Monday, July 25, 2016

In Which Jenn Makes Her 2016 Food & Wine Festival To-Eat List

And now for my favorite post of the year: my Epcot Food & Wine Festival To-Eat List. The booth menus were released while I was on vacation, but you can bet I jumped right on them the second I got back, assembling my High Priority snacking list.

... Where I discovered that I have become one of Those People: the Food & Wine Festival Regulars Who Complain When Things CHANGE. Because why do things change???

It's cool, though; while I may mourn the passing of some of my personal favorites, I'm sure a wonder of new culinary masterpieces await me. And who knows - resurrection may be just a year away!

Now, without further ado, I give you my 2016 Food & Wine Festival To-Eat List.

Key: + means I ate it last year and liked it enough to add it to the list again. - means it was on the list last year but I never got around to trying it.

AfricaButtered chicken with micro cilantro and naanDunno about the rest, but I LOVE naan.
AfricaJam Jar sweet ShirazSweet shiraz…?
BrazilPao de queijo+I just can't quit it.
CanadaCheddar cheese soup with a pretzel roll-W/ the pretzel roll, I may just actually get it.
The ChewRicotta and zucchini ravioli
The ChewPeanut butter and white chocolate mousse
ChinaRoasted duck in a steamed bun+
ChinaRitzy Lychee with cognac and vodka-Happy Lychee under a new name, right?
Chocolate StudioYes thank you I'll take itALL THE CHOCOLATE
Craft BeersShipyard Midnight Snack Milk Stout
Desserts & ChampagneChampagne+Where are the desserts? Did I miss that bit?
Farm FreshChicken and dumplings
Farm FreshLoaded mac'n cheese+
Farm FreshAll those fruity alcoholsCider!
FranceCroissant aux escargots-
GreeceGreek yogurt vanilla cake soaked in ouzo
HawaiiSparkling pineapple wineBUBBLES
Hops & BarleyCarrot cakePending the frosting situation; I want LOTS.
Islands of the CaribbeanQuesitoSweetened cream cheese!
JapanSpicy sushi roll+
MexicoFlan de chocolate abuelita
MoroccoSpicy hummus friesFries… made of hummus?
New ZealandSeared venison loinB/c I never remember what it tastes like.
ScotlandPotato pancake with smoked salmon+
ScotlandThe Tipsy LairdWhiskey cake!

Now, onward to Wine & Dine Half Weekend! Will you be there? What are you itching to get your mouth around?!*

* That's what she said.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Happy Friday: All Right, Time To Show 'Em Your Man Walk

You must be swift as a coursing river
With all the force of a great typhoon
With all the strength of a raging fire
Mysterious as the dark side of *breath* THE MOOOOOOOOON

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Favorite Photos: Walt Disney World, 2008 - 2012

Now we come to the most exciting portion of my Disney photo album audit (previously: First Photos and Last Photos). This time around I'm picking out my favorite photo from each collection - and as you might imagine, it was tough! Sometimes a pic would jump out at me; other times I had to really think and compare. Since the selection was subjective, I can't guarantee I would be the same choices a year - or, hell, even a day - later. (I've already changed my mind twice.) But here's what I decided upon this time around.

Apologies for the quality on these; being from the oldest trips, I don't know where the originals are anymore.

The year: 2008
The companion(s): Moon, Elizabeth, and mutual friend Megan
The title of the album: Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?
The why: This extremely sub-par, old-camera, bad-lighting photo was my desktop background for the longest time simply because it was a picture of the Magic Kingdom from the ferry and I took it myself. Such is the great power of nostalgia.

The year: 2008
The companion(s): Moon
The title of the album: Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning
The why: The spirit of Norvay has alvays been and vill alvways be adventure.

The year: 2009
The companion(s): Unofficial Guide people
The title of the album: Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas
The why: To me, this moment - where Donald Duck grabbed a random lady from the crowd and danced with her to the sound of a live, authentic mariachi band - is what WDW is all about.

The year: 2009
The companion(s): My grad school friend Diana and her sisters
The title of the album: Practically perfect in every way
The why: Pre-parade balloon vendor under a setting sun - quintessential Disney.

The year: 2010
The companion(s): Elizabeth
The title of the album: it's a small world after all
The why: Jasper the porcupine was part of our best day at DAK ever.

The year: 2011
The companion(s): My ex-boyfriend
The title of the album: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
The why: Oh, God, guys. It was so hard to choose the best one. But eventually I landed on this shot, because Galahad an appointment to get to. (I really miss these guys.)

The year: 2012
The companion(s): Elizabeth
The title of the album: A magical kingdom with lots of witnesses and great security (yeah Burn Notice!)
The why: Oh, right! This was the year we were down for the WDW Marathon without meaning to be! (When will then be now? Soon!)

The year: 2012
The companion(s): Sometimes my cousin and his friend, sometimes random people, sometimes just myself!
The title of the album: There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
The why: Simple. Basic. Gives me the warm fuzzies.

2013-2016 are up next!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In Which Jenn Runs On The Boardwalk... FOREVER???

Now that we have my itchy, welt-y, icky rant out of the way, we can talk about the nice things that happened on vacation. And there were lots!

  • Hanging out on the beach and jumping over waves
  • Eating "Sweetest Fish" Italian ice because it's finally out of litigation
  • Playing with Pat's niece
  • Going to the Kite Loft toy store and admiring a stuffed penguin that Pat later surprised me with after the trip because he is vying for Best Boyfriend Ever 2016; please vote for him
  • Not being at work

And finally... going for all three of my planned runs! Luckily I got them in before my plague level rose to code red, and they were all pretty good. I knocked out three runs of five miles every other morning, along a route that by my estimation is as close as you can get to a treadmill in the real world: the Ocean City boardwalk. Straight, flat, and the wood ain't too rough on the joints. And the ocean breeze - and ocean views - are a niiiiiiiice touch. Plus, water fountains!

It was only super hot one morning, but as I made a point to be out of the sun and into the shower by 8:30am I didn't suffer too badly. What really boggles my mind is that I often saw people running on the boardwalk in the middle of the day. What are you trying to do, drop dead of heat exhaustion?

This is my favorite part, though. Remember way back during my first boardwalk run when I found the sign that told me I had to touch the spot or I wasn't finished, and also, I was immediately to turn around and do it again?

WELL. There's another such sign on the OTHER end of the boardwalk. How did I never notice that before?

What I love about this is that it creates a feedback loop. Even if I do touch the spot, I am instructed to repeat my run on both ends. Therefore if you begin running on the boardwalk, you can never stop. That's running the Rod Serling way!

That about wraps up this edition of Vacation Running. Check back in September when I take on: THE OUTER BANKS.

Do you run on vacation? How about at the beach? Do you do it in the middle of the day when it's 90 degrees? STOP THAT.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: Special Vacation Plague Edition

Warning: If you read this, there are a lot of shouty capital letters in your future.

Oh man, guys. Hello. I'm back.

From the beach, that is, and it was really good, because I was on vacation at the beach and that's always awesome. It was also really bad, because...

Well, let's start at the beginning. Important plot point: I am allergic to animal dander. I also have two cats because SCREW YOU, ALLERGIES, I LOVE ANIMALS WITH A LOVE THAT YOU CANNOT BREAK, NOT WITH A THOUSAND SWORDS.

Yes, thank you, Buttercup; I can take it from here.

Anyway. I take OTC allergy meds to stave off sneezes and itchy eyes. I usually leave it behind on vacation, unless I plan to be hanging out with animals. As in this case I very sadly was not, I didn't pack it. This will be important later.

Fast forward to about, oh, the morning of the third day of the trip. I can't help but notice that I have an unusual number of bug bites. Three down my shoulder line up, which is of course a sign of bedbugs, so Pat and I lift the mattress and take a look around. Nothing seems unusual and Pat hasn't been bitten at all. We assemble alternate theories: spider bites? Sand fleas?

The next day I have an itchy red bump on my face.

The day after that I have MORE bites on my face and a huge cluster of them cascading down my left arm. As I am starting to feel uncomfortably plaguey, Pat enlists his brother to help him with another, more thorough bedbug check, this time removing the mattress entirely. Still nothing unusual, and still no bites worth noting on Pat.

I decide to sleep on the couch that night to see if that helps. It does NOT; in fact, things get worse. My hands are covered in itchy lumps and there's a big pink spot ABOVE MY EYELID. My eye is a little swollen, too, which leads me to a terrible thought: am I allergic to something besides pet dander but don't know it because my meds keep it at bay? That would explain my escalating condition as the buildup of antihistamines in my system slowly gave way.

By this point frankly a bit miserable, I slap on a baseball cap and sunglasses to hide my stupid leper face and walk to CVS. I pick up the strong OTC stuff, the kind you have to go to the pharmacist and hand over your driver's license for (no, I did not remove my sunglasses inside and no, the pharmacist didn't challenge me, in case you're ever similarly afflicted). I add some cortisone cream to my purchase and rip into both immediately upon leaving the store. An hour or so later and things are looking up: my welts are flattening out, the angry pink is fading, my eye isn't as swollen; I just generally feel less like I want to die.

Okay then. I must be allergic to something. Maybe something the cleaning service uses? A chemical or some such? I'll need to make an appointment with an allergist, but at least now I have a solid lead as to what's wrong with me. Just in time to... leave; the trip is over in the morning. But at least I go to sleep feeling optimistic.


When Pat's mom folds the fitted sheet, SHE FINDS A BEDBUG.

A much more thorough search yields bedbugs hiding in the wood of the box spring. They'd been ignoring Pat all week for the most part in favor of me, but I guess that strong antihistamine made me less delicious, and they went to town on him that last night. He reaction wasn't as strong as mine, but his back and arms were pretty chewed up and his hands were almost as bad as mine.


If only, Eddie. If only.

And this was a nice place, too! You would never have suspected it. But believe it or not: THE PLOT THICKENS.

As you might imagine, Pat's dad mentioned the FUCKING BEDBUGS (maybe not in those exact words) to the realtor, and received... an apology. That's it. Pat and I are kinda furious about this. All our stuff could be tainted. Everything we brought (minus electronics) is currently in the car to bake in the sun, as heat kills bedbugs. Then we'll spray it with bedbug stuff, then wash and dry it on setting HOT HOT HOT, THEN bag it for a week to starve anything that might have survived all that. Therefore half the things we own are out of commission for at least a fortnight. My favorite running clothes are in there, and my favorite running shoes, and a couple new dresses and some toiletries that were in a cloth case and therefore could be vulnerable. Pat had his favorite t-shirts with him and he's loathe to hit them with high heat lest they shrink. Also, did I mention we're both COVERED IN A PLAGUE OF BEDBUG BITES? Matters are definitely improving but these itchy spots have staying power. I may start carrying a sign that says MY FACE ISN'T BREAKING OUT IT'S BEDBUGS.

Like, at LEAST offer to pay for our meds and anti-bedbug supplies, okay, realtor? And good customer service would include knocking a bit off the price. I recognize that the infestation is not the realtor's fault, but the cleanliness of the property is their responsibility. An apology does not cut it.

Oh, but: about that thicker plot. The realtor did call Pat's dad back, to say they DIDN'T FIND ANYTHING. The strong implication being - wait for it - they just let the next renter have the place. Did they even mention the bedbugs, do you think? VERY SUSPICIOUS.

As far as Pat and I are concerned, this is not over. For starters, the realtor is getting one of my Strongly Worded Letters. Please be assured they are quite strong in the words. I plan to attach a picture of my plague arm. And if they don't put some real effort into making things right this time, I am posting their name and their properties here. And then some Yelp reviews or whatever. Spoiler alert: they will not be good reviews. Stay tuned! (I'm not overreacting, am I? It's hard to tell; I'm SO ITCHY.)

I swear to God, if we get bedbugs from this I will DIE. I am clearly VERY ALLERGIC. How do people live with them in their home?

There you have it, then: my tragic vacation plague story. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I didn't. If you have any advice, feel free to lay it on me.

I did manage to get three runs in on the boardwalk before I completely morphed into a hot mess, but I think this rant has gone on long enough. More on running (which, if you've forgotten, is what this blog is largely about) later.

Happier times! Here's your roundup.

- Darlin' Rae wisely listens to herself as regards race distances.
- Why I runDisney is going Dopey! Lucky.
- Disney In Your Day assembles a Disney park glossary.
- Plus the Magic snags some nifty Epcot pins.
- Disney Nerds eat around Disneyland Paris.
- Living A Disney Life explores WDW's drink flights.
- The Disney Tourist blog heeds the words of Tom Haverford at WDW.
- Mouse on the Mind takes in a movie on the Disney Dream.
- Slightly off topic, but since I just saw and liked it: EPBOT reviews the new Ghostbusters movie. "The floating hot dog implies that a ghost is holding it."
- If you're sick of this blog and want to start your own, better one, Through Heather's Looking Glass has some tips for you.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Monday, July 11, 2016

In Which Jenn Has Gallivanted Off To The Ocean Again

Guess where I am right now!

If you guessed Walt Disney World... you're wrong. :( I know, I'm upset about it too. But I am in Ocean City, MD with my boyfriend and his family, and that's one hell of a giant step above normal life/work, no?

I'm planning to knock out three runs on the boardwalk over the course of the week, a la this one and this one. As usual, I intend to indulge the rebel in my heart and not touch the spot. We'll see what happens.

Anyway, all this is to say that I'll be back next week. While you're waiting, Fozzie Bear can tell you more about the ocean.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Friday, July 8, 2016

In Which This Blog Is Three

Wanna hear something weird? The Fairest Run Of All is three years old today! (In celebration, I tweaked the layout/design a little. Thoughts?)

I started this blog with Moon with the initial goal of trying to eventually run all the runDisney races, which three years ago was a much less daunting task. The growing roster of races plus the reality of how budgeting actually works made for a pretty quick pivot away from that completionist goal, but we've still made the most out of all the running and racing we can, meeting some awesome people along the way.

Sadly, Moon has temporarily left us to make a new life in Boston. As she has promised to return upon her assimilation into her new environment, I would say that my goal for the blog over the next year is to engender her triumphant return!

Pictured: Boston.

I've already alluded to it briefly, but let me say it formally: I am infinitely grateful for the runners and readers who have visited and will continue to visit this humble little shrine to Disney and running and other stuff sometimes when I feel like it. Thank you for your eyes and minds and hearts. May we see each other soon in a Disney park!

In case you're in the market for such things, here is an assemblage of some of my completely subjectively favorite posts so far:

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!