Cooking · Fitness

Sand, Sunshine, and Summertime

Hey there! It’s been awhile… and I seem to say that every time I blog these days. July was a busy month for me! I taught summer school for 4 weeks, wrapping the program up just in time to head to the Outer Banks for my family’s annual beach vacation.

The week at the beach seemed to fly by even more so than usual. It was the perfect way to unwind and relax after a busy few weeks of teaching.

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Here’s what I was up to during my week in the Outer Banks – get ready for a longer than usual post!


READING! I used to read all the time when I was younger, but that habit got away from me in my college years, when all of the reading was required. Last year, I began my first year of teaching (yay!) so was pretty busy adjusting to a new schedule, paperwork, IEP meetings, and early mornings. The few cups gallons of coffee I drank may have helped with all that! Needless to say, I haven’t sat down to read, just for fun, in forever. Well, the beach is the perfect place to kick back with a good book, right?


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My book of choice for the week was Drop Dead Healthy, by A. J. Jacobs. He details his quest to become perfectly healthy in every aspect of his life. His research goes much beyond the typical goals of eating right and exercising consistently. From the very first page, Jacobs kept me entertained and engaged! Drop Dead Healthy made me stop and think, motivated me, and made me laugh all the while. He has a talent for sharing information in a way that will make readers laugh from the first page to the last. I’m sure I drove my sister crazy, as I read this book next to her on the beach. If I wasn’t laughing out loud, I was sharing funny quotes or interesting information with her. “NO way, listen to this!,” and “I know I know, if you wanted to read it yourself, you would, but…” were heard many times throughout the week! More on this book once I finish (I’m just about done).


Eating… and more eating!

The blog “Run, Eat, Repeat” has got things figured in life! Her mantra perfectly sums up my vacation (besides laying on the beach, of course). After visiting a local health food store, I knew I would have to try one of these juices.

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How about one of everything? I took the longest time to decide because naturally I wanted to try them all, but in the end chose a raspberry lemongrass one to try. It was delicious! It tasted like a shot of healthy, and was the perfect amount of sweetness from the raspberries. I said it tasted like grass after I drank it – for some reason I was told this was weird, but I meant it in a good way!! I wish I had a Whole Foods, Raisin Rack, or freshly made juice bars in my area. We have a juicer, but I don’t use it very often at all (let’s be honest, it’s just a lot of work and who really has that much time).

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Each family takes a turn cooking one night for the rest of the group. On the menu for our night: chicken and vegetable shish kabobs over rice, sweet potato wedges, roasted with chickpeas and tossed with cinnamon, salad, and tortilla chips with mango salsa.

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The sweet potato and chickpeas stole the show for me! The dish, flavored with cinnamon and chopped onion, makes the entire house smell heavenly during cooking. The aroma reminds me of fall; which we all know I like love more than anything. Also what I love? This crossing words out feature. It’s the little things, people! photo-3

Soaking up the sun

Of course, much time was spent on the beach! I can’t imagine a better way to relax than laying on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves crash, while reading a good book, chatting with family, or taking a nap. There’s just something so peaceful about stepping onto the beach for me, that instantly makes any stress in my life fade away. 8-1-14 0388-1-14 043


Left: Two of my aunts and me

Right: My wonderful grandparents!

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Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

My family and I took one day to travel to Hatteras, North Carolina. We climbed to the top of Cape Hatteras, the tallest lighthouse in North America. 248 steps!

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The view from the top was so pretty!

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Time with family

My sister was able to travel down to spend part of the week with us, too! It was so nice to catch up and spend some time with her. She lives pretty far away, so I don’t get to see her often.

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My cousin and her husband had a baby recently, so she was definitely the center of attention this week! I made sure I held her everyday!Summer 2014 153

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Of course we can’t leave this one out! I love running by the beach – the smell of the salt water, the wind in my hair, and the sandy roads provide the perfect area. I was able to get a run in almost every day on vacation.

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I enjoyed running on the boardwalk several times during the week! The location was perfect, as it was right behind a row of shops, and within walking distance from the house we were staying in. Running on the boardwalk provided gorgeous scenery and views to take in along the way. It’s always nice to see something different for a change (rather than staring at the same machines at the gym in front of the treadmills!) There was also a running trail that ran parallel to the main road, so it was easily accessible and safer than running on the side of the road. I ran on this trail several times during the week as well!

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I’ve always wanted to take part in a race on vacation, so this week decided to go for it! I completed the Sweaty Santa 5K run in Corolla, NC, with my mom. It was so much fun and a great morning! Summer 2014 207


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My official time was 26:40. I’ll take it! I would like to get my 5K time down more (I’ve run them in the 25 minute time frame before), but I guess the heat slows you down some. It was definitely hot while I was running at the beach! (Although lingering over coffee in the mornings and waiting to run until 11am when the sun is beating down on you probably doesn’t help…)

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It was a wonderful week! Feeling so blessed to be able to spend time with family and loved ones. What was the highlight of YOUR week?


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