This Blog Has Moved!

So for the past year I’ve been going back and forth about moving my blog off the free WordPress site to a self-hosted domain and finally decided to make the move.

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So funny story (to me anyway)…when I first set up this blog I didn’t type the URL I wanted correctly. It was suppose to be meganSmoments, not meganmoments. When I finally noticed this (which wasn’t right away, sadly), someone else already had the URL I wanted so it wouldn’t have worked out anyway. Btw, that person has never published anything. Darn squatters.

The biggest reason I’ve been wanting to move to a self-hosted blog is because I wanted more customization than what’s available with the free version. I’ve never been 100% in love with any of the themes I’ve used, and there’s limited customization available unless you want to pay to upgrade. I like to tinker with the back end, so moving the blog will allow me to do this. Yay!

So from here on out, I will no longer be posting here. Join me on megansmoments.com.

Thanks for reading!

—m.

This Blog is Moving Soon!

So I’ve been working on moving this little ol’ blog of mine to a new space. I’m still working on getting links updated, but I most likely won’t be putting up many new posts. More to come!

Mom, that means you’ll have to bookmark a new site. :)

—m.

Chicago Pt. 2

Our second day in Chicago was such a good day. We got up at the crack of dawn to go on a run, but really it was so I could see Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) without gobs of tourists. There ended up being a couple photographers with big cameras set up and some people showed up right before we moved on, but I got the picture I wanted! We ended up doing a 6 mile loop of the lake front area. It was fantastic.

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We grabbed brunch at a place called Beatrix with some friends that live up in Chicago. I had the light and fluffy lemon pancakes and a couple blueberry-basil mimosas. It was so good. The lemon flavor in the pancakes was quite prominent, but I loved that. Tim had his normal eggs over easy with toast and other sides. After breakfast we all headed to The Dawson (right on the edge of the West Loop and West Town) for a couple more drinks before parting ways.

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Since we started drinking at brunch, we decided on and to make an afternoon of it. Why not, right? We hopped on the train and went to Wicker Park since it was an area recommended by a couple of people. It’s more of a night spot, but we still had an okay time for the couple hours we were there. We stopped into High Noon Saloon for a beer before heading to Big Star for a margarita. If we hadn’t still been full from brunch, we probably would have ordered a couple tacos from Big Star. They looked delicious! Their patio was pretty great, but our margaritas from there were actually quite disappointing. Whomp whomp.

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We headed back downtown and stopped in at The Purple Pig. It was like 3 o’clock in the afternoon and there was a wait for a table. We lucked out and found a spot at the bar. We ordered a kale caesar salad and the fried manchego cheese app, which came with an apricot sauce. It was such an unexpected and tasty combination. We also got cocktails because…well, because.

We had dinner at Quartino that night, just two blocks from our hotel. The bacon wrapped dates with gorgonzola and honey were so delicious, but the rest was only okay. It’s not that those other dishes were bad, but I’d probably order other items instead if we were ever to go back.

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We ended our night with an architecture cruise down the Chicago River. It was pretty neat to learn about the buildings lining the river and the architect’s intentions when designing the buildings. At the end of the 90 minute tour, the boat stopped and we watched the fireworks being lit off the Navy Pier.

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—m.

Chicago!

It’s only the second week of August, but it’s already turning out to be a fun month. Back in March or April Tim booked us a trip for my birthday, but didn’t tell me where we were going. All he said was that he booked us flights to somewhere in August and that I needed to take Friday off from work. Well, okay!

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He knows I don’t like surprises and probably just wanted to see if I could go several months without being snoopy to see where we were headed. I had a strong feeling we were heading to Chicago, so I never felt the need to snoop. There’s only a limited number of places you can go for roughly 3 days without spending half of a day in an airport.

So we got up and flew out of St. Louis at 7:30 AM this past Friday morning and headed north. It’s such an easy flight between St. Louis and Chicago—only 47 minutes! Once we arrived, we each paid $20 for a 3-day unlimited transit pass (totally worth it). The train and bus systems were so easy to use and took us to all of the major places we wanted to go. Most hotels charge close to $50/night to park your car so it was nice not having to pay that. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, so we were able to hop on the Orange train line, eventually transfer to the Red line and get off at the Grand stop, which was directly outside our hotel. One thing I quickly learned was that I need to invest in carry-on luggage. All I have is my full sized suitcase, which was a pain to carry up and down flights of stairs while navigating the trains.

After dropping our bags off at the hotel and grabbing breakfast at Yolk, we headed up to Wrigleyville to bar hop and attend the Cubs vs Ray’s game. We stopped into Murphy’s Bleachers, The Cubby Bear and the Wrigleyville Goose Island Brewery location. Murphy’s reminded Tim and myself of the inside of Paddy O’s here in St. Louis and The Cubby Bear reminded us of Mike Shannon’s. Wrigley Field is actually a pretty neat stadium. It’s 100 years old, on the small side, only a couple advertisements in view and the scoreboard has to manually be updated. We sat low along the first base line and had a great view of the field.

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We were finally able to check into the hotel after the Cubs game. I loved that our room had a great view of the Marina City towers. What I didn’t love was the amount of street noise that comes with staying in the downtown area. It kept me up both nights we stayed there. Anyway, we were pretty wiped by this point in the day (that means we’re getting old because it was like 8 PM), so we walked across the street to Rock Bottom Brewery for a beer and appetizer on their roof. Not the most adventurous place to go check out, but by the time we left there was a line to get onto the roof.

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I was totally okay with going to bed early that night. I had gotten up before 5 AM and was getting up before 6 AM the next morning. My goal was to see Cloud Gate (The Bean) without the crowds!

—m.

July Recap

July was such a fun and busy month for us. We had something going on every weekend this month, which is great and exhausting at the same time. The first weekend was filled with various 4th of July events. We went over to a friend’s mom’s house in historic Webster Groves for the parade the morning of the 4th. That night we went and watched Kirkwood’s fireworks. Tim and I both agreed that Webster puts on a better show. It might have been where we were watching the show from, though.

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Tim signed us up for the Freedom 4 Miler race, so we did that on the 5th. It was Tim’s first running race, and he did so good! I thought 4 miles was a little ambitious for his first run, but he powered through and we finished with a decent time! We went sailing later that day—first time out to the lake all summer. (Oops)

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The following weekend we had our friends John and Melanie’s wedding. It was so much fun. Their reception was at Third Degree Glass Factory, so we got to watch glass blowers during the cocktail hour.

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I was “Sober Sally” that night because I had to get up at 5 AM to do the New Town Triathlon the next morning.

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I finally learned how I’m able to ride a bike in a skirt. Now I just need to get a cruiser with a basket so I can ride to the grocery store.

I keep dreaming of going back to Europe. Seeing this time-lapsed video of Barcelona isn’t helping that feeling go away any time soon.

We headed to the Ozarks for a quick weekend getaway for our friend Matt’s birthday. I’m almost shocked I didn’t come home sunburnt. I did, however, come home with a couple bruises on my rear because of a cannon ball into the lake from the dock’s roof.

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Tim came running up the basement stairs one evening and told me that I HAD to watch this “All I Do is Farm” parody video.

And then there’s “12 Ways to Piss Off a Nebraskan“. I’m sure I could add a couple more, even though Nebraska and Missouri are practically the same.

Holy cow, we have vegetables growing in a small garden off the side of our house!! The basil plant seems to be doing okay (I think the sun is frying it), we have peppers coming in and we’re finally started to see the start of a couple tomatoes. We planted a few other things quite late, but the cucumber and zucchini squash has started to sprout.

I did a second triathlon this past weekend, and Tim did it too!

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This week has been busy with cleaning and prepping for a party at our house tomorrow—it’s luau themed!

—m.

Triathlon #4

I did another sprint triathlon just two weeks after my last one. And guess what? Tim did this one, too!

I did the Tour de Kirkwood sprint triathlon for the first time two years ago, and since I wasn’t able to do it last year I wanted to be sure to do it this year. It’s meant more as a participation event so it’s great for beginners. They don’t give out awards or prizes and don’t announce people’s name when crossing the finish line like at most other races. You can still look up how you rank against everyone online though. And even though it’s meant as a beginner’s event, it’s a bit challenging with hills on the bike AND run portion. This shorter race gives me another chance to run through the motions for transitions—especially since I may (or may not) do an Olympic distance next summer.

These two beautiful photos are provided by the event’s photographer…watermark and all.

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The swim was 400m in a 25m pool, so we had to swim down and back in one lane before moving onto the next lane. I personally don’t care for pool swims—people are so close together and it can easily get congested. However, it’s a security blanket (in a sense) for the “non-fish” people who may need to hang onto the side for a second longer.

The bike portion was 10 miles with hills. There’s one road that’s almost a fake flat, aaaaand then you quickly realize that it’s not. Oh hey long hill! The two five mile loops allow you to see a small portion of Kirkwood, which is full of cute homes.

And lastly, the run! After leaving the transition area we did two loops through the park, complete with more hills. I once again ran slower than my normal pace during this race. I went out and ran at an 8:15 pace no problem this morning, but during the race I was hovering right around a 9 minute pace. Which, by the way, is a totally fine pace…I would just prefer that I was able to be more consistent with my running. Practice. Practice. Practice.

I’m super proud of Tim for taking on this race. He hates swimming, so he didn’t swim once to prepare. He did bike and run though! Since he doesn’t care for the swimming, he said he would just do duathlons in the future.

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Next up for Tim: Pedal the Cause 50 mile bike ride and next up for me: GO! St. Louis Halloween Half Marathon

—m.

Triathlon #3

This past weekend, I raced in the New Town Triathlon for the second year in a row. It’s a challenging race (and one of the more competitive tris in the St. Louis area) but I’ve had fun doing it the last two summers. My only goal this year was to finish better than last year. I ended up shaving about six minutes off my time this years, so I consider that a success!

The New Town Tri is just shy of Olympic distance with a .62 mile open water swim, 20 mile bike ride and a 4 mile run. The swim course changed this year, which I heard a lot of the participants talking about while we waited to enter the lake. Both last year and this year’s swim portion was the same distance, but this year’s swim course was longer.  So either last year’s was shorter than .62 miles or this years was longer than that. Either way, it was longer and my time only differed by 27 seconds from last year.

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I’m not very good about practicing the transitions, but I do run through them in my head. I definitely improved my times this year and cut my transition times almost in half! Last year, I spent 0:05:23 (5 minutes and 53 seconds) between the two transitions and this year I was able to cut that time down to 0:03:21. Obviously, there is still TONS of time that I could cut out. Prime example as to why I should practice those.

One thing I did practice and sort-of nail down was dismounting from the bike when coming in for the second transition. I’m really happy with how I did on the bike this year. It’s the worst leg of the race for me, but I also have the chance to see the most improvement here. I’m not a strong cyclist, but I was able to increase my speed and cut down my time by 5 minutes from last year. It may not seem that impressive, but I consider that a huge win to me. Oh, and I did successfully dismount from the bike without eating it. Woohoo!

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As for the run…enter some slight disappointment here. I consider the run portion my strongest of the three, but I ran slower this year. Perhaps I went overboard on the bike? I would prefer to not think that. Maybe I’ll blame the fact that it was probably over 80 degree with 99% humidity by that point. In all realty, I didn’t run that much slower than last year. I finished that portion just 1 minute behind last year’s time so it’s not the end of the world. (But it kind of is)

Official time: 2 hours and 7 minutes. Goal for next year: Under two hours.

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I’m doing another sprint tri in two weeks and Tim will be joining me. It’s more of a fun one and doesn’t give out prizes, but it gives me another opportunity to practice and go through the motions.

—m.