Weekly Reading

pretty earth

Apparently, too many Christmas lights can screw up your wifi.

Zappos pulled an impressive PR stunt in a small New Hampshire town. They took a page out of Santa’s book and delivered nearly 2 thousand boxes in the middle of the night. Inside – boots, sweaters and other cold weather gear.

Here’s an invention that could make me into a morning person. An alarm clock that brews coffee right next to your bed.

I found these incredible fashion sketches made from flower petals on Tumblr the other day.

I’ve been searching for simple, pretty blouses to wear under cardigans and blazers for work. White Plum is my go-to right now. I just ordered this pleated blouse in emerald green.

GoldieBlox‘s latest ad is perfect.  “Fast Forward Girls 2015” spoofs Amy Schumer, Beyonce & Nicki Manj’s video, Misty Copeland and Hillary Clinton. My favorite part is the kid version of RBG eating cake in court. The company creates toys designed to encourage young girls to pursue STEM careers.

*image found here.


Subaru Thanksgiving Day 6K

I had been looking for a local race to sign up for when my friend Becca, of Chambray + Coffee, suggested the annual Subaru Thanksgiving Day Classic. I jumped at the chance to do something new this Turkey Day and registered weeks ahead of time. My favorite thing about this race is that organizers used packet pick-up as a canned food drive for local homeless shelters.

Thanks to Becca’s wisdom from running this race in previous years, we made sure to get to the race start extra early before police started shutting down roads. This year there was a record turnout with hundreds of people showing up to register Thanksgiving morning. A finisher medal was offered for the first time this year and I think that may have motivated more people to run.


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The on-site registration line was insane.

Walking up to the race area, Becca and I ran right into an old friend from high school. Jacksonville really is the biggest small town. After pinning our race bibs on and making a porta-potty pit stop, we  took  advantage of the finisher photo op spot before the race started.


We look nice because this was *before* the race.

I was surprised  by how close the 10-minute-per-mile pace flag was to the actual starting line. Fall in Florida is wildly unpredictable. One year the timing mats were frozen. The previous year, the temperatures were in the 80s. This year, it was nice and cool – at least until the sun got all the way up. After the national anthem and the gun, we were off!


The course is an entirely flat loop through the Mandarin area. After the first half a mile on a major road, we turned into a more residential area with lots of oak trees and hanging Spanish moss. I felt great and felt like I was going pretty fast – until a dad pushing a double stroller passed me.

I only stopped to walk at the one water station on the 6K course. A quarter mile before the finish line there were other runners who had finished that walked back onto the course to cheer on friends, so I really picked up the pace at the end.

As soon as I crossed the timing pads, I grabbed a water bottle and found the beautiful pile of bananas. The only time I ever crave a banana is after a race.


I was so happy to collect my medal and snag a picture of my race time. My watch read 9:28 minute-per-mile pace, but the official race results gave me a chip time of 9:16 minute-per-mile pace.


As soon as my friends and I found each other in the crowd, we headed home to shower and make our way to the annual block party at Pete’s Bar in Neptune Beach. It’s a great local tradition of mimosas, bloody marys and pilgrim costumes on Thanksgiving morning.

All in all – I loved adding this race to my holiday tradition and would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to gourge themselves on turkey guilt-free.





Gift Guide for Runners

Having trouble finding holiday gifts for your running buddies? Here’s a quick gift guide I put together.

Runner's Gift Guide

Nike Flash running tights – Perfect for early morning and after-work runs during daylight saving time. I saw these in action at the Nike store in San Francisco. They are so freaking cool. Seriously, check out the entire Nike Flash line.

Lululemon Free To Be Bra Wild – This bra won’t give you the support needed for a run, but it’s perfect for those recovery yoga classes. And it’s oh-so-pretty.

Feetures! Elite Ultra Light No Snow Tab Sock – I stocked up on these running socks a few months ago. They have great arch support and dry wick sweat away. They are a little expensive for socks but I haven’t had any blisters even on long runs with these on.

Athleta Go To Gym Bag – The perfect gym bag at an affordable price. This bag from Athleta fits a change of clothes, includes a shoe bag, yoga mat carrying strips and a removable bag for hot hair items, like a straightening iron.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen – The quintessential modern book on running. Former AP journalist Christopher McDougall learns the secret to running injury free and enjoying it from the Tarahumura Indians in Mexico. This is definitely on my reading list for the new year and would make a great gift to any runner.

Yurbuds Ironman Inspire PRO Performance Fit Sport Earphones – Earbuds that are  guaranteed to stay in your ear! Designed for athletes, it comes with music controls so you don’t have to fiddle with your arm strap or belt pouch to skip a song.

BibFolio and Medal Display – I stumbled across these bib and medal displays on Pinterest and love them! I save my unique themed bibs and have been looking for a neat way to display them along with my race medals and this is it. What’s the point of completing all those races if you can’t show off the hardware?

Personalized Race Map Print – I’m always looking for unique art prints for my walls. This artist creates custom race course prints with your name and finishing time. It’s a beautiful way to commemorate the major accomplishment of completing a full or half marathon.

I hope this list helps you cross items off your holiday shopping list!

Weekly Reading


Can you believe it’s the week of Thanksgiving?! Time flies.

I am in charge of bringing the booze to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. I plan to try out this Hot Toddy recipe.

REI is bucking the Black Friday tradition and keeping stores closed, paying their employees and urging everyone to get outside. Forbes breaks down why this move is perfectly on-brand. Side note: I am hoping to tackle this trail run on Friday but we’ll see how my legs feel after the 6K Turkey Trot.

Jimmy Fallon and The Roots help Adele give her single “Hello” the classroom-instrument treatment and it’s everything you ever wanted.

Female meteorologists all across the country are wearing the same dress and the internet is losing it. As a former news producer, I completely understand how this happens. On-air talent has a pretty strict dress code and females are criticized if they repeat outfits too often.

Newly uncovered footage shows how fit 1960’s California teens were thanks to rigorous PE curriculum. It’s part of a documentary that filmmakers hope will influence lawmakers to rethink PE classes across the county.

*image found here.

Weekly Reading

the helpers

*My favorite quote to remind us of the good in people when tragedies strike.

Missy Elliott is back. Thank the music gods.

Merlot-infused coffee beans. For when you want to wake up but still enjoy the flavors of red wine.

Career Contessa spells out what not to talk about at work.

And my girl crush Aliza Licht discusses if red lipstick is a career killer.

I bought this boy’s denim button down from Target, thinking I’d be Rosie the Riveter for Halloween. Now I’m rocking it as a light jacket.

Rocksbox sent me some House of Harlow jewelry this month. Now I’m obsessed with the designer and the geometric necklaces. (Use this code when you sign up: monicabff176 and earn free jewelry.)

Book Club: Yes Please

Amy Poehler is my girl. I’ve loved her since her years on SNL. Parks and Rec is my favorite show. I have refused to watch the final season because my heart can’t accept the fact that it’s actually over. Her relationship with Tina Fey reminds me of my very best friend. So when I went through a break-up and dropped more than $100 at the bookstore, in my non-traditional version of retail therapy, it made sense to pick up “Yes Please”.

And I’m sad to report that her book just wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. Her storytelling is a little all over the place. She rehashes her childhood, working her way up in improv theatres in Chicago, joining the Upright Citizens Brigade, her years at SNL and getting to make a second family with the cast of Parks and Rec. Her memories are all sort of out of order, but in some ways it feels like she’s just talking to you and consistently going off on tangents.

Poehler claims from the prologue that she has no business writing a book and that it’s been the most difficult task she’s been given. This pretty much scares me away from writing a book – if a successful comedian, actor, mom, producer, screenwriter struggled with it, what hope do I have? She literally says “Am I done with this book yet?” every few chapters. To give her a reprieve from writing, Seth Myers takes over for a short chapter.

I did laugh out loud plenty of times and even cried at the end of a chapter. (Although, I would argue those tears were helped along by wine and a monthly surge of hormones.) She gives mostly positive, heartwarming and light advice.

“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that- that’s what life is.”


“Change is the only constant. Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. See what I just did there? I saved you thousands of dollars on self-help books. If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier.”

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It gave me some chuckles before bed and I know a little more about one of my favorite comedians, but this is not on my “books-to-push-onto-friends-so-I-have-an-excuse-to-talk-to-them-about-it” list.

It’s almost time for a trip to the library for more books. Any suggestions?

Sweater Dresses Under $100

Sweater dresses are my favorite fall wardrobe staple. Throw one on with some cute booties or simple heels and a long necklace and you’re out the door! Since it still feels like summer in Florida, I’m pining for new sweater dresses. Here’s what I found under $100:

I always check Anthropologie’s sale section when I’m hunting for a new dress. My all-time favorite business dress is from their sale racks. This bright sweater tunic would look great with brown tights and riding boots or over slim leggings.

Ann Taylor is my go-to for staples that can transition easily from the office to dinner and drinks with friends. This sleeveless sweater dress is perfect for layering AND it’s an extra 50% off at checkout.  They also carry it in a neutral heather grey and black.

I like this affordable maroon cable knit sweater dress from Old Navy. They also carry it in a pretty marled oatmeal that feels more casual and cozy.


This J.Crew Factory boat neck sweater dress is a blank canvas to layer scarves and coats on top of this winter.

Where’s your favorite sweater dress from?

Weekly Reading

teaforblog_*In an effort to push myself, I’m taking part in a creative challenge! This is just one piece of my original hand lettering for the monthly challenge. Check it out here.

The New Yorker takes a look at the rise of school shootings using a socialogy theory on riots to explain how today’s school shooter is less radical than those of the late 90’s. Terrifying stuff.

Glamour is slaying lately with incredible interviews of real role models for women. Sarah Silverman opens up on her struggle with depression. The line that hit home for me: “Like my mom always said, you just have to be brave enough to exist through it.”

Think your apartment is too small? A Google software engineer got tired of paying through the nose for a Bay area apartment he was rarely enjoying and is now living out of a box truck. 

They finally made a taco emoji!! Did you know there is an entire organization that decides what emojis get approved to work across all devices? NPR explains.

I found the best app for all the introverted extroverts out there. Avoid Humans lets you see which nearby restaurants and cafes are noisy and crowded – and which are peacefully empty. I can’t wait to use this on my next lazy afternoon of writing.

Book Club: The Girl On The Train

I’ve been reading every night before bed to unwind and am working my way through the stack of books I bought mid-summer. Well, I tore through Paula Hawkin’s “Girl On The Train”. I’ve loaned my hardback copy out to two coworkers who both finished it within a week of starting. It’s one of those stories that really sinks it’s teeth into you and forces you to stay awake until 3 a.m. to find out what happens next.

The book begins innocently with a young woman’s commute into London on the train and evolves into a Rear Window meets Gone Girl psychological thriller. The story is told from the first person perspective of three different women whose lives become intertwined during a murder investigation. I thought I had the plot figured out three different times and was still shocked with what happens in the final few chapters.

Next on my list is “Yes Please” by Amy Poehler. What’s on your reading list?

November Bucket List

Can you believe it’s already November?! It’s finally starting to feel a little bit like fall  still in the upper 80s and humid in Northeast Florida. I can’t wait for the temperatures to dip so I can break out my leather riding boots. Hopefully we’ll get to feel the season some so I can cross some things off my November Bucket List!

november bucket list

What’s on your bucket list for the season?