Sam Costa 2017

This morning was the Sam Costa Quarter and Half Marathon.  This was our second year running, and we opted for the quarter marathon length.  Sam Costa is one of the most organized (if not the best) races around.  Packet pick-up is so quick, the course is very well marked with volunteers at every turn, water stations are plentiful, and there are cookies at the finish.

I started the race strong hoping to get a 10k PR, but hit a wall after only mile 2.  Mile 3 was awful.  I almost starting walking because I couldn’t breath very well.  I have been battling the flu all week and had trouble breathing on some runs earlier this week, but had been feeling better and had high hopes of a fast race.

I managed to finish in under an hour with no walking which became my new goal during mile 3.  One neat thing about the race is that overall winners, course record holders, and age group winners get their names on the back of next year’s t-shirt.  Drew placed first in his age group with a respectable time of 40:58 or 6:16 pace.  He wasn’t thrilled with the time, but I thought he still did well.  I finished with a time of  56:20 or 8:37 pace.  Somehow this was good enough to earn me first in my age group.  I was so surprised, since last year I ran quicker and was not first.  There were other women in front of me in my age group, but they were overall winners.  The overall winner of the race was actually female this year which isn’t something you see often.


Note that Drew made the shirt this year 🙂


After the race, we went to Taste of Havana for lunch.  A delicious choice.


Plans for the rest of the day include planting these beauties ❀❀❀




Race Recaps

Since I never got around to it during the spring or summer, here are some race recaps!



Race for Roofs 5K – April

The Race for Roofs 5k was our first 5k of the year.  It was a nice community event and took place in the Englewood neighborhood on the near east side.  The youth running group in that neighborhood is fast bunch!  It is nice to see how supportive they are of their teammates and how happy they are to be running.  Look at the cute boxes we received for running the race.


Each box included a delicious homemade peanut butter granola bar.  I have made them at least half a dozen times since the race!  The race was on the smaller side, but Drew and I both finished first!  (Drew 17:46, Taylor 22:46)  I think the course was a touch short.  I have never been first female before, so it was quite exciting!!

race for roofs 2016.jpg


If you look close at the award, you will note the age group is Female 40-54.  They originally had me as a male on the results, so they had already given away the first place award.  They had an unclaimed age group award that I accepted instead.  I think I look pretty good for age 40 🙂 After the race, Drew took me to brunch at Bent Rail Brewery to celebrate my first place win 😀  The monte cristo was the best I have ever had and the side salad with goji berries was delicious as well.


Glass City – April

Last year, Glass City was my first ever half marathon.  This year, I only ran the 5k (Drew did the half), so I would have more time to train for the Indy Mini half.  Glass City is always a fun race.  Drew’s brother always runs and usually his mom does too.  Drew: 1:23:21   Taylor: 24.11


We always go out to lunch after the race.  This year we went to Big Boy’s, because we received coupons at the race.


Indy Mini – May

The Indy Mini was my spring half for 2016.  I didn’t run as fast as I had hoped,  but the race was a ton of fun.  I think there was literally a water stop and band playing every mile.  The coolest part was running around the race track and being able to watch fast people (like Evan) finish on the big screen.  After the race, the boys got a crazy idea to climb 300+ steps to the top of the monument.  The view was awesome, but I had  a rough time going up and down all those steps.  I guess I better work some stair stepping into my workout for next year, haha.  After the race, we celebrated with breakfast at Biscuits and delicious strawberry birthday pie courtesy of Evan. Drew: 1:24:26, Taylor 1:54:57, Evan: 1:08:13




Run 317 Series

The Run 317 is a series of 5 Thursday night races held in different neighborhoods.  There is still one race remaining in October.  Originally, I thought it would be fun to race during the middle of the week and explore different areas of town all while forcing myself into much needed speed workouts.  Turns out that I didn’t enjoy it that much.  All the races are 3.17 miles long, and it is really hot in evening.  Having the course be longer than a 5K was tough mentally (especially when it ran long), and I am much more of a morning racer.  One of the races was un-timed because it was so hot.  We opted not to attend that race and just run on the trail instead.  The races we have attended so far are The Circle (Drew 18:29, Taylor 24:24), Broad Ripple (Drew 18:52, Taylor 25:28), and the Carmel Arts District (Drew 18:29, Taylor 24:32).


The Circle


Broad Ripple

run317 Broad Ripple 2016.jpg

Run the Runway – August

We ran this race with a friend in IL.  It was raining all morning, but cleared up in time for the race.  Some other people were supposed to run with us, but they didn’t come to the race.  Instead, they met us afterwards for brunch.  The race took place at the Rockford Airport on the runways.  They had planes parked along the race course which was neat.  Drew (17:46) and I (24:43) ran the 5k.  Dane ran his first race doing the 1 mile and got first place in his age group.  Way to go Dane!


After the race, we went to Egg Harbor Cafe for brunch and then headed to the Murray’s house to meet their new puppy, Piper.  Newton had a great time playing with her.  Piper was not so thrilled when she first met Newton.  She would just collapse to the ground when he started to sniff her.  After a while, she warmed up to him and ran around the yard chasing and nipping at his tail.  His tail is quite popular with small dogs and puppies.



Overall, we didn’t run nearly as many races this year 😦  Drew ran one more when I was working a weekend and placed 2nd!  I really miss having a competitive racing series like the Ohio Challenge Series or Hermes Racing Series near by.  I enjoy being able to choose whatever races I want and not having to worry about how many points I will earn from running them, but I also enjoy being forced into running races more often.  Now that I don’t have to work weekends anymore our race participation should be on the rise (hopefully a minimum of 1 per month with 4 planned for October!)


My Mom Made It

A few years ago, I decided that I didn’t want to pay full price for clothes and that I didn’t like to keep going to stores looking for deals.  For a while, I happily shopped for clothes on Thredup, but then I found an even better way to acquire clothing.  Have my mom sew it!   My mom made me some pretty nice clothes this summer.  Here is a collection of some of her work.  Perfect for all occasions.  Thanks mom! 🙂

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Weave Along

This weekend, I took part in the Mister Domestic Tumbling Blocks Weave Along.  The first time I had ever seen fabric weaving was on Mister Domestic’s instagram page.  He had woven fabric to make a gorgeous trench coat for his daughter.  Ever since then, I have been reading his blog for the some of the best sewing inspiration.  I had been dreaming of trying to weave something someday.  As soon as I saw the weave along, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  After debating for a few days on whether or not to spend the money on a special weaving needle, I decided to take the plunge.  I followed the tutorial exactly and even followed the instructions for turning the panel into a pillow.  The tutorial was easy to follow and so much fun!  Plans for pillow number two are already in the works!

The Prep


Layer 1, Layer 2, Layer 3



Just looking at it makes me so happy 🙂  I definitely see more fabric weaving in my future!



Carrot Dogs and a Celebration

On labor day, we “grilled” carrot dogs.  I saw the recipe in Shape magazine and clipped it a while back, because it sounded interesting.   (For the record, I don’t know why I receive Shape, but somehow I have been receiving since we lived in Twinsburg).  I didn’t have high hopes, but I figured I would give it a try just for fun. You basically boil carrots, let them sit overnight in a marinade, and then cook them in a pan.  After I made the marinade, my hands smelled just like hot dogs.  It was crazy.   They turned out much tastier than I thought.  Drew and Newton enjoyed them as well, so we will probably make them again.  Here is the recipe if anyone wants to give it a try.


Carrot Dogs

4 carrots (washed and ends cut off)

4 T chicken stock

3 T soy sauce

1 garlic clove (minced)

1/2 inch piece of ginger (chopped fine)

2 T white vinegar

2 t liquid smoke

3 t brown sugar

Simmer the carrots in boiling water for 10 minutes.  Drain and place them in ice water.  Mix together remaining ingredients for the marinade.  Place carrots in a shallow dish with marinade and let sit overnight.  Saute carrots in 1 teaspoon of oil for 10 minutes on medium-high heat.  Turn carrots frequently and drizzle with marinade as they cook.  Place in buns (I recommend higher quality buns) and top with ketchup and mustard.  Enjoy!

Drew took vacation this week so we could get lots of yard work done.  A few weeks ago, one of our trees lost a huge limb during one of the many storms.  Our yard also flooded repeatedly.  To prevent future floods, we (read mainly Drew) has been putting in some drainage pipes.  Here is a preview of the progress so far.


Newton is greatly enjoying all the dirt.  If you look close enough, you can see it on his tongue.


As a break from all the yard work, we went on a 10 mile bike ride to downtown to celebrate.  We have been talking about eating lunch at Wildwood Market for months.  Each day they feature one sandwich and one salad.  Today’s sandwich creation was smoked brisket, kale dressed with smoky sauce, caramelized leek dressing, and cheddar cheese spread on a pretzel bun.  So yummy and totally worth the bike ride.


We ended lunch by going down the street to Amelia’s for big cookies :D, but while we were eating our cookies, the tube in my back tire popped :(.  Luckily, we were able to catch the bus back home.  It was our first time on the bus, and the bus driver was super nice and helped us secure our bikes to the rack right before it started to downpour!  Busting a tire turned out to be not such a bad thing.





Meatless Monday: Black Pepper Tofu

In February, we re-instituted meatless Mondays.  Most of our meatless recipes have been coming from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi.  All of his recipes have been delicious and are things we wouldn’t usually eat.  It has taken a few trips to different international market/asian grocery stores to get supplies, but it was well worth it!  Some day I hope to visit his restaurant.  Most dishes make enough that Tuesday becomes meatless too.  We have only missed one day, but I do usually use chicken broth instead of veggie broth.  I always have chicken broth goop in the fridge, and veggie broth would often require a last minute run to the grocery store.  We aren’t vegetarian, so I figured the spirit of the day is still upheld 🙂

This is a lineup of some of our meatless Monday dishes.  Soba noodles with mango and eggplant, meatless lentil meatloaf, warm glass noodles with edamame, fluffy dinner rolls with broiled veggy soup, african spiced lentil soup, and stuffed onions.


One of my personal favorites was the blackened tofu.  It is fried tofu in a spicy sauce.  I have been serving it with sticky rice.  Drew loves it too!  Leftovers are tasty, but the tofu does lose its crispiness.


Black Pepper Tofu (serves 4)

28 oz extra firm tofu or firm tofu

vegetable oil for frying

cornstarch (enough to coat tofu)

5 tbsp butter

12 small shallots, sliced thin

2 mild, large red or green chiles, sliced thin

12 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp minced fresh ginger or 1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger

6 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

4 tsp tamari

3 tbsp sugar

2-4 tbsp fresh ground black peppercorns (the original recipe calls for 4, but I always only use about 2 tbsp

1 small bunch of green onions, chopped

rice for serving


Drain the tofu, pat dry with a towel and set aside.  Add enough oil to a large frying pan so that it is about 1/4 inch deep and heat.  While the oil is heating, slice the tofu into bite size cubes and toss in cornstarch.  Shake of extra corn starch, and add the tofu to the hot oil in a single layer.  You may need to fry the tofu in multiple batches depending on the size of your pan.  Turn the tofu as it fries.  It is done when it has a thin hard crust.  (The recipe says the tofu should turn golden all over.  Sometimes my tofu turns golden sometimes it doesn’t.  I just take it out when it has a hard crust on all sides.)  Strain out the cooked tofu with a slotted spoon or spatula and place on a paper towel lined plate.  Continue frying until all tofu is cooked.

Drain the oil from the pan, and melt the butter.  Add the shallots, chiles, garlic, and ginger (if using powdered ginger, add during the last minute of cooking). Saute on medium heat for about 15 minutes or until totally soft.  Add the soy sauce, tamari, sugar, and black pepper.  Stir to combine.  Add in tofu and warm.  Stir in the green onions and serve hot over rice.

Recipe slightly adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi




New Shutters

Monday night, we finally installed our new shutters!!  Before we bought our house, I looked at many pictures of it on google street view.  We decided that we were not a fan of the black shutters.  They were so boring and too small for the windows.

For the new shutters, I knew I would only want them on the outer two windows.  I wanted to draw attention away from the middle encasement window.  It is too close to the door to have proper sized shutters.  We started building the new shutters a few weeks ago using a  design from Lowes.  The diagrams were easy to follow, and we love the results!  When we were getting the paint mixed, the lady mixing the paint nicely told me she thought I was crazy for getting such a bright color in exterior paint ha-ha.

Before pictures:

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In the process of hanging:

Our adorable helper:

After pictures:


We painted the garage door window trim and mailbox post too.  The mailbox post is so bright you can see it from the end of the street.