A Weekend of Cozy Restaurants

Well hello there my friends! I am having quite the fabulous weekend. How about you? This post is a quick little recap from the weekend so far. ENJOY!


On Saturday morning Dana and I met up with my parents and my grandpa at the Copper Dome in St. Paul. Copper Dome is one of my favorite places to go to breakfast with my grandpa. Growing up I would always order from their lengthy pancake menu, and enjoy a cozy ambiance with my family.

copper dome

Fun fact: President Obama ate at Copper Dome one time when he was visiting Minnesota! Kind of neat. 🙂 Who knows, maybe he sat right where we sat?

family at copper dome

I hadn’t been there in years, and this time around I decided to go a different route for breakfast instead of the usual pancakes. I chose a platter with two eggs cooked however you like, hash browns, and turkey bacon. It was definitely a protein-packed breakfast that held me over for a long time!

copper dome

I had a lot of fun being back there with my family!

Across the street I couldn’t help but notice a second-hand store called Elite Repeat and watched many ladies walking out of there with very cute dresses in their hands. I had to go take a peak for myself. I was looking for a new swimsuit cover up for vacation after all.elite repeat

What do you know?! I just happened to find one that I loved. It had never been worn and was $16. I’d call that a deal. Plus it’s animal print. So cute. Win.

swimsuit cover up elite repeat

Alright, a little less talk and more photos…

Dinner was a veggie-packed salad.

veggie salad

Fast-forward to Sunday Lunch…

We met up with Dana’s parents at a restaurant called Porter Creek Hardwood Grill. They have a huge wood burning stove that they use for flatbread pizzas, and they also specialize in rotisserie chicken. Num.

porter creek

I had a seriously hard time deciding what I wanted. It was between the chicken chowder soup with a side caesar salad, or the Toasted Quinoa Chicken Salad. I went with the quinoa salad.

quinoa salad porter creek

Unfortunately my cold decided to act up right around lunchtime, and I wasn’t able to taste any of my lunch. I’m pretty sure it was amazing though. 😉 I saved half of it to bring home so I could enjoy it once my senses came back around.

quinoa salad porter creek

quinoa salad porter creek

I really enjoyed this place not only for the food but for the ambiance. The snow was flying down outside, and we were inside this warm and toasty restaurant, with a fire going in the fireplace, the smell of the wood burning stove which smelled like a campfire, italian inspired motif, and we were in a super comfortable booth. It really made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

IMG_1669 IMG_1670It was a great weekend full of family and food. Now, that is all for now. I am going to enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Be on the lookout for a super amazing giveaway tomorrow!!!

How was your weekend? Do anything fun? Have a relaxing weekend in?

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Tex Mex Plans Turned Thai

Sunday mornings in the wintertime are so darn cozy I just love them. I was out of bed by 8:00 am this morning, made my way to the kitchen, put on a pot of coffee, and toasted up a piece of banana almond bread.

banana almond bread

Such a great way to start the day.

Next on the agenda is grocery shopping. I can’t believe how fast we go through fruit and veggies around here. Just one week ago our fridge looked like this, now it is practically empty!


Last night Dana and I had planned on going out for a casual date night. We had a gift card to Baja Sol, a Tex Mex restaurant, and decided it would be a perfect night to use it. So we cleaned up and got ready to go.

dana and melanie

The restaurant was about 20 minutes away and when we pulled up we realized that it was more of a super casual dining restaurant, like Chipotle style, where you place your order in front, and they bring you your food. On any other day this would have been just fine and we would have gone in and enjoyed our very casual Tex Mex meal, but I had my mind-set on a sit-down restaurant, where the servers come and take your order and bring you your food.

So we continued our date night journey and wound up at a Thai restaurant called…

tum rup thai

Tum Rup Thai is located in Minneapolis. I had eaten there before but it had been years, but I remembered how stinkin’ good the food was, and I wanted Dana to try it.

We started with an order of the salad rolls which were loaded with carrots, cucumber, cilantro, chicken, shrimp, some rice noodles I think, and who knows what else. The rolls by themselves were full of flavor but they were also served with an incredible peanut oil dipping sauce and they turned from absolutely delicious to incredibly outstanding.

salad roll tum rup thai

We also ordered the chicken satay appetizer which again, tasted wonderful by itself but paired with these insane dipping sauces, took them to another level. There was a peanutty dipping sauce and a sweet cucumber sauce. They were both rock stars.

chicken satay tum rup thai

For dinner we split an order of broccoli and spinach with chicken in a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. That’s a lot of peanut sauce, right? Of course it’s right up my alley. I got full very quickly which isn’t a surprise considering the amount of protein I was consuming.

When we ordered the entrée the waitress asked us how spicy we liked our food on a scale of 1-5. I immediately said “1” because I can’t handle much spice, and I am SO glad I did because even the 1 had a bit of a kick.

peanut chicken and broccoli tum rup thai

My favorite was definitely the salad rolls, go figure, but I really enjoyed it all. So although we had planned on Tex Mex, Thai ended up winning over our tummies and I’m so glad it did. Delightful!

On the drive home we passed a White Castle and Dana pointed out the sign. I tried snapping a photo but it was too bright. It said: Valentine’s Day Reservations and then provided the phone number of the restaurant.

white castle

I couldn’t help but chuckle and feel bad at the same time. White Castle for Valentine’s just doesn’t sound very romantic, but again, to each their own.

Date night with my honey was wonderful as always.

(BTW if you are noticing random color changes in the background of the blog it’s because I am trying to decide on a new color, so bear with me!)

What did YOU do last night?

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Birthday Bash at Comedy Sports

I don’t know about you guys but I had a pretty great Friday. Not only was it the best day of the week but I also got to celebrate my Betsy’s birthday. Last year we went to Betsy’s place and hung out, played games, and I made these insanely amazing Oreo Bars. This year we celebrated at Comedy Sports in Calhoun Square in Minneapolis.

Before I get into that, one brief back track. For dinner I made meatloaf burgers.

I mixed lean ground turkey with chopped olives, onion, a dash of garlic powder, and cracked black pepper. I formed them into patties and cooked them on the stove top. I topped mine with mozzarella cheese and served it with sautéed mushrooms. Delicious.

turkey burger

Okay, now back to the birthday celebration. We met the birthday group at Republic Bar in Calhoun Square. As someone who doesn’t visit that area very often I have to say I was blown away at how nice it was. Not only Calhoun Square, but Republic as well. I felt like I was in Chicago or New York. I loved the feeling of it.

The beautiful birthday girl and me, and NO we didn’t plan on matching. 🙂

betsy and melanie

Right across the hallway from the Republic was Comedy Sports. So after a little mingling and libations, we headed across the hall.

comedy sports

Comedy Sports is an improvisational comedy show played like a game. There are two teams of three comedians who compete for the most laughs. There is a referee who calls the shots, names the games, and interacts with the audience taking suggestions for objects in the skits. If you’ve ever seen ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I was fascinated by the quick wits of these comedians. There are given a topic and within seconds are asked to perform it. My brain does not work like that at all. It takes me a little while to conjure my thoughts. I guess that’s why I’m not an improv comedian or a politician or a lawyer, among others. 🙂

I thought the show was very funny. I thought they would pick on the birthday girl but they didn’t, and I think she was more than happy about that. Tickets were only $12, actually $11 because we got a group discount. I think that’s quite the deal when you consider that is pretty much the same as going to a movie. Right? I haven’t been to a movie in a good year or two but last I remember it was $10 or so. It is a great way to spend a Friday evening.

I can’t decide though if I enjoy improv comedy or stand-up comedy like we saw at the Joke Joint more. They both make me laugh which is a healthy wonderful thing.

comedy sports

After dinner we made a stop at one more bar before calling it a night.

dana and melanie

I had so much fun celebrating last night with my little snarky. I love that lovely lady more than I could ever say.

Enjoy your Saturday my friends. I am off to get a workout in, take down Christmas decorations, and RELAX.

Question: Have you ever been to a comedy show? What did you think?

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5 Slow Sweaty Miles With No Boredom!

Thank you all for the sweet and supportive comments yesterday! It’s definitely an exciting milestone!

It’s time to catch you up on the rest of the weekend.


We were out of bananas so I couldn’t have my typical pb and b breakfast, but settled for a piece of almond bread with peanut butter instead.

Eventually I made my way downstairs to the treadmill where I got warped into Dance Moms and ran a slow pace for 5 miles. It felt great to get sweaty and was one of those runs where I felt like I could just keep going, going, going. I didn’t experience the treadmill boredom one bit that day. I can’t believe I just admitted I was watched Dance Moms. 

Lunch was completely random—it started with a fail of a smoothie. I tried adding broccoli and I just couldn’t get past the flavor and texture it added, so I had to dump it. I hate wasting food so you know it had to be pretty bad. Next I made a simple protein drink with almond milk and Jay Robb’s chocolate egg white protein powder. I gave it a mix and drank it up. It was okay but nothing was tasting great.

So I made lunch a snacky deal. It involved an apple, some veggies, almonds, peanut butter, dates…you name it and I probably snacked on it. 😉

Moose got a belated Christmas gift from us (clearance right now at Petco) which he absolutely adores.


For dinner we had plans with Dana’s family. For Christmas we told them we wanted to buy them dinner from one of our favorite restaurants (and also the restaurant we had our groom’s dinner), Mediterranean Cruise Cafe, and bring it over to their house and watch our wedding video with them.

It was a feast and it was so incredibly delicious and veggie-packed. We had tabouli, hummus, baba ghanoush, kabobs, gyros, greek salad, falafel, and more! med cruise cafe

After dinner we cozied up by the fire and watched our wedding video. It is SO fun to relive the wedding.


moose and sue


Sunday was pretty lazy but we did manage to get to the grocery shopping and totally stock up on produce. It’s hard to see in the photo but we now have: baby cucumbers, carrots, celery, broccoli, mini bell peppers, lettuce, blackberries, apples, avocados, oranges, lemons, limes…


…mushrooms, black beans, onions, bananas, and that’s not to mention what’s in the freezer! I think we are set for a while.



Dinner was BBQ crock pot chicken. I placed two large chicken breasts into the small crock pot, slathered in BBQ sauce, a sprinkle of garlic powder and ground mustard, set it on low and covered for about 4 hours and voila. Dinner was ready!

This is one of my favorite homemade salads and I am always reminded of Famous Dave’s  pulled pork salad when I try to make this: mixed greens, corn, avocado, pickles, cheddar cheese, and pulled BBQ chicken. Seriously num.




I’m making this post nice and short and sweet for ya’ll today. I have a few things to do this morning and I gotta get ready. Have a great Monday friends!

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Surround Yourself with Positive People

Can I get a “whoop whoop” for Saturday?! It was so nice not waking up to an alarm clock this morning (sigh). I am feelin’ completely rested and ready to go.

I had a fantastic day yesterday. In the morning I had an appointment and then made my way to the gym for a quick sweat sesh. Then off I went to meet up with my friend Courtney at Whole Foods.

Courtney and I were both completed our Dietetic Internships at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. When we were first accepted into the program, we were sent a list of information of all the other interns. Ironically, Courtney lived about 15 minutes from my parent’s place. We met up one time before we moved out to Wisconsin so that we could both have the comfort of knowing at least one person out there. We had the immediate bond of being “Twin City Girls.”

courtney and melanie

Throughout the 11 month internship, our friendship continued to grow. We shared many emotions together and many memories both good and bad. Courtney was my saving grace when I was running a 105°F fever. She picked me up in no time and rushed me to the Urgent Care without hesitation.

We related on so many levels; both having such love for our families and being home. We struggled through the emotions of being away from home and the stress of the internship. We both traveled home quite a bit on the weekends. We shared our dreams, studied vocab terms, and sang at the top of our lungs as we carpooled home.

I don’t know what I would have done if she hadn’t been there. We got through it together and grew as individuals on so many levels throughout the process.

I am so lucky to have her in my life. She is one of the most positive, genuine, selfless people I know. One of my unofficial new year resolutions is to surround myself with more people like her. People who look for the good in others, who imagine positive outcomes, and pour their hearts out for those they love. These are the people that make the world a better place.

We will continue to follow our hearts and reach for our dreams.

I don’t know how to transition into food smoothly after that, so I’m just going to go for it. Lunch was from the Whole Foods salad bar which is a glimpse of heaven for me. The veggie packed salad bars basically having me drooling just thinking about them.

  whole foods

 I tempted myself by walking through the frozen treats aisle. I mean seriously they have everything I could ever want: Coconut Bliss, Frozen Kefir, Soy Ice Cream…I wanted to try them all! Can you believe I walked out of there without purchasing one? That’s because I forgot.  whole foods
 In the afternoon I completed another session of the 30 Day Abs Challenge. Here is what week 2 workout looks like:
week 2 ab challenge
For dinner I headed over to my brother Kevin’s place for spaghetti with mom and dad.
 I had a gluten-free version with spaghetti squash. The sauce was amazing; full of italian sausage, ground turkey, veggies….YUM. Mom also made her Italian salad which tops Olive Garden salad if you ask me.
SO stinkin’ good and so nice to be with my beautiful fam bam, who are also such positive, genuine, beautiful people.
Being that I forgot to buy a frozen treat for Dana and myself at Whole Foods, I thought it would be a good idea to stop by Cherry Berry on the way home to fulfill my frozen yogurt wishes.
I went easy on the toppings (for once). I chose the non-fat vanilla yogurt with marshmallow sauce, sprinkles, and one mini Reese’s peanut butter cup.
cherry berry frozen yogurt
It was a delicious, warm-hearted, lovely day. I can’t wait to make today just the same. Embrace the day. Spread the love. Surround yourself with positive people. Xoxo.
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A Reminiscent Run

Yesterday was an all-around great day. The day began with a relaxing cup of coffee and banana with peanut butter for breakfast. I suppose I could say I am officially in a “rut” with the pb banana. I haven’t changed up breakfast for a good 1-2 weeks now, but I do still love my pb and b!

Mid-morning I swung by Trader Joe’s to pick up a couple of goodies as well as Macy’s in search of a swimsuit for Turks and Caicos. It’s not that I necessarily need another swimsuit it’s just that I would really enjoy another one. I wanted to look at Macy’s because I still have birthday money there and that would have worked out perfectly, but they didn’t have too many options yet. I did find one on Victoria’s Secret website that I like, but I haven’t been able to commit yet. We shall see.

For lunch I met up with my dear friend Kalley at People’s Organic Cafe per Kalley’s recommendation.
kalley and melanie

Just as I had suspected, the menu was stellar, stacked with healthy and veggieful dishes. I was in my element. She knows me well!

I went with the “Really Greek” salad: organic romaine, roasted tomatoes, quinoa tabouli, marinated chickpeas, cucumber, olives, feta and lemon basil dressing.

people's organic

It was a really good decision (ha-ha). I loved every bit of it.

My lunch with Kal flew by all too quickly. I had so much fun catching up on life, reminiscing a bit about the past, and realizing how far I have come with this beautiful lady; about 13 years! I can’t wait to see her again.

I would highly recommend People’s Organic to anybody who enjoys fresh organic, healthy food. It is slightly pricey but that is only because everything is organic. I promise you it is totally worth it. Besides salads they also have sandwiches, wraps, soup, and amazing looking desserts.

I dressed in my running gear at lunch for a reason…after lunch I had plans to run the streets of the neighborhood where I grew up. I was in dire need of a change of scenery and the last time I ran this neighborhood was last late winter perhaps (?), so I thought it would be a welcomed route.

It wasn’t my easiest run but it sure was a fun one. I reminisced the entire time. Every new street I ran by literally brought back so many memories.

I passed by my old house, Betsy’s family’s old house which was just a block away (which explains my closeness to the family as I was there all.the.time.), and about 5 houses of families I babysat for.

I ran on the sidewalk where I would always tell my mom I was thirsty towards the end of our walks. She would tell me to think of biting into a lemon because it makes your mouth salivate and that would be enough to get me home. I remembered our many walks together; reciting state capitals, showing her my new dance steps, singing songs, we have so many wonderful memories.

I passed by “the elephant tree” named because it clearly looks like an elephant. 😉

elephant tree

I passed by the “picnic tree” where Steph, Betsy, our friend Katie, and I would pack lunches and bike to eat lunch under our favorite tree.

picnic tree

I passed the ice rink where I spent many winters learning to ice skate…

ice rinkEvery single step of this run was literally a run down memory lane. Aside from the fact that it wasn’t my “best” run physically, it was sure a great mental run!

Once I got home, we took Moose to the dog park to let him socialize with some buddies. He was in quite the “loving” mood. We had to keep a close eye on him. If you ever are in need of a good chuckle, go to a dog park. Watching the dogs interact is one of the funniest things.


After the dog park I completed my third session of the Abs Challenge. We are now on to week 2!

Dinner was a favorite of ours: veggie hash with a runny egg on top. I pulled whatever we had in the fridge/freezer which included broccoli, mushrooms, onion, leftover Santa Fe roll filler, bell peppers, and then topped the sautéed veggies with shredded cheese, tomato, cilantro, and an over-easy egg. Perfection.


We brought out the snorkel gear last night to make sure everything still fit and was ready to go for our vacation. I feel like it is a lot sooner than the end of February based on my excitement level but considering how time flies, it will be here before we know it.

I am in the process of working on a meal plan for the week since we will be doing our own cooking in our kitchen. Once I get that set up I will share with you all!

I hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday!

Question of the day: Any go-to vacation meal ideas for me that are easy yet healthy and satisfying?

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10 Things I Learned in 2012

Happy New Year’s Eve! Did everyone have a good weekend?! Mine ended with a Vikings’ football win. As much as I’ve neglected to watch them all season, I really get into the games especially at the end and if they’re doing well. Yes, I’m a fair weather fan. I’ll admit.

I guess I can rewind backwards from Sunday to Saturday since I started with Sunday night football. Sunday was pretty quiet. We ran our errands and seriously hit up the Target after Christmas clearance aisles. Dana’s already talking about putting the Christmas lights back up next year. 10 1/2 months to go!


We cleaned the house just to tidy it up again and then I headed over to mom and dad’s to watch the game and hang out. I stayed until the 3rd quarter or so then finished the game at my house with Dana and his dad. It was a nail-biter!


We were feeling ambitious on Saturday. We started off by suitin’ up for a 3 mile outdoor run. This time the thermometer read 13 but said it felt like 3°F. My legs really don’t react well to this cold weather and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the tiniest bit nervous about it, but like I said, I need to remind myself….

It doesn’t matter how fast I go, just go. Just finish.

It’s as simple as that. I would really like to enjoy myself too! 🙂

After our run we start tackling our winter project list which included repainting our living room and creating another accent wall with some leftover paint we had from this wall. Over the past two years it got really nicked up from Moose’s toys and bags rubbing against it, etc., and needed a refresher.

DSCN6314 DSCN6315

I know it doesn’t look like much but it FEELS SOOO GOOD. You can sort of tell that the wall with the clock is a cocoa color. It makes the room look larger and more homey. I love it. After our 3 hour paint job, we showered up and got ready for dinner out…

At Roasted Pear. We had bought a Living Social deal for $20 to get $40 worth of food or drink and decided it was the perfect night to use it.


melanie roasted pear

My dinner order was very non-Melanie-like. I ordered the petite filet with french fries. The chance of me ordering a steak is like 1 in 100 coupled with the choice of french fries over a healthier option….very rare. They both sounded good to me though, and I though what the heck?!

IMG_1245 IMG_1246

And I didn’t regret my decision. It was very good! We finished off our night out with a shared hot fudge sundae with a cherry on top.


And then went home to our pooch who was waiting to dance with his mama. 😉 Not really, but he was a good sport!


Since it is the last day of 2012 I wanted to put together some type of recap from the past year. I decided to make a top 10 list of things I have learned in 2012. It can be blog related, life, health, whatever. I just thought it would be fun. So here it goes…


So maybe I didn’t learn all of these things this past year, but I was definitely reminded of the importance of each and every one of those statements. I am so looking forward to a very happy, healthy and “lucky” 2013.

I will be kicking my 2013 off with a 10K run; what better way to start it off! Happy New Year my beautiful friends! I love you all and cannot thank you enough for supporting me and accepting me for who I am.

Question of the day: What is something you learned in 2012?

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Hibachi and Feeling Festive

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! How is everyone’s weekend shaping up?

So, yesterday morning Dana and I geared up for our 6.5 mile run as part of our 10K training plan. Let’s just say my body didn’t quite understand what it was supposed to do with the 9°F weather. Clothing-wise I felt I dressed perfectly, but my muscles and actual body functions weren’t quite up to speed.

My running strides had to be so concise and almost “tight” because of the ice and snow on the sidewalks, and my legs literally felt like bricks moving up the hills. My lungs felt like they had never run before either. It was not the prettiest or most comfortable run for me at all, BUT we did finish and it was great prep for our actual 10K on January 1st.

I ate a big bite of peanut butter post-race to refuel for a short bit while we ran a couple of errands, then it was home for lunch:


In the evening we met up with our dear friends Kate and Luke for a Hibachi dinner at Mount Fuji. They are home from Atlanta for the holidays and I was SO excited to see them!



Dinner was very tasty and we were thoroughly entertained!

IMG_1163IMG_1164IMG_1166 IMG_1167 IMG_1169



I LOOOOVEEE this picture below!



After dinner we met up with some friends and my brother Jeff (!) and had relaxing and festive evening with them.

Now I am off to cut coupons, go grocery shopping (it’s going to be madness at the store), and get ready for a family Christmas party!

I hope you all are having a wonderful day! Catch up with you later gators!


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Ulcerative Colitis Update

We’re going to start out light, then move to more serious business in a bit.

I had a couple of doctor appointments yesterday and was feeling like I kind of deserved a lunch “out” so I treated myself to the salad bar at Jason’s Deli. I topped my greens with everything under the sun: cowboy caviar, artichoke hearts, olives, green peas, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, cheddar cheese, bacon, sunflower seeds, grape tomatoes, hummus, a hard-boiled egg for extra protein, and a side pickle and two mini muffins (just to sample a bite of).

I cleaned that plate so bad.

While I was out and about I couldn’t help but notice every where I looked was a beautiful site to see.

I made a pit stop at Home Goods and got myself a couple of fun items for the home (thanks to mom’s birthday present). I’m sure they’ll pop up on the ol’ blog later this week.

In the afternoon I got my cardio on: 25 minute walk on the treadmill to clear my mind, then 30 minutes on the elliptical while catching up on Runner’s World magazine. My visits to the gym have been becoming less frequent therefore my elliptical time has decreased which leads to less magazine time. What a predicament. 🙂

Dinner last night was pretty darn good: Lentil Tacos.

In the crock pot I added rinsed brown lentils, reduced sodium chicken broth, a sprinkle of garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, cayenne powder, and salt. I let it go on high for a few hours, stirring occasionally, then added cooked black beans right at the end.

Keeping it grain free I placed a cup of lettuce on my plate, and topped my “shell” with lentils, tomatoes, avocado, cheddar cheese, and cilantro.

Holy cow it was crazy good.

I had some chocolate chips for dessert. 🙂


Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn’s Update

Okay, I have been putting this off for far too long. I am trying to recall the last time I updated you all on my current Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn’s state and I believe it was back in September, so it’s definitely about time. Since I opened the can of worms back in May, I feel like it is my duty to continue to update you all on my health status being that my intentions of sharing this part of my life was to hopefully help others out there who may be in a similar situation, be an extra support person, or push someone to go see a specialist if they are experiencing any gastrointestinal issues themselves.

To any new Beautifully Nutty readers, you can read get caught up real fast by reading this U.C. post and this update post as well.

Why is this so hard for me right now? To put it out there, I am still “sick.” I hate to use that word because there are so many people out there dealing with so much more than I am in terms of illness. I only use that word because I am not yet “healthy.”

So what are my current symptoms? Again, not to get too gory on you all, but I am still having less than normal bathroom episodes however they are not frequent like many people who live with U.C. I don’t experience any cramps or pain, and I rarely feel bloated anymore. Given that my symptoms are where they are, my doc has declared that I am not really in a “flare” state. To him, flares are when someone is spending significant amount of time in the bathroom, having cramps, pain, etc. He explained to me that my U.C. is at the stage now where it is sort of settling and letting me know that the current treatment isn’t working anymore, so I’m just going to hang out in limbo land unless we make some changes to my treatment.

Compared to 4 months ago, my symptoms have greatly improved. If I were to meet someone for the first time and not tell them about my U.C., they would never know I was fighting to get healthy. I come across as a very healthy individual, full of energy and life, and for the most part I am that, however the anxiety of not healing is starting to take a toll on my energy level. My body is working so hard to normalize and be well. That, coupled with the cold winter months and daylight savings time, is getting me ready for bed at 9:30 pm almost every evening.

So what now? There are a couple of options for further treatment. I respect doctors and the knowledge and options they present to help me heal, but as I age, I am really beginning to learn to listen to my body (although not always understand it), and make decisions regarding my health based on what it’s telling me (along with the knowledge I have gained from the doctors). Sometimes, I feel like we get so caught up in what the doctors are telling us, that we forget that we need to listen to our own bodies as well. I am the only one who truly knows how I am feeling. Medical professionals can do their best to make recommendations according to my symptoms and health state, but I need to remember that I am the one who has full control over my body. It’s a concept I’m having a hard time grasping.

What I’m trying to say is, the next steps in treatment are more intense than I am ready for, or feel that my body is ready for. There are risks involved (as there are with any medications), and some of the treatments would alter my life slightly. I am not ready for that. I wouldn’t put myself into harm solely because I am scared of these next treatment options, but at this point I know I am not ready for it. Given there are other health issues I am also trying to work out at this same time, I am going to let my body fix one thing at a time before diving into the extreme. I feel that once I get one thing fixed, the rest will fall into place as well. My body is just “off.”

Therefore I think I have decided to continue on my current treatment, let my body work out it’s other kinks first, and then move forward after that. I’m not saying that I won’t try the other treatments, I’m just not ready for them yet.

I continue to do my part by eating a healthy balanced diet, taking my vitamins, maintaining an active lifestyle, and getting plenty of sleep. I feel real good about that part. My energy level is still pretty good all things considered although as I mentioned previously, isn’t quite where it was when I was in remission.

I am not sharing this update to get sympathy because as I said, there are folks out there who are dealing with far worse medical situations that I am and I am lucky for my health state in general. I am sharing this because 1. This is a REALLY good outlet for me to get my thoughts and emotions out there for me and 2. To support others who may be feeling just as frustrated with this disease as I am and increase awareness of the disease.

Yesterday was a very difficult day for me, and a lot of time was spent contemplating what the next step will be so please be sensitive to my decision. I am so lucky to have such a supportive husband, family, and friends who are by my side through all of this. They have been there through the tears and difficult decisions, and it helps immensely knowing there are so many people who love and support me.

I think I will end here. Thank you for letting me spill my heart in this post. It’s really challenging for me to share all of this.

My take home message: we need to remember that we are in control of our bodies and the decisions made in regards to it have to be ones that we are 100% comfortable with.



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Birthday in Atlanta

I had the most amazing weekend in Atlanta celebrating my 27th birthday with great friends. I have lots of photos to share so I am going to get right to it.


I made it a priority to go to Caribou Coffee and get my free birthday coffee. I chose a light salted caramel mocha and HOLY COW, it was sooo good. It was like taking a bite of dessert each time I took a sip.

We took our coffees to Piedmont Park which is like walking in a dream for me. The park is huge, the leaves are all turning colors, it is very fitness friendly with fitness stations set up throughout the park, I have a free coffee in hand and am walking with Dana and my girls. Dream. Love.

Kate, Me, and Heidi at Piedmont Park

Three little monkeys sittin’ in a tree…

The views were gorgeous everywhere you looked. Combine that with friends who humor me by posing for photos throughout the weekend and you have yourself some great pics. 😉 They love it.

Later in the afternoon we went to Olympic Park which held the 1996 Summer Olympics—woop woop Kerri Strug and Dominique Moceanu. The park was decorated for the holidays so we took full advantage of the photo opps.

Next we made a spontaneous decision to visit the Georgia Aquarium which is the world’s largest aquarium. We went an hour before they were going to close and only had to pay half price for tickets. SCORE! This place was incredible. I especially loved the whale shark and dolphins. The aquarium had the best filters for betta fish, and so, surprisingly, the fish were in the same tank as the sharks.


For dinner Friday night we went to JCT Kitchen and Bar. We sat on the “rooftop” patio outside under heat lamps. The evenings cooled down to about 50° F, but sitting under the heat lamps kept us nice and warm. I enjoyed being outside while we ate. They had live music too!

I order the “Day Boat Fish of the Moment” with creamy cauliflower, brussels sprouts, toasted hazelnuts, and lemon vinaigrette. I couldn’t tell you for a million dollars what the name of the fish was that I ate. It was very tasty though; mild and not fishy tasting. Right up my alley.

Dessert=amazing. Chocolate stuffed pastries of some sort with ice cream and a birthday message written on the plate?! Yes please.

The red lights from the heat lamp made for some snazzy glamour shots.

After dinner we walked over to a bar across the street that had ski-ball, bocci ball and a fun laid-back atmosphere. We spent a couple of hours competing in ski-ball (Heids was the champ) and Dana and Heidi dominated in a game of bocce against a couple of Atlantans (is that a word?).


We finally got ready and out of the house by noon the next day. It wasn’t that we weren’t up until then because we definitely were, we were just all feeling a little too lazy to get moving very quickly.

The girls parked over at Piedmont Park to go for a little walk before meeting the guys for lunch at the Park Tavern. We sat outside while we ate and enjoyed the sun and people watching in the park.

Dana and I split an order of edamame and a crab cake salad with avocado dressing. It wasn’t until we were all done eating our seafood lunches that someone made the comment about how it is ironic that we ate fish last night and today after visiting the aquarium yesterday. Womp wompppp.

It was once again a beautiful day. I was happy to be back at Piedmont Park again. I could spend hours there. We were going to go check out another park in the area but decided against it since we were all feeling extraordinarily lethargic. We went home instead to rest up instead so we could enjoy our last night together.

For dinner on our last night we went to a restaurant called Seasons 52 Fresh Grill aka one of my new favorite restaurants. Their menu is full of seasonally inspired dishes and nothing on their menu is over 475 calories!

We ordered the ceviche appetizer to split. In it was cooked shrimp and scallops (again with the seafood), pineapple, cilantro, lime, and a bit of pico de gallo type mix. Oh my goodness this stuff rocked my socks off.

For dinner I chose the Autumn Vegetarian Tasting which included “grains of life” (a quinoa salad), a soft taco with black beans, chili relleno, brussels sprouts, cedar roasted tofu with  mango chutney, and butternut squash with a sweet maple glaze.

I really enjoyed this sample platter. My favorite was the taco and the salad. Nummy!

And as if the meal couldn’t get any better, our waiter brings us out a complimentary dessert shooter mix. BTW if you go to Seasons 52 our waiter was Kason and he was awesome. There were nine different shooters each filled with a different dessert: pumpkin pie, pecan pie, s’more, peanut butter chocolate, berry something, raspberry cheesecake, key lime pie, and two more that I can’t remember. It doesn’t matter because all you need to know is that they were all fabulous. We all shared the desserts and polished them off in no time.

We called it an early night knowing we would be getting up early the next day to catch a flight back to Minnie.

What an incredible way to celebrate my birthday. A girl could get use to that. I had such a blast in Atlanta, and again thank you to our sweet hosts Kate and Luke for letting us stay with them. Can’t wait to see you again soon!


I am happy to be back home and I am getting ready to host my first ever Thanksgiving meal on Thursday. Yikes! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are having a good start to your week. Catch up with you soon.


Continue Reading Birthday in Atlanta