Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye, 2012

Workout for Sunday included digging out the Puffin (yes, that's actually what I call my car) and testing out my new yoga mat with an On-Demand yoga workout. Lots of room for improvement in the yoga department considering I'm the least flexible person ever.

In the past few days, like so many others, I've spent some time reflecting on the past year.

2012 was a year full of the unexpected. I've always thought that one of my greatest strengths is being able to see all sides of a situation - the good and the bad. This year tried that strength more times than I'd like to admit.

In May, I ran my third half marathon in Rye, NH in 2:11:58 and walked away with a shiny new PR - cutting nearly half an hour off my first half marathon time and 11 minutes off of my second half marathon time.

I said goodbye to living with two of my best friends, who have been my roommates for the last 5 years.

I moved in with my best friend, who I've known since we were sophomores in high school.

I said goodbye to my big sister, far too soon, who became an angel on July 6.

I decided on a whim to run my first full marathon, and signed up for Philadelphia in mid-August.

I went through some pretty significant changes at work.

I trained for four months and ran my first marathon on November 18 in Philadelphia, PA. I walked away with a finish time of 5:06:44, nearly forty minutes after my goal, but proud of myself nonetheless.

I survived the 2012 holiday season, which for me is a huge feat every year. I'm as big a Christmas fanatic as any, but always breathe a big sigh of relief once it's all over.

Looking back on these, and a handful of other 2012 happenings, if I've learned anything it's that I need to let go of my "Type-A" planner ways a bit and accept that I can't always plan for everything. Whether personal or public tragedies, it's easy to get caught up in the negative and forget to count your blessings.

If anything, let the bad stuff offer you some perspective. Life is too short, enjoy every minute and appreciate the beauty in your life. It may not always be apparent, but if you stop for a minute and look, it's everywhere.

Here's to saying goodbye to 2012 and welcoming 2013 with open arms!

"Sometimes it feels like there are so many things in this world we can't control; earthquakes, floods, reality shows. But it's important to remember the things that we can, like forgiveness, second chances, fresh starts, because the one thing that turns the world from a lonely place to a beautiful place is love. Love in any of it's forms. Love gives us hope. Hope for the New Year. That's New Year's Even to me. Hope and a great party." 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Slutty Brownies and Snowstorms

After a much needed, glorious 12 hours of sleep on Friday night, I woke up and lingered a little longer in bed for the usual browsing of blogs and social media stalking. My leisurely start to the day was interrupted by a fun little text message from the city of Boston:

'Tis the season. I kept my hot date plans with my favorite running buddy and took the new kicks out for a spin along the Charles.

4 miles later, I made it home and wrapped up the workout with some stretching and abs - both things I need to work on big-time in the New Year. 

The roomie and I were having some friends over for dinner last night, so we brainstormed a menu and ran out to get the necessary ingredients before the storm really rolled in.

We opted to try out a recipe I found through Pinterest over on The Londoner for Slutty Brownies. 

If you're looking for a healthy dessert idea, this definitely isn't the recipe for you. But if you're like me, a total chocoholic and dessert junkie, and don't mind cheating on that New Year's diet you've just planned out - MAKE THESE.

1 package chocolate chip cookie mix
1 box brownie mix
1 package Oreos
Note: We used Betty Crocker for both the cookie and brownie mixes. Also, don't forget whatever ingredients the mixes call for (eggs, oil, etc.)... helpful, I know.

Mix together ingredients for chocolate chip cookies, press dough into a 9x9" greased or parchment-lined baking pan to form your first layer. Press Oreos into cookie dough to form your next layer of goodness.

Mix brownie batter and pour over the top to make your final layer.

The original recipe (which also includes much better directions than I can offer) calls for you to bake these at 350 for 30 minutes. We found that ours took closer to 40, but I would check them anyways.

Helpful Hint: These are some serious brownies. Save yourself the risk and bake them on a cookie sheet just in case they decide to overflow some of their awesomeness all over your oven. Ours didn't, but you never know.

We finished off the evening enjoying the storm with a good old fashioned snowball fight, failed attempt at sledding and creating Jebediah the snowman. Isn't he handsome?

Welcome to Chocolate and Pavement!

This little blog has been a long time in the making... or at least a long time in my head. 

For awhile now I've followed a handful of wonderful blogs with focuses ranging from running to family, organizing to cooking and everything in between. I've smiled, laughed, cried and cheered along with their stories and come to feel close to their authors (in the most non-creepy way possible, of course), always toying with the idea of someday starting my own little corner of the Web.

My hope is to post my own collection of stories, touching on the things that I'm most passionate about: running, cooking, baking, traveling, and a few other morsels here and there.

This adventure is as much for myself as it is for any fabulous readers that pop in along the way (here's looking at you, Mom). I hope you enjoy!