Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Finally, Sensibly Priced Race Photos!

Race photos. We all love them, we all hate them. 99% of the time they are horrific (at least for me). I usually look like I'm about to throw up and/or pass out. But if you're lucky, sometimes a miracle will happen and that race photographer will have caught you looking halfway decent.

This has happened to me a few times - and by a few, I mean that there are exactly 3 photos of me taken during a race in which I look pretty good. When it happens, I am thrilled and my first reaction is to want to buy the photos.

But then when I begin to click through the purchasing of process, my enthusiasm fades quickly. Usually the cheapest photo option is a $17 4x6 print... which you add $4 shipping to. $21 for a 4x6 print.


I have never been able to get over the mental block of paying $21 for a 4x6 race photo. So I have never purchased one...

...until Color Me Rad.

I may have been less than pleased with Color Me Rad's organizers when I discovered that they had no recycling facilities available at the race, but they scored some serious bonus points with me when I logged in to look at my race pictures and discovered that not only were they dirt cheap:

3km Color Bomb - 1.99
5km Color Bomb - 1.99
Start/Finish Area - 1.99
One Person Studio - 1.99
Two Person Studio - 2.99
Three Person Studio - 3.99
Four or More Studio - 4.99

But they were DIGITAL copies that the company then gives you free reign with to do as you please. From their website:

"Select your digital pictures below and they will be available for download within 48 hours. You're welcome to print them, photoshop them, email them to grandma, or frame a 12x18 for your mantel. Digitals give you the most freedom with your pictures (plus there is no shipping or handling)."

Flo-Foto, you people are amazing.

I was so impressed and pleased that I ordered up both of the individual photos of myself and one of Marcey & I (she ordered a second of the two of us).

Right after the purple area...

At this point I discovered that I had ended up with purple powder down my entire front.
I'm not flashing the photographer.
I swear.

The finish line.

Our post race "studio" portrait.

Maybe some of the other big race photography companies [cough BRIGHTROOM cough] should take notes from Flo-Foto. I have never spent a dime with Brightroom because not only am I loathe to pay $17 for a printed 4x6, I also don't really even want a hard copy. I will take the hard copy, scan it, and then post it on my Facebook, blog, etc. and then the hard copy will get put in some pile of paper in my office until I come across it a few months later when I go on a cleaning binge. And I don't want to pay $4 to ship a photo that weighs basically nothing.

If Brightroom structured things more like Flo-Foto, I can guarantee they would've made at least $20 off of me by now, if not more. I might even buy the bad photos if they were only $1.99 (hey, I can laugh at myself).

Brightroom does the Richmond Marathon, so if it so happens that they get a halfway decent photo of me during that race, I will likely end up buying it even if it does cost me $20-$30. But I will not be happy about it.

Do you guys buy race photos?
Would you be more likely to buy them if they were as cheap as Color Me Rad's?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Richmond Marathon Training - Week 3

This was my first drop back week. Here's how it looked:

4 runs for a total of 17 miles.

Easy peasy.

At my physical therapy appointment last Tuesday, Steve scolded me and then gave me some directions when it came to my marathon training plan. I ended up listening to him on 2 out of 3 directives, which for me is pretty much miraculous.

Directive One: Suck it up and run outside. This was accomplished on Wednesday. The other days of the week, the heat index was about 100. Sorry Steve, but I don't run in 100+ heat.

Directive Two: Do not run two days in a row. Check (though this was purely coincidental).

Directive Three: Run only three times per week (speedwork, mid distance, long) with cross training filling in for the 3 mile recovery run the day after the long run, so often prescribed by marathon training plans. Yeah... this one didn't work out so well. Partly because I hate cross training, partly because my ankle didn't hurt so I just ran, partly because I had a late day at work on Thursday, partly because I decided to go see The Dark Knight Rises with Husband instead of going to the gym on Saturday.

Two of three ain't bad.

This week calls for 23 miles with an 11 miler this weekend. It's totally weird to say, but I'm looking forward to it.

Who am I???

Friday, July 27, 2012

Eat: Southern Unfried Chicken

When I get overwhelmed by my torrid love affair with pasta, my respite is often comfort food from my childhood. My Grandma was the kind of 50's housewife that made meat loaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans and had everything sitting on the table ready to eat when my Grandpa and her kids (my dad and aunt) got home from work and school.

My Grandma died when I was in the 8th grade, but luckily both my Dad and Mom took the time to learn some of her recipes before she passed.

I'm no sure why I'm writing this preface, because the recipe I'm about to share is not my Grandma's at all. I guess I'm writing about her because when I think about home and comfort I think about a grandmother's cooking. Though I will always adore Grandma's slippery pot pie, hogmaw, and macaroni and cheese recipes, my favorite comfort foods of all time are my Dad's oven-fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

When I moved away from home, I tried in vain to reproduce Dad's chicken and mashed potatoes. While I will never master the potatoes, I've been able to get very close on the fried chicken. Unfortunately... this fried chicken, while delicious, is an artery clogging calorie bomb.

Husband and I are trying to eat healthier these days, and my usual fried chicken recipe has been a casualty. I still find myself longing for it sometimes, so when I came across a recipe for Southern Unfried Chicken in the October 2011 issue of Runner's World, I ripped it out and tucked it away.

Finally, earlier this month Husband and I were going through recipes trying to find something new to eat. He pulled out this one and after long last, it made the weekly dinner menu. It passed the taste test with flying colors, though I will warn that it is very time consuming (at least 1 hour of marinating, 1/2 hour in the fridge after breading, and 45-50 minutes of baking), so it's best for a lazy weekend day when you have time to waste.

I save calories on the chicken... so I can still eat a pile of mashed potatoes along with it.

Find the full recipe after the jump...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I sucked it up.

And it sucked.

Not only was it hot, but I also didn't have any music to distract me as my 6-month old fancy dancy earbuds took a crap during Monday's track work at the Y (I'll be reviewing them at a later date and hopefully saving you from wasting your money on this particular brand).

Instead I spent the time composing an entry in my head about how much I hate running. How much I particularly hate marathon training. Scolding myself for even attempting this craziness in the first place and generally cursing my stupidity and telling you all that there are much more amusing things that can be done with you time than to run.

These feelings were most intense during miles 3 and 4, when I was trying very desperately to remind myself why I was doing this and not sitting at home in my nice air conditioned house. What came to mind were the following reasons:
  • Running allows me to eat fried food, cupcakes, wine, Fisher's caramel popcorn, and french fries without feeling guilty about it.
  • Running has helped me lose 15 pounds. 
  • Running justifies my ridiculous addiction to purchasing overpriced athletic wear (at least in my mind it does... but more on my Lulu addiction in a future entry).
  • Running gives me a feeling of accomplishment.
  • I have met lots of cool people because of running.

But even these reasons were not enough during mile 4. I walked for a block and then took off again, repeating my personal running mantra in my head: The faster you run, the faster you're done.

When I finally had completed my 5 miles, I didn't feel as terrible as I thought I would. I make it sound as if I were running for an eternity, but it only took me 45 minutes (probably part of the reason for me feeling like complete hell for half the time).

As usual, I was glad that I had gone, even though during the event I couldn't have been more miserable.

Now that I am home, I have treated myself to pasta, wine, bread, and a period-costume romance (Jane Eyre).

And I guess I don't hate running after all.

Excuse Me, What Did You Just Say?

Yesterday morning at the lovely hour of 7:45 am, I had my long-awaited physical therapy appointment with Steve. For once I was glad to be going so I could report to him my ankle flare up, but I was also dreading what he was going to say about it.
I told my sad story (just started the marathon training, hurt more than ever after 8 mile treadmill run, iced it, took two days off, resorted to cross training on the elliptical, etc) and as predicted, Steve told me things that I did not like to hear.

When he learned I've been logging most of my miles on the treadmill in the past few weeks, he was not happy.

Steve: Why have you been doing that?
Me: Because it's hot and I'm a wuss.
Steve: Well, you're going to have to learn to suck it up.
Me: Is it that bad?
Steve: Yes, we see a lot of stress fractures happen because people log too many miles on treadmill and then try to go back to the road. You need to be running outside even if it's hot.
Me: But... but... when I'm on the treadmill the fan blows right on me. And I have a TV... and my headphones... and a trashy magazine to distract me!
Steve: Suck it up.

Next up, he questioned me on how many days a week I'm running. Again, he was not happy with my response of 4. He guarantees that I can train for a marathon with 3 days of running: one day speed work, one medium-length run, and one long run per week along with 2-3 days of cross training. He insists that I shouldn't do more than 3 days of running per week as I continue to work on strengthening my ankle. It needs its rest, so I'm told, to prevent flare ups. (Rest schmest)

The thing about this is, I hate cross training. Sincerely. I feel like the bike is a complete waste of my time and the elliptical isn't much better. Don't even TALK to me about swimming.

::whine:: Why can't I just run? ::whine::

Me being me, I'm not sure if I'm going to 100% listen to Steve's advice. One, I'm hard headed. Extremely hard headed. Once I get something in my head and planned out (like, for instance, a marathon training plan, plotted to the lat mile), I don't react well to changes. Two, I hate being told what to do. Just ask my mother, my husband, my best friend, and anyone else who knows me. You tell me what to do, it's most likely I'll do the opposite. And the more you tell me to do something, the less likely it is to happen. 

But then again, the last thing I want to do is sabotage myself. So I guess I'll make an attempt to run outside (uuuuuuuuugggggggh) for at least some of my upcoming miles. And my compromise on the 3 runs instead of 4 per week is that if my ankle hurts at all, I will cross train on the additional day... BUT if it doesn't hurt, I'm running.

My next appointment with Steve is next Thursday. Hopefully he doesn't try to tell me to do anything else that I don't like. Otherwise, I don't know if he can be my new best friend anymore.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Richmond Marathon Training - Week 2

Despite a bum ankle and one heck of a summer cold, week 2 turned out to be ok.

4 runs for 20 miles, one cross-training session on the elliptal (Friday's 7), and 2 rest days.

I'm counting Saturday as a training session even though I really  shouldn't. It was actually the Color me Rad 5k - a completely fun run during which you run through color stations where giddy volunteers hurl colored cornstarch powder or liquid at you with the aim to make you as messy as possible.

The "race" was also Marcey & I's July run. I felt like complete and utter crap when I arrived that morning. My cold, which had been much better, had returned with a vengeance the night before and planted itself right in my head and my stomach was pretty unhappy with me for what could possibly be the worst pre-race meal ever... half a pizza and a very large double rum and Coke. (I had a bad day at work on Friday, ok??)

Luckily, Marcey and the race made me feel a lot better. Here are some fun photos:

Me, before and after, front view

Before and after backside

Marcey, before and after, backside

Before and after front

It was a fun time, even for this OCD girl who usually absolutely hates getting any speck of dirt on her outfit. I think calling this a 5k "race" of any sort is a stretch though. Marcey and I completed with a casual walk/jog, trying to get as much color as we could as we passed through the stations. There were no mile markers, no timing chips, and no watches (unless you wanted to ruin your watch). We have no idea how long it took us or truly how far we went.

And it didn't matter!! It was just for fun!

We saw people in the parking lot stretching like pros and we even saw a woman taking a goo. At that moment, M and I looked at each other and said the same thing, "What the HECK is she DOING?!?!"

First sign that you take yourself too seriously as a runner, for real.

Lighten up folks. Have some fun. You don't need a freakin' goo for a fun run 5k that isn't even timed. I won't even allow you a goo until you're running 10+.

Now on to week 3, which is my first drop back week. My long run will be only 6 miles, which will hopefully feel like a piece of cake after Sunday's 9 miler. Tonight I did my first 3 of the week around the track at the Y. My first mile was 8:30, so I decided to see if I could do some splits for the next two. Mile 2 was an 8:15 and I really stepped on the gas for mile 3, which came in at 7:45. BAM.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You've Got to Be Kidding

Here's the good news: last night I completed my scheduled 3 mile run at the Y track and my ankle did not hurt.

Well... it didn't really  hurt.

It bothered me a little bit during the first mile, but I'm pretty sure that's because I was trying to compensate for it and running weird. Once I stopped thinking about it and just ran, it was fine.

That whole thing about running being a mental sport is 100% true.

But my happiness about that has been curtailed by the fact that I have caught myself a lovely summer cold.

Husband had this cold last week and since I made it through the weekend without showing any symptoms, I thought I had escaped it. Then I woke up yesterday (Monday) with a sore throat. Commence Airborne and Dayquil consumption. I felt well enough to do the 3 miles at an 8:00/min mile pace, then go home and cook dinner and  bake a loaf of blueberry bread.

I went to bed feeling pretty smug about my superior immune system (or so I thought).

Of course today I woke up feeling much worse than I did yesterday. I've taken more Airborne, more Dayquil, had chicken noodle soup for lunch, and depleted my supply of tissues at the office. I did not even bring my gym bag with me today, as I am going straight home and planting myself on the couch with Jane Eyre, in hopes that rest will be all I need to kick this thing and be able to complete my scheduled 5 mile run tomorrow.

To say I am annoyed with these two set backs is an understatement. It's more like I am extremely pissed off that I am a mere 8 days into my official training and have already been sidelined by my stupid gimpy ankle and a cold that is threatening to put me in bed.

It is far too early in this to get behind.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Richmond Marathon Training - Week 1

Week one has come and gone.

4 runs, 19 miles, one yoga class, and two rest days.

Right now I'm feeling pretty apprehensive because my ankle has decided to flare up big time. I was fine during the long run on Saturday, but that afternoon it started to hurt. I iced it up, but on Sunday it bothered me all day long and resulted in me being in a pretty foul mood.  I spent most of the day like so:

I'm not sure what caused this sudden misbehavior and I'm pretty unhappy about it. My only theory is that the residual tightness in my hamstrings from yoga made me compensate and affected my stride, which strained the ankle.

My PT, Steve, is out (on vacation, I suppose) next week and my next appointment is not until Tuesday the 23rd. I have 23 miles between me and my next appointment. 23 miles that I need to run.

I think I might cross train or take a rest day today, then run Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday this week. We'll see how it goes. The Color Me Rad 5k is on Saturday, and I want to have fun, not be worried about my ankle already causing problems.

Stupid ankle.

I would also like to note that my ankle has hurt a lot more and a lot more often ever since I started physical therapy.

Just sayin'.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Eat: Chickpea & Potato Hash

I just love the word "hash." It makes my mouth water, no matter what words precede it.

Like most people, I am constantly searching for new recipes to try out. I click on random articles on Yahoo's front page, find them in the local paper, in random magazines, and from various other sources. A few weeks ago Yahoo Shine featured a story about one-skillet dinners. I'm all about easy clean up, so I clicked on through and was intrigued by the Chickpea & Potato Hash, mainly because it featured eggs.

I go through phases of being obsessed with certain foods, and my most recent love affair was eggs. So combine "eggs" with "hash" and I was sold.

Even better, the recipe was very simple to put together and took hardly any time to make or clean up. I will admit that the flavor is very distinct and kind of odd at first - chickpeas, eggs, curry, and potatoes don't often appear in combination in any of meals. Ok, they never do. But the more I ate, the more I liked it.

The bonus is that with a few substitutions, it's also pretty healthy and leftovers reheat really well (this means a lot coming from me, as I generally hate leftovers).

Chickpea & Potato Hash
from Shine Food/Eating Well Magazine

Total prep and cook time: 35 minutes, tops
Serves 4

4 cups frozen shredded hash browns
2 cups finely chopped baby spinach
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (or 1 tsp dried ginger)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
1 cup chopped zucchini
4 large eggs

Possible substitutions:
For a lighter version, use olive oil spray instead of 1/4 cup olive oil to sautee vegetables. That much oil is not needed and adds a lot of unnecessary calories and fat. You could also sub in egg whites instead of whole eggs

1. Combine potatoes, spinach, onion, ginger, curry powder, and salt in large bowl.

2. Heat oil (or spray) in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potato mixture and press into an even layer. Cook (do not stir!) until crispy brown on the bottom; 3-5 minutes.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Fold in chickpeas and zucchini, breaking up chunks of potato, until just combined. Press back into an even layer.

4. Carve out 4 "wells" in the mixture. Break eggs, one at a time, into a cup and slip one into each well. Cover and continue cooking until eggs are set, 4-5 minutes for soft yolks, 10 minutes for hard yolks.

Nutrition Facts (recipe as prepared according to instructions; nutrition will vary if you use substitutions).
Per serving: 382 calories; 20 g fat (4 g sat, 13 g mono); 186 mg cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 14 g protein; 6 g fiber; 562 mg sodium; 447 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (39% daily value), Vitamin A (36% dv).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Down Dog Did Me In

This past Tuesday I returned to yoga after a few weeks off. Make that 4 weeks off, now that I've consulted my calendar.

No wonder it still hurts so much, two days later.

Aside from having been away for a while, things were not boding well for a good yoga session that day. At around 3 pm I suddenly crashed. The walk from my office to the car and the car into the Y seemed exhausting. What I really wanted to do is go home, sit on the couch, and watch TV for a few hours.

But being the good girl I was, I went to yoga. And boy did I regret it. I don't think that I have ever regretted going to yoga before, but about 40 minutes in to this particular class I was wishing I had gone home to lay on the couch. Our instructor had decided that tonight was going to be the endless night of flows. We must have done 30 vinyasa series and my legs started to wobble during an intense series of high lunges. The remaining 20 minutes of class were terrible, as Penny (our instructor) added side planks into the middle of the last few vinyasa series. At the end we rounded out with two core exercises that I couldn't even do because I was so exhausted.

Then I almost fell asleep during savasana.

When I got home I ate dinner and went to bed at 9 pm... at which point I promptly fell asleep.

My training schedule called for 3 miles on Wednesday. The weather was surprisingly tolerable, so I texted Prabir to see if he wanted to meet me for a short run after work. We hadn't run together in ages and luckily he was available, so we met at the Y at 5:15. I knew things were going to be bad because no matter how much stretching I did, my hamstrings felt like rubber bands that were about to snap.

And boy was it terrible. Not even Prabir could distract me from the fact that my legs felt like two blocks of lead for the entire run. I don't think I've ever been more happy to make it back to the Y.

This morning my hamstrings were still incredibly tight so I was dreading the 5 miles called for by my training plan. During the day I took the opportunity to stretch whenever it presented itself. This included quite a bit of time spent bending over and touching my toes in my cube while at work.

I waffled between running outside and wussing out and running on the treadmill in air conditioned comfort. The AC won out and luckily, while my 5 miles seemed to drag on and on, it wasn't nearly as painful as I had anticipated.

So, the lesson that I learned so you don't have to: don't take a four week break from yoga and then decide to jump back in during the first week of marathon training, unless your goal is to screw yourself.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Here Goes Nothing!

This week is my first official week of training for the Anthem Richmond Marathon!

I was a little bit nervous about things being official until I realized that my first week of training calls for a measley total of 19 miles... and this after getting overly-confident and upgrading my training plan from Hal Higdon Novice 1 to Novice 2. I'm still a little bit scared if I look at what I'm going to be running come September and October, but for now I'm playing my best Scarlett O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler:

I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow.

Anyhow... just two weeks ago I did a 30 mile week, my most mileage-per-week ever (which won't happen again until September, if I am a good girl and follow my plan), followed by a completely lazy 8 miles in the past 7 days. I figured I deserved a break before the real training started, but honestly I was chomping at the bit the whole week and hated not running.

The 30 mile week was a pretty stupid endeavor, however, as it made my posterior tibialis injury flare up. New BFF Steve scolded me for my 10 mile treadmill escapade and made me promise to not do anything like that again until my training plan calls for it.

I'm going to try to faithfully write a weekly training review each Saturday or Sunday (key word being "try") as well as the usual prattle, recipes, reasons to run, and Richmond raves.

So... here goes nothing.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Treadmill: The Outlast Game

I have always been a fairly competitive person. Not quite a full cut throat - probably more like 75% at my worst. As most people will tell you, a competitive streak can be both a blessing and a curse. It has driven me to a number of wonderful accomplishments, but also to some devastating losses. When a fierce competitor, whose drive to win is matched only by perfectionism, doesn't achieve his or her goal (loses), things get pretty ugly.

Since college, my urge to win all has faded as I matured and became more aware that I cannot, in fact, be the best at everything I try my hand at. Maybe the reality is that I have just become jaded; or, as I like to think, I have just become a realist.

When it comes to running I am generally just happy to the best Kathryn I can be. I have absolutely no delusions of grandeur when it comes to racing and running. I know that I am not the fastest runner; that I will not likely win any race or even ever quality for Boston. As I've mentioned in a previous Reason to Run post, every run that I complete feels like a great accomplishment no matter how it goes. Maybe that's why I like running so much - I don't have to be the best to get that feeling that I used to get from being first chair flute or  Valedictorian. I get it just from finishing.

Sometimes, however, that competitive streak comes roaring back and infiltrates my run. It happened this past Saturday. A terrible line of storms came through the mid-Atlantic region on Friday night, knocking out power to millions... including ours. Luckily, our in-laws still had power so after the storm blew through we packed the essentials (dog, toothbrushes, running clothes) and headed to their house to stay the night. So you see, on Saturday I had nothing better to do than go to the Y and run for as long as I could.

When I got there I parked myself on a treadmill next to a guy wearing a Shamrock Marathon hat. I had figured that I'd do about 6 miles, so I grabbed two tabloid magazines, put in my headphones, and got to it. As I ran, I was surprised at how easy it felt. As I neared the 4 mile mark, I could tell that this was going to be one of those runs when I could just go on and on. The treadmills have a 45 minute limit, so once I hit that (at 5.3 miles), it automatically downshifted. I stopped for a moment to wipe the sweat from my brow, noticing that the guy next to me was still at it.

I'm not sure what came over me at that minute, but I decided that I was going to play the outlast game with that guy. I have done this before - for whatever reason someone running on the treadmill near me or around the track at the Y will suddenly just inspire me to want to beat them. To outlast them. To run farther and harder than they did. It also happens during races - the most vivid example I can remember being at the Charlottesville Fall Classic 10k last October. During the last 2 miles I had been following a girl with a perfect blonde braid and seemingly perfect all-black clad body. Even though I was dog tired (the last two miles of that race were terribly hilly), I decided I wasn't going to let perfect Miss Blonde Braid beat me. So I pulled out everything I had and beat her.

I got back on the treadmill, set the speed to 6.7 mph, and checked out my new "competitor." He was running only 6 mph. Ha! Got him there. I also knew that he was also on his second round with the treadmill, having already hit his first 45 minute limit. He was going far... which meant I was going to have to go far too... farther than I had in a long time.

When I had hit the 8 mile mark, he was still going. I had run out of trashy magazines, so I decided to do something I hardly ever do and strike up a conversation. I tugged his sleeve and asked him about the Shamrock. I found out his name was Dave and that he's training for Richmond too, but it will be his 3rd marathon. We had a nice little conversation and then he did what I had been waiting for - he stopped running! I tried not to look elated as we said our good byes.

Thanks to Dave and my competitive streak, I managed to run 10 miles on Saturday. That's the farthest I've run since the half marathon in March. It was just what I needed to give a little shot to my confidence a week before I start my marathon training. AND it resulted in me having my highest mileage week ever - 30 total miles.

So there you have it. The outlast game. Try it the next time you are bored and need some inspiration while stuck on the treadmill. Who knows how far you might end up going.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Resolution Check-In

Running - Goal: Run at least 500 miles this year; run at least 1 half marathon

Through May 31
January: 47 miles
February: 72 miles
March: 80 miles
April: 69.5 miles
May: 76 miles
June: 81 miles

Total for the year: 425.5 miles

At the midway point of the year and without any marathon training, I'm only 75 miles away from my goal... which I may need to adjust. On another note, at this point last year I had run 218 miles... so I've nearly doubled!

Reading - Goal: Read at least one book per month

January Books
Riggs, Ransom - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Bray, Libba - A Great and Terrible Beauty

February Books
Moran, Michelle - Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution

March Books
Massie, Robert K. - Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
Sussman, Ellen - French Lessons
Gilbert, Elizabeth - Committed: A Love Story

April Books
Clark, Colin - My Week with Marilyn
Morgenstern, Erin - The Night Circus

May Books
Raybourn, Deanna - Dark Road to Darjeeling
James, P. D. - Death Comes to Pemberley

June Books
Martin, George R.R. - A Song of Ice and Fire Book 3: A Storm of Swords
James, E.L. - 50 Shades of Gray (for the record, I hated this book)

Currently reading:  
A Storm of Swords Book 4:  A Feast for Crows

Movies (no resolution; just to keep track)
The Artist
Underworld: Awakening
The Hunger Games
Wrath of the Titans
The Avengers
Mirror Mirror
Men in Black 3