i recently started running again.  i ran track in high school, i’ve run two half marathons and a handful of 5 and 10k’s.  i’ve never loved running, i only did it because my friends wanted me to and i was certainly never any good.  i don’t know that i can say i love it yet but i love the way i feel after.  i love the form of therapy it is for me.  i love that i’m a better mom + wife once i’ve cleared my mind.  i’m not fast and i’m ok with that.  i don’t run to compete.  i run to show my kids that its important to take care of yourself, to take time out for the things you enjoy.


i’m not a seasoned runner.  i don’t know why everything hurts after i run or why sometimes i get an awful stomach ache halfway through.  but i am lucky enough to have an amazing best friend jamie campbell, who happens to be the race director for the BMO Harris Bank Phoenix Marathon and coached cross country at mountain view high school for 7 years.  not only can she put together an awesome race, she’s run boston the past two years (the last being 10 weeks after having a baby!).  she’s fast, really fast.  she’s my go to for all things running and i was lucky enough to have her share some tips for beginning runners.


  1. Invest in a pair of running shoes. One of the great things about running is that you don’t need a bunch of equipment to do it. That being said, you do need a good pair of shoes. Don’t pull an old, ratty pair of shoes out of your closet from your high school track days and expect to have good results. The rule of thumb is to replace shoes every 300-500 miles. If the shoes are old, have lost their cushion or if you’ve been wearing them to the gym for more than six months, its time for a new pair. If you’re unsure about what shoe you should be running in, visit your local running store and get fitted. If you don’t live near a store that can fit you, stick with a neutral shoe, like this one http://www.saucony.com/en/ride-7/13593W.html?dwvar_13593W_color=S10241-1#cgid=womens-running-neutral&start=1 Finally, lace you shoes up, snugly. If you are able to slip your shoes on, they’re not tight enough. Loose shoes will result in a lack of support and lead to injury.
  2. Stay Hydrated. Drinking lots of water will reduce muscle cramping, and help fuel your metabolism. At a minimum, drink 1/3 of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weight 150 pounds, try to drink 50 oz. of water per day, more if you live in a particularly dry climate.
  3. Fuel- you’ll be burning extra calories when you run. Make sure you’re eating healthy carbs, and include extra protein in your diet to build muscle. Avoid eating too much before a run, and stay away from things like dairy prior to running.
  4. Get a running partner or join a running group. This will help you stay motivated and hold you accountable. Plus, it’s more fun to run with a friend!
  5. Have a goal, or sign up for a race. What are you running for? Speed? Weight loss? Overall health? Decide why you are running and the results you want. Running for weight loss is different than training for a marathon.
  6. Start with 20-25 minutes of running. Run out 10-12 minutes, turn and come back. Try to get a little farther each time, and don’t worry if you have to walk in the beginning. If you’re serious about running, invest in a GPS watch like the Garmin Forerunner 15 https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/into-sports/running/forerunner-15/prod145621.html or Forerunner 220 https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/into-sports/running/forerunner-220/prod129397.html. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, stick with a simple stopwatch or use your smartphone. One of my favorite apps is Strava. Check it out here: https://www.strava.com/running-app
  7. Gradually build your mileage. Just because you can go run eight miles doesn’t mean you should. The majority of injuries are a result of weak muscles (quadriceps). Your quads are crucial in walking and running and providing stability to your knee and hip joints. Give you muscles some time to build up and you’ll be less likely to strain other parts of your body.
  8. Listen to your body. If you are experiencing pain, you may need an anti-inflammatory and ice. Consider taking a break or cross training. If the pain persists, see your doctor.
  9. Your body needs time to rebuild your muscles, Consider a running schedule in the beginning like:
    1. Monday – run
    2. Tuesday – run
    3. Wednesday – rest or cross train
    4. Thursday – run
    5. Friday – run
    6. Saturday – rest or cross train
    7. Sunday – rest
  1. Invest in some running clothes. Technical clothes will reduce chaffing and wick moisture. Reward yourself for committing to a new healthy routine. And as my Cross County runners always say, “Look good, feel good, run good!”


these tips have helped me find a starting point.  i’ve been able to gain mileage fairly quickly and safely.  jamie put together a running schedule for me a month before the BMO Harris Bank Phoenix Marathon and i was able to run the 10k faster than i thought i’d ever be able to and finish without walking once.  it feels like a great accomplishment to complete a race and have your family cheering you on as you cross that finish line.



i had this dish in san fransisco over 8 years ago and instantly fell in love with it.  its so simple yet so delicious.  i like to pair it with a simple salad and bread + olive oil.



3 large tomatoes

1 log of mozzarella diced (or container of small round ball mozzarella cut in half) or brie with wax cut off

1/2 package fresh basil cut into strips

2 garlic cloves

1 package of angel hair or spaghetti (i love angel hair my husband doesn’t so we use spaghetti)

1/2 c. or more olive oil

salt + pepper


boil noodles according to package


in a bowl combine

diced tomatoes

basil cut into strips

finely minced garlic

salt + pepper

brie (if using mozzarella i like to mix all the ingredients including warm noodles then add the mozzarella last, it doesn’t melt as well as the brie does)


pour hot noodles over the top of tomato mixture

pour olive oil on top and combine

serve warm










we’ve been doing a lot of ring around the rosy or as jack calls it “raisin” “raisin, mama. raisin”

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

ivan took me out for a sushi date so naturally we had to bring the kids a few rolls home.  i’m so happy when they are adventurous with food.


henri lost another tooth.  ava did too but somehow i missed taking a picture.  the tooth fairy was busy at our house all weekend.


we went up to pine for mothers day.  this is my dad pushing my nephew and niece on the swings.  this picture makes me so happy.


i love jacks imagination.  we stopped at one of ivan’s jobs saturday morning on our way to breakfast.  jack and i played in the grass out front.  he loves this truck he got for his birthday.  he had to drive it through the big grass.


jack loves the new baby chicks.  they’re so cute and he’s so cute with them.  “here baby chicks. you hungry”  they all follow him and he gives them food.


i love mothers day cards from the kids.  i love hearing how old they think i am + what my favorite things are.  it really is the best part of mothers day.


i hope all you mama’s out there had a great mothers day.  i know mine was just perfect.  i seem to only have pictures of jack.  i really need to work on that.  typically its the last child that doesn’t have baby pictures or at least that was the case for me growing up.  i don’t know what i looked like until kindergarten.  not over here, jacks hogging up the camera.  really he’s always by my side while the others are off playing.  i can’t wait for school to end and to have all my babes with me.  less than a week and a half, i’m ready and so are they.



tarts glorious tarts!  these are a favorite around here.  they’re so simple yet look so pretty that i whip a batch up almost every time i’m asked to bring a dessert.






4 sticks of butter (melted)

4 c. flour

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar


combine ingredients in a bowl

roll into balls and place in tart pan (make balls about the size of a bouncy ball)

then press down with a tart tamper (you can find one on amazon)




3 8oz cream cheese (softened)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 c. lemon juice


beat together and refrigerate filling for a few hours


fill tarts with filling and top with one comstock cherry (pie filling)

then try to not eat the whole pan.  i dare ya!







lately i’ve been in a mood.  i’ve got a lot going on in my head.  too much going on in my head.  i feel out of sorts.  i hate feeling this way.  i hate feeling like things are beyond my control.  i’m a pretty fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl which makes me most happy, but its because i’m making the decision to not have a plan.  waiting around for things beyond my control torture me.  i have a lot going on with commitments and family and life in general, like we all do.  but lately it feels like too much.  i’m ready for school to be over.  i’m ready to have no commitments.  sometimes its nice to just wake up and decide what you want to do that day, not already have 10 places you have to be.  today my only activity is tonight when i have to speak at a rs activity about journaling.  i thought why not sit and journal about how i’m feeling at this very moment.  though this isn’t a personal journal this is my life. the good and the bad.  its the season i’m in and i have to remind myself its a good one.  the booger noses and spilled drinks.  they’re all good.  theres nothing id rather be doing.  not one single thing.  so i’m trying to slow it all down.  stop fighting it, stop rushing through it.  because who cares if i’m still in my pajamas or my car is a mess.  not me.  but i do care that my kids know i love them.  that my husband knows i’m here for him and i’m happy.  i love this life.  i took the kids to visit my uncle mark at the cemetery today.  its been 19 years to the day since he passed away.  how’d that fly by so fast?  his kids are grown.  they were babies when he passed.  i was 12.  i remember so many details of his last bit of life.  he was the first person i was really really close with to pass away.  mark is my dads baby brother.  he looked like my dad.  he was kind and funny he would play card games with me every weekend.  he was passed away from brain cancer.  i remember the surgeries and scars.  i remember hospital visits and eventually hospice.  i can’t imagine knowing you’re going to die.  knowing you’re leaving your babies here.  knowing you won’t see them graduate or get married.  wondering how much of you they will remember.  he was only 35 when he passed away.  as i get older i realize just how young he was.  how short his life was.  today i took my babies to put flowers on his grave, i wish they could’ve met him.  i wish they could play cards with him.  death is hard.  his death was really hard.  i remember speaking at his funeral about how much he meant to me.  how much he touched my life, tears streaming down my face trying to get through the talk i wrote.  some people impact you so much even after they are gone.  that was my uncle mark for me.




we bought our farm a little over a year ago.  the land is amazing but the house was stuck in 1974.  not a thing had been updated since it was built.  we remodeled the entire house inside and out.  initially we were looking for a bigger house.  we weren’t sure if this 1800 sq. ft tiny house could fit all six of us.  but it does, perfectly.  we’ve lived in a lot of different houses ranging from 1,000 – 4,000 sq ft.  i’m realizing we like a smaller home.  it keeps us close.  it keeps my kids close.  this backyard keeps their imaginations going.  i really do like having less stuff and making more memories.  we really love farm life.


















the yard was the selling point of the house for us.  its a little over an acre in the heart of the city.  we have an orchard with 5 different kinds of oranges + a lemon tree + a pink grapefruit tree + 3 pecan trees.  we love bbq-ing and having friends over.  this yard is the perfect setting for both.




Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset




where to eat

mastro’s city hall steak house– my absolute favorite always consistent meal
-shrimp cocktail
-wedge salad
-gorgonzola mac & cheese
-brussel sprouts
– warm butter cake, do not skip this!  Its pure heaven.  I’ve gone for this dessert only.  Trust me its worth it.

i’ve tried other salads and sides but this is my go to.  a lot of people like the lobster mashed potatoes. i’m not a fan of lobster its too chewy and tough but if you are, then go for it!

white Chocolate Grill
-tomato gin soup
-spit roasted turkey dip
-filet mignon cobb salad
-white chocolate banana cream pie, i would normally never order a slice of pie but this one has a graham cracker crust and is to die for.

houstons or hillstone (they’re pretty much the same, hillstone is usually not as busy and its close to last chance.  houston’s is closer to scottsdale mall.  If you want to walk off some of that food and get some retail therapy)
-house smoked salmon appetizer, toast with a mayo mixture and top with salmon.  i actually recreate this at home, its pretty great.
-cheeseburger with fries, the best cheeseburger you will ever have, get the spicy mayo.
-french dip aus jus, i ask for it cut lean.
-pan Seared Ahi Tuna
-center-Cut Filet
-chicken Salad, its not the one on the menu and its only at houston’s, it has chicken, egg, avocado, tomato and their house dressing.
-chicken Sandwich, it has a spicy mayo, cheese and tomato also not on the menu and only at hillstone.
-hot fudge sundae with sugared pecans

the original pancake house (not to be confuse with IHOP, barf)
this place is attached to a Motel 8 or 6 or some kind of motel.  its just west of scottsdale mall.
-2 eggs scrambled with patty sausage and either strawberry or pecan pancakes -that’s my jam
-the dutch baby is ivan’s favorite
-crepes are really good
-get the pancakes, any kind really, they’re all good!

bosa donuts – i don’t care what anyone says bosa has the best donuts.  the only donuts i like better are from doughnut plant in NYC.  go early in the morning while they’re hot.
-maple long john, you can’t go wrong
-buttermilk bar, i was hesitant when ivan told me to try these.  boy am I glad I did.

fractured prune
-sea salt + vanilla

burrito express
-i love their red salsa
-egg + potato + cheese breakfast burrito
-red chili and egg burrito

lee’s sandwiches
-egg + cheese + bacon breakfast sandwich on a croissant (ivan likes the baguette)
-french horn
-almond croissant

lolo’s chicken and waffles
another phoenix joint we’ve been going to since they were in the dumpy location south of the ballpark.  call me crazy but i actually loved that location.  something charming about a little hole in the wall that is constantly packed because its just that good (they now have several locations)
-the betty boop with a side of mac & cheese

LGO (la grande orange)
when ivan and i were first married we lived near here, before it was the crazy trendy place that it is.  man I love that neighborhood.  that area makes me feel at home.
-turkey breakfast sandwich with eggs and avocado on an english muffin
-artichoke appetizer
-cheese burger on an english muffin
-chicken wings with blue cheese (the blue cheese is so good, I could drink it)
-the pizzas are all pretty good
-i love the Sea Salt Chocolate Chip cookies, for some reason the last time I went they put waaay too much salt.  Which if you know me that’s nearly impossible, but there was.  So take a look before you get one.

-green chili burrito with green chili sauce

the best tortillas this side of the border.
-machaca Burrito
do yourself a favor and get a pint of machaca to go and a dozen tortillas.  if not you’ll regret it when you get home and are craving more.  while you’re at it get a buttered tortilla for the drive.

if you grew up in mesa you know.
-i like the hot and mild salsa mixed
-cheese crisp
-chili relleno
-chilaquiles casserole- fried egg, no onions, shredded beef, red sauce
-chicken burro enchilada style with red sauce

el charro
-usually people i meet like el charro or matta’s, i like both.
-homemade buttered tortilla (request this with everything you order or you’ll be stuck with a crappy store bought one)
-i like a homemade buttered tortilla with a side of rice and beans and I make my own little burrito
-mojado quesadilla, filled with beans and cheese

tum nak thai
-pad see iw -ive tried other dishes but i always go back to this.  its just so good.  i like it with chicken and medium spicy.

tamari sushi
-tuna poke
-surprise roll
– hot and saucy roll

sakana sushi
-boston Roll
-salmon Bomber
-rainbow Roll
-tootsie Roll
-red dragon roll

yoko bowl
-i get the number 6 and number 12.  one is yakisoba and the other is chicken.  i really have no idea which number is what.  i just order both.  i order the Yakisoba will all noodles and white meat chicken.
-get the red spicy sauce they keep in a squeeze bottle up front, its really good.

-i know it seems like all ‘berto’s” are the same but i’m here to tell you they’re not!  rolberto’s has the best bean and cheese burrito’s ever.  i do mean ever!  it’s on main just west of country club in mesa.  don’t eat there just go through the drive thru and eat it in your car because its too good to wait until you get home.

-3 rolled tacos + guac.

honey bears bbq
-pulled pork sandwich + side or coleslaw (to put on top of your sandwich)

the bagel man
-everything bagel + scallion cream cheese

A few more places you should check out
-jp mcgurkee’s
-grimaldi’s pizza
-chelsea’s kitchen
-republica empanada
-tee pee mexican food
-defalcos great italian food + sandwiches
-cheba hut
-burger house in globe, az for green chili burros
-el ray also in globe green chili quesadilla. their homemade chips and salsa are great

where to stay
scottsdale is where all the resorts are. some of our favorite are
westin kierland
arizona grand– great for kids
scottsdale princess

what to do 
scottsdale mall for shopping
scottsdale quarter + kierland commons- across the street from each other and both are great for shopping.  they both also have splash pads. quarters splash pad is better but kierlands is less busy.
tpc- golfing
camelback mountain- hiking
science museum- great for kids
phoenix childrens museum- my kids love this place, its huge and has tons of stuff to do.
phoenix zoo
butterfly wonderland
tempe town lake










german pancakes are super easy to make and really delicious.  i love being able to make them all at once so i can sit at the table with the kids rather than stand at the stove flipping pancakes.  our family loves these.






12 eggs

1/2 c. butter

2 c. flour

2 c. milk

1/4 tsp. salt


preheat oven to 375


dice 1/4 c. butter and distribute into 2 muffin pans (i like to use large muffin pans but regular size will work too)

heat the pans in the oven and melt the butter until bubbling (do not skip this step)


in a blender combine eggs + flour + 1/4 c. melted butter + milk + 1/4 tsp. salt


pour batter into hot muffin pans and cook for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.


top with powdered sugar + a squeeze of lemon + my favorite buttermilk syrup found here









where to stay



dupont circle


both are really great areas + very safe.  dupont circle is pretty centrally located.  georgetown is quant and charming.  lots of shopping and of course baked and wired.


how to get around


we took a cab from the airport to our hotel. i typically take public transportation but since this was our first time in the city we decided on a cab to get us to the hotel.

metro- we took the metro once. it was very easy to navigate and they have plenty of trains so we didn’t have to wait long. i’ve heard it can get a little congested so be aware of the time of day you’re getting on and plan accordingly.

walking- we walked the whole rest of the time. i love walking and we probably did 8+ miles a day.  if you like to walk, this city is definitely manageable.


my best advice is navigate ahead of time what you want to see.  if you plan on breakfast in eastern market don’t plan lunch in georgetown.  i typically start my planning with what I’m eating on the trip.  yep, i love food that much!  then i figure out what restaurants are in that same area for lunch and possibly dinner along with what we plan on doing for the day. this saves you a lot of walking across town or missing out on places you wanted to go.


what to do


the national mall- covers pretty much all the monuments

white house

us capitol

abraham lincoln, mlk, jefferson, roosevelt monuments

washington monument

us treasury

you could spend an entire day here and not see it all

smithsonian- made up of 19 museums.  all free. i loved the art museum but i wouldn’t recommend taking kids.  the air and space museum and natural history museum are great for little ones.

eastern market- its not huge but fun to walk around.  they have a flea market sunday mornings.

georgetown- m street and wisconsin ave have really great shopping.

arlington national cemetery


what to eat


founding farmers- great breakfast, fresh farm to table.

2 amys- pizza. i didn’t make it here but i’ve heard amazing things and i really wished i had tried it.

baked and wired- i went twice.  i like the vanilla vanilla cupcake.

georgetown cupcakes- good cupcakes, not as good as baked and wired.

shake shack- love the shake burger + cheese fries. do. not. forget. the. cheese. fries. and a shake, i get the black and white unless the flavor of the week is really good.

old ebbitt grill- my sister got the lentil cakes and loved them.  i got the crab cakes, they’re known for the crab cakes so i had to. they were pretty good. the restaurant is something like 130 years old and looks out to the treasury. that alone is enough reason to visit.

amsterdam falafel shop- really really good falafel.  tons of toppings.

sweetgreen- great for a fresh + light salad.  after all the junk i just told you to eat.  lemonade is good too.

pitango gelato- this was also on the list but i didn’t make it. try it out and tell me what you thing.

little serow- we saw a huge line and no sign on the restaurant. so i asked someone what they were waiting for. apparently its amazing thai food.  you stand in line and they seat two groups.  you wait hours, so if you have kids with you i don’t advise this place. he told me the food is out of this world. we were going try it the next night but after reading that they don’t give you food options you get a 7 course meal they prepare the same for everyone we didn’t go. my sister is vegetarian and she would have only been able to eat maybe 2 of the courses. he also told me its super spicy. being so close to az, nothing is super spicy to me, so take that for what its worth.

komi- the nice man i met at little serow told me komi is the best place to eat in dc but you must make reservations months in advance.

eastern market- the blue buckwheat pancakes are worth the wait.


a few other places i wanted to try but didn’t-

matchbox chinatown burgers

busboys and poets

good stuff eatery

cake sandwiches


farmers fishers bakers
















Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On Pinterest