Rose: A Saturday in the Lehigh Valley

On Saturday, M and I went to visit his grandparents in Easton, Pa. I love our little trips to the Lehigh Valley because it’s like taking a vacation without going too far, plus we get the added benefit of visiting with family. As natives of Pennsylvania, we can appreciate all it has to offer. The streets are lined with history, and it brings back our appreciation for factory towns and steel mills. For example, where else can you shoot images like this one — of an old building so rich with history?

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We decided to make a day of it on Saturday, so after visiting Morgan’s grandparents, we hit up one of our favorite restaurants in town — The Bookstore Speakeasy in Bethlehem, Pa. I first encountered this spot in another life sometime around 2009. Set up like a traditional speakeasy, the atmosphere is dark, cavernous and low key. The menus are cleverly tucked inside the fronts of books. The vibe is ideal for a private dinner date or a place to get cozy over conversation.

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For dinner, we ordered a smattering of dishes — mostly small plates and snacks. I love ordering this way because we can share food and try different dishes. We took our time, chatting, snacking and drinking. Unfortunately, we had to leave by 7 p.m. — this place books up early, and they are serious about their reservations — so we headed down the street to the newly opened distillery in town: Social Still. While I’m not a fan of vodka or gin, this place makes their own, so we had to give at least one drink a chance. Here is M’s Key Lime Pie beverage (and it really did taste like a slice!)

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This new micro distillery is sure to be a popular spot in town. Now if only I liked liquor! Nevertheless, we had a great day in Eastern Pennsylvania, and we’ll certainly go back again soon!

Rose: Self Care Support Group

Over the past year or more, I’ve run several fitness and clean eating challenge groups. These groups are designed to give people the accountability they need to reach their goal.

Throughout these groups, I’ve started noticing a trend: the need to take care of one’s self.

We discuss these issues often in my groups — whether it’s turning off technology and being present, getting enough sleep or taking time to meditate — we often fail to do the things that would bring us ultimate joy.

I’ve been there. I overcommit myself, say yes far too often and find myself glued to my phone far too often. It’s like my mind and my body refuse to take a break. In many ways, this is why I love exercise because it gives me this sense of peace. But I find that lately I’m craving a more structured plan. I want to be thoughtful and aware of myself. It’s not selfish to be good to yourself. It’s the best way to keep going.

And these are the reasons I’m teaming up with my friend Andrea for our next challenge: the Self Care Support Group.

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While this idea has been floating around in my head, it really came to fruition because of my friend Andrea. She recently signed up as a Beachbody coach on my team and is quickly finding a niche in leading outside-of-the-box challenge groups. A longtime challenger of mine, Andrea contributes to our current group in very thoughtful ways. That’s why I was thrilled when she asked if I wanted to partner up with her on this challenge.

Do you need to make more time for yourself? Don’t let the text above seem daunting. If you are addicted to your phone, hate meditating and skip workouts, we won’t judge. We know what it’s like! And we don’t discriminate. All you need to have is a goal for yourself. It can be as simple as: “Get enough sleep each night” or “Start eating better.” You can start off simple and small.

There are absolutely ZERO requirements to join. All you need to have is a little motivation and the desire to make a change in your life. In this group, we’ll provide daily content and feedback regarding your goals. We’ll also provide you with the resources you need to really make a change.

Want to join us? Comment on this post, and we’ll add you to the group. If you don’t have FB, we’d still like to work with you through email, so please message us!

Rose: Back to Running

Every spring, I sign up for a long-distance race. This has become a tradition of sorts, as I’m a fare weather runner and only like to run during spring and fall. In years past, I’ve also completed the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I’ve been hooked on this race since my first half in 2009 and have done four half marathons and a relay in the city. The terrain is rolling with slight hills and beautiful views. But, now that I live in New Jersey, trekking back to Pittsburgh for a long race is bit harder to do.

Last year, Jenna ran the Broad Street 10-Mile Race, which was on the same day as the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. Last year, I decided it’d be far easier to run a long distance race close to home, and so we both signed up for this year’s Broad Street Run, which is May 3.

I’d be lying if I said I felt prepared for this. While 10 miles feels far less than daunting than 13.1, I just don’t feel built for running anymore. I’ve come to rely on my high intensity workouts (like Max: 30) which provide not only a great cardio boost but also resistance training. All of this said, I still enjoy the peace I get from running outside. And I’m being reminded of this with each training run …

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The street near my apartment after a quick burst of snowfall.

Over the weekend, I was forced to hit the pavement for my long run. The trail was far too snowy given Friday’s dusting, and the road provided the most clear surface area. I dreaded this run — I needed to put in a good four or five miles, and I haven’t ran that far since last year at this time. Plus, pavement running also puts a hurting on my body.

While it took me a little while to get moving, I ended up finishing my four miles in about 45 minutes. I’m not fast — never have been — so this is far better than I expected. In the end, it was a really fun run; I watched the show fall from the trees, and I rocked out to my favorite 80s tunes. With no one around, I even had a little fun dancing in the street (if you can imagine that.) While I pulled something in my lower back — don’t worry, I’m fine — I ended up feeling so great by the end. And I burned far more calories than in my normal workouts, too.

That’s the thing about running. Even if it feels like a huge pain — suiting up, hitting the outdoors, etc. — I always end my runs feeling rejuvenated and at peace. Now if I could just get myself to remember that as I’m getting ready to head outside. It might make the process a whole lot easier.

Are you training for anything right now?

Rose: A Jersey Weekend

One of my favorite things about living in Jersey is the collection of small towns dotted across the state. Within 30 minutes, I can escape to another landscape: a beach town on the shore, a rural village in the south, a mountainous valley to the north. On weekends, I try to take advantage of these close proximities. This past weekend was one of them.

When I first moved to Princeton, I quickly became obsessed with Lambertville, N.J, a 30-minute drive down the Delaware River. This quirky town has streets of shops, restaurants and art galleries. Across the bridge you’ll find New Hope, Pa., where an even more bustling community resides.

In October 2013, M and I went to New Hope for an evening and found ourselves in a bar called John and Peters. Over cheap beers, we discovered one of our favorite New Jersey duos — Nalani and Sarina. They were the opening act, followed by an acoustic guitar player I don’t remember. Probably because Nalani and Sarina were so unique.

The two are twins and have a sort of poppy vibe, but I wouldn’t say that defines them. Instead, it is the way they play in tune with one another — their movements, their harmonies, their notes. They can take a dull and quiet space and turn it into a lively nook you don’t want to leave. Even when they play the ukulele — which is always silly when anyone plays them — you sit on the edge of your seat. They are unpredictable and truly embody an artist’s love for their craft.

I’ve been following their journey since that fall, staying connected on Instagram and Facebook. They recently posted about playing at Stangl Factory, a cool artist’s village up in Flemington, N.J. We decided to go — why not — and drag our friend Jenn along. It was remarkable to see the difference a year and a half makes to a band. These two were far tighter vocally, even more in sync and both had an unwavering stage presence. Keep in mind, they were incredible to start — so now they just seem more robust than ever.

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After the show, we excitedly told them about our engagement, and they shared in our joy. Once the moment had passed, and we were on the ride home, I thought back to that first night we spotted them. They were playing this song — I think with the title “cliche” — and they pointed us out in the crowd. I remember laughing in that moment, thinking: wow, they just signaled us out like they knew us. It made me feel home in a very immediate way.

It’s moments like these when I realize that in the past two years, I’ve created a little space here. I know people, their stories, the ways they have changed. It’s pretty remarkable, this thing called time, how it seems to move so slowly and then all at once just hits you.

I had this kind of moment on Saturday. I realized that, in such a short span of time, I have become part of  a regional fabric. It may be just a tiny thread, and I may not be here long, but I’ve somehow woven myself into this place.

Rose: The Engagement

As I mentioned in my last post, February has been a blur. So much so that I’ve barely had time to write about one of the biggest things to happen in my life: getting engaged to M (!!!!).

Over Valentine’s Day weekend, M and I went to Asbury Park to see one of our favorite musicians perform. We ate dinner at a great restaurant in town, checked out the Stone Pony and then walked on the beach. Everything about the night was perfect.

At several points, I wondered: is he going to pop the question? Even as we drew a heart in the sand together I thought: “Is this when it’s going to happen?!” It didn’t — which was fine — but I do remember thinking: “Hum. It could’ve been fun to get engaged at our favorite NJ beach.”

Spring forward a week, and it’s Wednesday night. He asks if I want to go back to Asbury Park for dinner, his treat. I find this slightly suspicious and excitedly say yes. We check out one of the newest restaurants in town, Cross and Orange, and have a delightful meal and wine.

Then, we walk on the beach again. At this point, I’m freaking out inside because I’m pretty certain he’s going to ask me. Keep in mind, there were many hints leading up to this:

  • One of my rings goes missing for days (needed for sizing, per chance?)
  • He delivers flowers to work the day of our engagement. The card reads: “Here’s to what will be a very good day.”
  • My boss saw M in town with a “bottle” in hand — celebratory wine or champagne?

And so, we are walking on the beach. We decided to go out on some rocks, which is pretty much a horrible idea, as the rocks are slippery, and it’s dark. He later told me he considered proposing there, but was fearful the ring would get swallowed up by the ocean — and us along with it. Probably for the best we moved back to the sand, under a spotlight near the old Arcade in Asbury.

It was there that he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Here we are, minutes later and in love as ever:

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We excitedly called our close families and drove the hour back home. I immediately changed into sweatpants (of course) and then found this waiting for me in the living room. He also played my favorite record. I melted.

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For those who want to know about the ring — it’s perfect. While we’d talked about getting married, I never picked out a ring. I wanted that to be a surprise. I just told him: “Something no one else has. Surprise me.” And so, it made sense that he’d buy a 1920s art deco engagement ring. A one of a kind.

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It’s hard to put into words how that night felt and the days leading up to it. Beyond all the glitz and excitement, my heart feels this incredible sense of peace. Since I met M, my life has calmed in this beautifully graceful way. He helps me feel like everything is okay — whatever I do, however I feel, who I am — it is all okay. For the first time in my life, I feel incredibly proud of who I am and how my life has turned out. I owe him so much for this.

Throughout all of the ups and downs, M has been my rock. He keeps me grounded. And he also challenges me in ways that no other human has ever done before. Because of this, I am smarter, more adept at handling situations, a lot calmer. It makes complete sense to me that I’d marry this man — my best friend, my confidante, my life partner.

My heart continues to swell each day. And it’s really only the beginning. xoxoxo.