Wednesday, December 17, 2014

An Epic 24 Hours

Seriously, somebody pinch me....because life is just...well, pretty darn incredible. 

I'm truly starting to believe that what you ask from your heart for the universe to provide...well, sometimes it really does show up...and even more incredibly than you could have imagined. 

Case in point: I've been wanting to go to a Blazer game and a Winterhawks game. Winterhawks game is in progress of being scheduled....but Monday afternoon I randomly got a spontaneous text from a friend asking if I wanted to go to Monday night's Blazer club level seats...for free. Uh..yes, yes I do! :) Seats were better than any I've ever had nor could have imagined...and the game was a blast! I had so much fun and the Blazers even won :) 

Case in point: Tuesday morning I had another meeting regarding Africa and international health career contacts/options...and I'm STILL expecting to be told that I heard that whole conversation/informational interview wrong because what I heard sounded a lot like an offer of how to go to Africa this summer AND that the whole trip/opportunity could potentially lead into an actual job my dream one of my ideal institutions...and that it would also potentially make all my varied career paths come full circle and connect.... Yup, pinch me......because even if it doesn't pan out..I am so incredibly fortunate and grateful for the offer and this.very.moment that life is presenting...

Case in point: After the Tuesday meeting, I had the dogs in tow so we could go explore the rain break/fresh powder that had arrived briefly on the mountain. We checked out some new trails....and for the first time in a long time, I didn't rush us or care about miles. Instead we just wandered down various new trail options, walked a bit on an old historic Oregon wagon road, and then went 2.5 miles on the PCT trail which included so much beautiful hazy fresh powder...that again, I just kept thinking about how this life...this is what I want to be living....this is what makes me feel I'm currently living that motto that hangs on my wall: "Living the Life I Love" and "Loving the Life I Live." On these trails, I look around at the beauty that surrounds me, I feel the peace in my soul, I hang out with God (and talk or don't talk)...and I just feel good..happy...settled...arrived.

Barlow Pass Highway

Barlow Pass Wagon Road

We discovered a little something special left on the PCT.

Epic, epic 24 hours :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wallowa Mtns Backpacking Trip

This was a 3 day trip in the middle of September that I've been hemming & hawing about including on the blog. Tall D and I had planned two backpacking trips for September, but since the boys thru-hiked the JMT mid August & Reg D had a 10 day bike trip for the coast scheduled, Tall D and I just did a long day trip around Olympic National Park and then pulled-off a 3 day backpacking trip in the Wallowa Mtns. The Wallowas trip itself was absolutely beautiful, the hiking went really well (about 10-12 miles per day), the camp sites were perfect, the lake views were stunning, and the handful of people we met on trail were super friendly. Hands down both of the backpacking trips from this last summer restored my faith in the backpacking experience and made me excited for the trips to come in future outings with various people.

The Wallowa Mtns are an area in Eastern Oregon that are absolutely stunning and I'm really glad the trip was able to go ahead as planned this summer/fall. The changing of the seasons was a great time to go also as the leaves were vivid and the temperature was neither too hot in the day nor too cold at night. And also I have to give it up to the guys for their homemade dehydrated camp food--it was some of the best dehydrated food I've had yet.

Anna & I starting up the trail on Day 1. We got started about noon due to a variety of funny events that unfolded in the morning and after getting breakfast at a cute lil place in the town of Joseph. We'd "camped" at the actual campground outside of Joseph the night before (meaning we put the seats in my SUV down and slept in the back of my rig...until the dogs noticed the squirrels taunting them from the trees above... :) I slept great....Tall D not so much)

Six Mile Meadow

The trail was a mix of meadows, trees, lake views, & rocky climbs

Tall D & the dogs checking the map during break time

The view pre and during sunset from Night 1 Campsite at Horseshoe Lake. I was able to bath down trail in the lake, the stars were out for full gazing, & we spent a lot of time sitting next to a blazing fire and drinking hot chocolate.

One of the most beautiful reflections from Day 2: 

There were lots of great lakes to explore on Day 2, so we did a side trip up to another lake where we ate lunch and chilled out for a little bit. Post lunch we went up Glacier Pass...

From the top of Glacier glad to have made it :)

Looking down on Glacier Lake from the top of the pass.

Look at that water!! We hung out here at Glacier Lake for a bit and debating camping here or carrying on to Frazier Lake. The beautiful water was freezing however so we decided to head down to lower elevation again (plus we had two potential return options for Day 3 to decide on so we wanted to get further down trail).

Tall D leading the way.

Campsite Night 2. We made it to camp and had just enough time to make food (spinach pasta w home dehydrated sauce--amazing!), filter more water, get the tent ready, etc before night fell. It took me a while to fall asleep this night and Tall D read some of his sci-fi book aloud while I watched the stars over ahead. It was a pretty amazing night....and the day had been pretty incredible too.

Day 3 included more rocky paths and winding along gorgeous river views before looping back to Six Mile Meadow.
Some of the gorgeous fall views : 

When we made it back to the car early to mid afternoon, we both felt in pretty good shape. There was a bathroom next to the trailhead, so I grabbed some cleaner clothes to change and washed off as much of the trail dust as I could. Then we started on the gorgeous drive back to Portland, hitting up some great food options that we'd seen from Travel Oregon's Instagram Feed :)

Beautiful farm views as we headed toward Enterprise to grab beers & amazing steak bites from Terminal Gravity Brewery. From there we went on to Lostine Tavern in Lostine---absolutely amazing food and great establishment. The drive back to Portland was just as beautiful with an amazing sunset as we went over Cabbage Hill. 

Seriously beautiful, incredible trip. If you live in Oregon and have never been, I would highly highly recommend it! So many people visit Oregon for it's Willamette Valley, but if you're an outdoor lover then definitely check out the various other parts of the state also :)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Holiday Half Marathon

Woohoo---I can officially say that I've ran in a half-marathon race. :) But I'll totally say that it's much much easier to just go the distance on the days that my body is already feeling it! :)

This picture is of Pioneer Square in the heart of downtown before sunrise this morning:
Since I rode the MAX from Beaverton to the Adidas HQ where the half was held, I had plenty of time to admire the view while waiting for the Yellow Line to arrive. So many of the surrounding trees were full of big crows caa-ing at the arriving morning. Taking pictures, chatting with a few other race-goers, and listening to the birds somewhat distracted from the 37 degree morning :)

I ran this race with an acquaintance from high school, who had just run the Portland marathon in October. We had one training run together two weekends ago that went well and then we individually did long runs last weekend. Ironically we both showed up to the race right as it was starting so we actually crossed the start line about four minutes after 8am. And let me tell you, Amy was the one who kept our pace going. In our training run, we'd done well together but at the race today I could tell she definitely had gotten used to longer runs. While we were about evenly paced, she has a much better race mentality than I do. :) Without her being there I probably would have walked a bit in mile 11 or 12. I did great until about mile 9 although I was ready for the turn around at any point near mile 7. Miles 10.5-12 were definitely the most struggle though. I told Amy she could go on ahead and while she did jump out in front a bit, she never totally took off which made her the perfect pacer for the last several miles as I continued to want to keep her in my sights. So, so glad she agreed to run this race with me! My adjusted time was 2 hrs 8 mins 14 sec or averaging 9:47 minute miles. Not bad in my mind. Ironically I think most the pack today averaged in the 9 minute mile so it was kind of neat to always have lots of people jogging together throughout the race. I definitely was also thankful for the various water stations today!


Honestly I don't know that I'll do another official half-marathon race. There's talk of the Shamrock 15k in March which I enjoyed doing last year, so I'll probably sign up for that again though. Anything under 10 seems like it's fun more than anything else. Plus I'd much rather make long distances with hiking or just on the days when my body decides that it's good to go for it, rather than continue to do a lot of half-marathon races. It was a great experience though and I'm really glad that I went ahead and finished the year off with it!

Once I made it back home post-race, it felt amazing to get in the shower and warm up again. The rest of the afternoon was pretty incredible also: fajitas (one of my favs!) followed up with a couple of hours in my favorite soaking pool with a hard cider, great conversation, and a handsome friend. Wrapped up the rest of my homework for this term this evening and now curled up in bed surrounded by the dogs and about to pull up an old movie. Pretty awesome day all around, even if I've only been running on about 4 hours of actual sleep :)

17 more miles to go this month to make 900 total on the year, but today's half pretty much finished off the rest of my 2014 physical activity goals! And after the health issues in April, I'm pretty stoked to have made those 900 miles AND came back to end the year with the half!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Africa Calling

Hi all! So you may have noticed that I made some changes to the blog in recent weeks, including updating a variety of sections and including a list of goals for 2015-2017. One of the items that has been on my heart and mind much of the time in the last few weeks/months has been the call that I've felt to "go" and do service work abroad. Thus beyond changing my name back this year, I finally put my dream out there to try to make it happen. I've been working with a life coach to help hold me accountable toward achieving this dream and I also posted on social media asking my various friends & family to help support with prayers, ideas, suggestions.

So how did this all come about? For years I have felt the desire to go to Africa to do direct service work with kiddos or in the health community. If you've read my blog from the very, very beginning then you know that originally I was incredibly moved by the movie Blood Diamond. Moved to the extent that it shook my core, made me take a hard look at everything we take for granted, and really changed my life in a lot of ways. While in high school I felt drawn toward international fields which is what led me to be an exchange student for a year between high school and college (during which time I also did volunteer work while there). My initial intent upon graduation from my undergrad program was to go directly into an international focused MSW program that was on the east coast, but when my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer I curtailed that original plan. The draw toward doing service work abroad and especially in Africa has never dissipated however and when I first got married one of the things I remember telling my ex-husband was how much I wanted us to work toward pursuing his needs/goals but how I also wanted to have the opportunity to follow my dream of volunteering abroad also. Zoom to two years ago when in the height of my separation, I had the money, the time, and I even had a contact at a medical clinic in a region in Africa...but I panicked about the full amount of unknowns in life already facing me and I just didn't follow my heart and do it. The months following that led to some of the darkest parts of my life thus far and in hindsight I wish that I would have trusted something greater than myself and gone on that trip. That same winter on one particular snow shoe outing, I remember feeling so lost and frustrated about life, and on my way back to the car, I sat down on a snow embankment and started just trying to talk to God about what the heck was going on with my life and what I was supposed to do about it. Interestingly, I feel like I never hear a direct line from the dude upstairs...but I swear in that moment all I heard over and over again was "just go." I knew where and what S/He meant...but I've been confused about how to make it happen ever since (financially, pets, rental, work, etc)

Fast forward to this fall, when again, I was pulling myself up by my boot straps and trying to self-assess and make sense of a few things. During that time period, I had someone ask me what my life would look like if I could do anything that my heart desired without anything holding me back...and my response was "Peacecorps like...." I also attended a different church with an acquaintance during that time period that included a sermon about letting go of fear and moving forward (the church was an incredible experience...but that's a post in itself)...and for the first time ever I literally got ballsy and when they asked for people to lay their written burdens down at the cross..I took my slip of paper that included Africa and every other thing weighing on my heart at the moment...and I left it laying at the foot of the cross...trusting that doors will open and prayers of support & encouragement would flow. Big steps and probably the most important one.

Because that afternoon I posted on FB regarding the desire on my heart and asking for support...and I had four people volunteer names and suggestions. I have another friend who put me in touch with at least one of her contacts so far and I know countless people are praying. I also decided that I want to take the next few months to explore career options in the international field to try to see if it's possible to move into that field and if that's what God is calling me to do really and truly. I've been making contacts and arranging meetings/coffee dates. 

The first coffee outing was 2-3 weeks ago with an international field worker with Doctors Without Borders. I have a meeting with the dean of an international health program and a coffee date arranged with a current employee of the Gates Foundation both next week. I'm in email contact with the volunteer placement coordinator at Medical Teams International. I've applied for a part-time position  with one international non-profit in Portland and am currently staring at two other amazing job announcements with another Portland-based international non-profit. My sister's missionary friend who is in Africa is trying to make contacts that might pan out for a 6-8 week placement next year. And I haven't even begun to touch the list of other international non-profits that are located in the general area. I have no doubt that this whole scenario might play out way differently than I could have ever imagined...but I'm continuing to move forward trusting that the right doors will continue to open, certain windows will slide shut, and that I need to just keep shuffling & jumping along to discover just what might be around that next bend. But honestly, I'm so amazed at the movement that has already been happening...and I'm looking forward to what's coming ahead.

Keep ya posted :)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Day In the Life...

The days have been long and the exhaustion has been high. Usually I limit the amount of social engagements I let myself have in more stressful weeks but this week has included a social outing/evening every day of the week. This was finals week for my students so grades finally got calculated and transferred over. My week of finals as a student is next week (plus a make-up class since our Thurs night class was cancelled due to the crazy wind storm & power outages that Portland had) and the half-marathon is on Sunday. Seriously can't wait for a bit of down time...

Obviously it's been busier since I intended to post this actually on Tuesday, and since I didn't get to it til now I included Wednesday for fun too :)

8-820am wake up, listen to music, cuddle the dogs, check emails/social media, say a quick prayer about the day
820am let the dogs out, turn the heat up, make coffee, eat a banana
830am feed the dogs/cat, fill the water for the animals, let the chickens out & feed/water them
845am breakfast & water christmas tree
915am get dressed, put face on, check in with housemate
940am vacuum & dust house
1005 review class notes & assignment, rearrange furniture to make room for hw

1030am start massage exchange with housemate
noon break for lunch/fill out paperwork
1230 start second massage exchange (swap give/receive) with housemate
2pm finish exchange paperwork, type up homework assignment, put furniture back
240pm grade student assignments, check work email, & update grades

420pm check on chickens, lock in coop, get the dogs to go out
435pm start getting ready for work
5pm grab tea & snacks, feed dogs, start dishwasher
520pm leave house for campus
6pm-8pm proctor final exam, return assignments, prep online classes for next term

8pm chat with student who had general life advice question
830pm meet someone I haven't seen for months for a drink/dinner at local pub
1045pm arrive home, love on dogs & let them out
11pm take a shower, ready bag for next day, check in with buddy's school progress
midnight go to sleep

845am wake up: cuddle dogs, listen to tunes, quick prayer, check email/social media
9am: get up, let chickens & dogs out, feed & water animals, coffee, breakfast, water christmas tree, get dressed/face on, make tea to go, finish easy homework assignment
1015am: leave house for massage school
11am: find parking finally & head to get table set for day
1130-225pm: in class
235pm: leave downtown for home
3pm: buy groceries & christmas gift on way home
345pm: get home, unload groceries, let dogs out, eat briefly
430pm: put chickens up, change clothes, find paperwork for dogs, ready work bag
450pm: leave house for work
510pm: stop at animal services to update Roxi's rabies info
540pm: arrive at campus
6-8pm: proctor final exam, check work emails, grade 50% of first nights exams
8pm: leave campus
830pm: stop at my aunt's for a bowl of soup, a glass of wine, & to get the things they picked up for me from Costco
10pm: finally get home, let dogs out, talk with housemate, unpack bag, make a list to do for Thursday, take a shower, eat the rest of the left overs from Tuesday night, check in with buddy about his school progress/day
midnight or so: go to bed

Definitely enjoying some pretty great moments still..and sleeping in when I can. One more week to go! :)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hagg Lake Trail Run

Another wet, soaking outing from this fall....

Now that the dogs and I checked this sucker off the list, I don't really feel the need to :) The irony of the Hagg Lake Trail Run is that it's the trail that led me to heat exhaustion this summer (my own fault of course for not packing water on a hot summer day and attempting this for a run when I hadn't made much distance mileage yet during my comeback....) and then on this second attempt the dogs and I got caught in a torrential downpour for 3-4 miles straight and at that point I didn't dare stop moving due to how fast my body temperature tends to drop. And when I mean downpour, I mean we literally had a river flowing down the trail with us as we jogged through it....and not a single square of dry body existed on the dogs nor I. (The weather forecast had stated there was a 25% of rain showers...) :)

BUT....we did it. We jogged around the lake covering 14.5 miles (although we did walk hills and a few other stretches--also various online sources show the trail to be anything from 13.5-15.6 miles...). The overall elevation change isn't much, but for some reason this trail legitimately kicks.our.butts. For that reason, I'm using this sucker to suffice for my goal of making a 15 mile run....14.5 ass.kicking.miles in the pouring rain is close enough to 15 for my liking.

I do also have to mention that it's not my favorite trail in the world because it doesn't have the greatest signage when coming across additional trail options and at least three stretches of the trail you actually run on the road that goes around the lake also. There are a couple races held here though if anyone is interested: 50 & 25k (and I saw a half and tri listed somewhere also I think)... and the trail is also regularly used for mountain biking. On this day, no mountain bikers (nor hikers/runners) were on trail though as we'd had recent storms and the trail was littered with downed branches. (Also why I decided it was okay to let the dogs off leash here since no one else was around...)

There are some really pretty views along the lake though, some neat spots to have a picnic, and people come out here in summer to boat & fish. It's actually a reservoir. (And also sadly a family drowned in the lake this summer...)

The gorgeous drive through country back roads to get there.

Roxi hanging out on one of the many little bridge crossings.

I love this picture of Anna galloping along the edge.

If you look close you can see the double rainbow. Mile 3ish.

View from Mile 5ish.

Miles 6-9/10: RAIN. I don't usually get mad at conditions on trail but at one moment, I literally looked to the heavens and yelled at God to cut us a freakin' break already. The rain didn't stop, but as we rounded the next corner there was a brilliant rainbow right in front of us that we followed for the next 2 miles...and for a good portion of the drive home. Great reminder that there's hope for a brighter "tomorrow" even when we're still caught in the downpour we don't want to be in. 

(I also won't I wanted to just stop and hope for someone to pick us up along the way. I don't know if it's my determination, pride, or maybe stupidity...or a combination of the three that always keeps me pushing forward. By the time we made the meadow around mile 11 or 12, I knew we'd make it and I was just counting down the steps until we could fully be done.)

Final few miles back in the trees, across a small meadow, and carving around additional inlets. Loved the way the late afternoon sun was shining on the gorgeous fall leaves (because even when you want to quit, there's still beauty to be seen....) The picture doesn't do it justice to really show how neat of a tunnel it was creating through here.

And there you have it...we made it. Some of them you love, some of them you're just glad to get it done. :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Eagle Creek Fall Hike

This post is way past due (as are many), but I've been meaning to post pictures from some of the fun excursions from this fall. 

Eagle Creek is probably one of the more popular hikes in the Gorge...and I'm not going to lie, for the last two years I haven't been sure as to why. The trail itself has several sections of slippery rocks, especially once you get beyond Tunnel Falls and while the waterfalls are pretty I have never thought they were out of the ordinary. Several of the people I know though sing the praises of Eagle Creek, so earlier this fall I decided to head out to truly give it a chance...and on that particular day I definitely understood why it wins people over.

The dogs and I got on trail a little later than I intended but I had some mental processing to work through so we took to the trail like bandits :) I had hoped that we might be able to make Whatum Lake (which is 13.5 miles up trail), but after monitoring the time and light we turned back about 11 miles up trail and ran the 11 miles back out to the trailhead. 

On this particular day there weren't a ton of people on the trail, but the fall leaves and patchy fog were so incredibly gorgeous. The rain started pouring down on our return trip, but everyone we ran by & chatted with also was smiling in the rain. This also was the first time I'd made it through and past Tunnel Falls, so I was stoked to discover that there are so many additional neat waterfalls on the miles past Tunnel Falls before the trail turns and heads up toward Whatum Lake.

In the summer, Eagle Creek is packed with backpackers and day hikers which I tend to find less appealing, but I'd definitely return in the Fall for another amazing day hike like this one!

Crossing over the creek

One of the first "ledge" sections. The fog beyond was just so pretty!

SO Gorgeous and one of the waterfalls that I hadn't seen's just slightly off the main path in the beginning.

Roxi hanging out next to the soaked & dripping moss covered rocks

The dogs about to head through the tunnel behind Tunnel Falls

The top part of Tunnel Falls

Anna looking down on one of the waterfalls past the most popular part of the trail (many people turn back at Tunnel Falls)

Roxi swimming in a little creek waterfall run off that the trail crosses

22 Mile day hike/trail running--the farthest the ladies and I have traveled solo in one day yet! :)

Altogether it was a beautiful hike and an incredible outing for all of us!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Four Things Thursday

Lisa posted this today and I used to always love filling out surveys so I thought I'd give it a whirl. It's funny how sometimes doing something like this makes you have to re-assess your responses to see what is still true today!

Four names that people (have) call(ed) me other than my real name:
1.  Liz--I went by this from 3rd grade into college. With my first real job, I stopped shortening my name.
2.  EB--for five years, those were my initials and my boss always called me "EB"
3.  Lizard/Lizard Breath---my elementary school softball coach called me Lizard & a college friend used to call me it also in this hilarious tone of voice, my brother still occasionally calls me Lizard Breath
4.  Lizzy---this one is rare and only a few get permission to do undergrad college advisor & a high school buddy

Four jobs I’ve had:  
1.  Veterans service provider
2.  Health Instructor (current)
3.  Adoption case worker (first job out of college)
4.  Research assistant (grad school)

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
1.  Catch & Release
2.  The Notebook
3.  Motorcycle Diaries
4.  The Family Stone
All of which I own & are go-tos when I feel the need to watch something.

Four books I’d recommend:
1.  The Island--Victoria Hislop (historical fiction: lepers/health, family, social justice)
2.  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks--Rebecca Skloot (health & social justice)
3.  Having Faith--Sandra Steingraber (environmental health)
4.  Joy for Beginners--Erica Bauermeister (female read: friendship)

Four places I’ve lived:
1.  Eugene, Oregon
2.  Ft Polk, Louisiana
3.  Bahia Blanca, Argentina
4.  Philippine Islands

Four places I’ve visited:
1. London (probably one of my top ten life experiences)
2. Iguazu Falls on the border of Brazil & Argentina
3. Charleston, SC (LOVE--this is where I live in my other parallel life...)
4. Grand Canyon, AZ (want to go back to hike part of it)

Four things I prefer not to eat:
1. Calcium-rich bitter leafy greens, ie kale....but I eat them anyway
2. Raw/undercooked fish/meat, this includes raw fish in sushi
3. Cherry flavoring. I like real cherries but not pie fillings or anything that tastes like artificial cherries
4. Cooked zucchini unless it's sauteed or in bread

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Banana, avocado, blueberry, pb, & coconut milk smoothie
2. Veggie fajitas w LOTS of sour cream & guacamole
3. Granny's sauteed zucchini
4. Nontraditional pizza, such as pear, Gorgonzola, & hazelnuts--DELISH

Four TV shows I watch---I maybe watch something that has been on TV about once a month
1. Netflix New Girl
2. old episodes of What Not to Wear
3. home decorating shows the 2-3x a year I have access to cable
4. borrowed DVDs of Sex and the City  

Four things I’m looking forward to this year: (are we talking 2015?! :))
1.  Practicing the art of enjoying "just being"...not having too many expectations for the year
2.  Seeing how life continues to unfold, getting licensed to do massage, exploring career options, being open to what could occur but being okay with what is
3.  Continuing to pay down debts & making progress toward financial footing
4.  Making my dream of doing service work in Africa come true....

Four things I’m always saying:
1. Legitimately.....
2. Nicely done/Nice work!
3. Does that make sense? or Yea? (as a way to check in when I teach...& I say it way TOO MUCH)
4. Thank you!/Appreciate it!

How about you?!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

2014 Clothes Challenge in Review

The 2014 altered clothes challenge granted me permission to pick up something new if it was needed (ie running/outdoor gear) and allowed a more or less free pass on accessories, while not allowing any new clothing purchases for fashion purposes. I did stumble a bit in September and walked out of Target (dang it Target!) with the striped skirt and polka dot blouse in the pictures below (total price: $20!). I've been to my favorite thrift store a few times this year to pick up a couple of items and it's been great to be back in the mindset of "check the thrift store first before thinking of buying it new..." I also inherited two of Granny's velvet blazers and a couple of incredibly beautiful necklaces. Purchased accessories this year included a couple of scarves, a replacement work tote bag (my handle on the old one is breaking), 5ish new pairs of earrings, a couple chunky bracelets, new leggings, & a necklace or two. Altogether I feel like the clothes challenge is ending very well this year however and I'm really proud that I've done as well as I have with this challenge in 2014. 

Even with buying limited new or used items, I cleaned out my closet during late summer and was reminded of just how much I HAVE and that I truly don't need even that much. I could probably downsize even more if I was honest.

So here are a few of my favorite outfits from this last year:
(Ironically, most of these are from this fall)

One of my best looks from the start of the year.
Skirt & shirt both thrifted in prior year.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! I have to admit that I'm completely in love with that striped skirt. 
New skirt, 4yo ruffled blue chiffon top and blue flats

LOVED this too. Best part? Everything except the belt is second hand. Top and skirt came from separate thrift stores, shoes I bought off a friend.

The other highlight of this fall is that my aunt altered a bunch of my work clothes to fit my smaller frame. I can finally wear actual work pants & have more work tops for the first time in two years :)

New blouse, Altered trouser jeans, 2yo boots & cardigan

And here becomes the highlight of one of my absolute favorite thrift store purchases of the year:
The thrifted oversize sweater/shawl

This literally has been my go-to first date outfit for the fall :) Well, now it's worn with leopard print flats or tall brown boots and additional gold jewelry. 

Black skinnies were my fail purchase from last year, black t-shirt secondhand from summer housemate, thrifted sweater.

Perfect transitional summer/fall outfit! 4yo military style dress, thrifted belt & sweater.

And this, this has become my go to outfit of the winter!
Leggings, 5yo beat up brown boots, thrifted long gray sweatshirt & sweater :) SO COZY!

I haven't decided what all the challenge will be for 2015 or even if there will be one. It definitely does help keep me from impulse purchases and also keeps me out of the stores in general so there are no impulse purchases :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ending November with Miles & Major Smiles!

Seriously, the end of this weekend has been A-Ma-Zing! 

Saturday's Training Run:
9 miler from Sellwood Park along the east side of the river, across Hawthorne Bridge, along the west side and through the waterfront development area, down Macadam, and across the Sellwood Bridge where these pictures were taken. It was hailing when I left lunch at my cousin's, but Amy and I had a chilly yet beautiful afternoon jog! Hoping to make a full 11-mile loop next weekend, but I felt good enough that I could have run the full half during this training run.
I spent the rest of yesterday evening getting the chickens settled for the cold weather, taking care of things around the house, reading through a few magazines for fun, and then finished my online grading.

This morning's Ugly Sweater 5k along the waterfront:
Seriously was a lot of fun albeit icy in spots and chilly. Brady and I kept the pace relaxed and the four of us pretty much jogged together for the whole thing. It was so good to see the other two in our group, catch up on their lives, and talk about other race options coming up. The volunteers they had cheering at the event were so fun, we all got new beanies, cocoa post-race, and beers/cider. For a $35 entrance, I really have to give it up to this event--so much fun and definitely got us ready for some holiday cheer! :)

Post-race I was supposed to meet up with one of my favorite gals for happy hour but her family and her weren't feeling well......and I'd heard there was good snow on the mountain yesterday....and the sun was even though the weather report said C-O-L-D, I gobbled up some Thanksgiving leftovers, quickly showered from the run, and loaded the dogs and I up in our winter gear to head to one of our favorite mountain trails......

G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S! Absolutely amazing. The snow wasn't thick enough yet to need the snowshoes so eventually I just shoved them into my pack but the powder was so incredibly beautiful, the dogs and I were all smiles, and there were so many moments when I thought to myself "wow, this is my every day's pretty incredible all things considering....."

The beauty of arriving at the trailhead at 2pm on a Sunday? Afternoon sun peeking through...and not another soul on trail....just the way we like it :)

Look at the snow stuck to her muzzle! My new coat and pants were absolutely was so cold that I even had multiple layers under both, two pairs of warm socks, my thickest winter gloves, and a beanie!

Roxi's attempt at her snow angel...she loves to roll around on her back in the snow :)

Pano of Lower Twin Lake. The sun was just about to set so we turned back here.

SO cold that my still damp hair froze also!

The sun set behind the trees on our way down trail.... the views were amazing and even the photos could never truly capture the beauty of it all...

Once we loaded back in, I drove over to another one of my favorite snowshoe spots to check out the depth there and to catch a few last moments of light on the mountain. 

SUCH an incredibly beautiful end to the long weekend...and truly made me realize how much these parts of my life bring such joy & happiness to who I am. THIS is the life I want and love to live.

And I even still got my homework done...and a homecooked meal in! :)