First Outdoor Run of the Year

Last weekend the temps soared out of the single digits to the solid mid-double digit range.

Time for an outdoor run.

(And yes, I am a baby. I despise sub-zero temps and ice slippage with its resultant injuries, so I will mostly run indoors in the winter).

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Not Me.

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Also Not Me.

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Definitely not me.

I have actually run outdoors many times this year, just not in my hometown.

Because the weather here is generally terrible. 

Last Sunday, I set out to change that.

The first run of the year is always – every 25+ years into the process – a bit of a culture shock.

There’s no streaming Netflix to watch, no clean towel to wipe away sweat, no convenient water fountain and no climate controlled temperature like on the treadmill at the gym.

And there’s wind, traffic, uneven sidewalks, and other unexpected obstacles.

But there’s also sunshine, lung-piercing fresh air, and (often) solitude, which is just the way I like it.

I also find that I generally run a lot faster outdoors than in; I feel like I get to let my natural pace take over and it’s usually more varied but overall quicker than any workout I’d set on the treadmill.

Bring it on, Spring.

Nordstrom Customer Service

Nordstrom’s customer service is legendary, and last week I experienced it.

Last month I wrote about how the zipper on a perfect pair of boots disintegrated, and – miracle of miracles! – I found the box and receipt for them.

But.

I bought them in the fall of 2013.

I can’t even argue their recent purchase. They are old.

And used.

But I love them, and last weekend I took them to Nordstrom and asked if there was a way I could order (and pay) for a new pair.

The salesperson took one look at them and said, “We’ll send them to George’s.”

What she was saying: Nordstrom would send them out to be repaired. At no cost to me. And they would send them back to me, fresh and new, ASAP.

Wow.

Major props to you, Nordstrom.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon

Last year my friend B. proposed that we run a destination race together, along with her sister-in-law J.

B. and J. are both totally fun and super cool, so my immediate response was “yes!”

Except that I didn’t quite imagine that the race would be here:

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This is Dublin, folks. As in Ireland.

B. suggested the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin half-marathon, which is scheduled for August 2nd, 2015.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love running destination races and the best way to see a city is on foot. 

Here’s a description of the course from the event website:

Starting in Dublin’s Docklands area, running along the north side of the Liffey River, runners are in for a treat as they pass all of the fan favorites!  After crossing over Memorial Bridge onto the south side, the route passes the famous Ha’Penny bridge (cue the photo opps!), Christ Church Cathedral, Brazen Head Pub (Ireland’s oldest pub), James Joyce Museum, and of course, no tour of Dublin would be complete without… the Guinness Brewery.  Although, the smell of hops and barley will be fleeting, as runners continue on past the Royal Hospital and Kilmainham Gaol into Phoenix Park, one of the largest walled city parks in Europe.   It’s there that the journey turns scenic as the route winds its way through the lush park, taking in the Wellington Monument, the Papal Cross, the President’s House (Áras an Uachtaráin) and the famous Dublin Zoo, finishing with a rockin’ concert in the park!

I’ve never been to Ireland so this is going to be a huge adventure. 

I’m hoping to kick my training up a notch and have a great race.

And I’m already starting to get excited.

P.S. If you’ve done this race or visited Ireland before, please send me tips!

Platform Sandals

Ring, ring! The 90s called and they want their sandals back.

Platform sandals seem to be everywhere for spring/summer ’15.

Here’s the Nordstrom shoe department yesterday:

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The first pic of black platforms reminds me so much of my friend and ex-roommate S’s chunky Steve Maddens from 1994 that I can’t stand it.

(By “can’t stand it” I mean that I pre-ordered them for purchase during the Nordstrom Triple Point event happing March 18-22. They’re going to send them to me. Thank you, Nordstrom!)

The second pic is a pair of platform Tevas. Yes, Tevas. 

The others are Topshop for Nordstrom.

Here’s a J. Crew version:

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Would you try these? Obviously I’m biting.

The Return of Fluffy Bunny

Last December I discovered FarmHouse Fresh products when I went on a solo trip to my favorite destination spa.

The products have witty names like Front Porch Punch soap.

But there was one scent that kept me coming back for another sniff: Fluffy Bunny.

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Although not this type of bunny, but OMG, I just want to squeeze these bunnies.

This is it:

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This shea butter hand cream has a smell that’s hard to define. I’d describe it as candy-like. The website calls it a blend of mint julep and lavender. Either way, it’s sweet and appealing.

I bought a tube in December, but it mysteriously vanished in January.

The kids continued to deny knowledge of its whereabouts and I searched everywhere I could think of to no avail. Old gym bag? No. Rarely used carry-on? No. Office? No.

Since these products are in limited distribution, I resigned myself to either ordering up a new tube or waiting for a return to the spa next year.

Imagine my happiness when I found FarmHouse Fresh products at the boutique of the hotel where I was staying for my conference in San Antonio last week.

They even had Fluffy Bunny hand cream.

I bought two tubes this time, though, just in case.

 

 

 

 

Limited Edition – Bobbi Brown Girl Rising

I’ve been posting a lot of Bobbi Brown lately, but that’s because she keeps bringing out great new products.

This is right up my alley:

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All images from Bobbi Brown’s website

 

This is the limited edition Pretty Powerful Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks.

From the website:

Pretty with a purpose—introducing Bobbi’s best-selling, multi-tasking lip and cheek formula in limited edition Pretty Powerful Pink. As part of our Pretty Powerful Campaign, we’ll donate 100% of the $27 purchase price to the Girl Rising Fund.

Girl Rising is a campaign to help educate girls around the world and break the cycle of poverty. Have you seen their moving documentary?

Also new from Bobbi Brown are these pretty Cheek Palettes in Pink, Calypso and Berry.

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It’s hard to decide which one is the prettiest.

Each contains a neutral shade, a bright and a sparkly highlighter.

These make me wish for spring!

Boden Spring Shoe Collection

Oh, man. The shoes in the Boden Spring Collection are proving to be irresistible.

I can’t even make my mind up about which color I’d choose from this tassel point flat:

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Orange and I are definitely having a moment, though.

Same Sophie’s Choice problem with these:

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Red suede heels. Want.

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How pretty would these flowered slingbacks be for a wedding?

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Metallic color block flats:

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And my favorite! These cut out boots:

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I’m not even sure where I’d wear these (they also come in a more subdued navy or chestnut brown), but I strongly think my closet is lonely without them.

 

 

 

Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

Actually, I think it’s Jon Bon Jovi.

But I tried.

The last few days found me in my old stomping grounds of San Antonio, TX, where we lived from 2005-2008 while I did my sub-specialty fellowship.

I’ve only been back once since we left, in 2010 when I did my sub-specialty Board Certification in Dallas and side-stepped to SA to spend a few days with my sister’s family, since they were living there at the time.

I was *so* excited to have a work trip to San Antonio, and by sheer coincidence, the conference hotel (this amazing place) was only three miles from our old house. Should I swing by and get the outdoor deck speakers that we left behind?

Excitement turned to anger turned to despair last Tuesday, though, when my flight out went from delayed to super delayed to non-existent. 

I got re-booked for a flight that put me in Texas a full 24 hours later and missing a whole day of the conference, plus a course that I’d paid a hefty fee to attend. Sadness.

I finally arrived about 10 PM on Wednesday night. I picked up my rental car and headed out to the hotel. Since it was in my old neighborhood, it was a cinch to find.

But before I got there, I had to get some sustenance.

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Seriously, Taco Cabana is more than adequate for a hungry girl late at night. This particular outlet was the same one I’d hit many, many times during my Texas tenure. A two taco meal with fresh tortillas and a fresh salsa bar is still less than $6. Totally satisfying. 

[Sidenote: never, ever knock Taco Cabana. You will be banished to the Midwest where Tex Mex is non-existent and your only Mexican option is Taco Bell. For shame!]

When I finally got to the hotel, I think they felt sorry for my late arrival and upgraded me to a suite. Score!

Here are a few pics of this very nice room. I wish I’d had more time to enjoy it.

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View from the entry room into the living room.

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HUGE bathroom with two entrances and multiple phones (!)

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Bedroom area. There was also a huge balcony that spanned the living room and bedroom.

I caught up with the conference the next day and made dinner plans to see my friend L. that night.

I had a few hours to kill before dinner and decided to drive across town and surprise my friend D, who had been a nurse in the practice where I worked. I had trouble getting in touch with her before the trip and just decided to spontaneously show up on her doorstep.

When I got to D’s neighborhood, I shadily waited outside the gate to tail behind another car and get inside. My plan semi-worked: I drove the wrong way into the exit when a car came out, but fortunately no one else was trying to leave.

You can imagine my total shock when I got to D’s house and saw a moving van in the driveway.

I parked my rental car and got out, asking the guys moving furniture if they were moving someone in or someone out.

Answer: in.

D. was gone.

I mean, really? What are the chances? The exact moment I go to D’s house there is a moving van bringing in someone new.

I was too stunned to do anything other than get into my car. I briefly contemplated sobbing in the driveway, but that’s not my style.

Instead, I had a margarita, some excellent shrimp and commiserated with my friend L. over dinner.

It was so odd, and I felt like a chapter of my life had really ended. What kind of a friend am I that I didn’t even know D. moved? 

[Update: D. messaged me the next day and said that she forgot I was coming to town and had relocated to Dallas to be near her daughter. I vowed on the spot to make plans to see her ASAP. She was so, so important to me when I lived there and is an amazing friend and human being].

I also had a chance to drive by my old place. Here it is:

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I had to surreptitiously take this shot as my car was moving, so it’s not framed well, but this cute ranch house was briefly ours. MGM was born while we lived there. We had the greatest neighbors. We were younger then. We were happy there.

On the last night, I also ate dinner at my all-time favorite pizza place. I brought a coworker attending the conference with me and the lines were out the door when we arrived. It still smelled exactly the same, which is to say delicious.

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This Chicago-style pizza gives Chicago a run for its money, and I know exactly what I’m saying when I make that claim. I’ve been dreaming of this pizza since my last visit in 2010 and it did not disappoint.

The last thing I did was to stock up on Julio’s chips, which are only available in South Texas and slightly more addicting than crack. (I kid!) There is some type of rough salt and MSG-like seasoning on these chips that leaves you so salt-loaded that you can’t bend your fingers the next day, yet you can’t stop eating them. Ever. They haunt me.

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Money well spent. Two for me and one for my sister.

[OMG. I just discovered you can order these chips online when I was linking that above. Well, that would have served me well since I had to throw out a few items of clothing to squeeze these bags into my suitcase and the bags arrived as micro-bits of chip dust. Sigh.]

One funny observation from the hotel parking lot:

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This is so, so Texas. I only captured a few in this shot, but there were a row of a dozen plus extended-size trucks in the parking lot, all with brush cages on the front. All the better to plow through the Home Depot parking lot. 

A few shots from the hotel. They had lovely art:

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San Antonio, I heart you and miss you. I hope we meet again soon!