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just the two of us

25 Mar

For Spring Break we decided to take a last little trip just the two of us to San Franciso.

1.  Our very first stop in SF for coffee and bagels  2.  the GG Bridge as Jon calls it   3.  One of 90 million photos of us by the bridge:)  4.  his and hers root beers

1.  How did they know? 😉 2.  Ghiradelli square – free chocolate!  3.  our little Go Car we toured in on our last day  4.  quaint little Haight coffee shop

1.  Baker Beach – a favorite stop  2.  Boudin at Fisherman’s Wharf – famous for sourdough bread bowls!  3.  pretty San Fran
4. just motoring around

1.  the Full House houses  2.  breakfast  3.  love him:)  4.  on the cable car

1.  fortune cookie factory in China Town.  Paid .25 to take this pic.  Thinking he got the better deal.  2.  the  beautiful Pacific  3.  my handsome driver  4.  twins!

This was the first trip either of us had taken to the west coast, and I’m so glad we went!  Traveling has been something we’ve enjoyed so much together the last 6 years, and there were moments on our trip that I felt a little nostalgic thinking of our adventures together in the past.  I know from now on it will never be quite the same.

But for every thought of how special the past has been, I was overwhelmed with anticipation for the future.  Our traveling might look a little different, but I can hardly imagine how amazing it will be to show our babies different parts of the world.

a little thailand story

11 Jan

“It’s so tempting to shut people down, to limit the upside, to ostracize, select and demonize. It makes things a lot simpler. Not seeing means you don’t have to take action. Not opening means it’s easier to announce that you’re done. And not raising the bar means you’re less likely to fail.”

-Seth Godin

I was reading Seth Godin’s blog recently when I stumbled upon this quote, and the hard truth of it really struck me.  It reminded me of a situation that occurred during our time in Thailand.

In the far northern part of Thailand, settled in among the mountains you’ll find a city.  Our Thailand home.  Chiang Mai.

And in the middle of that city, you’ll find a little something called Night Bazaar, or as the Thai’s say it “night ba-saaaaah.”

Every single day at about 4 o’clock, rain or shine, the people would begin pushing their carts out to the sidewalk, ready to take on the crowds of people that would come pouring in in a couple of shorts hours.  They sold everything from t-shirts to perfume to oil burners, lamps, watches, shoes and much more.  You could gaze for miles down the busy road and still not see the end of it.

For us, Night Bazaar was a fun date night, a place to get cheap massages and a great people watching venue.  We’d weave through the backpackers carrying their babies high up on their backs and the locals stooping on the curb to slurp up noodles before the next bargaining challenge came along.

And in all the craziness there was always one thing that caught my eye – a small Thai women who looked to be about my age sitting on the dirty sidewalk with a cup held out for change and a tiny baby at her side.  While she wasn’t the only local who had found her home on the dirty streets of Night Bazaar, she was the one who caught my gaze every time I walked by… and held it.  I couldn’t forget her.

After many nights of walking by her, pretending not to see her outstretched hand or her deep eyes, I finally broke down.  I found a stand in the alley selling hot soup and bought her a small bowl and some water.  I inched up to her, feeling quite shy, and taking a deep breath knelt down and, using all the broken Thai I could muster I expressed my concern for her and her beautiful baby.

But night after night of this same routine left me wishing I could do more.  But I wrestled with the idea of it – what more could I do?  Ultimately she needed a place to live, to raise her baby….to be safe.  But I couldn’t provide that.  And with the date of our departure fast approaching, there were only so many more days I could do anything at all.

And then just like that…she was gone.  She stopped coming.  I never found out what happened to her, and I probably never will.  And that lack of knowing, lack of being able to do anything real and significant for her left me feeling disheartened and sad.  And I realize that that is often what keeps me from reaching out to impact the world in any way – the fear of failure.  The fear of feeling like I just can’t do enough.  The fear that if I allow myself to see the need, then I will always feel the ache of what I wasn’t able to do.

And the same translates to the constant pursuance of goals and dreams.  Being scared to death of setting the bar too high because I just might not be able to reach it.  And that would mean failure.  Six months ago I walked into my principal’s office, and I turned in my letter of resignation.  Sure, I did it for a number of reasons, but ultimately I did it because I wanted to pursue more.  I wanted to step out into the unknown and embrace something that would fulfill my vision for my life.  And in these months, I’ve held back, sabotaging myself because of the fear of not being quite good enough.

But I want more.  I don’t want to still be sitting here another six months from now envisioning in my mind what it is that I want to do with my life.  I want to be doing it. It’s time to raise the bar and leap for it because I would much rather be brushing dust off my backside than never getting dirty at all.  I want to see things, open myself to possibility and experiences, and offer myself to people freely, embracing the risk of hurt and disappointment.

What is one thing that you’ve been envisioning in your life for awhile, but you just haven’t quite gotten the courage to leap for?  What are you holding the bar low for because you’re scared of raising it high?

And now here’s a small ray of peace for your day:

**Also, don’t forget to stop by tomorrow because it’s a very special day in the life of ChiaSeedMe, and I’ll have a very special surprise for you!

hello from texas

23 Dec


Well, we’re finally in south Texas!

On Tuesday we left home and headed to my hometown to see my grandma and grandpa.  We went and grabbed some dinner with them and then ended the night at their house opening gifts together!  It was such a great time spending the evening with them – it’s not everyday we get them all to ourselves;)

It was also a perfect example of how sometimes there are sacrifices involved when eating vegetarian/vegan.  There are a lot of ways to plan ahead and avoid less than ideal food situations, but sometimes there’s just not much you can do.  The restaurant we went to was mexican, and I wasn’t too worried about it because usually mexican restaurants have options – I usually go for black bean tacos (just ask them to sub out beans for meat) or veggie fajitas.  But this particular restaurant didn’t have black beans and their refriend beans and rice were not vegetarian.  They did have fajitas, but they were twelve dollars and I just couldn’t bear to spend that much.  So I went with the guacamole and ate it with a flour tortilla and some chips.  I wasn’t there for the food anyway:)

Anyway, the next morning we got up fairly early and hit the road, heading south.

After a long, but fun day of driving, we finally arrived in south Texas around ten o’clock.  We started out at about nine thirty in the morning and ended up in Dallas around one o’clock where we stopped at the mall to make some exchanges and grab some lunch.

For Christmas my mom gave me running shorts from Lululemon (insert excited squeal:), but after trying them on I decided I needed a different size.  I have to admit it was so hard to go in the store and not want to buy ten other things, but thankfully I resisted.  I did get my shorts exchanged though, and I can’t wait to wear them – they’re my first pair of running shorts from there, and I’ll definitely do a review over them soon!

For lunch I grabbed a salad from one of those salad places I love so much.  Sadly, this particular one just did not measure up – they didn’t chop up everything in the salad before putting it into the bowl, so there were giant leaves of lettuce, giant nuts, giant artichoke hearts (I broke them up into pieces myself) etc.  I was a bit disappointed, but o’well.   The rosemary roll that came with it pretty much made up for it though – it was delicious!

After lunch and shopping we got back on the road for the last five hours of our trip.  Here is a little hello from the road that I tried to post yesterday, but due to the remote country roads of south Texas, it didn’t quite work out like I planned:)

As you can hear we jammed out to the husband’s new Sarah Bareilles CD, which we both happen to love, and the trip went by fairly quickly.

First things first this morning, I headed out for a quick speed walk, just to get my blood flowing a little bit.  I have to be really careful when we’re visiting family for an extended period of time.  If I don’t make a point to get some exercise and eat well I end up not enjoying our time here quite as much and I go home feeling less than stellar.  So, after my walk, I showered and headed to the store to get some healthy food to have around.

Just the basics…you know:)  Later we stopped by the store again and I grabbed a sweet potato, some broccoli and squash and a couple of Amy’s frozen burritos.  This is a meat/seafood eating family, so I always need something on hand for meals. I really wish I had grabbed a couple cans of Amy’s soup from the health food store before leaving town.  It really like it a lot better than the frozen foods, but I can’t find them here, so I’ll make due!  I usually plan ahead so much more, but I just completely ran out of time this year.

Anyway, today has been a fun first day – we’ve gotten to see a lot of family and just enjoy spending time hanging out.  Unfortunately my MIL is really sick and we ended up in the emergency room with her for a little while this afternoon.  She seems to be feeling a little better tonight, and I’m praying she wakes up feeling better tomorrow.

For dinner tonight we stopped by the best little restaurant – Geo Burrito – have you heard of it?  It’s basically kind of like Chipotle or Qdoba, but I think it’s even better.  Any mexican restaurant that offers brown rice and vegetarian refriend beans is a win in my book:)

I ordered a bowl with brown rice, refried beans, black beans, corn, lettuce, pico, salsa and guacamole

I seriously wish we could get this place in Oklahoma.  The guy who works at Chipotle told me the other day that they’ll be getting brown rice soon.  I haven’t seen it yet, though, so I’m not holding my breath:)

Anyway, before I go I wanted show you guys the cookie cutters I used for the sugar cookies and gingerbread men since several readers have asked about them. I bought the set of at William Sonoma, and even though I debated about the purchase for a half hour in the store that night, I definitely have not regretted buying them.  I love using them, and it has been so fun to personalize cookies for Christmas gifts!

They are super easy to use and even easier to clean.

As you can see, the set comes with premade phrases as well as all the letters in the alphabet plus extras of the most common letters.  You simply slide the letters you want to use into the grooves and then use it like you would any other cookie cutter – it’s that simple!

It seems that they are all sold out online, but I’m sure they still have them in the stores.  There is also a set that is not Christmas related that could be used year round!  I may have to splurge on those as well:)

Halley mentioned that she spotted them the other day and bought them as a last minute Chrismtas gift for her mom – what a great idea!

And while we’re on the subject of the cookies, I’ll be posting the recipe for the delicious vegan gingerbread cookie recipe tomorrow – you have to make them if you like gingerbread at all.  They are soft and chewy with just the perfect amount of gingerbread flavor – perfect for Christmas afternoon with a cup of hot tea:)

Only two days left until Christmas – hope you are all enjoying every moment!

By the way, don’t forget to stop by Ecolissa and use the 20% discount offered to ChiaSeedMe readers!  Use code “vegan20” to get your discount.

note: I am not being compensated in any way by William Sonoma – I simply love them and wanted to share!

from the past

10 Nov


today has been super busy as all wednesdays tend to be.  i did lots of yoga, lots of hanging out with international students, and I ate enchiladas made by the husband for dinner.  i’d say all in all that’s a pretty successful day.

but now it’s late…and I’m oh so tired.  so I’m going to head to the bed soon.  but first I just had to stop in and say hi.


And what do I do when my busy day has prevented me from taking any pics worth writing home about?

Leave you with (random) memories from the past.  I can always dig up pics from our days in Thailand that make me smile to no end.

one of my favorite students and I studying the Gospel

on the college campus we worked on

the campus parking lot

beautiful campus

getting relief from the heat with an afternoon nap

a bridge in Bangkok

on the subway in Bangkok – New Years 2008

i didn’t even know what a food blog was, but I was still taking pictures of myself eating carrots, ahem made of icing

the husband on a songtau right around Christmas

hope you all had a wonderful Wednesday. and as always, it’s all down hill from here!


Old Town

22 Oct

And now…for the final recap of our stay in Washington D.C.

Thursday was the only day that the husband would be in meetings for his conference all day long, and I had planned to just play it by ear, waiting to see what we’d have time for on Wednesday before deciding what I would do while flying solo.

I had wanted to see the Holocaust Memorial at some point and sort of expected that I would end up doing that on Thursday; however, I also had heard great things about Old Town Alexandria, so that was also high up in the running. By the time Wednesday night rolled around I had come to a definite decision.

Old Town here I come!


I figured I’d explore the city for a little bit and then camp out at Starbucks for awhile and get some work done. So, I strapped on the husband’s backpack, loaded down with my macbook, grabbed my camera and set out.


I head out of the hotel, get in the cab and the following conversation takes place:

Annoyed cab driver: where you headed?

Me: Alexandria.

Annoyed cab driver: what part of Alexandria?

Me: uhhh, well….ummmm, what part is good?

Annoyed cab driver: several seconds of silence, and then “well, Old Town is pretty good.”

Me: yes, that’s it. Old Town. Take me there.

Annoyed cab driver: where at in Old Town?

Me: ummmmmmmmmm…Starbucks?

Annoyed cab driver: which Starbucks?

SERIOUSLY?? Had could I have been this unprepared? haha. I just knew I wanted to go to the quaint little town that I’d heard so much about and that was about it. Either way, he ended up taking me to the Starbucks that is farthest away from all the action. He dropped me off, and I decided to just take off walking and see what I could find.

Well, apparently it was my lucky day because within five minutes I stumbled onto this:


Trader Joe’s!! I have heard so much about Trader Joe’s for so long, but I’ve never had the chance to go to one. My eyes lit up so bright you’d have thought I had just found the almond butter machine at Whole Foods. I refrained from buying anything right away, but returned later on in the day for some sunflower seed butter, pumpkin butter and almond butter:) Is this normal?

Pressing on I continued wandering down the streets, completely giddy at the setting of this little town. I think I was made to live in this place. I literally got teary eyed a couple of times because I was just so happy. I know I’m risking losing readers who think I’m a crazy person over that statement, but I don’t care. It was the best day.




The only thing that could have made it any better was if the husband had been by my side. I missed him:(





I basically spent most of the day until lunch wandering around, up and down every street oohing and ahhing, and checking out every little store and boutique in my path. Finally, I wandered upon the waterfront and enjoyed the peacefulness of the water and flowers for a few minutes.




And then I was back at it.





I stumbled upon a cute little confectionary, where I bought a few dark chocolate covered cranberries, some chocolate covered coffee beans for the husband and one lone sea salted caramel, which was to. die. for. So delicious in fact, that I neglected to get a pic before popping it into my mouth and savoring it to the very end.


And then I found this.


Do you see what I see? That’s right, another cupcakery…hallelujah! I couldn’t help myself.


Pumpkin spice cupcake with fennel. I die.


For the record, I don’t make a habit of eating a cupcake every day, but Oklahoma also doesn’t have cupcakeries. What’s a girl to do?!

As much as I wanted to just eat it right up, I knew my stomach would thank me if I had something a little more substantial for lunch first. I decided on the first thing I saw that I don’t have at home.

Le Madeleine.


I ordered the salad sampler and chose a tomato basil pasta salad, tomato basil soup and fruit.



My favorite was the pasta salad, but it was all very very tasty. And by the time I followed it up with the cupcake (I couldn’t carry it around in my backpack all day!), I thought someone was going to have to roll me outta there.

After lunch I decided to give my aching feet a little rest, so I broke out the laptop and did a little bit of work.

But it didn’t last long. Who was I kidding?

A couple of hours later I found myself at the Gap Outlet when I got an email from Emily. Emily writes The Front Burner, and she is so cool. She actually lives in Old Town, and I had emailed her earlier in the day to see if she had any suggestions of must sees or do’s for me. When she got my email she was sitting at Starbucks just about ten blocks down the street! So, obviously I had to get down there and say hi.


We got to chat for a little bit, but then she was meeting a friend so we had to cut it short. She is every bit as pretty and sweet as she is on her blog. I thought she was in especially good spirits considering she just got hit by a car about a week ago!

Anyway, later that night Jon finally met up with me after his conference was over so we could hang out with an old coworker of his and his wife and baby. We all met up at a cute little restaurant called Las Tapas, which had excellent food and even greater entertainment thanks to the live music and dancing! So fun!

My food went unpictured due to the super intense mood lighting, but Jon and I shared a tapas order of spinach and feta cheese wrapped in phyllo dough and a skillet of Vegetarian Paella. This was our second time to have Paella, the first time being in Barcelona this summer. And honestly, we liked the American version better, but shhhh, don’t tell anybody;)


After dinner we caught a cab back to our hotel, and Jon went to a late night networking reception party while I blogged from bed (the best way IMO:)

And that’s it! I can’t believe our time in DC is already over. Please don’t make me leeeaave!!!

I’ll see you guys tomorrow!

seeing the sights

21 Oct

Our first full day in Washington DC started with a brisk 2.5 mile run along the harbor.

National Harbor 1.jpg

National Harbor 2.jpg

We are staying at National Harbor, and it is so beautiful here! The downside is that it it’s a bit from away from….well, everything. In terms of walking at least. The upside is that there is a bus stop just a block from our hotel that takes us straight to the metro. So after a shower and a quick breakfast of a banana, rice cake and almond butter (from the stash:) we set out for a day of sightseeing.

We honestly did not have any idea where we were going, but that’s how we roll. Once on the metro, we started to realize that we were already getting hungry. Jon and I are notorious for setting out to explore new places and then not being able to find food anywhere. And you do not want to be our friend when we are hungry. So, we decided to book it to the only place we knew was sure to have food.


waiting for the metro...again

China Town!


Right when we came up from the metro, we spotted this place.


When we were in New York last year, we ate at a place just like this, and we both loved it! If you haven’t been to one, it’s basically like a Subway, but for salads. Plus they have far more toppings (everything from tofu to roasted beets) – and then my favorite part – after they get everything that you want added to your salad, they chop it all up before putting it in the bowl. It’s so good!



love the vintage style of these cups!


After eating, we decided to explore China Town a little bit, and the first place we stumbled upon was Urban Outfitters….keepin’ it real:) We shopped around a little bit – the husband ending up with a couple of shirts and me a scarf.

Finally, after all the procrastinating, we decided to grab some Starbucks and head to Arlington National Cemetery. We strolled the winding streets, taking pictures at every turn and just soaking in the peaceful serenity of this place. It was so calming to me.




the gravesite of JFK


Arlington was absolutely nothing like what I expected – it was so much bigger! It really is hard to fathom the number of graves there. I was so taken aback with it all.





at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier







After a couple hour visit, we decided to head back to the National Mall. We had only spent a short while there the night before, and it had been dark, so we were anxious to see it all in the daylight and get some good pictures. After a quick snack, we made the loooong trek, finally coming upon the Lincoln Memorial. Beginning to fear the onset of sundown, we decided to admire Lincoln from afar, since it had been the best lit monument from the night before – instead pressing on toward the White House.




the back of the Lincoln Memorial




the memorial for Vietnam Vets


The night before we were able to get right up to the fence of the White House, almost to that fountain you can barely see; however, this day there was a giant chain length fence put up that spanned about the length of a football field. You couldn’t get any closer than the outside of the fence. There must have been something going on – not sure, but we were sad!

We walked by the Washington Monument next, en route to the capitol building…


And the Smithsonian…









By the time we left the Capitol building, we were pretty exhausted and hungry. Dinnertime!!

We used our UrbanSpoon app on the iPhone and found a mexican restaurant in the area – and made a beeline for it! Only to get there and realize it was closed:( Onward and upward folks, onward and upward. We UrbanSpooned it again and came up with yet another mexican place only about a mile away. Off we went!

Stopping for photo opps along the way or course:)



I didn’t get many pictures of dinner unfortunately because it was really dark and crowded in there.

We started off with an appetizer of guacamole that was some of the best darn guacamole I’ve ever had. And that’s sayin’ a lot!

For my meal I ordered vegetarian enchiladas with mushrooms, spinach and squash inside and a tomato based sauce poured over top. Jon and I shared a serving of rice and beans.


So good!

And then on our way home we passed this little cupcakery and just couldn’t resist. Can I just say how much I love the word “cupcakery?” I could just say it over and over. Cupcakery. Cupcakery, cupcakery, cupcakery. Cupcakery.



Mine was chocolate – and it was vegan too!!

Oh my gosh, that was the longest recap in the history of recaps! If you’re still with me, kudos to you. And thanks!

I just love writing recaps – it’s like you get to relive the entire day over again!

I’m off to bed now – we are leaving tomorrow at noon and I can hardly believe it. Especially after today (recap to come tomorrow) – I am NOT ready to go home! Today was one of the best days I think I’ve ever had. That may be a slight exaggeration…but only slight;)

I’m waaaay behind on all your amazing blogs because I just haven’t been sitting in front of the computer. While I can’t say I’d wish it any other way, I miss you all so very much and I can’t wait to catch up on everything from this week!!

Hope you’re having a great night – see ya tomorrow!


20 Oct

No one told me how cold it was going to be here in DC!

Something you may not know about me – I have a small obsession with watching the weather.  Outside real time and through my Weather Channel iPhone app.  I love looking at the hour by hour forecast.  Oh, and the 7 day is almost more than my little heart can handle!  I get so excited.

So, needless to say I was watching DC weather like a Natzi over the last week or so.  According to my calculations, it was supposed to be in the low 70’s this week.

Well, apparently those calculations were wro-ong!

It is downright cold here…so cold that most of the locals are in coats, hats, boots…you name it. If it’s a cold weather accessory, it’s walkin’ the streets of the District (I can totally call it that now that I’ve actually been here, right?!).

Unfortunately, this unsuspecting tourist did not pack for frigid temps.  Luckily I did bring a couple pairs of jeans and threw in my light trench coat, but I am kicking myself for not bringing my boots and some long sleeve shirts.  Oh, and I almost bought some gloves at Urban Outfitters today.  I’m kicking myself for leaving those behind too.

I digress.

Despite the cold, I am loving DC!  Something else you may not know about me is that I am so in love with the east coast I could marry it.  Seriously.  Jon and I drove up the east coast on our honeymoon, and I’ve pined away for it ever since.  I knew I would love it here (in DC) too…and I couldn’t have been more right.

Now, here’s my list so far of things that have surprised me about DC:

One.  how cold it is.
Two.  how friendly the people are.  there are some seriously friendly people here – and so helpful!
Three.  the number of runners out and about throughout the day.
Four.  how much the area around Capitol Hill reminds us of Paris.  Anybody else?

Okay, so now that my lovefest has commenced, let’s go forth with the story of our trip here yesterday.

Jon and I left our house around 7:45am (right on time, thankyouverymuch) and hit up Starbucks on our way out of town for some coffee and a bite to eat.  I gotta say, Starbuck’s Oatmeal is the way to go if you’re out and about in the early morning hours.

Okay, I am aware that this picture does not look that appetizing.  But I promise you, they don’t call it “perfect” for nothing.  Have I ever lied to you before?

After an hour and a half of driving in torrential rains, getting lost and making a circle around the entire perimeter of the airport, we finally got parked.  This is not the first time that using directions from our iPhone has failed us.  It literally led us on a wild goose chase down all kinds of windy back roads and plopped us down right at the entrance people use to fly private jets.  Riiiiiight.

So, after nearly having a nervous breakdown and then a panic attack, we made it into the airport looking like a couple of wet dogs as we raced to check in.  At that point I split off from the husband because unfortunately we were booked on different flights (his was booked through his work).

Luckily we both made it to our gates in time.  After the hour-ish flight, I landed at O’Hare in Chicago for an hour and a half layover.  First things first.  Find some healthy food, stat!

I have to say – in my humble opinion, airports have really improved in the way of healthy eats.  At least larger airports.  Unfortunately it does cost half your life savings to obtain said eats, but they’re there.  Per the usual, I had planned ahead and packed rice cakes, larabars, dried apricots, apples and bananas in my bag for this trip.  But I always end up eating my packed stuff for breakfast and snacks when I go on vacation…and by day 2 or 3 I’m usually getting serious fresh veggie withdrawals.  So, I had decided that if there were any good veggies to be had at the airport, I was going to splurge on invest in them.  Enter – the best airport lunch ever:

Mixed greens salad with grilled veggies and pita wedges on top.  With a balsamic vinegar dressing.

and a green juice

I used to think these Naked juices had added sugar – not sure why I thought that.  This was 100% juice – including several fruits and broccoli, spirulina etc.  It was delicious!  And I felt on  top of the world when I finished this lunch.  Full of veggies:)

After I landed in DC a few hours later, I snacked on some spelt pretzels while I waited for Jon and his coworkers to land.  Then it was off to the hotel to drop our bags and on to dinner!

Jon and I were desperate to get into the heart of the action and see the sights, but being in a new city we weren’t quite sure where to get some food first.  So, we walked around the area where we’re staying for a little while and spotted this cute little Thai restaurant.  It had us at Sawat-dee (hello in Thai).

If the traditional Thai greeting when we walked in the door didn’t charm us, then the egg rolls, cashew tofu, and sweet little Thai waitresses picked up the slack.  We were enamored.

Highlight of the night: Jon and I ordered the same dish, but I substituted tofu for chicken.  In the end we realized that Jon had been served tofu as well, and he didn’t even realize it until 75% of his food was gone!  We couldn’t tell my looking at it because it was fried, and apparently he couldn’t taste the difference. ha!

After dinner, we took the bus and metro down to Capitol Hill.  We strolled around, taking in the beauty of everything all lit up and taking pictures like we actually thought they would be good without at tripod.

freezing my tail off while waiting for the train

a fuzzy Washington Monument

hello there Abe

hello there Mister Obama

We were exhausted by the time we were ready to head back to the hotel, so we decided to hitch a ride in a cab.  We had a crazy funny cab driver from India with an awesome accent who we found to be rather entertaining.  That is until he drove off without giving us correct change, leaving us $10 short!  What was that I was saying about friendly people…

I kid, I kid.

Anyway, that’s the long and short of day 1 in DC!  Day 2 was a bit more eventful and definitely better for photo opps.  I’ll be back tomorrow with the details:)

Jon will be in meetings all day tomorrow, so I’m thinking I’ll head over to Alexandria (Old Town) to explore a little bit.  I was quite taken with it’s quaintness when we passed through on our way from the airport.  Actually, it might be better if I didn’t go there – I don’t think I’m ever gonna want to leave!

See ya tomorrow!

adventures in iowa part 3

5 Oct


Each time I do a series of post to recap a vacation or event, I get so antsy at the end.  I just want to write about today…not 3 days ago!  But alas, I love having this blog as a way to look back on my life, a scrapbook of sorts, so I shall carry on with the last day of our time in Iowa. This also happened with our trip to Europe this summer, except I actually never did recap the last two days.  I very well might still recap them at some point, but we’ll see.

Anyway, tomorrow I’ll be showing you some festive fall things I did today!  Think food (or course:) and home decor!

Our exciting tourist stop on our way out of Iowa was this…

the house used in the painting “American Gothic.”  It was totally an unplanned stop – we just saw the sign and off we went!  I love seeing stuff like this, though.  I mean, I might never be driving by Eldon, Iowa again…I’ve gotta take advantage of opportunities like this! 😉

I did think the house was pretty darn cute, though.  I’d live there:)

Told you I’m obsessed.

And my favorite picture of the day – Jon and I depicting “American Gothic.”  If we were truly trying to replicate it, we’d need to crop the picture, obviously…but Jon played around with the effects instead:)  Do I look angry or what?!

The rest of the day was an ultra boring and long drive home, during which I brainstormed my Project Food Blog entry.  My eats were equally as boring, consisting of a veggie Subway sandwich, spelt pretzels and almond butter, a few pieces of chocolate and a couple handfuls of the husband’s Chex Mix.   It was so hard to be stuck in the car when I really needed to be working on my dinner party…but I tried to use my time the best way possible!

Speaking of PFB, please hop over and check out my entry and vote for me if you think me worthy of advancing!  I’m going to put myself out there and say I feel more anxious about this entry than any of the others.  It just took so much time, energy and heart…I’m nervous!!

I’m off to work on some yoga for my class tomorrow – hope you’re all having a great start to your week!

Still to come this week:

  • Fall fun at our house
  • my review of Burt’s Bees skin care products and an update on Project: Clear up my Skin!

adventures in iowa part 2

5 Oct

I would be so thankful if you would take a second to go here to check out and consider voting for my entry for Project Food Buzz Challenge #3!  I need you all now more than ever! You guys are the best:)

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Whew!  What a weekend!  Between our road-tripping wedding weekend in Iowa and pulling off a dinner party on Sunday, I am still trying to bounce back energy wise.

Aside from a serious lack of sleep, we had a seriously epic time.

Thursday night was the rehearsal dinner for the lovely couple – and not only was there great friends, but the food wasn’t too bad either.  I was prepared for the worst and had a Larabar in tow just in case…but I ended up with a plate full of roasted potatoes, corn (very fittingly), salad and a piece of bread.  Unfortunately (or fortunately:), I was having so much fun, I didn’t manage to get any food pics.

probably the only time you’ll ever see the husband holding a pocket knife and a corn husk:)

After an early morning workout session (bike and eliptical) at the hotel Friday morning, I spent the day exploring the cute little city of Burlington with a couple of friends…and they let me go wild snapping pictures.  I’m sure I was driving them crazy by the end of the day, but they were so sweet and gracious about it – standing around waiting on me and trying to look natural while I snapped away!

But first…lunch at a classy little cafe, Bistro 322.  I ordered the veggie and white bean hummus wrap with mixed greens on the side.

As you guys know, I just took a beginner’s photography class during the month of August, and aside from photographing food, I haven’t really practiced all that much.  Unfortunately it’s kind of challenging for me to get inspired just going about my day-to-day at home, but I’m really working on finding inspiration in my own surroundings.  Even though Burlington is a fairly average little town, it has loads of charm…plus, the weather was breathtaking!

Lately I’ve become obsessed with jumping pictures.  And I was feeling a bit frisky with the 70 degree weather and all:)

After an afternoon full of sightseeing, we sauntered over to Illinois before making our way back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding!

The wedding was at a quaint little church on the outskirts of town.  And it just so happened to have a giant corn field right beside it.  We had spent enough time gazing at the corn from afar…it was time to get up close and personal!

With the corn and with each other;)

And last, but definitely not the least – it was reception time!

We danced the night away:)

Stay tuned for the last part of our Iowa adventure tomorrow as we road-tripped back home, stopping at one of the finest sightseeing locations in Iowa.  At least from what I’ve seen.

And again, I’d be so thankful if you’d consider giving me your vote!

adventures in iowa part 1

30 Sep

So, we headed out at about 11pm last night…

…and drove….

…and drove some more…

and finally arrived in Iowa at about 9 am this morning!

I’m not going to lie, it was a rough night.  It was actually kind of fun considering we hadn’t seen our sweet friends, Jason and Emily, in months – we had puh-lenty of time to catch up!  But the time when I was actually trying to sleep was not pretty.  No big surprise there, though.

The most eventful part of the trip was on the Kansas turnpike about 3 hours in.  We suddenly realized we were quite low on gas, but if you’ve ever been on the Kansas turnpike, you know that there is a large portion of nothingness for miles. Our gauge was telling us that we had 0 miles of gas left, and we still had 14 miles to go.

Our gas gauge lies apparently…because somehow we made it all the way.  A gas station has never looked so beautiful, especially at 3 am.

Upon arriving in Iowa, we first hit up the little town, Fort Madison, where the guys’ tuxes were waiting.  Before picking them up, however, we found this cute little cafe in the middle of town.  It was so quaint…and it literally put a smile on face for many reasons.

cute atmosphere and sweet friends (and husband:)

Japanese Sencha Green Tea

whole wheat toast with Barney Butter from my HLS swag bag

a big bowl of fruit

I was feeling really pretty terrible by the time we got to Fort Madison – my eyes were bloodshot and burning, my body was stiff and cramped everywhere…and I needed a serious shower.  But this little cafe, Wild Whisk, made me so very happy!  It was the breath of fresh air I needed with a healthy breakfast and some delicious tea.

Then we walked to the tux place.  And I snapped photos of all the quaintness.

handsome husband:)

We finally made it all the way to Burlington at about 11am, and after some puppy dog eyes and coercing with the front desk clerk were able to snag an early check in.

I showered and then hopped into bed, feeling so blessed to have my husband on one side of me and our wonderful friends in the next bed over (not awkward at all:).  We are sharing a room this afternoon, and then tonight the guys will stay together for the bachelor party, and Em and I will stay here.  I spent the rest of the afternoon just like this.

Tonight we enjoyed the evening celebrating with our friends at their rehearsal dinner.  And it was lovely.  More of our Iowa adventure to come tomorrow!