Monday, August 31, 2015

MIMM : Summer in the City

This weekend seemed to fly by!  It felt like the last official weekend of summer (is it really the last day of August!?) so there was a lot going on in Pittsburgh.  Luckily, the weather cooperated and it turned out to be a gorgeous weekend!  

First things first- congratulations to the freekeh giveaway winner Kristen (I'll be sending you an email shortly!).  Thank you all so much for entering and for all your amazing lunch ideas!

Here are a few highlights of my marvelous weekend:


Dan and I went to a Renaissance Fair!  Every year, there's an amazing fair near Pittsburgh that I've always wanted to visit.  It was a ton of fun!  We stopped by a few different shows- my favorites being Cast in Bronze (who appeared on America's Got Talent) and the Duelists (hilarious duo).

Every time I think of a Renaissance Fair, I think of this scene in How I Met Your Mother...hilarious!

pittsburgh ren fair 2015
Another highlight was definitely seeing the Jousting!  It was so entertaining and we had a great view of the action.

pittsburgh renaissance fair 2015
The entire place looked amazing!  It feels like you're in a small town, with lots of little shops and stages.  Most of the people came dressed in costumes, and it definitely felt like we stepped back in time.  The fair is open until September 27, and I highly suggest checking it out!  

pittsburgh night market 2015
Squirrel Hill hosted a night market on Saturday night.  There were vendors, food trucks, live musicians and entertainers.  It was PACKED!  We walked around for a while, but lines were too long at the food trucks and most were selling out of their food.  

The next market is September 26, and I'll plan on getting there earlier in the evening!

naya pittsburgh review
For dinner, we stopped at Naya, which serves Middle Eastern food.  Dan and I split a platter, which had tabouli, grape leaves, baba ghanouj, hummus, feta, olives served with pita.  It was so good!  I will definitely be back at the restaurant- the service was great and it was really affordable. 

I'm going to end this post with a picture of a camel..isn't he cute?

How was your weekend?
Have you been to a Renaissance Fair?
What's your favorite animal?


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Towpath Half Marathon Training #3

This week was a bit of a challenge for me.  It was the first time my muscles felt sore and the workouts were difficult to complete.  Usually I look forward to my runs and have to hold myself back, but that wasn't the case this week.  I think it's finally time to really take those easy runs easier and focus more on eating enough, fueling properly, and preventing injury.


I did hit an exciting milestone this week- I ran over 100 miles for the month of August!  I believe this is the first time that I've ever hit that milestone in my running career, so I'm really excited and proud of myself.  I also started running with a training group this week, so it's not surprising that I'm feeling sore.  Here's to hoping my body will start to respond and get stronger!

Monday

4 miles easy / 38:00 / 9:30 pace
I felt really good, so it was hard for me to slow down and truly take these miles easy.  I ended up running on trails because it was really sunny out, and it was a great decision.  I felt great after this run!

Tuesday

Rest Day
I decided to take an unexpected rest day.  After running 4 days in a row (including a race and long run) I needed a day off.  I also met my sister and brother-in-law for dinner at Sonoma downtown.  They recently moved to Pittsburgh from California, so I wanted to take them to a California restaurant and wine bar.  I ordered a wine flight with a protein trio, including pork belly, salmon, and a diver scallop.  So good, even though my picture didn't turn out due to dark lighting.  

Wednesday

5 miles hill repeats
My first run with the True Runner 10 Mile training group!  We started with dynamic stretches, followed by a mile warmup and 12 repeats up the Schenley Park frisbee golf course.  I remember running up that hill in high school for cross country (the city schools all ran at Schenley Park for races) so it brought back all kinds of memories!  We finished with some striders on the track and a mile cool-down.    Overall a tough workout, but really motivating to run with a group.

Thursday

5 miles easy / 47:40 / 9:31 pace
My legs felt surprisingly good on this run, and I had trouble keeping my pace slow.  I listened to a podcast which always helps slow me down, but I was still about 15 seconds faster than my goal pace of 9:45.  It still felt really easy and a great recovery run though! 

After the run, I walked about a mile and a half to Shadyside to meet up with Lynne, who just moved from Denver!  We got a drink from Shady Grove, then attended a Ladies' Night at True Runner.  They were debuting Carrie Underwood's new Calia line and had tons of activities and freebies.  Unfortunately, neither of us won anything, but we still had a great time!

Friday

3 mile bike ride
I took out the bike for a  nice, easy ride in the morning.  It was a gorgeous day and I wanted to do something since I had a rest day planned.  It was a great active recovery day, and I followed it up with some easy yoga!
 

Saturday

3 miles fast / 26:17 / 8:45 pace
I woke up really sore this morning (maybe lingering effects from Wednesday's run?) so I decided to change my run from a fast 6 to a fast 3 miler.  It was a gorgeous morning, and I love this view from the Panther Hollow Bridge.  Even though the run wasn't easy, the pace didn't feel too fast and the three miles flew by!

Sunday

10 miles / 1:38:00 / 9:48 pace
I was really nervous about this run for a few reasons.  It was my first double digits run since the Biggest Loser Half Marathon back in June, I was sore all week and hadn't had the best runs, and I started my run at 2:30 when it was about 85 degrees out.  I just told myself to take it really slow from the beginning and just get in the 10 miles.  Surprisingly, this really helped and kept my paces pretty consistent for the entire run: 9:38, 9:50, 9:49, 10:05, 10:00, 9:26, 9:36, 9:46, 10:16, 9:40.  Taking into account the rolling hills at North Park (including the huge hill by the Boat House), I was super happy and felt great the entire time! 

 

Linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap

How was your week of training?  
Any exciting milestones?
Is anyone else struggling at the moment?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Top Five Summer Moments

Happy Friday!  Quick side note- don't forget to enter my giveaway for a free packet of Freekeh!  You can enter by commenting on my lunch ideas post (here) until Sunday!  I'll announce the winner on Monday's post.  Good luck!

Summer is quickly coming to an end, and the Friday Five ladies are going to be discussing different things that they've done.  I had the best summer ever, and have luckily been able to document it all here on my blog!  Today I'll be sharing my favorite posts from the past few months as a way to commemorate the top moments of the summer.  I hope you enjoy!

Penn State Weekend


There is absolutely no place that I love more than Penn State.  Every time I visit campus, I still get butterflies in my stomach and feel like I'm home.  Pair that with seeing two of my favorite people, and you have an amazing weekend! 

Fourth of July Weekend

To be honest, this is a bit of a bittersweet weekend to think about.  The marina that we visited during this trip is the one where the horrible tragedy occurred earlier this week.  Now it's hard to think about all the fun times that we had there and knowing that some of Dan's family lives minutes from that marina, and the news crew has definitely been in my thoughts and prayers this weekend.  Remember to always be thankful for what you have and appreciate every moment of every day!

Philly / NYC Weekend

Dan surprised me with a trip to Philadelphia and New York City for my birthday.  We got to attend two baseball games and explore two great cities.  It was such a fun weekend and a great start to my second quarter century!

Europe Trip

This didn't technically happen in the summer, but I'm still counting it!  This was definitely a highlight of my year so far.  The trip was absolutely incredible, and I was really grateful to visit two amazing friends.  Dan and I got to explore four new cities together and we had the best time!  I wrote a few different posts about this trip, including  a recap of Mallorca, Sweden, Copenhagen, and what to pack.

Races

This summer was full of races- with a total of 4 complete from June to August.  I ran two 5k's (Riverview and Run Around the Square), one 5 miler (Achilles Hope and Possibility), and one half marathon (Biggest Loser)!  

Shows

I haven't talked about TV shows in a Top Friday post in a long time, so it's time to get caught up on what I've been watching recently.  What have you been watching lately?

Young and Hungry

This show is kind of cheesy, but I still love it!  I binge-watched it earlier this year on Netflix, and have been patiently waiting for new episodes to come out.  Luckily, the second season continued last week and I'm loving it!

Bachelor in Paradise

Even though I stopped watching the Bachelorette in the middle of the season, I was really excited for BIP!  This season is absolutely ridiculous and over the top, but the drama is interesting!  What is your opinion of Samantha/Joe/Nick?  That whole situation is a MESS but made for good TV.  Right now, my favorite is Kirk, who just seems like the sweetest guy!

So You Think You Can Dance

I'm so excited that my early favorites (JaJa and Jim) are still in the competition!  Neither of them has landed in the bottom 6 or bottom 4 which is great news.  They continue to blow me away week after week!  I definitely think they have the most talent and greatest personality of any contestant this season.  Seeing them paired up with the All Stars definitely showcases their abilities!

Project Runway

There are a few designers that I'm liking so far from this season, including (of course) Ashley!  Her first design was AMAZING, and I would buy it in a heartbeat:
My other favorites are Swapnil, Laurie, and Candice!  I'm also excited because it was just announced that in November, Project Runway Junior will be starting, and a new season of Project Runway All-Stars will begin in 2016!

 

Songs 

A lot of great albums have come out recently, so today I will be sharing my favorites CDs!  I think there's something for everyone here, and I hope you enjoy!

Melanie Martinez - Cry Baby


Genre : Electropop
Favorite track : Training Wheels

Rob Thomas - The Great Unknown

Genre : Pop, Rock
Favorite track : One Shot

 Dillon Francis - This Mixtape is Fire.

Genre : House, Reggaeton
Favorite track : Pull It

audiomachine - Magnus

Genre : Epic, Classical
Favorite track : Reparation

Hunter Hayes - 21

Genre : Country, Pop
Favorite track : The Trouble With Love 


What are you favorite moments of the summer?
What are your thoughts on TV shows right now?  Anyone else frustrated with this season of Big Brother?
Linking up with Mar, Cynthia and Court 
as well as Heather and Momfessionals!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pinterest-Perfect Day

Happy Thursday everyone!  Today is a great day, because I'm joining in Anne's Pin to Present Linkup!  I have a fun post planned for today- one that I've been wanting to do for a while. What if we tried to live a Pinterest-Perfect day?  What would that look like and what would we think about it?  I wanted to find out!  Since I'll be trying something new out, of course I'm linking up with Jess!


You'll see in my post today that I had a few things out of the ordinary happen, so I wasn't able to completely pin-ify (did I just make that term up?) my day.  I did try out a few pins which I'll discuss.  I hope you enjoy a look into a day in my life, as well as see a few Pins in the Present!  Make sure you check out Anne's post for more Pinsperation, and check out Amanda to see what other people are thinking about today!

6:00 Wakeup and take Selma for a walk

6:15 Morning yoga sequence. I usually don't stretch or do yoga in the morning, so this felt great!
This particular set was nice and easy and only took around 10 minutes.  I really liked the stretches and thought it was the perfect way to start the day!
6:25 Shower
6:35 Overnight oats - the typical Pinterest breakfast! I followed a recipe for Almond Joy oatmeal and it tasted really good. This version didn't call for chia seeds, and turned out really good and creamy.
After eating breakfast, I quickly got ready for work.  I was planning on trying out an outfit/makeup/hair pin, but I had to wear comfortable, old clothes (you'll see why in a minute!)
7:10 Catch my bus for work!
7:30 Log in at work, check emails, set my Out Of Office status for the day. My work allows employees to volunteer up to 40 hours a year during the work day,  and today my team was volunteering at a local girls' shelter!  Within a year, my team volunteered over 100 hours at this particular shelter, so we won them a grant.  Today we were able to present the grant, which was an amazing, gratifying experience!  One of many reasons why I love where I work.


8:30 Leave work to head to the girls' shelter.  On the way, I stopped for a caramel latte and walked through a park.  Great start to my morning!

9:00 Super busy as soon as we arrive.  Since school is starting next week, we put together school supply bundles with items that my work donated. Does anyone else start missing school when all the supplies are out in Target and Walmart?  I miss college!

11:30 Lunch break!  We stopped by the Humane Society to check out the food truck that was there (every Wednesday a different food truck stops by).  Today, it was Oh My Grill, which serves gourmet grilled cheese.  I had one that had gouda, caramelized onions and bacon.  SO GOOD!  Of course, we also had to stop inside and play with some of the dogs!

12:30 Head back to the shelter to get back to work.  We finished packing up our little bundles, then moved on to cleaning some of the rooms before the girls get there.  I also got to create new signs for the building which was fun!

3:30 Time to leave!  I was originally planning on going to the Humane Society to walk more dogs, but I am beat from the day.  I head home instead to walk Selma, have a snack, and work on this post! I also cook some chicken for dinner. I just brown a few tenderloins and shread it for a pinned recipe!

6:00 Leave for Run Club.  I recently joined the Pittsburgh 10 Miler training group, which meets for speed work on Wednesdays. Today's run was Hill repeats- specifically 12 repeats at schenley park. Really tough workout but a lot of fun running with the group! 

7:30 Get home and eat dinner. It was a super simple meal- general tsao chicken wraps. They turned out really great and I added avocado for extra creaminess and fat. I also drank my alpha amino drink for recovery and watched some tennis! 

8:00 Shower #2 of the day.

8:15 Get together my lunch for Thursday, pick out an outfit and lay out my running clothes. My plan is to run before work, so I use to have everything ready to go!

9:00 Take out Selma for the last time and finish this post while watching more tennis matches. I'm SO excited for the US Open to start!! 

9:30 Head to bed, exhausted. Get ready to do it all again tomorrow!

I hope you enjoyed a look at my day! It was fun to try out a few pins throughout my day. Next time I try this, I'll also attempt a makeup/hair pin as well as recreate an outfit. 

Have you ever tried a pin-perfect day?
What is your favorite recent Pin?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday Reviews : Bulu Box

Today I have a new box to review - Bulu Box!  If you haven't heard of this box before, here's a quick rundown:

Bulu Box is the first health, nutrition and weight loss discovery box designed to help you feel your best. Each month, you’ll get a custom box filled with a new mix of 4 to 5 premium samples from top brands to try. Share your thoughts about each product in sample surveys and you can earn 50+ Rewards Points (that's $5!) each month! Use your points to purchase your new favorites in full size at BuluBox.com! Here you’ll also get expert tips, tricks and a supportive community of Bulugans just like you! Join the discovery and find a healthier you!

I was sent the box to review from Sweat Pink.  I'm not being paid for this review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.  If you're interested in trying out a Bulu Box yourself, use the discount code SWEATPINK for 50% off a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription!

bulu box coupon code
 How cute is that box?  I love all the inspirational sayings all over it..so cute!

Here is an overview of what was in my first Bulu Box!  Lots of fun items- let's get into a quick review of everything.

RUNA Tea 

Powered by Guayusa, a native Amazonian tree leaf, Runa Teas provide as much caffeine as a cup of coffee and twice the antioxidants of green tea.  Replace your calorie filled energy drinks with this tasty natural option.
This tea is DELICIOUS!  I'm a huge fan of ginger, so I was really excited to see that I got the Ginger-Citrus Guayusa tea.  It almost tasted like a warm ginger ale, which might sound gross but was refreshing and easy to drink.  I actually drank this on a morning when I slept really badly and was exhausted at work, and it really woke me up!  I didn't get any jitters or nasty breath like I would with coffee, so I'm a huge fan of this tea and will be buying a box in the future (luckily it's sold on Amazon and about 100 other websites!)

Simple Being Simple Diet

Simple Diet features an effective 4-part blend of ingredients such as Green Coffee Bean, African Mango, Acai, and Resveratrol to promote fat burning, appetite suppression and boost metabolism.

Since I'm in the middle of training for my half marathon, nutrition is really important to me.  I'm working hard on taking in more calories since I'm burning so many, so unfortunately I did not try these, since they're targeted for weight loss.  If you're looking to lose weight, these seem like a great thing to try since they're all natural and reasonably priced at $19.99 for 60 capsules!

Movit Energy Gummies

Movit Energy Gummies use power-boosting ingredients like guarana, CoQ10, and folic acid to combat fatigue and help you perform your best!

I tried these gummies before a speed workout with Run Club.  They tasted really great with only a slight vitamin taste.  The texture was nice and soft, so they went down really easily!  I didn't experience any cramps during my run, which is a common problem I get from energy gummies.  I also love how these gave me just a bit of a boost, but it wasn't too intense.  I really liked these!
 

Fusion Jerky

Fusion Jerky offers a unique, high protein flavor experience made using real chicken and nothing artificial.  This delicious jerky option is gluten-free, minimally processed and 99% fat free!

This jerky was gone very quickly as soon as I opened it.  Not only did I love the taste, but so did Dan!  He generally does not like healthy foods, so I wasn't expecting him to like this at all.  We both loved how flavorful this was, and the texture was perfectly tender.  It had a slight spicy taste from the pepper, and I will definitely be looking to buy more flavors in the future!  Perfect snack, plus Dan liked it as well.  Win/Win!

Earth's Care Anti- Itch Cream

Relieve pain and itching associated with skin irritations such as poison ivy, sunburn, and minor cuts and scrapes.  Earth's Care Anti-Itch Cream contains no artificial colors or fragrances and is petroleum free.

I didn't have any rashes or burns to really test out this product, but used it on some dry, itchy skin.  It did help to soothe the area, but had a really strong menthol smell (like a Vick's Vapor Rub).  Menthol is used as an external analgesic, which is necessary in a product like this, so it wasn't a big deal.  I liked how smooth the cream was and how easily it rubbed in.  This size is great for travel, or just throwing in a purse!  I love trying out boxes like Bulu Box so that I get mini sizes of necessities like this.  It's perfect!


Overall, I was a huge fan of this box!  My favorite items were definitely the jerky and the tea, which I will be purchasing in the future.  I love how there was a variety of products offered, and brands that I haven't heard of.  I'm so glad that I got to try out this box from Sweat Pink, and highly recommend it!  Remember, if you're interested in trying out a box, use the code SWEATPINK to get 50% off your 3-month subscription (that's only $15..great deal)!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Yoga for Runners : My Favorite Poses

In my workout recap on Sunday, I mentioned that I sometimes don't feel like doing a full yoga video and instead do a few of my favorite poses.  I've watched a lot of "Yoga for Runners" videos, and always came back to the same few stretches that felt amazing.  These always help me get the best stretch and are beginner-friendly poses.

I would like to note that I'm not a certified yoga instructor or even consider myself a yogi, so proceed with caution.  I also wrote the instructions as clearly as possible, but again, I'm not an instructor so please be careful when attempting these poses.  I did link to Yoga Journal and Pocket Yoga for most of the poses so you can see a detailed explanation along with more information if you're interested in reading more.  Now, let's get stretching!

As usual, I'm linking up with Tuesdays on the Run. Go check out the other posts!

Lizard Pose

Stretches: hip flexors, hamstrings, quadriceps
yoga for runners hip opener
source
How To: begin in downward-facing dog, and step your right foot to the outside of your right hand.  Lower your opposite knee and relax your foot.  If you're able, lower to your forearms.  Switch to other leg.  The link above also has some other great hip openers that I would recommend trying, including frog and pigeon. 

Figure Four/Eye of the Needle Pose

Stretches: hips, inner thighs
source
How To: lie on your back with your knees bent, and pull your right knee towards your chest.  Place your left ankle over the knee, and gently pull the right leg towards you.  Switch to other leg.

Runner's Lunge

Stretches: groin, legs and arms
source
How To: start in a forward fold, and step your left foot back into a lunge.  Rest your torso on your right leg.  If you're able, drop your left knee to the ground and reach behind to grab your left foot for an even deeper stretch.  Switch to other leg.

Happy Baby Pose

Stretches: inner groin, back
source
How To: lie on your back, and bring your knees towards your chest.  Grab the outer edges of your feet, and gently pull your legs outward and towards your armpits. It may be a funny looking stretch, but it feels amazing!

Legs up the Wall Pose

Stretches: hamstrings, general recovery
source
How To: lie down close to a wall, and gently lean your legs against the wall.  Scooch closer to the wall, and relax your heels against the wall.  Stay here as long as needed.  I'll usually rest here and watch a TV show to get an amazing stretch.

Spinal Twist 

Stretches :  back and spine
source
How To : lie on your back and bend your right knee, crossing it outside of the left leg.  Keep both shoulders squared and flat on the floor. Extend your right hand and gaze towards the right, while gently pushing your knee with your left hand. For a deeper stretch, start to straighten the knee.

What's your favorite yoga pose?
Do you have a specific post-workout recovery, or switch it up? 
Please send me your favorite yoga videos!! I love trying out new ones!

Monday, August 24, 2015

MIMM : Busy Weekend Highlights

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a great weekend and got to enjoy the perfect weather!  In Pittsburgh we got a little preview of fall weather in the morning, which made my runs really enjoyable.  Here is a look at the highlights of my weekend!

A few weeks ago, I won an Instagram giveaway hosted by Gina, Vanessa and a few other ladies for a Target giftcard!  I picked up a few essentials as well as a some fun things, as you can see below!
target mossimo plaid shirt
Sun Bum SPF 50 Sunscreen
This is my first time trying this brand, but I love it!  Smells really good and has great protection.

John Frieda 7 Day Volume
I tried this in-shower treatment before and loved how thick it made my hair feel.  Highly recommend (plus it's cheap!)

L'Oreal Infallible Shadow in Eternal Sunshine
My absolute favorite single eyeshadow formula.  This is really smooth and stays put all day.  I love this golden color for summer and fall!

Scotch Washi Tape and Neenah Cardstock
Washi tape is so fun for decorating my planner, and the cardstock will be great for my scrapbook!

Wilton Silicone Baking Mat
I've always wanted to try a silicone mat for baking cookies and macarons, so I picked this cute one up!

Hanes V-Neck T shirts
My favorite plain white tee.  Super soft and comfortable!

Mossimo Plaid Shirt
I love plaid shirts for fall, and this one is so soft!  Can't wait to wear it!

Bib Necklace
I really liked how this necklace looked, and I couldn't pass it up when I saw it was on clearance.


glyder adopt tank top
I also got this Glyder tank in the mail that I saw on Suzanne's blog!  I love the image on the front, and was pleasantly surprised how soft and comfortable it is.  It also got delivered really quickly, which was a nice bonus.  I wore it on my long run at North Park and highly recommend checking out Glyder's shirts!


Speaking of North Park, it was absolutely gorgeous out.  There were a ton of people out kayaking, and I really wanted to join them! How perfect does that water look?


Most of my weekend was spent at my parents' house helping them paint their living room.  I mentioned before that they're doing some renovations.  I love to paint, so this was my favorite week of work so far!  There's still a lot to do, but the room's looking beautiful so far.


Selma came along to "help", but mostly napped out in the sun.  She was a very happy dog!


I ended the weekend by watching the movie McFarland, USA at Schenley Park!  During the summer, a few different parks in the city host movie nights (sometimes with a concert beforehand), and I finally made it to one.  The movie was absolutely amazing, and the weather couldn't be more perfect.  Best way to end the weekend!

What did you do this weekend?
Do you have anything exciting happening this week? 
Have you seen McFarland?  What did you think?