Flash Back Travel Post: The Hollywood Sign Hike

Several years ago, my family celebrated my son’s high school graduation by vacationing in Los Angeles. One of the activities we planned was to hike to the back of the Hollywood sign. I found a video on YouTube which I will link at the end of the post with exact directions and on that last day of fun we were off. It was a great morning, but unfortunately, our objective of seeing the amazing views were prohibited by fog and the early morning dew. That hike really upset my daughter and sadly seeing everyone’s amazing posts on Instagram, from the same hike, really encouraged us to try again.

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Flash Back Travel Post: Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam

Hello there! I’ve been wanting to share more of my travels here on the blog and since it’s Friday, I thought I would begin with a new series, Flash Back Travel Post. The first of the series is Las Vegas and The Hoover Dam.

In February of 2011, my husband and I took a trip to Las Vegas and to the Hoover Dam for our 5th wedding anniversary. It was the first time either of us had visited, so we thought it would be a fun weekend away. The pictures I’m about to share were enhanced using a new photo editing app called Tezza. The app is truly easy to use and I thought I’d share some editing modes. This one is the filter Mood. I love the coloring to these photos and since they are very old camera photos, I thought these brought out the best in the image. I also don’t have very many photos, but I still wanted to share.

I have been to the Hoover Dam more recently and I’ll share those photos on a future post, and Las Vegas is definitely on my travel list to visit again. Before Covid-19 quarantined our family, my daughter and I were actually making plans to check out the Jonas Brothers Las Vegas show. I’m really hoping they choose new dates in the future.

On to the photos.

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5K Race #22: The Brew Haha

Sorry for the delay in posting, but I’m back and ready to update this blog with my latest running adventures as well as some other exciting moments that have happened in my life over the last few months.

This past October, I added 5K race #22 of all time: The Brew Haha Race sponsored by 131 Events. This was my 2nd year running this race and it’s always a morning of excitement. Sign up early if you want to join in the fun though, this race always sells out the first week it goes on sale.

The race is very Halloween themed and it’s so much fun to check out the other running costumes and participants running in actual Halloween costumes. I love this course around Ocotillo Village Health Club and Spa, and always with 131 Events, you receive orange and white pumpkin spice donuts and beer at the end.

My official Nike Running app time was 37:21 with an average pace of 11’57″/mile.

Below are a few photos from the race.

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Wednesday Writing Challenge

This week’s Wednesday Writing Challenge is #3, 10 interesting facts about myself. I figured this was another great way of introducing myself and maybe share some interesting facts.

Wednesday Writing Challenge Week 2, #3.  
10 interesting facts about myself

  1. I have two tattoos.  One, a butterfly on my left shoulder blade and my 2nd tattoo is a lavender leaf on my left wrist.
  2. Definite tv junkie, but lately my favorite channel is Reelz. I’m fascinated with the autopsy shows.
  3. My favorite drinks at Starbucks are the various teas.
  4. I’m a night owl. I have a hard time falling asleep at night, and will often stay up until 2-3 in the morning catching up on my DVR.
  5. My favorite food is bell peppers.
  6. My perfect vacation would be in NYC.
  7. I love Christmas movies. My favorite is “The Holiday.”
  8. I am an only child between my mom and dad. I do have one siblings’ on my dad’s side, 2 sisters and 1 brother that live in Illinois.
  9. When I was little, I wanted to be a Broadway dancer.  As a child, I took tap, dance, and ballet.
  10. My favorite movie of all time is the Wizard of Oz.
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Wednesday Writing Challenge

wwc

A while back, my cousin Jacquie shared a 30-day writing challenge. I loved it and thought it would be a great way to introduce myself on the blog. So, I’ve decided to turn the challenge into a weekly feature. Every Wednesday, I’ll pick a prompt at random and share. If you love the idea, go ahead and snag or create your own. Share your blog post in the comments as I’d love to get to know more about my readers too. If the challenge has a strike-through, I’ve already picked that number.

The list and the first entry are behind the cut.

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Day Trip to Moonlight State Beach

A few weeks ago, my older daughter Caroline and I had the best idea ever!! To have my whole family take the day off from their jobs and to have an Esparza Family Day! Our initial plan was to drive a few hours north to enjoy the coolness of Flagstaff, but since we had a low budget, we decided on a whim to get in the car and drive to the beach. Living in Arizona has had huge benefits and one is being so close to California for a quick weekend trip or in this case, a day trip to San Diego.

That morning, we packed our beach and change clothes, got in the car, and we were off. A quick stop in Yuma for snacks, bread, sandwich meat, and drinks, we were on to our San Diego adventure. The drive from our city in Arizona to San Diego is a quick 5 hours passing sand dunes, beautiful hills and curves and eventually the green trees and amazing cooler weather as we approached the outskirts of San Diego.

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Happy National French Fry Day!!

Just like the title says. I’m so excited for this day!! If I was ever addicted to a portion of food, it would be french fries. I love all types, but my faves are steak, shoe-string, crinkle cut, and standard cut.

Tonight, I went out to dinner with my husband and since he’s normally a picky eater, I let him choose the establishment to get the fries and he chose Burger King. As for fast food, they’re really not bad, and their fries are the steak fries which are yum!!

According to this article by FoodRepublic.com, there are at least 18 ways you can eat a potato, turned french fry. I’m sure there are more and I’m sure there are just as many ways to eat them. My favorite is with a dash of black pepper and dunked in ketchup. What’s your favorite way? I’d love to know.  

I hope you were able to enjoy French Fry Day. I know I did. 

A couple more photos under the cut including one of my husband enjoying his fries. 

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5K Race #21 Girls On The Run

This past school year, I was selected as one of the Girls on the Run coaches for the elementary school I work for. I had participated as a coach last year and loved the experience, so this year I was up for the challenge to run and learn with a whole new group of girls. The girls range in grades from third to fifth and this year our group was the biggest at 30 girls. The race took place on a beautiful Saturday morning. May 4th, 2019, downtown at the Wesley Bolin Plaza, in central Phoenix. By participating in the five-month program and in the 5K, you will help empower girls! 100% of the race proceeds go directly to Girls on the Run serving Maricopa and Pinal Counties. I have to mention that this year was the 15th anniversary of the organization, and the medal incorporated a birthday cake!! SO cute.

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What does it mean to be a TIU girl?

Me with K&K in Los Angeles.

This question has been weighing heavily on my mind for the last few weeks. If you have never heard of Tone It Up (TIU), I encourage you to check out their website and even their Instagram. 10 years ago, Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn created a community, or a lifestyle, where women from all over the world have the ability to connect, workout, or even share their amazing journeys of lifestyle changes.

I first discovered the dynamic duo after finding videos on YouTube of their workouts. Short and sweet, but wow, what a sweat. They truly changed my life and improved my running so much. Since then, they have created an amazing empire of nutritional challenges, comfy workout clothing, an exercise app, many nutritional products and exercising equipment you can easily find at Target.

Over the years, I’ve really questioned whether or not I was a TIU girl. I have not fully committed to the workout videos. I haven’t fully followed the nutritional program and my body fat has definitely had highs and lows. But does that mean I’m not a TIU girl?? Heck No! My heart has always been open to changes, and this community has always welcomed me with open arms. It’s never that easy though. This isn’t any fad diet or quick weight loss challenge like I posted, it’s a lifestyle change.

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5K Race #19: The Donut Judge Me Run

Race #5 of the year was one of my favorites: the Donut Judge Me Run organized by 131 Events. It’s an easy course, with donuts at various water stations throughout the race and the ability to earn two medals, one for running the 5K and one for carrying the inflatable. Last year, I devoured a few donuts on the run and carried the inflatable, and that was a bit too much.  This year, I decided to wait and enjoy the donuts at the finish line and enjoy the excitement of the race and the enjoyment of running with my friends.

Packet pickup and parking for this race are super easy and the atmosphere is always so much fun! I met up with my TIUAZ gals, and we headed to the start line. This year, I loved the fact that 131 decided to have start waves and it worked out perfectly with the range from under 8-minute miles to the ending waves consisting of walkers and families with strollers. We joined in the 2nd wave and enjoyed every second of the 3.1 race.

At the finish line, we met up with all our friends, enjoyed bananas, cold water, and Suja Organic was also on hand to provide free juices and kombucha.

Another reason I love this race is the after party. Great dance music, awesome Gram worthy photo areas and what else, donuts provided by Doughnut Peddler in Mesa.

Next year, I will definitely sign up for this race, won’t you join me? For more information, check out the 131 Events Site listed above.

My official Nike Running app time for this race was 33:53 with an average pace of 10’44”.  Not my fastest, but I wanted to enjoy this race with my friend Chelsea. Mission accomplished. We are in the 2nd picture posted below. She’s been an amazing running partner the last year and I can’t wait for more races in our future.

A few more photos behind the cut.

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