Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My sister always tells it how it is...

me:  shocker -- REPORT: Molly Maguires in Lansdale on fire. Heavy fire showing from second floor. Fire running the walls. Owners had recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Stay tuned for more.
Melissa:  You miss being on that beat don't you?
me:  nope lol
Melissa:  Yeah right.  This would have been a good day.  You with your neon vest, getting in the thick of it. Getting that crucial interview with your buddy the fire chief.  CMON!!
 me:  hhahaha
 me:  we're live here from Madison parking lot as Molly McGuires is covered in heavy flames with thick smoke.
 Melissa:  Hahahahaha
 me:  "I don't know what to do, this is my local watering hole" said 55 year old Shelley Piccirilli of Towamencin. "Me and Billy go every night for our drinks. Where do we go now!?"
 Melissa:  See?!?! Mrs. Piccirilli will miss stopping in for her strong whiskey dranks.
 me:  Residents are struggling as Molly's burns to the ground and the 5th street walnut bar is gone forever
 Melissa:  You gotta get back to your roots.
 me:  A passenger on the SEPTA train saw the fire. "shit was blazin, man! I asked the conductor what he knew. He said he knew nuffin"
 Melissa:  Hahahahahahaha I'm dying hahahaha
 me:  I'm a god damn writer
 Melissa:  Hahaha Yes you are

She's right, I might miss it a little bit....but I don't miss the time I smelled like dead rotting animals after covering this fire (click here).

Bestie Pensacola Adventures

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I’m so excited to write this post because it’s full of fun! So as you all know this past weekend I headed to Pensacola to visit Caroline. I had the pleasure of being with her all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and let me tell you, we lived every day to the fullest.

It was a super early morning. My plane took off from PHL at 5:45 a.m. to Atlanta, and quickly I had to jump on my flight from Atlanta to Pensacola. I arrived in Pensacola around 8:30 a.m. and was greeted by Caroline and Miss Kai in the back seat. We headed back to her house where we sat on her couch from 9 a.m. to noon chatting and catching up on life. We were like little school girls, we should have been braiding each other’s hair! Before heading down to visit, I did a little research and found a two-hour Segway tour of Downtown Pensacola. We looked it up and there were openings for the 2 p.m. tour. So we headed downtown and grabbed lunch at the Tin Cow – “Pensacola's Custom Hamburger & Shake Spot.” Oh my gawd was it delicious! CB and I both built our own burger – mine of course had the classics but I also threw on bacon infused potato chips and tried their amazing hand-cut French fries. Nom nom! I opted out for a milkshake or beer, maybe next time though! Feeling 15lbs heavier, we headed to our Segway tour. Lucky for us, we were the only two for the 2 p.m. tour! So CB and I had a private tour with our tour guide, Chris. We mastered our Segway’s and hit the streets seeing monuments and locations including the Blue Wahoos Stadium, Belmont-Devilliers Neighborhood, Fort George, Veteran's Memorial Park, Plaza de Luna, and the spot where Florida was officially handed over from the Spanish to the United States. Very education and very fun, Caroline and I had a blast.

Fitness Friday
I say fitness Friday because Caroline and I were active all day! Me screwed up from the one hour time change and CB use to getting up early, the two of us hit the pavement early on Friday morning around 6:30 a.m. logging a 3-mile run for my marathon training. Note to self: doesn’t matter how early you run, Florida heat and humidity is gross! The next adventure for the day was standup paddle boarding. We headed to Pensacola beach and bought a two hour rental. A little nervous because it was my first time and determined not to fall, paddle boarding was awesome! The ocean water was so warm and waves were not big. We cruised around for a little over an hour and then sat on our boards in the middle of the ocean gabbing away yet again! It was so peaceful out on the water. The view in Pensacola is breathtaking; I couldn’t help but soak it in. We grabbed lunch at a little place called Native Café and went home to hit the showers. Friday night we headed to the Blue Wahoos game – they’re a AA minor league baseball team affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds. The bayfront ballpark was named one of the five best minor league ballparks in the nation, rightfully so with its amazing bay backdrop. It’s a great atmosphere at the games and tickers were only $8. Can’t beat that!

The last days of vacation are always the worst because you’re savoring every hour of being away. Saturday morning I had my first CrossFit experience. Caroline and Ryan are avid CrossFitters and I was excited to join her in her element. Saturday workouts are partner workouts at her gym so like old times the package deal was at it again. It was a great workout and you could definitely tell I was a rookie, but I worked my ass off, dripping in sweat the entire time. The coaches are great there – the one coach would come up to me and alter my form or give me tips on how to do the movements. It’s a great group, I can see why the Bergh’s love it. We hit the showers and headed out to the Pensacola Farmers Market. With crafters and food vendors, there were lots of items to browse. There were lots of honey, jams and pound cakes – maybe a southern treat? We cooled off for a few hours before heading to Caroline’s birthday dinner. She picked The Grand Marlin located right on the beach. With a breath taking view, the food was amazing – sharing lobster mac n cheese to start, scallops and salmon as our entrees, a dark chocolate peanut butter pie for dessert and cocktails to top things off. A full belly and happy heart, it was the perfect way to end the weekend.

Of course on Sunday I was heading back home and leaving was bittersweet. Pensacola treated me well and I was beyond upset my best friend wasn’t coming home too. I know in due time the Bergh’s will HOPEFULLY be moving closer to home, but for now, we continue our long distance friendship, staying in touch with calls, texts and social media. "Invest in people who invest in you." I will forever invest in my sweet Caroline because I know she invest herself in me.

Motivation Monday IV

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sweat. Smile. Repeat. 

That’s exactly what I did over a long 4 day weekend visiting my best friend Caroline in Pensacola. We stayed active (sweat), we told stories and created new memories (smile), and continued the shenanigans for 72 hours straight (repeat). I strongly encourage everyone to sweat, smile and repeat at least once this week.

This trip could not have come at a better time. I’ve been in a funk, a really bad funk, for about three weeks and there is no better medicine then your best friend. Caroline and I always say it doesn't matter how much time passes from when we see each other or chat on the phone because we pick right up like no time has passed at all. It’s pretty amazing how one person can warm your soul and be your other half. Some higher being had us come together and I can’t thank them enough! Maybe the God of Soccer?

Thank you Caroline for welcoming me into your home and showing me the ropes of Pensacola.Thank you for helping me get life off my mind. And most of all, thank you for being YOU!  I can’t wait to visit again. Stay tuned for a blog post talking about all of them fun Caroline and I had this weekend!

Last Week Recap
I'm happy to say I kept on marathon training track despite being on the road for four days. I crushed a 5-mile pace run on Wednesday at 4 a.m. and I was able to have a 3-mile training run while in Florida. I also did some cross training with CBB – she took me to Cross Fit. You’ll hear more about our fitness activities tomorrow.

This Week’s Goals
1. I wasn’t able to get my 8-mile weekend run in so I’m running it today. Since getting up at 4 a.m., running in the afternoon makes me mental. I psych myself out before I even hit the pavement and I’m losing the mental battle already. But I have no choice. I need to get out there, no matter how slow or fast I go – just gotta MOVE!
2. Remember that Kindle I was telling you about? I’m plugging away through my first book and I absolutely love it. Looking for a good read? It’s called “Plain Truth” by Jodi Picoult.  It might still only be $1.99 for my fellow Kindle lovers. Read it! I’m one chapter away from being finished. Can’t wait to be done this week and start my next book. #BookWormMandee
3. I’m shooting a riffle for the first time this week. Yes you heard me correctly…me + a gun = happening this weekend. Taylor and I will be joining my dad at the gun club this weekend. I’ll be honest, I’m terribly scared of the kickback but my dad keeps telling me I’m a big girl and I’ll be fine. Watch out Outdoor Games, I’m coming for ya!

Transformation Tuesday 7.22

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Every once in a while it’s nice to give ourselves a little self-esteem boost.

After the Color Run on Saturday I took a few pictures with my friends and Taylor, and I couldn't help but think of a year prior to when I ran the Color Me Rad race. Saturday was complete déjà vu, standing next to T, arms around each other, same white v-neck shirt, same orange sunglasses -- recreating the same exact picture. But after looking at this year’s picture compared to last, there is clear visibility my fitness is paying off.

Keep pushing Amanda, the journey is just beginning. 

Motivation Monday Vol. III

Monday, July 21, 2014

Well… it’s officially here. My 18-week marathon training schedule begins this week!!! (EKK!!) Just like I have been doing, now through November 23 you’re going to see me on the streets pounding pavement and racking up mileage. My entire agenda book is filled with my training runs and my weekend long runs are planned out at specific locations. This time around I’m much more focused and ready to kick ass this fall. My Disney Marathon was a great experience but this one can be better. I know it will be better -- running in MY city with my friends and family to cheer me on. It doesn't get better than that. Cheers to a happy, healthy and injury free training schedule. I can’t wait to see where my body, mind and spirit take me on this journey. The past 10 months have been one hell of an experience.

Last Week Recap:
- I had a solid week of running and completed all of my training runs. I ran Philadelphia’s Color Run on Saturday with a few friends and had a peaceful 6-miler at Peace Valley Park in Doylestown. That park is my absolute favorite to run – I could run there every weekend! My mom even joined me on Sunday morning, she walked while I ran. Happy to see us both get out there. Great job, Marmee!
- Sadly not too much progress with my Kindle but this week I’ll be sure to get some good reading in.
- Sunday was National Ice Cream Day. I treated myself and it was amazing :) Click here to see.

This Week’s Goals
1. It’s an exciting week ahead as my marathon training begins. Mileage is starting to pick up and pace/speed runs are beginning. Training is going to be difficult this week because I’m traveling to Florida to visit my best friend, Caroline. She is a fitness mama herself so I know she’ll be supporting me if I need to run a day or two while I’m down there.
2. Two thumbs up for going to Florida! I can not WAIT to see my best friend and to finally see where she is calling “home” over the last two years. I can’t wait to see her puppy and her house and her new life. It’s truly amazing that no matter how much time passes, you pick right up with your best friend like it was just yesterday when you saw each other. Since forever, until forever my sweet Caroline.

Happy National Ice Cream Day

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Had to share a quick post before bed. Today is possibly my favorite day out of the entire year. It's National Ice Cream Day. Since last September I've had ice cream about five times which is a HUGE change compared to eating it every night. I've been counting down for weeks for July 20th and it finally arrived. I clearly treated myself. Every bite was amazing and I could not finish it. I'm losing my ice cream swagger. Haha

Also-- one more happy birthday to my best friend Caroline. I can not wait to celebrate this week. I can't wait to see you!!! Xoxox

Remembering a Legend: Alice Coachman

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Women in Sport Fun Facts:

  • In 776 B.C. - The first Olympics are held in ancient Greece. Women are excluded, so they compete every four years in their own Games of Hera, to honor the Greek goddess who ruled over women and the earth.
  • Women competed for the first time at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris. Of a total of 997 athletes, 22 women competed in five sports: tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrianism and golf. The IOC is committed to gender equality in sport.

As a female athlete, I think it’s important to give credit to our women pioneers in sport. Yesterday our nation lost a special soul, Alice Coachman, who became the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal when she captured the high jump for the United States at the 1948 London Games.

Click here to read a great article from The New York Times about Coachman’s success in the sport of track and field.

May your legend live on sweet Alice.

Motivation Monday Vol. II

Monday, July 14, 2014

I’m tired. Real tired. Too much running and gunning these days. Part of me thinks I’m over booking myself and then part of me is just happy to be living my life to the fullest. As I always tell Taylor, I’ll sleep when I’m dead! Speaking of tired – on my Friday 6 mile run I was tired. I wanted to give up around mile 2.5. I was ready to get angry at myself and put myself down. I wanted to quit, but I thought about everyone else who can’t run. Those who can’t even stand or are disabled. For the first time in my life I told myself it was okay I wasn’t having a perfect run. I actually took in the atmosphere and soaked in the moment of feeling accomplished that I was out there doing something I love.

There is always a positive outlook on life (which I often have to remind myself of.) You are given the gift to complete certain actions – complete them with pride and with a sense of happiness knowing you are doing something someone else can’t.

Last Week Recap: 
I’m happy to state that I completed all of my goals this week. I ran all of my training runs AND had soccer – logging over 22 miles last week. I had a 6-miler and decided to run that on Friday night instead of one day this weekend. SMART choice, it allowed me to really enjoy my full weekend because I headed to OCNJ for a friend’s birthday. I drank lots of fluids this week and I was even AHEAD on menus this round. Go Amanda, go!

This week’s Goals:
1. Complete all of my training runs – I need to continue getting up extra early before work and running in the morning. My afternoon runs are getting complete but they are not as successful as my morning runs. The heat gets to me in the afternoon.
2. This weekend is the Color Run in Philly. I’ll be attending with a group of friends so it should be a really fun time!
3. I bought a Kindle Fire (woop woop!) I purchased a book last night and of course fell asleep two seconds after purchasing. Hoping to really get into it this week – I really want to pick up my reading game. Do you have any book suggestions? Please leave them in the comment section!

What are your goals this week? Share in the comment section below! Happy Monday friends!

Hello Special Olympics

Friday, July 11, 2014

I am super excited to share that starting next month I will be joining the Montgomery County Special Olympics Long Distance Running and Walking team as a volunteer! Back in May I reached out to Coach Scott asking him about another organization I am apart of (that will be another blog post I can’t wait to share!!!) and he then asked if I wanted to stop by one of the team’s practices.

It was at that practice that I was welcomed into the wonderful world of Special Olympics. Athletes of all ages attended their final practice of the season – some staying fresh for the Special Olympics State Championships the next weekend at Penn State University and others getting in their last workouts of the year.

I have never in my life experienced such a rewarding atmosphere, watching these athletes try their absolute hardest to better themselves in the sport of track and field.

Coach Scott had me assisting at the javelin station where athletes from ages 3 and well over the age of 30 stepped up to the line, dropped their leg back and threw their hardest. Next to me athletes were working on their long jump and others were taking laps around the track working on their team relay. Here is a picture of what the javelins look like for Special Olympics. I was the spotter, so I had to read the distance after every thrower.

Track and Field is a spring/summer sport so this fall I will be working more with long distance runners (cross country) and walkers. I will be assisting with the walker group and Coach Scott informed me that a lot of the athletes are talkers so I’m sure our walks will be amazing. Little do they know I’m a talker as well so we already have something in common!

Thursday practices are at Montgomery County Community College and Sunday practices are at Valley Forge National Park – I’ll only be attending Thursday practices. We also have scheduled competitions and 5k races which I’ll be joining the group in. I can not wait.

Are you looking to volunteer and become a running/walking volunteer like me? Reach out to me and I’ll get you in contact with Scott. I hope one of you will join us this fall!

La Dolce Vita

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Days like today make me love the fact that I have 'la dolce vita' tattooed on my body.

I without a doubt have the best support system in this entire world. Each and everyday there is at least one of you motivating, supporting or cheering me on in life. Whether its encouragement about work or my running, I always I have the biggest smile on my face knowing I'm loved.

Maybe I am super emotional right now, but two of the littlest things today made me realize that I DO have "the good life" (la dolce vita.)

I honestly could not have asked for a better person to fall in love with because Taylor is the greatest thing to come into my life. He's always encouraging me with my runs and keeps me on point with my health. It's the little things in life that make life so special -- like how tonight he met me at the end point of my run and drove me back to my car from where I started. He could have said no or made plans with friends, but he didn't. He was there, waiting for me, cheering me on as I trotted in. (haha it was a hot one tonight!)

And then there is my best friend Ashley whose house I ran by tonight. Right as I was finishing my run I got a text from her saying "Woohoo! Go Mandee Go!" I run on lots of roads at lots of different times and getting texts and tweets from people with words of encouragement is the greatest thing EVER!!! It never gets old. Ashley also shared with me that she is starting a 5k running program for herself. I could not be more proud of her!!!!
This was yesterday...same dress over a year later. wowza!!

So tonight I'm reminding myself that I HAVE 'the good life' -- I have the best family, the best boyfriend, the best friends and the best support system in the nation. Thank you, thank you, thank you to you ALL! It really does me the world to me.


Motivation Monday Vol. I

Monday, July 7, 2014

I hate Mondays just as much as anyone else. Weekends go too fast and work weeks go too slow. So that is why I’m starting Motivation Monday here on Take Your Pic – a way to keep myself motivated to accomplish my weekly goals and a way to help everyone else be accountable for theirs.

I learned from Emily that it’s important to start your days off with a positive thought, so what better way than to share these thoughts with my readers.

My goals this week:
1. Complete all of my training runs. (This week totals 14.5 miles plus two soccer games)
2. Drink lots of water!! Temperatures will be in the 90s – hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
3. It’s menus week at work so my stress level always goes up – just relax and do what I can, when I can.

What are your goals this week? Share in the comment section below! Happy Monday friends!

Oh So Cheeky

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Victoria Secret "cheeky" underwear seemed a little extra cheeky yesterday. I figured it was all the beer and food from vacation went straight to my ass. Little to my surprise, in the bathroom I realized I was wearing my underwear backwards the entire day. (Wait a second, that little VS heart should be in the back!!) Moral of the story, I was a bit relieved my ass isn't getting fatter. Some days life is good! 

U.S. Soccer Fans Hoping to Have Jobs after World Cup

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Approaching our third week in the World Cup, U.S. soccer fans are hoping for a win against Belgium during the Round of 16 and we’re also hoping by the end of this tournament we all still have jobs!

Over the last three weeks, lots of rules have been broken by U.S. soccer fans.

Kimmy Bunting at work - "Out of dress code today at work!
Don't care!!! USA Baby!!!" 
For starters – almost every single one of us has been breaking work dress code. Are you supposed to wear button ups and but just happened to wear your away jersey instead? Oh that American flag scarf around your neck…it’s keeping me warm! (Despite it being in the high-80s/low-90s all week long.) Headbands and bandanas – there is nothing in the dress code about not being able to bedazzle some accessories. The first game of the tournament I had puzzled looks about my American flag scarf all day at work and victory was made when my co-worker Patrick said to me “I know why you’re wearing that scarf and I LOVE it.”

But Jurgen Klinsmann said I could take off – Prior to the final game the United State had in the “group of death,” every single American knew we needed as much support possible to root on the Yanks. That’s why U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann penned a personal "get out of work free" letter that he encouraged bosses to sign. I saw this letter on nearly everyone’s Facebook last Thursday morning. Whether the note worked or note, I’m sure there were a lot of “sick” Americans that day at roughly 10 a.m. in the morning. Cough, cough.

We use personal and vacation days – U.S. soccer fans know the World Cup is coming every four years so what do they need to do? Save up personal and vacation time! Luckily for us, Brazil is only an hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time so the later games ARE doable being able to go to work and leave an hour early or start early to leave at 3 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. But these noon games are a killer. Like I said on my June 26th Facebook, “(Amanda Piccirilli) thinks if you didn't take a personal, vacation or sick day at work today you're not American. Ok fine, just take a realllllly long lunch break today, I'll accept that. One Nation. One Team.” Live a little people – take the day off and head down to Fado Irish Pub in Philadelphia and hang with the rest of the American Outlaws. It will be the best decision of your life…

Being clever with work monitors – Work monitors clearly depict who the soccer fans are around the office. Employees are staring at their work computers, looking in the bottom or top right hand corner because that is where the ESPNwatch App is minimized as their Excel spreadsheets and Word documents float over the middle of the screen with easy ability to maximize in case management walks by. You can also tell who fans are because while they are staring at their screens, they’re not typing. Their eyeballs are about to pop out of their heads, beads of sweat trickle over their brow and silent jolts of excitement happen by pumping their fist or kicking their legs. As a fellow soccer fan, don’t be the douche in the office and rat out the guy who is living his glory of the World Cup in the office. Trust me, they don’t want to be working, they’d rather be at home or in a bar with hundreds of individuals who actually care. Unfortunately, that presentation is due tomorrow and we have no other choice.

So like I said, the last three weeks have been rough for us soccer fans, but we’re still surviving and we’re still taking the risk that our bosses won’t catch us watching games at work or we’re maybe a tad out of dress code. However on the other hand, maybe our bosses are secretly soccer fans too like my friend Joey who received an emailing saying "All, If you finish up everything need to get done for today, please feel
free to watch the game whether it be here or elsewhere" or maybe YOUR boss is sitting in their office watching the greatest stage of soccer and chanting to themselves “I believe that we will win!”

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