Festival Fun

I’m always up for a good festival on a beautiful summer weekend. Last year I discovered this spring festival in Pennsylvania. Montrose is not far from where I live in New York. The fact that the festival celebrates two of my favorite things – chocolate and wine – makes Montrose even close.

Last year my wine tasting had to be limited as I had a photo gig the night of the festival but this year the weekend was free for festival partaking. I even managed to keep some information from the various wineries, even though the early visited ones got soaked during a thunderstorm. The rain didn’t dampen the time had by those under the tents.

Let’s talk about good wine. Like my beer tastes, my wine tastes tend to be a bit snobby. I am not a real sweet wine drinker, preferring a dry wine when I can get one. I also prefer my wine to taste like grapes, not blueberry or watermelon. I am, though, open to trying almost anything.

Antler Ridge Winery was one of the first stops. I really loved their Merlot and the Island Breeze. Now, the Merlot is to be expected. Not so sure what called to me about Island Breeze but I did like it.

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Grovedale Winery was next on my list of stops. We started the tasting from this particular winery with Tetra, the driest red they had. Probably should have ended with this but I loved it. The Merlot was also good. We also tried the St Pepin, which is very apple and pear tasting but for a hot summer day, it would be wonderful served very cold. The Frontenac Gris surprised me as I could not tell you the last time I had a rose wine. It was delicious.

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Capra Collina Winery has a sweet wine, not too sweet but too much for my liking, called Therapy. Who doesn’t want a wine that has the word Therapy on the label? I enjoyed the Black Forest which is a chocolate port and cherry wine blend. It is sweet but would be nice with dessert. Their Reisling was good, very dry. Also, Nebbiolo is a dry red in a the traditional Italian type of wine.

I sampled wines from Maiolatesi Wine Cellars. They have a lot of really sweet wines. Most were too sweet for my liking but a few of their dry wines were hits with me: the Naked Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, the Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend and the Syrah/Cabernet Franc blend.

Red Shale Ridge Vineyards had a good semi-dry called Leon Millot. I also enjoyed their Pinot Gris.

Tucked off in a corner was Sand Castle Winery. They were tasting a sangria and a white called Alpine Spice. The Alpine Spice was being served both cold and heated. The warm one had me wishing for winter which just got over.

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Nimble Hill Vineyards was my last place to stop. I took a ton of photos of the entertainment and this location was close so I could try a wine and snap some photos. I really liked their Reisling according to my notes.

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I am thinking a PA Wine Tour is coming up.

Reading and Writing

Have you ever asked a writer, someone who writes prolifically whether for money or for joy, if they ever read? You will find that good writers read all the time.

I am a voracious reader. I average 20 to 25 books a month when I am not at a peak training period for a race. It used to be just the opposite for me. I had certain books I read every summer. I would then take 20 to 30 dollars and buy mass market paperbacks for additional summer reads. While that would not be a lot of books over the summer, I would find it to be enough. The reads were all escapism in its finest.

About 18 months ago, I found myself in need of a new laptop. The one I had, while still perfectly functional as a computer, would not hold a charge. I know a new battery would be a less expensive solution but that machine was already four years old. I opted for a new two-in-one laptop that I could take apart and utilize as a tablet also. With this purchase and the use of Windows 8, I was introduced to the Kindle app. I know I can get it on the old system also but it was not put there for me to discover. And discover, with Windows 8, I did.

I currently have over 1100 titles in my Kindle library. Many of the books are non-fiction – business books, cookbooks, physiology books. The majority of the books are novels. I’ve read all sorts of books I would probably not have picked up in a book store. I have read romances, historical fiction, contemporary fiction. I love having the ability to find free Kindle books and put them in my library for when I am ready to read.

Unfortunately, I also found my personal balance beam tipping. I would read to the detriment of my writing. I would run and then read. I would read one book in a series and then have to read the entire series. I have found that I need to balance my writing and my reading. I am hoping this is a start to that balance. I am writing more here and writing more on a novel. Look for some book reviews coming up as I have several new releases I am loving and also several authors that I want to read everything they have written.

Do you read? Do you write? Is the connection between the two staring you in the face? How do you balance a love of both reading and writing?

Reviewing Life – Relationships

You know all about setting goals and reviewing or checking in on them. Do you ever think about relationships the same way? I admit I tend to not take apart relationships while I am in them. I go with whatever is happening. I do, though, go back after a relationship ends and look at all aspects of it.

I really got to thinking maybe this topic didn’t fit here. I want to talk about healthy living and art. The more I considered this topic, the more I realized relationships are part of healthy living.

My last relationship ended in February. I thought I was upset. I did not end the relationship, although I had previously broken things off with this guy twice before. One of those break ups lasted two months. I think my hurt was more over the fact that I hadn’t stuck with the break up, not that he was ending it. I guess the clarification came when a friend who had asked how things were going told me I seemed fine with the break up.I realized I did.The why of that is what I wanted to dig into so whatever would not block a future relationship.

We had nothing in common. While I was raised by my grandmother, he was raised in a two parent home. From what I could gather, I had the more normal childhood. I saw both my mother and my father growing up, just did not live with them. I graduated high school near the top of my class. I went to college and had plans to go on to a graduate degree before getting married instead. He didn’t graduate from high school.

Ultimately, that difference did not matter. It was the present and the future that were too different and probably would never meet. I tend to be very pragmatic but also optimistic. He was constantly pessimistic. I had spent years raising my children and felt like I suddenly had another that needed me to buoy him up. I saw myself writing forever, in other words no retirement. He worried about when he couldn’t physically do his job any longer. Where he saw his life after retirement was not where I saw my future. I saw this, even when we were in the relationship. He did not.

In retrospect, I realized he never met any of my friends. Yet, he thought I should meet his. He spent some time at my home but when push came to shove, I was the one who would pack up for a week and stay at his apartment. I made friends where he lived.

I truly see those months as a learning experience. I let myself become isolated by doing what he suggested. I was, as my friend noted, not upset to be on my own again. There are definitely parts of being in a relationship I miss but I’m taking the experience, learning from it and moving on.

MealEnders – A Product Review

Through my association with FitApproach, I received four packages of Mealenders to sample and review. All opinions are my own. Item for giveaway is provided by Mealenders directly. Due to overwhelming response, the earliest winner shipments will go out is mid-April.

I’m not one for the easy way out on how to lose weight. I know the basics. Do I really need a dietician – this was years ago – to tell me eat less, move more? My guess is no. What I needed then, and probably we all need every now and then, is how to eat less.

There is always the shear willpower of eating less. I am not one to enjoy deprivation, though. I exercise and run so I can eat and drink within reason. I do it for other reasons, too, but these two are pretty high on the reason list. I also believe that the more we hold something back from ourselves – whether food, friends, drink, sex – the more we want that exact thing.

Enter MealEnders.

Let’s start with what MealEnders are. They are low calorie and low fat. They are gluten free and kosher. They do NOT contain herbs, added stimulants or drugs. MealEnders are signaling lozenges that help you avoid overeating. They work with the body’s natural hunger and fullness signaling process.

MealEnders

MealEnders

The actual lozenge is about the size of a jelly bean, not Jelly Bellys as they tend to be small but the kind you find with a store brand on them. The outer layer is sweet, like a desert. My favorite of the four flavors – chocolate mint, cinnamon, citrus, and mocha – is a toss up. I’m torn between cinnamon and mocha. I love the spice cinnamon and tend to easily double, if not triple, it in any recipe I make utilizing it. On the other coffee and chocolate, or mocha, has my two favorite things combined. None of the lozenges taste funny so I probably should just not play favorites. The inner layer, or center, engages the nerve that senses taste to cue the end of eating and clear the palate.

I have found MealEnders to be particularly useful in avoiding late night snacks and in helping cut down on return trips to the meal dishes – in other words, second or even third helpings. The hardest thing I found with the lozenge is to not bite it. Like with that famous candy the Tootsie Pop, I want to bite it for no other reason than because it says to not do it.  It takes me approximately 15 minutes to dissolve one lozenge in my mouth. It takes the brain 20 minutes to know you are full.

I’ve been using MealEnders on a sort of hit and miss basis – I forgot to pack any when I went on my trip to Asheville – for about five weeks now. While I am not seeing huge weight loss – and honestly, I did not expect to see weight loss, I am seeing more leftovers in my fridge. This would be the lack of a second helping.

MealEnders would like to give one lucky reader a chance to try all four varieties. As I indicated previously, these items will ship directly from the company and will not ship before mid-April. To enter, please leave a comment below on what your biggest eating challenge is. For additional entries, follow MealEnders on Twitter and follow me on Twitter. You just need to leave an additional comment for each of these. Please leave your twitter name also.

 

Asheville Half Marathon – Race Recap

It’s Wednesday. The race was Sunday. I feel like I am already behind on a recap but today is my last recovery day. Probably not totally necessary as I had barely trained for this race so why should I recover.

In a complete opposite from last year, the weather preceding race day is not spectacular. Friday was rainy and cool. I spent a good portion of the day touring the Biltmore Estate and will tell y’all more about that in the future. Saturday, while warmer, was also rainy. Things were looking good for race day. Sun and warm – a relative term but it was 28F when I left home Thursday – temps.

Welcome!

Welcome!

Saturday was spent totally on expo items. I had signed up to work transportation from 1-5 but as I got over to the DoubleTree at 10:30, I helped out where needed until the lines died down so I could pick up my bib and get my other goodies.

Lines for bib pickup

Lines for bib pickup

I love this race. The swag you get prior to the race is impressive. I am a huge buff fan since getting my first ever at last year’s race in Asheville. I also use my gloves from this race all the time, both in running and in shoveling – an activity I have done way too much of in the past six weeks. This year’s race shirt will also get a lot of use. I tend to wear either singlet type shirts or long sleeve. Somehow I seldom think the temp is right for short sleeves.

Long sleeve shirt, gloves and buff

Long sleeve shirt, gloves and buff

 

Race day dawned beautifully. As we started at 7:30 am, the sunrise colored the sky a beautiful pink but I was sure I would not need a photo of the sunrise, plus people were really moving at the start so I didn’t want to try to get to an edge to take a photo.

The first half of the race is a lot of uphill. Like childbirth, I believe I forget hills quickly. I do love to run some hills but on occasion would like a downhill race. Do not ask how we get the downhill without the up but just once.  The first part of the half is also run with the full marathoners for it is a bit crowded in spots. I really missed not hearing Danny Dreyer of Chi Running talk about the course. I was volunteering when he gave his presentation about the course. I know I’ve run it before but a lot has gone on between last March and now.

The race is run entirely on the Biltmore Estate. On top of the scenic, forested estate, runners run directly in front of the house.

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Then, runners head towards the pond and then the gardens. Eventually we get off pavement and onto a less hard surface. I have to admit being ill-prepared for this race made my feet very happy with the non-asphalt roads we got on in the second half of the race. Even with all the rain on Friday and Saturday, nothing was as muddy as last year when it rained all of race day.

I love bamboo so am intrigued by all of it I see along the roads of the Estate.

Bamboo

There is a little out and back at approximately mile 11. This got a bit crowded as a lot of people had to be on it at once.

Turnaround!

Turnaround!

After the turnaround, half marathoners have about a mile, maybe a little more, to go. Full runners have about six and a half to go. Even though it was a gorgeous day, I had sweat a lot and was very happy to have a fleece blanket put around me at the finish. I also am in love with the medal.

Fleece Blanket and Wood Medal

Fleece Blanket and Wood Medal

I love this race and want to let you all know that changes are coming next year. The half will be on Saturday and the full on Sunday. For those of you looking for a challenge, go visit AshevilleMarathon.com and sign up now. Prices will not get cheaper. Please feel free to use me as a referral.

What was your most recent race? Distance? How did you run? Have you ever considered running Asheville?

#TAMRTour

I know! You’ve had enough of hashtags. Why did I put one in my title?

Last night I took the 75-80 mile drive up Interstate 81 to Syracuse to catch the second stop on the Tales from Another Mother Runner book tour. This is much better than the trip to Albany in May of 2013 to meet the authors and leaders of the Mother Runner tribe, Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea. Top that off with a March day that was perfect for driving – at least on the way there as it rained on the way home – and I was so happy to be on the road.

Couldn't wait and ran out and bought this the day after it was available.

Couldn’t wait and ran out and bought this the day after it was available.

Add to my excitement about seeing Dimity and Sarah again the fact that I was going to get to meet Adrienne Martini who writes on the AnotherMotherRunner.com website and Renee from Bendifulblog.com. You all have to know Renee and I first met virtually a little over three years ago when my mother order a watch off her site for me for Christmas. Next in the virtual meetings was my daughter winning tickets to a country concert from a company for which Renee was doing  social media. We just never seemed to connect in person even though we live less than a hundred miles apart.

Dimity and Sarah

Dimity and Sarah

The book tour included a scavenger hunt to get a free bumper sticker. There was also all kinds of Another Mother Runner merchandise available for purchase. Probably the best part of the evening was hearing Dimity and Sarah read from the third book along with Adrienne reading her contribution to the book. Let’s not forget giveaways. Upon entering everyone received a raffle ticket. Sponsors of Sarah and Dimity’s website had products that were given away. As if that were not enough, swag bags were the cherry on this mother sundae.

Swag brought home in the Swag Bag

Swag brought home in the Swag Bag

 

 

Race Week

Race week is here! I have a few races coming up in the next six weeks. Two are out of town and those races tend to stress me out as I do not own a car but I have been known to take a Greyhound bus to a race so no car is not a deal breaker.

This week I am traveling to Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is one of my favorite cities. I loved my first trip there, last March, and am looking forward to seeing friends in the area while I am down there. I have a dear friend who’s second marriage included me doing a reading that now lives in Asheville. I have let her know that I am going to be in town and hope we can connect this year.

I have also been speaking with an author about a virtual assistant need she has. This person lives in Asheville and we may possibly meet while I am in town, also. All in all, it is going to be a busy trip culminating in a half marathon on Sunday.

Wondering about things to do in Asheville? Here are a couple of posts on things I did last year.

Hiking and the Blue Ridge Parkway

Last Year’s Race Recap

I also spent a good part of Friday evening last year in downtown Asheville. I visited several breweries and had a great dinner at Pack’s. I am hoping to get time for some of the same this year.

Downtown Asheville

Downtown Asheville