Pint A to Pint B Bike Ride

A few weeks ago, we participated in our friends’ Pint A to Pint B bike ride. It was just a big group of friends riding our bicycles through different areas of Dallas with plenty of rest stops for drinks and snacks. Honestly, I was pretty worried about the weather. March is a pretty mercurial month as far as what the weather will choose to do. But when the Saturday finally rolled around, it really couldn’t have been a nicer day!

We had a total of four stops and the full 20 mile bike ride with breaks took around 6-7 hours. It was definitely a leisurely bike ride (even for me, the non-biker!). I really enjoyed the beautiful weather, the fun scenery/trails, and spending time with such awesome friends. Donald and Karen really put together a well thought out trail, kudos to them!

  1. Deep Ellum Brewery
  2. The Lot
  3. Boy Scout Hill pavilion at White Rock Lake
  4. Katy Trail Ice House

View Pint A to Pint B: 2014 Epic Cycle Adventure in a larger map
And now…pictures!

Oscar and Tat, ready to ride Mexican style. Actually…I’m a little jealous of their adorable little mini hats. Who doesn’t love a mini hat?

Danielle, Ethan, and Cody hanging out at Stop #2: the Lot. A very fun patio bar with good food and cold beverages. And as a bonus, it’s directly next to the bike trail! Convenient!

Me and Carrie getting ready to leave Stop #3 at White Rock Lake. See? Didn’t I tell you it was a BEAUTIFUL day? The likes of which we may not see again for the rest of the year!

Jacques and Ashley (with Andy photobombing in the background) at Stop #4.  The Katy Trail Ice House was the perfect place to end the day!

Me and Andy (with James doing an awesome photobomb) warming up as the sun sets with a lovely (and much needed) espresso.

Sorry for the slightly blurry photos, we only had cell phones to work with. Andy wouldn’t let me bring a nicer camera. But in retrospect, judging by the number of times I spilled everything in my bike basket onto the ground and then rolled over stuff, that was probably a good call. Please note that I didn’t actually fall, just had a tendency to throw everything I owned (and Carrie owned) onto the ground whenever I hit a pot hole.

And as a bonus, we met this guy. He invented (and was marketing) these little backpack carriers for dogs!!! Though I think Jabber and Cery would be less than thrilled (and way too heavy), this little Schnauzer seemed happy (or terrified) to be along for the ride.

And even as night fell, a good time was still to be had! Tat, Donald, Karen, and Oscar are always ready to party! So, we rode the last 2 miles to Donald and Karen’s house…which I have to say, was the toughest stretch of the entire ride! Even with my cushy bike seat, my butt was so sore by the end of the day!!

We’re so glad we got to participate in this year’s bike ride and we certainly hope we can do it again next year! Thanks to Karen and Donald for putting the event together!!

Group photo taken at White Rock Lake! Thanks to friend of Donald’s (Delicia?) for taking this photo.

Care Package Delivery to Austin

Life has been busy. But life is never so busy that we can’t manage a hand delivered care package to Andy’s parents in Austin. So while Andy was in class, I spent Friday evening simmering a MASSIVE amount of chicken stock and baking fresh bread from scratch. In the days of boxed, frozen, and pre-made everything, I think sometimes it’s nice to get something homemade. Don’t get me wrong, I buy pre-prepared stuff all the time. **hanging head in shame** And maybe it tastes exactly the same…but I choose to believe that making something by hand and using better quality ingredients makes the food taste better, even if it’s all in my head. (You can click the pictures to take you to the recipes that I used)

Ina said to use a 16 to 20 quart stock pot. I used a 16 quart stock pot…but judging by the fact that I’m at the very tippy tip top of the rim, I think I will be using the 20 quart pot next time. But man, this sure does makes your house smell lovely!

And my homemade loaves of honey white bread (also courtesy of Ina Garten, I do love my Ina!). However, I realized after I took this photo that it is quite misleading. The cookbook in front is one that I had just ordered for more bread recipes. It is NOT what I actually made here…my book is way too far advanced for me to try just yet.

Since we got into Austin so late, we decided to go hang out with Cathy for the evening. She took us to a fun little bar on the East side of Austin, Rio Rita. Interesting and potent drinks, fun atmosphere, just a fun relaxed kind of evening. PLUS! There was parking in the area, which is a big deal if you’ve ever tried to go out on a Saturday night in Austin.

This was my reaction to the fact that Andy wanted to use flash for this picture. Flash is evil. Even the fact that we’re as grainy as can be won’t change my mind that flash is evil!

Me and Andy after a long week and an even longer weekend. But we’re still happy we made it down to Austin, even if it was a short amount of time.

I love the decor in Rio Rita and I love this arm chair. I know you can’t see it very well, since I’m sitting in it and all, but I would totally buy and put it in my house. (well, I would if it hadn’t had a previous life in a college town bar)

And because we only had Jack In the Box Chicken McNuggets on the drive down to Austin (And yes, I ordered them as “chicken mcnuggets” at the Jack in the Box. The drive through lady laughed at me.), we stopped for a quick bite at Kerby Lane’s before heading home. Because stuffing your face full of cheesy breakfast quesadillas and fluffy pancakes is definitely a good call at 1 am. I love Kerby Lane’s.

Yum yum yum. I think I’m hungry again…

And as a bonus, we went and got a delicious brunch the next morning at Takoba. So much good food in Austin, so little time! Then we spent the afternoon at the parents’ house, hanging out, chatting, and watching some March Madness basketball. All in all, a very busy, but good weekend!

To Irvine We Go – Part 2

Okay, there really isn’t too much more to tell about our trip to California. But I did want to highlight a couple of our favorite restaurant spots in Irvine. Ready for some major drooling?

1. 85C Bakery and Cafe – A chain of fantastic bakeries based in Taiwan that are taking California by storm. Get here during off hours or else be prepared to wait in line for a long time. This shop is set up more like a traditional Chinese bakery, it’s an easy process that results in you eating yummy pastries. So why not give it a try?

At the entrance, pick up a clean pair of tongs and a tray.

Load up said tray with delicious looking goodies. Descriptions are hard to come by, so just go with your sense of smell and what looks tasty. At a lovely place like 85C, you can’t go wrong!

The slightly more delicate and refrigerated items are by the cashier. You have to ask for these amazing looking confections. But don’t you just want to try each and every single one of these beauties?

And then once you feel like you’ve got a good selection of goodies, line up to pay the nice 16 year old cashier. We escaped the madness of 85C with some delicious treats!

A walnut cup. No really, it’s just a giant pile of toasty walnuts inside a buttery pastry shell. I love that this isn’t too sweet.

A light fluffy sponge cake filled with a strawberry jam. Yum!

And a chocolate walnut dessert bread. I’m not sure what else to call it besides dessert bread. It’s not cake. It’s not plain bread. It’s a delicious dessert bread.

2. Tasty Noodle House -  a small Chinese restaurant with big bowls of noodles and more importantly, buns/dumplings!

The eagerly anticipated dish of the evening, the much beloved soup dumplings. These aren’t nearly as good as the ones in Taipei (duh), but they’re pretty decent for a little restaurant in the States.

AND they also had stinky tofu. Even my parents said that their tofu was properly stinky. Which is to say, it was pretty darn malodorous.

Just for good measure, so this post isn’t ALL about food. Here’s a fun selfie that I took of Mom and me. She’s not too impressed with my selfie taking abilities.

Me and Mom in the California sunshine.

And there you have it. Another fun trip to California come and gone. Now if only those silly test results would come soon!!

To Irvine We Go – Part 1

I signed up to take an exam. That’s right, I voluntarily chose to take the SOCRA clinical research professional certification. Crazy huh? Though I don’t get anything immediately for passing this exam, I am hoping that it will help me with my clinical research experience in the future. It’s one of those, good for me-good for my career, kind of exams. Basically, it included a lot of federal regulations, how clinical trials are run, and how to maintain patient safety. Fun stuff! I don’t get results for another 2-3 weeks. So, keep your fingers crossed for me!

On the up side, I signed up to take this lovely exam in Irvine, CA. So after all the cramming and late night study sessions surrounded by my highlighters/notepads, at least I got a nice weekend with my parents!

For a short amount of time, we still got to see plenty of stuff! After my test, we headed for La Jolla Beach Cove. It was a beautiful sunshine filled California day to be out strolling on the beach amongst all the sea lions. That’s right, sea lions! Awesome! I have found a new fascination of sea lion watching. They’re hilariously awkward and never cease to entertain me.

I know these look like dead blobs of sea lions. But I promise you, they were definitely still schlumping around and barking loudly, like a happy sunbathing sea lion should! (And yes, “schlump” is the best word to use when describing how a sea lion moves on land)

Gosh, doesn’t it just make you want to join them and take a nice nap in the sunshine? They look so content! Though…as a human, you probably need to include a little SPF into your sea lion-like sunbathing nap time.

Hey look, it’s us! Despite the fact that we did take a lot of sea lion pictures, we also managed to enjoy the gorgeous La Jolla scenery.

And the next day? Still plenty of activities! First off, a nice walk around my parents’ neighborhood. They have beautiful facilities in their complex and it connects to a pretty little walking trail. They even have real orange trees in the park! And since the orange blossoms just opened, the entire park smelled wonderful!

A morning walk with Aunt Jackie. Believe it or not, this little pavilion/garden area is just part of my parents’ neighborhood. They have several gardens, multiple pools, playgrounds, grill areas, a gym, tennis courts, basketball courts, and club houses. I think it means we will be visiting more often… :)

No lunch until walk has been completed! Thank goodness the weather was gorgeous (again) and there were plenty of pretty flowers/plants to see and even prettier houses to gawk at. I think my phrase for this trip is, “gosh, how much do you think that house costs?!?” (This is another view of the same pavilion above, pretty huh?)

After our morning exercise, we headed to the City of Orange. It’s a charming little town with plenty of antique shops, fantastic sounding restaurants, and perfect for an afternoon of window shopping!

Andy and me standing in front of the Orange County Fruit Exchange building. Back in the day when there was more citrus and less Swarovski, oranges really did grow in Orange County!

And since we obediently completed our morning walk, we were rewarded with a delicious Cuban lunch at the Felix Continental Cafe.

I got seafood crepes with fried plantains, creamed spinach, and rice. Yum!!

Andy couldn’t resist the temptation of getting the Cuban sandwich. As you can see from the stuffing of sandwich in his face, he was pleased with his choice!

But dad definitely won the lunch ordering competition. His plate came with grilled…everything! Shrimp, fish, chicken, steak, scallops, really everything you could possibly want grilled!

After so much food, we wandered around the main square checking out all the little stores and shops.

Sigh…what a beautiful vintage inspired stove. Vintage inspired = brand new but looks old fashioned. Love! Too bad it was so expensive, and there would be no fitting that in my carry on baggage. (our general rule of thumb for souvenirs)

And once we got back to Irvine, I finally got to visit the Japanese dollar store, Daiso! I’ve been wanting to shop at the Daiso the last couple times we’ve been in California but we never had enough time. (FYI: the Japanese dollar store is not a dollar, it’s $1.50) But what fun! You can find the most random, hilarious, and superbly cute things inside the Daiso! Packs of disposable travel underwear? $1.50! Bowls/plates/platters of every size, shape, and color? Mostly $1.50!! (some of the bigger items were a little more) An inflatable plastic dead crow that you hang from your trees to keep away actual crows? $1.50!!! Really anything you can think of and plenty that you can’t imagine all available for the most part at $1.50 inside a Daiso. I really wish we had one in DFW for party planning purposes alone!

Case in point, why would you want a boring old white out tape dispenser when you could have one in the shape of a duck?? Score! They also come in pink bunny and blue penguin. But Plucky the White Out Duck caught my eye.

I also snagged these cute little sauce dishes in the shape of lotus and chrysanthemum flowers. What am I going to do with them? I have absolutely no idea, but I had to have them! (AND they fit in my carry on luggage…)

Okay, I know you’re all enthralled by what I had for lunch and the fascinating purchases I made at the Daiso. But I’m going to have to blog the rest of our California trip tomorrow. It’s getting late and this post is getting too long. I still have many more food…yeah, really just food pictures to share with you! So, until tomorrow!

Almost Caught Up – Februaryish 2014

Well now, we did a lot in February 2014. But…I’ve gotten REALLY bad at taking pictures. And with the popularity of posting pictures to Facebook and Instagram, I’ve been taking a lot more everyday kind of silly photos rather than anything worth blogging about. I need to find a better balance between what pictures/descriptions to share on which platform. Yes, in case you haven’t noticed, I like to organize and compartmentalize just about everything. Tis a strength and a flaw. :)

Anyhow, here’s just a few fun things we did in the last month!

1. Valentine’s Day 2014, just another opportunity to enable Andy’s love of crazy socks!

It must be love for me to buy such ridiculous socks.

2. We were in Austin for Cathy’s birthday and also for Andy and Ethan to run the Austin Half Marathon. (you can see Mr. Andy’s race pics here) It’s an annual tradition that we really look forward and always enjoy. Well, the hanging out in Austin and celebrating birthdays bit, not so much the getting up early and running 13.1 miles part. Though why am I complaining? I certainly don’t get up at 7 am to run…

Andy and Ethan enjoying their Friday night. For Friday night is always the party night. Saturday night is always the carb loading night. And Sunday night is always the “I’m in so much pain, let me bandage my blisters and hobble around the house like a 90 year old” night. It’s the same story every year!

Me and Cathy enjoying a lovely Friday evening with a delicious Austin made cider.

3. We participated in the Yoga on the Bridge (part of the All Out Trinity event) at the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas.

The beautiful and rather unique Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge right outside downtown Dallas.

~650 people all gathered to practice yoga together. An interesting concept and a fun event. Plus, what beautiful view for a challenging workout!

Friends doing yoga together on a beautiful warm spring day! Of course, the next day it was sleeting and freezing cold. But that’s typical indecisive Texas weather for you!

Yoga yoga for one and for all! (And yes, I look a mess after working out. I don’t exercise very gracefully)

Sadly, that’s all I’ve got picture wise and honestly that’s all I can remember! I’m trying to remember to grab my camera as I run out the door, I promise I’m working on taking more pictures, and I’m almost caught up on my blogging adventures! One step at a time! (And I certainly don’t think having this awesome camera strap would hurt the whole taking more pictures thing…)

Ski Trip 2014

We always stay so busy that it wasn’t until recently that we realized how long it’s been since we last went skiing! With that said, we decided there’s no time like the present to revisit the slopes! We really enjoyed Copper Mountain during our last trip. The prices are decent, there are plenty of slopes for every experience level, and the ski resort has a good number of condos for any budget.

After much coordination, we got a fantastic group of friends together and off to the mountains we went!

A beautiful day for being out in the fresh Colorado air sliding uncontrollably down the mountain at breakneck speeds. (well I think it was only uncontrollable for me, everybody else seemed to be doing okay!)

Cathy, Carrie, and I took a skiing class together on the first day. I’ve taken two ski classes before, and I have found all three to be extremely helpful. I am now confident that I do actually know how to ski. Problem being, I just don’t enjoy it. Nothing about trudging around in painful ski boots, fumbling with ski gear while trying not to slide backwards, or speeding down the mountain with the fear that if I’m too out of shape I may not be able to stop before hitting a tree, is very appealing to me. I do love the scenery and I adore the ski trip company. But I think I’ll leave the actual skiing bit to the others next time.

Look! I survived my ski class! No broken bones, concussions, or epidermal hematomas here!

Now tubing, is a completely different story. Tubing takes absolutely no talent at all! And tubing has become a ski trip tradition and an absolute MUST!

Part of our group getting ready to tube!

All the people that stayed in the beautiful Copper Mountain townhouse that we rented. What excellent tubing partners and a fantastic group overall!!

And as a bonus, the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Competition was going on while we were in the mountains. Since we had a little extra time, we stopped by for a quick look.

The interesting but slightly frightening sculpture from the French team.

The entry from the Breckenridge snow sculpting team. Apparently, they like tubing as much as we do! :)

Carrie, Cathy, and I trying to stay warm as we admire the amazing snow sculptures. (I think this sculpture is form Mongolia?)

And because we still had time to kill before our flight back to DFW, we met up with Mary for dinner and card games at one of our favorite restaurants in Denver, Vine Street. The end to a fun and memorable trip!

You can take a look at all the pictures we took in January 2014 (which isn’t nearly enough, I agree) by clicking here. One more post down, many more to catch up on!

Happy Birthday to Me 2014

In the interest of someday catching up again, how about another post with plenty of pictures?

It wasn’t a landmark birthday this year, so I didn’t have a huge elaborate party like the one from last year. But we got a few friends together, had dinner at our favorite taco shop and played some whirly ball! Plenty of amazing friends came out to celebrate with me. I am a lucky girl indeed!

Dinner at 333 Gourmet Taco Diner – We are so very sad that our favorite taco shop has closed for business since my birthday dinner. They were in a strange location in an upscale suburb that just wasn’t ready for their amazing cuisine. A taco shop can be so much more than just free chips & salsa, refried beans, and boring old tacos. We will definitely miss their unique one of a kind tacos. (my favorite was the Hand Grenade, a lobster mac & cheese taco) We wish the wonderful people that worked there the best of luck in their future endeavors.

Carrie and me getting ready to eat some delicious tacos. (and do a few tequila shots)

Karen, Donald, Ketan, Neil, and Dee loading up on tasty food and drinks so they can bring their best whirly ball game faces!

Adam, you are a lucky man to have found such a gorgeous girl with such a great sense of humor! :)

We had to fashion our own little party fort from the available tables at the restaurant. Though a slightly unconventional formation, it ended up working well!

Whirly Ball at WhirlyBall Mid-Cities – In case you didn’t feel like clicking the link above for the Wikipedia description of whirly ball, the gist of the game is lacrosse + basketball + bumper cars. Sounds fun, no? Andy and I didn’t take a single photo during our whirly ball fun. So thank you to Karen for taking and sharing these pictures!

I have no idea why I’m making that very attractive face. My guess is that I can’t get my bumper car to go where I want it to go, steering while trying to keep an eye on the ball can be a challenge!

Weldon made a GOAL!!!!

A good old bumper car pile up while everybody tries to get control of the ball!

If you haven’t been able to tell from all the birthday posts throughout the years, I love celebrating birthdays. Be it mine, Andy’s, friends’ or family members’, I think birthday deserve to be celebrated! So, here’s to another fantastic year! Cheers!