March Madness

by Jenn (eating bender) on March 27, 2014

The past 27 days have been a blur – seriously, what happened to March?! Fortunately it was full of the good stuff, including plenty of time with family and friends.

Following our trip to Chicago, I had the chance to travel to San Diego for a work conference. But we all know that there is a lot more to San Diego than work…

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Having the chance to see Cara, Jim and the nieces pieces (Dublin included) was so awesome. Kelly and Caroline showed me their new superhero outfits – I especially appreciated Superniece’s polka dot hat and Batniece’s pink tutu. They’ve got impeccable style.

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We spent the morning of our day o’ fun at the botanic gardens, where Caroline fed her inner artist and Kelly created an entire storyline for a family of dinosaurs.

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The girls also had fun climbing around inside a giant tree house, but I’m going to go out on a “limb” and say that the stream was by far their favorite activity. Perfect for splashing!

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We followed up our botanic excursion with a great lunch and trip to the library, where the girls needed to take some time to do their “homework” on the computers – yep, they are almost three but going on 13 these days. :)

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We ended the evening with a bit of baking – and cookie cutting!

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Between learning a few new songs in Spanish (the girls are taking classes) and playing countless games of Ring Around the Rosy (lento y rápido), this aunt had a blast.

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Can’t wait to hang out with you all again soon! The work conference – a social intranet summit – was also enjoyable. Several of the speakers were interesting, and it was a great opportunity to catch up with my colleagues, who flew in from Chicago.

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The weekend after I returned home was packed with excitement. On Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early to meet my friend and neighbor, Milene, to run the Kiss Me I’m Irish 8K!

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Milene and I have been running together on weekends, and when she mentioned she was interested in taking on her first race, the Irish run seemed like the perfect opportunity. We ended up crossing the finish line in 0:48:28, which was worthy of a celebration and green beer for all!

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I also had the opportunity to try my first red velvet bite of Nothing Bundt Cake. I would now like to try every single flavor they have, please. It was ridiculously rich and fantastic.

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After the race, I met up with Bobby, our college friend Atanas and Atanas’ girlfriend, Della, who were visiting us for the weekend from Boston. They both were up for as many hikes as possible over the next few days, and we started them out with a doozy: the summit trail at Piestewa Peak!

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As you may have gathered from the photo, this trail is rocky. Really rocky. The climb is well worth it, though, because the view from 2,700 feet up is amazing.

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And if those views don’t do it for you, the next day we took a road trip to Sedona-hhhh.

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We began with lunch at ChocolaTree, which I remembered from a past trip to Sedona with Jill. I started out with a hot chocolate, which was made with Ecuadorian cacao, almond milk and maple syrup. It definitely didn’t taste like it came from a packet – very unique and delicious.

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Bobby and I also shared an order of banana bread, which came with almond butter spread.

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And for lunch, I had the Viva Burrito, which also hit the spot.

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Once we were adequately fueled, we explored the red rocks via Broken Arrow trail.

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It’s impossible to hold back oohs and ahhs when beauty like this surrounds you on all sides.

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When we reached the turnaround point, we asked a fellow hiker whether we were close to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, one of the most iconic sites in the area. Turns out, we were only about a mile away, so we decided to venture a bit farther and see it for ourselves. It was gorgeous!

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We drove back to Phoenix thoroughly happy with – and exhausted by – our adventures. Thanks for an active weekend, Atanas and Della!

A few days later, I donned a temporary tattoo in honor of the Divergent movie premiere!

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Sarah, Crystal, Nicole, Emily, Sheena and I – as well as a few husbands – finally had a chance to see the film we’ve been going crazy over for months…and it was incredible! The actors were perfect for their roles, the movie did the book justice (for the most part) and it was SO COOL to see dystopian Chicago. I kept nudging Bobby when I’d spot something familiar – including our old apartment! One of the major scenes in the movie was filmed two blocks away, just a few months after we moved. I have a tendency to lament this fact every time I talk about the movie. My chance to be an extra (or more likely, get removed from the set by security) was so close, yet so far. ;)

But I digress. Bottom line: the movie was everything we hoped it’d be. Can’t wait to see it again!

Our March madness continued into the weekend. On Friday and Saturday we had the chance to hang out and play golf with Annie and Jono. And on Sunday, we spent time with our high school friend, Nick, and his girlfriend, Kerry, who were in town for a wedding.

The hike of choice this time: Echo Canyon Summit Trail at Camelback Mountain.

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I honestly had no idea what we were getting into with this one. Our biggest takeaway was that it’s about time we invested in proper hiking shoes because otherwise, it’s not easy to climb up and over these rocks – and I mean that quite literally. I may or may not have been hanging on to the railing for dear life on the way down after I slipped on a particularly smooth surface.

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But we still made it, and have the picture to prove it. Another 2,700 feet conquered!

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I think it’s safe to say we’re accomplishing our goal of seeing more of Arizona in 2014. Big thanks to the visitors who are helping us make that happen! It’s been so nice to hang out with all of you.

This week we’re welcoming visitors of another variety – and this family is a real hoot. :)

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What have you been up to lately?

Abrazos,

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cara (Twinthusiast) March 27, 2014 at 11:05 pm

OMG I LOVE THESE PICTURES! I’m saving all of them to go in our family album. :) We adored having you here. Also, wow, Jenn, you’ve been active this month with all the running and hiking! Nice work. Excited to see Divergent at some point (realistically, probably Redbox…)
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2 Jenn (eating bender) March 28, 2014 at 11:05 am

Yay!! It was so much fun. :) And yes, it has been a crazy month of outdoor activity – definitely soaking up this weather while we can. I have a feeling the heat – and the wildlife – will be coming out earlier this year!

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3 Erica March 28, 2014 at 11:29 am

My goodness you’ve been busy!!! Those nieces pieces-so adorable! Love the super hero costumes. And gorgeous hikes!

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4 Susan March 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Good times! I love all the pictures (as does Claire). I did a St. Paddy’s day 4-miler with an ND friend of mine; great minds think alike! :)

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5 Biz March 30, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Wow, you have been busy! I love all the scenery – I actually haven’t hiked in years but I remember loving it – but that last steep one – kinda scared the shit out of me!
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6 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner March 31, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Wow, those pictures are beautiful! I was also really eager to read your Divergent movie review. I can’t wait to go see it!
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7 Leucadia Chiropractor April 20, 2014 at 10:35 pm

It must have been a busy month for you. How I wish i could travel more often. By the way, you nieces are so cute! How old are they?

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8 Brooke April 28, 2014 at 8:57 pm

What a beautiful country and beautiful food. You live an amazing life. Thanks for sharing.

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