Pinkberry, SYTYCD and dance friends = perfect Wednesday night

Yesterday was one of the best Wednesdays I’ve had in quite a while.

My work day flew by (for the most part) and at 3:30, I was changed into my gym clothes and practically running out the door to get to the gym.  The reason?  Well, I read Ali’s blog every day and she is the NYC queen of fitness classes.  She’ll do Chisel followed by Spinning, all after a long day at work and a 5am run.  Seriously, I want to be her.

So I got myself motivated and chose my class of the day: Barbell Pump.  60 minutes of muscle-conditioning goodness.  The type that provides a special genre of soreness, one I am feeling right now.  But it was awesome.  The instructor is tough, but hilarious and I think we did lunges and squats for a straight 20 minutes without stopping.  I was short on time because of my night’s plans so when I got to the gym at 3:42 (class starts at 4), I quickly set up my area and got in a quick 10 minutes of cardio on the treadmill.  I ran a fast 9:05 mile (READ: I’ve never run a mile that fast EVER IN MY LIFE) and rounded out 10 minutes for a solid sweat.  And oh yes, was I sweating.

The sweat continued throughout the muscle class and I left the gym feeling accomplished and worthy of my Wednesday night treat: Pinkberry and So You Think You Can Dance with my DanceWorks Boston Wednesday night friends. 

After a speedy shower and even speedier dinner (Weight Watchers Ravioli in Marinara… a delicious 7 PointsPlus investment), I was out the door and on the train to Newbury Street to meet up with the ladies.

Pinkberry = Perfect frozen (guilt-free!) treat on a warm summer night.

Chocolate fro-yo with lots of strawberries.

We then headed back to Lisa’s beautiful apartment to watch some quality dancing.  A little DWB Project, a little So You Think You Can Dance… what’s not to love?

I gotta say… Melanie from this season is my absolute favorite.  All of the contestants this year are really talented and there aren’t any obvious weak links so I think kicking people off is going to be harder and harder each week.  All of the dancers have incredible technique but Melanie stands out for me.

Question: Do you watch SYTYCD?  Who is your favorite this season?  And what’s your favorite routine this far?  Mine is a 3-way tie between Melanie and Marko’s stone contemporary dance from week 1, Melanie and Marko’s lyrical-hip hop last night and Caitlynn (my other favorite girl) and Mitchell’s lyrical (with the chairs) from Week 2.

After a spectacular night in Boston, I took the train home, reviewed some NDA material and hit my bed hard.  Sign of a good day.

I also decided I want to open a Pinkberry near my house because the closest one is in Boston and that’s just a tad too far to drive for fro-yo.  Who wants in?

Cake Pops

My NDA summer officially begins next Monday (yep – the 4th of July) when I board a flight to Kansas.  Never been there and very excited to visit.  Ergo, I have lots of routine learning to do which is why I opted out of the gym yesterday to dance around in my living room.

My afternoon...
And some Rachael Ray!

I also decided that I want to invest my time in trying at least 2 new recipes a week.  Recipes that are healthy, fun and different.  Last night, I dove into the world of Cake Pops after Hungry Girl remade them.  (The secret to their low calorie success = marshmallows!)

Warning: This recipe, while not complicated, gets VERY messy.  It says to “dampen your hands often” to prevent the cake from sticking, but the cake will probably stick to your hands anyway.  You will become a gooey mess and wonder why the hell you are doing this about halfway through the process.  Are we all okay with that?  Alright.  Moving on…

The cake pops are chocolate-y, soft and rich and while they are supposed to resemble the classic pops that Starbucks now offers at 200 calories each (and those things are teenie tiny), this recipe lightens the load and they are BIGGER.  They are 3 PointsPlus on Weight Watchers (oh yeah, did I mention I’m trying that again? But the book version this time, not the online.. more details about that another time) and I could’ve eaten the whole tray.  I restrained myself, don’t worry.

Cake Pops
Adapted from Hungry Girl
Should yield 20-24 pops, I got 21

Half a box of Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake Mix (about 1.5 cups)
1/2 cup no-sugar-added applesauce
1 cup Cool Whip Free
12 regular-sized marshmellows, halved widthwise
1 cup mini chocolate chips
20-24 lollipop sticks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8×8 baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.

Combine cake mix, applesauce and 1/2 cup water in a bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine.  The batter will be thick but if it’s a bit lumpy, add a bit more water to thin in it.  Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and bake in oven for approximately 35 minutes or until a knife comes out of the center clean.

Let cake cool completely.  This is very important – don’t ignore it!

While the cake is cooling, you can line a baking sheet with parchment paper and make room in your fridge for it.  That should take all of 30 seconds, leaving you plently of time to watch tv, read a book or stalk follow a blog.

Once cake is cooled, place it in a large bowl and crumble it with your hands until you have crumbs.  Add the Cool Whip and use your hands to combine the two.  The mixture should hold its shape once fully combined and will be very moist.

Place half of the mixture on a non-wooden cutting board and form a log.  Slice the log into 12 equal pieces.  Dampen your hands often to help prevent the cake from sticking (…..) Take each piece, roll into into a ball and flatten it on your palm.  Place a marshmallow half in the center of the cake and mold the cake around the ‘mallow until it is completely covered.  Roll the cake-covered-mallow in your hands to form a ball and place on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with all of the pieces and the other half of the cake mixture until you have a lovely sheet full of cake-covered marshmallow balls.

Insert a lollipop stick into the center of each pop.  Be careful not to go all with way through the ball. 

Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.  Start with 45 seconds on 50% power, and then in 30 second intervals at 50% power, stirring in between until the chips are melted completely.

Using a spoon, cover each cake ball with chocolate and place back on the baking sheet, stick up.  Transfer sheet to fridge and let the chocolate harden (should take about 45 minutes.)

Then mow inhale enjoy responsibly!

Marshmallow-y goodness.

Cruise Vacation Part One: What We Did and Where We Went

So we finally got the pictures from our cruise uploaded into Stephen’s computer and I’ve spent quite a while organizing them.  This post will be the first in a 2-part installment of my cruise to Florida/The Bahamas.  Today, you get all the pretty pictures and details about what we did.  Next post, you get all the food (!!!)

I wanted to give a recap of my trip (with lots of photos) without boring you all to tears so I’ll keep it as brief as I can and let you revel in my photography skills.. or lack there of.

2 Saturdays ago, the 13th, Stephen and I boarded a bus at 7:30 am to make the 4 and 1/2 hour trek to NYC.  When we got there, we walked 12 or so blocks to the Norwegian port (stopping to look at the Intrepid military boat per Stephen), dropped our checked bags off and headed to the security line. 

Hi Intrepid!

Our stateroom, though a bit small, was beautiful with a large window and an obstructed view of the ocean.  It was raining in New York that day or else my bathing suit would have been the first thing out of my suitcase  Instead, knowing there was a massive crowd still boarding, we relaxed in the room until we heard the cruise director, Dan The Man, announce that we would have a “security drill” and it was mandatory.  Fun times, people, fun times.

After the drill, we got strong fruity drinks and watched the boat disembark New York City.  We saw the Statue of Liberty too and even though I’ve seen her before, Stephen was pretty excited to witness it for the first time.

Stateroom 8056
A little blurry but you get the idea...

 After dinner, we went into the Stardust Theater to watch the “Welcome Aboard” show.  It gave us a sense of what types of entertainment would be provided during the week and I was more eager than ever to get started.  Setting the alarm for an early morning workout, we headed to bed around 11, exhausted from our travel day.

The Stardust Theater

We spent Sunday in the sun, cruising down the coast.  After a sweat session in the gym, I was determined to get a tan.  The weather was warm and sunny.  New bathing suit on, tanning lotion ready and book in hand (Harry Potter 7… had to reread it before the last movie…), I relaxed outside like a cat curled up in the warm sun.  Nothing could deter me from a peaceful few hours outside.

Many chapters and a slightly deeper skin tone later, I pulled Stephen from the outside deck to some indoor activities.  First, we went to an art auction where we saw original pieces from some of the most famous artists in history.  Oh, and there was a Picasso that went for $78,000. NBD.  The auctioneer even gave away $99 spa treatments and you knew I would be all over that.  I got a hot stone back massage, foot massage and mini facial later on that afternoon and was in spa heaven.  It’s nice to be pampered on vacation.

I also dragged Stephen kicking and screaming convinced Stephen to go to the Fyzz Lounge to take a Merengue dance class with me.  Yes friends, I got my boyfriend to move his hips and sway to the music.  It wasn’t necessarily a performance worthy of Dancing With the Stars but he tried it to make me happy.

Merengue Dance Class
Monday morning, we were up early again to hit the gym before the ship docked in Port Canaveral in Orlando, Florida and venturing to Universal Islands of Adventure.  I had been to Universal Studios on many occasions in the past but could never convince my parents to take it a step further into the park with the giant rollercoasters (my parents aren’t as fun as me.)  I was most excited about one section in particular.  Can you guess what?
Hogwarts Castle.. NBD

When we entered the park, I practically ran to the entrance of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and was immediately overwhelmed.  Sweating slightly, we went right to the main attraction: Hogwarts Castle for the ride, Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey.  Sure, it was approximately 100 degrees out and the line was an hour long but I was determined to do it first.  The line wound outside for a while (in the greenhouses) before entering the castle.  Inside, you walk down the corridor to Dumbledore’s office where the golden eagle statue waits for the password.  Winding still, you enter Dumbledore’s office where the pensieve, destroyed horcruxes and Dumbledore himself can be found speaking with those in line.  Further still, Harry, Hermione and Ron talk about the adventure you are about to take before with them.  You step onto the ride platform, get strapped into your “broom” and take off for the most exciting 2 minutes I’ve ever had on a ride.  I may have screamed when we came face to face with a fire-breathing dragon and we got a little too close for comfort to the spider, Aragog, but I loved the ride and could’ve ridden it again and again all day long.

Following the ride, Stephen and I indulged in a little butterbeer and a little wand buying.  Yes, I bought a wand.  And yes, butterbeer is frothy, sweet and the “foam” they put on top was the finishing touch.  I even got a cute souvenir mug to take home.  I don’t hate it.

2 very happy people with that butterbeer...
Souvenir Mug
You know you want one.

We continued through the park, getting drenched on the Jurassic Park River Cruise.  If you go to this park and they tell you it’s like the Jungle Cruise at Disney World, they are lying.  It’s more like Splash Moutain with dinosaurs and more water.  Fun stuff.  And we only waited 10 minutes in line for the Hulk ride which is practically unheard of in a crazy-busy theme park like Universal.  It was awesome.

The Hulk

 After about 7 hours of sweaty fun, we headed back to the ship.  I was exhausted, hungry and eager to watch Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Bruins and the Canucks.  I ran walked briskly to the Fyzz Lounge where the game was being broadcast on a flat screen TV.  Lots of Bruins fans and even some Canuck fans took over the lounge.  In the end, if you didn’t watch the Stanley Cup Finals, the B’s won game 6 to force the series into game 7.  Stephen and I even met a nice couple from Pennsylvania who were Bruins supporters.  It’s nice to see temporary converts when their team doesn’t make the finals.

Tuesday and Wednesday were dedicated to the Bahamas themselves.  Tuesday, the ship pulled up to a gorgeous island, Great Stirrup Cay, where Stephen and I spent the day snorkeling, enjoying the white sandy beach and crystal clear water.  Okay, okay, I snorkeled all of 30 minutes before getting freaked out and opting to stay in the shallow part of the water and getting my tan on most of the day.  At least I tried the snorkeling part.  There were mere wisps of clouds that day and the sun was beating down hard.  Despite my efforts with applying and reapplying sunscreen, I found myself with a terrible burn later on.  Fail.

Great Stirrup Cay

On Wednesday, I was an attractive shade of boiled lobster.  Our ship docked in Nassau, Bahamas and in the distance, we could see the Atlantis Resort, one of the most expensive and glamourous resorts in the entire Caribbean.  I immediately thought of the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movie “Island in the Sun”.  Don’t judge.

Atlantis Resort

It was another hot day, lots of sun and minimal cloud cover.  Additional burning may have occurred.  We spent lots of time on the river rapids getting tossed around in inflated tubes and I even swam in the large pools.  I know, right… me, swimming?  I must’ve been wrapped up in the moment or something.  Stephen and I also attempted those large water slides the Atlantis water park is so famous for but in the blazing heat and unshaded long lines, we had to abandon our vertical drop adventures for a colder attraction.  Plus, I saw how steep and high the “Leap of Faith” slide was and totally chickened out.  No faith.

The Lagoon
The Royal Towers

Our passes also allowed us access to the resort’s aquarium, “The Dig.”

RIP Steve Urwin..

I was exhausted by the time we got back on the Jewel but there was no time for sleeping.  Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals was on and the Fyzz Lounge was packed. 

You know how things end…


On that happy note, I had a glass of red wine and went to bed, excited to sleep in the next morning.

Thursday included such things as: a workout, lots of aloe-vera, reading, minimal sun and maximum entertainment.  We saw Duo ArtMotion in the Stardust Theater and were absolutely blown away.  A couple from the Ukraine, they perform complicated and dangerous aerial acts including tissue silks, a hollow box and rings.  They were both so incredibly flexible, effortless and flawless.  I was awestruck by the end. 

Other shows we saw on the ship included “Band on the Run” which was a 70’s inspired dance and singing show, a comedy variety show and Le Cirque Bijou, a mixture of dance, gymnastics and aerial acts performed by the Jewel Production Cast and Duo ArtMotion.


When Thursday rolled around, I was still burnt but not yet ready for my vacation to end.  A whole day at sea, we again took advantage of lots of down time, some room service, a complimentary cooking class, dinner with the great couple we met while watching the Bruins games and a comedy-magic show of the famous Jean Pierre.

Now, let me tell you… this guy was good.  Better than good.  At first, he draws you in with silly tricks, messing them up to make you think he doesn’t know what he is doing and then pulls the rug out from under you when he does something incredible.  Like making a playing card appear IN an orange that matched the one a kid pulled out the deck earlier in the show.  I can’t even explain it.  He was hysterical and I loved seeing him, not once, not twice but four times throughout the cruise.  And when JP tours in Boston, you know Stephen and I will be there.

Jean Pierre in his close-up show

Thursday night was dedicated to one thing: ASTI.  For those of you who don’t know, Asti Spumonti is an Italian sparkling white wine, very similiar to champagne and Stephen and I LOVE it.  We brought a huge bottle on board (yes, it was legal) and planned on drinking it all on Thursday night.  Which we did… and promptly fell asleep afterwards.

Asti = Happy Couple

Our last day at sea, Friday, was cooler as our ship tugged back up the east coast but there was still plenty of fun left.  We bought more souvenirs including an 8-year aged bottle of rum that was made in the Bahamas.  Stephen and I spent a little more time in the sun, I finished my book and started another and for dinner, we made reservations at one of the specialty restaurants on board: Sushi.  It was incredible but more about that in my next post!

To finish the night, the adult lounge on the top deck hosted the game “The Quest: What Happens on the Jewel, Stays on the Jewel.”  It was hilarious.  They even got a bunch of the men in the audience to strip down to their underwear, put on bras, lipstick and women’s shoes and show off their dance moves.  The guys on our team wouldn’t do it but hey, I wouldn’t have done it either!

So pretty!

Saturday morning eventually had to come and by 8am, we were docked NYC and back to reality.  Tan (burnt), relaxed and happy, we made the bus trip back to Boston in time to see the end of the Bruins parade trickle out.  It was an amazing vacation… we can’t wait to take another!


I’m Back!

…and burnt.  Very burnt.  But I had the most incredible time on my cruise with the boyfriend.  So many pictures to come, plus an entire post dedicated to the delicious food I ate.  (Which surprisingly was not as much as I thought I would eat!)

For now, here’s some butterbeer to cool down your Monday.  (PS – it’s non-alcoholic, sweet and the perfect beverage on a 100 degree day!)

Happy Monday to everyone.  Sad to be back to reality but glad to be back to the blog!

Guest Post: Megan from Cooking Whims

Okay, guys… it’s time to get serious.  Like food serious.  I’ve been on this cruise for 6 days now and no doubt those late night buffets are callin’ my name.  I’m fighting the urges (and winning!) and battling back harder with early morning trips to the fitness center (gotta get my sweat on before I even attempt to lay outside in a bathing suit.)  It’s great that I have a boyfriend who loves to work out as much as I do because I don’t have to beg him to go with me.  I’m coming home tomorrow with full details (and pictures) about everything I ate (and hopefully passed up on the buffet line) while I was on my cruise and start cooking lots more (super healthy!!) food when I get back.

On that note, our last guest post is from Megan, host of Cooking Whims.  Megan and I went to college together and she lived with one of my best friends so we got to know each other pretty well.  And we might have been in a musical together where I played Snow White and she was a sacred cow… NBD.  Anyway, if you love to cook as much as I do, you need to check out her blog.  Not only is her food delicious but she is also an aspiring photographer… and quite talented.

Thanks for posting MK!

First of all, thank you Marie for letting me guest post today! I love reading Marie’s blog and am honored to be writing up a post for her today.

Today I’m going to feature a pasta dish–and this isn’t your traditional spaghetti and meatballs. This is a meatless, yet hearty pasta dish with incredibly flavorful roasted veggies. The vegetables consist of button mushrooms, eggplant, potatoes, carrots, red onions, and broccoli. They are roasted in a coating of olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and thyme.

Now, I’ll all for trying new and exotic things and stepping it up in the kitchen to an extra daring level, but most days after work all I want to do is get in my workout, eat dinner, and park myself in front of the TV for the rest of the night. So I love having easy, healthy, and delicious recipes on hand to make this thought a reality. Let’s save the sautéed octopus for the weekends, shall we?

Added bonus? It’s vegetarian—a simple meal to detox with after a weekend of beer, beer, beer, pizza, and a hot dog or two… 😉

Oven-roasted Vegetables with Rigatoni (Adapted from The Bon Appetit Cookbook)

Serves 6


  • 1 small eggplant, cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • 2 small red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup mushrooms, quartered
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 (14 oz) box rigatoni pasta
  • Parmesan cheese


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine first 8 ingredients in large roasting pan. Add olive oil and toss to coat well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Then add broccoli to pan and roast until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Add ½ cup of pasta water to vegetables in roasting pan. Toss pasta with veggies to combine. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

My Two Cents: This dish is so versatile. You can throw your favorite vegetables into the roasting pan, or even do a “clean-out-the-fridge” meal with this pasta dish. Half a tomato in the fridge? A quarter of a zucchini? Throw ‘em in there! It’s a great way to use leftovers.

And try other cheese, too. Sprinkle mozzarella on the top of the dish and stick the pasta and veggies back in the oven for 5 minutes to allow the cheese to melt. Shave some fresh Romano cheese over the pasta. But don’t skimp on the cheese 😉

Overall, perfect meal for a casual weeknight.


Guest Post: Jennifer from Blue-Eyed Belle

Norwegian Cruise Day 5… by now, I have visited the infamous Harry Potter world, snorkeled in a sea full of living creatures, taken approximately 5,000 pictures and will now embark on another adventure: the Aqua Adventure Water Park at the Atlantis Resort in Nassau, Bahamas.  O.M.G.

The first time I saw this resort, I was watching the movie “Island in the Sun”… yeah, the Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen movie.  I remember thinking how cool it would be to go there.  And today, I’m going.  I plan on wearing a very not-revealing bathing suit (um, do you know what happens when you go down a water slide in a string bikini? I do…it’s not pleasant) and shooting down water slides like it’s my job.  There is even a slide that goes through a shark tank.  I hope I don’t freak out but I’ll give you a full recap as soon as I’m home.

If today is the day you need motivation to run, then I have the perfect guest post for you.  Jennifer from blue-eyed belle wrote a post about her journey through the Couch to 5K plan.  Although she has hit a few bumps along the road, I know she can complete it and will run her first 5K race as soon as she can.  If she didn’t live in a different part of the country, I’d totally run it with her.  Thanks for posting, Jennifer!

Hi y’all! I am Jennifer from Blue-Eyed Belle. I blog about things that make me happy like music, the little things, and anything else you can think of. I knew I had to jump on this opportunity when I saw that Marie was looking for guest bloggers.

As you all know, Marie just completed her first 5K race a couple weeks ago. I can honestly tell you that she has been some serious motivation for me. She found me on Twitter through Christine because I asked about doing Couch to 5K. Marie told me that she was doing the program also. It was awesome to have people I don’t even know rooting for me and I felt great about myself.

However, life happens. Due to some tornadoes {I live in the South} and some little pains in my shins, I stopped running for about three weeks. It’s not that I didn’t want to get back into the program because I did. But honestly sometimes it’s easier to come home after a day of work, make some dinner, and just sit on the couch. So I thought, “Self, what if you wake up early in the morning and go running?” I really might have laughed out loud when that thought crossed my mind. I do good to get myself out of bed to shower in enough time in the morning. I finally told myself {and my running buddy, E}, “I am getting back into this program tonight whether I want to or not.” So, I did. And it felt great. Then two days later, the weather was perfect and I went on a 2-hour walk. And guess what? My shins {and everything else} hurt again. Now it’s been 2 weeks since I last did the program. SERIOUSLY?!

I’m not here to make excuses. What I am here to say is that we all have different levels of motivation, especially when it comes to working out. We tell ourselves that we can take a night off and then we never pick it back up. But then, there are those people that come home from work, change into their running gear, run 2 or 3 miles, then come home and make dinner.

It’s time to do a motivation check! Do I want to be healthier and feel better at 24 than I do at 23? Yes! Did I resolve to exercise regularly and lose weight this year? Yes!

When it comes down to it, we are our own motivation. When I am running I’m not thinking that it will make me more loved or richer {because it won’t}, but it does make me happier and it’s a nice ego booster. So, run {or workout} for yourself because you promised yourself you would and because you want to.

What motivates you to exercise?

Thanks for having me, Marie! I hope you’re having a great time on your cruise!

Guest Post: Suz from 30 Before 30 List

Today on my vacation: I am on the island of Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas and doing something I haven’t done since my trip to Puerto Rico… snorkeling.  God help me.  I’m not the best swimmer so I will be relying heavily on the life vest to buoy me along.  I do have an underwater camera so there will be lots of fun pictures when I get back!

That being said, it’s time for my third guest post!  This one comes from Suz and her blog, 30 Before 30 List.  This list is so creative and I’m dying to make one.  Suz has accomplished almost every goal on her list (including my personal 5K favorite) and strives every day to be the best person she can be.  Check out her blog… I bet she inspires you too!

Hello lovely readers!  I’m Suz from 30 Before 30 List and I’m filling in for Marie while she is off drinking butterbeer and soaking up the sun in the Bahamas (so jealous!)
Anyway, my little blog was born back in 2008 and it was mainly a place to document my progress marking off items on my “30 things to do before 30” list.  At the time I was getting ready to turn 28 and I felt a little lost in life.  I thought the list would give me direction and the blog would hold me accountable.  They both did that and so much more for me over the last few years!
Last year when I turned 30 I wasn’t finished with everything on the list and I kind of felt like I had failed, but then I looked back on all that I had done and thought screw it, it’s my list, my rules and look at all you have done!  Here are some of the highlights:
#3- get a job I love:  The job I love kind of fell into my lap.  But it was quite a journey to get there.  I was not happy in my job back in 2008.  April 30, 2009 my company did a big round of layoffs and I was one of the casualties.  Even though I hated the job, it was devastating.  But it was the push I needed.  For the next year I worked for a local real estate team doing their marketing.  It was great except for the money.  I had taken a 35% pay cut and it was almost impossible to live off of and I learned no matter how much you like your job, you can’t love it when you are constantly worried about being able to pay your bills.  In April of last year a recruiter called and asked me if I would like to interview for a marketing position with a big technology company in the area and 5 days later I had the job!  I was nervous coming back to the cooperate world, but this job fits me perfectly.  No job is perfect, but having a job you love makes a huge difference in all areas of your life!  You can read more about why I love the job here:
#7- run a 5K:  I ran my first 5K back in Dec. 2008.  I did not love my first 5K experience.  I’m slow and it was hard and I did not feel accomplished because I was comparing myself to everyone else.  I decided to try again last fall.  I used the Couch 2 5K app on my iPhone again and ran the very same race I had back in 2008.  My goal was to run the whole time with no walking breaks.  And I did it!  But you know what?  My time was slower than the first time I did it and I had taken quite a few walking breaks back then!  That was a let down.  So I trained again and ran another 5K in April.  Beat my time from the previous 5K but still didn’t beat the 2008 time.  So I ran another one a few weeks later.  I felt really good about that one but guess what!?  I still didn’t beat my 2008 time.  So I ran one more in May.  I finally beat my 2008 time by 20 seconds.  What makes this one of my favorite items on the list though despite these time frustrations is that I am still running.  I run 2-4 miles at least 3 times/week now.  I never thought that was possible and now it is a habit with a limitless amount of goals I can keep striving for.  I think my next will be a half marathon!
#19- travel abroad:  Last summer I went to Dubai on my very first trip overseas and it was amazing!  That trip also helped me mark 2 other things off my list as well and it was amazing.  If you want to read more about my Dubai adventures go here:
I still have 7 things to mark off my list, but I am well on my way to marking them all off before my 31st birthday this August.  You can see my entire 30 Before 30 list and follow along with my adventures here:
If you have ever thought about making a bucket list, I highly recommend it!  I already have my 40 Before 40 list mapped out.  I think the time deadline is also a good thing because then you can’t put things off indefinitely.  Make your list a mix of easier things and bigger more complicated things.  And give yourself time.  Two years was not long enough for the things I had on my list.  Also make sure the things you put on your list aren’t vague.  Don’t put things like “Be better with money” or “exercise more”.  The items on your list need to be quantifiable and definite so that you know exactly when you complete them and can mark them off.

So, give me some more ideas for my next list!  What’s on your bucket list??

Guest Post: Valerie from Turning Phrases

It’s Day 3 on my cruise.  Boyfriend and I are eager to get to Orlando today and venture to Universal Studios: Islands of Adventure park (cough, cough..HARRY POTTER WORLD) and spend the day riding huge rollercoasters and trying butterbeer.

My second installment in guest posting this week comes from Valerie of Turning Phrases.  Val and I went to high school together but I didn’t know she had a blog until recently.  While she mostly concentrates on fiction and creative non-fiction, I convinced her to write a post about her favorite place, the city she now lives in, just outside of New York City.  She loves theater and literature and NYC is the best place for her!

Hello! My name is Valerie and I have a quirky little blog called Turning Phrases.  I have known Marie since high school [from which I graduated six years ago…yikes!] and am beyond honored to be guest posting here.  This post is about New York [where I now live] and why I love it so much.  Well, a little about why I love it so much; I find new things to add to the list every day.

It’s hard to explain the feeling. It’s more than determination, more than a dream. It’s knowing.

It’s how I felt the first time I came to visit New York when I was thirteen. I knew right then and there that I would live there someday.
About five years later I was packing my bags and on my way. Of course, there’s always that fear – what if it WAS just a dream? What if my expectations are too high? What if I’m not cut out for this?

As it turns out, New York has exceeded every one of my expectations. I’ve even exceeded my expectations.

When Marie asked me to write about why I love living in New York I was like, “Oh you’re looking for novels?”. Over the past five years, sometimes college was annoying, sometimes grad school was hard, sometimes my jobs sucked. But my love for this city never wavered. Any time I was craving a change, that was the only thing I knew I wanted to remain constant.

In the past week, I have gone to the movies in Times Square, had brunch in the financial district, went to a mall in Brooklyn, had a game night in Queens, saw a Broadway show by myself (for $5!), and went to a library. One week!

I’m sure you could do most of these things almost anywhere. But it wouldn’t have the same electric energy this city has. You wouldn’t have been able to walk to two different bars after the movies or get your show tickets from a somewhat sketchy man outside a Starbucks.

I suppose it’s not the activities themselves. It’s the entire experience surrounding these activities. It’s never knowing what will come next. It’s meeting the most interesting people and doing the most interesting things on a day-to-day basis.

So, I guess my favorite thing to do in the city is to just go where it takes me. To always say yes to any adventure that is presented to me. Whether it’s taking a day to walk around my neighborhood to see what I can see, spending the night bar hopping with some of my favorite people, or going on a spur of the moment trip to a museum, this city never ceases to make my heart flutter with excitement.

What is your favorite place to live or visit?

Guest Post: Alyssa from SocraTeas

Hi all!  Today, I am venturing to New York City to board my first cruise ship, the Norwegian Jewel.  Destination: Florida/The Bahamas.  After a 4ish-hour bus ride to NYC, I’m going to need a nap and a drink.  I think those might be the first 2 things on the agenda…

But for your reading pleasure (pun intended when you see her post…), here is Alyssa from SocraTeas with our first guest post of the week.  She is a busy and talented college student with a passion for tea and philosophy.  Thanks for posting, Alyssa!

Hello! I’m Alyssa and I blog over at SocraTeas. While Marie is enjoying the sun and beach in theBahamas(jealous) I thought I would share some good summer reads.

By the time summer comes around I’m ready to just read something fun. As a history/political science major, most of my time is spent reading. As much as I love it by the time May comes around I’m ready to pick up a few books that are a little bit lighter in material.

For the girl who enjoys chick lit, you should read Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell. Many of you are probably aware of Candace Bushnell through Sex and the City and now the popular Carrie Diaries, but I recommend looking at some of her other books. My personal favorite of Bushnell’s is not Sex in the City, but Lipstick Jungle. The story of Wendy, Nico and Victory has different glamorous careers with complicated love lives. I think it has more heart than Sex and the City (the book) as Wendy goes through a divorce where Nico deals with an affair with a young model. Victory’s story is more involved as it includes the problems she has with her fashion line. All in all it’s a good and quick read.


For the girl who enjoys classic Hollywood, you should read Me: Stories of my Life by Katherine Hepburn. Proving she is indeed a classy lady, Hepburn does not let it all hang out in her autobiography, but the charm of her writing does not lie in scandal, but rather makes you feel like you are talking to a friend. She does not spend a lot of time on her movies, but writes a lot about her early years and college which includes a funny anecdote about her smoking a cigarette out of her window. There are parts where Hepburn seems a bit scattered and some of it is jumpy, but it still proves to be a treat that allows you to get to know a great lady.


For the girl going through a breakup, you should read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Meet Marianne and Elinor Dashwood and become immersed in their relationship problems. Marianne falls head over heels forWilloughby. Every girl has had her ownWilloughby, the man who seems exceedingly perfect only to reveal himself as a jerk and all-around terrible person. Marianne suffers through the loss ofWilloughby and ends up learning about herself. Marianne is my favorite Austen heroine perhaps because she is the most relatable. We’ve all been silly over some boy before and we’ve all learned to grow from it to discover ourselves and then someone a bit more worthy of our affections.

For the girl who loves a good heroine, you should read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. My younger brother actually recommended me this series last summer. I must say for young adult fiction it blew me away. Katniss is young girl that gets chosen to take part in The Hunger Games. These games are a reality television show put on by the Capitol to remind their districts who is in charge. The contestants must fight each other to death until one champion is left. It’s a quick read and hard to put down. Most of us will never be put into a situation like Katniss, but we can all admire her wit and strength through a terrible time.

What books are on your summer reading list?

Bon Voyage!

In approximately 14 hours (but who’s counting?) I will be boarding my first cruise ship.  I will be without technology for a week with the exception of one day while my cruise is docked in Florida (Harry Potter World anyone?)

While I’m gone, I have lined up 5 wonderful guest posts by bloggers who’s blogs I follow regularly and love.  These ladies are seriously talented so I hope you will stop by and read what they have written for me.

I’ll be back next Saturday with tons of pictures and stories.

Bon Voyage!!