A Taste of Mexico in Sarasota

This morning was spent around the house. Ryan helped his mom’s boyfriend with some yard work while I updated the blog and chatted with his mom. Every time we come visit his family I feel so grateful that I am marrying into such a great, close-knit group of people. They’re a special bunch. 🙂

Ryan's Mom & Sadie

Once the yard work was done, we soaked up some sun in the backyard while Sadie chased shadows, lizards and reflecting lights. She’s quite the huntress.

Ryan and I felt like we were laying out at a resort because his mom set up a fan and brought us water with fresh lemon slices. Talk about relaxing!


Around 12:30 we showered up and headed out to Mi Pueblo, a nearby restaurant, for lunch.

Mi Pueblo in Sarasota

The Digs

As we were seated, a big basket of tortilla chips and salsa were placed in front of us and I downed several of the chips ‘n’ salsa immediately.

Chips & Salsa

They had a great selection of lunch entrées, and I ordered a large shrimp and avocado salad.

Shrimp & Avocado Salad

I think the salad came with 3/4 of an avocado. I was in Mexican food heaven and ate every last bite.

Though I was feelin’ full, when we arrived home I couldn’t resist a little sweet treat.

Gotta Satisfy My Sweet Tooth

Me and Mah Honey

To satisfy my sweet tooth, I had another slab of Harry & David peppermint bark and a Dad’s scotch oatmeal cookie, ordered from the fantastic Dad’s Cookie Company located in Missouri.

These cookies are crunchy, light and full of cinnamony spices. Ryan’s mom sent Ryan a huge box for his birthday before and we ate them by the handful. They’re phenomenal and I always swipe a few from his mom’s stash when we come to visit. Yum!

Now it’s time to join Ryan on the couch for the USA vs. England World Cup soccer game. I’m not gonna lie, I’m not exactly a soccer super-fan, so I’m hoping to coerce Ryan and his family into a round or two of Scrabble. 😉

Though I’m still full from lunch I can’t wait for Thanksgiving dinner tonight! 😀

Running with a Friend

I’m really funny about working out with other people.

I prefer solo workouts, mainly because I like to go at my own pace. When I work out with someone else, I find myself getting to caught up in whether I’m holding the other person back or pushing them too much to really enjoy the experience.

My Ugly Running Kicks

Then there’s the rare friend who I feel 100 percent comfortable around and can relax and completely enjoy their company while still enjoying the workout. My friend  Merri is one of those people.

Me & Merri

(Side note: Doesn’t she have super-model hair?)

By total coincidence, Merri and I are both in Sarasota this weekend (she’s visiting her family for her mom’s 60th birthday!), so I picked her up at 6:45 a.m. so we could conquer the seven-mile long run of our half marathon training plan together.

I’m always more tempted to skip a workout when I’m out of town and away from my normal routine, so it was such a blessing to have a run on the books with Merri to keep me accountable.

Merri mapped us a route all over Sarasota and even had her stepmom meet us around 4.5 miles with some Gatorade to refuel.

I was actually a little nervous to down the Gatorade because I cramp up so easily, but I drank about 4 ounces or so and felt rejuvenated. It was great!

Merri and I were able to keep our miles under 10 minutes and enjoyed chatting throughout the run. She really helped make the seven miles fly by!

7 Mile Stats


I arrived back at Ryan’s mom’s house looking like a sweaty beast.

After about 20 minutes, my hunger set in and I downed a random hodgepodge of breakfast foods.

I started with two handfuls of candied pecans.

Candied Pecans

Wanna know a secret? Pecans are actually my favorite nut, not peanuts. Shhh. 😉

I also enjoyed a hot cup of coffee with an almond-pistachio biscotti, a cup of Chobani peach Greek yogurt and 3/4 of a pint of blueberries.

Coffee + Biscotti

Almond Pistachio Biscotti

Peach Greek Yog


For dessert (Dessert after breakast? Why not!), I had a big hunk of Harry & David peppermint bark.

Peppermint Bark

I love how Ryan’s mom keeps this stuff on hand year-round. It’s so tasty!

Today’s Plans

I’m super excited for today!

We’re hanging around the house this morning before heading out for lunch and then to an art festival this afternoon.

This evening Ryan’s grandma and her boyfriend are coming over for “Thanksgiving dinner!” Turkey, mashed potatoes… the works! Ryan’s grandma used to own a restaurant and she and his mother are amazing cooks. I love good home cookin’. It beats gourmet restaurant fare any day!

Do you prefer a big home-cooked meal or a gourmet meal at a restaurtant?

Beans, Beans, They’re Good for Your Heart

Tonight’s dinner was bean-tastic!

Since my fabulous fiance has the week off work, he helped prep the beans for tonight’s dinner: Tuscan bean soup.

Harry & David Soup Mix

We made the soup using a gourmet mix from Harry & David that Ryan gave me (and my mom and his mom) for Christmas. Apparently all the women in his life love a good meal!

This soup was chock-full of many different kinds of beans. We added our own chicken to beef it up a big.


Maybe we’re pansies, but this cold weather is getting to me! Hot soup made the apartment smell divine, warmed my tummy and my heart.

Tuscan Bean Soup

My Bowl

Tonight we’re enjoying our Christmas tree in all its glory since it will be put away this weekend. Is there anything more depressing than taking down holiday decorations???

Thank You Notes

In other news, today I finished sending out my holiday thank you cards! Woohoo!

Thank You Note

I attribute this to the gorgeous stationary my sister gave me for Christmas. It was fun to use such pretty thank you cards. Thanks, Les!

I also want to say a big thank you to all of you wonderful readers. I smile whenever I read your comments. Thanks for brightening my days! 😀