White Flag...


image via here

Today I give in and wave a white flag... a white flag to the feelings of sadness inside of me. Today I will curl up with hot chocolate, have a good cry, and belt out as many sad songs as my voice will allow with more sorrow, passion, and sincerity than any broken hearted teenage girl out there. Today I acknowledge this heavy heart I feel and not try to fix it, but rather indulge in it. Today I will let it all out and then tomorrow I will move on... tomorrow will be a better day.

***Today I am thankful for... songs that let me express my deep, blue sadness***


Tuesday Tunes: Birdy


image from here

Birdy aka Jasmine van den Bogaerde,  has completely won me over!!! All it took was one listen to her cover of Skinny Love (I blogged about the original by Bon Iver here) and I was awestruck. Can you believe she was only 14 when that single was released?!? Her voice is so haunting and passionate, as if she's already had years of experience in life and love matters. Really I could keep on babbling away about why I love her voice so much... why I couldn't wait to download her album... and why she's been on repeat since... but I won't. Instead I'll just let you listen to the playlist and become as obsessed as I am... enjoy!
my fave 10:
*Click through to the blog to view actual music player...

***Today I am thankful I found Birdy... I can already tell we are going to have a great repeat all her songs all of the time kind of relationship her and I***


Mo Run 5K Battersea Park...


Movember... formerly known as the month of November, has quickly become one of the biggest promoters for prostate and testicular cancer around the world!!! At the start of the month, men everywhere participate by clean shaving for the last time... or at least until the end of the month... and then the race is on! Facial hair is grown, trimmed, and sculpted into a multitude of styles and fashions. Hubs was a dear and took part, even letting my donators have say in the final outcome of his mustache. Although hub's mustache is already styled, you can still help out by donating on my page here. All proceeds are going to The Prostate Cancer Charity.

My way of helping and promoting awareness (since I obviously can't grow a 'stache!) was to sign up for one of the many local races held here in London and fundraising for the main charity... what else? It's what I do!!! So this past Sunday, I woke up bright and early to meet up with some of the gals, sport our mustaches, and run our little hearts out! Here is a brief recap:

Getting There: what can I say except it was a nightmare!!! The day before and even the morning of, I double checked the transportation I should take, ensuring to get me to the race with plenty of leisure time so I could relax and stretch. Well that never happened... thank you tfl journey planner for saying a specific bus was running when it wasn't... three bus time slots later and still no bus I started to panic and opted for an alternate route... cutting it really close to the end of registration time. Luckily I made it, was able to register, put on my mustache, and even took some pictures with the gals... phew!

The Race: We had a quick aerobic warm up to get the muscles loose and the juices flowing... plus it was a little chilly so it helped to literally warm us up. Since I had opted to run the 5k at Battersea Park, I had decided that I would concentrate on my race time rather than the race length... and so I said goodbye to the gals at the start line and ran off to try and reach my goal of running less than 10 minute miles. I have to say the weather that day was perfect for running... it was chilly enough to help with my endurance but not too cold that long sleeves and pants wouldn't cut it. The day was also overcast so I didn't have to worry about sun shining into my eyes and blinding me... basically my idea of the ideal running conditions, in the fifties and overcast =) I made it around the park (we had to lap it twice) pretty easily but not without my 'stache falling off due to sweat. I stuck it to my palm and kept my hand in a fist for safe keeping. I was so hyped up and enjoying people watching... oh the fancy dress and mustaches I saw! I also got a shot out from hubs via the dj and hearing my name being called out made my day!!!

A mixture of nerves and excitement kept me going stronger and quicker than my usual pace. I started to feel a bit of cramping into my second lap, and saw some people slowing down to walk which made me want to stop too and walk for a bit... oh it's all so mental sometimes. But I kept pushing on, knowing I was fully capable of running 6 miles non stop let alone 5K... I was determined to run the whole thing and at my new faster pace. I remember the last stretch, as I turned the corner and saw the finish line at the end of about a 300 yard stretch. Adrenaline fueled through me and I broke out into a sprint... where that sudden burst of energy came from I have no idea as I already thought I was going as fast as I could. Right near the end, I noticed a camera man squatted down and taking pictures of runners as they neared the end. I ran straight towards him, smile beaming on my face, and mustache stuck on my open palm... you can see the pictures here and here. Flying through the finish line I couldn't stop smiling... and running for that matter, I almost ran past the people handing out medals! And to make a sweet moment even sweeter, there was hubs, with his grinning mustache, waiting for me at the finish line.

Post Race: After catching my breath, realizing I had met my personal goal, kissing hubs, eying my medal, posing for pictures, and finding the gals again, it was time to celebrate!!! We headed off to find some coffee and a brunch spot to stuff our faces. Really happy and pleased with ourselves, we feasted on all things breakfasty and toasted with bloody marys... eagerly chatting away about our plans for next year's mo run...

1. hubs on day 20 of the growing 2. debuting the winning mustache 3. will i make it to the race???
4. made it and feeling great!!! 5. the ladies with 'staches 6. we're on a horse 7. beat my personal goal
8. mustache on a medal 9. winners brunch post race 10. mustaches 11. my treat to myself!!!

***Today I am thankful for the blissful high Ive been on all day from the happiness of yesterday... I don't even mind the soreness in my muscles***


What's In A Sign???


And by sign I mean zodiac sign... and yes I'm serious! Ok but before we go on, I feel I must disclose, no I am not an astrological junkie or anything like that. I don't read my daily horoscope or plan life's events according to the stars... so why the post? Well because this week's IFB project #20 has us exploring this very topic and I thought, hey now that sounds like fun eh? No but seriously, it's been such a long time since I last read the meaning of my sign (I'm a Taurus by the way) I actually wondered if maybe anything had changed... you know, since the years of me reading my love horoscope in Seventeen magazine...

image found here
Here is what Ive found... as a Taurus baby, I am supposed to have the following traits... strength, stamina, and will (sometimes I have these). I am supposed to be stubborn by nature (I am and and am using this as my defense!) and am willing to stand my ground for what I believe in no matter how irrational the situation may be. Sometimes I do that too... I am determined to see something through from start to finish no matter long it may take (guilty as charged!) Oh and did I mention I'm earthy and grounded??? Code for I can't be bothered to be glamorous all the time... I'm a guy's girly girl if you know what I mean ;)

I am also claimed to be a very passionate person... does being irrationally, passionately mad/happy about something count???  Loving, sympathetic, and overly appreciative (geez, story of my life!) when it comes to family and friends. A Taurus tends to take on everyone else's problems but rarely share their own... scared it might be a sign of weakness... ok now they are just out right describing me!!!

Now here is where I beg to differ... a Taurus is known to be patient??? Sorry zodiac, guess my Hispanic roots trump this one big time! I am sooooo not patient (though people perceive me as, which I find ironic) and can often be found muttering "patience is a virtue" under my breath to keep me from exploding. We are also known to be practical, efficient, and business savy... non of those are true for me either though I am so desperately trying to be those things. One thing I do have to state though, for being as stubborn as I am, I am also pretty open to hearing different perspectives on things and my mind can be changed if sufficient evidence is shown... maybe I'm an evolving Taurus?

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***Today I am thankful for... what the heck I'll bite the bullet, being a Taurus!!!***


Jack Johnson...


Jack Johnson... please stop reading right now and listen to the play list... you are welcome!!! I feel like my words couldn't possibly do justice to the heavenly harmonies that this man has created... oh and that smile I know you have on your face after listening, that one is on me ;) I have to admit (kind of embarrassed) that I myself was a bit late onto the scene when it comes to Jack Johnson. But all it took was one listen... to one song to be exact (Better Together at summer camp where I met hubs)... to make me want to hear more. And boy did I dive heart first into his music.

There is just something so cheerful and uplifting to his music. The combination of his soft rock guitar sounds, his thoughtful yet playful lyrics, and his (um hello sexy) voice were enough to convince me. Him being a Hawaiian native, I feel you can definitely hear that mellow, laid back calm throughout each of his songs. Want to hear something that will make you love him more??? He's also a major humanitarian, environmentalist, and had 100% of his 2010 World Tour proceeds go to charity... is it any wonder his music is so happy? Ok you may crush on him too now =)

my fave 10...
*Click through to the blog to view actual music player...

***Today I am thankful for the bubbly beats of Jack Johnson... just listening to him puts the easiest smile on my face***


Bon Iver...


Happy Tuesday everyone!!! After a great night run with my Run Dem Crew people, I am feeling pretty satisfied with life all around... time to sit and enjoy some pie (if you follow me on twitter, yep second night in a row!) and some wine, complemented by some tunes to set the relaxed mood I'm feeling... the calm after the run if you will. Then the genius that I am thought, hey it's Tuesday!!! Let me share my musical selection with my blog follower friends... I know, I know, I'm just that good hu?

So to add to my ever growing collection of indie-folk loves (seriously I think I may be a tad obsessed!), I give you Bon Iver. These guys just casually swooped into my life via my ears and into my heart... especially with my all time favorite of theirs, Skinny Love... swoon!!! The combination of poetry like lyrics accompanied by such heart felt vocals are reason enough to fall... and fall hard! After hearing them for the first time, I just couldn't get enough!!! Downloading their album, I listened to each song and devoured every word (did I mention I'm a poetry junkie?)... I was mesmerized by one song after another. I never expect to like every song in an album let alone LOVE each and every one... but well done guys, you have my heart.

my fave 10...
7. Team
10. Skinny Love Cover- by Birdy

*Sorry guys, the website I make my playlists on is down but I will have it up and running as soon as I can... enjoy the songs via youtube in the mean time =)

***Today I am thankful for the amazing views I have to the pleasure of seeing on my runs... I mean who else can say they have the Gherkin, the Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, and some pretty amazing bridges on their route... I am really lucky and spoiled!!!


The New Newlyweds...


It was a night to remember... and remember it I did! Though more so through the piecing together of pictures and the other girl's stories than my own memories. I woke up with a dead cell phone battery, hair in a tangled, teased, and hair sprayed mess, last night's makeup still on my face, and a sore knee/ ankle (from all the insane dancing we did!) so already I knew it had been a good night!!! What am I talking about??? Well remember a couple of weeks ago I had my friend's bachelorette (hen) night and promised you lovelies a post about it... well here it is! As a way of celebrating Shelby's wedding (she got married yesterday in the states!!!) I am sharing our part in celebrating her pre-nuptials here in London.

The night started with a good old fashioned get together at a friend's house to play games (pin the cell phone on Zack and game show trivia), eat, drink, and get ready together. The spread consisted of various types of cheeses (Shelb's weakness), hot wings, pickles, and a seven layer dip complemented with cosmos!!! We belted out some good old tunes circa the 90's era and stuffed our faces. Then the fun began with all kinds of makeup, teasing, crimping, and hair spraying... did I mention the theme was Saved by the Bell... fashion inspired by the one and only, Kelly Kapowski in the highschool years?!?!

After slap bracelets were slapped on (yep we found some!), it was off to the club for a full night of dancing, twirling, and some more singing along. It almost seemed too perfect when the night consisted mainly of 80's and 90's music... I mean what more can a couple of girls celebrating ask for when they just want to have fun??? We got a lot of compliments on our style that night, and we weren't the only one's in fancy dress that either so we fit right in! Some of the night's highlights included an air guitar solo from the bride to be, some very dramatic hand gestures, and of course, some classic fist pumping

As you can see by the pictures, we took our roles that night very seriously... right down to the caffeine pills! We had such a fun girl's night and were really happy to get to share in Shelby's special day here since none of us (although all American) could afford to attend the actual wedding =( For some more pictures of the night as it went on via my iphone, check out this post.

Congratulations to the newly Shelby and Martin Brownridge. Although I was very sad to not be able to attend the ceremony yesterday, I am extremely happy to be a part of your new lives together in London when you guys get back. Thanks to facebook and some of your family/friends, a few pictures have already hit the web and you both looked beautiful!!! I now pass on the title of newlyweds to you two as hubs and I near a year of being married. I asked hubs what you call a couple after they are no longer newlyweds but haven't been married that long either and he replied "suckers". Ahhh the things you have in store for you Shelby and Martin... I wouldn't change it for anything.

***Today I am thankful for another American/British couple making it to the alter... we are a growing population... let's make t-shirts!!!***




Here are some very interesting (to hubs & my parents at least) facts that make me, well little old me!!! Hope you have as much fun reading them as I did writing them out...

01. My favorite ice cream for as long as I can remember has always been mint chocolate chip... I was never a vanilla or chocolate girl and I'm not sure what possessed a two year old me to want to try the green ice cream... that was an early sign, I would be different ;)

02. I am an avid list maker... before I can get anything done, I like to compile in neat little list in bullet format of all the tasks ahead... my favorite part of course, is crossing things off... and I have been known to add things Ive already done to a list, just to be able to cross them off...

03. My dancing career started when I was so inspired at my cousin's ballet recital that I knew I just had to join in right then and there... and so I did... I ran on stage during her performance and started doing my own dance... I was three!!!

04. I am not so secretly obsessed with FRIENDS... I own the complete series box set... can recite just about all the lines... use the show like a kid uses their security blanket... and have often related any and all of my life's scenarios to an episode... I'm also a Monica...

05. People think I am everything but Hispanic... I am 50% Cuban, 50% Peruvian, and was born in Miami... Spanish was my first official language... and Ive been mistaken for Indian, French, Arabic, Italian... and just about anything else that has dark hair, brown eyes, and olive skin...

06. I am always hungry it seems... no matter what time of the day it is, I'm usually munching on something... and I can get very cranky if I don't get food fast enough sometimes... so I tend to carry snacks around in my purse... sometimes healthy, sometimes not so healthy...

07. I met hubs as a camp counselor one summer in the states... he is British and so we started dating long distance... for five years... then he proposed in a tree and carved our names into it... we now live on the other side of the pond and have been married for almost a year... he is my lobster!!!

08. Running has never been my thing... actually I have always hated it... which is why it shocked the hell out of all of my friends and family when I announced I was running a half marathon two years ago... I have now ran three... and I now consider myself a runner...

09. I can touch the tip of my tongue to my nose and have broken my arms three times... not in any way related but equally as weird...

10. Cleaning and organizing are my thing... I do it when I'm bored... when I'm stressed... when I'm sad... and especially so when I'm procrastinating, which almost always... there's just something about doing mindless tasks that work like therapy for me... I told you I am a Monica!!!

Check out these two lovely lady bloggers, The Flower ChildDwelling and Srslyliz for some more fun 10 lists and feel free to make one yourself! Leave a link to your post in the comments so others and myself can snoop...

***Today I am thankful all the little, quirky, and weird things that have shaped me into the person I am today!!!***


Florence + The Machine


So it's Wednesday and not really Tuesday anymore... but for the sake of music, I decided to post Tuesday Tunes anyways... especially since I had already decided on showcasing Florence + the Machine... my obsession as of lately! Listening to her strong vocals combined with the upbeat roar of the many accompanying instruments used throughout her songs really puts me in the best of moods!!! Her sound is a unique blend of rock, indie, and soul done like non other. And then there is the other odd combination of her blazing red-orange curls and goth/retro fashion sense that has made her a leading fashion icon. My favorite song of hers that has been on non stop repeat (poor hubs!) for the past couple of days is The Dog Days Are Over... such an uplifting and snap your fingers while you stomp your feet kind of tune!!! Makes me want to choreograph a contemporary dance to go with it... maybe Ive already started... while I was cleaning the day away... guess you'll never know ;)

In other news, one of my very bestest friends is visiting starting tomorrow... all the way from the other side (my side) of the pond!!! Needless to say, I apologize in advance if I disappear... we might be far too busy catching up, eating sushi, and drinking wine... just so you know!

my fave 10...

*Click through to the blog to view actual music player...

***Today I am thankful for a day off... florence + the machines and dancing around make cleaning the flat just that much more fun!!!***


Thank You Steve Jobs...


***Today I am thankful I found and fell in love with all things apple... from my very first i pod nano in college, to having the pleasure of working on a 27" i mac at work, getting Betty, my macbook pro laptop for christmas, and finally my new i phone 3 which I adore... thank you Steve Jobs for helping me embrace technology and my inner geek.***


Race Report: Run To The Beat...


Yes it's taken me over week to post about my Run To The Beat Half Marathon experience because yes, that's how long it's taken for me to recover from it... no, not really but I like being all dramatic sometimes! So now without any more delays... the half marathon breakdown through my thoughts, experiences, and of course pictures.
Words can't even capture how much excitement and nervousness there was in the air!!! It still amazes me that how no matter how big or small the race is, no matter if Ive ran that distance before, no matter if Ive trained really hard or done just barely enough... I still feel the same crazy energy fluttering around in me on race day... and you know what? It's kind of addictive!

I kissed hubs goodbye and left extra early just in case (and because I'm always late to most things). The train ride over was filled with runners from all over, heading in the same direction as me, with the same purpose as me... to finish the race!!! There's an unsaid bond that runners have amongst each other... it's in the slight nod as you run past... it's in those matching nervous glances... it's in the secret smiles you give one another.... and those are the things that carry me through my runs. Most of the time we are complete strangers, but when you are geared up, running, or heading towards a race, we become kindred spirits. At that moment, they are the only ones that can relate to all the hard work, pain, sweat, and even tears that you have put into your training... no one else could ever really understand...

I was lucky enough to run into Charlie and some other Run Dem Crew members before the race and that also helped calm my nerves. We had come this far and there was no turning back now. The day was unusually hot for London and while normally I would have welcomed it, all I wanted for today was cool and overcast... like it had been every other day. But like in life, sometimes you just have to work with what you are given and make the most of it.

Mile 1-3: After nearly 15 minutes of being herded like cattle, I finally reached the start line and I was off!!! I felt great, my playlist was set to my most upbeat and favorite songs first, my new shoes felt amazing, and I had my Lucazade Sport to keep hydrated. I ran at my newly acquired pace of just under ten minutes and hoped I could keep it up through out most of the race (maybe even all of it?) In all of my training I have learned that although these first couple of miles are usually my fastest, they are mentally my hardest and it takes me awhile to find my rhythm. Twenty or so minutes into the race, I realized it had been awhile since my Nike+ had mentioned my mile and pace... I looked over at my arm band only to find that I had accidentally paused my workout even though my music had still been playing... grrr! My own time was now off and a mile behind but what can you do? I just hit resume workout and carried on. As much as I had hoped for the better, the heat was much more intense than I had expected and I quickly felt dehydrated. I was glad I was carrying my own bottle since the first water station didn't show up till around mile three! So far the race was lacking in any kind of shade and the sun was having no mercy on us... how I wished I had brought a hat...

Miles 4-6: Unexpected hills on this course, what??? And yes for all three miles!!! Again something I was not prepared for. It seemed every time I turned a corner, I looked up to see the road going uphill again. By now I was starting to feel the consequences of having worked the day before (standing for eight hours) and every step felt like I was running on needles. I kept running, though at times going uphill actually felt like maybe I was going backwards??? Surely someone less fatigued could walk uphill faster than I was running by this point. I knew this was majorly affecting my time but between the pain, the heat, and the hills, I just had enough energy to keep running... and so I trekked on... I made sure to listen to my body and slow down as it asked for. I decided I didn't care about my time anymore after seeing so many runners had passed out for pushing themselves too hard in this heat. If I could just finish the race in one piece, then I would be happy. And so I ran... silently cursing the people who had chosen this route...

Miles 7-9: I was wiped out!!! I started to think thoughts like "oh my sweet Jesus I'm only half way through, how am I ever going to finish" and "God can you please through some clouds and a gust of wind our way???" By now I had almost finished all of my own drink and had begun to grab water cups at the stations with the sole purpose of pouring it over my head for a quick cool down. I mentally started going over all of my errors up to that point far like getting carried away and running too fast at the beginning, working the day before, not checking the weather and realizing  would need a hat... and the list went on and on. All things I will make sure to correct next time... if I finished this time... why couldn't I find my rhythm??? And where were all the supporters to cheer me on when I needed it the most??? I saw some fellow RDM members run past me that I had left behind in my dust at the beginning of the race... slow and steady wins the race Jackie, next time I will be slow and steady. I was fading and fast...

Miles 10-13.1: Don't ask me why it had taken me this long to find my groove, but at last I had found it and was ready to finish this race! I was feeling invincible as I approached mile ten and knew I could easily push the last three miles out of me. I was singing along at some points (I tend to do that) with sheer happiness to almost be done, high fiving little kids standing along the course line... when the unthinkable happened... mile 11 and my I phone died... hence no more music. I feel I must point out that for a music based race, their was a serious lack of it. I hadn't really minded since I was using my own anyways, but it would have been nice to have theirs as a backup now that I was music-less. Another lesson learned, next time don't get so excited with new phone that I use up battery uploading to facebook and twitter... womp, womp. Those last couple of miles I did my best to run, but like Ive said, I can't without music... and so I power walked/ran/power walked/ran until mile 12 where the cheers to other RDM members gave me a new boost. Passing mile 13, onlookers kept cheering "Keep going, the finish line is just around the bend!" and I kept running around bends thinking where is it??? I think I actually got tears in my eyes (amazing considering how dehydrated I was) when I finally saw the finish line... and gave it all had to cross.

Final outcome: 2:23:54 time, 10"59' pace, and 8,583 place. This was three minutes slower than I had wanted, I walked some when I was really trying to run the whole thing, but you know what? I couldn't be prouder!!!

Some serious stretching followed by some serious eating was very needed indeed! Hubs and I went to The Diner to celebrate where I ate what all half marathon champions should eat... a pancake stack sprinkled with powdered sugar, home fries, scrambled eggs, bacon, and washed it all down with spicy bloody mary. Yay me! After that, pretty much crashed for the rest of the day... and then some!

***Today I am thankful for the chance to have participated in the London Half Marathon... it may not have been the time I was aiming for, but I am glad I finished and with no injuries too***

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