Thursday, May 26, 2011

Running a new Route

I'm pretty set in my ways when it comes to running.  I don't like to take a new route.  No real reason, most of the time I know where roads are going so it's not that I'm going to get lost, but I like to stick to what I know.  And let's be honest, the 3.2 mile route that I run right now is pretty challenging with the hills and stairs.

Last night I ran at Stephen's house.  Complete change of scenery.  More of a street run than a park run for starters.  Then there is the elevation changes.  Holy Hell are there a lot of hills around his house!  We ran a 2.1 mile route that about kicked my butt.  I didn't stop running, but I put up a fight with my self and I snapped at Stephen a few times when I couldn't even see the top of the hill that we were running.  (Sorry!!!  I wasn't mad, just struggling to survive!)  Click here to see the route.

But I did it.  I ran a new route and ran two days in a row.  From now until the Peachtree there is no missing my running days!  I have to be able to run 6.2 miles on July 4th.

The best part of the run last night was our quick stop in Grant Park.  I've only been to Grant Park once for an Alzheimer's walk and I didn't really take it all in.  I'm looking forward to spending more time around there with Stephen and Mabel.  There is so much history in Atlanta - I need to go out and find it! Here is a little history of how Grant Park came to be from the official Grant Park website:

The Grant Park neighborhood was named for Lemuel P. (L.P.) Grant, a civil engineer for the Georgia Railroad who has been called the "Father of Atlanta." As an agent for the Western Railroad Company and the Georgia Air Line Railroad, Grant helped to bring the railroad to Atlanta. During the Civil War, in his capacity as chief engineer for the Department of the Militia, C.S.A., he planned and supervised the construction of defensive lines around the city. Ater the war, he continued to serve the city as a member of the committee that named streets, member of the city council, Board member of the Bank of the State of Georgia and served on the committee to draft the new city charter in 1873.

I think it's fascinating that I live in a city with such a rich history.  I can't wait to go to Oakland Cemetery, also built on land from Mr. Grant. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kashi Thin Crust Mushroom Trio & Spinach Pizza

I don't consider myself a huge frozen pizza eater - but I eat my fair share. On a really busy night they are just so easy!

I usually go with California Pizza Kitchen pizzas so last night I branched out and tried the Kashi Thin Crust Mushroom Trio & Spinach pizza.  There is so much talk about how healthy Kashi is for you and how it should be my snack food all the time, no matter what it is, so I decided to give it a shot.  It was pretty good!

I had just finished a 3 mile run and was starving and I ate 3/4 of the pizza while watching Glee.  Nights don't get better than that.

I'm definitely going to have to try some of the other pizzas.  They are a little more expensive, but if they are that much better for me - what's a dollar at the end of the day?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

No Strings Attached - Movie Review

Netflix is keeping me entertained!  Last night I watched the Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher flick, No Strings Attached.  I knew what to expect when I hit play and it's exactly what I got.

It was a cute, predictable romantic comedy with two beautiful lead actors that are easy to look at.  It was nice to see Natalie play someone normal after watching Black Swan.

If you haven't seen it - two friends decide to enter a physical-only relationship, nothing romantic, only sex until one of them starts to feel something more for the other person.  Of course that's a bad idea.  Someone will always develop feelings.

I strongly believe that a man and woman can be friends without there being anything sexual.  I do NOT believe that a man and woman can be in a sexual relationship and just be friends.  That's just my opinion.

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis have a VERY similar movie, Friends with Benefits, coming out in July. It will be interesting to see if they have different endings - because, yes, I'm not going to miss this movie.

Pictures from Meaghan & Joe's wedding weekend

I have another post coming later today, but I wanted to share some of the pictures from the weekend with everyone.  Enjoy!

Me and Bonnie at the Bridesmaid Luncheon

Meaghan thanking her family

The bride and the MOH at the Rehearsal

All the beautiful ladies


Deegan's standing in at the Rehearsal

Meaghan and her Dad

The dress is on!  I've never seen a better fitting dress

Their first dance as husband and wife

Tina's MOH speech

No dates, no problem

Great action shot!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Meaghan and Joe's wedding weekend

What a beautiful weekend.  I can't say enough about how wonderful it was to be home with family and friends over the weekend to witness the union of my beautiful step-sister, Meaghan, and her fiancee, Joe.  I hate that I don't have pictures to post yet, but I'll do my best to get them posted tomorrow.

Thursday, I flew home and was picked up with my dad and then headed out to dinner with the gang at The Ale House.  I love the Ale House, boy do I miss it.  We have similar bar/restaurants here, but they don't feel the same.

Friday is when the craziness began.  While it was crazy and we were all so super busy, I must say that Meaghan and Tina, the MOH, held everything together perfectly.  Friday morning Tina, Bonnie and I headed out to get our nails done before headed to the Bridesmaid luncheon at Sweetwater Country Club.  From the lunch we then had to go pick up the wedding gown and drop it off where the ladies would be getting ready the next morning.  Then back to the house to get ready to race off to the Rehearsal at the church.  From the Rehearsal to the Rehearsal Dinner then back to the house for the Lingerie Party.  What a day!  Everything was beautiful.  Meaghan was so sweet to the moms and the bridal party - every bride should be as generous as she was.

The Rehearsal didn't start as smoothly as it could have with the groom and all his men arriving about an hour late.  But this didn't stop us, we proceeded to rehearse with stand ins for Joe and the men - cue the Deegans.

Saturday went off without a hitch.  The weather was beautiful ( HOT, but beautiful) and the church looked amazing.  But nothing compared to how beautiful Meaghan looked in her gown.  She literally stopped traffic while we were taking pictures outside of the church.  I've never seen a dress fit a bride more perfectly than her dress fit her.  And while she always looks beautiful, there was a special glwo about her on Saturday.  Pictures to come soon.

The ceremony was well done and with only one small incident (a fainting groomsman - to respect him, no more details online) Joe and Meaghan became husband and wife.  And boy were they excited.  Then it was on to the reception where we danced our butts off.

The weekend went by in such a blur and it was worth every moment.  I hope Meaghan and Joe are enjoying their time in Jamaica!  

Besides all of the above (and it seems silly to mention in a post about something as special and important as marriage) I went shopping Sunday before heading to the airport.  I'm now the proud owner of my very first designer bag:


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yeah, I'm dating the Goalie

Last night I went to one of Stephen's soccer games.  I know this might not be exciting to most people, but it was really exciting for me.  At one point in my life I was a pretty darn good volleyball player and I was very competitive.  I loved when people came to watch me play.  In the 10+ years since high school my athletic abilities have slowly started to fade (which is why I'm sticking to running for now) and I'm not nearly as good as I used to be.  But it's because of this that I really enjoyed watching Stephen play.

It's exciting to see someone who, even as an adult, gets out on the field once a week to give it all he has.  They won the game and I was super proud of my man - he played well.  He's pretty bruised and bloody from the game, but you aren't giving it your all if you don't leave part of you on the field.  It was dark and I didn't bring a good camera with me, so I don't have any pictures.

On a side note - they play at the Atlanta Silverbacks Park, a huge complex of soccer fields just outside the perimeter.  I knew it was there and I'd never been.  It was pretty awesome.  The field Stephen's team played on was at the top of a hill.  Without a net around the edge.... every ball that missed the goal flew off the side of the hill and someone had to chase it.  BIG fail Atlanta Silverbacks Park!  Fix that!  I would have assumed that it would be priority #1 after laying down the turf... but that's just me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Feel So Violated

Last night was just a regular night.  I made dinner, watched a movie (more on that later) and was reading a book until Stephen was to come over when my doorbell rang.  Of course, I thought it was Stephen so I ran to answer.  Turns out it was my neighbor letting me know that my poor car had just been broken into.  Now I have an alarm on the car which didn't go off and I don't keep anything of value in my car so there wasn't a reason for them to pick my car other than I must have left a door unlocked.  I've never left my car unlocked, but last night must have been someone's lucky night.

They stole my computer that I got in 2000 when I went off to college, it's 7 years older than my car.  I had it in the trunk to take somewhere to donate.  No big loss there.  They also took a small flashlight I had in the glovebox and the worst, Stephen's wallet.   Luckily he had his ID and debit card with him so he was able to quickly cancel his credit card.

Nothing irreplaceable was taken, nothing was broken and they left behind a lot of things that if they were real thugs they would have taken (CDs, Netflix movies to be returned, phone charger...) but only those three things were taken.  I even had clothes in the car and those were left behind.  Stupid kids.  It's just huge violation of my privacy and personal space. The cops came, took down a report, but I'll never see my stuff again.

I thought my new thing of the day was going to be watching Winter's Bone.  The movie got so much buzz at Oscar time, I had to see it.  It had been sitting on my TV stand for a month, so it was about time! The story was quite startling.  I know there are lives out there similar to those in the film and I'm thankful for everything that I have in my life.

Another motivation for watching the movie was to get to see Jennifer Lawrence act.  Winter's Bone is her only big movie to date and she's been cast as Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games movies.  I thought it was a horrible casting decision but last night she changed my mind.  I see a lot of Katniss in her Winter's Bone character, Ree.  She is so glamourous on the red carpet and in interviews but playing Ree was 100% opposite of that.  I'm happy with her as Katniss.

Winter's Bone isn't a lift me up, feel good movie.  Scenes will stick with you after the credits end.  Would I be as strong as Ree in trying to save her family?  Thankfully I'll never have to find out.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Warrior Dash!

UPDATE:  Official results are in - I finished the race in 33:49 with a 9:40/mile pace.  That puts me in 2,459th place overall and 162 in my age/sex group. 

This past weekend was spent getting ready for the Warrior Dash, running the Warrior Dash and recovering from the Warrior Dash.  Friday, Stephen and I ran a quick 2 miles to keep my legs ready and Sunday we didn't really leave the house.  Saturday was race day!

This was my second year running the Warrior Dash, but boy was it different than last year.  Basically the race is a 5k with crazy obstacles throughout the course.  They call it the “Craziest Frickin Day of Your Life” and while it was not the craziest day, DEFINITELY the craziest RACE of my life. 

Running with me this year was Kristen, her boyfriend, Daniel, Mibbie and Mibbie’s friend Emily.  We dressed alike with braids, camo shirts and headbands and we hit the course! 

after the race - covered in mud

The race starts out with what feels like a pretty standard one mile run then you hit the water.  Last year the water had about 20 yards of planks you had to walk across, this year it was just 50 yards of waist-deep water and mud to get across.  I did a combination of walking and swimming.  I’m not sure what was faster, but right out of the gate, you’re wet and muddy.  The next obstacle was to get across a field of tires while also climbing over junkyard cars.  This was different than last year where we only had the tires to work with, and we we’re soaking wet!

I may not remember everything exactly as we ran it, cut me a break, I was running while covered in mud and water.  The next obstacle we had were what I thought was the worst of the whole race – the over/unders.  The over: Scale a 4 foot wall.  The under: crawl under a wall with only 2 feet of clearance, in 100% mud.   Once or twice this wouldn’t have been bad, but I think there were 4 of each.  Then it was running again. 

The wall was the most daunting obstacle, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I thought I’d have more trouble because I have zero upper body strength, but I surprised myself.  This obstacle was totally new this year. 

Me (on the left) and Kristen are in the middle of the wall, above the top red helmet, about to go down the other side

There was more running, a cargo net we had to go up and down, a tunnel of black tarp we had to crawl through, a cargo net we had to crawl across, but we just walked the 2x4s on the edge, making it much easier.  There was a hill of tires which looked hard, but was more like climbing a ladder. 

At the end of the race, after a grueling half mile or so of a trail run uphill through the woods you come to the giant slip-n-slide to the mud pit, the most fun part of the race.  There is a picture out there somewhere of Kristen about to take out a poor guy at the bottom of the hill and then I took him out for a second time right after.  It should have been on video.  Then we hit the mud.  We were already 100% disgusting so we went for it, shoulder deep in mud, crawling under barbed wire.  It was awesome, far more fun than last year when I tried to stay semi-clean… not sure why. 

Getting to the mud pit.  The splash in the water is Daniel!  

 Yep - there we are, all the way in.  If you could see the close up - our faces are classic faces of determination

Then you got to clean off in another pond while crawling over barrels they had tethered in the water on our way to the final obstacle – the fire jump.  The big finish!  They looked higher than last year, but we had just come out of a lake, so I wasn’t worried about catching fire.  Some guy and run the race in a wedding gown with a train, so I wasn’t worried.  Then the finish line! 

We did it!!!  You can see the mud is everywhere

I have a bunch of pictures from a waterproof disposable camera that I had with me during the run but I didn’t finish the roll, so I haven’t developed them yet.  (Man have times changed since the days of taking film to be developed!)

I heard my time for the race was 33 minutes and I haven’t confirmed the seconds yet.  Mibbie and Emily killed the other three of us who finished together.  Daniel could have destroyed our time as well, but he stayed with me and so they could finish together. 

Not only did I have a great time running the race with friends, Stephen was there every step of the race where he could be to cheer us on.  It was great to get to the big wall and hear him cheering for us and to see him as we trudged through the mud pit.  The pictures on the blog are from Stephen. 

The race felt longer and more difficult than last year, and I loved every minute of it.  I came out of the race with mud and dirt from head to toe, even in my teeth.  I can’t wait for next year!

Friday, May 13, 2011

125 Years of Coke!

When asked what I want to drink, I want a coke.  No matter what I really want, it's a Coke.  Even if I know the restaurant only has Pepsi products, I ask for a Coke.  It's a Southern thing.  My mom wants a soda, she's from Wisconsin.  Some people want a Pop.  Coke is for me.

Atlanta is the home of Coke.  (Thank goodness!!) This year Coke is celebrating it's 125th Birthday and they aren't keeping such big news quiet.  Their corporate offices are located in Midtown Atlanta off of North Ave by Georgia Tech, not far from my house.  Last night Stephen and I were driving to my house and I looked to the building and this is what we saw!

The entire building is a video screen, all sides, and they are projecting a video right onto the building.  I have no idea how tall the building is, but 20+ stories.  We pulled over into the parking lot and watched the video for a while.  It was crystal clear and beautiful.  My phone camera photos don't do it justice.  Here are a few more.

All of these are stills, but it was a moving video.  I have about 2:00 of footage on my phone.  Click here to see a youtube video that Coke put together about the 125th birthday.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Yep, that's the name of the new restaurant that I tried yesterday for lunch, Eats.  I've driven past it for months and didn't know what it was so I'd never gone in.  Micah and Jessica and hit it up for lunch yesterday.

Eats has been around Atlanta for a while and the food is the reason it's still around.  You have so many options, even the pickiest eater would be able to find something.  It's basically a fast food restaurant with healthy, good home cooking.  There is a build your own pasta cooking station and a meat and veggie ordering counter.  All three of us chose to go the meat and veggie route yesterday.  The portions are HUGE and the price much lower than what I thought it would be for such a giant plate of food.  I ordered Turkey Meatloaf with a Sweet Potato and Green Beans.  Look at the plate!

There was no way I was finishing all of that food.  Everything tasted great and it came out so fast - they really have the process down at Eats which is why it's been named on of the top Cheap Eats in the city for a long time.

If you haven't been, check it out!  Anyone else been lately?  What did you have?  I want to go back and there are so many options!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Whole Foods Recipe iphone App

I have a lot of Apps on my phone.  Some I use everyday, some I rarely touch.  Some I downloaded when I got my phone (I'm talking about you Shazam) that I've never actually used.

One of these Apps is the Whole Foods Recipes App.  I downloaded it weeks, maybe months, ago and never used it.  Last night I decided to give it a try.  There are two ways to do a recipe search.
1. by course, category or special diets
2. by what you have on hand in the pantry

I tend to use option 2 most often when playing with the App, or searching for any recipe really.  You can also create a list of favorite recipes and once you've chosen a recipe to try, the App allows you create a grocery list that you can actually cross off items.

On hand I had squash, chicken and tomatoes and the App gave me 4 recipe options, I chose "Family Night Chicken with Winter Squash."  The recipe was super easy to follow, it didn't have any crazy ingredients that I could only find at Whole Foods (I did all my shopping at Publix) and the meal was delicious.  I found it a little difficult to follow the recipe on one tab while having to flip back to the ingredient tab to find out the sizes.  (Add the tomato paste and garlic to a bowl... well how much of each... I had to flip back and forth.)  Making it even more difficult was having dirty hands to keep the screen lit while I was reading ahead.

All in all, it was a good experience and I'll use it again.  I also have the AllRecipes App that I haven't used yet.  The phone Apps won't replace my print outs and magazines, but having one more alternative never hurts!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Longest run yet!

Yesterday was officially 8 weeks until the Peachtree Road Race on July 4.  That means it's do or die time for my 10k training.  I have an 8-week training schedule that I found online and it started last night.  Basically the plan is to run 3x a week with 2 days of rest and 2 days of light cardio.  Week one starts with a 1.5 mile run and each day's run increases by half a mile.  By the end of the schedule you're at 10.2 miles.

I've been running for a few weeks now, but not consistently.  I'm able to run 2.5 miles in 30 minutes.  That's not going to cut it when it comes to race day.  Last night I decided to take a longer route through the park, explore some of the new expansions of the park and run 3+ miles.

I'll start by saying that the additions to the Park are amazing.  There are separate large and small dog parks, each huge, new trails and a couple new grass areas complete with bathrooms, water fountains and privacy. The main areas of the park were pretty busy last night, these new areas were almost unused.  I am in the park multiple times a week and I didn't know the park went back that far, so I'm sure a lot of people don't.  I hope it stays that way for a while.  A picnic on Sunday sounds perfect... I'd love to have a quiet area.

Area 15 (top right area north of the Botanical Garden) is the expansion.  I usually run on the paths shown in the map, the new paths aren't even on the map, but they were fantastic. 

The run was pretty brutal, but when it was over I felt like I could have pushed for another half a mile.  Our 3.24 miles was done in 38 minutes.  Not fast by any means, but I did it.  Stephen was a great running coach, he wouldn't let me quit, he knew I didn't need to.  It's so nice to have someone who wants to run with me and push me to do more.  I've now run a 5k distance, I'm halfway there.  The longest run of my life.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Farmer's Market and Babies

This past weekend was a quiet one - the last quiet weekend until mid-July.  I wanted to enjoy it to it's fullest.  It stresses me out to think about all of the trips, events and weddings that I have coming up, but they are all going to be fantastic.  I have to take one week at a time.

If you live in Atlanta and haven't been to RiRa for dinner, DO IT.  I didn't know what to expect, I thought it would be boring bar food but it was awesome!  I got a chicken sandwich and it came with sweet potato tater tots.  WHAT?!  SO GOOD.

This past weekend was the start of a few big weekend events at Piedmont Park - the first week of the Farmer's Market and the start of the Sunday evening live music at Park Tavern.  The Farmer's Market runs every Saturday morning from 9am-1pm until December!  I'm so excited.  I took a walk up with Stephen and Mabel to see what the local farmers had to offer.  I was so impressed, I'm sad I didn't take any pictures.  We ended up buying some squash, tomatoes and red potatoes.  I can't wait to eat the fresh produce.  There was also a guy selling beef.  We didn't get any this week, but I have a feeling I'll be planning meals around what I can get on Saturday mornings from now on.  Mabel enjoyed seeing all of the other dogs and a nice Saturday morning stroll through the park is exactly what I needed.

Saturday evening I got to babysit for my favorite little one, Peyton. If you've been reading for a few months, she is the baby that traveled with us on our ski trip.  She's now 10 months old and can stand by her self for a few seconds.  I can't believe how fast she's growing up.

You can sort of see all of her toys around her in the background of the picture, but she was completely occupied for close to an hour with my iphone case.  Ahhh, the little things.  Look at those cheeks!!!! 

Sunday I attended the baptism of my other good friend's little girl, Anna Grace.  It was so pretty and Anna was great during the entire service.  She just learned how to blow raspberries, so that's what she did most of the time.  How can you not laugh at a baby spitting, especially at church!  So cute.  Later I offered to hold Anna so her mom could finish her dessert and she passed out in my arms.  I guess I have "the touch" - every family member told me so.  :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Take me out to the Ball Game!

Last night was the first double header of the season for the Braves because of rain the night before.  The Braves are in the middle of a series with the Brewers.  Doesn't sound super exciting, I know, UNTIL you hear the greatest story.

One of my very best friends comes from a family of baseball pitchers.  All three boys have had success in high school and college.  The youngest brother, Mike McClendon, has had the longest career in AAA.  Last season he was called up for 4 months to play for the Brewers.  It was awesome to see him pitch on television.  I freaked out every game I was able to watch.  At the start of this season he was still down in AAA.  Not anymore!  Last night he got the call that he'll be back in the bigs, just in time for tonight's game in Atlanta!

Check it out

I'll be heading back to my 2nd night and 3rd Braves game tonight.  I'm so excited.  I've never seen him pitch in person.  My camera is ready and I'll have pictures tomorrow.

In other news...

Monday night Stephen took me out for our official 3rd date and we went to Wisteria in Inman Park.  I've been dying to go to Wisteria for years.  YEARS!  I never wanted to go with just friends, I always wanted it to be a date, but they guy had to come up with it on his own.  Stephen was the first guy to get it right.  I'm not sure I've had such a delicious meal.  It beats Top Flr, but not by much.  I would go back to Wisteria night after night.  Our service was great, the wine delicious, and our entrees were unbelievable.  I had the scallops over risotto and Stephen had the shrimp and grits.  Every last bite was finished.

Monday, May 2, 2011

We got him!

Waking up the morning and getting out of the shower I was told the news that last night Osama Bin Laden was killed by US forces.  I can't really explain it, but a wave of peace came over me.  It took almost 10 years to pay him back for what he did to our country and citizens, but we did not back down, we did not give up.  One thing that really stuck out to me is that after all the destruction that he caused and all of the hate the he fueled,  we still buried him according to Muslim traditions.  Tell me that would have happened if it were the other way around...

Front page of the AJC this morning

Thanks to all of the men and women who have fought for our country or given the ultimate sacrifice to secure our freedom over the past decade.  God Bless the USA.

Now on to the weekend recap...

Friday night I saw Water for Elephants with Jessica.

I loved the book, read it on one single day, and was very anxious for the movie.  It got a lot of mixed reviews, but I knew it was going to stick to the book so I would like it.  I give it a 3 out of 5.  I've told a few people, but I think the book moved faster than the movie.  On screen it felt rushed and the character development didn't seem to happen.  I don't think there was a lack of chemistry between Robert and Reece, but I don't think film version allowed the audience to see how strong their connection was.  I'll add this to the long, long list of books that are better than the movies.

Saturday was Ashely Fest.  The Inman Park Festival was all weekend and my friend Ashely decided to host a BBQ at her place like Michelle and I hosted for the Dogwood Festival.  It was fantastic!  So many great people came out.  Saturday night was an engagement party for two of my best friends, Hanieh and Briton.  It was one of the most beautiful and love filled events I've been to outside of an actual wedding. The families joining together are fantastic in their own right, and putting them together makes my heart happy. I can't wait for the wedding in August.

Sunday I got a big surprise.  The Atlanta Film Festival started over the weekend and when I was at the theater with Jessica I picked up a brochure to see what was playing and saw that Another Earth was showing Sunday night.  If you haven't heard about Another Earth, stop reading now and go watch the trailer.  The movie was written, produced and acted in by one of my childhood best friends, Brit Marling.  We met in elementary school Gifted class and spend years just hanging out together and with our sisters.  She went on to much bigger and better things than I have since high school and I'm so very proud of her.  Watching her on screen was amazing.  She was unbelievable.  I know this is the first of so many movies for her, I can't wait to see where her career takes her.

The story is one that will stick with you long after the ending credits finish rolling.  I had 6 friends with me at the viewing and we all stood outside the theater to discuss what the film meant and what Brit was trying to say with the ending.  Please go see this movie when it's released in July, you will not regret it.  I've already decided that I need to see it again and I can't believe I have to wait a few months to see it.