Category Archives: Musings

A Crazy Busy Week and Bracket Madness!

After a weekend spent recovering from my 10k PR runner’s high, the work week threw me right back into being a busy bee, and I haven’t gotten ONE run in. My legs are craving some pavement pounding. This must be what it’s like to like running.

We spent a lot of this week reminiscing about our time in Ireland just about a year ago, especially since it was St. Patrick’s Day. We went to McMenamins, our old stomping grounds, to drink Irish Stout on nitro and Irish coffee and listen to bagpipers and try and decide what the best thing we ate in Ireland was (answer-fish and chips, but we couldn’t decide what ones, and seafood stew). Tuesday is normally my running group night but I had a late meeting and didn’t get home in time to meet everyone so we did this instead.  

 

March Madness started up this week, and I’ve never filled out a bracket before. But someone at work asked if I wanted in on the bracket challenge and all I want is to be office popular so I said yes, and now I’m hooked. We went to lunch yesterday at Life of Riley, the sports bar I love across the street, in order to watch a few key first games. I was excited to order a sald with grilled chicken, and by that I mean I ended up getting  this delicious Philly cheesesteak instead. With a salad.  

 

This afternoon I’m kicking off a long weekend by reliving my youth at the state dance team competition with my bestie and his mom and I’m so flipping excited! Here’s what I liked like back in the day.  

  Then hubby and I are going to the beach for a few days of much needed R&R. It’s supposed to rain off and on which is perfect Orefon beach weather in my opinion. You don’t go to an Oregon beach if you want to lay out and tan, unless it’s a freak 90 degree day in the summer. I’m excited to run along the beach with the dog and put together a tricky puzzle I got for my birthday. Because I’m 80.  

 

I’ve been wanting to make myself one of these for a while, so I finally buckled down and did it. And I love it! I have 6 medals on it total so far and can’t wait to add to my collection. My next race is a 15k in mid-April. 

Happy Spring Break to those of you who get one in the upcoming weeks! Does anyone else think that it’s really cruel that you grow up getting regular vacations every year and then all of a sudden you become an adult and they just rip them away from you? Because I do. We should all follow the school calendar. 

Your turn: Are you doing anything fun this weekend?

What were you involved with in high school? Sports? Drama? FFA?

What do you do with any awards or medals that you win?

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Luckython 10k – Mud, Medals, and Fully Loaded Potatoes

My first 10k is in the books! I may have a few half marathons under my belt but I’ve never done a proper 10k until this drizzly, breezy Oregon morning. This is the first race hubby and I have done together in years!



Luckython, organized by Uberthons, was a 5/10/15k held at the Reserve Golf Course. St. Patrick’s themed, of course. We ran along the golf cart paths, which were riddled with mud puddles. Mile 1 was slow going, since they started all three distances at the same time, but miles 2-6 felt decent. I managed to PR my 5k and 10k times! 



I stuck to my goal of not walking (except through aide stations…I was already soaked, I didn’t need to waste my opportunities hydration so I preferred actually drinking the cups of water to tossing them in the general direction of my mouth). I have never EVER run 6 miles without taking walking breaks before. Never. And I kept all my miles under 12 minutes! I’m steadily getting faster. Today was a personal victory for me (note smiling face in the photo below).



After the race, there was a baked potato bar. I didn’t complain. 



On a final note, the boyband mix on Rock My Run has proved to be a complete game changer. If you were a teen in the 2000s, you will NOT be disappointed. It has really upped the ante my last few runs, because something about Aaron Carter just keeps me motivated (and BSB, and Hanson, and BBMak). 

Your turn: What are you up to this weekend?

Favorite boy band throwback song?

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Weekend Recap: A Run, Some Sun, and Some Fun

I’m getting really tense watching the Bachelor finale, so I figured I would blog a little bit to release some tension. If Chris doesn’t pick Whitney, I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’LL DO. That’s clearly not true, my life will go on, but for some reason I’m super into this season. It’s gotta be my Iowa pride. 

It continues to be gorgeous in Oregon, and now we are all on pins and needles waiting for the inevitable rain to start pouring down. Our Runner Chick training run this weekend was 5 miles, which my legs were just not feeling, but hopefully the next few days of workouts will get them loosened up because hubby and I are signed up for a St. Patty’s 10k on Saturday morning. 

After our group run, my running buddy and I hit up Tom’s Pancake House for some much needed refueling. I’ve never been a huge pancake fan, but these bad boys are da bomb. I can eat them on their own, no syrup, no butter, just pure delicious fluffy semi-sweet pancakes. And they are even better when you pair them with some country sausage and two eggs fried over medium. 





Saturday night we hit up our first Timbers game…THE first Timbers game of the season. Beforehand we stopped at Laughing Planet, a local chain that serves healthy bowls and wraps with local ingredients and lots of veggies, and split some jambalaya. 



Then a whole plate of Tillamook cheese foods at the stadium. 



The match ended in a tie (lame) but it was fun, as always!



There’s still an hour left before After the Final Rose and I’m already binge-eating Trader Joes Brown Sugar Frosted Shredded Wheat (no milk, just tossing them back plain). 

Your turn: Are you dealing with Snowmageddon, or are you living it up in the sun?

What cereal do you find yourself snacking on?

Pancakes or waffles? Normally I’m #teamwaffle but Tom’s pancakes make me question all my life choices. 

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Tuesday Night Speedwork

Another Tuesday, another two mile track workout. It’s official: I NO LONGER HATE RUNNING! 

I don’t honestly have much to say except that I ran an 11:06 mile which is something that, last summer, didn’t seem achievable for me. I worked forever trying to break 12 minutes. Now I’m on the cusp of breaking 11. I’m hoping that continuing this speedwork in slightly longer stretches as I prep for my next half will help me meet my next big goal, which is breaking 3 hours on the big 13.1. 



You can see my interval laps on the graph. Love all that green!

Hubby and I are officially signed up for a 10k on the 14th so my five miler on Saturday will be a good indication of how that will go. 

Dang, maybe if I would have stuck to my training plan last time, I would have felt this good in September. 

Cheers to running!

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A Week of Runs, Beer, and Floral Happiness

I have a confession: I’m really starting to not hate running. Sometimes, I may even enjoy it. I’ve been loving my running group, which transitioned from Saturdays to Saturdays and Tuesdays. We took the track Tuesday night to do two miles of laps alternating between a light jog and fast jog, along with some stretching and triceps dips. The fact that we took to the track after someone who placed 5th in the Olympics wasn’t intimidating at ALL (we overheard a conversation which led to me internet stalking Olympic athletes in the area). I left feeling great! It’s nice to have a midweek meetup to keep me accountable. 

Then Thursday hit, and I had a nagging sore throat all day that I tried to ignore. We went to a new pub in the area for date night and tried some of their beers…I loved the golden!



I also had Scotch eggs for the first time. I always thought I would hate them, because I don’t like hard egg whites, but this was like a delicious bite sized breakfast! For those who don’t know, Scotch eggs are a soft boiled egg wrapped in sausage. This sausage really had lots of great savory flavor. 



Also the tables in the bar each had their own flat screen with a remote so you could watch whatever you wanted. I tried to convince hubby that he wanted to watch My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding but we settled on basketball. 

Friday I woke up congested and in the throes of a cold. But I sucked it up and took some DayQuil because I was looking forward to a 5k Saturday and I wasn’t about to miss out on my first race bling of the year. 

After an early night Friday, I woke up Saturday, still sick, but I went to the race anyway and am so glad I did. I PR-ed my 5k time! I was so excited, especially since I was sick. Imagine the gains I’ll see when I can breath again! My goal for the race was to keep my miles under 12 minutes, and I succeeded, so I was content. This serious hardware was just icing on the cake. 



After cleaning up, we went and dropped some serious money buying dahlias at the yard and garden show. Also, can someone build me this?



Panda Express made a great recovery meal Saturday afternoon. 



Though I’m not ready to start the workweek again, I AM ready to tackle this week’s runs and start building some distance. I’ve got my walk breaks down to a minimum, something I hope to stick to as my training mileage builds. 

You’re turn:

What did you guys do this weekend?

What’s your favorite flower?

Scotch eggs-gross or delicious?

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The Valen-Times

It’s a gorgeous weekend here in Oregon!

My Valentine’s weekend started out a little womp womp, with a citation for riding the train to work without a ticket. It’s completely my fault, of course, for trying to outsmart their electronic ticket system. But still, not a great thing to have happen first thing on Friday morning.

The rest of the day, however, was great. A group of us walked from the office to Verde Cocina for lunch, where I forgot to take a picture of my huevos rancheros because they were so devious looking that I immediately started wolfing them down. Verde Cocina serves Mexican food with an emphasis on farm fresh veggies. Nothing is deep fried, and there’s a lot of non-traditional ingredients used, like squash, bok choy, and quinoa. I first tried it a few years ago at Portland Farmers Market so I’m thrilled that they opened up a cafe not far from my office. Also I can’t wait to try their margaritas because I bet they are phenomenally fresh.

Friday night was the start of a much needed restful weekend. We didn’t have much in the fridge or pantry for dinner, so we ran to Whole Foods and picked up some “gourmet organic” frozen items: tater tots and samosas. I had a bag of “lite ultimate Caesar” salad in the fridge, and some asparagus. I mixed up the salad, drizzled the asparagus with EVOO and salt and garlic pepper, and roasted it at 425 until it started to brown, while our gourmet frozens were cooking up. I also found this deliciously odd beer which I sipped while I waited for dinner.

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This dinner really hit the spot. Every once in a while, we really like some frozen meal supplements. They are quick and easy, and always feel like a treat. We enjoyed our plates while we we cuddled up on the couch under blankets. Our house has been super drafty lately.

When it breaks 60 degrees in February in Oregon, you don’t question it, you just get your rear outside, so hubby and I decided that a hike with the pup sounded like the perfect Valentine’s Day activity. We headed out to the Tillamook Forest to the Wilson River Wagon Trail to get in a few morning miles (since I was being bad and skipping running group).

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The trail was beautiful! We hiked four miles or so out and back, passing waterfalls, glades, and winding in and out of some gorgeous forestland. There wasn’t another soul on the trail. The only downside is that this trail, while being closed to motorized vehicles, is surrounded by ATV trails, so that noise started to get old after a while. Also the rural gun range shots started to get a little tiresome, but neither of these things put a damper on the beauty of our surroundings. Ramsay had a blast. He loves to be a wilderness hipster dog.

On our way home, we were hungry and it was lunch time. So we pulled over at Coleman’s Shady Rest, a roadside diner. I love all the roadside stops in the Tillamook Forest, on the way to the coast. I used to beg my parents for day trips to the beach so we could stop at my favorite diner for pancakes and hot chocolate on the way. Coleman’s wasn’t serving breakfast anymore, but they still had huevos rancheros on the lunch menu (I’m on a huevos kick lately). YUM. I think a more accurate description of this would have been “eggs and chili verde,” but I didn’t care because it was so darn good.

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We spent the rest of the day relaxing.

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For dinner, we stayed in, cooked up one of our favorite meals, chicken teriyaki, and watched Dateline, because my husband is the best and agreed to watch disturbing crime shows instead of a romantic movie or something. I also broke in my Moscow mule mugs.

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Today, we worked on finishing touches with the paint in our room, took the dog for a walk, and enjoyed opening up the windows and airing out the house. I’m not ready for Monday!

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Hot Mess o’Life

I got my Erin Condren life planner and wrote out a whole two week editorial calendar and had all manner of high hopes and aspirations for these last few weeks. And then work got busy and our house got messy and our cat got sick and we had to put her to sleep and I became an emotional hot mess. So, in a nutshell:

I love my Erin Condren planner, though I’m still working on using it to its full potential. I managed to jam it into my purse so I pull it out whenever I have a moment to organize my life through the day.

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I joining the Runner Chick training group based out of my local Roadrunner Sports store (with friends, obviously, because I am codependent when it comes to exercise). It’s been fun to get with a big group of people and run on Saturday mornings and I’m looking forward to continuing with the half-marathon group and HOPEFULLY register for the local Rock & Roll, because the medals are legit and pay tribute to the famed Portland Airport carpet (RIP #pdxcarpet). Plus running with pacers and trying to keep up with friends is very helpful for my split times. Stay tuned for more…I have to pay money for this group to ensure I stay dedicated.

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Work has been crazy busy (end of our fiscal year, what what to my fellow accounting types!) but we make time weekly to order crazy noodles from the Vietnamese place down the street and my tummy loves it. Picture pad thai without the fish sauce plus the bok choy and some bigger noodles stir fried to ultimate deliciousness. Seriously I think I’ve had these once a week since I started my new job. Worth the splurge. Plus the bok choy makes it feel slightly healthier than it is.

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Our baby girl, who’s been with my husband for something like 13-14 years, recently was diagnosed with Feline Cushing’s Disease (on top of diabetes, arthritis, and a benign tumor in one eye) and we made the excruciating decision that it was time to put her down last week. She wasn’t getting better with her medication, and her quality of life had decreased, but it was definitely the most difficult decision we’ve had to make as a family. I was in tears at my desk all day Friday, especially when I got this text message:

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All the tears in the world every time I look at this.

Now we are loving on our furry baby boy who clearly misses his sissy and keeps running to her room looking for her. Time heals all wounds but this one is deep for us. We definitely lost a member of our family and it was a tough weekend for us. Aka I skipped my run (which, in hindsight, was a terrible decision) and we drank beer and ordered Chinese food and barely left our house.

These looks.

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Now, it’s a fresh week, we have a clean house, and we are well rested after being forced to sleep on our couch for a week while we painted our bedroom. Clawing my way back onto track for 2015…still feeling the promise and still happy with all we’ve accomplished so far!

Now, your turn:
-How do you cope with the loss of a pet? How do you help your pets cope with the loss of a pet sibling?
-Are you in a running group?
-What do you think about the #pdxcarpet hysteria? (See examples here: http://pdxcarpet.com) As a lifelong Oregonian, this carpet has always signified coming home, and I have ALWAYS loved it, but I think the new pattern pays tribute in a fresh way that is not infested with 30 years of bacteria.

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Rocking a Job Interview – Tips for the Nervous

So a LONG time ago I promised a post about interviewing for jobs…then I promptly started my new job and forgot my promise. But now, now’s the time!

I’m going to be honest: job interviewing is like a weird sort of natural high for me. I get really keyed up beforehand, I spend a few days prepping and deciding what to wear and making sure I have 8 alarms set (if it’s a morning time slot). I’m weird. I also like doing my taxes, what can I say?

Maybe this comes from one of my first job interviews, which was terrible. I didn’t get the job, I didn’t even get a follow-up phone call, so I vowed to NEVER have a terrible interview ever again. I’m by no means the master of interviews now, but I leave them feeling relaxed and happy and confident in my abilities. Here’s a few tips that I’ve come to rely on in the last years.

First – do your research. Make sure you have a decent understanding of what it is you’re applying for, and the background of the company. When they ask you “Why do you want to work for us,” have an answer that’s more specific than “this is a great opportunity.” Know something about their philanthropic efforts, their workplace environment, awards or accolades they’ve won. Make it personal – you want THIS job, and you want it for a reason. It was easy to do this with my latest job interview; I grew up wearing their clothes, and they were a big part of my childhood. I knew something about company history that I could bring up (I used to go to warehouse sales when the company was just getting off the ground). It was easy to establish a connection with my interviewer through this.

Practice practice practice. I have my husband ask me interview questions in the days leading up to my interview. You can find tons of interview questions online to practice with. Work through a few main points that you want to touch on. For instance, if you have a strong work ethic, figure out how to incorporate that into a few different answers. Ask for critiques and be flexible with your choice of wording and phrasing. Your practice interviewer might hear something in your words that you do not.

Be yourself, but don’t overshare. Your interviewer doesn’t need to know your quirks, not right off the bat. I’m pretty sure an answer to the simple question “what sort of books do you like to read,” is what made that terrible interview head downhill. I was too specific. So I read about religious cults, I find it fascinating…but I could have stuck with “I read a lot of non-fiction.” Don’t offend your interviewer or make them feel uncomfortable.

Dress comfortably. This obviously varies according to the business, field of work, etc., but here in the Pacific Northwest, we are generally pretty casual. Unless you know that the office is business formal ALL the time, I don’t feel that it’s critical to wear a suit. I always do slacks or a skirt, paired with a stylish top in a non-cotton jersey fabric, and maybe a blazer, or cardigan, depending on the weather. If you can’t walk in heels, don’t wear heels. It’s so easy to dress up flats, and stumbling into the room while you’re attempting to stay balanced on your stilettos isn’t the most flattering way to make an introduction.

Lastly, remember that the interview isn’t just for the company to decide whether or not they like you; you also need to decide whether or not you want to work for them. Try and get a sense for what it’s like at the office. When they ask if you have any questions, ASK some questions. I once heard that it’s bad if you don’t ask questions, because that makes it look like you aren’t engaged with the opportunity. Think up a few standard questions you can ask at all your interviews – this can help you compare opportunities if you are ever lucky enough to juggle multiple offers. Also, if you see anything of note in the research you did before the interview, bring it up. Show that curiosity! I did one interview where I figured out about halfway through that the job didn’t sound interesting, and I had no desire to work for the manager. Without asking the right questions, I may not have made that realization.

And don’t be discouraged! I graduated from college at the height of the recession, and it took me six months of applications and interviews to finally land a job. Yeah, it can suck to be rejected, but the right opportunity will come around, and it will feel oh so good.

I’ll leave you with a picture of me that was taken minutes before I interviewed for what ended up becoming my first real adult job. It helps when your cousins are around to photograph these moments for you! Stay confident, trust what you know, and go land that dream job!

Dressed for success!

Dressed for success!

A 12th (Wo)man Kind of Sunday

Oh my word, ya’ll (I wish I was southern), what a WEEK. As much as I tire of the monotony of getting up and going to work and working and coming home from work every day, after this last week, a little routine and some down time ain’t a bad thing.

But first, yesterday was just magical. I am hoarse from screaming at my television over the Seahawks game. I have never had so much nervous energy pent up during one game. I really thought it was over during the third quarter and now I’m ashamed that I didn’t believe in the power of the 12th Man. Since Portland doesn’t have a team and I lived in Seattle for four years during college and consider it my second home, I feel some “hometown pride” for them. When I was up there in Seattle on game day this fall, I couldn’t believe how many people were rocking jerseys. A little sports success, which always seems rare in the Pacific Northwest, has really brought everyone together.

Ramsay hates football season because our yelling interferes with his nap time.

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After the game, I was so wound up that I took the dog out for a two mile jog to decompress. It was short but we managed to make it home just before the skies opened up and the apocalyptic rain started once again.

While I decompressed on my run, husband celebrated by baking some monkey bread which was a delicious smell and taste to return to.

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Now, it’s Monday again and I’m back on the train on my way to the office. Last week I got to go to my first ever company party, which was fun, especially considering it was at a swanky club on the east side and my previous company didn’t really have parties. Another night was craft night where I stayed up way too late laughing with friends and family and drinking All The Wine.

This week it’s just work, sleep, and keeping up with house work, and that sounds just perfect to me.

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I’m ready for my hike from train to office, which always makes me feel like I have the city to myself for half a mile and I love it. How did I live for so long without working in the city? I mean, my lunch game has really stepped up.

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So, your turn. Who are you rooting for in the SuperBowl? How do you entertain yourself during your commute? On a scale of 1-10, how tired are you right now?

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Random Rainy 5k

Sometimes your friends invite you to a random, free, early morning 5k fun run and you whine about it for hours and stay up late the night before and then just HAPPEN to wake up on time to go. So you go, hang out with some great people, and get a good run in that makes you feel great about your running goals for the year, because your mile splits were decent considering this was your second run since September.

This morning was one of those times.

The Roadrunner in NW Portland was celebrating their one year store-iversary this morning, and held a free 5k group run with goodies and giveaways and all that jazz. When I wrenched myself out of bed and out the door in time to pick up my friend Angie, there was a nice, cold, steady drizzle happening. I was wearing fleece, because I’m a total n00b when it comes to cold/wet weather running. But I sucked it up and used the thought of a scalding hot shower to motivate me. Running through NW when it was early and quiet was delightful even with the rain; this is one of my favorite neighborhoods and we ran some back streets so I found some new bars and coffee shops.

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We got back to Roadrunner, drenched but feeling good. Some friendly chaps saw us taking selfies and offered to take a picture for us “because we HAD to get one under the Roadrunner sign.” Then we went inside for free mimosas and beer and bagels and fruit and infused water and waffles shaped like Nikes with the signature swoosh, because Oregon = Nike. We refrained from the waffles because we had run past Stepping Stone Cafe earlier and decided we earned us a REAL breakfast.

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This is said real breakfast. And DAMN it was good. Angie had huevos rancheros, I had a veggie scramble, and we split a “mancake,” which was probably the best pancake I ever had. I had never been to Stepping Stone but I will for sure be returning soon because I wanted to devour their entire breakfast menu. Plus their motto was “You eat here because we let you,” and I like my breakfast to come with a little side of attitude. The cafe itself was tiny and cozy and I LOVED it because it wasn’t pretentious, like some breakfast places can be around here. It was just delicious food and good coffee on a rainy little corner of NW Portland. I’m excited to eat my leftovers tomorrow morning.

My scalding hot shower was worth the wait, by the way. Plus Husband had already showered so I got to hoard the hot water. Now I’m lounging in my bathrobe, cheering on my Seahawks (it’s a big week for northwest sports, with the college national championship game) and waiting impatiently for the beef curry I made to finish cooking low and slow in the oven. Perfect Saturday? Pretty close anyways. I’m still riding high on endorphins.

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