Weekend in Photos

Question of the week: Where has the summer gone?

I was reading social media posts this morning saying that some students are going back to school today…What the what?!

We just got over a pretty insane week of 100+ temps (I think we had 3 or 4 days in a row, peaking at 107…yikes) in Northern California, so it still definitely feels like summer here. And this weekend’s activities definitely solidified that feeling!

On Saturday morning, I peeled myself out of bed just in time to make it to a yoga class at my gym. Russell and I have been trying to get “in shape” for an upcoming Lake Tahoe trip. My goal lately has been 2 gym trips and 2 runs during the week…then hope for the best on the weekends ;P I’ve been pretty good about the first part for several weeks now, but for me to actually bust out a decently challenging workout on a Saturday this weekend was a big win for me. Gone are the days of my 10 mile Saturday morning runs, apparently! Continue reading

St Patrick’s Day Weekend in Photos

So when I typed in the title of this post I thought that it sounded a little familiar… Turns out I did this same post exactly one year ago with the same title.

One difference? In that post, in my description of my Saturday morning run, I boasted that “I was running at a really slow pace (9:57/mi), so I decided to go for extra distance and broke 3 miles! For the first time since before Thanksgiving! :-D”

I ran a FEWWWW more than 3 miles this weekend…

towerbridge

13.1 to be exact…

And I averaged 8:59/mile!!

I am definitely planning on posting a complete recap of the race itself, but it wasn’t the only great thing that happened this weekend! I had a serious case of the Sunday blues last night, and if Mondays weren’t my busiest day of the workweek, I totally would have taken today off to ice my legs/cry myself back to sleep because the best weekend ever had to come to an end.

It all started on Friday evening – My brother spontaneously texted me and asked if I wanted to check out our family friend’s food truck with him. They were parking at Bike Dog, a local brewery I’ve been wanting to check out anyway!

stpattys1

The food truck, Slightly Skewed, has some awesome skewers. I got bulgogi beef and brussels sprouts, and split an order of smashed fried potatoes with my brother (they’re smothered with sriracha and an tangy cilantro sauce). Our longtime neighbor Ben came too and got pork belly…omg.

I also tried a half pint each of their Pale Ale and IPA. I decided to buy a half growler of the IPA to share with Tyler once he arrived!

stpattys2

Tyler arrived from SoCal around 9:30 and I took him out to meet up with my friends, enjoy some beers, and see a couple of my regular Sacramento spots. It was nice to catch up since I hadn’t seen him since 4th of July when we both visited our former housemate in San Francisco.

The next morning, Chris picked us up to head to Old Sacramento for a surprise birthday brunch! My friend Danny surprised his girlfriend (our friend) Courtney. She had no idea that 20 of her friends were waiting for her at Rio City Cafe in matching TEAM COURTNEY shirts!

stpattys3

I got the brisket hash and it seriously hit the spot. I was on the fence about whether I’d indulge in bottomless mimosas the day before our race, but my love of the orange juice & champagne drink got the best of me and I caved. Slow and steady was the name of the game 😉

It was an absolutely gorgeous 75 degree day. We were seated outside with a view of the river, the Old Sacramento St Patty’s Day  Courtney’s Birthday Parade came through, and we all just laughed and enjoyed ourselves all afternoon!

stpattys4

Tyler and I walked the mile and a half back to my apartment (umm, maybe an even worse choice than bottomless mimosas the day before our race) to hydrate and take it easy before meeting up with more friends who were on a St Patty’s day pub crawl.

We didn’t partake in many more drinks, and split off from the group to get burritos (last minute carb loading!) and rest up. We had an opportunity for a quick reunion with our college friend Lindsey who was stopping through town, so I took them to LowBrau and we all drank ice water and caught up 😛

stpattys5

We were home by 10pm with a 6:45 wake up call, so after pinning our bibs, it was off to bed!

I woke up at 6am and was too excited to go back to sleep, so as soon as I heard Tyler’s alarm go off in the other room I sprang out of bed and yelled “IT’S RACE DAY!”…I’m sure he was pleased.

After some toast, peanut butter, and bananas, Chris picked us up and we headed to Raley Field. I don’t know how the guys were feeling, but if they were nervous they weren’t showing it! I was bouncing off the walls with excitement and nerves…and also because I was freezing.

stpattys6

13.1 miles later…we made it!

I’ll save the nitty gritty details for another post, but suffice it to say the race went extremely well. We stayed together most of the race, then broke off at mile 13, but we all finished within 1 minute of each other. Chris led the pack at around 1:57:08 and I followed at 1:57:37, with Tyler at 1:58:10 (major props toooo ChronoTrack).

stpattys7

That being said, miles 11-13 were hard. Like, insanely hard. I knew I would finish, but I was so exhausted (probably because we were averaging <9 min/mile!) and I was convinced I would never regain feeling in my legs. Two things got me through that last mile: 1) motivating words of encouragement from Chris, and 2) a high five from my mom with about a half mile left. Even though 95% of my training runs were solo, I seriously don’t know how I would have done this without the boys. We were in it together!

After our finish line beers, KIND bars, and bananas, we went home to shower and recover. Luckily, Chris’s apartment complex has an [unheated] pool, which we lounged by while sticking our feet in. It was like an ice bath, and it was probably the best recovery tool I used all day!!

stpattys8

The next best recovery tool: an end of season dodgeball/St Patty’s day barbecue! A few guys on my team asked me (the team captain) to organize it, and it was the perfect way to cap off my half marathon day. We drank straw-ber-itas, ate lots of meat (PROTEIN!) and veggie kabobs, played ladder golf & cornhole, and Yvette even brought a pinata!

I seriously couldn’t have imagined a more perfect day, and more perfect weekend.

I hope you all had a great weekend! Congrats to everyone else who completed the Shamrock’n!

For half marathoners- what was the highlight of your first half marathon?

What is your favorite drinking holiday? St Patty’s actually ranks pretty high on my list!

4th of July Weekend in Photos

Hello and welcome back to reality. I remember the 4th of July sucking last year because it was in the middle of the week and I didn’t get any extra days off…However, I think it might be even worse to have a 4 day weekend and then be thrown back into the reality of work! Luckily the whole legislature will be on recess soon, so my days won’t be too strenuous 🙂

20130708-103924.jpg

I made the best decision ever and chose to escape the 109 degree heat of Sacramento on the 4th of July by taking Megabus to San Francisco. For those of you keeping score at home, we had 7 days of 100+ degree temps, and of those 7 days, 5 were above 105. Worst week ever. The weather in San Francisco on 4th of July? 75 degrees and sunny. Can I get an amen?

20130708-103928.jpg

I stayed with my old college roommate, So-Ky, and for the daytime festivities we met our friend Meghan and her USF law school buddies in Golden Gate Park by the Conservatory of Flowers to BBQ and celebrate. That would be me sporting Meghan’s authentic 1996 Team USA Olympic warm up jacket and doing my best Kerri Strug. With a beer in my hand, of course.

20130708-103934.jpg

Daisy chain, patriotic hat, and a Reagan-Bush beer koozie. Amurrica.

20130708-103940.jpg

After the BBQ, our other former roomie Tyler arrived with our former neighbor Monique and we went out for drinks. We saw a Hello Kitty car (only in SF…) and the boys made friends with a very friendly Brit, who was also very inebriated. I made sure to Snapchat photo evidence to our other roomies (there were 6 of us in a tiny apartment!) and college friends. I had a great time reminiscing and remembering old stories of the pranks the boys pulled on us senior year 🙂

20130708-103948.jpg

The next day, the 4 of us had brunch at Howard’s Cafe in the Inner Sunset…I got the breakfast special (2 eggs, 2 pieces of bacon, 2 slices of toast, & potatoes for $4.99!) and So-Ky and I went on a 4 mile walk to SF State. Then it was back to Sac for me!

20130708-103954.jpg

When I came home, it looked like my basil plant had died in the 109 degree heat, but fortunately I was able to revive it! I spent the night finally finishing the last season of The Office and ugly-crying at some amazing Jim-Pam moments. So good!

20130708-104005.jpg

I dubbed Saturday my own personal #TREATYOSELF day, a la Parks and Rec. I was a little sore from walking so I decided to forgo my Saturday morning run, but I made my weekly farmer’s market trip and bought myself sunflowers and ginger-berry kombucha. Then I cleaned up the apartment and treated myself to a movie – The Heat! Not gonna lie, I was kinda nervous to go watch a movie alone, but I actually kinda liked it! Funny movie too.. I love Melissa McCarthy!

In a kinda off-theme move, I then crashed guys night and watched the UFC fight with 4 guy friends. Although I guess copious amounts of beer and shirtless guys fighting isn’t too far off the theme 🙂 #treatyoself day lives on!

20130708-104000.jpgWithout intending to, I kinda extended my pampering to Sunday. I DIY’ed an awesome Kings shirt (cut off the sleeves, made it a racerback, and I took in the sides to make it less baggy), got pedicures with my mom (and chose the most obnoxiously neon pink polish I could find- the picture doesn’t do it justice!), and cooked my parents a delicious dinner.

I’m already ready for the next holiday- luckily I don’t have to wait too long, since Becky is coming out to California for a girls weekend with Carly and I in just a week and a half! Can’t wait!

How did you celebrate the 4th of July?

Have you ever gone to the movies alone?

How do you Treat Yo Self?

Father’s Day Weekend in Photos

***If you didn’t last week, don’t forget to enter my Food Should Taste Good chips giveaway!! There are 2 days left to enter!***

Hope you all had a great Father’s Day weekend. Mine was certainly filled with good food, that’s for sure:

20130617-100129.jpg

On Friday night, we made a deeelicious dinner. Chicken and shrimp in this soy-marmalade glaze, accompanied with sesame grilled veggies (sauteed a ton of veggies & just added sesame oil at the end), corn, and cilantro-lime rice. I love being able to make a “fancy”, more involved dinner on Friday nights. Usually during the week I only have energy to cook a chicken breast, put some fries on the side and call it a meal.

We also enjoyed some great Pinot and watched approximately 283974 hours of Raising Hope and the final season of The Office.

20130617-100136.jpg

For the second week in a row, I trekked out (ok ok, it’s only 4 blocks from my house) to the Midtown Farmers Market. There were a few strange finds, including green cauliflower (there was also a yellow one) and a Kombucha truck that had several kinds of Kombucha on tap! I haven’t yet joined this health-food bandwagon, but if they’re there again next week I might have to give it a shot!

I also fought the urge to buy another $5 thing of Avocado-Cilantro Hummus from Zena Foods (possibly the best dip to ever enter my mouth), because I’m hoping to try to recreate it myself soon. Keep a look out 🙂

20130617-100147.jpgAfter some shopping and EDC DIY-ing with my friend Lisa (she’s the one attending EDC…I’m just helping her bedazzle her outfits!), T-Man and I saw This Is the End with our friend Amanda. Definitely worth seeing in the theater. An enormously stupid movie, but it kept me laughing the entire time! Afterwards, we grabbed a beer at a new-to-us dive bar, The Hideaway.

20130617-100153.jpg

Had a nice hearty breakfast on Sunday morning…scrambled eggs, toast, bacon, and some cherries from the market. Then, I went to get some ingredients for Father’s Day dinner and FINALLY found some Chobani Flip at Safeway!!! Wahoo! I snagged one at Blend Retreat last month and accidentally left it in our hotel fridge haha. I haven’t tried it yet…waiting for a morning when I don’t have time to prep overnight oats the night before. #ChobaniNerd

Quick stop at kickball: {click to view video}

Vine

We almost won a game for once! We usually get creamed…like…shut out creamed. But we ended up losing 6-7 at the bottom of the 6th (which is the last inning). I think it’s because my dad came to cheer us on! 🙂 Also maybe because it was only 90 degrees outside, and not 113.

20130617-100158.jpg

Flash forward to Father’s Day Dinner. Much like last year, most of the meal was cooked on the grill: chicken, veggies (carrots, summer squash, and green cauliflower), and Pacific snapper…because my dad loves fish but never gets it at home! I brushed a mango-cilantro sauce onto the meat…it was soooo good. Might have to recreate it for the blog soon! Finished it all off with a kale salad with strawberries, gorgonzola & poppyseed dressing. Perfect summer meal! Hope my dad enjoyed it!

What did you do for Father’s Day?

When you have time to spend on cooking, what is your meal of choice?

Summer Recipe Ideas

The season of barbecues and grilling is upon us, friends!

InstaWeatherImage

We are officially moving into the high 90’s, and there’s no end in sight. Such is life in Sacramento during the summer months! We get an average of 22 days of 100+ degree temps every year, according to the National Weather Service. That first day might be tomorrow!

And fortunately, I’ll actually be able to enjoy the weather this weekend: included in this weekend’s agenda are at least two barbeques, Concerts in the Park tonight, and a pub crawl tomorrow. All of a sudden, my social life has seemed to perk up! Funny how a little bit of sunshine will do that 🙂

If you’re curious whether I followed my “Getting Back on Track” meal/exercise plan for the week, I actually did pretty awesomely! All of my meals were more or less planned out [except last night I ended up having fries before dodgeball T-shirt pickup, and a salad after…I was supposed to have chicken, fries, and veggies. Not too bad, right?], and I stuck with the workouts. I surprisingly managed to run 2.7 miles on Wednesday at a 9:15 pace (my longest/fastest run since my 5K in March), and did a pretty killer arms & core workout yesterday. I’m definitely feeling like I’m back on track, though we’ll see if I can carry it over into the weekend full of food, booze, and fun!

In celebrating all of our social lives becoming active again, I decided to put together a little collection of summer recipes. Some are recipes I developed, and others are recipes I’ve pinned over the last year or so. Some are entrees that would be perfect for dinner tonight, others are sides that will make you the hero of any barbeque. I’ve got desserts and drinks too! Enjoy!

Main Dishes

IMG_2638

Fried Green Tomato BLTs with Spicy Ranch Spread – I made these on my birthday weekend this past year and they would be perfect for a summer meal on the balcony!

Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce Chicken Salad – That sauce sounds out of this world!

Salmon with Lemon, Capers & Rosemary – This Giada recipe is the first fish dish I ever made, and it’s been my go-to ever since! Cooking salmon in foil packets on the grill is foolproof and so delicious.

IMG_2482

Spicy Smoky Black Bean Burgers – My most popular recipe, and one of my favorites. Once you get the hang of it, making veggie burgers at home is really easy.

Grilled Veggie Tacos – The perfect summer meal. I made this so many times last summer!

Asian Turkey Burgers with Spicy Lime Mayo – This recipe has been pinned on one of my boards for over a year now. I think it might be time!

Side Dishes/Appetizers

IMG_2572

Southwestern Quinoa Salad – definitely a recipe that should be in everyone’s repertoire!

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Corn & Avocado – Finally I can make zucchini ribbons, now that I have a microplane!

DSC_0298

Roasted Garlic Hummus – Now that I’ve perfected my hummus recipe, I am totally going to make it all summer long!

Grilled Corn & Cheddar Quinoa – I couldn’t believe how delicious this was. Possibly my favorite quinoa dish ever.

Roasted Red Pepper, Artichoke and Olive Pasta Salad – Ashley has managed to develop my most perfect ideal pasta salad EVER!

Desserts

photo courtesy of Heather Christo Cooks

Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake – I’ve never made an icebox cake, but they sound so easy and perfect for warm weather…no oven required!

Orange Creamsicle Cookies – Quickly becoming my signature cookies! I am looking forward to revisiting this recipe this summer and updating my pictures.

Zucchini Almond Chocolate Bites – My favorite thing to do in the summer is sneak zucchini into everything. These bites are a perfect vehicle!

Coconut Shell Fruit Popsicles – What a cool idea. I might have to do this now that I got a huge amount of coconut oil in my Blend swag bag!

Drinks

photo courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

Whiskey Lemonade with Honey – Whiskey and lemons is a favorite combo of mine. It’s like a warm weather hot toddy!

Watermelon G&T – It sounds a little labor intensive to make the watermelon syrup…but I have a feeling it’d be worth it.

Iced Green Tea Mojito – What a cool idea. The healthiness of the green tea totally cancels out the alcohol right? AND there’s green stuff in it. It’s healthy!

Raspberry Beer Cocktail – This sounds like a hangover waiting to happen…and a delicious one, at that.

Citrus-Strawberry Green Tea – So you all can’t say I only included alcoholic drinks 🙂 Though this does sound like it’d be great with a splash of vodka!

.

What is your favorite thing to make in the summer?

What are your plans this weekend?

Weekend in Photos

Happy Monday, all! Today is Columbus Day (or so I hear)…I am always surprised when it rolls around, ’cause we never got Columbus Day off when I was in school!

Anyhizzle, apparently I was up to a lot this weekend, because I have lots of pictures to share. Let’s get to it, shall we?

After it was 100 degrees on Monday and Tuesday, by the time Friday rolled around it was finally sweatshirt weather! (Does anyone else have one super ratty cozy sweatshirt they’ve owned for years? I bought this one my senior year of high school, when I went to Spring Open House at UCSB and decided I’d be attending in the fall :-D) In our sweatshirts, we played board games…kind of a typical weekend night for T-Man and I!

Not so typical……the fact that I bought a pumpkin to make pumpkin puree with! I am not the biggest fan of pumpkin flavored things (blasphemy! I know), but I’m determined to try out some REAL from-scratch stuff this year and see if it doesn’t change my mind!

After the pumpkin roasting and pureeing was done, I hopped in the car and headed (through traffic, when this picture was safely taken :-P) to Napa!

T-Man’s mom and I belatedly celebrated our birthdays (they’re on the SAME DAY!) with a little bit of bubbly at Domaine Carneros. We each got Sparkling Wine Samplers and shared a smoked salmon plate!

Later, we enjoyed the view from her backyard, barbecued up a storm, (drank more wine, of course) and played with her German Shepherd, Kona!

Once a Harry Potter lookalike, always a Harry Potter lookalike 😉 And Kona again!

I returned the car to my parents with more gas than it started with (have my fellow Californians seen how expensive gas got last week?! It rose .40c in like 1 day!), and used some of that pumpkin puree to whip up some muffins for them. The muffins turned out great for me…read: not too pumpkiny. Recipe to be shared soon 🙂
What fall things are you excited for? Sweatshirts? Apple pie? Pumpkin spice lattes? Hot cider? My favorite hot drink has to be mulled wine…So warm and fragrant, plus it reminds me of living in France! I usually have to wait until winter for that, though 😛

A Broken Weekend in Photos

I learned a few things this weekend.

1) Breaking your dominant hand makes most things reaally really difficult. This list of things includes, but is not limited to: typing, writing your rent check, cutting veggies, applying nail polish, washing your hair, opening and closing windows, washing dishes, applying liquid eyeliner, sleeping comfortably…You get the picture.

2) My boyfriend is quite nice. He’s been helping me with the aforementioned things. I haven’t asked him to help me wash my hair though…yet.

3) I don’t actually have iPhone insurance. So, broken screen it is.

4) Despite all of the above, it’s still possible to have a great weekend.

Continue reading

Weekend in Photos

Summer has arrived.

OK, maybe not officially, but it sure does feel like it. For the first time in a while, we spent most of the weekend just relaxing and lounging around. No road trips, no weddings… Just food, friends and lots of sunshine! Maybe too much sunshine — it’s supposed to reach 97 degrees for the next few days! Yikes.

That means finding a new running schedule (by the time my 1pm lunch break runs around, it will already be 90 degrees!), but it also means lots of delicious fruits and veggies will be coming into season, and lots of grilling is on the horizon.

Check out some of the highlights of my weekend:

Continue reading