In A Fog

I spent last week in a fog.

I don’t mean that metaphorically; I was literally in the dense fog of the northern Idaho forest and it was amazing.

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Earlier this summer, I moved to Idaho which seemed like a vacation in itself. Between job hunting and moving, we sort of skipped right over our typical summer trip while we were so caught up in the hectic new schedule.

Last week, we made up for it with a trip up north to the mountains and lakes of Idaho which were covered in a layer of gloom and fog for the weekend.

I didn’t mind one bit. The weather went along nicely with my plans to sit by the fire, read some books, play cards, drink fancy coffee, and celebrate my dad’s birthday.

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We stayed at a bed and breakfast right on the water with views of the sail boats, the mountains, and the downtown shops and restaurants. I love the old-fashioned buildings with a pine tree backdrop.

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Our suite was huge. Bigger than any apartment I could afford! It had a full kitchen, foyer, dining room, living room with a fire place, and waterfront balcony.

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It was the perfect setting for a relaxing getaway. The fall colors were so gorgeous and SO VIBRANT. My camera was around my neck every time we left the hotel and not one tree in the whole town went un-photographed.

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Our first night at the bed and breakfast, we were offered complimentary happy hour drinks before we explored the beautifully landscaped courtyard.

White wine is my go-to. The sweeter, the better to me!

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Since it was late September, the vacation season had ended and we were surprised how empty the town seemed. It’s a very touristy town, so when school starts up in the fall it quickly quiets down. This also resulted in our restaurants having very little wait time and our drives having very little traffic. Brilliant!

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My dad ALWAYS talks or blinks during pictures. My solution? Don’t face the camera ;)

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Even though the Pumpkin Spice Latte made it’s 2016 debut weeks ago, I was saving my first cup for this vacation. I knew the wait would be worth it to enjoy sipping the spicy special coffee among the gorgeous mountains.

The barista at Mountain Java Coffee Shop made me a hot Pumpkin Pie Latte and it was the best pumpkin drink I’ve had! Starbuck’s PSL gives me a major stomach ache, and so many others are just tooo sweet. This was a perfect blend of spices and had more of a cloves and all-spice flavor than pure sugar.

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Another factor in the timing of this vacation was my dad’s birthday. No crazy-long bike rides this year! We celebrated with “mountain size scoop” ice creams & presents on the balcony before we headed out to a local microbrewery.

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A lot of our time outside of the hotel was spent driving through the tiny mountain towns and stopping to take pictures of the beautiful scenery.

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We stopped at a ski lodge that was out of service since we are between seasons now, just to take some pictures and see if we could find a hiking trail. Another family was sitting on the front porch while their adorable 2-year old labradoodle ran around the property. We talked to them for a while about their dog since I am very much ready to adopt a doodle puppy of my own! :)

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Relocating and starting new jobs and meeting new people has been a whirlwind of a summer – all good things, but exhausting at times. Mentally and physically, we were all ready for a break. The mountains provided the perfect escape from work, chores, errands, and city life. I know that weather has been proven to affect our mood, but I actually think the fog and gloom made it easier to relax. It was so cozy & sleepy that you couldn’t help but pour some coffee, sit next to the fire and read or watch a movie.

Our weekend finished with a fishing trip with friends and my first ever Blue Apron meal but I think I’ve overloaded you with enough pictures for one day :) I’ll pop back in tomorrow with the rest of my recap plus my first time ever cooking a (healthy) Middle Eastern dish “Shashuska”!

XO Kenz.

It’s Not Over Yet.

Some things are very hard to let go of. It’s not over yet. I’m not ready for it to be done.

I’m talking about summer. I’m just not mentally ready to say goodbye to the best season of the year.

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Technically summer still has 5 more days and I would like to hang on to them. Yes, fall is fun and cozy and flavorful and we’ll be welcoming the pumpkin goodness in the next week. Fall also brings cold, dark mornings and other things that I don’t particularly like.

I have a love/hate relationship with pants. Pants are my least favorite article of clothing and I would gladly wear a dress every single day. But it’s not a good look in the winter when the freezing temperature makes my skin look, as my mom describes, “like you just plucked your feathers.” So I wear the pants and I try to get through it with big scarves and cute boots but I’m really just counting down until spring time again. (Unless it’s like May 2015 when it snowed on my graduation day.)

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I had to take a 20-second rest stop on my long run last weekend to capture these trees!

Since I want to send summer off with a proper goodbye, I made an amazing Summer Squash and Fresh Corn (Lightened) Chowder last night for dinner. Granted, it was 58 degrees and cloudy and I was wearing an oversized sweater. So, not the most summery environment I was envisioning. But the fresh corn and the bright colors of the veggies were refreshing and I was really happy to make a healthy version of chowder by removing the butter, reducing the salt, and substituting the cream with 4 cups of water and 1 cup of fat-free half & half, plus loading the pot up with every color of vegetable and throwing in lots of herbs and spices.

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First of all the color of the soup was really pretty because the sweet potatoes stain the broth an orange. When you pour in the cream, it turns into a creamsicle color with bright veggies peeking through. It’s also extremely HOT when you first serve it, which gave me plenty of time to find cute serving bowls and photograph the heck out of it.

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Lightened Corn Chowder with Summer Squash and Sweet Potatoes:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 ears of fresh corn on the cob
  • 3 large zucchinis
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 chopped bell peppers
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup fat-free half & half

1.) Heat olive oil in a large pot; add in garlic, onion, carrots, and bell peppers. Stir occasionally until softened (5 minutes)

2.) Cut the corn off of the cob; add the corn, sweet potatoes, zucchini, water, thyme, salt and pepper. Add in some garlic salt or sodium-free seasoning if you wish. Bring to a boil, then back down to a simmer for 30 minutes.

3.) Pour half & half into the soup, stir and simmer for 5-10 more minutes.

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This weekend I’m heading to the mountains for a little vacation. I’ve packed my favorite new denim dress and wedge booties, big plaid blanket scarves and a couple of new books. (Notice the lack of pants.) Sunday is supposed to be a rainy day and I will fully embrace the gloom by finding a local coffee shop and catching up on some reading, and wrapping up some of the blog posts I’ve been drafting in my head.

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Running in Mammoth Lakes // Altitude Training for Long Distance Runners | Stronglikemycoffee.com

See you back here Monday!

XO.

 

 

Happy Fall, Y’all

boise-state-downtown-stronglikemycoffee-comThis past weekend was arguably as “autumn” as it gets. Saturday morning started with a fresh pot of Apple Cider Donut Flavored Coffee and a running path that was brightly lined with every fall-colored tree. Vibrant pops of red and golden crispy leaves. Shelby, my Boise Elite teammate, and I logged 10 miles on the trails to kick off our weekend.

One of my dad’s friends flew in yesterday from out-of-state with his daughter to take our family to our very first Boise State home football game. We drove into Boise and loved seeing how much spirit this town has for its football team. Orange and Blue everywhere! Since it was a late game, we drove downtown to our friend’s favorite restaurant Fork. It’s a farm-to-table local restaurant in the historic bank building.

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The six of us took our time since we had about 4 hours to kill before the big game started. Everyone started off with drinks, and I ordered water but shared a sip of the super pink and fruity Fork Lemonade cocktail and loved it! We also shared some appetizers and I’m still not 100% sure on how to eat these things but they look fun:

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The entire town rocked Orange and Blue but to me it feels a little forced….I’m a Lumberjack. Blue and Gold are my colors and anything else seems like a costume.

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For dinner I ordered a salad with berries and walnuts and cheese, with grilled salmon on the side. Everything was delicious and we headed out to walk a few blocks around downtown JUST as my favorite golden hour lighting struck.

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Old buildings + brick + orange trees + golden hour lighting + football fans + full bellies.

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Eventually we made our way to the stadium, along with 36,000 other fans. Walking through the university campus feels so good. Life as a college student was significantly easier than life as a working adult.

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The “Smurf Turf.” Boise State’s signature blue field! We had incredible seats basically on the field. We sat in the front row of the end zone and got pretty prime view of (half of) the game ;)

(Can you spot the photo-bomber….?)

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The game was intense but the Broncos held on to their lead until the end and beat the Cougars 31-28. We left the stadium around 1am. That’s probably the latest I’ve been up in months; I wake up around 4:40am to run before work which means I fall asleep by 10 :)

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Sunday morning began as every morning should – cinnamon swirl coffee.

Our friends from California who we’ve known for 15 years were road-tripping through the West, and landed in our neck of the woods late Saturday night. Sunday morning they came out to the country and met my parents and I for a full fun day! It’s so good to see old familiar friends after living somewhere new for a while now!

We went for scenic beautiful morning walk, drove through the surrounding towns, and into downtown Boise again for some brunch and photography. Our friends, Bill and Sue, both have professional photography skills and love shooting new sights on their vacations. After brunch, we found “Freak Alley” in downtown Boise with the most bizarre graffiti murals.

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Now this graffiti is what I consider art. We passed a local favorite donut shop called Guru donuts, and we couldn’t pass it up without trying some local flavors. The five of us shared a vegan Dark n’ Stormy (ginger and lime) donut, a bright pink wild berry donut, and a Bart Simspon Butterfinger donut. Then proceeded to “walk them off” for several blocks exploring and shooting pictures ;)

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This is the ceiling of the Idaho State Capitol building in the center of downtown. It’s open to the public and beautifully covered in white marble. I love the starry details in the very top! Since it’s open to the public, we had to pop in and admire the beautiful historic building before wrapping up our fall weekend with a walk along the river.

In other important news – Target has officially stocked their Fall displays with the seasonal fall flavors of just about everything. If nothing else, at least try the Pumpkin Spice Cheerios. They aren’t too sweet at all, just spicy!

This week I will be getting back into my normal meal and workout routine, which I will post about later this week with another clean and healthy recipe you’ve got to try this season :)

Happy Fall, Y’all!

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