San Francisco: Day 1 – The Expotique!

Friday morning started super early, my sister Caty (pronounced Katie) and I got in our taxi at 5:15 and made our way to Logan. Turns out Virgin America has a separate security line (thank goodness because the normal one was about 100 people deep) and once we went through our security we realized we had two gates and a tiny Cosi stand with coffee and sandwiches. We promptly left and got my classic Starbucks breakfast, ate & drank quickly and went through security a second time.

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Starbucks perfect Oatmeal with brown sugar & nuts and iced coffee, 2 pumps pumpkin spice and non-fat milk. Fall perfection

We boarded and got in the air pretty quickly. As soon as I connected to the WiFi, I got a twitter notification.
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Oh hey BFF Kara. I told my sister and my husband, they didn’t get it :(

We landed in San Francisco around 1 and proceeded straight to our hotel, dropped our bags, and then went straight to the Expotique in Union Square.

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I didn’t wait in long for very long, I got my bib and bracelet and neon bag (Nike+ member perk) and proceeded to check out the Expo. First things first, I headed to Yurbuds to grab a shirt, unfortunately they only had Extra Small and Medium, the medium fit but was snug, and I knew that it would chafe on race day. I will say, wearing it now, and it is very comfortable!

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Next stop, Nike had a “get dressed by a stylist” booth. Fine, twist my arm. I got matched up with an expert and she picked out a tank, capris, long sleeve half-zip and a pair of Lunarglides (that unfortunately did not make it in the photo)

 

 

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I fell victim to the marketing, and definitely ended up purchasing the pants (2 days later), at least I had a coupon?

Vain moment: I know I may not be the skinniest or most fit person, but when I saw this photo, I was shocked, my legs look thinner than they have in a while. Thanks running!

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After Nike, I moved onto my favorite hydration booth, Nuun, and introduced my sister to the amazing product. Turns out we love the exact same flavors.

We started to head over to the Nike Gait Analysis, but just as we got in line out came the MC and he was about to introduce some of my running heroes, Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan and Joan Benoit Samuelson. Run nerd overload.

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The chat didn’t last for too long, but it was amazing seeing so many greats, I wish I had taken note from Pavement Runner and gotten a photo with them. I didn’t even realize that they were in the crowd. I did end up having my gait looked at it, and the expert told me that I over-pronate (I knew that) but that my foot automatically compensates and tries to correct it (knew that too), but I saw a ton of improvement from my last gait analysis, so thanks again running.

After the analysis, we headed over to NikeTown, they put all the names of the runners on the wall outside. I didn’t take a photo of the whole wall, because luckily my sister spotted my name right away and I jumped in front of those still searching, took a photo and headed inside.

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OH. MY. OVERLOAD. So many goodies, I told my sister to keep me in check, well she tried. It was my first big race and expo and I was celebrating. I walked away with a jacket, half-marathon half zip and half-marathon t-shirt. By this time we were exhausted and still had to wait 2 hours for dinner. West Coast dinner time reservations on an East Coast appetite, travel fail. We went back to the hotel, checked in, changed and snacked until dinner.

We went to 54 Mint, it was this tiny italian restaurant and had this rustic, countryside Italian feel. We were seated a few minutes early and had bread and oil right away thank goodness.

We started with the Sformato di Cavolfiori – which was a savory flan of cauliflower with fontina cheese.

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I apologize in advance, dark lighting & an iPhone camera.

It was one of the most delicious things I have ever had. The portion size was perfect for two (or even 3 people), as it was very rich.

I kept it simple with my dinner I had the Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe – which was fresh pasta with black pepper, olive oil and peccorino. It was so simple and perfect, actually had to hold back from eating it all. I knew I would be too stuffed if I ate it all.

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and Caty had the daily special: Gnocchi with prosciutto, mushrooms and parmigianna.
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and we had to try dessert, I had the salted dark chocolate pudding and Caty had her favorite Tiramisu.

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Tiramisu – I don’t usually like tiramisu, but this one was perfect because the rum flavor wasn’t strong, it was more of a light cocoa flavor.

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Pudding – I wish the salt was a bit more granular, since one of my bites had a large rock of salt.

I had a few bites, it was all I could handle. I would however, recommend this to everyone. We have lots of staples in San Francisco and this was immediately added to the list. I loved it so much we almost went back on Sunday night. We headed back to the hotel and proceeded to pass out almost immediately.

Day 2 – tomorrow, includes a fabulous FitFluential meet up!

48 Hour Fundraiser

Saturday morning I am running my longest run to date and my longest run before the Nike half-marathon. In honor of that I am holding a fundraiser, the catch? It is for 48 hours ONLY.

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I am in the final push to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through my Team In Training efforts. I have FOUR great gift packages. For every $13.10 donation you will receive one entry in to the raffle.

First, donate here! Again, $13.10 gets you one entry, for each additional $13.10 you receive another entry. Example $50 = 3 Entries.

Let me tell you a little about where your money goes before I tell you about the great prizes.

✷76.2% of all funds go to research projects, grants, financial assistance to patients, producing educational material and videos and run support groups.

✷$25 provides patients and their loved ones with FREE booklets that contain up-to-date information on their disease and help them make informed decisions about their treatment options.

✷$50 makes possible a Family Support group with a trained facilitator where comfort can be found and experiences can be shared among patients and family members.

✷$100 helps supply laboratory researchers with supplies and materials critical to carrying out their search for cures.

✷$500 could provide patient aid to THREE patients with Leukemia or a related cancer for a year.

✷$1,000 makes possible one-on-one conversations with health care specialists who provide patients with information about their disease, treatment options, and helps prepare them with questions for their health care team.

WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Now onto the prizes!

First ($140 value):

✷Gift card to Lululemon

✷CASE of Carb Boom gels

✷Team In Training NUUN

✷Water Bottle

Second ($130 value):

✷Gift Card to Starbucks

Sparklysoul Headband and Fit Approach SweatPink shoelaces

✷CASE of Carb Boom gels

✷Team In Training NUUN

✷Water Bottle

Third ($130 value)

✷Gift Card to Johnny Cupcakes (apparel)

✷CASE of Carb Boom gels

✷Team In Training NUUN

✷Water Bottle

Fourth – The local package ($125 value)

✷Gift Card to Marathon Sports

✷Gift Card to Emack & Bolio

✷CASE of Carb Boom gels

✷Team In Training NUUN

✷Water Bottle

I will contact all the winners on Wednesday! Good luck and GO TEAM!

Photo 4  Version 2

March Photo a Day, Week 4

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Check out weeks one, two and three.

Friday, March 23 – Moon

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Me & the Moon – one of my favorite Something Corporate songs

Saturday, March 24 – An Animal

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even boys can wear animal pajama pants

Sunday, March 25 – Breakfast

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every breakfast starts with coffee, usually homemade

Monday, March 26 – Key

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my keys

Tuesday, March 27 – Your Name

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My Alpha Gam pod with my maiden name

Wednesday, March 28 – Trash

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I watch a lot of trash tv. Including some of the Real Housewives franchise, although not all, some of them really suck.

Thursday, March 29 – Feet

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Momma & baby feet. Neither of us like socks.

Friday, March 30 – Toy

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B & his talking Greek bear

Saturday, March 31 – Where you relax

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The couch

Join April’s Photo a day with a new hashtag. #photoadayAPRIL

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Defending my Vices

I hear a lot of complaints about my favorite coffee place, Starbucks.

Logo via Starbucks

It’s too expensive, it’s too crowded, etc… Well, if you get just coffee it is the same cost as Dunkin Donuts, and tastes better in my opinion.

What I love the most though is the outstanding customer service. Before the baby was born, I would go to my local Starbucks every morning. I got to know the barista’s and they got to know me and my order, and no matter if it was 5:30 am or 9:00 am they were always happy and kind to the customers. Dunkin Donuts does not have that.

After I had the baby I hardly went to Starbucks. I wasn’t really leaving my house and I sucked it up and had my coffee at home. I went back a few times since the baby, but it must have been the second shift, because my usual baristas weren’t there.

Today, I stopped in while my mom was at my house spending quality time with baby b. Some of my favorite barista’s were there. As soon as they saw me they started asking me about the baby and how I was doing. They also requested for me to bring him in or at least pictures.

While some may not like their barista to be knowledgable about their life I find it comforting. I’d rather have a conversation with my barista then be ignored at another coffee place while the person behind the counter messes up my order and chats to his co-worker in their native language.

Some say a cup of coffee out once a day, five days a week is expensive. And while it does cost a lot if you add it all up, it is one of my only vices, and I think it’s worth it. Great customer service, great coffee and great food too.

Starbucks knows what they are doing, but they should step up their marketing in New England, because I would rather see a Starbucks on every corner then a Dunkin Donuts.

Today’s Question: Do you have a place that you frequent partially because of it’s stellar customer service?

Five Things Friday

Since I can’t bake as much as I would like, I have decided to do a Five Things Friday, it might be five things I love, five things that are driving me crazy, could be anything. Today I have decided to do five things I love this week.

1. Starbucks Iced Black Tea with Lemonade. Since coffee turns my stomach, I have found a new delicious drink for my morning pick-me-up. It is delicious.

 

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2. I have been seriously craving guacamole and chips. If a place delivered I would totally order it for dinner tonight.

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3. Jodi Picoult Books. I have always loved her books, and they have been keeping me company while I have been laid up. I just finished House Rules.

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4. UCONN HUSKIES. Nick is from Connecticut and has been a lover for UConn college basketball forever. I started getting into it when we started dating and UConn is doing awesome in March Madness.

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5. Last but not least, today is Greek Independence Day, which is my husband’s heritage, so we will celebrate :)

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Today’s Question: What are you happy about today?