Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Saturday

It's been a good one so far.

A day is always great when it starts with an early (7:45 IS early for a Saturday!) walk to the grocery store in your sweats, with low humidity and tons of sunshine.

It helps when your grocery store has a nice backdrop.

Hi there, skyline! I needed to get a couple odd and ends so I could make breakfast this morning. Most importantly, though? My lil' corner store has the new Larabars!

I grabbed a couple of each. Breakfast was the usual mushroom/spinach frittata with bacon.

My secret to making the frittata nice and fluffy? Beat in a generous dollop of plain Greek yogurt.

And a cinnamon chip scone from Cafe Lutecia, which I toasted up, covered in butter and split with PhillyGuy.

Afterwards, I headed out to King of Prussia to do a little shopping. I did pretty well, actually -- bunch of Theory pieces on sale for work, new oven mitts to replace my (really nasty) $2.50-bin-specials I picked up at Target about four years ago...but my favorite thing? My new shiny rose gold MK watch:

Oh, I love you, pretty little watch.

When I got home, PhillyGuy and I did P90X Yoga, and then the pups and I spent some quality time chillin' in bed watching the Kardashians.

Sooooo happy. We grilled pork chops for dinner, and I made my usual roasted veggies. Except I might have left them in for a liiiiiiittle bit too long.

I really gave it a shot, but trust me when I tell you these were completely inedible.


Tomorrow's my "long run" -- at 6 miles, I finally feel like they're getting to a not-embarassing-distance. After my five-miler (take two) went so well on Tuesday, I'm hoping to keep it up and crossing my fingers for the morning.

Hope your weekends are going well!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happiness is...

Things that are making me happy today:

- Listening to Lewis Black on my way to work. I think I've heard the word "fuck" about 47 times today already...and I haven't even been in to talk to bosslady yet (rimshot). Angry Jewish men make my commute seem a ton faster, but I do try to stifle my laughs. It's generally not OK to walk around by yourself, laughing, headphones or no headphones.

- I was going through my desk looking for something, and I found this:

dark chocolate covered pretzel! It was a freebie from a lunch I went to about a month ago. Hopefully it's not stale. I'm looking forward to this after lunch today.

- I've proposed to PhillyGuy that we spend tonight eating Indian takeout on the couch. I have not yet received a response, but how can you say no to that proposal?? This week is DRAGGING, and a little palak paneer with my Glee tonight will make it that much better.

What's making you happy this week?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Runnin' on Sunshine

You won't believe it, blogworld. I almost don't believe it myself.

But for once in my life, I actually GOT UP WITH MY ALARM at 5:30 (ok, ok, so the alarm was set for 5, since I knew I would need a couple of snooze-button-sessions, but WHATEVER) and WENT FOR A MORNING RUN.

I was pretty disappointed in myself for not pushing through and completing my five miles on Sunday as I'd planned. How am I supposed to run a half marathon in September if I can't even cover five miles now?!? And I know damn well it's not a matter of CAN''s a matter of "WON'T." Or "DIDN'T WANNA."

So, with the lovely stretch of low humidity and temps we've been enjoying lately, I figured what better time to take advantage and try to reignite my let's-not-be-lazy-now abilities? So, I did. I rolled out of bed and was on the road by 5:50ish.

My first couple of minutes were so, so weird - it was seriously as if I'd forgotten how to run. Every step I took hurt my knee, I was shuffling awkwardly and slowly and couldn't figure out how to bend my knees the right way or have my feet hit the ground where they were supposed to. I was thanking the powers-that-be that no one was up and about in my little corner of the city at that point, since I'm reasonably certain I resembled a baby giraffe trying to learn to walk for the first time.

Thankfully, my legs remembered what they were doing after a quarter mile or so, and I settled into a comfortable and steady pace. I did five miles out and back along the Schuylhill River, turning around a little past Boathouse Row. I stretched my hips when I needed to, and I even walked for a bit during my last mile, but in general, I just felt GOOD. I was happy to be running, happy to be people-watching, happy to see that I was one of the only ones out when I started but joined by plenty of other runners, walkers and bikers by the time I was wrapping up. I covered my five miles in about 48 minutes - will check the Garmin later.

When I was walking the pups in my post-run euphoria, I couldn't help but think about how much they've both changed since we first got them.

Sophie was a tiny cuddly baby:

SO SMALL! Now she has a ridiculous attitude.

"What? I eat apples. Wanna fight about it?"

Cosmo was skittish and skinny and generally worried about life.

He's blurry in that one but you can see his butt bones jutting out.

Now he has a wide ass and a big dumb grin at all times.

Dogs are the best. So are happy endorphin-generating morning runs.

Monday, July 26, 2010

View from the Top

One of my favorite things about summer is grilling out with PhillyGuy.

I love our balcony. When we were first married and looking around to upgrade from our one bedroom apartment (which was tremendous and perfect for our first years living together, but suddenly became tiny and cramped once we started getting wedding presents...I know, I know -- tough life, but YOU start living with "ok, so the china goes under the bed...hmm...toaster oven can sit in the hallway...who the heck bought us a countertop rotisserie?!?" and see how you like it!) a balcony was one of our top must-haves.

We've slowly been building it out. In JANUARY (yes, JANUARY) of last year, we bought a grill. FYI, the winter is a great time to buy a grill. SUPER cheap. I put the base of it together out there in 35-degree weather so that we could make burgers for our friends that first weekend. A few months later, the second time we had people over to grill out, PhillyGuy picked up this table and chair set.

I love the grape mosaic on it - it makes me think of red wine, which is up there with "red meat" as one of my favorite things in the whole world.

A couple months ago, I added flowers to the scene.

I have absolutely no idea what kind of flowers these are. I went to Home Depot, looked for something that did well in lots of sunlight, and then picked the ones with the prettiest colors.

It's an exact science.

Grilling out is definitely one of my favorite things about summertime. PhillyGuy handles the meat (TWSS):

We do pork chops pretty regularly, seasoned with dill and salt and pepper. This time, we had both pork and steak, probably because whoever was taking the meat out of the freezer didn't realize that the bags were different.

While he's grilling and doing manly things on the balcony, I roast some veggies. It's always a variation on a theme: the "main" veggie (recently I've been into asparagus or green beans), chopped mushrooms, and Vidalia onion.

Everything gets tossed in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, parmesean cheese and some combination of savory seasonings, like rosemary and thyme.

We grill all year round - with the grill just outside the door, it's not so bad to hop out there for a minute to turn the meat and jump back in. There's just something so very SUMMERTIME about grilling, though. I'm definitely not finished with our balcony yet - I still feel like I'm not using the space as well as I could be - but it's great to sit out there on our little bistro set and enjoy the warm weather with a freshly grilled pork chop and roasted veggies.

Favorite summer meal?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Upstate NY 1, PhillyGirl 0

PhillyGuy and I spent the weekend in his hometown up in upstate New York.

Road trippin' puppies. This is how Sophie likes to ride:

Checking everything out.

Some of PhillyGuy's friends from high school were tying the knot - high school sweethearts who have been dating FOR.E.VER. The wedding was outside at a beautiful location next to the the direct sunlight. I know I was quite toasty - I felt so bad for all the guys in their suits & ties, and I just can't fathom how hot the bride must have been in her gorgeous -- but HEAVY! -- gown.

Ridiculously fun? They had a caricature artist at the reception. I insisted that PhillyGuy and I get ours done. The finished product:

Um, meet my husband, Rick Moranis. You may know him from such films as "Ghostbusters" and "Little Shop of Horrors."

This morning, I laced up my shoes and headed out for a five mile run. The temperature was in the low to mid-70s, which is definitely the coolest it's been in a while. I was feeling pretty good...for the first quarter mile or so. After that, a combination of the hills, the humidity and my general dehydration started to kick in, and I was struggling. HARD.

My usual route at PhillyGuy's parents' house is a loop that's just over four miles and super easy. Run up his street, hang a right, follow that road around in a big loop down main street and past a golf course, hang another right and generally cruise in home. Even though there's a LOT more incline in his town than what I'm used to here in Philly, it's not so bad - there's basically one climb from about mile 1.5 to 2.5, and then I end with a good .6 mile downhill that cruises into a flat stretch for the last quarter mile to his house. I headed out to do that route, plus a jag down his grandparents' street and back up for an extra mile.

And then...blech. That extra mile. The first half mile was either downhill or flat, but turning around and heading back left me struggling up a LONG hill. It was rough -- I was bargaining with myself the entire way back up just to keep from stopping to walk. At the top of the hill, around 2.16 miles, I had to stop and stretch and catch my breath. I had serious cottonmouth and the humidity left me feeling like I was swimming. The idea of continuing on my route -- another half mile or so of straight uphill -- was just unbearable.

So, I swallowed my pride and turned around to run back. Altogether I covered 3.25 miles in about 32 minutes, and struggled the.whole.freakin.time. Splits:

Mile 1: 9:39
Mile 2: 9:59
Mile 3: 10:07
.25 nub: 2:17

It feels good to be home - I'm chilling on the couch watching Kourtney & Khloe while Cosmo naps next to me. How was your weekend?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Philly Foodies Take 2

Last night the Philly Foodies (as I think we have un-officially dubbed ourselves) had a great meetup at Farmicia.

What happens when you leave PhillyGirl in charge of the reservations? Um, I obviously make sure to book a table early enough for us to take advantage of half price drinks for happy hour.

And yes, we took advantage. In fact, the receipt helpfully advised us that we saved just over $87 by ordering our drinks at happy hour. Honestly, there were 9 of us - so that's not QUITE as bad as it sounds...right??

It was great to see some familiar faces again, and to make some new friends. There's nothing quite like bonding over discussions of cameras, other bloggers (many of whom we've never met), the merits of CSAs and the perils of training for long distance races during the absurd heat wave we've been having. Honestly, it's very refreshing to have someone be able to relate to the fact that you know the intimate details of the lives of people whom you've never met, and may never meet -- without sounding like a complete and total creeper.

Delicious bread, served in an adorable dim sum basket with an herbed butter:

Farmicia's I had a ton of trouble deciding what to get. I wavered between the idea of getting a salad and an appetizer vs. an entree, vs. two salads (yes, that would indeed make me a freak), vs. two appetizers...etc, etc, etc. As I always tend to do, I made a snap decision when it (finally) came time to order, and went with the salmon.

I was inspired by the fact that came with swiss chard. PhillyGuy picked some swiss chard up at the market this weekend and tried his hand at making it. The verdict? It was "ok," but nothing we'd make again -- so I wanted to try it as prepared by someone who knew what they were doing.

It was definitely tastier this way -- reminded me of spinach, in that it's nothing mind-blowing, but certainly a nice standby veggie.

I also knocked out three -- THREE! -- cocktails. I almost always stick with either a glass of funky red wine, or an extra-dirty martini. When I'm out with girls, I feel like it's okay to venture into the cocktail menu a little bit. Farmicia definitely didn't disappoint, and I'm pretty sure between us we managed to try one of everything...including the intriguing PB&J martini.

Food bloggers in their natural habitat:

All in all, it was a VERY fun night. We need to make this more regular!

Of course, those three cocktails left me ready for bed by the time I got home. After a quick walk with the pups, PhillyGuy and I crashed out immediately -- we were in bed by 9:30 and I was knocked out so quickly that I can't even tell you what the challenge was on Top Chef.

I sucked down my first iced coffee before I even made it to work, so I stopped at Manhattan Bagel a few blocks from my office. They don't mess around with their sizes. When I order a "large iced coffee," that is precisely what I get:

Cameo by my (very favorite type of) pen for comparison purposes.

Ladies, it was awesome hanging out last night -- thanks for such a fun evening!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Yay Cardreader!

Finally -- after two freaking weeks of no new pictures (well, except the ever-reliable crappy blurry Blackberry photos) -- I've got a new cardreader. You know, one that ACTUALLY works with my memory card.

And that means I can finally share with you the reason for the delay:

And the artist:

"What? I didn't do anything. I swear!"

So, approximately fifteen days ago, I was getting ready to leave for what I planned on making a six mile run. It was a sunny, moderately hot morning, and I was pumped to test out my new running skirt:

It's actually a tennis skirt, but whatever. The only issue is that is doesn't have any pockets -- but no worries, I have my trusty SPIbelt just for this reason.

About a mile into my run, I realized I'd forgotten my water. I don't drink a ton of water on runs, but I do like some -- if nothing else than to avoid cottonmouth. I have a small (8-ounce) amphipod that straps onto my hand. I dig it because it's small -- while it doesn't hold a ton of water, it also doesn't weigh much. Apparently, it weighs so little that I don't even notice it's there! (Or, more importantly, when it's not.)

I wasn't too concerned -- even though it was definitely hot out, my 6-mile route runs down the Schuylhill River trail, up past the Waterworks and onto Kelly Drive. There's a water fountain exactly two miles from my house, which is well-positioned -- I figured I'd run my two miles, drink, another mile out and back, stop for another drink, and then get my planned post-run coconut water at the end. No problem, right?

Except. There was something going on near the Art Museum that morning. There's a spot where the trail forks - you can keep going on the trail itself, which goes under the road and then back up to the Waterworks, or you can hang a right and pick up West River Drive. This morning, for some reason, they were forcing all runners/walkers/bikers/whatever onto West River Drive. Which meant missing my perfectly-positioned water stop.

No worries, I thought. I'd run West River Drive once before -- about a year ago, I did the 8.4 mile loop that goes from Kelly Drive to West River Drive. I hadn't brought water that time either, and remembered stopping at a fountain on West River Drive. I figured I'd just make sure I ran to the fountain.

So I'm running. I'm running. I'm making decent time and feeling good, if a little thirsty. I'm watching as my Garmin rolls over to three miles. Hmm. Now what?

I had no real interest in extending my run -- the last thing I need to do is reinjure myself, you know? So I figured -- OK. I'll just walk to the water fountain! And then turn around and run back.

So I pull off into the grass to slow down. Quick stretch of the hip flexors, and I started walking. And walking. And walking. At 3.25 miles, I was still thirsty, my heartrate way down, and there was no water fountain in sight. "It's gotta be here close," I reasoned. And took off running again.

That freaking water fountain was 3.8 miles out. OMGOMGOMGOMGWATER! It looked so amazing that I was worried it was a mirage. But no, no...definitely not. I gulped down my fill, stretched a bit, and headed home.

And wow. Was that a brutal run home. Extending a run by 1.6 miles probably doesn't seem like much to a lot of you, but I was basically just waiting for death to take me. Even with my quarter-mile walk, I managed to cover the first six miles in just under an hour, which made me happy -- and also made me want to die. In fact, I spent a good five miles solid just wondering when sweet death would take me.

My remaining 1.6ish mile run/walk/jog/shuffle hybrid home could not have ended soon enough. When I finally hit the sweet, sweet air conditioning of my corner grocery store, I could have melted right there. The coconut water was the most glorious thing I've ever tasted. When I finally made it the couple blocks home, I more or less had to crawl up my stairs.

My post-run "OMG I AM HOME" face:

Serious case of the sausage fingers from being dehydrated:

...and I had to wait two weeks to document this because these pictures were trapped on my camera. Thanks to Little Miss Sophie. Let me tell you, this really seemed like a much better story at the time :)

How was everyone's weekend?