Tag Archives: outdoors

Turning that Frown Upside-Down

14 Sep

Well. This week has been, interesting to say the least. Let’s start at the very beginning:

Monday was a crazy hectic day, as Mondays tend to be. We both slept in after not getting a lot of sleep the previous evening (due to Zach’s birthday celebration), so we were running late getting to work. I took my running clothes with me to work, and instead of going home after work, I went for a 3 mile run and then met Zach out for trivia. We didn’t get home until late and pretty much went straight to bed.

Tuesday morning I got up and went to the gym, and got quite the great workout in. I did a true tempo run for 30 minutes:

It’s hard to get a non-blurry treadmill photo.

I kept half marathon pace the entire time! I was very proud of myself. I even hit the weights pretty hard after this run. When I got home, I made some breakfast and noticed that I couldn’t see one of my three cats, Posey.

Isn’t she pretty?

I didn’t think much of it, because she is a great hider and almost never comes when you call her name. So, I started getting ready for work. When Zach came out of our bedroom, he said, “Where’s Posey?” to which I replied, “You know, I don’t know. I haven’t seen her all morning. I think she’s probably hiding somewhere.” So, we started searching for her. After I looked in all her normal hiding spots, I started to get concerned, so I pulled out the big guns: the wet food. If you ever can’t find Posey, a surefire way to get her out of hiding is to pull out the dishes I use to feed them wet food (very rarely), and clink them together. She will come running from afar. When she didn’t come out after that, I knew we were in trouble. Zach and I went outside and called and called her, but nothing. I called into work and told them I’d be in after lunch and started my search.

To make a long story short, I didn’t find her. I ended up going into work and just being a teary eyed freak the whole time. My neighbor and friend, Ashley, made me some fliers to hang up around the neighborhood, and I shared photos of her on all the social networking sites to get the word out that I was looking for her.

After work, Zach, my friend Mandee and I walked around our neighborhood endlessly looking for her, and banging those damn dishes together….nothing. I hated going to bed that night without her in the house. I left some food outside for her, along with my sweaty gym clothes (so she could find my scent, haha) and her litter box. The next day, I woke up very early (it was still dark), so I went to the gym and then searched with Zach before going to work. We told all the neighbors about her and just did all we could. I was texting with my neighbor Ashley and she said, “By the way, just in case you thought it was Posey, there was a raccoon on our porch eating that food last night. I had a friend over and he looked out the window and said, ‘Uh, why are you feeding the raccoons?'” — Which caused me to laugh for a very long time.

Zach’s sister (and my friend, and my bridesmaid) Courtney made me more fliers to hang up around the neighborhood. I wish I had photographed one, because this photo was prominently displayed at the top:

Photo courtesy of Courtney Bell Photography

!! She said, “I hope you don’t mind, but I figured the way to catch people’s attention is to put a picture of a pretty girl in red lipstick at the top of the flier.” I didn’t mind, but I did think it was funny. After work that day (Wednesday?), we met up with Courtney and exhaustively went around putting up fliers some more. I’ll admit at this point I was starting to lose hope. Although I think Posey is a unique flower, her coloring is actually very common, and there are a LOT of stray cats in our neighborhood. The chances of someone finding her, in my eyes, were slim. I knew that she would have to either make her way home on her own, or someone would pick her up and take her home — or the unthinkable would happen. I’m not going to talk about that option.

After flier-ing the neighborhood, I told Zach, “I just want to relax this evening. I’ve been stressed out about this for days, and I just want to change into my pajamas, drink some wine and watch a movie.” — So that is what we did. I was on my second glass of wine when the doorbell rang. Zach and I both jumped up, and I ran as fast as I could (in my inappropriate-for-outdoors pajamas) to the door. Our neighbors across the street were out there and he said, “I think your cat just ran under those cars!!”

Sure enough, I went to where he said and heard a scared little “Mew!” come from under the car. I called Posey and eventually she crawled out. I can’t even tell you how happy I was, as I grabbed her and ran indoors. She was obviously completely freaked out (I neglected to mention that I’ve had Posey for six years, and she’s only ever been outside in a carrier on her way to the vet), and the other cats were hissing at her, probably because she smelled like other animals, but she was healthy! After a minute of pure joy, I ran outside again to say thank you to the neighbors for looking out for her. I really can’t tell you how grateful I am to them. Sure, she may have made her way up to the door and let me know she was out there, but what if she got scared and ran off again? The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me.

What a little stinker! Photo courtesy of my dear friend, Jenni.

With Posey found, I was ready to get things back to normal, but Thursday was a nightmare workday. I got some disconcerting news regarding a family member’s health, work was just crazy, and I had a little financial hiccup. None of these things I can or care to go into too much detail about (mainly because this post is getting so lengthy), but it all lent to having quite a stressful day.

When I got home from work, I walked in the door and immediately smelled the Chicken Taco Chili (recipe from Gina at Skinnytaste here) I had put in the crockpot earlier, and was greeted by Zach. Both of these things made my day brighten quite a bit. Food and Fiance do wonders for my mood! I threw together a quick recipe of Isa Chandra’s cornbread (recipe here) and put on my running clothes. I told Zach (and I quote): “I’ve decided to cheer up. I figured out all my work stuff, I talked to my family member and the prognosis is better than I thought, and the financial hiccup has been taken care of. Now I’m going to go for a run and when I get back, I’ll be in a great mood”

So, that’s what I did. I went for a run. I decided that I would run around my neighborhood and take down the Missing Posey signs. I really can’t tell you how liberating that was. I only ran about 1.5 miles, but I broke a little sweat and had a big smile on my face when I got home. So, we dug into our delicious dinner:

Of course I can’t ever show you a photo of food that hasn’t been half-eaten already.

That chili is sooo good, but let me tell you about this cornbread. Whenever I make baked goods that typically call for buttermilk, I usually try to find a vegan recipe. Have you ever used the vegan buttermilk trick? Basically, you take one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and mix it with one cup of soy or almond milk. You will see it curdle right up, and it acts just like buttermilk in a baked goods recipe, and it is much healthier! This cornbread is out of this world. Moist and tasty! All of Isa’s recipes (Isa Chandra is the genius behind many Vegan staple cookbooks, like Veganomicon, which is basically the Vegan recipe bible) are incredible, but this cornbread is one of my favorites. I always cook it in my perfectly seasoned cast iron skillet to give it that rustic feel. I much prefer triangular pieces of cornbread to squares.

This must be my very longest post to date, but I promise I’m almost done!

After a nice evening of chili, cornbread, beer, football and friends, I’m ready to tackle the weekend with a smile. This weekend, Zach and I are attending a football game for our Alma Mater (Go Herd!) and I’ll get to see some friends I haven’t seen in quite some time. I hope you have a great weekend!

Question of the Day:
What do you do to unwind after a rough week? 

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Camping Trip Recap

18 Jul

I took a lot of photos during our camping trip last weekend, and I’ve been dying to share them, but first I want to talk about my workout this morning (scroll down a bit if you’d like to get right to the camping goodies.)

Typically on Mondays and Wednesdays, I attend the ‘Cardio Fusion’ class at my gym. I’ve been attending this class for over a year, and I never get bored by it. It is taught by my favorite group fitness instructor. He really pushes us every morning. The class (despite being held at 6:15 AM) is always packed, and there are a variety of people. It’s lots of work with weights with cardio peppered in. As I’ve mentioned, however, my gym is closed for maintenance this week. SIGH.

I was really missing my class this morning, so I decided to try to do something similar. I picked out this workout on Netflix:

Looks a little corny?

The video was 44 minutes long, and separated into two sections. You could do each section independently, as there is a warm up before and stretch after each section.  I did the lower body section, then I paused it and went out for a one mile run, then I did the upper body section.

This was a good video. The lower body portion starts out with squats, then goes into lunges. Pretty basic stuff, but effective. The upper body section covers your back, shoulders, biceps, and chest. The shoulder portion is particularly grueling,  I had to step down the weights during that section. Speaking of weights, I find it hilarious that everyone (even the instructor) in this video appeared to be using 3 lb weights. I was surprised when I looked this up on Amazon and saw that it was released in 2006, because the fact that everyone was using puny weights and looked like this:

Nice outfits!

I would have pinned this as early 2000 at least. Unless you are completely new to weight lifting, I would definitely use heavier weights than what they use in the video (I used 8 lb weights, but went down to 5 lb on the shoulder section). Even without the run in the middle of the video, this would have been a good workout. I had already broken a bit of a sweat by the time I paused it and hit the road, but by the time I was completely done, I was drenched. If you have Netflix Instant, you should definitely check this one out. This was very similar to what I would have done at the gym, but with more cats:

The goblin cat stared at me, the lurking cat lurked and the fat cat laid directly in my way and protested loudly if I stepped on her tail.

Ok, on to the camping trip!

So, the plan was to leave Friday directly after work and make the three hour drive to Marlinton, WV, however, the rain on Friday was intense. After much texting back and forth between me, Zach and our friends Susie and Shane (who had made the drive up the previous day), and many, many checks of my weather app, Zach and I decided to stay in Huntington for the night and leave bright and early the next morning to head to the campsite. Everyone else got there relatively early in the day on Friday, and we just didn’t want to drive up there and set up camp in the dark and the rain. Turns out everyone stayed overnight at Susie’s family’s condo in Snowshoe, WV (you guys, this place is BEYOND beautiful) anyway, so driving up on Friday night probably would have been a better option.

But, the drive up on Saturday was incredible! I drove most of the way because Zach was sleepy. I’m a natural early riser, so of course I was raring to go. I turned on my This American Life app (the best thing ever) and just drove. The weather was perfect! The plan was to drive to the campsite, set up our tent, then meet our friends at the condo and head over to the Greenbrier River for floating.

Our Drive from the campsite to snowshoe. The views are so lovely! We had to use old school handwritten directions because the cell service and GPS are sketchy in God’s country 🙂 P.S. I love the sign at the entrance to Snowshoe Mountain.

Once we got to Snowshoe, we gathered our friends and headed out for  the drive to the Greenbrier River. It’s a bit of a hike (as everything is up  there). It started to storm the second we started driving, and the drive was pretty stressful. It seemed like every three minutes, the weather changed from gorgeous to ominous:

Rain, sunshine, black clouds, fluffy clouds. Stress!

But, once we got to Jack Horner’s Corner (the place where we rent the inner tubes), the weather looked like it would probably hold up. The store where you rent the tubes is adorable!

They have all kinds of cool stuff: Like Root Beer! P.S. aren’t my friend Josh’s shorts the coolest?

Turns out, we had amazing weather for our float down the river! This is the third year that we have done this, and every other year there was a guy with a flat bed truck to drive us down to the drop off point. This year, he wasn’t around, so we had to improvise. The guy at the store gave us a long rope and we tied a bunch of tubes to the top of Susie’s jeep, and then a few others rode in Zach’s car while holding tubes out the window. It was pretty hilarious. I put my phone away for pretty much the whole trip after this, so the photos that follow were taken by my friend Susie:

The group photo is pretty much excellent.

The camping portion was great too! We had a little rain, but Shane (the birthday boy!) made this really cool tarp thing strung up in the trees that kept us (and the food table) dry. He is so handy! The only downside is that mine and Zach’s tent leaked, so we ended up sleeping in basically a puddle! The tent we used was an old one, so we just tossed it out and didn’t even take it home. All in all, we had a great time! This weekend, we’re off to Louisville to attend the 11th Annual Lebowski Fest! I’ll be sure to take plenty of photos to share.

Our campsite was perfect! That river flowed right behind us and got pretty high late at night during the rain. I was afraid for a second we might have to pack up camp in the middle of the night, but everything turned out ok.