pb is my bf

Let's Grab A Drink & Catch Up!

Hi there beautiful people! 

I feel like we haven't had a proper chat in awhile - I've been really enjoying writing more thematic posts but once it's awhile it's nice to just throw out some of those smaller tidbits that don't necessarily warrant an entire post, but still might be of some interest. A lot of bloggers have "coffee chats" with their readers, but in reality, I'm way more likely to catch up with a friend over drinks. So grab a drink, I'll grab a drink, and we'll catch up!

Stepping Up My Nail Game

My parents beg me to keep my nails looking professional. For some reason, they don't find my constantly chipped and peeling nails to be endearing or work appropriate. While I was home last weekend, I finally got my first ever gel manicure and my wallet is weeping because I think I might be hooked!

For $39 + tip (another $8) I got a pedicure and a gel manicure. From what I understand, I got a pretty damn good deal AND my nails are still looking perfect 6 days after. Had I gotten a regular manicure - chances are they would have been chipped by the time I made it back to my house.

Now the challenge is finding somewhere in NYC to maintain this habit.

Brewing My Own Kombucha

On my way from the Denver airport to Morgan's house I asked her if she had any water in the car. She didn't, but she had home brewed kombucha. Instead of rolling my eyes and saying, "You WOULD make your own kombucha Morgan!" I asked her if I could please please please have a piece of her SCOBY to take back to New York so I could start brewing my own too. Then, I said, "You WOULD make your own kombucha Morgan!" My favorite outdoorsy hippie.

I've been spending WAY too much money on the 'booch ever since I discovered it about a year ago. And I've looked into brewing my own a few times. But I was too lazy to order a "starter kit" and starting a SCOBY from scratch seemed a little too complicated. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, there will be a post on this to come for sure!)

Long story short - I put a piece of Morgan's SCOBY in a Tupperware, in two zip lock bags, in a shopping back and checked it in my suitcase hoping for the best. It was a success and tonight I bottled my first batch of home brewed kombucha! Once it carbonates for two days I can refrigerate it and see how it tastes! I'm nerding out hardcore over this and really hope it tastes good.

Home Brewed Kombucha

Reading

I have been reading up a STORM. I often find myself walking while reading my Kindle. I'm sure I look like a crazy person but lets be real, everyone else is looking at their phones, is it really a huge jump for me to walk around reading?

Here's what I've read recently - lucky for me, I've liked it all (Except A Manual For Cleaning Women).

Paper Towns by John Green

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

This book completely captivated me and I haven't stopped thinking about since. Has anyone out there read it? I would love to chat. Please, don't let the introduction turn you off! But also, definitely don't check this out of the library if you're looking for a light summer read.

Me Before Youby Jojo Moyes

Yes, the movie everyone is freaking out about. Yes, you really will sob uncontrollably in your bed with tears streaming down your face. It may get so bad that you can't properly read the pages.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Eternal Wonder: A Novel by Pearl S. Buck

Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Doing Less

I'm trying to be more OK with down time. Unscheduled time. Time to plop down on the couch and think, "Whoah - I have nothing to do right now." Unfortunately, I'm finding that this is really really hard for me.

On the other hand, I'm constantly feeling guilty when I start thinking, "Ugh, do I really have to do that tonight?" It happens for any number of things. Grocery shopping, working out, meeting up with a friend, blogging. And these are all things that I enjoy.

When I have responsibilities and plans I find myself dreading them and wanting to crawl into bed yet when I actually have that option, I feel like I should be doing more. It's a vicious cycle and one that I'm sure tons of twenty-somethings struggle with. 

I'm definitely working on finding a balance. But in the meantime, reading articles like this one let me know that I'm not alone in some of my anti-social "just want to go home now" tendencies.

A New Kind of PR

I'm on a self-imposed 1 month running break which has been a bit of an emotional adjustment. Running has become such a part of my identity and social life in the past two years that I've been struggling more than I'd like to admit. Every morning I wake up and see my Facebook and Instagram feeds full of morning miles and smiles. So why the break?

I've been constantly injured now for over a year - unable to run more than 13 miles when all I want is to train for my next marathon. The Brooklyn Half Marathon was an absolute nightmare. And I will be qualifying for the 2017 NYC marathon and I need my body to be on board- so for now, running has taken a backseat to strength training, physical therapy, cycling and swimming.

I wrote a review awhile ago on SWERVE Fitness and since then I have become somewhat of a regular at their midtown studio. I love it. And though I'm not PRing any races, my SWERVE score has been slowly climbing to the point where I have absolutely SHOCKED myself at a score of 802.

My last free class is this Friday and I'm really not sure what I'm going to do after that. Having the metrics and being able to set goals and challenges for myself outside of running has been a huge help! Also, their showers are amazing and their smoothies to die for.

If you've never taken a class with them before, they're offering new riders a free class in June and I highly suggest checking them out!

Eats

Oh come on, you knew this was coming!

In the world of food I've been to a few places worth mentioning.

Harlem Tavern

Harlem Tavern Brunch

My new favorite place to go for brunch for a few reasons - jazz music, outdoor seating, reservations, drink included with your meal, $16! The menu options here are out of this world. I tried the lobster and shrimp egg white omelette (!!!) and it was FILLED with seafood. Their Bloody Mary was on point. I'm almost scared to share this place with the Internet in case it gets overrun with brunchers!

Jane

When I returned from Denver the one thing I was CRAVING was a giant hamburger. I think it might have had to do with the fact that it was Memorial Day Weekend and my social media was blowing up with cookouts and BBQs. We had Memorial Day plans to ride bikes to the Captain Lawrence Brewery but unfortunately, the weatherman lied and called for rain all day. We cancelled our plans and opted for brunch instead (and then it ended up being beautiful out).

The burger I had at Jane was pretty damn good - bacon and caramelized onion - but nothing beats one homemade by my dad!

by CHLOE.

by CHLOE Veggie Burger

This place has been all the rage and I finally stood in line to see for myself how good the veggie burger was. It's a tempeh-lentil-chia-walnut patty with pickles, onion, beet ketchup and special sauce.

Unfortunately, it didn't blow me away. It was a little dry and had way too much bun! There's a bunch of other stuff on the menu that I'm tempted to try, so I may be back despite a disappointing experience the first time around.

Gran Electrica

Gran Electrica Happy Hour

My summer mission is to hit up some of New York City's best margarita establishments. Even if it means paying a price. Shockingly, my first stop on this mission was in Brooklyn. These margs from Gran Electrica were really good, and the outdoor area of the restaurant is so beautiful! I was very excited to learn that even their flavored margaritas qualify for the happy hour pricing ($8 margaritas from 5:30-6:30). I went with the Margarita de Pepino (cucumber, lime, cilantro, lime salt).

Summers On Long Island

After going home next weekend, it's official. I need to spend MUCH more time on Long Island this summer. It was such a relaxing weekend - sitting out on the deck with breakfast and my kindle, getting my nails done, meeting friends for coffee, eating lunch on the water, listening to live music on the water, watching the hockey game with my grandparents, going to a yoga class with my mom. Family time is my absolute favorite time.

That's all for now, I think I've rambled enough :)

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7 Blogging Goals for 2016

Hi there. 

I haven't blogged in awhile, though I promise, I'm taking Peanut Butter Is My Boyfriend to the next level in the coming months. 

There's a lot of different things I'd like to get better at in regards to the blogosphere and perhaps if I write them down and put them out there, I'll be held a little more accountable. Maybe. No promises. 

goals.jpg

Food Photography

The number one way to draw people into your blog is with pictures of food that makes them drool. Come on, you know it's true! 

I've been trying to take the time to practice my food photog skills but I'm trying to read as much as I can on the subject as well. There are some phenomenal bloggers out there who have written extremely detailed posts about their tips for capturing that 'grammable, Pinnable, postable pic. 

There's much more that goes into a food picture than pointing and shooting your iPhone at it. Natural lighting, backdrops, DSLR cameras, "food props" - these are all things that I'm having a great time learning about. It's a little overwhelming, especially when there are so many talented ladies out there, but I'm inspired and slowly but surely I'm trying to improve the quality of the images here on Peanut Butter Is My Boyfriend. 

This was my photography session with some  Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Bites  using a recipe from  Gimme Some Oven . Her recipes are a new favorite of mine!

This was my photography session with some Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Bites using a recipe from Gimme Some Oven. Her recipes are a new favorite of mine!

If you want to learn more on the topic, I recommend checking out this post by Nicolesy on Food Props and Styling Resources and this post by Laura at A Beautiful Plate about using cheap, everyday items as backgrounds for food photographs. 

Becoming Part of the Healthy Living Blog Community

Since Kaitlin added me to the Bloggers Gonna Blog community on Facebook, I have learned a TON about the huge network of Healthy Living Bloggers out there. These women are so inspiring, so intelligent, so motivating and so damn bad-ass. Not to mention they are successful

One goal of mine is to become more involved with the community aspect of blogging - leaving comments on others' blogs, taking part in meet-ups and link-ups and contests and exchanges. There is so much that I can learn from these ladies - and I am so grateful to have Georgie and Christina leading the charge on this amazing community. 

Creating Catchy Graphics

Though I'm not a big fan of Pinterest, I know that it's a HUGE way to draw traffic to my blog. And the way you get noticed on Pinterest is with clickable graphics. This involves not only good photography, but good design. 

Learning to use programs like Canva and PicMonkey while trying to figure out the ins and outs of Pinterest is another major goal for the coming months. 

I'm straight up terrified of Pinterest but, we'll see if I can make the plunge! 

These were granola cups that I made from  Chocolate Covered Katie's recipe  - they were perfect for a potluck brunch!

These were granola cups that I made from Chocolate Covered Katie's recipe - they were perfect for a potluck brunch!

Become a Brand Ambassador

There are tons of brands out there whose products I love and who I think my readers would love too. I hope to team up with some brands this year - to not only get some free goodies, but to share these awesome brands' products and stories with readers!

There are some healthy food companies out there with wonderful messages, business practices and stories and to have the opportunity to interview some of the folks behind these companies would be so interesting and rewarding for me. 

Make Some Ca$h Through Advertising 

You may have noticed some sidebar and banner advertisements going up on Peanut Butter Is My Boyfriend. So far, I've made a few cents. Literally, cents. But I'm learning the whole business side of blogging slowly but surely and while it's certainly not an easy task, I hope to one day make Peanut Butter Is My Boyfriend somewhat profitable. 

Post More 

Sounds so cliche, but it's true. I'd love to come up with a schedule and pump out more content. 

What types of posts are your favorite to read? 

GET TO KNOW YOU ALLLLLL - MY BEAUTIFUL READERS

Seriously. My biggest goal is to connect with the people who read this. I hate looking at my "metrics" and not having a clue who is behind them. So come out of hiding anonymous readers! 

Leave a comment. What's your name? Where are you from? Do you know me in real life? What's your favorite food? Did you watch Making a Murderer?

LETS BE FRIENDS.

Any and all feedback is always appreciated - thanks for sticking around :) 

 

8 Perfect Gym Bags for Working Women

Is it just me, or is it impossible to go to work and the gym without looking like a bag lady for the entire day? Honestly – I’ve got my breakfast and lunch to pack, my gym clothes, my toiletry bag, my work clothes…it’s a little insane and probably giving me scoliosis.

Lately, I’ve been trying to look and act the part of a twenty-something working professional in Manhattan. That means I’ve ditched the Limited Too camisoles that somehow still fit me (barely), I’ve finally thrown out the flats I bought at Kohl’s a million years ago, and I’ve said goodbye to the cotton t-shirts to make room for my new and improved workout wardrobe of dry-fit gear.

2016 is the year I finally learn that buying things just because they’re cheap and a short term fix isn’t smart. Instead, I’m looking to invest in “perfect” purchases that will stand the test of time, even if that means shelling out a few more bucks.

My most recent quest is to find that all-purpose, classy, functional as fuck bag that can transition me seamlessly from apartment to gym to work to happy hour. I'm tired of looking like the bag lady with 3 different mismatched reusable bags and my college backpack.

It’s a tall order and so far I haven’t found the perfect fit. But my research has turned up some pretty stellar options that I thought I’d share with you, in case you’re in the market for your next Mary Poppin’s bag too.

Gym Bags.jpg

Before we get into the bags – let’s talk about the 4 factors that are most important to me.

Size

I’m a petite person and a giant duffel bag that I could curl up inside of just isn’t going to work when I’m walking to and from the subway and schlepping up multiple sets of stairs. Not to mention cramming on the cross-town bus during rush hour. That being said, I’m often trying to fit two outfits, two pairs of shoes, a book, 2 meals and toiletries in this bad boy – so I do need a good amount of space. And there-in lies the first conundrum to my mission.

Style

As of now, I mainly use a Northface Backpack as my commuter bag – not exactly professional – especially considering the blue/teal/green flannel pattern. Backpacks are so convenient and much more comfortable than shoulder bags that make you walk lopsided and fall off your shoulder whenever you wear a big winter coat. I’m definitely open to a backpack if I found the right one – but it isn’t the perfect solution. It is inherently less professional looking than most other options and in the summer, the back sweat it produces isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world.

Style-wise I’m looking for a bag that can pass as a work bag which means it’s a neutral color. As much as I love colors and patterns, I’m trying to reel it in with this purchase.

Organization

This is one of the most important factors for me. I don’t want a bag that’s just one big compartment. I thrive on little pockets for my jewelry, a side slot for my water bottle and – key here – SOME PLACE TO PUT MY SWEATY CLOTHES AND SNEAKERS that’s not going to stink up my work clothes.

I’m no yogi – so straps for a yoga mat aren’t one of my requirements.

I am however dedicated to blogging more this year – which means the idea of a padded laptop sleeve appeals to me, though it isn’t a make or break feature.

A hard bottom so that the bag maintains some form and makes it easier to find things would be clutch as well.

Price

As I said – I’m willing to spend a good amount on this purchase with the intention of using it as my everyday bag for a good long while. But anything over $200 is realistically out of my price-range considering I do have less-than-ideal options that I could make work. I want a gym bag that's affordable - after all, it's still going to be holding my sweaty clothes, dirty sneakers and there might be some lunch spillage every once in awhile!

So I’ve done all the hard work for ya – the scrolling through Amazon and Kickstarter and Lulu and a million other sites.  I even asked my friends from the Bloggers Gonna Blog Community, who had some great suggestions. Finding a bag that's perfect for the gym and the office is harder than I thought.

What have I found?

Unfortunately, I’ve found that my perfect bag probably doesn’t exist. But there are some great options and maybe one of them will be perfect for you. So without further ado...

Po Campo Midway Weekender

What I Love:

  • Separate Shoe Compartment!
  • Lots of little sections inside
  • Keeps its shape
  • Cross body or over the shoulder straps
  • Fits laptops up to 15”
  • Yoga/Jacket Strap
  • Semi-water proof

What I Don’t Love:

  • I’m just not crazy about the look of this one. Totally a personal preference – there’s a bunch of different color options but none of them excite me.

Price:

  • $95 and free returns. Available online here or on Amazon here.

Herschel Supply Co. Novel Weekender

What I Love:

  • Separate Shoe Compartment!
  • Keeps its shape
  • Cross body or over the shoulder straps

What I Don’t Love:

  • One big compartment on the inside makes organization difficult
  • No laptop sleeve
  • A little too big
  • Just looks like your standard duffel bag

Price:

  • $80. Available here.

You could also check out the Herschel Supply Co. Outfitter Luggage - this is a duffel bag that has BACKPACK straps as well. It's also large and looks like a duffel, but it's got a shoe compartment. They're $140 and can be purchased here.

Herschel Supply Co. Heritage Plus Backpack

What I Love:

  • No surprise here, this one made the list because of the separate shoe compartment!
  • The convenience of a backpack
  • Simple style makes it look more professional than my patterned North Face
  • Laptop sleeve
  • Lots of compartments

What I Don’t Love:

  • I just don’t know that backpack screams “professional”

Price

  • $75. From what I can gather, they’re no longer available via the Herschel website – but I found some on Amazon.

Moop Shop “The Porter”

What I Love:

  • The look – I’m not 100% sold on the canvas material, but from the pictures, it looks like a beautiful bag!
  • Compartments and key chain
  • The site specifically points out that it fits the following: 3 books, 17” laptop, sneakers, water bottle – sounds perfect!

What I Don’t Love:

  • No separate compartment for my sweaty things

Price:

  • $137. You can order online here.

Gaiam Everything Fits Gym Bag

Recommended by: Katie

What I Love:

  • Sweaty things compartment with ventilation!
  • Lots of separate pockets
  • Water bottle pocket
  • Option to carry a yoga mat
  • Seems to be the right size
  • Keeps its shape
  • Fair price

What I Don’t Love:

  • This one, like many of the others with all the right features, doesn’t scream “sophisticated work bag” to me – it screams, “Gym Bag!”

Price:

  • $60. Available here.

*"Don't buy the teal Lauren - professional, professional -"

Om The Day Bag by Lululemon

Recommended by: Carmy

What I Love:

  • The description is exactly what I’m looking for – “This structured gym bag takes you from workout to work and then out for dinner – hands free and with plenty of room to spare.” Yes, please.
  • The shape and style of this bag makes it super "fetch" despite being a gym bag
  • It comes with a removable laundry bag AND interior wet/dry pocket
  • It has a zipper pocked for a laptop  

What I Don't Love:

Actually there's not much I don't like about this bag - it might be the winner - and my first ever purchase from Lulu (cue the gasps!)

Price:
$128 and available here.

Fivesse Home-Gym-Work Bag

Recommended by: Priya

What I Love:

  • Again – this back describes exactly what I need – to go seamlessly from home, to the gym, to work.
  • Tons of compartments – there really is a spot for everything!
  • Stays upright
  • Shoe compartment AND laundry bag

What I Don’t Love:

  • Overall, I could deal with the look of this bag, though I’m not a huge fan of the colors. I wish they had some more options. It’s a little strange to me how one side looks like a gym back and the other like a work bag. I think they took the whole “use for the gym and for work” idea a little too far. Plus, the solid colored bag is sold out – and I’m trying to avoid too much pattern.

Price:

  • Currently on-sale for $40 – I’m hoping this means an updated version is on the way! You can buy it here.

Lo & Sons The O.G. Overnight Bag

Recommended by: Lauren

What I Love:

  • There's a shoe compartment, which if you haven't realized by now, was one of my main search requirements
  • It could easily transition to a work bag
  • There's a laptop sleeve
  • There's a second size option (The OMG is a slightly smaller model with the same great features)
  • As someone who travels for work, the fact that this easily attaches to your suitcase is that little extra sumthin' sumthin'

What I Don't Love:

  • That price tag hurts.

Price:

  • $295 and available for purchase here.

YOUR TURN -

What is your go-to for an everyday bag?
Do you use one bag for the gym AND work?
What features are most important to your when choosing a gym bag?

Fitful Focus

A Look Back at 2015

This year I finally took the plunge and paid cash moneyz for a blog with my own URL. Peanut Butter Is My Boyfriend now looks jazzier and I'm hoping to step up my blogging game in 2016.

From content to graphics to food photography, I want to learn, experiment and grow and I cannot do that without feedback and support from YOU readers. 

What type of posts do you like best? Which do you skip? Anything new you'd like to see? 

I've learned a ton reading blogs like In It 4 The Long Run and The Nectar Collective and I'm ready to learn even more in the new year. 

But before 2016 is here let's do a recap of 2015. It was a jam packed year and I LOVED it. 

January

I started 2015 on the road in D.C. for a work event - with a new department that welcomed me with open arms. I learned so much from them and had a great year. 

New Year's Day dawned bright and early and Tina and I visited the NP_DC tribe for a KILLER PR day - running those Lincoln Memorial steps was no joke, but seeing the first sunrise of the year was awesome. 

November Project DC

I ran the Bluepoint Brewery 10-miler on Long Island to officially kick-off Pittsburgh Marathon training. Looking back, I can't believe I was crazy enough to train all winter long. At the time, I was super motivated, driven and determined. Peter was my rock all winter - making sure I got up on those chilly mornings for long runs and being lame on Friday nights with me. Not to mention chauffeuring me to the 10-miler on a freeeeezing cold Saturday morning. 

Bluepoint Brewery 10 Miler

I went on a work trip to Ohio where I walked around all week in a boot thanks to tendinitis. Then, I took the boot off to walk/run a 5K with coworkers.

To finish the trip, I  took an 8-hour bus ride home from Ohio when all of our flights were cancelled and arrived in an NYC preparing for a blizzard. It wasn't as bad as predicted, but it made for a very slippery couple of runs in Central Park. 

Central Park Winter Running

February 

The beginning of February was stressful as I stubbornly moved apartments by walking all of my things from my old place to the new place. when all was said and down, I loved my new apartment but vowed that next time I move, I will spend the money on professionals! 

recap12.jpg

I enjoyed 2 reunions with my college roommates in February - one in NYC and one on Valentine's day for a hockey game at Quinnipiac. 

Then it was off on yet another work trip - this time in Santa Clara California. The low point was being super sick in the hotel room one day but the high point was extending my trip to go on a mini 24-hour vacation in San Francisco with my soul-sister Emily and her boyfriend! Her mom even bought us flower headbands so I could sing, "If you're going to San Francisco be sure to wear flowers in your hairrrrr" the entire time. 

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

February Posts: 
Frustrated, But Back

A Muddled Training and Injury Update

Pittsburgh on Pause

Your Guide for Eating Mexican on The UES

Japanese Tapas in California - On The Floor

 

March 

Marathon training wasn't going so great, but then I had a wonderful (freezing) 25K race on Long Island with Peter. We both somehow won awards and the 8:20 pace revived my hopes of a speedy marathon pace. 

25K

March was also the month when a big group of my favorite people got together for one last HOORAH at Nassau Coliseum for the Islanders last season on Long Island before moving to Barclays Center. 

I also attended my last ever Islanders game as a fan in March when I brought Peter to his first ever game at the old barn. 

We celebrated Nicole's birthday in Stamford and I was proud of how well I could hang after running a long run that morning! 

After months of trying, I finally got a reservation at Bobby Flay's new NYC restaurant - Gato. We ate lots of delicious food and the best part was GETTING A PICTURE WITH BOBBY FLAY who was cooking in the kitchen that night. 

Bobby Flay Gato

Peter and I took a trip to Boston the weekend before the marathon and visited the Sam Adams AND Harpoon Breweries. We celebrated Jess's birthday with an amazing brunch and my little cousins came to work with me one day! 

April Blog Posts: 

SLT Review: Strengthen Lengthen Tone (Shit, Legs Tired) 

The Longest Recap In The History of the World; AKA TL;DR

Restaurant Review: GATO

May 

The highlight of May was my second marathon! I ran a PR in the Pittsburgh Marathon despite completely burning out after a too-fast first half. Spending the weekend in the burgh with Melissa, Peter and ERIN (who came home from New Zealand) was amazinggggg. 

Pittsburgh Marathon

Melissa and I celebrated our birthday the following weekend with a boozy brunch at Calle Ocho which was a ton of fun. 

The Brooklyn Half was later in May and I ran a PR thanks to Peter pushing me - we crossed the finish line in the rain and spent the rest of the day celebrating when the sun came back out. Unfortunately, this was the start of my month-long IT band struggles. 

Brooklyn Half Marathon

I also saw my little sister GRADUATE COLLEGE. So crazy. 

Sacred Heart Graduation

May wrapped up with a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend in Philadelphia. I met more of Peter's family and his best friend and we ate and drank and enjoyed the sunshine on a roof. I also met Mad Mex. 

May Blog Post: 

Am I Ready to Beat the Burgh?

Pittsburgh Marathon Part 1

 

122 Days Until Marathon #3 - EEEK

Brooklyn Half Race Recap

MAY: Finally Starting to Recap

June 

June took me on the road for work for a loooong time but before I left I saw Les Mis AND Ed Sheeran with Peter. Both were fantabulous. 

My work travel took me to Tampa Bay and Chicago where I ate a ton of amazing food and most importantly got to visit with my two aunts and spend a really meaningful night with my Gran. 

Another highlight was reconnecting with Staci and having Peter join me on my final stop of June, Las Vegas! 

June Blog Posts: 

First Stop, Tampa!

Chi-Town

Back to Tampa, Back to Chicago

Guac Off: Lemon vs. Lime

VIVA LAS VEGAS

July 

I celebrated the birth of my dearest friend Allison with a trip to the vineyards of Connecticut and also stopped by the Meow Parlour in NYC! 

Fourth of July was an amazing weekend in Montauk with my favorite group of ladies (AND my hip cool parents who actually got me into the PACKED OUT Sloppy Tuna. They're so much cooler than me!) 

Montauk Fourth of July

The Cheers Becky Ladies continued an amazingly exciting summer with a long weekend road trip to Cape Cod which was absolute perfection. We cooked delicious food, enjoyed the beach and sun and had some fun floating in the pond. 

Cape Cod

The end of July brought some good times spent in NYC for the first time in awhile. Brooklyn Brewery, happy hours, brunches, Kayla's birthday celebration and a BBQ at Peter's house on Long Island, a concert at BB Kings and a comedy show wrapped up a busy busy summer month. 

July Blog Posts: 

Through the 4th

Family & Friends & The Cape

BAEgels on the Beach

I Got My Headstand! Cooked A Lot! Saw GORILLAS.

Busy Week

August 

A fake wedding and an amazing family vacation were the highlights of August. 

August Blog Posts: 

Books! Read Them!

Wolman's In The Hamptons

One Of Those Weeks (And A Wedding)

Rolling For Roots Hummus

Six Sunday Links

September 

I started September with one last "Long Island Summer Weekend" which was incredible - I got to show Peter all my favorite things about home and my parents worked their butts off to ensure that I did everything on my list. It was the best weekend ever! 

We celebrated Peter's birthday in September with one of the best meals I've ever had!

Marc Forgione

September is also when I returned to running. I had a long streak of Friday "long" runs to NP workouts and the excitement of summer faded into the routine of the fall. I started working at the running store again 2 days a week as I tried to save money to buy a road bike. 

September Blog Posts: 

Running Is A Roller Coaster

Summer Weekends Wind Down

Sushi For Days

Finally All Caught Up!

The Most Perfect Weekend Ever

The Running Update!

Toronto, Eh?

Review: Blue Apron!

Restaurant Review: Two Hands

 

Restaurant Review: Marc Forgione

Happy Birthday Peter! Hanging Onto Summer

Resetting for Fall

Five Friday Faves

Six Sunday Links

Weekly Mileage 22!

A-Z Survey

Are You "That" Girl?

October 

More routine. The weeks blended together and not a ton happened, but after a jam packed summer, the predictable days were welcomed. 

I took a long weekend trip to celebrate my grandma's birthday which made me really really really happy. 

I ran an eventful race on Halloween which was exciting! 

October Blog Posts: 

Small Talk

Friday Funk

Six Sunday Links

Happy Hockey Season! A Few Words.

Six Sunday Links on Monday

What's Next On My Fitness Journey

Six Sunday Links; Swagger & Sass

Restaurant Review: Bluestone Lane

November

November started with the NYC Marathon which I spectated and celebrated but didn't run (2017?). 

Again, more of me being pretty low-key and in the zone with my routine. Mondays - swimming lessons, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the running store. 

A little bit of a rut with my fitness life -  not exactly sure of my goals, not exactly sure what my body was feelin' in terms of mileage. 

The best part of November was my first college football game at Penn State! Meeting Peter's friends, exploring Penn State and tailgating for the Penn State v. Michigan game was such an amazing experience.

Christmas was Christmassy and amazing but not long enough as I left the following morning for a work trip to Boston where I will ring in 2016! 

So there we have it. 

December Blog Posts: 

10 Things I've Realized While Learning to Swim as an Adult

8 Things That Got Me In The Holiday Spirit

Race Recap: 5K In Austin, Texas

The Definitive Guide for Your Trip to Austin, Texas

I'm not much of a resolution girl, but I do have a few goals for 2016. 

  • As I mentioned, taking my blog more seriously is a definite priority of mine. 
  • Cutting down on my "stuff" - cleaning out my closets, throwing things out, and investing in quality over quantity as I go into the second half of my twenties. 
  • Running-wise I hope to run marathon #3 and to Boston Qualify. I've almost completely ruled out a spring marathon (though I still have 2 more weeks to ponder it) and I think over the winter I'd like to continue focusing on fewer but faster races before a fall marathon (Chicago? Long Island? New Jersey?) 
  • I hope to purchase a bike, continue to practice swimming and to compete in my first triathlon in 2016!

Cheers! 

 

8 Things That Got Me In The Holiday Spirit

While the entire east coast complains about their inability to “get into the Christmas spirit” due to abnormally warm temperatures and lack of snow – I have felt plenty festive these past few days and as an added bonus, I haven’t been freezing cold or trudging through black slush on the NYC sidewalks.

So here are 8 things that made me hum, “it’s Christmas time in the city” even though I wasn’t bundled up in 20 layers.

 

1)      Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree & 5th Avenue

This was the start of the festive feels for me. Peter and I decided to dedicate one Sunday afternoon to doing some touristy things around town. We met at Bryant Park and after scoping out a grand total of one holiday shop, decided we needed food before we got too hangry around the masses of slow-moving sidewalk-blocking travelers.

We headed west to Hell’s Kitchen and found an adorable Thai restaurant. OBAO had tons of lanterns hanging from the ceiling which made me happy even though my first time trying pho was a little underwhelming. I think I’ll stick to ramen.

OBAO Thai NYC

Next up was Rockefeller Center – bum bum bum. We took a cheesy selfie with the tree even though it was broad daylight and spent a few minutes watching the ice skaters. This is probably the first and last time we’ll view the tree in t-shirts.

We spent the next hour or so walking 5th Avenue to see the stores extravagant lights, windows and decorations. Again, broad daylight, but still nice!

Tiffany Christmas Decorations

My favorite was this new snowflake hanging in the street outside of Tiffany’s! At least I think it’s new – I don’t remember ever seeing it before!

2)      Gingerbread Houses

This is the first time in recent memory that I made a gingerbread house but I think it’s a tradition I would like to continue for-ev-er. Peter and I picked up a kit and devoted a full 2 hours to decorating it while watching Elf.

Peter was a frosting MASTER and I got relegated to sticking on the candies since I couldn’t be bothered to be so painstaking in my frosting duties. I also did a great job eating the candies, taking fingerfuls of frosting and decorating the gingerbread man, snow woman and Christmas tree that went outside of our gingerbread house.

Can I just remind everyone who has yet to watch Elf this year to DO IT. Truly incredible how quotable it is!

And while you watch Elf and make a gingerbread house, you MUST drink hot chocolate. I mean, duh.

3)      Decorations

There are a few decorations around NYC that signal the holidays for me. They go up, and I know Christmas is coming. Those big red balls and giant lights on 6th Avenue, the tree outside of Radio City Music Hall and the gorgeous lights at the Columbus Circle Shops.

Columbus Circle NYC Christmas

 

And last but not least, the holiday decorations in reception at work.

4)      Holiday Parties

This year, I went to a Holiday Happy Hour with my new department at work, a Holiday Happy Hour with old coworkers AND the official office Holiday Party. I also went to Peter’s post-Holiday Party-party. Phew.

But by far the best Holiday Party I attended was the Annual Fehling Adult Christmas Party that my aunt and uncle throw at their house on Long Island. Peter came for his second time and my aunt and uncle were here from South Carolina – I was thrilled. It’s a pajama party, there’s a shotski and the variety of desserts is unreal (though my all-time favorites are the Christmas Crack and Peanut Butter Balls).

XMas5.jpg

5)      Waiting For 15 Minutes For A Parking Space At the Mall

True story – it didn’t feel like Christmas until we spent a day walking around an insanely crowded mall after waiting 15 minutes in the parking lot stalking shoppers back to their cars. 

6) Gift Giving and Shopping

I did a lot of my Christmas shopping online this year, but there were 2 days where I was running around the city, dripping in sweat, standing in lines, carrying 7 different bags and riding the subway with a giant tube of wrapping paper sticking out of my bag. It was miserable but also SO EXCITING. More than getting Christmas gifts, I absolutely love giving Christmas presents. And even though I’m awful at it, I love wrapping presents.

So I bought a bunch of super lame stocking stuffers so I could individually wrap each thing for Peter while sitting on my living room floor listening to Christmas music.

7)      Christmas Carols

I have two absolute favorite Christmas songs – and no, one of them is not Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” – although I DO love belting that one any time it comes on in a bar. Or in the car. Or at a November Project workout.

However, my two favorite Christmas songs are – Little Drummer Boy by Josh Groban (who is PS OMG making his Broadway debut next year) and Do You Hear What I Hear by Carrie Underwood. I am also not opposed to any Christmas song sung by Idina Menzel.

8)      Cookie Exchange

I hosted my first ever cookie exchange this year and I hope to make it an annual tradition because – who doesn’t love holiday cookies?

I got really into it, printing and cutting and gluing recipe cards and awards and place mats. I bought tons of ingredients. I bought green frosting and peppermint kisses to decorate with. But none of that changed the fact that I’m just not a baker.

Cookie Exchange

I thoroughly failed at following the recipes. I mixed up the baking soda and the baking powder and I used a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon. I improvised as if I knew the first thing about what I was doing. My cookies were most definitely not the best.

But we had a wonderful variety and some festive almond milk egg nog to wash it all down. We all took home the following in cute little holiday boxes:

S’Mores Cookies
Peppermint Sugar Cookies
Grain-free Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles (made with a secret ingredient – chickpeas!)
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Funfetti Cookies with Vanilla Icing
Tate’s

Yumm-o.

Now I’m home on Long Island, sitting on my couch looking at the brand new FAKE Christmas tree that my parents bought. I’m a little sad about the switch to synthetic boughs with zero pine-scent, but I will admit that the 8 different lights and spinning functions are kind of cool.

With a 74 degree forecast for Christmas Eve, my dad and I are considering an unofficial Polar Bear Plunge into the Long Island Sound. We’ll see who chickens out first…

Merry merry!


A Weekend to Remember

This was supposed to go live last Wednesday - it did not. Here you go!

Thursday through Sunday of last week were 4 days of straight up, “someone pinch me is this my life?” perfection. What made them so special was the person by my side for 96 hours straight and the fact that when it came time to say goodbye on Monday morning, I happily would have spent another 96 with him.

THURSDAY

Thursday night was rainy and cold but that didn’t stop Melissa and I from standing on the sidewalk for 5 minutes waiting to capture a video of the most epic billboard – a runner that flashes between saying “I Hate Running” and “I Love Running.” Truth in advertising.

After wandering around for a while, we got a table at one of the 123190 Irish pubs around Penn Station where you can get a cheap drink and awful food. John Sullivan’s fit this mold perfectly. $6 pinot and a grilled salmon burger fresh out the freezer section of Costco. Melissa, Peter and I had a few drinks, caught up and then Peter and I walked over to MSG for BILLY JOEL!

The incredible thing about Billy Joel is that he’s now played 23 concerts at Madison Square Garden and people are still flocking to see him. Plus, he could legitimately play 23 different concerts because his library of music is so vast.

Highlights

  • Every second.

Ok, for real, some of my favorite moments were:

  • Billy dedicated “The Entertainer” to Donald Trump
  • Showing off my talent of singing every word to “We Didn’t Start the Fire”
  • RIVER OF DREAMS
  • Peter somehow recognizing the intro to the intro to the intro of “New York State of Mind” 
  • Being able to record a video of the line, “And the microphone smells like a beer” to send to my dad
  • Going to the bathroom and thinking, “Holy shit, that’s THE Billy Joel singing that I hear through the door as I pee right now!!”
  • Peter spinning and swinging me around the suite during “Only the Good Die Young.” I felt like I was in a movie with my handsome man as we sang and laughed and spun and then he gave me a dip to close out the night.

If you are a Billy Joel fan, I can’t say enough about his concert. The rest of the weekend I think Peter and I brought it up to everyone at least 10 times. “Did you know we saw Billy Joel on Thursday?” Everyone probably wanted to smack us but it really was even better than I could have hoped it would be.

Thursday night we got back to Peter’s parent’s house around 1 a.m. and immediately fell into bed.

Friday

6 a.m. wake-up and a quick stop at the bagel store before hitting the road. We hit some traffic early on, but then it was smooth sailing (minus the multiple stops to fuel Peter’s caffeine addiction and to accommodate my pea-sized bladder).

I had a sudden craving for hot chocolate and on Peter's next Dunkin Donuts stop I got myself a cup. It really hit the spot. Although now I need to try their new salted caramel, mint and s’mores flavors. You know, for comparison’s sake.

We made good time and made it to State College in Happy Valley (for a while I thought these were two made up names…) around 11:30 a.m. Edit: Happy Valley IS a made up name We couldn’t get into the house until around 2 so I looked at Peter and said, “Nap in the car time?” “Lunch time?”

“I thought we could go for a run around campus,” Peter said.

This is why I love him even though later that night he would tell me I looked like a little boy in my flannel shirt.

So I got the sleepy thoughts out of my head and we parked the car and stepped out into the brisk Pennsylvania afternoon. It was so great going for a run around the campus with Peter reminiscing and pointing things out to me. It was hilly, but I felt surprisingly good and was also running naked (aka no GPS watch, duh). The sun was shining despite the cold and we ran 5 miles at around an 8:30 pace. After sitting in the car for 6 hours, it felt great and woke me up much more than a nap would have.

Immediately following our run we went to The Berkey Creamery! It’s right on the campus and part of their food sciences college and it was my first visit to this Penn State institution. We split a cup of chocolate chip cookie dough and drove around campus taking some pictures, climbing some steel sculptures, ya know.

We Are Penn State

Next was my first ever shopping trip to WEGMANS! I had extremely high hopes and as we walked in I was greeted by a Gala Apple Cider free sample. I bought some Nature’s Path granola, not because I needed it, but because the cost was like 50% of the price in NYC.

Things I was impressed with at Wegmans:
-Bakery Section (I’m lookin’ at you, free sample of cranberry bread topped with brie)
-Beer section
-BUILD YOUR OWN TRAIL MIX BAR
-Grind your own CHOCOLATE peanut butter

If I had to pick three foods I eat almost every day, it would be peanut butter, bananas and baby carrots. 

If I had to pick three foods I eat almost every day, it would be peanut butter, bananas and baby carrots. 

I wouldn’t say I am a Wegmans addict, but it was definitely fun getting to go to one!

Finally it was time to check out or home for the weekend – and dayum we were living in style! For the past two years Peter and his friends have rented this gorgeous house a quick drive from campus and it was awesome!

We showered and took a “quick nap.” Peter told me to set an alarm but I said I didn’t need one…next thing we knew it was 5 p.m.

A trip to Mad Mex for the infamous GOBBLERITO was in order.

What the Heck Is In A Gobblerito?
-Turkey
-Mashed Potatoes
-Corn
-Stuffing
-Black Beans
-Topped with gravy
-Side of cranberry sauce

Gobblerito at Mad Mex

When this burrito arrived it resembled a small child. We ate every last bite and each drank a frozen margarita that probably contains more calories than one should consume in a day. Mango for me and Pumpkin Spice (yes, a pumpkin spice margarita) for Peter.

We left Mad Mex and walked around some shops for a little bit. I was tempted to buy ALL THE THINGS because Nike and UnderArmour make Penn State’s apparel but I had to keep reminding myself, “She doesn’t even go here!”

Wannabe Nittany Lion!

Wannabe Nittany Lion!

When we got back to the house, almost everyone had arrived and we had a few beers while I got introduced to the gang and went to bed early.

SATURDAY

Our alarms went off throughout the house a 5:30 a.m.

This was no joke people.

Tailgating at Penn State is SERIOUS business.

We drank coffee, we packed the 3 trucks, we stopped at Dunkin for 2 dozen donuts, and drove to the tailgating fields.

Penn State Tailgating at Beaver Stadium

I was unprepared for just how many people tailgate here. Fields upon fields of cars. I will never forget the following image:

We pulled into our spot and I looked at the pick-up truck in front of us. As the car was pulling into its spray painted space, 6 guys were leaping out of the flat bed and doors, whipping things out left and right and before I could blink a canopy was going up.

I laughed and said it looked like a hummer had just rolled into battle. Then I got out of the car and saw that the exact same thing was going on with our group.

No joke within 5 minutes -  4 coolers were lined up, 2 tables were filled with food, a grill was warming up, corn hole was out, the speakers were on, the lawn chairs were set up. It was a spectacular demonstration.

It was also 7:15 a.m.

We all started with a glorious warm rum cider accompanied by donuts, bagels with cream cheese and lox, breakfast burritos with bacon and hash browns, and homemade pumpkin chocolate chip bread toasted on the grill.

The next 5 hours passed so ridiculously fast I can’t even fathom it.

I learned what the stump game is and was pleasantly surprised by how clean the portapotties were. I was cold, but not frozen. I ate everything in sight. I whipped out these amazing 50 cent football hats I found at Good Will.

We made a lot of "Hey Arnold!" references. 

We made a lot of "Hey Arnold!" references. 

And then it was time to go into Beaver Stadium for the Penn State/Michigan game.

It was a white out game and inside the stadium looked soo awesome. The sun was shining on us the whole time and although Penn State lost, it was a good game and I got to experience a touch down!

Apparently it’s a tradition at Penn State that for each point, the guys in the student section toss a girl up into the air. So when Penn State got a touchdown, Peter hoisted me up.

Other Random Things:

  • The women’s bathroom line was like 10X shorter than the men’s.
  • There were snipers on the roof.

Instead of sitting in traffic for a million years after the game, we headed back to our “camp” and tailgated for another 2 hours. Peter was grill master, cooking up 32 cheeseburgers.

When we eventually got home, 15 of us spent the night dozing in and out of naps, eating pizza, and eventually, falling asleep before 11 p.m.

SUNDAY

We woke up fairly early after a full night’s sleep and I quickly abandoned my, “Maybe I’ll got for a run…” idea in favor of being a lazy Sunday bum.

We cleaned up the house, packed the car, and waved goodbye.

Breakfast was at Peter’s all-time favorite, the Waffle Shop. We had stopped here on our way home from the Pittsburgh Marathon so I knew it was great, but I wasn’t prepared for the HUGE line winding its way around the front of the restaurant.

It went quickly, and we feasted on French toast and the “Nest Egg” – potatoes covered with veggies, cheddar cheese and a friend egg.

Then we walked around town a little bit, checked out some stores, and made one last stop at The Creamery. We each got our own this time – since we had successfully expanded our stomachs throughout the weekend. I picked the Peanut Butter Marshmallow and OMG it was so sweet and creamy and amazing.

The trip home went super quickly – we made wonderful time AND saw the most amazing sunset as we drove through the city.

We decided to stay the night at Peter’s family’s house and enjoyed a nice dinner with them (and delicious, fudgy brownies) before an early bed time.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT a wonderful 4 days.

It was so nice getting to meet Peter’s friends and hearing all his memories from his time at Penn State. It’s such a beautiful campus and I loved walking around! And this is how big my smile has been every time I think about it. 

10 "Useless" Things I'm Grateful For

I read an article this week called “Choose To Be Grateful. It Will Make You Happier” and I really loved its message.

A lot of times, gratefulness and thankfulness aren’t our overarching emotions. We are tired, stressed, disappointed. There are some people whose jobs are overwhelming, whose family problems or money struggles seem insurmountable much of the time. But maybe it’s these people who can benefit the most from the ability to take a second to cultivate gratitude – to find something to be positive about, to smile about.

Of course, it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow, so the world is all mushy and gushy and grateful and thankful. And I’m all about that kind of stuff. But the article challenges us to also be grateful for “useless” things.

I am beyond grateful that so many important parts of my life are well and good –my family, my friends, my job, my apartment, my health. But what about those tiny things that I don’t appreciate on a daily basis?

10 "Useless" Things I'm Grateful For

1)      Sunsets that turn the sky pink and purple and red and change by the second. You take a picture of the sky and when you look back up from your phone, it’s already completely different. 

New York City Sunset

2)      A perfect, green lawn. A quad at a college that’s rumored to be spray painted because it’s so flawlessly green.

3)      The warm, melty, sugary, sweetness on your tongue when you take a sip of hot chocolate after drinking coffee – the contrast makes me wonder why I don’t drink hot chocolate every day.

4)      When you laugh so hard your stomach hurts, when you smile so big your cheeks hurt and your eyes go all squinty.

Penn State Tailgating

5)      A warm shower after a cold yet sweaty run.

6)      Songs that transport you back to a different time and make memories so vivid. When I hear “Starships” I will always go back to Senior Week at Quinnipiac. When I hear “What A Wonderful World” I will be dancing with my dad. Scratchy beard against my cheek.

7)      The feeling when everything on a run clicks – you’re going fast but it feels like you’re floating.

8)      Walking into your childhood home and feeling like you never left, no matter how long it’s been.

9)      A book that you seriously can’t put down. The characters are real and you need to know what happens.

10)  Perfect, bright lighting that makes your plate of food look like a work of art.

In “Choose to Be Grateful” the author does mention that there may be a downside to all of this “feeling thankful” – it makes you crave sugar. Which I guess would explain the large quantity of vanilla almond granola I just consumed.

Anyway – next time you’re feeling less than thankful  - that’s the time to realize all the amazing things we have to smile about.   

I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving, eat a ton of delicious food, and most importantly – make an epic leftover sandwich. 

Do You Have An 'Unhealthy' Relationship With Food?

I’m beginning to think more and more that it’s almost impossible for anyone in today's society to have a “normal” relationship with food – whatever that means.

Relationship With Food

For a long time I was under the impression that there was something wrong with me because occasionally, I would experience feelings of guilt related to the foods that I chose to eat. But newsflash:

We've Been Taught to Feel Guilty About Food

If you look at the messages we receive every day – it’s really no wonder that we have these thoughts from time to time, or more often than that. Most likely, these feelings of guilt didn’t just arise out of nowhere one day after eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. We have been taught to feel guilty about eating certain foods. 

A teacher never stood in front of our classrooms and told us, "You should feel guilty if you eat this this or this." But after days and weeks and months and years of small, subtle messaging from the media, our peers, etc. many people (women AND men) find themselves frustrated with their relationship with food.

New York Sports Club Advertising Donut

Recognizing These Feelings of Guilt

We all have weekends where a cocktail at brunch turns into some beers to watch the game which turns into ordering nachos which turns into margaritas and guac and a trip for some ice cream to top it all off (please don’t tell me that’s just me!)

Have I gone to bed on days like that and thought, “Ugh – why do I have no self-control? Why did I do that?” Yes, I have. Then, I realized those weren’t the healthiest thoughts to be having.

There are tons of articles written about removing the guilt and shame we associate with food. We recognize that phrases like “earn that cake,” “guilt-free doughnuts” and “cheat meals” promote an unhealthy relationship with food.

It’s great that we’re recognizing the need to stop feeling bad about ourselves based on what we eat. That we are more than the calories we consume. We are not our diet decisions. 

Guilt  Leading to More Guilt?

But I fear there’s a new problem. Now, when people recognize that they’re having these types of thoughts – they’re also thinking, “I’m bad. I shouldn’t be thinking these things. I shouldn’t feel bad about my breakfast. I shouldn’t feel guilt about my side order of fries. Why can’t I stop these thoughts and feelings? What’s wrong with me?”

It’s a tiring and seemingly endless cycle.

  1. Eat something delicious – be it fried, fatty, carby, loaded with sugar etc. –
  2. Find yourself thinking, “I shouldn’t have done that…that was bad…”
  3. Realize, “Why am I getting so down on myself just because I ate something that I think tastes good and I wanted to eat?”
  4. Think, “I can’t stop these feelings of guilt about what I eat. What’s wrong with me?”
  5. Repeat.

I wish I could offer you advice on how to make it stop but I don’t know that I can.

You Are Not An Anomaly 

What everyone can do is remind themselves that so many people, day in and day out, have thoughts like this.

Just like eating the doughnut doesn’t make you “bad,” having feelings of shame and guilt afterwards doesn’t make you “bad” either.

Yes, the goal should be to eradicate the connection between your self-esteem and your food choices – but it won’t happen overnight and it won’t be easy. In the meantime, give yourself a pat on the back for at least being self-aware enough to acknowledge those guilty feelings.

When those guilty feelings arise, don’t stomp your foot and pout and say, “I don’t want these feelings! I just want to eat my donut!”

Accept that the society we live in today makes it almost impossible to eat carelessly and thoughtlessly.

Resolve yourself to working on it, acknowledging it, and trying to get to the root of it.

Don’t get down on yourself because you’re unable to kick that twinge of guilt when you go for your second slice of cake.

And most importantly, don’t ever think you’re the only one at the party that’s fighting with their thoughts while taking another forkful.

YOUR TURN
Do you sometimes feel that you have an "unhealthy" relationship with food? 
What types of phrases surrounding food get on your nerves the most? 

Accepting the Social Media Comparison Trap

Social Media Comparison Trap

The more prolific social media becomes, the more prone we all are to the comparison trap.

You know what I’m talking about. Scrolling through your Instagram feed and getting down on yourself because you failed to make a filtered to perfection protein pancake breakfast dripping with homemade coconut-oil chocolate sauce with a side glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice that you picked off your very own orange tree.

Orange Juice

You’re on the subway, feelin’ ready to conquer the day after a great 3 mile run in Central Park. You open that favorite app of yours and suddenly, your 3 miles seems like it wasn’t good enough amongst peers who busted out a casual 15k before 8 a.m.

As I’ve written about before, I think it’s so so important for us to realize that the people whose posts are making us feel inferior are likely going through the exact same thing every time they scroll through their feed.

Social Media and Comparison

No one is safe from this trap.

There are lots of articles out there about how to steer clear of this unpleasant and perhaps dangerous psychological pattern and I think they’re really well-intentioned. I read them and I feel ready to open Instagram free from self-judgement. 

But that lasts about 2 seconds.

I also know myself, and I know that there’s no way in hell I’m breaking my Instagram habit.

So instead of trying to figure out a way to avoid it completely, I have a different suggestion.

I suggest accepting the fact that some days we will be more susceptible to this kind of negative self-judgment. Some days we will compare ourselves to others in a way that gets us down. And quite frankly, I think that’s OK. I think that’s normal. I think that means we are human.

OK Hand

I also think there will be days where we are able to see that negative self-talk coming on and we will have the ability to sidestep it. We will tell that picture perfect breakfast:

I know you were taken with a DSLR camera with a pretty background and perfect lighting and my handful of dry cereal eaten on the walk to the subway tasted GREAT thank you very much.

There will be days where we see someone accomplishing something inspiring before 8 a.m. and instead of beating ourselves up about it, we will say, “Damn, that’s badass – good for so and so. Maybe tomorrow I’ll start my journey to unassisted pull-up greatness too!”

Accepting that these are both completely normal reactions will help us to acknowledge and accept our feelings on any given day.

The last thing you need to do when you’re comparing yourself to someone else because of something you saw on social media, is to get down on yourself FURTHER because you aren’t “enlightened” enough to avoid the comparison trap entirely.

So remind yourself that you’re human and cut yourself some slack. 

Essena O'Neill Quits Social Media - It's Not "Real Life"

Last night as I scrolled through Facebook, I stumbled across a link about a former social media model who had announced she would be deleting her accounts and focusing her energies on speaking out against an industry that she says is “not real life.”

I think that on some level, we all know that social media isn’t entirely “real.” As you scroll through your feed, you are looking at the highlights of someone’s life – the moments that they want featured. Not only that, but pictures never tell a full story. Especially pictures that have been cropped, posed and filtered.

From the time she was 12, Essena O’Neill began amassing followers on Instagram and Youtube. By age 18, the Aussie had half a million followers on Instagram and more than 200,000 subscribers on YouTube. Brands paid her anywhere from $200-$2,000 dollars to post photos with their products.

A few days ago, Essena announced she was done with social media – she went back and deleted most of her photos from Instagram but kept a few.  She edited their captions to reveal the truth behind the Instagram.

There are many people who will say Essena’s actions are just a way to gain even more attention for herself – after all, she’s already been contacted by places like Good Morning America and The Today Show. But after scrolling through her Instagram and reading her recently edited captions I was incredibly moved by a few in particular.

The topics that Essena is shining a spotlight on are important ones and they don’t just apply to people with thousands of followers.  ere are 8 images I found particularly powerful. They made me stop, and think and I hope you will too. 

8 Things Essena O'Neill's Re-Captioned Photos Make Us Think About

Essena O'Neill Body Image

Why Are You Posting This?

Often, a caption on Instagram is the least telling piece of information. While Essena's original caption was about her skirt - her edited caption reveals what most people probably noticed when they looked at the picture - her toned stomach and tiny waist. And surprise surprise, that was her real reason for sharing it. Before posting on Instagram, we should probably stop for a second and think about our intentions. And if those intentions are completely self-absorbed, maybe we should give our post a second thought. 

Essena O'Neill Quits Social Media

How Much Time and Energy Our Youth (And Our Own Generation) are Wasting on Social Media 

This made me so very sad. I look at myself, in my mid-twenties, and know that even I spend far too much time caring about social media. Far too many times each and every day I scroll through my Instagram feed instead of calling a friend to say I miss them or using my brain to think about something important. And I didn't grow up with this. Instagram came around when I was in college. Yet today, elementary school girls and boys aren't passing notes in class and playing kickball at recess - likes and followers are what they are focused on and it is only going to get worse as they get older. I can't imagine if my 11 year old self had images like this to compare myself to on a daily basis. I really can't, and it makes me so sad for these kids that grow up thinking this is what they have to aspire to. 

Essena O'Neill Instagram

The Insecurity That Comes From Placing Your Identity in Physical Features

Essena's caption in this photo may not make a ton of sense - how can someone who looks like that claim to be insecure? 

But to place your self-worth and your identity in something as artificial as your body typically means that you are lacking confidence in who you are as a person - you are insecure in your worth as a person on a much deeper level. 

To wake up in the morning and base your self-worth on a line down the middle of your stomach is to feel that that's the only reason the people around you approve of you. And it is to constantly fear what will happen if that body changes. Which - for a 16 year old girl - it undoubtedly will. 

Essena O'Neill Quits Social Media

Why Are We So Hungry For Other's Approval?

Essena admits that the photos she posted were painstakingly perfected to garner approval from faceless Instagram users. 

Tell me I'm not the only one who has joked with a friend about needing to get to at least 11 likes on Instagram so that the number appears instead of usernames. How sad is that, really? 

Maybe if we all stopped staring at our screens and complimented the real live people standing in front of us, they wouldn't feel so hungry for validation on social media. Tell your bus driver when she's having a nice hair day. Compliment a coworker on their outfit. We should care more about these genuine words from people more than we care about quasi-friends double tapping a screen as they sit on the subway to let you know that your #tbt caught their eye. 

Essena O'Neill Instagram

Candid Moments Are Far and Few Between

When is the last time someone took a true "candid" picture of you? I hate to admit it, but I am incredibly guilty of setting up these "carefree" looking moments. 

"Take a picture of me doing a headstand on the beach!" is a lot different than having fun doing a headstand on the beach only to later find out that your friend happened to snap a picture. 

"Do it for the insta" is a real thing that we really say. How about we just do the things we love because we love to do them?

Essena O'Neill

Why Are We So Obsessed With How We Look? 

That's a rhetorical question because, of course, this is a huge topic that our society continues to struggle with. Advertising, eating disorders, restrictive dieting and excessive exercising - these topics are inescapable today. 

We are still talking about them because they aren't easy to wrap our heads around. There's no quick fix for these societal struggles. We are told to be body-positive, to love the skin we're in. We are told that "strong is the new skinny."

On one hand, seeing girls who are proud of their bodies is wonderful. But there's a fine line between someone who has worked hard and is proud of what they've accomplished to someone who is terrified of losing their toned stomach. There's a fine line between fitness imagery that inspires and fitness imagery that promotes unrealistic goals and unhealthy habits. 

Essena O'Neill Quits Social Media

We Need to Reassess Our Goal-Setting

As Essena's re-captioned photo illustrates - this should not be anyone's goal. Yes we all want to look and feel our best but why not try making your goal 10 push-ups in a row without stopping instead of, "more defined shoulder muscles." I promise you - nothing about your life will change when you have a six-pack. But something will change when you find something you love doing - like crossfit or training for a marathon. Something will change when you meet new people while enjoying that new activity. Something will change when you compete in your first crossfit competition or run your first marathon. You will gain a way to handle stress, you will gain confidence, you will gain a new outlook on life. And somewhere along the way, maybe your physical appearance will change. But that's not what the focus should be. 

Essena O'Neill Social Media

There's Always a Story Behind The Smile 

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. But a posed and forced smile is almost always hiding the real story. 

Really think about these things. 

I'm not expecting us all to go delete our social media accounts and swear off Instagram forever. 

But I do think these things deserve some serious thought. I, for one, was disgusted at some of the things I've posted in the past and have removed some photos from my Instagram.

There's no need to perpetuate feelings of insufficiency among beautiful, smart, charismatic, funny women because they don't own the same material things as you, have the same physical appearance as you, or spend as much time in the gym as you. And even more importantly, there's no need for you to feel like you're better than anyone else for any of those things. 






Happy Hockey Season! A Few Words.

The day has arrived...the 2015-16 NHL season officially kicks off tonight, 114 days after the Chicago Blackhawks won their 6th Stanley Cup on June 15 on home ice. 

An impressive feat, no doubt - but I would just like to remind everyone about the Islander's reign, winning 4 Stanley Cups in 4 back to back seasons. Sure - it was a couple, er, 15, years ago - but it is still impressive. And likely never to be accomplished again. 

What we

do know

 is that the Islanders will never win another Stanley Cup in the Nassau Veteran's Memorial Coliseum on Long Island - because tomorrow night they open their first season played at Barclay's Center in Brooklyn. 

I have a lot of feelings.

Inevitably, when I tell people I'm an Islanders fan, they ask what I think about the move. The first thing that happens is my brain floods with memories from the coliseum. Sure it was slightly hideous, but it was home. 

(And the sunsets were beautiful!)

I've been going to Islanders games at the coliseum since before I can remember, but I still remember the first time I knowingly attended an Islanders game. My dad told me we were going to eat dinner with my mom at her work, so imagine my surprise when we walked inside the coliseum! My first response was, "But won't Mommy be sad we aren't eating dinner with her?" 

There were the games watched from suites that my dad got through work. You would think I would feel like a queen sitting up their in the catered cubes - but I always complained that no one up there cared about hockey. I wanted to be down in the bleachers, in the mix with

real

 fans. 

I wanted to be jumping up and down trying to catch a shirt blasted out into the crowd by the ice girls - even though I knew they were all XXXXLs that I would never wear. I wanted to be taking pictures with Sparky, and staring up mesmerized at the ceiling as the blimp floated around the rafters, dropping down gift cards to lucky fans. I wanted that moment when my face appeared on the jumbo tron, or they released streamers into the crowd after a playoff win. 

I got all of those things on memorable nights where I stayed up far past my bedtime - indulging on Dip n Dots and wondering what my dad found so appetizing about the damn peanuts. 

There was of course the raucous fans around me yelling things I wasn't allowed to repeat - instead we constantly told the Islanders to, "WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!"

If there was anything I learned being a young Islanders fan in the 90s it was to remain loyal. As a 7 year old, there were nights I was convinced my personal presence in the coliseum was causing the Islanders to lose. Would I ever experience that joyous win? Surrounded by fellow passionate fans? 

Down 7-1 with 2 minutes left in the third period, I would beg my parents not to make me leave - I needed to stay with my team until that final buzzer...you simply never knew what was going to happen! Hockey was unpredictable, exciting, thrilling, fast and furious. 

Countless games later and the place continued to feel more and more like home. I knew the chants, I knew the familiar sound of the organ. I knew that no matter where I was sitting, I'd likely be able to move down a bunch of rows and even if I couldn't, the view was great from everywhere. I knew the bathroom lines were going to be horrendous. I knew that if the team scored 3 goals I'd get free chili from Wendy's the next day. I knew

Goldie - the man who was

always

 there

Mainly, we were there for games, but I also attended American Idols Live concerts, Disney on Ice shows, maybe a Josh Groban concert...not to mention my 6 year old glee at watching an exhibition gymnastics show from the Gold Medal winning Atlanta Olympic team. 

Last season, each trip to the coliseum got a little harder as the end drew near. The night I got to work at the game collecting content for social media - up close and personal with the players and building -was a night I will certainly never forget. 

I'll also never forget this epic pre-game, crammed in a hotel room with so many people who mean so much to me. The rain kept us from tailgating in the parking lot, but I'll hold those memories forever as well. 

When the end of the season arrived, I didn't shed a tear as I expected that I would. Perhaps because I was satisfied with that final season at the coliseum. I had experienced another year of memories, the team had performed well, and I had gotten to say my goodbyes. 

Perhaps I won't shed that tear until reality sinks in tomorrow night and the puck drops on a difference sheet of ice. 

But, whenever someone brings up the Islanders moving to Barclays, the first thing I need to make clear is: 

I will miss the coliseum. 

A lot of other people

have echoed this sentiment

more eloquently than me

, but I needed to add my personal take on it. 

Friday Funk

Happy Friday to y'all!

I should be smiling - lots of great things happened to me this week. But it's cold and rainy and there's a hurricane coming and for some reason I just feel super BLAH.

I'm not sore. I don't have any "injuries" per say. I just have zero motivation or energy and everything feels achy - like I have the flu minus the cold symptoms. So I'm not really sure what's up.

I do know that I failed at completing all 3 Kayla Itsine's workouts this week for the first time in 7 weeks. I did legs on Monday and Abs/Arms on Tuesday but Abs/Cardio? I did the first 7 minute circuit this morning and then I quit. Yep - complete honesty. I was feeling grumpy and lazy and achy and I laid down on the floor and I tapped out.

I'm trying to give myself some grace. It's very unlike me to get started in a workout with a plan and then not to follow through. I'm trying to give myself the benefit of the doubt - listening to my body which is very clearly saying, "WE DON'T WANT TO DO THIS. We want to lay in bed and binge watch Orange is the New Black!"

I get it body, message received. In a few short hours we will be home spending quality time with Piper and the crew.

So here are a few reasons why I should turn my frown upside down.

1) Tuesday's run felt pretty OK which is all I'm really asking for at this point. I let my brain get a little carried away, and somewhere around mile 2.5 I decided, "Ok, you're wrapping up 5 miles with a sub 8:00 pace." While that may have been totally do-able 4 months ago - it is certainly not realistic at the moment. And you know what? Instead of feeling really discouraged by the actual pace I finished at - I felt satisfied that I had pushed myself and gotten in a run at a solid effort - no phoning it in, no saying "I'm slow now so it doesn't matter." The past few weeks getting back into running, it's been really easy for me to settle for a slow, easy, casual run just because that feels comfortable. But Tuesday's run pushed me outside of my comfort zone which in turn gave me a much better mindset for the rest of the day.

2) Wednesday I challenged myself again - with the goal of swimming a total of 1 mile at the gym. Though it definitely wasn't continuous, I accomplished my goal!

3) I GOT A GOPRO and my Instagram game is going to go WAY up ;)

4) The running store won a Brooks contest and I get a free pair of sneakers. I'm excited to try out the Pure Flows! I know, I know - they're neutral and everyone in the world tells me I should be running in a stability shoe. But both sneakers I trained for Pittsburgh in were neutral sneakers and I made it through relatively pain and injury free - so I'm just going to keep on keepin' on that neutral flow. For now.

5) Peter and I's Date Night this week was my first time seeing an IMAX movie in about a million years. I'm pretty sure the last time I went was in high school to see Harry Potter. We saw "The Walk" about Philippe Petit who walked a high wire that he illegally rigged across the Twin Towers. I thought the movie was really well done, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was great and now I MUST read the book ("To Reach The Clouds").

6) I had a dream last night that I actually remembered when I woke up- which is very rare for me. In the dream, I was just doing Greek things on Paros Island (where I took a 3 week photography class back in 2011). It made waking up a little bit harder, but it was nice to take a few minutes to remember what an amazing opportunity it was to visit Greece. It was also a reason to spend some time flipping through the pictures in my (Facebook) albums and remind myself to make an ACTUAL physical photo album of my pictures. 

Speaking of pictures - I used to be so so interested in photography, and I've been missing it. Taking my DSLR out is usually a pain in the butt but I DO still try to some ~artsy~ pictures with my iPhone. I liked these two that I took this week. They're kind of boring on their own - but as a little mini "pop of pink" series I like 'em.

7) Last week I discovered the joys of picking a salad theme and stickin' to it when I created an Asian-inspired salad. This week, I went for Greek (hmmm, wonder if that's why I had the dream about Paros?) It was pretty damn delicious if I do say so myself - I had it Monday, Wednesday and Thursday night - and still have ingredients to make one more salad tonight! 

Here's what it had:

Peppers

Carrots

Sundried Tomatoes

Plum Tomatoes

Olives

Feta

Cucumber

Chick Peas

Sprouts

Spinach

Balsamic Vinegar for dressing 

One day I'll figure out the proper leaf to topic ration but until then, I will continue to essentially eat bowls of salad toppings. 

8) Avocados exist and were 99 cents at the grocery store this week. I've been digging half an avo mashed with feta, chili flakes, sunflower seeds, sundried tomatoes, olive oil and sea salt! 

9) I got free coffee for National Coffee Day AND my box of Quest bars was delivered - although I've already eaten half of them... (did everyone see they have PUMPKIN PIE QUEST BARS for a limited time? I mightttt need to order a box!) 

10) New snack alert! 2 new snacks this week. The first was an idea from

Georgie at In It For the Long Run - nut butter dates! 

 I didn't make mine as pretty as fancy as hers - all I really did was dunk a date in peanut butter and call it a day -  but it was delicious and sweet and satisfying after my run and before I had time to sit and eat a real breakfast! The other snack was this DIY Kale Chip bag - in theory it's great - open the bag, pour in the olive oil, bake, voila! In execution - the chips still came out a little soggy. But texture aside, I dressed them up with some sea salt and NUTRITIONAL YEAST (cheesy, mmm) and they were pretty bomb.com. 

In other news, I'm really trying to make this blog more than just a running account of my life.

I really enjoyed writing Wednesday's post

and was happy with the feedback!

I've been brainstorming some other post ideas - but if anyone has any suggestions or anything they'd like to see on PB is my BF - please feel free to share your thoughts :)

In the meantime, here are some blogs that have been really inspiring me:

arunnarounddlife

Just The Elevator Pitch 

The Real Life RD

In It For the Long Run 

Any other favorite blogs I should check out? 

Small Talk

I’m convinced I’m an ambivert – but regardless of whether or not I’m an introvert or an extrovert, one thing I know I am is awkward when it comes to small talk. Friends tell me I’m not awkward, but a) that’s because we’re friends and I’m not awkward around them and b) even if I’m somewhat successful  in not coming off as awkward – I feel awkward when I’m forced into small talk.

Recently, I’ve been kind of sort of most definitely obsessed with this blog called Just The Elevator Pitch. You kind of sort of most definitely NEED to check it out. You’ll be hooked and probably never have time to come back and read my blog, but that’s a chance I’m willing to take because Nicole’s blog is just that damn great.

Anywho – she came up with a genius way of figuring out, “AmI Good At Small Talk?
Going into this exercise, I am fully expecting that answer to be a big fat nope. How am I going to find out? Going through the Google Trends page to see what the most searched topic of each of the past 30 days was. And seeing if I know anything about it at all.

 Facebook Privacy 
        Unfortunately, my newsfeed has been overrun with people under the false assumption that anything they put on the internet is private. I truly question the collective intelligence of our society when trends like this pop up. And I’m shocked that across the country, “Channel 13 News” is discussing these “changes” to Facebook’s privacy policy. Because where I’m from, I’m pretty sure that channel 13 is PBS and all they’re showing is Arthur and Curious George. 
        Mars
        I know now that boys are not from Mars. And that Mars Bars are quite delicious. I’ve also heard the news that there’s water on Mars.
        Lunar Eclipse
        As my dad texted me on Sunday night, telling me I HAD to look out my window and look at the moon, I had a sudden moment of sadness when I realized if I got out of bed and looked out my window – all I would see were buildings.
          iPhone 6S 
        Why people think it’s fun to stand in absurd lines on the day new Apple products are released I will never know – they do know there is such a thing as pre-order right? Then again, I spent hours at the local Borders to get my hands on Harry Potter Books the second the clock struck midnight. So who am I to judge?
 Thursday Night Football
 My football knowledge leaves much to be desired. 
 Autumnal Equinox
 I don’t know what it means scientifically except that my favorite season is over and it’s going to get cold out. And also that when engaging in small talk – it’s best to avoid talking about the weather unless you want to seem seriously inept.
 Scream Queens
        I got nothin’. A Google search (ironic) informs me that it’s a movie – I’m not a movie person. Which would be the perfect small talk topic in many situations. Bummer.
 Autumnal Equinox 
 #1 Trending Search twice in a week? Still not something I’d bring up at a party.
 Emmys 2015
 I don’t go to the movies and I don’t have cable – so my ability to discuss things in the world of popular culture is extremely limited.

 Alabama Football
        I got nothin’.
 Zoey 101 
        Hey, I know what this is! No clue why it’s a trending topic though…not to mention that if I were to bring this up in small talk in would almost certainly result in awkwardness.  
Denver Broncos 
Can we just get hockey season started?
Republican Debate We watched the first one as a fun family vacation activity, but the second one – no thanks.
Snapchat Update 
YES! I could definitely sustain a conversation about the new Snapchat selfie filters for a solid 5 minutes. I would also mention that I recently captured an EPIC video for my Snapchat story which involved a biker SCREAMING at a cabby.
49ers 
Sheesh. Whatever happened to baseball being America’s favorite pastime?
NFL Scores 
        I’m done.
 Mayweather
       No.
 Serena Williams 
        Serena Williams is a BEAST in the best, most badass way possible. So she lost. She’s still epic.
        9/11
 I think we all could have a conversation about where we were on September 11, 2001.

 NFL Scores
 Original.
  Stephen Colbert 
 An incredibly talented guy that I wish I watched more of. I had the chance to attend a filming  of Colbert Report a few years ago, and it was definitely an awesome experience!
 Ohio State Football
 Yawn.
 Venus Williams 
 If my sister beat me at tennis, I wouldn’t be a happy camper!
 Alabama Football 
 Oy.
 Serena Williams 
See above – she’s epic.
 Tom Brady 
Deflate Gate 2015? I didn’t follow it, but I’ve obviously heard about it. I don’t live under a rock.
 Frontier Airlines
 I book travel for people at work, and this airline comes up in my searches every once in a while. I have no idea why they are a trending search topic though – which probably means I don’t skim the homepage of the New York Times often enough.
 Google logo History 
Every now and then I’ll take note of the Google logo on the homepage and take a second to appreciate the creativity. Other days I’m like, really? That’s what you’ve got?
US Tennis Open 
One day I want to buy a skort and go to the US Open. I went to tennis camp when I was younger and my mom played in high school and wanted me to follow in her footsteps. I wasn’t awful, except that field hockey was during the same season. So, sorry Mom! But tennis is fun. And fancy. And I like when it gets some love. (Get it, love?)
Miley Cyrus 
YES. Let’s chat about Miley, shall we?

So I think the moral of the story is that if anyone tries to bring up football during small talk – it’s going to be a very awkward conversation. Same with any movies and likely television as well. Which, apparently, is what everyone is the world is Googling in their free time.

I can discuss Miley, Snapchat filters and how annoying it is when people post the Facebook Privacy status.

Good thing my weekend plans involve my best friend’s birthday, quality time with my sister and limited interaction with strangers.


And maybe I should watch some football. 

Are You "That" Girl?

She holds a fancy Starbucks drink in one hand while the other masterfully flips through the pages of the latest book from the New York Times bestseller list. “That” girl. A Michael Kors bag is perfectly perched in the elegant space between her wrist and her elbow and her outfit looks like it was thrown together effortlessly despite the fact that it could be featured in the pages of Vogue. Her Essie manicured nails are perfect  - not a chip to be seen. “That” girl. Straight from your Pinterest board.

How did she juggle her morning coffee, her book, her purse and her metro card to step through the subway turnstiles like she was walking down a runway? How does she only have one small purse to get through the day, while I’ve felt like a bag lady since the second I moved to Manhattan? Because she’s “that” girl. A different species from you entirely, right?

Her hair is long and gleaming in the early morning sun and she’s outfitted from head to toe in Nike gear. This season’s newest fashions, of course. She looks like her morning miles in Central Park should be used in a commercial. “That” girl.

She’s floating, and girls and guys alike can’t help but follow her with their eyes as she makes the rolling hills of Central Park look like an enjoyable amusement park ride instead of a pain in the ass. “That” girl is who you will never, ever, manage to be – right?

We’ve all seen these women, and chances are you’ve asked yourself, “How do they do it? How do they make it seem so easy? So natural?”

Each and every morning I try to figure out how to somehow read my book (very rarely is it a New York Times bestseller – more like something I’ve pulled from the shelves of the New York Public Library), answer text messages I’ve failed to respond to, and get my metro card out from its Vera Bradley change purse. The change purse which resides in my backpack – not a Michael Kors purse that sits perfectly in the crook of my arm. But what does sit in the crook of my arm is a reusable bag filled with my food for the day – since I definitely can’t afford $12 Chop’t salads and $10 fresh squeezed juices every day. Adding a morning coffee into the mix? Heels? Impossible.  I’m just not “that” girl.

When my alarm goes off for a run in the morning my hair resembles a rat’s nest and I’m likely wearing Old Navy or some other running apparel I’ve managed to get on clearance for less than $20.

But this morning during my run I had an interesting thought. “That” girl ran by and I thought, “Does she know that she’s the object of envy?”

And you know what I realized? She probably has no idea. She probably groaned when her alarm went off too. And maybe her Uncle Bob works for Nike and gets all her pretty gear for free. And chances are her legs are burning up those hills just like everyone else’s.

And then my next thought was, “Oh my GOD. What if people look at me and think

I’m

making it seem so easy? Could I possibly be “that” girl in someone else’s eyes?” And honestly – yes. Any one of us can be. Because we all have admirable strengths and qualities and we all have days when we’re rockin’ it. Our outfit is on point. We aren’t a bag lady for once. Weeks of yoga has made it possible to make the commute in wedges instead of your Saucony’s. Weeks of hard work have paid off and Harlem Hill is a little less torturous. In those moments, we can unknowingly become “that” girl to someone else.

If someone saw me running up Cat Hill this morning, chances are they didn’t give me a second thought. But I was pushing the pace past Engineer’s Gate and my shorts were pretty cute – so maybe for a split second someone compared themselves to me. Without knowing anything about me.

“That” girl that you see in the morning and use to put yourself down and make yourself feel inferior – is probably doing the same exact thing. And she’s probably no different than you. With good days and bad days – confident days and days she isn’t feelin’ so hot.  

Are there girls that walk around

knowing

they are the shit? Yes. But those aren’t girls you really want to strive to be, are they?

Instead, take a little comfort in the fact that you 

don’t

feel superior. You can’t imagine someone looking at you and thinking that you’re one of the ones that have your shit together. 

We can’t imagine being “that” girl. But chances are that whoever we look at and put on a pedestal – feels just as insecure at times as everyone else.

So yeah,

we’re all “that” girl.

But seriously, there has to be a better way to juggle all my shit in the morning... 

A-Z Survey

I feel like I’m in 8

th

grade filling out a survey about the last boy I kissed and what my last sent text message says ("Mkay"). I guess the things we consider entertaining as 13 year olds don’t really change that much – who is up for a game of MASH? I’m really curious as to who I’m going to marry and whether or not I’ll live in a mansion, apartment, shack or house! Took this survey from

Ms. Kaitlin

. Here we go.

A — Age: 

25. Officially in my “mid-twenties.” I prefer being a “twenty-something.”

B – Biggest Fear: 

Birds. Nope – no traumatizing story. I just really, really, really hate birds. Pigeons are definitely the worst, followed closely by seagulls. Something about them sends panic through my body – I’ve screamed, cried and run, causing a general scene, when confronted with pigeons in the city. The sound of their wings makes me want to puke. My biggest fear is that one is going to fly into me.

C – Current Time: 

8:30 a.m.

D – Drink You Had Last: 

I’m currently drinking tea because I need to hydrate but I’m always freezing !

E – Easiest Person To Talk To: 

My sister. Anything I would write in a diary, I know I could also say to my sister. Which is so ironic, considering she’s the person I tried my hardest to hide my password journal from back in middle school. If you had told me when we were younger that we would one day be best friends, we both probably would have cracked up. Actually, I’m almost positive that our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles told us exactly that as we were growing up – and we certainly didn’t buy it. But without a doubt, my sister is my best friend.

F – Favorite Song:

 Oh damn. Choosing a favorite anything is hard for me, but a favorite song is nearly impossible. It’s so dependent on my mood! Not to mention my taste in music is allllll over the place. One song that I could listen to on repeat for hours is Fire and Rain by James Taylor. Another is On My Own from Les Miserables. I’ve also been known to listen to a LOT of Ke$ha. Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of folksy stuff. But favorite at the moment let’s go with Missy Higgins,

any

song. Seriously need to see her in concert, ASAP.  

G – Grossest Memory: 

My first thought was a recent weekend at a NYRR race when I went to use a portapotty and…really wished I hadn’t. Let’s just say I found a way to hold it.

H – Hometown: 

Small town Long Island.

(Also home to the most incredible sunsets)

I – In Love With:

 So many things! And I’m so lucky that my life is so full of things and people that I love.

(Definitely love all these things! Except rain. I do not love rain.)

J – Jealous Of:

 I try not to be a jealous person, but it’s a natural reaction sometimes. I guess I would say I’m jealous of people who are super fulfilled by what they’re doing – whether it be their careers, their side projects, their volunteer efforts, etc. There’s a lot that I want to accomplish one day – and sometimes I feel like I’m in a constant state of, “One day I’ll do this…One day I’ll do that.” Sometimes it feels like I’m waiting for there to magically be more time for me to do all the things I want to do – despite knowing that the only way it’s going to happen is if I

make

the time. I also know that all those people who seem completely fulfilled and accompli

shed have things that they are putting on hold too. I guess the important thing is that I at least

have

goals and aspirations, right?

K – Kindest Person You Know: 

I’m lucky to know so many incredibly kind and generous people that I don’t think I can name just one. Cop out answer, but whatever.

L – Longest Relationship:

Peanut Butter and I have been very serious for a very long time.

M – Middle Name: 

Michelle – which is also my “last name” on Facebook, so sometimes people think it’s really my last name.

N – Number of Siblings: 

1 younger sister – see above – best friend, drop dead gorgeous and legitimately the funniest/strangest person that you’ll ever meet. 

(Totally normal)

O – One Wish: 

More hours in the day.

P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last:

 My dad – he gives me all the important information like, “Tonight is a full moon and super moon and blood moon and a lunar eclipse.”

(He's a pretty funny guy, fabulous chef, and knows SO MANY THINGS)

Q – Question You’re Always Asked: 

Usually it’s about my job – “Oh my God do you LOVE IT?!”

R – Reason To Smile: 

Monkeys. Just look at a picture of a cute monkey. I bet you smile. Another reason to smile is how #blessed I am in so many ways. Everyone complains , but I’m so lucky that if I really stop and think, my life is pretty damn great.

S – Song You Last Sang: 

Probably the theme song to Orange Is The New Black since I CANT STOP WATCHING.

T – Time You Woke Up: 

6:15 a.m. for some Kayla Itsines leg day – ouch!

U – Underwear Color: 

Blue with some sort of pattern.

V – Vacation Destination: 

I REALLY want to go hiking out west!

W – Worst Habit: 

Biting my lips, probably. I also have a tendency to get really worked up and passionate about things and not even realize that I’m being sassy/controlling/obnoxious/argumentative. I’m trying to work on that one…

X – X-Rays You’ve Had: 

Teeth, shin, foot/ankle

Y – Your Favorite Food:

 Don’t make me pick – I love all food! Except licorice and truffles.

(But guac is definitely up there on the list!)

Z — Zodiac Sign: 

Taurus. I don’t consider myself particularly stubborn but, people close to me may disagree?

Pick one (or a few) and share your answers!