Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Made in USA Black Friday Deals

Ah, Thanksgiving is nearly here. The day of giving thanks, lots of good food, watching football, and spending time with loved ones.  Steal away a few minutes over pumpkin roll and tell someone how important they are to you and how you don't tell them nearly often enough.  I wish all of you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

I'm a new convert to Black Friday shopping thanks to my in-laws. I had every intention of sitting this year out, besides purchasing new appliances for our kitchen, but some of these deals are just too good to pass up! I'll be adding more deals through the week, but here is what I have put together so far. Whether you're buying for a gift or for yourself, try to buy at least one thing that's American Made this holiday season.

Black Friday Deals: Frye shoes up to 70% off and select New Balance shoes on sale for $39.99 or less. Also, look for clothing items such as these: Tucker blouses,  Three Dots dresses, Karen Kane top/dresses, Nanette Lepore dresses, and Trina Turk dresses.  Sale starts at 12am EST

Bailey 44: 40-50% off of all sale pieces. Stock up on blouses, knockout dresses, the only black skirt you'll ever need, and even more dresses, Sale runs through Black Friday. Free shipping on all orders! 

Billykirk: 20% off entire site. Gorgeous selection of leather goods for men and women. Sale runs only on Black Friday. 

David Meister: Save 25% off site wide. There are no words to describe this dress.  Check item describe to ensure item is made in USA. Use code: DMTAKE25 Sale runs through Black Friday

Emerson Fry: Save 20% off full price items. You can cross that metallic skirt off your list. Sale runs through 12/2 

Hanky Panky: Save up to 40%. Best.Lace.Undies.Ever. Sale runs through 12/3 

Huckberry: Curated a "Made in America" shop. Amazing pieces for the men in your life that enjoy copper flasks, Filson jackets, and other odds and ends. Click here for an invite

James Jeans: 33% off site wide. Jeans, jeans, and more jeans!  Code: JJBK33  Sale runs through 12/2

Julie Bee's: 40% off all purchases and free ground shipping! American made shoes! My favorite green pair seen here. Code: BLACKFRIDAY  Sale runs on Black Friday. 

Karen Kane: all day specials, additional 25% off all sale items with code BLACKFRIDAY, plus free tote on all orders over $150! Stock up on everything!

La Mer Collections: 35% off site wide. Can be combined with free shipping on all orders over $100. Made in USA watches! Code: 35LOVE 

Les Femmes Velours: 50% off! Gorgeous luxury tees made right in NYC. Sale ends 12/1. 

Loren Hope: Save 20% off orders over $100 and get free shipping. Shiny goodness for everyone and you don't need to worry about sizes! Code: THANKS  Sale runs through 12/2 

LA Made: 50% off select items. Stock up on short sleeve tees and maxisSale runs through 12/2 

New Balance: up to 50% off select items, plus 15% off sitewide (some exclusions). Compression socks, running socks, shoes, and plenty of laces made in the USA. Socks and laces make the perfect stocking stuffers for any runner. Sale runs through 12/1

Otte: 40% off all sale items with code EARLYFRIDAY. Favorite picks: Otte NY blouse, Dannijo Kami necklace, Clare Vivier clutch, Carson skirt, Theyskens' Theory jacket

Rory Beca: 25% off site wide plus Free Two Day Shipping. Code: RBFREE25   Sale runs through Black Friday. 

Steven Alan: Save up to 50% off of new markdowns. Sale runs through 12/2. Free shipping on all orders placed on 12/2 

Trina Turk: save up to 60% off! Check item description for "Made in California" Loving this jumpsuit, trouser, blazer, and jacket. Sale runs through Black Friday. Free shipping on all orders! 

West Elm: save up to 25% off! The more you spend, the more you save. Look for Nordic Ware bakeware, Lodge cast iron skillets, Apotheke candles, and Billy Wolf items for dogs.  Sale runs from 11/27 - 12/1. Promocode: STOCKUP

Monday, November 25, 2013

Kitchen Inspiration

Flashback: Winter/Spring of 2010 the hubs and I were  looking at houses and after far too many houses to count we realized that to get what we really wanted, within our budget, we had to buy an older house that needed work. We were going to have to get our hands dirty or pay someone else to get their hands dirty in order to get the house we truly wanted.  The kitchen was near the top of the importance list for both of us because we both love to cook. I'm more of a baker and vegetable person and the hubs takes his meat incredibly serious, but between the two of us we can put together a pretty decent meal.

Our current kitchen is scary. Remember those Euro-style laminate cabinets and countertops from the 1980s - they're still in our kitchen. We've also got terrible vinyl floors and wallpaper that makes my eyes want to peel.  To top things off we've got the U-shape that doesn't even work in our kitchen and low ceilings. 

In a nut shell our kitchen is so bad that we felt completely justified in taking a wrecking ball to it! Seriously, we're taking a wall out and completely changing the layout of the kitchen.  I can't wait.

When we first moved into our house we decided to live with the kitchen for at least two years to get used to the layout, figure out what we hated, and come up with a plan for a full renovation. Bids went out to three design firms and I'm happy to say our deposit has cleared with one of them. Construction is scheduled to start in mid-January. Neither one of us wanted to deal with the holiday rush and risk having this renovation take any longer than it had to. 

That paradoxically seems so far away, but it also seems so close! Our cabinets have been ordered. The hubs refused to even contemplate white cabinets which meant we went in the total opposite direction and have selected a shaker style cabinet in a espresso brown color. We're buying our appliances this week during Black Friday sales. We'll be purchasing our solid hickory floors (so excited about these!) either this week or next week.  We've finalized our pendant light selection and just need to "add them to our cart" already. Same thing for the garbage disposal and new window. A lot of the major decisions have been made and things will start to feel "real" once supplies start to show up at our house.

Yet, we're still finalizing other things: granite, paint color, hardware, backsplash, faucet, and I'm sure we're missing something! We're going to the granite yard in December so that means we'll finalize that sooner rather than later. 

We're doing most of the demolition, besides physically taking down a wall, in addition we'll be doing the painting, floors, and backsplash.  I think we're actually going to wait to do the backsplash a few months later just so we can take one decision off of our plate right now and finalize that color/texture/material down the road. Plus, I really want to try my hand at some tile work (yes, the hubs thinks I'm crazy). 

Neither one of us is looking forward to eating massive amounts of take out while our kitchen is being renovated, but I know every fast food meal I choke down will be one less I'll have to eat! I hope once our kitchen is done I'll never want to leave it and I'll be cooking up a storm! 

If you have any kitchen renovation tips - please leave them in the comments! I'm sad that we won't have our new kitchen for this year's Thanksgiving dinner, but at the same time I'm so thankful that it's coming in due time.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pumpkin Roll Tips and Tricks

Move over pumpkin pie. See you later pumpkin spiced latte. Don't let the door hit you on the way out pecan pie. Okay, I'm kidding on that second one. I love me some PSL, but I was serious about the pumpkin pie part. 

The go-to fall treat in my household for the past six years has been pumpkin roll. The recipe I use was smuggled from an amazing baker's house in West Virginia and since it is a family recipe I can't share it with the whole wide world. This one is a close second

I feel warranted in providing this advice because my hubs and office mates are pumpkin roll addicts and I've mass produced 4 of these rolls in one weekend in addition to making too many to count over the years.  If you're looking to make this delicious treat for Thanksgiving I offer you the following Tips and Tricks:

1. Use pureed pumpkin and not a can of pumpkin pie mix. There is a MAJOR difference. Trader Joe's has the best canned organic pumpkin.  I hoard these treasured items. Cans of pumpkin pie mix have additional spices added to them and that can throw off the final flavor of your roll. 

2. It is inevitable that when you are assembling dry ingredients the telephone will ring, a massive dog fight will break out, someone will knock on the door, or something else happens and the last thing you want to ask yourself is "did I add enough nutmeg?"  Too much nutmeg can be over powering. I always scoop out my dry ingredients and put them in little separate mounds in my mixing bowl starting at the top and working in clockwise order. That way if something happens I can count the piles and go, "okay, only 2 mounds of cinnamon added that means I need to add another teaspoon." This is not a pumpkin roll isolated tip. 

3. When a recipe says to beat eggs on high for 5 minutes it means it! Yes, you're making a flat cake, but you need that flat cake to be fluffy so you can roll it. Don't get lazy and skimp on the amount of time you beat the eggs. It seems crazy, but little details like this matter when you're making any rolled cake. 

4. Use the very best jelly pan you have. I use this bakers half sheet and I haven't had a pumpkin roll stick to it yet. Nonstick means nothing to me. Butter and flour your pan like your life depends on it. Getting the cake off the pan is the crucial key to a good pumpkin roll. You can't roll it if it sticks to the pan! 

5. Use a much larger pan that you think you need. Again, this half sheet pan is amazing because the pumpkin roll batter doesn't come close to filling up the pan. That means I don't have to fight to make sure the cake sticks to the sides of the pan. 

6. Get that cake off of pan within 60 seconds of taking the cake out of the oven! The faster the better. Your fingers will survive the heat. The cake rolls much better when it is warm and moist. 

7. To roll the cake use a towel that is powdered sugared on only one side. I literally scoop powdered sugar onto a towel and then use a spoon to pack the sugar down. Oh and yes, I have special dish towels that are reserved for pumpkin roll and that's it. Once you flip the cake onto the towel you can powder the one side of the cake and now both sides of the cake are covered in powdery goodness. That cuts down on the mess significantly. 

8. After the cake cools, use a similar method to frost the cake. Just frost part of the cake, slowly roll,  and then add more frosting as you slowly finish the rolling process.  

9. Speaking of frosting. You want the frosting to be firm, but not hard, since it is going to hold the cake up in its roll form. I normally make my frosting the moment the cake is baking in the oven and then chill it in the fridge, but I didn't on this particular occasion and my pumpkin roll didn't hold its shape as well. Word to the wise, if you want a pretty rolled cake use a stiffer frosting or chill your normal cream cheese frosting. 

10. Serve this cake immediately. The photo below shows the amount of powdered sugar on the roll as soon as it is unrolled from the towel. After a few hours all of that powdered sugar will have dissolved into the cake and you might feel tempted to re-dust the cake with additional powdered sugar. Trust me, there's enough sugar on these thing you don't need it! But it sure does look pretty when it's fresh! 

I was nervous as all can be the first time I made a pumpkin roll because my hubs holds these things in such high honor. I was really stressed about the flipping of the pan part, but after a few tries I got the hang of it. I can now bang out one of these without thinking, which my hubs and coworkers always appreciate. My running joke is that as long as someone supplies me with a can of pumpkin I'll make them a pumpkin roll.

Are you team pumpkin pie or team pumpkin roll?  You know where I stand on this issue!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Holiday Party Skirts Made in USA

Milly // Karen Kane // Trina Turk // Corilynn // Bailey 44 (on sale!) // June and Hudson ($38!!!)  

I'm going on record and saying that the 2013 holiday party season will be the season of the skirt! At this point in life you've probably accumulated enough sparkly and jewel tone dresses that take up far too much real estate in your closet. And the major downside of those classic holiday pieces -  you can only wear them once a season! Then you have to remember which party you wore that piece to last year so you don't re-wear it to the exact same party with the same people the next year.

Female problems. Men just don't understand these things.

Do your wallet and closet a favor and pick up a skirt (or two) that can pull double duty during the holiday party season and beyond. Throw on your favorite blouse, tuxedo jacket, sparkly necklace, and sky high heels to give any one of the skirts above a festive feel. Then, re-wear that baby to a different party with different accessories for a completely different look. Finally, wear one to work with your regular work attire on any random Wednesday.  Buy an extra couple of coffee with the money you saved by investing in such a versatile skirt.

Would you forgo a dress and wear a skirt to a holiday party?  My office and the hubs' office respective holiday parties are four days apart this year and I'm thinking a skirt will make an appearance at one or both of them!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Richmond Marathon Recap

Just a quick recap of marathon #5.  To sum up: it wasn't my day. My hip felt off from the moment the rain soaked race started. By mile 3 when the rain subsided I had managed to convince myself that my hip didn't hurt at all (LIAR!!!!).  On a steep downhill at the end of mile 8 it just gave out. There was actually a quick stab of pain where it felt like lighting  ran through my veins. I had every intention of dropping out of the race and taking my first DNF except I couldn't figure out the logistics. I couldn't figure out how the hubs would come get me, how I would stay warm, and then I realized I still had to make my way to the finish festival because I checked a bag.  I tried to look for a medical tent and to be completely honest I couldn't find one the rest of the course. 

Race Takeaways: wasn't my day. Back to the drawing board. 

Race Logistics: Look this was a smaller race. I think there are roughly five thousand marathon participants, eight thousand half marathoners, and four thousand 8k runners. The start times are staggered and the marathon goes off last at 8am. That staggered start made everything really easy. The hubs and I stayed at a hotel 3 miles from the start line and it took us less than 10 minutes to drive to downtown. The hubs dropped me off at 7:05am and I walked a few blocks over to bag check. I was able to check my bag, get through the port-a-potty line, and down a bottle of water before the half marathon went off at 7:30am. This was the quickest port-a-potty line I've ever been at in a race. 

Race Tip: Find the port-a-potties farthest from the start line. They generally have the shortest line! Unless they are the first port-a-potty spot from a major line of transportation, then go to the second farthest ones. 

Security was nothing like any of the other marathons I've been to this year. NYC took wands to people just to enter certain sections of Central Park, all bags were searched, and all runners had to pass through security checkpoints. Baltimore had security checkpoints and all bags had to be examined. Richmond required that all checked bags be in the clear bags handed out at the expo. That was the extent of the security.  There were plenty of police present at the start line and at the finish expo. 

Post-Race Festival: I got there later than expected and I'm sure things were more crowded during peak finish times, but I received my fleece blanket (nice touch!), medal, bottle of water, and a slice of pizza within 3 minutes of finishing.  The signs made it appear that bag check would be farther away, but it took two minutes to find my UPS truck and get my bag.  There was plenty of pizza left when I got there and that makes me think anyone who wanted pizza could get pizza. The beer line was quick and efficient as well! 

Crowd Support: This race has the tagline, "America's Friendliest Marathon" and that set the bar pretty high. To me, nothing has come close to the crowd support during the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon. I get the weather was absolutely pristine that day and that definitely helped and it was a bigger race so it isn't far to use that as a comparison. However, there were lots of "dead" spots during the Richmond marathon. I wasn't expecting NYC-like crowds, but there were just so many areas that had zero crowd support that I was a bit bummed. Yet, when there were crowds they were absolutely amazing. There must have been hundreds of signs posted along the way that were encouraging and funny as heck. Some of my favorite crowds were along Main Street in The Fan district. One of the bars had a sign, "you cheer, we drink!" in which they encouraged runners to cheer as they ran by so the guys at the bar would do shots. Highly entertaining. The hubs and I made sure to bar hop later that night in that district just to pay it back to some of the bars.

There was a massive wall right after mile 20. I've heard about it from other runners who have done Richmond and every year the wall is decorated to say, "the wall." It's a really nice feeling to run through the wall during a marathon. Totally mental, but a really nice touch. There was lots of beer, candy, soda, and other treats to pick up along the course from plenty of nice folks. 

Course: This baby is hillier than the elevation map leads you to believe! I know that's said of every marathon, but there are a lot of stretches where there felt like it was just small enough of an incline that you're like, "I'm running up a hill, right?" Mile 15 is this massive long, concrete bridge and it's just one long gradual incline. There are some serious downhills on this course and they are STEEP. I might be in the minority of runners here, but I absolutely hate downhills. Those suckers hurt. The finish line is one massive downhill and by that point I didn't care, but every one of those hard steps at the end hurt. 

Overall: Look, I didn't have my day. I finished in 50 minutes longer than I wanted to and that part hurt.  I'm not going to let that ruin my outlook on Richmond because the hubs and I had a great weekend, minus the three hours of pain during a marathon. Our objective was to have a drinking weekend without the pups. Mission Accomplished! He had a great time drinking on Friday night while I was the designated driver. Thanks to Urban Spoon I was able to find amazing gluten free bison meatloaf at McCormack's Whiskey Grill & Smokehouse and the hubs enjoyed a bison sandwich and whiskey. Saturday night we went bar hopping (well, I hobbled), ate small plates at a few different pubs, had the best bar pizza ever at 31 Monkeys, and tried a host of local Richmond brews (Hardywood, Center of the Universe, and Legends were among the best). The night ended with good karma and walking out of the last bar to find not one, but two cabs waiting on the corner. 

A great weekend indeed. 

My marathon medal will keep me straight over the winter. I'm signing up for my next marathon that is going to require I train during the colder months and I'll gladly take it because as soon as my hip gets better I'm going to be chasing that sub four hour time. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

American Made Thanksgiving Gifts

1: Personalized Growler // 2: Linnea's Lights Pumpkin Candle // 3: Rablabs Garra Bottle Stopper // 4: Stonewall Kitchen Maple Pumpkin Butter // 5: Brooklyn Slate Cheese Board // 6: Greenies Pet Treats // 7: Pat Kim Designs Triangle Dinner Bell // 8: Epicureans Gourmet Cutting Board //

Just over two weeks away from one of my favorite holidays. Thanksgiving might be my all-time favorite food holiday. I eat a turkey sandwich every day for lunch, so clearly I'm loyal to turkey. My sister and I used to pick our seats at at the Thanksgiving table based on the proximity to a massive bowl of my grandma's mashed potatoes. My husband and brother actually confiscated an entire basket of my dad's homemade rolls one Thanksgiving. Thankfully, one of my uncles discovered their actions and the family was able to carbo load on some rolls.

I've always loved Thanksgiving. Watching the Macy's Day Parade on the tv while smelling the food cooking all morning. Then, the house was total chaos as all of my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins gathered around the table to give thanks. And by table I mean the crazy contraption my dad would set up to seat all 20+ of us. Later when I was in college we'd rotate houses and head over to my uncle's farm. Absolutely nothing beats Thanksgiving dinner at a farmhouse. Football on tv just can't beat with the before dessert activity of throwing on a heavy coat and going outside to pet a horse, alpaca, cow, etc.

I vividly remember my first Thanksgiving away from my family. Initially I was sad to be away from my family, but thankfully I was spending the day with my new family. My in-laws have different traditions - they love the Westminster Dog Show and they introduced me to Black Friday  Shopping and now I couldn't imagine the day without watching cute pups on tv.

But I do remember that first Thanksgiving away. My biggest thought was, "what do we bring as a gift?" My hubs thought I was crazy, call me old fashioned, but if I'm going to someone's house and I'm not cooking something then I'm bringing a gift. If you find yourself in a pickle and need a gift then check out the ones above. They're all under $50 and each one is made in the USA.

If you want to come by my house this year you're more than welcomed to bring a personalized growler. You can never go wrong with beer! A filled one would be the perfect gift for Thanksgiving. Just don't drink and drive!

How about you - do you remember your first Thanksgiving away from your family? Have you had a Thanksgiving away? This year the hubs is mixing things up and will be cooking a turkey on the grill. I'm looking forward to not having to share an oven with him all morning.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Polka Dots and Tweed

Made in the USA: Skirt: Nanette Lepore via Reddz Trading Bethesda (similar option) // Clutch: Gigee Marie // Shades: Oakley // Nails: Essie 'After School Boy Blazer' // 

Imported/Unknown:  Blazer:  old Ann Taylor (made in USA option) // Blouse: old Tucker for Target (made in USA option) // Bracelet: old Derng (made in USA option) // Shoes:  old Cole Haan (Brazil) 

Say hello to my new, yet possibly old, favorite skirt! Found this baby in September while perusing a second hand store. I swear I was on shopping lockdown, but I had 20 minutes to kill and in the long-run buying a sparkly and tweed skirt was better for my soul than buying a drink or two at a bar. And in DC it would have only been two drinks before I totaled the cost of this skirt!  

The hubs did call me out on my failed logic though. "Really, you would have downed 2 drinks in 20 minutes in a bar all by yourself." He knows I would have been only able to get through one drink in that amount of time all by myself. What can I say, I don't "down multiple drinks" in public by myself. 

But seriously, I am on shopping lockdown. Unless a clothing purchase is deemed "necessary" I'm not buying anything for myself through the end of the year. The hubs joked that my definition of necessary couldn't include "sparkly" or "polka dots."  I sure showed him with this outfit! 

This skirt is in fighting place for favorite item I've picked up second hand. What's your favorite second hand score? 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Recharging the Batteries

Made in USA: Jeans: James Jeans (similar) // Cardigan: Venley by Youth Monument // Nails: Essie 'Twin Sweater Set' // Duck Boots: L.L. Bean // Camo Field Jacket ("borrowed" from my dad): military supply store 

I don't run from laugh lines, rather instead I run towards them. Last weekend I added a few more to my cheeks and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. I got to spend two nights at my parent's home, catch up on snuggle sessions with my their poodle, a day with my sister in NYC, and most importantly I was able to spend precious moments with my grandmother and nephew.  My nephew and I even talked my grandmother into judging a jumping contest, but then we got busted by our respective moms! 

I even skipped a long run because spending a few more hours with my family was better for my soul than running a few more miles. That's saying something! 

Those moments of laughter and those walks through the woods were the perfect recharge for my tired self. Marathon training has been incredibly tough this time around. I've felt like an empty shell of my usual chipper self for a few moments and a quick visit to my childhood backyard was more refreshing than any spa treatment. I could just sit down by the lake all day with a good book, a warm blanket, and be blissfully happy. 

What do you do to recharge your internal batteries? I usually go for a run because I can't escape to my parent's house every weekend, but this time around I was more than happy to kick off my running shoes and slip on a pair of boots. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thanksgiving Outfit Ideas

Thanksgiving is three weeks away. You may now pick your jaw up from the floor. That means you have less than three weeks to finalize your plans, figure out what to make, and most importantly how to look chic sporting a butterball sized turkey bump (or tofu turkey bump).

The three outfits above have got you covered.

Drop waist dresses are not only comfortable, in-style, but turkey bump proof! Add on a sparkly necklace and colorful tights and you're good to go. The sparkles and colorful tights keep the focus away from your midsection.

Want to highlight your waist pre-feasting? I totally understand. As a childless married woman I usually have to show off my waist or drink massive amounts of alcohol at all family events. Sometimes I even do both! The full skirt above will show off your waist, is fully customizable, and will be forgiving later in the day. Add a basic chambray shirt and top the look off with a plaid vest (available in more colors). You can leave the vest closed and then open that bad boy up make room for pecan pie.

Maybe leggings are more your speed because they'll stretch with you as the feasting progresses. Cover any would be bump with a longer blouse with draping. Then, for final measure add a herringbone pattern jacket. If you want to really hid any bump you can always pattern mix the blouse and the blazer. If anyone starts starting at you they'll get slightly dizzy from the pattern and they won't be able to tell if there is a bump there or not.

So what are you wearing this Thanksgiving? Do your plans include a casual outfit or are you breaking out your finest pearls?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dreaming at the NYC Marathon

My dream marathon has always been the New York City Marathon. I know that sounds odd because most marathoners dream of Boston, but what can I say, I'm a biased NY sports fan :) I think my dream was also influenced by my current marathon times, which to be blunt, are FAR from Boston qualifying. But New York, well that one has always been the dream. So much that I used to watch it on TV like a complete running nerd even before I started to identify myself as a runner. 

Sadly, the dream didn't happen this year. However, instead of shying away from my dream race I went with a pretty amazing backup plan to tackle NYC with my sister and scream my freaking head off like a crazy person for my best friend. NY was on her bucket list of marathons and she was checking that baby off the list on Sunday. 

My amazing backup plan was even more incredible thanks to the good folks over at New Balance. As part of their New York City Marathon VIP experience they gifted me an amazing "essentials" package. Even when I told them I wasn't running the race, but was cheering instead they were cool with it. I know I said in my running essentials post that I envisioned I would be a New Balance shoe wearer for life and that belief has been further cemented.  All New Balance items shown in this post (sick 890v4 NYC edition shoes, backpack, and shirt were gifts from New Balance). 

The crowds along 1st Avenue were out of control (in a good way!). The entire journey from the Queensboro Bridge to the the Willis Avenue Bridge was one massive block party.  It was serendipitous that my sister and I were able to catch a glimpse of my best friend as she raced by. My sister and I jogged over to our designated viewing station from the subway station and within 60 seconds saw my best friend. If she was on the opposite side of the road I don't think we would have been able to see her in the mass of runners. 
After racing to get to 1st Avenue my sister and I walked over to Central Park, grabbed a quick hot dog (judge me, I don't care), and then we cheered for passing runners near the 40k mark.  We also noted that gingers seem to have a strong affinity to neon sneakers :) 
Spectator Tip: wear knit gloves even if your hands aren't cold! My hands are chapped from clapping so much without gloves.  I'm not kidding you, but I had three pairs of tech knit gloves in my bag (one courtesy of New Balance) and a pair of thicker running gloves, but like an idiot I took them off because I was so warm from jumping around like a crazy person. 

Running Tip: wear your name on your shirt. You will feel like a rock star because everyone will cheer for you by name!  
Spectator Tip: know exactly what your running friend is wearing in order to assist in finding them on race day.  My eyes started to get sore trying to find my bestie among the sea of runners. Knowing exactly what shirt she was wearing was the only way I was able to target that specific color and find her. 30 seconds before I saw her in Central Park I had a case of mistaken identity with another runner. Whoops!  We had a great spot and got to see my bestie come around a sweeping turn in Central Park and watched her charge one last hill. She saw us, made eye contact, and even waved! 
Rocking the pink skirt, sparkly headband, neon, and I love her for it. Okay, maybe not the pink skirt part :) 

Post race. She was pretty cold and tired at that point, but she did amazing. I'm so proud of her! I can't wait to cheer for her at her next marathon. Yes, one day post-race and she was already eyeing up the next one. Love her! 

Even though my dream didn't happen this year I know I'm one step closer. I know cheering at a marathon isn't for everyone, but I came home on Sunday night and told the hubs, "Look, I feel a little guilty saying this, but I had an absolutely amazing weekend. I know you weren't there and I missed you, but I had such a great weekend." Which is pretty awesome considering I got a flat tire on I-95 on the way home!

Thanks again to New Balance for the race day essentials gift package. I wore those 890s all over New York this weekend, but they were promptly stored in their box when I got back home. Those shoes deserve to run NYC and I'm going to save them to run NYC. Instead of collecting dust in a closet they're going to be silently taunting me to chase my dream. That dream will turn into a reality. That's a fact!

How about you? What is your dream race? Or just a dream sporting event you always wanted to either attend or compete in?