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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gearing Up

Since deciding to run the NYC Marathon this year, I've been getting my brain wrapped around the fact that I will be running TWENTY SIX POINT TWO MILES! EEEEEK! I am so thrilled that My Hero has decided to run with me. He's been so supportive already. My birthday was just a week ago and he got me a shiny, new pair of running shoes.
I think they were part of a reward for attending a Brooks running clinic with him a couple months ago. I dragged myself out of bed early one Saturday morning to listen to a Brooks rep tell about the fabulous technology within these shoes. I have been wanting to try this brand of shoes for years now, but they are ultra expensive. My Hero worked his magic and got a fabulous discount on the shoes you see above! Oh yeah! I am so thankful he's thrifty!

We also got each other the most romantic Christmas gift for one another this year. It's almost right up there with a vacuum. Kidding. See below.
Gym memberships are really pricey in NYC so we decided to invest in a home gym for ourselves. We really enjoy running through the city, but it's just too cold to do that now so having a treadmill in our apartment has been a great decision. Thank goodness we live on the bottom floor so we don't disturb anyone below us...ummmm...I hope we don't disturb anyone beside us or above us. Well, there haven't been any complaints yet so I guess it's not too loud.

I also got a new workout video series to help me train: TURBO FIRE!!!!! I absolutely L-O-V-E Chalene Johnson. I've tried a couple other of her workout series, such as Turbo Jam and ChaLean, and they are AWESOME. I am already in the third week of this series. Let's just say it's not for the beginners. YOWZA!
Cross your fingers that the training goes smoothly. I have until November 2011 to get into tip-top-running-shape. Bring it on!

Monday, January 17, 2011


I spent the last week celebrating the life of my grandmother. Check her out in the picture above. This was my grandmother, Meme, celebrating her 80th birthday! My uncle had a hard time keeping up with her on the dance floor that day. You can see my grandfather in the background of this image smiling at her and just letting her do her thing. She tried to make every day a celebration.

As my family reflected on her life this past week, my grandfather summed her up the best: "She was just a marvelous woman. She was...well...something else." Needless to say, tears welled in my eyes when I heard this.

Other family members offered very thoughtful, honest, candid and often humorous input on Meme's life as the days passed.
  • She always made sure her family was well fed - My brother said Meme always wanted him to eat grapefruit because "it was healthy for him" (despite the mounds of sugar my grandmother had to put on it to get him to eat it). I recall her delicious bean with bacon soup (thank you, Campbell's), the never-ending supply of goldfish crackers and the tomato sandwiches. Of course, there were never enough HOMEMADE rolls to go around. I tried to make these with her once, but realized that I would never get her recipe since it literally consisted of a "pinch" of this and a "dash" of that and it took ALL DAY to make only a few precious pieces of baked dough.
  • Exposure to the Arts - Meme did her best to expose my brother and I to the arts. She and my grandfather took my brother and I to the Nutcracker when we were very young. I remember this, but my brother has conveniently put it out of his memory. He was definitely more into sports. She and my grandfather also expanded my horizons when I was twelve years old by taking me on a bus tour to NYC. We saw the Rockettes that trip and I remember my grandmother complimenting the dancers spectacular legs. HA!
  • The beach -There's no doubt that my grandmother loved the beach. The woman just loved the sun in general. I think she was in her element anytime we went to the beach or to the pool to soak up some rays.
  • Ear muffs - My grandmother tried to protect me from foul language as a child, but she didn't hesitate to say a few naughty words for a joke or to get her point across. She would tell me to cover my ears, but I would never cover them all the way. I didn't want to miss her story about the "sh!t that hit the fan!" Meme's theory on using cuss words was that there were more creative words one could use. It was too common to cuss and it definitely wasn't lady-like at all.
  • Always important to look presentable - My grandmother was always impeccably dressed. I never saw the woman in jeans or sweatpants. I try never to go anywhere in something that my grandmother wouldn't approve of. This is not being prudish either. The woman owned a fringed, little black dress. She was H-O-T!
  • "Fresh" - Meme enjoyed "fresh" food...especially her tomato sandwiches. She knew when something was made with fresh ingredients and she would let everyone know how much she enjoyed it.
  • Thanksgiving "Turkey Song" - I will never, ever, ever have a Thanksgiving without Meme's Turkey Song. She sang it to us every year and I am so thrilled that my nieces have started to learn it as well.
  • Bunny Rabbits - Meme loved bunny rabbits. Her home was filled with several, beautiful rabbit figurines, wall decorations and various other decorative items for the home. It sounds tacky, but, trust me, it was nothing of the sort. My grandmother had a taste for the finer things in life and her collection of rabbits reflected this.
  • Appreciation for the finer things in life - China, Crystal, Silver - I simply don't remember a holiday when we didn't eat in the dining room on the fine china. It was very special.
  • Dancing the Charleston - The day I realized that my grandmother was so cool was when she taught me how to dance the Charleston. She was so lite on her feet and just got down with her bad self.
  • Fitness - My grandmother was the first to teach me about fitness. She was a master of teaching by example. We would always go for a walk after dinner when I spent the night with her during the summer. Meme knew it was important to live a healthy lifestyle. A piece of chocolate (or two) was part of this theory too.
  • "Maaaawtha" - VERY few people in my life are allowed to call me by my first name, Martha, and have me respond. Meme never called me just by my middle name as all my friends do. She never wrote only my middle name in correspondence. It was ALWAYS "Maaawtha." She put the most elegant, southern stretch on my name. Of all the wonderful things I recall and fondly remember about my grandmother, I will certainly miss this the most.
Thank you, Meme, for all of your wonderful traits, lessons taught and love shared. XOXO.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Goals (Not Resolutions)

2010 was such a great year with a list of goals set before me last year, that I thought I would try it again for 2011. It's so great to see your plans in black and white. Keep in mind that this is a working list and none of the items listed are in order of priority.
  • Spend time reading & studying the Bible everyday
  • Tithe. SAVE. Spend wisely...on a new Louise Vuitton!!!
  • Run the NYC Marathon
  • Begin learning Spanish
  • Be inspiring - I am still working out the specifics of this one
  • Erase negativity including negative thoughts
  • Nurture friendships
Also, I select a verse or two of the Bible each year to guide me through each day and give me strength. Here is this year's selection. May it give you guidance and strength as well.

"6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 4: 6-7 NIV

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Well, Hello 2011

Happy New Year and Welcome 2011!

2010 was such a wonderful year that I could hardly wait to usher in 2011 with My Hero and Sunshine. We got dolled up and headed to Michael Jordan's Steakhouse located inside the main concourse of Grand Central. As I have mentioned before, this is one of my most favorite places in the world due to the gorgeous architecture and grandeur of the building in itself.

After an impromptu photo shoot located on one of the far stairways in the main concourse (thank you, hubby, for being so patient and humoring us), we were lead to our dinner table. Our stomachs were welcomed to the evening with appetizers consisting of warm garlic bread with gorganzola fondue and chopped caesar salad with herb croutons and parmesan.

While waiting for the main course we speculated about the other people in the restaurant. It was quite a diverse crowd, but then again, this is New York City and that's what you will find in nearly any environment. Before long, our table was filled with three gorgeous plates of food to accompany the conversation.
(From left to right: New York Strip with Creamed Potatoes, Roasted Salmon with Fingerlings Potatoes, Brown Butter Mustard and Tomato Jam, Grilled Chicken with Asparagus and Creamed Potatoes)

At one point during our dinner, Sunshine joked that we were quite the "modern family" since we were all on our phones texting about the evening. I supposed it was so good that we had to share with everyone else.
The strike of midnight was upon us shortly after we ended the meal with a warm, dark chocolate brownie topped with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream. We toasted in the new year with a sip of complementary bubbly and a palm reading...yep, a palm reading! A woman at the table next to us stopped me on my way to the ladies' room claiming that she just had to tell me that she felt wonderful vibes from me and that this is going to be a great year for me! WHAHOOO!!!! I wanted so badly to tell her that I don't look to the stars for my answers in life, but I look instead to the one who made them. Who was I to stop her from wishing me such great fortune for the year ahead? She did ask me to make a silent wish over the year and I wished for her salvation and that of many others. You can never go wrong with that wish! This is going to be a great year. May yours be wonderful as well.