Happy Birthday To Me - Part One

Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm still in somewhat of a recovery mode from the last weekend, but wanted to post an initial update on my birthday celebration.

Friday was my actual birthday, but I was blessed to have a weekend full of amazing people, incredible weather, and great events. It truly was one of the best weekends I've had. I feel spoiled, because I feel like I say 'best weekend' or 'great weekend' all the time - but I think that's the result of being surrounded by great people in a great city.

My birthday was exactly what I wanted - relaxed and fun. I worked on Friday but had a fun lunch with my coworkers at Moe's. A beer on your lunch break is never a bad idea. :)

After work it was too beautiful outside that I couldn't resist running home. I know I've written before about why I needed to start running (based on location), but I hope this pictures convey how gorgeous it is.
Running down the Battery
Guess who this home belongs to?
The President of Piggly Wiggly. :)
Always representing. Go Cats!
Later that evening, Adam treated me to Husk for my birthday dinner. I've blogged about Husk before, but if possible, the food was even more incredible. I had the Crispy NC Duck Confit with Wood Fired Brussels, Golden Beets from Billy Haynes and Sour Apple Jus and Adam chose the Bev’s Pork Chop with Crispy Belly, Anson Mills Farro, Lacinato Kale and Butternut, Red Eye Gravy.

My duck confit was absolutely delicious. I could not imagine a better meal. We also spoiled ourselves a little with a bottle of wine and dessert. :)
Happy Birthday, indeed.
Adam's Pork Chop
My Duck Confit
Husk on Urbanspoon

Friday was a perfect day. Everything I wanted for my birthday. I'll update later this week with more recaps from the weekend.

Hope you all had a great weekend and have a great week!

The Holy Grail of Cincinnati

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Last night when I got home from work I found a Cincinnati Birthday Survival Kit from my parents. They sent me a care package with all the Cincy food goodies! I was so excited and so happy to see some old favorites.

My care package included tartar sauce from Frisch's, a seasoning packet from Gold Star Chili, red sauce from Larosa's, barbeque sauce from Montgomery Inn, and a can of Skyline chili! Seriously, the only way the package could have gotten any better would be if it had Graeter's Ice Cream or some goetta, but clearly those are more difficult to ship!

I immediately went for the Skyline. I have been craving me some three-ways like whoa. If you don't know, a three-way is Cincinnati Chili, Noodles, and cheese. You can make it a 4-way with onions, and then 5-way with beans. It's endless, really. Some people think it's strange that I put noodles in my chili, but that's just the way I grew up.
Also, if you haven't had Skyline or Gold Star it's a lot different than other chilies. Cincinnati Chili is a little bit thinner and unique spices. It has a small hint of cinnamon and chocolate to it. Some people aren't accostomed to it and don't love it right away, but trust me - it will grow on you and you will dream about it!

Do you all have any hometown favorite foods?

Workout Wednesday: Learning How to Walk

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Things are progressing with Couch to 5K. This week I started Week 4 of the app and ramped up my running time a little. Every extended run time is a challenge, but I think I've been handling it all pretty well. I'm learning how to adjust my pace and stride.

One of the other items I've had to adjust is my walk. See, I walk like a crazy person. It's not that noticeable, but I do kind of swing my right leg out and drop it a little crooked. This is causing a little bit of tendon pain above my ankle. I figure this will just get worse the longer distance I run, so I've been focused on fixing it. The last week I've been trying to adjust my walk so my foot lands straight and doesn't get all goofy.

Adjusting your walk is not easy. All week I've been thinking about it every time I take a step and have to really concentrate on turning my hip/knee is the correct direction.

However, this isn't anywhere near as bad as when I started yoga. When I began yoga I learned I had been breathing the wrong way my whole life. Real cool. Didn't know you could breathe the wrong way, but yes, yes you can.

Sidenote: please do not Google Image, "crooked feet" .. hah! Not what I was looking for. There is some scary stuff!

Because crooked feet and not breathing correctly aren't exactly exciting blog posts, I've also incorporated a little bit of What I'm Loving Wednesday into this post.

1) Last week I ordered a few items from Lands End Canvas. They were having a great sale (still are- hop over there!) and I couldn't resist. I was completely happy with the sweaters I ordered, but you know what made it even better? A few days later I received a hand-written Thank You card. I absolutely love when a company reaches out to their customers. It's such a simple act that really goes a long way. Awesome! 

2) I have been listening to Adele's, "Rolling in the Deep" on repeat for the last week. I LOVE the song and cannot wait until her new album comes out.

3)  I'm super happy because today is my Mom and friend Laura's birthday! Happy Birthday you two!!!

4) Continuing with the birthday theme, I'm getting a little overly excited for this weekend because it's my birthday! I'm not overly excited about being on the closer end to 30, but I'll still take it for a celebration.

Butter: it's like a jacket for your teeth.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hope y'all had a good weekend! My was fairly eventful and lots of fun.

Friday night was my friend Mel's last night in town. By this point we had been out to eat so much that everything from a restaurant was grossing me out. Luckily earlier in the week I went grocery shopping for specific meals. So on Friday, I made all three. Ha, I went a little overboard. All of these recipes were found in the latest Real Simple.
Spinach Salad with Salmon, Barley, and Oranges
Whole-Grain Spaghetti with Garlicky Kale and Tomatoes
Asian Rice and Vegetable Bowl with Eggs and Chili Sauce
So it was pretty much a ridiculous mix and amount of food. Here's what my plate looked like:

Also on Friday, we had a little group that went to one of the Charleston Comedy Festival shows. The acts we saw were Murderfist and Tarot Lounge. I suppose we were warned about how 'adult' and 'offensive' Murderfist would be, but they really took it to a whole new level. I like to keep this blog about PG-13 but needless to say, there were sexual jokes (of the incestual nature), lots of drug references, religious jokes, and complete male nudity.

My favorite line of the night was about butter, "Butter - it's like a jacket for your teeth!'

It was offensive as all get out, but also hilarious. I feel awful laughing at terrible, terrible things - but it was good. Highly recommended.

Go Cats!
On Saturday we made the trek to Columbia for the Kentucky/South Carolina game. After leaving Columbia the last two years with a loss under our belt, I am happy to report we took home the W! It was so much fun to see the boys play and get to cheer our little hearts out. It literally felt like a home game for Kentucky in the upper arena. There was one group of South Carolina fans in our section. Another awesome moment, starting the "Go Big Blue" chant in an away arena loud enough to be heard on TV. If an away team did that in Rupp I'd about have a heart attack.

Sunday was the perfect day of relaxation. I got a few errands in at Walmart and Target and watched some movies. Perfect day to cap off the weekend.

Hope you all have a great week! :)

Potluck Friday

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hi all! This week I've been overindulging and throwing my whole schedule to the wind?

Why, you ask? 

Well my lovely friend Mel is in town! Mel had a residency interview at MUSC this week and turned that into a little bit of an extended vacation in Charleston. I've been loving it! It's so nice to catch up with friends and just hang out. Fun times indeed. I have my fingers crossed that Mel comes to MUSC (Allison, you and Delaney can take lots of beach trips ;)) for her residency, but will be happy for her wherever she ends up.

This weekend we have lots of fun little things planned. Mel is hitting the road back to Kentucky tomorrow, but we've got a little group going to one of the comedy shows tonight. This week is the Charleston Comedy Festival and we're going to see Murderfist and Tarot Lounge. Apparently, I chose the raunchiest, most adult show of the evening. Cheers to "...autoerotic asphyxiation" jokes! Ha, shall be interesting.

Tomorrow will also be a busy day as we have plans to head up to Columbia for the Kentucky/South Carolina game. Hoping for a win and some fun times!!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!! :)

How to Eat a Cupcake & Workout Wednesday

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yes, I realize how terrible it is that I'm combining a running post with cupcakes. But you know, when there are free cupcakes around, they must be taken advantage of.

One of the local Charleston bakeries, Cupcake, randomly has Power Hours where they give away a special flavor cupcake for free. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it...) my office is across the street from Cupcake. It's very difficult to say no to Power Hour. Especially today's Lemon Cheesecake selection.

I've also realized recently that many people do not know the proper way to eat a cupcake. Often it can result in a mess or missing icing. Just in case you're curious, here's how I eat a cupcake:
 I take off the bottom of the cupcake and put it on top of the icing so that it turns into a little sandwich. This way you get icing in every bite! It doesn't look as pretty, but it is just as delicious.

Now to the exciting working out stuff, ha! I'm still on pace with my Couch to 5K plan. This week I've started Week Three. It has increased the running time per cycle, but also the walking. I thought it would be more difficult, but I've found if I just keep my pace, I do fine.

I'm still using the Nike+ sensor, but it's difficult to track my speed since the whole time I'm alternating between running and walking. Hopefully in a couple weeks when I have significant run lengths, I'll get a better indication of my pace.

Forever 21 is the death of me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I think there's a little something off in my head, because on Saturday I spent 6 hours at Forever 21. 6 HOURS PEOPLE. How did this happen you ask? How did I become the person I make fun of most? Am I some kind of crazy Black Friday shopper and this was continuing the celebration?

Well, let me try and tell my story.

Forever 21 announced a few months ago that they were going to take over the space on King Street that Saks once occupied (RIP). I was excited for cheap and fun clothes, but not completely blown away. I've been to F21 before and you can order online, so this wasn't really a life-changer for me.

However, for the store opening, they were promoting free gift cards (between $10-$210) for the first 400 people in the doors on Saturday. My roommates and co-workers and I thought that would make for a fun little Saturday morning. OMG. Not the case.

We arrived at 9AM (1 hour before opening) to find a massive line. Oh no, we were not part of the lucky 400 people. From there we waited. And waited. And waited. It took about an hour to get into the store. Who would have thought that would be the easy part?

Luckily, shopping was the best part of the experience. The store is huge and they have all the labels. You had to move fast once you were in, but I could tell there were lots of goods to be found.

The next step in my process was trying on the clothes. Had I thought about it a little bit more I would have skipped this step and just returned what didn't fit. It took approximately 45 minutes to get to the changing room. The dressing room was my downfall.

Once I had tried on my clothes (too tight, too much boob, why is my belly hanging out??), I made my way to the checkout with my purchases. Y'all, I cannot express how many people were in line to checkout. If I hadn't run back into my friend Sarah I would have not jumped in that line. But you know, after about 3 hours, I figured I put my time in - I was going to buy these clothes. I needed that $15 cardigan. Needed!

When I got in the checkout line, I assumed it would be about an hour. I was okay with that. I still had a lot of energy and was in a chatty mood. What I did not anticipate, was that it took 3 hours!! Due to employees not knowing how to work the register, a poorly organized line system, and just general stupidity, it took 3 hours for me to get to the counter.

I don't know what was wrong with me to stay in the line. It was one of those, "Well we already waited an hour, we can't stop now" moments. Oh goodness, if I had known. During all my time in line I had lots of things to entertain me. People almost getting cut for jumping the line, new friends in front of and behind me, grabbing all the accessories as we walked by and just straight up crazy laughing from the awful situation we were in.

I couldn't get a good photo to save my life (I was shaking from not eating/standing for 6 hours), but here's the best I've got:
Even these pictures cannot accurately convey the amount of people in the store. True fire hazard.

So the lesson I learned, never ever go to a store opening. I'm sorry H&M but when you (I hope) eventually come to Charleston, I'm going to have to lay low for a few weeks.

P.S. - Immediately after this disaster I found myself happy again with a Kentucky Basketball game, wings, and beer at Wild Wing. Oh sweet little victories.

I know my Vince Vaughn, y'all.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Good news! Apparently we all don't have to freak out about our horoscopes changing. Hooray, I get to stay an Aquarius! I found my hard hitting summary from CNN explaining the new discovery:
"But before astrology fans scrape the ink from their arms because they think they're now a Virgo instead of a Libra, they should consider this: If they adhered to the tropical zodiac - which, if they're a Westerner, they probably did – absolutely nothing has changed for them.
That's because the tropical zodiac – which is fixed to seasons, and which Western astrology adheres to – differs from the sidereal zodiac – which is fixed to constellations and is followed more in the East, and is the type of zodiac to which the Star Tribune article ultimately refers."
Happy day indeed. :)

Have any of you downloaded the Hipstamtic app? It's a photo app that distorts your iPhone photos, but in a way makes them very pretty. I'm slowly becoming obsessed.

Here are a few shots from lunch yesterday. I went to a new place right off King Street, The Patat Spot. Patat Spot specializes in falafels and friets, but I found their shining star to be the sauce and salad bar selection.

 I am now officially a fan of Curry Ketchup. It was absolutely delicious on my friets (french fries).

The salad bar selections for the falafel were awesome. I loaded mine up with pickled califlower, hummer, cucumber yogurt, sprouts, and an apple slaw. I didn't really have any rhyme or reason with my toppings, I just wanted to try as many things as I could.
My only real complaint with The Patat Spot was the wait. It's counter service and I ordered my lunch to go so I could get back to work. It probably took a good 20 minutes to get my meal. I'm fine with waiting most of the time, but with a limited menu you'd think there would be a quicker way to serve. No biggie, but now I won't grab lunch there if I'm in a hurry.

Patat Spot Friet & Falafel on Urbanspoon

Check out my artsy food photos. ;)

Last night I continued the theme of eating out with Thursday night trivia at Yo Burrito. I can't decide if my favorite thing at YoBo is trivia, queso, or the mason jar margaritas. I'll just call it a tie. :)

I do have to toot my horn a little bit...I was mighty proud of myself for getting the final question right. Let's see if you've got what it takes...put the following Vince Vaughn movies in order from top to bottom grossing:
  • Anchorman
  • Wedding Crashers
  • Psycho
  • The Break Up
Sooo....Are you a trivia champion? No cheating! ;p

Capricorn? Say What!?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

So have y'all seen this zodiac signs are changing madness? If not, check out this Gawker article. Apparently, the shift in the Earth's axis hasn't been taken into account lately, so everything has gotten all switched up. Here's what the new signs look like:
Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16.
Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11.
Pisces: March 11-April 18.
Aries: April 18-May 13.
Taurus: May 13-June 21.
Gemini: June 21-July 20.
Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10.
Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16.
Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30.
Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23.
Scorpio: Nov. 23-29.
Ophiuchus:* Nov. 29-Dec. 17.
Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.
* Discarded by the Babylonians because they wanted 12 signs per year.
Well I'm sorry, but I'm not switching signs. No sir. According to this chart I've switched from an Aquarius to a Capricorn. Aquarius I stay. I am a water bearer for life and I don't care if the Earth moved. I don't even know what a Capricorn is! A goat? No offense to Capricorns, but an Earth sign I am not. I am an air sign and I intend to stay that way.

Did your sign switch? Ar you as upset about this change as I am? Hopefully you aren't a member of the group who got a tattoo of their astrological sign. Oh my, that would be bad news bears.

Sorry dude, you're a Cancer now.

Workout Wednesdays

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Working out tends to come and go from my life. I've always struggled to stick to a routine and be consistent. I am notorious for getting back on track only to fall off after a distraction. The distraction has varied: moving, finishing school, sometimes just a long break. But at this point I'm hoping to get back on track. And this time I'm going to set realistic, timely goals.

If you've read my blog for long, you know that I've recently moved from James Island to Downtown Charleston. To be more specific (without giving away my exact location), I live downtown near The Battery. Right on the water. This is probably the only opportunity I'll have to live in this location and I need to take advantage of it. Our house is seconds away from the water and I'll be upset with myself forever if I take it for granted. Which is why I want to start running again.
I live somewhere on this map! 

I'm starting off slow and not going to push myself too hard. I've downloaded the Couch to 5K app to keep track of my progress. I don't necessarily have a goal to run or compete in a 5K, but I would like to run for 30+ without stopping. The app is as simple as it gets; 3 times a week and 9 weeks of training that incrementally increases the running time.

In addition to the Couch to 5K app I've also gotten the Nike+ sensor. The new pair of running shoes Adam got me for Christmas came sensor ready. This will also help me with my pace as I really have no idea how fast I'm running at all. I've used the Nike app a little and enjoy how it uploads all runs/workouts to a central location. It'll be great to compare over time and hopefully see improvement.

I've already begun the app and believe I've seen some progress. Tomorrow I'll complete week 2. It's baby steps right now and I still have a hard time believing that I'll be able to run for 30 minutes straight. Ha, but I guess I'll just take it one day at a time.

To keep myself accountable I'll update my blog every Wednesday with the super creative 'Workout Wendesday' name. ;)

So tell me about you all? Do you have any workout or training goals you'd like or are working towards accomplishing?

War Eagle, Hey!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy 1.11.11, y'all!

Hope this day actually does bring some luck and good vibes to everyone.

I'm going to go ahead and say good luck has been brought as the Auburn Tigers won the BCS Championship last night (game was over after midnight). While I am most definitely, hands-down, without a doubt a Kentucky Wildcat, I absolutely love to see the SEC dominate the title game. 5 Years in a row, baby! War Damn Eagle!

I also have Auburn love because I have a bunch of friends that have attended Auburn and Adam and I went for the Kentucky game last year. You'd think that would make me not like the school, but the fans were so welcoming to us and the campus was gorgeous. Also, we won! Ha, it's nice to say we beat the National Champion last year. ;)

A little trip down memory lane...

Adam and I at Auburn last year

Final Score - Hey!

My own little toilet papering adventure

High School Friends Reunited
We watched the game last night at a friend's house. They had a little party full of good food and fun. It was a little tough for me to stay up that late on a Monday night, but I am certainly glad I did!

It sounds like most of the country is stuck in crazy Winter weather, I hope everyone stays safe!