New shoes!

You know it’s time to change your running shoes when the upper mesh is ripping away from the sole. I’ve had my beloved Brooks since 2009, when I ran my first half-marathon. According to multiple sources I’ve read, you should change out your running shoes approximately every 300-500 miles. I know from my MiCoach stats that I’ve logged 115 miles since this past June, so I think it’s safe to assume I passed at least the 300-mile mark somewhere in the past two and a half years. Plus I’d been experiencing a nagging pain in my groin after runs for the past month—an indication my shoes were wearing out!

I got a new pair of Brooks (above) at Super Jock ‘n Jill in Seattle, a running store next to Greenlake. The customer service there was excellent and their sales associates let you jog through the store (awkward) and even around the block to let you test how the shoes feel. I also tried out a pair of Mizunos to see how they fit my feet (not well) and also a pair of Nike Free Run+ shoes. The Nikes were an interesting feel—very lightweight. They are best for shorter runs though, so I went for the Brooks since I was used to the feel of them and knew from experience they’d carry me through multiple races.

Sometimes you have to sacrifice colors you like for a shoe that fits you best—I think I got lucky with these shoes! The colors are sort of Seattle Sounders-esque. I’ve already put three miles on them—I had to take them out for a test spin when I got home—and am tracking the mileage through MiCoach (I love stats) so I can analyze the beating I put them through. Happy running!


I’m convinced I should always have a three-day weekend. What I couldn’t accomplish (or just plain forgot to accomplish) on Sunday, I did on Monday and called it good. We didn’t get the chance to go out to dinner any of the four nights because of previously made plans so yesterday we took some time to visit Pike Place Market for lunch. I’ve always wanted to check out Beecher’s Cheese and try their macaroni and cheese because rumor has it it’s the best in Seattle. And oh man is it deserving. Just imagine the gooiest and creamiest mac-n-cheese and that’s what you’ll get at Beecher’s times ten. Seriously, it was that good. You’ll just have to fight the tourists and kiddos for a spare seat, which are in high demand!

Then we stopped by a guy selling tulips for fresh flowers—finally, a sign of spring!

Chili courtesy of the Pioneer Woman

We had a chili dinner with our small group on Monday and whose better recipe to use than the Pioneer Woman's! The recipe as-is should feed six to eight people, but since we had nine coming over (and five guys) I thought I better add some ingredients to make sure we had enough. You can see the original recipe here and my modified version below.
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • One 8-ounce can tomato sauce 
  • Two 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup masa harina (corn flour, found in the Mexican food section of many supermarkets--I actually found this in the flour section)
  • One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Two15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • Shredded Cheddar, for serving 

Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off the excess fat, and then pour in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add 1/2 cup water at a time as needed.

After an hour, place the masa harina in a small bowl. Add a cup of water and stir together with a fork. Dump the masa mixture into the chili. Stir together well, and then taste and adjust the seasonings. Add more masa paste and /or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency, or to add more corn flavor. Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with shredded Cheddar.

Next time, if I need to feed as many, I'll use beef broth instead of water for optimal flavor. I was glad I added what I did because we had a teensy bit left over even with the modifications. Don't skip out on the masa harina! It adds great flavor and such an interesting texture--it really is the secret ingredient. Of course, now I have a huge bag of masa harina that will just sit in my cupboard until I figure out another use for it. Tamales?

In my makeup bag

Welcome to another installment of products I’m currently enjoying that I wanted to share!

Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Concealer
One problem I encounter with some concealers is ultra-creaminess. I feel like they don’t set properly and then slide around, or I find them attracting stray mascara flakes and migrating eyeliner (making those darn under-eye circles even darker). This concealer is silicone-based and sets right away, leaving the area matte and perfect! Another tip I’ve discovered (perhaps everyone knew this already but I sure didn’t) is to use an eyeshadow primer on the under-eye area prior to the concealer—the concealer adheres to it and stays around longer, much like when you use eyeshadow with a primer. Who would’ve thought?

Laura Gellar Balance-N-Brighten Foundation
I won’t lie—I’m a foundation girl. I’m never without it and if there’s one product where I refuse to buy drugstore, it’s my foundation. Laura Gellar’s Balance-N-Brighten is a baked foundation that provides excellent coverage and does what it says—balances your skin tone and brightens your face. I got this product for Christmas from my Mom and I can’t say enough how pleased I am with it. It works well by itself or layered over a liquid foundation to set it. I use the shade Regular/Medium but they also offer shades in Fair and Tan. Regular/Medium is perfect for me in the wintertime when I’m paler than normal but I can see myself needing to use a bronzer in the summertime.

A polish disaster

Our Valentine’s Day was marred by the spillage of quite possibly the worst liquid you could spill on carpet.

I’d been using vases to house my nail polish collection and discovered they made perfect bookends for the books on my dresser. The arrangement had been working fine for a few weeks but for whatever reason yesterday my books must’ve been unstable; I closed a drawer and chaos ensued. I watched in slow motion (it seemed to me) as books slid toward both ends of the dresser, knocking off both vases and making lots of noise in the process. Once everything settled and I thought the worst was over, I smelled what you never want to smell unless you’re actually painting your nails (and even then I’d rather avoid it).

Was I lucky enough to have broken a clear polish? Or at least a taupe neutral that might blend into the carpet? Nope, it happened to be a purple, and incidentally one of the most expensive polishes I own, not to mention one of my absolute favorites. And I’m not talking about just a couple of drops on the carpet – it was at least half the bottle. I ran for paper towels and whatever solvent I could get my hands on first while Mark ran to Google. Based on tips we found online, I used a rotation of non-acetone polish remover, carpet cleaner, glass cleaner, and vinegar. I can’t say for sure what worked the best since I kept rotating them out but I know the polish remover worked well since it seemed to pull up the most polish on the towel I was using. The spill was between the wall and the carpet, and whatever combination of solvents I was using (or perhaps it was the polish itself) took the paint off the baseboard, so that will need to be repainted at some point.

I worked on it for about half an hour before I’d seen enough progress to encourage me to stop. The good news is once the small section of the wall is repainted, you’ll barely be able to tell there was a spill at all since it blends right into the crevice between the wall and the carpet.

We did have to spend the night on the futon though since the spill was at the head of the bed, and the fumes of the polish and solvents were enough to drive anyone away! How romantic.

Has anyone else spilled polish on the carpet and had success getting it up? I’m curious what else I could have used that may have worked faster.

Half: numero dos

I went and did the one thing I said I'd never do: sign up for another half-marathon.

My brother is flying up to Seattle that weekend so he can run it, too! It's like 2009 all over again! The race organizers changed the course though so instead of starting in Tukwila and ending in downtown Seattle, we'll be starting and ending at the Seattle Center. I'm curious as to how this course is supposed to be better but it wasn't a deal-breaker or anything.

The good thing is I'm in MUCH better shape than I was before the first race and I know I can easily get back up to six miles in a couple of weeks. And then I have to double it. And change. Cake.

I want

I've been really into bedding lately. Strange, considering my penchant for messy beds. As Mark said, "But if you get nice bedding, that means you'll actually have to MAKE the bed." Maybe this will inspire me?

Our current duvet cover has been looking a little tired so I've been browsing for a replacement. A store recently opened up in downtown Seattle called West Elm, and they have some cute offerings. Kind of like a Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn. You should check it out!