sunday brunch

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If we were having brunch today, I’d wish you a belated Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you feel loved everyday, but especially after yesterday. Whether your valentine is your significant other, your dog, your bestie, or yourself, you deserve to feel a little spoiled and pampered. We played it super low-key and ignored all of my date ideas to do touch-up paint in the master bath where we replaced the toilet (BY OURSELVES. WE ARE AWESOME.) and eat takeout sushi, drink wine, and watch Netflix. It was perfect. (By the way, we started watching The Fall. It’s great. Agent Scully forever.)

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that I kinda, sorta hate myself for going to see 50 Shades of Grey this afternoon. I know. My only excuse is that it’s a girls’ outing and I miss them. Ok, and maybe I want to see it. The book was so horrendous, I feel like it’s going to be a hate-watch kind of thing. I just hate giving my money to such horrible, awful poorly-written crap. Whatever. Laters, babe.

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that I am in the middle of a major home renovation fever. The only prescription is more cow — just kidding. The only prescription is more money, which is not exactly flowing my way. I’m making myself content with a few small projects I’ll share soon: The previously-mentioned bathroom painting, framing and hanging a few of our favorite concert posters, a DIY twine project for the guest room, finding a new side table for the living room to replace our current Ikea Lack situation…it’s not an expensive list, just expansive. And you know how good we are at actually doing the work…

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that I’m starting to get super pumped about a few small getaways we have planned starting next month! We are choosing to forgo a big vacation this year so next year we can (hopefully) afford Europe. But everyone needs a break now and then so we have a few long weekends in the books. We’re going to see a few concerts, Sylvan Esso and St. Vincent, and then taking a trip down to the Bourbon Trail. We’ve got a limo and a driver, and I’m already feeling the post-trail headache…

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that I am loving Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings. It’s our book club pick-of-the-month and it’s really beautiful. The characters are so deeply drawn and I love the way the narrative jumps back and forth between the two main characters, giving two different views on the life of a family and their slaves. They are heartbreaking and strong. It’s not a book I would have picked on my own, but it’s an important one to read, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Happy Sunday! What’s on your mind today?

nerdy girl dates: valentine’s day

In case you’ve been living under a rock and not watching any TV or reading anything online or going to any store, Valentine’s Day is in a few days, people. While I’m generally not a Valentine’s Day fan, I am a romance fan (last year’s faves) and a marketer’s dream, in that I love anything pink, red, heart-shaped, sparkly, and generally over-the-top cute. You make a mini heart-shaped ramekin? I want four. You put hearts all over…well, anything? GIMME. I love celebrating love, but I’m totally not into the roses-chocolate-overpriced-dinner-and-lava-cake thing. I am especially not into enduring any more “Every kiss begins with Kay” commercials. We don’t usually do gifts besides maybe a bag of “thinking of you” candy, but my goal each year is to make our celebration just a little unique. Recently, and I’ll be honest here, it’s been the same old dinner-and-watch-a-movie-on-the-couch kind of night. Nice, and sadly very reflective of me and the husband as a couple, but we pretty much do that every weekend. Not so special.

We are, of course, always last minute about these kinds of things, meaning we can never get a reservation at a restaurant or get tickets to a concert or movie. No biggie, we don’t really want to deal with the crowds anyway, but it means we’re in the aforementioned Valentine’s Day rut. This year V-Day is on a Saturday, meaning there’s a WHOLE DAY to do romantic, mushy, love-y stuff! Here are a few of the fun and nerdy date ideas I’ve been planting in the husband’s mind all week:

-Go to a bookstore and pick out a book or two to exchange. It can be one you’ve loved in the past or one you think they’d love (that of course is also on your reading list…two birds, one book). I know there are also cute bookstore scavenger hunt ideas all over the internets if you’re feeling especially ambitious and cutesy. Finish up with a yummy coffee and start reading!

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-Along the same lines, go to a record store (or a CD store? Was that ever a thing?) together and pick out a few inexpensive oldie-but-goodie selections or some random albums just because you like the art. Spend the night giving them a spin with a bottle of wine.

-A staple: find a fancy new recipe and try to cook it together. Bonus points if you wear aprons and silly hats to make each other laugh. Extra bonus points if it involves the crème brulee torch and cute heart-shaped ramekins.

-And if that gives you a heart attack: order carryout from a nice restaurant and plate it like you made it yourself. Be sure to wear your fancy clothes! (We may or may not do this every year. I hate cooking.)

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-Host a blind beer, wine, or bourbon tasting. Take notes and compete to see who can guess what they’re tasting. This one is especially fun if you’d rather hang in a group, and you get to eat lots of snacks in between tastings!

-Three words: Board game tournament. You can decide the stakes. Wink wink!

-Enjoy a nice meal out…just not dinner. We’ve got the whole day! Use it! Bypass the typical dinner date and go out for breakfast or lunch. I personally LOVE lunch dates. Somehow it feels so like such a treat to enjoy a glass of wine and a slow, relaxing meal with good conversation in the middle of the day. Or stay up late and go out for a nightcap and dessert. What could be more romantic?

-Go on a first date. It’s probably impossible to get dinner reservations at this point, but the bar in a swanky restaurant might just be the best place to have some fun together. Plan to meet separately at a bar and pretend you’re strangers. Have fun deciding who gets to creatively ask, “want to go back to my place?”! (Anyone see when they did this on Modern Family? I love Clive Bixby.)

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Whatever they are, I hope you feel loved!

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sunday brunch

09-sunday-brunch

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that I am super happy that the husband is coming home from his long weekend away tonight because bad things happen when he’s gone. I mean the house is super clean and all of that…but it’s so quiet I simply fill the time with an endless binge of Veep and GoT until I crash on the couch and have to put myself to bed. On the other hand, I did have the time to pick up and get started on a truly amazing freelance job, go to a wine tasting with good friends who have moved into the neighborhood, and head over to Findlay Market for some casual girl talk and fancy food browsing with one of my closest girls. So there’s the good with the bad. Though really, is a TV binge ever really a bad thing?

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that it’s finally truly fall here and I’m kinda not ok with it. I know, I know. Last month I was raving about all the fall things. But it’s been rainy and gloomy ALL WEEK, I had to break down and turn on the heat already, and my vitamin d pills can’t keep up. Yes, it means the boots and scarves can be on heavy rotation, but that also means they’ll have to be on heavy rotation until, say, April. UGH! Maybe I just need more pumpkin spice?

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that I’m basically counting the minute until I get to go to Florida in a few weeks. A spur of the moment airfare deal presented itself, so I’m heading down south for a week to visit with my bestie, hit up Disney World for some Everest action and a whole lot of food and wine thanks to Epcot’s glorious Food and Wine Festival, and head over to her fab beach condo for some reading and relaxing and vitamin d replenishing. I cheated and looked at the Food and Wine menu…so much money will be spent and I’m pretty sure I’ll gain 5 pounds in a night. WORTH IT. This getaway is so, so needed after a few stressful months at the office.

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that I’m missing my long hair. That’s the way it goes right? You have long hair, you want the pixie. You have the pixie, you miss the days of the top knot. And I really do miss the messy hair-don’t care top knot. It’s going to be a long year of trying to get that back…

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that I started following IKEA on Instagram and whoa, I need a house project. It’s been WAY too long since I’ve done anything and the houses they feature are making me feel some serious envy. Should I find some furniture to redo? Maybe get started on the lower level? Some DIY artwork? Small kitchen updates? I don’t know what I really have in mind at this point, just that I need something to work on after this freelance job is over. Y’all got any ideas? I still don’t even have a bathroom mirror and it’s been like 6 months, so that should probably be the first priority. And it should tell you the pacing and effort level we like to give around here (aka, neither are good).

What’s going on in your world? Let’s gab!

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sunday brunch

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If we were having brunch today, I’d probably be mainlining coffee and nursing sore feet from dancing all night long at our dear friends’ wedding last night. I’m always amazed at how each wedding we go to truly reflects the couple’s spirit and individuality, despite the fact that all weddings follow basically the same format. You know the drill: I do, food, CAKE, dancing, etc. The husband and I had such a fun night dancing (ok, maybe only one of us actually had fun dancing…) and celebrating with one of the most fun and light-hearted couples we know. Plus I got to wear boots. It’s like the weather knew we all wanted fall RIGHT NOW. Such a perfect night!

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you all about my fantasy football team and probably be obsessively tinkering with my lineup and bore the hell out of you. Gah. I don’t know what has happened to me, but fall is here and football is back and life is so, so good because of it.

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you I’m reading this creeptastic book called Night Film all about an investigative journalist trying to uncover the truth about a famous (but reclusive) horror film director’s daughter’s death years after he ruined his reputation for going after said director. It’s action-packed and scary and full of plot twists and turns, and since I’m now apparently in love with weird and creepy things, I’m loving it so much. Plus it’s chock full of notes and emails and (fake) web articles so it reads like you’re actually a part of the investigation. I can’t wait for the end.

I’m also reading a nonfiction book about the Civil War and (gasp!) enjoying it. Like I said, I don’t even know what has happened to me.

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you this fall is going to be so great. I mean, Halloween is on a Friday this year, how could the whole season not be amazingly fun. The husband and I have a few weekend trips planned (though sadly, none together? boo), but other than that I’m hoping to stay here and enjoy being a little less busy. We (the collective “we”) LOVE to be busy, yeah? But it’s so draining, especially since work has kicked in again after the slow summer. So yeah, there probably won’t be any house improvements or party hosting because I think it’s time to sit back and enjoy for just a little bit. Or maybe that’s just my excuse to be a little more lazy. Potato, po-tah-to.

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you go watch True Detective NOW if you haven’t. When did Matthew McConaughey become legit? Because whoa. This show is something special. In related news, when do new shows start? I am in TV withdrawal and I don’t even care how sad that is.

Your turn: What’s going on with you this morning?

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sunday brunch

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If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that next week is my birthday and it feels…uneventful? For the past three years, we’ve spent my birthday week sunning and swimming and reading the days away at Pawleys Island and though we went to Hilton Head earlier this summer, it feels strange to be home for number 28. And sadface, I might only get ONE birthday cake! I’m excited about 28 though, it feels like it’s going to be a great one. I won’t bore you with my silly positive-intention stuff, but I’m thinking it’s going to be a year of many more yeses and a lot more of The Happiness Project. Bring on the goodness (and the cake)!

If we were having brunch, I’d tell you this week brings the last of my wheel pottery class and I can’t believe it went this fast! I’m going to miss my new little hobby. I am so glad my friends and I decided to break out of our routines and try something new. (I guess I started saying “yes” a few weeks early!) I think it’s so important to make time for yourself and to keep learning and I’ve loved getting to do nothing but play and create for a few hours a week. And it turns out we’ve all actually gotten pretty good! Ok, maybe just not completely embarrassing. The perfect coffee mug still eludes me though…only one week left to get it right!!!

What should I try next? The other girls didn’t like my idea of trapeze…

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that we totally binge-watched the end of The Killing and ugh, you guys. It’s so good. The show definitely didn’t get the press or viewership it deserved on AMC and I’m glad Netflix took it over to end the series the right way. If you haven’t seen it, the show follows two homicide detectives in Seattle and is funny and sad and maybe slightly creepy and you will love love love Holder. Just trust me, it’s worth it!

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that I also have been binge-reading. Can’t help it, I’m a glutton. Last weekend I somehow read an entire book. My house is a disaster and I have no social life, but whatevs right? I haven’t done that in a very long time. I tore through The Intern’s Handbook (SO GOOD) and dove into The Book of Life, the finale of the All Souls Trilogy that was just released. I’m excited to review the series as soon as I finish it, but I’ll say for now if you are a fan of smart chick lit mixed with magic and history and science, you’ll love it.

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you once again, this summer has been so much fun. Despite having no money, we’ve been able to do so much (though sadly, nothing to the house!) and have felt so free with our time. We’ve enjoyed outdoor concerts (Lumenocity was so freaking amazing), have ridden our bikes hundreds of miles thanks to some really incredible weather, and celebrated little everyday moments like dinner on the deck. I even got a date night last night (Guardians of the Galaxy…love)! It’s been a great season so it pains me to say I’m maybe ready for the next? I just want some boots, okay?!?

Your turn! Grab your coffee and let’s chat!

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sunday brunch

03-sunday-brunch

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you the mini-breaks in the weather have been so amazing and SUCH a tease. I can’t wait for it to be warm everyday, not 60s one day (yesterday) and 40s and maybe snow the next (today, UGH). I even lifted weights on our deck earlier this week because I was so desperate for sun and couldn’t stand being inside when it was in the 70s. I’m sure the neighbors got a good laugh. And let’s be honest, I reeeeallllly want to go shopping.

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that last night I got to see one of my 16 year-old self’s heroes, James Galway. Band geek 4 life! He played one of my favorite songs I ever played, Mozart’s Flute Concerto in D, and was simply breathtaking. Combine the gorgeous music with the beauty of Music Hall and a fantastic dinner out in Over the Rhine and you’ve got my perfect date night!

Speaking of date night…if we were having brunch today, I’d tell you today is the husband’s and my anniversary…sort of. Four years ago we went to the court house and got hitched all shotgun style. Seriously, from deciding to get married to “I do” took about 6 hours. All because I needed health insurance! And you know, that whole love thing. While we don’t really celebrate this anniversary (we think of the one in October when we had an actual wedding as the “real” one), the fact that it’s been four years is blowing my mind. I’m so glad I get to spend everyday with my best friend and can’t wait to see what the next four have in store for us.

If we we’re having brunch today, I’d tell you we still don’t have a mirror in the bathroom. Or a cabinet. The counter clutter is driving me BONKERS. And styling my hair blind is proving to be an exciting adventure (yay sarcasm). I did finally buy a bath rug (this one) and install the vanity cabinet knobs and drawer pulls in a fit of productivity yesterday and their polka dots are adorable. You guys, I just want it to be done so I can move on to the next project. Come on tax refund, just waiting on you!

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you I’ve been reading so much YA recently. I need to break this streak badly. Luckily one of my book clubs has picked Lean In and it’s about time I dive in. I’ve read so many conflicting reviews about this book and I can’t wait to talk about it. I doubt I’ll like it as much as I liked Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman, but it’s always good to read and ponder the eternal question, “can we have it ‘all?'” (My gut says let’s just get rid of all the “shoulds” please and do whatever is best for ourselves, not some random social standard, mmkay?)

Your turn! What’s going on with you this month?

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sunday brunch

If we were having brunch today, I’d probably make a lot of remarks about how sunny it is. While this seems pointless, I’d place a lot of importance on it because yesterday it was not sunny. It indeed was the cold and rainy meat between two beautiful days in this particular weather sandwich – and I had to run 13.1 miles though it. Yes, my half marathon was yesterday! While it wasn’t the race experience I had pictured (read: I wanted normal sunny October weather, thank you), I had a good time for the most part, and it flew by. At least until mile 10 when the wheels started to fall off the bus and it was just SO COLD. I ended up finishing at exactly 2:14, which is 20 minutes faster than my previous PR. My goal was under 2:15 so I am pretty damn proud of myself. Most importantly though, I didn’t hurt myself throughout the training and racing progress, which for someone as injury-prone as I had been in the past, is a huge deal.

Now which one to do next? Just kidding. 10ks only from here on out. I may not be hurt, but today feels very “ouch.”

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you how much fun the husband and I had last night at a sushi-making class! I found a deal for the class on Groupon and on a whim while he was in the hospital this summer, decided to buy it for a special date night. The class is held in Findlay Market and you learn the basics of making nori rolls. I’m pretty sure ours would never win any awards for beauty, but they were tasty and gave us confidence to try to make them at home for a fun weekend night at-home date. Cincinnati people: They also do Indian and Thai and cheesemaking (!) classes, so get on it. We also stumbled in to our new favorite wine shop! Market Wines was right next door and it’s really adorable. Not only that, but the owner of the store was very knowledgeable and they have tastings (and beer on tap) every weekend. You better believe we’ll be heading down to Findlay Market much more often now!

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that we haven’t made any more progress on the guest room. Of course. I really think we’re the worst at home improvement. Truth is, I can’t seem to find anything I love for the bed. I REALLY want a quilt to use instead of a duvet or comforter because Nico sleeps in there during the day and quilts are a million times easier to wash, but I hate all of them I’ve seen. Or they’re ridiculously overpriced. IKEA has a duvet option that I think I’m going to end up going with, but the only problem is getting there. Once I have the bedding figured out (and get the bed frame I’ve been promised), the rest should fall in to place pretty quickly.

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you I just finished the most amazing book for book club. I won’t tell you anything about it (I’ll save it for a full-length review), but please, please, please go get The Bookman’s Tale by Charles C. Lovett. It is a phenomenal story and I raced through it. I can’t wait to read it for a second time.

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you I already have not one, but two desserts picked out for Thanksgiving. Yeah, it’s over a month away. And there will only be 7 people at dinner. Do we even need the turkey? I’d rather just stuff myself silly on wine and dessert…guess I better keep up my training so I can run the 10k that morning and not feel quite so guilty!

What’s going on with you today?

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nerdy girl on vacation

Greetings from my little slice of paradise! After the summer we've had, a getaway was needed in the worst way. In the spirit of our virtual brunches, join me for a cup of coffee on the screened in porch, watching the tide come in…

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that I haven't been sunburned at all, but after three days of continuous sun, my skin has magically accumulated a sunburn. How does that happen? It just turned red (and itchy) overnight. One of the great mysteries of our time, people.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that the beach is way more fun with littles around, but man, do they get up early. 7am wake up calls anybody? At least it's a good motivator to get up and go. It's day 4 on the beach and I've already done two four mile runs and a beach body weight strength workout. Who am I?

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you I already finished two books, one of which I finished in the car on the way down here. Yeah, didn't even make it to vacation proper! Also: I know reading a classic was one of my goals for the summer…but I just can't. I gave Sherlock Holmes the old college try and I gave up. What can I say? I'd rather watch it on tv.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that the husband has played golf everyday! I'm so happy that he's feeling so good considering a month ago he could barely get out of bed.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that I don't want this suspended reality to end. Except that I really, really miss my pup. And sleeping past 7am. And I hear there's going to be a birthday cake waiting for me!

Hope you're all having a fabulous week. See you when I'm 27…

 

nerdy cincinnati: used book sale haul

This week has been nerd heaven. Or hell, depending on how you look at it. Yes, this week was the Friends of the Library Used Book Sale at the Main Library. Meaning I was sitting in my office all week one floor below SO MANY BOOKS that I could buy for $3 at most.

Is there ever a bigger test of willpower than this?

Ok, maybe anytime I see a cookie. Or cake. Or donuts.

You get the picture. While the sale is still going on today, and it is “bag day” (meaning you buy a bag for $10 a fill it with as much as you possibly can fit) for anyone who still wants to come to the sale, I think I have gotten my fill and am ready to show you the treasures of the week! And, um, there were a lot of treasures. I seriously can not be allowed to go in to a bookstore or book sale alone, especially one like this where everything is so cheap! I can’t control myself. I never have been able to. I remember my mom taking me to the library or to the bookstore and me coming out with at least 5 books because I just. can’t. choose. I want to read them all. Hence why I’m putting a limit on myself today…

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Yeah, I told you I had a problem. Just be glad that’s not a tower of donuts.

Since I knew I was going to be facing temptation each and every work day, I gave myself a strategy, or goal for the day, if you will. On Monday, the goal was fiction. My favorite. I only let myself wander through the fiction section from about 8:20-8:45 (yes, library employees and volunteers got to shop early – a nice perk) and after one pass, what I picked up was what I was going home with. Here’s what I got:

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From top to bottom, I’ll explain my choices. I picked up The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet because it’s been on my reading list for awhile. When the movie Cloud Atlas came out, I was intrigued by David Mitchell and after reading reviews of his book on Goodreads, thought this one would interest me the most. It didn’t hurt that the book itself is in great condition and the cover is neat. Yes, I said neat. Descriptors are failing me this morning. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a classic and though I have literally no idea what it’s about (a tree? Brooklyn?) I like to be literary and read things that are important in history. I hope the tree grows tall! Next! I was excited to see the Kate Atkinson because I want to read her new novel Life After Life and I thought this would be a good intro to her and her writing. Behind the Scenes… has received great reviews and I’m excited to read work from an important contemporary female writer. The Girl in the Blue Beret was pure impulse. France. World War II. Maybe romance. Of course I’ll like it. (Also: pretty cover. Duh.) I picked up Bel Canto because it’s one of my all time fave books but I only have it on my broken Nook, so I can’t read it anymore. This is not my favorite cover design for this novel, but it was in better condition than the other copy I spotted. It all reads the same I guess. And last up, Loving Frank. I won’t lie, I have really high hopes for this book. I love Frank Lloyd Wright and the story sounds just like The Paris Wife, but from the point of view from the mistress. Even if it’s totally invented, I don’t care. I’m pumped.

On Tuesday, I ventured into non-fiction. I wasn’t drawn to anything in the self-help or memoirs sections. Shockingly. But I did find a few more practical items.

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Wine. And food. Obviously. Also, imagine a 2010 Fodor’s Guide to Italy that I forgot to bring home with me and take a picture of. Bad blogger. Gotta study up for my very, very belated honeymoon…whenever that happens. So yeah, I don’t have much to say about the cookbooks because well, they’re cookbooks. I love Real Simple and their easy recipes are always tasty and truly easy, so I’m thinking this will be a good $2 investment. Ditto for Healthy in a Hurry. The Central Coast wineries guidebook was also an impulse because we have been trying a lot of wines from the region recently and loving them. It includes info about our fave winery Justin, so you know it’s a good guide. Also it was published by Chronicle which means it is beautiful. Tuesday really was a practical, if not slightly boring, day.

Next up, Thursday! (I took Wednesday off when I realized I had already spent $24 on books I didn’t need.) But I couldn’t stay away from the lure of cheap books – and half off day – for too long. I didn’t have a strategy, I simply wandered through fiction again and made my way through a few sections I hadn’t seen yet.

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I FOUND OLD PENGUINS.

Sorry for the caps. But my brain is thinking in caps lock when I think about the Penguins. They are so pretty. I have NO idea what the books actually are, nor do I care. I’m not really going to read them, a) because they are so pretty, and b) because they are old and I don’t want to hurt them. That top one is from the 50s. They are going right up on the shelf we have yet to buy for the office. I mean, that orange is perfect, no? I see a collection (hoarding?) beginning with these bad boys.

But again, at least it’s not a collection of donuts, right?

All in all, I spent $27 this week on 14 books. And I don’t feel bad because that money goes right to the Friends who help my work do great things in the community. The only problem is…the Anderson Township Library Association used book sale starts on the 21st…and it’s a mile from my house…HOW DO I STAY AWAY?!?

Have you ever been to a used book sale? Were you a proverbial kid in a candy shop too? Also, can you bring me a donut?

Edit: Today is National Donut Day. No wonder they were on my mind!!! Who wants to hit up Dunkin’ with me and get a free one?

nerdy cincinnati: redlegs run 5k & 10k race recap

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any talking about things around Cincy, no? It’s not that we’ve been shut ins, I promise (though we are pretty bad homebodies). It’s that I forget to take pictures. I am legit the worst at photographically documenting my life. One of my goals this year has been to get better about taking more pictures, especially with our fancy dslr. It’s been…a work in progress. I don’t really know why I even wrote this paragraph because it honestly has nothing to do with what this post is about. Whatever. I guess to bring up the subject of doing more things around town? I digress…

On Saturday morning I ran a race! For someone who runs a lot, I run very few races. I used to be really into them in college, doing several every year. I did races at Disney, tons of them when I lived in San Francisco, and a lot around town. Then I graduated and had to wake up early everyday for work and the thought of giving up one of my two precious sleeping-in mornings kept me from running any races. Also: they cost lots of money. Who knew? I think the last race I did was the Thanksgiving Day 10k in 2011. I also got more than a little chubby and running around other people was not really something my fragile self-esteem could handle, but that’s neither here nor there. Because yesterday I actually paid my money, got up at the crack of dawn, and got over my issues to run with a couple thousand other people.

And it as great! Humid…but great! See how pretty Cincy is:

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Just kidding! It didn’t look like that on Saturday. That is a pic from my sister-in-law who ran downtown the day before (thanks Mer for letting me borrow your pretty pic!). We weren’t so lucky the morning of the race. See:

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Ok, that’s been Instagrammed. But it was really cloudy and grey at the start of the race. There was a threat of rain the whole morning, hence why I didn’t have my sunglasses (something I both regret when I look at my tired, puffy, makeup-free face in that pic and later on in the race when it turned out to, in fact, be sunny – thanks weathermen). But despite the call for rain, we lined up by Great American Ballpark (the Reds stadium…get it? Redlegs!) and were off.

I really liked this race! 10ks and half marathons are my favorite distances because they’re enough of a challenge to make it worth the registration fee and you have to put in a little bit of training, but you’re not dead to the world for the next week like after a marathon. I’ve been in large 10ks (the Thanksgiving Day Race has over 10k runners) and I’ve been in suuuper small 10ks (one I did in San Francisco was so small I honestly thought I was the last runner because there was NO ONE around me) and this one was a perfect size crowd at around 4k runners. It meant I didn’t have to get there super early to fight for a porta potty or parking space, but also had a lot of people to run with on the course. Win win.

The best part of running races in Cincy, in my opinion, is the fact that you usually get to go across the river. I know the bridges are sneaky hills in disguise, but it’s so pretty. This one at least went over two of the easier bridges (the Clay Wade Bailey is my nemesis) and since the sun had come out by the time I got to the river, it was a nice part of the race. However, it was also the time that my spring allergies decided to make an appearance like they do. Ugh. Mile 3 to 4 was pretty much one big snot and burn-y eyes fest. I won’t lie, I was feeling great and kicking ass until that point…and then I totally lost the will to keep going. The last 2 miles were pure mental hell because I just wasn’t into it anymore.

But then!

The real draw for this race comes at the last.1 mile when you enter the stadium and get to run to the finish on the field! I know it’s so cheesy, but I got the biggest smile on my face entering the stadium because you could see all the seats and the people watching and it was just really neat to be on the field. It also didn’t hurt that I totally PRed in a major way!

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(For reference there were 1,244 finishers of the 10k. Also, the time difference between the first 4 miles and the last 2 makes me laugh. Thanks allergies!)

I have NEVER been in the top half of a race, you guys. Much less the top 25% of women. I think my previous 10k PR was about 1:02 or a 10 minute mile. I rocked this and am super proud…even though my high school geometry teacher was the female winner and did the whole race in essentially the time I did those first 4. Yeah. How about that.

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But as you can see by my red and sweaty face up there, I really was proud and in awe that losing weight and training hard really paid off. I can’t wait to keep going (with both losing weight and training) and see how much harder I can push myself. Especially without the allergies.

And in case you were wondering, the rest of the day looked like this:

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I love summer. And ok, I love races too. Which one should I do next?!?