Saturday, September 27, 2014

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

One of my Facebook friends shared this video about a year ago, and after seeing it then, I watched/listened to it on repeat for awhile. I just recently found this video again and likewise, couldn't stop listening. It's so distracting, but oh so good!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hello Autumn

Right now I'm...

- Craving chocolate milkshakes from Hip City Veg
- Found the perfect cami, and it's on sale!
- Picked out this snow jacket for my birthday. I'll be wearing it without the fur, just so you know.
- Getting acquainted with my new neighborhood
- Still sore from weights on Monday
- Hoping to get back into running and swimming
- Planning on making lots of Christmas gifts this year
- Getting excited for 2015...mostly I want to buy a cool calendar
- Reading Middlesex and liking it so far
- Hoping to do much better on my September's goal than I did in August
- Making a to-do list every morning and crossing stuff off
- Excited for sweater weather, but not looking forward to the ensuing coldness
- Having fun celebrating Lauren's birthday!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My First Week in Philly

I can officially say I've lived in Philadelphia for over a week now! It's still really weird to say that, but I suppose that's an adjustment I'll eventually get used to. This past week, Lauren's brother, Kevin stayed with us, exploring the city just a little bit more. Going from a suburban setting where I can drive my car wherever I want, to a big city and having to take public transportation to get places is probably one of the biggest challenges to this move, but I'm actually getting used to that too.

I've already had to call my credit card companies to change my address so that my cards no longer get declined, our apartment is mostly put together and organized, and I've already found a lot of delicious vegan food within walking distance of my apartment. Life is good now, and it will continue to become more comfortable as I get more used to living in the city.

The subway and bus routes are actually pretty easy to figure out, but surprisingly I've been walking a lot. Getting my Fitbit to buzz everyday hasn't been hard, and I enjoy walking to the grocery store and other little shops and restaurants, although I'm sure my outlook on walking will change once it begins to snow. I'm not really looking forward to that.

On Monday I also joined a gym with an indoor pool, track, rock climbing wall, and fitness classes in addition to the regular gym amenities. Kevin showed Lauren and I how to lift weights on Monday, and I'm still so sore! I wanted to rest my arms and legs yesterday, so I opted for the core conditioning class. I've never really taken a group exercise class before, but trying out new forms of exercise is on my 24 goals list, and since they're included in my membership fee, then why not take advantage of them? The class was intimidating at first, but everyone in the class are at varying fitness levels, so no one sticks out like a sore thumb. My upper abs are still sore from yesterday, which I guess is a good sign. But mainly, my tail bone hurts the most from all those crunches! Am I the only one with that problem? In other exercise-related news though, running has sadly taken the back burner while I strive to incorporate cross training and aim to stay consistent with weight lifting (not like body builder status, I just want to add a little muscle here and there).

My dad and I also went to New Jersey for two days to visit my uncle, aunt, and cousins. I love their downtown area and am looking forward to visiting them again soon. It's nice to know they're only a train ride away.

For my birthday my mom wanted to get me a nice snow jacket. We thought it would be best to get one once I get to the East Coast since they're bound to carry the warmest clothing. I found one at L.L. Bean, but I had to order it online since they didn't have their warmest layers in store yet. It arrived within a few days and it's very warm, but I just sent it back for a smaller size. At least I still have a few months before I'll truly need it! I also ordered a pair of snow boots from L.L. Bean that are backordered until October. This whole snow business is completely new to me and I don't really know what to expect. We'll play it by ear I suppose.

Lauren's birthday is on Friday so I'm looking forward to spending the day touring the city some more and seeing the other side of Philadelphia. I'm excited for a day at Reading Terminal Market and a delicious dinner! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Buffalo Stampede

In the beginning of September I ran the Buffalo Stampede 10 miler with Lauren and Leti. I had set out hoping to finish under 2 hours. I told Lauren ahead of time that we could run whatever pace and intervals she wanted, so long as we finished in that time frame.

This was my first year running this race so I didn't really know what to expect. The course was awesome because I grew up in that neighborhood; all of the houses were familiar and I knew exactly which street we were approaching. I knew the route like no other which really helped.

I ran with Lauren, Leti, and a few other SacFit members until mile 3 when we all slowly started falling into our own paces. Lauren had a bad headache in the beginning, so she and Leti hung back a little bit, but I was so set on making my time goal that I kept trudging along running right on pace to break the 2 hours. The whole time though, I kept Lauren and Leti in my line of sight because I was hoping that if they were able to see me, they'd stay motivated.

Around mile 6 or so, I decided I wanted to finish the race with Lauren, regardless of how long it took us. I kept thinking back to the WFF Half Marathon and how I promised Lauren I would run the next race with her; not that I felt like I had to, but rather I wanted to run together. At that point I was pretty certain that we weren't going to meet the 2 hour time goal, and I was slowly beginning to accept that.

After running a mile or so with Lauren and Leti, I took the lead and slowly began to speed up without telling them. Eventually, we weren't too far off pace to finish in under 2 hours! We had about 3 miles left of the race to make up time, and boy was I determined to do so! When I'm running my midweeks by myself, I typically run a comfortable 11 minute/mile pace. I ran the last 3 miles of this race though with a 9:30 minute/mile pace, and it felt great!

Long story short, all three of us finished in under 2 hours! My official time was 1:57:59.12. The only other 10 mile run I participated in was last year's Capital City Classic, from which I improved my time by over ten minutes, wahoo!

Because this was mine and Lauren's last race in Sacramento for awhile, we celebrated and said our final goodbyes in the parking lot afterwards. Several of our closest running buddies gifted us with going away presents. I wasn't expecting this at all, but I appreciate the sentiments and special tokens so much. When I joined SacFit last summer, I knew this was a great group, but this just further shows what an excellent group of runners this group is made up of.

It's only been two weeks since this race and I already miss SacFit and my fun running buddies, not to mention, I think I've only run once since then! 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Goodbye Sacramento

Hello Philadelphia!

Last Saturday Lauren and I, along with our families' help, moved across the country! Lauren is starting grad school, and I hope to be too sometime next year. It's a huge change, but moving with your best friend makes it so much easier of a transition.

We moved into our apartment on Monday and have been unpacking since. In August we rented and packed up two Uhaul U-Boxes to move the majority of our belongings back East. Even though we were able to bring most of our stuff with us, we still somehow managed to need to go to Target and Ikea. I'm not complaining though!

While our families were here we did some touristy things, like visiting historical landmarks. Our favorite place to go was Reading Terminal Market, but the best restaurant we dined at was a vegetarian Chinese place called Su Xing House.

I have been to Philadelphia several times before (May was my last trip), but since becoming a resident my sights for the city have changed. I'm now a lot more concerned about locating all the nearby grocery stores and pharmacies, memorizing the map and street names of the area, and truly figuring out the ins and outs of public transportation.

With this huge move will come a lot more changes in the ensuing days, weeks, and months. It's scary to not be in California anymore, but this is an adventure and a great opportunity to travel and learn new things. Although everything is unpacked and our families have returned to the West Coast, we still have a lot more organizing and rearranging to tackle!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Garden Update 3.0

I hope you enjoyed my super late photos and comments about our "new" garden. If not, then you probably won't want to read this post either ;). But if you did like reading that one, then you'll probably be entertained by this one too!

This is what the garden currently looks like. I took all of these photos last Thursday so they're pretty current.

The large tomato plants have pretty much taken over everything. We now have tomatoes growing in the cucumber/strawberry planter box, but that's okay, I never like cucumbers anyway. Plus, the majority of the cucumbers growing now are yellow and orange, so we've been tossing them away. We do have a few green cucumbers though. But perhaps cucumber season is over? Or maybe they're not getting enough nutrients?

The strawberry plants are dried up as well. We haven't gotten a strawberry in weeks, but I noticed a few new maybe they're getting their second wind? Leti and Lauren didn't care for the tartness of the strawberries, so they left the berries untouched. I picked, washed, and then froze them for our smoothies. It worked out well.

The zucchini and crook neck squash are done, I think. We get one or two squash every other week or so, but for the most part we end up buying our zucchini produce now. They were very abundant about two months ago though.

Like I said, the tomatoes are taking over. Because we never tied them up and were late at adding cages, they're growing everywhere. Luckily though, we all eat tomatoes and there are so many ways to use them. Lauren made marinara sauce several times, and we add them to pizzas, and salads.

The basil is also sadly done. It probably would've lasted longer had we taken better care of the plant. At first we were diligent and "pruned" the basil, but after awhile we became lazy and let flowers take over, so no more basil. Last week however, Lauren managed to pick enough basil leaves for a delicious salad dressing. Sidenote: I used this oil based basil dressing for my garbanzo bean and (homegrown) tomato salad; awesome!

Our baby orange sweet tomatoes are still my favorite plant; I've coined it my "work of art". When I first planted it in a container way back in March, I did a lot of research about taking care of tomato plants, and I've done pretty well following the "rules". I do a pretty good job at picking off all the yellow branches (it's normal for them to turn yellow) and I monitor the produce every few days. I read that a good tomato plant should get tall and skinny when you pick the suckers off, and that's what this baby tomato plant has come to resemble!

Even though we didn't take full advantage of our garden this season, I've enjoyed having it. I don't know if I'll be sharing any other updates on our summer garden (because I think the season is basically over for us), but I learned a lot about gardening and I hope to someday be able to have a huge garden! In which case, this first season of gardening ever will definitely be a starting block to leap off of.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

09.14 Goals

In an effort to be more productive and accomplish my goals during my 24th year of life, I've decided to post a "to-do list" of sorts at the beginning of each month. At the end of the month I'll go back over my list and talk about what I was able to conquer and note the tasks I have yet to tackle.

 September is going to be an exciting month: birthdays, a new season, and so many changes!

1. Start a knitting project.
2. Finish blocks 6-10 on my Summer Sampler.
3. Make something with dates.
4. Get a hair cut.
5. Read a book.
6. Finish Marissa's birthday present from last year.
7. Have a successful move.
8. Tear out what's no longer prospering from our container garden.
9. Run at least 75 miles.
10. Create perfect chili.

Let's go, September!

Monday, September 1, 2014

08.14 Goals Roundup

I've learned something very important about myself; I love to make lists. Although my productivity may not drastically increase from doing so, writing out lists is my thing. I think that's the real reason why I'm so excited to have monthly "to-do lists" now.

According to August's list, I haven't accomplished much. While it may feel like a letdown, it doesn't bother me to much. My "to-do lists" aren't actually lists that I have to get done, but rather some things I want to do. Whenever I'm bored or sitting around doing absolutely nothing, my list pops back up into my head, and I remember all of things I want to get done, so I usually choose to work on one of the items from my list. This has been great. My boredom is cured and I'm doing something somewhat productive.

1. Marissa's birthday present: I'm still not finished, but I'm so determined to have it done by this year's birthday (September 4)! I worked on it a little bit last week, but still have a ways to go.

2. Running: My idea for this goal was signing up for a marathon or longer, but that didn't happen. I did register for a local 10 mile run the first week of September and I have been running a lot more than before, so I'm checking this off my list!

3. Magazine "collection": I didn't even get through half of my magazines despite working pretty hard on this challenge. Don't worry though, this item wasn't a complete loss, I'm going to toss the remainder of them and be done with this one.

4. Library: I really wanted to go to the library so that I could find a book to read this month for my 24th birthday challenge. Sadly a visit to the library didn't happen, neither did reading a book this month...I was too busy reading magazines!

5. Summer Sampler: I didn't complete this project either; I'm almost done with my sixth square though.

6. Sewing weekend: While I didn't cut out a bunch of fabric or have an actual sewing weekend, Lauren and I had a sewing week instead. I failed to complete a project but I got my sewing fix, so I'm calling this one a win.

7. Unpack boxes at my parents' house: I unpacked most of the boxes, but I still have two more left. A lot more reorganizing also needs to take place.

8. Watching my money: Pretty soon after I set this goal I realized that it's a little bit pointless. I buy almost everything with my credit card to rack up points, and so I can easily check my account online and review all of my purchases which I've been doing for the past few years. Even though I can't technically cross this one off my "to do" list, I'm not sorry for having not completed it.

9. Bike ride: Unfortunately no bike riding occurred in August. I still want to make this happen though.

10. Pottery painting: Likewise, pottery painting didn't happen either, but I'm hoping to paint myself something nice soon.

Score for August: 2 out of 10

Watch out September, you're going to have a pretty hefty list coming your way!