of Marathon training is done!!!

I can't believe that 3 weeks of marathon training are already done!!! I feel awesome so far....I skipped one short run in week 2, but other than that I have managed to do stick to the schedule with just doing some minor day shifting. I even managed to stick to my plan over Christmas, which makes me very proud.

Unfortunately, I've been a big wimp and have been running mostly on the treadmill, but this Saturday I am forcing myself to go outside on a 20 degree day and do my long run. I know it is going to be a challenge, but I know I can do it.

I am trying my best to stay focused week by week so I don't get overwhelmed. So far that strategy has been working really well, I just need to continue to remind myself that even though scary high mileage runs between 14-20 miles are in my future, I will be working up to those and I just need to think about my 9 mile run this week. 9 miles is certainly scary, but not unheard of since I just ran 7 miles last week.

That's it for now....I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and was able to have some great days with family and friends!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I'm back with some updates

Before I even start, thanks if you kept faith and didn't delete me off your Google Reader or completely give up on me ever blogging again. The reasons for my absence have been multiple. I'm quite busy with my job. Like usual, I'm following my own rule and not going into it on this blog, but it's certainly be keeping me busy.

Another big reason is my own writing "hang-ups". I have written several posts in the past few weeks and either never completed them or re-read them and felt they were boring or just rambled on. I haven't had much exciting or extraordinary happening in my life, so that doesn't make for the best post material.

And, of course, running is keeping me busy. I have been running more frequently and longer the past few weeks. I have also tried to stay consistent with doing weights and cross training. I am really liking pushing myself a little more and I can feel myself improving with every week that I am putting forth an effort.

Which leads me to a small announcement.....I have decided to train for the Go! St. Louis FULL Marathon. It wasn't an easy decision by any means, but I know without a doubt, that it is deep down something that I really want to do. I do have some fears though.

Fear #1- The hills. Go! St. Louis is not a flat race. I primarily run flat races, so this makes me nervous. I am trying to view it as a small challenge that I can overcome, but it is still a fear regardless.

Fear #2- The time cut off. Go! isn't a very walker friendly course. It has a time cutoff of 13:45 and it shuts down progressively according to the time cut off. I ran the half in September at right about 13:45, so I need to improve my pace to make sure I wouldn't get kicked off the course.

Fear #3- Training will be too intense and I won't be able to handle it. Many experts would advise someone to have been running for a longer length of time before starting Marathon training. While I have this fear, honestly I think if I can just get myself to continue to dig deep I will be able to handle the training.

Now unto some positives:

Positive #1- I have the time to dedicate to training. One major perk of my job is that I work early in the morning and I am finished usually in the early to mid afternoon. Even though I have to go to bed fairly early, I still have a good chunk of the day to train after work. Who knows what the future could hold and how long I will have such a great schedule for training so I should take advantage of it while I can.

Positive #2- I have an amazing support system that are willing to cheer me on during my training. I have already told some family and friends I am Marathon training and they are beyond supportive. Most importantly, Nathan is completely on board. He has even started his own (non running) training activity, but that deserves a separate post in the future. :)

Positive #3- My pace is getting better. It is a slow improvement for sure, but when I look back on my dailymile page and see my run progress, my pace is steadily improving. It not only is a great sense of accomplishment, but also an indication to me that I the effort I am putting in is paying off.

Positive #4- I work better with a training plan and a race set in the future. In between races when I am not on a official training plan I have noticed that I don't run with the same intensity and desire. Just committing to the marathon and working on a set training plan with an end in mind keeps me motivated and on track.

Positive #5- This one isn't the easiest to put in print, but I think many women find times in their life they aren't 100% satisfied with their bodies. I've been in that category for the majority of my life. Obviously, training for a marathon is going to stretch me to physical limits and even if my weight on the scale doesn't change too much, I know my body will change even more that it already is now.

Even though the fears are in my mind, they do not outweigh the positives. In fact, they don't even come close. I know that big obstacles will hit me at various points. I may get injured and have to stop training or I may make it all the way to the race and not finish before the time cut off. I am taking these and many other things in, but I am accepting that I can't deal with the problems until they arise.

Now that the news is "out" I really hope that posts start coming easier. To be honest, I've know for awhile now that I was going to train for the full in April, but I was apprehensive to post about my decision for various reasons. But at this point, I feel like I need the support and encouragement from my blog readers that I have come to love.

Stay tuned for what I am sure will be a very interesting trip to 26.2!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Overkill

Since my last post was not at all running related, I figured today was acceptable to go back to what this blog has slowly turned into..Teresa's running diary. And just so you know, I have been working on this post since Monday, but I've had very little free time....that's why it is coming to you on this fabulous Thanksgiving.


If I were to describe the past weekend in one word that word would be overkill. For over a month I knew I was going to be running a Marathon Relay on Sunday. The way the relay worked was a team of four ran two 3.25 laps. For some reason, I felt like running 6.5 miles in one day wasn't really running a long run because it was split up by roughly an hour and a half. And since I always do a long run on the weekends as part of my training, I felt like I needed to do a my normal long run besides the relay.


Originally I had planned on doing my long run on Friday afternoon, but a work project and laziness got the best of me, and I decided the best plan would be to run late morning on Saturday. I knew it may not have been the best idea because of the race the next day, but I was still convinced I needed to get a long run in. I realized on my way to my destination that I forgot my heart rate watch. I was a little bummed because ever since the half I have really relied on the watch to keep me going, but I just shruged it off because I wasn't planning on pushing too hard anyway.



I did my warm up and set out to do my 5 miles. I felt great the whole time and I really had no concept as to my pace because I was just keeping my intervals as normal. At the end of the run, I looked at the timer on my phone and I was shocked. Usually if I stay around a 13 minute mile for a long run I am happy, but upon glancing at my time I realized I did closer to a 12 minute mile. It was a 12:12 to be exact.


Unknowningly pushing myself on Saturday led to a difficult race on Sunday. As soon as the gun went off I realized that I was completely out of my league. Within a minute every runner in the pack was a hundred yards in front of me. At first I was a tad embarassed, especially because the first quarter of mile passed back over the start line and all the other teams saw that I was way behind everyone else. I tried to shake it off though, because I am now pretty good at not comparing myself to other runners.The first lap I had a 12:23 pace, which I would have probably been overjoyed with had it not been for my Saturday pace.


I did a short cool down walk but didn't stretch, which was a bad idea since, again, I had about an hour and a half between laps. I started lap 2 fairly strong, but at the end of the first mile my legs were VERY tired. The last mile or so ended up being close to misery. I was completely discouraged when I finished and realized I ran a 13:04 pace.


Thinking back to Sunday I really shouldn't have been displeased with running a 13 minute mile. Sure, it wasn't even close to my best time, but it is a big jump in progress. And I am blown away that I ran 11.5 miles in one weekend. Many times I don't even run that in a week!

I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving weekend. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

A great week ahead

Of course I expect every week of my life to be fabulous or at least pretty close to it, but this week has a special place in my heart. Not only are we only days away from the Thanksgiving (yay for food and family!), but this week also is my 4th wedding anniversary.

I have gotten asked quite a few times in the last several days if we are doing anything special to celebrate. While we aren't going out to a fancy dinner or having a weekend getaway, we will be celebrating in our own little way by putting up our Christmas tree and ornaments.

If you are a long time reader of this blog you may remember this post. The third paragraph is about how our guest "book" at our wedding was assorted ornaments that our guests signed with little messages. Now when we put up our tree we sort of revisit the fabulous day we got married. Last year, Nathan and I recalled so many memories that it proved to be an evening mixed with romance and laughter. I am really looking forward to doing that this weekend.

I am also hoping that I will get a little bit of relaxation time during the long weekend. We are crazy busy with family events, but I am still hopeful to get in sometime for some reading and possibly movie/DVR watching.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope your holiday is filled with lots of good food and love. :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Just a day, just an ordinary day....

All too often I have used the phrase, "My life would be perfect if it wasn't for..." and whatever would complete the sentence would be whatever was getting me down that week. Many, many times it was work, other times it was money, and on the most rare occasions it was a crazy doggie. :)

In previous posts on this blog I have written that I was striving to have a more positive attitude. Sometimes I strayed from this line of thinking, but in the last few weeks of my life I have really been doing some soul searching and have expanded on my thinking.

I know people say this all the time, but life has no guarantees. So many things can happen that turn your life upside down from one day to the next. And yes, you have probably read that phrase 100 times in your life, but do you really get it? I'm sure some of you won't...unfortunately, I don't think most people do.

For the record, it doesn't matter how I came to this line of thinking. I could tell you some of the reasons and others I don't even know myself. But before anyone goes jumping to some crazy conclusions...no, I don't have any kind of disease or medical condition.

There are certain things in my life that suck. Plain and simple, some things suck. Regardless of the suckage, my life is still happening today. Therefore, I either have to deal with it and move on or I can spend today dwelling on it. I really don't see the point in the latter.

The past two weeks several people in my life have been taken a back by my sudden need to just tell them what I am feeling. Sometimes it was through email and was just a simple, "Hey, you did this, I noticed, and you are awesome." I also made an effort to tell someone very special in my life just how much they meant to me because I hadn't said it lately and I didn't know if I would be there the next day to say it. I plan on reminding myself to do this more, and even if someone else doesn't give me the same sentiment or even understand what I am saying, it doesn't really matter.

Have a great day, I hope you live it for all it is worth.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Local Pumpkin beers

I have been"brewing" an idea for a future blog. I am really wanting to do a local (St. Louis and surrounding) pumpkin beer taste off. So far I have this list of contenders:

Schlafly
O'Fallon
Highlands
Trailhead
Charelville

Anyone else know of any other local places with pumpkin brew? Last I checked with Square One no one really knew if they were doing pumpkin this year.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Clearly, we are idiots

My husband recently created a Facebook page last week to promote himself as a DJ. He has been checking it on and off on my laptop, but to near the degree that I check mine.

He also feels the need to tell me every time he goes on to Facebook, like I'm going to be proud or something. Last night I was hanging out on the couch and he plops down with my laptop and says, "Going on Facebook..." I don't pay much attention until he goes to his requests page and starts naming off all the applications and requests that have been waiting for him the past few days.

Then he starts not recognizing names. I recognize them, because many of them are internet friends or high school friends he has never met. Nathan is ranting about having to keep hitting ignore and getting some many requests in such a little time and I kept thinking, "Why did these people send Nathan this stuff...they aren't friends and he has never met them. I didn't even know you could send people those stupid things without being their friends in the first place!"

Two minutes later Nathan abruptly stops his rant and gets that look on his face. Those of you that are married know EXACTLY the look I am talking about. The, "I just did something really stupid and I am going to have to admit it to my wife."

"Uh, honey, I was signed in as you......so, um, I hope I didn't screw up your page....."

Clearly, we are idiots.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Roxie and Lila

I really try hard to not play favorites with the dogs, but I would be lying if I said it wasn't tough. Roxie is technically Nathan's dog, and Lila is my dog. Technically being the key word. Because I am pretty partial to Roxie right now. Lila is still in the midst of her crazy puppy behaviors while Roxie really only has one major downfall. Anyone that has ever met Roxie knows this downfall. She jumps all over everyone and wants nothing more than to lick everyone to death. I would like to think she is getting better, but she still has a long way to go. But I digress.....

Anyway, Roxie is also a little more photogenic. While I do think Lila is cute, ever since Lila's ears have stayed up she looks like an alien dog. Case and point:


Total alien dog right? Yes, she's cute and totally lady like with her legs crossed (takes after her mother, obviously. But the crazy little face makes her look non-canine for sure.


But now we have Roxie. One of the cutest sleeping dogs ever! And if you have been reading the blog awhile you have seen some great Roxie pics of her smiling and cute in addition to sleeping.
So much weird cuteness I can barely stand it!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I really do enjoy blogging, I swear!

I have written at least half a dozen posts in the last 3 weeks and haven't completed a single one. I pretty much hated all of them, and just felt like I was rambling on and on and not being very entertaining therefore none of them were finished.

In simple terms, life is good. I've had a busy few weeks that have included lots of family and friends so that has been great. However, I am exhausted and realizing more and more that I am the type of person that needs to have more "free" days that include nothing more than doing a few things around the house, maybe an errand or two, and possibly going for a run.

Speaking of running, it is completely taking over my life. While you may think that is an exaggeration, it isn't far from the truth. I think about running all the time. I talk about running to friends, family, strangers I meet, really anyone that will listen. I don't know exactly how to put it into words, but I think running is becoming my new food.

I know that may sound confusing but if you know me in real life or have been reading this blog from its early beginnings, you know I am a self proclaimed foodie. I would think, read, and talk about food all the time. I enjoyed it, I obsessed over perfect recipes and I would get a ton of a rush from a perfected dish or a compliment on one of my dishes. While I still love to cook and still love a good recipe and a compliment I haven't really "thought" about food even half as much as I did a few months ago.

I don't foresee this change going away anytime soon, so I have been debating about starting a separate blog about my experiences running including some upcoming races. I personally never thought doing two blogs would be for me, but my running experiences are pretty far from what Eating, Drinking, and Being Married was originally supposed to be about. Then again, I think one of them getting neglected is a big possibility.

I'm completely torn so I would love anyone with thoughts on the matter to leave them in the comment section. Thanks!

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's the little things #3

26. Lazy days that do not require getting out of pajamas
27. Finding a favorite red wine in a box (don't judge)
28. Perfecting a monthly budget
29. Doggie play dates that exhaust the puppies for days
30. Roku players/ the watch instantly on your TV options from Netflix

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Questions answered

Lauren asked a few questions in the comments section of my Lewis and Clark post.

First, more about the intervals. When I first started training I was using Hal Higdon's plan and following the distance, but was doing a mix of walking and running. For instance, if I needed to run 4 miles I would run 2 miles, walk 1 mile, then run another mile. As long as I was running over half the miles I was satisfied but I felt like I was really "running". The first week of August I decided to switch to a training plan that was designed specifically for people that were planning on Run/Walking the entire time. I used something similar to this plan by Coach Jenny Hadfield, but found that the run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute was still a little tough. Ultimately, during the half I ended up running 3 minutes, walking 2, running 4, walking 2. Personally, doing this type of program was a great mental help for me. I could push myself to run knowing that in less than a few minutes, I would be able to ease off and walk. Overall, doing intervals lead me to completing a faster time than doing a mile to mile mix of running and walking.

It also worked great for me due to the usage of the Routine Timer iPhone app. I just started my music and then opened the app and let it run continuously. I customized my program by picking sounds when I was supposed to change from running to walking and the routine would repeat for as many times as I needed it to. It could also be paused if I had to change my music or do something else on my iPhone. I also used the C25K app when I first started running and it was also helpful, working very similar to the routine timer.

My new goal is start transitioning out of intervals, but honestly, the intervals really saved me during the half and were the many reason I was able to go from never running to completing a half marathon in 8 months.

I hope that answers your question Lauren. :) I think it is awesome you are doing C25k! If anyone else has any questions feel free to ask.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Lewis and Clark Half Marathon

I feel like I have to start off by saying that Sunday was one of the greatest days of my life. Not kidding, folks. I would venture to say it is in the top 5. The half was AMAZING. I am not to modest to say that I kicked so much ass that more ass reinforcements had to be called in.


The day started off with me slightly nervous. Not terrible, and once I saw some familiar faces and listened to the annoying warm up DJ, most of the nervous feelings were gone.


After what seemed like a lot of waiting, the race finally began. I was in one of the last groups to get to the start so I was able to watch the huge crowd of runners going out of the parking lot, up a slight incline. It was such an incredible sight seeing the thousands of runners get onto the Earth City Expressway. I got chills, but quickly turned my focus to going through the start line myself.


It didn't take long for me to find a good open spot where I wouldn't bother anyone doing my run/walk intervals. There were a ton of people around but it wasn't so crowded I couldn't have my own space. The first few miles went by quite quickly. At mile 3, the course came to an intersection of a street where we had to loop around and come back about 2 miles. At this point, many of the runners in the 7 minute mile and higher were making their way back off the street. It was great to see the looks on the runners faces, the determination, and the cheers as they were coming opposite of us not so fast runners. :)


At mile 5 I looked down at my last minute gift from my husband (a watch/heart rate monitor) and realized I had completed 5 miles in 1 hr and 5 min. I was shocked. I had done my intervals the entire time and was still managing to maintain a 13 minute mile. I was over-freaking-joyed. While to some of you seasoned runners this will seem like a slow time, for me it is freaking awesome to maintain a 13 minute mile pace for 5 miles. I also got a little nervous that perhaps I was going to burn off all my energy quickly, but I felt good and was staying hydrated, so I decided to continue as I planned but figured it was inevitable that I would start going a bit slower as I grew more tired.


At mile 7 I came upon the few hills that were on the course. I continued to press on but really wasn't paying much attention to my time at this point, and just checking my heart rate every so often. Between mile 8 and 10 all the details are blurry. I remember focusing on some of the new music on my iPhone and the scenery because my legs were starting to feel really tired. I made conversation with another runner that looked friendly for a few minutes, but other than that I just attempted to not think about how much my legs hurt.


At mile 10 I checked my watch and almost screamed in shock. If I completed the last three miles in about 43ish minutes I would be at 3 hours. I kept thinking, "No way, that can't be right...I crossed the start 10 minute after the gun, so 7:15 + 10 min= 7:25 and it's now, blah, blah, blah......" I seriously did the math about 3 times because I figured the fatigue was just getting the best of me. But sure enough, if I could do 3 miles in a little under 45 minutes I would be at 3 hours.


Now I have to break into the story and share a little past info. A few weeks ago I wrote this post. What I didn't include in the post is that when I did the 13 miles it took me slightly over 3.5 hours. I wasn't super happy with it, and honestly wanted to finish in more like 3 hours, but realized that goal was REALLY not obtainable because knocking off a full half hour was very unrealistic.

But there I was at mile 10, seeing that my 3 hour goal was incredibly realistic. Yes, my legs were tired, I had enough sweat on me to water an entire garden, but I only had 3 miles left and nearly 45 minutes to do it in. At mile 11 I had been on the course for 2.5 hours. I again, doubted myself, did the math 3 times, and couldn't believe what was happening.

At mile 12 I was so filled with emotion I honestly didn't know what to do. I mean, I told my family not to show up before 10:30 because there was no way I was going to finish before that based on my run 3 weeks ago. I decided to call Nathan and tell him. Because really doesn't every runner in a half call their husband at the last mile? I decided that they did and put my iPhone up to my sweaty face.

Nathan of course, didn't answer. In a panic I called my friend (personal cheerleader) Ali and the convo went something like this,
Ali: "Um, hello?"
Me: (panting from the excitement and you know, the running) "Ali, Ali, I'm on the last mile!"
Ali: "It hasn't even been 3 hours yet!!!"
Me: "I know, but I'm gonna be there soon."
Ali: "Well, get off the phone and run."
Me: "I know!!!"

Nathan than called me back and I quickly explained to him that I was going to be at the finish in about 10 minutes. His response, "Well, your family is coming over here now."

I kept on and tried to continue intervals, but with all the phone calls I had turned off my app that helped me keep my intervals so my last half mile became very sporadic. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally started to see spectators near a finish line. When I saw my family my heart skipped a beat and I did my best to pick up my pace. My sister and nephew surprised me and ran out to join me, which you see in the video below. Unfortunately the video cuts off just before my sister starts waving her arms and yelling "THIS IS MY SISTER!! THIS IS MY SISTER!!!!" as were are getting closer to the finish line. I turned right and saw my amazing friends and they are cheering me on just as hard.

I look at the unofficial time at it says 3:10 something. I get my medal, meet up with my family and friends and I receive some wonderful greetings. I excitedly tell them that even though the clock says 3:10 I actually did the whole thing in 3 because it took me 10 minutes to get to the start and I shaved off a whole half hour. I keep repeating the 3 hour/shaving off a half hour part because I think they don't believe me.

But really, they believe me, I just don't believe me. In fact, that part of completing in 3 hours (my official finish was 3:01:20) I still don't think has fully hit me. It's hard to describe, but the whole experience just seems so surreal right now. My mind just can't fully wrap around the fact that in June I struggled to run a 5k and 3 months later I completed a half marathon. I was hoping that as I am writing this post I would fully grasp the experience, but I am not all the way there yet.

Amazingly, I didn't cry like I thought I would. Although I did tear up when some of the spectators and volunteers saw my name on my race number and would yell, "You can do it Teresa!!" or "Teresa you are doing great!" It was truly wonderful to have complete strangers want me to do my best. People can be so fabulous. If any of you readers ever cheered on a complete stranger I would like to tell you thank you. If whoever you cheered on was anything like me your cheer made an incredibly positive impact on them.

For those of you that are wondering if I will be doing another half the answer is ab-so-freaking-lutely. I truly feel like I have so much more to accomplish with running and I possibly have a lot of potential to become quite the athlete. The only unfortunate thing about sticking with running is that my toying with the idea of trying out for the local roller derby is put on hold. I feel good about that decision and will continue to skate for cross training, but trying to train for both would just be unrealistic.

I have a lot to look forward to including a 10k in late October that I am very excited about. I hope to use the next several weeks getting out of running intervals and more into a steady pace for the 10k. It is going to be a challenge but the number one thing I have learned from this experience is that I should never doubt my abilities ever again. (Number two would be that the guy holding that sign near the finish line that says "cold beer" isn't joking :). )

Half Marathon Video

A more detailed blog (with pictures!) to follow, but here is a little teaser...


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Here it is....the mega Half Marathon post

Today was a big day in my half marathon quest. I picked up my race packet. A little exciting, right? I mean, I got a number, with my name on it! Exciting stuff for sure.

So there I am at Fleet Feet, double checking the information on the back of my number, examining the chip, and then the friendly volunteer hands me my bag. I grabbed it and started to browse around at a few shirts that I had been thinking about buying with my recently acquired gift card.

Then I remember in my bag there is a race shirt. Curious as to what it looks like (I heard they were awesome looking) I glance in my bag and see the half marathon race logo.

All of the sudden I was completely overcome with emotion. I bolted out of the store and as I settled into my car I started to cry. Yep, I cried after looking at my freaking free T-shirt. And while, yes in face the shirt is awesome, it certainly was not the reason for the tears.

My mind went back to February when I couldn't run a pair of 3 minute intervals in 30 minutes. I told friends that I would never, ever be able to run. Eight months later and I am doing a half marathon.

I never thought I would make it this far in training. I figured I could probably make it through about 75% of the training before it either got too hard or I got injured.

Am I a fast runner? No. Will I end up walking a decent part of the race? Absolutely. But those things are really starting to be less and less important as the reality of what I have accomplished in 8 months is hitting me.

As cheesy as it sounds, this whole experience has taught me that I can do anything if I want it bad enough. I never had that confidence before, and I feel like a completely different person.

Even though I am the one most responsible for my success, a very special thanks to my own personal cheerleader who has helped me in many aspects of training. I had the privilege of doing a short run with her tonight and another rockstar runner with lots of words of wisdom. You both rock!

Any good thoughts, vibes, prayers, and what not for myself and the other runners would be much appreciated on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Best ever Caramel Sauce

Here is something I haven't done in awhile...a recipe! I can't take credit for this one, though. It is from one of my favorite desserts. Trust me though, this caramel sauce can go on just about anything sweet. Nathan swears it would be fabulous on a doughnut. Yes, it is REALLY bad for you, but so worth it.

1 lb butter
1 lb Dark Brown Sugar
a couple splashes of vanilla
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Melt butter in medium saucepan, stir in brown sugar and vanilla until well incorporated. Slowly whisk in heavy whipping cream.

So easy!

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's the little things #2

21. 3 day weekends that actually feel like 3 day weekends.
22. Sticky Toffee Pudding
23. Leftover shrimp fajita nachos
24. Spending a lazy day with my husband and napping puppies
25. Homemade iced coffee

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's the little things #1

The 20 that started it all....

1.) Weather cool enough to leave the windows open for weeks at a time.
2.) My adorable puppies taking naps
3.) Good deals on delicous red wine
4.) All things Pumpkin (including a good pumpkin beer)
5.) Crown Valley's Sleighbell Spiced Ale
6.) Winery trips
7.) A clean and organized desk
8.) Using my laptop while reclining on the Mauve Monster9
.) Work days that fly by
10.) Firepits with comfy chairs around them
11.) Napping in the afternoon
12.) Leaving work before 2 pm
13.) Short work weeks
14.) Happy clients
15.) Cherry coke zero
16.) Fresh baked bread
17.) the feeling of accomplishment after running 13 miles on Grants Trail
18.) Grocery shopping
19.) Winning Ebay auctions
20.) My awesome new roller skates

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What a fabulous idea....

I have been such a Debbie Downer lately. I have done my best not to project my negative attitude on others, but it is tough. A smart little lady on my local message board started a post today that completely turned my attitude around. The title of the post was simply, "what makes you happy?"

I started writing and felt a huge wave of calmness come over me. The more I wrote, the better I felt and I had to make myself stop at 20 just so I didn't turn my post into a novel. The rest of my day was great. I caught up on work, organized my desk, and cleaned out my inbox which for me is a fabulous feeling.

In between all of this happy productiveness and reading other responses, I was reminded of a series I saw on another blog (which of course I can't remember) called "Grace in Small Things". Almost daily the blogger posted 5 things that were little bits of happiness for them. Everytime I read the 5 things I instantly felt better.

In honor of this, I am going to start my own little series called "It's the little things....". While I doubt I will blog these things daily, you can expect to see it fairly often from now on. If anyone else would like to do the series as well, feel free to join in...either in the comments or in your own blog. It's great therapy!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Running, skating, oh my!

The last few days I feel like a total bad ass. Saturday I did the 13 miles, and then today I grabbed my skates and headed outdoors for a nice afternoon skate. A nice 4.5 mile skate!!!

I am not sore from Saturday, which is freaking amazing considering last Monday after my 10 miler I could barely do a 45 min power walk/jog.

I totally survived the whole skate, only ahhh gently *cough* falling twice in two busy intersections *cough*.

I was even told my skates were "so cool". Um, yeah, all black pleather skates that have teal laces and say "Cobra" on the side in hot pink are definitely "so cool."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

13 miles!!!

Yesterday I kicked ass. I did 13 miles. 13!!! And it was outside!!! I had my own personal half marathon and no one else on that trail even knew it.

At mile 11ish the reality of what was going on really sunk in, and I was all, "WTF!?! I am in double freaking digits!!"

I was actually making pretty decent time too, until the last few miles when my legs were so incredibly sore, it was ridiculous. So, I didn't love my time but like always I am trying to see past that and focus on the major accomplishment.

Not to mention that this week's 13 miles went 5x better than last week's 10. She does that perhaps mean by the time I get to the half marathon in two weeks I will be even better? I can only hope.

I also got my kick ass roller skates Friday and already have a date to use them on Monday.

Ahhh, my active life is good, now if I could just get everything else sorted out life would be perfect.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ebay victory!!!!!

I stalked, I emailed, I won!!!!!!!! I know I am a nerd but it really is the little things in life. :)

ohhhh, Ebay....

In college I had a serious addiction to Ebay. I loved the hunt of going through 100s of items looking for the lowest price, finding a fabulous deal, and then stalking the item. I would schedule myself to be home when the auction ended so that 2 minutes before I could attempt to outbid the highest bidder. My competitive and frugal self would have a small victory party that was often more enjoyable then the actual ownership of the item I was buying.
Post college I really started watching my spending and paying back student loans/saving for my wedding so I cut myself off from Ebay. I still loved a good deal, but most of the stuff I was buying off of Ebay was things that could put on my wedding registry. Years later, Ebay was almost erased from my memory. Almost is the key word here.
In the last couple of weeks running outside I have been reminded of my love of roller skating. I have been running past skaters on Grants Trail and have thought, “Ohhh I want to skate again.” I had also been thinking about trying out for the local roller derby for quite some time, so finding a pair of cheap skates to start skating again is becoming a little bit of an obsession.
Right now I am stalking three different pairs that will have auctions ending in a matter of hours. The thrill of Ebay is back…gulp….

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The good, the bad, and the ugly of today's 10 mile run

The good:
I completed 9.5 miles today
I did these miles outside on Grants Trail, which is challenging for me because I would much rather run on the treadmill.
I found what the clothes that I planned on wearing for the half marathon will work just fine, except maybe a different pair of pants.
I have 3 weeks to go and I can do another run of this length (and longer) before the actual race.

The bad:
I barely ran today. I walked well over half of the run today.
My strap water bottle didn't hold nearly enough, and I just assumed Grants Trail would have more than oh, 2 water fountains in the entire 8 mile course that I would be able to fill up my bottle. The result was me being miserable for most of my "run". I just kept telling myself I would run more once I filled up my bottle, but I didn't get to the second water fountain until about mile 7.
Part of the trail was completely closed off, resulting in my 10 mile run being 9.5 miles due to where it was closed. And thanks Grants Trail, for putting that info on your website...oh wait you didn't so I was completely unprepared.
I ONLY have 3 weeks until the race and I have little time to make a vast improvement in my performance.

The ugly:
The port o potty on the trail....that is all about that though.

I am trying to focus on the positives of today and use this run as a learning experience, but it's tough. I was trying not to set time goals for myself, but I have decided that if on race day I walk as much as I did, I will feel like I failed a little. Unfortunately, the feelings of doubt have turned most of my excitement into nerves.

And while I know that my half marathon shouldn't be on the top of everyone's priority list, it is looking like some of the family that I was really looking forward to seeing me complete the race, may not be there because of something else that is going on that weekend.

Regardless of all this though, I have to give my fabulous husband major props. He scheduled his day around my run, dropping me off, picking me up, and making dinner since I was freaking exhausted. If he read this blog he would probably appreciate the shout out. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fall is right around the corner...really...

I normally don't like to wish away time, but I have to be honest...I am so ready for Fall. I know there are at least a few blog readers out there that share my love for the wonderful season.

Believe it or not, Fall really is just right around the corner. You don't even have to look at a calendar to know it, all you have to do is start noticing your surroundings.

I bring you the evidence that Fall will be here before we know it:

Although O'Fallon doesn't have my favorite pumpkin brew, it is refreshing to see O'Fallon Pumpkin beer has already made it to select shelves this week. I have a serious love of all things pumpkin, (anyone remember this post from wayyyy back in the day??) and I don't usually need it be the right season to indulge my pumpkin addiction (notice the February date on the last post), but when others start finding it socially acceptable to starting bringing the pumpkin back, I know that Fall is coming.
I can't wait for cooler evenings with the windows open, evenings around the firepit with friends, and everything pumpkin. Fall, bring it on!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The conclusion you have been waiting for....

A few hours later I went to the gym and........

could tell right away that my shoes had been the problem. I was able to get out my long run doing my usual run/walk routine and even kept around my same time. Since the shoe replacement, I've had very little knee pain. I got a bit off schedule with my vacation thrown in there, but this week I am full speed ahead.

Even though I hated the knee pain, I am really glad that it happened because it made me realize how much I really do want to do this half marathon. I am still nervous and feel like I have a ton to do before it gets here, but it is all such an amazing journey.

Of, and side note.....between the time I accidentally put up my last post and now I decided to change my training plan. If you recall, I was using one of Hal Hidgon's plans. And while I think it is a great plan, I don't think it was right for me. Mostly because I know going in I will be doing a run/walk, and his plan is more for runners. I switched to a plan similar to this one by Jenny Hadfield.

Even though I was hesitant to switch training plans so close to the race I think the new plan will serve me much, much better. Only one month to go!!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Back on track!

My knee pain got much worse after my run on Friday. I only ran .5 of my 4 miles on the schedule and walked the rest. On Sunday I decided to go into Fleet Feet and through the help of one salesperson later, I found out that yes, in fact, my shoes needed to be replaced. I also got some really nice inserts for my high arch. Of course, I didn't love spending that riduculous amount of money, but it was apparent that the shoes were over their prime.

A few hours later, I went to the gym and

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another post about running

I am at a bit of a crossroads with this whole training thing.I haven't run since my long run on Sunday. EEEEEKKKKKK!!! In my training this seems like about the worst thing ever.

90% of the reason is my knee. I have been having knee pain for almost two weeks. It's not unbearable, but totally there. I made the decision to lay off after reading a few things and talking to a couple other runners. I was actually going to squeeze in a quick run today right after work, but I forgot my shoes and didn't have time to go home to grab them and squeeze in a run before all the other stuff I have to do tonight.

If I were to be totally honest with myself though, the 10% is pure laziness. I took some "me" time this week, and it has really made a big difference in my sanity.

I don't think it is going to be hard to get back on track, but I am a little scared about my knee. I am going to continue on, and I really hope I won't be getting off the schedule again between now and the race.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Just so no one is thinking the worst

I'm ok. Nathan and I are ok. The last few days have been really tough for me, but life is slowly starting to return to normal. We are starting to get on the same page, it's just a slow process.

Lots of things are going on with me and I think that the amount of stress I am under is ridiculous. It has been effecting every part of my life and I think that it did nothing but make the situation worse this week. I am not oblivious to the fact that I am one of the world's worst stress handlers.

The new few weeks are jammed packed with appointments, meetings, half marathon training, etc. but I am really going to make an attempt to slow down and start appreciating the little things that I am so lucky to have. Life is short and can end at anytime so I really need to get out of my constant, stressful, funk.

Thanks for the comments, emails, and phone calls this week. I am lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just a hard day......

Did you ever have one of those days that just out of nowhere it becomes completely unbearable? I had one of those days today. And unfortunately, it was because of a fairly large fight I had with my husband.

I am happy to say in the almost 4 years that Nathan and I have been married we've had a handful of what I would consider serious fights. Actually, I can only think of 2 off the top of my head. But less than 24 hours ago we had one of "those" fights. Every other time we have been able to resolve the issue within a few hours but last night was different. I went to bed upset, Nathan didn't sleep. We both went to work saying not much to each other.

I didn't know where we stood, and I was so concerned about what had happened and where we stood, that I actually glanced at some apartment websites, thinking I should have some information ready in case I had to move out of our home fairly quickly.

Tonight we talked more and now things are better, but to say that everything is great would be far from the truth. I'm not going to go into what happened, because I don't think it is really fair to Nathan and I know that everyone will have opinions (and frankly I don't want to hear them right now) But I did want to just blog something because well, it makes me feel better. And because I don't feel like anyone should ever be embarrassed when things in a relationship aren't just perfect all the time.

As silly as it may sound to some, I used to be ashamed if Nathan and I would have a fight and someone heard about it. I guess I figured that really happy couples didn't have big fights. I wish I could erase the events of last night, but obviously, I can't. I can only move forward and work towards a good situation remembering that I still love my husband more than anything else in this world.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

How I got started running

A reader (Kelli) posted in my comments a few questions about how I got started running. Rather than make a HUGE response in the comments, I thought I would just write a post about it. Kelli, this is maybe be more information than you want to know, but I would rather give to much information than not enough. Also, this is just my experience, I am by far an expert about running.


To start, I never in a million years ever thought I would start running. I have always felt like I had major physical limitations that would prevent me from running. Specifically, my weight. I have never been comfortable with my size, and I felt that because of that, their were many activities I just would never be able to do, especially running.

Last summer, I joined a gym wanting to start working out regularly, which I had never really done, at least not consistently. I started going two to three days a week mostly just getting on the elliptical. I liked the gym but it was because of the combination of doing the elliptical, people watching, and having my own personal TV. I began to set goals for myself on the elliptical. I would keep trying to speed up and go longer distances everytime.

I am not sure what made me feel like I should start running (besides continuing to try to lose weight). I had friends that were starting to run, so I think maybe I just decided that it would be something good to try. I knew that I just couldn't start running without a plan though, so I did some searching online, and ultimately started using a plan that a few friends were using... Couch to 5k. The first weeks I sailed through and I was really enjoying myself. At Week 3 I hit a real hurdle. I was having problems running for 3 minutes straight. I lowered my speed and ended up making myself a kind of week 2.5. I continued with the program, making adjustments as I needed them and also frequently repeating weeks. It's a 9 week program, and I thinking it took me well over 4 months to even get to week 8 of the program. Right around that time was the Race for the Cure, which I had my heart set on running. I completed the race, but didn't run the entire time. Even with C25k training, I still wasn't running 3 miles without at least walking part of it.


However, I was feeling a big sense of accomplishment so I decided to stick with the running. With C25k training pretty much over, I felt like I needed a new plan to follow. And even though I wasn't super happy with my first 5k, I felt like I could start a bigger challenge. It was also very convenient that there was a half marathon that was roughly 12 weeks away which was a pretty reasonable timeline to start half marathon training. Currently, I am in week 5 of Hal Higdon Half Marathon training.


As of right now, I am very happy with the way training is going. I follow the schedule as best I can, but I often cut out a cross training day if I am sore or just can't dedicate time that day. I also do a lot of walking during my runs. This bothered me before, but I am getting over it. For this plan, you are supposed to be able to run 3 miles easily before you start it, but that wasn't the case for me. Therefore, I am realistic about my performance. If I am able to make it to the half marathon without injury, I know I won't run the entire 13 miles. I am hoping to run the majority at a comfortable pace, but there will also being a decent amount of walking during the race.

This realization leads to my biggest piece of advice for anyone beginning running: Your training is about you and no one else. As I said before, I have several friends that run. They all run a lot faster than me. The fact that I can't do what they do (at this point) used to discourage to no end. I had to keep telling myself that my accomplishments have zero to do with them or anyone else. I have gone from struggling to run 3 minutes straight to now running 30 without having to change my pace. I am proud of that. So just know, it doesn't matter if you run a 10 minute mile or a 13 minute mile (or even slower) the important thing is that you are making the effort.

A book that has really helped me is Running for Mortals. I am only in the first few chapters and it is already a great resource with great beginner information. I wish I had found this book months ago.

I hope this is all helpful, like I said I'm not an expert, this is just my experience. I will be happy to answer any questions.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Let's talk about half marathon training

The other day I had someone close to me ask if I was going to continue to talk about half marathon training excessively until it is over....the answer is yes. :)

I am Week 3 of Half Marathon training and surprisingly, I am feeling good. I am running my 3 days, doing a day of strength/stretch, and 1 to 2 days of cross training every week. It's a very busy schedule but I am really enjoying the structure and feelings of accomplishment that are coming with the training. The runs are tough and I always end up doing at least a little walking during them, but I am still completely the distances that are on my training.

The training doesn't come without it's challenges though. I am having a little foot pain on one side of my right foot. At rest it feels good, but I had a pretty rough pain in my foot today during my run. I am also having problems with my pace. Because of this, the majority of my runs have been inside on a treadmill. I know I need to change that soon, but right now I am just more focused on getting used to running at a consistent pace.

By far the biggest challenge of my training is mental. I am really having problems with getting my head in a good space during this training. I have this awful, terrible habit of comparing myself to runners. I have to keep telling myself it is ok if I run slower than them and if I walk during my runs. I am really trying to focus on my accomplishments, but it is really hard. I want to get excited that I ran 2 miles without taking a walking break, but it just seems so minor compared to what others that are training for the half marathon can do.

I desperately need to get over all that, but it is really, really hard. I mean, I am slow. In fact, I don't even know if my pace is considered running or jogging. I guess it doesn't really matter, but in the back of my mind I always have those kinds of thoughts.

Anyway, if anyone has any words of wisdom or advice for me (especially on the foot issue) I am all ears. I've gotten some awesome advice from a good friend that has totally helped, so lay it on me!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A blog update!!!

If you have noticed I have been pretty MIA from the blogging world. While I have been reading many blog posts, I can't remember the last time I commented on anyone's blogs before today. And I seriously hadn't written a post of my own in a month? (I don't think a Blueberry Lemonade recipe counts) Wow. I blame two major factors: Twitter and my iPhone.

Yes, I joined Twitter. It has filled my random blogging fix for a little while, but now I am a little over it. I mean, I will continue to check and probably update, but I was really expecting more interaction through other uh...Twitters (?) But whatever.

And It has been so convenient for me to lay on the lay on the couch and page through Google Reader on the iPhone. Problem is it isn't easy to post a comment. So I just pretty much stopped.

I expect most of this to change though because I am now the proud owner of my very own (first) laptop! It was an early birthday gift from my ever so lovely husband, that got a killer deal on a Toshiba. It is pretty basic, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

So now I am reclining in the living room, watching the dogs nap, tuning out the crappy movie Nathan is watching, and blogging. I am very comfortable and totally happy that I am not secluded it our tiny office in an uncomfortable chair.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that you can expect another post or two in the near future. I am hoping I didn't lose too many of you dear readers in my blog hiatus. Feel free to say hi!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Raspberry Blueberry Lemonade!

I've had a few requests to share this recipe, it is completely refreshing and fabulous for a gathering in the summer.

Raspberry Blueberry Lemonade
Blueberry syrup:
2.5 c. Blueberries (or 1 bag frozen)
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
splash lemon juice
Simmer all ingredients together for 12 minutes. You can puree it when finished but it isn't really necessary. You will have extra, but it is a great topping for pancakes!

Then Mix:
4c. Lemon Juice
4 c. Sugar
Stir until dissolved

Add:
1 bottle Raspberry Rum (I use Bacardi Razz)
1 bottle Blueberry Vodka (I use Smirnoff)
about half of slightly cooled Blueberry syrup
about 10 c. of Water (add this last and just do it to taste, you can add more or less depending on how strong you want it)

That's it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Running update

It’s been awhile since I blogged about running. For those of you that don’t see my Facebook updates or talk to me IRL, I would bet you think I got off my running kick. Well, you would be wrong! I am happy to report that I am still working on running. I somewhat stopped doing Couch to 5K though, so I could transition to running outside. It’s been really tough, but not impossible. I have a really great coach/motivator/amazing friend (Ali) who has really helped with everything that involves going from running on a treadmill to running outside. Without Ali I would be totally lost and frustrated. I owe her some major thanks!

Another big motivator has been the overwhelming support I have gotten from friends and family. Of course, I knew my friends would be a great rock to lean on, but I was shocked at the overwhelming support from my extended family. Once they heard I was running a 5k they were so supportive. The encouraging words and excitement from them has been awesome. They also have been the providers of almost all of my donations for Race for the Cure.

The Race for the Cure is Saturday, and even though it isn’t a timed race, I am still looking forward to completing it. My goal is to stay at a steady pace as much as possible, and not have to walk more than 5 minutes of the whole race. I may end up doing more walking than that, and that is ok in my book.

So what happens with running after the 5k is over? I have been asking myself that very question a lot the past few weeks. While I don’t think running is the greatest thing ever, I have enjoyed my personal accomplishments and getting such a killer workout. Plus, I have enjoyed having a schedule/plan through Couch to 5k.

I have also considered how lucky I am to be able to run. So many people would love to run but can’t because of injury, time, whatever. And who knows, in a year I may not have the option. With all this to consider, I have decided to start half marathon training.

Yep, you read that right. I, Teresa, am going to start the 12 week training plan for a half marathon. Now, I may not actually run a half, even though one conveniently is scheduled about 13 weeks from now, but I want to at least try the training. Unfortunately, Couch to 5k took me so long that I am thinking that a normal 12 week half marathon training will take me more like 24 weeks. But, hey, I figure it is at least worth a shot!

Crazy idea? Maybe. But will this crazy idea have awesome health and mental benefits? Absolutely!!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ahhhhh.....

I am seriously having a good last two days. Nothing all that wonderful or amazing has happened, but for me it is always the little things in life that really put me in a good place.
My little things:
*Going to Starbucks and getting a hot tea I actually like. I am really trying to like tea, and I am slowly transitioning from Chai to other tea lattes. While my Vanilla Roobos was a little strange at first, it was super yummy. For those of you that have drank the Roobos, was it just me or did you get a little bit of an apple taste?
*Booking a Trash the Dress session with a photographer I adore. I have debated forever about doing Trash the Dress pictures. I mean, I have been married almost four years! But my poor dress is already stained and really just needs a good send off. Plus, I am working with Pamela, who is not only a good friend, but a very artistic up and coming local photographer. The work that she has done is such a short time is truly art and I am so excited that she has agreed to take the pictures.
*A few friends came over for a super informal dinner. We ate, laughed, watched dogs play, and screamed with joy. No cared that I overcooked the oven fries or that a few of us were in yoga pants, it was simply just a great evening.
*I have gotten the most rejuvenating sleep ever the last two nights. My days have been so much better because of this.
I hope everyone is having a fabulous week…..if you have any little things that have made you happy this week, share them in the comments or write your own blog post.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The weight of work

I'm quite sure you think this is going to be a post talking about how crazy stressed I am with work. Ha! It actually isn't! I have been working a crazy amount already this week, and I can't believe it is only Tuesday; however, today as I was digging through my purse I had a realization. I have a TON of stuff that I carry around for my job. I thought some of you may be amused by the randomness of it all, so I snapped a picture with my handy iPhone:

What is this stuff you ask? Don't worry I am going to tell you.
Starting with the top left, a box like device called a magazine. It attaches to the inside of the vending machine and collects any dollars that go into the vending machine.
Next up is my mini tool kit. This little baby is easily the best $4 I ever spent at the wonder that is Walgreens. Pliers, screwdrivers, etc. are all in this mini fold out bag. It has saved me from calling a service guy out to a machine just to make a simple adjustment. If you are in need of such a convenient little bag I believe Walgreens still sells them.
Next row is two scan/key cards. One is to my new expanded account and another is to my office. Wearing two scan cards at once makes me look like a totally nerd as someone pointed out to me today.
Then onto my set of everyday work keys on my pink phonecord style keychain. It is hard to tell but that is 14 keys in total, most of them I use daily.
Thermometers for refrigerated machines and my small stack of business cards is pretty self explanatory.
Then a huge file folder of paperwork and spare keys which I normally have in my office, but somehow managed to wander into my overly heavy purse this week.
Of course, my phone is also essential to everyday work functions since some weeks I only spend a few hours in my office.
So there you have it...Teresa's work stuff all ready to be put to use. Kind of cool, right? :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Roxie scare

I had a little bit of a scare with Roxie this past weekend resulting in Roxie staying at an Emergency Clinic for almost two full days. Roxie had pancreatitis which could only be treated by continuous IVs. My vet isn’t exactly sure how she got it, but it is developed after eating something very high in fat or something spicy. The result is a lot of vomiting and diarrhea anytime Roxie ate or even smelled food.
Roxie is doing great now. She is on prescription dog food and some medicine for the next week, but is back to her normal self. I am still planning on continuing to make her homemade dog food, but making a few adjustments after talking over the diet again with my vet.
The whole experience has really taught me a lot. First, I have a gained trust for my vet and his staff. I always trusted them before, but Roxie has never had anything out of the ordinary happen to her, so I had never really seen them take emergency actions before. They far exceed my expectations, even when she had to be transferred out of their facility to a 24 hour clinic. My vet still considered Roxie his responsibility, and was in constant contact with the clinic. Second, when it comes to my dogs, I am not a tightwad. For those of you that know me personally, you know that I am quite frugal. When it came to Roxie, I even surprised myself at how much money was no object. I didn’t care what a 48 hour stay at an Emergency clinic cost, or how much an x-ray was going to run me. I signed those authorizations so quick, the ink of the pen got warm. Third, Roxie is such a lover, which I knew before, but was reminded of constantly when I called to check on her at the clinic. I love the fact that even though she is an excitable dog, people can still see that she has such a good heart and really just wants to be loved.
And last, I am an emotional wreck with stuff like this. I managed to keep it together Saturday during all of my Aunt’s wedding festivities, but Friday afternoon after I check Roxie into the hospital, I was in a terrible panic. I didn’t cry in front of anyone, but you better believe I lost it in the car on the way home. It was all just so scary, and I really hope I don’t have to go through that again anytime soon.
Everyone go home and hug your animals a little tighter tonight.

Monday, May 25, 2009

My Aunt's wedding

On Saturday, I had the privilege of helping to cater my Aunt's wedding reception. I was excited about it, because even though I love to cater events I rarely do it anymore. I was so glad that my sister snapped a few pictures so I could share them with you.


Here I am concentrating hard on kiwi placement. Don't you love my cayenne apron? It used to be the apron I would wear almost everyday in my Mom's restaurant.
The full table not quite finished. The empty trays represented where dollar roll sandwiches would be. There are also some gaps for large bowls of salads but it is hard to tell in this picture.



Here is the most difficult part of the fruit cascade...the part that actually has to stand up.

All in all, everyone was blown away by the set up. As I was finishing up, my Dad said, "I hope people know they can eat the stuff. You know, Teresa, the small town folk aren't used to this fancy stuff, they may not get it isn't all decoration." Funny, but true. Later I heard a guest say to another guest, "No you are supposed to eat all that!"

And I couldn't conclude this blog without giving major credit to my sister for her help on this part of the set up. I gave her some instruction on how to make the cascade effect, and then she practically did an entire half of the table.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Giveaway (with a few strings attached!)

Some of you know that completing Couch to 5k is a goal that I have set for myself. It has been very tough, but here I am at Week 7 thinking I may actually reach my goal. What better way to celebrate then actually run a 5k, right? And what better 5k to run then one for a great cause like the Komen Race for the Cure.

By now you probably figured out what the strings attached are....I am asking for donations to this amazing charity. BUT.....I wanted to give my blog readers a little incentive. Which ever (local) blog reader donates the most money will be receiving a gift basket full of Teresa made goodies to include fresh mozzerella, assorted breads, flavored olive oil, marinara with home grown tomatoes, pizza dough, almond biscotti, and anything else I can come up with. LOTS of gourment goodies for you!!! But those out of town, I have something for you too!! Since I can't ship this stuff, anyone not in/around STL will have to settle for a $25 Amazon gift card if they win.

Deadline to donate and be considered for the prize is Friday, June 5th. I will annouce the winner on this blog and then we communicate via email the details of claiming the prize. I reserve the right to alter the giveaway at anytime, but I highly doubt that will be necessary.

Any donation will be loved even if it is just $10. And it won't really give you an extra chance or anything, but reposting this on your blog would be a greatly appreciated since this is such a good cause. Thanks in advance for supporting my own personal big accomplishment and contributing to charity!

My donation page

Friday, May 15, 2009

Geez...grammar much?

I swear I read my last post before I published it, but as it just popped up in GR I caught some grammar mistakes.

I seriously HATE when I don't catch them. I sincerely apologize to the grammar enthusiasts for the bruises that I have caused when you start banging your head on the desk.

Crown Valley Brewery review

As part of Nathan's birthday celebration, we visited Crown Valley Brewery. I was so anxious to see the brewery that I think that I may have gotten a bigger kick out of the visit then Nathan did.

Crown Valley had beer making in the works for awhile. In fact, this time last year we visited another CV site and one of the Crown employees said that the Brewery was actually originally set to have it's grand opening July 4th, 2008. Hmmmm....only 10 months late.

But let me just tell you, so worth the wait. Overall I was very impressed with the nine beers they offered. And since I figured the experience may turn into a blog worthy post, I took the time to rate the beers on a scale of 1 to 10 and asked Nathan to do the same.

In order of the way the brewery suggests tasting them:

Barwood Blonde Ale
This beer was described by our waitress is close to a mainstream beer like Budweiser. I found this statement to be pretty accurate. It is very smooth and a beer that would be good for consuming multiples of while watching a game.
My rating: 8, Nathan's rating: 7.5

Antique Amber Ale
I don't remember much about exact tastes of the beer because I didn't enjoy it that much. I was surprised too, because I usually like Amber beers.
My rating and Nathan's: 6

Old School Pilsner
90% of the time I love Pilsners and now was no exception. The Pilsner had a nice touch of bitterness to it, not quite as much as say, a Heinkein, but just enough to balance out the lightness of it.
My rating: 8.5, Nathan's rating: 7

Horseshoe Pale Ale
If I would have been drunk, I would have sworn this was Schafly's Pale Ale. In fact, I am still not convinced that the brewery didn't run out of pale ale and go buy some Schafly Pale Ale to substitute in. Of course, this meant the beer was yummy.
My rating: 7.5, Nathan's rating: 6

Worktruct Wheat
Typical Hefeweizen. I felt like it was lighter than others I enjoy, but still very good.
My rating: 8, Nathan's rating: 5

Raspberry Wheat
I am really picky about fruit beers, and while I didn't mind this one, there are about 5 others I would drink before I would drink this one. Nathan was being super critical the entire tasting, but he seemed to enjoy this one.
My rating: 7.5, Nathan's rating: 8

Sleighbell Spiced Ale (Limited Edition)
I have to take a breath before I write this....OMG. BEST. BEER. EVER (ok, almost). I am so in love with this beer my mouth is salivating just thinking about it. It is basically Pumpkin beer without the pumpkin flavor, but still the flavors of cinnamon, ginger, and orange. To me, this beer equalled happiness. In fact, during my post tasting glass of this ale, I made the statement three or four times, "I am so happy drinking this beer, I can't stand it." I just totally ignore the fact that it is a Christmas beer being served in May and go with it.
My rating: 9.5, Nathan's rating: 9.5

Plowboy Porter
This Porter is very Guiness like. I really don't mind Guiness on occasion, but this was no of my least favorite of the line up. The description said barley and chocolate malt, but I didn't taste those.
My rating: 6.5, Nathan's rating: 6

Big Bison Ale
So if I can't have my Sleighbell Spiced Ale, I'll take the Big Bison. A quite yummy Belgian style Dubbel (according to the description). And also the beer that with our combined scores, Nathan and I liked the best.
My rating: 8.5, Nathan's rating 8

A little more about the Brewery itself....

I loved the set-up. Instead of crowding around a tasting bar you could grab a table, look at a list of descriptions, and have a waitress bring your selections. Very different then what Crown has done at their wineries and wayyy more relaxing. And even though I love a free tasting, the brewery actually has a very good deal. For $7 you get 8- 3 oz beers plus a tour. Not bad at all considering Nathan and I recently went with some friends to a local, very popular, new beer bar and a 7 beer taste that came from a clueless waitress was $14. But I digress....

Some of the beers are bottled and in addition they have a bottled cider. It wasn't available for tasting, but Nathan ordered one and enjoyed it. Another option for taking the beer home is getting a growler, which is a little bit of an initial investment, but has discounted refills when you bring it back.

Now the not so good stuff, no hot food served. Now come on Crown.....if I am drinking beer I don't want a cold turkey sandwich or cheese and crackers, I want a burger or some onion rings, or even a frozen pizza that is reheated and marked up at a ridiculous amount because it is at a brewery in the middle of nowhere. With their wineries it doesn't bother me that they don't have a lot of food options because I always enjoy packing a picnic basket, but wine drinking and beer drinking are two totally different worlds.

Another down side which doesn't really affect me is no other alcoholic beverage is offered but beer. While this doesn't really bother me, a non beer drinker was with Nathan and I and only halved enjoyed the cider, so therefore it bothered them. However, there is a bright shinning light for those non beer drinkers out there. If you have read anything about the brewery you may have noticed the official title is Crown Valley Brewing and Distilling Company. Well, the Distilling part is in the works and will include Crown Valley's very own vodka and bourbon. No telling how long it will be before those are complete though.

As I said before, I was very impressed. I agree with STL Hops that it appears that no expense was spared in the brewery. If you are thinking about heading down to Ste. Genevieve for a visit, do it!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Finally, a little more to say.

Things have been quite busy in Teresaland. In the week since my last blog I've had a killer cold and a bladder infection. It was also Nathan's birthday, and luckily most of the celebrations feel in between the two. One celebrate included a trip to the new Crown Valley Brewery, so stay tuned for a review.

Work is looking up. One of my accounts is expanding their vending, adding an element that I have never worked with before, so on Monday I am off to Indianapolis for a little bit of a learning trip. Unfortunately, with this expansion I don't anticipate much relief on my stress level...at least not for awhile. Of course, this will be an exciting, good amount of stress.

With my sickness I have gotten off track with 5k training, so I am really in need of some focus considering I am registering for a 5k in June!

In other news, Nathan took a part time/side job with a local DJ company. He has done a few weddings and a prom already and he absolutely loves it! I am slightly bummed that I don't get to see him as much on the weekends, but since he is back on day shift during the week, I haven't been missing him too much.

Everyone have a great week!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hello everyone

If you are an avid reader of this blog, you may have noticed a pretty big absence from myself the past few weeks, because really, who are we kidding? A random dog pic shouldn't count as a blog (even though I know some of you love the pics).
I could give you a million reasons why I haven't been posting as much, but mostly it comes down to one simple fact. I haven't had much good to say. And while I love using this blog as an outlet, even I get bored reading some of the stuff I post when I don't really have anything good to say.
I am hoping the next few weeks bring back some of the "good" to blog about. Because one of the only things I have right now is this:

Those little green babies are from my cherry tomato plant. Which means I haven't killed them yet and there is still hope I may not!!

Have a great night!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

To be fair....

...and because Julia loves when I post pictures, my new favorite picture of Roxie. Everytime I see it I smile.

How can you not love that face!?!?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sometimes Lila has "incidents"

This weekend I made something I had been craving forever. BBQ Chicken Pizza with Caramelized Onions. I am very picky about chicken on my pizza, but this one turned out yummy.




I know you want a picture, but the pizza wasn't looking to pretty after I had to keep it warm for an hour because my in laws were late for dinner. I do forever have this picture from the experience:

Lila was standing by my feet as I was making pizza dough and we had an unfortunate "incident" involving flour falling on her head. Also note the ear happenings... one is now down. Which means in the last month Lila has gone from having floppy ears to one ear up, then both ears up, and now we are back to one up again. Strange right?

And for those of you that think Lila kind of looks like an alien I totally agree.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My present

Nathan earned some major husband points yesterday. I walked into the house to find this:


Nathan has been so great in this especially stressful time I’ve had with work. I haven’t really blogged about it much but the short version is that I am in the middle of a very stressful commercial vehicle audit that isn’t going well and I have an account (which has over 20% of my sales) that has not been operational for 6 weeks because of the most ridiculous reason ever. I can’t get into to it, but it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the economy.
I told Nathan earlier in the week that I have only been sleeping about 4-5 hours a night because of all the stress and missing him, so he knew my favorite under $10 wine was exactly what I needed.
I don’t want to be Ms. Bring-down, but any good vibes would really be appreciated. I never knew that work could stress me out this much and it looks like it is very possible this stress is going to continue for at least a few weeks.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Roxie and Lila

I get a lot of questions about if Roxie and Lila are getting along ok. I'll just let this pic that Nathan just sent me speak for itself....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cute pic of the day!

Everytime I see this picture my heart melts a little. Don't you just want to curl up in a ball next to her?

S'mores bars!

Sometimes I just get the urge to make something sweet. Not so much to eat it, but I love making the occasional sweet treat for Nathan. Yesterday I got that urge.

Sitting at my desk I mentally went through what could be used up in the pantry at home. For some reason, I get a kick out of being able to make new dishes with what is already on hand at my house. I know, I am a nerd, but surely someone else gets the satisfaction of coming up with a dish using stuff that is just lying around? Anyone?

Anyway, I immediately thought of all the leftover s’mores fix-ins that we left over from a gathering. After a few minutes of getting ideas from allrecipes.com, I came up with a very simple dessert that took about 10 minutes to prep and 20 to bake.

S’mores bars
2 sticks margarine, melted
20 Graham crackers crushed
4-5 Hershey bars
Half a bag on Marshmallows, (the mini would work best but I only had the big ones)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Combine graham cracker crumbs and margarine. Press mixture into bottom of the pan until bottom is covered. You will have about 1/3-1/2 of the mixture left.
3. Break apart chocolate bar, place over graham cracker crust.
4. If using large marshmallows, tear apart and place on top of chocolate. Add remaining graham cracker crumbs.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the marshmallows are golden brown or to desired. Cool completely in the refrigerator before cutting. They are delicious after microwaving for a few seconds but you can’t cut them warm or they will fall apart.

Enjoy!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Random Thursday

*The fence is up therefore life is good. I know you want to see pics, but we are still trying to clear out some brush and other stuff so I don’t really consider the backyard pic worthy.

*I thought I wasn’t sick anymore, but now I have a terrible dry cough.

*After an entire week off, I’ve had two good workouts at the gym this week. Because of my week off, getting back into C25K has been difficult, but not impossible.

*Nathan is back on night shift for a month. I am bummed I will only be seeing him 8 days for the next month, but trying to make the best of the situation.

I know I have more random stuff, but work has been so crazy stressful that my mind is mush. I hope everyone is having a great week!

Monday, March 30, 2009

April resolutions

Ah, April…I can’t believe you are almost here. I am very excited to be moving into Spring. I love the warm but not to warm weather, having the windows open, pretty blooms, and all the other lovely elements that come with the month.
Even with the crappy weather, the last few months have been great. Nathan and I have been so fortunate to spend a ton of time with friends and family and eat some great meals and discover new wines. As much as I have loved every moment of it, I am exhausted. Plus, our bank account is feeling the pressure.
Because of all this, Nathan and I are really making a conscious effort in April to focus a little less on going out and more on taking care of some much needed house projects. Some of them will cost a little money and others won’t, but most of them are long overdue. Besides that I have a lot that I need to do on my 29 in 09, I want to start dedicating more time to the cookbook, my veggie garden, and the gym.
Now to all of my local friends out there, this doesn’t mean we are crawling under a rock and won’t see you in the entire month of April. Nathan and I want to do at least one BBQ to unveil the new fence that is being installed as we speak!!!! YAY!
Although April isn’t looking to be overly exciting, I am looking forward to some time at home and possibly accomplishing some blog worthy projects!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sick day soup

I am officially going to say I am sick with something flu like. Saturday I woke up feeling bad, but figured it was more due to one too many drinks on Friday night, but on Saturday at 10 pm when I still felt crappy, it clued me in to may be something else was up.

I will be the first to admit that I am the biggest wimp about being sick. I still function, but I move slow and sleep more than one person should. Part of my functioning though, usually has to do with making a huge batch of soup to eat in the next few days. Yesterday I found myself looking through the cupboard trying to find enough ingredients to whip together an easy soup. I quickly remembered that my sister had emailed me a recipe for a vegetarian soup that I had been wanting to try forever. I knew I didn't have all the ingredients, but decided to give it a try anyway.

Here's the recipe, with my notes and what I omitted. I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but I omitted a lot of them and it still turned out fabulous. This isn't an attractive looking soup by any means, but still very yummy (and healthy).

*Side note: I never kept fresh ginger in the house because I didn't use it that often, but you can freeze it and then just cut off what you need, so go out and buy some!!

Moroccan-style Lentil and Chickpea Soup
Cook time: 8 hours
Crockpot setting: low
Serves: 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped (I didn't have any, so I added in a zucchini instead)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
½ teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (omitted)
½ cup dried lentils, picked over and rinsed (omitted)
One 14.5-ounce can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped (I just used canned diced tomatoes)
One 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed ( used a little more than one can)
6 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons harissa sauce, to taste, plus more to serve (recipe follows)
salt and black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic, cover, and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, and cardamom, stirring to coat the vegetables.
2. Transfer the onion mixture to a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, add the lentils, tomatoes, chickpeas, and stock, cover, and cook on Low for 8 hours.
3. About 10 minutes before serving, add the lemon juice and harissa, and season with salt and pepper. A small bowl of harissa may be placed on the table for those who wish to add more.

Harissa Sauce
Makes about 1/2 cup
4 dried red chiles, stemmed and seeded (I used a couple tsps red pepper flakes and omitted step 1)
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ teaspoon ground caraway seeds (omitted)
¾ teaspoon ground coriander (omitted)
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons water

1. Break the chiles into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover and let soak for 5 minutes.
2. Drain the chiles and place them in a food processor. (I didn't use my food processor, just chopped everything really fine) Add the garlic, oil, caraway, coriander, and salt, and process until pureed. Add the water and process until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a tightly covered contained and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Properly stored, it will keep for several weeks.

Enjoy!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Random Thursday

Yet another addition of Random Thursday!!

*Thanks everyone that took the time to put some words of encouragement in the last post. Today I completed Week 3 day 1 of C25K and even though I went a little slower than I would have liked (ran 5.2 instead of 5.4) I made it through it.

*Nathan and I found out today that our fence is being installed on the 30th!! I am so happy because it is happening a lot sooner than we thought, but that means we have to spend almost the entire weekend and next week clearing out some of the brush and crap that still remains in the backyard. We already pulled out the fire pit and started burning what we have cleared but we still have a lot to go!

*My oldest sister is moving in less than two weeks!!!! I am so excited that we can start making plans with her for summer outings and holidays!!

*My mom and I got to talk a little this week about the food we are catering for my aunts wedding in May. I am soooo excited about it. She is wanting me to do some fruit and veggie displays as well as a display incorporating a her chocolate fountain. I am already sketching ideas and thinking of design elements. Oh, and did I mention we are also doing the mini heart cakes like I had for my wedding? It is going to be a lot of work, but so much fun! And don't worry I will probably take about 100 pics of all of it, because I am sure it is going to be really cool!

In case you can't tell, I'm having a better, less frustrating week. :)