Monday, December 23, 2013

Seattle Washington Vol.1 | Travel

Happy Monday everyone!! I'm only 4 days into my Christmas trip to Seattle and I'm loving every minute of it! Today we decided to keep it chill since it's right before Christmas. I'm writing this from a Tully's Coffee. Similar to Starbucks but a little more mom and pop, which I appreciate. I'm not really sure what the rest of the day has in store for us but I know it will be great - even the sun came out today! I've already had some delicious food, even salmon! If you know me, you are probably stunned. I hate any type of seafood, but it's everywhere here so I thought why not have some where it is fresh and great quality.
Each day has been jam packed with stuff. Trips to the piers, the market, friends houses and the evening is spent unwinding eating a good home cooked meal and watching some of the best movies of our time. Everyone in my family loves movies just as much as I do, so it makes it easy to convince everyone to watch one. So far we have watched You've Got Mail (I have such a huge man crush on Tom Hanks), Casablanca and Grease. I believe tonight we are watching The Godfather. I've never seen it, so I'm really excited! Before and after dinner and movies we play backgammon. Switching off by the next person playing winner. It's dreadfully obvious that I'm out of practice. Hopefully after my trip I will be back to my usual double rolling self. I can't believe that I didn't even mention that it snowed!! My uncle has lived here over 6 years and this is only the second or third time that he has seen snow. In Seattle it's rare but move east into the mountains and you will wonder into feet of the fresh powder. It was about an inch and lasted all of about 7 hours. Then the slush melted away as the evening rain came in. It was so beautiful and a wonderful treat as we woke on our first morning.
I'm already planning my next post - FOOD! I've been able to have try so many delicious things already and we haven't even gone to all of the best places yet. Saturday evening will be spent at The Space Needle for dinner before the symphony. I'm not quite sure what our Christmas plans are, my uncle likes to keep everything a surprise so who knows what this evening could hold. Maybe he doesn't know yet but that reminds me of a quote from Casablanca "Will I see you tonight?" to which Rick replied "I don't plan that far ahead."


 This is the famous gum wall. I couldn't blow a bubble...

                                                               xo, Erica

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What Three Things | Lifestyle

Happy Tuesday everyone! I'm sorry that I've been MIA. It's been so crazy busy for me this last week and things aren't about to slow down. I've been completely booked with hair and nail appointments, Christmas gatherings for work, roommates and family. Then buying Christmas gifts and wrapping them. Even though I told myself I wouldn't buy any new clothes for my trip that's all I've been buying. I mean how can you say no to your size on SALE?! This last weekend I spent with my roommates & pulled off a surprise engagement!! I was so nervous for her and wanted to make sure everything was perfect. Let's just say then entire day was so fun and I was so happy to be included in the entire thing!

While on our way to The City (OKC not NYC) the question "What 3 things should you possess that make you feel like an adult?" I'm sure there are a thousand things that can be in the place of those three answers. I thought about it and after a while I had my answer: 1. A Savings Account - that actually stays positive and doesn't act like a secondary checking account. 2. A Nice Set of Luggage - for all of the trips we take to escape our responsibilities. 3. That Perfect Shade of Lipstick - No explanation needed. We all exchanged comments over each others choices and after 2 coffee spills decided a Tide To Go pen was also something that every woman should have. Since we didn't we chose to just head to the Gap outlet and buy a new shirt. Then proceeded to J.Crew to add some jewelry to the look.

I took this challenge literally so immediately started looking for some luggage. Lipstick makes me nervous so that will be a trip to MAC or Sephora with my girls to test some shades. Make sure to bring chap stick - your lips feel like sand paper after 2 colors! What are some of your favorite brands and colors for Winter and the upcoming Spring season?

                                                      xo, Erica

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Work For It | Healthy & Fit

Happy Wednesday!! Like most of America, last night I was watching the Victoria's Secret Runway Show! I mean did you see those legs? Those abs? Those smiles :) I've really been pushing myself during my workouts and I can honestly say that I never regret it. I look for inspiration daily on instagram and pinterest before my workout to focus on why I'm getting healthy in the first place. If you are a regular to my blog you know I'm a huge TONE IT UP fan. I love getting their emails and I can't wait to watch their show on Bravo in January! I came across the email they posted yesterday and wanted to share it with all of you. I really could have used this last week but I'm glad I have this for future reference. When it's too cold to go outside and your bootcamp sessions are cancelled due to bad weather, lock up the dog and hit the gym. You get to be your personal trainer today. Below is the email Karena & Katrina sent out to help on days like this. Enjoy :)
We know it’s cold outside, so today, we’re bringing you a full body toning routine you can perform at the gym! A lot of you have been requesting this :) It’s your new Toned Up Interval Routine! We named it in honor of our NEW Bravo Show airing January 2nd! Plan your viewing party today and let us know where you’ll be…we’re going to be live tweeting, hosting commercial break workouts and surprising YOU! Learn more about it here! Now, it’s time to get TONED UP! The intervals below will keep your heart rate up for an effective fat burning workout that also defines and sculpts those sexy muscles! This set is one of our favorite routines to go through at the gym. Complete this entire set 1 time through…and get ready for an AMAZING workout!  After you complete this workout, Hashtag #TonedUp to show us and BravoTV your workout!!!

Download your PRINTABLE HERE! Just “Right Click” and select “SAVE AS LINK…”
                                                            xo, Erica

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Le Bistro | Lifestyle

At this point of my life I'm still not quite sure what I want to be or what I want to do. I have fun ideas that I always go back to but I've never really set out with a plan of action. Mostly I think about small towns and fun things that I would like to create and pass down through the family. The main couple of things I think about are starting a Bed & Breakfast and starting a Bistro. I love the thought of cooking and welcoming them in to relax and have a fun evening or weekend. I've probably put way too much thought into it all but maybe that means I have the passion behind it to make it happen one day. I think it's important to have dreams like these, something that will always be in the back of your mind. Then when given the opportunity to make it happen you can leap forward into action. I will share the B&B for another post and stick with my cute little bistro for now.
Growing up I was always the one in the kitchen cooking the meals and feasts on Holidays. It always seemed like a pain but I enjoyed it. Now looking back, I'm so thankful that I stuck with it and have continued to nurture my love of cooking. At any given time you can catch me watching the Food Network and being so envious of Guy Fieri and his show "Diners, Drive-in's & Dives." I mean who doesn't want to drive around the country in a classic car eating the countries best dishes?! Since I've started my new healthy lifestyle, I've been cooking a lot more and it excites me. Most days as I'm leaving work thinking of all of the things I have at home to cook. I'm not really sure where I would want my little bistro to be but I know just about everything else.

The top two pictures to me represent a classic bistro. Open high ceilings with exposed wood and brick, very rustic with classic touches and finishing's. I love the modern chic but classic wrap around bench that would look amazing up against a wall that has exposed stone and brick with plaster. The last picture of the simple logo on the window is lovely. It catches your eye and invites you in to spend the day or evening sampling everything and catching up with friends and family. I am seriously falling in love with this all over again as I write this. The next most important thing is the food, get ready - this might be too much. 

During the week I would like to just serve dinner and on Saturday & Sunday serve brunch and dinner. As you can see everything would be pretty savory with my main focuses being soups, sandwiches, pastas and all kinds of baked goods. You really can't tell me that none of this looks good. Tell me, would you love a place like this? I really would like to open one in Oklahoma or Colorado then possibly an northeast coast and northwest coast location. This really is something that I will make happen - I wouldn't even mind starting it once I'm in my 50's. The thought of spending time here melts my heart. It will become real, I know it. (All pictures are from my Pinterest boards Le Menu & Le Bistro )
                                                           xo, Erica

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Climbing | Lifestyle

A few months back I reached out to my friend Allie that lives in Colorado about a goal that I set for myself. If you missed the post here is a little catch up ---> I created a dream board and I decided to accomplish dream #1 in June of 2014. I'm going to Colorado for a week or so & I'm going to climb a peak!! I tried once when I was about 13 while I was at summer camp but it was mid May and the top of the mountain was still covered in ice. So naturally I made it part of my dream board and I can't wait to accomplish it! I reached out to Allie since she climbs a lot (and totally kicks ass when it comes to skiing) and can give me advice since she has climbed most of her life. I am so glad I did, I really had no idea what to expect and how to go about choosing one. So far I've done a tone of research and I haven't chose one just yet. I haven't really started training either. Come January I should have a more open schedule and spend some weekends hiking though the mountains around my neck of the woods.. Okay so now to the advice!

You are smart to train for it, I think it is paramount to feel like you trust your body to carry you up a mountain but when it comes down to brass-tax the process of climbing a mountain comes down to patience and mental stamina. The physical training is good especially if you are planning on doing something with an aggressive vertical that takes you into altitude.  I think cross training and doing interval work is HUGE, that is the best way to get in shape whether its swimming and doing a 2 minute “jog” and 1 minute sprint, or the interval trainer setting on an elliptical, that stuff trains your heart rate to skyrocket then recover fast J 

I’ll give you some insight into where this perspective comes from… so you remember how crazy out-doorsy my family was growing up; Mark and Amy LOVED doing big hikes and of course the worst part for Tommy and I was getting up early on a Saturday and standing at the base of a daunting mountain, almost mocking you as you try and grapple with the sprawling, winding path ahead of you.  Once I got back from college and started doing them for fun by myself it became an outlet for my inherently competitive spirit.  I would keep time, aim to pack different packs of climbers in the distance but would inevitably tire myself out much too early because my perspective was always  hundreds of yards in front of me...  So one weekend I decided to wake up at 2 am and do a “moonlight” hike up Longs peak with the end goal of watching the sunrise from the summit.  I armed myself with water, an iPod and a headlamp for the pitch black ascent…. Erica, I have never climbed such a hard peak so fast in my life.  My perspective was completely altered; I had the illuminated 4 feet in front of me silenced by a wilderness of surrounding darkness.  The only thing I could gauge was the one step I had beyond the last one I took, I didn’t have a point of reference to challenge myself to reach in a certain amount of time… it was eye opening in the most existential way. 

 ogistically its best to start as early as possible.  I would research the trail, the weather during the week leading up to the day of my planned climb, and get on the trail EARLY.  Most 14ners (if that’s what you are planning on doing) take anywhere from 4-12 hours depending on the trail and the peak! The early you are on the trail the more likely you are to avoid the afternoon storms.
It is going to be one of the greatest moments next year when I stand at the top and look around and just take in what I just accomplished. I will keep you all updated on my training and other info about it. Reach out to me and let me know if you have any questions or advice for me!
                                                    xo, Erica

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lauren Parks | Interview

Lauren Parks
Instagram: lauren_parks_

P+P: I can definitely say that you are one of the most adventurous people I know. Is there a certain trip you went on that you decided you wanted to see and experience more?
LP: There hasn’t been 1 distinct trip that has defined my love for adventuring. My family started traveling when I was a young and the more experiences I encountered in my youth, the more it drove me to become an adventure-seeking individual when I got to my college years. After expanding my adventures to other countries the past few years, I’ve realized that there is a really diverse world out there and I want to see and experience it ALL!

P+P: Have you ever visited a place that felt like home? If so, have you gone back?
LP: Honestly, so many places I have visited feel like home to me. Every place that I travel to that places me in a natural setting feels like home.  Whether I am snowboarding the mountains of Colorado, riding mopeds on the beaches of Mexico, cliff jumping and wakeboarding the lakes of Oklahoma, hiking the canyons of Utah, or surfing the waves of Florida or California, I feel at home at all those places because I get to experience the beauty and magnificent of God’s ultimate canvas, nature. I visit those places over and over again just because I get to experience the rawness and simplicity of being outdoors. 

P+P: Has there been a trip that has really challenged you?
LP: I went on a 5-week trip to South Africa two summers ago that brought me to my knees. I volunteered in many of the impoverished areas and it brought true perspective to my life. That trip made me realize how fortunate I am to have the resources and the support that I do have and it challenged me to find contentment in the little things in life. These people that I was serving had so little, but yet had so much joy in their hearts all the time. At the beginning of the trip I felt sorry for them, but by the end of my time in South Africa, I honestly envied them. I envied how content and happy they were with the simple things in life. That trip challenged my perspective of true personal contentment.

P+P:I first met you on a spring break trip in Winter Park and I see that you snowboard quite a lot. Have you ever considered going pro?
LP: I have not. Since I did not live in an area that I could snowboard more than a couple weeks a year, going pro was never a realistic dream of mine. I just enjoy snowboarding with friends and family as a hobby.

P+P:What would you say is one of your favorite things to do while on a trip?
LP: Oh my goodness, that’s a tough question. :) I enjoy so many aspects of traveling, but I guess the thing I love the most is meeting people. I have gone so many places with people I have hardly known and have also met so many diverse people at the destinations I have traveled to. Many of those people I still keep in touch with and get to see on return trips. Traveling is fun. But traveling with friends and/or making knew friends who enjoy the same hobbies as you do is the cherry on top. 

P+P:Do you have a favorite group of people that you like to travel with?
LP: Traveling with my best friends is always a blast. I also love traveling with my family. My parents and my three brothers are all very adventures and we all love adventuring together as a family!

P+P:What is something that you have always wanted to do but haven't yet?
LP: I’ve always wanted to go Heli-boarding (Being dropped off at the peak of a remote mountain from a helicopter to snowboard) in Alaska or Chile.

P+P: Do you see it happening in the near future?
LP: I hope to accomplish that bucket list item within the next 5 years (sometime after I’ve graduated college and before I have kids).

P+P: What's your definition of adventure?
LP: Traveling to an unknown territory & engaging in an exciting, and often hazardous, activity.

P+P: What is the best advice you've ever been given?
LP: My mom always told me… “If you think you can, you will. And if you think you can’t, you won’t.”  This has always challenged me to think optimistically, dream big, and to work hard in everything that I do.

P+P: Living in Tulsa there isn't always a lot to do. What are your top 5 things you would do with someone that has never been here?
LP: 1. Bike riverside or mountain bike turkey hill and then take them for
some local grub. 2. Go to a concert at the BOK, Cain’s ballroom, Brady theatre, or the Brady square downtown. 3. Take them boating on one of the many great lakes around here in the summer. Or camping, campfire, & cookout in the winter. 4. Take them 4 wheeling in broken arrow. 5. Hike the Arkansas river south of Bixby.

P+P: Having attended many ORU women's soccer games, I know you are a great defensive soccer player. How has this year been since you no longer play?
LP: It’s been rough not being able to compete with my team because that was such huge part of my college experience. But I have realized that there is much more to life than being a soccer player. With the extra free time I have, I get to spend that time engaging in many other hobbies with my friends and family on my free weekends.

P+P: Have you always been attracted to sports and athletic activities?
LP: Yes, my dad and mom were both colligate athletes so I think athletics is in my blood. My parents said I’ve been a natural competitor since I could walk and talk playing with any baseball, soccer ball, tennis ball, basketball, or golf ball that I could get a hold of. :)

P+P: What would your advice be to someone that wanted to experience and travel more?
LP: I would tell them that you can always make more money, but you can never make more time. Don’t spend so much time making a living that you forget to make a life. Most people have 2 excuses for not living out their traveling dreams. 1. No money. 2. No opportunity. If you don’t have much money, learn to budget and find ways to save money while still being able to travel. I’ve sleep in cars and hammocks on the side of the rode multiple nights in a row and ate peanut butter and jelly three meals a day to save money. Needless to say, if you want it bad enough, you’ll do what it takes. You usually won’t find convenient opportunities; you have to make them yourself. If you sit around and wait for opportunity to knock at your door, you will most likely never leave your house. If you want to experience all that life has to offer then… GO GET IT. Nobody is stopping you but yourself.

Have a great week!

                                                         xo, Erica