One

This Sunday marks the one year anniversary of my blog. This past year has certainly been a great one: I learned a lot about myself, got engaged, moved, became a godmother, and lost someone very important to me.

Thank you all for hanging out with me on this crazy ride. Strap yourselves in, because this one is sure to be a crazy one as well!

Happy Friday. Best wishes for a happy and fun-filled weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

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Mountainous Majesty

The JA and I took a mini-vacation earlier this week to Rocky Gap Resort & Spa. If you don’t want to read the whole post for some reason, here’s the gist:
It.was.so.nice.

I felt a bit like I was in ‘Dirty Dancing.’ The resort has an account system for each room and were able to charge everything to that. While booking the trip, we arranged to get Back, Neck & Shoulder massages at the Spa in addition to prepaid vouchers for one breakfast and one dinner during our stay.

The first day of our trip, we settled into the room and then went out exploring. After our excursion to Rockburn Branch Park, we knew we wanted to do some hiking. Hike we did – 5 miles on the Lakeside Loop trail.

raspberries!

I’m not going to sugar coat it, at times, it was rough. We made it through with good conversation and a bit of humor. When we finally returned to the resort, we quickly washed up and headed out to dinner outside – finishing the night with toasted marshmallows and some wine by the lake.

The second day, we woke up at a decent hour for being on vacation and went to the dining room for breakfast. Nothing special to report there. Since there was little time before our massages, we headed straight to the Spa for our individual massages. In the week prior, I slept wrong and formed a crick in my neck. Let me tell you, it was worked out and then some. The icing on the cake was a warm towel placed on my back at the end. Heaven.

The rest of the day was spent lounging outside and paddle boating around the lake. Another sneaky workout but, boy, paddle boating isn’t easy! (At least, not the way we were movin’!) By dinnertime, we were famished. Good thing we had those vouchers! Our three course meal left us more than fully satisfied.

Now, I’m no food blogger, so the only photo I took was of our appetizers: Crab and Avocado Brioche and Jumbo Gulf Shrimp. Second course was a shared Pear and Gorgonzola Salad. Main course was a New York strip steak with a small crab cake for him and a filet mignon topped with jumbo lump crab for me. As sides, we both got the mashed potatoes and sautรฉed veggies. The dessert was shared (thankfully!) – we got the cheesecake. Each course was well prepared, excellently timed and, most importantly, delicious!

That was it! We were blessed with gorgeous weather, a faulty internet connection and time away from Baltimore – exactly what we both needed ๐Ÿ™‚

Now it’s back to the grind. I’ve got an event to coordinate, a co-worker’s last day, and a bridal weekend for which to prepare!

Olympic Madness

The increasing hype surrounding the 2012 Summer Olympics in London hit a high in my household last night. The U.S. time trials for swimming were broadcast and, as a Baltimorean, the main draw for me was the Michael Phelps/Ryan Lochte match up. Earlier this week, Lochte won the 400 individual medley (IM) and the two matched up for the 200M freestyle semifinal last night. Lochte won that match up, too!

credit: The Associated Press

Watching the Olympics, especially the Summer Olympics, makes me feel like a kid. I first saw the commercials last week and made sure to set a reminder to write a post about the pride, patriotism, and general feelings the Olympics evoke in me. It’s just something about watching our players, the best of the best, compete against others of equal caliber. The talent and technique that is shown blows me away. Most times, they make it look so easy! You never know what’s going to happen, who might take the gold with one move. It’s just so magical to me.

After a few days on a mini-vacation (more about that later on this week), watching the trials was a nice way to continue the good feeling that vacation tends to instill in you. It was relaxing, rejuvenating, and all-around exciting. GO USA!

What’s one thing that never fails to make you feel like a kid again?

Book Review: The Happiness Project

Synopsis (from back book cover):Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The says are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom for the ages, current scientific research, and lesson from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.

My Thoughts:
After having this book recommended to me by not only one of my best friends but also a Book Club member, I decided to give it a go. For all the hype, I have to say I was a bit disappointed.

The book provides an outline regarding tactics that Rubin believed would make her happier. She divided them up into categories and tackled a different category each month. The book itself was a slower read for me, but I think it’s only because I was getting inspired to make lists and small changes in my life. She adds the caveat that since everyone is different, her strategy might not work for everyone and each of us will have our own areas of improvement. Some of her ideas were certainly very relevant to me – others, not so much.

While it did prove to be an interesting read, it’s a book that certainly isn’t as ‘easy’ as it seemed. I found that perusing the blog associated with the book was much more my speed and gave more ideas for one’s own happiness project than the book itself.

Foiled

Last night, I came home after a very sweaty Barre Fusion class all ready to make some cupcakes. I knew I had all the ingredients but when I went to look for cupcake liners, there were none to be found. I swear we got some as part of an engagement present but either they’re hiding from me or my highlights are affecting my memory. (I’m convinced they are in a corner somewhere and will magically appear once I buy more.)

I could have gone out to get some but by the time I changed, ran to the store and back and actually made the cupcakes, it would be about 10p. Too late for this chickadee to be putzing around the kitchen! The other option was to simply made the cupcakes in the tin, but then they’re more like muffins to me. Plus, I use liners for muffins, too.

click image for source

Major bummer. At least today is Friday! I know one thing on my ‘to do’ list this weekend…

Cupcake or muffin? I don’t discriminate but do like icing an awful lot.

Sister, Sister

Last night, after a very fulfilling Book Club meeting, I got the rare chance to talk to Nettifred on the phone. She works a lot and it’s hard to sometimes do more than text. Therefore, I jump at the chance to actually hear her voice. (There is totally something to be said for the power of vocal intonation and laughter.)

Nets and I just get each other. We’re weird as only sisters can be. Evidence: The below picture. One of us said something that elicited the following response.We’re special.

There are times where we disagree.

There are times where we combine forces against our parents.

There are times where we’re thick as thieves.

She’s the one who can tell my mood by a ‘hello.’ The one who told me the JA and I were getting married before I realized it. The one whose okay I wanted when I realized the he was ‘It.’

some days it goes well…

others, not so much

She’s coming into town for a few days the weekend after Fourth of July. It can’t come soon enough. The last time we got quality sister time in was when I visited Durham. I absolutely cannot wait to see her!

Too Late, Cantaloupe Now!

I bought my first cantaloupe of the season this week. After cutting it up, I realized I had way too much on my hands and decided to search for some smoothie recipes. I have a smoothie for breakfast every morning and figured it was the best way to rid myself of the fruit in a timely fashion.

I whipped one together this morning using the following:

2/3 of a small peach, diced and frozen
approx. 1/2 c. cantaloupe, cubed and frozen
1 c. spinach
1 c. milk (probably could have done with 3/4 c.)
1/4 c. protein powder

Delicious (and look at that color)! Yet, it left a little to be desired. I think next time I’ll only freeze one of the fruits instead of both. However, freezing does make a difference in overall smoothie texture – especially when using more watery fruits like melons, peaches and berries.

Unfortunately, that did not help much in depleting my melon supply.

Thank heaven for Google. I quickly entered in cantaloupe recipes and was presented with a few other enticing recipes that may have to make an appearance on my table sometime soon. (As always, click image for source)

Frozen Melon-Margarita Pops

Cucumber Melon Salsa

Cantaloupe Sorbet