Chicago Trip: I Need a Take Two

There aren’t too many things in life I enjoy more than traveling & spending time with my family, so it’s no surprise that one of the trips I look forward to every year is our annual family travel weekend built around my dad (and now brother’s) work convention. I’ve been going since I was really young, and they host them in different places every year. This year it was in Chicago, which was…well, underwhelming, to be honest. Bummer.

I so wanted to love Chicago as I’ve heard it’s a great city, and I’m sure it’s much different if you live there and get to explore it fully and find “your places,” but to visit for 4 days at the end of April just didn’t work for me the way I would have liked. I need another trip to the Windy City to improve my impression.

Let me start with the positives: I got to spend a weekend away with my family, which is always invaluable and outstanding and all sorts of wonderful, regardless of location.

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My brother and I look more alike to me in this photo than in any we’ve ever taken, I think!

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Love these two. Especially when they dress alike. πŸ™‚

And our hotel, the Palmer House (Hilton), was lovely. I would absolutely recommend it if you’re planning a visit to Chicago. The lobby is beautiful and impressive, the staff is friendly (except for the lobby bartender, who was awful), the gym is impressive for a hotel, the beds and rooms are comfy, and it’s in a central location right by Millennium Park and the art museum. Great choice of a hotel.

photos taken from their website:

lobby:
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gym:
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Millennium Park was pretty (although I’m sure it’s much nicer on a not-gray-and-freezing day), and I did get my obligatory “bean” photos, so that was a success:

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I also had some great quality time with my mom, shopping & at the park and seeing the Van Gogh exhibit Bedrooms at the Art Institute of Chicago, which we both really enjoyed and which made me realize I want to be more intentional about going to museums and other cultural events. It was interesting and thought-provoking.

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Other highlights included getting to spend time with one of my closest high school friends (with whom I was wayyyyy overdue for a visit and who has a gorgeous condo there), going salsa dancing on Saturday night with my brother, and and buying new Paige jeans that I realllllly like.

The negatives: well, I guess they all basically tie back to one main thing: the weather. It was awful. Absolutely atrociously terrible — rainy, windy and in the 40s the entire time — and prevented us from wanting to do much of anything. We didn’t walk around and explore, we didn’t take the boat architecture tour, we didn’t have any rooftop or patio or really any restaurant experiences at all —

and the #1 bummer for me was that I didn’t get to run the Lakefront Trail along Lake Michigan, which I was realllllly looking forward to doing. I didn’t see Navy Pier or experience any lovely Chicago Spring weather at all, as there wasn’t one single day that begged for us to be outdoors. I did run every day, but only on the treadmill. It was quite depressing, actually, and that’s what I hope to change next time I visit this city! The weather really can make or break your experience with a place, and unfortunately it tainted my first taste of Chicago.

So, til next time, Chi-town. Hope you treat me with a sunnier disposition then.

Ever gone on a vacation where it rained the whole time?
Been to Chicago? What did you like/dislike most?
Fave brand of jeans?

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Loving Life in the Sunshine State

My favorite thing to do in January is to head south. #snowbirdintraining

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No but seriously — January in NYC (or probably most of the northeast, unless you are fortunate enough to live on a ski slope and not work) just isn’t life at its best, even when it’s seasonally warm. The post-holiday blues + onset of (usually) frigid temps + so many months til Summer just makes for a rough time…which is why my favorite part of this month for the past 3 years has been my weekend in Florida.

It was Miami and Boca the past two years, which were an absolute blast, but this year has landed me in a new-to-me city (I love being able to check another one off the list): Melbourne Beach, located on a barrier island in the Atlantic. My parents are chilling here for a bit this year, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to visit them for a long weekend.

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It’s a sweet, sleepy little town (probably a big retirement place, I’d imagine) with a beautiful stretch of beach, blue-green ocean water (in which I’d consider taking surfing lessons if it was a bit warmer!), and hardly any commercialization. I’ve spent 4 days running, sleeping and eating well, and spending so much wonderful quality time with my parents. In short, it’s been heavenly, and exactly what my soul needed.

Also, seeing this on the neighbor’s mailbox every time I return from a run makes me super happy & quite a bit envious:

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It seems quite probable I’ve been doing this whole “living my life” thing incorrectly, when there are people who carry surfboards around in the sunshine on a daily basis. Hmpff.

I have been pretty successful with my workouts here, though, even if surfing isn’t one of them. I ran a pain-free 8.5 miles on Saturday morning, which I’m attributing to the beauuuuutiful weather and my welcome change in running route & scenery. I mean, this view could cheer anyone up.

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Sunday I set out to run but had a lot of unexpected pain again, so I did a total of 5 miles but walked 2 of them, stopping to do sets of lunges and push-ups along the way and finishing with 5 minutes of planks. Note to self: try to live somewhere where you can plank outdoors year-round. It’s much nicer.

This morning, I actually ran to the local gym and bought a day pass and had a great, sweaty personal little boot camp session with free weights, kettlebells, lots of jumping all the leg things (squats, lunges, etc), a good 15 minutes of abs, and then power walked home. It felt amazing. Oh, and on that note of things that feel amazing:

I am entirely hooked on Athleta leggings.

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I recently bought my first two pairs and cannot say enough about them. I’ve always been sort of brand-flex and have worn a wide variety of different running tights and capris, but my first experience with Athleta is seriously awesome. I wore them today to run, through an hour-long fairly intense workout, and then to walk back home, and they were incredibly comfortable, breathable, and just felt perfect. I’m totally a believer.

Note: I bought them through Schoola, so check out their current deal with Athleta while it’s still active to get some amazing pieces at a huge discount while giving to a great charity. I actually juuuuuust went and bought them in the pink pair right now as I’m typing this. Trust me, they’re that great. (And no, I didn’t get paid for this — I’m just that big of a fan.)

Now, excuse me while I head out to enjoy my final day in the sunshine state!

Hope you had wonderful weekends, friends!

Highlights from your weekend?
Anyone get a good run in?
Favorite pair of running/workout leggings?

Friday Five: Holiday Wishlist

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so, i’m going to be totally honest: when i first saw this week’s link-up theme from our wonderful DC hosts Mar, Courtney & Cynthia, i thought i might sit this one out. not that there’s anything wrong with posting a wish list — i mean, we all have them, right? — i just felt a bit funny doing that, because quite honestly, i have everything i could ever want or need and then some. my life really is full to overflowing, and i mean that in the best way possible.

but then i realized, what if i just change it up a bit — nobody said this had to be a list about material things. the heart of the holiday season really revolves around all the warmth & love & all good things we share with one another anyway, and gifts are just an expression of that. so for my Friday Five, i’ve decided to list 5 things i’m wishing for this Christmas season — for myself and/or for others — that can’t be wrapped up and tied with a bow.

ONE: lots of quality family time.Β if you’ve been hanging around RTA for a bit, you know how obsessed i am with my family and how close the four of us are. i’m fortunate to be able to take the week of Christmas off work and go home for 9 days this year, which will definitely be the longest stretch i’ve been home in a while, and i can’t wait. family time at our house looks like homemade dinners & brunches, playing cards, trips to the farmer’s market & Target, watching at least one Christmas movie (my vote is The Family Stone), drinking wine together, and going out to dinner at one of our fave family spots at least once. oh, and lots of play time with the pups. we’re infatuated with our three dogs.

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TWO: some great runs/workouts. and not just for me, before you start thinking i’m getting all selfish on you. πŸ™‚ while it’s no secret i love my solo runs, last year my dad & i went for a run together on Christmas morning, and i have thought about that morning so many times throughout the year. we have a real bond through our running and it was so special to get out there with him and run his route upstate. my brother & i also make a point to go to the gym together a few times while i’m home, and i always look forward to that as well.

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THREE: health & safety for those i love. because who doesn’t want that, at this time of year and always? i pray for that for my loved ones every morning, and i’m praying for a safe & healthy & lovely holiday season from start to finish.

FOUR: rest, refreshment & rejuvenation. sleep. write. read. pray. enjoy great conversations with my favorite people over glasses of wine in sweats on the couch. cuddle. linger. laugh. just be. i can’t wait for all of these things that make my soul so centered and content.Photo(10)

FIVE: all the time with the boy. we don’t live in the same city, so i’m stoked to be near him for a good stretch of time, and to have someone special in my life this year at Christmas who makes me the happiest. πŸ™‚

What’s on your wish list this year?

Weekend Recap {Hello, November}

how was everyone’s Halloween weekend? mine was busy & fun & full of lovely people, so i can’t ask for a whole lot more than that. except, ya know, maybe a 7 day weekend. that’d be nice right about now. although i am loving the fact that it’s supposed to be 60-70 degrees every day this week here…not bad at allll for November in NY!

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as much fun as Halloween is for me, it’s overshadowed by something much more important, as November 1st happens to be my favorite person’s birthday — my brother. we make big deals out of birthdays in my family and i was so happy to be able to celebrate him all weekend.

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yesterday we birthday-brunched at New World Bistro (one of our favorite restaurants in Albany, NY), and that right there is a mason jar cheesecake. because everything looks/tastes better in mason jars, amiright?

so, Halloween! i love dressing up, and seeing everyone else all decked out. time for the big costume unveiling (unless you follow me on IG @glitterstruck, then you already know!): the boy and i were a deer & hunter combo.

IMG_8512& that, my friends, is by far the creepiest face i’ve ever made in my life.

deeroh, deer. πŸ˜‰

Ry’s bday/Halloween party was an absolute blast, full of fun people, great costumes, soooo much yummy food, salsa dancing, ping pong, Cards Against Humanity, and lots of laughs.

IMG_8506we like headbands in our family, on holidays & every day.

girlsthe ladies.

in other wonderful family news, i discovered that my dog wants to carry on the family legacy and take up running. she was pretty subtle about it.

mokai left my sneakers by the door after my Saturday morning long run and she neatly nestled herself between them and camped out for a bit. i think she was feeling guilty about the time last summer when i tried to make her walk a half a mile in the heat and she made me carry her home (aka laid down on the side of the road and refused to budge). yellow is clearly her color, too.

i feel like i could use another weekend to do nothing but sleep, but i know i really can’t complain after such a great couple of days at home. hope you all had wonderful weekends!

Did you dress up? If so, what were you?
Best costume you saw this year?
Something you’re looking forward to in November?

lake love & thoughts after a long run

this weekend, i did a lot of my favorite things. i went to the lake. i spent the whole weekend with the people i love the most. i ran, i swam, i boated, i salsa danced, i celebrated my parents, i went on convertible rides in the sunshine with my brother, i drank wine and laughed and slept and forgot about anything that wasn’t related to the joy of being exactly where i wanted to be at every.single.moment.

it all started with boarding a train on Friday afternoon and ending up here:

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lake2aka paradise in upstate NY.

after sleeping 10 hours Friday night because i absolutely could, i set out for a run on one of the most gorgeous mornings of the summer. Saturday was sunny & bright without a touch of humidity; one of those mornings that you wish you could duplicate again and again, for as long as we all shall live. i was determined to run for 2 hours on those hilly back roads, and decided i wasn’t going to think about my pace but rather focus on just enjoying the day and getting the miles done.

mission accomplished, happy to say, and felt really good 13.1 miles later!

FullSizeRenderi didn’t set out to run my own personal half marathon, but once i hit mile 11, i made that my new morning goal. the first 3-4 miles were a struggle: lots of hills, sore legs, and that initial mental & physical battle for settling into a long run — but once i hit mile 5, i knew i’d turned a corner and could enjoy it. it wasn’t fast by any means, and i ran out of water by mile 10 and had to stop at a gas station (Stewart’s — anyone upstate knows this!) to refill, but i felt better than i expected for finishing a long run at noon on a sunny August morning.

i ended my run (strategically) at Target, where my mom came to pick me up (she’s such a keeper), and then went home to spend the rest of the day on the lake: kayaking, boating with the fam, and relaxing with a book and homemade peach sangria. pretty darn perfect.

this is the first long run (over 10 miles) i’ve done since the Brooklyn Half in May, i’m pretty sure, and i was thinking a lot during it about my relationship with distance running and why i run, as well as how i’m feeling about running a marathon in October. here’re my thoughts on why i’m still pushing myself to run distance:

  • i love the discipline.Β i’m used to working hard at things in my life, and to be honest, i don’t have that right now in every area of my life. i do have that in running, however, so long as i create those goals and continue to push myself toward them. i love having something to work toward; something hard that challenges me and stretches me outside my comfort zone and gives me alllll the feelings: love & pain & frustration & anxiety & joy & purpose. running does this for me.
  • i need the “me” time. i am an extrovert by nature, but the older i get, the more comfortable i’ve become being alone — so much so that i now crave solo time and go a bit crazy without it. to better illustrate this for you: one of my best friends tagged me in this Instagram this weekend:
    FullSizeRenderrunning gives me some structured personal time that allows me to separate from the craziness and be alone with my thoughts, or my music, or my prayers, or usually a combo of all 3. i’ve become so accustomed to carving out this time time that on the days i don’t run, i realize i need to find other ways to be alone for a bit and tap out. in this sense, running has really done wonders for helping me balance my time & energy and learn the art of carving out quality me time.
  • i love how it’s changed my body. i feel stronger & look stronger & have so much more self confidence than i did before i started running seriously. i’m much more conscious of taking care of myself and treating my body well, and prioritizing my health. i want to be fit & healthy for a long time, and running has taught me how to be good to myself.
  • it helps me make better choices. yes, i would like to go to bed early on a Friday night, so i can’t stay out late. no, thank you, i don’t want another drink; i have to run in the morning. no, i can’t eat that before a run, i know it isn’t a good fuel choice. yes, i will drink more water. yes, i will spend more time stretching. yes, i will order another bikini. πŸ™‚
  • the clothes. because having a dresser just for workout clothes and knowing you’ll actually wear everything in that one dresser makes me suuuuuper happy about my life choices…and gives some much-needed purpose to my shopping habits. i have no idea what i’m wearing at work half the time, but i’ll be darned if my running outfits aren’t cute, comfortable and varied.
  • it makes me feel alive. running reminds me of all that i can do, if i put my mind to it. it makes me feel like the best version of myself: a girl who can set a hard goal and work through the sweat, labor and tears to achieve what she thought was once impossible; a girl who is in control of her life & choices; a girl who doesn’t need anything but an open road and a whole lot of determination to make something extraordinary happen. a girl who may not have always made the right choice (should such an absolute exist) in every area of her life, but who can choose one thing every day that reminds her what it feels like to strap on brand new wings and relearn how to fly.

that’s what running does for me — it pushes me beyond my current self, toward the most elemental version of me that i’ll forever be becoming. it reminds me to believe in the art of forward motion; of constant reinvention, down whatever road my sneakered feet just might so happen to choose.

Tell me something great about your weekend!
Anyone at the beach/lake/on vaca?
Runners: What does running do for you?

Friday Five: A Day in the Life

this Friday Five is a link-up week — i’m back to rocking and rolling w/ the DC Trifecta who hosts our wonderful Friday Five Link-up: Mar, Cynthia & Courtney. this week, y’all get to read a lil bit about what my daily life looks like…or at least, 5 things that almost always show up in my every day.

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ONE: workout. no surprise here: i generally run or do some sort of workout (gym sesh, walk a few miles if it’s a rest day, the occasional spin or yoga, of which i’m hoping to add more into the weekly routine) every day. this is usually the best part of my day (and if i’m hanging with a girlfriend that day, i have two best parts!). i love this “me” time to focus on myself and get stronger and do something i really love.

TWO: Citibike. i do this every.single.day to work, and usually 2-3 days home from work (the other 2-3 i run or walk). it’s about 3.5 miles straight shot (if i run, i add the piers, which adds at least a half a mile), and it’s the absolute best way to commute to work. i love starting off my days this way, and i use this time to pray for people and think about all the good things in my life and start my day off on a positive note. if you live in NYC, you should Citibike! it’s amazing.

THREE: fruit. every day. almost always a banana at some point, and i generally have berries & mango in the morning, and always get fruit in my salad (that i get from the natural market on the corner several nights a week for dinner). i looooove fruit – i’d say it’s my fave food. (close second: TACOS)daily-motivation-716
FOUR: girlfriends.
it’s no secret: i love my girlfriends. okay, i’m sort of obsessed with them, but in a good way. πŸ™‚Β  i either see, text, talk to, email, or any combination of that list, at least several of my closest friends every single day. they make my world so wonderful & i’d truly be lost without them. aside from my family, God’s biggest gift to me has been my incredible friends, and i am so fortunate to have the best of the best all around the US & world (i miss those of you whom i don’t see
that often – you know who you are!).

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FIVE: mom.
i am a walking poster child for “but a girl needs her mom!” my mama and i are best friends and we talk, text, email and IM every day. (and sometimes she comments on my blog, too, which is lovely.) every time something great happens, i want to share it with her; every time someone makes me cry or my sky falls down, she listens & picks me up. she’s my greatest encouragement, and my favorite woman. she is part of my moment-to-moment life, no matter how many weeks go by between visits.

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and that’s that! enjoy your Friday, friends, and hope you have a fabulous kick-off into the weekend! i’m headed upstate to the lake to celebrate the parents’ anniversary and mom’s birthday, so i couldn’t be happier.

Whatcha looking forward to this weekend?
Tell me something that shows up in your every day!
What’s your fave food?

Weekly Workouts {8/2-8/8} & a Special Day

August has started off bright & sunny & hot here in NYC, but thankfully not quite as humid as the end of July, making the running a biiiiit more manageable.

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Sun, 8/2:
7.5 mile run along the Hudson. HOT but i survived. finishing a run at noon in August isn’t the best idea (i was literally pouring water bottles over my head the last 2 miles), but dannnng it felt so good when it was done!
Mon, 8/3: 4 mile walk, half hour of kettlebells in an un-air conditioned gym (woof).
Tues, 8/4: rest. i walked and biked.
Wed, 8/5 (today): bright-n-early morning 6-miler. felt soooo good.
Thurs, 8/6: i’m thinking 3 miles + abs and a little light weights.
Fri, 8/7: kettlebells & abs
Sat, 8/8: a long run. God only knows what that looks like, depending upon the weather. i’ll be upstate at my parents’ house, so HILLS. i’m hoping for 12-14 miles (aka, running to Target and having my dad pick me up), but anything 10+ is fine. not really into over-achieving these days. #chill

also, today is a very special day in my family’s life: my parents’ 37th wedding anniversary!

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i’m beyond thrilled & honored to be the daughter of my favorite humans, and couldn’t have hand-picked a more amazing couple with whom to have spent my life. they’re the most incredible role models and unfaltering sources of love, encouragement, support, acceptance, humor & all-round joy that a girl could ever dream of.

happy anniversary, my lovely parents. i can’t wait to come home this weekend and celebrate you. ❀

How’re the workouts/runs going this week?
What/whom are you celebrating?

2 Things Tuesday

peace copytwo things that made this last weekend fabulous for me:

ONE: Father’s Day with the best of ’em. i spent an incredible, relaxing weekend at my favorite place in the world, with the man who has made me the center of his universe since before i could even comprehend how blessed i was to be born to the family God gave me.

IMG_7412this guy. i can’t imagine having a better dad — it’s been one of the biggest blessings in my life. he continually amazes me with his love, generosity, hilarious personality, wit, enthusiasm, and genuine love for people. he’s one of a kind, and i thank God every single day of my life for the special bond that exists between my dad & i. i inherited so many traits from him: a love for running, a “life is better on a boat” mentality, the propensity to talk too much, and the desire to always keep my family at the very center of my world and love them the most. thanks, Dad. you’re the bestest guy.

& the rest of my weekend was pretty fantastic, too. allll the family time, all the relaxation — exactly what my little heart needed.

red wine & reading on the deck for a few hours on Saturday afternoon,

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convertible weather & coffee post-gym with the bro,

starbucksthe loveliest of views on the train ride home along the Hudson.

bridgesuch the perfect weekend, from start to finish; one of those times of reprieve where i went back to the city feeling centered and refreshed and just better. something about those weekends at the lake — HOME — with my family makes me feel like the best version of myself.

TWO: running. or i guess i should say, marathon training, because that’s what i’m doing! eeeee. and so far, so great. okay, so i’m only two weeks in, but i’m excited about following my plan, and overall feeling really strong and confident and happy (despite the humidity that descended on NYC this morning like a velvet shroud…blech). i ran both days this past weekend at home, per my plan:

Saturday: 8.25 miles (had 9 on the schedule but Ry was picking me up en route so we could head to the gym together after my run, so i didn’t make the full 9) –> i felt amazinggggg on this run, despite the fact that it was the first time i’ve done such a hilly course in a while. it’s quite possibly the best i’ve ever felt on hills and i just was loving life the whole time.

Sunday: 4 miles on a treadmill (disgustingly humid and drizzly outdoors) –> rough. not sure if it was my body resisting being on a treadmill for the first time in months, or my legs telling me they needed more stretching, but it wasn’t my happiest run. i dislike running indoors, and i dislike sore hamstrings, so i was thrilled when that was done.

oh, and then i realized my runbuns (you know, hairstyle, duh) were getting too heavy, so i went and chopped my hair on a whim last night. because my life is basically a long series of whims.

hairsummer ‘do? don’t mind if i do!

How was your weekend?
Anyone else on a lake/beach/outdoors somewhere?
How’s the running/training going?

Fig & Olive [Birthday Dinner]

thanks for all the birthday love, friends! i had an amazing day and felt so loved and taken care of by my wonderful friends and family.

my day started with a short run along the river & a plank sesh in my living room, and ended with a very beautiful, special delivery from my parents awaiting me at my apartment:

flowersis there anything as lovely as opening a bouquet of your favorite flowers, at the end of an already-wonderful day, from the people who love you most in the world? thank you, my beautiful, thoughtful parents. you’re perfect.

so, besides starting and ending on high notes, the rest of my day was pretty amazing as well. i had the most special of all birthday dinners with some of my closest girlfriends at an absolutely incredible restaurant, to which i hope to return again and again: Fig & Olive in the Meatpacking district. it was my first time at this location, and it was outstanding.

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i chose this spot because i’ve heard such fantastic reviews, and Mediterranean food is my absolute favorite, so it was a no-brainer — and definitely the right choice. we started with a cocktail at the beautiful marble bar (i’m breaking my no-drinking rule for special occasions, and my birthday certainly counts, although i’m still committed to not drinking much). they have a great happy hour from 4-7pm with some delicious specialty cocktails (for $9 as opposed to the regular $14), which luckily included my fave:

cocktailscocktails2it was so good. and my friend had this one, which she liked, but agreed the cucumber drink was better:

berrywe then moved to a table in the back for dinner and wine. i didn’t take any pictures of dinner, but let me say that everything was absolutely fantastic. we split a selection of 6 crostinis from this mouth-watering list:

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and then chose 5 completely different entrees, ranging from chicken to lamb to risotto to tuna (me) to a seafood bouillabaisse, and we all absolutely loved our meals and couldn’t have been happier. this place seriously has an incredible dinner menu and i totally dug the earthy, natural vibe and super high ceilings.

Hi0ehif15byEKDeverything about the restaurant was phenomenal, and it was the perfect place to have my birthday dinner, with the loveliest of friends.

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cheers to another year in NYC, and to hopefully making the upcoming year as wonderful as this last one has been! thanks so much to all my lovely friends and family members who made my day so heart-warmingly memorable. love you guys so much.

Amelia Island: take me to the beach

i was doing so well with blogging consistently for a little stretch, and then LIFE started piling up and i got insanely busy and was loving all the living…so the computer just didn’t get turned on. i’m not mad at about it all, except that i miss my little blog life and need to get back in the groove!

so, Tuesday night i got back to NYC from a full five wonderful days in Amelia Island, Florida. i never even knew this place existed until my cousin Tara announced that she was getting married there. it’s right off the coast of Jacksonville (another place i’d never been to), and was a lovely, quaint little beach town with Victorian charm and a sleepy, surf-y appeal. it was pretty, quiet, and a charming spot at which to have a beachy wedding.

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(i created this the morning of their wedding after my earlyΒ beach run. every beach wedding needs sand initials, no??)

there were so many amazing aspects of this wedding and trip that made it super special for me.

1. spending all this time with my cousin/getting to be her maid of honor.

rehearsal dinnerwe’re only 6 months apart in age, and although we’ve never lived near each other (unfortunately), we have an amazing relationship and friendship, and i was so thrilled to be able to play an integral role in her wedding.

IMG_6974she looked beautiful, the venue was lovely, the guests all had an amazing time, my speech went really well (yay!), and it was an overall wonderful wedding with such a good group of people. i wish we could do it all again. πŸ™‚

2. the other girls.Β my cousin has wonderful friends, and hanging out with everyone was an absolute blast. from pre-wedding festivities to nights at the surf bar on the beach, we had non-stop fun and alllll the laughter. the other three bridesmaids were all fantastic girls, so our “girl time” prep all day on wedding day was sooooo much fun. i felt like i was away on a girls’ trip, and was bummed to have to say good-bye to everyone!

bridesmaidsside note: we rented our wedding dresses from Little Borrowed Dress (who just changed their name to Union Station, actually) — such a seamless, easy process! definitely worth looking into if you want something affordable and easy.

3. surf town vibe. have i mentioned i belong in a surf town? right, probably 34252624 times.

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while Amelia Island is probably a bit sleepier than i’d choose (to live), it definitely has that surf vibe: we had two surf shops across from my hotel, and the coolest little beach bar called Sliders, to which i went every single afternoon and night (and even worked on my last final there while sipping cocktails and listening to live music one day, which got me high-fives from the servers). the food was good, the drinks were good, the live music (every day and night) was good, the bartenders were cute…it was the perfect lil spot, with beautiful ocean views. AND they have swings as bar seats instead of stools!! i cannot tell you how happy that made me. #imfive

i took this (unfiltered) sunset pic the first night as i sat and had drinks with my family:

IMG_6920sooooo, that was tough to leave behind.

4. all the family time. after two back-to-back trips with my wonderful parents and brother, i’m feeling pretty spoiled and grateful for those awesome humans. we are the luckiest.

FullSizeRendersee you next sunset?! i wish! loved this sign.

5. running at the beach. i actually did amazingly with workouts on this trip: i ran right on the beach, along the ocean’s edge where the sand was hard, three of the mornings i was there, and took a spin class at a nearby gym with one of the other bridesmaids the other morning! we were on top of the cardio on this trip. i have to say, despite the overwhelming heat even early in the morning, running along the ocean is incredibleeee.

and to segue…

i’m supposedly running the Brooklyn Half tomorrow morning! this will be my first race in a loooooong time, if it happens. i say “if” because my recurring injury has unfortunately been driving me crazy lately. i took this whole week off from running and am praying i’m able to make it through the race tomorrow (and if you want to pray, that’d be much appreciated too, friends!), but i’m not stressing myself out. if i can’t run it, i’ll stop and go meet a girlfriend who is cheering her boyfriend on.

i’ve run this race the past 2 years and really enjoyed it — it’s been one of my fave half marathons — so i’d love to be able to have a third great experience, God-willing. but either way, it’s an awesome race: the expo was a blast, and the post-party is supposed to be fab as well, so i’m looking forward to that.

IMG_6986they had a sweet New York Road Runner both set up for runners to pose (if you see the little NYRR logo to the left behind me, i’m trying to pose like that runner…goof), and their race hashtag is #runforlife, so check it out on Instagram if you want to see how Brooklyn runs! πŸ™‚

happy Friyayyyy, friends!

Runners: Any races this weekend? Anyone else doing Brooklyn?
Fave surf town?
i’m always looking for ideas!