Caps, Gowns, and Ice Cream

Holy Whirlwind Y’all! That- is precisely what the last few days have been! Last Wednesday evening, I said goodbye to Raleigh and headed back to Florida for my brother and sister’s college graduations. I sincerely want to do them both justice with a thoroughly, sentimental recap, but the crazy train doesn’t slow down around here until June, so for now, this too brief recap will have to suffice.

My sister, Mere, was graduating from the best school in the whooooleeee wide world, the University of Florida (Go Gators! :)) with her bachelors in Nursing. We met for a quick drink at the one and only Swap, Thursday afternoon before attending her pinning ceremony that evening.

IMG_0599[1]Swap… I love you an miss you… Mere, you’re ok too ;)

The following morning, I headed out to do the most natural thing on the planet, something I had not one in four years. I set my alarm for an early wake-up, drove to campus, and ran  six glorious miles around my former stomping grounds. I passed the football stadium where we won National Championships, past the gym I used to run track workouts in, past the orange groves I loved to watch blossom in the winter, past my sorority house that was and still is my home. It was where I became a runner, and it was amazing.

Grad

After a quick shower, it was time for Mere’s graduation! Her ceremony was lovely and were happy to snap pictures in the perfect Florida spring weather. After a quick lunch it was time for one last stop at the best place on earth…. yes…. better than my beloved Menchies

IMG_0595[1]My freakish love for froyo is no secret. I can easily eat close to a pound more than once per day, thankfully, my wallet cannot :) As much as I love froyo, and Menchies specifically, there is one ice cream-esque treat that has no comparison, and sadly no franchise…. Gator Dlites! Guys, I ate a pint both days an it was heaven on earth. I easily could have thrown down tow more!I had not had this glorious treat in four years! Dlites alone was worth the plane ticket ;)

Our day was far from over, dlites in hand, we hit the road to make the 2.5 hour rive to Tallahassee for my brother, Eric’s graduation from Florida State (Yes, Eric and Mere are twins.)

Eric took us to a fabulous dinner where we met up with our close family friends whose son was graduating as well. After dinner and drinks it was time for a few hours of sleep before my first tour of FSU.

IMG_0609[1] Seen on our run

I moved to North Carolina just when Eric left for school at FSU, and I had never visited our northern rival. Saturday morning, I met Eric at his frat house, and he took me on a jog through their gorgeous campus. He then took me to one of his favorite breakfast spots for delicious runny eggs, followed by his favorite coffee shop. That afternoon, it was Eric’s turn to walk. We scored perfect seats to watch Eric and a few hundred of his closest friends become FSU graduates. Congratulations everyone!

IMG_0612[1] Wait, where have I seen that outfit before…

As soon as graduation was over, we hopped in the car to head home to St. Augustine. Sunday morning,  I wished my mom an quick happy birthday before heading to the airport. I had an early flight back to Raleigh where life is not about to slow down anytime soon. I hope to pop in when I can but between leaving for Peru in two weeks, a new role at work, and a special new friend (Oh my goodness I can’t wait to share) I am not sure how regular CCR posting will be.

Have a wonderful week!

Do you remember your graduation?
Where did you graduate from?

 

Too Little Information-Planning a Trip to Peru

Planning a Trip to Peru

In three weeks, Eric and I leave for Peru. Over the past few weeks, I have been in go-mode, constantly rsearching and trying to glean as much information about our trip as I can.

Who could have thought that in today’s literal glutony of information and content (after all this post is content!), one would ever have trouble finding enough of the right  information on what to expect on a trip to Peru. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of perfectly useless information about Peruvian tourism such as don’t drink tap water or anything that touches it. Sure that is important, but once you have told me that, how about some help deciding the best thing to do after I brush my teeth with bottled water.

I thought I would compile a few of the resources I found have provided me actual useful information in preparing for my trip. My hope is that it helps others planning their own Peruvian adventures!

For What To Expect

Tips for Travel To Machu Picchu

Just Cherishe

The Borderless Project

With 34 posts on Peru, The Borderless Project was hands down the most useful all around website I found.

For Tip Searching

Gogobot

For Packing

Her Packing List

Alex in Wanderland

How To Pack for 7 Days in Peru in Less Than One Carry On

This spreadsheet method is pure genius for a complex trip with significant weather variability!

For Finding Peru Based Blog Posts

Pinterest!

Believe it or not, Pinterest far surpassed Dr. Google in sourcing relevant material on Peru

For General Travel Savvy

Extra Pack of Peanuts Podcast

I adore podcasts. My podcast playlist though is very exclusive, it takes a lot for a show get in ; ) EPOP is without a doubt one of my favorites and I love that the host, Travis, posts so frequently, giving me plenty of useful entertaining travel listening!

The Best Overall Resource

Call me old fashioned but…

perubook

The trusty travel book! Blogs, online forums, and online reviews have their place, but the most solid, well organized, thorough source I have repeatedly returned to is Fodor’s Peru travel guide.

I know, I know, I know, “Travel guides are for tourists, all you get is the once unique, local spot that now is over run by flocks of tourists!” BUT here is the thing – the best travel books truly are great resources. I have been luck enough to travel quite a bit for my age. Almost any  destination in the world has hidden gems that only locals, and those who live like locals, returning time after time to one place, know of. The way I have found one discovers these is through knowledge. Through meeting locals who give you the run down. Through spending enough time in one place that you gain an inherent understanding of what the easy “go-to” spots are, and take the time to wander across the hidden gems.

What I personally have found to be the best way to get the lo-down on a new destination is to understand it’s bones. That is where your travel book will help you leaps and bounds to shorten your learning curve significantly. Next, talk to friends, co-workers and acquaintances for their recommendations and tips. Then turn to the world of blogs, online forums, and online reviews to help you flush out the gaps.

Just keep in mind, any preconceive notions you make will be blown away by the real thing when you arrive :)

Three weeks will tell just how good these resources and my reading has been, cheers!

What are your favorite travel resources?

How do you approach trip planning?

Favorite travel guide?

 

Five Things Friday

Good Friday Morning to you! I hope you have had a fabulous week and have something even more fabulous planned for the weekend! Since today is Friday (Wohoo!) let’s jump into Five Things Friday.

five-things-friday

First How to Make Your Monday Night Fabulous…

Mondays tend to not be everyone’s favorite day, especially rainy Mondays. Luckily, I have a wonderful way for you to make your Monday night rock. Ready?

Invite over a friend who has the most incredible fashion sense to come over, rip your closet to pieces, and re-assemble it as utterly chic complete outfits you never would have put together for yourself in a million years!

IMG_0588[1]

My incredible friend Laura, from The Clarity of Clothing did exactly that this past Monday. Guys can we talk about how excited I am in particular about the two outfits she pulled together in the above picture??? I have always loved the individual pieces in both outfits, but never pulled them together the way Laura was able to. There is no way in 1,394,940 years I would have thought to pair the pink skirt with the blue top and you can be darn sure I never would have added the leopard belt, but when I tired it on, well… I’m in love!

Be sure to head over the The Clarity of Clothing for more of Laura’s style!

Second, Double the…Fun?

Flashback to 2011…..

EM Grad

My brother and sister’s high school graduation. These two lil ones are graduating college…. next weekend! I feel like I am supposed to say how weird it is that they are all grown up, having secured real world jobs and getting ready to go on out on their own, but honestly, it doesn’t seem that weird.

My only fear with their “growing up” is the change that may come to our family holidays and vacations. I am excited for their change, and only afraid of the change it means for me.

Congratulations Eric and Mere!

Third, The Countdown is Officially On!

Four weeks from tomorrow, Eric and I will be jetting off to Peru and then immediately into the Amazon before heading to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley!

Gahhhh I am officially getting excited as opposed to simply overwhelmed. When I think what I am am the most excited for, it is to visit a place an a culture neither I nor anyone I am close with has visited before. This is probably the first time in my life I am truly outside of my comfort zone.  I am very independent and handle change well so studying abroad by myself, and moving to a new state be myself after college didn’t bother me. The difference this time is that I feel the burden of responsibility for all aspects of the trip, whether they go well or poorly.

Fourth, Links I loved

Next 6 Unexpected Ways to ​Make Your Grocery Work for You

How To Handle A Rainy Race Situation

Amateur Gourmet Shocks Fans with an Announcement

Finally, The Week In Fitness

Friday: 6 miles untimed, easy effort

Thursday: 7 miles untimed, medium effort

Wednesday: 3 miles, arms

I wanted to make up the miles my lazy booty couldn’t pull off Tuesday morning.

Tuesday: 5 miles 1 @ 8:19, 6 sets of 3 minutes @ 7:18, 2 minutes @ 8:19, total body strength

Monday: Off

Sunday: 7 miles @ 7:38 average pace, abs

Saturday: 5 miles @7:49 average pace – total body strength – 5 miles easy

Do you often find yourself outside of your comfort zone?

Do you have any ridiculously stylish friends?

Cheesy Cauliflower Bread

Please excuse the repurposed intro to this post, but when I originally shared it in Five Things Friday, well, I couldn’t have put it any better :)

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me post a picture of my new obsession, Cauliflower Cheesy Bread. Before you roll your eyes saying, “Really, anther blogosphere cauliflower recipe…”   I beg you to allow me to make my case. I have seen recipes floating around for years now, but was never to tempted by them.  I tend to not be a big fan of “substitute” foods. Yes, I looooveeee my spiralizer, but when I make zucchini noodles, it’s because I love zucchini noodles, not because they take the place of pasta!

If there is one ingredient that has been maxed out on the food substitute scale, it’s cauliflower. That being said, when I saw it on sale at TJs for $2.29, I thought why not!Using this recipe as my starting base,  I got to work, creating my own version.

Cheesy Cauliflower Bread2

Holy cow yall, I have made this recipe five times in the past 2 weeks. I am pretty sure that is a record for most recipe repeats in a two week span! I admit the word, “Bread” is not entirely accurate. I debated using the word, “loaf,” but that did not capture the spirit either. Do not anticipate the density of a true bread, the presence of the egg keeps the dish nicely light and airy.  I equate “Bread” in this dish to the term “noodle” in a spiralized veggie dish. The use of the veggie in lieu of wheat keeps it spright and fresh tasting, allowing the ingredients to shine (which when you are using cheese is a simply fabulous thing). The use of a veggie also keeps it simple. No kneading, no rising, no exact measurements, just grate, mix and bake!

What doesn’t change is the most important element…… it tastes simply fabulous, enjoy!

 

Cheesy Cauliflower Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (400g when shredded)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 c  shredded mozzarella, divided

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400. Using a cheese grater, grate the cauliflower.

Combine grated cauliflower, egg whites, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and 1/4 c of cheese. Mix well.

To form the loaf either:

  • A) Spread mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, flattening into a thin layer
  • B) For shape, spread mixture into two parchment paper lined loaf pans

Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and flip. If you chose option B, when you flip your loaf, you can now bake it on a baking sheet. It should have already formed it’s shape.  Bake an additional 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, and pre-heat broiler. Sprinkle loaf with remaining 1/4 c cheese.

Broil 30-45 seconds or until cheese is browned and bubbling. Cut and enjoy!

Do you often make cauliflower? What do you like to make?

Happy Marathon Monday!

Happy Marathon Monday! Raise your hand if you are going to be distracted at work/school this morning because you will be rooting so hard for Shalane to take to win? I have had a blast following the Boston excitement all weekend – thank you social media! Boston aside, how was your weekend? I hope you had fabulous weather!

The weekend turned out to be quite different than I anticipated, but it was absolutely wonderful all the same.

My planned girls trip never happened. Some friends and I had planned to attend make the drive to Charlotte after work on Friday to attend the JCrew warehouse sample sale that had rolled into town. Another friend clued me in on it. I have never attended one but was planned to wait in line for a few hours and throw some punches if need be (kidding… sort of :)) to get my hands on the crazy cheap goods.

But it wasn’t meant to be. Our plans changed last minute and instead, Saturday morning, I headed out for my first taste of Summer (boy was it  steamy for 7am!) and my first run since the Rock n Roll half last weekend. I wish I could say it felt amazing to be running again and those 5 miles were a breeze, but no. It. Was. Hard. I blame the weather and some of yall may hate me for this but….. bring back Winter at least for my runs please!

Later that morning I joined a friend of a therapy session for me, and –run for her over 5 miles. I love running with friends so much that I’ll even run at 11am when normally my reaction to running after 8 am in awwwww heck no!

By the end I was so sweaty I did the unthinkable an actually showered after my run before going on with the rest of my day! That’s a big deal in these parts!

After my shower, I headed to The Cuegrass Festival for Beer, Barbeque and Bluegrass to celebrate a friend’s birthday!

IMG_0578[1]

Ok actually just beer and bluegrass. The festival was packed and an absolute blast! I can’t imagine a better way to spend the afternoon than with good friends listening to great music.  As soon as Town Mountain, the headlining band hit the stage, the sky’s opened and it poured rain. I took that as a sign it was time to call it a day and head home to nest for the night.

Sunday, after a shocking and absolutely fabulous 8 hours and 12 minutes of sleep (thank you Fitbit) I hit the greenway for a wonderful 7 miles at 7:39 average pace. I felt great and needed the confidence boost after the previous day’s struggle.

After normal Sunday churching, food prepping, and Say Yes to the Dress watching I finally got to relax an take a breather. Why……. my parents made it to town and I got to spend a glorious three hours plugging away on work!

Have a great week!

Do you like running with friends?

Are you following Boston today?

What time of day do you like to run?

Five Things Friday

Good morning friends! How has your week been? Mine has been good and busy. I have a new role at work I am getting ramped up on. I am nervous about what my new normal is going to look like in terms of business, but excited to make find out and to make it work!

Things were a bit different around here in terms of workout. As, you’ll see, I had my lowest mileage week, well, ever barring injury! Ok, Let’s jump into Five Things Friday!

five-things-friday

First Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner…

Or more likely, bringing me dinner…

Mom n Da Not Eric… we just nee to start taking more pictures in our family  apparently

My parents! Even though I saw them only a few weeks ago when I ran the Gate River Run, it feels like it has been ages since I have seen them and cannot wait! I might have to hold off on the anticipated reunion though because I have planes for a fun girls trip this weekend.

Second, This is Getting Real

Eric and I are almost one month away from leaving for Peru! Oh my  goodness gracious sakes alive!

Yes, I still feel like there at 5,403,908 things I need to do before we leave and so many unknown items, but I am finally at the point where I realize this is all part of the fun of travel. No I don’t know every contingency for every scenario that will occur but we have our tickets, the names of our hotels, phones, and currency – when it boils own to it, what else do we really need?!

I have been living an breathing Extra Pack of Peanuts podcast, getting my mind in travel mode as well as reading through the Peru archives of The Borderless Project, a great resource on what to expect.

This weekend, purchasing travel insurance is on my list. I think I am going with World Nomads. As is the theme with this trip, no one in my family has purchased travel insurance before, so I feel like I am in uncharted territory.

Third, An Unplanned Week of Rest

Or laziness.

Ok, definitely a week of laziness.  Monday was the first post-race day in my running history that I have not run an easy 5 mile shakeout run. That being said, Saturday was the first pre-race day that I had not run an easy 5 mile shake out run.

I have never taken almost an entire week off of running when fit and healthy. In theory I should have used my random week of no running to cross train and sleep but really I just spent some time each morning walking.  I could say that I finally took one of the two weeks each year I theoretically want to step away from running but honestly, I was just lazy.

Fourth, Links I loved

Lots of link love this week!

 Is It Time for Another Running Revolution- Ask ‘Born to Run’ Author Chris McDougall

Dallas CEO Cheryl Rios Says Female Shouldn’t Be President

The beauty of America is that everyone is entitled to their opinion. Even if it is bat shiz crazy ;)

6 Unique Rice Cake Toppings via the Lean Green Bean

At first, I rolled my eyes at this concept, but as I read and thought, I realized what a great vehicle for deliciousness the crunch base of a rice cake could be!

Do Men Cook More than Women-

Both of my parents are great cooks!

GIVE ME…

Exactly what I needed to read this week!

Gisele Bündchen Announces Last Runway Show

Most bloggers hate on models and the beauty/fashion industry. I however am shedding alligator tears over Gisele’s retirement. It’s the end of a very glamorous era.

Finally, The Week In Fitness

Friday: Off

Thursday: Off

Wednesday: Off

Tuesday: Off

Monday: Off

Sunday: Rock n Roll Raleigh half

Saturday: Off

What is the longest (non-injury induced) break from working out you have taken? How did it feel?

Have you ever purchased travel insurance?

What are your tips?????