Birthday excuses

Let’s be serious here. Birthdays are great excuses for just about anything. Unless you’re an air traffic controller or surgeon. In those cases, you probably shouldn’t say, “It’s my birthday, so I get to drink on the job.”

Because I am neither of those two things, I think I got away with a good amount of stuff…

1. It’s my birthday, so I shouldn’t have to go to school.

Fortunately, I don’t have Monday classes this semester, so I didn’t have to play hookey. I enjoyed waking up with Dan before he went into class and then heading back to bed for some laziness with Tracker.

Perfect start to the morning.

2. It’s my birthday, so I should postpone homework as long as possible.

Rather than immediately finishing up a project, I continued my low-key morning with a run. (<<Birthday tradition!)

After that, I put on my new pair of boots, which is a perfect gift from my parents, even though I didn’t have anywhere to go.

So in love!

3. It’s my birthday, so I can have whatever I want to eat.

For breakfast, that meant hot oats in a jar of nearly finished chocolate-peanut butter. For lunch, it was a raspberry + chocolate protein powder smoothie, which was served up in a new tumbler from my sister-in-law!

4. It’s my birthday, so I can have coffee at any time of the day.

Honestly, having an afternoon cup of coffee was just an excuse to use a new mug from my sister.

Coffee + presidents = two of my favorite things!

A little while later, there was a knock at the door.

5. It’s my birthday, so I can brag about having the best husband in the world.

It was my ideal bouquet: sunflowers, greens and autumn foliage. So beautiful!

6. It’s my birthday, so it’s fine to go out on the town.

Dan finally got home from school in the afternoon, so the real celebration was able to begin.

When Dan asked where I wanted to go to dinner a few days ago, I decided on a whim that I wanted to try out Seasons 52, a new restaurant in Kansas City.

The concept is that the menu is seasonally, locally based. The bulk of the offerings change four times a year — with each season. There are also specials that change every week in reflection with the farmers’ market offerings.

Dan summed it up by saying, “This is your kind of restaurant!”

We scanned the menu, but the drink list caught my eye. I know that I said I wasn’t going to drink, but…

7. It’s my birthday, so I can change my mind.

Really, I weighed the pros and cons and decided I had nothing to prove. I’ve challenged myself before and it’s really not worth it.

So, I went with a skinny raspberry + chocolate martini. It was delicious, but I couldn’t make it through the whole thing!

Honestly, the food was the highlight of the meal.

I had a sampler plate with roasted vegetables, hoisin-glazed tofu and the best tabbouleh ever.

To round the meal out, Dan and I each finished with two-bite desserts. Pumpkin pie for him…

And an incredible peanut butter + chocolate mousse cake for me.

Honestly, Dan and I were both blown away by the restaurant. The selection was great, the food was incredible and the service was truly great. Consider it officially recommended!

Now, it’s still my birthday, so I’m off to enjoy the rest of the evening with my man and girl. So far, it’s good to be 21.


It’s November 14, 2011. I am officially 21 years old.

Not like there was a whole lot of doubt that I would make it to this mark, but it certainly seemed far away for a long time. I’m mostly excited about being able to go to some of the places from which I was previously barred. (Pun is so intended.)

A week full of fun plans kicked off this Saturday with a stay at Acorn’s Resort in northern Kansas. Back in September, Dan and I won a voucher for a cabin and we immediately started making plans for a party. Fortunately, eight of our closest friends were free for the night and willing to join us for a free mini-vacation. Tracker even got to come along!

Although Dan and I had toured a similar cabin back in September, we were impressed all over again to see our accommodations!

The cabin had five bedrooms, a full kitchen, leather couches and two flat-screen TVs. Definitely acceptable.

A little while after Dan and I got to the cabin, my friend Katelyn, who lives back in Lincoln, arrived. She and I quickly changed and took Tracker out for a great trail run. Fortunately, I still remembered the route from the 5K, so we stuck to that.

By the time we got back and showered up, pretty much everyone else had arrived. The boys got to work on the dinner — brats, hamburgers and veggie burgers — while the girls found some other ways to keep occupied.

[Sorry, Scott. You’re not a girl.]

After dinner was served and consumed, it was time for some homemade cookie cake. I would be embarrassed to admit that I made my own cake — but it was so dang good, I’m fine with taking credit.

I made Mama Pea’s chocolate chip cookie cake, but took it over the top by finishing it with my cookie dough frosting.

The rest of the night was devoted to having fun with friends.

We also played a countless number of card games. I caught Dan in the middle of Indian poker.

Everyone stayed up late laughing and chatting except for Tracker, who was turned into a big baby when 10 o’clock rolled around.

The next morning, everyone got up in time to enjoy some pancakes. I mixed up these dry ingredients at home and combined it with milk, the flax-seed mixture and vanilla at the cabin.

Pancakes all around!

Then we got everything back in place, cleaned up and packed up. We hit the road just before noon with enough time for a last group picture.

Now Dan, Track and I are back home. I would feel a little bit more disappointed that this weekend is over, because we’ve been looking forward to it for so long. But, there is still a lot of fun to come this week and I’m equally excited to see what’s ahead!

Question: What did you do for your 21st birthday?

Five things

So thankful it is the weekend right now — especially because it is this weekend.

See, Dan and I have been looking forward to this weekend since September, when we won a stay at a lake cabin for 10. We were able to organize it so that eight of our closest friends can go out there for a night of hanging out, relaxing and maybe celebrating my birthday. (It’s Monday, no big deal.)

Right now, we are in preparation mode. On the to-do list: grocery shopping, packing and putting together some food to feast on. In the meantime, I thought this would be to share a list of five things you might not know about me.

1. I never got a “hair cut” (only trims) until after I graduated high school.

I used to pride myself on the fact that I never had more than one inch cut from my hair at the time. But, by the time I graduated high school, it was time for a change. So, two days after graduation, I got 14 inches chopped off and donated to Locks of Love.

2. I moved across the country in the middle of high school.

I lived in Ohio from fourth grade until the middle of my sophomore year, when my family uprooted again to move to Nebraska. Although it was challenging, I made some really, really great friends in Nebraska and was able to stay friends with some really, really great people in Ohio.

3. I started doing hurdles before seventh grade.

During high school, my athletic life basically revolved around hurdles. I conditioned all throughout the winter, competed all through the spring and even did cross-country just to keep in shape. The 100-meter race was my absolute favorite.

4. I used to model for Limited Too.

Sorry, no picture of this. The Limited company is based out of Ohio, so I somehow got into modeling for the national catalogs. It was fun for me, because I basically got to play dress up and get paid.

Note: I just read that all “Limited Too” stores switched over to “Justice” stores. Weird!

5. I started school when I was four years old.

In Michigan, the cut-off date for school is December, so I was able to squeeze by. Still, I have always been the youngest in my classes and went to college when I was 17. I’ve always liked being young for my grade, but my mom used to second-guess her decision to send me so soon.

Question: What’s a fun fact about yourself?

Note: This was previously titled “Seven Things,” but then I got lazy. Sorry… Have a great weekend!

Do I have an accent?

I always say that I have a confused accent. On one hand, I’m from Michigan. I’ve also lived all around the Midwest. But, my mom’s from Texas and talks with a slight dialect — although it’s nothing like some of my aunts.

I think that has left me with unusual pronunciations for some words, so I’m always intrigued to hear how other peoples’ accents differ. I guess I’m not alone in this either, as the whole concept of an accent vlog has been popular for a while. In fact, it’s so popular that I can’t track down the original source. (Tell me if you know who I should give credit to!)

The premise of it is that I repeat a list of words, which have different pronunciations around the country, and answer some questions, which have different answers around the country.

Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught


What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you use to change the TV channel?

Anyway, with no further ado, here is my first ever vlog!

Did you watch it? I’ll admit that I sometimes jump over vlogs, but these ones were always amusing to me!

If you did tune into my voice, do I sound similar to what you would have imagined? Do I have an accent?

Question: Do you think you have an accent?


Is it too soon to say that I am in love?

I mean, I’ve only known this significant other for a few hours. And, yet, I am head over heels.

So, I’m just going to admit it: This is iLove.

I was perfectly content with my old phone. At least I thought.

I had it for two years and it never really did me wrong. But, when we were out one day, a new phone caught my eye — and I just couldn’t get it off my mind. It’s not like my old phone was bad. This new phones is just so… good.

I would feel more guilty about it, but there are so many (free) apps that help my stay healthy. My old phone just didn’t offer those kinds of things. Here are a few apps that I am already in iLove with…


One of my dietician friends at the University actually recommended the fooducate app to me. Naturally, I trust her judgment, so I instantly downloaded it. Basically, the app allows me to scan the bar code or search for any product at the grocery store. Then it reports a nutritional grade (A+, A, A-, B+, etc.) that was determined by nutritionists. There are also tidbits of miscellaneous, relevant information about the product as well as alternatives.

For example, Jif Natural Peanut butter is graded a “B.” The information says that “natural” is an unregulated term. As for alternatives, Trader Joe’s Creamy, Salted Peanut Butter is scored at an A-.


I like Epicurious on the Internet, but it is even more valuable on my iPhone. This is partially because I can pull up random recipes on-the-go. It also allows me to search by ingredients, courses, cuisines, dietary considerations, etc.

But, honestly, the best attribute is the shopping list that it allows me to write. I seem to have 10 different shopping lists going at once, so it will help to have them all in one place.


I’ve wanted a Garmin for-ev-uh. But (although I still kind of do) the RunKeeper app should help me get by in the meantime. That’s because, there is a whole GPS built into it that should track my route, show my pace and give me a ton of fun stats. I haven’t tested it out yet, but it seems to have a lot of potential.


This isn’t a health app, per say. But, Instagram is pretty cool because it’s a simple photo editor that also makes it super simple to upload photos to Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Case and point: You may have seen this little gem on my Twitter earlier today.

Now, the only question is: How did I get by for so long without the iPhone?

Question: How old is your phone? If you have an iPhone, what are your favorite apps?