Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday five - Fall preview

Wow, it seems crazy that it's already Labor Day weekend! The summer has flown by and this week has flown by too.  It's already time for another Friday Five with the DC Trifecta, Mar, Cynthia and Courtney.  This week's theme is a Fall Preview.

1.  More camping!  We're going to have a weekend away camping with friends.  One of the people joining us is a running buddy so I'm excited to have a run planned along a state park trail while we're camping.

2.  I have a work conference coming up and it's in Sao Paulo.  That's right, Brazil!  I am mostly there for work so I won't have too much time to play tourist but hopefully I'll get to see a little bit of the city.

3.  One of my favorite things about Fall in this area is the Renaissance Festival in Maryland.  We enjoy the opportunity so spend the day outside with friends checking out the fun shows and shops.  Of course, there's always great photo opportunities and food on a stick!

One of the fun shows we saw at last year's Renaissance Festival.

4.  My first Run Disney race, my first 10 miler (my longest race to date), and my first racecation! I am so excited for this.  I'm doing 9 miles this weekend so I should definitely be ready to finish this race but there are still some nerves.

5.  Lastly, we're getting a new kitchen.  We picked out cabinets and counter top last weekend and we're in the process of choosing appliances.  The work will start in a couple weeks and then we won't have a kitchen for a while.  It will be an adventure trying to eat healthy during that time.  If anyone has any tips, I'd love to hear them.  We'll have a microwave and grill but no refrigerator.

I hope everyone else has a wonderful Fall ahead of them!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekly review

Sorry the blog has been light on posts last week but the same will probably be true for the next couple weeks too.  Work and personal life are a bit busy at the moment, all with good things. I did get in my workouts this past week but not all quite the way I wanted to.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - yoga class

Wednesday - this was going to be a track workout but it rained so I just worked out on the elliptical at home.

Thursday - I ran on the treadmill at work and did my speed work from Wednesday. I had a bit of a treadmill problem in the middle so there are two different records. By a bit of a problem, I mean I knocked my phone off the stand onto the moving part of the treadmill and it went fling off the back of the machine.  Thankfully neither the phone or any people were hurt! But I did have to stop the treadmill to retrieve the phone.

Friday - rest day

Saturday - I meant to get up early and do yoga but that didn't happen.  However, we were meeting up with some family in Philadelphia and I got some swimming time in with the kids.  I was racing them in the pool and that was definitely a work out! We also walked to Dave and Busters and back after some fun games for about a total of 2 miles.  I reached my 10,000 step goal for the day and then some with the extra walking.

Sunday - I was supposed to run 9 miles but it didn't happen.  I had left my running shoes in my cousin's room by accident and wasn't able to get them until they awoke.  At that point, I didn't have enough time before check out time to do the full amount.  However I got in 4.5 outside and did some more on the treadmill in the hotel gym once it got too hot for me outside for a total of around 6.5 miles.

We had a great time hanging out in Philadelphia with family.  It was a great mix of family time with the kids and adult time for us to catch up.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bestowed subscription box

Argh... I've been behind on blogging this week and I apologize.  Just catching up on things from my little staycation last week and preparing for some upcoming trips has made things a bit busy.  This was meant to by a Tasty Tuesday post but instead it's Tasty... Thursday?  Thankfully Lena keeps the Tasty Tuesday link up open all week! There are some great recipes being shared so definitely check it out.

Instead of sharing a recipe this week, I'm sharing my opinion of the Bestowed food subscription box I received.  First, a bit of background on how I got this box.  Stacey shared a post about a new fitness tracking website/app called EveryMove.  It's interesting because as you earn points for being active, you can use them toward deals on various products.  It also syncs with other apps like fitbit, garmin, fitocracy, etc. so that's pretty convenient.  I feel like I'm getting deals with no extra work :)

One of the deals was a discount on a food subscription box called Bestowed.  I've been hearing about various boxes and decided that I might as well give this one a try at the discounted price.  From their website... "Join Bestowed and each month we'll send 7-10 of the best healthy snacks, beverages, and lifestyle items straight to your door. Every product we feature is carefully selected by our team of experts led by nutritionist Heather Bauer."

 Here is what the box looks like when it arrives.  It is $20 per month but if you sign up for three months or 6 months at once, you receive a little bit of a discounted price. The discount I received was 3 months for $36.
I opened it up and it also comes with a pamphlet explaining the items in the box and why they were chosen.

Here are all the goodies that it came with.  In addition to the food samples, there were several coupons such as a free cup of Maia brand yogurt.  And there was a bottle of sun block and a bottle of dishwashing soap, which I though was a bit random.

Back to the food... it was kind of a mixed bag.  I really liked the Peeled Apple Clusters.  They only had three ingredients, apples, apple juice concentrate, and potato starch, all organic.  They tasted healthy, which sounds bad but isn't.  It had a really intense apple taste which was nice.  There were two bags of Funleys Super Crackers and they were pretty good too.  The good greens bar is a raw, vegan and gluten free protein bar that was delicious!  I ate it for breakfast before my weekend run and it was a great source of energy.  The fruit mashup was fine.  But the Halo Seaweed Chips were horrible :( I could only eat one and Mike said the same.  We ended up throwing the rest away.  I didnt try the Orgain's healthy kids shake since Mike drank it but he didn't love that one.  He said it had a sort of gritty texture.

Overall, we liked more things then we didn't.  I'm definitely going to use the coupons to try the Maia yogurt and get more of the Peeled products and Funley's crackers.  I don't think I would have been happy with the value of this box if it had been full price but it's not bad at the discounted price.  It was a nice way to try out healthy snacks from companies that were new to me.  Also, I don't like the lack of flexibility.  I don't see anywhere on the site where you can customize or input any dietary restrictions.  For example, I saw that one of their past boxes had chicken broth which would have been a waste for me.

Have any of you tried a subscription box service in the past?  I'd love to hear what you thought of it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekly review

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!  My weekend turned out great and I had a pretty good week for workouts as a whole.

Monday - rest day
Tuesday - yoga class during lunch time.  This felt really great and helped loosen up my muscles.  There was a lot of core work and leg work.  We also worked on crow but I'm still too scared of falling on my face to get my feet off the ground.
Wednesday - rest day.  My knee was still a bit twitchy from last week so I decided to skip the speed work on the track. I just did some light strength training.
Thursday - short run in my neighborhood.

Friday - another short run, this time at a nearby park.

Saturday - DDP yoga with Mike at home.
Sunday - long run on the mall with a friend.  I had a great time running past the smithsonian museums and various monuments while catching up with my friend.  It ended up being a beautiful morning, not too humid, overcast, and it even sprinkled a bit which felt great.  It was mostly flat which also helped.  My friend was only planning on running between 3-4 miles so I did a bit more on my own afterward to make it to 6 miles.  The training plan only called for 6 miles this week since it was supposed to be a recovery week.

We had a lovely staycation this weekend.  The hotel we stayed at was phenomenal and located really conveniently to all of our plans.  The Tori Amos concert was amazing and we ate so much good food! I hope the upcoming week goes just as well :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Five - my weekend

Hi, guys!  It's time for a Friday Five blog post in order to link up with Cynthia, Courtney, and Mar.  Can I tell you how much I love this link up?  I look forward to reading the other entries every week and there's more than 40 people linking up every week now.

This week there is no set theme and everyone is free to write about whichever five things they want.  I have a full and exciting weekend coming up so I thought I'd take a break from running posts and tell you about what I'm looking forward to this weekend.

1. It's Mike's birthday and we're going out to a fancy dinner and a Tori Amos concert. Our love of Tori Amos was one of the first things we bonded over when we met.

2. Dear friends of ours are getting married later this year and are having their bachelor party this weekend.  I'm exited to celebrate with them, especially given that we won't be able to go to their wedding.

3. We decided to go ahead and get a hotel room downtown for the weekend since we have so much to do down there.  I'm looking forward to having the feeling of being on vacation without the hassle of travel.  Staycations for the win!

4. I can't have a post without mentioning running at least once :) Since we're going to be downtown in a hotel Sunday morning, I'm going to take advantage of it and do my long run down by the mall with a friend.  I'm looking forward to running past some iconic DC monuments while catching up.

We did some of our engagement photos down on the mall.

5. This is going into Monday, but I am really excited because we've finally found a contractor we like and feel comfortable with to help us re-do our kitchen.  We're having our second meeting with him Monday evening and getting into more specific plans.

Our kitchen currently has appliances from the 80s, cabinets from the 60s, and peeling floral wallpaper from who know when.

I hope everyone else has a great weekend to look forward to too!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Glo Run DC

As I mentioned, I did the Glo Run with friends this past Saturday.  We had a phenomenal time, but there were a couple of logistical issues with the race.

The race was at RFK stadium and parking seemed plentiful, but one of the friends I did the race with lives in the area.  So I parked at her place, dropped off my stuff, and we walked over to the stadium for the race.  They had people directing traffic and it was pretty easy to tell where to go.  Packet pick up was available before the race at a running store in Virginia but we choose to just do packet pick up the day of the race.

This was where the first problem arose.  There was a tent which said Check In so we knew to go there to get our bibs.  There were separate lines divided by the first letter of your last name.  You were given your bib and a bag and then told to go to another tent to get your shirt.  When you got to the front of that line, you realized that there were different lines for different size shirts, but that wasn't marked anywhere! Then there was yet another line to pick up glow stuff and finally a fourth line to pick up the light up glasses.  Um... Why couldn't everything just be in the bag so we could stand in just one line?

Photo of the check in tent and lines/crowds

We finally finished up with getting all our stuff, got decked out, and hung out before the race enjoying the DJ and taking some photos.

The race started and we were off.  There were waves but they were just organized first come first serve, not by pace or anything. This was an untimed fun run so that was to be expected.  But I wish that they had said something about walkers staying to one side.  I'm all for walkers participating in events like this and that's how I started out doing fun runs last year,  but at least try to be cognizant of others around you and don't take up the whole width of the course.

The race was just in the parking lot of the stadium and set up with cones.  I felt like once you got past the initial crowd, there was plenty of room in most parts of the course.  And they did a good job of making it interesting.  There was music, glow tunnels, bubbles, weird glowy unicorns, and a whole lot of costumes.  

One of the glow tunnels

An official race photo in a bubble tent

Horrible photo but you can see one of the light up unicorns in the background

But I'm not sure that it was a full 5k. My Garmin only said 2.8 when we finished and my friend's RunKeeper also was less than 3 miles.  So we kept on running around the parking lot a bit after the course was technically done. I think one of my friends might have hated me at the moment but I'm sure she appreciated me later :)

You can see that I also forgot to turn off runkeeper right away so it was probably on an extra three or four minutes after we stopped running.

Overall our time was slow but I think the actual time we spent moving was pretty good.  We stopped for several photos so we were definitely not shooting for any time goals.  After the race, they did provide water, granola bars, and fruit snacks.  Additionally, there were several food trucks available if you wanted to purchase more substantial food.  The trucks had been there at the beginning too but I don't know if starting a 5k with a cheesesteak is the best of ideas.

Overall, I enjoyed the race in spite of the issues with pre-race packet pick up.  They did a great job with entertainment, and isn't that what fun runs are all about?  I have to say that I registered for the race via Groupon so did not pay full price.  At this point, I don't know that I would pay full price for a fun run.  I love that they provide such a wonderful entry into running for people and encourage people to get out there and be more active while having fun, but they are usually priced a bit high.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - Blackberry Ginger Shrub

I hope everyone's week is off to a good start! It's time for Tasty Tuesday with Lean Lena but I don't have any new food to share since I've been so busy.  I've been sticking with simple dinners and tried and true recipes just so I'm more likely to actually eat at home instead of getting take out.  But I do have a fun drink recipe to share :)

You might be asking, what is a shrub, other than a plant in your yard?  Well, I hadn't heard of it before this year either.  Over dinner one evening a friend had mentioned that she was making her own shrubs and told me all about them.  Then I kept seeing articles and recipes for them everywhere!  There was even one in the Washington Post earlier this summer.

Serious Eats has a great description of shrubs.  "In beverage history, the word shrub has carried several meanings. For our purposes, it's enough to say that a shrub is an acidulated beverage made of fruit juice, sugar, and other ingredients. Where things get complicated is that the acid varies by recipe; it can be either fruit juice or vinegar. Additionally, some shrub recipes are prepared using alcohol that steeps with the fruit, acid, and sugar. Finally, hardcore shrubbers make their own vinegar, using fruit juice, sugar, and wild yeasts from the air.  In any case, the sugar, acid, and optional alcohol preserve the fruit juice, and in fact that was one original purpose of the shrub. Prior to the invention of refrigeration, a shrub syrup was a means of preserving fruit long past its picking. Shrubs were popular in Colonial America, mixed with cool water to provide a pick-me-up on hot summer days. A proper shrub has a flavor that's both tart and sweet, so it stimulates the appetite while quenching thirst."

A little bit of syrup goes a long way with some fizzy water!

I know it sounds a bit strange to be drinking vinegar but this seriously has a wonderful, complex flavor that I've been loving.  There are a lot of methods out there to make shrubs so I just picked the one that sounded the easiest and that's a ration of 1:1:1 for fruit, sugar, and vinegar with no cooking required.  The only downside of this method is that it takes a while for it to be ready to drink.  The first shrub I made was just blueberries, sugar, and apple cider vinegar.  It was delicious and I was hooked! 

For this one, the ingredients are 1 cup of blackberries, 1 cup of sugar, about an inch of ginger, and 1 cup of balsamic vinegar. I combined the blackberries and sugar in a mixing bowl and allowed it to macerate for an hour so the liquid from the fruit began to release.  Then I added in the vinegar and grated the ginger into the mix.  I would use more ginger next time though as I can't taste much of it in the final product. I stirred it all together and moved it all to a jar with an air tight lid.  I put it in the refrigerator for a week, giving it a mix every day. At the end of the week, I strained the solids out and put the liquid into a water bottle (for easy pouring).

And that's it!  I've been mixing it with carbonated water for a little homemade soda.  I also think it would be delicious in a cocktail, though I've yet to try that.  I know it sounds like a lot of sugar but it's seriously so concentrated and strong that you only need a little bit in your drink for a lot of flavor.  One batch lasted me for about 15-20 drinks.