Portland Beercation

Exactly one week ago, Huz and I took off in our loaded down SUV to visit our metropolis neighbor to the south – Portland.

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Even though P-town is only a 3 hour drive (roughly) from us, I have never spent much time there. Sure, I’ve made the trek down there to catch an obscure concert or two while in college but we never dallied – there was always classes to get back to. I don’t even know how we really came up with the idea to visit… I think we read an article about microbreweries (Oregon has the most, per capita!) and joked how we should just do a brewery tour vacation. My running buddy, Ellen, is from there and was going down to spend the holidays and offered us a place to crash so that sealed the deal.

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We ended up going down for 3 nights, and 2 of which were spent at a hotel thanks to a Living Social deal. (We didn’t want to impose too much on Ellen’s family.) Our hotel was on the Eastside by the convention center so not exactly a happening spot BUT Portland has the most amazing public transit system ever so we were fine.

We rolled into town around lunch time on Saturday and headed directly to our first beer stop: Burnside Brewery. We had done a decent amount of research and formed a loose itinerary based primarily on location and reviews. I loved the atmosphere of Burnside and the menu looked great. I honed in on the gnocchi and buffalo ragu and was not disappointed though Jodus was a little saddened by his unimpressive grilled cheese sandwich and a mountain of fries that weren’t exactly all that good.

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Going into this vacation, knowing that beer drinking was our primary task, I settled on just doing samplers everywhere we went so I could try as many as possible (which ended up being over 60!). At Burnside, they had a full sampler of all their 11 beers so Jodus and I opted to split that. 44oz of beer for just me would have been a little much. Overall, Burnside’s beer was just average. We enjoyed the porter and the stout most of all but also had the worst beer of our entire vacation there – the Sweet Heat, a hot pepper wheat ale. We each had a sip and then it remained untouched which says something amongst beer lovers.

That afternoon, we had some giftcards and Christmas money burning a hole in my purse so we decided to take advantage of Oregon as a sales-tax-free state (compared to Washington’s lovely 9%) and make a fairly large purchase.

Yep, we bought new bikes. We’ve been talking about it for months and doing our research so when we went to River City Outlet, it was a fairly simple process. They were really knowledgeable and helpful and installed all our accessories for us. I would highly recommend them for locals. For those curious, I ended up with a 2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 (a cyclocross bike) and Huz ended up with a 2011 Jamis Bosa Nova whose selling point was disc brakes and fenders.

After breaking the bank, we headed back to check into our hotel quickly then went back out for more beer. Our next stop was Base Camp Brewing which ended up being our favorite of the whole trip. It’s basically just a tasting room but they do offer some food via food trucks. We each got slightly different samplers but managed to try all their beers between the two of us and were very satisfied. Our most favorite EVER was the IPL – India Pale Lager which is a style of beer they essentially made up. Points for ingenuity! Also, the Smores Stout had a roasted marshmallow on it. Winning.

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Our next stop, which included dinner, was Green Dragon Bistro & Brew. They are a nanobrewery with kind of a weird set-up so they actually only had one of their own beers on tap but I think they had somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 beers total! No samplers though so I actually had to drink a full beer. I enjoyed a Diamond Knot Brown while Huz worked the IPAs. For dinner, we each got burgers and they were ok. What was amazing though? Their tater tots. Jodus got some as a side with his burger and they were so good we ended up putting in another order. And devoured them.

After enjoying another beer, we headed back to the hotel. We were pooped – neither of us slept well the week prior.

Sunday, we went for a scenic (but icy!) run around the bridges and river of Portland then scarfed down hotel breakfast (gag) before heading out to a slightly less nutritious locale.

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Voodoo Donuts was high on my priority list when we started planning our little trip. It is iconic Portland, surrounded by a lot of hype and I had to try it.

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The donuts were really good and the place was fun and now that it is marked off my to-do list, I don’t really have a burning desire to go back.

We spent the majority of the day just wandering around the west side of the city, downtown proper. We went to Powells, a massive, heavenly bookstore, did some window shopping, and just took in the town until we reached an appropriate drinking hour.

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Lunch was at Rogue where we rendezvoused with Lisa! Lisa and I have been virtual friends for a couple years now so it was great to meet her and her boyfriend in person. Alas, I am a goof and didn’t actually get a picture with her but I did snap our beer!

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I opted for a porter/stout sampler while, true to tradition, Huz opted for IPAs. The beers were decent but uninspiring and the food was good. Overall, it was a fun lunch!

We headed back out to the streets of Portland and explored the Pearl District. We headed to Bridgeport for yet another sampler with high hopes since their IPA is one of Jodus’ go-to beers.

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My favorite here was the Blue Heron Pale Ale and one of their seasonal ales, the Porter. Must get my hands on that locally!

We headed down to Deschutes for dinner and I must admit, by this point I was feeling a tiny bit buzzed. It was super busy and a little cramped but we managed to find a wobbly table at the bar area to saddle up. Our server was amazing which made the experience a little more fun.

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Again, another pair of samplers for us! There were a few that I enjoyed but especially the Velvet Noir. We also really enjoyed the food but that could have been the beer talking. We opted to walk the mile and a half back to the hotel – it was a gorgeous evening but really flipping cold.

Monday was a day full of epicness. We packed up our things and checked out of the hotel. First stop: breakfast! We went to Tin Shed Garden Cafe and even though it was busy (they were short staffed) it was really good! Then headed to pick up our newly purchased bikes. Next stop: Lady Luck Tattoo. Totally on a whim, Jodus decided to get inked for the first time. He’s been waffling back and forth about it all year and on the car ride down here, we finally figured out what he wanted to get so we just did it! We worked with Jason, who was amazing. 

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His tattoo says “Life is eternal, Love is immortal, Death is only a horizon…” which is the beginning of a quote which means a lot in his family.

Lunch was at Lucky Labrador and, surprise! Another sampler was in order. This place was huge! And sprinkled with cute dog art so it was automatically a winner in my book! Food was basically sandwiches, soup and salad and it was all good! The beers all had cute names, too.

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We headed out to the suburbs after that to meet up with Ellen, finally! We putzed around her house and town a bit before heading back into the city to do a NYE dinner with her friends at Henry’s. The atmosphere was lovely, the food was fantastic, and I have zero complaints. It was also highly entertaining seeing all the girls in sparkly mini-dresses and high heels stumbling around. We wrapped up around 9:30 and didn’t have plans until midnight so we ended up going back to Ellen’s to change and hang a bit before heading back into the city.

Yep, another midnight run! We did the First Run 5k to ring in the new year and I had a lot of fun even though it was ridiculously cold! It was fun and well organized, with a rockin DJ, snow machine, and lots of heaters. It wasn’t a PR for me but I didn’’t expect to after the copious amounts of eating and drinking we did the last … month, basically and especially that weekend! We wrapped up the run, watched the drunks stumble home, and headed back to Ellen’s for champagne and pie. And House Hunters. And crashed at 3:30am.

The next morning, we went out for brunch to La Provence in Lake Oswego. It was a bit of a drive, and a lot of a wait but zOMG was it worth it.

What you are looking at here is the risotto cakes with poached eggs, potatoes and roasted butternut squash. What you don’t see is a fabulous soy café au lait and a piece of wheat toast the size of my head. Everyone was equally satisfied with their meals and I will definitely be returning when we come back to P-town.

It seems slightly less epic going through all the pictures now of our weekend but we really had a blast and ate and drank so much that we are more than ready for our annual detox! Happy New Year, all!

2012 Goals

A few weeks ago, I found a little piece of paper in a box from my old office. On it, I had written a few goals for 2012 that I apparently didn’t feel the need to publish. Honestly, I had forgotten about them completely. And I was really happy to see that I had successfully knocked most of them out without a conscious effort. They are also really similar to my 2011 goals which worked out pretty well, also.

Get a 10% raise. Thanks to a new job, I basically knocked it out of the park. Though, I suppose it technically isn’t a raise since it is a different position? Either way, I’m bringing home more bacon which has made things more comfortable for us.

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Pay down $10k in debt. We were totally on track to do this… then we bought a car. The new payment put a damper on our ability to pay stuff down, and we ended up adding more debt. Hm… not exactly how I envisioned it but we love the car and it needed to happen. We still have managed to pay off $7k+ in other ways though so that’s pretty good, all things considered.

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Read 100 books. Last year, my goal was 52 and I cleared the 60 mark so I raised the bar a little. And smashed it to pieces. Again, I cannot say enough good things about Goodreads. And the local library. I think I’ve actually purchased less than 10 books this year out of the 135+ I’ve read (and will probably eek out a couple more).

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Run 500 miles. This was a new goal. And a lofty one considering I was ending 2011 with a solid knee injury. But I managed to overcome that, pound out just over 500 miles, and run a bunch of races and knab a couple PR’s in the process. I also started showing an interest in cycling then promptly injured my hip by logging over a hundred miles on an ill-fitting, super heavy, cheap, decade-old Wal-Mart bike. I think we will be acquiring new nice bikes ASAP because I loved riding.

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2012 is swiftly coming to a close and looking back, it was a pretty darn good year. We got a couple fun trips in, lots of races, one trip to the ER, a few good hikes, our new rig, and my new job. I really can’t complain at all. Next year is going to be great.

Jingle Bell 5k – Seattle

Heeeyyyyyyyy! Yep, I’m still around, still running. This past weekend, I headed over into the city with my friend, Ellen, and my Huz and totally rocked some awesome socks at the Jingle Bell 5k.

Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled about the route and knew it would be super crazy busy so I settled on just having a good time and enjoying all the ridiculous peeps out there. It was highly entertaining.

As we were walking up to the race, I decided, after seeing the hoards of people, that a PR was not in the cards and I wasn’t going to go for it. And then we took off. And we were dodging people left and right and irritated at all the walkers (!!) we were passing who should have been behind us. (Seriously, makes me ragey.) And before I knew it, we were at the mile 2 mark and I was *gasp* on track for a PR.

So I went for it. I kept a comfortably uncomfortable pace (so consistent, actually!) and then the last little bit bolted for the finish line. I totally PR’ed (31:33 official chip time) AND if I hadn’t had to dodge so many damned people, I could have probably eeked out a sub 30:00 (total mileage ended up being 3.35 miles instead of 3.1). I was super stoked about the surprise PR and really happy with my split times:

1: 9:32
2: 9:33
3: 9:31
.35: 8:45

I’ve got another 5k on the books for New Years… we’ll see if I can nab that sub 30:00. Not sure since it is a midnight run. But it’s flat which this one was not. We’ll see how the conditions go.

It should also be noted that my husband is amazing. Last month, he ran his first ever FULL marathon and finished in 4:15.

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I actually meant to do a post about it but I think I just forgot. I had a blast cheering him on with our friends and he totally killed it.

I’m ridiculously proud of him.

Martini Monday: Pumpkin Pie Martini

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I don’t even want to know how long it has been since I’ve posted a martini recipe. But have no fear, that doesn’t mean I went that long stretch without drinking them! I just reverted back to yummy classics such as the Key Lime Pie Martini and good ol’ Cosmo’s. Now that the holidays are around in full swing, I’m planning on trying out an array of fun new cocktails. And the first one in the line-up is a Pumpkin martini, just in time for Halloween! (Though, I’m assuming most of you did your celebrating this past weekend like we did!)

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(Yep, we dressed up as Mormon Missionaries. Totally inappropriate and absolutely hilarious.)

On Friday night, we got together with some friends for pumpkin carving.  The girls and I went back and forth on different pumpkin martini recipes the whole week leading up to the event and finally settled on this one… and I took the initiative to test it out the night before. You know, just to make sure no one would die from it. Gotta take one for the team, right?

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One of the big debates about recipes was that BevMo had pumpkin vodka, pumpkin liqueur, and pumpkin crème liqueur. We ended up going with the pumpkin liqueur because it seemed the most versatile. I have every intention of adding it to my coffee next weekend. I’m sure it could be used in baking too.

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Pumpkin Pie Martini:

1 part whipped or vanilla vodka
1 part pumpkin spice liqueur
1 part Irish cream
1 shake of cinnamon
1 dash of nutmeg

Fill martini shaker with ice, add all ingredients and shake well. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with spices.

Another festive alternative would be to add a graham cracker rim or a cinnamon sugar rim.

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Catching Up

Yep, it’s been awhile (yet again) since I’ve popped in to say hello! The main purpose now is for a race recap! But when I went to look at my recap page, I realized that I haven’t even recapped the last race from back in August. Whoops. So, this is going to be just one giant “catching up” post.

I guess we’ll start with racing since that was my intention.

Way back in August, I ran the Oly Run 10k (again). It happened to be one of the hottest days of the year and the race didn’t start until 10am and we were already sweating buckets. Needless to say, it was not my best.

I actually set out running the race with my husband and friend, Ellen, but after the first killer mile, I set them on their way. Hubs ended up keeping Ellen company the entire time and they rolled in a few minutes before I did, equally beat up by the heat.

The course this year was different than last year so I can’t really compare times but the fact that it took me over 10 minutes longer this time says it all. My chief complaint was the late start – the route was a little better this year, and it still went to a good cause, so I’m happy I ran. (Also, it was a month earlier this year than last year. Why? I’m not sure.)

After this 10k in August, the next race I had lined up was the Poulsbo 10k in October. After being plagued with knee injuries since the end of last year, I wanted to take it easy on the distance front and focus on getting faster. So my intent was for Oly Run and Poulsbo to be a “before” and “after”, theoretically. Yes, this is flawed. The conditions were VASTLY different but both were decently hilly courses.

A couple weekends ago, I ran the Poulsbo 10k and it was cold and rainy and windy. A stark contrast to the 90* dry heat from August. And that extra 10 minutes that Oly Run took me? Gone. I came in around 1:05. Not a PR for me but a decent effort considering my knee (and now hip) have been bothering me and I haven’t been logging a lot of miles.

The 10k route for Poulsbo was new this year. (I ran the half last year and it is my half marathon PR.) The route was boring. I wouldn’t do it again. I did run the first 2 miles with Ellen, who was doing the half route again this year. Then I split off on my own and meandered my way through neighborhoods before heading back to the finish line.

Crossing it was the saddest I’ve ever been after a race. No one greeted me. There was no photographer. There were maybe only a dozen people milling around. I grabbed my ribbon, ran to my car, and drove down to Front Street to try to catch my husband on the half route but he was too speedy. I did see Ellen and Marissa, though (from my Ragnar team this year!)

I headed back up to the high school to wait for them all to finish. This was the upside to running the 10k – I could finally support all my runners who have been there to support me along the way. My amazing husband PRed (and didn’t end up in the ER) and Ellen finished very strong considering she didn’t feel very well the day before. Marissa’s crossed the finish line with her daughter and it was adorable.

This unofficially marks the end of running season for me. I have a 5k Jingle Bell Run in December and that’s it. Because of my aches and pains, I’m going to take it easy with running through the winter but still try to keep a small base then hopefully I can come back strong and healed next Spring.

In other news, since I have been MIA pretty much all summer, we got in a few good hikes this season, husband is training for a full marathon next month, my mom came to visit, I had a lovely birthday, we made our annual trek to Arizona to visit family, I participated in a Heart Walk last weekend, and all is good in our neck of the woods. We are drinking a lot of beer, and now eating a lot of pumpkin. As always, you can follow me on twitter or Instagram (leftovers4lunch) for more regular updates.

xoxo – thanks for sticking around!

100 Books

Earlier this year, I gave myself the goal of reading 100 books. I read 60 last year and was itching to increase that number so 100 seemed like a nice round goal that would definitely be a stretch from last year but not completely unattainable. And here it is, the end of August, and I have reached that goal. (Though, full disclosure, this number does include a handful of DNF’s that were just too terrible but I still count them just so I don’t make the mistake of trying to pick them up every again.)

In my youth, I was a big reader. Once I hit college, I only did school-related reading and had no desire to pick up a book for leisure. After college, I never got back into it. Sure, I would read a book here and there but it was never anything to write home about. Now, as I find myself as a married 20-something with few obligations and a lot of spare time, I am throwing myself full force into the reading game. And it probably wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for Goodreads, an amazing site that you can track your reading endeavors, rate and review books, have “to-read” lists, get recommendations, and see what your friends are reading.

The other key? The library. Buying books can be really expensive. And heavy. So I’ve resorted to the library for 90% of my reading – and not only paperback! My library has an amazing online system for kindle books in addition to your traditional books. And I’ve even gotten into the audio game. I’m obsessively checking my hold list on the library website and researching on Goodreads what my next great read should be – it has become a bit of a game and I love it.

I’m often asked what kind of books I like to read and really, I’m all over the place. I’ve even been known to have 3-4 books going at once. I have a weakness for YA (Young Adult) and the whole paranormal/fantasy genre but I also appreciate good memoirs, fiction, and non-fiction alike. Some books I read thanks to the bandwagon effect (*ahem* Fifty Shades Trilogy) and some I read because I find the topic fascinating (Sex at Dawn). Others, I read to learn things for my own personal development (New Rules of Lifting for Life) or about others to satisfy my need for gossip (Stories I Only Tell My Friends). Mindless “trash” has its place (The Mortal Instruments Series) but the ones with a profound story and life lesson are the ones that truly hold my heart but seem so difficult to find.

(^^^ Best book I’ve read this year.)

Getting back to my roots of reading has given me a sense of fulfillment. I feel like I’m accomplishing more in my downtime than mindlessly surfing the web or watching movies. The books I have read have brought me closer to certain friends, have given me interesting talking points in everyday conversations, have made me laugh out loud, have made me cry, and have warmed my heart.

And I will always be looking for the next great book.

Happy, Healthy August

Happy August! It happens to be one of my favorite months of the year and not just because it’s my birthday month! The main reason I love August is the weather – its one of the few months here in Washington that is generally warm and sunny and coming off of a craptastic July (weather-wise), I’m hoping August stays true to form. We are hoping to get in a lot of outdoor activities, especially hiking! And boy, does my body need it.

The past 6 months or so, I’ve been focused 100% on running (but still only running 3x a week) and let all other exercise fall to the wayside. (Zero strength and cross training. Boo hiss.) This, in conjunction with a lot of eating out and too many Happy Hours have led to an overall feeling of blah. As I mentioned on Monday, I have also been in a cooking funk (obviously) which hasn’t helped matters.

So as a means to help get back on track and not totally over-do my birthday month (which has been known to happen), I stole an idea from Cassie – a tracking calendar! Yeah, I set it to start on Sunday (but that didn’t happen) and ended up starting on Monday even though it wasn’t quite August yet. But why wait?

As you can see, my goals are focused around getting fruit and veggie servings, exercising at least 30 minutes everyday (strength trianing at least 2x a week, if not 3x!), taking my vitamins, and getting in my water intake. These are some easy goals that I can shoot for everyday. I have been tracking calories for the past week but I know I won’t keep it up so at least staying on point with these aspects will help. I even have a friend (and my husband)  joining me in the challenge! I’m a total dork and so excited to color things in at the end of each day. (I’m also looking forward to hopefully shedding a few unwanted pounds even though I plan to indulge for my birthday!)

If you would like to join in, you can find my calendar here in pdf form: August Tracking Calendar.

Here’s to a happy, healthy August!

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