Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Whatever is on my mind Wednesday

Alright gang, time to get into the swing of normal posts and non-marathon or triathlon related blogging! I feel like I don't even remember what that's like anymore. It feels so foreign to think back to when I was posting 3-4 times a week and writing about my day to day life, what I did with friends, and any random thoughts that were going through my head. Sometimes I miss that and I at least miss the outlet of having a place to write that isn't JUST consumed about running or triathlon, but just about me. I feel like some of this blog has forgotten who Katelyn is outside of the seriousness of all the sports stuff. So I will try to mix in more casual styles and topics here and there.

Since I apparently forgot how to do that though, let me go ahead and start with something easy - a list of random things that are on my mind. Happy Wednesday everyone!

1. The year of no Halloween candy. In an effort to get back to cleaner more balanced eating after a few weeks of "whatever you want" eating post-marathon, I decided to set a goal to make 2017 the "year of no Halloween candy." The "year of no Halloween candy" means that I want to go through the entire Halloween season without eating all of the extra candy that is around just because it is Halloween!

If you know me, then you know that I am a lover of all candies and come from a long lineage of candy lovers. I can't help it, it's in my genetics! I regularly eat small amounts of candy and a small piece of dark chocolate as a daily treat, which is part of my normal routine. My goal this year was to not take from the bowls of Halloween candy that happen to be out at the hair dressers, at gatherings with friends, etc. To not grab Reese's Pumpkins or bags of candy corn at the grocery store check out line. To not buy bags of fun size candies "in case there are trick or treaters" and then eat it all myself on the couch as I do most years. Yes, most years I usually go through a number of bags of fun size candy just on my own. I would never buy 2 Snickers bars and eat them at home EVER, but would have no problem going through 5-6 "fun size" Snickers like they are nothing.

This year, I cut myself off completely and was really proud of myself for how I was doing. Still enjoying my regular candy treats, but not spiking my candy consumption with Halloween season. I made it through October 31st and was super proud of myself....

Then today I got into the office and realized all my coworkers brought in their extra Halloween candy that they hadn't given out last night!!! I now have to sit an avoid all that candy for the next couple of weeks (there is A LOT and GOOD candy too) and I am so annoyed. I thought I had made it through, but it's really just begun! GAH!

2. Chili and soup season have returned! Halloween candy season is also the start of one of my other favorite food seasons - chili and soup season! Lately I have already gone through 2 batches of my mushroom and barley soup, and this week and eating up my turkey chili - made full of fresh veggies and red kidney beans. So good!

3. Annual fall photo shoot with Janet.  Continuing on the topic of Halloween, last Friday Janet and I did a 4-mile run starting and ending at Atlantic Station. We hadn't run that route in a while and I am not sure what made me decide to want to meet there recently. After a nice run, we spent some time hanging out in the courtyard of Atlantic Station having a full on photo shoot with their fall decorations! The guy who was watering the plants and the lady who was changing the trash must have thought we were crazy as we dragged around the cutouts and repurposed a little stool into our photo stand.

Funny enough, after we went home, Janet sent me the pictures from two years ago... where we apparently did the exact same thing! On the exact same day. So weird!

4. Chateau Elon. Have you ever experienced where you have NEVER heard of something before, hear about it for the first time, and then it starts coming up everywhere?? That happened to me recently with Chateau Elon, a hotel and winery about 45 minutes (with no traffic...) outside of Atlanta. A friend of mine told me that she was going there for an anniversary trip with her husband and I had never heard of it before so looked it up. Within two weeks, I will now be going out to Chateau Elon for the second time! Almost days after she mentioned it to me, my manager asked me if I could go on a last minute overnight trip there for work. And at the end of this week, I am returning for another event that I will be attending with Janet. All before my friend goes for her trip, which was where I had first even learned of the place!

5. DIY ice cream popsicles. Back in maybe June or July, Brick alerted me to a new ice cream popsicle place that was coming to Atlanta that she thought I would love. It is called Steel City Pops and we both had been eagerly awaiting their arrival. Through some sort of contest, she had gotten a free box of their popsicles and at her house one day over the summer I tried an avocado popsicle that was surprisingly good!

Last weekend, we finally went out to their store to try the shop out for real. The way it works is that you select your ice cream popsicle base, then can dip it in dark, milk, or white chocolate, dredge it in nuts or graham crackers or other toppings, drizzle it with chocolates or caramels, and then dust with various flavorings or sea salt. However, when we first walked in, the lady asked if we had been there before and we replied that it was our very first time and to please explain everything to us as to how it works!

She started by walking us through the flavors of popsicles and as she explained, she started with "And here we actually have an avocado popsicle, which is surprisingly---" As she was saying it, Brick and I both cut her off at the same time saying, "OH WE KNOW." and "WE'VE HAD IT."

The popsicles were delicious and totally amazing and that story made me laugh after we left as we had made a big production to the girl that we'd never been and asked to be showed everything, but then immediately cut her off as she started explaining, saying we'd had it before!

(I had a marshmallow ice cream popsicle, dipped in dark chocolate, dredged in graham cracker crumbs, with caramel drizzle, and dusted with sea salt!)

6. Homemade pasta day! On the topic of Brick and I's food adventures and doing things we had talked about doing for a while... a few weeks ago we made a pasta dinner for the two of us and her husband, G, all from scratch! We have literally been talking about doing this for YEARS now as I have a pasta machine I had never used. Now that Brick has a KitchenAid Mixer (which, in full disclosure, I bought as a wedding present for her and G partially because I knew she'd love it, but also because I wanted access to one haha) we decided to go for it.

We had so much fun and made a spinach fettuccine from scratch with a vodka sauce with sausage, peppers, and mushrooms. It was AMAZING.

7. November project came to Atlanta! For those of you from around Boston, New York City, or many other cities across the U.S. (and world, actually!), you may have heard of the November Project. It is a group fitness movement that is free, focused around community, using whatever space is available across the city to work out, meet new people, and about "just showing up" REGARDLESS of any weather. They are a "weather proof" group and never cancel for weather.

Starting in Boston and slowly growing to other cities, it has become a huge movement and they just came to Atlanta! Since November Project now has a brand and reputation around it, local groups that want to start new chapters have to "pledge" November Project by forming their own brand and following, prove that they have the right culture and leaders, and go through a period of time of "just showing up" before they make it through the pledge process and become official November Project.

I had seen "Fitlanta Movement" in the mornings working out, at group runs, etc. but had never known they were pledging November Project! I went out for a group workout the day that they first were rebranded as NP and it was a super cool experience. I hope to be able to go back! I got a shirt spray painted so I feel like I have to now.

8. First big southern football game! Ever since I moved to the south, I have been saying I wanted to get to a college football game and trying to figure out a way to make it happen. Well, apparently it finally found it's way into existence via the north, with my friend Jess who came down to Atlanta from NY to visit and go to Alabama for a football game she had won tickets to in a charity auction!

For those of you who don't know, football is HUGE in the South. Alabama is one of the best football teams in recent years, winning the championship two years ago and losing in the finals to Clemson last year. Their stadium seats over 100,000 people and football for Alabama is LIFE. We were there homecoming weekend and were able to tour the campus, fraternity and sorority houses, and learn so much more about Alabama college legacy via our friend Martha, who graciously showed us around. Her son is 4th generation at Alabama and we met so many people for whom where they were going to school wasn't even a question. Roll tide!

9. Birthday celebrations for my niece and nephews! There is one thing that has brought new meaning to the month of October over the past few years and that is the birthdays of 3 of my favorite people in the world. In October, three years ago my niece and nephew Jack and Bridget were both born, and a year ago their little brother, baby Thomas was born! Hands down, what has been the hardest part of living away from home the past 3 years has been being away from them.

I miss my friends and the rest of my family so much, of course, but the rest of them I can talk to on the phone and converse with, and when we see each other, things pick up where they left off. Even my younger brothers are old enough that I can talk with them and they remember me. With Jack, Bridgie and Thomas, I hate that I am not there to spend time with them in these young, fun years. Every time I see them they are like different kids. And they have been too young to really converse over the phone or engage with me from afar. I am thankful for technology where I get to see the pictures and videos of them and FaceTime when I can, but I miss those cuties so much and hate missing out on family things. So, a huge happy birthday to those three. Your aunt Katie loves you more than you could know!

10. New bike day!! Welp, I made the decision and invested into a new bike this past month! I have been thinking about and wanting to upgrade bikes and purchase a triathlon bike for the past year now. I have been riding a road bike since 2015 and really love it, adding aero bars to the bike last year. However, I knew that as I started to plan for a full Ironman distance race, that I wanted to upgrade bikes and get onto a triathlon specific bike. They are lighter, made to be more aerodynamic and go faster, and the bike that I got has a new type of technology for shifting gears that is faster and extremely smooth. The weird thing is that the shifting is electronic, so that actually means that you have a battery and need to plug in and regularly charge your bicycle. It sounds a bit odd, but it is becoming really popular with triathlon bikes and wanted to buy a bike that would be an investment for me to have for the next 10+ years so wanted the newest technology on it! I am looking forward to taking it out on its first ride this weekend after it unfortunately was raining today when I went to pick it up. I'm excited for 2018!

Well, that's all for now. Hope you are having a great week and happy Wednesday!