Birthday Edition {WIAW}

Hey guys, I had a wonderful 22nd birthday yesterday! I woke up this morning with a serious sugar hangover, so you know it was a good one 🙂

But before we get to the food, let’s see how I did on my 21 before 22 list.

01 // Paint my fingernails. Half check. I started painting my fingernails one day and got through one hand before I decided I didn’t like the color. I was planning on repainting both hands a better color later on, but… that didn’t happen. I’m a terrible girly girl. I’m hoping to actually paint them soon, because this one-hand chipped nail polish look is not so cute.

02 // Run a 5K. Nope. I’ve run 5Ks on the treadmill so I can pretend that counts but I didn’t actually run in the race. BUT Appalachian is host a color run on the 27th that I’m planning to participate in for some race redemption.

03 // Make a REAL dinner.  CHECK. Double check. I made lots of homemade dinners over the past two weeks, even if I’m short on time, I’ve found making a real dinner at the end of the day is a great way to unwind, if I can hold off my hunger for that long.

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04 // Studio yoga. Fail. I didn’t even make it to a class on campus. Sorry muscles for leaving you all tight and knotted up.

05// Start a new book. CHECKish. I just bought a new e-book today Effortless. It’s a moderately trashy romance novel, but that’s okay. I started reading Thoughtless, the first book in the series when it was just a story on Fiction Press so it’s kinda cool to see it in real life book form.

06 // Bake something.  CHECK. Hello birthday cake.

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07 // Drink a shot of espresso. Didn’t happen, one day it will though.

08 // Spontaneous mid day coffee.  CHECK. I waited until my birthday to get it, but that’s okay, birthday coffees are extra tasty.

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09 // Design something for the blog. Nope. I started something but I haven’t had the inspiration to finish. I’m going to keep working on it though.

10 // Buy a new vegetable. Kinda? I didn’t buy a new vegetable, but I bought some eggplant after not eating any in a long time and I’ve incorporated it into lots of meals, that kinda counts right?

roasted eggplant and sweet potato

11 // Juice it up. I didn’t break out my own juicer, but I did buy one from Earth Fare the other day. It was very beet-ilicious and now my pee is hot pink? TMI? Maybe, but oh so true.

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12 // Break out the DSLR. CHECK. Thanks to a few hikes!

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13 // Grandfather Mountain dollar days. Not yet, but I’ve got plans to go with some friends in two weekends!

14 // Clean my room.  Bam. Now to work on keeping it clean…

15 // Best Body Bootcamp.  CHECK. And loving every single workout.

16 // Kick this tendonitis.  CHECKish. I still have a little soreness, but I finished a 6 mile run today with almost no pain so I’m thinking it’s almost gone!

17 // Random act of kindness for a stranger.  CHECK. I left $5 for a stranger on a table in the campus coffee shop. Hopefully someone found it and enjoyed a much needed coffee or snack.

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18 // Watch a Disney movie. an unintentional CHECK. I was hoping to watch something along the lines of the Lion King, but that didn’t happen because I couldn’t manage to sit still long enough. But I did watch the better part of the Hanna Montana Movie one afternoon on TV. Don’t you judge.

19 // Buy a new candle. CHECK. Now I just need a holder for it… didn’t think about that one.

20 // Get organized. My homework to do list could use a little attention but I spent one weekend deep cleaning my apartment kitchen, straightening up the living room and organizing my room. See mom and dad, I do know how to clean 🙂

21 // Have Fun.  One big fat CHECK.

14 out of 21, I’ll take it.

Now for the food!

 

(Thanks Jenn!)

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Birthday fro-yo! Peanut butter, cake batter and brownie batter yogurt with cheesecake bits, cookie dough chunks, sprinkles, dark chocolate, oreos, Reeses, peanut butter sauce and sprinkles. Don’t be fooled though, this bowl was pretty gross. The brownie batter flavor was gross (I know how is that possible? So disappointing!), the peanut butter flavor wasn’t frozen (I don’t even know how that works) and the cake batter flavor wasn’t bad, just a little too sweet for my taste buds. Luckily I had some un-pictured fro yo redemption in the form of tart yogurt with strawberries and blueberries. That’s what I get for trying to be fancy, I should just stick to the basics, at least I know they’re delicious.

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Just kidding! I didn’t eat this cake, but how creepy does it look? It’s supposed to be a puppy but it just scares me.

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TACO TUESDAY. Boone Saloon does $1.25 tacos every Tuesday, this was my first time going to taco Tuesday but I will be back! I had three delicious veggie tacos and a pint of beer for $7, can’t beat that!

My roommate and I split a hard apple cider while watching the most recent Twilight movie (stop judging me). It was a delicious choice, I was looking for something a little lighter than beer and this hit the spot.

And some where in there I polished off a bag of gluten-free ginger snap cookies my friend bought me for my birthday. I have zero control around those things. ZERO.

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This isn’t from yesterday, but I had this delicious meal Saturday at Mellow Mushroom and I couldn’t not mention it. Stuffed portobello mushrooms with feta and mozzarella cheese, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, served over spring mix and drizzled with balsamic. So. Good.

What’s your favorite birthday treat? I think frozen yogurt/ice cream is a birthday necessity

What’s the last delicious thing you ate?

Soft or hard shell tacos?

Rednecks & Kitty Cats {MIMM}

Before we get to the marvelous in my Monday, I have to take a minute to address something that is not-so-marvelous.

My heart goes out to all the people that were hurt or otherwise impacted by what happened today in Boston. Although what happened today was horrible, I have to say it’s pretty marvelous to see the running community come together to support one another at a time like this.

(Happy birthday Katie!)

Marvelous is… My 22nd birthday is tomorrow! Actually it’s in 1.5 hours, I came in to the world bright and early at 12:30 AM.

Marvelous is… Joint birthday parties! My friend’s birthday is Friday so we had a joint party over the weekend. The theme? Rednecks and cats. No joke, we are a creative bunch.

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The rednecks.

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NASCAR-themed temporary tattoos may have been involved.

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Along with prop 40s you couldn’t convince any of us to drink. We try to keep it classy.

Cats were not well represented because cat apparel does not exist after Halloween, I did rock some Hello Kitty rings.

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Try not to be too jealous.

Marvelous is… beautiful weather and weekend hikes. A very muddy, but fun 5 miles.

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I wish I had taken more pictures, but I was worried about my camera landing in a pile of mud, which isn’t really ideal.

We did the Boone Fork Trail Loop, which is right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, the trail is the perfect combination of beautiful views, uphill climbs and creek hopping. My buns were on FIRE by the end, so worth it though.

Marvelous is… birthday cake.

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I used Betty Crocker’s gluten-free yellow cake mix for the base, and because we all know I can’t just leave things be, I added a 1/4 cup of peanut butter to the mix which was a very delicious choice. The frosting is just Cool Whip with cocoa powder and cinnamon mixed in. Easy, cheap, and trans-fat free. I can get behind that.

I made my own, which my friends thought was really sad I made my own cake (they did offer to make one for me, I’m just stubborn), but since I love to bake I actually really enjoyed it. Lame? Maybe, but I got to lick the bowl which was more than worth it.

And the gluten-filled cake for the gluten-eaters:

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My friend did a pretty impressive job on the decoration! I definitely scraped off the cat so I could eat it myself 🙂

Plus a few other party foods:

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Gluten-free brownies. AND my favorite part:

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Beer floats. Well, A beer float, no one else was feeling quite so adventurous but you better believe I went there. The combo was actually pretty tasty.

Marvelous is… Engagements!

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These two got engaged on Saturday! I’m so excited for them! Plus the ring really offsets her new dragon tattoo.

Marvelous is… Sunday school cookouts! We got together at our small groups leader’s house and had a delicious lunch. The carnivores had barbecue chicken sandwiches, but they were nice enough to cook up a few veggie burgers for me and the other vegetarian in the group. I didn’t take any pictures but it was a good time!

Marvelous is… look-a-like clay figurines. The couple that leads our small group has a very artsy 10 year old daughter and she made us all figurines that look like us.

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That little girls is seriously talented! My figurine is only about 1.5″ tall and the detail is pretty awesome. I’m adding it to the collection of drawing she’s made for me over the past few Sundays!

Marvelous is… Best Body Bootcamp Phase Two! I’m already sore from today’s workout! I’m already looking forward to the rest of the week’s workouts!

Marvelous is… 5 days until the Tar Heel 10-miler! Eep! I’m both super nervous and super excited!

What made your Monday Marvelous?

Are you a fan of themed parties? What’s the most ridiculous theme party you’ve ever been to?

What’s your favorite flavor of cake? I’m not sure that there’s a flavor of cake I don’t like, but red velvet and carrot cake are pretty high up there! Peanut butter and chocolate is always a winner too 🙂

Spring Time {MIMM}

Happy Monday!

Can I just say that there’s nothing more wonderful thank waking up to beautiful, sunny, 65 degree weather on a Monday morning? Talk about starting the week off right.

(Thanks Katie!)

Marvelous is… Art crawl. Lots of good art, lots of good food. Not to mention I got a free handmade cup from a gallery featuring clay pieces, I’m actually drinking coffee out of it right now (of course!).

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Marvelous is… drinks with friends on a Friday night.  I’m not your typical party-obsessed college student, and I prefer quieter nights with friends than a wild and crazy party, but sometimes a little bar hopping is necessary to your college experience.

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The bartender convinced my friend that the 32oz beer was a much better deal than the pint, which it was, it was also the size of her freaking head (don’t worry mom and dad, mine’s the normal sized beer in the bottom of the picture).

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Shots, shots, shots!

I asked the bartender for the least-sweet shooter they had, and I’m pretty sure he lied because it tasted like straight up limeade. Bummer. I got drink redemption with a Jim Bean on the rocks later on in the night. I’m such an old man, I don’t play with that fruity stuff.

Marvelous is… this freaking dessert:

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A cinnamon roll the size of my face topped with vanilla ice cream. Whattttt. So. Good. I’m pretty sure the restaurant pumps the smell of cinnamon into every corner of the restaurant to make you want to order one of these bad boys. Sometimes a little gluten is worth it.

Marvelous is… hiking trips with fellow group fitness instructors!

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glen burney trail waterfall blowing rock nc

We had plans to go to Hawksbill Mountain in Morganton, but only 4 of us were able to make it so we stayed closer to Boone and tried the Glen Burney trail in Blowing Rock. I’ve done the hike once before and it’s a nice little hidden gem in Blowing Rock. The hike is about 1.5 miles ending at a super gorgeous waterfall. It’s quite the workout because you hike down to the waterfall, which means the return hike is uphill the entire way. My booty got a serious workout on the way back!

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All four of us! I promise I’m not that short, the rock we were on was slanted.

Marvelous is… taking time to cook a REAL dinner. Or as real as a college dinner for one can be. I’ve been in an eggs + frozen veggie rut and it feels good to get creative in the kitchen again!

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Kale salad with lacinato kale (my first time trying it and I think I like it better than curly kale, it tastes less grass-y), baby portobella mushrooms, roasted sweet potatoes and eggplant, lemon juice, garlic, curry powder, cumin, salt, pepper and that last couple drops of my bottle of Bragg’s liquid aminos. So fresh and clean tasting.

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Kale, sweet potato, curry powder, and apple cider vinegar

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Roasted eggplant and sweet potatoes (I think I see a theme happening…)

vegetarian dinner

Cinnamon and curry roasted sweet potatoes, sauteed spinach with onion and tomato, with sauteed sliced eggplant on the side.

Not much protein happening here, but dinner’s usually finished up with a cup of greek yogurt to balance things out.

Marvelous is… today’s special guest lecturer in my Dance History class. He came to talk with us about the history of musical theatre and he was quite the character. He would randomly start singing parts of the lecture and danced through half of it as well. I imagine if Mr. Rogers had a doctorate in Dance History and gave college lectures, it would go something like that. He was quite the character.

Oh Mr Rogers, I still miss you dearly.

We also watched a Broadway documentary narrated by Julie Andrews, everything with Julie Andrews is marvelous. Everything.

Marvelous is… SPRING WEATHER. In Boone. FINALLY! It felt amazing to walk out the door this morning and not have to grab a jacket.

I love beautiful days in Boone because all the hippies, slack-liners, and puppies come out. Not to mention Boone is absolutely gorgeous when the weather decides to cooperate, there’s no better place to be.

What made your Monday marvelous?

Do you like hiking? Where are your favorite places to hike?

What’s you’re favorite thing about spring? Flowers, beautiful weather and my birthday!

One Year Blogiversary! And My First Ever Giveaway!

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Greens & Coffee Beans is officially one year old today!

The time has absolutely flown by and I can’t even believe it has been a year since I’ve started this little blog. Where has the time gone? I feel like so much has happened in the past year! Let’s take a look back shall we?

February:

My first post ever! (can we all agree that first posts are the most awkward?)

I auditioned for my Pilates teaching job (and got it!)

March:

Ran my first 8k!

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Made chocolate oatmeal protein pancakes with peanut butter topping which is my most popular recipe

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Went hiking a lot.

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April:

Went gluten-free and my tummy was very happy about it!

Ran the Autism Speaks 5K

Turned 21!

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And did some more hiking

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May:

Finished my Junior year of college and moved out of the dorms FOR GOOD

Ran a 4 mile Sticky Bun Run and my first 10K

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Started my first internship

Went to the farmer’s market a bunch

June:

I did lots of yoga

Ran the Race for the Cure 5K

My brothers graduated high school

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I started Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Trainer, and got some muscles!

And had a few more trips to the farmer’s market.

July:

I volunteered at a triathlon and found my grandmother’s peanut butter machine (in the same week! It was a good one)

Lost someone I went to middle school with

Went to the beach!

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Watched the Olympics like a crazy person. Seriously, I watched every single sport.

August:

I tried my first CrossFit class and almost joined the cult.

Went to the farmer’s market AGAIN (theme here?)

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Moved into my first apartment

Started my senior year of college

September:

I tried CrossFit again

Almost set the oven on fire

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Learned how to eat healthy on a (small) college budget

Ran the Mayview Madness 5K (my legs still hurt thinking about that elevation!)

Checked out the Watauga County Farmer’s Market. More than once

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October:

Ran the Triangle Run/Walk for Autism 5K while home for fall break and got new running shoes!

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Went to my senior homecoming game

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Cooked up some pretty tasty chili

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Threw a halloween party

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And you guessed it, spent more time at the farmer’s market

November:

My artwork was published in a book!

Celebrated Thanksgiving with my family and my 6th anniversary with my boyfriend

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And had a Friendsgiving! Complete with cranberry sauce of course.

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Ran the Black Saturday 5K

December:

I became a Tribesports Ambassador!

Celebrated Christmas with my family

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Ran The Gobbler 5K

January:

Rang in the New Year

Had my last first day of school

Survived the Boone flood

Took a day trip to Asheville & had a French party!

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Which brings us to February!

Giveaway Time

I’ve really enjoyed writing this blog for the past year and I really appreciate all you guys for reading. I thought I’d show my appreciated by hosting my first ever giveaway!

I want to put together a box of my favorite goodies for the winner. I don’t know what I’m going to put together yet, but I’m hoping to get some input from the winner, basically the prize is wide open!

To enter simply leave a comment telling my what you’d like to see on the blog, what would you like to see more or less of and would you make any changes? I’d love to get a little feedback!

For additional entries you can like Greens & Coffee Beans on Facebook, or follow me on twitter and tweet something about the giveaway, just make sure you tag me @coffeeandgreens. Just leave a comment telling me you did so.

Giveaway ends Friday May 1st! Be sure to enter, this is in appreciation of you guys!

Rough Ridge

Sunday afternoon I headed out with my roommates for a beautiful afternoon hike. Gotta take advantage of the beautiful fall weather while it lasts. And enjoy the Parkway before all the Floridians come and clog it up. I’m talking to you leaf-lookers.

We decided to tackle the Rough Ridge Trail just off the Blue Ridge Parkway (mile marker 302.5 if you’re interested!). Rough Ridge is one of my trails. It’s difficult, but fairly short, so you’re not dead by the time you reach the top.

And the view are AMAZING.

The hike begins with a small bridge over a waterfall.

Not a shabby way to start a hike.

The trail to the top is completely uphill and a little rough, hence the name. But it’s one of those hikes that looks far more intimidating than it really is. The trail is covered in large rocks which are kind of like stairs all the way to the top, which makes things pretty navigable.

About a third of the way in you reach a boardwalk which leads you out onto some large rocks. Oh yeah, and this view:

I spy an old man mountain, which is actually Table Rock Mountain. It looks so close but it’s actually two counties away, it’s amazing how far you can see. Apparently on a really clear day you can see all the way to Charlotte. Which is a 2 hour drive on the interstate from where we were.

This rock reminded me of the Lion King (:

The road is level with the parking lot you start at, and we’re not even halfway to the top yet!

After a quick photo break we continued our way up the trail. There’s a second amazing overlook about 2/3 of the way to the top, this overlook was much less crowded than the one closer to the bottom (apparently we weren’t the only ones taking advantage of the beautiful weather) so we took a moment to soak it all in.

Roommates! Minus one who was being responsible and doing homework.

We peeled ourselves away from the beautiful views and headed the rest of the way up the trails. Even though there are so beautiful stops along the way to the top, making it to the top is so worth it. Plus you feel pretty awesome when you look down and see how far up you are from where you started. You end up climbing about 480 ft from the start of the trail.

What’s up mountains?

They’re definitely called the Blue Ridge Mountains for a reason. Fun fact: the mountains are blue because the trees release hydrocarbons into the air which causes a bluish haze to form around them. You learn something new everyday. I love the blue, it makes the mountains looks like an ocean.

That’s small looking bridge is actually the Grandfather Mountain swinging bridge, which is in the next county over.

Fuzzy caterpillar! This was as close as I could get with my zoom lens.

We eventually worked our way back down the trail, which is about twice as fast as walking up and headed back to Boone. I need to come back when the leaves start to change, I can’t even imagine how amazing the views will look. If I can make it past all the Floridians that is (no offense to Floridians, we just get a lot of tourists this time of year because we have actual seasons, and I’m just lucky to live in a really beautiful area. But really, drive the speed limit).

To say I’m a little sad it’s Monday is an understatement. My weekend was fantastic and I did not want it to end, and to top it off my Monday was kicked off with a test. Fun stuff. Back to the weekend!

Friday

I was late to my Friday class but my professor was late-er, best way to start the weekend. After class I went to a 45-minute spin class, which is the perfect length for a spin class because it’s long enough to get super-sweaty but not long enough that you are dead at the end. I also lifted some weights, gotta work on those guns.

Chobani and blog reading makes for the best recovery meal. Also sitting in the student union while you’re still super sweaty and kind of smelly (the gym is on the top floor of the student union). No shame.

Friday night my roommates and I made a late night fro yo run. It was glorious. It had been a month since I had fro yo. Major life problems right there.

Tart, peanut butter(!) and coffee flavored fro yo (the trifecta of amazing flavors) with raspberries, chocolate chips, peanut butter drizzle and Reeses cups. De-freaking-licious. I could have eaten like 3 more cups worth. Luckily I didn’t.

We made a quick run to the grocery store next door because one of my roommates needed to pick up some body wash and some how I left with this:

A box of Bakers chocolate and a bottle of Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale. I think the cashier was judging me a little bit. The pumpkin ale was super delicious and I was excited that Food Lion sells single bottles of beer because I’m incapable of drinking a whole six pack, it’s sad.

Saturday

Saturday started off bright and early with the Mayview Madness 5K

Look at that sneaky foam roller in the background.

The run was a ton of fun, but the first half was uphill and I’m still sore from it. Recap coming sometime in the next couple of days, pinky swear.

After my race I headed straight to the farmer’s market. Apparently I have no problem with public sweaty-ness/smelly-ness. I left with lots of delicious produce for the rest of the week. The farmer’s market is always the highlight of my weekend, I’ll probably break down in tears next month when it closes.

Saturday night my friends and I got together for a potluck/spa/girls night. We’re bad at pinning down specific plans, if you couldn’t tell. I got to break in my crock pot with a vegetarian chili.

Well I called it chili but it was really a find-what-you-can-in-my-sparse-apartment-cabinets-and-throw-it-in-the-crock-pot, but that’s a pretty long name. I used a can of chickpeas, black beans, corn and diced tomatoes, a chopped onion, green lentils, a diced poblano pepper, veggie stock and water with some pepper and garlic. It could have used more seasoning but the only seasonings I own at the moment are black pepper and cinnamon. College problems. My friends like it though and ate the entire crock pot’s worth so I’ll take it.

We also had green bean casserole, corn bread muffins, cheesecake and my roommate brought mojito mix. It was quite the spread.

We played Quelf, which if you’ve never played you totally should because it’s hilarious.

 

It involves things like singing, square dancing, story-writing, and hiding the box the game came in under your shirt. You know, typical board game stuff.

Then we made facials out of avocados, coconut oil and honey and painted our nails. Then learned how to wobble. I love pretending like I’m still 14, and now my nails are teal! Big deal since I haven’t painted my nails in like a year, I’m too antsy to wait for them to dry.

It was such a fun night, sometimes you just need some hardcore girl time.

Sunday

The weather on Sunday was absolutely gorgeous, so my roommates and I headed out for a hike that afternoon. My legs were pretty dead from Saturday’s 5K but the views were so worth it.

But a better recap of that is coming soon too. Man, I owe you guys lots of posts.

And now it’s Monday and that sucks a little bit (actually a lot a bit), how long til Friday?

 

What’s you’re favorite crock pot meal? I’m hooked on it. It’s my new favorite kitchen appliance, especially now that it’s starting to get a little chilly outside!

Do you like hiking?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Weekend.

It’s the last weekend before summer, only 4 days, 3 exams, 2 projects and 1 presentation stand between me and sweet summer freedom.

Friday afternoon I headed up to Howard’s Knob to take some graduation photos for my friend Jessi. You can literally see the entire town of Boone from the top and the views are stunning.

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Hey Boone!

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Graduate! I’ll miss her next year, now I have to find a new hiking buddy.

Afterwards we headed to Rough Ridge for hike. I love Rough Ridge, it’s a challenging hike, but not exhausting and the views are amazing. It’s also really rocky, which I think is fun, it tends to make things more interesting.

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Not even at the top yet.

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Those are the only pictures we got complements of Jessi’s iphone, I was sick of lugging around the DSLR at this point.

The weather was beautiful the entire way and it was a great hike. Rough Ridge is a favorite.

Post-hike I head straight out to dinner with my roommate. We ate at Black Cat for a celebratory end of classes dinner. It was delicious, as always. I switched it up and got the “Gang of Four” which is steamed carrots, mushrooms, and broccoli served over rice. I was trying to be nice to my stomach and go gluten-free, it was good but the burritos are much tastier. But their burritos are tough to compete with.

A 10pm frozen yogurt run was necessary.

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There is frozen yogurt under all that fruit, I promise. Tart + fruit is my favorite combo.

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And the night was finished up with some cheap wine in a mason jar. We like to keep things classy around here.

Today is the Sticky Bun Run! I’m so excited!

Dead Week

It’s been a while. Things have been more than a little crazy lately.

Welcome to Dead Week. That final week before exams where summer is within reach, but you have 2934852039485 projects due before you can get there. So close, yet so far away.

At least I finished that beast of research paper. Just 1 paper, 1 group project, 1 presentation and 4 exams to go. Get ready.

The weather was beautiful here this weekend. Which figures, because the weather is only nice when I have a mound of work to keep me inside. I did get outside on Saturday and enjoyed the weather some.

Saturday morning I went for a 5 mile run, it was long and hot but I made it. It was 55 degrees when I started running and 65 when I finished, I was not dressed appropriately for that and sweating up a storm. I feel sorry for the pedestrians I ran past, hopefully I didn’t sweat on them, but I can’t confidently say that I didn’t.

Working on that 10K, it will happen. Soon.

I got sun burnt. Time to buy some sunscreen.

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But only on one arm. With a sweet farmers tan line, and pale elbow crease from where my arm was bent while running. I thought it didn’t look that bad, then I went to the gym in a tank top, I thought wrong. The joys of pasty white skin, you get the most awkward tan lines ever.

Post sun burn, my friend and I drove to Moses Cone so I could take some graduation pictures for her. We took a short walk on one of the trails and then headed for frozen yogurt. Highlight of my weekend. I’m an old lady and always get the tart flavor. Boring, but I don’t care.

Then I spent the rest of the night working on my 20-page paper. Gross.

Sunday was also spent on homework, and not teaching Pilates because no one came. Oh well. Speaking of Pilates, I got my first paycheck today, exciting stuff. Less exciting was that it was for less than $20 but I’m okay with that.

I also went grocery shopping and picked up lots of produce.

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One horribly blurry picture of black beans, kale, avocado and zucchini, green foods are my favorite. Along ones you can microwave.

Speaking of microwaves and dorm food, I only have 10 days left in this dorm and then its goodbye dorm-life forever! To say I’m a little excited about that is an understatement. I’m so excited to have a kitchen and my own room, with a door.

Time to get back to studying.

Creepy Crawlies.

This afternoon some friends and I went walking on the Price Lake Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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The trail was a 2.3 mile loop around Price Lake. The weather was nice and the lake was really pretty. The wildlife not so much.

It rained quite a bit yesterday so the trail was pretty muddy (Toms might have been a poor shoe choice). Apparently the rain made all the critters wanted to come out to play. We ran into:

A snake. Funnily enough, when we ran into it we were talking about all the crazy animals we’ve run into while hiking (there was a cow incident once). Snakes are a new one. And hopefully not a reoccurring one.

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When you go hiking with a biology major, you will have to stop while she catches tadpoles. And then she’ll make you take a picture of it.

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She was very excited about finally catching one. We found a hidden Mickey too.

There were lots of beaver dams:

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And other beaver evidence

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But no beavers.

 No Biebers either.

It’s probably a good thing we didn’t find and beavers (or Biebers), I’ve heard they’re surprisingly vicious.

Pure terror.

It was a nice little trek through the woods. Minus the snake. It was nice to get out while the weather was nice because it’s been pretty gross all week.

Tomorrow I’m going for a 5 mile run (yikes!), I’m staying positive, I will do it and it will be awesome. I’ve still got my eyes on a 10k in May. Then I’m chaining myself to my laptop and getting some work done. So much to do before the end of next week. Luckily next week is the last week of class! Good thing too, I don’t think I’m going to make it much longer. So ready for summertime! And sleep.

Grandfather Mountain

I headed out to lunch with my friend Jessi after finishing the Autism Speaks U 5K (more on that later I promise). We decided on Coyote Kitchen, one of my favorite restaurants in the Boone area. Coyote Kitchen serves what they “Southwest Caribbean Soul Food” I just call it delicious. I ordered the Moab Boat

(Photo was swiped off their website, I’m terrible at taking food pictures)

“Coconut rice, butter beans, sweet potatoes, grilled tofu, fried plantains, roasted corn and broiled jack cheese” served with a side of cranberry chipotle salsa. Vegetarian comfort food at its finest right there. The best meal I’ve had in a while, that’s for sure.

If you’re ever in Boone be sure to check out Coyote Kitchen, they’re food is delicious and they are extremely vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free friendly. They’re a little on the more expensive side for the minimally employed college student like myself (my meal was $9), but it is a real treat whenever I get the opportunity to eat there.

With full and satisfied bellies we headed up to Grandfather Mountain. In April Grandfather Mountain has a $2 admission special for students, so Jessia and I decided it would be a great day to take advantage it. This was actually my first time going to Grandfather Mountain and it was a lot of fun.

Our admission price got us a fun audio tour CD to listen to in the car, it was very informative. The banjo background music totally set the mood, and I’m excited to listen to it in my car everywhere I go now. It’s the little things.

Our first stop up the mountain was the Wildlife Habitats and the Nature Museum. We saw bears

He sleeps just like my cat. So cute. Well, cute when there’s a cement barrier between the two of us. Grandfather Mountain also has a cinnamon-colored black bear which is cool, but I didn’t get to see him.

Fun fact: black bears can run up to 35 miles per hour. Don’t try to out run a black bear.

And the otters were adorable. Otters always are. I think it’s especially adorable that they hold each other’s hands while they sleep so they don’t float away from each other. TOO CUTE. This otter keep doing back flips off the rocks into the water. The 8 year old kid inside of me died of cuteness every time.

They also had cougars, eagles and deer, but they were all hiding. So no pictures of those.

A fun fact about Grandfather Mountain, because the elevation is of Grandfather Mountain is drastically higher than everything else around it it has it’s own climate distinct climate and ecosystems. The climate is actually similar to Newfoundland Canada (thanks to Grandfather Mountain audio tour for all that fun information). My friend and I made more than a few Canada jokes after hearing that fun fact, we’re really mature.

Even the squirrels are different.

We then headed over to the Nature Museum. We saw

North Carolina gold.

Mushrooms with fun names.

And tree tumors. Yes, a tree tumor. I won’t lie, it grossed me out a little, but it was kinda cool at the same time, I think.

Our final stop up the mountain was a hike up to the famous mile high swinging bridge. We took the Bridge Trail which was was 0.4 miles each way, and the views were beautiful.


On a clear day you can see the Charlotte skyline, 80 miles away.

A random cave, we were trying to decide if it would be a bad idea to try to go inside. Or if bears live in there.

The under side of the swinging bridge.

The entrance to the swinging bridge. Elevation – 5,282. I wimped out on the bridge, I made it like 10 feet across and couldn’t keep going. I’m not a fan of heights. The views were so spectacular though, I couldn’t get over it.

As we headed back down the mountain we saw Forrest Gump Curve.

This stretch of road was featured in the movie when Forrest starts running across the country. Not my picture because I was trying to not drive off the side of the mountain.

Overall Grandfather Mountain was a lot of fun, and well worth the $2. I’d love to go back someday and hike more of the trails. They sound like fun, but really intense so I’d have to come prepared.