For the vast majority of my life, there have been two times of the year where I’m showered in more gifts than I need, deserve, and usually even want. While I’m extremely grateful for all the time and money other people have put into this over the past six or seven years, my focus has shifted to having less stuff. Growing up, we always wanted more… more video games, more basketball jerseys, more Pokemon cards, Beanie Babies, stickers, etc. Whether it’s been the effort of moving every year since 2007 (yes… I’ve moved every summer since 2007 either from one room to another or across the country) or just a change in overall mindset, I want less.
First off, this post is super picture heavy. Second off, we want to thank everyone who made our birthdays special. You know who you are and we are ever grateful! It means a lot to have those we care about care about us as well. Chris turned 27 and Alana turned 25–woohoo! We had a lot of fun. For Alana’s exact day, her coworkers took her out for lunch and her family took her out for dinner at a Mexican joint that was delectable. For Chris’ exact birthday, we were in Disneyland! We decided awhile ago that we would spend our “birthday weekend” (since our birthdays are four days apart) at Disneyland–two nights stay over and tons of fun and relaxation. It was really amazing just to not be stressed: to spend money carelessly (thanks to gift cards), eat what we wanted, sleep in until whenever, and just be happy like kids. Again, thank you to EVERYONE who made our days special. And as always, stay hungry and fit!
This is going to be a joint post, written by the both of us, about Chris’ birthday and the flood that erupted on his very birthday here in our home of Boulder, Colorado. And it isn’t stopping. As I sit here, I’m watching more rain pour down as it has since 8am. We got a few dry days, but now the rain is here for a while. Where to begin? Let’s just start with Chris’ actual birthday. I’ll be writing most of it, and he will pop in here and there for certain things.
6:30am, Thursday, September 12th. Chris is still sleeping in bed, I need be at work by 8, but I want to go to our favorite bakery and surprise him with croissants. It’s been raining for a few days now, started Monday and worked its way until today. It’s still raining now. I slip socks and crocs on and head out. I get to the bakery but I am kind of dumbstruck and don’t know where to park. The entire right side of the street is flooded. Now this is before we had any flood alerts or thought there was a problem. I turned around and parked on the other side of the street. The bakery was open and I wanted to get him croissants! There was a worker outside and I asked him how to get through it, and he said, “I just got my feet wet.” I still looked for a way, but it was useless. Water was pouring from the north and streaming into the streets. I ended up walking through a foot and a half of water and they had no croissants! Wish I had taken a picture.
So I get back, wake Chris up, wish him happy birthday and give him breakfast. We turn on the news and see that it’s pretty bad all over. Highways buckling, houses flooding, people trapped. We eat breakfast and open presents, all the while he is communicating with his coworkers. (It’s Chris now) I want to thank everyone for all of the awesome gifts. I’ve always been quite spoiled. I received a gift card to Macy’s, Amazon, and AMC cinemas along with $30 cash. I also got some nice Burberry cologne, a handmade snake-like bottle opener, and a handmade Giraffe head cork wine topper. I was upset with Alana for getting me so much. She got me the newest iPad with a case and keyboard attachment. She also got me two hoodies: one sleeveless one from H&M and a Legend of Zelda one from Woot. I can’t say what I like the most but all of the gifts were very thoughtful and will fit in this household nicely. I am excited as always to use the AMC tickets for two free movies for the two of us. Especially since there are a few movies coming out next weekend that I want to see. Thanks again to everyone for the kind wishes whether it was family or friends.
Back to Alana. The 119 (how I get to work) is flooding and Longmont is bad. Chris and his staff decide to close the shop and he goes to make sure the flood damage is okay. Everyone advises me to stay home, so I do. This is all very new and not exactly sure what to expect. It was nice for Chris to have his birthday off of work, but we felt for everyone suffering. Luckily, our apartment is 3 floors up, and we are on a safer side of town. We didn’t do much that day, played video games and stayed inside.Chris loved being able to do that, since normally we have too much on our plate. We just made sandwiches for lunch and enjoyed the down time.
We get a call around 3pm from one of our good friends who lives a block away. He is driving home from Littleton (highways are an absolute mess) and his wife and kid are at home with a flooded bedroom. We run to get the shop vac and bring it over to their place. They were the lucky ones. The western building of their apartment complex got completely flooded with 2 feet of water. We immediately begin to vacuum the carpet out which is saturated and getting worse. A battle we can’t win against the pelting rain coming at us. By the time our friend gets home, we have already dumped out 32 gallons of water.
We knew we couldn’t suck up all the water so we go outside and decide to dig a trench away from the windows and then use the mud to create a barrier. It was messy, wet work, but it did give some layer of protection.
After we finish up, we wash the mud off in a flooded street. We go inside for a little bit more clean-up. Chris is bummed so many places are closed. I had this elaborate plan for the day, that I would take him out for lunch, that after work we would workout and then surprise him with China Gourmet and a birthday cake. Nope, not gonna happen. However, one of our most favorite places in town was miraculously open. They know us well at Korea House and invited us with open arms. We were soaked, muddy, and tired, and this meal invigorated us. We got a fixed menu with beer, bulgogi, korean soup, soups, salads, and mochi ice cream. Because it was Chris’ birthday and because the chef loves us that much, he served us with a big beautiful plate of some of the most flavorful sushi I’d ever had. He also gave us a large bottle of hot sake and another beer for free. Happy Birthday, right? It was just what we needed to bring our spirits up. We told them if they needed a place to stay (they live in Longmont), that they could always come to us. We left happy and it was pouring harder than ever.
We get back safely, though main streets are flooding. We play some more video games for a while and then we get into bed. Things are only getting worse. Chris passes out, but my stomach is in knots. So before I continue, let me just tell you about the wonderful Twitter #boulderflood. Online news can’t do enough. I have been on the #boulderflood this entire time, getting minute-by-minute updates from news agencies, emergency agencies, and real-life people struggling in the flood. It has been an absolutely amazing resource, I still follow it now. So as I’m lying in bed, reading the #boulderflood hashtag, things start getting worse. The Emerson Gulch has broken and now a 30-foot wall of water is heading straight for the Creek. I know college kids can be drunk and stupid and people reported seeing some near the creek, fooling around. I stress about their lives. About how the death toll might rise. After a few hours, I finally get to sleep, only to dream more about the flood and wake up too much. Here are pictures from the house we house-sat at:
Friday. Despite only a few hours of sleep, we wake up semi-early. The rain has stopped and light can be seen. We stay inside for a bit and then decide to go venture out with Marga and Michael to see the damage. The “unaccounted-for” toll has risen to around 130. There is a lot of debris everywhere, but things are drying up. Mud is the problem since there were massive mudslides the previous night. I hear Lyons is an island and Longmont is incredibly flooded. The YMCA where I work at is closed. Our old street (we just recently moved) got flooded and now instead of pavement, it is a mud street. Our previous neighbors are carrying buckets of mud-water out of their house. It is all mucked up. We continue on for about 5 miles total, seeing the damage. But we don’t even go to the bad area, we get tired and head back.
We end up going to the gym, finding a bit of normalcy in our recently turned-upside down life. After a great shoulder workout (my traps are still sore!), we head back home. More video games. We are happy for the lack of rain. I can even see a star or two. We also watch From Up on Poppy Hill, the newest Miyazaki film. We go to bed around 2am.
Saturday. Another dry morning! Evacuations continue at a much higher rate now. The National Guard is here and you can see and hear the military helicopters going here and there every minute (no exaggeration). Our friend (with the flooded bedroom) invited us to go play frisbee golf as we often do on Saturdays. Sure, why not! Well, half the course had some bad flooding, but that didn’t stop us. Afterwards, we went to Glacier (our favorite ice cream joint here) and Chris finally got his free ice cream (because it’s his birthday). We go back to the apartment for a little bit and then head out to the gym for a good chest workout (yes, my pecs are sore). As the day continues, formidable clouds begin to form. We come back, watch Castle and play video games. And have mac n cheese and ramen for dinner, good comfort food.
And now it’s Sunday. Still raining strong. Flood alerts are back. Road closures are back. Unaccounted-for toll is up to 530 people. Tragic stories on the news. I hope I can get to work tomorrow. And I truly hope everyone stays safe. I wish I could reach out and help more people, but it’s hard to get to most people right now. Chris certainly had a birthday that nobody will forget. I will stay vigilantly attached to the #boulderflood to stay in touch with everyone and all events. Please send good energy this way. And some dry weather. And despite all these horrible events, everyone reaches out to each other to help. That is what is keeping spirits up, when everything else is gone. Stay hungry and fit!
BONUS KITTY PIC
Yay! Happy Birthday to me! Chris and I had a great “birthday weekend” (his birthday is this coming Thursday—yes, a pair of Virgos) involving lots of good food and good company. Though I am peeved at myself for not taking more group photos, oh well! ABC Family obviously knew that it was my birthday weekend because it was a Harry Potter Weekend (yessss). So besides home We decided on our “group birthday dinner” (meaning more than just Chris and I) we would do on the Saturday. We couldn’t decide on a place…from Korea House to Efrain’s and we finally decided on one of our favorite spots, Tibet Kitchen. But before that, Saturday morning, we went with friends to go play Frisbee Golf on a hot morning. But the view was incredible.
Really should’ve taken pictures of the group as a whole, but it included co-workers, friends, and family–a great bunch. We all had a ton of food and felt pretty full…but not full enough to not get ice cream! We finished the night off well with plenty of ice cream to celebrate. It was a great time. The next morning (on my actual birthday) we went to breakfast at Lucille’s, a southern, New Orleans-style breakfast joint. I always hear how popular it is and we got there at the right time. No wait, and we got a seat outside on an absolutely beautiful morning. We obviously got some beignets to share and some dishes for ourselves. It was absolutely delicious and neither of us could finish it (hellooo leftovers!).
After we stuffed ourselves, we ran over to Flatirons Mall AMC (which has the most comfy recliner chairs, it’s ridiculous) and caught a double feature of The Butler and Riddick (both reviews to come). We enjoyed both, but came out starving because it was about 4 hours of movie time with no snacks in between (I forgot the popcorn!). After a long debate about what to eat, we decided on trying Protos Pizza up in North Boulder. And we loved it. We ordered 4 small pies (don’t worry, it was 4-slice, small slice pizzas, not real expensive) to try everything out. The ingredients were fresh, crust cooked to perfection, and a wonderful blend of flavors.
After that, Chris went to give a private swim lesson. We did a laid-back workout, and then headed to Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian Restaurant. It was open late and we had never tried it. We ordered a “vegetarian passport meal for two” which ended up being a ton of food plus two drinks and dessert! Let’s just say there’s a good amount of leftovers in the fridge. It was an absolutely lovely night, we sat outside next to a creek and beautiful little lights. We enjoyed some drink and a lot of food and had a great time.
So I had a great great birthday, and I was lucky enough to get cards from loved ones and presents too. My parents sent me great gifts plus a boat load of Trader Joe’s goodies. Chris got me a wonderful collection of presents that was perfectly catered to who I am. Overall, I had a lovely birthday and look forward to celebrating Chris’ coming up soon. As always…stay hungry and fit!
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BONUS KITTY PIC
Happy Birthday to us! Happy Birthday to us! Wow! We made it one whole year of posting and you actually listened to us that whole time! Starting and continuing this blog has been an absolutely treasure for us and we appreciate our followers so much for their support and willingness to try new things. I can’t believe a whole year of blogging has gone by already! Time flies when you’re busy and having fun.
We originally started this blog to share our food and fitness knowledge and to discuss our journey–all which we’ve done with flying colors I believe. When we first started this blog, we were broke and jobless–using the public library to get our blogging needs done. Now we’ve moved to a new apartment (bigger and nicer than previous), gotten several jobs and moved up the chain in those jobs, becoming directors and coordinators of departments.
We’ve been through some rough times and some great times and we’ve both grown in our first year here in Colorado. We’ve achieved great fitness goals and killer recipes. There was the point when we hit 1k followers, and now we’re up to 1,500! We’ve expanded a great deal with different social medias in our Hungry & Fit Nation. We’ve extended our services as personal trainers and become friends with other businesses. We get 400 views a day! Pretty good first year I’d say. And tons of “bonus kitty pics” (obviously the best part of our posts).
And let’s look at the very first post we wrote…”Welcome to Boulder“. Awww, isn’t that cute! It’s fun to look back and see our journey from Day 1 to where we are. Fresh out from college (me anyhow–Chris was one year out), living on our own, and creating a life together. Pretty exciting stuff to think about. We’ve now surpassed a half million views and we are ecstatic about how well our blog has taken off. We’ve gotten some attention from sponsors and ad agencies, but we do this for the love of creation and helping others. And we plan to keep it that way.
It’s a lot of work to blog every day (or so we try), but it’s something we think worth doing and we truly do enjoy it. You gotta do what you love and love what you do. But YOU guys help us keep going. So thank you so much for supporting us! And as always…stay hungry and fit!
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BONUS KITTY PIC
You’re an old man now (24 to be exact). So, I’ll direct you to this post for what we did over the past weekend (kind of our birthday weekend/week). That was all a bunch of fun, definitely some good times. His exact birthday was yesterday, September 12th.
Anyhow, two nights ago we decide to have a joint birthday dinner. I ask Chris what he wants for dinner and he says (can you guess?)…SUSHI! So sushi it is! We invite Marga, Ben, and Megan to meet us for a 7:30pm dinner at Sushi Tora. It was nice on the interior and very busy. We arrived in the rain, and were lucky enough to find a spot right in front! A very rare occurrence anywhere near Pearl St. Once everyone arrived, we started off with some Magic Mushrooms–a very popular appetizer there. I believe it contained salmon, mushroom, and some sort of other flavor. Looked good.
We stayed there for a few hours and ordered a lot off the menu (well, Chris did at least). I got some delicious tuna and smoked white tuna sushi (nigiri). I didn’t really like the smoked flavor of the white tuna, just because I’m so in love with white tuna (it’s my favorite, just so you know)
Megan and Marga then split a DELICIOUS tempura-battered brie with sliced apples (or were they pears?) with honey. Very very good.
We then ended the night with banana tempura, which was extra delicious. Very sweet and under a base of caramel, mmm! Overall, this place was good, not great, but still an excellent time with family and just enjoying the night. The price didn’t quite match the value, but it’s a big step up from Japango. Our next Sushi adventure will be at Sushi Zanmai, which is supposed to be superb. Can’t wait to try it out!
We went to bed full and happy, having had a really fun night. The next morning, we woke up to wet grounds outside and a steady trickle of rain. I looked at the forecast: 57 degrees alllll day. I knew Chris would be happy. He likes the cold. I don’t quite like the cold (sorry, I’m from SoCal), but I do enjoy my rain and it gives a great reason to stay inside and be happy. Which we did when we could. With the looming chore of the DMV before us, I wanted to take Chris out to a place that had good croissants for breakfast. So I put on my jeans and my NZ gumboots (rare recently, due to it being a usual 90 degrees and all) and we drove to Spruce Confections.
It was delicious (see above). We got two croissants, one mixed berry with chocolate scone, hot chocolate, and Bhakti Chai. We really enjoyed the croissants–they were fresh, buttery, and had a perfect taste. The scone was good, but didn’t compare to the croissant. The hot chocolate was soul-warming, but needed to be a tad bit sweeter, but we will definitely again. Now, the Bhakti Chai was intense. It had the strongest ginger flavor I had ever tasted in a chai before! If anyone is sick, pick up a cup of this stuff! Well, anyhow, it was an adorable little cafe/bakery with quirky girls working the shop, rain dripping down outside, and a couple of cute dogs hiding under tables waiting for their owners to hurry up with their drink. They will definitely see us here again. We can’t wait to go here during the winter, I have a feeling the scene will be perfect.
I then spent the next 3 hours in the DMV, getting a Colorado license while Chris happily sat in the car, playing a new game I got him for his birthday on his 3DS. We then both had work, but by the time 8pm rolled around, we were hungry. Chris picked me up and we discussed dinner. We had recently walked to Marshall’s and on the way, our noses were hijacked by the most wonderful smell…wafting from a big Indian restaurant (Jai Ho). So, last night, we decided to go. It was very good, very quiet, and very atmospheric. We had samosas, garlic naan, a mushroom dish, and a curry dish (which was spicy even though the waiter insisted it was the non-spicy one Chris could get). I guess we’ll need to say “non-Indian non-spicy” next time.
He also got a lot of great birthday loot, including some video games, music, checks, and cards, so thank you everyone!! Cheers
P.S.- Sorry for skipping a day, beloved readers, as you can see we were very busy yesterday and the night before. Thanks, as always, for reading!
So, I failed Saturday because I was feeling lazy and Alana bailed me out, AND yesterday I was feeling sick and she didn’t bail me out. So here’s a few-days overdue post of our plans for Alana’s birthday and how they actually worked out. So basically…
We wake up on Saturday, September 8th and Alana is nearly 22 years old, American age. She’d be 23 in Korea. Now, she says she was born around 10 am Pacific time, so it’s not quite her birthday but that’s fine. So, actually at midnight, the night before, Alana opened her presents/cards from my family back home (thanks Mom, Dad, and Andrew for the check) and her family back home, thanks Kai for making so much and being so generous, and thanks mum and Dad for the jandals, tiger shirt, and being so generous. So, back to Saturday morning.
Marga invited us out for breakfast and we found ourselves at 10 a.m. at Tangerine on Iris and 28th. It was SOO busy so we knew it was a trendy spot with most-likely delicious food. Two minutes into the meal we got a surprise when Ben showed up. Ben and Marga got lattes, Alana got a chai, I drank water, and the food came out really quickly (it is breakfast food, but fancy). Alana got a vegetarian eggs benedict highlighted with pesto. The pesto was powerful and the eggs were cooked to perfection, along with some well seasoned taters. Marga got a prosciutto di parma wrapped egg-based dish, I think. It was really good and Ben eventually stole it because he wasn’t in the mood for his classic Belgian waffle with fruits and nuts on top. I couldn’t decide, because being a new pescatarian isn’t compatible at a breakfast place usually, and I got the flight of the pancakes, which is their sampler of three different pancakes. One was classic buttermilk, one was whole grain with some interesting toppings, and one was sweet with ricotta and blueberries on top. The maple syrup was good and by the end of the meal, after some plate passing, everything was finished off.
We sat around for a while and had some great conversation, about the democratic national convention and our political views. It is Boulder after all, so talking about politics was safe for us. Marga and Ben split the bill because they’re awesome. Ben had to leave to coach his girl’s soccer team and, as we left, Marga being the ridiculously nice and thoughtful person she is, gave Alana a present wrapped in a bag and some pet spot smell remover for our kitten accidents.
So, we got back home, Alana opened the beautiful wine glasses from Marga (thank you!) and we decided to go to the Boulder Farmer’s Market. We didn’t need much so we just got some Persian garlic. We walked there and back since it’s close and it was a beautiful day… it’s finally been getting cooler and I hope it wasn’t just a phase. Afterwards, we took a nap with the kitties and really did little to no work or chores.
5:30 rolls around and we have plans to visit my friend in Englewood (near Denver). The Buffs game ended hours ago and the Broncos didn’t have a game so we thought traffic wouldn’t be that bad. Well, it wasn’t LA or New York, but it took 80 minutes to go 33 miles on all highways. We stopped at Whole Foods to pick up some hard cider and a salad for our get together. We were going to make a salad at home, but our greens weren’t fresh and we weren’t about to serve them to friends.
So we roll into Englewood, interesting little area, and Garrett lets us into the parking garage. Now, Garrett was my co-worker at Hollister during high school. We played against each other in soccer and basketball in high school. I went to a small public school and he went to a smaller private school. We were both really bad schools for sports in general so nobody really won or lost. I haven’t seen him since high school because he went to CU Boulder and never returned because he loved it so much. Their apartment is beautiful and twice the size of ours, but they only have an original x-box and no matter how many emulators you have for retro-gaming, after selling 90% of my systems, our gaming is better.
But I digress. I was feeling very sick by the end of the day, but we still had a great time, meeting new people like Garrett’s better half “Lee.” She has a fun story having two parents in the military/government, I can’t say more because then my life might be in danger. Oh well, we just ate and hung out and caught up and can’t wait to see them again. Thanks everyone for an amazing birthday. Oh, and I got Alana a Star Wars the Old Republic graphic novel, Super Smash Brawl, and a huge zodiac tapestry for the bedroom wall. And that’s about it! OH and thank you Grandpa and Grandma Powell for the super generous card!!!