Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

Good morning!

1. I. Am. Done. With this heat and humidity. Holy moly. I feel like I'm melting. Thankfully this week has been an improvement over last, but it's still a bit much. Our apartment has a built in AC unit in the living room but since our windows are large and slide left to right there's no [easy] way to put units in our bedrooms. Typically I'm OK with the windows open at night and a fan but last weekend we resorted to sleepovers in the living room. Yes, I'm totally serious.

2. *Crossing fingers* runs are still going well. I've been taking it the every-other-day approach with strength/cross training in between. Thankfully this weather leaves something to be desired for motivation to get outside and go, but I'm still so appreciative of the fact that I am running again in the first place that I can't wait to get back to a regular schedule and more miles.

3. The boy is still in California through Sunday. Apparently my coping mechanism for missing him is to bake/cook. I know, I do that a lot anyways, but for real this time. I've made this delicious popcorn, blueberry banana muffins, black bean burgers, these cupcakes (twice), and tested out popsicle recipes. That's not including regular dinners and lunches. I'm hoping I can at least share the recipes so you guys benefit from my craziness.

4. I'm headed home this weekend (I feel like I've been saying that a lot lately) to celebrate the wedding of one of my high school girlfriends. From teaching Model UN together and traveling Turkey and the Netherlands, to countless late nights and sleepovers, to commiserating over running and marathons, I'm so thankful for the memories I have with her. I absolutely adore this girl and could not be happier for her and her soon-to-be-hubby!

Lily and I our senior year of high school in Amsterdam. My apologies for the
filter, I couldn't find the original!

5. On a slightly different and much sadder note, Twitter and other local news sources were blowing up yesterday with the news of a local homicide.

Clearly any time things like this occur my heart breaks for the victims, their friends and their families, but this time the horrific incident hit far too close to home. Amy was a fellow Bentley grad and while I did not know her personally my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been overcome with expressions of disbelief, sadness, grief, thoughts and prayers. Further, she was a 24 year old young woman living in the Boston community that I and so many friends call home. Other incidents, similar in nature or atrocity, have riddled the news lately and I find it literally sickening to consider that there are human beings capable of doing these things to each other.

As a young female, as a runner, and as a member of the Boston community, I ask you to please, please, please be smart and be careful, wherever you are. Be aware of your surroundings and look out for yourself and for others around you. Runners, take heed of advice to change up your routes, run with a buddy off-hours and try running without headphones to increase your awareness. It's sad that it needs to be said but you truly never know what could happen, and the more precautions you take to protect yourself the better.

What safety precautions do you take, as a runner or in general?
I've gotten better about always having my cell phone with me, I never run with headphones outside, and I try to always be aware of my surroundings - places, people and things.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chocolate Salted Caramel Popcorn

One of my favorite Christmas traditions with my family is that my Mom always gives me dark chocolate Moose Munch in my stocking. Yes, I'm 24 and my Mom still gives me a stocking, and let's face it - I'm not letting go of that goodness anytime soon.

What's not to love about combining delicious, crunchy, salty, sweet, caramel covered popcorn and drizzling it in smooth dark chocolate? Yeah, nothing.

I've been craving chocolate all week long (clearly nothing new, hence the name of this blog), and have been torturing myself perusing the Food and Drink section of Pinterest for new ideas and stumbled across this recipe.

One of my girlfriends and I were headed to an engagement party this past weekend and I had the brilliant idea of adding something delicious and homemade to our simple wine gift. Yes, Sarah, complicate things, please. You know what? I'm glad I did, because I'm so pumped about how this came out I can't even be mad about the time spent making it.

For someone who has never in her life attempted homemade, stovetop popcorn and has an irrational fear of sudden loud noises - this process was a bit intimidating.

Oh did I mention I've also never made caramel before, and have been warned by a number of people how easy it is to screw up? Great, just great.

Guess what? I did both and lived to tell you about it. Lucky for you, neither were nearly as scary as I thought. I know, you're secretly shaking your head at me thinking this chick is out of her tree.

DISCLAIMER: I dare you to try and make this and not snack throughout the process. Honestly, I'm surprised there was anything left to package up for the party. It's so poppable and yummy.

Caramel Popcorn
I used this recipe for stove top popcorn, but doubled it. Yes, I needed a recipe for that, and yes, I actually counted out loud. Then used the caramel sauce from this recipe.
~15 cups popped popcorn
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

1 Tbs sea salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
2. Prepare popcorn as directed, set aside in a large bowl
3. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt
4. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally
5. When bubbles begin to appear, cook for 5 more minutes without stirring
6. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda
7. Pour over popcorn and mix until coated
8. Spread mixture evenly onto two greased baking sheets
10. Sprinkle sea salt over caramel corn - use more or less as desired
9. Cook for 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes
10. Let caramel corn cool, and break apart
11. Using a double boiler or carefully microwaving in spurts, melt chocolate, stirring in vegetable oil when nearly completely melted
12. Drizzle melted chocolate over caramel corn, let cool until the chocolate has hardened

You could get creative with this - mix in additional toppings like M&Ms, nuts, pretzels, sprinkles - you name it!


I like to consider myself slightly challenged when it comes to efficiently drizzling chocolate, so I use this method nearly every time. Place a sandwich sized plastic bag in a cup and fill with melted chocolate. Seal the bag and cut a small hole in the corner, gently squeezing the chocolate out as you go. Just be careful - the melted chocolate is hot! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July Workout Playlist

I'm loving this weekend. Since the boy is in Cali for the week and I only had an engagement party on my to-do list as Friday wound down, I really had free reign to do whatever I wanted. It was nice to go into the weekend not knowing that my time was booked down to the minute as it has been for the past several weeks.

Friday I headed to the gym after work for what turned out to be an amazing workout. It was one of those days where I couldn't wait to run, and that energy carried me through 45 blissful minutes. My lungs, legs and head all seemed to be aligned and I felt happy and strong. 

I'm still playing it safe with the knee, but I feel confident about how things are progressing and felt very little of any kind of ache/pain during the run. I actually miss the long runs, speed workouts and hills (don't quote me on that), but know I need to be patient and smart. Yay for 4.3 miles - new longest since March - and a new plank PR of 1:45. Clearly core has not be enough of a priority for me, but I'll take any kind of progress!

I have to tell you a secret... I'm not a music runner.


I know, I get a lot of weird reactions when people learn that. 

Let me clarify. I'm not a music runner when I run outside. I like being completely aware of my surroundings, being in tune with my body and just enjoying it (usually). Indoors? Heck yes, anything to help get me through the dragging, long miles on a treadmill.

It has been HOT in Boston lately. Hot and humid. Needless to say, I've been spending a decent amount of time at the gym instead of outside, so I beefed up my playlist a bit.

1. Wake Me Up - Avicii
2. Cups - Anna Kendrick
3. Gone, Gone, Gone - Phillip Phillips
4. I Want Crazy - Hunter Hayes
5. Holy Grail - Jay-Z & Justin Timberlake
6. Radioactive - Imagine Dragons
7. Can't Hold Us - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
8. Counting Stars - One Republic
9. Church - T-Pain
10. Run - Kill It Kid
11. Brave - Sara Bareilles
12. She Doesn't Mind - Sean Paul
13. Anywhere With You - Jake Owen
14. Run the World (Girls) - Beyonce
15. My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark - Fall Out Boy
16. What I Know - Parachute

In total, this runs just under an hour. Clearly I have a diverse love of music (I really do enjoy nearly everything), but I love mixing it up to keep me going and entertained.


Do you listen to music when you run?

What's a staple on your current workout playlist?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

Happy Thursday!

1. I finally got a chance to dig into the latest issue of Runner's World this week. I always feel like they have such good timing with their articles, like they tapped right into my brain and said, "Let's write about this just for Sarah." ...hey a girl can dream right?

2. I keep coming up with new recipes to share on the blog, but the same thing happens every time... I get excited, I buy ingredients, I cook, and then realize I forgot to write down any kind of measurements. I tend to go by taste and guesstimates. I'll work on that.

3. Please listen to this song and download immediately. I adore Sara Bareilles and think shes such badass and a talented artist, so I was pumped when she released her new album. Most of the songs are slower, but I've been loving "Brave" as a new addition to my workout playlist. The music video is fun too.

4. I was worried after pushing it a bit too hard last week that there would be a lingering tightness/ache in my knee this week but have been pleasantly surprised. I've only done a couple of workouts so far and kept it easy to be safe, but for the most part no knee issues.

Monday: 3 miles (5 min WU, intervals of 8 min run/1 min walk, 3 min CD)
Wednesday: Spin class

5. A small dose of inspiration courtesy of Pinterest. I love this.


Explore the best that you can be, push those limits to be better and clear your mind of can't.

Are you a recipe person or go-with-the-flow when it comes to cooking/baking?

Recently discovered pump-up or workout song that you're loving? 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Perks of Heading Home

Hello friends! Happy Sunday! I have such a love/hate relationship with Sundays. On the one hand, it can be a nice wind-down from weekend festivities, on the other - it means the weekend is almost over and Monday is just around the corner.

Sunset at home Friday night

I spent this weekend back in western MA to celebrate my fabulous Momma's 50th birthday. We celebrated with pedicures, the best pizza in town, visiting family and eventually cocktails and a yummy dinner out. I won daughter of the year for tagging along (and driving) as 11th wheel for dinner with lots of their friends since the bf wasn't able to make it home with me. Shhh... in reality I didn't mind at all and had a great time.

How cute is she? Doesn't look 50 at all!

Per usual, it was wonderful to spend time with lots of people I love. It also seriously doesn't hurt to be sent back to Boston with yummy treats nearly every time. Summertime is my favorite since between my Dad's and grandfather's gardens, I get lots of fresh produce. The harvest for this year has only just begun. Yum!

Basil, zucchini, summer squash, peppers, broccoli and Grandma's cookies!

I stayed off the knee and took a few days off from running after irritating it a bit last week with overuse, but took a couple nice long walks and stretched/foam rolled. Crossing fingers I can get in a couple of good runs this week with no pain.

I'm off to enjoy the rest of my Sunday evening with some dinner, wine and maybe a couple of episodes of Friday Night Lights with the best. Perhaps I'll toss some food prep in there as well since I have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies for the week!

Favorite summer fruit and/or veggie?
Toss up between blueberries and strawberries for fruit - probably summer squash and zucchini for veggies. Love them all!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

Happy almost Friday, all! Onto our Thursday Thoughts for this week.

1. If anyone wants to get me a minion as an early birthday present, I wouldn't hate it. Also, If you haven't yet gone to see Despicable Me 2, please do yourself a favor and go.


2. I've been on a Greek salad kick lately. OK, so more for like the past 3 months. I love them, and can't seem to get enough. When I was younger I was strictly an iceberg lettuce, carrots, cucumber with Italian dressing kind of girl. Now? I tend to use the mindset of "the more the merrier" when it comes to toppings.

Lunch: Pasta salad and Greek salad with black olives carrots, cukes & feta.

3. I've had three solid workouts this week:

Monday: 4 miles (5 min WU, intervals of 8 min run/1 min walk x 4, 3 min CD)
Wednesday: 4 miles (5 min WU, intervals of 9 min run/1 min walk x 3, 6 min run, 3 min CD)
Thursday: .7 mi run, stair repeats, arms/core, .7 mi walk

Don't let the trees fool you - these go on f o r e v e r.

I would say I couldn't be happier, but I would be lying. I could feel the twinge in my knee toward the end of my run last night (hence the 6 min final interval vs. 9) and while I should have taken that as a sign to rest today I didn't want to break my workout date. The knee held up for most of the stairs but again, could feel it toward the end and walked instead of ran home. Lots of foam rolling and stretching, and will probably take the next couple of days off from running to be safe. I'm not so good at this "ease back into things" mindset.

4. Texting with my Dad this morning and this made me smile:

My family lives on-campus at a New England prep school out in Western Massachusetts so the roads and trails out there are prime real estate for some gorgeous (and often hilly) runs. My Dad had gotten into the sport awhile back, and at the time running was not on my radar aside from field hockey and basketball. 

I remember hearing him talk about running often - with friends, early mornings by himself, and being so proud and a little envious. It made him happy and it was something he was visibly passionate about. Life got in the way a little bit, as did some injuries, but I'm so happy to see he's starting up again - even if it's just once in awhile!

5. Finally, I've been thinking a lot lately about making the switch from Blogger to self-hosted Wordpress. When I started C&P I wasn't sure where it would go, but ultimately I've enjoyed blogging and would like more flexibility and freedom to grow. From some of the blog posts and articles I've read, there are plenty of other bloggers out there who have debated the same and made the switch successfully, and I'd like to explore my options. As a result, I'd like to know:

What were some helpful resources you used to help make the switch?

What's the best piece of advice you have to offer someone looking to make the switch?

I'd greatly appreciate any insights you can share - articles, links to your own blog posts on the topic, preferred design/theme source, preferred host, you name it.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Progress, America's Birthday and Thankfulness

I had the nicest blog post written up to recap this weekend. And then my computer ate it. No, but really, one second it was there and the next... POOF. Not what you want to experience on a Monday night, but hey - I guess it happens.

As a result, you get my lovely long weekend recap in photos: 

... I know, I slacked on photos this weekend big time too, but you get the jist. Awesome run progress, delicious cookies and BBQs with friends to celebrate America's birthday and Cape time with the family.

This past Saturday also marked a year since my big step-sister, Sarah, passed away. Yes, we shared the same name. Thinking back on the past twelve months, I can't believe a year has passed. I spent the majority of Saturday morning feeling guilty that I wasn't home to spend the day with my Mom's side of the family, remembering Sarah and celebrating her life. 

Me and my step-siblings, Tim and Sarah, when we were little.

Truthfully, I've spent a lot of time feeling guilty in the past year. Guilty that I didn't spend more time with her, guilty that I didn't reach out as much as I could have, guilty that I never got a chance to say goodbye, and then guilty that I was grieving when I felt as though I didn't deserve to... if that even makes any sense. I can imagine these often come along with coping with a loss, but they certainly aren't easy feelings to dismiss.

If there has been any particular lesson I've learned in the past year, I'd say that I've become that much more of a thankful person. Thankful that though Sarah passed, she passed peacefully. Thankful for my amazing family and friends who love me unconditionally and who I love right back. Thankful for my job, living in such a wonderful city and being able to support myself. Thankful for the little moments and things that often go unnoticed but mean so much.

"Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile."

I hope you had a wonderful long weekend, full of things that made you smile.

What's something that reminds you to be thankful?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Closing Out June

It's July?! How is that even possible? I'm loving that this will be a short week and a long weekend.

This past weekend was a great one - though slightly expensive - and I enjoyed spending time with lots of favorites.

Friday I skipped down to the Seaport after work to meet up with the boy and some friends for some post-work beers. It's been grossly humid in Boston for the past week with constant thunderstorm warnings, but it was nice to be on the water and enjoy the breeze and atmosphere.

Saturday was spent having breakfast with one of my college roommates for her birthday at In a Pickle in Waltham. This was one of our favorite spots while we were at Bentley and they just recently moved to a new location on Moody St. I'm totally in love with their breakfasts so we both thoroughly enjoyed celebrating her 25th over eggs, bacon, home fries and chocolate chip pancakes! If you're ever in the Boston area, I highly recommend you stop by. There always seems to be a line but I can assure you that it's worth the wait.

Post-indulgent breakfast I lounged around for a bit and headed to the gym to complete my PT "homework." I have to admit that I've become a much bigger fan of said homework since it's started to include running intervals along with the strength training exercises. After a 5 minute warm-up I finished 4 rounds of 1 min walk/5 min run intervals and a quick cool-down. I was thrilled that I felt good the whole time - no knee pain and strong strides. It has been so long since I could say that, and it's such a blessing. Here's to hoping the progress continues!

Saturday night was spent at the Comcast Center with Love and Theft, Brantley Gilbert and Tim McGraw with my best, her mom and her mom's best (so fun!). This was the third time I've seen Tim live and it was a great show. He definitely started the hot country hunk phenomenon.

Sunday was fairly low key - running some errands, baking, relaxing and foam rolling. We topped the weekend off by heading back into the Seaport to meet some girlfriends for a surprise birthday dinner for previously-mentioned college roommate. It was a perfect summer evening.

Favorite breakfast food?
I don't know that I'm capable of choosing... It's all good!