Thursday, April 28, 2011

Philly is fantastic.

...let's see how many Philly vs. "ffff" sound phrases I can make!

After our breakfast Monday morning, we hopped on the bus to go visit the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philly

[Photo by me.  It was actually built to look like a castle]

D really loves ghosts and ghost stories.  I know Ghost Hunters has gone there and maybe a couple others.  
He was anxious to see it, and I ended up really enjoying the tour.  They actually have a haunted house there that I would love to go back for!

 [Sir, I really like those big headphones you have]

We obviously took an audio guided tour throughout the penitentiary.  The audio was actually really well done and narrated by Steve Buscemi.  You could pretty much walk around wherever you wanted, aside from a few locked off places.

 [One of the "nicer looking" cells]

 [I think this was the haunted section?]

[We all know how hard it is for couples to get pics on their own.  D is a pro]

 Well and then we couldn't leave without seeing Al Capone's cell!  Apparently he complained of being haunted by a ghost in the penitentiary!

 [Next, we'll follow him to Alcatraz!]

After leaving the penitentiary, we took a long walk and saw some sights.  The Museum of Art was closed, but we did see the Rocky stairs.  No chance we were waiting in line to get a pic with that statue.

There was no way we I could pass up a picture with the LOVE sign, especially when we walked right past it!

[Philly probably is for lovers...but I look like a fighter here after walking 5 blocks]

 We walked from the Museum of Art to the Reading Terminal Market, which is apparently pronounced "Redding" Terminal Market.  We loved it though!  If you follow me on Twitter, you know we settled on a delish Cajun meal there.  

 [Clearly it should be pronounced "REEE-ding"]


I wish we would have had more time to really explore inside the Market.  There was cool used book section and stuff.  We headed over to see the Liberty Bell, but you know we aren't into lines and we're having the crazy one there.  We hit up some other cool bars, had dinner with some beer guys D knows and ended again at Sidecar. 

We had the best of times in Philly.  I honestly can't wait to go back.  I honestly can't wait to go on another leisure (non-beer related) trip with D.  He really is the best travel buddy and I love exploring with him.  It took me a helluva long time to write this post (thanks for bearing with me and reading it all!), so keep an eye out one day for NYC posts...they'll come one day :) 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Will the real weigh-in Wednesday please stand up?

I wasn't going to weigh myself today after the spring break trip and all, but since I've jumped right back on the working out wagon, I figured I'd go for it.

I'm down .2 of a pound!  Haha...while it doesn't sound like isn't much, I'm thrilled that I didn't gain weight from the trip!  It's doubtful that I worked out anything gained during the trip in two days.  There is something to be said for trips that involve lots of walking (haha, but come ON, we all know there is also something amazing to be said for sipping cocktails on the beach).  I'm happy that I'm not back to square one (although I'm still not too far from that square).  I didn't take my measurements because I didn't have time.

Now come on...I'm not trying to look like her, but I want to get into that swimsuit from J Crew in the bitter citrus (yellow) color! Love it!  I'm rocking the Shred with Level 3, day 2.  So far I am loving level 3.  I need to prepare to move on from there.  Recommendations for what to move on to?  Couch to 10k is always getting me really excited about running.  I can't wait to schedule my first 10k in July! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

And first we hit Philly.

I seriously can not rave about our road trip/vacay enough.  We had such a wonderful time.  The time actually didn't fly by, which was wonderful!  I think we enjoyed it to the fullest.  On a completely random note, do you ever have the weirdest dreams when you're on vacay?  I think it's that you're lacking the subconscious comfortability that you have when sleeping in your own home.  I didn't start dreaming about school until the end of the trip, so that was nice.

To save a bit of money on hotels, we decided to check out Airbnb. It was recommended to us by some friends who used it when they traveled to San Fransisco a while back.  Basically people rent out their homes/apartments/etc for similar prices as hotels.  Airbnb acts as the "middle-man" so owners do not handle your money.  It's definitely fab if you're staying for a bit and want the money-saver luxuries of making a couple of your own meals.  You can choose to rent just a room or a full home/apartment.  Anyhow, we chose to rent apartments in Philly and NYC through Airbnb.  We had a wonderful experience at our apartment in Philly.

It was a little studio apartment, but the location was ideal!  We found parking on the same block (which is always a concern when you're road tripping to a city).  The apartment was only around two blocks from a great little craft beer bar, Sidecar.

The first night we were there, we headed out to walk around the city and find some good food.

As we were walking in Philly, I instantly fell in love.  All the brownstones.  I really love a city where you can easily walk/bike anywhere.  I know the above picture isn't great.  I was just snapping random shots on our first night.  We walked about 5 or 6 blocks to Jose Pistolas.  Unfortunately, I didn't capture pics of the food.  D had been there before, but it's a really cool Mexican restaurant with awesome beer.  We hung out, had some beers, and had a delicious meal.  A couple things we loved: a) great mexican fare which we can't seem to find in Raleigh and b) the price!  It was so affordable (similar to Raleigh prices).  I could eat there all the time.

After leaving there, D quickly hailed a cab like a pro and we headed back to Sidecar.

[Delicious craft beer line-up]

We didn't eat there, but I wish we would have had the opportunity!  They have a great looking food menu.  The place is a bit small, and it was pretty packed for a Sunday night.  Although we still scored bar seats and had a great time.  The bartender recognized D and let us try some special beers.  Even better...we walked right "home."

I don't want to go all picture/text heavy on posts, so I'll save more Philly for another day (plus, my internet is acting up and it's taking AGES to upload pics).  The next morning though we did enjoy the perks of being in an apartment with our own homemade breakfast :)

[Although it's harder than you think working in a kitchen that's not yours...eggs should have been over easy and toast a bit lighter...delicious nonetheless!]

How to pack for vacay!

You know I'm all fashionably challenged.  I did want to try and up my game a bit since we were going to New York City.  Plus, I have a small duffle and didn't want to mindlessly throw in lots of items like I usually do.  I wanted to go in with a plan!  That's what I did.  I developed outfits that could work for every day with a little flexibility since I couldn't exactly predict the weather 7 days in advance. 

I picked out a lot of my favorite pieces and just started trying on outfits.  I went with layers and flats.  Here's what I ended up with:

We were going for seven days.  I wore some casual, comfy clothes not pictured for the long car rides.  I tried on every outfit and listed each one in my iPhone, so I knew I wouldn't lug along a bunch of extras.

As for shoes, I knew flats would be an absolute necessity.  I brought along my rain boots (necessary for rainy days in NYC),  my oxfords, my Tory Burch flats, and my Clark's.  The oxfords were a stretch since I hadn't worn them and weren't sure if they'd give me blisters (they didn't!).  The TB flats tend to hurt the balls of my feet and backs of my heels after being in them all day.  I knew I needed a back-up if the oxfords and flats killed me any day.  The Clark's Wallabees are certainly not the most fashionable, but they have to be the most comfy shoes I own.  I knew they'd be a necessity for my feet if fashion killed them :)

I added this French Connection dress last minute.  I have started wearing it as a "skirt" with the sweater over it.  I knew I could layer it well with tights and a jacket if need be.  I actually wore this instead of the other dress.

All in all, the pre-trying on and well-thought out packing really helped!  There were a few outfits I didn't wear.  There were a few I didn't love on arrival.  It was still nice to not think about pairing and changing 5 times.  Even if I didn't love the outfit, I usually went with it for ease. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weighing-in Wednesday...two days early.

Nope.  It's not Wednesday and I'm technically not weighing in.  That's probably not an appropriate title at all.  I'm loving having this extra day to recoup from our vacay and mentally prepare for the hell that is going to be the next month and a half at school.  I know I'm going to be super busy this week, but it's wonderful to have some time to catch up on blogs and schedule some posts for this week.

Anyway, working out/running is going to definitely be a challenge with my busy work schedule and the heat wave we came back to in Raleigh.  I will say, whether it is mental or actually physical, I can tell a difference in my body after not shredding/running for a week. 

I hit it hard today, and that might be me by tonight.  I started back on Level 2 of the shred.  Day last (hopefully...I've lost a little count after the vacay) and I vow to never go back to that level.  The temperature in my house is currently 77 degrees (what? We're cheap smart and refuse to pay crazy expensive power bills).  I probably didn't shred to my fullest because I had to stop multiple times to keep from passing out.

After what I thought would bring me to my deathbed, I figured I'd brave the 83 degree weather for my first day of Couch 2 10k.  Thanks to Kayla for recommending it.  I'm hoping it's going to get me up to a better speed and endurance.  It's a 13-week program, and it only requires running three days a week.  I think this will be a much better start than jumping right into the half training (which, let's be honest...I wasn't ready for).  I'm going to do the c210k, and then start my half training.

There's the plan!  Not too tough.  10 days left of the shred.  I'm considering going for Jillian's Ripped in 30 that some of the shredcrew have tried after I get through the shred.  I'm working hard to jump right back into the routine to get bikini ready!

Look forward to lots of vacay posts this week!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Vacation all I ever wanted...

...vacation have to get away! Our vacation has been wonderful and I can't wait to write lots of posts next week filling you all in on the fun! (if you follow me on twitter [@sknnyjeanschai], you've already seen most of these)

Philly cheesesteak!

So happy to go in an NYC Anthropologie store!

Should have worn tights to wait outside in the wind for discount Broadway tix

View from Central Park

You can't tell but that's Robin Williams, and that's literally how close we were.

Good ole Lady Liberty from afar...

-BlogPress post

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Leaving in a Soul...

So tomorrow we are leaving in the Kia Soul to road trip to Philly. I couldn't leave without quickly mentioning my gratitude. If you haven't heard, the east coast had a major storm system pass through starting on Friday. I know it passed through Alabama yesterday. It hit NC today.

Wake county (Raleigh) and other surrounding counties have been declared in a state of emergency. Last I heard the death toll was 3 and injuries were at 24 in Wake county. Red Crosses had opened up shelters. This is the first time since 1984 that Raleigh has had such an extreme tornado warning.

D and I lost power around 3ish and watched the storm pass until around 5:30ish. With no power we decided to go meet some friends. We didn't realize how bad, and close to us, the damage was until we drove through downtown.

Pictures honestly can not describe what we saw. We could literally see the path the tornado ripped through. This was only a mile or so from our home. Our home we just bought 3 months ago. I am so grateful for our safety and the fact that we actually did not experience trauma or nervousness due to no damage near our house. I'm grateful for no damages to our home or cars. I'm grateful we still get to go on our vacation tomorrow (we've had a vacation cancelled before due to a ridiculous "act of god" incident). We're very lucky. My heart goes out to all those who have suffered losses, hurt, and damages during this ordeal.

-BlogPress post

Friday, April 15, 2011

Goodbye for now but not forever.

Um, coolest thing to note do far...I am up to over 50 followers!  I feel awesome and super special about this.  You guys are amazing!  Thanks for bearing with me and being at least semi-interested in what I ramble on about.

[No, no!  I'm not leaving for good! via weheartit]

For now it is goodbye since at the end of today, I am officially on SPRING BREAK!  I have the best of intentions to do absolutely nothing school related in any way.  Plus I told you about our spring break road trip, I won't be able to write worthy posts while I'm away.  I'm quite positive I'll be updating frequently on Twitter since I am now obsessed (wait, what?! You don't follow me on Twitter yet?  Do it!)!

We had a slight change in plans to our road trip and won't be heading to Baltimore or DC on the tail end.  We will be in Philly for two days and NYC four days.  Neither D nor myself have been to NYC, please send me your recommendations!  Feel free to email me if you have lots to share!  Bear in mind we'll only be there a short time!  I know we can never do everything there is to do.

Since we're now leaving Sunday, I'm going to take advantage of Saturday to REALLY plan out my outfits.  You know I am fashion-challenged, but I need to be a better packer.  And duh, I need to impress in New York!  It's hard to think of shoes that are suitable AND fashionable for walking  Most flats I have hurt my feet after standing all day in the classroom.  I'm taking my oxfords and kicking myself for not yet having bought being able to afford my Toms.

Send me your recommendations!  And I'll be back Monday still on spring break.  I'll most likely schedule lots of picture heavy posts of our trip :)

And ps. what a tragedy that we are driving and I have tons of space to bring back anything I want, but can't afford to do any fabulous shopping :(  Maybe I can convince D to enter a few stores with me (H&M?!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Good grief.

It has been one hell of a week for me.  I've been dealing with some pretty major financial stresses (yes, Sirius radio of course I signed up for you to charge me almost $500 AT ONE TIME for a 3 year contract...grrr).  I try not to complain too much about finances (who wants to read about that?!), but it honestly feels like when it rains, it pours.  I have about 10 things coming up due at once.  Student loan payments are killing me.  There is no hope on the horizon for teachers to receive their well-deserved cost of living salary increases.  I imagine the increased stress in my life has contributed to yet another week of no weight loss.

At this point, I am aware I am doing all the wrong things to cope with my stress.  Eating...which contributes to more calorie intake.  Drinking...same.  I can't shop because of my money woes.  It's beginning to get depressing how long it's been since I've bought something really good for myself.  But...let's get positive!  Here are a some things I'm loving and happy about!

Spring break/road tripping with D


Military inspired vests

 [carrie @this free bird]

[Kendi @ Kendi Everyday] 

Losing a couple inches


Spring returning!  

 [Tulips are my favorite. weheartit]

Painting my nails again (also loving other bloggers' nail inspiration!)

D's new car 

 [Not his actual car.  But he's in love with his little Soul.  I love seeing him so happy]

Reading for pleasure 

Finally done reading books for school literature circles, etc.  Getting back to checking off my books for my 101 in 1001 list.  I'm loving The Big Sleep so far, I've just been to exhausted to read daily.

Training for my half marathon

Even though I haven't officially started training, I'm really looking forward to it!  I'm using girls like Tara (ps. check out Tara's cute giveaway!) and Megan as my inspiration.

No weight GAIN - While I'm barely holding on to the shredwagon these days (ugh...emotional breakdown made me miss yesterday), at least I'm not gaining weight.  If I was down to my goal weight, this would be fabulous news.  At least I know I can maintain like this if I ever get to that goal :)

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Obsessed: Natalie Portman


    She is gorgeous and funny.  She has done such a variety of acting roles.  If I were an actress, she'd be my idol.  I sort of don't want to stop looking at her.  Claire also talked about her love of Natalie here.  I stole the following picture from her...

    It doesn't help that I saw Black Swan this weekend and was blown away.

    Whew...that movie will probably give me nightmares.  It kept me on the edge of my seat.  I loved the sexual tension in it.  I loved the thrill.  The emotions.  I loved it all.  Amazing.  Mostly, I loved Natalie.  I can't think of a better fit for that role.

    She is currently in Your Highness with James Franco (adore!) and Danny McBride.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    I can see it over the horizon.

    Spring break that is!  I am beyond excited!  This is going to be a much deserved and needed break.  The show begins on Saturday.  After throwing around some prices, we decided to commence with the proposed road trip from spring break!  It's going to be a bit cheaper than flying, and with some unexpected costs occurring next month as well as two weddings, it'll be best to reserve flying somewhere for a later date.  D had the brilliant idea of lining up some of our friends to house sit, which will save us about a hundred bucks in boarding costs.  Yay!

    We're planning to leave on Saturday, and here is the tentative line-up.

    Saturday to Monday:  PHILLY!

    D has been to Philadelphia, but I never have.  I'm excited for him to take me to some cool eateries and beer bars.  I'm excited to have an official Philly Cheesesteak and visit some popular landmarks.  If only I could capture a picture as cool as the one above!

    Monday through Wednesday/Thursday:  NYC!

    Neither D nor myself have been!  We're not staying long enough to do/see near the amount of stuff we want to.  Send recommendations!  We'll probably try to catch a broadway show.  I have to check out Central Perk Park.  Who knows what we'll find to do in the city that never sleeps.  We're hoping to meet up with some long lost friends!  Seshie?  Will you be there??  Also, any recommendations as to where to keep our car while in town?

    Thursday to Friday:  BALTIMORE or DC!

    I'm not too sure which we'll stop.  We'll hammer out those details this week.  It'll be a one day thing since we have to be in Virginia (Harrisonburg) for a beer festival on Friday.  We'll spend the remainder in Harrisonburg and probably return to Raleigh on Sunday.  Then I have a day to recoup.  I'm so excited to road trip with D (AND in his NEW CAR!) and explore some of the north. 

    Blogging will be nill next week (and so will the shred! uh oh...), but I'm hoping to find some cool running spots.  Then when I return shredding and half training are on hardcore!

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    I made it out alive, but probably unhealthier.

    Good grief.  A week is too long to go without posting.  It's definitely hard to get around to uploading pictures.  Stupid Blog Press was not working for me either.  It's been a busy whirlwind of a week.  I wish I had/could make more time with my computer.  You know how I went back to Athens last weekend.  We had a wonderful time, but of course it flew by too quickly.  I think the pictures will speak for themselves, but here is my trip in photos :)

    [Sweet puppies make the trek down to Athens with us]

     [Stella stayed with us at D's parents for one night.  She'll make a bed out of anything...including a pillow]

    [Steak cubans from our fav local restaurant]

    [Carnival theme at the brewery...complete with a dunk tank filled with beer]

    [Of course the one picture of D and I is blurry...]

    [Fire-lit hula hooping at its best]

    [Um yes...helium ingestion was involved by nights end]

     [We ended our night at Little Italy with some pizza]

    Overall, we had a wonderful weekend.  We woke up Sunday and had brunch with some of our Athens favs then made the long trek back home.  We love Athens.  We'll be back in May!


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