Happy Monday lovers!!  Man do I have an amazing MIMM for you today! I am so so excited to share something awesome that happened Friday afternoon…but first, some marvelous bits from this weekend!

I bought some new clothes spring clothes and daringly broke out of my shell and wore this super cute outfit Thursday!

outfitI love the blazer with rolled up sleeves!

Even though I can’t make Mark’s WOD on the 11th, I completed the workout Friday afternoon in my apartment’s gym:

Mark Beiswanger Memorial WOD

5 rounds of 12 repetitions for time

  • M- Mnt climbers
  • A- Ab mat sit ups
  • R- 200M run
  • K- Kettle Bell Swings (KBS)
  • B- Burpees

It was tough, especially the last two rounds, but I finished just around 20 minutes.  I think if I didn’t have to keep switching from the weight to cardio rooms I would’ve finished a lot quicker.

Saturday morning I stopped by Crossfit Stafford to pick up my Memorial WOD shirt.

CF staffordI spoke with Mark’s dad for a bit and we both acknowledged how hard this complicated grief is- both of us agreeing it just plain sucks and no one should have to experience our heartache.

After picking up the shirt my boyfriend and I met my mom at the farmers market in Fredericksburg and picked up some items for dinner.  We also ran by Wegman’s for some sushi and crabs- check out our yummy spread!

crab spread

OMG addictive!!

OMG addictive!!

Momma is awesome- she always stashes her pantry with goodies for me to snack on.  New find- these oatmeal cookies from Barbara’s.  SO good with awesome ingredients, too!

omeletteEven though you cant see it, there’s apricot jam and feta in there- just like Sarah makes! ‘What the what’ you say? Trust me, the combo of sweet and savory is awesome!  The bf made this one egg-two white omelet for me and wanted the praise for making the perfect omelet.  Awesome job, babe!

trexSaw this on Instagram.  Hysterical.  If you read the T-rex trying blog -plus a crossfitter!- you know how funny this is!!  Poor T-rex 🙂

Ok ok I can’t take the suspense anymore- I bet you can’t either!!  I have to tell you that I won a giveaway Friday…and not just any giveaway

BlendI won the Blend Retreat Giveaway from Janetha! I was blown away when I got the email and I am SO SO excited to go!!  I actually wanted to go last year but felt I was still kind of a blogger newb.  I get to meet so many amazing bloggers- I mean check out the list of who’s going!!

I still feel kind of in awe- someone pinch me!! I never thought I would be going and now I can’t believe I will be in Salt Lake City in just a couple weeks!!

Needless to say this is a very Marvelous Monday!!  I hope you had a marvelous weekend as well!

Question: Who else is going to Blend Retreat?!


Out of (South) Africa Part 2 and a Recipe!

Hello and happy Monday lovers!  I hope everyone had a great weekend- we had some fantastic weather in DC and I definitely took advantage!  I took a nice long walk Friday evening with the bf and Saturday evening my roommate, her bf and mine all sat outside and grilled.  It was glorious!

First- congrats to the Rhino Bracelet giveaway winners at the bottom of this post!

Well the much anticipated Part 2 recap is here of my South Africa trip!  In case you missed it, click here to see part 1!

The very first full day began bright and early with a 5am wake up call.  After a quick muffin breakfast we boarded our game vehicle and drove to the gates of Kruger National Park.  We were super lucky- no one else signed up from our lodge for the game drive so we got an exclusive VIP game drive experience- just the two of us!

South Africa 2013 091

Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed for our first drive!

Game drives begin before dawn so we can watch the sunrise over the park (well, mainly because the animals are up at dawn to feed before it gets too hot, but the sunrise notion is much better, don’t you agree?).  Isn’t this amazing?

South Africa 2013 101

Not 20 minutes into our drive and we saw the first of the ‘Big Five’- the holy grail of animals people fly from all over to see, which include Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard.

South Africa 2013 107

A white rhino munching on breakfast!  Robert, our amazing guide, told us that the Rhino was actually named the Wide Rhino by Bushmen, by contrast the very rare Black Rhino has a more narrow head.  But when outsiders started coming to the area they misunderstood the Bushmen, thus the White Rhino name stuck.

A few minutes later Robert spotted some cheetah tracks- and said they were fresh!

South Africa 2013 104

We did end up seeing a cheetah for a brief moment, and I did snag a photo- unfortunately it’s really difficult to see her tiny head in the grass- they are definitely well camouflaged.  I decided to post the photo- can you spot her?South Africa 2013 130*hint- look to the left of the horizontal branch, the top of her head/ears is right in the middle pf the photo!

Even though we only saw her for a few moments, it was so neat- we saw her stand up and then lye in the grass contemplating going for a kill!

After watching the cheetah until we couldn’t see her anymore, we went off deeper into the park and crossed crocodile bridge. Sounds like a Disney ride!

South Africa 2013 125South Africa 2013 121While sitting on the bridge a herd of elephants came to the pond for their morning drink. It was amazing timing, like they waited for us to stop on the bridge to arrive!  And check out the babies!! So cute! That’s two/five of the Big Five!

South Africa 2013 135South Africa 2013 136

We also saw a bunch of these guys crossing the road.  Monkeys are so cute!

We drove around for a bit on some different back roads, seeing a variety of different plant life and birds, including eagles and Zazu!

ZazuUnfortunately I didn’t get a photo of the real bird…so Zazu will have to do 🙂

When we came across quite a few vehicles stopped in the road we knew something good must have been spotted!



And indeed- number three on the list spotted- a male Lion, basking in the sun!  There were three bachelors total, the others were a bit shy hanging out in the shade.  We watched him for a bit until he joined his mates in the shade- his paws were enormous!

After second breakfast/rest stop, we drove around the park, spotting a few more amazing animals:

South Africa 2013 165

South Africa 2013 168

South Africa 2013 171

The zebras and giraffe, along with impalas, were quite plentiful in the park and we saw them quite frequently.  On our way out of the park headed back to the lodge, we saw the best sighting ever:

South Africa 2013 161 South Africa 2013 160

A leopard!  Hanging out in the shade on the side of the road.  How lucky is this? We had seen four out of five of the ‘Big Five’!  We were even more excited/grateful for the leopard sighting as Robert said some people come to the park for weeks and never see the big cats!! He said leopards are pretty rare to see, so this was certainly a treat!

What a great way to end our first game drive!…

Or so we thought…

South Africa 2013 174Buffalo!  The last of the ‘Big Five’!  Bam!

We came back to the lodge for lunch and regaled our fellow lodge mates with our sightings, making everyone jealous that we saw the ‘Big Five’- PLUS a cheetah!!- on our very first game drive!!

The next day we planned on something S really wanted to do since we booked this trip last year- an elephant interaction including a ride!  I had never done this so I was pretty excited as well, especially when we got to say hello up close!!

South Africa 2013 185

Behind the ears are super soft!

After meeting this big guy and kicking back and forth the soccer ball, we climbed aboard his mate for a ride!

South Africa 2013 196

So excited!

So excited!

It was such a blast!  She gently walked through the park, pushing over trees ‘showing off’ according to her handler, and her mate behind us picked up and handed S a branch- which the handler said is a sign of affection- the handler joked he proposed to S with the branch!  She gladly accepted 🙂  Even our elephant picked some branches and handed them to her handler.  It was so cute! Stay tuned this week for Part 3- a photo sneak preview:

South Africa 2013 213

Now for the recipe as promised!  This dessert we sadly only had once on our trip- but man will I remember it for the rest of my life- it was THAT good! Malva pudding!  It wasn’t like our Jell-O pudding, many other countries call all desserts pudding like we call them desserts!  It was a luscious, moist cake that was out of this world!

Malva Pudding (adapted from

South Africa 2013 074

Ingredients (for the pudding):

3/4 C Sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon apricot jam
1/2 C plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter (a generous tablespoon)
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/3 cup milk

For the sauce:
3/4 cup fresh cream
Scant 1/2 cup butter
1/2-3/4 C sugar (to taste)
1/3 cup hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Grease an oven dish. i used a pie pan. I suggest something with bigger sides and mine was a bit thin. 
  3. Beat or whip the sugar and eggs. It’s quickest in a food processor, or use electric beaters. Beat until thick pale yellow, then add the apricot jam and blend well.
  4. Melt the butter (don’t boil) and add the butter and vinegar to the wet mixture.
  5. Sift the flour, soda and salt.
  6. Add this mixture with the milk to the egg mixture in the mixer. Beat well.
  7. Pour into an oven-proof dish and bake until pudding is brown and center is not jiggly–depending on your oven and oven dish this will be between 30 – 45 minutes. (Mine was done in 30 minutes with my shallow pan).

While the pudding bakes:

  1. In a pot, melt together the ingredients for the sauce, and stir well.
  2. Pour it over the pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven.
  3. Leave to stand awhile before serving. Serve warm. Attempt to not consume the whole cake yourself 🙂

Have a marvelous Monday– hopefully with some Malva pudding for dessert tonight 🙂

Question of the day: How did you spend your weekend?  What was the best thing you saw on a vacation?  What was the best dessert you’ve had that you’ll always remember?

Rhino Bracelet Winners: I had a bonus bracelet I found while finishing unpacking- so we have three!

Alison: ‘I would like to win to help bring awareness to what seems like a very good cause. The thought of poaching animals just makes me sick and I feel so many people know so little about it’

Wantsmorepuppies: ‘Really fantastic post. Be the Change for Animals had a post about elephant poaching in Thailand last month (, so I’m definitely interested to read more about the Rhino Force and the situation in South Africa.

Sarah @ Nourish and Flourish: ‘Wow, this post breaks my heart. I had no idea that rhino poaching was such a serious problem, but I’m now inspired to spread the word. So many people in the Western world are ignorant about practices like this; imagine if we all banded together to promote awareness and change! I’d like to win a bracelet so that I can start doing just that. Hugs! <3′

Congrats!  Email me ( your mailing address so I can ship them out to you!

Rhinos and a Giveaway!

Good morning!  How is everyone’s week going so far? Let me tell you this jet lag business is no joke!  I had no problems with it while in South Africa but here…I arrived home last Friday morning and only yesterday did I finally start feeling like myself again.  It could be more work-lag than jet lag though 🙂

While driving the lovely country roads to our lodge in Marloth Park in South Africa as well as within Kruger National Park, we saw several cars sporting a funky red horns- similar to our red Rudolph reindeer nose car decorations for the holidays.


Naturally curious, we asked our game drive guide Robert about them.  He said they represent the rhino anti-poaching movement in South Africa. According to,”South Africa is home to more rhinos than any other country on earth, but sadly increasing numbers of these giants are being illegally killed for their horn, mainly fueled by the demand from the Asian traditional medicine trade…”.  What’s really scary are these stats on the numbers of rhino deaths over the years:

  1. 2007: 13 (about one a month)
  2. 2008: 83 (one every 4 days)
  3. 2009: 122 (one every 3 days)
  4. 2010: 333 (about one a day)
  5. 2011: 448 (one every 19 hours)
  6. 2012: 668 (one every 13 hours)
  7. 2013: 82 in the first 36 days of the year (one every 10 hours).

Is that not ridiculous?

I remember learning about the horrific elephant tusk poaching when I was younger, mainly from watching A Far Off Place a zillion times…But I digress.

I had no idea poaching was still a such a problem- haven’t we evolved beyond this?

Robert continued to say that Rhino poaching is huge in Kruger National Park, even though the park has many poacher hunters roaming the park round the clock.  My heart broke with each passing rhino horn-adorned car, and seeing these guys made it crazy clear they mean business:

South Africa 2013 205

Poacher hunters on our second game drive

I wanted so much to stay and help those hunters myself, but I think my family and boyfriend would be a bit upset with my permanent stay doing something kind of dangerous.  Even though I couldn’t stay, I did find a way I could help right away:

rhino bracelet

While only a tiny contribution on my part, I believe every bit helps.  I snagged a bunch of these Rhino Force bracelets to hand out to friends to help spread the word about the rhino poaching. I really wish I could quit my job and help save all animals that are being poached.  Sadly, grad school loans will keep me at my 9-5 for another few years.  But there are still ways we can help!

Donate: Save the Rhino International Inc (SRI Inc) is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization, EIN 31-1758236. Donations to Save the Rhino International Inc are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Fund-raise: Make some rhino cookies and have a bake sale!

rhino coookieSource
If you’re a teacher, have your kids host a book sale!  Ask for donations at your next birthday instead of presents! (ok, I know that’s a stretch, so I’ll let it slide if you choose a bake sale instead 🙂

And for you brave and able souls: Volunteer ! Head to South Africa and fight those poachers with whatever you have!  Your curling irons, your (never used) mop!

–I kid I kid.  But the link highlighted has information on opportunities to volunteer on site.

If you’re still not convinced, read these Ten Good Reasons to learn more about why we should save the Rhinos.

In an effort to spread awareness even more (well, and to share a bit of the loot I brought back from South Africa), I am giving away these snazzy Rhino Force bracelets to two lucky readers!


How to enter this giveaway: Simply leave a comment about why you’d like to win a bracelet!  Earn additional entries by tweeting: ” I just entered to win a #savetherhino bracelet from @Shortqtpie ! ” Just leave a second comment that you tweeted!

I will randomly pick the winners on Monday!

Good luck!!