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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!

want some cookies?

28 Sep

And the celebration of fall continues…

Breakfast this morning.

Overnight oats prepared with 1/3 cup soy vanilla yogurt, 1/3 cup almond milk, 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 canned pumpkin, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp molasses, and a sprinkle of unsweetened dried cranberries. I also made a trip to Panera with the husband before work – a bagel for him and a half decaf black coffee for me.

Today has been ultra busy because I’ve been preparing for a trip!  We are leaving tomorrow night with some friends to roadtrip somewhere across the U.S.  I’ll leave you with a hint as to where it might be.

I’ll choose one comment out of all of you who guess correctly by tomorrow night at 8pm, and I’ll mail you a batch of my very favorite homemade vegan cookies.

Let’s face it – I’m really just looking for an excuse to bake cookies for one of my fabulous readers.  I love you guys:)


silence is golden

26 Aug

Good morning!

As soon as our alarms started buzzing this morning, Jon and I headed out for an early morning 3 mile run.  It was a beautiful morning, and I was kicking myself for not having my camera.  Please let me know if you’ve mastered the art of carrying your DSLR while running ’cause it seems the best moments happen while out on the road:)

It was the perfect time of morning as the sunlight was just barely peeking up over the horizon and glinting off the tops of the fields.  Has anybody ever told you that Oklahoma has the prettiest sunrises and sunsets?  Well, we do.

Second only to this maybe.

Sunset during our time in Halong Bay, Vietnam

This morning was just one of those moments when I could hardly believe the beauty.  The perfect way to start the day.

There was a biting chill in the air this morning as well, and despite my hands going numb it felt quite refreshing.  Three cheers for fall!  Have I mentioned that it’s my favorite season?

After I got back and showered, I blended up a green smoothie.  Anytime I go more than a couple of days without one, I start to have withdrawals 🙂

2 handfuls of spinach, 1/2 banana, 1.25 cups almond milk, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 2 heaping tbsp Vega powder

I changed it up a bit this morning by swapping chocolate Vega powder in for Amazing Grass.  I was a little nervous adding 2 heaping tablespoons of powder because I have yet to use a protein powder that didn’t make my smoothie chalky tasting.  I can honestly say that this one did not!  It added 12 grams of protein, 2 servings of veggies (like it needed more veggies:), 2500 mg of omega 3, 6, 9, 1 billion probiotic cultures, only 100 calories, and a hint of chocolaty goodness! And by the way, Vega did not ask me to review their product; I’m raving out of pure love of the product:)

Technically, this powder is supposed to be added with just water for a quick and healthy shake on the go – I’ve been a little hesitant to try it, but I think I just might have to now!

On a different note, now that I’m working from home, I’m finding out some things about myself that I didn’t know before.

  • I really do like working at my desk better than on the couch
  • I have a lot more discipline than I ever realized
  • a good cup of iced coffee goes a long way with my mood and productivity
  • I really can control the urge to snack even though I’m 4 seconds away from chips and salsa at any point during the day
  • If/when I begin to feel lonely or isolated, I must book it to the coffee shop asap to avoid the downward spiral
  • I don’t feel lonely or isolated most of the time
  • I like to work in silence

I often feel the need to have music on in the house – especially when I’m there alone.  It really does motivate me, and it’s nice to have some noise going on because unfortunately Olive doesn’t provide much good conversation.

At least she’s cute.

But I’m realizing more and more how nice it is to just work in silence.  With the windows open and the sun shining in, it’s rather inspiring to just have quiet all around.  I think it also helps me to focus better, and my thoughts have the freedom to take me wherever they want:)  You should try it!  You just might be surprised how nice it is to just be quiet.

Do you find that you work better with music or in silence?  What about working out?  That’s a whole different topic, but do you prefer to workout with music or enjoy the silence?

the small things

21 Aug


Hope you are all having an awesome Saturday!

Jon and I had a bit of a late night, so we slept in really well.  A little too well actually:)  Guess out bodies needed the rest!

We did end up seeing Eat Pray Love last night, but before that we saw something even better.

We decided to drive by my school so I could reminisce one last time

And then we happened to look up (and to the east)…

and the sky looked like this!

We looked to the west, where the sun was showing it’s last bit of light before sinking below the horizon, and saw this.  Notice how you can faintly see the pattern of blue stripes coming up out of the clouds.

That stripe pattern was thrown from the western sky all the way up and over to the east, becoming more vivid as it went.

It was amazingly beautiful, and we could have sat in the parking lot, watching it all night.  But within minutes it began to fade as the sun disappeared for the night.

So off we went for a different kind of entertainment!

Eat Pray Love was a great movie.  Unfortunately I hadn’t yet finished the book, so I can’t really say which was better or how many crucial parts were left out of the movie.  All I can say is that I really loved it.  It was impactful in that it made me realize how strong we really can be if we are able to shut out the distractions of a busy and hectic life.  It also reminded me that I need to relax and enjoy the small moments of life a little more.  I get so caught up in what I need to do next, and I always find myself rushing through those small meaningful moments that really should be what gets me through.  And of course it gave me the travel bug.  Traveling is one of Jon and I’s deepest joys in life, and I itch to go again.  I really want to go back to Thailand.  But there are also so many other places I want to see.  I’m thinking about making a travel page on the blog, with pictures and a little bit about our time at each place.  I’m thinking reliving our past travels  may help pacify me for awhile:)  What do you guys think?

For breakfast this morning I had an awesome breakfast of soy yogurt, peanut butter Puffins, dried cranberries and Kashi U

I also had a Supercharge Me cookie and half of Jon’s You Got Peanut Butter in my Chocolate cookie:)  Cookies for breakfast.  Why not?

Supercharge Me recipe to come later tonight!

I’m off to clean our house seeing as how it has gotten out of control since I was gone last weekend.  Also on the list for today is grocery shopping!

going "home"

6 Jul

I’m baaaaaccckkkk!

How was everyone’s weekend?  I hope you got to spend some time with family and friends or at least get a little extra rest in over the long weekend.

I had a great weekend hanging out with my family.  My grandparents have a cabin at the lake, and we’ve been going down there for vacation since I was born, but Jon and I haven’t been in several years.  It was a bit like going home after a really long time away.  So sweet.

Here’s a quick picture recap of the weekend

My step-dad’s birthday was Saturday, so I attempted to make cookies and have them ready when he and my mom arrived.  Unfortunately, the baking soda we packed had less than half as much as we needed, the oven at our cabin is on the splits, and this cookie sheet…well, you can see it for yourself.  FAIL

My great-grandparents built this cabin in 1960 (give or take a couple years:).  Even though it’s old and a bit small, it holds so many special memories and we love it.

Olive isn’t quite sure how she feels about the lake yet

my sister, my mom and me

my sis and I

skiing under the beautiful blue sky

Olive and her cousin, Bentley

fireworks over the lake

our little cabin:)

work hard, play hard, right?

she knows how to tell us when it’s time to head home

Happy 4th of July from our family to yours!

Today has been a little slow…and it has actually been quite nice!  For some reason, despite my laid-back weekend, I am exhausted! Plus, it has been storming off and on all day; Olive and I have been a bit lazy.  My afternoon appt. with Mohammad even got cancelled.  He called to say it wasn’t a good time for him because of the rain. lol.  So endearing to me because the Thais used to do stuff like that all the time.  love it:)

I did manage to make it to Piyo this morning, and got quite a workout!  The more I practice piyo, the more I love it.

For breakfast I threw together a yogurt bowl

whole soy peach yogurt, 1/3 cup raw oats, frozen cherries and chia seeds!

And just a few hours later I was ready for lunch

Amy’s split pea soup with black pepper and sea salt

Ezekiel toast with Sabra roasted garlic hummus and a sprinkle of chia seeds

Don’t forget about the giveaway coming up in celebration of my 100th post!  Details are soon to come…

What did you do over the weekend?