Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown -- a Movie!

Well, as I said earlier, I finished reading The Davinci Code by Dan Brown. This book was easily one of the most thought provoking books I've ever read. Aside from that, it was just plain fun! Every chapter ended with a cliffhanger, begging me to continue on! I read that book any spare moment I could find. After setting it down, I knew that I wanted to read more of Dan Brown if any of his other book were anything like Davinci Code. Well, after a little research, I decided to add Brown's Angels and Demons (which I've just learned is actually the prequel to Davinci Code) to my TBR list. I have a few other books I want to get to first, but that one is a for sure future read!

Well today, my husband and I finally decide to rent The Davinci Code movie. He had wanted to see it for a long time, but I had always been against it. I remember when it first came out, the church I was going to did a whole series on how it was wrong. It said the movie was based on complete misinformation and was simply blasphemy. As a "good Christian," I wanted no part of that. After much reading, soul searching, and some deep conversations with friends, I decided to finally pick a copy of the book. As I said, I LOVED it and it really opened up my eyes to so many things.

So anyway, long story short, we put in the DVD and right before the movie starts, they show a preview for the movie Angels and Demons! I did a little research on the net and it turns out that the movie is slated for release December 19th, 2008. Ron Howard is directing this film (as he did The Davinci Code) and Tom Hanks will again play the role of Langdon. Pretty cool! Well, while December of next year is a long ways away, at least it gives me plenty of time to finish the book first!

My Miraculous Shoes

I decided that since I am serious about training for some races, I should have the right shoes! So I stopped at Vertical Runner in Hudson and received AWESOME customer service. They checked my feet and my walking pattern to determine which shoes were best for me. The person who helped me was able to answer any questions I had and gave me extra tips not just on shoes, but training for my 5K and half marathon in general. They were so nice and SUPER helpful! Well I couldn't just let those new babies sit in the box. I braved 5 degree temps with a -10 degree windchill and went for a 2-mile run. Just to let you know about my running so far, here is the info logged with my new Nike + iPod: First run: 2.6 miles/9:42 per mile....Second run: 3.6 miles/9:22 per mile....Today with my new awesome shoes: 2.0 miles/7:14 per mile! Can you believe that split time! And that was even running in crazy cold temps WITH 2 inches of snow on the pavement! I'm so psyched! I have a 5k (3.1 miles) in a few weeks and I was hoping to just finished it in under 30 minutes, but if I can run 2 miles in about 15 minutes, I should run well under 30! I will still keep my goal modest and shoot for around 27, but still -- 7:14 per mile? Those are some miraculous shoes! :-) Oh, in case you are wondering (I'm sure you're all dying to know! ***she says sarcastically!***) here they are! I present to you, my new Mizuno Wave Rider 11s!

Wow, they match my blog colors...COOL!

A Few Milestones

I've got a combo post coming up -- so consider yourself warned. No matter what the topic though, it appears that I've reached a few milestones...

Run Report: My knees are still bothering me, but I haven't let that stop me. This week, I ran the most number of miles/week at 28.3 miles! Monday and Friday were easy days and I just ran 5.1 around my neighborhood. Wednesday was my return to speedwork. I was really worried because my last speedwork session, a 4 mile tempo run was dreadful! I did a 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down and the the 4 mile tempo was supposed to be at an 8:47 to 9:10 pace (according to the McMillan Calculator.) I hit my tempo time with an average pace of 8:45 m/m but it was torturous! As soon as I hit the 4 mile mark, I had to stop and walk for the first minute of my cool down. Not cool! Anyhow, I was worried that with 2 weeks away from speedwork, I would have a repeat performance but I didn't! I didn't even look back to see what my target time was supposed to be. I figured I'd just go out and base the run on perceived effort and how erratic my breathing got! And guess what -- I did my 1 mile warm and 1 mile cool down and my 4 mile tempo run at an 8:25 m/m pace! AND, while I was glad to be done, it didn't feel nearly as bad as before! Yeah!

To finish off the week, I had my long run on Saturday. I was shooting for 11 miles, which would be a new distance PR for me. I plotted out my run via MapMyRun.com and headed out to the bike path. Miles 1-5 felt pretty good. As soon as I hit mile 5, which is where I turned around last week, I started to keep my eyes open for the 5.5 mile mark -- my turn around for this week. The trail isn't marked at all for distance -- I was just using landmarks, a big pond in this instance. Well, the trees had really grown on the path, so I couldn't see a pond at all! I just kept going until I felt I had gone past .5 miles and until I could find a different landmark so that I could least map the run once I got home. I turned at a sign on the path and hoped I had gone far enough. The remaining miles felt decent. I had some muscle strain occasionally, but nothing that lasted long. In fact, I only had pain on the downhills. Good thing this wasn't a hilly course. Oh yeah, I only had one other dilemma -- I was dying of thirst! I've been lucky so far in that I have never had to carry water with me on a run. I don't really get too thirsty, and as long as I have a good drink of water before my run, I'm generally pretty good to go. Well, not this time! Apparently, 10 miles is my limit! It didn't help that it was probably 80 degrees outside and the sun was beating down! I didn't have anything with me and I was dying the last few miles! Daydreaming about reaching my water bottle in the car is what got me to really move the last 30 minutes!

Well, anyway, once I got home, I went back on MapMyRun to see how far I had actually gone. And guess what -- I definitely had a new distance PR: 11.9 miles! Whoa! If I knew I was that close to 12, I would have totally gone .1 more! Oh well. So then I went to total my miles for the week and saw that I had a new record (but I already said that,) but then when I totaled the miles up from when I started running again back in February, I see that I am SO close to another record! I'm at 298.5! As of tomorrow, I'll be over 300 which means, time for new shoes! Thank you Mizunos for carrying me this far!


Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD): As you may have read, I am starting a new baking adventure this week. I have joined a group of baking bloggers who choose one recipe a week from this book called, Baking: From My Home to Yours. The blog name is Tuesdays with Dorie, from now on only referred to as TWD. Anyway, as I mentioned below, this week's recipe is a double crusted blueberry pie. Okay... I have never, and I repeat never baked a pie in my life! Working with dough (and let me clarify -- dough that needs to be rolled) is NOT my forte! In fact, it is the bane of my baking existence... the constant downfall in my quest of dessert domination! Okay... you get the point. So anyhow, tonight I will start my attempt at beating my nemesis into submission. I will start with the dough tonight and try to bake this thing tomorrow. Wish me luck!


I've Been Tagged! Well Jen from Jen's Birthday Challenge AND Kai from See Kai Run, See Kai Eat have thrown down a double team tag! They have both challenged me to list 6 random facts about myself. So... here goes:

1. I'm very particular about how I eat certain candy. Now, this only applies to candy that has different flavors in one package like Skittles or gummy bears. Here's the thing -- I can NOT mix flavors of candy in one bite. Whenever I get a bag of these candies, let's use Skittles as our example, I first sort all of the candies by color/taste. Then I will only eat one color at a time. For example, I'll eat a red Skittle with another red Skittle -- NEVER a red with a green. This becomes very challenging when trying to eat Skittles in dark places such as the movie theater, but what can I say?!

2. Going along with #1 -- I can only eat candies in even numbers. This is to prevent a disequilibrium in my mouth -- you see, if I eat in even numbers, I can have the same number of candies on the left side of my mouth as the right. That way, each side is equally happy! Now if I have an odd number of candies -- 3 red Skittles we'll say -- I'll simply bite the third Skittle in half so that I can chew 1.5 Skittles on the right and 1.5 on the left. Odd, but true!

3. Totally off the candy subject now... I have a weird foot thing. I only like looking at pretty/cute feet -- unattractive feet totally gross me out! I'm really crazy about that too! I almost didn't go out with my DH because of his feet. When I first met him, we were at the beach. He was wearing sandals and I was thinking, "Oh no, those won't do! I know socks and sandals are a no-no, but this guy needs an exemption!"

4. The first concert I ever went to was New Kids on the Block! I was totally in love with Joey McIntyre at the time and just couldn't believe I was in the same room with him! I am slightly stoked that NKOTB has reunited and yes, I do jam out to their new song "Summertime" when I hear it on the radio.

5. My mom is from the Philippines and while she didn't make a huge effort to impart her culture onto me, I miss even the little things. I miss hearing the language, I miss the food (which I make myself sometimes), I miss having that culture in my life. Every year I feel like it fades a little more and that makes me sad.

6. When I am sad, I cheer myself up by going to super cute websites like LOLcats. Or sometimes I'll go on YouTube and watch those videos of cats doing silly stuff. Here's one now!

Okay, that's it for me! Now here are the rest of the rules to the challenge:

1. link to the person who tagged you.
2. post the rules on your blog.
3. write six random things about yourself.
4. tag six people at the end of your post.
5. let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog
6. let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Okay, I accomplished rules 1-3. Now here is where I get totally lame. Both of the people who tagged ME and the ones who I would have tagged! I really don't follow too many blogs, so I don't know who else to tag SO, if you are reading this and you have a blog, consider yourself TAGGED! Can that count for rules 4-6... pretty please? :-)

Vacay Report: Mantas and Waterfalls

Last night, DH and I took part in an amazing experience -- we got to snorkel at night with manta rays! I wasn't sure what to expect. I imagined the rays to be pretty small, maybe 4-5 feet across. Once we got to the dock though, our guide started talking about what to expect for our experience and he said that we might likely see mantas that could be 10-14 feet across! Yikes! He told us how they like to swim in circles to eat the plankton and how since we are snorkeling with them, they may very well circle up close to us. He said, "If you see this giant mouth coming up from the depths below right at you, don't be afraid! Just when it looks like they're going to gobble you, they'll turn over and maybe even graze you, belly to belly." I told my DH, I don't care what that guy says, if a creature that big comes at me with it's mouth wide open, I am definitely going to freak out!

We took a short 5 minute boat ride out into the bay and then they turned on the lights to attract the plankton. As soon as we jumped into the water, I put my face into the water and immediately saw a gigantic manta! It was easily 14 feet across and it moved so gracefully through the water. It was magical! It seemed to just float along the water like a hawk gliding on an air current. And just like the guide said, the manta started circling over itself. It was so majestic. I thought I would be frightened, but I was more in awe of the manta's grace and beauty! I started snapping some pics and soon a few more mantas came over. They started circling up towards us and came really close to touching me! It was amazing! We ended up seeing 4 mantas that night. The guide said that's unusual -- he mostly just sees 1 or 2 so we got really lucky! Hopefully my underwater pics will come out pretty nicely and I'll be able to post them once I get them developed.

Today, we went on a hike through a rain forest to look at some waterfalls. It was another awesome experience. We started off in a valley overlooking some cliffs. Our guide Matt, told us that those cliffs formed when part of the island actually fell into the ocean after a big earthquake! He said there is proof of that in (a) the cliffs and (b) the fact that they found rock debris hundreds of miles out into the ocean from those cliffs! If you look closely at the pic below, you can see waterfalls going down the cliffs. Cool!

The first stop along the trail was at an old taro farming field. In the pic below, you can see the taro growing on the left. The guide said that the old farmers would move some of the water from the stream into the growing field and then back into the stream. On the right, you can see some banana trees. The guide told us a cool fact about them -- Did you know that banana trees fruit only once? As soon as they are finished, they die! New banana trees are also sprouting to replace the older ones though as they die off. I never knew that!

Soon, we hit the trail again and found some amazing waterfalls.

We had to traverse some pretty crazy/interesting terrain to get to them.

While hiking though, our guide showed us some of the wild fruit growing there. We got to sample strawberry guavas and regular guavas. The strawberry ones (the small red ones in first pic) were a little tart, but still sweet. The larger, yellow regular guavas (second pic) were so yummy! I never had one before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was awesome!

After sampling some wild eats, and checking out some raging falls, we had a light snack and headed back home. I learned so much about the island and had a lot of fun. It was an awesome experience!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cards for Heroes on Their Way!

I sent out my first shipment of cards for Cards for Heroes! If you are not familiar with who they are, check them out HERE. Here are the cards I sent today. It's a small batch, but I'm hoping to send more in the future now that I know about this awesome program! (BTW, all cards were made by yours truly! I can't wait to make more with the cool stamps I'll be getting!)

Edited Update: Just wanted to clarify that most of the cards I made were used using the sketches of Sheetload.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Favorite Christmas Show!

I was channel surfing last night and ran across my favorite Christmas movie -- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! It doesn't matter how many times I have seen it -- I still love to watch it every year!

What's your favorite Christmas flick?