memorial day weekend

this is so belated, but it’s been such a wonderful summer (which is why I’m behind), and I want to make sure to document all of our adventures! back around memorial day, we had just bought a bunch of new camping equipment for our june trip to colorado, and were hoping to test it out. we waited a bit too long to book something, though, and most of the nearby state recreation areas were full. we contemplated a walk-up site, but then there was rain in the forecast, and we had second thoughts, so decided to stay home. of course, after all that, it ended up being perfect weather and we were bummed we’d missed out on the camping opportunity…so we decided to post up in our own backyard!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

cheesy, yes, but it was actually a great, low-stress way to practice putting up our tent, trying out our sleeping bags, and figuring out what other gear we might still need. this was actually my first time ever camping in a tent, so i appreciated being close to home in case we got too hot/cold/out of drinks.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

we spent most of the evening poring over colorado maps planning out a few hikes and places we wanted to see during our winter park trip. and of course, drank some beer – i was super happy to find evil twin’s ‘ryan & the gosling’ at our local bottle shop (beertopia); aside from having the best beer name ever, it was also very good.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

other than that, we just spent some time reading and talking and generally enjoying life under the twinkly lights. i’m sure we must have looked totally ridiculous to our neighbors, but it was such a fun experience and i’m so glad we did it!

the next morning (sunday), we woke up to another beautiful day and wanted to do something outside. at this point, we were on a little break from a running plan before starting marathon training, so decided to go for a bike ride. i mapped out a ride that was about 17 miles – across the south omaha bridge, along the trails in iowa for a bit, then back over to omaha on the pedestrian bridge, and home.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

once we got going, though, we were loving being on the iowa trails and started seeing signs for a few other destinations on the trail, so we decided to keep going. our first stop was big lake park in crescent, just a few miles north past the pedestrian bridge turnoff. the lake is small, but really pretty!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

on our way to big lake park, we started to see signs for the lewis & clark monument and park – we’d heard of it before, knew it existed, but wasn’t sure exactly where it was or how to get there. it was just a few more miles past big lake park, so we decided to trudge on and see if we could make it there. the next few miles getting there were beautiful and super scenic, but basically all uphill – our quads were definitely not prepared for that kind of climbing, but we eventually made it! the views were more than worth it – it was a super clear today and we could practically see the whole city from up there. definitely looking forward to riding (or maybe driving…) up there again sometime soon.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

we’d brought a few snacks along for the ride, but were working up quite an appetite at this point, so once we got back over the pedestrian bridge and into downtown, decided to stop at local for a beer and some brunch. we’d gone about 25 miles at this point, and figured that if we went back the long way (back over the bridge and along the trails in iowa), we might be able to get close to 40 miles for the day.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

we did it, but those last few miles up L street were kind of a strugglefest. all in all, it was a great three-day weekend…and i’m already dreaming of cooler weather so we can camp in the backyard and go for long bike rides again!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Posted in adventures. | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

sunday funday in the loess hills

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

we’ve had so many fun adventures lately, and i’m so behind on blogging! a few weeks ago we bought our first ever brand new car, a 2016 subaru forester, who we have named susie. the next day, we were itching to take susie on her first adventure somewhere, so we decided to head out to hitchcock nature center, because being outdoorsy is just what you do once you own a subaru. it’s a non-negotiable.

hitchcock is awesome because it’s only about a 20 minute drive from omaha but feels like a whole other world. it’s full of great trails that range from easy to difficult (just steep, not technical). we set out to hike for about 2 hours and ended up going around 7 miles (we mixed in a few minutes of trial running), stopping for lots of pictures, water (in our new camelbaks!), and snacks, obvs.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

iowa is so green and gorgeous in the springtime.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

we had tentatively planned on visiting a nearby winery after our hike, but decided we probably needed some lunch beforehand. we drove a few miles back into town (crescent, IA) and found a great diner called Henry’s, where we enjoyed some delicious breakfast food.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

after our stop at Henry’s we headed just a few doors down to loess hills winery. nebraska/iowa wines are typically nothing to write home about, but we like trying new places and supporting local businesses, so we gave it a go. we tasted a few different wines and landed on a “dry” red called the sbr, which we got a bottle of to enjoy outside. we grabbed a blanket out of our car and spent the afternoon laying on the winery lawn!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

all around, a lovely day in the loess hills area and a great first adventure with susie the subaru! if you’re looking for a quick getaway from omaha sometime, we highly recommend hitchcok nature center, henry’s diner, and the loess hills winery!

Posted in adventures. | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

2016 ragnar so cal race recap

last month (april 1-2), kevin and i participated in our first ragnar relay race! if you don’t know, ragnar puts on a series of relay races across the country – teams of 12 spend two days (yes, overnight) each running three legs of an approximately 200 mile point-to-point course. we did the southern california edition, which started in huntington beach and ended on coronado in san diego!

we flew in a couple days before the race started so we could spend a little time with my family. i was so thankful to be able to squeeze this time in to see baby sister after four months apart! my dad also took us to check out a new brewery in redlands – perfect carb loading for the race the next day :)

Photo Mar 31, 10 23 14 PMProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

everything about ragnar screams crazy, but possibly the craziest part about this experience is that we only knew each other, plus two other teammates. I worked with our friend Johnnie back in Tucson, and when we asked us to be on a team with he and his fiance, Kristin, back in November, we didn’t really think twice about it! the rest of the team was comprised of their friends, all from Arizona. we met up with the team on their way to huntington from tucson on thursday evening, and joined them in the vans we rented for the weekend — here’s team Beer We Come all sunshine and smiles before having to run 200 miles.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

we got down to orange county around dinnertime, checked into our hotel, and went out for a team dinner at a nearby restaurant. kevin and i headed to bed pretty early in hopes of a good last night of rest before the race, but the freeway noise kept us up most of the night. we were up early friday morning to head down to the starting line to check in Van #1 (first 6 runners) and send off our first runner (kevin!). not a bad view to start the morning!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

we were short one runner on our team, so three people from our team filled in and each did a fourth leg as well. kevin filled in and kicked things off by running the first leg, a short 2-miler mostly along the huntington beach bike path. for some reason, I was worried about how much time there would be to pass in between the times that I was running, but I was amazed at how fast the two days went by once we started.

since I was runner 7, my first leg (12 miles) didn’t start until about 1:00pm, which was unfortunately right in the heat of the day, and my route did not have much shade. I was hoping to average around 8:00s, and was able to for the first 8 or so miles, but then had to slow down, and even stop and walk a few times because I was so overheated and dehydrated — definitely should have carried my own water because the course water stops were few and far between. I knew this would be the hardest leg to get through, since it was the longest and hottest, so I just tried to power through as best as I could. it felt amazing being done and passing the baton off to kevin to run next, and I even got a special medal for running the longest leg of the course!

race_2198_photo_32788531Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

kevin was up next with about 9.5 miles and had a tough time on his leg as well – it was just so much hotter than we had run in throughout the past few months, and we also aren’t used to running in the middle of the afternoon. plus, his route was pretty hilly! I think we were both pretty relieved to get our longest legs out of the way first – although we got more tired, it still felt much easier for the rest of the time after those first legs!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset 

after the four other runners in our van finished their legs, we had a few hour break before any of us had to run again (while the other van was running). we headed to a nearby chipotle for a real meal, changed clothes and cleaned up a bit, and then headed to the next exchange point and tried to get some sleep. kevin and I ended up just laying in sleeping bags outside the van for a couple hours, but didn’t really sleep – I’ve never been a good napper, and since I was first up to run once the other van finished, I was worried if I did fall asleep I’d be too groggy and not feel refreshed.

we were all a little nervous about the nighttime legs but for the most part they ended up being really fun! I took off at around 11:30/midnight and my three miles went by super fast. I was worried about getting lost and not seeing any other runners, but thanks to all the reflective gear and lights they make you wear, I was always in eyesight of at least a few others out on the course. we did have one small snafu where we went to the wrong exchange and were waiting and waiting for our runner before realizing we needed to be at the previous exchange. it was a little stressful there for a little while, and probably augmented by how deliriously tired we were at that point, but we got it sorted out and back on track, and finished out our night legs!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

we then headed to our next exchange where we’d meet up with the other van after they’d finished their third legs. we had about 4 hours from when we got there to when it would be my turn to run again. there wasn’t enough room for all of us to sleep in the van, so kevin and I set up camp outside in sleeping bags again. just as we got comfortable, a race volunteer came over and told us we weren’t allowed to sleep in the parking lot for safety reasons, and directed us to a designated sleeping area. it was pretty much pitch black, so we couldn’t really see, and just wandered around until we found a spot that felt good (we were essentially on a beach). we dozed in and out for a couple hours, and woke up to slamming doors to realize that we’d inadvertently slept right near the porta potties, and the lines for the bathrooms had started to form around us. pretty awkward but we laughed it off and got up and got ready for our third legs to begin!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

my third and final leg was just under 10 miles and was the leg I was least prepared for. I didn’t review the map or elevation much, or really have a time goal. my legs were pretty sore at this point and our team was actually doing really well on time, so we all decided to take it pretty easy for our last legs. I knew mine would be along the coast, so I ended up stopping quite a few times to capture the breathtaking views! the leg turned out to be much hillier than I expected, and had road, path, dirt trail, and stairs, so I never got used to the terrain. regardless, I still really enjoyed this leg, but of course, it felt pretty amazing to pass the baton one last time to kevin and then be done for good!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

the rest of the morning and early afternoon was spent relaxing and cheering on the rest of the runners in our van. the other van had finished at this point and met up with us at some of the remaining exchange points, and we swapped stories from the previous couple days, since we hadn’t seen them much. once our last runner started, we began making our way to the finish line area, where we planned to run into the finish line together as a team. we made it there and parked with just a few minutes to spare — there was so much traffic! we spotted danny and all ran in to the finish line together – a pretty cool moment!

race_2198_photo_32796006

the finish line was right on the beach at coronado, so we hung out there for awhile and enjoyed pizza and beers in the beautiful weather, before heading back to our hotel and going out for a proper dinner (which all of us were basically too tired to eat).

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

we all crashed pretty early, and woke up the next morning sore but ready to continue the celebrations. before many of us had to go our separate ways, the whole team met for a delicious brunch full of ridiculous bloody mary’s. (mine had a grilled cheese sandwich on it!)

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

then, a few of us who had more time to spend in san diego headed to stone brewery, which was conveniently very close to the airport, so we pretty much hung out there for the afternoon sampling beers and recapping the weekend.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

all in all, we are SO GLAD we said yes to our crazy friend johnnie back in november when he asked us to be a part of their team. it was so great getting to see him and his fiancé kristin, and to make a few new friends as well. we’ll definitely be back for another ragnar someday, and it’s an experience I highly recommend for every runner/adventurer if you get the chance!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Posted in adventures. | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

nyc, part two

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

a few more photos from our nyc trip last month…sunday was the first day after #jonas; we woke up and were amazed at how clear the streets and many sidewalks were already. it was still a bit of an adventure to get around, but it was a sunny, beautiful day and tons of people were out and about. we decided to make the most of it and get to a few areas we hadn’t seen yet. we ventured down in hopes of visiting the world trade center area and memorial, but a lot of it was closed off due to construction and the weather. we checked out trinity church and walked down wall street instead, eventually ending up down in battery park so we could see ellis island and the statue of liberty!

we had explored greenwich village a bit the day before, but wanted to see it sans jonas, so we headed back up that way and got our new york pizza fix at joe’s. obviously, there are a million pizza places here and everyone seems to have their opinion, but we thought this place was pretty legit. thin and foldable and very little seating. after lunch we ventured to the giant REI store and shopped around a bit there, then bar-hopped in the area and watched the football games. (we really liked fool’s gold). when we were ready to head back to our hotel, the weather was still nice, so we made a walk of it, and ended up at the ginger man for dinner and a nightcap.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetPhoto Jan 24, 12 36 39 PMProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

the one bonus to our flight being delayed a full day is that we had part of an extra day in the city (monday). we were able to store our bags at the hotel and decided we’d spend the morning checking out a few more spots. we headed uptown to spanish harlem to have a bialy at hot bread kitchen, an ethnic bakery within la marqueta. from there we went west and walked through columbia’s campus – so pretty, so ivy. after exploring the columbia area, we walked back towards downtown along the west end of central park, then hopped on the subway for a few stops and then checking out the cathedral and the library, before grabbing lunch near our hotel and starting our trek to the airport.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetPhoto Jan 25, 9 24 44 AMProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

such a fun trip and although it changed our plans a bit, it turned out to be kind of fun to be there during the epic snowstorm! i can’t wait to go back, hopefully in the summer next time!

Posted in adventures. | Tagged , | Leave a comment

nyc, part one

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

I think it’s safe to say we had a pretty epic trip to NYC a couple of weeks ago.

on friday, our first full day in the city, you wouldn’t have even known a blizzard was coming. It was 40+ degrees and sunny and chilly but overall quite pleasant. our hotel was just a couple blocks away from grand central, so we popped in there for a cappuccino, grabbed bagels from a nearby shop (which turned out to be our favorite, after trying two others over the weekend), walked up to see times square, and then to the southern end of central park.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

we did a little bit of shopping (aka we did not come equipped with proper winter coats, so both of us ended up buying one there…turned out to be a good investment), grabbed a few treats from milk bar, and then headed downtown for a late lunch at momofuku noodle bar. we probably had over 100 restaurants pinned to a google map that interested us, but eating here was at the top of our list, and one of our few “musts.” we got the classic momofuku ramen, some pork steam buns, and their take on a kale salad, and all three were fantastic.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetPhoto Jan 22, 1 50 21 PMProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

post-lunch, we headed back to our hotel for a bit to relax and recharge (literally…NYC drained our phone batteries like whoa), and a couple hours later, took the subway over to the greenpoint neighborhood in brooklyn to check out a few bars. first, we went to TØRST, a minimalist bar specializing in unique, higher ABV beers. we loved that you could get different size pours of each beer (5 oz, 8 oz, 12 oz), so we were able to try a few each. and the best part was that almost everything on tap was from the east coast, so it was all new to us!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

#flannelfridayforever

from there we headed just a few blocks down the street to brooklyn brewery. here, you buy “tokens” at the door in increments of $5, which you then use to redeem beers at the bar. unsurprisingly, this turned out to be one of our favorite places of the weekend – we loved the open, warehouse feel of the brewery, and ended up hanging there for a couple hours. we tried a bunch of different beers, but a favorite was the greenmarket wheat.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

after the brewery, the weather was still decent, and we felt like walking off some of our beer, so we headed down towards the williamsburg bridge and decided to walk across (we’d planned to do the brooklyn bridge, but we weren’t up for walking that far then, and never made it back over there). I am terrified of heights and especially bridges, but I was determined to have the experience and make it across. as you may know, there’s a dedicated walking lane on this bridge, and I actually felt pretty safe and secure the whole time. being able to see manhattan all lit up like that was totally worth it!

once we got across the bridge, it had started to snow lightly, and we were starving. we pulled out our phones and realized we were really close to katz’s deli, which stays open late on weekends and was another must on our list. you just never know what to expect from places like this that are so hyped, but holy pastrami, it was amazing. (probably also contributing to the amazingness was our level of intoxication). we split a pastrami sandwich (on rye, with mustard) and an order of latkes, and were in heaven. i’ll have what she’s having, indeed.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

we weren’t quite ready to call it a night yet, so we headed over to mcsorley’s, widely considered to be the oldest Irish tavern in NYC. here, there are two options: light beer or dark beer. lots of cool memorabilia on the walls here, and bartenders that feel like they walked straight out of another era. we sat in the window here and watched the storm start to pick up, and ended our night with a walk back to our hotel.

and then came Jonas.

but that didn’t stop us! we had reserved cronuts from dominique ansel for saturday morning, and there was no way we were missing out on those. the subways were still running, so we headed down to soho. these guys were totally worth the trip. (and the bakery had a great window for watching the snow fall).

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

after pastries we braved the elements for awhile and walked up to NYU and washington square park — we couldn’t see much, since the snow was blowing everywhere, and most of the buildings were closed, but we did our best.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

once we had enough walking, we took the subway to the upper east side and made a quick lunch stop at dean & deluca, and then were on our way to the Met. we thought it would be a good day for an indoor activity, but by the time we got there, they had decided to close early, so we only had about an hour or so to see the museum. we checked out a few areas that interested us, plus the special exhibit on Egypt, and were on our way again. can’t wait to go back and explore more next time.

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

then it was back to our hotel to regroup. by this time, most of the city had shut down – all museums, all broadway shows, and quite a few restaurants. we stopped by a newsstand to pick up some snacks in case we weren’t able to find dinner anywhere later that night. we relaxed at our hotel for awhile, and then got this bright idea that maybe everyone else assumed SNL was cancelled and that we should go because we would probably definitely get in. so we walked – well, basically skied – the mile over to rockefeller center and arrived just as the nice NBC man was announcing that the last standby tickets had been given out. oh well, we tried. we called around to see if any nearby bars/restaurants were open, and ended up at judge roy bean public house, where we had burgers and beers.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

and then came one of my favorite parts of the weekend. the mayor had issued a travel ban earlier in the afternoon, so there were no cars on the road, save for a few police cars and other first responders. we turned onto madison avenue to find tons of people walking in the streets, taking pictures, playing with their kids, having adult snowball fights, you name it. it was pretty magical, i gotta say.

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

good night, Jonas! part two coming soon.

Posted in adventures. | Tagged , , | Leave a comment