Monthly Archives: October 2011
Happy Friday! I hope everyone has had a fantastic week and ready to celebrate the weekend in style! Whether you’re a fan of Halloween or not, you should head out and enjoy yourself this weekend! Relax, hang out with friends and don’t think about work. That’s what I plan on doing! Clearly I’m in a good mood, and here are some of the reasons why:
Halloween weekend. I love that Halloween is never fully celebrated in just one day. Ever since I was a freshman in college (go figure), it’s been Halloween weekend and I plan to celebrate the entire time, per usual. We’re having a get-together at my apartment this weekend and we are going all out. Tons of decorations, lots of spooky food and plenty of festive drinks. A sneak peek of my costume:
Any guesses? Totally different than anything I was thinking of when I asked for your guys’ help.
Halloween decorations. I don’t know why, but they just make me happy, even if some of them are cheesy. I’m one of those girls that gets scared really easily, but I don’t mind going to haunted houses and stuff like that. Well, as long as I’m not alone. If I am, then that’s an entirely different story. Anyway, like I said before, we’re going all out on the decorations for our shin dig this weekend, which makes me beam with giddiness. One of our food servers:
More pictures after the weekend is over, promise!
Cupcakes. They make the world a better place, don’t they? Just like peanut butter. And fro-yo.
Books. I have been a reading machine this week. I finished Once a Runner by John L. Parker, Jr. and am 256 pages into Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos. I have so many books on my reading list right now it’s not even funny, so I’m glad I finally got into another reading kick. My commutes to and from work are giong by much faster.
What’s been making you feel good this week? Are you dressing up for Halloween? Tell me your costume!
I’m such a sucker for Q&A blog posts. I love reading them because it really makes me feel like I’m getting to know the person behind the blog, not just a brand. And I have a lot of fun writing them. There’s something great about drumming up the perfect answer that explains who you are to your readers, and it usually involves a jog down memory lane, which is always fun. So without further adieu, let’s get (more) personal!
What magazines do you subscribe to?
Um, a lot. I work in the magazine industry, so it’s hard not to get caught up in it all. Luckily, I’ve been able to reduce my subscriptions because I have two roommates who also work in the industry, so we all swap now. So my current subscriptions are FITNESS (obviously), Self, Women’s Health, Shape, Runner’s World and Seventeen. However, I regularly read Glamour, Marie Claire, Esquire (roomie love), Food Network Magazine(more roomie love), People, Real Simple and occasionally I’ll pick up InStyle, GQ, Prevention, Men’s Health, Cosmo or The Knot off the newsstand.
Do you have any embarrassing fitness/exercise/training stories?
Boy oh boy, do I ever. My most embarrassing fitness moment ever happened when I was in ninth grade. I remember it very clearly: softball season had just begun, and we were practicing indoors because snow still covered the ground. My coach, who was a male and the father of one of my really close friends, was putting us through a fielding drill where we sprinted down the gym then arced across, reacting as if a fly ball had been hit over our heads and we were running back to make the catch. It was my favorite drill of all time, as I loved playing in the outfield whenever my coach let me (I moved from left field in ninth grade, to third in tenth, to first during junior year and played shortstop my senior year). I was wearing these royal blue snap-on pants, the kind you can rip off like the basketball players do. Of course, I didn’t have shorts on or anything underneath because we were indoors. In hindsight, this was very dumb.
My turn was about to start and I wanted to show off because the boy I had a crush on (the brother of a teammate) had just walked in to watch until the end of practice and take his sister home. I got all into it and sprinted full-speed down the court. As I started to transition into my arch across the gym, my glove caught on my pants. Before I knew it, my pants were around my ankles and there I was, standing in my purple undies. Thankfully, they fully covered my bottom. Unthankfully (not a word, I know), I had my monthly visitor.
I wanted to die. And I can’t believe I just told this story on the Internet.
What’s your favorite color and why?
Red, hands down. I love how bold it is and how much fun you can have with it. Whether it’s your standout piece, an accessory or you’re using it in something entirely exempt from fashion, I love the color. It’s my mom’s favorite color too, which I love 🙂
Do you prefer short, intense workouts or long, sustained ones?
It depends on my mood. If I’m upset, I love a short, intense workout. Or if I really need to sweat and sweat hard, then I’ll go with something short and intense. Usually interval runs do the trick for me, but SoulCycle sure knows how to make me sweat like a beast, too.
Do you plan your meals ahead of time or just eat what you feel like eating in that moment?
Back in June, I stared at my computer screen, took a deep breath and quickly clicked before it really registered what I was doing. Yep, I gave away my money to put myself through the pain and joy of running my first marathon.
Ever since that fateful day, April 28, 2012 has danced a little jig in the back of my mind (are you picturing that in your head? I am). Every time a workout gets tough, I tell myself to suck it up because it’s going to be a lot more difficult down the road. Every time I feel a twinge in my knee, I launch into panic-mode because I cannot get injured before the marathon. After all, who wants to spend all that money and get all hyped up, only to not be able to run because of a reckless injury? Not. Me.
Along with these thoughts comes the concept of a running coach. Someone to give me scheduled workouts, push me when I need it, and tell me when to rein it in. Because let’s face it, sometimes it’s just too damn difficult to listen to what your body is telling you. Sometimes you just need a real, live person telling you to chill out and get a little extra sleep because it will, in fact, help you on race day.
With the New York City Marathon coming up in just a few short days, and everyone talking about the famous race, my own marathon hasn’t been far from my mind. My training officially begins the day after Christmas (greeeeeat) and for the past few weeks I’ve been contemplating getting a running coach. Theodora recommended hers and if any of you read Ali’s blog, then you know Jon Cane is phenomenal.
Today I stumbled upon this gem from the good ole’ New York Times, detailing the pros and cons of a running coach, from the perspective of the author. I think it does a great job of showing both perspectives and it’s really made me start thinking more about getting one. Although I wish I could, I can’t justify shelling out the money to pay for Coach Cane’s expertise because well, I just don’t have that kind of extra money floating around. But I can possibly afford Theodora’s coach, or a few others that I’m considering.
When I really think about whether or not I should get one, I lean toward yes because I’m terrified of injuring myself. I’ve already gone through ACL and meniscus surgery once and that simply isn’t fun. I don’t want to do it again. And I’ve had this lingering hip pain for the last few weeks that makes me nervous. So if I had a coach, I’d like to think he or she would be able to give me advice about whether or not I’m being a wimp, and how to proceed. I also think I’d like a coach because well, I’m type-A and I really like having a schedule. If I have one that an expert made for me (eliminating the possibility of self-doubt in the development of say, my own plan), then I’m much more likely to stick with it because there’s no way I could report to that person without completing all that is required of me.
But on the other hand, there are a ton of resources available online and in books now. Are those good enough? What if I use Hal Higdon’s Novice training plan — is that personal enough? Will it get me to the finish line injury-free and in the best shape I can be to run my first 26.2? These are only a few of the questions bouncing around up there.
So now I’m asking you – read the NYT article, then jump back to the comments section and let me know what you think. Please weigh in! Would you get a running coach? Why or why not? Have you gotten a coach? Do you think it was a wise decision? Worth the money? What should I look for in a coach (other than expertise/education)?
And if you’re in NYC and have used a coach that you like, please tell me who and where I can find their info!
At last, the long-awaited race report! Instead of prolonging the inevitable, let’s jump right into it, shall we?
My alarm sounded bright and early at 5:15am and I rolled out of bed, threw some sweats on and groggily stumbled down to breakfast in the hotel lobby. Without too much talking, I scarfed down my typical pre-run meal: a bagel with peanut butter, heavy on the pb. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I passed on all the wonderful-smelling caffeine and washed down my meal with some good old-fashioned water. Yum.
I wanted to stretch out and slowly get ready before leaving for the race. It helps the err, bathroom department, if I’m not rushing around nervously. With a little over an hour to kill, I changed, stretched, sipped water and enjoyed the cooking channel on TV, making mental notes of meals I want Dustin to make me 🙂
Finally, it was time to head to the race. After a quick photo-op, Jenna and I moved outside to what we thought would be a quick and painless bag drop-off.
Wrong. So, so wrong.
My only complaint about this race was the setup for the bag drop-off. It was so chaotic it wasn’t even funny! People were just standing still, herding themselves around the buses we needed to get to and drop off our bags. Instantly shifting into panic-mode, Jenna and I dipped and swerved through thousands of people (literally, thousands), cut a few lines, dropped off our bags and ran to the start.
We made it just in time.
Tells ya how long it took, huh?
After a big sigh of relief, I loaded up my Garmin and relaxed for a few minutes while the announcer did his thang. Before I knew it, the gun sounded and I was off!
Miles 1-3 were easy peasy, my legs got into a groove and I just enjoyed the course. It was still dark out when we started, which I enjoyed way more than I thought I would. It was fun taking various pictures and watching everything shift colors as I ran along. I sipped some water at the mile 2 marker and took my first Clif shot block at mile 4. Better to take it before you’re tired, right?
Miles 4-6 had some rolling hills, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Mile 7, however, sucked hardcore. It was all uphill. The whole thing. No leveling out or slight downhills here. Nadda. Just 100 percent incline on narrower roads that made my thighs scream.
But I survived. Obviously.
And then came the downhill. Because what comes up, must come down. Mile 8 was nearly all downhill and when I say downhill, I mean downhill. My legs were racing and I had to pay close attention to maintain proper form so my knees and shins didn’t curse me later. I made up the time I lost and then some though, which pumped me up for the second half of the race.
I popped another shot blok at the beginning of mile 8 and chugged right along. My knees were starting to give me a lot of pain, but thankfully my hip (where I had been having serious pain before) was doing just fine. My energy was high and I cruised right through miles 8, 9 and 10 without much thought.
The views constantly changed on this course, which is phenomenal. We literally ran through every region of San Francisco. Commercial, residential, coastal, woodland (that’s when I say it seemed like we were running through a more woodsy area 🙂 ). The constant change definitely kept me distracted and the time flew by.
I ate another shot block at mile 10 and ran through another really crappy hill, but not as bad as mile 7. But still, by then my legs were saying “Uh, what the hell, Sam?” I told them to shut the eff up and keep moving. Bam.
They listened and were rewarded with what? Another glorious downhill! At this point, it really registered in my brain that I could actually PR on this race, which I didn’t think would be possible when I toed the starting line. Why, you wonder?
- I was under-trained.
- I was having a lot of hip pain during race week.
- The mile 7 and mile 10 hills are killer.
So when I got through the second horrid hill and this new revelation dawned on me, I gunned it downhill. With only a little over 2 miles left to race, I just wanted to go all out and get the fastest time I possibly could. No more holding back, no saving it for later. Just run.
The final two miles were a lot of fun because of the crowds. There were cheerleading teams rooting for you, Nike had a bunch of fun signs up and the fans were really supportive. Volunteers handed out a square of Ghirardelli chocolate in the last mile, but I politely declined (meaning I vigorously shook my head and kept my mouth shut, because for some reason I was convinced they would try to shove it in my mouth?). Before I knew it, I was in the finish chute and could see the final timing mat up ahead!
As I neared, I just ran as fast as I thought I could. When I saw the handsomely dressed firemen holding a blue Tiffany’s box that I knew would be handed to me, I ran even faster. Talk about motivation, eh?
Finish time: 2:10:03
Six minutes shaved off of my old PR time! BAM!
My splits were a little all over the place, but I’ll show ’em anyway so I can reference them later:
- Mile 1: 9:21
- Mile 2 : 9:45
- Mile 3: 9:32
- Mile 4: 10:18 –> rolling hills start!
- Mile 5: 9:22
- Mile 6: 9:41
- Mile 7: 12:17 –> that nasty, never-ending hill.
- Mile 8: 8:52 –> The glorious downhill that followed.
- Mile 9: 9:56
- Mile 10: 10:05 –> The other big hill.
- Mile 11: 9:53
- Mile 12: 9:04
- Mile 13: 8:46
After snagging my necklace and finisher’s T-shirt, I immediately chugged chocolate milk, ate a banana and went to the stretching tent they had set up for us. A foam roller has never hurt so good. Afterward, I couldn’t wait another second, so I unwrapped my new race medal:
I love it! Now I can actually wear my race medal all day long and not get weird stares 🙂
Overall, I think this was a great race. Nike really did a fantastic job setting everything up and making sure you had an enjoyable experience. The course was gorgeous, the support was fantastic and there were plenty of hydration and fueling stations (Gatorade handed out stuff just like my shot bloks, but I didn’t take it). I would definitely consider racing this one again!
I’m really happy with my performance in this race as well. It became very clear how much stronger I’ve gotten since my last half because this course had much more difficult hills, and I still snagged a PR. I maintained a faster pace, learned more about myself as a runner and ended with a big goofy smile on my face 🙂
And there ya have it! I took pictures on a disposable camera (throwback!) throughout the course, but the photo center near my apartment has a broken machine right now so I still haven’t been able to get them developed. Once they are developed, I’ll make another post so you can check out the scenes I ran through!
Hey everyone, happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and was able to kick-start the week on a good note.
As you all know by now, I had a really bad week last week. This week, I am determined to turn it around. So when I bounced out of bed this morning, I did so with a smile on my face (this is a pretty big feat — I’m not a morning person). All day there were things that could have turned my attitude sour, but I refused to let it happen. I ended up having an extremely busy, yet extremely productive day and came home feeling accomplished. BAM!
How’s that for some inspiration for ya? 🙂
But I must admit, this good mood didn’t start with today’s actions. It started with Friday, when I decided that I was unplugging for the weekend. Dustin and I headed upstate to see his family and our friends from his hometown, and I was determined to just let go of all of the negative energy surrounding my week so I could enjoy myself.
So I left my computer at home. Turned off my cell phone. Left it off. And brought a book.
I had so much fun this weekend it’s not even funny. I got to relax, read, take naps and eat delicious homemade food. I didn’t do anything super fancy all weekend, but it was wonderful being surrounded by people who genuinely care about me. They all helped me forget about my troubles and focus on the good things in life. And sometimes, those things don’t involve technology. Sometimes they don’t involve anything but surrounding yourself with beauty.
That’s the view from Dustin’s parent’s back porch. Isn’t it to die for?
I ❤ fall. I ❤ the countryside. I ❤ friends. I ❤ family. I ❤ Dustin.
You see why this was a good weekend?
Oh yeah, I ❤ food too.
Worth every single calorie. *Insert belly rub here.*
To sum up, this weekend was phenomenal and the mini getaway came at just the right time. If you’re ever looking for a simple way to recharge, just step away from everything that requires a charger. You don’t need to read every blog post the second it goes live, stalk all of your Twitter friends every hour, creep Facebook pictures the minute they’re posted, or text friends every detail of your life. Just try it sometime, you’ll be so grateful you did. Not to mention it’ll be refreshing when you do decide to dive back in to the social media realm.
Or maybe that’s just what simple country-turned-city girls like me need? Who knows…I just know it was awesome.
How was your weekend?
I know you all are patiently waiting for Part II of my Nike Women’s Half-Marathon race report, and I promise it’s coming. Just not today. It’s been an extremely difficult week for me, emotionally and mentally, which is why I haven’t blogged since Monday. So instead of my race report, I’ve decided to continue the weekly tradition of Feel-Good Friday. Because after the week I’ve had, I don’t want to dwell on the bad. It’s much better to focus on the good.
So here’s what’s been getting me through this week:
My new mug
shot. I’ve been meaning to bring in a coffee mug for work for the past few week so that I would stop using the paper cups our office provides (go green!), but just kept forgetting to snag one from my cupboards at home. When I snagged this big boy from a Starbucks in San Fran, I knew it would be my new office mug. I’ve already enjoyed a few warm cups of tea and hot cocoa (I don’t drink coffee) and am sure to enjoy plenty more. Plus it’s red, which automatically makes it way cooler.
My new water bottle. I know, I know, I’ve been putting a lot of “new” stuff on here that have been making me feel good. I swear I’m not materialistic. There are just some little things (like water bottles) that make me feel good. This one in particular is not so little, in fact it’s huge. And when I fill it up in the morning and chug it down by the end of the work day, I feel accomplished for drinking that much water.
Flowers from Dustin. Or Dustin in general. Dustin has been my rock, helping me sift through the emotions that I’ve had thrown at me this week. I really am so grateful for him every day, but this week he just stepped it up. He never pushed me to do anything I didn’t want to do and he came home with my favorites on Wednesday: yellow roses, a Reese’s cup, a Starbucks gift card, and lots of room for hugs. He’s a keeper.
Oswego and their reunions. Dustin and I met at Oswego, so that automatically makes Oswego awesome, but last night our alumni association had a NYC Welcome to the City party and we got to meet a bunch of people from varying graduating classes, from the ’70s all the way up to today. We met at Houndstooth Pub in Manhattan, got appetizers and drinks, and enjoyed everyone’s company. I got to see a lot of friendly faces (Hey Liza and Liv!), people I worked with at school that I haven’t seen in a long time, which made the night even more fantastic.
And Dustin striking his signature pose.
So that about sums it up for me! I would say to expect the race report tomorrow, but that would be a lie. Dustin and I are escaping the city for the weekend to visit his family, and I’m avoiding technology at all costs. My brain is in dire need of an unplug from technology. So I won’t be tweeting, texting, blogging or anything. But I’ll be back Monday, happy race report in hand!
What’s made you feel good this week? Tell me at least one thing!
First things first, drum roll please! The winner of the Ghirardelli chocolate giveaway is…
Congratulations, Krisi! Just send me an email with your address so we can get your goodies in the mail 🙂
Moving right along, this weekend was such a fun-filled, extremely busy weekend that I’m going to break it up into sections. So let’s travel back in time to Friday, shall we? I woke up bright and early with my bag already packed and ready to go, then carried it up to work. Let me tell you, taking a packed suitcase through the metro system is not fun at all. Especially in rush hour when everyone’s trying to get to work. Some people are just plain grumpy. No bueno.
But I got to work, knocked stuff off of my to-do list left and right, then boarded my direct flight from JFK. I made sure to have the essentials ready to go:
A book, magazine and Ghirardelli chocolate. Yum. Unfortunately, we ended up on the plane for an hour before we actually took off, so I finished my book, half of my magazine and a quarter of my chocolate (it wasn’t full when I got on the plane) before we even got in the air. Good thing I had backup material.
My iPod ended up being great entertainment and I read through the latest issue of FITNESS, Self and Runner’s World by the time we touched down in San Francisco. Phew. I tried my hardest to stay awake the whole flight so that I would sleep well and suffer less jet lag. Mission accomplished. I got to our hotel, ate some food and promptly passed out in my comfy bed.
The next morning I woke up to this beautiful sight:
You just don’t get that in New York! Maybe it’s childish, but I always get giddy whenever I see palm trees. It just screams vacation to me.
Jenna and I spent most of the morning and early afternoon wandering around Union Square, either exploring the area or working. We bought some goodies at Niketown and headed over to the expo.
There was a lot of cool stuff going on throughout the expo, including Run the Runway and Neutrogena makeup consultations. It was very clear that this race was for women. After picking up some stuff, Jenna and I discovered the best thing going on in the whole tent.
Spin for a smoothie! Hop on the bike, spin away and you power the blender to create your own smoothie. Yum!
At least I can say I’ve technically spun in jeans and boots now. But I think I’ll stick to workout clothes. Heh.
Some more fun at the expo…
Jenna and I walked around the city some more and ended up spotting a bright patch of grass in the distance. Like a moth to a flame, Jenna and I rushed over to see what it was. We rarely get to see nature living in the city, so we were hoping to find something good.
We ended up finding Yerba Buena Gardens!
It was so pretty! Everyone was just lounging around, enjoying the gorgeous sunshine. It reminded me of our parks back home, but a bit on the smaller side. Small is never a bad thing!
There was a waterfall that ended up being the perfect spot for us to relax and have some cool water sprinkle us.
Finally, we went back to the expo because we had some work to do. And by work, I mean interview running phenoms Kara Goucher and Joan Benoit Samuelson! They were both super cool and very down-to-earth. I loved getting to know them a little bit more and hanging out for a few minutes.
The rest of the night entailed a pre-race dinner filled with typical carbo-loading and then an early night. Until next time…
It’s race day! Right now I’m running on the roads of San Francisco, hopefully smiling and on my way to a shiny new PR. Along the way, I’ll be bopping along to these splendid tunes. But I have to admit, my iPod is in need of more music as I’ve circulated through these songs way too many times during training. So take a looksie — hopefully I’ve got some gems on there you want to steal — then let me know what you think I should add!
- “Firework,” Glee Cast
- “Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny),” A.R. Rahman and The Pussycat Dolls
- “If I Had You,” Adam Lambert
- “Rolling in the Deep,” Adele
- “Evacuate the Dance Floor,” Cascada
- “Till the World Ends,” Britney Spears
- “Love Drunk,” Boys Like Girls
- “F*ck You,” Cee Lo Gren
- “Dirty Little Secret,” All-American Rejects
- “Yeah 3x,” Chris Brown
- “Just the Way You Are,” Bruno Mars
- “Halo,” Bethany Joy Lentz
- “Without You,” David Guetta and Usher
- “I Like It,” Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull
- “Dog Days Are Over,” Florence + The Machine
- “Let Me Go,” Ashley Parker Angel
- “Loser Like Me,” Glee Cast
- “Club Can’t Handle Me,” Flo Rida featuring David Guetta
- “Boys in the Summer,” Jessie James
- “I’m Not Over,” Carolina Liar
- “Teenage Dream,” Katy Perry
- “Bulletproof,” La Roux
- “Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
- “Sk8r Boi,” Avril Lavigne
- “If I Can’t Have You,” Kelly Clarkson
- “Girl at the Rock Show,” Blink-182
- “Crazy B*tch,” Buckcherry
- “Get It Right,” Glee Cast
- “Turning Tables,” Adele
- “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga
- “Give Me Everything,” Pitbull
- “The Story of Us,” Taylor Swift
- “Dynamite,” Taio Cruz
- “Stronger,” Britney Spears
- “It’s My Life,” Bon Jovi
- “OMG,” Usher
- “Heels Over Head,” Boys Like Girls
- “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You),” Enrique Iglesias
- “California Gurls,” Katy Perry
- “Tik Tok,” Ke$ha
- “Edge of Glory,” Lady Gaga
- “Billie Jean,” Michael Jackson
- “Silly Love Songs,” Glee Cast
- “Livin’ On A Prayer,” Bon Jovi
I’m aware that these songs don’t follow BPM guidelines that you could follow during a race for optimum performance. Honestly, I’m just not that fancy. When I’m racing, I usually just have my headphones in but don’t tune into the music that much — it’s kind of just background noise for me. I put a good mix of music on there that I like running to – if something shows up during a training run that I don’t enjoy, I immediately take it off and that’s that. So I’m open to all suggestions!
What are some of your favorite songs to run to?
Remember, today is the last day to enter the Ghirardelli chocolate giveaway! You can enter until midnight!
I hope everyone’s enjoying their weekend so far, and good luck to everyone who’s racing this weekend! I don’t have very much access to a computer while I’m away, so I’ll be sure to give you all the glorious details of my trip once I’m back in the Big Apple. If you want up-to-date details, make sure to follow me on Twitter.
I know it’s hard to believe (at least it’s hard for me to believe), but Halloween is right around the corner — only two weeks away! The roomies and I are planning on throwing a fully decked out Halloween party, so I’m in dire need of a costume. I dress up every single year, sometimes in multiple costumes each year — hey, I was in college! We celebrated all weekend. Let’s go back in time for a bit and catch a glimpse of my previous beauties.
Freshman year of college was a bit of a rebellious year for me. I had fun dressing up as a pirate while my roommate-at-the-time, Lizz, dressed up as a ref. Yep, we were those girls.
Sophomore year involved a quick trip to the local thrift store as I had no money for a costume. One search through the kids section and I quickly became a Bills football player. As a die-hard Patriots fan, it took a lot for me to don this costume. Little did I know it would end up making Dustin unbelievably happy (we hadn’t met yet), as he’s a huge Bills fan.
Junior year involved two costumes. One night I was an 80’s girl, but Dustin was lame and didn’t dress up. The second night was the real celebration, and we hit the town dressed as Danny and Sandy from Grease.
That was the full get-up. I rocked those red heels!
Last year Dustin and I ventured down the couples route again. For actual Halloween, we were Waldo and Wenda from Where’s Waldo? The next night I was a hippie and he was a mime, so we were Peace & Quiet! Deep, I know.
Now I need your help! What should I be this year? There’s no need to do a couple’s costume, but those suggestions are always welcome. Right now, this is my front runner:
But if I could get a group of gals in on it, I would love to wear this:
Finally, I’m also considering this:
What do you think? Cast your vote or give me any other suggestions!
P.S. The Ghirardelli chocolate giveaway is only open until tomorrow night, so don’t forget to enter!