Thanksgiving in New Hampshire

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! My festivities began the night before with some pie making while buckets of snow came down from the sky. I think we got at least 8 inches. The entire time I was baking the lights kept flickering and we were extremely lucky to not lose power. A lot of the surrounding towns to me did lose power and couldn’t make their Thanksgiving turkeys. I can imagine that Friday and Saturday night dinners were just as full of Thanksgiving dinners as Wednesday was around here.

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I started things off with making Martha Stewart’s Pear-Cranberry pie. The only differences between the recipe and what I did were: I used a pre-made crust, did my own lattice thing, and only used four cups of cranberries.

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Coco was hating the snow and all the dishes I was making.

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My finished pie! This was prior to putting the apricot glaze on top. It was such a beautiful pie! As far as the taste goes, it was on the tart side, so be warned. I think either cooking the cranberries slightly with sugar before putting in the pie or baking a tad longer so they become more tender would have made a difference. However, I didn’t mind the tartness, especially since it complimented the sweet pears. I also didn’t feel bad for eating it as breakfast the next day!

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For me, Thanksgiving day started off with a four mile run. I was worried I would be slipping and sliding on the freshly fallen snow, but the roads were blowed pretty good and the ground hadn’t been frozen so the snow was already melting away. There were some sloppy parts, but I just took my time and made the best of it. It was like an running adventure.

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My poor little car got covered! You can really see how much snow we got here.

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Yikes. You would think this was a Christmas morning picture.

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Before dinner, I whipped up a super quick appetizer. All you do is take half a cup of softened goat cheese and half a cup of pumpkin puree and combine until one consistency. I then flavored the cheese mixture with a little cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Then, on whole walnut halves, you put about half a teaspoon and top with a dried cranberry. So easy and delicious!

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Feast number one of the day. It included turkey, potatoes, squash, stuffing, cranberry sauce, lasagna?, brussels sprouts, bread… anddddd some pies obviously. Dinner numero dos that I attending had twice as many sides. Needless to say, it is now Sunday and I am still full.

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It’s always sad when holidays are over, but the great thing about moving on from Thanksgiving is that CHRISTMAS SEASON IS HEREEEEE! Grab your Santa. Grab your tree. It’s time to get decorating!

 

White Wednesday

Black Friday shopping sounds like a great idea… but when you put thousands of turkey-coma and tired people in one spot it becomes a little overwhelming. This is why for the past few years, me and my mom have opted to go “White Wednesday” shopping instead. I have no idea how it got that name, but this year it was literally a white Wednesday with the snow coming down. The day before Thanksgiving is a great day to shop. There are barely any people out since most are traveling and preparing food. This year, there were really no people out because of the snow.

Personally, I would way rather spend a little more and have no lines and a great selection than go out on Black Friday. That being said, I am usually only clothing/home shopping. A lot of store even have their Black Friday sales start the Wednesday before. The only difference may be some sort of door-buster deal.

Of course I ended up going out shopping on Black Friday, but it wasn’t until four in the afternoon. There were still a good selection of things in Target on sale. I feel like they must have done some restocking during the day. Once again, the only things I feel like I missed out on were the door-buster deals, but I was only there for Christmas Tree lights and I really didn’t need to impulse buy a TV.

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A day of snowy shopping had to commence with a lavender vanilla latte from Union Coffee Co. This was my first time here and I was tempted to stop again on the way home. My latte was accompanied by a cinnamon twist. The best cinnamon twist ever, actually. It was flakey and buttery and cinnamony. Everything you would want before a shopping trip in a snow storm.

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Uniform for bracing the cold; J.Crew Pixie Pants, leg warmers, extra cozy socks, L.L. Bean Bean Boots, oversized scarf, festive nails, and a Michael Kors jacket with the biggest fur hood you’ve ever seen (found at a T.J. Maxx Price!) The boots kept my feet dry in all the slush without making my feet cold. Amazing.

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White Wednesday shopping took on a literal meaning around 11 a.m. making the Merrimack Outlets even more beautiful than I normally think they are.

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Great deals were found at J.Crew (50% off!), Polo, and the Saks outlet (50% off boots!) before it was time to head out into the winter… with all the other cars (just kidding). The way home was an adventure, but four wheel drive was activated and we cruised right along making it home safe and sound with plenty of time to make some pies.

Maggie Vessey’s Track Fashion

I came across this Runner’s World article today featuring Maggie Vessey’s on-the-track fashion.  She collaborated with designer Merlin Castell when New Balance did not renew her contract this spring. I definitely have mixed feelings of it. I like the general idea and incorporating fashion into a sport that typically has consistent looks, but the practicality of running in some of these designs does not seem comfortable to me. Then again, I’m not going to question it since Maggie is one speedy lady and it seems to work for her.

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Maggie was inspired to put stripes on the back of this one piece when she realized spectators usually see a lot of the back side. Makes sense. I would actually wear this one (provided that I have a body like hers and can run that fast in another life).

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This one looks like it is just going to ride right on up there. This is probably why she started testing out her race attire before the actual race day. Also, when I first see the top, I think of stiff formal dress attire. I have a hard time imagining these race outfits in the high tech fabric they actually are in. She set a PR wearing this in the 400 meter with a time of 52.82. Needless to say, she rocks the look.

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She ran a 2:00.17 in this piece. It was designed knowing that it was going to be hot that day. I think it looks like it hits in all the right places.

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This was her evening inspired look for a night time race. I’m not sure how I would like the bow flopping during running, but I must say she does look like she is about to go walk the red carpet. Nice added touch with the pink shoes.

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Vessey designed this pattern herself because her love of Native American history. The blue piping makes the outfit really pop and stand out… along with the long sleeves which are rare for the track. I definitely dig the pattern, but am a little confused about the top of the bottom piece. I can imagine having rock hard abs helps keep everything in place.

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Seeing singers wear one piece bodysuits on stage was the inspiration for this one. I think this might be my least favorite, only because it doesn’t look remotely athletic and does remind me of more stage wear.

I feel like I actually have no right making opinions on Maggie’s race attire since I have no idea what it is like to be that talented of a racer. Me and her are on completely different running planets. Universes. Galaxies.

So for running around New Hampshire and doing track workouts in town, these pieces are absolutely ridiculous. I mean I can’t even get myself to wear a running skirt. But for running national races and kicking ass on the track, these are perfect. I would love to even have my simple Nike running shirts in colorful patterns or the back of my tanks have bright ribbon patterns. I want like the “Maggie for Target” version of her runway look.

I wouldn’t be surprised if she collaborates with a big name brand to bring out a line of whimsical running clothes for us basic runners. Or if high end designers catch on and start making athletic apparel for track stars. There are so many possibilities. And maybe the sport of running needs things like this to draw people in. I mean, I would watch one her her races just to see these outfits in motion.

 

Source for all images and information about Maggie Vessey.

 

Kate Spade Salon Wall Art Prints

If you have every been in a Kate Spade store, you know how bright, cheery, and organized they are. Walking into one can instantly put you in a good mood. Everything is so organized (unlike any room I’m in charge of). Recently, through Facebook, they have released 12 limited edition prints from their salon wall collection. They can be found here. And they are awesome.

Kate Spade 1

Bouquet of Peonies Print

kate Spade 2

Places To Go Print

Kate Spade 3

The Great Gatsby Print from the Page Turner Prints

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Tiny Treasures Print Set

I think that the prints are just the right amount of whimsical and would be perfect for an office or any living space. Some come in sets, while you can buy others solo. They are meant to be put together as a collection to create the Kate Spade “Salon Wall” but stand alone just as well. My first purchase will definitely be the peonies!

Homeless Animal Awareness

Monday being over = 50% through my work week! I’m lucky enough to get Wednesday through Friday off this year for Thanksgiving. In the past, I barely got any days off between working at a busy coffee shop while on break or going into J.Crew for Black Friday madness. Needless to say, I’m going to enjoy every second.

Today I didn’t even consider waking up for a run before work since it was raining, humid, and I wanted to have a break after yesterday’s race. However, when I got home it would have been perfect running weather… except for the fact that it was pitch black. How do people run in the dark?! The thought is terrifying. It’s not even that I’m worried about getting hit by a car or running off into a ditch, it’s more like I live in rural NH and who knows what animals could be lurking out there. Just last night, as I was going to bed, I could hear some pretty upset wildlife being attacked outside my window. Not the most comforting.

Speaking of animals… I can across this video today:

 

I then looked up some facts about homeless animals:

  • Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
  • Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).
  • Approximately 2.7 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats).
  • Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner.
  • About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.

Source

…Then I went and adopted all the dogs in the world. Just kidding. If I could, I would! It’s so sad to hear about kill shelters and the poor animals that are found abandoned… I can’t help but think of all the love I could give them. Even though I can’t commit to a new furry friend at the moment, there are still a ton of ways to help! Local animals shelters and humane societies are always looking for donated blankets and bowls. So clean out your linens, buy some fresh new fluffy towels for the cold months ahead, and donate the old ones! You can also visit the ASPCA site and learn how to get involved.

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If only all dogs were treated as well as Coco. I mean… she has taken over this entire couch for the most part.

So as the holidays approach, let’s all make sure we take some time to help make a difference out there. Animals shelters, soup kitchens, churches, and schools are always looking for help and donations all year round (and especially during the holidays). It feels just as good to give back as it does to receive gifts, I promise!

Monday Motivation

Good Morning! When I logged onto Facebook this morning, I saw a post from Runner’s World full of running inspirational quotes. The whole article can be seen here. There were actually 146 pictures so if you need more motivation than this post, take a look.

Here are a few of my favorites (I had a lot!):

astaple500

 

goodthingscomslow500

 

justrun500

 

meanttomove500_2

 

outthedoor500

 

runtoexplore500

 

stopping500

Happy running!

Slattery’s Turkey Trot Race Recap

 

What: Slattery’s Turkey Trot (5 mile)

Where: Fitchburg, MA

When: Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 1:00 pm (shout out to whoever thought running at 1 was a great idea)

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Look. I did a race. Now I’m more that someone who just claims they run and really only blog about baking cookies. I love the idea of running a race before Thanksgiving, but that day can be so busy that I’m glad this one falls the Sunday before. The last time I did the race was in 2008… so I had completely forgot what the course was like and all the great downhills. Here’s a little about how it went:

Mile 1: Starts out flat and takes you up a little hill at the end of the road, but they you turn left and that brings you on in the middle of a hill on a new road. At the top, the course starts going down and through Fitchburg State University. From this point on, the rest of the first mile is relatively flat with a little downhill action.

Mile 2: Slight incline around mile 1.5 but other than that, flat and down… At this point I wasn’t sure how I was feeling about the race, I should have used my energy different for the first two miles because I was already feeling a little tired and couldn’t get my feet to roll with the flat.

Mile 3: Again, downhill for the most part with two hills that weren’t bad at all. There was also a water stop after mile 3. The worst part about this race is from a little bit before the mile 3 market until around mile 4.5 because you are on this busy road with MA drivers (no offense). They have a very hard time waiting for cars and they have no choice but to stare at you run by since it’s only a two lane road with runners taking up half.

Mile 4: This mile was all on one road so that was pretty boring. And being near all those stopped cars made me want to run pretty fast but still I couldn’t get my legs to get in a good rhythm. However, I just kept trotting along.

Mile 5: The last mile continues going along the busy road which is at a slight downhill. Then, with about half of a mile to go, you turn right and go up a pretty big hill that seems to go on forever. This is the same hill that you turned onto in mile one, but the opposite side. I actually thought I was going to die. There is something about going from flat/downhill to an immediate include that really messes with my stomach. When you reach the top of the hill, you turn left and then get to go down the first hill you started out on and onto a flat section for the finish.

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As you can see, it’s a nice flat finish to cut off a few extra seconds you may have loss going up the hill. There was also perfect weather going on. Mid 50s, sunny, bright. I actually think I was dehydrated since it had been so cold this week. That must have been my problem.

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Then you actually finish right here. How very exciting.

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Then if you are waiting for your mom to finish, you have a beer. After the race they had water, vegetable soup, beer, and turkey sandwiches. For the race I wore my favorite Lululemon shorts and Nike headband that I wore for my marathon outfit, a nike running shirt that I wore from the All Women’s Half, and had my nike tech cape for after. My shoes of choice were Brooks Ravenna 5s with Pro Compression low socks. I had every intention of wearing my marathon socks from Pro Compression and a long sleeve, but I was too hot for me and I hate feeling overheated.

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The top male and female finishers get cash prizes, where the top for each age category get…. Turkeys! I had placed one time when i was in the younger category, but they ladies in the 20-29 range are speeeeedy. I ended up 9th in my age and 97th overall (out of 635) with a time of 36:15 (7:15 miles on the nose). I also beat my high school time of 38 something which makes me happy.

Overall it is a very organized race. They keep you updated on when it is starting prior to the starting time, and at the end they do the turkey awards right away when they have the first runners in so you aren’t hanging around. The only weird thing was that you had no idea the race was starting if you weren’t at the front of the line. All of a sudden (right on time) a gun went off. They got you to the line on time via the announcer, but I was fiddling with my phone and then heard the boom.

This is also a great community race since all proceeds go towards scholarships. The owner of Slattery’s even comes and talks before the race.

So I encourage you to go out there and find a Turkey Trot in your area… or after Thanksgiving if you think you ate too much turkey!