Weekend Ramblings

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1. A few weeks ago, I went to my awesome friend Jen’s wedding. I took all sorts of pictures, and planned on doing a full blog post about it. That clearly never happened, but I wanted to at least share a little bit of it with you guys. It was so fun. It was the first wedding I’ve been to in my adult life where I didn’t have responsibilities like “bridesmaid” or “bride”. I just got to hang out with some of my favorite NYC guys, and rap Gangsta’s Paradise per my wedding tradition. It’s cute, I promise. I can do it at your wedding for no charge.

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2. After Jen’s wedding, we took a 24 hour trip to DC which was just not long enough. I haven’t been there since I was in elementary school, and there was so much I wanted to explore! I did get to see the White House, the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Holocaust Museum (best part–so beautiful and moving). I also ate, like, the best dinner of my life at Founding Farmers. If you’re ever in DC, GO THERE! You’re welcome.

DC

 

3. Speaking of elementary school (I mean, I did for a hot second), did I mention how at PF Chang’s I ran into my elementary school music teacher? And she remembered me. I have “one of those faces”, or that’s what people tell me. I’ve looked exactly the same for my entire life. The awkward part? I never remember anyone. Even if I know you, if I’m not expecting to see you, it will take me a good 5 minutes to register who you are. I know a lot of people, so this is often embarrassing. I also have the hardest time learning names (because I have, oh, a million students), and this leads to a constant feeling of worst-teacher-ever. It’s a good thing I’m funny.

4. I’m pretty sure my birthday party is tonight. This week, Steve created an event on facebook titles “Ariana’s Birthday” which I was not invited to. Except he didn’t make it a secret event, and it showed up on my news feed, so obviously I clicked on it. The Stacey texted me to let me know she was attending. I hope they still shout surprise when I get there, and I hope that Nicole makes the dessert. ;)

5. I really really really love birthdays. I’m sure this is a big surprise. But I feel a little weird about this birthday. Everyone just gave up a weekend to celebrate me running a marathon. I feel like I should give them a break. I mean, not that I will turn down positive attention, because we all know I love things to revolve around me, but I’m starting to feel like a jerk, and maybe I should spread some of the love around. Like, for my birthday, maybe I should have thrown a party for me friends to tell them how awesome they are! I guess it’s a little late for that. It’s a nice idea in theory, though.

6. My other favorite thing about February is that the Academy Awards are coming!!! I still need to see Argo and The Sessions, but then my list will be pretty complete. At least for the movies I actually care to see which does not include Django Unchained. I’m sorry I just have no interest. Lincoln is still my favorite for the year, but I’m also a huge fan of Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty. There are some fantastic performances in Flight and The Impossible. And I think Pitch Perfect was totally robbed of a best picture nom. I mean, don’t you  feel like it was the best movie of 2012???

7. I’ve updated my blogroll. Check out some awesome blogs for your reading enjoyment. The list is a little ridiculous, but the sad truth is it’s less than half of my reader. These are the ones I really love, and I think you will too.

The Parking Spot

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I don’t know if it’s just my family, but parking at the airport always seems to be a big to do. We’re always trading drop offs because the parking garage at the airport is so expensive. Not to mention, I have an irrational fear of parking garages. True story. I think it has to do with feeling claustrophobic? Anyway, I was thrilled when I received the opportunity to try out The Parking Spot. Traveling is so stressful already, that having stress-free travel to and from the airport was awesome! We simply arrived at the location (at the awful hour of 5:05 am) where we were immediately given a cold bottle of water and a USA Today, then directed to an area with open parking.

As soon as we pulled in to our covered spot, one of their shuttles pulled right up and loaded up all of our bags. We were given a ticket with out parking spot number on it, and then we rode the very short trip over to the terminal. The shuttle gave us a chance to finish our coffee and relax a bit for a few minutes. When we arrived at the airport, I asked our very friendly driver to pose for a photo with me.

I think their shuttles are super cute. I like the spots ;)

We arrived in plenty of time, and everything went really smoothly.

Our return was equally easy! We didn’t arrive until after 11pm, and after a long weekend, Steve and I were totally exhausted. Luckily, we just walked right out to the curb, and a The Parking Spot shuttle was there in less than 5 minutes! We didn’t have to call or anything–so easy! This time we got into a red shuttle.

Within minutes, we were dropped right in front of our spot by an other friendly shuttle driver. She even unloaded all of our luggage for us–so nice! On our way out, we went right through the check out with no wait at all. It was great!

What I loved about The Parking Spot:

  • Even though we were flying at odd times (very early morning and late at night), there were no time restrictions, and we never had to wait around for more than 3-4 minutes! Perfect for those of us who tend to run late on our own.
  • The staff was so friendly! Have you ever noticed that once you arrive at the airport it seems like everyone is in a terrible mood? Well, I was pleasantly surprised to at least travel to and from the airport with the incredibly friendly staff provided by The Parking Spot!
  • They give you free stuff! Okay, so you guys know I love free stuff. Like, an embarrassing amount. Anyway, the bottle of water and the newspaper were a nice touch. ;)
  • Everything is well lit and parking is covered. Even though it was dark, I never felt unsafe in their location, and the covered parking thing is important in Arizona where your car will literally peel if you leave it out in the sun.
  • It’s so much more affordable than the airport parking garage! You pay a lot less for an all around better experience. Win, win.

Would I use The Parking Spot again?
You bet! I do tend to rely on friends/family to get to the airport to save money, but it’s not always an option, and this was more affordable than taking a cab would be, and much more convenient in my opinion. It’s great to know there is such a great alternative to the airport parking garage!

Disclosure: FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.

NYC Highlights & Running in Central Park

I ♥ my team

I ♥ my team

I’ve talked a lot about how this trip felt, but here’s some photos of the highlights.

Meeting Bart Yasso

The Soup Nazi “NO SOUP FOR YOU!”

The view from my uncle’s awesome apartment

Fall

My people

Puppies

I finally saw the Seinfeld diner. I’ve been wanting to go there for years!

We were trying to be Elaine and Kramer. We’re really talented actors, okay?

Okay, let’s talk about marathon morning. Well, maybe it’s better if I show you.

The incredible energy began the moment we entered the hotel lobby. Groups were cheering and chanting, and it was NUTS! The energy was contagious, and I couldn’t help but still feel excited. I met my team in the lobby and we headed down to Central Park where there must have been thousands of runners who all decided to run anyway, and for the first time, I felt like a real runner. Race or no race, we were all out there together purely because we love running. Sometimes I wonder if I actually love it, or why it is I do this crazy thing, but I really really do love it. Not at every second, and not even every run, but running has changed my life. It has changed the way I view food, and aided so much of my food related anxieties. It has brought me friends, and even a second mom ;)

I ran through the park with tears streaming down my cheeks, and the dopiest grin on my face. Suddenly, it all made sense. I will get to run a marathon someday (soon), and I will even get to run the NYC Marathon someday, but only those of us that were here on this very day will ever get to experience this display of passion and perseverance by thousands of runners.

Everything happens for a reason, and I needed this moment in my journey. I needed it to inspire me, to reaffirm what I deep down already knew, and to make me feel like I belonged in this community. It would be so easy to say “My marathon was canceled” and give up, but that is not who I am. I wasn’t planning to make this my last marathon, and now my first will just be that much more special.

After a week of so much negativity, this morning was exactly what I needed. People still came out to cheer. They held signs, they had cow bells, and some were even passing out water. I tried to thank every single person on those side lines, I got plenty of high 5s and you better believe I accepted the water from a stranger. I wasn’t even thirsty, I was just so thrilled that they were spending their morning passing it out!

There were teams from all different countries. Brazil was pretty loud, so I distinctly remember them. We ran a loop of the park, then down to the hudson river for a total of 10.6 miles for the morning. It was exactly what I needed, and I’m so grateful I got to be a part of it.

Disclaimer: Please don’t take this as insensitivity to those affected by Sandy. I am simply explaining my experience. 

AFC Weekend in San Diego

Me, Coach Susan & Stacey.

Last weekend, I set out for San Diego with Steve and Stacey for the AFC half marathon. It was a super short trip. We left Friday afternoon after work and were there for a total of maybe 40 hours. We still managed to have a pretty awesome and relaxing Saturday, though. We had a delicious breakfast in Hillcrest at Snooze.

We were able to sit outside and enjoy a little bit of nice weather (the rest of the trip was hot–lame), and pet some super cute puppies. San Diego is super dog friendly. I wish Phoenix was more like that. Anyway, the food at Snooze was amaaaaaazing. I pretty much wanted to order the entire menu, but I settled on an egg white omelete with tons of veggies and goat cheese.

It’s funny because I really tried to be healthy, but then I dug into that omelete and it was pretty much exploding with goat cheese. I tried to pretend for a little while that I was going to scrape most of the cheese to the side, but who am I kidding??? Goat cheese is pretty much my favorite food on earth and this omelete was ridiculously good. I also snagged a bite of Stacey’s oatmeal which was also delicious.

And Steve ended up with this monster

Because clearly food is best when it’s the size of your head.

After breakfast, we walked around Hillcrest for a bit before heading to the race expo.

LOOK!!! WE’RE RUNNING!!!

The expo looked huge on first glance, but ended up being not super exciting. I did buy a new bic band, and for the first time I found one that stays on my head! It’s a thicker one, so I think having more felt is good for my awkward shaped head ;) We ended up browsing the expo for about an hour, then heading out to Coronado Beach.

Check out my awesome tan line. Super cute. It’s in the shape of sports bras/running tanks. Shocking, right?

After the beach, we went back to the hotel for a bit before meeting Coach Susan and some of our teammates for dinner. You know what I don’t understand? The whole pre-race pasta party concept. You go to an Italian restaurant where you are served lame white carbs that do you no good by race time the next day. I’d rather do a pre-race loaf of seedy multi grain bread party. Everyone gets their own loaf, and you don’t have to slice it. You just get a huge side of fancy vinegars and herbs to dip it into. That is something I can get on board with. Anyway, apparently the rest of the world doesn’t share my sentiment, so we ate Italian food. It was alright. I don’t love Italian food these days.

The company was great though! I got to know a few of my teammates a little better (there were a few of us that went), and it was cool to be part of a group. I’ve never done a race while having a coach before. Susan gave us all presents that totally made me all emotional!

Best.Coach.Ever. It’s the small things :)

Me, Coach Susan & Stacey.

The rest of the weekend was spent running, and driving and eating cupcakes. That was my favorite part, obviously. The cupcakes, not the running or driving. Those things were not super fun. Back with more details on the running part soon.

Maui Part 2 (Hike Maui)

Painted Eucalyptus  AKA "Tourist Tree" because they turn red and peel. Haha. Great joke, Maui.

Want to know what my very favorite part of my honeymoon was???

LOOK AT ME!!!!! I SWAM TO THE WATERFALL IN FREEZING COLD OPEN WATER!!!! I’M BRAVE!!!!

The all day hike. DUH. Shocking, right? ;) Well, the hiking part wasn’t all day. We did 2 hikes that totaled about 5 miles, so that was actually a pretty short amount the day, but the whole activity including the drive to Hana was all day. 6am-7:30pm of awesomeness.

If you’ve ever been to Maui, you’ve probably heard people talk about “The Road to Hana”. You don’t actually go to Hana, you do The Road to Hana. The road that includes 600 “hair pin turns” and 54 1 lane bridges. That’s why lots of people pay someone to drive them around. That didn’t interest me. I have a husband that gets zero driver anxiety. If I need to get somewhere, I bat my eyelashes and look cute (works every time). However, when I discovered we could do The Road to Hana, and participate in the most challenging hike the Hike Maui brochure offered, I was sold.

Most people spend their time in Maui on the west side of the Island. That’s where places like Lahaina are, and where people do all the touristy things. However, the east side of the island is like a completely different world! The west side looks kind of deserty. When you enter the east side, it’s like being transported into the most gorgeous tropical rainforest! Our guide Randy was incredibly knowledgeable, and in just the drive, I learned so much!

Painted Eucalyptus AKA “Tourist Tree” because they turn red and peel. Haha. Great joke, Maui.

WAVES!! I love the ocean. I’ve always found it to be the most calming, peaceful place.

For our first stop, we put on WATER SHOES!!! What??? We were told to get ready to hike through some mud! I wasn’t quite sure what I had gotten myself into, but I put on my shoes, and sucked it up. Actually, getting muddy was FUN. I used to be all “Wahhh I don’t like to get dirty” and annoying, but I’m branching out, people! The muddy hike was short and steep. It took us to a beautiful waterfall (see the top pic). Everyone started getting in the water and swimming across to it, but I was scared. It was cold. I couldn’t touch the bottom. I’ve never swam across open water (yes, in 27 years–I’m a wimp). Finally, I got the heck out of my own way, and swam to the waterfall, and it was AWESOME!!! I definitely would have regretted it if I’d skipped out.

Our next stop was the famous black sand beach! Soooo cool!

Finally we arrived on the east side of Haleakala, and began our longer hike.

These are the trees they used in Lost to hide from the smoke monster.

This is my I Made It To The Top I’m A Warrior face. I make it often. I like it because there’s no double chin. Randy got me with only 1 chin in every picture. I like that guy.

If you ever find yourself in Maui, I HIGHLY suggest hitting up Hike Maui, requesting Randy, and doing the all day thing. If I were to go back, I would even pay to do it a second time!

 

Maui Part 1

We spent the extra $20 a day and got a stupid touristy red convertible. Totally worth it.

I didn’t say much about my honeymoon. I’ve mostly been waiting for pictures, but truth be told, there’s not a whole lot to say. It was AWESOME. I loved almost every second. Instead, I just wanted to show you some of the highlights :)

We spent the extra $20 a day and got a stupid touristy red convertible. Totally worth it.

Napili Bay

I have an ice cream problem.

My favorite. On our sunset dinner cruise.

DOLPHINS!!!! Near Lanai, on our snorkeling trip.

On top of the clouds @ Haleakala

More to come, as well as lots of Hawaii inspired recipes. I took notes….on my honeymoon. Don’t judge me.

 

My Trip To Ashland

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What an amazing vacation! I don’t remember the last time I went away, and felt so relaxed–it was perfect, and exactly what I needed before I begin my summer work. Ashland was absolutely gorgeous.

Mandie showed me around the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

LOOK!!! Mandie’s name is on the sign!!! She’s basically famous.

I drank this awesome delicious blackberry beer. Aaaaaahhhmazing,

We went to a beautiful winery at the Applegate.

The second day, we met up with our friend Brittany who is also working up there, and took an other walk through Lithia Park. I can’t get over how amazing it is. If I lived here, I would be at the park every single day.

And I finally got to try the famous clover coffee from Starbucks.

The truth? It tasted the same as regular iced coffee to me. Maybe I need a more refined coffee palet ;)

The trip was absolutely perfect in every way, and seriously has me wanting to move to the Northwest! Now I’m busy busy up in Portland, but I have 2 exciting announcements!!

YESTERDAY I RAN!!!!! It only hurt a tiny bit, and for the last mile and a half, I didn’t stop to walk at all! I’m on my way back to training, and I had a serious runners high going!

My Vanilla Bean Cookie Butter Cup Cupcakes are featured on the RecipeNewZ facebook page! RecipeNewZ is a newer food photography site that’s really great, so you should go check them out and show them some love, since they have been so great to me.

 

 

 

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

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Hello from Ashland, OR! Tons of exciting things happening right now! Yesterday, I left Phoenix for the next 7 weeks. I’m on a little bit of a vacation for the next few days visiting my friend Mandie, then teaching/directing/choreographing in Portland, then off to Maui for my (late) honeymoon. Whew. Can you imagine packing for that many things at once? It was a little ridiculous. Even Clementine thought so.

“Mom. I think you’re forgetting something. If you don’t pack me, who will run circles around your neck and nibble on your nose all summer? Huhhhh???”

It’s definitely going to be a challenge to be away from Steve for the next 6 weeks. Before I left, he took me on the best date ever. This guy. He is amazing. It started out with my first trip ever to the baking supply store!

Then dinner at Bandera.

They have the bessssst cornbread!

Yummmmm.

Baking store and bread? Clearly, he know the way to my heart. ;)

I arrived in Ashland late last night, and pretty much went straight to bed. I can’t stay with Mandie because she has a cat, but she put me up in a super cute hotel down town! It kind of reminds me of a fancier hostel. There’s a shared bathroom, but private rooms, and the rooms are super cute and homey looking.

I woke up bright and early this morning. Of course. Why would my body ever possibly let me sleep in? Actually, it wasn’t bad, though. I looked at my phone, and it read 52 degrees, and I looked outside and saw clouds, and felt a beautiful breeze. I couldn’t wait to get outside, get my workout in, and explore the city! Today is the first official day of my marathon training. I had high hopes that my body would be like “OMG marathon training!! ALL BETTER!! Run all you want, Ari!” You can call me silly, but I prefer idealistic ;)

The truth is, running still hurts. Almost immediately. But it’s okay. I had surgery less than 2 weeks ago, and as much as I would love to wear a cape and stuff, I’m not super woman. The good news is it’s so early that this won’t set me back, and the mileage is really low, so I can walk my training plan until I’m back to normal. I actually forgot how great walking can be! I walked around downtown Ashland before finding Lithia Park that Mandie had mentioned to me when we drove in last night.

This park was absolutely gorgeous!! I really wished I had brought my camera with me, and not just my phone. I will definitely have to go back before I leave. I did manage to capture a bit of it on the android, though.

This beautiful creek runs all the way through the park, and there are tons of benches, and places to sit, as well as little paths down to the water. If I lived here, I would be here every day. The road started off paved, then turned into a trail.

I just kept walking, and let myself kind of get lost in there. I had been so excited to get out this morning, I hadn’t even thought to grab my ipod, and I ended up being really glad to be out there without it, and just be with nature. I saw lots of other walkers, a few runners (jealous face), and even some people doing yoga! Everyone was super friendly. In fact, I am kind of obsessed with this town. If I never make it back to Phoenix, you know why…

I have this thing for water. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the desert.

And the coolest part? I saw DEER!!!!!

I was walking by, and I heard rustling. The next thing I knew I was 3 feet away from these deer, staring them in the face. They weren’t the least bit frightened of me. How cool!!! Speaking of, I don’t know if I ever mentioned the time Nicole and I went on a driving adventure in Tempe, and saw a zebra in someone’s back yard?

Not quite as cool as the deer, but definitely interesting, haha. Can you imagine owning a zebra? Anyway, now I’m sitting at Starbucks enjoying some hot coffee.

Ohhh, how I’ve missed you. Grande bold coffee, 2 pumps sf mocha, 1 pump sf caramel, steamed soy.

Also, I have some really exciting news! A couple of weeks ago, I finally did something that I’ve wanted to do for quite some time, and I applied to be a FitFluential ambassador. I never thought in a million years that I would be accepted, but last night I received an email inviting me to join the team, and I am BEYOND thrilled!!! What an amazing opportunity to be a part of a community I value so highly with other bloggers that I admire. I am a lucky gal!

 

Steve’s 31st Birthday Getaway

"SURPRISE!!!!! It's your birthday!!!!"

In case you didn’t notice by the return of actually good photography, Steve is finally back from LA!! Hooray!!! Just one week after he got back, it was already time to celebrate his birthday! He was awesome and decided to be born on Easter weekend which meant I actually had the whole weekend off to spend with him! That never happens, so I decided to take advantage of it, and I got in touch with my friend/best realtor ever, Kathy, and asked about renting the weekend at her cabin in Heber/Overgaard.

Friday afternoon, I sneakily packed our bags, got the puppies and asked Steve if we could go take pictures on a mountain. It was the best cover up ever. I should be in the CIA or something because I am the best at being sneaky and keeping secrets. He didn’t figure out where we were going until we were almost to Fountain Hills, so I couldn’t have done that bad! We decided to stop in Payson for dinner. I looked on yelp, and found the Buffalo Bar and Grill.

"SURPRISE!!!!! It's your birthday!!!!"

I absolutely loved this little place. They didn’t typically allow dogs, but they let us sit outside with Winston and Clementine, and then even brought them water! The food was delicious too. Steve got a green chile burger.

That potato salad was super delish. I always try his burgers and never really like the taste of ground beef, yet I keep tasting it...? I'm weird.

I got a grilled chicken sandwich with buffalo sauce…my faaaavorite. YUM. And my fav guilty pleasure–SWEET POTATO FRIES!!!

Running is worth it when sweet potato fries come at the end of the day.

"OMG, I find this food more almost as exciting as your birth!!!!"

As you can see from this picture, I am super classy and attractive. It’s obvious why Steve married me.

By the time we got to the cabin, it was pretty late (for us old people) so we hung out for a bit, then went to bed pretty early. The next morning we woke up at the ridiculous hour of 6am because we are incapable of sleeping in. We hung around for a bit with the puppies.

"Mom, it's 6am. This is ridiculous."

"Boy, that walk from the bedroom to the couch really wore me out! I think now is a great time for a nap."

I discovered the waffle maker and it was love at first waffle!

Why have I NEVER made waffles before?!?!?! And why do I not own one of this incredible contraptions that creates the waffles?! This is a serious problem.

Ummm, as soon as we got back on Sunday, I bought a waffle maker. Stay tuned for a whole slew of waffle recipes.

While I was discovering waffle amazingness, Clementine was discovering stairs.

"Okay, I made it up here, but how the heck do I get back down?!?!"

Have you ever watched a mini dachshund climb up and down stairs?? It’s pretty funny. Her legs are so short, and her body is so long! She definitely took a spill or two.

"Stairs aint got nothin' on me!"

"Yes mom, I'm long and cute and you get no credit for that. Even though we have the same body type (long body, short legs, big butt), you do not receive credit for my super cuteness."

Clementine has so much attitude. I am totally responsible for her cuteness. I mean, where else would she learn this?

I roll around on the carpet daily. Clementine tries to copy. Whatever. I started it.

After hanging out for a bit, we decided to go down to Payson. There’s pretty much nothing to do in Overgaard, so we went in search of something fun, and of course, coffee. Yelp took us to a place called Scoops which had coffee and ice cream. My two favorite things!

I asked the barista what he suggested for something fun to do in the area and he suggested a hike along Tonto Creek. Neither of us were really dressed for hiking, but we decided to head over and at least check out a little bit of it, and I was really glad we did! It was really easy and mostly flat. More like a nice walk along the creek than a hike. Winston and Clementine got to experience nature beyond the dog park!

On the way back to Overgaard, we stopped at a lookout on the 270.

Oh my gosh...TREES! We don't have those in Phoenix. Only the prickly kind.

They are so foreign, we must take pictures in case we can't remember what they look like when we get back to Phoenix!

The birthday boy. I like him ;)

We picked up some things for dinner, a couple movies from the red box, and stayed in for the night. I made a super impressive dinner that included hot dogs and a can of baked beans. I hate the name of this dish, so I refuse to use it, but Steve loves it and is always going on about it, so I made it for him. Plus some asparagus to pretend like I actually do eat healthy.

Totally does not look cute, but I have to admit, it was pretty yummy. I'll have to try it again, and make the beans myself and use turkey dogs instead of beef. Slim pickins up at the Overgaard market.

We tried a new beer I picked up from Whole Foods.

Yummmm. I would definitely buy this again!

Then we watched Like Crazy (I don’t really have an opinion–didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. It happened, I guess.) and Carnage which I LOVED. I know friends of mine who have seen/read the play, didn’t love the movie, but I still haven’t seen it, and I thought it was hilarious. Jodie Foster was a total nut and I loved every second of it. I can’t wait until I have the opportunity to see a professional theatre production!

And that was pretty much it. We’re kind of boring people, but we loved it and had a great time, and headed back pretty early Sunday morning for some more festivities that night.

Special thanks to Kathy for renting our her amazing cabin!! If you live in Arizona or you want to come out this way and are interested in getting away from the city for a bit, I highly recommend it! The cabin has 3 bedrooms, a full kitchen with cooking equipment (like WAFFLE MAKERS!), a gorgeous rustic feel, and lots more! I can’t wait until we are able to return!

 

Disneyland Road Trip Day 3

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Monday morning, in full vacation mode, I canceled my alarm as soon as it went off and thought “Well, 3 days off from working out can’t be the worst thing in the world”, and let me tell you, it was an awesome decision. Steve and I had a fabulous lazy morning. He wished me a happy birth-week first thing (I love him) and was being super nice. We finally peeled ourselves out of bed, got our things together and drove up to LA to see my awesome BFFFF Chase!

Chase was one of the first people I became close with when I transferred to UI. He came in my second semester and we just clicked right away, plus we had the awful theatre tech class together so we latched onto each other in hopes of getting through it together. He moved down to LA almost a year ago, but I haven’t seen him nearly as much as I would like considering we’re just a 6 hour drive apart.

We went to see his home which is in a super cute area in West Hollywood–I think? We started with breakfast at Joey’s Cafe. The menu was filled with lots of delicious looking items and lots of healthy choices, so I was super excited! Of course, after I saw something with goat cheese, the other items didn’t stand a chance ;)

Egg white omelet with spinach, sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese. It was delicious.

Steve got a breakfast burrito.

I tested it of course to make sure it was okay for him. It was delicious, but the guacamole tasted like it must have been poisoned so I tried to convince him to give it all to me in an attempt to save his life.

Chase’s was almost as good as mine. If it had goat cheese, it would have totally blown my omelet out of the water!

Honestly, is anything more delicious than quiche? I could just eat the crust and be perfectly content.

After breakfast, Chase took us on a tour to explore the neighborhood.

I love this one! This whole post reminds me of the days when we would sit on Chase's balcony couch and take pictures of ourselves for hours on end. One time we even took a picture to compare whose calves were the most buff. Chase won, I came in second and poor Kyle lost, but watch out Chase--with all my running, my man calves have grown to epic proportions!

Chase makes the best picture faces.

I just do jazz hands.

It seemed like we had just gotten there when it came time to take Chase back home and start our way back to Phoenix. I was sad to have to say goodbye so quickly, but I’m just glad I got to see him for a little while! It’s been way too long.

The drive back was lots of me singing at the top of my lungs, and lots of me sleeping while Steve drove. Oh yeah, and many more “Are we there yet?!?!?!!”s. Finally, we were back home and I was thrilled to be reunited with some familiar faces!

Yawning or sneezing, or maybe just playing the camera game...

"Dad! Don't forget to take my picture for the blog! I can be cute too!"

Clementine, please try to look more cute next time.

 

Disneyland Road Trip Day 2, Part 2

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After a full morning and afternoon at Disney, we were happy to get a little time to refresh and get some non touristy food before heading back for the evening. I had read a few of Monica’s suggestions of good local places to eat in the Anaheim area, and after she posted about eating at Slater’s 50/50, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Once Steve looked at the menu, it was clear that it absolutely needed to happen.

They are most famous for their 50/50 burger which is half ground beef, half ground bacon. That sounds intense. What I loved most was how open the menu was. There were tons of options that included some healthier options like chicken and wheat buns. I am the pickiest person on Earth, so obviously I went with the create your own option.

Grilled chicken, goat cheese, cranberry sauce, greens, tomato and cucumber on rye bread. Basically if goat cheese is ever an option, it ends up on my plate.

Steve created his own too.

Fire beef with every spicy option the menu had pretty much. His spice tolerance is insane!

I started off with more beer, because obviously I didn’t get enough the night before.

I promise, I do not have an alcohol problem.

Before we knew it, our food was delivered.

My sandwich

Steve's burger

And we couldn’t not get the sweet potato fries with pumpkin dipping sauce–oh my gosh, must recreate!

Maybe this could be my last meal?

The food was amazing. I got sad when I was full because it all tasted so good! Maybe I should be embarrassed by that? If you tasted it, you’d understand! Definitely the best meal of the trip.

With full bellies, we headed back to the park, anxious to get there for the fireworks!

Then we got the super sad news–the fireworks had been canceled! :( Major bummer. We ended up going into the Disney museum which I had never been in either. It just never interested me as a kid, but I really enjoyed looking at everything this time.

Then we rode Thunder Mountain again, and got to see the castle at night which was beautiful.

After a while, we felt like we’d done everything we really wanted to, so we decided to meet up with Nicole, Lance and Chelle in downtown Disney for some drinks to celebrate Nicole and Chelle’s successful half marathon! Nicole shaved 15 minutes off her previous time and Chelle completed her first half! We spent the remainder of the evening drinking and chatting about everything. Well Nicole and I talked a lot. The rest of the group had a hard time getting a word in edge wise with both of us around. Sorry guys.

It got late before we knew it and we parted ways and headed back to our respective hotels. It was definitely the perfect way to spend a day at Disneyland!

 

 

Disneyland Road Trip Day 2, Part 1

I'm a princess

Steve and I woke up bright and early Sunday morning and the first thought that crossed my mind was “Nicole’s running right now!!!” I hadn’t realized when we made our plans that it was the same weekend as the Tinkerbell 1/2 marathon, but the stars aligned and I ended up being in the same place as Nicole on her race day! I grabbed my phone to see where she was from her twitter feed, and then Steve and I went to where the race was going by our hotel, but unfortunately we had already missed her. We got dressed, grabbed coffee (obviously) and walked over to the park.

Disneyland is so incredibly nostalgic for me. My dad used to take me every year for my birthday. In fact, one of my 2 very favorite birthdays in my soon to be 27 years of living was when I was in elementary school and I woke up on my birthday (I think I was turning somewhere between 7-9–dad??), and started getting ready for school, but my dad stopped me and told me I wasn’t going to school, then surprised me and took me to Disneyland for the day! I will never forget it. As soon as we got to the gates my heart felt ready to burst! Maybe I’m nostalgic or maybe I it’s that I have the mentality of a 6 year old, but this place just brings me so much joy–it really is magical!!

We got there right as the park opened, so we had no trouble getting on the first few rides. We headed straight to Indiana Jones, then Space Mountain, then stopped in a few shops to get in full Disney spirit.

I'm a princess

Steve is not.

"I have to wear the birthday hat because it's almost my birth week!!!!"

Then I saw Woody!!!

Woody and I get along because we both have wiener dogs.

And Steve took more pictures

Is it just me, or is Disneyland super nice looking compared to other theme parks? It makes Knottsberry farm look like the state fair!

Water is pretty. We don't have any in the entire state of Arizona, so for us it's like getting a picture of a lunar eclipse.

Then, we went on the Mark Twain boat ride. I don’t think I’d actually ever been on this thing. It definitely wasn’t a thrilling ride or anything, but it was nice to see the sights.

We walked around a lot, explored the different areas and went into lots of the Main St. shops.

Steve told me to look classy. I think he forgot who he was with....

LOOK!!! It's the castle! It's magical :)

I want my house to have a moat. Hey Steve, can we please make that happen? I don't think the HOA will mind...

It's like this shirt was made with Steve in mind. I always tease him about being grumpy because we have such opposite personalities. Really, he's just reserved, but I kind of have the personality of a toddler with a caffiene problem.

And now for my favorite picture!

Thank you Disneyland for knowing everything I've ever needed in life.

Next up, it was time to hit up Thunder Mountain Railroad! Do you remember being a kid and thinking this ride was so awesome and scary because it went sideways?! That’s big thrills for D-land. And of course Steve assumed the purpose of rides were to give him photo opportunities. I was actually pretty impressed with the photos he got mid bumpy ride!

After the ride we walked around a little more

Steve loves stars and I still have the delusion that "I'm the greatest star" so this picture made total sense. I hope you just heard Barbara singing in your head too. Heather?

At this point the park was starting to get crowded, so we decided to hang out around downtown Disney for a bit before getting out of the area for dinner. Stay tuned for part 2…