Category Archives: J

I Guess it’s Time for a Real Recap

I’ve been slacking in the blogging/Ragnar recapping department this week so I figured it was finally time for me to get on that. All the fun pictures and excitement from last weekend can be found here, but now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and not-always-pretty details (I’m so clever, huh?).


After meeting up with the rest of Van 2 around 7AM, we headed to the first major exchange to await Madison. It was already really warm out when Ashley headed out for her first leg – 8.8 miles. She wasn’t feeling great thanks to the heat, but she knocked out that leg like a total Rockstar before handing off to Linzay.

Linzay was a total champ, covering one of the hilliest legs of the race and it was just about noon when she handed off to me in Corona. By the time I took off on my first leg of 4.9 miles, it was close to 90*. In any other situation, 4.9 miles would be a breeze that I could easily knock out at a 9:30-9:45 pace, but this was far from my normal comfort zone of running in 60-70* weather.

I immediately felt the effects of the heat combined with my lack of actually fueling for this run. I guess half a Krispy Kreme donut and a banana don’t exactly work as well as my normal PB-Toast breakfast. But it was tasty.  My first leg ended up being a sad, slow 11:55 pace for 4.9 miles. I was taking in lots of Nuun but it was so hard to keep drinking as my bottle was downright hot, and hot Strawberry Lemonade doesn’t taste fantastic when you’re running in 90* temps. I felt dizzy and my face was cold which I knew was not a good sign. I also felt SO defeated because I know I am so much better than such a slow (for me) pace. It didn’t help that I got stuck at two horrible stoplights, including one that was almost 4 minutes! The other runners and I were sharing water and spray bottles and it was so great how everyone was working to lift each other’s spirits. I ended up running the last mile and a half with a girl in a tie-dye shirt from Chino Hills but I totally forgot to get her name. She was so nice for sharing her water though!

I initially thought I ‘d be running my second leg around midnight, but because of Satan’s Death Legs from Hell (aka all the legs through the boiling hot Inland Empire) we ended up a couple hours behind and I set off for leg 2 at 2:00AM all decked out in my stylish reflective vest, headlamp, reflective BIC Band, some killer knuckle lights (which really made the run way more fun) and about 30 glow sticks.


This leg went MUCH better. Let me just tell you that running through San Marcos at 2:00AM while strange dogs are barking in the yards around you keeps you VERY motivated to stay as close as possible to the person in front of you.

3.8 miles in 36 minutes. Much more my style.

Luckily, after Elisabeth finished her 2nd leg we had a few hours to get a little sleep. Ashley and Phil live just a couple miles from the final major exchange so they were amazing and let all of us crash their apartment and get a couple hours of rest before we had to be up and running at 8AM. They also let us all use the shower which felt AMAZING after running and sweating and sitting in a van all day. Best shower ever.

I set out for my final leg of 11.1 miles at noon on Saturday and that’s where things went all kinds of wrong. The first 4 miles were ok. I had to stop to pee and my legs were sore and my body felt exhausted but I held a steady 10:30 pace despite the stop and the headwind for the first 3 miles. At mile 5 I saw my team waiting for me, but little did I know I also had the biggest beast of a hill ahead as well. Sharon was amazing and paced me up half the hill and basically talked me down from the “I hate this and I hate myself for doing this” ledge. If it weren’t for her I probably would still be curled up in the fetal position at the bottom of that mountain.

The second half of the hill was… interesting… Basically this was my view for half a mile:

Those would be Ragnar temporary tattoos on his cheeks. Yep. Half a mile. Uphill. Staring at THAT.

I finally made it to the glorious downhill and I was tired but trucking along just fine. I did start to notice that I hadn’t seen any Ragnar signs in a while but I was following closely behind Man-Thong and tons of other runners so I really didn’t think too much of it.

Around miles 8 is where the fun really started. A bunch of runners I had been following about 1/4 a mile behind all of a sudden came running back toward the rest of us yelling that we’d gone over 2 miles out the wrong way. Commence mental breakdown. I was so sore and so tired and so beat up over that damn hill that I just couldn’t hold myself together. I called my team practically in hysterics and told them what happened. Luckily, they swung by and picked me up, fed me some water and goldfish, and got me back to the road where I should have been.

By this point I was verging on tears. I really felt like I’d let them down and I felt HORRIBLE. But they put me backed together and Ashley was the sweetest thing ever and busted out the final 3 miles with me. She pushed bums out of the way, yelled at moms with strollers to move, and pretty much paved the way for me to survive those last few miles. Champ.

13.13 miles – 10:45 pace. Eh.

I was so relieved to hand the wristband off to Erica at that point. She rocked her final leg and Elisabeth held strong to bring us home to the finish line. It was such an amazing feeling to be done! Driving home was exhausting but coming home to my sweet boyfriend with champagne and flowers was so worth it. I definitely broke down a couple times during the week (after plugging in my Garmin and seeing some pretty dismal numbers), but I wouldn’t trade the experience for ANYTHING. We all ran in the heat, we all hit horrible hills and we all had to pull through and tough it out. I am so inspired by the performance of my teammates and I’m working even harder to become a stronger runner so that one day when I do another Ragnar I can feel as proud of all my legs as I did of my 2nd leg this time.


Seriously how cute are we? That’s after 41 hours awake and only 3 hours asleep BTW.

So in an effort to become a stronger, faster runner I’ve recruited a new running buddy that pushes me a little more:


We had 2 great runs last week and I think if I keep running with him I can be busting out some consistent sub-9 paces on the reg Winking smile


No more double-digit mile paces for this girl. Time to get fast. Pinky-proms.


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Filed under J, Ragnar Relay SoCal, Running

Creamy Gnocchi with Kale (And How I “Cook”)

I like to think of myself as Jason’s muse in the kitchen. I take inventory of the fridge then come up with tasty (hopefully) (in my mind they sound tasty) ideas for different dinners. Then I have him execute the actual “cooking” part of my ideas. Tonight was no different.

J had bought a couple packages of gnocchi at Trader Joes a while back and on a whim we had picked up some kale at the produce market last week. The kale was actually totally inspired by my friend Jocelyn who has an entire Pinboard devoted to her love of kale. It’s pretty awesome. I hadn’t gotten around to using it yet so I figured it might go well in some sort of pasta dish. And oh boy did it go well.


And now… drumroll please… I present my very first recipe*.

Creamy Gnocchi with Kale

1 package of gnocchi pasta

2 heaping handfuls of kale – cooked and drained

1 onion – chopped

1 yellow pepper – chopped

2-3 tablespoons garlic

3/4 cup of ricotta cheese

1/4 cup low-fat milk

salt to taste

crushed red pepper

Sauté peppers, onions and garlic in a little olive oil until onions are soft. Add kale, a couple tablespoons of water to steam, and salt. Cook until kale gets super green and onions and peppers smell delicious. Add ricotta cheese and milk and stir until it’s all melted. Toss in cooked gnocchi and red pepper if you like a little kick. Cook until cream sauce coats gnocchi. Serve alongside a big glass of good wine and enjoy.

*I use the term recipe loosely as no actual measuring took place while J whipped this up so all measurements are total guess-timations. You may need to adjust based on your preferences.


It was SO good. So so good.

Now Jason is currently flipping between The Voice and the Kings game while I do what I do best – drink wine and blog/browse pinterest.


And snuggle with my new favorite pillow from World Market that Jason doesn’t think matches the couch. The couch is brown. The buttons are brown. It matches. I made sure to cut the tags off right away so I could keep it.


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Filed under J, Mmm Food

St. Pat’s Day, Race Swag and the Most Random Meal

Last weekend it rained. And I ran.


And my ponytail legitimately multiplied. I wish my hair had that much volume on a normal day… but without the frizz, sweat and flyaways.

I had to get in my last good run before this Saturday’s half marathon because I when I opened the fridge I realized that no running would be happening on St. Patrick’s Day.


I drank one of those Harps but it was kind of nasty. I also had two green Bud Lights at a local sports bar. One was free. I was with this guy so I don’t even know how that happened:


He had a little more beer than I did Winking smile

He also cooked a jammin’ corned beef while Jennifer and I whipped up the mashed potatoes and cabbage. It’s all about teamwork.


Jennifer and her husband Mat


Tiffany and Aaron – Tiff walked out of the sports bar with beads. I don’t how that happened either (FYI it’s a family style sports bar and children were there so I am totally kidding).

This week has been crazy busy. We went to see NEEDTOBREATHE at Club Nokia on Tuesday (amazeballs of course), Wednesday I got my hair trimmed, and today I went to the Great Race of Agoura expo to pick up my race packet for Saturday’s Pacific Half Marathon. The expo was surprisingly packed considering I went on my lunch hour. It also looked like a Real Housewives of Calabasas convention.

I know Taylor, I make me laugh too.

So I picked up my swag and checked out a couple of the booths, snagged some free bottle of FRS energy drinks and had to jet back to work pretty fast. Check out my loot:


The technical shirts are really cute and I LOVE the bag everything came in. I have one of those drawstring bags I got for free in college that I carry my gym clothes in and it’s definitely seen better days. This one is much bigger, thicker fabric and has the Great Race of Agoura logo embroidered on it. Welcome to your new home gym clothes.

And now, without further ado, I present to you the most random (yet totally delicious) meal of the week:


Clockwise from the top, we have homemade pizza with pepperoni and ricotta cheese, leftover mashed potatoes and corned beef and cabbage, and the best brussels sprouts (and my first successful cooking attempt) ever. All topped off with a delicious glass of pulpy orange juice. But really, it hit the spot. I think J and I are going to start these traditional “clear the fridge” nights because when you’re paying for all your own food it makes it hard to throw out anything. (Don’t tell but I think J was using the milk like 4 days past expiration).

So Saturday is Half Mary #2 and next Sunday is #3. Hopefully it all pans out well, but one thing I can guarantee is that I’ll have a great chance to review my new Pro Compression socks on Saturday afternoon!


Anyone running any races this weekend? Which ones?

What’s the most random meal you’ve eaten recently?


Filed under Half Marathons, J, Mmm Food, Party Time

Big Things Are Happening

These past couple weeks have been crazy! I have so much to share as so many amazing and exciting things have been happening!

Last Tuesday, by some miracle, I did this:

While somehow managing not to end up like this:

Jodi works part-time as a dance teacher so after work last week she organized an aerial silks class for a group of girls at work. It was possibly one of the most difficult things I have ever attempted. It made running 13.1 miles seem easy. A week later, I am still sore.

It was quite the comedy act that night, let me tell you. I has such a blast though and will definitely attempt it again after I learn to do 800 push ups and possibly get permanently fitted with a steel brace on my feet so the silks don’t squeeze the circulation out of them again. But seriously, if you ever get a chance to try it – do it! I have a whole new appreciation for how strong those Cirque de Soleil people must be. I mean, they make it look so easy 😉

The next piece of big news that happened over the weekend came in the form of a phone call on Saturday morning:Misha got engaged!

She called me right after to tell me the news and I was so excited I was practically speechless! How cute are Mish and Stefan? Seriously – love it. (And how gorgeous is her ring!?)Congrats!!!

The final piece of big news happened even before all of the previous excitement but I’ve spent the past 2 weeks just waiting for it to sink in…


After almost 6 months of more real estate drama than you get on Million Dollar Listing, my boyfriend is officially a homeowner 🙂 🙂 🙂

I’ll be sure to share more pictures soon.

As far as updates on the running front, I am still following my Runner’s World Smartcoach Plan as closely as possible with some tweaks here and there (like needing to take 3 days off while I gimped around like an old lady after the aerial silks class), but I have a 10-miler on the agenda for this Saturday and I’m looking forward to it!

What’s the most interesting sport/class you’ve ever tried?


Filed under J

Christmas Catch-Up

My brain is so fried lately. I stuttered so badly at the gym today that Jason was able to visually observe my mental lapse without being able to hear me over his headphones. He actually pulled them out and looked at me and said “Did you just stutter? Like hardcore stutter?”

Yesterday morning I also forgot to put the coffee pot back under the coffee maker and I brewed a pot of coffee onto the countertop (thanks for cleaning it up Mom!).

Since my brain just doesn’t want to function, I figured I would just share some pictures from our Christmas weekend. Enjoy!

Maddi and I organized a family Christmas Edition of Minute to Win It. We had my poor Grandma do the cookie on the face thing where you have to get it from  your forehead to your mouth without using your hands and she got cookie crumbs in here eyes. We didn’t think that one through…

Doesn’t it look like the rooster is landing on Alli’s head?

How cute are the stockings from my grandparents?

Nanny & Grampy

Our tree on Christmas morning

The baby of the family was so excited to open her gift.

Grandad & Grandma

Nikki DID NOT like the dancing Santa Duck.

And the best picture of the whole weekend… I walked outside on Christmas night to find Jason cheating on me with his new girlfriend:


I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Fantastic Festivus! Can you believe we are just a few days away from 2012?


Filed under Dingo, Holidays, J

Double Surprises

After our fun-filled day at the zoo, we had plans to go to dinner with my parents and oldest little sister Alli. My youngest sister Maddi had left that morning for the CIF XC Championships in Fresno and my brother Michael traveled up there with his old coach and teammates to cheer on the girls. My parents had planned to go up on Friday as well, but changed their plans at the last minute to enjoy a nice birthday dinner with Jason and I.

No one would tell me where we were going. They only told me to dress nice and take off my Garmin:

Alli has mastered the art of not standing up to take a picture and create Awkward Camera Angle Issue (ACAI).

I was so surprised when we pulled up at Fleming’s Steakhouse! I’d never been before and always wanted to go. Let me tell you – it DID NOT disappoint. Everything we had was so stinking good! The bread they brought out was amazing! It had cheese baked into the crust and two types of butter – a sundried tomato/lemony butter and one that tasted slightly garlicky with some other herds. Delish!

For dinner I had the lobster cob salad with tarragon ranch. I need a tub  of that ranch dressing. It was SO good! I also had tastes of my mom’s spicy risotto, Jason’s filet and Fleming’s potatoes (cheesy potatoes with jalapenos ) and Alli’s spicy calamari. Everything was superb!

I was so happy my parents were able to change their plans to have dinner with us! With 4 kids in the family, it’s not often that they get to relax and have a nice dinner with us “adult” kids 🙂

Dinner was, of course, followed by dessert. I’m not sure how it happened but the kitchen apparently mixed up who was bringing out our creme brulee so we ended up with 2 of them – not that I was going to complain about that mistake.

It was easily the best creme brulee I’ve ever had and it came with an entire bowl of chantilly cream on the side.The only proper way to eat it was to eat a spoonful of the brulee followed by a spoonful of the cream. Here is the aftermath:

Then, as I was full of dessert and thinking the night couldn’t get any better, they brought me this to take home:

That beauty is a gigantic (like 3 lbs!) slice of chocolate fudge cake with fudge frosting and chocolate shavings. UHHmazing!

I went to bed full and happy on my 25th birthday, totally not expecting the surprise I had coming the next day.

Saturday was spent testing out my Garmin, watching ridiculous amounts on NCIS on tv, and hitting up target for thank you notes and a box to store all my accumulated running accessories. I got to Jason’s in the late afternoon and we hung around and caught up on The League and Workaholics. By the time we ate dinner, I felt so tired and lazy I was ready to call it a night, but he insisted that we shouldn’t be so lame and go grab some late night happy hour drinks at Elephant Bar. I was so tired, but I agreed and we headed to E-Bar with Tiff around 9.

I was so surprised when we walked in and my friends were there waiting! Jason had planned the whole thing as a surprise birthday party for me. He even reorganized it multiple times – once when he found out my parents would be home on Friday so he moved the surprise to Saturday, and again when he had planned it for a place that I later mentioned I didn’t like… oops!

The Girls

Jr. High Friends!

I was so surprised and it was totally unexpected! I’m so grateful to everyone who came out to celebrate my birthday. I keep saying that I hope the whole year of 25 turns out to be as good as the first 2 days!

Side note question – has anyone found any incredible Cyber Monday deals? Express has 30% off everything online as do all the Gap property stores. Steve Madden has 30% too!

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Filed under Birthdays, J, Party Time

Lions & Tigers & Garmins

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and survived all the craziness of Black Friday weekend!

I had THE BEST Thanksgiving/Birthday weekend EVER! It started with the usual fun of Thanksgiving, which included massive amounts of food and pie:

I had to include my delicious Mimosa… some people drink wine with their Thanksgiving meal but I say there is nothing wrong with 5:00 pm mimosas.

We had so many people at our house to celebrate, it was great! I parked myself on the couch where the men were all watching football and after about 7 minutes of trying to be interested, I pulled out my current Harry Potter book and spent most of the day reading and having my sisters bring me more mimosas.

Friday was my birthday and I have to say that if my 25th year turns out to be as great as my first weekend then I have a lot to look forward to. I avoided Black Friday in favor of sleeping in and having one of my dad’s famous omlettes for breakfast. My family showered me with some incredible birthday gifts including candles and lotion of Bath & Body Works, a cute tank top that I already got to wear thanks to our 80* weather, some awesome new pink Nike running apparel and GORGEOUS diamond hoops. I felt SO spoiled!

Jason came over as we were finishing breakfast. We had plans to go to the LA Zoo because I’m really 5 not 25, and all I wanted to to go see large cats up close and personal. He totally surprised me with another amazing piece of jewelry:

A Garmin Forerunner!!!!

I was SO surprised – and so excited I wanted to wear it to dinner later that night 😉

After reminding me that the animals were waiting and I could take the Garm on a run later, we set off for the zoo. I’ll just let the pictures do the talking here because I took about 700:

After the zoo, we tried stopping at Portos Bakery for lunch (best bakery ever!), but unfortunately it was closed for the holiday weekend. We settled on a sandwich place in the valley on the way home and after I got us a little lost, we finally ate lunch then headed home to relax a bit before the next part of my birthday extravaganza.

Birthday fun part 2 coming soon!

Did you do any Black Friday shopping?

What’s your favorite animal? I LOVE tigers. I think we spent 15 minutes watching the tiger walk back and forth while I took about 57 pictures of him. So beautiful!


Filed under Birthdays, Holidays, J, Mmm Food