When In ROME!!!

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What can I even say about my trip?! It was exhausting, scary, amazing… EVERYTHING!

If you’d asked me where I would want to travel if I could go anywhere in the world, my answer for years was “Italy!” I want to travel everywhere and anywhere but Italy has always been my #1.

So here I was about a month away from my the big 3-0 and not really feeling up to a big party like originally planned so I decided to look around for vacation deals. And I found one! I asked some gals at work if I was a crazy person and they both said now is the time! No husband or kids keeping me here. Go while I can. So I did!

I left Phoenix at 7am on Sunday sand landed in Rome 7am Monday morning (my birthday.)

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Guys, that first day was rough! I made all these plans and researched so much and yet it all went straight out the window when I got there! It took so much longer to get out of the airport and off the train into the city than I thought and then I was lost! I had a walking tour audio guide on my phone starting at the Campo de’ Fiori but I had no CLUE how to get there. I was starving, tired, lost and scared in country who’s native language I did not speak. Oh boy! I talked to an employee of the metro who spoke English but just barely and came to the conclusion that I would just not find the Campo de’ Fiori today. But I could easily get to the Colosseum which was the plan for day 2 so I just headed there and adjusted the plan.

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I downloaded Rick Steve’s audio tour that walks you through the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Arch of Constantine and Palatine Hill.

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After I tried to continue on with my plan but boy oh boy I was lost and confused. I got on the metro and saw a stop called “Piramide” and figured that had to be near the Pyramid of Caius Cestius that I wanted to see so I got off and sure enough, found my way to the pyramid (after getting some gelato!)  Tours were closed but it was still cool to see.

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Then I wanted to go the Aventine Hill and look through the keyhole so I walked, and walked, and walked and died. My feet were hurting, I was lost and still had to make my way back to the hotel with NO idea how I was going to get there. It was rough, But poor me, lost of the streets of Rome, right? I finally hailed a taxi and just said ‘take me here.’ That was the SCARIEST car ride of my life. Italians really are crazy drivers! I got all settled at my hotel and the next day asked for directions to Campo de’ Fiori and finally was able to find my way around the city!

Day 2 was my fav day! Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. Then the Capuchin Crypt which was so creepy-cool. The walls were decorated with thousands of skeletons from Catholic monks!

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I think the Pantheon was one of my fav places!

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I also LOVED walking through the Villa Borghese! I would have loved it even more if my feet weren’t so achy.. but it was green and gorgeous and an absolute beautiful day. There was even an accordion player outside playing stereotypical Italian music like you hear in movies and I just loved every second of it. Cheesy? Yeah but it was a dream!

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And finally day 3 was the Vatican (Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica) followed by the Castel Sant’Angelo. By day 3 my feet were hurting! I wish I kept track of how far I walked! Farther than I should have since I kept getting lost haha.

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It was beyond beautiful and I am so thankful the opportunity I had to go to Rome. Are you allowed to be proud of yourself for going on vacation? I went to Europe alone. It was kind of scary but I made it. I found my way (with the help of Google Maps and some very helpful English speaking Romans!) and I crossed another major thing off my bucket list!

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EATS: I know what you are thinking, that this should have been quite the  culinary adventure but I don’t like pasta! Plus it was so hot over there that I wasn’t very hungry, especially for anything heavy. I mostly ate gelato! I tried a bunch of flavors (favorites: crema and cantelope!) But lots of the flavors are chocolate based which I’m not a choc fan either! I kept eyeballing them and then just going with a fruit flavor.

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I was so surprised by how much I liked it I had to stop taking bites to snap the pic!

I did try a bunch of different pizzas and I always like to be adventurous but you know what? The best pizza slice I ate over there was at the airport when I just needed to eat something before the flight* and ordered tried and true cheese! But I’ll tell you this, for both red sauced based pizzas I tried over there, the sauce was too sweet!

Also, I did not need to eat before the flight because for the 10 hours I was trapped on that trash can I swear I ate 7 times. They were constantly passing out lunch, then a snack, then dinner and the constant bev cart. I’ve never eaten so much in my life!

treviAll in all it was a wonderful, once in a lifetime trip and I did throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain so I guess that means I get to go back someday. Which I would LOVE to know what I know what I’m doing and where I’m going!

 

 

 

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Another Spin Around the Sun

On Monday I turn thirty. Thirty! 

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I didn’t expect it from myself but I am one of those girls that is sad about turning 30! I don’t want to. I saw some meme thing online the other day that said the only other option was being dead which… I’m still not sure which is worse! Haha. Okay fine. I’ll turn the big 3-0! I still have a lot of things I want to do.

As the day looms near, I can’t help by reflect on this past year and what I did on my last birthday. I set up my 30 before 30 goal list. I accomplished ehhh… about 1/2 of them. This year, it’s time to do BETTER! So if you want, go check out my 30 “while I am” 30 list! Some are health related, some are personal, some are spiritual and some are just for fun!!

I know I’m already checking off #1) put a stamp on my passport because 1st thing in the morning I am flying off to ROME!!

If you ever had asked me where I would want to travel if I could go anywhere in the world, I would’ve said Italy. So since I’m still single and have no husband or children weighing me down, I bought myself a very expensive birthday present and going on a Roman Holiday!!  Just call me Anya 🙂

 

Superbowl Party time!! Some Healthy Party Food Alternatives

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Who’s making this for me?

I love to watch football and I am one of those that gets excited for Superbowl Sunday! Unnnnfortunately I got mandated to work this Sunday so I’m going to miss the big game (don’t get me started…) but we’ll do a potluck here at work.

Potlucks can be scary because there’s lot of temptation and foods made of who knows what, but all you can do is make good decisions and try and provide some good (still tasty, maybe doesn’t have to be 100% clean) options.

  • Chicken Teriyaki meatballs with a low sugar marinade/sauce
  • DIY taco bar where you can set out cheese, guac, sour cream for guests/ coworkers but stick to the salsa and beans for yourself. And maybe use turkey meat or 90% ground beef.
  • Sliders where you can swap the bun for lettuce wraps
  • Deviled eggs with hummus or avocado instead of mayo? Sam’s Choice makes a Smoky Sweet Onion mustard that I have fallen in love with and use it on pretty much everything!
  • My friend gave me the recipe for a quinoa salad that’s super easy and delicious. Just quinoa with chopped veggies (tomatoes, red pepper, jalapeno, red onion) and cilantro and feta. That’s it! All mixed up.
  • Turkey pinwheels with low carb/ high fiber tortillas and stuffed with extra veggies
  • Antipasto with meats, olives, cheese if your diet allows.

And to top it off, moderation is always key. Have a bite of this and a taste of that but don’t load up your plate and eat till you want to explode. Enjoy the game! Bet on your office pool. Laugh at the dumb commercials.

Go (your team name here)!!

 

Looking Back on 2016

I have a terrible memory so honestly, whatever happened earlier than say July is basically a blur. So end of the year recaps are hard for me but I did want to take a minute and reflect. I got to do some pretty cool stuff!

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For starters in Feb, I got to go through the LDS temple. A truly special day. Even if you’re not of this religion, if you have the chance to walk through a temple open house- DO it. The buildings are always so beautiful.

I went on my nephew’s birthday. The poor dude and his little brother were in the hospital so so sick. Luckily they all came out just fine but that was certainly memorable. 😦

 

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In April, I ran a ULTRA Ragnar with the best team there ever was. Team 9 Run Run!! Honestly, I could talk about that weekend for hours but it did result in one of my fav pictures of me:

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Taken after my 9 mile leg! (1 leg of 6!)

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Then about 1 week later, I ran the Dirty Girl with these awesome ladies.

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In the spring-ish, I went on the best date of my life (it lasted 12 hours!) with that handsome fella and later he took me to Flagstaff. I just loved it there; I thought it was so pretty. I may not have ended up with that guy but we’re still close and he’s saved my bum way too often. I owe him a whole lot!

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(Sorry for the blurriness!) Right after Flag, I got to go with a gal pal to see O-Town!! HA. I’m friends with Dan Miller’s brother so we all went to see him preform in Phx. My 13 year old self was beyond excited.

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In June I ran the Fontana Half and wanted to die.

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Oh July… I turned the big 29! And got to go to Hawaii. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to go, however… HI was a big ol’ bust. Lots of good and lots of bad memories tied to this trip. I think I’ll stick to California.

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Like Long Beach. I forgot my pants but I still ran the Long Beach Half marathon!

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Last month, I totalled my car. BIG Frowny face on that life event. It took me outta the running game for a few weeks and cost a LOT of money. But, honestly, it could’ve been so so much worse and just I’m glad I’m alive to see 2017.

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In the summer, my parents moved to the valley so I’ve been able to spend more time with them and celebrate holidays with them. I just had to include this picture from Christmas day because how cute are my niece and nephews!!

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Which brings us to today. Another New Years Eve at work. I’m thankful for my job. and my coworkers for whipping up a nacho bar potluck. Time to go pig out on my last cheat meal on 2016 🙂

 

Happy New Years Everyone!!! 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus!

Merry Christmas everyone! I did my Fesitvus celebrations on the 23rd, as I’m sure we all did, with airing of grievances and feats of strength. I did get to the gym for leg day (narrow smith squats, kick backs, leg press, calf raises and some abs followed by 15 min on the elliptical. So that alone was my feat of strength!)

I work Christmas Eve night but I am lucky enough this year to have Christmas day off. I’ll go to church in the AM and then over to my parents’ house and have dinner with them and my brother, sister-in-law and their 4 kids! They’re the freaking cutest, especially in their Christmas jammies so I’m excited to see them and ask them what Santa brought! (Four kids 5 years old and  younger. I haven’t a clue how they do it but they’re fun ages for holidays!)

I even got to swing into work late so I had a very lazy morning. I had every intention of going for a run but it was pouring all day so that got postponed. Instead I ate a yummy xmas breakfast.  Gluten free waffles topped with strawberries, honey and whipped cream and hot chocolate with marshmallows. Counting calories is against the law on Christmas (eve).

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Copper got to open his present first. I think he liked it! Look at that blur of a tail! cops-present

I watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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Homegirl knows me too well! Here’s the bag it came in. 🙂

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Shark earrings and a shark ornament! I swear that thing went STRAIGHT onto the tree after this picture. My not so secret santa is a dear friend and I was actually pretty excited to find out she’s the one who drew my name but to say she nailed it this year is an understatement!  I’m pretty stoked. love

Then it was time for carols- of course I mean the best Christmas song! Christmas Wrapping.  Bah Humbug, no that’s too strong cause this is my favorite holiday…  

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I read Copper the Bible story. Look at his sweet face. He was truly interested. cops-and-bible

and the only kiss under the mistletoe I’ll get this year but it’s from a boy who loves me unconditionally!!  My sweet sweet dog! xmas-kiss

Merry Christmas from Copper Mercury and me!! I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Christmas!

I’m off to work to pig out on allllll the treats I’m sure dispatch will have waiting for me.

Transformation: Christmas Edition

When I was around ohhh 13? my grandmother gave me a Chrsitmas T-shirt that I have worn every year since! If I’m right about my age, it’s been 16 years. There’s a hole in it. I don’t care. Especially since my grandma passed, it’s priceless to me. I hope to wear it for the next 50 years.

I of course, am wearing it today! I didn’t think much of it except that it’s my Christmas shirt. Then I stumbled (really I didn’t even remember this picture existing!) of me wearing this shirt 4 years ago!

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All I can say is, Woahhhhhh. I can’t get over my face. It looks swollen!

I came to work today and partook in all the Christmas treats. Cookies, popcorn, fudge. I didn’t even try and say no. I happily ate what I wanted. And to be honest, my pants are getting tight! I know I’ve gained some weight since my smallest but this picture really put it in perspective for me. I never ever ever want to get back there.

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This was me today. (Sorry for the lighting. The bathroom lights are ridiculous.) These 2 girls barely even look related! It kinda looks like I’m pulling at my shirt but really I’m trying to show you how much extra room is there.  A LOT of work went down  in these 4 year interim between these two pictures. Work I am damn proud of!!

I’m a little Scared of Halloween

Halloween has always been a pretty big day for me. I love this time of year and Halloween and Thanksgiving are my favorite holidays. As a kid, of course I loved the candy and trick or treating. I’ve always loved getting dressed up and chose my costumes with some intent!

In 2007, (WOW that sounds like forever ago!) I met my now ex boyfriend on Halloween, while dressed as Boo from Monster’s Inc ;). We dated for 3 years. When we broke up, Halloween lost a little bit of the magic as it was now an anniversary of something that stung just a little.

But I moved on. And last year, 2015, I made my then boyfriend do the Haunted 5K with me. My love, my fav sport and my fav holiday all bundled together for a great day. Oh and I was dressed as my fav animal- a shark, and he was a shark bite victim.

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I sewed it while I was at work! Lol 

We broke up 8 days later…

So this year, I’m in a weird head space. I went back and forth for a long time on whether I wanted to do the Haunted 5K again (this time alone) and then found out it was a virtual run only and I felt like I was off the hook.

My life today is not what I expected it to be this time last year.  But here I am, trying to make the most with what I’ve got. I live a very blessed life; I am fully aware of that. But it’s just not where I thought I would be at 29. I’m not sure any of this is health/running related other than I did a 5K a year ago! Part of me wishes, I could do it again this year to kind of wash that man right out of my running/Halloween hair. But there is still the virtual race. Should I do it?

If anyone asks me my favorite Broadway play (which since that’s basically all I listen to, I actually do get asked pretty regularly) I always answer Aida. It’s beautiful and so beyond sad I can hardly even listen to it!  But there is a line Aida sings to Radames  that I think about a lot.

“If you don’t like your fate, change it. You are your own master, there are no shackles on you. So don’t expect any pity or understanding from this humble palace slave.”

There is still a special place in my heart for Halloween but the walls are a bit cracked.

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Luckily, Thanksgiving holds no ghosts of boyfriends past memories for me and I’m all signed up to do the turkey trot!!