South Jersey Belle

It's all about the attitude.


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Sweet Treats in San Francisco

This past Memorial Day weekend was spent with Jared in San Francisco. This is one of my favorite cities on the West Coast. It doesn’t matter how many times I visit I always enjoy my time there. This visit included new stops and some old favorites. Jared has shared about our first brewery stop at Southern Pacific Brewery.

Saturday am, our first stop was at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, that can be found in the Nob Hill area. I had done some research and learned that the bakehouse opens at 8am and there is usually a line before the door opens. This is true! We waited at the door and the crowd seemed to gather. We chatted with a local that comes daily to pick 12 fresh pastries for his coffee shop. Mr. Holmes has become famous over his cruffin, a mix between the croissant and muffin, but these require standing in a different line and they are not served until 9am.

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I got baked in San Francisco. So many pastries. We picked four different treats to try. The churro croissant, blue cheese bacon danish, monkey bread, and one of the donuts of the day that had pineapple filling. Mr. Holmes is take out only so we gathered our pastries and took them back to the hotel room. Delish! I should mention, once they sell out the shop closes for the day.

IMG_7677.jpgMy favorite coffee of all time is Blue Bottle Coffee, which has head quarters in Oaklyn. A previous boss told me to check it out on my first visit to San Francisco and it was love at first sip! Even though Blue Bottle Coffee locations are growing this is a special treat for me in California. The long distance love affair continues as bringing the freshly roasted beans home to grind take me back to the West Coast every time I make a cup.

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Finally, one treat that isn’t actually food, a stop at the Timbuk2 factory outlet store! Timbuk2 bags are made in San Fran, established by a former bike messenger. All bags are backed with a lifetime warranty, this bag will probably outlive me!

Take me back to the city by the bay.

xo

Leann

 


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Blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family. 

I had a story I wanted to share on the blog, but I didn’t know how to spin it or how I was going to include my father. After this weekend I’m glad I waited and I am able to share these two seperate stories as one that allows me to tell you about my family.

As I child I was pretty active playing soccer year round. I wasn’t the star on the team, but I could hold my own. Eventually my Dad became my soccer coach as the town needed someone to volunteer their time. Everyone thinks at first it will be cool to have their parent as their coach- think again kids. He was extra hard on me because I was his kid. I can still remember a time where I hurt my ankle and I played the entire rest of the half until he was convinced I was actually hurt. My Father by no means is the athletic guy. 405718_10100569194795943_395316907_nI just learned he quit his high school football team even though he probabaly would have been great because his size and stature. Soccer gave my Father and I something to bond over and fight about all in the same. When I eventually burned out on playing soccer I gave field hockey a try, something I enjoyed, but eventually learned that my heart wasn’t in it.  I had been playing soccer since I was 5 years old! In my junior year I decided I would go back to playing soccer, but only problem was my high school did not have a girls team! The team allowed girls to try out if you could keep up! So the summer before my junior year I enlisted the help of my mom who has always been active and athletic. Long story short I made the team and both my parents were very supportive, never doubting my abilities or choice to join the boys soccer team.

Fast forward, over a decade later. A newspaper reporter reaches out to my mom and I. About what you ask? Our progression from running races together- 5ks to half marathons to marathons and now our biggest challenge a triathlon. You can read the full article here.  The completed article appeared on the cover of the Courier Post on Mother’s Day!

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My Mother and I have always had a strong relationship. She’s been my best friend and number one supporter from the beginning. We still have that amazing bond, but it’s gotten stronger and we challenge each other to push out of our comfort levels.  I don’t believe my Mom thought I would push myself and her to the ideas we have now of training for a half ironman which covers 70.3 miles between swimming, biking, and running. The thing is I’ve seen our progression from self training and it’s been amazing. This is the first year we have enlisted the help of coaches to take us to the next level. So proud of you Mom. Thanks  for never telling me goals were crazy or out of reach. You have always told me if I want it bad enough then I have to work for it because it’s not going to be easy.

Just this weekend we were out to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. He’s one of those guys who will never tell you what he wants and really doesn’t need another shirt. It dawned on me we still have not been to see the Philadelphia Union ( Philly’s own MLS team). My Dad is far removed from his side line coaching days, but this game is something that brought us together. As we cheered on the Union who brought home a win Saturday night-we booed the Rapids and gladly cheered when the referee threw yellow and red cards at the opposing team.

There was an awesome energy in the newly and specially built stadium for the Union as the challenge for Philly to get a major league soccer team was a struggle. The Sons of Ben (SOBs) fought for this team long before they were even a thought. The story and Netflix documentary captured my interest if you have the time check it out.

Both my Mom and Dad although have very different styles of encouragement have been there for me. Each supportive in their own way and challenge me on a daily basis to be a better me.

Whoever may be there for you at the end of the day make sure you recognize it.

Xo

Leann

 


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Jobs Fill Your Pocket. Travel Fills Your Soul. 

Traveling for a living is amazing, but sometimes you come to realize you are missing the treasures that are in your own backyard. Growing up in South Jersey my family would take me to the Jersey shore during the summer months. The thing about the Jersey shore; there are so many little towns to visit! Everyone has their favorites for one reason or another. Most of our visits ranged from Wildwood, Ocean City, or Cape May. Now or then my family would chose another area to explore, but not often, you mostly kept to what you knew. It could not have been better timing on Jared’s part to say, lets take a trip to LBI (Long Beach Island). The weather in the city was going to be in the 90’s so on the island it was in the 70’s. Perfect.

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For once I felt like a tourist in my own state because I’m not that familiar with LBI. Long Beach Island can be highly associated with the original location of Ron Jon Surf Shop that opened in 1961! Or in more recent news the when Hurricane Sandy damaged large portions of the island in 2012. The island is separated into six different municipalities.

img_6241We stayed at the Surf City Hotel, which just had some major renovations. The location was perfect as we could walk to the beach, with an entrance on the same block. The second day we grabbed some food at the restaurant bar. The happy hour prices are great. We shared some clam steamers and a pizza or what they refer to as bar pie. img_6216

 

 

 

 

Lunch was Surf Taco. I had heard many great things about this place so I was thrilled to try it out myself. Who doesn’t love tacos? This place does not disappoint, an endless list of types of tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. You can’t go wrong and its BYOB. img_6164

Looking for local attractions, stop by the Barnegat Light House, you can climb all 217 steps if you wish to reach the top!

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For dinner we checked out Northside Bar & Grille. Wednesday night was trivia which we did not take part in, but seemed to draw a large crowd. I had a chicken italiano sandwich and he had the cheeseburger which uses meat from the local butcher-Okies.

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For breakfast- The Chicken or the Egg (or better referred to as chegg), in Beach Haven which was seen on Man vs. Food. The menu has a mix of classic and unique items. I had the Goshdarnwich, one egg, bacon & cheese between two slices of thick french toast, served with a side of maple syrup, served with home fries. Amazing!!!!! What a treat!img_6181

I picked up a bag of coffee from How You Brewin?, a local coffee company in Surf City. Since I had coffee with breakfast I didn’t have a cup there, but just decided to take the LBI blend of beans home to try.

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This island has such a relaxed and welcoming vibe. I’m sure as soon as the summer officially begins the tourists will swarm down. Jared did a nice job of showing me some of his favorite places around the island and what beautiful place it really is. What a great local place for a getaway!

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“Done laid around, done stayed around this old town too long and it seems like I’ve got to travel on” -Bob Dylan

xo

Leann


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When the Tough Gets Going…

I start cooking. When I’m frustrated like the other day I tend to either workout, cook, or both. I happened to try out 3 recipes from the book Eat Slow Run Fast. img_6009This book full of recipes focusing on eating healthy and properly fueling for an active lifestyle specifically running. The two women that wrote this book focus on eating organic, natural, whole, healthy, and less processed foods. They do explain that yes this does tend to cost more, but leads your body to feeling better. Sometimes we need to slow down our busy lifestyles and cook good wholesome meals. These meals, snacks, and sauces can also be prepped for future meals and reheated later. Thus far I can highly recommend this book!

 

The first recipe I tried out was the whole fruit juice drink- Grapefruit Carrot Berry. I have a vitamix, but I’m sure any full powered blender or juicer may do the job. The juice was very refreshing and filling. The drink contains coconut water, ginger, carrots, grapefruit, and a handful of berries (your choice of strawberries or blueberries).


Next was the superhero muffins, suggested as morning fuel on the go or something great to snack on during a long run. This muffin is delicious, but it seriously has a ton of ingredients. Just to ramble off a few-zucchini, carrot, almond flour, oats, rasins, walnuts, and it’s held together with maple syrup, eggs, and butter! They cooked up beautifully. I put half the batch in the freezer to have later in the month.


Lastly was the simple marinara! I’m half Italian and I don’t make my own sauce. What a shame right! I make a lot of different Italian dishes but I’ve never really attempted sauce or as some call it gravy! Finally this recipe seemed simple enough for even me to try and led me to be pleasantly surprised.

Here’s the recipe:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole or diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, if you like spice)
Handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, garlic, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft but not brown, about 8 minutes.

Add the tomatoes (along with their juices), oregano, black pepper, and pepper flakes (if using). If the tomatoes are whole, break them up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered, until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour 30 minutes for a thicker, richer sauce.

Leave the sauce chunky or blend with an immersion (stick) blender until smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Just before serving, stir in the basil (if using)

I do tend to like a spicier Fra Divalo type sauce so I did add the red pepper flakes and it gave it nice kick. I used diced tomatoes and the sauce does come out on the chunkier side  so depending on what type of pasta you are using I would use an immersion stick to thin it out some.

Buon appetito! Enjoy!

xo

Leann

 


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Women’s Rights in the Grocery Store

I don’t even know where to start. I have a mix of emotions ranging from anger, frustration, and even sadness. The role of the women is so ascrewed anymore. And who is to blame for that? Women are supposed to feel empowered in today’s day and age and yet here I am ranting because of what should have been a simple trip to the grocery store this morning.

Cutting to the chase I went to pick up a few items from the grocery store. Two men saw me in the aisle and starting making comments ranging from hello to you are the most beautiful girl in the world. I laughed it off and continued my shopping quickly moving past them and into the next aisle. Not even five minutes later here they come again this time the one man is much more vocal about me giving him my phone number and grabs my arm. I quickly pull back and push my cart to the opposite side of the store as rapidly as I can. Remember this is broad daylight in the public grocery store.  My shopping trip here is over and I head directly to the check out.

I vent to some friends as I’m shaken up about the ordeal and one friend tells me I should wear less make up and a baseball hat. First off I was wearing gym clothes and no make up. And second off if I was wearing make up why do I have to hide myself doing basic daily errands. Why as a society does it seem we are regressing allowing women to become second class citizens? If I was to approach either of those men in the way I was approached it would be totally uncalled for, so what made it acceptable in their eyes for the way they approached me?

Some may read this thinking I’m taking it over the top, but really is it when you are trying to grocery shop in workout clothes at 10 am? The issue is rooted much deeper and I have no idea how to solve it.

Overly annoyed and frustrated.

Xo

Leann


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Broad Street Run

Warning-Some may find this blog post extremely annoying, stuck up, or down right vain. If you can not appreciate other’s opinions I urge you not to read the rest of this post.

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So I finally caved and ran the Broad Street Run. I’ve never had the desire to run this race for several reasons. I’ve run Philly in half marathons and marathons, what was the big deal about running a 10 miler through Philly? I didn’t see what the draw was, the largest 10 miler in the United States, but there isn’t a whole lot to see during the race-running straight down Broad Street. Everyone who never runs enters this ballot, yes you heard me correct, you have to enter a ballot for this race. Yes there are elite and top runners that do take part in this race, but for the most part I feel like there are so many people that never have run that decide to run this race. They may decide to give training a go and try to get some milage under their belt before its go time, but after the run, their training stops and they go back to their normal every day routine. There are people I know that actually only run this race and barely train for it and don’t start running again until the race comes up again next year. This is absurd to me. Are honestly looking to hurt yourself?

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So I figured I really needed to experience this for myself. I’ve run several half marathons in Philly, the Philadelphia Marathon, Hot Chocolate 15k, a 5k for the Philly Zoo, and of course I have my own favorite paths around the city I like to run. So a few months back I entered a ballot with my Mom and when the time came we did get selected. (Does anyone get denied, few and far in between) I had run a few races before this and I was in training mode for my triathlon until my injury. The doctor cleared me for a light jog, so I decided I would still attempt this race, but more as a fun run to get my milage back up and spend time with my training partner-my mom.

img_5724The morning of the race the Broad Street line (the subway line) is free. This 10 miler is a point to point race so you start and finish in different places. I know you have all seen videos of how crowded subway cars look in different countries and people just push their way on. This is exactly how it is for this race. At first is was kind of fun and I had a few laughs, about 15 stops later I wasn’t exactly laughing, but ready for the heard of people to slowing push out of the subway car.

After arriving at the start point, back above ground, it was complete chaos. The corrals were separated by colors, but not well marked so we decided to just slip in where there was an open space. The race was set to start at 8am, but I didn’t even start running until 8:30. I thought that was a really long time to wait and I was ready to get moving. Once the race started, it was hard to get pacing img_5732because the streets were so jammed pack so there was a lot of zig zagging around people. Broad Street runs straight through Temple University (my alma mater) so I did enjoy running thru campus and seeing all the new improvements. After finally reaching the 10 mile finish, it was unclear which spot was specifically the finish line. There was a timing mat prior to the finish line. According to my Garmin Forerunner 235, that first timing mat was the finish and crossing the finish line was .05 after which did not track anything.

So now we are done running and pushed through tents that allow runners to pick up a bag of treats and then at the end get handed their medal. Gear bags were checked on to buses, buses were assigned numbers and you the runner wore a wrist band that matched the number on your bag. After walking down rows of buses I found the one I was looking for and climbed aboard to search for my things. Side note-I highly dislike buses. How unsafe was is no one was checking that the bag I took was actually mine. Runners could then filter through another line to a field where I think pictures were being taken and other snacks were being handed out? It was such a crazy crowd I just could really care less about it. We then had to take another bus that would drop all the runners off at the end of the Broad Street line subway stop to make your way home or to where ever you were headed. It just felt so unorganized. I’ve run many races at Disney World where there are equally large crowds if not more and the organization is so much better. img_5802

Overall, I had a great time with my Mom. The weather wasn’t to bad, it could have been a little warmer, but that doesn’t matter. I have to say I was really happy I was able to run with minor pain. I did feel it today and my ankle is still swollen. Even though I ran this race for myself, more of way to test my abilities with minor training to see if I was ready for a comeback I am still slightly disappointed with my time. I am trying not to think about it and just to think of the positives that my ankle is healing and I will be training at full speed in the near future.

Just keep running!

xo

Leann


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Pre Race Jitters

I have to be completely honest with you. I usually never get pre race jitters. I am either really excited or anxious to start a race because I’m focused. I know I have trained and I will give each race everything I’ve got. This time is completely different. This is my start of a come back from a injury that has kept me out of work for almost a month. I keep telling myself this run is for me and this is just the start of my comeback.

Tomorrow I will attempt to jog ten miles. The most I have ran/jogged since my injury has been a mile and a half. The distance I’m not so concerned about, but how my ankle will hold up does have me nervous. I’m not only thinking about myself, but the road conditions, the surrounding crowd of runners, and how aware and in tune to myself I honestly need to be. Last weekend I was cleared to ride my bike again. I had planned a metric century, but because this was my first ride post injury I was only able to complete 40 of those miles before pain set in. Even though I was happy to be on my bike once again, it as made me even more determined for what my future rides and racing times should be.74974722159b748e447fdb882090e699

Last weekend’s bike ride has given me hope that I will be able to complete this ten miler. I’m going into this race with a completely different approach and attitude. When I run, its always me trying to beat my previous time, race the best that I can and finish strong. This time, this race is for fun, its for me to prove to myself my true potential. I’m not worried about what time I finish in, it’s about completing this race and finding the joy and passion running gives me that I have been missing. I have whined and complained to my family and friends this past month about how much I miss running and I can’t wait to start running again. Well, slow and steady for the comeback, because this is going to be an awesome start to my new goals I will share with everyone in the (near) future.

I’m going to enjoy this run one mile at a time!

xo

Leann