Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Portland Visit, Continued

While I was in Portland last week I did several things. I saw my friends, I went shopping at some of my favorite places, and I went to some good places to eat!

When I left off it was Thursday morning and I was getting ready to head out and do some shopping. Unfortunately, my friend wasn't able to meet me (darn work!) so I headed off on my own.

First stop: HomeGoods!

I love HomeGoods! It is kind of like a Ross or Marshall's but focused on home stuff only: dishes, decorations, furniture, bath, kitchen and knick knacks.

Let's just say I didn't leave empty handed.

I bought this shoe organizer to help clean up the disaster area that is my shoe closet. I have been so frustrated lately with trying to find my shoes.

 I love the design and it was inexpensive. It is made to hold 12 pairs of shoes, but I put about 22 pairs of shoes in there (including sandals and flip-flops). The sad part: I still have a ton of shoes in my closet. Okay Imelda Marcos. Anyway, this little darling slid right under the bed and now I have some organization going on in the shoe closet.
You know how people have those little sayings on their walls like "Live, Laugh, Love?" Well, I'm not so much about that. I am more about this instead:

This had a little chip in the corner so I asked them to discount it, which they did.

A little black sharpie magic and voila!

I also bought this super fuzzy soft blanket. I am so in love with this pattern! Everything I see with this pattern I want!

I also bought a new plastic insulated cup, and two stainless steel travel mugs.

I almost forgot! I saw these and fell in love. Had to buy them. Had to!

They are porcelain "fry baskets!" I don't make fries really, but these will be great for smaller portions or as snack serving dishes for say like Superbowl Sunday! BOOM! 

After HomeGoods I headed over to Burlington Coat Factory. Another of my favorite discount stores!

I bought a bunch of stuff that I didn't take pictures of, like belts, some jewelry, socks, a Christmas gift and towels.

When my mom was here this summer she was folding some of my laundry and told me I needed to get new towels. Towels are expensive!! And if they are inexpensive they are super cheap feeling. I found some nice fluffy soft towels for $5.99. There ya go, towels.

Next stop was my favorite sushi restaurant: Sushi Hana! Oh I love Sushi Hana!

Bad photo quality due to the direction of the sun...

I know this isn't raw fish, but it is my favorite sushi roll ever. It is tempura asparagus, cream cheese, seaweed (nori?), rice, tempura and a hot sauce drizzled over it. OH my goshness....I love this! I had two. I also had two salmon and a house special egg/tuna salad/crab salad roll. I very purposefully did not eat the entire restaurant, though I certainly could have!

I popped in to Payless Shoes to look for grey boots, but no luck. Target is in the same parking lot as Sushi Hana and Payless so I headed over there. I wanted to see if they had grey boots (no) and I had to buy some of these bad boys:

Yes! Touchscreen compatible gloves for $3.00. Thanks to Cassie over at Back To Her Roots for the heads up on these! I put them to work on Saturday at the Monster Dash. They totally work! No more having to take my gloves off to answer my phone or send a text. So cool.

I also saw this, which I did NOT buy because I already have 5 crock-pots, but I seriously wanted to!

I told you! I'm just in love with this design.

After Target it was time to wrap up my shopping trip. I headed back to the hotel to relax for a bit. I ended up going to Massage Envy and getting a 90 minute massage. BLISS!

The evening was a whirlwind, but that story will have to wait for later! This post is long and it's time for me to get ready for school!

What is your favorite discount store? 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How To Help

Hurricane Sandy has made landfall in the United States, creating massive flooding, fires that have destroyed over 80 homes, blizzard conditions in West Virginia, flooding the NY City subway, knocking out power to millions, causing an evacuation of a hospital in New York,evacuations of  hundreds of families and people staying in hotels, sinking a tall ship, closing the NYSE and causing at least 16 deaths. 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been quoted as saying the financial cost in "incalculable." 

Additionally, news reports have stated that over 100 blood drives that had been scheduled in the Northeast have been cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. 

There is a great need for donations to help the families who have lost their homes, or who have been evacuated. There are several ways you can help. 

You can visit the Red Cross website at to make a tax deductible donation. 

You can text 90999 on your mobile phone to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross. This $10 will show up on your next mobile phone bill. 

If you are able, please consider donating blood. Blood is perishable and needs to be replenished regularly. 

If you are in communities close to those affected please contact your local Red Cross chapter to see how you can help. 

Additionally, both presidential campaign donation websites have links to the American Red Cross website, which I think is pretty cool. 

If you read this blog and you are in the affected areas you can also visit the safe and well site of the American Red Cross to let your family and friends know you are safe and well. 

Please be aware that after disasters such as this unscrupulous people will try to get donations for charities that don't exist. Please, donate to recognized organizations such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, or other local *known* assistance organizations. Food pantries will likely bit hit hard, so consider donating food to local organizations. Blankets, coats, and personal care items are also needed. Toys, books and games can be helpful for small children who may not understand what is going on. 

Lastly, try to stay safe out there!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monster Dash 5k 2012


On Saturday Morning I headed out in a grey drizzle to meet my friend Allison and her boyfriend Corey in Ashland to participate in the Monster Dash 5k. I decided totally last minute to do this event after seeing a sign advertising it on campus.

The entry fee was only $20!

I wasn't too thrilled with the weather, but kept my fingers crossed that Ashland would be a bit drier than Medford. As luck would have it, as soon as I started to head South the drizzle stopped and we avoided getting rained on the entire time!

I met Allison and Corey at their place and we walked the 2-ish miles to the start line.

The 1 mile kids fun run was just getting started when we got there so we stood by and watched that. It was great! So many active, happy, smiley kids and their parents in fun costumes! This little guy was adorable:

I did ask his mom before snapping a pic. I didn't want to be random stranger taking photos of little kids.

I also liked this guys costume:

Rock on, man!

Not everyone was in costume, but a lot of people were. It was a fun crowd!

We had a bit to wait before our start time.

Hey look! The Oscar Mayer Halloweenie Mobile!!

Just after 10:45 the gun went off and we headed off on our 5k. We jogged a tiny bit at the start, but due to the entire first 1/2 of the event being up hill our jogging didn't last long. We just walked and enjoyed visiting. Allison is from California and thinks Oregon is so beautiful with all the trees (it is) so she enjoyed the scenery.


Thankfully it was all down hill from there! The course was an out-and-back, up hill for the first half and down hill for the second. We didn't break any records or anything, finishing in about 49 minutes (my official time is 49 and change but Allison's was 47 and change, yet we crossed the finish at the same time and it was not a chip-timed event). I came in second to last for my age group and second to last overall for the women. Ha! We certainly weren't in a hurry!

There were no medals for this small event, but I did get my tech tee!

Later on I was thinking about "stuff" and I realized that 10 years ago I would not have been to do this, especially without any official training or planning. What I mean is: 10 years ago I was overweight and unfit. I may still be heavier than I want to be, but I have made lots of other changes in my life to be "healthier," including being more active in general.

I walked 2 miles to the start, 3.1 miles for the event and then walked another 2 miles back to my car, meaning I walked a little over 7 miles on Saturday without even batting an eye. Sure I was getting tired and a bit sore by the end, but I never even thought about whether or not I could do it! 10 years ago I wouldn't have been able to.

It is really nice to think about a different benchmark for my health and fitness besides the number on the scale or the size of my jeans. I *AM* healthier and more fit than I was 10 years ago. I *chose* to go walk for 7 miles for something fun to do. It is a different mindset and one that I am glad I have cultivated. It is a prime example of me following my life motto: live the life I want right now!

I had a great time, and a big thank you to Allison and Corey for participating with me!

Are you healthier now than in the past? Did you do a race this weekend?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hello From P-Town!

Hello friends!

Don't tell anyone, but I am skipping school today (and yesterday)!

I KNOW! Crazy, right? I was thinking about it yesterday though, and I think this is only the third time I have not made it to class in my college career (at least at the University, I can't remember that far back to my community college days). Overall, I would say that is a pretty good attendance record. 

Anywho, Christopher is attending a work related class all day today in Portland so I decided to tag along, visit some friends and go shopping! 

We drove up yesterday, with a few stops along the way for Chris to service a few elevators. Last night we went to Hayden's Lakefront Grill in Tualatin and met up with two of my besties for dinner. 

Hayden's is set on the Tualatin Commons Lake (which is about a two-foot deep, concrete, man-made lake). During the warmer weather it is beautiful to sit outside and enjoy the view. The bar is small but has an excellent happy hour menu with real food, like steak medallions with mashed potatoes, full orders of burgers and fries and more, for very reasonable prices. 

We met in the bar and enjoyed a leisurely visit. My friend Heidi brought my birthday present (from June) and told us dinner was her treat since we hadn't gotten to have birthday dinner during the summer. That was so sweet! She gave me the coolest wine glass! I will post a picture later because it is in the truck and the truck is with Christopher. The waitress overheard us talking about my birthday and ended up bringing us a complimentary piece of chocolate cake with a candle to share. Uhm...not on my diet...but totally worth the splurge! We split it four ways and it was lovely. 

Life: it is all about balance! 

Speaking of: I signed up for the Monster Dash 5k in Ashland this Saturday. 

I saw the sign on my way to school the other day and decided I wanted to do it. I don't think it really matters that I have done zero training. I am going to wog it with my friend Allison. Her boyfriend Corey is going to run it. We are just doing the 5k, which is only 3.1 miles, so I should have no problem with that. And, for those wondering, no I will not be dressing up. The entry fee was only $20! So, I will balance out my cake consumption with a 5k wog on Saturday. It all works out. 

Anyone else doing a Halloween themed run this weekend? 


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Trader Joe's



We *FINALLY* have a Trader Joe's here in Medford! I cannot tell you how excited/happy I am about this. 

When I lived in Portland I didn't shop at TJ's every day or anything, but it was a really nice store to have for some really specific things. I had two TJ's pretty close to where I lived and I clearly took it for granted. 

When I moved to Medford 3 years ago I began to sorely miss my TJ's! 

One of my dear friends would bring us treats from TJ's when she would come to visit. 

I have even contemplated driving all the way to Eugene (about 3 hours) just to shop at TJ's. I don't have to! There is a new Trader Joe's that opened just a couple miles up the road from me. Yesterday was the grand opening.

Chris and I went this morning to check it out and buy a few things. It was a madhouse! People and carts everywhere. I can't even imagine how much money they are raking in this weekend. 

This TJ's is smaller than the two in Portland that I am used to, but they still have a nice selection. Of course, some things are quite a bit more price wise than one would pay elsewhere, but other things are very inexpensive, so I guess when it comes to shopping there it is a matter of knowing what to buy there and what to buy elsewhere. 

I picked up a few things on my inaugural TJ's trip: 

I think I heard angels singing when I put the cookie butter in my cart....

Some pre-washed and chopped kale. I actually like to add kale to soups and eggs and so forth, but for some reason  I hate to clean and chop it, so I never buy it. This will be great for me because I will totally use it!
 Wild Rocket, otherwise known as arugula. I have a very yummy recipe that calls for arugula and I was just thinking of making it the other day. Now I have a key ingredient!

I feel the same way about leeks that I do kale! I love it, I like to add it to my food, hate to clean it. This is pre-washed and sliced frozen leeks! How easy will this be! Heaven!

Couldn't leave our first TJ's trip without some Carne Asada! We picked up some Curry Chicken Tenders, too. Both look good and a glance at the ingredients: no sugar! The asada does have wheat, but no sugar. Score!

We also picked up a couple of simmer sauces, Masala and Curry. I will eat them just with veggies, or on shredded zucchini or spaghetti squash. Chris will likely have them over noodles or rice. These, too, don't have sugar! YES! 

I'm so excited. I did buy some Thai Lime and Chili Cashews, but didn't snap a photo. They are my absolute favorite nuts. I'm not eating nuts right now, but I will be so looking forward to breaking that bag open and having a few. 

Of course there was tons of 2 buck Chuck, but I didn't buy any of that either. I kept reminding myself that the store wasn't going to be closed tomorrow. I didn't have to buy everything that I want all at once. 

I'm so excited to have Trader Joe's here in Medford and I know I will be stopping in regularly to supplement my regular grocery shopping. 

Now...if we could just get a HomeGoods! 

Do you shop at TJ's? What is your must-have item? 

Friday, October 19, 2012

October 19, 1995

It was a lovely Fall day in October, 1995. wasn't really that I recall it was grey and cloudy, as is typical in Olympia in October. It didn't matter though because on that day my first and favorite niece was born!


My darling niece Shanelle turns 17 years old today! I can't believe it. Time flies. I thought I would post some of my favorite photos of Shanelle from when she was much younger, 1) so I can embarrass her (which is what good aunties do) and 2) because I want to always remember the sweet little girl she was. 

Here is a happy birthday photo montage of my little brat. 

Me holding Shanelle at her first Christmas.
The honorary flower girl at my wedding.
Adorable toddler...almost 3!
Learning how to fish with her daddy.
Covered in Lorakeets at the Portland Zoo
Silly Uncle Chris and Shanelle at Promontory Park on the Clackamas River
Scoring big at Bullwinkles Family Fun Center!!
I love this picture....Chris is wearing a blond wig and huge sunglasses...Shanelle is  thinking WTH? LOL!!
At breakfast before heading to Mt. Hood to go tubing.
Uncle Chris being silly, again, and Shanelle laughing at him, again. 
Trying on Auntie's wedding dress and tiara.
Hanging out with Uncle Chris at Payette Lake in McCall, Idaho. 
Hiking Multnomah Falls. 
Lounging on the tube at Detroit Lake.
Christmas 2010.
Ahh...she is getting all grown up! I moved away in October of 2009, and have seen her very little since then. It makes me sad. I hope to see her in the next few weeks and take tons more pictures so I can embarrass her again in the future. :-)

That's what good aunties do!

My dearest Shanelle: Happiest of Birthdays to you! I love you like mass. 

Love, Auntie