Day Trip: Sonoma

I have a new(ish) position at my job and it requires me to travel to Sonoma County somewhat regularly. I am not unhappy with this situation, as Sonoma is one of my FAVORITE PLACES EVER! Every time I’m in town I miss my grandma to pieces, but it does make me secretly happy that my cousin Jim and his fiance Gina live there now. It’s my own not-so-secret fantasy to live there someday. Hopefully that day will come sooner rather than later!

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I traveled with a coworker down there and we spent the entire time discussing cooking and menu planning and fun food and wine related excursions and I came home with a million and one ideas for more outings and day trips, including one to eat some Hog Island Oysters. That will definitely show up on the Summer Bucket List…..GAH! I’m so excited about that list. If Hog Island Oysters are good enough for Martha Stewart to rave about, then they are worth a trip, I think.

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We did a little bit of work and then we found ourselves needing to kill some time AND have lunch so we headed to the square in Sonoma for a little Vitamin D and some sustenance. We ended up at The Girl and The Fig and it was just as cute and delicious as you hear it is.

We started with a simple plate of heirloom radishes, garnished with grey salt and dipped in anchovy butter, and after my first bite I really could have just beat myself up right there for not planing my own radishes this year.

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I refrained so as not to shock all the linen-wearing Ladies who Lunch sitting nearby, but mark my words there will be a lot of radish eating in our house in the near future. I feel like Ina would be proud.

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After some hemming and hawing I settled on the Pork Belly Sandwich as my entree. You may recall I have a bit of a love affair with Pork Belly so that probably won’t come as a huge surprise, but it also did not disappoint.

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It showed up topped with a perfectly cooked friend egg on top and accompanied by frites with a delicious garlic chive aioli on the side. But if I’m being totally honest, what knocked my socks off the most?

The house made brioche.

You all, it was the kind of bread that dreams were made of. And when I cut into that egg yolk and it dripped down over the corners of the crusty pork and melted into the buttery brioche — FIREWORKS WENT OFF. I mean it was one helluva sandwich.

And besides being an awesome work day lunch, I feel like this meal even clarified my Food Philosophy even more. I get asked all the time if I will be Paleo forever, and the truth: Yeah, I think I will. It is the diet (NOUN, NOT A VERB) that makes me feel the best when I follow its framework. But will I never deviate? Of course not. I will. But when I eat something that doesn’t make me feel optimal (as yesterday’s lunch DID NOT, I was ready for a nap an hour later, had to pick up Emergency Caffeine for the ride home, after which I promptly skipped the gym and took an evening nap!) I want the experience to be worth it.

If I’m going to eat something that doesn’t make me feel great, it’s going to be Muther-effing House Made Brioche dripping in egg yolk and crispy pork on a Patio in Sonoma in the middle of the afternoon. It’s not going to be a Trader Joe’s Fat Free English Muffin, you know? FUHHHHGETTTABOUTIT.

So.

Awesome day trip. Check.
Successful day on the job. Check.
Beautiful Scenery. Check.
Amazing Meal. Check.
Great Conversation. Check.

All in a day’s work!

In Sonoma for work today. Not too shabby...

Our Engagement Weekend in Wine Country (Saturday)

(If you missed Our Engagement Story or Our Engagement Weekend (Friday) check those posts out first)

On Saturday we continued our unofficial Food and Wine Tour of Sonoma County. Priorities of food and booze…hmmm. This is how we roll when we travel, what can I say?
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Since we knew we were going to be drinking wine for most of the day we made sure that we planned some serious fueling. :) We did an early + light breakfast at the Sunflower Caffe on the square, and while I was dying to try the lamb burger that we had seen them make when the restaurant was featured on Diner, Drive Ins and Dives (CHEEZY TOURIST ALERT! I AM NOT ASHAMED!) something about lamb burgers in the morning just wasn’t screaming my name. I opted for a giant cup of coffee, some pastry, and okay already — you busted me, some sangria.

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The whole time we were eating I just keep thinking — THIS IS MY FIANCE. FIAAAAAAAAAAAAANCEEEEEEEEEEEE. That is a weird word. But I was still happy to be saying it.
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Let’s call him my Beyonce instead, okay? Okay

Afterward we headed down the street to Train Town where I’m quite sure we were the only adults without children. It’s a place we both frequented growing up so we like to stop there occasionally when we are in town. It’s nostalgic and they have a short train ride that takes you on an “over the river and through the woods” route to a petting zoo. You guys, I feel like this is starting to make me sound like a total weirdo, but it’s really cute and we always get a kick out of going there.
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I promise we’re not here to steal your children. We’re just reliving our own childhood!

We hopped on a train, went over bridges and through tunnels and listened to kids screaming with glee.And then obviously I took a selfie with a goat when we got to the petting zoo, as you would. The llamas were not interested in being internet famous, so I guess we’ll have to try again with them next time.
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We bought a few souvenirs in the gift shop
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and then it was almost time for lunch! (More eating? But of course!)

We had lunch at the Sonoma Mission Inn and they may make the best fish tacos ever. I need a good fish taco recipe because when I make them at home they are always lackluster. Do you have one? Then you must share, please!

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So breakfast and fish tacos definitely had us prepared to wine taste and so we headed over to Napa and hit up a few wineries before heading over to our only actual tasting “appointment” of the day at Robert Mondavi. The grounds there are spectacular and my crappy iPhone photos just can’t do it justice, but I was just overwhelmed with how big and beautiful it is.
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We tried to take a few pictures and it didn’t matter from what angle, there was no way you can tell what a sprawl it is.
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We had an appointment in their Reserve Tasting Room that one of Garrett’s coworkers had hooked us up with and they gave us some crazy generous pours and pointed us out to the patio to enjoy our experience. What a lovely afternoon that was, I tell ya. That is the way to taste!
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Yep, there’s my Beyonce again. Isn’t he cute when he’s all relaxed without a care in the world?

We bought a few bottles (a special one to have on the anniversary of our engagement – heck, maybe with our Potatoes Colcannon haha – and then one to have on our first wedding anniversary.) What can I say, we are some sentimental saps.

We had a bit of time to kill before dinner and we just happened to be very close to the area where Garrett ran his leg of The Relay the year before. We decided to dork out in the parking lot where we had waited as a team and recreate one of the pictures from this post as a joke.

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I don’t know — it was funny to us at the time. It was probably the wine. :)

For dinner that night we decided to try a recommendation from our friend Megan and hit up Bounty Hunter Wine Bar + Smokin’ BBQ. The food was delightful and so were the wine + spirit pairings. We started off with the charcuterie tray and then split a BBQ Platter that was INSANE.
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If you are in Napa and happen to be with someone who would is impressed by meat, you NEED to take them there! STAT!

After that enormous slab-o-meat dinner we were sure we wouldn’t eat again for weeks.

Um…or until Sunday. :)

Our Engagement Weekend in Wine Country (Friday)

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Thanks for all of your sweet comments on our engagement story yesterday. As I mentioned, our wine-country weekend hanging out with my cousins had just been a ruse to get me packed and ready so Garrett could treat me to what was probably one of our most memorable vacations yet. We were sad to say goodbye to Domaine Carneros, but so happy to have made a memory to celebrate there time and time again. Our next stop was getting into town to settle down into our weekend digs.

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Unbeknownst to me, Garrett had rented us a little cottage near downtown Sonoma where we’d be staying all weekend. It was at the end of a private road and we had our own little vineyard decorating the driveway. Isn’t that just the cutest? I was ready to pack my bags and move in for good!
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We had about an hour to relax, unpack, freshen up, have a glass of wine and then it was off to our dinner reservations at The Rutherford Grill in Napa. When Garrett initially mentioned that we had dinner reservations I was a little bit nervous. While we are both food enthusiasts, we aren’t big fancy-fine diners, you know what I mean? And the whole food and wine scene in Napa can be a little snooty in certain places, so I was a tiny bit apprehensive. But honestly, The Rutherford Grill was the perfect spot for us.
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It wasn’t AT ALL snooty, the food was on point and as you can imagine the wine list has some really great selections. Our waitress was so cute, and totally tolerated the two of us who were still in giggly OMG WE’RE ENGAGED mode. Garrett got prime rib, I ended up ordering the Hawaiian Ribeye and we both opted for Colcannon Potatoes. Have you ever had that kind of mashed potato? HOLY MOSES, they are the best potatoes I’ve ever eaten in my life. I think we may have to eat them every year on the anniversary of our engagement! (You think I’m kidding, but man they were THAT GOOD!)

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Hi, you’re having the Old 96er for dinner. :)

After dinner we headed back into Sonoma and went for a walk downtown in the historic town plaza. I’ve written about Sonoma pretty extensively on this blog — it’s a place I hold close to my heart. I have so many memories here with both of my parents after my grandma moved to wine country, so it felt really special that Garrett and I were enjoying such an exciting time in our relationship in that city. In some ways it felt like my grandma and my dad got to be privy to the whole thing. As we walked around the square I just couldn’t get over how perfect everything was. Of course right as I was looking off into the sunset thinking about what a romantic evening we were having a bunch of kids drove by in a Hyundai blasting the explicit version of “Rack City” so, you know — back to reality. :)

Right off the square there is a painting called the Valley of the Moon mural. My grandma would always take me over to it when I’d visit her growing up. Full disclosure: it’s right by an ice cream parlor, so you know — of course she loved art, but it was also her way of always saying “Yay, culture — now let’s go eat some ice cream!” :) Summers with grandma were the best, you know?

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Anyway, one of the fun memories I have as a kid was that hidden inside this mural of people, places and things related to the “Valley of the Moon” (as Sonoma is known), was a “Where’s Waldo” style couple — a bride and groom, listed under their wedding date — somewhere in the mural. As a kid it was always fun to race to see how quickly you could find it, and even though we’ve done it many times, of course that night Garrett and I had to take a minute and scope out the happy couple. (It’s in the bottom right hand region if you are ever in the area and want to find it.)

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Then, of course we had to head over and have some ice cream, duh. :)

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If you’ve been around this blog for any length of time, you already know that Garrett took great pleasure in ordering two scoops of bubble gum ice cream. (Gross!)

Afterward we grabbed a glarifee as a nightcap over at Swisshotel and then headed back to our cottage. I mean let’s be real — we literally couldn’t eat another bite! haha

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Garrett had a full day planned on Saturday and so we wanted to make sure we geared up for it.

Our Engagement Story

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Eight and a half years (to the day) after our first kiss, Garrett got down on one knee and asked me to marry him on the fabulous patio at Domaine Carneros. The wine country setting and beautiful weather could not have been more perfect, and somewhere in between hugging him tighter than I probably ever have and smearing mascara all over the collar of his freshly laundered shirt (nice, Holly) I said yes.

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I’m going to tell you all of minutia: how he asked, how he managed to shock the hell out of me, how we spent our engagement weekend, you know – all the good stuff – but there are just so many things I want to capture that I am not sure where to start. I think we’re going to have to do multiple posts here. I guess maybe the best place to start is at the beginning.
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Garrett + I have been together FOREVER (it seems like) and I know the fact that we have not tied the proverbial knot yet has really befuddled a lot of people. I’d say I knew about a year into our relationship that this was it, but we’ve just kind of meandered our way to this point. All I can say is that it has just made sense for us. We knew we’d get married eventually, it was just a matter of figuring out when the time was right for us. I can’t say I’ve been patient every single moment of the process, but in the end I’m so happy things are unfolding as they are.

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One of the things about being together for so long is that while I knew we would get engaged one day, I didn’t feel like it would ever be a *surprise* you know? I mean, WE LIVE TOGETHER, I know Garrett’s habits.  And the truth is, I am the planner in our relationship. If he were to all of a sudden plan a special weekend or a random “romantic date” that deviated from the normal stuff we do, I’d totally be on to him. But he was determined that he could make it a surprise and in the end, he totally did! Here’s how he did it.

About a week prior to the day, my cousin Jim (who lives out in Sonoma with his wife Gina) sent me a text inviting us out for the weekend. It was impromptu, but he mentioned having a Friday off and that it would be fun to spend the weekend cooking, bike riding to wineries and just hanging out. We’ve done this in the past so it didn’t seem out of left field and so I followed up with Garrett. He hemmed and hawed a bit and said he didn’t think he could get that Friday off of work (sneaky little sucker!) and then finally was like “What the heck, let’s go!” So we made plans to head out the following weekend. I checked with my mom to see if she was available to watch Buster (shocker, she was: SHE WAS IN ON IT TOO!) and so we dropped off our little pooch and got on the road, of course snapping a little pre-engagement family selfie.

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Garrett nonchalantly suggested stopping at “that neat looking champagne place we always pass on our way out to wine country.” I thought it sounded like a good idea but then I googled and the champagne tasting was like Stupid Expensive. We were just starting our weekend, so I was like “Meh, let’s just skip it.” HA! Of course Garrett had to get me there since that was where everything was set up, but it took a little convincing. Thank god for Sarah, who I happened to conveniently be texting that morning. She talked me down from being a total miser and said we should split a bottle and get a fancy cheese tray. Garrett is clearly forever in her debt. :)
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If you’ve never seen Domaine Carneros then you might not know why we always want to stop there on our way into wine country. It looks like a castle and it’s nestled up on a little hill right off the Carneros Highway. Just about every time Garrett and I head into Napa or Sonoma we pass it and say “Someday we’ll stop there when we have more time.” I imagine now, we will make the time to stop there, but this was our first time and even though I had no idea what was in store, it felt a little magical.
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We were seated on the patio far away from the crowds (ahem, totally planned, and yet it didn’t seem weird to me — clearly, I’m not the most observant person. LOL) and quickly ordered a flight of champagne and a cheese tray. Oh, the cheese tray. I will remember that cheese try for life, you’ll see why in a minute.
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We were just having the best time because it was Friday, we were supposed to be at work, the weather was beautiful, and we were about to embark on a much needed weekend of fun and relaxation. Both of us had been really bogged down by work things, and we realized we had been on that Life Hamster Wheel that sometimes feels like it just happens out of nowhere. As we were clinking glasses and enjoying a few small bites we began talking about how moving forward we needed to be better at focusing on all the gifts we’ve got in our life instead of getting bogged down by those little daily things that take up so much brain space but don’t really mean anything in the long run.
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As you can imagine, Garrett was sort of priming the pump because he had a much bigger question to ask. I was just off in my own little world though, thinking about how happy I am — in my life, in my relationship, in my job, just in general — and I think I got so excited to make some brilliant point about gratitude that I excitedly kicked the table and knocked over all 3 of our champagne glasses, shattering them everywhere onto our cheese tray.

Folks, YOU JUST CAN’T TAKE ME ANYWHERE. :)

Garrett immediately stood up and looked absolutely panic-stricken which struck me as kind of funny because, uh…this is not the first time I’ve made an embarrassing mess by knocking things over. Serious bull in a china shop, here. I had spilled champagne on my dress, there was glass everywhere and when I stood up he grabbed me with both hands by the shoulders and said “You just sit here, I’ll go get a napkin.” But his face, oh you guys, his face. Luckily I sat back down and began to kind of sun myself in hopes that the champagne would dry and didn’t think another thing of it. Garrett was so panicked though because he had been just about ready to pop the question, and so my cousin’s wife Gina (who had graciously volunteered to help Garrett out by playing Day-Of Photographer) was standing behind me getting ready to start snapping and he was completely freaked out that I would turn around and see her and then the surprise would be blown!
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What can I say, people — I’m a wild card and I keep Garrett on his toes. :)

In the meantime, as Garrett was inside “finding a napkin” (really he was regrouping with Gina) our server had come back out to our table and had brought with him a bottle of their fancy champagne and two glasses. He clearly hadn’t got the memo that Garrett didn’t ask yet, but he could tell by the shattered glass and champagne everywhere that maybe he had encountered a bit of a hiccup. His face was sort of panicky too — and he just kind of stammered “Oh, I’m going to leave this celebratory bottle here and maybe go find you someone who can clean up.”

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And you guys, I still didn’t have A CLUE. In hindsight, both Garrett + I are so grateful that I had my head in the clouds all morning and was just in full on flexible relaxation mode because otherwise there were just so many times I could have caught on. Eventually the mess got cleaned up, and we got back to what we had been talking about before — how grateful we were for each other, for our lives, and the support we have in each other and then all of a sudden all I remember is Garrett getting down on one knee and whipping out a ring.

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He has since told me exactly what he said, but you guys I TOTALLY BLACKED OUT. Like I was so completely shocked that I can’t even remember what he said, how he asked, or anything that happened before I realized I was doing the full on Oprah Ugly Cry with happiness. In the middle of all of that he turned me around and said “Hey look, it’s Gina behind the camera” and I was so surprised to see that she had been in on things from the start!

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There was lots of hugging and squealing excitement and then Garrett and Gina dropped the bomb that — oh yeah, my cousin Jim wasn’t even in town that weekend. Jim was at a bachelor party in New Orleans and all of his excited texts that morning about “how much he was looking forward to seeing us” and “when were we leaving?” etc was just to help keep me off the trail and to help Garrett keep things a surprise. I was truly shocked that so many people had been in on things, yet I hadn’t even had the slightest inkling things were going to go down the way they did.

After all that celebrating we realized that we had a bit of an audience.

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Strangers were applauding and taking our picture and raising their own glasses, and it was just such a surreal little moment. Garrett let me know that he had planned a romantic weekend for us, that we had a cottage to check into, and restaurant reservations waiting on us, and that we had the whole weekend to just relax and enjoy the moment, which is exactly what we did. I’ll tell you about all of that in another post, but in the end I really can’t believe that he pulled it off. It was a shock and a surprise of the best kind, and being the over-documenter that I am, it was so special that he had Gina there to capture the moment. I just think it will be so fun to look back on down the line or when we have kids. It’s been fun even in the past couple of months to just relive that crazy feeling of surprise.

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I feel so grateful that Garrett is going to be MY HUSBAND. :)

The Juggling Act + Life Lately

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If I had to make a loose list of the things I juggle in my everyday life it would read as follows (in no particular order):

*My Job
*My Workouts
*Meal Planning
*Cooking
*My Dog + My Man (both: attention whores, I tell ya! :) Juuuust kidding!)
*Family
*Friends/A Social Life
*This Blog
*Errands That Keep My Life Running That I Haven’t Outsourced (Grocery Shopping, Trips to Target, De-cluttering, Car Washes, Oil Changes, Dentist Appointments, you know what I mean right?)
*Down Time
*Alone Time (which is not necessarily the same as Down Time)
*And I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff

As it turns out, at this point in my life, I’m only skilled enough to juggle 3-4 of those things at a time.

This is a sad realization for me, but it is an actual FACT. Another important fact: “My Job” and “Errands That Keep My Life Running Which I Haven’t Outsourced” are sort of non-negotiable. This is the part where we all acknowledge the bitter truth of adulthood.

Of course adulthood also comes with perks like: eating froyo for dinner because we feel like it, and planning impromptu weekends in wine country BECAUSE WE CAN, so it’s not all bad. :)

Anyway, juggling those two things doesn’t leave a lot of extra time for all of my other interests/priorities lately despite finally removing things like “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” from that bulleted list above. That’s a long winded way of saying: Hi friends, it’s been a while! Let’s catch up.

Here’s a random assortment of things we’ve been up to around here:

1. Summer has basically arrived, it seems. Spring was in and out with a quickness. It’s 100 degrees today, and I feel like it’s time to just buckle in for the heat. I’m using this as motivation to tackle a large closet reorganization project that I’ve been desperately putting off, and I’m kind of feeling excited about purging and adding to my wardrobe.

2. I’ve been a meal planning BOSS and have been relatively successful at incorporating more fish into our diets. I don’t know why this feels so hard, but I’m just so much more comfortable cooking chicken, beef or pork. Anyway, we’ve been branching out but if you have a particularly awesome seafood recipe (we love the shrimp and stuff around here too) that works well during summer (ie: doesn’t involve baking at 400 degrees and heating up my whole freaking house, sigh!) pass it along, would ya?

3. I’ve become obsessed with plants, flower + candles. This happens to me in phases. There are times when there is nothing alive or fragrant in my house and then there are times where I am like “Hmm…would this candle layer well with this candle? Maybe I should pick up peonies this week instead of tulips? SUCCULENTS FOR EVERYONE!” And I’m definitely in the latter phase.

4. One of the things I do when I have a lot going on and I’m feeling like I don’t have a lot of “Me Time” is buy myself things I have no business buying, but that make me happy. Do you do this? Tell me you do this? Lately it has been in the form of lip products. Glosses, balms, chapsticks, lipsticks — I’ve bought A TON and it’s made the whole “getting ready in the morning” process feel like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. It’s amazing how a lip color can change your outlook in a day.

5. I scored the best pinterest patience bargain the other day and I’m so happy about it. A couple years ago I pinned these shoes but sort of rolled my eyes at the price and knew I would never buy them. I found them the other week at Nordstrom Rack for half the original price, and conveniently had that EXACT amount of gift cards, which meant they were FREE TO ME! My patience had paid off, I still loved them, and I happily brought them home to live with me. You know I love a good impulse purchase, so it felt mighty victorious to get such a good deal because I waited.

6. We’ve seen a ton of friends lately, we had family visit last weekend, and we are visiting family out in Sonoma this weekend. It’s been a whirlwind of social activities and cocktails (and pork belly — OMG the pork belly!) and it has really felt nice to have some good long visits.

7. I took Buster to be professionally groomed for the first time ever, and not only did he actually love it — he came home looking like the floofiest puppy ever. It was so damn cute I want to take him every week! I know it’s not reasonable, but seriously — had it not been 100 degrees out I would have made him sleep in our bed just so I could snuggle with him. He was like a fluffy stuffed animal.

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We are headed out of town this weekend to Sonoma, which is basically one of my favorite places on the planet. I’m looking forward to some much needed relaxation, catching up with family, riding bikes around town, wine tasting, and just enjoying what will hopefully be a bit of a cooler climate. I probably won’t be back here until next week, but I’m going to try and include juggling this blog in my 3-4 priorities next week, so here’s to hoping that works out. Anything new and exciting with you? I’m all ears to hear YOUR random assortment. :)

Capital City Classic Ten Miler Recap

Mental Will

You guys, I decided yesterday that I have a serious attitude problem when it comes to athletic endeavors. I need one of those awesome 90s motivational posters with a ski slope or Mt. Everest on it to tell me about how life is a very large percentage about attitude. About 3 miles into this race I looked over at my friend Lesley and said something to the effect of “This is why I’m crazy. I dragged my ass out of bed on a Sunday morning when I could be doing many other things, and here I am in the middle of running 10 miles, and instead of telling myself how awesome I am, I’m thinking of all the ways I could have done better — I could have trained more, I could have fueled better, I could have been more organized my stuff better. So no matter how much I do today, I have already decided (3 MILES IN) that I am NOT doing my best.”

I mean, you can imagine that the next 7 miles were loooooong, right?

But let me start back at the beginning. I had signed up for this race about a month ago after my friend Lesley and I had exchanged some fun emails about running. She had run The Relay before, she was making a bunch of running goals for herself this year so we had decided to do some an event together this year and since she is an awesome bad-ass and running coach, she would pace me. She mentioned this race in an email and impulsively, I signed up. I knew it would feel tough but I also knew that 2 weeks before The Relay I should be able to run 10 miles…uh, otherwise I was probably going to be in some trouble. :)

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The race started early, and it was in a beautiful area downtown, so despite being nervous I just kept telling myself what I always tell myself about running — that:

a) You are lucky that you even have the physical capability to be able to do it at all (OBVIOUSLY after the events of this crazy week, I felt that even more strongly) and

b) You always get to see things on foot that you never get to see just driving around…so be grateful!

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So the race started and I instantly had The Panic. The fact was I was undertrained (I haven’t run in almost 3 weeks, nor have I even worked out in almost a week) and instead of hydrating and eating well on Saturday in preparation, I drank wine and ate Mexican Food. BRILLIANT. 1 mile in and my legs were not feeling fresh and I wasn’t feeling super peppy.

The second and third miles were fine. Nothing felt great, but at least I didn’t have “I’M GOING TO DIE OUT HERE ON A RUNNING TRAIL” on loop in my mind. By Mile 4 I was basically ready to stop. The only upside to this, I thought, was that during The Relay I actually *do* get to stop at Mile 4. I’m going to remind myself of this moment when I am running in Sonoma! So I was starting to feel a little defeated, but Lesley just kept telling me to soldier on, so I did. Running is one of the few times in my life where I just want to be bossed around. :)

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We finally got to cross the Tower Bridge which was a pretty little bonus, but at this point I was still feeling TIRED AS HELL. Also, I had a super immediate and ravenous hunger that was almost making me nauseated. I’m guessing my pre-fuel strategy of “eat one meal on a Saturday and have it be Mexican food” was maybe not ideal. But we were busy on Saturday, and that is what happened — and hey — LESSON LEARNED FOR THE RELAY! Luckily I had an old Peanut Butter Gu with my water bottle so I chugged that down. (FOUL!)

We made it to Mile 5 which is where we saw my friend Grace who is part of my Relay Team and that was AWESOME! I was tired and feeling defeated and sometimes all it takes to turn that round is someone hollering your name and waving. This was also the point where I realized that I had forgotten to Body Glide my boobs. What? TMI? I mean, listen — this is real running talk, my friends and BOOBS NEED BODY GLIDE. Ah well, I managed to get all the other good spots, so don’t worry!

We kept going through a random neighborhood in West Sacramento and at this point I started doing some running and some walking. Anytime there was an incline, I walked. Anytime I wanted to die, I walked. :) My mental fortitude was kind of shot by mile 6, and I was most disappointed by that, but hey — it is what it is. Here’s the thing about mental reserves and stress: when you are using a lot of it during your day job 5 days a week — you don’t have a ton leftover for random weekend 10 milers. Noted.

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Source: Lesley’s Instagram

Mental fortitude running low or not, I kept putting one foot in front of the other and I feel pretty good about that. We finished our last few miles doing some running and some walking and praying the finish line would be soon! (Well maybe the praying was just me. Lesley was mostly just telling me that I could do it, on repeat! She’s a gem!) The last mile was through Old Sacramento which was cute, but also kind of weird terrain to be running on, and my capacity for dealing with weird at mile 9 was sort of low, you know? We came right up on the last quarter of a mile and our two favorite gentlemen were cheering us on, which was VERY cute. Lesley (again, with the gem-ness) had made me a poster and Garrett was doing some crazy town cheering and holding it when we ran by, and seriously you guys: IT MADE ME CRY.

Our boys are pretty awesome @lesleyjtaylor

Having the finish line be in sight, knowing that I didn’t die, feeling no knee pain at all (WOO HOOO VICTORY!) and seeing people that I love cheering me on….well, WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP! It was just emotional. I also felt like, despite the struggles of the day, getting through that 10 miles made me feel like The Relay is going to be just fine. No matter what I’ll get there. (EVEN IF I HAVE TO DO SOME WALKING!)

finish
Source

Total Time: 2:24:57

It was a slow day, but it was a victory just to finish. The first 5 miles I average about 13:30, but the last 5 miles there was A LOT of walking and having a crappy attitude — so I think I’m going to have to revisit that attitude situation. If you have one of those Mt. Everest posters around, send it my way would ya? HA! Anytime before The Relay would be GREEEEEEEEEEEEEEAT! :)

Relay Training Recap- Week Two

Training Graph - Week Two

Monday
Skipped this workout at the gym because I was feeling SO BEAT after work (why? no idea) But I was bummed because it was one of my favorites that hardly ever gets programmed: “Bear Complex”

We’ll talk more about it later because I vowed to do it later on in the week if the opportunity arose and it did!

Tuesday
Hit the gym!

Strength:
Bench Press 5-5-3-3-3
(65, 75, 85, 95, 100 —- hooooo boy were my shoulders sore from Saturday’s Snatches! I felt old and crotchety doing this. Note to self: shoulder mobility, work on it!)

Metcon:

15 Min AMRAP
400m run
10 clapping pushups (I did scaled pushups)
8 Snatches (75lbs)

Completed 3 Rounds

After this workout though my knee was feeling kind of tender. And for no identifiable reason. BOO

Wednesday
My knee HURT this morning. It doesn’t hurt running or squatting or anything like that, but just walking around, it’s just tender right below my kneecap. Dr. Google says I’m dying. Not really. But then again I haven’t really consulted Dr. Google for fear that it will make me crazy. I’m foam rolling the quads/hams and icing like it’s my religion.

Thursday

My plan was to hit the gym, but I had to travel to Sonoma for work all day and by the time I got home it was too late. I could have run but I was BEAT and my knee was a tiny bit sore still. Funny how so much windshield time can make you exhausted but you are only just sitting down.

Friday

STRENGTH
Snatch
3-3-1-1-1 (65, 75, 85, 90, 95)
Snatch Pull
2-2-2-2-2 (95 for all reps)

METCON
Buy In:
50 Double Unders

3 Rounds of
5 HSPU – (scaled)
10 Burpee Pull Ups (scaled to burpess + banded pull ups)
200m run

Buy Out:
100 Double Unders

That was fun. And sort of awful since I hate burpees and pull ups and it took me a few minutes to get my double under rhythm which mean my ass was COVERED in welts afterward. But fun! :)

I decided on Friday night that I wanted to try running on my knee. Garrett and I headed out after CrossFit to a hilly street by our house. We did a slow one mile warmup and then did 10 hill repeats up this crappy hill that I can’t even fully run up yet (NEW GOAL! GET UP THE HILL!) It was good practice. And also awful. First double day. :) Knee felt fine running. Afterward, still sore when I walk.

Saturday

I vowed to do Monday’s Bear Complex so I headed in to open gym to get some lifting in. The Bear Complex is fun, but pretty tough. This is what it looks like. A quick synopsis from Mel, since she also wrote about it this week coincidentally:

…it’s a workout made up of 5 rounds of a barbell series (a.k.a., “complex”) that includes 7 reps of the following:
power clean — front squat — push press — back squat — push press

You do that SEVEN times to make up one round — and you do five rounds. If you’re doing it as RX’d.

HOLY CRAP that was hard. I did all 5 rounds with a 75lb barbell and my arms were JELLO at the end.

Open gym. Woot! ( that's a fake it til you make it woot. I'm tired.)

Sunday

I had a run on the schedule but my knee (at this point MY GOD DAMN GOOD FOR NOTHING KNEE) was still sore and that started to make me worried. I skipped my run and stayed home and did a cooking wod. :) Also a Kettlebell Century Challenge (aka 100 Kettlebell Swings for time) with our 53 lb kettlebell. That was no slouch of a workout, but I would have rather run.

Workout Total: 4
CrossFit Workouts: 4 (3 in the gym // 1 at home)
Running Workouts: 1
Double Days: 1

And that was the week! Kind of disappointing, but it wasn’t like I was sitting home on the couch, so. Hopefully I’ll figure out what’s going on with my knee and be able to get in some good runs this week.

Wednesday Bullets

Oatmeal Comic
Too many ideas! Not enough time!

As usual, lots to say but not a lot of time to format this into something that makes logical sense and has a structure. So. Bullets!

*The only good thing about starting a week with a Tuesday that felt like a Monday (womp womp) is that your Wednesday then feels like a Tuesday, and that is a much more enjoyable situation. Especially when you have Friday off.

*Speaking of Friday’s off, I’m giving up my work schedule that gives me every other Friday off. I’ve had this schedule for a little over 2 years and enjoyed it, but the downside is it means I work longer hours. Giving it up means I will get off work at 3:30 from now on and I’m basically thrilled about that. Garrett and I did a lot of scheming and planning and just talking about life this weekend and one of the things that has been stressing me out for quite some time is the fact that I leave for work before 7am, get home at about 4:30, go to the gym at 5, come home and cook dinner and by the time I hit the couch it’s 7pm and NOW WHERE THE HELL DID THE DAY GO AND WHAT DO YOU MEAN I HAVE TO GET UP AND DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN TOMORROW? Something clicked this weekend and I thought to myself, hey — you don’t have to do that if you don’t want. Isn’t that just the most empowering thought. I mean seriously, digest that for a minute.  So, for me, being done with work at 3:30 will be nice for a change.

*We picked our running assignments for The Relay the other night (my team is super rad, yay!) and I’m Runner 9. That probably doesn’t mean anything to most of you, but maybe this will: It is rated the second easiest route! ha! HOORAY! (Not that I think it will be easy for me by any stretch of the imagination) It has me running 4.4 miles through Sonoma (right where my Grandma used to live which is AWESOME), 6.5 miles at night through Millbrae and 6.3 miles through Ben Lomond. I’m excited. It’s a little over 17 miles which will be a challenging amount of distance for me, but not so much incline that I will want to off myself. I think it’s a good match for my skills. Still haven’t worked out a training plan yet and THE CLOCK IS TICKING.

*Some folks have been asking for a post about what I recommend regarding the Whole 30 reintroduction protocol and what my plans are Post Whole 30. I’m marinating on it and will try and maybe get it together by this weekend.

*Speaking of Whole 30, can we talk about the fact that it is Day 21 and I still (STILL) really miss booze. I’m surprised because at this point, during my last go round, I was over it. But these days all I can think about is when I get to have a glass of wine. I’m scouring Pinterest for cocktail recipes and lustily looking at the bottles of cider in our outdoor fridge. It’s kind of weird. I’m thinking about continuing the Whole 30 through February and honestly the food challenge is not even phasing me. But thinking about going through another 30 days WITHOUT A FREAKING DRINK? Man, it’s causing some panic.

*And since we’re doing a little stream of consciousness and talking about potential posts, I’m really itching to do a post about The Business of Blogging. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. Partially because I have done some sponsored posts and want to talk about that. Partially because I have moved this blog into the For-Profit arena in the past few years and I want to say more about that so you know my intentions. And partially because I have lots of thoughts about pursuing your passions and career goals without being a total sleaze-bag and I think it all relates. Man, I have lots of ideas I need to get out on paper soon.

*No time is sort of this recurring theme in my life and it’s 100% my own fault that I don’t have the time that I want. I’ve been bitching to Garrett lately about how I don’t really have time to read, but I realized yesterday when I confessed to twitter that I follow 295 blogs (TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY FIVE! AND SOME POST MULTIPLE TIMES PER DAY!) that it is not so much that I don’t have time for reading, but that I am not making time to read books. I guess this number probably explains a little bit about why I’ve felt compelled to start sharing weekly links though, because MAN, I read a lot of crap I want to share! That said, are you into linnks? Hate them? Wish they didn’t come on Friday’s like every other website on the internet? :) Because I’ve been thinking about what is the best way to share them. Is a round up post fun to read? Would you rather me link them over on the Holly Would If She Could Facebook Page? I always worry on Facebook that nobody actually *sees* the posts because of Zuckerber’s Maniacal Formulas or whatever. But I’m open. Feedback, yo. I’m asking for it. :::cringes:::: Also while we’re at it…how many blogs do YOU follow?

*Social media culling is on my radar and I’m taking on my digital landscape like someone walking through the jungle with a machete. I cut my reader down about 20 sites yesterday (hey, it’s a start!) and then I went over to twitter and asked myself the same questions that I’m now asking myself about Facebook friends:

* do I have your email?
* do I follow you somewhere else (twitter/instagram/RRS) and do I like you there better?
* could I easily find you again if I wanted to contact you?
* have we interacted recently? (…and have I enjoyed it?)

And hopefully shortly I will have a little more time. Time to do things like write posts that aren’t long, meandering and peppered with bullets. :)

2012 Goals – How’d I Do?

photo

This picture makes me laugh EVERY TIME I look at it, it is so ridiculous!

So. I made a lot of goals this year, just as I do every year. Some were stretch goals, some were easy goals, some I wrote down once and never even thought of again (ahem, my entire home improvement category!)

No matter whether I nailed them, or never even came close, I had so much fun reaching for the stars this year, and that’s why I will definitely be sharing my 2013 Goals this week. I think it’s fun to write down what you want. I think it’s fun to watch how those intentions change. I think it’s fun to see so many things checked off after a year of hard work.

For those of you who are interested, here is how my 2012 goals shook out. If I crossed them off, they got completed. If they are in italics, there may have been some progress. If I left them alone, they were probably a fail.

Personal

Plan a wedding/stay sane/pay cash
Get Married
Get Knocked Up :)
(These 3 will stay on the list, have no fear!)
Um…learn about being pregnant and all that… I did A LOT of research this year
Continue to keep a Hostess Journal
Write more Thank You Notes
Give more gifts
Be more curious, be less judgmental
Move closer towards your professional goals CHECK PLUS

Verdict: We consciously put a few of those personal goals on hold so I could pursue some of my professional goals and this year I had the kind of professional year (in my day job, and otherwise) that I couldn’t even have dreamed of when I made that list last year. I want to focus more on those family/nesting type goals in 2013 because 2012 was THE YEAR OF MY JOBS. And man could I just kiss Garrett on the mouth for all of his support in those endeavors.

Relationship

Plan one fun outing per month (day trip/weekender/date night)
Have dinner with friends once per month (This was an epic FAIL)

Verdict: This was a tough relationship year and you know what, we TOTALLY got through it even more committed than ever. I’m proud of that. Now, we need to work on nurturing some of our other relationships too.

Cheers!

Travel – THE DREAM LIST

New Mexico – to visit Garrett’s parents (I’m checking this off bc Garrett got to go)
New Orleans – for The Blathering
Los Angeles – potentially if I do the AIDS Ride with my aunt
Sonoma Weekend – Jim and Gina’s wedding
The Midwest – because it’s been a while
Portland Oregon – potentially for the SCAA Annual Expo
Austin Texas – If Formula One can get their shit together
Maui – because the condo is free, even if plane tickets are not

Verdict: We did okay. This was a Dream List afterall.
Glarifees all around! #sonoma #drinkup

Style

Cultivate a wardrobe that makes me happy Check! Too bad I have just about grown out of it after all those Christmas cookies. :)
Find a skincare routine that suits my stubborn face I made lots of progress
Buy a pair of investment jeans
Continue keeping an outfit list – sounds lame, SUPER HELPFUL I love doing this. I’m a nerd
Continue curating a visual style journal on Pinterest
Continue keeping a clothing wishlist in your purse to avoid unnecessary purchases

Verdict: I had fun this year with style. I didn’t take it too seriously, but I did make an effort at it. It’s fun. It makes me feel good. I’m going to continue it.
Untitled

Finances

Come up with better banking systems Definitely better. Not “Best” just yet.
Add to Savings
Pay for wedding in cash Nope, but I did enough professional hustling that when the time comes, WE WILL. YES.

Verdict: 2012 was very good to me financially and for that I am so grateful.

Home Improvement

Paint Kitchen Cabinets
Replace Kitchen Counter
Add Tile Backsplash
Remove kitchen wallpaper
Hang Art in kitchen
Redo Office
Paint Master Bath
Redo Master Bedroom
Deal with Front Courtyard
Buy Patio Furniture
Install Alarm
Buy a shed
Plan and execute Spring/Summer/Fall gardens

Verdict: I’m not even putting Home Improvement goals on my list next year. If they get done, they will just be icing on the cake.

Fitness

Unassisted pullup This one is rolling over.
Non girl pushups in WODs
Track WODs better
Hit Goal Weight BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAH I got over that idea this year.
Toes to Bar
Run mile in under 10 minutes, regularly I did it once, so I’m checking that off.
5K in 30 minutes or less

Verdict: I think for about 3/4 of the year my fitness was on point. After the half marathon I was just kind of like “Yeah, I’ll do that later.” I don’t like my life without regular fitness goals in it, so 2013 will surely have some of those!

100 kb snatches (each arm) + 100 burpees + 100 degree weather = HOT MESS!

Nutrition


Continue posting weekly meal plans
I did it until it got boring. Then I stopped.
Cook with more greens
Cook with more game FAIL
Get regular about fish oil supplementation FCLO is where it’s at!
Find Garrett better PWO options

Verdict: Similar to fitness, 3/4 of the year ruled. I am firmly entrenched in this Paleo lifestyle so much so that it is just second nature. I’m having fun fine tuning exactly how I need to tweak it to work for me and my life/performance goals.
Taco Salad using a new vinaigrette

Documentation

Complete Project Life Album
Complete Personal Albums for me and G
Vacation Minibooks
Week in the Life Album

Verdict: I enjoyed it so much this year that I will do Project Life again next year, but beyond that I document enough here. No need to add extra pressure.

Blog

Post 52 recipes
Redesign site so it is more useful
Stick to editorial calendar more regularly
Write a Free Paleo E Book so you don’t have to keep sending the same email over and over again when friends ask :)
Share your inspiration with others

Books

Read 50 books – I read 40. We’re all good.
Write 26 individual book reviews
Continue with Monthly reading recaps
Include Garrett’s book reviews on the blog – he wrote one. And then he was like “Uh, blogging is hard.” :)
Participate in BlogHer Book Club
Succeed with The Bookshelf Project I made progress. So it’s all good.

Verdict: Books! I love you. I will continue to read you! And talk about you here because I am nerdy.
photo

******

I’m ready to close this chapter, so I’m off to put on my sweat pants and fire up my netflix to ring in the New Year!

What’s On My Nightstand

My life is overflowing with books to read right now and as usual there is just not enough time to read the all. These, however, are the ones I’m most excited to get through.

1. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – I’ve heard great things about this book which follows a young woman in Greenwich Village during the 1930s who has a chance encounter with a man that propels her into New York Society. Sounds like Real Housewives of New York: The More Literary Verison.

2. Best Food Writing 2011 by Holly Hughes – I always love these compilations of the best curated food writing from magazines, the internet, and sometimes surprising literary contributions. It’s always a mixed bag, I never love everything, but there are always a few gems. The new one just came out, but I haven’t even made my way through last year’s yet. I’m looking forward to doing so little by little.

3. Little Children by Tom Perotta – Both Garrett and I are reading this for Book Club and it’s our turn to host the dinner to accompany the discussion. The subject matter doesn’t sound to uplifting, so I haven’t quite come up with a menu, but I think I’m going to do lots of finger food since we are going to watch the movie version too when we all get together.

4. Ad Hoc At Home by Thomas Keller – Family style recipes made with fresh ingredients inspired by Keller’s casual restaurant out in Sonoma County. A surprising number of the recipes are Paleo to begin with, but regardless the cookbook itself is inspiring on a number of levels. I’m having fun checking out cookbooks for my own writing/design inspiration and this one totally delivers. When Michelle mentioned it recently I knew it must be worth checking out because that gal has good cookbook taste. And it totally delivers!

5. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Goff – This is an older book that I just recently read about, and honestly I can’t even remember where, but I immediately put it my To-Read list. Something about it just sounds weird and appealing so I want to read it. You can read the plot summary here.

6. The Flavor Thesaurus: A Compendium of Pairings, Recipes and Ideas For the Creative Cook by Niki Segnit – I think the super long title sort of explains what this is about, but I picked it up on Mel’s recommendation a couple of weeks ago and it is right up my alley. (PS – that post is FULL of awesome foodie fun, check it out if you’re looking for some cookbook inspiration too!)

7. The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings – Just like I am a sucker for books about New Orleans, I will basically always read a book that takes place in Hawaii. Remember? Hawaii and I have a special bond. Also I really wanted to see this movie and generally if there is an award winning movie made from a book, I like to read the book first. (Isn’t the book usually better?) Anyway, I’ve been eyeballing this for a while and finally it has made its way to the To Read Queue. I hope it’s good!

*****

What’s on your nightstand right now?

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