Monday, March 31, 2014

Run the Ranch 5k

Spring in Texas, huh? Look at that sky! Sunday Brendon and I ran the "Run the Ranch 5k" in Steiner Ranch. If you are not from Austin, you probably don't know where or what Steiner Ranch is, so let me lay it down for you. Steiner Ranch is a GIANT suburb wedged in a U-bend of Lake Austin and Lake Travis. It's hill country for sure and it is beautiful. I worked out there for over a year, and although I enjoyed it and the commute is pretty breathtaking, I am happy to be working back in the city.

Steiner Ranch is a very affluent area, and this was definitely the most... family friendly? 5k we've ever run. There was basically one demographic represented, if you catch my drift. We were some of the only people without kids there, gosh, SO MANY KIDS. Totally logical as it is a suburb, but dang. Fast kids too. Dang kids and their endless energy.  

The course was basically just out through a little neighborhood and back. Did I mention that Steiner Ranch is hilly? The whole race was hills. Thank goodness that's all that's around our apartment! We did pretty good though! We placed 5th and 6th in our age group (18-35 both males and females, and as a disclosure, this was not a big age group. Most of these folks were parents, in the next age group.) and finished with a better time than we usually get running 3.1 miles. Our first mile was 8:44, our second was 9:04, and our last was like 9:55. The end was this stupid long hill that seriously seemed to last forever. No pro times of course, but I'm proud of myself! Felt good to stomp all over those hills.

All and all I liked the race. Not sure we'll run it again, just because we felt so out of place being young and childless. And it was slightly unorganized (this was only their second year) and such a looooong production. However, SO well sponsored. They had lunch! Hamburgers of course so we were out of luck, but hey, they provided lunch! And coffee and bagels and fruit and froyo! I mean they went all out with the local businesses. Freakin' Randall's was giving out free roses! The goodies were awesome. Especially since I think registration was only like $10? So maybe we will run it again!

It felt good to run a race, especially now that I've been training decently. I love the excitement and atmosphere! It also felt good to be back out in Steiner Ranch, as odd as that sounds. It's so pretty out there, I miss it!

Next up is the Autism Speaks 8k at the end of May. I imagine it's going to be pretty hot. We're trying to get used to running in the heat, but man we went out the other day when it was like 85 and I thought I was going to die. Seriously, pass out and puke at the same time. I'm hoping my body acclimates quickly. Texas heat/humidity is not playing games. AND THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Yesterday was my birthday, y'all! I turned twenty-six! Heading into to those late twenties, how crazy is that?

I had a wonderful day. Really, very, very, wonderful, because of some wonderful people. I had to work, but my sweet coworker had our desk all decorated with birthday goodies (balloons everywhere!) and she had a caffeine free diet coke in my hand before we even turned the lights on. And then my dad surprised me at work with flowers! He drove all the way up to Austin to see me at work. Sweetest thing ever.

My sister and I snuck in a little birthday run (she rocked a 5k! She was all, "ehh I wont be able to run the whole thing", KILLS IT.) and then we hung out at home with Brendon for a bit before it was time to go to dinner. Brendon wouldn't tell me where we were going, but we ended up at Chez Zee (have you been? OMG the dessert!) where a few of our friends and my momma were waiting to surprise me! Sneaky husband of mine. Such a lovely surprise! We ended the night with presents and then we watched Tangled. Because I love Tangled, and my sister had never seen it!

Seriously, such a good birthday. I am really fortunate to have such amazing people in my life who are all so good to me. My family and friends are the greatest and man, that guy I married. He's a good one. He spoils me rotten. My Princess Complex is spiraling out of control.

So far 26 feels just like 25, but I am looking forward to another year of life and the surprises and adventures it will bring! 25 was such a great year, I can only imagine 26 will be as well!

And here are the photos from home. There aren't many, because we have been severely slacking on the photo game lately. Also, I was exhausted. Excuse my sleepy face. And who sits like this?

Julie's signature face. Miley has nothing on this, Julie's been doing it for years. And I leave you with this:

That's a jar of tahini! We'll be making hummus soon.

Kite Building

As mentioned in my last post, I made a kite for the Zilker Kite Festival, in hopes of flying it with the 100 bazillion other people in Zilker. However, the festival was cancelled. And this was AFTER it was moved back a weekend. Whatever. I got to fly my baby at the beach and it was awesome.

Making a kite is actually really easy, if you have a sewing machine. If you don't I'm sure some amount of tape would work. You just need fabric, thread, dowel rods, two bic pen caps, and one metal grommet. I used ripstop nylon fabric, in hot pink with neon green accents. Because, the 80's. A year or so ago I picked up this home sewing craft book from like 1993 at Goodwill that is mostly all a waste of paper, but there were instructions for a kite in there! And it worked out really well! I wouldn't say the instructions were easy to follow, but once I deciphered them throwing the thing together was cake.

Look at me all about to sew that pin!

So after some measurements, some cutting, and a few stitches, BOOM, you've got a kite! The form is made with dowel rods, and the center removable rod is held in place with BIC PEN CAPS! I was like what the heck when I read the instructions, but it works perfectly. Who knew!

I made the delta kite, but there's also instructions for a rounded kite. That required soaking a dowel rod in water and then bending it to your required curve, and I was like, NOPE. But it might be worth trying someday when I have... more patience.

And the winner of the most awkward kite flying stance goes to... So I definitely used some string meant for crocheting, because where do you get kite string? It worked just fine. That kite flew like a champion. I had so much string, it flew so high! And didn't fall once! That might have been from the perfect kite flying wind at the beach, but whatever. It was successful! I want to take it out to Zilker soon so I can show it off here in Austin.

Yay for kite building! Such a fun and quick project, with such awesome and usable results! I mean that kite is SOLID. So much better than the plastic business you get at the store. Perfect craft if you've got (older) kids. I'm thinking of making another for next year, but getting creative with the colors! Maybe a manly one for Mr. Hogan.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Port Aransas 2014

So tomorrow is my birthday. And for my birthday, I treated Brendon and I to a long weekend at Port Aransas. Because it's my party and I'll go to the beach if I want to. And because I wanted to check on the ocean. I hadn't seen it in a couple years and I wanted to make sure it was still there. And we've both been working our butts off and deserved a little break!

The weather was a bit funky for the beach, as you might have noticed from the first photo, however I actually loved it. It was cool and often intensely cloudy with a near constant chance of rain (I don't think we saw the sun once, perfect for us vampires), and thus the town and beach were pretty bare. It was wonderful. We still did everything we wanted to do, it just wasn't sweltering hot and there weren't a gazillion people everywhere. Also, no seaweed! I feel like there is ALWAYS seaweed everywhere (see our last trip to Port A as a prime example), but maybe because it was spring instead of summer?

See that pink triangle up there? I made that kite! I actually made it for the Zilker Kite Festival, which was cancelled this year due to bad weather, so I was very excited to try it out and see if it would actually fly. And it did! So well! I think it deserves it's own post, so hopefully you'll see more of my hot pink kite baby soon.

And even though it was not exactly warm out, we swam! And it was so fun! We jumped and played in the waves (and screamed) like little kids. It was awesome. I've never been a huge fan of getting in the ocean, but it was seriously enjoyable this go round.

No trip to Port A is complete without a photo in the sharks mouth! We are so good at being tourists:

Not our bunker in the sand. But a very cool one! A family staying in our condos made it and it held up all weekend! Kudos to them.

This was a seriously awesome and very relaxing trip. I am and always will be a mountain lover at heart, but man did I miss the beach. It felt so good to be back. The sound of the ocean, the damp salty air, even the sand, I missed it! We relaxed and played and ate like pigs, and although Brendon had to do a little studying, it gave me a chance to veg out (and nap)! We even got some running in! We did two four mile runs barefoot on the beach. And we will never run barefoot for that amount of time again. Although it was lovely at first, I ended up with some seriously horrendous blisters on the bottoms of my toes. Shoes next time for sure.

And here are the trip details! We stayed at Casa Condominiums and it was really great. Like RIGHT on the beach. Shortest walk ever. And room 107, if it's just a couple of you, is perfect. It has the most fantastic upgraded kitchen! I've stayed a lot of places in Port A, and I think this might be my favorite.

As far as places to eat, our favorites were Shells and Venetian Hot Place, both delicious Italian food with excellent service, and then Taqueria San Juan for the yummiest, speediest, and cheapest breakfast. Oh and Coffee Waves! The cutest coffee shop, which is actually quite huge for a coffee shop, with the most helpful team! We asked what vegetarian friendly places were available and they pointed us in the right direction. I wish we would have stopped by again before we left, I love me a good coffee shop. In general, as far as being vegetarian friendly, Port Aransas doesn't kill it. But there a few places with good options, like those mentioned here. If there was ever a time where I wished I still ate seafood, this was it!

Brendon and I agree that vacationing together is the best. Ever. Even if just for a couple days. So thank you Port Aransas for our little escape! You were lovely as always. I honestly can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Running love

Totally unedited selfie of me after running. Like those blotches? That's what happens to us vampires when we run. More on this in a second, but first: OH MY GOODNESS SORRY I AM A TERRIBLE BLOGGER. Seriously. It's just, my life! It's so busy and really not that interesting. But I PROMISE I am doing (relatively) exciting things in the near future and I will TRY to document and share. For the four of you that care.

Anyways, back to that ridiculously large photo of me. No matter what Anastasia Steele does, don't run in pigtail braids. They will beat your shoulders, arms, chest, and even your face. So stupid. Anyway, running! It's a damn addiction. But the good kind. We have been running our BUTTS off. Like four times a week, at least. And holy hell have we (I) made progress. For a while it was just running the same 5k route and always stopping to walk a bit. Then one day I ran the whole thing. And then I stopped having to walk at all. And then we added more miles. And then more. And then the other day I ran six miles, which is the farthest I've run, ever. To you pros, that's nothing. But to the girl that couldn't run an entire 5k at the beginning of the year, this is exciting. A half marathon seemed impossible a couple months ago, but now I think it's totally attainable and something I am working toward. I'm still really slow pace-wise, but I don't care. As long as I'm running, I'm happy. I just love it. I love the way you feel afterwards, although during sometimes I feel like I am going to DIE. And I love that I'm almost always sore and can feel my legs getting stronger. I can't see it (no visible muscle growth... yet!), but I can feel it when I run or stretch. Also my skinny jeans have a rougher time getting over my calves these days. Ha.

We've got two races coming up, a 5k at the end of the month and an 8k at the end of May. I haven't run a race since the Trail of Lights 5k and I'm excited to pin on that number again now that I've made the progress I have. And there's just something so awesome about races. So much positive energy and just generally good vibes. Man, I love good vibes. Also there's snacks.

And speaking of good vibes, everyone seems to be feeling and sharing the running love lately! We've got a few of us at work that are on that running game, and as silly as this sounds, the online love has been so good. Thank you Facebook friends for putting up with and supporting all my running posts, seriously. It's so awesome to share this new found love with others and talk about motivation! It's like we've got a little support group going on! Keep on running, y'all. You da best.

So that's what I've been doing. Running, running, running. And working of course. I'm a little concerned about what will happen this summer when it gets real hot. I run in the afternoons and evenings because, duh, working at a coffee shop means no morning runs. When you get to work at 5:30am, running before work is out of the question. When it's 101 degrees out, afternoons and evenings are going to be challenging to say the least. But I'm hoping we can keep up the frequency and progress. Running in the heat can do nothing but make me stronger! Or kill me via heat exhaustion. Hopefully the former.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mr. Hogan (and other things)

Great Scott! I haven't blogged in over a month! Completely skipped February. OOPS, blame it on life. BUT FIRST, that very cute husband of mine just had a birthday, so let me love-vomit onto the internet for a bit.

And oh, do I LOVE that man. I am so so thankful that he was born 26 years ago. We've been together since he was 17, so I've been lucky enough to watch him grow into the wonderful and weird human he is today. He's such a good guy, y'all. I mean, the sweetest. And the most patient. And so smart and funny and weird. And he works his butt off everyday and I love to see it pay off for him. Brendon is one of those people that says, okay, I'm going to do that. And even if that is something insanely difficult and seems impossible, he does it. He makes me want to work harder and be better, because that's he does everyday. And he loves me. No matter what. No matter how grumpy or feisty or lazy or sleepy I am, he loves me all the same and makes me feel like a princess. He's my safe place, warm and fuzzy. Not literally. I mean, I guess literally too? Anyway, February 28th is definitely a day to celebrate. Glad you were born Mr. Hogan, you are my favorite.

This little month between our birthdays is the "I'm dating an older man" month. He's 26 now and I'm still a young 25. What an old fart! We celebrated his birthday with donuts, gardening, and veggie burgers. Oh and a movie on the couch. He had recently passed the cold he just got over to me, so I spent his birthday sick. Whomp whomp. We're always sick. Perks of going and going nonstop. But regardless of me feeling funky, it was a good day! For me anyway!

So what went down between my last post and now? Well, February happened. And February was a busy hectic INSANE month for me. LOTS of working. Like, A LOT. But, I got a promotion, woo! And we ran! A LOT. We've been stepping up our running game, which is I think the only new years resolution I've kept. I've got my eye on a half marathon and although we're SO far away from that business, we're running more often and I'm slowly but surely getting stronger. I don't know about faster though. Working on the faster. Distance and speed? Sheesh! One at a time please.

Oh my gosh and the Winter Olympics happened. I was ADDICTED. I watched it almost every night. Like, really, I think I missed two evenings. I LOVE that nonsense. I love how talented all those folks are and the insane things they can accomplish with their bodies. Also, how EXCITED they are! The skiers and snowboarders were my favorite, they were all just so happy! Even if they didn't win! Just thrilled to be there, happy to be doing what they love. The skaters, figure and speed, on the other hand were SO intense. And there was figure skating dramaaaaa of course. Ashley Wagner was robbed I tell you, robbed. But seriously, the Olympics consumed my life for a good two weeks+. I can't wait for them to be back. Four years!!!

The weather has been ridiculous, as Texas winters always are. 80 degrees one day, 30 the next. I guess it's always like this in the winter, but this year just seems abnormally bipolar. And we've had a lot of cold days. A lot of freezing. Which sounds whiny, but this is Texas! We can't handle too much of that!

And as I've resorted to talking about the weather, I think I'll end this post before I ramble off into oblivion. Sorry there aren't more exciting things to report about my month off of blogging. I'll try to do and document more things. Meanwhile, you stay classy, internet.

(And because I find it enjoyable, other birthday crown appearances. I'm hoping that giant thing lasts forever.)