Category Archives: Vacation

Roommate Reunion #BritneyInVegas

Last Thursday night, I went to the first out of 11 shows that Garth Brooks is playing here in Minneapolis and it was hands down one of the best arena shows (and one of my favorite shows, EVER) I’ve ever been to. Then, bright and early Friday morning, two of my BFFs/college roommates and I headed to Vegas for a quick girls’ weekend.

With the time change, we arrived in Vegas at 9:30 a.m. and by the time we dropped our bags at the hotel and found a bar with a patio, it was about 11:30 a.m. We promptly ordered this when the waitress suggested it:

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While we knew the 100 ounces of margarita wasn’t a good idea, it did seem like a very Vegas way to start our trip. But yeah, bad idea. After the bar, we headed back to the hotel where our fourth roommate, who drove from LA, met us. We got ready, went out for dinner and then it was time for BRITNEY!

She. was. terrible. And I loved every minute of it.

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Post-Britney, we did a little gambling, had a few more beverages and found some cheese fries. But then, all of a sudden, I hit a wall and was EXHAUSTED. It was then that I remembered it was almost 4 a.m. Minnesota-time. We headed back up to the room where I promptly passed out.

On Saturday, I woke up earlier than I would’ve liked, but really couldn’t sleep anymore. We found some breakfast and Starbucks and then made our way down to the pool where we stayed for the next four hours. I think those four hours were among my top moments of 2014. It was so amazingly relaxing. The weather was a perfect 75+ degrees and oh so sunny. Perfection.

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Eventually it was time to leave the pool and get ready for dinner. We headed to the Cromwell where we had reservations to try Giada’s new-ish restaurant. The entire menu looked pretty delicious, but we opted for the tasting menu experience which ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

It was four courses with the highlights being the bacon-wrapped dates, the Sicilian roasted lamb and the amaretto chocolate cake complete with edible 24 karat gold. We got sent home with a cool “souvenir” that included recipes for the dishes that were a part of the tasting menu, and to my husband’s delight — a signed Giada headshot. lmao.

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We had an early flight Sunday morning and came back to 30 degree weather and snow. Lame.

Post-running fall update: Walking around Vegas wasn’t good for my ankle/knee and definitely slowed my recovery. I now haven’t run in over a week which is a major bummer.

What’s your favorite Britney song?

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Getting away

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words — it was overwhelming (in a good way!) to see everyone’s messages offering support. This past weekend, we were supposed to go on our babymoon, but after finding out the news, I canceled our appointments and reservations. But then at the last minute, we decided to get away and spend some time together in a place where we could relax and find comfort in nature.

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We stayed at the Thimbleberry Inn in Bayfield, WI with a lovely room that had an incredible view of Lake Superior. The innkeeper, Sharon, was so friendly and chatty which was a nice distraction. But she also gave us the right amount of space and privacy, which was much appreciated. It was my first B&B experience and I really enjoyed it.

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We got in late Friday afternoon and went out for a Bayfield local favorite — a whitefish dinner. When we got back to our room, Sharon delivered made-from-scratch Texas Sheet Cake (made with three sticks of butter total — yikes! But so worth it) with vanilla bean ice cream and glasses of milk. Amazing.

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Saturday morning, we awoke to a gorgeous, sunny day and freshly baked muffins and decaf coffee delivered to our door at 8 a.m. Then, we headed upstairs to the dining area for the most incredible breakfast — panakuken with a complete spread of topping options! Sharon had strawberries and maple syrup, lemon wedges and powdered sugar, whipped cream and apples from their apple tree.

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After breakfast, we took the ferry over to Madeline Island and did a little exploring in the nice weather.

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Ice that’s left on Lake Superior. It was no match for the ferry.

After we got back to Bayfield, we headed to Enso for a couples massage, which was fantastic. I may have fallen asleep 🙂

Dinner on Saturday was at the cutest place called Ethel’s at 250 where we were greeted by one of the owners, Sally. I had spaghetti and meatballs which totally hit the spot. We took a little walk after dinner and then headed back to the Inn. Sharon had homemade lemon cookies waiting for us. We enjoyed our cookies while we played some cribbage and then headed to bed.

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A collection of some of the amazing food from the weekend.

After one more delicious breakfast, Sharon packed up some muffins and decaf coffee to go for us. We said our goodbyes and then hit the road and headed back to reality.

Have you ever stayed in a bed and breakfast?

Top Five: Boston

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Boston was such a whirlwind trip and we did so much that I thought it would be hard (and really long) to write a full recap, so I decided to do a top five list instead!

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5. The food!

I don’t think I ate anything on this trip that blew me away, but cannolis from Mike’s always hit the spot (I may have gone there twice), I also had a pretty incredible fresh mozzarella grilled cheese and lobster bisque soup from Anthem and the bite of my dad’s clam chowder soup was quite tasty.

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4. Being tourists

It wasn’t my first trip to Boston, but it was the first trip for some people in our group so it was fun to do some new sight-seeing and some that we’ve done before.

Of COURSE we went to Fenway!

Of COURSE we went to Fenway!

3. Meet-ups galore!

It all started when our flight to ATL was canceled (on our way to the airport at 4 a.m.) and we got put on a different flight that connected in Chicago. We ended up on the same flight as Coach, Chanthana and Angela! It was fun to finally meet in person. Then, when I ran into them again a few days later, I finally got to meet Jenny!

On Sunday night I navigated (OK, Uber navigated) my way out to Winchester for a fun Oiselle team meetup. Runner parties are awesome because Nuun is one of the offered beverages and you never run out of things to talk about. It was great to see Tracy again and meet other Oiselle team birds! And even though I had to leave early and didn’t get to chat with her, it’s always pretty cool when Kara Goucher shows up to a party you’re at.

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2. Alllll of the love

In total, and not counting myself, 12 people made the trip to Boston to support Jesse and just thinking about that alone makes me tear up.

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1. The marathon

I think this goes without saying, but marathon day was pretty magical. Seeing the elites fly by was pretty awesome:

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But seeing my husband run by, looking SO strong, was the #1 moment of the entire trip. So proud of him!

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I can’t wait to go back!

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Also, congratulations to Mel for winning the Bellabeat giveaway! Thanks to everyone who entered.

FAB Fitness: weekly workouts 7/1 – 7/7

Monday: Rest day

My monthly massage couldn’t have come at a better time. My calves, shoulders, neck and left foot needed some special attention.

Tuesday: 2 miles. 8:57, 8:34

I had four miles on the schedule but my foot was still bothering me and since I was also short on time, I decided to get in a quick run over my lunch hour.

Wednesday: one hour personal training session.

What a fun, booty kicking session! We warmed up on the KrankCycle and RealRyder and then did some upper body strength work with dumbbells and the Reformer.

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We also spent some time on the rowing machine! My first time using one ever.

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Finally, Dawn tortured us with walking lunges and then some ab work on the Pilates Reformer.

After a quick shower, I was off to work for a super busy morning. When 11:30 rolled around, I headed home, finished packing and then signed back into my work email once we got in the car to head up to the cabin. I got a lot of work done and the car ride flew by! (Thanks to my Droid Razr HD hot spot!)

Thursday: 5.12 miles. 8:52, 8:38, 8:42, 13:35, 9:53

Beautiful day for a run!

Beautiful day for a run!

Ummmm, so funny/not funny story about this run. I had a one mile slow warm up, three fast miles (8:40-8:50 pace) and then a one mile slow cool down on the schedule. After a (too much fun) first night at the cabin, I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a few cars. So John, Andrea and I drove to the trail head and headed out, all of us feeling less than stellar. I started out with John, who runs much faster than I, and decided to at least try to get my fast miles out of the way, in case I bonked.

I’ve had a few pretty poor runs recently so I was excited that on this run, my legs were finally feeling back to normal. Too bad the rest of me felt so awful. Right before mile 2.5, I came upon a pretty big hill and that’s when things went downhill quickly. My stomach started gurgling and cramping. I spent mile 4 running .2 miles and then walking. Since I was doing an out and back route, and by this point, Andrea and John had both finished their runs and were waiting for me, I forced myself to run (slowly) the rest of the way. I guess a combination of beer and shots, eating birthday cake at midnight and little sleep isn’t the best combination the night before a run. (of course, I knew this but chose to ignore the voice in my head telling me that I should take it easy because of my run in the morning!)

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Great combination.

Friday: Glorious rest day at the cabin spent playing yard games and on the boat.

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Saturday: Another rest day

Was contemplating a nice, long walk but the weather didn’t cooperate so we spent some time doing a lot of this:

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My first 24-point hand followed by another 24-point hand later in the weekend!

Sunday: 11.02 miles. 10:49 average pace. 10:25, 10:32, 10:31, 10:40, 9:58, 9:36, 11:10, 11:47, 11:26, 11:25, 11:27

I knew this was going to be tough from the start and it probably wasn’t a great way to mentally prepare myself. We left the cabin around 9:30 a.m. and after getting home a little after 1 p.m., we unloaded the car and I changed into my running clothes and headed out in the 91 degree weather for my 11 miles.

I decided to do the entire run outside and planned my route to include a stop to pick up my first paycheck from my part time job — woot! I also decided to wear my fuel belt for this run and I’m so glad I did.

The familiar leg fatigue/tight calves feeling came back immediately as I set out on this run. I’m not sure why the legs felt so good on Thursday? And just when my legs were finally starting to feel loosened up, the heat started getting to me. Once I finally picked up my paycheck, I asked for a glass of ice water and poured a few of the ice cubes down my shirt. I’m pretty sure it’s going to take a little bit to get used to running in this type of weather again.

I had a couple of good miles after that ice water break but then it was right back to feeling terrible again. There was also a lot of negative self talk going on in my head which needs to STOP. NOW. I forced myself to do a combination of running/walking the rest of the way instead of calling J to come pick me up like I wanted to. So it was slow and painful — but I made it.

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After the run, while doing legs up the wall, I started coughing and realized that I wasn’t able to take deep breaths without a tightness and ache in my lungs. And then I saw this tweet:

Awesome.

Awesome. So that explains it.

If I would’ve known, I would have opted for the treadmill. Oh well — lesson learned.

How’d your workouts go for the past week? Do you play cribbage?

http://vzw-badge.comblu.com/Health-Fitness.htm

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Health and Fitness Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

Putting the whole “Finding a Balance” thing to the test.

As the title of this post suggests, I feel like I’m about to be put to the test. And here is why:

  • The busy season at work is in full swing and likely won’t slow down until mid-October.
  • I started my part time job on Sunday and it left me absolutely exhausted by the end of the day. I think I’m too old to have two jobs (and as Carly put it, one that’s so physical!)
  • I plan to buy a new car this fall so need to start researching and test driving cars!
  • I just finished week 2 of marathon training and this week speed work gets incorporated into my training plan.
  • I started working with a personal trainer a couple of weeks ago and will be meeting with her on a weekly basis.
  • I signed up for my own personal training certification test which is scheduled for November 22. Need to fit in study time somehow…
  • We’ve been talking about starting our kitchen remodel project (completely gutting and re-doing the kitchen) in a couple of months.
  • I’m the captain of our Ragnar team and there’s still a lot to do before the race! Oh and I got roped into captaining the team at work, too….
  • Although my friends and family have been AMAZING and I’m about 75% of the way to my fundraising goal, I will still need to do some work to hit that $1,000 mark for Girls on the Run Twin Cities.

How I plan to find and keep a balance:

Learn to say no/ hold my “me time” sacred. I have a tendency to feel guilty when I have “white space” on my personal calendar and feel like if someone wants to make plans, I should just fill up that time. I’m going to work on spacing things out and not being afraid to say no when I need to.

Take care of myself: eating healthy, getting as much sleep as possible, etc. Meal planning and prepping will be crucial to make sure I don’t just opt for convenience food or make unhealthy choices. Getting a decent amount of sleep might be tricky but I’ve been doing a good job so far of getting around 7 hours of sleep a night, even with getting up earlier. I’m also still getting regular massages, which has been fantastic.

Continue seeing my therapist: sometimes you just need the help of a professional

Enjoy and savor the relaxing time at the cabin I have coming up in a few days! Our cabin is one of my favorite places on earth to be. I plan to be lazy and catch up on some reading I’ve been meaning to do 😉

Keep my eye on the prize(s): I find it’s good to keep perspective when things get tough. Eg. why am I working a part time job? I want to buy a nice brand new car in the fall. Also, I always think about the things I have to look forward to:

  • The Basilica Block Party with Mandy!
  • Chicago weekend with Andrea (and Hillary!)
  • Um, hello Minnesota State Fair?! I hear there’s some pretty sweet new foods debuting this year.
  • The marathon!
  • I feel like the cabin deserves another mention 🙂

There’s a lot of  “me” talk going on (which normally would make me uncomfortable) but if I’ve learned anything recently, it’s that I have to give myself permission to put myself first sometimes so that I can be the best employee/wife/friend/pup and cat mom I can be.

How do you maintain balance in your life?

No longer a cruise virgin.

After a long day of traveling last Friday, J and I arrived in Tampa around 4:30 in the afternoon and grabbed a shuttle to our hotel. We got dinner in the hotel restaurant and went to bed pretty early. J’s parents drove to Tampa from Minnesota and arrived sometime around 4 a.m. so they crashed in our room once they arrived.

The next morning after dropping off my in-laws’ car, we headed to the docks. The check-in process was surprisingly smooth and before we knew it we had joined our friends who were lounging in deck chairs near the pool!

I was worried about having bad motion sickness (especially once we started sailing) but throughout the trip, I really didn’t have any problems. I took Dramamine twice — once during our snorkeling trip and once before bed.

Here are some of the highlights of the trip:

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1. The food: Lobster tails, the out-of-this-world chocolate melting cake, tiramisu — I could go on and on.

2. The sun: when you live in Minnesota, nothing beats laying out in the sun all day.

3. The entertainment: I’ve never been a big fan of comedy shows. Or maybe I just never think of going to them. In fact, I think the only stand-up comedy shows I’ve been to are Bob Saget and Seth Meyers. But the comedians on the ship were actually pretty hilarious.

Also, they had a big trivia game show the first day on the ship and J got chosen to be a contestant! He started out strong but ended up in second place. 😦 Bummer — still pretty cool though! Photos to come.

4. Spa and fitness center: it took awhile to get used to running on a treadmill while on a moving ship. But once I did, it was worth it because the treadmills are located right at the front of the ship so you have a great view of the open water.

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Then, on our last day we treated ourselves to spa treatments — I got a facial and a massage. Getting facials is dangerous for me though. I got quite addicted to them after getting a few leading up to our wedding.

5. Casino: I’m not a big gambler, but I like people watching in casinos and playing some slots. J also had some good luck at the Blackjack table one night!

Grand Cayman

So beautiful.

So beautiful.

We were only in Grand Cayman for about six hours so when we got there, J and I hopped on the public bus and headed to the beach. The weather was perfect and the water was warm. We alternated between laying out in the hot sun and cooling off in the water. Then out of nowhere it started raining and it was time to reapply sunscreen so we headed back downtown and got drinks (pina colada for me) and some food at Margaritaville. (I also think I kind of fell in love with our bartender.)

Then, we enjoyed some $1 beers and Appleton rum before heading back to the ship.

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Where did the rum go?

Cozumel

Sunset over Cozumel.

Sunset over Cozumel.

Our friends had researched excursions ahead of time and found this amazing little place that does snorkeling tours. The water in Cozumel is just gorgeous and we had perfect weather for a boat ride and then snorkeling. Our crew was fantastic, making sure we always had enough cervezas, fruit and cookies.

Enjoying our cervezas

Enjoying our cervezas

We did a two reef tour. Unlike the last time I went snorkeling in Jamaica, I didn’t swallow any salt water and actually saw quite a few fish (lots of barracudas) and a lobster! But eventually I started feeling a bit nauseous and cold so I decided to swim back to the boat. On the way, I got stung by a jellyfish (lame) so I decided to sit the second reef tour out. I’m still regretting this decision since the second reef was in more shallow waters and there were even more fish and sea creatures to be seen. I’ll post some photos later that my friend took with her underwater camera!

After snorkeling, we were starving so we rushed back to downtown Cozumel before they started shutting down the streets for their big Mardi Gras parade (it was Fat Tuesday). We decided on Margaritaville again where I enjoyed the best burger ever and a delicious strawberry margarita.

Mmm margaritas.

Mmm margaritas.

Then we met up with the rest of our group, did some shopping and found some 99 cent beers before heading back to the boat.

We got back to Tampa on Valentine’s Day morning and our friends flew back to Wisconsin, my in-laws started their long drive back to Minnesota and J and I got picked up at the dock by a family friend of ours who showed up around nearby Plant City, treated us to lunch, took us out to one of the barrier islands and then dropped us off at the airport. By the time we got home it was after Midnight (but felt like 1 a.m.) and we were exhausted! I’m definitely glad I took Friday off of work.

We spent the weekend adjusting to reality — getting in workouts and making home cooked meals. Reality will really set in tomorrow when we head back to work! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!