Weekend on the Water

One of my favorite memories as a younger person was when I drove to Montana (from Portland) by myself to hang out with my friend Rachel. She lived near Glacier National Park and it was very cool and empowering to go on a road trip all by myself (I think I was like 23 or so at the time). I drove for hours in my Buick LeSabre (classy) to Spokane, Washington, spent the night in a motel 6-type place and then the next day drove the rest of the way to see Rachel in Montana. It was a GREAT trip with lots of stories (some we will never share with anyone 😀 ) and it was just me on the road with good music and my Road Atlas (yes this was before GPS and smartphones).

(The above photo was me in Montana!)

Over the weekend I got to spend some quality time with my bff Rachel! A few months ago we made plans to have a girl’s weekend somewhere half-way in between Portland and Seattle. I’ve been looking forward to this for months! A weekend away to do girl stuff and recharge…sign me up!

We booked a really adorable guest house on AirBnB. Rachel found it and I highly recommend it! It was pretty remote–you are about 30 minutes from anything, like if you forget your chocolate (like we did), you to have drive 30 minutes to the nearest store. But despite not being near anything, it was the ideal location. It was right on the water on Harstine Island near Shelton, Washington.

You cross over a bridge and then you are on the Island (probably 30 minutes or so from Olympia?) and you are surrounded by trees and the water and quiet waterfront homes. We barely saw anybody out, maybe a few fishermen on the water, that was it.

There was one bedroom and then a loft bedroom.

There was comfy furniture for movie watching.

The bathroom was nice, but slightly weird. 😉

The deck overlooking the trees and water were absolutely amazing! And the house had all these big, beautiful windows overlooking the trees and Sound.

There was a pool that Rachel and I were really excited to use but sadly, it was closed up for the season by the time we got there. Bummer!

Friday afternoon I left Portland and unfortunately I a) didn’t get to say goodbye to Logan because he was still napping when I left and b) hit rush hour Friday traffic trying to get out of Portland so it took longer than expected to arrive, but it was fairly nice and easy drive once I got out of Portland/Vancouver.

Rachel had already checked in and was doing some work remotely and just relaxing. When I arrived we cooked dinner (steaks and baked potatoes and lots of wine) and stayed up way too late gabbing and catching up.

I got the bedroom downstairs and the bed was glorious and so comfy! I might have slept at an angle, taking up the entire bed, because I could. 😉 I slept so good. It was so quiet and peaceful and comfortable.

Saturday I got to sleep in!!!!!!!! Wooooo hooo! I slept in until almost 8am. The bed was so comfy and I didn’t want to get out of bed but Rachel made coffee and I could smell it so…yeah I got up. 😀 We had breakfast (eggs, toast, bacon, coffee, juice) and then we went kayaking!

I didn’t take any photos of us kayaking, which I’m bummed about, but I was worried about my phone so it was just better to leave it behind. Rachel went in on a kickstarter years ago with Oru Kayaks, which are kayaks that fold up into something compact and easy to transport. So it was pretty fascinating to watch her put together these kayaks that were essentially folded up into boxes. It’s a pretty ingenious idea!

So it took about 30 minutes to put the kayaks together and then we were in the water. I can see where the process of putting them together could be kind of a pain in the ass…Rachel admitted that it’s her least favorite part of it and has discouraged her from using them more often, but also admitted that when her and her husband used to go all the time, it was a lot quicker to put the kayaks together because they had more practice.

I can see this being a good alternative to people that don’t have an ideal way to transport or store, traditional kayaks.

Anyways, we got in the water right in front of where we were staying. The sky was perfectly blue, the sun was out, the air was cool but not cold. The kayaks worked great and we didn’t sink or tip over (even though they were a little wobbly) and we didn’t get wet at all. We kayaked around for about an hour. It was really fun and kind of the perfect way to spend the sunny morning. We saw some gray clouds off in the distance so we decided to turn around and head back. We literally missed the rain by like maybe 10 minutes!

The beach was rocky and had a little bit of sand. There were tons of oyster shells and barnacles, lots of seaweed.

We had lunch outside on the deck overlooking the water. We made big, crunchy salads. It was delicious. The water was calm and there was a light breeze mixed with some rain sprinkles.

Then we kind of spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on the couch watching chick flicks and watching the alternating sunshine and rainy stormy weather outside the windows. It was really chill and relaxing.

Dinner was baked chicken and baked potatoes. Then more chit chatting and hanging out. 😀 It was great!

It was such a good way to spend the weekend. It was definitely chill. I didn’t really work out. The kayaking was fun, and sort of active, but not really a workout. I could have maybe gone for a run, but I didn’t feel like it. It was just nice to relax and honestly do nothing for a change.

Sunday we had a leisurely morning. I made breakfast, we drank a ton of coffee. I walked down to the water because it looked like the tide was out and I wanted to explore a bit. The tide was WAY out! The below pictures was right where we were kayaking the day before!

A lot more seaweed that morning. It was a really quiet morning. The water was like a mirror and there wasn’t anyone else out on the water or beach but me. It was so nice.

I wish we could have spent a little more time relaxing Sunday morning before packing up. It was such a delightful little spot to spend time!

So we packed up and refolded the kayaks and hit the road. We decided to make this weekend an annual thing. We’re going to alternate who picks the spot each year. I have to say, I’m already super excited for next year’s weekend!!!!!

Calorie Culprit: Summer BBQ’s

How many of you guys have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of summer? The arrival of longer days, sunshine, camping with friends, running races and of course BBQ’s. BBQ’s are a staple of the summertime.

I used to be stressed about potlucks and BBQ’s. It was a “bad” place for me to go while I was trying to lose my weight, and even after I lost the weight. It was a minefield of temptations. The urge to binge eat was very strong because I wanted to eat everything there. Maybe not in huge quantities, but I wanted to try everything.

And once I was there, it was hard to resist. I am most definitely a grazer, the type to mindlessly eat simply because I was standing next to the table of goodies. I also had certain trigger foods that I had a hard time resisting: chips and dip are a big one. Cookies, brownies, cake is another one.

With the arrival of summer (well, for most people in the country–not so consistently in Oregon yet), I started thinking about potlucks and BBQ’s. I wondered what the average calorie count was for a BBQ excursion?

Calorie Culprit: Summer BBQ’s

Baked Beans

1 serving of baked beans is about 150 calories. That is, if we only have one serving. Considering that portions are often skewed in social settings, I’d say the typical serving would be more like 200 calories.

Potato Salad

I’ve never been a huge fan of potato salad, or really any salads that are mayo-based. But I know that potato salad is a favorite for a lot of people. 1 cup of potato salad is around 350 calories.

Pasta Salad

Mmmm pasta salad! Now you’re talking. Maybe I’m a carb-junkie but pasta is definitely something I enjoy. How many calories are in a serving? 360.

Corn on the Cob

Of course it’s with butter, too. I’d calculate one ear of corn on the cob with butter about 100 calories. That’s a generous number (it’s probably closer to 75) but I like a lot of butter on my corn.


The calorie count for this one is a total guess because there are a lot of variables. Is it a lower calorie bun or one that’s 250 calories? Is the patty 4 ounces or more? What are your toppings? Is there a lot of cheese on it? My estimate for the point of this post is 600 calories.

Hot Dogs

Hot dog with a bun and toppings (shredded cheese, relish, ketchup, mustard, onions, etc) is around 300 calories.

Chips and Dip

This doesn’t have to be a calorie-bomb. Chips and salsa are an okay choice because salsa is only around 5-10 calories. The danger zone is when the dips are creamy. If it’s a sour cream, cottage cheese or cream cheese base the calories are going to skyrocket. Let’s say one serving of chips and a high calorie dip (15 chips or so) is around 300 calories.

Tasty Beverages

Those liquid calories really add up fast. Juice, punch, soda, wine and beer…lots of options at a potluck. And in a social setting it’s easy to over-indulge. Let’s say an average beer is around 150 calories (or more if you like those IPA’s like me) and you have three at the party, you’re looking at 450 calories.

Sweet Desserts

The things I see the most at BBQ’s are chocolate chip cookies or brownies. Depending on the size, a chocolate chip cookie could run between 100-200 calories each. Brownies are higher at 250 calories.

What’s the math? If I ate all of the above items, I’m looking at 2910 calories for one meal. That’s a lot! Even if I chose a cheeseburger over the hot dog, that’s still 2600 calories.

Should I Just Stay Home?

Heck no! Go to the BBQ! Enjoy yourself, have fun with your friends–just make better choices. Never fear, I have tips! This is what *I* do when I go to a BBQ.

It’s usually a potluck so I try and bring something healthy. At the very least, I know I’ll have MY dish to eat. I’ll bring fresh fruit, or a veggie tray, or a really big salad with a ton of veggies. Having my own vegetable garden makes a salad an easy choice. Another idea: bring some fresh veggies to grill. I like grilling up zucchini or asparagus. Add a little salt, pepper and fresh parmesan and you have a delicious side dish.

So what happens if it’s not a potluck and your choices are whatever your host prepares? That’s okay too. This is where my motto of “everything in moderation” kicks in. What I usually do is I have a little bit of everything I want. I’ll choose EITHER a hot dog or hamburger, but not both. I’ll serve up one spoonful of the potato salad, pasta salad, baked beans have one dessert. Having a taste of everything satisfies my craving and I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself of things, but I don’t totally blow my calories for the day.

And the alcohol? I pace myself. I start with a zero calorie drink (water, maybe a diet soda) and then limit my beers to 2. Maybe 3. It depends. But I can’t remember the last time I drank more than 3 beers. Who needs those extra calories?

What’s the math? If I just have a taste of most of the above things, and choose EITHER a cheeseburger or a hot dog, I’m looking at a calorie count of around 800 calories. That’s a huge difference from 2700!

QUESTION: What is your biggest struggle with BBQ’s and potlucks? What are your tips for saving calories at one?