Thursday, February 28, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Puppy Love

It's been so fun to hear from all of you who have golden retrievers, have a special place in your heart for goldens or just love seeing the happy faces of goldens!

I'm about to support that love and share some puppy photos from way back (18 months ago) when Bailey was just a young pup.

It's been very weird for our family to compare photos of Bailey to the size that Bella is now and then to think of how quickly Bailey became full grown. Looking back into my camera roll I see the transformation from baby to young adult and feel like time was lost with how it happened so suddenly. This time around I want to make sure that I don't miss Bella's journey from puppy to adult. I have a fancy camera so I might as well get some quality shots this spring while I watch her double in size month after month. Lucky for you guys, you get to follow along with me this time!

I then think about how hard it must be for my brother to only interact with our sisters once every 4-6 months for short amounts of time. This weekend will be very important for all of us to enjoy how sweet and little Bella is before she no longer needs assistance to hop up on the couch but watching her try is the BEST!

This Throwback Thursday is brought to you by adorable puppies and how cute they are as they grow up!

And just like that, our sweet Bailey is full grown (but still 100% puppy). Don't miss out while Bella goes from pup to princess!

<3 JE

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February Summary

This month seemed to hit me like a ton of bricks so I'm happy to wrap this one up a day early - want to join in with me? In an effort to not interrupt my weekly favorite: Throwback Thursday you're going to re-live this short & crazy month through the highs and we can all agree to ignore the way lows? Good.

Rather than looking at all of February's goals that I failed (#2, #3, #4, #6) let's focus on the ones that I embraced and made a priority in my life.


It was a great month for the Clean Breakfast challenge set out by Amanda from RunToTheFinish and I really don't feel like I had to work that hard at it. I have always felt that a good breakfast sets the tone for a good day, and certainly have never been one to think that means a muffin or something with the word glazed in the description. I even get upset with Dan when we sleep in on the weekend and before we know it - breakfast is really a brlunner (breakfast/lunch/dinner). Keys to accomplishing this goal were 1. Meal Prep 2. Instagram accountability checks 3. A community of like-minded bloggers and health enthusiasts sharing the same goal. Power in numbers!

I also happily encouraged Dan to play golf a few times and he only actually ended up going twice. I'm going to enjoy this summer when he gets up early for his summer weekend job and his early tee-times, he's a pretty bad influence on me when it comes to rise'n'shine and being productive on the weekends because there's nothing like staying in bed with no alarm to worry us. I'm proud of him for already being invited to represent his golf league in a tournament in April as tribute to his victory in September, 2012. C'mon baby!

I had great success at commenting on other blogger's posts and found myself paying more attention to what other ladies are writing about. It has also made me more aware of how I write and share information with you as my readers. It's an interesting phenomenon, this blogging world. I can read about the days and lives of people I've never met before and find myself feeling emotional attachments to them - getting excited about their engagements, feeling sympathy for their worries, anticipating their big news and drooling over their recipes - and have found myself caring more about what they have to say sometimes than keeping in touch with my real-life friends.  I'm sorry real friends - let's change that! Blogger friends, let's keep the conversation going!

I knocked out my four 10-mile runs early in the month as my mileage had to be earned mainly on the weekends. I was okay happy! with that because it turned out that we had excellent winter weather in the northwest where I was able to go glove-less and even wear shorts! As this posts, I have 13 miles remaining for the month and will easily be able to accomplish that with a long run this evening and a short one to wrap it up tomorrow. 

Great Memories:

Yummy Eats:

Scary Self-Discovery

Thanks for sticking this month out with me - it really wasn't all that bad when I take a look back :)

<3 JE

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Look Out World, Here's Bella!

I'd mentioned a time or two on here about a new addition to the family, but was hesitant to share as the original lady we'd planned to introduce pictured below was caught in a snow storm. We were set on going to get Miss Purple from Nebraska as she is the step-sister to my sister, Bailey and adorable as can be!

Via Loup Valley Goldens

No flights available, a 22 hour drive one-way, a growing puppy almost too big to be able to fly in the plane cabin and a brother arriving at the end of the week were all hidden messages to look beyond the predictable path and let our hearts open up to another option.

My dad took it upon himself to look on his kindle and found a little bundle of love who was only a two hour drive away. I received a call from my mom on my Saturday run and she informed me that they were going to take a drive to 'look' at some puppies in Eugene - and invited me along for the ride. Done deal - I turned around, showered quickly and headed to my parents' house for the journey south.

After what seemed like the longest drive ever, we arrived in Tracktown, USA and were on the ultimate puppy hunt. We arrived to the owners' house and met the prospective puppy's parents (Dash and Peaches) and were directed to the garage where these three silly faces were looking at us.

Each of them eight weeks old born on December 30th, these fluffballs named Beans, Leo and Lucy were placed into each of our arms and gave us their most earnest 'take-me-home-today' puppy kisses. After asking questions of the family, petting the pups and watching them play together we had a family huddle and weighed out our options. As we were leaning toward a girl, we placed extra attention on Lucy and she reciprocated. We discussed our feelings and restrictions of getting Miss Purple from Nebraska, and that the gentle nature of Lucy was steering us in a new direction.

A handshake, an exchange of cash, toys and food and before I knew it... I had a new sister! Lucy was a beautiful name, but with all of our four legged family members' names starting with 'B', Bella seemed to fit perfectly.

World, meet Bella!

I'm so excited that she's joined our family and you bet you'll be seeing more cuteness around here!

<3 JE

Monday, February 25, 2013

Not One Square to Spare

If you were able to follow along a little bit last week you'd know it was a rough one. To sum it up in one photo, this one would paint the best picture. Too little, too late.

Can Anyone Spare a Square?

This was actually a photo Dan sent me last week (i assume after messily doing his business) and it was so fitting for everything we were going through. Long hours at work, car troubles, under-achieved workouts and sleep deprivation.

It's over, I'm over it. This is our week, I can feel it! 

We had a much better weekend than last. I was able to knock out 14 miles (7 Saturday, 7 Sunday and planned for 6 this morning with no success) and am on my way to victory with only 22 remaining before Thursday at midnight. Sadly I didn't get to enjoy my massage as planned, but had a wonderful weekend spending quality time with mom, dad and sister Bailey.

Things are looking up; brother is in the USA, in the same time zone and we have a great weekend planned just a few days away. I also have some exciting news to share (maybe tomorrow!) and from that news you can expect to see a lot more cuteness going on around here! Just give me a moment to get some photos together... I promise I won't disappoint!

To kick off the week, Dan made fresh Portabella Mushroom burgers on wheat buns, topped with avocado, lettuce and all the best spices. Portabella's are hearty and healthy and can be the perfect disguise for a healthy yet satisfying meal. It's a mature mushroom - seasoned and sophisticated.

Happy Monday to all!

<3 JE

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Pick-Me-Up

This has been one of the very longest weeks of all time for Dan and I.

We were both slaves to the office over the weekend, several early mornings and late evenings later (besides Monday) and here I am going on only a few short hours of sleep and a pretty long day ahead of me.

Rather than a Week 7 Cohabitation post I'm going to share some things that made me take a step back and smile this week - hopefully it will make your week go down a little better too!

This wonderful latte from my neighborhood coffee shop:

This internet meme (Harlem Shake) that's super silly - especially the Tracktown USA version:


or this:


He brought me dinner last night and we ate at the office table. Such a wonderful guy - and I'm sad too, he can't leave because I drove.

This silly bucket of sloths:

[vimeo w=400&h=300]

This TED Talk about the Power of Introverts


I have a massage tomorrow - hello Physical Therapy!

Thinking of making these yummies via Brooke, these brownies via Marisa... and apparently running a lot to work it all off!

And this amazing human jumbrotron:


I'm wishing you a very happy Friday and hopefully a less hair-splitting one than mine! 

<3 JE

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Brother Visits Home

Growing up I never knew what the future held for my brother. He always had dreams, he always had ambition, he always was the one who was going places.

I didn't see him living in Portland forever, but never ever did I think he'd move away to Europe for an extended amount of time and only see him for two to three weeks (max) out of the year! I feel bad that we don't talk more, but most of that is each of our demanding schedules and the fact that he's a few time zones ahead of me, making my noon his 9pm! Yikes! For now, he catches up on my life the same way I catch everyone else up - this blog!

I am SO excited that he will be in the USA this upcoming week (in Seattle), then coming down to see our family and maybe a new family member added to the mix and continue to get to know Dan. Even though it's only been three months since I saw him last, a lot has changed in my world and from what I've heard of his life he's experiencing some changes too. I consider our family very close and not seeing him for months can feel like years.

The last time brother was home it was during the Thanksgiving holiday and I was able to take a good amount of work off to hang out with him at the beach, spend time with him at home and attend his famous Fakesgiving get-together. I've missed him a lot and this time around I unfortunately won't be able to take the time off of work, but you can bet that I'll be visiting home, staying up way past my bedtime and making sacrifices to make the most of his time home. I'm also excited to learn a little more about the special lady he's dating - apparently she makes him pretty happy!

This Throwback Thursday is brought to you by the fun times that my brother and I have had together, through the good, the bad ...and some of the worst fashion trends!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Weekend Food Prep

So many of you have been applauding my meal prep on the weekends and have even commented on being inspired by it!

Nothing makes me happier - especially when your continued questions, comments and feedback remind me how easy, necessary and organized this whole food prep work can be.

If you like this topic, I recommend first checking out my post from a few weeks ago: Take The Time: Meal Prep where I go through the steps that are easy to follow on how to set yourself up for success. Taking inventory, making a list, checking it twice - it all counts!

For me, the magic happens on Sundays. Every weekend I shop for all of my weekly staples and make them all at once. I maximize oven/burner utilization, can make a big mess and have a big clean-up all while filling the house with warmth and wonderful smells except for the eggs!

Quinoa isn't something I discovered until a few years ago and I don't recall a time where I haven't had some available in the pantry. Knowledge of quinoa would have saved me from a lot of white rice consumption in college - but it's better late than never the way that I see it!

For every 1 cup of dry quinoa, you will need 2 cups of water. If you want to end up with 4 cups of cooked quinoa, it requires 1 cup dry / 2 cups water. If you want 8 cups, double the grains and double the water! Crank up the heat to medium/high, cover with a lid and allow it to soak up and fill out with no maintenance.

Grilled Chicken is something I'm lucky to have Dan for - he enjoys defrosting the frozen chicken breasts, seasoning them with great spices and throwing them onto the grill! I take a different approach and put them into the preheated oven at 375 degrees (after defrosting) and cook for 35-45 minutes until I see them the way I like them. If you know chicken, you'll know when they're ready. If you're new, test a piece to make sure the meat has cooked all the way through. Follow these safety guidelines for more information on defrosting and avoiding the "Danger Zone"!

Hard Boiled Eggs are very easy to make and can be a great source of protein that will start your morning off right. I also enjoy eating them in the morning because they are a little stinky when you store them - so I don't want the odor to be mistaken for something else while I'm at work. I've tried both the bake and boil methods and haven't yet found a favorite - I love them both! This past weekend I boiled and it was an easy 22 minutes of monitoring time and maybe another 5 for each Dan and I to peel the shells off. If you boil, vinegar is essential to your success.

Steamed Vegetables are SO easy to prepare in mass quantities and I haven't found a way to do it wrong yet.

I grab a big pot, dump in the frozen veggies, fill with enough water to cover the veggies and put the burner at medium to high heat. You'll be able to feel when they're done, and just remember that there's ZERO risk to sampling - so eat your heart out!

These are just a few of the main things I've been cooking lately and it's made a huge difference on the money I spend, the time I have during the week and most importantly the good choices I'm making before I even have a chance to change my mind!

Don't forget to make it pretty and take photos - what you've done is a work of art!

Everyone who's shared their progress and changes with me have kept me inspired - so please keep on encouraging me, sharing your success (even if it's just planning) and I'll keep sharing my tips!

<3 JE

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tasty Taco Night

Have you ever had one of those Mondays nights where you get home and even though you have a million things to do (trash, laundry, dishes, sweeping, etc) yet you really just don't want to do them? That was my night last night!

I had every intention of going to the Monday night NTC class to get my lift & cardio on, but when Dan enthusiastically accepted my offer to pick him up from work and head East I knew I wouldn't have many opportunities like it. To make it worth his while I knew what I had to do. No work. No stress. Just tacos!

We had most of the supplies on hand, but walked over to the store to get some lean ground beef + taco seasoning to make the meal complete.

Ingredients for the Meal:

  • 93% fat free ground beef

  • Hot Taco seasoning packet

  • 1 cup lettuce

  • 1 bell pepper

  • 2 jalapenos

  • 2 avocados

  • 1 can black beans

  • Trader Joe's Taco shells

  • And Dan may have enjoyed some low-fat mozzarella cheese!

And enjoy:

It's been such a joy for me to actually prepare meals to enjoy at the table. Usually I choose things to give up during lent that torment me, like chocolate or alcohol (props to my brother!) but this year I've felt no sorrow for not eating on the couch catching up on our DVR. Eating a meal at the table with Dan brings me a lot of joy. His feedback and compliments to the chef are off the charts, similar to when he's enjoying a meal that mom the master-chef has put together.

We are big fans of taco night because it's an easy way to incorporate a lot of fresh veggies, protein, avocados and don't forget coronas. We felt like we were celebrating something special by leaving work on time, almost like a second Valentine's Day date!

And no, the laundry isn't going to fold itself but thankfully we have two beds so it can wait! We aren't perfect!

<3 JE

Monday, February 18, 2013

25 Miles Later

Good morning and happy Monday!

It was a less than eventful weekend as both Dan and I were putting in time at the office. He unfortunately had to physically be there at his desk, I was fortunate enough to be able to keep my glasses on, my coffee mug full and most importantly see what Tiger does all day long while we are normally away. He's pretty funny.

As the story was last weekend, I laced up and hit the road. Running was the easiest thing that I did all week and more than anything it was relaxing and an opportunity to hash some work dilemmas out in my mind and come up with an action plan. Friday I ran 10 after work in the beautiful weather we had, Saturday was a "short" five mile shake-out and Sunday was another long haul where I ran 100 blocks east of my house and 100 blocks back. If you're familiar, you know that 100 blocks in Southeast Portland can be a big change of scenery from neighborhood shopping, quaint homes, busy commercial areas, un-paved sidewalks and less than appealing apartment complexes. All the landscape differences always provide an entertaining run. Plus I don't mind that there's minimal elevation change - win/win!

Count it up and I've met one of my February Goals of four 10 miler's for the month. Now I just have to keep up the strength training!

When I wasn't out in the fresh air stomping the pavement, I was at Papaccino's Coffee House enjoying the sights and sounds of the neighborhood while switching back and forth with the book I'm reading and some work I volunteered to do. I might have been better off just going into the office as well to take advantage of a large monitor and a mouse. #firstworldproblems

The great news about working on the weekend though was that when my spreadsheets were too long and taking up to 20 minutes to calculate (ugh!) I was able to clean up the 100+ blogs in my reading list that I hadn't been able to get after yet. And found this adorably annoying kitty

Isn't this the friendliest Dragon you've ever seen?

Dan also made fun of the dragon photo as being a 'half-selfie'... I suppose!

This one is short and sweet today, come back tomorrow!

<3 JE


Friday, February 15, 2013

Week 6: Cohabitation

I know you've missed this post topic... I've missed writing it!

I also know that you just had an earful from me yesterday about how my love for Daniel has evolved over the past few years, but that doesn't mean that there's nothing left to talk about in our adventures together with cohabitation.

First of all, Dan and I have both been working very hard lately and are finding it difficult to get everything done in the week. Looking at my running log the majority of my mileage has been on the weekends and will need to continue being that way - which really makes it difficult in this short month! Having this feeling of a time constraint made us a little reluctant to go out and celebrate so we opted for a wonderful candlelight dinner at home and made our Lent commitment that we are giving up eating dinner in front of the TV! This is a huge goal for us and I'm looking forward to making more eye contact with my sweetie and making every meal special with him.

Remember when I stood behind him saying that he could cook? Bam:

I didn't even have to lift a finger!

Other amazing eats have all taken place on the weekends and mostly in the form of breakfast. We won't be able to enjoy breakfast together this weekend unfortunately because Dan will have to go in for work one and hopefully not two days - which makes me sad. What makes me really happy was this ultra tasty scramble that again he whipped up and had ready for me on Sunday after my 10 miler.

Other eats included pancakes to celebrate national pancake day and made use of the rest of the Otto's meats that we had remaining from the Super Bowl!!

I've failed to write to one of the favorite parts of my last two weeks - last Thursday's meal with my mom, dad, Bailey and Dan. We arrived to their house in the evening after a long day of work and were instantly greeted by the smiling and silly face of sister Bailey who is in love with my man and shows no shame for it. We entered the kitchen that smelled of lasagna, there were wine glasses set at the table and tasty olive bread + salad among different serving utensils that Dan had gifted my mom for Christmas.

My mom makes the most incredible lasagna and the photo you see below does not do it justice. I couldn't even put my fork down to show you all of the wonderful layers of veggies, noodles, ricotta cheese and lean meats. I have a feeling that I'm going to need to make it for Dan soon or he will leave me to find someone else who can.

You will also see the precious face below of Miss Purple who is the current topic of conversation around the house as mom weighs out the thought of keeping Bailey as her one and only daughter living in the house or if she wants to add the beautiful half-sister of Bailey yet to be named. More to come on that - I'm waiting on the edge of my seat!

I think she'd fit in perfectly! 

Since you also haven't seen any living-together updates from me I'm happy to announce that Tiger is still lively and swimming around without a care. His favorites are displaying for Dan and I when we put our fingers over his water (flaring his gills!), sleeping on top of the heater, chasing us around for pellets, blowing bubbles and looking beautiful. Dan and I are very happy that we adopted him and think of him often.

We seem to live for the weekends lately and this is absolutely no exception. I've got some running to get after to catch up for the month, focus on some of my Eight Great Goals, catch up on some rest and do a lot more of this:

<3 JE