Then and Now: November

Every time a new month rolls around, it seems like there is no possible way that another month could have rolled around again already. But the hits just keep on coming. So now November is over and we head once again into the holly jolly Christmas time. Since we have a holiday in November, it makes you realize how much some things change while other things stay the same. Here are a few comparisons from last year to this year, then and now, November style.

The Who:

Every year Mr. Lovely’s father has a big feast at his farm. A pig is sacrificed (sorry buddy), the wine flows freely and good times are had by all. Last year, I took some photos but this year I slacked. However, I still managed to get photos of my friends at the farm each year. 



The Where:

Before or after the November pig roast, I like to take a detour to visit the surrounding area. Last year, I had a great time in NYC, while this year, I enjoyed the harbors of Rhode Island (did you know that RI has roughly 400 miles of coastline?) 

Brooklyn Bridge

Old Mills in Bristol

Last year, I also took a road trip from California to Iowa, to visit a friend of mine. I went through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas. It was a beautiful drive, full of snow and gorgeous landscapes. This year, the only road trip I have taken is by foot! It’s been a few less miles, but much harder work! (You can learn more about my road trip here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5)

Driving through the Colorado Rockies

Running through the leaves in CA

The What:

Some things stay the same and here is the proof. 

I always like to eat small bites of things. 

Street food in Guangzhou, China

San Francisco Turkish appetizers at A La Turca

I tend to cook a lot in the fall, and I guess apples are always on the menu 

French apple cake

After baking so many apple dishes, I finally discovered the joy of an apple corer

I always love fall colors!

NYC Central Park 

Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA

So, it seems like November, for me, is a month where many things are pretty traditional. I may try a new apple dish or travel to a new location, but basically there are certain things I just can’t do without, every year! Perhaps it’s because a lot of activities revolve around the holiday?

What were you doing last November? What was different this year? What remains the same?


Life in A Day

The other day on the plane I watched Life in A Day, a documentary about one day around the world. The videos were taken by us, by amateurs, and were put together as a whole story. It was interesting to see how every day normal life is different in the different places around the world. They also asked the people doing the videos to answer a few questions:

What is in your purse/pocket/bag? What do you love? What do you fear? 

Some people had no pockets. Others had empty pockets.  One man, who was a diabetic, had syringes.

In my pocket I have an ID, $20 and an AMEX, because today I am not carrying a purse. When I have my purse, it is full of tissues, wipes, vitamins and coupons. It has gift cards and credit cards and frequent flyer cards. It carries my phone and my money, my (big!) camera and my ipod. I lug around a notebook and pens, gum and granola bars. I think my purse weighs 31 pounds. 

There were a lot of people who said that the thing they loved most was God. One woman said she loved it when things were dirty and you cleaned up and you got that feeling of accomplishment. She loved that feeling. 

I love that feeling too. And if it stays clean, I love THAT feeling even more. I love watching the sun rise. I love the ocean. I love a clear blue sky filled with a flock of birds. I love my friends and my family and the comfortable feeling I have with them. I love boats and starfish and giraffes. I love travel and bright colors and crisp days. I love the crunch of leaves under my feet. I love climbing to the top of tall things and running as far as I can. I love a challenge. I love a good book and a warm fire and a cat on my lap. 

One man, whose wife was sick with cancer, said that he was “fearless, because what he feared was that his wife would get cancer, and now she had, so he had nothing to fear anymore” (that kind of made me want to cry for some reason).

I am afraid of the people I love dying. I am afraid of failure. I am afraid of the creepy squishy things in the deep open sea. 

What’s in your pocket/purse? What do you love? What do you fear? 

**My friend Sarah posted about this as well. See her take on it HERE.**


An Apple a Day Monday: IV

I arrived home the other day to find out that my mother had bought even more apples! This is the fun of living in the state that grows much of America's produce; when you are driving home, you never know what you may find. Peaches, plutots, kiwis, artichokes, mandarins, walnuts, and of course...apples. 

1. I think she got a peck of apples. If she got a peck of apples, how many apples did she get? 
2. Do you use a peeler or a knife? I used the knife. 
3. One apple = approximately 1 cup

Everyone keeps saying that Apple Crisp is their favorite Apple dish, so I thought I would take a stab at it. I used Martha Stewart's recipe. (Check out Apple a Day I and Apple A Day II and Apple a Day III.)

Martha Stewart = Butter

3/4 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
3 pounds apples, such as Empire, Gala, or Braeburn, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cut butter into flour, using a pastry blender or two knives, until mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Add oats, and use your hands to toss and squeeze mixture until large, moist clumps form. (I used my hands, after washing them in COLD water, so as to not melt the butter)

Transfer to freezer to chill while you prepare apples.

The porch aka "the freezer"
In another large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice, cinnamon, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. (I also added a few tsp of my new friend, flaxseed meal)

Transfer to a shallow 2-quart baking dish, and sprinkle with topping mixture. 

I like to use several. It makes it easier to give them away!
Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until golden and bubbling, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

It turned out pretty good! The only thing I would do differently is that I would double the amount of apples, since they bake down a lot!  Or maybe if I had only used one pan, it would have been thicker? I say more apples! You can never have too many apples.

What is your favorite apple crisp recipe? Do you think Martha uses too much butter? Have you ever bought a bushel or a peck of anything?


Good Times!

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of visiting family and friends and eating, with a little running thrown in. This week is my Taper Week, which means that my miles are lowered because the Marathon is only a week away. It is a recovery period before the big day. This means I am running less, but eating more! However, it is all worth it. Here is (inspired by Kim) what I've been up to for the last week or so! **disclaimer: if you are a vegetarian, you may want to look away, as there are pork pieces below**

I found these at Target! I did not think I could get them anywhere but MN! I must have eaten 30 of them this week!

 I went shopping for rugs. I found the perfect one for in front of the fireplace.

I hung out with some pigs at the Annual Pig Roast. Sorry guys, you are going to be dinner soon. 

There's dinner. Pay no attention to the man with the huge beard. He is participating in MoVember. Or MO-BE-mber. Whatever. 

We drove miles in search of this. When we found it, it was good. 

I ran here. Cape Cod Canal. 

And here. Bristol Rail Trail.

Finally got the big camera out. 

I ate ice cream (among other things) with these girls.

I have not downloaded my Turkey Day photos yet, but good times were had by all!

How was your week? Did you have to work on Friday? What did you do for Thanksgiving?



Did you know the average person gains 5 lbs between now and January 1st? If you are anything like me, you probably ate a lot of turkey yesterday. And mashed potatoes, pies, cookies and stuffing. From now until after the new year, it will be hard to stop. Yesterday marked the first day of a long downhill stretch and a rolling snowball of food, eating, making merry, drinking and hanging out with friends (in order to eat, drink and be merry!)

Those 5 lbs which took only a mere month to put on will take at least 3x that long to take off. So, instead of falling into that trap, I chose to join up with Amanda to take charge of that extra weight. I am saying, "back, vile extra pounds, back, I say!" Enter the Holiday Booty Buster Challenge.

What exactly is this HBBC, you ask? Well, you get points for any activities you do as well as extra points if you eat at least 7 servings of fruits and veggies a day. Here are the point breakdowns.

1 Point per mile (run/walk)
1 Point per 3 miles biked
1 Point per 20 minutes of weight lifting, Pilates, yoga, stretching or abs
1 Point per 15 minutes of low impact cardio (i.e. low impact aerobics, easy biking, skiing, skating, water aerobics, snow shoeing)
1 Point per 10 minutes of high impact cardio (i.e.spinning, kickboxing, lap swimming)
1 Per day where you reach a minimum of 7 servings of fruits and veggies (here are details on what is a serving)

It started November 20, but you can join up at any time. It ends January 7th. You can go to Amanda's page for more info, but there are prizes and everything! Or you can just do it to help keep those vile pounds where they belong! I think that keeping track of what you eat and what activities you do really helps to keep you accountable.

I keep track of my miles using Dailymile and RunningAHEAD, because each one gives me a little something different. Both are not only great for keeping track, but they also give you routes to try, race info and information about where your friends are running! And my favorite thing about dailymile is that it tells you how many donuts you have burned (earned) so far!

In order to keep track of my food, I use LoseIt. I know a lot of people have also had success with MyFitnessPal. You can use this app on your phone or the computer, so it's easy to do it every day. It really makes you realize how much better a correct portion size is as well as what you would rather put in your body, for instance a) a glass of wine b) a handful of cheeze-its or c) a cup of baby carrots, 2 tbsp hummus and an apple. I realized that the cream I was putting into my coffee was adding up to 200 calories a day (yes I drink a lot of coffee! Or maybe I should say a lot of cream with a little coffee!)

So, this week (Nov 19 - Nov 25) I ate 7 servings of veggies every day and I ran 25 miles, so I have 32 points so far. My goal for next week, since I am in the taper and will not have high running mileage, is to incorporate something else, whether it's yoga, or some crunches or a few push ups.

Don't forget to go to Jill's blog to check out the other Fitness Friday blogs! Also, it's only 9 DAYS until the marathon! Yikes! Eeek! Egad!

What are you doing to combat the vile pounds this holiday season? Do you have a plan? Are you going to do the HBBC?


Ten Days of Thanksgiving: Days 9 and 10

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope that you are actually reading this on Friday, after you have successfully stuffed yourself with food on Thursday and so you couldn’t get off the couch, even to read blogs (gasp)! Or maybe it’s Thursday and you are tired of watching your uncle Leo yell at the football game, so you have popped online for a brief respite!

Today marks the last two days of Ten Days of Thanksgiving (inspired by Lisa). It has been fun to do this, both to remember the little things and because it makes me realize how many there are! It was HARD to narrow it down to only 10! I hope that you joined along, whether publicly or privately, and that we all keep remembering to be glad of the little things all year round. Happy Holidays!

And now, numbers 9 and 10!

United Airlines: I have to admit, I sometimes use Delta, but generally United carries me across the nation to see the ones that I love. Be it West or East, United gets me to where I need to go. Luckily I travel a lot for work, so when I want to travel for pleasure, I have a few points saved up for fun! Also, earlier this year when my flight from San Francisco to Sacramento (a 30 minute flight) was delayed for a couple of hours, they gave me a $200 voucher for my troubles. Thanks to United, today I am Back East, celebrating the overeating of turkey and the playing of Pictionary with my friends and family. 

In addition to the United plane seen here, I saw Air Force One in San Francisco!!!

Travel: I am thankful for travel for many different reasons. First, I find that travel broadens the mind and opens up the horizons. No matter if you are going to Missouri or France, you learn something about people, history and landscapes, just from going to a new place. And from there, you may learn something about yourself. Other than that, I am thankful that I get to travel. This year I was lucky enough to go on several trips, including a Round The World trip which ended in May! I also got to spend a lot of time with friends and family, which has been great since I am normally so far away from them!

Going boonie bashing with my parents -- Northern CA

Me and Mark Twain -- Hartford, CT

River Float Trip -- Current River, MO

Drinks at Limon with H -- San Francisco, CA

Grandma S's house -- MA

Fishing with Bro -- Marin County, CA
Racing with M -- Newburyport, MA

Me and Dad -- Markleeville, CA

Dancing with Penguins -- KC, MO

A's first birthday -- Sacramento, CA

Road Trip to Reno, NV

Cardinals Game -- St. Louis, MO

NYC, NY with the B's
Meetup with Lisa -- Minneapolis, MN
Raise your glass! A, K and K -- East Bay, CA
 I hope that you are having a great day with YOUR friends and family! Gobble, gobble!

Where have you traveled this year? Do you travel for work or for fun? Do you get to see your friends and family a lot? 


12:12 Camera Accessories

This is the last week of 12 Weeks to Better Photos! Thanks Kate for hosting! It was fun to play along and have a "classmate" to study with!  In case you missed it,here are the links to the first 11 weeks:

Week 1: Aperture
Week 2: Shutter Speed and ISO
Week 3: White Balance
Week 4: Flash
Week 5: Composition
Week 6: Shooting Indoors
Week 8: On The Go
Week 9: Portraits
Week 10: Landscapes
Week 11: Your Daily Environment

Week 12 is really just a rundown of what types of accessories you can get for your camera. So, instead of going into detail about this (you can read the pdf HERE), I am going to talk a little about a couple of accessories I have found to be useful and a couple that I would like to have. If you are a camera person, please tell me what else YOU think I should get next.

My newest lens is this one. It's a 35mm. So far, so good, except I have to keep remembering to take a step back, since my kit lens is an 18-105 and so it gets a little more into the frame.
Source: google.com via Kyria on Pinterest

One of the best pieces of advice I received was to buy a UV Filter. It helps protect the lens from getting scratched and filters the light as well. It screws right on the lens and does not affect the lens cap from going back on.
Source: google.com via Kyria on Pinterest

I also have a tripod, which does wonders when you are shooting landscapes etc, but I have to admit, is a pain in the butt to cart around most of the time.

What I would like to have is:

Because I hate that red-eyed look:

Source: target.com via Kyria on Pinterest

Because sometimes you want a good group shot:
Source: google.com via Kyria on Pinterest

Because I like to throw my camera in my purse:

Source: amazon.com via Kyria on Pinterest

Check out my Photography Pinboard HERE

Also folks if you are looking for a new camera, here are a few good deals I have seen lately!

At Target: Canon Powershot. $129.99 for regular priced $179.99 -- 12MP 4x optical zoom

Source: target.com via Kyria on Pinterest

At Costco -- Fujifilm 500EXR -- comes with camera case and memory card -- 16MP / 15x optical zoom *I can't find the price online, but I think when I was in the store, it was about $129.00.

Do you have a favorite accessory? Is there something that you use all the time and love?