Tag Archives: pasadena

Lessons From Fancy Dark Chocolate

8th Annual LA Luxury Chocolate Salon #darkchocolate #lemoncello #pasadena

A post shared by Madeline Wright (@socalmad) on

Thanks to a wonderful experience at yesterday’s 8th Annual Luxury Chocolate Salon in Pasadena, I learned something new about myself. What I learned there has nothing to do with eating chocolate.

1. I’ve learned that genuinely complimenting people makes me feel happy.  This sounds like a no-brainer to do and yet I have to make a conscious effort to give compliments to people that I encounter most often, even when I find myself silently admiring something about them. I enjoy being around happy people– who doesn’t? People naturally tend to feel good about themselves after receiving a genuine compliment. I’ll try to do this more.

2. I’ve learned that I like Earl Grey. Never realized that before this week. I’m not a coffee person, and for the longest time I only drank tea that tended to be on the sweet side (before addition of any sweetener). I chose ones with herbal sounding names and fruity aromas. Earl Grey is supposedly citrus-based but it was never a dominant flavor in previous cups I’ve tried. At some point, I tried and enjoyed a cookie that was made with ground Earl Grey tea. Pretty tasty.

Later tried an Earl Grey infused muffins. Also delightful. Last year was my first taste of Earl Grey infused pie, which quickly became my favorite flavor of pie that I am not inclined to make myself. Yesterday I tasted Earl Grey infused chocolate and then it hit me. I am a fan of Earl Grey. And I suppose most tea-infused treats.

3. I’ve learned that I’m borderline mysophobic. I valiantly tried to disprove that in my efforts to be social yesterday. Now I’ve got a scratchy throat and I’m sitting here bemoaning my life choices over the last 24 hours and gnawing on my single luxury purchase of a deliciously smooth spicy chocolate bar. It’s all good. Tonight I’ll try to enjoy my fond memories of the weekend. There will be plenty of time tomorrow to regret that I don’t have any throat spray. And to eat more dark chocolate.

Have you learned something new about yourself in September? Let me know in a comment!

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Pasadena Recap: Doing a 180

Pre-race rendezvous

Pre-race rendezvous. Photo by Heather H-P on Feb 17, 2013.

My running peeps and I had a blast at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Pasadena. I made it to the Rose Bowl with plenty of time to spare before the race. After arrival I stayed in my car for warmth at least until the sun came up. I expected low temperatures for a mid-February early morning and as expected it was freezing out there! Not literally, but I’m not used to standing around in 40 degree weather. What I didn’t expect was to go from shivering to the runner’s high for the rest of the day.

Though my spirits were high my legs went on a hiatus immediately after I crossed the finish line soon after the race started and continued for the next few days.

View of the starting line.

View of the starting line from my vantage point.

They felt fine for the first couple of miles. Each mile marker I passed encouraged me to take my power-walking skills to the next level in order to finish. Just past mile 3 I felt a pull at my right knee which made me acutely aware of every step I took to mile 4 and beyond. My IT band pain had made a reappearance around mile 5, but not finishing this race was not in my thoughts. I had plenty of motivation and was in good spirits, enjoying the rock bands that played and the supporters that cheered us on.

By mile 6 I wondered whether I could make my 2:30 goal time. By mile 7 the 2:30 pacer had passed me while I was walking. Though I wanted to catch up I stayed at my current speed. I understood that trying to keep up with that pacer meant I wouldn’t be running my own race at my own pace. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from running training it is that. Being surrounded by many others in a race environment you are really only ever racing against yourself. 

By mile 9 (A.k.a. the part of the course with the lovely sugar bombs b.k.a. the gel stations) I couldn’t run more than about 5 steps before slowing  to a walk because of the pain. Even though running the rest of the way would mean I’d be finished sooner my leg was in no position to oblige. I finished at just over 2 hours and 46 minutes. Not terrible for 13.1 miles, but it was more than 15 minutes slower than I’d predicted. That said, it was a great course and I enjoyed my experience enough that I would do it again. Nothing says congratulations quite like a shiny medal, post-race snacks, and ice packs.

I am back to leaning toward doing more races this year. While I’m still in recovery mode I’ve signed up to volunteer at the LA Marathon next month. Who knows what I’ll end up registering for next?


Let’s do this: First rock ‘n’ roll half marathon

Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon Expo

Pasadena Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon (13.1 mi) registration and expo. Check.

Rock 'n' Roll swag

Expo participant haul. Oh, yeah.

Beauty rest… fat chance.

I am looking forward to the race tomorrow. I am not looking forward to getting up at zero dark thirty to get there by the recommended 5:45AM arrival time. If I want my eight hours of shut-eye, I have to go to sleep by 7:30PM. Not likely to happen tonight– or before any race day. If I did a race every month it might be different. This will be my first race in five months and my first half marathon in over a year, so the ‘waking up hourly in a panic that I’ve overslept’ thing is still alive and well. I will try not to trip and get trampled on — a real possibility since

1) I’m not going to sleep well tonight.

2) There are more than 10,000 other runners in this race (including the mini-marathon distance – 3.5 miles).

3) I’ve never run this particular race course.

4) There are bands playing. Seven of them (hooray)! I’m sure they won’t be distracting us from watching the road at all.

Fortunately, I think it’s a flat course. Live near the Rose Bowl or Caltech? Come cheer on the runners in this race benefitting Cure Mito! Are you one of the 10,000+ people signed up? Best of luck and don’t trample me see you at the finish line!


Make your own chibi, my racing future + mini-review: Boy Proof

Valentine's Day Chibi

Make your own chibi with this Chibi Maker!

Have you ever bought tickets or signed up months in advance for an event and right before it occurs something happens which prevents you from attending? That must have happened to me at some point in my formative years because since then I’ve been paranoid about that happening.

I’ve gotten a lot better at dealing with that over the last couple of years. What has helped immensely has been maintaining a racing calendar. I’ve signed up for and completed so many events with no issues so far!*

Sadly I’ve come to the very end of my scheduled races for 2013 and I’m now at a crossroads. A week from now I will run my 3rd half marathon, and beyond that I haven’t decided what I’ll do next. I have been debating whether to take a hiatus from triathlons this year and only do foot races or take a break from all racing with a plan to continue at some point — not necessarily this year. I do hope to stay motivated to continue after next week, but I’ll let you know how it goes.

*Let’s try to forget about the IT band issue that plagued my run during Tinker Bell half marathon last year, shall we?

Mini-review: Boy Proof

Boy Proof
Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Boy Proof had potential to be a great coming of age story about ‘invisible’ 16-year-old Victoria “Egg” Jurgen.

A few things I liked about it were the utilization of the setting (Los Angeles), the realistic portrayal of a teenaged sci-fi geek obsessed with a fandom, and the way the author showed how she channeled the feelings of exclusion by her peers into her artistic extra-curricular endeavors– from discussing sci-fi movies secrets to learning about the movie makeup and masking trade from her dad. I’d have given it four stars but I just didn’t care for the ending.

The story had been set up to give the reader an emotion-packed punch in the gut but ended with a pat on the head and a shove out the back door. I would have preferred a different outcome and this ending seemed tacked on.

Boy Proof is not a bad read but the ending doesn’t quite deliver the punch it promises.

View all my reviews


I get distracted sometimes, but there’s still hope for me yet

Oops! I completely forgot about

1) posting this week’s blog entry and

2) going to the Pasadena Chalk Festival today.

It didn’t even cross my mind until I saw a photo of an actual sidewalk drawing on Facebook around 5pm. I’ll try to stop by tomorrow and check it out because I remember that I really wanted to go last month, inspired by the 2011 Earth Day Chalk Art Challenge in Redondo Beach.

Guess I’ve been preoccupied with other things this weekend, like meeting the newest member of the family; an 8 week old puppy. He’s a mostly black and little bit white chihuahua poodle mix, named Oreo. In my defense I did not name him that.  Also in my defense that was the big distraction. I now live with a puppy! He’s newspaper trained and mostly sleeps, so I haven’t really done more than walk over to his corner to gawk at him at this point. Photos to come on Flickr later this weekend.

In other news, Summer begins next week here in the northern hemi and I am looking forward to it. I’ve begun biking and swimming weekly, in addition to running, in prep for my triathlon, less than a month away. One more big detail to figure out for that weekend in July and I’ll be all set.

For LA locals, there’s a sponsored (free) screening of Twittamentary on Tues., June 28, in Culver City. See the Eventbrite page for details. If you’re going, I’ll see you there.


LA Chocolate Salon: A Sublime Time

bacon bar

mmm… Chocolate. Last Sunday was the 3rd Annual LA Chocolate Salon in Pasadena. I’ve finally come out of the sugar shock enough to share my experience but my hands are still too shaky to type it all out, figuratively speaking. So I’m going to do the next best thing.

Here’s A Salon of Indulgence, Luxury and Chocolate, an article from the Occidental paper, Oxyweekly, which details the event in a way that was fairly close to my experience.

If you missed this event, the next Chocolate Salon is in San Francisco. Chocolate lovers planning to be in the Bay Area in March, don’t miss that one. There will be as many as 50 chocolatiers in attendance to LA’s 35– which had one more sample table than this chocolate fan could handle.

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