Jul 302014
 

Another activity crossed off the summer bucket list!

My day started with a run. It was going to be a nice day, and a hot one, but I was out early enough that it wasn’t terrible. I laced up my shoes, slathered on the sunscreen, and walked to the neighborhood school track. There were three other runners out there with me that morning. It was quiet and peaceful and I have to admit–it was kind of nice to just run and not have a goal. Training for my 5k was fun and I was so happy I was able to do it, but every run that I did the closer I got to the date, added pressure to myself. I just couldn’t enjoy it like I used to because all I could think about was how I hadn’t trained ENOUGH, or I wasn’t fast enough, or there’s NO WAY I could run the 5k without having to walk…

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In the end, I really hadn’t trained enough, I was slow –who cares?– and I did have to take walk breaks. But I still finished my 5k and RECOVERED from it, too. So I’m happy about that. And now when I run, there’s no pressure and no expectations. I just ran until I felt like I needed a walk break, then I ran some more. It was a really nice run!

After that I got cleaned up and Michael and I packed up some provisions before heading out for our day. The plan: meeting friends at Kelley Point Park!

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We got sandwiches from New Seasons on the way to the park and met our friends at a picnic table to eat. I was famished after my run. I devoured that sandwich! They make amazing sandwiches there. So freakin’ good.

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After we were done eating we headed down to the beach area. It was supposed to get to 90 degrees that day. Last time we were there with my friends Erika and Charles, I regretted not bringing enough water. This time I packed tons. I filled our insulated growler with ice water, plus two water bottles, one bottle of Powerade (just in case) and a soda for Michael and I. I brought Bella’s water dish and made her drink throughout the afternoon, which she sometimes stubbornly refuses to do. I put on more sunscreen (another goal for this summer–be better about sunscreen). We spread out blankets in the sand and just chilled.

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I had been apprehensive about taking Bella there. Part of me was excited to show her something new and exciting that I knew she’d LOVE. But part of me was nervous about a lot of things. First, there were going to be a lot of people there (she gets nervous around strangers) and second I knew there would be tons of off-leash dogs. I also worried about Bella running away if we let her off the leash. But in the end, she’s usually pretty good with her recall and I just wanted her to have fun so I let her off the leash.

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The second she was off the leash she was in the water! I’ve never seen her more excited!!! She had the biggest, goofiest look on her face! She splashed around in the waves a bit and then started jumping over the waves and jumping into the water. I took a very hilarious and adorable video and posted it on my Instagram, if you want to check it out.

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At one point we threw the ball in the water and she jumped in to go get it but I think she realized she was out a little too far and couldn’t get the ball so she just turned around and paddled back to shore. Charles waded into the water and grabbed her ball. LOL Look at her tongue!

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She also made a friend! There was a little dog with some people next to us who was chasing a tennis ball and retrieving it from the river. Bella ran next to her up and down the beach. It was so cute to watch! They’d throw the ball for their dog and both dogs would run after it but Bella is never interested in any ball but HER OWN and so she never tried to take the other dog’s ball. She just wanted a partner to run with on the beach!!

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I have to tell you, there is no other feeling better than the pure joy of watching a dog have fun! It’s such an amazing feeling seeing her experience things for the first time and just experience JOY. How often as adults to we take pleasure in new things and feel JOY? Rarely. Not often enough, for sure. Bell was having a BLAST. She was racing up and down the beach, flopping and rolling around in the sand, and swimming in the river.

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I wish we had had more time to spend out there. Alas, after about 2.5 hours we had to pack up and head out. I had plans to meet my friend Star for a very needed pedicure and desperately needed to shower off the sand beforehand. And you better believe Little Miss had a bath that night! She was covered in sand. ;)

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I think I spent too much time in the sun over the weekend. I had a dull headache for both Saturday and Sunday evenings, despite trying to drink a ton of water and using sunscreen. My shoulders, neck, biceps and deltoids were positively WRECKED from kayaking–I was SO sore (and really, running was the only thing I could physical do that next day–no way was I weight lifting or swimming). Despite that, the weekend was superb and I am happy with the memories AND crossing things off my summer list!

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Jan 222014
 

On my actual birthday, Sunday, we got up and went to breakfast first at The Wildflower Grill. Ironically it was on our list to good restaurants to try and we discovered that as part of the Groupon deal we got a voucher for breakfast there! It was pretty crowded when we got there but didn’t have to wait too long for a table. I was slightly disappointed that we got a table in the front restaurant as opposed to the enclosed patio overlooking the trees and a creek–but I was hungry and not gonna complain!

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I splurged and got the French Toast. Yes, it was as big as it looks in that picture. There were six slices of thick, airy, fluffy pieces of bread dusted with powdered sugar. I ate about three of them and called it good. Man was I stuffed! Totally worth the splurge, though. (I ended up skipping lunch, too.) The service was good even though they were all harried and busy and the prices were about average. Some dishes were on the high side ($15) but my French Toast was humongous and only $8. 

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After breakfast we went on a short hike at Cascade Head Trail. It was longer than what we wanted to do so we just did about 2.28 miles total. (We’d tried to go on a hike around Devil’s Lake but couldn’t find the trailhead so we tried plan B.)

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The trail was was pretty steep in the beginning and definitely got my heart pounding. We hiked through old growth forest on a very quiet, serene trail.

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There were very old trees covered in dripping moss, ferns and mushrooms. The trail itself was very soft, covered in pine needles. We wandered around, winding through the woods and passed by several brooks. Bella did pretty well on the hike. Her paws seemed to be ok.

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We didn’t see a single soul on the trail while we were out. It was kind of nice to just meander along in the woods. We stopped for water and then turned around to go back. It was still pretty steep up and down (how was it uphill both ways??) and honestly the last 1/2 mile or so was a little TOO steep for me and my creaky knees.

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It would have been nice to be able to do the whole hike because there’s supposed to be some amazing views of the ocean at the end but it just wasn’t gonna happen. Besides, we had some amazing ocean views from our hotel room. Like this one:

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Hahaha! Anyways, a decent number for a short hike:

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We went back to the beach and did another little short walk so Bella could get her sand-fix. She did the same thing she did the first day–rolling around like a crazy dog. After the beach we cleaned up and then went back to the casino to kill an hour or so before our dinner reservations. I got lucky again! I ended up quadrupling my money this time. Which was a super awesome birthday gift if I do say so myself….

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Our dinner reservations were for the Inn at Spanish Head. The hotel is perched up on a cliffside overlooking the ocean and the restaurant is on the top floor. It had amazing views. We got lucky and got to see the last part of the sunset before it got too dark. Our table was nice and quiet, right next to a window. It was pretty early for dinner (like 5:30) but we were tired and hungry so we got there early. We shared the crab and artichoke dip appetizer. It was pretty good, but then I usually love any kind of dip. ;)

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I had the seared scallops with mashed potatoes and vegetables. A green salad came out first. The salad was really good–the greens were super fresh and delicious. I loved my scallops. They were cooked in a leek, pancetta, white cream sauce (so good) and had steamed broccolini with it. The mashed potatoes were just ok. I’ve definitely had better. They were pretty dry.

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Michael got the steak and mashed potatoes. He loved his steak and the port sauce it had on it. Even though I don’t like mushrooms, I felt like the sauce needed them. So that was one thing they could have improved on. Overall we both enjoyed our dinners and thought it tasted good–even though it had room for improvement in some areas.

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One thing that kind of irked me was the wine menu. The only wine they served by the glass was their own label–Spanish Head wine–I had a sample of two different kinds of their white wines and didn’t like either of them. They weren’t good and I was kind of annoyed that I couldn’t have a different label wine unless I ordered a bottle. So I had a vodka tonic instead.

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I kind of wanted some key lime pie for dessert but neither of us had ANY room for more food. We went back to the room to chill out. Bella passed out on the bed between us, snoring. She was tuckered out from the hike and the beach! I’ve never seen her that tired before. Poor thing. She slept all night without making a peep. The next morning we went for one final walk on the beach.

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Of course our last day there was the warmest (no jacket needed)! Our walk on the beach was a short one and I grabbed breakfast to go on our way out of town. We stopped at Pirate Coffee Company. What a cute place. I got an English Toffee latte (it was great) and probably the best bagel I’ve ever had (I think it was homemade). I also got a souvenir–a new food dish for Bella.

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It was such a good trip. I hadn’t realized just how desperately I had needed to get out of town and kind of decompress. It was amazing watching Bella experience the beach for the first time. I got some pretty cute video of her. I’m happy that she loved it and we’re going to try and go back again soon.

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