Foodie Pen Pals: May

FPP post Foodie Penpals

It's that time of the month already- Foodie Pen Pals Reveal Day! Foodie Pen Pals is a wonderful program, organized by Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean. Every month she matches you up with a fellow foodie to exchange a box full of goodies. 

One of my favorite things about FPP is that I get to try local specialties without having to leave my house. My FPP this month, certainly delivered on the local products. I got a box chock full of Memphis  goodness. 

Andrea included a great hand-written note with an explanation of each item. I love knowing the background of the stuff in my box. My box included Rendezvous seasoning, which comes from a historic Memphis restaurant; Dancing Pigs BBQ sauce; Ugly Mug coffee; and Bacon Cheddar Fries. I love everything! I can't wait to try the coffee- I definitely have an Ugly Mug in the morning until I get my java. And my BF already has his eyes on the bacon cheddar fries!

What would you want to try first?

Race Fundraising

I am realizing that it is almost June, which means that the Tri for the Cure is coming right up. Which means that I better get on the fundraising. Sigh.

Kiersten Pfeifer Personal Image
I hate fundraising.

I know that that it is for a really good cause, but I still feel bad asking people to support me. I basically feel like I am asking them to pay so I can do something I want to do. Anyone else feel like this? But despite my dislike for raising money for charity, for at least the past 10 years I have done one event a year that has a significant fundraising requirement, so I have developed some strategies.

  •  Limit the number of times you ask people to support you each year so they don't get pledge fatigue. I limit myself to asking people once a year. If I want to do more events that require fundraising, I just pay myself. 
  • Pick causes that have some personal significance to you. If you have a story to go with your request, people are much more likely to want to support you. Last year my Dad had cancer, so doing an event that raised money for cancer seemed natural. 
  • Return the favor. Don't expect people to help you out if you never support them. 
  • Do some research on the organization you are fundraising for and tout the benefits. People want to know where their money is going. The Tri for the Cure benefits the Maine Cancer Foundation. I love that 100% of the money raised for them stays in Maine and they have very low administrative costs, so they money is directed directly towards research, patient support, and cancer screenings 
  • Offer people multiple ways to make a contribution. Send the link to fundraising page to the tech-savy internet addicts, send letters and accept check donations from people who prefer paper transactions, andput a donation jar out at work so co-workers can give a few dollars. 
  • Set up a raffle and give people a chance to win something by making a donation. If you can get local; businesses to donate items, great, if not you can raffle off your personal services (offer to do things like wash cars, clean houses, or even coach them in running, biking, or swimming).

Do you do events that require fundraising? What strategies do you use?

And if you would like to support me in the Tri for the Cure, you can do so here. 

An Island Life for Me??

After spending the week with the BF's Mom out on the island where he grew up, Islesboro, we spent much of drive home discussing whether or not we would ever want to live full time on an island again. We both grew up on islands, but then we both went away to college and have lived near cities ever since. We went back and forth and didn't really reach a consensus because our list of things we like about living in Portland about balances the list of things we liked about living on an island.

Things I would miss most about living in Portland:
-Access to multiple fully equipped gyms and yoga studios. This is absolutely #1 on my list. I love being able to take a variety of classes and mix up my workouts with the plethora of equipment at the gym.

so many options....
-Ability to go a store whenever I want and have access to nearly everything I could need. Here if I have a late night craving or I am in the middle of making something and realize I forgot some exotic ingredient, no prob. I can run to the store. And there is no island mark-up, so I am not stuck paying $6 for a box of cereal.

-Being able to come and go as I want/need. If I am running 5 minutes late, it isn't a huge issue. I won't miss the ferry. If I make good time, great, I'll get home early, instead of being stuck waiting for the next boat to get home.

-Ethnic food, art, and music. I love being able to eat Japanese, Thai, Mexican, etc whenever I want. I can go to a different art exhibit, and have my choice of live music every night.

mmmmmm El Rayo

Things I miss most about living on the Island:
-Being more self sufficient. When you can't go buy what you need cheaply and easily, it makes you grow or make a lot more of what you need. There is a huge satisfaction in growing or making much of your food yourself, and of course it is a lot healthier.

- Living a slower paced life. The lack of restaurants, malls, movie theaters, and other things to do leaves people with more time to do things like actually talk to each other or develop hobbies. People slow down to talk when they pass on the road, go to community events, or get together to play games or music. I used to be able to amuse myself at home for weeks at a time. Now I feel like I need constant entertainment.

who needs TV when you have this view?

-Being part of a tight knit community. When you live on an island with 500 people you know everyone and everyone knows you. At times the rumor mill can get old, but for the most part this is wonderful. When someone is need, everyone steps in to help. Everyone helps to look after kids. I always felt like I had people supporting me.

If you live someplace urban, can you imagine yourself living somewhere rural? If you live in a rural environment, can you imagine yourself living in a city? What would you miss most about where you live now?

Islesboro Retreat

I don't know that I necessarily believe in fate, but I do think it is pretty neat that my boyfriend and I both grew up on different islands on Maine's midcoast and then ended up living 1/4 mile apart in Portland. I also happen to have family on the island he grew up on Islesboro, so it is highly likely we passed each other at some point in our childhoods. His Mom still has a house on Islesboro and invited us up to spend a few days before she rents it out for the summer. Islesboro is about 68.88 sq. miles and has a year round population of around 566 people.

Last September we took my boat up to Islesboro for a night, but I was excited to get to spend some more time there and have a car to get arounhood so the bf could show me all the sights of his child! We left Portland early Sunday morning and got to Lincolnville just in time to see the 9 am boat leaving. So we grabbed some ice-coffee and a bear claw at Dot's while we waited for the 10 am. 

It is a quick 20 minute ride over to the Island on the ferry.

My Mom and her boyfriend drove up from their island, Southport Island, to meet us for the day. The forecast was for clouds and sprinkles, but it turned out to be a lovely day. We played a fun game of tennis, grabbed some hot dogs from the hot dog cart, and then walked down by the BF's old house.

I never get tired of ocean views. 

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I had to work, but that was okay because the weather wasn't so nice. I had brought my bike hoping to get in my annual ride around the island, but it was too rainy. So instead I got in a lot of hilly runs. There is nowhere flat on this island!

When I wasn't working, or running, we enjoyed island life. Which consists of a lot of sitting around, talking,  dog petting, eating, board game playing, and rock skipping (when the rain stopped for a couple minutes). It really is a simpler life. Somehow when there are no restaurants to eat at, no stores to shop at, or any other events to be at, it is a lot easier to relax and enjoy doing nothing.

Random thoughts on Yoga

I have been really into yoga lately. I just can't get enough. It is one of the few things that helps to quiet my overactive, crazy mind. And physically it feels like such a good thing to do to my body. There are are 2 ideas in particular that have kept coming back to me in the past few weeks.

The first is that I stink at picking and sticking to a drishti, or focal point, during practice. This is suppose to help center your practice and keep you focused on yourself. It also helps with balance. I pick a drishti, and then I find something wrong with it like it is too far away, or off-center, and pick another one. And then I find something wrong with that one too. And then at some point I usually totally abandon the concept of a drishti all together and just look around the room at whatever I want.

image source
This doesn't surprise me at all. In life in general, I am always trying to do multiple things at once. I am terrible at living in the moment and appreciating what I have right now. I am always wondering if I might be missing out on something else and thinking about what might come next. I want to know what everyone else is doing and then compare myself to them. So far yoga doesn't seem to be helping me with this, just reinforcing the fact that I stink at maintaining a drishti.

The second thing, which does surprise me, is that I love the hands on aspect of yoga. I love when the teacher comes and does a hands on assist. I don't know what this says about me. That I am starved for physical affection?? Normally, I like a lot of personal space. I do not like getting close to people I don't know well. Also, I hate being corrected. I don't take criticism well, even constructive criticism. But at yoga, it is just the opposite. I love being adjusted. It is amazing how one small little change makes a pose all of sudden feel so right. I love being able to go deeper into a pose with help.

Do you do yoga? What comes easily to you? What do you struggle with?

2013 Tri for the Y

Apparently triathalon is like theater, a bad dress rehearsal means a good performance. Because I had a horrible last swim session earlier this week, but a totally awesome race today!

I did the Tri for Y for the first time last year and couldn't wait to do it again. It's a great season opener because it's a pool swim, a small race, and everyone is super friendly.

I got to the race early and got all my stuff situated. I always forget that you need so much stuff for a tri! I made a list and checked it 3 times to make sure I was ready. I was super excited to try out my new quick zip tie bike shoes and tri sneakers.

I did a better job predicting my swim time, which made me a little nervous. I was in the 8 minute heat, so if I didn't finish in 8 minutes they would pull me out. I was also in the 6th heat which was a bit of pain, because I had to sit around for more than hour before I got to start. I was glad though that I got to watch the first heat. It was the slowest swimmers and they were truly inspirational. There were people of all sizes and ages and you could just tell they were giving it absolutely everything they had. The pool was echoing with cheers and clapping. It reminded me that it isn't about being the fastest- that just finishing is amazing.

A hour, and 4 bathroom trips later, it was finally time for me to start. The guys on either side of me went out fast, but I forced myself to keep it easy to start. And what do you know? I actually ENJOYED the swim. I felt awesome and finished in 6:32. That is 30 seconds faster than last year!

My transition went smoothly. The new zip tie shoes went on so much faster than my old laces, and I was out on the road. The bike course is hilly, but it is rolling mostly. It is also really pretty- we pass fields, saltwater marshes, and ocean inlets. I felt really good and the bike flew by! I piggy-backed with another woman for the first 10 miles, but then she ended up pulling on ahead in the final 3. I thought about taking a gel during the bike, not because of the length of the race, but because of my late start. It had been a solid 4 hours since breakfast. But I ended up not taking it because I felt okay and was afraid it would upset my stomach during the run. 

I did the 13.1 miles in 46:57, which is almost exactly the same as last year!

The run transition also went well, though there wasn't much room on the rack for my bike. Honestly, I was dreading the run. My legs were pretty tired, it was warm, and the run has a big old hill. The run  is my least favorite part of the course. It isn't scenic and it is just an out and back with a small diversion up the hill. 

I didn't wear my Garmin because I think I freak myself out when I see a faster pace than I usually run. So I just chugged along and tried to convince myself short, fast running is fun. For the last .5 mile I was running with 2 other women, one of whom was the woman I rode with on the bike. I caught her! It was kind of neat because were 28, 38, and 48 years old (I love having everyone have their ages on their legs, we should all do that all the time). They really pushed me into the finish. I stayed right with them, and even took the lead for a bit, but then we had to do a little extra loop around the back of the parking lot that I was just not prepared for. They both passed me at the last second, but I just couldn't go any faster. It doesn't matter, I am thrilled with my run time.  3.3 miles in 26:07 for a 7:55 pace. Sub 8's? Me?? Crazy!

I finished in 1:31:34 which is 2 whole minutes faster than last year AND I placed in my age group. I got to go up on the podium and got a fancy little plaque. 

More importantly, I felt so good and had so much fun during this race. It's nice to know sometimes that all the training pays off!

That Time I Flashed the Lawn Guys

It went from 40, rainy, and windy to sunny and 70 here overnight. Great. Except that it meant I was way too hot running this morning. I'd just grabbed the same clothes I ran in Tuesday (is that gross??) without checking the weather.

I was sweating buckets 10 minutes into my run my long sleeve shirt. So I figured I would do what I NEVER do- run in just my sports bra. The only reason I was willing to consider it is because I was doing and out and back on an off-road wooded trail. I figured I'd leave my shirt by the side of the path and then grab it and put it back on for the last 10 minutes on the main road back home.

So I ditched the shirt and enjoyed a much more comfortable next 20 minutes. The trail ends at a big sports field complex where there is usually no one early on a weekday morning. Today however there was a huge crew of guys mowing the grass. I mean like 35 of them. And they were all totally staring at me. Straight out staring. Haven't they ever seen a girl in a sports bra???

Well when I got home and looked in the mirror before I got in the shower, I saw why. My white sports bra is apparently completely transparent when soaked with sweat. Like so bad that I can't even show you a picture here. Those lawn guys got quite a show.  No wonder they were staring.

I will not be running in a sports bra or doing that particular run again for quite awhile.

And I forgot how to swim

Remember how I went to that swim clinic to prep for the Tri for the Cure? Well apparently it made me forget how to swim....... Or maybe it is the fact that I haven't been in the pool in the 2 weeks since. Either way, when I finally got to the pool today, it totally sucked.

each length felt so.long.
Before the clinic I was comfortably doing the tri distance (325 yds) 3 times with a lap of easy swimming in between as my workout. Today I thought I felt horrible just doing it twice with a rest in the middle. Poo.

I think part of it is that I am working way too hard on my turns and push off trying to implement the tips from the clinic. Arms tight to my ears, hands out in front, push-off before I am turned all the way around, push up well under the surface of the water. My brain can't handle it all at once!!

Combine the brain overload with my horrific allergies and the lack of swimming lately and it was rough. Good thing the race isn't this Saturday or anything......

What If....

I was reading an article this week about Mika Brzezinski's new book, "Obsessed," about living her life with an eating disorder. There was one thing in  particular that she said that has really stuck with me because it struck so close to home.

"Sometimes I wonder what I could be if 75 percent of my life wasn't obsessed with food."

I even over think food when I am on vacation. 

While I certainly have a much healthier attitude than I used to about food, and I don't have a "eating disorder" anymore, I do still spend what seems like inordinate time thinking about food. I think a lot about what I want to eat, what I should eat, what I am going to eat, making food, eating food, and then either feeling guilty or good about what I did eat. Along with that of course, is also the time I spend thinking about exercise. 

Some of this isn't bad. It does require a conscious effort to plan and prepare healthy meals and maintain an exercise routine. Food can be a great pleasure. But, I do also waste a lot of physical and emotional energy thinking about cravings, eating too much food that just ends up making me feel sick, and then feeling guilty. 

What if I was putting that energy into something else? What else could I have done already?

Could I have actually written the book that I have been thinking about for years? Could I have gotten better at the guitar? Could I have learned the play the upright bass like I have been wanting to? Could I have progressed farther in my career? Could I have volunteered more? Could I have spent more quality time with my friends and family?

What do you think about this quote? Do you think you devote a "healthy" amount of time to thinking about food?

DIY Friday: Patio Chairs

When I got my patio furniture out for the season, I noticed it was getting rusty.

So, I figured if I was going to spray paint it with Rustoleum, I might as well use a fun color. So I took off the seat part (not as easy as I thought it would be since the screws were all rusty), sanded down the chairs, and got to work with the spray paint. 

After 2 trips to the hardwar store for more paint (a can does not go far) my chairs were transformed. 
From tan to ........ very blue. The paint was lighter than I thought it would be.

And despite using drop cloths, I got blue paint all over the brick. 

I think this project was a mini fail. It's not terrible, but it also isn't what I envisioned. 

What do you think??

What is your biggest DIY fail??

Sounds I love

I really think about the most random things while I am running. This morning was the first foggy day we've had in a long time, so the fog horn was blowing as I ran down by Willard Beach. I started thinking about how I love the sound of the fog horn. It reminds me of being tucked in my warm bed growing up on the island and hearing it sound outside my window as I slept. Or, of foggy summers days where the fog was an excuse to build a fort and stay inside all day reading and eating cookies.

So that got me thinking about other sounds that I like.
- The sound of my coffee maker percolating in the morning.
- Bell Buoys. Another remnant of growing up on the water. I love the ringing bell sound. I even got a replica of the marker off the island where I grow up so I can ring it any time I like.
- Foot steps. I love listening to my foot-steps while I run.

And then naturally I started thinking about sounds that I don't like.
-Whispers. I am a freak, but I can't stand whispering. It sends this horrible tickle up my back, like nails on a chalkboard.
-Mouth noises. I hate hearing people (or animals) chew, swallow, lip their lips, kiss, anything mouth related. I have to sleep with a fan on now so I don't hear the dog licking herself during the night.

What random things do you think about while you run? What sounds do you like/dislike?

A grudge is the hardest thing to bear

I won't lie, a huge part of why I exercise is for cosmetic reasons. Many days what gets me out of bed and out running or to the gym is simply the calorie burn. But this week I was reminded of the other reasons why I exercise.

It had been a stressful week at work, so by Friday morning I was fried.  Thursday night I ate too much junk so I woke up with a food hang-over. The last thing I wanted to do was go to the gym, but I dragged myself there anyway. Half-way through my strength work, I realized that I was easily lifting weight that I'd struggled with just a few months ago.

I keep saying fact I texted my friend @Angie this just tonight along with some other thoughts......

I love that feeling of making progress. I also love being strong. It allows me to do so many things, like say, re-arranging my living room furniture at 3 am when I can't sleep (that happened this week.) After strength I went to a step class. We had new choreography and new music and there was such a sense of energy in the room that it totally revitalized me. I left the class with a literal bounce in my step and head full of happy tunes.

This morning I woke up a bit of a mess. The BF and I had a little spat last night. It wasn't anything major, and was probably partially fueled by the number of mint juleps I had at the Kentucky Derby party. So I was a little hung-over and just couldn't seem to move beyond the little fight. It was a perfect Maine spring day, bright sunshine and crisp cool air, so I headed out in my bike for a brick workout. I biked 6 miles to the Scarborough marsh, ran 4 miles on the marsh trail, and then took the long way home biking 11 more miles. I sweat out the alcohol toxins, drank clean water, and filled my body with fresh air. It was one of those times when I needed to feel physical discomfort to remind me that the silly things I was agonizing over in my head didn't matter.

On the second bike I passed a church and their big sign out front read " A Grudge is the Hardest Thing to Bear." Seriously? If that isn't a sign, I don't know what is.

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go #quote

For the rest of my ride, I tried to imagine any remaining resentment being forced out with every exhale and peace and happiness flowing in with every inhale. I wish I could say I got home feeling 100% better, but I am not that big of a person. I am terrible at letting things go. But, I did feel a whole heck of a lot better.

Derby Day

I spend most of my time, now that I am working from home, in yoga pants. So, everyone once in awhile it is fun to get dressed up. What better occasion than the Kentucky Derby?? We totally did it up this year- constructing our own fancy hats (mine perfectly matched my dress) and I even straightened my hair.

There were a few wine tastings going on in the Old Port, so we decided to hit those up first. It was pretty funny being the only people dressed up- we got a lot of funny looks. But then we headed to Brian Boru for their annual Derby Party, where it was strange not to be dressed up. They had a pet race out in the parking lot, which was a riot, a best dressed gentleman contest, a best ladies hat contest, a brass band, and of course betting on the horses. You could hardly tell you were in Main and not Kentucky, except for the fact that it was freezing! I should have worn a sweater.

My horse didn't win, but was a fabulous day all around.

Did you do anything for the derby??

Pin it Party

It's Thursday and it's been a long week, so I could certainly use a little party! Luckily, Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean is throwing a Pin it Party today. She is inviting us to share 5 of our own posts that we'd like to see on Pinterest. So let's get this party started- here are mine!

Coconut Lime Chicken Soup : So yummy and so easy!

My Body Doesn't Make Me Beautiful: Such an important Message

beautifulbodyNEDA My Body Doesnt Make Me Beautiful

Basement Blizzard Workout: We all get stuck working out in the basement sometimes

Southport Island Triple Brick Workout: When you want to mix it up a little


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...