Sunday, November 29, 2009

1/2 Marathon Recap

The Gulf Coast Half Marathon was great! I finished in 1:58:55 and came in 91st out of 203 people! I am very satisfied with my time because I had never run more than 12 miles before Saturday. My goal was to run the entire distance (which I did) and my slightly sub 2 hour time is a huge bonus. :)
The morning of the race was really cold. It was probably in the 40's during the entire race, but I wasn't so cold that I didn't end up tying my jacket around my waist after a mile and a half. I did find myself thinking around mile 9 that I was pretty cold, but that was just another reason to keep running. I'd have been colder had I slowed down!
I ran with my friends Margee and Jen. They are more experienced and faster than me (and came in at 44th and 45th because they are awesome!) so I was only able to keep up with them for the first 3 miles (because they picked up the pace after that). I averaged around a 9 minute/mile pace for the first 10 miles or so, then slowed to closer to a 9:30 pace for the last 3 miles. One of my favorite moments in the race were at mile 6, when I remembered how I was huffing and puffing at the end of the Crescent City Classic (a 10K and my first race) and contrasted that experience to my current physical state at 6 miles- I was breathing easy and feeling happy and strong. Also, there was a turn around point where you looped back on the course. When I passed Margee and Jen going the other way, they waved to me and cheered and yelled "It's her first 1/2 Marathon!"
Another highlight was right after I passed the 12 mile marker. A couple of runners said "Good job!" and I said "Thanks, it's my first 1/2 marathon and as of right now, the furthest I have ever run!"
I ran with them for the last 1.1 miles and at the very end, Margee and Jen were waiting for me. They ran to the finish with me, which really helped me find the extra energy to sprint to the end and finish strong. My darling fiance was there too, and he took a picture of us as I sprinted to the finish line!
Overall, I feel really proud of myself for accomplishing this goal. I ran faster than I expected and I really had a good time! This was a great race and I'm really happy that I decided to run it!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! I'm at my parent's house, and am about to go to bed so I can get up early-ish and go shopping with my mom. It is definitely in my best interest to not spend very much money tomorrow (a fact that failed to prevent me from going to Old Navy after Thanksgiving dinner...) but I would like a heavy black button down or zip front sweater with no hood or large collar. The one I currently have is a) old, and b) has a flap collar that makes it uncomfortable to wear under a coat. Mom wants new towels. Exciting, I know. We're not getting up especially early, but we're hoping to get out to the stores by mid-morning.
I just want to stop for a moment and reflect upon how blessed I have been this year. This may actually have been my best year thus far!
I am so thankful for my wonderful fiance, family, future in-laws, friends, and pets. I am thankful for my good health and for my athletic achievements this year. I am thankful for my new car and for being able to keep the job I love during a tough economic time. And I am thankful to live in a city that I love. I am also thankful for all the good things that have happened to my friends this year as well. It's been wonderful to see my friends achieve their goals, get married, and expand their families. It's been a wonderful year and I hope that we all have many more years that are just as good!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I just made my first wine! My darling fiance gave me a kit from The Artful Winemaker for our anniversary, and I just bottled my first batch. I named it Curious Cat Cabernet-Shiraz, in honor of Homer, who meowed at and watched the entire process. I wanted to name it either Cat Hair Cab or Cat Butt Rot Gut, but I figured no one else would try it if I did that. :) It still has to age for a couple weeks in the bottle but I may cheat and try it during Thanksgiving because I want to see how it turned out!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

So good

I've been joking all day that this recipe was developed by a cardiologist in need of patients, but this corn casserole was a hit at the Thanksgiving Potluck I attended today. This is delicious, but incredibly rich- perfect for sharing with a lot of people!

Shelly's mom's awesome corn casserole:

Serves 1 million :)

1 box Jiffy Cornbread Muffin Mix
8oz sour cream
1 can cream corn
1can whole corn (drained)
2 cups shredded cheese (plus more for sprinkling on top)
1 cup chopped green onions (optional)
1/4 cup softened butter
2 eggs slightly beaten

mix all together --pour into greased casserole dish, sprinkle with extra cheese---bake 45 minutes 350 degrees.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Should I go for it?

I just found out that there is going to be a half marathon at 8am the Sunday after Thanksgiving at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Given that I ran 12 miles two weeks ago, 6 miles last Sunday, and am planning on making it to 13 this weekend, I know I can do the distance, although I would have preferred to run 13 miles prior to my first half marathon race (I'll probably do no more than 10 miles this weekend if I do the 1/2 though because you are supposed to taper the week before a race). It would also be on my way home from Thanksgiving with my family in Gulfport anyway, and I would certainly burn off Thanksgiving dinner! :)
It's not what I planned to do, but since I'm so far ahead on my training (I started my training earlier than I needed to so I would have some leeway in case I needed it) I am pretty sure I'll be fine. The race description also says that this is a good one for beginners....
As you can tell, I'm totally talking myself into it, but I'll blog my final decision when I make it. One issue is that it cuts down the time I get to spend with my family, but maybe I can get them to come cheer me on. Also, when I am at my family's house, my nutrition tends to suffer. We eat out a lot because my mom and I both tend to view visiting each other as an occasion for going out, and my parent's kitchen tends to be red meat and no-carb land (they love Atkins, and don't get me started on how much I disagree with them regarding that diet). These issues are fairly minor though, I can come equipped with oatmeal and whole wheat pasta or quinoa (at least my parents have plenty of frozen veggies)- I just have to be diligent about how I fuel in the few days prior to the race and try to stay away from the junk food. Except on Thanksgiving day of course. I'm totally allowed to be a pie eating monster then! :)

And...after about 5 minutes of consideration I've decided that I'm totally going to run the race! Racing is so much fun! I'm excited!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bling bling

Yesterday, my darling fiance came home with a dozen roses and two cans of Sofia champagne.
(Fun fact, I LOVE champagne in a can. Yes, I am that classy. :P)
I suspiciously asked what the occasion was and he said "Why can't I just surprise you with something nice?"
Then, he gave me my ring! I didn't expect to get my engagement ring until next Friday, so it was a wonderful surprise!! I cried again, because I am a sap. :)

I love my ring so much! It's even prettier than I thought it would be. :) It's hard to see in the picture (my camera doesn't like to focus on something so small), but the band has pave diamonds on the top and the rest of the band is engraved. The setting itself looks like a chalice and is also inlaid with pave diamonds. It is gorgeous! Here I am, wearing my ring and enjoying my champagne. (I look kind of rough because I'd actually just gotten up from a nap, and, like I said before, I cried.)

Last night was really fun. We had a great time at the GAPSA mixer and at Maison Musique, listening to the Russian Mafia Band. We had a little too much fun, actually- I bought two Russian Mafia Band T-shirts (one for my future brother in law, and one for my boss, who introduced me to the band) and a CD, but managed to lose the T-shirts on the way home. I have no idea how. At least I still have the CD! Here I am with Stephanie and Sarah at the GAPSA mixer, showing the camera my ring. :P

Today we went to visit two potential wedding/reception venues. One is an art gallery on Julia St. and the other is a wedding hall. This was a very good experience because both places are in our budget and are both very nice. Of course, they both have pros and cons and we still have other places we want to see, but it's prompted us to further discuss our vision for the wedding. Nothing was decided today, but I feel like the day was very productive nonetheless. We still have a long way to go, of course!

Between our night out last night and our busy day today, we were both very tired so we've spent a quiet night at home. Tomorrow I only have to run 6 or 7 miles (yay, taper week!) and then we are going to watch the Saints game with our friend Bruce and Simone. This will be the first game we've watched and I'm mildly paranoid that this change will jinx the Saints. So feel free to blame us if they lose!

I also need to finish tidying the house. The front rooms, at least, are nice and tidy. My darling fiance took this pictures this afternoon because the light was just perfect. Isn't our apartment lovely?

I'll leave you with a picture of me and my ring, resting on the sofa after our day of wedding planning. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wedding Stuff

It's been almost a month since I got engaged and people have started asking me how my wedding planning is going. My answer is, slowly. In all fairness, we've kind of narrowed the date down to March or April of 2011, so there is plenty of time. On Saturday we're going to look at two potential venues, which I am looking forward to. I want to be able to imagine details of what everything will be like, but I find that to be pretty difficult when I haven't even seen the places where I'm thinking about having the wedding and reception.
Other progress:
We've "envisioned our event," as the knot would say. Basically this means that we have agreed that it will be inside, during the evening, and that the wedding and reception will be in the same place. We favor cocktails and appetizers over a sit down meal.
I know what I don't want in a dress- I am basically going for the opposite of the poofy princess dress. I'd love something fitted and maybe even short. That's all I know- I haven't done much else beyond dismiss the majority of wedding dresses on the internet as entirely too poofy, and wonder aloud if the Jcrew dresses would look good on someone other than Keira Knightly's clone. (I particularly like the second dress I've linked but I don't think it's designed for someone with boobs.)
I have a vague image of white flowers with dark green leaves in mint julep cups.
Oh and I've added a bunch of wedding blogs to my google reader. That totally counts as progress, right?

Other events coming up include my Theta Alumni Club's wine and cheese party tonight (I've made Smitten Kitchen's cheesecake brownies, and urge you to do the same because they are amazing), and a night out on the town tomorrow. We are planning to go to the GAPSA (graduate and professional student association) mixer which gets all the grad students (and their dates) at the various colleges in town together for free drinks; and then we're going to the Marigny to listen to Debauche- The Russian Mafia Band. We keep tossing around the idea of asking them to play at our wedding, but we're worried that they're a little too non-traditional. :) And on Monday my office is having their annual Thanksgiving Potluck which I really enjoy. The food is always really good. I'm making Macaroni and Cheese (also from Smitten Kitchen).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

So Much to Say

There has been a lot of stuff I wanted to blog about this week, but, as usual, I've had a hard time finding the time to blog. So please forgive me if I repeat anything or if I make any giant leaps.
First, I want to write an update on the Pancake situation. It seems like my neighbor is not going to be able to take him. It's a long story, but let's just call this a "no good deed goes unpunished" situation, and leave it at that. Frankly, I've wasted a lot of energy this week fretting over all things cat and neighbor related. The good news is that we are, for the time being, fostering Pancake. He is living on the porch and in my bathroom, depending on the weather, and seems to be doing well. He is all bandaged up and one pupil is markedly bigger than the other (does anyone know how long concussions last in cats?), but he doesn't seem to be in any pain. He spends a lot of time in the cat box, but I am okay with that. Dogs tend to love their crates because they make them feel safe, so I'm working on the assumption that this is also true with feral cats. Pancake has already figured out how to use a litter box, which amazes me! I wish dogs were born with an innate knowledge of where (or more importantly, where not) to use the bathroom! Pancake also continues to be a giant sweetie. When we coax him out of the box, all he wants to do is be held and petted. He is going to be a great cat, but I am still concerned that Homer won't allow us to have another cat. We're keeping them separated for now because it's not fair for injured little Pancake to have to deal with an irate, 18 lbs. cat. So if anyone would like the adopt the sweetest cat ever, please let me know!
Regarding this week- having a house guest in town when you live in New Orleans means one thing: eating out! I have had so much amazing food this week. When Ryan came into town on Saturday, we ate at both Parkway Bakery & Tavern and Cochon Butcher. At Parkway Bakery, we split a surf and turf (roast beef with plenty of gravy topped with fried shrimp) poboy. It was awesome, although I will say that if you like your shrimp crispy, this is not the poboy for you. The shrimp soaks up the gravy, but I didn't mind. I can see why everyone raves about Parkway Bakery. Their poboy bread is the best! After Parkway, we went to Cochon Butcher's swine bar for wine, Boudin, and their amazing Pimento cheese sandwich. We were also treated to a sample of pork jowl, which puts bacon to shame!
During the week we ate at Cafe Atchafalaya and Restaurant August with Ryan. I've been want to try Cafe Atchafalaya for some time now, and I was not disappointed. I split an order of fried oysters with my darling fiance, and had the shrimp and grits as my entree. It was amazing, especially because they make their grits with cream cheese.
Restaurant August, of course, was wonderful. I had the four course tasting menu, and loved every bite. The first course was a salad with frisee, fresh dill and sweetbreads. I absolutely loved how aromatic the dill was and how well it paired with the warm, crunchy sweetbreads. The second course was an acorn squash mezze luna (a half moon shaped pasta) in a brown butter sauce with satsuma slices. I loved the way the rich, savory sauce paired with the brightness of the satsuma in this dish. My third course was wild boar ragu with chanterelle mushrooms and plums, served over polenta. Again, I loved the way the brightness of the fruit paired with the rich, savory sauce. The polenta was also delicious and incredibly creamy. Finally, my dessert was a chocolate Napoleon. Chocolate mousse was layered in between a coffee flavored brittle, and topped with salted toffee ice cream. There was also a swirl of an incredibly dark, rich caramel sauce on the plate. The combination of the chocolate, coffee, caramel, toffee, and salt was so delicious. It was the perfect decadent cool weather dessert!
Of course, my week of decadent eating didn't end at Restaurant August. My darling fiance and I celebrated out 3 year anniversary at Domenica on Friday. I was especially excited to go to Domenica because it is in the Roosevelt Hotel, which is where we got engaged a few weeks ago. Domenica is the newest John Besh restaurant. I consider chef Besh to be the best chef in New Orleans (followed closely by Donald link, of Herbsaint, Cochon, Cochon Butcher, and Calcasieu), and I was thrilled to eat at two Besh Restaurants (August being the first) this week! In fact, here is review of both Restaurant August and Domenica. At Domenica, we shared everything and had the meat and cheese plate, the tagliatelle with rabbit ragu and porcini mushrooms (my favorite!), the stracci with oxtail ragu and fried chicken livers, the slow roasted goat with wild mushrooms, and the gianduja budino (hazelnut and chocolate pudding with candied hazelnuts). We also ordered the truffle service for the slow roasted goat. The chef came out and shaved a white truffle onto our dish! In retrospect, I think the truffle would have stood out more on a less flavorful dish, but I could still taste it. It was really good!
I actually did more this weekend than just eat, of course. On Saturday, we went out and walked through the Barataria Preserve. It was gorgeous and we saw two alligators! After that, we came home, got dressed and went to the LPO's performance of Tchaikovsky's Pathtique. Today I ran 12 miles, which was pretty tough on my feet. I'm actually blaming the heels I wore to the LPO last night! I'm excited to be so close to my goal of 13 miles, even though I won't get there for another two weeks because next week I taper down to 7 miles.
This evening we grilled BBQ chicken and turkey burgers with green onions and blue cheese- so yummy!
Okay, I think that's everything notable that's been going on lately. This week, we are expecting some bad weather due to the presence of Hurricane Ida in the gulf, but I am looking forward to a good rain tonight. I love sleeping when it's rainy outside!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Never a Dull Day

On Tuesday, after all the drama with Mo, another one of the outside kitties, Pancake, showed up with a broken front leg. The good news is that he immediately came up to me, and once I'd gone and gotten Benjy, he let Benjy pick him up and put him in the cat box with no problems.
Of course I spent the rest of the night thinking that there was someone in my neighborhood intentionally hurting cats, which really freaked me out!
The next morning I took him to the Southern Animal Foundation. They are a non-profit vet/rescue organization and I am glad I took Pancake there. Everyone there was really nice (and they LOVED Pancake b/c he is the sweetest cat on the planet) and though I'm definitely spending a lot more money than I had planned to spend this month, Pancake's care has cost significantly less than it would at a regular vet. (And when I called a regular emergency vet, the first thing they asked was if I wanted to euthanize the cat! I thought that was incredibly callous.)
As for Pancake, the vet told me that he was a classic car strike case- broken leg, cracked teeth, messed up claws, and a concussion- poor kitty! At least that means that it's unlikely someone is hurting the cats on purpose. The vet is putting a pin in Pancake's broken arm today and my neighbor (the same one who is adopting Mo, now named Santo- he also needed surgery for his broken leg, but he's going to be okay) is going to adopt Pancake because she didn't want them to be separated.
The other good news is that Southern Animal Foundation will neuter and release cats for $10 ($20 for spaying), so we are going to trap the three remaining kitties and get them fixed. I feel bad about waiting so long to do it, but we thought it would be a lot more expensive and kind of procrastinated for that reason. But we are definitely going to take care of them soon! The vet told me that cat breeding season is right around the corner so it's a great time to get them fixed.

Thoughts and Prayers

A lot has happened since I last blogged. However, before I write about my week, I have to say that my prayers are with everyone at Fort Hood today. I lived in Fort Hood for a year after I graduated college and I'm really hoping that the shootings didn't affect anyone I knew when I lived there. People living in an Army community face so many challenges. I hate that this senseless tragedy has happened to them as well.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hello Kitty

Kitty Update!
My awesome neighbor knocked on my door at 7 this morning. She had gotten Mo to come in her house. When I got downstairs (in my PJ's and bare feet because I am one classy broad) Mo was literally climbing the door (it has pane type windows) 3 legs and all, trying to get out. We got my cat crate, then cornered her in my neighbors bathroom and eventually got her in the crate. My neighbor is taking her to the emergency vet. I am so relieved!