Category Archives: Vacation

Kennebunkport, Maine Vacation Recap

I can’t believe it’s already September. I feel like Hubby and I just got back from our Maine vacation, but in reality, we got back on August 22. We stayed in Kennebunkport, ME from August 18 – 22 in this adorable Bed and Breakfast called Bufflehead Cove. Our room was really cute and had a balcony, a Queen bed (ahh the luxury!), a full bathroom and a Jacuzzi tub. The B&B was situated right on the river and we got to enjoy our breakfast each morning on the front porch watching people kayak and paddleboard on by.

And let me just say that the breakfast each morning was AMAZING!! Seriously delicious, homemade and usually most ingredients were all-natural. I missed taking a picture of the first morning’s spread, but here are the other days:

Mmm yummy. I am getting hungry just thinking about our breakfasts there. But enough about the B&B food, we did get out and explore the area quite a bit. Our first day there, we arrived in the late afternoon, checked in and then headed into the town of Kennebunkport. Our B&B was just outside. We walked around the cute little town exploring and relaxing and then we headed to dinner at Arundel Wharf. It was a gorgeous night, right on the water, so it was just perfect. We enjoyed our meal on the deck and sipped on some white wine and beer. We called it an early night because we had plans to head to a few nearby towns the next day.

On Friday, we devoured our delicious breakfast, which was served everyday between 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. and hung out with our buddy Loqui the cat while we ate. He reminded me of our Murphy, only not quite as large and in charge.

After breakfast, we drove to the town of Ogunquit and took a nice long walk on the Marginal Way (a long walkway above and along the beach)

and then we drove to York and saw the Nubble Lighthouse.

After our long day excursion, we headed back to the B&B, showered and then had dinner in town at Bandaloop. It was a little bit of a different place, but totally delicious. On Saturday morning it was another busy day after breakfast. We took a schooner ride from Kennebunkport out for about two hours on the water and got to see the Bush estate (it is gigantic). The weather was amazing, sunny with a slight breeze, and our trip was fabulous.

After we got back from our boat ride, we headed to Cape Porpoise for a nice relaxing lunch on the dock outside the Chowder House. There was a pretty decent view of a nearby lighthouse from the Pier. And again, we had such a gorgeous day.

So after exploring Cape Porpoise, we headed to Goose Rocks Beach and chilled there for a little while. The water was a little bit colder than I like, but it was nice to spend some time walking around and hanging out.

After hitting up the beach, it was getting close to dinner so we showered back at the B&B and then headed back into Kennebunkport. We had reservations at Mabel’s, which is supposedly a Bush favorite. I don’t know what I was expecting, but a tiny little shack wasn’t what I envisioned. Mabel’s is completely unassuming and small. We made reservations for outdoor seats and we were almost sitting in the road!

But I completely loved the place. The food was delicious and reasonably priced. My only hang-up was having to drink my beer from a Patriot’s glass. But other than that, Mabel’s gets an A in my book. Here is my dinner from Mabel’s…

The next day (Sunday) was our last day in Maine. We decided to head to Portland for the day and stopped at Orchard Beach to visit one of Hubby’s friend’s along the way. After our morning get-together, we made it to Portland and explored a bit, had some lunch and hung out.

As the afternoon turned into evening, we drove to Kittery to have dinner with one of Hubby’s co-workers. And I got to watch Hubby learn how to properly eat a full lobster, with the bib and all. These instructions helped, as did his friend’s coaching.

Hubby did a pretty decent job. We finished off our night with some ice-cream and headed back to Bufflehead Cove for our final night of our mini vacation.

We thoroughly enjoyed our last breakfast on Monday before we loaded our stuff into the car and headed home.

So what was my overall Maine experience? It was fabulous! We had such a good time, explored some really beautiful areas, ate a ton of great seafood and managed to run into a bunch of people we knew. Seriously, Maine is some sort of hot spot. On top of the people that we actually planned to get together with, we also ran into a neighbor from Hubby’s parent’s neighborhood in upstate NY, another co-workers at Hubby’s company, and a girl I went to college with. It really felt like such a small world in Kennebunkport, ME. And I loved it!!


Finally, Here Are My 7 Links

So this was kind of a time-consuming post–hence it took me a while to get it all together and up. It involved going back through the past almost two years of posts to select the ones I thought fit best into the 7 categories. I’m just going to jump right in…

Most Beautiful
I don’t know that I would really call any of my posts “beautiful.” I don’t really get very sentimental or poetic on my blog. It’s all pretty cut and dry, with maybe a dash of cynicism and humor. That being said, there is a tie for this category. My Relfections on 2009 post was surprisingly touching to re-read over a year later. It was really nice to look back on 2009 and see all the amazing times we had. You forget about all the events, anniversaries and family moments that were very special.

The second one would be my “Back from Ireland” recap post because the pictures were absolutely gorgeous and we had a beautiful time. I kind of skimped on the recap because I was too exhausted to go through each and every day. But the overall photo recap was amazing.

Most Popular
So this one was immediately evident to me. It was my Poconos Marathon Race Recap. I started my blog just after finishing my first marathon and I quickly decided to run another one and announced it to the blog world. I also announced my HUGE goal that I wanted to try to qualify for Boston. EEK! But once I put it out there, I was more determined than ever. Over the course of the next 6 months, I received so much advice and encouragement from a ton of people online that I kind of knew that my race recap would be my “grand finale” and culmination of all my hard work. The thought of all these people who tried to help me and inspired me really made me push to my limit during the race. And thankfully, I did it. My Poconos Marathon Race Recap was by far my most popular post on my blog to-date. And I still look back to read all the wonderful and supportive comments.

Most Controversial
This one was tough for me. It was a toss-up between my “To Eat Meat of Not to Eat Meat” post and my “Yucky Yogurt” post where I said that I was not a fun of the Yoplait Greek Yogurt–neither the taste or ingredients. In the end, I guess I’ll go with the yogurt post because Yoplait actually contacted me with a coupon to try their new redeveloped and relaunched yogurt a few months later. And if a blog post can get the attention of a company, then I’ll go ahead and dub that controversial.

Most Helpful
Easy one to pick. My “How I Got My BQ” post is without a doubt my most helpful post. People consistently find my blog through this post and have contacted me to thank me for my advice and candid words on the topic of qualifying. I talk about working on speed, tracking your pace, increasing your mileage and paying attention to your food, among other things. I still look back at this post when I find my endurance and speed decreasing and need to pick things up a notch.

Surprise Success
There have been a few posts that received a lot of comments and feedback that have surprised me. I guess the one with the most comments was the “Where Did All The Food Go?” post, where I talked about how shocked I am by the amount of food my husband and I consume in a short timeframe and how much it costs! A lot of people could relate. This post also included a recap of “Angela’s Ashes” so there were a lot of comments for that as well. Overall, it seemed to be a post that many people could relate to and were interested enough to comment.

Not Enough Attention
I don’t know about this one. Who am I to say that I think any of my posts really deserve more (or any) attention? I’m not going to get all serious with this one. Instead, I am going to say that my post “You Know You’re a Winter Runner When…” deserves more attention because I thought it was kind of funny and I really wanted to hear other people’s “you know you’re a winter runner” stories and commentary. I love these kind of posts that point out the hysterical but oh-so-true and ridiculous things about ourselves. I should write more of them… 🙂 Do I see a new blog post forming?! 🙂

Most Proud
I’ll say it yet, again, easy – my “2011 Boston Marathon Race Recap” is the post I am most proud of. I started this blog basically because I had this goal in my head and didn’t know how to get there. I think writing this blog really helped me get there and kept me on track and accountable. It helped me achieve one of my life goals and I am forever grateful. This post also marked my “return” to the blog world after a long hiatus, so I’m doubly proud and thankful I wrote it.

In conclusion – thank you again for tagging me Katie. It was a very nice trip down memory lane. Now I know the rules state that I have to tag other bloggers to post their 7 links, but let’s cut me a little break – ok? I am just returning to blogging, hardly anyone is reading my blog, and the chances that anyone will see this and then post their 7 links is slim to none. So instead, I will say – if you are a blogger and you have NOT been tagged to do this yet, then consider yourself tagged – courtesy of me. But don’t blame me when you lose half your day working on this post. 🙂

Question of the Day: If you’ve done your 7 links, how much time did you spend on it? And did you enjoy your trip down memory lane? Can’t imagine those bloggers with years and years of posts – how did you choose?!!

A Short Thanksgiving Hiatus

I’m back! I was gone for a while there. Almost a week. And I’m not going to do a giant Thanksgiving recap because, frankly, I’m past that, I’m not motivated to and I didn’t even take many pictures. I just enjoyed my time with my in-laws fully, ate a lot, ran some and relaxed. I hope you all did the same!

Ok fine – here’s one dessert shot…

I made the white cake for Hubby’s b-day. It was a bit drier than I wanted. I guess I’ll just have to make another one soon! (Whenever I have my oven back that is).

Over the holiday, we also attended my 10 year high school reunion and Hubby’s 15 year high school reunion. Both were more fun than I expected, thankfully. Here’s a photo of me with a bunch of the girls from my elementary school. Oh yeah – we go way back.

It was fun to catch up a bit with everyone. I felt like most people looked the same.

Oh – and I totally forgot to brag about the fact that I got a Personal Record in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. It’s a tradition for my friend Lauren and I to run it every year. And for so long, I’ve been wanting to break 24 minutes. I did it. I ran the 5k in 23:36!! Woohoo!

Other than that, not too much new. I did just want to end this post by sharing some information about Lung Cancer. A friend of mine sent me this email yesterday and it really touched me and made me want to get involved. Please read the article (link below) and sign the petition!!

“Friends & family,
As you probably know by now, life threw us a curve ball this year with a lung cancer diagnosis. I’m not one to send mass emails unless it’s for a worthy cause, and I feel this falls in that category.
Did you know that cancer incidence among women who’ve never smoked (i.e., yours truly) is one of the fastest growing of all cancers, and no one really knows why?
Did you know that more women die every year from lung cancer than from breast cancer?
Did you know that November is lung cancer awareness month? (I didn’t.) There are no ribbons or NFL teams wearing a color to raise awareness for this kind of cancer. It’s a quiet cancer. And one that isn’t going away.
Every year over the last decade, I’ve enthusiastically supported the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, raising thousands of dollars for this highly supported cause by asking for donations from friends and families like you.

This year, I am asking you for something different. Please take a few minutes to read the article linked below, and sign the petition. And then pass it on. We have to change the way lung cancer is talked about. By talking about it. More awareness = more dollars for research = more of a chance for a cure.
Thanks for reading. (And I BEG you, if you smoke, get the help you need to stop.)
Dismounting my soapbox now!
Lots of love & gratitude,

9 Miles – Check!

Good afternoon – happy Sunday. I hope you’ve been having a good weekend. I’ve been having a low-key weekend with my sick Hubby. I’m praying I don’t get his cold.

Yesterday I woke up early and was nervous and excited to head out for my first longish run in a long time. I left around 8:30 and ran a solid 9 miles. My Garmin was still locating satellites for the first 1/2 mile, but as I got closer to Central Park it finally picked me up. Here are my stats:

Mile 1 – 8:55
Mile 2 – 8:20
Mile 3 – 8:48
Mile 4 – 8:45
Mile 5 – 8:40
Mile 6 – 8:49
Mile 7 – 9:25
Mile 8 – 8:54
Mile 9 – 7:26 (.83)

Total Garmin mileage – 8.83 in 1:18:08. Average pace  8:51 minute mile.

Overall, I was very happy with that pace and time. My return to running has started off slow and I’m okay with that. I don’t want to push things too much. I felt pretty good throughout the whole run, but was definitely still moving slower than usual. It felt strange to be passed SOO much by runners in the park. And I got a little jealous when I saw all the teams training for the marathon together. But that will be in the winter/spring. So I’ll try to enjoy this down time.

I have a 3 mile run on my training plan for today, but I may just take it as a full rest day to give my legs some time to rebuild. I don’t want to push it.

Hubby and I also watched “It’s Complicated” this weekend and it wasn’t too bad. It was a little different than I expected, but entertaining.

Today will be filled with cleaning and laundry. I’m also trying to create an album on Snapfish for our Ireland trip. It’s a bit more complicated than I thought, so it’s taking a little longer than anticipated. I’ve widdled down our more than 1,000 photos to about 600, but I’ll still need to get it even smaller for the album. But I’m afraid that if I don’t do this now, I never will. I love having printed albums. I know that most people have gone totally digital, but I still love looking at printed photos. Call me old fashioned.

Anyway – have a great Sunday all! I’m dreading Monday. 😦

200 Posts and Half Marathon Training

Yay, I’m finally hitting my 200th post. It sure took long enough. I used to be an everyday poster, but the past few months have lagged a bit. But I’ve reached 200 nonetheless!

I’ve seen other people do some fun stuff for their 200th post, but I can’t really think of anything cute or entertaining at the moment. So I will dedicate my 200th post to getting back into running. As I mentioned, I started off by running 3 miles on Monday night and, despite the consistent rain, it felt really good. My body missed it. And I think I had enough of a break where I’m truly ready to get back to it.

So on Tuesday, I drafted a half marathon training plan. Afterall, my half marathon is a very short 5 weeks away. And no, that’s not typically how long I would train for a half, but it’s all I’ve got so I’m making do and praying that my faint muscle memory from the Poconos Marathon may help get me through this. So here’s my schedule:

Yup – it’s pretty tough to see. Here’s the link to the Google spreadsheet. Basically my long Saturday runs will be 9, 11, 12, 8 and then 13.1 on race day. So essentially, I’m praying I can run 9 miles this weekend. 🙂 We’ll soon find out.

On Tuesday after work I forced myself to run a full 5 miles and boy did it hurt. I could not manage to run under a 9 minute mile. I have some major work to do.

After the tough run, I made a quick and easy dinner on the hot plate. Yes, we STILL do not have gas.

No real recipe on this one. I cooked the pasta and then made a sauce with mushrooms, grape tomatoes and peas using chicken broth, white wine, butter, a little lemon juice and some shredded cheese.

I thought it had a nice little kick and was very tasty and filling. I’ll end this post with a few things I learned while in Ireland…

  • “Cheers” can be used to say hello, goodbye and thank you.
  • Small, compact cars are the optimal choice
  • Always carry an umbrella, it can be sunny and bright one minute and downpour the next. And then be sunny and bright again.
  • If you don’t want to drink a full pint, simply ask for a “glass” of whatever beer you drink. It’s the same as a half pint. (I’m sure people already know that, but I never knew it.)
  • Many people in Ireland were greatly affected by 9/11. On numerous occasions, when people heard we were from NY they began talking about how saddened they were by 9/11 at great length.
  • An Irish breakfast typically includes a fried egg, bacon, sausage, a fried tomato and sometimes beans.
  • Blood pudding is sometimes included in an Irish breakfast and it consists of  a combination of animal blood, suet, grains, raisins or currants, and spices, which cause the resultant sausage to look either deep purple or black. It’s also not liquidy.
  • Potato pancakes are a surprisingly filling meal and quite delicious.
  • Ketchup tastes a little off in Ireland – a bit too tomatoey.
  • They love cream, butter and full milk…as well as ice cream.
  • In some of the bigger cities, the teenagers and college students were often very scantily clad on the weekend. It was kind of shocking.
  • Apparently, we witnessed a Gypsy wedding while we were there. We were visiting a church and watched as people filed in dressed like they were ready for Halloween. It was a sight to see.
  • When you “buy a round” with people, it means that however many people in your group, is the number of drinks you’ll be having. Ex. If you buy a round for 7 people. Then those 7 people will buy a round back. There is no way of getting out of this. The point: think carefully about the size of your group before buying a round. 🙂

I think that’s all I can come up with for now. I’m already getting nostalgic about our trip and can’t believe it’s really over already. Anyway – have a good Thursday!!

Back from Ireland!

Well – I’m back from Ireland and it seems like our trip just flew by. I’ve already made it through my first day back to work as well. That went by at light-speed. I have a lot of catching up to do at work and in the blog world.

I won’t bore you with an overwhelming recap of our trip. I’ll just tell you our itinerary and show you some of the highlights. Here’s what our 11 days and 11 nights in Ireland looked like:

Arrived in Dublin and drove to Kilkenny (we stopped at Glendalough on the way). Spent the night in Kilkenny and met my Irish relatives. We explored the city the next day and met the Mayor.

After exploring Kilkenny for a bit, next we stopped at the Rock of Cashel and then drove on to Kinsale. We spent one night in Kinsale and then drove to Cobh for the day.  Cobh was a gorgeous harbor town and well-worth a visit. From there we went to Kenmare. I thought Kenmare was adorable.

We spent one night in Kenmare and then drove the Ring of Kerry early the next morning. We had planned to go on this amazing excursion to Skellig Michael Island, but the weather was too rough for the boats. We explored Valentia Island instead.

From there we finished the Ring and went to Dingle. We spent a gorgeous night in Dingle.

The next day we drove from Dingle to Killarney. We spent two days in Killarney and explored a lot of Killarney National Park.

After two days in Killarney we started to make our way to Galway. We stopped along the way at Bunratty Castle and the Cliffs of Mohr.

We arrived in Galway and had a relaxing night and then explored the city of Galway the next day.

We had a lovely dinner in Galway and then made some friends from Cincinatti.

After Galway, we headed back to Dublin and spent our last two days there doing all the touristy stuff – Dublin Castle, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Christ Church, St. Patrick’s Church, the historic jail, Guinness Storehouse and even took in a soccer game.

And finally, we spent our last night in Ireland in a castle.

Obviously, this is the extremely abbreviated version of our trip. I think we have about 1,300 photos from three different cameras. I have a lot of organization and sorting to do.

It was really an amazing and unforgettable trip. We didn’t get to see everything I had on our itinerary, but I’ll admit that it was a little bit hopeful and unrealistic. We hit almost everything though. The only issue we had was the size and condition of the roads over there. They were TINY and some of them were totally rough and undeveloped. There were some scary moments on some treacherous roadways. But we handed in the car unscathed, which we’ve found out is not always the case. So that is my only warning – be prepared for some difficult driving. I didn’t even feel comfortable driving, so it was Hubby 100% of the time.

Also – I’ll say that I wish we had left our schedule a bit more flexible. I booked all of our B&Bs online before we went and then felt guilty if we thought about staying in one city for a while longer. Not to mention, I was worried we’d be charged anyway. So that is something to think about if you ever consider going. How structured do you want to be? Do you want any wiggle room? I’d recommend it.

So that’s my overly short recap of our trip. It does not do it justice and my few photos posted here hardly scratch the surface of the beauty. It was a great trip.

Now it’s back to the grind. And back to running. I ran a short 3 miles in the rain this evening and was happy I pushed through the disheartening weather. I was very close to just calling it a day. I’m going to create a half marathon training plan in the next day or two to help me stay on track. My 3 miles tonight were run Garmin-less and it was probably better that way. I need to ease back into it. However, I’ve only got a little over a month to get back into shape for my fall half marathon, so slacking is no longer allowed. I’m getting back to it and I’m fully excited about it. 🙂

Hope all has been good with everyone while I was away. I have a lot of catching up to do. However, I’ve been gone so long, no one is probably even reading this blog anymore.  Anyway – happy Monday night. It’s time for bed.

So Long for a While…

I can’t believe we’re leaving for Ireland tonight!! I’m soo excited. I’m almost 100% packed and ready to go. So I’m saying goodbye for a while. We will be coming home on September 10 and then hopefully maybe I can post by September 12 with some great Ireland trip recaps!!

See you all in two weeks! 🙂

Tying Up Loose Ends

Happy Saturday all! I’m up at my parent’s house dropping off Mr. Murph (my parents are cat-sitting while we’re away) and doing some pre-vacation laundry. I can’t believe we are leaving tomorrow. It’s a 10:40 p.m. flight, so I am considering taking some NyQuil or Tylenol PM to knock me out on the flight. Has anyone else ever done that with an overnight flight?

My last few days of work were crazy with trying to get stuff finished and tie up all my loose ends. My department co-workers and I also went out to a late lunch/happy hour on Thursday as a goodbye lunch to our boss.

For lunch I had the turkey club (they noted it was free range on the menu, which I loved) from PJ Clarkes.

The only problem with the sandwich was that the bread was so hard, I could barely bite through it. I probably only ended up eating about half of the sandwich because it was so tough.

Then we all shared a celebratory cupcake (or two).

And here is our cute little team…

It was such a gorgeous day outside by the Hudson!

Friday was a whirlwind. Last minute projects and requests were flying my way, so I was shooting off emails and writing like a crazy woman. But it felt good to power down at 4:30 knowing that I had taken care of everything! And now I am officially on VACATION until September 13th! And it feels amazing. 🙂

Tonight the real packing and preparatory mayhem begins! Have a nice weekend all!

More Change – A New Look!

Good morning all! So I think I’ve worked out all the kinks in this new layout. What do you think? I had the toughest time getting my header to work, but I finally figured it out. I’ve been wanting a little make-over for my blog for a while, but couldn’t find a theme I liked. I finally found one! I’m hoping it will make navigation a bit easier. I like the drop down menu at the top.

But seriously – do you like the change or no?

In case any other wordpress bloggers are wondering – this is the new Coraline theme, but I upgraded to be able to edit the CSS, which allowed me to customize it a bit more. I’m very happy with it and I hope you like it!

So as you can tell, I spent some time working on my blog yesterday, which meant that the gym went to second rank and I didn’t make it. However, I have only really promised myself that I’ll start training for the half marathon once I get back from Ireland.

Yesterday I began the process of eating up as much of our perishable food as possible, starting with breakfast.

Oatmeal with the rest of the blueberries we had, which were leaning toward going bad anyway. I dumped them all in and had a beautiful blue/purple breakfast!

Lunch was nothing exciting, so no pics.

Then for dinner, after I was able to fix all my blog issues. I whipped up an omelet for Hubby and for me.

I used up the leftover mushrooms and grape tomatoes, shredded cheese and spinach. YUM!!

I finished Once a Runner last night and will try to get my review up before we leave for Ireland. It was pretty good and I love that its popularity with runners is what essentially helped get it officially published. Runners are the best. 🙂

Not too much else going on. I’m trying to slowly gather the clothes I’m going to take with me on our trip. If I don’t do it early and wait until the last minute, I’m sure I’ll forget something. I’ve also decided that I’m not going to blog while I’m away. It would just be too hard to coordinate. Most of the places we are staying at are small B&Bs, so they may not have internet. I think I’m also going to hold off on guest bloggers for now since it’s kind of late to be asking people.

I’ll be back in New York on September 10th, but probably won’t have a chance to blog until the 12th – I hope you’ll all come back to my blog then!! 🙂

So that’s my plan – can you tell I’m getting excited?!! I’ll leave you all with some health headlines in the news:

Egg Recall Exposes Flaws in Nation’s Food Safety System: This was nice to see just after eating eggs last night. I cooked them thoroughly, so I think we’re safe.

The Claim: Dark Cats Cause More Allergies Than Light Ones: Mr. Murph is pretty dark  and my allergies were very severe when we first got him. But I wouldn’t trade him for the world!

Antihistamine use linked to extra pounds: This goes along nicely with the article above. Haha! I love when research like this is released and then they say: “The researchers stress, however, that the findings do not prove that antihistamines are the cause of the extra pounds.”

Trying to Lose Weight? Drink More Water: This really isn’t news – is it? Maybe more like a reminder.

And lastly – this one truly grosses me out and makes me nervous: New York most bedbug infested U.S. city: survey – EWW!!

That’s all folks – have a good Thursday. The weekend is right around the corner!!