Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What's Next? Running Plans

Hi everyone! Now that my most recent training cycle is over, I'm already looking forward to training for more races!  I took a week off of running, and now my mind and body both feel refreshed and excited to get back at it.  I have a few races on my schedule for the next few months, so today I'll be sharing my plans!

Run Around the Square 5k 


This is one of my favorite local races.  I ran it last year with Dan, so I'm excited to see how I can do on my own this year!  I love the course- it starts on streets and ends on trails.  It's a hilly race, but ends with a huge downhill!  Plus, there's always great local beer at the finish.  What more could you want?

Towpath Half Marathon

October 9

I also ran this race last year, and it was my first time breaking two hours in a half!  I was originally planning on running the full marathon this year, but I don't feel mentally or physically ready. I have a good base right now, so I feel confident that I can have another great race this year and hopefully get another PR.  Next year I'll focus on training for a full marathon!

Pittsburgh 10 Miler

November 6

This is my favorite Pittsburgh race!  I've run it every year so far, so I had to sign up for it again.  I usually run this as a fun race and don't focus on time, but this year I'm going to actually race it.  In the past, I've had races the week before or after, but this year I have a month between Towpath and this race.  I feel like with all my training for a half, I should be able to destroy my 10 mile PR!

More Cross Training

While I was training for Seawheeze, I did yoga every week.  I think this really helped me (I managed to stay injury free the entire training cycle!) and I want to keep it up.  I also want to try more classes at my gym, so my goal is to try out one new class a month, and cross train at least twice a week.  Now that the weather is turning gorgeous, I also want to start biking more!

What are your upcoming races?
Favorite way to cross train?
Favorite local race?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Weekly Recap : Money Diary

Hi everyone!  Today we're going to be getting a bit personal and talking about a touchy subject- money!  I recently discovered the Money Diaries series on Refinery 29, and thought it was such an interesting concept.  Seeing how people from around the country spend their money in a week is kind of fascinating to me!

While I'm not affiliated with R29, I thought it would be fun to take that idea and share a week in my life and how I spend money.  Since this was a rest week after my half marathon, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to recap my week in money rather than workouts.

Just to preface this post- if you're offended by money talk or don't want to hear about this subject, I would suggest skipping this post.  I'll be sharing some real life numbers, even talking about my income!  In keeping with the theme of the real Money Diaries, here is a snapshot of me:

Occupation: Product Manager
Industry: Banking
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Age: 26
Paycheck Amount (2x a month): Approximately $570 after taxes, insurance, transportation, 401(k), health savings account.  This is the amount that goes to my personal checking account- the majority of my paycheck goes to the joint account I share with Dan to pay all of our bills.
# of roommates: 1 (Dan) + Selma


7:00 - We got in really late from Vancouver (around 2AM) so I worked from home.  Somehow I still woke up early(ish) and got a coffee immediately!  I also finish up some fruit that we had from last week before it goes bad.

11:00 - Really slow day at work.  I have a small team (about 10 people) and almost everyone is on vacation.  I have the Olympics on in the background all day and catch up on emails and some other work.  I'm really hungry so I make some pasta with fresh basil, caramelized onions, and chicken-less tenders.

4:00 - Dan had the day off work and I log off a little early since no one else is on.  We head to Trader Joe's to pick up groceries for the week (I shared my haul on Snapchat!)  ($95 from joint account)

5:00 - I do some meal prep for the week, and snack on some hummus and veggie crackers that we got at the store.  For dinner we're having burrito bowls- my favorite!  I also have some white wine.

Daily total - $95 (joint account)


6:30 - Work!  I was really tired this morning, so I made two Nespresso pods instead of my normal one.  It definitely helped wake me up!  For breakfast, I made overnight oats on Monday night with some almond milk, chia seeds and sunflower seed butter.

11:00 - Get out of a 3-hour long meeting and I'm so hungry!  I brought a side salad with my lunch so I eat that and have some water.

12:00 - Lunchtime yoga!  It was great doing this right after my race so I could stretch out all of my muscles.  To treat myself for going to the class and finishing another half marathon, I stop at Starbucks on the way back to the office and get a cold brew with coconut milk ($4.33)

1:00 - Eat the rest of my lunch- leftover pasta from yesterday.

4:30 - Take the bus home.  Dan drops me off downtown on his way to work, and I take the bus home.  My employer lets us buy bus passes from our pre-tax income, which ends up saving about $200 annually.  I would check if your work does this too! ($3.75)

6:00 - For dinner, I make homemade pizza.  Dan and I both love Trader Joe's pizza crust, so I just add on some sauce and load it up with veggies.  On Dan's, I add spinach, onions, black olives, peppers, and vegan mozzarella.  I tried to do a rainbow pizza with tomatoes, peppers, olives, onions and spinach, but my crust was just a bit too thick.  It still tasted great!  I also tried out a recipe I saw in a magazine for zucchini chips.  They were SO good!

Daily total - $8.08


6:45 - I got to work a bit late and forgot to make coffee.  I have some k-cups at my desk in case of emergency, so I made one of those.  Luckily, I did remember to grab my overnight oats (same as yesterday) though!

11:00 - Lunchtime!  Today I had a burrito bowl, black bean salad, grape leaves and some pickles.  Odd combination, but I like having small portions of different foods so I can spread out lunch over a few hours.

1:00 - I have a long meeting at work, and one of my co-workers offers to get me a drink from Starbucks.  I bought her one a few weeks ago so she was repaying me.  I ended up getting my favorite tea- Youthberry tea with simple syrup.  ($2.94..did not pay)

5:00 - Finally leave work! Take the bus home ($3.75).  I have the worst luck and it's an absolute downpour.  I really liked my outfit for the day and was planning on getting a picture of it when I got home, but it's soaked through!

6:00 - Get home, immediately change into pajamas (feels so good) and make a decaf almond milk latte.  I needed a hot drink and this tasted great!  I still can't believe how good the drinks are that come out of the Nespresso, which is why I hardly ever go to coffee shops anymore.

6:30 - I had some leftover veggie burgers in the freezer that I made a while ago, so for dinner I thawed those out, topped them with Trader Joe's mango jicama slaw on a pretzel bun, and served it with more black bean salad.

Daily total - $3.75 (+ $2.94 from coworker)


6:30 - Got to work with my coffee.  Last night I was too lazy to make breakfast, so I just grabbed a banana and granola bar on my way out.  Not exactly satisfying, but better than nothing!

10:00 - I got an email about a deal at Noodles and Co (25% off online orders).  This is perfect because I was also too lazy to make lunch today, so I put in my order.  I love Noodles because it's so cheap and the food is delicious!  I ordered a small Japanese Pan Noodles, Veggie Med sandwich without feta cheese, and a side of Thai curry soup.  All of that ended up being less than $10 after the coupon! ($9.21)

11:30 - Pick up my order.  It's SO good!  All of our managers were out for 2017 planning meetings, so my day was pretty free.  I turn on the women's volleyball match while I eat, and it ends up being a really intense 5-setter.  Unfortunately we end up losing....wah!

4:30 - I switched jobs a few months ago, but still keep in touch with my old group.  We worked together for 3 1/2 years, so they're like family to me!  We met up for a happy hour at a local wine bar, and I end up getting two glasses of wine and some appetizers.  I loved the wine so much that I ended up buying a bottle to take home (it was a house blend that tasted like an oaky favorite!).  I leave around 6:30 in time to catch the final bus.  ($63.75)

7:00 - Dan picks me up at my bus stop and we go to Market District to pick up six packs.  I have plans on Saturday and have to pick up beer!  I was so excited to see fall beers because that's my favorite type of seasonal beer, so I got a Sam Adams Fall Variety.  ($20)

7:15 - I'm really hungry, tired, and don't feel like cooking at all, so I convince Dan to go to Double Wide Grill for dinner.  They have an amazing vegan menu and I've only been there once years ago, so I've been wanting to go!  I end up getting a veg-gyro which was amazing, and Dan got Seitan "wings".  They were both so good!  We didn't order drinks, so our bill ended up being pretty reasonable! ($20 from joint account)

Daily total - $92.96 (+ $20 from joint account)


6:30 - You already know my morning drill by now...get to work and drink coffee!  For breakfast, I had some salad.  Some days I just don't feel like eating breakfast food, so I'll eat something normal!

1:00 - This week was Restaurant Week in Pittsburgh, which means that a ton of local restaurants have special menus or deals for the week.  My new team has a tradition of going to The Capital Grille every year.  This is a really fancy restaurant, and their average lunch entree is around $25.  For Restaurant Week, they have a three course lunch for $16.16.  Not bad!  Unfortunately, since they're a steak house none of their options were vegan, but I didn't want to miss out on a team event and went anyway.  My favorite part of the meal was dessert, which was a flourless chocolate cake! ($20)

4:30 - I head home on the bus and grab some leftovers at home to eat quickly. ($3.75)

6:00 - Dan and I head over to Chelsea's with the Sam Adams we picked up.  She also had a bunch of food and we played Cards Against Humanity! 

Daily total - $ 23.75


8:00 - It's been such a long time since I slept in, and it felt so good!  I started my morning with some espresso and some sauteed veggies with roasted potatoes.  I also turned on the Olympics and chilled out!

2:00 - Dan and I spent the morning doing some projects around the house (including installing an indoor herb garden!) so at this point I'm starving.  I tried out a recipe for tofu lettuce wraps and they were amazing.  Dan liked them so much that he requested them again! 

7:00 - I did a lot of cleaning, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to relax for the rest of the night.  For dinner, I made Alexa's Roasted Broccoli with Quinoa Salad (so good!) along with the rest of the black bean salad in the fridge.  

Daily total - $0!


9:00 - Today is my last day of my week of rest, so I slept in again!  When I finally woke up, I turned on the men's marathon.  I also made coffee as usual, and just had a banana for breakfast.  Some mornings I just don't have an appetite!

11:00 - I'm being really lazy today, but finally get going for the day.  I make up a weekly meal plan and head to the store with Dan to pick up groceries.  ($65 from joint account)

12:00 - Now I'm in super productive mode, and spend the next 4 hours food prepping for the week and cleaning the house.  I have on Bachelor in Paradise and the Olympics on in the background, so it's not too bad!  For the week, I made a ton of roasted veggies, PF Chang tofu wraps for Dan, black bean burgers, soba noodle salad, zucchini chips, salsa, and a nectarine crisp for tonight's dinner.  I'm snacking the whole time too (just for quality control ;)

5:00 - It's our monthly vegan dinner, so a few friends come by!  We have a ton of great food, and end up opening the wine I got on Thursday.  Everyone loved it!

Daily total - $65 (joint account)

Weekly total - $128.54 from my account, $180 from joint account.

There you have it!  This week was definitely more social than most weeks for me, so I ended up spending more than usual.  It was a lot of fun time with friends though, so I don't regret it at all!  My philosophy is to save money 80% of the time, so 20% of the time I can have fun and not worry about paying the bills.

What do you spend money on most weeks?
Do you budget?
What's your spending philosophy?
linking up with Amanda

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Vancouver and Seawheeze Highlights

Hi everyone!  I have a packed post for you today.  I was originally planning on writing a separate race recap and Vancouver highlights post, but since it was such a short trip I decided to combine it into one post.  I hope you're ready for lots of pictures and highlights!  It was such a great trip and race, so there's lots to share.  Enjoy!

I've only heard good things about Seawheeze, and the race definitely lived up to the hype.  Everything from packet pick-up to the race itself and post-race felt like a special event filled with tons of surprises!  Here are some highlights:

The day before the race, I picked up my packet and checked out the exclusive Lululemon Seawheeze store.  This opens early in the morning just for the runners, then to the public later in the day.  We got there around 12:00 after landing in Vancouver, and there were no lines at all.  There were still lots of products available, but people were saying the more popular items were gone really early.  I didn't end up picking anything up, but I loved the special Seawheeze patterns!

There were also yoga classes, a DJ, temporary tattoos, hair stylists, photo booths, food and drink vendors, and more!  This was all held outside of the convention center (near the Olympic torch) which was a great spot.  Even though it was really crowded, there was plenty of room to get around, and the water and mountains in the background were incredible!

Race day morning there was another yoga session.  There were pace groups for every 15:00 (which started around 1:30:00 I believe), as well as a few different corrals.  These weren't regulated at all so you could go in any corral you wanted.  I ended up at the back of the first corral, where the goal pace was 2:00:00.

The crowd support was AMAZING!  The entire route was filled with cheering people, as well as spinning classes (one of the coolest things I've seen during a race), police spraying us with water guns, a cruise ship filled with cheering volunteers, and more.  It really felt like a huge party that the entire city participated in!

The course itself was one of my favorites.  We got to see a lot of different neighborhoods and run by the water for most of the race.  I really liked how the course was full of rolling hills to keep different muscles working.  The biggest hills came around the halfway point, when we ran the only out-and-back portion of the race.  That was also one of the hottest parts of the course!

vancouver lululemon seawheeze half marathon 2016 recap

My favorite part was running around Stanley Park.  It was nice and shady, and the view was breathtaking.  This was the only part that didn't have many crowds, but I enjoyed the view and was just trying to take it all in!  While I didn't PR, I wanted to enjoy the view and the experience of the race.  I ended up finishing in 2:04:29 with a pretty big positive split (my 5k times were 28:21, 29:02, 28:41, and 38:41 for the final 6.1 kilometers).

vancouver lululemon seawheeze half marathon 2016 recap

After the race, we got a ton of goodies!  There were vendors from the finish line back to the convention center giving us water, granola bars, and more.  Back at the convention center, there was food set up for us- a breakfast sandwich, cherry tart, and grapes.  Best post-race food ever.

vancouver lululemon seawheeze half marathon review

The swag from this race beats anything that I've ever gotten before.  The race fee is on par with other half marathons I've done (around $100), but we got so much stuff!  A few months ago, we got Lululemon speed shorts, then at the race we got sunglasses, water bottle, duffel bag, Nuun tabs, hat, and Saje oils.  Knowing the price of Lulu items, I'm sure those things alone are worth more than $100, so this race really is a great deal.  Plus, the medal is absolutely gorgeous!  On Saturday night, there's also a music festival included with registration, but Dan and I decided to skip it.

2016 seawheeze race swag

The rest of our time in Vancouver was trying to squeeze in as much as possible!  We were staying near downtown in an AirBnB, and I loved the location. (PS, if you use this link you get a $30 credit!  And no, this post/trip is NOT sponsored by AirBnB!)  It was close to the Canada Line which goes to the airport, as well as the race start.  We ended up walking a ton on Friday, which might have been a cause of me shutting down at the end of the race.  Definitely worth it though! gorgeous is Vancouver?!  I have to admit that when I picture Canada, I think of a really cold place with not a lot of good scenery.  I was completely wrong and it's an incredible, beautiful, fun city!  Dan and I both loved it and could actually see ourselves living there.  It's definitely on my list of favorite cities that I've been to and I would recommend everyone visit!

Besides the race, the highlight of the weekend was getting to meet and hang out with Suzy, her husband Andrew, and Callum!  I've been blogging buddies with Suzy for a while now, and I was so excited to meet her in person.  Dan and I just clicked with them, and we ended up spending pretty much all of Saturday afternoon with them!  We had dinner at Cactus Club, met Christina from The Athletarian (who also ran in the race) then walked around Stanley Park for a while.  It was a beautiful day out, and we ended up talking about everything and anything.  I'm really sad that we live so far apart, but luckily I can keep up to date with her thanks to blogging!  I always love meeting blogging buddies, and getting to meet her and hang out was the best.

We ended up leaving early on Sunday.  We had a flight in Newark and ended up getting delayed for a few hours, but we found a beer garden and ended up staying there watching the Olympics!  It ended up being a lot of fun and a great end to the trip.

So- who's going to try to get into Seawheeze next year?!
Lulu just sent out an email hinting at a huge change for next year..can't wait to see what they're up to!
Have you ever met a blogger in real life?  Awkward?
I've become friends with a few Pittsburgh bloggers and also met Susie IRL!  Not awkward at all (at least from my point of view...they might have different answers)

linking up with Amanda!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Seawheeze Half Marathon Training : Race Week!

Hi everyone!  I can't believe that race day has come and gone already.  When I signed up for this race last year, it seemed like it was so far away.  Then, I picked up training and the 10 weeks of training seemed like such a long time.  Now the race is already over!  

This was a great week for me that culminated in one of my favorite races to date.  While I didn't get a PR, I did have an amazing experience that might be one of my favorites of all time.  I'll definitely be sharing more, so today I'll just give you a quick look at the final week of training!


4 miles
Nice and easy workout this morning. Jogged and strolled my way through 4 miles.  Trying to keep it easy for the week.


Took it easy in yoga this week.  My favorite instructor was back and led us in some great folds and stretches.


Rest Day!


4 miles
Easy four miler in the morning with some strides thrown in the middle.  It was such a beautiful morning and my legs felt great!


10 miles walking
Dan and I got into Vancouver on Friday afternoon and spent pretty much the entire day walking around exploring.  Probably not the best way to spend the day before a race, but I didn't want to waste the trip!  Since we decided to stay just for the weekend, I wanted to make the most of our short trip.  I'll write more about what we did, but it was great to walk around and explore!


13.1 miles / 2:04:29 / 9:30 pace
One of my favorite races ever- look out for a full recap later this week!


Rest/Travel Day!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Top Five : Vancouver

oh, Candada....Hi everyone!  Today I'm coming at you with a quick Top Five Friday post, all about Vancouver!  As you all probably know, I'm excited about my trip and the Seawheeze Half Marathon.  I'll be sharing the top five things I'm excited to see (and eat) during my trip.

Talk to you all on Monday, and have a great weekend!

Tim Hortons

I might be starting off on a lame note, but I absolutely love Tim Hortons coffee!  Anytime I'm in a city that's lucky enough to have one, I always stop in and get their dark roast.  There's a few really close to our AirBnB, so I'll be sure to go there (probably daily).

Stanley Park

I absolutely love large parks in cities, so I'll definitely check out Stanley Park.  There's an aquarium which is right up Dan's alley, as well as lakes, trails, gardens and more!  This is also the location of the Sunset Festival (the after party for the race), which should be fun!

Sea Wall

Hopefully by now you all know that I love water and running by water.  One big reason why I wanted to do this race was because the course runs all along the border of the city, which is surrounded by water!  It looks absolutely gorgeous, and will hopefully make this a really fun race.  Suzy gave me some great restaurant suggestions that are located on the water, so I'll also get to enjoy the view in a more laid-back way!

Shopper Drug Mart

Another lame pick, but I've heard so much about Shoppers from YouTube videos and Canadian friends!  Anytime I visit a new country, I'm always interested in seeing their grocery stores and markets.  Since we're staying in an AirBnB, we also have access to a kitchen, so I'll be stocking up with some food for our stay!

Vegan Pudding + Co

While I was doing a little research on some places to eat near us, I stumbled upon a company called Vegan Pudding!  It's located really close to where we're staying, and they have so many interesting flavors of pudding.  This is definitely a treat that I don't want to miss out on!  While pudding might not be a purely Canadian or Vancouver treat, I'm excited to try it out during our trip!  (hey- maybe they have a maple flavor!?)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Currently : August 2016

Hi everyone!  This week is absolutely flying by for me and has been super hectic at work.  I thought it would be a perfect time for an updated Currently post- one of my favorites to read and share!

Current Book

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I'm just getting into this book, but so far I'm loving it!  It's a really quick and easy read that everyone's been talking about, so if you haven't picked it up yet I would recommend it.

Current Music

Honestly, I haven't been listening to a lot of music lately.  I got rid of my Spotify Premium account, and mostly listen to podcasts now.  When I'm at work, I'll search for "relaxing piano" or "music for concentration"!  Besides that, I guess I'm in a music rut.

As far as podcasts, a few of my current favorites are No Challenges Remaining (all about tennis), Invisibilia (psychological stuff that really makes you think) and The Lively Show (right now she's in Europe and I love following along her adventures!)

Current Drink

Anything in my Nespresso.  I'm seriously so obsessed with it (and my coffee bar) and use it pretty much daily!  My favorite thing to do is froth up some almond/coconut milk, top with espresso, then add in some kind of flavor or sweetener. For hot days I'll toss in some ice and it's like a homemade latte!  So delicious!

Current Food

Still going strong with eating vegan!  I have a post planned to talk more about the "why", as well as fun lunch ideas, vegan taste tests, and more!  Lately, I've been having biweekly vegan dinners with a few friends, and it's been great motivation to try new recipes.  Any local Pittsburghers are welcome to join us!

Current Favorite Show

Not really a show, but the Olympics are all I have been watching lately (DUH!)  I try to keep up with the results while I'm at work, then watch clips of my favorite events at home.  It's been SO exciting so far- from Djokovic's emotional loss to all the swimming records being broken and Team USA's big win yesterday- and we've only just begun!

Current Needs

Finding motivation to do work after I get home from work.  After I'm home, all I want to do is relax, cook dinner, and relax some more (while watching the Games).  How can I get myself to do yard work, clean the house, or do check things off my super long to-do list?  Anyone have advice?? Help!

Current Outfit

I've been pretty much only wearing dresses lately.  Dresses are easy to throw in my gym bag to change into after my morning run, they're professional enough in case I have important meetings, and they keep me nice and cool when it's hot and humid after work!  A few of my current favorites are from J Crew Factory, Madewell and Target.

Current Excitement

Seawheeze this weekend!  The race is supposed to be amazing, and I'm really excited to see Vancouver.  I hope to see some of you there as well!

How do you stay motivated after work?
Current favorite song?
Who else is going to be in Vancouver this weekend?
Book recommendations?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Seawheeze Half Marathon Training : Week 9

And just like that- another training cycle is in the bag!  This weekend I'll be running another half marathon, and my final full week of training was a good one.  I feel ready for the race and excited to run!  Let's take a quick look at how this week of training went:


4 miles / 38:15 / 9:33 pace
Little morning run to get the week started! Felt good, just a little tired today. It was a beautiful morning though, and the days are starting to get (slightly) cooler!


5 miles / 44:18 / 8:52 pace
Great speed work this morning! 5 miles with 20 minutes alternating fast and slow. Funny how I can start out feeling so tired and legs feel heavy, then as soon as I have to start the speed session I can bust out 7:00 paces and it not feel hard at all. Felt so good to stretch out my legs! Loved this workout.

Yoga / 45:00
My normal favorite instructor wasn't there, but the sub was alright.  Not my favorite, not my least favorite.  Big focus on leg strength and mine were still tired from the morning, so this was challenging!


Rest Day!


3 miles / 30:00 / 10:00 pace
Stayed indoors to run on the treadmill in the morning.  I watched the Vanilla Ice Project while I ran which was pretty entertaining!


Rest Day #2!


5 miles / 46:04 / 9:12 pace
I woke up early on Saturday morning to run a nice and easy 5 miler at North Park.  It felt great out, but was incredibly humid!  For some reasons, the weekend mornings have been stifling with humidity..just in time for my long runs!  My body and legs felt great though, so this was a really good run.  Afterwards, I met up with Jennifer for brunch at the boat house!  


5 miles
I was planning on waking up early and running at the lake again, but I stayed up watching the Olympics and slept in.  I decided just to run around my neighborhood, which ended up being a great, relaxing run.