Happy Things

NuttZo

Hi friends! I missed you! I know I was only away for less than a week, but I’ve been way less present to blogging the last 6 weeks as I’ve been way more present to my summer job and soaking up the amazing people I only get to see a few weeks out of the year, but now I’m back home (wahhh, it’s hot) and ready to reunite with my kitchen and you lovely people! So to jump back in, I wanted to share with you some happy things I came home to.

1. A jar of this deliciousness. While I was away, NuttZo sent me a jar of their crunchy chocolate flavor to try, and it is absolutely amazing. One of the first things I did when I got home was open it up, and it is drippy, crunchy, just the right amount of sweet, and totally addictive. I already have to monitor myself to make sure I don’t go through the entire jar in two days. It includes peanuts, cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and hazelnuts. It is better than any chocolate nut spread that I have ever tasted, and I am obsessed with the crunchiness. I must find a way to recreate in my kitchen!

NuttZo

2. A super sweet card from Heather about my upcoming speaking engagement at the Healthy Living Summit! I am beyond excited to be speaking, and really looking forward to meeting some of my favorite people from around the internet. Because that’s a totally normal thing to look forward to, right?

3. These faces. ‘Nuff said.

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Also finally having the sound of puppy nails on the tile again! I missed that!

4. A RUNNER HUSBAND!!! Without a doubt the happiest thing that happened while I was away is that Steve started the couch to 5k program! He’s on week 5, and hasn’t missed a beat since he started. I am unbelievably proud, and it means I need to get my butt in gear with some swim lessons so I can actually announce some exciting future plans. ;)

5. MEAN GREEN!!

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Isn’t she beaaaauuutiful? She needs a new seat because this one is, um, not working for me, but she is everything I dreamed she would be. Also,  road bikes are super sensitive to your movements. No more off in la la land while I ride my bike for me. I actually have to pay attention now. Crap.

6. I was in the Arizona Republic today along with one of my besties! Check it out!

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7. The months of February, March and April, I ran zero miles. In May I ran 24, in June I ran 38, and in July I ran 56. I was feeling a little down on myself that I still haven’t run longer than 5 miles and I am supposed to run a marathon in November, but I know Coach Susan is, like, a billion times smarter than me, and I know she has a plan, but seeing the numbers build up and actually being able to see my progress really lifted my spirits. Slowly, but surely I will get back to where I was last November and December, and really I have my whole life to get faster, so what’s the rush?

8. I really love my bed and my couch. I’m glad to be back to “real life”. Still totally missing Portland and my girls up there, but happy to be in my home with my kitchen and my Kitchenaid and my Vitamix. ;)

Disclosure: The NuttZo was sent to me to review for blog purposes. All opinions are my own.

Weekend Ramblings

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1. I am 90% sure I haven’t told you this already (if I’m wrong, I’m sorry and it won’t be the last time it happens…), but I am thrilled to announce I will be speaking at Healthy Living Summit with my fellow D&D host Nicole on video content! I am over the moon. I applied thinking it was a long shot, and I was shocked when I found out we were chosen! It’s going to be my first blogging conference, and I am stoked. Are you going? You should be!

2. So you know how cilantro and goat cheese are my favorite foods? Well, the other day, I tried to make a cilantro goat cheese pesto. It was disgusting. I kept trying to add and change things, but it was just gross, and the texture was, like…butter. Not in a good way. Ew. I can’t even explain it. Then I tried to make rosemary pesto which was also a horrific failure. I guess I should have just made this.

3. I’m on a break from teaching right now, so I’ve been home a lot more which makes Winston super happy. Clementine couldn’t care less, but Winston follows my every step. Every single day when I’ve gotten out of the shower, he’s been laying on the tile in front of the door waiting for me. Then he gets excited and acts like we haven’t seen each other in years. I wonder what it’s like to be a dog.

4. I made a press page! I don’t have any idea if I did it “right”. In fact, I had no idea what I was doing, so I looked at Sally’s and Nicole’s. I figured they did it right. Also, do people really keep track of all of their features and things like that? Am I just super disorganized?? It was cool to see a list of the things I’ve done and the places that thought I was cool enough to share. Seriously, every time someone shares one of my recipes, whether it’s a big publication or an other blogger, it makes my heart so happy. I never actually thought anyone would read this thing.

5. This video. I can’t stop watching it. I may even love it as much as Beauty and the Beat? I always drag my heels about watching youtube videos that people tell me are funny, because most of them….aren’t. But this. Just watch it. Actually, watch like the first minute of Taylor Swift’s 22 video, then watch it. You’re welcome.

6. Last weekend I played Rockband at Nicole’s house. The only song I actually knew the words to? Wannabe. I sang the crap out of that song. I got a 95% which in case you didn’t know is a solid A. Except, did you know they say “slam your body down and wind it all around”? I’ve been singing “slam your body down and party all around” since about 1996.

7. I really hate that stupid eagle pose in yoga. BTW, I love yoga now. Like, actually love, and I want to do a real post explaining my change in tune, but right now I just want to complain about stupid eagle pose because I SUCK at it. The only good thing about it is getting to go into star pose after. That one’s fun. Also, I’m working on my headstands. I can get to it, but then it’s so hard to get my legs in the air. I tried today and they made it up for about .5 seconds. HOW DO YOU GET THEM TO STAY???

8. I recently (I know so late to the party) started watching Dexter. To say I’m obsessed would be an understatement. Like, I can’t go to sleep because I want to watch “just 1 more” episode. About 7 times. I’m really into anything psychological, and I have a huge fascination with mental illness (freak?) and all of the psychology of a serial killer, and the backstory along with ideas of why we become “what we are” is totally up my alley. I’m only at the beginning of season 2, so if you give me any spoilers, I swear our friendship will be over. I’m already too good at guessing and I hate it.

9. I spent all this time cleaning out my office so that I could actually use it to do work from home, but I can’t seem to make myself work anywhere other than my couch, standing at the kitchen counter (weirdo…not comfortable) or my dining room table. I think it’s the idea of a smaller room getting me down? I don’t know. I’m a freak.

10. Please tell me I’m not the only one with powdered sugar all over my DLSR? This is a common issue, right? My photographer husband doesn’t seem to find it common. Or cute. Or endearing. Or amusing.

11. I discovered the countdown app. I’d been meaning to get it for a while, but now I think I may have a problem…

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What’s on your mind? Tell me awesome things.

Weekend Ramblings

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1. About a month ago, I ran out of conditioner, so I went to Target to buy more. Well, about a week later, I realized that my hair felt kinda funky. I checked out my “conditioner” that actually turned out to be shampoo in a different bottle color. I then continued to have no conditioner for an other 2-3 which is how long it took me to remember to go to Target and buy some. I never seem to have a problem remembering to buy chocolate…

2. This morning I went to the grocery store at 10am and left with candy canes, fat free half and half, chocolate syrup, and a big bottle of Whiskey. It was a successful trip.

3.  I just discovered podcasts. I don’t know how that’s possible, but in 24 hours I’ve downloaded approximately 15 Jillian Michaels podcasts, and I made Steve listen to them in the car with me. He was not impressed.

4. My friend Nicole introduced me to gizoogle. It’s pretty much the most amazing website that has ever existed. Here are a few of the best exerpts from my bog:

  • I gotz a fundraisin goal of $5,000 ta support Chizzlez fo’ Lil Pimps AZ. Chizzlez fo’ Lil Pimps provides game n’ fitnizz opportunitizzles fo’ underprivileged youth. If yo ass wanna ta donate, please git on over
  • My fuckin name is Ari. I be just a other ho whoz ass pimped a bona fo’ hustlin ta balizzle up mah bona fo’ baked phats. Right back up in yo muthafuckin ass. Somewhere along tha way I lost 75 lbs n’ discovered tha thug I wanna be.
  • Yo Ass don’t have ta run ta be fit. Yo Ass just have ta find dat muthafuckin thang dat yo ass ludd, tha muthafuckin thang dat fills yo ass wit accomplishment, n’ motivates you, n’ do dat shit. I found hustlin. Da muthafuckin thang I thought I hated da most thugged-out fo’ realz. And it turns out, I kind of ludd dat shit.
  • I had always heard bout gangstas whoz ass ran marathons. It seemed so impossible ta mah crazy ass yo, but ever since I done cooked up tha decision ta git gamey, it had been dis trip up in tha back of mah mind. I decided dat I needed ta do some shiznit fo’ me.

Last night we put in Bank of America which was referred to as Bank of Tha Ghetto. It’s now provided me hours of entertainment. To participate in the awesomeness, you just put any website into the search bar and click “gizoogle this shiznit”.

5. On a slightly related note, if you’ve never seen this video, it is a must.

Also this video has nothing to do with gizoogle or inappropriate stereotypes, but it just makes me sosoSO happy.

Watch it. It will bring you a happiness.

6. My student secret santa made me a quote book of ridiculous things I’ve said during rehearsal, and funny things other people have said. I say the weirdest crap. Favorite quotes include “It’s okay to touch each other.” and “Touch my feet!” I don’t know why I ever tried to get someone to touch my feet, other than I’m gross and have no social skills. The book also included pictures that she drew (ummm I love this girl) and one of them was me leaning on the piano with the quote “Girl, you trippin'”. I honestly don’t know why anyone hires me to work with children. They are more mature than I am…

7. I LOST MY FIRST TOENAIL!!! Everyone thinks I’m gross, but I feel excited only. I took pictures, but decided not to post them on the blog. Sorry to disappoint…

8. MY CHRISTMAS TREE IS UP!!! And also Winston is cute.

9. Clementine is cute too…

Thai Peanut Turkey Burgers

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So I’ve been really mad that it’s summer time. Lots of whining and complaining about the heat, and how it affects my running, and blah blah blah. But I forgot how much I LOVE some things about summer! Like burgers!

And swimming!

Tuesday evening, Jason came over with my dog niece and nephew, and we seriously had the best time playing around outside with the puppies. They got so hyped up about the pool!

Nico and Winston have a love connection. They will play for hours on end.

Every time Jason was in the pool and would make eye contact with Nico, she would immediately go crazy and start barking, and then all the other dogs would start going crazy too.

Clementine is hiding under the chair. She wants to play, but she’s scared. It’s hard to be a Clementine.

Anyway, before all the fun dog playing, there were seriously amazing, delicious burgers.

Made with extra lean ground turkey, and homemade Thai peanut sauce.

Savory and spicy, with just a hint of sweetness.

Have I ever mentioned how much I also love Thai food? Give me some take out Chicken Pad Thai with extra cilantro, and I am a happy girl. I used to eat it all the time because someone told me Thai food was healthy once. Now, I figure out my own ways to use the flavors that are actually healthy, and not 7 servings of noodles ;)

Also, if you are one of those people who loves a beef burger, and thinks turkey burger are dry and gross (ahem…Steve), try these turkey burgers. I haven’t always loved the ones I’ve made at home (why do they never seem to turn out like the one at Zin Burger??), but I absolutely freaking love these. Like I can’t wait to make them every day for the rest of the summer my life kind of love.

Thai Peanut Turkey Burgers

yield 5 servings

  • 20 oz ground turkey breast
  • 1 tbs egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup diced onion + more for topping
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper + more for topping
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro + more for topping
  • 1 tbs peanut butter
  • 1 tbs Better’n Peanut Butter (or pb2, or more regular peanut butter)
  • 1 tbs reduced sodium soy sauce (use gluten-free is applicable)
  • 1 1/2-2 tsp chili paste
  • 1 tbs fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2-1 tbs Sriracha
  • 5 100% whole grain hamburger buns (whole wheat, brown rice, etc.), toasted
  • crushed peanuts, sliced scallions, and bean sprouts for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat grill. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey breast, egg substitute, onion, bell pepper, and cilantro. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, Better’n Peanut Butter, soy sauce, chili paste, lime juice, and honey. Pour 2 tsp of sauce mixture into turkey mixture, and set the rest aside.
  3. Thoroughly combine turkey mixture and sauce (I recommend getting in there with your hands!), and form into 5 even patties. Press lightly in the center of each patty with your thumb, so they are slightly thicker on the edges to ensure even cooking.
  4. Send your husband outside to Grill until cooked throughout (approx 5 minutes per side). Meanwhile, add Greek yogurt and Sriracha to leftover peanut sauce, and mix until well combined.
  5. Place cooked patties on toasted wheat buns, then top with yogurt peanut sauce, crushed peanuts, sliced scallions, bean sprouts, and extra onions, bell peppers and cilantro.

On The Road

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Hello friends! I am posting en route to Prescott. For those of you that aren’t from Arizona, Prescott is about 2 hours north of Phoenix, so I packed up my favorite guy, and my favorite puppies, and we are off for a little 24 hour adventure to get out of the heat. Oh, and you know, so Lisa and I can run up a mountain and sing colors of the wind.

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Steve is driving. I’m enjoying frappuccino happy hour with a chai frappuccino light. Clementine is barking at Winston because he won’t play with her, and Winston is pretending he’s deaf. Or giving her the silent treatment. You decide. Now Steve is howling at Clementine and Winston is scared. I’m also icing my achilles tendons. It’s all incredibly exciting. Wish you were here!

Talk to you later, if I don’t die on the mountain!

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.

 

Clementine’s First Birthday

Is it silly to feel happy that your kids get along so well when your kids have fur? Whatever, it totally warms my heart!

Can you believe it??? Our little Clementine turned 1 yesterday! It seems like just yesterday that Amelia announced on facebook that her family would be giving away mini dachshunds. We got her when she was just 8 weeks old and could hardly walk around the house, and now she is practically a grown up. That little wiener brings so much joy to our home and I honestly don’t know how we ever got along without her. Winston is so much happier too! He was really jealous when she first arrived, but now he LOVES having a playmate and an other puppy to snuggle with.

Is it silly to feel happy that your kids get along so well when your kids have fur? Whatever, it totally warms my heart!

Clemmie’s day started out with a birthday treat.

"Mom!!!! You said treat, you said treat!!! Where is it?!?!" Also, I think in a contest for longest tail, Clementine would win. Look at that thing!

"Yum"

Or two…

"I shake."

And a nice walk.

"Brother!!! Wait for me! It's not fair, I have really short legs."

"If I ruled the walks, they would be fast and no one would tell me not to bark at the big dogs. I can take them, just you wait and see!"

To really get the most out of her special day, Clementine did what she loves most: lots of digging, barking at strangers, playing with her brother, searching for food crumbs, and taking every single one of her toys outside to play with.

Happy birthday to my favorite girl puppy! The most annoying, stubborn and difficult to train dog possibly on Earth, but also one of the sweetest, most fun and loving dogs I have ever met. I love you Clemmie Boo!!!

Self Hosted!

Yes, that is a tie dye snuggie. Thanks for asking. Possibly the best purchase I've ever made. Mac, I hope you're wearing yours over there in the Big Apple!

Hello, friends! I am so super excited right now, because I have officially made the switch over to being self hosted and although I feel like there is so much I need to learn, I am already loving it. You may have noticed a couple little updates and changes to the page, or it may still look exactly the same as far as you’re concerned, but I am trying to learn how personalized I can make things on my own before I shell out some money to get some design work done.

In other exciting news, you may have noticed the Around the Plate Recipe Guru badge that has been on my side bar for the last month or so. Around the Plate is a healthy living website with a huge community filled with “Healthy Living Champions”, “Recipe Gurus”, and “Nutrition Experts”. I was thrilled when they asked me to join and be a part of the community! If you would like to join, visit their community member’s page. As a part of my membership, I have also been able to become involved with their writers club. I recently wrote an article about Paula Deen’s diabetes announcement that is being featured on their home page, if you’d like to check it out!

Most of the past few days have been spent working and getting this transition up and running, but there has also been a lot of super cute puppy action happening lately. I mean, there always is, but these two have been sooooo sweet lately. LOOK AT!

Umm, sorry about my nasty battle wound that made it into the picture. Look at the cute puppies instead. I seriously promised everyone I knew that I would not post gross foot blister pictures on the blog and I really meant to not!

Yes, that is a tie dye snuggie. Thanks for asking. Possibly the best purchase I've ever made. Mac, I hope you're wearing yours over there in the Big Apple!

My favorite.

I also have the best husband ever who made me a seriously delicious dinner of split pea soup after I got stuck in a much longer afternoon than I had bargained for. Check out his cooking skillllzzz!

Okay, so split pea soup is not pretty, but you better believe it was delicious! I might have to start him his own recipe page ;)

To celebrate being self hosted, I have a new recipe coming your way tomorrow!

 

Perfect Sunday

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What a perfect Sunday. I don’t remember the last time Steve and I both had the day off with no pressing plans. It was amazing. After I got back from spin, we hung out for a little bit before heading out to the dog park. It’s funny, Winston and Clementine always get so excited to go to the park, but then we get there and Clementine is terrified and Winston doesn’t leave our side. Actually, sometimes if dogs get too close and Winston feels threatened, he started to get a little aggressive and it really worries us :( Does anyone have any good advice for a dog that doesn’t always do well with other dogs? We really want him to be social! He did play a little bit though today.

Winston really just loves to run. If you run, he will chase you. He takes after his mama ;)

The two of us ran around the park a little bit together.

Check that out! Steve actually caught my feet mid air!

Clementine on the other hand is so boring at the dog park. She just hides. There were some dogs on the other side of the fence that seemed a little safer :)

After the dog park, we decided to invite my mom, Hank and Charlie over for dinner to thank them for watching Clemmie while we were on vacation. I had tons of fun cooking.

Thanks for the awesome gift, mom! I will wear these babies any chance I get!

I had the “I played with my food and now my hands are a hot mess” thing going on which, apprently, was horrifying.

Meatloaves. Yes, plural. They were delicious. Recipes coming soon!

Happy Sunday, friends :D

Highlights of 2011

There is no doubt in my mind that 2011 has been my favorite year I’ve been alive so far. I hope to say that every year, but 2011 was particularly special with some pretty amazing things going on. Here’s a list of some of the highlights (in chronological order, not favorite order):

Steve and I celebrated our last non-married anniversary by going with Winston to a cabin in Northern AZ and spending the weekend just the three of us. Winston saw snow for the first time. Trips are awesome. Trips with puppies are even better :)

My mom threw me the perfect bridal shower! My mom isn’t much for hosting parties, but she told me early into the wedding planning that she wanted to throw my shower, and with the help of my amazing bridesmaids, I spent the day feeling totally overwhelmed by love and gifts, and amazingness!

My best friend Bethany went way above and beyond as my maid of honor to make me feel like the most special bride in the world and threw me the perfect bachelorette party!

I GOT MARRIED!!!!!!! And it was perfect.

In addition to all the reasons marrying the love of your life is awesome, I had almost every single person I love in the same place at the same time. Friends and family flew in from across the country and made me feel like a million bucks. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so loved as when I stood there looking at Steve and looking out at the faces of all the people who love us, their eyes glowing and each one totally present in the moment, and grateful to be there. Then, at the reception, there were so many unexpected speeches that left me crying my make up right off my face. Thanks for that, Bethany :) I don’t think a better maid of honor speech has ever existed.

WE GOT CLEMENTINE!!! Second only to the wedding, best part of this year. That dog drives me nuts. She won’t go to the bathroom outside when it’s raining, she walks around on the coffee table like it’s the floor, and she runs in crazy circles around my neck for no reason, but I love her, and she was the best gift I have ever received. Thanks, Amelia!!!

I got my first big directing job in Phoenix! I directed/choreographed/music directed The Rockin’ Tale of Snow White for AJTC (the same theatre I just did Fiddler with) and finally began to feel like I was doing what I wanted to do with my degree.

I met the two most amazing mentors! Molly and Emily, I’m not sure if you two read this, but your friendship, guidance, and insight have changed my life this year. I feel so lucky to have the two most incredible people to look up to and learn from as I grow and build my career.

I went to the Grand Canyon for the first time since I was like 4! It was grand. Okay, that sounds lame, but pretty much John and I looked at it, said “Yup, it’s grand”, enjoyed it for a bit, and went on our way, but I did really love going and especially getting to go with John!

I ran my first race, decided to run a half marathon and discovered a love for something I never thought I could do. I don’t care if it sounds cheesey, but running has changed my life and being able to do it with Kara and the friendship we have developed through it has been so amazing.

I choreographed Aladdin! Definitely one of my favorite working experiences ever, and I had been wanting to work for Greasepaint pretty much since the second I moved back to Phoenix. I had the most incredible team, and I ended the show feeling so proud of the kids, and of my own work!

We hosted our second Thanksgiving. It was pretty perfect in my opinion :)

The same day, I had my first double digit run!

I directed/choreographed Fiddler on the Roof Jr. Okay, so I’m not super great at being Jewish, but I must admit doing this show was pretty special to me. Seeing the audiences that came out and how much it means to so much of the Jewish community was really inspiring, and I was so proud to show my parents what I had done. I know that sounds silly, but getting to do work that meant something to my family and my cultural community was really amazing for me.

Annnnddd, by the time you read this, I will be on a trip with my 3 favorite guys to see one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, my friend Lisa! Steve, Jason, Nacho and I will be freezing out booties off in Boston with Lisa and her husband David and I cannot wait to go and spend New Years with them! I’ve never been to Boston and I’ve been wanting to go visit Lisa ever since she moved there.

It has been a truly incredible year and I am so grateful so the life I am living. Happy New Years everyone!

What Comes After 10

"Watch out run, we're coming for you!"

I love long runs. They are undoubtedly my favorite part of training. I mean, when I’ve only done 4 and want to be done, maybe for a minute I don’t love them, but I always at some point find myself so pumped during and after them. Today was Kara’s epic return post ankle roll injury. I mean, we did a short run on Wednesday, but today was really her big day back. The last time we ran together was when we did 8 miles.

Kara got to my house bright and early for some cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with almond butter and banana. I know that everyone eats nut butter and banana toast before long runs, but there is a reason. I felt fueled and energized the entire time. I don’t think I will ever do an other long run without this breakfast. We waited a few minutes for the sun to come out, put on our fancy new compression socks and we were off!

"Watch out run, we're coming for you!"

"HiiiiYA! Take that, road!"

I was feeling pretty good today and secretly the entire time I was wanting to do 11 miles. I haven’t repeated a number on a long run yet, and I am always anxious to cover new distance and do something I’ve never done before. I contemplated lying to Kara about how far we’d gone and then surprising her with a “Tadaaaaa, we actually did 11!!” when we returned, but I didn’t know if she’d appreciate that post injury, so I pretended not to notice that the Garmin beeped at 5mi, and then stopped at 5.06 and said “Ohhhh whoooops…” I made it a whole 30 seconds trying to be deceitful. Then I asked Kara if I could convince her to run for 4 more minutes before turning around, and because she is basically the most awesome friend and running buddy to ever walk the face of the Earth, she immediately said yes, and we changed the plan to 11. I was so excited I literally jumped up and down a little. New territory!!!! My favorite!!!! So we ran a few minutes longer until we hit 5.5, then stopped for some espresso love flavored Gu.

This Gu stop made me laugh for about a mile. I mean, I think the espresso flavor tastes pretty decent, but the stickiness of Gu sometimes makes me a little grossed out, but I look over and Kara is not at all phased and says “I’m thoroughly enjoying this!!” She straight up loved the Gu which for some reason was pretty hilarious to me. I’ve never heard someone say that I guess. We turned around and I continued to laugh about her and the Gu.

It seemed as if the second half of the run flew by. I was so excited. To run new mileage, to have my running buddy back, to be running. I finished the last mile of the run with a huge slapstick grin across my face. We finished with a respectable (for me) 10:11 average pace.

That is Steve's hand. I promise my hand is not hair like that.

Mile 1–11:12
Mile 2–10:36
Mile 3–10:32
Mile 4–10:25
Mile 5–10:25
Mile 6–10:05 (thank you Gu!)
Mile 7–10:09 (man so close to no positive splits!)
Mile 8–10:07
Mile 9–9:48 (that’s more like it!)
Mile 10–9:39
Mile 11–9:19

Really really close to negative splits!!! When we walked in the door I was just so happy. I get some serious runners high. I’m pretty sure I’m hooked ;)

Once we got back, I forced Kara to join me in some stretching and foam rolling.

Check out those hot sweat stains. It's no wonder half of my blog search terms include the word sweat.

"Aunt Kara, I will help you stretch! I am so good at stretching. How do you think I got this long?"

Then came the least fun part of all. I’ve been using the pool as my “ice bath” and as it’s gotten colder and colder outside, the icy pool bathes have gotten less and less fun. Today, it looked like this outside:

In Phoenix, 50 degrees is considered scary cold.

"AHHHHH!!!!!!!" and lots more curse words

Steve just made fun of us.

"Yeah, just keep laughing, jerk."

While Winston and Clementine were in full on play time mode. Thanks for the entertainment, puppies. You definitely made it suck less.

"Come out and play with me NNNOOOOWWWW!!!"

"Okay, you asked for it! Raaaawwwwrrrr!!"

 

It’s funny, once you’re actually in the pool, the only thing that seems worse than staying in is getting out and getting blasted by the cold air. Finally, once our toes started to go numb, we braved it.

Brrrrrrrrr

"Mom, why did you go in the scary water? I don't understand."

This much is true, ice bathes are better with friends.