Summer Reading

This has been the summer of reading, one of my favorite pastimes! Here's a roundup of what I've read so far:

People of the Book - I saw this book in a box of book's that Dan's grandpa had given to him. It was on my list of books I wanted to read, so I yoinked it. It was a good, quick read. It read much like how DaVinci code read and had some historical fiction intertwined with fiction. The main character tells her story in present day and every now and then there's a jump to the past to tell the story of how the book was created and the journey it had been on. I'd give it 3.5 stars or so.

The Effects of Light - I picked this book up from a farmer's market in Kure Beach, NC over 4th of July weekend. The best thing about it was that it was only 25cents! It's actually a pretty decent read. I read this one pretty quickly as well. It's about art, photography, and the fine line of child pornography. Don't let that deter you as it's a good story and makes you think about art and our culture and society. It can get a bit philosophical at times but all in all is a great summer read (or winter!).

The Boy Who Harnassed the Wind - This is Loyola's shared reading for the incoming class of 2015. The idea is that all the students will read this book and then during move-in weekend their is a seminar and small group discussions. A lot of the freshman level courses also use the book in their curriculum. The author William Kamkwamba will be speaking at Loyola this weekend. The book is Kamkwamba's memoir detailing his life in an African village and how with the help of his school's library and some willpower he built a windmill and created electricity for his family. It's a great inspirational read if you need a little motivation to get out there and do something you've maybe had on your list of "things to accomplish" for awhile.

A Confederacy of Dunces - I'm currently reading this. It had been on my list for awhile and then Erica read it recently, so naturally when I saw it on Dan's shelf one weekend, I yoinked it too (I asked first!) I'm about 150 pages in and it's hilarious! I'm glad I finally got around to picking it up. 

Happy reading! 



So Good.

What a great weekend!

Things that are awesome: Lattes that are as big as my head, Bree and Dirk, My Husband, Team in Training (new post there too), The Golden Gate Bridge (fog not so awesome, but authentic), and Tornado Beers, oh and also Earthquake Warnings. Kinda a long list for such a short weekend. 

See weekend in photos below.

 Sushi Friday Night
 Self explanatory 
 First time I've been over the bridge. Bree 
and I sang the "Full House" theme song.
 For real fog, not for fake.
 Bree and her awesome SF hat.
Life is good. 

Who's going to be my next visitor??



Don't you just love when people visit you from out of town. It makes me feel so special. This weekend, our dear friends Bree and Dirk came to visit us from Denver. They planned to go to a concert near San Jose, CA on Saturday for their one year wedding anniversary and made a vaca out of it. 

They flew in Thursday morning and came to our house in the evening and we had some good patio time with grilled food and yummy beer. Ahh...it is like bringing a bit of Denver to Vallejo and it makes me feel so good. Love them. 

Congratulation on Year One of Marriage. 

Chris and I love you guys!

 Mr. and Mrs. Owens
Chris and I at the wedding last year.



Happy Birthday Christopher!

This past weekend Chris and I celebrated his 28th birthday! It is crazy to think about how old we are getting. I was thinking back to when we celebrated his 21st birthday in Destin, FL back in college. Time flies!

Anyway, on Friday, we just wanted to relax so we made some of Chris’s favorite foods. Baked Mac and Cheese with Grilled Corn and Dark Chocolate Brownies….can’t go wrong right? (I added broccoli for some greenJ) Then we played board games on the patio until it got dark.

Saturday I ran a 6 miler with Team in Training. It was amazing – I had a view of the Golden Gate Bridge most of the way. My run was in Emeryville (near Oakland) and it was pretty foggy in the morning, but the sun was shinning on the Bridge and it literally looked like it was glowing. I tried to take a photo, but it didn’t come out well. Any way, it was such a good view for the run. And, I haven’t run that far since I broke my foot in February! So it was a little milestone for me. Yay!

After my run, we decided to head to Santa Rosa. It is a cute little town about an hour (without traffic) northish of our house near wine country. Chris wanted to go to Russian River Brewery. They have great beers and delicious pizza. After that, we headed to Pacheco where the Brewing Network broadcasts their shows. Chris’s boss was doing his “Brew Strong” show and invited us down. Of course, they talked about brewing and all the geekery surrounding it. Love it.

Here are some photos of our beer sampler from Russian River!



Wipeout and Charlottesville

This past weekend was fairly eventful if you don't count Friday night which I spent on my couch snuggling with Harper and Mav!

Saturday morning was an early one! I got in a 7 miler with some great BoMF teammates. We took it fairly easy because we had to prepare for the 3rd annual Wipeout. This was my first experience with the event and although I had to leave early, it was great fun. All of the Baltimore BoMF teams along with a DC team had a huge field day and competed against one another. My team, Christopher's Place took home 3rd overall.

After wipeout, I hopped int the car and headed to Charlottesville, VA and met up with Dan and his family. And I must say, what a fabulous little town! Charlottesville is surrounded by VA wine country and also has several good micro breweries. Our first stop was Jefferson Vineyards. We did the tasting as well as enjoyed their cab franc and their merlot. Then we headed to Blue Mountain for dinner, a sunset, and a double IPA. Clearly, I only had one! Later that evening we went to the downtown pedestrian mall and caught the encore by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds who were playing an acoustic concert at the amphitheater. Sunday morning we toured around UVA and saw Edgar Allen Poe's dorm room and had a delicious lunch (not at EAP's dorm room!) before everyone headed back to their respective cities.

And today I survived my first (and hopefully my last, unless I'm visiting Erica or Catie in CA) earthquake!



Utah, The Final Days:

Guardsman's Pass

why not do cartwheels on the saltflats?
After all of the wedding festivities were over, we had about a day and half to explore before heading back east. 

Sunday morning we got up very early and drove the Guardsman's Pass. Very worth the sleepiness later. Then we met our friend Amber Rae for breakfast in SLC. It was great getting to see her while we were out there! Since she only lives about 2 hours from SLC and was going to be there to pick up some family from the airport, it worked out perfectly! Then we did a mini road trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats and since it was only 4 miles from the border we drove into Wendover, NV! Now that was some exciting stuff...

Wendover casino

Wendover Willie
That night we ate at Squatter's and then watched our most favorite show ever, Swamp People. I know, I know, we really lived it up on our last night in SLC.

We woke up early on our last half day and hiked parts of the Wasatch before heading back to Red Iguana one last time before we had to be at the airport. It was a fabulous vacation and wedding weekend and we can't wait until we can plan our next trip back to Utah!



Utah Adventures Days 2 and 3:

Friday in Utah was spent in Park City with Angela's bridal shower in the morning and of course the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. All of which I'm ashamed to say I didn't get any photos of! The bridal shower was held at Windy Ridge Cafe in Park City. The outside of the building is very unassuming and then you step inside and there are all these rich jewel tone colors with paintings and chandeliers everywhere. It made a very nice back drop for the luncheon. Oh I know why I don't have any pictures of the day, I was manning Angela's camera for the day :) The rehearsal dinner was held at the house where the bridal party was staying for the weekend, Paintbrush House and catered by Cafe Rio. Then most people went out for drinks in Park City.

Saturday was of course the big day and most of the morning was spent preparing. Good news: I had my own trusty photographer and he was able to catpure most of the wedding for me while I was busy crying at the altar!

backdrop for the wedding

the aisle

Angela looking stunning

giving away the bride
avoiding the sun in style

time to clean up!
Angela and Mark's big day was a success!



It's the little things

This week was a big week. I got a library card!! I know, I know - nerd alert. But it's the small things in life that make me really, really happy. I could spend hours getting lost in the hundreds of books surrounding the walls of the old smelly libraries around town (you know the musty, book smell I'm talking about right?). Ahh...just thinking about it makes me smile. It was such a relief to finally get it too. I was itching to get a new book and I HATE buying them. I had to wait until I could prove I lived in California so that meant I had to wait until the first month's bills arrived in mail (only time I will ever be happy to get the bills). So I went on Sunday and perused the many options in front of me. I was a little ambitious. I ended up leaving with 4 huge books. Although one is a cook book, so I guess that doesn't count.  Ok, three big books. Still a lot for me at one time. So here I go...

Now reading... The Price of Tides by Pat Conroy, then Gringos by Charles Portis (author who wrote True Grit, which I also read...good read), and then I have Incendiary by Chris Cleave. I'm on hold for A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan but I think I am number 67 or something crazy, so that one will be awhile. 

I have a long list...but you can check it out on my Goodreads page. It is basically Facebook for book nerds. It is pretty awesome. 



Utah Adventures Day 1

I just got back from what turned out to be a fabulous vacation in Utah. The main purpose was for Mark and Angela's wedding, two of my great friends from grad school. I was able to convince Dan to go with me and we took a couple extra days to explore Salt Lake City and Park City. Neither disappointed! 

Our first full day we were there we woke up early and explored Olympic Park on the outskirts of Park City:

Bobsled Mon!
Bobsled...I think!
practicing my pizza and french fries

standing on the flagpole

After our Olympic Park Adventures, we headed into SLC for lunch at Red Iguana. We love IPA's and were really worried that this would be a "good beer" free weekend due to Utah's intense liquor laws. We were pleasantly surprised with several very good local brew pubs. Epic being the first one we discovered.

red iguana
yummy pale ale
in front of red iguana [Dress: Gap, Belt: Target, Purse: Hobo International via Rue La La, Necklace: Peg and Awl; gift]

Then it was time for Dan to go explore on his own while I met up with the bridal party for pedicures and a delicious dinner at Zoom, which happens to be owned by Robert Redford. Not a bad first day in Utah!

Whitney, Kylee, Angela, Jessica, and I before heading to Zoom [Dress: Forever 21, Belt: Anthropologie, Shoes: Miz Moos] 


East Bay Rocks!

I finished my first full week with Team in Training this week and it felt great! It is a big commitment - a buddy run Tuesday evenings, track run Thursday evenings, and a long run Saturday mornings. Most of the places are pretty far from the house too, but I think it is worth it. It is for a fantastic cause, I am already meeting some great people and getting to see different parts of the East Bay. And it gives me things to look forward to during the week. Now I have to start getting my strategies together for fundraising. Right now I am at 29% for my goal which is great. The whole fundraising thing is new to me, so I have to get creative. One of my teammates is doing a skating fundraiser - how fun! We will see what I can come up with...maybe baking things or selling Chris's beer...hmmm...



Goodbye Saturday Morning Cartoons

I've decided to give up my Saturday mornings. Crazy, I know. I don't watch the cartoons any more, but when I was a kid, there would be no flipping way I would give them up.  But now is different. Now it is for a good cause and a good race, so ya know - it's ok with me. Since I have a 8am-5pm schedule now and for the most part I won't have to work the weekends, I figured it was the perfect time to sign up for a training group for running. I really wanted to start meeting people and get to know the community - what better way right? Every time I went into a coffee shop, or store, I kept seeing Team in Training fliers and decided to go to the info meeting last weekend - and ended up committing myself until mid-October and raising $2000 for cancer. I have never fund raised before for a race so this will all be very new to me, but like I said, it is for a GREAT cause. 

I signed up to do the Nike's Women's Half Marathon on October 16, 2011. Apparently, I also get a sweet Tiffany necklace handed to me by a fire man at the end of the race. 
So no more sleeping in on Saturday mornings. 

And this is the start of many pleads to help me raise money. My goal is $2,000! You can help by visiting my fundraising page and make a donation. 

To prove I got up early...here is a photo of my watch from this Saturday, which was my first training session (an easy 2 miler). 

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