2012: the do morer year.

It’s a new year.

*sigh*

With a new year comes the obligatory reflection on the year past, and looking back I realize just how tumultuous 2011 was.  There were ups, and there were downs.  Boy, were there downs.  And struggles.  Like when the BF first moved to Charlotte and the struggle I faced in deciding to move away from home.  Then, I struggled to sell my house, struggled to rent my house, and struggled to find a condo to rent.  When I couldn’t sell the house, I struggled with becoming a landlord.  I struggled with the world’s worst movers.  Then, I struggled to plant baby roots in a new city.  I started my new job and struggled with the realization that it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.  I struggled with the decision to leave that new job for a new-new job.  I struggled to be happy.  Far too much.

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I shot that sh*t!

Over the past two years I’ve developed an addiction to food photography.  The styling and the mood.  The subject and the props.  The lighting.  OMG the lighting.  I’ve drooled over photos in magazines, on blogs, and in cookbooks and I’ve snapped thousands of food photos trying (and hoping) to get shots that looked half as good.  I can count on one hand (that’s five fingers, folks) the number of photos I have taken that I truly loved (one of them being the pic I used for my header on the blog).

That is downright sad.

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14-Day Fitness Challenge–Turkey Trot Edition

I don’t know about you guys, but my level of motivation to exercise is dwindling downward along with the temperatures.  Add to this the impending holiday of gluttony, and I’m a wee bit concerned my pants aren’t gonna fit come the new year.  Let’s just face the facts.  I’m not one to turn down delicious grub, and my food intake around the holidays can be downright excessive.  That’s just me.  I love food.  I definitely make an effort to be “conscious” of what I’m eating, but when you give me fifty options there’s no way I’m walking away from that buffet line without a mounding plate of glorious home cookin’.  There will be pounds of turkey slathered with cranberry sauce.. and several hot buttery rolls…  and potatoes in every fashion:  mashed ones, and cheesy ones, and sweet ones topped with melty marshmallows and brown sugar, and a potato salad… or three.  Let us not forget about the dessert table.  I can hear the angels singing now….  I have to sample everything.  It’s tradition, and not doing so is just, well, downright rude in my family.

Hence the aforementioned pants fear. 

Since I function best in life when I have goals to strive towards (Type A?  Moi?!??), I’m rolling out a personal fitness challenge to get me amped up to exercise over the Thanksgiving holiday.  This isn’t just ANY fitness challenge, this is the 14-Day Fitness Challenge – The Turkey Trot Edition.  The goal of this fitness challenge is to exercise every day for the next 14 days.  Yes, that includes Thanksgiving… and my beloved Black Friday. Every.Day. For 14 days.  Here’s the kicker:  I’ll also be running my first EVER race — The Cleveland 5 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. 

Can we all keep our fingers crossed for no snow, please?!

I WILL EXERCISE EVERY DAY.

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Who’s with me?

Feel free to add this badge to your blog!  Just copy and paste the code below:

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Something in the air…

Is it just me, or is there something in the air that’s making you all want to sleep for 13 hours a day too?  Something urging you to bust out that box of winter clothes and dig through the buried treasures you tucked away last April until you find the softest most oversized of all the sweaters. You wrap yourself up in its comforting embrace, pull on a pair of your finest high-waisted sweatpants, and sprawl out on the couch watching random cable tv shows.  Or, if you’re like me and joined project cancel-your-cable-and-use-$$$-to-support-your-coffee-addiction then you’d be sprawled out on the couch watching whatever show your rabbit ears happen to pick up that evening… Hello Seinfield reruns and round the clock local news.  Woot!  All of this in lieu of any sort of exercise or productivity and preferably enjoyed whilst you pack your belly full of comfort foods… and hey, let’s throw in a brownie and a glass of wine while we’re at it.

What IS that in the air?

Ohhhhh hiiiii, Fall.

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Weekend in the motherland.

Before I became a Charlottean, I was a long-term Northeast Ohian.  I had a brief stint in Cleveland and a few years in Kent, but I’ve spent the bulk of my years to date split between two very different areas: the Portage Lakes and West Akron.

My dad lives in the Portage Lakes area, where they’ve got a burgeoning population of hillbillies, which he is oh-so-proudly apart of.  My mom lives in West Akron, which has a hodge podge of artsy and eclectic mashed up against hoity toity types with big fancy houses I like to drool over.

I can’t believe it has been four months since my last visit home.  The summer heat just melted the months away right before my eyes.  The time flew but four months is really far too long to be away.

This past weekend, I FINALLY headed back to OH (i-o!!) to celebrate my pa’s 50th birthday!

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Age.  It’s so bittersweet.  On one hand you become wiser and more mature.  You’ve seen more, travelled more, and gotten to spend more time with the ones you love.  But on the other hand, aging means you are one step closer to not being able to have and do these very things.

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It’s no secret that I’m sort of a sap, but something about my dad turning 50 really struck a chord with me.  It’s just crazy to think my dad is now 50… but at the same time it’s also crazy to think that my dad is ONLY 50.  I’m quite lucky to have such young parents, and I sure as heck need to do a better job of spending time with them.

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For dad’s big day we decided to cook up some half chickens.  THIS is how we do things in our neck of the woods:

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Serious backyard grilling:

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Bart (my dad’s BFF) was the master of the grill.

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Don’t act like you’re not impressed with this craftsmanship.

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Toby (my dad’s other BFF) took her usual role of being the master of all things lazy:

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Dad opening presents:

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My sister Jenny, brother-in-law Jon, my nephew Dylan, and one of the three million balloons he popped:

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Mmmmm cake….. Chocolate, of course Smile

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Family Photo Op!

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After hanging with the hillbillies all night, I headed back to my mom’s to hang out and share yet another slice of chocolate cake… and perhaps a slice of cherry cheesecake.  Perhaps.

The next day I busted out a six mile run then ransacked mom’s cabinets in search of grub.  I came up with this tasty combo for breakfast:

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Oatmeal with some warmed up frozen berries.  It’s that time of year again… bye bye overnight oats.  Bring on the hot stuff!

After breakfast, I took a quick stroll through Highland Square..

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I’ve always loved Highland Square, and honestly it’s hard not to.  It’s basically the cultural mecca of Akron.

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It’s also home to one of my all-time favorite coffee shops:  Angel Falls!

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Ahhhh.. I’ve sipped hundreds of coffees and nibbled on many a baked goodie in this green building.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE their biscotti…. Sadly I didn’t have time to grab any this visit.

Down the road from Angel Falls are lots of random shops, bars, and restaurants including a Chipotle and Metro Burger across the street.

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Later in the day, I had lunch with my friend Tim (newly engaged to Jaci at Engaged & Running), then headed to my dad’s to watch the Browns win their first game of the season!

HERE WE GO BROWNIES HERE WE GO!!!!!

And THEN I headed to Starbucks to meet up with some of my hometown gals:  Allison, Kelsey, baby Ella, and Tracy!

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After downing my first official pumpkin spice latte of the season (*heaven*), I headed home where mom cooked up some asparagus, risotto, and chicken she picked up from Earth Fare.  This wasn’t ANY chicken.  This was chicken stuffed with goat cheese, prosciutto, and arugula!  So friggin good, and according to her it was only $7 for two large pieces!  I’m gonna have to snag some of these when I get home.  And next time I’m in OH, I need to make sure I get my Angel Falls Biscotti fix..  And lunch at Nate’s Deli in Cleveland.  Luckily, I’ll be heading home in only 2 months (thanks to Turkey Day Smile).

What were you guys up to this weekend?

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Phew!

Say it with me now.  In through the nose……. out through the mouthhhhhhhh…….

In through the noseeeeeeeee…..

Out through the mouth.

Phew!

Another tax busy season is (nearly) behind me, and thank the frickin heavens!  Tonight is the first night I’ve come home with nothing URGENT URGENT URGENT to think about in FOR-EV-ER.  It has been a rough few weeks, but the good news is work should be a whole heck of a lot slower until January when the season-who-shall-not-be-named rolls into town once again… bleghhhhhhh….

So to update you on the last few weeks:

ERGONOMICS UPDATE:  My office chair has developed a permanent indentation of my butt due to the extensive quality time we’ve been sharing.

*  OBSESSION UPDATE:  I’ve developed a love for Clif Bars.  You may recall my longstanding obsession with Luna bars.  I dare say Clif bars are now taking the lead.  They leave me feeling fuller longer (quite possibly due to the extra 60 calories they pack) and the Clif bars don’t seem to give me a sugar rush.  Though, I will admit that the Luna Bar flavors are more craveable than Clif’s flavors.  Must be a girl thing.

RESTAURANT UPDATE:  I had a string of crappy meals, which I didn’t think was possible in CLT.  I was sadly wrong.  Two thumbs down to disturbingly grey eggs and unidentifiable breakfast potatoes at Bluprint, incredibly fatty steak at Firebirds, and insane over usage of butter at Cajun Queen.  BLEGH!

TRAVEL UPDATE:  BF and I went to Chimney Rock, NC for a day to hike courtesy of a Living Social deal I snagged a few months back.

We hiked, and climbed, and did our best not to contract poison ivy….

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There were beautiful vistas, fancy gaps, and excessive sweating.

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We also took impromptu senior year of high school photos:

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How ridiculous is that photo???  Makes me giggle every time I look at it!

And since the BF is *cough* afraid of heights *cough* I climbed to the top by my onesie:

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Even though it was overcast that day, the view was gorgeous!

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WARNING:  Do not look directly at my white legs.  Doing so may cause temporary blindness.

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CHEAP ASS UPDATE:  Target has Clif Bars and Luna Bars on sale this week!  They have boxes of 6 and limited flavors in BOXES OF SEVEN for $5!!  HOLLER!

TECH SAVVY UPDATE:  The wireless on my computer died Green with envy

*  NOT-SO-TECH-SAVVY UPDATE:  I spent 45 minutes on the phone trying to fix the computer problem.  This included several rounds of me answering the same exact series of questions over and over.  I think the rep was hoping I’d change my responses.  Think again, Dell.  Think again….Devil

FRIENDS AND FAM UPDATE:  The BF’s mom and pop came to Charlotte.  We showed them the town (through food, naturally).  We also had a make-your-own pizza night at my humble abode:

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Mmmmmmm pizzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaa  *drool*

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BEEF CAKE UPDATE:  I upped my squat and tricep weight at Body Pump!  I’m now up to the following (total weight including 2.5lb bar):

Sept 2011 versus June 2011

  • Warm Up = 22.5 lbs      vs      17.5 lbs
  • Squat =       37.5 lbs      vs      22.5 lbs
  • Chest =      27.5 lbs      vs      17.5 lbs
  • Back =        32.5 lbs      vs      22.5 lbs
  • Triceps =    27.5 lbs      vs      12.5 lbs
  • Biceps =     22.5 lbs      vs      17.5 lbs
  • Lunges =     22.5 lbs     vs      12.5 lbs
  • Shoulders = 22.5 lbs     vs      17.5 lbs

My goal over the next two weeks is to bump up my squat and back weight again.  Every time I increase my squat weight I get lower back pains, so I’m going to work really hard on my form.  I’m watching the how-to videos on the Body Pump website as we speak…

RUNNING UPDATE:  I didn’t run for two weeks, and felt like death was upon me when I ran 6 miles Sunday.  But I did it, and I hope to beat my eight-mile record in the next couple of weeks!

*  THE WHY-IT’S-GOOD-TO-DATE-GUYS-WITH-SKILLS-UPDATE:  My IT guy fixed my computer *wink* *wink*

NERD UPDATE:  Shit got serious on my 2012 budget spreadsheet.  Yes, that’s my 2012 annual budget I’m working on, which is something I’ve started every September for the past 7 years.  Every year it gets bigger and better, and with the addition of my new friend the “Indirect Formula” my summary spreadsheet just went to a whole new level of awesomeness.   Be jealous.

So fill me in!  What have you been up to?  What have you cooked?  Where have you been?  What have I missed???  My Google Reader is outta control right now!!

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I’m alive!

Hi guys! I’m alive… I promise! Busy busy time of year for us tax folk. Plus my wireless on my laptop took a crap, and now I’m publishing my first ever post via iphone. Don’t act like you’re not impressed 😉

Given that I have a wonky thumb, which makes iPhone typing incredibly difficult, and that I’m absurdly tired because I decided after getting home from work at 11:15pm that it’d be a good time to scrub my kitchen and bathroom floors, I must say ado to you.

Catch ya on the flipside, and please eat lots of brownies and cereal and garlic bread for me in the meantime.

What, you don’t crave this combo at 12:30am on a Tuesday night?

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