Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Adulting While Whining About It


I had to adult again today. Remember that time I was belligerently angry about buying a new mattress... well today we bought a refrigerator. Swiping that card brought back all those feelings of resentment. Don't get me wrong- it was all my fault. The other one was ugly, not very efficient, but I have not (yet) died of salmonella or some other poor refrigeration woe. It didn't need to go. As flippant first time home owners, the first time we walked into our new home we (okay probably me) said 'oh, that ugly fridge is the first to go.' But then that nasty spending habit at Home Depot caught up to us, and I just frantically tried to cover the fridge with Christmas cards in hopes no one could see the broken bottom, rusting spots, and comically shortness of the still reluctantly functioning appliance. Whatever, it worked... most of the time.

But now that we have bought the new one, instead of remembering all the things I don't like about the old fridge, I am remembering the good things. For one thing- I lived in a teeny, tiny studio for 2 years during grad school that ONLY had an under the counter fridge. It was like reverting to dorm style, but no one cooked for me. That place also had no oven or stove top, so you best believe I had all the tiny appliances that are sold in Best Buy and people go 'huh- how do you use that' to. 

Anyways, I digress. I'm glad the new fridge is on its way. The old fridge will have a nice new home and it'll be one more thing checked off of the "WILL DIE ANY DAY NOW, MAKE SURE YOU SAVE FOR IT" list. But I still would have rather spent the money on a lot of things. On Andrew and I's run we discussed the things we would have rather liked to spend the money on. The list follows...

1) Wine- Andrew said cases of wine (he was speaking for me). I scoffed at him and said a damn bottle would do.
2) Shoes- Obviously this was on my list- not his.
3) A New Puppy- That one fell squarely in the Andrew column.
4) Flights to Europe- Yes, please. Only problem is that it would only pay for 1 of us... I volunteer as Europe tribute.
5) Groceries for 15 weeks- I really hated doing the math there.
6) Student Loans- I hated typing that even more.
7) Front Yard Re-Do- It would only take a hundred bucks and a free weekend afternoon, but its looking a little dismal instead of Spring-y out there.
8) Audible for Years- Still listening to The Stranger Beside Me and loving it.
9) Notre Dame Football Tickets- Only 156 days till the season starts!
10) Some Other Home Appliance That Is Bound To Break Now That We Replaced This One for Aesthetics.... Because karma.

Okay, I'm done adulting now,
S

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Monday Runday... on a Tuesday


So there is a reason why I posted the above picture. 1- This Netflix documentary is awesome; go watch it. 2- It reminded me, yet again, that I'm a total wimp. You see I'm signed up for another half marathon in 3 weeks and started to get a little antsy about the elevation change. The change isn't huge, but Houston is about as flat as a pancake and I really want to be prepared. I looked at the elevation chart, spent waaaaay too long researching treadmill hill workouts, and did what I do best: carbo load.

And then I started this on my Netflix. OH MY GOODNESS. What a wake up call to put my 12th bear claw of the day down, thank my lucky stars that I am NOT running the Barkley, and realize how much of a total wimp I am. The Barkley Marathons is an event like no other. It is almost like an anti-race. The Barkley boasts around 120,000 ft of elevation change. Nope- didn't typo. 120,000 feet on an unmarked course, in the dark, no aid stations, no medical attention, and only a dozen or so of finishers EVER like ALL YEARS COMBINED. You see the runners come out looking like...


A camera crew member from the documentary got lost while filming for 16 hours. 16 hours... and he wasn't even running the darn race. I think this put my measly elevation change back into perspective. Also- it was highly entertaining- go watch it.

This was a great training week. The weather was good enough to get lots of outside miles in AND I focused on stretching and foam rolling, so while I still have some mystery pains, I feel pretty good. This is how the week looked.

M- Barre Class and 3 miles
T- Rest Day and a late night at work
W- 4m with 2 tempo miles at 8:20 pace and kickball
Th- Yoga
F- 10 miles at 9:04 pace
Sa- Rest Day
S- 6 miles

My A goal is to run an 8:45 pace for the upcoming half marathon, but right now I'm focusing on staying injury free and really pushing myself during tempo miles. For my long run this week, my goal is to stay alert. I took a bit of a tumble on my 10 miler this weekend (scary, but was able to get up and finish) and don't want to find myself in a similar situation on race day. 

Anybody got a race coming up?
-S

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Everyday Life Is An Irrational And Scary Place


Last week I had an absolutely bizarre experience at work where an individual I was meeting with told me "to hold my breath" while she said something.  It was weird. I didn't quite know when I was allowed to breath again, but by the end of it I was so focused on holding my breath that I couldn't concentrate. The only good thing that has come from that was now I'm making a habit of using "hold your breath" in almost every conversation I can. 

So, hold your breath... I then started thinking that there are very few moments where I seriously hold my breath. The only two instances I could think of were for hiccuping (doesn't work for me) and when I'm scared in movies, while reading, or (more times than I would like to admit) in real life. 

I have a lot of irrational fears. A lot of irrational fears. I'm naturally a skittish person and have developed quite the repertoire of things that terrify me through the years. Most of these come and go in waves, but with a few of them I think of the irrational fear almost every day. I'm airing my dirty laundry today, folks. You may want to "hold your breath" while reading this...

1) The elevator in my office dropping mid-ride and killing me instantaneously. Dramatic AND terrifying.

2)Passing out while running/ getting hit by car/ being abducted by a serial killer who just so happens to be on the loose while I'm on a run and no one being able to find me. I do think the serial killer option is exclusively fueled by my love for Criminal Minds, but that doesn't make it any less scary. Also- if you want to know any safety apps for running just holler!

3)Accidentally leaving the stove, curling iron, or any other fire causing device on when I leave in the morning and burning the house down.

4)Tripping while running and breaking my front teeth in half (creepily specific).

Anyone else have daily fears float through their mind? I'd love to hear...
-S

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I wasted time, and now doth time wasted me: Re-reading Shakespeare



I tried to go into this with an open mind.

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
—Hamlet

As I round-about mentioned before, one of my New Years Resolutions is to re-read the 37 plays attributed (mostly) to Shakespeare. Yep all of the histories (ya know middle-ages' version of soap operas), all those tragedies (gore and guts galore), and the cute comedies that every summer stock company in the Mid West takes on each summer. Re-read all of them. The ones I love, the ones I hate, and the ones I barely remember reading.

I've read a lot of Shakespeare. I've seen a lot of Shakespeare. I've acted a lot of Shakespeare. And as a theatre major, I've wanted to fling myself off a bridge with a lot of Shakespeare's meter. If I close my eyes, I can still recite most of my senior year audition piece ("Upon thy wedding day, Against the blood that thou hast married...) but I will try to avoid that for your sake as well as mine. This experiment wasn't to read all of Shakespeare's plays and pat myself on the back, because I've done that. I've taken all the dramaturgy classes where you dissect each and every line, had crushes on some of the ridiculous fictional characters, and  seen/read/acted in enough to be a total Shakespeare snob. Some may call me a...
...poisonous bunch-back’d toad!
Richard III

And they wouldn't be entirely wrong- for a multitude of reasons. So why am I doing it all again? Sometimes being a snob makes you stop discovering.I wanted to reread them all to see what I missed, what rings true now, and also just to get back in touch with my artistic side. Even though I work in the arts, I miss actively being part of the creative process and I thought re-reading might just re-ignite my enthusiasm. So I started to re-read.

How well he's read, to reason against reading!

Love's Labours Lost

Maybe I started too confident. I looked at my complete works book and smugly began thinking this isn't so bad!

I shall laugh myself to death at this puppy-headed
monster. A most scurvy monster! 
--Tempest

At first, it was relaxing. A warm tea, arm chair by the window, and one of my favorites to start the resolution off- The Tempest. I laughed, I stumbled over old english, and read much of the play out loud (to my puppy's utter confusion). As the Tempest gave way to more challenging pieces, however, (I'm looking directly at you, Anthony and Cleopatra) I became a little wary of my intentions.

Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.
Henry the Sixth, Part Three

Maybe I had lost my Shakespearan touch? Maybe I was confusing literary prowess for barely literate tendencies?  Maybe I should actually start that spring clearning list... this very evening? Was I even enjoying this? Do I really care if the twins realize they other twin is literally right there- if they can't figure it out, then why should I? Will I be able to stop laughing at the amount of eunuchs thrown into these plays? Am I a bad person if I wonder what kind of crazy person Cleopatra would be today and/or if I thought she would definitely be Ashley Madison's CEO? I definitely doubted why I started.

But good old Hamlet got me back on track. From the opening scene, to Ophelia's death, to the final pages- I just couldn't put something that I've read at least a half dozen times down.

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.
―Hamlet

And as the pages turned, and the column of plays in the 're-read' column grew, I remembered why I loved reading these. How the language, while daunting at first, gives way to a melody that melds characters into someone you can see and feel for.

The wheel is come full circle: I am here.
—King Lear

I still love how any time someone new enters the stage all of the characters say 
How now, (insert name)
Seriously- I need to start doing that in my everyday life.
I'm also totally digging the drama of repeating, repeating, repeating the same thing
I.E. Fie, fie, fie! or Oh naught, naught, naught!
I'm pretty tempted to start responding like that in work emails from now on... just to see if it would help.

I will admit that even with the good times, I still have had quite a few moments like-

Now is the winter of our discontent
-Richard III

when I'm not sure what is going on and/or why, but then all the pieces fall into place and you understand it and feel it. So I'm a quarter of the way done and am still loving this New Years Resolution (even through the Ides of March).

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
-Hamlet

But it would be really cool if I came up with that line,
-S

Monday, March 21, 2016

Breakfast Done Right- Easy, Peasy Egg Muffins




I haven't always been the best breakfast eater. More often than not in college and the couple years after, I would either forget to eat it entirely or shove some honey-nut/frosted/sugar-coated cereal in my face as I ran around perpetually 5 minutes late to life. I eventually (and begrudgingly) started to take my first baby steps into adulthood and decided that jamming a greek yogurt container (and spoon... most days) in my purse was almost as easy as shoving cereal in my face. And that is just kinda how I 'did' breakfast the past couple years.

It totally took me by surprise one time when I was comparing greek yogurt brands at the grocery store that many are full of sugar. In fact, my old preferred brand had 15g (more than half of my daily dietary recommendation) in one serving. It wasn't even an exciting kind of greek yogurt- no fruit on the bottom or anything. So I said to myself, "Self,  I don't want to waste my daily sugar allotment on greek yogurt. I would much rather have 3.5 gummy worms or those fun size snickers that everyone has on their desks." And I set out on a journey to find something easy, peasy that would do for breakfast. I tried toast- boring. I tried oatmeal- horrible. I tried- okay I actually went back to greek yogurt for a while because old habits run deep.

Eventually I doctored up these egg muffins and have been going strong with them ever since. I make a batch on Sunday while meal prepping and the 10 minutes it takes to prep them gives me breakfasts for a whole week. I take 2 with me to work each day, pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds, and then enjoy plotting out much more delicious ways to ingest sugar than greek yogurt. :)


I love these babies because they are so low maintenance and allow me to start the day with a veggies and protein. I change up the recipe a bit each week depending on what veggies are on sale, what I have left over, and pair that with the cheese of my choice. What isn't to love?

Easy Peasy Egg Muffins


Ingredients

8 large eggs
1/2 cup milk of your choice
1/2 cup cheese (used feta this round, but loved goat and pepper jack before)
1 pepper
1/2 onion
1/4 cup black olives
OR any veggies you have lying around
Red pepper flakes (season to your liking)
Muffin tin liners


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Beat eggs and milk together lightly
Dice veggies and add to egg mixture
Add cheese, stir, and season to your liking
Pour mixture into each lined muffin tin (I usually aim for about 1/3 cup for each muffin)
Bake for 20-25 minutes (until fork comes out cleanly)
Cool and store in refrigerator for up to 5 days

Yields around 14 muffins


Happy Breakfasting!
-S

Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring Bucket List


I haven't been particularly good at accomplishing things on my bucket lists these days, but it IS nice to give it the old college try. As excited as the rest of the world is for Spring, I'm dreading it. The temps are already nearing the 90 degree mark and there is no stopping the inevitable, exhausting heat that is on our way. However my google searches on 'how to stop spring from springing' have left me with no strong leads, so this is my haphazard attempt to make the most of it. Carpe diem and pass the pinot grigio.

 There actually is A LOT of fun things on the calendar for Spring and I can't wait to mix in some travel, some home projects, some running, some arts events, annnnnnd a lot of eating.

Spring Bucket List

Run a Half Marathon
Run 2 More 5Ks
Visit Denver and Seattle
Eat at the Original Ninfas in Houston (been on this list 2x before)
Check Out SkySpace by James Turrell (also a repeat list item)
See The Interview: Red, Red Space at the Contemporary Arts Museum
Magically convince my husband to Shiplap the Loft
DIY Artwork for the Dining Room
Visit the SkyLobby in Houston's Chase Tower
Listen to Faure Requiem at the Houston Symphony
Eat at Uchi (a place I've been drooling over for... months)

What do YOU hope to get off your bucket list this Spring?
-S


Thursday, March 17, 2016

St. Paddy's Day!



A holiday that everyone can get behind- the Irish and the Irish at Heart- St. Patrick's Day! I hope that you are all wearing green, have a green beer in the works for this evening, and find a lil pot o' gold along the way.

As a kid, St. Paddy's day was always marked with green pancakes. From when we were little (to when we were headed to college) my mom would make pancakes every St. Paddy's day morning and a leprechaun always managed to sneak some green food coloring into the batter. I am proud to say that I now carry on the family lie tradition in our home. As a high school student, we just so happened to be on family vacation in Ireland over the holiday and... pretty much no one other than drunk Americans were celebrating the day. However while in college at the University of Notre Dame,  it was basically a high holiday. This year I will be settling for wearing some green to work and hitting up the rodeo afterwards (brisket is kinda like corned beef?).

Some quick St. Paddy's Day Facts:

  • St. Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland who lived during the 5th century, but he was actually born in Britain. He was kidnapped  when he was 16 and brought to Ireland.
  • Legend holds that St. Patrick explained the Holy Trinity with a clover- one leaf for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • For most of the 20th century, Saint Patrick’s Day was considered a strictly religious holiday in Ireland, which meant that the nation’s pubs were closed for business on March 17.
  • A 2012 estimate pegged the total amount spent on beer for Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations at $245 million.
  • Erin go Bragh actually comes from  Irish Éirinn go Brách, which means roughly “Ireland Forever.”
Hope that you're all wearing green and drinking an Irish brew tonight! 
Sláinte!
-S

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Slowing Down, Speeding Up, and the Next Race

A few weeks before we headed on vacation, I went out for a Sunday morning (free, wahoo!) 5k. A girlfriend was supposed to join me, but something came up and that morning and knowing that she couldn't be there, I had to force myself out of bed. I grumbled all the way to the race and made it just in time to start (grumbling is a great warm up- apparently).I finished and ended up getting 2nd place for my age division. And I was shocked. I've only placed in a race 2 times before in my life... and one of those times was in middle school. Beyond actually ranking well, I realized that I raced really poorly. I had no goal in mind, I didn't push myself, and by the end I wasn't even out of breath.

Pairing 2nd place victory with too much confidence made for a dangerous combination. A new running plan was hatched- operation get faster.

Okay, so no this 'new plan' is definitely not a new, novel idea. But actually trying to get faster is a new idea for me.  For years now I  consistently log decently long miles usually just plodding along without a ton of attention to speed (more concerned about RPE- rate of perceived exertion). So for the 3 weeks leading up to our Thailand trip, I decided that my goal would be to get faster. I ran a lot of intervals, I did a lot (for me) of lower body strength training, and I spent a lot more 'quick' time on my feet (although it is a lot less miles). So to speed up, I was actually slowing down my mileage count.

Here is the good, bad, and the ugly.

The good: I've actually gotten faster. And (for me) significantly faster.
Starting 5k pace: 8:17 minute miles
End of 1st week 5k pace: 8:00 minute miles
End of 2nd week 5k pace: 7:44 minute miles
End of 3rd week 5k Pace: 7:36 minute miles

That is a 41 second per mile difference in 3 weeks!

The bad: I was sore. I was grouchy. And I definitely missed my longer runs.

The ugly: I kinda hated it. I view my running time as my time. I think through things, I exert copious amounts of energy on reality tv recaps and mental meal planning, and I spend the time doing something for me that makes me feel good. Taking a step back, running is really a selfish hobby for me, but I love it.

So where does that leave us now? Well, I'm not throwing all the speed work out the window (because it obviously works), but I'm going back to what I enjoy. Andrew and I are squeezing in one more half marathon before the summer heats up too much. And guys, it is a wine themed half marathon. 



The good: It is on a vineyard, gives out 'free' wine, and is the perfect motivation I need to get out of the vacation mindset. 

The bad: It is in 5 weeks... whoops! So I gotta kick up my mileage majorly already.

The ugly: I'm dealing with a new mystery pain/soreness that over the past couple runs has gotten significantly worse. So I will need to be extra careful, spend lots of time foam rolling, and start drinking wine in anticipation of the race. Sometimes that last one can get ugly too :)

Any race plans in your future?
-S



Monday, March 14, 2016

Thailand In Photos... Kinda



I can't wait to go into more details about our recent Thailand trip, but thought that a picture really is worth 1000 words (and with the House of Card binge watching I'm doing, I don't have time for 1000 words). Thailand was beautiful in ways that I totally didn't expect. There would be chaos right next to a serene slice of calm. The first group of photos are from our time in Bangkok and Ayutthaya.

Flowers outside Jim Thompson's House (a US expat and silk mogul who mysteriously disappeared)

Boat in Ayutthaya on our river cruise

Big Buddha (quite literally) in an Ayutthaya wat






































Bangkok just starting to come alive for the night markets

Street food in Bangkok's China Town

Reclining Buddha in Ayutthaya

Sunset in Ayutthaya

Grand Palace in Bangkok

Grand Palace (and great face) in Bangkok

I thought this guy looked like Andrew... Andrew thought he looked like me

Grand Palace in Bangkok

Grand Palace in Bangkok

Reclining Buddha in Bangkok

Wat Arun in Bangkok

Wat Arun in Bangkok

Train Station in Bangkok

Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya

Now this is where things get interesting. Just as sun was setting in Ayutthaya I noticed that the camera battery was low; by the end of the evening it was completly dead. We charged the battery in the hotel (with a travel charger we bought mere hours before we boarded our long, long flight) and thought that in a few hours we would be good to go. Unfortunately, the battery didn't charge. No big deal- we thought that it must be a weak converter problem and tried again the next morning... no dice. By this point we were pretty bummed with half the trip left. We bought a charger and STILL the battery didn't charge. As a last ditch effort, we asked our friends to bring a Nikon charger when we met them in Phi Phi Island... AND IT STILL DIDN'T WORK.

So no sugar coating here, I was pretty bummed about no good camera for the end of the trip. I keep thinking of waking up on the overnight train and looking out the window. The countryside was beautiful, lush, and exactly what I thought Thailand would look like. I looked up and saw for the first time in my life a blood red sunrise. The way the red tinted the landscape, the vibrant countryside, and traditional homes all made it so very picturesque. This will be how I remember Thailand. No photos to make it  a memory to share. Just Andrew and I in a terrifyingly jolt-y train barreling up Thailand under the blood red sunrise. 

I can fully admit I wish the camera battery gods had obliged and that I have just as many pictures of the end half of the trip as the beginning, but I don't. iPhone snaps will just have to do. 
Chaing Mai

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai

Chaing Mai

Phi Phi Don Island

Phi Phi Don Island

Phi Phi Don Island

Phi Phi Don Island
Phi Phi Don Island
Phi Phi Don Island

And I leave with you my BFF elephant friend,
-S



Friday, March 11, 2016

5 for Friday- Happy Un-Birthday


Ooops. I guess this is why having Facebook's automatic birthday reminder is helpful in this day and age. Mea culpa, blog. Please forgive me for missing your momentous occasion. I know, I know- all the time we spend together I should have known. I'm sorry I forgot your birthday.

 While I was scrolling through blogs (with the gloriously free wifi) in the Taipei airport trying to kill time before the next leg of our flight home, I saw Rose's Happy 1 Blogbirthday post. I knew we started our blogs just around the same time and... oops. 

I honestly can't believe that last March 8th I started this sucker. Time has flown by and it has been so much fun (and just like everyone says blogging takes up a lot of darn time). I have no idea how long I will keep blogging, but I feel like the year mark should be commemorated. I've spent a lot of time and energy on my tiny slice of the intraweb and am so grateful for the amazing people that I've gotten to connect with through blogging. It has really been more than I could hope.

Dear Blog- Sorry I missed your 1st birthday. That was rude. I'll try to remember next year. Here are my 5 Un-Birthday wishes for you. Love, Shay

5 Un-Birthday Wishes for My Blog

1) I wish that sometimes create your own darn content because bloggers block is definitely a thing. Maybe this year while you write your own content you can also make me become an expert at something really exciting too, so that I can have an endless amount of content to write if I feel so inclined. 
2) While you are working on writing your own content, I wish you would really take your own photos too. Man everything looks so much better with good pictures... I'll lend you my camera, but I'll need it back to take a ridiculous amount of dog pictures. Thanks! 
3) I wish that you doing items 1 and 2 enable me to not feel guilty when I don't post 'enough' and that this space gets to stay a creative outlet (and not a chore) for me.
4) I wish to keep meeting awesome people through you, but blog please keep out the weirdos, burglars, creeps in white vans, and scary clowns.
5) I wish that you develop a better spellcheck and, while you are at it, go ahead and develop a grammar check too because I certainly don't want to do it.

Happy Un-Birthday Blog!
-S


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Sa Wat Dee Ka from 36000 Feet Above Thailand

It's been a whirlwind of an amazing trip, but we are officially heading back home. Thailand stole my heart- the people, the food, the character, the natural beauty, the bustling chaos, the culture, the arts, the beaches... Boarding the plane was a practice in masochism.



It hasn't been an easy vacation. Traipsing around Thailand isn't as carefree and "easy" as most places we have been to, but so worth it. 

Just the travel itself has been exhausting-


Almost 50 hours on planes,
14 hours on an overnight, jolt-y train,
2 ferry boats with a couple scary bugs and more than a couple Chang beers,
A handful of long boats with warm sun on our faces,
1 oxygen tank of scuba diving time,
A memorable and exhilarating tuk tuk ride (that we actually survived),
Snorkel fins that carried us further than we thought making a long swim back,
Handful of taxi rides,
Few hours of hiking time in 90 degree plus weather,
An afternoon biking across the most magnificent ruins I've ever seen,
Some casual song-teaw rides,
Some jam packed public transit metro rides, 
More than a few hours wandering around mildly lost eating everything in sight, 
An elephant ride through the jungle,
And so much more.

I can't wait to share more, but in the meantime I'll be reminiscing and trying to figure out how to beat the 13 hour time difference and make it to work 10 hours after we land...

Chai-yoh!
Shay