No recipe required

I realized the other night that my latest eats have not followed a recipe. This could mean a few things: a) I am getting creative in the kitchen b) I am getting lazy c) It is too hot to cook d) I need to stop spending my hard earned bills at the gstore because apparently I have what I need!
Maybe all of the above?

sauteed mushroom and asparagus roll up with fresh mozzarella, pine nuts, spinach and tomatoes drizzled with balsamic reduction

sun dried tomato chicken sausage sauteed with mushrooms, tomatoes and asparagus and Trader Joes' harvest grains over a bed of spinach lightly sprinkled with roasted flax seeds

flatbread pizzas:: sun dried tomato chicken sausage with roasted red pepper, red onion and fresh mozzarella flatbread:: asparagus, mushroom and goat cheese flatbread

(these were for the Lia Sophia party Amanda and I hosted last Wed.-post to come soon!)

chicken mozzarella pesto burgers topped with brushetta served with sweet potato wedges

sorry for the bad shadow!!

whole wheat pasta with leftovers! aka: roasted red peppers, red onion, 1/2 sun dried tomato chicken sausage, asparagus, and spinach topped with pine nuts and tossed with parmesan

What we learned: I like the combination of asparagus, mushrooms and sun-dried tomato chicken sausage; three ingredients can take you places; window photos produce great lighting; it does not take a lot of asparagus to produce a smell (if you know what I mean)!

What have you created lately without a recipe!?


Isn't it ironic

"...don't ya think...a little toooo ironic, yah I really do think."

Alanis Morissette's 1996 hit lyrics ran true this past Sunday. I finished praising Dos Amigos burritos only to be let down mere hours later! Two pulled pork burritos were ordered sans sour cream, mild salsa, on wheat tortillas. Two pulled pork burritos with sour cream were unwrapped. I find sour cream to be a very odd condiment and unnecessary in my burritos especially when used in excess. In the moment there was anger and frustration. Let's face it, I'm a diva when I am hungry. It was after 8, tummy's were rumbling hungry, I wanted my pulled pork and I wanted it done right! But after some thought, this is a first time fail for Dos, we are all guilty of making mistakes at work, and Dos did correct the issue. Dos Amigos, consider your 'get out of jail free' card served.

The sour creamless burrito was a wee bit watery and the pulled pork had little bbq flavor, but whatever, we're letting this whole burrito experience go. June 27th was just an off night for Dos Amigos.


I'm sore. Sore to the point that I am hoping and praying I will be able to blow dry my hair tomorrow. Monday's yoga class combined with tonight's body pump class has me massaging my shoulders and biceps as we speak, well, as I take mini pauses from typing. The humidity will be gone in New England tomorrow for the first time in for-ev-er and I want to dry my hair. There is that diva again. I must be hungry.

Yep I am.

Insert dinner minus that dollop but plus avocado. Avocado > sour cream. (same dinner, different day, new toppings)

With fourth of July just around the corner, there is no doubting the fact that it.is.summer. So today, I popped in the soundtrack to summer 09: The Gaslight Anthem's album The '59 Sound. I saw The Gaslight Anthem twice last summer. Once at the FNX music festival in Boston and then again at Lollapalooza last August. I got into them because of Lolla but after listening to these guys while playing lawn games all summer long and seeing them perform in person I fell in love with this rock band from Jersey!

These guys made it rain at Lolla! (cheeeeese)

In it's entirety, The '59 Sound, is a remarkable album. With a NJ childhood on my resume, I can hear the Jersey shore sound and Bruce Springsteen influence. If I close my eyes, I swear I am BBQ'ing down the shore and my dad has Bruce coming from the windows. These boys do not pose, they celebrate the NJ legend.

Honestly, I don't even think I can pick a favorite track off of The '59 Sound. That's not something I say on the reg. There are very few albums that I can listen to from beginning to end.

Great Expectations, The '59 Sound, The Patient Ferris Wheel, Casanova Baby...

I guess if I have to pick...Casanova Baby

Their newest album, American Slang was released on June 15th. Besides the title song, American Slang, I haven't listened to it much. I am still hooked on The '59 Sound.

Ironic, since this blog is about living in the present and not last summer. Ha! Oh well, does music really count?


Why say no when it feels so good to say yes?

Body pump, bng iced coconut, beach, burritos. In that order.

If you aren't familiar with body pump, let me paint a picture. Improves strength, bone density, and general fitness and burns 600 calories in 1 hour. No brainer. Each class is 60 minutes of cardio strength training designed to work the entire body. Large and small muscle groups are challenged by using a barbell and your choice of a different weight selection. The workout is fast paced but led by energetic and encouraging instructors and great music (a different song for e. muscle group). Every three months the fantastical fitness minds behind body pump release a class with new tunes and choreography to surprise the muscles and forgo boredom. The gym I belong to launches the new classes on Saturday. I have never attended a launch "party" but have heard good things. I have often speculated that the instructors drink red bull prior to the 5:30 Tuesday/Thursday classes and if that is true, before Saturday's launch they drank 2 or 3. They woke me up; 74 is a doosy. Lunges and I don't get along and 74 didn't and won't improve our relationship. Longest, most grueling lunge track of body pump history. Not a fact, but it has to be. Ouch. I LOVED the back track and the squat track. I could clean and press my way through anything. Don't test me on that though. The bicep track to Black Eyed Peas Boom Boom Pow was awkward. Everything about it. Maybe because it was just the first time? Time will tell until then I'll be popping advil and hoping I don't hear Boom Boom Pow until Tuesday.

After a refueling breakfast of creamy oats (1/2 c oats, 3/4 c milk, 1/2 smushed banana for substance, chia seeds, lil scoop of pb, blueberries and strawberries) Amanda and I grabbed our breaking new grounds iced coconuts and headed to the beautiful beaches of Rye, NH.

Hawaiian tropic 10 did not fail me and neither did the forecast. Saturday was a very pleasant day at the beach.

Our roomie day continued with a date at Loco Coco's in Kittery, ME. Saturday marked my first visit to Loco Coco's because I am avid burrito buyer at Dos Amigos. I almost feel as though I cheated on Dos but comparing the two isn't exactly apples to apples so I must get past the guilt complex. And why say no when it feels so good to say yes? And I might get Dos tonight.

Moving on.

Loco's is separated into different parts. The recent expanded dining area and bar both equipped with waitstaff and the main dining area where you order at the register, find a table, and wait for your name to be called. Last but not least you can always take your fresh order to go. Last night Amanda and I sat in the bar.

Sipped on a jalapeno margaritas which were a little TOO spicy for my liking.

...and devoured monster burritos with chips and guacamole.

With so many different burritos to choose from I had a tough time deciding. My go-to at Dos Amigos is usually the sweet potato, pulled pork or chicken burrito....I guess I don't really have a go-to, huh? All of Dos's burritos are generously filled with rice, black beans, lettuce and cheese, with the choice of salsa, white or wheat tortilla, and sour cream or yogurt. There are only a handful of burritos on Loco's menu with these same ingredients. In fact the burritos at Loco's are quite creative: the Chicken Fajita burrito with sauteed green and red peppers, onions, chicken, sour cream, the California Burrito with steak, french fries, jack and cheddar cheese, lettuce, guac and sour cream, the shrimp burrito with cabbage, zesty sauce, avocado sauce, salsa, and sour cream... so like I stated earlier, comparing Dos and Loco's is like comparing apples to oranges.

Sorry to keep the valuable information, I enjoyed the shrimp burrito: grilled, light on the sauces with no sour cream please. DELISH. The shrimp was refreshing, the salsa was authentic and fresh, the avocado sauce creamy and cool, the zesty sauce, ZESTY! I hate when I order a shrimp dish and the shrimp comes sans taste. Loco's knows authentic Mexican food and delivers a variety of complex flavors all rolled up in freshly made flour tortillas.

An exciting perk to Loco's; it has a salsa bar with freshly made salsas ranging from fiery hot to smokey chipotle to a cool, refreshing avocado. I ordered a side of traditional guac and got into the avocado sauce. No messing around.

Dinner definitely tantalized the tastebuds but there is one minor complaint. Check out the pepper top Amanda pulled out of her Chicken Fajita burrito. Nasty.

Even though it isn't right to compare Dos and Loco's I will. I prefer apples to oranges and will always be a Dos Amigos girl at heart. If you are in the area, don't take my word for it though, try both!

And I'm done. It's snack time.


Moose on the beach wearing 10 spf

Sorry for not checking in for a few days. Work has dominated my mind, sucked up all my energy and prevented me from blogging. Facing the lap top after a long day of working on a comp., not happening.

Bob Marley helped. So did body pump, two mid-week visits from Matt and Wednesday's Lia Sophia party (more on that tomorrow).

"Don't worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be alright"

Alas, it is Friday. My hopes and dreams for this weekend include the beach, the shore and the ocean (what do you call it?). To fulfill my sun tanning aspirations I did what any melanoma aware individual would do, I went to replace the screen. Soooooo right now CVS and RiteAid are selling everything below 6 spf and everything above 30. What about 8? 15? Nope. 100? Who wears 100? Does 100 even work? I'm not walking away from this weekend pale OR burnt. After some serious scoping, I found a 10. Ten? Since when does sunscreen come in spf 10? I didn't ask. I should have, clearly I am full of questions. I just bought. It smells like coconuts.

I wonder if I will see a moose? Don't laugh, look!

Shutter Island, if you haven't seen the movie yet, DON'T! If you haven't read the book, DO! I strongly recommend. Psychologically thrilling, mysterious and captivating. Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane, submerges the reader in a constant state of suspense and eerie surrealism. From beginning to end, I was confused but intrigued. I knew the author was building towards something explosive and amazing I just had to work through the mystery and vague details. The end, oh the end, the last 100 pages are the epitome of mind blowing suspense. Lehane delivers a compelling page turner throughout, but the climax is what turned this ride wild. Color me impressed with Shutter Island.

Next up: The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I look forward to diving into this story basking in my 10 sunscreen on the beach tomorrow.

Pardon my enthusiasm but I got mail today! Like real, delivered by the post man, in the mail box, mail. Is there anything better?

I won a few giveaways the other week. hehe. Kristin's Subway gift card and Meghan's Olivia's Organics coupons! Winnah winnah subway spinach dinnah.

Happy weekend!


Spine tingles

Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah (originally performed by Leonard Cohan) first hit my ears while watching The OC. Does anyone else remember the scene? The final riveting moments of season one? Seth is sailing into the horizon, Seth's mom is crying, Ryan drives off and that is all I remember. It was 6 years ago.

Hallelujah was recently showcased on So You Think You Can Dance by Alex Wong and Allison Holker. Their dance left the judges speechless and me in awe looking for the remote so I could watch it a second time before hearing any other opinions.

Jason Castro performed this version on American Idol Season 7 during Idol Gives Back week.

Oh, I feel it, yes, those are tears welling up in my eyes. That is all it takes. I'm sitting here eating my Trader Joe's harvest grains blend with al fresco sun dried tomato chicken sausage over a bed of spinach with sauteed sun dried tomatoes, asparagus and mushrooms and I am moved to tears. Is it the lyrics, message, soulful purity, voice, instrumentals? Whatever it is, it sends shivers down my spine.

Can you spot the tear drops? I cannot. I guess they blend nicely with this meal.

And so kids, without further adieu, if you haven't figured it out yet, Jeff Buckley's beautiful version of Hallelujah is Tuesday night's tune. Enjoy!


Sunsets, birthdays, eggplant pizza and ice cream terrorists

Top three things I learned this weekend:

Marina Bay in Boston is a great place to take in a sunset...

...relax on or learn how to drive a boat...

...and celebrate a 21st birthday...Happy birthday Michelle!!

Tavolino's in Westborough, MA consistently serves spectacular pizza and has a very friendly, helpful and attentive waitstaff. One might think I am biased, (Matt's sister Ashley works at Tav) but in my honest opinion, I have never encountered an employee to be less than stellar. On Saturday, the gregarious bartender Paul concocted a decadent ruby slipper for moi (Absolut Ruby Red Vodka, Cranberry, Grapefruit Juice and a Splash of Grenadine; Served Over Ice) and one hell of a white russian for Matt. Thanks to Matt's love for the dude's beverage, I can say with confidence, I know my white russians and Paul's was GOOD. Our bellies also enjoyed the complimentary and slightly sweet fig bread with crushed red pepper dipping oil, fried calamari (abundant, crispy but delicate) and for the main course, we put our trust in the Melanzana pizza.

Melanzana tomato sauce, roasted garlic, spinach, feta, mozzarella, and fried eggplant

Other melanzana experiences have yielded smaller eggplant pieces than what is pictured above and more crumbled, less melted feta cheese. However, I am here to tell you that any way this pizza is served, it is served on a silver platter of sensationalism!

Literally translated, Tavolino is Italian for “little table” and this was the founding concept behind our vision. In a world of chain restaurants customers are often rushed or neglected, food quality is lacking, and emphasis on preparation is non-existent. From our attentive service to precise meal preparation we at Tavolino are here to ensure that your “little table” has the finest dining experience possible. source

and we did, thanks to this divine beauty!


Not all ice cream men are created nice.

My opinion of the friendly neighborhood ice cream man, that joyful individual that drives the truck around town, rings the bell, warmly greats children and locals alike and hands over the desired frozen treat with a smile, has forever been tarnished. Moe's Ice Cream (I also believe he has a hot dog truck stationed in Worcester, MA) cursed wickedly at us Sunday (Father's Day mind you) as we were outside playing yard games and he drove by the house. It started off very playful... you see Matt's brother Alex heard from Michelle (21st bday celebrator above) that when you yell a certain word at Moe has he drives by, he gives you FREE ice cream! So as we hear Moe's truck (happy tunes filling our ears) approaching, we become giddy little children and try to brainstorm the secret word that will enable Moe to hand over the free frozen goodies!

It must be something silly like Larry, Moe, Curly or Three Stooges. Right? Right. So we yell accordingly. What we heard in return is shocking and awful and thankfully there were no kids in sight, but it isn't like Moe surveyed the scene before yelling, "Shut the F*** UP!"

Did that just happen??

Definitely NOT the free ice cream we were hoping for.


The finer things club

Hello lovelies!

One more bedtime before it is Frideeee! Big weekend plans?

I kinda, sorta took a work out break this week. I say sorta because a 4 mile run on Tuesday did happen, and I might run tomorrow morning, but gosh, since the 10k, these legs have been tired and sore. I'm thinking the four miles on Tuesday killed it for the rest of the week. Oh well, I am putting the foam roller, yogadownload and my domestic skills to good use. Also, my finer things club membership was about to run out, so I had to remedy the situation! What you don't collectively call activities like reading, sipping vino, baking, cooking, making cd's, and yoga, etc., your finer things club? Welllll, these non-running and anti-strength and conditioning hobbies and domesticissities are some of the fiiiiner things in life.

Last night I made a veggielicious pizza and a classy frass cd featuring janelle monae, k'naan, katy perry (who doesn't want to be a california girl?) b.o.b, rogue wave, frightened rabbit, neon trees, the hood internet....ok. Check these out or stay tuned because they will be featured again on tuesday's tunes if they have not already appeared. And yes, I still make cds over listening to my ipod in the car. Call it old fashioned, but I like grouping 20 or so songs together rather than hundreds and naming the cd is the best part and my ipod stinks. ha.

Wednesday's pizza (and tonight's, love me some leftovers) was a jubilee of roasted broccoli, summer squash, red and orange peppers, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, a thin layer of classico sauce and a loving sprinkle of basil. So good. I heart pizza! Thank you boboli for making it that much easier to make.

Tonight, I sat in my kitchen smelling sweet banana air. In other words, made Emeril's banana bread with dashes of extra tlc in the form of 3/4 cup oats, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1tsp cinnamon and 1/2 cup blueberries. Oh, and last minute the "bread" turned into muffins.

Oh boy, I was nervous to see how these would turn out! I definitely just added the tlc without scientifically (pff) thinking how it would all react in the oven. Would the oatmeal and chia seeds soak up every last bit of liquid, creating a dry, gross muffin? Is the batter too thick?? It sure didn't pour nicely into the cute pink baking cups.

My oh my, these are good! Hearty and yummy! Yay. Success!
One tip: If you make the bread to muffin switch as I did, you must reduce the baking time. Emeril's recipe calls for baking the bread for an hour and 10 minutes. My first batch was done at 45 and I checked and removed the second batch around 40!

Now, it is time to watch big baby and the Ceeeeeeeeeeeeee's conquer Game 7! Beat LA!


Two thumbs up

Tuesday's tune featuring Chiddy Bang: opposite of adults

Love the bobble heads. love the beat. love the MGMT Kids inclusion (better than mgmt)

"Cuz the real world kinda like real world"

Other chiddy biddy's to get into: truth, all things go

your thoughts?


Market square day 10k musings

And it's Monday.

How was your weekend??

First and foremost the Lollapalooza schedule is out! At first glance Saturday (day) seems like a bust so I am diving head first into the unknown, hopefully coming up for air with some sweet new music. TBA is playing at 2:45, now do we think this is a creative name for a band or they really have not filled this spot yet? Just kidding. Kind of.

Second, as I am writing this my landlord is working on the sewer pipe...I guess it broke over the weekend. ew. My bedroom, which is in the "basement" smells like sewer. I pray he fixes this soon. In the mean time any water usage is permitted.

Market Square Day 2010 10k reflection time.

It.was.awesome! Well as awesome as six point two miles can be. It is true what "they" say, the first three miles are the hardest. So in the case of a 5k, doom and gloom. Anything over, good times. In all seriousness, running through the familiar streets of Portsmouth, NH alongside 2,000 other people, with Queen, "We are the Champions," the Rocky theme and other inspirational songs blasting from neighborhoods was, well, inspiring. Motivating. Uplifting. Absolutely and positively energizing!

This past race marked the 33rd anniversary of running, eating, singing, playing, and downtown Portsmouth purchasing power in Market Square. Little background: taken from here.

Created to celebrate the renovation and beautification of Downtown Portsmouth - and, in particular, Market Square - the Festival has grown in size along with the growth and popularity of Portsmouth. It is estimated that between 60,000 - 80,000 people walk through Downtown Portsmouth on that one day enjoying the entertainment, products and food offered by artists, cratfters and merchants - many from the Seacoast area.

On average, 100+ vendor applications are approved/accepted for inclusion in the festival. Three performance stages feature local and regional musicians. The day 'kicks off' with the Market Square Day 10K Road Race. Most of Downtown Portsmouth is vehicle-free and pedestrian-friendly from 9am 'til 4pm on the second Saturday in June each year.

Since it was raining, I did not stick around to roam the streets, eat the grub or purchase handmade jewels, art and crafts after the race. But I have taken part in these miraculous festivities before. Before the race, The Meat House was grilling up steak, the vendors were setting up their unique jewels and the fresh lemonade was being squeezed. I was so close to taking off my race bib and slipping underneath The Meat House's grill to hide and bask in the smoky glory. But I didn't.

I guesssssss I am glad I didn't though. Because the hospitality during and immediately following the 10k was truly appreciated and very much needed. Probably better than what I would have received sneaking around the Meat House tent circa 9am. MSD volunteers set up water booths along the course and many residents set up hoses and water stations too! Thank you to all who volunteered and those that put aside their water and electric bill concerns for us to run through the sprinklers and sprint to Rocky for seconds of pure cool glory. Boxes and boxes of watermelon, oranges, bananas, powerade, water and samples of wheaties fuel were situated under a tent right at the finish line for all the hungry, dehydrated and sugar starved runners. I could not move my tired legs and sore bum fast enough to electrolyte haven.

All in all I can see why Market Square Day's 10k is the most popular road race of the Seacoast. The community's support, cheers, hospitality and enthusiasm carried so many through six miles. Congrats to all the runners and race walkers who finished the 2010 10k and thank you, thank you, again and again to all who helped out on Saturday! Your presence was appreciated!


Party in my mouth

Ahhh Wednesday, hump day, two more alarm clocks, mid-week, however you reference the day, it's not Monday and it might just be my favorite day of the work week! Usually Wednesday's include wine and cooking, sweatpants and the couch. But not today. Instead, I rocked the burpees and kettlebells apres work. Gotta implement, uhhhmm practice, the new skills gained this past weekend. Instead of a breather day I boogied.

Then came the pampering...

Revlon Plum Seduction. Purple pink playful and sassy. Please don't stare too long, not a professional pedicurist.

Is reading while cheffing normal? Well it has to be when reading a page turner. I seriously cannot put down Dennis Lehane's spooky tale of Shutter Island. This novel lives in my purse, when it isn't in my hands of course. True statement: I have not left home without it since the library lent it to me. Dull moment at work, it's okay, book to the rescue! No, no, I am just joshing you...I would never...

Now, dinner. I get excited about the little things in life. Hence, this blog was born. So you can only imagine my enthusiasm when I walked in the front door, felt the avocado resting up for its performance and realized, it was ripe. Time to shine!

Not too long ago I introduced miss avocado, miss mango and mr. balsamic chicken. The three played nicely, complimenting one another, the ladies adorably flirting with mr. chicken. I was nervous for jealous emotions to surface or worse, the creation of a tyrant, but to my pure satisfaction these three balanced each other out. The wine to the cheese to the mac. Tonight, I decided to test the waters again, inviting miss strawberry to dinner. Oh.my.gosh. Party in my mouth! The sweetness of the strawberries and mangoes lit up the creamy avocado. The versatile balsamic chicken adjusted perfectly to its candy like toppings, not giving up an ounce of personality. This is a beautiful relationship, one I will cherish.

There were other invitees this evening. You cannot throw a party and forget to call your favorites! Classy roasted sweet potato, fresh roasted green beans and roasted's friend of a friend, roasted chickpeas. I will definitely hang with the roasted chickpeas again, but I will be honest, they were kind of wall flowers tonight. Maybe better suited for a one on one session. I bet they were intimidated by miss strawberry, miss mango and miss avocado. Aw poor roasted chickpeas.

Oh gosh, I have to interrupt this regular scheduled programing to bring you this: Nigel Lythgoe was just issued a speeding ticket traveling through Iowa trying to make up lost time to tell Kent Boyd whether he makes So You Think You Can Dance Season 7. Hilarity defined. PS. Kent Boyd BETTER make the top 10.

And that is what I am doing for the rest of the night...so you think you can dance, dance, dance...

What is your favorite summer tv show? I know it is slim pickings but there must be some guilty pleasure...


Fitness, fitness, fitness!

This past weekend was epic. One of those pivotal moments where life comes to a screeching halt but the fast forward button is also on lock.

When: Friday, June 4- Sunday, June 6. Who: the top fitness experts in the business and many coaches, trainers, entrepreneurs, and physical therapists with a hunger for more. Where: Providence RI. What: Perform Better Why? Insert our weekend mantra: fitness! fitness! fitness! (When you wake up at 5am on the weekend you need a chant.)

As a media analyst, I do not fit the typical three day training summit attendee but everyone has to start somewhere. Right? Right. Plus I do not know a single person living a healthy lifestyle that wouldn't take something away from the Perform Better summit. What individual doesn't enjoy an inspirational talk? Show me a runner who isn't interested in increasing their speed! Who would turn down an opportunity to revamp their work out? Especially if the revamping was brought to you live by, say, Fraser Quelch, the creator of the TRX?!

Apologies in advance, no camera was present. I felt a little out of place in the beginning and when I warmed up the camera seemed disrespectful and unnecessary. Not many sweaty athletes want a photo taken of them during a cardio strength training with well-known, respected coach Dos. I personally think being active is beautiful, but I wasn't about to assume someone else felt the same way. Also, the presenters were there to present in a comfortable setting, not paparazzi-ville.

Ok, soooo that's all great but what did I do this weekend? Every hour I could either listen to a presenter (two lectures every hr) or engage in hands on training (two hands on sessions every hr). With so many topics and speakers, the decisions on who to see were tougher than overcooked steak.

Highlights from Friday included but were not limited to Brian Grasso and Fraser Quelch. 9:15am, when I would usually be settling into my cubicle at work, I was with Brian Grasso, founder and CEO of the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA). Here we did spider man crawls, hops, skips, jumps, crab walks, bear crawls, push ups and played like a kid for an hour. This.was.fun. Young athletes should not train like adults and frankly, Brian taught me that I shouldn't either. Natural movement and playful exploration lead to stability, flexibility and strength and engages more muscles than a bicep curl. Fraser Quelch's lecture and hands on session, "Key Concepts in High Performance Body Weight Training" handicapped me the rest of the weekend. After an hour in the TRX and resistance training, I was beat street but rejuvenated. I will never view body weight the same.

Saturday was inspiration defined. Bill Parisi founder and CEO of Parisi Speed School and Todd Durkin of Todd Durkin Enterprises, Fitness Quest, Under Armour and trainer extraordinaire (think: Chargers, Drew Brees, the Marines) spoke on defining your mission and vision. Passion should be Bill and Todd's middle name. It actually might be. Attitude, positivity, action, desire, focus, success, flexibility, strength, happiness (to name a few) are all related. "You can always do more" -Todd Durkin. "Act the way you want to become, become the way you act." -Bill Parisi.

Oh and Saturday was coach Dos and explosive plyo push ups, burpees, squat jumps, medicine balls throws, kettlebell swings, and rope swings. No big deal. GAH!

We'll just say I was tired when Sunday came into focus but I woke up, ahem I got jacked up when I heard Dave Jack, a performance coach who has worked with top professional athletes, speak about the transformation from good to great. His presentation was geared towards coaching, but it was applicable to everyone, everyday, everywhere. I wrote down a single note during Dave's talk, because I was 110% percent entranced. Dave Jack presented one of, scratch that, the most memorable talk I have ever heard. Dave reflected on his early twenties, on the fire that burned inside telling him there was more to life, on those quintessential moments in your life that alter your path, on the importance of trust and developing your vision.

To sum it all up: "Be the who to do the what, and let the rest take care of itself, and when you do greatness will come, and, when it does, don't believe it, just keep doing what got you there in the first place."

Thank you to everyone at Perform Better. Thank you professional coaches, athletes, fitness gurus, personal trainers and motivational speakers.

Epic. Elite. Extraordinary.

I'm still sore.

Tuesday's tune

Wavin' Flag - K'naan

get into it!


Mind games.

Whew, just completed a three mile run. In new sneaks. In approx 28 minutes. I needed to do this tonight. Why? To know I could run 3 under 30. You see this little activity called running, yeah it's physical but it's also a mental sport. This past Sunday I ran in the Red Hook Memorial 5k. I was eager to run and even more ready to see a spectacular time at the finish line. My legs are strong, endurance is up and it's only three miles. AH! Famous last words. Those three miles were worse than all 13.1 of the Seacoast half marathon this past November.

The external factors impacting this hellish run cannot be denied. The hot temperature, humid pollinated air and oh, those fires in Canada produced some serious second hand smoke. Never thought that would be an excuse! Coffee in the am...just a few sips since the race wasn't until 11am, was a baddd choice. The baby sips were enough to dehydrate and turn my stomach around mile 2. Amateur.

Training for a half marathon for thirteen weeks instilled valuable lessons in strength and perseverance, however all was forgotten this past Sunday. I have always struggled with my undermining psyche. While others might fall victim to injury, I succumb to that little voice. Even though I know I'm stronger, I become vulnerable. Despite knowing that it will all be over soon (miles or minutes), I agree with the ego when it says my legs won't make it. I am so grateful for the ability to run, to physically put one foot in front of the other, however, the idea of walking never seems that bad at the time. I know how to concentrate on my breathing, focus on right now, and quiet the mind but what do you do when the voice inside your head is a full octave louder than usual? The short of it, the mind and body work together and my mind checked out. I'd like to state with confidence that it won't happen again, but I think it's best to declare the need for fresh and clean techniques to push through the miles.

Here are a few quotes and articles to motivate us to nike (just do it!):

Use as much stimuli as possible, recruiting all five senses. Pull in all the negatives and positives, the possible triumphs and defeats. Fully develop the picture (for the neuro-pathways). Finish with your final step. Then do it again. Mind and Body Work Together Runner's World

#62 of 101 Greatest Running Tips from Women's Health: Get over it "If you have a bad workout or run a bad race, allow yourself exactly 1 hour to stew about it--then move on." --Steve Scott, coach and U.S. record holder in the mile

"One thing about racing is that it hurts. You better accept that from the beginning or you're not going anywhere." -Bob Kennedy, US 5000m record holder and first non-African under 13 minutes.

"Success does not come to the most righteous and rigorously disciplined but to those who continue running." -Amby Burfoot

"Believe that you can go farther or faster. Believe that you're young enough, old enough, strong enough, and so on to accomplish everything you want to do. Don't let worn out beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself." -John Bingham, "Tools and Rules," Runner's World

"You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." -Winnie the Pooh

"Not meeting a race goal doesn't mean that the race is a failure," says Mark Wallis, a running coach and marathoner from Tucson. "If you can learn something from it, a bad race could be a stepping stone to a breakthrough performance. Also, when you work through a challenging experience, you develop mental strength and perseverance that will help you on your next tough run." How to let it go Runner's World

Head Start Runner's World

How to beat the excuses and run About.com

Remember to have fun!! I was way too caught up in Sunday's race and forgot why I was there in the first place. "Fitness has to be fun. If it isn't, there will be no fitness. Play is the process. Fitness is merely the product." -Dr. George Sheehan

And if all that isn't enough, I leave you with firefighter Matt Long's inspirational story:

Now, who's ready to hit the pavement??


Love that dirty water...

Down by the banks of the river Charles river, aw that's what's happening baby...

The Charles river water, known as "that dirty water" by Bostonians, dropkick murphy and standalls fans alike, is home to charles river canoe and kayak

One hour. One boat. 19$. Sold to the couple looking for a sunburn.

Before our adventure began we were handed the mandatory paperwork and a multiple choice quiz. Good thing I brought my kayak condenseur of a bf, because we passed the test with flying colors. Safety is our middle name. Water sports, our game.

There was a fleeting moment during our paddle upstream that I thought I was Rachael and Matt, Ross. Ya know, the show Friends. Matt yelled for me to row "left, left, left" to steer us away from danger, errr the riverbank. I tried with all my might to avoid a crash (thankfully we did) and not laugh thinking of Ross's iconic commands to, "pivot, pivot, pivot!"

I digress...

We saw many (even a bachelorette party, vail and all) floating and sun-tanning, while others were in tune with their Ipods and speed (going fast, not the drug). Kayaking was everything I thought it would be and much more. Whether kayaking for a great upper body workout or a leisure activity, it is something to get into this summer.

Simulation kayaking....

Well that worked up quite an appetite. Enter Atlantic Beer Garden. 146 Seaport Blvd.

We were seated outside, not on the deck or near the water, but outside just the same. So, ever since I saw a mirage of iced tea and lemonade last week after a hot steamy run I have been not so secretly craving this cooling summer beverage and ever since Matt turned 27 he has been awaiting his second round of mussels. Lemonadeicetea and beer mussels were both on the menu. Score.

I ordered heaven on bread aka the chicken and pear panini with the herb mayo on the side, When Harry Met Sally style. Matt decided on the grilled veggie panini with eggplant, zucchini and summer squash grilled with fresh herbs topped with light marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese (no picture though folks). I chose regular fries and Matt spiced up his Saturday with curly spicy fries.

Grilled chicken breast topped with slices of grilled pear, swiss cheese and herb mayo

The pear was warm and full of flavor, the bread perfectly seasoned and the chicken tender and savory. After a few hours in the sun, shoulders burning shoulders burning on the patio, it was time to head back to Portsmouth for more Memorial Day weekend shenenigans.

Glory days in a young girls heart.