Friday, October 31, 2014

Five on Friday 10/31

Happy Halloween! 

Sharing some 5 of Friday in the form of Confessions. Join the party and comment below so I can read yours!

1. I confess that I had the best baked oatmeal of my life yesterday. And today (reheated). I used this recipe from skinny taste and did some subbing: maple syrup for the sugar, a flax egg for the real egg, and almond milk for the cow milk. So so good. Make this asap. 

2. I confess that I may have found my wedding venue. Eeeek! I am so excited. The only concern is that it is not all-inclusive, so I would need to rent linens and china, etc. This is very scary to me. Thoughts? Should I avoid this or is this not a big deal? 

3. I confess that I got home from girls night last nigh and couldn't fall asleep... so I walked Jaclyn Hill  make-up tutorials on you-tube. Anyone else watch her? I am heading to Ulta or Sephora today to buy some of her goodies. Now if only they sold her skills there as well. 

4. I confess that I am in LOVE with my new hair color. I posted some of my ideas last weekend (thanks for everyone's input) and am SO happy. I am pretty munch my natural dark blonde color, but with a stronger gold undertone to it. I feel I am one step closer to my hair nirvana: Olivia Palermo. 

5. Speaking of hair, I confess that I use drugstore shampoo and conditioner, but I am in the market for something better. Any thoughts on Pureology? I've heard good things. AR uses Bumble & Bumble, and I like some of their products. Hmmm. Here we go again with the trip to Ulta/Sephora. 

Are you dressing up this weekend? What is your costume?


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Running... whats next?

Good morning sunshine!

I am drinking coffee and eating baked pumpkin oatmeal right now as I sit at my desk. I feel so autumn-ish :)

Last night I went on my 4th run post-marathon.

Yep, the race was two and a half weeks ago, and here I am, averaging less than two runs a week. Woop-dee-doo. I've done some strength training, lots of long walks, and lots of sleeping late.

After running a marathon, my body is physically spent. Race day takes a lot out of me, but so does the training process. I averaged 40-50 miles every week from July-October. My body is tired.

Even more than the physical aspect, my mind was exhausted. Training, racing, recovering... it is a mental journey. I've spent the last few months pushing myself and I needed a break. Time to miss running. Time to run and stop when I am tired. Time to find other physical outlets.

When we train for big races, we need to allow ourselves time to recover - mentally and physically. If we don't give ourselves enough time in between, we start approaching burnout and injury.

So what I am doing for now? I am focusing on strength training and speed work. Lots of short runs (under 8 miles) and the occasional longer run. I am not following a plan, just running. I want to do a spring half marathon - have I mentioned that I've only ever done one half? I am also doing a 10k in March and hoping for a PR :)

Confession: I really want to do a spring full marathon, but I haven't convinced AR yet!

Until then, I'll be at the gym or running through my neighborhood. Probably without my Garmin.

Anyone else train for long races? How do you recover? How long before you go back at it? 


Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Confessions and Such 10/25

Hello lovelies!

It is Friday morning and it actually feels like fall in ATL today: the sun is out and the air is crisp and I have about 14 sweaters begging me to wear them ;)

Anyways, lets move on to a little confessional (Linking up with the lovely Leslie and the ladies of 5 on Friday!!).

1. I confess that I ate oatmeal for dinner last night. On my couch. While watching How to Get Away with Murder. I didn't get home until 9:30 and I was too exhausted to cook. I took a shower and whipped up some oatmeal with half of a can of pumpkin and some pumpkin pie spice in it. I loved every bite.

2. I confess that I only went to the gym twice this week. Sometimes after a race, my workout mojo dies a little. And why push it? Sunday will mark two weeks since the marathon, and I plan to be more motivated then.

3. I confess that I have only baked one pumpkin treat this fall. With AR & I's cleanse-ish thing, sugar is out the window and my baking is taking a hit. But I found this recipe for pumpkin butter that I plan on exploring this weekend.

4. I confess that I have been engaged less than two weeks and already looked at one wedding venue. And I plan to see another today. Places fill fast, I need to be on it... right? Here are some wedding looks I am loving right now:
Love this as a save-the-date pose

These colors are so different and gorgeous for a fall wedding!

Someone help me find a venue where I can hand a parachute like this!

5. I confess that I am obsessing over the "bronde" hair trend. I am getting my hair done this morning and here are some of the looks I am loving:

Have an awesome weekend!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

WIAW (cleanse time!)

So I am on a cleanse.

This is not an I-wanna-get-skinny cleanse. It is a marathons-give-me-unrealistic-expectations-about-food cleanse. I want to reset my tastebuds in time for the holidays :)

If you are just stopping in, let me help you catch up!

- I ran the Chicago Marathon about a week and a half ago. And got a PR!
- I got engaged and am THRILLED.

Back to the cleanse. AR and I decided we would do this together about a month ago while eating pancakes and drinking sugary lattes. Our bodies needed a recharge. Sometimes, in an effort to increase my calories, I reach for bad things. Like cheese and sugary treats. And it isn't like it makes me gain weight, but it doesn't leave my body feeling strong.

So, the rules of the cleanse:
- no meat (we are doing seafood though)
- no dairy
- no refined sugar
- no white flour
- no alcohol (except wine. because duh.)
... for 21 days. 

Why the seafood? Because AR's travel schedule means he eats out every meal, M-Th. He needed more option.

Here are snapshots of our meals:

Homemade Cinnamon Pecan Granola (I tried a new recipe from Deliciously Ella and LOVE it! I left out the raisins, but otherwise followed this recipe). We are enjoying it with coconut "yogurt", fruit, and almond milk.

Eggs. LOTS of scrambled eggs with veggies in them. Usually enjoyed with toast and/or fruit.

Pumpkin oatmeal. I add a half of a cup of pumpkin puree to my water and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, I add the oats, chia seeds, and pumpkin pie spice. Sooo yummy.

Out: On Sunday, we went out and I had whole wheat pancakes with real maple syrup and scrambled eggs.

Morning Snacks
Lots of Arden's Garden juices, teas, and sometimes crackers.

Salads with veggies burgers

I made a kale salad with thick avocado dressing. For the dressing, I blended half of an avocado, 2 Tbs of rice wine vinegar, 2 Tbs of olive oil, salt & pepper. I tossed it with chopped veggies and kale. Yumm.

Vegetable soup with crackers

Veggies and hummus, wrapped in a whole grain tortilla

Afternoon snacks
Vega protein shakes. These are a LIFESAVER. the powder is expensive, but so worth it. I mix it with almond milk, ice, and a banana. Each scoop has 15g of protein, half of your days vitamins, and 3 servings of green vegetables! It is a little pricey, but when calculated out by each shake, it costs no more than a almond milk latte at the coffee shop!

More veggies and hummus

Apples/Clementines/Berries. Sometimes with nut butter :)

Nuts (usually pecans or almonds)

Homemade Chickpea Curry Burgers (this recipe), served with sweet potato fries and steam kale.

Shrimp creole with brown rice and broccoli. AR made this over the weekend while I studied and it was yummy!

Baked potato stuffed with roasted mushrooms, broccoli, and pepper. Topped with Smart Balance (a god sent).

Out: Baked salmon with roasted vegetables

The results: 

How do I feel? Great. Fruit seems so much sweeter and I am doing a better job of thinking of creative options for meals. AR still feels a little hungry, so we need to find more snack options for him.

What about the no sugar? I miss sweets. I want some chocolate SO badly I could scream. But it is okay. We all know I am a sweets-freak, so this is good for me.

How much longer do I have? Today is day 9, so I have 12 days left!

Linking up with Jenn for some What I Ate Wednesday fun - thanks Jenn!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Check In & Weekend Highlights!

Hey All,

It is Monday. We all know what that means... we slide back into our weekly duties while reliving the fun of the weekend.

Here are some highlights:

- I went and saw Gone Girl! AR and I went on Saturday night and it was incredible. Such a good movie. We don't see movies in theaters often (We counted 3 in the last 18 months... including Gone Girl, lol), but this one was so worth it.

- We survived week two of our cleanse. We are avoiding meat, dairy, refined sugar, beer/liquor, and white carbs. Honestly, the sugar has been the hardest part. I would kill someone for a chocolate chip cookie some times - jk :P But I am subbing with fruit and tea with honey. Even after only one week, fruit seems SO much sweeter.

- We bought pumpkins. A nearby church sells them to raise money for their youth group, so AR and I grabbed 4. Sadly, I had too much studying to do this weekend, so we didn't carve them. I plan to carve them this weekend and I will be sure to post pictures.

- Wedding planning.... ahhhh!!! We started looking at dates and locations... more to come on this soon.

- I went on my first post-marathon run. It felt amazing, but I was sore afterwards. I only did about 3 miles, and I couldn't believe how happy it made me. Running is seriously my happy place.

Have you seen Gone Girl? Did you like it? 


Saturday, October 18, 2014

A proposal {the story}

Happy Saturday!

I’m sharing my story from last Saturday on the blog this morning. If you are stopping back by from yesterday’s link-up – thank you!

Last weekend AR and I went to Chicago for the Chicago Marathon. While on the trip, we planned to visit my alma mater. Though we have been dating for years, I have never taken AR to my college – in fact, I haven’t been back myself since graduation day in 2011.

We missed our train to head over to campus, so I wanted to just skip the visit, by AR insisted we still go. I couldn’t really figure out why he cared so much, but I said okay and we grabbed a cab over to my campus.

To give you some background, I went to school at a very small, very old college on an arboretum. As you might imagine, the campus is absolutely gorgeous in the fall – the sidewalks are all lined with trees in bright shades of gold, yellow and red. I think AR was surprised when we got out of the taxi by the size of my school. I told him it was small and he thought I meant that it only had one building, haha!

We walked around some of the buildings and I took him to the old chapel in the back of the campus. The chapel is stunning and people book it 2 years in advance for weddings. As we walked through it, we started talking about getting married. This is not an unusual conversation topic for us, so I didn’t think a thing.

But when we walked out on the steps, he got down on one knee and the rest is history.

I may or may not have been crying... ;) 

I know you are wondering so…

How long have we been dating? We celebrated 3 years in June!

How did AR and I meet? At a coffee shop in Houston, TX. I was there for Teach for America and had just moved two weeks prior. I randomly pulled into a coffee shop and set my stuff next to a cute guy in a baseball cap. We chatted all afternoon while we both worked on things and he asked for my number when I left. We went to dinner the next weekend. And here we are, almost three and a half years later!

Did I have a feeling AR was going to propose? Honestly, NO! I mean, I knew he would eventually, but I did not think it would happen any time soon.

Outside of our hotel after our eventful evening!
Did I pick out my ring? Nope, it was all him and he did a perfect job. He had asked me several times about what I liked and he knows my taste well J

When is the wedding? No idea! I am going to start working on that at some point, though balancing it with law school may be a challenge. 

What did we do after he proposed? I was in total shock. We walked around some more and talked about everything. We road the train back to our hotel and grabbed dinner. We told our families the next evening, but it was special to have it just be us for a while. 


Friday, October 17, 2014

5 on Friday {I am getting MARRIED}

1. I am getting married!!!!!

AR and I are engaged!!! He proposed last weekend while we were in Chicago and it was absolutely perfect.  He popped the question the night before the marathon and we told my parents the next afternoon... it was so special and more than I ever imagined. I will have a post sharing all the details tomorrow :)

2. My fiancé is the best
Can I just have a moment to say how incredible AR is? We have been together for almost three and a half years and I am still smitten.

I was completely surprised when he proposed - no idea how he kept that from me for so long!

3. The Chicago Marathon
...was absolutely amazing. That race is so incredible - it is well organized and well cheered for ;) I loved every mile and am planning on registering again for next year. If you are considering a marathon, I highly recommend Chicago. The course is flat and the scenery is gorgeous. This link has some beautiful pictures from last weekend.

4. I got a PR :)
I beat my previous PR by over 9 minutes last weekend :) The best part? I didn't feel very sore! Tuesday was a little rough on the stairs at school, but other than that, I feel good. In fact, on Wednesday, I considered going running. Don't worry - I paused and said "Hannah, don't be crazy." I think it is a sign that I trained well. My body is so used to the hills of ATL, it was relieved to run on a flat course.  You can read my race recap and see all of my pictures here.

5. Wedding planning blogs?
Alright ladies, now that I have a wedding to plan - what are your best wedding planning blogs/websites/resources? I am going to need some serious help!!


Linking up with the lovely ladies of Five on Friday!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chicago Marathon - Race Recap

I am back from the Chicago Marathon!

A huge grin spread across  my face as I sat down to write this post. My weekend in Chicago was fabulous for so many reasons and I feel like I have a ton to share! Let's start, shall we?

I left for Chicago on Friday morning and spent the day with my family. I had not been home in over a year, so it was really special to be back home :)

Aaron and I left for downtown Chicago on Saturday afternoon and enjoyed the train ride into the city (have I ever mentioned how much I love the train?). We were staying at the Hilton downtown, which is an absolutely stunning hotel.

our elevators were decorated
The whole building was decorated for the marathon and the place was crawling with athletes. The excitement and energy was incredible.

Even my room key was ready for the marathon. You can bet I saved this. 
We dropped our stuff off and headed to the expo. The Hilton had shuttles running to the expo venue, which was so convenient. The setup was really easy and I freaked out a bit when I got my number. Chicago Marathon staff? You put on an incredibly organized expo.

We walked around and took some pictures before heading back to the hotel.

At the hotel, we changed clothes and went to visit my alma mater for the afternoon. I'll tell you more about that later, but it was amazing ;)

For dinner, we participated in the classic Hilton Pasta Dinner. I actually don't like to eat a lot of carbs the night before a race, so I filled up on grilled chicken, green beans, salad, and wheat rolls. We went to bed early with full bellies and lots of excitement.

I woke up at 6am on race day (7am Atlanta time - Whoo Hoo for sleeping in on race mornings). I ate peanut butter on wheat bread - both of which I brought to the hotel from home, haha. We sipped coffee to help, ahem, get ready for the race and headed out a little after 7am.

We walked a few blocks in the park and found our corral. We were just in time and moved up to the middle of the group. The weather was incredible and AR shed his sweatshirt before we even started. I kept my gloves on and tossed my sweatshirt right as the gun went off.

The first few miles were packed and we ran pretty slow -- about a 10 minute mile. I think we were trying to adjust to the crowds. The cheering people on the side of the roads were amazing. I have never seen a race with than many fans!

We picked up pace around mile 4, moving closer to a 9 minute pace. At mile 13 I looked at AR and could tell something was wrong. I asked him is he was okay and he said yes, so I just ignored it. a mile later the look on his face made me worried and I said "lets slow down." We jogged for a bit and AR walked through a water station.

He kept saying his legs weren't under him and he couldn't catch his breath. I was just finding my groove and feeling strong. We kept slowing down and AR kept telling me to go on without him. I got really upset and said "no, this is our thing! I am staying." I lost him a few times because he would slowdown and I wouldn't notice until I had passed him.

Finally, at mile 16, I lost him for good. I stood on a corner and yelled his name, ran backwards for a bit to look, and started to cry. I was worried he wasn't okay and I got scared! But with 45,000 runners, I was never going to find him, so I turned around and started running again.

My legs felt strong and I was distracted by the situation with AR. My pace picked up considerably and I felt good. At mile 18, the wall was nowhere in sight and I picked up pace a little more.

At mile 20, I was still feeling good, which shocked me. I had given up on a PR when AR started struggling, but I realized at mile 20 that I was well within a PR range. I drank a bunch of water from my bottle and kept going. Other runners were slowing down to walk. Over and over, I watched runners pat them on the back as they passed- What a sign of support and encouragement.

By mile 24, I was exhausted and ready to be done, but I was still plugging away. I had been pushing for several miles (my watch said sub 9), so I slowed up a bit. I only had 2 miles yet, but it was a struggle!! Luckily, the crowds picked up just in time! Before I knew it, I was at mile 25.5 and the end was in sight.

As I passed mile 26, I had to fight tears. I was so relieved. I've never crossed a marathon finish line by myself. It was always been me and AR. It felt like such an accomplishment.

After crossing, I looked at my watch and saw 4:17. A PR for me!!!!!!!!

My mom snapped this picture... don't I look excited?

I averaged about a 9:35/mile, which was great considering we walk/ran for those 2.5 miles. I am more excited about my maintained pace than my time - this was the first marathon that I didn't really hit the wall... I felt strong the whole time. 

I met up with my parents (after walking 8 blocks from the finish line, thank you very much) and sat down for a minute. My dad agreed to wait for AR while I went back to shower before we had to check out of the hotel. I hated to miss AR coming in, but after waiting for a while, I realized I needed to go pack up our room.

I showered and was able to walk out of the bathtub without falling (always an accomplishment) and felt pretty good. AR knocked on the door and I was so relieved to see him!!! He finished strong, despite having a rough run.

Stopping for Chicago-style deep dish on the way home :)

Chicago, I loved every minute of my visit. After the Atlanta marathon, I was really worried that marathons just were not my thing. If I learned anything this weekend, it is that marathons are my favorite thing. The crowds, the runners, the volunteers, everyone was wonderful. Thank you for an absolutely incredible weekend. 


Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Confessional!

Happy Weekend lovelies! I am so excited that it is finally Friday. This weekend is special for several reasons :)

Lets get too it with Ms. Leslie's Friday linkup!

1. I confess that... I am going to Chicago this weekend and will see my family for the first time since MARCH! I should be ashamed of how long it had been. Between summer work schedules and school, I just didn't have a lot of time off. I cannot wait to see them.

2. I confess that.... I am running my third marathon this weekend. Chicago Marathon, here I come! I am hoping for amazing weather and a great day in terms of pace, but who knows. I still have a pretty bad cold, so let's pray that I heal up by Sunday.
I do have a pretty fantastic race outfit picked out, and that is really what matters. 
(Follow me on Instagram if you want to keep up to date with all my race news this weekend!! User name: hrw1126)

3. I confess that... I become obsessive when I have a cold. Hot tea, chicken noodle soup, tons of sleep, fresh juices... you name it, I do it. I've looked like a crazy all week at campus, clutching mugs of tea, bottles of water, and bottles of Arden's Garden pressed juices. But you know what? I am so much better than I was on Tuesday! #miracleshappen

4. I confess that... I am watching like 6 items on eBay right now. My friend is an eBay fein and she has got me hooked. I'm eyeing a faux fur vest, some coats, and booties. Are you an eBay shopper? Or is it too risky for you? She gets amazing deals, so I am inspired to try, but a little concerned. I've only ever purchased books on there before.

5. I confess that... I am about to bite the bullet and try the Bare Minerals liquid foundation. Have you tried it? Everyone says it is amazing and I am in the market for a new foundation. I don't wear foundation on a daily basis, but I would like a lighter option to wear from time to time. Do you use any of their products?

The lady at Ulta told me to avoid the liquid foundation because it had coconut oil (which makes some people break out), but the ad says "no oil". Someone is lying to me.

Have an awesome weekend!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Marathon training - 1 week out!

Race week is hereeeee!

It is Tuesday and I am happily rocking the taper this week.

Unfortunately, I am also rocking a serious cold. It started on Friday and has continued to get worse. The Chicago Marathon is still 5 days away, so hopefully I can heal up before then. I chugging gallons of fresh juices and getting lots of rest until then!

Last week was a pretty easy in terms of training:

M - rest
T - 4 miles
W - 5 miles
Th - 4 miles
F - rest.... and sick
S - 3 miles at the park with a trip to the farmers market, for a total of 5!

On Saturday, I began to develop a serious concern about the weather in Chicago... so we headed to the mall for some extra gear. Macy's had an amazing sale on Nike and I grabbed some leggings, a long-sleeved top, a jacket, a skirt, and a sports bra (for $5!). Clearly I don't plan on wearing these all for the race... but it was a good sale ;)

S - 8 miles. We didn't run until late afternoon and I insisted on wearing my new shirt and some leggings to test it out for race day. It was clearly too hot for me to be dressed like that, but oh well! This was an awesome run and my legs felt strong, despite the fact that my cold is getting progressively worse. I may not be able to breathe or swallow, but my legs can move!

This week I am continuing to taper and enjoyed a 3 mile run before the sun rose this morning. I woke up feeling the worst and seriously groggy because I took medicine before bed, but the run cleared my senses :)

I have a stack of clothes on the sofa in my room that I plan to pack. We are staying across the street from the start/finish, so I am relieved to be able to shower right after the race - and stay warm and inside before it starts!

On a positive note, the weather for the marathon seems to have cleared up! It should be between 49-55 while I am running and *maybe* clear skies. I could not ask for any better. Now if only my cold would do the same!

Does anyone else start planning their race outfits well in advance? 


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Soup

Fall flavors are everywhere right now. My friend and I immediately texted each other the day Panera brought back their squash soup and I have already baked pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

It is easy to focus on squash as a sweet food, but it can also be amazing as a savory option. I love spaghetti squash with marinara, baked acorn squash stuffed with couscous and beans, and butternut squash mac and cheese. Squash adds such a buttery creaminess to dishes, and packs a ton of nutrients.

On Monday evening I whipped up this butternut squash and pumpkin soup. It was a favorite of mine all last winter and I am loving it this week! I really love making a big pot of soup to enjoy all week in lunches or for a quick dinner. Last night I enjoyed it with a large piece of wheat toast and a sliced pair. It was a perfect combination.

For this soup, I combined roasted butternut squash with broth, celery, pumpkin puree, and seasonings.  I topped it off with a little almond milk for creaminess. Feel free to use whatever broth you have on hand and include an onion or even diced carrots!

Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Soup 

1 large or 2 small butternut squash, halved and seeded
1/2 cup of finely diced celery (or onion)
1 cup of pumpkin puree - canned or homemade
3 cups of vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 dash of cinnamon
1 tsp. of salt - plus more if your broth is low sodium
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
olive oil
1/2 c. of unsweetened almond milk

Heat over to 400*. Place seeded and halved squash on a baking sheet with cut side up. Brush squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake the squash until tender, about 30 minutes for small squash and 45 for a large squash.

Meanwhile, heat 1 T. of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add celery/onion and sauté until tender. Scoop butternut squash into the saucepan and add the pumpkin, broth, and seasonings. Cook over medium heat until ingredients are all tender and flavors have combined, about 15 minutes.

Puree soup in blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender. Return to saucepan and check seasonings, adjusting as necessary. Stir in the almond milk until combined. Serve with pumpkin seeds, a scoop of yogurt, or croutons!