Tuesday, May 31, 2016

June 2016 Goals, mid-year review & May goal recap

Hows that for a mouthful of a title? I am still in disbelief it's June already. I had a seriously eventful first few months of 2016 & it shows no signs of slowing down. While my vacation schedule will grind to a halt  (due to lack of remaining vacation days...) my social calendar will not. Let the 2016 wedding season begin. May there always be an open bar & may you never have to be the DD.

Not only did I make some year long personal goals for 2016, which you can find here. But I break down new goals each month. I find it's the best way to keep my energy focused where I need it right then & there.

So, first things first, how 'bout a little 6 month check in on my 2016 goals. A + next to the goal indicates it's going well & I'm pleased with my progress // the goal is completed. A - indicates there is more work to be done, or that I best kick it up a notch.

6 month check-in :

bake more +
While I've tried out fewer new recipes than I would have liked, I have baked something each month. Sometimes recipes are tried & true for a reason & they're worth making over & over again. Like my miracle muffin recipe.

find a church -
save more $$$ +

read more books +
I set a 25 book goal for the year & am 10 deep so far for the year. Considering I didn't read a single book in April, I'm a-okay with this #.

lighten the load + & -
I did really well with this during the first few months of the year, but my enthusiasm has waned. It's time to get back to it & use these rainy days before summer is in full swing to get some more junk out the door.

May goal report card : 

run a 5K +
I placed 2nd in my 20-29 age group!!! You can read my race recap here.

read 3 books +
I actually managed to read 4.5 :)

drop 5 LBs -
My gym closed for 2 weeks for renovations, so I just didn't work out at all. Not my best choice.

meet the parents +
My parents met the BF's parents & everything went just swimmingly. I would like to thank booze & awkward small talk for making this possible. Haha.

invest my $$$ -ish
I've done my research, I know where I want my $. But I think the market is headed down, I want to see if waiting a week or two longer to invest will help me get a little more bang for my buck. I did up my 401K contribution by 1%, so I'm pleased with that.

June goals :

{run a 5K}
I'm still chasing that sub 25:00.

{drop 5LBs}
Carried over from May. I'm not looking to do this all at once, but I want to get back to a place where I feel comfortable in my own skin.

{no workouts missed}
To go along with my drop 5LB goal, I've created a workout schedule. One that will focus on some speed to get my that sub 25 & cross-training since it's one of my favorite parts of the "off-season". You can find it here if you're interested.

{track all meals in MFP}

{70,000+ steps per week}
This would average out to 10,000 per day, but some days I know will always be more active than others. 

{up my evergreen content game}
Evergreen content is content that is continually relevant. Things like recipes, workouts, how-to guides & tips // tricks. Think things that would get pinned to Pinterest vs a recap of my weekend. I love posting about my weekends & my workouts & I don't plan to stop that, but I do feel like I've got things to say that others might want to "hear". So, I better start typing!

What are your June goals?
How many steps do you aim to take each day?
What's your favorite cross - training workout?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Five #23

This week has been jam-packed! I've had plans of some sort every night & tonight I'll head home to visit the fam, before a quick day trip to Indianapolis on Sunday for the Indy 500 with my Dad. (Anyone else going to the Indy500?)

So think of this as a a Friday Five // Recap of my week.
Tell me what you've been up to this week in the comments!

Monday evening my friend Stef & I headed to a local bar for Pop Craft. I had found a Groupon & signed us up.

We used 100 year old reclaimed wood to form our canvas & then picked from all sorts of stencils & paints to make our piece. I used the Pennsylvania state outline & combined it with the Pittsburgh skyline to make mine.

It was such a fun "class" & I loved having the freedom to choose all the details I wanted vs a  Paint Night class that only allows you to paint the selected piece for that night. So, if you're in Pittsburgh, I would definitely recommend. Monica was such a sweetheart & so encouraging. And I've got an eye on their project next month that lets you create a wood mounted bottle opener. I think it would be so fun to mount on the back porch!

 I'm not saying food is my love language...since it's not technically a love language. But it should be. So, making me ribs for dinner is pretty much the equivalent to confessing your unwavering & undying love for me. Thanks BF. Love you too. :)

My new FitBit Charge came in the mail on Monday! Wahoo! It's got me jazzed about moving & since I'm competitive it gets my butt up & moving around at work, which I desperately need. Who wants to be friends & join a work week challenge?!

I've been binge watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix recently. So good & truly not all about football. And have the biggest crush on Tim Riggins, played by Canadian model Taylor Kitsch. Something about his long hair & Southern accent. None of which are real life. He plays a little bit of a hard-ass on the show, but by Season 4 you can tell he's a big softie.

The BF & I met up with some friends Thursday night to check out a local brewery. I'm not a beer drinker, but I tried a baby beer (5oz pour) of their Coffee Porter & really enjoyed it.

I also saw THIS when I Google Mapped my way there & panicked I would never make it, but somehow there was zero traffic.

What was the best part of your week?
Anyone else watch Friday Night Lights? - hands off Tim Riggins, you know, if he ever comes knocking.
What's your love language?

I'm linking up with MarCynthia, CourtneyHeather, Amanda, Andrea & Tif

Thursday, May 26, 2016

3 Tips for Beginning Backpackers

I didn't grow up in a family that was very outdoorsy. My brother was a Boy Scout, so he & my Dad frequently went camping with their troop, but it was never the 4 of us. 

As I grew older I wanted to explore more, be outside more, camp more. But, what I didn't really know was HOW to camp. What did I need to bring? Where were some good places to go? How does going to the bathroom work? You know, the basics. I'm not a novice anymore, but I do still learn my fair share of new stuff every time the BF (AKA Eagle Scout) & I go camping. I thought maybe I wasn't the only one. Maybe people wanted to go camping but had no idea what they were doing. So folks, I'm here to share.

I've got some upcoming posts planned about the different types of camping, what you'll find in my pack on a camping trip, how to eat on a camping trip & even some of the basics for hiking -- in case you're not ready for camping just yet.

Today, though, I'm here to share with you my 3 tips for beginning backpackers.

1. Go with friends who are experienced backpackers
I know it's not possible for everyone. But this really is such a great way to learn. The other benefit to backpacking with friends is you can share the weight of items that are for the common good. Think cooking equipment. You don't need 4 camp stoves, just 1 will do. Same goes for water filters. This stuff doesn't weigh a lot individually, but carry it on your back for a few hours & every ounce counts.

2. Test your equipment 
There is nothing worse than being far from your car & finding out your boots give you blisters. Or that the sun is setting & you don't have a clue how to set up your tent. I would recommend wearing clothing // shoes you know work for you. And doing a test run of any equipment you may use. Cook dinner on your camp stove in the garage & set up your tent in the backyard. It will make everything run a lot smoother when it's crunch time.

Like when I spent hours doing chores around the house with my backpack on...

3. Keep it short
I would say 1 night of camping for your first backpacking trip is the way to go. Pick a short loop, or find a trail with known camp sites (hiking forums are great about having info like this) that you can hike to, camp, & in the morning pack up & hike back to the car. With a loaded backpack 2 miles // hour is a good guesstimate for how quickly you'll be moving. 8 or 10 miles may not sound like a lot, but that's 4 - 5 hours of hiking + any snack or lunch breaks.

Have you been backpacking before?
If not, is it something you'd like to do?
What questions // tips would you want to see about camping, hiking & backpacking?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

WIAW #8 : I finally went grocery shopping

It has been a while since I joined in on the WIAW fun. But, after a few weeks of scrounging around in the fridge, I finally ventured to the grocery store & am excited about my meals again. So, I wanted to share, so here we go.

Breakfast was toast topped with PB2 & bananas. I added some mini chocolate chips to my PB2 mixture & used it all to top some old whole wheat bread I found in the back of the freezer.

Lunch was two random tacos. I sauteed onions & zucchini, along with some leftover rice I needed to use. I topped it off with some BBQ pulled pork, avocado & sriracha. For throwing together random things in my fridge, these were delicious! I love to warm // toast the tortilla shells for a minute or two on each side before I cook the rest of my taco innards. It makes all the difference.

And finally dinner. Combined with my latest obsession. Pizza. Made using naan as the crust. While I know I could make the naan myself for a fraction of the cost at the store, I'm lazy, so I don't. But man, oh man, using naan as a pizza crust? Delicious. This pizza had red sauce, zucchini, bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, feta & some Italian blend cheese so my toppings didn't fall off.

I discovered on Friday that I have a patio at my apartment. So I celebrated by eating dinner outside & enjoying a glass of wine while I finished my book. :)

What's your favorite way to top a pizza?
Soft shell or hard shell tacos?
How often do you grocery shop?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Current Training Plan : Training for Nothing, maybe

My gym has been closed for renovations for the past 2 weeks. Which has sucked. Their next closest location is 20-ish minutes away. The whole reason I go to the gym I go to is because it's close to my house & close to my work.

Instead of adapting my workouts & running outside or adding in some circuit training, I've just done nothing. I've run 3 times in the past 2 weeks & done a few push-ups & squats each night, but no real other workouts. I'm not proud, but it's been kind of nice. 

I'm ready to get back at it though. I spent July - September of 2015 training for my first Sprint Triathlon. I've truly never felt so strong. The short length of the workouts helped keep it interesting, while allowing me to focus on 3 sports I love, with built in cross-training!

While a wedding means I won't be able to participate in that same tri this year, I have my eye on another at the end of June. I'm not certain I've got enough time to prepare, but I want to get started to see what I can do. I prepared an 8 week training schedule to get me headed in the right direction. Take a peek. 

Remember I'm not a qualified trainer of any sort, I just know what's worked for me before.

Have you ever completed a triathlon?
Do you create training plans for the off-season or just go with what you feel?
What's your favorite kind of speed work?

Linking up with  Marcia x Patty x Erika for Tuesdays on the Run to share.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Weekend Highlights : Rain Rain Go Away

Hi Friends, it's a rainy Sunday here in Pittsburgh. I'm curled up in my "old lady chair" (my pet name for my wonderful rocking arm chair) listening to the rain, sitting under a blanket, 'cause I love having the windows open, but it's actually a little chilly with the breeze. I'm enjoying a glass of wine & it's my favorite blogging weather.

So, I'm here to link up with Holly & Tricia & to share my Weekend Highlights.

I found a Chipotle gift card that I had forgotten about, so escaping the office for lunch on Friday was a no brainer. I like to mix my bowl up before I eat it, but I always spill things, so I unfold a napkin & put it underneath. 
1. So I can pick up anything good that spills & eat it anyways. 
2. So I don't leave a mess for the poor soul who sits down after me.

Meanwhile, the BF & I came within dangerously close territory of booking this Groupon for Iceland. We held off because while flight was included, it was from NYC & the prices to get there & back from Pittsburgh were going to be a bitch. But, seriously 5 nights accomodations + airfare to Iceland? You can't even get airfare alone that cheap (I looked). Go check it out if you're interested. I've traveled with Gate1 & they are great. And December, the option still available for $599 is PRIME Northern Lights time.

| side note | I'm not any sort of Groupon or Gate1 ambassador (but oh how I wish I was) I've just traveled with both & think they offer great deals!

Friday evening was perfection. I'm going to sound like a total dingbat...but my apartment has a patio & I had NO idea. Let me explain. When I moved in last fall, it was already cold weather, there was a back area, but it was over grown & just dirt, no grass & not paved at all. But, I have no reason to ever go back there, & the area isn't visible from my apartment. I was forced to go down the back stairs on Friday & saw that the area has now been cleared & lined with pavers. There's also a table & chairs out there now. So I quickly whipped up a personal pizza & headed outside to finish my book!

Saturday started out with a rainy run. 6.65 miles. The rain kept lots of folks at home, but I knew I wouldn't regret going & I didn't. I got to test "drive" a pair of Saucony's. And while they aren't the right shoes for me, I loved being able to test them out. No pics, 'cause you know, rain & stuff.

I spent the rest of Saturday morning // afternoon doing bridal shower & bachelorette party prep with my friend Chelsea. 

| side note | I'm planning a bachelorette party game with funny questions. The premise is funny questions. If the bride can get the right answer, she can assign someone to take a jello shot or sip of their drink, if she gets it wrong, she drinks. I'm thinking questions like, "What animal would your husband be"? Things that no one will feel bad if they don't know...ya know? So, if you've got a fun question...leave it in the comments!

Sunday was a walk before the rain came & some meal prep! Yay for overnight oats! I made some homemade meat sauce for spaghetti, another personal pizza for lunch + started some chicken in the crockpot to use for tacos & salads later in the week.

How was your weekend? What was the best part!?
What's a fun question for my bachelorette party game?
What's your favorite way to pass a rainy day?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Five #22

Happy Friday!

Do any other bloggers out there constantly end up confused about what day it is because you write posts in advance? Like I was all excited that yesterday was Friday, womp womp womp. It wasn't. I usually craft my Friday Five posts throughout the week as things happen that I know I want to share with y'all. But, it mostly just leaves me confused about what day it is.

Before I get started, if you missed my summer bucket list yesterday, don't forget to check it out here!
And now, let's jump on in.

I took the plunge & ordered a FitBit Charge through my work rewards website. We can be gifted points if someone feels we go above & beyond. I didn't realize I had any...but I must have had some left over from last time I ordered something. There is a HUGE catalog online. Designer purses, sporting event tickets, Garmin watches, gift cards, I never know what to choose. Do I reward myself & get something FUN? Or do I save myself $$$ & buy something I know I NEED? 

My new FitBit shipped on Wednesday so I'm hoping it'll be here soon! As we all know, steps don't count if your FitBit doesn't track them. ;)

Despite having a HUGE cookout last weekend, which I bought all the groceries for...I bought only a handful of groceries for me for the week. That makes two weeks in a row that I haven't grocery shopped. So things are getting weird. I've been digging into the dark, cold depths of my freezer. And grocery shopping is at the top of my list of plans for after work today.

Me, when someone tells me "Nice work".

Thursday evening I made avocado egg salad. Mixed in some feta, used it to top toast. DELICIOUS. Scarfed it all down. Was going to make some more. Until I saw the date on my egg carton. February 28th. Now, I'm not necessarily a stickler for best by dates...but, that seemed a bit much to me. Would you eat the eggs? I mean, I ate 3 & I haven't died yet...

And, today's funny...

And finally...me @ 5PM today when I waltz out those doors for the weekend. :)
See y'all back here on Monday.

What are you up to this weekend?
Who's got a FitBit?! - wanna be friends?
Would you eat eggs with a February 28th carton date?

I'm linking up with MarCynthia, CourtneyHeather, Amanda & Andrea

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Summertime Bucket List

Confession time. The BF & I have a shared Google Calendar. And it's the best ever. His schedule is ridiculous, like his days off & hours worked switch every 4 weeks + we both have a lot going on. We tried to keep track of everything in our brains, but we are so not that good. So the Google Calendar was born. We each put our stuff on there, my work excluded since my schedule doesn't change. I know if I can commit us to something like a friends party with a quick glance. + he doesn't have to rely on his sub-par listening skills to remember that I told him a million times I was busy, not that that has ever happened... ;)

I took a quick look at the calendar the other day & realized it's booked! Summer is already packed of things to do & it's not even here just yet. 6 weddings, a few weekend trips + bridal showers, bachelor // bachelorette parties + random other plans mean our summer free time is slim pickins already.

I didn't want to hit Labor Day & realize I had let my favorite things about summer slip past me. So, I created my summer bucket list! It's focused on all the things I love about summer, focusing on family // friends & being outside as much as possible.

Summer is the time to do everything you love, but to do it all OUTSIDE.

1 //  Movie in the park

2 // Run a local 5K

3 //  Dine al fresco

4 //  S'MORES!

5 // Spend a day out on the river

6 // Watch fireworks

7 // Go canoeing

8 // Hike somewhere new

9 // Make pizza on the grill

10 // Night hike to see the stars

11 // Host a cookout + campfire

12 // Girls day at a local winery

13 // See an outdoor concert

Like my list? I would LOVE for you to Pin it!

What's on your summer bucket list?
What's your favorite part of summer?
Trying to plan a girls weekend -- where should we go?
Props for places driving distance from Pittsburgh! 

I'm linking up with Amanda // The Quinntessential Mommy //  Little Miss Dexterous!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Is the grass always greener?

Alternate title : How to not be a jealous bitch when all your friends are getting married.

^ take your pick.

I'm 26. I'm not old, I'm not fresh out of college, I'm stuck somewhere in the middle. Perhaps that's why they call this my mid-twenties. Hmm. Food for thought. Moving on. I am smack dab at the age where it's normal to be getting engaged & married & even gasp, reproduce. 3 years ago it seemed too soon, but now, it seems to be all the rage among my group of friends. Even my Facebook acquaintances.

The BF & I attended 5 friend weddings last year by year end. There are already 6 for which we've received Save The Date's for this year, and we suspect there will be a few more. Every weekend it feels like my FB news feed is exploding with pictures of engagement rings & a million congratulations comments. And I'm just over here trying to not be a jealous bitch. It's really not going well. Thanks for asking.

So, here we are. I try not to pressure the BF before he is ready, I also try not to hate all my friends for getting married, & I try to be just obnoxious enough that I hope I don't get asked to be a bridesmaid. Part 3 is working okay so far.

I don't wait well & that seems to be my option. I picked him, he is my people. Now I want us to be each others peoples forever, legally. Usually if I want something to happen I identify steps to get me closer to my goal & I figure out a plan of action. Train harder, run more, spend less $ & save more $. I can't do that here. What's the game plan to prepare your BF to be ready for marriage? If I missed the how-to guide, please do share.

End Rant.

No questions.
Leave a thought if you've got one to share.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Team Alex 5K Race Recap

I raced the Team Alex 5K (there was a 5 mile option too) on Saturday, May 14th. This was the 7th annual event.

Linking up with  Marcia x Patty x Erika for Tuesdays on the Run to share my recap

The event originally started after a local boy was diagnosed with Spontaneous Spinal Epidural Hematoma, which eventually left him paralyzed. The Team Alex fund now helps children with spinal cord injuries get specialized therapy equipment & mobility devices (such as hand cycles) typically not covered by insurance. 

I signed up for this race on the Wednesday prior, mostly just because I wanted to race & this date was a good one for me. I was familiar with the race course area & it took place near my house, so I knew the drive in the AM would be short. But, once I read a little bit more about what the race supports,  I was so glad I signed up. As someone who loves to run and be active, I can't imagine not having the ability to do so, even if modified.

Saturday morning I woke up & it was POURING. Which, on any other Saturday I would have climbed back in bed & relished the sound of rain on the roof. Instead I had some coffee & tried to psych myself up. I had laid out my "Flat Jessie" the night before so I wouldn't forget anything, specifically my Garmin, which I tend to forget.

Packet pick-up was a breeze Friday afternoon. I work near the running store, so I bipped over during lunch. This made Saturday morning easy since I didn't have to arrive super early to pickup my packet. North Park was all of a 5 minute drive from my house, and an area I run in often. I arrived around 820 or so, for a 9AM start. Snagged a good parking spot & hung out in my car until 845, so I didn't have to stand in the rain.
Mile 1 {7:48}
I ended up one of the first few to cross the start line & was immediately passed by a million children. Damn those little ones are fast. Unfortunately, I think the rain kept a lot of people away for the day, and I ended up in an awkward middle of people, none of whom seemed to be trying to hold the same pace as me. I started out super fast, then managed to calm it down some & felt pretty good.

You can see me in the blue shirt :)
Mile 2 {8:22}
I went back & forth between "Okay, you're on pace to break 25:00" & "OMG, you'll never make it, you may as well just stop and walk". I kept getting choked up on my spit & feeling like I was going to hack up a lung. I hit the turn-around & there was an uphill portion that felt like it lasted forever.

Mile 3 & .1 .2{10:12}
My watch ended up a little long, but after my last 5K that ended short, I would always rather a bit long. I ended with an 8:09 AVG pace on my Garmin, for a time of 25:42. A far cry from my goal of sub-25.

I tried to remind myself that since my half marathon on May 1 this was my SECOND run. I had done no specific 5K training & it was indeed pouring down rain. Seriously, most of the walkers carried umbrellas. I checked on my time before I headed to my car & saw that I had placed 2nd in my 20-29 age group.

I also thought I had placed at my last 5K & had been barely edged out. So, I asked one of the volunteers to take a look at the results with me, to make sure I wasn't crazy. And to see if they even had age group awards. He said they did indeed, and that all the 5K finishers had already crossed. Meaning, I had REALLY placed 2nd in my age group!

So I headed to my car to grab a sweatshirt & wait for the awards to start. I've never placed at a race before! I enjoyed the DJ & took a look at the silent auction items before it was time for the awards to start.

Old Jessie would be disappointed all day she didn't run a sub-25. But instead I was psyched! I HAD PLACED! I took a million pictures before heading back to my car, sopping wet. This is definitely a race I'll have on my radar for next year

Have you ever skipped a race you'd paid for because the weather sucked?
What do you do with your age group awards // medals?
What's your favorite color race tee?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Weekend Highlights : The Parentals Came to Town

Happy Monday, friends. Usually I'm sad to see the weekend go. And while this week is no exception, I'll be glad to have some downtime. Saturday was spent preparing to host a BBQ on Sunday.

I'm linking up with Holly & Tricia to share.

My parents drove up from KY on Saturday morning. Meanwhile, I spent Saturday morning running a local 5K (look for my recap tomorrow). I met them at their hotel once they arrived and we headed to dinner at a nearby-ish brewery, North Country Brewing. Despite arriving at 5PM there was already an hour wait. So we grabbed a beer from the bar and got to chatting. 

After dinner we made our way to Red Robin to get dessert. Where my Mom decided the strawberry sauce that came with the brownie was too good to waste a bit of.

Sunday, we had planned to spend walking around Pittsburgh. But, despite being May it was in the low 40's and sleeting // snowing. So instead, we gorged on Peace, Love & Little Donuts in their hotel lobby. 

I headed back to the BF's house for some last minute prep work, including some Sangria Margaritas (recipe to come later, but so simple & so good) before everyone arrived. Once we started chatting, the phone went away, but, suffice it to say, the first parental meeting went surprisingly well. Phew. 

The rest of the evening was spent cleaning up before an early bedtime. We'll check this Parental Meeting off the May goal list.

What's the craziest donut combination you've ever tried?
Cake donuts or yeast donuts?
What's your favorite kind of cheese?
Best part of your weekend?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Five #21

Tomorrow. Tomorrow my parents are driving to Pittsburgh so that on Sunday they can meet the BF's parents + sister & her fiance. I'm sure all will go well. I've got the menu under control. & am making a big batch of sangria margaritas to make sure everyone is nice & socially lubricated for the event.

So, ever get texts from your parents & you're just like HUH? Like how my Dad texted me from the Barry Manilow concert...to tell me about midgets? Like, how does a daughter respond to that? #MidgetsForManilow, obvs. But really. And it didn't stop there. They spotted another.

You ever hear a story & it just warms your heart & gives you chills at the same time? My brother had been having a rough time on the trail. Me thinks he did not train enough...anyways. He had a lot of foot pain. He camped in the same place for a few days, but nothing was getting better. So, I called in a favor to my friend who lives in LA. My brother hitched a ride from a tribal elder, Sylvia, near where he was camped. She drove him 140+ miles, wouldn't take any gas $$$, or other repayment. He's been crashing in LA with my friend Sally since Saturday. Doc said it's plantar fasciitis so he's ordered some special socks & braces & plans to keep hiking soon. In the meantime, I just can't believe the kindness he's been shown. People, friends & strangers alike going truly above & beyond.

Weekly funnies...
I think I found the key to keeping me happy. And guaranteed relationship success. Will someone tell the BF? JK. This is pretty much our relationship already. ;)

And this...because honestly, I think I'm hilarious. And there's not a thing people can say to convince me otherwise.

I was a big Warped Tour fan back in the day. And actually, a super sweet, unadvertised perk of my lifeguarding job in college was our badge got us into Warped Tour for free. I remember seeing a group called Cash Cash & buying a CD of theirs for $5. 

I was addicted to this song. Still am.

Flash forward from 2008-ish, til now. I'm clicking around on YouTube & heard this from them. A year or two old now, but they're still making music, stuff with millions of views on YouTube.

Makes me feel like I discovered the next big thing. Ever feel that way?

Any bands you "discovered" before they made it big?
Anyone racing this weekend? I signed up for a last minute 5K.
What are you most excited for this weekend?

Linking up with MarCynthia, CourtneyHeather, Amanda, AndreaKarli & Amy

Thursday, May 12, 2016

48 Hours in Slovenia : Ljubljana

I left off earlier this week with part 1 of my time in Slovenia. I talked all about Bled & you can find that post here. Today I'm linking up with Amanda to share Part 2.

After our morning at the castle & snagging some incredible shots of the lake below, we were off to Ljubljana (Lube-lee-on-uh) for the afternoon.

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia & the largest city in the country. Even so, the population clocks in at ~300,000 people, giving it a small town feel. Streets are super walkable & the old town portion of Ljubljana is car free. Austrian style architecture lines the city & when we showed up mid-day on Saturday, things were bustling. 

We walked through the old town, stopping inside Ljubljana Cathedral, before getting some time to explore on our own.

I immediately took off to explore the farmers market. I tasted my fair share of wines, olive oils & bread before grabbing a sandwich for lunch & heading to the highest building in the city, Crystal Palace. I was able to take the elevator to the 20th floor. There's a small cafe & observation deck overlooking the city & Ljubljana Castle. I knew I wouldn't have time to see the castle, nor would going to the castle award me a view of the castle. So Crystal Palace it was.

I enjoyed some gelato as I poked my head into the local shops & strolled the streets.

I ended with some people watching before it was time to head back to Bled.

I snagged a bike from a local rental place & went for a few loops around Bled Lake. While my skinny jeans weren't ideal biking apparel, it worked & I got some more great shots of the lake before heading to Panorama Restaurant for dinner. True to it's name, the place had great views (& average food).

I'll have another travel recap next week. So far I've been recapping in reverse order, since I got to those pictures first, but who knows what city I'll recap next. But, no, seriously. Who knows? I haven't started writing yet.

Have you & your SO done the whole lock on a bridge thing?
What's your ideal city size, big, small, in the middle?
Car free capital...do any cities in the US have large car free areas?