15 March 2018

Edible: Sheet Pan Roasted Sausage + Veggies

Lately, when it comes to meals in our house, whatever we can get on the table the quickest and with the least amount of clean up is a winner in our book. Anything involving my favorite vegetables {zucchini, squash, broccoli, and carrots} is also a winner. When Patrick and I stumbled across several variations of this recipe on Pinterest, we knew that we had to change it up a bit and make it perfect for supper for the two of us.

We are so ready for fresh veggies in our house! There's a raised garden bed in the works in our backyard. The framing is done and we'll be adding soil to it soon enough so we can start planting as soon as this lingering cold weather rolls back out of town. I can only imagine how delicious this dinner would be with homegrown veggies from our garden.

In the meantime, the fresh veggies from the grocery store will work, and this recipe produces a pretty great supper.

Sheet Pan Roasted Sausage + Veggies

1 pkg beef smoked sausage
1 bag of baby carrots
2 medium zucchini
2 medium squash
1 head of broccoli
olive oil
crushed red pepper
garlic powder

1. Slice up sausage and chop the zucchini, squash, and broccoli into bitesized pieces. Toss in a mixing bowl with the carrots.
2. Drizzle olive oil over the sausage and veggies and season to taste with the salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic powder, and oregano.
3. Spread out in a single layer on a tinfoil lined baking sheet.
4. Cook in the oven on 375 for 25 minutes, or until veggies begin to brown.
5. Enjoy!

I served ours with a side of rice. Want to know our favorite way to cook rice these days? Rather than cooking it in just plain water, we throw a beef bouillon cube or two in to give it a little extra flavor.

This meal is super easy to throw together, works with any combination of vegetables, and is always incredibly tasty. We cook two pans of this {one with all beef sausage and one with turkey sausage} and it makes plenty for us to eat for dinner and have for lunch leftover the next day.

13 March 2018

My Kind of March Madness: BB&T Corporate Cup 5K Recap

Some people think March Madness is about basketball.

For me, March Madness is about running a race on all five weekends in March. And... basketball! Because Clemson's in the NCAA tournament for the first time since like 2011 and we're all pretty excited about that. Back to the running though.

My friend Steven convinced me to sign up for the BB&T Corporate Cup a few weeks back. His logic was that he was helping organize it, there would be free Olde Meck beer at the finish line, and I'd get to hang out with his wife, Laurel. Sold. Somehow, I managed to convince another friend, Drew, to run it with us. We woke up bright and early Saturday morning, threw on our running shoes, and headed into uptown for the race.

Mile 1
{9:11 / mile}

I never remember this part of running a race in Charlotte until the race starts: there are so many people in Charlotte races! I'm used to the tiny races in Columbia where I can start up at the front and where there are times I'm running solo along the course. Not quite the case here. Laurel, Drew, & I stuck together for most of the first mile and we spent the entire mile weaving in and out of people. It did make the first mile go by pretty quickly, but my watch was reading a little long at the first mile marker thanks to all the weaving.

The course starts out in the middle of Uptown and headed south down Tryon. It's a nice, easy downhill path that nearly every race out of uptown follows and is one that I've run a dozen or so times. Nothing too crazy.

Mile 2
{9:01 / mile}

We hit the beginning of mile 2 just before turning onto West Blvd and I knew our days of downhill running were over. It was either going to be flat terrain or slightly uphill the rest of the way. There were at least a half dozen times that I was tempted to take a teeny, tiny, little walking break. But, with Drew running along side me... I knew that wasn't happening. We ran through some neighborhood streets and had a few people hanging out on their front porches, waving as we all ran by.

Mile 3
{9:01 / mile}

Mile 3 took us by a few of my favorite places in Charlotte: Unknown Brewing, the Panther's stadium, the Charlotte Knights' stadium, and Romare Bearden Park. Between having plenty to see along the way and knowing that I was less than a mile from the finish, I powered through some of the trickier gradual hills in this mile. I knew that the finish was going to sneak up on us at the end as we ran up 3rd Street and made the turn back on Tryon. Y'all. That finish line really sneaks up on you, especially if you miss the 3 mile marker. As soon as we turned onto Tryon, we were running across the finish line.

Final Results
Watch Time - 28:54
Chip Time - 28:50
Pace - 9:06/mile
Age Group - 37/158
Gender - 127/829
Overall - 415/1580

Y'all, I am super happy with the way I ran this race! It was my 2nd fastest 5K in Charlotte to date and the best one that I've run probably since last spring. It might have only been a second faster than last week's race, but... there was no stopping to walk in this one. Just a steady pace from start to finish to get across the finish line.

We grabbed our beers from Olde Meck, watched some of the end of the 5K race, and then headed down to where the Half Marathon was finishing to wait for Steven to come across the finish line. The half started 30 minutes before our 5K, but we got to the finish line just in time to catch all the runners finishing 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours. I could watch race finish lines all day long... there's always so much emotion going on as runners get to the finish line and see their time up on the clock.

Next up: Get to the Green 5K! It's one of Columbia's bigger races since everyone likes to get in a good run before heading out for all of the St. Pat's in Five Points shenanigans. Can't remember why I skipped this race last year, but I ran it back in 2016 for the first time. I'm looking forward to being one of the only people not wearing green for the race again this year!

12 March 2018

Empire State of Mind

Guess where I'm headed next month?


{via @taylor_fuller}

The 30th birthday celebrations are kicking off a few months early because let's be real, who actually thought I was going to contain the celebrations to just a birthday-month this year? Yeah. Nobody.

But I need your help. I know zero things about New York City other than what I've seen on Gossip Girl.

We're going for four days and right now the only thing on our list of things to do is to see either The Lion King or Wicked. There are so many things to do! How do you even begin to narrow it down?

Here's what I need to know:

Where should we fly into? {leaning towards LGA}
Where area of town should we stay in?
What hotel should we book?
What's the number one thing that you recommend we do while we're in town?
The Lion King or Wicked?
Should we go to Central Park or no?
What super touristy things must we do?

I'm going to go ahead and say that going to the top of any building is probably not going to be on our list. The Space Needle only happened after circling the thing a million times to build up the courage and I still have nightmares of the little clear acrylic box of terror that hangs off the side of the Willis Tower in Chicago.

Other than that? Pretty much anything is fair game.

Whatcha got for us?!

06 March 2018

Runnin' Through Soda City

Hey friends, it's been awhile since I've had a race recap for you... over six months? I feel y'all are way overdue for one!

This weekend was my first good run in months and it couldn't have been better timed. I've got 5Ks lined up every Saturday in March and starting the first of those races off on a good note was awesome.

Special shout out to all of y'all that helped me pick which race to run this past Saturday! If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my indecision about which race to run this past weekend and those of y'all that did see it had the chance to help me decide which race to run.

Most of you said the same thing: go for the harder race and challenge myself for a better time... and go for the bling. What can I say? It seems like y'all appreciate a good race medal as much as I do.

Mile 1
{8:26 / mile}
The first mile of this race is so awesome. You start out on the Sumter Street side of the State House and head away from it towards Blossom Street. The whole first mile is a free fall down from the State House to Five Points and you can't help but throw down a quick mile. Knowing the pain that was gong to come in mile 2, I made sure to let gravity help me out a bit so I could bank time for what was surely going to be a slower middle mile.

Mile 2
{10:05 / mile}
The hill on this mile wasn't as terrible as I remembered it being from last year. Sure, I'd prefer not to run up out of Five Points any direction, but there are worse streets to run up {Barnwell, I'm looking at you!} It's a sharp, steep, short climb up Laurens Street but it ends pretty quickly if you can just hang on for a little bit. From there on out it's smooth sailing on flat streets around the downtown area.

Mile 3
{9:15 / mile}
The last half mile of this race is what makes this race one of the most unique ones in Columbia and in my opinion, the most fun. When you make the final turn on Main Street, you get to run straight through the middle of Soda City Market. There are people cheering you on and plenty of cool things to look at along the way as you race down to the street to the steps of the State House. I didn't spend my time checking out the market though. I was too busy looking at my watch to see what my time was.

I knew that if I could hold my pace, I would finish under 29 minutes and either tie my time from last year or be a couple of seconds faster. "Look What You Made Me Do" popped up on my playlist too and provided enough motivation and energy to get me across the finish line in an awesome time!

Final Results
Watch Time - 28:54
Chip Time - 28:51 
Pace - 9:19 / mile
Age Group - 4/16
Gender - 33/157
Overall - 87/264

I finished the run officially in 28:55 last year, so I beat my time by 4 seconds!

Better yet? The girl who finished 1st in the age group ended up finishing as a top 3 overall female which meant the she couldn't take home 1st in the age group... leaving 3rd place to me. 3rd place and a course PR? That's a successful Saturday to me.

Next up: BB&T Corporate Cup 5K in Charlotte this coming Saturday. I ran this race four years ago with a whole bunch of my coworkers and the only thing I remember about it was running it while recovering from a sinus infection. It wasn't pretty. Hoping that this year goes better!

25 January 2018

Brewery Hoppin' at the Hangar

Hunter Gatherer at the Curtiss-Wright Hangar is the brewery that Columbia has been waiting for. It's the one that this town didn't know they needed.

Is it a bold statement to make?

Probably. But probably not, either.

First of all, Hunter Gatherer's new second location is in an old WWII-era hangar at the Owens Field Airport. It's in a hangar. How cool is that? It's such a cool old building and they did a fantastic job bringing it back to life with their restorations and renovations. We haven't seen any planes take off or land there yet but I can only imagine that we're bound to see it happen at some point.

There's an enormous taproom with two separate bars {note if you go: you can't open a tab at one and order from the other, gotta stick with just one} and plenty of space for everyone to spread out inside. The ginormous doors on the front and the back of the hangar also open up on pretty days.

Outside, there's a stairwell that goes up to a small rooftop area. Cool part of this area? The views out over the airport and the views into the hangar. Both are awesome.

Saturday was a great day for being outside so the grassy area surrounding the hangar was packed. People had brought plenty of blankets to sit on and little kids and dogs were running around and playing everywhere you looked. Hunter Gatherer's original brew pub isn't exactly known for being family-friendly {I don't think that I've ever seen any kids there, to be honest} but their brewery location was absolutely made for families.

Patrick, my mom, my friend Camlin, and I all went out to check it out on Friday. They had a huge turnout for opening night and we had fun checking out the new space. We knew we were going to like it but y'all, we had no idea how much we were going to love it.

So... we went back the next day! Patrick and I met up with our friends Chris and Sarah and Baby B. I haven't had the pizza there yet but it looked and smelled amazing.

I'm waiting the day when they bring their wheat beer to the brewery but for now, I'm just happy to be able to grab a pint in a hangar.

Columbia friends, do yourself a favor, and get out to Hunter Gatherer at Curtiss-Wright! It's a place that you're going to want to go to over and over again, trust me.

24 January 2018

Weekending In Hangars + On Trails

Bonus of living in South Carolina: you're almost always guaranteed at least one perfectly sunny, warm, gorgeous weekend in January. We don't do "winter" around here and I loved the springtime vibes that we have been rockin' the last few days and into today.

Low of 59? Highs in the 70s?

Bring on spring and bring on summer and bring on that short hair, don't care feeling.

I kicked off the weekend by chopping off 9.5" of my hair to donate and 5 days later, I'm still not used to the short hair. This is the very shortest it has been since I was in pre-school. It's short.

Followed that up with the first of many trips to Hunter Gatherer's new location at the Curtiss-Wright Hangar.

Spoiler Alert: I love this place. I have an entirely separate post planned to introduce you to my new favorite brewery in Columbia but just know that you need to make plans to grab a drink here ASAP. It's incredible. We may have gone two times in the first 24 hours that they were open.

We spent some time on Saturday showering our friend Amanda and baby boy. I love when this group gets together for a celebration of some sort... especially when cheese straws are involved.

On Sunday, after church / grocery shopping / brunch at the house, Patrick and I loaded up our bikes in the truck and drove out to Harbison State Forest to tackle one of their trails. We had been waiting for what seems like forever to have a free weekend afternoon to venture out on the trails and we had the perfect one on Sunday.

All in all, it was my kind of weekend.

Happy Wednesday!

16 January 2018

You're Running a What?!

I've always been intrigued by the idea of a triathlon, particularly so after this weekend in Kiawah 3.5 years ago.

I can handle my own with swimming, can fairly easily tackle the running portion, and I love to bike around everywhere, so I've thought about it. The idea got as far as actually going and trying on one piece bathing suits and joining the local Y so that I could practice the swimming. But it's the whole thing where you have to do the swimming first and then the other stuff. If swimming was last? I probably would have joined the triathlon train years ago.

But then I was introduced to the idea of the Winter Challenge, a triathlon race held in February that doesn't involve swimming. It switches out swimming with kayaking. Now, I can't kayak to save my life and didn't feel like investing in one to learn how during the cold winter months. The winter challenge was almost a no-go for me until I saw that they had a duathlon portion: a trail run + a trail ride.

Done and done.

The duathlon looks something like this:
- 2.25 trail run
- 10 mile bike ride along trails
- 4.75 trail run

The race is one month from tomorrow and I can't wait! Haven I taken my new mountain bike out on an actual trail yet? Well, no. Patrick and I have mostly been sticking to the paved areas around town and in our neighborhood. It's been so cold around here lately and we haven't had the time to make the trek out to Harbison State Forest yet. But, with forecast highs in the upper 60s this weekend and no Sunday plans, you can bet that we'll be hitting the trails very soon.

Do I have any goals for this race? Not really. My only goal is to complete it!

Plus, I'm pretty excited that I'm getting a lot of use out of my new bike. We've been tackling some crazy hills around our neighborhood {the downside of living super close to a river} and exploring areas of Columbia that we usually don't or haven't explored before. I can't wait to get back down to Kiawah on my Townie cruiser though... my legs aren't going to know what to do with a completely flat terrain.

Are y'all training for any fun races this year?

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