One of my favorite things about running near my house is that it’s a little bit off the beaten path. One of my favorite areas to run is this great little road that has some hills and winds through the country. Normally I see all sorts of fun animals… horses, cows, deer, etc. This morning I was treated to a rare sight… the llama. They’re used to guard sheep around here as they’re apparently very protective and effective against coyotes and mountain lions. This “little” guy was just hanging out by the creek watching me run on by.


All in all, today was a good run – nine miles. I tried a new fuel since I seemed to have some “tummy troubles” the last time I trained for a marathon. I have always used Gu to refuel, but decided to give something else a go. Today’s experiment was with Power Bar’s Energy Blends. This one was banana and blueberry. I was a little bit leery, but it actually tasted really good – they use real fruit, so you don’t end up feeling like you’re choking down frosting. It was more like a smoothie than anything. I took it at five miles so that I would have another four of running and could see what it did to my tummy… no troubles here! Next week I’m going to try Clif’s Shot Bloks. Fingers crossed!

PB Energy Blend
PB Energy Blend

For those of you that run or do endurance activities, what’s your favorite way to refuel? What works and what doesn’t?

Book Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife

I was recently invited to join a book club (yay!) and our first book was Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. Sadly, I wasn’t able to make the book club meeting, but I did read the book and thought it was really interesting.

Synopsis (from Amazon):

A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger’s cinematic storytelling that makes the novel’s unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.

An enchanting debut and a spellbinding tale of fate and belief in the bonds of love, The Time Traveler’s Wife is destined to captivate readers for years to come

My Thoughts

This book was really good, but be warned, it’s not an easy read. The story jumps back and forth between Claire and Henry as well as to different times. That said, I love the concept. Henry can’t control when his travel happens, nor where he ends up and how long he’s there for. It’s definitely very different than the typical time travel story. Claire is so in love with Henry that she not only puts up with his coming and going, but patiently waits for him,  not knowing if he’s ok or not. The ending actually made me cry!

This book is definitely worth a read!

Beat This Summer

Last weekend I met up with my friend Amber and headed out to see Brad Paisley‘s Beat This Summer Tour at the Sleep Train Amphitheater. I love going there and getting lawn seats… there’s something so much fun about laying out a blanket and just hanging out. This show ended up being kind of interesting… there were lots of drunk cowboys around. So many, in fact, we saw three actual fist fights. Drop down, chests puffed up, roll on the ground fist fights. It was pretty entertaining!

Amber & I
Amber & I

The concert itself was really good. Lee Brice opened the show and was followed up by Chris Young. I went into the show thinking I didn’t know very many of either of their songs, but was pleasantly surprised to find out that I did. They were both awesome live… and as you know, that’s a huge thing for me wither performers.

After those two came Brad Paisley. I’ve seen him once before and loved him… this time was no exception. He can seriously play guitar. Like seriously. I love his music… he sings really great love songs. He even had a Carrie Underwood hologram for his song “Remind Me”. Amber and I spent a decent portion of the song trying to figure out if she was real or not… so it was pretty convincing!

Brad Paisley's Stage
Brad Paisley’s Stage

Let the summer of music continue!

Summer of Influence

*** So this has been sitting in my drafts for like a week… totally forgot to actually hit publish! ***

Last night I finally got to see Straight No Chaser with Mike, Adam, and Eva… I’ve been wanting to go for years and one thing or another has gotten in the way. For those of you who haven’t heard of them, they’re the a cappella group from Indiana University who rose to fame with this little gem:

The concert was at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga which is quickly becoming one of my favorite venues to see a show. It’s a great little concert bowl that overlooks the valley… absolutely stunning views.

SNC was as awesome as I had hoped they would be. They went through a range of their most popular songs (all covers of hits) and left me wanting to hear more. I would definitely see them again… I was really bummed that they didn’t do “The 12 Days Of Christmas” (yes, I’m aware that it’s August).

Marathon Training Part Deux

Marathon #2 training is officially underway. This time around I feel like I know what I’m in for and I know what I’m doing. I’m actually looking forward to the aches and pains, the sweat, and that great “I-just-finished-a-sixteen-mile-run” feeling. I understand the importance of stretching, foam rolling, and compression socks. I know that if the worst happens, well, I survived it in San Diego.

I’m also making a conscious effort to eat healthier this time around. Not that I didn’t before, but there’s something about running that makes me hungry. Like really HUNGRY. And I tend to think “I ran ten miles this morning, so I can eat animal style fries and a chocolate shake for lunch”, which probably doesn’t help too much. I am trying to get better about eating healthier foods like fruits and veggies for snacks and trail mix instead of candy. So far, so good. I’ll definitely enjoy my In-N-Out, but I’m trying to make it more of a treat than a regular occurrence. I’ve also given up most caffeine. I have a love-hate relationship with Diet Coke and have completely stopped drinking it – all that I have is my one white mocha in the morning.

Honestly, I’ve started feeling so much better – I have more energy throughout the day and I’m sleeping better at night! Here’s to being healthier!

Book Review: Sisterland

I read Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld a few weeks ago and have been meaning to do a review on it. Enjoy!

Synopsis (from

From an early age, Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, knew that they were unlike everyone else. Kate and Vi were born with peculiar “senses”—innate psychic abilities concerning future events and other people’s secrets. Though Vi embraced her visions, Kate did her best to hide them.

Now, years later, their different paths have led them both back to their hometown of St. Louis. Vi has pursued an eccentric career as a psychic medium, while Kate, a devoted wife and mother, has settled down in the suburbs to raise her two young children. But when a minor earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the normal life Kate has always wished for begins to shift. After Vi goes on television to share a premonition that another, more devastating earthquake will soon hit the St. Louis area, Kate is mortified. Equally troubling, however, is her fear that Vi may be right. As the date of the predicted earthquake quickly approaches, Kate is forced to reconcile her fraught relationship with her sister and to face truths about herself she’s long tried to deny.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed reading this one – I loved the struggle between the two sisters throughout the book – Violet to be understood and Kate to actually do the understanding. In the end, the story became less about one sister being more “eccentric” and rather, the other sister taking personal responsibility for who she thought she was and who she actually was. They story unrolls itself and makes you want to continue turning pages. Definitely read this one!

Blurred Lines

I have fallen in love with the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. Yes, I’m aware that it’s on the radio ALL the time – in fact, sometimes you can even change the channel and it’s on like all of the pop stations. But it’s catchy and I like it.

I am a believer in buying the whole album, not just a single. Some of my favorite songs have never seen the light of day via radio DJ, but were recorded. I bought this whole album (also called Blurred Lines) and was actually disappointed. Part of what I really loved about Robin Thicke was his strong R&B roots. On this album, he’s completely crossed over to a highly mixed, far less R&B sound. To be honest, I’m not loving it at all.

This might be one of the few times that I recommend just buying the one catchy single and passing on the album!

Blurred Lines
Blurred Lines

The Hive Is Dead

Well folks, today I bring the sad, sad news that the beehive is indeed dead. I had put it all back together after the bear attack and there were a few bees hanging around. I was holding out hope that maybe they had escaped and flown away for safety. Alas, it appears Queen Latifah was slain along with many of her protectors.

I did some research this morning and it seems like once a bear finds a hive it’s pretty hard to keep them away. Electric fences help some, but often they begin to head closer to the house in search of yummys (ie. garbage cans). As fun as that sounds, I really don’t want to have a face to face meeting with a bear, so I’ve decided to give up beekeeping.

Fortunately my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are also beekeepers, so at least the hives can be put to good use.

It was an adventure little honeybees…

A Bear Ate My Bees

Disaster struck Blankenheim Orchards sometime between last night and this afternoon… a bear ate my bees. To be clear, he tore down the orchard fence and then decimated my beehive. This was the scene I came home to:

The Destruction
The Destruction

Up close, there were still some bees buzzing around, but it honestly looked like a bee battlefield… little bodies were everywhere. I hope most of them got away and so I put the hive back together as best as I could. Four frames were completely destroyed. I didn’t find the queen, so the bees might not even come back, but the few that were around seemed keen to the idea of going back into the hive. I honestly did not expect this to happen… I thought my fence would be enough deterrent!

The Hive Up Close
The Hive Up Close

Apparently this is why people in the mountains don’t keep bees. I hope they stung that bear on his nose! Hopefully Queen Latifah is cruising the neighborhood not ruling the big hive in the sky.