2011 in Review

30 12 2011

Wow, is it really December 30th? Where does time go?

Yes, just like every other blog, I’m going to do the obligatory end of year reflective post. Ready or not, here goes!

2011 was a special year, because Chloe and I started this here blog!  Over the course of the past 10 and a half months, we’ve had the pleasure of sharing our lives with you. We’ve met some pretty awesome people, and watched our readership grow. We’re so excited to see what 2012 brings!

I thought a fun way to reflect on the year would be to bring back a trend from this summer. Remember that whole 7 Links thing going on in the blogging community? Well, here’s mine 🙂 (And yes, I’m cheating a bit, and adding multiple posts for each category!)

Most Beautiful

So I could pick a post which has the prettiest pictures in it, which, if I had to, would be this one or this one…or maybe this one. I really like my DSLR:-)

But if I was picking for content, I’d go with the post I wrote about how my mom’s creativity has greatly influenced my life. You can check it out here.

Most Popular

I’m going to share our top three here 🙂

321delish was lucky enough to be featured as a WordPress “Freshly Pressed” blog, not once, but twice this year! The two featured posts were:

So You Wanna Be A Triathlete?

and

You Know You’re Part of a Foodie Family When…

They’re our first and third most popular posts ever. What’s the second you ask? Well, our dear blogging friend Lauren wrote us a guest post called the Queen of Ice Cream. That’s our second most viewed post! Thanks for the great post Lauren!

Most Controversial

We keep things pretty quiet around here, and don’t try to stir up trouble. But, one post that sparked a bit of conversation was Chloe’s discussion about the realities of serious triathlon training, and how it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. It’s tough stuff, and Chloe was open and honest about some of the struggles she had throughout her training for a HIM.

Most Helpful

I’m gonna be a little silly on this one and say that the most helpful post this year has been a recipe post. Everyone needs some cake balls in their life, so I’m just spreading the love by sharing my recipe for Pumpkin Cake Balls. Nom Nom Nom. I need to make these again before all the pumpkin gets put away for the season!

 

Post Whose Success Surprised You

So Chloe wrote a post entitled, 10 Workouts = Burger Cookie Reward, which she wrote when she was in the middle of intense training for her HIM. I remember excitedly gchatting with Chloe on the day this post came out, constantly clicking “refresh” and watching the stats rise. Um yeah. We don’t do that anymore…

Some key words in the title, Burger Cookies? Whaaaat? probably contributed to its success, but it’s posts like that one, which summarizes Chloe’s training for the week, which are fun to look back on and think, “Whoa, I did ALL THAT during the week??” And, now I want some Berger’s cookies!

Post That Didn’t Receive Enough Success

I wrote a post shortly after we started blogging about Google Reader —what it was and how to use it, yknow, the basics. I had no idea what Google Reader was until my ex taught me about it 5 years ago, and it is probably the single greatest factor contributing to my interest in blogging. So, I thought telling others about it was a great idea. I realize now that I was probably just preaching to the choir, becuase blog readers often follow other blogs, and already use their Google Readers to keep up. Oh well.

 

Post You Are Most Proud Of

Though I didn’t write this one, I’m super proud of Chloe for finishing her first half Ironman. Her post brought me to tears, as she recounted her struggles and successes from that race, all the while maintaining a positive attitude. It’s an inspiring story!

So, this wasn’t your typical “Year in Review” but I sure had fun taking a trip down memory lane and trying to pick posts to include here!

I hope you all have a safe and happy new year! See you in 2012!!

Question of the day: What was your favorite post of 2011? (Yours, mine, or another bloggers! Feel free to leave a link in the comment section!)

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Home for the Holidays Virtual 10K

28 12 2011

When I head home to Jersey, I usually find the motivation to get out and run because I LOVE running next to the ocean.

But, with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, sometimes it can be hard to carve out some time for workouts. The cold weather doesn’t make it any easier to leave the house either…

So, when I saw a few bloggers tweeting about the “Home for the Holidays Virtual 10K,” hosted by A Healthy, Happier Bear, I thought it was a great idea and decided to participate.

However, I waited until the last day (Monday the 26th) to actually run the 10K. Despite the clear, sunny day on Friday, I opted to go to yoga. And then I overindulged on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and felt less than motivated to do anything other than sit on my bum.

When Monday rolled around, I considered just forgetting about it, but my brand new Garmin was fully charged and itching to be tried out. So, I got all geared up, and headed to the boardwalk.

It was a chilly 48 degrees, and there was a pretty serious breeze off the land (see the flag above).  Thankfully the large beachfront homes and the casinos in Atlantic City blocked most of it.

After fiddling with my watch for awhile, I got it started and hit the road. I love running on the boards because they are flat, flat, flat. And, the boardwalk is much easier on the knees than cement. I did a straight out and back, and enjoyed people watching along the way. There were quite a few tourists walking around when I got into Atlantic City.

I made it back to where I started in 54:59. Not my fastest 10K, but at least I got in a workout. Of course, I was glad that I got to use my Garmin!

Up until now, I’ve run with the Nike+ and footpod. I never actually calibrated it though, I just took it to be accurate. I set it up for a 10K, to compare to my Garmin when I was done the run. I’ve been playing around with shortening my stride some, and I had a sneaking suspicion that it’s been telling me I’ve been running further and faster than I actually have 😦

Wow. Two very different readings on the same run. As much as I’d like to believe that, I’m gonna trust the satellites.

When I went home, I uploaded my workout onto the Garmin Connect site (after some struggles to figure out what I needed to download first), and checked out my stats for the 10K.

Miles 2 and 4 weren’t so hot…

As long as I can keep up with uploading my runs, I think the Garmin will be super helpful for my marathon training. I’m looking forward to using it in Florida soon!

Running makes me smile!

Question of the day: Did you get a workout in over the holidays?





Christmas Traditions

26 12 2011

Merry (Belated) Christmas Everyone! Did you have a good weekend? I was able to spend my long weekend at home in Jersey with family and friends.

One of the things that makes Christmas so special in my family is the traditions we have. It makes coming home each year fun, and I enjoy the nostalgia of the traditions.

I thought I’d share a few of my family’s traditions with you!

Christmas decorations

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is seeing my family’s stockings all hung up on the mantle.

I’ve had the same stocking since I was a little girl, and it’s extra special because it was hand-made by my grandmother.

I think it is so cute! It makes me smile every time I see it. Everyone else in my immediate family has one too, made by my grandmom. When the stockings became too much for my grandmother to make, my mom took over this tradition. She now creates personalized stockings (no kit!!) for friends and family. She recently made one for my cousin’s daughter:

Another Christmas tradition is mom’s moving doll collection. She sets up a little display inside the house of with these moving dolls. Some might think they are a bit creepy, but to me, they mean Christmas!

Christmas Eve

Dinner

Every Christmas eve for as long as I can remember we have a lasagna dinner. My mom makes her traditional meat and cheese lasagna:

She pairs it with crispy, buttery garlic bread. I could eat 10 pieces of this stuff!

And for our veggie, she made her Broccoli Cheese Bake:

Oozing with cheese and loaded with cream of mushroom soup, it might not be the healthiest, but it sure is tasty!!

Church

For the past several years at least, we’ve been going to a Christmas Eve service at a nearby church. The lights are turned down low, and the small church is decorated beautifully.

Yes, that is as wide as the building is. It’s tiny!

In the recent past, I feel like I haven’t really gotten into the spirit of the season until I’ve attended this service. Something about being surrounded by my actual family and church family, singing Christmas songs, and hearing the Christmas story in this quaint space puts me in the right frame of mind. I find the candle light service so peaceful, a nice break from the busyness of the holidays.

Christmas Day

So this year was a little different, since Christmas was on a Sunday and we went to church, but I thought it would be fun to tell you the way Christmas morning usually goes in my house.

Christmas morning in my house never started at 7am (or earlier) with my brother and I running down the steps and tearing into the presents under the tree. No sir. Mom and dad had some pre-present opening requirements for us.

First, we had to make our beds. Chores on Christmas morning? UGH.

Then, we always had to clean up (shower/bath, brush our teeth, get out of our PJs and into real clothes, yknow, like it wasn’t CHRISTMAS MORNING or anything!!)

Then, we sat down for breakfast together. When I was a kid, I’m pretty sure we ate the fastest we’d ever eaten in our lives on Christmas morning.

Then, we got to run over to the tree and attack the presents. Just kidding, not yet!

When my grandfather was alive, we’d call him and invite him over to watch us open presents (and of course get his too!) He lived less than 10 minutes away, but as a kid, those 10 minutes felt like forever!

When Pop Pop arrived, we all moved to the living room. Mom got her camera and a notepad to take notes of who got what so we could write Thank Yous later. Then, my brother and I FINALLY got to open presents. We alternated opening one gift at a time, and then we’d pose for a picture with our new gift.

This year, we didn’t follow all of those steps, but I did make my bed, and my mom took a few shots of us posing with some special gifts.

Santa was good to me 🙂

Christmas Dinner

Of course, there’s always the traditional Christmas dinner. Basically, mom does Thanksgiving Part 2. This year, we had some friends over to join us for dinner. Mom didn’t hold back, making a tremendous meal with all the fixins.

Turkey

Mashed Potatoes

Succotash

Creamed Onions

Candied Sweet Potatoes

I loaded my plate up with a little bit of everything. Mmm so good! After taking a walk around the block, we ate some dessert of Christmas cookies and Pumpkin pie. Stuffed to the gills!
My Christmas night ended with yet one other tradition, a trip over to my friend Gina’s house. She and I grew up together, only a few blocks apart. We’ve been best friends forever, and I’m so glad I was able to stop in last night:-)

I hope you all were able to spend time with friends and family this weekend! Now, time to get back into the swing of things…

Question of the day: What are some of your Christmas/Holiday traditions?