We saved our maps from Rome and and Venice for framing purposes, though our trip was five months ago and I’ve just now gotten around to popping one of the maps in a frame. I really love the idea of framing maps – I think it’s such a cute (and cheap) way to decorate, especially if the maps mean something to you. Even if they don’t, they still look great!

I found this image on Pinterest and like the idea but I didn’t want to use one of our Italy maps since I’d have to cut out part of the map. I’m pretty commitment-phobic when it comes to cutting anything… what if I don’t like it? I can’t hit “undo” in real life!

I put our map of Rome in a 5”x7” frame and hung it in our hallway.

Now every time we pass it I can remember the Colosseum and that rainy, rainy day.


I hope everyone else also has the day off! I must say, three day weekends should be standard, don't you think? I for one feel very relaxed! Though that might have more to do with my girl's day in on Saturday. Two of Mark's friends from Portland drove up for the weekend and had a guy's day out while I spent a much needed day inside resting. I came down with a slight cold last week so I knew I didn't want to be out and about in the elements on Saturday.

So I slept in until 10:30 and then caught up on six episodes of my favorite show at the moment, Gossip Girl. My sister-in-law got me into it and I'm so glad she did. I never knew I could care so much about catty rich girls in New York City. :) Watching it is a great escape for me and I'm over halfway done with the series thanks to my binge-watching. I also gave myself a manicure and a pedicure on Saturday, and felt completely guiltless about ignoring any and all housework. Basically... it was amazing. Then the guys came back and we watched a documentary on a sushi chef in Japan, went to dinner at Cactus in South Lake Union, and then watched the first half of a miniseries called "Treasure Island," which I'd totally recommend though I fell asleep through most of it (how is that possible... I did nothing on Saturday!) Mark and I actually finished the miniseries last night (there's only two episodes) and I thought it was very well done.

The added benefit to a day of complete relaxation? After Mark's friends left on Sunday, I totally powered through a bunch of housework and had energy to spare. Give yourself the time off you need and you'll come back full throttle! I had been planning on making ribs for Sunday dinner but the recipe I was planning on using called for stewing them in the crockpot for 11-12 hours and I completely forgot to prepare. I guess my day off cleared my mind so much I forgot I had a plan for Sunday. So I found a new ribs recipe -- Ina Garten's beef short ribs -- and set off to the store for a leek and a fennel bulb. I'd never bought fennel before so I didn't really know what it looked like, but I'd heard of it so I thought it would be easy enough to find. Two passes down the produce line later, I was convinced that maybe Safeway didn't have fennel. I'd seen something called anise that I thought could have been fennel (it came in a bulb, like fennel), but wouldn't they have just called it fennel? So I asked for help but the worker didn't know what fennel looked like either. She went to the produce manager who came out to tell me that they in fact didn't have fennel. Argh. So I drove down the road to Haggen's, a different grocery store, because I still needed this darn fennel. There I found the same vegetable that had been labeled just as anise at Safeway, only at Haggen's it was labeled "anise fennel bulb." I asked the produce guy if that was indeed fennel (I'm sure he thought I couldn't read) and he answered affirmatively. Well, if I'd have KNOWN that's what fennel was also called, I would've just gotten it at Safeway!

I guess the moral of the story is to not trust the Safeway produce manager? Anyway, bulb of fennel finally in hand, I went home and prepared what turned out to be some truly delicious ribs (I called it Mark's Valentine's Day dinner). That Ina Garten knows what she's talking about. I also learned that when the recipe tells you to tie up the fresh herbs with kitchen twine, you should probably use kitchen twine. I didn't have any so I used a long sprig of thyme to tie them up (and yes, I thought I was a genius) but it didn't keep the herbs together in the end. So I had to fish most of them out by hand. Lesson learned.

Hanging out with da 'mill

Remember when I said that I wanted to make friends with my nemesis, the treadmill? While we aren’t besties by any means, I think we’ve reached a truce of sorts. I lasted 45 stinkin’ (no really, I was gross) minutes on that thing (first time ever making it that long) and didn’t once slow to a walk, which was my goal. I came up with some changes to my thinking that, I think, got me through it.

1. It’s all in my head. For me, the treadmill is all mental. Win the battle in your head, win the battle on the treadmill. I convinced myself that my brain was telling me that I was too hot and too tired but that my body was, in reality, doing just fine.  Studies show that despite what your brain tells you, it’s physically easier to run on a treadmill rather than outside. Since I have no problem running outside, the treadmill shouldn’t feel so hard. I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to your body though – I’ll touch on that later.

2. Do what it takes to make it happen. I used to think that if I couldn’t sustain my goal pace then I might as well just take a break and walk. This runs counter to my jogs outside, where my motto is NEVER WALK UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, from which I rarely deviate. If I can do it outside (and for much longer), which the experts say is technically harder, why can’t I do it on the machine? For me, the solution was swallowing my pride and slowing to a more relaxed pace (10:20 min/mile) in order to keep myself from walking. It drives me a little nuts to intentionally slow but I have to ask myself the question, what is my goal here? If my goal here is to just keep running for 45 minutes, then there’s no shame in taking steps to meet that goal, even if it means my pace is slower.

3. Chunk it. I started out for 15 minutes at a 10:00/mile pace and spent 10 minutes in the middle at a 9:30 pace, intending to spend the remaining 20 minutes back at 10:00/mile. But with 10 minutes to go, I decided I could no longer sustain a 10:00/mile pace and slowed to 10:20/mile. And then I took it minute by minute. A minute would go by and I’d reassess. Do I need to slow down? How can I focus better to get through this next minute? One minute is easier to tackle than 10!

And before I knew it (not really… I was very aware) I was done. And I felt a kinship with the treadmill, like we’d found a mutual respect for each other. Plus I always love being the one who’s been on the treadmill the longest. Or is that just me being competitive? Whatever works!