Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ward Hooper Art

Ward Hooper Art, Ward Hooper Boise Idaho

My favorite artist in Boise—without a doubt—is Ward Hooper. Daniel & I own several of his Boise State prints, and for Christmas, my mom worked with Ward to design the beautiful custom print above—inspired by a photo from our wedding day. This new piece hangs right in our front hallway and is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. It's a print that we'll treasure forever and is truly so special to us.

Check it out—below is the original photo and the print commissioned from it.

Ward Hooper Custom Print Art, Ward Hooper Boise Idaho

Isn't Ward amazing? My mom worked very closely with him to get the colors and little details right. Ward can turn any photo into a custom print. Look at this one that he did of my brother Stew and his Quidditch photo!

Ward Hooper Custom Print Art, Ward Hooper Boise Idaho
Ward Hooper Custom Print Art, Ward Hooper Boise Idaho

My sister received a commissioned print from their wedding, too, but hers has such a different feel than ours... it's so romantic & vintage!

Ward Hooper Custom Print Art, Ward Hooper Boise Idaho

Needless to say, my mom totally surprised us all with some neat, neat art.

If you're local to Boise, be sure to stop in Ward's shop in downtown Boise. You can visit his website here and connect with him on Facebook & Twitter, and here's his gallery information:

Ward Hooper Gallery of Art
745 West Idaho Street
Boise, Idaho

And that is why Ward Hooper is my favorite artist. Boise is lucky to have such a talented man!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cold Winter, Warm Heart

frozen waterfall, winter in Idaho
frozen waterfall, winter in Idaho
frozen waterfall, winter in Idaho

A chill in the air,
a bite with every breath.
Snow scatters the streets,
the ground crunches under every step.

Bundled in layers,
still chilled to the bone.
Wandering through the town,
everything frozen as stone.

Streaks of sunlight peak through the clouds,
a beautiful morning about to start.
Cold fingers, cold hands, cold nose, cold toes.
Grateful for an always-warm heart.

an original poem - 12.5.13

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

McCall Anniversary Trip

Shore Lodge McCall Idaho

This last weekend, Daniel and I escaped Boise and headed two hours north to McCall, Idaho, our favorite getaway spot. Last year, we spent our honeymoon in McCall at the Shore Lodge, so for our first anniversary this last Sunday, we thought it would be fun to go spend a couple nights away—just the two of us.

We sipped hot cocoa every chance we could get, dined at some of our favorite McCall spots (Steamers, Paradise Burger, Growler's, Stacey Cakes, and of course—The Pancake House), watched football while overlooking the lake, warmed up in their lakeside hot tub under the icy rain, battled at the Foosball table, and even watched a few movies! It was a wonderful anniversary celebration.

Shore Lodge McCall Idaho
Shore Lodge McCall Idaho
Shore Lodge McCall Idaho
Shore Lodge McCall Idaho
Shore Lodge McCall Idaho
Shore Lodge McCall Idaho
Growlers Pizza McCall Idaho
Growlers Pizza McCall Idaho
Shore Lodge McCall Idaho
Stacey Cakes McCall Idaho
Shore Lodge McCall Idaho

One year. Amazing. This is just the beginning!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Zeitgeist Half Marathon

Zeitgeist Half Marathon

We did it. We did it. We did it. We did it. WE DID IT!

I'm so relieved to say that my official training for races in 2013 is finished. Thank goodness. This weekend we ran our fourth race of the year, the Zeitgeist Half Marathon (we also ran the Famous Idaho Potato Half Marathon in May, the Sawtooth Relay in June, and the City of Trees Marathon three weeks ago in October), and I'm just so relieved that it's all finished. I will still run now and then... but only if I want to, not because I have to.

To be honest, with all the training for the full marathon we just did, I thought we were going to kill this race. Seriously, I thought, "Oh, it's only half of what we just did... this will be a breeze!" Boy, was I dead wrong. Let me tell you what—there's a BIG difference between running a marathon on an almost entirely flat course and then trying to run a half marathon that is uphill for the first 8.5 miles. BIG DIFFERENCE. It was rough!

Mom and I started the race together, but instead of staying together the entire time, I ran ahead just after the two-mile mark because I was feeling really good. This was the first steady uphill portion of the course, and I normally am able to cruise through uphill inclines, so I high-fived mom and wished her the best of luck with her race and took off to find my pace. I was chugging along the steady uphill until about mile six when I realized that I wasn't even halfway and that my ankle was killing me (still hurting from the marathon) and that sheesh—I was tired already! It was at that point that I regretted departing from Mom, but hey, what could I do at that point? So I kept on going and pushing ahead, crawling up the last steep hill at mile 8.5. I did run the whole thing... but it was a slow run.

As soon as I hit the downhill portion of the course, I started going fast—too fast—and within a couple miles I had lost the feeling in my legs and knew I was close to fainting. I'm such a wimp, guys, I tell you what. I went from cruising through the downhill at a 7-minute-mile pace (I was on track to PR with a finishing time of 1:45) to barely being able to keep up an 11:00-minute-mile. All those people who I had passed in the beginning were now streaming past me at what felt like lightning speed, and I was just trying to stay on my feet. I was dead. I kept looking behind me, hoping that Mom would catch up to me and we could finish together... but before I knew it (and after what felt like a lifetime), the finish line was in view and I found my kick to finish strong. I crossed the line at 1:56. As soon as I finished, I felt just fine—figures, right?—and I ran back to the start of the flags so I could cheer Mom through. She came over the hill just as I got to my cheering spot, and I cheered her right through the finish. Mom crossed at 2:01 and we both rejoiced at the fact that we were finished!

We quickly tossed on our finisher t-shirts for a photo, grabbed a warm slice of apple crisp, and shivered until our lips were blue as we took forever and a day to hobble back to the car. The weather had been a perfect and sunny 40 degrees (though very, very windy) during the race, but just as we finished the clouds and rain set in.  We warmed up our bodies underneath the chilly rain in Stephen's hot tub, stretching our legs and laughing about our ugly runners' toenails and how this race was just not what we had expected. It killed us!

Zeitgeist Half Marathon

Lessons learned for us in the past couple weeks: 1. Don't sign up for any races after just running a marathon. 2. If you're feeling good at mile 2 but the whole rest of the race is still uphill, that's probably not the best time to "see what you can do." 3. NO MORE MARATHONS.

I've been running non-stop since the middle of May, and for once I'm looking forward to kicking up my feet and taking a day (...or thirty... or forever) off.

Mom, thanks for being the best training partner over the last 6-months. Though the long runs were sometimes painful and terribly, well, long, I wouldn't have traded one mile for our story-swapping, laughs, or time spent together. How many moms get to spend every Saturday for 6-months running for 2+ hours with their daughter? I'm not sure... but I hope they enjoy it as much as we did. I love you, Mom... here's to some awesome races together, some killer matching outfits, and to no more marathons! Woo hoo!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Village At Meridian

The Village at Meridian in Meridian, Idaho

On Monday I posted about one of the best new restaurants to hit Idaho, the Yard House. It is planted right in the middle of The Village at Meridian, a new center-point of town that's located only about 5 miles from where we live. The Village just had its Grand Opening last Friday and it's unlike anything we've ever seen in Idaho. It's so not Idaho, in fact.

The Village has awesome restaurants, some of which include: Yard House, Kona Grill, Chipotle, Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill, Big Al's (which also has a bowling alley & arcade) and my favorite little sandwich shop, Which Wich. The shopping is also great with stores like Loft, White House Black Market, Francesca's, Gap and Nike. Bonus—our favorite gym in town, Axiom, is also setting up shop, so I can't wait to get my sweat on there once it opens. They also have a public market on Saturdays and a cinema.

The Village at Meridian is also the best new free outdoor concert venue in the area. There was a big concert last Friday, and last night when we visited Kona Grill for happy hour there was another concert playing some hot Monster Mash hits.

And—yes, there's more—since it's in Idaho and there's room to spare, there's also Kleiner Park, which spans over 58 acres and features Bocce ball, basketball courts, play fountains, volleyball courts, fishing ponds, community gardens, and acres upon acres of open grass to use however you may please. You won't find a park like that in a big city!

The Village is just gorgeous with its big, beautiful trees, strung lights hanging from the trees and buildings, outdoor lounging areas and warm fire pits, and the center fountain (which was done by the same people who did the fountain at the Bellagio in Vegas) has hourly music & light shows that make any trip worth it. Check out some of the photos of The Village at Meridian below.

The Village at Meridian in Meridian, Idaho
The Village at Meridian in Meridian, Idaho
The Village at Meridian in Meridian, Idaho
The Village at Meridian in Meridian, Idaho

I'm so excited for this brand new Meridian hot spot. It's pretty busy with all the new action right now, but if you can find yourself a comfy couch and fire pit to hang around while you enjoy the sights and sounds at catch the water show, it's such a great place to be.

This was NOT a sponsored post. I'm just an Meridian resident who is in love with the new little part of town. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

No Filter

Leaves changing in the fall, fall leaves, trees in Boise, Idaho

Sunday afternoon, I was walking around my backyard and having one of those moments where everything was beautiful—the bright blue sky, the leaves of every color imaginable, the rocky gray stones that surround our fire pit, the spiky needles of the new evergreens Daniel just planted, the olive green house that belongs all to us—and it just didn't seem fair to let that moment pass without taking a photo to capture it.

I know that not every person who reads this blog will get to experience the bright leaves and changing of the seasons, so here's a little view of what the maples in my Idaho backyard are doing at this very moment. It's truly beautiful and makes me appreciate every little thing we have.

Leaves changing in the fall, fall leaves, trees in Boise, Idaho
Leaves changing in the fall, fall leaves, trees in Boise, Idaho
Leaves changing in the fall, fall leaves, trees in Boise, Idaho
Leaves changing in the fall, fall leaves, trees in Boise, Idaho

I don't know what it is about these colorful little leaves, but they make me think. They make me grateful. They warm my heart. And they bring a smile to my face. When you take a moment to appreciate the little things & the beauty they behold, isn't it amazing how everything else begins to get just a little bit better? Today is a good day.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Yard House

Yard House at The Village at Meridian, Idaho

Friday evening, the Yard House opened at The Village at Meridian, and I was grateful to be invited to attend the Grand Opening celebration. I was given a reserved table, so Daniel and I invited our good friends Casey and Erica to try out Meridian's hottest new spot. As I was running around taking photos, I bumped into our other good friends David and Katey as they were walking in, so we invited them over to our table... the more the merrier!

The Yard House didn't officially open to the public until 8:00 pm, so we were there to preview the location and try samples of their most popular dishes. We sampled their ahi poke, firecracker wings, seared ahi, Korean BBQ beef, chicken garlic noodles, spinach cheese dip, summer salad, cheeseburgers, egg rolls, crab cakes—the list goes on and on! Everything was absolutely delicious, and I'll tell you what—we didn't think we'd be able to get full by simply eating "samples," but they just kept coming and coming. Their staff was on point and the food was so delicious! For dessert, we were treated to mini crème brûlées, and I'll be honest with you, I had two... they were absolutely divine!

The evening was spent over laughs and good times, and delicious delicious food. If you're local to the Boise area, give the Yard House a visit—you won't be disappointed. I know Yard House has locations all over the United States, so chances are pretty good that there's one near you if you're not in town.

Yard House at The Village at Meridian, Idaho
Yard House at The Village at Meridian, Idaho
Yard House at The Village at Meridian, Idaho
Yard House at The Village at Meridian, Idaho
Yard House at The Village at Meridian, Idaho
Yard House at The Village at  Meridian, Idaho

Thanks again to the Yard House—the food was delicious, the service was amazing (Bree, you spoiled us!), and we are all anticipating a return visit. Thanks for making The Village at Meridian the place to be!

Monday, October 14, 2013

City of Trees Marathon

City of Trees Marathon, Mom and Daughter running a marathon together

We did it! After 18-weeks of training, we finished the City of Trees Marathon! And not only did we finish, but we ran the entire race, talked the whole way, high-fived and thanked every volunteer we could, and enjoyed every little moment—even the ones that hurt!

We began running at 8:00 am sharp right in downtown Boise and traveled all over the city, from Southeast Boise to the North End. We even ran by the zoo and got to see the giraffes as they ate their breakfast. Daniel and his parents were along for the ride and met us every six miles or so—taking photos, cheering us on, and giving us high-fives. They were the best cheering section! We also saw some of our friends at mile 4 (thank you, Kari & Gregory!), and we had a big cheering crowd at the end to cheer us across the finish. What a blessing it was to have each of them there... it really helped the time go by faster and kept us in good spirits to know we would see familiar faces every hour or so. I can't even begin to tell you how much it helped. It's what kept us going!

As far as the race goes, we finished in 4:03, in 80th and 81st place overall out of 250, and 33rd and 34th out of the women. My mom even got 3rd in her age group! We had some killer-fast (for us, anyway) miles, completing them in 7:45, 8:00, 8:15... they felt great. Our average mile was about an 8:45, which is much faster than the 10:00 minute-mile we had trained at. But ouch... our last 2-3 miles were just dreadful and we clocked them in at around 10:30 minute-miles. We were so tired! We talked & laughed all the way through mile 16, and around mile 18 my feet started to hurt. By mile 21, we were both pretty tired but kept churning through the miles, and I had lost pretty much all feeling in my feet at this point. At mile 24 we were both just done. We wanted to be finished so badly, but still had 2 more miles to go. When we saw the finish line, we held our hands above our heads in a "We did it... FINALLY!" expression of joy, and we didn't care about one single thing except for the fact that it was over!

Post-race, I drank more little cups of Gatorade than I ever though possible, Mom got stung by a bee (of all things... seriously) while waiting for a free massage, and we joked and laughed with the friends and family who came out to support us. When we finally got to have some lunch, I downed a giant hot chocolate (it was heavenly!), and barely choked down 1/3 of a cheeseburger. I was not hungry at all... I just wanted a nap! And let me tell you... that post-race nap was the most glorious nap. Oh, it felt good!

You know, I don't know if I'll ever do another full marathon again (half marathons are where it's at!). I enjoyed the experience... but not that much. But it was definitely something that I am glad I did & I'm even more glad that it's been checked off my bucket list. One and done, right?

Here are some fun photos from the race, with captions underneath. Enjoy!

City of Trees Marathon
Staying warm before the race.
City of Trees Marathon
Heading to the starting line. Our outfits were BRIGHT! 
City of Trees Marathon
Ready to run!
City of Trees Marathon
And we're off!
City of Trees Marathon
All smiles at mile 6... this was right after the biggest "hill" of the race. What an awesome course it was!
City of Trees Marathon
Cruising through mile 12 on the greenbelt.
City of Trees Marathon
Mile 18—we started to feel it here, but you couldn't tell based on the smiles we had for our cheering section.
City of Trees Marathon
High-fiving Daniel's dad through the pain at mile 21, overlooking Boise.
City of Trees Marathon
It didn't matter what mile it was, I was excited and dancing through all of it. This was mile 21.
City of Trees Marathon
THE FINISH! 26.2 miles in 4:03... we did it!
City of Trees Marathon
Daniel was the biggest trooper the whole day. He was so proud & gave me many sweaty hugs and kisses afterward. I think he was just as glad that we had finished (and that the training was finished!) as we were.
City of Trees Marathon
Our post-race support group. Thank you Sean & Sydney, Daniel, Adam, Dan & Michelle, and Alan for coming out to cheer us across the finish line!
City of Trees Marathon
Reppin' our official City of Trees medals & sweatshirts.
City of Trees Marathon

THANK YOU AGAIN to Daniel, for being there through all the training & for coming and supporting us through the entire race—I love you so much! To Daniel's parents, who were the best darn cheering section I've ever had! For all of you readers & friends who encouraged me & sent sweet prayers for the race—I didn't feel my two injuries once during the entire race! And most of all, thank you MOM, for being my training partner and for giving me an 18-week experience I'll never forget. It's so special that we share this hobby together. I love you, Mom!

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