Welcome!Hey there! I'm Holly. A 40+ year old insurance-nerd wife, mom, beauty lover, and about a million other things in between. This is the place where I share about our lives, what I'm currently loving, books I'm reading, plus-size style, beauty recommendations, health + fitness endeavors and anything else I'm finding interesting at the moment. Thanks for stopping by!
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Tag Archives: Iowa
So when I woke up Thursday morning all of my work was done, and now it was time to focus on Vacation Iowa. I grabbed a coffee at Starbucks and said goodbye to the our Iowa corporate office and then headed back to the hotel.
That picture was from the day before, on Thursday, however, the weather was SUPER CRAPTASTIC. But then, like an hour later — all of a sudden the weather was great. Here was the view out of my hotel room (scenic, I know) before and after I showered and got ready.
Crazy, right? Midwest weather vexes me. The difference a few minutes can make absolutely blows my mind. Luckily it the weather turned in my favor because I was about to embark on a 3 hour road trip to see AndreAnna.
It was a mostly scenic drive and I made it out there singing 80s tunes at the top of my lungs, so all in all…not a bad trip. And I was so happy to see AndreAnna! It was SO. DANG. GOOD. to catch up with a good friend over some beverages on the patio in the sun. We had a million things to talk about, she is an awesome hostess and almost immediately we decided we should go and get manicures and pedicures.
The thing I miss so much about friends far away are days like this where you just get to HANG OUT! We took full advantage and also added in some pampering! I decided right then and there, sitting in that salon chair, that I am going to do much more pampering this summer. We had a relaxing Thursday night and AndreAnna’s husband made some awesome gluten free pizzas for us to sample (WHICH WERE AMAZEBALLS) and then we turned in pretty early because we had a big Friday ahead.
Friday we were up early to get in a workout at Quad Cities CrossFit. It was a partner workout with a combo of my most favorite (Squat Cleans) and my least favorite (Toes to Bar) movements. Ha! We powered through it though, and then of course we had to get some serious breakfast. I mean OBVIOUSLY.
We headed over to The Machine Shed for breakfast, and they are not at all kidding when they say they serve cinnamon rolls THE SIZE OF YOUR HEAD. It was a super cute restaurant, and we chowed down and headed out to our next adventure.
Sadly, our next adventure was not a tractor ride — but it was even better — MASSAGES! I mean, I literally was shouting out AndreAnna’s car window “I’M NEVER LEAVING IOWA.” Manis and pedis! Tough Workouts! Delicious Food! FREAKING RIDICULOUS MASSAGES! I mean, what else does one need? (Ok, ok — maybe my dude and my dog but luckily Garrett was sending me silly photos and texts the whole week to let me know they were doing just fine back at home.)
After massages we grabbed some groceries for that evening because AndreAnna had invites some friends over and the ladies were having a Ladies Night while the gents stayed at home. We hit up Sam’s Club and managed to pick the loudest, most unruly cart in the store as well as drop an entire 6 pack of beer on the ground. We were like Laverne & Shirley, but we got out of there with some good eats and an in tact 6 pack. 🙂
When we headed home it was time for some patio drinking again (the weather was AWESOME on Friday) and then it was time to shower and put our party pants on because it was Ladies Night On The Town. We headed out to Front Street Brewery and I got to try their amazing BBQ Pork Nachos. They might LITERALLY be the best nachos I’ve ever had, and despite the fact that I try not to consume corn chips on a regular basis, I consider myself a bit of a nacho conossieur. Don’t worry, I’ve put that on my resume.
We rounded out the evening with…well, quite a few “Vodka Sodas with a Shit-ton of Lime” — which I highly recommend. They go down easy on a hot summer night and you are practically hydrating while drinking. 🙂 They may, however, make you force the driver of your vehicle to pull over while you are passing the Mississippi River. I mean you guys: IT WAS A FULL MOON OVER THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER! This just seemed so novel to me. I’m a California Girl…so looking at the freaking Mississippi River just made me realize I was soooooo far from home! Far enough from home that I had to bust out the spirit fingers.
I don’t have a lot of pictures from our adventures on Saturday, but that is probably for the best since the weather got SUPER yucky and we mostly lounged around working off our vodka sodas by playing cards and drinking more. 🙂 No one needs pictures of me and my greasy ponytail playing cards, I promise. Sunday, the weather was equally icky and unfortunately Sunday was my big travel day back home — which involved another 3 hour road trip. Iowa, you are no fun to drive in when there are crazy thunderstorms! I guess it was fitting though, because had it been another beautiful day I really may never have left.
I was up and on the road early. It was so sad to leave — I wish AndreAnna and her awesome family were my next door neighbors because seriously, we had SUCH A GOOD TIME — but I had also been away from my life for 7 days and you know how that goes, right? I knew it would be good to get back home. I had to drive 3 hours back to Des Moines and then get on a little puddle jumper plane to get up to Minneapolis — eep! I don’t love tiny planes — and then from Minneapolis back to Sacramento.
When I got to Minneapolis I was pretty exhausted, but then out of nowhere they called my name at the gate upgraded me to First Class for the rest of my flight home. You guys, that like actually happens in real life! After that flight experience, I seriously I NEVER WANT TO FLY COACH AGAIN….HAHAHAHAHAHAHA uh, you know, unless I’m actually paying for it! 🙂 I rolled into the Sacramento airport at about 7pm Sunday night and despite it already being a long day I was super energized when I got there. It was still light out and super hot and it just felt like home! I was so, so happy to be back reunited with Buster, then Garrett cooked me a nice dinner, and I slept soundly in my own bed for the first time in a week.
Sometimes it takes some time away to make you realize all the silly little things that you love about your life, right? I couldn’t have asked for a better time in Iowa, but I have enjoyed being back home and back to my routines over the last week and a half. It’s starting to feel like summer around here and I am marinating on some things I want to make sure I do over the next few months. A bucket list of sorts — but with much less productivity and more superficial fun!
More on that soon…
Greetings! I’m back from my 7 day adventure traipsing all over Iowa and I’ve had about a day to recover, so hey — why not get right back into it. (Boy, I need a weekend to recover from my weekend.) I fully intended to blog my way through the state, but it went by so much quicker than I thought and I just never felt like pulling out my laptop — so indulge me in a little recapping, would ya?
I started my week last Monday at 3:30 in the morning. When I booked my flight out, 6am seemed like a reasonable idea, but let me tell you, A 6AM FLIGHT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA. I don’t know what I was thinking! But after about 6 hours of travel (and a nap or two) I made it to Des Moines safe and sound.
I hadn’t been there since early 2006 and while many things looked the same (airport, hotel, etc), so much seemed different – especially with respect to my life. Back in 2006, when I first started working for my company, I had to go to Des Moines for 2 weeks for training and at the time, Garrett and I had only been together for a little over 2 months so it all seemed SO DRAMATIC to have to be gone for 2! WHOLE! WEEKS! This time around I was like “Ok babe! Take care of the dog! Hope you don’t starve!” hahahaha. Well, not exactly, but you know what I’m saying, right?
After I checked into the hotel and got settled, I decided to brave it and walk over to CrossFit Primal and get in a workout. Visiting a new CrossFit gym is always so intimidating. I always expect it to be full of fire breathing Games Athletes that are going to roll their eyes at me. It NEVER is though, so I’m glad I put on my big girl (workout) pants and headed over.
I felt right at home with the instructor and the class and it was nice to feel like I had some semblance of routine even though I was on the road. I am a pretty good traveler but 7 days on the road is a long time so I wanted to keep things as normal as possible (which is why on my way home I totally stopped at Walgreens all disgusting and sweaty and bought handsoap for the hotel bathroom…because seriously? A BAR OF SOAP? Who washes their hands with A BAR OF SOAP?) Anyway, the workout was fun and I knew INSTANTLY that my legs would be feeling it the next day.
And lo and behold, they were! Which made it glaringly obvious how low the the hotel toilets were, but that is neither here nor there. Tuesday morning I woke up early after a SUPER crappy night of sleep. Tons of thunder and warnings of tornadoes kept me a little anxious all night so needless to say I didn’t squeeze in a workout before I headed into the office.
Luckily the weather was pretty nice all of Tuesday and despite not staying outside to enjoy it the day just flew by. Tuesday and Wednesday were my long days at work so I just tried to stay focused on the tasks at hand. But by Wednesday night I was ready for some vacation! I met up with blog reader Jillian for some well deserved cocktails and we had an awesome meal chatting it up like we had known each other forever. I had a real “I Love The Internet” moment!
Afterward I walked back to the hotel and got everything ready for my big road trip to Davenport the next day to hang with AndreAnna. It had been almost a year and a half since we had last hung out and I was super excited to get to her neck of the woods and see her in real life!
Tomorrow I’ll tell you about how the vacation portion of the week went down….