#tripnorth – NKOTB version

Last week my sister and I had tickets to go see NKOTB. Cue fun connections from my freelance days and I managed to snag tickets to a meet & greet and upgraded our seats.

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I remember when I was younger, my sister went to a show with a couple of our cousins in Saratoga, NY – I was too little to go so I writhed with jealousy at home alone with my parents while she got to see the heartthrobs in the flesh.

20+ years later. We get a re-do. But better because man have those men aged nicely. I’m convinced that boy-bands are akin to fine wine – they get better with age. At least looks wise.

I haven’t listened to NKOTB in quite a few years to be honest, but Nelly? He’s my jam (especially when I run) and his opening act definitely brought me back to some nights at Our House East in Boston. TLC and NKOTB were both amazing throw back shows and the love, the love for Boston from the hometown boys? Was amazing and made me fall in love with Boston all over again just like I did the first time I walked onto Northeastern’s campus nearly 14 years ago.

Aside from that aspect of the trip?

My sister and I shopped for bridesmaids dresses for her August 2016 wedding. I tried on a lot of duds but THE dress is purchased and on order. Excuse my short-armed selfie attempts but really – the shoes. Check out those shoes.

I saw my grandparents and man, my Nana is not doing well. Alzheimer’s is an ugly disease folks. Ugly. But was still amazing to have a couple of short, sweet visits with my grandparents. Having not been home all that much since making my own home with the Hubs in the mid-atlantic, it always surprises me how much they’ve aged since I saw them dancing and smiling at my wedding back in 2009.

I drank delicious beer. Hello Switchback and Fiddlehead.

Fiddlehead

Two of my favorite Vermont brews.

Had delicious pizza and a real creamy. Summer in Vermont is the best time ever. Aside from the holiday season on Church Street. Nothing beats those lights on a snowy December evening.

Finally, Sunday before leaving, I hit up a spin class at CyclePath on College Street in downtown Burlington. What an awesome workout. I haven’t taken a spin class outside of your run-of-the-mill gym (like 24 Hour Fitness or Premiere Fitness here in Annapolis) so getting to hit up a cycling studio was a lot of fun. Super high energy and really state of the art. I will definitely be revisiting them when I’m up next and if you’re around Burlington and looking for an awesome workout? Check them out – AND be sure to get a smoothie from the JuiceBox after class.

Ultimately, a successful #tripnorth. Good to be home with my boys and into week 4 of triathlon training!

 

 

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#TripNorth awesomeness part 2: Burlington Farmers Market

{See Part 1: Long Trail Brewery}

Since we had just about two full days in Vermont, we spent Saturday with my mom’s side and Sunday with my grandparents and cousin. Saturday morning though, we took Ethan into Burlington which, has gotten a million times more awesome than it was when I lived there as a teenager.

Awesome Part #1: Skinny Pancake.

We met up with my friend Tyrel, his girlfriend and his brother for breakfast on Saturday. He suggested the Skinny Pancake which was perfect since I always love hitting up downtown B-town. I had heard of Skinny Pancake – well, seen it. It’s right next to Waterfront Park which is where the VT City Marathon ends.

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Quite simply, it was amazing. Skinny Pancake is an awesome concept – they prove that you can eat good, local and healthy foods. A majority of their menu is from Vermont meats, cheeses and veggies. They buy up local veggies and fruits in the summer to sustain them through the winter – a concept I love!

skinny pancake burlington

I had the Crepe Monsieur which is VT Cheddar cheese and maple cured ham with a side of Vermont Maple Syrup. It was delicious. Adam and I also split a side of hash browns that were delightful albeit slightly overcooked.

After our delicious breakfast, we headed up to Church Street to meet up with my brother. There weren’t really any plans so we wandered around Church Street and made our way over to the Burlington Farmers Market which is MASSIVE!!! It puts every farmers market here in Annapolis to shame.

Awesome Part #2: The Farmers Market

There were so many vendors. So much awesomeness – so many veggies. I didn’t buy any – they wouldn’t have lasted the trip. Womp womp.

And wine. This is from Snow Farm Winery in South Hero, Vermont. We ended up buying a bottle of their Rose Red which was delicious. I’d love to go check out the winery on a future trip – South Hero isn’t too far from my mom’s house and is about an hour from my sisters.

I’m not usually into the whole super organic, grass-fed stuff, but really? Let’s be honest. It really is better.  I don’t need to read dozens of healthy living blogs to know that. I tried everything I could try and the all natural stuff? Really just tastes better. It’s such a better quality of food. We ended up grabbing lunch at the market, I had a falafel wrap that was delightfully satisfying, and we split a couple of dumplings that were perfectly doughy and flavorful.

Church Street, was as usual pretty incredible. We grabbed some Lake Champlain Chocolates, a cute body suit for Ethan (that was way expensive for a body suit but the girl who was working the cart designed it herself! And it was printed down the road! And it had all the different spellings for Cree-mee’s on it! If you haven’t had a New England Cree-mee then you are missing. Out. 

Then we had family time. My sister and I went for a walk in Vergennes. We drank the wine we bought. It was all good.

Stay tuned for part 3 and 4  coming up next week!

What’s your favorite farmers market find?

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#TripNorth Awesomeness: Long Trail Brewery

It’s no secret that we headed up north to my mother land of Vermont this past weekend. Hubs and I left wicked late on Thursday night after he got out of class and arrived in CT as the sun was beginning to peak out. Well, would have been if it hadn’t been overcast.

After a couple hiccups in the late morning/early afternoon, we made it up to my sister’s place in Vergennes around 8pmish and promptly after some fun hellos, put baby to bed. He travels well considering but I still try to keep him on schedule and by 8pm he was spent.

However, being it vacation for us, we didn’t want to go from point A to point B without anything fun along the way. So we had a planned pit stop at the Long Trail Brewery in Bridgewater Corners, VT.

First of all, we drove through Woodstock, and I’m pretty sure I want to live there. Open a yoga studio (after I get the certification I’ve been talking about getting for years), write, and sell baked goods at the local farmers market. Or a yoga studio/bakery combo.

We didn’t do the tour due to time constraints, but from what I’ve heard it’s a bit lackluster. It’s free though, so you can check it out or skip it. I’m of the mindset that if you’ve been on one brewery tour, you’ve seen them all. I, on the other hand, was more concerned with getting the tasting in.

I offered to drive the last 1.5 hour – 2 hour stretch after Long Trail so I only took a few sips from each of the beers on the tasting tray we got.

Long Trail tasting tray Vermont

Long Trail sampled a great variety of their seasonal beers (Harvest Ale & Pumpkin Ale), their Long Trail Ale, blackberry wheat, their IPA and the Double Bag. Adam was a big fan of their Harvest Ale – but I tend to be more of a lighter beer gal, so the blackberry wheat and the ale were my two favorites.

I loved the presentation – a muffin tray! Convenient, practical and original. I love little kitschy touches like that.

We grabbed a snack while we tasted – we knew my sister had dinner waiting but we were starving so we grabbed some nachos. I can’t really say much about their food – the nachos were delicious and hit the spot, had we had more time I probably would have gone for something else but it seemed to be mostly pub type food so really you never know what you’re going to get.

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I did love the patio and lawn that Long Trail had with the picnic tables and Adirondack Chairs. The lawn was right next to the Ottauqueechee River – giving a beautiful outdoorsy atmosphere to spend an afternoon with good beer and good company. The brewery itself is located just past Woodstock on Route 4 between I-89/91 and Rutland (heading West you’ll drive past Killington and Pico – loved that drive over the mountains!).

Long Trail

Ethan loved the stop, he loves the outdoors. He’s not a beer fan so he laid off the sauce – ‘natch. Adam how ever did enjoy a Vermont Mug of Harvest Ale while I sipped some H2O before getting back on the road. Naturally we left with a mixed sixer of the Belgian White and Harvest Ale. Which we then proceeded to leave at my sisters on Sunday when we left. $#!*$@!!!!

All in all, well worth the trip! If you’re in Vermont and looking for a fun stop on some back roads? I highly recommend Long Trail Brewery.

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30 before 30: Scrapbooking

It’s on my 30 before 30 list to make a scrapbook of my 20’s. It was one of those things on my list of things to do while the hubs was gone – along with decorate the bedroom (done-ish), redo the living room (ish…), and figure out what the eff to do with our spare room. Last night, I organized. I got rid of 2 boxes that were still packed in the closet then reorganized said spare room closet and cleaned up the floor putting aside a bunch of crap hubs needs to sort through when he gets home. There’s still work to be done but I can walk in there without tripping over crap so progress!

But that was just the cake. I also went and bought a photo album, so I could hopefully get that scrapbook started and finished before next week when I go to Texas.

This is just high school.

I have at least 3 more boxes. Most of the pictures I had put on CD as well (when I got my disposable cameras developed….because I used disposable cameras through college because I had cheap digital cameras that didn’t last…or that i broke.) so I plan on saving those but I want to downgrade and get rid of the photo boxes. Most of the pictures I have are from 2003-2006. Yikes.

Let me tell you…or rather.. let me show you some gems I stumbled upon. Do not judge…everyone had bad hair in the 90’s. Also, please note the songs that popped into my head as I was going through these photos.

8th grade graduation/formal June 1997. {Soundtrack song: Wannabe by the Spice Girls}

The day I moved. {Soundtrack song: Don’t Speak by No Doubt}

My best friend Chris and I sometime after October 1997 which was when i got my braces off… {Soundtrack song: Missing the War by Ben Folds Five}

me at a nordic ski race, guessing sometime in Jan/Feb 2001 {soundtrack song: Miss Jackson by Outkast}

High school graduation 2001 {Soundtrack song: Take a picture by Filter}

 Senior Prom. May 2001. {Soundtrack song: Survivor by Destiny’s Child}

Holy effing crap y’all I was so little!!

My 30 before 30 list states a scrapbook of my 20’s but I really didn’t have many pictures from high school (it wasn’t a good time for me…) so I went through the few pictures I had from 1997-2001 and am going to add them to the photo album my mom gave me that was technically my baby album but still had some room in it. Next time I’m in VT I really need to get more pictures from my childhood from my mom to add to that one and I may go back to Target to get another album this weekend to transfer the baby album over since the cover fell off in one of my many moves (pretty sure it was from DC-CT or Ellie got to it…).

Either way, since it’s supposed to be a rainy weekend I figure this is a nice project that’ll be productive, keep me busy and inside and you all might be getting throwback pictures for a while now on the blog. Enjoy!

If you could create a soundtrack of your teenage years, what song(s) would be on it? 

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Race Recap: VT Unplugged Half

Ya’ll… I PR’ed again. I’m so excited and pumped and proud! I worked so hard and trained so much better than previous races and oh em gee…it showed. Who woulda thunk that if you train well (and put over 100 miles into training)

It was a tough one but with every race – PR or no, you learn something right? Right. I’ll get to that after.

{Me @ the starting line with 624ish of my closest pals}

So this weekend was half marathon #4 – VT Unplugged Half. The race started at 9a. I had gone to bed the night before around 11 and woke up at 7 so I was fully rested and ready to go. I had shot blocks with me, a small water bottle, and my ipod all queued up. Then we were off. The first 2 miles were an out and back loop – the back part was on a gravel bike path which I did not like so much.

Then it was onto the bike path along the lake the whole way down.

 How beautiful is that?! Seriously. That’s where I grew up friends.  This picture may in fact get framed and put up on the wall in our living room.

At mile 11 I hit my wall. I feared I would. My longest run was 10 miles – which I hit around 1:40:00 and I knew I could do a sub 30 5k but my legs just became lead. Up until that point I was keep sub 10:00/miles (the one time i had to stop to tie my shoe around mile 5 effed up my splits)

I really wanted to hit sub 2:15:00 and it would have been doable but around mile 11 I had to stop again to tie my shoe and I also did a couple run/walk intervals to help ease the pain in my IT bands.

 finishing strong!

Official time: 2:16:11

Super stoked about my new PR!

After the race the afternoon consisted of two of my absolute favorite things…

cake and wine.

My sister and I had purchased a LivingSocial deal to Shelburne Winery a while ago and it did not disappoint. Most of the wines were  a bit too acidic for my liking but a couple were tasty – I didn’t buy any bottles since I knew they wouldn’t travel well (based on previous experience traveling with glass bottles of booze) but next time Hubs and I drive up we’ll definitely be stopping there!

Lessons learned from this half:

1. Long runs matter – Next time I want to ramp up my long runs to 12-13 miles. I had intended on doing this but time got away from me with the trip to CT.

2. FUEL – I fueled well and got a great nights rest the night before. It really helped my mentality on Saturday AM.

3. Don’t underestimate the taper – I think i over-tapered this week. I had intended on getting in a yoga class and a couple runs but just didn’t have the time. I ran once on Tuesday and that was it.

4. Pacing counts! I had been pacing myself to run sub 10 minute miles and for the most part it worked out quite well. That was the pace I had run most of my runs at and I really think with a bit more hard work I can get my pace into the 8:00 min/mile range and hit a sub 2:00:00 half in December in Annapolis.

What lessons did you take away from your most recent race?

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Craziness Ensues

Alternatively titled: This is why I left Vermont for civilization.

So I grew up in Vermont – it’s not an unknown fact – I’m quite proud of my roots though it took me a few years to really appreciate.

This weekend, I went back to the 802 by myself to see my big brother who was home on R&R from Afghanistan – coincidentally my trip coincided with his birthday (best sister ever? Me. Except not. I’ll get to that later.)

So Saturday, I hauled my butt to work at early o’clock, in hopes of leaving a bit early to start my 6 hour trek early to see a cousin who was in town.

Leaving early fail. I left the store around 2:30 only to get to my car and realize my keys were MIA. I searched, and searched and searched until it dawned on me. I left them in a bag sitting on the passenger seat – i switched out my bags at the last minute because I didn’t want to leave my laptop in the car.

FAIL.(FAIL #1 if you will)

Two hours after my original departure time, my coworker and I MacGueyvere’d our way into my car with a hanger, a pair of scissors and some packing tape. Thankfully I had left my drivers side window open a touch so my colleague managed to slip the hanger in and open the door handle with it.

Sometimes, I am not the brightest. And my original hair color shows it’s true colors (I’m naturally a dark blonde. Less brunette than I am now.)

So I finally get in the car, get through Greewich and make my way to I-95 with no problem. Then traffic in Norwalk. Then traffic in New Haven.

Traffic…FAIL (fail #2). By this time I had missed my family BBQ at my aunt’s house that I had hoped to make it to. There was just no way.

Three hours in, I get to Vermont. Halfway there. But hungry.

Sooo I make plans to stop in Brattleboro – except Brattleboro – a small town in the southeast corner of the state (exits 1-3 on I-91) is the only town on I-91 between there and White River Junction that has food.

I found this out the hardway. Hubs and I have stopped there for food before, I’m a big fan of Taco Bell since I like their little fresca menu – it might not be the greatest but I’m convinced it’s a million times better than a big mac or whopper any day.

I missed the exit. I missed the effing exit. Of course I did. I thought I was looking for exit 4 – no no, pretty sure it was exit 3.

EFF MY LIFE!(Fail #3!!!)

I stopped at a little parking area to gnaw on some of my trail mix I picked up for the road – smart move? Yesh.

So I get off at exit 5 (mind you I’m only going to exit 10 but there’s like a million miles between each exit on both I-91 and I-89 in Vermont) and realize after about two miles that the blue sign with the freakin’ dinner plate, fork and knife that promises food LIED. LIES LIES LIES! All. Lies. (fail #4)

I turn around and make it back to exit 5 and head up to the next exit. Same sign. Same promises. Same lies. (fail #8)

Except this time I got stuck in Bellows Falls – another small, podunk town. A town that happened to be having a fireworks festival that night. Hello detours and rednecks and some dude driving down the road in a fucking golf cart asking for money to pay for the $20,000 fireworks display. What. The?

IKNOWRIGHT?!

I give up when I get back on the highway at the exit after that, stop again for more trail mix (I’m awful at multi-tasking when I drive – mostly because I’m kind of a nervous driver so I don’t like to be distracted by phone or anything – trying to eat trail mix when i don’t want any raisins is no easy feat when you’re going 65-75mph.) and vow to get off in White River to pop over to Lebanon, NH (aka CIVILIZATION) for dinner. At…taco bell.

How much time did I waste? About 45 minutes. FORTY-FIVE FLIPPIN’ MINUTES FOR NOTHING!

Do these podunk towns not eat or something? I mean jebus!

Anyhow, I made it to my mom’s at like 11pm. (fail #9)

Visited my brother Sunday for lunch – he treated mom and I to lunch – even though it was his birthday. Whoops? I owe him a care package. Big time.

Had dinner with sister and her boyfriend and his kids – a nice little cookout with salad, corn and steak tips. YUM.

Then i went home, watched The Next Food Network Star (oh cable how I missed you!) and caught up on the delightful trashy reality that is Jersey Shore.

Woke up at 5 to be out the door by 5:30 and over to my grandparent’s by 6. Had breakfast with my nana (omg. love her.) and left by 7am. Was on the highway shortly after 7:30 and back to Stamford by 10 of 1pm and at work for 2 after a quick visit with the hubs.

It was…a whirlwind to say the least but I’m really glad I made it home. As I’ve grown up I’ve really learned to appreciate my family much, much more than I have in the past and I’m incredibly thankful to live in a place where I make spontaneous trips home like that – you know, breakfast in Burlington with my nana and then home by lunch time. It’s nice.

This week has been crazy – lots of working and getting ready for BlogHer!!! Are you going? Are you going to the 20sb meetup Saturday night? I hear there’s going to be a mechanical bull (!!!!) – note to self, don’t wear a dress.

Stay tuned for a post later tonight on my outfits for blogher, why I’m a lazy ass, and in the next few days, the winner of my #gapmagic giveaway (have you entered? You have til 11:59 ET tonight!!!)

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On to Number 4…

I have a great post that I have yet to finish. This week has been ridic in terms of being busy with work, and preparing for our trip to Vermont – making plans to see people and the like.

I awoke this morning to check the weather for race day (marathon #4…how did I get here?!?), thinking it would say what it said three days ago when I checked. 67ish high and sunny. Right? Right.

Wrong.

Wamp. Wamp.

Well…at least I’ve got tons of fast wicking shorts and tanks to wear. Must not forget sunscreen though. That would be…really bad.

In other news, I have a post that I started last week that I need to edit but I’ll be sure to schedule that for this weekend, and as always, I’ll be active over on the tumblr blog via iPhone because I’m awesome like that.

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Thankful for…

Alternately Titled: How mom saved Thanksgiving and why Ham isn’t the same

Under normal circumstances, my Thanksgiving is spent at my Aunt’s house on the shores of Lake Champlain. There is laughing, booze, and lots of family members. Football/The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are on the big screen television and the sound of pitter pattering feet stifle the sound of the adults gossiping in the cramped kitchen.

This year, the first Thanksgiving of my newlywedness, I was hoping to bring Hubs back to that. To be in the crowd of my beloved family, hoping for snow, and enjoying a full thanksgiving meal – to finally celebrate with the family that couldn’t be bothered to travel to my wedding make it down for the wedding.

There was drama, too many little kids around because of cousins having…what I would deem as unsavory people with a few illegitimate children (between two cousins – 8 illegitimate children, not including the other 2 who are legit), my Aunt that usually hosts didn’t want to host the crowd of kiddos that my other aunt’s kids would be bringing along to the festivities. Thanksgiving was split up.

I found out about it a few days before. My Nana informed me, she’d be cooking dinner. We’d head over there for a noon dinner – as per usual, nothing new there.

Dinner, though wonderful, was ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, homemade pickles, and rolls. It was delish. But it wasn’t turkey. It wasn’t stuffing, candied carrots, green bean casserole, and there wasn’t pie. Not that I like pie to begin with, but I brought Hubs home to experience my beloved thanksgiving traditions, and they didn’t happen.

Thanksgiving, was dead.

Later, we had plans to meet my sister to see New Moon. We decided to stay at my Nana’s that night, and my cousin wanted to tag along, unfortunately, we had to run home to Mom’s – 30 minutes away – to grab our bags, especially since my sister and I had plans to go shopping at 6am. (shut up. It’s tradition.)

En route back to pick up my cousin, after Hubs and I discovered how hungry we were and after convincing mom to cook a turkey, I was in a rush. A 6:20 movie. We weren’t sure if there would be lines (hey you never know how hardcore those twi-hards are), so sister and I wanted to meet at 5:45. It was 5:20. I was going to be late.

Getting on the highway, I sped. Who doesn’t? Then there he was. An Essex Cop. Earlier, I had been bragging to Hubs about how “I’ve never been pulled over.”

Who get’s pulled over for the first time on Thanksgiving??

I got a warning. 61 in a 50 zone. Out of state plates. No ticket. Lucky. Purely. Lucky.

Still. I wanted to cry. I hadn’t given Hubs Turkey, he was hungry when he should have been in a food coma and I got pulled over making me even more late.

*sigh*

The movie was great, my bff T-pup met up with us to see it – so there was five of us, Hubs proudly proclaimed he was on Team Jacob “the werewolf totally gets the short end of the stick!” he proclaimed later in the car. Post-movie, we headed over to Colchester to a trashy townie bar. Granted the area is littered with them outside of downtown Burlington.

T-pup, myself and Hubs walked into the bar, ordered up a round and immediately asked if the kitchen was open. It had closed at 9p.

Drat!

The bartender however, told us she’d start up the deep fryer. We had – for our thanksgiving dinner – fried mozzerella, fried ravioli, and chicken wings.

We toasted to good friends, trashy townie bars that play too much country music, and to fried food.

Six hours later, after getting dropped off back at my Nana’s, I was waiting in line at K-Mart with my big sister ready to take on Black Friday.

We finished today with Turkey, Stuffing, and all the fixings that mom whipped up today. Seriously, I have the best mom ever.

In short:

I am thankful for….

  • My Husband
  • My family (mom, nana, sister, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins)
  • Black Friday ($20 down comforter, $110 blu-ray player, $15 sweaters, etc…)
  • My mom. Especially her. She saved our thanksgiving.
  • My friends – who I miss every freakin’ day.
  • Movie theaters that are open Thanksgiving Day – hellllllo New Moon!!!
  • That nice Essex PD officer who decided not to give my sorry speeding butt a ticket even though I maybe sorta kinda lied and said I was late to Thanksgiving dinner (and by thanksgiving dinner I meant late to get our butts to the theater to see New Moon but I wasn’t going to tell him that…)

All in all a good thanksgiving was had. Happy Thanksgiving freaders!!!!

What are you thankful for???

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Marathon #3!!!!!!!

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!!!!!!!

May 24th I’ll be running in my hometown marathon shooting for a sub 5:00 time for marathon #3!!!!

Training starts after the holidays – before then I’ll still be running since I’m committed to the 5k on the 27th and the Jingle all the way 10k in December. Guess i’m going for a run tonight AND tomorrow! Time to get my butt back in gear (at least i know i can still do a sub 30:00 5k!!!)

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