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Biking, Exercise, Life, Week in Pictures, Weight loss

Crepes at Cafe Mezcla, bike rides, and hammocking

It’s been a beautiful week around here as all the flowering trees are fully in bloom and the landscape is greening up. Last week was Brady’s birthday and we were able to do a lot of outdoor adventuring to celebrate. I had been planning a weekend backpacking trip to Shenandoah National Park for the weekend but we didn’t end up going because the weather forecasts were looking potentially stormy and I was also dealing with a strained muscle in the hip flexor area. Sad. We’re still hoping to go this summer and we may try doing a shorter and close to home backpacking trip this weekend.

Since Brady worked late on his actual birthday, we went out on Wednesday evening to Brookeside Gardens to see the tulips before meeting up with his family at Cheesecake Factory for dinner.

Brookeside Gardens tulips in spring

Brookeside Gardens tulips in spring

Brookeside Gardens tulips in spring

The whole happy birthday to you song isn’t his favorite thing but it’s only once a year so he can deal with it. 

One of his birthday presents as a part of the backpacking package was getting a double hammock so we tested it out on Friday evening with a Subway picnic.

Hammock in Centennial Park, Maryland

Hammock in Centennial Park, Maryland

Hammock in Centennial Park, Maryland

Sunset at Centennial Park, Maryland

Sunday morning we went out to Cafe Mezcla for some crepes – yummm. I’ve loved this place since it opened a few years ago but it was always super slow service. I guess they’ve heard the cries because we actually got our food pretty quick yesterday. I always get the same savory crepe that’s stuffed with tomatoes, spinach, eggs, and aioli because it’s so so good. Brady got a banana foster crepe and we shared a nutella frapp. If you live near Columbia, Maryland, you should really try out Cafe Mezcla!

We went for a ride at the end of the day out to Lake Elkhorn and back which is about 12 miles round trip. I love that we get to ride around 2 of the recreational lakes on this ride.

bike ride around Lake Elkhorn, Columbia, Maryland
bike ride around Lake Elkhorn, Columbia, Maryland

I’ll end with a couple quick shots from Centennial Park this morning. I tend to really only go in the evenings but this morning reminded me that I should get up here more often in the mornings! It was lovely weather and it’s kinda nice to see it in a different light. 

Food, Friday Faves, Life, Review, Vacation

Friday Faves #4

Hello Again! I’ve been loving this gorgeous spring weather, haven’t you? Everything’s in bloom and I couldn’t be happier.

The last few weeks have been busy with some traveling, making travel plans, birthdays and other exciting things and I’ve managed to fall behind, but I wanted to make sure I shared some of the things I’ve been loving lately starting with a couple food things!

Talenti Sicilian Pistachio Gelato

I have been obsessed with this Sicilian Pistachio Gelato and it’s bad because it’s one of the only ice creams I can sit down and eat the whole pint in one sitting. It’s bad and I try not to bring it home too often for this reason. I’m a bit of an ice cream snob and I’d often much rather spend my money on a small amount of amazing ice cream then get eh ice cream for less. This stuff is super creamy and flavorful and there’s enough pistachios to have some in every bite. I tried a cheaper brand of pistachio ice cream lately and I could barely eat it so… yeah this stuff is the best.

Forager Project Organic Cashewgurt in Lemon

I really loved this stuff. If I had been blind taste testing, I would have thought that this was the real stuff. The consistency was on point, the lemon adds the sourness that traditional yogurt has but that’s not to say that it’s sour because it definitely is not. I saw it at Whole Foods and decided it was something I needed to try because I’m trying to back away from dairy since it messes with my digestive system. It’s hard to find worthy vegan substitutes for some of my favorite things and I’ve wanted to try some cashew alternatives but haven’t gotten around to it until now. I’d definitely recommend checking this out!

Forager Project Lemon Cashewgurt

So Delicious Non-Dairy Cashew Creamy Chocolate “Ice Cream”

It’s funny to place two dairy free food items after some real ice cream but I want to share about the things I’m testing and loving! I guess I can’t say I fully love this ice cream alternative but it’s pretty good for a substitute. It’s a bit sweet for me so I think that’s the biggest thing holding me back. It’s definitely creamy and isn’t grainy like some non-dairy ice creams can be though it is a bit stiffer and more dense than regular ice cream. I don’t like the coconut alternatives at all so this was a great creamy alternative to the real stuff.

The Forest Feast Gatherings by Erin Gleeson

My sister happened upon this book as we were browsing through Anthro last month and it is seriously like the most beautiful cookbook you will ever see. I love the illustrations, the recipes, the layout, it’s all gorgeous! The book is organized into different food themed parties such as the “Iced Tea Party”, the “Fall Feast”, “Brunch”, and “Party Buffets”.  There are so many different party options that would even be great to mix and match as each section features a different drink, mix of entrees, and a dessert. I bought it off of Amazon since it was $15 cheaper and I’ve already tried one of the recipes which was the Orzo-Black Bean Salad which was delish. Some of the top recipes I want to try are the Heirloom Tomato Tart, the Zucchini Frittata Loaf, the Squash Lasagna, and the Sesame Farro Salad.

Target summer shoes and sandals

I’ve been wanting to get these sneakers for a while now but hadn’t done it because I was waiting for a good sale. I had these same shoes a few years back and I wore them until the sole wore though and my foot was literally touching the ground. I’d like to get them in another color because I do like them a lot. I also picked up these brown sandals which are extremely similar to the mint colored ones I got 2 years ago. I’m actually really tempted to get them in red and white as well. This Saturday (4/14) is the last day to get the BOGO 50% off deal on all shoes.

Target Lunea Sneakers in Navy

The Great British Baking Show

Brady and I started watching this a couple of weeks ago and it’s my current fave on Netflix. I’ve never been to England but based on most of what I’ve seen from TV (a reliable source), they seem like a much more polite group of people. Either way the show is a huge contrast from most American reality styled shows in my opinion. Watching this show has also really made me want to go to the British restaurant in Epcot when we’re there next month so we can try out some of the stuff! Have you ever been to the Rose and Crown? Is it any good?

Monopoly and Ticket to Ride for the iPad

My iPad died last summer and it’s been sad because I can’t get Monopoly for my phone and I feel like Ticket to Ride would be too small to play on my phone. Turns out, my iPad wasn’t dead, the cord was. It’s a pretty old iPad now so it’s pretty slow in processing between apps but the games still work great and I’m so happy to be able to play a couple of my favorite games again. I don’t like TTR as much as I used to because one of the updates rearranged things so it’s not as great, but I still love to play. It’s fun to play a game in 10 minutes instead of 40-60 with other people. And Monopoly is great because you don’t have to worry about ruining relationships! LOL!

Disney Planning

I thought I’d throw this in because it made me that much more excited for our vacation! Wednesday was the last day of waking up early to reserve Fastpass+ reservations for Disney World; however, the system was down and I had no idea when it was going to come back. Pretty rough when you have a short window to snap up the exact times you’re hoping for. For example, our first day at Disney, we’re going to Epcot in the evening and I was trying to get one of the last 3 time slots for Frozen Ever After. It was the first one I reserved and by 7:01 (one minute after the reservation window opens) they were completely gone. Well anyways, things ended up working out fine but through a little Twitter conversing I got a few personal responses including a Disney countdown! 🙂

We’re so close to going and I’m so excited! Quick question while we’re on the subject, what are the best beaches/areas to visit in northeast Florida? I’m currently looking at St. Augustine and Daytona but if you have any recommendations, I’m all ears!

 

That’s all folks!

^ Comment below if you get the reference! ^

 

Best beaches in NE Fl?

Have any awesome vacations planned for this summer?

What have you been loving lately?

 

Linking with Amanda.

Anniversary, Life

7 years of happiness

It’s been 7 years since we started dating! We met almost 12 years ago now and we’ve been dating more of that time than we haven’t which is crazy to think! Our getting together story is actually pretty long with lots of high school drama, but today’s the day we celebrate the beginning of our dating relationship. Who knew that these high school besties would be where we are today. I thought I do a throwback to the beginning and share some of my favorite pics with you!

We met officially in 2005 but didn’t really start to get to know each other until he came to my school freshman year of high school in 2006. We got closer with each passing year and by the start of our senior year, we were each other’s best friend.

Junior Year

Junior year spring “banquet” was Disney themed and though we didn’t go together, we were part of a group that dressed up as the High School Musical characters. Can you guess who we are?

At the end of the year we had a class bbq at a classmate’s home and he threw me in the pool… like the gentleman that he is. Since I’m in a confessing mood, I’d really love to have that body again. Is it fair to want it back?

Senior Year!

Webcam photos in class.

He started liking me at the beginning of the school year and although I figured it our pretty quick, it took me a few months to feel the same way. We started taking romantically in February (that’s actually a little weird to say considering we were both 17 at the time) and there were some ups and downs until we went on a mission trip at the end of March and basically became inseparable. 

I’m such a weirdo.

This moment (^^^) was the day before we started dating. Since we were caught up in an experience I’ve always called “the mission trip high” I wanted to wait til we got back home to start dating. This walk was what changed my mind. While we were on an afternoon walk during our last evening in the Dominican, I distinctly remember feeling so content and happy and thinking, I could spend the rest of my life with this guy and I don’t want to mess it up.

Here’s the last picture we took together before we started dating and the photo that was my Facebook profile picture for just about forever.

He asked me out on the plane on the way back home and we’ve been together ever since.

Incidentally, we were the romantic leads of the musical that year and our performances began 3 weeks after returning from that trip. We were performing Meet Me in St. Louis which in hindsight was a pretty boring play to watch but it was still fun to perform.

It’s hard to believe how much time has passed and how many amazing experiences we’ve had, but it’s been an awesome 7 years. Each day spent with him is my favorite day because he really is my best friend. <3

 

How long have you known your significant other? How did you get together?

Date Night, Life, Week in Pictures

DC Cherry Blossoms 2017

Hello there, it’s been a while. The cold that was pretty minor that I was basically complimenting turned into a full blown cold that has lasted 3 weeks now… my sister also came home during that time and I haven’t had my computer for a week since it was getting upgraded. But I’m back and I have lots to share! To keep from making this the longest post in blog history, I’m going to share the most recent event since because last night the hubs and I went on a date to DC to see the cherry blossoms. The freak winter storm we had 2 weeks ago killed off about 50% of the blooms according to the NPS but when I was there a week ago, I realized that meant that specific trees were damaged rather than half the blooms on each tree. The show wasn’t as perfect as usual but it was still a fluffy tree wonderland. 

Traffic sucked getting there and took twice as long as it should have, but we were there for the best part of the day and it was surprisingly rather un-crowded for only being one day after official peak bloom. 

We parked in the lots on Hains Point and walked through the FDR Memorial and out to the MLK Memorial before turning around and walking along the Tidal Basin back to the car.

I wish we could have lingered a tad longer because the weather was gorgeous and the sunset had a lovely glow but we couldn’t stay out too late since somebody had work to do before going to bed… However it was a beautiful evening out and I’m already dreaming about the blossoms for next year. 

 

Have you ever been to DC to see the blossoms?

What’s your favorite spring blossoming flower or tree?

 

 

Linking up with Amanda for this post!

Holidays, Life

St. Patrick’s Day Birthday

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The only really awesome thing about turning 25 is getting to rent a car without the “under 25 tax” and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to go out and just rent a car right now.

To celebrate the occasion, I’m sharing my 5 birthday fun facts and 20 things on my bucket list for 25!

5 Birthday Fun Facts

  1. The doctor who delivered me was Irish.
  2. 2 years ago I went to the hospital for the first time as a patient. It was also my first time in an ambulance. Let’s just say that my birthday wasn’t the best day of the year to figure out a new allergy.
  3. I’m going to confuse everyone by saying that my “American birthday” is technically the 16th since the time of day that I was born in Australia would technically have been the 16th in the US. But since I was born on the 17th where I was, I’m happy to keep it that way 🙂
  4. My mom used to get me a few special St. Patrick’s Day goodies for my birthday each year. I still have a few of them including the shamrock socks I got probably 10+ years ago that I loved.
  5. Today is also Katie Ledecky’s birthday!

A photo from my last birthday with my mom (turning 19)

Bucket List

  1. Go backpacking — I wanted to do this last year and it didn’t work out.
  2. Go to Australia — or at least start saving for a trip. It’s been over 5 years since the last time and I haven’t seen much of my family since then.
  3. Volunteer — I was really excited about an opportunity for volunteering last fall but it fell through so I hope to find a great place locally to volunteer.
  4. Host a summer picnic party — just because.
  5. Bike the GAP trail in the fall — another one I was hoping to do last year that fell through.
  6. De-junk home — I’m really trying to get rid of all the extra stuff we’ve accumulated that we don’t need. I hate holding on to so much stuff.
  7. Run a half marathon — still planning on the Chicago half in September!
  8. Regularly share recipes on the blog — I have so many great recipes that I love and I really need to get around to sharing because I know you’d love them too!
  9. Go natural — this may be a weird way to put it, but I really think that all these chemicals we’re lathering on our skin and cleaning our home with are disruptive/harmful to our bodies. I want to make more products to use at home and phase out the chemical filled store bought junk.
  10. Go stand-up paddleboarding — I’ve wanted to do this for a few years.
  11. Gain the upper hand on sugar — this has been a long time coming and is an ongoing battle.
  12. Attend a Michael Buble concert — I don’t know if this will be possible before my next birthday since his son is dealing with cancer and it’s unlikely that he’s going to be touring but I’m still going to put this here.
  13. Share music videos on YouTube — My hubby and I are always singing and making music together and since I already have a channel with a lot of my high school/college music, it’s about time to start sharing more music.
  14. Kayak down the Potomac — We went on a river cruise from Georgetown to Alexandria for my bachelorette party a few years ago and I keep thinking how gorgeous it would be to paddle through that area.
  15. Achieve weight goals — My birthday present to myself next year is to feel amazing, healthy, and be carrying around a lot less physical baggage.
  16. Run on the beach — I’ve kind of fantasized about this one and I’ve love to get to cross this off my list this year!
  17. Watch a meteor shower — I’ve never actually had the energy to wake up and get out of bed to see one of these and I really want to do this!
  18. Take a dance class with Brady — I don’t know how he’d feel about this, but we’ve talked about and joked about it before and I think it could be a lot of fun!
  19. Pick up a new hobby.
  20. Sell a painting — I almost said paint more but I decided to challenge myself. I don’t know who would buy my painting, but it’s going to happen.

 

This is going to be a year full of happiness and lots of personal growth! Have a great weekend everyone!

Life, Week in Pictures

Winter Walks and Birthday Celebrations

This week has been flying by faster than the last though I am still dealing with a cold. I had a few days where it was pretty light and I wasn’t feeling very much, but today has been a bit rougher with more congestion and it feels like I’m growing a tree in my throat. Some salt gargles, hot tea, and eucalyptus steam sessions are helping me through and unless this gets drastically worse, this has been a very light cold and I’m very thankful for that. 

Maryland and much of the northeast was hit by winter storm Stella on Monday-Tuesday this week and prematurely killed all of spring *heartbreak*. Over the weekend they had been predicting up to 14 inches of snow for our area but that was lowered since we got a blend of snow and freezing rain, the accumulation is really only about 4 inches. I went out for 2 different winter walks to enjoy what we had since this is the only real snowfall we’ve had all winter long.

Winter Snowstorm Stella

Winter Snowstorm Stella Continue Reading