Thursday, January 30, 2014

Beer Me: Dubious

I don't believe I've ever had anything by North Peak Brewing Co. before but this will not be my last. We were looking for something to add to our Stout/Porter Beer Night last weekend and came across this little gem from Traverse City, Michigan.

This is Dubious, a black chocolate stout.

From their Site: " Dubious is a Dark Chocolate Stout that has the perfect combination of chocolate roast and black malts resulting in a smooth, rich beer. A swirl of aroma, flavor and body is underscored by the rich chocolate that is added at the end of the boil."

Only 50 IBU's  and 5.3 ABV on this one and it was just what I like to see in a stout. Heavy on the chocolate flavor and the perfect hint of smokiness with the black chocolate. If you are a stout fan, you'll like this one. Liquid candy bar in a bottle.

You can't really tell from the filter I used but the label is pink and that made me smile.

Not cheap. $12.99 for the 6 pack. Try to find a single if you can.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stitch Fix #3

I hesitated to schedule my third Fix so close to Christmas but when I was disappointed with the second one, I decided I didn't care. As it turns out, I didn't really get that many clothes for Christmas anyway so it's all good.

If you're unfamiliar, StitchFix is an online styling company that will send you 5 pieces for a $20 styling fee after you fill out a detailed questionnaire about your current style, likes, dislikes, sizing and fit. I loved my first one and hated my second one. So, for the third, I requested my original stylist, Cate. I am asking for her every time. It feels like she completely understands my style because with both of her Fixes, I wanted to keep everything. I didn't....but I wanted to.

OK - onto the clothing!

41Hawthorn - Anise Striped Vest, $78

I love a good puffy vest and I liked that this wasn't as thick and puffy as some others in my closet. The navy and white stripe is right up my alley. The gold hardware added a nice touch too. But, I have other vests and I questioned how much I would actually where this. 

Verdict: Sent Back

41Hawthorn - Ivy Abstract Floral Print Tab-Sleeve Blouse, $68

I'm sorry I didn't zoom in enough on this one. The print is a navy and coral medallion with navy accents. This reminded me a bit too much of my mother. Which isn't to say that's a bad thing (calm down, Mom) but the style and print said "Florida" to me. I considered keeping it because I don't have anything like it in my closet but the V was a bit too deep and I would always have to wear a tank top under it. Plus, it was a bit tight at the hips.

Verdict: Sent Back

Kensie Jeans - Sophia Skinny Jeans, $88

The jeans above and below were also included.

I was excited to get these because I currently only have 1 1/2 pairs of workable skinny jeans. The 1/2 is because sometimes I don't think that pair actually works very well at all but sometimes it's fine. Even though these were a bit pricey, I will always spend more than I deem necessary on jeans ever since my first pair of Joe's Jeans. Good jeans are worth every single penny. You can wear the heck out of them and they keep their shape and rinse much better than cheap jeans. Off my soap box....

Back to these Kensie jeans. I loved the rinse and the stretch they had. Unfortunately, the waistband hit me right on my hip bones making them quite uncomfortable and a tad impossible to sit in. Curses.

Verdict: Sent Back

I know I said I loved everything but so far I've sent back 3 things. Stay with me.

41Hawthorn - Queensland Dolman Jersey Top, $48

I have been wanting a dolman sleeve top for a long time. The style is different than anything in my closet and the color is good for lots of seasons. I think this will look great with a long necklace and boots. It's also very comfortable for those fat days.

Verdict: KEEP!

Fun2Fun - Colibri Heart Print Tab-Sleeve Blouse, $48

This heart blouse is the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life. Before Christmas, the Limited had a heart print sweater that I was dying over. I didn't end up getting it as a gift and could not find it anywhere in my size. I was heartbroken. (Pun intended) I'm pretty sure I squealed with glee when I pulled this out. It's navy blue and the sleeves can be worn 3/4 or rolled up with button tabs. Suffice it to say I will be living in this for the next few months. The fabric has a bit of a sheen but doesn't look cheap. It's going to look great with the brick red cords I got in my first fix and also have been living in.

Verdict: Definite KEEP!

Had I purchased everything my total would have been $232.50 minus the $20 styling fee and with the 25% discount when you keep the whole Fix. A bit rich for my blood....

This time, I told them I didn't want any accessories and I think that worked out great. I have a lot of jewelry already and feel like I have enough options in my closet to accessorize correctly.

I also figured out how to use the timer on my camera because I took these while my chief photographer was shoveling the driveway. What? I offered to help and was turned down.

My next Fix is scheduled for the end of February and I can't wait to see what comes my way. I requested Cate again as my stylist so I know she'll do a great job.

Want to see what I got in my First Fix or my Second Fix? Click those links.

If you'd like to schedule your own fix, click this link here. It's my referral link and I get $25 to spend on my next Fix if you sign up. PRETTY PLEASE!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

And Then There Were None

I like a good mystery every now and then but can you believe I had never read anything by Agatha Christie, Mystery Queen? True! I picked this up at the library last week while I was wandering the stacks. (Are they still called stacks in a public library? We called them stacks in college but elsewhere, are they just shelves? These are the questions that keep me up at night.)


This book was first published under another title you may be familiar with, Ten Little Indians. I'm guessing along the line, someone realized that wasn't politically correct and changed the title to And Then There Were None. Can we talk about how this is also the plot of one of my favorite movies? CLUE! You've all seen Clue, yes. If not, PLEASE WATCH IT. I can remember seeing it on TV as a very young girl and thinking it was the best thing ever...even though I didn't understand the majority of the jokes. I especially liked the alternate endings.

A brief but succinct Good Reads' Synopsis:

"Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to a lonely mansion on Soldier Island by a host who fails to appear but leaves a recording accusing all of undetected murder. Cut off by his orders, one by one each die according to a nursery rhyme Ten Little Indians. A confession in a bottle solves how nobody remains alive."

What I Thought: Well, despite knowing the plot because of Clue, I still really enjoyed the mystery behind this and would not have guessed whodunnit. I actually don't like figuring everything out prior to the killer being revealed. I think it spoils the fun. If you're looking for a short but compelling mystery, check this one out!

Rating: * * * 1/2

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Recipe Reblog: No Bake Nutella Cheesecake

Mmmmm, nutella. If you've never had it before, you are really missing out and need to get to the store right now. Take your spoon. They will not care if you crack open the jar right in the aisle to test out this yummy goodness. I've loved nutella for a long time but now it will forever remind me of the deliciously warm nutella crepes John and I enjoyed in the rain outside of Notre Dame in Paris last May. All the other tourists in line were sure jealous of us. That was some oozy amazingness.

No Bake Nutella Cheesecake: This recipe, from My Baking Addiction, fit the bill when I was looking for something to serve at a Stout/Porter beer night (last night - more on that later in the week). I wanted something lighter in texture but heavier on flavor to pair with the beers. Because we had indulged in other not so healthy items earlier in the meal, I also wanted a recipe I could easily lighten up. I swapped in fat free cream cheese and cool whip on this one to lower the calorie count. I did use full fat Oreos and Nutella though. Nutella doesn't mess around with reduced fat nonsense. These mixed up quickly and looked extra cute in my mini trifle bowls. John and I tasted some leftovers ahead of time and it was exactly what I was going for. A rich but light dessert.

I can't tell you what our guests thought because I'm writing these prior to them coming over. I'm sure they'll love it like we did though. I hope.

Last week of January. I wish that meant winter was ending......

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Life After Life

I am trying to read more meat and less fluff in my books this year. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson was on the 100 Best of 2013 NY Times so I picked it up from the library and dug right in.


Good Reads' SynopsisOn a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.

Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best, playing with time and history, telling a story that is breathtaking for both its audacity and its endless satisfactions.

What I Thought: Yeesh. I had really high hopes for this one but I could not get into it at all. I found the time hopping disorienting, a bit cumbersome, and very repetitive. As a character, I liked Ursula but as her story continued, I found it unbelievable and just really didn't care anymore. The concept was intriguing but fell flat. At 529 pages, it took me quite awhile to get through. I'm not really sure why this gets such good reviews but it was not my cup of tea. If anyone has read it and can tell me why it was so good, PLEASE leave a comment. I don't usually disagree with reviews this much but I don't really recommend this one.

Rating: * * 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


We are over halfway through January. If you made a resolution to lose weight and get healthy, how are you doing? Could you use a little more motivation to keep you on track?

I want to share with you something I've been using for the last couple months.

It's a workout website called Blogilates hosted by Cassey Ho.

Through YouTube and on her site, she provides short pilates workouts that are fun and effective. You can also get a monthly workout calendar so you know which videos and how many to do each day working a different muscle group. By doing the suggested videos each day, you end up working out for about an hour. My strength training hasn't been going great lately and while there are no weights involved in pilates, I've been gaining muscle and toning up places that you can't always hit with heavy lifting.

If you subscribe to her YouTube channel, you can find all the videos in one place. You can even watch them through her app on your phone. This is the only app I have ever spent money on because I think buying apps is ridiculous. However, this one is worth it!

I will admit, her voice can be a bit grating at times and after every set of moves she yells "woooo" like it was the hardest thing in the world. Sometimes the videos are extra cheesy too. But once you get past that you're good to go! She's always positive and gives good tips too. If you've never tried pilates, she also has good beginner videos that explain everything really well. There are recipes and other HIIT cardio workout routines on there too. That stands for 'high intensity interval training' and it's the best calorie burner out there.

I started using Blogilates in November and measured myself at that time. Only 3 weeks later, my measurements were down in all areas. Of course, I'm still running 3 days a week as well but I know the pilates is helping my arms, back and core. And all you need is a mat. If you don't have a mat, I'm sure you could just do it on the ground or use a towel. Everyone owns a towel, right? If not, we have bigger problems than losing weight.

If you're looking to tone up and add muscle, give it a try!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Recipe Reblog: Vegetable Meatloaf

Sunday dinner for you this week! Do people prepare a traditional "Sunday Dinner" anymore? I hope so!

Vegetable Meatloaf with Balsamic Glaze: This recipe title, from the tasty Bobby Flay, is a bit misleading because it's actually a turkey meatloaf with extra veggies in the mix. Meatloaf is one of my all time favorite meals. No foolin'! I have loved meatloaf since I was a young eater. While I can be a purist and enjoy a good beef-based loaf, I try to use ground turkey whenever possible. In fact, I couldn't tell you the last time I bought ground beef. Anyway....with the ground turkey is: red pepper, yellow pepper and zucchini. WHAT?! You betcha. The balsamic glaze on top added a nice zippy acidity to complement the sweetness of the veggies. John and I both really liked this one a lot. Don't be scared. Vegetables are your friends! So is Bobby Flay.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Books on Screen

Are you people hip to Buzzfeed? It's a community based website in which people post lists about all sorts of things. I have the app on my phone and I'm obsessed with it. Lists like "Things 30 Year Olds Say" or "Foods from your Childhood" are always very entertaining and spot on. I was so pleased to see this list last week:

I've already read half the list so I'm super stoked to see them turned into films even if the movie is never as good as the book. (Actual Scientific Fact) I'm also always looking for reading suggestions so I think I found some of my next reads. I'm excited about all of the ones I read: Divergent, Maze Runner, Dark Places, Gone Girl, The Giver (I read this when I was 12!), Wild, The Fault in Our Stars, Unbroken. I would link back to all my reviews but that takes time, yo, and I'm lazy. As good as I think Divergent will be, I am really most excited for Unbroken because I didn't know they were making it into a movie until I read this list. That was a GREAT read and if you haven't read it, please pick it up! It's a biography about a WWII POW who had also been an Olympian. Really good! I know I can get John to see that one with me. Some of the others....not so much.

And just because I died when I read these:

If you were a fan of the Babysitter's Club series by Ann M. Martin, you MUST read this list. My sister sent it to me and I couldn't stop laughing. If you were growing up in the early 90's, you really wanted to be a member of the club. Don't even try to deny it.

P.S. Two weeks. No coffee. Take that, nay-sayers.

Monday, January 13, 2014

This Week's Things

This past week I was fighting a sore throat. By Friday, I noticed some white spots on the bright redness and got myself to the Minute Clinic, FAST. Two throat cultures later and luckily it was not strep. Then I felt really dumb for panicking but I hate being sick. Healthy is my middle name! Throat cultures are still the worst. THE worst. I lived through my fair share as a child and hoped never to repeat that task. Oh well.

Is anyone else stupid excited to do their taxes? I happen to LOVE doing taxes and watching that refund go up, up, up. Helllllooooo new floors!

I'm waiting for the cutest mint green case for my iphone to arrive. I ordered it on Amazon and while it shipped last Friday, my estimated delivery is between February 5th and February 24th. Good things I'm not in a hurry because it seems Amazon is now using carrier pigeons for delivery.

Several years ago, I got big into scrapbooking. I loved the albums I made and cherish them still. But you know what? Scrapbooking is super time consuming. The last major project I did was my honeymoon over 5 years ago. I didn't even have enough steam to scrapbook the actual wedding. Now I have all this paper and stickers and punches and I'm not sure what to do with them. I guess there's a chance I might pick it up again? But more than likely, not. P.S. The more times you type the word 'scrap' the more you will be convinced it is a made up word and/or is spelled incorrectly.

Last Sunday when I was reading the paper, Sadie barked so loudly at nothing outside and it scared the crap out of me. I yelled at her a lot and put her in a stronghold. She looked at me with the saddest eyes that I ended up giving her a new toy to say I was sorry. I'm not a very good bad cop.

Can we talk about how John and I went bowling with friends this past weekend and I actually broke 100? My high score for the day was 102. This is huge! I am, in general, a pretty terrible bowler. The lanes were really junky and the clientele around us was pretty trashy. But, isn't that to be expected at most bowling alleys? I hope I haven't offended any bowlers out there. Also, the shoes I rented were already warm when I put them on so any fungus was for sure still alive during the 2 hours they spent on my feet.

I also tried Indian food and really liked everything I had. Broadening horizons is fun! But it was a buffet and I have a no-holds barred approach to buffets. That's probably why I never go to them. At home, I am the bomb at portion control. In public, not so much.

OK, I'm tapped out.

Did you do anything fun this weekend? Try anything new? TELL ME!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Recipe Reblog: Healthy Bowls

Chili and soup go with winter like peas and carrots. Am I right?

I tried two new recipes last weekend that I want to pass along. Bonus points for being totally healthy too!

Terrific Turkey Chili: I have a few chili recipes but I was looking for one that really pumped up the veggie quotient and this fit the bill. It even has zucchini in it! I followed the recipe exactly except I made my own taco seasoning mix. If you're still buying taco packets, do yourself a favor and google a taco seasoning recipe. Those packets are packed with sodium. No bueno. Even with the green chile peppers this wasn't too spicy. I am a wuss when it comes to spice but it had a nice heat to it. And it makes enough to feed a crowd. Give it a try!

Cream of Broccoli soup: This recipe comes from Gina's Skinny Recipes which is a site I have used a lot! She has great healthy options and gives you all the calorie counts, etc. I was looking for a lightened up cream of broccoli recipe and knew I could count on Gina. This cooks up quick and easily and also adds a few more veggies in as well. A minor variation from the recipe... I used fat free half and half instead of milk. I used low sodium broth though and I needed to add a bit of salt. She also says to add pepper to taste. I added a half teaspoon and that may have been slightly heavy handed but it was still good. And lastly, I don't have an immersion blender so I blending in batches in my regular blender which worked out just fine. This was delicious! It was also pretty thick.

There you have it.

Fill up your bowls and have a great week!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Beer Me - Namaste & Barrel Aged

It is with a heavy heart that I must acknowledge a sad fate. The Christmas beer season has ended. Winter seasonals are the worst. Absolutely dreadful as there's never anything particularly notable about them. But, at a tasting this past weekend, I did try a few that I wanted to pass along. They're not really seasonal offerings but nevertheless.


This is Namaste by Dogfish Head. It's offered year round but this is the first time I tried it.

From the siteA witbier bursting with good karma. Made with dried organic orange slices, fresh-cut lemongrass and a bit of coriander, this Belgian-style white beer is a great thirst quencher.

The coriander was strong in this one which means my mother-in-law would despise it. But, John and I found it quite refreshing and a nice departure from all the dark, heavy brews of late. If you like a citrusy wheat beer, you'll like this one.

I don't have a picture of this one and neither does the site but Bean Gene is from Revolution Brewing Co. as part of their Deepwood series that does special things with their Eugene Porter. This was on tap at a local brewery/restaurant we went to on New Year's Eve and even though it was $10 for a glass, we had to try it.

From the site: "After months socked away in bourbon barrels, we steeped it with Dark Matter coffee beans prior to bottling. Smooth and well-balanced, with hints of vanilla and an in-your-face coffee flavor, enjoy it at breakfast, lunch or dinner."

Oh my stars. It's pretty much a given that if something is barrel-aged, no matter the type of barrel, that I'll love it. This was no different. The Woodford Reserve barrels sweetened the porter but offered other flavors that were deep. If you are a coffee lover, you will die over this one.

Last but not least, a beer with a name that is slightly rude.


Backwoods Bastard is from Founders Brewing (one of my favorite breweries). Also bourboned so I'll save you the suspense. I liked this one a lot too.

From the site: "Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts, a bit of earthy spice, and a scintilla of dark fruit. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate."

Let's be clear here. I don't like straight bourbon one bit. But when you add it to beer (or put it in chocolate) it becomes something of which I am a big fan. This had a great richness to it that was very warming. I didn't see a 6 pack for a price but it is a limited release so if you think you might enjoy it, snap it up while you can! Founders can be a bit pricey but it's worth it.

OK guys -- almost the weekend! We can do this.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Books Read in 2013

I didn't really have any reading goals last year and I think that showed in some of the choices and my total numbers. I used my Kindle a lot (obviously) and was sort of at the mercy of what was available through there. Eventually, I made it back to the library because I was craving the tactile aspect of reading. For the last half of the year, I read both electronically and physically. While I love the ease of a Kindle, I'll never be able to give up books all together.

 1) The Twelve, Justin Cronin - * * * *
 2) Becoming Sister Wives, The Brown Family - * * 1/2
 3) Sweet Tooth, Ian McEwan - * *
 4) I Am The Messenger, Markus Zusak - * * * 1/2
 5) Paris, My Sweet, Amy Thomas - * * * 1/2
 6) Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand - * * * *
 7) MWF seeking BFF, Rachel Bertsche - * * * 1/2
 8) It's All Relative, Wade Rouse - * * 1/2
 9) Thunder Dog, Michael Hingson - * * *
10) The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-time, Mark Haddon - * *
11) Miss Peregine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs - * * *1/2
12) Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn - * * * 1/2
13) A Town Like Paris, Bryce Corbett - * * 1/2
14) The Descendants, Kaui Hart Hemmings - * * * *
15) Big Brother, Lionel Shriver - * *
16) Dad is Fat, Jim Gaffigan - * * * *
17) The Fault in Our Stars, John Green - * * * 1/2
18) Divergent, Veronica Roth - * * * *
19) Inferno, Dan Brown - * * 1/2
20) Insurgent, Veronica Roth - * * * *
21) The Aviator's Wife, Melanie Benjamin - * * * 1/2
22) Sisterland, Curtis Sittenfeld, * *
23) Let's Explore Diabetes With Owl, David Sedaris - * * * 1/2
24) The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot - * * * *
25) Murder in Belleville, Cara Black - * * 1/2
26) Dark Places, Gillian Flynn - * * *
27) Bad Monkey, Carl Hiaasen - * * 1/2
28) The Walking Dead: The Rise of the Governor, Robert Kirkman & Jay Bonansinga - * * *
29) Allegiant, Veronica Roth - * * 1/2
30) World's Strongest Librarian, Josh Hanagarne - * * *
31) The Wolf on Wall Street, Jordan Belfort - * *

Only 31 books but 31 more than if I hadn't read any, right? I need to do more reading this year. More quality reading. A degree in English means I should probably challenge myself more in the literary world.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street

I finished The Wolf of Wall Street last year but didn't get a chance to write about it until now. I've been wanting to see this movie (despite its poor box office showing) and recently learned it's based on a memoir by Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio's character).


Good Reads' Synopsis: By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could, on drugs, sex, and international globe-trotting. From the binge that sank a 170-foot motor yacht and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids waiting at home, and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king and did his bidding, here, in his own inimitable words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called . . .


In the 1990s Jordan Belfort, former kingpin of the notorious investment firm Stratton Oakmont, became one of the most infamous names in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper who led his merry mob on a wild ride out of the canyons of Wall Street and into a massive office on Long Island. Now, in this astounding and hilarious tell-all autobiography, Belfort narrates a story of greed, power, and excess that no one could invent.

Reputedly the prototype for the film Boiler Room, Stratton Oakmont turned microcap investing into a wickedly lucrative game as Belfort’s hyped-up, coked-out brokers browbeat clients into stock buys that were guaranteed to earn obscene profits—for the house. But an insatiable appetite for debauchery, questionable tactics, and a fateful partnership with a breakout shoe designer named Steve Madden would land Belfort on both sides of the law and into a harrowing darkness all his own.

From the stormy relationship Belfort shared with his model-wife as they ran a madcap household that included two young children, a full-time staff of twenty-two, a pair of bodyguards, and hidden cameras everywhere—even as the SEC and FBI zeroed in on them—to the unbridled hedonism of his office life, here is the extraordinary story of an ordinary guy who went from hustling Italian ices at sixteen to making hundreds of millions. Until it all came crashing down . . .
What I Thought: I liked this at the start and then things started to get really repetitive. You can only read so much (522 pages worth) about crooked trading on Wall Street, drug use, hookers, adultery, etc and so on. Belfort has led quite a life but his story could have been cut in half. It's a New York Times Bestseller but I'm not sure why. As long as I thought it was, it's not even the whole story! There's another book about how he got taken down, time in prison, and more. I don't think I'll be reading that one.

Rating: * *

Monday, January 6, 2014

Brrrr - It's Cold in Here

First things first. TGIM. Has anyone in the history of time ever said, "Thank God it's Monday"? I really don't mean TGIM but mostly just, hey -- it's Monday. It's part of that positive attitude business.

Maybe you've noticed, the new year brought a slight facelift to Ashley See, Ashley Does. Do you like it? I spent quite a long time on that photo collage of my favorite thing: ME! (Just kidding - my favorite thing is cheese) But, it did take a long time so I hope you like it. If you're reading on a feed or blog reader, do pop over to the actual site, will you?

How was your weekend? Mine was super productive! Saturday included lots of running around and John and I saw American Hustle. We liked it. I loved the casting even if the pace of the whole thing was a bit off. That's not their fault. Oh, on Friday I went out to lunch with work friends which I never ever ever do. I treated myself to a veggie burger. I am OB-SESSED with veggie burgers. This was quinoa and black bean based and it was delicious. I almost got another veggie burger on Saturday for lunch but went with turkey instead. I am on holiday detox. The burgers help.

On Sunday, we were supposed to get a major storm so we holed up for the day. All it did was rain though we did get some snow later on when the temperatures dropped. Other parts of Ohio did not fare so well and we are having some terrible frigidity today. But, it gave me the opportunity to do a lot of cleaning and organizing.

I pinned this link on how to clean your washing machine on Pinterest. A friend said she tried it and it worked really well so I gave it a whirl. My machine didn't seem particularly dirty but there's been a musty smell in the laundry room. This cleaning got rid of the smell so I'd say it worked.

Sunday morning, we received our first Sunday edition of the New York Times which was a Christmas gift. John and I had read for about 5 minutes before saying to each other that we felt smarter already. The local paper is terrible and we had cancelled that some time ago. Now I can feel well-versed on the goings on of the world again.

I've also just discovered there is a group who will come and pick up all the stuff you would normally donate at Goodwill directly from your front porch. This is fantastic news and I have been culling all closets!

OK, that's all I've got to keep you riveted for today. Stay warm, friends!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

December Miles and 2013 Running Wrap Up

All the miles are run and tonight my 2014 miles begin!

Dec 1: 7 mi TM in 1:01:34, 8:54 avg

Dec 3: 4 mi TM, 35:39, hill interval

Dec 5: 3.3 mi TM, 29:30, SORE

Dec 8: 5 mi , 45:16, 9:03 avg

Dec 10: 5 mi, 45:00, neg. splits

Dec 12:  4 mi, 33:41, tempo intervals,     9:05/8:16/8:11/8:09

Dec 15: 6 mi, 54:06

Dec 17:  4.1 mi, 33:59    8:48/8:10/8:06/7:55 :)

Dec 19: 3.2 mi, 29:11, not feeling it

Dec 29: 4 mi, 36:12

Dec 31: 5 mi, 42:59

Total Mileage: 50.6

January: 45.7
February: 45
March: 50.7
April: 51.3
May: 32.9
June: 54.3
July: 53.6
August: 52.5
September: 51.4
October: 49.4
November: 54.6
December: 50.6

Total Miles Run in 2013: 592!!!

Not bad, eh? I can't believe I was that close to 600! Had I been tallying the months along the way, I would have thrown in those extra 8 miles at some point. Darn.

2012 was the year I pledged to run 500 miles and I topped that goal at 516.4. This past year, I pushed myself even further and while I wasn't training for a race, I was more consistent with my running schedule throughout the year. In 2014, I'm going to work on getting much faster, much better at road running as opposed to the treadmill, and running far more than 600 miles. 

I got a new pair of shoes for Christmas that I've needed desperately. I'm ready to hit the ground running.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome to 2014!

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

Did you stay up too late? Did you have some good champagne?

How long will it take you to remember to write 2014 as the date?

The other day, John and I were reflecting on 2013 and what our favorite things were about the year. As we recalled life in general, we realized we had a pretty fantastic year. I'm dubbing 2013 the Year of the Trip. Ashley did a LOT of seeing and doing this year. We finally got to go on our European Adventure! It was just as amazing as I had dreamed after all the months of planning. Celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary while there made it that much more special. Hard to believe we've been together for 11 1/2 years in all.

We also headed down to Raleigh over Labor Day to visit with family and meet our newest nephew, Ethan. What a wonderful little guy! He was such a different baby from his older brother Ben but of course we love them both the same. Ethan is so easy going and Ben is growing up so fast. We need to see them more this coming year!

As if that weren't enough, we took another trip to re-do our last rainy Mexican adventure. This time we sought refuge in the always sunny Caribbean on the Oasis of the Seas. Having sailed twice before, we were certain our third cruise would be a winner and it did not disappoint.

I think 2014 will likely be the Year of the House. While I'd love to spend every extra cent circling the globe, we decided it would be more responsible to upgrade some areas of our home we've been ignoring. Flooring, appliances, etc. We've got a lot of trouble to get into.

What were the highlights of your year? I have a resolution for you.....leave me more comments! I want to hear from you. :)

P.S. I'm giving up coffee for my New Year's Resolution. Check back in with me later on how that's going!