Friday, September 28, 2012

cake is delicious

Last night the regular refs returned to the NFL, and the NFL Network opened its broadcast with this:

"We here at the NFL network are thrilled to bring you television history tonight. This will be the first time ever in any sport on any level that a crowd will give a standing ovation to referee before kickoff, after which it is expected it to take all of about ten minutes for the same fans to call those same refs a bunch of bums, thus returning order to our sports world. Yes, zebragate is over."

Zebra-gate?  Too funny.  Anyway, if you'd like to think that the cake I baked this week was to celebrate the end of zebra-gate rather than the season premiere of New Girl, that's totally fine with me.  Either way, on Tuesday I had friends over to watch the season premiere(S! - two episodes!) of New Girl, and naturally, I decided I had to make something delicious to celebrate.
I got this beautiful cake stand and cover as a wedding gift, and sadly in the past 6 months I haven't found a reason to use it (although it is on display in our dining room!).
So I decided to bake a New Girl premiere party CAKE.  I decided to attempt Chocolate Buttermilk Cake from this book.
Always good to get some use out of that beautiful Kitchenaid! It was my first time making a multi-layered cake, so I was pretty nervous.  I think it went pretty well.  The instructions said to line the pans with wax paper, but I wasn't sure if I should cut it down to the size of the pan or let there be edges.  I let there be edges, but it messed up the shape of the cake a little bit.
Mmmm chocolatey! The instructions said bake 30-35 minutes, and I baked the cakes for 33 minutes, which may have been a liiiitttle too long.  The cake was by no means burnt, but it was a little drier than I would have liked.
I let the cakes cool while I went to spin class, because I had been warned that they might collapse when stacked if I didn't cool them properly.
When I got home, it was time to stack and ice!  Since it was my first time baking a multi-layered cake, I decided to skip homemade icing and just get store bought stuff.
And here we have it, my very first multi-layered cake, frosted and ready to go!
With the cover, of COURSE :-)
We cut the cake between the first and second episodes.
Demolished! (at least half of it):
Everyone seemed to enjoy it (even if it was slightly drier than I would have liked).  And there you have my very first cake!  Now I just need more excuses to bake cakes (and people to eat them, because I have too much leftover cake in my house right now!).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

weekly training update #...

So, while much of the country is experiencing 'fall' and is guiding me to 'cool weather running clothes', here in Durham I think we have several more weeks of running in shorts and t-shirts.  Therefore, I decided to share with you some of my new purchases!  (So, it's like fashion Friday, but it's Tuesday, and it's workout clothes?)
C9 Champion Athletic Shorts

C9 Champion Bermuda Shorts
I recently bought both of these shorts at Target, and both are C9 Champion brand.  I have run in both of them multiple times (and worn them to spinning), and I'm pretty happy!  The shorter shorts are just long enough for me... I don't know about other people, but I can NOT run in super short shorts (chafing is the wooorst).  That's why the Bermuda shorts are probably my new favorite thing!  I also can't run in really loose shorts (same issue!), so these more fitted styles are perfect ofr me.
I tried on some compression shorts, but they were actually extremely see through and I didn't want to buy shorts to wear underneath other shorts - counterproductive in the heat!
Anyway, I still need to build up my collection of workout clothes, but these will be great additions to the rotation for the next several weeks, until it cools off.  I probably need to pick up a few more pairs of Bermuda shorts - I have surprisingly few running shorts.

Anyway, I have been trying to write running/training updates every Tues, and I feel like I should start numbering these... but I have no sense of how many weeks I've been doing a weekly (or quasi-weekly) update of my workouts/runs.  Looking back at the titles of posts, I think I've done about four, so I will deem this weekly training updated #5.

Hopefully I can keep these weekly posts entertaining enough for people to actually want to read them.  Either way, I think it's useful for me to document how my runs/workouts are going, so I think I will get in the habit or recapping the prior week's workouts each Tuesday.

This week was a little wonky.... as I posted on Friday, I was sick for part of last week, and that definitely altered my workout schedule. Also, my favorite spin teacher (who normally only teaches Tuesday) subbed for a class Thursday, so I decided to replace my Thursday 'easy run' with spin class.

Mon. 9/17 - skipped my planned easy run, took an extra rest day - kinda felt sick, kinda was being lazy
Tues. 9/18 - made up my easy run with a 2 mile run on the treadmill (avg. pace 10:50).  Also did my regularly scheduled strength training and a 1 hour spin class.  SUPER intensive workout day, but it was great!
Wed. 9/19 - the plan was speed work in the AM (4 mile tempo run, 2 miles @ 9:20), but i felt terrible for most of the day.  finally in the afternoon i felt okay, so i decided to run in the evening and 'just see how i felt'. i ended up going 3.1 miles: 1 mile warm up at 10:55, then 2 faster miles - 9:07 and 9:17 - finishing strong with a 0.1 nubbin at 8:49.  so uhh, we'll call that a tempo run without a cool down?
Thurs 9/20 - usually i'd do an easy run on thursday, but instead i went to spinning! awesome class.
Fri. 9/21 - stretch / rest, and totally failed to do a second strength work out
Sat. 9/22 - i had 11 miles planned for this weekend... but i was still sick and it never happened.  womp womp.
Sun. 9/23 - continued rest from being sick

Although missing my long run was a huge bummer, I think I'm finally almost 100% better.  So, hopefully the rest, vitamin C and zinc has cured me and now I can return to regularly scheduled runs!

Friday, September 21, 2012

what do these things have in common....

what do the following things have in common?
lots of water
gummy vitamins

hot tea


vitamin water with vitamin c and zinc

fuze with 200% DV vitamin c

hot soup (preferably hot & sour)

if you guessed "things you consume when you are sick", you win.

tuesday night i suddenly noticed that my throat was quite sore.  i had two cups of hot tea, an orange, some vitamins, and went to bed.  wednesday i worked from home (when you work with BMT patients, you do NOT go in when you are sick!) and continued with hydration + vitamin c.  thursday, i thought i was feeling better... my throat stopped hurting as much, but now i am extremely congested.  cue me finding every beverage sold in my office that contains vitamin c.  i think it's just a cold - perhaps with a mild fever, but man, it's annoying!

what are your go-to foods/beverages/regimens when you are sick? hot and sour soup (very spicy) is one of my favorites.  i also really love fuze drinks and vitamin water - not something i get often ($2? it's mostly water!) but when i'm sick and need the vitamin c/zinc it's nice to get.

here's to hoping that when y'all read this i'm feeling much better....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

weekend camping & running update

This weekend Scott and I went camping at Falls Lake.  If I had taken my camera, I might be able to show you pictures.  Instead, I'll let google image fill in the blanks for you.  We went to the Shin Leaf area:

And we were a short walk from the lake, as well as a hiking trail.
It was lovely.  After a 10 mile run, the best idea ever is to hike 4 miles and then lay on gravel to sleep.  But in all seriousness we had a lot of fun wandering around and enjoying an evening by the campfire.  Until it started raining at 6am and we had to scramble to get all our stuff in the tent and put the rain sleeve on.  Whoops!

In other news, I finally did strength training last week (on Tuesday).  I did squats, lunges, and all sorts of arm exercises.  My pecks were sore for almost two days.  Hooray!  Now if only I could do that at least twice a week.  Step 1: I promise to do it again today, and then aim for a Friday session as well.  In addition to that one strength training session, I did some running:

  • 9/12: Speed work on the treadmill - 4 miles in 39:09 overall - 0.5 mi warm, 1.0 mi @ 9:05 0.5 mi jog, 1.0 mi @ :05, and 1.0 mi cool down. 
  • 9/13: "Easy" run, 2.57 miles in 26 :05 (avg pace 10:09).  This run was kind of funny in terms of my speed- my first mile was 11:25, my second mile was 10:02, and the last 0.57 was at an 8:07 pace.  Whoa. The first mile and second mile both felt easy, and then when I saw that the second easy mile was a 10:02 mile I thought to myself "let's push it the rest of the way home."  It was nice to feel fast for once!
  • 9/15: Long run, 10.16 miles on my own (M was out of town) in 1:49:16 (avg. pace 10:46).  My mile splits were kind of all over the place: 11:57 (up that stupid hill), 11:07, 10:47, 10:56, 10:17, 10:55, 10:59, 10:08, 10:34, 10:16, and a 0.16 nubbin at 8:05. I want them to be in the 10:30-11:20 range I think, so I guess most of them were, but I still felt all over the place.  Oh well.  I was rockin' out - usually I don't listen to music because I'm running with M, but since I was alone I listened to Mumford & Sons - SO GOOD.  Also on the playlist: Florence & the Machine, Eric Hutchinson, and DMB.

Friday, September 14, 2012

fashion fridays: wear to work edition

Welcome to my first (only?) edition of Fashion Fridays, which will be a wear-to-work focused post.  Lots of blogs catch up on the latest fashion trends and share their styles on Fridays, and since I've been in a bit of a blog-topic-slump, I thought I would do the same.  If this makes you groan, don't worry - it won't be a regular feature.  I'm not the most fashionable person in the planet, and there is simply no way I could come up with new finds every single week.  I'm lucky if I find one new thing per season that I like.  My fashion sense is 40% what my sister-in-law tells me (she works in the biz!), 40% what I see at Ross/Marshall's (I have a tight budget!), and 30% what I see on Pintrest.  Read: no creativity.

That being said, I've started to feel the need to step up my professional dress.  The first few years of graduate school, I spent most of my time in an office that was fairly casual or in class, where jeans/t-shirts were totally appropriate.  Now, I'm frequently teaching undergraduates (and trying to convince them that I'm not 18 years old) and treating cancer patients, so I have been wanting to dress up a bit more, but I'm kind of tired of my clothes (which consist of approximately 17 dresses, 3 skirts, and 3 work appropriate shirts).  My new favorite look?  The pencil skirt and a tucked in shirt!
(Both from NY & Company
...Except I don't particularly think I'd look good in either of those shirts, but, you get the idea.  Yes... I know this is not earth-shattering, brand-new fashion... but it's not something I normally wear, so it's new to me!  So last weekend I attempted a shopping trip.  Let me tell you, shopping is hard work!  I think I learned my lesson - I need to go with a buddy.  Shopping on my own just leads to despair: nothing comes in my size, or things don't fit right, or I catastrophize over spending too much money on clothing.  Despite these hurdles, I managed to buy TWO skirts and TWO tops last weekend.

The one on the left is from New York & Company; the one on the right is from Macy's.  I am not 100% sold on the bandage look of the skirt on the right, but I realllly wanted a khaki colored skirt and was having a lot of trouble finding one!
It took me a ridiculously long time to find a white blouse that wasn't see-through, but hooray, I found it (at New York and Company).  The shirt on the right is from Target and it's not all that dressy, but I think it still is nice enough for work/clinic.  While I was out, I also was really tempted to buy anything/everything in kelly green / "emerald isle" green.
I'm not 100% sure if I look good in this color, but I reallllly like it.  It makes me smile.  Not even sure why.  I also was very tempted by skinny jeans in bright blue and bright red.  Is that still a thing?  Can I wear it even though I'm not 20 years old?  I spend a lot of time with undergrads so sometimes I get confused about what's age appropriate dress.  Anyway, I might have to make a second shopping trip to pick up some of these green items.
So, I'm trying to diversify my wardrobe by having skirts/tops - rather than just dresses.  But don't worry, I still have lots of room in my heart/closet for dresses, even if my wallet can't handle some of my current favorites (AKA I'll watch for them at Ross):


(all dresses from Macy's; mostly Calvin Klein).
Lastly, I need some cardigans.... because although the weather stays nice 8-9 months per year, every building I go to is heavily air conditioned.  I would love to introduce some bright colored cardigans into my wardrobe, but I decided to get some basics first so I could envision what kind of cardigan might look good.
Polyvore Board with JCrew Cardigans
So, what are your new favorite fashion items?  Any suggestions for me on good places to shops or things you think I would like?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

quick running update

Whoa, I'm getting to be a bad blogger.  Sorry!!! School is hectic.  I do want to keep blogging but... we'll see how it goes.

I STILL have not done strength training.  It's now been, uhh... 3 weeks?  Yikes.  I really super duper promise I'm going to try to start that this week.  Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays - SOME sort of strength.

I have been sticking relatively closely with my running plan (see below).  Last week we did a tempo run, with the goal of running 9:30 pace for 2 miles - and managed to keep them around 9:45.  Not perfect, but given how exhausted I was that morning, I'm proud of myself.  We also ran 9 miles this weekend, and it felt REALLY good.  The last 1.5 miles my knees started to be a bit sore, but otherwise it was great!

Then, the most GLORIOUS THING EVER happened on Monday.
It became fall.  Beautiful, amazing, fall.  The humidity is no longer at 100%.  I can walk outside comfortably. I come back from runs sweaty, but not drenched!!! I missed my morning run and got to make it up OUTDOORS! at 7pm tonight.  Oh man, it was the sweetest 3.25 miles I have run in quite some time.  Dear Weather Gods, PLEASE KEEP IT UP.

Wish I had more to say buuuuuut it's past my bedtime! Ciao blogland :)

Recent Workouts:
8/31: 5 mile run, avg. pace 10:55 (treadmill)
9/1: i was at a wedding... i danced?
9/2: i drove ~8 hours to get home from said wedding
9/3: i recovered from said drive and/or was lazy (with regards to working out - labor day is NOT a holiday here so i had a full day at work).
9/4: 2.09 mile run, avg. pace 11:40 plus 1 hr spin class
9/5: 3.4 mile run, avg. pace 10:30 (tempo run)
9/6: 2.42 mile run, avg. pace 11:57
9/7: much needed rest day
9/8: 9.07 mile run, avg. pace 11:21
9/9: much needed rest day
9/10: 3.25 mile run, avg. pace 10:38