Life Update: What Day Is It?

Hi Friends! It’s been a hot second since my last post. Life has been…. kind of a beautiful mess!

The truth is that I am exhausted. The last month has been a total whirlwind and most days I am not entirely sure which way is up. If I don’t write something down, I don’t remember it.

As an example, about two weeks ago (Maybe?) I had a meeting on a Monday and didn’t realize that I had completely forgotten about it and not shown up until Thursday. Oops. Luckily, I was able to reschedule.

I’ve been so busy that I didn’t post anything on Instagram for 3 WEEKS! If you know me, you know that I typically post about once a day!

Also, the blog turned 4 years old a couple of weeks ago! I had been thinking of doing a sappy throwback post with a lot of fanfare…and then I completely missed it… so thank you to everyone who keeps reading! Moving on…

In other news, Ben and I are adjusting to a new schedule as he started a new job a few weeks ago and I am still trying to figure out balancing schoolwork and adulting. Most days, I am usually up until about 2 am doing homework. Needless to say, this month has required a lot of prayer, patience and coffee (mostly on Farmer Ben’s part-#besthubsever).

 

But even with all of the hustle and bustle and adulting failure, life is good and Ben and I have so much to be thankful for.

Life is SO good!

Ben and I took a quick trip down to see the family for Thanksgiving. (We drove down Wednesday after work and drove back on Thursday night). Yes, it was a lot of driving but Farmer Ben is probably the best car dancer road trip partner on the planet so we had a blast.

I spent a large portion of the trip scanning radio stations (I know, I’m incredibly behind the times) so I could belt out Adele’s “Hello” while speeding down the highway, eating Trader Joe’s chocolate almonds and drinking coffee like a champ!

The highlight of our trip was going to Wegmans on Thanksgiving day and completely blowing our grocery budget on beer and cheese buying some awesome foodie things that we may not be able to get at home.

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Just kidding! While this beer and Wegmans brie are both wonderful treats, it was even better to spend time with the family….especially because I finally got to meet my beautiful niece! Her name is Olivia and she is perfect!

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She already looks so much like my sister! (Side note: Can we talk about how good my sister looks after delivering a human baby three weeks ago?!) It’s crazy….strong genes! It was awesome to see the rest of the family as well… I always hate to leave!

Since being home, I’ve been going pretty much nonstop but I am thankful that I am able to do what I do.

Phew… this was an incredibly random post! I had something much deeper planned when I first started typing and…well, clearly that didn’t happen. Next time friends!

Let’s catch up! How was Thanksgiving? Favorite road trip snack? What’s your favorite foodie item/beer? 

 

Also, linking up with Amanda at Running With Spoons for today’s Thinking Out Loud Post….check out some of the other posts! Thanks for hosting the link-up!

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Oh Hey!

Just stopping in real quick to say Happy Thanksgiving! Have a safe and happy holiday and be blessed!

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Today’s Notes to Self…

1. I really want T. Swift’s new album. Lyrical Genius. Should I be embarrassed by this?

2. Where was this album in 2009 when I really needed it?!

3. I love apples. And apple cider donuts. And apple cake. And pie … and… apples.

4. I had forgotten how much I enjoy eating toast with cream cheese and strawberry jam. Yum!

5. Does it make me a bad person if I change the radio station every time a song that features a gospel choir or kids singing comes on? It’s one thing if it’s, you know, a gospel concert or a kids’ chorus… but otherwise… such a gimmick! Come up with better material!

6. This happened on my way to work this morning…sigh.

7. Dear Old Navy, why is it that I’m down three sizes in every other brand of pants I try on, but I am only down one/still the same size in your pants? How does this make sense?!

8. Dear Size 8 (Except at Old Navy), it’s been a long time. I think we’ll stay friends for a while.

9. I need to make these soon.

10. Our fridge/freezer are currently stocked with butter and cream cheese. Life is as it should be and it’s time to do some baking. (Hello Pies!)

11. Speaking of pie, it’s time to make some of these little beauties.

12. Farmer Ben, I love that we’ve been getting in some runs together. You don’t know how happy this makes me…even if I did almost fall on my face last night.

14. I had forgotten how much I enjoy Sam’s Cherry Wheat. Phew!

15. Judging by most of these notes, it’s a good thing that I’ve been running lately!

16. How is Thanksgiving only a week and two days away?!

17. I cannot wait to try a spin class this week.

18. Habanero Hot Sauce made by Farmer Ben makes me happy…but it also makes my lips burn and my brow sweat. I guess it’s true that love hurts.

19. Cottage Cheese + Habanero Hot Sauce=True Love Forever.

20. I clearly haven’t had enough coffee today.

21. I can’t wait to run tonight. It’s going to be a late one, but worth it.

22. Anyone have any challenges/new adventures for me? See this post for more info.

23. Happy Tuesday!

13. Did anyone else notice that I skipped number 13? Oops!


Is That a Challenge?

I don’t know about you, but I love a good challenge. Lucky for me,  November seems to be the month of Challenges!

There is a little trend on some social networking site, where people post one thing that they are thankful for each day of November. I’ve decided to accept this…and to take it a step further. I’ve created a page on this site where I will post my items.  Check it out!

My second challenge? I joined an online group!  I don’t usually like to join groups on the sites I use… but I have a huge goal that I am finally going for in the next few months (more on that later…) and decided that this would be something to help me on that path…and to keep me accountable.

So, I took the plunge and joined a group called the “50 day Challenge!!” on MFP. Basically, it’s to help members stay on track to reach a personal goal by December 18. I am aiming to shed a few more pounds or a pants size, but more importantly, I just want to stay active. I’d hate to see all of my hard work from the last few months go to waste. Because of this group, I’ve added a lot of MFPals in the last week or so…and it’s great, although I do find myself distracted by all of the activity on my page.  No matter, I have people to keep me on track. Boom.

 We also started a new series in our small groups and at church. It’s called The Circle Maker.

In our first meeting, we were challenged to pick something to pray about for 21 days (“drawing a circle around it,” if you will).  We were to come up with an end goal/dream/request and ask God to help us attain that end result. Every day. I have a couple of things that I could pray about, but I’ve got it narrowed down.

So, here I am, doing this. I do pray every day. But I don’t typically ask for something for myself, so this is definitely a new experience. I’m learning as I go.

I’ve also got a race coming up! The hubs and I will be running the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and I am pretty excited. Lots of running to get in before then and I am hoping for a PR!

Lastly, the hubby and I have been eating a lot lately. We’ve been eating out…And not very well…so I am challenging myself to eat better, cleaner and cheaper this month.

No, I won’t be depriving myself of all the wonderful goodies that come from November (Hello, Turkey and Pumpkin Pie!!!), but I will be paying attention to what I eat and challenging myself to eat at home. This means getting up in the morning to make breakfast, planning my lunch the night before and–gasp!!!–making coffee/tea at home instead of going to Starbucks. It’s on!

It’s going to be a month of self-discipline. But I am ready!

Do you have any challenges/goals for this month?  Tell me about them!


Thanksgiving Bites!

After kind of a rough day at work, I decided I should do a post about my second great love; food!!!

I absolutely adore food. I’d rather go grocery shopping than clothes shopping. I’d rather stay in baking than hitting the town with my ladies. I’d rather stay in cooking with my husband while listening to Flamenco music than go to the movies. I’d rather peruse food blogs than shop online. I’d rather go out and try a new restaurant than go out for drinks.

It’s bad. My husband’s a chef. I can’t think of a time that I find him sexier than when he is in the kitchen. Thankfully, I also love running…otherwise I think we’d have a real problem!

I also love Thanksgiving. I have such fond memories of the family dinners of yesteryear…including Aunt Rayna’s Chocolate Kahlua Cake, Nana’s amazing salads and sweet potatoes, giant turkeys, mashed potatoes (with the skins) and bickering with my brother and sisters.

My siblings and cousins are probably going to kill me when they see this.. but I couldn’t resist…Check out my awesome red velvet dress with the super frilly collar…EEK!

One of our famous holiday dinners... circa 1990-91

“Moving on…

I thought I’d show you some of my recent obsessions in the food blog world, maybe something you could use for the big Thanksgiving feast you’re attending! I have made almost all of these recipes or similar versions of them and can tell you that they are great! All of these are a little different than your traditional Turkey Day Fare. Be warned, you are about to be blown away!

1. Swiss Chard Sweet Potato Gratin. 

Deb is the best. Smitten Kitchen is one of my go-to food blogs, whether it be for dinner, dessert or a snack. This Gratin will rock your socks off! We made this for Christmas last year and as a vegetarian dish at our wedding…there was nothing left. Absolutely amazing!

2. Apple Pie Cookies

Another Smitten Kitchen Creation, these cookies are not for the faint of heart, but they are so worth it. If you’re looking for a fun twist on a traditional dessert, then these are the cookie for you. Just be warned, you’ve got to be in it for the long haul-Not because they are difficult to make, but they are a little labor intensive.

3. Caramelized Onion Dip

If you are anything like me, the apps are just as important as the main course. This dip is from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks, simple to make and a little fancier than the standard french onion dip. I think it’s even better after sitting in the fridge for a day, allowing the flavor to really come out. This is a great dish to bring along, serve it with veggies, crackers or some tortilla chips.

4. Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Another 101 Cookbooks recipe, this is one of my favorite cakes to make. More savory than sweet, it’s got a little bit of everything: glorious undertones of rosemary, dark chocolate surprises, and the moistness that every olive oil cake has. Yum! I throw in some flax seed meal just to give it that extra something. Again, if you’re looking for something a little different, make this! Actually, just make it anyway.

5. Pumpkin Cream Pie

Confession, I haven’t actually made this pie, but it looks mouthwatering. I love Pioneer Woman’s blog because she makes everything so easy. She also uses real ingredients. I may have to make this for our celebration…now to convince Ben that we need another dessert…

6. Spaghetti Squash with Maple Syrup and Shallots

Spaghetti Squash. I adore it. Add Maple Syrup and Shallots, you have a winner. Not only is it fun to eat, but it’s soooooo goooooood! Another win for P-Dub.

7. Chicken (or turkey?) Pot Pie with Cream Cheese and Chive Buscuits

I know this is a leftovers recipe, but still. Look at it, Joy the Baker rocks. This rocks. How else are you gonna use up all that turkey?

8. Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake

This cake is awesome. I mean, just look at the frosting! I didn’t use as much sugar in the frosting but that’s only because I am not a super sweet person. It’s something fun and different! Try it!!! Just make sure not to use overly ripe avocados, especially in the frosting, it will quickly turn that vibrant green to a weird brownish color.

9. Quinoa Stuffing

Once again, I haven’t made this but it looks great. It’s got so many of my favorite ingredients in it. Whether you are gluten-free or not, this is definitely something to try! Quinoa makes me happy, it is fun to eat and so good for you!

10. Shredded Brussel Sprouts

I know Brussels Sprouts aren’t for everyone, but really, these sound sooooo goood!  (sorry, you have to scroll down to get to this recipe.) I definitely think these are worth a try…I mean, they have pancetta and caraway in them, how can you go wrong?!

That’s all for now. Let me know if you end up trying any of these and what you think! What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods? Be on the lookout for a sampling of our Thanksgiving feast (the first in our new apartment as a married couple! AH!)

Have a safe, happy and blessed holiday!


No Regrets. Part I

Hi Friends!

So, I was all set to tell you about my adventurous weekend in Philly, including the untimely demise of a smartphone, but something better came up!

I was sitting in church yesterday morning, listening to my pastors talk about being thankful, the spirit of Thanksgiving, and how to live-truly live. This got me thinking, “what am I thankful for?” There are so many things that I can’t even begin to make a list, so I’ll just tell you about one, for which I am extremely grateful:

Being dumped. I know, you’re thinking, “what?!” But being dumped was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

Here is the very short-handed version; it was the summer of 2009. I had been out of college for 8 months and engaged for a year and half. After I graduated, I packed up my VW Jetta and moved my entire life to Northern Virginia. I was working at a job I hated in DC. I had a few friends, but otherwise,I didn’t really know anyone outside of my fiance’s circle. I had started out living with him and his roommate, but had moved into my own place, thinking that he would be moving in when his lease ran out. I was living the dream, right?

The ex and I, right after Graduation (I had to search for this photo on Facebook because I don’t have any)

Maybe not. Nothing against my ex, he really is a good guy, but after seven and half years together, we had both changed. A lot. And honestly-even though I was deep in denial about it-we were both pretty miserable about 90% of the time. And I was a mess 110% of the time. Thinking about it now, I couldn’t really blame him for wanting out.

We had just driven back from a funeral. We got back to my apartment. He said he couldn’t do it anymore. It was over. I was dumbfounded. Broken. Needless to say, the next few months were…rough. Really rough. I remember sending him a letter in November. Basically getting everything out that I hadn’t been able to say to him.

About two weeks later, and having no reply to the letter, I saw him in the grocery store, he was standing in front of the lettuce (we lived 5 minutes from each other), I was by the melons. He turned around and went the opposite direction.

In my oh-so-cool-and-collected state (ha!) I headed him off -after being with someone for that long, you know their shopping habits-in a different section of the store. Let’s just say, I lost my cool. And ended up really embarrassing myself. I drove home in a blind rage, stewed for about an hour and called him back up to finish screaming at him. It was ugly. Looking back, I have NEVER been so mortified at my own behavior. I guess you could say that he took the breakup a lot better than I did.

That was about two years and a week ago today. Looking back, I find it hilarious. I was totally that girl. A friend of mine jokes that I threw a cantaloupe at his head, and if I had confronted him in the produce department, I probably would have…only in the heat of the moment, of course.

I know, you’re probably still wondering how this experience is something I am grateful for, click here for part 2.