Merry Christmas 2014


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the soon-to-be FOUR Johnsons! (Rachel, Travis, Crusher, and BabyJ)

We are laying low this year in Brooklyn, just patiently waiting for our little New Year’s gift to arrive in a few weeks. 2015 should be the best year yet!


goodbye, 2013!


Happy New Year’s Eve!! Another year down.

2013 wasn’t the year I was expecting, but I had a lot of good times and made some excellent memories. I have more big plans for 2014 and can’t wait to get started on them!

…but for now, here are some of my favorite blog posts from the past year:

My word for 2013 was sweetness, but it could have been RUN! The year started off with running… Travis and I ran the Goofy Challenge and the Bermuda Triangle Challenge back to back.

My birthday! I ran another marathon (my 8th!) and lost someone special to me.

Not much happened in March…

In April, I did a craft project.

Lots of running in May. Many half marathons and a few trail races.

I traveled in June, to Kansas to run the Color Run with the fam and to Portland to see Adam and Nina.

July was busy! Stephanie and Bill visited New York, I continued my Summer Run Streak, Travis and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary and went on a big date, and we ran the Boilermaker.

In August, I went camping, ate some cronuts, attended Blogshop, and did more running.

I was digging navy blue in September. I also finished my 101-day Run Streak and Reached the Beach.

October brought a sweet wedding, my dad’s first half marathon, and my fastest 5k – all in one big update.

Travis ran the NYC Marathon in November and the helped me run my fastest marathon ever in Brooklyn. Plus, Friendsgiving!

Travis got Lasik this month and we had a relaxing and lovely Christmas together in Brooklyn.


Travis and I are celebrating tonight with friends at a big prom party (a lot like last year!) What are your plans???

love + light + peace


Merry Christmas!!

Travis and I are in Brooklyn this year. We are missing our families, but we are very thankful that we get to spend so much fun time together. …and with Crusher, of course!

We’ve tried our best to have a NYC Christmas this year. We went to a Broadway play, saw the Rockefeller Christmas tree, bought our own real tree for our apartment, went shopping and to see Santa at Bloomingdales, and went to a joy and peace-filled Christmas Eve service last night. It has been a good, quiet season.


We hope you have a wonderful holiday and beautiful end to 2013. Crusher hopes he doesn’t have to wear anymore Christmas jammies!


holiday baking


It is Christmas week! woohoo! Travis and I are staying in Brooklyn this year. It is a little sad to not be spending Christmas with our families, but it is also exciting to get to do some of the holiday stuff ourselves… like baking!

I have an ambitious cookie plan! I really don’t have much of a reason. I just want to bake a bunch of holiday treats. If they turn out, maybe I’ll give them out to friends…

My holiday baking to do list:

Are you baking for the holidays? What are your favorite recipes?



Am I a control freak? I am starting to admit it to myself… but I hope that is not how my friends thought of me on Thanksgiving.

I just REALLY like making a turkey. And I LOVE hosting events at my place. So, I am very THANKFUL that my friends put up with me and were willing to come over for a Friends-giving feast!

I am grateful every day for the people we have met in Brooklyn. I wouldn’t have survived in this city without them.


Everything I made for our dinner was super-simple and traditional. I roasted the turkey with just some butter rubbed on the skin and some veggies, herbs, and lemon stuffed inside. The gravy made from the pan drippings was amazing. I also made simple bread stuffing, sautéed brussels sprouts, traditional cranberry sauce from scratch, an apple pie with a sugar crumb topping, and a chocolate pecan pie. Travis made the mashed potatoes. Daniel brought a Puerto Rican stuffing with plantains and homemade coquito. Karelle made spicy sweet potatoes. Amanda brought bread and cheese. Suzy brought wine and chocolate. Everything was delicious. We all ate a lot and laughed a lot!

I think this was my best Thanksgiving meal attempt yet. Practice makes perfect! Plus, I think I did a good job of prepping a lot in advance. The only thing that didn’t really turn out was the chocolate pecan pie. It was my first time making it and I think I over-cooked it. The baked brie and mulled apple cider were hits for appetizers, but my apricot cheese bites weren’t very popular.


Overall, I declare Friends-giving a success! I just wish it could have lasted longer and I could have eaten more…

Travis and I had two good meals from the left overs. Plus, I made stock from scratch and soup out of the leftover turkey. There is still plenty of soup in the fridge!

Now, I am working on my plan for my next holiday get together…


Crusher wants more turkey!

How was your Thanksgiving??

(Almost all of the photos in this post were taken by my friend Amanda. You can see more of her and my Friends-giving photos in my Flickr set.)

thanksgiving countdown


I really love Thanksgiving. I love roasting a turkey and sitting down to a big meal! I’ve made full Thanksgiving meals many times, like in 2005, 2008, 2009, and last year. It is a good amount of work and takes some planning and coordination, but I really enjoy it!

This year, I’ve invited some friends over. I think there will be eight of us and I am making the meal basics: turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, pecan pie, apple pie, mulled cider, and a few appetizers. (Check out my Pinterest Thanksgiving board for most of the recipes.) It sounds like a lot, but it is my usual, practiced menu. My friends are bringing extra side dishes, drinks, etc. There will be too much food, but I love it!

So, right now I am in prep mode. If you spread the shopping and preparation out over several days, it makes things easier. I had some of our groceries delivered by Fresh Direct and I ordered our pre-brined turkey from Williams Sonoma. Getting stuff delivered really helps, especially since otherwise I shop for all my groceries on foot and carry them up many flights of stairs. I saw my neighbor in the hall yesterday and chatted about our Thanksgiving plans and she was astounded that we were making the full meal in our apartment. Our place is quite small. But anything is possible!!


I thought I’d publish my Thanksgiving Day Countdown check list here for fun and for future reference…


  • clean bathroom & kitchen
  • Get all serving platters and extra dishes out of storage.
  • wash platters and dishes
  • cut bread for stuffing
  • make pie crust


  • get last minute groceries
  • Make apple pie
  • Make pecan pie
  • Make cranberry sauce
  • Assemble baked brie
  • Assemble apricot appetizers
  • Chop and cook veggies for turkey & stuffing
  • Get out folding table
  • Get nails done (if time allows…)

Thursday – Thanksgiving!!

  • Run Turkey Trot
  • Take turkey out of fridge
  • Watch the National Dog Show!
  • Prep turkey, put in oven
  • Start mulling cider in crock pot
  • Prep stuffing, put in fridge
  • Set up drink & appetizer table
  • Set dinner table
  • Greet guests!
  • Put brie in oven
  • Make mashed potatoes
  • Make brussels sprouts
  • Take out turkey, let rest
  • Put stuffing in oven
  • Make gravy
  • Put food on table and EAT!

What am I forgetting?? What else should be on the list?

(For more Thanksgiving prep inspiration, check out Martha Stewart’s timeline checklist.)



Happy Mother’s Day to all the great moms out there, but especially my mom, who, let’s face it, is really the best.

I don’t know if Mom will be thrilled with the photo I chose this year… but I’ve already shared many of my other favorites here, here, and here. Now that I am actually older than my mom was in most of these photos, friends keep saying how alike we look… which I don’t mind at all.

i want to send you a valentine!

Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday! I love making Valentines.

You know what else I love?? Helping to find a cure for cancer. Yes.

I have started my seventh season with Team in Training. This season I am mentoring and training for the New Jersey Long Branch Half Marathon and the Memorial Day Road Trail Challenge. I am also raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Want to help?? And, want to receive an awesome hand-crafted Valentine sent from me to you via Snail Mail??

Make a donation (of any size! big or small!) before my birthday on February 10th and I will mail you one of my Valentine matchboxes. The tiny box of fun will be a one-of-a-kind creation made just for YOU and it will contain some sweet Valentine goodies. (I once taught a craft night class at Etsy on how to make these little boxes… so I guess you could say I’m a pro!)

••• Donate Now! •••

More info: The LLS is an awesome organization that funds cancer research and supports patients both emotionally and financially. The research they have funded has led to medical advances and extreme increases in blood cancer survival rates. Your donation will go 100% to the LLS. I pay for all of my own race and travel expenses for every event I do with TNT so that all of the money donated via my campaign goes directly to the LLS mission.

have a wonderful holiday!

Happy Christmas Eve!

The plan was to be in Kansas City right now… but holiday chaos acts in mysterious ways.

We were involuntarily bumped from our flight last night. So, we got ourselves back to our place for one more night in BK. We will be back at the airport later today. Not great, but Delta airlines was actually quite generous in their apology, so we are taking the Christmas delay in stride.

Chaos and all, I am excited to spend time with my family this week. I hope everyone has a magical night and a wonderful holiday!

holiday cheer

Holidays of yore…

Holiday parties…

Holiday runs…

I am really looking forward to our holiday trip this year. I can’t wait to relax with family and check out of the real world for a while.

What are your holiday plans?