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Anny Number Three

08/28/2011

Our third anniversary fell on a Tuesday this year. The fact that we both had to work all day combined with the lack of “nice” restaurants in our current hometown convinced us to move our actual anniversary date to the weekend. So on actual anniversary day, we made things casual.

Last year, I bought the hubs some golf-related items and the year before was a wallet and other goods. We haven’t been very faithful to the “traditional” gift idea, but I touched on it a little more this year than in the past.

This year was another smorgasbord of items: First, a monogrammed leather man bag (aka. toiletry bag, though that sounds far too girly). I love Personalization Mall. They have the greatest gift ideas and ship super quickly. Inside the bag, he found some Burberry cologne and a little blue box wrapped in a big white bow (gasp!). I decided he was in need of some pretty silver cuff links, so I took to the best jewelry store ever for my purchase. Lastly, a shirt with french cuffs to display his new goods. Happy husband!

My turn! We started with this:

And ended with this :)

A gorgeous Coach purse. Now THAT’S what leather looks like!! I absolutely love it. Plus he gave me one of these cards, which make me melt everytime. Dang you, Hallmark.

The hubs then informed me that he would be (finally) be buying me my own set of golf clubs! Now when partaking in his #1 obsession, he can incorporate his other ;)

We decided we needed to get something to eat and since I had no desire to cook, we headed to Cammack Station for a quick bite.

A fun, funky little diner was the perfect place for dinner. I can’t believe it’s right around the corner from our house and we’d never been before. It’s such a cool atmosphere. Neon galore. Even an ice cream bar. The hubs had a chicken taco burger and I opted for the rueben. I had an old school red creme soda, taking me right back to the 50’s. All I was missing was my poodle skirt.

And appropriately enough, there were newlyweds having a little photog session outside during our meal.

Saturday night, we headed down to Indy for our official anniversary dinner date. After consultation with a good friend, we decided to go to old Italy in the form of Capri Ristorante. Nothing says love more than heavy amounts of carbs and good wine.

But before dinner, we made a pit stop at hubs heaven GolfSmith to pick up the other half of my gift! We walked out with one of those pre-packaged sets of clubs, bag included. Can I just say that I’m already excited to get started? New shoes, argyle, golf skirts, pink balls?? AND my own rescue club?! Eeee! Can’t wait to hit the range later! I’ll no doubt be a s***show in the making ;)

My sources were correct on the rest of the evening. Capri was very authentic from the second you were greeted by the Italian men at the door. Dark and cozy, with artwork and bottles upon bottles of wine lining the walls. A definite old school, loungey feel. The only downfall I could mention was the staffing. Our poor waiter was in charge of way too many tables, limiting the amount of interaction and consultation that would’ve been nice at a new restaurant. Luckily, we weren’t in any hurry so the lack of attention was okay.

We started things off with a celebratory toast and then got right to work on our meal. Bread and butter followed by an app of proscuitto and melon. Why does this combo work so well? I’ll never understand.

Dinner for me was pumpkin ravioli in a duck ragu sauce. The waiter had me at pumpkin. The dish definitely did not disappoint.

The hubs opted for good ol’ spaghetti and meatballs. Not amazing, but tasty once smothered with cheese. We boxed up the last 1/4 of our meals in order to save room for dessert. We decided to splurge on spumoni, but I definitely also ordered a canoli to go. Mangia!

With full bellies we hit the road back home. A great night to celebrate a great marriage. I do love this man more than I ever thought possible. Wonder what’s up next on our journey?! ;)

Happy Sunday! xo

Feature Friday Guest Post – HHSJ

08/26/2011

A few weeks ago, I received a tweet from my friend Laura. Her friend, Samantha, who blogs at Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans has a series called Feature Fridays that puts runners in the spotlight. Well, when Laura was asked to contribute to a weekly post, she threw out my name as well! So,, I put together a lil somethin’ somethin’ and today was my debut! I thought I’d throw it up on my blog too, but you can read Sam’s version HERE.

So, without further ado,, the story behind Bri the Running NP! :)

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When did you start running and what inspired you to start?

I grew up playing sports like softball and lacrosse. I was always able to sprint well, but distance running never came naturally. It wasn’t until winter 2009 that I decided to (wo)man up and sign up for my first 5K. I was inspired by my friend, Amy, a running superhero in my mind (hey, anyone who runs sub 4-hr marathons is unbelievable; and especially a 3.5!). I did nearly all of my training on the treadmill and followed no specific training schedule. I just got out there and ran. I felt completely unprepared at the start, but found myself dashing down the strip and back in 27:30, lightyears faster than I had ever imagined. I didn’t even get a medal and I was hooked. I love Amy for giving me the running bug!

What top 3 things do you love most about running?

  1. The mental clarity it provides.
  2. The fact that I can pick up wherever I am and just go.
  3. Buying new gear! ["I have an addiction, sir!" ~ Carrie Bradshaw]

What keeps you motivated to run?

I’m extremely happy with the way I feel both mentally and physically since I’ve become a runner, so maintaining that is a huge motivator. Also, just being a part of the online running community keeps me on track. I’ve started this new thing via Twitter where I recruit “virtual training” buddies (#virtualtraining). Interested friends and I set up a time and date that we both plan to be running/exercising and make a point to follow up with each other once we’re done. It keeps us both accountable for our workouts, especially when it’s the last thing we may feel like doing. Shoot me a tweet if you’re interested!

What’s your favorite running memory?

Hands down, crossing this year’s Indianapolis Mini Marathon finish line, hand in hand with my Dad.

Are you training for any races at the moment?

Yes! My first marathon will be the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on 10.9.11. I also have the unbelievable privilege to be raising money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and Team in Training in honor of my late grandmother. She battled hard against her fight with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and so it’s only fitting for me to do the same. Only my battle will be on the pavement. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this amazing organization. Please take a moment to visit my TNT fundraising page here. Go Team!!

What is your favorite distance to run?

So far I have completed 6 half marathons, so I’d have to say that is my preferred distance. Ask me again on 10.10.11 after 26.2. Then again, don’t :)

What’s your favorite way to refuel post-run?

With anything and everything that comes into view!! Ah, the beauty of running. But if I had to pick one thing: Cupcakes. With cream cheese frosting. And sprinkles.

What’s one tip you would give to a new runner?

I think you’ll hear this from a lot of people, but the biggest obstacle to overcome is just getting out there and running.  Thomas Jefferson once said “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” It’s the absolute truth. If you don’t make yourself run today, what is going to change by tomorrow? Nothing. To some of us (ahem, me), running doesn’t come naturally. Luckily, everyone was born to run. It’s just about training your body to do it and do it well. Believe me, the benefits you’ll reap are beyond imagineable. I never thought I would be in the physical or mental condition to be training for a full marathon. But here I am, just over 6 weeks away from 26.2 miles. And I couldn’t be more excited.

Thanks again to Sam for the opportunity to guest post!! Now, go run!! :)

Cora & Chris Say ‘I Do’

08/25/2011
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Last weekend, I had the honor of standing next to one of my best friends while she said those two magical words all little girls dream of saying. As I mentioned in her bridal shower post, B & C-Marie have come quite a way in our short 30 years. We’ve been through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. But in the end, we’ve always been besties. So I couldn’t wait to be with her to help celebrate one of her happiest days.

Friday, the bride and her bridesmaids gathered at a nail salon where we were pampered with manis and pedis. I was a few minutes tardy as I had ran 18 miles that morning. Plus I didn’t have time to properly fuel post-run. So imagine my excitement when I realized there were fruit, bagels and muffins awaiting me at the salon! I also helped myself to a celebratory mimosa. ;)

I had the afternoon was free, so after a much needed nap-a-roo, I got myself prettied up for the rehearsal.

First stop, the church!

Momma Cora and Baby Cayden

After perfecting our walks, we headed to McCormick & Schmick’s for dinner. The food was delicious!

& as always, we wrapped the evening up with a little photo shoot.

The starter family

The black & white brood

Besties for life

The cousin and I followed up dinner with a trip to Big Beaver Tavern where we met up with our men and another couple, Carli & Zac. Tasty drinks + great company = good times.

We all met at 8am the next morning to caravan to Cora’s cousin’s house to get our hairs done. S and I made a pit stop at Tim Horton’s for some sustenance. Little did we know that there was already a spread awaiting us!

Let the beautification commence!

I loved my hair!

And Cora loved her Tim Bits! ;)

Pre-makeup pics.

Ta-da!

Looking nothing short of amazing.

Now, let’s get to the church! We’ve got to get this lady married!

At the church, we took to the play room to get suited up. Only appropriate!

Someone was just a little excited!

A little help with the BB tape ;)

Anddd, the final product!

Cora Marie, I just have to tell you what a breathtaking bride you were. There, done! :-*

The ceremony lasted around 45 minutes. After the receiving line, we headed back into the church for portraits. Then outside for a few more shots. The below professional photo is courtesy of Cora’s photographer, Nikki Taite @ Nicole Taite Photography (check out her website, she does phenomenal work!).

After a quick meet-up with our men, S and I made our way into the reception hall. A little jigging across the dance floor later and I was in my seat, ready for some grub! Those 18 miles still had my metabolism rocking.

The rest of the night went beautifully. The weather was perfect and there was even got a good luck rainstorm during the reception. The food and cake were absolutely amazing. And the love and laughter  were palpable all night long.

Possibly my fav picture of the day. No one can resist a daddy/daughter pic :)

The new 4some!

My handsome date

Congratulations and all my love to the happy couple!! Wishing you all the best in your new marriage! And just remember to come to me, the marriage expert, if you have ANY troubles ;)

3 Years Gone By

08/23/2011

August 23, 2008.

It’s hard to believe that 3 years ago today, I was waking up in Petoskey, MI, getting ready to marry the love of my life. The day started with rain & clouds and ended with sunshine & sunsets. A spectacular display of love, laughter, family and friends. A day I wish I could rewind and replay on a regular basis. Without question, one of the best days of my life.

What marriage has taught me (so far!):

  • Communication is imperative. Before I met my husband, I was a champion at keeping my thoughts and feelings boxed up inside. He didn’t tolerate much of that behavior before he started working with me to (gasp!) express my feelings! Imagine the thought! Today, we are much better at talking things out when we have things on  our mind. Gone are the days when I left things to fester inside. Talking (not texting) it out works wonders.
  • Date nights are important. It’s so, so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Gym, work, eat, sleep ~ repeat. By setting aside a day or two each week to escape the monotony, things stay fresh. The hubs and I aren’t the best at keeping date nights a priority, but that will change. Starting tonight :)
  • Big beds rule. Just make sure to kick the dog out every now and then.
  • It’s the little things. Holding hands. Back rubs. Making each other dinner. Turning the TV off. Watching the sunset together on the back porch. Togetherness is what counts. Something about growing old together too from what I’ve heard,,

Another awesome year in the books. And God-willing, many, many more to come. Just where does the time go?

Love you so much NJC <3

18

08/21/2011

Miles that is.

The hubs, pup and I arrived in Michigan around 1015p Thursday evening. After a little schmoozing with the rents and an episode of Curb, we all hit the sack. The weekend ahead had lots of activities planned. First on the agenda: an early morning 18-mile training run.

My alarm went off at 515a and after a record 1 snooze, I rolled out of bed while the rest of the world slept. It’s amazing how I can coerce myself into getting up so early when it’s by choice, but when it’s for something forced, like work, I struggle. I had made a PB english muffin the night before so washing that down with a glass of milk, I was off.

I had mapped out my route a few days earlier using Map My Run. If you haven’t used this site/app before, you should try it out. It’s super helpful for preparation purposes and you can save your routes and upload them to your phone. I also recruited Michael to run with me. He showed some interest in covering distance beyond 13 miles so though he didn’t truly intend on running the full 18, he agreed to join. I was just excited to have some company!

It was pitch black outside at 550a when I hit the road. Always a little frightening but I had the street lights to guide me along. During my first few minutes, I saw a bright light headed in my direction. Not a car, but what appeared to be another runner! With a headlight! As he passed, I said “I should look into one of those!” to which he replied, “haha, yeah.” Sad response, yet always nice to see someone as crazy dedicated as me out so early.

I swung by Michael’s house and we took to our pre-planned route by 6a. The run included 2 long straight aways. Basically up 2 miles, down 6, up another 2, then back down 6. Sometimes the straight aways can be a little monotonous, but today didn’t seem so bad. The temps were perfect: mid-60’s, very little humidity and a slight breeze. I love that about getting outside early. Plus it’s so darn peaceful.

Around mile 4, we made a pitstop at the Troy Community Center. We had been maintaining about a 9-9:30 min/mi pace and the legs were feeling good. I took a couple orange Gu Chomps around mile 6, washing them down with some swigs of H2O. DYK it’s important to follow up all types of energy gels with water?? Recently learned that through Runner’s World. 

Our route had us run by 3 different 7-Elevens. We made our first stop on the first 6-mile stretch to refill our water bottles and take a little breather.

After our stop, we chugged along, though slowing slightly to a 10 min/mi pace around mile 10. Mike had just purchased a pair of Newton running shoes (totally jelly) and was still breaking them in. Though his legs felt good, his body wasn’t completely on the same page. His PDR (personal distance record) to date was 13.1 miles. We all know its a mental challenge to push past that “comfortable” half mary distance. Not sure why, but when you’re used to stopping at mile 13, continuing on is slightly painful. With determination, Mike continued on up until our next 7-Eleven stop at mile 13.5.

After picking up another bottled water, we pushed on. Mike’s house was about another mile or so ahead but he continued to have a mind vs body battle. He took to a walk and encouraged me to go on ahead without him. I had to meet Cora and her bridal party at the nail salon by 10a so I was kind of in a time crunch. If I hadn’t had that, I would’ve stayed back with him.  I had even told him earlier on that I was more concerned about the distance than the speed on this run. But since it was already around 830, we high-fived and parted ways.

The last few miles went well. I was so beyond motivated to get to 18 miles. At one point I contemplated stopping at 17 so I would have more time to get ready. But I quickly refuted that idea. I wanted that PDR. My scheduled route only had me at 17.4 miles, so I knew I needed to do a little jiggy-jog to get that last half mile. I thought, “do I run the planned route and just add on another street or two or should I just go a little farther earlier so I can wind up at home without running past it?” I chose the latter.

The legs were starting to drag a little just before I hit mile 17. But knowing that I had less than 10 minutes to run kept me going. I reached my last major road crossing before arriving home and darted across to the median while the traffic crossing light was still green. I knew if I stopped I would have a hard time restarting. As I started across the second half of the road, however, I must’ve shuffled or dragged my feet because before I knew it, I FELL!!! What the heck, AGAIN?? Granted it was a quick painless fall, but it was in the middle of the road, with lots of spectators. My water bottle went flying and I got a little baby-sized sample of road rash. I was literally on the ground for 2 seconds before I popped up, grabbed my bottle and sprinted ahead. Ugh, so embarassing. But I was not gonna stop.

Mile 17.5 came as I was running past my old high school, and before I knew it, a group of about 20 high schoolers came running out about a quarter mile in front of me. It must’ve looked like I was the slow runner straggling behind, ha :) Luckily they went straight when I turned left at the corner. Enough of the embarrassment already, ok?!

I approached my driveway with a quarter mile to go, so I ran hard down and around the corner and before I knew it,, “BEEP BEEP BEEP!” 18 miles COMPLETE!!

With no intentions on going any farther, I walked the rest of the way home. I can’t believe I did it. 18 miles. I must have brain damage, right?

Around the time Mike and I parted ways, I could feel my left foot starting to hurt. Fasciitis-type pain. It actually hurt more to walk than to run so it really didn’t affect my last few miles. But as soon as I stopped and took my tennies off, there it was. I knew I had to stretch it out so I spent a few post-run minutes with my pillow case.

Then I had a first: My first ice bath!! Read this article from Runner’s World on the benefits of a post-run ice bath. I knew I had to try it since I had a long weekend ahead that required a lot of time standing. In heels. I had the hubby bring me a glass of ice while I filled up the tub.

After which, I tweeted.

After a follow-up shower and a Pop-Tart, I made it to the nail salon by about 1025a. Better late than never. Plus my piggies definitely needed some attention (see above pic).

Mike ended up finishing nearly 15 miles after running/walking back to his house. I am so proud of our PDRs. Who would’ve thought that we are capable of such distance. I thought for sure I was a half marathon wonder. Guess I should start giving myself a little more credit!

Ps,, I have been anhilating any and all food that has been in front of me this weekend. Hello, metabolism. Nice to see you again!! ;)

Happy C-Marie Day!

08/20/2011
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Happy Wedding Day, Cora Marie!!! Can’t wait to celebrate your very special day right next to you :)

Experience: Tow Woes

08/16/2011

In my last post recapping my rockin’ weekend in Chicago, I told y’all to stay tuned for an Experience. Well, the wait is over.

So if you can remember, my brother Ricky graciously agreed to drive Mike and I to the McCormick Center for our RNR expo. Him and his lady friend Samantha live over in Lincoln Park, so about a 15 minute drive down Lakeshore. Not a big trek. On our way there, he made a few comments about how the lights in his dashboard had been flickering on and off for the past couple of days and he thought it may be his alternator that needs looking at. The drive there was uneventful. See where I’m going with this yet??

After about an hour at the expo, we headed out to the parking garage, all making cracks about how we hoped the car was gonna start back up. And without fail, it did. No sputtering or anything. As we pulled back out onto Lakeshore, we discussed where we were gonna pick up lunch since we were all starved.

As the miles went on, the more nervous we all became. The car started acting a titch funny, and some not-so-normal sounds occasionally escaped. I made a comment that we should probably start moving over to the side of the road “just in case.” Not 10 seconds later, we stalled.

Let me give you a visual. You know Lakeshore Drive, right? Always super busy. Full of hot-headed Midwesterners trying to get from A to B. Oh, and don’t you dare try going the posted speed limit. Nuh-uh, no way. Faster is always better. Yes, it was on this road that we stalled.

And of course we weren’t on the side of the road. Not even in a far lane. Nope, 2nd from the left. Just after the aquarium. Roosevelt was the crossroad.

After a few choice words, Ricky got on the phone with AAA to get some help ASAP. No way could we just sit on Lakeshore! Luckily, we stopped right after a traffic light, so people weren’t going super fast. But as soon as one direction had a red, the other side was turning left, leaving us with no time to get out of the car safely. Much less be able to push it to the side. God knows what we would’ve looked like doing that. Ha!

AAA put a “priority” on our tow truck and said it would be there in 15-20 minutes. Umm, how bout NOW?? This picture sums up how I felt about sitting in a stalled car on one of the busiest streets in the city.

Yes, I took pictures.

So “patiently” we sat. Watching the death-defying stunts taking place all around us. People up in our grill from behind, cutting people off to get around us, only to then cut back in front of us, just barely avoiding another collision. Horns were honked and choice words were said. A nice AAM told us to “put yo hood up!” Um, sir, we can’t get out of the car. But thanks for the street smarts.

Waiting. This is fun.

I couldn’t help but keep peering out the window watching the nasty sky approaching. Great, not only are we stuck, but our windows won’t go up and a t-storm is on its way over. Swell!

Dun dun dun

Finally, a cop showed up. I’m sorry, I mean police officer. Where are my manners. Anyway, he questioned when our tow truck was coming and said he’d try to get one of his own guys over to help. And then he was off. I felt secure for those few minutes he was there with his lights on, at least giving others an indication that we were helpless. So back we I went to being scared.

About 5-10 min later, our tow truck arrived!! Or so we thought. It sure looked like a tow truck anyway. We were desperate for any  help at this point. He pulled in front of us, asked us what happened, etc. Then he got back in his truck, backed up, latched onto the front end and STARTED TOWING. We were all dumbfounded. Ummm, aren’t we supposed to get OUT of the car first??!

Nope, apparently he was just going to drag us to the shop! Holy hell.

This video sums it up pretty nicely.

Hilarious.

Turns out, we were just being taken to another side street where our actual AAA tow truck was coming to take us to the auto shop.  This must’ve been the work of the nice co– police officer. Whoops. We only waited a few minutes here before he showed up, flatbed blazing, ready to roll!

The skyline getting MUCH clearer

And of course, the official action video per Ricky’s request (take note of the insano wind).

At least the boys kept their spirits up despite the drama :)

Side note, this little strip of road turned out to be the starting and finishing line of the RNR race the next day! Oh, the irony.

After the Audi was all buckled up, we hopped in the tow truck. A cozy little ride I might add. Syke. Acutally possibly the most uncomfortable 5 mile drive ever imagined.

As soon as we took off, it was like a bucket turned over. Torrential rains, hail, wind, the works. Talk about timing!

After a little searching, we found the auto shop, did our drop off, then decided to walk back to Ricky’s apartment just a few blocks away. The rain had let up by then. After a quick stop at Potbelly to fill our starving tummies, we got back only to realize Ricky had left his work keys on his keychain. Oy. Back he went as Mike and I stuffed our faces then proceeded to pass out from our exhausting afternoon.

The moral of the story: when your car is indicating that something is wrong, get it checked out. Preferably sooner than later. Otherwise you may find yourself stranded in the middle of Lakeshore Drive. I guess I should look into that “Check Engine Soon” light,, F.

Oh,, and look what we passed during our tow truck ride. Destiny? I think so :)

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