Thursday, August 30, 2012

Finding Inspiration

Everything in life requires at least a little smidge of inspiration. Whether it is getting out of bed in the morning, brainstorming at work, or putting on those sneakers and hitting the pavement - it all requires a spark. Some require a brief flicker, others require fireworks.

So, what is your inspiration for the day? For your work day? For your workout? For that one good deed you will do?

Below are a few glimpses of what inspires me, and who knows? Maybe you will get a little spark out of them too.

Ok, so Monday wasn't cancelled, but next Monday is, which was a great bit to focus on to kick off my week!

Ever "not feeling it"? Same. But hey, no pain, no gain, right?

For mornings when I wake up wondering if I'm on the right path.

Grand gestures don't always mean grand love. Find a little something that you can do for someone today. It might be small to you, but it might mean the world to them.

Enough said.

Hopefully I've provided you with enough inspiration to get you through the day!

If not, try this: Tomorrow is Friday.


Monday, August 27, 2012

I Hate Running

Ok, so I don't actually hate running, but these first few days of trying to get myself in gear for the half have been nothing short of difficult.

Lessons Learned (so far):
1. Give myself a day off here and there. Trying to do too much, too soon has done me no favors.
2. Vary the routes - I've learned how quickly I bore of running the same path every day.
3. Don't run past all of the bars around PNC Park on a game day - it sparks jealousy and makes me want to be lazy. Enough said.
4. STRETCH. And not just stretch, stretch adequately. Something I have taken for granted until now.

So how's it going? Well enough. I wouldn't say well.. but I wouldn't say not well either. I'm just kind of.. doing it. Waiting for my great inspiration to click so I'll be able to run and run and run, and love every second of it. But I've decided that not everyone has that moment. Some people, like me, are doing it to better themselves or to cross something off of the bucket list, so they trudge through it. I'm thinking, at least right now, that's my category.

My biggest victory so far has been actually running every day, sometimes after work when I have already worked out over lunch. This includes yesterday, when every bone in my I'm-lazy-it's-Sunday body was telling me to not move from the couch, and to keep watching the endless run of great movies on ABC Family (Time Traveller's Wife, The Notebook, Aladdin.. come on). But I did it! I didn't go too far, but just having the drive to get out there even when I normally wouldn't was a little pat on the back for me.

Maybe I don't need one great moment of inspiration, maybe I just need a few more moments like that.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Craving of the Day #1

I'm not a picky eater - I'm just not. And when it comes to a night out, I'd be just as happy grabbing a burger as I would be going to a steakhouse (cheap date, I know). But when it comes to cooking, I become a bit pickier. Why? Because I have three requirements for a self-made meal:

1. Has to be easy (to cook and clean)
2. Has to take one hour or less
3. All ingredients must be able to be bought at one place

Granted, I'll absolutely go all-out every once in awhile and make something extravagant. After working all day, sitting in an hour of traffic, and running, however, most nights I just don't have it in me to slave away over a dinner for one. I don't like me THAT much, but I like myself enough to put something together that's worth eating, and that's not going to make me want to run all over again.

So, below is my first Craving of the Day - a meal for the time-poor, wanting-to-do-other-things-rich working girl (or guy):

(courtesy of, with a few changes by me)


  • 12 ounces whole wheat penne
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 ounces zucchini, sliced
  • Salt, garlic salt and pepper
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 8 ounces medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. Cook penne according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet with a lid, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add in garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until garlic begins to soften.
  3. Add in mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes on medium-high.
  4. Add in shrimp. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and opaque. Remove from heat, add in zucchini and spinach, and cover skillet. Let sit for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and place skillet back over low heat. Add the penne, Greek yogurt and pasta sauce. Stir until sauce is mixed well and all pasta and veggies are coated. Heat until just warmed through, adding in the garlic salt and mixing well. Divide into pasta bowls and serve topped with parmesan cheese.
Eat up! For more of my cravings (the healthy, the borderline horrible for you, and the just plain weird), follow me on Pinterest!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Becoming a Morning Person

What do I fear most in life? Well, most days it's the sound of my alarm going off in the morning. I, my friends, am not what you would call a "morning person". In fact, I'm nowhere close, but Pittsburgh is doing its best to change that.

Living and working in Cincinnati, I never really got a grip on what this "rush hour" concept was. Considering the farthest away from work that I ever lived was approximately eight miles, I could roll out of bed well after 8am, hop in my car, and be comfortably at my desk for my gruelling 9am start time (insert mocking laughs here).

Now, between my T2T runs (training to train, stay with me people), serious traffic on 376, and a start time at, preferably, 7:45am sharp, I laugh at my former self for dreading the sound of my alarm going off at a whopping 8:15am.

So, how am I coping? Every new schedule takes some getting used to - but a new schedule in a new place can be a particularly challenging adjustment. Here are a few things that have helped me along the way (recent college grads, listen up):

1. Learn your new route, and learn it quickly. The faster you can learn the traffic patterns and how long it's really going to take you to get there, the less panic-stricken you'll feel hearing that alarm screaming at you in the morning.

2. WAKE UP! Honestly, there were days at my old job where I probably wouldn't consider myself completely awake until lunchtime. I've found that eating breakfast (gasp) actually does help despite my years of avoiding it.

A staple for my on-the-move breakfasts - Cascadian Farm Organic Granola Bars

3. Don't push it. I'm not a morning person, and I'm totally ok with that. There are some mornings when I hit snooze, and resign myself to running after work. The bottom line is that I don't want to resent my runs or my morning routine, so sometimes something has to give!

4. Find something about your morning that makes you happy, and use that to get you out of bed. I love the fifteen minutes I give myself after my run to sit on my couch, eat breakfast, and watch the news (or Saved By The Bell) before I start getting ready for work.

5. Don't think about work! Yes, you may have a full plate for the day, and yes, you may have worked late last night, but make every second you can about you in the morning. Center yourself - there will be plenty of time to think about your job when you're on the clock.

If you're a morning person - kudos. I am too.. when my mornings start around 10am.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Busying Up a Quiet Weekend

Happy Monday, Blogosphere! While I'm relatively sure that all of you are just as tired as I am this morning, I might as well try to be cheery to get me through the day.

Well, my quiet weekend of doing nothing quickly turned on me, but in the best possible way. On Saturday, I attended a picnic at the beautiful Schenley Park located near the heart of the University of Pittsburgh Campus. Fully expecting your typical rundown fields and a few picnic tables, I was completely impressed with the gardens, running trails, playgrounds and sheer volume of people that were out and about on what turned into a glorious 75-and-sunny Saturday. Throw in the great food and company, and it was a a great start to the weekend.

Sundays are good for doing everything you put off doing on Saturday. But, on this particular day of rest I did just that - rest. Finally meandering out of the house well after noon, AC and I headed over to the South Side to grab a bite to eat and do a little shopping.

After a totally satisfying lunch at Carson Street Deli (see Eats and Treats Page for more deets), we wandered over to SouthSide Works for a mini shopping spree. After a solid two hours meandering around - and swiping the credit card a time or two - I walked away with some great new editions to my wardrobe, and my apartment, along with some much-needed girl talk. While I would recommend heading to the Mall at Robinson, or Ross Park Mall for your more traditional shopping, The Works is great for a beautiful day when you'd rather spend time outside doing some light shopping in the fresh air (though BCBG presents the opportunity for some SERIOUS shopping), than bouncing store to store.

Loved this blouse at H&M so much that I got two! Love the fit and classic cut.

While I struck out in the clothing department, I'm in love with the two matching picture frames I found at Urban Outfitters. Even better - these cute room accents were only $10 each!

That's all for now, preparing for another running update tomorrow!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Duvets, Decor and DOH!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I would just like to say to you - I DID IT! Not only did I actually begin my training to train on time yesterday, I also made leaps and bounds towards actually settling into my not-so-new apartment. I'll spare you the details about my run, other than saying I've identified two local trails that I will be running and "rating" this weekend. My adventures into Duvets, Decor and DOH(!) were truly the highlight (and low point) of my evening, thus no details can be spared.

One of the biggest challenges a mover can face is figuring out how all of your stuff in Place A will fit into Place B. Luckily for me, my living room was a sinch. Though bigger than the space in Apartment A, I was able to create a dining nook to fill up the extra square feet. For those of you who have one bedroom apartments, or who just aren't working with a lot of space, you folks fully appreciate my struggle to make two "rooms" in one space. It's not an art, but it's pretty close!

Living Room/Dining Room: Check!

Onto the kitchen. Sigh, the kitchen. I go back and forth almost daily over whether or not I should spend time decorating this space that I seldom spend time (or cook) in. After yesterday, however, I landed on an emphatic YES! Browsing HomeGoods and Pinterest I found a plethora of little extras that can spice up even the smallest and most unused kitchen. My favorites? Colorful ingredient jars, framed paintings showing different silverware, and decorative plates to put on display. For now, my flower painting and matching area rug will do, but this could change soon as long as I still have the decorating itch.

Kitchen: Under Construction

And now for my bedroom, which was the big winner last night. Another issue with moving is the change in color scheme. In Place A, my bedroom consisted of hardwood floors and deep beige walls, so I went with a white-dominant color scheme to contrast. Fast forward to Place B where the carpets are off white and the walls are all white (to be frank, it was drab and depressing). So, I demolished the white-on-white-on-white with an infusion of blues, yellow and green. Add in some vintage wire-based art pieces and we're talking about a completely different, and much warmer space. Still in the market for some new throw pillows and an accent rug, but all in good time. Another big win was FINALLY hanging my mirror - seriously, this thing way a member of Place A and Place B and has never been hung. Enter the DOH(!) of the evening when I found that it is still possible to injure yourself no matter how gently you're hitting the nail. Oh well - no pain, no gain!

Bedroom: A combination of Check and Under Construction!

Antsy for pictures? Gladly! I'll be showing some of the highlights, so check back later!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Training.. To Train

Alright ladies and gentlemen, I'm doing it (finally) - I'm training for my first half marathon. Actually, I'm starting my training to train for my first half marathon.

"What is this girl talking about?" Well, my ultimate goal is to run in the Pittsburgh Half Marathon next Spring, so I started doing a little research to see what training will look like, when I should start, and so on. As it turns out, training for "Beginners" is designed for people who consistantly run 20-30 miles per week on average, and, while I do love to run, I definitely do not reach this weekly mileage on a regular basis. Alas - I am training to train.

Day one is today. How do I feel? Pretty oblivious at this point, other than wondering how last night's dinner indulgence is going to set me back as I venture out on my first official T2T (cute right?) run today. Oh well, c'est la vie.

With this commitment to train comes a wave of necessities...

Nike Women's LunarGlide+ 4 Running Shoe - lightweight, syncs with the Nike+ app on my iPhone, and I'm mildly obsessed with the color

Judging by the drastic cooldown over the past few days, I'm betting that it is going to get chilly - and fast!

Let's be good, good friends

That's you, blogosphere. I'm going to need some major support to help me reach my goal!

So off I go! I'll update as I progress, including details on great trails and running routes around Pittsburgh (this is The Pitts, after all).


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

So Long, Farewell, Auf Weidersehen, Goodbye

For someone who has now lived in seven states in a mere 24 years, you would think that goodbyes are kind of my thing. But really, are goodbyes anyone's thing? I certainly hope not. I've bid adieu to (yieu and yieu and yieu.. sorry, couldn't help myself) family, friends, boyfriends, roommates, co-workers, neighbors houses, and apartments, along with a smathering of favorite local eateries and dive bars. Though moving (and dating) around has made it easier for me to be open to new opportunities and adaptable in new environments, I in no way consider myself to be good at goodbyes. In fact, I have made a few key mistakes along the way. Below are a few of the highlights:

1. If you are in the 5th grade, don't expect much out of a long distance relationship - it probably won't work out, no matter how much he promises to IM.
2. Don't watch a sad movie (aka The Notebook) after a particularly tough one - it won't make you "cry it all out", it will just make you "drink a whole bottle of wine" which really helps no one involved.
3. Don't go on a shopping spree - the spending hangover is worse than the one you get from #2.
4. Don't wallow - no matter what kind of goodbye it is, being hung up on where you were or what you had before is unhealthy and completely unproductive. Get your butt off the couch and get out! The grass may not be greener, but that doesn't mean it can't still be green.

So why am I on a goodbye tangent today? Well, unfortunately, I've got one looming later on tonight - not a permanent one, but it will still sting. So thinking about tonight got me thinking about the many, many times in one's life when this just.. happens. Whether it's for an hour, until the holidays, for ONE more semester, or - sometimes - forever, it is never a pleasant thing, but hopefully there is a bright side to look to.

Take my move to Pittsburgh from Cincinnati, for example. I had been in, or near Cincinnati for the better part of 6 years and had no reason to leave. I was close to some of my best friends, I had a great job, a new apartment in a cute town that I loved and life was good. So WHY am I in Pittsburgh now? Good question! Only joking of course. An opportunity arose that I couldn't pass up and so I packed my bags. Did I put more thought into it than that? Of course, but not much. When you know, you go - and the next thing I knew I was unpacking in a brand new apartment in Pittsburgh exactly four hours away and starting a brand new job with a company that I had only dreamed of working for. Sure, there are days when I wake up and think I'm a little crazy for just up and moving, adding my my already lengthy list of goodbyes, but where's the fun in life if you aren't living it?


*Side Note: If you don't get the title of this post, stop whatever you're doing and go rent The Sound of Music. I mean it!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wedding Season - The Snaustin Edition

There is little in life that is more anticipated, or enjoyed than the wedding of a good friend. This edition of Wedding Season found me in Cincinnati this past weekend enjoying the Snaustin nuptuals. When your names are already conjoined like Brangelina or Bennifer, who needs a wedding? But they decided to make it official and I was happy to make the trek to Cinci to celebrate their special day!

The most impressive part was, by far, the fact that they both shipped off to San Francisco in April, but still managed to plan a fabulous wedding from afar - A++ to the couple and their families for pulling it off. Below are some highlights from the festivities.

The beautiful program - my first Hindu Wedding Ceremony experience was top-notch

The happy couple!

Honestly, who wouldn't want to sit at Harry Potter-themed tables? (I'm a bit HPO - Harry Potter Obsessed - so this really got me)

The past and present Northlichers in attendance.. Oh, how I've missed them

All in all, a beautiful day to celebrate a beautiful person marrying the love of her life - does it get any better? Well, get the right people a drink and put them on the dance floor and it certainly adds to the excitement!

Lucky for me, I had the privledge of double-dipping while I was in Cincinnati - not only did I enjoy a fabulous wedding, but I got to spend some quality time with one of my very best friends.. we will call her LW. I won't get into the nitty gritty, but much fun was had by all and I befriended a City of Cincinnati Bomb Technician.. I'm not kidding.

Told ya so

Bad-quality bar picture anyone?

Now back to the real world - who doesn't love a good Monday?


Friday, August 10, 2012

Settling In

Anyone who has ever moved knows that there is no such thing as an "easy move". Regardless of how much help you get with the move itself (and I was fortunate to have plenty), the task of settling in always seems endless.

Take my latest move, for example. Three-and-some-change months into life in my new apartment and I still find myself looking around and finding things to do, stuff to put away.

Will it ever stop?! Maybe.. if I would stop being so nit-picky.

On the whole, time has just not been kind since I moved in. First, there was the the settling-in period at work which (as most of you know) requires all of your time and energy to make sure you get on-boarded, make a good first impression, and - most importantly - figure out how to get to and from work without getting lost.

Then came what I like to call the "Summer Chaos", when it becomes virtually impossible to get anything done around the house.

Summer Chaos (noun): The few months of the year when there is an endless stream of weddings, vacations, weekend trips and outdoor activities.

And that brings me to today. Every day I stare at a million and one DIY ideas, and decoration, organization and furniture websites and beg for the lightbulb to come on. Here is what I have so far (should I ever partake in any of these tasks, I would imagine that there will be a self-indulgent post proclaiming my victory with millions of pictures of my accomplishment):

What girl doesn't need to combine her boxes, drawers and carrying cases of jewelry into one, easy-to-find (and easy-on-the-eyes) place? A+ in my book.

Blank bedroom walls? Not anymore! Fill up the space with different pieces that match up well with your color scheme.

Tired of the same old picture frames from IKEA? I know I am! Dig up a few vintage frames, grab some ribbon and have at it.

Wondering if I will ever embark on these DIY adventures? Me too, so I guess we will both stay tuned! To keep up with my decorating, food and style to-dos follow me on Pinterest!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Play Ball!

Happy Thursday bloggers and bloggettes! Is it just me, or does Thursday always feel far too much like Friday for anyone's good? Amen.

Thursday in The Pitts is special to me for another reason, however - it's Kickball Night. Yes, you read that correctly, I play on a Pittsburgh Sports League Kickball Team.

Haven't played since elementary school? Me neither.

Used to get picked last? I didn't, but I probably deserved it. Somehow being the tallest kid in the third grade gets you a rep for being a stellar athlete - a rep which was, in my case, certainly undeserved.

Now before I share my tales of the kickball field, I must state that this is not my first rodeo with post-grad coed sports leagues. I was lucky enough to be a member of the fearsome Northlich Softball Team in Cincinnati. To make a long story short, we ended up with a 1 and something record, and half of the team (and all of our fans) had dropped out before the end of the season. I quit after I tried to kick a ground ball to try to get it to stop. (Side Note: I consider myself fairly athletic, but have no desire to injure myself in an intermural league. Sorry I'm not sorry.) But we had fun!

I'll venture a pretty safe guess that they lost this one. But, hey, they look like champs!

So here's the deal - every week dozens of twenty-somethings (and way up) put on their finest PSL tee shirts and head to old baseball and softball fields scattered sporadically throughout the city. I started off as a measley sub last season - a peon in the kickball world. Ready to consume a few brews and have a few laughs, I found myself in the throws of a serious kickball battle that would give elementary school kids nightmares. There was heckling, yelling at the ump (poor fellow), sliding and beyond. Needless to say, I was in a little over my head.

But I have come to love it. Luckily I am on a team of good friends and good people who just like to have a laugh and wrack up the PBR tally on the stats sheet (if you don't know what PBR is, you don't deserve to drink it). Am I any good? That's for me to know - my lofty goal is just to not kiss the bottom of the batting average column.

So it's back to the battlefield tonight. Maybe I'll pick up some eye black on my way over to the game, or put an antacid in my mouth like they did in "Little Giants". Probably not - but it'll still be a good time!

Devon Sawa shout out here - Oh, how I loved you

Thing I've Learned:
Join a PSL team, any PSL team, but make sure you accurately gauge the skill levels and intensity of the people on your team - and look out for Mamba.

Thing I Still Need to Figure Out:
How serious is too serious in kickball? The world may never know.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Welcome to the Land of Yinzers

Before you dive in, let me clarify - I am not a beloved Pittsburgh Yinzer. Rather, I am a nomad who has (finally) decided to drop anchor in the lovely city of Pittsburgh. Why did I come here? I can offer a variety of reasons, all of which draw an endless stream of self-reflective questions - but, in the end, I'm looking for the basics - Love and Happiness.

This blog will help me to write it all down - to capture my journey through the land of Yinzers as I try to make my latest stop into a home. Having been here since April, here is a brief recap of what I have learned so far, and some remaining "WTFs" that I hope to (but may never) solve.

What I've Learned:
1. It is still cool to like the movie "Dude, Where's My Car?" in this city (YES!).
2. Yes, it WILL be as hard - if not worse - than I imagined to be a devoted New Englad Patriots fan in the Steel City.
3. Yinzers are real. Then again, I can hardly mock a city with a distinct dialect considering my resume (Bahstan, Illinoise, Missoura, Kaynsas).
4. Pittsburgh drivers are all claustrophobic. Or atleast I have determined they are by the way they all seem to be scared when getting ready to drive through the Fort Pitt Tunnel (the Speed Limit isn't 25, my friends).
5. So far I have not come across a restaurant I haven't liked, and, with the selection within five minutes of my North Shore apartment, I fear I may never experience them all!
6. While it's great to try something new, and move someplace at random to get an added dose of independence, it is also great to have a few good friends and a wonderful boyfriend on hand to help you navigate the process.

Things I Need to Figure Out:
1. The names of all the bridges in Pittsburgh and how exactly I get to each of them. For now, Ft. Duquesne and I will remain best buddies.
2. The traffic.. OH the traffic. While this is apparently unsolvable given my location, I thought I would throw it on here just for laughs.
3. The pronunciation of the Monogahela River. Personally, I like the "Mon" or "That One River".
4. How to navigate the Strip District. I fall more in love with it everytime I go, but I'm still getting my bearings in that neck of the woods.
5. A bike. Do I need one? Do I want one? Should it have a basket? All important questions I have discovered.

That is all for now! Back to work and life in this beautiful city.