Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I missed blogging last week due to sheer craziness and no time! Now, I'm back on track and ready for this week's edition of What I'm Loving Wednesday!


I'm loving the fact that I was able to spend a week in Houston with friends and family! It's weird being 1300 miles away for most of the year!

I'm loving that I got to go into the office last week! I know it seems silly, but it's nice to have the human interaction since usually I'm just on the phone for all of my meetings. It's also great to see my friends at work. One more benefit is that I get to wear all of my cute work clothes and shoes!

I'm loving a few things on Pinterest:
I am going to {try to} make this!

This will be on my To Do List for the first weekend in October! - Recipe Link

How pretty! Will attempt this come winter! I love do it yourself holiday decor!

This will be perfect for my Pittsburgh fall/winter wardrobe :)

This is what gets me through every day. Thank you Lord Jesus!
I'm loving the cooler temps in Pittsburgh! I'm ready for the fall {boots and scarves} and dreading the winter {snow and freezing air}.

I'm loving how proud I am of my baby sister! I'm going to brag for a moment. For those of you who don't know, Emily was the coordinator for Aloha Days {TAMU-CC's equivalent to Fish Camp for you Aggies and a freshman orientation camp for those of you who want to know why Fish need and camp to go to :)}, she is also the president of her sorority Delta Delta Delta, and she was selected as the only student speaker at this year's freshman convocation at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Can I just say that all of these are such a huge honor and will definitely help get her into PT/OT grad school! I am just so proud of my baby sister/best friend!


I'm loving that tomorrow is September and officially starts the month long celebration that I call my birthmonth. Yes, I celebrate all month. Don't judge me.

I'm loving the book The Lace Reader. Go out, buy it and read it. Such a great book! Kind of weird, sad, happy and funny with an intriguing ending. I can't stop thinking about what a great book it was!


As always, I'm loving my sweet, sweet husband and puppy!


Okay, it appears as though I'm loving a lot today! It's so true. There are a billion more things that I can think of, but I'll limit it to these. I am so blessed by God and fortunate enough to have an amazing life with people who love me {and I love them}. I love these What I'm Loving Wednesday posts because they are always so happy!

What are you loving this Wednesday?
Until next time...
With love and God bless,
Amy, JP and Maggie

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Houston: Work, Heat, Family, Heat, Friends, Heat

Wow, what a week! I am very fortunate that I was able to go to Houston for work and during that week, I also spent time with my family and friends, some of which I hadn't seen in WAYYY too long! I would also like to note that I managed to be in Houston during the hottest week EVER. Yes, that's right ever. Not this month. Not this year. Hottest EVER!!! Here is a bullet recap (with some pictures) of how my week in Houston was spent!

Monday
  • Woke up at 3:45am (yes, I am dead serious) to get ready to catch my flight to Houston. Remember that this is 2:45am Houston time. Thankfully, I didn't have to wake up earlier because my amazing husband was kind enough to drop me off at the airport on the way to work. It was nice to spend a few extra minutes with him in the morning before I left!
  • From my window on the plane!
    Getting closer to Houston :)
  • Make it to Houston and got my luggage just fine. Then I got in a fight with the rental car lady because she said that I made my reservation in the name James Gougler. Granted, he is my husband, but I made the reservation through work and they don't have him in their system. Thus this is impossible. The lady spoke very quietly and this annoyed me even more, but eventually after a LONG discussion, I got my car.
  • Work, work, work. Seriously I worked my butt off in Houston, but this isn't a bad thing! Staying busy means my company needs me :) That's how I see it at least. I did get to take off at 4:45pm since at that point I had been up for 15 hours and my mind was wandering. Mind you, this is the only day I got off before 5pm!
  • Picked my baby bro up from his first day of school/football practice. I was able to see a dear friend/role model of mine, Lia Johnson, and it was so nice to catch up with her! (I coach all of her daughters in cheer and can't believe her oldest is in college now!)
  • Hung out at the house with Matt and Dad since Momma had to work. We had a random dinner of salad and boudin with crackers, but it was just perfect.
Tuesday
  • Started my day off right with a hot and humid 4.5 mile run! That Houston humidity spoke directly to my lungs!
  • Work, work, work! I made it out of the office around 5:15pm so I couldn't complain too much!
  • Drove over to Rice Village and met up with Nikki, Olivia and Ben! We had dinner at La Madeline and it was so yummy! Too bad we don't have one in Pittsburgh. Then Nikki and I walked around the shops for a little while and believe it or not, we did not buy anything. Not one single thing :)
  • I then headed home to hang out with my parents and Matt. We watched some t.v. and quite honestly, I don't think I moved from the couch until I went to bed. Between waking up early for my flight and then waking up early for my run, I was pooped!
Wednesday
  • I grabbed Starbucks on the way to work knowing that this was going to be a long day. I got into the office at 7:30am and left at 7:00pm. No lunch break. Well, I ate lunch, but we ordered in and ate while working. This day was full of idea sessions which made my brain hurt by 7pm. I'm more of a doer, so all of the thinking got me frustrated since I wasn't able to see anything come of it. I need to remember that I have an engineer's brain and I work with a bunch of consultants. Concrete and tangible outputs aren't always going to be the results from meetings.
  • When I finally made it home, my momma had cooked up one of my favorite meals! I guess you could call it sauteed veggies with pasta and chicken. Heavy on the veggies and light on the pasta, just the way I like it!
  • No work out for me on Wednesday. I needed some sleep to rest my aching brain :)
Thursday
  • Another morning run to start my day off the right way! This time I woke up feeling refreshed even though it was 5am (maybe it was my 9:30pm bed time?) and I got in a solid 6 miles!
  • Work, work, work! Less stressful than the day before and I was out by 5:30pm.
  • I walked up to the grocery store once I got home to pick up all the ingredients I needed to make dinner for my family! Mom would be working late, so I wanted to do something nice for my parents since they are always so good to me.
  • You may recall the menu for the night from last week's post CrAzY Busy Week. The pizza and zucchini sticks were a big success.
  • Matt's meat and cheese pizza - I forgot to take a picture before he dug in!
    Mine and Dad's pizza - Mine has all of the delicious veggies and Dad's has veggies, ham, pineapple (anything you can think of to put on a pizza) and way to much cheese for my taste buds, but whatever works right? haha I love you daddy!
  • To top it off, I made an AMAZING dessert. (Dad, Matt and I have a terrible sweet tooth so dessert was obviously a necessity for me to win the best daughter/big sister award for the week!) I decided to make Funfetti Sandwich cookies. I found the recipe on Pintrest and they are to die for. Not healthy in any way, but it tastes like Heaven.
  • Source - Mine didn't look this good (close but not quite) and I forgot to take a picture, so this will do!
  • After dinner, I had a visitor stop by! Alex Dutka came by and hung out for a few hours before bedtime. It's always nice to be able to hang out and catch up with people you don't see or get a chance to talk to very often!
Friday
  • FINALLY!!! Work, work, work! Another busy and successful day at work to round off my time in the office!
  • Alex and I went out for dinner and I finally got MEXICAN FOOD!!! It was wonderful in all of it's greasy goodness! After dinner, we drove over to see Miss Kathy Durand before heading to Courtney and Luke's apartment in midtown!
  • We went out to Howl at the Moon that night for Alex's birthday and had a blast! His birthday is actually today along with his twin brother, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEX AND ANTHONY!!! Love you boys!
  • Here are some pictures of our epic night out. Excuse the quality since these were all taken from my phone! I left my camera at home :(
Me, Kathy and Courtney with bucket #1 - we were remembering the good old days when we had Spring Break and we could go to Destin!

Bucket #1 all gone :)

My loves <3

Courtney!!! and Kathy's finger! haha

Kathy, me and Colin with Cordes in the background

Me and the birthday boy!
Saturday
  • NOTE: This was the HOTTEST day of the year thus far in Houston. It reached 109 degrees and was a record breaker!
  • That morning Mom and I drove to Bellaire to pick up Trisha and her babies Cayden and Alexis!!! Trisha lived with my parents for several months with little Miss Alexis (now 14 months) and now she has another one Cayden who is a newborn and not quite 2 months old!
  • Alexis! She is very mobile and like to get into things, like mom's onions!
  • We hung out and chatted before I decided to take Alexis swimming.
  • That evening, Mom and I went out to Katy for Nikki and Cliff's couples shower and we had a GREAT time! I got to see so many friends and we ate delicious food :)
Here I am with Nikki (bride), Cliff (groom) and Katrina (Nikki's cousin and other MOH!)
Sunday
  • As always, I kicked off my Sunday bright and early with my long run for the week. I was supposed to do 9 miles, but since the hottest day of the year was Saturday, it wasn't exactly cool come Sunday morning. I decided to cut my run short for safety reasons since I was going at it alone.
  • After running and finding some way to cool down and get ready, Dad, Matt and I went to church followed by a stop at Buckee's for breakfast tacos and banana chips!
  • That afternoon, I drove down to Rice to pick up Ben and Olivia so I could see them one more time. We went to lunch at Baker Street Bar and Grill, but it was far too hot to walk around Rice Village afterwards so I ended up just taking them back.
  • The rest of the day was spent hanging out in the pool with my dad trying to stay cool. You know it's hot outside when 92 degree water actually cools you off some!
I had an amazing time in Houston and I'm sad that I probably won't be back until Thanksgiving! Though I had a great time, I'm glad to be back "home" in Pittsburgh with my handsome husband and sweet puppy!

Until next time...
With love and God bless,
Amy

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Running: Pittsburgh vs. Houston

This morning I took off for a 7ish miler at 6:15am and it was already 76 degrees in Houston! I mean, come on, the sun wasn't even out. Granted, Saturday's high was a whopping 109 degrees and was a record breaker. During the run, I got to thinking about the differences in running up north versus down south and I've discovered the Three T's that have improved my training in Pittsburgh. Make sure you read until the end because I also have some helpful info about heat exhaustion that I think is super important for everyone to read especially during this painfully hot southern summer.

Temperature
During the winter, obvious, being up north is absolutely miserable and people thought I was crazy when I told them I was running a half marathon in January. It's nearly impossible to train when the trail and track is icy or snowy and long distance runs are NO FUN on treadmills. Summers on the other had are AMAZING! I have loved every minute of my summer training runs. It's usually a nice 60 degree morning around 6am which is quite ideal. Houston on the other hand is quite opposite. "Winter" is nice, cozy running weather (let's just say I ran 5 miles last Christmas wearing shorts and a long sleeve shirt), but summer is MISERABLE. It is hot unbearable outside during July and August. May, June and September runs aren't exactly a walk in the park either. You have to make sure you're getting up early enough to beat the toasty temps.

 Terrain
There is no doubt that living in Pittsburgh and running around my neighborhood has been a huge influence on my 30 second/mile pace improvement this year. Those hills are practically mountainous! They give me a great glute, hamstring and quad workout that's for sure. I also have the option of running on the Montour Trail for long distances since it's generally flat terrain which is nice. Houston is flat. Hills in Houston are generally made of concrete and their sole purpose is to transport cars over top of other roads. Yes people, I'm speaking about over passes. Seriously though, that's it.
 
Timing
Though I had to pick up and move to Pittsburgh away from all my family and friends last January, I was fortunate enough to be able to keep my job and work from home. This has played a big part in my training habits. I am able to wake up in the morning, go for a run, come home and start working and I can take a shower later. I don't have to worry about waking up at 4:30 or 5am in order to run, shower, do my hair and beat rush hour traffic. Working from home has allowed me to skip less runs and workouts which is keeping me in great running shape. I was in Texas this week and since everyone managed to work me until every ounce of energy was gone, I missed a work out or two this week. It's easy to wake up and say that I'm going to work out when I get home...then I actually get home. Yuck.


Now onto Heat Exhaustion...this is a serious topic and I know that in the past I have been over heated a time or two and it is very dangerous. With these sweltering temperatures in Texas and people beginning to train for the Houston marathon (kind of), make sure you are aware of the signs that point to heat exhaustion.
  1. Symptoms include: profuse sweating, weakness, muscle cramps, dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting.
  2. As dehydration increases from the loss of body water, lightheadedness and fainting might occur.
  3. Heat exhaustion occurs when a person exercises and works in a hot environment and the body cannot cool itself adequately. This is why it really isn't safe to be running in these hot Texas evenings! It was 76 degrees at 6am and over 80 degrees by 7am. It was over 100 degrees after lunch and I saw people running on the trail around Rice! Not safe people!
  4. You can prevent heat exhaustion by working inside and avoiding strenuous activities over overly humid or hot days. Obviously some situations don't allow for you to always stay inside, but certain precautions should be taken. These can include frequent breaks taken in a cooler areas, adequate fluid intake, and slowing the pace of work to decrease heat generation within the body

Source - learn more about Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke
I want all of my friends, family and readers to stay healthy and happy, so remember to take care of yourself, drink plenty of water and make sure you are always doing what is best for YOUR body. I hope you found this helpful!

I'm heading back to Pittsburgh tomorrow and will be back on track with my blogging schedule. I be sure to give a recap of my amazing time in Texas! Until next time...

With love and God bless,
Amy

Thursday, August 25, 2011

CrAzY Busy Week

Ever have those weeks at work where you kind of want to pull your hair out?

Well, this has been one of those weeks for me. It's not that it's awful, it's just that I'm really, really, REALLY busy! I'm down in Houston for work and everyone has me running all over the place. I am a doer and I work with a lot of thinkers. Frustrating? Yes. Do I feel as though we've accomplished as much as we could? No. Hence the fact that I just want to pull my hair out.

Despite the craziness, It's much more beneficial to focus on the positive! I am in TEXAS! I am HOME! I'm staying at HOME with my FAMILY! This is definitely fantastic. It's nice to get to go home to your mommy, daddy and baby brother every once and a while. I'm also super excited about this weekend. I'll be staying in town and I have the opportunity to hang out with my family and friends and I'll be able to make it to Nicole and Cliff's couples shower!

Tonight I am cooking dinner for the boys since momma has to work. We're going to make some homemade pizza and I'm going to make Baked Zucchini Sticks to go with it!

I made these for JP and I the other day and they are simply to die for. Even if you don't like veggies, you will probably like these. I mean, JP likes them and he generally avoids eating green foods unless I make him :) The link above also tells you how to make some homemade French onion dip. I'm not going to lie, I cheated and just bought some low fat french onion dip from the store. It's pretty cheap and the kind I got is only 20 calories per 2 tablespoons which is really all you need! I definitely recommend testing out this recipe!

I hope that everyone is have a great Thursday and remember to try to pull out some positive aspects even when you're having a crazy, busy week and you just want to pull your hair out (or someone else's!)!!!

Until next time...
With love and God bless,
Amy, JP and Maggie

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What is a Runner?

Today was my 12 mile training run for Rock 'n Roll Philadelphia. I'm not going to lie, I totally rocked it, and I had about 1 hour 42 minutes and 41 seconds to do some thinking.

Here is a summary of my thoughts.
  1. 12 miles is definitely longer than 10 miles. My knees can feel it.
  2. I am thankful for the cooler air up north. No wonder why the major races (Boston and NYC marathons) are up north.
  3. I'm super excited to go to Houston this week and I thought about all the different things that I need to pack into 7 days.
  4. What is a runner?
That last thought is one I really want to focus on and dive into a bit more.

I consider myself a runner. I enjoy running. I always have a sense of accomplishment upon finishing whether it be 2 miles or 13 miles. Running is my means of stress relief which allows me to enjoy running even more. I strive to improve with each and every run. I am not the fastest runner and I know there are many distances that I have yet to conquer, but I am still a runner. I believe that the definition of a runner is much like beauty, it lies in the eye of the beholder. Some people may think that runners are those people that participate in multiple marathons a year or hold records or have extraordinary speed. I think that a runner is someone who is passionate about the sport and is constantly trying to improve and reach new goals. I have yet to run a full marathon (I plan to though...in 2012!) and even though I have not conquered the 26.2 mile distance, I believe I am still a runner. I have now run in 5 half marathons, but I believed myself to be a runner after the first. It was addicting and I wanted to keep going and to get better!

Anyone out there who thinks they're a runner, remember that this is completely up to you. The definition is so vast that as long as you believe you're a runner then you are! Remember to keep training to reach new distances, speeds, heights, etc. Believe in yourself because that is what this sport is all about.

Now here is a great picture of JP after our run this morning.
Yes, that is blood on his shirt from him nipple. If bleeding due to nipple chafing from a 12 mile run doesn't qualify you as a runner, than I don't know what does! JP did an awesome job during his run today as well! He finished just a few minutes behind me and is on track to finish his half marathon in under 2 hours!

I'm headed off to go pack up my suitcase now! I'm taking an EARLY (6am) flight to Houston tomorrow and I'll be there for the week. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to give everyone a weekend recap and I'll share some super awesome recipes with everyone!

Food for thought: What is a runner to you? (Leave a comment! I love to read them!)

Until next time...
With love and God bless,
Amy, JP and Maggie

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

It's that time of the week again...I'm linking up with Jamie and Lia Joy for What I'm Loving Wednesday!


I'm loving the idea that fall is right around the corner! Mostly becuase it involves my birthday, yummy treats, busting out cute boots and sweaters, and most of all because I live in Pittsburgh and I'm going to get a REAL fall this you! You know one where the leaves change colors on the trees, temps are in the 60's and 70's, and you can actually wear cute fall clothes without sweating when you step outside!

I'm loving these cute outfits that I've found on Pinterest! They are must haves!


source
source

I'm loving that Maggie got to go to the Pirates baseball game last night!


I'm loving these awesome running/yoga tanks! I swear I live in workout tops these days!

LOVE the back of this one! And the pattern too!

Alo cut out tank


Bia Brazil Tank in Lime and Black
 As always, I'm loving my amazing husband. He always picks me up when I'm falling down and stands by my side when I have my own strength. I can't believe I am so lucky that God chose him to be mine!


What are you loving today? Be sure to link up and let us know! Happy Wednesday to all!

With love and God bless,
Amy

Pup at the Park night at PNC!

Maggie's big surprise was a night on the town! Well, not really, more like a night downtown at the ballpark. Either way, it was her first time to go downtown and her first baseball game and she had a blast! The Pirates hosted Pup at the Park nights once a month this summer and it appears as though that have been a hit. There were so many dogs and dog lovers out there that it was a good place to socialize Maggie! Those of you that have met our little princess know how much energy she has. I am please to report that Maggie did a great job at the game. Our hands are tired from the death grip we had on her leash, but all in all she behaved. She was eager to see everyone and everything. Thank goodness for the treats that were everywhere! Needless to say, she was all tuckered out by the end of the night!

Our family of 3...or 2 1/2 but Maggie has about as much personality of 2 humans :)

My poor, poor puppy having to get in the car. Don't know why but she HATES the car. Weird right?

Even Maggie gets her own ticket!

Maggie and her daddy waiting for the game to start!

Me and Magster shortly after arriving to the park.

PNC Park has this awesome open area just over left/center field called The Deck. This is where all the pups got to roam around!

Here we are sitting, which we were only able to do during the first inning. Maggie was too interested in everything else to sit!

"THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVERRR!!!" - Maggie

Look at our good little girl! She made tons of new friends and as always, everyone couldn't stop talking about those ears!

The view of downtown Pittsburgh from PNC Park never gets old.

<3 She's a pretty cool dog.

I figured a picture of the baseball game would be fitting since that's where we were! My boy McCutchen hit a 3 run homer in the 2nd inning after a big goof up in the outfield at the top of that inning. The Pirates ended up winning 5-4 after going into 11 innings. We left after the 8th since it was getting late and we wanted to beat the traffic!

7th inning stretch!!!

Walking over the bridge to get back to the car!

What a fun night with our baby!

She had a great time which is what this was all about. I'm so glad that she was able to have this experience. We try really hard to include her in a lot that we do since we hate to keep her all caged up! Mostly it involves us taking her out to Petsmart, the trail and going on a lot of walks. It's so great that the Pirates offer something like this! Let's be honest, there aren't that many places that are dog friendly.

When it comes to behavior, Maggie certainly has her ups and downs. As Jody and Phil say, she has good dog potential. She's incredibly smart and knows what we're telling her to do, but she doesn't always want to listen. She LOVES all people as well as other dogs. Maybe she loves a little too much. As soon as we can get her to stop jumping, I think more people will love her just as much back. She is just a 9 month old mischievous little puppy and I don't know what we would do without her!

Until next time...
With love and God bless,
Amy, JP and Maggie 

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