Christmas in Florida

After many years of spending Christmas in Syracuse with one or two years in D.C. we decided to totally mix things up this year and do Christmas in Florida! My uncle was kind enough to loan us his condo near West Palm Beach for the week, so Ian and I met up there with my parents and my brother and his wife.

It was quite the busy year for my family with both my brother and I getting married in August and October, so a quiet, relaxing week in the Florida sunshine was absolutely perfect.

While hot and humid runs may not be the easiest, it felt so incredibly good to head out the door in just shorts and a tank. We’ll be back in DC by 9am today and I’m not looking forward to layering up again for runs this week.

There was a really great Downtown area not far from where we stayed filled with cool shops and restaurants. Seeing as our favorite bar back home is called Mulligans, we made sure to fit in a couple trips to the Mulligans here!

On Christmas Eve we went to a great Italian spot called 18 Seminole Street Italian Bistro. It was an old house converted into a restaurant and the food was amazing. I went with the classic spaghetti and meatballs and it was delicious. I also loved a chain pizza place called Anthony’s just around the corner from us – amazing coal-fired pizza!

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We also checked out a sports bar called Duffy’s and found a great ice cream spot one night! One of my favorite evenings was spent sitting outside at a restaurant/bar called Pelican Cafe. The picnic table outside each had an umbrella and sat on a sandy beach overlooking the water and boats. We spent a few hours drinking some beers and reveling in the fact that we were sitting outside in December!

In addition to eating out we enjoyed some great home-cooked meals as well including steaks on Christmas Day and a turducken over the weekend!

We also fit in a few trips to the movies for The Imitation Game and Unbroken. Both were based on true stories and both were incredible movies. Imitation Game was a really interesting story I didn’t know much about going into it, but really enjoyed. One of my favorite quotes from the movie was: “Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.” Unbroken was absolutely incredible and probably the best movie I’ve seen all year. Louis Zamperini’s story of courage and refusing to give up in the face of unbelievable adversity was incredibly moving and inspiring.

All in all it was a great week and such a fun way to spend Christmas!

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Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone who celebrates Christmas had a good one and that all are enjoying the holiday season! Ian and I have been enjoying a fun week up in Syracuse with my family – one of my favorite time’s of the year!

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We got a white Christmas which was great, but one of my not-so-favorite things about this time of year is the cold. Now I can handle running in the D.C. cold, but up here in Syracuse has been a whole different ball game. Being the first week of training for the Shamrock Half though, the elliptical in the warmth of my parent’s basement wasn’t an option. Instead I’ve hit the streets in temps from about 30 all the way down to under 10 degrees. Burr.

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Running into the wind with snow blowing into your face brings a whole new meaning to running in a headwind! While I don’t envy people who have to run through these conditions all winter, I have found that having the right gear makes a big difference. Layers is the most important thing. For my chilliest run I wore fleece-lined pants, calf sleeves and wool socks. On top I layered up with a sports bra tank, my Oiselle flyte tank, the flyte long sleeve and a new under armor long sleeve meant for ultra cold weather that Ian got me for Christmas.

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I topped it off with a hat, gloves and a neck gaiter I could pull over my nose and mouth during the first few minutes when the air felt too cold to breathe in. Keeping my head and hands warm is the biggest thing for me and makes running in the cold much more tolerable.

Another cold weather running tip that has really helped me is that you should dress for 20 degrees warmer than the temperature outside. Your body will quickly warm up and feel comfortable once you’re moving. On top of helping me know how to dress better for the cold, I use this as a mental trick to get out the door on the coldest days. If I can convince myself it’ll really feel 20 degrees warmer, then it doesn’t seem that bad.

Do you run outdoors during the cold? What are your tips and tricks for battling the weather?

Secret Santa Fun!

The Oiselle running team hosted a Secret Santa gift exchange this year just adding another reason why I love this team! Allison (@_RunACE) drew my name and sent the most thoughtful gift.

She sent a customized ornament from GoneForARun.com that included my name and the Oiselle logo! It’s probably too late for this year, but such a great future idea for the runner(s) in your life.

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She also sent me an Oiselle spike bag, which just happened to be on my wish list. I was extra excited that it came in one of my favorite colors!

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Special thanks to Allison for putting a smile on my face when this arrived last week!

Let’s hear it fellow birds…what did you send to/receive from your Secret Santa?!

In The Spirit: Holiday Fun in D.C.

Last weekend my Mom made a trip down to visit for a girl’s weekend. We kicked things off with a Christmas cookie baking day. Thanks to my Dad for FedEx-ing a package full of all the ingredients we’d need we were good to go! We put on the Christmas music station on Pandora and made dozens of peanut butter blossoms, chocolate peanut butter balls and attempted some snickers peanut butter bars.

National Christmas Tree

National Christmas Tree

The cookies were mostly a success. The snickers peanut butter bars came from a recipe I found on a blog I follow, and it seemed like there might have been a liquid ingredient missing from the recipe. There was nothing really holding them together, so they didn’t make the cut and ended up in the trash. The others were delicious however, so I stuck most of them in my freezer to keep me from eating them all at once! We also took advantage of the leftover chocolate to make a bunch of chocolate covered pretzels. Check out the recipes below.

On Saturday night, we enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather and went into D.C. to check out the National Christmas tree. Somehow in my six years here I’ve never done this. It was of course, very crowded, but also very fun. We took a quick spin through to check out a couple of the state trees and then got up close to see the main tree and all the train sets around it. They really do a great job with it, and it’s a fun holiday thing to do. We capped off the night at one of my favorite D.C. restaurants right around the corner from the White House – Old Ebbitt Grill. It was a great weekend and a fun way to get into the Holiday spirit. Only 8 days till Christmas!

Peanut Butter Blossoms:
½ cup veg oil
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Shape into balls and roll in sugar. Bake on cookie sheet at 350 for 8 minutes. Put in hershey kiss and bake another 2-5 minutes (unless you use peanut butter cups – they melt much faster!!).

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
2 ½ cups peanut butter
½ cups margarine
2 cups confectioner sugar
2 cups rice krispies

Shape into balls and place on wax paper.

To make chocolate coating in a double boiler mix and melt:
¼ bar parifin wax
18 oz plain chocolate bar
16 oz pkg chocolate chips

Cover cookies, return to wax paper and refigerate or freeze when cooled.