Friday Five: Five Things to love about Summer

Happy Friday, y’all! Per usual, I’m linking up with Mar and Cynthia and this week we are revisiting an old linkup topic: 5 things to love about ___. You can read our linkup rules here. Please note that if you don’t play nicely, we will delete your link. Have a great weekend!

As we reach the end (how’d this happen? where did summer go??) of summer, I thought I’d wax poetic about five things to love about summer. Next week, when our theme is fall preview, I’ll be missing some of these things!

Friday Five- This Summer I

  1. You can run basically anytime of the day. Early or late, the sun is still up. Of course, I won’t mention the accompanying heat and humidity, but you kinda get used to it after awhile. 
  2. Outdoor workouts! This summer I’ve taken a number of outdoor barre classes and it has been so fun to switch out environments for my workouts!
  3. The beach. Duh. I love the beach. Sadly, I haven’t actually made it to the beach this summer (I’ve been kinda busy…) but am planning to go in September. Yay!
  4. Fresh.Produce. Yes, yes, and yes! Just this week I shared my amazing peach blueberry cobbler recipe made with fresh peaches and blueberries and all summer long I’ve enjoyed the best farm fresh produce. My love of fresh produce makes me wish that I was a canning expert. Sadly I’m not. 
  5. Amusement parks. I have a long standing (this will be the fourth or fifth year) tradition of going to Kings Dominion on Labor Day. The park is practically empty and it’s the perfect end to summer. We’re going again this year and I can.not.wait. I love roller coasters and depending on the weather we might hit up the water park this year. 

What do you love about summer? 

 

Leesburg 20k Race Recap

As I mentioned in my training recap, last Sunday I ran the Leesburg 20k. I don’t know what it is with me and races in August — last year I ran the Annapolis 10 miler (here‘s my race recap in case you are running the A10 this Saturday) and this year I decided to brave heat, humidity and hills again. I was so excited to run this race, mostly because so many awesome DC area bloggers were also running it. This was a fun race to run and a fun race recap to write. So, without further ado, here’s my Leesburg 20k race recap: 

Julie and I decided to stay in a cheap hotel the night before the race, so we could sleep in later Sunday morning. The hotel was a bit odd, but it served it’s purpose. I brought two different race outfits with me and crowd sourced my final decision on what to wear. I decided on the Lesko Shimmel Tank and Distance Shorts. This was a great choice and I loved what I was wearing:

2014-08-17 06.35.29-2

Julie and I headed over to the race start, which was in downtown Leesburg. There was free parking in a garage right by the start, but the line to park was pretty long and we were pretty sure all the spaces were gone. Julie let me out so I could grab our packets. We were fortunate to run into Jenny of Run Jenny Run and Kathryn of Dancing 2 Running while awaiting the porta potty line. You may remember that I ran into Jenny after the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler this year, but somehow this was the first time I had met Kathryn. She was just as sweet as I thought she’d be and we took a couple of fun pics, courtesy of of Kathryn’s husband. I love that in this pic, we’re all wearing Oiselle! 

2014-08-17 07.20.23-2

 

As I mentioned earlier this week, because of the traffic, Julie and I were a bit late starting the race, but we were chip timed so it was okay. Now on the race. I mentally divided the race into 4 5ks in order to break it up. My rough plan was a fast 5k, 2 slow 5ks and then another fast one to finish. 

First 5k: I started out WAAAAY too fast and lost Julie by mile 2. I was also a sweaty nasty mess by this point and knew that I’d have to reassess my original goals. I was also not excited about running the rest of the race solo. I love running with a buddy so I just tried to concentrate on making it through the first 5k. 

mi 1: 9:08, mi 2: 9:32, mi 3: 9:49

Second 5k: The course was hilly and I tried to settle in but knew I was going to be in for a challenging morning and probably wouldn’t be able to hit my goals. The humidity was intense and while we had shade (thank GOODNESS we were on the W&OD trail for most of the race), it was getting hot as well. 

mi 4: 10:07 mi 5: 10:20 mi 6:10:12

Third 5k: This was where I started to see all my buds on the out and back course. That was really fun and I was able to give a high five to Sue over at This Mama Runs for Cupcakes, see Deb from Deb Runs a few times as well as Julie (who shared some fuel with me — love her!), Jenny and Kathryn. That was really motivating! 

mi 7: 10:13 mi 8: 10:34 mi 9:10:41 (yikes!) Did I mention that this was the elevation chart?

Leesburg20KElevationChart

Final 5k: I was so ready to be done at this point. I’d seen all my girls, I was hot and nasty and ready to just take a break. I knew I could push through though and that was a good feeling. There was a guy playing Eye of the Tiger from his deck about half a mile from the finish and that was awesome! 

mi 10: 9:58 mi 11: 9:43 mi 12: 9:53 

Final time: 2:05:39

Dora, me, Julie, Deb

Dora, me, Julie, Deb

 

20k finish

Love this finisher shot — free courtesy of Potomac River Running

After the race, I waited for Julie so I could see her finish. She came in a few minutes later, looking strong. We hung out for a bit with Deb and her husband and caught up with Dora, who is another super awesome speedy runner. Deb actually won her age group, which isn’t surprising at all because she’s awesome! We saw her get her award and then headed home via a stop at Wegmans for breakfast. :)

It was a great race and so well organized – if you have a chance to run a Potomac River Running Race I highly recommend it! As far as my goals, given the heat and humidity I was pretty proud of how I did and know I put forth a ton of effort. And as you can see above, I finished smiling! 

Have you ever raced a 20k? 

 

Wedding Wednesday: Our First Look

The first look. It’s a subject that people have lots of opinions on and will tell you that you HAVE to do or you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT do. As with most of the wedding advice I received, I smiled, nodded and then thought about it and decided what made sense for K and I. I can’t tell you whether or not you should do a first look (nor can anyone else) but I can tell you why we decided to do so. 

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

One of the main reasons I wanted to do a first look is because I wanted to have a private moment with K and I. Our bridal party and my parents were nearby, but we had a few minutes just to take in each other’s presence and prepare for what was to come. It didn’t make me feel any less emotional walking down the aisle and K agrees. Having that time together (even just a few minutes) put me in the right frame of mind and I just continued to get more and more excited for the day. 

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

Another huge reason I wanted to do a first look is that I wanted to take pictures with the bridal party before the wedding and not have to worry about keeping K and I separate. While it is definitely possible to do this, we had time with our respective gals and guys taking pictures and having fun and not having to worry about hiding me from K’s view. I highly recommend taking as many pictures as possible before the ceremony. Even with our first look pictures, we took so many family shots (and then some private shots with just K, the photographer and I) that we completely missed cocktail hour. We expected that we were going to miss it, but I can’t imagine not having taken those photos before hand. It would’ve put the whole evening off schedule. 

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

 

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

 
Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;
 

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

 

As I mentioned, I also saw my parents beforehand and that really helped calm my nerves. I can’t say if a first look is right for you, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way and I’m so glad we did one! 

 

If you’re married, did you do a first look? Why or why not? 

Peach Blueberry Cobbler Recipe

Oh man, y’all. This is a must make. This peach blueberry cobbler is the business and I suggest you add this peach blueberry cobbler recipe to your recipe book. Trust me. It’s also pretty simple. I find the most onerous task is peeling the peaches. Does anyone have an easy way to do this? I boil the peaches for a bit, but find that it often takes a couple minutes of boiling for the skin to come off. Sigh. I hate that part in making this peach blueberry cobbler recipe, but other than that it’s easy peasy! 

peach blueberry cobbler ingredients

Peach Blueberry Cobbler
Serves 10
A delicious peach blueberry cobbler the way your mom used to make it.
Write a review
Print
217 calories
41 g
14 g
5 g
3 g
3 g
147 g
24 g
29 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
147g
Servings
10
Amount Per Serving
Calories 217
Calories from Fat 47
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
8%
Saturated Fat 3g
16%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 14mg
5%
Sodium 24mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 41g
14%
Dietary Fiber 2g
8%
Sugars 29g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
7%
Vitamin C
12%
Calcium
5%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the filling
  1. 4 cups peeled and sliced peaches
  2. 2 cups blueberries
  3. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 1 teas cinnamon
  5. 1 teas vanilla
  6. 1 tbs flour
For the cobbler crust
  1. 1 cup flour
  2. 1 teas baking powder
  3. 1/2 teas baking soda
  4. 3 tbs brown sugar
  5. 4 tbs unsalted butter
  6. 2/3 cup buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Butter a 1 1/2 quart baking dish
  3. Place peaches and blueberries in dish and sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and flour
  4. Mix and spread evenly
  5. Bake for 10 minutes
For the cobbler crust
  1. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl
  2. Cut in butter
  3. Add buttermilk and stir to form soft dough
  4. Remove filling from oven and drop spoonfuls of dough on top
  5. Bake for 20 minutes
  6. Enjoy!
beta
calories
217
fat
5g
protein
3g
carbs
41g
more
Eat Pray Run DC http://eatprayrundc.com/
This is so delicious and tasty. I will only make this with fresh produce — otherwise it’s just wrong. So it’s a special treat in my house when we get cobbler. 

peach blueberry cobbler

What’s your favorite summer dessert?  

 

Navy Air Force Half Training Recap, Week 8

As I was titling this post, I almost could not believe that this was the eighth training recap I’ve written during this training cycle. This was kind of an interesting week. I took a spill, had a nice easy run and ran a new distance. Here’s my training recap for this past week: 

Monday: I was anxious to get a run in but did’t want this week to be too crazy since I knew I had the Leesburg 20k on Sunday, so Julie and I decided to sleep in in the morning and do an easy run after work. She got stuck in traffic, so I ended up running a fast 5k with K. And taking an awkward jump picture in front of the Capitol. 

cap pic

Wednesday: We decided to switch up our usual speed work and run hill repeats up our least favorite hill (Capitol Hill) instead. We did four repeat up the hill – which is nearly a quarter of a mile long plus a 1.5 mile run to the Hill and then the run home. Right after Julie and I said bye, I was running home when my toe caught on uneven bricks on the sidewalk and boom. I was airborne for about five full seconds before slamming into the ground. Luckily, my handheld took a lot of the fall. That and my right hip. Ouch. I sat there for a second, willing myself not to cry (I didn’t!) and then gingerly got back up. I thought about walking home but really wanted to get back home so I jogged back home slowly (I was about .75 of the way from home). While I didn’t have any bleeding, I had a couple scrapes and my hip hurt. I limped around for a couple days, but from what I can tell, no lasting damage, luckily. 

fall day pic

Thursday: outdoor barre class. I really wanted to stretch out my hip and so went to a free outdoor barre class that Lava Barre was sponsoring. It was awesome and challenging and the weather was amazing. I loved it! 

barre

Saturday: I ran an easy 5k to shake out my legs and test my hip. After this run I was convinced that my hip would hold up in the race Sunday. 

Sunday: Leesburg 20k. I will have a full race recap up this week but in short, this was an awesome race. The weather was back to warm and very humid, which caused me to reevalaute my goals early on, but I was proud of my effort. I ran it in 2:05:xx which, I’m pleased with. In a funny story, Julie and I (and others) were waiting for the bathroom line and then had to run to back check and were a couple of the last runners to cross the finish line. The fun part was that we passed a bunch of people early on.  :)  

Julie and I - notice we're all alone -- because we started a bit late!

Julie and I – notice we’re all alone — because we started a bit late!

So that was my week and my training recap. 

Did you race last weekend? Share if you did! 

Friday Five: August Free Friday!

Happy Friday, y’all! Per usual, I’m linking up with Mar and Cynthia and this week we are going crazy with an August Free Friday! That’s right – post what ya like :) I decided to focus on the 20k I’m running this weekend. You can read our linkup rules here. Please note that if you don’t play nicely, we will delete your link. Have a great weekend!

FRIDAY FIVE

Five things about the Leesburg 20k:

  1. First 20k race. Yep, new distance = instant PR! Woot woot! I’m kind of excited because it’s basically a half marathon but not quite a half marathon (a 20k = 12.4 miles, FYI). I’m using this race as a reality check before my goal half marathon next month. 
  2. First time racing in Leesburg, VA. Leesburg is just under an hour from my house — and because it’s a bit far, Julie and I are actually sharing a cheap hotel room so we can sleep in later race morning. I mean, come on, a girl’s gotta get her rest, right? :) 
  3. A goal for the race: If everything aligns on race morning (and given the predictions of heat and humidity, this probably won’t be the case), I’d like to run this race in 1:54. 
  4. B goal for the race: 1:58. If this is my time, it means that my sub 2 goal is really in sight and I just have to kick it into gear on race day. 
  5. C goal for the race: Finish smiling. This always belongs on the list. Honestly, I haven’t really done the math to calculate these goals and how realistic they are, but I know they are ambitious and I still have a month until the half. So, I think the most realistic scenario is hitting somewhere between my B and C goal. I’m going to try and run 9:30 pace for the first six miles and then drop pace the second half of the race. We’ll see how this goes! 

Have you ever run a 20k? Any advice for me? 

Eat Pray Run DC Reader Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who took my first reader survey! I truly appreciate the feedback and read each and every answer. I thought that I’d share some of the survey results and clue y’all in on what I’m thinking about next in terms of blogging. 

SURVEY

So here’s what I learned: 

  • Most folks found my blog through Twitter or someone else that they knew. 
  • People find my new posts through Twitter or Bloglovin – this is not surprising given my sources of traffic.
  • Friday Five posts (linkup this week!) and training recaps are the most popular posts on the site, although a number of you enjoy Blogger Tip Tuesdays as well!
  • You guys want to see more about running in DC, what I’m eating (are you sure? :)) and more pictures. 
  • Almost half of those who participated said they might be interested in some type of blogging seminar put on by yours truly…
  • Everyone who participated is in the 26-50 age range, with a couple of exceptions. 
  • I have some of the nicest, most awesome blog readers ever. Here’s a smattering of some of the comments people left under the “do you have any questions for me” tab: 
    • Thanks for putting yourself out there to inspire and for all of us to be reminded we are only human.
    • I love your blog, you’re one of my favorites! I really enjoy everything and think you do a great job!
    • Great blog! I come for the running-related posts, but have found some of the blogging posts interesting.

Y’all are awesome! Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey – it was really helpful to get a gauge of who comes to my small corner of the interwebs :) Now, I got a lot of questions about the virtual blogging seminar I mentioned. I’m still working on details, but I’m thinking about hosting a blogging seminar — it’d basically be an hour where I’d share about a particular concrete blogging topic — say self hosting or Pinterest or something similar. I’d announce the topic in advance and if you were attending, you could submit a question in advance. I’m not going to have time until September to work on this but be on the lookout! 

Have you ever done a survey on your blog? Have you ever attended a blogging seminar? 

Wedding Wednesday: Pre-Ceremony

Wedding Wednesday is back! Today, I’m sharing some pre-ceremony shots.  This is a bit picture heavy, because how else can I talk about fun stuff like weddings without lots of pictures? Per usual, I’m linking up with JordonMeredith and Mary and hope you’ll check out their blogs

On the morning of the wedding, Kim and I got our hair done at a studio right across from Hollow Creek (our venue). Once we finished our hair, we got breakfast and then hung out with the rest of the bridal party. We had a light lunch at 12pm and then at 2pm, Kim, Alana, Mom and I went back across the street to get our makeup done. 

 

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

 

Once we were all finished with hair and makeup, we headed back across the street to Hollow Creek, where all my girls were getting ready. We toasted with champs, listened to music and I started to get into my dress.

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

While we were doing all this, the men were putting the final touches on their outfits upstairs…

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

 

Such a beautiful day! Come back next week, where I’ll share some pictures from our first look — and talk about why I highly recommend doing a first look! 

What did you do pre-ceremony? Were you stressed? I was so calm!

wedwed_zps75c1ff65 

Wedding Wednesday

#BeyondMeat Beefy Quesadilla Recipe

While I am solidly in the meat eating camp, I do sometimes have days where I don’t eat meat for a variety of reasons — mostly because I don’t need to eat meat at every meal. I always appreciate yummy recipes that don’t center around meat. So when I was asked to try and review Beyond Meat’s Beefy Crumbles, I happily said yes! And instantly thought that a true test of the Beyond Meat product would be to create a recipe and have K try it and not tell him until afterwards that he just ate plant protein, rather than animal protein. Beyond Meat’s mission: 

Our mission is to create mass-market solutions that perfectly replace animal protein with plant protein. We are dedicated to improving human health, positively impacting climate change, conserving natural resources and respecting animal welfare.

As they say, meat is no mystery…it’s made up of amino acids, fats, carbs, minerals and water. Armed with this knowledge, Beyond Meat has come up with a meat substitute that is soy-free, has the same amount of protein per serving as beef and contains no trans fats, cholesterol or saturated fat. Also, they’ve been hyped on the Today Show and I kind of love the Today Show.

I was pretty excited to create a recipe with the Beyond Meat beefy crumbles. While I could’ve come up with a lot of things to make, I decided to keep it simple and just make some quesadillas. 

 

Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles Quesadillas
Serves 4
An easy and delicious quesadilla recipe made with a plant based meat alternative.
Write a review
Print
435 calories
48 g
45 g
18 g
20 g
9 g
166 g
759 g
2 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
166g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 435
Calories from Fat 157
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g
28%
Saturated Fat 9g
44%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 45mg
15%
Sodium 759mg
32%
Total Carbohydrates 48g
16%
Dietary Fiber 4g
14%
Sugars 2g
Protein 20g
Vitamin A
107%
Vitamin C
3%
Calcium
33%
Iron
17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. one package of Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles
  2. 4 soft tortillas
  3. shredded mozzarella cheese
  4. 1 sweet potato chopped in small chunks
  5. 1/2 cup spinach
  6. Olive oil
  7. Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook the beefy crumbles on the stove top over medium heat until they are cooked through.
  2. Heat up your tortillas.
  3. Add a drizzle of olive oil to your tortillas.
  4. Add beefy crumbles, shredded cheese, sweet potato, and spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roll up tortilla and cook on grill pan or stove top for 3-5 minutes until cheese begins to melt.
  6. Enjoy!
beta
calories
435
fat
18g
protein
20g
carbs
48g
more
Eat Pray Run DC http://eatprayrundc.com/

 So, what was the verdict? Well, it was two thumbs up. K did think that it tasted like a different kind of meat (maybe turkey or something) but ate 4 quesadillas. Yeah, he liked it. I was really happy with the taste and thought it smelled delicious when cooking and tasted even better. It tasted like beef — but better. Yum! 

See where you can find Beyond Meat here - I purchased mine at my local Whole Foods — in the freezer section. 

Have you ever cooked with a meat alternative? If you haven’t, is it something you would try?

 

note: I was compensated by Markerly to write this sponsored post but the ideas, thoughts and enjoyment of Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles are all mine (well and K’s)! I would never recommend a product that I hadn’t personally used and enjoyed.

Blogger Tip Tuesday: Using Pinterest to Grow Your Blog

Last week, I shared that Pinterest is the number one driver of traffic to my blog. I promised that I’d share more about using Pinterest to grow your blog and since I keep my promises, for Blogger Tip Tuesday, we’re going to talk about Pinterest. 

like (3)

If you’re like me (up until a few months ago, anyway) and have never thought much about using Pinterest to grow your blog, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is. It takes patience of course, but actually coming up with a strategy isn’t that hard. 

Group Boards!

yes, I had a tab open titled “how to take a screenshot.” LOL

So I highlighted this picture to show you that I use a few group boards on Pinterest. Essentially a group board is just what it sounds like — a board that is shared by a number of people. Everyone who is a “member” of the group can post to that board — it’s a great way to share your blog posts to a greater audience. And it’s an awesome place to find interesting content. 

When I first started using Pinterest, I just would pin my blog post to a board for my blog posts. I thought that was a genius idea. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t. No one really paid much attention to that board and while I still have it, I don’t usually pin my blog posts to it. I do however, pin my blog posts to each of the group boards and I’ve dramatically increased the traffic to my blog from Pinterest from that. 

So, how do you join a group board? The first step is finding a group board that you are interested in joining. Each board has it’s own requirements for joining. Usually you’ll have to follow the host and send them some sort of message requesting to join the board. That’s it! 

I’m still learning about using Pinterest, but joining and contributing to group boards is a great way to increase your blog reach. If you are interested in using Pinterest to grow your blog, you may want to give it a shot!

How do you use Pinterest to help grow your blog? 

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