Monday, January 10, 2011

weekend hi-jinks + vacation anticipation, part 2

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.


  1. yummmmm i have stew on the list for this week. but i haven't figured out what sort we'll have. a few months ago i made a lamb stew from epicurious with some lamb stewing meat my parents left behind and it was so delicious.

    that sounds like the perfect vacation!

  2. Jason and I have different vacation styles too. He sounds more like you and I sound more like Josh. He'd like to sit on a beach and drink Corona for 5 days straight while I want to see all the sites.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. I like active vacations. We've mostly been into seeing big cities lately, but I'd 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.

  6. Anonymous11:06 AM

    i like to have a happy medium on vacation. it's so nice to be lazy and relax, but i know i would go crazy and feel guilty if i didn't get out to explore the sights. i agree with keeping it to just one major activity per day, though. my fiance's parents go on a lot of vacations and they pack so much into each of their days that they are EXHAUSTED when they return home. i like to be REFRESHED after my vacations!

  7. Albert and I vacationed in Arizona several years ago. I know he already sent you a wine bar/restaurant recommendation but I think you guys would like to hike up camelback mountain (assuming you are going to hike in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area and not actually going to Sedona, which is an amazing place, BTW). One tip: Bring water! It is a pretty strenuous hike and we only brought onoe tiny little water bottle - we were totally unprepared. It is beautiful at the top - you can see all of Phoenix.

  8. My husband and I are working towards our happy medium with vacation. Its funny because we both are planners but in our own certain way. He likes to research and make reservations at restaurants beforehand and I want to see the sights. We are planning our honeymoon to Europe in June so I am trying to actually take a step back and NOT pre-plan so much but rather take it as it comes. I also like to feel refreshed and reinvigorated when I come home from a trip--like I have had new adventures and have expanded a bit (and by this, I mean, my mind--- not my body which does tend to happen on vacation too sometimes!)

    Arizona is awesome-- so beautiful, enjoy!!!

  9. Sounds like you had some great adventures. I happen to love "Breaking away"- it's so funny and quirky.
    Enjoy the trip to AZ! Hope it's a good mix for you.
    Our 'vacations' are definitely more like trips. While we do pace oursevles and incorporate an almost-daily nap into the schedule, we like to be active. I'm the opposite of you - I'll gladly stretch out the time if I have to stay in a seedy hotel, although we do try to have some standards (although the place we stayed this summer in San Sebastian, Spain, which smelled like garbage, was less than ideal).

  10. I like to go do things on vacation. I can take about half a day of lying on a beach and then I'm completely bored. Definitely not into roughing it, but I do the cheap motel/hostel thing since I'm never there except to sleep and shower anyway.

  11. I'm 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're both happy.

    Your weekend sounds amazingly active! Well done :)

  12. Susan Mc3:18 PM

    Oh where to begin.. first.. you're 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't miss L'Auberge, worth it for the view alone. Coffee Pot will be standard fare... my .02.
    Next, can't 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't get supplies and no school tomorrow either. This city shuts DOWN if more than 2" hit.
    As for vaca, I'm looking forward to a trip that doesn't center around family visits. They're great, but usually not relaxing. We like one main activity a day, not too much structure.
    Have fun!

  13. 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 :-)

  14. Sarah-

    I've been reading your blog for a while now (2 years?), but I've 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's 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's Big Breakfast. It's 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't 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's 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'll be fading back into the background now... :-)

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

    i've 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're happy :) it's all about just a change of scenery and an excuse for enjoying a little luxury together!

  16. What a beautiful stew! Looks like the perfect meal for this cold weather we're having!

  17. Anonymous8:54 PM

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

  18. lamb! I'm definitely a hotel kind of certain thread count but, please, a hotel! And I do like having a plan to an extent but not so tightly scheduled that there isn't room for just walking around. I really enjoyed our vaca to NYC...we had plans but mostly one thing for the evening and one thing for the day, which gave plenty of time for walking/meandering in between.

    BTW, I LOVE cleaning out the fridge...there is something about consolidating and throwing things away in general that I like!

  19. We made a beef stew last week - though my husband used Victory's Storm King Stout instead of Guinness.

    69-70 looks like perfect hiking weather!! And who cares what the weather is for a massage. I'm amazed that you have restaurants picked out in advance! I feel like we read some reviews before going, then wing it when we get there. We are trying to just do one nice vacation a year.

    Usually vacation time is spent seeing family in upstate NY or going to friends' weddings. It was nice to take our first real vacation since our honeymoon (3.5 years ago) this past August.

  20. we can use our free time in doing right things.