TGIF! (2 posts this week? Maddness.)
Southern California doesn’t have “winter.” (One of the things I miss most since relocating to the mountains!) Our Christmas Day was sunny and 75, tank top weather. My little family was a bit untraditional this year and decided to make December 25th a beach day! We opened stockings and made a yummy breakfast before driving to the Newport coast. First we hiked the Crystal Cove State Park trails, about 8 miles of hills and canyons in the glorious heat.
I feel blessed for everything I have and had a hard time asking for anything in particular for Christmas this year. I just wanted great warm weather and some beautiful scenery. Crystal Cove did not disappoint.
When we planned our beach day, it wasn’t even a question of what we’d do for lunch: picnic on the beach. We made turkey sandwiches and sliced apples, and I found some adorable old-fashioned sodas in seasonal flavors to add :)
We definitely appreciated the warm weather, laid on our blanket for a bit and watched the waves roll back and forth. My mom would love to experience a “White Christmas” with a blanket of snow and a fire in the fireplace but I’m trying to thaw out before I head into single-digit degrees so an untraditional holiday was fine by me ;)
We had a similar day just before New Years as well. We met our friends in the San Diego area, Lake Poway to be specific. The trail begain around a lake where old men sat in little fishing boats and trees were still dark autumn colors even though it was almost January.
The path became narrow and steep QUICK. We zig-zagged up the switchbacks on Mt. Woodsen Trail for over an hour until we came to: Potato Chip Rock (I love that name!) Again, we packed a picnic. Walking straight uphill for over an hour requires a little nutritious re-charging at the top. I was hungry for our healthy snacks after about 4 miles. But not before we snapped a picture sitting on the edge of the thin rock….
Unbelievably enough, there was a huge line of hikers wrapped around the trail waiting to take the same picture. (Just search #potatochiprock on Instagram and you’ll see.) We would have been in line for easily over an hour….forget that! We were too hungry and tired to wait. :( Instead we had a picnic at the summit with a view of the ocean.
Aside from our hiking treks, I tried to run outside during my time here instead of at the gym. I’ll be getting plenty of treadmill time in the coming weeks as the temperatures hover around 20 and ice covers my trails.
My winter break is quickly coming to an end; classes start on Monday. My LAST FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. What?! Naturally my mom and I have to do some shopping this afternoon then ;) Shopping, lunch, gym time, and homemade pizza fill the agenda for the rest of the day. I’m also determined to finish the book I’m reading (American Wife, highly recommend) and download a few podcasts for the car tomorrow. Can’t wait to get back to my own little apartment and see what this next semester has in store <3
So that was quite a hiatus…I’ll admit that blogging is not a priority among the senior year scramble. Honestly I haven’t even read some of my favorite blogs in months! (PBFingers and Simply Taralynn withdrawals.)
The semester wraps up in about a week and that little light at the end of the tunnel has me fired up to get back to HOBBIES like reading that stack of books I bought over the summer, trying some of the recipes I pinned, and maybe even updating this little site here and there :) I’m honestly surprised to see that so many of you stuck around during my drought of posting. I missed you!
Back to normal, I’ll recap my *healthified* Thanksgiving. We deviated from tradition this year….my parents came to ME. For my first three years of college, I took the overnight train home for Thanksgiving two weeks before finals. It was always a little hectic and rushed. My new apartment this year is comfortable enough to have guests over (I feel so grown up!) so I invited my parents and Missy to spend the holiday weekend with me.
Before they arrived, I tried to make the apartment as festive as possible. I have an addiction to candles, so I started saving the empty glasses to refill with tea lights and festive fillers. Yay for recycling!
I was CONVINCED that I would cook the entire Thanksgiving meal all by myself…….until I realized (or someone pointed out to me) that in order to cook a turkey, one must use their hands to remove the giblets and guts from the inside.
Well that’s not happening.
A pre-cooked ham ;) glad we can be flexible! Our meal was rounded out with my lightened-up sweet potato casserole (no marshmallows allowed), roasted broccoli and brussels, and a corn bread stuffing that my parents brought.
I’ll admit it isn’t as impressive-looking as last year’s Thanksgiving, but for a first attempt I’d say not bad :) Most important part was spending the day with my family! Aside from a malfunctioning can-opener, we avoided any major catastrophes. What more can you ask for.
I have to say, I was most proud of my bartending skills. I’ve discovered the simple perfection that is sangria this year. An apple cranberry sangria was a perfect afternoon cocktail for my mom and I, but I knew my dad wouldn’t be so appreciative of fruity wine to go with his football game. My mason jars were perfect for the “Fire Jolly Rancher” – sparkling apple cider with Fireball whiskey, over ice sprinkled with brown sugar. It’s a sipper!
The night was rounded out by homemade praline pumpkin pie (and coffee, duh) with a good ole’ family movie night.
Obviously we couldn’t be sedentary too long after THAT meal so we took to the trails the next day for a hike in the gorgeous fall weather. I love that my family is as happy going on outdoor explorations as I am. Black Friday has nothing on these views:
Hosting Thanksgiving was so much fun, I felt like I was playing “housewife” ;) Until reality kicked in that I have three final presentations, two research papers, and a couple finals exams in these last 7 days of school. But I missed this little online scrapbook. I’ve had so many workouts, recipes, adventures and stories that I’ve “wanted to post” and didn’t have the time. Hopefully I can play catch up over the coming winter break!
So I can’t promise that I’m back with the usual posts, but I can promise that I’m not done forever (though I thought I was for a bit.) And you know I have no shortage of cute Missy pictures: As if there are any that aren’t cute… ;)
Remember my ridiculous mishaps with hiking “Mt. Humphreys” a year ago…?
Well life update: we found the real thing!
It’s been difficult to find enough time to put together blog posts this past week, with such a busy start to senior year. I swear my to-do list grows faster than I can cross things off!
One MAJOR life event I was able to “cross off” was hiking up Mt. Humphreys this weekend. My university is nestled in the forest in a mountain town, which gives us gorgeous views of the tallest peaks in the state. My cross country teammates and I have been talking about a group hike to the tallest peak in Arizona since freshman year.I absolutely could NOT let graduation come and go before making it to the top of that damn mountain. I look at the thing every single day!
Weather here is completely unpredictable with monsoons, blizzards, wind storms. Labor Day weekend and September weather = prime opportunity.
If we rewind 10 hours earlier….
My friends and I had a bit of a *rocky* start to senior year. Not that we aren’t LOVING our new schedules with classes, work, internships and athletics…but I think we were all ready for Country Night at our favorite local bar. We had a blast at the line dancing lessons, but a little liquid courage was helpful. ;) A night with a couple drinks + a 10-mile hike on the agenda the next morning = hydration!!!
The next morning began with coffee, water, and a trip to Sprout’s for hiking sustenance:
- Clif Mojo Mountain Mix Bar
- Raw Almonds
- Dried Apricots
- Honey Whole Wheat Pretzels
- Justin’s Almond Butter Packet
- Water Bottle x 3
The base of the mountain starts between 8,000-9,000 ft. elevation. The hike climbs to 12,633 ft. and the steep mountain trail is really challenging in the thin air, even for altitude-adjusted cross country runners.
Kerri’s boyfriend Jeff had me anxious from the beginning when he casually mentioned another hiker being bitten by a brown recluse earlier this year. ?!?! If I had known this information prior to driving to the base, I may have reconsidered.
I will say…
Making it to the top was worth it.
Not going to lie, the last hour of the hike up was a STRUGGLE. The trail practically disappeared and we were climbing massive rocks and navigating through slippery gravel. Our calves and butts were burning. The altitude made it noticeably more difficult to breathe. But like anything in life, the experience is more about the people you are with. We were all in such a great mood to be tackling such a big goal, and I’m so happy to have had these three crazies to climb with :)
We occupied ourselves on the 5 mile journey back down with impromptu performances of everything from Michael Jackson to Miley Cyrus, Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Drake, and everything in between. Our fellow hikers were thoroughly annoyed entertained ;)
No animal sightings either, unless birds count. Fortunately, Brenna served as the”bird expert” for our little group ;) Not sure if her observations were as accurate as they were funny, but I love being among curious people.
If this past 24 hours is any indication of how the rest of senior year will play out…I think it’s gonna be a good one. <3