These are a few of Fenway’s favorite things

Fenway is one picky puppy!

Right now, she’s eating Natural Balance food. It’s a little pricey, but she is allergic to chicken, which is an ingredient in a lot of other dog foods.  Even ones that say they are based on another protein, like venison or lamb, often have chicken in there somewhere.  With Natural Balance, I can just grab a bag of whatever protein and feel safe knowing that I’m not accidentally giving Fenway chicken.  We occasionally give her Merrick, which she also likes.  They aren’t as good about keeping chicken out of the other protein-labeled foods.  But if you read labels and get the right one, that works too.

I tried to get her to eat Blue Buffalo, but she didn’t really like it for whatever reason.

In terms of treats, I usually stick with a few brands.

  • Zukes – Fenway LOVES Zuke’s treats.  All of them.  Seriously, I haven’t seen a treat from this company that she doesn’t go crazy for.  Her favorite is the Z-bones in clean carrot, which also clean her teeth.  I could get the video of her reaction to these treats to load, but here is a link to it:
  • American Jerky – This company makes great bison jerky that Fenway loves.  It’s also easy to find and not super expensive, which make Ben and I happy.
  • Trader Joe’s – Fenway is a bit picky about Trader Joes treats.  They have one set of biscuits that are quite large.  If we give Fenway a whole treat, she doesn’t eat any of it.  But if we break them into smaller pieces for her, she can’t get enough!  They often have other smaller treats, and we’ve had luck with them as well.  And Trader Joe’s dog treats are MUCH more affordable that what you find at traditional pet stores.
  • Charlee Bear Treats – These treats are low calorie and look a bit like an oyster cracker.  They are great for playing and training.  However, since they are cracker like opposed to a soft dog treat, they don’t have the smell motivation that other treats have.  But Fenway loves them, and she immediately is on her best behavior whenever she sees the bag come out. We stick with the egg and cheese or the beef liver flavors, due to the chicken allergy.  But I really want to try the turkey and cranberry for the holidays.

Staying Healthy During the Holidays

I’m a big fan of everything in moderation.  I don’t like depriving myself of the joys in life.  I also think I enjoy treats more when I have them sparingly.

But during the holidays, it can be tough to eat in moderation.  At Thanksgiving, there are so many yummy options to put on my plate!  Our dinners are usually something that requires no sides or only one side (grilled meat on a salad or pasta/quinoa mixed with veggies).  Having so many options makes it hard to say no.  Especially when some of those options aren’t things we tend to make for dinner – I can’t tell you the last time we had stuffing or mashed potatoes when it wasn’t a holiday meal.

Thanksgiving is like a great big cheat day for our (usually) healthy dinners during the rest of the year.

But between Thanksgiving, Christmas, holiday parties, dinners on the go while shopping, “moderation” sometimes goes out the window.

So this year I’m participating in two challenges to remain mindful of keeping balance during the holiday season.  Since there is a high likelihood of eating/drinking more, I also need to make sure I exercise more.

Elf 4 Health

The lovely ladies over at Nutritionella and The Lean Green Bean are hosting Elf 4 Health, a month long challenge to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holidays.  What’s great about this program is it gives you a specific goal for each day.  These can be anything related to fitness (100 burpees),  nutrition (meatless monday), or lifestyle (unsubscribe from 3 magazines/newsletters you don’t read).  I also love that it pairs you up with another “elf” to keep you motivated.

Interested in joining?  Everyone gets a new elf in mid-December, so it’s not too late to join session 2.  Click here to learn more and sign up for the 2nd session.

Delta Running Challenge

Through the years, a lot of the girls in my college sorority (Tri Delta!) have gotten into running.  We live all over the country now, and we occasionally travel to do races together (see Disney Princess Half, Veterans Day 10K in 2010 and 2011, Nike Woman’s Half).  Instead of trying to schedule in travel and a race, we have gotten a pretty good sized group together and do our own remote challenge.

So we set a goal, which I think has changed every year, for everyone.  This year, it’s 10 miles a week or 3 hours of exercise.  At the end of the week, we email or captain and let her know we reached the goal.  She then selects one winner at random, who gets a Starbucks gift card.

I don’t know how many years we’ve been doing this now, but it’s a lot of fun.  It’s flexible, motivating and, most importantly, it’s a great way to stay in touch with the girls from college.

What do you do to stay healthy during the holidays?



Meet Fenway

Back in April, Ben and I adopted a puppy.  Meet Fenway!


First, we did a TON of research on breeds of dogs.  We wanted to make sure that we found a breed that worked for us and our lifestyle.  We ended up deciding we wanted a Brittany.  It was the right mix for us.  These dogs are super friendly, eager to place, friendly with kids, but is still a dog that can run with us.  Since Ben and I both run, it was important to have a dog that can go running with us.  The only downside of the breed is that they definitely need a lot of energy: I can tell when she hasn’t had enough exercise. She gets super hyper and starts to get destructive (biting on the sides of tables, chewing things she shouldn’t be, etc.).

Once we decided on a breed, we also knew that adopting was important to us. While not all breeders are terrible people (Ben’s dogs from growing up were both from a breeder who was very respectable), we knew we wanted to adopt.  We knew it would be hard to find a Brittany in a rescue situation, so we set in for a long search.

But then we found a great organization: The New England Brittany Rescue. This group does nothing but Brittany rescues.  They do a thorough job to make sure they place the dogs in good homes.  We had to fill out an application, conduct a phone interview and then participate in a home visit.  We found a dog that we loved, but she was adopted before we were able to finish the process.

But a couple weeks later, we got a call from the organization saying that they had a puppy!  She was only 3 months old, but she was available for adoption.  We jumped at the chance to get a puppy!


So one week after Easter, we picked up our puppy.  She has been an absolute sweetheart every since.  Sure, she has probably peed on every square inch of this place at one point or another (except for my closet – she isn’t allowed in there). But she is playful, loving, and definitely a runner!


Question of the Day: Do you have a pet? What kind and why did you get it?


As some of you may know, Ben and I bought a house about a year ago.  We closed on it on my birthday, which made for a fantastic birthday present.

It’s a townhouse – 3 stories, 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bath – and most importantly, it’s within the beltway.  While we knew we were going to move a bit farther from the city, we didn’t want to be too far.  Especially since we knew it would be likely that the move would mean that we’d need to start driving to work.  This place gives us the option of either taking the metro or driving.

While the house was pretty much move in ready, there were a few things here and there that needed to be done.

For example: right when we moved in, we purchased a new washer and dryer.  I think the old ones were original from when the place was built in the 1980s.  We purchased the LG front loading washer and dryer – against the recommendation of my mother and my sister.  However, we really like it.

We also painted the living room.  The color is Dolphin Fin by Behr and I really like it.

Although everything else that we said we wanted to do we never got around to it.  Once we hit the one year mark, we realized we needed to get on it.  So in the next couple of weeks we have an electrician coming to install recessed lighting in the office/laundry room (it’s technically below ground and has no installed light. The lamp we’ve put down there just isn’t cutting it), we’re painting the entry way and halls (Gentle Rain, also by Behr).  We’re still debating colors for the other rooms. We’re having a hard time deciding on the office/laundry room.  I’m hoping that once we get some light in there, we will have a better time deciding on a color.

My DIY project was the fireplace.  It was a maple wood color, which was just ok in the room.  I really wanted to paint it white; i thought the contrast against the grey would look pretty and it would match all the trim in the room. So last Saturday, I made that fireplace my project.


First, I needed to sand the fireplace to remove the finish.  I used 60 and 220 sandpaper to sand the whole thing down.  I didn’t need to take too much off, and it was actually much quicker than I expected.  People talk about sanding as being a terrible task.  I think it took me a little under an hour to do the whole piece.

Next, we got a can on Behr Paint and Primer in one with no color added – so it’s a stark white.  And start painting.  I have put 4 coats on, and some places could use another coat.  But I think the 5th coat will be the final.


You can also see the Boston photo in the top half of the photo.  That’s a framed old school photo of the city that Ben has had since college.  It’s really cool to see how the city has changed.  For example, the area where BU is now is looks like farmland…


I’ll keep posting photos as we get the place situated.  I’m super excited to decorate it for Christmas!

Remember me?

Hi!  I’m back!

I know it’s been a while, but I’m back.  I stopped blogging for a variety of reasons.  But I’ve decided to pick it back up again.  I won’t post daily, but I’ll try and be better about blogging on a “regular” schedule.  The first couple posts will probably get you a bit up to speed on what’s been going on in my life.



Last Saturday, we had a series of wicked storms roll through the D.C. area.

Like at one point we thought a tornado was heading toward our apartment.  The NWS said there was a confirmed tornado heading toward us, but by Monday they claimed it was a false alarm.

But the storm DID give us a really pretty sunset.  I was able to grab some photos on my iPhone, so I figured I’d share.



Disney Princess Weekend Part II – The Race

This post was written shortly following the Disney Princess Half Marathon, but I delayed posting for a variety of reasons. If you’re really curious, I can tell you why in real life.


Sunday morning’s alarm went off at 3 a.m.  No that isn’t a typo.  We left the hotel at 3:30 in the morning to walk over to Saratoga Springs.  Disney only provides transportation to and from the race from select “host resorts”.  Old Key West wasn’t a host resort, but we didn’t mind the walk to Saratoga. In fact, we laughed a ton.

We caught the bus to the race, which dropped us off at the finish line.  We checked our bag (flip flops, extra long sleeve shirts to change into) and started the trek to the start line.  I totally understand why Disney said to be on the bus by no later than 4 a.m.  We caught the 4 a.m. bus and we made it to our corral at 5:40.  It look a long time to travel to the start.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Jane, Christen and I were all in corral C so we lined up in the back so we could start the race at a nice slow pace (Belle, who was walking the race was in corral A and started before us).  Props to Disney for having fireworks at not only the start of the race, but the start of each corral.  Seriously.  I loved the fireworks.

Disney Princess Half MarathonChristen, Jane and I at the start line

We ran down the highway that connects EPCOT and Magic Kingdom and ran past people of stilts, a Pirates of the Caribbean float and a hot air balloon.  Then we ran through the opening gates to Magic Kingdom.  We curved around the parking lot a bunch of times and stopped to take pictures with the villains, who were grouped together. We passed the Contemporary resort.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Next was the most amazing part of the race.  We curved through a back-employees only section of the park near Space Mountain and entered onto Main Street USA and ran up to the castle.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Disney Princess Half MarathonDisney Princess Half Marathon

We turned off to Tomorrow Land, curved around Fantasy Land, came up through the castle (and ran through the castle!!) and curved to Frontier Land.  Then we exited through a back employee-only area and onto a back road.  We traveled down the back road onto the road that runs between the golf course and the Polynesian and Grand Floridian resorts.  Disney was great at having a ton of characters on this stretch, which is approximately miles 7-9, which is the point that a lot of people hit the wall.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Then, we dumped back onto the highway and ran past Pirates and the hot air balloon.  On the way back, Disney added a few characters such as a bug from It’s a Bug’s Life.  We than entered into the EPCOT parking lot and into the park, running all over including around the front of the big silver ball and back near the countries (but not through the countries).  We then looped out to the parking lot and made our way to the finish line.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Crossing the finish line was an amazing feeling.  Absolutely amazing.  And I loved being able to cross the finish line with two of my friends.  Jane, Christen and I made a pact to stay together throughout the race, and that we did.  Shortly after crossing the finish line, race volunteers placed the metal over our head and we were able to pick up a bottle of water and a food snack pack.  We were especially impressed that the snack pack was entirely gluten free.

After the race, we caught the bus back to the resort where the boys made us breakfast.  My sister and her family stopped by briefly to say hello; it was great to see them.

Overall, I thought the race was really great.


  • The race was really well organized and Run Disney did a great job at providing information leading up to the race.
  • The packet pickup was very smooth and getting our corral changed was super easy.
  • The expo was great – tons of vendors and lots of stuff (both free and for sale).
  • Buses that morning ran regularly, and we didn’t need to wait long to board.
  • Along the race route there were a ton of water stations and first aid stations.  Each station had tons of water and PowerAde.  There was enough people handing out water that it was easy to grab.  I was never thirsty during the race.

Areas for Improvement

  • This race had a LOT of walkers.  Which is great that it’s friendly to people of all exercise levels.  But it made it really hard to run, as many walkers didn’t duck off to the side or slow down before coming to a halt.  It was really hard to weave in and out of walkers, and I almost ran over a few people to came to abrupt walking breaks.  In the future, I’d love to see a walking and running “lanes”.  Or perhaps Disney can include in the race info that walkers should stay to the outside and let runners take the inside lane.
  • Some sections of the course were really narrow (of course, this made the walkers that much more difficult to weave around).  While that can’t always be avoided, there were so sections where the road was divided in half – one side for runners and one for those cheering.  However the fans rarely took up their whole half.  Perhaps making it 2/3 runners, 1/3 fans would help on narrow roads.
  • I would have expected Disney cast members to know a bit more about the race.  Whenever we asked our front desk questions related to the race, they were unable to answer our questions.  I know we weren’t staying at a “host resort”, but I would have liked them to have a bit more information.

All in all, I thought it was a great race, and I’d do it again in the future.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Disney Princess Weekend Recap

This post was written shortly following the Disney Princess Half Marathon, but I delayed posting for a variety of reasons. If you’re really curious, I can tell you why in real life.

This weekend was magical.

Ok. I know I’m a bit dramatic. But this weekend was truly and amazing experience and I had an absolute blast.

I will recap everything in to multiple posts to prevent one long rambling post.


Ben and I boarded a very early plane to Disney. After a fairly smooth flight, we took Disney’s Magical Express to our hotel, The Old Key West. We immediately changed into our bathing suits and enjoyed a morning by the pool.

Old Key West Disney WorldSoon, Christen and Jane arrived, and we left to boys for Downtown Disney to pick up our park passes and ESPN Wide World of Sports to pick up our packets and attend the expo. I forgot to submit proof of time, so I was placed in the last corral. I simply brought the Veteran’s Day 10K official results and they moved me up to the same corral as Christen and Jane. After a brief walk around the expo, and one sparkly green headband later, we went back to the resort to get ready for dinner.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Disney Jostens Center

Once Jane’s mom (Paula), Aunt Lesley and Belle arrived, the “adults” got started on dinner while the girls were giddy with excitement for the weekend. After dinner, we went to bed to prep for the long weekend ahead.


Saturday we woke up early to go cheer on Paula and Aunt Lesley during the Tangled 5k. We stood at the opening gates of EPCOT and cheered on the runners. The costumes were great – I didn’t get photos of the runners, but there was lots of neon and princess wear.


Once the race was over, the crew traveled to Animal Kingdom. I have to say, I was not a fan of Animal Kingdom when it first opened. But each time, I like it more and more. I’d love the opportunity (here I go planning my next trip…) to dedicate a full day to Animal Kingdom. Each time I’m there, I find a new corner to explore, and I think the details are really well done.  We spent our time at Animal Kingdom exploring and road the Jungle Safari, Exploration Everest and Dinosaur.

Animal Kingdom Giraffe

Animal Kingdom Hippo

Girls at DisneyWe took a bus over to Hollywood Studios (my favorite park). At Hollywood Studios we road Tower of Terror, Rock n’ Roller Coaster, Star Tours and Muppets in 3D. I’m usually not a fan of re-modeled rides (classic is better), but I’m really a fan of the new Star Tours. It’s just an updated version of the old ride but apparently there are a bunch of new “videos” and endings. Hollywood Studios is my favorite of the parks.

Because we were feeling adventurous, we then went to EPCOT. Soarin was out of fast passes, so we just road Figment and went back to the hotel. Aunt Lesley made us dinner (her famous meat sauce and pasta) and we planned every minute for the next morning.


To be continued…

Disney Princess Bib

House Hunting

So, Ben and I are on the hunt for a house!

We’re looking to stay inside the Beltway, so likely Arlington or Alexandria. Given the crazy traffic around D.C., we don’t want to move somewhere that will have a crazy commute.

So we interviewed a few different realtors in the area and signed with Arbor Realty.

Today, we went on our first house hunting mission.  We looked at the properties available in our price range and picked three to visit.  One was a condo, the other two were townhomes.

This morning the realtor picked us up with a bit of bad news. The condo went under contract either last night or first thing this morning.  And one of the townhomes wasn’t providing access to potential buyers.  Which means we were more than welcome to place an offer, but we would not be able to walk through the property first. Since we weren’t interested in buying a home sight-unseen, we nixed that option.

So off we went to view the one townhome left on the list.  It actually wasn’t that bad.  It’s a great space, and quite large for the price.  But it needs a lot of renovations and updates.  It’s got a lot of potential, but I’m having some trouble seeing past the renovations.  We’ll have to think about it and keep looking at what else is out there.

While we didn’t walk away from today making an offer (which would be crazy), I still consider it a successful house hunting mission!

Photo a day: April 2

Today’s photo suggestion stumped me for a bit. Color. So generic.

My first thought was to take a photo of some colorful flowers. But my apartment is currently flowerless. And all the flower beds downtown are all one color and not in the best health. I wanted multicolor.

As I was cleaning my desk for the day I noticed my jar of jelly beans. perfect!


Amazing how inspiration can come out of everyday objects. I guess that’s the point of this photo challenge.