Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in Review

 Events that happened this year:
  • Ran a 15K
  • Found Kirby (handicapped kitty)
  • Said good-bye to my dog, Syd
  • Went on a cruise with great friends
  • Went to London with Chris
  • Moved in with Chris
  • Watched my youngest sister, brother, and niece grow up
  • Made some really good friends
  • Got to see Nick Danger and my best friends Alisha and Bryan (Nick's parents)
  • Learned that I love weight training
  • Watched my kittens become cats
  • Survived chemical thermodynamics and seminar (which means I completed the last final for the rest of my life!)

I have two goals for 2010:
  1. To stick with my resolution:  To be less critical of myself and more confident in myself.  
  2. To see how many of the 52 weeks out of the year I can run at least 3 days in the week.  I am not putting any distance, pace, or time limits on this goal.  I personally prefer to run outdoors, so I imagine most of the runs will be outside; however, I will run indoors if the weather is bad.  If any knee injuries spring up, as they have in the past, I will try using the elliptical (of course I won't do any running if the injury is too bad); otherwise, I prefer not to use the elliptical.
In summary, this has been a great year (aside from putting my dog down, but it was time).  I look forward to what the new year will bring.  I hope to make large strides in my research (which in fact I found something very interesting in the literature today), and to defend my candidacy.  I look forward to meeting new people and hanging out with old friends. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year's Eve and a fabulous 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sparkle and iTunes

(Warning:  The next few sentences are sappy... you may want to skip to the next paragraph.)  I saw this picture online and it made me smile.  I think it is beautiful and that it captures exactly how I feel this Christmas... Thanks again to my boyfriend for the beautiful jewelry that really makes me feel special and... well... sparkly. (o:

And as a gift for myself, I found something awesome at Best Buy yesterday!  It's an iTunes card that is titled "Serena Williams:  Spontaneous Speed".  It says "Download Nike's 30-minute workout packed with a series of intense speed bursts and high-energy music handpicked by Serena Williams.  Her expert coaching will help you power through the run while you develop explosive speed."

Okay, so I first need to start back at square one and build up some miles before really working on my speed, but I think it's awesome!  There is also an interval run that I think I might purchase.  I also saw a similar thing with Lance Armstrong's voice and Kara Goucher's.  There is one for "My Best 10K" even!  Check out iTunes for more.  I'll let you know how it goes when I finally test it out!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Some more pictures updates...

I just thought I'd post a few more updates since I'm finally looking through the hundreds of pictures that are on my camera.

with my Godson Nick Danger! He is soooooooo adorable! I was really happy that I got to see him and his parents (two of the most amazing people I know!

Chris and I at his friend's wedding

My beautiful niece, Joy Elizabeth

My good friend taught me how to make an apply pie! I decided to add fresh cranberries. I think it's the perfect combination of sweet and tart. Only if you have never tried a raw cranberry... DO NOT DO IT! I thought this was a good idea since I love cranberry juice. I could not have been more wrong. Even coated in layers of sugar, it is not good. I'll stick to it in pies and juice.

Chris and I at local gardens where we learned how to grow a butterfly garden. I am very much looking forward to building my own butterfly garden sometime this spring... Now I'm not sure if the butterflies will come to my third floor balcony, but we'll give it a shot.

Being silly at Epcot

Finished with classes... FOREVER!

I have officially completed the last of my classes toward my degree. Next I have to complete my candidacy followed by a couple years of research (the amount of time depends on how the research goes).

This past semester was the most difficult semester that I have ever had. Chemical thermodynamics consumed my life. Instead of going to the gym in the morning, we met to do thermo problems at 630 am. Then we did homework problems after work and on the weekends for hours at a time. Needless to say, my gym regimen flew out the window.

As far as running goes... this has been a bad year for me. I ran that 15 K at the beginning of the year, and well that is pretty much it. Although I did discover weight training and how very, very much I love that! The most I've worked-out this fall has been the occasional (very occasional) jog around the block. However, I have actually convinced a few friends of mine to train to run a half marathon next December with me (they are starting as beginners like I did a few years ago). I'm incredibly excited about that!!! We start our group training in January. I am looking forward to going back to weight training in the morning. I'm actually really, really looking forward to it! Now that I no longer have classes to worry about, I can focus on my research and have more time for working-out and updating my blog.

I'm also looking forward to cooking new recipes again! Over the summer, Chris and I decided that each week we would cook at least one new recipe, and we would trade off who cooked the meal each week. I had a blast trying new things! Then dreaded thermo happened... and my life as I knew it went out the window. I look forward to new cooking adventures! If anyone has any awesome recipes that they would like to share, please feel free!

To sum up the past few months... in September I turned 28 (eek!) and had an amazing birthday, and Chris and I celebrate two years of dating. In October we celebrated Chris' b-day. November and December have been filled with family, friends, and yummy food. Oh and between all of that was thermo, thermo, thermo, thermo, thermo... LOL. Oh and somewhere in there, Caitlin and I did an 18 mile bike ride while her boyfriend ran beside us (he was training for a marathon). All in all, I have been having a wonderful time with my super amazing boyfriend (who bought me beautiful jewelry for Christmas!! THANK YOU!!!) and all of my amazing friends and family.

My New Year's Resolution for this coming year is: To be less critical and more confident in myself. I am sure I can do this! I will also keep you updated on my training and try to keep up more with all of your blogs. I hope everyone has had a fantastic 2009, a wonderful Christmas, and will have a very Happy New Year!!!

Some pics:
My Birthday

Our 18 mile bike ride.

The babies are getting so big! Zack (all black), Ashe (all grey), and Kirby (grey and white).

Me with my little brother and sister who are so grown-up!

With my sister Renee and my niece Joy... she is so beautiful!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Still alive!

I'm still alive and work-out. School is consuming my life, as usual. I hope you all are doing great!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I met Caitlin at the gym at 6 this morning only to discover they had closed for the week. We ended up getting Starbucks and getting to work by 6:30 a.m. Awesome start to the day! At least now I can go home earlier.

Guess I'm going to make this a lazier week and just do some push-ups, planks, and lunges at home tonight. I need to work on my seminar too. Boo.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Great work out!

Today I had an awesome leg work-out. I've almost finished the audiobook "The Time Traveler's Wife". It's quite good. I have yet to actually work-out to an audiobook, but I'm enjoying it in the car and while cleaning around the house.

I hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Knee pain... again.

I'm taking it a little easy right now. I think I may have hurt my knee while carrying boxes (still moving...). I feel it most when I climb stairs. I've backed off on exercise, and tonight I'm going to try icing it. I hope that helps. I'm craving a good run.

On a side note, I accidentally ordered a book on CD (I thought I ordered the book. Oops). I listened to it in the car and really enjoyed it. I don't have a lot of down time to sit and read, but now I have a 20-30 minute drive to work every day. I've decided to start listening to audiobooks while in the car. I'm really excited to finally get my county library card in the mail, so I can start checking out audiobooks. The county library will allow me to upload books directly to my ipod, from home! I don't even have to go to the library to return anything. I'm thinking this may be a fun way to run as well. I'll let you know what happens.

Can anyone suggest any books that may be good to listen to while running? Or any good books in general? I've decided I'm going to stick to reading Jeffery Deaver before bed... the good old fashioned way (actual reading, not listening), but I'm open to listening to other books.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Gym clothes

I was up way too late last night watching the new Harry Potter movie (YAY!). I met Caitlin at the gym this morning, only then to realize that I had forgotten the bag with my clothes and bathroom supplies on the kitchen table.... 20 minutes away. Which really going back that direction in the morning is more like 40 minutes due to traffic heading downtown. Soooo our work-out consisted of going easy and not getting sweaty, and I'm currently sitting at my desk at work wearing work-out clothes. Luckily I'm wearing loose long pants, and running shoes are close-toed, so that works out well. I've tried calling Chris to see if he can bring my bag when he goes to work, then I'd just go pick it up from him, but he either isn't up yet, or hasn't looked at his phone. I'm supposed to go to a friends dissertation defense at 11. Ah, what a great way to start the day! LOL

Update: I have the best boyfriend in the world! He didn't see my text message until he was already on his way to work, but he turned around and grabbed my bag for me. I just picked it up from his work, came back to my office to change, and discovered that in my very sleepy state of packing my gym back after the movie last night, I did not pack a t-shirt. Seriously?! Luckily I have a co-worker who hadn't made it into work yet, and she is bringing me a t-shirt.

And this is how the day starts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quick update

The 4th of July rocked. Chris and I drove to Ocala where my dad's side of the family all met. It was really great seeing everyone, including my grandparents.

I'm happy to be back to my weight work-outs this week, after taking last week off for house/dog sitting. Although I did do push-ups, stairs, and ab work-outs while house sitting. I also met with Caitlin for two short runs. Sunday I went rock climbing and had a blast. Chris and I want to go more regularly. And last night I went for a run with Chris and Kyle. They kicked my buts. We did 2.6 miles at a 9:30 pace, and I really felt it. Of course the glass of wine I had for dinner before that probably didn't help me (I didn't know I was going for a run until after dinner). I'm looking forward to the gym tomorrow. It's leg day.

Hope you all are doing great!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Some more pictures from London! (more still to come!)

St. Paul's Cathedral as seen from the Millenium Bridge
The London Eye
Big Ben Clock Tower
Gargoyles on the History Museum
Awesome car outside of Westminster Abbey
View of the River Thames
Top of St. Paul's Cathedral
View of the Millennium Bridge over the River Thames
Outside of St. Paul's Cathedral
Shakespeare's The Globe Theatre
Standing in front of Westminster Abbey (to my left in the picture) with Big Ben, Westminster Station, and The London Eye behind me.
In front of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
Inside the History Museum
The History Museum

You've got to love chemical thermodynamics... (and a Diet Cook button??)

I am trying to read through my chemical thermodynamics text book before my class starts this fall (the class with the very difficult professor). During my reading, while attempting to stay awake, I read the following passage and cracked up laughing. I could not believe what I had just read. Since the passage references exercise and dieting (sort of), I just had to share it with you all.

Excercise is great for improving muscle tone and thereby firming up sagging tissues, but exercise is not an effective way to lose weight. A 1-hour brisk walk over average terrain consumes only about 580 kJ of stored energy, which corresponds to about one-fifth of hte energy content of a quater-pound hamburger on a roll. The two most effective weight reduction exercise are (1) the isometric exercise in which the teeth are tightly clenched in the presence of fattening foods and (2) the two-handed pushaway from the dinner table before the second helping or the dessert arrives. The energy values of some common foods are given in Table 7-4. The message is that calories (or better, kilojoules) count. (from Chemical Thermodynamics, Peter A. Rock, copywrite 1983).


One other thing that has cracked me up, which I wanted to share with you all. On the microwave at work there is a "Diet Cook" button. I was quite perplexed by this, and my conclusion was that it only cooked half of your food forcing you to eat less. I finally Googled the manual and found out it is for lower calorie TV dinners. Apparently the regular frozen food button is not idea for diet frozen food. Interesting...

The gym this week has been great. Caitlin and I have done our weight work-outs, but have slacked on the cardio. The weight work-outs have felt really good at least. We also changed up the way we're doing the plank, which seems to hurt even more (no pain no gain!). We do a one minute plank on our elbows then move up to being on our hands (push-up position) for another minute. Eventually we are also going to add lifting each leg for 30 seconds, but my dear friend accidentally dropped a knife on her foot and putting too much pressure on that foot is painful. Next week I am house and dog sitting for someone on top of studying for a test to get a license for work. We will probably not go to the gym in the mornings due to my having to let the dog out on a schedule, but we plan to both work-out at home.

I have more London pictures, which I will try to upload tonight. I am spending tomorrow and Sunday painting! Chris and I painted last weekend after we bought new bedroom furniture. I can't wait for it to arrive! I hope you all have a very Happy 4th of July! I'm looking forward to hanging out with my dad's family.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Every Contact Leaves a Trace

Just came across an old quote I love, so I thought I'd share:

Every Contact Leaves a Trace
"Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against him. Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibres from his clothes, the glass he breaks, the tool mark he leaves, the paint he scratches, the blood or semen he deposits or collects... All of these and more bear mute witness against him. This is evidence that does not forget.
It is not confused by the excitement of the moment. It is not absent because human witnesses are. It is factual evidence. Physical evidence cannot be wrong, it cannot perjure itself, it cannot be wholly absent. Only its interpretation can err. Only human failure to find it, study and understand it, can diminish its value."
Professor Edmond Locard (1877)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Long day

Today was a long and pretty crappy day. On a good note, however, I did go to the gym this morning, and it was fantastic! Caitlin and I did our arm work-out, followed by abs, and 20 minutes of cardio on the elliptical. I am really looking forward to my leg work-out tomorrow. Yay! Two weekends ago I bought some cute (although short) shorts, and I have a bit of toning up I'd like to do. I'm craving a run, but it's too damn hot and muggy outside! It was 87 at 5:30 am! We crept to over 100 today. Boo! I can't wait for cool weather. Sometimes I really hate Florida.

I hope you all had a fabulous day!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A few pictures from London...(many more to come!)

Due to a few requests from my family and co-workers, Chris finished a few of the portraits from our trip. I actually really love these pictures, which doesn't happen to often when I'm the subject (lol). After Tuesday he will have time to work on the other pictures, so I can actually show you the amazing architecture, monuments, and fountains.

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!

Trafalgar Square

Hyde Park

Investec Derby in Epsom

At our hotel, in my fabulous Betsy Johnson dress!

Green Park

Top of St. Paul's Cathedral

Chris taking a picture of Wellington Arch

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm still alive, despite my cat's attempt to kill me...

Life has been busy. I have officially started the process of moving. While my lease does not end until the end of July, I have decided I'd much rather live with Chris than in my smelly, creaky, old apartment. Every evening when I leave work, I go by my second-floor apartment and pack my adorable Honda Fit with as much crap as I can carry. I then head to Chris's condo and carry everything up to the third floor. While this is difficult, I do believe all those push-ups have assisted me in my endeavor. I also consider this part of my weekly work-out.

Caitlin and I made it to the gym Tuesday and Wednesday. Both days we did our regular weight work-out, but our cardio consisted of jogging around the track for about 10 minutes. I am looking forward to the summer ending so we have as much time at the gym as we want (we are constricted by the hours the gym opens and Caitlin going to class). Yesterday we met at the gym only to discover that Caitlin had forgotten her ID, which meant we could not go in the gym. We walked for a bit, then the fact that I had left home (Chris's condo is officially home now!) at 5:30 am kicked in, and I went to my near by apartment and went to sleep for an hour. I did 20 push ups last night, then decided I was too tired to do any more. I proceeded to be lazy, watched SYTYCD (I LOVE THAT SHOW!!!) while I ate my hot fudge sundae from McDonalds, then went to bed. (Being that Father's Day is quickly approaching and Kirby is having potty training issues yesterday was a very rough day for me... Chris bought me a hot fudge sundae, because he is the best boyfriend ever!)

Now about my cat trying to kill me... This past weekend we went to visit my family to celebrate my niece's first birthday and my little sister's 17th birthday. (Note: pictures from our brief stop in St. Augustine this past weekend as well as my post about London filled with pictures will most likely be posted within the next couple weeks. I am happy to say that Chris rocked his first project he was working on and will have time to work on the pictures starting on Tuesday. YAY!) Anyway, the three cats went with us to my mom's house. Zack discovered he could push his way into one of the closets. Now this closet is filled with a giant cardboard dollhouse that my sister, friends, babysitter, and myself built over two summers. This house was AWESOME! It filled the entire wall of our "playroom". I could not part with it, and it was eventually shoved into this closet. The closet is blocked by my mom's large computer desk (the doors are sliding doors, and one came off the track, so the cat was able to push it back and get into the closet). In my attempt to get the cat, I was crawling under the desk and trying to get into the closet. Zack then jumped onto said dollhouse, which created an avalanche of random junk. A heavy wooden box then fell right onto my head!!! It hurt so bad that I cried instantly! I ended up with a large bump on my head, and the next day I could barely move my back (I guess I tensed up when the box hit my head). Luckily I am feeling great now. Zack did not succeed in his attempt to kill me, but I have my eye on him now.

Now I'm off to visit Chris's family for Father's Day weekend. I want to wish all the father's out there a Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Back from London...

We had a spectacular time! I even saw the Queen in her car as she drove past us at the Derby. It'll be a little while before I can post about my trip with pictures. Chris still has to do his Photoshop magic or whatever it is that he does to the pictures he takes in .Raw format (that is the extent of the lingo I know). Although I will say that cramming four days of "Challenge" work-outs in a row before an 8 hour flight is definitely not the smartest decision I've ever made! However I am happy to say I successfully completed all three challenges! I still intend to keep up with doing squats and push ups, although I'm not sure yet whether I'll redo the challenges or just decide on a particular number to do each time I work-out. The challenges were great, but very time-consuming and my knees did not love all of those squats. I'll probably incorporate squats, lunges, and push-ups into my daily routine. I would still like to gain strength to be able to do the push-ups not on my knees.

Caitlin and I are going to start back up at the gym next week. She has a ton of exams this week, and I am still trying to get my sleeping schedule back to normal, along with catching up at work and starting the moving process (that must count for an arm work-out). I am craving a good run, but every night after work I just want to pass out. The past two nights I have slept for 9 hours straight! It has been wonderful! I wake up feeling very refreshed.

Well back to work. I will hopefully soon be posting pictures and details about my trip! I hope you all in blog land are doing great!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Peahens crossing

On my way home today I was almost rear-ended when I had to brake quickly due to two peahens (female peacocks) ran into the road. Luckily no one was hurt. I've had this happen on a back street before, but this was the first time on a busy street. Crazy.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cruise Pictures and I'M GOING TO LONDON!!!!

First of all, I'M GOING TO LONDON! The night we came back from the cruise, Chris had three UPS notices on his door. The next day I was at a conference and called him during the lunch break, and he said, "Are you ready to ask for more time off?" Chris's grandmother entered him in a sweepstakes and he won! On June 3rd we are flying to London where we will attend the Derby Festival at Epsom Downs Racecourse on June 6th, courtesy of the Woodford Revere's Derby Tip Your Hat Sweepstakes! Chris is required to wear a tuxedo with tails and a top hat! How exciting is that?!?! I did some research and finally picked out a dress from Betsy Johnson (luckily the prize also comes with money toward dress clothes and spending money!!). I ordered a fabulous hat off ebay, which will hopefully arrive this week! Below is a picture of my fun dress and a picture of the hat. We will fly back Monday, June 8th. I am absolutely psyched! Luckily my boss is amazing and is allowing me to take another vacation; therefore, I will be working on Memorial Day and one day next weekend. I will be sure to post lots of pictures from that!

The cruise was spectacular! We departed Saturday, May 9th and spent the next day at sea. May 11th we docked in Jamaica, and five of us went on an excursion where we climbed Dunn's River Falls then spent the day at the beach eating Jamaican food and drinking rum. The next day we went to Grand Caymans and went snorkeling at two sites where the second was the sunken "Rice ship". It was really awesome! I did lots of sleeping, eating, and no working-out on the cruise. It was wonderful! Diane even straightened my hair one night. That was fun. I definitely need bangs to pull off that look, but it was interesting seeing myself with straight hair! Caitlin and I decided to be lazy and just do our challenge work-outs when we got back. It was too difficult to coordinate times when we both wanted to work-out. After all, we were on vacation! Our ship had a mini golf course, and we played that one day. We also went to a few shows and just laid out in the sun reading books. (Okay, truth be told I hate laying out in the sun. I'd much rather go to a tanning bed a couple times before vacation and avoid tan lines, so I read my book in the shade.) The food on the ship was spectacular! Especially the chocolate lava cake for dessert and lobster night and the escargot and the strawberry cream soup... oh yes, the list goes on! (Needless to say, Caitlin and I went back to the gym the following week...more on that in a second.) We had one more day at sea before arriving back in Miami on Saturday. That evening we all went to see Star Trek, which I loved! The next two days I had to attend a conference and give a poster presentation. I also saw the movie Angels and Demons, which was spectacular! Naturally, I thought the book was better, but I still really loved the movie.

As I mentioned, Caitlin and I went to the gym the next week. We had only a week to prepare for a 5K, so we made sure to do cardio on the track all three days. Unfortunately, Caitlin has a summer class at 8 am Monday-Thursday. We decided to meet at 6 am Monday and Wednesday (that is the earliest the gym is open) and 6:30 on Friday. Now that our challenges are getting longer, we have found that they are taking significantly more time. Last week we decided to just do the challenges in cardio. Starting this week, we are going back to our regular weight routine and cardio in the morning, then we will separately do the challenges at home in the evening (probably via telephone to make sure we both do them). I am honestly very excited to get back to the weight routine. I was really loving the results, and my abs could use a little more plank pose after two weeks off and lots of food and beverages.

This past week I had two days of meetings with a committee for a new project I'm working on over the summer. Work this summer is going to be crazy busy! It was hard to concentrate completely, since our trip wasn't officially confirmed until this past Thursday night. I had previously gone out and found the dress, but then had to wait to purchase it until the trip was confirmed (which worked out great because I got 30% off due to the Memorial Day weekend sale). I have spent the weekend shopping for my trip to London, and now I need to get ready for work tomorrow. Since the gym isn't open tomorrow, Caitlin and I are going to the gym Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. It's probably best to wait another day, because my legs are pretty sore from yesterdays run (yay for a PR!).

I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Pictures from the cruise are below!

Showing off our room

Chris and I in front of the boat in Jamaica

Dunn's River Falls


Snorkeling in Grand Caymans

Pictures on the ship