Sunday, October 31, 2010

1-800-Flowers giveaway!

Do you remember my previous post Cute Birthday Cupcakes Zero Calories? I gushed about these cute little cupcake flower arrangements called Cupcakes in Bloom. I thought these were just too adorable and so did my mom. I liked it so much that I sent one to my aunt for her birthday as well!

Now here is your chance to see these for yourself! 1-800-FLOWERS has given me the opportunity to give away a $40 credit for their site to one of my readers! Just leave me a comment with who you'd send flowers to and you'll be entered to win. Want to send flowers to me? Hint: I like this Pink Mini Margarita!

Rules/Details: The winning comment number will chosen by Comments are open from now until Tuesday night at 9PM. If you comment with a profile that doesn't provide a way to contact you (email or twitter) it is up to you to check the blog within 24 hours of the contest end and email me. (Katie [at] The $40 credit will be provided to you directly from 1-800-flowers. I will supply them with your contact information.
(Photos courtesy of 1-800-Flowers)

Disclosure: The first cupcake arrangement was given to me for review. However, I liked it so much that I paid in full for the one that I sent to my Aunt. I do not blog about freebies terribly often because I only want to post about products that I would actually buy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wedding Tip #34 - 3 is a good number...of years!

It seems appropriate that wedding tip number 33, about being married 3 years. How is this a wedding tip? Well, the tip part comes first and it's not long winded.

Remember that you are planning a marriage and life together not just a wedding day!

After the music stops, all of the flowers wilt, and the cake is eaten, all you have is each other. (And your photos...of course!) I'm lucky to be married to a man who is hilarious. Well, at least to me. Everyday he makes me laugh, and the follows up with "that joke was just for you -- don't facebook it!" Yeah, he knows me well. Well enough to anticipate what I'll do. Well enough to tell his friends "you're on your own bro" if they make a sexist joke around me. Neither one of us is perfect, but we're pretty good together. We're opposites, but it works. Being married isn't easy. I don't believe couples who say they never fight. Disagreement can be healthy, you keep each other from doing stupid stuff. However, at the end of the day, you take some of the things that the other one does that you find totally ridiculous, and you let it go. Why? Because in every marriage you have to make choices: do you want to be right...or do you want to be happy? Lucky for me, Anthony really enjoys being happy. ;) Happy Anniversary honey! I love you.

P.S. This post was Anthony approved, except that he thinks I'm not the only one who finds 'the dude' hilarious.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On Running a 1/2 marathon

I'm not a runner. I never have been. In typical Katie fashion I skipped over 5k and 10k races and went straight to a 1/2 marathon. Go big or go home, right? But...I'd trained all summer. I was running consistent 10 minutes miles. I was cross training with yoga. I was ready! Then a week and a half before the race I got a killer sinus infection. Race day, 10.10.10, was the first day I stared to feel normal again. I hadn't been able to exercise for the week and a half prior to race day. It was a colder morning than any I'd run - 42 degrees! My muscles felt sort of tight, but I felt pretty good. I was excited - but also nervous. I turned to my friend & training buddy Inga as we were waiting to start running and said "this is your fault!" It was her idea to do this race thing anyway! But you know what? The first 5 miles were fantastic. I was feeling good despite the last week. I was running well, and we could tell by the time displays that we were running about 10 minute miles. I wasn't trying to break any records; I just wanted to finish before the course closed at 2:30. I was on pace to finish in 2:10. I wanted to be sure to get my t-shirt and medal, and just finish. That was my only goal. As Inga and I passed the turn around point, in the fenway area, I was so excited and thinking that I could really do it!

Everything changed around mile 8. All of the sudden I felt a shooting pain in the side of my knee. I have bad knees and I was running with a knee brace because I had felt soreness before. This, however, wasn't soreness. As soon as it happened I knew something was wrong. Inga ran on and I lagged behind. Runners started passing me from behind. As I approached mile ten my knee was throbbing. Every step was painful. I felt tears welling up in my eyes. The tears were not from the pain (it was bad but tolerable) but because I was afraid that if I had to walk the last 4 miles that I wouldn't finish in 2:30. Then I might not be an official finisher...and I might not get my medal. I started looking at the spectators. A women in blue looked me in the eyes as I climbed a hill. She kept smiling at me and cheering, telling me I could do it. Lady in blue, whoever you are, THANK YOU! I wanted to stop; you kept me going.

Miles 10-12 were awful. I walked some, but even walking I felt the sharp pain. I jogged, and felt like the pain wasn't much worse than walking. I just felt like I was going so slow. All I could think was why was my stupid knee giving out? I wasn't winded! I had the stamina to finish, I just needed this joint to hang in there! I tightened the brace as much as I could. I kept jogging. I kept seeing the time displays and realizing that I was going slower and slower. I cried a little. I berated myself for crying. I said to myself, "YOU HAVE TO FINISH! This isn't fun, clearly you're not built to be a runner, but you've come this far and you are GOING TO FINISH! Just finish, get your medal, and then YOU NEVER HAVE TO DO THIS AGAIN." As I crossed into mile 13 I was telling myself I could do it and tuning out the pain. I was behind a team of women all wearing pink and encouraging each other. I fed off their energy. Then I could hear the music at the finish line. I crossed into the park. One mile to go. 2:18:30. I needed to finish by 2:30:00!

The last mile wound through the Franklin Park Zoo. It was the longest miles of my life! Every step felt like slow motion, every time my foot struck the trail pain shot through my knee. But I was almost there. The time I saw when I finished was 2:32. I know it sounds crazy, but I was so disappointed. Even though the announcer was still there and there was still a crowd I was so very afraid that they'd be strict with the 2:30 cut off and I wouldn't be an official race finisher. Then I saw the medals. As a guy handed me one he said "Smile! You're done!" I felt overwhelmed. I couldn't find my husband. I could find my friend Inga. I couldn't walk without a serious limp.

Fast forward 10 days. I had seriously sore muscles for 3 days. My knee still hurts a lot up stairs, down hills, and if I go for any kind of a walk on pavement. But it's getting better. The best thing that happened was when I received the race results. It was then that I realized that I acutally finished at 2:29:33! Wait, that's under 2:30:00! I DID IT! 27 seconds to spare! On race day I wasn't thinking about how since I didn't cross the start line with the first racers that the clock was ahead of my actual time. It took my part of the crowd a few minutes to get to the start! I also saw confirmation that I did the first 5 miles in 50 minutes, and that felt really good too.

I look back on the experience with mixed feelings. I had high expectations. I expected to feel awesome when I was done. Since I hurt myself mid-race I didn't feel awesome. I just! I don't know that I'll ever do a 1/2 marathon again. I do know that I won't be attempting a full marathon any time soon. I could be convinced to run my first 10k. We'll see what happens with my knee. The positive side of struggling through the race is that I feel like I overcame and even bigger obstacle. Not only did I run 13 miles, but I ran the last 4 through the pain of my knee. I did it. It feels empowering; and - if nothing else - I can now cross 'run a 1/2 marathon' off my bucket list!

Thank you to my husband, Anthony, Inga my training buddy, and all of my wonderfully supportive friends! I flooded Facebook with my running updates and you all kept supporting me. You're the best. I'm a lucky girl. I always admired and respected anyone who runs marathons; but now I have an even deeper reverence for them. You people are amazing.

Photos & graphics from

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cute Birthday Cupcakes -- zero calories!

What? Cupcakes with no calories? Too good to be true? Ok, these cute little treats from 1-800-FLOWERS aren't for eating, but they sure do bring a bit of birthday fun. FUN FACT: Did you know that today, 10/5, is America's most common Birthday? Apparently 'tis the season of Birthdays! Last weekend was my mom's birthday. I had planned on going to visit her, and then I got taken down by a nasty sinus infection. (That's another story, but I'm feeling mostly better now.) Since I didn't get to drive up to see her in person I was extra glad that I had decided to send her one of these cupcakes! I saw it and couldn't help but thinking about how when my sister & I were little my mom used to tell us that carnations were her favorite flowers. She said she liked them because they last such a long time. Maybe she just said that because they were the kind of flowers for sale at our school on mothers' day? It's funny, my mom usually has expensive taste, but I know she loves these simple flowers. Every time I see cute little carnations I think of her. I was so glad that I was able to send her this carnation cupcake! What's the best part? When the cupcake in bloom arrives it actually looks like the website photo (as you can tell from the iphone photo my parents sent me).

Hopefully soon I'll get to see my mom in person so I can give her the rest of her birthday gift. Hint, it's a foodie gift that I'll be blogging -- but later so I don't give away the surprise!

*1-800-Flowers did offer me this complementary arrangement to review for my blog. Look for another blog post later this month where I'll give away a $40 savings pass from 1-800-Flowers to one lucky blog reader! While I do occasionally accept products to review on my blog, I only accept & post ones that I really love!