Twice is nice.

You know how some things are just worth revisiting?

It seems the last few weeks have been all about second helpings for me. Favorite experiences and places worth doing all over again. There’s something to be said for discovering the things worthy of repeating; sometimes the pressure to “DO SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY!” usually expressed in the form of a hashtag underneath an uber-filtered Instagram photo is just annoying. Especially when the uber-filtered Instagram photo is a glass of trendy green juice or something.

Ugh. 

But really – first case in point: Old Crow Medicine Show.

In all fairness, I was the fan first. And Husband made fun of me endlessly. Now, dare I say Husband is the bigger fan. And, naturally, now I make fun of him endlessly just because.

When they’re in town, or close to town, we see them (three times in the last year… can I claim the term groupie since it sounds cool?) If you’re a fan of folk or Americana, truly talented musicians (and true country music, really), you should catch these guys live. It’s has always been and continues to be well worth it.

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Third time, third (and favorite) venue! The Lawn @ White River State Park in Indianapolis

Also always worth it: visits to good breweries.

Husband and I go to Milwaukee a lot, and we liked the Lakefront Brewery Tour so much that I bought a shirt. And then we did another tour six months later.

While it’s true that we will never turn down good beer, this tour is actually really good.

  • The tour guides know their beer. They’re also hilarious.
  • The tour itself isn’t as extensive as the Miller tour (one we’ve also done – I mean, it’s Milwaukee), which makes you appreciate it even more. And gives you more time to just drink the beer.
  • You get beer before, during, and after your tour.
  • Read No. 3.

Word to the wise: Tours book up quickly, especially on weekends, so book online in advance.

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It was so good we took my parents on Visit No. 2. Kid-tested, kid-approved.

And before doing anything in the beer capital of the world? Bloody Mary’s are a must (with a beer chaser and coffee, of course. I’ve concluded that brunch in Milwaukee should always include 3+ glasses). We love the selection at Café Benelux in the Third Ward, which feels a little like Mass Ave meets Fountain Square if you speak “Indianapolis.” My go-to: the Morning Rooster – when it comes to jalapeno stuffed olives, it’s just not ever worth trying something new instead.

And, across the street, a great public market worth a visit.

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Cheers to finding good things worth repeating.

Oh, and speaking of, LOOKATTHISCHOCOLATECAKE that was part of a schmancy lunch at St. Elmo Steakhouse today:

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The shrimp cocktail is still the best, but this cake wasn’t a disappointment. And I must say, a dessert like this during a workday lunch was definitely a first for me.

#NEWEXPERIENCES
#DOSOMETHINGNEWEVERYDAY
Had to.

Limoncello, cheap sushi & Airbnb.

Three things I discovered this weekend:

1] Giada De Laurentiis was right about one thing — limoncello is phenomenal. 

I won’t lie, I felt uber-classy sipping a schmancy glass of Hotel Tango‘s housemade limoncello to finish off what had turned into an uber-long week. Husband and I finally made it to this joint [an artisan distillery and the first small batch distillery in Indiana], despite our many visits to Chilly Water Brewing Co. and Calvin Fletcher’s which are, like, literally right across the street in Fletcher Place. It was awesome / strong, and I guarantee you that in Giada-world, I definitely said it wrong — i.e., I did not say it this way.

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The mojito that Husband had wasn’t my fave mojito in the world [a little heavy on the rum], but the Gin Mule he started with [don’t worry, Mom, we don’t drive when we imbibe. ….bumper sticker worthy?] was hands-down one of the best cocktails we’ve ever had.

We’ll totally be back — if only for the stone fireplace that I plan on lounging by at least once on a cold day this year.

2] Cheap sushi isn’t really that bad.

I mean… yes, I’d absolutely rather have Kona Grill and a ginormous platter of their dynamite rolls. But when you really want sushi and really don’t want to drop the cash for Kona, the grocery store-bought variety does work. As long as you know what you’re getting.

Need to invest in some chop sticks for next time, though. Just not the same.

[Oh, and I ate this with zero shame whilst watching a couple of episodes of The Blacklist with Husband. “Binge-worthy” has yet to be determined.]

3] How have we never done Airbnb? 

So, it’s been established that in regards to the bandwagon, I am often on the caboose. Get Netflix like four years after everyone begins recommending it? Check. Download the Uber app like two years after everyone begins using it? Check.

That brings me to the whole Airbnb thing. Rest assured, I did not just recently find out what this is. I know people who’ve done it, I just haven’t cared that much.

Now that we’re planning a trip to the Pacific northwest, we’re pretty set on Airbnb’ing it in at least a couple of cities to offset what some of the hotel costs  would be — and to hopefully stay in some pretty sweet, more off-the-beaten-path locations [so we can spend more on the local craft beer, coffee, and hey, sushi.]
Yet we know so little about it.

Pros? Cons? Recommendations?
If you’ve Airbnb’d on a recent vaca, would love to hear what you think!

 

28 years. (Also, we need a new show to binge. Again).

Before you judge: No, I don’t choose only to write when we have once again concluded a regular period of significant binge-watching of the latest and greatest TV series we’ve discovered as of late […likely much later than everyone else].

Rather, I choose to write when, upon finishing my evening’s worth of homework [SEVENMONTHSLEFTOFGRADSCHOOLOMG] and finding yet another [albeit decent] excuse not to go to the gym [yes, I’m going through a bad phase, altogether enhanced by the annoyingly chipper images of summer-fit people on Instagram], I realized that we have once again concluded a regular period of significant binge-watching of the latest and greatest TV series we’ve discovered as of late.

OK. Let the judging commence now.  

That said, a rousing round of applause to those of you who recommended Orange is the New Black. Even Husband liked it [… jokes aside as to the many possible reasons why]. Good thing we only have to wait, like, a year or something until season 4. But on the plus side, Homeland returns soon. And eventually House of Cards. So let’s give it another go, friends. What’s next on the ol’ recommendation list? [We’ve heard good things about The Blacklist].

Man, I really do need to hit the gym.

Speaking of places I hardly ever go anymore, let’s discuss the library for a second. [Alright, kids of the 90s. If you’re not thinking about this now…: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLxzQ-Qrd7U. You’re welcome. Good times.]

Husband and I live within minutes of the beautiful Indianapolis Central Library downtown — and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually been there. [Thanks, mandatory event. Thanks, friend’s wedding. Thanks, other mandatory event.]

I mean, that’s just sad. Granted, I spend a lot of my current time reading emails, and reading textbooks. In fact, I spent some time two summers ago reminding myself that I actually could read.

But still.

When Mother in Law let us borrow the travel books she checked out [a verb that had become a foreign concept to me] we got some inspiration. A couple hours turning pages instead of surfing sites led to some great ideas for the first 1/3 of our trip to the great northwest this fall. [Which reminds me… Been to Vancouver? Would love to hear your “can’t-miss” suggestions.]

Should I mention we hit the ‘brary on my birthday? NerdAlert. 
But it was fitting amid what became a very lazy day eating and drinking across town. Plus, we read about breweries and stuff. Typical.

No better way to ring in the big 2-8 than with a Bloody at Patachou, chips and guac at Bakersfield, the [newly discovered] s’mores cake at Late Harvest Kitchen, and the [almost as good as the Amelia] Copacablueberry cocktail at The Ball & Biscuit.

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Again, the whole gym thing might be good. But the library is a good start.

We need a new show to binge. (Also, we discovered BONUTS.)

Yes, we were late [way late] to jump on the bandwagon. But, that also means our withdrawals are pretty significant right now.

We finished season 3 of House of Cards.
Yesterday. 

So as we wait… impatiently and forever… until season 4… what should we watch next? Full disclosure: We’re also fans of Better Call Saul on AMC [speaking of withdrawals, we still haven’t found anything to fully replace Breaking Bad], Nashville and [though it’s been a while] Homeland.

The floor is open for suggestions. [We’ve heard good things about Orange is the New Black and Game of Thrones… please assume that as far as the bandwagon goes, we’re probably on the caboose.]

By the way, we JUST got Netflix. #Slackers.

Our last few days of binge-watching followed another great trip to Nashville. (Congrats, BFF Rose on your beautiful wedding!) Celebrating the nuptials of a dear college friend and standing by her side during what turned into a great reunion with sorority sisters was the definite highlight. But coming in at a close second place…

Our discovery of BONUTS. [Fried biscuit dough. Blueberry compote. Lemon mascarpone. Amazeballs. Get it? …’Cause they’re actually balls? See what I did there?]

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These beauties were delish. So was the down-home style blacklock hash breakfast I got. I felt like I deserved cowboy boots after eating this. Anything served in a skillet is a winner. As was the companion Bloody Mary.

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We discovered Nashville’s new[ish] Biscuit Love by accident after seeing a feature on Nashville Public Television. Just saying that makes me feel smarter than I am. Word to the wise: Avoid crazy long lines and go on a weekday morning.

Later, I also discovered what I’ve been missing with the whole chicken and waffles thing. [Read: I could have eaten all of it at the rehearsal dinner, and that was just the appetizer — Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant in Franklin] and would have considered shoving more in my purse if I’d brought one. Stupid clutch. I did still have room for the fried grouper, pulled pork, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and brisket.
And the shrimp and grits that I sampled from BFF Courtney.
And peach pie.

On the bright side, I did still fit into my bridesmaid dress the next day.

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And, speaking of House of Cards, I must say it was refreshing to come home to my newly made-over closet. Thanks, Claire Underwood, for the spring organization inspiration. [And thanks, Container Store.] Yes, I splurged on those nice wood hangers. Like Claire’s.

I know, she’s not real. Blah blah blah.
Husband thinks I’m crazy.
… I need a new show.

On Fridays, we drink beer and eat fries.

I am not even about to complain about this winter after last year’s misery.

But.

It’s by no means been a balmy, Super Bowl 2012-status season. And when it’s cold, all the Husband and I want to do is track down the best craft beer and the best, bad-for-you food. Enter: Our Indy winter excursions.

After hearing mucho praise for Black Acre Brewing Co., we finally tried it out. Downside: it’s a hike from downtown (an almost 10 minute Uber ride). Upside: Awesome atmosphere. The Centennial and Cascade pale ales were instant favorites. Great rotating selections and seasonal options. The gingerbread porter (now retired) was a great addition to our flight (but would have been too much as a pint). Hoping the peanut butter porter is available next time. (I mean, peanut butter porter? If you twist my arm…). Additional upside: The brewery fries with garlic aioli. Yes.

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We finally made it to Spoke & Steele in the new Le Meridien hotel. Few gin cocktails will rival my favorites at the Ball & Biscuit, but the Marilyn made for a good week’s end: crème de peche, orgeat, peychaud’s and orange bitters, soda. I’d be lying if I told you I knew what half those things were. The name was sexy and, well, gin. Husband was beyond thrilled that they miraculously had Three Floyd’s Zombie Dust on tap.

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Also, the #frites – yes, they’re called “hashtag” frites and are totally served in the shape of a hashtag – were thick cut potato wedges and everything I dream of. And the Utah fry sauce, which looked something like Big Mac sauce, was a yes. They call them shareable. I laugh at the thought of me actually sharing potato wedges.

We’ve finally made it to Chilly Water Brewing Co. in Fountain Square and would be totally OK if we became regulars. Great rotating beer selection – I’ve loved the One Hop Wonder IPA – and the Little Red Rooster hummus is habit-forming. (Hummus + Sriracha + warm pita… again, if you twist my arm…). The signature turkey chili is ginormous and uber spicy.

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Burgerhaus on the canal is going to be a regular hangout when the weather gets warm. The Bozeman (turkey burger + roasted red pepper + chipotle mayo + avocado + pretzel bun = yes. I need say nothing more than pretzel bun though, really). With the awesome fries (and shoot, I totally forgot to order the highly recommended sweet potato fries. Next time.), we definitely did not also need the chips and guac. But we agreed the guac rivals Bakersfield’s.


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Next on our list: Two Deep Brewing downtown, and Danny Boy Beer Works in Carmel.
And fries.

 

So I discovered my 6th grade science project 15 years too late.

Let me preface by saying that science and I have always had a strained relationship.

I’m a nature gal, [believe it or not, people who know me]; I love the outdoors. I love plants and animals [I don’t do spiders or anything with more than six legs. Hey, I didn’t say I was Jane Goodall]. I love weather enough for me to wonder why I didn’t try the whole meteorology thing… in San Diego or some place where my job would be cake, let’s be real.

But science… like science class science… like the science where you solved equations comprised of random capital letters and [sometimes] tiny numbers, or the science where you rocked the super tight, leave-marks-on-your-forehead-just-in-time-for-lunch geeky goggles… not so much. [With the exception of zoology. I seriously loved dissecting stuff.]

Except for yesterday.

Now when it comes to jewelry, I forget earrings much more often than I wear them. But when I do wear jewelry, I love the pieces I have; most of it belonged to my grandmother or my great grandmother. The timelessness of jewelry has always fascinated me — it will eventually resurface, or it’s consistently classic. I love vintage jewelry that has some kind of a story.

A lot of the pieces I own are silver, which of course tarnishes unlike gold. And following my bright idea last summer to display my pieces in a way that reminds me to wear them by seeing them every day [it actually works, I’m proud to say], they tarnish a lot quicker than they did inside boxes and drawers. I figured there had to be a way to clean them without harsh chemicals or jewelry cleaner. [Read: I’m afraid of harsh chemicals and I’m too cheap to by jewelry cleaner.]

And what did Google find me? This little trick.

I tried a pair of badly tarnished earrings first, and the results were seriously 2 a.m. infomercial-worthy. The tarnish immediately vanished. I then proceeded to un-tarnish every single piece of silver jewelry I owned, which was seriously entertaining and mildly mad scientist-like. If I had the goggles, I would have been rocking them. I’m telling you, the stuff works like magic. My great grandmother’s silver bracelet looks like new again.

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A few pieces, courtesy of bad lighting. #sorry.

All you need:

– A bowl, lined with aluminum foil shiny side up
– 1 TB baking soda
– 1 TB salt
– 1/2 cup white vinegar [I could go on forever about my love for white vinegar. Ants? Spray white vinegar. Stained coffee mugs? Rinse with white vinegar and then wash. Boom. Cheapest magic stuff ever.]
– Mix together in aluminum foil bowl until granules dissolve [it fizzes, super fun and no need for wrinkle-causing goggles]
– Add 1 cup boiling water
– Drop your jewelry in and watch the magic happen [dry / polish with a microfiber cloth when you take it out]

**Two notes worth, well, noting: I did not do this on anything that had gemstones. I didn’t read anywhere that you couldn’t, but don’t blame me if yours get screwed up.🙂 Also, mix a new batch [with new boiling water] once it cools down. I noticed the hotter the water, the faster it worked.

Needless to say… I want a do-over, middle school Science Fair. Whatever lame solar system crap I came up with doesn’t compare.

#50Firsts is my 2014 challenge to experience, or simply notice, something new in my life throughout [almost] every week of the year. Want to join me? Follow my progress here!

Channeling my inner Katniss Everdeen.

[Note to those living under rocks: Katniss Everdeen is the lead character in the popular book-now-a-film series The Hunger Games. She’s an accomplished shot with a bow and arrow. Highly recommended reading. If you have never heard of it, I’m already questioning what planet you live on. But do read on.]

When I was in high school, circa age 15, something unprecedented happened.

Let’s go back to sophomore physical education, shall we? [Does anyone have positive, reminiscent feelings at the sight of such a horrid sentence??] In high school P.E., I was decently fit [read: I was in 10th grade, could eat whatever I wanted and not gain a pound, and built up muscle singing and dancing in sparkly show choir costumes]. But I was not the girl you picked to be on your kickball team or your softball team. Usually not your dodgeball team either, though I could throw a nastier ball than most expected. Definitely not your swim team.

But archery. Well, let’s just say I should have gotten a second glance.

So all this melodrama really just leads me to reveal that in sophomore P.E. class, I won the girls’ archery challenge – legit the only thing I ever won in P.E. other than the occasional wall sit challenge. [I still have really strong thighs, who’s up for it??]

My prize? A Sprite. [A big deal, since you could only have soda during lunch and I totally got to take this one to class. BOOM.]

It wasn’t until years later that I actually pointed an arrow at anything other than a left turn lane. Husband and I recently accompanied Dad and Stepmom to an archery range [they’re, like, really good] and while I’d like to tell you I slipped right back into the groove of my hidden talent, racking up bulls-eyes and wowing the veterans, that didn’t happen. [Cue your surprised face]. It was hard and I was embarrassingly sore the next day. I mastered the art of hitting the wooden plank [rather than the target] with enough force to send the arrow right back to [almost] my feet. I think I landed one bull’s-eye. Husband was really good for his first time [But I mean, not everyone can have a P.E. archery triumph in their back pocket…]. He landed a few bull’s-eyes and his arms were significantly stronger. Cheater.

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Peeta or Gale, whomever you prefer.

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But it was actually really fun. And unlike Katniss, I didn’t have to grapple with the fact that I’d shot fellow humans, either. Always a plus. [Seriously, The Hunger Games. If you haven’t read it and you’re not curious by now, I have no words to say to you.]

Thankfully, I wasn’t wearing a white T-shirt with my last name on it this time. But I was craving a Sprite after that bull’s-eye.   

#50Firsts is my 2014 challenge to experience, or simply notice, something new in my life throughout [almost] every week of the year. Want to join me? Follow my progress here!

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What happened in Vegas

So, I recently checked Las Vegas off the places I want to go list. By recently I mean almost a month ago, but this whole timeliness with my writing thing isn’t a strong suit.

Picture it: Nine best friends, now scattered all over the country + Memorial Day Weekend + connecting rooms in Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino. An epic inaugural reunion weekend. I had so many preconceptions about Las Vegas, most of which I gathered from movies like Ocean’s Eleven [which, to be fair, I fell asleep during… good movie, long day] and C.S.I. [which has that whole murder thing going on…]. Some of it I gathered to be true. But most of it, I was way off.

1)   It’s true what they say. I always thought that infamous “What happens in Vegas…” saying was true only for the people who, like, seriously did not want people to know what they did out there [or seriously did not remember]. However, my recent little jaunt to this incredibly bright spot in the middle of the desert has caused me to look at this from a totally different perspective. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas because there is really nothing like it anywhere else. Nowhere have I ever been so impressed by bright lights and shiny man-made structures emblazoned with the iconic TRUMP name. Really what I came to understand it as was “What happens in Vegas is only in Vegas.” [Or maybe in Atlantic City / Monaco, too, but I’ve never been there.] If there was one positive aspect to our [twice delayed / ultimately cancelled / re-booked and again delayed in Dallas / arriving six hours later than planned] flight, it was landing at night and seeing that strip appear out of nowhere. It’s worth experiencing.

2)   The fountains have a schedule. A note to the wise: if you want to plan a great, timed photo with your girlfriends in front of the famous Bellagio fountain show, don’t wait. Contrary to what you might think, some things do have a bedtime in Vegas. We disappointingly found out that one of those things [probably the only thing] is the fountain at the Bellagio. But hey, at least we saw them. They’re seriously cool.

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3)   Go with a group. Preferably of girls. I’m not going to tell you this was a cheap trip. But I will say it was significantly less expensive than you might imagine. A group of nine 20-something girls? Despite most of us being married off, we were welcome many places with little to no cover or often free drinks. And, you’ll likely make friends with suited-up bouncers named Tommy who will move you to the front of the line while muttering inaudible seriousness into his Secret Service style earpiece, simultaneously giving all of you Free [gross but sounds cool] Champagne cards. The whole process was seriously fascinating. And a little Lifetime movie-esque.

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4)   No one walks. Anywhere. Now this is in part because women wear the most ridiculous high-heeled shoes you can imagine. With skirts so tight and tiny that their ability to walk becomes comically awkward. [No I did not hide my laughter very well… you might be concluding here that I don’t fit well into the Vegas scene. I don’t.] You would think it would be cake to get a cab in a city like Vegas, and it is, except the amusement park-style waiting lines are as comical as the torturous heels and pleather skirts that populate them. But really, people take cabs to go, like, a mile. Granted, the proximity of the gigantic hotels and casinos are a bit mirage-like given their size. But still. 

5)   No one sleeps. Anywhere. I think we probably slept a total of 10 hours over three days. Which, from what I’ve heard, is on the high side. We realized multiple times that we were, indeed, not in college anymore.

6)   The shows are worth it. So gambling wasn’t much our thing [although one of us won $24… high rollers] and the angry Russian lady behind the roulette table wasn’t too fond of our inexperience. It was good, then, that we planned to see a show. Cirque du Soleil shows are everywhere in Vegas, and you might think [as I have] that when you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. But the Michael Jackson ONE show was seriously phenomenal. Amid classic MJ music and a hologram effect that left you feeling like you actually saw him in concert, that show in particular [and so many of the others, I’ve heard] was well worth it.

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All in all, this place is quite the experience. Not one I plan to have many times in my life, but a place I’d only like to experience with my BFFs. And next time, if there is a next time, it’s direct flight only. Take my advice on that one.

#50Firsts is my 2014 challenge to experience, or simply notice, something new in my life throughout [almost] every week of the year. Want to join me? Follow my progress here!

Wait. She’s doing what…?

It wasn’t until I started reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed that I truly started to understand what real hiking is.

Growing up, hiking was what I would do with my parents for an afternoon. It usually consisted of lugging back a small batch of morels during mushroom season, or finding our way back to our tent during camping trips [no, none of that RV crap. That’s not camping. No offense.] Hiking, to me, was a brief activity designed to appreciate the outdoors. Or, as Strayed so perfectly described earlier this year when Mom and I saw her speak about Wild, something that started with a leisurely brunch and ended with a leisurely drink.

But my mom is doing something totally different.

I must say, now that her journey has actually begun, I’m slightly disappointed that I’ll no longer hear the “…wait. You’re doing WHAT?” reactions from just about everyone she’s told since she came up with the whole idea — to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. At once. That’s, like, 2,200 miles. And 14 states. Eggs Benedict and a bloody Mary isn’t really a thing on the A.T.

Mom has never really been one to back down on an idea once it’s in existence though — when she got the bright idea to do the Tough Mudder a few years ago, we were cheering her on at the finish line [the brutal you’re-already-down-so-now-we’re-going-to-electric-shock-you finish line, might I add…] a short time later. I can’t remember being too incredibly surprised when the Appalachian Trail was next on the list.

Then again, I think I kind of pictured the whole “leisurely brunch, leisurely drink” kind of a thing. With trendy Under Armour and Clif bars and a Nalgene. Like those people in the Nature Valley commercials that sit on a mountain top and act like 6 grams of whole grain is some kind of reward [not to mention even remotely enough energy to get them back down the damn mountain.] Honestly, I think it’s the word “trail.” Having a better idea of what the A.T. is actually like, I seriously don’t think the word “trail” was properly chosen. I mean, come on. It makes me think of afternoon bike rides with those annoying covered tents on the back that hold kids who eat fistfuls of peanuts and raisins. And people in Under Armour with Clif bars and a Nalgene. Am I right?

But mounds of dehydrated food and REI gear later, we were cheering her on as she headed to the train station Wednesday and was on her way to Maine. Six months down the road, we’re hoping the next spot we cheer her on will be “somewhere over in Georgia” [name that movie, Mom, name it.]

My reference to Mom leads me to mention that while she’s totally immersed in the wilderness [weapon-less in a land of bears and mountain lions, I don’t want to talk about it. No need to reference the film The Edge, Anthony Hopkins’ bear encounters have already been playing in my head…], she’s not totally disconnected. Every now and then she’ll stop in a town along the way to ideally charge her phone, re-load on food and gear if needed and hopefully blog a bit. Feel like following along this summer? Her writing is well worth the read — catch her experiences on [and off] the trail at Just a Bit Outside.

The only trail I’ll be even remotely close to this summer is the Monon, but I’ll be with her in spirit reading A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

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… And watching just about anything but The Edge and Deliverance.

You got this, Momma!

#50Firsts is my 2014 challenge to experience, or simply notice, something new in my life throughout [almost] every week of the year. Want to join me? Follow my progress here!

So this is an adult spring break…

I think we can all admit that some of our best memories of school happened during spring break adventures. Now, as I’m working my way through a graduate program alongside a full time job, spring break has a slightly different feel. While my latest spring break experience featured no sandy beaches filled with folks who may or may not have slightly overdone it on the fake tans and cheap alcohol — [darn] — I’ve still found some pretty striking similarities:

1.) A lot of drinking.
My spring break may have been sans warm weather and sun, but Dad’s recent trip to Guatemala was not — and he brought back the drink that Husband and I crave most these days: java. [Well, he brought us the beans, anyway.] The Cafe Condesa house blend from Antigua will make it hard to switch back to our standard Starbucks. So in a way, we totally traveled during this little siesta.

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Husband and I also hosted a pre- craft beer tour brunch [standby for details], marking the first use of our wedding gift champagne glasses for some darn good mimosas [obviously why we registered for them]. Note to self: Barefoot sparkling pinot grigio did not disappoint.

And while I’m not a big proponent of juicing […I don’t know, I guess I just prefer chewing my food…], I gave this one a try after discovering it in a recent issue of Health [recent meaning, like, January… finally snagged some time to read my giant magazine pile!] and I’m a fan:

In a blender, combine 1/2 cup packed baby spinach, 1/2 cup frozen grapes, 1/2 peeled and chopped frozen banana, 1/2 cored and chopped unpeeled apple, 1/2 peeled and seeded orange, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 tsp. chia seeds. Cover and blend on low speed for 1 minute. Add one cup ice and blend on medium until smooth. (2 servings). 

2.) Working on my beach bod.
…OK, so it’s not exactly voluntary, but the physical therapy I started a few weeks back is still regularly kicking this booty into gear. My 8 a.m. sweat sessions usually consist of me silently cursing my physical therapist under my breath as he endlessly says “one more. …one more. …one more.” ARGH. But inevitably, I appreciate  him 60 minutes later when I feel stronger, more energized and way better than I did four weeks ago. Combined with my regular [… way less intense] workouts on my own each week, the hip impingement pain has decreased drastically. I’ve come to accept major muscle soreness as a daily part of my life, though I’ll take it any day over the pain that sent me there in the first place.

The semi-good news: I’m half way through, which really just means I still have three weeks to keep improving at the hands of someone else’s torture before I’ll be tasked with keeping up with it on my own. EEK. …anyone know a personal trainer up for hire?🙂

3.) Fancy eating.
Husband and I found time to hit up The Melting Pot for the first time — the fondue-style meal was time consuming but well worth it! We got the specialty beer-cheddar with bread and vegetables to start, followed by the French Quarter [steak, shrimp, Andouille sausage and chicken with a caribbean style — “mojo” — broth], and pure dark chocolate [with everything from oreo-covered marshmallows to pound cake and strawberries] for dessert. The takeaway: it’s worth giving the entire menu a try, but if we ever decide on heading back for dessert only, I won’t hate it.

4.) Stylish travel.
I’m proud to say that my latest spring break marked my first time on the Indy Brew Bus. The verdict: if you’re a craft beer fan and Indy resident, or you’re planning a visit, this adventure is worth it. We got a group of nine together [celebrating Husband’s end of busy season, yahoo!] and got the low-down on four craft breweries in town before we visited them for about 45 minutes each, just enough time to grab some great samples, buy a pint, and get a feel for each individual atmosphere. Husband and I had only been to one of the four, so it was a great opportunity for a hometown tour of Flat 12 Bierwerks [I loved the Upside Down Blonde, with an awesome honey finish], Bier Brewery [my favorite = the PDG], Fountain Square Brewery [one of the first stouts I’ve ever really liked — it’s worth getting the flight], and Sun King [I’m always down to try new things, but the Osiris is still my favorite].

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[again, apparently the drinking theme of “spring break” never totally goes away. But I like to think it’s gotten a whole lot classier.]

As today’s kids like to say… “SB2K14!!!!!” was a great success.

#50Firsts is my 2014 challenge to experience, or simply notice, something new in my life throughout [almost] every week of the year. Want to join me? Follow my progress here!