Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back at it Again

Maybe it is the lack of sleep, or waking up to an ocean view, but I feel inspired to start running again. I want to complete the Couch to 5K program and be able to run a 5K nonstop. As I have mentioned many times before, I've never run a mile nonstop, let alone just over three of them. Dan and I participated in our first 5K race last August as members of the NH Attorney General's team. Today, I decided I want to run another 5K race. I am determined to complete all nine weeks of training and at least beat my pitiful former time of 44 minutes.

I decided that I want to run in the Long Branch Trick or Trot on October 23, 2011. The proceeds benefit homeless animals at the Monmouth County SPCA. The organization is close to my heart because we adopted our first "baby," our evil cat Spyder, from them almost seven years ago. I love the animals and supporting no-kill shelters like the Monmouth County SPCA. I am going to do it! The only catch is that this is not a 5K race (3.1 miles). Instead, the Long Branch Trick or Trot is a four mile race. To quote Dan, "See this? I got this." I can do it, and I'm going to do it. Who is with me? For more information on the race, see the listing on Jersey Runner here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ocean Twp. Italian-American Festival

Last night, Dan and I took our friend Kate to the Italian-American Festival in Ocean, NJ. We had never been before, but we know that many of the locals attend the festival each year, so we decided to check it out. 

Parking: The festival takes place for five days in Joe Palaia Park. Thankfully, the police really have the traffic situation under control, and it wasn't difficult to drive to and from the event, even leaving at the end of the night. It was worth the voluntary $1 parking donation to the Ocean PD. 

Attractions: My favorite attraction was the petting zoo. There were not many animals, but at least there was a variety. We were surprised that patrons had to pay $2.00 to enter the petting zoo and an additional $1 for two cups of feed, but I guess it is understandable considering there was free admission to the festival. I got up the courage to feed and pet the animals. It was very cute! The alpaca felt like a teddy bear. The zoo also had the typical over-eager goats, sheep, baby goats (kids), chicks, ducks, rabbits, a cow, and a pony. I enjoyed feeding the cow and giggly like a child as its tongue tickled my hand. There are other events and attractions like spaghetti and cannoli eating contests, gymnastic demonstrations, make-you-own sand art, carnival games, free chair massages, and hourly 50/50 raffles, where we heard them giving away things like battery-operated blenders and car wash packages.

Shopping: There were not many booths of merchandise for sale at the festival. The two booths that stood out were the Native American booth and the Italian T-shirt booth. The Native American booth had lots of jewelry, pretty summer dresses, and handmade tchotchkes for sale. There was also a booth selling gaudy Italian merchandise, such as bracelets and T-shirt brandishing phrases like, "I only date guidos." I considered getting a red V-neck ladies shirt that read, "Sicilia." Represent! Just kidding. I may live on the Jersey Shore, but it's nothing like the MTV reality show.

Food:  The whole reason we went to the festival was to enjoy some good Italian food. Instead, the festival was full of your typical carnival food, which is not always a bad thing if you don't mind food dripping with grease, covered in cheese whiz, and/or coated in powered sugar. Between the three of us, we had a deep fried brownie (oreos were also available), mozzarella sticks, a cheesesteak loaded with onions and peppers, a couple beers, a giant lemonade, and what was called a "bucket o' fries" swimming in cheese "sause." We enjoyed the misspelling of "sauce" on the sign as much as we did the fries, which were served in what resembled a large dog bowl. Festival patrons could also purchase alcoholic beverages, kettle corn, old fashioned soda served in a metal stein, funnel cakes, caramel apples, meatball sandwiches, butterfly fries, gyros, and much more.

Rides: For the first time in my life, I got up the courage to brave the Zipper. I grew up hearing all the tales of riders vomiting and being tossed in the cage along with it for the remainder of the ride. I also know my stomach's low tolerance for spinning rides. After paying $12.50 for 10 tickets so Dan and I could ride, I stood in line behind a bunch of squealing pre-teens as Dan, my fellow rider, slugged two beers before we rode the Zipper. As the cage of the ride closed before us, I couldn't help but think about all the carnival ride casualties you hear about on the news. I think it was the lawyer part of me trying to get out of the death trap. I survived what I affectionately labeled as "a swingset on crack," but I screamed every time our cage flipped or my butt left the seat and pleaded with Dan to stop trying to flip us as we waited to disembark the ride. 

We all had a great time and it was a wonderful way to spend a cool summer night in Monmouth County. The Italian-American Festival runs until Sunday. If you're in the area, you should check it out. They're having a firework display tonight. For other nightly events, check out their website.

Two Month Recap

I haven't posted for two months, and I have really missed blogging. As I have said before, when I'm not blogging, I'm not sticking to my points. I guess it is save to say that the scale has missed blogging too.

Since we spoke last, I practically did nothing but study for the bar exam. All the days start to blur together. It was a dark period of my life. Ha!

  • Dan and I moved out of our apartment in NH in mid-July. Our lease was up, but we still did not have a permanent place to live. 
  • I stayed with our friends in NH for two weeks in July while I studied around the clock for the bar exam. They provided me with a fantastic study environment, their sympathy, tasty home-cooked meals, and some much-needed laughs.
  • I took the NJ bar exam on July 27 and 28. Those were two terrible days of my life that I pray I don't have to repeat again in February. At the end of the two days, I felt like everything had come to a close, and I thought I would feel lost without school in my life. School has been a huge part of who I am since I was 5 years old. Now, at 25, I have to put school behind me and discover what I like to do in my free time. Silly me, thinking I would have free time!
  • The weekend after I took the bar, Dan and I moved into an apartment on the Jersey Shore. Dan and I did some moving on our own, but fortunately, two of our friends helped us with the bulk of it. We're grateful to have such wonderful friends. It wasn't easy giving up on the house we were buying. The short sale process was dragging on without an end in sight. We felt that four months was long enough, and it was time to move on. We learned from the process and have no regrets. So far, we love the area of our apartment, and we're only a few miles from the beach. When we find the time, there's always something to do.

Well, it's time to get back on the wagon today and start counting my points again. I don't care that it's a Friday. I used to wait to start a diet until Monday. I would go out and basically binge the weekend before, eating everything that I "could never have again." Let me tell you, this was the worst strategy EVER. Not only would I pack on the pounds and make myself crave the indulgent meals I had just days before, but I had the mindset that there are forbidden foods. I love following the Weight Watchers Points system because I never feel like anything is off limits. So, I'm not scrapping my week's dinner menu I have planned or throwing out food in the cabinet; I'm merely returning to counting my points. It will be a wake-up call to see how much I've been overeating. 

And, begin! Happy eating, everyone!