Daily Happenings, Running, Weekend

Birthday Celebration Round 2

Happy Sunday friends! Thank you so much for taking the time to read today. I hope you are having a great weekend so far! Have a wonderful day 🙂

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Saturday started nice and early for a 6 mile run. This was a hard run. I think it felt worse than my 10 mile race from two weeks ago. I texted Alex right before I hit the 2 mile mark and said I was dying (thankful for voice text ha). At that point I told myself I just had to finish 5 miles for my long run of the week. Somehow, I started to feel a little better and said just do all 6. I ended up overestimating my route and finished 6.3 miles. Since I was dying at mile 2 I consider this run a win. 6.3 miles at a 9:48 pace.

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I got home to find Alex still in bed. Oh the joys of Saturday morning long runs lol. I got him up before showering and getting ready for our day. We had a debate about going out for breakfast or eating at home and decided to eat at home. Alex whipped up some bacon and eggs for us to enjoy before we headed out for his birthday date.

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A few weeks ago, Alex mentioned wanting to go pumpkin picking. We hadn’t had a chance to go so I was curious if any places were still open since it was after Halloween. During my lunch breaks at work, I looked up a few places. Most were closed but I found Alstede Farms in Chester, New Jersey. They had pumpkins and a corn maze. It sounded like a perfect date to me! Luckily the weather was nice and in the high 50s. We parked and saw some animals that we could feed. Alex fed the horse put I couldn’t let the donkey feel left out so I chose to feed that.

We paid for our tickets and headed towards the hayride. There were a few other people there but not crazy crowded which was nice. The hayride dropped us off at the corn maze. There was both an adult and child’s maze. Unfortunately past visitors made a path that wasn’t supposed to be there. Somehow Alex and I took one and ended up in the kids maze. We also missed the map at the beginning of the maze since it was under a rock on a table. I think there was supposed to be worker there handing them out but there wasn’t. Alex didn’t want to go through it again so next year when we do one, I’m making him do it right 😉

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We opted to just walk to the pumpkin patch instead of take the hayride since it was such a nice day. The farm had so many pumpkins left still! They weren’t gross either, we saw so many good ones which was awesome. We each picked out a pumpkin to bring home. Alex thought his was about 10 pounds and boy was he wrong! It ended up being 21 pounds!

We walked around the grounds a little more to see more animals and checked out the farm store. I could’ve bought so much stuff from the farm store but I held off. Since we have leftover cookies and would be having cake that night, we opted not to get apple cider donuts. We both wanted to wash our hands before leaving so we headed to the restrooms. I open the door and ended up seeing my friend’s wife. It was such a weird coincidence! The four of us ended up talking for about 20 minutes before saying goodbye.

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The drive up took an hour and we were at the farm for about 2 so Alex and I were pretty hungry. We looked around for a little cafe to eat lunch at. Thanks to Yelp, we found Cafe Carriage House. It’s just what you would expect and was in an old carriage house. It was such a cute building so that added to my excitement to eat.

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The food was so good! I want to find an excuse to be up in the Chester area again so that I can get lunch or dinner there again. I opted for the Chipotle Chicken panini which had marinated chicken breast, chipotle bacon, pepper jack, roasted pepper, and chipotle mayo. My mission is to figure out how to make it at home because it was so good! Alex had the pepper jack turkey panini that had turkey, lettuce, tomato, pepper jack, and honey mustard. He also thought it was delicious.

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We drove home and then relaxed for a little bit before I had to finish the cake! I made a vanilla buttercream frosting from scratch and then used it as a way to hold the layers together and to cover it. I’ve made frosting from scratch before but it turned out so much better this time luckily! In terms of taste it was really good but I need to work on how to apply it to the cake. Some cake was peaking through and I just couldn’t get it covered. Considering it was the first time I had attempted a cake like that, I won’t complain. To top it, I made a chocolate ganache and dripped it around then drizzled the rest on top. The cake was a hit at Alex’s parents house. I always get nervous when I can’t try things before I give them to others but everyone raved about it.

His parents house was low key but a nice night! We all hung out and watched a little bit of college football while dinner cooked. I didn’t get a picture but I had two pieces of steak, potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and salad. It was tasty! Eventually it was time to sing happy birthday, have cake and open presents. Alex and I headed home shortly after to relax on the couch for a bit before heading to bed.

Yesterday was such a good day and it was so fun to celebrate Alex’s birthday just us as well as with his family. Alex has a twin sister so it was nice to be able to celebrate with her since we didn’t see her on their actual birthday.

Question of the day: Have you ever made a cake completely from scratch?

 

 

Race Recap, Running

Perfect 10 Miler Race Recap

Hello and welcome back friends! Today I’m sharing my race Perfect 10 Miler race recap from Sunday so I hope you enjoy. Have a great day 🙂

I signed up for this back in July as a way to keep myself motivated during training. Leading up to the race, my coach had me doing long runs once a week. My longest was an 8 mile run two weeks before the race. It wasn’t the best run ever so I was a little nervous but I figured my last two long runs were bad so I was down to get a good long run/race right?

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When I woke up Sunday morning, I checked the weather and it was going to be in the low 50s during the race. Since I hate being hot while I run from clothes, I opted to wear shorts and a t-shirt. For breakfast, I had peanut butter toast because it’s what works for me and I feel good during runs when I have it.

Getting to the race was super easy from the apartment. Alex came with to cheer me on and since he’s been to the park it was at before, he knew exactly where to go which was nice since I didn’t have to worry about getting lost or anything. Parking was really easy and the police and park rangers that were directing cars were very efficient at getting everyone where they needed to be. The parking lot we were directed to was really close to the start line which was a nice treat.

I wasn’t sure what to expect for this race because it was a women’s only field. The Perfect 10 Miler is for women and basically just celebrates how strong females are and that everyone is a 10. The start and finish were at the same spot which was convenient since Alex ended up walking 5 miles and not seeing me (more on that in a minute). You could tell there were a lot of groups of friends that decided to run the race together which I thought was awesome.

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About 15 minutes before the race, I got into the start corral and took half of a gel. Alex snapped the above picture for me and watched me start. The race tried to have different waves of runners start based on how fast people thought they would run. Unfortunately, I don’t think that plan was communicated very well to the volunteers in the start corral and there was a small mix up but I went off without a hitch.

The first 3.5ish miles were on a street. The traffic was blocked on one side and all the cars going to opposite way were going slower than the speed limit. I didn’t feel nervous or anything and the course was well marked with cones every 10-20 feet while on the street so cars were well aware of what was happening. My first three miles were 9:52, 10:01 and 9:56.

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We turned off the street and kept running along through a community college’s campus that is located at the park. There was a water spot just after mile 4 so I shuffled while drinking water and taking a full gel. Mile 4 was a 9:42. There was a photographer around 4.5 miles and I attempted to not look like I was dying in it. Not sure how I feel about any of my race pictures but they were free downloads so why not get them, right?

Alex planned on seeing me at the halfway point but the map wasn’t too scale and he had to go all over the course (and walked along on the grass next to runners). Unfortunately he missed me because of this. We were both a little frustrated about it since the course map made it seem like there was a cut through or trail from where the start/finish were and the 5 mile marker was. I was a little bummed I didn’t see him but decided to put it behind me and keep going. Mile 5 was clocked in at 9:43.

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I thought I would start to lose it mentally around mile 5 upon realizing I had to run that far again but my mind was in such a good place! I was delighted to stay positive and not let missing Alex ruin my race. About half of mile 6 was through woods on a paved trail which was a tad annoying since there were no volunteers or spectators. Granted the race wasn’t packed with spectators but they were spread out enough that every little bit you would have someone cheering which was nice. To stay with it, I threw in random surges for the rest of the race. Miles 6 and 7 were both 9:32.

After mile 7, there was a water station where I shuffled a bit to drink some more water and finish the last half of my gel. Right after the water station there were some younger kids holding their hands out for high fives. I didn’t want to be mean so I would give them high fives which was quite enjoyable and fun plus the kids seemed excited. Around mile 8 I saw the course was getting close to the finish and I was still feeling great. Since I had no idea where Alex was or how getting back to the finish was going, I texted him at both the 8 and 9 mile markers so he knew I was getting closer. Mile 8 was a 9:38.

At the point there were more spectators so a lot of cheering was going on. I kept pace for a while and between 8.5 and 8.75, I started to pick it up so I could have a strong finish. I hit the 9 mile marker at a 9:20 pace. There was a out and back portion at this point which kind of sucked because I could see runners going back and being closer to the finish than I was. Once I saw, the turnaround I held my pace and after the turn threw in a little surge and tried to hold that pace. I wasn’t even paying attention to my watch at this point and was just focused on staying strong through the finish.

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Once I saw the finish chute, I just let go with whatever I had left. Mile 10 was a 9:08! So happy and exciting to finish my longest run in years and to finish with my fastest mile. Alex was at the end and cheered me on. I saw him at the back of the chute and just went straight to him for a kiss. I grabbed my medal, water bottles and food bag before sitting down to stretch.

My goal when I signed up for this back in July was to run at less than a 10 minute pace and I did 🙂 I’m so happy to see my hard work over the past few months paying off. I already have some goals in mind for next year which I’m excited about. Now I just need to maintain my fitness and add in some strength training (which I’ve been saying for months…) so let’s hope that happens.

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442 out of 1383. 14 out of 44 in the 20-24 age group range. 1:36:41 for a 9:38 pace. And it can only get better from here 🙂

Question of the day: Have you ever run a 10 mile race? 

Daily Happenings, Restaurant, Running, Sunday In Pictures, Weekend

Sunday In Pictures II

Happy Monday friends! How was your weekend? Let me know in the comments below. Have a fantastic day 🙂

I did a Sunday in pictures last week and really liked it so I’m going to keep on doing them. Do you like this format of a post? Please let me know!

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Prerace breakfast of toast and peanut butter.

Perfect 10 Miler race complete! 1:36 finish time, which was in front of my goal 🙂

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Post race soft pretzel = amazing. Give me all the carbs.

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After a shower, we headed to a fall festival. Obviously had to stop and get Hoagie Haven for lunch since we were in Princeton.

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Beer was a must! For some reason, our waiter kind of forgot about Alex and I (we waited like 30 minutes for two drinks). We asked the hostess to check on our order and she was awesome! She came back and said the drinks were on the house, which we didn’t ask for or expect. Love good customer service 🙂

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We walked around Palmer Square in Princeton for the fall festival. The green vest was my anniversary present from Alex and I love it! If you’re in the market for a vest, this one is both stylish and will keep you warm.

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One more Christmas gift bought!


I jumped on the “Stranger Things” band wagon. I was hooked within the first 5 minutes.

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Reading more of “The Nightingale”.

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Alex’s and I’s lunches made for Monday.

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A burger, deviled egg, roasted potatoes and broccoli for dinner was heaven last night. I missed having roasted potatoes in my life last week.

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I sipped on some Sleeptytime tea with honey while watching another episode of “Stranger Things” before heading to bed.

Question of the day: What was the highlight from your weekend?

Daily Happenings, Dating, Running, Weekend

Apple Picking

Happy Sunday! I hope you are all having a great weekend. Enjoy your day 🙂

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Saturday started off a little later than normal, aka I woke up at 7 am. Yes 7 is early for a lot of people but I wake up around 6:30 on weekends so 7 is late for me. I got ready to head out on my run. I had a piece of peanut butter toast before I left. 7 miles at a 10:04 pace in nice fall temperatures was exactly what I wanted. At mile 4, I took a powergel in the strawberry banana flavor. Flavorwise, not my favorite but this is the second time I’ve tried the powergel brand and it works well with my body!

When I got home, I showered and got ready for the day. It was the last day of September and luckily the weather cooperated so Alex and I could go on our monthly date. It was my turn to plan it so I took us to a local apple orchard to go apple picking. Terhune Orchards has pick your own for a variety of fruit but their biggest fruit is apples.

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The apple trees are on the back side of the block which is so nice since in the fall they have festivals on the weekend so it helps you beat the festival traffic. We got there around 11 and had no problems with parking. You get a bag that you fill with as many or as little apples as you would like and pay at the end. They provide a map with the apples you can pick circled and they are labeled in the rows which is so helpful. We grabbed some red delicious and golden delicious and ate one while we picked. Shockingly we picked 10 pounds. The pick your own apples did not have cider donuts or apple cider so we popped over to the main area to get those. You can’t go apple picking without getting cider and donuts 😉

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Since we were in Princeton, Alex really wanted to go to Hoagie Haven and since we were both getting hungry we headed there. Was it the healthiest lunch? No but I ran 7 miles and was hungry so whatever. Life is all about balance! I truly believe that and as long as I’m not eating unhealthy food everyday then I’m happy. We sat outside and aside from an extremely annoying high school volleyball team that was outside (these girls were basically yelling the entire time) lunch was good.

We came home and picked up the apartment while meal planning for the week. I headed out to the grocery store and was kind of surprised at how crowded it was on a Saturday afternoon. When I got home, I plopped on the couch to relax a bit. I read a little of my book and watched some college football with Alex. Personally, I think college sports are sometimes better than professional sports.

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While at the orchard, Alex brought up hard cider. Unfortunately Terhune doesn’t make any although they do have wines. We went to the liquor store and I grabbed a hard cider from Samuel Smith’s brewery. I don’t drink hard ciders a ton but I do enjoy them! I want to try some others and see which one I find best. Any recommendations? I sipped on it while eating leftover pasta for dinner.

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We watched a little more football and Alex goes to the freezer, pulls out ice cream and goes “I’m the best boyfriend ever”. Haha he knows the way to my heart. I had a little of both chocolate and vanilla in my bowl. P.S Alex wanted me to share this picture with you all. Isn’t he handsome?! 🙂 

A friend of ours came over for a beer then we ended up going to the bars. Sadly I didn’t get a picture but it was fun! Our Uber driver on the way home was so funny and a really good guy. I was so tired and was probably asleep before my body was even fully in bed. 

Question of the day: What’s a good apple recipe besides apple pie?

Moving Tips

Tips for Getting a License in a New State

Yesterday morning I planned on going to the local DMV to switch my license from Illinois to New Jersey. Since moving to a new state has a lot of challenges I thought I would write down some tips for anyone that is moving to a new state and needs to change out their license.

1. Look at the states requirements for identification

When you go to get a new license you need to have a variety of forms of identification on you. Look up when the new state requires so you can have it ready and on you. Since the DMV’s website may not be the easiest thing to navigate, a quick Google search can get you directly to the page that you need on the website with a lot less hassle.

New Jersey had a form where they would let you select the types of ID you had so you knew what to bring with you and if it would be enough. I thought I had everything I need but apparently the lease I had wasn’t considered valid since we went through a realtor 😦 Luckily I had mail at the aprtment I could use to show my new address.

2. Bring extra identificaiton

This is definitely a “Do as I say, not as I do” type situation. I thought bringing in a print out of my lease here in New Jersey would qualify as proof of address but apparently not. Since we went through a realtor (more precisely Alex’s mom) to get our apartment, the lease went through a third party. In New Jersey this doesn’t qualify as proof of address. I wish I had brough a piece of mail with me to show my address. I ended up having to drive back to the apartment to get my credit card bill then drive back to the DMV with it.

3. Be prepared to wait

The DMV is known to have long lines. Luckily I didn’t have to wait in one but I was prepared and brought a book with just in case. Since I love to read, I wouldn’t have mind having to wait and get in a chapter or two of reading. Knock out two birds with one stone right?

4. Go early

The best way to beat lines is to go early. I looked up what time the DMV near me opened and tried to get there then to beat a crowd. It’s also helpful to not go at the end of the month since that’s when car registrations expire so you’ll end up having to wait longer than you would if you waited a few days or until the next week. States allow 30-60 days for you to get a new license once you move there so there isn’t any rush to go right away.

5. Make sure you have the correct form of payment

Make sure you have one or two different ways to pay for your license. Some places don’t accept different credit card companies. I would definitely check online to see how much it will cost and have some cash on you has a back up.

6. Keep a smile on

No one likes having to wait in a long line. If you do just keep a smile on your face and be patient with whoever is helping you get the license. It’s not fun for either you or the employee if you’re both cranky. Even if you’re beyond annoyed just put a smile on your face and then complain to your boyfriend/girlfriend/Mom/etc. later