Foodie Pen Pals Reveal October

Even though I have been doing Foodie Pen Pals for 6 months now, I am no less excited now when my box arrives than I was at the beginning.
blogbadgeAPPLE Foodie Penpals
Foodie Pen Pals is an awesome idea thought up by Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean. Every month you get a penpal pairing via email. You then have some time to exchange e-mails and get to know your pen pal before mailing out their box. The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15, so it is fun without breaking the box.

This month I received a box from Krista from Alaska who blogs over at MissCellaneous. This was one of the most personalized and thoughtful boxes I've received. Krista really spent some time getting to know me and picked items especially for me.

My box included some super yummy locally roasted coffee (because I told her I love coffee), coconut water (because I am a runner), lingonberry syrup (because I said I like to try local specialties),  healthy pumpkin chocolate cookies (because I have a sweet tooth), a sea salt chocolate bar from Madacasgar (because she saw on my blog I am planning to run there next year), a stunning photo she took on a hike that made me want to go to Alaska, and a homemade pink dishcloth (for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and because I love pink)

Thanks Krista!

Sandy's Wrath

It was a wild and windy night here on the coast of Maine. I went storm chasing last night. At Portland Head Light it was so windy that I couldn't keep my eyes open. Needless to say, I wasn't able to take any pictures. So I went back today to get some photographic evidence. It wasn't as crazy as light, but it was still pretty spectacular.
My thoughts and prayers are with those who sustained serious damage in the storm.

Canine Companion

Meet my house-mate for the next 2 weeks.

The boyfriend is away at a training for the next 2 weeks. Being the amazing girlfriend that I am, I agreed to watch Dixie. Actually, I begged him to let me watch her. She is adorable and the easiest dog ever. I wish I could have a pet, but with my work travel schedule it hasn't been practical. Now I have a step-dog. Awesome!

This morning we started out with some yoga. She does a mean updog. Then Dixie went back to sleep while I went to the gym. Now she is trying to help me work by jumping onto my keyboard.

Do you have pets?

The storm before the storm

It's been a busy weekend. Friday night I hosted a grilled pizza and pumpkin carving party before we headed out to the haunted hayrides. I hadn't been on these haunted hayrides since I was a teenager. Either they have gotten less scary, or I have become a little less of wimp!

It was a late night, so when my alarm went off for kickboxing Saturday morning, I just couldn't get up. That turned out to be a good thing because I discovered a great new class at my gym- athletic conditioning. We did agility drills on a ladder, and then cardio and strength intervals with boxes, jump-ropes, kettleballs, and plates. It really challenged me.

After the gym I decided to ignore my to-do list and head out to 2 Lights State Park. It was abnormally warm, sunny day and I wanted to spend some time outside. Unfortunately, there was a fog bank hovering off-shore.

The fog bank quickly moved inland and I very quickly could barely see beyond my own feet. 

 Saturday night I went to a Halloween bonfire where I ate my bodyweight in candy, toasted marshmellows, and cake. Ooops.

Today, I decided it was maybe a good idea to do some preparation for this monster storm that is supposed to be heading my way. I started off with a 9 mile run since it may be a few days before I can run outside again. I ran on the Eastern Trail through Scarborough and it definitely felt like the calm before the storm. Even though it was high tide there was hardly any wind and the water in the marsh was calm.

I started my run a little later than planned so I had to head straight to yoga and I was still 10 minutes late. I was freezing the whole class in my wet running clothes. It still felt good though, my right hamstring and hip has been really tight lately.

I took a quick shower and then headed to brunch with the bf. Nothing beats Becky's diner for an old school brunch.

So finally about 4 I actually started my storm prep. I brought in all my patio furniture.

 I filled up some bottles of water and got out my flashlight and headlamp. And naturally, I started cooking. I have enough to last a week. I cooked some beans for these curried pumpkin black bean burgers, made some vegan miso french onion soup, roasted Brussels sprouts, and cut up some fruit.

Bring it Sandy!


 In high school I went abroad to Holland and I had the most amazing host family. I consider them as much my family as my blood relatives.

My host-sisters have come to visit me and I've been back to visit them twice. Last year they met me in Rome for the marathon.

Besides my host family, the best thing about Holland is the chocolate hazelnut spread and chocolate sprinkles.  Long before there was Nutella in the US, there was chocoladepasta and hagleslag. For breakfast we'd either have hazelnut spread or butter with chocolate sprinkles. Seriously good.

So I was super excited to get a package this week packed full of my favorite Dutch treat. I've had it on bananas, english muffins, and straight from the jar.

Do you have a favorite international food?

Hot Yoga Fail

Lululemon is sponsoring an October yoga challenge with a free daily class at various studios around Portland. I was so excited when I saw the calender at the beginning of the month........ and then I didn't go. Since the end of month is rapidly upon us, I was determined to go last night, even if the class of the day was hot yoga. I have avoided hot yoga like the plague because I really hate the heat. I am a native Maine girl, bring on the snow.

But since it was free, and since my legs really needed it after the Harvest Half on Sunday and a killer hill workout yesterday, I decided to give it a whirl.

The room was already pretty full when I arrived, but I managed to smush myself into the back row. No way was I going up front. The heat didn't feel too bad as I lay in child's pose waiting for class to begin. Then, we started moving. I was dripping sweat in no time. The class had a much different flow than any yoga class I'd been to before. Mentally, it was a nice change. Physically, it was intense. I gave myself to permission to take it easy, something I rarely do in exercise classes. I always go for the advanced move. I was barely making it through even with the easiest modifications. It was humbling. I am a marathoner for Pete's sake.

Outdoor yoga this summer? No prob Bob. Hot yoga? Fail.

When the instructor mentioned that the class was 90 minutes (I thought it was an hour) I almost cried. I kept thinking about how much longer I had to go. I just couldn't get out of my own head. I couldn't surrender. If I had been able to stop thinking, to stop worrying, I think I would have been okay. I needed to live in each individual moment, and just ask myself, am I OK right now? But instead I let my fear of the heat, of the unknown, dominate me.

And that annoys me to no end, because now I feel like I need to try it again, to try and do better.

Harvest Half

I've been trying to run 12-13 miles every 3-4 weeks just to keep myself in shape. But, I am so tired of running alone on the same routes, so when I saw a posting on the Maine Running Company's Facebook page about the Harvest Half, I pounced and signed up. Nothing like signing up Saturday for a Sunday race.

After a few rainy, yucky days, Sunday dawned clear and cool. The race was held on the Eastern Trail starting in Biddeford and running through Arudel and Kennebunk. I LOVE small races. I got there 30 minutes before the 9am start and was able to park right by the start. No bathroom lines either! At 9 sharp we were off. It was chip timing, but it didn't really matter, since with less than 200 participants, it only took seconds to cross the line.

I planned to just run easy. I had set my watch for a 4min run, 30 sec walk interval ratio. Unfortunately, I forgot to start the interval workout. I wondered why that first 4 minutes felt so long. When I passed the first mile marker, I finally figured it out, and reset my watch.

The course was and out and back (with 2 little tangents) on a  flat,  all dirt trail. I loved it. The foliage was spectacular and the temperature perfect. I was actually having to hold myself back in the first half. Once we reached mile 7 I just went it go. I actually was racing instead of just surviving. I picked a person ahead of me and slowly reeled them in. In the last 2 miles I was really cruising. I passed 12 people. With 1/2 left to go I gave it everything I had, passing 2 woman, and then digging in to chick a guy right at the finish.

I finished in 2:05, good for 3rd place in my age. I got a sweet 13.1 Harvest Half beer glass as a prize. I feel pretty darn good, placing in a race that I didn't really train for. More importantly, I felt strong and happy out on the course. So often I run because I feel like I have to, mostly for the calorie burn. But today I loved it. Run on!

Why Running at Night Feels Faster

Ahah, vindication! I have always said that I feel faster running at night, and everyone told me I was crazy. 

Dark + head lamp= I feel like a Keynan

Now, a study from the Journal of Sport & Exercise Physiology supports my point. You do feel like you are moving faster when running in the dark than during the day. Why? Well basically in the dark objects further away aren’t visible, so you only have close-by objects to use as reference. This gives you a greater sense of speed compared to running during the day where your reference points are far away. Cool.

Does running in the dark feel easier to you?


Because our flights home from San Diego were messed up, I was up for a good 32 hours. By 7 last night I was crashing. I had just crawled into bed with a book when my house started shaking. I live fairly close to the airport, so at first I though it was just a low flying plane. But this was louder and stronger than ever before. For a good 30 seconds, I sat in bed as the world rattled. And then it was over.

I sent my boyfriend a message "Um are we having an earthquake?" He said he was at work and didn't feel anything. I went downstairs and opened my front door to see if my neighbors had come outside. They hadn't. So I thought I was crazy.

Then my phone started exploding with text messages. It was an earthquake and the epicenter was close to my house!

My West Coast friends are making fun of how we are reacted to a 5.0 magnitude earthquake. It's no biggie, I know. But this is Maine, we don't get earthquakes!

I will never understand my body

The last 5 days I have been going for beautiful runs along a dead flat seaside path on Mission Bay in San Diego. I was sleeping 9 hours and night and eating great food. And I felt like death on every run. My legs ached and my lungs burned.

Given that, I did not have high hopes for today's run. Due to a travel snafu, I have been up for more than 24 hours. I gorged on a huge margarita, garlic fries, and chocolate cake in the airport last night. My whole body is stiff from sitting on planes and my feet are swollen. And I have run a lot of days in a row, instead of my usual every other day, And then I went out and rocked 9 minute miles on my run and felt wonderful.

It just goes to show that you should never count yourself out before you give it a try, you just must surprise yourself. 

San Diego

Greetings from San Diego where I have been sitting in the airport because our flight was cancelled. So much for coming back from vacation well rested.  Oh well. We had a great long weekend. I went to some meetings, but mostly we swam, ate, lounged in the sun, and slept. 

Our hotel was AWESOME. This is looking down at one of the pools from the tower. We swam at least twice a day.

My company hooked us up with some super nice meals. It was fun to get dressed up and eat outside watching the sunset.

The boy got to wade in the Pacific for the first time ever. I also introduced him to fish tacos and self self fro-yo.
 Sunday we had completely free so we went to the zoo. It was amazing! My favorites were the elephants who alternated between throwing dirt on themselves (they use it as sunscreen) and frolicking in the water.
 If I had to pick one animal there to have as a pet it would be a koala. So cuddly!

 We spent a solid 4.5 hours at the zoo and I think we walked a good 7 miles. My feet were done! So we headed down to the Gaslamp district and settled down at an outside table for some grub. 
We got up early this morning to get in one last run. There was a great 6 miles beach-side loop we did almost every day. My stealth methods to turn R into runner are working :)  I was amazed by the number of running/bike trails and public parks in San Diego. They were everywhere! Then we rented paddleboards and got out on the water for an hour. The water was so calm that we were flying. On the way back a sea lion paddled alongside us for a good 20 minutes.

And now back to reality: cold, work, and flight delays.

San Diego Bound

I go to Southern California all the time for work, so I am usually not all that excited about getting on a plane to head West. This week though, I am psyched. This is not a normal trip.

It is work related because I am going for my annual company meeting. Because we are all consultants and work all over the country, once a year they fly us all somewhere fun for a meeting. Last year was New Orleans and it ROCKED. There is some business involved, but there is a lot more fun, eating and drinking than anything else.

This year we are headed to Paradise Point in San Diego. It looks super nice. It has been cold and rainy in Maine for like 3 weeks so I can't wait for some sunshine. Even more exciting is that the bf is coming with me! He's never been to the West Coast so I am excited to get to take him. It makes it feel more like a vacation.

California here we come!

On the Edge

This fall I made a goal to improve my fitness, not just maintain it. I feel like I'd gotten stuck in a rut with the same old workouts. So, I started added some more speed works and hills into my runs, and added 2 additional strength workouts per week. For the first few weeks, I felt great.

Then, I started my new job. It is a killer. Because I work from home, and my customers are in California and Texas, I have a really hard time turning off at night because they just keep calling and e-mailing.

Last week it caught up with me and I started to crash. At first I just tried to push through. I told myself I just wasn't being tough enough. Then, I remembered a great post I'd read on Carrots N' Cake. You can't push in every area of your life at the same time. The extra intensity and frequency of my workouts was too much combined with the stress and long hours of my new job.


So I tried to really escape this weekend by heading up to my Mom's on Southport Island. It is my go to retreat. It was as pretty as always, but unfortunately, it wasn't quite the place of respite that I was looking for.

There was a ton of end of season stuff to do- haul out the boat and clean it, haul the dingy and kayak and lug them under the boathouse, close up the boathouse for the season, harvest the rest of the garden and get it ready for winter, etc. There wasn't a whole lot of time for relaxing. Then there was some nice family drama to end the weekend that culminated in a lot of yelling and tears. Lovely.

When I got home I had a whole long list of things I wanted to do. And then I reconsidered. Instead, I left the list on the table, headed to the bf's house and we crawled in bed with a movie at 8. Just what I needed. 

Health Fall Comfort Food: Greek Yogurt Penne with Wild Mushrooms

The cool weather continues here in Maine so I finally have a chance to make some of the yummy comfort food I have been pinning on Pinterest all summer. This week I found a winner- Penne with Wild Mushrooms in Greek Yogurt Sauce. Pasta, mushrooms, and creamy sauce? Yes please. I even went crazy and made my own spinach pasta from scratch. Boo yeah.

I got the recipe from the Fage Yogurt Website, but I will admit I did not use Fage. I used the cheap store brand instead.Without further adieu, here is the recipe so that you can try it too.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2/3 lbs fresh wild mushroom, wiped and sliced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1.1 lb packet of pasta
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black
  • 2 containers of 6 oz Fat Free Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped basil

Preparation Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the chopped shallots and crushed garlic for 2-3 minutes without browning. Stir in the mushrooms and vinegar and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the pack instructions and drain well.
  3. Stir the pasta into the mushrooms and reheat. Season to taste. Add the  Greek Yogurt and stir well. If liked, Parmesan cheese can be sprinkled on just before serving. (Obviously I did this. You can never have enough cheese.)
  4. Serve piping hot and garnish with fresh herbs

Healthy Fall Comfort Food: Pumpkin Apple Oatmeal

It really feels like fall here in Maine this week. The leaves are vibrant and the air is cool. Unfortunately, it has also been gray and rainy a lot of the time.

Stuck inside on chilly days, I have been majorly craving comfort foods. But, I am also going to San Diego next week so I am trying not to over do it, so I will still be able to rock a bathing suit. This week I whipped up a big batch of my favorite fall breakfast- pumpkin apple oatmeal. It is a great thing to whip up on Sunday and eat all week.

Pumpkin Apple Oatmeal

1 c old fashioned oats
1 c steel cut oat grouts
1/4 c flax meal
2.5-3 cups water (you can also replace half the water with apple cider for extra apple goodness)
2 medium apples diced
1 can pumpkin
spices (I like nutmeg, cinnamon,  and ginger)
1/4 maple syrup

Combine everything in a pot and cook over medium until the oatmeal is done. I liked to serve with a big dallop of  Greek yogurt mixed in for extra creamy goodness.

A long run and a new toilet

I had so many fun plans for last week- apple picking, horseback riding, and Octoberfest. Instead, it poured all weekend and everything got cancelled. Boo. Instead I did two things I didn't plan on doing, a long run and installing a toilet.

I have hated my downstairs toilet since I moved in. It was old, ugly, and didn't work that well.
and now it is in pieces in my garage. free toilet anyone??

New toilet chilling in my living room
But on the long list of everything I wanted to do in my house, the toilet was near the bottom. Until Saturday when it wouldn't stop running. When I opened the tank and tried to fix it every piece I touched broke. New toilet time! Because I am a huge nerd, I had actually written down the model of a toilet I saw in Consumer Reports a few months ago. I went right on-line and ordered in from Lowe's. Then the bf and I spent awhile watching videos of how to install a new toilet on-line. Seriously, what did people do before Youtube?

I would like to say I helped a lot, but I didn't. R did most of it and I handed him things. I did do some of the non-technical and heavy, but gross things, like the scooping the water out of the old toilet/tank and scraping up the nasty old wax ring. An hour later we were done! We crossed our fingers as turned the water back on, but it worked. We did not flood my house. Yeah! It's a little silly how happy my new toilet makes me when I see it. It's really the small things people. 

So shiny. And it works too!
The second exciting thing in my weekend was a long run. I decided not to bandit the Maine Marathon because that's just not my thing. But weirdly when I woke up Sunday to pouring rain and wind, it inspired me to go run on my own. I didn't set any speed records, but I felt better than I've felt on a long time on a long run. There was something about the fact that it was completely miserable out that liberated me. My only issue was with my new i-pod, which I unwisely exposed to the rain. The new nano does not have a lock button, so as the rain or my headphone chord hits it, it skips ahead or turns off. Then, does not recognize my freezing wet fingers. Annoying.

I was soaking wet and freezing when I finished, but satisfied. I felt so strong the whole run. It feel darn good to just be able to go out and run 13 miles when I want to and feel totally fine after. And feel like I earned the huge a$$ pumpkin whoopie pie I ate for lunch.


I turned 35 in June. It's an age that felt both momentous and ominous to me. I'm not just an adult, I'm an ADULT. I've never...