It’s Christmas Time in the City

By December 21, 2014 Birmingham
Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

A few months ago I noticed something about living downtown—you have to look harder to notice the seasons. There is no lush green grass to lie on, fragrant leaves to rake, or houses who have decked their halls to the gills to gaze at.

But the holidays still can be found in the ‘Ham, in a different and beautiful way. So come and take a sleigh ride with me through the streets of my pretty city:

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

I want to don a Santa hat and ride this bike all around the city

Frozen has taken over…

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

…much to my dismay

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

Crazy psycho bit…princess.

There was a window-decorating contest, #decktheham.

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

Hey Santa, over here!

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

I’d like a Bham snow globe, please!

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

Head’s up!

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

How fantastic is this?

There was even some love for the Jewish folks.

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

Who said Bham isn’t diverse?

There’s a fantastic old-school window display on 20th St.

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

It’s a true look-and-find

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

That’s totally dirty and wrong

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

But awesome. (Sorry, Grandma.)

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

What did you do under the mistletoe?

The city itself dresses up quite nicely for the holidays, too.

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

With wreaths

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

And garlands

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

And raccoons

The lofty loft got into the holiday spirit as well.

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

I hung the stockings with care

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

And trimmed the tree

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

Our neighbors went one step further and decked out their windows

So next time you’re out roaming the streets looking for fancy Christmas lights, come take a ride downtown.

Birmingham Christmas, city holiday decorations, Railroad Park, Linn Park

We’re pretty awesome, too.

Dear Santa

By December 9, 2014 Products, Ramblings
Eastern Mountain Sports Icarus Vest, Territory Run Co, Lake Martin 100, Curl Keeper, Camp Brand Good, Mile High Clothing Company, Wild Joy Studios. yoga mat, holiday wish list

Dear Santa,

Season’s greetings from your #1 fan! I’ve been terrible mediocre an absolute angel this year, so I thought I’d drop a line to share with you some things I have my eye on:

EMS Women’s Icarus down vest—A staple for all basic (look at me trying to be trendy) women. It can keep my oversized ribs warm and toasty while still showing off my guns, a la Daryl.

Eastern Mountain Sports Icarus Vest, Territory Run Co, Lake Martin 100, Curl Keeper, Camp Brand Good, Mile High Clothing Company, Wild Joy Studios. yoga mat, holiday wish list

I can wear it hiking, running, and sitting stylishly at my desk

Ala-Fuckin’-bama shirt—Opelika Trading Company doesn’t seem to have a website, Santa, but I need this shirt!

Eastern Mountain Sports Icarus Vest, Territory Run Co, Lake Martin 100, Curl Keeper, Camp Brand Good, Mile High Clothing Company, Wild Joy Studios. yoga mat, holiday wish list

Y’all. This is the perfect Jersey/Alabama mashup for me!

Yoga mat—I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’ve become more bendy and meditative lately. I’m also an accident-prone girl who needs a mat that won’t slip.

Eastern Mountain Sports Icarus Vest, Territory Run Co, Lake Martin 100, Curl Keeper, Camp Brand Good, Mile High Clothing Company, Wild Joy Studios. yoga mat, holiday wish list

Ommmmm

Black Diamond headlamp—What’s one thing a trail runner can’t do without? A quality headlamp that illuminates roots and zombies to prevent falls and being bitten. Noticing a trend here yet?

Eastern Mountain Sports Icarus Vest, Territory Run Co, Lake Martin 100, Curl Keeper, Camp Brand Good, Mile High Clothing Company, Wild Joy Studios. yoga mat, holiday wish list

Can you see me now?

Outdoor clothing companiesMile High Clothing Company, Camp Brand Goods, Overland Empire. Take your pick—I love them all.

Eastern Mountain Sports Icarus Vest, Territory Run Co, Lake Martin 100, Curl Keeper, Camp Brand Good, Mile High Clothing Company, Wild Joy Studios. yoga mat, holiday wish list

Love.

Territory Run Co. things—Speaking of clothing, I want everything of theirs. Please and thanks.

Eastern Mountain Sports Icarus Vest, Territory Run Co, Lake Martin 100, Curl Keeper, Camp Brand Good, Mile High Clothing Company, Wild Joy Studios. yoga mat, holiday wish list

A brand for trail runners? Sold!

Curl Keeper hair stuff—I got a sample of this in a BirchBox, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. It tames my mane fairly nicely.

Eastern Mountain Sports Icarus Vest, Territory Run Co, Lake Martin 100, Curl Keeper, Camp Brand Good, Mile High Clothing Company, Wild Joy Studios. yoga mat, holiday wish list

This stuff should work – it costs a pretty penny!

Wild Joy Studios print—This needs a place front and center in my loft because it’s so beautiful and perfect

Eastern Mountain Sports Icarus Vest, Territory Run Co, Lake Martin 100, Curl Keeper, Camp Brand Good, Mile High Clothing Company, Wild Joy Studios. yoga mat, holiday wish list

Packing my bags!

Lake Martin 50 entry—Oh, hello. How did this get here?

Eastern Mountain Sports Icarus Vest, Territory Run Co, Lake Martin 100, Curl Keeper, Camp Brand Good, Mile High Clothing Company, Wild Joy Studios. yoga mat, holiday wish list

*whistles and walks away…*

So that’s it. Not too much to ask for, right? In return, I’ll be sure to leave you some warm cookies.

Hugs and kisses,

T

I Want to Gobble Everything—A Jersey Thanksgiving

By December 7, 2014 New Jersey, Travels
Pizza and Cheesesteaks

Well, our annual Jersey Thanksgiving food free-for-all has come and gone. And, as always, it was a great success. If you judge success by the amount of pounds gained and food coma naps taken, that is.

The ride itself kicked things off.

holiday travel, Way Better Snacks, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

I ate an entire bag of these crack chips

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

Exchanged my blood for caffeine

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

And watered the dogs so they wouldn’t wilt

Then, moments after arriving in Jersey, we got back on the road and hit our favorite diner. At 2 a.m.

holiday travel, New Jersey, Omega Diner, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

Where my sister and I bobbed for matzoh balls

Thanksgiving brought massive quantities of good food.

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

It was a team effort

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

And turned out delicious

Because our stomachs had already expanded, we turned Friday into the best day of the year—all-you-can-eat sushi day!

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

We ate

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

And ate

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

And ate

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

And ate

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

And then had ice cream for dessert

And since a trip home isn’t complete without some real food, we indulged in cheesesteaks and pizza.

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

I mean, are you drooling yet?

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

Real pizza gets folded

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

And ate more ice cream to celebrate my mom’s new job

Saturday brought Thanksgiving #2 with the Sylvan clan.

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

We ate even more

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

And celebrated birthdays

The Iron Bowl was full of pizza and wings and cursing and cheering. But no pictures were taken, because, football.

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

So here’s a cute Koda instead

How did I not have to roll myself all the way home? Running.

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

On neighborhood trails

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

Where I almost impaled my eyeball with a branch

 holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

On Princeton’s campus

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

Where we crashed their track

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

And in my own backyard

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

Because I am a child at heart

So now we’re back home from another whirlwind trip, and I’m eating strictly vegan again. Because it was only a matter of time before someone said, “Congrats! When are you expecting?”

holiday travel, New Jersey, family, sushi, diners, NY pizza

The vegan-to-carnivore bloating is real, my friends

Should I Break Up with my Blog Journal?

By December 6, 2014 Ramblings
blogging, handwritten blog, blog journal, breakup

I had a scary blogging crisis—I didn’t want to write my post into my journal.

“Um. Your point is?” you ask? Really. Hear me out.

I was midway through copying an already-published post into my journal when the thought hit me that this is fucking insane. Why am I rewriting something that already exists online and will never be looked at again in written form?

blogging, handwritten blog, blog journal

Unfinished business, laziness, or moving on?

I used to write posts out for editing purposes. I’d write them on scrap paper, edit and recopy them into my journal, and then type them out for my blog. But lately, I’ve been skipping the journal step and going straight from scrap to hitting “publish.” The result though is that now I’m missing posts in my journal, and it’s stressing me out! Dumb, right?

Is it that I never connected to this journal like I did with my red one from last year? It’ll sound absurd to those who don’t understand, but those who “get it” will nod in agreement. A writer needs the right tools to feel good about her work. A sharpened pencil, a fresh sheet of paper, a charged laptop in a cozy coffee shop, a typewriter (I kind of really want one).

My 2014 journal is just…meh. She’s a bit too tall, her pages are too thin and white, and I haven’t been in a sparkly mood the entire year. To put it another way, I hate her. Good riddance!

blogging, handwritten blog, blog journal

This page has a stain, and therefore is ruined and useless

Or am I just growing more confident as a writer?  Do I no longer need the security blanket of telling my journal about my post before it gets published? Am I more comfortable with what I have to say?

In the grand scheme of things, this “crisis” is nothing. A thought I’m likely wasting way too much time on. But I’ve always found peace in the physical act of writing, so this is throwing me for a loop. Sigh.

blogging, handwritten blog, blog journal

Hell-o new 2015 journal contenders

 

Do Vegans Fart More? And Other Diet Questions

By November 25, 2014 Nom Noms, Vegan Adventures
Vegan Diet, plant-based diet, plant-powered, vegan, vegetarian, Runner's Colitis, ultra running diet, vegan Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving week! The perfect time to talk about plants (this post is sponsored by turkeys).

I’ve been a convenient vegan for almost a year and a half now. Long enough for me to know that while I can never completely give up my overflowing plates of BBQ and mac & cheese, I do prefer eating a plant-based diet.

Vegan Diet, plant-based diet, plant-powered, vegan, vegetarian, Runner's Colitis, ultra running diet, vegan Thanksgiving

Pre-Thanksgiving meal from this past weekend, complete with turkey

I get asked questions all the time about why I eat primarily vegan. Most questions are thoughtful and genuine; others are downright hilarious. So once and for all, I thought it’d be fun to compile the best ones for folks to refer to. Here we go:

But why? I’ve learned that the harder or farther I run, the more my intestines hate me. Like, a lot. I have Runner’s Colitis, which is like a self-inflicted Ulcerative Colitis. Gross. Through experimenting, I found that eating unprocessed, plant-based meals helps my body handle the miles better.

Aren’t you hungry? Hell to the no! Plants are jam-packed with fiber and vitamins that actually fill me up much faster than regular, processed food. Which, if you know me, is almost impossible to do. I am a bottomless pit.

Vegan Diet, plant-based diet, plant-powered, vegan, vegetarian, Runner's Colitis, ultra running diet, vegan Thanksgiving

My all-time favorite recipe – curry tofu rice

Don’t you need protein? Yes. But as my friend and fellow Resolute Runner Kevin says, “where do cows get their protein?” Plants have a ton of protein (check out this article for protein-packed veggies), and most Americans have too much protein in their diets anyway.

Vegan Diet, plant-based diet, plant-powered, vegan, vegetarian, Runner's Colitis, ultra running diet, vegan Thanksgiving

Borrowed from Pinterest

Does all your food taste like dirt? No. Because I am a good cook. Does your meat taste like death?

Vegan Diet, plant-based diet, plant-powered, vegan, vegetarian, Runner's Colitis, ultra running diet, vegan Thanksgiving

Hello there, you tasty little gourd

How do you have enough energy to do things? Silly person, plants have all the vitamins and nutrients you need to be a beast. By eating vegan and plant-based meals, I don’t get empty calories, chemicals, or filler crap in my food.

Don’t you like meat? Yes. That’s why I’m a convenient vegan and can eat my weight in burgers. Though I pay dearly for it afterwards.

Don’t you miss cheese and ice cream? Yes, sometimes. But you actually get used to not having dairy fairly quickly. It doesn’t even cross my mind to cook with it anymore. Though don’t try vegan mac & cheese recipes—they’re all a huge letdown.

Does your husband resent your diet? No. I make him his own meat and cheese-laden meals every night. Lucky bastard.

Do you fart more? No. Because girls don’t fart. Ever. Even if they eats beans every day.

Vegan Diet, plant-based diet, plant-powered, vegan, vegetarian, Runner's Colitis, ultra running diet, vegan Thanksgiving

Fun fact – every meal in this post was made this morning in less than 10 minutes total

Full disclosure—I will be abandoning vegan-dom for Thanksgiving, but will be right back at it the moment I get home.

Do you have any questions? Or, if you’re a vegan, what do you get asked?

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