Fall Bucket List 2014 {Update}

Just over a month ago I put together a fall bucket list. I thought it was time for an update!

The 2014 Fall Bucket List: 

Carve a pumpkin

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A few weeks ago my good friend Amanda hosted a pumpkin carving party! I flexed my awful pumpkin carving skills once again and am the artist behind the toothless looking pumpkin 3 pumpkins in from the right. Even though my pumpkin was pretty silly looking, I had an awesome time!

Visit Olana

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Done! I visited Olana this past weekend with my brother and his girlfriend and a great time.

Go kayaking

I unfortunately haven’t gone kayaking this year! Maybe there is still time to go before it gets too cold out.

Go apple picking

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I went apple picking about a month ago! I didn’t take many pictures, but I did manage to get a half peck of apples and my share of apple cider donuts. Mmmm.

Make an Autumn wreath

Hasn’t happened! I actually found my fall wreath from last year and I actually like it… so I have a feeling this isn’t going to happen.

Clean out ALL closets (how does it seem that every closet in my house is jammed with crap after one year?)

Kinda done? I cleaned out all of my clothing closets. I went through all of my clothes and sent a jam packed bag to ThredUp. I have had good luck with ThredUp before and wanted to see what I could get for the clothes that I absolutely wasn’t wearing anymore. I am planning on going through the other closets soon!

Host / Attend a Fall beer tasting. (I do not enjoy beer that much. But I wish I did! I am going to try to sway my taste buds this year)

Not done yet… soon!

5 new fall recipes (excited about this one!)

I have cooked quite a bit lately, but haven’t done any original recipe development. Recently I have made broccoli cheddar soup, spanish rice stuffed peppers, stuffed chicken,  and  one of my new favorites- a whole chicken in the crockpot. I have also been eating a lot of turkey sandwiches, eggs and butternut squash.

Olana {The Home of Artist Frederick Church}

One of the big things on my bucket list this year was to visit Olana. Olana is a historic site that is only about an hour away from my home. I have wanted to visit for quite a while, but never made the trip down to actually visit. This past Saturday I convinced my brother Andy and his girlfriend Lauren that it was a good idea to visit. We hit the road at around noon and arrive just before 1:30pm. We didn’t make a home tour reservation before we went (mistake) but were lucky to get onto a tour anyway.

olana1 560x373 Olana  {The Home of Artist Frederick Church}

The home was built in the early 1870’s after the Church family returned from a trip to the Middle East. The home may seem odd from the outside, but stylistically it makes more sense when inside. Generally homes in the Middle East are built around a central atrium- Olana is built in a similar style, but the central hall is inclosed due to the fact that we live in upstate New York.

olanafront 560x373 Olana  {The Home of Artist Frederick Church}

The Middle Eastern architecture is similar to what they would have seen while visiting Beirut, Jerusalem and Damascus. Because of the wonderful views (the house is situated on the top of a large hill) many large windows were also incorporated into the design. From the inside these arched windows are framed and make the views seem like works of art themselves.

view1 560x373 Olana  {The Home of Artist Frederick Church}Unfortunately the house did not allow pictures on the inside, but I can tell you that the home is beautiful (photos of the inside can be found here).  Original artwork by Frederick Church and other artists from the Hudson River School can be found in every room of the house. All of the furniture in the home is original as well. Lockwood de Forest (a student of Frederick Church) contributed many hand carved wooden pieces into the home. These carvings were insanely impressive. Intricate wooden fireplace mantels, the wooden balcony, and many pieces of furniture can be found throughout.

olanafrontview 560x373 Olana  {The Home of Artist Frederick Church}


After the tour of the house we decided to explore the grounds a bit.

olanaview1 560x373 Olana  {The Home of Artist Frederick Church}

olanaview2 560x373 Olana  {The Home of Artist Frederick Church}


After leaving this lookout point we were caught in a freezing cold rainstorm. We made our way back to the car as fast as possible and then explored Downtown Hudson for a bit. After hitting up a food-truck for some delicious chicken soft tacos, we headed home. It was a great day! I highly recommend visiting Olana if you live in tri-state area!

Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathon

Heather and I woke up excited and ready to get going at 5:30am to get to the half marathon. We wanted to get there early enough to take the bus to the start (we were told the busses would stop at about 6:45am). I knew the weather was going to be about 60 degrees by the time we were really running- so longer shorts, tank top and long sleeve (thin) running shirt were thrown on and a cup of coffee was inhaled.

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I tried to eat a bagel and peanut butter, but my god did that taste like sawdust. It was the last thing in the world I wanted to eat. I had about a bite before I gave up and just drank more water. Heather and I packed up the car and hit the road by about 5:45am. We arrived in downtown albany in the riverfront parking garage by about 6:30. We put on gloves (best idea ever) and our throw away sweatshirts and tucked away our fuel and water bottles and made our way to the bus.image2 560x422 Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathonimage1 560x558 Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathon

After the warm bus trip to the start, we made our way off the bus and met up with Jen. Heather and I were so lucky to run this course with Jen! She has run the race a few times and knew exactly what to expect. She also volunteered to be our pacer, which was amazing. I know for a fact that without Jen I would have started out insanely fast and would have most likely decided to stop in at a bar for a nap somewhere along mile 8-10. After about 100 pee stops it was time to line up! After ditching my sweatshirt it was time to get moving! One thing that caught my off guard was how FAST the race started. Not complaining at all, but in most races that I have done there is usually a national anthem or something signalling the beginning of the race. Here is was more like…3..2..1..! GO!

The first 2-3 miles were a bit congested with a little weaving. We managed to run the first 5 or so miles at a 10:05ish (not official) pace. This seemed fast for us. We were hoping to stay somewhere in between 10:15-10:40 for pace for the entire race, so having this speedier pace was okay but a little nerve wracking. We didn’t want to burn ourselves out! Mile 5 or so I took a few of my Honey Stinger chews and drank a bit of water. At this point during the race we were running on a straight away for quite a long time. It wasn’t very interesting, but it was nice and flat and the miles flew by. By the time we made it back onto the running trail we were just over mile 8. At this point I just kept thinking ONLY 5 MORE MILES! It seemed like nothing compared to what we had already ran, but man I was feeling tired. We kept trucking along at a decent pace until about mile 10. At mile 10 we were pooped. At this point we started to break off a bit from each other. Mostly we just slingshot each other with walk breaks and running for the last three miles.

That last mile was killer. Actually, the last half a mile or so is killer. At that point I was so ready for it to be done! There were more spectators at this point, so it kept me going. The finish just seemed so far away! Eventually I saw the finish in sight so I kept moving (albeit rather slowly…) and then I was done! Huzzah! I hobbled off the course and grabbed a water bottle and saw Jen and Heather cross together.


Official time: 2:19:12 (10:38/ mile)

Overall place: 597

Division Place: 28 (for females 25-29)

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It was such an amazing race! I managed to take 5 minutes and 52 seconds off of my previous half marathon time, so I couldn’t be happier. I felt really good after the race and was just so excited.

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After having such a craptastic training for this I didn’t have high hopes for myself. My knee held up and my back felt great. Even writing this now (the morning after) I am feeling pretty good. Usual tightness that will be foam rolled into oblivion. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone local who is looking for their next half marathon!

Photos 3 & 6 via Heather on Instagram

Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon

Hello all! Over the course of this year I have been running with the goal of completing my second half marathon. Heather told me that she was planning on running the Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon, so signed up immediately. Unfortunately this training has been filled with stupid injuries. My runners knee that sidelined me for the Disney Wine & Dine reared its ugly head early and has been persistent throughout most of my training. I also had large knots in my left thigh which led to some very confusing back pain. 6 560x555 Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon7 560x560 Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon


All in all, it looks like I am officially an old person. I won’t be doing another half marathon in the future unless I am sure that my body is ready for it. My last long run (my 10 miler) was the best run I have had in a long time. My knee was hurting after the first mile so I looped home and put on the knee brace.

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After putting the brace on my run was pretty consistent and flew by. I walked a bit in some parts but ran the majority of the run. It was the first time in two years I have run double digits! After getting home I iced my knee and dealt with a little bit of foot pain (?). I am not sure if my right foot was cramping during my run or I was running on it funny with my knee in the brace. Regardless, it feels okay today. My knee is hurting today though…so I am hoping that icing and stretching will be enough for me to recover before the race next Sunday.


Any friends out there ever suffer from runners knee before? I would love to know what you did to make it feel better.


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What makes you feel?

And when I say “feel” I mean really really FEEL. Like, get goosebumps.  Or a lump in your throat. A sudden awareness of yourself. As I was driving through town the other day I happened to drive by a large church that started ringing its normal hourly bells and quickly got goosebumps all over. It was in that moment that I realized that I can name a handful of things that cause that immediate reaction for myself. After thinking about it, I realized that they are all very powerful events or sounds that cause this reaction. Church bells being the first one that I realized, the second being bagpipes.

I don’t know what it is. I remember working at a bakery in town a few years ago while a parade was happening. During the parade, a huge group of bagpipers made their way down Broadway. I was clearing a table and caught myself getting choked up. On tears! real tears! I have absolutely no reason for why this happened. I still think about it! All of my coworkers must have thought I was such a weirdo. But I didn’t care. It was just raw emotion caused by an event.  Or maybe it was the kilts.

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Another (probably more common?) instance that I have noticed this happen is when listening to music. One instance in particular was when I went to listen to the 1812 Overture and watch a firework show that they do together every year at SPAC. I almost always have an emotional reaction to this one. I don’t know if it is the extremely powerful music, the cannons themselves or the fireworks. Probably some crazy combination of the three.

Please share! What gets you choked up?