Photo Christmas Catch Up

If I’m behind on updating my blog, I’m really behind on uploading photos anywhere. So instead of giving y’all a verbal update on my life, I’ll give you a visual one. But one quick note…towards the end of the photos, you’ll start to see glasses-less me. I’m climbing the uphill battle of giving contacts a try. We’ll see how that turns out.

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After many childhood trips to South Bend to see my grandfather, I finally made it to a Notre Dame game. And since I can’t tailgate with beer, I figured, why not champagne. Mumm…if you need a spokesperson, I’m available!

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Spotted at Thanksgiving. My all-time favorite photo. This hangs in my grandparents house showing all the cousins that were born by that point. I have always been cynical. 

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The brother and I before the annual Thanksgiving hike. Also before our trip planning to Zanzibar next year.

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Took a weekend trip to DC to see my bestest friend. Much needed quality time.

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And I can’t go to DC without seeing my soulmate, Fou. Unfortunately, all our non-blurry photos are not quite as flattering. This girl was the reason I got through my one semester at Centre.

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The Bengals vs. Cowboys game with my girl Jilly. Always gotta make it to one game at PBS. Even if we did lose.

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A work trip took me to San Jose, Cali, and in case you’re wondering, this is how they put up Christmas lights.

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I’ve been going to the Crosstown Shootout my entire life, and always with this guy. A little odd this year on neutral ground, and our team lost (I’ve got a bad streak going on here), but I have now seen this game played at every major arena in Cincinnati.

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This year, Jordann went with us! 

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My hair and I don’t always get along, and when we don’t, it’s not pretty. The hair to face ratio is just not okay.

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Alice, aka Snacks, one of my co-worker’s daughters came in this week to help us spread some holiday cheer. It’s been a lot of work, but we’re finally starting to bond. 

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The Best Breakfast Ever

I feel a little bit like I’ve been cheating on you. I was at a conference for work (thankfully in Cincinnati – between vacation in LA and dog/house sitting, I’ve been missing my bed!), and I was asked to blog as part of it. So I’ve been blogging. Just not for you. And I’d link to the blog, but unless you want to know more about market research, you might fall asleep. But just in case you feel like, it you can read them here and here.

So to make up for it, I’m going to tell you about this amazing thing that has legitimately changed my life. Acai bowls.

I should probably back up…while Cathy and I were in Santa Barbara, eating our way through California, we met the owner of Backyard Bowls, and after the madness of Cathy’s roof getting destroyed, we decided it was the best place to check out for a mental pick me up. Huge mistake. And I say that because Cathy and I now crave them non-stop. So much so, that I looked up flights for the opportunity to get one. Not cost effective.

I tracked what is being called an Acai Bowl at Yagoot, but it’s a version with frozen yogurt and not the healthiest granola. So I took matters into my own hand.

I’ve been making my own version of the bowl with the following. It’s amazing. Life changing even. You’ll thank me, I promise.

  • Almond milk
  • Sambazon Smoothie Packs (I found them at Whole Foods, so check there first. I also went with the unsweetened as I try not to eat sugar when at all possible)
  • Maca powder
  • Bee Pollen
  • Flaxseed
  • Coconut oil
  • Stevia
  • Frozen fruit (I’ve been mixing it up with frozen strawberries, berry blends, raspberries…really any berry combination)
  • Water as needed (I do about a 2:1 ratio of almond milk to water)

I top the bowl off with

  • Natural, gluten free granola
  • Local honey
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Fresh bananas

What I ate

Remember when this was a food blog and I talked about what I ate since I can’t have gluten? You don’t? Fail.

I admittedly am much better at talking about myself than food, mainly because I’m not huge into cooking. If you had called me before September ’11, I could have done a blog on baking. I am a baking fiend. My specialty is white chocolate raspberry cheesecake by scratch. But when you’re gluten intolerant and do everything possible to avoid being sick, even baking losing it’s fun. And gluten free baking is messy and complicated and simply not worth it to me.

So what have I been eating? Well, instead of a typical burger trip to LA this year, it became a pizza trip. Burgers without buns make me desperately sad and gluten free bread is the pits. It’s dry, falls apart and makes everything so damn messy. I did have a burger at The Counter, probably one of my favorite burger places in California. The bun was eh at best.

I’m still not sure how I didn’t get this on myself.

I discovered my new favorite sushi while in Santa Barbara. A baked California roll, add cream cheese, topped with spicy creamy sauce. Sometimes known as a volcano roll, always known as delicious. It came right before someone landed on my friend’s car, denting in her roof, quickly halting our roadtrip to San Francisco. That’s really all the details I have about that. We don’t know what happened. We do know that most of our Friday was spent at the police station, getting an estimate and filing an insurance claim. But life happens. And I got Yogurtland out of the deal.

What else did I eat in California? Well…let me show you. And yes. Everything is gluten free. As a fun side note, a surprising thing gluten is in is frozen yogurt. Thankfully Yogurtland told me what flavors had gluten in them and which didn’t. Orange Leaf…learn from them.

 In order:

1. Babycake cupcakes. Chocolate mint, carrot cake and red velvet cake

2. Rooibos tea latte that reminded me of South Africa

3. Pinkberry. It never gets old.

4. Acai bowl from Backyard Bowls. If you’re ever in Santa Barbara, check it out. It’s seriously delicious.

5. Most deserved frozen yogurt ever.

6. Cinnamon roll from Breakaway Bakery that we carried up to the Griffith Park Observatory

7. Last meal of the trip.

I swear I ate other things on the trip aside from the food group known as sugar. I threw in some protein, vegetables and hydration along the way. But for now, it’s back to my grind. While dreaming of frozen yogurt, sushi and Santa Barbara.

Let the Roadtrip Begin…

Tomorrow will begin one of my favorite parts of the year. And I don’t mean time of the year specifically…tomorrow I will be back in California.

I went to LA 5-6 times last year to visit friends I had out there, but unfortunately this year, this will most likely be my only trip to the City of Angels.

Despite most people’s hatred of LA, I have a deep love for the city. So much so that I even planned on moving out there after graduation. Clearly that didn’t happen, so vacations there will have to do.

This trip will be a little different because my friend Cathy and I are planning on taking a roadtrip to who knows where. She and I are both planners (I’m a logistics queen), but neither of us were really sure what we wanted to do with this roadtrip, so I suggested we just go where the wind blows us – and after a little hyperventilating on both of our ends, we agreed.

Cathy and I have known each other since Junior year of high school when I switched schools and used to visit her at her shift at Moe’s and eat loaded quesadillas   (clearly pre-gluten intolerance). We’d then go play endless games of Mario Party at her house and pretend to study for AP History and English tests (although Cathy would end up really studying.)

Cathy went to USC (South California) for college and I headed off to Miami (Ohio), but for one beautiful summer, she decided to take classes in Oxford and lived with me after I got back from Asia. We spent equal amount times studying O Chem (her) and Calculus (me) while doing things like laying out, trying to perfect a signature cookie recipe and watching season upon season of LOST.

These days, our reunions consist mainly of Yelping where our next place to eat is. This will be my first trip to see her since I found out I was gluten intolerant, so that changes things significantly; however, one of my favorite things about Cathy is that she’s always willing to try something new. We’ve gone to Vegas twice together, seen what The Abbey was all about, gotten Thai massages, been surprised with birthday cakes, had spa days…the list really doesn’t end. She’s also been my counselor through too many guy situations.

Now my beautiful Kwanster is following her dreams of being a fashion designer at FIDM, and I literally drool over the drawings she produces. She is so talented, and I’m truly blessed to know her.

I also can’t wait to see where we end up.

Hopefully next time I post, I’ll have photos that aren’t 3+ years old.