Monday, March 30, 2009


1. So I finally found something that I don't like about my Nike+. I calibrated it using my slow stride. Now that I'm kicking it out, it doesn't recognize that I'm taking longer steps and therefore going farther. I've mapped out my runs on Map My Run, so I know I'm doing more than what Nike is telling me. Grr. I bet I've lost a couple miles in total over the last month. I know, I know, the simple solution would be to recalibrate but it's a pain in the tush.

2. I totally just had a sliver of apple pie from Julian Pie Company. Seriously, just a sliver, one inch in width. I can now die either exceptionally happy or I can be angry with myself for caving in to my sweet craving. Julian, for those not in SoCal, is a great little town known for their apple harvest and the resulting pies and cider. Rachel Ray, she devil that she is, said that JPC was the best pie maker in Julian so we stopped by on our way out of Joshua Tree. All I can say is OMG why can't I stuff more of the delicious pie in my pie hole? WHY??? Le sigh. The pains of trying to fit into pencil skirts.

3. My skin. What. The. F. I have had slightly oily, clogged pore-y, rarely get a blemish skin since age 13. Because I have sensitive skin (Oh God, Retinol gave me a really bad chemical burn) I have been using Aveeno's Positively Radiant cleansing pads and Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30. True to form, it has totally sopped up my excess oil and my face looks brilliant. ...Or does it? If I just use concealer, I look awesome. If I try to add my beloved Philosophy The Supernatural mineral foundation, my chin becomes so dry that I have dandruff-sized flakes coming off. Gross, I know. I love my mineral foundation, so I don't know what I can do about the dryness. I moisturize about every other hour at work and it still looks bad. Grr.

Other Aveeno products that I heart: the Moisturizing Bar which smells like fresh baked oatmeal bread takes off my makeup in the shower and doesn't dry out my skin. It is, unfortunately, a bar. I hate bar soap. I wish they would make a liquid version - I'd stock up! I also love, love, love, Aveeno's Continuous Protection Sunblock for the face with SPF 70. Yes, I said 70. It's the strongest SPF I've found that doesn't cause my face to burn, doesn't run into my eyes, and doesn't cause me to break out, the three factors I look for in sunblock. Now that I'm running outside I want to make sure I'm protecting my face. I don't want to look like the Crypt Keeper when I hit 50. I should probably wear more than my current SPF 30 on my body but so far it seems to work. I was outside for about 8 hours in really strong sun in Joshua tree and I didn't even turn pink. Score!

4. DH bought me fleurs because I was a great wifey last week. I heart him. I heart fleurs. I loves him, big time. *squee* I love being married to my best friend.

5. Because of my inability to remember what is in the fridge, and DH's desire to buy the groceries this week, we now have four dozen eggs. Good thing I love egg whites. DH was so cute when he said he was going to Albertsons while I took at shower this evening. He literally danced around like a gay, ice dancer imitating a My Little Pony because he was (and I quote) "Going to buy everything I like to eat!" Note: I do 90-95% of the grocery shopping and cooking in our family. As such, DH has to eat my "healthy" veggie dinners 90% of the time. He was so excited because he was going to make meatballs (real meatballs) and burgers and chicken. Poor thing, I didn't realize how much he missed meat. *shrug* I think DH's ex ruined him for vegetarian eating - he now hates tofu and beans. He is also not into salad. I've got to figure out some veggie meals that fill him up enough so that he doesn't miss meat so much. Or maybe I cave and start eating meat a couple times a week. I don't know, time will tell...

Yom, yom, yom

So my bestest friend, N, who has been mentioned on the blog before. (We were college roommates and she was one of my MOHs.) N has started a blog Cupcakes with Nic, that is totally adorable. She literally just started it, and has already made my mouth water with strawberry cupcakes and OMG CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH CUPCAKES. OMG. I think she needs to start a mail-order business so that I can "support" her through massive cupcake binges. Because I'm a good friend like that.
So anywho, go visit her blog and leave her some encouragement or flavors of cupcakes that you'd like to see. Yom, yom, yom <--cookie, er, cupcake monster sound.

Joshua Tree

Sorry for the lack of posting lately - I've been a busy bee. This weekend we went with a bunch of my work friends on a camping trip to Joshua Tree. The camp grounds in the park were full so we ended up "roughing it" in a dry lake bed. It was a great set up until the quads and dirt bikes started up each morning at oh-dark-hundred! :)

Here's the gang, minus E. (The evenings were below freezing and poor E didn't have enough equipment or body fat to keep warm. She ended up snuggling with rocks from the fire and didn't want to do it for another night.)
Tent city. Notice that we didn't have any "facilities." It was definitely pack in, carry out. Ew. Thank goodness for baby wipes and antibacterial gel! Also, please notice the ah-mah-zing fire pit that N put together on Friday night. Sah-weet.
We went to Quail's Nest to climb on Saturday morning. I had never climbed outside so I was totally freaking out. Not only did I have to make sure that I got up, I had to do it in front of everyone! And I was also in charge of tying everyone in at the bottom while DH belayed from the top. No pressure or anything. Just keeping my friends safe, that's all. This is J heading up.
Here are some really unflattering shots of me climbing. Note to self: never climb again in shorts. Capris or pants from here on out. There's a whole lotta white thigh on show. (You know what's even more sad about these photos? I actually have self-tanner on. I'm that white.)
Good form, bad shorts.
And...finally at the top.
Look at DH, he was so proud of me. Hells bells, I was proud of me! Notice my Obama fist bump. Woo!
The ladies, E, me, A and S, at the bottom while the boys played on top.
N, DH and J at the top. My boy is so cute. *gush* There's something about men wearing climbing gear...growl. S on his first climb. The poor guy couldn't get out of the dang crevice!

S, who was a total champ. She's about 5'1 and was doing moves that her 6'3 hubby had trouble reaching. I'm looking very serious. And double-chinny. Why don't I have someone who photoshops me in all of my pictures?
D!!! She's like my work momma - totally wonderful, caring, and supportive no matter what you do. Oh, and she cooks like the Gods. I was totally proud of her for climbing, even though she was totally nervous.
N, A's hubby. We should rename him Billy Goat, he's that good. He's also the reason DH was so rough on Sunday morning - N packed Sailor Jerry and Jamisons and the boys killed both bottles. Ay ya!
And the ladies had fun with light photography while the boys drank.
The whole trip was awesome. Everyone was easy-going, adventerous, and up for anything. I feel bad that so many people sacrificed their bodies while climbing. Let's just say that there were a lot of bleeding knees and cases of rock rash (me included!). It makes me all warm and fuzzy that everyone now wants to come to the climbing gym with me and DH so that they'd improve for our next trip. Yay!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A good weekend

1. I won Flamingos and Flip Flop's ETP giveaway - Yippee! I love monograms and stationery so this is the perrrfecto thing for me to win. Thanks FaFF!!

2. Cooking Light is my go-to recipe site. Normally it's fantastic. Friday night's recipe, Enchilada Pie, was an epic fail so we ended up at our favorite Thai place. Yummo.

3. Saturday I had a deep-tissue massage. Ow. Ow. OWOWOWOW. (For those who don't know, deep tissue isn't a "relaxing" massage - it's deep, hard, and breaks down scar tissue.) Basically, you get the cr@p beat out of you. But it's very good for you and about three to four days later you feel fantastic. Still, I was an idiot and went climbing for two hours on Sunday with DH. Combine that along with my tender-to-the-touch back and legs, and it was a hard workout. AND because I'm an idiot, I went for a run after going climbing. Every step was painful because my legs were so tender. Oops. Won't be doing that again.

4. DH and I went to our friend K's house on Saturday for an app and wine night. DH and I made two types of pigs in a blanket - British (bacon wrapped) and American (pastry wrapped). The guests votes and I'm sad to say that the British type was more popular. Actually, I have to agree - anything with bacon tastes better. I think what pushed DH's win over the edge was his fabulous spicy tomato dipping sauce. SO good.

5. I've just noticed that I'm over 100 miles on my Nike+ since Christmas! Yay! For a gal who could barely run .5 of a mile in November, I feel pretty good. :)

6. Last night DH and I had a date at Cafe Sevilla in Gaslamp. It's the cutest tapas bar I've ever been in. And the sangria was flooowing. Mmm. They feature a lot of live music and teach salsa a couple nights a week. We'll definitely be back, even if it's just to indulge my craving for their black mussles in red wine.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Queen's Uni

I lived in Belfast, Northern Ireland while I pursued an MS in European Integration at Queen's University Belfast. You're probably wondering how I ended up there.

Well, I was a poli sci and European studies double major at Vanderbilt. The director of the European Studies program asked me Senior year what I was going to do after graduation. When I said I had no idea, he told me about the Euro Integration programs available in Europe. Figuring that another year of school for another degree wouldn't hurt, I applied to a ten schools and got into eight of them.
The year went very fast and before I knew it, I was back in DC with a whole bunch of degrees. I stuck out one year as a software analyst before moving to my current role. Surprisingly, I do use the knowledge and skills from my degrees in my job. Not many people can say that, eh? :)
All of these absolutely beautiful pictures of Belfast are from flickr user gerard1972.
Have fun tonight. Be safe. Drink up.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dear Easter Bunny,

I know that you like to send me lots of these for Easter:

But this year I'd love one of these (any color, size XL because compression is, well, tight):
Under Armour TNP T or Under Armour Action Raceback

Or even this:
Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred

I will miss you, Cadbury Bunny. Perhaps one day I will be able to enjoy your sugary goodness again but not this year.
Hello lovelies,

I had a song from about 10,000 years ago pop up on my ipod this morning: Into the Fire by Thirteen Senses. Just give this gorgeous, lovely song a listen and try to be in a bad mood. It's like aural prozac (in a really good way):

In other news, I was talked into signing up for the Race for Literacy 8K in May, the largest race of its length in the US. It is supposed to be a fast, easy course starting in Balboa and winding its way down the 163 into downtown. I've never raced before so I'm half excited, half terrified. I mean, look at these people - they're runners:

Pure terror of looking like an idiot has made me move from running on the treadmill to kickin' it outdoors. Funny thing: I'm not up to running the 5 miles that I do in the gym (I'm keeping it at an easy 3 miles for the next week or so), however, despite all the distractions (wind, waiting for traffic lights or trains, etc...), my pace per mile has dropped?! The big guy upstairs definitely loves me. Thanks, dude! Whoop!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tahoe ski trip

Yes, yes, I know that I'm a lazy blogger. It's hard to get back into the swing of things after a vacation, no?

Tahoe was wonderful. We had a four day blizzard that left up to 8' (you read that right eight freaking feet!) of powder at the top of the mountains. We stayed in Incline at our friend J's condo. Her condo is BEAUTIFUL and probably the best place we've ever stayed during skiing.

The week started off with me jumping on the coastliner up to LA where DH picked me up. He had a meeting North of LA so it made more sense for me to come up than for him to back-track for a couple of hours.

DH and I drove until 1am, finally stopping in Apricot Valley. When we went to breakfast the next morning we were buzzed overhead by a small plane. Like, right over head. Like, it's going to crash if it doesn't pull up RIGHT NOW. The plane went soaring overhead and DH and I figured out that it was crop dusting the 50 miles of apricot orchards. So that's why it smells so good around here!

We then made our way up to Sacramento where we picked J up from the airport. We drove the rest of the way into Tahoe and unloaded everything. We had a quiet night in so that we'd acclimate to the altitude and we'd be fresh for skiing in the morning. The condo had lots of games and they became a regular feature. In fact - here's the scrabble board that saw lots of action:

Notice anything fun about it? It's hard to see but one of the words played on the board is "inkjet." Which isn't actually a word. Lots of laughing about that one. Nice going, Hasbro.

Sunday through Thursday we had snow, snow, and more snow. Here's what the tree outside the condo looked like after a couple of hours:

Nice, no?

Sunday we did an easy day at Mt. Rose. It's a smaller resort but still top notch. J and DH skied for the week while I snowboarded. They were definitely patient with me since I'm no where near as fast as they are. Fo serious, they are speedy while I'm trying not to go soaring off the edge of cliffs.

Here's J at the top of Mt Rose. Pretty, no? I have to give Tahoe props for being beautiful. Too bad I didn't get to look most of the time. (Please reference above statement about avoiding cliffs.)

J, on one of our warm ups. Here's the big difference I find between snowboarding and skiing. Skiing on a flat is easy. You just cruise. Snowboarding on a flat is terrifying. You either have to squat down to keep your speed up or you stop. But if you go too fast, it's very, very difficult to bite in and check your speed. Also, if you're not perfectly flat, you catch and edge and face plant in the snow. Going down steep stuff on a snowboard is a hell of a lot easier than the flats, IMHO. (Can you tell how much I hate flats? Heavenly has like a two mile, flat ridge run. It was HELL. HELL! I was extremely envious of DH and J who got to cruise on down, admiring the view. Grr.)
Action shots. Still at Mt. Rose. I think this was one of the first runs we did. At least I hope so, I'm looking rather stiff.

Get out of the way DH!!
I think this was at Heavenly. I assure you, it was a heck of a lot steeper than it looks from the photo. It was also extremely bumpy - woo hoo! I can't tell you how many times I went flying off some of those bumps. My knees were killing me in the evenings after their many days of acting like shock absorbers!All of the snow made for insane powder on the mountains. It also made visibility pretty dang poor. Groomed runs were fantastic and super fun but ungroomed trails - U.G.H. I sort of had a mini-melt down on our second or third day in the blizzard. I got separated from J and DH. We all thought the two trails would merge. They didn't. So while they made their way down a nice, powdery, groomed run (which still wasn't easy - that's how much powder was falling!), I made my way through an ungroomed TERRAIN PARK! Terrifying! Besides being too heavy to gracefully plow my way through the thigh-deep powder, the visibility was really really bad. I had fogging issues and the snow was blowing straight in my face.

The FIRST time I accidentally went over on of the park's jumps I practically had a heart attack. You see, I've never jumped before, and I certainly wasn't trying to. I was actually quite scared because NO ONE was coming down the trail due to its ungroomed status. The SECOND jump I went over I fell -hard- and landed next to a tree. That was really, really scary. I could have died, people. I could. have. died. I eventually made my way out of the park and down to the lodge. DH ran up and started yelling at me that he had been calling my cell phone for 30 min and was about to send ski patrol up for me. I pretty much lost it at that point and explained that he had good reason to since I just made my way through a freaking TERRAIN PARK! I'm not too proud to say that I sniffled a bit at that point. Anywho, I have learned my lesson. 1. Never get seperated from your group. 2. Don't go down ungroomed terrain. 3. Carry a cell phone, even if you're worried about it getting wet a/o squished.

Was this next pic at Northstar? I have no idea. Northstar was the wettest day I have ever snowboarded through. Goretex was completely useless. My boots, being leather, were completely soaked through and I lost all feeling in my feet. I remember thinking that I was going to lose a toe. (Have I mentioned my severe hypocondria?) Oo, oo, I have to mention my snazzy new mittens in the above photo. THEY ARE THE GREATEST MITTENS EVER MADE. I LOVE YOU, BURTON!! I have problematic circulation in my fingers and toes. Seriously, they're icy cold even in summer. So you can imagine how much it sucks to be in really cold weather. Well, these mittens come with great liners, are completely waterproof (you'd be surprised how many "waterproof" gloves I've gone through), and feature pockets for hand warmers. Thanks to these Burton babies, I had warm fingers for the first time in my life. Add to the fact that they were 30% off at a Tahoe ski shop and you have a very happy Elliott. Plus, they're plaid!

Looking at these photos I'm realizing that I wear way too much charcoal colored clothing. My helmet (I can't believe people ski without helmets. 1. They keep you safe. 2. They keep you warm. 'nuf said.), my turtlefur neck warmer, my jacket and pants. I really should try to add some color. That being said, I bought my jacket and pants at the same time and they're the bomb-diggity. They're made by 626 and they snap together to prevent the dreaded snow-down-the-butt. Maybe I'll invest in a new jacket if we take a long vacation again next year.

There wasn't much nightlife in Tahoe, unfortunately. So after days at Mt Rose, Northstar, Heavenly, and Diamond Peak, we'd build a fire, drink baileys and wine, and chill out. J's condo had AMAZINGLY comfy shaker chairs. I couldn't get DH out of them!
Is that the face of a contented man, or what? :)

We did find an amazing little restaurant in Incline Village called Bite. I'd be super happy with Bite if it was in San Diego, much less in a little strip mall in Tahoe! The menu is "American tapas" which translates into Ahi sliders, baby mac and cheese, and delicious coconut chicken. All of the little plates we ordered were DELICIOUS. I also give props to the chef for using local produce in his menu. Oh, oh, and if you go there - make sure to get a Ginger Julep with Makers Mark and ginger syrup. OMG - yummy, yummy, yummy.

Anywho, that's pretty much our week. Skiing, snow, lots of powder. Oh, and the most phallic fountain I have ever seen.