Life Lately

It’s been a busy month! I was looking back at recent pictures to see what I’ve been up to since I last posted in November…here’s a summary:

Went to Korea! It was my first visit since 2009 or so.  More on that in a future post.

Thanksgiving at our place.  Mike made an excellent turkey, we ordered sides from the local market, and relaxed at Spa World on Friday :)

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Threw a bridal shower for a small group member, Anne.  Mike and I took care of the food, minus dessert – we set up a pasta bar with several kinds of pasta, sauce, toppings, and salad.  It was a huge hit and pretty easy to put together!

Decorated for Christmas – we don’t put up our tree every year since we’re never here for the holiday, but I decided to put it up this year, along with a few other Christmas decorations (a lantern I won at our holiday party, Christmas kitchen towels, and other small decorations).  It’s nice to have our place feeling so warm and festive.

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I’ve also been cooking a little more lately (this chicken dish is phenomenal), climbing pretty regularly, and starting to run a little more – I love winter running this year :) Good way to work off some of the extra sweets and treats that seem to be in abundance this time of year.

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Friday Faves

Happy Friday! I’m getting my relaxation on this weekend – I leave for Korea in a few days.  It’ll be a short trip but I’m looking forward to it all the same.IMG_20171006_194340

Let’s get to our Friday Faves!

Bulletproof coffee (BPC) – I’ve been following a low-carb, high-fat diet for a few weeks in an attempt to mitigate some auto-immune issues I’ve been having, and as part of the diet, I’ve been drinking BPC for breakfast.  If you’re not familiar with this fad, it’s a combination of coffee, butter, and coconut oil blended together.  I didn’t like the original BPC, but a few things made it a little more palatable for me – triple filtered coconut oil (has almost no coconut flavor), flavored coffee (I use pumpkin spice :), and good butter.  I also add collagen powder for additional staying power and this keeps me full till lunch! Oh, and blending is key – I bought a cheap milk frother and it does the trick.

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Jaybirds – I was looking to switch to wireless sport headphones, and I bought the Jaybird X3s on sale a few months ago, but it wasn’t till recently that I really liked them after fiddling with the fit.  The Bluetooth connectivity is excellent, and they don’t slip out of my ears no matter how much I sweat (and I sweat a lot).  I appreciate that they included several sizes of earbuds and fins in the box!IMG_20171102_181433.jpg

Trader Joe’s kettle corn – This was an impulse buy on my last shopping trip, and it’s the one high carb indulgence I can’t seem to quit :) If you’re looking for a salty sweet crunchy snack, I think you’ll enjoy TJ’s kettle corn.IMG_20171101_111213.jpg

Tiny hedgehog goes camping – so cute, I die.

I bought a pair of these joggers for lounging and they are sooo soft and comfortable.  Also, love this tee!

What’s one thing you’re loving this week?

(Vacation} 5 Things We Did in Vancouver

Continuing my vacation recap to Canada earlier this month, after we spent a few days in Whistler, we drove back down to Vancouver to finish out our vacation.  Vancouver was definitely the relaxing half of our trip – we spent plenty of time in the mornings and evenings relaxing in our hotel room, and even got a massage in the hotel’s spa facilities.  I love baths, so I couldn’t resist soaking in this glorious tub just about everyday:DSC04868.jpgBut here are a few of the fun things we did in the city:

1. Biked around Stanley Park – Mike had the great idea that we should borrow bikes from the hotel and bike around Stanley Park! Given the fact that I haven’t ridden a bike in over a decade (almost two), I was a little nervous about my ability to stay upright, but after a few wobbly minutes, I picked it up right away.  This was one of the highlights of our time in Vancouver for me, and I enjoyed our 1-hour bike ride around the park so much.

2. Visited Vancouver Aquarium – You’d think after visiting probably a dozen aquariums world-wide, I’d be tired of them.  But no.  We spent hours at the Vancouver Aquarium –  looking at the jellyfish, watching the whale show, and…the otters.  I almost took one home.

3. Ran near the waterfront – I didn’t really feel like running in Whistler with all the physical activity we were doing, but I ran almost every day in Vancouver! The weather was perfect, and there’s a running path right near the water.

4. Visited a Chinese garden – This was a little random, but one of our last days there we were looking for things to do, and we came across Dr. Sun-Yat-Sen’s classical chinese garden in the middle of the city.  To be honest, I didn’t think the garden was worth the $12 entry fee (it’s pretty small), but the space was beautiful and tranquil.IMG_20171006_155800.jpgIMG_20171006_154801-EFFECTS.jpg

5. Ate…a lot – now for the REAL highlight of our Vancouver stay – the food! Some favorites below:

  • Japadog – Asian-style hot dogs and flavored fries.  SO good.
  • Crackle Creme – Flavored creme brulee! The macarons were also adorable – we brought some home for the kids in our small group
  • Chambar – really interesting drinks and great mussels
  • Dinesty Dumpling House – Shanghai soup dumplings and other Chinese food.  Basically the same as Din Tai Fung
  • Fanny Bay Oyster Bar – great seafood, but expensive and very slow service

And that’s a wrap from our Canada trip! We had such a good time – Canada is beautiful, has tasty food, and is easy to get to/ navigate due to proximity to the U.S. I think we’ll be taking more trips to Canada in the coming years.

{Weekend Fun} A Bridal Shower at AR Workshop

Hi friends! Hope you had a great weekend.  Mine started out with Bible study on Friday night (I led! Think it went well) and a a 5 mile run on Saturday morning.  I’ve been troubleshooting my new watch – more on that during Friday Faves – and it worked pretty well during the run.

fitbit_sharing_7727197213997673855After I got back, I took a quick shower and headed over to Old Town Alexandria for a bridal shower for one of our small group members, Anne! The planners picked such a fun venue for the party – AR Workshop, a wood project studio.  We all got to design a project beforehand, and then create it in the studio with the instructors’ help.

IMG_20171028_112151.jpgI picked a wooden sign to put up in our living room – this is the finished project, with some of the intermediate steps below it.  We started by sanding the wood and then  staining and/or painting the boards – I used a dark stain with a white-wash on top to get that “Joanna Gaines” look ;) After the paint dried, we applied the stencil and dabbed paint to create the design.

In between steps, we nibbled on cheese, sandwiches and fruit, as well as these gorgeous shortbread cookies provided by the studio!IMG_20171028_135948.jpgAnd here’s a picture of all of us with our finished projects! It was late afternoon when we finished, so I came home and spent the rest of the day hanging out with Mike (he was in Tampa for work all last week).  Sunday was the usual – sunday school, cooking, a little work, and prep for the week.

Last Week’s Workouts

It’s been a while since I posted a workout log! I haven’t been that consistent thanks to work and random illnesses, but I’m finally over my colds and starting to get back to AM workouts again.  Here’s how last week went:

Tues: 4 mile workout on T/M – this was an OTF-inspired workout.  I started with a 5 min warmup, then jumped into a 3 min workset at 6.6 pace with the second minute at 4% incline, followed by a 90 sec recovery, then 90 sec back at 6.6 with incline starting at 4% and decreasing every 30 seconds.  After a 2 minute recovery, I did 2 more worksets at 5% incline and then 6%.

Thurs: 4 miles workout on T/M – I can’t remember what I did, but I think it was mostly speed variations.

Fri: 4 miles easy outside (~9:50 pace) – my new watch was measuring really long.  I knew where the 2 mile mark was, but the watch had me go another .2 miles or so.  I was annoyed because a total error of .4 miles on a 4 mile run is a pretty high margin of error.

Sat: 5 miles easy (9:18 pace) – watch behaved much better today, only off by ~.1 miles.  I think sometimes the GPS tracking gets better the more you run in an area…or it was user error yesterday, lol.

Weekly mileage: 17 miles

The other days were rest days.  I would have liked to get in a few orangetheory classes and some climbing, but I cut my finger pretty badly on Sunday night while chopping vegetables, and my left index finger wasn’t in any shape to grip weights or climbing holds :( Good news is I think it’s better this week!

Friday Faves

Happy Friday friends! After a long week at work, I’m ready for some fun this weekend – a couple of easy runs, a bridal shower, and the usual church activities on Sunday! Kitty needs some R&R too :)IMG_20171026_122547.jpg

Here are some of my Friday Faves this week:

a fresh pair of Saucony Kinvaras – I love the Kinvara 6s, which are hard to find these days, but when my current pair got worn out, I found some on Poshmark for sale – brand new for $40! I scooped up a pair and am contemplating getting another to stock up.  My feet are picky – even when the next version of a shoe doesn’t have that many changes, I sometimes still get blisters – so I get a couple pairs whenever I find one that works.

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aren’t they beautiful?

Trader Joe’s cheese – I’ve been eating more cheese lately, so I’ve had a chance to try a couple of TJ’s cheeses – there hasn’t been a bad one in the bunch! The goat cheeses are great, I liked cheddar with caramelized onion, but my favorite so far is the Toscano with cinnamon.  Expect this to change in a few weeks as I make my way through the extension cheese options at TJ’s ;)

Pau D’Arco – this is a weird one, but I’ve had a persistent and painful skin condition for several years, and it got a lot worse this year.  After trying dozens of home remedies, I came across this herb, which has had near miraculous effects! It’s used to treat all sorts of conditions, such as stomach problems, skin rashes, and weak immune systems.

I love all the flannel shirts at Old Navy right now.  I bought a white and black plaid one yesterday!

I need to make this jalapeno and cheddar stuffed turkey meatloaf now.

Oo, it just occurred to me that Thanksgiving isn’t too far away.  We’re hosting this year – maybe this is the year we’ll get a Popeyes’ turkey? We’ve had it before at a potluck and it’s really good.

 

 

{Vacation} 5 Things We Did in Whistler

Mike and I got back a few weeks ago from an amazing trip to Vancouver/ Whistler and I finally found some time to write a short recap! I love writing trip recaps to re-live the fun memories and share our favorite activities/ restaurants with you all.  We flew into Vancouver and drove up to Whistler a few hours later.  These were some of the highlights from our four days up there:

1. Hiked Garibaldi Lake – there’s a ton of amazing hikes in Whistler, and I really wanted to try a long day hike.  Garibaldi Lake is a really popular one in the area, and takes about 4-5 hours to do.  The first couple miles or so are a steep incline through a forest, but you’re rewarded at the top with stunning views of the lake.  We went right after breakfast and brought along some pastries to eat along the way.

We went on several other hikes in the area too – we started the cedar trails hike, and also walked around Green Lake.  The water everywhere was this stunning turquoise or sage green/ blue cloudy color from melting glacial water.


2. Tried outdoor climbing – I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve done a lot of indoor rock-climbing over the last couple of months, and Mike thought it would be fun to try outdoor rock-climbing! We signed up for a half-day climb with Mountain Skills Academy and had an amazing time.  We learned how to crack climb (sticking feet and hands into long cracks in the rock) and slab climb (up what looked like a sheer wall of granite).  It was exhausting and hard and probably the highlight of our trip for me.

3. Axe throwing – This is apparently somewhat of a sport in Canada, and Mike found a place nearby to try it out! The axes are much smaller than the kind you use to chop wood and are pretty easy to handle.  We learned how to throw the axes overhead, underhand, backwards, and even double handed (two axes at once).  It’s surprisingly gratifying to hear the axe thunk deep into the wood and land a good throw.

4. ATVing – Okay, I lied – THIS was the highlight of the trip for me.  I’ve never gone ATVing before, but after a short learning curve, we were trekking up the side of a mountain! The views were incredible and the ATV was so much fun to drive.  We wore helmets and gear over our clothing to keep us warm and dry.IMG_20170930_123446 5. Ate some good ramen – We found the restaurants in Whistler to be of moderate quality, but the ramen at Fuji Market was really, really good.  So much so that we went back for it another night :) More on our favorite restaurants below.IMG_20170929_183413

Where we stayed: We got an AirBnB in Whistler Village and it was so cute and cozy! It came with a small fridge and a washing machine (we needed this after all the hiking/ climbing we did) and the location was perfect with lots of restaurants and the Olympic Plaza within walking distance.IMG_20170930_202316IMG_20170930_072806-EFFECTSIMG_20170930_072703

Good eats in Whistler:

  • Fuji Market – great ramen
  • Peaked Pies – Australian meat pies
  • Mount Currie Coffee Company – amazing lattes (we got one every day)
  • Bar Oso – warm and cozy space with great drinks and appetizers

I’ll post highlights from our time in Vancouver next week!

Weekend Fun: Hiking

I’ve done a lot of hiking in the last couple of weeks – tons of hiking on our vacation to Canada (more on that on tomorrow!) and two trips to Great Falls on consecutive weekends! Last weekend, I went hiking and camping with Vivian – we were supposed to go to Shenandoah, only to find out all the campsites were full :( So we called around and found Lake Fairfax Park near Great Falls had a few spots – perfect.  We drove over and set up camp in the late afternoon.

IMG_20171014_183103.jpgAnd then headed to Great Falls for a short hike. We opted to do the River Trail, which wasn’t too crowded at that time of the day.

It was a perfect hike, and the views of the falls were beautiful.  So grateful to have such gorgeous scenery not too far from home.  After our hike, we hurried back to camp to get the campfire going.  I was certain I knew how to start a fire, since I had seen my dad do it tons of times as a kid…but after going through an entire newspaper in my efforts to get it started, I admitted defeat and asked the family next door for help.  The dad was happy to help – he came over, restacked our wood, added some firestarter and tons of leaves/ cardboard, and we had a roaring fire in no time!

IMG_20171014_195204.jpgVivian prepped the food and brought hot dogs, veggies and baked beans in foil packets, and smores in a cone.  Nothing tastes as good as food cooked over an open flame, especially when you’re hungry after a hike.

First camping adventure was definitely a success, and we’re hoping to make it to Shenandoah in the spring!