Norway Part 2: Shenanigans, Ski Slopes + Mountains

So I left of on Tuesday, with the beginning of Anne Lise’s birthday party. We took so many pictures and had so much fun, I had to share more with y’all! Now keep in mind that this was a Texas themed birthday barn party in Norway and it was nothing short of amazing!

Everyone went all out with not only their costumes, but with love for Anne Lise! It was beautiful. They wrote songs, gave speeches and celebrated her! I was so happy to be a part of the celebration and meet all of their family and close friends.

Sisters singing…no I didn’t understand any of the words 🙂

Outfit chance #2 of 3!
The Vorkinn Family: Pal, Stefan, Char, Chris and Anna Lise
Kisses for the birthday girl and a Lars photo bomb

We taught the Norwegians how to play flip cup and how to line dance and two step. We also played a little beer pong, ate delicious food and had a fabulous night.

Lots of fun leads to awesome pictures. Really awesome pictures indeed.

Day Four:

The next morning I was bright and cheery. All the smart kids guzzle water at the end of the night instead of partaking in additional drinks/shots that aren’t needed 🙂 I wanted to make sure I was feeling great to enjoy each day on my trip. 
That afternoon, Charlotte, Ole and I ventured to the Olympic ski jump slope on a mission. To take the stairs to the top! 

A skiers view from the bottom of the slope!

The slopes have a stair case up the sides which people can climb to the top and it’s an awesome workout. There are roughly 800 steps to get to the top! There are a few break points which allows for a little breather and you can shake the lactic acid out of your legs!

One break point was at the top of the smaller slope. Take a look at that drop down! No thank you. I’ll stick to the bunny slopes…

A view from the top! At the top there was a cute little restaurant, various hiking trails and a point of rest for those brave enough to venture out there on a warm summer day!

After our climber, we showered, packed and loaded the car for a road trip! Char, Ole, JP and I were headed towards Bergen, but first we had an adventure over the mountains to get to the coast. We decided to take our time and stop and smell the roses (aka check out the sights) when we wanted.

First stop: Helleristninger aka Rock Carvings

Along the river, there is a spot to see true cave man carvings from the paleolithic era. And guess what they’re of? Moose! Not my little moose, but the actual animals that dwell in Norway. (We actually saw one from a distance in the woods on our trail run!)

The red markings are there to show visitors where to look and it’s better for pictures. You can truly see the indentations from up close. Oh and did I mention just how beautiful this area was as well?

Ole was a wonderful tour guide and informed us of various facts from Norwegian history which I loved! Here is a flag painted into the side of the mountain originally by the Nazi resistance in WWII!

Along the trip there were countless waterfalls. I couldn’t get enough of them. Little ones streaming down the mountain, huge ones engulfing a hillside. Just gorgeous.

Our last stop was an old, old church that was erected in 1180. Yes, that starts with an eleven! This is also the church that inspired the church for Frozen during Elsa’s coronation. Yes, awesome fact, I know. You’re welcome for that.

It’s simply stunning. Plus it’s pretty amazing to see something that old and fragile still standing.

From there we continued on our trek towards Bergen. We arrived in Fonnes, a town on the outskirts of Bergen, where Anna Lise grew up. After nearly 7 hours in the car, we made it! More on our trip to Fonnes and Bergen tomorrow to round out my Norway adventure.

If you missed Days 1-3 Part 1, check it out!

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Travel Tuesday: Norway Part 1

To sum up our trip, Norway was nothing short of amazing. I got to do so many different things and enjoy beautiful scenery and weather. Neither of which we get in Houston, TX…especially during the summer. Prepare for a bunch of pictures from both my iPhone and Nikon. I needed to capture everything! Above is the view of Lillehammer from across the lake on our way in to town!
Day One:
We made it safe and sound to Norway on Thursday morning around 10:00am which meant we had a full day to stay awake and keep going so we didn’t get too jet lagged. We started off running some errands and stopping at some of the cutest shops in town. 
Next up was sunshine, outdoors, games and mimosas. Siri came over and we all just enjoyed the beautiful weather. After dinner we decided to jump in the hot tub! The tv was moved outside, so we watched the first half of Wolf of Wall Street until we were pruney. The rest of the day was very chill. The sun doesn’t truly set during Norwegian summertime. Around 11pm-midnight it is about dusk and stays that way until the sun begins to rise again around 3:30am. Luckily, I am used to going to bed when the sun is still out (hello 8pm bedtime and 4am wake up calls!), so I fell right to sleep.
Day Two:
We started the day nice and slow. Naturally I was the first to rise, so I enjoyed coffee and a book out on the patio before the rest of the crew joined me. We had quite a full house since we were celebrating Anne Lise’s birthday, all of her kids (Chris, Charlotte & Stefan) were home 🙂 That morning the girls went to the mall to pick up some goodies for the party and groceries for desserts! Before we knew it, Charlotte, Ole, JP and I were off to Gjovik to visit Ole’s parents!
Before dinner, Ole took JP and I on a 9K trail run…it was actually a bit longer as it took about 4 minutes to run to the trails. The weather was wonderful and I found myself wishing I lived there so I could enjoy running this time of year!
After our run, we enjoyed some wine and one of the tastiest dinners I had in Norway! Ole’s mom made us the best of the best pan fried salmon, roasted sweet potatoes and bean salad. To top it off we had strawberries and cream for dessert…and a little more wine of course. It was wonderful meeting Ole’s parents after knowing him for so many years! 
Day Three:
Saturday morning we were busy bodies all morning in preparation for the big birthday celebration! It was a Texas themed party out at a barn on the lake just outside of Lillehammer.
The venue was simply gorgeous. I couldn’t get over what a perfect day it was for the party. Someone was watching out for us that’s for sure! 
Naturally, upon arriving, we needed a photo shoot before the shenanigans were to begin!
The barn was actually an Icelandic horse ranch. I tried to feed the horses a flower, but they said no.
Inside the barn was an open area with plenty of space for both tables and dancing! There was also the most perfect bar area which our boys set up and manned for most of the night. They’re so good!
Again, more pictures from our necessary pre-party photo shoot. Check out these rockin’ Texas themed costumes…

In case you didn’t get it, I’m a Texas flag. Yes, I realize the white part is missing, but you get the drift. Pretty much I wanted an excuse to wear a tutu, let’s be honest.

These are just a few of the MANY pictures taken. I had to break the party up in two parts as to not bombard you with too many pictures or tell too many stories. Part 2 of our Norway trip coming tomorrow! Get excited, some of the most beautiful shots from our Norwegian road trip to come!

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Guess who’s back!

Back again. Amy’s back, tell a friend. Hah just kidding. But I really am back from my amazing Norwegian adventure! And an adventure it was indeed!

I took so many pictures, drank so many glasses of wine, ate so many delicious meals, and did so many new things. I’d be lying if I said I’m glad to be back. I’d much rather be in Norway still! Most pics are still on my computer, but I thought I’d share a picture a day from my trip to give you an idea of the beauty I saw and the fun I had!
Wednesday, June 11th
Flying over the Norwegian fjords
Thursday, June 12th

Hot tub time with my best seester friend

Friday, June 13th

Trail run in Gjovik with Ole & JP 
Saturday, June 14th
Barn party by the lake
Sunday, June 15th

Mountain rapids and waterfalls on our road trip

Monday, June 16th
Windy walks in Fonnes by the fjords
Tuesday, June 17th
View from our mountain hike in Bergen

And no picture taken yesterday because traveling for 20+ hours absolutely sucks! More pictures and lots of stories to come!
Happy Thursday y’all!

Hiding out in Norway!

So I kind of disappeared a few days ago and I’m currently hanging out in Norway! Pretty awesome, I know. In the two short days I’ve been here we’ve had so much fun! Here’s a sneak peek…

So far there has been A LOT of…wine, sunshine, wonderful temps, family, fun, coffee and beautiful scenery. I don’t want to go home! Good thing I don’t have to for a while!
See y’all, time for some Saturday morning coffee with an amazing view!

Top Golf Houston North

 This past weekend wasn’t exactly blog worthy; hence the lack of post yesterday, and the day before…ooops. That and quite frankly, I’ve been lazy lately on the blog front! Instead of talking about this weekend, I want to follow up on an awesome outing from last Sunday at Top Golf Houston North!

Top Golf was originally created in 2000 in England by the Jolliffe brothers who wanted to spice up the driving range experience. Simply hitting balls into an open field wasn’t exciting enough, so they created a place to make the driving range more exciting. It’s amazing how adding some targets and creating a little competition can liven up a once dull outing.

When they decided to branch out to the States, the first stores were opened in Dallas, TX and have quickly branched out not only around Texas, but across the US. There are tons of new locations opening this year and next including Houston North, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Tampa and Ashburn, VA.

The concept behind Top Golf is a driving range with an enhanced experience. There are different games that you can play with up to 6 people in each bay. You pay by the hour or half hour, so you get as many swings as you can get in during the time period! Use the targets to see just how far you can hitt the ball. Each target’s distance is marked right in front of you! When your ball makes it in, the TV screen let’s you know the exact distance.

The best part about Top Golf is that you don’t have to be a good golfer or even know how to golf to have a great time!

There are several games available to play. I’ve only played the Original Top Golf game, but there are morre options to try!

Don’t have your own clubs? Don’t worry! Men’s and women’s clubs are provided, but feel free to bring yours if you have them. You can see my sweet clubs peaking in the background!

Bring your friends and make a party out of it! They have an extensive menu with everything from appetizers to brunch and lunch to desserts! They also have a full bar, Bloody Mary bar and great brunch drink specials! I’m a big fan of Saturday or Sunday brunch at Top Golf…mimosas are a must!

Just check out some of the delicious food we tried!
Queso, guacamole, salsa and chips!
Donut holes you can fill with your favorite filling! 
Various flavors of chicken wings and flatbreads
Sliders and mushi…you MUST try the mushy, it’s Mexican style sushi! No raw meat involved 🙂

Here I am practicing my swing! It wasn’t my best day for practice, but I still got a few in the brown circles which are over 100 yards!

Check out Top Golf Houston North for some awesome summer events! The last Saturday of June, July and August are themed parties! June is mathletes and athletes, July is beach party and August is duck calls and overalls! Top Golf is great for a party or a weekend night out. From the fun golfing to the full bar and the man cave to the roof top patio, everything about Top Golf says fun!
Whitney, me and Meg 
Stephanie, Whitney, Me, Meg, Jenn, Shalanda, Bree

Now get out there and experience Top Golf fun!

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10 Healthy Eating Tips this Summer

It’s June, it’s summer and the livin’ in easy! Okay, not so easy for most of us. This is the time of year I wish I was still in college or a teacher. I could go for a summer vacation! Trust me, I know that teachers out there totally deserve it. I have so many teacher friends and I see what y’all go through. I just kind of want one too! Anyways, I digress. Back to summer. Summer means picnics, BBQs, happy hours, pool parties, so on and so forth. Lots of food, drinks and bikinis & swim trunks. Food and bikinis don’t really go together. I know we all want to look good in our bathing suits this year, so here are some healthy eating tips to follow for this summer!

Now let’s break it down and talk about why!

1. Drink a lot of water. Hydration is key. The more water you drink, the less chances you have to be dehydrated and bloated. Drinking water also keeps you full and makes you think twice about whether or not you need that snack.

2. Eat fresh fruit. Choosing fresh fruit over dried fruit will save you calories and make you feel fuller. You can eat more for the same number of calories which makes you brain think you’re getting more food! It’s also refreshing to bite into some cold fruit on a hot summer day. Think watermelon, apples, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, etc.

3. Create salads using fruit and veggies. Salads are light and refreshing during the summer. The best part is that there are so many different combinations that you won’t get bored. Oh and don’t forget the dressing! Go light on the dressing, but use one that has some fat in it. It will help your body absorb the nutrients from your salad and give your body the fat it needs to keep going strong!

4. Avoid greasy foods. Pretty simple, they weigh you down and they’re heavy and hard on your stomach. If you’re going to be by the water somewhere, keep it healthy and simple!

5. Make your own burger patties. Pre-made patties are usually made with a fattier meat, they’re more processed and you don’t necessarily know what’s in them. Instead, buy your own ground meet whether it be beef, buffalo, turkey or even chicken! Add in your spices the way you want and make a patty of your own. Now you know what’s going in it and you can adjust how big your burger is.

6. Choose a smoothie over ice cream. It just makes sense! Fruit, low fat milk, maybe a little yogurt and some protein…way better for you than ice cream and you still get your sweet fix. If you’re having ice cream, stick to the portion size and you’re good to go!

7. Real foods, not processed. Pretty simple, eat real not fake! Processed foods are bad for our body. We’re all guilty of eating them. Try to stray away from them this summer. Who knows, maybe you’ll make the change for good!

8. Green tea over sweet tea. Tea has antioxidants and caffeine, but less caffeine than coffee and sodas. Green tea is a better choice than sweet because of the sugar content!

9. Eat breakfast. Boosts your metabolism in the morning and kick starts your day. Don’t skip it, you won’t regret it!

10. Avoid carbs in the evening. Carbohydrates give your body the necessary energy it needs to keep up and at ’em during the day. Your body doesn’t need as many carbs in the evening because you’re winding down for bed. Take the starches out of your dinner and have them with lunch instead!

Now go out there, grab your bathing suit and remember these helpful tips to look even better by the end of the summer!

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Happy National Running Day!

It’s National Running Day! As a runner, this is a day I can’t just forget! I’ll be out at Memorial Park in Houston for the Chevron Houston Marathon Committee’s National Running Day party! Houstonians, click the link if you’re interested in joining! We’re meeting near the tennis courts on the Memorial Loop and the event lasts from 5:00-7:00pm. There will be a run led by a committee member that leaves at 5:30pm with a party to follow!

The bad part about living in Houston is that running gets much harder during the summer months. It’s hot and long distances are practically impossible for this girl. I suffered from heat exhaustion a few years ago and I’m very sensitive to the heat now. For me, I play the better safe than sorry card and do more running indoors from June until marathon training begins in August.

I know the treadmill isn’t for everyone, but I’ve got something to spice things up for those of you that deal with HOT summer months. Instead of just running, grab some weights and incorporate some strength training with your cardio. All you need is a treadmill and some dumbbells, about 5-10 lbs.

The lunges, curls, chest press and shoulder press are all completed using the dumbbells! Feel free to add more sprints or extend your running/jogging time. The workout about is exactly 30 minutes. Perfect to squeeze in during lunchtime maybe? Give it a go and change up your usual treadmill experience! Maybe we can make the treadmill fun after all!

Happy National Running Day! Houston Marathon lottery registration opens up today! So take a leap and enter the lottery to see if you can run the full or the half!

And in honor of the day, here’s a group pic of my amazing running club Runner’s High! Come join us if you’re in Houston!

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May Days: Finally in Houston!

For the first time in what feels like forever, the hubs and I actually stayed in Houston! Don’t worry, we stayed plenty busy, but we were at least in town, slept in our bed, got some stuff done in the house and had some down time. Down time on the weekends is a beautiful, rare thing 🙂

Friday we went to the A&M vs. Texas baseball regional game. Rice held the first round of regionals, so the game was actually in Houston. The stadium was packed and the sun was out. The sun was really out and the rain from earlier made it a crazy humid day. To the point of discomfort really. It was a slow game, but we managed to stay through about 5-6 innings before we decided to watch it from a bar in Rice Village. We were down 7-1 at that point. If we were winning, we would have put up with the weather, but losing and feeling gross is no fun at all.

Saturday I slept in! Complete blasphemy I know. I’m not one to sleep in past 7am, but I made it until 8:40! It was amazing and well deserved. We started the morning slow before we decided to do a deep cleaning of our living room. Exciting, I know. After that we went to Dave & Busters for JP’s work family “picnic.” Free food, drinks and games for 3 hours! It was awesome! We bowled, got $40 worth of games and I hit the jackpot on two different games. JP is ready to take me to Vegas now!

We were back home by 3:30 and watched The Amazing Spider Man on our DVR. That evening, we decided to head back out for an actual date! Dinner and a movie it was! I loved the new Spiderman, so I really wanted to see the second. Loved it!

Sunday, my body was back to normal and I was up at 6:45, so I decided to go out for a run. I ended up feeling great and getting 5 1/2 miles in. I was a little warm, but I kept a solid, strong pace and felt good the whole time. I did get a little turned around on a new trail that was covered in mud from the rain and then ended up not being finished. Oooops!

Post run, JP and I got some more cleaning done which was need since we’re going to Norway in 10 days! I want to leave with a clean home so I can come home to a clean home!

Finally, the best part of my Sunday was hanging out with some of the lovely blogging ladies in Houston. We were able to play at Top Golf for a few hours on their tab! That being said, a full post on the brand new Top Golf in North Houston coming later this week! Here’s a sneak peek:

Happy Monday y’all! Hope it’s a great start to an amazing week!

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