Christmas Gift Guide 2012

Here is your gift guide for that young urban professional-runner-yogi-healthy eating-dessert loving-blog reading special someone on your list.  In other words, here are a couple  cool things that I have and love, as well as a few things I would appreciate under the Christmas tree this year!

For the foodie on your list… The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook – OMG if you do not read this blog, you are crazy!  I saw her  cookbook at Angthropologie and I died.  It is so beautiful.  I have tried a good number of the recipes from the blog and they are just so wonderful, and the posts are so funny and well written.

the smitten kitchen cookbook

For the runner on your list… a Garmin!  This completely changes how you run and think about training.  Before recently, I would have said that it isn’t really worth the $300 investment for most runners, but now that the Garmin Forerunner 10 is out, I think it’s a super accessible running accessory that will have huge impact.  I even want one now because it’s so much smaller and cuter than the older versions.

For the snobby healthy eater on your list… a Soda Stream.  This is like one of those things I would love to have, but probably wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it for myself at this point.  I do think I would use it a lot.  I mean, what would you rather have, lemonade or sparkling lemonade??!! DUH!!

For the Yogi on your list… a Jade yoga mat.  I can not tell you enough what a difference a good yoga mat makes.  My Jade yoga mat was expensive, but SO WORTH IT.  I never ever slip on this mat, and I am a super slippery sweaty yogi.  I have the travel mat because it is cheaper, and it is still super thick.  I saw that they have an environmentally friendly one on Amazon now!

Jade Travel 68-by-1/8-inch Yoga Mat

For the yuppie on your list (or me)… I have been feeling especially needy this season, which is not something I am really proud of.  Last year, I said I don’t really want “stuff”.  This year, I was overwhelmed by how much “stuff” I found myself wanting.  I had to take a step back and realize that they are just a bunch of things I would enjoy having, but I don’t need anything new in my life right now.  That being said, I would really like new Citizens jeans, some light brown Aerosoles boots, everything at J.Crew (pink vest!), a nice wool coat, a tablet, and money to help me pay for a Crossfit membership this winter.  lol you know… nothing really…

However, I do hope that Santa (and everyone else) considers giving to people who actually do need things this season.   In fact, I would also really appreciate someone gifting me a donation to Girls on the Run.  I am especially passionate about the program in the SF Bay Area because I was involved with it, but all of the local chapters are doing a great thing!


Gobble Gobble Gobble 2012

Last year, Brendan and I signed up for a turkey trot in Salem, MA.  It started really early in the morning and it was pretty far away… so we slept through it.  Never doing that again!  This year, I signed up for the race that was just a few minutes from our house and started at 9am… much better.  Brendan was still not convinced it would go any better, apparently, so he just drove me to Starbucks and then to the start line.  I take what I can get.


It was 40 degrees outside, so I was pretty pumped for a chilly, but comfortable 4-mile run.  I started the morning off with a bowl of pumpkin pie oatmeal at home (old fashioned oats cooked normally, add canned pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar.  Finish with a dollop of vanilla yogurt on top!)  Then Brendan took me to Starbucks for a caramel brulee latte. 

DSCN0899I pretty much wore all my favorite running gear: Lululemon tank, highlighter warmer-than-normal half zip, full length Zella tights, unisex Nike hat, Garmie, and Five Fingers.  I ended up wishing I had worn a lighter half-zip when I got warm, but it was freezing at the start, so I think it was the way to go.

This race truly was my last race before jaw surgery, so I wanted to push it, but I also knew I hadn’t been watching my pace at all recently, so I had no idea what to expect.  Brendan and I talked about my game plan the night before, and we decided a 9-minute pace was realistic.  I knew I could do better since I ran last weekend’s half marathon at a 9:15, but I’ve historically not been very good at changing my pace.  My marathon pace is my half pace is my 5k pace. 

I know I’ve said this before, but there is just something so cool about people coming together to run as a group.  It is so magical when you are walking to the start of a race and runners are appearing at every corner, all waking up to meet and share this common love.  It’s like we are all in on a secret.  Runners are scattered on the sidewalks creeping towards the start, until suddenly we are less discreet…


How cool is that?!  I don’t have Garmie with me right now, but my splits were approximately:

Mile 1) 8:15

Mile 2) 8:15

Mile 3) 8:30

Mile 4) 8:00

For a 4 mile race PR (I don’t think I’ve run a 4-mile race before) of about 33 minutes!  I was more than happy with my time!  The race was hard.  It was hilly, it was cold, my left leg sucked the whole time.  Did I mention it was like REALLY HILLY!  But it was really fun, too.  A lot of people dressed up with turkey costumes or hats, a lot of families came out to run together, and a lot of neighbors brought their Thanksgiving coffee outside to cheer us on.  It was a really awesome community event, and I will definitely be signing up again next year. 

All I want for Christmas is…

Honestly, I keep trying to think of things I would like to get for Christmas, and it is really hard this year.  I can’t think of anything where I’m like, “Yeah, so-and-so should spend their hard earned money on a (insert nice gift) for me!”  Maybe it has something to do with really working for the first time, or maybe it’s that I feel more able to buy things when I want them for myself, but I just can’t rationalize asking other people to buy things for me this year.  But… it would be even worse if people spent their money on me and bought things I didn’t even want!!

So here is my list so far.

1. Gift cards.  I know this is like the most boring gift to give, but hey!!! it isn’t about you, right!?  These are the gift cards I would most appreciate/use:

  • Starbucks (not sure I needed to write that, but…)
  • Banana Republic
  • J.Crew
  • Target
  • A stationery store like Paper Source
  • Groupon or LivingSocial (so I can buy things without thinking about it back and forth a million times when I see a good one)

2. Things from the stores above with gift receipts.  Thanks! I’ll go return this now.

3. A pillow from tempurpedic, so I can stop stealing Brendan’s

4. OPI matte nail polish.  So cool.  Check it out on my wishlist board on pinterest, which I will be updating if I think of anything else I would like…

Now, here is a list of things you might think you should get for me, but I really don’t need them:

RUNNING CLOTHES.  I have tooooo many.

A tablet. I won’t use it.

What do you want for Christmas?  Have you ever felt like people shouldn’t be spending their money on you?  What’s the most memorable Christmas present you ever got?

One year, my mom got me a new super nice laundry basket from Pottery Barn that I really wanted.  Cool, right!?  and then when I opened it, it was FULL of new clothes!! WHAT?!

Boston with the fam…

Look who I caught up with just as she was crossing the finish line…


Can you imagine if I had NOT taken my mom to the Boston finish line on her first day here?  I can’t.  I get so excited every time I see it.


Can you imagine me NOT making everyone take a picture with me in front of this beauty!?


Can you imagine my mom keeping her eyes open for every picture?  No? 


Happy 14th, Braedon!

This kid is, and will always be, the love of my life…


He is so funny…




SOOOOO talented…


So fun…


and just SOOO cute!  dang it!


He is the best brother ever…


…and I am so happy to celebrate him every 4th of July! Happy Birthday, Braed!

We can’t wait ‘til you’re home (from his middle school class trip to the East coast) to come celebrate with us!  Have a happy birthday and happy 4th of July!

PRs were had by… many!

Today was 4th year running the Sauvie Island Half Marathon in Oregon!  It has become a major 4th of July tradition for our friends and family, and it is reason #43 that I love the 4th of July more than any other day of the year!  I have so many. 

This year was especially fun because we prepped by going shopping for matching holiday attire at Dick’s AND at the party store.


It would be your favorite holiday, too if you had this little hat to try on!

We all piled into the car this morning at 5:30am and headed out for pre-race coffees.  I had a caramel latte before my last half marathon at Helvetia, but this time it gave me a serious case of the shakes, which made me nervous about how that would turn out during the race. 


The race started out fine… I suppose.  I was really surprised by how windy the course was.  It was almost as windy as running on the bay!  I was completely worried about the race when I got to mile 3 and I couldn’t get my splits under 8:55-ish.  I’ve headed out in most of my more recent races with an 8:30 pace.  I couldn’t get over how worried I was about that.  That is when I started to really wish Braedon was there to carry me through the first 5 miles.  I’m always just cracking up with him for at least the first 3 miles while we hit 8:20s without trying.  Oh well… I tried to keep my thoughts as positive as possible, but I wasn’t really succeeding. 

I ran with Hannah, my friend from high school who is pretty speedy, for the first 6 miles.  I stopped at mile 6 to eat some Chomps, but I never really started back up after that.  I caught up to my mom and Maryanne, who were a little ahead going out of the water stop, but as soon as I caught them I had a mental crash with “I can’t keep up with them… this is too hard” thoughts overwhelming me, and I stopped to walk. 

While I was walking I noticed how NOT tired I was, and I just couldn’t understand why I was even walking.  I reminded myself that the race clock was not an all-or-nothing gauge.  Staying consistent at a pace that felt comfortable was a much better option.  I ran pretty consistent 9:30s after that.  At mile 9 or 10 they had Otter Pops, and I was stoked.  I didn’t even think about saying no to one of those bright blue tubes of goodness.  It slowed me down by quite a bit that mile because those things are kid/disgruntled runner proof.  If you give a runner an otter pop… they are going to want scissors too.  Hello!? 

I tried pushing it again at mile 11, and I had a pretty strong last 2 miles.  I broke 9 min for my last mile.  I finally came in at 2:00:38, a few minutes over my PR.

Yay for matching outfits.  What am I going to wear for races in Boston!??DSCN0167

Hannah, me, Mom, MaryanneDSCN0168

Brendan had a great race! PR: 1:43!DSCN0170

The best part was being there for the excitement of my mom’s and Maryanne’s race.  My mom set a goal and seriously went after it!! She ran a PR under 1:57 and Maryanne broke 2 hours for the first time!! Yep, that’s two major PRs in a row for Maryanne.  She PR’d by about 7 minutes at Helvetia, and then took about 7 MORE minutes off of her time today!! WOW! 

I recommend Sauvie Island for anybody that likes flat courses.  It’s fun because it’s on the 4th, on BEAUTIFUL green farmland, organized by hot firemen and fresh strawberry shortcake is served at the end.  But… I have never had a good race at Sauvie Island.  It doesn’t really give me much race vibe/energy, which I really LOVE at most races.  What a great start to a great holiday!