Monday, July 29, 2013

Wolves Run Wild

This past weekend was filled with lots of laughter, lounging, and of course, eating. Two of my favorite gals came to visit and we had a lovely reunion weekend here in Richmond. We paid a visit to Godfreys for their drag show brunch which was a blast and a great way to kick off the weekend. You haven't lived until you've eaten your omelette while watching performances to Cher. If you're in Richmond please pay them a visit!
We had lots of delicious food throughout the weekend, I was able to take them to visit some of my favorite foodie spots in Richmond like Toast and Gelati Celesti, and I finally got to try Don't Look Back. Also, I'm not sure I've ever really expressed how much I enjoy mojitos. I might need to try and start making my own at home because they are absolutely scrumptious.

No matter what you're doing together, life is better with gal pals. I am so appreciative of these two and even though we all live in different states it's wonderful to have those friendships that pick up right where you left off!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Oh Yeah, We're Moving!

There was quite a bit that went on during my blogging hiatus this spring. One of those things was that Mr. Young and I decided to buy a house. We know we want to stay in Richmond for a while so we went for it. 

We found an awesome realtor through one of my co-workers and off I went almost every Friday afternoon to look at five or six houses. House hunting is some hard work let me tell you. There was always one thing about each house that we didn't care for. There never seemed to be something good in our price range in the neighborhoods we were interested in. 

After two months and probably twenty some odd houses, we realized it was not the time to purchase a house. For one, we have a wedding coming up next summer, and while we are incredibly grateful that both of our parents are helping us make our dream a reality, we're still footing some of that bill as well. Through house hunting we also realized that we are not yet sure what exactly we need/want in a house and where in Richmond we'd like to live. This was probably apparent to our realtor who would zig zag us all around Richmond when we went to look at homes. 

We decided to put it on the back burner for a while and focused our efforts back to renting. Getting out of our current apartment was our main goal and since we'd like to take a mini step towards owning a house we decided to rent one.

Welcome to our new humble abode!

Trying to rent a house in Richmond might be a more frustrating process than buying. Naturally in all of the most desired areas to live, five minutes after a house is posted on Craigslist it's already spoken for. You could only imagine how infuriating this became.

After losing our dream rental house because I didn't call the landlord fast enough (learned my lesson the hard way) I heard back from an inquiry that I forgot to follow up on. We went and saw the house the next morning, paid our application fee, and emailed our application when we got home. Our new landlord checked our credit and made sure we weren't creepers that day and then we learned the best feeling in the world: trying to show our friends pictures on the posting and Craigslist informs us it's deleted. The house was ours!

While the house isn't in my our most desired area of Richmond it's closer to the city than where we currently live which was a large part of goal for moving. We are out in crazy suburbia right now and if I have to look at another chain restaurant or store I might barf soon. She's a little three bedroom Cape Cod with...TWO BATHROOMS (cue the angels rejoicing). Finding a house within our price range with more than one bath was incredibly hard and this was one thing we didn't want to sacrifice.

There's also a small office off the living room which I plan to morph into my blogging and crafting headquarters, eep! The yard isn't too big, but at least that means to less to mow. There are only two downsides to this house (ok, well two major ones) and those are tiny closets and no dishwasher. Should be a fun project to adjust.

We are moving in the middle of August and absolutely cannot wait! I'm planning to go Young House Love style on this baby to keep track of how we transform the rooms, especially because I have some really neat ways of how to really make a rental house feel like our own.

Welcome to our crib!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Will Run for Nail Polish

When I made the decision to start training for a half marathon again I crafted a schedule and then felt a bit daunted. Training through August and September may be ideal for some, but for those working in education...not so much. I realized that my schedule is going to be incredibly different than right now, though luckily the weather will get a bit cooler.

Thinking of how I'm going to keep myself motivated and on track a reward system naturally came to mind. First I thought about getting froyo or ice cream on my weekend rest day if I completed my training schedule for the week, and then I realized this would negate trying to get back on track with my fitness. I will most definitely still indulge in treats while training but don't want to Pavlov myself into thinking that running = ice cream.

Funny enough my friend Mallory @ Mal Smiles did a post about this for her #NOtivation link up and I'm going to steal a good idea from her--thanks Mal! I needed to think of something small that won't break the bank and she mentioned getting a new nail polish with mileage goals when she trained for a half marathon. Perfect! I really need to clean out my nail polish collection and right now it consists of 20 bottles that are all slightly different shades of pink and coral. So each new mile that I hit I'm going to try and pick out a shade that's not something I'd typically go for.

I'm at mile three now and don't necessarily need that many new bottles of polish so I'm going to start with mile seven since that's where I left off with my interrupted training program last year. To keep myself motivated for miles four, five, and six, I've decided to go in the opposite direction.

Rather than buying or rewarding myself since I've already been around the block with these numbers, I'm going to do something efficient each week. I'm going to sit down with a cup of coffee and tackle a nagging task. Here's what I've laid out:

Mile Three--Fix my whole blog RSS feed mess of a situation so you can keep up with Chasing Young on your preferred reader platform!
Mile Four--Go through my massive collection of office/desk supplies at home and get rid of junk I don't need.
Mile Five--Clean out my Gmail inbox...completely, go through every folder and delete old messages.
Mile Six--Clear up my social media accounts. Go through my following list on Twitter, Instagram, and bloglovin' and stop following people/places I don't particularly care about.

When I hit mile six, which is the farthest I've been so far (technically 6.5), I've decided to splurge a bit and get a new sports bra, running top, and workout bottoms. I'm thinking that the journey to six will be easy with this in mind!

How do you like to motivate yourself towards fitness or other goals?

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Trek to 13.1 (again)

After running the Carytown 10k back in May (which you totally missed in my blogging hiatus) I definitely let running slip away from me again after reaching my goal. This was my first race post hip injury and I was so pumped that not only did I complete the race without stopping, but I did so with a time of 1:05 which was a PR (personal record). I did a really short burst of training and it really got me back in the groove.

Carytown 10k--sent this to my Physical Therapist!
Then I let life take over. What really makes me sad about that is that I missed great running weather this May and June before the summer heat actually came. Ya win some, ya lose some.

Since my injury last fall got in the way of the Disney Princess Half Marathon which I set out to run this past February, after the 10k I knew it was time I set my sights a bit higher again, although this race is still something I'd like to complete one day. A friend from work that I run with sometimes has also been looking to do a larger race and so we stumbled upon the Virginia Genworth 10 Miler which I've signed up to run at the end of September.

If I'm already going to be that close to 13.1 then I figured I may as well give it another shot.

I really had my heart set on the American Family Fitness Half that runs in conjunction with the Richmond Marathon and the HCA VA 8k that I ran last fall, but unfortunately have other commitments that weekend. Maybe next year? So instead I have made a bold move to sign up for the Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon in Hampton, VA which is a week after the 10 miler.

While this slightly petrifies me I think it actually will work out better than reaching 10 miles and maintaining my mileage for another month and a half before the half marathon. I made a training schedule that works well for both races and am beginning week two right now. So here's to 13.1 training kickoff...again!

Do you have any races lined up for this summer/fall?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mexican Baked Eggs

Before I actually get in to the wonderful dish I'm writing about today I wanted to address some issues that I've noticed with my whole blog switcheroo. Looks like I really should have just kept my old blog and created a brand new site versus changing my URL and name because it's been causing a multitude of issues.

Thank you to Charlotte for letting me know that my bloglovin' page is not updating! I'm in touch with both them and blogger trying to work things out. I'll let y'all know when it's fixed but for now appreciate you reading along right here. Also, most of the links in my pages will lead no where as they all link to previous posts under my old blog URL which no longer exists. Ah the joys of blog changes!

Well let's get back to the program because we all know what really matters around here is food...

I've showcased Mexican Baked Eggs before on the blog as it's one of the first dishes that Mr. Charming and I made together when we moved to Richmond last summer and it's also one of our faves. It's a go-to favorite in this house because it hits the spot like comfort food but is actually halfway decent for you  and has good protein for a veggie dish. She's amazing and needed her very own post.

You can find the recipe for this dish here via Closet Cooking.

We've done different variations like adding corn or other additional veggies, serving with guac, Chobani for me and sour cream for MC, etc. Usually we'll eat it with a handful of tortilla chips (which is super yum to scoop up like a dip!) but since we had some good bread on hand from another meal this week I cut a few slices up and we made do.

When we decided to get our act together and actually plan out our meals this week this one naturally popped up on the list. Unfortunately when we decided on it we didn't know that we were going to be in the midst of a crazy heat wave.

broiling + heat waves = no bueno 

Seriously though I should have used the new Instagram video because this little baby had bubbling cheesy goodness going on when I pulled her out of the oven. I'm also hoping that they invent Instagram smellovision because this one would be off the charts.

None the less I forged on with making the dish and while I usually have a hard time getting the egg whites cooked and leaving the yolks runny, this time it was absolutely perfect. If you follow me on Instagram you probably know that I have a love affair with runny yolks or #yolkporn as the masses have decided to name it. I literally was drooling...

I recommend this dish to everyone and I think can be suited to any taste. The jalapeƱos honestly don't make it that spicy so if you like spice, add some more! And maybe a dash of cayenne. Leave off the cheese and forgo Chobani/sour cream if you can't do dairy. If you want it vegan...well you'd clearly have to take away the beautiful runny eggs but maybe could swap for some seasoned tofu or tempeh?

So go forth and recreate and you too can nom on this delicious dish. Oh, and happy Friday y'all!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

You Better Make It Count

This spring I stepped outside of my comfort zone and after much begging coaxing from Mr. Charming I joined an adult volleyball league. Let me please explain how I am one of the most unathletic people on the planet. My entire athletic experience can be summed up with a season of soccer in the first grade where I complained every time my coach put me in. I was pretty much just there for the orange slices.

When I tried to explain this to MC he didn’t understand.

“But you love running, and that’s a sport. That means you’re athletic.” –MC

He got me there. Not to put down any runners because of course they are athletes, but I meant more in the team and coordination type of sport. Though let me tell you that off-road running takes a good deal of coordination not to trip and kill yourself.

His point was that volleyball would be even better because it’s a whole team of people working together.

“Your team is there to motivate you keep you going throughout the game.” –MC

This is exactly why I don’t like team sports, and MC was bamboozled by my answer. I’ve thought long and hard about my stance on this and I’ve come the conclusion that in my opinion, runners have (or need to have) more willpower.

When I’m running by myself MC was correct: there’s no one there to cheer me on when I want to give up. That means that I have to work 10 times harder to motivate myself to keep going because there is no one else there to do it. It’s only you and the road and if you can’t push yourself to do it then no one else will.

When no one’s around and you are ready to quit, who would know that you gave up? You would. And I personally think cheating yourself hurts 10 times worse then cheating other people. If you’ll cheat yourself then what won’t you do?

When you want to improve you break out the running watch, do sprints, time yourself, and notoriously check to stabilize your pace. You could give up that last .1 mile. You could sprint 20 seconds instead of 30.  You could run a little slower because you "just need to today.” But you are not going to get any faster and so the little voice in your head (and Gwen Stefani’s “Wind it Up”, my power song of choice) tells you not to give up.

You are your sole cheerleader with the exception of race day. But let’s face it, that’s only a small fraction of runs and it was you, yourself, and I that got you through the training to make it to that race day.

Now this still doesn’t mean that runners don’t need the support of family and friends while they train, especially to literally push them out of bed at 5:30am when they want to hit snooze. But once the shoes are on and you are out the door it’s up to you. And you better make it count.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Put Down the Map

Being in your twenties is awkward. Period. You're not a kid, you're expected to be independent, but you don't necessarily feel like an adult. After going to school for thirteen years, then four years of college, two years of grad school, and two years of "actual" experience under your belt people expect you to know many things.

The truth is, I think I know less now than I did during the first twenty-five years of my life.

There used to always be a next. High school ended and then came college. College ended and by the grace of God someone hired me for a year. Then I somehow managed to get into graduate school and was able to put off adulthood for another two years. Although I had no clue what I'd do afterwards I knew I'd have a job. Now that I have a job...what?

After working so hard for so long I have arrived. Yet, I'm not quite sure exactly where I am or what I'm supposed to do next. I have not worked somewhere longer than a year since graduating college and I haven't even lived in the same place (apartment wise not geographically) for more than a year since 2005.

I've now been in Richmond for an entire year. And I'm still here. And it's weird.

While I love my job and am grateful to have wonderful colleagues it's hard to not always think about what's my next move? How long will I stay here? Do I really just keep going to work everyday and then just keep doing that forever?

It feels strange to not have this larger goal like graduation or the end of a contract to be working towards. I'm beginning to think it's because it actually is making me think. How do I really want to spend my time outside of the office? How do I define myself beyond my career?

Although I worked one year after college graduation I've essentially always been a student. The first few months of free evenings after work and reading for pleasure was amazing. Now I feel like I should almost have a second job, like I need something defined and productive to do in my free time. Is that a sign of an entrepreneur? Or just a crazy person?

I can't answer any of these questions, but am continuing to ponder. The more people I've talked to, the more I'm reassured that I'm at least not crazy. If you're also twenty-five (or twenty something) know that you are indeed not lost. We've reached the end of our map to adulthood, but this doesn't mean we're off the map.

Maybe it's just time now to put down the map and be brave enough to wander.

Friday, July 12, 2013

What's In a Name?

As I transitioned to my new blog name, Chasing Young, I have had several questions about the choice for this name and adjustment of focus. I dove a little bit into why I wanted to do some rebranding when I first announced the switch but I wanted to take some time to dig a little deeper.

When I realized it was time to think critically about why I blog and what I like to blog about I knew that the name was the first to go. I'll be honest that I thought about a new name for months. All I knew was that I wanted something with two words. Short, sweet, and easy to remember. I did a few experiments like even posting on Facebook and Twitter to have family and friends share adjectives that they thought described me. This lead me nowhere.

In a meeting at work a few months ago I was doodling on my agenda (this is how my brain works to pay attention) and all of the sudden it struck me like the apple on Newton's head: Chasing Young. I had been thinking about a play on the fact that my married last name will be "Young" and "Chasing" works in several ways.

The first, and most simple, way I deciphered chasing is for my up and down relationship with running. Oh how I love it, and oh how I haven't ran in about three weeks (whoops). Although I think that's a fun play on words I'm not sure who would actually be chasing me because I run rather slow, but that's besides the point.

Then I thought back to my original interest in blogging: to capture my busy lifestyle for the plethora of family and friends that I can't always keep in the loop everyday. I am busy person. I always have been, and always will be. It can be hard for me sit still (except my recent marathons of Friday Night Lights and Candy Crush) and Mr. Charming makes fun of me for that fact all too often.

Finally, the combination of the two words brings me to my journey over the past year. This topic will  spawn some longer posts but it has finally hit me that I ain't gettin' any younger dolls. I'm more than halfway to twenty-six which means I'm closer to thirty than I am to twenty. I can't go much more into detail at the moment or I may compulsively combust in a fit of tears...and squinching my face will only lead to wrinkles.

I want to try and put things into perspective and remind myself that I truly still am young and have a lot of life left in the years in front of me. While I am so grateful that I have been fortunate enough to travel and experience many wonderful things, there is still much left for me to discover. And you can bet your bottom dollar that I fully intend on chronicling these journeys.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Honey I'm Home

It's been just over a month since I announced the decision to change up my blog name and adjust my branding on my little piece of the internet. Spending the past few months sans blogging has been wonderful. I get to creep on all of my favorite blogs at my leisure (as it should be) and have found that a little break has made me itching to get back.

When I wasn't feeling pressured to blog a particular amount of times per week I found that many topics and ideas for posts came to me easily. For me, I don't want linkups and giveaways to fill my blog, but content from my thoughts and musings. And Mr. Charming can tell you that I definitely have many of these.

Lucky for y'all I did not go on a complete hiatus and wrote some posts when the lightbulbs went off to save for this re-launch so there's some good stuff coming your way.

Now I'm back in action with a fresh new look thanks to Erin at Erin Elizabeth Designs who also is the brains behind Two Thirds Hazel. She seriously rocks doesn't she? I am absolutely in love with my new layout and working with her was a breeze. After giving her some slight direction she took it and ran, and I could not be happier with it!

With the name change comes a few other changes as well. Make sure you don't miss out on the fun and go ahead and follow:

I'm looking forward to getting back in the groove and reconnecting with some of my fave blogger ladies!