Friday, March 29, 2013

Food & Beer Friday :: Squirrelly + the Woods.

First, I am over the moon to have Sarah from Exploring Woods co-hosting Food & Beer Friday with me!  Sarah is a fellow beer lover and lives close to Bell's Brewery.  She is the sweetest, and I'm thrilled she agreed to host with me.  This will be an official link-up and will be posted on both of our blogs.  Come and link-up your beer reviews, food reviews, recipes, etc.!  The link-up will be live through the weekend.

New Glarus Brewing is a pretty cool brewery out of Wisconsin.  While they don't distribute down in NC, D has brought back some beers from his visit to the brewery.  The Fat Squirrel is a nut brown ale, and you know I love a brown ale!  Conveniently, I also love nuts {you know the kind that squirrels like}.  The Fat Squirrel is definitely hopped up.  New Glarus has hops from three different countries brewed within this beer.  Hazelnut is their nut of choice.  While the pictures don't accurately depict it, this brew is an amber-brown in color with a caramel head to it.

My first impressions were the hops in Fat Squirrel.  I definitely got a nutty flavor in the aftertaste.  The hops weren't overwhelming though.  This beer isn't as rich as last week's brown ale, and I certainly wouldn't want to pair it with chocolate either.  At 5.5% alcohol, you should pair this beer with a grilled meal on a spring evening!  It won't be too hot for you to reach for the lightest beer you have, and there is just enough backbone to accompany a juicy steak (although my vegetarian side doesn't like to advocate for steaks, so maybe a hearty portobella would do just as well).

While this beer won't have me running to Wisconsin any time soon, it's definitely tasty!  Some of my other New Glarus favorites include the Spotted Cow and Raspberry Tart (maybe for you non-beer drinkers?).  I'm also dying to get someone to pick up the Coffee Stout and Snowshoe Ale for me!

Now don't forget to link your favorite beer or food post from this week and go check out Sarah while you're at it!

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Thursday, March 28, 2013


If you haven't noticed, I've added a little sponsor page up above.  While I've been skeptical as to beginning sponsorships, I've decided I'm going to give it a try.  If it doesn't work, I'll nip it in the bud!  If it does, then I am thrilled to be able to spread the blogger love.

Ps.  If I currently have your button on my sidebar, please email me about swapping!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A little love.

While my budgeting went awry this month (combined with next month's taxes due), I've been scouring Etsy for gifts and cards for friends, gifts (although the last few that I purchased from Etsy for D have been fails) and other projects.  My favorites list is getting so big that I can't even keep track of what shops I have on there.  I wanted to share a collection of what I've really been loving lately though.

Even though I don't eat bacon anymore, I don't deny the deliciousness of it.  I think this print from The Word Shop would be perfect on my gallery wall.  It would be an addition that I know D would be happy about.

With my 12 months of giving list in mind, I've been on the hunt for cool, different cards.  While I love all of the stationary from Row House 14, I especially love these geometric triangles!  And it's personalized!

I'm so obsessed with everything over at Crafts and Love that I couldn't pick one thing.  This colorful stretchy bracelet would be perfect for layering.  There is nothing I think more special than someone picking out something specific to be stamped on one of these customized brass cuffs; what a perfect gift.  And I just can't get over the beautiful necklaces!

Considering that two of my three tattoos involve animals (as is the next one), I have somewhat of an obsession with animals.  Little known fact :: I used to want to be a vet when I grew up.  I even volunteered at our local vet when I was in...5th grade?!  While foxes are extremely popular right now, Fox holds a special place in my heart.  As do feathers.  River Luna has done it all perfectly.  I definitely want this fox print to add to our gallery wall.  I'm obsessed with all of her feather art.

What are some of your Etsy favorites lately?  I'm coming to find that the only products I can trust may be prints & cards sadly...

Monday, March 25, 2013

On being injured.

Remember when I told you I was injured?  After almost three weeks of no activity and the pain still lingering, I knew it would ease my mind to go to the doctor.  I found a new practice where both are the doctors are runners and have a specialty in sports medicine.  My suspicions and research were accurate; it was a stress fracture.  While the X-ray didn't show it (even after approximately 3+ weeks with the injury), my doctor didn't think it would be necessary to spend the money on a MRI when the treatment would be the same.  The treatment?

The boot.  And only upper body work outs and swimming.  Cross training.  I hate cross training.  As of now, I'm in it for two weeks, and then I have a check-up from there.

My fears?

After accepting that I was not going to be able to run the RunRaleigh half (that had already been paid for) and achieve that PR I had been hoping for, I'm scared of losing all the endurance and speed I've worked so hard for.  I'm scared of gaining weight back that I've worked so hard to lose.  I'm scared my leg will never be the same.  I'm scared of this happening again.  I'm scared of how long this might take to heal.  I'm scared I may not be able to run that 5k for BFW in May.

I'm scared of a lot.  Being scared adds to stress.  My primary form of stress relief is running.  This has been a really difficult time for me.

[My last long run prior to the injury.  Pushed through calf tightness which was likely a precursor to/sign of the fracture]

How did this happen?

It wasn't the shoes.  I was running an average of three days a week, two short runs and one long run, which I don't consider overtraining.  I was cross training at least one day per week.  I was running exclusively outside (no treadmill).  My only guess what that I was pushing myself too fast and not resting and stretching enough.  My running partner pushed me to be faster (not by telling me to be, but just by being quicker); therefore my long runs were at a quicker pace than I was used to.  My short runs were all quick.  Even running three days a week, I was constantly pushing myself to be quicker.  Since many of my runs were during my lunch break, I didn't stretch properly after.  My routes always involved hills.  I'll never know for sure.

Where do I go from here?

Swimming.  I'm open to any and all resources on aqua jogging.  I did one session last week, prior to seeing my doctor, which involved alternating between kick boarding, backstroke, and aqua jogging.  I didn't feel like it was a work out at all, and I felt a dull ache in the "bad leg" after (possibly due to the increased leg effort with the kick board).  I'm a terrible swimmer, but I don't have a problem trying (if I can get over the judgement of that lifeguard always watching me ;)).  Since I thrive off of training plans, I am going to try to (as strictly as possible) follow this plan from Peter Pfitzinger.  Biking is out for the time being, especially while I'm in the boot.  I'll also be pulling out all those pinned workouts that I have yet to try.  I'm guessing I'm looking at another four weeks before I can comfortably do anything else...

Tell me about injuries you've had!

How did you get through them?  What swimming or core/upper body workouts would you recommend (even Pins!)?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Food & Beer Friday :: Originating from South America.

I've featured another Dogfish Head beer only once before, but crazily they have some of my top ten favorite beers (one day I'll feature this one that I adore so, so much).  It's actually been a really long time since I've had the Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, but it certainly didn't disappoint.

The Palo Santo is an unfiltered brown ale that comes in at a high 12% alcohol level.  Brown ales are one of my favorite types of beers.  The beer is aged in Palo Santo wood.  Dogfish Head boasts that the caramel & vanilla flavors are contributed to this wood.  The barrels are constructed from the Palo Santo, meaning "holy tree," wood that comes from Paraguay.  Apparently this wood is also used to build wine barrels used in South America as well.

Enough about the details, let's talk about the beer.  The beer is a rich, dark brown with a creamy caramel head.  This brew definitely hits the mark as a much...richer version of a brown ale.  It's malty with not too many hops coming through.  I didn't get a lot of those caramel and vanilla flavors, but let's chock that up to my flavor-challenged palate I've mentioned.

Even though I didn't get those dessert-type flavors from this beer, I had no problem pairing it up with some chocolate!  I received this Ghirardelli chocolate as part of a giveaway package from Stephanie.  I am not into chocolate that much, but you guys...this is delicious!  It was a great pairing that brought out some of the sweeter flavors within the beer.  Even if you don't try the beer, try the chocolate!  

What is one of your top ten favorite beers?


Ps.  As of April, I'll have Sarah of Exploring Woods co-hosting Food & Beer Friday with me.  We're going to be making this super official with a weekly link-up.  Get ready for a new button, and go get to know Sarah (she's a pretty awesome beer lover!).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

And anniversary weekend commences.

I guess I kind of left you hanging with our Boone trip.  I didn't want to overwhelm you with pictures, so I figured I'd save the other part of our weekend.  While we spent Friday lounging around and exploring the lands, we took Saturday to walk around downtown Boone.

Does this outfit look familiar? Add a chambray + different color sweater, and it's a new outfit!  It certainly kept me warm.  I'm still trying to break out of my photo-shy shell while being in public, so I didn't take many pictures in town and none that warrant display.

But we did have a pretty great dinner at Vidalia.

Since we were technically traveling (remember my vegetarian rules?), I got the smoked chicken & "dumplings."  The dumplings were gnocchi, and I can not pass up gnocchi!  D and I were both impressed with our meals and really enjoyed our meal there!

After exploring in Boone, we bundled up and came home to drink and lounge by the fire (and use up all the firewood).

Special beers and this guy were the perfect way to end our anniversary trip.  Of course we spent one last time in the hot tub too.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Travel Tuesday :: To the mountains.

We have a tradition of heading to the North Carolina mountains for our anniversary.  We've gradually upgraded every year.  For our first anniversary, we started in a teeny little "studio" cabin on the same road where we stayed this year.  Last year, we had a much busier weekend staying right outside of Asheville, NC in Max Patch.  This year, we headed back to Boone for a cabin with a lot of land and gorgeous weather.

On Thursday night, we drove in and enjoyed the fire and just being together in the cabin.  The decor definite reminded us of the cabin (of the same owners) from our first anniversary.  That fox freaked out the dogs (and myself) a bit.  We tested out the hot tub, which was off by quite a few degrees (cue burning of feet & toes), so we took a break from that to let it cool down.  In the meantime, beers were consumed and books were read.

I took advantage of all the downtime and used it to read and ice my pathetic leg.  Since my leg wasn't 100%, we didn't hike on Friday but took advantage of the beautiful weather nonetheless.

 [We welcomed our anniversary morning with breakfast & cards. Above is from the amazing, NC local, EmDash]

 [There was plenty of land for the dogs to explore. The above was just a tiny storage barn!]

[A dusty bottle from our visit here]

And over a bottle of wine, D killed me in Monopoly (oh, it's here and now style).  It was a good anniversary day.  Beautiful weather, great company.  In the meantime, I'll be brushing up on my Monopoly skills...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Life Lately :: That time I was super sad.

While I haven't mentioned it on the blog, I've been in a bit of a running depression for the past two weeks.  It took a turn for the worse this week when I really started getting scared that I won't be able to run (let alone PR) my first half in Raleigh in April.  I tore/strained/stress fractured something in my calf and it's been a slow recovery.  Two weeks of no running or exercise.  Missing out on the gorgeous weather.  Please excuse my absence from the running blogs I keep up with.  It's been difficult to read about the running triumphs of others...difficult to see the runners on my street.  I did go for a bike ride today and my calf faired well.  It felt tight after, but not in one specific area of the calf (which is what had been plaguing me).  Enough about that...I haven't been up to much since I've been busy feeling sorry for myself.

[We had the nicest three day weekend getaway for our 3 year anniversary in Boone, NC. Check back for a post on that tomorrow!]

[The cabin.]

 [Excited to try out these new "barefoot" running shoes when I'm back in the game. Got them on super sale ($40!) in Boone.]

[D enjoying his hammock and this gorgeous weather we've been having!]

 [This little girl is the cutest. Love when she rolls over on her back.]

[Felt like this was a necessity within the depression this week.  My favorite NC cheese, gluten-free nut crackers, and red wine.]

 [Took this little buddy outside with me...Big treat for an inside kitty!]

Hoping to do more swimming (which I hate) and short bike rides (my tires are seemingly going flat quickly) if I can't get back on the road slowly.  It's time to stop eating and drinking and start working again.  


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