Voting, Zoofari and Articulate

Last Wednesday, I voted.

I’m so proud of myself. I only remember voting once via absentee ballotΒ  while I was in college, but that’s it. I’ve never actually gone and voted in person. It’s a simple act, but it was exciting. I’m such a hands on person…getting a ballot, hovering over it in the little booth and sliding it through the slot made it so much more real to me.

When I was 18 I was happy to be able to vote…my first mark of my adult freedom. At 21, I didn’t vote…it was “too much trouble” to get an absentee ballot so I just crossed my fingers instead. At 26, I had a “why vote?” attitude. I’ve never been one for politics and because of this I’ve never had my finger on the pulse of what was going on government wise…locally or nationally. I’m not proud of this…it’s just a fact. And because I didn’t know much about what was going on I felt silly for voting. How could I vote for people I had never heard of or for amendments I didn’t understand. I have a co-worker/friend/mentor at work who started getting on my case about this. She urged me to register to vote. And as time went on I started paying closer attention to what was going on. My choice for president was clear to me, but other local votes were confusing to me, but I found out who these people were, what they stood for and voted accordingly. And thank goodness there are sites that explain the amendments!

I feel even sillier now for thinking that voting is silly. There should be no excuse not to vote. If you don’t know the candidates, do your research. Simple as that. Ask like-minded friends who might know more about politics than you do, about what’s going on. And especially if you’re a woman. We fought for our right to vote…it’s a slap in the face to the woman before us if we do not vote.

So I hope you all have your choices ready for tomorrow, if you haven’t voted already!

Ok, end soap box speech πŸ™‚

Thursday, I went to the St. Petersburg Young Professional’s Fall Bash. It was a chance for the council to get together, mingle and network. It was at Push downtown, which I’m not usually a fan of, but it was closed off for our group and was actually a nice setting. I ran into some old friends (including some Eckerd alums!) and met some new people. It was a great time!

Saturday, Jon and I went to Zoofari at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. I’m an Elite member on Yelp and won 2 free tickets through a contest they did! I was even more excited that Jon had Saturday off so he could join me πŸ™‚

We’ve never been to Lowry Park before and we definitely want to come back sometime so we can see the animals. There were supposed to be “animal ambassadors” at the entrance, but I didn’t see any 😦

This. event. is. huge. There were so many people and different things to see we were a little overwhelmed at first. We got a drink first and then walked around some to get the lay of the land. There were tons of food vendors, but also tons of lines. Eventually, we noticed that one section had vendors in a circle and there was a continuous line just going around the circle of vendors. So we hoped in line and rode on the “carousel of food” as we called it.

Some highlights were the cuban sandwich stuffed pork tenderloin from Yacht Starship Dining Cruise (inventive and delicious) and the meat from Texas de Brazil (really want to go there now!) There was a whole dessert section as well, where we got the ultimate sugar high. I have to say right now. Look up Blondie’s Cookies right now and plan on going to a store or order some cookies online. They are to DIE for. So so so delicious! We tried a kind of cookie bar, which Jon went gaga over, and a sugar cookie with buttercream icing. I’ll be dreaming about those cookies. Seasons 52 was also there and we shared 3 (yes, 3) of their mini desserts. Then I spotted Yogurtology, which was perfect since I thought their fruity flavor would be a great palate cleanser.

Sorry for the lack of photos…it was pretty dark throughout the festival since it was outside. And I always seemed to be juggling a cup and plate, plus my clutch…adding a phone in there would have been impossible. I can’t for the day that all food festival events get a supply of these. They may be more expensive, but so much more efficient for guests. Plus, MUCH less waste!

Besides the abundance of lines (which can’t really be helped) Zoofari was a pretty awesome event and I’m so glad to have been able to go. Thanks Yelp!

Sunday, us Articulate bloggers got together for a meetup at Moon Under Water. I enjoyed a glass of wine, pierogies (yum!) and listening to the other art filled minds at the table. There are really some fantastic minds within our group. Everyone is so knowledgeable and passionate about the arts, it kind of blows my mind. If you haven’t checked out the site yet, do it!

It’s going to be a pretty boring week here, but I plan on updating you all on some recent recipes I’ve tried soon!

What’s your favorite food festival to go to where you live?

Race for the Cure 10k

I ran my first 10k this weekend!

My friend Karen forms a team each year for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Her nickname is Blondie so her team name is Blondie’s Boobies. Too cute. I thought this would be a great chance to get a 10k under my belt and help out a great cause!

For not being prepared it went so much better than I thought it would.

I started off following my 10k training schedule to a T. Then work got busy. Life got busy. Runs started to slip…especially the long ones. Eventually I came to the realization that I was not going to be fully prepared for this race, but to keep training as best I could the last few weeks.

Saturday morning came and thank goodness I’m some what of a light sleeper. I heard my phone vibrate and saw a text from Karen asking if I was close. Then I saw it was 6:30 a.m.! I had set my alarm for 6 a.m. with hopes of already being downtown at 6:30 a.m. I jolted awake, scarfed down some peanut butter on bread, downed some water, got dressed and was out of there in 15 minutes.

The traffic wasn’t as bad as I expected, but still backed up with people trying to park. Luckily, Karen reminded me of a parking garage close to Vinoy Park and it seemed like no else remembered it because it was practically empty. I speed walked to the team’s meeting point to say hello. After a few minutes the gun went off to start the 10k. We were right by the start line so we hopped a fence and brought up the rear πŸ™‚

My plan for the race was to just stay at a steady, comfortable pace. My ideal goals were to run the whole time and to do the race in an hour. But I was fine with not meeting those goals if I felt I couldn’t.

My average paces:

Mile 1 – 11:18

Mile 2 – 11:16

Mile 3 – 11:11

Mile 4 – 11:18

Mile 5 – 9:22

Mile 6 – 10:01

The first mile was a little rough. I was starting to wonder weather I could do the whole 6 miles. But I told myself the first mile is the worst. I was happy to be keeping around a 11 minute pace. My speed felt good and I started to feel really comfortable. This was actually my best run yet. I got in a zone and was just enjoying the course and people watching as I ran. I don’t know anyone who has or has had breast cancer, but seeing people who were wearing “In memory of” and “In celebration of” bibs inspired me to keep going and to finish strong.

I felt a surge of energy at mile 5 and picked up my pace, thinking I could hold it till the end. I ended up burning out towards the end some, but once I saw that finish line I went for it.

Time: 1:06:37

I’m pretty proud of my time. Not the hour I wanted, but I still thought I did pretty good for not being fully trained.

I grabbed some fruit and water and headed back to our team meeting spot to wait for the others who were doing the 5k. After congratulating them I headed home (with a stop for bagels on the way) to eat breakfast and to take a nap.

I eventually got up to meet up my friend Kyle at Folkfest.

Folkfest is an annual festival that acts as a fundraiser for Creative Clay. I’ve always wanted to go and have always missed it so I was glad to finally be able to check it out. It wasn’t as big as I thought it was going to be. There was music, some food and drink vendors and some art vendors. I was just expecting more art vendors. Kyle and I grabbed some refreshing sangria (it was HOT out) and walked around the different art booths. Some were really unique and there was one in particular that I really loved. The name is escaping me now, but the artist did found art, which I always find interesting. We listened to some of the music, but once our sangria ran out we decided to hit the road.

Sunday I tagged along with my friend Ashley to International Mall. I really need to make it up there more often. They finally put in a Gap, they seem to be revamping Forever 21 and they’re putting in a White House Black Market. Love it!

Later that night my mom and I went to American Stage for Hawk and Wayne’s improv show, which was very entertaining. Gavin Hawk, who is part of the two man show, was my theater professor at Eckerd so it was great to see him perform after such a long time.

More in depth blogs to come on Folkfest and Hawk and Wayne on my Articulate blog πŸ™‚

Have you ran a race lately or have one coming up?