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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Quick Visit to Portland

A couple weeks ago, I attended a conference for work in Portland, Oregon.  Since Troy was on a vacation from work, he decided to buy an extra plane ticket and tag along.  Neither one of us had ever been to Oregon before.  Our parents agreed to watch the kiddos for us and being that it was also our tenth anniversary week, we got excited to plan our first ever kid-free getaway!

We were only there for three days/nights and since I was attending a conference during the day, we only had the evenings together.  We quickly realized we will need to plan a return trip some day to explore more of the beautiful landscape!

After we got settled into our hotel, we ventured out for a walk around the city and had lunch from a food cart.  I couldn't believe the number and variety of food carts all over Portland!  Troy ate pad thai and spring rolls and I ordered a poke bowl from Mr. Teriyaki.  So much great food for such a great price!!

food cart

There were a lot of cool buildings in the city.

We definitely ate well in Portland thanks to some good finds from Pinterest and recommendations from a couple friends.  The first brewery we stopped at was 10 Barrel Brewing Company where Troy tried a few brews and I sipped on a cider (I'm not a beer fan).  This place had a great atmosphere.  The garage-style doors were up so it felt like we were outside.

We met a couple from California who were visiting for a week and they were so much fun!  We ended up sharing an Uber to another spot and hung out for a few hours. 

That next stop was Breakside Brewery after a recommendation from the 10 Barrel bartender.  Here, I tried a kiwi-apple cider.  Another delicious and refreshing beverage!  We enjoyed hanging out on their patio area which had barrels for tables.

After a while, it got a little too warm, so we went inside to cool off in the air conditioning and grabbed a few spots at the bar.  This is when I switched over to wine. :)

We made it back to our hotel and crashed!  The time change was a little tough to get used to. :)  The next evening, we ventured over the river to Hair of the Dog Brewery.  This had a real "laid-back" feel to it.  It looked like it was in an old warehouse and they also had a large garage-style door open which made it feel like we were outside.  Troy had a flight and I enjoyed a pear cider.  

I loved that a portion of all of their sales is donated to Guide Dogs for the Blind. (Our dog, Dusty, is a career change from Leader Dogs for the Blind, so this warmed our hearts!) 

We had dinner at Portland City Grill, which is on the 30th floor so the view is amazing!  While we didn't wait to get a window seat, we could see Mt. Hood from our table (even though this phone-picture doesn't quite show it haha).  The food was outstanding and according to Troy, this was the best place we ate all trip.

The next day, while I was at the conference, Troy went on a river fishing charter.  He had a great time as they caught around 15 sturgeon!

For dinner that night (also our 10th anniversary), we went to Andina, for Peruvian food.  We decided to go with a variety of small plates to share.  I thought the food here was amazing, although Troy wasn't as impressed as me.  I took pictures of almost all of the dishes. :)

quinoa salad

chilled cucumber soup

purple potatoes and chicken salad

beef empanadas

beef heart
Instead of grabbing dessert at the restaurant, we thought we would walk to an ice cream place for dessert.  Originally, we planned to go to Salt and Straw (again based on many recommendations), but we found Ruby Jewel was a bit closer and decided to grab some ice cream sandwiches.

I ordered the Honey Lavender ice cream with the Sprinkledoodle cookie.  Troy enjoyed his Peanut Butter Krispy Krunch ice cream with the Portland Chipster cookie.

We had a nice walk through the city back to our hotel and ventured along the river before snapping another quick selfie.

Our flight the last day was at 12:30 so we were able to take our time a little in the morning to grab some breakfast at the hotel before heading to the airport.  I fueled up with a huge southwest sweet potato/rice bowl and Troy had the "best omelette he's ever eaten."  

Here we are on the shuttle back to the airport.  

Portland is a beautiful city and I am grateful we had the time to explore a little bit of it.  We enjoyed our first kid-free trip together, but we were also so excited to get back to our little babies at home!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Sand Fest 2018

This past weekend, we visited the annual Sand Fest in our town.  Every year, sand sculptors from around the world come to the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse to impress the onlookers while competing for the best sand sculpture.  It's always so amazing what they come up with.  This year, we went on Saturday, so most of the sculptures were still in progress, but still very cool to see!

sand fest


sand fest

sand fest

sand fest

sand fest

sand fest

sand fest

We checked out the lighthouse.  I'd love to walk up to the top when the kids are a little older.


The kids shared a piece of pizza and we all enjoyed the watermelon smoothie!

We spent a good chunk of time at the Kid Zone where they got to play in the sand and try to create their own masterpiece.

We added our star sticker to many others from Port Huron, but it was really neat to see that there were visitors from all over the country!

It was a great weekend!  To see my Sand Fest posts from previous years, click below.

Monday, July 2, 2018

TBB Asks: Vacation Edition

Happy Monday!  It's the first Monday of the month (and the first Monday of my summer vacation woohoo!), and I'm joining the girls of The Blended Blog again for TBB Asks: Vacation Edition.


1. Will you go on a summer vacation this year?  No.  Summer in Michigan is absolutely beautiful, so we tend to stay close to home during our summer break.

2. Do nothing but relax, or pack it all in vacation?  I tend to like both; it just depends on the destination.  I have family in Florida so I've vacationed there many times and when I do, I tend to just chill.  We enjoy each other's company, the pool, the beach, and not having a schedule.  However, if I'm visiting a new place, I want to explore and do all the things!

3. What month do you like to vacation? Being in education, we are pretty limited to when we can take vacations.  Spring break is usually in April and that is typically when we go on trips.  If I had the ability to vacation any time of year, I'd probably choose January or February, so we could escape the cold Michigan winter. 

4. Cruise: yes or no?  I've never been on one, but I would like to some day!

5. Favorite vacation tradition? I guess with all my Florida trips, we always make sure to take at least one nice walk on the beach, no matter the weather.  I remember once we even visited for a quick weekend in February and it was 30 degrees in Florida!  Bundled up or not, I love the beach. :)

6. Most memorable vacation?  Troy and I honeymooned in Hawaii and would just LOVE to get back there some day.  The place is absolute paradise!  It was actually the first place we ever tried sushi and it's now one of our favorite types of food.  We also spent a lot of time snorkeling on that trip.

7. Pack light or pack it all?  I'm definitely an over-packer!!  You can never be too sure of what the weather will be, and I like to have options. :)

8. Hotel, condo, or house? If we're traveling with a big group, I like to rent a condo.  If it's just Troy and I, we typically stick with a hotel room.  

9. Favorite thing(s) to eat on a vacation? I don't eat them as much anymore, but we used to always eat Twizzlers on roadtrips. :)  Other than that, I just like to eat everything on vacation!  We love to try new restaurants!

10. Warm or cold destinations? I live in a state that is cold 9 months out of the year, so I definitely prefer warm vacation spots! 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

How I Trained For My First 5K

I have always been envious of long distance runners.  Envious and well, a little confused.  Why do they love it so much?  Way back in my high school days, I was a sprinter and hurdler.  After a couple laps around the track I was pretty much ready to be done.  Distance just wasn't my thing.  After college, I would go for jogs here and there, but still never ran much more than one mile at a time.

This year, I wanted to change that.  I signed up for my very first 5K a few months ahead of time.  That way, I had built-in motivation.  I needed to train so I didn't look like a completely winded fool running this race.  Now even though I signed up months in advance, I didn't start training until about 6 weeks out.  We don't own a treadmill and the weather in Michigan was too cold (for me) to run outside prior to the month of May.  

My goal for the race was to simply run the entire race.  I didn't care about my time, as long as I didn't stop and walk at all.  My official time was 31 minutes and 41 seconds.  I definitely didn't win one of the medals that day, but my feeling of accomplishment was enough of a win for me!  

So here's how I trained.  I didn't run on consecutive days, or even tried to stick to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday sort of pattern.  Basically, I ran if it wasn't raining and if Troy was able to be home with the kids in between work and dinner.  I fit it in when I could. 

running plan

Week one:
  • Day 1: ran 2 minutes, walked 8 minutes, ran 2 minutes (It was so much harder than I thought! I ran a total of about 3/4 of a mile and thought I was going to throw up.  I was seriously considering dropping out of the upcoming 5K).
  • Day 2: ran 5 minutes, walked 5 minutes 
Week two:
  • Day 1: ran 5 minutes, walked 3 minutes, ran 4 minutes, walked 5 minutes
  • Day 2: ran 5 minutes, walked 3 minutes, ran 3 minutes, walked 5 minutes
  • Day 3: ran 5 minutes, walked 3 minutes, ran 5 minutes, walked 5 minutes, ran 4 minutes, walked 5 minutes
Week three:
  • Day 1: ran 7 minutes, walked 8 minutes, ran 7 minutes, walked 8 minutes (total distance of 2.26 miles)
  • Day 2: ran 7 minutes, walked 8 minutes, ran 7 minutes, walked 8 minutes
Week four:
  • Day 1: ran 8 minutes, walked 3 minutes, ran 7 minutes, walked 4 minutes
  • Day 2: ran 8 minutes, walked 3 minutes, ran 8 minutes, walked 4 minutes
Week five:
  • Day 1: ran 10 minutes, walked 5 minutes, ran 10 minutes, walked 5 minutes
  • Day 2: ran 15 minutes, walked 5 minutes, ran 10 minutes, walked 5 minutes
Week six:

  • Day 1: ran 15 minutes, walked 6 minutes
  • Race Day: ran a 5K in 31 minutes and 41 seconds. :)

If I can do it, anyone can!  This running thing is turning out to be more fun than I originally thought.  I've already signed up for two more races later this summer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What's Up June 2018

Happy Wednesday!  Is anyone else floored by how fast this month went by?!  How are we at the end of June already?  Recapping our month today, with a little What's Up Wednesday with Shay, Mel, and Sheaffer, answering these questions:

What we're eating this week: Well, I'm currently on a work trip so my meal plan this week is to try out lots of yummy food in Portland! :)

What I'm reminiscing about: I was looking through old pictures when Dane was Mila's age.  Feels like yesterday!

What I'm loving: The warmer weather.

What we've been up to:

We checked out a new ice cream shoppe in town, A Little Something.

My sister joined me for brunch on the water.

Troy and the kids started a garden.

We celebrated Father's Day with a cookout.

Mila started enjoying books on the patio.

We celebrated #NationalSelfieDay. ;)

Dane has really been into Chutes & Ladders.

Dane and I visited our favorite local coffee house, Exquisite Corpse.

And last weekend, we celebrated our niece's graduation on the rooftop of Vintage Tavern. Mila was obsessed with this little lookout area.

What I'm dreading: Nothing. :)

What I'm working on: Soon we will be revamping the window treatments in our dining room.  I'm looking forward to finding the right fabric so that Troy can build new cornice boards.

What I'm excited about: I'm almost on vacation!!

What I'm watching: We finished up watching the current season of Wicked Tuna, and Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks starts up next week.  I sometimes put either The Big Bang Theory or anything on the Food Network on in the evening after the kids are in bed.  The kids have been requesting CoCo, Moana, or Trolls just about every day.  

What I'm listening to: The Moana and Trolls soundtracks are still going strong in our household.  

What I'm wearing: I don't really have a lot of clothes pictures from this month.  This is a newer Carly LuLaroe dress I wore to my niece's graduation party.

carly dress

What I'm doing this weekend:  We will be getting back from our trip so lots of unpacking, laundry, and snuggling those babies of mine.

What I'm looking forward to next month: July is probably my favorite month because it's my vacation...and my birthday month...and Blue Water Fest...and Sand Fest...and we tend to have the most beautiful weather here in Michigan.

What else is new: I think I covered it!

What's up with you?