September 3, 2013

running with disney: the dumbo double dare!

Snapshots from Disneyland!

Most of my Facebook/Twitter/Instagram friends already know this (thanks to my unrelenting hailstorm of updates), but I completed the runDisney Dumbo Double Dare this past weekend! What is the Dumbo Double Dare? Well, it's this crazy little thing that involves running a 10K on Saturday, followed by running a half marathon on Sunday. Yeah, that's how I spent my "relaxing" Labor Day break. Ha. 

I ended up with a new personal best in the 10K (wahoo!), but the half marathon just about killed me.  The combination of tight muscles, heat, and humidity was deadly. I stumbled across the finish line about 35 minutes later than I had hoped for, and I'm still pretty bummed out about my finishing time. 

This was my first runDisney event, and I didn't really know what to expect... y'know, other than crazy awesome race bling at the end. And that you get to run through parts of the Disney park - and the castle! I'll be honest... most of the event is set up as a big photo op. LOTS of runners will just kind of drop off to the side and stand in lines to get a snapshot with Mickey or the other characters who make an appearance. There are also a TON of photographers on the course, and some people are really eager to get their photos taken during the race. I have to admit, it was a little disconcerting at first. I'm not accustomed to having people pop in front of me to get their photos taken during a race, and it startled me quite a few times. 

If you're very serious about running just for the sake of running, or you're trying to hit a new personal record, the runDisney events might not be the best option. These events are really all about having fun and soaking in that amazing Disney magic! They play lots of Disney songs along the course, and most people wear fun costumes inspired by Disney characters. If you're considering signing up for a runDisney event, just be sure you're okay with that kind of race environment! Now that I have a better understanding of what goes on, I think I'll have a lot more fun at my next runDisney half marathon in November! 

Tucking (and looking super-grouchy) after the half marathon!
(If you're curious, I'm wearing a Lululemon tank, crops and headband + Zensah compression sleeves)

Oh, and yes, I did have to do a little Pure Barre "shout-out" after the races. The classes have been part of my training, and I think it definitely helped me beat my old 10K time! I look unhappy because I realized just as the photo was being taken that the balls of my feet were blistered. Ew!

EDITED TO ADD: Thanks to my wonderful boyfriend for agreeing to participate with me! He crushed the 10K AND the half marathon with times of ~44 minutes and 1:39, respectively. Yep... he's a beast. 

August 4, 2013

august already?

Boston Public Library

No, seriously... how is it already August? Where has the glorious summer gone? And what have I been doing all this time...? If you asked me to talk about what I've been up to the last few months, I'd probably just stare at you really blankly. Working, I guess? Training? Sleeping...? 

July 29, 2013

my day at fenway!

Welcome to Fenway!

This past weekend, my friend came to visit from Philadelphia. We spent part of the day on Sunday on a tour of Fenway Park. I've been to the Green Monstah for baseball games before, but this was my first time on the tour. 

Initially I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend part of my weekend being a tourist in my own (adopted) town, but it was actually a lot of fun! There is so much history behind the Boston Red Sox team and Fenway Park, and the tour guides share funny anecdotes during the hour-long tour. It's hard not to get swept up into all the Boston sports love! 

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend! Mine was a little too short... at least Monday's over and done with! :) 

The famous red seat!

July 26, 2013

a trip to the handle bar

My friend Jess recently invited me to go to a spin class with her at a new studio in South Boston. I actually met Jess through Pure Barre (and Twitter)! She has a fantastic fitness/lifestyle blog called Little Miss Runshine. I rather creepily stalked her on Twitter and through her blog before I worked up the nerve to talk to her in person. Yes, I can be very strange and creepy.

She's training for the Pan Mass Challenge - a 192-mile bike ride through Massachusetts over the course of two days! Whew! I was just getting over a pretty nasty summer cold, and was in desperate need of a good, hard workout after being practically bed-ridden for a few days. And that's how I found myself at The Handle Bar for the first time! Our class was led by the super-energetic owner, Jess (not my friend Jess, a different Jess - and yes, it was a little confusing at first)!

Shoes that are not designer shoes... WTF?!

I don't spin (Spin? Is it a proper noun...?) all that often, so this was the first time I experienced real, hardcore spinning shoes. Y'know, the kind that locks into the pedal? And this is how you know I'm a spinning amateur... haha. Initially I felt a little uncomfortable having my feet stuck in place, but the shoes helped keep me on the pedals when we shifted positions. I've had experiences in the past when my foot would slip off, and then I'd completely lose momentum or almost fall off the bike.  

I like working out to up-tempo jaaaaams, and the playlist definitely kept me moving. Some folks said the music was a little too loud, but it didn't bother me at all. Although... I like to run with my iPod blasting at max volume, so that take that as you will. I'm really tempted to buy one of the class packages, so I can go on days I'm supposed to cross-train for my upcoming races. I say "supposed to", because I haven't been running at all, even though I'm registered for a 10K AND a half-marathon at the end of August. Whoops...

Photo from Jess! :) I'm being a complete clown on the far right...

I got so distracted after taking photos of my feet, that I completely forgot to take other photos. Thanks so much to The Handle Bar for a kick-ass time! I'll definitely be coming back! 

July 25, 2013

the pure barre life

Image source

Is it possible to be in love with (and possibly addicted to) an exercise class?

Because I am.

I started attending Pure Barre classes this past December right when the Pure Barre Boston studio opened, and I've been completely hooked ever since then. And I recently reached one of my major fitness goals for the summer - hitting my 100th Pure Barre class and being officially "inducted" into the 100 Club. And most importantly, getting those special socks!

My official 100 Club photo with the amazing Angela! :)
I LOVE celebrating milestones. It makes each class so much more engaging, and you really feel as though you're part of a tight-knit little community. It's great seeing all of the lovely people at Pure Barre Boston cheering each other on as we reach these goals together! The studio has such a positive, supportive environment, and it makes me look forward to going to class each day. And it also helps that all of the instructors are totally awesome and funny, yet still completely approachable.

Now you're probably thinking, Good grief, Esther, did you drink the Pure Barre Kool-Aid or what...?  and that's okay. I have been singing Pure Barre's praises to anyone who will stop long enough to listen to me. Pure Barre has really helped me overcome some of my own mental barriers. Every class I feel myself getting stronger, and it makes me feel that much more confident. There's something almost therapeutic about going to class. It helps me clear my head. It's an hour I get to spend just to myself, working towards my own goals.

Even my boyfriend remarks on how much more relaxed I am on days I get to class compared to the days I don't go. So obviously, he fully supports anything that means I won't be a grouchy, cranky b*tch to him throughout the entire day. My next goal is to get to 200 classes by the end of the year... I think I'll be able to do it!


On a tangent: y'know, I always blame "life" on being an inconsistent blogger, but it's mostly just because I'm lazy. And I get distracted very easily. Every time I tell myself I'll blog more often - because I actually do enjoy writing and sharing funny things about my life - I always end up pushing it way way waaay down my list of things to do. So, this time I won't promise to blog 'x' times per week. I'll just post a little more frequently than once every few months. Under-promise, over-deliver... hehe.

June 19, 2013


Based on the photo, it looks like my summer has been really relaxing so far, doesn't it? These pictures couldn't be any further from the truth! It was B's birthday earlier this month, so we had a birthday barbecue at his uncle's place. It was a lot of fun, but also probably the only weekend I've had free since January. 

So what have I been up to? I just started a new internship/job, and I'm also still taking graduate classes. Also, I've been trying to work out regularly (Pure Barre is my new fave! I'll have to do a separate post soon...), and I have a 10K race coming up. I actually spend a good part of my day staring blankly into space and then wondering when my schedule will ease up. I also went to a wedding, a hockey game... a couple of other things here and there. Your schedule fills up pretty fast when you only have a few hours of free time each week...! 

And we're moving into a new apartment soon, too! I'm very excited about being IN Boston, and I can't wait to decorate the new place. But at the same time, I wonder when I'll find the time to do any of that... this is why coffee is my new best friend. 

May 14, 2013

a second furman grad!

It's official! My brother is now a college grad... as of two weeks ago. I'm really behind on everything right now. I made my way down to Greenville, South Carolina a few weekends ago to see my brother graduate from Furman University (also my undergrad alma mater!). 

Don't let my short dress fool you. It was unnaturally cold for early May (in SC, mind you). And rainy. My brother's graduation ended up being held inside. This is the first time since 2007 that the graduation ceremony had to be moved indoors... which is also coincidentally the year I graduated! Needless to say, my mom was not pleased that she had to watch both her kids graduate college from inside a basketball arena. 

See the family resemblance?
We're legacies now!

I had the honor of presenting my little brother with his special purple-and-white legacy cords before his graduation ceremony at a special Legacy Dinner. That was kind of snazzy. When I graduated, the "regular" graduation dinner was held in the campus dining hall. Not so snazzy. Legacy families have it nice! And now we're one, too!

Sometimes we pretend we're normal...
I feel kind of old now that my brother has graduated college (and is turning 22 this summer)! AND he's going to start working soon! My little brother's going to be teaching English in Japan for a year (possibly two)! He's about 5 steps ahead of where I was when I graduated from college. Maybe that's why my mom calls him "the smart, sensible one". Ha.

Congrats, little brother!

April 20, 2013

spring cleaning lite

I'm attempting to actually do this blogging thing (for the 19019350th time), and I've been making a couple of small changes here and there to the blog layout. I have labels! Things are labeled! You can sort by label! Whoooooo! I know, I know... total amateur hour.

And I've listed my race schedules for 2013 and 2014 (so far). Over that-a-way ----->! Under the picture of me jumping! I'll write more about being a really slow amateur runner some other time. Because I'm sure people really want to read all about the gruesome details of chafing and shin splints. ;)

Maybe one day I'll add things for social media, too! Y'know, those fancy little buttons so you can find me on Instagram and Twitter and all those other things that bloggers generally have on the their blogs! One baby step at a time, people.

This has nothing to do with anything... I just think it's funny.

April 16, 2013


I don't really have any poignant or wise words to share with you.  

Yesterday morning, I posted about Marathon Monday and how fun it is to be in Boston during this particular weekend. In light of the shocking events on Monday, I seriously thought about taking that post down. It seemed so flippant, given the tragedy that struck the city just a few hours later.   

But I won't be doing that. 

If we are too afraid to enjoy the many good and wonderful things in life, then evil has won. 

There really is nothing like running that final stretch towards the marathon finish line. I only ran 3 miles before I got to cross that storied finish line. I can't begin to imagine how emotional it must be for someone who has run over 26 miles to reach that point. 

On a personal level, I pledge to run in next year's Boston Marathon. I feel as though I need to run in this race. I won't just be running for myself - I'll be running for all those who didn't get to cross the finish line this year. And I'll be running for my beautiful city. 

I'm so proud to be able to call myself a Bostonian. 

April 15, 2013

marathon weekend!

Today is Marathon Monday in Boston! There are 29,000 PEOPLE attempting to run 26.2 miles in this fair city of ours this year. That's a lot of runners! The city basically shuts down to accommodate for the race - most businesses in the areas around the race course close, too.

Before the main event, the Boston Athletic Association hosted a 5K. B and I signed up for the BAA Distance Medley - it's a race series (a 5K, 10K, and half-marathon) spread out over 6 months. "Only" 6,500 runners -including me! - participated in the 5K on Sunday. I've been attempting to run more over the last year as a way to challenge myself. The fun part of the 5K is that it ends on the marathon finish line! It was pretty cool running towards that big banner in the last little stretch.

This is me NOT running the Boston Marathon dressed as a ninja...
I'm not a fast runner... well, no, that's a lie. I'm a fair sprinter, but I'm not good at keeping a steady pace over longer distances. I run fast for short spurts, but then I have to "rest" for a while between spurts; this doesn't really work for running marathons because I burn out quickly. Maybe one day I'll be able to run the full marathon in Boston. It's on my before-I-turn-30 bucket list! For now, I'll stick to training for the rest of the races in the Distance Medley, and also a couple of runDisney events I'm signed up for in the fall and winter.

There was also a huge fitness expo the entire weekend with all kinds of running gear and accessories. Since I'm not actually running the marathon, I didn't think it was appropriate for me to buy one of the cool jackets. You can see (parts of) the jacket on the women standing behind me! So no jacket for me, but I couldn't resist picking up this little guy!

Spike the Unicorn!
The BAA logo is a unicorn, and I can't resist fuzzy stuffed animals. He's going to sit on my desk and remind me to keep working towards Boston 2014 (or 2015... I'm in no rush). 

Good luck to everyone running today! 

April 5, 2013

tokyo, japan (2012)

For some reason (laziness), I never posted about the rest of my Great Asian Adventure from last year, when I traveled to Korea, Thailand, China and Japan. Whoops! You can check out my photos from Seoul, Korea (aka the motherland) that I shared last May. Heh. 

Tokyo Sky-Tree - now the tallest tower in Japan!
How cute is this Domo bus?! Wish we had them in Boston!
I have a "Girls Bar" named after me in Tokyo, sorta... haha...


I had a couple of "bucket list" items for my trip to Tokyo. 

1. CONVEYOR BELT SUSHI - Okay, I've actually done this before back in 2010, when I took an overnight trip to Osaka during my teaching-in-Korea days. But, y'know... IT'S TOKYO. Conveyor belt sushi is so much fun. They charge you per dish, and different-colored dishes are different prices. I had a pretty tall stack of dishes by the end. 


2. MORE SUSHI! Yeah, all I wanted to do in Japan was stuff myself with sushi. I got to try sushi from one of the tiny shops along the famous Tsujiki Fish Market, and have pretty much ruined sushi for myself forever... every time I go out to a sushi place in Boston, I find myself comparing it to the meal I had here. 

Fish on display at the market
I hope I get to go back to Japan soon! My younger brother's actually going to be doing the JET program, so maybe I'll use that as an excuse to visit him. And I may post pictures of China next... or maybe I'll forget until 2014. 

Last meal in Tokyo = the best sushi EVER + egg things

March 27, 2013

nail polish whoo!

Ah, nail polish, how much I love thee. So much so that I made a separate tab for "nail polish" on my blog's home page. So colorful and sparkly... which not-so-coincidentally are my two favorite qualities in... anything! I've amassed quite a collection of glittery nail polishes. Too many, maybe?

Anyway, here are pictures of super-pretty nail polish colors on my not-as-pretty fingers!
China Glaze Blue Paradise, Girly Bits Cosmic Ocean, China Glaze Techno
KBShimmer Oh Splat!
OPI Cosmo-not Tonight Honey and KBShimmer Clown Puke

Hm... looking at these pictures makes me realize how short my pinky is in comparison to my other fingers. Weird. In an attempt to achieve a balance between enthusiast and crazed hoarder, I've been giving away some of my unused polishes to my friends. I don't know if it works that well when you keep buying nail polish, though.

Not really sure where you can find the China Glaze and OPI colors (I bought these years ago), but KBShimmer polishes are available on their website. And I buy most of my indie nail polishes like Girly Bits from Llarowe.

March 24, 2013

kauai, hawaii

I was in Hawaii a few weeks ago! It was a little disheartening to come back to snow-bombed Boston after a week of pineapple cocktails and constant sunshine. Oh well. I love Boston. It may be a different kind of love than the way I love Hawaii, but it's love nonetheless. B's brother lives out in Kauai (aka paradise), so we got to visit him!

I don't know what this crazy, dragon's egg-looking thing is...

So, we hiked part of the Kalalau Trail. The entire trail is about 11 miles long, but we only covered the first four miles. Oh man, it was INTENSE. I wouldn't recommend it unless you're in good (or great) physical condition, and don't mind hiking some pretty steep (and slippery) hills. The views were so worth it, though, as you can (hopefully) see by my gazillion photos. After hiking 8 miles (4 miles in, 4 miles out), I spent the next day spoiling myself at the spa. My life is so tough sometimes... ha.

I brought a bit of the island back with me! Sunrise shell earrings. They can only be found in Hawaii, and are supposed to be lucky. I haven't worn them yet (whoops...) but I'll let you know if I have an especially lucky day when I do wear them.

February 17, 2013

finger thingies!

I've been having some fun with painting my nails with crazy glittery polish lately. As you can clearly see.

After seriously stalking looking at some nail polish blogs (guys, there are blogs solely dedicated to nail polish... and they all have perfect nails! How do they do this???), I purchased a few different brands and colors. Y'know, for market research purposes! I took some pictures, too. I hear that's what bloggers do. Take pictures of silly stuff.

So, let's see... I guess I should share which colors I'm wearing, yeah?

Top: OPI Casino Royale (the plummy color!), and KBShimmer Showgirl.
Middle: KBShimmer Clown Puke over OPI Cosmo-Not Tonight Honey
Bottom: China Glaze It's a Trap-eze! over China Glaze Aquadelic 

February 2, 2013


Oh wow... my last post was way back in November. Yikes. I blame the holidays. Also, I've been preeeeetty busy lately. I'm working full-time and taking a couple of classes. Marathon training (...don't ask...) and a bunch of other crap is getting in the way, too. So, here are some of my Instagram photos!

I'm constantly amazed at the people who have super-polished, curated, professional blog posts. I'm not organized enough to do that. No, that's a lie... I just don't make it a priority to come up with/have awesome posts on my blog on a regular basis. Every time I tell myself I'm going to put more effort into the whole blog thing, I have other stuff pop up. Or... I'm really good at coming up with excuses on why I can't work on my personal (read: non-school, non-work) stuff. Well, I guess I can give it another good ol' college try? Let's see if I can do this. For the 129501825th time.

purple labbit // alex and ani bracelets (my latest obsession!!!)
new balance running shoes // my awesome 5k medal // boston symphony hall