Fall Denial

It can’t be almost September.

I refuse to believe that there are only a few fleeting moments left of summer. How has this happened? I swear, it was the Fourth of July just, like, yesterday. And now Labor Day weekend is just around the corner? I won’t go quietly, I’ll tell you that much…Unless someone wants to give me $500 fo a pair of these:

Hello, beautiful

Nothing takes the edge off the end of summer like some gorgeous Tory Burch riding boots. Fact. And actually, I only need $495. Which means you can buy yourself a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks with that extra $5. Deal? And yes - I am one of those super annoying people who lives and dies for pumpkin spice latte season. I’m sorry, I just can’t help it. I’m a walking cliche, you know this.

The thing is, I really do like fall. All my favorite TV shows come back on, football starts, stores start selling Halloween candy, pumpkin beer hits the shelves…these are all good things. Also, I’ve coerced my new runner of a sister to do this with me:

The Bucktown 5K on September 18th. I’m super excited about this race because a) I need a race to zap me out of this running funk I’m in and 2) I love Bucktown, though I’m not nearly cool enough to hang out there regularly and 3) I love running with my sister. Though the chances of her beating me, as she did by a second at this year’s Shamrock Shuffle are pretty damn good considering her training regimine these days is much more impressive than mine.  No matter. As we’ve already concluded, I’m motivated purely by material things and this is in the goodie bag:

It’s ridiculous how much I love running swag. It makes me feel like maybe one day I’ll be a real runner. Unlikely, I know. But fall is the season of possibility**, so you never know what might happen.

But it’s not fall quite yet. Which means I’m going to do my best to squeeze the last bits of summer out of this weekend with some excessive sun exposure, rooftop drinks to celebrate a certain lady’s birthday and whatever other summer-related activities I can cram into these final hours of August…

Afterall, those pumpkin spice lattes will be here before we know it. I highly encourage you to get out there and do the same.

**Yeah, I totally made this up. But it sounds good, right?

Posted in Misc. Molly Thoughts, Racing, Running, What I Want | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Four Eyes

My obession with eyewear started early.

When I was in second grade, I really wanted a pair of eyeglasses. I don’t remember why – most likely because a friend had gotten them or I’d seen someone on TV wearing a pair. I’m such a follower.

Anyway, I remember trying to drop hints to my parents that I may be in need of prescription eyewear. You know, telling them I had a hard time seeing the board in class – that sort of thing. I bugged them so much that they finally took me to get my eyes checked. The result? Perfect 20/20. I confessed then and there that I really just wanted a pair of hot pink frames. Could I please just have some with clear lenses?

I’m sure you can guess how they responded to that request…

Alas, my dream of pink glasses was scattered to the wind. Fast forward to junior high. I’m told during my annual hearing and vision screening at school that my eyesight is now atrocious and I need to go see an optometrist. Did I still want hot pink frames? Absolutely not. Seven years had passed and I was now mortified by the thought of having to wear glasses.

But now that I’m the ripe age of 31, I don’t mind wearing my glasses from time to time. Plus I have this silly notion that they make me look smart. A stretch, I know, but just go with it, okay?

So when the lovely folks at Firmoo.com contacted me and asked if I’d like to try a pair of their glasses out for free, I gladly accepted. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical at first. The whole idea of buying glasses from the internet seemed a little odd to me. But after doing a little research I found out that, per usual, I’m way behind the times and all the cool kids are buying their glasses from the interwebs.  Who knew?

I liked Firmoo’s site from the get-go. It’s easy to browse and they have tons of amazing frames to choose from.  Their prices are very, very affordable – which is good because I don’t have massive amounts of $$$ to drop on designer glasses. Their site also has this neat Virtual Try-On tool that allows you to upload a picture or use one of their stock model photos to help you see how different frames will look on you.

After browsing through all of the different options, I settled on these:

What were you expecting? Hot pink? It was a close race but these days I’m more obsessed with tortoise shell.

I think they raise my IQ at least a couple of points...

The whole ordering process was extremely easy and my glasses arrived just two days after I placed my order – not bad! Overall, I’m very impressed with the quality. I love the look of my new frames and they are super lightweight. Also, they came with a two handy travel cases -which is awesome because I’m famous for losing my cases.

Now, don’t be jealous – you can get some new glasses from Firmoo for free too! Their Free Eyewear for New Buyers program focuses on providing free eyewear to first-time customers. So if you haven’t placed an order with them before, you can choose ANY EYEWEAR – prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses or fashion frames – at Firmoo.com and get them free! All you have to do is pay for shipping – which in my opinion is  pretty sweet deal! For more details on the program, visit http://www.firmoo.com/free-glasses.html

I may have already cashed in on my free pair, but I’m thinking maybe a pair of prescription aviator sunglasses might be a good investment…And also maybe I should get some frames that have a little pop of color in them – you know, so I can look fun and smart…This could be trouble.

**Disclaimer: Obviously Firmoo.com provided me with a free product to review, however I was under no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions are my own honest opinions.**

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My Trip to Italy

Everyone I know is going to Italy.

Okay, not everyone. But an annoying number of people that I know have traveled to my favorite country recently – or plan to in the very near future. And though I tell them to take lots of pictures and have a great time, I am secretly seething and radiating with jealousy. Because that’s the kind of person I am.

Here’s the thing - I’ve never been to Italy. When I tell people this they ask, “Well, how do you know it’s your favorite country if you’ve never been there?” A fairly reasonable question, given the circumstances. And what is my response to this logical request for additional information? “Because I just know, okay? I know.”

Not surprisingly, the conversation usually ends there.

Go ahead - tell me you don't want to go, too...

But seriously – I have wanted to go to Italy for over six years now. Which, if put into perspective, isn’t really that long. But it feels like an eternity to me. Especially when I’m bombarded with tales of other peoples travels. It feels a little like the universe is taunting me, which isn’t anything new – but it’s still annoying.

I am a solutions kind of girl, though. And I’m determined to make my trip to Italy happen within the next year. I think with an agressive savings plan and a couple of rounds of Beginner’s Italian via Rosetta Stone, I should be able to finally set foot in my favorite country next summer.

In the meantime, I’ve decided if I can’t actually go to Italy this year, I’m going to do my best to eat like I’m there. Which is why I’ve been buying pasta like mad. And hey, planning a bit trip is a lot of work. I’m carbo-loading to keep my strength up. And to give me yet another excuse to eat pesto…As if I needed one, right?

Tomato, Asparagus & Pesto Fettuccine 

  • 16oz dried fettuccine
  • 1 small container (10oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small bunch of asparagus, sliced
  • ½ cup of basil pesto
  • ½ cup of warm water
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4oz goat cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Cook fettuccine in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, following packet instructions. Drain well and return pasta to pan with olive oil to keep warm.

In a large skillet, heat a little olive oil on medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, asparagus and garlic and sauté for 2 to 4 minutes, until tomatoes collapse. Toss with the hot pasta and stir in pesto and ½ cup of warm water. Season with salt and pepper and top with goat cheese.

Goat cheese makes everything better. This is not an opinion, it’s a fact – so don’t argue with me. And this pasta – though ridiculously simple – is really delicious. Or, in Italian, delizioso.

One Italian word down, only around 999,999 left to master. No sweat…

Italy, I’ll see you soon!

Posted in Food, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sit Still and Breathe

I’m not a relaxed person.

If you know me in real life, you probably just laughed out loud and consider that sentence to be the understatement of the year. I get worked up pretty easily and have a tendency to catastrophize situations.

It’s part of my charm. And while running helps me work out a lot of my anxiety and pent up energy, I sometimes need something with a little less impact to soothe my nerves. Like this:

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get too new-agey on you and start chanting in Sanskrit or telling you to realign your chakras. I promise. I just realized it’s been awhile since I’ve talked about anything besides what I’ve been cooking and consuming. And though I’m trying to work myself back into a decent running regimine, the truth is my running life has been pretty unspectacular as of late.

Partly due to the fact that I’m not sleeping. Again. Which is mostly because of this cute little ball of anxiety I’ve been carrying around in my gut. It’s a neat little compilation of stress, anger and self-doubt that I’ve been trying to reason with politely during the day. It prefers, however, that we spend our time together wrestling in the wee hours of the morning…These things happen.

Life has been a bit stressful in these parts as of late (I know, I know, I know…What else is new?) and I feel a bit like I’m losing my cool. Complete Meltdown Molly isn’t all that fun to be around. She’s a bit of a drag. I get that. And I truly am sorry to all those who have deal with my drama - directly or indirectly. I’m doing my best to make sense of everything, examine my options and make the best possible decisions I can.

But I suck at decisions. And though a lot of people say that things happen for a reason, and we should not have regrets and instead look at those instances in life as opportunities to learn and grow – I sometimes have a hard time with both of those statements. Because there are things that have happened to me that I still don’t understand. And I do have regrets.

But back to yoga. My love affair with yoga began around five years ago. And much like the ups and downs I’ve had with running, my devotion to any sort of practice has had many peaks and valleys. Mostly valleys lately. But my 3am anxiety-induced wake up calls have led me back to my mat. And my trusty, albeit ancient, Ashtanga yoga book.

Sometimes I just need to be told what to do. So after doing a half hour of random asanas and a nice round of sun salutations (or are they considered moon salutations at that hour?) I settled myself into a nice long Savasana – otherwise known as corpse pose.

Now, don’t misunderstand – I see the irony. I cannot relax while lying in a similiar pose in my own damn bed, but one room over – on a yoga mat I stole from my sister – I am finally, absolutely, totally relaxed and at peace. This has, and I suspect will always be, one of yoga’s biggest draws for me.

Sure, the craziness of my life will still exist when I’m finished with my practice. And, no – I do not expect the solutions to all of my problems to be magically bestowed upon me during the hour I spend bending, stretching and breathing. But, in the end, my load feels a little lighter and I don’t feel so lost in the chaos.

I leave my mat accepting the fact that perhaps I’m a little off-track, but I don’t have to always have all of the answers. And I’m reminded that sometimes all I need to do to find my way back to where I belong, is sit still and breathe.

Posted in Health & Wellness, Misc. Molly Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Why I’m Not a Grown-Up

I should be a grown-up by now.

I really should be. At 31 years of age I should be able to keep track of a few key possessions, possessions that directly affect my daily livelihood. Possessions such as my debit card.

It was only a matter of time, really. It’s been a solid year since I last frantically called Chase to cancel that silly misplaced piece of plastic before someone found it and emptied the hundreds (we’re talking low hundreds) of dollars from it.

The thing that really troubles me is I know exactly when I had it last. I used it to pay for a cab home the other night. The scene went down like this: I gave my card to the driver, watched with great concern as he literally ran it through a swipe on his iPhone, signed his iPhone with my finger when he asked me to and then took my card back – sure that he was going to purchase something ridiculous and expensive with my number as it appeared that he had literally just stored it in his phone.  Extremely shady, no?

A little troubled by the transaction that just went down, I fumbled out of the cab and shoved my phone and debit card back in my bag. Well, I thought I did anyway. Inexplicably, I somehow lost the card on my two block walk to my apartment.

I assure you, these things only happen to me.

Of course I did not discover that it was missing until the next morning when at I was Starbucks. Miraculously I had enough cash to pay for my breakfast wrap and iced tea (old habits die hard) but the panic of the missing card set in instantly. Fast forward to me dumping the contents of my purse on a table in Starbucks, shaking books and searching the inside of my bag for holes in the liner or some other secret hiding spot.

Nada.

Deep breaths. I frantically log-in to my account on my phone to check my balance. No activity since last night’s cab ride. Reassuring. Perhaps I had put the card in my jeans, and not my purse. Yes, I convinced myself, that must be it. It’s safe at home in the laundry basket. A probable explanation, however given my track record, I knew there was still a 50/50 shot that it was on the sidewalk two blocks from my house. I decided to wait it out. I checked my account like five times an hour, waiting for fradulent charges to show up. When none had popped up by the end of the day I was 99% sure the card was indeed at home in my laundry basket.

Guess what? It wasn’t there. You’re shocked, I know. Maybe by 32 I will be grown-up…Though I wouldn’t put money on it.

Not having a debit card for five to seven business days has however forced me to get creative with the contents of my kitchen cupboards, as most take-out joints refuse to take checks or IOU’s as form of payment. A blessing in disguise, perhaps.

After a quick assessment of my inventory, I threw this little number together.

Vegetable Fettuccine with Pine Nuts 

  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into long strips
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • ½ cup shitake mushrooms
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 12oz dried fettuccine (or pasta of your choice)
  • 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Blanch zucchini in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water for 1 – 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.

Cook fettuccine in a large saucepan of boiling water, per package directions. Drain and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet on high. Sauté zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms and pine nuts for 1 – 2 minutes. Add drained fettuccine, parsley and 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Season to taste and toss over moderate heat to warm through.

I was pretty happy with the end result. And happy that I was able to use up the last of my zucchini and parsley before it went bad. Win-win.

Yes, the recipe is uber simple. But it has pine nuts in it, which make me feel like it’s a little bit more of a grown-up dish. Don’t ask me why. Per usual, logic does not play a large role in my life…But you’ve come to expect this from me, no?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, friends!

 

Posted in Food, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments