Celebrating the Season

Warning- this post was written after a run, while listening to some holiday music, so it may be a little too cheery and full of holiday spirit.

What a great weekend! I really love this time of year and I definitely got my fill of holiday cheer this weekend.

Friday night I finally got to check out the lights in my neighborhood downtown. It was slightly warm and drizzly, but don’t they look great?

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Then B and I went out for a late dinner at Cowell & Hubbard. We enjoyed a few appetizers (including a cheese plate and clams with chorizo!), a great meal (I love skatewing …) and festive drinks (I had a spiced mulled cider with rum). I have leftovers too to enjoy thank goodness. My meal was amazing.

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Saturday, B and I went out for a 5 miler together. I hadn’t run with B outside of a race in forever – so I was so grateful to have him with me. He paced me the entire time so we were able to finish with a sub-9 minute mile pace.

After our run, we hit up the West Side Market. Again, it had been so long since we’d ben there – and the place was all decked out in holiday lights and even a live band playing holiday songs!

Then it was time for my monthly Ladies Craft Beer Society meeting. This week we were making holiday cards! Finally, a craft I could somewhat excel in. Earlier in the week I had seen this story on the Today show about a 6-year-old girl whose dying wish is to receive hundreds – or more – holiday cards. So sad – I couldn’t get it out of my mind. So LCBS made our cards in honor of Addie – I can’t wait to send her and her sisters all the cards next week!

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When I got home that evening, it was time for an Italian feast! Well sort of. B had bought all the goods to make sauce and homemade pizza and I finished making homemade limoncello while we decorated our apartment for the holidays and listened to Christmas tunes.  I told you – it was a festive weekend!

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homemade limoncello – almost done!

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We finished the night watching my favorite holiday movie – can you guess which one?

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Sunday, B had tickets to the Browns game with a friend, so I was able to spend the afternoon being somewhat productive – I did some laundry, cleaned up a little, listened to more holiday music and even caught up on some work. And since the sun was out, I had to get out for another 5 miler. Without B to pace me, I wasn’t sure if I could keep up the same pace we had done yesterday, but I decided to put on Serial (if you’re not listening to this podcast you MUST) and was able to get in the groove and get it done.

This used to be easy ... i've gotten slower this year!

This used to be easy … i’ve gotten slower this year!

Sunday afternoon we met up with B’s family for another Italian meal-this time in Little Italy.

After dinner, we all caught the Christmas performance by the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus. What a great show – I always love to hear them perform Christmas music and it really gets me in the holiday spirit. As if I needed any help, right?

Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra, lit up for the holidays

Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra, lit up for the holidays

How was your weekend? Did you do anything to get into the holiday spirit? Yes, see above :)

What’s your favorite holiday movie? It’s a tie between Love Actually and Christmas Vacation and Muppet Christmas Carole :)

If you could eat only one genre of food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Oooh a tough one (not sure why I am asking this – I don’t like difficult questions!). I’d choose Italian.

Wonderful Wintry Week In CLE

Brrrrrrr. Okay, while it’s only November, it’s clear that winter is here. For those of you in Cleveland, you know what I’m talking about. That’s right – SNOW.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Northeasterner at heart so I know snow. It’s pretty. I’m familiar with it. I hate people who complain ever year as if they’ve never seen it before. Still, the first snow of the year is always difficult and that is what hit us this week.

Still – what a fun week we had! I know I typically write weekend wrap-up posts, but we had so much fun this weekend I figured, why not share our fun from the week as well? It’s a nice reminder that even in the winter in Cleveland when things get cold and dark, there’s still so much fun to be had – any day of the week. So now – a few sentences per photo for a quick look at this week:

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One night, B and I met up with his siblings for an impromptu trivia night at Nano Brew, a local bar that features pretty good food (I love their chorizo bean chili!) a wide selection of beers and – that’s right – trivia on Tuesday nights. It was fun, but we didn’t win. We did get all the final questions right, though, and ended with 76 points!

giant slice at edisons

Another night we hit up another place for Trivia, Edison’s in Tremont. The game wasn’t as much fun but the food – omg. LOOK at all those veggies on that pizza!

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NEWSIES is in town! B and I had tickets and I enjoyed every single minute of the performance. I sang along (in my head) and smiled the whole time. I loved the movie as a child and even though the show wasn’t 100% the same it as still so much fun.

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The mural was at a house B and I looked at this week. It took up the entire all next to the kitchen and living area. It’s kinda dark but you can see there’s a dog playing piano and someone passed on on the right with a bottle …

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Crockpot meals are the best when you have a long day at work and the weather is cold. I made a spicy black bean soup and topped it with avocado and Greek yogurt. The leftovers for lunch were so good and with the 5 jalapeños I put in there (plus hot sauce and chili powder) it was definitely spicy. I may have to share the recipe.

That’s it! How was your week?

  • Did you get snow? What’s your favorite snow activity?
  • Do you use a crockpot? Favorite soup recipe?
  • Spicy foods – yay or nay?

Back in the CLE

Just in time for fall, B and I are back in Cleveland for a weekend. We’d been gone the past few weeks traveling (don’t worry, more vacation recap posts are coming soon) but we were back this past weekend and had a great time. Here’s how the weekend went -

Friday night B managed to get suite seats to the Eric Church concert. I honestly hadn’t heard of many Eric Church songs before but made sure to listen all day Friday and then by the time of the show had a great time. A few Facebook friends even requested some songs that I listen to to get in the mood for the show – so if you’re not familiar with him, here are some recommendations: Springsteen, Drink in my Hand, Country Music Jesus, Give me Back my Hometown, The Outsiders, Over When it’s Over, Smoke a little Smoke, Love Your Love the Most.

Anyway, the show was GREAT. Eric Church put on a great show – he rocked the house. And the Q was the most crowded I have ever seen – it had people in every seat, from the floor to the highest levels – and the show was great.

Hanging out in the suite before Eric Church came on

Hanging out in the suite before Eric Church came on

FULL house!

FULL house!

We invited Dave and Anson to come with us - thanks to Anson for the photo!

We invited Dave and Anson to come with us – thanks to Anson for the photo!

Saturday morning B and I went for a great fall run. I honestly hadn’t expected us to have such a good run after staying out so late on Friday, but both B and I were feeling pretty good the entire time. And it was a beautiful fall day! We have less than one month now until the Savannah Half Marathon.

We ran all the way from downtown to Case.

We ran all the way from downtown to Case.

Saturday night B and I got all dressed up for his job’s annual black tie event.

All dressed up!

All dressed up! And my fro-worker Cari did my hair and makeup – wish I had a better shot you could see.

The place was all decked out in CLE-themed swag

The place was all decked out for the CLE-themed evening

A photo of a photo! They always take professional photos at the event for us to bring home.

A photo of a photo! They always take professional photos at the event for us to bring home.

Sunday was a laaaaazy day. An easy workout, a little work, watching some football, some weekly meal prep and catching up on a few episodes of Damages. B and I have now finished the third season – have you seen the show? Wow. That’s all I can say.

Some questions for you:

  • How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?
  • Any long runs or races this weekend? Congrats to all my friends who completed the towpath marathon and half!
  • Are you an Eric Church fan? What’s your favorite song?
  • What was the last concert you went to?

B is for B’s Birthday!

This weekend was a fun-filled, pre-planned celebratory weekend for B! Why? Because B had a milestone birthday. I’m not going to say how old … but I’m sure you can figure it out :)

Anyway, we started off the celebrations somewhat early – Thursday night, I planned a night to Hilarities to see one of B and my’s favorite podcast stars – Pete Correale. I also invited some of B’s friends AND family to join us in the celebration! We had people over before the show for drinks, sliders and pulled pork (thanks to B’s mom!), and some snacks I prepared like buffalo chicken dip, hummus, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies and buckeye brownies (recipe is coming soon!).

thursday night

After the show, we got a chance to say hi to Pete and even get a picture – he was such a nice guy and none of B’s friends were familiar with him but I’m sure they’re fans now; he put on a great show!

pete correale

Friday night I let B decide how he wanted to spend the evening and what he wanted for dinner – so of course, we ended up at Parnells for drinks and then Superior Pho! After dinner we walked around and caught some of the outdoor movie playing downtown – a Cleveland classic, Draft Day. And of course we enjoyed some leftover cupcakes for dessert.

superior pho

outdoor movie night!

outdoor movie night!

Saturday was another awesome day where I basically told B that we could do whatever he wanted. Because he’s the best, the day started with him making me breakfast and cleaning the apartment while I worked out (I know – he cleaned our apartment while I got to work out … he knows the way to make me happy). After that, we picked up our CSA and then headed to the Cleveland Flea! I love the Flea and it was a cool fall-like day – perfect for walking around and grabbing a few drinks.

B @ the Flea

B @ the Flea

Then, B chose to hit the driving range. We each hit a bucket of balls – and I didn’t do that bad.

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After the driving range, we went out to the lake. It had started to get cloudy – and windy – and it was fun to see the water so rough. Hard to believe last year on this same day we were on the beach in LA!

For dinner, B decided he was craving buffalo chicken wings. Wings and beer – not too bad for a birthday I suppose. And then after dinner, it was time for the next part of our plans – another comedy show! Jim Jefferies, another comedian I was introduced to from a podcast, was in town after canceling his show in June and playing in one of the local theaters. He was awesome – he put on a nearly TWO HOUR performance and it was so much fun to see him in real life after listening to his cast and watching him on TV (he used to have a show, Legit).

Buff chick salad!

Buff chick salad AND a PUMPKING (aka my favorite fall brew)

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Sunday was another great day – it included watching the Browns WIN their home opener (probably because B was wearing his birthday gift – the Brian Hoyer jersey), some meal prep for the week and a 5 miler with B. Not a bad way to end a birthday weekend – hopefully B agreed!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you watch Sunday football? Who do you root for? Sometimes – I didn’t grow up watching football but if it’s on and I can multi-task (a.k.a. I don’t have to ONLY watch it) I’ll root for the Browns.
  • Meal prepping – do you do it? Yes, if I get a chance to, I love working with my Fresh Fork finds and preparing lunches in advance. It makes my week so much better and there’s something so relaxing about preparing food. I find it therapeutic! 
  • Any favorite comics? Do you like podcasts? Which do you listen to? I like to listen while working out, especially if I’m indoors – I go for the Pete & Sebastian show or Stuff You Should Know.
  • What would your birthday meal of choice be?

Why Do Weekends Have To End?

What a great weekend! It was definitely another one of those great weekends where Sunday night I was sitting on my couch, looking through photos, writing a recap and just thinking – wow. Why does it have to end?

Friday afternoon started off with a block party in my neighborhood! That’s right, there was a party for downtown residents in my ‘hood that included free food, drinks, live music and more. The food was great – it was a compilation from some of our neighborhood chefs and restaurants – so there was chicken salad from Rothschild Farms, kale salad and more from Phuel, full size sausages, salmon sliders from Chris Hodgson, meatballs from Cibreo, some spicy chicken from Sung’s House and more. Seriously good stuff.

As part of the party, we got to take a tour of the new Hofbrauhaus that is going into our neighborhood! B has been counting down the days until this new beer hall opens. Unfortunately it looks like it won’t be ready in time for his birthday – but we are keeping our fingers crossed that it does, indeed, open this month. It looks like they do have some work to do though.

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After the tour of the Hofbrauhaus B and I decided to grab a beer and watch the BC home opener at Parnell’s. Sadly, we lost. Ah well – hopefully another game will be on TV this season.

Parnells - always the perfect pour.

Parnells – always the perfect pour.

Saturday started with an easy workout while B cleaned the apartment. Yes, I am that lucky (he cleans while I get to workout). Then it was my favorite event of the month  (maybe an exaggeration) – Ladies Craft Beer Society! A few ladies meet up once a month to drink craft beer, eat goodies (wish I had taken a pic of the food – this month everyone went all out it seemed!) and do something crafty. This month? We made lemoncello!

in one month this will be lemoncello!

in one month this will be lemoncello!

Saturday night was AWESOME. Our friend Joey had scored tickets to The Black Keys homecoming concert (they’re from Northeast Ohio) and not only were they free tickets – but they were suite seats. So even though I wasn’t a hardcore Black Keys fan, I made sure to listen to a bunch of tunes last week and get in the spirit.

The Black Keys!

The Black Keys!

They put on a great performance and I had so much fun. It really did amaze me how different my concert experience is in my late twenties – compared to in high school. In high school I was really into punk shows and went to concerts monthly it seemed. I was always standing, always on the floor, with mosh pits and crowd surfing. It’s funny to see how things have changed, isn’t it?

Apologies for the big blurry mess that is the stage in the following video. But at least the sound is great

You may know this song …. The Black Keys

A video posted by Melissa Koski Carney (@koskim) on

Sunday was pretty laid back. The morning started off with an spontaneous seven mile run with B. It was nice not to have a route planned, or any mileage – instead we just enjoyed the weather and the scenery.

After our run, we enjoyed brunch at Phuel. I LOVE their food and typically go for their granola and yogurt parfait, but it was nice to get lunch food.

Tabbouli, lentil soup and kale salad for brunch at Phuel.

Tabbouli, lentil soup and kale salad for brunch at Phuel.

And then we hit up the North Union Farmers Market in Ohio City. We had gone to check out the Cleveland Kraut stand, but unfortunately they weren’t there. It’s okay – we ended up getting some apples, salsa and beef jerky.

Sunday evening included some cookie baking and dinner with B’s family. Not a bad way to end my weekend, if I do say so myself.

chocolate chip cookie recipetesting

chocolate chip cookie recipetesting

Some questions for you:

  • How was your weekend?
  • Did you go to concerts in high school? What kind of music did you like? Have your tastes changed? Yes, I lived for concerts in high school. Favorite bands I saw in concert were probably Dropkick Murphys, Taking Back Sunday, The Starting Line, Weezer, Midtown, Saves the Day, NOFX … the list goes on and on. My tastes haven’t realllly changed today – they’ve just broadened. I still love some good old school punk and even today’s somewhat pop punk, but I’m a fan of so many other kinds of music today.
  • Which do you prefer – following a running schedule or keeping up with unplanned runs? Do I have to decide?
  • Do you know the Black Keys? Favorite song?
  • What recipe could you make over. and over. and over again? Chocolate chip cookies or chocolate chip blondies. They’re a staple!

Loving The Weekends: Comedy, Running, Burgers, Pho and the Beatles

What a GREAT weekend! I would have to say that this may have been one of my most favorite weekends of the summer. The weather was perfect, the food was good, B and I had a nice long run AND my parents were in town. Can’t really think of a better way to spend the weekend, can you?

The weekend, in photos:

My parents came in Friday late afternoon and we were lucky enough to be able to enjoy dinner outside. The weather was great, so we picked up beer and burgers at Dynomite before heading to a comedy show.

Check out my dad’s shirt :)

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My veggie burger. SO good. SO big. And yes, I ate it all (fries not pictured).

dynomite veggie burger

After the meal, we headed to Hilarities for a free comedy show. I had won tickets earlier in the week and we were able to see Alonzo Bodden. B and I had seen him at the Laugh Factory in LA and were looking forward to seeing him in Cleveland. Here’ s a clip from one of his shoes from this winter (not this weekend). He was great! My parents loved him!

Saturday morning started early with a 9 mile run with B. Honestly, I was NOT feeling it for the first 5 miles. Yes, 5 miles. But after a short water break at mile 5 I felt so much better and the last 4 were great! Who knows why – sometimes it takes me 2 … or 5 I suppose … miles for my legs to warm up.

9 miles

 

I bought new shoes! I was super pumped to model them (pardon the cheesy pic).

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Post-run, we met up with my parents and headed to Tremont to enjoy some lunch and then the West Side Market for some fresh produce. Of course we had to stop off for tea in the afternoon at our favorite place, Cleveland Tea Revival.

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My mom and I both got some iced tea – ginger and peach. Yum!

my favorite tea

Saturday night, we took my parents to Superior Pho. Since there were four of us, we got a feast! Not everything is pictured. We got a chicken cabbage salad, Bahn Mi,  the spicy pho, egg rolls AND spring rolls.

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I think my dad enjoyed his pho!

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But of course we saved room for dessert. We took a post-dinner walk and  got frozen yogurt at Lemonberry. Confession – you may not be able to see the froyo because I may have taken a little of every candy they had.

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Saturday night after my parents left/went to bed, I decided to use up some of the blueberries we had and made these buttermilk blueberry scones again. Because Sunday mornings with blueberry scones for breakfast = amazing. You should probably make the recipe sometime – it’s very easy and really yummy!

scones

Sunday after my parents got back on the road to NY (sadness!) B and I took a walk around downtown. It was a GORGEOUS morning! We stopped at my favorite fountain. I don’t know why but I LOVE this fountain – it’s a war memorial as well.

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And then we walked to the harbor. It was SO pretty out! I’m glad we went for a walk – I get sad to see my parents go, and B knows this – I think that’s why he decided to take my mind off them leaving and instead get me a ginormous coffee (I will be drinking it for 3 days) and take me for a walk.

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Sunday afternoon I got in an easy workout (I’m trying to be REALLY good and not run too many miles and days in a row and stay injury free this year!) while B golfed with his family.

After a little work, B and I spent the evening at Blossom! This is my second time this summer going and we this time we sat on the lawn, enjoyed some wine and cheese AND Beatles music. I LOVE the Beatles – they remind me of car trips with my family growing up (The Long And Winding Road has multiple meanings for me – I swear it always came on as we were driving through the long and winding roads of upstate NY) and hearing the Cleveland Orchestra play the songs was awesome. And it was another beautiful night, so we packed a picnic dinner of a great salad, wine and cheese. I had an AMAZING time and seriously almost cried of happiness. Yes, it was that good.

Wish this night wouldn't end. #heyjude @clevelandorchestrachorus #thisiscle

A video posted by Melissa Koski Carney (@koskim) on

I can’t get enough of the amazing weather we’ve been having. Can’t summer just stay forever?

So this weekend was just what I needed after last week. And now I’m off to start a crazy week –  this week entails some travel for work, some super early morning meetings and even an event for a board I’m on. Yes, I’ll be counting down until Labor Day!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you have a favorite comic? Do you go to comedy shows?
  • Did you get in a run this weekend?
  • Just got new running shoes! What shoes are you running in these days? Loving my new sneakers!
  • What’s your go-to Vietnamese food item? I can never decide between pho or bun!
  • Did you do any baking this weekend?
  • Favorite Beatles song?

Summer Is My Favorite

Summer is my favorite. No, but really. Summer is my favorite season. I know, it should be fall or spring, or another season that girls love (if I hear another girl proclaim how much fall is her favorite season and how she can’t wait for it to be fall I’m going to scream), but I LOVE SUMMER and want to proclaim it and scream it at the top of my lungs.

This weekend was probably the perfect summer weekend – and that is not an exaggeration. It was warm. It was sunny. It was relaxing and yet there was so much to do. Thus the longish post that follows.

Friday night started with a walk to Flaming Ice Cube for our favorite appetizer (Buffalo “chik” dip) and my favorite meal – kalebouli wrap!

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Look at that wrap. So much hummus and kalebouli!

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And then we walked home, admiring the new artwork along the street. We may have had a detour at Rothschild creamery. This is mango twist soft serve. AMAZING.20140808_195127

New outdoor art.20140808_182657

Saturday started somewhat early. I wanted to catch the informal opening ceremonies of the International Gay Games (which are in Cleveland this year!) and participate in the 1 mile Rainbow Memorial Run, which remembers those who have lost their lives to AIDS and breast cancer, as well as others lost in the Gay Games family.20140809_083711

Everyone participating in the event got to wear a different color shirt. So we made all the colors of the rainbow!20140809_083207

Along the course were some balloons with designs on them designed by local students. The designs talked through the history of the fight for AIDS awareness and gay rights.IMG_20140809_141406

I chose a blue shirt. And made sure to wear my rainbow everywhere else on my outfit.20140809_083232

After the run, B and I did a few more miles on our own, bringing our total to 8 for the day before it got too hot to run.

Including my run on Sunday (below), I ended the week with another 30+ miles!

aug 3 running

Post-run, I met up with my friend Ali and we hit up the West Side Market. There were rainbow flags all throughout Ohio City in honor of the games!20140809_121946

And after the market, B and I hit up our CSA pickup and the Cleveland Flea. I love the Cleveland Flea. We ended up picking up a few goodies and some more produce. It was a perfect day to just walk around and enjoy people watching and all the Flea has to offer!

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Post Flea, we met up with B’s family for mass and dinner. It was a somewhat early night (after an early morning) that also ended with B and I finally participating in the ice bucket challenge. In case you haven’t been on Facebook in a year, or watched the news, or just want a refresher, the ice bucket challenge has been sweeping social media. It involves dunking yourself with a bucket of ice to raise awareness for ALS. You’re able to challenge some of your connections, and if they don’t complete the challenge in 24 hours, they must donate to the cause (and even those that participate are encouraged to donate). I’ve heard that ALS organizations are up more than 100% in terms of donations and if anything, the challenge is helping to raise awareness for ALS.  A fellow BC grad from my year, Pete Frates, was diagnosed from ALS, so many of my friends are doing the challenge in honor of him. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you may have seen the video, if not – here’s at least a screenshot.

video screenshot

video screenshot

Sunday morning I met up with Nicole for an easy run around downtown where we were able to catch part of the Gay Games triathletes finishing up their race and others start the running portion. How inspirational! It was fun to watch the athletes and break up our run. Post-run, I met up with Ali again and we walked over to Ohio to catch the North Union Farmer’s Market, which recently started a Sunday farmer’s market. We browsed through the stands, I finally got my hands on Cle Kraut (love the gnar gnar!) and some more produce.

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And when I got home, I checked out my haul. Hmmm … I may have gone overboard on the produce and farmers markets this week? I spy beets, onions, tomatoes, apples, hot peppers, sweet peppers, nectarines, potatoes, cherry tomatoes and a giant zucchini. Oh, and the canteloup and blueberries and kale are in my fridge.

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Sunday afternoon B and I hit up the beach and met up with Dave and Anson. It was the perfect beach day. We read, sunned ourselves and I even went in the water. TWICE. (well only “swimming” once) Which is a big deal for me. I ended the day with some slightly sunburned legs. My FIRST sunburn of the year and it’s mid-August. #Fail20140810_142521

Sunday night we hit up Winking Lizard for some more buffalo chicken, wings, and summer beers. Can summer last all year long? Please?

A few questions for you:

  • Which is your favorite season? Summer!
  • During the summer – which do you prefer, beach or pool? Beach all the way! I do love the ability to swim and do laps in crystal clear (and often warmer) pools, but there’s something so relaxing about laying on the sand and listening to the water.
  • When at the beach are you a tanner? A swimmer? An active person (frisbee/volleyballer, etc.) Typically a relaxer/sleeper/reader. I don’t often go swimming unless it’s hot out. But if it’s hot and the water is calm, I’m in!
  • What’s your favorite farmer’s market produce? I love those mini cherry tomatoes and mini sweet peppers. Perfect for healthy snacking! Also, any fresh fruit, especially nectarines.