September Summary

First off, Happy Birthday to my dad! I’m looking forward to a fun weekend with him, mom and Bailey! I even put in a 12 mile run before work on a Friday to get it out of the way so that I could enjoy every minute of our time together.

Don’t worry, Bailey will get to partake in the party too – vanilla on vanilla cupcakes!

Goodbye September, already? Deeply ingrained in me is the idea that September equals a fresh start on my life. In school I’d show up on the first day to class with brand new clothes, new school supplies and a refreshed new attitude. I would keep my binders organized, finish my homework days before the deadline and eagerly put my best foot forward.

While I no longer go to class or have homework (or does blogging count?) I still feel the need to press the refresh button in September and commit to improving myself in small, yet significant ways. Ways like putting away clean laundry where it belongs, making my bed each morning before leaving the house and cleaning as I go to leave less work for later. Simplify and stick to it.

For the last “blogging day” of the month, I’d like to start a series where I recap accomplishments, great memories, projects and highlights from the month gone by that you as my readers may have missed or want to re-live with me!

Accomplishments:

  • Re-organized my closet so that I can access and find my favorite pieces easily.
  • I hosted my first Baby Shower for Tanna and Greg and loved it!
  • Re-organized my Pinterest boards into more descriptive categories – it’s a big deal!
  • Current running stats: 117 miles for the month
  • My best Nike+ Fuel day: 10,052 points

Great Memories:

Projects:

I’m looking forward to October and all of the fun Halloween decorations. It’s time to have a brainstorm sesh on a costume and maybe Dan’s too…. Go!

❤ JE

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Fall Favorites

My favorite season of all has arrived!

There are so many things I love about the fall as a native Oregonian and can’t imagine the season any other way.

Here’s a peek into the next few months for me as they are most autumns. You may get a clue why for me this is the ‘most wonderful time of the year‘.

What’s your favorite season of the year and why?

❤ JE

Homemade Pizza

On my weekend visit to Trader Joe’s I saw an old favorite in another shopper’s cart and felt inspired to follow in suit. Trader Joe’s has a Whole Wheat Pizza Dough that practically makes itself! I had most of the essentials at home already that I would use to build a fresh and healthy meal, but on an impulse I opted for the shredded pepperjack cheese over the usual mozzarella from home. It’s the little things!

Here’s the method I used to build my own pie:

Unwrap the pizza dough and let it rest for 20 minutes on a floured surface where you plan to roll it into your pizza.

Set your oven to 375 degrees

Once the dough has rested, start to mold it into  your desired shape either with your hands or a rolling pin. Once you’re satisfied, prep your baking pan with 1 TBSP olive oil and transfer the pizza onto it.

Now that you have a sturdy base, spread the pizza sauce evenly over the surface of the dough. You may not need to use the entire jar of pizza sauce depending on the surface area of your pie.

Sprinkle shredded cheese over the sauce, covering evenly.

Add the pre-cooked chicken, chopped mushrooms and chopped olives in even distribution across the pizza so that every slice has the mixture.

Add the cilantro to the top and finish with a coating of pepperjack cheese and your favorite seasoning!

Carefully place in your oven for 14 minutes at 375 degrees and monitor between the 10-12 minute mark for melted cheese, golden brown crust and the distinctive aroma of accomplishment.

Pull the tray out of the oven with oven mitts, hand towels, whatever you’ve got! Mine was heavy!

Take Photos while you’re cooling it off, posting to instagram, twitter and facebook. (In my case I also sent it to Dan to maybe make him miss me even more)

Slice, share and enjoy!

Mom, Dad and Bailey all got some too – I can’t finish it all on my own! Thanks, team!

Recipe:

1 Package Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

1 jar Trader Joe’s Pizza Sauce

1 1/2 cups Shredded Trader Joe’s pepperjack cheese

1 Chicken Breast – pre-cooked

3 large white mushrooms – chopped

1/2 can of medium olives – chopped

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped

1 TBSP Olive Oil

Flour to roll pizza dough

❤ JE

Closet Cleanup

This weekend I took on the great project of cleaning out my closet. This somehow slides by as only a twice a year activity, but with as many clothes as I have and as much as I happen to shop I feel inspired to do this more often.

My goal this weekend was to get to a point where I can see each individual piece and easily locate what I am looking for. I wanted to get everything onto a hanger that needs to be and easily disguise my wardrobe behind the closet doors. My ultimate goal is to try to truly define my style and let go of some of the clothes I haven’t worn since college. Making space in my closet and chopping 20 minutes off of my 5am daily outfit decisions would make me significantly happier and ideally an overall better dresser.

To start the day and work up enough energy to overhaul my closet, I did what any sane person would do. I went on my 16 mile taper run. While a “taper run” sounds relaxed and not very intimidating, 16 miles is still a really long run. “Only” 12 miles this weekend then 26.2 on October 7th. I can’t wait to finish! Thankfully I’m a thinker while I run, so I was able to do some prep work in my mind while I was watching southeast Portland wake up to a crisp fall morning.

What kind of planning could I do on a run? Take a look at the photos to get some perspective.

I started with this:

I got here around an hour in:

And here’s how it looks now and forever:

That took all of 3 and a half hours!

I started by deciding how I wanted the layout so that I wasn’t overwhelmed by the process of organizing.

I put skirts and dresses on one side together, lined up boots, displayed favorite scarves and belts, paired running shoes and weeded out still-wearable flats.

On the other side of the closet behind the closed doors I put clothes I wear often on the top row, and clothes I haven’t worn recently on the bottom. This way, my favorites are always there when I need to grab-and-go, the bottom shelf will reveal some seasonal favorites through the fall and winter, and anything I don’t wear or look at twice will be donated. Ta-da! I feel accomplished!

The icing on the cake was looking down at my Nike+ Fuelband at the end of the night and seeing that I’d broke my best day ever (Previously 9,013) and passed 10,000 in a single day!

I don’t expect to beat that score until Marathon day!

❤ JE

Apple Pie Adventure

Sunday morning I met Brad and Brooke at their new place together (formerly just Brad’s) and we set on an Apple Orchard adventure!

I was excited for the first weekend of fall, so wore my new Berry colored Rainboots to walk through the orchards on the hunt for some delicious apples that would be baked into something sweet. On the way I stopped for a latte and had several compliments on the boots – and here I was self-conscious because I was wearing rainboots with nothing but clear skies and a crisp bite in the air.

^Matching scarf from Seeds to Beads^

We made it to Bell’s Orchard with excitement in our eyes, but quickly saw that they were closed. Sigh. We had heard there were good places in Sherwood to pick, so we headed on a scenic drive to our next stop – Sherwood Orchards …. who were also closed on Sunday. I suppose that we should have done our research before heading out – but it seems like Sunday would be the perfect day for these local U-Pick farms to be open!

Our mission wasn’t a total waste – on our drive between orchards we saw Gramma’s Place that was more of a fruit and vegetable stand, but we still had the chance to buy local and get some photos of the store, the pumpkins and the sunflower field.

^Ghana Baskets^^Too early for me to buy a pumpkin^^Lucky I didn’t get stung by a bee!^

We made it back to the apartment to find the easiest recipe and assess our ingredients situation. Brooke and I went to the store for Pumpkin Spice Latte’s pie supplies while Brad slaved away with peeling, slicing and sampling the granny smith apples. Or course this all took place while watching NFL Redzone and sipping some cider from Gramma’s Place.

After some decent lattice patchwork and realizing we had enough apples to make TWO pies, here’s what we came up with:

^Before – look at that drip!^^Survivor of the great smoke-out 2012^^Up close and personal^^So tasty! Dad, you get half of mine!^

I was happy that pie making wasn’t that difficult. We took some obvious shortcuts though by using pre-made crust and having three hungry hungry hippos on the task (and one used to be the best Sous Chef in all of Southeast Alaska).

Dan was jealous that he wasn’t around to enjoy the pie since granny smith apples are at the top of his grocery list, but I think we can manage to make another when he’s home on October 3rd(!!) on our day off together! It can be his reward for placing SECOND at the Dundee Township Park District Open! Proud girlfriend!

❤ JE

Not An Average Bear

This week I took on a fun DIY project I’d seen on Pinterest here and here where you write on a coffee mug with a sharpie and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. I was having a hard time coming up with what to write, then realized that this is a very low budget project and that I should just have fun with it! I’ll perfect the art of mug detailing when I pick a design I must have with my weekend sips of coffee or my winter night hot cocoa.

Rumor has it that when I was very young I would say things that were wise beyond my years. I would talk so much that I earned the nickname “Windjammer” – so something profound would come out eventually, right? The inspiration for my first mug came from my youthful insight that “I’m not an average bear. That’s just a regular bear and they don’t know too much.” What would you write on your mug?

What I Used:

Metallic Sharpie

Black Latte Mug

Oven & iPhone timer

Thanks to my wonderful and inspiring parents I knew at a very young that there was something special about me.

This is the happiest Friday of all! Rain was falling this morning for my 6 mile run and I get to pull one of three of my Frye’s out for the next 6-8 months!

❤ JE

Homecoming Brother

Yesterday was a bundle of great news for my family!

First, my brother announced the dates that he plans to be home in November! He’s been approved for 16 days of vacation, meaning that he will be home long enough to fit both family and friends into his schedule and not feel pressured to make decisions on who to spend his valuable time with. Of course, to optimize my time with him I’ve taken 4 days off from work – making my vacation from November 16th (Hint – My Birthday) through November 25th! Take 32 hours of personal time, get 10 consecutive days off? I’ll take it!

The last time he was home he lifted Bailey atop Haystack rock!

This time when he’s home we will have Fakesgiving to plan, new babies to visit, the beach house to see and some Fire on The Mountain to nom on – a few times!

Second, my dad had to do a presentation at work to upper management and knocked the socks off of his audience! He even got called out in a full staff meeting for an encore of his exceptional presentation for his peers. I was very proud of him and was even more elated to find out that his schedule will change as a result of his great work and he will now have Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays off! I don’t think that he and my mom could ask for a better winter schedule! It’s almost like they’re both retired : ) The look on mom’s face when she heard the news was priceless.

^Resemblance?^

And third, we had a family pow-wow to paint one of the bedrooms in the house I’m renting in preparation of new carpet that will be installed next week. Dad covered the walls, mom worked the details, and I kept a curious Bailey out of the room and therefore out of trouble. We also went to The Original Taco House in SE Portland which is one of my all-time favorite Mexican restaurants – We are a 3 identical Tostada Regulario family!

^Eager for a biscuit^

^Mystery down the hallway^

^Curious^

^Watching Happily^

^Paint on the ear – whoops!^

Lastly, Dan got me this little bear (our very own Bacon) for Christmas last year and it’s been at his house until this week. Bacon and I drove home buckled up last night and I sent him this silly instagram-filtered photo:

❤ JE