Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rain follows golfers no question about it

Its the last week for the Lpga Futures Tour in Albany, Ny and what do you know.....rain. Fortunately, the weekend looks like good weather so I will be totally ready to tee it up. My caddy/ dad and I arrives here on Saturday and have been working hard on mapping out the greens by putting and chipping from everywhere. Its that kind of work that really matters in the end. Its always nice to be able to come up to a putt or chip and have a really good idea how its going to react....and that kind of information creates confidence which as we know is invaluable. This week I've really been busting a tush with my short game and Im proud to say that im seeing an improvement. Hopefully I'll get to play the course again before Friday.... but tomorrow isn't looking too optimistic :( Anyways..... I hope you all will follow me this week! (www.lpgafuturestour.com)

Until next time!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sweet home Alabama

This past Sunday I finished up my final round at the Eagle Classic in Richmond, Va. I'm really satisfied with the progress I've made over this last trip. One goal of mine physically was to really work on my woods and there's been a drastic improvement in how I'm driving the ball. What I've learned over these weeks has been patience with myself and my career.... that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication then once you tee it up let all that work shine through :) I have a good full week at home to enjoy my friends and family as well as work hard for the LPGA Furtures tour event in Vadalia, Georgia next week. Currently its so nice to be home! I've definitely been catching up on some time in the kitchen. That's one thing I do miss when I'm traveling being able to cook... : ) Overall I'm really excited with whats in store for me for the rest of the year! Thank you for checking in with my world, I will continue to keep you posted with all the fun and of course the lessons I'm learning as I finish up my first year on tour!

Until next time!

So here's a few recipes to try!
Veggie Lasagna
- whole wheat lasagna noodles
-2 small squash (sliced)
-part- skim ricotta cheese (used Polly-o) 8-12 oz
-part skim mozzarella cheese (Polly-o) 
-bag of baby spinach
-Crushed tomatoes (in can Progresso)
5 cloves fresh garlic (crushed and chopped fine)
sun-dried tomatoes
artichokes (in can)
whole carrots chopped to small bite size pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil water in large pot. Heat saucepan on stove medium heat.

Easiest sauce (so good though!) - saute garlic in a small amount of olive oil in pan til just slightly brown. then add garlic and oil from pan to crushed tomatoes. Add in basil (fresh is better but dried will work fine) about a tablespoon. then season with salt and pepper to taste!

Cook noodles in boiling water ( i used about 10-12 but if you want more noodles or a thicker lasagna add more. Cook for about 10-12 minutes until noodles are cooked but still firm because they will continue to cook in oven.  Saute mushrooms and carrots on stove top with a little olive oil.
Cook spinach in microwave for 10 sec at a time til the leaves are just wilted. then mix in with about half of the ricotta.

Stack the lasagna:
grease the pan first and lightly spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom. first layer of noodles, squash, mushrooms, carrots, sauce then spinach ricotta. second layer of noodles then artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and dollops of plain ricotta and sauce. Finish with a final layer of noodles and sauce. The finishing touch is sliced mozzarella on top.

Bake in the oven for about 35-45 minutes until there's a nice golden brown to the cheese! This is a totally versatile dish it would be great adding broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, and even sliced fresh tomatoes whatever you have in the kitchen!  

Everything in the Kitchen Granola Bars

2-3c oatmeal1 c whole wheat flour                                                                 
1/2c almond butter
1/2c apple butter
1/4c sweetened coconut (unsweetened would be much healthier)
4-5 dates chopped finely
1/2 c chopped nut mix (almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, dried blueberries and raisins)
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 agave nectar

Easiest step- mix it all together! Overall the texture should be pretty thick. If it needs more liquid try adding juice like apple, cranberry, or cherry juice a little at a time to give it a little moisture. Once mixed well pour into glass pan and press down to make sure its compact. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes it should feel crisp at the touch and slightly toasted on top. This is a great on the go snack :) next time i'll be adding in some dark chocolate chips (gotta have those anti-oxidants)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Eagle Classic

Last practice day and I'm so ready to tee it up tomorrow in the LPGA Future's Tour Eagle Classic in Richmond, VA. Since the on the Futures tour tournaments are usually 3 days and start on Friday I spend my Thursdays on the practice range working on my basics and then I'll go putt the pins for Friday in the afternoon. Already been a great week having a few of my friends playing in the tournament.... haha and thanks to my buddy Karlin I'm already 5 dollars in the money for the week :) My host mom this week is Zandra Franklin...she's fantastic! We were treated to some of the best crab cakes I've ever had last night follwed by game night : ) ummm lets just say I need to stick to golf haha but it was a lot of fun! So far its been a great week and like I said I'm ready to tee it up for the weekend. Check out my scores on lpgafuturestour.com Until next time, thanks for all the support!

Monday, August 8, 2011

August update

Wow I really can't believe its August already! This summer has flown by especially since I haven't stopped traveling from tournament to tournament. I've been everywhere from the Midwest to parts of Canada to the current Northeastern leg of the Futures tour. I've definitely seen some steady progress and improvement with my game and know its only a matter of time where my name will be a fixture on the top leaderboard :). Of course, im taking the time to enjoy all the beautiful places Im so lucky to be able to visit. A few weeks ago my father, friend and fellow player Karlin, and I canoed up in Concord, New Hampshire. That was so much fun....even after tipping the canoe half way through the trip. Next time im opting for the single person kayak! I just finished up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania after a long weekend of rain and of course delays. It was another solid golfing weekend and am ready to go again this week in Richmond,Va! Well, thanks for tuning in! As always I love hearing any questions or comments from all of you!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Health Coaching.... school in session!

I'm so excited my first few weeks of school from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition are wrapping up! I found out about this online nutrition university from a blog site I follow (eatingbirdfood.com). I've always been interested in nutrition and I love helping my friends and family out with their health goals, so I was happy to find out an actual school devoted in helping to set up my own business. Its a year long program, where in 6 months I will be able to actually work with clients and after a year I will be a certified health coach. What I love about this university is that I'm learning so many different ways to help people become a healthier version of themselves. Not everyone loses weight or learns in the same way, so through this school I will be able to cater to each individuals personal needs. Its great that I will be able to do all my work through the internet and an ipod on my own time. Of course I will keep you all posted on my process as I learn more and develop my new skills! If you are interested in the school check their website at http://www.integrativenutrition.com/.

Monday, May 16, 2011

new eyes!

Last Thursday I had Lasik eye surgery....and what a success it has been! Overall the procedure itself was easy considering everything that you gain. First, you have to determine if you're a candidate for the surgery. I was "an easy patient" since my eye sight hadn't changed since I was in high school. The actual surgery took no longer than 10 to 15 minutes and its been amazing ever since. The only issues I've experienced is the dryness typical from this surgery and kinda needing to take it easy golfwise meaning staying away from sand and possible grass clippings that could come into my eyes. I just had my week post-op Friday and I have 20/20 vision!!! I would definitely recommend do Lasik to anyone who wears glasses and contacts....its simply just so nice not having to worry about taking my contacts in or out and wearing glasses. If you have any questions about my surgery fill free to email me!

Other than surgery, its really been nice being home for a little bit. I've had time to work on a few things in my game as well as a little R & R with my friends and family. The days have been full and I've definitely been getting some good sleep at night! The summer is going to really busy with golf and travel... I'm really looking forward to seeing new places, making some new friends, and of course letting that hard work pay off on the course!!!

So here's my tentative schedule so far (hopefully you can keep up):

Monday May 23- US Women's Open Qualifier, Rockville, Maryland
         - 36 hole qualifier, will leave home the 20th to have two solid days for practice
Monday May 30-  Monday Qualifier for LPGA Shoprite (June 3-5) Gallaway, New Jersey
         - assuming I qualify I will be in New Jersey this week....if not I fly to Iowa
June 3-5- LPGA Futures tour, Ladies Titan Tire Challenge, Marion, Iowa
Monday June 6- Monday Qualifier for LPGA Statefarm Classic, Springfield, Illinois 
         -assuming I qualify then I stay in Springfield, if not fly to Mason, Ohio
June 10-12- LPGA Futures tour, Teva Championship, Mason, Ohio
June 13-15- Canadian Women's Tour Event, Montreal
June 17-19- LPGA Futures tour, Decatur, Illinois
June 24-26- LPGA Futures tour, Harris, Michigan 
June 27-29- Canadian Women's Tour Event, Toronto 

so far this is what I have.... my schedule may change here and there at the end of June when I make it to the Open : ).....  like I said its gonna be busy!!! Thanks for reading and keeping up with me!

Also I have a few recipes I've recently made:

French Onion Soup  (seriously easiest soup to make!)
1-2 carton of no sodium added organic beef stock
2- roughly sliced/chopped sweet onion
3/4 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
wine or beer (optional)
sea salt, pepper (to taste)

In a skillet (preferably cast iron), saute onions and garlic in a little olive oil. After a few minutes of browning, I added a few swigs of red wine... I really loved the taste in the soup! Let onions cook until they are pretty translucent or clear... also toss in a pinch of salt to allow the sugars from the onions come out. Next, pour in some of the stock in to the skillet and stir it around to let the flavors combine....then transfer to a soup pot. Last, is just adding salt or pepper to your liking!!! Easy Breezy!

optional- toasted bread with melted provolone. I used sliced bread "croutons" from the store...such a time saver then just popped them in the oven with cheese on top til the were brown and bubbling.

Seriously yummy French Toast!!!
not much to this one either but it was amazing

Raisin bread- love Ezekiel bread products
vanilla extract- just a few drops
1 egg, 2 egg whites
non-fat buttermilk (key ingredient!!!)

In a wide bowl, mix in buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon.....then dunk the bread and throw it on a hot skillet!!! so good!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Back from a Quickie trip!

Hi Everyone!
Just drove in from a 850 mile drive from San Antonio, Texas where I played in a LPGA Futures event. On Monday I was in Mobile, Alabama for the LPGA's Monday qualifier. That was a long day and I played great on a tough course....ended up shooting 2 under but lost in a play off with another professional for one spot. Unfortunately after such a strong day, I didn't get in to the tournament. We didn't have much time to waste afterward. Dad and I drove to San Antonio for the Futures Tour event. I really enjoyed this city! As most of Texas is, this town was big! We were able to spend one evening on the waterwalk downtown which was so lively from the bustling of people. Also, the water canal and trees just made the area so beautiful. I ended up placing t22. I feel after the last few tournaments my game is really showing some solid consistency. So from here I have a few weeks home for May and then I'm gone for the whole summer! I just organized my tournament plans for the summer and its nuts how many places I'm going to be in such a short time, but its fun! May is going to a month committed to Family and Friends, as well as, some solid practice on the course and strength building in the gym. Stay tuned for some good recipes cooked this month as well as my full summer schedule!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Back home from three weeks of tournaments!

hi everyone!
I'm so happy to have a little time off after traveling for the last three and a half weeks! Currently I'm fully playing on the LPGA Futures Tour which has a pretty full schedule through out the season. So where exactly was I? My father/caddy/coach and I first started in California for a Monday qualifier for the LPGA Kia Classic which had about 80 or so players playing off for 2 spots. That was quite the few days of weather for California, we had a lot of cold rain and wind... unfortunately I didn't qualify. There wasn't much time afterwards, the following day I flew to Orlando for the Futures tour event that week. From there I played the following week in Daytona Beach, Fl and then this past week was spent in Puerto Vallerta, Mexico. Each day, week, and tournament seemed like a stepping stone for my game. Every day I kept working harder and at the end of the three weeks I feel back to the golfer I'm used to being. As I've mentioned before I'm really working on staying patient with myself. My career doesn't have a deadline, so to speak, as to when I'm supposed to "just dominate." From patience, brings consistency, which I'm always striving towards. Really its amazing as I sit here and reflect how far I've come on this trip. I've had to really work on some mental battles on and off the course. In the beginning of the trip, I was having a hard time controlling my emotions and nerves which even led to some really physical issues in some golf shots. See feeling nervous or even uncomfortable isn't always a bad thing... you want that in competition or else it wouldn't be much fun! In the beginning, I didn't know how exactly to allow this feelings to help me, instead I would get more tense. My last tournament, in Mexico, I felt back to me. What was the key? Well, the nerves were still there.... I just had to allow myself to trust my game. I worked on not thinking as I was over the ball. I made all my decisions before the shot and then once I walked up to the shot I concentrated solely on my routine, rhythm, and good balance. My next event is April 25th, which is another LPGA Monday qualifier in Mobile, Alabama so I'm planning on being in Mobile that week :) but if not I will travel to San Antonio, Texas to play in another LPGA Futures event that week. Here is the link to the Futures Tour website so you all can check up on me that way LPGAFuturesTour.com

Right now I'm currently getting pumped to go watch my team (Auburn Women's Golf) play in the SEC Championship this weekend in Auburn, Alabama. WAR EAGLE! I love going to Auburn whenever I have some down time from my traveling. This weekend is going to be a blast watching my old and new team mates play some awesome golf. I baked my friends some yummy treats too! (not quite the cleanest recipe but they are soooo good!!!)

Chocolate chip, raisin, cranberry, and coconut cookies!

1c melted butter
1c dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2c white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4c all-purpose flour
3c quick-cooking oats
1c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1c mix of raisins and cranberries
1/2 tsp salt
1/2c sweetened shredded coconut

1) mix melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. fold in eggs one at a time
2) combine flour, baking soda, and salt then mix into wet mixture
3) add in oats, chocolate chips, raisins, cranberries, coconut
4) bake at 325 degrees for 10-15 min

Im definitely going to have to experiment a little with this recipe for a cleaner version! I would try substituting wheat flour and using a better way to sweeten the cookies rather than straight sugar... but they certainly are a crowd pleaser as they are!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

lessons thus far

I'm safely back from my long trip spent in Australia and New Zealand for the month of February.  Over that time I played in three tournaments, two in Australia and my last one in Christchurch, New Zealand.  I loved my trip, I was able to spend a lot of time driving and traveling around to different locations in Australia including Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and up the Gulf Coast to a place called Surfer's Paradise. Although the best part is being able to stay with host families where my Father and I were able to learn about the local lifestyles and to just build lasting relationships with some amazing people. I loved the very laid back approach to life that the Aussies and Kiwis shared. It seemed that every one was very welcoming and just went with the flow. Their philosophy is "life is good so No Worries Mate." So I'm trying my best to adopt this into my mindset and daily life. Golf in the tournaments had some really good ups. I have a lot of positives to take away from them. Although the scores weren't telling my whole story I was really playing some good golf, so I'm looking forward to a great season. Although I've been traveling and playing in tournaments for most of my life being professional at this is a little different. Mainly I'm just having to adjust to the schedule of being away from home and having to live on the road at multiple weeks at a time. I'm learning how to better organize my time and the hours of my day so that I can practice smart as well as do all the little things that need to get done. Most of all, as hard as it is, I'm learning that I really need to be patient with myself. As an amateur and college golfer I was able to earn many accomplishments and I was consistently able to be on top in my tournaments. So far golf has been a little more challenging possibly because I demand more from myself. At the moment I'm constantly saying my moto to myself, " one shot at a time, one hole at a time, one day at a time"....and now i can add "one week at a time" if I commit to this focus then who knows what can happen!

until next time!

So whats next up? This Friday Im on the road again!
-Monday  March 21: Monday Qualify for the LPGA Kia in California (so I'm looking to stay in California for that week)
- If for some reason I don't qualify then I play  March 24-27 in LPGA Futures Tour Event in Florida
- March 31-3 LPGA Futures Tour Event in Florida
- March 7-10 LPGA Futures Tour Event in Mexico

To follow my day to day scores go to www.lpgafuturestour.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What is Eating Clean?

What a better time to be introduced to clean eating then a time of the year where every one is setting new goals for themselves. Being healthier is always a great goal to set. I know I say this statement a lot and maybe many of you are asking what exactly I mean when I say to "eat clean". The definition of eating clean may have different variations but I follow Tosca Reno's version of clean eating (eatcleandiet.com). Eating cleanly is all about fueling your body with what it needs and craves to help you perform your day to day tasks with vibrant energy. You eat with a conscience.  This means you listen to your body signals and are constantly aware of what you are eating and how your body reacts to the food. So how do you eat clean?
  • You eat 5-6 meals a day
  • You eat every 2-3 hours
  • You do not eat processed, chemical enhanced, or artificially sweetened foods
  • You stay away from the white stuff (sugar, flour, salt)
  • You eat as organically as possible
  • You watch your portion sizes
  • Drink a lot of water (at least 2-3 liters)
So what do you eat?
In a day I try to follow a 40, 40. 20 principle where 40 percent is Carbohydrates and Proteins and 20 percent is from fat. Ideally each of your meals should contain a protein and a carbohydrate. This is because carbohydrates are used in the body for quicker energy and so paired with protein this combination has a more long lasting energy effect and helps stabilize your blood sugar levels. You should eat your carbohydrates from whole grains (oatmeal, wheat bread/wraps, brown rice), fruit, and vegetables. Proteins need to be as lean as possible meaning as little fat as possible. Fat from animal fats are saturated and this is bad! Too much of this fat is what you find around your arteries etc. You want unsaturated/ hydrogenated fats which aren't solid at room temperature. So lean proteins include chicken, pork loin, lean beef, sea food, egg whites, protein powder, and even beans. Good fats are nuts, oils (olive, coconut, sunflower,etc), nut butters, avocados.

Most people I talk to are intimated by eating 5 or more meals a day every 2 to 3 hours. Yes, this is a lot of eating, but its so important to eat smaller meals throughout the day rather than 3 mid-size meals...or worse one big whopper at the end of the day. Eating throughout the day not only stabilizes your blood sugar for long-lasting energy, but it also revs up your metabolism so you are burning more calories during the day.  It may also be hard to believe but you will lose more weight eating more food! Clean food is REAL food. It is perfect food you can actually eat more of because of its lower calorie, salt, and fat content. This is a way lifestyle not simply a diet to lose weight quickly. Yet, it does take some planning and organization to get it engraved into your days. For example, I typically plan out a few meals to cook for the week that I can munch on often. Then, I will usually pick a day to get it all done. I will do the grocery shopping, cut up and wash fruit and veggies for quick grabbing, and prepare some meals in one day. Once you get the hang of a routine like this you will be amazed with how easy this all becomes.  I hope this helps with some questions on clean eating and maybe this will inspire a few of you to try this out. If you have any questions or simply help with a head start please contact me!

A typical meal plan for me:
meal 1 (6:30/ 7am)- 1/2c oatmeal (or oat bran), 2 tbsp ground flax, 2 tbsp wheat germ, 1/2c berries, 1 c milk (or scoop of protein powder), green tea with lemon

meal 2 (9am) - 3 egg whites, spinach, tomato, 1 small apple

meal 3  (12/1pm)- veggie soup (low sodium) broth based, 4oz grilled chicken

meal 4 (3)- 1 Ezekial bread slice, 1 tbsp peanut (or almond) butter, cucumber

meal 5 (6)- 4 oz salmon with spices and lemon, veggies, small sweet potato with cinnamon

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Winter Break- new recipes

Since my return from Spain, I have truly enjoyed my time at home to catch on some much appreciated R & R as well as spending time with my family and friends. When I came back into the states I decided to put my clubs down for a few weeks and which is always and interesting experience for me. Usually I start enjoying the time to do other things from golf, so most of my time was spent working out, cooking, seeing friends and family, and shopping : ). Eventually this also becomes a routine....so when its time to get back into my golf routine its definitely hard sometimes to reach for that inner motivation. What usually gets me going is knowing I have a tournament coming up to prepare for.... I hate not being ready for a tournament and so sometimes you just gotta grit and bare the cold and laziness and move forward. My next string of tournaments begin January 20th in Australia. I will be playing in 2 back to back tournaments, after I will have a week break and then I will go to New Zealand to play in their Women's Open. I'm really looking forward to competing again and playing with some pressure, which is fun! The season is supposed to be their spring/summer so I can't wait to bring out my shorts and soak in the warm temperatures. I leave this Sunday the 16th so I still have golf practice and travel preparations to wrap up in order to be completely ready for the long flight across the world. Anyways I will fill you in later on how I will prepare for this trip. I do have some recipes for some good eats I've prepared over the break. I hope you try them out and enjoy them as much as my family and I did!

  Applesauce Pumpkin muffins (from The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook)

1c old- fashioned oatmeal
1/2c unsweetened applesauce
1/2c canned pumpkin
2 large egg white, 1 egg white (lightly beaten)
2 tbsp and 1 tsp canola oil
1 tbsp double-acting baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2c milk or soy
1/2 c flour of your choice
1/4 c whole-wheat flour
1/4c maple sugar flakes (i used a free tbsp of maple syrup instead)
1/2 dried cranberries or raisins

1) Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Line muffin pan with cooking spray and liners 2) Combine oatmeal, pumpkin, applesauce, milk, eggs and oil. Mix until all ingredients are blended 3) Measure and mix all dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and pour in all wet ingredients. Mix all ingredients until all dry are moistened. Fill muffins cups 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 minutes until brown on top

Maui Black Bean Soup (The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook pg. 71)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 ribs celery, trimmed and chopped
1 fat carrot, peeled and chopped
1 small purple onion, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and de-veined, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and de-veined, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
1 tsp dried cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp chili powder
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 x 15oz cans black beans
1 x 15oz canned diced tomatoes
1c fresh (or frozen) corn kernels
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

1) In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add celery, carrot, onion and bell peppers. Saute' until onion becomes translucent, about 8 min. Add garlic and spices cook another 2 minutes. 
2) Add stock, beans, tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Use a hand blender to slightly puree mixture. Add corn and simmer. Add salt and pepper

Black Bean Brownies (from Sept. 2010 Oxygen mag)

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 whole eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz package Mori Nu, extra-firm lite tofu
1/2c unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp canola oil
1/3 pure maple syrup
1/2c unsweetened cocoa
3/4c chocolate whey protein powder
1 tsp baking poweder
1/2 tsp sea salt

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2) Puree beans in a food processor. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and blend to combine
3) In a large mixing bowl, use a fork to mix together the dry ingredients. Add to the wet ingredients and blend until smooth
4) Pour batter into an oiled 8x8 baking dish. Bake for 30 min

Makes 16 servings. 100 cal, 3g fat, 11g Carb, 8g Protein     

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

As promised here is the next part to my Spain trip. We left last Monday from Cartegena en route for Granada. I heard about Granada from my Auburn team mate who's from Madrid. She recommended going there because of its Muslim and Arabic history. Dad and I decided to take the scenic drive along the ocean which would eventually detour along the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. The next day was definitely one to remember! Tuesday, was one of those days where everything sort of started out against us. We woke up in our hotel and left around 8 or 9 because everything is later in Spain. Our first plan of the day was to see the Muslim built fort Alahambra. But before we went there, we first wanted to find a grocery store possibly for snacks or a sandwich for later. That was a no-go. All the stores we could find were closed and didn't seem to open probably til lunch time. Next, we needed to exchange our American dollars for Euros. So we headed to the nearest national bank and who would have thought that a bank would not exchange money!!! Strike 2. What next? The search for Alahambra. For the trip we brought our TomTom to help navigate us....which really only got us more lost! I plugged in the name Alahambra and one showed up, so we followed it only to end up at a beer factory plant which processed the beer named Alahambra. Whew!!! After driving around in circles trying to find a fort (which shouldn't be too hard to find considering its supposed to be huge), we decided to drive up to the Sierra Nevada Mountains so I could for the first time try skiing or snowboarding.

Probably one of my favorite part of Spain was being able to experience its beautiful landscape. The drive through the Sierra Nevada Mountains was one of these experiences. The road just kept climbing up and around the mountain surrounded by wildlife, as well as,  pine trees and olive trees. Along the drive something I kind of expected would happen eventually along the trip did....we were pulled over for my father not wearing his seat belt! I wish I had video of this for you all...it was typical of my dad. The officer came to the window and announced we would need to pay him 100 euros right then for not wearing a seat belt. When he went back to the police car with my father's license and information my father pulled a quick one on him and pulled the belt across his lap but not over the shoulder. Now keep in mind that we don't speak much Spanish and this officer spoke very little English. So when the officer came back to the window my father some how pulled it off how he was wearing a seat belt all a long and that he had restrictions in driving when he wore the belt across his shoulder! Wow! Of course I was sitting in the front seat trying to in vision how we were going to get out the jail cell they were going to throw us in. Eventually, the cop actually just told us to go probably just so he didn't have to talk with my father again! So off we went.  The ski village on top of the mountain was too cute. The houses and buildings looked as if they were just stacked on top of each other going up the mountain. The stores were all ski or winter related and then there were restaurants that like most in Spain were devoted to selling coffee (cafe) and pastries. We headed first to the information center. Never would have guessed this...the lifts (or the mountain) was closed! What is that strike 3 and a half maybe? At least at this information desk we were able to pick up a map of Granada that had the true location of Alahambra! After a coffee on my part and a pastry of my dads part we left the ski village.

Skip forward to the part where we actually do find Alahambra. So we parked, followed the crowd to this building where a line had formed to enter Alahambra. As we stood in the long line, one of the workers walked along telling everyone that all the tickets to see Alahambra had been sold out for the day! What a day right? Well it did eventually turn around. We decided to walk down to the downtown center of Granada and boy did we walk. It seemed every which way we walked was up hill but it was definitely worth the experience. Granada was beautiful! It was everything you expected an old town to be like and the people fit this image completely. I personally enjoyed the hippies and old palm-readers since I don't come across these personalities quite often in Alabama :)

Our Spanish tour ended pretty quickly. Truthfully we were so set on just going home after 4 to 5 days of being tourists. My dad really enjoyed the beautiful sites but the driving, walking, eating, hotels, and hardly no communication to friends and family became tiring. I really wanted to just go home and relax with friends and family. So we left December 11 from Spain and I have really loved doing nothing at home!!! So whats next? Australia!!!!

Thanks for being patient with me!