<![CDATA[The Running Noob - Blog]]>Sat, 24 Feb 2018 22:02:07 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Natural beauty + Smatterings x 2]]>Sat, 24 Feb 2018 08:00:00 GMThttp://therunningnoob.com/blog/natural-beauty-smatterings-x-2Sometimes it's just really hard to carry this burden of pure natural beauty in the mornings. It's a struggle.
This morning I'm going to share just two Smatterings, but first a couple of random things from our house to yours...

​My husband and I have drastically different ideas of what constitutes good reading material.
Have any of you been catching up on the Oscar-nominated movies? We're just a couple of short weeks away from the big award show! Award shows are my thing. Jon knows this about me after 20 years together -- don't ask me to do anything or be responsible for anything when there is a major award show on TV. Major award shows include Golden Globes and the Oscars. So far I've only seen about half of the movies nominated for Best Picture so I have a lot of viewing to do between now and March 4th!

Alright so perhaps some of you parents out there feel me on this next picture. Sometimes I like to do really special things for the boys and spoil them rotten so they feel like kings of the castle. The only pitfall is that when you do it once, they expect it regularly. It's like they're children or something :)

It tends to be chilly in our front room because of all the windows so Croc once asked for a blanket to keep him warm. Now he pretty much refuses to sit at the table unless it's been draped with a (must be soft!) blanket. Then there must be another soft blanket draped on top of his precious lap once he's graced me with his seated bottom. I tell you. The lives of Riley, these kids.
Jon sent me the absolute perfect quote at the perfect time. He's such a good person, and is always helping me improve the way I handle situations. I'm a lucky lady. 

I got into an inspirational quote spiral this afternoon but this one stuck with me. Remember that even when comparatively you've had a low day, you got through it which means you actually worked harder (so pat yourself on the back!).

Are these the worst fast food items of all time?

​I used to work at Olive Garden during summer breaks in college. I wore a salad tie and black pants and worked double shifts so I could eat as many free breadsticks as possible. Then I had a friend who turned me on to their Alfredo sauce and showed me that dipping them in the sauce made the breadsticks even better. THAT was being decadent. What fast food restaurants are trying to do now is a whole new level of gluttony. It like a big glutton sandwich deep fried in chocolate sauce.

​Olive Garden came out with this Meatball Pizza Bowl and I can't imagine the sheer numbers of calories in it. Don't get me wrong, back in my drinking days I would have torn one of these up, but now it makes me sick to look at it. Not appealing!
Photo: BurkleHagen Photography
This Dominos pasta bread bowl looks like a mistake. It looks like the mashup of things that accumulate in your compost bag. It's truly dishes like this that make Americans the big fat butt (BIG 'ole butt!) of jokes.
Jason Lam via flickr
Here's a slideshow with the worst fast food abominations courtesy of SFgate. Most of them I agree with wholeheartedly but there are a couple that I admit I would eat after a long run if I earned the calories -- like the ​Dunkin’ Donuts pancake sausage bites.

Asking for what you're worth

I thought this State of Salaries report from Hired was really interesting. It shows the average salary people in each age group tend to ask for versus the amount they're offered. This means younger folks (under 35) tend to ask for less then they would be offered, while older folks (over 40) tend to ask for more than they're offered. 

It's actually not that surprising to me -- the older you get the more important money becomes. Bills, kids, retirement. When you're fresh out of school all of that stuff can seem far away. 

I took the boys to see Peter Rabbit this afternoon and they wore me out. It is nonstop activity/drama with those wonder twins.

What was the last movie you saw? Mine was Dunkirk!

Have you ever walked a red carpet? I have not although I've worked them.
<![CDATA[Night Moves]]>Sat, 24 Feb 2018 03:32:23 GMThttp://therunningnoob.com/blog/night-moves2113138

Sometimes Twitter comments are pure gold, I tell you.
<![CDATA[Are Thai massages the cure for pain?]]>Thu, 22 Feb 2018 08:00:00 GMThttp://therunningnoob.com/blog/are-thai-massages-the-cure-for-painThis handsome Dude went to a sleepover on Sunday so I stole him away before he left to get him a haircut! When hair starts getting in eyes, I have a strong urge to chop it even though their hair is so pretty. He's becoming a total social butterfly, so it makes me happy that he still enjoys coming home after a sleepover to cuddle with his momma. :)
We tried a fairly new barber shop called Church Barber & Apothecary. I think it's kind of funny how the word apothecary is associated with super hip establishments in SF. It was really beautiful inside, and they were playing my kind of music. I love the tile work on the floors. Austin was the stylist we had and he was seriously the best. He took so much care to get it just right, and had a nice "chair side manner" with The Dude. I didn't really know what kind of cut to get him so I pointed to another stylist's hair and said make it like his!
So suave!! I should have purchased their pomade and maybe I will because I think the product required for this cut is totally worth it. Such a cutie.
After we sent The Dude off with his friend for the day/night, I cleaned out my dresser and sweater cubbies. I took a picture of this shirt to memorialize the fact that I earned it (along with some bumps and bruises!) because I'm going to donate it. As I look at it right now, I see why I'm donating it. It's my size but it never fit right and clearly it's because this is not a women's shirt. I mean it's SUPPOSED to be a women's shirt and it's labeled for one but I know very few women whose hips are actually more narrow than their waist. Doesn't really happen. Something tells me a man labeled this style as women's -- a very narrow man. :)
Cleaning out dressers is the best because you find those amazing gems at the bottom of the drawer, shoved way in the back and then when you see it, it's like being reunited (and it feels so good). Like this sweatshirt gift Jon got from his brother -- it's Jaco Pastorius in case you can't make it out and I told Jon to act casual in the photo and this is what he gives me. Hahahaha
My mom sent Jon all of these men's perfume tear outs from magazines. She thinks it's hilarious that he stashes old magazines for the sole purpose of using the cologne samples. I buy him real bottles of cologne but he never uses it! Hahaha
There are a jillion reasons why I think my friend Jen is the coolest, and one of them is that she is an incredibly generous human being. She once gave me a gift certificate for a Thai massage place near work. I finally used it last weekend and let me tell you something -- I am officially labeling this place a SAN FRANCISCO HIDDEN GEM!!!

Here's me walking to the massage place not entirely knowing what to expect.
From the outside, it looks pretty nondescript. The name of the place is Siam Orchid Traditional Thai Massage
It's crazy that it looks kind of like a Chinese takeout place from the outside but then you walk in to all of this beauty...
They had all sorts of teas and snacks set out -- I should've arrived earlier so I could have stocked up! My momma didn't raise me to turn away free food!
And some leftover V-Day balloons. The only way for me to enjoy balloons is when they aren't in my house where children argue over them :) Do anyone else's kids argue nonstop over balloons when they're at home?
Yes, the straps on the ceiling and bed on the floor were a little intimidating to me too. It looks like a very pleasant seeming torture chamber! And of course it wouldn't be a new experience if I didn't show my true noob colors...

​The nice masseuse showed me to my room, then said something to me about there being clothes on the bed that I could use. There was a little bit of a language barrier so I didn't understand everything she told me to do. When she stepped into the hallway in order for me to change out of my clothes, I saw the little tank top and put that on right away. Then I saw what looked like another long-sleeved shirt which I thought was odd. No pants. So I figured I'd just leave my undies on along with the tank top and pull up the blanket to my waist. (Regular massages you do fully nude or almost so I didn't think it was that strange.) Well she walked in and saw me and said, "Oh! You don't have any PANTS ON!!!" I was mortified, and pretty sure I turned bright red. I said I didn't see any pants and she grabbed the "long sleeved shirt" and showed me they were actually very loose pants with no tie.

You can't take me anywhere!
I know I tend to speak in superlatives -- or so I've been told -- but this was seriously the very best massage I've ever had in my entire life hands down without question. She used her elbows, and later stood on me and used her feet to get into all the nooks and crannies. The pressure was perfect, and I loved how she sort of combined Swedish massage with Acupressure with Thai massage. At one point she twisted my entire back in a way that instantly brought me comfort. I guess I didn't realize how much tension and scar tissue had built up, especially along my IT band.

This is the post-massage face of a woman who will be spending a whole lot more time at this amazing hole-in-the-wall find!! 
The name of this vegan spread is hilarious in my opinion. FABanaise hahaha. It's actually really tasty! I put it on a sliced baguette along with...
...some white bean and kale soup sprinkled with nutritional yeast for extra goodness. I love soups. This has become a thing with me in my adult age. My mom has always been a huge fan of soups, and my dad considered himself to be a clam chowder connaisseur!
I like to squish some lemon on top of the soup for some zippy zip.
I've been diligently doing my exercises and even inspiring Jon to pull out his old PT exercises and do them too! (and apparently Croc also has a lot of stress to work out on the yoga mat -- it's hard being four!).
My friend has an Etsy shop called Element + Mineral and she made this beautiful triangle necklace. I didn't take it off all weekend I love it so much!! It even frames my freckle like an eye in an Illuminati pyramid.
Jon capturing my exercises using questionable angles:
Croc is starting to understand that mommy takes a lot of pictures for some reason and he really likes it when we use the self timer.
Big brother was going to see a movie with his friend for the sleepover, so Jon put on a movie for he and Croc to enjoy.
We started with Coco (which is a great movie!) and then Croc lost interest within 30 minutes which always happens so we transitioned to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Also a great movie but for very different reasons!
Monday morning we didn't have school or work and The Dude was still with his buddy so we drove across the water to the Bay Area Discovery Museum!
We've been coming here since The Dude was a toddler. It's so gorgeous and never feels too overpoweringly crowded because there's a good balance of inside and outside activities.
Monday's focus was on Chinese New Year so there were lots of red decorations and we even got to see some lion dancing!
While all the other people were crowded around the lion dancers, Croc knew it was his moment to seize at the crab fishing station! No, that's not a fake bridge in the background. This kids museum has amazing views!!
He made a Chinese lantern with about 629 stamps on it -- a work of art!!!
It was nice to take Croc to a place where he was the center of attention. For almost five years it was just Jon, me, and The Dude and he got a ton of individual attention, so I feel happy when I see Croc getting the same kind of lovin'. ​💖
I've said it before and I'll say it again -- I don't understand why someone hasn't launched a startup (this is how we talk in the Bay Area - everyone has a startup idea!) that delivers a really good and healthy lunch for kids to my doorstep every school morning. I'm running out of interesting things to put in them and we're limited to stuff that can sit out all day too.
I sometimes cuss like a sailor. I hope I don't offend people with that language, but I try to use it sparingly and only when it has true meaning. Like in this IG post:
It's 6:39am on a Thursday and I have a very big (and kind of stressful) work meeting today. Send me good vibes at 2pm! :)

Tell me: If you're a parent, what are your 2-3 go-to things you put in your kids' lunches?

Do you have a pet and if so would they also be riding shotgun in the car? :)

<![CDATA[Olympics are the best + Moments of happiness]]>Mon, 19 Feb 2018 01:31:24 GMThttp://therunningnoob.com/blog/olympics-are-the-best-moments-of-happinessHappy Sunday to your hopefully three-day-weekend! I have a whole bunch of pictures in my phone that I'm sharing today.

​Is there anything on the tv screen that could possibly make you happier than these two commentating over the Olympics figure skating events?! Not for me!
The good news is that I'm doing all the work my doc is telling me to do! The noob news is that I showed up to physical therapy and realized I'd forgotten my gym shoes so I had to work out in my socks. Only they weren't my socks because of course I couldn't find any of those and I could only find Croc's Minion socks. My therapist has a good sense of humor :)
On Fat Tuesday, I promised the little guy we would make brownies for dinner. Jon and I both gave up sugar for Lent (we're not really practicing Catholics anymore but I sort of like the discipline that goes with sacrificing something frivolous you love for a little bit to remember how much you have). It's much easier to cook using mixes with him at this age so he got a kick out of measuring the water, scooping the applesauce in the bowl, and mixing it all up.
Both boys have had colds and are sporting the red rimmed lips. I wish I could say these brownies lasted more than a night, but we really embraced the term FAT Tuesday by eating every last one of them!
There's this fancy pants nail salon near my house that I sort of stumbled on the other day and I've been really excited to try it ever since! I made an appointment twice before but ended up canceling last minute because of one kid thing or another. Well yesterday was the day! My nails weren't terrible but my feet really needed some love. I ended up not loving the color on my toes so I caved and switched to neutral color on my fingers (boring!).
It was a really cute little salon and had a nice neighborhood vibe to it. Halfway through my nails, an elder woman came in and passed out red envelopes to all the workers and children. There was music playing with singing in Chinese. The woman wished everyone Gung Hay Fat Choy (Happy New Year!). It made me smile and I felt really happy at that moment. There was all kinds of activity on the sidewalks with people bundled up as the sun went down. Nannies were dropping off children. Grandmas were kissing their grand babies. It felt very San Francisco, and very much like a robust community -- my community.

I'll share a secret: Happiness is no longer a state in which I strive to obtain... I had an AHA moment fairly recently when I finally understood that happiness is made up of moments in time that fill your heart with such elation that you think it might burst and also moments in time of just being really comfortable or content. I think when you accept that and stop searching for an unattainable perfectly happy state of being all the time, you can open yourself up to more and more frequent really happy moments. Does that sound silly or do you agree?
I can't say it was the best mani/pedi I've ever had but I feel sort of guilty typing that because the owners were so very sweet to everyone. Maybe it was just an off night -- I'll definitely be back! In fact, The Dude said he wants to go next time also because he wants to check out their "candy bar" which stared me in the face the whole time (bad time to stop eating sugar hahaha!). I grabbed two Dum Dums (selfishly my least favorite so I wouldn't be tempted) on my way out for the boys.
Last night we ordered pizzas and The Dude wasn't shy about his feelings around my offering of a vegan veggie whole wheat pizza or...
...a half cheese half pepperoni greasy goodness pizza. He chose wisely :)
Jon has been taking these boys on all kinds of adventures the past few days because they all had Friday off work/school. They went to the Marina and grabbed some of the best donuts in San Francisco -- Dynamo Donuts!!
There's a little stand right near the water that you should check out if you're in San Francisco. Ginger orange flavor? You're killin' me, Dynamo menu.
Why is it so fun to walk on a boardwalk? Can you imagine running an entire race on a single track boardwalk like this but all by yourself? Through the woods? That would be so amazing to me and my ultimate dream for a run. 
Their favorite place lately is China Beach. It's a lesser known beach than Ocean or Baker or Crissy, but equally beautiful.
It's crazy to me that they are wearing shorts and t-shirts in February on the beach. 
Binoculars are one of the best gifts you can give a kid. I'm hoping I remember to take them and our "Birds of California" book on vacation this summer. It has a checklist and I want to start crossing off the ones we see!
As soon as Jon mentioned they were hitting the beach, I knew Croc would come home sopping wet. This kid loves the water. 
Couple of little beach bums.
It's like he doesn't even have nerve receptors. Jon had to force him out and to get clothed.
Somehow, someway there is always a big stick involved and it always ends up at our house! Do any other parents experience this too? :)
There are a million reasons why I love him, and one of them is that Jon always leaves these little (I call them) "Projects" around the house after their trips. He'll arrange the rocks really pretty or make...
...little acorn thingies in a mussel shell so it looks like pearls in an oyster :) I mean is he the cutest or what. 
Chinese New Year makes me happy. Red lanterns all over the place and lots of talk about Year of the Dog!
You never know when you'll run into a lion dancing parade working its way through the streets. 
At the new year, they light firecrackers in the door of some of the businesses to scare off evil spirits.
Hearing the banging of the cymbals and drums makes my skin tingle!
I snapped this on my bike the other day. I loved the blue, then purple, then orange, then blue again.
If you're looking for this guy, odds are he's at the beach! 
I sent both of these IG posts to Jon and I heard him laugh out loud about an hour after I sent them. I knew he was reading them. He came in the room later and said, "where are my door pants?" Hahahaha. We would TOTALLY purchase door pants if that was a thing.
Now excuse me while I inhale a rainbow salad and platha bread. There is some kind of mystery meat I see in this salad which is kind of a bummer but I'll give it to my husband who is always down for some kind of meat challenge. It won't go to waste!
Tell me: Did you celebrate Chinese New Year as a kid? Do you celebrate it now? If so what is one of your traditions? Share it with me!
<![CDATA[The Noob is back!]]>Sat, 17 Feb 2018 08:00:00 GMThttp://therunningnoob.com/blog/the-noob-is-backI've been having the most insane work week in a very long time and add a crashed laptop to the mix and it's meant silence over here from me. How are you all??

I'll finish up this post I started last week and then we'll be all caught up...

Croc was in the car the other night and admired this beautiful sky. He said, "the sky is candy!" That is pretty much the highest form of a compliment to you, Mother Nature.
Last weekend we went on a date night so I wanted to capture a really nice visual memory of how cute my hubs and I look together.
We met up with some of our closest friends and tried a new restaurant between our two homes. All of us walked because it was such a beautiful night. One of the things that keeps me in the city and not packing up our stuff and heading for the 'burbs is that no matter where you live in SF, if you're meeting up with someone you can almost always walk because this city is only 7 miles long and 7 miles wide. Thankfully this particular couple lives only about a mile from us so we can easily meet up by foot whenever we want.

These two. They've known each other since they were children and lived next door their whole lives in Ohio. He and his brother (who also lives here!) are every bit like family to us even though we don't share a bloodline. We're super lucky to have them and their wife/girlfriend in the same city as us. 
The company where I work celebrated its 9th birthday the other day and threw an incredible party on the rooftop! They REALLY know how to throw a party at this place -- donuts, lounge tents, succulent making, hot dogs, champagne, cake, music. Our CEO told a really great story about how when he and the other founder got the idea for their business and agreed to pursue it, they went on a double date. They toasted to their future with champagne and said "let's meet up at this same restaurant in one year. We'll either be toasting our success with champagne or eating hot dogs from the street vendor because we failed." Well their business obviously took off and became successful, but at every birthday party we eat hot dogs to remember our roots and stay humble, and drink champagne (juice for me!) to celebrate our accomplishments. I love this tradition!
The weather here has been so out of this world - sunny but still crisp. Croc and I went on a nice hike together and I was pleasantly surprised at how far he went without complaining! He might be my best bet at a hiking/running partner in crime as he gets older!! :)
One of the local schools made a bunch of pretty signs showing all the flora and fauna we might see along our path.
We thought this pattern was so pretty against the blue sky.
The caretakers of the Presidio are truly the best. Every time we run into one of the staff, they take time to say hello and tell us something special about the park. I can't imagine living in a place where I can't access some kind of thick tree covering within a mile. We sure are lucky.
We stopped for a quick playground break!
And a game of hike-and-seek...
Before winding our way back to the trail, we saw this and he said, "this is a crocodile just like me!"
He pointed out this sign telling us to stay away from that area because there's lots of bee activity!! This kid is always teaching me something I don't know. Am I one of the only 42-year-olds in the world who hasn't been stung by a bee??
Every time we saw a sign, we'd say it was a clue to our next assignment. We love playing spy - it's one of our favorite games.
He was such a good hiking pal that I scooped him a big bowl of mango sorbet to enjoy on the patio together. We had a nice morning :)
I've been riding my bike to work since my physical therapist said it was okay. He said since biking doesn't extend my leg in a hamstring stretch like running might, it won't irritate the area. I'll do physical therapy for 6 weeks (i'm into week 2 now!) and take a break from running during it. I've been doing all the exercises they assigned me - lots of focused strength on the hamstring area like wall sits, leg curls, flexes.
Professional photographer I am not!
Unstrapping your bike helmet after a sweaty ride is almost as satisfying as taking your bra off when you get home...ALMOST!!!
Both of them love having a soft blanket and pillow at all times. Who can blame them? If I could work from home in my pajamas every day, I'd totally do it.
I'm spending as much time as possible outside enjoying these beautiful skies, and trying to focus on the great stuff I'm doing to care for my leg instead of all the miles I'm missing out on running. There will always be time to run as long as I'm breathing and standing!
I got this book for The Dude last Christmas. It's a great gift idea for young men, and I'm not usually one to like anything specifically for "boys" or "girls."
I especially loved this section on how to interact with girls!! Sports are always the answer :)
I hope your weekend is as awesome as this kid with a foot in a boat!!