Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oregon Coast

2 weeks ago, Dave and I dropped off the dogs at the Pet Lodge and headed West to the Oregon Coast. This was our 4th trip over there since 2001 when we went there on our first trip together. This was our first time driving and I hope we never fly again as driving is definitely my preferred method of travel. I love having my stuff with me and having the MDX's navigation was helpful and roomy interior was great. We got over 20 mpg which is good considering the "X" only has 2000 miles on it and is a full size SUV.

Anyway, we set out first thing in the morning from Boise and arrived at the Starfish Manor in Lincoln City in the afternoon. We toured our beautiful room which was very similar to the one we had at the Nelscott Manor last September for our wedding/honeymoon and decided to go to the Chinook Winds casino. We had terrific service as most people were at the casino portion and the restaurant we went to was in the hotel. Dave had the Captain's Platter which was a huge seafood plate of all kinds of wonderful things. I had crab cakes for the first time and they were marvelous.

The next day we drove north and stopped in Pacific City for breakfast at the Pelican Pub. There I had the best stuffed french toast and we shared beer sausage gravy and potatoes. On the beach where the restaurant is, cars can actually park and launch boats. It was quite strange to see cars and trucks driving along the beach. The beach was in front of Haystack rock which was also a beautiful site.

From Pacific City we drove further north all the way to Nehalam where there was a craft festival going on. I have to admit I was somewhat embarrassed after Dave drove as far as he did when there were only a few booths of stuff. I did buy some great home made cards and we did have a delicious strawberry shake at a local place so we counted the trip a success. We had also never driven farther north than Tillamook so all that was unchartered territory for us. We heard Canon Beach was nice, but after being in the car for 2 days we decided we'd had enough of driving. We also stopped at a winery outside of Tillamook but it was somewhat crowded and the person serving wasn't very personable, we had 2 samples, checked the interesting decorations of the place and continued our trip.

Saturday night we drove south from Lincoln City to Depoe Bay where we had dinner at a place we'd never been called Tidal Raves. Dave had the special which was a freshly caught sturgeon topped with crab. I had a wonderful crab alfredo. The view was beautiful and the service was great.

On Sunday, we went for the 3rd time to our favorite spot for brunch, Fathom's restuarant at the Spanish Head Inn. In 2001, we stayed at the Spanish Head Inn and went to brunch there and had a wonderful time. We spent hours talking and drinking mimosas after we finished eating. This time wasn't perfect as there were several small children that disrupted the environment, but the view and food was good. Dave emailed them later and they did send us a gift certificate for a free brunch for our next visit and we will be sure and go back. We then headed to the Factory Outlets and did some shopping. For dinner, we headed south again to Gracie's Sea Hag in Depoe Bay where Dave had a full crab and I had fish n chips.

Monday we decided to go to the Wild Flower Grill as it was recommended in the "journal" that was in our room. It was a terrific find. It was maybe once a house on the side of Highway 101 and overlooks somewhat of a swamp with berries growing that has been converted into a wonderful breakfast spot. They had homemade bread for toast and the slices were huge. Dave had an omelet and I had pancakes with marion berries and homemade cream.

We then drove south to Newport and walked around the various shops and watched a fishing boat prepare crab for the people who had gone out that morning. We went to eat at a local place where Dave again had a whole crab and I had a cup of chowder. For dinner, we went to J's Fish and Chips a wonderful little place in Lincoln City where the chef brought us some chowder that he had made up in the back. Dave happily "tasted" it and loved it. So the guy sent a big container home with us for later which made Dave very happy.

On Tuesday, we packed up and drove home. We got behind a truck painting lines on the road which was going very slow so we didn't stop at the Spirit Mountain Casino buffet on the way out of town like I wanted to, but we did stop and eat in Tualatin at Rose's where I again had fish and chips and Dave had some kind of weird sandwich with meat and egg salad.

It was a wonderfully relaxing trip, I got a lot of reading done and I took a nice hot bath in the big jetted tub that overlooks the beach each night. I also read the great Chesapeake Bay trilogy by Nora Roberts given to me by my Mother in Law. I just found out there is a 4th book so I'm trying to find it.

On the trip, for the first time in my life, I ate seafood. And liked it. Yesterday was my birthday and Dave took me out for fish and chips at a great place called Fresh Off The Hook here in Boise. We also went out for a nice dinner at the Cottonwood Grille with his sister and her boyfriend Saturday night. Then we went to a new comedy club (since the Funny Bone is gone) and had a great night out. In 2 weeks, we are headed to the Bay Area where I plan on seeking out more delicious seafood! I love summer!!

The full album of pictures of our Oregon Coast trip are here.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Pretzels and Oatmeal

In January, I decided I was DONE carrying around the extra 20lbs I had accumulated in the past 4 years. When I came back from our family cruise to Mexico, I started hitting the gym more and watching what I ate using the Weight Watchers point method which had been successful for me in the past. It went well and I lost a few pounds. Then my employer announced they were going to start a "Biggest Loser" challenge and my SIL was going to participate with her work also and we made a side bet for the loser to buy the winner a pedicure. We divided into teams at work at weighed in on Feb 28th. I weighed in at 158.5 and I am 5'4". My goal weigh was/is 135. I really don't know if that's doable, since I seem to be hovering right around 143, but I am still trying.

For 10 weeks, I went to the gym 6 days a week, ate well and changed my lifestyle habits. I cut out coffee completely (because of my cream usage), increased my water, cut back on drinking and did all kinds of physical activity at the gym (weights, cardio, yoga, pilates).

On May 8, I weighed in at 141.7 and actually won the biggest loser competition at my work (top female) because I had lost 11% of my body weight. I was shocked that I had one, but very pleased because of all my hard work. I won a year's paid membership at the gym which was really cool because that of course saves me money every month.

I've always liked oatmeal, but became very discouraged when I found out those little packets were 3 weight watchers points each. Well, 1 never filled me up and I hated to blow 6 points every morning so I bought some instant oatmeal in the bulk, a bag of frozen blueberries and a bottle of maple syrup. For about 4 points, I now have every day a cup of 5 grain organic oatmeal, blueberries and a bit of maple syrup. It is delicious, filling and by far my favorite meal. I've had it every day at work for 6 months and look forward to it every day.

My other favorite snack is pretzels. Frequently at night, after dinner I want something. I'm not really a sweets or chips person, but I do like a little something. Needless to say, whatever I would find (granola bar, ice cream, crackers, etc) was never a very good choice or satisfying. I now keep pretzels and whatever I can fit in 1 hand is my night time snack (if needed). They are crunchy, salty and only about 118 calories (approximately 2 points). So, now I buy the pillowcase sized sack of pretzels and forget those expense 100 Calorie snacks that are good, but tiny and not very satisfying.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my journey. I'm still eating well, weighing in weekly (and documenting my weight on my calendar) and going to the gym. My goal is still 135, but I'm happy to stay where I am (in my size 8 jeans!!)