Weekly Recap

July 22, 2012 § Leave a comment


  • Monday – None
  • Tuesday – 3.5 mile run
  • Wednesday – 2 mile run
  • Thursday – 1.5 mile run to meet up with running group, 1.5 mile run with running group
  • Friday – None
  • Saturday – 90 minute vinyasa flow yoga class
  • Sunday – 5.0 mile run

Running followed my training plan exactly aside from being short half of a mile on Thursday.  I definitely lacked int he yoga department this week, only getting the one class in.  Could feel it while in that class.  My muscles were so tight!  My run today felt amazing though and I wanted to go even further, but being new I am a bit afraid of deviating from the planned runs.  Probably wouldn’t be a big deal at this point when all runs are under 10 miles, but I’m a bit stringent with plans to begin with.

Most memorable event of the week: I attended the WXPN XPoNential Festival this weekend (yet another item on the summer bucket list)!  So many great artists played over the three-day period, but the highlight for me was definitely The Hold Steady.  They are such a great act to see live.  Part of the magic of live music for me is feeding off of the energy of both the performers and the audience.  When either or both is lacking it makes seeing a live show a bit pointless personally.  With The Hold Steady that is never the case.  Both the band, particularly frontman Craig Finn who is quite possibly the most animated lead singer out there, and the fans are always so into every minute of it all.  The band played this same festival in 2009 but had to stop early due to a really bad storm.  Very lucky that this didn’t happen again this year, because at times I was very afraid it might.  It rained all night, but certainly nothing major.  Here is a video from that 2009 performance (Franz Nicolay, the lovely man in the white suit playing the keyboard, is unfortunately no longer part of the band):

Best thing I ate: Probably everything I ate when I went to my hometown on Monday for the Mt. Carmel Festival!

Best thing I drank: While I drank many beer this week, most were rather common for the area.  This definitely isn’t a bad thing.  I had beers by Flying Fish, Victory, Yards, Sly Fox, Weyerbacher, Philadelphia Brewing Company and McKenzie Brew House.  Actually, the only non-PA/NJ beers I had this week were a Founders Porter and a Tecate.  I think the last time I had a Tecate I was actually in Mexico (and a decade younger).


Philly Food Swap

July 21, 2012 § 2 Comments

On Wednesday night I participated in my second, and I believe what was the 4th, Philly Food Swap event!  If you have never participated in a food swap before the idea is pretty simple.  You bring a number of your homemade, pre-packaged goods that you want to trade one-for-one with others.  For this swap which had a maximum of 40 registrants I decided to bring 15 items, but it is up to the individual person in the end.  Each swapper sets up a station with their goods and usually some samples of the items up for swapping.  A sheet is filled out for each item stating what it is and what it might pair well with.  The first hour of the swap is setting up and testing out the goods.  This a group of amazingly talented people who all brought a variety of items.  Above is only a very small sample of some of what was offered.  It is truly impressive!  Anyway, once you have sampled the goods you can write on the person’s sheet what you might be willing to trade them for.  This is in no way binding, but gives everyone an idea of who they might want to approach come time for the actual swap.  Then it is announced that the swapping will begin and that is where it can get a bit hectic.  Everyone goes to up to the people they are most interested in swapping with and the goods end up going fairly quickly.

For this swap I brought three different things: peach mango jalapeno preserves, tomato basil jam, and pickles made with Troegs Perpetual IPA.  I adore the pickles and others seemed to like them as well.  The tomato jam is also a favorite of mine and it seemed to go over fairly well.  However the peach preserves didn’t really get much love I think and it is rather understandable as I honestly wasn’t too crazy about them myself.  I made them last summer and really enjoyed them but this year I decided to use Pomona’s Pectin which meant I could lower the sugar dramatically.  Thus last summer’s were more of a jam and this summer’s were more of a preserve.  While I certainly don’t think they tasted bad I wasn’t that thrilled by them and ended up with two still left after the swap.

I got some really fantastic items in the trade however: nettle pesto, hot fudge sauce, raw peanut butter and fudge balls, a whoopie pie, a vegan fruit tart, a vegan brownie, hot sauce, worcestershire  sauce, pickled red onions, pickled yellow beets, strawberry rhubarb jam, and balsamic black pepper strawberries!  So excited to find a use for all of them.  The tart, raw balls, and half the pickled beets are already gone though!

The setting for this swap could not have been more perfect.  It took place at the Wyck Garden in the Germantown section of Philadelphia.  It is part of a site that was the home to one family for over 300 years.  Such a great place, especially when you are used to a more modern urban setting.  The next swap will be held on October 4th  at Greensgrow Farm, which is a wonderful urban farm in the Kensington section of Philadelphia (and not far from where I currently live).  Go to the group’s Facebook page for more information and to stay connected!

Buona Festa!

July 17, 2012 § 1 Comment

Yesterday I decided to take the train into my hometown to attend the last night of the 137th Our Lady of Mount Carmel Festival, which is apparently the longest running Italian festival in the United States.

It all began in 1875 at 232 Pine Road, at the home of Antonio Capelli.  There, he, along with a small group of fellow immigrants, prayed in front of a painting of the Virgin Mary.  They also formed a procession in front of the home.  They prayed in thanks— for their safe journey to America, for a successful farming season, and for the blessings and good fortune found in their new home of Hammonton.

The procession still takes place on the feast day (the 16th of July), though is much smaller than previous years.  I was happy to make it into town on the train for the very end of it however, as I hadn’t seen the actual procession in many years.  As a kid the main focus was of course the fact that a carnival was set up in the middle of town for an entire week.  Yay, rides put together in a day!  But I rode them all hundreds of times and still live to tell the really boring tale.  At this point in time the only carnival attraction I had much interest in was the “World’s Smallest Horse” booth, but only because it reminded me of Li’l Sebastian (RIP).

My main reason for attending this event?  THE FOOD.  Food is however my main reason to attend most events, unless the beer is more awesome than the food.  This is NOT the case for the event, though I did have a Yuengling in the beer tent.  And I’m pretty sure Yuengling might actually be a newer addition to the beer tent, which from what I remembered only sold pitchers of Coors Light in the past along with some Smirnoff Ice.  Yeah.  Anyway, if you want some form of pork on a roll this is your place!  I had half of a roast pork, provolone, and broccoli rabe sandwich, which in my humble sandwich obsessed opinion is the Philadelphia/South Jersey area’s best sandwich offering and half of an Italian sausage, pepper, and onion sandwich.  I have not had either in years because I haven’t really been a meat eater much of my adult life (complicated relationship there) so I definitely enjoyed every bite of each.

I also had some Italian cookies and funnel cake.   Then afterward I went over to Royale Crown Custard with my mom, which is now another thing I can cross off my summer bucket list.  Royale Crown makes all kinds of ice creams in-house, but the main draw (again in my opinion) is the custard, which is creamier than you can possibly imagine.  I got a waffle cone with vanilla custard, rainbow sprinkles, and some crunchy things.  I wish I would have just gotten sprinkles as those crunchy things are not nearly as good as I remember them being.  Ah well, I’ll have to remember that for next year.  This is really the best soft serve I have ever had.  Nothing else compares and therefore I can’t really eat it other places (but I still might).

Overall it was a fun, nostalgic night back home.  I even got to see the fireworks display at the end of the night.  I was glad I made the trip down there, though I think my stomach might not have been.

Weekly Recap

July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment


  • Monday – None
  • Tuesday – 1.5 mile run/walk with a shelter dog, 2.5 mile run, 90 minute vinyasa flow yoga class
  • Wednesday – None
  • Thursday – 0.72 mile run to meet up with people, 2.48 mile run with group
  • Friday – 1 mile run/walk with shelter dog
  • Saturday – None
  • Sunday – 4.0 mile run, 75 minute vinyasa flow yoga class

Pretty similar to last week, though the heat switched things around a bit.  Felt ok with the runs I did get in though and the mileage ended up being what was needed in the end.  Again I have been feeling so strong in yoga class.  Such a wonderful feeling that I need more of.

Most memorable event of the week: Not something positive or that I really want to share.  I am struggling with interpersonal stuff lately and just need to let go of it.  Still in a funk and I feel as if I have little control over getting out, though that probably isn’t the case.

Best thing I ate: The Farmer’s Dog, which is a current special at The Hot Diggity. Description from the website: “The Xnipec Dog! Featuring all locally and organically grown Rainbow Chard, Xnipec (Mayan Salsa), Oregano Sour Cream, and Podding Radishes from Green Meadow Farms in Lancaster Co.”  It was as great as it sounds and looks!

Best thing I drank:  On the 4th of July I went out to TJ’s in Paoli where they were featuring several Hill Farmstead beers on tap.  I got to enjoy the Double Citra, Harlan, Nor, and Edward.  Double Citra was probably my favorite, though I always enjoy every beer I have by them.  I had tried the regular Citra before and the double definitely did not disappoint.


Weekly Recap

July 1, 2012 § Leave a comment


  • Monday – None
  • Tuesday – 3.0 mile run, 90 minute vinyasa flow yoga class
  • Wednesday – 2.0 mile run
  • Thursday – 2.0 mile run
  • Friday – None
  • Saturday – 4.0 mile run
  • Sunday – 3.0 mile run, 75 minute vinyasa flow yoga class

I felt very strong this week in terms of activity.  As I said on Friday, I began training for the Philadelphia Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon this week.  I felt fairly strong running despite the intense heat aside from Thursday, when I stopped my planned 3 mile run at 2 miles.  I did not have a run planned for today, but just really needed to get out of my head and went out for a late one.  The two yoga classes I attended this week were amazing.  My practice has grown so much this year and my body has changed in so many amazing ways.  I felt so incredibly strong while practicing this week.  If only I could really transfer that feeling of strength into the rest of my life.  Emotionally I am really struggling, mostly due to loneliness and fear of the future which I know I need to let go of.

Most memorable event of the week:  Again this was a pretty low week in many ways.  I had a hard time coming up with motivation to do much of anything.  How I felt at times when practicing yoga and running were probably the most memorable moments of my week.

Best thing I ate: I went to Memphis Taproom on Thursday to catch the Euro Cup semi-final.  I love Italian football/soccer.  While Italy surprisingly defeated Germany on Thursday, they of course lost to Spain yesterday in the final.  Rather young team for Italy however and Spain is quite the powerhouse, so it was good to see them go that far despite a poor performance in the finals.  Anyway, Memphis Taproom is my favorite place to go to in the general area that I live for both great food and great beer.  Also, I just feel really comfortable there.  I wish it were within more of a walking distance (it is well over a mile away), though I do walk to and from on occasion.  I usually have a difficult time not getting the smoked coconut club when I order food there, but this time I had the chicken fried portobello sandwich.  So good!  I should add that both of those dishes are vegan, so they have options for many dietary needs.  Great place to take a mixed group of eaters in that aspect.

Best thing I drank:  At Memphis Taproom they had Russian River Blind Pig IPA on tap, which is always a good thing.  Philadelphia is one of the few places out east where you can find Russian River beers and i you pay enough attention they can be seen on tap fairly frequently, especially at certain places.  Still, it isn’t all that common that I happen to be in the same place at the same time.  I don’t think I have had a Russian River IPA since March, yet I was out-of-state for a few months as well.  Also, while I was there the owner opened a bottle of Cuvée De Ranke, which is a blend of aged sour ales from De Ranke and lambic from Girardin.  It was nicely tart and very enjoyable.

Can’t believe that is both July and halfway through 2012 already!

What I Ate Wednesday

June 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Not that I’m terribly exciting, but this will probably be a bit more boring than usual.  However I like the idea of documenting what I eat at least once a week and I see this feature on many blogs I read so I decided to try to make it a regular feature here (if I remember, last week I didn’t until halfway through the day).  At this point I haven’t been keeping track of my food intake daily on my own like I had to for a very long time.   Using my own judgement (in this area at least) seems to be working for me now in terms of health and weight loss.  Anyway, here is a glimpse into what I eat on a regular basis:

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Weekly Recap

June 24, 2012 § Leave a comment


  • Monday – None
  • Tuesday – None
  • Wednesday – 2.0 mile run
  • Thursday – 2.0 mile run
  • Friday – 1.5 mile run
  • Saturday – 2.0 mile run
  • Sunday – 75 minute vinyasa flow yoga class

Not much activity at all this week compared to last week.  I had set out to complete the Runner’s World run streak, daily running of at least 1 mile from Memorial Day through 4th of July, and while I broke it once I was also determined to get back on track.  But after last week I kind of felt that daily running wasn’t the thing best for my body right now.  My joints were aching and I knew I would have to start training for a half-marathon soon and didn’t want to risk unnecessary injury.  Then the heat wave set in and all I could really muster were short runs.  Yoga also wasn’t the priority it should be and I only made it to class once today.

Most memorable event of the week: This week has honestly not been that great.  I’m struggling a lot this week with being unemployed and being pretty alone in Philadelphia.  I can’t seem to meet people I connect with and I finding employment continues to be rough.  Emotionally I’m pretty exhausted and overwhelmed.  I think I walked at least 20 miles alone because I have no idea what else to do with myself.

Best thing I ate: Again, I didn’t eat out much this or even really make anything too exciting at home.  I did go to the new Philadelphia branch of Shake Shack on Thursday where I got a single ShackBurger, fries, and the ShackMeister Ale made for Shake Shack by Brooklyn Brewery.  For a fast, casual option that is cheaper than a sit-down restaurant I think their burgers are pretty good.  But if you have the time and can afford a bit more there are so many amazing burgers in Philadelphia.  The fact that this “tiny” meal had me stuffed however, and made me wonder if I should give up my American passport.  Satisfied my burger craving though (it was intense).  Also, I would love to go back soon for a concrete, specifically the “Liberty Shell” which is made with cannoli shells from Termini Bros. and lemon ricotta.

Best thing I drank: Cantillon, Cantillon, and more Cantillon.  Is it sad that drinking Cantillon was the highlight of my week?  Probably.  But it is always a delicious treat.  On Tuesday I was feeling rather down and going sort of stir crazy so I decided to get dressed in actual clothing that wasn’t made of moisture wicking material and leave my apartment.  But I honestly had no idea where to go as I really have nowhere to go.  I walked about 3 miles straight to Center City where I stopped to get coffee.  I was going to hit up a bar for a burger and beer later in the afternoon, but then I saw through twitter that Monk’s Cafe was having a Cantillon event (Jean Van Roy of Cantillon was there, I guess he made a stop in Philadelphia before other Northeast events he was attending) and of course had to go.  I (thoroughly) enjoyed some Fou’ Foune, Lou Pepe Kriek (2009), Rose de Gambrinus, and Classic Gueze.  I couldn’t really get any decent photos of anything, since it was packed as is usual with Monk’s these days and looked sort of like this (I’m pretty short):

Well anyway, that is about it.  Hoping this week is a bit better!

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