Monday, July 30, 2012

What I Love From A to Z

Happy Monday everyone!

 Sometimes I really love writing based off of different prompts or post ideas I see around the blogosphere, and when I spotted this one over at Hungry Meets Healthy awhile back, I wanted to give it a try. I thought it would be a fun way to start off the week, plus I am a huge list maker so it was right up my alley! Here is a list of things I love from A to Z...

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A - Aviators.
There is something so classic and sexy about a pair of aviators. I have been on the hunt for a pair for awhile and was dead-set on getting a pair of Ray-Bans while I was in Michigan. However, since aviators aren't the most durable sunglasses (and they also always look slightly crooked on my face...anyone else have this problem?) I just couldn't bring my self to shell out the $150...and instead I settled for a pair of $7 ones from H&M. I still plan on getting my Ray-Bans one day, but I think I need to work on not breaking every pair of sunglasses I own first.

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B - Baking/Blogging.
Two of my most favorite activities.

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C - Country Music. 
 It doesn't get much more American than country. There is just something about a country song that so perfectly captures the range of emotion of the human experience.

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D - Dogs.
If you've read my blog pretty much any length of time, you'd know that I'm crazy in love with my dog Lola because she's pretty much the greatest thing ever. What you might not know is that not only am I obsessed with my own dog, but pretty much all dogs in general. Every time I'm out and see someone with their dog, I'm always like "OMG A DOG!!!!" like a small child. I then always proceed to pet said dog and generally just make a big fuss like I've never seen a dog before. What can I say, they are (wo)man's best friend. I'd literally own ten dogs (ranging in size/breed from tiny to giant) if we had the space/money/Cam would allow me to be full on crazy.

E - Eggs.
Incredible, edible, what's not to love about an egg? I usually eat them for breakfast most mornings, and I love that they can be prepared so many different ways. I also love when an egg is added to another type of dish, like a hamburger, because it just takes it to the next level.

F - Farmer's Markets.
They are one of my favorite things about the summertime. I love the ultra fresh produce and being able to talk to the people that actually grew it, as well as the idea of buying as local as possible.

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G - Gelato.
Love the stuff. And if I'm eating it in Italy, even better.

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H - Holidays.
I'm all about a day that has decorations, seasonal food/candy, and time off of work. My top 5 holidays? Christmas (by a landslide), Easter, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, and 4th of July.

I - Instagram.
Surprisingly I've never been a huge twitter person, but Instagram is a social media outlet that I can really get on board with. I love taking photos, so being able to quickly share them with others is so much fun. Plus, it gives me a place to put all those random food photos I love to take.

J - J.Crew. 
 I love the classic, colorful, and preppy style of J.Crew and I totally wish I could be like one of their models with the perfectly messy hair, layered outfits, and that divine orangey-red lipstick. Although I do own quite a few things from J.Crew, I try to shop their sales because stuff there can get pricey. For me, it's more about emulating the overall vibe of J.Crew by mixing and matching pieces from other places as well. Oh and I've been wanting that bubble necklace (you know the one I'm talking about) since I first spotted it at J.Crew ages ago...and now I swear every single blogger has it. And I don't care, I still want it. I am going to order one of Ebay this I said, it's all about emulating the whole J.Crew vibe :)

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K - Kraft Mac & Cheese
This stuff is my guilty pleasure. My favorite way to make it is to also make some frozen peas (I actually love frozen peas) and then mix the two together with a little salt and pepper. SO good.

L - Lake Tahoe
 If you have been keeping up with my blog lately or following me on Instagram, it's pretty evident that I am totally loving living here in Tahoe now. When we first moved here back in January, I was a little unsure of this place but now I am really enjoying it. The summer here is gorgeous and I feel really blessed to get to live here!

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M - Michigan
 No matter where I go, Michigan will always be my home. Being home earlier this month reminded me of the things that I really like about where I'm from. To be completely honest, I'm really not sure I could actually live in Michigan anymore after having lived out West, but it will always be a huge part of who I am. And in addition to my love for Michigan the state, I am also completely obsessed with my alma matter, The University of Michigan. Go Blue!

N - New York City
I love NYC; not just in a "Oh I watched Sex and the City and think New York seems cool" way like every girl, but in a genuine obsession with it as being one of the greatest cities in the world. I just love the energy, the different parts of the city, the food, and everything about it. Part of me wishes I could live there, but deep down I know that it wouldn't be the best fit. However, I'm thankful that my sister lives there because it gives me reason to go visit a few times a year!

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O - Oreos
My favorite. I love them plain (the double stuffed are my favorite), I love them on my frozen yogurt, I love cookies & cream ice cream, and I loved them on cupcakes. I love them so much I've even tried making them myself!

P - Peonies
My absolute favorite flower. I had them in my wedding bouquet and I still adore how they're so pink and puffy.

Q - Quiet
One thing I love about our current house is that it's SO peaceful. Whether I'm sitting out on our deck reading a book or taking Lola out to go potty at night with the stars shining so bright overhead, there is not a sound to be heard (with the exception of the occasion howl from a coyote). My type-A personality tends to love things busy and noisy but living here has really made me appreciate the serenity of silence.

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R - Reading
Is there anything better than getting lost in a good book? (I'm currrently reading this)

S - Summer
Sunshine, bathing suits, bonfires, s'mores, lazy days on the lake, BBQs, flip flops, warm weather and just slowing down to savor each and every long day is what I love about summer. It's my favorite season (well tied with fall) and it always goes by way to fast each year...but so far I'm making good progress on my to-do list!

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T - Turquoise
Besides pink, turquoise is my favorite color! I love turquoise jewelry, it's my favorite color to wear in the summer when I have a tan, and it's an accent color in our house right now (although since we're renting our "decorating" has been pretty limited!). It's the color of the ocean, Lake Tahoe, and just makes me happy.

I love America. I feel so blessed to live in this awesome country, and with the Olympics going on, I'm feeling extra patriotic. Over the past couple of years, Cam and I have been fortunate enough to drive through and spend time in so many different states across the country, and it's such a beautiful place with such great diversity of landscape and people.

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V - Vacations
Traveling is a huge passion of mine, and I love to explore new places. Cam and I take a lot of weekend trips, and even though they're short, we both really enjoy the change of scenery and the opportunity to have different experiences. We're (hopefully) planning to take a longer vacation later this year...more details to come soon!

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W - Wine
Does this really need any more explanation? I think not.

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X - (E)xposed Brick
Ok, so I struggled a little bit to come up with something for X...but I do really love exposed brick and would love to have it in my home one day.

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(Camel Pose--one of my favorites!) via
Y - Yoga
I really love how yoga has helped me increase my strength, flexibility, and balance over the past year. I still have a long way to go, but I feel like I'm doing something great for my body every time I take a class. Bikram yoga (so hot yoga) is definitely my favorite style, but I've really enjoyed experimenting with different types as well.

Z - Zest
What I have for life. (So cheesy I know but it's true, plus Z is another hard letter to think up words for!) In the same way that a little bit of lemon zest adds brightness to a dish, I think my "hearty enjoyment" (one of Webster's definitions for zest) of each day makes life that much more exciting.

Well now you know a little bit more about me! If you want to use this list as an idea for your own post, definitely leave me a comment because I'd love to check out some of the things that you love too! Hope everyone's Monday is off to a great start! Xoxo

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday's Letters

Greetings from Bend, OR!

Cam and I made the eight hour drive from Tahoe to Central Oregon last night and I'm so excited to be here. It's been a few years since I've been to Bend in the summer, and I'm looking forward to a fun weekend with family. But first I thought I'd stop in to link up with Ashley for Friday's Letters!

Sunset in southern Oregon last night via Instagram
Dear Cameron, Thanks for figuring out how to hook up your phone to my laptop so I could have internet in the car yesterday. And thanks for driving the whole way to Bend last night so I could catch up on work/blogging! Dear Summer Olympics, You start TONIGHT and I am so excited to watch you! I'm can't wait to see the opening ceremonies and Kate Middleton's outfits. It's really crazy that four years ago Cam and I were also in Bend (during my first trip to Oregon!) where I met his family for the first time, and we all watched the Olympics much has happened since then! Dear Natasha, I'm so glad we got to have lunch this week and that I finally got to meet your sweet little Ethan, he is the most adorable peanut! Dear Northern California/Southern Oregon, Some parts of you that we drove through yesterday were so completely empty, but also breathtaking. I'm thankful to have the opportunity to drive on these beautiful mountain roads and take in views that most people never get to see. Dear Lola, You are such a goof. Every time I looked at you in the backseat yesterday you had the craziest expression on your little doggy face. I love how much you make us laugh and I'm thankful you're such a great little traveler. Dear Summer, Please stop going by so fast! I am having the best time enjoying your sunshine and beautiful weather so if you could slow down a little that would be great. Dear Work, I am really enjoying a lot of things about you...but you're also super time-consuming right now and I'm not loving it. We need to figure out a better relationship and fast because it's pretty annoying the way you're taking over my life. Dear Carmel, CA, I'm excited to see you in two weeks! I can't wait to stay at a cute B&B, spend lots of time at the ocean, and just relax with my little family. Dear Immature Dairy Queen Workers in Klamath Falls, OR, I realize you're 14 and have more important things on your mind like Justin Bieber but was it really necessary to make me wait forever for my mini Chocolate Candy Shop Blizzard last night and then finally serve it to me completely melted? I was way too excited to try this new flavor of the month Blizzard and you made me really livid with your incompetent service. Dear Cameron, Thanks for calming me down when I throw fits at Dairy Queen and reminding me not to sweat the small stuff. I love you. Dear yummy restaurants in Bend/delicious Oregon beer, Get ready, I'm coming for you.

Have a great weekend everyone! Xoxo

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Two Books (That Aren't 50 Shades of Grey)

Because I think we've probably all read/heard enough about those books by now haven't we?

While we're on the subject, I have not read the 50 Shades of Grey series, nor do I plan to. I'll admit, at first I was intrigued and wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I was planning on reading them. But then after reading countless reviews about them on different blogs as well as hearing mixed reviews from friends, I've decided this is one fad that I'm going to have to pass on because I just feel it would be a huge waste of my time. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to get down on anyone who has read the books, as many of my friends along with bloggers who I respect have read them and loved them. It's just for me, I feel like I don't read nearly enough as it is. Between work (which has been incredibly time consuming lately), everyday life stuff like cooking and cleaning, working out, blogging, watching TV (what can I say some nights I'd rather just veg on the couch and watch funny/mindless television) and spending time with Cam and Lola, I feel like I struggle to carve out time to read for pleasure. So when I do read, the book damn well better be good! And by good I mean that when I finish it, I want to feel like my life is better for having invested the time to read it. And from what I've heard, I just don't think 50 Shades falls in that category. And it's not just about the sex. Sex is a part of life so if a book chooses to include it because it's an integral part of the storyline/character development and adds to the writing, I don't have a problem with it. But I know that the explicit nature of 50 Shades with it's ultra graphic descriptions goes way beyond that, plus I've heard that the writing is really poor and the characters are basically ripped off from Twilight, another series I never got in to. So I just feel like why would I read it these books just because they're the popular thing when there are so many incredibly well-written works of fiction and non-fiction out there? Plus, there are so many classics that I never read in high school/college that I'd like to read now. So if you're a 50 Shades fan, that's totally fine, to each their own. I just thought I'd add my two cents to this topic since a few people asked me if I'd read them :)

Moving on...

I recently read two books that I really enjoyed and felt were life-enriching, positive reads so I wanted to share them with you!

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot is a semi-autobiographical collection of tales about a country veterinarian in England set in the 1930s. My mother-in-law gave me a series of James Herriot books for Chrismas a few years ago as they're some of her favorites; I've been meaning to read them for the longest time but just hadn't gotten around to it until now. The book is so wholesome and heartwarming; the stories about the different cases that James Herriot has to deal with are very entertaining, largely in part to the colorful people that live in the Yorkshire Dales where the story takes place. If you were a fan of Anne of Green Gables or Little House on the Praire growing up, you'll probably enjoy this book as well because it's a simple yet charming account of an era gone by. Back then, farmers really depended on their animals for their livelihood so if one got sick or injured, it was a really major problem. James Herriot has to deal with a lot of large animal vet work like assisting with the births of calves or horses as well as small animal cases as well. This book isn't a page turner with crazy storylines or plot twist, rather it's just a lovely story with great descriptions of the pastoral English countryside that will bring a smile to your face. If you're an animal lover I'd highly recommend it!

StrengthsFinders 2.0. by Tom Rath is a book that I actually read for work as part of our monthly book club (which I think is so neat that my company does this!). The premise is that people spend so much time trying to improve their weaknesses in order to become more well-rounded, when in reality, we'd be better off focusing on discovering, developing, and playing to our strengths. By focusing on what we're good at instead of what we're not, we can really be successful and fulfilled in our careers and life overall. When you buy the book, it comes with an access code for you to go to the StrengthsFinders site and take an online assessment to discover your top 5 strengths out of the 34 different areas covered in the book. The book then talks about how you can more effectively use your strengths to their fullest capacity and gives great action items and tips. What I loved about the book is that after you take the assesment and read the sections about your strengths, you just feel really good about yourself, it sounds so dorky, but it's true! I felt like the descriptions of my strengths perfectly captured me and the things I'm good at and it felt great to just recognize those qualities instead of beating myself up about things where I fall short. I'd highly suggest taking the assessment and reading the book as I think it's very insightful!

(If you're familiar with this book/have taken the assessment, I'd love to hear what your top strengths were--mine were Woo, Communication, Maximizer, Positivity, and Significance)

Happy reading friends! Xoxo

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Scenes from the Weekend

Happy Hump Day everyone!

I wish I could say this week is flying by, but the last two days have felt extremely loooong. I'm trying to get ahead with some things for work since we're leaving to go out of town later this week, so I've been putting in long hours. Yet every time I cross something off my to-do list I feel like I add another five things on in its place, plus I still have to pack and get some things on my personal to-do list crossed off before we leave. And yes, I'm a compulsive list maker.

I digress.

I wanted to share some snaps from our weekend! This weekend was pretty low-key yet really fun at the same time. Friday night, I took a yoga class with one of my favorite instructors here in Tahoe and then watched this girl on House Hunters.

Saturday, Cam and I went tubing on the Truckee River with a group of his coworkers and it ended up being a great time!  We all met up in Tahoe City, and then parked a few cars down at our end point. I got to meet some new people from his office that were really nice, and the weather was absolutely perfect. The float down the river took a few hours, and it was so much fun to just relax, drink, chit-chat with new friends, and enjoy the sunshine. Right near the end of the float, the water was a little faster moving and when we went over some rocks I actually fell out of my tube. Since my tube was tied to other people in our group/the floating cooler, I just flipped out and my tube kept going. I know, I'm awesome. It was really shallow though so it was completely fine; I just started laughing (awkwardly) and walked over to the shore. Cam jumped out of his tube to try to help me (aww) but the water was deeper where he was and he had to swim to make it out. When we were both on shore, we walked over the spot where the rest of our group was getting out like the losers cool couple we are. We spent the rest of the afternoon getting lunch and drinks at the River Ranch which was right next to the spot we ended our float at. They've got a big back patio right next to the river and it was packed! I actually used my cell phone camera all weekend so if you follow me on Instagram you've already seen some of these, but some I saved on my phone until now.

I am really enjoying having our Wrangler this summer, it's the perfect car for Tahoe!
Even though you have to wear a hat if you don't want hair in your face :)
I was so excited to find Fat Tire cans to take out on the river, makes me think of Colorado!
Perfect afternoon
River Ranch

On our drive, Cam and I stopped at the Char-Pit in Kings Beach, CA and got the best tall swirly soft serve cones ever, all thanks to this girl's recommendation. Spending the day out on the water, driving around the lake in our Jeep with sun shining, and eating ice cream cones is pretty much the perfect summer day if you ask me!

Sunday, Cam and I went to check out the Celebrity Golf Tournament that was in Tahoe this past weekend! The tournament took place at Edgewood (the same place where we spent Easter) and featured people like Michael Jordan, Tony Romo, Alfonso Ribeiro (from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air!), and Charles Barkley. The course at Edgewood is gorgeous and has great views of the mountains and the lake, the weather was perfect, and it was a lot of fun to just walk around and people watch.

Tony Romo
Michael Jordan
He was literally smoking a cigar the entire day
Carlton Banks...ha
My favorite person to see was Charles Barkley, he was hilarious! He was definitely not taking things to seriously...and also, I'm not quite sure how the whole Weight Watchers thing is working out for him...yeah.
He'd literally just take the club one handed and smack the ball...LOL.
Good times.

Alright, time to get to work! Hopefully the weekend hurries up and gets here already! Xoxo


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