Back to reality after #birdcamp

You may already know I spent last week on the west coast – first in California visiting a few wonderful friends – then in Oregon for Oiselle team camp.

I had planned to create a big, long post for today sharing photos of my adventures, but I ran out of time — so instead you’ll get a few fun pics and a teaser. You’ll get the full post next week – or you can check out my work blog post.

ccBeachcombing at crystal cove in the OC

cc2Celebrating life with two of my loves – Linz and Kelly

camp18at Mt. Hood with Kelly!

camps6One of my fave pics from #birdcamp, hiking with the pros (Lauren and Kate)

camp4LOTS of birds before a 5k race

Catching up:

You may recall that last week Bec asked me to take on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Welp – I did it Monday with a few colleagues. Click HERE to watch the video:

iceFrom left, Neeti, Sarah and I get doused

And speaking of work:

In January – just before my last trip west – I was interviewed on a local murder case for the true crime show Snapped, which airs weekly on the Oxygen channel.

You may recall Rose Chase, an Ontario County woman convicted of killing her husband in 2012, hiding, then dismembering and burning his body and lying about his whereabouts for six months.

rose chase 2Rose Chase at her sentencing in January; Photo by Tina MacIntyre-Yee of the Democrat and Chronicle

Long story short – her story will be on Snapped Sunday night. And I’ll be on it. Check out the promo video HERE:

Tell me about your fave spot on the west coast. Have you done the Ice Bucket Challenge? Do you watch true crime shows like Snapped?

The Skin You’re In

The summer is sadly winding down and my boys and I are getting our “lasts” into these couple of weeks before school starts. Don’t get me wrong, we are all super stoked for the start of school but we’ve got things to do! Water ice treats, visits to the library (while it’s not crowded), last visits to the pool before it closes… all super important experiences.

Recently, as I was slathering sunscreen on my little guy’s body before a “last” visit to the pool, he promptly chirped up to remind me that it was “Mommy’s turn next”. I’ll admit that with my darker complexion, I sometimes skip the sunscreen.

Total mom fail! I’m super diligent when it comes to my children. They wear sunscreen and hats. I make sure that they sit in the shaded areas as much as possible. I’d walk behind them with a parasol, if I thought I could get away with it.

Why then am I neglectful when it comes to myself? I spend so much time placing importance on my health and well-being and I’m not taking care of my skin as well as I can be. My dad has had numerous bouts of skin cancer! I know better! We know better.

This video has been making the rounds on social media but in case you haven’t seen it yet, check out How the Sun Sees You.

Of course, knowing and doing are two separate processes. I know that I need to wear sunscreen and I need to make an effort to put it on every time I leave the house. But it’s easy to forget while you’re hustling the kids out the door, carrying towels, juice boxes, snacks, table tennis paddles.

A couple of weeks ago I ran out of facial cleanser so I’ve been washing my face with soap and water in the shower, after the gym or a workout. If I remember to put on moisturizer, I consider it a significant win.


Why can’t someone just paint flowers on my face daily? So much easier.

Jess is my expert advice giver, especially when it comes to skin and makeup because she works in the beauty industry (AND SHE IS BEAUTIFUL and looks like angels kiss her skin on a daily basis); naturally I asked her for help.

Jess: “Wait, are you washing your face with SOAP SOAP?”
Me: “Well, what do you consider SOAP SOAP? It’s artisan!”
Jess: “But is it body soap?” (Sounding as horrified as one can in an email message.)
Me: “…” “Maybe?”
Jess: “For the love of Pete, Meridith. How have you survived life this long?” (Okay, she didn’t actually say that part but you could tell she was thinking it.)

I ask Jess for her opinion about practically everything in my life. And I hate disappointing her. Thankfully, she gave me some good advice in regards to daily facial routines and since sharing is caring, here’s my game plan!

1. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.

2. Cleanser. Okay, so soap isn’t technically a cleanser and can apparently be a bit harsh on the ol’ face. Burt’s Bees has always been my go-to cleanser and Jess also mentioned Cetaphil and Aveeno because my skin is “normal”. Jess has sensitive skin so she uses Fresh Soy Face Cleanser.

3. I worry about dark marks. I have freckles and uneven skin tone so it’s a concern of mine. In regards to this, Jess recommended Clinique Even Better. I also recently got a sample of Elizabeth Arden’s Flawless Future Serum from Influenster that I’m going to try. I’m not too concerned with wrinkles… yet. But hey, can’t hurt to be proactive!

4. Moisturizer. See! I’ve got this! I ALREADY HAD ONE OF THE STEPS. *pats self on back* Personally, I use Neutrogena. Boom! Most moisturizers have SPF too so I suppose that I’m already a little bit protected from the sun, so long as I’ve moisturized.

5. Eye cream. Now this is something I would NOT have thought of, which is why Jess gets paid the big bucks! Suggestions were Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye Cream or Fresh Black Tea Eye Cream. I have yet to invest in this, primarily because I’m cheap but my face is worth it! (Why is everything so expensive? Seriously, man.)

6. Six? Yeah, I was aiming for five but this one is important. After I run or workout, if I don’t have the chance to shower immediately, I use these babies:


Salt and dirt, begone! Okay, maybe not GONE, but definitely less.

So, that’s the plan! Anyone who knows me knows that I like a good plan. I know I can’t erase time or years but I can be proactive and take charge today. Tally-ho!


What’s your skin care routine? Any good product recommendations for me? (Ones that won’t break the bank are always appreciated. You know, I don’t want crap but I also don’t want to waste $10 on something that won’t work instead of springing for the $80 of awesome.)

These Shoes Were Made for Running

You guys! Yesterday, I laced up my new sneakers (Asics Cumulus) and went for a run. ALL THE EXCITEMENT IS HERE.

New shoes, new socks and a sexy new running partner.

New shoes, new socks and a sexy new running partner.

My last run was the Nike DC half in April, after which my foot ached something awful, and swelled to the size of, well, a foot much bigger than mine.

April was a long, long time ago. It’s been a moody four months around my house, if we’re being completely honest.

I’ve been doing some conditioning, as my doctor recommended, as well as other forms of cardio when I’ve had time (which wasn’t often), but yesterday, I decided that it was time.

The best part? I ran PAIN FREE.


My doctor recommended that I ease back into running by doing intervals. Specifically, 10 minutes of walking, 10 running, 10 walking. I’m supposed to do that every other day for 10 days, at which point I can try 10 minutes of running, 10 walking, 10 running. And so on, until I’m running comfortably for 30 minutes. After that, I can slowly increase my mileage.

Day one. So far, so good.


Pop some nuun into your glass and celebrate with me. Cheers! What’s making you happy on this beautiful Monday?

Oh, Just Another Blog Post About Mental Illness

I’m sure you’ve read lots of stuff this week about mental illness but I sat down at my computer today and this was the only thing I wanted to talk about.  The death of Robin Williams hit me right in the gut.  He was a beautiful human being who dedicated his life to finding the funny.  He was a good father and husband.  He loved his job and used his position to better the lives of those in need. And now he’s gone.

I was diagnosed with depression and ADHD a little over three years ago.  I have lived in my pajamas for days and days.  I have barricaded myself in my house and fed my babies macaroni and cheese for every meal.  I have gone days without sleep and then had to pinch myself to stay awake while I drove to work with my children in the car.   I have cried hysterically because of the massive amounts of laundry piled on my floor.  Because my mind was spinning, spinning, spinning.  Because I felt like a failure.  Because I was neglecting my kids. Because my marriage was falling apart.  Because I couldn’t get my shit together.  And there was nothing I could do to stop it.

The hardest part about mental illness is that there is no physical indicator that someone is sick. It’s not like a heart attack or cancer.  No one disputes a broken arm.  I was really good at faking happy.  And I quote: “But you’re always so happy!  You have nothing to be depressed about!  Your life is perfect!  You’re always cracking jokes and smiling!”  Of course I was.  I didn’t want anyone to know I’m a basket case.  There’s a huge stigma in our society when it comes to mental illness.   Manic.  Depressed.  Bipolar.  Obsessive.  Schizo.  Weak.  Impulsive.  Crazy.  Psycho.  Emotional.  Lazy.  Slacker.  Unreliable.  Why would anyone choose to live like this?  It’s not being ungrateful, or selfish, or ridiculous.  It’s biological.  And it’s unavoidable.

Luckily, I got help before the situation got any worse.  I mixed therapy with drugs and was able to function.   Sometimes, better than function!  I often get to the point where I feel like I’m fixed and I don’t need the pills.  I hate the pills.  The side effects suck.  I’ve gone off them three times in the last three years.  Just today, I thought “I don’t really need this anymore.”  But then I always I do.  There are only so many self-help books I can read, so many affirmations I can make, so many miles I can run.  Some days, it catches up with me.  Those days, I’m really grateful I have health insurance and can get my meds and see my doctor for the low, low price of my copay.  Those days, I say eff-you to the stigma and tell everyone that I’m feeling down and I need help.  I’m one of the lucky ones.  So many can’t get help or don’t want to admit they need help.  I didn’t want to admit it.  I fought it for a long time. When you’re in it, it’s really hard to see a way out.

I’ve seen a lot of articles about mental illness this week, probably the most I’ve seen in the media ever. I don’t know the stats but I know lots of people on this planet deal with mental illness.  I know many people hurt themselves or others because they are biologically not in their right mind.  There’s a lot of us head cases out there!  And yet, the media doesn’t take notice until the disease claims an influential, radiant, profound life.

But I have hope.

I have hope that we won’t waste this opportunity to shed some of the social stigma that plagues mental illness.

I have hope that the conversations will continue and that brain research will be a priority.

I have hope that less people will suffer from mental illness and get the tools to live with it instead.

I have hope.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops – at all
-Emily Dickinson

Symptoms of Depression

Depression Management Techniques

National Suicide Prevention Hotline



Is It Hot In Here?

Not for long.

Have you heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? If you have Facebook, you probably have. It’s basically monopolized my feed for days!

The #icebucketchallenge was started by Pete Frates, former captain of the Boston College baseball team, who was diagnosed with ALS. He challenged a few friends and family. They challenged a few friends and family. Yesterday, Ethel Kennedy challenged Barack Obama.

What does dumping a bucket of freezing cold ice water over your head have to do with ALS? NOTHING. But it’s certainly raising money, to the tune of 1.35 million dollars in just over ten days, and hopefully awareness about ALS.

Plus, fun to make your friend’s dump water on themselves! So, in lieu of a traditional post today, I direct you to the video below.

And to all of you, I nominate you guys as well. Get wet. And then try and get your friends and family in on it. And, if you’re able and so inclined, you can donate to ALS here.



I Can… But Then I Think Mmm, Better Not

Wait a minute, that’s not my manta. My mantra is I can and I will. It’s about Meridith power and how much I rock and how I can do anything. Kelly Clarkson sings about me being Stronger! Katy Perry wants to hear me ROAR!


Except that I’ve been thinking about this full marathon I signed up for and rather than being excited for it and looking forward to the training, I’ve been coming up with the reasons of why I should NOT do it.

The cons are totally outweighing the pros in my mental list and that can’t be a good sign. I’m assuming that in the history of running, I can’t be the only one who ever felt this way. Back in March, I listed reasons why I planned to sign up for the full.

Well, now here are my reasons that I’ve decided that now is not the time.

#1 My foot has actually been feeling GOOD

Confused? Let me explain! I spent a good seven months in pain thanks to plantar fasciitis and this little beauty.


Seven months of wincing every time I got up in the morning out of bed. Seven months of hurting during and after every. Single. Run.

Slowly the pain faded away and I don’t think I even realized that it no longer hurt until a month of non-hurt. I was so accustomed to the hurt.

Now, I’m not hurting. And I don’t really want to mess that up.


#2 Training

Victoria and I have had this discussion more than once: you can’t fake a marathon. I mean, you probably could do it with minimal training (I’m sure that some people choose this option); I know I’d be downright miserable.

WHO WANTS TO BE MISERABLE? Not me! I like feeling good. Bring on the happy!

That’s not to say I haven’t been training. I have the Dumbo Double Dare at the end of this month and I’ve been having some great runs. Additionally I’m signed up for another 19.3 challenge in October (the Atlantic City Marathon series). Bumping up training runs to over 13 miles is where my issue lies.

Piggy-backing on the training point…

#3 I have other things that need to get done

My kiddos start school in September and both will be going full-day for the first time. In my delusional mind, I thought that this meant I’d have all the time in the world.


But uh, I already know that’s not going to be the case. Marathon training is an all or nothing type of thing. I don’t think I can give it my all at this point – there are things I need to do (PTO, laundry, food shopping, dog training) and there are things that I want to do (volunteer work, seeing my friends, spending weekends with my family). Which brings me to point 4.

#4 I don’t want to and you can’t make me. But what’s more is that I can’t make me.

To quote High School Musical, “You’ve gotta get’cha head in the game”. To quote myself, “No.”

Zac Efron, you’re adorable but even you can’t talk me into this.

Seriously though, I have the most supportive friends and family. They were all about me signing up in April. Conversely, as soon as I started expressing doubts and concerns, they were just as supportive in the other direction. Mentally, I’m just not at the full marathon level. I might be able to physically push through but I don’t want to.

So fast, they were blurs. Literally.

Just look for me with the Elite runners.

 #5 There’s a half marathon option!

Oh Philly, you can’t get rid of me that easily. You were my first road race, first spectating experience and my first volunteering experiences and I adore you. I have yet to run the half during the Philadelphia Marathon weekend so let’s not cut corners!

Who will I see on November 23rd?

People can be downright nasty

Most of you know what I do for a living.

My boss often says: You don’t want Victoria writing about you. It means you – or your loved ones – are having a really bad day.

I cover crime, courts and breaking news for Gannett and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Monday was rough – two fatal crashes (on the same road, no less), a news conference on the state providing funding for bulletproof vests for police officers, and what appeared to be a drowning in the river.

Tuesday was even nuttier with more on the river search and the sentencing of a 22-year-old man who brutally beat his girlfriend to death with objects around her college dorm room, including a coffee mug and a clothing iron. He wept throughout the court appearance and ultimately was sentenced to the max – 25 years to life in prison.

You don’t want to hear the gritty details. Trust me.

While I love what I do, some days can be damn hard.

victoriaWorking the scene a few years back. Photo by Carlos Ortiz

Sometimes the news hits home. Sometimes it becomes personal. Sometimes you hug the source bawling on your shoulder. Sometimes you realize you are a person first and a reporter second.

I often see my work posted on websites and shared via social media. That I love. But what’s grown increasingly disheartening is how people commenting on the work can be downright nasty.

On a piece about the arrest of a single working mom who left her 4-year-old child in the car while she was working, I see people ridiculing her, calling her names and questioning her ability to care for herself, let alone her son.

Regarding an article about a fatal crash involving a wrong-way driver, people badmouth the motorist, the intersection then turn on one another.

And Tuesday’s sentencing? Let’s just say comments like “rot in jail,” “where’s the firing squad” and suggestions for someone to stab him with a sharpened toothbrush in prison are among the kinder ones.

While I love so much about social media, such as its ability to connect people of common interest, it seems to have also made it increasingly acceptable – not to mention easy – to publicize and amplify any gripe with a business. Many people post a vicious complaint, even berate a company online, to ensure a response rather than take the time to speak with an employee, go to a store or make a phone call.

I’m wondering – where’s our compassion? When did it become acceptable to ridicule others in a public forum? When did it become acceptable to throw a public tantrum to get our way? Is this degrading discourse a bigger sign of what’s to come? Is this the fault of online communities and social media?

I certainly hope not. Whenever I want to respond to nasty comments, to reply and ultimately feed into the negativity, I type my response and promptly delete it.

What do you think of people’s insta-reactions on news articles, some blogs and other newsworthy items online? Do you filter yourself when posting?

Side note: I have a work-related Facebook page. If you wish to see more of what I cover or join the conversation, I’m “Victoria Freile” on Facebook.