Things have been rolling along here, just puttering through this winter that suddenly got 10 times worse when Blizzard Nemo decided to dump close to 30 inches of snow on Massachusetts last weekend, but hey, shoveling is part of life too.
Now that things are cleaned up a bit, here’s what’s been going on lately.
– My wonderful boyfriend turned 27. Or as I like to remind him: the end to his mid-twenties and the almost-approaching-30 years. Needless to say, that doesn’t necessarily thrill him. But I did get him Bruins tickets for an April game against the Islanders and made this…
… so he was pretty happy. I found this beauty on Pinterest (follow me!) and followed this recipe to put it together. I highly recommend it even though it was a lengthy process.
– I successfully made Honey Oat Bread from scratch.
I’ve only attempted a yeast bread one other time and this one was way better. I usually shy away from recipes that call for 3+ hours of resting/rising time just because I usually don’t have that much time and I’m not very patient. But on a cold day with nothing to do and a lonely packet of instant yeast in the cabinet, why not? I recommend this recipe.
– My friends threw me a surprise Master’s graduation party…. and I had absolutely no idea. My best friends and dance friends were there and I got presents and drank (a lot of) Asti in celebration. It was wonderful.
– DanceWorks Boston Season 6 started!
I’m in 4 routines this time around, and choreographing my 5th DWB piece to “World Spins Madly On” by the Weepies. I’ll take a group photo at our next rehearsal.
– I’m going to host my 2nd giveaway soon!
Freshly baked cookies may or may not be included … don’t miss it!
Tell me! What’s new in your life? What would you like to see as a theme for a giveaway that includes cookies?
I had much of this post written before December 17th. I am going to leave what was written originally as is but add a little something up here first to give a little more context to my 2012…. I feel this post is better late than never.
On December 17th, my grandmother passed away. It was sudden, unexpected, and devastating. Mere days before Christmas, a fatal heart attack that no one saw coming was ultimately to blame. Surprisingly, I managed to keep myself together for most of what followed, only breaking down in the hardest moments, trying with everything I had in me to keep my tears hidden.
My Nuna was the most generous person I’ve ever known. Anything I ever wanted, she was willing to supply. She was the reason our Christmas tree had unnecessary but always welcome mounds of presents under it on Christmas Day, why I always had an “emergency $20” in my wallet (that was almost ALWAYS spent on non-emergent things) and why I had a life-size princess Barbie doll (remember those things?!)
She was also stubborn, but in the kind of way that made you thankful for traditional things, like the exact right way to make a turkey on Thanksgiving and why, to this day, I sit closer to my steering wheel in the car than is really necessary because “it’ll protect me.” No, it will probably make things worse, but things stick when you’re a little kid.
I miss my Nuna more than I can possibly say. I am thankful that I had her for almost all of 2012, but 2013 and on will not be the same without her.
Now, onto what I had written before. Happy New Years everyone!
2012 became a year that I never expected. Last December, I had my whole life planned out. A special relationship to me ended and I thought things would never be the same. They aren’t – they’re better. Things change, people change, and everything happens for a reason. I think I’ve finally grasped that concept.
But 2012 had many great things. Many amazing things. Allow me to tell you about them.
– I ran my first 5-miler.
– I ran my first 10K.
– I spent my summer at the London Olympics.
– I turned 24 on the top of the Eiffel Tower.
– I watched two of my childhood friends get married.
– I met a guy I would get to know while I was away for 7 weeks… and fall for him… hard.
– I was in 2 DanceWorks Boston shows and choreographed 2 routines for it.
– I finished my Master’s Degree. (FINALLY!!!!!! Master Torto has a great ring to it.)
– I got a part-time, paid internship as a Sports Web Producer at Boston.com.
– I changed in a lot of ways.
When I look back on 2012, I realized how much my life has changed and I honestly don’t think I’d change a single second of it. Even though parts of it were incredibly difficult and there were times when I wanted to give everything up and just live in my own misery, I pulled through it. I am happier than I have been in a long time.
Here’s to 2013 and everything it brings. I haven’t really made any New Year’s resolutions but here’s one: blog more. Good plan.
Apparently I took a completely unscheduled hiatus from blogging and now all of a sudden, it’s November.
I never really meant to stop blogging for all this time. Life just got away from me there for a while. If you’re just dying for a not-so-short-but-still-sweet recap of what’s been going on with me for the last 3 months, buckle up… you’re in for a bumpy ride.
I last left off leaving for Paris. It was incredible. I spent the first few minutes of my 24th birthday on the top of the lit up Eiffel Tower and it was nothing short of spectacular. Keesa, Matt, Justin and I spent the rest of the day lounging out front of the Eiffel tower with two bottles of wine before getting on a plane back to London.
Fast forward a few days…the London2012 Olympics were beginning, I was knee deep in school and internship work and life was surreal. Though stressed, I was happiest than I had been in months, partly due to completely unrelated circumstances that I will get to in a bit.
So the Olympics… yes, well, let’s just say I’ll never be able to watch them from my couch again. Yes, I will be finding a way to get to Rio in 2016, hopefully by then I’ll be an Olympic correspondent for… something… anything. Just get me to Rio.
So let’s back up a bit… before leaving for London I was pretty much a miserable wreck. Long story short, my boyfriend of a very long time broke up with me. I was blindsided, devastated and, in the midst of the worst and hardest semester of my entire life, fell completely apart. I considered dropping out of school, I considered giving up London, I considered being a moping, miserable person for the rest of my life. And for a few months, I was. But I stayed in school and committed to London because let’s be real here… what was the point of throwing away the $60,000 I had already spent on my grad program and the trip of a lifetime? There wasn’t.
I buried myself in my school work, dance and being with people who really did love me. I cried every day, multiple times a day for weeks. I listened to sad music, ran a lot of lonely miles and talked to anyone who would listen. I didn’t believe it when people told me that life would get better, that there was someone out there who would love me unconditionally, someone who I was supposed to be with. This was in March.
My BU friends took the brunt of the emotional roller coaster simply because I saw them every. single. day.
A few months went by and soon, I wasn’t crying anymore… or at least not as much. I finished my semester with one of the highest GPAs of my entire academic career and was now looking ahead to the summer. London: getting away, doing everything for myself, letting nothing hold me back. And I was scared as all hell to go away for 2 months so that pretty much trumped all other emotions at the time.
June rolled around and soon, I was mere days from leaving. But before I hopped on a plane to Europe for the summer, my family and I went to the wedding of two of my very good childhood friends. Together for 7 years, throughout high school and college, they got married in our church and had a beautiful reception on the water in Nahant. Though slightly emotional, it was one of the best nights I had in a very long time.
I even met someone… but more about him another time.
Spoiler alert: This is where the previously mentioned “happy, unrelated circumstances” comes into play.
Three days later, I boarded my plane, took off to London and went to the Olympics.
Is that the end of the story? Hardly. Let’s just say I not only got to go to the Olympics this summer, but I also got to know someone very special from 3,000 miles away. But I’ll leave it there for now.
Hello again! This time from Courtfield Gardens in Kensington.
I moved into my flat on Monday after a weeklong vacation with my family. Courtfield Gardens is a mere 25 minutes away via tube and I quickly settled into my 3-bed room with two roomies, our own bathroom and an accessible kitchen.
On Tuesday, my special topics class on the Olympics started. Three hours a day Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and our schedule looks a little something like this:
Essentially, I’m putting together a presentation about Women and the Olympics, shooting and editing a ton of video and stills, and have my first few weekends free to travel Europe and explore all that London has to offer.
Instead of sleeping after class, because let’s be real here…. I’m hardly doing any of that for one reason or another… I decided to go down to a local dance studio for an advanced contemporary class.
Not only were both the class and the instructor amazing (I was drenched in sweat within the first five minutes and could hardly move the next day), it had a familiar name making me feel right at home.
DanceWorks London… who knew?
When I got back from the class, my friends were ready to get a drink and check out some of the local nightlife. We decided on the Courtfield Pub about 10 minutes from our place.
The only boys in the program… they have it made.
On Wednesday, our group made the journey on the tube to West Ham to take an Olympic walking tour.
We walked for about 2 hours, learning about everything from past Olympics to how and why London was chosen over Paris for the 2012 Summer Games. Apparently everyone thought that Paris would get it over London, including all of England, and when it was announced that Paris lost, the French didn’t take it so well. Go figure.
For now, the area surrounding the Olympic Park is still pretty accessible but within the next few weeks, security will tighten and getting anywhere near the entrance will be impossible without tickets or the highest security clearance.
This is the viewing tower and the main Olympic arena…
Since it was the 4th of July on Wednesday, there was no way that we were going to not celebrate, despite the fact that we’re in England. If anything, the irony made it that much better. We got ready, had a drink or two, and found a bar in Covent Gardens called Roadhouse that we heard would be full of other Americans we could party with. It was.. and we had a blast.
Sometimes we let Justin think he has game…
Matt decided to bring the American flag along for the ride.
It was, by far, the best 4th of July I’ve ever had.
Despite staying awake until an ungodly hour, we decided to dedicate the next day to being as touristy as possible. Our solution? The Tower of London.
Before going inside the fortress, we checked out the Tower Bridge, beautifully adorned with the Olympic Rings.
Within the walls of the Tower of London, we joined a guided tour with a Beefeater. I think we got the best one the Tower has because we learned a ton and laughed the entire way though. He was informative, clever and knew how to keep the audience engaged. A+ Mr. Beefeater.
We saw the Crown Jewels, took a tour through the Torture Towers and checked out the Royal Artilleries.
Sometimes Matt likes to play with ancient weapons.
Today included things like a gym session with Justin (who made me run a 7:30 mile to the gym and I thought I was going to die), shopping on Oxford Street (oh Primark…), a much-need 2 hour nap, froyo, wine and Despicable Me…. a terrific way to end one of the busiest weeks ever.
I want to know… How are things in the States? I heard it’s super hot in Boston! What else should I check out in London and what would YOU like to see in a London-themed giveaway here on the blog?
I haven’t written a post in a while. Life has been crazy lately. Between school, dance, personal/emotional crap and just trying to get through each day, I haven’t had much free time for blogging.
But I do have lots of things to talk about… my most recent race (recap coming soon!), finishing my first year of grad school (done in 6 days!), dance (duh), plans for the summer (London), how I’m getting through each day (I’m sure you’re all dying to know the sad details of that part of my life…) So multiple posts are currently in the works. I may even have a recipe or two up my sleeve. (BTW – if you’re looking for an amazing hummus recipe, try this. You’ll never want store-bought hummus again.)
And for a sweet sentiment that has everything to do with my life right now…
Happy Thursday! It’s almost the weekend.. what are you doing to celebrate?
Do you like my new motto? I feel like it sums me up as a “runner.” I’m not fast, I run for distance over speed (at least for now) and fun fact about my childhood: Tortoise was my nickname from first grade until I went to high school.
I was not the most athletic kid growing up. I played soccer for 5 years from age 5 to age 10, but wasn’t great at running around the field because I’d get side cramps and be winded in a matter of 3 minutes. I started dancing when I was 7 but wasn’t good at that either until I got older. I was always the kid picked last in gym class when we played cool games like kickball and capture the flag and it wasn’t until high school that I became a fan of professional sports and started understanding why I couldn’t keep running around the bases in baseball if someone out in the field catches the ball. And that was only if I happened to got lucky enough to hit it that far… which was rare.
When I started running about a year ago, it was during a time when I needed a new challenge. I chose the Couch to 5K plan and stuck with it. Now, a year later, my personal life is in complete disarray (notice how I said disarray and not something dramatic like “OMG MY WORLD IS FALLING APART” … baby steps, people) but my running mojo has never been better. Funny how life works that way, huh?
I think the reason I was able to run my first 10K a few weekends back without stopping was because of the emotions I used to push myself. Anger, for example, can really go a long way when you want to prove something to yourself. Regret is another. I’m not saying that it’s necessarily a good thing, but at the time, it helped. I was able to run those emotions out of my body, at least temporarily, and finally felt like running could give me clarity when I needed it most.
But even after I finished the 5K training and got a few races under my belt last year, I wasn’t the type of person to just go out and run. Sure, it’s become my cardio of choice at the gym (sorry elliptical, I like you sometimes too, but you can be a one-way ticket to SnoozeVille) but I’m not one to wake up at 5am and go running every day. Still, it’s become a time when I can just listen to my music and think.
It’s me time.
Since I’m spending 7 weeks in London this summer (God help me as I try to navigate those streets while I’m running) and do not plan on racing there, I want to get a few more races in between now when I leave at the end of June. Unfortunately, almost every single second of my June calendar is filled with some sort of dance something so we’ll have to figure it out when June rolls around. Until then, here’s what’s coming up:
Chase the Gorilla Down Argilla (Saturday April 14th, Ipswitch MA) – Tentative.
Yup, that’s this upcoming Saturday. I’m also competiting with Unyted Stylz that day so I’m still trying to figure out if this race is doable.
Marblehead Beach to Beach 5K (Saturday May 12th, Marblehead MA) – Registered.
I’m very excited to say that I’ve registered to run this racefor the second year in a row. This was my first ever road race and I’m determined to crush my 5K PR.
Krit Classic 5K(Sunday June 3rd, Andover MA) – Tentative
Just gotta find some funds for this one and I will be running it.
Ideally, I’d love to do another 10K before I leave for London. Still looking for one of those that doesn’t conflict with dance, but if you know of any, please send them my way!
And in other, completely unrelated news…
– The DanceWorks Boston show is Wednesday, Thursday, Friday June 6-8th at the BU Dance Theater. If you love me, you should come. I’m literally in every other number (7 total including the finale) so I promise you won’t be bored. If you’d like ticket info, leave me a comment or visit www.danceworksboston.com!
– Similiarly, Unyted Stylz is having a performance at the BU Dance Theater on Saturday, June 16th. You should probably come to that too.
– I’ve lost about 8 more pounds and feeling good about myself right now. Thanks running/million hours of dance every week!
– I have 24 days left until the Semester from Hell ends. Oh dear God, get me to May 2nd!!
Tell me!! What spring races are you planning on running? Do you a good 10K near me that I can run before I peace out to Europe? Do you use your emotions to push yourself when you run? Do you want to borrow my first dance recital costume because I guarentee my mom still has it somewhere. Will you come watch me dance? I’ll love you forever.
Sometimes life gets away from us. One minute things are completely calm and the next, you feel like you are spiraling out of control. Nothing seems right, your heart hurts, and your stress level is sending your tear ducts into overdrive.
When my life gets like this, I usually turn to tried-and-true “me things” to make myself feel better. Working out is one of them, dancing is another, baking rounds out the trifecta.
I’ve been feeling pretty down the past couple of days and today wasn’t any better. So I broke out the list. I got up early and got in a (very sweaty) workout at the gym and I have 2 hours of dance later tonight so the one thing missing from my “pick-me-up” list was baking…and only one thing came to mind.
Cookies have always been a comfort food of mine. I’ve made these and these and even these but the recipe today is one that Stephen and I have used over and over again and we’re never disappointed. We have the recipe printed out and we’ve used it so many times, it’s got molasses and dough smears all over it. That’s how you know it’s a good recipe. I wasn’t a huge fan of ginger snaps until he and I made them together – now, they are one of my favorites too.
Ginger snaps are one of those cookies that you probably always have the ingredients for in the house. They have a deep, warm flavor and a melt-in-your-mouth texture… one of those “can’t have just one” type of cookies. And they are easy to make. It’s especially fun to take extra flour and put it all over your special someone’s face – they’ll really enjoy that, I promise. These are perfect to give as a gift or to show that special someone how much you love them. Or you can just come over now and have one while they are still hot… seriously… It’s worth it.
Our Favorite Ginger Snaps
Courtesy of AllRecipes.com
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TB ground ginger
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
Cinnamon-sugar (for coating)
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Sift flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl. Stir to blend.
3. Place shortening in a mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Slowly add the white sugar while the machine is on. Beat in the egg and then the molasses until it is all combined.
4. In batches, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet until a soft dough forms.
5. Pinch off small pieces of dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Coat the dough balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
6. Bake in preheated oven until the tops are rounded, about 10 minutes. Let cool or invite that someone special over while the cookies are still hot!
I’ve come to a point in my grad school life where I don’t particularly enjoy any day of the week ever. Not even weekends… not even Mondays when I don’t have class. I’m either shooting, editing, making myself look pretty to be on camera, getting yelled at for doing something wrong, working my ass off and only getting B’s, etc.
I know I’m being whiny and annoying. I just hate school.
Okay, I’ll try to stop being annoying now.
If you read the title of this post, you’re probably wondering why my legs are numb at the moment. Well, it’s because yesterday, despite the nasty weather, I decided to get my sweat on in the form of a gym workout (including a treadmill/speed work run) and 3 hours of dance to follow it.
I had 3 miles on my agenda yesterday and after reading Hilary’s “HIIT to FIT” treadmill workouts, I decided to give it a try. I modified it, of course, because that girl can run at a 7:07 pace and that just doesn’t seem conceivable for me since I usually run between 9:50 and 11:00 per mile. Cool.
Here’s my version of Hil’s HIIT to FIT:
3 minutes warm-up, walking at 4.0.
90 seconds running at 6.7 (9:50), 30 seconds running at 5.7 (10:31) –> repeat 4 times.
3 minute recovery, walking at 4.0.
45 seconds running at 7.2 (8:45), 15 seconds running at 5.7 (10:31) –> repeat 4 times.
1 minute recovery, walking at 4.0.
60 seconds running at 7.7 (7:47), 60 seconds running at 6.7 (8:45) –> repeat 2 times.
Walk at 4.0 to round out 30-32 minutes.
Did you keep up with all of that? Well, I was drenched in sweat and my legs were trembling by the end of it. 7:47? Seriously? I was pretty proud of that.
I chased my run with some ab work and a few arm exercises before hopping on the train to go to an hour of ballet.
The second I tried to move when I got to the studio, I knew it was going to be a rough night. My legs felt like lead and even the simplest “failli assemble” seemed too advanced for my sweaty self. Rehearsal was fun as always, but after the hour was up, I headed to a much different rehearsal, knowing I was in for a good ass-kicking.
I recently joined a hip-hop crew in Boston called Unyted Stylz. They are amazing. I promise to explain more about them later but just know that by the end of the 2 hours I spent with them, I was completely drenched, bright red and along with my legs being shot, my right big toe was not doing so well. I think I sprained it…
When I got back to my apartment, I took the hottest shower of my life, microwaved some dinner and passed out with my computer on my lap. Today is a “good hurt, but I’ll take it easy at the gym later” kind of a day.
Tell me: Was your Thursday incredibly sweaty like mine? How do you do your speed work? What do you think about the treadmill… great training tool or way too boring? Do you like microwave dinners? Smart Ones are my fave.
So remember that time I was going to run a 10K and then totally chickened out? Then there was that other time when I accidentally registered for a 5-miler instead of a 5K, but got through it without dying? Well, my friends, two nights ago I clicked a pretty little PAY NOW button and officially registered for my first-ever 10K road race.
The race: The 9th Annual Malden Rotary Road Race 10K
Where: Malden, Massachusetts
When: Saturday, March 24th… a mere 5 and a half weeks away.
But at a $10 student race fee, I couldn’t turn it down. Plus, the prospect of some sweet race swag had me giving them those ten dollars even faster.
I can’t say no to free stuff, especially when it has to do with running (or dance.) The awesome bright green gloves I got from that 5-miler say “Shamrock Running Club” on them and I won’t lie – I love wearing them. I feel like a runner or something.
So where does that leave me training-wise? Well, I’ve got the 5-miler and a few 5Ks under my belt so I already know I can complete the extra 1.2 miles without dying. Will I enjoy it? Probably not at the time, but I’ll do it. Since I kept putting off registering, I now find myself with only 5 weeks to formally train along with a full course schedule, TA-ing and 12 hours a week of dance (oh, did I mention that even after dropping Wednesday night at DanceWorks, I somehow managed to add an additional 4 hours of dance a week? I didn’t mention that? More about that in a different post….), it leaves little wiggle room for hours of running.
So I found a plan that fits just right.
So obviously this plan does not come complete with almost 12 hours of extra cross training per week but as is the life of a dancer/wannabe runner. I’ll be running various mileage 3-4 times a week, totaling from 14-17 miles per week. This is by farther most miles/week I’ve ever done and I’m super excited to start! I’m not going for speed, just endurance and a strong finish (aka don’t collapse at the finish line.)
But let’s be real here… I need some advice.
I want to know…. what advice do you have for me as I train for my first 10k? What works best for you when you train? What should I wear (keep in mind, the race is at the end of March). Share your 10K stories! Any and all advice is appreciated!
My team lost, it was a rough game and that’s that. There will be no more talk of Super Bowl 2012.
Let’s talk about things that are happy or stressful. Anything but football. Since I’ve been away from the blog for a little while, I think this is a perfect time for an update.
School… is stressful. I thought last semester was hard. My fall courses were a cake walk compared to what I’m dealing with now. One of the worst feelings in the world is when one of your professors shoots down every single idea you have for your projects. When May 4th rolls around, you can find me doing cartwheels outside of 640 Commonwealth Avenue because after this semester, it’s smooth sailing (and flying if you’re referring to London!)
My new apartment… is amazing. My roommates are great, it’s super convenient and I love being a 5 minute walk to the gym.
Running… has not really been happening. See “my health.” I’m also still looking for a race to run this month but since Sundays are now dedicated to dance, my options have been limited. Help!! I plan on getting back into a routine this week so hopefully that new 5K PR is in the near future.
Dance… is wonderful, albeit a huge time consumer. Not in a bad way, just in a I-wish-I-had-more-time way. I had to drop a night of DanceWorks Boston to free up some time for school things which was awful, but the 5 routines I’m in are going to be great. And cardio is never a bad thing. Last weekend, DWB even got to travel to New York City to perform in a show there. It was a blast and dancing in NYC is always a dream come true. That’s the “winning” aspect of this post.
And sometimes in NYC, I put my leg in the air.
My health… has been CRAP. I got sick last Friday (of course the day I was going to NYC) and have been sick ever since. And when I say sick, I mean it. Gastroenteritis, norovirus.. whatever you want to call it, infultrated my body last Sunday and well, I’ll spare you the gorey details. I managed to lose 8 pounds in 1 night if that’s any indication. Then once that was all out of my system (literally), I caught a head cold and have been dealing with that ever since. Good job, immune system, thanks for your hard work.
Cooking… also hasn’t really happened this week. Between NYC and getting a sickness that didn’t make food appealing for most of the week, I wasn’t really in the mood to cook. I did make some delicious guilt-free piggies in a blanket and an amazing trifle for a certain football game we aren’t talking about and they were both a hit so we’ll count that as a good cooking for the week. I want to use my crockpot at some point in the upcoming week so stay tuned!
Well, that’s pretty much it for now. Next on the agenda? Surviving this week.
Tell Me! How has your week been? Have you managed to avoid getting the stomach flu? What upcoming races are you running? What was the best thing you cooked this week?
Ingredients: 1 9×13 inch pan of fudgy brownies 2 small boxes of fat free, sugar free chocolate pudding mix 4 cups of skim milk 8 ounce container Cool Whip Free 12 ounces regular Cool Whip 18 Oreos
Make brownies and set aside to cool completely. Mix milk with pudding powder and let chill for 30 minutes. Then, gently fold in the 8 ounces of Cool Whip Free until there are no streaks. Chop the oreos and set aside.
To assemble: Lay half of the brownies in a trifle bowl followed by half of the pudding. Sprinkle half the oreos over the pudding layer and top with half of the regular Cool Whip. Repeat layers. If desired, garnish the top with crushed and/or whole oreos or dark chocolate shavings. Chill until ready to serve.