What I did on my summer break, Part 4 (the last one!): August

September 29, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Every time I started to work on one of these “summer break” posts I went into it thinking I didn’t really take many photos that month. In all cases it turned out that I took a ton of photos even though I wasn’t even trying to capture things “for the blog”. We all take photos all the time now, don’t we? I took a lot of photos in August. This may be the longest post in the summer break series. You have been warned.

On the first day of August I met up with a bunch of my blogger friends at Tour de Pizza.

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My friend Matt McClellan, the owner, was nice enough to host us to try their new “paleo pizza” options.

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He also invited the folks from The Paleo Box, a paleo bakery in Tampa, to hand out samples the same evening so we got to try those as well.

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Matt had put out the word that he was redecorating the shop and wanted to line the perimeter of the walls with race medals. So we all brought a race medal to donate to the new décor.

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Since we are in there every week we can visit our medals any time. The boys liked picking out one of their medals to donate.

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The paleo pizza is basically their regular pizza (any toppings) on a millet/flax crust made by Sami’s Bakery. We tried the Greek pizza and something with a bunch of meat (I don’t remember).

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Both were awesome. We did get cheese, which I realize is not so paleo. But whatever. You can have it your way.

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Thanks for having us Matt!

The first weekend in August Cal went on vacation with my friend BJ and her family.

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She has twin boys, yet felt that she needed one more to round out their family vacation.

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They went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee (my old stomping grounds, not far from where I grew up in east Tennessee) and did all kinds of fun things like hiking, tubing, and rafting.

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Cal had a blast. Thank you so much to BJ and Paul for taking him!

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While Cal was gone on his bonus family vacation (without his family), Chad took Mack and a friend to Legoland one day.

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While they were on their way to Legoland, I met my friend Ali and her daughter Molly for breakfast at Trip’s Diner just down the street from my house. I had the breakfast strata.

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After that we went to the first Brocante Vintage Market.

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This is a monthly vintage market organized by my friends at Paper Street Market. There are multiple vendors and they bring the cream of their picking crop to this market. It was pretty happening for their first event!

I bought this little wrought iron patio set for $85…

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I have plans to paint it at some point, but I love it’s retro feel and diminutive size.

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Here they are after I plopped then down on my dirty front porch:

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I also got this end table:

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Bad picture, sorry. It is the perfect piece for that spot next to the sofa in our living room. I use it as my laptop’s home when not in use. It was a little pricey at $140, but is in great shape and is really exactly what I was looking for.

I also bought this little vanity ($100 – also to be painted, but I love the fabric on the stool), and the small rainy day painting ($18 – original, signed, and has the old original professional framing info on the back from an art store in St. Pete about 30 years ago), and the metal swirly frame (I can’t remember…think it was $15). I sort of have a plan for that in my addled mind.

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All in all I would say that Brocante Vintage Market was a success. You know we went back in September since I already blogged about that.

We also ran by The Iron Pelican Antiques where I picked up a bedside table for Cal’s room. I didn’t take a photo of that, but I did take a photo of their huge collection of vintage cameras.

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Molly got one.

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We had so much fun we had to go back to Brocante on Sunday. Actually, Mack and I met Ali and Molly for breakfast first at The Banyan Coffee and Tea Company (also just down the street from my house…I LOVE our new neighborhood). I got a breakfast burrito and an amazing salted caramel iced coffee.

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As I’m writing this I am on day 28 of the whole30 and this drink just looks obscene. But it was soooo good.

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Brocante was fun with Mack.

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These are actual Twinkie baking trays:

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On the second day there I bought this vintage teak tray ($15) which matches my teak dining table perfectly.

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Molly also picked up something there for Cal for his birthday…more on that later in this post.

That afternoon Mack and I went to see Wolverine at the Theater.

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Just for posterity, this is what Baywalk looked like that day:

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Locals will understand.

During August I had my handyman dudes at the house quite a bit doing small jobs, like removing the disgusting (to me) 20+ year old trash compactor from our kitchen.

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Does anybody actually use these things anymore? The concept seems so gross to me. They finished out the “hole” where the compactor used to be to match the rest of the cabinetry and now I have a very nice stainless steel garbage can in there. Much better.

I’m sure the neighbors appreciated this:

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That toilet was acting wonky but is actually a new toilet. I’m really not sure exactly why they removed it, but they ended up putting it back. This is no big deal if you are a handyman, I guess.They did many things around the house that needed doing (like installing some missing threshold molding, helping me hang shelves, building shelves in our outside pool storage room, repairing the gate in our back yard that accesses the alley, installing a new post for our hammock, and some other things I know I’m forgetting). This is the same father/son handyman team that did most of the work on our old house before we put it on the market and I like them a lot. I actually need to call them for some other things (always).

Mack had a neighborhood friend over one day while Cal was away (enjoying the now less death-defying hammock with a new post).

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We tried to give Mack an exciting week since Cal was having so much fun in Gatlinburg. One day I took him to Airheads Trampoline Arena with one of his friends and my friend “the other” Caroline and her girls.

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The owners of Airheads asked me if they could use my photos from my post about the time I checked out their TrampoLean Fitness class. We worked out a deal (my friends and I get to jump free in exchange, haha). I am pretty psyched to see all of my photos on this flyer. All of the photos are mine except for the before/after photos of the lady in the center at the bottom of the first page. That’s me jumping!

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Also in August, we got a rug for the living room (on sale from J.C. Penney for around $100 for a 9X11 rug). I saw it on the sale flyer and thought the colors were perfect for the room. I also liked that it is a light, flat weave rug as the over all feel of the room is light and casual.

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Chewie gave it a test run. I have since gotten a larger rug pad that better fits the rug.

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The boys got new shoes in anticipation of school starting.

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Cal turned 12 in August!

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We had a party at our house the day before his actual birthday.

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Remember when I said that Molly got something for Cal at the Brocante Vintage Market? She presented it to him at his party. It is REALLY heavy.

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It was an industrial spring!

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Cal has a spring collection, of course. This one is awesome. It must weight at least 30 pounds.

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Chewie approves (although seems somewhat confused as to why it is on his bed):

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The next day was Cal’s actual birthday. It was also the day to “meet the teacher” at Mack’s new school.

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Cal got to open all his birthday gifts from family.

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The next Monday was the first day of school.

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Back to making school lunches.

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Back to walking to school, now on a new route.

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Mack’s school is right next to this graveyard.

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On the days that I didn’t walk Mack to school, Chewie and I took long walks to a nearby park.

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The summer rains have let us see how our street floods when there is a prolonged heavy downpour.

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We are actually not in a flood zone and are in one of the highest areas in Pinellas County. However, our street acts as a drainage route for a nearby much larger street, so when there is a heavy rain our street has water running down it. But unlike in the flood zone where we used to live and often had high tide flooding that would last hours or days during a big storm, here the water dissipates right away once the rain slacks off. August definitely brought the typical Tampa Bay weather pattern this year. Rain every afternoon. Stifling humidity the rest of the time.

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When we would get back from a three or four mile walk, Chewie would retreat and not move for a few hours.

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One day in August I went running around with my pal Ali. We went to an estate sale in New Port Richey (or somewhere up there) and then ended up walking around downtown Dunedin where there are so many cute shops. I did buy some things for the house at the estate sale and in Dunedin, but I didn’t take any pictures. The only picture from that day was my lunch at a Mexican place we went to in Dunedin. There is grilled fish under that pile of tomatoes:

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One night Chad and I had a date night.

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We started out by going to dinner at The Tap Room at the Hollander Hotel.

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Several people had mentioned this place to me and I wanted to check it out. Again, looking at this (now) on Day 29 of the whole30, this looks obscene:

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It’s the Bacon Wrapped Mac & Cheese. OMG.

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Chad and I split it and also took one square home for the boys to try. Amazing. I had a pork chop for my dinner but didn’t photograph that. It was yummy. I did photograph my margarita.

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And also the pisco margarita that I had at our next stop which was the bar at Parkshore Grille.

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I didn’t really know what pisco was, but we Googled it while we sat at the bar. If you don’t know what pisco is, then you should also Google it. It was really good and now I want to try a pisco sour. I am severely missing alcohol after 29 days without a cocktail. I’m going to try to stick with lower carb drinks, though. I want to try just soda and tequila and lime juice. I’m really going to try to still minimize sugar after this whole30. (one more day!!!)

We had a little time to kill at Parkshore Grille before meeting friends at The Ale & the Witch to see The Applebutter Express.

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They are great and we had a fun night with our friends.

We ended August by having a Labor Day weekend party on the Saturday night before Labor Day. We had a bunch of friends over for a cookout, our usual MO here in the new house with this awesome pool and patio. There were lots of margaritas (my farewell margaritas before starting the whole30 the next day) and we had a swell time with our friends. I just used the word swell.

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And boom, I already posted that picture in my first blog post that I published at the beginning of September. So I’m caught up from the summer! Now I can focus on fall. Tomorrow I plan to write my LAST whole30 post, from this time around at least. I have a feeling there will be more whole30’s in my future. If you ever decide to do it you’ll understand why. I feel so detoxed right at this moment. I also feel like I am sort of back in the blogging groove. It only took a month.

Cya.

What I did on my summer break, Part 2: June

September 4, 2013 at 9:54 am

I did a bunch of stuff in June that apparently was awesome enough to warrant photos. Some big stuff, some small, but I’m dumping it all here. This is going to be long. I wouldn’t even try to read it if I were you. This should have been about 10 blog posts during June, but instead you get one all mushed together that seems to never end.

This photo is actually from May, but I wanted it memorialized: our last walk to Mack’s old elementary school…

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On to June: the last of the school projects for the year (a shoe box float about New Hampshire, the granite state, also the birthplace of Adam Sandler)…

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Directly from the last day of school the boys and I road-tripped to Charlotte to visit my sister and her family. We were also visiting my parents who just moved there from my childhood home in Tennessee. It was an exciting trip, getting to see their new house and my new niece, Vivi Lee.

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Somebody got a little jealous of the baby.

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Of course my nephew Cody was a major attraction as well.

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I got to help Janet give Vivi Lee her first bath.

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Mom and Dad closed on their new house while we were there. Our move was a huge upheaval for us after living in our old house for 17 years. I can only imagine what it was like for my parents to leave Bristol after more than 45 years! They now live just a few minutes from my sister. My Mom threw her traditional combined summer birthday party for all of the boys in their new, empty house.

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Their new house is in a gated, adult golf-cart community. They are lucky to have a few friends in the neighborhood already…some also from our home town (notice the Tennessee banner):

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My sister’s little horse farm always offers plenty of adventure and entertainment.

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Uncle Bob builds lots of bonfires, which means s’mores…

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It was a great trip.

Once back in Florida it was time for swim team to commence.

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I spent most of the summer working on our new house. June was the beginning, and I was picking fabric for curtains and paint colors.

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I managed to get that one wall with the window painted before our trip because I wanted to make sure it was painted whenever our blinds were ready. It turns out it took over six weeks to get the custom blinds, but at least that wall was ready! I spent most of June painting the rest of the living room, the dining room, and the little hall that you can see through the archway above.

In addition to painting walls, I also took a furniture painting class in June with my friend Cami. We learned a bunch of techniques using chalk paint on various finished and unfinished surfaces.

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The lovely Celesta of Paper Street Market showing off their Cece Caldwell Chalk Paint selection…

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When Cami and I went thrifting in May I bought this buffet for cheap.

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My sister gave me these old green glass lamps when I we visited as a housewarming gift. She got them from a neighbor who was cleaning out their deceased mother’s house and were going to throw them out. I love them!

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As for the buffet, I loved the mid-century lines and details of the piece and structurally it was solid. All of the drawers moved smoothly and the cabinet doors closed properly, but the finish was a mess. Originally this piece had a blonde wood finish, but at some point it had been painted over with a gel stain and then suffered some water damage.

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Using my newfound chalk painting skills I painted it, leaving the drawers in the gel stain finish. Luckily the finish on the drawers did not show any water damage, and I liked the contrast.

After one coat of chalk paint, and before any wax was applied…

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I also polished all of the hardware, which took about ten times as long as painting the piece. I probably spent at least 20 minutes on each individual piece. They were seriously grimy and I think they had some of that gel stain on them as well. It was rough, but they look awesome now!

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After my spruce up…

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Also in June we had a portrait drawn of Chewie by the super amazing talented Mark Noll, a local St. Pete artist. He does beautiful sculpture and carving and was recently injured and had to take a break from his normal work. During his recovery he ran a special on his fabulous pet portraits, and I’m so glad we took advantage of it.

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This drawing is 11X14 and is so detailed and beautiful in person. He really captured Chewie’s personality. He also used Chewie’s portrait in an ad!

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Speaking of Chewie, he got some new dog beds for the new house. He has one in every room now. He approves.

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We celebrated Father’s Day of course, and Chad’s gift was this bar height bistro set for his pool table room.

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At some point in June there was a fabulous Yelp event at Mazzaro’s, an Italian specialty store here in St. Pete.

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I went with my pal’s Ali and Val.

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It was pretty fab. The piece de resistance was the bacon-wrapped breadsticks with maple cotton candy. Um, yeah. This is my friend Charlotte of Charlotte Smiled and her boyfriend Matt…

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In June, we closed on the sale of our old house! It was bittersweet. We said farewell to our shelter of 17 years.

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It sold after only being on the market for three days. We had multiple bidders and got well over asking price. We took all of our realtor’s advice and put quite a bit of work into getting it ready to sell.

We repaired everything that was broken or wonky, like the off-track pocket doors and the never-worked doorbell. We had the master bathroom re-tiled and painted. We had the entire interior and exterior of the house painted. The storage shed got a new front and doors and was also painted. We had new carpet put in the bedrooms. We even replaced the entire electrical panel because our old one had been recalled and would not have passed inspection. I planted flowers! In all, we put about $15,000 into the updates. Our house never looked that good the entire time that we lived there.

We ended up getting $20,000 over asking and were under contract after 3 days on the market (those three days were spent receiving multiple offers above asking and deciding which one to accept). So, like I said, worth it. It’s a crazy seller’s market right now in Tampa Bay.

The sweet part is that we were no longer completely broke! Our first purchase after the closing was some patio furniture for our pool lanai.

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No more bring your own chair parties! We did have a couple of housewarming-ish parties in June.

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We had lots of rain in June and the tree frog population living in our pool cage was quite happy.

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I guess at some point we went to Largo Central Park…

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Near the end of June I traveled to Portland, Oregon for Fitbloggin 2013. (Click here to read about my Fitbloggin 2012 adventures.) My travel partner was my buddy Mindy from Mindy’s Fitness Journey. It was really hard to get a non-blurry photo in the airport at 5 a.m.

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As soon as we got to the hotel in Portland we hooked up with our fellow Mom Power Team member Kyndra, of Peace, Love, and Low Carb.

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Kyndra was every bit as awesome as I knew she would be.

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(Kyndra and I have both since resigned from the Mom Power Team, but I will love all of those ladies forever and I definitely still support their mission!)

We stayed at The Nines, which was very swanky.

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Soon my room mate, the beautiful Maggie of I’m Not a Very Clever Robot, arrived.

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The fabulous weekend commenced. Fitbloggin is a fitness blogging conference, duh. We spent most of our time eating really unhealthy food and drinking really unhealthy cocktails. Or maybe that was just me.

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I wasn’t really good about taking photos logically on this whole trip. The above is a kale salad that was delicious at Tasty ‘n Alder. I didn’t take a photo of my entrée, apparently. Below is a photo of the fish tacos at The Thirsty Lion in downtown Portland.

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We definitely had some delicious food in Portland.

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Oh man. THIS is why I got fat again this summer.

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There is nothing ironic about this photo being taken while at a weekend conference on fitness blogging. I have decided that I am not a fitness blogger. I won’t be labeled.

It was great to see so many blog friends again, and many for the first time in real life.

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Of course there were a bunch of crazy exercise classes.

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Mindy gave a great presentation at the keynote Ignite Fitness event.

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There was a fitness wear fashion show and I was asked to model some clothes by Taffy, a plus-size active wear line.

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It was fairly mortifying, but the audience was very supportive and enthusiastic and the folks from Taffy were awesome. Thanks for having me Taffy! It was a privilege.

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There were also a bunch of seminar sessions, but to be honest, I didn’t go to any of them. I was too interested in taking in Portland. To that end, Maggie and I took a bike tour of downtown with Pedal Bike Tours.

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When the young guys who were also on the tour with us did this…

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I could not be outdone.

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And then Maggie wouldn’t let me outdo her either.

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I loved how Portland loves bikes.

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On our last night we took a tip from Brett, the Yelp Tampa Bay community manager, as well as the Yelp Portland community manager (I always try to pull strings through Yelp when visiting new cities), and crossed the bridge to try Pok Pok Thai.

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I was actually surprised when I came across these photos, as I have only a sketchy memory of this evening. But it definitely began with some Thai food, which was beautiful and delicious. At least it was beautiful until we ravaged it.

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Apparently we went back to the hotel after dinner and went to the rooftop bar at The Nines.

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After that photo things got crazy and we were all over downtown. I know we had a blast. I just don’t know the details because thus endeth the photos from that evening. Probably a good thing.

The last morning Maggie had to catch an early flight, but I participated in the closing day Fitbloggin 5K with Rachel of Restoring Rachel and Mindy.

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Mindy and I had late flights (like 11 p.m.), so we had all day to waste in Portland. We killed some time with Kyndra who was practically local (Seattle) while she got a new tattoo.

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I loved all the tattoo artwork prints they had at Ever True Tattoo.

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Then we ate pizza, because there had not been enough unhealthy gorging on this trip.

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Mindy and I went to a movie with Tasha, who also had a late flight. We saw The Heat. Loved it. Then it was the redeye home.

Hmmm, at some point we celebrated my mother-in-law’s retirement.

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My nieces in Kentucky made a similar poster that said “Retirement” and my brother-in-law had them merged and printed for her.

Well, that’s all the photos I have unearthed from June. I’m sure there are more hiding somewhere, but that will do for posterity.

If you actually read all this, please leave a comment so I can send you a prize. I think I got super lazy and reveled in nonblogdom in July, so maybe there won’t be so many photos. Not sure, though.

Cya.