Sunday, March 31, 2013

We cheated: Bootstrap Brewing

I'm blaming this entirely on my dad.  In the best possible way, of course.  Ammon and I had to talk cake with our baker yesterday, which is really close to my parents' house.  My mom put us in charge of desserts, so we decided to kill 2 birds with one stone:  try out cake flavors for the wedding, and have Easter dessert, so we bought 5 individual slices of cake and took them to the parent's house to chill out.  When we got there, my dad shared about his hunting trip that morning, and we shared about High Hops.  Well, the combination of hunting and beer talk really got to my dad, and the next thing we knew, the 3 of us were piling in the car to head to HIS local brewery, Bootstrap Brewing.  This place is owned by one of my dad's old work colleagues, and is literally less than a mile from the house I grew up in. 

It's literally tucked away in a hard to find corner of the main shopping plaza.  However, in a teeny-tiny town like Niwot, nobody cares about hard to find, because everyone's lived there long enough to be able to find all of the hidden gems.  There are a lot of those, by the way.  I could do an entire blog post series about the hidden gems of Niwot.  But that's for a different day.  Let's talk beer.

They had 9 on tap yesterday, and I decided I was feeling ambitious, so we put the pedal to the metal and decided to give all of them a try.  My dad ordered a pint for himself, but ended up trying several of the tasters as well.  I'm not going to name all 9 today, because it's Easter and I'm lazy.  Visit their website, I promise they will hook you up with names and killer descriptions of their offerings.

My dad thought it was absolutely hilarious that I take pictures of Ammon while he's drinking beer.

We LOVED Bootstrap, and I would say it was right up there with High Hops Brewery for me.  This came as a surprise, because the first time I looked over their beer options, I wasn't sure there was anything for me here.  They have a wide variety of brews, but not my favored Wheat beer.  Before this whole tour started, that would have been an absolute deal breaker for me.  We had 3 clear favorites of the 9, and the three of us agreed on all 3 of them.  I never thought that would happen, my dad and I agreeing on beer, but the man has darned good taste.  He ordered a full pint of the Flagstaff Amber, which was my number 3 favorite.

It was a really smooth, medium beer.  Not a lot of bitterness.   Ammon and I determined that our absolute favorite was the Boomer Brown, a nut brown ale.  This is so far from anything either of us ever order, we couldn't believe we were loving it so much.  I wish we hadn't done tasters, I would have been so happy with that Brown.  However, we all also developed a soft spot for the Rumbustious, a Rum Barrel aged beer.  They let that bad boy hang out and do its thing for 9 months!  The hard work paid off though, and that beer was absolutely joyous.

So special thanks to my dad, for sharing with us one of his local hidden gems.  It was pretty darned good.  Don't worry, Ammon and I would go back again to share a pint or two with you, especially since we can all stumble back to the house if need be.  Tell mom to have the guest room ready next time ;)

Happy Easter, all!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

High Hops Brewery

I have seen stranger combinations in my life, but none quite compare to what Ammon and I found when we visited High Hops brewery last night for the first time.  Never ever before could I imagine the combination of a Garden Center and a brewery.  Yes, a Garden Center and a Brewery.  You can shake your head in confusion, it's what I did.

I don't know why this confused me, it hits on two things I really like to do together: drink beer and garden.  Add in music (of which there was plenty), and it's my idea of a total party.  This is the greatest combination that doesn't make sense that you will ever see.

 Oh, and there were these awesome statues too.  I can't make these things up, I can only appreciate.

We decided to start off with their flagship taster, their 5 beers that they always have on tap.  We learned that they grow the 3 different types of hops that they use in their beer.  That's pretty groovy.

So from right to left:  The Golden One, The Witty One, The Honeyed One, The Power of Zeus, and The Dark One.

We decided to sample our beers in the portion of the greenhouse they have converted into a beer garden.  It may be one of my favorite places ever, because it's like being at a Garden Party year round.  You can smell the flowers, listen to live music, and enjoy the feel of astroturf between your toes.

Ammon found himself very drawn towards The Golden One, a Pilsner style beer.  It had a coriander note to it that he was fond of.  He also really enjoyed The Witty One, a wheat beer.  I have always had an affinity for Reds, and so their Honeyed One was an instant sensation for me.  It was sweeter than the red beers I usually go for, but it had a great depth of flavor, and I really enjoyed sipping on it.  Their IPA, The Power of Zeus, also surprised me.  I found it to be pretty bitter, despite its IBU rating of only 60.  I liked the bitter quality of it, and found that it was a great foil to their milk stout, The Dark one.  While Ammon is still trying to appreciate the darker beers, I find myself being drawn more and more into their silky, sultry depths.  This one had a great malty sweetness, and wasn't so heavy that I couldn't drink more than a few sips.  This may be the first dark beer I could ever see myself ordering a full pint of.

After the taster tray, I decided to order a pint of one of their rotating beers.  I chose The Weiss One, a German Hefeweizen.

 The flavors were subtle, and made for some easy drinking.  It was a really balanced beer, and I appreciated that after the large variety of their flagship beers.  But what really made us smile was the price.  Ammon and I are accustomed to paying a decent sum on these nights out of tasting.  Last night made our wallets smile in delight when we saw our grand total:

Boom.  You can not find cheaper brewery beer in our area.  Period.  It does not exist.

Moral of the story?  We will be back.  Probably more than once, and with friends.  We totally get and appreciate the vision that High Hops has, and we want to see it blossom... get it?  Blossom?  Garden Center?  Sometimes I crack myself up.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fit & Healthy Friday

I don't think I have ever been so happy in my life to see a Friday.  Man, these last 2 weeks at work have been brutal.  I'm hardly even considering the rest of my life these days.  One mess at a time.  However, my good buddy Heather over at The Life Unexpected asked us all to link up about how we met our health and fitness goals for the month of March.


I had one goal.  That goal was to complete 20 minutes of continuous physical activity every day for the entire month.  It sounded really small, really insignificant, but I knew it would be hard for me to do.  I have a harder time getting up and doing something small.  I don't see the point, and I would much rather save up my workouts and do much longer ones.  Carve out the time for the 2 hour bike ride, or the 45 minute run.  Those things feel worthy.  But 20 minutes???  Why the heck am I changing my clothes and my shoes for 20 minutes???

All in all, I did... alright with my goal.  So far this month I completed 23/28 days.  That's an 82.14% success rate.  Clearly, I did not make the honor roll this month, just the honorable mention.

For me, it comes down to the fact that I didn't have a good plan for what I would do for those 20 minutes.  It wasn't "I'll go for a walk every Monday, a jog Tuesdays...", it was to do just do whatever struck me that day.  I had hoped for running, but I figured that wasn't feasible for me, and I was right.  The weather roller coaster sent my knee into a tizzy that had me afraid to run for fear it would get worse.  My running has improved dramatically, though.  I can consistently for for about 20 minutes now, up from the labored 5 that it was at the end of February.  We're going to call that a massive win.

So as far as setting April goals, I decided to not be quite so vague.  It's time to ramp up my running so that I'm ready for official half-marathon training when it comes.  I need to be able to run 3 miles consecutively to have the needed fitness level.  To that end, in April I will:

  1. Wake up at 5:45am Monday-Friday to complete at least 3 miles of walking and/or jogging each day
  2. Foam roll my hips, IT bands, glutes, hamstrings, and calves 2x/week after my workout
  3. Do a 60 minute Yin Yoga practice every Saturday
  4. Enjoy myself on Sundays, be it a 20 minute Zumba workout, a walk with Ammon, or a bike ride.  Nothing fancy, but a girl's gotta move.
It's a pretty intense April schedule, but I'm really looking forward to a plan that can keep me on track, and moving towards my goals.  I also think that it's going to be so rewarding to see all of those miles start to stack up! 

What about you?  Did you have a goal for March?  Did you meet it?  Do you have goals for April?  Link up with everyone so that we can share in this awesomely supportive community with you!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Softly, Slowly

I have never been very good at slowing down.  At allowing life to guide me.  I have always pushed, always forged a path.  Whether that path was as easy as it could have been, that didn't matter.  I very much care about hard work, fulfilling my duties, and being the best at whatever I am currently chipping away at.  Being gentle with myself and my schedule, allowing myself to pause... it is something that I actively have to work at on a daily basis.

My period swept in this morning like a tornado through the Midwest; strong and wreaking havoc every place it touches.  If you could have seen me this morning before having any pain meds, you would have understood implicitly.

Needless to say, I had a hard time enjoying one minute of my productive work day.  I did get a lot done, and I managed to not kill a single person.  But I came hone the raging tiger who could barely move.  I needed to get in my physical activity for the day.  While we had been up, down, and all around the property at work, I feel like a cheater when I count that as my 20 minutes of movement.  I considered a bike ride, but didn't want to mess with the clothes, the shoes, the helmet, the bike... it's a lot to coordinate.  Then I considered a run, but I was afraid my uterus would fall out.

Source: via Autumn on Pinterest

Out of nothing more than sheer desperation, I remembered that I had downloaded a 60 minute yin yoga workout from several months ago, and then never even tried.  Yin yoga = moving for lazy kids.  It's all about slow, easy, long, super deep stretches and a very meditative mindset.  Athletically challenging?  Nope.  But it is physical activity, and deeply restorative. It felt so, so, so good.  I forgot how good it feels when I am kind to myself, when I allow the slowness to overtake me.  It's funny, because in that slowness, an hour passes with incredible speed, and I find myself wishing that it would never end.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

All of the things

Do you ever have that moment where you walk out of Target and immediately start proclaiming to people that you got "all of the things", and that your things are the best things ever?  I totally did this.  I got a circular in the mail for the new Threshold line at Target, and it included a coupon for $5 off any purchase of $35 or more.  Then I noticed that they have sheet sets that are designed to fit a mattress that is up to 20" deep.  Ammon and I have a mattress that is 19.5" deep.  I know this well, because I sold that mattress for a living for a while.  Finding sheets for our heaven on a cloud is a bit of a bish.  So I did what any girl in my position would do; I went to buy all of the things.


Oh my geez, guys.  Even just putting these sheets on my bed was the best moment ever.  They are so soft.  And even though we got solid beige, they have this adorable pleated detail.  I am so in love.  Also, they are substantially cheaper than most deep-pocketed sheet sets.  You can shop them here.

I also went a little crazy buying all the things baby for my preggers buddies.  I intentionally avoid the baby section ALL OF THE TIME.  Even when I have to buy shower gifts.  It's too dangerous.  Everything is so tiny, and adorable, and soft, and huggable... yes, I hug baby stuff sometimes.  Don't judge me.  After buying all the baby things, I bought all the baby wrapping paper, and all the baby cards.  Papyrus Cards make a killing off of me.  95% of my stationary purchases are Papyrus.  They are my all the things for cards and notes, and when they started selling in Target, I knew I was a goner.  Back when I had to go to their special fancy stores, I had a chance.  Not anymore.

I can't show you anything I bought for babies, because I can't ruin any surprises.  Sorry.

Also, Cocoa Via... I a a sucker for any supplement that is a) Chocolate based and b) designed to promote a healthy circulatory system.  Cocoa Via is both.  It's a cocoa flavanol extract that you add to food or beverages, and its main function is to support eye, heart, and blood vessel function.  Some of you might or might not know, but I actually have a less-than-stellar circulatory system.  My maternal Grandmother passed away from complications arising from an "undiagnosed circulatory system disorder".  Both my mom and I have a lot of symptoms of a weakened circulatory system, and the research so far is not working in our favor.  There is not a lot medically that can be done for these kinds of problems, you are just encouraged to stay warm, eat well, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise regularly.  However, there are supplements that claim to do what medicine can't, and I tend to fully explore those supplements. 

From Cocoa Via Website

While I can't say that I have super-strong opinions so far on its efficacy, I am really enjoying having a reason to add chocolate to my coffee every morning, and unlike lots of powders, it dissolves really well.  At $35/box, it's kind of steep, but I might consider continuing it, simply to see what the long term effects of adding it to my diet are.

Nobody paid me a dime to write any of these things.  However, if they want to retroactively pay or compensate me, I wouldn't be averse ;).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

That place with the guy named after a cat sound

 That was probably one of the more awkward blog post titles I have ever written.  I can't promise it though.  Oooh, wouldn't that be a fun game?  We could all look through old posts, and list off all of our favorite titles with links to the post.  It's like a "greatest hits" only more funny and awkward.

We aren't here to talk about that today.  We're here to talk about what the above awkward title hints at.  Do you guys know that supremely awesome Helene girl??? She's the mastermind behind Travel Tuesdays.

Helene in Between

Helene is one of those really interesting people who has perfected the art of traveling, and so each week she asks everyone else to share their journeys.  It's a pretty fun thing, you get to live vicariously through bloggers as they travel the world.  Amazing Race, computer nerd style.

Today I'm talking about the great nation of China.  They had a chairman.  His name was Mao.  If you look on pinterest or google, you might accidentally come up with Chairman Meow.

 I traveled to China in the summer of 2007 with a program called the International Scholar's Laureate Program on a Medical Delegation.  We were all interested in different occupations within the medical profession, and the subject of our particular trip was the understanding of how Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine can work alongside one another.  While it's something the US really struggles with, the Chinese have become very skillful at weaving the disciplines together.

We got lots of hands on demonstrations, like this one that illustrated cupping and moxibustion.

And sometimes they just held up handy instructional aids while still demonstrating everything on their own body parts.  Because that makes sense.

We visited herb markets and got unbelievable headaches from sniffing everything.

Drank so much tea we thought we would float away...

But we also made time to take in the touristy pursuits.  I know far more about the Great Wall of China, for instance, than you would care for me to relay to you here.

It was one of the most spectacular, fun, and delightful trips I have ever taken, and I am so glad I did it.  If you ever get the chance to visit China, I would encourage you to do so.  They are such a warm, friendly group of people, and so welcoming.

Also, try Acupuncture, and Chinese style foot soaks.  Life changing stuff for sure.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Step away from the cake

Monday, you sly fox.  I was really hoping you would forget to come, and I could have just a few extra hours of respite.  This weekend really was quite something.  It started off on Saturday with a huge snowstorm while I worked.  I didn't get a picture, but I did snap some of the first flakes falling Friday night.

It was a really wet snow, and we ended up with 6-8" of accumulation.  It's pretty typical for us to have these big late season storms, they are usually the biggest that we have, and they really help give the snow pack a good boost.  For those of you who live in Texas or California, the CO snow pack is what feeds your rivers and usually provides your drinking water, by way of the Continental divide.  Just a fun fact for ya.

Also, tromping around the apartment complex before the walks were shoveled proved to be a huge workout.  And my winter boots are not THAT waterproof, as it happens.  Darn it.

Sunday we went to Denver, where we had brunch at THE BEST Irish Pub I've seen this side of the Pond.  It's called the Lansdowne Arms, and oh good heavens... I asked Ammon if it would be out of the question for us to drive over an hour JUST FOR THIS FOOD again.

He told me it was entirely within reason.  We weren't down there for the food though... oh no, we were down in the Southern suburbs of Denver so that I could help celebrate my oldest non-related friend.

Her name is Shae.  I've known her since we were 6 years old, and we've been friends since we were 9.  I changed my wedding date because originally we were supposed to be married 1 week apart, and friends just don't do that kind of thing to one another.

Shae is the epitome of a food enthusiast.  Going into her party, I told Ammon that I had been prepping and being extra careful of my diet so that I could indulge at her party.  She didn't disappoint me one bit.  There were 17 different appetizers, a carrot cake, and 2 different kinds of small-batch locally produced ice cream.  This ice cream is practically made of unicorn tears, and I knew that there would be no self-control involved if that's what I chose.  Instead, I opted for carrot cake.

The thing about carrot cake is that it's deceptive.  You don't think about the sugar in it, because it doesn't taste as sweet as a regular cake,  However, an hour and a half later, as Ammon was picking me up, my head pounding, my tummy aching, and feeling grumpy and sluggish, I realized that my body may not have been ready for that carbtastic goodness.  I also realized that all of that careful planning put me in an even worse position, because my body really didn't want anything to do with that sugar.  Whoopise.  Poor Ammon had to suffer a car ride home with a sugar shocked girl.  Which is probably why he made the decision that "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em", and stopped or a sugar shock of his own.

Literally, he inhaled 2 of these bad boys so quickly, I couldn't even get a picture in.  And right around the time I started feeling human again, he crashed.  It was a grumpy evening in our household.  The perfect reminder of why we [attempt] a low-sugar, low-carb lifestyle.  It makes everyone happier in the end.

I'm really worried about surviving our cake tastings, and now I'm considering the use of a proxy.

So that was our weekend.  Snow, Irish food, and too much sugar.  I can tell you're totally impressed by our exciting life, right?  Me too.  So I'm going to go do terribly exciting things at work that I won't be blogging about, and I'll let you get on with it.  Have a great day!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Real talk about weight loss

I almost never post on Sundays anymore, but this is important, so I'm making an exception to the rule.  Also, I am going to proclaim right now that I am going to be painfully blunt in this post.  If you don't like that, I will be returning to my non-controversial posting tomorrow.  I love the idea that I blog about things that are 100% for me on the weekends.  Beers, my local scene, and now I'm adding in my unfiltered opinions.  When I look back, I have a feeling that these will be the posts I cherish the most.

Yesterday when I stepped on the scale, I saw a number that made me elated.  So elated, in fact, that I had to do a happy dance, THEN wake Ammon up long enough to share my news.  For the first time since sometime in 2011, the number on the scale was < 150.  Way back in 2007 when I toiled really hard to lose an awful lot of weight, I promised myself to never cross the 150 threshold again.  When I did so 4 years later, it was really painful for me, and even more painful when I couldn't get it under control for well over a year.  Is it far enough under 150 that I think it's permanent?  No.  I believe in weighing myself daily, for a lot of really scientific and physiological reasons, but chief among them that you need to take a running average of your daily weights to get the best sense of the actual weight you are currently fluctuating around.  When you weigh in once a week, or once a month, you run the risk of having a water-retaining day, or of not having had good poops the day before.  Also, I think people obsess when they weigh in once a week.  That number looms, man.  When I weigh in daily, that number just represents my state today.  Maybe I had way too much salt last night, and so I am up 2.5 pounds.  It'll be gone within 2 days.  However, if I see the number slowly inching, I know that I need to do something, because that is a sure sign I'm gaining for reals.  So once I'm under 150 for at least 5 days in a row, I will believe that I am actually and legitimately under 150. 

There's something else about weight loss that I don't get.  It's why people think that it should be easy, or that they should be able to lose the weight "no problem".  I try really flipping hard to be the ridiculously supportive blogger buddy who supports and uplifts every single person on their journey.  I like to think that I do a pretty good job of it most of the time.  However, when you talk about how you fall of the wagon and binge, or you don't work out for a week, or how you can't handle it when you gain a pound or two (and you're weighing weekly, not daily), I just want to scream.  Because there is no such thing as easy weight loss.  Losing weight and keeping it off is one of the hardest things that I have ever done.  Stop looking for the easy way and get to work.  Step away from the baked goods.  Drink water.  Go for a walk after dinner instead of snacking until 10pm.  It isn't rocket science.  You don't need a 4 year degree in Exercise Science to make good choices (although that degree does give me an awful lot of cool factoids to back up my good choices with), you just need to exercise common sense and your body.

And here's another thing:  Stop assuming that you "deserve" to see results unless you are giving everything you have to earn those results, and have consistently been doing so for several weeks.  I was on a plateau for the last 3.5 weeks, and I stayed my course.  I didn't give up, and I didn't throw a temper tantrum over it.  I did my thing, knowing that sooner or later my body was going to start responding again.  It did when it decided that I had earned it.  I swear, my body knows how to humble me and remind me that getting to my ideal takes more than a few weeks, more than a few token workouts.  It takes a dedication that transcends my weekly results.  It takes an unending commitment to my end game.

I'm sure by now you have noticed that I am perpetually setting a goal before myself.  This is always my end game, and I focus on that one goal with reckless abandon.  Right now it's looking HOTT in my wedding photos.  After that it will be finishing my fist half marathon.  And after that it will probably be on being a healthy host to a parasitic life form.  But right now, I fantasize about those wedding photos.  On nipping another inch from my wedding dress bodice.  On having tight arms that don't have to be photoshopped.  That is what pushes me forward through all of this.  It is why I continue when I don't feel like it.  It is what stops me from having a second glass of wine, or eating sugar, or skipping a workout, or whatever the temptation may be.  My end goal is greater and more important than any temptation you could set before me.  If you can not say the same thing, then maybe you really aren't ready for this process.  You aren't mentally there yet.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  But when you are met with resistance and temptation, your real desires tend to be revealed.  Get painfully honest with yourself.  When you are ready, you will move heaven and hell in order to meet your goals.  But before that you will be on board for a week or two, then something will come along and knock you off track.  It happens to everyone.  But don't make excuses when it happens.  Don't blame the event that knocked you off track.  It wasn't that.  It was YOU.

This is the paragraph where I would usually try to kiss and make up with all of you looking at me with "that" look.  But for what it's worth, my classes in college all substantiate the things I just talked about.  They all point to these factors as being critical for long term compliance with a diet and exercise program.  And those people who taught me those principles are at the forefront of obesity management research.  They aren't slouches, and I trust them.  Does this mean that I'm going to stop being supportive of you?  No.  I have had these thoughts all along.  It just means that I can't go on with this game unless I got all of this out.  Health and weight loss are topics that I am 100% passionate about, and I could talk for hours on.  I welcome your thoughts and opinions too.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Verboten Brewing

Happy Saturday!  I just woke up to a little mini-blizzard outside, and decided that now was the perfect time to tell you about our experiences with Verboten Brewing, the third stop on our brewery tour.

The first thing we noticed upon arrival was the sheer variety of beers offered.  They are offering 7 beers at a time, some of them rotating weekly!  Being the adventurous sort, we ordered tasters of each.  With tasters starting at $1.50 each, they are so great for the indecisive mind, and the pour size at Verboten is fantastic.  Perfect for sharing and discussing.

From L to R: Blue Steel, I'm thinking of Something Orange, Five Second Frencher, Where's Carl?, Killer Boots, Make My Day, and Mantooth.

I really enjoyed the variety that this tasting tray offered.  As we try more breweries, I find myself surprised that each can make such unique brews using a limited number of ingredients, and that I may really enjoy something at one brewery, but not at another.  For instance, I 100% fell for the Killer Boots, a Caramel Porter.  I am not a dark beer girl.  They always are too toothy, or have too high of an ABV for me.  However, I feel like this was lighter than the average Porter, with very well balanced flavors.  It's naughty cousin, the Make My Day, a Chai Porter on Nitro spoke to Ammon and Ross.

Tasters down!  Tasters down!

I learned something new yesterday:  All beers can be measured on a scale of IBU's, the International Bitterness Unit.  The really helpful thing that Verboten does is that they tell you exactly where their IPAs stand on the IPA scale.  Their Where's Carl? with a score of 61 was another favorite for us, while the Mantooth, clocking in at a whopping 97 was not for us.  Perhaps as we get more used to beers we will learn to appreciate beers that are this hoppy.

Overall, there are a lot of things about Verboten that I really like.  It's a brand spanking new brewery that only opened its doors 2 months ago, so we're sure they are still ironing out the kinks to some degree.  The wheat and wit beers were alright, but we all felt they might be a little too subtle for us, and so we all naturally gravitated towards the Porters and the IPA.  Ross also pointed out that while the lighting in the tasting area is spectacular, the fluorescent bulbs in the brewing area seemed rather harsh, and that putting up a curtain that ran from the ceiling down about 10 feet would make a huge difference in creating more of a cozy ambiance.  Since Verboten is a 10 minute walk from our house, we will be going back, eager to try some of their rotating seasonal beer choices, and full pints of our personal favorites.  We hope that you will check them out too!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I still hate Thursdays

Kristen's not blogging, and she don't care.
Kristen's not blogging, and she don't care.
Kristen's not blogging, and she don't CA-AAAAAAAARE... 'cause she's pulling overtime this week!

Until tomorrow, girls and guys.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spoiler Alert

I'm watching the "Biggest Loser" finale as I write this.  I know from twitter that Dani won, and that Jeff was ounces behind her.  I'm okay with knowing, I don't love surprises.  But dang, these people got pretty in 6 months.  Does anyone else ever think this when they watch the BL finales?  That Day-um, is it really possible that it's only weight loss doing this?

I'm taking notes from the First Episode and the finale on Before and After shots.  It's all about looking sad and grumpy, and frumpy, then having professional hair, makeup, wardrobe, and potential dental work before your "After" is taken.

In theory, I've had before and after pictures.  They're really gratifying, but I can't say that they rival Miss Olivia.  Am I the only one who is so obsessed with her?

May 2007.

August 2008.  If you're wondering, that's 50 pounds, kids.  50 flippin' pounds.

I just got done running tonight.  I told my newest declared Bestie that I run so that I can have wine.  I really miss working out for the enjoyment of it, but most of the workouts I enjoy, like cycling, rock climbing, hiking, are long affairs.  Since I no longer have that time, running for maintenance is kind of where I'm at right now.  Oh yeah, and for that half marathon thing I'm doing in August.  I still need friends to sign up to help me with that.  It's a net downhill, and I will buy the beers of anyone who joins me.  Again... I am the Queen of the bribes.  You need to recognize =).

All this could be yours.  Unless you don't drink.  Then I'll shake your protein shake for you and buy you a cheeseburger.

You know you want it.

I've been trying to find some new health/fitness products to review.  I'm getting bored with #20minaday.  I find myself wanting something harder.  But let's face it... my animosity towards Tony Horton and Jillian Michaels seriously limits my options.  I have some great things lined up for May, but I'm bored NOW. Talk about a first world fitness problem, right?  If any of you have ideas, please share.  I welcome them with open inbox.

Oh lookie, Dani just won by 1 pound.  It's a good thing that wasn't totally spoiled by twitter.  #sarcasm.

I've been so hungry it isn't funny today.  I'm trying to ignore it.  If you saw my lunch, you would all wonder how I could possibly be hungry.  Watching BL doesn't help, it just makes me crave TCBY.  Do you remember when I used to post about yogurt and ice cream?  Me too.

We actually went the other night, and I had NSA yogurt with berries and almonds.  It was not the same thing.  My soul died as Ammon poured my favorite marshmallow sauce on his yogurt, and then declared it "too sweet".  Those words don't fit together in my personal lexicon.  Sugar addiction is real, guys, and I have it.

I just found out that "Catfish" is on Hulu+.  This is the best news I've had in days.  I need me some Nev and Max in my life for sure.

And on that note, I'm gonna throw it out old school MTV, and say "It's been real".  Yup.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The toughest sport I've ever done

When you're at a 4 year institution of higher learning, intramural sports are usually considered the beer leagues, the leagues that you play in to have fun with friends, but they just don't matter.

Today we're going to talk about the exception to that rule, The Little 500 at Indiana University.

Yes, we've talked about it before.  I don't care.  It was the pinnacle of my athletic experience, and I will talk about it until my dying day.  I am proud of that shizz, because it is tough.


 How tough, you ask?  Tough enough that after going to a Roller Derby match on Saturday night, my first one ever, I told Ammon how disappointed I was.  How the sport just didn't seem as tough as I thought it would be.

He laughed, and asked if I expected that it would be like hockey on roller skates.  To which I replied that after jumping on and off of a moving bicycle while another person is doing just the opposite of you, many things seem less "tough" or "scary".

This was the best example of an exchange, filmed at the 2011 race.  That's real life, guys.  Do you realize those bikes weigh 9 pounds or so?  Have you ever tried to keep a 9 pound bike steady while you fling yourself over the top?  It's flipping hard.

I tried to find some other crash videos, but the problem with Little 500 videos is that the people are too drunk usually to adequately document anything worth watching.  Suffice it to say that when 10 or 15 people go down all at once like dominoes, it's a big deal.

After that Saturday night Roller Derby match, I've been debating getting involved, perhaps in the fall after things start to settle down a little.  It's a hard decision for me.  It's another sport where the people cheering you on are drinking heavily.

ANYONE think we were sober for our senior year Little 500?  Yeah, no.  After training for 2 years, and not drinking a drop of alcohol for 2 spring semesters in a row, we went out in style.

It's another sport where you go fast in a circle, and falling is liable to hurt a little.

These girls have on so many pads it isn't even funny.

And I would have to wear my short shorts again.

My body's too bootylicious, baby.

What do you guys think?  Ever seen roller derby in action?  Anyone ever been to the Little 500, or any bike races at all?  I need some advice, people.  Some serious, "let's participate in inherently brutal sports" type advice.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand go.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I'm a lazy Monday blogger

Well, hey, there!  You made it to Monday!  Yippee Skippee.  I'm still in the middle of weekend greatness.  I know, I know, most of you are growling at me, but please remember that I worked all day Saturday... so we're even-Steven as far as I'm concerned.  Since I'm still in full-force weekend mode, AND I blogged on Saturday (since I'm now a Saturday beer blogger, dontcha know?), I figured I would sit back and let my friend Marianna do the talking.  Guys, this girl is the REAL DEAL, sweet, adorable, fun blogger.  So don't do any exiting, or skipping of this post.  Let her say hello, and then go and visit her blog.  I know that you will love her lots.  Over to you, Marianna!


Hello, all you Radiant readers!

I'm Marianna. And that's my sweet puppy Willow.
When we're not busy dressing up as cute little piggies,
we blog over at Delightfully Dunn
Actually, I do most of the blogging. 
Willow just likes to snuggle down beside me.

I have recently fallen in love with Kristen and her blog
and feel so honored that she has let us take over her little piece of blogland today.

I don't know about y'all, but blogland seems to be under some serious stress lately.
with this whole Google Reader fiasco.
(Honestly, I don't even know what it's all about.
Any and all information I've received on the matter has been from my Twitter newsfeed,
which as legit as that is,
I'm still taking it all with a grain of salt.)

I do, however, know a few things about stress.
So me and blogland are sort of on the same page right now.

I'm a teacher by day (to 22 cutie patootie first graders)
in a veryyyy small, cornfield town
and a sleeper by night (because those cutie patooties are exhausting).

Somewhere between teaching and sleeping, 
I find time to blog.

And drink wine apparently - one of the many things Kristen and I have in common.

I desperately wanted my blog to have some type of "theme"
before getting started officially.
And while I do occasionally blog about the fun things going on in my classroom,
or DIY home renovations,
or even the trials and tribulations of a new marriage,
(Kristen - this is where the wine becomes even more necessary.)

I usually just end up blogging about random things
like how I pretend to exercise so I can run errands looking like a bum
or any and everything involving my dogs.

Either way, I think my little piece of blogland is a pretty fun place to be!
Stop by and check it out for yourself!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Black Bottle Brewery

I think I have made the formal decision that all brewery reviews will go up on the weekends.  That way, all of you bloggers who don't want to read about beer don't have to, and hopefully I can cater to a slightly different crowd on the weekends.  We'll try it for a while, at least, and see how this goes.

This week, the brewery tour took us to Black Bottle Brewery in Fort Collins, CO.  Just a hop, skip, and a jump from the CSU campus, it's super convenient for those evenings when Ammon and I are both up in FoCo, and we're ready for a drink.

Beer is always best with friends, and so we invited some of the people from Ammon's lab to join us in our quest for the ultimate CO brewery.

I have an awful lot, both good and bad to say about this place, so we will get to it, pro and con style.

Pro:  They have 10+ beers of their own, and they have a great selection.  We got 8 different samples to share among 3 of us.

From L to R:  Youth Brigade; Recession Proof; Nook; I'm Barely Wine; Panty Drop Ale; Don't mind if I do, but mind if I don't; Roll down the windows dad; and Hopelessly Devoted.

Con:  They serve more beers that are not their own than they do that they brew.  Even worse, they also sell cocktails.  I think it takes a lot away from their own, really awesome beer selections.

Pro:  Their food is really good.  For a limited bar menu, they pack in some great things, including crab and lobster bisque, sliders, and baked brie.

Con:  The music is LOUD.  There were 6 of us, and I had to shout to be heard over the music, and it was only 5:30pm.

Pro:  They have a nice big space, and a huge patio.  The space is really well decorated.

Con:  Our service was mediocre.  We spent 15 minutes trying to get the attention of a waitress at one point, and it took forever for our beers to be poured.  The waitress was pretty rude when she was around, and didn't seem to want to help us make good selections.

Overall:  We will be going back again, but probably more as a night out at the bar, not as a couple of drinks after work as a brewery.  We really loved their beer, and I could see us drinking them again.  Of the 8 we tried, I don't think there was any one that was strongly disliked by the 6 of us.  There was something form everyone, but my personal favorites were the Nook and the Youth Brigade, both IPA's.  It surprised me, because I am generally not a fan of IPA, but these did not have the same bitterness I have come to expect in beers of this particular category.  Also of note was the Hopelessly Devoted, a Saison, and the Don't mind if I do, but mind if I don't, which was a Bourbon Porter.  That was a favorite of the men in the group.

So there you guys have it.  Leg 2 of our brewery tour has been completed.  Can't wait to try the next place!