A Year Ago

One year ago today, it was a Friday afternoon.  I was scheduled to get married in one month and one day.  My work had just thrown me a lovely bridal shower, and lots of friends and family were preparing to come into town for my official bridal shower the next day.  I was flying high.  Then, I got the news

To say I was devastated would be a bit of an understatement.  I spent the rest of the afternoon bursting into tears and calming myself down, only to start crying again.  Saturday morning came, and though it was supposed to be a happy day (it was, after all, the day of my bridal shower) I felt like there was a black cloud of doom over my head.  Dramatic, yes.  I truly was happy to see everyone, but the news that Brian was heading to Afghanistan one month after we married was in the back of my mind, threatening to spill over into tears at any moment.  I look back at the photos from my wonderful shower and I can’t help but laugh to myself.  It was a wonderful shower, but I couldn’t full enjoy it.  The military has impeccable timing😉

My bridesmaid Kristin and I at my shower.

On Sunday, I woke up and the black cloud was gone.  I felt like my old self.  Yes, Brian was going to Afghanistan.  However, it wasn’t a death sentence and we would come out of it even stronger.  Yes, it was going to be a long and difficult year apart, but we had/have so much to look forward to. 

Of course, it hasn’t been easy.  Sometimes Brian being gone hit me like a ton of bricks.  Although I love the videos of soldiers reuniting with their families after a deployment, they are hard to watch when you still have so long to go until your own reunion.  Wendy wrote a touching blog post that I looked to when I started to feel sad about Brian being overseas. 

Looking back, though, I wish I could tell myself to not be so sad and that everything is going to be okay.  We are on the tail end of the deployment (he will be home SO SOON :D) and in retrospect, the year went by so quickly.  SO quickly.  No, it was not an ideal way to spend a first year of marriage.  However, I know that it has made us stronger and more appreciative of one another.  We can make it through anything🙂

When you news of a deployment, it can appear endless (a whole YEAR?).  I’m here to tell you that it isn’t.  Keep yourself busy.  Embark on exciting adventures.  Spend time with family and friends.  And look forward to the best reunion of your life🙂

Thanks for all of your comments on my running slump.  I am definitely okay, health-wise- I just can’t run or practice hot yoga.  I’ll figure it out soon enough🙂

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Filed under Military Life

A Running Slump

But risotto makes it all better, right? 

Almost.  I’ll get to this delicious recipe in a bit. 😉

So.  I’ve been in a bit of a slump.  I haven’t been blogging about running or hot yoga.  Well, I haven’t really been running or going to hot yoga.  In fact, the last hot yoga class I attended was on January 27th.  I used to attend four to five classes a week.  I’ve been running, albeit not as much as I used to.  A trip to the doctor last week confirmed that I cannot run farther than five miles nor can I attend hot yoga.  I’ve been having some health “things” going on so I can’t really say I’m surprised.   Here’s to hoping that the doctor clears me for hot yoga and running longer distances soon!

In the meantime, this restriction on running has really hampered my race schedule.  I was supposed to run the ten mile leg of the HMRRC marathon relay tomorrow.  Thankfully, Amanda knows an itload of people and was able to grab not one, but two replacement runners for my team!  Melissa was originally running the 11 miler but she tore up both of her heels in a snowshoe race.  Ow.  So, thank you Amanda!  No relay for me this year. 

Before the doc gave me the five mile limit, one of the to-do’s on my list was to create a half-marathon training plan, to begin March 1.  After looking at races, I decided that the Long Island half fit perfectly with my schedule, AND I could stay with a bestie (for freeeee) to boot.  I don’t think that is happening anymore.  On a brighter note, Heather forwarded us CDNYers info about a 10k that is happening in late April.  I’m hoping that I will be good for that!

Until I am cleared for longer distances, I will continue running 3-5 miles a few times a week.  I ran four with Melissa the other day and my pace was a full TWO minutes slower than it typically is.  I can’t complain, because I am able to get out there and run.  I guess I am just feeling uninspired.  I purchased the Runner’s World magazine yesterday and for the first time since I started reading it over a year ago, I did not feel anxious to get out there and run.  I just felt tired.  I think my body is telling me to ease up, and I’m going to listen. 

Have you ever been in a running slump?  How did you get out of it?

Onto fun stuff!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- the weather in upstate NY is straight up schizo.  Yesterday it was approaching the 60s (in February!) and today it was so cold I had to turn on the fireplace.  On the plus side, Bails got to enjoy one of his favorite spots:

Nothing like sitting by the fire and enjoying a good book.  I’ve been reading The Hunger Games series, which Rachael recommended last week at our blogger meet up at New World Bistro.  Rachael, thank you so much for suggesting this series- I am SO addicted!  It is very Harry Potter-esque on its level of addictivity.  If you are looking for a good read, I highly recommend this series!

Speaking of New World Bistro, last week I had the pleasure of meeting up with some fabulous ladies for one of the best blogger meetups yet.  Heather sure knows what she is doing when it comes to coordinating awesome get togethers.   I had been to New World once before- for an amazing brunch after my half-marathon last October.  I have to say that I am even more impressed with the restaurant now than I was originally (and I was very impressed before!).  The server, Mike (captain awesome) was probably one of the best waiters I’ve ever had, which is saying a lot because 1) it was a table of 14 and 2) I am no stranger to dining out.  The ambiance was great and the food was even better.  I will definitely be back🙂

Front Row, Left to Right: Rachael, Cynthia, Emily, Alicia. Middle Row, Left to Right: Lauren, Katie, Julie, Heather, Jen, Courtney. Back Row, Left to Right: Emily, Melissa, Kelly, Erica

For a proper review of New World Bistro, head over to Heather’s great post.

And finally, onto a most excellent recipe.  I’ve made risotto before and yes, it is high-maintenance and needs a little bit of coddling to come to fruition.  However, I promise that your efforts will be worth it.

Shrimp and Mushroom Risotto (serves four)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 T butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3/4 dry white wine (I used pinot grigio)
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 6 ounces mushrooms (I used button), sliced
  • 1 pound of cooked medium shrimp, tails removed
  • Thyme (I used dried) and parsley (dried) to taste
  • 1/4 freshly grated parmesan
  • Optional- peas.  I love peas so I threw them in there.

Directions

  1. It’s going to be a little tricky.  You will need a large sautee pan, a sauce pan, a smaller sautee pan and a bowl to place the cooked mushrooms in.
  2. To start, bring the vegetable stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  Reduce heat to low.
  3. Melt the butter in the large skillet.  Sautee the onion about three minutes.  Add in 1 T of garlic and sautee for thrity seconds.  Stir in arborio rice and add a half cup of the wine (reserving a quarter cup), stirring until absorbed.
  4. Once wine is absorbed, add a hald a cup of stock to the rice mixture and stir until it is absorbed- it should be about two minutes.  Repeat until the stock is gone.
  5. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, saute 2 T of olive oil, adding mushrooms and cooking over medium high heat until golden.  Add 1 T of garlic to mushrooms and cook for another minute, then transfer the garlic mushroom mixture into a bowl.
  6.  Lots of pans up in this piece.
  7. Using the same pan that cooked the mushrooms, add the remaining two T of olive oil to pan with shrimp, sauteeing over medium heat.  Add the last T of garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the peas and the remaining 1/4 cup of wine.  Simmer for another minute or two and remove from heat.
  8. Shrimp pan mid-cookery:
  9. Combine the mushroom bowl and shrimp pan into the large (fully cooked) risotto pan and stir together.  Add in a bit of thyme, parsley and grated parmesan.
  10. Enjoy!  It is damn good, I’ll tell ya that😉

I guess I really do like shrimp, huh?  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, friends!

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Filed under Recipe, Running

Feature Friday & Shrimp Caprese

Hi guys!  TGIEF ;)  I am so excited for the weekend- it couldn’t come soon enough.  Last weekend was a whirlwind and super fun.  The first thing I did was hit up Saratoga Chowderfest with some awesome ladies: 

Julie, Kristin, Me, Kara and Laura

It was awesome, if a bit snowy and freezing!  My favorite chowders were a mango chipotle crab chowder from Cantina and a sweet potato crab chowder from Classe catering (who catered my wedding!).  Amazing.  I ended up sampling about five chowders along with some bomb hot chocolate.  I wish I tried more!

A bit of housekeeping- if you have a blogger/blogspot blog, I have been having a really hard time trying to comment.  I usually give up after the third try ;)  So I am still reading, just unable to comment!

So, Feature Friday.  Each week (let’s be honest, we’ll see how well I keep up with this) I’m going to feature one of my favorite blogs that I read and that I think you need to read, too ;)  This week’s fave blogger is Tiffany, who blogs over at Simply Shaka.

Why do I love Tiffany’s blog?  Well, for starters, homegirl is straight hilarious.  I can’t get through one of her blog posts without laughing out loud.   Seriously.  She always has photos of her adorable dog, Lincoln and lots of easy, fun recipes.  Go check her blog out!

Seriously, how awesome is Linc?

Okay, on to an awesome recipe.  How many times can I say awesome in this post?  Seriously, I cook with shrimp so much I feel like Forrest Gump.  Pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp stew, shrimp salad…

Moving on.  I really like caprese salad (fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil) so I figured why not incorporate that into a recipe with the “fruit of the sea” ? ;)  I’m happy to say that this recipe is easy to make and tastes awesome. 

Shrimp Caprese

Ingredients

  • One box of whole grain/whole wheat pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 6-8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 pound of cooked medium shrimp, tails removed
  • about 3/4 carton cherry tomatoes, tomatoes cut in half
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Half of a yellow onion, diced
  • Basil- I used about five leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to directions, set aside
  2. Add olive oil to large saute pan, add onions and garlic- sautee for about two minutes
  3. Add shrimp and sautee for an additional two minutes
  4. Add white wine and tomatoes, sautee until wine starts to absorb and tomatoes cook through (a few minutes)
  5. Stir in cooked pasta, fresh mozzarella and basil.  Remove from heat and stir some more.  Add salt and pepper to your liking
  6. Enjoy!

Easy, right?  It is sooo good.  It didn’t last very long in my house ;) 

Do you like shrimp?  It is one of my diet staples!  It is a great source of protein and so easy to cook with and incorporate into dishes. 

Any fun plans for the weekendHeather coordinated a fun blogger dinner tonight and I am super stoked!

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Filed under Feature Friday, Recipe

TGIEF- Races!

Thank god it’s effing Friday! :D  This week seemed to drag on forever, even with the snow day on Wednesday! Oy.  In cute news, Buckleface got groomed yesterday (he was long overdue- I feel like a bad parent!): He is one of the cutest little guys ever.  Anyway.  I was looking at my google calendar (one of the best things ever, by the way) and I realized that I am running a marathon relay with Jen and Melissa in oh, a little over two weeks.  The legs are 9.2, 5.7 and 11.3 miles.  I assumed I would be running the short distance, with Jen training for a half and Melissa being her marathon-loving self.  Well, Jen injured her hip and Melissa hurt her ankle.  Hmm, I may need to up my training, seeing that after the half in October my longest run has been six miles in November at the end of Melissa’s marathon.  Heh.  Also, the day before the race is one of my besties’ 30th birthday and obvi we are going to do it up big.  So, it should be an interesting race to say the least😀

Exciting stuff happened while Brian was here!  We both signed up to run the Boilermaker :D  I am SO excited!  It was one of my favorite races last year and it will be so awesome to run it with Brian (well, not with him, because he may run this race at his pace).

After last year’s Boilermaker with my bestie Nicole’s husband, Michael, who also ran the race

In addition to signing up for the boilermaker, Brian also registered for the Marine Corps Marathon!  AAAA!  So exciting.  Civilian folk like myself (though hey, I am a military wife, doesn’t that count for something😉 ) can’t register until February 23rd.  I will be registering first thing that morning.  I can’t believe we are running our first marathon this year!😀

This weekend is going to be fun.  A run with Melissa tonight (very necessary), chowderfest (YES!) manana, and a six miler on Sunday (I have to build up to the nine miles for the marathon relay!).  What are y’all up to this weekend?  Have a great one!🙂

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Filed under Bailey, Running

Snow Day!

Hi friends!  Thank you for all of your sweet comments on the reunion.  It really did feel kind of like a movie😀

(wine tasting at Belhurst Castle)

So, after a disastrous THREE hour commute to work yesterday and an additional foot of snow predicted today, I declared a self-imposed snow day today.  My car (Rav4) is fantastic in the snow aside from the problematic feature of the windshield wipers freezing up, which is an issue when I thereby can’t see.  Yeah.  Didn’t want to do that again. 

After sleeping in until a leisurely 10:00 A.M., I sat down at the kitchen table with my coffee and oatmeal and got to schemin’ about lunch.  This is the easiest “recipe” (really, you’re just throwing things together) and it is so so delicious.  In fact, I think it may be my new default lunch!

First, gather your ingredients.  You can get creative- this is my third time having this wrap this week (and it’s only Wednesday!) and each wrap has been different). 

Assemble the veggies.

 Spread on the “spreadables” (goat cheese, mango salsa, garlic hummus and artichoke tapenade) and pile on the veggies.

Fold the wrap (yes, I had to google “how to fold a wrap”) and enjoy!

Veggie Packed Lunch (or dinner!) Wrap

Ingredients:

  • handful of button mushrooms, chopped
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • handful of baby spinach
  • goat cheese (enough for one wrap)
  • hummus
  • salsa
  • artichokes, chopped
  • Delicious artichoke tapenade from Trader Joe’s
  • wrap of your choice (I like the sun-dried tomato wraps)

Directions

  1. Lay wrap flat and spread on hummus, goat cheese and salsa
  2. Add veggies
  3. To wrap, fold the top and bottom of wrap first.  Then, cover the middle with the sides and you should be good to go!

Easy, delicious and filling!

What else does a snow day entail?

A form of cross-training that I think a lot of us are familiar with these days:

Shoveling!  Poor Mr. B- he so desperately wants to be outside with me but as soon as his little body hits the snow, he starts shaking uncontrollably!  I haven’t shoveled in a while- man, it is a really good workout!

After that, I still wanted to get a run in.  Unfortunately, my gym was closed because of the weather.  My brother’s wasn’t though and they just gave me a free seven-day pass!  Awesome!  It probably has something to do with the fact that my brother pretty much lives there😉

I got a nice quick three miles in doing what is becoming my favorite interval workout:

  • Quarter mile @ 5.4
  • Quarter mile @ 5.7
  • Quarter mile @ 6.0
  • Quarter mile @ 7.1
  • Repeat!

I also got to try out some of my new lululemon duds.  Bri, sweet husband that he is, got me these pants and this top for Christmas.

Honestly, I really like this ensemble. It took me almost a mile to get to that point though.  The pants kept riding down, which was really frustrating.  However, after a little sweat they fit perfectly!  I’m glad too because I want to get a lot of wear out of these pants!  Has anyone else had this happen with a lululemon crop?  I have a few other pairs of pants from them that fit perfectly so I was surprised by the riding down issue.

I have some pretty exciting blog stuff coming up- Julie is going to be doing some design/transitioning work for me and I am stoked!  I added a recipe tab (though I still have a lot to add!) and am looking forward to some fun changes!

So, was today a snow day for you?  I am ready for winter to be overrrrrr.  On a bright note, Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow, which means early spring!  Woo!  I don’t really buy it but I’ll take what I can get :p.

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Filed under Bailey, Food, Interval Workout, lululemon, Recipe, Running, Vegetarian

A Reunion

Hi friends!  It’s been a whirlwind of a time these past few weeks.  I spent two wonderful weeks with Bri and am now adjusting back to life without him here in the States.  Saying goodbye to him (again) was heart-wrenching, but I take solace in the fact that it will likely be the last time we say goodbye for a long time.  On top of that, a beloved co-worker passed away this past Monday.  It is going to be a few days before I get back to a normal (3x weekly) blogging/blog reading schedule.  I hope you’ll stick around!  In the meantime, I wanted to share the story of my and Bri’s reunion.  Thank you to all of my wonderful guest posters- I really appreciate it🙂

Bri was set to arrive around dinner time on Sunday.  On Saturday afternoon, he called me from Germany.  “It looks like I won’t be getting in until midnight tomorrow.”  Dang it, I thought.  Bri really wanted a nice burger for his first meal back in the States and we had plans to grab one at Circus Cafe in Saratoga.  My mind reeled as I thought of burger options available at midnight.  He hadn’t had a proper meal in seven months (from his description of the food over there, I truly think I would starve) and I wanted to make his arrival perfect!   He was flying into Atlanta and then into Albany.  He told me he would call me once he arrived in Atlanta in order to give me his flight info and all of that.

We hung up and I got into planner/list-maker mode.   Technically I could pick up an awesome burger dinner for him around 10 PM on Sunday and keep it in the  oven warm for him.  My stepmom offered to make one of her delicious homemade burgers for us to be ready around midnight.  Gotta love family :)  Anyway, I went to sleep on Saturday night, excited that it would be my last night sleeping without Brian for a few weeks and content with the plan for Sunday.  All I had to do was shower, pretty myself up, bake Bri’s favorite cookies (Italian weddding cake) and maybe head to hot yoga. 

Due to Bri’s anticipated late arrival, I slept in until a leisurely 10 AM.  I do love me some sleep.  I read the newspaper and took my time with my morning cup of coffee.  My friend Jennifer called me around 10:30.  “Is Brian’s flight all set?  There is a huge storm in Atlanta and apparently they are canceling a ton of flights.”  Uh no, definitely wasn’t paying attention to that.  Shit.  I jumped onto weather.com and saw the dire weather forecasts.  What if Brian was stranded in Atlanta for days?  Still, there was nothing I could do except wait to hear from him once he got to Atlanta.  If you’re in the military, you kind of have to let go of your planner-like tendencies and just go with the flow. 

I read at the kitchen table for another hour or so and got to work making Italian wedding cookies.  I was mixing the batter with my little hand mixer when I heard my phone ring.  I looked at the clock.  12:30.  I looked at the number calling my phone.  518?  Who is calling me from Albany?  Tentatively, I picked up the phone.  “Hello?”

“Katie?”

“Yes?”

“Hi.  I’m here!”

“Um, what?  Who is this?  Brian??!”

I knew it was him but my mind was failing to register it.  How could he be in Albany?  He was supposed to be calling me from Atlanta.

“Yeah, I’m sorry I didn’t call you from Atlanta.  They canceled my later flight and I had to run to the gate to catch the last flight out.  The plane had pulled away from the tarmac and air traffic control actually directed the plane back to the gate to let me on.  Otherwise I would have been stuck in Atlanta until Wednesday at the earliest.”  (Amazing, right?)

I think I asked him at least ten times if he was serious.  Then excitement set in.  Then panic.  “Bri, I haven’t even showered!  Your cookies aren’t done!  I’m forty minutes away!!!  Ah!  Can I shower?  Should I shower?  I’ll just leave.”  He laughed at my ridiculousness and told me to take my time.  I was in and out of the shower in less than five minutes and out the door in less than ten.  No time for contacts, no time for makeup, no time to blow dry my hair.  I threw on my jeggings, uggs and a sweater.  So much for planning a glamourous outfit ;)  My mixer still sat in the mixing dish with the batter. 

As I sped down the highway, I could hardly contain myself.  The tears started around exit 10.  I couldn’t believe I was going to see my husband after seven long months!  There were a ton of cops on the road.  I laughed to myself thinking of what I would do if I got pulled over.  I made it to the airport 42 minutes after I picked up the phone.  Nice!  As I walked through the parking lot, my heart was pounding.  I was almost nervous in a sense.  I walked through the airport doors with tears in my eyes.  I scanned the baggage claim.  No sign of him.  Hmm, maybe he was upstairs getting coffee.  I ran up to check.  No dice.  I went back downstairs.  Maybe he was near the comfortable chairs over by check in.  Nope.  I turned around and headed back towards the baggage claim.  I saw Brian, dressed in full military garb.*  I couldn’t believe it- I thought he would be wearing civilian clothes!  He smiled at me and I ran towards him and then jumped into his arms, sobbing.  We stayed like that, hugging and crying (well, I think I was the one crying) for five minutes.  There were people around us, but I didn’t care.  I was finally reunited with my husband.   Seven long months in the making. 

*It turns out that a local veteran’s organization spotted Brian waiting for me in the baggage claim area and asked him to come sign their book in a private room they maintained at the airport, which is why I didn’t see him when he first entered.

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Filed under Military Life

Enjoy the Journey

Hi friends!  I’m currently enjoying some quality time with my husband :D  I’ll be back soon, but in the meantime please enjoy this inspiring post from one of my favorite real-life blends, Heather of Then Heather Said.

For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life.
But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid.
At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness.
Happiness is the way.
So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
– Alfred D. Souza

I recently read this quote, which hangs by decorative magnets on my refrigerator.  I have read it dozens of times prior, agreeing silently to myself every time.  This time, however, I read the quote before settling in my living room with my appointment book and journal, ready to tackle the New Year head on.  I have already declared 2011 my healthiest year yet, and I’m determined to stay on top of my goals and plans in order to make sure this is the case.  When I started looking over my schedule of work outs, meal plans, and lists of ‘what to accomplish’ and ‘what to avoid,’ Souza’s quote on the Happiness Journey wouldn’t escape my mind.

Happiness does not come only from reaching my goal weight, but in each step taken to get there.  It comes from my learning how to balance nutrition and indulgence, and with each healthy decision I choose to make. Each minute logged of cardio, each pound of weight I lift, each ounce of soda I replace with an ounce of water. Happiness comes from the week to week battle, the joy of the one pound loss, or the motivation and determination to continue when the scale doesn’t show a loss at all.

Happiness does not come only from the finish line, but in each mile leading to it.  It comes from each training run, no matter how fast or slow.  It comes from those afternoons of speed work, and early mornings filled with tempo runs.  It comes from the time you take to stretch, and cross train, and condition, and rest.  It comes from properly fueling and learning what works best for your body.  It comes from recovery, and survival, and getting it done.

Often, as women setting goals for our health, nutrition, and fitness, we look so far into the future we forget to enjoy the process.  When we take time to enjoy the journey, each step of progression and every moment of development, we open ourselves up to the possibility of deepening our experience with our own determination and success.  Happiness IS the journey.

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Filed under Goals, Guest Posting, Then Heather Said