Tag Archives: nature

Fall Favorites, in pictures

Favorite highlights from fall 2014…

Decorating with mini gourds, pumpkins, and pumpkin candles. Love adding simple touches around our place to make it feel festive.

Decorating with gourds, pumpkins, and pumpkin spice candles!

 

Baked some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies at 7am on Halloween. May or may not have eaten cookie batter for breakfast that day. 🙂
Baking pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for our neighbors

Visited the beautiful mountains in Virginia for a friend’s wedding and went on a sunrise run one morning. So peaceful and quiet out there. The cows seemed rather annoyed that I was disturbing their morning solace.

Visiting Virginia for a friend's wedding and soaking up the beautiful country scenery

A sweet client brought me pumpkin spice cupcakes one day!! Rob and I demolished these in no time.

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Loved the pumpkin spice coffee at Nadoz this year. Since I drink my coffee black, it’s fun to try various flavors to mix things up a little bit!

Drinking pumpkin spice coffee at Nadoz... (are you picking up on a pumpkin theme yet?)

 

Took our pup to the pumpkin patch – she wasn’t at all interested in the pumpkins, but loved trying to eat the hay!

Taking our little puppy to the pumpkin patch

 

I love dry erase boards on refrigerators because they give me an excuse to doodle. 🙂

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Roasted the seeds from our pumpkins and they turned out really well! I just followed a recipe I found on Pinterest and they were delicious.

Roasting pumpkin seeds from our pumpkins!

We spent lots of the warmer days at the park with Peyton, trying to burn off some of her endless energy!

Playtime at the park with Peyton

Cooked up some homemade butternut squash soup one day when I was nursing a head cold. So soothing and comforting – at least as much as soup can be. 😉

Homemade butternut squash soup - delicious!

Ran a chilly 5K race with my hubby in Kirkwood and placed 1st in my age group! The race was even called the HOPE 5K so it felt like destiny for me.  🙂

Ran a 5K race and placed 1st in my age group!

 

Lots of warm bowls of oatmeal for breakfast lately, topped with banana and peanut butter.

Lots of hot bowls of oatmeal for breakfast, with banana and peanut butter on top

 

One of my birthday presents from my parents – 3 new kinds of tea to try! My favorite is the Vanilla Caramel.

Birthday present from my parents - 3 new kinds of tea. :)

 

One of my husband’s favorite meals that I’ve been making lately: BBQ Chicken and Gouda Cheese Pizza. YUM.

One of Rob's favorite meals: BBQ Chicken and Gouda Cheese Pizza!

 

Chicken and rice soup with hearty, whole grain bread; from a cafe in Nashville.

Soup with bread...one of the best things about colder weather.

 

Hiking at Castlewood State Park with my hubby and puppy on a beautiful day!

Hiking with my hubby and puppy on a beautiful day!

Fall has been fantastic in so many ways. I’m excited to see what winter holds! 🙂

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Slush and Mud

In case you didn’t know, St Louis got quite a lot of snow this past Sunday! I’ve been told the official measurement at the airport was 13 inches, although some areas got as many as 16!  Regardless of the exact amount, snow on the ground turns running into a whole new ball game.

I’m not one of those maniacs hard-core runners who sees that a blizzard is coming in and decides it’s the perfect time to tie on the running shoes and head outside. No. When I hear there’s snow coming – be it 3 inches or 13 – I start to plan what kind of delicious foods I will enjoy on my warm couch while watching a movie…in my warm house. (cue popcorn and chocolate)

The day the snow arrives, and usually the day after, I take to the treadmill to knock out my miles. I’m not particularly fond of treadmills (except for speedwork) because I get incredibly bored after .3 miles, but it’s better than twisting my ankle on a patch of ice or face-planting in front my neighbor’s house. Desperate times call for desperate measures – and for me that means the treadmill.

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Sunny Day at Forest Park

Monday morning, with somewhere between 10-13 inches of snow outside, I headed to the basement and completed 4 miles of HIIT.

Tuesday morning, I woke up to sunshine and seemingly warmer temperatures. I debated about whether or not the snow would have melted off my favorite running paths by now, and decided to chance it. I was heading to Clayton for a meeting that morning so I threw my running clothes in the backseat and headed over to Forest Park when I was done.

Although I did encounter some pond-sized puddles at several points, most of the 6-mile outer loop was clear – at least from snow and ice. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day for a run. I listened to a couple podcasts as I made my way around the park, and debated a short stop at the zoo as I passed it. I wish I lived just a little closer to Forest Park because I would definitely run there more often!

Gorgeous View at Queeny Park

Gorgeous View at Queeny Park

Wednesday, I decided to venture to yet another park and test my luck on its more “primitive” path. Sure enough, it was clear of most of the snow, but lots of slush and mud remained. My favorite. 😉 As I made my way around the loop, and noticed my shoes getting more and more soaked, I realized that running in mud and slush can actually be quite enjoyable. Or, maybe not enjoyable, as much as adventurous.

Something about hopping over puddles and strategically trying to avoid large patches of slush makes me feel like I could conquer the world. For a moment, I forget I’m 5 minutes from my house, at a small park in the middle of the suburbs, and instead I’m just out in nature, trying to survive keep my shoes as dry as possible.

There’s something satisfying about finishing a run, panting and sweating, and looking down to see mud caked all over your shins and shoes. Usually this is accompanied by soaked socks – which can be annoyingly chilling – but then I remember that I’m just a few minutes from home…complete with hot tea, dry socks, and a warm shower.

Happy Running!

Footprints in the snow

Refreshed

My 2013 started off right with a fun visit from my friend Alyse! She lives in Minnesota and came in town for a conference on the 27th. After the conference ended, she came to stay at my house for a few days! I picked her up at her hotel on New Years Day and it was such a great reunion! Alyse and I met back in 2008 on a mission trip to Nicaragua…I had just graduated high school and she was going into her junior year. That’s the same mission trip where I met my friend Amy, and she and I became best friends because of that summer.

We had a lot of fun together while Alyse was in town…lots of girl talk, chocolate, giggling, Starbucks, and a chilly walk in the snow!

Alyse and I:

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Blurry iPhone picture taken by a fellow Starbucks patron:

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And of course, the Beagle had to join us on our walk:

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Alyse headed back to Minnesota on Friday morning and the rest of my weekend was pretty low-key! I had a friend over on Friday afternoon to hang out before she headed back to college, and Saturday I joined some friends for a chili dinner and the Packers game. I’m not a Packers fan, per se, but these friends are diehard fans from Wisconsin, so it was fun to watch the game with them!

On Sunday I woke up in the mood for a trail run so I got on my All Trails app and discovered a new-to-me park that was just minutes from my church. I packed up my running clothes before heading out to the late morning service, and threw in a couple Larabars since I’m always ravenous after church! I made it to the park at around 12:45 and found the trail without too much trouble.

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I’d never run on the Chubb Trail before, and it was not exactly the best day for a trail run because of the melting snow going on here in St Louis! The trail was still icy in many parts and the rest of it was slushy and muddy. It definitely made it feel like more of an adventure, though! I love muddy runs for some odd reason, so I was perfectly content. 🙂 I took the Chubb Trail down into a beautiful valley, where I crossed some railroad tracks and found myself in Castlewood Park:

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I ran through a gorgeous, sunny field before the trail headed back into the woods.

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I love trail runs for many reasons, but largely because they bring me back to the FUN of running! It’s so easy for me to get focused on the STATS of my running – distance, pace, miles logged – instead of just enjoying the ability and opportunity to run. Trail runs make me feel like a little kid again, exploring the woods just like I did when I was 10. 🙂 Trail runs remind me to enjoy the beauty of nature instead of focusing on my “workout” all the time. And I always do my trail runs without my ipod so I can listen to the rustling of the wind and the cracking branches in the woods as I run. It’s cheesy, I know, but I LOVE being outside so much and I wish I did more of it. Trail runs are one way I stop (figuratively, haha) and enjoy the beauty of it all.

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My blurry phone photos don’t do it justice.

I also got to run alongside the Meremac River for a little bit, which was fun! I loved all the different scenery I got to witness on this trail.

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Needless to say, by the time I made it back to my car, my shoes – and legs – were covered in mud! It was well worth it, though, as I drove home with a refreshed and happy heart.

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Trail runs are so good for the soul. 🙂