Archive | January, 2014

Pittsburgh Marathon Relay Announcement!

31 Jan

I’ve done exactly one thing today:  obsess about the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay.

You’ve heard me lament year after year about my desire to run the Pittsburgh Marathon.  And yet, year after year my heart remains unsatisfied.  I had never considered the relay as an option because I just don’t know that many people who run.  But this morning I received a text message from a friend asking me if I wanted to get a relay team together.  Ummmm….YES!

So, in the most wonderful twist of fate ever, I will be running a 6.1 mile leg of the relay!  I am so incredibly happy that I get this opportunity and thankful for the motivation.  Lord knows I need it!  I will be running from RE3 to RE4, which you can view on the map below:

photo

It’s taking everything in me right now not to close Changin’ Time, speed home screaming at the top of my lungs, change into my running clothes, and hit the road!  Meanwhile, I am also counting down the hours until we close on our new house!!!!!  This is the best day ever!!!

 

Tales of the Previously Infirmed

29 Jan

Today is the first day since Friday that I have felt like a functioning human being.  Around 8:00 on Friday night, I started feeling really dizzy, had chills, and was just feeling really nauseous.  I suddenly found myself in the middle of a full-blown stomach flu attack!  It was not a pretty sight as Friday night dragged out into Saturday and I tossed around in bed for hours as solid sleep escaped me.  On Sunday, I felt good enough to venture down to the couch and left the house for about 30 minutes. Late Sunday evening, the wave of nausea crept over me again and I was sick on and off throughout the night.  On Monday night I finally forced myself to eat some rice, which helped finally settle my stomach.  And now, here we are.

Wednesday.

Seems like a good day to turn the corner, eh?  I am completely bottomed out on energy at this point, but I’m trying to push through until I feel better.  I have no appetite, which NEVER happens to me.  It’s actually kind of nice because I’m able to make better snacking decisions.  I do need to eat more – I know that.  I’ve had these horrible hunger headaches the last few days.  I’m just ready to get back to normal!

If you are sick, stay hydrated and get lots of rest!

Brave American 5K

24 Jan

Seems like most of my running friends are in full-swing training for spring racing season!  I, on the other hand, am sitting on the bench for about a week while my foot heals.  Because of course I stepped on a nail which had been lodged in the bottom of Christina’s boot!  I’m fine, but the location of the injury (my heel) sucks.  I have to kind of walk on my toes or favor my left foot, which is throwing my body a little out of whack.  It’s starting to feel better today, so hopefully I will be ready to hit the pavement when the weather breaks this weekend!

In other news, I registered for the Brave American 5K in early March.  The race raises money for wounded vets coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Every $200 raised helps a vet stay the night at Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors.  I will probably cry at the starting line and the finish.  Super patriotic happenings get me all weepy.

Brave-American-5K-Logo

I know that I said the Ole 5K was going to be my inaugural race for the year, but I’ve been feeling ansy.  I just can’t wait until the Ole 5K in April to kick off my 2014 race season!  Since I am not putting pressure on myself about training this time, I just feel excited! I’m not focusing on beating my PR or my time at all.  For me, having a goal to work towards is sometimes all the motivation I need.  Knowing that I have a race coming up will make me run on mornings that I may want to keeping hitting snooze!  I hope to get to a point with running that 3.2 miles don’t seem like no thang.

Brave American 5K Course

Brave American 5K Course

Honestly, I was on my way to that when the nail incident happened.  Frustration!  I’m not letting myself get down about it, though, because success isn’t supposed to be easy.  There are supposed to be obstacles.  Character is developed when you learn to overcome the obstacles you are given.  Some successes happen in spite of obstacles, and some successes happen because of obstacles.  Once my foot gets better, I know that I need to keep moving forward.  Hopefully having this race on the horizon will keep me on track. 🙂

A Holiday, A Snow Day, & A Birthday

22 Jan

As the Arctic chill settles over our area once again, I thought I would poke my head out of my snow drift and remind everyone that this time of year can be tons of fun – especially if you live in the snow belt like me!!

Cooper-The-Yorkie-1

CO’s main side-kick, Cooper!

I shamelessly proclaim:  I actually like winter.  Things I don’t mind: layering up or scarfs or mittens or rosey cheeks or snowflakes! Also, hot chocolate, all of the holidays, snow days, snow balls, and snowmen, dogs running around playing, and the raw, natural beauty of icicles are when they catch the sunshine.  Things I do mind:  frostbite, slush, falling on ice, all of the milk and bread going missing from the grocery store.  Don’t get me wrong, I really like the spring thaw.  But I choose to enjoy the cold months instead of suffering through them.

Monday was kind of a perfect storm for some snow-filled fun.  MLK Jr. day meant the kids were off from school and it also happened to be CO’s birthday (Christina’s littlest brother)!  Since Christina had volunteered to show the kid a good time for the big 1-0, I opted to close the Changin’ Time drop off window and join in the celebration!  YOLO, right?

We excitedly picked snow-tubing as our birthday activity, but due to everyone and their mother showing up at Boyce Park for snow-related activities we were forced to find a back-up option.  Annoying.  We ended up being in the car like an hour longer than we planned because we had to drive from Monroeville to the North Hills.  CLEARLY too long based on the status of the back seat:

If you follow me on Twitter, this is the hysterical "CO" I am always quoting!

If you follow me on Twitter, this is the hysterical “CO” I am always quoting!

Who falls asleep with their hands folded like this!  He’s adorable, I can’t even stand it…

We arrived at Wildwood Highlands almost 2 hours prior to the 3PM-5PM tubing session to reserve our passes.  With time to kill and grumbling bellies, we headed to nearby North Park Club House for some grub.

North-Park-Club-House

The menu had tons of kid- and adult-friendly options, but the best part was the big game room reminiscent of Dave & Buster’s or Chuck E. Cheese.  You play games for tickets and are then able to cash them in for embarrassingly cheap trinkets.  I had to convince the kid not to spend $40 worth of hard earned tickets on A SINGLE FUN DIP.  I mean, he could’ve cashed in for about a dozen Fun Dips or even one of the better prizes, but nooooooo he wanted just one Fun Dip.  Kids.  I made him get these little mustache clips that go on your straw while you drink.

Snow-tubing was so much fun!  You pay for a “lift pass” and get toted up the to the top of the hill in your tube.

Snow-Tubing-Wildwood-Highlands-2

When you get to the top of the hill, there are 4-5 lanes to chose from.  You can go down on your butt or on your stomach or as a group holding onto each other. The boys had tons of fun and everyone ragged on me the entire time because I was too scared to go down face first!  There were several times when I was air born on the steepest hill.  Not something I want to experience with my face half a foot away from the ground.

I felt like Wildwood Highlands was fairly priced and the session time was a good length of time.  We lucked out and our session was a bit slower than I expected so wait times weren’t long at all.  They had apparently promoted some kind of family package on Groupon where 2 adults and 2 kids were $45.  We paid $75, so we will certainly be looking out for that deal next year!  Like so many family attractions in the ‘burgh (i.e. Kennywood, Sandcastle, etc.), it seemed to be run entirely by teenagers.  So basically every employee was rude, sarcastic, and full of attitude.  That felt like knives stabbing through my soul and digging away at my single solitary ounce of patience.

But that’s not what’s important.  What’s important is that we had a blast, we got a chance to spend CO’s birthday with him, and we made the most out of one very cold day!  Happy Birthday CO! 🙂

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week: The Porch At Schenley

21 Jan

On Saturday, we ventured out to a new-to-us spot for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week 2014, a week-long event which occurs 4 times throughout the year.  During Pittsburgh Restaurant Week (PRW), restaurants around the city offer special fixed-price menus to entice foodies and non-foodies into their establishments.  This season, PRW ran from January 13th-19th so unfortunately by the time you read this it will be too late to take advantage.  But spring is right around the corner, I promise! 🙂

Pittsburgh-Restaurant-Week-Porch-At-Schenley

We chose The Porch at Schenley, located in the heart of Oakland right on Schenley Plaza.  I remember when this restaurant was built and every time we would drive by (which is often!), I would make a mental note that I wanted to try it out.  On Saturday, things kind of fell into place because The Porch is close to home, we didn’t need a reservation even though it was a Saturday night, and they support Buy Fresh Buy Local which is near and dear to my heart.  Why would I spend money at a restaurant which isn’t invested in our region?  Why do you?!

The ambiance was…different.  Sort of an industrial/dairy vibe at times, but they also had these awesome bay doors overlooking the Plaza that open during nicer weather.  The crowd was very collegiate (obviously, Schenley Plaza is nestled between Carnegie Mellon and Pitt with Carlow, Chatham, and Duquesne just beyond), bustling with college students.  Fun fact:  You can use your university meal plan flex funds there.  Basically, we were surrounded by college students ordering delicious looking pizzas and profesh types sitting in larger groups towards the middle of the restaurant.

Since we rarely get a chance to go out anymore, we decided to take advantage of some appetizers! Perhaps my favorite part of the dinner was this sweet potato gnocchi:

Sweet Potato Gnocchi w/ confit pork belly, apples, dates, sage, and a brown butter cream sauce

Sweet Potato Gnocchi w/ confit pork belly, apples, dates, sage, and a brown butter cream sauce

Just wow.  I basically wanted to lick the plate clean.  I mean, the brown butter cream sauce was just heavenly; the whole combo just worked!

Pittsburgh-Restaurant-Week-Porch-At-Schenley-Cornbread

We also ordered this cornbread.  I cut us 2 pieces, but Christina spit hers into her napkin (this somehow doesn’t effect me at all anymore since she is such a picky eater) after the first bite.  Cornbread fail! It was not very good at all!  The server was beyond great about it and took it off of our bill without us even asking.  I don’t really know what was going on with it, but the taste and texture just weren’t for us.

So, onto the PRW-menu with this roasted butternut squash soup:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup w/ Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Creme Fraiche, & Carmelized Apples

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup w/ Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Creme Fraiche, & Carmelized Apples

You guys, I wasn’t a huge fan of this either but it was edible.  It felt a bit heavy on the nutmeg maybe?  I felt like there was flavor, but not much depth of flavor if that makes sense.  Is it wrong that I was comparing it to the one at Panera Bread?  Do I lose foodie street cred for that? Whatever, that’s ma favorite squash soup.  The caramelized apple settled to the bottom of the bowl, so I tried to get at least one with each bite because they were awesome!  At this point, I was a bit nervous about the main course because the soup was ‘meh’ and the cornbread was ‘blah.’

But, redemption!

Smoked Berkshire Pork Shank w/ Fingerling Potatoes, Heirloom Carrots, Dates, and Mustard Greens

Smoked Berkshire Pork Shank w/ Fingerling Potatoes, Heirloom Carrots, Dates, and Mustard Greens

The mustard greens were mysteriously absent, but no complaints here!  Everything was sooooooooo tasty, the smoked Berkshire  paired so well with the sauce and the dates and the veggies.  Berkshire is a breed of pig, not a style of cooking, if you were wondering.  🙂  The above picture doesn’t even do it justice because it was a HUGE chunk of meat on a HUGE bone!  We totally could’ve shared one.

I wasn’t sharing this at all:

Vanilla Bean Creme Brule w/ Marinated Figs & Mint

Vanilla Bean Creme Brule w/ Marinated Figs & Mint

I don’t really get the mint because it was just a little leaf and obviously I wasn’t going to chew on it, but this was yummy!  The figs were outrageously good!!  Yay figs!!

All-in-all, we found The Porch At Schenley to be nice but next time we will probably hit it up for lunch and order one of those pizzas that everyone was ordering.  That many people couldn’t be wrong!

Past Pittsburgh Restaurant Week posts:

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Fall 2013:  Habitat

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