Greenville Fun

As part of our southern vacation we stopped by Greenville, SC to visit some friends. While there we checked out the Blue Ridge Brewing Company a local brewpub in downtown Greenville. We had a good time sampling the beers.

Later on we met some friends at Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria. This place was amazing. Pizza and great craft beer in one place? Yes please!!!

If you are a huge craft beer fan the secret is to go to the upstairs bar to get beers that are not served downstairs. The upstairs was closing soon for a private party but before then I got to sample some awesome beers. I even got to order a pint of the coveted Westbrook Mexican Cake. It was very good. Too bad it is next to impossible to get a bottle of that to take home, especially as a non-local.
The Palmetto beers I tried are highly recommended as well. I will need to visit the Palmetto and Westbrook breweries on a future trip to Charleston.

Later after dinner we went out to see some local music at Smiley’s Acoustic Cafe.
The band that was playing was pretty entertaining and it was a packed crowd. Definitely a fun night. Greenville, SC you may have made me change my opinion of you this trip!

UK: Stonehenge

One must see Stonehenge at least once in their life but I have had the privilege of seeing it two times. It was my husband’s first trip to the UK. Any trip to the UK is not complete without a visit to those ancient rocks,
We visited as part of a 3 part day tour.
The stone structure has been thought of to have many different purposes over the years. Recent opinion dictates that it was a burial ground. In nearby lands you will see many mounds that had the same purpose.
No matter what their purpose was they are still a fascinating sight to see.

Animals on adjacent farmlands.

A PR to end the running season

Winter Park Road race medal is stained glass.

This past Saturday I ran the Winter Park Road Race, the race sparks the end of the official running season. Our local running store Track Shack hosts a number of races throughout the year. Six of them are designated part of the running series. One can register for all six at the beginning of the season and become a fanatic. My husband and I have run all of the races before in previous years; but never all of them in the same year. This year we both decided to be fanatics. Not only did we commit our selves to all six races but we also signed up for the distance dare competition of two of the races. Basically those two races have both a shorter run and a longer run. A person doing the distance dare will do both the runs back to back.
So we continued to train year long for these races as well as a 15K, 10 miler, the half-marathon, and the relay race. We said no to social events and trips so we wouldn’t miss any in the series.
Now it has all come to an end and I came out with another PR.
That would make 3 PR’s for the entire year. I fell short of my half-marathon goal but I can say I had a banner year!!!

Last year’s Winter Park Road Race was an accomplishment because I was able to complete it with slacker training. I had hoped that this year’s would be cool because I obviously do better in cooler weather. I was not lucky that day. Orlando started it’s spring (and when I mean spring I mean summer-lite). It was humid and hot. The first two miles were hot and I was a sweaty mess but I pushed it anyway,

It wasn’t exactly a PR for me but pretty fast considering the temperatures. I probably pushed it too hard but I wanted to get back to the start line with time to cool down before my next six miles.
When I woke up in the morning I was tired and still sore from my crossfit bootcamp workouts earlier in the week. I didn’t properly stretch all week and I was not in the greatest state of mind (our dog has been really sick). I wasn’t really going for a PR; I just wanted to get the race over with.
So I started running the 6 miles. With luck it did cool down a bit. I was still really tired but I pushed on.

As suspected the last 2 miles were a mess. I took more walking breaks and I started to get the idea of defeat in my mind. Suddenly in the last mile or so something changed. I decided to just push it to the end. At the final stretch a girl was catching up to me and I made sure that didn’t happen.
I crossed the finish line and collected my medals and free wine glass (best local race booty).

I also picked up this guy for completing the distance dare.

We chatted with some friends a bit and then went home to care for our sick dog. The dog got worse over the weekend so I never bothered to check my finish time until Monday (she was in surgery).
I was very happy to discover that I did indeed get a PR.
I find it very interesting that as I turned 40 this year, I feel more and more like my body is aging and falling apart but at the same time I am able to accomplish so many more things.
I feel like I can set more ambitious goals for next year; or maybe even lose that extra weight I can’t seem to shed.
The sky’s the limit!!!

A little green for you

Went out to the garden this weekend to pick some mint for a refreshing drink and got distracted by all the new growth. I had to harvest a crop of collards (see above) due to the tomatoes slowly blocking the sunlight from the plants in the garden. I made a nice sauteed collard greens with garlic and onion dish.

We also saw the first sign of the grape vine coming back. It must mean that winter is definitely over!

I put up some stakes to secure the new tomato growth and finally got around to picking my mint. I concentrated first on the mint that is spreading out into the grass (see above).
Mint may grow like a weed but it is a weed I don’t mind!
Happy growing!

Spring Cocktail

I am at it again. I was looking for something light and refreshing to drink.
My new creation is similar to something I have made in the past.
It is super easy to make. Just need some fresh mint and lemon (or lime). Luckily we had plenty of mint and one lemon left.
I muddled half a lemon with a bunch of mint. Added a bit of crushed ice and muddled some more.
I then add 1 ounce each of vodka, st. germaine, apperol and mix with the crushed ice. I fill another glass with crushed ice and poured drink over ice. I then top off with sparkling water (as much as you want).

Nice and refreshing! Enjoy!!!

India Mini Palace

While staying in Jaipur, India we got the chance to stay in two palaces. The second was booked special for our last night to spend as “royals”. The first happened because all the hotels were originally tried to book were sold out. 
After looking at the online pictures of the Shahpura House I knew it was where I wanted to stay in Jaipur. This two hundred year old “house” was converted into a hotel in the 1990’s. The decor was very ornate and detailed. The hotel oozed character.
Unfortunately we were put on the ground floor which was slightly damp and pretty noisy from the sounds of people in the hallways. We are pretty sound sleepers so could get through the sounds but I didn’t like that all my clothes continually felt damp the entire stay. We also had a mishap with the laundry that had us delayed an hour for our next day of sightseeing. I suggest being very vocal about your expectations with the staff and you shouldn’t have any problems. They were very friendly otherwise and I would recommend a stay here (just not on bottom floor).
Most beautiful breakfast area ever

As with most of India, you don’t want to go wandering around town by yourself unless you really know where you are going. Not wanting to call our driver we decided to have dinner at the lively restaurant upstairs. The food was decent and we had dancers to entertain us.

Upstairs restaurant

Shahi Tukda dessert

Beer of choice in India

India cordial
Rajastan Kulfi Ice Cream
Beautiful light fixtures in hotel

Nice pool but too cold to use
Colorful door to our room

Lounge areas 

Shahpura House is definitely a more authentic India hotel experience.

February Garden 2015

Night Winter Sky from my backyard

It has been a while since the last garden update. Garden has been neglected a bit but seems to be doing well on its own.

The one citrus plant that was healthy but has yet to bloom is blooming in full force. I did some estimation and we might have 55 limes when it is done this season. Unfortunately it is falling to the same disease as all the others. I have applied some proactive fertilizer (see the brown water on the leaves). The hope is that I can keep it healthy enough for it to fight the sickness off itself. I haven’t found a product that will treat whatever this is that is slowing killing my citrus plants.

Sickly key lime plant is still blooming

Grape vine is still dormant

We have big beautiful collards
The tomato seeds that I planted are doing well through the winter.

We are happy to have our fresh dill back.

Hopefully we won’t lose our blueberries again this year. Have not had luck with them the past two years.

My husband has chopped up our christmas tree. It is supposed to be used for mulch but I might end up composting/throwing it out because it is in the way.

My late fall project is growing in nicely. I replaced one of the gardens with sod and a lavender sensory garden. The grass is green as can be but the lavender is slow to grow.

The lavender is quite beautiful up close though.

Next up some tomatoes, citrus and hopefully blueberry crops in the spring.