May Summary

As we close out the month of May I look back and I’m thankful for everything that’s come my way.

First of all I’m thankful for all of you new readers that have come my way thanks to Brooke’s recommendation to join a Portland Bloggers group full of lovely like-minded ladies.

Second, I’m thankful for such a successful month at work. I remember how it started and can see how far my team and I have come in the last 30 days.

We had beautiful weather to start the month and I got to goof around with these girls on the beach:

I’ve exceeded my monthly running goal of 100 miles by just a few over, and I don’t plan to run on vacation (even though I brought clothes in case that mind of mine changes). I do plan do dance up a storm at the wedding and run circles around Dan (if that counts!)

This will make me really ready to hit the pavement com June 3rd when I’m back home. It rained on a few runs, but I don’t mind!

This month I really enjoyed the start of something intellectual with TED Tuesdays: Happiness Advantage, 30 is not the new 20 and the Power of Grit.

Getting hit by a bus was a bad day for me and my car, but the joys of my Half Birthday and a blog make-over outweigh any mirror damage!

Finally, it was so refreshing to finally speak about the Truth behind Cohabitation, and I really appreciated everyone’s warm, heartfelt and encouraging comments. I’m not proud of what once was, but I’m thankful it happened and that I learned how important my Daniel was because of it.

Before midnight tonight I’ll step off an airplane and into the arms of my boyfriend who I’ve missed all week. I can’t think of a more perfect way to end May!

Happy June!

heart JE

Throwback Thursday: Meeting the Parents

I can’t believe that it happened so quickly, but it’s May 30th and in two days I get to finally meet Dan’s family.

Dan’s already been in Chicago for a week and has been doing everything from meals with family members to golfing daily with friends (big surprise!). Originally the master scheme was to leave Portland together over Memorial Day weekend and get the grand tour, but the timing wasn’t in my favor with the end of our fiscal year this week. The trip to Chicago is postponed and rather I head to Bowling Green, Kentucky tomorrow – the location of Dan’s little sister’s wedding.

Yikes – meeting the family at a wedding! I know, I’m a little nervous too! 

I joke, I’m probably not as nervous as the normal girlfriend should be for the occasion. I’ve had the pleasure of loyal readership and email correspondence with Dan’s mom, while I’ve overheard the jovial voice of Dan’s dad when they’re on the phone together bantering about everything sports, cars, motorcycles and action movies. 

It’s a little crazy for me to think of all the time Dan’s spent with my family and how often I’ve had to sit back and read mom and dad’s facial expressions depending on what was coming out of Dan’s mouth. Remember the flower incident, Dan? Now it will be fun to witness him with that feeling. He will have to make sure that I’m keeping in line, not doing my infamous nervous jabber and most importantly that I don’t drink too much and take over the microphone at the reception in front of the guests. Kidding, but seriously.

An extremely rewarding part about the trip will be leaving work in the middle of the day tomorrow to catch my flight – the perfect way to wrap up the past three months of the most demanding and exhilarating work of my life.

Today’s Throwback Thursday is brought to you by a girl who knew the importance of packing light, dressing for the destination and posing with confidence:

See you soon, baby!

heart JE

Weekend Prep Returns

Even though I’ve been quiet about my weekend food prep it’s still been going on.

For you new faces around here, I recommend that you check out the archives:

Take the Time: Meal Prep and Weekend Food Prep will give you an idea of what usually goes on in my home on the weekends.

Lately however, food prep begins with a sweet and gentle, “Dan, can you please please please grill some chicken and salmon burgers? I bought lettuce yesterday.”

From there, he jumps out of his seat if there’s no sports on TV and heats up our extra convenient grill. He’s finished in under 45 minutes, has protein ready for the week and all I have to do is chop the lettuce, squirt the sriracha and make sure the avocados are ripe enough for bliss at work the next day.

Okay, so I know that arrangement sounds unfair and I’m working on it, but this weekend since he wasn’t home I had to take meal prep back to my top standards and make a mini-production out of it. It was especially fun this weekend because I didn’t even have to go grocery shopping!

1. Egg ‘pancakes’:

Nothing involving pancakes goes into cooking up these eggs, just the shape the finished product ends up being after a quick 90 seconds in the pan. At work I can pop these into the microwave, add spices or 1/2 of an avocado and voila – protein made easy.

2. Tempeh, Lentils, Avocado, Sriracha Salad

Here’s where I get to use the other half of the morning avocado and also get to watch all my co-workers turn their heads to see what the amazing smell is that’s coming from my area.

Tempeh is a protein powerhouse so it’s no wonder that I love to include it in my meals wherever I can. What you see below is 4 servings worth of the good stuff, and I can pre-portion it into my convenient tupperware for the whole week – each day’s ration alongside 1/2 cup of wonderful Trader Joe’s Lentils.

I pop the lentil / tempeh / sriracha mix into the microwave for 35 seconds and have a clean and filling meal ready to be instagrammed and devoured.

3. Sweet Potato + Quinoa Stir Fry

This one’s for dinner every night this week.

Sweet potato, Quinoa, Jalapeno peppers, black beans, grilled chicken and a dash of love make this the perfect ‘comfort meal’ after the long days of work I’ve been experiencing. 

The recipe is here and you’ll find the peeled thin potato slices to be the perfect texture and just the right size for cooking without extra time or effort.

Have you ever done your food prep on the weekends? What are your favorite easy fixes for a whole week of quality meals?

heart JE

TED Tuesday: The Power of Grit

Welcome back to the work week! I hope everyone’s weekend was relaxing and re-energizing.

The topic of today’s TED Talk is Grit. What is it?

Grit is “passion and perseverance”. Grit is continually setting goals for yourself, being self motivated, having stamina through long term goals and sticking to your future.

Talent doesn’t make you gritty, wealth doesn’t make you gritty, education doesn’t make you gritty.

What does?

Hard work, courage, confidence and trust in yourself.

I’m fortunate to have parents who instilled the idea of grit into my mind at a young age. They were entrepreneurs who worked harder than anyone I know to make a future for our family. That mindset has guided me through life and has yet to fail me.

In school I wasn’t always the most intelligent of my class but worked hard to get exceptional grades. In my final four years of softball I was challenged mentally more than I’ve ever been in my life and came out of it with a hard shell and a resilience that can’t be taught. In my current job I wasn’t ready for the pressure that would come my way, but through focus, stamina and my can’t-fail attitude I’m happier than ever.

The man I have fallen in love with has grit. When he was diagnosed with Cancer in 2008 after he’d moved to Portland he found the strength within himself to not give up, to see himself through his treatments and to continue his life as if nothing had happened. I’m proud of him and it proves his ability to face any future adversity that may come our way.

Enough about me, observe the confidence of Angela Lee Duckworth in today’s TED talk. She’s captivating, motivating and hopefully she can encourage you to find the grit somewhere deep within yourself. 

TED Talks: Ideas worth spreading

heart JE

Bachelorette Weekend

Dan left for Chicago on Saturday and since I dropped him at the airport it’s been a beautiful bachelorette weekend.

I do miss him dearly and the three terrifying motion alarms in the middle of the night didn’t give me much opportunity to rest, but the waking hours are exactly the way I’d draw up the perfect three day weekend.

Hours at my beloved neighborhood coffee shop, Lumineer’s Pandora station filling the house, no shame walking out of the house in my glasses, chambray + leggings + lace up boots…basically I turned into a hipster overnight.

Other musings included:

  • My monthly 90 minute massage to get all the running and weight lifting kinks out
  • Sleeping in until 11:30 – which is unheard of.
  • More running to get to my 100 miles for the month (only 4 remaining!)
  • Delicious recovery meal of Dave’s Killer Bread, 2 Eggs, 1/2 Avocado, Sriracha and Pepper {below}
  • A refreshing strawberrita or two while catching up on weekend reading
  • Finally watched Silver Linings Playbook – since Dan didn’t exactly want to see it

It also looks like I have developed a signature pose with my coffee, head tilt and eye position. Help us all.

I’m going to take advantage of the 90% rain forecast here in Portland and continue to pamper myself with a facial, a bubble bath and maybe even a manicure if I’m feeling wild.

I finally see the finish line at work for the end of the fiscal year and I can’t be stopped now!

Carpe Diem, friends!

heart JE

The Truth about Cohabitation

I alluded to sad times last year during this week and I guess I can’t really back away from writing this post now.

You’ve all given me positive feedback about the Boyfriend + Cohabitation posts for the last 20 weeks (TWENTY?) and I’m here to tell the story about our relationship before he moved in with me. A story about when I moved in with him.

Dan and I met in the summer of 2010 through an intramural softball league and didn’t exactly hit it off at first sight. He was the 3rd baseman and I was the first basewoman. Any of you who know a thing about intramural softball would know that the 3rd and 1st positions interact a lot. I say we didn’t hit it off so well because he’d always short hop me (bruises!) or air mail me (white girl can’t jump!) and I just thought he wasn’t good at ball. There wasn’t much there to kick off a conversation!

Our first memorable interaction was after our team had won first place and went out to celebrate afterward with beer and tots. He conveniently pulled up a chair next to me, cracked every joke he could to have me in stitches and even snuck his way into getting my phone number when I was sharing it with some of the ladies on my team.

From that day on, he and I hit it off easier than I’d ever gelled with a guy before. Conversation flowed seamlessly, we’d meet late for dinner and drinks and wind up closing down wherever we went, no matter how late their hours were. 10pm, 1am, on weeknights! We didn’t want to leave one another’s company until we were given the glare and the ‘you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here’ look from the bar/restaurant/pool hall’s staff.

These late nights weren’t exactly easy on me gramma likes her sleep and one day in early 2011 before an evening meet-up I stopped at Target on the way to dinner and bought a new outfit. The outfit wasn’t for the date, it was for work the next morning. I was going to stay the night. I surprised myself with this bold move, mostly because I wasn’t the girl that did that type of thing on the regular, but also because my intent wasn’t a relationship with Dan.

So, Jessi – what exactly were you trying to accomplish by staying the night with a ‘friend’ with no intention to date him?

I still can’t answer that question. There was something about Dan that brought me comfort, confidence, peace of mind and happiness. That one night staying over turned into two nights a week, turned into me bringing over clothes and buying an extra hair dryer. Then two nights a week turned into more – rearranging his closet to fit more of my things, going to ikea together to install a place where I could get ready in the mornings. Four nights a week then morphed into grocery shopping for the two of us, buying furniture together and making decisions about travel together – and yet I still wasn’t his girlfriend. Oh, so that’s where ‘cohabitation’ comes from!

It went so deep as to not having access to my full wardrobe for a year.

Spring of 2011 quickly turned into Summer of 2012, memories, dates, road trips together – and I still wasn’t claiming him as my boyfriend. I still hadn’t told my parents, friends, co-workers or loved ones that I was involved in a relationship, that I hadn’t stepped foot into my own home for months or that I was even dating someone. Someone as special as my Daniel.

If I was Dan I would have quit me a long time before that. I was a jerk.

Late Spring of 2012 Dan’s sister called him and excitedly announced that she was engaged! He was so happy for her and at the same time guilt hit me like a brick wall. Was I leading him on? Was he going to start thinking about marriage soon? Is he my forever or was he just the closest chair?

After a hard weekend conversation with my mom just a few days after she met Dan for the first time at my 24 1/2 birthday dinner, I decided that I had to end whatever it was that I was doing. During my conversation with my mom which she will still never forgive me for I didn’t confess that I’d been living with him for a year. She sensed from meeting him that we were great friends but that if I wasn’t going to date him then I needed to give him space and let him find ‘the one’.

Monday May 21st after work I let myself into his home, rolled up my sleeves and removed every last piece of evidence that I’d ever lived there. Through waterfalls of tears I raced up and down the stairs with handfuls of clothing on hangers, duffel bags full of shoes, grocery bags that carried make-up and craft supplies, the kitchen appliances…everything that I’d brought into his home and that we’d made ours. I was in such a hurry because I didn’t want his roommate to catch me and even worse for him to catch me.

I was on the road within an hour – my little car was bursting at the seams with bags and shoes, ugly cry/sweaty hair, heartbreak to the max.

I hadn’t even given him a hint that I wouldn’t be home that night.

At 6:45 I received a text message from him “What can I make us for dinner?” More tears.

I cried myself to sleep that night, I sobbed to my mom on the phone several times, I cried and cried to Dan when we met the next afternoon for lunch to talk through why I’d left. That I was really just scared, that I wasn’t his one and he wasn’t mine. Sitting there in the restaurant, there was no emotion on his face, no concern for my heartbreak, nothing but an acceptance that what we shared was over and that he wasn’t going to spend another minute chasing after my affection. I thought this was where the secret story of our time together would end.

But it didn’t.

For days and nights, sitting at my desk or over a simple conversation I’d break into tears over what I felt I’d lost. No, what I’d thrown away.

After suggesting dinners, drinks, lunch, walks in the park, everything to see him – I finally dragged him away from a workout and treated him to seeing The Avengers on a weeknight.

The drive to the theater was silent, during the movie I extended my fingers to hold his hand and instead he handed over the package of twizzlers we’d snuck into the theater. We didn’t speak much, and I felt like my window of opportunity was shrinking.

Just one mile before I was to his home and going to have what seemed to be my last face to face conversation with him, I calmly spoke.

Dan, do you trust me?”  (silly question)

“Uhhh…. ” (with that look he gives me)

Well, I’m a little crazy, but what if we start. over?

(blank stare).(frustration). “How?”

Start over! You forget me, I forget you – we forget everything we’ve ever done together and we just start. over. Right now, see –” I pull out my phone. “This is you in my phone. I’ve never deleted a single text message from you. Do you trust me?

“There’s no way to start over, Jessi. There isn’t.”

Dan! Watch me.” Swipes finger across the screen, taps the red bar. “You and everything you’ve ever been is now deleted in my phone. Now you do it too!

An uneasy Dan pulls out his phone and with less drama does the same, and away went all of the messages we’d ever shared.

I dropped him off to his home, looked him deep into his eyes and said, “you know where to find me“.

And he found me…..

Happily and instantly, we started over.

heart JE

Throwback Thursday: May Rain

So I know we were parading and dancing around a few weeks ago from all of the beautiful weather.

Our trip to the coast felt like we were in Mexico, I was shopping and worrying about what to wear professionally that wouldn’t be too hot for summer (buh-bye, tights!) and looking forward to shorts and flip flops out on the patio in the evening relaxing and entertaining around the grill.

Fast forward a few short weeks and instead we’re experiencing some’a this and some more’a this:

Something strange about me that you may have seen on here before is that I love the rain.

The soothing rhythm of the raindrops on rooftops, my opportunity to wear my Hunter Boots, the amazing excuse to drink 2-3 cups of coffee just to warm up. Lovely moments to look forward to.

My only true rain-related rants are that somehow other drivers don’t know how to drive in the rain, my hair doesn’t do well with moisture (both humidity and rain) and that Dan doesn’t seem to love the rain as much as I do… which makes me happy because when it’s raining he won’t spend all day playing golf.

This week it’s also making me happy that it’s raining for reasons I’ll do my best to explain tomorrow. Last year this week in particular was a difficult one for me emotionally, so it makes me happy that Dan and I have been curling up together under blankets, enjoying our evenings together and talking about how happy we are to be together.

Today’s Throwback Thursday is brought to you by a little girl who knew it was fun to romp around in the rain, cuddle up close with a loved one and give her cutest little mischievous glance; no poncho necessary.

heart JE