Vacation Recap – Rome – Day 2

Day 2 Folks!

These guys were allllllll over Italy.  Just floating there.  Jason and I think there was a magnet at work here, because he didn’t float anywhere else.  What a boring job though.  No one was giving him money so much as weird looks.  I took a picture.

So today was the tour of the Colosseum!

That ish is big.  I mean you think it’s big anyways, because of the name, but man.  Up close, it’s daunting.

Our Tour Guide, David, was hilarious and perfect.  He explained that in Italy they reuse everything.  So the building itself isn’t crumbling so much as it was pilfered way back to build things like Saint Peter’s Basilica.  The metal was removed from the stone as well as parts of the wall once the actual building was no longer in use.

David then went on to explain the history of the Colosseum.  Apparently, they just gave tickets away.  There was no charge.  So normal people could come and sit in the nose bleed sections to watch the gruesome horror that was these battles.

Speaking of battles…

There were over 5,000 people and animals slaughtered in this ruin back in the day.  The Romans were more barbaric than I thought possible.  They would put two things in the arena together without letting either know who they would be fighting.

For example (This is not confirmed by history, just things I’m making up)

  • Bear vs. Zebra
  • Lion vs. Prisoner
  • Zebra vs. Prisoner (I kind of would like to see this… I mean did they just stare at each other)
  • Tiger vs. Bear
  • Prisoner vs. Gladiator

and so on.  TALK ABOUT HUNGER GAMES GUYS.  That was all I was thinking throughout the tour was how in the movie they shoot up by this pod elevator and then have to fight to the death.  Well that is kind of like here, without the training.

This was all for the amusement of the leaders and the people of Rome.  Fun times.

THE STAIRS.  OMG.  Of all the things to be thankful for not living back then, I think the one that got me the most was stairs.  Holy hamstrings.

Refurbishing because they care.

We then ventured into more Ancient Rome…

Our Elusive Tour Guide From the Back

And what would this post be without some food pictures!

Hmmmm I guess we just drank that day.  So there are pictures of Jason and wine.  Two of my very favorite things.

Sadly tomorrow we leave Rome and depart for Florence… I promise you’ll love it as much as we did!

Vacation Recap – ROME Day 1/2 and 1

So I decided that I should do some recaps, because i like talking about myself and the things I do.

We got to Rome, Italy Friday (May 16) at around 10 pm.  We got to our hotel (The Hearth Hotel in Rome… Can’t Recommend This Place Enough!) and after dropping off our bags we walked to the closest open restaurant.

Francisco I. (sadly I can’t find the website).

So good.  Especially after being delayed forever and then not eating on the plane and being exhausted.  It was good to put food in our bellies, and it didn’t hurt that it was by far the best pizza I’ve ever had.

We went to sleep rather quickly and woke to find the Vatican bustling.

Yes, that is the Vatican, right outside our window.  YES THAT IS THE LINE TO GET IN.

Because Jason is uber smart, he booked a skip the line tour of the Vatican and it’s grounds so we didn’t have to wait!

This is behind glass because some psycho tried to throw a hammer at it.

Our Awesome Tour Guide Valentina!

I would have taken pictures inside the Sistine Chapel, but because it is a holy sacred place, no photographs are allowed.  A Japanese company came recently to restore the ceiling by meticulously cleaning and repainting portions to bring it back to it’s original (or as much as it can be) state.

Here is a picture that doesn’t do it justice at all:

The Vatican only took like half the day, so we set out to see other things…

The Pantheon

A Pretend Roman Guard

Something Important? Jason? What was this?

We then decided to walk around a bit, find food, and go about our day.  We met this guy…

He was kind of broken up that we wouldn’t stay and chat…

We were then swindled.  This always freaking happens.  We were walking through a court yard, this guy gave me roses, and then told Jason to give him money.  I tried to give them back and it didn’t work.  Then another guy came up did the same thing, and then took more money.  We spent 30 Euros on crappy roses.

After this lesson, anyone who approached me got a “NO.  GO AWAY.”  Jason would laugh because I went from nice American to “YOU’RE NOT TAKING MORE MONEY FROM ME.”

This lasted the rest of the trip…

We had an amazing dinner from the Restaurant down the street (Crap… what was the name… I suck at this).

Gnocchi and Clams for Jason

Gnocchi and Ricotta with Black Truffle for Me

Braised Veal Cheek for Jason (Apparently the best cut of meat he has ever had)

The Best Meatballs I have Ever Had

Wine soaked sweet cake with whipped cream and custard

Of Course Coffee

Two very happy diners…

We went back to the hotel, tucked ourselves in and went to sleep happily.

Tomorrow we go to the Colosseum!

What I Did On My Long Winter Stay-Cation

I posted infrequently over the break, and most of the time it was short and not so sweet.  I decided since this is my morning back to reality that I would post a recap of my life since December 20.

The first day of our vacation, wasn’t a vacation at all.  We spent the entire day at a funeral and reception for Jason’s Aunt Daphne.  We had a pretty bipolar day as that evening we were celebrating our friend nuptials!



Lisette and Alex finally tied the knot since marriage is legal in DC now for everyone (I don’t like the term gay marriage, because Jason and I don’t use the term “straight marriage” so it seems dumb to use a different nomenclature for them).  It was a joyous night that continued late into the evening.

We then went to a hockey game with my dad – where lost in overtime – but still it was nice to hang out with my dad for the night, drinking too much beer, and eating too much fried food.  That Sunday I met up with Adie (of AdieCakesBlog fame) and her Fiance (and Jason too) for Hunger Games in IMAX.  We had already seen it, but she hadn’t, and IMAX.  I will see pretty much anything in IMAX.  It was glorious.

We putzed around most days sleeping late and taking many target trips.

Christmas eve we did our normal thing of Church with my parents and then dinner at Tony’s Pizza in Manassas.  We then meandered home to watch TV before passing out.  We had to go to McLean in the early morning to pick up my Grandmother (so my dad didn’t have to do two trips out there) so our Christmas morning alone was pretty short.

We spent the morning with my family, and then evening with Jason’s.  It was good day.

Then there was more putzing around, deciding what recipe I would use with my new French Oven (it’s French and not Dutch because it’s from France.) and then we went to TJMaxx randomly and found a KitchenAid Stand up mixer for more than 50% off.  So then I became the proud mamma of that.

My Christmas continued with more La Crueset items, and general spending of money on random things at Target.  We totally know how to manage our money responsibly.

New Years Eve showed up and we went to the Heritage Brewing opening in Manassas.  I know, I am a loyal customer of BadWolf Brewing across the street, but I wanted to see what the new place was like (As did Jason and my Father in Law).  So we eagerly waited in line outside to buy our drink tickets and head in.  $7 a beer/flight/or experimental brew tasting, seemed pretty steep.  The flights were only 4 beers (which I didn’t get to pick) out of the 6 + seasonal they had on tap.  They were supposed to be 2 oz servings each, and instead mine were mostly head (the guy pouring had no idea what he was doing) and were not as good as expected.  I had a few problems with that evening:

  • The prices for the pints were too steep for an opening night- especially when we didn’t get a pint.  It was more like 8 – 10 oz because of the people pouring.
  • The flights should have included all the beers that they are regularly having on tap
  • The sitting area should have been extended because of how many people there were.  It was a total fire code violation
  • Children should NOT have been allowed in.  I witnessed too much running around in a location that is dangerous (exposed industrial areas) for kids.
  • You had to go back outside and wait in line to buy more drink tickets when there was a woman inside with a register who could have easily done this indoors.
  • No one knew what they were doing.
  • The fact that there were “normal brews” and “experimental batches” was kind of confusing.  This was there first night of being open.  Everything was experimental.

I would and will go back, but most likely not for a while.  It felt chaotic, unorganized, and the beer wasn’t as good as I thought it would be for having delayed the opening by 3-4 months.  I donated 100 bucks to their kickstarter, so I think the people who did that should have had a private opening experience.

We then parted ways with Jason’s dad, and partied with Lisette and Alex again for some dinner at Sweetwater and then Champagne and coffee at their house.  It was a nice relaxing evening.  We don’t need or want flare.  We are too old for flare.

After that night it was pretty much a whole lot of nothing.  I got an extra day of “vacation” (I worked from home) because of a freak snow thing on the the 3rd (last Friday), so Jason and I built a fire, I worked on my laptop from the couch and we watched a crap load of the Tudors.

Yesterday (Sunday) we woke up late, and then headed to Mosaic District for lunch at Cava Grill and then Gelato at Dolcezza.  They had a separate Dolcezza across the street that was basically a coffee shop that sold gelato as well.  We ordered our drinks and settled down at a table and chair area and had one of the best afternoons that we have had in a long time.  It’s the type of day where you realize the simple conversations over coffee were what was missing.

It was a great break, all in all, and here are some pictures recapping the experience:


Heritage Brewing

Heritage Brewing

Heritage Brewing

Heritage Brewing

Heritage Brewing

Heritage Brewing

Beef Stew - the dinner that took my French Oven's virginity

Beef Stew – the dinner that took my French Oven’s virginity

There was a good amount of running.  I've pledged to run 700 miles (at least) in 2014.

There was a good amount of running. I’ve pledged to run 700 miles (at least) in 2014.

Cooking Extravaganza - Soupe au Pistou

Cooking Extravaganza – Soupe au Pistou

Cooking Extravaganza - Mini Bacon, Onion Quiche

Cooking Extravaganza – Mini Bacon, Onion Quiche

Cooking Extravaganza - Fluffy Drop Biscuits

Cooking Extravaganza – Fluffy Drop Biscuits

Date Day - Latte Art

Date Day – Latte Art

Date Day - Latte Art

Date Day – Latte Art

Date Day - The love of my life, the reason I am here, and the motivation to be better.

Date Day – The love of my life, the reason I am here, and the motivation to be better.











Nordstrom’s Beauty Event and Trunk Show & What I did on my Saturday

I have a lot of crappy pictures of this event, which I apologize for.  It only came to mind to blog about this at 7:00am so I apologize!

I rolled up and got in line to buy my ticket (which turned into a gift card) and then began running around like a crazy person trying to figure out where to go.  I was there with my friend, Grace, and immediately felt like I was this really important person getting into a really exclusive club.

I even won a Juicy Couture Prize Pack!

Especially when this happened (which you can’t see because I am the worlds worst photographer)

The Chanel Presentation

Oh what girl who has been remotely in love with fashion and lifetime movies not thought about how cool it would be to own something Chanel?  Okay maybe many of you, but I have loved the brand and own nothing of it – still don’t – but its gorgeous all the same.

Here is the philosophy presentation which was great and I am kicking myself for not going to their table.  We pretty much went to one table and stayed there for a bit.

The Vincent Longo Table.  HE WAS FREAKING THERE.  He actually started our consultation and then did the beginnings of our make up.  He touched my face.  He’s touched Nicole Kidman’s face.  So I figured he knew what he was doing with Grace and I as we are both EXTREMELY pale.

We then had our make up finished by two wonderful ladies, and I AM KICKING my self for not getting a before and after of Grace, because she looked AMAZING.  Like stunningly gorgeous.  I mean she’d gorgeous anyways but her eyes popped and she just lit up the whole room.

Here are my before and after:

Very natural and not clown like, which I appreciated.  There have been many people who made me look insanely bad, and I was thankful this was not one of those times.

We grabbed lunch and then parted ways, and it was a fantastic day.

When I got home I went for a run too quickly after eating but realized this make up is not for running, as it was almost all gone by mile 4

I attempted to recreate the look after my shower, before we went to Chop’t but I didn’t have the right tools…

Not too bad, but not as pretty or dramatic.  Oh well.  I ended up buying a crap load of make up and some primer which I think is just awesome.  I was very happy with the loot.


Products Used On Me:

Free Gifts I Received (because I bought too much):

It was a fun experience, and I would totally do it again next year!

Yesterday’s Run – 3.1 Miles – 31’33”

So yesterday after work I decided that it would be good to get my recovery run in.  I should have done it on Monday (as most articles I found said to do it with in 24 hours) but I could barely stand let alone walk or even think about running.  Tuesday it is, then.  I came home and threw on every cold weather item I had, since by the time I got home and was ready to run it was 44 degrees outside.  So I had the following:

  • Running dry wick gloves
  • Under Armor Pull Over in reflective Pink (half Zip)
  • My DailyMile T-shirt on top
  • Under Armor running tights with fleece lining
  • Knee high Reebok socks
  • Jason’s Virginia Tech Knit Beenie

I was ready to go.  I also was carrying a water bottle (completely not needed) and my Spi-belt with my phone in it.  I began my trek and felt injured almost immediately.  Because of my paranoia and my slowness I decided to change up my route since there have been a few ‘indiscretions’ in my area (as the Manassas City Police put it) and I didn’t want to add to the list.

Since my ‘close call’ last year with those two men who decided to ruin my running life outside, I’ve been pretty much steering clear of trails, cul-de-sacs, side roads, and any side of the street with a white van.  I actually felt bad yesterday because I straight up tore across the road when a guy switched sides of the road suddenly and began walking towards me.  It turns out he lived in the house I was in front of, but my insanity didn’t realize that.

There was another point that freaked me out, when I stopped to take pictures of the sky and sunrise for my Instagram (trying not to be 100% selfies anymore) a man walked up behind me and said “Isn’t it beautiful?” I shrieked and ran away.  I’m sure he thought I was insane, and of course I think I am.

It’s a crap shoot really.  I need to wear reflective gear because it’s getting darker earlier, and that makes me more visible, but then I also feel like a target.  I know that is a victim mentality, but it’s really hard when you’ve already been a victim.  Being a person who last year was ‘almost attacked’ as the police put it when I called, and then a survivor of rape from years ago, I am on edge when things feel “wrong”.  I get these gut feelings that something isn’t right, and I never can put my finger on it, and 99% of the time I never find out what it is, or nothing happens – but it’s there.  Always.  Walking to my car on campus at night is most troubling, even with a million people around and calling Jason till I get in my locked car, I feel on edge.  What would he be able to do on the phone?

Some might think I am being over dramatic, but for the past 11 months I haven’t been running outside except for races, my training and speed have suffered, and so have my legs.  So for me to go outside, run a loop in my neighborhood, and not be constantly looking over my shoulder, is hard.  I run with mace, I did run with a tazer my sister got me, but there were close calls on me tazing myself, and a lot of people at work think I should buy a gun and run with that (Please. No.  I think that would scare me more).  I thought about getting a dog to run with, but now with my old man Moody being so old and stuff, I can’t imagine bringing another dog into the house while he is here.  I don’t want the added stress, lack of attention, and confusion brought to him, so I don’t need a running dog now.

Blarney is fat and may be I should bring him.  I could try that today.  I run slow enough that he could just trot next to me, and smile, and laugh, and bark at squirrels.

Plus he is so intimidating.


So there is my conundrum.  There are no running groups near me, and frankly I’ll lose motivation if I have to drive to meet one (unless it’s a weekend).  So I will just be looking over my shoulder, and praying for a protective bubble.

Oh and I am pretty sure I am going to gain a crap ton of weight this week, because although I have been tracking, I have also been eating my feelings and stuff.

To end this on a positive note – my run yesterday was great.  It was cold but nice, and I felt good at the end.  My legs are a lot better this morning, but I am pretty sure I caused trauma to my toes, the tips of them are sore, and I am sure I am going to lose some of the nails – At least it’s winter boot season!

Seen On My Run (Scenery and a Psycho)

Perfect 10 Race Recap @PRRunning (10 Miler)

I was not really feeling good about this race at all in the past week.  My hip started acting up, I was tired from work and school, stressing about the future and this exam I have to take in 2 weeks, and this race was just not what I wanted to do.  I wanted to be back in my warm bed, not out in Reston running in 50 degree temps (EVEN THOUGH IT’S THE BEST TO RUN IN).

I just wasn’t feeling it.

I showed up anyways…. and we were off!

I started out pretty steady, running the first two miles at the pace I wanted.  I slowed a bit because I knew I had 8 more miles to go, and then that’s when my hip decided to rear it’s painful side.

I tried to run through it which worked for about 4 more miles, and then around mile 6 (consequently the turn off for the 10k) it was in complete pain.  I hobbled, jogged slowly and walked my way through the next 4 miles to the end where I ran through the finish line and promptly stopped.  I was exhausted, and in pain, and severely thirsty.

On My Way to the race

On My Way to the race

Action Shot!

Action Shot!

A really dark grainy shot of me coming up to the finish!

A really dark grainy shot of me coming up to the finish!

The Medal

It was a learning experience, and it totally killed my nerves for next weekends Half Marathon.  I’ll be okay, and this not caring about time thing, is really helping.

So here is me in a Banana Suit

So here is me in a Banana Suit

Today I am going home and running a few miles on the treadmill at a slower than slow pace to recover my legs.  I’ll be doing a strength training workout regime starting next week that I am uber Excited to tell you about!


Edit: I have to say, that if you are in Virginia or DC and want to run a great series of races – Potomac River Running is the best.  Their coordination, routes, and race support are unmatched.  You get free photos and the staff are truly the nicest people ever.

Tuesday Things

Oh it’s fall.  It’s gorgeous out.  It’s the perfect amount of cool, and crisp, where I can snuggle in my boots and my sweater and let me hair go naturally curly without the worry of frizz.

It’s also when my eating goes crazy.

I had a doughnut the size of my head this morning.  If anyone has any idea how big that is, you are feeling just as sick as I do now.  So to take my mind off of my now gross stomach, and the fact that I feel like my body is falling apart, I have decided to do some “Online Window Shopping” Tuesday Things Edition:

This coat is gorgeous.  I love the color, the cuff detail, everything.  I am not sure how thick it is, or how warm it would be, but I am sure with normal winter clothes underneath it would be great for the temperatures of my region (Washington DC area) – most likely not warm enough for like Stockholm Sweden or anything :-)

It’s very functional in it’s cut, and with pearls and high heels, it would work great for a office holiday party on the more casually dressed side.  I love the color, and the quilted pattern.  The belled out sleeves are a beautiful touch as well.

I am loving all the Cobalt Blue everywhere this season.  It’s always been one of my favorite colors, but I only seem to own it in dress or shirt form.  I would love these shoes, I think they would look great with a grey skirt and bold colored blouse!

On the more casual comfy side, who wouldn’t love this cable knit sweater?  I can see the breath in the air, long scarves, hot cocoa in mugs, and the pink on my nose now.  Oh the longing of winter is heavy on my shoulder.  I miss snow, and this sweater reminds me of that cold smell.

Yes, I know I just got my first pair of Hunter Rain Boots, but now I am kind of obsessed, and want them in almost every color, material, etc.  I love these.  I love the pink – it adds a fun element.  They would be great with a pair of leggings and over sized bright sweater!

Simply cute, and pretty much could be rocked at a formal event or everyday.  You be the judge.

While all of these would be amazing additions to my closet, I am broker than broke, so I will be buying none of them.  I will simply look from afar, and smile knowing there are women out there rocking each of these items, and looking stellar in them.

I will be mostly rocking these for the rest of my life, as my mind doesn’t seem to understand the idea of healthy eating and losing weight, means no doughnuts.  Especially after you’ve had one, don’t go looking for seconds.  *stomach grumble/Mental negativity*