Archive | August, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

28 Aug

FallLeaves

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Oh, friends.

26 Aug

I have been so busy that I haven’t even had time to log in to SFTS for days! In fact, I’ve been so busy that I barely have enough pictures for a phone dump post.  Last week, Changin’ Time was busier than ever and I’m also gearing up for a big conference in October. (I’m planning the conference, mind you, so it’s a lot more work than I had anticipated!)  We’ve got our final occupancy inspection at the rental tomorrow along with a tenant moving in later that day.  It’s been hectic!  Last week, I did manage to log a little over 11 miles, but not all of them were running miles.

I found absolutely no balance over the weekend, splitting my waking hours between working at the facility, working at the rental, and then filling up my downtime doing awesome things like attempted matchmaking and fantasy football drafts. Let’s just say that a lot of alcohol was imbibed this weekend and I was certainly in no condition to exercise. Fail. But hey, sometimes a girl just has to let her hair down and unwind before she freaks out and quits life.

This morning I got up about an hour earlier than I normally do, determined to start the week off on the right foot. I drove the 3.8 miles from my house to the Schenley Oval and somehow managed to miss a key turn and ended up in Squirrel Hill. Womp womp. Undeterred, I finally made it to the park ready to tear it up!

phoeberunning

It’s amusing to me now that I thought training on a flat, paved trail would prepare me for a 10K road race through the city of Pittsburgh. Insert face palm here.  Needless to say, the hilly trails of Schenley were challenging today and will be nothing compared to the Great Race course.  They were challenging enough that I got lost for the second time in one morning, just past a gaggle of scantily clad, buff female athletes stretching out on a playground.  They then proceeded to run in a pack while managing to look like a live streaming Nike ad.  I, on the other hand, consulted with a very friendly Hungarian man and his dog on my best course of action to get back to my car.  Red face huff & puff, sweat pouring down my face and neck, with a too-tight long sleeve running shirt clinging to me.  I felt like a total shit show.  But, self doubt is something I am working to overcome these days people!  I am just me and this is the healthiest I’ve ever been <– mantra used to avoid having a sobbing breakdown in the middle of a playground.   I decided the best thing to do was to just turn around and run back the way I came.  No big deal.  Crisis averted, pride slightly less intact.

I think I’ve been improving on my form.  The rest of my metrics (speed, distance, fuel) have all gone to hell.  I need to get my ass in gear!  Sunday will be the halfway point of my training program and I am heartily sucking.

I’m going to try and stick to the park this week for my shorter runs.  I think that the hills will be a nice change and will build strength in my legs that I’ll need for The Great Race.  There are enough people around that I’m less likely to half ass anything.  And, to be honest, I feel safer on the trail there.  The GAP trail is starting to feel a little bit rapey since I noticed there was a homeless person camped out along the trail, just past the eagles.  If I was on a bike I would have no hesitation, but I’m just a chick out there running by myself with no ninja skills.  I’ve seen enough Lifetime movies and true crime shows to feel totally heeby-jeebied out by that campsite.

A PDR + I Didn’t Even Melt

19 Aug

Every time I log into WordPress, it asks me if I want to become the master of my own domain (buy my domain name).  Today I feel like I am the master of my own domain.  Boooooyahhhhhh.

I’ve been listening to all of the great feedback I’m getting from you guys!

Two of the brightest and best pieces of advice I’ve gotten are:

1.  Keep going & don’t quit!

2. Push through the mental blocks.

I can do this.  I can and will reach my goal of running a 10K.  I keep putting the work in every day, and I will get to the level where I want to be.  Yes, I go through prolonged periods of self-doubt.  Probably more than most people for some reason.  But, coming out on the other side with my motivation still intact is what matters.

On Sunday, I had a 3.5 mile run scheduled, my longest to date.  When I woke up it was sprinkling.  I talked myself out of running in the morning because I would obviously melt if I went outside.  And because 3.5 miles seems like a lot.  Pretty soon, it was Sunday night and we had been working on one of the rentals all day long.  I went to bed feeling guilty because I should’ve run.  It was sprinkling.  Calling it precipitation would have been a joke.  I vowed to myself that nothing short of a tornado would stop me from running on Monday morning.

At 7AM this morning, my alarm went off and I could hear it pouring down rain.  I re-set the alarm for 7:45AM, the absolute latest I can wake up because  Changin’ Time opens at 8:00AM for self-service.  I told myself to mentally prepare for the worst.  At 7:45, it was barely drizzling.  I grabbed a roll of saran wrap and hit the road.  I read that if you wrap your phone in saran wrap, it stays dry and the touch screen still works so I thought I’d give it a try.  As karma often has it, a mist started to shower me steadily about a half mile into my run.

For the first time in my life, I ran in the rain.  And I didn’t melt.  In fact, I liked it.  I can’t say that I would like a torrential downpour, but the misty kind of rain this morning was awesome.  It cooled me down and it motivated me to get done faster.  The rain has always been the one excuse I couldn’t get past:  “I can’t run today because, hello.  It’s raining.”  Lies.  All lies.  And now I have one less excuse to keep me from running when my pillow tries to whisper sweet nothings into my ear.

Another small achievement of the day was my distance.  3.5 miles, just outside of my 5K comfort zone.  And I did it.  In the rain.

puddlerun

I’m also happy to report that the plastic wrap trick worked like a charm!  My phone stayed dry and I was still able to use my Pandora and GPS through the plastic.  I will definitely be using this trick in the future.  Here’s hoping it can stand up to a heavier ran if necessary!  PS – I just realized that “saran wrap” is a proprietary eponym for plastic/cling wrap.  I’ve been calling it that my entire life!!!

SaranWrapPhone

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Just, people.

16 Aug

After reading a post this week from one of my favorite bloggers, Lindsay (which, you should totally pop over to her blog and say hello), I started thinking about how silly people are.

I am 29  years old, unmarried, and childless for the time being.  To many of the people I grew up with, relegated now to only “Facebook Friends,” my life is considered a tragedy. They seem un-phased by the fact that I have been in a committed relationship for over 4 years.  See, to me, the fact that we own three houses (2 of which are investment properties, 1 we live in) together seems almost like more commitment than a ring on my finger.  I repeat, to me.  Yet, in this modern society we supposedly exist in, is it possible that my value as a human being still remains dependent on how many children I have brought into the world?  Should my happiness be determined by how happy my marriage is?  How many likes my engagement pictures get on Facebook?  How many Pin-worthy touches my wedding will have?

I find that a little hard to believe.  And yet, I am still haunted by a comment made to me over a month ago. Let me set up a short backstory:  I’ve recently been taking advantage of many free Kindle books on food, gardening, and sustainability.  Because, DUH.  My Kindle library is currently flooded with juicy titles like Preserve & Pickle Recipes, A Quick Start Guide to Container Gardening, and The Herb Handboook. A peek at my Kindle bookshelf prompted a childhood friend to say, “Look at you being all domestic.”

nikkiminaj

Oh that’s right….I forgot.  Since I have no children to speak of and still check “unmarried” on my tax returns, my life is just amusement to you Goddesses of Domesticity.  How impressed you all must be that my non-maternal brain even thinks about gardening!  Especially since gardening is something that married (i.e. domestic) people do. How cute of me to try my hand at playing house!  Look at you for coming out of your box!  I’m not sure exactly what was meant by that comment, since I’ve certainly been at this for over 4 years.  But…since I am not yet married and without child, my life must be one blurry week or party after party after bar night after club.  How awesome of me to try and fit domesticity into my hip, fabulous, social, unmarried life!

I could go on and on, but it gets to a point that if I think about it too much, then I can’t stop thinking about it.  And then I would probably stab my eyes out with scissors.

I know what you’re thinking.  That I am  over-analyzing the situation.  And you may be right.  We live in a society where people speak before they think.  If they even think at all about how the messages they sent may be received.  My friend may not have mean to make a comment that potentially could have come across as passive-aggressive, or offensive, or oblivious, or rude.  But guess what.  I love my life.  I love the fact that we buy fixer-uppers and rent them out, and whelp purebred dogs, and own our own successful business.  I love the fact that I was able to drop everything and go back for my Master’s degree because why not!  I can chose to get up early to go for a run or I can just go after dinner.  It’s that casual because omgosh I don’t have to worry about anybody buy myself!  I love the fact that I can travel and the hardest thing I have to think about is which kennel to board the dogs in and what to pack.  I love the fact that I have all the time in the world to garden and cook and fix up my own home because – if you haven’t been paying attention at all for the last 3 years of me blogging – those are things I love to do.

So, yeah.  Look at me being all domestic.  Without having the learning curve of worrying about keeping children alive.  It’s actually fun for me.  It’s something that I enjoy doing and developing and sharing.  And when I am ready to have kids, whenever that will be, I’m going to be great at it because I’ve all ready got this shit down.

And now look at me being seriously offended by your rudeness.

mitchell

Blah.  I don’t even know what the point of this post was, but I had to get it out of my head.

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week: Habitat

13 Aug

Last night, we were out and about in the city taking advantage of 2013 Summer Pittsburgh Restaurant Week!  Their website is really interactive and it allows you to narrow your restaurant search down using options like “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” or “Special Diets.”

Surprise, surprise…we picked a participating restaurant that proudly supports local growers (and also happens to be an old favorite) – Habitat.  Since their menu is seasonal and changes periodically, it was completely unrecognizable to me!  Luckily, it didn’t matter because for PRW they offer a 3-course fixed menu.

PRWMenu.Habitat

Since there were 3 of us and we all ordered different variations, I got to try everything on the menu!

Salads

Christina and her mom both ordered the Arctic Char Salad:

PRW.ArcticCharSalad

Those are pickled cucumbers, smoked sour cream (very interesting taste!), squash blossoms, and onion crumble (a nice twist on the cruton).  The Arctic Char was very mild, but tasty.

On the other hand, my Caesar salad tasted fishier than the salad with the fish!

PRW.CaesarSalad4

The salad was excellent – the bed of Romaine was placed on marscapone cheese, which also filled the lemon garlic croutons.   It served as an interesting variation from the traditional creamy Caesar dressing.  Each crouton was topped with a salty fried anchovy.  It was honestly the perfect portion considering the salty bitterness of the salad.

Entrees

Christina’s mom ordered the Grilled Ribs

PRW.GrilledRibs2

One word: Bazinga!  The cherry BBQ sauce was no joke, especially when you tasted the tangy cherry with the pork puffs.  We weren’t really sure what to expect from the menu’s claim of “pickled vegetables and black rice gel.”

PRW.PickledGel

Well, its exactly what it sounds like.  It had the exact consistency of gelatin, which I’m assuming was used along with pickling liquid to make this nugget.  I am a lover of tart, salty tastes so this was right up my alley.  I have honestly never seen gelatin treated this way before!  It was the strangest thing I think I’ve tried recently buy man was it good.  Also, I don’t think its coincidental that the only two times I’ve ever had black rice was at Habitat.  Both times I found it to be phenomenal!

There was also cornbread with whiskey butter:

PRW.Cornbread

This dish was a delightfully new twist on a savory, home-style favorite!  I preferred my dish, however.  The Alaskan Halibut was PERFECT.

PRW.AlaskanHalibut

It was seared to perfection and plated over a summer bean salad.  The fish was the total star of this plate, I wanted there to be endless amounts of it.  The burnt squash were so good that Christina asked why I don’t make her burnt veggies!  (To which I replied:  “Honey, I do make you burned food all the time.  It just doesn’t taste as good as this.”)  The menu said a leek puree, but I swear our server said this was an arugula puree and it tasted more peppery than oniony.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this was an arugula puree.  No matter what it was, I am in love with it.  I would have traded in my salad and my dessert for a double portion of this – it was that good.

Dessert

Let me backtrack for a second.  I would have traded in my dessert for more halibut BEFORE I tasted dessert.  Once I had a taste, I doubt I would be willing to trade.  I mean, COME ON.  Is this real life?

PRW.Blueberries2

The bottom layer is a blueberry panna cotta, topped with a blueberry compote, jasmine ice cream, and then had a piece of blueberry crunch and vanilla meringue sticks.  I wanted to cry.  I suddenly felt like I needed to eat this exact thing every single night of I would die.  I got up this morning and ate a handful of blueberries.  Just wow.  I tried to get a little bit of each aspect on the spoon with every bite.

If you haven’t yet been to Habitat, you are honestly missing out on one of Pittsburgh’s best restaurants.  Each time we visit there, I love it more and more.  Each dish I’ve had is better than the previous and for the $35 price tag, you would be absolutely crazy not to have this meal.

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