101 in 1001 Wrap Up

**Update: I think we did a pretty decent amount of things on our list and I’m proud of us. It was a great way to plan ahead and also to see how our plans changed/evolved over 1001 days. I hope our next 1001 days are just as exciting!

I got inspired by a post my friend Kate made about making a list of 101 tasks to complete in 1001 days. I thought it was interesting to make a goal list with a time frame other than just a year. So Nick and I sat down and made a list of some things we wanted to accomplish in the next 2 3/4 years. Our list ended up being more than 101 items, but then again, we did break down our travel plans to all of the specific places we wanted to visit – vacation planning: complete :) End Date: May 3, 2015


The List

  1. Go to a MNF Bears game
  2. Go to a BCS Bowl game
  3. Mob Museum
  4. Springs Preserve
  5. Natural History Museum
  6. Neon Museum
  7. Mystere
  8. Absinthe
  9. Jubilee!
  10. Jabbawockeez
  11. See Book of Mormon
  12. Shark Reef Aquarium
  13. Bodies Exhibit
  14. See Wicked @ Smith Center (Aug 29-Oct 2012)
  15. Zarkana
  16. Hike @ Mt Charleston
  17. Do all Red Rock Canyon hikes
  18. Go to the shooting range
  19. Zombie Store
  20. Grand Canyon
  21. Build Warthog airplane model
  22. Build and launch a large scale model rocket with E engine
  23. Go to a Renaissance Faire
  24. Buy Nick a bike
  25. Go bowling
  26. Go to the Polish Deli off of Charleston
  27. Knit a blanket
  28. Buy a house
  29. Build a home gym
  30. New bedding
  31. Print and frame wedding pictures
  32. New dinnerware
  33. New flatware set
  34. Get knives sharpened
  35. Get a stand mixer
  36. Get a grill
  37. Ship Nick’s workshop to new house
  38. Go to a professional conference
  39. Eat at Gordon Ramsay Steak
  40. Eat at 12 restaurants on the Strip/Downtown (12/12)
    1. StripSteak
    2. Mon Ami Gabi
    3. Javier’s
    4. Gordon Ramsay Steak
    5. Lombardi’s Romagna Mia
    6. Olives
    7. Cabo Wabo Cantina
    8. Serendipity
    9. CraftSteak
    10. Mesa Grill
    11. El Segundo Sol (a solid whatevs – check out Javier’s at Aria instead!)
    12. Andre’s
  41. Try sushi
  42. Make pasta from scratch
  43. Try deer or elk
  44. Go to Farmer’s Market
  45. Make a monthly budget
  46. visit Dad in Alabama
  47. Visit Chicago
  48. Visit Mom & Grams
  49. Visit Dad in Indy
  50. Visit James in Washington
  51. Go on a bro-cation
  52. Go to Hawaii
  53. Volcanoes National Park
  54. Coffee plantation and roast our own coffee
  55. Punaluu Black Sand Beach
  56. Akaka Falls State Park
  57. Go to San Diego
  58. USS Midway Museum
  59. Balboa Park
  60. SD Model Railroad Museum
  61. San Diego Zoo
  62. Botanical Building and Lily Pond
  63. SD Bay Walk
  64. Sea World SD
  65. Go to Boston
  66. USS Constitution Museum
  67. Boston Public Garden
  68. Go to New York City in the Fall
  69. Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island
  70. WTC memorial
  71. Times Square
  72. Little Cupcake Bake Shop
  73. Central Park
  74. Lombardi’s Pizza
  75. Empire State Building
  76. Grand Central Terminal
  77. Metropolitan Museum of Art
  78. Metropoitan Opera House
  79. NY Public Library
  80. Rockefeller Center
  81. Radio City Music Hall
  82. Go to Washington, D.C.
  83. All museums of the Smithsonian
  84. Korean War Veterans’ Memorial
  85. Vietnam War Veterans’ Memorial
  86. FDR Memorial
  87. Library of Congress
  88. Jefferson Memorial
  89. Iwo Jima Marine Corps Memorial
  90. National Portrait Gallery
  91. National Air and Space Museum
  92. National WWII Memorial
  93. Capitol
  94. Lincoln Memorial
  95. Dr. MLK Jr. National Memorial
  96. Ford’s Theater
  97. US Botanic Garden
  98. US National Arboretum
  99. US National Archives
  100. Supreme Court
  101. Washington Monument
  102. Georgetown University
  103. National Zoological Park
  104. National Museum of Crime and Punishment
  105. White House
  106. Albert Einstein Memorial
  107. Bureau of Engraving and Printing
  108. International Spy Museum
  109. Embassy Row
  110. Navy Museum
  111. Theodore Roosevelt Island Park
  112. Get a puppy

Springs Preserve

Nick and I finally made it to the Springs Preserve. I am so glad we had a voucher for two free admissions because if we had to spend money on it, I would have been even more disappointed. This place was just pretty lame overall. The only neat parts were a couple desert animal exhibits and the Nevada State Museum. We still had a good time cuz we’re awesome like that.

Nick modeling under a palm tree
It’s like a little bonsai cactus!
One of the few things we don’t get to see too often is this type of cactus
Coolest thing at the Springs Preserve was this tortoise because tortoises ROCK! Side note – this enclosure was pretty small and it was actually kind of sad. Wish he had more room to roam around.
Channeling my inner mountain lion
Ostriches, including scrap metal sculptures, are pretty creepy.
Whatever this was…


East Coast Trip 2014

In late September, Angela and I journeyed to the east coast of the United States, visiting Boston, Rhode Island (Newport and Narraganset), and New York City. We had a ton of fun and did a lot of cool stuff. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, however, I’ll just let them tell the story:


Rhode Island

Also, a wedding happened here, but I’m not about to steal someone else’s thunder by posting wedding pictures.

New York City

Had a blast in NYC. Loved everything.

My Birthday!

I can’t believe I’m 27. I can tell I’m old now that my outlook on time is “Where has it gone?” as opposed to when I was much younger and it seemed like time dragged on and milestones were a forever away.

27 has been pretty amazing so far – Mom came to visit; saw Bruno Mars in concert; ate an amazing dinner at Craftsteak; lots of shopping; dinner at Mesa Grill; and my first ever experience with coin slots!

Bruno Mars
At the Bruno Mars concert

One of the nights we were out, Mom and I stopped at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill (because I could never get Nick to go – he’s not interested in “Southwest flavors”) and I had rabbit as a main dish for the first time! (Tastes like chicken. Seriously.) It was the Cascabel Chile Crusted Rabbit with spring pea cous cous, green chiles, mint, Marcona almonds and a smoked red pepper sauce – if you want to get all technical. It was pretty tasty and I especially loved the cous cous. Note to self: smokey pepper flavor is not my favorite. I like my peppers unsmoked – thankyouverymuch.

Sorry Bugs and Thumper
Sorry Bugs and Thumper

Another night we ventured downtown (eek!) and I had done some research and found that the new hotel, The D (don’t even get me started on that name), had an area of the casino that still had real coin slots. Mom and Grams always talked about coming to Vegas and playing the slots and using the buckets for their coins, getting their hands all gross and filthy from the dirty money, but by the time I was 21, those slot machines were pretty much history. I was so excited to experience a part of Vegas history myself – it was even more exciting that I ended up leaving with more money than I put in. PS – $27 in nickels is pretty dang heavy. (I didn’t say I was a high roller.)


Thanks to everyone who made my birthday extra special! I’m excited to see what the rest of 27 has in store.




James Came to Visit!

A couple weeks ago, James came to visit us and attend an NSCA conference down on the strip. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to spend a lot of time together as he was mostly in town for the conference getting his CEUs to keep his CSCS cert current. We pretty much only had a couple evenings together.

20130713 bros

On his last day, we had some Mexican food at the Cabo Wabo Cantina at Planet Hollywood/Miracle Mile Shops. Honestly, the food was pretty good but the atmosphere left much to be desired.

Then it was dessert time at Serendipity! I had been wanting to go to this place since it opened years ago but we never managed to get there. It was extra nomtastic and a special treat since we don’t usually eat such decadent desserts.


Grand Canyon

Spurred by the opportunity to visit with family and mark another item off of our 101 list, we finally made the drive (including Fitz!) over to the Grand Canyon (South Rim). The 4 hour 30 minute drive was pretty uneventful and Fitz slept in the back the whole way. We stayed in Tusayan, minutes away from the entrance to Grand Canyon National Park. If you plan on staying in Tusayan, prepare to pay a lot for everything and don’t have your hopes up in terms of quality. Fitz was awesome except for not wanting to sleep in his crate at night. Of course this spoiled pup wanted the whole middle of the bed:

20130614_Fitz and Ang sleep1

As for the Grand Canyon itself, Nick and I thought it was pretty grand and canyon-y. We weren’t upset that we only spent a couple hours there.

20130615 Ang and Fitz3 20130615 GC schmoos 20130615 Nick and Fitz1


It was a good vacation as it was an opportunity for Nick to get away from his office for the weekend and we got to spend some time with family.



Cabo San Lucas

Almost every year my Mom and I go on a trip some place awesome for her birthday and to get some Mom and daughter time, especially since we don’t see each very often. This year we went to Cabo san Lucas, Mexico and stayed at the Sirena del Mar (Welk Resort). This place was super duper awesome and a really good deal. This was the view from our room (all the rooms have an ocean view!)20130526_room view 2 20130526_room view 1

Our vacation consisted mostly of chilling by the pool and catching some extremely potent rays (70 and 120 are the most common SPF numbers at local stores), but we did have one big adventure day.

Our first stop was a glass blowing shop where we saw the workers make a fish from start to finish (unfortunately, those pictures didn’t come out).

Then it was off to downtown Cabo san Lucas for a little tour and local history. CSL used to be a fishing town with a huge tuna cannery, but tourism was definitely a bigger boost to the economy, so the factory got shutdown and dismantled. The land is still owned by the tuna company and there are giant billboards all over it saying how it’s not for sale. Wonder what they’re waiting for as it is some prime real estate right by the water.

Next it was a boat ride past Cabo’s main attractions – Lover’s Beach (on the Sea of Cortez side), Divorce Beach (on the rougher ocean side) and El Arco with “Land’s End” where the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Ocean meet.

20130528_el arco

Finally, it was a long ride down the coast to Santa Maria beach for a little snorkeling and kayaking.

I really enjoyed our time in Cabo san Lucas and would definitely go back and stay at the Sirena del Mar again – it was a 10 minute cab ride into downtown, so it was close enough to the action and good restaurants, but far enough to be nice and quiet the way I like my vacations.

20130530_Pochos Mexican coffee

PS – Almost forgot to talk about my Mexican coffee experience (see above pic) at Pocho’s at the Marina (tell them the 2 crazy blonde gringas sent you). It was a crazy show of lighting tequila on fire and then pouring the liquid fire back and forth between two gravy boats, then again with kahlua. Pour about 1oz of the weakest coffee ever in that, a spoon of vanilla ice cream, then some more tequila and kahlua and topped with whipped cream and a cherry. It was boozy.

First Hike of 2013

Nick and I went out to Red Rock Canyon to take advantage of the first really nice day of 2013 – it reached 75 degrees! One of our 1001 goals is to do every Red Rock Canyon Hike (except the scary one people die on), so after perusing the list, we chose First Creek Canyon. It’s listed as an easy to moderate hike of 3 miles, but a slight detour on the way back made it more like 4.5 to 5 miles for us.


Here’s Nick looking all fresh right at the beginning of our hike. It starts right off of Charleston and you head straight back through open desert to the mountainy areas you see in the back.


We didn’t see anything too exciting – some Joshua trees, yucca plants and cholla cacti. Also, rocks that are red – shocking to find in Red Rock Canyon.

The hike description mentioned the possibility of encountering seasonal streams and waterfalls in the canyon on “unimproved trails.” We continued our hike on into the canyon, but didn’t have any luck finding water of any sort. Nick still felt really accomplished though:


Pro Tip: Don’t be too lazy to change into your hiking socks. You will probably end up with a lot of blisters if you don’t.


Banana Bars

finished bars

I make these bars for Nick and he thinks they are mega delicious, so I figured I’d share the recipe I threw together from multiple banana bread recipes along with some healthy substitutions.

I throw the following in a bowl (why do that whole “mix the dry then the wet and combine them” thing and get multiple bowls dirty?):

  • 1 1/2T stevia (equivalent to 3/4c sugar)
  • 1c oat flour
  • vanilla or unflavored protein (I use 4 packets of Perfect Fit Protein because that’s what I happen to have right now, but you can use any protein of your choice)
  • 3/4t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1/2c nuts (about 2oz) – I usually use walnuts
  • 1t vanilla
  • 6T liquid egg whites (about 2 large egg whites)
  • 1/4c no sugar added applesauce
  • 3 medium bananas, mashed
  • 45g unsweetened coconut flakes (about 1/2c) – totally optional

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes in a greased 9×13 dish or baking pan. I use Pam spray for baking. Let it cool before cutting into 12 squares.

Nutrition info for each square is:158.6 calories/6.6g fat/16.9g carbohydrate/8.9g protein/4.5g sugar. (Without the coconut: 131 calories/4g fat/15.9g carbohydrate/8.7g protein/4.4g sugar)

Some notes on my ingredient choices:


Stevia is a South American herb used as a natural sweetener for centuries. The leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant have a refreshing taste, zero glycemic index, zero calories and zero carbs. It is 25-30 times sweeter than sugar, and far more healthy! (from stevia.com)

oat flour

I make my own oat flour by throwing some whole old fashioned oats into our magic bullet blender and grinding them to a powdery consistency, but you can purchase oat flour in most stores now. Oat flour is gluten free, so these bars don’t rise as much as other baked goods might. Feel free to substitute any other flour, but also keep in mind that other flours may absorb the liquid components of the recipe differently.

coconut walnuts

Almost all of the fats in the recipe come from the walnuts and coconut (if you used it). Walnuts are full of heart healthy monounsaturated fats and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids along with being full of all sorts of good for you stuff. Coconut, on the other hand, is a more controversial ingredient. It has many antioxidants, but is primarily made up of saturated fats which are thought of as “bad” fats. Some recent research suggests that not all saturated fats are equal, and those found in coconut are better than other saturated fats (like butter). Honestly, I’ve just been tossing some into these bars because I had it in the pantry and it tastes delicious.

An Underwhelming Visit to the Strip

Nick and I ventured to the strip yesterday with Travelzoo vouchers in hand for a new sports  exhibit at the Luxor called SCORE! Thank goodness for the discounted price. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We parked at Bellagio and checked out the latest flower decorations inspired by Chinese New Year. It was a pretty solid “meh” compared to some of the other awesome ones they do throughout the year.

Chinese New Year Bellagio 1 Chinese New Year Bellagio 2 Chinese New Year Bellagio 3 Chinese New Year Bellagio 4


Then it was on to lunch at Todd English’s Olives. It was surprisingly loud inside the restaurant and we were sitting for a good 10 minutes before anyone even brought us water. Eventually, a bread basket and a choice of tapenades was placed on our table and our order was taken. I started with the wild mushroom soup, which was by far the highlight of the meal. Nick started with the Greek salad, which to his horror included some type of feta cream on it (not mentioned in the menu description).

tapenadeWild Mushroom SoupGreek Salad

For entrees, we went with the Crab Stuffed Jumbo Prawns (with saffron rice pilaf, yellow and green squash, orange beurre blanc and micro pea shoots) and the Shaved Roast Beef Sliders with mixed greens instead of fries. Unfortunately Nick’s beef was cold around the edges and the greens were dressed in a lemon vinaigrette Nick described as “9 parts lemon juice, 1 part arrogance and 1 part oil.” Overall I was pretty disappointed in this restaurant from a four time James Beard Award winner. Definitely would not recommend it to anyone.

Crab Stuffed Jumbo Prawns Shaved Roast Beef Sliders


Then it was off to SCORE! at the Luxor. (No photography allowed.) The first stop of the exhibit included listening to a spiel about athlete’s contracts and earnings – which I guess is fine if you know absolutely nothing about them to begin with. Then we each had access to an iPad station where we entered our names and chose our favorite sport, team and number. At the end of the exhibit, you get to find out how much your contract was worth. Nick and I were under the impression that meant the interactive portions of the exhibit had a bearing on your final results. That was not the case, and it ending up being a randomly generated number – how is that any fun? The exhibit itself was mostly an array of signed memorabilia. Nick was not impressed with the amount of typos on the description plates accompanying the memorabilia. The interactive portions weren’t even entertaining. There was a broad jump, some peripheral vision/speed test, hockey skill test (?), and a NASCAR pit stop. Nick’s assessment: “The best part was definitely the signed Walter Payton jersey, football and windbreaker.”

We ended at The Cup, a cute little coffee shop inside Crystals at City Center and were dismayed when we saw a Starbucks was going to open soon just steps away from our little gem that is hidden by the valet entrance. I doubt The Cup will be able to survive much longer, but hope for the best.