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29!

20 days with no update! And people wonder why I gave up “professional” blogging. As usual I have a ton going on, but I’ll try to keep it in chronological order, going back to late June- my birthday!

Birthday week started out fantastic- Kelsey took me to a Mariners game! We sat in the sun, enjoyed a beer and some artery-clogging food. It really was the perfect present.
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Her funnel cake and my fried Oreos
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I even saw my friend Jamie at the game!
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Later in the week I went out for drinks with Kelsey and some of our girl friends. When I went to Kelsey’s work to meet up with them, she had a special treat for me- a little key lime pie!
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And balloons!
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On Birthday Eve, I celebrated with Kelsey and Jim. She made me this adorable cookie cake because earlier that day, on her way to pick up cupcakes for all of us, she locked her keys in the car! An hour before she had to be at work! So I loved this little cookie cake :)
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I spent my actual birthday down in Portland with family. But first I woke up to bunch of fun Snapchats!
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My sister had a fun day planned out with movies, lunch and shopping. She got me a bunch of gifts but the one I use most is this yummy water infuser!
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Dan’s mom was really sweet and got me a cheesecake and presents too!
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I don’t have any pictures, but I also had a fun lunch with my girlfriend Sandra. Followed by more cake with Thomas!
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Is there such a thing as too much cake on your birthday? I didn’t think so!
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So, 29. I’m actually really excited. Everyone keeps reminding me 30 is right around the corner, but I don’t care. I love my life and really believe it’s getting better with age. I can reflect on my early 20s and smile at the drunk fun I had in college, but am glad I don’t waste money on alcohol or cram my feet into heels til 2am anymore. To celebrate my 29er, I went through my closet and parted with a lot of “youthful” outfits. The criteria was basically that I gave it away if-
-It said ABERCROMBIE, AMERICAN EAGLE, or PINK in really big letters (save for a favorite Pink hoodie or two)
-short shorts
-strapless or tube tops
-a large amount of neon clothing
-and for good measure, some garishly bright eyeshadows/ funky makeup

To celebrate my moving forward in the wardrobe department, Kelsey and I got a personal shopper for this year’s Nordstrom anniversary sale. It was awesome and I highly recommend it. Zero pressure to buy and he picked out tons of stuff I loved.Thank goodness I asked for Nordstrom gift cards for my bday!

29 is a big year. It’s the last year in my 20s. It’s my last year apart from Dan. It’s the last year before we’re “married” (more on that next time). My last year living with my best friend (and her last year in college!). Bring on 29!

To start, I said I’d talk a little more about volunteering. I’m volunteering for Purrfect Pals Cat Shelter, because they are the wonderful organization we adopted our little Penny from :)
Penny the day we brought her home!
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Anyways, to thank Purrfect Pals for helping make Dan, Penny and I a family, I started volunteering. Many local pet stores in the Seattle area have kennel space that they let Purrfect Pals use to get their cats more noticed and reach out to different areas. So every Monday I go to the Petsmart in Everett and play with the cats there! I clean their kennels and change out their food and water. Scoop the poops. Chat with passerby-ers on if they’re interested in adopting. I love it!
From front to back this is Jake, Kaboodles and Jacksun. Jake and Jacksun sadly have been here for a few months. We have a pretty steady rotation thanks to all the wonderful people that adopt!
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This was my favorite, Kaboodles. I wanted to adopt him so bad so Penny would have a brother, but Kelsey said no! Last week he caught a cold and was sent back to headquarters to get some medicine. I may never see him again, and I miss him! He was cuddly!
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Anyway! A little bit about what I do for fun! On to running stuff :)

3 weeks ago (man, time flies!) Brittany came to visit me here in Seattle! We had the best time ever, but the weekend went by so fast!! She arrived Friday, and once she got settled into my place we went out for sushi, then downtown to Century-Link events center (where the Seahawks play!) to go to the race expo. Brittany had never been to a race expo before and was loving it! We got our bibs and shirts and just wandered around.
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After a while we walked down to the waterfront to go to the Seattle Aquarium. Since she’s a marine mammal trainer at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, she gets free entry to any aquarium! So we both got to go in and see a sea otter feeding. She chatted with the trainers about trainer things and we walked around the aquarium a bit, then moved on.
Brit at the aquarium entrance
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Ducked in for a quick drink at Elysian Brewery, one of my faves!
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Now, it was after 7pm. We should have called it a night. We should have had some pasta at home and gone to bed. But this is Laurel and Brittany, making bad decisions since 2006. So instead we left downtown and drove out to the east side, aka Bellevue, to buy copious amounts of ribbon and tulle. That’s right folks- T minus 10 hours til race start and we decide to make tutus. No, really. It’s very us. We wanted to look like decked-out Seahawks fans, so we were making neon green and navy tutus, and getting Seahawks shirts.

After we bought all our craft supplies we drove over to Bellevue Square mall to go to a fan shop and get Seahawks shirts. We also picked up a pizza and breadsticks from Pagliacchi, which Brittany fed me as we drove home. We set to work making tutus, and once we found a groove finished in a couple hours. We went to bed at midnight and woke up at 4:30am.

We got up and ready. I knew parking at Seattle Center would be a nightmare so we parked at the house I nanny at in Madison Park and took an uber to the Space Needle where the race started. We waited in line for a half hour for a portapotty and Brittany dumped her stuff at bag check, then we hopped in a corral ready to go!

Miles 1-3: Space Needle, 5th Avenue to Ranier South
You think Disney has too many corrals with 10? This race had over 30! I started off feeling really good. I was still finding my groove, adjusting my music/ Brittany’s headphones, dodging people, getting passed. As per every race, the first mile flew by and the second dragged on. Things were mildly inclining and declining but nothing terribly major… yet.

Miles 4-6: More of Ranier Ave South and Genessee Park
We really ran a ton of Ranier Ave. Around mile 5 I started feeling really good and was pleased with my mile times. I hate math but seem to have no problems calculating pace and potential finishing times! If hills stayed minimal and my pace was steady, a little push but no overhaul til the end, I could actually hit a PR in the mid 2:30s. Just before mile 6 there was a little hill but nothing too bad. Yet.

Miles 7-9: Lake Washington Blvd, the hill from hell, I-90 tunnel
Things got interesting here. Mile 7 was a little stressful just because I felt like I had a long way to go with the knowledge of a potential PR. But mile 7 came in great, a nice run along Lake Washington Blvd on the water. Then it was mile 8, and there was a really tough hill to get up to get to the I-90. I tried and tried, and then realized it’d be faster if I power-walked. So I did that. When I tried to run again I couldn’t find my groove and was pretty frustrated. I got running again but my legs didn’t feel as good as before. Darn hill! I remembered from the course map that near the end of the tunnel there was a water station, so I took the opportunity to have a Gu. Did that, had water and kept going.

Miles 10-12: Safeco Field, Century Link Field, 2nd Ave and Seattle Waterfront
I knew I’d pushed earlier because early on, downhill portions felt like a breeze, like a cheat to shave off some time. Now going downhill my legs were so used I had to be careful not to stumble. Once i emerged from the I-90 tunnel I had a beautiful view of the sports fields. Lots of people moved over to stop and take pics. Doing some math, I realized if I don’t have any more hills to deal with I could PR. I ran down the ramp and onto 2nd. This is when I got ticked off. 2nd was long, and the whole way was slightly inclined. It was torture. I felt like I wasn’t moving. I was losing valuable PR minutes. I was also frantically waiting to pass the Mile 11 marker which seemed to be nowhere, and then once I turned onto the waterfront was pleasantly surprised to see Mile 12! 1.1 miles to go! I was pretty beat though, and if I thought I took the incline on 2nd street slow, I really crawled up the mini hill on the waterfront.

Mile 12-13.1: Alaskan Way Viaduct and back to the Space Needle
Aaaaaand I’m out of steam. The sun had fully risen, and I was exhausted from pushing during the first half. Which I’m usually so cautious about! It wasn’t as bad as the Princess half marathon though, I was able to keep running. But the viaduct had never felt longer. And once I got out I could see the Space Needle, but it was so far! While running, we were separated from the marathoners by cones, and this poor marathoner hit a pothole and completely ate it. Half marathoners jumped over and helped him up, it was so awesome to see. At this point it was about 2:50, that’s an awesome marathon time! Poor guy!

Once again I’m getting irked because I just want to be done! And then I see something that sets me from irked to livid- THE FINISH LINE IS AT THE TOP OF A HILL. Why would anyone do that?! We ran up Mercer and I had zero speed. It was painful. The streets were packed with people cheering but even that didn’t give me a boost. I was so dead. I made it up and crossed the finish line. No triumphant feeling, just wanted to be done. I missed PRing by about 10 minutes.

Post-race fun
I got my medal and shuffled over to get a water.
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I found Brittany pretty quick, she KILLED the race at 2:01!
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We collected more goodies- bagel, chocolate milk, Powerade. We went to the beer garden and used our free beer coupons.
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We went outside and listened to the music guests- Presidents of the United States of America and Sir Mix A Lot. The latter was pretty fun. I like this shot of Brittany enjoying the festivities with the Space Needle in the background
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Enjoying the sunshine now that we’re hydrated and stretched!
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Though we were tired from 4 hours of sleep and running the half, it was Brittany’s last full day in Seattle. So we walked toward Pike Market and stopped at a Mexican place to have lunch. It was delicious and as we walked everyone loved our Seahawk outfits!
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We walked through all the shops. Saw the first Starbucks. The gum wall. At one point some girls ran over in tutus and we thought they ran the race also, but they were a bachelorette party and wanted a photo with us!
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At this point, we were really exhausted, so we caught an uber back to my car and headed home.
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Once home we put in a movie and just relaxed. It felt so good to sit! After a couple hours we decided to make the most of Brittany’s last night, so we put on sun dresses and went to Redhook Brewery. We had drinks and shared apps, it was so good! And when we got home Brittany had an ice cream cake for me!
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She even arranged the candles to say 13.1!
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Let me tell you, we slept SO good that night!

The next morning we woke up early since we went to bed early. Kelsey had to go to work, but before she started the 3 of us grabbed breakfast at one of my favorite places in Kirkland, The Brown Bag Cafe. Then Kelsey went to work and Brittany and I went to the mall- since she lives at the Oregon coast she doesn’t have a good mall near her. We shopped a bit then she packed and was on her way :( It was an awesome weekend, and got me excited for the other races I have coming up!
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What’s on my Phone?

It’s funny, the entries people ask me to write the most are of my every day life. My friend Thomas say his readers want the same thing. But those are my least favorite because I just don’t find that stuff very interesting! But just for you guys, here is a mishmash of photos I took from my phone, some cool, some boring, some pointless. Enjoy!

I pretty much backflipped when MAC did a Maleficent line of cosmetics. I wanted everything, so I settled on the eyeshadow quartet. Love it!
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Fun fact- my mother in law is the 2nd most senior employee at Widmer Brothers Brewery! Not in age, but she’s been there 27 years! She gives brewery tours a couple weekends each month. The brewery just had a huge remodel and she brought me in to see the new bar area. Love it! Of course, I’m lame and love their home brewed root beer. It’s just so good!!
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The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Company is a cupcakery I heard about from my runny buddy Krissy. She told me about it on Twitter, as we are both cupcake lovers, and I flipped when I saw it was in walking distance of where I work! I’ve only gotten cupcakes from there twice, but more often I pop in for one of their amazing cupcake lattes. So good!
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I probably take for granted that I walk by here all the time. Pretty cool! Seattle’s Pike Market
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Self-proclaimed makeup junkie. This was after a sale at Ulta.
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It was Dan’s cousin’s daughter’s (phew!) birthday! She turned 3! We sent her a little art kit and the other night I got this awesome photo! Go Stella!
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My newest hobby- volunteering! I’ll get more into this another time, but i’m currently a cat carer/ socializer for Purrfect Pals Cat Shelter! I actually used to volunteer quite a bit in college and even after, so I thought I’d do it again.
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Started a new book! Love some summer reading!
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I tried this. It was ok. I don’t feel the need to drink it again.
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I’m really excited to say I’ve gotten back into hashing. Many cities have hash kennels, they’re all different and some people click with others better. The good news- I love the Bremerton hash! Known as the Holy Sh!t What the F$^k hash, they have crazy trails through rivers and stinging nettles.

Rivers? Yes. Rivers.
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The bad news? It’s in Bremerton. As a Seattle resident, that means I need to ferry out there.
My new every-other-Sunday ritual
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I just have so much fun with these guys. Here is a group of us that has hashed frequently or lived in Japan.
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So I went from taking trains in Japan to get to hashes to taking ferries via WSDOT to get to hashes. This is always a welcoming sight as I come home though!
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Jamie and I during a Seattle hash trail this past weekend. Lots of mud running. Well, when we were stuck in the mud there wasn’t much running.
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Oh, random note- my sister got super sick! She came down with a bad, bad case of pancreatitis and was in the hospital for quite a while. So I took the opportunity to come down and visit her, and get some quality time in with my nieces and nephew!
Walking to Target! Melissa, Nate, Vanessa and I
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Making cookies!
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I went to surprise my sister with balloons, flowers and magazines at the hospital- NO BALLOONS ALLOWED!
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Impromptu Menchie’s date with my nieces
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That speck is E, the girl I nanny, who ran down to the International Fountain and ran back. The International Fountain is a cool giant fountain that spews water synchronized to music. I love going to read there on sunny days! Sadly this was one of my last days with E til fall- she’s in a ballet program out of state for the summer! Miss her already!
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Kelsey, Jim and I hosted our lovely friend Alyssa and her boyfriend Brad one night for dinner, drinks and games. As usual, Cards Against Humanity was a big hit!
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This past Sunday (Father’s Day) was super rainy. We’re talking torrential downpour. So I made cookies! We don’t make cookies in this house like most do. We mix up a batch, ball them up, then freeze them and baggy them. This way, we don’t feel the pressure to eat an entire batch in a couple days. And when we sit down to watch a show, it’s awesome having hot, melty, freshly baked cookies each time!
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I will end with some exciting news- tomorrow (Thursday the 19th) begins BIRTHDAY WEEK!!!! Oh yes, I’m turning 29 next week and am approaching the last year of my 20s in style. My belovedest girl friend from college Brittany is coming up to visit for the weekend, and we’re running the Rock n Roll Seattle half marathon together!
Brittany and I in college, I believe fall 2006. We were babies!
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Early 2013, when we ran a half together in Oregon
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Can’t wait to see her!

Bay to Breakers!

Man, I’ve really fallen behind with blogging! It’s been incredibly busy around here and things are finally getting back to normal with summer on the way. But first, going back to May, I spent the weekend in San Francisco to run the Bay to Breakers 12k!

Things were crazy at the time. I was working a lot, including the night before I left.
G and I training Finn to jump!
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I got home from work (but not without stopping at a girl friend’s house, I was also cat sitting this week!) and started packing. I was excited because it was my new suitcase’s maiden voyage ;) I’d had the one before that for 14 years!

I was spending most my time in SF with my friend Erica, who was visiting from Japan. We worked together and ran together in Tokyo, and I’d really missed her!
Erica and I!
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She got me from the airport and we were off to the expo!
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We got our shirts and bibs and wandered a bit, then headed to her parents’ home in Hercules. I love driving around new places.
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We had a fun dinner with her parents and then prepared our outfits for the race the next day. Here’s a snapchat of Erica and her awesome wings!
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I slept so good that night. I hadn’t been sleeping much earlier that week since i was working early, then I worked late Friday, then was up early for my flight Saturday. I got up around 5am and STILL got 8 hours of sleep!

When we got up the next day we got dressed and had some oatmeal. We took BART into the city, and as we got closer we saw more and more ridiculous costumes.

On the streets and ready to go!
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We hung out for a bit, but then headed to corrals- she was in B and I was in C. The race got started late by about 25 minutes, so it was a lot of standing around. I checked out all the crazy outfits. I dodged tortillas- it’s a big tradition that people throw tortillas in the air, and they were flying!

Approaching the start. Note the tortillas in the street ;)
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Eventually we were off! Sorta. There were tons of walkers, not only in my corral but at the very front! You know that feeling when you start a race and you need that quarter mile to find your groove, let people de-clump and space out, all that good stuff? That didn’t happen for about TWO MILES. I’m not kidding! Walkers everywhere. Some people fly past you sprinting. I got shoved a couple times. I know this is 100% NOT a race to take time seriously, but it was truly madness. But alas, what can you expect with 50,000 people?!

At mile 2 we turned onto Hayes Street and approached the dreaded Hayes Hill.
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It’s difficult to tell by the photo, but it just goes. straight. up. forever.

After Hayes Hill, everyone was really spread out and I had a great run. I knew I wasn’t in it for time, and I enjoyed my run through Golden Gate park. I finished and met up with Erica who came in about 10 min before me!
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We wandered a bit at the finish. I admired the view of the ocean. We had a drink at the beer garden. We even ran into our friend and fellow hasher Jamie!!
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We left pretty soon after. We caught a Lyft car to Union Square and had lunch. Then, pretty run down, we got on BART and went separate ways- I was off to spend the night with my in laws! I rode out to Walnut Creek and they came and picked me up. We had a fun dinner in Danville where I saw my brother in law, met his wife finally, and my 2 nephews! I really loved chatting with them. They were just great.

Kyle with my FIL. He’s 8, and in this picture was reminiscing about tv “when he was little”. Ha! I didn’t break it to him that he still was little ;)
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Zack who just turned 10
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Not much happened after dinner. Ann (my step MIL) was tired and I definitely was too, so we all pretty much went to bed! The next day we went out to a really good lunch before they took me back to Erica’s.
And this was our appetizer. I was thrilled, because Dan hates seafood. Oh, the horror ;)
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Until next time, in laws! You’re the best!
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I’ll see them in August for the Disneyland half marathon, which I’m running with Ann!

Erica took me to see the Golden Gate Bridge, which I thought was really awesome!
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We went out to dinner after and had a pretty mellow night. The next day was Tuesday, and time for me to go home. We did have time to take her doggy Tsuki to a really cool dog park on the water. I loved it!
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Erica dropped me off at a local BART station, and stayed til I was out of sight. She’s been living in Japan too long ;)

I flew home which was nice and short, and then rode the Link (lightrail) into downtown Seattle where Kelsey picked me up. All in all such a good trip! As for Bay to Breakers, it was totally fun and I’d definitely do it again!
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Kauai Getaway

So, Dan and I snuck away for 9 days to the beautiful island of Kauai at the end of April into May. We’d been apart for 3 months and we knew we wanted to see each other before August 31st, when we’ll be reunited next, but the timing was tricky with me job hunting. So we decided, screw it. We dropped everything, got time off approved from our bosses, and bought plane tickets and booked a hotel 4 days before we left.

We had an amazing time. I won’t break it down day by day, but instead will just post a bunch of pictures. One thing we did that might have been my favorite, but sadly I have no pictures of, is the day we went stand up paddle boarding on the Wailua River. It was hot and sunny and we spent half the time paddle boarding, half the time with our boards bound together laying down, soaking upt he sun and floating down the river. Heaven!

Reunited in paradise! Specifically Coconut Beach
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Spent the afternoon catching up and just staring out
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Our first excursion was driving out to Wailua Falls
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Dan still had to work. I’d plan out own week while he did that. It was awesome to look up and see him.
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Exploring caves!
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Hiking day
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Our hiking path had a river crossing. Guess who hurt their tailbone…
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Enjoying coconut mocha fraps from Starbucks
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Rock hunting on the beach
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Waimea Canyon
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Dan and his feral burger from Feral Pig. Ordered off a secret menu, it was a pork belly monstrosity of delicious!
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Early birthday present- New cell phone case from Japan!
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Our catamaran for the evening!
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Scared I’d fall over!
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Just happy being with him
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We found sea turtles!
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Excuse us piggies!
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Night after night of pretty sunsets
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Walking around the shopping center
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We had the best trip ever! A little over 3 months til our next reunion!
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Nate Turns 2!

On April 20th (yes, Easter!) my nephew Nate turned 2! I can’t even believe it. It feels like yesterday Dan and I came home from Tokyo Disneyland to the news that he was born WEEKS early. We were beyond shocked, but so happy! I missed his first birthday since I was still living in Japan last spring, but you better believe I was all over his second birthday party!

We started some party prep the night before. Melissa organized baby photos, which really led to all of us sitting around and reminiscing about Nate stories.
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Vanessa and my sister started setting up the food table with some decorations
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The next morning was full of errand running- cake pickup, some last minute details, ice, balloons. Melissa, Vanessa and I were in charge of getting balloons- 25 of them! I was terrified I’d accidentally let go of them, so that was entrusted to Melissa and Vanessa. Also, it was POURING out!
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We got everything ready, and it all looked great!
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Nate was particularly fond of his photo timeline ;)
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Guests arrived and it was time for toys!
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Oh, he LOVED these cars. Bringing them over for me to see. Mom and Dad in the back :)
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Some of his prezzies were pretty big…
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And unwrapping took quite a bit of time…
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After presents, birthday boy had cake! I don’t know what he loved more- frosting, or the toy Lightning McQueen on top!
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Lauren and Nate reflect on the past two years <3
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Toasting my niece Vanessa on a job well done with party planning!
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Even Dan’s mom came!
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Oh yes, that day Nate ruled the house
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And so he boogied and ate and partied and played til he couldn’t stand anymore!
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Happy birthday, Nate. You’re two and I can’t imagine my life without you. You bring me so much happiness and make me laugh so much. I love coming to see you every month for our monthly visits and play time and snuggles. Some say I’m biased, but I really do think I have the best nephew on the planet!

I figured today I would give little updates on topics I’ve touched on recently. I’m super excited to do a post about this past weekend, my nephew’s second birthday, but figured that deserved a post of its own!

Food
My diet’s been going really well for the most part, with the exception of this past weekend where I went to Oregon and had some Easter indulgence. I’m keeping portions tame and really questioning if I want to calorie splurge on certain things.

When it comes to dieting, marinades have been my bff. I’ll find a bunch on Pinterest, do a grocery trip, and then I have fun options for my chicken for the next few weeks (chicken breasts I buy in bulk at Costco). Even better, the more frequently I marinade, the better a stash of staple ingredients I’m building in my cabinets at home.

Last weekend I made shrimp tacos, and soaked the shrimp in a cilantro lime garlic marinade.
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I made a small portion of Guacamazing, and used that with store-bought salsa and cheese for filler. It was absolutely delicious!
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My biggest indulgence last week was Seattle Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week is when restaurants prepare a prix fixe menu that’s a pretty good deal. We went to The Commons in Woodinville where I had a blue cheese burger, bruschetta and espresso salted caramels. It was awesome and definitely worth the calories.
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Kelsey also has a hobby of making cookies and freezing the dough. It’s pretty smart- when we’re ready to sit down and watch a show, she pulls out 2 dough balls for each of us, and we have fresh baked cookies with yummy melty chocolate chips. We also can’t overindulge without firing up the oven again and waiting for them to bake again, so that’s nice. Since she’s always taking the time to make cookies I decided to donate to our cookie dough stock house, and made banana walnut chocolate chunk cookies. They’re good, guys. Really good!
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As for a weight update, I’m moving painfully slowly down the scale. I’m also trying to put on a lot of muscle, so that could be why. I’m due to take measurements in about a week and a half, so maybe that will give me a better idea of my progress.

Oh, and one more thing that’s made cooking fun- I’ve started gardening! On an incredibly small scale. I started with an herb garden and have since added some fruits and veggies. In the herb garden I only have cilantro, rosemary and chives, but I’ve used some of each so far and love it!
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Shoes and Running
I’m really pleased to say both are going well. I didn’t even have to break in my new shoes, and found that lacing them tighter keeps my low cut socks in place. So, the shoes are doing awesome and I’m happy I opted not to return them. Here’s to many miles in my new Brooks!

As for running, speed work is going really well. I power through 1 or 2 mile runs in my slopey neighborhood, then take it easy at the flat trail for a little distance work. I’m starting from the ground-up, so last week’s distance run was only 5k, and tomorrow’s will be 4 miles. I just figured I have the time, so why not work up slowly? In addition I’m still weight training every other day (and moving up in weights!) and occasionally doing my Turbo Fire dvds. Not as often as I should, but enough to cross train decently.

The 5k I ran last week rocked my socks. My 5k pr at races is currently 31:11, and when I generally run an easy 5k on my own it’s about 39-42 min. I did this one 35:21, giving me an 11:23 average. Check out these negative splits!
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Kind of hard to read, but my splits were 12:25, 11:36, 10:16.

To be fair, I ran the first mile easy, and then saw my time and felt so good I picked up the pace a bit. So there was effort, but I wasn’t dying like I am during speed work. Woop woop! I also had a fabulous talk this past weekend over beers with my beloved college bestie Thomas. He may prove to be useful in my running training, as whenever I told him what I was hoping/ attempting to do with my running, he always had advice or an answer. So I might chat w him more about running. Anyway if you enjoy reading my blog as a runner, check out his blog! T is funny and awesome and I’m so glad we became friends in college EIGHT years ago. Yikes, the time flies. T and I have a race coming up later this year, hopefully next time I blog I can go into detail about it!

Work
As I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, I work part time as a nanny in downtown Seattle. I love my job. I say that with 100% sincerity. I don’t know how I got so lucky to fall into this gig with such a wonderful family. The problem is- I can’t be a nanny forever, and E will be 16 and driving on her own next year, thus not needing me :(

I’ve been job hunting, and when I first moved here I hit it hard, blanketing Seattle w my resume. By late February I got a bite from a sweet marketing and advertising firm. I interviewed for a position, and they thought I’d be a better fit for a different position. So I interviewed for that. FOUR times. It’s been tough. Especially since before my first in-person interview I had company in town- Dan’s cousin Becky came to Seattle; her marketing firm was giving a pitch for a job campaign. I got her and her designer from the airport, we had a late dinner, slept for a couple hours, I took them to their pitch, got breakfast, and then I drove them to the airport. We had so much fun though! Becky helped me get ready for my interview and everything.
Here we are saying bye at the airport, before I headed to my interview (with the blouse tucked in and the blazer buttoned, of course ;) ). I hope she visits again soon, she’s so fun!
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It’s been a few weeks and no word on the position. I finally got the nerve last week to send them an email and ask if I was still in consideration, and they said yes. So I guess I keep on waiting!

And finally, I hope everyone had a great Easter! My mom sent me a See’s Candy gift card, where I bought a haul of chocolate to share with my nieces and roomies.
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That’s it for now. I seriously can’t wait to talk about my nephew’s second birthday. In the meantime, here’s Nate and I the day before his party!
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I have awesome news today!

The awesome duo of Adam and Devon asked me to be on their podcast, Lifestyle Accountability, and today the podcast was released!

And you can listen to it here!

I did the interview about a month ago, and it’s crazy how things have changed even just in the short amount of time. I’m over Grape Nuts and fruit for breakfast and have been on a big oatmeal kick. I also really enjoy making marinades for chicken and fish these days and that would have been a lot more interesting to talk about than salmon fillets ;)

Some of my long time readers probably know a lot about what I discuss on the podcast but for anyone new, it’s a really good look at how and why I started running. Enjoy! And if anyone has found my little blog after hearing the podcast, welcome!

I realized I never talked much about the Oso mudslide, which was a pretty big deal around here. On March 22nd, just a few miles east of Kelsey’s home town of Arlington, a massive mudslide occurred which took out an entire neighborhood and destroyed a highway, killing at least 35 people. Several are still missing.

It’s incredibly tragic. Kelsey has a younger sister still in high school, and she said she normally waits for the bus with 7-9 other kids, and a few days after the mud slide it was her and 2 others. The others had passed, were missing, or dealing with the loss of their home and moving into an evacuation shelter.

A couple days later Kelsey had the idea to donate some goods to the shelters. We went to Costco to just get some toilet paper and paper towels, but we couldn’t help ourselves! We got a couple cases of bottled water. Sandwich supplies. Easy Mac. After school snacks for kids. Soap. We left Costco $170 poorer but we were pretty excited to deliver everything!
Loading her car for a trip to Arlington!
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We live about 45 minutes south of Arlington, and I’d never been, so I was excited to see where Kelsey was from. Our first stop was to pick up her sister Hannah from school for a little lunch date. We had no clue where she was, as we creepily walked through the rows and rows and high schoolers having lunch. Eventually we looked suspicious enough to attract a teacher’s attention, and he paged her for us. Nice and embarrassing!
Had to get a pick of Kelsey and her alma mater!
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We made our way to the Red Cross donation site at the middle school where we learned they were only taking monetary donations. Bummer! We then drove to the other side of town where they were taking anything they could get.
Kelsey and Hannah striking a pose
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With not much time left in Hannah’s lunch period (and Kelsey had to get to work), we grabbed delicious teriyaki for lunch and returned Hannah to school. Arlington’s a cute town and I’d love to go longer sometime to walk around and enjoy it under better circumstances!

Friday!

Before I get started, I have to wish the happiest of anniversaries to my beloved room mates, Kelsey and Jim. They have been dating for 10 years as of TODAY! I won’t see them til next week, because they’re off celebrating in Vancouver, BC, but I hope they have a great time and miss them already. I don’t like a quiet house! ;)

Happy anniversary K & J!!!
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This week went by so fast since I was in Oregon til Tuesday morning! The sun was out all week and it put everyone in a good mood.

Update on my kicks:
My new Brooks shoes are pretty sweet so far. I’m most impressed about the fact that they didn’t feel new, thus no break-in period. I’ve decided to start working on getting a little faster with my running and my new shoes were on board with that. I didn’t even have a sore random foot muscle or a spot where it rubbed me funny, which is pretty standard with me and new shoes. I have only one concern though- the size.

I almost always wear a size 7, and was surprised when the shoe fitter immediately said I needed a 7.5. And beyond that, I needed an 8! He also commented on the fact that one foot was definitely longer than the other and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that’s not true… it’s just that it happened. I lost my right big toenail thanks to the Goofy Challenge in January. After a shower a few weeks ago I was pulling on sweatpants in the bathroom when the pant caught the slightly lifted end of my toenail and pulled it WAY back. You think this is awful to read?! Try living it!! I was terrified. I showed my room mates and they almost threw up. So that night I gently eased the nail off the toe. It didn’t even hurt.
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Anyway, as I ran, my foot swam around a bit. Not a ton though, I laced them tight so the only free space was in my toes. And possibly my heel. One thing I’ve noticed is I can’t wear low cut socks with them! They just get rubbed down and pop off my heel. It’s maddening. I really don’t like any socks touching my ankles, ever. It’s been this way since 8th grade! So that’s annoying. Luckily while at Lululemon a few months ago, I bought some clearance socks I mad mistaken for low cut liners, and when I got them home I was devastated that 1- they were above-the-ankle socks and 2- no returns on clearance items even if unopened.
Me and my sweet giant socks
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I will be back in Portland in a week and seriously debating returning them for 7.5s. I’m open to thoughts if you guys have any!

I got a special package in the mail 2 days ago- my nieces’ birthday presents! I’m the horrible aunt who ordered too late and they arrived at my house in Seattle during my second day in Oregon. They were good sports about the present-free weekend though, and I let them pick out some goodies at Ulta in the mean time. But for now I can’t wait to wrap these up and give them to the girls! If you can’t tell, they love anime, and drawing anime, hence the Sharpies ;)
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Everyone’s just been in a wonderful mood this week. Especially E, who got her braces off after 3 years of having her teeth enslaved to metal. Needless to say she can’t stop Snapchatting selfies ;)
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My efforts to be more health conscious during work are prevailing! I’ve found the best thing I can do is make an impossibly large dinner, and tupper half of it for the next day to bring with me. So yesterday I had rosemary lemon chicken with mushrooms and asparagus and strawberries. Success!!!
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Today I’m just doing some puppy sitting while reading The Fault in our Stars. It will be made into a movie come June, so I thought I’d give it a read. I just read Gone Girl last week and loved it! Except the ending, which I could complain about all day… but I digress. I don’t have much left on my tablet to read so if you have a good book let me know!
A Day with Molly and Finn
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It will be a pretty tame weekend with Kelsey and Jim in Canada. Some nannying and then hopefully hiking Rattlesnake Ridge with my girl friend from high school Brita on Sunday. Also excited to do some experimenting with recipes I found on Pinterest. I know I’m an adult when making new things for dinner is thrilling ;) Have a good weekend folks!

A Trip to Oregon!

First off, exciting news- I finally got professionally fitted for running shoes after being a runner for 2 years. I did go see a podiatrist when I was having Achilles problems and she recommended New Balance shoes for me, but beyond that I’d never had any professional critique. I ended up purchasing TWO sizes bigger than my normal size which is still so weird to me! After a close call between some New Balance, Brooks and Asics the grand winner was….

Brooks Adrenaline!
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I’m really excited to take them for a spin. While I was checking out shoes, I also test drove the Hoka One Ones (pronounced onay onay). I am constantly hearing about these in my podcasts and from other runners, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Considering all the cushioning, they were really lightweight and felt like running on a cloud!
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I had some extra time off work because E and G are on spring break, so I spent 4 nights in Oregon- 3 in Portland and one in Newport. Before I left on Friday I had to get G to her horse show. She did fantastic, 2 beautiful second place ribbons!
G going to see Polo
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Yahoo!
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It was a big weekend in Portland. We were celebrating my nieces turning 15!
Melissa and Vanessa fall 2007, they were 8!
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Melissa with Nate, who will be 2 in 2 weeks!
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Vanessa
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The weather was beautiful Monday, so I drove down to Newport to visit my friend Brittany who works at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. I drove through my college town Corvallis, where I saw the meat market closed. I heard that it closed about a month ago, but it was still so sad to see. This place had the best jerky on the planet!!
The sign read, “Closed forever. Thanks for the memories”. I could have cried.
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Brittany and I caught up over drinks, had dinner with her boyfriend and just chatted at her place. I wish I could visit her more, she’s so lucky to live on the beach!
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In other news, the cherry blossoms are blooming everywhere! I went to the University of Washington campus and took some pictures.
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Kelsey in a tree!
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I have been doing somewhat of an overhaul on my diet and exercise regimen lately. I seem to have a lot of issues incorporating cross training while on a running schedule. Once I’ve adapted I’m fine, but that initial introduction is really hard on my body. Which really just translates to: I’m out of shape. But I decided to take a few weeks off of running to really buff up a conditioning plan. I’ve been doing Beach Body workouts, specifically ChaLean Extreme for weight training and TurboFire for basic cardio. I love these dvds! If you’re interested in trying them, leave me a comment or email and I’ll get you some info. Anyway, I can finally do these pretty rigorously and not feel too bad the next day, so I’m ready to reincorporate running. I also don’t have any big races coming up, just the Expedition Everest 5k and Bay to Breakers 12k.

As for my diet, I’ve learned it’s really difficult to do any meal planning as a nanny. When my day starts I have no idea how late I’ll be working. It can be frustrating, but more hours means more money for races! There have been plenty of nights the girls’ mother won’t be home until late, so I’ll take E or G out to dinner, whilst thinking of my chicken breast at home sitting in a delicious marinade I prepped that morning. And the truth is, I’ve been overindulging. As a nanny all my meals are comped and it’s easy to just order whatever the girls order- pizza, fried food, etc.

Some typical dinners with the girls
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And sometimes when I don’t want to hear them argue over dinner any more, I let them order from different restaurants. So here we are enjoying Frozen while eating Chinese and pizza, both of which I indulged in
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So in the past week I’ve started getting smart about eating out with the girls. No side dishes and as soon as I get my entree I box half of it up for lunch or dinner the next day. It’s worked out pretty well; I wish there was a little less variability in my schedule but I do love my job, so I can’t complain.

My weight has definitely ballooned up this year due to lack of running, moving, job and whatever other excuses I think of. But it’s nice to see the scale going back down again. When I ran last year i loved getting faster, and lately it’s just about getting the run over with. Hopefully with the diet and cross training I’ll start loving other aspects of running again!

I’d like to end today with a little plug for my awesome friend Marco, a beer connoisseur in Japan.
Hi Marco!
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He’s getting his site and podcast, Just 1 Pint, up and running. If you enjoy a good beer and would like to hear some of his reviews, definitely check him out!
Follow Just 1 Pint on Facebook
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