Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Corpus Christi

This past weekend, JP and I went on a wonderful anniversary trip to the beach! Now, I know that Texas beaches are far from the best, but after a coupes up, cold winter, I was craving sand between my toes. Luckily, we do live close enough to a beach that is actually pretty nice. A 3 hour drive and we're in Corpus Christi! I wanted to share with y'all some of the things we did and where we stayed to help anyone out that may want to take a nice weekend getaway!

Before I get started, let's have a chat about where we stayed! We stayed at the Hampton Inn off Navigation near downtown Corpus. This location worked great for us because we were close to North Beach which is downtown, along we a a few other attractions we wanted to do! There are other hotels closer to Padre Island which is a nice area as well.

The hotel was very clean and our room was just perfect. Plenty of space for me to spread out the multitude of things that I packed for only 2 nights. What can I say, I'd hate to not have something I want!

We love going to Hampton Inns because they're usually a great deal and they include breakfast! This girl LOVES her breakfast :)

Our Weekend:

We got to Corpus around 3:00pm on Friday. Just in time to check in, put our stuff into our room, change and head to the beach! We stayed at the beach for a few hours soaking up the sun and walking on the beach. The water was chilly, but we still managed to walk through it a bit. Mostly because the soft sand was hard to walk on (we were totally sore the next morning!).

After the beach, we cleaned up and went to a nice dinner at a quaint little Italian restaurant that my sister recommended, Luciano's. Oh yum, Emily did not steer us wrong! I had the pasta primavera with shrimp. I mean, just look at how tasty!

Obligatory iPhone in the mirror selfie of my handsome man and me!


Since I'm practically incapable of sleeping in, we were up and at 'em before 8:00am Saturday morning. We took our time and went down for breakfast before getting ready for the day. First stop, the Texas State Aquarium! If you've been around for a while, you know my love of animals. I am a member of the Houston Zoo after all. Which, by the way, got us a 50% discount off of our tickets. SCORE! I loved seeing all the animals and the dolphin show was amazing!

Hey look to the right, it's Nemo and friends!

After a few hours at the aquarium in awe of dolphins, watching the otters play and petting sting rays, we went on a walk over to North Beach for lunch! The aquarium is actually near several beach/ocean front restaurants, so we were able to keep our car in one place and walk around. Eventually we found a cute beachside restaurant that was mainly outside and looked like it had a pretty lively bar.

Fajitaville had decently priced, yummy Tex Mex and awesome margs! Frozen house marg with no salt. Yes please! I also splurged and had the nachos with chicken black beans and white cheese. They were delish.

When we were finishing up, I got a call from Kathy, one of my friends from high school/college, to come meet up with them in Port Aransas! So we were off. Port A is about 45-60 minutes away from Corpus. We were on the further end of Corpus, but it was an easy drive to meet them at Bernie's Beach Bar. We enjoyed several (possibly a few too many) drinks and sat out in the sun all afternoon! I had SUCH a blast with them...just ask JP :)

Our final day in Corpus was spent at the USS Lexington! This huge boat is in the same area as the aquarium (again only 5 minutes from our hotel). The USS Lexington is a retired Navy aircraft carrier that made it through BOTH world wars. It was launched in 1942, decommissioned in 1948, recommissioned in 1955 and officially retired in 1991.

The Japanese nicknamed her "The Blue Ghost" because it was one of the few ships of the blueish-grey coloring and every time they thought they had brought her down, she would always be back and ready for action!

The ship itself is very neat and there are 5 separate self-guided tours you can go through on the boat. We spent a little over 2 hours on the ship and still didn't see everything. It's huge!

I'll never turn down a photoshoot

I loved being up on the deck where we could view various fighter jets, planes and helicopters. We were also able to climb up on the guns and pretend we were shooting them. Kind of awesome. This thing is a little boy's dreamland!

After several hours of walking around, this girl needed food in her belly, so lunchtime it was. We walked over to a little beachside joint called Pier 99. They had tons of seafood (and non-seafood) options. I splurged again and had the shrimp poboy! It was worth every bite. The entire restaurant is kind of outside, but there are covered areas. It's right on the water and a very chill place. I wish it hadn't been so windy on Sunday so I could have enjoyed the atmosphere more!.

After lunch, we were on our way back home! We had two puppies that were probably missing us. Plus it was Easter and I wanted to see my family a bit.

Overall, it was a wonderful trip. We did everything I wanted from the beach to the aquarium, being with friends and the USS Lexington. Most importantly, I got to spend the weekend with my husband and just enjoy all the time with him. It was pretty perfect and only a quick drive down to the coast!

Do y'all do anniversary trips?
We've done Washington D.C., New Orleans and our European cruise for our first 3 anniversaries!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Projects!

Hoppy Holy Thursday y'all! It's almost Easter and almost the weekend! I figured I'd share a few Easter themed ideas I've had on the blog in the past and a few others that I'd love to try one day. I promise they won't disappoint!

Click the links below to take you to the site for a how to!

Dyed Easter Deviled Eggs

Dressed Up Peeps
I actually made these last year for my family, but apparently I didn't blog about it!

Glitter Easter Eggs
I haven't tried doing these yet, but I want to. Oh how I love glitter!

Italian Easter Bread
I made this exact recipe 2 years ago and it was a big hit! Again, I seem to have forgotten to blog about it...and I think I remember mine not looking quite as beautiful :)

Peeps Popcorn
This just looks delicious and like something my dad would love!

Bunny Hop Workout
Shameless plus to get y'all to try the workout I posted yesterday!

Do y'all have any other Easter recipes, workouts or projects I should try?
Have a wonderful and safe Easter! I may pop in tomorrow or I may just take a computer free day. We shall see!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Do the Bunny Hop...Work Out!

It's Wednesday loves! I'm pretty pumped about this week, or really, this weekend! I get a 4 day week. I'm taking Friday off and being wisked away by my wonderful husband to Corpus Christi for a wonderful anniversary weekend. Plus on Sunday we'll stop off in Sugar Land to celebrate Easter with my family! Sounds wonderful right? I'm sure many of you are traveling or visiting friends or family, so here is an Easter "themed" workout that you can squeeze in before leaving town or even at home. No weights required. All body weight workout!

Go through this workout 2-3 times and you're good to go. You can even split it up and do each round at different times of day to increase your heart rate and get your blood flowing! If the weather is crummy, you can do this while watching tv! Or if you're looking forward to a nice sunny weekend, try it outside! I'll be doing it on the beach this Saturday for sure! 

Hoppy Hump Day!!!

What are your Easter weekend plans?
Where is your favorite place to workout?
Mine is definitely outdoors! I love being outside especially this time of year!

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We are Boston Strong

It's hard to believe that already a year has passed since the bombings at the Boston Marathon last year. As a runner, it is a day that will be hard to forget for many reasons. 

1. How the running community persevered and came together in a moment of sheer panic and disorder. The running community is a strong, supportive family. Not one to be messed with. You want to demoralize humanity? Starting with a group of the strongest people, physically, mentally and emotionally, is not the place to go. Seeing runners, police officers, spectators and random strangers helping one another just goes to show how we come together.

2. How Boston came through and provided strength when it was at its lowest. After visiting Boston last September, I fell in love with the city. Boston is a strong city that kicked back and rose above the smoke to be strong for those in need.

3. How the survivors are pulling through, staying strong and sharing their stories. I have been engulfed in articles about Boston survivors and where they are now. Many have over come so much: loss of limbs, loss of family members, loss of peace of mind. Sharing their stuggles and rising above their pain is incredibly inspiring.
Here are a few articles I've read recently:

They are beyond inspiring.

Today we unite, a year after tragedy and stand strong. This weekend we cheer on the runners who have worked so hard to participate in one of the greatest running accomplishments imaginable: The Boston Marathon. As a running community, we will persevere. As a country, we will unite. 

Source: http://countrydesignhome.com/2013/10/18/boston-strong-logo-update/

Take some time today to pray or offer a moment of silence for those lost and injured during last year's tragedy. I know they would appreciate it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

This is How I Zooma!

Do y'all remember last October when I announced I had been selected to be an ambassador for the Zooma Women's race series? If you don't remember that, you probably remember the countless posts where I told you to sign up! Well I know that some of you remember because I had 12 people sign up using my ambassador discount code! Way to go y'all! Well, this past weekend, I finally got to run the Zooma Texas race and meet all the ambassadors that I've been chatting with via Facebook and following each other's blogs. 

It all started Friday late afternoon when Ashley and I took off for the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in Cedar Creek, TX. It was an easy 2 hour drive from Houston and we pretty much missed traffic while we cruised down the HOV lane! We got there, met up with Ali and headed straight to the expo. They had several vendors and we got some pretty sweet SWAG...a shirt, hat and Feetures socks! I forgot to take a picture. #bloggerfail

After the expo, we found Caitlin and Melanie and went to the HonestTea Mocktail Party.

We had appetizers, HonestTea and some Barefoot wine! My favorite was the sweet red. It was delicious on ice! I also finally got to meet all of the beautiful ambassadors at the Mocktail Party!!!

Check out that group of lovely ladies! So glad I was finally able to meet each of them :)

Then it was time for our prerace dinner. We headed to the casual dining cafe in the resort and indulged in their pasta buffet! It was a yummy evening before race day dinner. Complete with pasta and desserts! We really loved the dessert bar which was the best part of the buffet if you ask me. We may have had a bit too much to eat, but such is life!

Saturday morning our alarms went off dark and early at 6:00am. Really it wasn't a terribly early wake up call for race day. Since we were staying at the resort and the race started and ended there, it made everything so much easier! We were able to get up, take our time getting ready and snap a few pictures before heading down to the race start line!

The race start went so smoothly! There were plenty of port-o-potties (which is really important for runners on race morning), it wasn't overly crowded, it wasn't rushed and the whole morning just felt so smooth. That's hard to accomplish on race day. It wasn't a huge race, just about 800 half marathon runners, 250 for the 10K and 215 for the 5K. I think the size of the race helped in organization, but let me tell y'all, those Zooma ladies totally have it together. They know how to throw a race!

Now onto the actual race itself! Saturday morning was pretty muggy with 95% humidity and about 65 degrees at race start. Far from ideal, but luckily there was a nice breeze that kept the temps feeling a bit cooler. We took off right at 7:30am and were on our way up the first of MANY hills. Y'all I knew Austin was hilly and that this would be a hilly race, but holy glutes! Those this were crazy. It was a constant battle of up vs down. We'd go up a lot, down a little, then flat for a bit.

The first few miles I kept pretty slow to get my body warmed up and to let me lungs get a feel for the hills. Despite the humidity, I was actually feeling pretty good. After the mile 2 marker, I picked up my pace to a solid 9 min/mile and still felt strong. Melaine and I part ways right around there since I was feeling it. The water stations were about every 1.5 miles apart and they had Cytomax and water at each. There was only one part of the race that I felt like they needed a water stop, but I'll get to that later. Overall, the water stop timing was great. 

After going up and down and up and down for the first 7 miles or so, we hit a solid flat area which was a 1.5 mile down and back so we got to cover that ground twice! I really appreciated the fast flat and picked up the pace a little since I still felt great. (I didn't plan on running this race very fast. I was aiming for roughly 2 hr finish since it was so hilly!) I loved the out and back because I was able to see Melaine, Caitlin and Ashley and we cheered each other on!  There were also several volunteers and a few spectators cheering that we got to see twice!

When we hit mile 10, we started to weave around the golf course at the Hyatt Lost Pines. This was a rough way to end the race because weaving back and forth and being able to see it all made for a LONG last 3 miles. BLEH. There was water at mile 10 then not until shortly after mile 12. Since this is when the sun started to come out and the end of the race was nearing, I felt like there should have been a water station at mile 11.5. I was dying for a sip of water by the time I got to that final water station!

From there I realized I was easily going to finish sub 2 hours and got pretty excited. I finished the race strong and it probably helped when I saw Ali standing at mile 12.9 cheering me on with the biggest smile and the loudest, best cheering voice. I totally picked it up and rocked the last 0.2!

I rounded the corner, saw the finish line and went in for the final sprint! My official finish time was 1:56:31...not too shabby! Several minutes off from a PR, but also, several minutes faster than I anticipated! After I cooled down, I went back out to Alison to cheer on the rest of the runners and my girls! I was so happy I was able to run Caitlin in for her last little bit of her first half marathon! She finished in less than 2:30 which was her goal! All of my girls did awesome on this hill course! And Alison really is the best cheerleader ever. We're working on becoming professional race cheerleaders. Sounds awesome to me.

After the race, we got to indulge in lots of post race goodies! Food, wine and animals! What? Animals? That's right. Check out this super cute miniature pony I got to hang out with! We named her Toni but apparently her real name is Little Feather. I liked Toni. Toni the Pony.

Some of the ambassadors also met up again in the wine garden post race for another quick pic!

Overall, the Zooma race was awesome. It was by far the most challenging course I've run which made me feel even better about my time considering this wasn't a goal race for me! The ladies behind Zooma have race weekend down to a T. From the easily organized expo to the pre-race mocktail party. From the resort race location to the calm and simple race start. From the course set up to the post race party, everything they did was well organized and made you feel great. There's nothing better than feeling great on race weekend! Way to go Zooma and thank you for the amazing opportunity to be an ambassador. I loved every minute of it!

Have you ever run a Zooma or women's race?
What's the hardest race course you've ever tackled?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Turkey and Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers

When it comes to cooking dinner in the Gougler household, our habits are very cyclical. I go through phases when I'm meal planning and cooking 4-5 nights a week, then I don't want to cook or go to the store so we only cook one week night. I know it's bad. We just live in a part of town where there are so many good restaurants. And they're close. Luckily, I'm on a cook at home kick right now. I mean, bikini season is right around the corner and we all know that abs aren't formed in the gym. They're made in the kitchen! It's all about what you put into your body .

See these stuffed bell peppers? Oh my yum. So delicious. So filling. So good for you! Even JP likes them which isn't really saying too much since he eats just about anything I cook. I'm sure he would prefer something more hearty and starchy like say, a steak and mashed potatoes, but he knows that's never going to happen in our house. Unless he cooks it himself when I have other plans of course :)

I'm not a steak and potatoes kind of girl. I'm not a red meat kind of girl at all. Hence the turkey in these delicious stuffed peppers! I'm telling you, you won't miss the red meat in these, but feel free to swap ground turkey for ground beef if your heart tells you too. 

1lb ground turkey
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 -3/4 (6oz can) green chiles and diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 bell peppers, any color

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non stick spray. You can also line the dish with parchment paper if available.
  • Brown your ground turkey. Season with salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder.
  • Cut off the tops of your bell peppers. Remove stems and seeds from inside the pepper's cavity. Rinse thouroghly to remove remaining seeds.

In a large bowl, combine turkey, rice, green chiles, corn, beans, tomatoes, cheeses, garlic, onion and chili powder (remaining 1/2 tsp), salt and pepper, to  taste.
  • Fill each each bell pepper to the top. Place peppers on prepared baking dish and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through, about 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve immediately and ENJOY!

These bell peppers are gluten free for those of you who can't eat the glutes. They're also packed with protein and lower in carbs. The carbs included are low on the glycemic index which will help to control your blood sugar. Perfect for dinner if you ask me! Plus, just look at all of those colors! 

Now it's time to enjoy Friday. I won't be cooking tonight. Or really at all this weekend. It's finally Zooma race weekend, so I'm off to the Austin area for a wonderful girls weekend to include a half marathon, lounging by the pool, a few cocktails and time with my girl friends and sister! Have a wonderful weekend y'all!

Do you prefer steak and potatoes or turkey and rice?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

From this Moment.

From this moment life has begun
From this moment you are the one
Right beside you is where I belong
From this moment on

From this moment I have been blessed
I live only for your happiness
And for your love I'd give my last breath
From this moment on

April 10, 2010

I give my hand to you with all my heart
Can't wait to live my life with you, can't wait to start
You and I will never be apart
My dreams came true because of you

1st Anniversary Trip: Washington D.C. 2011

From this moment as long as I live
I will love you, I promise you this
There is nothing I wouldn't give
From this moment on

2nd Anniversary trip: New Orleans, LA 2013

You're the reason I believe in love
And you're the answer to my prayers from up above
All we need is just the two of us
My dreams came true because of you

3rd Anniversary trip: Sorrento, Italy 2013

From this moment as long as I live
I will love you, I promise you this
There is nothing I wouldn't give
From this moment
I will love you as long as I live
From this moment on

It's hard to believe that 4 years ago I said "I do" to the man that is not only my best friend, but my partner in crime, my shoulder to cry on, my biggest fan and greatest support system. I'm beyond blessed to have him by my side each and every day. Some days I wonder how he manages to put up with me. Other days I wonder how I manage to put up with him :) But I always remember that this is exactly what we asked for. We want to share in each others ups, downs, spirals and whatever else life throws our way. I thank God every day for this man and I look forward to thanking him for many, many more days to come. I love you James Philip Gougler. Here's to 4 years and so many more!

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