Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Club Friday: The Night Circus

I'm back for another Book Club Friday!  This book had been on my to read list for a while and I am glad I finally got around to it!  I really enjoyed it.

From Goodreads:
In this mesmerizing debut, a competition between two magicians becomes a star-crossed love story.

The circus arrives at night, without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within nocturnal black and white striped tents awaits a unique experience, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stand awestruck as a tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and gaze in wonderment at an illusionist performing impossible feats of magic.  

Welcome to Le Cirque des RĂªves. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is underway--a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in "a game," in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

I really enjoyed this book.  I will admit it did take me a little bit to get into - it jumps between time periods and storylines that took some following, but once I got into it, I could not put it down.  The characters which richly described and I felt like I wanted to be their friend.  As I am sure you've realized the story involves a circus.  The circus may have been may favorite part - I really wish said circus actually existed, because I would totally go.

It's hard to truly describe the book without giving away spoilers, so keeping this one short and sweet!

Anyone else read Night Circus?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Princess Half Marathon Photo's

For some reason the night before Princess, I was inspired to wear a pretty large tiara on my head.  No idea what came over me, but I did it!  Looked pretty funny with my pink sparkley head band and princess top.

I love my top, but it was not wicking and between the sweat and my number it was being pulled down so they aren't the most attractive photo's (I ended up tucking it my bra straps to keep it up).

Not sure which photo is my favorite, but I really like the one with me swooning at Gaston and the ones with princes!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Race Recap: New Bedford Half Marathon

The race was only like 1.5 weeks ago and the race recap is already done!  I'm getting so much better, lol.  Enjoy!

New Bedford Half Marathon
March 17, 2013

State: #11 (Massachusetts)
Half: #32

This race was held in New Bedford, MA which is located just over the RI/MA border.  We decided on this race because I had heard good things about it.  It's on the relative small size and we were able to do it in a weekend trip.  We were also able to pick up our packets Sunday morning, which was good as I had a bridal shower to go to on Saturday afternoon!

After the shower, we headed up to New Bedford.  As is not surprising, we made some stops on the way at the outlets and Wal-Mart.  We finally pulled into our hotel around 9pm.  We checked in and went out for dinner.  Also not surprising, there weren't a ton of places open at 9pm in New Bedford.  We ended up eating at Ninety-Nine.  Never been there before, but it reminded me of a Chili's.  Probably not the best pre-race food, but whatever.

Fortunately, the race started at 11am, so we did not have to get up early.  After getting ready and packing, we headed to the race.  Since the race was taking place on St. Paddy's day, I figured it was the perfect day to wear my Dublin race shirt.  Let me explain a little of the shirt.

When we ran Dublin back in 2009, we had shirts custom made.  Kelly green with Dublin 2009 on the front and" New York runs on Guinness" with a running Guinness pint glass.  I made the design myself and I am very proud of it.

Upon arrival at the race we stopped to pick up our numbers.  This was definitely number pick-up and not an expo.  It felt very un-half marathon like to me.  Just like a small local race.  Not a bad shirt though.


The race started promptly at 11am.  Fortunately because it was so small I did not have to stand long at the start.  Which is good because it was freezing.  The race was on the water and there was quite a breeze.  Once I started running, I warmed up pretty quickly though.

The start was organized and the race went off pretty quickly.  There was a definite quick pace at the start.  I kept trying to pace myself knowing I am not in the best shape.

The course is mostly downhill - there are 2 long inclines which are relatively steep.  One is around mile 3, the other around mile 12 (which was pretty brutal).  Otherwise, it was flat or downhill.  There was a nice stretch around mile 7-8ish (I honestly don't remember) that ran along the beach and there was a great breeze with the smell of ocean (the good one, not the gross one).

Minimal spectators along the course, but that didn't bother me.  The only issue I had with the course was that there were not enough porta-johns.  The first one was at mile 3 and the next at 9.  And there were only 3 at each.  Not enough.  I lost about 5 minutes waiting for one.  Oh well.

I felt pretty good on the course.  My pace was solid and I didn't feel like I was trying too hard.  Nice effort back!

I really like that the medal has a shamrock on it - so festive given the day!

Race (13.1): 2:07:06, 9:42 pace
Garmin (13.22): 2:07:07, 9:36 pace


Anyone else ever run New Bedford?  What did you think?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

2 for Tuesday

I don't know about everyone else, but I am craving warm weather.  Sunshine, Toms, flip flops, sunglasses - I want it all.  The snow/hail/rain we got yesterday was not acceptable.  It is almost April people!

Anyway, this week I am talking about 2 of my favorite beauty products - both relatively new finds, but have already become indispensable.

I got a small sample of Tarte's Maracuja Oil when I purchased something else from Tarte.  I've heard of Tarte for a while, but honestly hadn't start using it until about a year ago.  Anyway, I got the maracuja oil so figured I would try it.  You apply before going to bed in place of a nightly moisturizer.  After I started using it, I noticed my skin was more moisturized and felt great.  And then on a visit home, my mom commented that my sun spots (yes, I have some on my face from the tanning beds years ago - stupid Sarah) looked lighter.  And they most definitely are!  I now swear by my maracuja/

I discovered this from QVC (I swear I am a telemarketers dream) and bought it because it was supposed to be super hydrating and they recommend using it on your hands.  I have the driest hands (especially in the winter) and when they get dry I pick at them.  This stuff really is super hydrating and has been doing wonders on the dry skin around my cuticles.  I've also been applying it liberally to any patch of skin that is dry!

Also, both items are all natural!

What beauty products are you loving lately?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Training recap... well that didn't go as planned

So this post was scheduled to be a training recap for last week... and then I went and barely did my workouts (for the record I skipped Wednesday - Sunday, great job Sarah).  It was one of those weeks were life just got in the way.  So skipping the recap this week (fingers crossed next week goes better!).

Instead, I thought I share the news about the latest runDisney races - the Dopey Challenge.  They are adding a 10K to Friday morning (moving the 5K to Thursday morning) and then the Dopey Challenge is doing the 5K, the 10K, the Half and the Full.  Let me just say whoa.  That is a lot of running.

I haven't even started planning my race schedule for 2014, but Pam and I are tossing around the possibility of doing 10K and the half (like the Dumbo Double Dare but we don't get an extra medal).  Registration opens on 4/9, so I guess I have until then to decide.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Book Club Friday: Wild

It's time for another Book Club Friday!  This week I'm reviewing Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.

Summary (via goodreads):
A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—-and built her back up again.

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—-and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone. 

Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

I have to say, this is normally not my kind of book.  I don't love personal memoirs (celebrity memoirs - something different!) and while I do love being outdoors, the idea of camping or going days on end without showering does not thrill me.  But this book had been getting good reviews so I gave it a shot anyways.

It took me a while to get into it, but once I did, I really enjoyed it.  The author was pretty open about her life leading up to the trail and her preparedness for the 1,100+ hike, which lead to some laughable moments.  I'm pretty impressed she managed to hike the entire thing alone (this is before cell phones so she was really alone.  I don't think I could have done it!

All in all a good book.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars (it made me want to go hiking which is a pretty big accomplishment).

What should I read next?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Disney World Half Race Photo's

This post is so overdue it's laughable!  But I love these photo's from the Disney World Half and wanted to share my favorites!  The top one might be my favorite photo of all time!

I am such a sucker - I always end up buying them!

Anyone else always buy the race photo's even if they don't plan on it?

Seriously - favorite photo ever.  Totally unplanned.
To infinity - and beyond!

Had to get one with Donald since it is his race!

I match Aurora dress
Looking slightly terrified

So proud of #30
Donald's better half

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thin Mint Milkshake

I did not have time to go to the grocery store Sunday night after coming home from the race, but I was dying to use my Magic Bullet for the first time.  So I basically opened my fridge/freezer to see what I had that I could use to make something.

And guess what I found in the back of my freezer?  A box of Thin Mints.  Heaven on earth.  Sold!

This milkshake (is not healthy or gluten free) but is delicious.  I took 6 frozen thin mints, a cup or almond/coconut milk and a handful of ice cups.

Ingredients - check!
Threw all the ingredients in the magic bullet and used the pulse method to blend the ice and mints together.  Took a total of maybe 2 minutes.  Seriously.  So easy.

So easy and delicious!

Thin Mint Milkshake
6 Frozen Thin Mints
1 cup of milk of your choice
Handful of ice (use amount that provides the texture you like in your milkshake)

1. Place all ingredients in blender.
2. Blend.
3. Enjoy!

Thin Mint Milkshake (tastes better then it looks)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Two for Tuesday

Happy Tuesday everyone!  My wish for spring was not granted (it was snowing/hailing here last night) but actually Spring starts this week and I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed it actually comes!

This weekend on the way home from New Bedford, Pam and I stopped at Costco and I picked up the Magic Bullet Deluxe (not sure exactly what makes it deluxe) for only $45.  I've been wanting one for a while and could not pass on this good of a deal!  I've already used it twice and I've only had it two days.

I've been catching up on my DVR and on a recent Big Bang Theory, the girls (I love that they have really explored the girls friendship in recent seasons) went to Disneyland.  Instead of getting drunk and riding the rides (Penny's suggestion), they went and got made up as Princesses (Bernadette's suggestion).  Not sure if they do that in real life at Disneyland (I'm pretty sure at Disney World you have to be under 12), but it was hilarious.

The Little Mermaid

As clearly evident by many posts on this blog, I love Disney.  I even follow some Disney blogs in my Feedly (shocking, I know).  Over the weekend, one of the official Disney blogs posted that the Little Mermaid came out 24 years ago.  Whoa...I seriously feel old now.  Thanks Disney.

I have a memory of going to see it with my friend Erin in the theatre.  No idea if that's a real memory or not (I also have a memory of going to see Snow White in the theatre which my mom says did not happen, so who knows if I actually saw the Little Mermaid in the theatre).

Either way, The Little Mermaid ranks as one of my all time favorite Disney movies.  I totally wanted to be Ariel for the longest time.  The Disney post post includes a great recap of the movie all in gifs.  I am pretty sure I did/thought all of the things mentioned in the same post.

Sometimes I just love the internet.

Check it out here!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Race Recap: Princess Half Marathon

Since the New Bedford Half was yesterday and I'll need to do that race recap soon - I thought it was time to get my recap for the Princess Half Marathon up!

This was the first year I had run the Princess half.  We know I all love my Disney races so I was definitely excited to complete this one.

I went for the weekend with my mom.  She was doing the 5K and I was doing the 5K and the Half.  We headed to FL on Friday and after landing and getting to the hotel (we stayed at Caribbean Beach), we headed to the expo.

Expo time!
The expo was held at the Coronado Springs convention center - a new location for any expo I had attended.  It was easy to get there via the shuttle bus.

Once there we made our way to pick up our numbers.  The number pickup was pretty easy - I got my 5K first and then my Princess.  Barely any wait to get the numbers.  The area was pretty large and not crowded.

After picking up our numbers we headed into the rest of the expo to get our shirts and do some shopping.  This is were it got crazy.  The space were they held the number pickup was way too large and the rest of the expo was packed in too tightly.  It was insane.

We got our shirts.  A black cotton tee for the 5K and a purple technical short sleeve tee for the Half.  I really like the half shirt (but unfortunately I did not get my wish for a non-Champion shirt - maybe next time).

5K Shirt.  Not bad.
Princess Half Shirt.  Definitely a favorite!
After getting our shirts, we got in line for the official merchandise.  Not kidding.  The area were the merchandise was, was way too small.  They barely had any room and there was pretty significant line to get in.  Once inside - it was a mad house.  There were people everywhere and merchandise was pretty picked over.  Fortunately, they did have my wine glasses!  I picked up a wine glass, water cup and coffee cup (I have a sick obsession with coffee mugs if you didn't know).  My only complaint is everything says '2009-2013'.  I get it's the 5th anniversary, but unless you've done all 5, you probably don't want all the years on it (at least in my opinion).

After escaping from the official merchandise section, we headed over to the runDisney booth.  Registration for Wine and Dine was open, so I registered both Pam and myself for it.  We had such a fun time at it this year, I am so excited to go back.  After doing that, we tried to walk around a little bit, but it was so crowded it really wasn't possible.  I did get a pink sparkle headband to wear on race day and then we were out.

Mickey and Minnie's Royal 5K

Saturday morning was the 5K.  Weather was pretty nice - slightly humid but it didn't bother me (I was walking with my mom, so it was pretty low key).  The bus to the race was pretty easy - didn't have to wait long and we were able to get seats.

After we got to the race, we used the bathroom and headed to the start.  It was a loop around Epcot.  We got to walk through some of the backstage areas as well as around the countries.  It was pretty fun - we didn't wait for any pictures as the lines were long, but it was still fun.

At the finish we got a nice finisher medallion and a some snacks to munch on as we headed back to the hotel.
5K Finisher Medallion
Princess Half Marathon

So Sunday was the big one - the Princess Half Marathon!  Got up nice and early (haha, like 3:30am) and after getting dressed headed to the start.  I was wearing my 'Forget the glass slippers, this Princess wears running shoes' tank, lululemon shorts and a tiara!  Yes, I ended up wearing a tiara for the race (still can't believe it).  Upon walking outside, I immediately was shocked by how humid it was.  Knew it was going to be a heat one!  Again, the bus was super easy and got to the start in plenty of time.

While at the pre-race area, met up with my friend Abby.  She was dressed as Flounder from the Little Mermaid!  It was a great costume.  After hanging with her, I used the bathroom one last time and said bye to my mom (she was going straight to Magic Kingdom to see me on Main Street).  Then headed to the start.  Got to the start and got settled.

The Fairy Godmother even sent us off - it was great!  I started running and immediately started sweating.  Wasn't too worried though, I knew I was planning on taking pictures and was not concerned with my time.

The had some great characters on the course - the Princes, the evil Queens, Gaston, Prince Mickey and Minnie, the Genie, Captain Jack, the raccoon from Pocahontas.  I decided not to run with my phone so will probably end up buying the race photo's (again).  They all turned out really cute - what can I say!

I was definitely dying a little by the end, but finished strong.  Got my tiara finishers medal (love it!) and made my way through the finishers section.  Given the heat, they had lots of medical people and were making everyone drink before leaving the zone (good idea!).  Took my official finishers photo, got my food box and headed off to meet my mom.

After meeting up with her, waited in line to take photo's with Snow White and Ariel.  Once that was done, headed back to the hotel to shower and get one with the day.

Princess Half Marathon Finishers Medal

Race time: 13.1 miles, 2:24:57 total, 11:30 pace
Garmin: 13.43 miles, 2:24:55 total, 10:47 pace


As usual - Disney put on a good race!  There were definitely some things about the expo that needed fixing (someone needs to organize it better!) but over all I was happy with the race.  I had a great time and awesome weekend in Disney.

My only one complaint would be about the race size.  I know the races are becoming more popular (the Disneyland Half closed in like 2 hours this year) and they want to let as many people do it as possible, but it's becoming too much.  The course is packed and the water stations are overrun.  They need to start capping them sooner in my opinion.  I know it's hard because so many people want to do it, but it has to be done.  That's just my 2 cents, if it's worth anything.

Overall, great race and wonderful weekend!   Registration for 2014 opens in June and my mom and I have already decided to do it again!

Anyone else run the Princess Half Marathon this year?  How'd you like it? 

Note:  My race photo's are also up!  Check em out here

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Training recap - week of 3/11

Middle of March and it's still been chilly here - I am most definitely ready for Spring.  This was a busy week for me, but I was able to get (almost) all my workouts in.  I am exhausted from my half this morning (New Bedford Half Marathon - race recap coming later this week) so I am keeping this one short and sweet.

Without further ado - this week's training schedule.

Monday - 30 minutes cardio + 10 minutes stretching

Tuesday - Refine class (not as sore after this one so that is good!)

Wednesday - Speedwork.  First speed workout in a long time.  Felt good to do it, but definitely didn't go insane.
    - 1 mile warmup
    - 8 x 200m, with 200m recovery
    - 0.5 mile cooldown

Thursday - Kickboxing

Friday - Rest day

Saturday - Unintentional rest day.  I had all plans to get up and run Saturday morning, but could not get out of bed.  Since I was racing on Sunday, I figured the sleep was good.

Sunday - New Bedford Half Marathon.  Full recap coming this week, but I felt good.  Got to check MA off my list of states!

Hope you all had good weekends!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Goodbye Google Reader

Does anyone else use google reader to follow blogs?  Did anyone else have a minor panic attack when they saw they were discontinuing it?  I know I did!  I've been using google reader for a long time to follow the blogs I read (way more then I'd like to admit) so I was annoyed (no other word for it).

But fortunately for me (and you!) one of the blogs I read has already made some suggestions for what to use instead.  Right now I am trying out feedly   It was super easy to set up and linked directly to my google reader account so I did not have to redo everything (they kind of made it idiot proof, which is awesome).  I only just started using it, but I have to admit I already like it better!  I figure I have some time before they officially discontinue it on July 1, so I can test out some different ones if I don't like feedly.

For simple step by step instructions on how to transfer to feedly, click here.

I'm sure there are a bunch of different you could use, so tell me - which one do you use?  Is there another besides feedly I should try?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Training recap - week of 3/4

So as I mentioned - I am finally feeling back into the swing of things!  I don't know if it's because I know spring is coming or I am finally rebounding from being burnt out, but who cares!  I ain't going to fight it!

This week was a nice week to get back into it.  Lots of runs mixed in with some cross training and core work.  Starting some speedwork this week!  Plus, I have the New Bedford Half Marathon on Sunday (checking Massachusetts off the list!).  Since the race is on St. Patty's Day, I am going to be wearing my green shirt from when we ran Dublin (it has a shamrock on the front and says New York runs on Guinness on the back - we had them specially made for us for the race!).  Looking forward to getting back out there!

Monday - 3 miles easy; Took it nice and easy at a 10:40 pace (in fact I walked the first 5 minutes to warm up)

Tuesday - Strength training; did one of the Nike Training Club strength workouts

Wednesday - 3 miles easy; got up early and did my first AM run in a looooong time.  Felt great - 3 miles, 9:51 pace

Thursday - 45 minutes cross training; 40 minutes on the arc trainer (which I am liking more then the elliptical lately, 5 minutes on the stationary bike plus core

Friday - Rest day

Saturday - 9 mile long run; Pace lead with the 10:30 group today as there we no non-NYC half 10:00 minute pacers.  Felt good the whole run; 9.17 mile, 10:45 pace

Sunday - 3 miles easy, beautiful day out and felt awesome the whole time!  3 miles, 10:00 pace

Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Club Friday: Witches of East and and Serpent's Kiss

It has been so long since I've linked up with Book Club Friday!  That doesn't mean I haven't been reading a ton though!

This week I am reviewing the first 2 books in the Beauchamp Family series by Melissa de la Cruz - The Witches of East End and Serpent's Kiss.  Since it had been so long I figured I'd do two!  

Book #1, Witches of East End synopsis (from Barnes and Noble):
The three Beauchamp women—Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid—live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret—they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there’s Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.
For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it’s time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.
FYI - Book 2 descriptions contains SPOILERS from Book 1 - READ AT OWN RISK!!!
Book 2, Serpent's Kiss synopsis (from Barnes and Noble):
The intriguing Beauchamp family, introduced in the New York Times bestselling Witches of East End, returns in Serpent's Kiss, with dizzying plot twists and spellbinding magic.
Joanna and her daughters, bookish Ingrid and wild-child Freya, are just settling into the newfound peace that has been cast over their small, off-the map town of North Hampton. With the centuries-old restriction against practicing magic lifted, casting spells, mixing potions, and curing troubled souls has never felt so good for the three witches. That is, until everything gets turned upside down—from Joanna's organized kitchen to Ingrid's previously nonexistent love life to Freya's once unshakeable faith in her sexy soul mate, Killian Gardiner.
When Freya's twin brother, Freddie, suddenly returns, escaped from Limbo and professing innocence on a long-ago crime, Freya should be ecstatic. The golden boy can do no wrong. Or can he? Freddie blames no other than her fiancee Killian for his downfall, and enlists Freya's help to prove it. Now Freya doesn't know who to believe or trust.
And for the first time in—well, forever, really—Ingrid is also busy in love. Matt Noble, the handsome and charming police detective, has won her heart. But can romance work between a virgin witch and a mortal who doesn't believe in magic? Things get even more complicated when it appears Ingrid is harboring the prime suspects in Matt's police investigation.
To add to the chaos, a dead spirit is attempting to make contact with Joanna—but does it mean to bring harm or help? Joanna asks her sort-of ex-husband Norman to help figure it out, only to accidentally invite him to a Thanksgiving dinner with a dapper gentleman she's recently begun dating.
As the witches pull together to discover the serpent within their midst and the culprit behind Freddie's imprisonment, everything is thrown into peril. Will the discovery come too late to save those they love most?

My review

I really enjoyed both of these books.  They were light easy reads that I got through pretty quickly.  It's a pretty intriguing storyline weaving not only witchcraft but basically all the different stories of the gods together (if anyone has seen the movie Thor you'd see overlaps).  Personally, I really enjoy those types of stories, but not everyone does.  I like that there are a couple of different plot lines going on the background which roll-up to the main one, but there are not too many to make it confusing or annoying.  Book 3 is scheduled to come out this summer and I can't wait to read it.

Has anyone read either book?  What did you think?

See what I am reading!  Be my friend on Goodreads!