The Rest of Vacation

I’m back from San Diego. I love visiting my family, but man it’s hard leaving. I only get to see them once a year since they’re on the other coast. Leaving makes me sad for weeks because I know how long it’s going to be before I see them again. We didn’t all get a picture together this time, but here’s the one from last year.

(From the left: my nephews (who are now taller than me), mama bird, brother, moi, niece, and my SIL’s sister)

I took the red eye home on Friday and had the whole row to myself. I love when that happens. That’s when the armrests go up and Paula gets to stretch out her 5’9″ body. I’m not good at sleeping on planes but I love red eye flights so I don’t end up wasting a whole day traveling. I can usually get that spotty, drooling, head-whipping-forward-and-waking-me up sleep on the plane and then I take a little nap when I get home and I’m good to go for the rest of the day.

I wanted to write a little more while I was out there but was too busy reigning as the Queen of Leisure, so here’s what went on during the rest of my vacation:

1. I went on a two hour bike ride (25 miles maybe?) with my SIL’s sister, Kate.

That’s her riding in front of me. I don’t think I’ve been on a real bike in five years. It was a lot of fun. It was super foggy the entire time, so it was nice that I wasn’t baking in the sun but not so nice that I could barely see the view of the beach on the right. I’m pretty sure if I lived in Carlsbad, she would be my biking buddy. Those hills do not mess around. It’s like an outdoor spin class out there. As I was struggling to get up the hills, I’d pass people running them like it took no effort. Those hard-bodied jerks with their wonderful stamina.

I love that California has bike lanes and paths everywhere. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another state that caters to outdoor activity as well. If Orlando was more activity friendly, maybe I’d attempt to go outside more than once a month. I mean, probably not. But I like having options.

2. I met a parrot.

I ran across that little fella on the bike ride. Kate asked the two guys behind him how old he was and they told us they had no idea. Some guy just ask them to watch his bird while he got coffee at Starbucks.(?!?!) I’m telling you, people were swarming around this bird, taking pictures with it, and asking the guys questions. If you’re having trouble meeting that special someone, get a bird. Trust me. It going to work. They will come to you.

3. A half hour into our bike ride, this happened.

It was 10 in the morning and I knew it wasn’t a good idea but someone was a terrible influence.

4. After our bike ride, we took a three-mile walk at Batiquitos Lagoon. The fog never let up, but the view and trail were still really pretty.

It was nice to get off that bike seat for awhile and stretch my legs. Plus, we had to mentally prepare ourselves for the Starbucks frappuccino we stopped for after the walk. So basically we burned 200 calories and then consumed 300. This is my favorite way to exercise.

5. Big brother and I went out to dinner at the Wild Note Cafe with a couple of his friends.

That dude can eat whatever he wants and stay thin. I don’t even understand it. I work out five or six days a week to sort of fit in my pants, and he works out one or two times a week (if he feels like it) and holds back if he starts to sweat because he doesn’t like sweating. He actually said that to me. He’s lucky he’s still in the family after that one.

6.  After dinner, we saw Everlast next door at Belly Up.

If there’s anyone that loves live music as much as I do, it’s my brother. He usually finds a show for us to go to while I’m in town and it’s always a good time, even when I don’t know the band.

I was checking out Everlast videos before the concert and found this one for you Aaron Paul fans. :-)

7. And finally, my last meal before I left town.

That’s the grass fed Kobe burger from Encinitas Ale House (Gruyere, Gorgonzola, Onion Straws, Tomato, and Baby Greens). I shared half of that burger and half of another one with my bro. Mom got the fish and chips with a bucket of tarter sauce. That woman loves her sauce like no other.

I had a five minute worry that getting on a plane after a giant burger was not going to go well, but good news, I made it home without incident. So besides the napping and shopping and adult beverage drinking, that is how I spent my week vacation with the birthday girl.


A Little Celebration

My mom’s birthday was a success! The brother and I took her out for dinner at Peohe’s on Coronado Island. We knew it would be good because Peohe’s is a Chart House restaurant. It was dark by the time we got there so I felt kinda dumb taking pictures. So, my mom, brother, the pu-pu platter appetizer, my candied walnut salad, and crab-stuffed tilapia got no photo love, but I managed to get the one important picture.

My love for molten lava cakes knows no bounds.

I went to the restroom right as dessert was brought to the table and my brother waited for me to come back so I could take a picture for the blog. What a guy. Amirite? Although, he scolded me for my poor bathroom timing and even called my cell because I was not back to the table fast enough for him. This family does not mess around when it comes to dessert.

We sat outside by the water and had an awesome view of downtown San Diego that included some birthday fireworks!

Ok, maybe they were Labor Day fireworks. But probably most likely birthday fireworks.

We had a nice time and even took a walk on the pier afterwards. I was ready to hibernate for the winter after that meal but then I remembered how hot and muggy it is here with no winter in sight, so I just rolled around on the floor and complained about how full I was.

The next day, mom and I got birthday pedicures. She was basically in heaven.

Before we left, I told her I was thirsty and her response was, “want a Mudslide?”  It was 10 in the morning. <— I know, amazing  I love that all it takes to keep my mom happy is pretty toes, a full belly, and tons of booze.

Hills. Ugh.

Why is it so hot and muggy here? Didn’t California know I was coming?

The high is supposed to be 72 and the low 55. That is the only weather I will accept. Get with the program California. And here I thought you were perfect. Hmph.

Don’t even get me started on the hills.

Mygodthehills. They’re everywhere. If I wanted to run up a hill, I would increase the incline on the treadmill which I’m not going to do because that’s just silly.

What I’m trying to say is, I ran. During that run, I took a turn on a street called Cerro, which was just a bad idea all together. Luckily, this was part of my view.

And that right there is how California tricks you into coming back for more.

I ran 2.5 miles (9:43 pace), stopped back at the house to walk a mile with mom, and then ran another 2.5 miles after I dropped her off. The second half was slower by 10 seconds. I felt super impressed with myself because I hated every hot, hilly minute of it. Even though it was split in two, I’m calling that my long run for the week.

Birthday Surprise

I flew out to San Diego last night to surprise my mom for her 75th birthday. I tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than waiting quietly for a 75-year-old woman to walk into her house so you can yell Happy Birthday.

Good news: her pacemaker works.

If she wore pants, I’m fairly certain she would have pooped them. I wish I recorded her reaction because it was a beautiful blend of excitement to see me and relief I wasn’t a murderer. So this week, I’ll be hanging out with my mama and brother and enjoying a week off of work.

So far, the birthday girl requested lunch at Islands Restaurant. This was her meal.

That’s what you do when your 75. Get exactly what you want. No shame. She’s like the honey badger. She don’t care.

We’re going to dinner tonight, so I ordered the turkey burger off the lighter menu.

Then I proceeded to eat half of mom’s fries so that idea was a bust. (Seriously the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had. Let’s add Islands to the list of places we need in Orlando.)

Anyway, I need to get ready for tonight’s celebration. Mom is making herself a mudslide as we speak and it’s not even 5:00pm. That’s a woman after my own heart. Happy Birthday Mama Bird!

Stuff Lately

1. I ran 3.11 miles in 30 minutes last night. That’s not my goal pace and my lungs were ready to quit at the end, but I didn’t need to walk and it’s a full minute faster than the pooptacular that was Sunday’s run. Sure, it was on the treadmill and in ideal “weather” conditions, but it was enough to make me think I’m magnificent again.

2. I finished Orange is the New Black (*love*). Then I started watching House of Cards. Then I started watching Parks and Recreation. Then I watched some movies.

Don’t even need 15 seconds. I’m not doing anything with my life ever.

3. Is everyone watching Dexter but me? I feel like I’m the only one that’s still a part of this CBS/Showtime blackout. There’s nothing worse than watching half a season and then not being able to watch the rest. Plus, Homeland is back in a month. Showtime is cutting it a little close for my taste. I know that I could “go outside” and “enjoy nature” with the time I have back in my life each week, but that won’t happen. I’m sitting on the couch and waiting for it to come back.

4. Hubs tried to read my blog at work the other day and found that it’s blocked now. He sent me this screencap. Luckily, it gave me official proof that I am entertaining.

I’ve been telling hubs that I’m entertaining for years.

5. This.

6. And this. (< — 24 Times Leonardo DiCaprio was a Total Bad Ass)

7. The best and worst decision of last weekend.

That’s a Reese’s Chocolate Molten Lava Cake from Chilis. It has liquid Reese’s on the inside. Liquid Reese’s! Looks like poop on a plate, tastes like heaven.

8. If you’re not already watching Breaking Bad, for the love, you need to do that now. Just drop everything. Even babies.


Ok, don’t drop the babies. Just place them in a cage with some water until you’re done. I’m not a monster.

Six Miles of Suck

Oh, hey there stranger.

Dusted that baby off and plugged it in for the first time in four months. That can only mean I did the one thing I hate most during the summer: I ran outside. Spoiler alert: it sucked. And it was only six miles.

Hey, remember when I ran 18 half marathons and two marathons? Someone remind me how I did that because this was hard. And slow. And humbling. And I wanted to die on the sidewalk during the last two miles.

My second marathon was faster, so I once ran quadruple the miles at that pace. The only thing that kept me going was Michelle. No way in hell I would have finished those miles running if she wasn’t next to me telling me not to walk. Anyway, here’s a cute picture of Michelle and a crappy picture of my red face afterwards that I stole from her.

I’m going to take into account that it was disgustingly hot. And it was the longest run I’ve done in four months. And that I went to Crossfit on Friday and Saturday and my legs were (and still are) super sore. And I was tired. Well, I’m always tired. I have not been sleeping well for almost two months now. It takes me at least two hours to fall asleep every night…because of THEM. (Someone tell me how to get comfortable in bed, please.)

Even with all the negatives, I feel like that run shouldn’t have been as hard as it was. We did score some good Samaritan points by finding an iPod Touch and emailing the owner that we found it. Well, that was after looking at the selfies and booby texts she sent to friends. But still, that’s got to give me some good karma for my next outside run.

And because I haven’t posted a Crossfit workout in awhile, here’s what I did on Saturday.

How to: barbell deadlift (you can also do them with dumb bells) and kettlebell swing.

I used a barbell with 75lbs for the deadlifts and a 25lb dumb bell for the swings since the gym didn’t have a heavy enough kettlebell. So, don’t think you need actual kettlebells to do the swings.

You should try that Crossfit workout and then try to run six miles the next day in 200% humidity. You’ll love me forever.

Catching Up

There have been a lot of things I’ve wanted to write about lately but I can’t seem to find the time to do it. So instead of writing a bunch of blogs about past stuff, I thought I’d give you the abridged version.

1. I went out with the girls the other night. Ok, it was two weeks ago. The point here is that I got dressed up and looked all civilized and whatnot.


If you can’t find me, just follow the ass in from the left.

I can’t tell you how many test pictures Kate (on the bottom right) took and she never said anything. How can you not see an ass full of ruffles sticking out? I’m calling conspiracy.

2. Last week, I went to see One Republic with the hubs and the bestie.


I’ve never heard of their opener, Mayer Hawthorne, but they were literally one of the worst bands I’ve ever seen live. Just terrible, terrible music that made you question if you should stay for the main act. And life. They made you question life.

The night significantly improved when One Republic took stage. I’m not a fan of them, but the bestie is and it’s important to support the besties.


The concert was on a Monday night, which I reserve solely for sitting on the couch and being depressed I have to work four more days until another weekend. So you know I love her if I change up that schedule.

3.  Last week, hubs and I also went to see Wolfgang Gartner. (I can hear the collective “who?” right now.) He’s a techno DJ that hubs loves. Get ready for a picture that is going to make you feel 82% older.


Yeah, it was like that. But there was lots of good people watching, like that guy in plaid at the front of the stage with both arms up. You know you’re old when you’re watching him jump up and down for two hours and thinking, “Man, I bet he gets to eat whatever he wants with all that exercise!”

4. The Wolfgang Gartner show was at a club called Roxy that’s about 15 minutes from my house. There was a letter out on their sign…


I can’t make that stuff up.

5. I love this picture of hubs so I thought I’d share.


What’s the first thing you look for in a partner? I look at teeth first. Man, I love a good set of pearly whites. I’m mesmerized by hub’s teeth. When an old middle school friend saw a picture of us for the first time, she said, “I knew you’d marry someone with good teeth.” So apparently this has been my thing for a long time.

6. It only took until August, but I made something that wasn’t cooked in the microwave this year.


That’s a ground turkey, onion, and squash stuffed pepper with salsa and goat cheese. It was really good. When hubs told me he thought it needed more salt, I pretended to hear, “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten and nothing compares to it.” So, all is well.

7. Hamsters eat with one hand and it’s adorable.


8. These just don’t get old for me.

Hey girl

9. I’m still running. I’ve only been doing 4-5 milers but I’m ready to start adding mileage on the weekends. I found a training plan on the back of an old flyer for the Orlando half marathon, so I might as well follow it this year since I’m running the race again and didn’t sign up for my running group.


That schedule is super close to what I do now except I cross train on Friday’s instead of rest and I do my long run on Saturday or Sunday depending on what I have going on over the weekend (i.e., when the booze flows). Since I’m doing 5-milers already, I’m a month ahead for the weekend mileage, so I’ll probably end up getting more longer runs in than what’s scheduled.

10. Did anyone see the True Blood finale last night? Man, that whole season was a real stinker.

Low quality shit

The Lilith storyline was a bust when it had some serious potential, Warlow was a lame character that was supposed to be super powerful but wasn’t, and there was barely any Lafayette all season. He can talk to the dead now, surely you can insert him into the storyline more. The show didn’t get good until the last half hour. So, 30 minutes of 13 hours of programming were good. I’m pushing that show from “orders HBO every year for it” to “Netflix when I have time.” Don’t think I didn’t appreciate the full frontal from Eric, though. Because I did.      A lot.


Sunday Bunday

I have the most anti-social hamster ever.

He sits in his little hideaway all day long and piles up the bedding at the entrance so we can’t see him. We try to coax him out with food, but he just grabs it and pulls it into his house when we’re not looking.

I know hamsters are nocturnal, but we were watching movies until 3:00am on Friday night and he never came out. The only time we see him is if we grab him and hold him. So now we have one animal that doesn’t mind being held but hates playing and we have one animal that likes playing but hates being held. We can’t win.

We finally introduced Pants and Henry.

That picture is the most interest she’s shown in him. We put him in the ball just in case Pants wanted to lay the smackdown on his little hamster body. Once we took him out of the ball, she sniffed his face a couple times and then went to lay down on the opposite side of her cage.

So, note to self: bunnies and hamsters do not make instant best friends and frolic together like they do in my mind.

We’re thinking of renaming Henry. I seem to call him Hammy the most because I am unoriginal and lazy. Hubs vetoed my suggestion of Chris Hams-worth (come on, that’s funny!), but he liked my suggestion of Jon Hamm. So we might go with that. Any hamster name suggestions out there?

Oh, and because an inordinate amount of you asked for this…

One of them is in hiding. I’ll do better next time. (I just realized how fitting the name Jon Hamm is all of a sudden.)

I swear this isn’t going to turn into a hamster blog.

My First Taste of the Nation

On Saturday, I attended Taste of the Nation Orlando, an event that takes place in a giant ballroom at the World Center Marriott.


Like I mentioned before, Taste of the Nation is a fundraising event to eradicate childhood hunger. Tons of items are donated (like spa treatments, concert tickets, dinner at various restaurants, etc.) and silent-auctioned off. This year, for the first time, you could bid from your phone which made it an incredibly dangerous thing for me since that is basically shopping online – my fave thing ever. Even the leftover food from the event is given to those in need.

I arrived at 5:30pm and checked in. When I explained who I was looking for to the checker-inners, they were like, “oh, you’re with the media” and I felt very fancy and important.


I met up with Maria who gave me a short tour. Then she set me free in the land of food and drink.

I invited Michelle to be my date for the evening, but since she couldn’t make it until 6:30, I thought I would walk around, check out the food, and take mental notes of what I wanted first. I figured if I waited to eat, I wouldn’t spend the entire four hours shoving everything in my mouth and being uncomfortably stuffed.

That plan didn’t work out so well because I saw things I wanted and then when I went back to try them, they were gone. Like these:


I’m sorry you are not in my belly giant nacho.

I was very excited when Michelle arrived because my willpower to not eat only lasts for so long.


While we were there, we also ran into some other lovely ladies, Jackie and Christine (and Katy, but she evaded my camera). Let’s not forget the pizza guy (not a lady).


That dude stood there the whole night smiling and greeting people with his dough. That is some serious patience. But really, the most important part of that picture is, for the first time, I am the second shortest woman. Never happens. If I can just nudge Jackie out of that picture, I will win shortest. I’ll work on that for next time.

The girls had other ideas before eating.


And well, I’m not going to say no to sangria. I’m also not going to say no to stealing that picture from Jackie. There was a standard sangria and a Moscato sangria. Both amazing. We spent a lot of time at that booth.

After we were sufficiently wined, beered, and sangria-ed, we started making the rounds and the food started flowing. I wish I could tell you everything I ate and where it was from but without a pen and paper, that wasn’t going to happen.

My first stop was at Cask and Larder, a new restaurant in Orlando that everyone and their brother raves about incessantly.


This isn’t something I would normally choose to eat but I just had to try it. (I don’t like pork or anything that remotely resembles BBQ – I know, I know.) The cheese grits on the bottom were really good but I gave my meat to Michelle. She loved my meat. So this dish was a hit with the pork/BBQ lovers of the world. Oh, that blackberry was pickled. Did not expect that.

After Cask and Larder, the food became a blur. Everything was beautifully presented and there was something for everyone.





By far, my favorite of the night was this white fish with spinach gnocchi from Mama Melrose’s Ristorante. It was also the biggest portion, which I always appreciate.


Mama Melrose’s is located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so I guess I have a reason to go there again. When I Googled them, I was hoping they’d be a little closer to home.

I held out on trying any desserts until late in the night because once that train gets going, it doesn’t stop. Avoiding this rotating dessert carousel for two hours was hard.


You don’t even have to go to the desserts. They come to you. That is a thing of beauty right there.

It was getting late and I was still hungry somehow and I became worried I wouldn’t get everything I wanted. So I panicked and ran to the S’mores.


And then I ran to the other side of the room for the cupcakes, lemon tarts, and strawberry balls on the carousel.


That was plate one of two, lest you think I restrained myself. The lemon tart with a graham cracker crust and strawberry ball were so amazing, I got seconds. That tart tasted better than everything chocolate that I tried that night and I do not speak against chocolate lightly. I looks so perfectly plastic, but it was amazing.

After walking around for hours, our feet were hurting and we were getting tired because we’re old ladies and can’t hang like the young kids anymore. So, I grabbed one more picture with Michelle and headed home.


I had a really good time hanging out with some of my favorite ladies and getting to try so many different foods. It was a fun night and not something you get to experience often, so I’m very grateful I was allowed the opportunity to be a part of it. Plus, it’s for a good cause and getting the word out is what really matters.


Sunday Bunday

I had a moment of weakness at the pet rescue today. Meet Henry.

Henry is a Teddy Bear hamster, not a rat, KARA. He did not appreciate your rude rat comment.

He came with the name – that wasn’t my doing. I’m pretty sure the pet store names all their rescues Henry. They had two hamsters and a guinea pig named Henry. There can’t possibly be that many Henry’s concentrated in one area.

I’ve been wanting to get Pants a guinea pig friend for awhile, but I’m afraid she’ll rip its face off with her Hulk-like rage, so I thought I’d start smaller with a hamster. They’re easier to take care of and don’t need as much play space. So, if she hates him, she doesn’t need to see him.

I gotta admit, I thought he was kinda ugly when I got him home. Also, he has big balls. Why is that even necessary for such a small animal? It’s so disconcerting to look at. Now I know why I prefer female animals. I can’t deal with all the balls.

Anyway, I don’t know how old he is and hamsters only live for about two years, so that’s kinda sad. I hope he’s around for awhile. All I know is that he’ll be loved for the rest of his big-balled life and will hopefully find a new friend in Pants because she seriously looks bored like she needs someone to play with.