a (mostly) pictorial thankful thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  I love the focus on giving thanks, eating (!), hanging with family and then eating some more.  While I adore Christmas, Thanksgiving simply doesn’t have the same chaotic atmosphere that Christmas has.  Did I mention the good eats?!  Many of my favorites in one day!

I am super grateful this year.  It’s been a really tough year – as in if 2013 is anything like 2012 I’m moving to a cabin in the woods.  BUT rays of sunlight DID occur and it’s important to remember them!

Family – of course!

Running – and everything/everyone it has brought to my life

Friends (not all of whom are pictured) who have been never-ending fountains of support


My new job

Focusing on reducing debt and spending more money on experiences rather things… like traveling!!

not giving into some of those bitter jaded feelings that tug at me sometimes

This blog!!

this was the first pic I used!!

Thanks to everyone to stops by – your encouragement, support and comments mean the world to me!  You all are helping me achieve my dream of being a writer!

Have a wonderful day!  I’m headed out for a run in a few minutes and then making some tasty dinner.  Then relaxing… non-stop – YAY!

happy it’s thursday

Whew!  What a week!  I feel like this thought crosses my mind every week.  Last week, I really struggled with the thankful thursday post.  This week it’s been much easier…

1.  My “little” bro’s birthday was this week!!  I love it!  He and I are only about 18 months apart so when he catches up a bit, it cracks me up.  Why?  Because it seems like he got old while I haven’t!  Yes, well, in my mind at least…

yes, this is exactly the look he would give me after this comment

He and my dad are still hanging out together on the other side of the world.  My brother, Kevin is one crazy cat.  He is fiercely ambitious and is an incredibly hard worker.  Kev is a freelance photographer and has been published in the likes of National Geographic, Time and plenty of others.  He is super talented and works tirelessly.

my dad and kevin hangin’ in sunny cali

One of my favorite stories about him, is for his 30th birthday he climbed to the highest base camp of Mount Everest.  I know… I went to the bar for mine!

kevin climbing mt. everest – you know, just at 17,000 feet… completely normal

2.  My speed work – I was pretty pleased with my mini speed work session yesterday.  Why?  My time wasn’t earth shattering or anything but it was quality, CONSISTANT effort!  I typically have this thought in my mind that I need to be careful because I will never be able to sustain whatever pace I am shooting for.  But I proved myself wrong yesterday!  Yay!

3.  Tyranena!!  So excited to travel to the exotic land of Wisconsin to hang out with my lovely Ragnar teammates this weekend.  We are having a slumber party tomorrow night AND Saturday night with some half marathon fun Saturday morning.  Yippee!

4. Ummm… this picture of Kevin

godzilla baby!!!

5.  Just overall grateful… I know this has been a tragic week for many and I feel damn lucky.  It’s so easy to forget to  recognize the positive in our everyday lives when we get bogged down by deadlines, issues, traffic – whatever.  I’m not saying these situations don’t warrant stress because they do!  But the more I remember to be grateful for the good things the better I am able to handle the rough stuff.

Oh and a run always helps!

odds and ends to be thankful for

I know I’m odd… its BEAUTIFUL weather here yesterday and today but it freaks me out.  77 degrees at the end of October?  Polar bears are crying… I can feel it.  Nevertheless, it’s Thursday and a day to chat about what I am grateful for in life.  This is important.  So, without further ado, what am I thankful for this week?

1.  I finished a marathon.  Yep, I know I mentioned this (a few 100 times) but I’m kind of still getting used to the idea.  It doesn’t really feel like it happened.  People are still asking me how it went and the answer I keep telling them is, “it was HARD!”.  Because I inhale blog posts from a number of bloggers, I had kind of lost the whole concept of, “marathons are tough and not everyone runs them”.  In my cyber-world, EVERYONE runs marathons, so it ain’t that special.  Hello?!  Earth to Amy!  You rocked 26.2 miles!  Way to go!

2.  I laughed out loud at this:

this caught me off guard and I laughed so hard I scared the cat!

3.  I’m carving my pumpkin this weekend!  Yippeee!

4.  I recently saw a quote on pinterest or facebook and it said something about the days being darkest before the dawn.  Or maybe it was something about a storm passing and a rainbow.  I’m not putting these memes/sayings down – I’ve found comfort in them many times.  What I realized though, was for the first time in a year, I WASN’T in need of this type of boost.  I’m not trying to brag here.  I feel like the foggy blah of depression/where is my life is going doesn’t feel so overwhelming.  This has been nice.

5.  Thanks so much for the awesome feedback on my whole carb-y “problem”.  Haha, I feel like there should be some kind of support group for us carb-folks.  Although I have a feeling it would turn into one heck of a carb recipe-swap! ;)

6.  I have a bib for Tyranena!!  Oh my gosh!  Thanks to Kim from Life in the Twin Lane , I will be running alongside my Panty Raider teammates in WI.  I can’t wait to see them!  These women rock my socks off and totally crack me up.  It’s going to be a fantastic weekend full of laughs, running, beer and hopefully cheese – I mean, it’s WI after all.  Next weekend… Yay!

7.  The Tiger’s are in the World Series!  I’m not a super fan but I love how excited fans get around here.  People are absolutely GIDDY – I love that energy!

my first Tiger’s game ever was this season! Yes, I take partial responsibility for them being in the World Series… I mean, where would they be if I hadn’t been there?!

8.  Tuesdays nights – these are spent hanging out with friends watching scary stuff on tv.  It’s just for the month of October but it has been a blast.

9.  My blog-aversary is coming up soon!  Okay, in about a month but STILL!  The fact I am still writing is a major feat for me.  I guess it’s like running – it has become one of my passions.  I have some ideas of how I am going to celebrate and I’ll keep you updated!

10. I’m getting some of my running/working out mojo back.  I know tons of people talk about how they can’t wait to get back to running after their marathon but I’ve enjoyed the lazy time.  However, I am starting to feel the “crazy” seep in (running is cheaper than therapy) and I’m not sleeping as well.  All point toward the need to lace my running shoes back up.  It’s weird though, the last time I had them on I was trucking through the hills of San Fran.  It seems like a life time ago!

good thing nike took some pics… I have some of me actually running – I just need to buy them

thankful it’s thursday!

What am I thankful for this week?  Umm, I’m kind of thankful my marathon is NOT this weekend!  Haha but seriously, here is my list for this week!

1.  I had a great run last night.  Earlier this week I was feeling pretty Eeyore-ish.  After being sick all weekend and into the first part of the week I hadn’t run in a few days.  Yesterday it was rainy and yucky but I laced up my Brooks PureCadence, put on a hat and headed outside.  I had a quality 6 miler that did wonders for my mood.  I have no idea why I forget how much better running makes me feel.  I pushed the tempo as well and for the first time in a long time I didn’t slow down for fear I wouldn’t be able to finish.  That was freedom in itself!

2.  This

Yes, I know I put all of these up yesterday but this one I couldn’t find.  It brings me happiness that I can’t even behind to describe!

3.  Skyped my family this week!  It was wonderful to see them!

4.  My niece gave me some quality advice about men.  She is 18.  I’m crazy about that kid

5.  This weekend is the Campus Classic!  I love this 5k!  It was the first race I ever ran and I’ve done it every year since.  It always reminds me how far I’ve come physically, mentally and emotionally.  There is a MONSTER hill at the end that either a) brings ppl to their knees (literally), b) makes ppl vomit – last year I had to give it an “uumph” just to not get hit by the woman behind me or c) makes ppl simply give up.  Me?  It makes me push harder and get rid of the barriers in my mind!  And helps me dodge vomit! ;)  I NEVER dreamed I could be a runner.  The race pretty much changed my life.  Crazy, eh?

campus classic from last year – can’t wait to pick up my bib tomorrow!

6.  A great talk with my fabulous friend Kara :)

7.  My dear friend Meagan has her first marathon this weekend!  Good ol’ Chicago!  I am SO incredibly proud of her.  Last year, we did a half together – her first and she really put the pedal to the metal in her training.  She has cut 2 mins off of her time and knocks out mileage like nobodies business.  I absolutely can’t wait for her to cross that finish line!  Of course I’m going to pick her brain a bit!

M is the bride – and now she will be a marathoner! btw – LOVE these girls!

8.  One of my besties got me this!

it’s pink… it’s a magnet… it’s PERFECT! thanks em!

9.  I am so happy to be feeling better!  It was a brutal start to the week

I also got some fantastic mail this weekend – a lovely hoodie from WHOOHA Gear!  I’ll be doing a review very soon!

oh me, oh my – I made it through the day!

Whew!  What a day.  It was one of those days where I should have stayed in bed.  I woke up late.  I was late for two meetings and missed one all together.  Our e-mail network was down the whole day – do you know how much we depend on e-mail to get our work completed?!  And then a bunch of other things that added up to me crying… awesome.

So, I had to reach deep to figure out what I was thankful for today.

1.  I went the whole day without uttering the stupid phrase, “I hate my life”.  If you remember, last week I talked about how I was working on stopping this phraseology.  It isn’t true or necessary.  I was proud of myself and I’m happy I’m breaking this habit.

2.  At the hotel we stayed at there was this amazing shower!  Also at night, they came into the room and turned down our beds, put an apple on the nightstand along with a bottle of water and then a bathrobe on the bed.  Lovely!  I could get used to that :)

3.  I got a great hug today from a friend who saw I was stressed.

4.  My first Tiger’s game!  Yay!

love, love, love

5.  My new headphones came and tonight I actually ran with music!  It was great!  I’ve been music-less for a couple of weeks now and I kind of missed it.  Runs are a bit more fun when I can listen to Mumford and Sons.

6.  Last week, a friend, Panty Raider and fellow blogger, Falon from Falon Does Marathon put out an announcement on twitter to some of us to join her for the Chicago marathon 2013.  I’m super excited!  There are quite a few of us already verbally committed and it’s going to be a blast!  Wanna join?!

7.  Simon was very happy to see me :)

8.  My brother is home from Vietnam and visiting with my dad!  Cool, eh?  Then they will be traveling back to Vietnam together!  I’m very excited for my dad who has never been out of the country.  My brother, sister and I have traveled a lot so I can’t wait to hear his stories.

me and my bro a few years ago – he is thrilled to show my dad all around Vietnam!

9.  Amen to this!

thank goodness!


Well, that’s all I can think of at the moment.  Not bad for a gal who earlier today wanted to crawl back into bed!  Running may have helped as well!  Now, real quick, I need ya’ll’s advice… so at the baseball game my “friend” bought me a drink and wanted me to meet up with him after at the hotel bar.  I tried to decline the drink a few times but he was insistent.  My question, did I have an obligation to meet up with him afterward?  I certainly didn’t want to be the “bitchy” chick nor did I want to lead him on.  So what are your thoughts?

thankful thursday… a day behind

***I had this post ready to go last night but then was able to help a friend in need.  I forgot to hit publish.  These things happen.  Happy Friday!!***

One thing I LOVE about Thankful Thursdays are the fact they are one step closer to Fridays!  Yippee!  Here is my list for the week!

1.  I had an important realization the other day

Yes, there are times when things are not going well and I will say something along the lines of, “I hate my life!”  The other day I realized, nope, don’t hate my life.  The situation may suck but all in all I’m a pretty lucky gal.  As a writer (ooo – I love this title!) I believe words have power.  Power over my attitude, my day and my actions and I don’t want to pollute these with negativity.  It’s unnecessary, overly dramatic and simply not true.

2.  A wedding cake!  Yep, ’tis true!  A dear family friend got married this past weekend and my mom was supposed to make the cake.  But my dad, sister and niece took the reins and did it instead.  I was so proud of them all – I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to try to fill my mom’s shoes.  My mom was incredibly talented not to mention just doing this must have brought back so many memories; I know it did for me.  The cake turned out amazing.

yep, those are (fake) cockroaches on the cake – my friend LOVES bugs :)

3.  Memories of my mom.  Due to the wedding, all of us kids (we grew up with these family friends so we have known each other practically all our lives) have been sharing stories about her.  At first it was hard for me.  The beginning of the week was tough and I was missing my mom.  Then I tried to enjoy the stories while accepting the fact they will always make me sad.  My mom was definitely a character.  She loved to learn and was wildly interested IN EVERYTHING!  One of the stories my friend shared (that my mom had taught her) was how in the days of old women used lemon wedges and crocodile poo for birth control.  I know!  She was a funny lady.

4.  Tomato soup.  I’m not kidding.  I can’t get enough of the stuff.  I ran out today and have to hit up the store tomorrow.  Whatever the reason, it’s so delish!

I’m obsessed

5.  Everything related to fall.  I am currently wearing a hoodie.  I’ve been drinking hot chocolate.  I’m saving any and all types of pumpkin recipes.  Oh and I am going to try to decorate for Halloweenie this weekend.  This makes me SUPER happy!

6.  Talk like a Pirate Day.  My official pirate name is, “Captain Spike Ned Head”.  I only answered to this all day.  Yeah, I’m not sure how I got promoted either

thanks Emily!

7.  Marathon training slump.  I’m grateful to have gone through this earlier this week.  It’s made me hugely grateful for my awesome run yesterday.  The slump also made me realize I will be able to run my marathon!  That probably sounds backwards and I should be feeling less confident-but I don’t.  I know when I toe that start line in San Fran I am going to be more than GEEKED to be running with thousands of fellow runners and my dear friend.  I might even tear up a bit – some of that emotion has already started and I still have another month.  I get this goofy grin on my face when I think about it.  Don’t be surprised if you see pictures of me bawling my eyes out from happiness!

it’s coming!!!

8.  Campus Classic!  I signed up for this bad boy today.  It’s a local 5k and it was the first race I ever ran!!  I remember thinking I was NEVER going to be able to run all 3.1.  In fact, by race day, I still had never run the full distance.  I also swore when I was finished I would never run anything longer than a 5k.  Must admit, I am very proud of how far I’ve come in my running journey.  If someone told me, running 1/2 marathons and fulls were in my future I would have laughed in their face.  Just goes to show – don’t discount what you are capable of!

my first race medal :)


hopefully karma notices my efforts…

I’ve read a theory that “luck” doesn’t really exist as we commonly believe it does.  People are not lucky or unlucky, rather people view positive events in their lives as lucky and negative events as unlucky.  Therefore, people who make positive things happen are essentially making their own “luck”.

What do you think?  I’m not quite sure (and yes, I have simplified this “theory”).  I have definitely had very odd things happen in my life.  Many of my friends and family have said, “yeah, I don’t know why but you have weird experiences.”  So, while I believe on some levels I make my own luck, I am also convinced there is some sort of karma out there… and I have been working on making my karma just a wee bit better.  Donating my no longer used belongings, decreasing my road rage and even NOT stepping on bugs while I am walking or running are all things (amongst many others) I’m hoping will encourage karma’s grace and smiling presence.  I’ve also been working on being more grateful!  Yeah, Thankful Thursday!

1.  GUESS WHAT I FOUND YESTERDAY?!  A muscle in my arm!  I know, I couldn’t believe it either!  I looked over at my arm and flexed and was SHOCKED at the definition I saw!  We are talking about an actual bicep here people.  Don’t worry – I will always be built like a t-rex but maybe I will be a t-rex with slightly stronger arms.

it’s okay little t-rex, my arms are kinda useless too

2.  I picked up this smelly good holder

Yep, I do love some pirate business.  And it’s pink.  Sparkly.  And has a freaking bow in it’s “hair”.  Basically all kinds of love for this puppy!  Not to mention, I have a caramel apple scented disk in it so my car smells like all kinds of fall.  Yum.

3.  This morning we had a welcome breakfast for work for our entire department.  It started at 7:30 am and last night I tried on a new dress I bought back in the summer.  When I first bought it, I knew I would need to tighten up a bit before I could confidently pull it off.  Last night I tried it on and ta-da!  Success – sassy success!

yay! new dress!

4.  My favorite 10k is this weekend – the Peacock Strut is a local race and the first 10k I ever did.  I remember signing up and wondering if I would ever be able to finish it considering at the time, I had never run that far.  But with that race I found my love for distance racing.  I know a 10k isn’t super far but still it’s 6 miles!  I sometimes forget that 6 is more than what the average bear belts out in the typical day.

5.  I got a compliment from my boss today that I was doing a good job in my new position.  I know, awesome, eh?!  I was excited and it made me feel great!

6.  take a look at these temps


It’s BEAUTIFUL running weather!!!

7.  Oh yeah, there was that whole got up early and ran thing :)  YIPPEE!!

This week I’ve been really grateful for the smaller things.  Feeling stronger at crossfit, cooler mornings, my co-workers who make me laugh and friends who always look out for me.  Marathon training is completely draining me of all energy so I have to remind myself that just because I’m tired doesn’t mean life isn’t going pretty well.  I simply need a nap :)


thrilled it’s sept!

Thankful Thursdays are some of my favorite posts.  I like taking some time out to each week to think about what I am grateful for.  I’m working on trying to focus on the positive things in life!  There really are so many and it’s simply too easy to get caught up in the negative happenings.  I know it sounds all hippish but it’s become more and more important to me and living a healthy life.  So, here is this weeks list!

1.  Simon is recovering!  Thanks so much for all of your kind thoughts and comments!  I still get to put ointment in his eyes twice a day (oh yeah, he LOVES this!) but his eyes are looking healthier.  Simon, of course, is milking this for all it’s worth!  More treats?  Just looks at me with his weepy lil’ eyes!  Wants to cuddle with me?  Just sends out a little meow and I’m toast.  Actually, when he wants to cuddle, I’m always toast but even more so now.  Anyway, he is on the mend, and I have recovered from the stress of having a sick pet.  When I have kiddies, I’ll probably be pathetic excuse of a human when one of them gets sick!

yes, he has made himself quite comfy!

2.  Some quality push ups!  Wahooo!  Let’s face it, feeling strong is pretty bad ass.  I’m looking forward to building more muscle.

yes… this is me

3.  Running documentaries!  Haha, yes, I might be a nerd – okay, I am a nerd, but I love to watch these flicks.  I watched one about the creator of the New York City Marathon, “Run for Your Life”,  “Spirit of the Marathon”, and “Running the Sahara”.  Running the Sahara is about three men who ran across the Sahara desert in 111 days.  Crazy, eh?  I love listening to others talk about their love of running.  It’s so inspiring!  Watch these!!

4.  Day off – nope not Labor Day, although that was handy.  Today I woke up with another migraine.  Actually, I’ve had quite the cluster of headaches recently.  I feel VERY lucky to be able to take the day off as needed.  I am more than grateful to have a job with benefits, sick leave and the support to take the time to recover.  I used to never use my sick leave and I never fully realized how detrimental this was to my overall well-being.  It definitely helps the healing.

5.  An old (AWESOME) friend encouraging me to write my book – a good friend and I have been chatting about my book.  He asked how far I had gotten since I’ve been talking about it for a very long time!  When my answer was less than satisfactory he stepped in… and has decided to light a fire under my arse!  By the end of Sept I owe him a chapter as well as a story outline.  Scary!  Haha, seriously, it IS!  You know when you’ve wanted something for so long it’s daunting to actually do it?!  I’m incredibly appreciative of the motivation.  I’ll keep you updated!

6.  these ice cream bars – YUM!  And only 160 calories.  Lately, I’ve had a hankering for ice cream but haven’t indulged.  These are the perfect size for portion control and not terrible stats.  They also taste AMAZING!

Magnum mini ice cream bars… get them!

7.  FALL!!  Yay!!  I am thrilled we have reached Sept and into the beginning of fall.  In my line of work, August is a killer.  I’m beat and it usually takes a couple of weeks to recover (hence all of the headaches).  But I am getting there.  It also means pumpkin, cooler temps for running, cute fall running clothes and lots of races.  I love it!  My favorite races are coming up, Campus Classic (local 5k), The Peacock Strut (local 10k), my FULL marathon and the Hot Chocolate 15k in Chicago.  I love fall racing season!

not only great races but cool enough temps to wear my cute compression socks!

I’m feeling much less crabby today and working on rebuilding my emotional reserves that were depleted during August.  It’s a good thing yesterday wasn’t Thursday or this list would have been short!  Happy Thankful Thursday!

eww – migraine and some thankful thursday business

Last night as I finished my post, I started to see spots.  At first I figured it was because many of my lights were off in my apt and the screen was bright.  However, it got worse and I couldn’t really see.  I started to freak out a bit.  I took out my contacts but this didn’t help.  Finally it dawned on me:  MIGRAINE!  I quickly took some vicodin.  45 mins later, I still wanted to cry.  I remembered some headache samples I had been given but could I take those on top of vicodin?!  I called my dad and he gave me the a-okay.  Thank goodness… it was a bad one.  Now 24 hours later, I’m still battling it.  I get waves of feeling better and then I move around to get things done and it’s downhill again.  Boo!

So, how does this play into my Thankful Thursday post?  Read on dear readers!

1.  My dad!  I was super grateful I could call on him!  Between my dad, sister and I, we have tried almost every over the counter headache med there is (and probably most of the prescribed ones too).  Headaches/migraines run in the fam and we all have an appreciation for the pain.  By the time I called I was almost in tears and dad talked me down (even though he may not have known it) to a more manageable pain level.  “Take the pills, Aim… drink some Gatorade… turn off all of the lights… don’t try to watch tv… call me in the morning…” awesome advice and what I needed to hear.  In my fam, we also take the pain seriously so I felt validated too.

the headache trio

2.  Feeling better!  Well, okay, I’m not feeling great but at least it doesn’t feel like my head is falling off.  I still have what I call, “residue” from the headache.  The leftover pain that kind of shoots through your head and the dull ache from the carnage it waged the night before but nothing like how it was.  But I can see!  I seriously do not know what people did before there were meds to help ease these.  I am soooo thankful for meds that can at least allow the pain to subside!

3.  A coach – yesterday I eeeeeked out 100 push-ups.  Okay, by push-up standards the last 50 were marginal at best but I would have quit long before if my crossfit coach hadn’t been there telling us to “keep it up!” (I may have sworn at him in my head… A LOT).  Sometimes my confidence in my fitness waivers.  I am still surprised when I can complete a WOD.  Everyday, I think to myself, “maybe I’m in better shape than I thought!”

I saw this guy after a marathon in the spring… it’s how I looked yesterday

4.  My Keurig – oh man, this sucker is AWESOME!  I bought the “K-cup” so now I can use my own beans, which makes it even cheaper.  I use it every morning, in the afternoon for my tea and then sometimes in the evenings for some hot chocolate.  The fact I got for half off makes me feel like I stole it!  I highly recommend it!  It is pricey but so worth the investment.

this is how I enjoy my coffee in the morn too ;)

5.  My brother-in-law!  He and I have moved beyond the “annoying little sister” relationship (although I still love to annoy him!) to a friendship.  It took us some time but I think we both have an appreciation for each other.  Crossfit has deepened this bond and I really don’t think I would still be going without him.  One night when I wanted to quit a few weeks ago, he let me know lots of people go through the same thing.  This morning he sent me a text about running.  He is a great cheerleader!  Love ya, Seany Flay!  Thanks for all of the support!

I totally photobombed this pic – guess the annoying little sister thing is alive and well after all!