No lamb, no garden, no immaculate conception but there IS something about me.


Pour some sugar on me

I gave up refined sugar today. My goal was to make it at least 4 weeks because my record is 3 weeks.

I made it 7 hours.

To be fair to myself I didn't mean to do it. I went to lunch with someone who was riding with me for work today and we went to my old faithful, Panera. As we were talking, I absent mindedly got a small cup, filled it a quarter full of half Sprite and half fruit punch and drank it as I do every time I'm at Panera (that inch of soda is the only soda I ever have). Then I realized what I'd done.


To not be fair to myself my hotel tonight gave me a warm cookie at check in and I ate it. But back to giving myself credit (I'm liking this "I am awesome!!!" game) I went to Chick-Fil-A for the second time ever and ordered a grilled chicken salad. And an order of small waffle fries but they don't count because it was only the second time I had ever been there. Therefore the cookie was my reward for not getting chicken nuggets. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

(On a side note, I am convinced that no one gets as excited over stupid random stuff like I do and there is not much I love more than Chick-Fil-A. The fact that they say "My Pleasure" after every time you say "Thank you" is beyond amazing. It's magical. It makes me downright giddy.)

So why am I giving up sugar? It's because I am a sugaraholic and I will crave it like an addict craves crack. It will get so bad that if I have nothing else in the house I will eat a spoonful of straight sugar. I have never been an overeater in my whole life so it's not about that, it's more about craving sweet things until I eat something that is. When I cut out sugar for a few weeks it helps me stop "needing" it or thinking that I do.

For the last 2 years I have cut out refined sugar (almost) completely off and on to reset myself. I have never noticed any weight loss from it but I know that people who lose a lot of weight from cutting out sugar will also cut out all bleached flour and fruit. I am ok without bleached flour because I rarely have it anyway but I can't give up fruit. I don't eat a lot of vegetables so I feel like fruit offsets that (in moderation). During strawberry season I eat literally 2lb a day, it's a problem. The bun would be pretty sad if I didn't eat fruit anymore too because we both have a serious apple addiction.

The things that I typically cut out are anything that I usually eat that are sweet (besides fruit): jam, chocolate *sob*, Luna bars, gum, you name it. The only thing besides fruit that I allow myself is yogurt because I just can not get used to Greek yogurt straight. I just can't. I don't eat it a lot though, usually just after my Sunday long runs when I am trying to get as much protein as I can in.

It turns out that my "cut it out" method works pretty well in regards to my sugar problems (and more recently to other areas of my life) and it helps me stop thinking about it. Eventually I am able to add it back in in small amounts and that things usually stay good for 6 or more months (until I eat a half a gallown of vanialla buttercream frosting and the whole things starts going downhill). If you're having a hard time moderating yourself with something just cut it out completely. It will be hard the first week or two but I swear that once you get used to it you will barely even think about it. Don't do it gradually, just get rid of it. I promise you will get a lot of clarity from it.


My favorite races: The Boilermaker

The Boilermaker is the country's largest 15k and takes place in Utica, NY at the Saranac Brewery which is pretty close to where I spent my formidable years living with my parents. Because of this a lot of people I know from growing up (and myself) view this as "the" goal race to run someday. In Oneida county your goal isn't to run a marathon, it's to eventually run the Boilermaker. Everyone knows about it if for no other reason than to avoid being anywhere near downtown Utica on that sultry day in July when 14,000 people brave the hot pavement to satisfy their personal goals. It's notorious for being extrememly hot as it's run on a lot of roadway with no shade and having some pretty awful hills (which I was pretty disappointed to find out didn't least not after training for the Mountain Goat in Syracuse which I'll talk about in another post). Two of the men who work at Fleet Feet in Syracuse have run every single Boilermaker since it's inception which makes them somewhat of a legend. I grew up not just knowing about it because it was relatively close to where my dad lived for quite a few years but because my uncle and cousin used to run it when I was in high school. I remember them talking about the race itself, talking about training, looking for their names in the special edition of the Observer Dispatch, the paper in Utica that publishes every runner's name and time, and being so proud of them. It was always a pipe dream of mine to run it but NEVER thought I would do it someday.

I know that some of the people who read this blog are people who went to high school with me and I know that it will probably come as somewhat of a shock to some of them that I used to run in high school. I had this weird dream of being on the cross country team but had no idea how to break out of my little nerdy music kid group into the world of the athletes so I used to run on my own at the high school track every night of every summer from my senior year of high school to my sophomore year of college. That's the year I got sick and stopped running but until then I was pretty diligent about it. I learned a lot about myself on those nights when I would run around the track in the pitch black trying to avoid stepping on the frogs that would be all over the track (they were gross when I couldn't miss them and that's all I'm going to say). I don't think I ever ran more than a mile but in my own head I was running and that was enough. It's probably when my running addiction started although I didn't know what it would eventually turn into.

Running has always been personal to me so the second thing that may come as a shock is that my normally attention seeking self has run most of my races on my own without anyone there. I like to just show up, run the race, and then go home. My best friend from high school is amazing and comes to my big races or if I run one that's close to her but for the most part it's all me and I kind of like it that way. I do like when Beth makes me signs, though :)

Look at my guns. No really, look at them. I miss them *sigh*

I ran the Boilermaker in 2010 but not in 2011 because I was in the midst of cardiologist appointments last year at the time of the race (I was registered and literally didn't decide until that morning that I couldn't run it and it was heartbreaking). I was ridiculously excited to run this race because I had been looking forward to it pretty much my entire life and it was a huge milestone for me. My running friend did it with me as well and she had never run 9 miles before so I spent most of the race getting her through it (something I rarely do, I'm a selfish runner :P). It wasn't that hot that day and it was a pretty easy run considering what I went through at the Mountain Goat. The only part that I hated was the Parkway because it was so straight and flat, I live for hills. At one point a guy yelled at me for passing people on the "hills" :P I saw SO many people that I knew and it was incredible. It's the only race I have ever run where I personally KNEW so many people around, usually it's just casual aquaintences from my running club (Syracuse Track Club, btw).

The Boilermaker is like a big party and to date I still have never run a race with so much support. There were bands or DJ's at every mile and people sometimes 5 or 6 deep cheering us on. There were bells and whistles and signs and ecouragement and good natured heckling and just straight up 9.3 miles of awesomesauce. Seriously, it is I race that I think you could run on pure crowd spirit alone. Well, until you get to the back hills of the golf course where you're in no man's land and just want to get to the party that the end that all the signs keep promising.

I think I cried more in that race than I had cried in an entire year. I cried because I had always wanted to run it and never thought I'd be able to. I cried when I ran past my mom outside the hospital because she was working that day and dragged all her employees outside with signs to cheer me on (ok, so maybe I told her she'd better have signs). I cried when I went by my childhood babysitter (aka my second mom) and her husband (he's a paramedic so he volunteers) and she started screaming my name and jumping around when she saw me and ran in the middle of all the runners to hug me. And I cried when I crossed the finish line because I was just so happy with how far I had come and to see my best friend there with a sign for me.

And when the magic ended. I went over to the brewery to meet with my best friend and wait for my running friend (I had to abandon her with 2 miles to go because I mentally switched into my normal auto-pilot). When she came through the chute we started walking to the after party and I immediately felt like I was going to pass out. I vaguely remember sitting right on the side of the road to pull off my shoes and put my head between my legs. I remember a guy asking if I was ok and my best friend telling him I was. I remember her forcing me to eat a popsicle and drink some water until I felt better enough to go to the after party but I didn't feel great at all so I drove an hour home to lay on my couch for the rest of the day.

I was extremely restless the rest of the day and felt really off but was finally able to fall asleep. At 3am I woke up because my heart was beating so hard that I couldn't catch my breath. I was extrememly dizzy and lightheated and had awful vertigo. It was so bad I thought about going to the emergency room but I had to be on a plane at 8am to go to a sales meeting in Boston for work and I didn't want to be stuck there (I don't always make the wisest decisions...ok, I rarely do when it comes to my physical health). I managed to fall asleep but felt awful the next day, so much so that when my flight was delayed for 4 hours I called around trying to get a dr's appointment in between but no one could see me. I contemplated going to the hospital when I got to Boston but sucked it up instead and did the best I could and finally felt better around the time I left my sales meeting. Of course.

In hind sight I am 99.9% sure I was suffering from heat exhaustion and severe dehydration. I had felt so great during the race and was so focused on helping my friend through it that I literally only drank one small cup of water in 9 miles. I definitely learned my lesson during that race that no matter how great you feel you need to make sure you're taking in fluids, especially if it's hot and you're sweating (which I wasn't because I had no fluids in me, I can't drink anything before a race because of stomach problems so I have to rely on what I had the night before and what I drink during the race).

Overall the Boilermaker was by far one of my most memorable races and I can not WAIT to run it this year. I have heard of so many people I know running it for the first time and I can't wait to see them! If you're reading this you are all going to do GREAT! It's such a fun hometown race and it's such a great memory. AND you get a collectable beer glass and awesome food after the race, how awesome is that??

BTW, if you are thinking of signing up for the Boilermaker I would do so fast. For the first time ever they capped the race at 14,000 people last year and even though it's still quite a few months away it's already at over 9,000 people. So what are you waiting for? SIGN UP and I'll see you there!


Cooking fail and Bunday...Saturday?

I tried to cook today. Tried being the operative word. Cooking isn't really my think. Baking...baking is my thing. Do you know what I got for Christmas? This:

My mom gave it to me (I think it's because she felt bad for orphaning me for my first Christmas ever so she could go to North Dakota with my stepdad) and I cried when I opened it. Like a baby. That's how much I love baking. (Btw it's blue. Ice blue. And I haven't used it yet but I don't really want to talk about why. Someday I'll be able to but for now it just sits on my counter looking beautiful.)

I'm awesome at baking and always have been. I heard once that baking is a science and cooking is an art and I have been a scientist since the womb, since I dragged home my very first fossil at the age of two that I still have in my posession. But an artist I am not so cooking is not my thing. I have been wanting to get into cooking more recently because of wanting to eat more "clean" (as in limiting the amount of processed food I eat). It's how I eat more or less anyway but I want to stop eating frozen pre-packaged meals completely because of the sodium levels (I have absolutely no plans of going crazy about this and doing something rash like giving up Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters unless I'm on one of my no-refined-sugar kicks. No way, no how). I travel so much that it's difficult to keep fresh meat and vegetables and fruit around so I figured if I make things in bulk and freeze them then I can have fresh-ish food available at all times.

I found a recipe that looked pretty easy in Self magazine for turkey meatballs and whole wheat spaghetti a few days ago and decided that today would be the day that I try to make it. Seems easy, right? Wrong. I thought the whole "awesomeness" of cooking vs baking was that you could change things around and they would still taste good but that is so, so wrong. I changed ONE thing and my meatballs ended up tasting like a mouthful of mushy wheat bread (I subbed breadcrumbs for the italian bread soaked in milk that it called for). The good news is that the sauce I made was pretty darn good so I will take the 50/50. Also, for the record I consulted my mom AND my friend to see what to do about the breadcrumbs and they both agreed on the amount to put in so I didn't go in blind.  Another good thing is that it turns out I really like whole wheat spaghetti. Maybe I'll try the meatballs again tomorrow now that I've googled some other recipes. Or maybe I'll just play it safe and eat a salad.

My mom just called to ask how it went and I told her the sauce was good but a little salty so she told me to put a raw potato in to draw out some of the salt. I have so damn far to go in this cooking thing but I'm determined.


In other news (I can't wait for Bunday Monday to talk about this) I finally ordered Archie's new bunny mansion today! We (and I do mean we because apparently I was unable to do this without Trixie and Archie's help) made up some mock templates to see which size would work best (because "we" are nerds) and I went with the larger cage. I wanted the smaller one so it wouldn't consume a whole corner of my living room but in true owner-of-spoiled-pets fashion I went with the larger cage because it would be better for her as I am gone so often. And the small one wouldn't fit her new couch that I got her the other day from Build A Bear (after my evil coworkers sent me a picture of it forcing me to go to the mall immediately to procure one).

On a side not, contrary to popular belief I am NOT Hello Kitty obsessed and never have been however somehow in the last few months I've been given a TON of Hello Kitty things. I've liked HK since I was small but only would get select items that I thought were amazing like this bunny sized couch. In all honesty it was more about the size because she loves digging in the cushions of my couch and chair so I thought she would appreciate one of her own size. And the pink and HK don't hurt ;)

Anywho, I think the bun approves...of the larger cage AND the couch. Here's hoping she helps me put it together when it arrives. Oh! And here's the one we chose:

I also ordered this mat to go under it because she like to dig and I don't want her to scratch the floor:
Sadly, I don't think I'll be able to put it together for a week or two after it arrives but I'm pretty excited and I'm sure the bun will be happy to have a lot more room to run around and fling her toys and dig her boxes and hide yogurt drops and chew on her couch. I mean, I'd be excited if I were a bun.

Winter running at it's finest.

This morning I was all set to go run 4 miles to prep for my race in 2 weeks. Usually we run early, around 8:15, but we were running at a different place *cough* bar *cough* from downtown Syracuse so I didn't need to be there until 9:15. When I talked to my friend at 8:15 to decide if we should go or not due to weather we barely had gotten an inch of snow overnight and it was very lightly snowing at the point. By the time I left my house at 9:00 we were in a complete white out with wet lake effect and it was accumulating fast. This is typical for Syracuse but I've been lulled into a false sense of security because we have had almost no snow fall this year. For an example of how fast we can get hit, here is a picture of my house on a Tuesday afternoon in November of 2010 when on Monday morning we had full grass and absolutely no snow:

Lake effect snow is no joke 'round these parts.

By the time I was on the road this morning I realized that this run was going to be a rough one if for no other reason than the visibility (or lack thereof).

I arrived at our meeting point on time but due to some miscommunication we didn't start running until a half hour later and by then the rest of the group (all four people that braved the elements)  had already taken off. We had plans to run the canal trail but that didn't happen because we couldn't even see the signs to direct us to the path. I couldn't see much of anything, actually, because by then we had about 4 inches of fresh, wet snow on the ground with more slamming me in the face as we were running into the wind. As soon as it would hit my face it would melt sending sheets of water running in my eyes and making it impossible to see. My friend fared better because she had a hat but I was unhappy. SO unhappy. We ambled around downtown Syracuse for around 2 miles until we ran by a building that huge chunks of slush were falling off of. Because I was closest to the building I first got nailed by a huge wet chunk falling from the roof on my back, then my legs and finally directly on top of my head. At that point I called uncle because I was soaking wet, couldn't see a darn thing and was miserable. The bottom of my pants and shoes also weighed about 5lb more because of the amount of slush that they had accumulated.

In other words, I should have won a darn trophy for being out in that weather today.

But of course I am happier that I went out vs staying at home. Mind you I am currently on the couch with 8 layers of clothes and a down comforter (and a cat) on me and am STILL freezing but it was worth it. It always is. I just never want to do it again. I hate running in the rain because I hate being wet if not swimming or bathing and I feel like the snow cheated me today. Usually we're friends but today it's on my not-so-good list.

Also, to the people of Fleet Feet who saw me directly after the run when I drove over to get a hat (that I needed anyway) to cover my hair while we went to Panera, I'm sorry. But I know you understand because you would do it too.

Worst picture of me ever. Ever ever.
And Urban Decay? Your 24/7 Waterproof liquid eyeliner ain't as hearty as you claim. Just sayin.


Anatomy of winter running wear

To start off, it's amazing I can move my fingers enough to type this because my Zumba instructor tried to kill me.  I might have to sleep on my couch because my bed is really high and I'm not sure my 5'2" self can make it in.

Moving on, I've been wanting to write about what to wear for winter running for a while. To be fair we haven't even had a winter here in Syracuse. For being the snow capitol of the country we've had maybe 35 inches when we should have had at least 200 by now. Today it was almost 50 degrees. 50 degrees! In February! If I had run today I would have been in shorts, no doubt. If it's anything warmer than 40 I prefer shorts, just a weird quirk I guess.

The number one rule to running clothes is that cotton is your enemy especially in the winter. It soaks up sweat but doesn't release it which just makes you damp and then cold which can lead to hypothermia. Rule number 2 is that you should always go into a run a little bit cold. If you can stand outside comfortably before you've even started running then you have too many clothes on. As soon as you start running you will warm up and then overheat so you should be a little uncomfortable at first. Rule number 3 is...really, that's it. Just know that these recommendations are what work for me but can be changed for what work for you.

Also, these next pictures were taken about 2 years ago on my way out to run in below zero weather. In the spring/fall I usually just wear lighter pants, a short sleeved tech shirt and a long sleeved tech shirt.

On to the winter wear!

As far as my base, base layer I like to start out with a good (non-cotton) sports bra made for high impact sports and wool socks usually of the Smartwool nature. I don't like them too thick but they do need to wick moisture away if my feet get too wet.

My next layer, the real base layer, is my Under Armor Cold Gear pants and a short sleeved wickable shirt. I am in hardcore love with my pants. When I bought them it caused my physical pain to fork over $60 for them but they're amazing. they feel like sweatpants on the inside but I am never, ever sweaty in them and they have kept me warm in every temperature down to negative 5 (the coldest I've run in and I probably never will again, 10 is my cut off). My shirt is a Marmot skiing shirt, I think. I usually get my shirts at TJMaxx, I don't care that much about them other than being wickable.

The next layer, my mid layer, is a long sleeved shirt over that. This one is by Cloudveil and I miss it as I don't have it anymore. It had thumb holes and little mitten type things that folded over my hands when it was really cold *sigh*

Next up is my outer layer, usually a thicker coat-type covering (but not really a coat?). This is by Nike, I think.

My facial expressions are getting better and better, aren't there?

The final layer is a lightweight windbreaker if I plan on being anywhere windy. This one is also by Cloudveil and I still have it (thank goodness).

Last, to get myself to the car I usually wear a vest of my winter jacket because although it seems like I'm wearing a lot they are all pretty thin layers. I don't wear this running.

To top it all off you can add a hat or ear covering headband but I can't stand anything on my head. I do wear my running gloves when it's cold though or my mitten liners and covers if it's really cold (all gotten at Fleet Feet, mittens keep your hands warmer because they don't separate your fingers and allow the heat to all hang out together).

Again, this is if it's extremely cold or you're running somewhere windy like near a lake like I do. You can remove layers as needed. Because of the mild winter I have been wearing thinner pants (because I don't fit in my Under Armor ones right now or I would wear them, they never make me too hot), a short sleeved tech shirt, a long sleeved tech shirt and a jacket over that.

And there you have it. Good gear isn't cheap but if you scour the racks at TJMaxx and Marshalls or go to Target to begin with and then slowly add in higher quality pieces you'll be good to go. Or you could be one of those people who wears sweatpants and a sweatshirt and are perfectly happy. If that works for you, rock on. Either way get out there and enjoy some fresh air!


Something is (almost) always better than nothing.

Two posts in one day! Such ambition! Except...not really. I'm sitting here dying a little on the inside. Why, do you ask? Well, this morning I said I was going running but I didn't because I ended up not having time before I needed to start working. Therefore I told myself I was going to go to Zumba tonight but then I got really tired and started reading (and finishing) my book and then that idea was shot. So around 7:30 I said to myself, " can you be a perfectionist AND a procrastinator at the same time?". And then I just realized it's part of my charm, right up there with my ability to talk nonstop to anyone at any time and get 3 gold stars on every level of Angry Birds ever created. I didn't want to have the day be a waste of sitting on my bum reading a book and driving to appointments though so I dusted off my 30 Day Shred DVD (let's be honest, P90X is calling my name but it still scares the bajeezus out of me so I haven't started it yet) and now I want to die. A year ago I thought this DVD was a joke because I could breeze through it with no problems. Today however I can not feel my butt. That I am currently sitting on. While typing this. And wondering why JWow got the body she did and I was dealt the short, red haired body that I have. It's probably a trade off because SHE can't procrastinate and be a perfectionist at the same time. BOOM! And it's all because Jillian Michaels knows how to kick the snot out of you in 20 minutes. Well, at least at this stage of my physical in inaptitude.

Moral of the story: it doesn't matter what time you excercise or how intense it is, just get off the couch and do something. Then get right back on the couch content with the knowledge that you did especially if you're working towards a goal. And my goal?

My formerly bangin' self. I miss her. And her biceps.

How to build yourself up to a 5k

In my experience there seems to be two major milestones in running that people seem to gravitate towards: the 5k and the marathon. Oddly enough, neither of these are mileages that I like. A 5k is way too short for me and a marathon is much too long. I like to hang out in the 10-15 mile category, it's my happy place.

The 5k seems to be becoming more and more popular, I think in part because it's a great jumping off point if you want to start running and you can always find a 5k race somewhere. It's a great goal if you're just starting out and by the time you achieve it you should be able to tell whether or not running is your thing or if you should move on to another activity. I often see "Run a 5k" on a lot of people's bucket lists or popping up as New Year's resolutions and it makes my little heart so happy. Sometimes I see "run a marathon" on there by a non-runner which is just crazy talk but I'm not judging (ok, I am, start with a 5k and go from there, ya overachiever!).

A 5k may seem daunting to some people but it doesn't have to be! In American terms (because we loathe the metric system and all the awesomeness it entails) that is 3.1 miles which is a great base. In my opinion if you can run 3 miles you can run 6 and if you can run 6 you can run anything. Seriously.

If a 5k is your goal then first find a race that you would like to do. Whether it's 12 weeks away (totally doable if you're in decent shape) or a year away once you fork over the $20-$30 entrance fee your motivation will increase like you wouldn't believe. I first found races by googling 5k's in Syracuse NY and then came across the website CNY Running which is how I keep track of my races now. I'm sure there is something similar in most areas and if not check out your local running store, they always have fliers for races. Next do some research and find a good plan to stick to to get you there. As I've mentioned before I think the Couch to 5K program is great. I also love Hal Higdon's plans which are basically the same idea. There are tons of resources out there too like phone apps and computer programs and even the Nike Plus foot pod to help you keep track of how you're doing. And books! My lifeblood! There are lots of great books that will have plans in it (although for the most part I think C25K is aces. I also highly recommend the book The Runner's Rule Book to get you ready for running and for your first race:

Check it out on Amazon!
It's an awesome, comprehensive book that's FUNNY and easy to read.

Also, pick up a copy of Runner's World magazine at the grocery store or bookstore. The more you learn about something the more you will want to do it. Or is that just me? I have no idea, my sense of reality is warped since I am convinced I am the sun and the world revolves around me. But just do it, you'll get some good tips.

Ok, so you've chosen a race, you've got a plan, you've got some good shoes because you read THIS post and you've done some research. Now comes the tough part...the running. Regardless of what plan you have start out slow and then slow the hell down! Yes, it's called a race but I'm going to try and break this to you aren't going to win. Unless you you keep running until you're 70 and end up the only one in your age group chances are high that you aren't going to pull a Kara Goucher and qualify for the Olympics right out of the gate (I love her, she's my favorite runner). Be easy on yourself. It isn't about speed, it's about getting it done and if you try to bang out even an 8-9 minute mile your first run it's not going to be pretty. take your time and don't worry about how long it takes you to run it. Some weeks will be harder than others. Some DAYS will be harder than others and we all have them. Two summers ago I remember I set out to do a pretty easy 8 miles with my running group and turned around a mile in and walked back to my car because I was just too tired and couldn't go another step. It happens to everyone so don't get yourself down. If it takes you two weeks to get through Week 1 of C25K so what? No one is judging you. My saying is that no matter how slow I am going I am still faster than the person sitting at home on their couch and my goal is to just not come in last (which is STILL faster than the person on the couch). Most importantly follow your plan. It's ok to redo some days but unless you've run before I wouldn't try to jump ahead *cough* like I did *cough* and do more than the plan calls for. It's helping you build up your resistance, your ability to run and most importantly to make sure you don't get hurt (try pushing yourself and let me know how those shin splints feel). And TAKE YOUR REST DAYS. Rest days are just as important as run days because they give your body a chance to rebuild itself from the beating you're going to be giving it once you hit 5k and realize that you want to do a half marathon ;)

And on that note I am getting out of bed now and going to go run. Happy trails!

Oh! And here's an AWESOME race that I just came across and am trying to do (even though it's a 5k, grumble grumble) so if you're close to one you'd best be signing up because it looks amazing!

The Color Run
*This post dedicated to my friend Andrea who called me a b**** for the fact that she just started C25K. YOU GO GIRL!!!


Bunday Monday: Bunnies give kisses?

When I first got the bun I went out and got a bunch of books on rabbits to familiarize myself with my new pet (again with the over-researching). I'd spent 4.5 years working with rabbits at my last vet tech job and my roomate in college had a rabbit that I called Bunny Man but I didn't really know their behaviors or little quirks or really even what to feed them. As I was reading Rabbits for Dummies (no joke) I came across a part that mentioned that if a rabbit really accepts you and loves you they will lick you as a part of grooming and sign of affection. As you can imagine it was my biggest hope that I would get bunny kisses one day but she was so small when I got her I wasn't sure what her personality would shake out to be.

Well guess what? I got myself a bunny kisser! Archie loves to give kisses, especially when I've been gone for a few days. She likes to get on the couch behind me or on the arm of the chair and lick my face or lick my arms when I sit on the floor to play with her. She also likes to bite in my hair (hard!) which I don't love nearly as much. When I've been gone for a few days Trixie is also more affectionate so the first thing I do when I get home is sit in front of Archie's cage. Trixie will usually sit right in front of me and allow Archie to lick her too (for 2 minutes or so, then it's the normal hissing and spitting when Archie starts to bite in her fur) which is as close to family harmony we can get around here :)

And yeah, I know that this solidifies me as a crazy rabbit lady but what can you do, it's cute.

Click for a video of Archie giving kisses that I can NOT get to embed, argh!


The hardest step for a runner is the first one out the door.

The last week hasn't been kind to me. The universe keeps shoving me down at every turn and (almost) all of it is out of my control. When my running friend texted me on Thursday and asked if I wanted to do a 4 mile training run on Saturday for a race we have in a few weeks I replied "Yes!" even though I hadn't run in 2 weeks because I was mentally dying to get back at it. Then when my alarm went off on Saturday morning I was full of reasons why I couldn't go: It had snowed. I wasn't ready for 4 miles. I didn't know what I was going to wear. My back hurt. My knee hurt. I was in the middle of a good book. On and on and on. The time that I needed to leave by came and passed and I still hadn't gotten out of bed and then my friend texted me and said she was going to be 15 minutes late. I still laid in bed thinking of all the reasons I should stay there and then with 10 minutes to go out of nowhere I got out of bed, threw on some clothes, and went to our meeting place.

The run ended up being an interesting one because I've never experienced black ice like we had that morning. The course for this race is notoriously hilly and we could barely walk a lot of it let alone run but we still did (most of) it. By the time I was done I felt so much better that I had gone and it gave me the grounding I've been looking for for weeks plus the confidence I needed to know that I can run this race in 2 weeks. I couldn't walk a lot of the rest of the day because my knee and hip hurt so bad (probably because of my stride being weird due to the ice) but it was so worth it. I decided not to run today because I wanted to give my old lady parts time to rest and because I want to start P90X tomorrow but I really wish I had been able to because yesterday's run wasn't enough to carry over to today. For yesterday though it was completely mind clearing.

Sometimes you just have to force yourself to get up and do the exact thing you don't want to do. Sometimes you have to push down every little voice inside, no matter how many there are, and go anyway. Sometimes you just have to stop thinking so much and just get out there and do it. And even if you hate every step in the end it will be worth it, no matter how small of an effort tomorrow. Yesterday I did it. Today I didn't. Tomorrow is a new day. And that's all I can ask for.


Bunday Monday!

I've heard that there are some women that surround themselves with less attractive women so that they can look better standing next to them. Never one to follow the pack, I choose to surround myself with gorgeous women instead. Maybe I'm hoping that it will rub off on me? No such luck yet as I'm still an average looking red haired chick but sometimes things take time!

While I was in DC last weekend with one of said gorgeous friends and one of HER gorgeous friends, sipping Moscow Mules and wondering who goes out on a Saturday night in kitten heels or a suit (DC is a place unlike I've ever experienced, everyone has a much more important sounding job than me, are much more cultured and much less white. And kitten heels? REALLY?) the topic of conversation turned to the bun. And why wouldn't it because she's darn adorable? So in the wee hours of the morning while I was showing off videos of her throwing socks while simultaneously wondering how my bar tab got so high the gorgeous blonde friend of my gorgeous dark haired friend decided that I should have one day a week on my blog dedicated to Archie. Pure brilliance, I tell you.

And so we have...Bunday Monday!

Onto the first installment!

As I mentioned I was gone for 10 days in DC and then in Baltimore and returned on Friday. My pet sitter was amazed at how many pellets Archie can go through when she's bored and stuck in her cage so he filled her feeder to the top. Since I've been home I've noticed that she no longer eats from the bottom portion of her feeder but instead stands on her hind legs to eat from the top. I don't ask, I just go with it. She also dips her paws into Trixie's water fountain bowl to wash her face like a raccoon so I've come to expect unusual behavior from her.

Honey Badger bunny does what she wants!
Also for the record, yes that dish on top of her cage is her salad bowl that came from Anthropologie. Her middle name is "Spoiled".


The three mile sweet spot

I'm on the verge of accomplishing something that I've been working towards the last couple of years. For most people this would mean excitement and anticipation yet for me it means panic and uncertainty. I've never been afraid of failure (although to be honest, I'm a bulldog and refuse to fail at much). Failure is something I can handle, I've always got a plan B in the wings and just move along towards that. Instead I have a fear of accomplishment. When you work so long and hard at something and all of a sudden it happens there is almost a "now what?" mentality that follows and shortly after that the fear of whether or not I can maintain the goal. Everyone has their weak points in life and there is mine: if you finally get exactly what you want how long will you be happy with it? And how long will it last? So maybe it's less a fear of accomplishment and more of a fear of maintenance. Who knows, I'm not right so it's probably best not to delve too deeply.

That being said I approach every run the exact same way. I'm almost always certain that I won't make the mileage I have set for myself. I'm too cold, my socks are making my feet slip in my shoes, my stomach hurts, I 'm too tired, I exaggerated the mileage I ran the week before, etc etc.

 Every. Run.

I always start off with the idea that I will only go as far as I can and then I will walk if needed. Even when I'm banging out 40 mile weeks and my long runs are 10-15 miles I tell myself this because I'm convinced I can't go more than 2 miles. I always start out cautiously, mentally weighing all of the factors I've built up in my head that will ruin my run for the day. I will whine and moan through the first few miles, thinking about how in 10 steps I will have to give in and walk. And then magically, like clockwork, at mile 3 everything falls into place. My brain finally stops, my muscles start smoothing out, my stride lengthens and it's just me and my feet racing past the world. I have no idea how or why this happens but you can ask anyone who runs with me to confirm that it does. At mile 3 I stop talking to anyone, stop hyping them up to get through the run, stop paying attention to where they are and I go into autopilot. When I talk about why I love running I am talking about what happens to me after this 3 mile sweet spot. I live for those miles, when my overactive brain finally gives me a break and thinks of nothing else but my breathing and my stride and the road.

I'm an overthinker, an overachiever, a textbook Type A only child. I swear I've been pushing myself from the womb to go bigger and farther than I thought I could because once I've accomplished one thing I'm looking for the next. Easygoing isn't a personality trait that I have, sad to say. I need my life planned out every second for the next 5 years or I'm in a panic. Running, to date, has been the one thing that slows my brain down and makes me focus in the moment. Regardless of if you're like me or not I think that society pushes us more and more to think and be and do. A bachelor's degree in college is no longer a terminal degree for a good job as everyone has one. Do you need a master's, a PhD, an MBA? If you start a new job what is your career goal to move up and how long will you give yourself to accomplish it? If you get a new car how long do you plan to keep it before upgrading to the latest and greatest? If you buy a house are you going to build a brand new cookie cutter suburban dream or get a fixer upper and create a beautiful blog about vintage Italian door knobs and antique Italian linens that you've spent 10 years scouring shops and roadside sales for? When does the pressure to do more, be more, accomplish more end? And when do you stop pushing yourself so hard?

These external pressures will always be there. Keeping up with the Joneses will always be there. But in order to combat it you need to find a way to slow down and think about nothing for a while. Exercise is probably the best way to do that whether it's something you can see now or not. I think there's a reason that so many women have latched on to Zumba: it's fun, energetic, you get to dance and more importantly there is NOTHING else to think about for that hour that you're dancing your butt off next to a blue haired older lady who's getting down to Pitbull in a way that you can only pray her mortified grandchildren never see. But who cares? She has stresses too and she's forgetting about them to work on being fit and having FUN.

My best advice is to try one thing you've always wanted to. Running, Zumba, hiking, spinning, swimming, a triathlon, anything physical. Yes, you'll probably look ridiculous doing it for a while. Much like the first three miles of my runs sometimes you just need to suck it up and get out there and do it. But once you find the one activity that you click with not only will you stop caring how you look, you'll stop caring about anything but what's going on in that moment. And it is by far the best thing you can do for yourself mentally and physically.

That being said I am never buying those damn cargo pants all the other crazy ladies wear to Zumba. I am not.


Hunter boots review

Today I got my first gel manicure. If you have never heard of this it's a manicure that will (supposedly) last up to 2 weeks without chipping. It involved many layers and UV lights and took about 45 minutes but I was willing to give it a shot because of how rough I am on my hands. The seat I was sitting in while getting my nails done was right in front of a huge tv hanging on the wall. There was weird "soothing" music playing so I couldn't hear the movie that was playing but they had the subtitles on so I could read what was being said. As the man doing my manicure didn't say much (which I was ok with) I spent most of the time watching the movie which was...Dear John. I have never seen this movie on purpose because I think that Nicolas Sparks' main goal in life is to make grown adults cry as much as possible without being in physical pain. I was a basket case when I watched the Notebook and I can still tear up at the drop of a hat just thinking about that scene in the rain. Omg, I need a tissue right now. Dear John, however, was WAY worse. I couldn't hear what they were saying but regardless I was still inconsolable. I was trying SO HARD not to make it obvious that I was the crazy American girl crying over the silent movie but I was almost sobbing at one point. I didn't watch the end, thankfully, because I remember looking it up on Wiki when it came out to see if I would even enjoy seeing it so knowing what I know...I would have needed to be taken to my car on a stretcher if I had seen the end. I was at the part where he was reading his dad the letter and...

Just don't watch it if you haven't seen it. It's brutal.

The good news is that when I came home I was finally able to open the box I found on my porch this morning on my way out the door: my Hunter boots! I was really excited about them coming but also nervous because of the size I had to order. I tried them on at Lord and Taylor before ordering them and an 8 was way to big (my normal size) so I had to order a 7 without trying them on (no half sized, sad face). Of course before I could try them on (or even open the box) I had to let Trixie sit on it for a while.

And then as soon as I opened the box Archie had to check it out, naturally.

Spoiled. Squared.

Finally I was able to open my boots and it was like angels singing. So shiny, so red, so eager for mud puddles and snow slush and pumpkin patches and waterfalls and general outdoorsy shenanigans.

They're. So. SHINY!!!!

I stared at them and admired them for a while before I tried them on and once I did...I'm unsure how I feel. The calves are a little tight and I think that's a combination of the fact that I just started running again so I have some size to lose in these calves (and I will, I know what the usually measure vs now) and the fact that I had to go down to a size 7. I read a lot of reviews and saw that many people mentioned that they were tight in the calves which is contradictory to every picture of any model wearing them (of course I am 5'2" and no model so that makes sense). As far as how my foot fits in a 7 it's ok but feels like it might be a little tight if walking for a while. I did have pretty thick socks on but I would if it were cold anyway.

I think before I make any decisions I am going to go back to Lord and Taylor and try to 8 on again. I'm kicking myself for not ordering both sizes as I initially had wanted to but I wasn't interested in ponying up $260 even if I was sending a pair back.

Moral of the story: the jury is still out on the boots. The catalyst for finally buying them after years of saying I had no desire to was because I am going to Washington DC this weekend and it's supposed to be rainy but I'm trying not to let that factor into my decision. TRYING because I know me and I'd rather just suffer for the sake of instant gratification. Because look at them:

Yup. Like two little fireman shoes just waiting for adventure. *sigh*