Sunday, December 30, 2012

Oh, 2012

You were a good one. How could I not look back on you with a smile on my face?

It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful life is when I look back on all the photographs, blog posts, memories from the year. It's easy to forget those fun moments and dwell on the current stress. But life's too short NOT to savor every fabulous moment we have together  (personal reminder).

So, I've compiled a list of some of my favorite things from the year to share with you.

My favorite memory

A marriage proposal at Hayward Field, a 9 min marathon PR, and almost getting that Boston qualifier. Can a girl ask for much more? Well, other than that BQ... not much. Never did I think the manfriend would propose at the end of the Eugene Marathon in front of a crowd. 

Eugene Marathon posts

My favorite view

There are few times in life that I just completely let loose and relax. But five days in Mexico with my best friend and man of my dreams? Perfection. I loved this view around the pools one night at sunset on our first official vacation together. 

Puerto Vallarta posts

My favorite look(s)


Casual and comfy are my favorite kind of outfits. It's no surprise that these summer looks won out over any fall/winter option. 

Fashion Friday posts

My favorite run/race

Hagg Lake 25K was muddy as hell, but so much fun. I didn't care about running particularly fast. I trained well and just enjoyed the race. This year, I'm letting the manfriend have all the fun. This will be his first trail race!

My favorite bite(s)

Veggie tostadas, rehearsal dinner at my brother's wedding, tuna melts on a snow day and homemade rosemary margarita pizza and I could go on. Nothing stood out as epically amazing, but these were some of the good ones I documented.

My favorite sunrise

Sunrise from the top of a mountain from a fire lookout. A 360 degree view makes sunrise and sunset pretty epic. I have a post in the works about this little adventure.

My favorite sunset

Sunset over LA during my trip to the Rose Bowl. The sunrise was just about as equally epic. 

So there you have it, some of my favorites of 2012! 2013 is sure to be a good one. I'm looking forward to our wedding and so many other adventures in the new year.

Workout Fun
I wanted to share my workout from Christmas Eve morning with you guys. It was a perfect way to fight boredom and the impending holiday treats!

*Christmas Eve Booty Blast*

 1. Set up your bike trainer (or pick an alternative cardio choice like running around the block, jumping jacks, elliptical, alternate between various cardio moves)
2. Set out dumbbells and yoga mat if needed

Turn on itunes/pandora and cardio blast it for the entire 3-5 minutes of the song. Be sure it's peppy music so you're not spinning or jumping jacks to Celine Dion. ;)

3-5 min cardio
1 min strength
*complete 4-8 rounds 

Sample workout
Warm up with Fitnessista's SANTabata (8 min)

0-4:00 spin (or your choice of cardio)
4-5:00 12 pushups, 20 dips
5-8:00 spin with speed bursts
8-9:30 push ups, dips, bent over rows w/ 15lb dumbbells
9:30-12:00 spin with bursts
12-13:00 plank hold
13-17:00 spin, increase resistance
17-19:00 squats w/ dumbbells, squatting tricep kick backs, bicep curls
19-23:00 spin w/ bursts
23-24:00 squats w/ dumbbells, handstand push ups against the wall
24-27:30 spin
27-32:00 ab series: 20 suitcase crunch, 50 bicycles knee to elbow, legs 90 deg and touch toes x 20
32-35:00 spin w/ bursts and 1 min slow spin
35-37:00 stretch whatever needs stretchin'

So warm up included, I got a sweatastic workout done in just 45 minutes! 

What were a few of your favorites of 2012? Happy Sunday! I'm off to get my sweat on at hot yoga!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas on the Brain

Did anyone else experience that complete Christmas hangover going on today? Going to work was a real struggle. The brain just wanted to be on vacation. Next year, I'm taking the day after Christmas off for sure. 

Our Christmas was fun, but as usual went by too fast. I miss the days of having two weeks off at Christmas to laze around and hang out with friends. The highlights were hanging out with family, eating too much good food and laughing a lot. Here are a few of my favorite photos. 

Are we there yet?

Christmas Eve service and the living manger

A Christmas table set for brunch

Cousins Aram and Grace, mom, grams, dad and little Mikaela

Life of the party right here

Oh She Glows Hockey Nuts for gifting

Hello, ipad mini

Love plaid

Christmas day was a total rest day for me other than a few sun salutations in the morning. We also went out as a family during a period of sunshine for a walk with the dogs. Perfect way to get some fresh air and regroup for presents and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation!

I hope Santa was good to you! We got a new vacuum (which was desperately needed) and a lot of other fun and useful items. Pete and I didn't exchange gifts again this year as we have other things to save for and don't really need more "things." Instead, we'll go out for a nice dinner and drinks as our present to each other in the next week or two. I have to say, I'm 100% happy about this decision. 

Now, rest up... New Year's Eve is right around the corner! 

How was your Christmas? Get anything funny? Mom bought me a glove with an ice scraper in the middle of it. Hope it snows again soon so I can use it! ;)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ho Ho Ho

Good morning! I hope you're having a cozy day inside enjoying time with friends and family. If you're working, hang in there, it will be over before you know it! We'll be heading up to my parents this morning to get Christmas festivities started.

I thought I'd give you a little recap of our cookie baking adventures in photos. I think this is Jenn and I's 4th or 5th year baking Christmas cookies together. It's less about the cookies and more about the fun. After all, we end up giving most of them away to friends or family.

This year we made: sugared pecan balls, gingerbread men, buckeyes, chocolate crackles and chocolate chip. SO much baking!

Hamming it up. 


Loads of butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar + chocolate = buckeyes

Gingerbread men - my favorite to decorate and to eat

Spectator. Tv watcher. Consumer of Jack Daniels. This guy.

Jenn's apartment in Corvallis has a beautiful view of the river, mountains and more.

So, that's how we spent our Friday night and Saturday! Sunday was more adventure in Eugene. 

I went to a great hip opening/strengthening hot yoga class at Zenspot and then the manfriend and I headed for the trails to get our run on. The weather was kind of nasty, but Pete is training for a trail race and he has about 7 weeks to get ready so it's now or never.

It was soggy so I didn't take photos, but we ran a little over 7 miles in 1 h 18 min. Forgot how hilly the Ridgeline Trail can be. Slow and steady wins the race. --> I hiked a bit when things got steep because my glutes were sore from yoga.

Proof that I have a fat head. Baseball hats never look good on me. 

We rewarded ourselves with a fun brunch out at Vero coffee house. I had a turkey panini and almond latte. 

He had the french toast, a white mocha and a scone. And yes, it turned into a scene from Elf when he started pouring syrup on his scone. ;)

Okay, time to get my sweat on before heading north! I hope you have a fabulous Christmas (or whatever you celebrate). 

Friday, December 21, 2012

My First Run Back

My first run back in over a week was satisfying at just 20 minutes long amidst a light dusting of snow. A run in the snow trumps almost any other conditions in my book. It just makes me positively giddy - keep in mind we get snow maybe twice a year in Eugene.

Little park in our neighborhood

And the second run? It was harder. My chest was working hard, my legs were a little sore from Wednesday morning's strength session and the wind was adding an extra challenge to every stride.

The third one? Hard again. But one thing's for sure: a week off will make you crave a good run (or any sweat inducing workout). The semi sore quads and that overall feel of exhaustion... feel kinda perfect.

Dear running, I missed you. 

Let's be honest. Any excuse for me to wear comfy neon workout gear is reason enough to get my booty moving. Recent running purchase from the Nike Employee Store (half off = score!).

I'm officially on vacation until Wednesday! I took today off because I just need some extra time to decompress and I simply don't take enough vacation days. Not to mention the fact that the holidays are kind of crazy. I always convince myself I can take on several gift making and baking projects in the few days before Christmas.

So, I'll be running around today doing errands, getting a workout in at Lifeforce (Yep, it's been a while. I'm crossing my fingers for burpees!), trying more wedding dresses on and wrapping presents before spending all of Saturday with my friend Jenn baking up a storm!

Fashion Friday
I'm loving this dark color combo I put together on Sunday when the manfriend and I braved the crowds and went shopping. The cardigan was one I picked up last week in my sickly trip to Tar-get. New items always make outfits a little more fun.

Ironically, I needed to pick up a new white version of this long sleeve that day. My go to long sleeve is the Gap perfect tee and lucky for me, it was 50% off when I picked up a new one. Bonus to shopping for basics during the holidays!

I'm also loving my scarves these days. It's been extra cold here and none of my sweaters seem to cover my neck.

If you're into fashion, I recommend following Bobbi on instagram. She has a ton of adorable outfits and a lot of her pieces are from Target or Kohls. Personally, I love seeing affordable, realistic outfit ideas. As much as I'd love to buy the entire JCrew catalog, it's just not happening.

Current fashion wants: knitted infinity scarves - one in every color, sweaters that aren't black or blue (own way too many of those), black work shoes (short boots, heels), fun top and cardigan that can be layered together (Much too often, I purchase out one item that doesn't go with anything else I own). After looking at this list, it's clear I'm just cold all winter and looking for ways to add warmth without wearing a down parka at my desk. 

I hope you have a safe, relaxing and wonderful Christmas (for those who celebrate)! After the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, I think we'll all hug a little tighter and look at our loved ones just a little bit differently this year.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is when we all light candles at Christmas eve service and sing Light One Candle. This is always a moment at which I recognize the power of light in darkness, and think about the people who need light and the people in my life who have provided light when I need it most. I am especially looking forward to it this year because I just feel like there is a lot of giving and receiving of light needed in the world right now. 

And with that, I'm off to a fun filled, busy day. Tell me what your favorite Christmas/holiday tradition is. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Search is On

Nothing I could say would do justice to the lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday. I simply hope that change is on the horizon. It is scary to imagine we're living in a place where public spaces no longer feel safe. 

Thanks to the weekend, I'm feeling almost 100%. Just to be safe, I stuck with indoor workouts to not make this chest congestion worse. 

Saturday morning I did an easy 20 min of easy spinning on the trainer. It felt good to move the legs. And then it was off for a pedicure with mom at Bello Spa (so relaxing) and wedding dress shopping with mom, Stefanie and Lindsey. 

We went to two shops and I tried on maybe 30 dresses in total. I didn't find any dresses that really wowed me so I thought I'd show you a few as none of them are close to being it. 

Some I liked certain aspects of...

and others I didn't like much of anything. 

Loved the detailing on the back of this one. 

While I didn't find the dress, I do have a better idea of what style of dress I like, the fabric, color, length of train, etc. There are so many options. I'm honestly kind of relieved I didn't find one as I want to see what else is out there. 

We also really appreciated the sales person at the second shop who was really nice, whereas the woman at the first shop was just pushy. It definitely makes or breaks the experience. 

Thanks to the ladies for helping me! And thank you, Lindsey for snapping the photos.

It was definitely nice to have feedback as I was under the weather and it can be hard to tell if a dress actually looks good on you. And the dresses look totally different looking at the photos after the fact. 

Sunday morning I went to hot yoga, which felt great on the body and the lungs. Poured sweat per the usual. 

Oh, and look who's back to running...

Pete's getting ready for the Hagg Lake 25K trail race that I did last year. I'm opting to be a cheerleader this year (although I might regret it) and let him get muddy instead. 

We went to the mall and Trader Joe's in the afternoon and it was obvious that Christmas is a week away - no parking spots to be found.

Dinner was perfect, satisfying and easy - TJ's garlic herb dough w/ caramelized onions, mushroom, sun dried tomatoes, spinach and goat cheese. 

I hope you had a relaxing weekend. Tell me something about your weekend or workouts. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wedding: It's a Process

I know I haven't been too talkative about wedding planning on the blog, but truthfully, there's just not a lot of that going on. I will say, it's nice to have a few weeks off from school to just be able to focus on work, enjoy the holiday festivities and spend some more time thinking about our wedding. 

I'm crossing my fingers that I wake up totally healthy tomorrow because I have a full day of fun ahead.

My mom and I are exchanging spa pedicures Saturday morning! Of all the things I need/want, at the top of my list this year is literally having time to spend with others - a clear sign of growing up. After a little pampering, we'll be jumping into wedding mode for...

Wedding dress shopping!

This will be my first time trying on dresses and honestly, I have no idea of what I want so I'm just going with an open mind.

We're going to a few places near Eugene and if I don't have any luck, will likely head to Portland in January for more wedding dress fun. Not gonna lie, I'm kind of excited to start seeing all my visions turn into reality, but the big decisions are extremely tough to make. But like the man, I hope the dress clearly stands out as "The One."

During this whole process, I'm trying to occasionally remind myself that this only happens once. Yeah, it's a lot of stress, but I get to plan this celebration for 100 of our closest family and friends. No big deal.

Decisions I'll likely be making in the next few weeks:
  • choosing our caterer
  • photographer
  • scheduling engagement photos
  • setting up wedding website
  • hotel room block

Decisions I'm leaving up to the manfriend:
  • Choosing a DJ (or asking one of our family members/friends)
  • Picking out his suit/tux

In a cold induced fog, I maintained my appointment for a haircut and highlights yesterday evening. Not the most relaxing 90 min of my life, but my hair is fresh and a bit... lighter.

This was only my second time ever highlighting my hair. The first time was right before Kyle and Sabrina's wedding, but it was so subtle that no one noticed. This time, I'm a bit blonder and still not sure  if I like it. BUT, it' just hair. 

This smile must be the head cold talking. 

In other news, snuggly clothes are pretty much the best thing about being sick.

Oh and I've completely given into this cold. No exercise other than a 15 min dog walk each day and Thursday morning was spent watching Love Actually. Again, body, I GET IT. I should slow down a bit more often.

Any suggestions on other great wedding planning tasks for the groom-to-be? Your favorite details of weddings you've attended or your own?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tis the Season

Happy Wednesday, y'all. I don't have much for you. I woke up yesterday morning with a sore throat and cold and stayed home from work.

Sickness is completely torturous for me. I do not remain seated or lying horizontally for long. 

So I was productive and did our grocery shopping, went to Target (not recommended without a list) and made some nuts. Don't worry, I also napped, drank tea, read Runner's World and such. 

Tuesday's green smoothie was a first for me - I added orange juice to my typical ice, spinach, frozen banana and almond milk recipe. I figured if Ali likes it, it was worth trying out, especially with the extra Vitamin C kick. 

Verdict? Not bad! Kind of tropical (ish). 

And then there were nuts. I have wanted to try Oh She Glows' "Hockey Nuts" recipe for a while and I figured if it turned out, this could be a fun thing to bring to a party or gift to someone in a cute jar or bag. 

If you make these, just be careful to not overbake. I used pecans and as they are a pretty soft nut (TWSS), they burn easily, so I had to toss a few.

Combatting the cold  - In typical fashion, I also searched Yoga Journal for poses that help a cold, downed Wellness Pills, ate two oranges, drank a ton of water, added red pepper flakes to my chicken noodle soup, you name it. Ultimately, I know rest will be the real cure.

Tis the season to get shopping, creating, spending time with loved ones! I am at a loss for ideas as to what to get family members. It really is difficult to think of inexpensive, useful, fun gifts for anyone. The men folk in my family seem to be hardest as they always buy what they need or want.

Anywho, how's your holiday shopping/planning coming?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jam Packed Fun

Well, it feels like Christmas is upon us! The manfriend and I swung by the mall on Saturday and nearly every row and spot was filled with shoppers. Talk about madness. Glad we were only running into one store!

Sweet socks such as these are only worn for special occasions. One of those occasions is our friend Lonn's 120+ person Over the River and through the Woods 10K. This is the second year I've participated and as expected, it was a blast. 

Ready to jingle all the way (and not be hit by cars)

This unofficial race/fun run starts at a gym in Creswell, OR at 8am where we all run either 4 or 6 hilly miles to Lonn's family's house to dine on cinnamon rolls, pulled pork, fruit, orange juice, coffee, champagne, brownies, you name it! Lonn's family generously provides everything and hosts over 100 sweaty runners for the morning. 

In turn, we all donate to a chosen food bank. This year we raised over $1,900 for South Lane Food Bank. Pretty impressive! 

Danielle and I ran the 10K together. She's usually a bit faster than me, but opted to run easier. We took a short walk break up a bit of the hill, but not for long... The manfriend was right on our tails.

Almost to the finish... just a 1/2 mile uphill to Lonn's house the cinnamon rolls and pulled pork.

Thanks to Long Run Pictures for the great photo!

I finished in 52:55, which was about :55 slower than last year, but I wasn't pushing it and I opted to walk twice. The manfriend beat me by 40 seconds.

These runners don't mess around. There was even a massage therapist on site.

The other great thing about this race is the prizes! Lonn had some great donations and items gathered, including Picky Bars, running tops, coffee, hot cocoa, etc and at least half the attendees won something!

After a few hours of eating, chatting and holiday merriment, we drove home, showered up and hit the road bound for Portland. My brother and Sabrina were hosting a white elephant holiday party. 

Long day, but oh so worth it

We ended the night just me, my brothers, Sabrina and Pete watching home videos that my dad had transferred to DVDs a few years ago. Hilarious and adorable all at the same time.

This morning we headed to breakfast at The Screen Door! Portland has a never ending amount of fabulous breakfast places. It's fun to explore a new one each time we visit.

After the hour wait, I devoured my food. I had the mushroom omelet special with caramelized onions - seriously good!

My knee has been a little tweaky the last few days so I opted to walk a few miles this morning, but otherwise, we spent several hours in the car.

After a long, jam packed weekend, Jimmy Johns for dinner and sitting on the couch watching football and reading blogs was JUST what I needed. Hope your weekend treated you well!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Photographing December

December Photo a Day from FatMumSlim

I don't have much to say today. Just popping in to say I need a little photography inspiration this month so I'm jumping into the December #photoaday thanks to Fat Mum Slim. I can't believe it was February when I last took part. I was just about to swear it was probably September... time sure does fly!

With so many things going on in life, I haven't been as inspired to lug around my DSLR or even take photos in general. And because this is such a special time of year, I figured this little challenge would remind me to bring my camera and of course actually take photos.

Monday's final went well (I think). Now just one more to get through tomorrow! Happy Wednesday!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Look Ma, No Training Plan!

So, this whole no training plan thing has been working out well for the most part. I don't need a training plan right now and life's busy so I just run when I want to or have the time.

But what I've realized in the past few weeks is that my runs have been typically the same pace(ish) each run (8:15-8:30 min/mile). Because I'm not following a "plan," I'm also not running easy very often. Blame it on forgetfulness. And this has left me with sore legs more often than I'd like.

Enter: time to get my easy on more often. Just because I'm not training for a big race, doesn't mean I shouldn't be easing back now and then.

Sunday after hot yoga, I opted for an easy 30 min run in the glorious sun with the goal of running slow and getting the junk out of my legs.

While the run was perfect, it was HARD to run slow. Gotta remind myself to do that more often.

On the racing front, my friend Jess and I are going to run the Cascade Half Marathon in January. I've run it once before and it's flat, fast and typically cold. Bonus: it's affordable and they have great refreshments afterward!

Lindsey and I ran 10 miles on Saturday, which was tough on my glutes, but fun. And I guess I got my "long run" in. Just need to fit a few more of those in for the half!

Photos from the Weekend
I spent three hours at the library on Sunday studying for my biology final. Again, it's amazing how peaceful the library can be these days. Can't say the same for when I was 18; it seemed like a torture zone back then.

The Eugene Public Library also had this really cool display going on this weekend. Tibetan Buddhist  monks were at the library creating this sand mandala from Friday to Sunday.

I didn't get a pic with the monks creating it, but they were as you would imagine - wrapped in dark red fabric, no talking and all focus on the sand mandala.

Crazy intricate and beautiful

It's not finished (or perfect), but look it's an actual craft and it's on its way to looking like a legitimate holiday wreath!

Anyone else forgetful about running easy when you're not following a training plan? Okay, back to studying.

Happy December!