Friday, October 31, 2014

Pumpkin Carving Over the Years

A week or two after Sal and I went pumpkin picking, we had some time on one of my days off, and set that time away to carve our pumpkins together. Sal had his idea planned as soon as he picked up his pumpkin out of the patch - the batman sign. I decided I would choose that same day we would carve them. I shouldn't have waited, but that's what procrastinators do. I scrolled through pins and pins of pumpkin carvings on Pinterest. I found a few ideas that I loved, most included a drill... until I found the cutest little bat. Thus the year of the bats was created. Even though I knew that he was going to carve the batman symbol, I didn't choose a bat for that reason... I just thought it was too cute not to carve.

I will say, though, that Sal and I are definitely not professional carvers. Each year we carve pumpkins, is just another year that Sal screws his up. Mine aren't half bad, but they definitely aren't too creative, as you can tell from the picture. But this year, this year was different. We took our time, I filled a bowl with chips and dip to munch on. We set the background with some country music, and we had all of the right tools. I laid out parchment paper to carve on and set a pan on the table for the seeds. We took our time, and used stencils to trace on to the pumpkin.

Sal finished carving his pumpkin a while before I finished mine, which was surprising to say the least because, like I said before, he is not the best carver. I must admit though, it came out better than I expected, and I couldn't help but stare at it when he lit it. It looked perfect, definitely better than any of his previous pumpkins, and I'm not quite sure he can top it next year, but I'm sure he has a couple ideas already. My little bat looked just as good too, and I loved how it came out. We lit them both up, snapped a couple of pictures and sat them rightfully so on my porch. They looked awesome in the dark of the night. We went and grabbed a bite to eat, and on our way home it started to rain; I immediately started worrying about the pumpkins, not sure why... it's not like they couldn't deal with the rain. I just didn't want to see our creations get ruined. 

We brought them inside for a few more pictures, and eventually moved them back outside where they shined for every passerby to see! Proud pumpkin carvers right there! 

Happy Halloween Everyone! Check back tomorrow to find out what I did for Halloween! 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

5K For Pediatric Cancer

I don't run races very often, and now that I think about it, I haven't ran very much in these last few months, even knowing that I signed up for races. That certainly doesn't stop me from signing up again and again though. This time I signed up for a 5K that was located in the town right next to mine, which was a relief to Sal because he didn't have to wake up early and drive really far, like we have for some of my previous races. That morning, I bundled up, it was a chilly October morning in Jersey, and we all know how those brutal those fall mornings can be, and we headed to the race.

I knew that two of my friends had signed up, and when I got there, I ended up seeing two more ladies that I knew from CKO Kickboxing. I ended up starting the race with them, and kept up pace for the first mile, now seeing as how I hadn't run in awhile, I thought that was pretty great, but eventually I couldn't keep up, so I tried to keep a steady pace on my own. I definitely slowed down, but it helped seeing Sal at different points during the race. He definitely motivates me to keep going (with anything in life), and to never give up. All kinds of cramps were in full force by the time I hit the second mile, but I kept going. I am not the kind of person to give up, ever.

By the time I saw the finish line, I ran with everything I had, and ended up with a new PR - I came in 45th place overall & 4th in my age group (20-29) with a time of 26:36, with an 8:35 average pace. I couldn't believe it, and I also couldn't breathe. I needed water right away, so I cooled down by walking over to grab a bottle of water. When we saw the results, I was proud, but I'm not going to lie... I was pretty upset with myself because I was 1 place away from getting a medal. If I had run a little faster, I would've placed third. I quickly realized that I couldn't be thinking like that... that I had surpassed goals and had really accomplished something, medal not included. I didn't give up... I pushed myself harder than ever before... I beat my PR for a mile AND a 5K. We can't go around comparing ourselves to others, nor can we wonder what if, all that we can do is give something our all and hope for the best.

We decided to head to the bar later that day for some drinks and football, and of course, since Sal's Packers were playing, we knew that we were going to watch the game, so why not have a good time out while we're at it. Thankfully that Packers won, or I'm sure that would've been one hell of a ride home, and not the good kind.

He supports me, and in return I support him. GO PACK GO!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Picking Gone SO Wrong

Every year I make ask Sal to go pumpkin picking with me. It's another one of those seasonal traditions that winds up being on my fall bucket list. The scents of fall make it easier to breathe, and so being outside in the sweet, breezy weather is something I wish more people would do. We get too caught up in the hustle of every day life, crossing off things on your long to-do lists, staring at screens all day, always looking to see what the next person is doing. If more people took rides up to the countryside, and walked in the open fields, soaking up every color of every leaf, I think we'd see many more smiles and wide eyes. 

After our kickboxing class, Sal and I decided to head up to Alstede Farms, where we were going to pick our own pumpkins. We went there last year, and knew it was a great farm, with rows and rows of pumpkins, tons of other vegetables and fruits to pick, a corn maze, and what really stood out to us - a wine tasting, from a nearby winery. We had been looking forward to going back, even though it's always nice to try new things and go to new places, sometimes you just have to go with what you know. 

I jumped in the car, with a slight headache, but I thought it would go away with some fresh air. I rolled down the window as we took our semi-long drive to the farm. By the time we were about ten minutes away, the headache had become unbearable. I quickly asked Sal to stop and buy me some Advil, something I try not to take. This time though, I knew I wasn't going to be able to battle through the pain. I downed some water with the pills and hoped that the headache would pass. I spent some extra time in the car when we arrived to the farm, but as time passed, I soon realized that it was not going to get better. I took a deep breath, after much whining, and got out of the car. We headed to the tractor that would take us to the pumpkin field, and I suddenly felt sick to my stomach. Thankfully there weren't too many people around considering it was quite early in the weekday. I was hunched over, and as soon as we got on the tractor, I immediately regretted the decision. I wanted to turn around, go back to the car where I could at least curl up in peace. 

When we got off of the tractor, I ran to the porto-potty, thinking I was going to throw up... I didn't, but I had never felt so terrible in as long as I can remember. I opened the door and immediately started crying to Sal, how I felt so terrible that I was ruining the day, and that I only wanted to feel better. He calmed me, like he always does, and told me we could pick our pumpkins quick and head back. It usually takes me a while to pick my pumpkin, but I literally walked into the field, and found what I thought was a perfect size pumpkin for carving, not perfectly round, but close enough. Sal was glad that this whole process was going much faster than previous years, although it took him a bit longer to find his own pumpkin. 

I didn't want to wait and then head back on the tractor, so we decided to walk back, which was a great idea until we realized just how far away we were, and even worse when the rain drops started to fall. When we got back we paid for our pumpkins. I thought ginger ale might help me, so we bought a bottle, and as I sipped that magic through a straw, I asked Sal if he wanted to walk around to feed the animals. I thought it was the least I could do after he dealt with me whining and crying. He was like a little child, walking up to all of the animals and letting them eat the food from my hand. I'm not one to feed the animals as it is, and being sick made me no different... I let Sal have all of the fun. 

When we headed back home, the ginger ale started to help out, and I was slowly starting to feel better, but still not my normal self, so needless to say when we got home, we got comfy and cuddled up in bed, watching Army Wives (my obsessions lately) and a movie. By the end of the night, I felt much better, and knew that in the morning, this little sickness would be gone. Would I rather have went pumpkin picking on a different day? Absolutely. Would I have made any of those memories we made that day? Probably not. I am so glad we went, but I hope next year is even better... because we never did get to drink that wine! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Apples & Weird Snapshots

Every year when fall rolls around, I have to do two things: go apple picking and pumpkin picking. It's tough to go apple picking, because September sometimes doesn't feel like fall, and then I completely forget until all of the apples are off the trees. This year, I made sure Sal knew I wanted to go apple picking and we were able to reserve a day during my "weekend" that worked for both of us, after we worked out of course. After we were all showered, we headed up to an orchard up north that we had been to two years ago - Masker's Orchard. Last year, we went to a different orchard and we didn't enjoy it; there were barely any apples to pick, and though I'm not sure if it was because we went late in the season, we just were not pleased with the selection.

Grabbing our apple bag at the entrance, we parked the car and started walking through the orchard. The views were breathtaking, and I found myself paying more attention to the color of the leaves on the trees, that is until I took a bite out of an apple. The apples were so juicy, fresh, and natural that I found it hard to pay attention to anything else. It wasn't until I finished an apple that I was able to refocus and realize that I had to put more apples into the bag.

Sal wasn't about to pay $30 bucks for three apples. So we wandered around, snapping pictures, and finding the best apples in the trees. It's fun getting lost in the orchard, even when you have a map right on the bag. We talked about what we would make with our apples, knowing that it probably wasn't possible for us to eat them all by ourselves. We had high hopes of making apple sangria, but when I looked at recipes online, I noticed that we would need a lot more than one bag of apples if we wanted to make a big batch.

We quickly grew bored of just picking apples off of the trees, so we decided to take funny pictures, and I challenged him to climb a tree - not sure what I was thinking with his knee being injured and all, but it made me smile and laugh, and Sal would never miss an opportunity to make me happy. He was so determined to get a few snapshots, but I honestly did not understand how he wanted me to pose. He described it perfectly, at least in his head, but I still did not understand the point. And while I will post the pictures, I still do not get them. But hey, at least they're funny... right?

As you can tell I'm trying my hardest not to laugh, because I really did not (and still don't) understand it. It's fine though, as long as the pictures made Sal happy. He's not a huge fan of all of the cliches during any season or holiday, but I'm a sucker for them. I love going apple picking and pumpkin picking in the fall, and I love seeing the tree in NYC during Christmas time, and I have to go see fireworks on the 4th of July. 

After we finished picking our apples off the trees, we headed to eat a late lunch/early dinner. We stopped at a cute restaurant near his friend's house by the lake, and it turned out to be a great decision. I'm always worried about going to new places having not heard anything about the food, or read any reviews.  We both got sandwiches and they were surprisingly tasty! I don't mind eating sandwiches so much, but I always try and skip the fries, though I usually steal a few from Sal (I know Sal, you don't share food, haha). 

It was still early so we decided to stop at his friend's house. I popped open some wine, poured it in a mason jar and sat on his deck, with a clear view of the beautiful fall foliage and the incredible lake. I was so relaxed, and kept thinking to myself that I could honestly get used to this. Imagine coming home from work, stressed after a long day or long commute, and just being able to take a deep breath and look at the absolutely perfect views of nature. It's such a calming feeling, and I didn't want to leave. I usually have a book on me, but it wasn't the case that day, so I downloaded one on my phone (I hate reading on any kind of technology, I'd much rather have a paperback), and slowly, I felt the tension ease from my shoulders, and my mind slip away. 

As the sun was setting, Sal's friend came home, and we messed around with the four-wheeler that he's holding for someone. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day, however cliche that may sound. I didn't want time to slip from me that night, but like all other days, they must come to an end. At least I was able to watch the sun set over the lake, I mean what better way to end your day?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

'The Jersey Devil' Movie Premiere

Before Sal graduated from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, he interned on the set of the movie - The Jersey Devil, as their production assistant (thanks to his awesome teacher for the recommendation). It was only for a few weeks, and while he learned he didn't want to work in the movie industry, that certainly didn't stop him from gaining the experience and connecting with everyone on set. While helping with the movie, he found himself sitting in the audience during one of the scenes. Before he knew it they had added him into the movie, and gave him a few lines. I was happy for him when he told me, but we didn't know if he would make it in the final cut of the movie, after all of the editing.

They finished filming, and we waited. They finished editing, and we waited. They produced the trailer, and we waited. Finally, we heard that there would be a movie premiere in Jersey City, where it had been filmed, at The Landmark Loews Theater. Sal was invited, of course, and extended the invitation to me. It would be a red carpet event, so while I was excited to attend, I was nervous! I had never been on the red carpet, so my first thought was... "What do I wear?!" I had Sal ask around, and it seemed that most of the women would be going all out, wearing dresses, and looking their best. Thankfully it was on the night of a day I had off of work, so I was able to workout in the morning and take the rest of the day to get ready. I wore a red and black dress to match Sal wearing a black suit with a red tie. We were going to see The Jersey Devil, how could we not wear red? When we arrived, we got together with a few of the other interns and their families, and got to talking. We explored the  Landmark Loews Theater, which was glamorous and vintage to say the least. It was stunning, the photographers were able to get some beautiful pictures. We made our way over to the red carpet, because I was not going to be able to leave if I did not get a picture standing on the red. 

We had our picture taken, and then we quickly went to find our seats, close to the screen. We didn't want to miss anything. The movie played, and I must admit, it was pretty funny. Many of the actors are well known in the industry (don't mind me while I drop some names) - Chris Mullkey from Captain Phillips, Jack Mulcahy from Porky's, Keith Collins from Stuck in the Middle, and Edvin Ortega from Orange is the New Black. Not only was Sal's teacher at CSB, Michael Billy, one of the funniest characters in the movie, he was also one of the executive producers! The writers, Billy Pepitone and Joseph Pepitone, did well when it came to keeping the audience laughing. It definitely wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but then again, I have not seen many Indie/Independent films. For what they had, the movie surpassed my expectations.

As the movie played, I kept looking at Sal and asking him when his scene was going to come on screen. He tapped my should a short while in the movie, and said "This is it!" My anticipation grew, and I instantly blocked out everything else. I was focuses solely on the scene, and my heart began to beat faster and faster when I saw him on the screen! I couldn't believe it, he had landed himself a role, as small as it was, on the big screen! He said his lines, and the whole audience roared with laughter. I've been proud of Sal many times before, and I'm sure I will be proud of him in the future, but at that moment, I was over the moon proud of him. The smile on my face said it all... well the laughing definitely showed too. While I don't know if the movie will be at any local theater or in Target on the DVD rack any time soon, it will be several movie festivals! 

We had such a great night, and has made me look forward to Sal's career in the broadcasting industry, no matter what path he follows - movies, radio, TV - I just know he'll blow everyone else out of the water! Pretty soon we'll be able to look his name up on the internet! Be prepared for that name drop!

Monday, October 6, 2014

The 'Marry A Munson' Wedding

Sal and I have two friends that were to be married in September. It was going to be the wedding of the year, and we knew that we just had to attend once we received the invitation in the mail. Although we hadn't really hung out with them too often recently, due to one thing or another, we were still friends, and we weren't about to miss the day they wed. The wedding wasn't too far from our houses, but we decided to get a room for the night anyways, fully preparing for the night ahead. I also scheduled a hair appointment that afternoon with Sal's dad, who is a great hairdresser. We packed our bags, and hung our attire in the car, and headed to his dad's salon. I had plans of just doing all curls, but Sal insisted that after I curl it, I pull it all to one side, like I had done for a previous wedding. After getting so many compliments at the wedding, not only for my dress, but my hair, I had to admit that he was right, and that putting it to the side had been a great choice. 

We headed over to the hotel afterwards, excited for the night to begin. We received our welcome bags, and found our room. We quickly changed and got ready for the wedding. 

We headed down the hall so Sal could enjoy a beer with his buddy, catching a few plays of the football game that was on. We walked down to the where they were holding the ceremony. Unfortunately, it rained and the ceremony could not be held outside, but they made it work inside, and it was absolutely beautiful. They had one of their very close friends as the justice of the peace, making the ceremony even more special. 

We followed the happily married couple out of the ceremony area and into the area of the cocktail hour, where we enjoyed simple appetizers and delicious food that only hinted of what was to come. It wasn't only the food that we were enjoying though, but the drinks that were made, especially from the tequila fountain, which I kept refilling from. What can I say? I'm a tequila girl. Soon after we found ourselves moving back into the room that had been previously filled with ceremony chairs, and now had tables, a large dance floor, and a red carpet for pictures to be taken. It was stunning. 

We drank. We danced. We laughed until we thought we couldn't anymore. The party went on for what felt like hours and hours. I didn't catch the bouquet, though I tried. When one of our friends that is in a long term relationship caught it, the boys made sure that her boyfriend got the garter, by lifting him up high in the air. It was hilarious, and even more funny to watch him take the garter off his girlfriend. I lost Sal several times during the night, and although I didn't know too many people, I made friends with the ones who were at our table, and hung around on the dance floor far often than I thought I would. New found confidence, a sexy dress, and comfortable heels will do that to you. 

Sal ended up passing his cowboy hat around, that had been originally brought for the bride and groom's pictures. It probably ended up on everyone's head that night, and in a ton of pictures. I surprisingly did not get caught wearing it, thank gosh. He just kept heading to the red carpet to either photobomb a picture or snap a few wearing the cowboy hat. 

Dinner was delicious, and I did not want it to end. When I drink, I get hungry, and that's never a good thing. Dessert was even better, cake and ice cream, but not just any ice cream - cookie dough! I've never had that at a wedding, so I was speechless when the man listed the flavors available. We weren't done partying after the DJ played the last song, instead we headed to the bar. Sal wanted to go to the room real fast though, and had almost forgotten his cowboy hat, which had been the hit of the party. We were already in the elevator when he remembered to go back and grab it. Getting back to the room for this hat was hilariously caught on video, though I cut it right before the best part (Sal's fall!) to try and open the door.

We hung out at the bar for a little bit, until the night winded down and we were both exhausted (okay, maybe a little drunk, too). Thank gosh for the welcome bag that was filled with chips, because laying in that bed before I fell asleep, I needed something to munch on! It was the perfect way to end the night, passed out happily in bed with an empty bag of chips. 

The next morning, Sal and I headed to a local diner to cure our hangovers and fill our empty stomachs. Turns out that the chips did not fill it near enough as I had thought the night before. I must admit though, we could not stop talking about how great the wedding had been, and what a good time we had. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Becoming a Fitfluential Ambassador

Ever since my passion for fitness was ignited, I've been wanting to reach out to others and inspire them to get into fitness and achieve a healthy, balanced lifestyle. That's one of the reasons why I became a certified personal trainer, and why I have a few other things up my sleeves. I found out about Fitfluential a while back, but I have not been able to apply to become an ambassador until I had at least 1K followers on Instagram. With the help of my awesome Tone It Up sisters in the community, I finally bypassed that number, and immediately applied.

It took a couple of weeks, but I can now finally say that I have been accepted and I am a Fitfluential Ambassador! What is that, you say? I am a social media influencer, who works with Fitfluential brand partners. I connect with fitness brands and review a product, or service they offer, and provide readers, like you, with a review and hopefully some great deals! I'm excited for this new venture, and hope it brings new fitness finds, friendships, and experience in the fitness industry!

WARNING: There will be many fitness posts in the future.