Well, Saturday was the big ring shopping day and boy, was it eventful. I’m kind of sad to say it’s over, but the memory is very fond. This truly is such a fun and special time in our lives.
Jesse and I started the day with breakfast out at Besaw’s, my favorite place to go for breakfast in Portland. We had to wait a bit for a table, but expected to do so and weren’t in a huge rush anyway since the first jewelry shop I wanted to go to didn’t open until 11:30.
Anyway, after breakfast, the day unfolded into three jewelry shops, many beautiful rings (I even tried on one that cost about $10,000…a bit over our budget!), clothes and a bow tie for Jesse (very Portland appropriate, if I do say so myself), celebratory wine and Thai food for dinner since we were too exhausted to go grocery shopping and cook afterward. We were gone from about 9:45 am – 7 pm!
I tried on so many rings and repeated the words, “it’s beautiful,” and “Jesse, look at this one,” more than I could begin to count. With all the rings I liked, I could have had one for every finger…and then some. I knew though, right away, when I found “the one.” What’s funny, is that I found it at the first jewelry store too and knew it was the going to be the one I’d pick. Still though, I had to go elsewhere and reassure myself. I went to two antique/vintage jewelry stores and one modern jewelry store, all of which were in NW Portland.
I actually decided on two rings, even though I thought I’d only pick one, so I have both a band and an engagement ring. The band is a 1930s white gold ring with a stream of little diamonds on top and the engagement ring is a 1920s white gold filigree design with an old mine cut diamond (diamond estimated to be from the 1890s). I can’t share pictures because they’re being re-sized and won’t be ready for 7-10 days. I’ll share a picture on Facebook of my engagement ring when I get it back, but will wait on the other until it’s official. Oh, and Jesse picked a simple white gold band from the same shop where I got mine. It’s a modern estate band, but the time period is unknown. Overall, we’re very happy and excited about our choices. I can’t wait to get my engagement ring back and wear it!
Wow, it’s been one heck of a week in terms of school and activity, and my body has felt the brunt of it. Thankfully, the school week is over and I now have room to think more about the things I’m excited about. Here’s what I’m especially stoked about right now:
- Ring shopping this weekend: Do I need to say any more here? Oh my goodness, I can’t wait! Jesse and I are going out to breakfast on Saturday and then starting from there. We’re going to Gilt Vintage & Artisan Jewelry to look at some antique pieces (I love the idea of having a ring with a background story!) and will scope out a couple other recommended places as well (Alchemy and Judith Arnell Jewelers). We’re also going ceremony outfit shopping for Jesse. We’re keeping our little ceremony a bit more casual (but nice, of course) and Jesse is really not a suit guy, so we’re going an alternate route. I think it’ll be better this way and why not pay money for something that can be worn again? Jesse and I are practical people, so this makes the most sense for us. I’ll recap about all this after the weekend!
- US Wellness Meats: Yep, my friend, Macala and I are in the process of placing another US Wellness Meats order. I get super giddy putting an order together. Seriously, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. We go in on orders together every few months. We don’t go hog wild, but get some good staples to keep handy in the freezer. This is where I get all my sugar-free beef bacon too. I even ordered our kitties some special pet food, which is a mixture of raw grass-fed beef, beef liver and beef heart. I know they’ll love it because we already feed them some raw food that is a combo of raw turkey, turkey liver and turkey heart and they go crazy over it. They eat this as a supplement to their dry, grain-free cat food. We take good care of our furry friends!
- Primal Recess class: I had to miss this class on Tuesday due to school and exhaustion, so I’m happy to go today. This class, at Recreate, is always a bit more intimate and Jesse has us do lots of playful stuff. I’m usually the only girl and have fun playing with the boys.
- Getting a real senior client: For my special populations pro-act class, which is a follow-up from my fitness and aging class, we’re learning how to test and program for the senior population. Last week, we visited an amazing senior retirement center that literally had everything you could dream of (shops, fitness center & pool, bank, clinic, post office, hair salon, etc.)! We were fortunate to not only get a full tour, but also take part in a chair aerobics class. We let all the seniors find their chairs first because they all have their favorite spots and God forbid someone take it! They were adorable, funny and oh-so precious. It was so enjoyable and heart-warming. In terms of the class, I was quite surprised how challenging a chair aerobics class actually is! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t intense or difficult for me, but it was harder than I anticipated. The equipment included a chair, obviously, a ball and light dumbbells. Anyway, we’ll be going back in a couple weeks to be introduced to a real client, in which we’ll consult with and administer senior fitness tests to (i.e. 8-foot get-up and go, back scratch, sit-to-stand, etc.). Then, we’ll develop a program for our client and go back again and show them the exercises. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and even though I’m a touch nervous, I’m excited more than anything. It’s really touching to spend time with seniors because it reminds me of being with my grandparents and other senior relatives. It feels good and is actually a bit comforting.
- Continuing to purge: With all the new stuff I got for my wedding shower and items I picked out myself with shower money, Jesse and I have cleared space and gotten rid of a lot of stuff. It feels so refreshing to get rid of bagfuls of old things and replace it with nice, new and fresh stuff. We live in such a small place though, that we really didn’t have a choice, but to purge. We’ll be making another trip to goodwill soon because we just got a shiny new Oneida silverware set and need to get rid of our mismatched cheap pieces. I’m sure I can find more items (again) to ditch with the silverware. It feels SO good!
Wow, what a great weekend! Saturday, in particular, was outstanding. Before I get rolling about that, I just want to say that a Monday – Wednesday school schedule is SO much better than going through Thursday. One less day of school during the week really makes a big difference. If you’re curious, my classes this term include exercise science, fitness assessment II, and professional activities: special populations (fitness programming for older adults).
Anyway, Saturday started with another great workout at Recreate. Then, it was breakfast at home and a little downtime before heading to Whole Foods for a healthy fats presentation by my friend, Ashley, also the blogger behind Craving4more, in case you didn’t remember. The event was actually titled, “Fat is NOT the F-word!” Ashley had a great spread laid out, as usual and we had the opportunity to sample the delicious food. I tried the macadamia-crusted halibut, a fig olive walnut tapenade, roasted watermelon radishes (roasted in coconut oil), and lemon pound cake bites (grain-free and similar to a larabar). She also had an avocado chocolate mousse with port berries and spiced pecans, but I needed to opt out. I brought some home for Jesse though, and he said it was delicious. Ashley also had some freshly made grass-fed tallow and grass-fed ghee on display for participants to see.
Ashley gave a great overview of the types of fat, which to cook with, which not to cook with (finishing oils), which to avoid, omega-3 vs. omega-6, myths and overall benefits. I knew most everything already, but it was neat to see others learn about it that did not know all these details. It was fun and I was happy to be there to support Ashley, and taste the delicious food too! Be sure to keep an eye on Ashely’s blog this week because I know she’ll be posting some of the recipes.
Then, when leaving Whole Foods, I randomly ran into two different friends, one of which I hadn’t seen in a long time (also a former lululemon co-worker). The other was one of my special yoga buddies. I love them both and was happy to see and chat with them, even if it was only for a few minutes.
Fast forward a little later in the day and I remembered that Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind, was giving a talk at a local bookstore about 5-10 minutes away from my house. I called to make sure there was still spots available, and lucky for me, there was, but I wasn’t sure if I’d make it in time or not. I had dinner going and realized I’d have to eat quickly and bolt, and I really detest rushing! I knew I’d regret missing it though, so I made it work.
Here’s the description of Nora’s presentation, as stated by New Renaissance Bookshop:
“Dietary fat has been treated like a villain for the better part of the last century by medical authorities, the USDA and other mainstream nutritional authorities. Instead, dietary carbohydrates have been lauded as foundational to human dietary needs largely without question and now makes up the majority of mainstream dietary intake. Dietary fat is demonstrably central to our most basic energy, metabolic, neurological and physiologic needs and by restricting its intake we foster a much less healthy and unnatural dependence upon dietary sources of sugar and starch. Nora Gedgaudas is the author of the critically acclaimed international best-selling book, Primal Body, Primal Mind. She maintains a private practice in Portland, Oregon as both a Board-Certified nutritional consultant and a Board-Certified clinical Neurofeedback Specialist.”
At the event, I had the opportunity to meet a couple other Portland paleo bloggers and it was awesome to finally put a face with the name in person! I’m referring, specifically, to Holly over at The Paleo Blog of Yay and Jennifer over at Paleo Dieting. Jason Seib, my mentor and author of the book, The Paleo Coach, was also there. I grabbed a seat and Jason told me to save the seat next to him. I still feel so fortunate to have him as a friend and mentor.
Nora’s talk was 90 minutes long and I was engaged every second of it. I took notes and could have taken a lot more, but was so enthralled by her at times, that all I could do is sit and listen. She is a wealth of knowledge, as well as a fantastic speaker and presenter. I am SO glad I went.
After the talk, I chit-chatted with some others and was able to meet Nora and have her sign my book, which was such a pleasure. I didn’t get a picture with Nora, but did take one of Jason and Nora together on my phone.
Here are a few highlights from Nora’s presentation that I wrote down (note, this is not everything I wrote down):
- Taking statins for high cholesterol levels is the equivalent to shooting the fireman at the fire.
- Cholesterol is an indicator, not a disease marker. To know what’s really going on, you have to look under the hood.
- The more we depend on fat, the longer we live.
- Cell membranes require 50% saturated fat for functioning and other parts of the body, including the heart, need it to function properly as well (she listed how other parts of the body use saturated fat, but this is the one I was able to jot down in time).
- Cholesterol functions as an antioxidant and acts as duct tape in our arteries.
- Cholesterol — not diamonds — is a girl’s best friend.
- Using ketones for fuel creates more ATP.
- The brain uses >20% of the body’s total energy demands.
- For human longevity, it’s best to keep protein around 25 grams per meal. (Note: this varies for some people with specific goals or needs, such as athletes or those trying to gain muscle).
- Special note: go watch Allan Savory’s TED talk titled, “How to green the desert and reverse climate change.” Jason made sure I wrote this down.
On a completely different note and just because I want to share, Jesse and I get married exactly two months from today!
As you probably know, my birthday was this past Saturday, and boy, was it a good one! First of all, I had a wonderful night’s rest, which included sleeping with my bedroom window open, and woke up to the sound of birds chirping outside. It was a refreshing start to my day and made me smile. Then, I got ready for yoga and headed over to my studio. There’s nothing like a sweaty, challenging power vinyasa class to get the day going.
After yoga, I came home and made myself a wonderful breakfast. You may have seen it on Facebook, but if not, here’s what I ate:
Then, I got a surprise phone call from my 87-year old grandma and 90-year old grandpa back in Michigan. It was so touching and wonderful to hear their voices. Apparently, my dad was on the phone with them earlier in the day and asked if they wanted to call me on my cell and wish me a happy birthday. I’m so glad he offered up the idea! I love my grandparents dearly and they’ve always been a big part of my life.
Next on my agenda, a pedicure! I treated myself to a little TLC at a salon/spa down the road from us — literally just a 5-minute walk away. Lucky for me, I had a $20 off any service coupon that they sent me for Valentine’s Day, so my 50-minute pedicure only cost $20 (plus tip). Such a steal, and my toes look tons better. It was much needed.
The day continued with a drive up to Cultured Caveman for some chicken tenders. I LOVE their chicken tenders. They are crave-worthy. They’re dipped in a thin layer of coconut flour, egg white and spices, and then fried in grass-fed beef tallow. Garnished with course salt and dipped in homemade ketchup and/or aioli, they are divine. If you live in Portland and have not tried their chicken tenders and other delicious food, do it! And try some of my date/nut treats while you’re there…hehe.
Next, grocery shopping at Whole Foods.
Afterward, I hung out a home and did a itty bitty amount of homework. Then, I decided I wasn’t having any more of that on my birthday and put it away.
For my birthday dinner, we went to Cafe Nell, one of our favorite restaurants in Portland. We drank the loveliest chardonnay I have ever tasted and shared egg on horseback, minus the cheese. This is asparagus with a sunny side up egg and sage brown butter. For dinner, I had NY strip with roasted brussel sprouts. My phone pictures were really bad in here, especially the one I tried to take of my entree, so I don’t have a picture of that.
After dinner, we came home and ate some homemade butter pecan ice cream that I made earlier in the day, and watched the final episode of season 1 Downton Abbey. I had been wondering what all the hype was about this show and kept hearing people talk about it. Jesse and I finally checked it out on Netflix a couple weeks ago and loved it! I’m bummed that we have to wait for season 2 to come out on DVD before we can watch it, but oh well. That’s the nature of most everything we watch. You know what’s really funny? Up until watching this show for the first time, I thought it was called, “Downtown Abbey.” Am I the only one?
I had such a lovely birthday and feel so blessed. I’m just sad that it went by so fast. Now, it’s just a memory, but a good memory indeed.
Butter Pecan Ice Cream
- 1 14.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I use Natural Value brand)
- 2 pastured egg yolks
- 1 Tbsp raw honey (or more if you want it sweeter)
- 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Dash of Himalayan sea salt
- 1 cup coconut cream (I use Aroy-D brand)
- 2-3 Tbsp grass-fed butter
- 1/2 cup raw pecan pieces
- Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and let toast, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool. The pecans will continue to absorb some of the butter while cooling.
- Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, coconut milk, honey and sea salt together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut cream, vanilla and pecans. Place in the fridge to cool for a couple hours.
- Once chilled, add to ice cream maker and let churn for 17-20 minutes. Serve right away or empty into a container and store in the freezer.
Homework, writing and reading. That’s the summary of my weekend. In fact, I was so worn out on Saturday after being at it all day, that I missed out on girl’s night with some of my co-workers from Recreate and other great ladies that workout there. I just didn’t have the energy for it, and knew that I needed my focus to roll over into Sunday. Luckily, I did have some fun Friday night and got a lot done this weekend, which was critical.
On Friday, Jesse and I went out with an old college friend of mine from Michigan. We met when we were both 18 years old, attending Eastern Michigan University in the interior design program, which will be 10 years ago this August. Anyway, she was here visiting with her husband and asked if we wanted to get together. Naturally, I said yes. We met at the Mission Theater for drinks and then watched the newest episode of Portlandia, which the theater airs every Friday night. You may have seen this when I posted it on my Facebook page, but here’s one of my favorite clips from the new season called, fart patio. Part of why I think it’s so funny, is because as a former vegetarian and vegan, I can totally relate! I’ve even eaten at the cafe they’re at in the clip, which has a lot of unique things on their menu — all vegan, mostly raw and nearly all gluten-free. I don’t really go there anymore, but if I do, I get a fresh green juice. They have some really tasty ones to choose from.
After watching Portlandia, we walked across the street and ate Thai food and drank hot Thai tea at Sweet Basil Thai. I ordered a gluten-free red curry with chicken, no rice. It was delicious. It felt so good to get out, see an old friend and laugh. I hadn’t laughed that hard in a while. My two glasses of wine didn’t sit super well with me, even though I chose something dry, but I still had a great time and didn’t let it hold me back. It was the first drink I’ve had since New Year’s eve. I’m not much of a drinker — usually just at holidays and when I go out with friends.
On Sunday, I worked in the morning, then went to a coffee shop afterward to pump out some more work. Then, I came home and got some 24-hour yogurt started, along with a batch of bone broth. I also made a tasty, creamy beverage that I’m hoping to post later this week, so stay tuned! Meanwhile, this week’s chaos has already begun. I worked out at Recreate this morning, came home, am off to school shortly and then after school, I head out to Clackamas Physical Conditioning with my friend for our weekly appointment with Jason Seib. I get my advanced copy of Jason’s book today and am so excited to start digging in!
How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun or cook up anything delicious?
Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was busy, but good busy. Saturday, I had an all day DVRT certification at my gym, which went from 9:30am – 6pm. We learned different assessments, progressions, techniques, cues and much more. It was a ton of information, and both mentally and physically fatiguing, but very valuable in more ways than one. Afterward, Jesse and I were really worn out, so decided to go out to eat. Then, we went home and relaxed for a bit before going to bed. I slept like a baby and it felt amazing to finally get a good night’s sleep. I hadn’t slept well in three nights because of my cold.
Sunday, I woke up refreshed and feeling better. My head felt less stuffy and heavy, and my cough was much better too. I drove to Recreate in the frozen fog (which made me a little disoriented) to help coach class, and then afterward, spent the rest of the day running errands, doing laundry (was way behind because our dryer broke, but our new dryer was delivered on Sunday), making 24-hour yogurt, making pork shoulder in the slow cooker (recipe to come!), getting all my ingredients in order for my treats at Cultured Caveman, and working on my taxes (what can I say, I got a head start).
Today, I have no school, in honor of MLK Day, but have enough to keep me busy. I’m replenishing my treats at the food cart bright and early this morning, meeting my friend, Laura, later in the morning for breakfast and conversation, doing homework, cleaning, cooking and either going to yoga in the evening or taking a rest day. That’s still to be determined.
In other, more exciting news, I have an awesome opportunity starting this week. On Friday, I took a leap and reached out to someone in the health/paleo/fitness world that I respect a lot about a potential mentor-ship opportunity. This person is Jason Seib, who owns Clackamas Physical Conditioning (about 25-30 minutes from me) and runs Everyday Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness with Sarah Fragoso. He also has a book coming out on March 5 called, The Paleo Coach, which I anticipate being fantastic. You may recall, that I attended one of his seminars this past September in Grants Pass, Oregon. I did a couple recap posts about it, which you can read here and here. I was also fortunate to interview Jason this past fall as an industry leader for one of my assignments in school.
Anyway, Jason surprisingly emailed me back within an hour of receiving my message, and asked if I could stop by his gym that very afternoon to chat about what he could offer me. Long story short, I’m going to be hanging out at his gym at least once a week to work with and learn from him! I get to join in on initial assessments, nutrition coaching, training, etc. This experience is going to be beyond valuable and I can’t wait to start soaking things up. To start, he is going to assess and train me (cool, right?). Additionally, we have a project in mind, but I need to hold off on talking about that for now. Oh, and I even got to meet the infamous, Deb while I was there. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the following posts from Jason:
I’m so excited and proud of myself for reaching out to Jason. This is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while now, but for some reason, was a little nervous about doing so and held back. I think part of it is because I respect him so much and feel slightly intimidated, but I knew that I couldn’t let a potential opportunity pass me by. Seriously, his gym is 25 minutes from me…how could I not take advantage of such proximity?
Do you create opportunities in your life? What is something that you’re excited about right now?
Jesse and I had the privilege of attending our friend’s wedding this weekend in Welches, a little ski town about 45 minutes from Portland. It was a lovely wedding at her parent’s house with beautiful decorations, wonderful food and good company. Some guests even camped in the yard/woods after the wedding, us included. The weather was incredibly hot (probably upper 80s or low 90s), especially for the mountain, but I think it was hot everywhere in the Pacific Northwest over the weekend. Everyone was sweating up a storm and I felt bad for the guys wearing long pants and shirts. Had the wedding been in Portland instead, it would have been even hotter though (in the 100+ range).