A Tropical Thanksgiving: Antigua 2017 Recap

2017 was the first Thanksgiving of my life where I didn’t eat turkey for dinner, and I have to say, it was probably my best one yet. My dad’s 70th birthday was in August, and for this monumental birthday, he wanted to have the whole family together on vacation over Thanksgiving. We originally rented a villa in Anguilla (hey, that rhymes!), but had to shift gears after the hurricanes wrecked havoc on the Caribbean, and somehow Antigua made it through unscathed.

There were 12 of us total – my folks, me and John, both my sisters, their husbands, and their four (total) kids. If I’m being honest, I was a liiiiiiiittle nervous about having the entire family under one roof for a whole week for the first time in… years. We’re all pretty intense and 12 people, including 4 kids between 2 and 10, is a lot, but everyone got along really well and it was one of the best vacations I’ve been on!

To start, the villa we stayed at, Perfect Sunshine, was absolutely breathtaking. Here’s the view from the back porch, looking out over our private (!) infinity pool and the resort itself.

And this is was view from the back balcony every.single.night.

Another reason I loved this trip so much was that John and I went snorkeling every day while we were there, and saw some pretty cool stuff!

The island itself has 365 (!) beaches, and we made the rounds visiting quite a few during our stay.

One of the other really fun things we did was take a sunset cruise, which was actually my and my sisters’ gift to my parents, and we spent about 4 hours cruising around on a private catamaran.

And then when the sun started to set it was hard not to be mesmerized by the view.

The one downside, and I’m not even sure I’d call it that, was that food was REALLY expensive in Antigua. We cooked breakfast at the villa each morning (and by “we”, I mean my sister Wendy) and for the most part ate one meal out per day and cooked the other at home. We had some great meals out, including lunch at the Beach Bum Bar & Grill (times two).

Lunch at Papa’s By the Sea (side note: it’s REALLY hard to take a selfie and get 12 people in the photo. This was my best try…)

And probably my favorite meal of the trip – a whole red snapper grilled with garlic butter, plus fries, veggies and salad on the side from OJ’s Bar & Restaurant.

The only other thing that was less than ideal were the roads in Antigua. I’ve traveled in the Caribbean quite a bit and there’s usually potholes and narrow roads, but Antigua took it to a whole different level. The roads were so narrow it didn’t feel like two cars could get through side by side, and cars were randomly parked on the side of the narrow streets all over the place. Our villa was a bit isolated so we had to drive about 45 minutes to get to the other side of the island, and it was really intense each time. We ended up on a few dirt roads that were mostly just potholes on top of each other and I definitely considered getting out of the car and walking a time or two.

The best part of the trip was getting to spend solid quality time with my family, which is much rarer than I’d like it to be these days. I remember when I first got out of college and went home for the holidays and was shocked that I only got one day for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It felt like it was time to head back to DC/get into work mode before I’d even realized the holiday was upon us, and that’s continued to be one of the things I struggle the most with in terms of adulting.

The upside to that is it makes times like these that much more precious.

Who knew I was such a sap!?

Scenes from Labor Day in Woodstock

Spending Labor Day weekend at my sister’s house in Woodstock has become a tradition of sorts. Both my niece Claire and my dad’s birthdays fall over the weekend, and hanging out at the house with the fam seems like the perfect way to close out the summer. This year, I ended up flying into Albany from DC, which is just over an hour from the house. The one hour flight was suuuuuuch a breeze compared to the 6ish hour drive from DC, so I was really happy I went with that option. My sister and the kids picked me up from the airport, and after making it back to the house, we wasted no time before heading to the pool.

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Me, Claire, and Ben

My other sister, Wendy, and her fam plus my parents came Thursday evening, and we spent the whole weekend doing a whole lot of relaxing and barely leaving the house. Some highlights included tons of games of my new favorite card game, Phase 10.

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A campfire!

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Complete with smores and lots of lovin’ on my nephews.

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Me and Harper

Ice cream cake for Claire’s 6th birthday.

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Does life get any better than when you’re 6?

So much time by the pool.

beth and claire

(In a BIKINI, no less!)

And countless hours watching my niece and nephews bond with each other.


Cousinly love is so awesome.

This weekend was exactly what I needed. Too bad they always go by way too fast!

Memorial Day in DC

I had such a fun Memorial Day weekend! My sister came to visit from NYC for the first time since 2008 (even if she claims it was 2009) and she brought her husband Dan, plus my favorite niece and oldest nephew with her.

Some highlights included:

QT with Claire and Ben.

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QT with my sister, of course.

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Being a tourist in my own city, with trips to the National Building Museum, The American History Museum, and Iwo Jima.

ben at NBM

And eating SO much food, including:

– Ramen at Daikaya

– Crabs at the Quarterdeck

claire picking crabs

– Dolsot Bibim bap at Mandu

– Drinks at The Gibson

– Dinner at Bar Pilar

The worst part was that weekends go too fast!

Highlights from Easter Weekend in DC

I had such a great visit with my parents this weekend, which ended up being a culinary experience all over the city, wrapping up in my apartment with the first holiday I’ve ever hosted (though my mom helped a ton, obv).

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Major victory getting my mom to smile in a photo. Score!

Highlights of the weekend included:

1.) Union Market

On Saturday late morning, we ventured to the newly (ish) opened Union Market in DC. I thought it would be a fun activity to do since my parents are as into food as I am, and we also wanted to pick up ingredients for Easter brunch the next day.

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It was really cool to walk around and there were tons of different local vendors selling everything from tea to meat to wine to vegetables. We ended up getting the lamb there and I also got some chicken to make for this week, but the veggies were really expensive and nothing else really caught our eye from the vendors. There were several places selling food to eat, but I had my eye on something specific…

2.) Lambs and Clams from Rappanannock Oyster Bar

This dish made the list of 40 dishes every Washingtonian must try in 2013 according to the Washington Post, and it did not disappoint. The place itself was really cute, with communal seating in the middle of the market as well as up along the bar, and the kitchen right there for everyone to see.

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I couldn’t picture what it would be like from the description, and was pleasantly surprised when it came out.

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Totally genuine pre-food coma bliss.

The dish was basically a stew that had ground lamb and whole clams in the shell, and it came with two huge pieces of crusty bread that were doused in butter, which makes everything better. It was super flavorful, delicious, and complex. Highly recommend.

I also had a pineapple soda from Buffalo Bergen, which also made the top 40 list, but I was less impressed with that. It was good, but not worth the $5.50 it cost in my opinion.

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I clearly didn’t hate it though.

3.) Medium Rare

Saturday night, we headed to Medium Rare for dinner, which is a place I’d heard a lot about but didn’t have a chance to try until now. The concept is simple – it’s a price fixed menu with bread, salad, and steak frites with “secret sauce” (sketch) that is $19.50 a person. All you have to do is tell them how you want your steak cooked, and they bring it out in two portions so that it’s perfectly cooked the entire time you’re eating it. I like that the menu is pre decided because I always gush over big menus and have so much trouble figuring out what to get, and almost always end up with meal envy. Obviously you want to be in the mood for steak to go here, but if you are, I’d highly recommend it. The secret sauce was also really good, though no one, not even the waiters, know exactly what is in it, which makes me cringe a little.

4.) Easter Brunch

This was definitely one of the top parts of the weekend! My mom and I cooked everything and it all came together pretty quickly and without too much stress, which is a big win for my family. We even had a little time for a goofy photo shoot.

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I think we all got different messages about what face to make for that one.

First up, we set the table and made it a bit festive.

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It was fun getting it set up, which is something I have literally not done since living in my apartment for a year a half.

First course was a delicious salad.

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Mixed butter lettuce with toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, and goat cheese, tossed with a homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette (by yours truly).

The main event was rack of lamb, roasted purple potatoes, steamed asparagus, and creamed baby spinach.

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I tackled the potatoes, the asparagus, and the plating, while my mom handled the lamb and the creamed spinach. Everything turned out perfect and was delicious, but also not super heavy, which was nice since we had to save room.

Dessert was definitely in competition for my favorite part of the weekend.

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French macarons from Macaron Bee! These were incredible, melt-in-your-mouth, sweet-but-not-too-sweet macarons. The meringue was so light and slightly crunchy and the ratio of creamy filling made for a perfect balance. We ended up getting four flavors – salted caramel (OMG), green tea (eh), Pistachio (good), and Toasted Almond (amazing). In case you couldn’t gather from my commentary, the salted caramel was my favorite with the toasted almond a close second. I could have eaten the whole box but stopped at 4, so I’m going to consider that a win as well. What a fun weekend!

Do you ever host holidays, or mostly go to other family members/friends for them?

PS: My first DietBet game ended yesterday, but I’m hosting a second DietBet game that starts this Wednesday, April 3, and runs through the whole month! Last game ended up having 405 participants for a total of a $10,125 pot and 2065 POUNDS LOST (as of this morning)!!! Holy crap!! You can read about the way it works in this post.

Weekend of Twos

This weekend was seriously awesome. There were lots of twos, so I figured I’d just go with it!

First, I had two GREAT runs, for different reasons.

The first was my long run for the week of 6 miles for half marathon training. It was early Saturday morning and the weather was PERFECT. I set out and just felt amazing during the entire run (besides the minimal self-peptalk time during the first mile), and I finished it faster than I’ve ever run before – an 8:46 pace! I doubt I can do it again, but it felt incredible at the end.

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The second run was with my sister yesterday morning in Philly, and we covered 4 miles at a much slower pace. We had a dog and a baby in tow, and man do those two things slow you down! It still felt great, and I love running with my sis, so that’s a win.

Second, this little guy turned two!


Photo credit goes to Colleen, one of my sister’s close friends!

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For those of you who have been following my blog for a while (read: two years), you might remember that my sister went into preterm labor at just 23 weeks and 1 day. Harper was born at just 1 lb 3 oz, and though it’s been a tough road at times, he’s now a chatty, amazing, and too-smart-for-his-own-good two year old! He truly is a miracle, and he is so awesome.

My two favorite dishes from the party:

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Ricotta, honey, and seasalt bruschetta! My sister Heather made these and they were so simple, but so delicious. The secret she says is with good quality ricotta, and you just spread some on a piece of fresh baguette, drizzle with some honey, and sprinkle a little seasalt to finish it off!

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Annnnnd vegan potato and caramelized onion knishes! These were almost too good because I ate way more than I was planning on, but they were one of the catered dishes from the party and were seriously amazing. I’m sort of glad I don’t have the culinary prowess to make these!

Kid birthday parties are SO fun. Especially where there are Elmo cupcakes!

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Aren’t you impressed? My sister Wendy made them!

The weekend also had two PERFECT weather days.

The run outside and the party took up most of Saturday. Sunday, we got to spend a lot of time at the park in Philly, which was awesome.

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That’s the birthday boy and his big cousin, Claire, who just started kindergarten.

I also got to spend a lot of time with my sister Heather’s two kids – Claire and Ben!

I seriously love being an aunt. It’s funny because growing up, my extended family was never that that close. We would spend holidays together but whenever someone said they were close enough with their cousins to consider them a sibling, I never really got it.

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But now that I am an aunt, and see my sisters kids interact with each other as cousins, I can’t imagine NOT being such a big part of their lives.

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Even if I can’t get everyone in a picture at once successfully.

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Good thing this cutie pie likes to cooperate.

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What were the 1 or 2 best parts of YOUR weekend?

Part Two: SXM Recap

So as I mentioned yesterday, my vacation was VERY low key and relaxing. We ended up spending almost all of our time on the beach, at the pool, or at the timeshare and cooked every meal at home except for two lunches out, and one time ordering carry out pizza. The thing that was great was that even though we were cooking most meals at home, we were using a lot of French groceries and things you can’t get in the states, like these crepes:

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They come in the pantry section of the grocery store and are unlike any crepes I’ve ever tasted. We had three different meals with them and each was better than the next. The first one was a fried egg with ham and cheese folded into the crepe, with mushrooms sauteed with butter on the side for dinner. The second meal was egg and cheese wrapped up in a crepe with tropical fruit on the side. And the last was scrambled eggs with goat cheese and smoked salmon. Heaven.

The funny thing about the packaging was that was noticed on MANY of the packages of food we purchased, there were lifestyle recommendations on the back.

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The bottom language loosely translates to, “Water and physical activity are necessary for your body and your life. Try to drink at least 1.5 liters of water and exercise at least 30 minutes each day.” Something similar was printed on the back of several packages of food we bought, even cookies and other pastries that suggested they should be infrequent treats, and eaten with vegetables on the side. Ha!

The best meal we had out by far (not that there was much competition) was at this place on the French side of the island called Grand Case. They have local women who have these huge grills that cook ribs, chicken, and steak, along with more sides that you can count that are called LoLos. Our favorite one is called Rib Shack (creative, I know).

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For $9, you get a HUGE plate of ribs, with rice and beans, green salad, coleslaw, and fried plantains.

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Even Harper, who isn’t nearly as into food as his Klein genes might make you think, LOVED them.

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Outside of that, we also picked up some pastries from the bakery a few times during our stay, including fresh croissants a few mornings. My favorite pastry from the trip though was this amazing meringue!

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It’s just a plain meringue, but is decorated with nuts and a little chocolate (and food coloring apparently). It was SO good.

We also had a lot of salads at home, at least one a day, mixing regular greens with endive for a base, and making them “fun” with beets, avocado, tomato, tuna, turkey, and various other salad toppers.

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It felt good to balance out the more indulgent meals with salads, and reminded me I have to get a little more creative when I have salads at home because they can be satisfying, too.

Outside of the salads, we did a good amount of exercising too, which I was happy about. On Monday morning, Wendy and I went for a run outside, covering about 3.1 miles in 35 minutes. It felt good to explore the island a bit on foot, and it was pretty breathtaking looking over my shoulder and seeing this:


Besides the outdoor run, we went on a 30 minute powerwalk on Tuesday morning, and then used the gym on Thursday morning where I did a 30 minute tempo run on the treadmill. Outside of the traditional workouts, we were also active and walking around a lot during the rest of the trip so I was really pleased with the amount of activity I got in on the trip.

As you get older, there’s so much less downtime you get with your family, which is something that is so easy to take for granted when you’re younger. Now, I get just a day off from work for major holidays, and almost all of the time spent off from work is on the commute to and from wherever I am going! So without getting TOO sappy, it was really awesome to get to spend some QT with my sister and her family, since it’s such a rare treat.

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And even though I was only there for a couple nights, I think the worst part of leaving a place like that is not knowing if/when you’ll ever get to go back. Fortunately, one of my closest friends is getting married in St. Maarten in July of this year, so I’m going back in just a couple months!

Do you have a vacation coming up anytime soon? Where to?

Gone Crabbin’

Hi! I’m just getting settled back in after the weekend away for Father’s Day. It turned out to be an awesome weekend but went by way too quickly, as they usually do. Friday night I picked my boyfriend up from work and we left DC around 7 to head to my parent’s house in New Jersey. It ended up taking us just over 3 hours, so we arrived around 10:30p, chatted a bit, and then crashed pretty hard.

For father’s day this year, my dad decided he wanted to do fishing of some sort, but after working out the logistics we all decided crabbing would be a better option. We had to get out there early, so woke up at 6am on Saturday and got in the car before 7 to head to the bay. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but it was SO awesome. We couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day – it was in the 80s but dry, sunny, and just the right amount of breeze. Here’s a picture of my sister, her hubby Justin, and my mom on out boat, and you can see the gorgeous weather in the background.

Here I am, happy as a clam (or crab?)

We got taken out into the bay just after 8 and ended up staying out for 5 hours. They give you drop lines where you put the bait (whole fish that you cut up!) onto a hook and then drop it into the water. It’s not like fishing because you don’t hook the crabs, you just slowly bring them up towards the service while they’re eating the bait and then catch them with a net. We also had crab traps which you drop off the side of the boat after securing the bait in them, and then pull up periodically to check for crabs. Once you get the crabs, you put them into a bushel ont he boat, and then keep crabbing for more. It was really fun, and the 5 hours seriously flew by. I couldn’t believe it was time to go when it was, but we left with A LOT of crabs. Here’s a look at our catches of the day.

We ended up leaving with over 50 crabs! I was so excited to have a crab feast, but unfortunately didn’t get that great of pictures because I was very ready to eat them by then! We ended up boiling them with some of the crab seasoning we bought at the shop which was basically Old Bay. I use the term “we” loosely because my boyfriend did all the cooking, but I stood by and steadily handed him beer, a necessity alongside crabs, if you ask me. 😉 Here they are cooking and ready to be picked.

And a picture of our setup outside with newspaper down for easy cleanup.

My sister, Dad, and Grandma getting excited about picking! You can’t see it well, but I ended up grilling some fresh New Jersey corn to go with the crabs, and my boyfriend made an awesome potato salad with dill, mayo, vinegar, and mustard. My mom also whipped up some coleslaw which got good reviews too, but I’m not a fan of coleslaw so didn’t have any. It was such a fun day! I loved the simplicity of it all – sitting out on a boat with a string catching the crabs one by one, and then later eating what we caught. I’d never been crabbing before and the whole experience was awesome, the catching and eating ranking pretty similar in my book.

We ended up watching last week’s premier of Top Chef and then getting to bed pretty early. I woke up around 7:45 and went on a bike ride with my dad this morning. It’s funny because he loves to bike ride and always used to beg me to go on rides with him a few years ago and I hated it. Sometimes I would begrudgingly go and my butt would be so sore and I just wasn’t in any shape to be riding long distances. But yesterday, I actually asked him if he wanted to go on a bike ride today and he was so happy – my how the tables have turned! Here’s today’s stats:

Duration: 1h27min53sec

Distance: 17.03 miles

Avg. Speed: 11.6 mph

Avg. Pace: 5:09 min/mile

Calories: 751

It was a great ride – and it had been too long since my last one! My camera actually died so I didn’t take any pictures of my meals today, but my mom and I made everyone eggs after the ride with tomatoes, onions, spinach and cheese. I also cut up a canteloupe from the farmer’s market and mixed it with some blueberries – and we had some homemade biscuits that were left over from the crab feast. After breakfast we got on the road back and made it home in just over 3 hours. We’re now just relaxing and looking forward to True Blood tonight and laying low.

How was your weekend?

20 Miles!

I am already back in DC and just got back from my longest bikeride ever! It’s been a goooood day.

I ended up falling asleep fast and hard last night and it felt so good. I woke up without an alarm around 8 am and hung out with my sister and her husband for a bit while we drank some coffee. Then they made me delicious breakfast before I got on the road.

2 farm fresh scrambled eggs, 2 slices of tomato, 1/4 an avocado, and 1 piece of whole wheat toast. It was simple, yet delicious. I ended up spreading the avocado on the toast and it was awesome. I love how colorful this plate is! I ended up getting on the road around 10am which was awesome because I made it home in no time. I literally hit no traffic and made it around 12:30 which included a stop for gas. I’m so glad we celebrated last night so I didn’t get caught in Mother’s Day Brunch traffic… that always makes me cranky!

After I got home, I unpacked quickly and then decided to go for a bikeride. It’s a gorgeous, sunny, and cool day here in DC – perfect weather for a ride. I set out not quite sure how far I would go, and I was feeling so good that I decided to do 20 miles! It was my longest ride to date, and besides my butt being pretty sore, I feel great now too. I went on the Mount Vernon Trail towards Alexandria, and I usually get sort of turned around because the trail isn’t marked well during certain parts, but I had an idea of where to go and asked a few riders for directions, and then figured it out. I went 10 miles towards Mount Vernon (which was 4 miles further) and then turned around and came back. Soon I want to do the full ride of 28 miles (14 each way) but I didn’t want to push it since 16 was the furthest I’d gone before today. It is only a little hilly in parts but it was a nice, challenging ride.

Today’s stats:

– Distance: 20.13 miles

– Duration: 1hr35min3sec

– Avg. Pace: 4:43min/mi

– Avg. Speed: 12.7mph

– Calories Burned: 1172

Overall, a great ride! I brought these Gu Chomps with me:

And I ate 5 of them on the ride (115 calories worth). I didn’t like these AT ALL. They are chewy but kind of stick to your teeth and the flavor just tasted gross. I’m pissed at myself because I bought 5 packages of these because they were having a special at a race expo but I’d never tried them before! Maybe the other flavors will be better, but I much prefer the Sports Beans which actually taste like candy.

As soon as I got home, I was craving a smoothie, so I made an interesting combo.

Into the blender went:

  • 1.5 cups light soy milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 15 frozen cherries
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder
  • 3 cups baby kale (end of the bag)

Now this smoothie had a lot of potential… minus the kale. When I put spinach into smoothies, I can barely tell its there because it doesn’t really affect the taste or texture. Not so with the kale… It was baby kale so it’s a lot more tender than regular kale, but it didn’t blend up nearly as well as the spinach does so I could taste it and felt “chunks” of it (ew) in the smoothie. I think if I had put spinach in there instead it would have been a winning combo. I didn’t let it go to waste but I don’t think I’ll be using kale in my green smoothies anymore!

I’m off to shower and relax a bit. Hope Sunday is treating you well!

Mother’s Day Dinner Recap

Dinner tonight was perfect and I think my mom and grandma both were very happy! 🙂

The drive to Philly was uneventful – – I was sure I was going to hit tons of traffic since tomorrow is Mother’s Day, but somehow it was smooth sailing the whole way from DC to Philly. There were a few slow moving parts of the trip, especially around tolls, but I left just before 12 noon and made it by 2:30!

I brought some snacks to munch on in the car. (Don’t worry – these pictures were taken BEFORE my drive, not during.)

A few grapes.

Three mandarins.

And a KIND Bar – Almond & Apricot flavor.  This was SO good, I honestly can’t believe I went on so long without KIND Bars. I was always a little nervous about having a lot of calories in bars just because I feel like I could eat 3 and still not be full, but these are full of nuts and fruit, so they’re not only delicious, but filling too. Stay tuned because I’m going to be doing a reader giveaway for some of these KIND Bars next week!

After I made it to Philly, my sister and I got to work with cooking! We were lucky to have picked a bunch of dishes we could make beforehand and serve at room temp, so dinner time wasn’t stressful at all. After prepping a lot of the dishes for dinner, I was pretty hungry so I had a little bowl of leftover tomato soup

and some half sour pickles.

We took Wendy’s dog, Sadie, on a walk for about 30-45 minutes after that and it felt good to walk around. The day was gorgeous even though it was a little windy so it was so nice to be outside. My parents came around 5 and we set out some appetizers to munch on while we chatted and drank some wine.

Green olives, goat cheese (covered in ash, paprika, herbs, and plain), a goat cheese red pepper spread, and some sliced baguette and crackers. I munched on a little of everything and it was really good even though I’ve had a LOT of goat cheese today. But cheese and I are friends so I didn’t mind too much. 😉

For a first course (or second, depending on how you want to look at it ;)), we had Chilled Beet Soup.

My sister made this by adding a chopped onion, 1.5 pounds of beets, and 5 cups of water to a pot. She cooked it for 40 minutes, and then pureed it with a hand mixer. So simple, but it was INCREDIBLE. (Also,0 WW points for this soup!) We garnished it with some sour cream and fresh chives from her backyard.

The main course was…

Soft Shell Crabs!! One of my absolute favorites but I hadn’t had them in soooo long. We just dipped these in egg wash and then a mixture of cornmeal and flour, and then cooked them in a pan with hot oil for about 2-3 minutes a side. They crisped up and were out of this world.

We had three side dishes to go with the crabs.

A Smoky Pasta Salad that I was in charge of. We just mixed smoked mozzarella, grape tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, salt and pepper into the cooked pasta. It was simple but delicious, especially if you like smoky flavors because the mozzarella really popped in this dish.

Roasted Corn and Wild Mushrooms with Arugula Flowers.

Watercress and Endive Salad with homemade vinaigrette.

Here’s my plate:

A softshell crab and some of each of the sides. Everything was delicious, and I was so happy to use those arugula flowers! They are so pretty but added that same peppery flavor you get from regular arugula. And the softshell crabs were just perfect. They’re one of my mom’s favorites too so she was a happy camper, too.

Then came dessert, which was amaaaaaaazing.

Doesn’t that look professional?? My sister and I made it FROM SCRATCH, though she deserves most of the credit.  She was in charge of the crust, and I made the custard filling, and then we topped it with fresh strawberries she picked up at the Farmer’s Market. My piece:

Ahhh it was so good and such an amazing way to end the meal. I don’t know the last time I had something made from scratch that I actually helped make so it tasted that much better! Dinner wrapped up around 8:30 so my parents went home and now I’m just watching a movie with my sis and her hubby.

I am exhauuuusted so will definitely be going to bed soon. I hope Saturday is treating you well, too!

Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run Race Recap

Hi! I did it!!! 🙂

I’m so happy and the race went so well. The biggest issue is that I only ended up getting 2 hours of sleep last night because my body decided last night would be the best night to have a coughing attack ALL NIGHT. Ugh. It was a nightmare, but I woke up after those 2 hours feeling pretty excited about the race, despite the fact that I only got a few hours. I set out all my race gear last night so this morning would be a breeze:

My sneakers with my D-Tag, my bib number, running capris, shirt, and sports bra, my garmin, socks, my knee strap, sports beans for the run, and the body glide. I set my alarm for 6am and woke up fairly easily despite the circumstances. I put together my go-to pre-run fuel:

A toasted bagel thin with almond butter, a few sliced strawberries, and a sliced kiwi. The fruit varies, but I love to have a bagel thin or arnold thin with some kind of nut butter. Yum. After that, my parents met me and we took the metro to the race site. The metro got more and more crowded as we got closer, and then once we got to the Smithsonian stop the whole platform was full of people. I tried to snap a picture but it was too dark. Luckily the race was only a short walk from the stop, so we headed over to the staging area. I’ve never run in such a big race before, so this was my first time with running corals. All the other races I’ve run just had everyone line up as they wished, but I really liked the corals. Here I am in mine:

I was in the Green Wave, which was the 10 minute mile pace. Though I had my Garmin so I could tell how fast I was going, it was nice to be around runners in the same pace range because in all the other races I had no idea how fast people around me were going. I found it was easier to pace myself this way. The race itself was along a gorgeous 10 mile route all around the city. We went over several bridges and it was a really scenic and nice view. If you’re interested, you can see the exact course here. And the day was seriously the best weather you could ask for. It was around 55-60 degrees, sunny, and just perfect running weather. I stopped twice during the race – once to tie my shoe, and once to use the porta potty around Mile 8. I also stopped at 4 of the water stations and had water at the first two, and gatorade at the second two. I ate 2/3 of this bag of sports beans during the run:

Overall, I felt really good during the run, though I was pretty happy when I was getting close to the end. The only thing that was a little negative was just that there were SO many people running (15,000 in total!) that there were many times when I wanted to be going faster and I couldn’t because there were just so many people. In other races I’ve run, it has been that way for the first 1-2 miles but then it spreads out, but I felt like it was really crowded all the way to the finish line. I don’t have my official chip time yet, but with the two stops my Garmin said around 1hour41 minutes. I’m pretty happy with that, which is just around a 10 minute pace.

Once I crossed the finish line, I ran into my mom and she gave me a banana which I inhaled quickly. There was muffins and bananas at the end but it was really hard to get to them, but I did grab a few of the bottles of water, which were commemorative for the race:

I love stuff like that. I guess that kind of makes up for the lack of any swag in our “Goodie Bags” (what the official race email called them!).

And then, my best friends surprised me at the finish line!! I was so excited and couldn’t believe they came out so early to support me. It meant the world to me. 🙂

That’s Jess, Me, Lianne, and Leah. Leah is visiting from NYC but went to college with us, too. She’s been here this weekend but I haven’t gotten to see that much of her since my parents were visiting, so it was so nice to get to see her today.  I was so surprised and so happy they came out.

And of course, my parents have been there with me since 6:30am this morning taking the metro in. It was so nice that they came and I had someone to ride to the race with since I wasn’t running it with anyone. It was also pretty great that I could give them my bag to hold with my keys and phone and camera… and having someone to take some pics of me wasn’t so bad either. (Thanks Dad!)

After we visited with my friends for a bit, we took the metro home and I made a huge Green Monster.

This one had:

  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2/3 frozen banana (that’s all there was!)
  • 5 frozen strawberries
  • 1 packet Amazing Grass
  • 2 handfuls of spinach

I’m now icing my knee and about to jump in the shower and go to a farewell brunch with my parents before they get on the road home.

I’m so excited that I did it!!! Ahh!!

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