Category Archives: Uncategorized

All That Mid-Week Jazz

You guys, my bracket be busted. The ‘Zags failed me. I knew I shouldn’t have kept it in the Northwest. We are the epitome of disappointment during critical sports moments (see the last minute of this year’s Super Bowl, for example). On the plus side, I’m no longer glued to that stupid ESPN Tournament Challenge app.

Allergy season is in full force with this early spring we’ve had, so if I forget to take one of the OTC allergy pills we load up on at Kaiser, I walk around feeling like someone is grinding my face into a pile of pollen. That being said, I slept in this weekend and missed my long run with the group. My alarm sounded, I turned it off, and fell asleep for another four hours. Want to know what’s NOT as fun as running 7 miles with a group of great ladies? Running 7 miles by yourself around a high school track on a hot afternoon. I opted for the track because sometimes, planning distance from my house is just a hassle. I ended up alternating running and walking laps until the boys (aka husband and dog) showed up with another water bottle to walk me home. My times weren’t so hot, but I got the distance in, which I’m happy with considering that I didn’t run much the two weeks prior.    I was also breaking in my new Brooks! No more Nikes for this girl.   Then, last night was hill training at our weekly track workout. We ran to the park close to the track and did four hill repeats and I was reminded of why I used to hate running. EVERY PART OF MY BODY HATES HILLS. I sucked it up, ran up that (*@($ four times, and walked down to give myself a little bit of recovery. When I got home, I rewarded myself with a big ol’ spoonful of cookies & creme cookie butter. YUM. That stuff is insane. Then this morning, when my quads and glutes were screaming, my treat was half an apple fritter. You gotta treat yo’self or you’ll go insane. I’m trying to drop a few pounds, so I’m keeping my meals super balanced and healthy, limiting mindless snacking, and letting myself have a treat every now and then.

Today is officially 17 days until my 15k, and 31 days until my first half of the year. I’m trying to stay on my A-game, because I’m pretty sure this half will be mostly harder core runners and I don’t want to look like a schlub. I’m even going to try and get in a long run next week when I’m in Iowa for a family wedding. #goals

And that’s all. I’m just rising, grinding, and working on a few new recipes for the blog that I hope to have posted soon. The time of convenience meals is over, my friends, as I try and get a better handle on my nutrition again. Tonight, instead of risotto, I modified a recipe I found for “quinoa risotto.” Quinoa has a lot of natural protein and a delicious nutty flavor, so it was truly a hearty, one pot meal with endless possible modifications. It’s definitely joining the permanent rotation of “meals that are easy and flexible and I don’t have to think about it.”

Your turn:

Did you pull any April Fool’s Jokes today? Have any pulled on you? I generally dislike April Fools, not because I’m a Scrooge, but because some people don’t have a sense of humor. They either get super offended over something that was meant to be an innocent joke, or they pull a legitimately insensitive joke.

What’s the best thing you’ve cooked lately?

How do you get up a beastly hill?

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A Much Needed Long Weekend

 I kicked off my long weekend by going to the State Dance Team Competition with my bestie and his mom, cheering on our friend’s team. It really took me back to my high school days…dance team is serious business. We had a great time. 

The next morning, hubby and I left for a few days at the family beach house. All trips to the beach house start with a trip to the farm stand for The Best Pie Ever in the World. It was GORGEOUS when we got there so we took our little man on a run along the sand. With his leash because we are paranoid about other dogs and also because Ramsay loves to find every bird that has ever died ever and roll on it. Saturday night we went to our favorite restaurant, Waterfront Depot, for drinks and dinner. Husband had this awesome arroz con mariscos (rice and seafood), in a dill tomato broth. I wanted to drink the broth. We are going to try and recreate this for sure. He makes a mean cioppino and this is is basically the same idea in a different take. I had tempura crusted shrimp with a side salad. The tempura batter was so light and not greasy at all, and whatever they seasoned it with was delish.   Then we went to the toy store and found tiny hands.   Bumbleberry pie was had. Don’t worry, we finished the whole pie between the two of us over the weekend. Ramsay miss having carpet. He spent the majority of the weekend rolling around like a weirdo. And chasing his toys down the hallway. And chasing a bunny in the backyard.   We went book thrifting and found some real old gems. This was a middle school health curriculum from the 1930s.  The next day it was stormy. We were ok with it.    On our way home we drove to our favorite breakfast spot, Otis Cafe. It seats about 40 people and they make a MEAN breakfast. I had my new staple, two eggs fried over medium with German potatoes and toast on homemade bread.    Hubby had biscuits and gravy. I barely got a taste.  After all that, plus a banana scone and some ice cream cake at the office, a run was in order when I got home today. The hubby and I suited up and did a quick 2.5 miles. It was not fun after a few days off, but I needed to put a few miles in so that my seven-mile training run bright and early Saturday morning doesn’t feel like death. Then, since it was in the 70s, we NEEDED to BBQ. 

I made some sweet potato fries, aka chopped up a sweet potato and seasoned it with garlic pepper and Greek seasoning and popped it in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. 

We had those with a Mediterranean salad and some bacon cheeseburgers we grabbed from New Seasons, the local organic grocery store. I have friend crushes on most of the cashiers there. I had a nice chat with the guy who rang me up today.

We had a little incident with the buns, so we are our burgers on toasted sourdough. It was still delicious. 

Your turn: Is it spring yet where you are? 

Do you like burgers, hot dogs, brats? (I’m a fan of all of the above) 

Are you reading anything good I should add to my list?

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Luckython 10k – Mud, Medals, and Fully Loaded Potatoes

My first 10k is in the books! I may have a few half marathons under my belt but I’ve never done a proper 10k until this drizzly, breezy Oregon morning. This is the first race hubby and I have done together in years!



Luckython, organized by Uberthons, was a 5/10/15k held at the Reserve Golf Course. St. Patrick’s themed, of course. We ran along the golf cart paths, which were riddled with mud puddles. Mile 1 was slow going, since they started all three distances at the same time, but miles 2-6 felt decent. I managed to PR my 5k and 10k times! 



I stuck to my goal of not walking (except through aide stations…I was already soaked, I didn’t need to waste my opportunities hydration so I preferred actually drinking the cups of water to tossing them in the general direction of my mouth). I have never EVER run 6 miles without taking walking breaks before. Never. And I kept all my miles under 12 minutes! I’m steadily getting faster. Today was a personal victory for me (note smiling face in the photo below).



After the race, there was a baked potato bar. I didn’t complain. 



On a final note, the boyband mix on Rock My Run has proved to be a complete game changer. If you were a teen in the 2000s, you will NOT be disappointed. It has really upped the ante my last few runs, because something about Aaron Carter just keeps me motivated (and BSB, and Hanson, and BBMak). 

Your turn: What are you up to this weekend?

Favorite boy band throwback song?

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Weekend Recap: A Run, Some Sun, and Some Fun

I’m getting really tense watching the Bachelor finale, so I figured I would blog a little bit to release some tension. If Chris doesn’t pick Whitney, I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’LL DO. That’s clearly not true, my life will go on, but for some reason I’m super into this season. It’s gotta be my Iowa pride. 

It continues to be gorgeous in Oregon, and now we are all on pins and needles waiting for the inevitable rain to start pouring down. Our Runner Chick training run this weekend was 5 miles, which my legs were just not feeling, but hopefully the next few days of workouts will get them loosened up because hubby and I are signed up for a St. Patty’s 10k on Saturday morning. 

After our group run, my running buddy and I hit up Tom’s Pancake House for some much needed refueling. I’ve never been a huge pancake fan, but these bad boys are da bomb. I can eat them on their own, no syrup, no butter, just pure delicious fluffy semi-sweet pancakes. And they are even better when you pair them with some country sausage and two eggs fried over medium. 





Saturday night we hit up our first Timbers game…THE first Timbers game of the season. Beforehand we stopped at Laughing Planet, a local chain that serves healthy bowls and wraps with local ingredients and lots of veggies, and split some jambalaya. 



Then a whole plate of Tillamook cheese foods at the stadium. 



The match ended in a tie (lame) but it was fun, as always!



There’s still an hour left before After the Final Rose and I’m already binge-eating Trader Joes Brown Sugar Frosted Shredded Wheat (no milk, just tossing them back plain). 

Your turn: Are you dealing with Snowmageddon, or are you living it up in the sun?

What cereal do you find yourself snacking on?

Pancakes or waffles? Normally I’m #teamwaffle but Tom’s pancakes make me question all my life choices. 

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Tuesday Night Speedwork

Another Tuesday, another two mile track workout. It’s official: I NO LONGER HATE RUNNING! 

I don’t honestly have much to say except that I ran an 11:06 mile which is something that, last summer, didn’t seem achievable for me. I worked forever trying to break 12 minutes. Now I’m on the cusp of breaking 11. I’m hoping that continuing this speedwork in slightly longer stretches as I prep for my next half will help me meet my next big goal, which is breaking 3 hours on the big 13.1. 



You can see my interval laps on the graph. Love all that green!

Hubby and I are officially signed up for a 10k on the 14th so my five miler on Saturday will be a good indication of how that will go. 

Dang, maybe if I would have stuck to my training plan last time, I would have felt this good in September. 

Cheers to running!

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A Week of Runs, Beer, and Floral Happiness

I have a confession: I’m really starting to not hate running. Sometimes, I may even enjoy it. I’ve been loving my running group, which transitioned from Saturdays to Saturdays and Tuesdays. We took the track Tuesday night to do two miles of laps alternating between a light jog and fast jog, along with some stretching and triceps dips. The fact that we took to the track after someone who placed 5th in the Olympics wasn’t intimidating at ALL (we overheard a conversation which led to me internet stalking Olympic athletes in the area). I left feeling great! It’s nice to have a midweek meetup to keep me accountable. 

Then Thursday hit, and I had a nagging sore throat all day that I tried to ignore. We went to a new pub in the area for date night and tried some of their beers…I loved the golden!



I also had Scotch eggs for the first time. I always thought I would hate them, because I don’t like hard egg whites, but this was like a delicious bite sized breakfast! For those who don’t know, Scotch eggs are a soft boiled egg wrapped in sausage. This sausage really had lots of great savory flavor. 



Also the tables in the bar each had their own flat screen with a remote so you could watch whatever you wanted. I tried to convince hubby that he wanted to watch My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding but we settled on basketball. 

Friday I woke up congested and in the throes of a cold. But I sucked it up and took some DayQuil because I was looking forward to a 5k Saturday and I wasn’t about to miss out on my first race bling of the year. 

After an early night Friday, I woke up Saturday, still sick, but I went to the race anyway and am so glad I did. I PR-ed my 5k time! I was so excited, especially since I was sick. Imagine the gains I’ll see when I can breath again! My goal for the race was to keep my miles under 12 minutes, and I succeeded, so I was content. This serious hardware was just icing on the cake. 



After cleaning up, we went and dropped some serious money buying dahlias at the yard and garden show. Also, can someone build me this?



Panda Express made a great recovery meal Saturday afternoon. 



Though I’m not ready to start the workweek again, I AM ready to tackle this week’s runs and start building some distance. I’ve got my walk breaks down to a minimum, something I hope to stick to as my training mileage builds. 

You’re turn:

What did you guys do this weekend?

What’s your favorite flower?

Scotch eggs-gross or delicious?

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The Valen-Times

It’s a gorgeous weekend here in Oregon!

My Valentine’s weekend started out a little womp womp, with a citation for riding the train to work without a ticket. It’s completely my fault, of course, for trying to outsmart their electronic ticket system. But still, not a great thing to have happen first thing on Friday morning.

The rest of the day, however, was great. A group of us walked from the office to Verde Cocina for lunch, where I forgot to take a picture of my huevos rancheros because they were so devious looking that I immediately started wolfing them down. Verde Cocina serves Mexican food with an emphasis on farm fresh veggies. Nothing is deep fried, and there’s a lot of non-traditional ingredients used, like squash, bok choy, and quinoa. I first tried it a few years ago at Portland Farmers Market so I’m thrilled that they opened up a cafe not far from my office. Also I can’t wait to try their margaritas because I bet they are phenomenally fresh.

Friday night was the start of a much needed restful weekend. We didn’t have much in the fridge or pantry for dinner, so we ran to Whole Foods and picked up some “gourmet organic” frozen items: tater tots and samosas. I had a bag of “lite ultimate Caesar” salad in the fridge, and some asparagus. I mixed up the salad, drizzled the asparagus with EVOO and salt and garlic pepper, and roasted it at 425 until it started to brown, while our gourmet frozens were cooking up. I also found this deliciously odd beer which I sipped while I waited for dinner.

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This dinner really hit the spot. Every once in a while, we really like some frozen meal supplements. They are quick and easy, and always feel like a treat. We enjoyed our plates while we we cuddled up on the couch under blankets. Our house has been super drafty lately.

When it breaks 60 degrees in February in Oregon, you don’t question it, you just get your rear outside, so hubby and I decided that a hike with the pup sounded like the perfect Valentine’s Day activity. We headed out to the Tillamook Forest to the Wilson River Wagon Trail to get in a few morning miles (since I was being bad and skipping running group).

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The trail was beautiful! We hiked four miles or so out and back, passing waterfalls, glades, and winding in and out of some gorgeous forestland. There wasn’t another soul on the trail. The only downside is that this trail, while being closed to motorized vehicles, is surrounded by ATV trails, so that noise started to get old after a while. Also the rural gun range shots started to get a little tiresome, but neither of these things put a damper on the beauty of our surroundings. Ramsay had a blast. He loves to be a wilderness hipster dog.

On our way home, we were hungry and it was lunch time. So we pulled over at Coleman’s Shady Rest, a roadside diner. I love all the roadside stops in the Tillamook Forest, on the way to the coast. I used to beg my parents for day trips to the beach so we could stop at my favorite diner for pancakes and hot chocolate on the way. Coleman’s wasn’t serving breakfast anymore, but they still had huevos rancheros on the lunch menu (I’m on a huevos kick lately). YUM. I think a more accurate description of this would have been “eggs and chili verde,” but I didn’t care because it was so darn good.

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We spent the rest of the day relaxing.

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For dinner, we stayed in, cooked up one of our favorite meals, chicken teriyaki, and watched Dateline, because my husband is the best and agreed to watch disturbing crime shows instead of a romantic movie or something. I also broke in my Moscow mule mugs.

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Today, we worked on finishing touches with the paint in our room, took the dog for a walk, and enjoyed opening up the windows and airing out the house. I’m not ready for Monday!

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Hot Mess o’Life

I got my Erin Condren life planner and wrote out a whole two week editorial calendar and had all manner of high hopes and aspirations for these last few weeks. And then work got busy and our house got messy and our cat got sick and we had to put her to sleep and I became an emotional hot mess. So, in a nutshell:

I love my Erin Condren planner, though I’m still working on using it to its full potential. I managed to jam it into my purse so I pull it out whenever I have a moment to organize my life through the day.

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I joining the Runner Chick training group based out of my local Roadrunner Sports store (with friends, obviously, because I am codependent when it comes to exercise). It’s been fun to get with a big group of people and run on Saturday mornings and I’m looking forward to continuing with the half-marathon group and HOPEFULLY register for the local Rock & Roll, because the medals are legit and pay tribute to the famed Portland Airport carpet (RIP #pdxcarpet). Plus running with pacers and trying to keep up with friends is very helpful for my split times. Stay tuned for more…I have to pay money for this group to ensure I stay dedicated.

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Work has been crazy busy (end of our fiscal year, what what to my fellow accounting types!) but we make time weekly to order crazy noodles from the Vietnamese place down the street and my tummy loves it. Picture pad thai without the fish sauce plus the bok choy and some bigger noodles stir fried to ultimate deliciousness. Seriously I think I’ve had these once a week since I started my new job. Worth the splurge. Plus the bok choy makes it feel slightly healthier than it is.

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Our baby girl, who’s been with my husband for something like 13-14 years, recently was diagnosed with Feline Cushing’s Disease (on top of diabetes, arthritis, and a benign tumor in one eye) and we made the excruciating decision that it was time to put her down last week. She wasn’t getting better with her medication, and her quality of life had decreased, but it was definitely the most difficult decision we’ve had to make as a family. I was in tears at my desk all day Friday, especially when I got this text message:

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All the tears in the world every time I look at this.

Now we are loving on our furry baby boy who clearly misses his sissy and keeps running to her room looking for her. Time heals all wounds but this one is deep for us. We definitely lost a member of our family and it was a tough weekend for us. Aka I skipped my run (which, in hindsight, was a terrible decision) and we drank beer and ordered Chinese food and barely left our house.

These looks.

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Now, it’s a fresh week, we have a clean house, and we are well rested after being forced to sleep on our couch for a week while we painted our bedroom. Clawing my way back onto track for 2015…still feeling the promise and still happy with all we’ve accomplished so far!

Now, your turn:
-How do you cope with the loss of a pet? How do you help your pets cope with the loss of a pet sibling?
-Are you in a running group?
-What do you think about the #pdxcarpet hysteria? (See examples here: http://pdxcarpet.com) As a lifelong Oregonian, this carpet has always signified coming home, and I have ALWAYS loved it, but I think the new pattern pays tribute in a fresh way that is not infested with 30 years of bacteria.

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Rocking a Job Interview – Tips for the Nervous

So a LONG time ago I promised a post about interviewing for jobs…then I promptly started my new job and forgot my promise. But now, now’s the time!

I’m going to be honest: job interviewing is like a weird sort of natural high for me. I get really keyed up beforehand, I spend a few days prepping and deciding what to wear and making sure I have 8 alarms set (if it’s a morning time slot). I’m weird. I also like doing my taxes, what can I say?

Maybe this comes from one of my first job interviews, which was terrible. I didn’t get the job, I didn’t even get a follow-up phone call, so I vowed to NEVER have a terrible interview ever again. I’m by no means the master of interviews now, but I leave them feeling relaxed and happy and confident in my abilities. Here’s a few tips that I’ve come to rely on in the last years.

First – do your research. Make sure you have a decent understanding of what it is you’re applying for, and the background of the company. When they ask you “Why do you want to work for us,” have an answer that’s more specific than “this is a great opportunity.” Know something about their philanthropic efforts, their workplace environment, awards or accolades they’ve won. Make it personal – you want THIS job, and you want it for a reason. It was easy to do this with my latest job interview; I grew up wearing their clothes, and they were a big part of my childhood. I knew something about company history that I could bring up (I used to go to warehouse sales when the company was just getting off the ground). It was easy to establish a connection with my interviewer through this.

Practice practice practice. I have my husband ask me interview questions in the days leading up to my interview. You can find tons of interview questions online to practice with. Work through a few main points that you want to touch on. For instance, if you have a strong work ethic, figure out how to incorporate that into a few different answers. Ask for critiques and be flexible with your choice of wording and phrasing. Your practice interviewer might hear something in your words that you do not.

Be yourself, but don’t overshare. Your interviewer doesn’t need to know your quirks, not right off the bat. I’m pretty sure an answer to the simple question “what sort of books do you like to read,” is what made that terrible interview head downhill. I was too specific. So I read about religious cults, I find it fascinating…but I could have stuck with “I read a lot of non-fiction.” Don’t offend your interviewer or make them feel uncomfortable.

Dress comfortably. This obviously varies according to the business, field of work, etc., but here in the Pacific Northwest, we are generally pretty casual. Unless you know that the office is business formal ALL the time, I don’t feel that it’s critical to wear a suit. I always do slacks or a skirt, paired with a stylish top in a non-cotton jersey fabric, and maybe a blazer, or cardigan, depending on the weather. If you can’t walk in heels, don’t wear heels. It’s so easy to dress up flats, and stumbling into the room while you’re attempting to stay balanced on your stilettos isn’t the most flattering way to make an introduction.

Lastly, remember that the interview isn’t just for the company to decide whether or not they like you; you also need to decide whether or not you want to work for them. Try and get a sense for what it’s like at the office. When they ask if you have any questions, ASK some questions. I once heard that it’s bad if you don’t ask questions, because that makes it look like you aren’t engaged with the opportunity. Think up a few standard questions you can ask at all your interviews – this can help you compare opportunities if you are ever lucky enough to juggle multiple offers. Also, if you see anything of note in the research you did before the interview, bring it up. Show that curiosity! I did one interview where I figured out about halfway through that the job didn’t sound interesting, and I had no desire to work for the manager. Without asking the right questions, I may not have made that realization.

And don’t be discouraged! I graduated from college at the height of the recession, and it took me six months of applications and interviews to finally land a job. Yeah, it can suck to be rejected, but the right opportunity will come around, and it will feel oh so good.

I’ll leave you with a picture of me that was taken minutes before I interviewed for what ended up becoming my first real adult job. It helps when your cousins are around to photograph these moments for you! Stay confident, trust what you know, and go land that dream job!

Dressed for success!

Dressed for success!

A 12th (Wo)man Kind of Sunday

Oh my word, ya’ll (I wish I was southern), what a WEEK. As much as I tire of the monotony of getting up and going to work and working and coming home from work every day, after this last week, a little routine and some down time ain’t a bad thing.

But first, yesterday was just magical. I am hoarse from screaming at my television over the Seahawks game. I have never had so much nervous energy pent up during one game. I really thought it was over during the third quarter and now I’m ashamed that I didn’t believe in the power of the 12th Man. Since Portland doesn’t have a team and I lived in Seattle for four years during college and consider it my second home, I feel some “hometown pride” for them. When I was up there in Seattle on game day this fall, I couldn’t believe how many people were rocking jerseys. A little sports success, which always seems rare in the Pacific Northwest, has really brought everyone together.

Ramsay hates football season because our yelling interferes with his nap time.

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After the game, I was so wound up that I took the dog out for a two mile jog to decompress. It was short but we managed to make it home just before the skies opened up and the apocalyptic rain started once again.

While I decompressed on my run, husband celebrated by baking some monkey bread which was a delicious smell and taste to return to.

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Now, it’s Monday again and I’m back on the train on my way to the office. Last week I got to go to my first ever company party, which was fun, especially considering it was at a swanky club on the east side and my previous company didn’t really have parties. Another night was craft night where I stayed up way too late laughing with friends and family and drinking All The Wine.

This week it’s just work, sleep, and keeping up with house work, and that sounds just perfect to me.

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I’m ready for my hike from train to office, which always makes me feel like I have the city to myself for half a mile and I love it. How did I live for so long without working in the city? I mean, my lunch game has really stepped up.

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So, your turn. Who are you rooting for in the SuperBowl? How do you entertain yourself during your commute? On a scale of 1-10, how tired are you right now?

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