My 10K Goals/This Year’s Lenten Promises

So now that my 10K training has officially kicked off, I have a little less than 5 weeks to prepare for this race.  I’ve been hearing a lot of great advice for running my first 6.2 mile road race and one of the most important lessons I need to learn is not to go out too fast.

Funny thing is.. I’m not a fast runner.  I chug along anywhere between a 9:45 and an 11:00 minute per mile pace and I’m fine with that.  My training mainly focuses around just getting through the distance, but somehow I always manage to clock 8:45’s or less within the first half mile and before long, I’m gasping for air, wondering how I’m going to run the rest of the way.

So in true Chocolate & Wine fashion, I’ve comprised a list of goals for my first 10K.

Pretty colors = GET IT DONE.

1. Stick to the plan.  It’s posted on my wall, written in pretty colors.  It’s not too intense and my cross-training takes the form of long hours of dance.  I’ll do strength and abs either in the gym or my apartment.  Sweat central.

2.  Clean up my diet.  I don’t necessarily eat “bad” but I could eat better.  I want to consume way more water than I have been and keep other beverages to a minimum.  I have also decided to give up Diet Coke for Lent which should be a different goal entirely.  In the end, I know it’ll be good for my system and for my running.  More salads don’t hurt either.

3.  Sleep more.  This one should be a no-brainer but we’ll see.  Sometimes I like to watch old episodes of “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” on YouTube for hours.  I’ve also been on a Disney Channel Original Movie kick.  This is what happens when one does not have cable.  I need to put the laptop and cell phone down no later than 11pm for the next 5 weeks.

4. Be mindful of pain and injury.  I’m a dancer so being sore comes with the territory.  But I know the difference between a pulled muscle and something more serious.  I don’t exactly like to baby my body or take it easy if I have gloriously sweaty plans but I know during this cycle of training, especially when I have so many dance obligations as well, that I need to keep myself healthy and as injury-free as possible – even if it means taking a rest day and changing around my schedule if need be.

5.  Stress less.  I could not hate this semester more than I do right now.  Hopefully all of these natural endorphins from running and dancing will mellow me out.  It’s either that, or I’m going to need a Xanax prescription.

No, it's not some sick joke... it's my semester schedule.

6. Finish the race.  I suppose this is important.  I have a goal time in mind but I want to see how training goes before I tell the world.  Either way, this is my first 10K distance so I get an automatic PR!  That’s just as good as a medal.

I think that’s a pretty solid list to go off of.  Obviously “sweat a lot” and “avoid puking at the finish line” go without saying, right?

And how about a quick Lenten promise list as well?

1. No soda.  Wahhhh!  I love Diet Coke but it’s better for my body and my training if I left it out for a while.  Plus, giving up soda for good like I did a few years back would be ideal.  I’ll work on it.

2. Sleep more.  Didn’t we just hear this?  Well, it applies for the 40 days of Lent too.

3.  No “beverages” during the week.  Sure, a glass of wine before bed is great, but I’d like to keep it to just the weekends and make this a regular habit.

Sounds good to me.  Fasting begins at midnight.  I may be a little cranky tomorrow.

TELL ME!! What are your biggest race goals right now?  What are your favorite types of cross-training to do?  What do you do to stay injury-free?  Are you giving up anything for Lent or making a promise to better yourself and others?


I’ve been getting lots of questions from my Facebook friends and Twitter followers about some statuses and tweets I’ve had over the past 2 days.  To put worries to rest, here is what happened…

On Thursday night, after a wonderful blogger event that I will write a stellar review about on a later date, I got into a car accident on Route 93 North in Medford, MA.  Details aside, no one was seriously injured.

After a chest x-ray and a cervical spine cat scan, I found out I have a chest contusion (with no bruising, thankfully), severe whiplash and a minor concussion.  (The airbag didn’t go off, resulting in my chest and my head hitting the steering wheel at full force).  Aside from a constant headache, some obscured memories and a bit of confusion, I am healthy and well.

While I am still a bit jumbled about the experience, I want to thank my friends and family for the kind words, phone calls, e-mails, tweets and comments.  It is always comforting to know that people care about me and it is one of the best medicines I could ask for.

Coming up soon, I’ll have a fabulous review from the blogger dinner I attended, a second review of a blogger brunch I will be going to tomorrow (thanks to my parents for offering to drive me…) and a recap of my first few days of grad school.  I mean, who doesn’t want to start their Master’s program with a concussion?

Oh — there will also be a lovely little giveaway I hope you will all fight over!

A Change in the Line Up

I’ve contemplated this post for a while. 

I believe that change is a good thing.  Healthy, natural, it’s what helps us grow up and defines who we are.  I welcome change.

For the most part.

I think change is easier when you know that other people support you, adapt to whatever is changing about you, sometimes changing a bit of themselves as well.

That’s where you all come in.

I want to talk about a specific change; namely, the genre of this blog.

It’s kind of happening already.  During the summer, I spend more time dancing than eating.  And in reality, once September rolls around in a few short weeks, there will not be much time in my schedule for cooking.  As my dad would say, “Marie, school comes first.”  Thanks Dad.  (He’s been saying that since I was in pre-school.)  But he’s right.  Between grad school, dance, work… cooking won’t come daily.

While food and cooking is a huge part of my life and one of my favorite pastimes, I enjoy an abundance of other things as well.  With my re-found love of the gym and working out, my passion for dance and my aspiring running, along with my busy life in general, I am finding more and more that I wish to tell you about.  And as long as it’s cool with all of you, I’ll continue to keep this slight change in my blog’s line up.

Will I be abandoning cooking/baking completely?  Absolutely not.

Will it happen a little less often?  Sadly, yes.

In turn, I hope to turn this blog into a jack-of-all-trades forum where I talk about whatever comes to my mind.  Sometimes it will include food, especially the occasional baked goods I will be providing my DanceWorks friends.  It will also feature my fitness/running endeavors, school and work updates and of course, dance.

So I pose the ultimate question to you, my readers….is this all okay with you?  Will you still find time in your busy lives to read me if I talk about cooking a bit less and life a bit more?

I would love your feedback and appreciate all of your support.  Thank you so much for giving me a reason to write and keep my life documented in Chocolate & Wine.  This blog is dedicated to you.

The Month of July & Some Mid-Year Goals

Hello July!! I’m so excited you are here; you are my favorite month and not just because of my birthday.

Here’s what’s going on in Marie’s July:

July 3rd: Annual epic 4th of July celebration on the South Shore. YES.
July 4th: Independence Day.  Happy Birthday America! I’ll be celebrating on a plane and then going to bed early.
July 5th-7th: First NDA camp of the summer in Kansas!
July 9th: Dance2Save benefit with DanceWorks Boston. SexyBack style.
July 12th: Road trip to Long Island/sleepover with one of my best NDA friends.
July 13th: Drive to Towson, Maryland with said NDA best friend.
July 14th-17th: NDA Towson camp (2nd year on this one baby)
July 20th: Birthday celebrations with Boyfriend (he won’t tell me a freakin’ thing)
July 22nd: My 23rd Birthday… gah.
July 23rd-27th: NDA Louisville camp (helloo Kentucky, I’m back!)
July 27th-30th: NDA Adelphi camp (I didn’t make a mistake.. they do overlap)
July 31st: DanceWorks Boston dance auditions!

Whew!!!  What a month.  I’ll be away 21 of the 31 days and dancing through all of them.  I love my job.  Thank you NDA for making the summer more fun!  And DWB friends, I apologize in advance for being practically crippled at auditions.

As for these mid-year goals, I realized that I didn’t do a 2011 goals post like so many other bloggers.  After reading Ali and Emily’s mid-year check-ins, I figured it’s better late than never to set some goals.  At least I’ll have something to check-in for when December rolls around.

2011 Mid-Year Goals:

  • Work (at least) 8 NDA summer camps.
  • Run 2 more 5Ks.
  • Host a blog giveaway.
  • Stick to Weight Watchers (not playing a numbers game here. Work out, eat right, follow the points, be healthy and let the body do what it will.
  • Rock the first semester of my grad program at Boston University (all A’s would be sweet but we like B+s too)
  • Try 1 new recipe a week.
  • Dance in 4 DanceWorks Boston fall pieces.
  • Train for and run a 10K.
  • Take hot yoga regularly.

Those seem pretty good if I do say so myself.  This summer is one of the busiest I’ve ever had but 2011 is flying people, and I can’t wait to see how I do by the start of 2012!

I wanna know… how are your goals coming this year? What goals do you still need to work on? Any new ones in mind for the last 6 months of the year?

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!!

College Graduation

About a year ago, I graduated from Assumption College with a Bachelor’s Degree in English with Writing & Mass Communications.  With a white cum laude cord around my neck and diploma in hand, this picture was taken with my boyfriend, Stephen, his sister, Nina, and his mom, also named Marie.

I am very proud to announce that today, Stephen graduated from college.  After spending 2 very hard, long years in a tough radiology program to become an x-ray tech, Stephen is now a certified graduate.

Now wait… it’s only fair that I explain what exactly this program means.  It’s a 5 semester program: fall, spring, summer, fall, spring.  First year, he spent 3 days a week in class (read: Anatomy and the like… yuck) and 2 days in clinicals (read: dealing with patients… no thanks.) The summer in between the first and second year meant he spent 40 hours every week working as an intern WITHOUT PAY.  Ouch.  So essentially, he worked 60 hours a week: 20 paid (at a seperate job) and 40 unpaid.  The second year, the schedule flipped.  The students then went to class 2 days a week and clinicals for 3.

Let’s put this in perspective.  Sure, I spent a whole 4 years as a full-time college student but I had my summers free to make money.  I had class roughly 3-4 hours and hardly ever in a row.  I haven’t taken science since junior year of high school and if you asked me to “position” anyone, I’d flat out refuse.  Those x-ray kids don’t get enough credit.

Regardless, he graduated and awesome for him, he already has a job lined up.  2 words: Thank God. 5 more words: damn my stupid English Degree.

Congratulations Stephen!

And, being the super nice, never-a-pain-in-the-butt girlfriend that I am (cough), I bought him this pretty toy as his present.  Which I will be borrowing.  On a regular basis.

For the Bloggers…

Last night, I made HG Tremendous Turkey Burgers and roasted cauliflower.  It was delicious, pretty to look at, and I forgot to take a picture of it.  See people, this is why I need a good camera.  Maybe if I had a fun toy I wouldn’t forget so often.  Doi.

Bloggers need a lot of things to make their blogs successful.  Good cameras, unique web set-ups, intriguing things to talk about.  If you cook like me, you need recipes that other people will want to try.  If you run, you gotta run hard.  You have to make whatever you are passionate about entertaining for other people.  And it’s not always easy.

So here are a few of my essentials for Chocolate & Wine:

1.  My iPhone – yeah, whatevs.  It’ll suffice for now as a camera.  I have this thing with nice cameras…. I break ’em.

2.  My cookbooks.  I’m gathering quite a collection.  Everything from my mom’s checkered Better Homes “New Cookbook” to Giada and Rachael to Hungry Girl to a whole book dedicated to fondue (not kidding).  I could spend hours in a bookstore flipping through the pages of a good cookbook, getting ideas for new recipes and staring at the beautiful professional pictures.  If I was good at photography, can you guess which profession I would choose?

3. Word of mouth.  When I hear about a new restaurant that other people rave about, I write the name down in my daily planner (yes, I have a not-fancy, middle-school-style planner. It’s fine.)  Later, when boyfriend and I want to try something new, I flip to the list.  Lately my list looks like this: The Antique Table, Petrillo’s, The Blue Ox, The Beverly Depot, Victoria’s Station.  Just to name a few. (I could always use more in the Boston area… hint hint.)

4. My Kitchen/The Gym:  So these are kind of self-explanatory.  I cook in my kitchen, I work out/run/dance at the gym.  I’m in both once a day (usually…I try.)  I suppose if I didn’t have a gym or a kitchen I could still work out and cook and deal with it, but I like my structure.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

5. Twitter/Facebook.  2 words: Free Publicity.  I’ve had Facebook since my senior year of high school when it was created but I was totally against Twitter until recently.  Now I’m obsessed.  Follow me @ChocoAndWine or Like Me on Facebook!

6. YOUR blogs!  Yup, that’s right.  I have about a billion of your blog sites favorited on my computer.  I spend my down time clicking through them, scoping out recipes, running tips, photos of the new baby.  I love them and can’t get enough.  You all inspire me to cook, run, write.  It’s the best feeling in the world to know that someone other than you is reading your blog.  If you have one, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  The thrill of each new comment, the regular checking of your site stats, the first time you realize people are listening.  Thanks for listening.  Really, I love you guys.

Got a blog I should check out?  Shoot me an e-mail… I’ll gladly read along!

Blogger friends, what are your essentials?  Your cookbooks?  Garmins?  Adorable new babies?  Worldly views? What makes your blog tick?

 bloglink1 bloglink2