Sunday, August 10, 2014

Austin Ice Cream Festival!

Saturday we ventured out into the Great August Summer Heat (who has just now decided to grace us with it's presence and I am totally okay with it, it's been such a lovely cool summer, I'll take a whole month of 100+ degree days!) to check out the Austin Ice Cream Festival. We've been talking about going for years but have always had to work. Somehow miraculously this year we both had the day off! So to celebrate ice cream we went!

This is just how photos of me go, so I'm embracing it. I am actually not a fan of ice cream, but Mr. Hogan on the other had loves the stuff. I ate a lot of fruit/ice things, which there was plenty of! Tickets to the event are $10 per person and you get 3 sample tickets to try out different ice cream vendors. So between the two of us we had 6 tickets, and we got to try almost everything! You can also buy more tickets, but we were sugared out by 6. Oh, and there's unlimited Blue Bell ice cream goodies. Literally, unlimited. They had a Blue Bell truck that they were just piling out ice cream cups, bars, popsicles, etc out of to any one who wanted some. Ice cream insanity.

They had this super cute craft set up for kids (and adults who are children at heart), tons of popsicle sticks and elmers glue! We got in on the action. I made some swirly thing, and Brendon made... a turkey! A turkey!! That boy wins for creativity. Watching him make that thing was adorable.

Someone explain to me whats up with this baby sculpture on top of this van. Creeeepy!

I think that was fruit popsicle number 3 for me? This was the coolest little event, and if you get the chance next year I highly recommend it! SO MUCH ICE CREAM! Also tons of free junk from random vendors. We both got new obnoxious colored sunglasses, because you can never have enough. And sunscreen, which was a genius move on Concentra's part.

Thanks for the good time Austin Ice Cream Festival! You were a great way to beat the heat and get a crazy sugar high.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Running in the summer

This picture has little to do with this post, aside from the fact that I'm sweaty from running. I was laying on the floor blasting the fan and AC trying to cool down, and it was game on for Sophie. She's licking the sweat off my face. Cats are weird.

So we're about halfway through the summer? Kind of? Lets say yes. I haven't quit running (!!!), which is something I was very scared would happen. However, let me say this has been the mildest summer I've experienced in a long time. I can't remember a summer like this. We haven't hit 100 degrees yet, which is amazing as we are mid July here. We've also had a fair amount of rain (never enough) to keep it relatively cool. It rained last night, and when I ran this morning at 9:30 it was only like 78. Although the humidity was a whole different beast. So it's been a mild summer so far. But still, it's Texas and it's hot. But I've kept up the running.

This is my first summer as a "runner", so I've got nothing to base any of this on. I am also not competitive or hardcore or any sort of expert. I just run because I like seeing myself improve and, well, I love running. But this is what I've learned so far during my first summer of running:

WATER. Dear lord, drink you some water. All day every day. Before running, after running, while running. Take water with you. Brendon and I have a big water bottle that we run with, and he carries it because I'm a huge wiener and can't run with it. So when I run alone I run waterless, and boy does it suck. We've also just about run out of water on our "longer" runs. I've been talking about buying one of the little handheld water bottles, but I've yet to do it. I need to. Water is so so so important, especially in the heat.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you feel like you're going to puke and pass out at the same time, stop running. Get into some shade, drink some water, and cool down. Overheating and dehydration are not playing around. Twice this summer I've come close to losing my cool, literally, and it was very scary. Both times I thought I was going to puke, then my brain was going to explode. Not cool. If you feel ill, stop. If you're dizzy, stop. If you're seeing spots, goodness STOP! Listen to your body!!

SLOW DOWN. You're going to be slower in the heat no matter what, it just comes with the territory. I run about a minute slower now than I did in the spring. And that's okay. But it also helps if I make a conscious effort to run a little slower, especially if I'm trying to run a longer distance. If I'm just running a 5k I'll push myself a little harder because I know I've only got a few miles to do. But if I want to run farther, or run hills, I make sure I stay at comfortable pace. I focus on my breathing and slow down when I feel it's getting out of control (this works well for me in any temperature).

And on that note, IGNORE YOUR MILE TIMES. This is a personal thing for me. At first my slow pace was discouraging, but right now I just focus on getting out there and running. Getting in your run in no matter how slow. We have this Garmin watch that tells you your current speed, and I completely ignore it. It also makes this lovely beep when you wrap up a mile and gives you the mile time, and I also try to ignore that. I focus on, "YES, ANOTHER MILE DOWN", not "oh my god that was almost an 11 minute mile". You're out there doing the damn thing, sweating your ass off. Give yourself credit.

HIDE FROM THE SUN. Seriously. My dad is one of those crazy folks who loves running in the heat of the day because it's a better work out. I did not inherit that gene. I am a vampire, the sun sucks the life out of me. It makes everything more difficult. Run in the mornings or evenings, when the sun isn't high. I am not a morning runner because I'm usually at work by 5:30am and if I'm not, I want to sleep in! So we run in the evenings at like 7 or 8. It's hotter than in the morning, but the sun isn't shining directly on you and man that makes a world of difference. The downside is the mornings and evenings are a bit more humid, but I'll take humidity over the sun any day.

WEAR AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. Seriously. If it's real hot, I'm running in shorts and a sports bra, that's it. Your shorts come with built in undies? Use 'em. Layers are not your friend. Also, swamp ass. No one wants it. On days I do run in a shirt, it's moisture wicking and relatively loose fitting. No cotton. You will sweat all over it and it will get heavy and hot and gross. Also SUNSCREEN! I am not good at this, thus, I have a very prominent runners "tan". By tan I mean freckles.

KEEP POSITIVE AND KEEP RUNNING. The big one, y'all. The heat and humidity are humbling and can be incredibly disheartening. It takes time to acclimate, and during that time you feel like you've never run in your life. I've had runs this summer when I've thought "I wasn't cut out for this, I'm not a runner, I suck I suck I suck, why am I doing this???". But you keep running. And I'm not saying it's easy to run in the heat, but it does get easier. Just keep trucking through. You might not be able to run as fast or as far, but it's a hell of a workout. And although this is my first summer as a runner and this will be my first fall as well, when that first cold snap hits, I'm thinking I'll be feeling pretty damn good. Stronger and faster. And that's what I tell myself when I'm a hot sweaty zombie mess and I feel like if I take another step I'll melt into the pavement and/or burst into flames.

So that's the plan. I can survive a couple more months of this and I WILL be a better runner because of it. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger! (But running in the heat can kill you, so BE CAREFUL! Pace yourself! Water water water!)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Cadillac Ranch

We drove through Amarillo on our way up and back down from Colorado. I didn't know much about Amarillo. In fact I thought it was a tiny tiny town. Turns out it's pretty big! Probably bigger than the town I went to college in and definitely the biggest town we drove through on our way to Colorado. Conveniently it's halfway there. Anyway, about the only thing I knew about Amarillo is that it's the home to Cadillac Ranch. On our way up we got into Amarillo after dark and then the next morning when we were leaving it was storming something fierce. So on the way home we had to make sure we stopped to see the Cadillacs. And it was perfect weather!

Cadillac Ranch is an art installation just outside of town in the middle of a field. It is totally open to the public and spray painting is allowed, and encouraged. It was made in the 1970's by a group of artists and funded by Stanley Marsh 3, who actually just passed away this past month. He owned the land it's on, and actually had to move the installation a few miles away from it's original location because the growing city of Amarillo was approaching. They had everything moved and put just as it was, including all the trash. I could talk forever about this (remember that Bachelors of Fine Arts I have?), but lets just say I think it is very cool for a variety reasons. It looks cool, the idea is cool, the interaction is cool. I like it.

We found a can of spray paint that still had some juice left in it and made our marks.

Why yes, I did spray paint a cat. Our tags are long gone by now. Apparently they painted all the Cadillacs the original colors not too long ago and they didn't last 24 hours before they were spray painted up again.

My inner art history nerd was in her happy place. It's a neat thing, and if you're in Amarillo I highly suggest checking it out, and bring some spray paint!

And that's all folks. The end of the vacation posts! Back to reality and the usual programming of very sporadic posting.

The rest of our vacation here!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Capulin Volcano

On our way back from Colorado we stopped at the Capulin Volcano in Capulin, NM. We kept saying capuchin (a very cute type of monkey). The coolest part about this place was the seriously amazing view. You can drive up to the top and hike around the entire rim of the volcano, which gives you a 360 degree view of the area. This is super neat because this volcano is right where the great plains meet the mountains, so you're seeing two very different landscapes touch each other. You can see Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Endless plains and the snowy rocky mountains. This was our last view of the rockies, which for me is the hardest part about coming home. Driving away from the mountains hurts and makes me super sad. I'm constantly turning around and checking the mirrors in the car, making sure I can still see the mountains. It's the saddest when they finally disappear.

A big ol' shout out to the Bruce Wayne for being such a rock star road tripper. You've driven us all over the mountains three times now! You're such a good car. We love you, Bruce.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Colorado, part 4

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY Y'ALL! Hope you're wearing an obnoxiously patriotic get up and have fireworks and grilled goodies in your future. Or you're just relaxing and laying on the couch (yessss please!). Or working and getting that time and a half!


Our last day in Aspen we spent mostly in town. We got a hotel for the night, ONLY BECAUSE we decided at the last minute that we wanted to camp our last night there (the original plan was to stay at a hotel the last night) because our campsite was so amazing and we didn't want to leave. However it is so amazing that it, and every other campsite in the Maroon Bells area was already booked by 10am. So we had to get a hotel. While waiting for our check in time, we walked around some of the paved hike/bike trails in town. We found a little off-shoot actual hiking trail up a little ridge so we checked that out. Panted our way to the top, as usual. Worth it though, stellar views of the city.

How amazing is it that this is in the middle of the city. We were surrounded by houses, but this big ridge in the middle of everything was left to nature. So very cool. Aaaand we got to see a deer! Very close!

So let us discuss this hotel business. There is an app called Hotels Tonight. It was mentioned on one of the blogs I read, so I figured I'd try it out. FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING, do not use this app. Oh my gosh, we got so screwed. Not only was it still very pricey, we were put in the absolutely worst room in the lodge. It was teeny tiny, and even though AC doesn't exist in this hotel, there were NO WINDOWS OR CEILING FAN. It was a hellish and very hot nightmare. When we brought this up to the manager, he said he was aware it was the worst room in the hotel and they only use it for deal sites. WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THAT? Mountain House Lodge in Aspen, CO. They're evil, don't stay there. Hotels Tonight is also probably the devil. BUHHH I HATE HOTELS.

Yeesh. Anyway, here are the culinary highlights of the trip. We recommend Victoria's Espresso and Wine Bar, Poppycocks Cafe, Main Street Bakery and Cafe, and if you're feeling fancy, Acquolina Aspen. Also we discovered Paradise Bakery and bought an embarrassing amount of mandarin orange muffins.

That's it for Colorado. Couple more stops on our way home and that's it. Back to the sporadic posting you're used to.

The rest of the trip here!