back in my sneaks.

finally!  after 3 1/2 very frustrating weeks, i'm excited to announce- i'm back on the trails.  i still have a long way to go since my heel isn't 100% better- but that's beside the point.  i'm celebrating & running as often as possible.
during my runs it's obvious i'm still babying my injured heal.  for one, i can still feel the sore scab despite the band-aids and thick socks.  & for another, my running form hasn't returned naturally so now i'm dealing with the likes of shin splints.  bummer.  but being back in shoes (with backs i should add) and moving in the fresh air & sunlight for miles just makes me happy.  incredibly so.  so i'm going to keep on keeping on and enjoy every single step as i make up for the lost weeks of unexplored pavement.  i even purchased pretty laces for all the fun.


new beginnings.

yesterday, i turned 29.  twenty. nine.  oh my.  
twenty eight was an interesting year.  it wasn't fantastic, it definitely wasn't dull, it was full of friends & laughter and loneliness & tears.  i had high hopes for twenty eight and later resolved that small goals and baby steps were the best way to endure.  it was a rough & tumble kinda year- one that required a lot of patience, love and grace.  and with those components, it definitely managed to be a year for the books.

now i'm twenty nine.  & honestly, it couldn't have come at a better time.  i have extremely high hopes for this final dance of the decade- lots of adventures, plenty of goals and with great friends & the love of my life by my side, it's bound to be quite the party.



since falling off the face of the earth, you're probably wondering what we've been up to.  
short answer, not much.  
long answer, a little bit of everything.  we're traveling, celebrating birthdays, running regularly, & cooking- a lot.  
this is life as of late.


time well spent.

i'll be the first to admit that i love routine.  when i waver from it, not only am i not as productive, it also takes me quite some time to get back on the horse. up until college...actually, during college, i discovered this rather disappointing truth.  disappointing because i took so much pride in my spontaneous schedule and personality while growing up. & of course, i just couldn't believe i was someone who needed lists, routines and daily habits to be efficient.  but i am & as i continue to embrace this routined life, i have very much fallen in love with it.  so i'm sure you've noticed, it's very, very easy for me to go rouge without my routine.  

it's been about two weeks since i've consistently posted and while a huge part of me wants to regularly post content every morning, i also know it's important for me to find balance.  between work, cooking, working out, taking care of the house, spending time with a. & friends and doing anything crafty, i really have to prioritize my days.  i know we're all busy and many of us are bloggers...so i don't have to tell you, blogging takes a lot of time and forethought.  especially if it's your intent not to ramble.  so i'm putting this out there loud and clear.  would i love this little space to become something bigger?  of course.  it's definitely one of my dreams.  but right now i have to find balance in my day job and dream job & everything in between.  i'll still post...as often as possible...but i'm also going to extend myself some grace on the days i don't because i know that time was filled living out other dreams and with people i love.
these pics are from an exceptional walk a., radley & i took the other day.  time well spent.


grapefruit carrot basil juice

the juicing craze is still going strong.  the other day, i tried this awesome combination and instantly fell in love.  it's been on the menu for days and i'm drinking it like water...

2-3 pink grapefruits, peeled
6-8 large carrots
a handful of basil (add more or less depending on preference)

combine all ingredients into a juicer (per juicers instructions) and enjoy.

review: i love this juice, but a., not so much.  he finds grapefruits too bitter for his taste- so i would advise removing all pulp as well- if you generally have a hard time finding this fruit enjoyable.  grapefruit is loaded with amazing health benefits & the hint of basil is a nice surprise as well!  this juice makes a superbly refreshing, mid-day, pick-me-up.


roasted cinnamon-sugar chickpeas

recipe: roasted honey cinnamon chickpeas

adjustments: i used 1 1/2 tsp of sugar instead of the recommended 1 tbs and 1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.  also, i roasted the chickpeas for approximately 50 minutes at 350.  

review: lately i've had quite the sweet tooth.  i'd like to say it's been easy to tame, but that'd be a lie.  so when i came across this recipe, i knew i had to give it a try.  i mean who says no to healthy sweets?!?  these roasted chickpeas are an awesome protein-packed snack that has the potential to not only curb and satisfy your sweet tooth, but keeps you going without the dreaded slump.  there's so much potential for modification in this recipe.  these would be awesome in cocoa powder or brown sugar and rosemary.  the possibilities are definitely endless.


surprise par-tay!

remember a few weeks ago when i posted about my red & white stripe crush?  well, after all the anticipation, the secret theme was revealed at a surprise party for a.!  it was a great fiesta that surprisingly went off without a hitch.  the birthday boy was shocked- completely flabbergasted- and excited to spend the evening with friends from near & far.
i hosted the party at a local, mellow bar close to home.  since i was out of town until wednesday, i knew going into this i couldn't stress- and so, much to my surprise, didn't.  i ordered a bit of striped paper before i left, purchased a cake, sent out the invite and made arrangements with the venue.  while away, i brainstormed a few decor ideas and once home, got to work.
i called my girls on friday afternoon in a mild panic hoping we could meet up at someone's home for an impromptu craft night.  and being the rock stars they are, were thrilled to partake.  we cut piles of circle disks and mustaches from the aforementioned paper.  we hot glued the 'staches on some sweet paper straws i ordered from amazon and taped the paper circles on wooden disks for drink tickets.  we also cut out a few flags for toothpicks so guests would have something other than their fingers to grab food.
the night of, friends gathered and we waited for the party to kick off.  a. was lured to the bar with false hopes of watching a lacrosse game over some great beer and instead, entered the bar to the sound of noise makers and a jubilant "surprise!"  honestly the night couldn't have gotten any better.  joining us were great friends, good food, fun tunes, and mustaches! 
yay for birthdays & surprises...double yay for surprises that go off without a hitch and a birthday boy who had a ton of fun.


i love coming home.

especially after such a whirlwind week.  everything about the conference went exceptionally well and the boss-man couldn't be happier (whew).  i hate to admit it, but i'm exhausted.  don't get me wrong, i rallied with the best of them- but that might have actually been my demise.  the long hours, on-your-feet-thinking, stimulating conversations, one-too-many cocktails has left me recuperating the past couple days.
we didn't have much time to explore san antonio.  when we arrived on friday, there was some time to walk the river walk and eat some fantastic food, so full bellies and warm sunshine was the excitement of the day.  we ate at boudro's since we heard they have some of the best guac on the riverwalk.  that ain't no lie- it was unreal.  they make it table side with fresh avocados, lemon, lime and a splash of orange.  yum.  i also had the strawberry caipirinha and the blackened yellowfin tuna salad.  my oh my.  it was the best meals i ate in san antonio, hands down.
while conferencing, there's a "work hard, play harder" mentality.  you spend months and months planning and prepping for these conferences, so when you finally arrive on-site there's a sense of panic that sets in (as in: is it really here...do we actually have to make this happen now?!?) coupled with the relief that the stress of the event is just days from ending.  so while we worked our tails off, it was also a priority to find some amazing food, fun entertainment and strong drinks.  and not necessarily in that order. 
so during the day we worked and networked and mingled and ran.  & in the evenings we gladly let our hair down to relax with our fantastic team, laugh about the days happenings and enjoy the peace of another day complete.  this is how it was from friday to wednesday.  day after day and night after night.  but we don't mind.  that's the nature of this industry & you gotta love doing what you do in the land of events.
by wednesday, i was ready to hang my hat.  my poor feet were killing me (i still can't wear normal shoes thanks to the stitches in my heel) & i was eager to see a. and radley.  not to mention, i had a lot of other happenings on my plate that i was trying to manage while away and many things that needed my attention upon my return (ain't no rest for the wicked).

as we boarded the plane, the captain came over the loud speaker announcing that we had special guests on our flight that would be making a guest appearance.  i was intrigued.  once we hit altitude, we found out there were penguins on our plane (much better than snakes! and yes, they were sitting first class) and they paraded through the aisles of our delta flight so we could take pictures.  it was rad and sea world was so generous to share their friends with us.  
looking back, it really was a great time.  all around things ended on a high note.  and while i couldn't be happier to be home, if every conference went that well, i would have no problem boarding a plane tomorrow to do it all over again.


on the road again.

hello lovlies!  since friday i've been in san antonio prepping for our first conference of the year.  things have gone exceptionally well although it's been a bit bananas at times.  but that's the events world for you.  there are always fires to put out, problems to solve, people to laugh with & long, long hours of hard work.  but a great event makes it all worth it.

we have two more days of this madness and then i'm home sweet home.  i miss a. and my little furry man & can't wait for life as it was.  but i love events.  they might drain you physically- but mentally & emotionally, they rejuvenate and inspire.

here are a few pics from my time in beautiful san antonio (all taken with my iphone) & by next week, i should be back to blogging regularly.
don't forget to follow me on twitter (@jessrusstweets) for more pics!  catch ya soon...


this march.

all said and done, february was stellar.  i completed almost all of my goals (with the exception of giving up sweets- it only lasted 9 days- & the 10K training- of which i was avidly doing until i needed stitches in my heel-, the rest of the list is completed.)  

now comes one of my faves.  i love march; it rocks for so many reasons, most importantly being: we celebrate spring and regrowth & we festively celebrate a. and my birthday!  it's bound to be fantastic and spontaneous. just as it should be.  

here's to a fantastic thirty one days.

oh, and i'll be instagram-ing my daily photos: @jess_russ


mr. a & the big 3-0.

i can't believe it.  despite a couple deployments, we've spent 11 birthdays with one another- celebrating our ripe "old" age.  when i first met a. it was in high school and he refused to tell anyone his birthday- and even took extra precaution to make sure no one got their hands on his license.  i still like to joke it was an attention thing...he still laughs and says it probably was.

and that's just one of the things i love about him...he laughs at himself and makes me laugh along with him.
he loves nature, adventure & good 'ol fashion, clean fun.
he can play the guitar, piano and dabbles on the harmonica.  not bad babe.
he laughs so hard his eyes tear up and loves food so spicy that he sweats.
he finds mowing the lawn relaxing and hates folding the laundry.
he enjoys managing our finances and spending money.  
he's kind, and caring and gentle.
he makes time to snuggle.
he's served his country both here and overseas.  positively & with no regrets.
he offers to make dinner and then orders chinese take-out.
he's honest and fair and full of love.
he's truly my best friend and best hubby ever.

he's my main man & i'd follow him to the moon and back.  because he's just that amazing.  
happy birthday mr. a.  
i am still very much in love with you.