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Remember back in the day, when your parents told you to never meet up with anyone you met on the internet – ICQ (remember that), chat rooms, AOL Instant Messenger, etc.
This weekend – I did just that, and it was one of the best weekends in my life! No scary internet people just a wonderful group of inspiring, strong and friendly ladies.
I can’t properly express how amazing of an experience the Blend Retreat was. It was perfectly timed after a few long months of transition turmoil. A weekend with girls who share my same interest, sense of humor and just general enthusiasm for living fun and healthy lives.
We ate a ton of amazing food.
We got our butts kicked in the best way by GPP Fitness (burpees are fun)
We shopped, and we laughed until our abs hurt more.
We got to know each other and most importantly, we built friendships that I am certain will last a long time.
Thank you to Janetha, Lindsay and Katie for all your hard work to make Blend simply amazing.
xoxo to all my blends!
I promised Heather I would blog more. So I’ll be back to recap the swag, the food, etc. later this week!
Two years ago, Chris and I moved to Nashville from Dallas, Texas imagining that we would spend many years in Nashville. We always said that we would move back to Dallas if a certain career path was available there for Chris. Well, a few weeks ago that door was opened very unexpectedly to that certain career path for Chris and he accepted the job there. Since then, we have remodeled our house to put it on the market, coordinated a long-distance move back to Dallas and tried our best to go with the flow during a big time of transition.
I thought it would be easiest to explain the move by answering all the popular questions we get about moving back.
What are you doing with your Nashville house?
Our house is on the market, and we have had really great progress forward with finding a buyer. Any prayers you can send our way for a successful sale will be greatly appreciated.
Where will you live in Dallas?
We are renting for a while until we find the right spot in Dallas. The real estate market in Dallas is a seller’s market so we are trying to be smart with our future home purchase.
How is Chester taking the move?
Chester is with a hunting retriever dog trainer right now and enjoying life on 400 acres in the hills of Tennessee. We are assuming he will be very confused by apartment life but we miss him every day and can’t wait for him to join us in Texas.
How are we taking the move?
Chris is much better at transition than I am. I think we have both experienced every emotion, but we try to just lift each other up when the other might be having a rough time. Kudos to all those couples who live apart whether it be for work, military deployments, etc. Transition time and being apart from my husband has been rough but it gets better with each step forward in the process.
Was it a hard decision?
We moved to Nashville to be closer to family, so we didn’t take the decision to move away lightly. We have come to realize that as long as we are together and marriage is strong (which it most definitely is); our location is not as significant. Career wise, it was the best move for our family’s future. There will be many trips here and there to visit family, and we will have to figure out FaceTime, Skype and all the cool new keep-in-touch technology methods.
So that’s our big news. Apologies for the radio silence in blog land the past few months, but it would have been hard to write about running (I’m currently sidelined by a hamstring injury going on 2 months) or cooking or the mundane bits of life when we have had so many big pieces moving around in our world.
Major thank you to our families both near and far. My in-laws have been so supportive through this process both through helping with renovations, helping move things back to Alabama, covering us in prayer during this time and just being our support system. My parents have been my sounding board for career decisions, advice and just a general pick-me-up. My godparents have not only lended us storage space but also real estate advice and open house company. We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful family members. That is a whole post in it’s own.
Bring on the Texas heat, Dallas best friends and Texas sized adventures.
Oh hey! I still have a blog. Evidently my new posting schedule is once a month. Whoops. Hopefully, that will change for the better soon.
The last month has been busy and fun and sometimes, you just have to step away from the computer and enjoy it all!
Highlights of the past month:
- Running the Tom King Half Marathon. I finished in 1:58:10 which is faster than I have run a half in a long time. My PR is a 1:56:04 so I am hoping to beat that PR in one of my upcoming races.
- I finalized my schedule for 13 in 2013! I have already run 2 of my half marathons – Cedars Frostbite and Tom King. Up next – Scottsboro Half Marathon on March 30th. I’ll write up a post on the 11 remaining ones on my schedule. I am so excited for this year.
- I’m still loving coaching one of the half marathon groups with East Nasty. We have a wonderful group of coaches and runners so Saturday mornings are so fun.
- I’ve been training with Amy Cotta since January and I did 15 push ups in a row the other day. For a girl with zero upper body strength, this was amazing. I love working out with Amy and am loving the strength I am gaining.
- My grandmother had heart surgery on Wednesday and is doing amazing. That’s the best news of the whole month! Can’t wait to see her soon and give her a big hug!
- I get to see my boys tomorrow night. I’ve been in Roswell, NM all week and am so ready to go back home!
What’s been the highlight of your month?
Late last year, I signed up for Jill Conyer’s 13 in 2013 running challenge. The goal of the challenge is to complete 13 races in the distance of your choosing during 2013. Choosing the distance for my challenge was a no-brainer. Having totally burnt myself out on marathon training for the last four years, I have been itching to get back to half-marathons. Recently, I have just used half-marathons as long runs in my training cycles. I didn’t run them fast. I ran them for “time on my feet/mileage on the training plan.” I felt like I was missing out on the “racing” part.
Half marathons are how I fell in love with running. It wasn’t until I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon in 2006 that I truly felt like a runner. Since then, I have run over a dozen half-marathons, but I haven’t tried to break my PR in a long time. That changes this year.
As I set out to run 13 half marathons in 2013, I also want a bright shiny PR. My dream big goal is 1:45. It will take time to get in 1:45 shape and running in 1:45 speeds, but I have 11 months to make it happen. I couldn’t be more excited for the challenge.
I ran my first half marathon of 2013 this past weekend (race recap coming this week). It also marked my first race as a part of Oiselle’s Ambassador Team. I was so honored to be wearing my Oiselle race gear this past weekend and am so blessed to be part of such an amazing and inspiring group of women. Tons of memories and miles to look forward to in Lucky 13!
Stay tuned for the tentative race schedule for 13 in 2013!
This month’s Foodie Pen Pal reveal comes a few days late but this month’s goodies came all the way from Japan. I was so excited to receive these goodies from Leah who currently lives in Japan.
She sent a wide range of foodie finds with descriptions of each one which was super helpful! Chris and I already broke into the fruit jellies, and they were some of the best fruit candy I have ever had. I spent some time in Japan several years back visiting a great friend who was teaching in Japan, and this box definitely brought back fond and delicious memories of experiencing the Japanese culinary culture first-hand years ago.
Top row: Okinawa Soba – different from the mainland soba, Taco Rice – An Oki standard. Leah uses brown rice + TVP or turkey with it. Chestnuts – to cook with rice for a winter meal. Bean Packet – A mystery find. I’ll let you know how it tastes Leah!
Bottom Row: Salt from Miyajima – Wonderful from salt from a beautiful island, Ben Imo Fritters – Heavy like a rock – then you made them right!, Mix jellies – So tasty and you can eat the inside wrapper, Pork Jerky – typical fare in this island culture
Here are some close-ups of all the goodies.
A huge thank you to Leah for such a wonderful box of surprises and to Lindsey for hosting Foodie Pen Pals. I sent my goodies to Becky of Olives and Wine. Check out her post to see what I sent her. Want to join in on the fun? Here’s how!
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US, Canadian & European residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for November, please CLICK HERE (www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/) to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by February 4th as pairings will be emailed on February 5th!
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen these already. If you don’t follow me – please do! – I can only promise lots of Chester pics and food pics. (http://instagram.com/crosscountrycajun/)
It’s been a bit since I last blogged. The first few weeks of 2013 have been busy with travel (both work related and family related), running, cooking and even some strength training.
My grandmother grows the most delicious figs and makes her own preserves. I was lucky enough to bring home some of her strawberry fig preserves. I am now trying to convince Chris to plant fig trees (which don’t grow well in TN).
I bought Lindsey’s Healthy Bites e-cookbook and tried to make my own. Hers are still far superior to mine. I think I may have struck gold with this PB&J healthy bite combo – Blackberry Honey Creme (from my foodie pen pal) and Earth Balance Coconut & Peanut Spread. I should have made more!
I started my second fitmixer Bootcamp a couple weeks ago and was so excited to try out the new fitmixer skinny and fitmixer sculpt. I am not only loving the workouts but their new products are amazing! I plan on recapping fitmixer’s bootcamp in later posts.
I am loving healthy food options when traveling for work. I was able to order delicious salads each night I was in Chicago. Not only did I get to avoid the freezing temps, but I was able to stay on track food-wise. Win. Win.
King Cake Coffee! I bought this bag while I was in Louisiana last weekend and have been enjoying it ever since. I brewed it for iced coffee and it’s the perfect blend of flavor and caffeine punch. If you are in or near a PJ’s Coffee – definitely try this!
Poor Chester was at the vet for an extended time due to Chris and I bought being out of town for a weekend in Louisiana and weeks of work travel. He lost his voice/bark ability due to what we can assume was lots of whimpering at the vet. It just broke our hearts. We are so happy to have our little 80 lb. fur bundle back. He has been getting lots of attention this weekend! This was him and I waking up Chris. Chris was less excited about the wake-up call than Chester and I were. Love my boys!
Not documented in Instagram pictures is my coaching of a local half marathon group. I am truly loving being a coach and really look forward to our group runs on Saturday. I am so happy I volunteered to pace this half marathon group and am falling in love with distance running all again!
Have a great week ya’ll!
Like anything done for several years, running has its ups and its downs. I’ve experienced both in the last few weeks. Thankfully, I am ending 2012 on a HUGE up in running.
Before we get to that, let’s get the down over. Almost two weeks ago, I had a race first. It wasn’t anything terribly exciting – no new shiny PR or strong finish to write home about. I had my first DNF (do not finish) at the Rocket City Marathon. What started out as an amazing day ended at mile 12. My hamstring cramped at mile 9. By mile 12, I knew that running through the pain would lead to a long-term injury. Having suffered from an injured hamstring before; I knew I wasn’t going to purposefully injure myself.
To be honest, although I knew I was doing the right thing, my ego was seriously bruised for dropping out. I don’t quit things I start – it’s not how I was raised or how I do things. I’ve run a full marathon with a hamstring while taking a nice chunk of time off my previous marathon time. I can grin and bear it like one very stubborn Cajun.
This time, I thought about my long-term running goals. Nothing in my goals for 2013 (more on that later) involved taking several months off of running. I remembered the promises I made to myself and those who love me that I would never push myself to an injury. I remembered that running a marathon is not a check it off the bucket-list item endeavor. I want to run until I am a very old lady, I want to coach other runners, I want to run faster and race harder than ever in 2013. All those things stacked up to making me confident in my DNF decision. Not an easy one but the right one for me.
Now that we have addressed the down, let’s get to the UP.
Several months ago, I won a giveaway for some Oiselle gear from Jen of The Local Elite. I had heard about the awesomeness that is Oiselle through the running blog world and was excited to check it out. Little did I know; winning the giveaway was the start of something amazing. I fell in love with Oiselle gear. I started following Oiselle. I saw not only the passion the Oiselle team had for running but the comraderie and support they expressed to the women’s running world. I applied for a spot on Oiselle’s race team last month and found out last week that I had made the team. The Oiselle HQ ladies and the Team Oiselle ladies have been so welcoming already. This is by far the most exciting running happening of 2012. I cannot wait for all that is to come in 2013!
This weekend, I had the pleasure of heading back to my hometown for my mom and I’s annual Christmas Cookie Swap. It was such a blast – we had 45 different sweets brought by family and friends!
Chris was down for the weekend too for duck hunting with my uncle. I was not only able to help my mom throw the party this weekend, but I also ran the Houma Heart and Soles Half on Saturday morning. We drove back Sunday evening from South Louisiana and didn’t make it back until 6:45 Monday morning due to some car troubles. Needless to say, I am a bit behind on Foodie Pen Pal posting.
I owe ya’ll separate posts on the Cookie Swap and the half marathon but those will have to wait a bit. Oh, did I mention it’s marathon week?! Marathon #4 is going down on Saturday. We are some busy little bees in our house this month!
This month’s foodie pen pal was absolutely awesome. A blog reader, Michelle, who lives in the Keys sent me a wonderful box of goodies – tea, pistachios (which I love), some key lime treats – candies and rum cake and ginger cookies (a family tradition for Michelle). Chris loved the candies and the ginger cookies were divine. I am going to try to use them as a crust in a winter tart recipe! Thanks again to Michelle for such a fun box of treats! I can’t wait to try out the tea and the rum cake.
Hope everyone had a great weekend!
My mom is a Master crafter. She is a woman of all trades – she can cook, bake, decorate and everything in between. In my book, she is pretty much super woman. I am happy to have gotten just a few of her crafty genes.
Using those genes, I decided to try my luck at crafting my own Christmas wreath. I found this one on Pinterest and fell in love.
So, I set off to Hobby Lobby in search of the supplies. Unfortunately, red burlap is on back order from the warehouse so I picked up some green burlap (3 yards), straight pens, ribbon, styrofoam wreath mold and a few accessories to add to the wreath.
I followed the directions in this post using a pint glass to trace circles on the burlap. The burlap definitely makes a mess but it was pretty easy to cut. I probably used 2.5 yards of my fabric to cover an 18 inch wreath.
This DIY project definitely takes some time to cut out all the circles and then attach them to the wreath. After cutting out all the circles, I followed the same method of folding the circles in half and then in half again and attaching with the straight needles. I attached the circles to the front of the wreath first and then filled in the outer and inner sides. I didn’t touch the back of the wreath mold.
After all the circles were attached, I used floral wire to attach some snowflakes and a red peppermint candy ornament.
I used the ribbon to attach the wreath to the door. I simply added a 3M wreath hook upside down to the inside of the door and cut a hole in the ribbon to hang the wreath.
I was super pleased with how the wreath turned out. Because I used floral wire to attach the Christmas snowflakes and candy, I think I could definitely reuse the base wreath for another holiday. Mardi Gras wreath perhaps?!
Happy Crafting Ya’ll!