Squashed

A few weeks ago I purchased “all the squash.” I wanted to do something fun with each of them, and I think I accomplished just that. Below are the random creations I came up with for five different types of squash. I don’t have recipe measurements because I usually just throw things together, but this will give you an idea of different flavor combinations to experiment with!IMG_3039-0You’ll see I used the outer “shell” of each squash as my bowl. Eating directly out of the squash shell is almost more fun than tormenting small children. Almost.

Spaghetti Squash

Named for its string like consistency, this squash is a fun substitute for noodles.

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In the mix: olive oil, nutritional yeast, pepper, jalapenos, broccoli and cauliflower.

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Butternut Squash

The squash with a funny name and an equally funny shape. Borderline inappropriate for both…

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In the mix: Sauteed kale, cubed/roasted butternut squash, cranberries, cashews, olive oil, salt, pepper, and (un-pictured) quinoa.

Leftover butternut squash was consumed for dessert with almond butter.

Kabocha Squash

The squash I want to wear as a hat.

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In the mix: Quinoa and gluten free penne pasta with tomatoes and brussels sprouts, topped with a vegan “cheese” sauce.

For the sauce

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tblsp gluten free flour
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 clove (chopped) garlic
  • pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients into a sauce pan and heat on low for about 4 minutes. Stir often until sauce becomes thick. I paired this with 1/2 cup (precooked) quinoa, and 1 cup (precooked) penne.

Acorn Squash

A squash that resembles an acorn. Ever seen a squirrel try to eat one of these?

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In the mix: Cinnamon topped honeycrisp apples baked right into the center of the squash. Drizzled with a dash of raw honey to bring out the sweetness of the apples.

Pumpkin

October would not be complete without pumpkin, the quintessential fall squash. Pie pumpkins are perfect for making a meal or a treat. Naturally I chose treat.

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In the mix: Pumpkin Joe’s O’s, cashew butter, cinnamon, and vanilla coconut ice cream.

Perfect ending to the squashed adventures.

Q: What’s your favorite squash recipe? INSPIRE ME, leave a link in the comments!

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Poulsbo Half Marathon – Take Two

Last Sunday I completed my sixth half marathon, and it was absolutely fantastic.

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This was my second time running the Poulsbo half, and it is the only half I’ve repeated thus far. This is also the course that holds my current PR from last year. Everything about this race is my favorite from the course to the time of year. October makes for perfect running weather.

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This year Lily was in town to run it too, and she took second female overall. No big deal.

As for me, the race was just what I expected. My training was on point, and although I didn’t get a PR I was CLOSE. I felt strong the entire race, and didn’t feel the desire to walk despite the massive hills throughout the course. My time was about 2 minutes and 23 seconds slower than last year (and my current PR,) which I was more than OK with.

I finished with a time of 2:11:52, a 10:03 pace.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect with this race because despite finishing all my long runs, my mid week runs were slacking the last couple weeks because I was so wrapped up with school. I also didn’t have “fresh legs” because of all the exploring/hiking Lily and I did the two days prior.

I think I’ve come to a point where running half marathons are not longer a “big deal.” I didn’t feel nervous, and I was only moderately tired/sore after. I did run this entire race in my Vibram’s, which I had never done before. This contributed to some sore calves, but otherwise they were great. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this race.

I'd also like to thank my giant spaghetti feast and this Texas sized cookie for my prerace fuel.

I’d also like to thank my giant spaghetti feast and this Texas sized cookie for my prerace fuel.

My mentality throughout my entire training process and the race itself was they key to my successful run. I smiled, I laughed, I cheered on other runners, and I knew that I had the ability to finish strong. I’m still on such a runners high, & I’m searching for half marathon number #7!

I didn't stop my watch at 13.1 so this is my time for an extra .04 of a mile. Yes...every second counts.

I didn’t stop my watch at 13.1 so this is my time for an extra .04 of a mile. Every second counts.

Q(s):

  • Runners, what’s your favorite time of year to run?
  • Non runners, what’s your favorite time of year to do outdoor activities?

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Adventures with Lily

I had the pleasure of spending last Thurs-Mon with this lovely girl. Lily and I became friends through blogging wayyy back when this little blog first started, and our friendship has blossomed more and more as each day passes. I went to her wedding before we actually met in person, because blogging has a magical way of bringing people together.

When deciding what to squeeze into the few days she was here, this is what I came up with.

Hiking

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A four mile hike in the heart of the Olympic Mountains. The views were stunning as per usual.

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Playing Tourist

Deciding what baked good to purchase is serious business.

Deciding what baked goods to purchase is serious business.

I took Lily to Pike Place Market for baked goods (for both), beer (for her), coffee (for me), salmon (for her), and a day of Seattle exploration. I also got a cookie the size of Texas to split.

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Half Marathoning

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We both ran the Poulsbo half marathon. A separate post dedicated to this race will come later this week, but I’ll just say the race was fantastic, and Lily got 2nd female overall. She is a beast.

Coffee Dates

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Lily humored my love for coffee and went on multiple coffee/tea/beer dates with me. I got coffee every time because I am a square and I like square things. Like black coffee.

Random Activities

Building a sad looking haunted house.

Building a sad yet epic looking haunted house.

Carb loading on pasta and bread pre race.

Carb loading on pasta and bread pre race.

 I got Lily to try a handful of vegan items. The success rate was about 50/50.

I got Lily to try a handful of vegan items. The success rate was about 50/50.

Clif Notes Version: We ate, we drank, we laughed, we hiked, we ran, and we explored.

A fantastic weekend with fantastic company.

Q: Have you made any friends through blogging? I’ve made a handful of solid friends that I cannot imagine my life without!

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Not My “Standard” Deviation

My typical daily eats look a little something like this: nut buttes, fruits, veggies, nut butter, cayenne pepper, tempeh, beans, nut butter, cinnamon, and nut butter. Basically I eat the same foods day in and day out, and the only deviations I usually make are for treats. I like to think the wicked healthy diet I eat balances out the treats I allow myself once in a while.

Sometimes my deviations take me away from my standard treats of just cupcakes and cookies. Sometimes I enjoy being wild. I’m not talking “see you on the 5 o’clock news” wild, I’m talking straying from my clean eats for season themed treats wild. When it’s fall and pumpkins are everywhere, I trip into the genius marketing traps faster than a mating rabbit.

Let’s take a look at last weeks “pre long run” dessert of choice. FOUR pumpkin Joe-Joe’s, at least 2 tblsp cashew butter, and a solid serving of vanilla coconut ice cream. Twice…in two days.

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I thought I had it under control with the pumpkin themed treats by keeping it at one simple and happy box of cookies, but then I began to see pictures online of pumpkin this and pumpkin that…so after my 10 miler I went to Trader Joe’s…again.

With a sweaty face, and a determined spirit this is what I walked out with…

Breakfast Foods

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I use the term “breakfast food” loosely because I don’t actually eat these for breakfast. I need something of solid substance and these two just aren’t solid in my book. I used the cereal for multiple desserts, and the bagels for a snack. The cereal was good, but the bagels knocked my pants off. I’m talking clear across the room off. Topped w/cashew butter and cinnamon.

If you take anything away from this post let it be this: get these bagels in your life right now. Don’t even look at the ingredient label, just put them in your cart.

Snack Foods

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Fortunately for me, most of the snack items had dairy in them which made them easy to stay away from. These pita crisps however, did not. I basically had to wrestle my own arm to keep it out of the bag. This is not a safe scenario while driving. These.Are.Un.Real. Get them. Now.

Dessert Foods

Also known as, the most important meal of the day. As you already know I snagged a box of the pumpkin Joe-Joe’s, which took me all of two days to consume. I did have a little help. Those Joe-Joe’s were festive and fun, but Halloween would not be complete without at least one box of Halloween Joe-Joe’s, the one cookie I immediately turn into a 12 yr old child after purchasing.

Plus, I can’t deviate toooo much from my standard treat “norm.”

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Fun Fact: This photo of Joe-Joe’s is from this post, where I first shared my love for pumpkin faced cookies as I finished my last week working at Trader Joe’s in 2012! I still miss that job…

How about a recipe?!

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Pumpkin Pie Cereal Cluster

  • 2 cups Trader Joe’s “Joe-O’s”
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tblsp cinnamon
  1. Mix together cereal, pumpkin seeds, and cinnamon.
  2. Heat on low to combine honey, cashew butter, and pumpkin puree. Once smooth pour over cereal.
  3. Set in fridge for 10 minutes. Serves three-four.

These were meant to be cereal bars, but didn’t hold together as well as I had hoped. The flavor was TOO GOOD not to share though, so make do with a cluster.

There you have it, my version of “PUMPKIN EVERYTHING.” I’d also like to note I did purchase substantial food items too like all this squash, pounds of honeycrisp apples, enough vegetables to power a mini van, and enough beans to (gas) power a tiny home, but these are wayyy more fun.

Q: Have you fallen prey to the pumpkin themed treats?? 

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Coffee Tasting for One

My life has been taken over by chemistry. If I’m not doing chemistry- I’m working. If I’m not working – I’m running. If I’m not running – I’m eating, and if I’m not eating – I’m sleeping. Catch my drift? It amazes me how I ever got through chemistry when I first started college a few years ago. Either I wasn’t dedicating enough time to the subject, or…no that’s about it.

I am now spending HOURS on my homework everyday, and I am only taking one class!

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I found myself with a free afternoon last week and while I would have loved to be out exploring the mountains, time did not permit such an activity. Instead, I drove 40 minutes out of my way for a cup of coffee and some grocery shopping. Starbucks + Trader Joe’s = BlissfulBritt. <–corny.

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Trader Joe’s wooed me with its fall themed charm, and infamously cheap squash. Where else can you buy all that squash pictured above for $10? No where I tell you..a single honey crisp will cost you $3, and a spag squash of this size could easily cost $6 elsewhere. Joe-Joe’s are priceless…

Conveniently tucked next door to this TJ’s is a Starbucks Reserve store. This is why I drove out of my way. Actually it’s the combination of the two stores, but this post has coffee in its title so I’ll focus on that. The Starbucks I work at is not a reserve store, so in order to enhance my coffee knowledge I like to try the rare coffees that these stores sell. Plus after 3 hours of straight chemistry I needed to study something I was actually passionate about.

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Unfortunately what I asked for is not what I got. Knowing very little about these coffees (precisely why I want to try them) I asked the barista working which of the five they offered had the most cocoa notes. What he gave me happened to be the complete opposite, but I drank it anyway. This is what I get for not doing my homework before I walked through the door. Lesson learned.

I’m not a fan of “bright”/ highly acidic coffee’s, and this one was very citrus-y. I wouldn’t buy it again, but I took some notes to add to my memory bank, and now I know how to describe this blend. Mission accomplished. Coffee and squash made for the perfect afternoon.

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While at TJ’s I briefly (all of 3 seconds) contemplated purchasing their pumpkin spice coffee. I realized how absurd this would have been due to the fact that I have pounds and POUNDS of (free) coffee at home, and all I needed to do was add my own spices to my french press. This morning that is exactly what I did. I added 1/4 tsp of pumpkin pie spices and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon to 5.5tblsp (and about 24oz H2O) of the already subtlety spiced blend Komodo Dragon.

Life is good.

Q: Do you ever go out of your way for something you really want? Food and coffee usually warrant an adventure.

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Experimenting on Humans

In science, whenever someone has a hypothesis about something, they have to run a serious of tests based on observations and experiments in order to form a solid theory. In running, whenever I have a hypothesis about observed correlations between outside factors and my results, I test them multiple times to prove my own type of theory..for my own body. Still with me?

When it comes experimenting on humans, there isn’t much leeway. It’s unethical to a certain degree to do such a thing, but if the human being tested on is yourself I’d say you’re in the clear!

Human experiment gone wrong.

Human experiment gone wrong.

Test # 1: The Less is More Test - For this experiment I decided to take into account how my body felt after loading up on food the morning of a long run. My results were almost always the same. I felt slow, and sluggish. I then decided to put “carb-loading” to the test by eating a substantial amount of food the day before my run, and LESS food the day of my actual run. If I let science do the talking I can assume the food I consumed the previous day has been stored for readily available energy, allowing me to eat lighter before my actual run.

Results: For the last two weeks I’ve been testing this idea and it’s been proven correct for my personal running adventures. When I eat less the day of, I run lighter and don’t feel as sluggish.

Something like this the night before...plus 10993784 more carbs and some nut butter.

Something like this the night before…plus 10993784 more carbs and some nut butter.

Something like one of these before my run, plus maybe 30 minutes to digest.

Something like one of these before my run, plus maybe 30 minutes to digest.

Test # 2: The Coffee Test – What I’m about to say will surely shock you. I normally consume around 10-12 oz of coffee a day. That’s it. One cup, that I rarely finish all of. I know, I know…the coffee loving barista only drinks a small amount of coffee. What can I say I’m naturally energetic. Or am I? After consuming an extra cup or two of coffee before a fatigue free long run, I decided to drink an extra cup within 30 minutes of my next planned run.

Results: Every time I’ve had coffee within 30 minutes before my run I felt an elevated boost of energy. This has resulted in me ALWAYS wanting a cup before my runs, because feeling tired 2 miles into a 10 mile run is all kinds of problematic. More black crack please.

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Test # 3: The “GETCHURMINDRIGHT” Test – For this experiment I decided to pump myself up by telling myself before a long run, “you GET to go run 9 miles,” instead of “you HAVE to go run 9 miles.” I did this for my last three long runs, and I also mentally prepared myself for the distance by taking it one mile at a time.

Results: Master your mind, master your life. Running (and a lot of other things in life) is mostly mental. Blocking out the negativity resulted in three extremely positive long runs. After practicing a positive mind space I noticed my runs were, dare I say COMPLETELY enjoyable. I wasn’t dying mid way to ten miles, I gracefully trotted into the final mile.

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Test # 4: The Every Other Day Test – What I’m about to admit is not something I’m proud of, but it’s real life so roll with me here. This experiment was completely unplanned, and sprouted based on a semi uncontrollable situation. My training schedule had me running 4 times a week, with two cross train days, and one rest day. Up until a couple weeks ago I was running probably 5 times a week, and bouncing between two cross train days with a random rest here and there.

When I was asked to work a double shift at work a couple weeks ago, mentally I was distraught about having to skip my 5 mile run (I could have run in the dark if I wanted, but…I didn’t want to.) I am very schedule oriented and this messed with my mind. Do I know that if I skip a run I will be fine? Yes, but that doesn’t make it any easier. So I skipped my run, and guess what happened? I ran 8 miles the next day. If I’ve done my math correctly, that’s 3 more miles than planned. AND IT FELT AMAZING. So I tested the idea of running one day, and resting the next.

Results: For the last two weeks I’ve taken WAAaaAAyy more rest days than scheduled, and done a serious of run, rest, run, rest, with a few back to back runs or workouts thrown in the mix. This has resulted in AMAZING long runs with MORE energy, and a much happier mindset about accomplishing OTHER things outside of running…like eating.

The unplanned 8 miler.

The unplanned 8 miler.

Test # 5: The Slow is Pro Test – For this experiment I took it back to the basics of slower and more comfortable runs. I used to beat myself up if my run wasn’t at a certain speed, and recently the speed I felt I needed to achieve was anything under 10 minute miles. In my mind 10 minute miles were slow as molasses, and someone that’s been running for years shouldn’t be compared to a sticky sweetener. Well I say to hell with that hogwash because my slow running pace has given me some of my best overall runs…ever.

Results: When allowing my mind to go hand in hand with test number 3, I mentally accepted that my pace was going to slow down in order to allow me to continue running without wanting to stop. 8 miles at a 9:46 pace is fantastic, but so is 8 miles at a 10:00 pace. If I push I know I can obtain the quicker pace, but that usually results in me dreading my next run.

I would rather enjoy myself at a steady speed and be EXCITED to run again.

...and then when this happens I can be ever more excited.

…and then when this happens I can be even more excited.

While none of these have been scientifically proven, they seem to work for me for the time being. Our bodies are constantly changing and adapting to new ways of doing things.

Other key factors include: 298325982 ounces of water the DAY BEFORE my run, similar to food. PLUS another 587583 ounces the day of. Water all day everyday. Good sleep, happy muscles, cooler weather, a good BM (truth stops for no one, see note below*) and a huge meal post run to refuel! Another benefit of not eating much before means plenty of room in my belly for AFTER.

*Runners trots – they are so real, and they hurt SO much. Let your imagination fill in the rest.

Q: Do you ever test certain factors to see how they play into your workouts?

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National Coffee Day

What kind of Coffee Master would I be if I didn’t announce and partake in National Coffee Day (NCD)?? Today is the day where coffee is recognized for all its wonderful abilities, flavors, pairings, benefits, and social affairs. Today is the day I have an actual reason to celebrate my love for the bean, not that I ever felt like I needed one! You can’t stop love I tell ya.

In order to honor this day I prepared a tasting for myself, some of my fellow coworkers (including a regular customer,) and even my mom! It’s never a wrong time for a coffee tasting, and I often spring them on my fellow baristas when time permits, but it’s an absolute MUST for NCD.

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For this tasting I also wanted to honor the arrival of fall, because fall and coffee go together like cayenne pepper and sweat. My usual one cup a day habit has found its way to a “once in a while” two cup habit simply due to the cozy feels I get with a hot mug on a rainy afternoon. I feel warm and fuzzy just typing that out. Where was I..OH yeah, FALL!

For starters I went with the obvious - pumpkin. A light and fluffy pumpkin spice sugar mini muffin to pair with Anniversary Blend one last time before it’s gone for the season. Have you snagged yourself a bag yet? It’s only going to be around a short while longer.

Not to fear, Thanksgiving Blend will be here soon!

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Pumpkin Spice Mini Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 chia egg ( 1 tblsp chia seeds + 3 tblsp water)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cinnamon sugar topping: coconut oil, cinnamon, and raw sugar.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F, and prepare a mini muffin tin with coconut oil on the side to prevent sticking. These also successfully make larger muffins if you prefer those over the mini version.
  2. Make your chia egg and set aside for it to coagulate while you combine your first few ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl combine your flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, allspice, cloves, baking powder and salt.
  4. In another separate large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, almond milk, brown sugar, melted coconut oil, chia egg and vanilla.
  5. Pour this wet mixture into your dry mix and stir using a wooden spoon until combined.
  6. Scoop batter evenly into you muffin pan.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool, and then top with cinnamon sugar mix.

For the cinnamon sugar topping: I used 1/2 tblsp cinnamon, and about 3 tblsp sugar. I melted a little bit of coconut oil at a time and rolled the top of each muffin in the oil before rolling into the cinnamon sugar mix.

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Tasting Notes: The spicy notes from the cinnamon, and smooth flavors of the pumpkin paired beautifully with the crisp and spicy flavors of Anniversary Blend. Anniversary Blend alone can be a bit sharp, but the sugary coating to the muffin harmonized perfectly to tone down the flavor of the coffee. These muffins were AMAZING.

Next I played it simple and somewhat safe. I made dark chocolate covered Fuji apples rolled in pumpkin seeds, and paired them with House Blend. For those of you that like an all around medium roast (medium body/acidity) I highly recommend this one, it’s very smooth.

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Assembly for these was simple – melt yourself some dark chocolate, cover as much of the apple as you desire, crush some pumpkin seeds, and roll the apple in the seeds. Voila.

Tasting Notes: The rich cocoa and nutty seeds harmonized AMAZINGLY with the smooth, balanced body of House Blend. The cocoa notes stood out the most, and I was surprised by how well these paired together. House has a distinct nutty/cocoa flavor, and while this is a coffee that can be savored easily on its own, combining it with the chocolate takes your palate party to an entire new level. That’s a party I always want to attend.

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Coffee continues to amaze me the more I play around with pairings and flavor profiles. For those of you that don’t drink coffee (I will never understand, but I accept you anyway) check out this article for other ways to use coffee besides consumption. Not to mention my Coffee Energy Bites were featured, bringing over 16,000 readers to my blog in two days! Wow, thank you BuzzFeed!

It’s the little things.

Q: How are you celebrating National Coffee Day? Even if you don’t like coffee, I recommend you make these muffins. They are so good. 

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Early Morning Confessions

1. Pumpkins. Orange. Brown. Leaves. Scarecrows. Sweet Potatoes. Baked Apples. Yellow.

FALL, FALL, FALL.

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2. I haven’t gone hiking in almost three weeks. WHAAAAT!?

3. I have been drinking coffee in mugs made for the mountains though.

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4. Instead I’ve been running, and walking, and…working. T-minus 17 days until half time.

5. I went to visit a friend last weekend and she told me she signed up for her first 5K. After I expressed pure joy by running up the side of a building, she asked if we could go practice run.

UHH yes!? I didn’t even care that I wasn’t wearing proper shoes.

I don’t advise running 3miles in TEVA’s.

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6. I’ve been doing 90% of my half marathon training in my Vibram Five Fingers. I’ve had this same pair (note: that link back is to 2011!!) for over five years, and they are fantastic.

7. This made me insanely excited for Thanksgiving. It also made me wonder why I don’t have something like a sloth or wildebeest as my mailbox. I should rectify this.

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8. I went an entire week without treats. I plan to try a new experiment where I only have treats once a week, but if you see me on the news it’s because mentally I didn’t make it.

9. I’m running out of things to share, so I will mention how delightful my first official fall weather run was. I went out for 5 mi, but ended up running 8 mi. Crisp air and yellow leaves are magical.

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10. I haven’t worn deodorant (and by this I mean I haven’t slapped baking soda under my arms because this is what I do for “deodorant”) in two weeks. I hope I haven’t been walking around with a green aura spewing from my body. I only had to reshower once. Win.

Q: What’s your confession?

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Post Vacation Shenanigans

Since arriving home from my mini trip to LA, things have been busy. The day after I came home I attended the most adorable/rustic wedding for a former coworker of mine. Total swoon city.

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The dinner tables were littered with pages from Harry Potter and large vegetables.

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The day after the wedding I had my long run for the week. I worked 5:30-2 that day which meant I had to run in the peak of the heat. I was dead, it hurt, I wanted to quit, but I slowly finished.

This is also the day I started house sitting for the honeymooners from the wedding I went to, and another lovely lady that frequents Starbucks. I was able to run in a different town because of this!

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The run was a bad idea. Well, I would have done it regardless, but it further induced a minor head cold that was brewing behind the scenes. It started with a sore throat, and progressed to full on mucus overload. I blame germ infested Disneyland and airplane travels!

I ended up skipping my run last Tuesday because I couldn’t muster the energy. Instead, I walked to a local yet new to me coffee shop, enjoyed a cup of black coffee, and proceeded to go for a walk around the water. This was a much better decision.

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One of the houses I am house sitting for is within walking distance of an adorable row of stores, coffee shops, and the water. I am in pure heaven staying here.

It seems that taking a couple days off from running and going to bed before 8 for a couple nights put me on the fast train to healthy town. I was able to run a 3 miler last Wednesday, which put me back on track for the week along with a few more 3 mile runs, and a 6 miler yesterday.

I’m much better this week, but man do I hate getting sick.

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Truth, my mom was sick, my coworkers were sick, I didn’t prepare for this!

Today I go back to school, and the adorable house I am staying in right now is giving me the motivation to power through chemistry (my third chem class, and they never get easier) with the end goal in site! I want to buy one of these tiny houses!! WEEE. OH and as promised/requested here are two lovely photos of the cat I am house sitting with, in all her (semi) lion cut glory.

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Meow.

Q: What are your remedies for a head cold? I eat oranges like they’re crack, rest like I’m a mummy, and let the bugs run their course. Thankfully it never lasts more than a few days. 

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What I Learned in LA

I’d like to dedicate this post to my homegirl Gigi, without her this post would not be possible. A fantastic host and friend, she drove me all over the place in order to satisfy my sweet tooth, and my Disney obsession. Mad love for you G. <3 <3

Here’s what I learned on this trip to LA:

1. Local coffee costs the amount of a small child’s root canal and despite being really cool, (personal pour overs that resemble a 9th grade science experiment, cool beans.) $5 for a drip coffee resulted in trips to Starbucks for the rest of my trip. $1.90 drip coffee is more like it.

In all reality though the pourover I got from Commissary in West Hollywood was fantastic.

In all reality though the pourover I got from Coffee Commissary in West Hollywood was fantastic.

2. Vegan and gluten free bakeries are just as abundant, if not more popular here than in Seattle. I felt right at home in this aspect. Breakaway Bakery takes the cake (pun very much intended) for my second favorite treats. The Bearded Lady will forever have my heart at the top.

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Java Chip Cookie, Maple Donut (OMG divine), Oatmeal Cranberry Cookie, and a Chocolate Cinnamon Cupcake. I wasn’t excited at all…

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Also delicious was Rising Hearts Bakery in Culver City. I balanced this bakery visit with a trip to Cafe Gratitude right before. I eat green so I can eat three desserts at once.

Grain and Veggie Mix, Carrot Cupcake, Chocolate Whoopie Pie (UNREAL), and a Coconut Oatmeal Chair Creme Sandwich.

Grain and Veggie Mix, Carrot Cupcake, Chocolate Whoopie Pie (UNREAL), and a Coconut Oatmeal Chai Creme Sandwich. Balance is bliss.

3. Blog friends make the BEST friends. Never have I discovered such a perfect group of people to spend my time with. Gigi and I had such a great time together, and if stripping down for a couples massage upon first “meeting” in real life doesn’t scream best friends, I don’t know what does.

Side note: my back is a wreck and I have knots for days. Help me, I pay in cookies.

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4. Starbucks green tea tastes better when consumed out of a Disney Parks cup. Real talk.

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5. The LA farmers market sells nut butters that are so good you will be willing to spend double on them in order to ship them to your house. I brought a carry on bag, and in order to avoid the possibility of the airport throwing my beloved jars away I mailed them to myself.

Not my photo, because mine are still in transit from CA to WA. Patiently waiting for my fruit and nut spread AND pistachio butter. Yes..pistachio.

Not my photo, because mine are still in transit from CA to WA. Patiently waiting for my fruit and nut spread AND pistachio butter. Yes..pistachio. Click this photo to visit the website!

6. Disneyland is better when littered with pumpkins. I can’t think of anything better than combining two of my favorite things: Disneyland + fall/Halloween = pure bliss.

Disneyland photo explosion in 3…2…1…

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Starbucks Mickey Cookies!

Starbucks Mickey Cookies!

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Cliff Note version of this post – I eat a lot of sugar (currently on a week long detox because…balance?), I love exploring new places through coffee and food, I open my mouth much too wide for photos much too often, Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, I’m obsessed with pumpkins, and I have the BEST friends a girl could ask for. Life is good.

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Q: What’s your favorite ride at Disneyland? If you haven’t been, please tell me why. 

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