Happy girls are the prettiest girls

2.29.2012

Mid week check in

Well hello again! I think I have developed an aversion to blogging in the last few weeks. I feel like it is because I don't have much going on, so anything I write will be boring. Is it just me, or do you ever feel like that too?

This week is a little different from what has become my usual routine. I took a week long temporary afternoon nanny job, so I've been hanging out with some cute kiddos after school. I feel bad for their family, as their previous nanny up and quit on them, without any notice at all, and they are left scrambling now. I am glad I could help fill in this week and make life a little easier for them. I have a feeling I may be needed again soon if they don't find someone to fill in. Fine by me, as it's money in my pocket doing something fun with my afternoons. 

I've been slacking on my workouts this week. Last week was stellar for me, seeing as I ran over 20 miles, got in a 10 mile bike ride, went to the gym for a killer workout, and hiked, all in 5 days time. This week I ran 9 miles on Monday, and couldn't drag myself out of bed Tuesday or today to do anything productive. It may have something to do with the weather changing from wonderful mid 70's to 50's and rain this week. Boo. I did make waffles today though {not helping my lack of workouts for sure!} Tonight I have a date with the gym...I think.

Oh! Something that is exciting in my life right now, is that I have tickets to the midnight showing of the Hunger Games movie on opening night!! I will be seeing it in IMAX with a bunch of other THG fans, and I can't wait. I feel like doing my hair and makeup to look like Effie Trinket, and I've thought about getting a full on costume together as well, but I may just make a t-shirt instead to be a little more discreet. 

Are you a fan of the Hunger Games? 
Do you go to midnight showings of movies you are excited about? 
Do you ever slack off with your workouts after being on fire for awhile? 

May the odds be EVER in your favor.

2.24.2012

Making my way to you

"It seems right now that all I’ve ever done in my life is making my way here to you."
--Bridges of Madison County


2.23.2012

Odds and ends

"All runners, while running, are good company. When everybody's wearing silly shorts and sweating and farting and smelling like mobile sachets of locker-room sweat, there's no  room for pretense." --Peter Sagal, NPR host and Runner's World columnist

Loved that quote when I read it in the February 2012 RW. It completely resonated with me today, as I slogged through a grueling 4.5 miles on my fourth day in a row of running. My infallible running buddy, Chris, had once again showed up to run with me when everyone else stayed home. He may be over 6 feet, but he matches my much shorter legs' speed like a champ. We always have something to talk about, and he has lots of insights about running, life, and business that I appreciate very much. I am quite thankful to have many wonderful running buddies to wear silly shorts, sweat and fart and stink with. It's one of the nicest things about running, the communal aspect. Wouldn't you agree?

One of the things Chris and I talked about today while I shuffled along was what, if there were no limitations, would we like to accomplish for good in this world? His answer, to somehow inspire others to a healthier lifestyle. My answer, to somehow inspire women to see their true beauty, without the clouded vision of what our culture says is the ideal. He said I win for most difficult dream. 

This week I thought I would up my running game a bit, so I did my long run of 8 miles on Monday, my regular 7am 5 miler on Tuesday, hit the hiking trail for a slower hilly 4.75 mile run on Wednesday, and as mentioned, the 4.5 miles today. I was very ambitious this week, and I finally got over 20 miles in, which is very ambitious of me! I think I will take tomorrow off of running, and maybe hit the bike instead.  

Now that I no longer have a weekday job, I am finding it hard to know what to do with myself. I've been staying very active in an effort to not become a couch potato. Or spend any of the money I am no longer making. Running and biking get me out of the house, and I've been staying off the computer as much as possible to not tempt me to become glued to the couch cushions. This sadly is keeping from my blog...although I've had little to blog about. 

As a true housewife, I should be keeping a  tidy house {it sort of is!}, making all sorts of Pinterest recipes for dinner, and getting all crafty with some DIY projects. Maybe I'll get around to that next week, I'll keep you informed of my housewife progress. 

Anyone pinning any good recipes that they've actually made? 



2.21.2012

lemme know

Hey dolls! Hope you all had a nice relaxing weekend and I'm crossing my fingers you all enjoyed an extra day off for Presidents day. If not, that's a total bummer!

I've been tinkering with the idea of creating a series of how-to videos/photo blogs for hair and makeup. Is this something you guys would like to see? I am completely tech-challenged, so I don't even know where to start for something like this, and I don't know what to focus on initially. 

This is where you come in!! I want to hear what you want to see from me! What kinds of posts would be most beneficial to you? Do you want updo tutorials? How about smokey eyes? Do you know how to make soft beachy waves on yourself, or would you like to see it done here? How about a series on 3 day hair, and how to get away with not washing your hair for a couple of days, but still having it look nice? 

If I even make vlogs or posts about this sort of thing, I want to make sure it's interesting to you, and not just another video on something you've seen a million times on Pinterest, etc. 

Leave me a comment telling me what perks your interest, and if you have any tips on what format to make the post it, I'd love to hear them!

2.18.2012

oatmeal giveaway


My friend Megan from Watch MeGo Run is offering a giveaway on her blog for this fancy pants oatmeal variety pack from Mad Hectic Foods that looks AMAZING! There are 7 gourmet flavors like strawberry pecan and chocolate raspberry, the oats are organic, there are 13-17g of protein per serving, and tons of Omega-3's to keep your body happy. If that doesn't make you want a big bowl of oatmeal, I don't know what will. 
I am a huge oatmeal fan, so this is right up my alley, and I want to WIN, but I am nice enough to share the giveaway info with you so you can have a shot too :)
Just click on this link to take you to Megan's blog post about the giveaway, leave her a comment with what flavor you would want to try, and you are entered!

Don't say I never did anything nice for you!

2.17.2012

Than eternity without it

"I would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss from her mouth, one touch of her hand, than eternity without it."
--City of Angels


2.15.2012

top bun of the mornin' to ya

Well hello, bloggy peeps! I've been a little indisposed from blogging lately, but only because I've been keeping busy. I figured if I stayed away for too long, you would send out a search party or something, so I am back!

How have you all been? Did you have a good Valentine's Day? Mr. B and I don't celebrate because we believe love should be shown every day, not just on a special day, but I get why others do. Instead of overpaying for a prix pix meal or roses, we usually split a bag of Hershey's kisses and continue on our way. 

Yesterday had an entirely new Vday plan, as I headed up to San Francisco to work some hair magic for the fashion installation at the Trendy Lime Gods and Goddesses event at Harlot, a little lounge in the financial district. The fashion designer, Indu Arora, created a line of red dresses to be displayed in the club during the event. There was also a hat maker who created pieces for the models to wear, and they were really cool! One even had a full owl wing on it, while another had a fox skull. Sounds morbid but was really neat. I created a bunch of top buns for the show, since we needed to display the hats, and they were simple enough to bust out in 10 minutes time. I even got to work on dreads and a weave, pretty exciting stuff!

and here are some photos I quickly snapped before I bounced out of that club like a rabbit after a carrot. Because I don't like clubs. Or staying out past my bedtime on a school night.


 Photo on the left you can catch a hat with some "torched 45's" adorning it
 Little blonde chic had a super short bob haircut, but I managed to fake a top bun even on her. Skills yo. 

There were even some dude models rocking the togas. Tall girl in the front is rocking the wing hat!

2.12.2012

Hiking with Marlo...and a vlog!

This week I rediscovered the wonderful hiking trails in the Almaden Quicksilver park very near my house. I guess they could be running trails also. If you're a masochist that enjoys lots of hills. I don't like running hills, but I do like hiking them! 

While researching Mount Umunhum for this post last week, I found out that San Francisco Bay Area, where I live, has over 1.1 million acres of public open space preserves. That means we got a whole lot of hiking and nature-y stuff around all the suburbia and urban space we live in. I sort of feel like I've been cheating myself by sticking to my usual creek trails when I run, as there are so many other options available near me. 

I did a quick 2 mile trail with Nicole on Wednesday, and decided to take Marlo on the same trail on Friday. This was Marlo's first ever hike, and though she really isn't built for it, she made it, albeit slowly!
 Marlo was panting and tongue lolling the entire time. I mean, in the car on the ride to the trail even! She was just so excited to have her harness on and go for a ride in the car that she worked herself up. She wouldn't listen when I told her to conserve her energy for the actual hike haha
 The Quicksilver mines trails are gorgeous. They are through chaparral forests with lots of California Live Oaks, Sage brush, and Bay trees. Oh, and lots of poison oak, which is super prevalent right now.
 Our dog ordinances say all dogs must be kept on-leash except in specific areas...Marlo was technically on leash here, just walking herself!
 These are some of the views from the top of this particular hike. Top photo shows some of the downtown and east San Jose area. The bottom photo shows my area of south San Jose.
 There was a small herd of deer on the trail at one point. Marlo got very interested and wanted to check things out. They got scared and bounded away before we got too close. The plaque tells about some of the Quicksilver mining operations that were prevalent from 1863-1926 in my area. There were tons of Cinnabar/Quicksilver mines in operation during that time, and some of the chimneys, furnaces, mine shafts, barns and even a cemetery are still around today!
 This information sign lets visitors know about the remaining furnace towers on the trail we were on. 
 These are 3 furnace chimney ash collector things from the El Senador mines.
 The old barn was not a part of the mining operation, but it's still cool to see as the park entrance. Marlo was too tired to sit on the passenger seat, so she laid down on the floor instead!

And for anyone who stuck around through this post, my first VLOG!!!! Nothing special, just a quick panorama of my home town from the top of our hike, and a little glimpse of my goofiness :)


2.10.2012

Your heart is free

"Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it."
--Braveheart


sausage and potato gratin

There is something special about comfort food. I know you are all saying "well, obviously Adrian, or it wouldn't be called comfort food!" 

Bear with me here. 

Food evokes so many emotions from us; from the feeling of home, to memories of celebrations, and of course happiness. I love me some food, and give me some awesome comfort food and I am good to go. Unfortunately, those of us who are watching what we eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle often have a hard time finding a balance of healthy and comfort. Thankfully, there are publications like Cooking Light magazine who hear the plight of the dieter and come to the rescue. CL created a lightened up version of what they call "home fries meets casserole", and I was hooked. What's not to like about that description? Do you all subscribe to the magazine, or use their online recipe database? You should! 

Much to Billy's delight, I made this lovely recipe the other night. At first he wasn't sure about this dish, because he had thought the potato chunks were pineapple. Of course pineapple and potato are a crazy taste difference to reconcile, but after that disconcerting start he was all for it! It's such a hearty, tasty meal and would be awesome for the cold weather some of you folks are experiencing in other parts of the country, and Canada {holla!!}. 

I adapted this recipe from Cooking Light magazine to work with what I had on hand. My recipe turned out super awesome, and I am sure the original recipe is just as good. 

I had mushrooms in my fridge, but couldn't use them as planned. Did you know mushrooms can grow mold? How do fungi grow mold?? I was baffled, but still couldn't use the mushrooms. I will next time! I had also planned on putting in a couple handfuls of spinach, but forgot until after the cheese was on. Again, something I will add in round two.
Cooking Light pic on the left, my version pre-cheese on the right

Chicken Sausage and Potato Gratin

Ingredients:
1 lb pkg sweet Italian chicken sausage, casings removed {I used Trader Joe's}
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 lbs red potatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash fiesta lime seasoning
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup shredded Mexican style cheese

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Heat large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and saute, stirring to crumble for about 5 minutes. Remove sausage from pan, drain and wipe pan with paper towel.
  3. Melt butter in pan. Add onion, saute for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. 
  4. Add potatoes, salt, pepper, and seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally or until potatoes are browned.
  5. Stir in sausage and broth. Remove from heat. Pour mixture into a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray {I used a large oval corning wear dish}. Top with cheese, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden. 

2.06.2012

Almaden Lake and Mount Umunhum

One of my favorite places to run, and also conveniently located very close to my house, is Almaden Lake park. The trails that run near my place lead right to one end of the lake, and then another set pick up on the other side and go for miles. No matter the weather, time of of year or day, I can always count on a beautiful view, pretty scenery, lots of people and animals, and an open bathroom when needed ;)
Summer 2010 at the lake
December 2010 sunset at the lake
January 2012 midday at the lake. That little patch of beach on the far right is where I entered and exited the water for my triathlon last year. 

Can you tell I have a favorite view of the lake? If you notice in the background on the highest rounded peak there is a tiny little box like thing. That is actually Mount Umunhum, {sounds like "um-eh-num"} and the 5-story concrete radar tower at the old and now defunct Almaden Air force station which closed in 1980. I linked the Wiki article, and this page tell you everything you would want to know about this little gem of San Jose history that can be seen all over the Silicon Valley.
{Via}
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{Aside} When I was in high school, we used to share rumors that there was an albino colony in the Los Gatos mountains below Mount Umunhum, and all of the creepy stories that came out of that area about witches, skinned cats, and dead bodies being found off of Hicks road that leads to the top. I have no idea if any of these rumors and stories were true or even if they had a base in fact, but they gave me the creeps and there is only a handful of times I went up to the top. Driving Hicks road at night makes my skin crawl, and people SWEAR they see things that probably aren't there. There was even an indie movie made about Hicks road! It's pretty eerie to tell you the truth, and I never made it all the way to the radar tower, just to the fenced off area restricting the base from visitors. The only rumors that are in fact true are the stories of the marijuana farm raids in 2005, 2006, and 2007. The 2006 raid left one grower dead, and during the 2007 raid they burned the crops so the whole valley stank of pot for awhile!!
I digress...back to beautiful little Almaden Lake!
{Via}
Seriously, who takes amazing photos like this?? Obviously not me! Via
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I am incredibly blessed to live in such a beautiful place that maintains a mostly mild climate year round. Take Sunday's 70F temps! Can't beat the mid 60's we have been having for weeks now. 
Eat your heart out, everywhere else!

2.03.2012

My last day

Today is my last day as a nanny for the family I have been with for over 4 years. It has been incredibly bitter-sweet for me the last two weeks, since I put in my notice. It's hard to leave people you consider family, have watched grow up, and have been through so much with. I know I have made the right decision for myself at this particular time, but it doesn't stop me from second guessing my choices and wondering "what if?". Over the last 4 years I have often had to think about the family's needs over my own, as they were my employers, and I sometimes wondered if my small sacrifices made a difference. 

I am very much a Type A person, a control freak, and I love knowing what the future holds and make plans far in advance. When you work for a family of two parents with very different lifestyles and work schedules, and two kids with different activities and abilities,  you will learn a great deal about flexibility, patience, and how to go with the flow. Schedules are rarely the same from week to week, and there will be many unexpected changes that come out of nowhere. The most important things I will take away from this work experience are learning how to be flexible when needed and to accept changes on the fly, even when that goes against the very grain of who I  am. 

I hold this family very close to my heart. I've made incredible relationships with each of them, and will miss these kiddos terribly. I've been awfully sentimental this week, lamenting that Bryn has grown so tall and is looking much too old now, and how both kids have matured so much since I met them when they were little 3rd and 4th graders. Looking at the 7th and 8th graders in front of me now is such a trip. I've definitely been sympathetic to the kid to pre-teen to teen changes and challenges, working on my patience when they unintentionally lashed out, because they were dealing with crazy new hormones surging through their bodies. I've listened to as much as they were willing to tell me about what is going on in their lives, hoping to be a willing ear, and offered as much encouragement and advice as they would listen to. 

To continue my sentimentality this week, I wanted to post photos and let you know what I will miss most about these two supper awesome young people who have made my life so fun the last 4 years.

My Bryn-ita chicita bonita
The coolest Kobe
Kobe's 5th grade graduation
Our fun trips to amusement parks with friends
The funny things they let me do with their hair
The super coolness of them both
Bryn and Kobe, never change! You are both wonderful people, with amazing hearts and so much potential to do great things in this life. I wish you both the best, from the very core of my being, and I cannot wait to see what you both accomplish! I will never be far, you can always look to me if you need to talk, want to hang out, or need ANYTHING!





The fire in our hearts

The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. That’s what I hope to give you forever.
--The Notebook

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