Monday, December 30, 2013

Healthy and Happy Twenty-Fourteen

Morning, friends! Since the new year is quickly approaching, I thought it would be nice to share my plan for a healthy and happy 2014.

I am a huge fan of resolutions. I love love love making goals and reaching them - it gives me such a sense of accomplishment and productivity, not to mention a nice boost of self confidence!

For the past couple of years, my resolutions have been same old-same old, and mostly to do with physical well-being. I mean, that's what was mostly on my mind!! Drink more water. Eat healthier (as if I wasn't already eating a ton of healthy food....). Run more (uh, check!).

This year I want to focus on smaller, more every-day goals rather than a couple of big resolutions for the year, and I love this list of ideas from Nutritionella.

Some of my favorites from each category:


Roast vegetables you would normally steam, boil, or saute. I looovvee roasted veggies, so taking a  little extra time to roast some of my favorites will definitely be a good (and delicious) change!

Cook one new recipe a week. I tend to eat the same things over and over and over again - I'd love to browse through my Pinterest recipes and make some!!


Make an exercise date with a friend one day per week. I have so much more motivation, especially on long runs, when I run with a friend. It's a lot more fun to exercise with a buddy, and a great bonding/personal time together!

Try one new fitness app a month. I don't think I've ever used a fitness app except for Map My Run, so this should be a fun change from the norm for me.

Self Love

Read a book, magazine, or write in your journal instead of using phone, tablets, or watching television before bed. Sadly, this one will probably be the most difficult habit to break - my before-bed routine generally involves technology! But I do love reading, and I think this will be very, very beneficial.

Add a new and different blog to your Feedly (Bloglovin for me) each month. I'll admit it - 99% of the blogs I follow are health and wellness. While I love them, I'd like to find something focused on fashion or DIY. One of my faves is A Beautiful Mess!


Enjoy what you love every day. It seems so simple, but is actually a hard concept to grasp sometimes! I think this is a great challenge.

Learn a new skill. Or re-learn, for me. I used to take play piano, and I've gotten very rusty over the years - I'd love to start some piano lessons again!

There's also a few things that I personally came up with, aka without the help of another blogger. ;)


I'm not even so sure how well this will work, but I want to pin NO MORE recipes until I make at least 3 from each food board. I have a ton (like, hundreds) of recipe pins, so this really should not be that big of a challenge. We shall see!


Get stronger. And I mean where I actually notice the strength, not just for muscle tone. Now that I've gotten really into running and cardio, it's time to pick the strength workouts back up. I did them 3-4 times a week over the summer with light weights, and I was actually gaining some nice tone in my arms and shoulders! But then cross country started and I've kind of dropped the ball.

Self Love

Go out with friends more often. It's no secret that I'm quite the homebody - I would rather cuddle up on the couch with a nice book and hot mug of tea than go to a social gathering most of the time. This year, I'd like to start branching out a bit! :)


Start participating in She Reads Truth again. It's a wonderful online Bible study written by really incredible and inspiring women. I need that kind of positive light in my day!

I'd say that this is a pretty awesome list of achievable resolutions! Here's to having an amazing 2014!!!!!

What's one resolution you have for the New Year?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Runs, Friends, and Instagram

Hello darlings! I've had quite the fun past few days - let's play a little catch-up, shall we?

All pictures are from my iPhone, as I'm obsessed with the camera on it - it takes almost better-quality pictures than my Nikon! (Hey you should be my friend on Instagram ;) Pretty please?)

Thursday morning: my favorite breakfast - Chai Spiced Pear Overnight Oats and cofffeee.

After a couple of hours, I headed out for a 35 minute run. I actually got sweaty on this one! Now that I'm pretty much over my cold, my runs have been feeling really good again! 

After my run and shower, I headed out with my sister and friend for a girls' day. We stopped for lunch at Chic-fil-e and then went shopping at all of the crazy holiday sales!!

After shopping around a bit, we walked around downtown Woodstock for an hour or so. It has a lot of cute coffee shops and boutiques to browse around in - I also loved the giant ornaments hanging on the trees!

We slept over at a friend's house that we were house-sitting for. She has two adorable kittens that were completely crazy and fun! I really miss having kittens - they were quite a handful in a really cute hyper kitten way.

We were supposed to be helping Sara study for the ACT buuuttt.....when you put 3 girls in a house together, not much studying is going to happen. Especially on break. Fact of life!

Even though we barely slept, Sara and I had to wake up really early to go take care of some dogs we were watching, and I was starving when I woke up. So breakfast was eaten in my lap, in my pjs, in the car - naturally. And of course I brought the ingredients for oatmeal. :)

We had to be home soon because my aunt and uncle were visiting, and I was greeted with this really amazing surprise:

It was a letter from my very best friend that I was in a recovery center with. We were the closest in age, and practically inseparable. I love her to pieces, and we used to write all the time, but kind of lost touch once our lives started "normalizing." It's been a good year since we've written each other a letter (and almost 2 years since we've seen each other), so I was sooooo happy to get this! Writing letters is such a unique and special thing - something about it makes you feel loved. It's a lost art.

It was also really nice to see my aunt and uncle - we had dinner and played poker together! I lost. :) But they gave us a couple of gift cards, one to Amazon - is it sad I want to spend some money on novelty nut butters?!

Still want this Wild Friends almond butter!!

Saturday I was up {relatively} early for a run with my friend!

We ran a great, easy 7 miles. I loved running outside of my neighborhood and exploring around. I live in a pretty rural-ish area, so there was a lot of pretty countryside scenery!

Can you see the bikers in the distance??

I refueled with Julie's Banana Bread Protein Pancakes and a chocolate almond milk.

Literally the rest of the day was spent lounging around - it was rainy and gross outside (betcha didn't see that one coming!!). I leave you with these adorable pictures:

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

Hello, and happy post-Christmas! Sorry I'm a few days late, I've been a busy-bee for the past few days. Also, the first time I tried to put this post up, my browser closed without saving it so I had to rewrite the entire thing!! Ah well, at least this is my view at the moment:

(Hey..hey..I now have an Instagram! It's safe to say I'm a total newbie! Follow me?)

I hope everyone had a safe, fun, joy-filled, and blessed Christmas this year!! I know I did!

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve started off right with a hot bowl of Apple Pumpkin Spice Oats to waaarrm me up.

Since everyone was still asleep, I headed out for my 45-min easy run. It. Was. Coooolldd.

After I finished and got ready for the day, it was time for our traditional Christmas Eve shenanigans - aka cooking and baking all. day. long.

Blueberry-Ginger Compote

Candied pecans

Chocolate-covered pretzels

Gingerbread men!

We got all of our mis en place ready for Christmas Day, so we could spend maximum time with each other, rather than worrying about getting everything ready!

Traditional Christmas Eve dinner: Chinese takeout!

Aaanndd traditional Christmas Eve evening: watching ELF as a family. It really felt like Christmastime when we turned this on!

While we completed a lot of traditions this year, there were still a few missing. Our church doesn't have a candelight/Christmas Eve service, which we would normally go to, and we didn't go to my aunt's house like we normally would. My grandmother passed away last year, and ever since then, our family "traditions" have kind of loosened up a bit. But it was still a wonderful, wonderful Christmas Eve with my family!

Christmas Day

I woke up later than usual, surprisingly. 9 am and we were ready to see what Santa had brought us. :))

After going through our Santa gifts and stockings (hellooo coffee!), my sister, Mom, and I were off to the kitchen to start breakfast. We would have opened presents first, but Rebekah and I were starving when we woke up!

Waffle toppings

Mom's traditional fruit cake

Whole wheat waffles

Bacon/egg cups

Homemade donuts (not the healthy version - fried goodness, baby)

I got no pictures in-action of opening gifts (um I was having too much fun!), but here's the aftermath:

And some of my favorite gifts from my family:


A heart pillow! A-dork-able!! ;)

Aanndd an iPhone!

I was absolutely wiped for some reason, so when all was unwrapped, admired, and cleaned up, I took a little 1 hour nap and then suited up for a Christmas run (in my new gear)!

A nice, chilly 5k. I took it slow, steady, and easy, and it was just what I needed!

Then a little catching up on the Sing-Off (anyone else watch this?)...

And Christmas Evening dinner.

It was quite the spread - scalloped potatoes, mac and cheese, salad, turkey, ham, green beans, and rolls. We did not go hungry this Christmas!!!

I really can't explain how blessed I felt this year. Not only in the gifts that I received, but the time that I spent with my family. I have a family who loves me, we have more than enough delicious food to fill our bellies, and a roof over our heads. Our lives are overflowing with blessings, and my heart is overflowing with gratitude.

'Twas a wonderful Christmas indeed!

What are some of your Christmas traditions?
What was your favorite gift?!