Things I am jazzed about

Can you tell I’ve been busy at night enjoying our glorious weather that seems to be never-ending?  Instead of trying new recipes, taking pictures or talking about my workouts we’ve been celebrating our anniversary, meeting friends downtown for dinner, going on long walks and eating Chipotle.  Ahhh the life.  And the best part, it looks like the sun is going to stick around at least for another week which is even better because I’ll be able to lay out all day and enjoy it.

“How?”  You ask?

Because this gal is taking a vacation.  Except not really.  I just have tons of time off saved up. So much that if I don’t use it I’ll lose it so I took all of next week off.  Chris and I might go to the beach for a couple of days or we might not.  And on the days he has to go to work and I don’t, I’ll be laying out on the deck.  Soaking up those fleeting summer rays.  Can’t wait.

You know what else I can’t wait for?  The rodeo!  Tomorrow AM we’re heading to Pendleton, OR to catch the finals of the Pendleton Round Up.  We’ve never been to this rodeo and I’m super excited.  As long as I can find a cute dress to wear…that’s my after-work mission.

To match these boots.

But first I have to get through the rest of today.  A couple of meetings, a workout, the Coug game.

And while we’re on the topic of workouts, it has been a pretty good week on that front.  Pilates + cardio Monday and Wednesday, circuit workout + cardio Tuesday, and yesterday I went for a 4 mile run outside.  The best part – my knees didn’t hurt on the run, after it or this morning.

Alright, I feel like this post has been random enough so I better get a move on.  But, I will leave you with one of my favorite photos from Tuesday’s 2 year anniversary photo session (and by photo session I mean me strategically setting the camera on the deck and running back and forth between auto-timed shots).  Chance dog was so excited for me to be in the pic that he full-on licked my face.  That guy.

Hope you all have good weekends.

2 years

When you’re little, you dream about meeting your prince charming.  And how he’ll come riding in on his white horse,  sweeping you off your feet.  You dream about the day you’ll marry him, wearing a beautiful white ball gown, becoming his princess.  And how you’ll live happily ever after.  In a castle. 

Meet my prince.

He’s made my life better than any fairy tale.

He’s made it perfect.

He’s my best friend.

And two years ago, on the best day of my life, I became his wife.

On a beautiful day at the Oregon Coast.

Surrounded by all our family.

And our friends.

We toasted.

And laughed.

And cried.

And danced.

Lots of dancing.

And we enjoyed every single moment.

Thank you Chris, for marrying me.  And making me the happiest girl in the entire world.  I can’t wait to re-live this day with you for many more years to come.

I love you.

I love Jake Owen

Jake Owen is my favorite artist of all time. And last night I saw him for the 4th time and he was every bit as good as I remembered. If you ever get a chance to see Jake, do it. He will not disappoint. The best part was when he walked from the stage up the aisle and sang right in front of me. I probably could have peed my pants I was so nervous. It was amazing, and perfect, and a fantastic way to spend one of my last (barefoot, blue jean) summer nights.

Country Music + online workout ideas

I’m currently camping right now.  Probably soaking wet and huddling under a canopy but I’m with great people so I’m sure I’ll come back with great stories.  In the meantime, wanted to pass along a couple of things – workout ideas to try, and country music.  You could easily say these are some of my favorite things :)  I mean if I could get a butt-kicking workout in and then go to a country concert I’d be set.  There is just something about a great country song that can change your life (in case you didn’t know, my whole love story with Chris is more or less built around country music – first concert, proposal idea, 1st dance, wedding tables…).

Workouts from around the web:

Current country music faves:

There are some great country songs out right now that get me super excited every time they come on the radio.  Here are just a few of my current faves.  FYI not all of these are the real music videos.  I think a few still aren’t out yet?  Or I suck at You tube.

Pontoon – Little Big Town. I have been really excited about this song since we rented a pontoon boat for our camping trip. I’ll let you know how that goes. You know, with the rain forecast and all.

Cruise – Florida Georgia Line.  Um, I seriously want to be somewhere on a back road with the sun streaming through my sunroof and warm air blowing through the windows.

Somethin’ bout a truck – Kip Moore.  Somethin’ bout a girl in a red sundress, with an ice-cold beer, pressed against her lips…I would like to be that girl.  Just saying.

Hey Pretty Girl – Kip Moore.  This was our friend’s 1st dance at their wedding and I fell in love with this song.  If we ever have a daughter I want to put these lyrics up on her wall.  This might actually be going into my top songs of all time list.

El Cerrito Place – Kenny Chesney. Not so much a song about summer but such a good song from his new album.

Wanted – Hunter Hayes. Tears actually welled up in my eyes the 1st time I heard this song.  You can just feel the emotion.

Hope you’re having a good Saturday.  Do you have any country songs or workout ideas to share?

Sunday Night Dinner…Texas Style

Have I ever really explained how much I love country?  And not just country music. I’m saying give me 5+ acres, a big red barn, a ton of chickens, a watering hole down the street where I can spend my weekends doing the two-step in my cowboy boots, enough of a garden to serve farm to fork dinners every night, a river down the way where I can rope swing into, big trucks with country music blaring from the speakers, and a backyard with string lights where I can dance under the stars with my best friend.

And luckily I married a guy who is right there with me.  And while we don’t quite have everything I just mentioned, for living in Portland proper, we’re doing pretty good…a 1/4 acre, a dog that sometimes looks like a small pony if you squint, two country bars nearby where I’ve danced in my red cowboy boots, a 4-runner where the only two stations listened to are current and old-school country, a river with a rope swing (about an hour away), farm to table salads, and now we have string lights. Can’t wait for our 1st fire pit out there under them.

Backyard string light

You know what other country thing we love?  BBQ.  From Texas.  Specifically Austin (which is the only city I’d probably ever consider moving to) and even more specifically Rudy’s.

2008 flashback

So today Chris decided to recreate some Texas BBQ Brisket…on the smoker…for 6 hours.

Chris spent the day outside, checking the meat and hanging the string lights.  Chance watched him while I ran errands and rode the spin bike for an hour (while watching One Day.  Have you seen it?  With Anne Hathaway?  Good but different ending than I was expecting).

Guess what?  The brisket was amazing!  Chris did a fantastic job.  I had mine plain with BBQ sauce, sautéed swiss chard, baked beans (with cayanne pepper) and garlic corn on the cob.

Chris had his “Rudy’s” style with bread and pickles.

And we enjoyed all of it outside with our friend Dan.  Chris even broke out his special beer which he had to sneak back in his suitcase on his last Texas trip since Lonestar is only available in Texas.

Good stuff my friends.  Good stuff.  And a great way to end the weekend.  Hopefully you all are enjoying a relaxing evening before it all starts again tomorrow :)

Friends in low places

Happy Sunday.  Although can you really call the last day of your weekend and the day before you have to go back to work happy?  I’ve been a complete bum today and really need to do something productive…  A trip to the grocery story and a long walk with the Chance dog are definitely in my future.  I’ve planned out our meals for the week and now I’m just working on the extras – lunch & breakfast type stuff.  I’m struggling with lunches.  I’ve done quinoa salads for the past couple weeks and I think I want to switch it up.  I might go back to some classic PB & J’s with a side of greek yogurt and fruit.  I mean you just can’t beat peanut butter and jelly right?

Here’s what dinners look like this week.  I’ve got a couple new recipes on there so we’ll see how they turn out.

Meal plan for the week:

What about you guys, do you meal plan for the week or do you tend to wing things?  It’s definitely challenging trying to come up with everything but it makes it so much easier to go to the store once and get it out-of-the-way.

And now for the recap that I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for right? Drum roll please…the wedding of two awesome people, Jon and Lauren :)  My pictures just don’t do it justice.  I love taking pictures but sometimes when you’re always behind the lens you don’t always get to experience what’s going on in front of it.  So last night my camera spent most of the evening tucked away in my purse while I had a blast.

I can’t even begin to tell you all the great moments of the evening…when Jon’s sister brought everyone to tears as she officiated the ceremony, when the best man reminded us in his speech that “sometimes things that happen in Vegas shouldn’t stay in Vegas,”  when we spent what felt like hours in the photo booth to leave Jon and Lauren images they’ll get to laugh at for years to come, or when all of us, including the bride and groom, were on a circle on the dance floor singing the lyrics to Garth’s Friends in Low Places…I mean, this wedding was awesome.  I danced the night away with basically all of my Portland friends….this is the crew that welcomed me in when I started dating Chris and the crew that has become more or less my extended family.  It truly was the perfect wedding to cap off our “wedding gauntlet” and the perfect way to start off the next chapter in the lives of some very special people.

Tastes (and smells) of the tropics

I wish you could be at my house smelling my kitchen right now. (Is that creepy?) It smells AMAZING. And it’s all because of this stuff:

I was at TJ’s a couple of weeks ago with my friend Chelsea and we’d both heard about coconut oil but had never used it so we picked some up. And I’ve slowly been figuring out what to do with it (you can read more about its benefits here). And Thursday I discovered what may be my new favorite breakfast. COCONUT OATMEAL. Sorry to shout there but it’s so good I just had to yell around about it.

And the best part? It’s like the easiest thing ever. You just make oatmeal (I used old-fashioned Quaker with half unsweetened vanilla almond milk and half water), add about a teaspoon of coconut oil and drizzle with a little honey. And then you eat it. And close your eyes and pretend that you’re sitting in an open air cafe somewhere near a beach. Like this one:

Tahiti

I made the oatmeal again this morning and along with it we had scrambled eggs/egg whites with cheddar.

And white chocolate coffee.

Made with this stuff:

5 Sparrows is based out of Montana and is owned/run by the brother & sister-in-law of our friend Dan. They were in town this weekend for a coffee convention and I got to hang out with them and learn about their business. They have this sugar-free white chocolate mix, chocolate, chai and a frappe base…all sweetened with stevia. Normally I hate stevia…I can immediately taste if something has it in it so I was a little hesitant to try this but turns out, it’s fantastic. In the past two days I’ve had way more coffee than normal just because this stuff is so good. And only 30 calories per serving. It’s $11 a bag and you can buy it online here. And by the way, no one paid me to talk about this stuff. I just like it and wanted to give it a little shout out.

Another thing I want to shout out…Eric Church’s new video for Springsteen (which I just watched because we’re having our weekend morning ritual of coffee and CMT). I love him. I’ve seen him 5 or 6 times. He’s so good! And I’ve been listening to this song since last summer and hearing the song this morning got both Chris and I so excited for summer. We cannot wait to just blast this song on a July Saturday night :)

We’ve got another hour of being lazy and then we’re off to Home Depot to buy more bricks. Chris is completing the path that he started last weekend and I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing. It’s supposed to be 70-80 degrees here which I will not believe until I feel it but I’m thinking if that really happens I’m scrounging up a beach towel and laying out in the yard in my bikini and reading a book. I’m also hoping to get a run in. Crossing my fingers my legs are up for it. And then tonight we have a bday dinner for a friend at a brewery downtown.

Shaping up to be a nice little Saturday :) Hopefully everyone else is enjoying the start to their weekend as much as I am?

We bought a spin bike!

We bought it over the weekend and I rode it for the 1st time today.  Um, can I tell you how much I love just rolling out of my bed and stumbling into the guest room to get my cardio in?  It’s fantastic.  I rode for 45 minutes and did some steady riding with moderate resistance and then I did some interval training… I alternated around but usually a minute hard with a minute recovery – some of that was sitting and some was standing.  At the end of 45 min I was super sweaty and I think my legs will be sore later.

Chris putting it together

Love (PS the guest room is the temporary home until we sell the futon and clean out the office).

A couple notes –

1. I couldn’t figure out how to lower the seat and since it was 5am and Chris was still sleeping I didn’t want to wake him up to ask.  So I did this workout with the seat a tad bit higher than I normally would like it.  Not bad, but I think I could get a slightly better workout once I learn how to lower it one notch.

2.  Somehow I got ready for work 15 min earlier than normal even though after my bike ride I was in the shower at my normal time.  Maybe it was all the workout endorphins that got me moving faster?

3. Music videos have gotten weird.  I watched a few snippets of the news but most of my time was spent flipping between VH1 and MTV.  Um, creepy things were flashing across my TV screen this morning – weird robots, space ships, bloody crucifixions?  I get trying to be artsy but some of this stuff was just plain disturbing (even though the songs seemed relatively normal when I hear them on the radio).  This just furthered my reasoning that Country music is the best music of all time…nice wholesome videos with stories.  Too bad we don’t get CMT in the guest room.

Speaking of country music, here’s one of my favorites right now – doesn’t it just get you excited for summer?

Better in a mason jar

Did you know I almost named this blog “Jars of Mason?”  Yup, even had the URL and everything.  See, I love mason jars.  I know they’re pretty trendy right now but I’ve loved them forever.  Seriously.  I’m not just saying that so it looks like I’m not jumping on the vintage train bandwagon.  I ate homemade canned peaches and strawberry jam when I was little and since then they’ve always reminded me of good things.  Now, I’ll admit we had them at our wedding as decorations, but we also actually served beer and wine in them (16 oz for beer, 8 oz jars for wine… however things got a little nuts when people started using the beer jars for wine but that’s another story).  Speaking of beer, any bar that serves it in a mason jar automatically gets a gold star.

Because we had quite a few jars leftover from the wedding they’ve actually become our primary cups/glasses/drinking jars and I love it.  Not sure what it is exactly but something about drinking out of a mason jar is just better (not to mention, glass jars do not contain BPA)  Not sure if it’s the thickness of the rim or what.  But they make the beverage that much more enjoyable which is especially helpful when drinking water.  We all know you’re suppose to drink at least 64oz of water a day (8 glasses @ 8oz each) and I’ve found I crush that amount by drinking out of my jar.  See, I carry around a 32 oz jar everywhere! I have one at home and one at work.  And trust me, I’ve gotten my fair share of strange looks (and plenty of comments about moonshine) when I walk into a meeting carrying a giant jar of water.  But it works.  My goal is always to drink 3 jars at work and 1 jar at home for a total of 120+ oz of water and I’m pretty good about hitting it.  And while people initially thought it was strange, I’ve brought jars in to at least 3 of my coworkers and even Chris brought one to work to drink from.  You can also make them portable by putting on the canning jar lids (and now this company is selling plastic lids but I haven’t bought into this, feels too hipsterish for me).  The only place I don’t take them is to the gym, glass and workout equipment makes me nervous.

Water

Anyway, over the weekend I made smoothies for 4 people instead of 2 and we didn’t have enough of our normal magic bullet cups so I poured them into mason jars and I’m pretty sure the smoothie instantly tasted better.  Seriously.  There is just something about mason jars.  This is our standard smoothie right now, I checked my recipes and realized I haven’t posted this one yet.  So tasty and about 30 grams of protein.

Peanut Butter Blueberry Smoothie:
Mix the below together.  Pour into a mason jar. Serves 1.

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup plain, non fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c protein plus peanut flour
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax meal

PB Blueberry smoothie

And because mason jars make me think about all things country and I also referenced moonshine in this post, thought I’d share a song by my favorite country artist Jake Owen all about (apple pie) moonshine. Hope you love this song as much as I do.