vegan

What I'm Into Wednesday - Travel Edition #2

The weekend of November 2-4 marked our second travel excursion of the month. This time to scenic Phoenix. Or something like that.

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A little back story: Angelo grew up in Cleveland and one of his best friends still lives in Cincinnati. Needless to say, we don't get back much so we don't see him often. Andy owns a very successful dog training and boarding business and also competes in competition (more on that later). He helped us a lot as a sort of virtual trainer for the first few months that we had Arlo. When we found out he'd be just outside of Phoenix for a competition, we knew we had to go. And thus, this weekend adventure was born. 

We got to spend a few nights in an awesome Airbnb hanging out with Andy and his girlfriend, watched him do what he is best in the country at (literally), ate some delicious food, and had a nice weekend away with the pup.

 

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DO

The sport Andy competes in is called French Ring. Here's the gist: a handler and a dog are the competitors. They go through a whole series of little events and challenges and are scored by judges. These events include agility drills (jumping over a wooden wall or long jumping), obedience drills (following commands, heeling, walking on leash, walking with a muzzle, ignoring food, picking up a thrown object, etc.), and drills with a decoy. A decoy is a guy in a bite suit. Andy is that guy. In fact, he's the best in the US. I should mention these dogs are Belgian Malinois and are trained as personal protection dogs. They are smart, fast, athletic, and scary - yet are great family dogs as well. 

The decoy stuff was fascinating. The idea was all about role playing. The dog and handler are being judged on how well the dog listens to commands - like how quickly and accurately does he attack the decoy, but then let go and return to the handler when called. Or how well can he guard an object (like a basket) if the decoy approaches it. He gets points for how close he allows the decoy to come, when he leaves his guard to attack, when he goes back to guard, etc. 

Much less about viciousness and much more about intelligence and obedience. It truly is a game for these dogs, and they're really amazing at it. 

Poor Arlo looked like a chump. 

HEAR

Long car rides call for full blown podcast series. We were in the mood for something along the lines of Serial or S-Town and I had been recommended a podcast a few months ago from my friend Jeff. He recommended Dirty John

Dirty John is a true crime story from the LA Times. It follows an Orange County woman who meets her "dream man" online. Of course, John turns out to be someone completely different than she thought. 

It's fully of lies, deception, anger, emotion, sadness, and a little humor. And it's intense. Be prepared for that.

Also be prepared to want to scream at some of the main characters for not being able to see through this guy. It's infuriating. And straight up outta the OC. 

SEE

After a long drive, all I want is food. After a little Yelping, I found The Coronado in Phoenix, which was a sight for sore eyes and the perfect stop before meeting our friends at the Airbnb. 

An outdoor, dog friendly patio (yay!), super cheap happy hour prices, and delicious food made for a winning combination. We had a salad, a goat cheese and jalepeno jelly quesadilla, and grilled corn on the cob complete with cotija cheese and seasonings.

All the YUM!

SMELL

We were on our own for our second night dinner as well, and ironically ended up across the street from The Coronado. 

Green New American Eatery popped up on many "must eat" lists so we had to try it.

I'd compare it to SIPZ in North Park - tasty bowls filled with vegan protein, veggies, and rice, vegan buffalo wings (which were pretty damn good - the smell of buffalo sauce gets me every time), and plenty of healthy drink options. 

Between a Thai inspired peanut bowl, a ginger and garlic bowl, and the wings we were happy campers...with just enough space in the belly for the last item on the list...

TASTE

How to describe Nami? Vegan soft serve is the actual description, but it was so much more than that. Somewhere between soft serve and the texture of a Wendy's Frostie? With organic added mix ins? Yeah, that'll do.

I got the Haystack: vanilla soft serve with homemade marshmallow creme, chocolate sauce, and pretzel sticks. YUM.

Go hungry, they only serve one size and you will eat it all. 

Also, it's next door to Green. So that's convenient. 

What I'm Into Wednesday - FREE TIME!

This week's Wednesday blog is smack dab in the middle of a no social media week...so there's a good chance absolutely nobody is reading it, seeing as how I can't link it to anything.

That sounds weird, but it's awesome. This week has been amazing and I've had so much free time. This blog is dedicated to all the things I've done with the time I usually spent scrolling the socials.

SEE

I love reading. Fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction. You name it, I love it. One of the girls on my retreat in August was reading this book, so I picked it up at Powell's. Yes, in August and I'm just reading it now. It was sad, hopeful, emotionally tough, and beautifully written. ROOM. Quick synopsis: girl gets abducted in college, kept in a storage shed for 7 years with unspeakable things done to her by her captor, has a child, raises him in this Room. Prepare yourself for tears, but it was worth it. A stunning book. 

SMELL

As some of you know, Angelo ran a 2:59 marathon at Ventura on Sunday. First off, let's just collectively say HOLY SHIT THAT'S FAST! While he was running and I was stressing out and stalking the runner tracking I needed to pre-occupy myself. So I baked. Bakerita is one of my favorite food bloggers and her paleo friendly, vegan friendly, healthy-ish options are always the bomb. I don't think I've ever made anything that didn't turn out good. This week it was snickerdoodles! I happened to have all the ingredients in the house already. These almond flour and coconut flour based cookies turned out amazing (and made the house smell awesome)! We've been eating them all week.

TASTE

After his successful marathon attempt, I went to the grocery store to stock up on all of Angelo's favorite things to celebrate with when he came home that night. One of which is kombucha. We both like many flavors from many companies and usually pick based on what is on sale. So this week at Lazy Acres I picked up two Health Ade flavors: Pink Lady Apple and Power Greens. Power Greens is my jam. Spirulina, camu camu, and a few other fancy superfoods turn this already healthy beverage into a super power. And a delicious one at that!

HEAR

Spoiler alert for the last category, but we got a new couch. In the process of putting it together (the first time) we needed some serious musical enjoyment. Angelo chose the new Kendrick Lamar album. Damn, it's good. I've heard the two or three songs that the radio (over)plays but I hadn't heard the whole thing yet. It was such a great reminder of how much I like good hip hop. I've been listening to hip hop nonstop since then.

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BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

As alluded to above, we got a new (to us) couch! Angelo's sister upgraded and passed along their Ikea couch. As much shit as we all like to give Ikea, sometimes they nail it. This couch is one of those times. The chaise end lifts and has storage underneath and the couch side has a pull out section that pops up to make a full bed. PERFECT! We needed a replacement for our super heavy, completely Arlo-d, uncomfortable pull out couch. Only problem: when we put it together and put it in our living room, I realized the color was all wrong. For a few moments (ok, the rest of the night) I pouted. But upon waking the next day, I thought "hey, I bet I can re-upholster this." It's all square/rectangular pieces and Ikea simply used a staple gun to attach the fabric in the first place. So one staple gun, lots of staples, a few hours of sweatily being angry at having to take apart and put back together an Ikea item, 12 yards of fabric (thanks Discount Fabrics on Adams), and 4 hours of stapling and VOILA! We have a practically brand new couch. Projects are fun. Do them more.

What I'm Into Wednesday - Trail Adventures

Have you ever made plans with friends and been equally excited and scared at the same time? This was my set of emotions going into my long run on Saturday. A few friends and I decided to try out the 5 Peaks Challenge in Mission Trails. This is something I've wanted to do for a while but haven't felt confident enough in my running abilities/injury status to attempt. So Saturday was a big day. And it was awesome.

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Let's just start with the challenge itself: run/hike up all 5 peaks in Mission Trails in one day. Cowles Mountain, Pyles Peak, Kwaay Paay, North Fortuna, and South Fortuna. All on foot. No driving. There are a few routes of differing lengths that will take you up all 5. We chose the longest route we could find. We started at 5:30am with headlamps in the rain, vests packed full of hydration and snacks, and ended a bunch of hours later with hungry stomachs, thirst, and sunburns. In total we hit 18.7 miles, almost 4800 feet of climbing, in right about 4 hours of moving time. It was an epic adventure that I'd gladly do again (and again and again). If you're a Strava junkie, you can check our course out here!

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SEE

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Post run all I wanted to do was nap and watch something. I logged onto Netflix and came across GLOW. The premise: it's 1985 and Ruth is a broke actress trying to make it in LA. She finds herself auditioning for a women's wrestling show called GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) alongside an amazing cast of characters (including her former BFF - there's serious drama there). It's smart, hilarious, visually stunning in all it's 80s glory, has a fantastic soundtrack, and will hook you. Bonus: Marc Maron plays the director, and he's funny AF.

 

HEAR

In preparation for Saturday's adventure, I took a Friday night yoga class. I (try to) take Nikki Krause's 5PM class at Core Power in North Park (this is an open invite) every Friday. She's a gem. Smart sequencing, great music, and perfect theming. This week she talked about how we are our own best teacher. We have an inner wisdom that exists inside us all and sometimes our work is in quieting the outside world and listening more closely to ourselves. I loved that thought.

 

SMELL

Have you ever smelled a freshly prepared burrito after a 18 mile run? No? Well it's the most delicious smell ever. I hit up Panchita's in North Park for a vegan burrito post peaks. What's in it, you ask? Potatoes, soy chorizo, avocado, tomato, cabbage, peppers, and beans. And it was bomb diggity.

 

TASTE

This is a weird one. Have you ever tried Nutritional Yeast? It's like the best kept secret of the vegan world. My pre-race or pre-long run meal is always pizza, but I've been off of the dairy for a while now. So I went with an Amy's Vegan Margherita pizza with non-dairy Daiya cheese on Friday night. Sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on that bad boy and it gave it the salty/savory quality of parmesan. I mean, nothing replaces the real deal, but it was close! My current brand? Trader Joes. 

What I'm Into Wednesday - The Boston Edition

If you didn't already know that the 5th annual November Project Summit was this past weekend in Boston than you've been living under a rock (metaphorically speaking, of course). 

I'll take any good reason to spend a long weekend in Boston, as it's one of my favorite cities of all time. And this was a very good reason. 

So I present to you, the Boston Edition of WIIW.

See

In my almost 8 years being a resident of Boston there are still a few places that had been unseen by my eyes. I took advantage of having nothing on the schedule for the majority of the day on Friday to meander my way around the city, on my own time, at my own pace, and with my own two feet. Many hours (and 16 miles of walking) later I had come across two of my favorite sights yet - the Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library at the Christian Science Center and the Boston Public Library on Boylston Street near the marathon finish line. The $6 admission fee to the Mapparium was well worth it. This glass globe has a walkway through it and you're literally surrounded by the world as it was in 1935. A great light and sound show accompanies the tour and it's just a gorgeous piece of art. The public library was a fascinating combination of old world and modern architecture that was visually stunning at every corner. Same city, new experiences - always. 

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Between attempting a full tour (running all 37 sections of Harvard Stadium) and running my portion of the marathon relay at Wachusett Mountain - I was pretty pooped. And so, so, so happy. This weekend was a great reminder of how much I like to push myself to my physical limits and that I'm ready to do so again. The past 5-6 weeks since the OC Marathon have been a struggle but it feels as though my body and mind have recovered (finally) and are ready to rock and roll!

Hear

Have you ever heard 1000+ people scream at the same time? Or that scream echo off of a concrete stadium? Or emanate in the woods nest to a mountain? No? Well you've clearly never been to a November Project summit. North of a thousand spandex clad humans converged upon the famed Harvard Stadium for a beatdown of epic proportions and then turned right around the next morning and took on one of the hardest trail races I've ever seen. The vibe, the energy, the heart of these people is amazing. I'm proud to be a part of it. 

Smell

Nothing beats the smell of waffles in the morning. Or any other time of day, if we're being honest. And no trip to Boston is complete without my favorite of all waffles - Saus. This gem in touristy Fanueil Hall is known for (yup) it's sauces - and my favorite carrier for a sauce is a liege waffle. These uber sweet desserts do nothing for your daily nutrition but everything for your daily happiness. Worth it, 100%. 

Taste

Many of you know that I'm kind of a lactard (I say kind of because I ignore this fact about myself very often). For months I've been told that when I'm in Boston I need to get "ice cream" at FoMu. So during my solo day on Friday I made sure my walking adventures took me down Newbury Street and did just that. Holy crap. The only bad part of my experience was having to decide upon 2 flavors instead of being able to eat them all. I settled on the homemade Oreo flavor and the peanut butter fudge. Heavenly.