A Day At The Ocean.

There’s just something magical about the ocean.

Life can (and most certainly does!) get messy, crazy, silly, outrageous.

It doesn’t matter.  The ocean waves go on.  The seagulls cry, the sun shines, the sand still sinks beneath my toes.

The ocean reminds me that life is, in the midst of all the messiness, quite beautiful.

Without getting into too many details, there are some major changes going on at my current job.  And instead of being calm and cool about it all, I literally feel as if I’m being pulled at the seams.

I like to think I’m totally adaptable.  That I’m ready for anything that comes my way.  And while that may be partially true, I also thrive on knowing exactly where my next step will fall.

I don’t like surprises and I really enjoy some level of certainty.

But none of my worries or fears seemed to matter all that much, as I stood there staring the ocean waves directly in the face.

What was it that I was so worried about again?

I was reminded of how silly it is to fret.  Reminded of how big and powerful God is.  Reminded of how lovely life is.  Reminded of how small this little fear actually was.

So I breathed in deeply.  And then I let it all out.  I stared into the deep blue ocean waves and I decided there and then that I was going to trust God completely, as I’ve always done in the past.  Why?  Because He has always taken my hand and brought me gently across the crashing waves.  And I’m always stronger once I get to the other side.

Always.

The ocean means a lot to me.  It’s one of my most favorite places on earth.

Not only because I always get a great workout in from walking through the sand (hello, sore calves!)  Or because I get to indulge in my most favorite foods…

…hello, lobster roll!

But also because of how good I feel after I leave.

Mentally.

Physically.

Spiritually.

(My mom and dad were both able to take the day off for a trip to Maine as well!  Love them!)

If you’re feeling frazzled and fried from anything (and honestly, who isn’t at one point or another?), I strongly urge you to find a favorite spot and just spend the day or even a few hours there.  Go to the mountains.  Walk through the ocean.  Enjoy a long bike ride.  Take a swim in the lake.

And remind yourself that in the midst of all that’s messy, life is absolutely beautiful.  And that challenges, fears and worries…if you let them…can actually make you stronger.

QUESTION: What is one of your most favorite spots/locations/activities to enjoy?

Advertisements

Rockport, MA

Rockport is one of my most favorites places on earth.

I’ve talked about this quaint little New England town many times, but I feel as if I could still gush on and on about it.  It’s one of those places where something new is always waiting to be discovered.  A little cove.  A beautiful view.  Some secret “hiding” spot.

My parents and I have a tradition of visiting Rockport, MA at least once a year.  It’s sort of an unspoken tradition, actually, but we’ve been following it since I was a freshman in college.

I hope this tradition never stops.

My parents have another tradition of stopping at “Top Dog” for lunch…

The Top Dog is this little restaurant at the corner of a side street, which you’re very likely to miss if you don’t keep an eye out.  Their menu has everything from the “seeing eye dog” to the “german shepherd” to the “chihuahua.”  Each ‘breed’ has a different topping, like macaroni and cheese or sauerkraut or vidalia onions & carrots.  The Top Dog also happens to have some of the best fried clams that I’ve ever had the delight of tasting.

(Tradition says we split a box of clams every time…don’t you just love traditions?)

I also ordered a hummus wrap from my favorite lil’ lunch spot: The Bean and Leaf Cafe.  They have the best Ginger Peach Iced Tea and their hummus wraps simply refuse to let me order anything else, despite their other tempting menu items.

The whole wrap was about the size of my head, but I still had plenty of room for some mint patty icecream!  Perfect for a hot, “summer” afternoon.

Till next year, Rockport!

You’ll forever be the town that holds my heart.

QUESTION: What is one of your favorite places to visit (within your own state)?

 

True Beauty.

I feel like a walking germ,” I thought to myself, walking down the hospital hallway.  “I feel like a walking germ with Rudolph’s red nose.”

I’ve been fighting this cold for a little over a week now.  A burning throat turned into a throbbing head turned into a coughing, sneezing, walking germ.  Not even the best concealer would ever cover up the bags under my eyes or the red encircling my nose.  Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly feeling at the top of my game on this particular day.

(And, if we’re being totally honest here, my attitude wasn’t exactly pretty at the moment either.  Irritability seems to have come with the cold. 😉 )

“Well, what’s a pretty girl like you doing wanting to talk to an old man like me?”

An elderly patient of mine lit up the hospital room with his sweet and friendly smile.  I smiled back.  Well.  As much as I could, anyways.  (It’s really not that easy to smile when you can’t breath from your nose.)

“You’ll have to excuse my red nose,” I laughed, “I’m getting over a cold.”

“All I see is your smile,” he said with a wink, before preceding to tell me about his gorgeous wife who he had been married to for 55 years before her passing from cancer.  “You remind me of her a little,” he said.  “Make sure yon’t settle for your future soul mate.  He’ll love you through anything and everything.  Through sickness and through health,” the elderly man said softly.

I left the room with so much on my mind, so much on my heart.

For one thing, we as women are told repeatedly how we must look, act, feel a certain way in order to achieve true beauty.  Let’s be real.  Any one of the many women magazines lining the shelf will tell us exactly what kind of hair men want (short? long?) and the very same magazine will offer us guidelines on how to become that woman.  Beautiful.

Sitting here typing away with my reddened nose and makeup-less face, I quite honestly don’t feel very beautiful.

And yet.  One has to wonder.

What is true beauty?  Is beauty having the longest, thickest lashes?  Is beauty having shiny, luxurious hair?  Is beauty having flawless, polished skin?  Is beauty having a size 2 pair of jeans?

I would argue that true beauty is found in the love between a man and his wife of 55 years.  True beauty is found in the laugh lines because of “too much smiling” (and no, I don’t want a miracle cream that will erase them.)  True beauty is found in an elderly man sitting in the hospital, sharing his smile and stories.

Before you start thinking, “Sarah, get off your high horse and come back down to reality!”, let me assure you that I’m not saying that I don’t love dressing up, putting on makeup, trying out the latest blush.  I do.  It’s fun!  But to prove my point, think of the most influential, most well loved woman that has existed in your life and ask yourself what it is that has made her so beautiful to you.  Is it her perfect skin?  Her flawless fashion?  Her designer shoes?

Or is it something else, something deeper?  Something that not even the magazines could ever hope to achieve.

True beauty.

Who is one of the most influential, well loved woman in your life and why?

What does “true beauty” mean to you?

 

5 Things To Stop Throwing Out.

1. Egg Yolks.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, up to one egg yolk per day has shown no increased effects on heart disease (or 2 egg yolks, 3 days a week.)  And egg yolks are rich in choline, which promotes those “happy hormones” such as serotonin.  They’re also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two important nutrients that promote eye health.

Common sense says not to go hog wild on eating egg yolks but certainly don’t toss them either!

2. Vegetable Scraps.

If you find yourself frequently tossing veggie scraps like carrot peels or celery heads into the trash, toss them in the freezer instead!  Simply fill up a large zip-lock bag with the scraps and when the bag is full, boil the scraps with just enough water to cover.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

(You can add a can of unsalted tomato juice for extra flavor too!)

3. Vegetable Peels.

Veggie peels can add a lot of fiber to an otherwise low-fiber diet.

Roast the potatoes with the peel still on.  Purchase thin-skinned baby cucumbers and dice into your salad.  Buy organic carrots and shred (peel and all!) into your stir fry.

Fiber up!

4. Peanut Butter Jars.

Reuse these fun little jars for all sorts of things, like storing buttons, loose change, chia seeds, pet treats, rice, etc.

(Same goes for jam jars!)

5. Egg Whites.

Speaking of eggs…

Have you ever had a recipe call for egg yolk only and ended up tossing the egg white?  Instead, you could…

Throw it into your oatmeal during the last 2 minutes of cooking time for a protein boost.  Or make an egg white scramble with veggies and cheese.  Or microwave the egg white with a little salt and pepper, and then eat it on the side of your morning toast.

Oh the possibilities.

(When covered tightly in the fridge with plastic wrap, egg whites will last up to 4 days.)

What I’ve Learned…

Dad and I ran 10 miles today, which marks the last long run before next week’s half marathon!!  Although I’m honestly more comfortable with 10ks and 5ks, training for a half marathon has taught me a lot and it has truly changed my life.

I’ve learned that…

  • Staying up past my “bedtime” (i.e., 9:30am) isn’t worth it when I plan on running early (and long) the next day.  It’s not pretty.
  • Coffee serves as more than just a little pick me up.
  • My body is capable of pushing itself past that initial point of pain.
  • I have a lot to say to God when I’m running beyond 7 miles.
  • Foam rollers, GU gels and chafing are topics of conversation only worth mentioning with fellow runners.
  • Life is a lot like a long run.  There are ups and downs.  Highs and lows.  Feelings of euphoria and feelings of pain.  Times when I want to throw myself on the ground and kick and scream like a toddler.  But putting my best foot forward and trying (just at the very least trying!) always pays off.
  • The run is more important than the finish line.  It’s not always about speed.  It’s not always about the finish line.

(p.s. So far my knees have been completely healthy for this entire training program!  Aside from some scrapes and bruises from yesterday’s 5k, I think I’m in good shape for next week’s race! 😀 )

QUESTION: Have you ever trained for a race or another competitive event?  What did you learn along the way?

Foam Run 5k

Every once in a while, I get this strange urge to be wild and crazy.

Not like “drinking,” “partying,” “can’t-remember-what-my-name-is” kind of crazy.  I mean foamy, muddy, silly wild and crazy.

I mean this…

Before:

After:

I can’t even begin to tell you what kind of rush I got out of doing the latest Boston 5k Foam Fest.  It was like being a kid again, when the slide is just ginormous and the monkey bars are terribly scary (but you can’t wait to tell mom that you made it all the away across!)

This was literally a giant playground.  For grownups.

(I like to think that it was kind of like a spa day, really.  Girl friends.  Mud.  Exfoliation.  All that luxurious stuff.) 😉

There were mud pits.

Electric wires.

30 ft. slip and slides.

8 ft. walls.

Bounce houses.

And foam.

Lots and lots of foam.

Sometimes life is too clean.  Too structured.  Too orderly.

Sometimes it feels good to be a kid.

Sometimes it feels good to get filthy clean.

QUESTION: When is the last time you felt “like a kid”?  I’m such a kid at heart!  I love running through puddles, getting a little messy and being silly.  Especially when I’m in good company. 😉

5+ (current) Things

My, how time flies.

I’ve been busy posting my photo of the day (if you haven’t checked out this particular blog, head over to One More Snapshot.)  And busy with lots of other things too.

I thought I’d get you all up to speed on some of the most current things…

1. It’s strawberry season!!!

My Pepere, my Mom and I headed to New Hampshire for some real time strawberry picking.  The strawberries tasted like a burst of sweet sunshine.  And you can bet your boots that I had my fair share of strawberry shortcakes to celebrate the season. 😉

2. Fighting the fight against cancer.

My family and I went to the Relay for Life for the second time this year.  I find this whole event so inspiring.  The positive energy that abounds, even on a rainy, cold, New England day was absolutely contagious.

3. Beach Babes.

My sister and I spent the day in Maine, living it up on the beach and getting our fill of lobster rolls and ice cream.  I feel happy every time I think about it.  The day was perfect. 😀

Our Idol!!!  We’re both a tad obsessed with Guy Fieri. 😀

4. Training.

I’m training for a half marathon in July, but I haven’t even signed up yet!  I have all the motivation to carry me across the finish line, but I’m still not sure if my knee is feeling the same way.  In case you weren’t here for my last half marathon, I had a knee injury that prevented me from running for a good 6 months or so.  Ever since, I’ve been worried about increasing my mileage to that magnitude.

So, for now, I’m just testing the waters to see how things go.  If my knee feels pain at all, than I’ll simply call it off with no regrets!  Slow and steady.

5. Green Living.

The garden has been planted.  Kale.  Tomatoes.  Eggplant.  Cucumbers.  Lettuce.  Various squash varieties.  Beets.

It’s a slow start due to the rainy month of June, but everything will be sprouting up before you know it.  I’m already eager for that fresh bunch of kale.  Yum.  😀

6. Other (fun) things…

There were plenty of other fun things like…

…doing dishes in heels (why not?)

…flower shopping…

…hanging with this girl…

…going to Boston for my sister’s 30th birthday and riding the duck tour (where making duck faces is actually encouraged)…

…and walking through Boston…

(I *loved* these funky flowers!)

…and then going out to eat at Maggiano’s Little Italy, where I was served one giant meatball.  :mrgreen:

Whew.

What a whirlwhind.

These were just some of the most current things.  I truly missed each and every one of you, and I hope to be here on a more regular basis once again.  😀

Question: What is ONE or TWO of your favorite highlights from the past month or two?  Any fun vacation plans?