weekend hi-jinks + vacation anticipation, part 2

January 10, 2011

what counts as an adventure?
resolution #3 for this year was to make better use of my free time by actually . . . you know, doing things. this weekend’s high-jinks included:

✭ fun dinner at [one]
✭ hitting the crunkleton afterwards for drinks — in my case, a thrilling seltzer-with-lime — arriving home after midnight
✭ 4 mile trail run in duke forest
✭ watching the rest of breaking away (yes, a movie older than me!) in bed
✭ my favorite yoga class yet at blue point
✭ my first publicly-attempted headstand — in yoga; not, like, at the supermarket
✭ inspired by kath, i cleaned out our fridge (there were things in there so old that this WAS an adventure of sorts . . .)
✭ planning and booking reservations for our upcoming trip to arizona
✭ making of a 3-hour+ stew

so i didn’t jump out of any planes or even tour any local landmarks. but i was conscious of making the time count and really enjoying the freedom, so i’d call it a good start! perhaps next weekend i will venture a bit farther out of my comfort zone.

vacation planning
i’d like to think josh and i have honed our vacation styles over the years. or, more descriptively, we’ve been able to come to a compromise between my preference to lie around and do . . . not much, and his desire to cram in as many activities as possible into each day of a trip.

on vacation, we both like to:
✔ eat at great restaurants
✔ work out (usually running together)
✔ do one major activity/day
✔ enjoy some luxury (my favorite thing ever is to get a massage)

since we are only making resident-level salaries (and socking away a chunk monthly into a future day care fund — we’ve got about 10 months saved up!), the trade-off for this pampering is that we often choose destinations that are not super-expensive to get to (asheville or CA, for example, rather than europe) and we keep our trips on the shorter side. i’d rather enjoy 4 nights in a lovely hotel than spend 7 in a so-so one! we also limit these real vacations to one/year; other weeks off are spent visiting family in miami or philadephia.

here is what we came up with for AZ:

since learning that vacation anticipation is as much of a happiness boost as the trip itself, i am even more into planning and thinking about upcoming getaways!

it’s not going to be a tropical paradise . . .

but i’m still expecting a step up from this:

luckily, winter is our shortest season

Q&A of the day: what’s your vacation style? do you like things action-packed or slower paced? active or purposefully lazy? are you into roughing it, or do you require your hotel bedding to have an obscenely high thread count?

so fresh and so clean
you know that nice feeling you get when your closet only contains clothes that fit and that you actually want to wear? (if not: go clean yours out already!). just as satisfying is cleaning out the FRIDGE so that a) it’s moderately sanitary and b) everything in there is edible and non-expired.

exhibit A: no mysterious unidentified leftovers in sight

exhibit B: drawers are clean and filled with fresh produce

exhibit C: (ultimate triumph) none of these condiments are expired!

public service announcement
yoga journal is running a 21-day challenge, complete with free video routines to use for the next 3 weeks!

because i have real-life classes to use up, i won’t be doing the entire thing, but i definitely plan on trying some of the workouts (and perhaps catching up later). my heels are still about a foot off the floor in down dog, but i have to admit that slowly but surely yoga is truly growing on me.



workout: 75 minute all levels class (mostly vinyasa style) at blue point — on lauren‘s recommendation, i attended andrea m’s class and she was excellent. i actually got to sweat and felt like i got in some semblance of a workout.

the 3 hour stew
well, at least they didn’t try to sugar-coat it:

total time 3 hours 20 minutes!? yeesh.
starting out at about 5 pm, i was nervous. what if it took even LONGER? i wasn’t too excited about a 9:00 dinner.

please excuse the post-yoga attire
in went the star ingredient . . .

and a mere 2.5 hours later, we were eating this delicious guinness lamb stew.

we both LOVED it. another CL success story! because it was a bit expensive, i actually used a lot less lamb than called for (i put in 1.5 lbs, when it called for 2.5) but found it plenty meaty for our tastes. so warm and comforting! i highly recommend this recipe, as long as you have plenty of time on your hands for simmering.


  • Reply Valerie @ City|Life|Eats March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    My husband and I are still working out our vacation styles. Some of it is that our family commitments have prevented us from having enough vacation time to go on vacation just the two of us since – well, since too long – but we definitely like a combination of active.

  • Reply Astrid March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    My boyfriend and I do well when we have a new place to explore. That way it satisfies my need to be active and his need to see new things. We also like to throw in relaxation, because it is relaxation after all!
    Arizona sounds like its going to be a great trip for the two of you. And it is coming up super fast!
    Glad you are liking yoga. I love it!

  • Reply Chelsea March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    I like active vacations. We&#39ve mostly been into seeing big cities lately, but I&#39d love to check out some national parks. BTW, I went on the Taliesin north tour back in September and really enjoyed it. I actually had no idea that FLW had a second winter school in AZ until I took that tour.

  • Reply Angeliki March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    I&#39m like you, I like not doing much in holidays and my boyfriend is the exact opposite. So, we have decided, one year adventurous holidays and the next relaxing so we&#39re both happy.

    Your weekend sounds amazingly active! Well done 🙂

  • Reply Susan Mc March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    Oh where to begin.. first.. you&#39re hitting my home state! You will have a great time in AZ! I grew up further south (Sierra Vista, Tucson) but lived in Scottsdale duing my horsey phase. Don&#39t miss L&#39Auberge, worth it for the view alone. Coffee Pot will be standard fare… my .02.
    Next, can&#39t wait to make the Guinness stew, I saw your link up early and was waiting to get your review B4 I went for it. Wish I could make it today, but we are snowed in here in the ATL… can&#39t get supplies and no school tomorrow either. This city shuts DOWN if more than 2" hit.
    As for vaca, I&#39m looking forward to a trip that doesn&#39t center around family visits. They&#39re great, but usually not relaxing. We like one main activity a day, not too much structure.
    Have fun!

  • Reply caribbean princess March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    yummy that lamb stew looks amazing. I guess that is a recipe I should trial as I love lamb although I will need to find the 3 hours! Glad you had a good weekend. I look forward to reading more of your adventures 🙂

  • Reply rutty1221 March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm


    I&#39ve been reading your blog for a while now (2 years?), but I&#39ve never commented. I found you through my sister, who is a 1997 graduate of Williams (although, I am your age, graduating from high school in 1998).

    Anyway, I felt obligated to comment since I have been living in AZ since graduating high school. I currently live in Tucson, but I lived in Phoenix for 3 years and worked in Sedona for 1. Let me tell you, it&#39s so weird to hear someone say they are vacationing in AZ since I prefer to take my vacations anywhere BUT AZ. 🙂

    I know it seems you have your itinerary quite full, but there are a few places I thought I should mention. Breakfast? Matt&#39s Big Breakfast. It&#39s definitely BIG, but seems like the kind of place especially Josh would appreciate. And you would appreciate that they use as much locally-sourced food as possible. For dinner or after-dinner drinks? The Rokerij. The atmosphere can&#39t be beat. The upstairs is great, but the basement bar is the stuff of my dreams! Stone, wood, fireplace, stuffed chairs, AMAZINGNESS. Yummy local Mexican food? America&#39s Taco Shop. I feel like you should at least SNACK on some Mexican food while in AZ. This place never fails to satisfy me.

    So those are my suggestions. I&#39ll be fading back into the background now… 🙂

  • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    rutty: thank you so much! we have a bunch of breakfast and lunch slots to fill so this will seriously come in handy!

    i&#39ve only been to the southwest once (taos, nm) so this is like an adventure for us! although the truth is we could probably go to iowa and if we have a place to frolic outdoors, good food, and a nice hotel, we&#39re happy 🙂 it&#39s all about just a change of scenery and an excuse for enjoying a little luxury together!

  • Reply Anonymous March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    Hahaha! Congrats on Exhibit C! Clearly, I did not achieve the same victories this weekend.

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