Wednesday, December 31, 2014

For Old Times

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?
- Auld Lang Syne

I hope each and every one you have a wonderful New Years Eve spent with people you love and hold dear. I have your back if you are in need of a last minute cocktail to cheers 2014. Wishing you a great year ahead. Cheers! 

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Snapshot of 2014

With Christmas ending and New years right around the corner comes the feeling of how in the world did this year pass by so quickly. I know this happens to everyone and I have heard it is worse when you have children. Sometimes it is important to take a step back and truly think about all that has occurred this year.  We had some big milestones in our little family this year and I am thankful that I have this little blog to document it all.

Here is a monthly snapshot of 2014. While writing this I realized some months there was typical date nights, new recipes and fitness adventures. Other months were jammed packed with trips, birthdays and vacations (Hello June!!).

January: Experienced my first snow while living in Cary. It was a fun experience and an added plus not having to worry about salting our sidewalks. One of the perks of apartment living.

February: Spent a week in Washington, DC for the National Association of  School Psychologist Annual Conference. Looking back, I realized I did not blog much about it. We had a great time visiting some national monuments and exploring snowy DC.

March: Celebrated Easter with my family and created a new recipe featuring my favorite holiday candy. I also ran my favorite race to date- Tobacco Trail Half Marathon.

April:  I ran my first marathon and spent spring break on a mother/daughter cruise to the Caribbean.

May: I completed a fitness challenge to get ready for summer with NHerShoes. It was a great way to expidite my fitness goals. 

June: Joe and I celebrated out two year anniversary with a Mediterranean Cruise. It was a bumpy start getting to the cruise ship but we ended up being okay and have a great story. We visited Athens, Ephesus, Santorini, Mkynos, Rhodes and Naples. Following our cruise we spent three days in Rome. It was a trip of a lifetime! 

July: Spent 4th of July week at Topsail Beach with my family. We braved the one and only hurricane of the season Arthur while we were there. 

August: Started a new  job closer to home complete with my own office. I am beyond thankful for my new school and love the teachers and students I work with. 

September: Spent our weekends at the beach with my family. A trip to the amazing Britt's doughnuts also occurred. 

October: Visited a haunted corn maze, the NC state fair and ran a half marathon all in one weekend!! We also spent a weekend in the mountains celebrating Joe's 30th birthday. 

November: Pulled a ligament and was put on rest from running. Fell in love with Pure Barre while I healed. 

December: Celebrated the Christmas season with friends and family! 

Can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for us! 

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him

Just an amazing reminder of the true meaning behind this Holiday season.  The story of Jesus' birth from the book of Luke is my favorite this time of year. 

Luke 2: 1-20 

1  In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Home for the Holidays & Holiday Treadmill Workout

Happy Monday morning. I am excited to start off this Christmas week at home with my family. One of the huge perks of working for a school system is the long Holiday breaks. I am beyond thrilled to be off for the next two weeks. My mom broke her right wrist and is in a cast so I am in charge of helping with cooking and chores this week.

Joe was battling a sinus infection this weekend so we changed our plans and kept things low key. While the husband rested I spend my time at the gym, wrapping last minute gifts and watching Christmas specials. Saturday morning we were surprised with a bit of snow! Unfortunately, it did not last long and by mid-day it had turned into rain.

I took the chance Saturday to really work up a sweat on the treadmill. I am still not cleared to run yet. So I cranked up the incline to really work up a sweat. Runner or not this workout is a doozy! I always forget how challenging inclines can be. If you are looking to work up a sweat on the treadmill and are not in the mood to run give this workout a try! Make sure to not hold onto the sides of the treadmill for support. If it gets too intense just decrease the incline.

Hope you all have a wonderful Monday. I'm looking forward to enjoying time with my family!

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Five

A week full of back to back parties have me tuckered out. I am thankful to start my Friday at the gym to sweat it out. I am a firm believer that a workout can improve your mood. The trouble is just making it to the gym :) Today is our last day at school before break so I know it will be a madhouse with little to no work getting done. Is it strange that I love this time of year at school? I know classroom teachers don't feel the same but I just love it! Here are five more things that I am loving today. 

{One} Christmas Cheer. Right now my Pinterest board is filled with delicious looking Christmas treats that will most likely grace my kitchen. My marathon baking from last weekend is enough for this season! One thing I can get onboard with is holiday Christmas drinks. I know this list has a ton of new ideas that are sure to become a new favorite. 

{Two} Drinking.  I gave Shakeology a try last month and am still enjoying the vegan chocolate flavor every morning for breakfast. This is honestly the only protein that I enjoy with just water. We are not really milk drinkers in our family and hardly ever go through a pint before it expires. So not having to keep milk the fridge is huge plus. The protein mix boasts that it includes over 70 ultra high-quality ingredients to help maintain a healthy diet. I like that it is vegan so I don’t have to worry about random byproducts or metals getting included. Yes, it is a bit expensive. One bag has lasted me a month and a half which helps justify the cost.

{Three} Currently Watching.  Fun fact: I love TV mini-series. Specifically, historical or sci-fi series intrigue me. This week we watched the syfy channel’s new mini-series Ascension. Without giving any spoilers, the show is about a secret space travel program that was founded in the 50’s. I will admit that the acting was horrible. I will say that the special effects were pretty great for a made for TV series. Anybody else secretly love TV mini-series? I want to watch Gracepoint and loved The Vikings mini-series from the History Channel.

{Four} Currently Loving.  I am happy to have wrapped up our Christmas shopping but am not looking forward to loading up the car come Sunday afternoon to head home. We are going to have one full car!! If your still looking for last minute gift ideas check out my series of gift guides.

{Five} Coming Up. We have one last jammed packed weekend before heading home for the Holidays! The highlight of the weekend is going to dinner Saturday evening at Angus Barn. I have been warned that it does not live up to the hype. Either way I am looking forward to a fancy dinner with my Husband to celebrate this amazing year.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Linking up with Lauren ElizabethClareKarliAmanda & April .
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Total Body Circuit

I thought today I would mix things up and do a little fitness post. Honestly, my workouts beyond Pure Barre have been limited due to my injury. I have little to no motivation to complete cardio or eat healthy these days. How  can you say no to homemade cookies and  pedaling on a bike for 30 minutes going nowhere should be considered torture. Thanks to some less than flattering photos this weekend I have jumped back on the cardio and clean eating train. I plan to keep the motivation going through Christmas and New Year.  

This workout is a great low impact option if you don’t like plyo exercises or are concerned with annoying the downstairs neighbors. I have a love/hate relationship with lunges. It is one exercise that gets results but is beyond painful for me. Give this a try and let me know what you think. I'd also like to hear your favorite workout move. Mine currently is planks. I am working my way up to the complete 90 second plank at Pure Barre.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekend Rewind

How is everyone doing? I am slowly recovering from a sugar coma thanks to a weekend full of Christmas parties and baking.  Drinking lots of water and tea this morning to help dilute the sugar currently sitting in my stomach :).  Let me share what I was up to this weekend!

Friday night after work, Joe and I headed out to dinner with our young adult group from church. We enjoyed dinner at Mellow Mushroom on the American Tobacco Campus.  The campus is formerly the headquarters of the American Tobacco Company, once the largest manufacturer of cigarettes in the United States. The location was abandoned until 2000 when it became part of revitalization project to redevelop downtown Durham. The campus now hosts countless restaurants, businesses, apartments and the Durham Performing Arts Center.

After dinner, we went ice skating at an outdoor rink that had been set up in the center of campus. I am always nervous of falling when on the ice but thankfully was able to remain upright.

Before leaving, we toured a local Christmas tree decorating contest set up by nonprofit organizations. My favorite were the animal rescue groups which had trees featuring dog and cat treats or photos. 

Saturday morning while Joe hung around the house assembling his new computer (Christmas came early for us.) I snuck off for some peace and quiet and a good workout at Pure Barre.

For lunch we headed out to The Brunch Box which is quickly becoming my favorite local deli. I chose a build your own sandwich complete with sprouts and avocado. It was delicious!!

Saturday night we headed to a Christmas party and a friend’s house and enjoyed an evening hanging out past my 10pm bedtime. This rarely happens for me and I was happy to throw my self-imposed curfew out the window.

Sunday after church we had yet another holiday party to attend and then I spent the rest of the evening baking and wrapping gifts. I made Holiday cake batter cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction and they turned out amazing. I also made a batch of Rocky Road brownies. I can’t wait to share them with co-workers this week.

The weather was so beautiful this weekend so I also made sure to take Charlie on an afternoon walk Sunday after sampling all the baked goods.  

What is your favorite holiday recipe? 

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Five

I hope you all have had a great week and are ready to get this weekend started. I attempted to make brownies last night from scratch as a treat for my coworkers and the batch ended up in the trash. I am not ready to wing it yet when it comes to recipes apparently. The brownies never set and I ended up with a stickily sweet mess! I stopped by Harris Teeter on the way to work to make up for my fiasco. Now that I am thoroughly embarrassed... here is my Friday Five.

{One} Christmas Cheer. We are not doing Christmas cards this year since we are not at a stable address currently. I still wanted to do something to document the season so I did my own little photo shoot with Charlie and the Christmas tree. #crazydogmom But seriously how cute is he?

{Two} Drinking.  I recently fell in love with Chai Tea Lattes and had no idea I was missing out all these years. Since our budget does not allow for Starbucks trips I have been making my own at home in the Kureig with K-cups. I have to say for pre-made and only 70 calories it is pretty delicious. I also brew it for 10-12oz instead of the recommended 8oz and can't taste a difference.

{Three} Wishlist Worthy.  Lauren Conrad can do no wrong in my books. I am loving her new Winter collection at Khols. Unfortunately, I always find the cutest things on line but never in the store. Honestly, I have not stepped foot in Khols in years and I have no idea where one is near us. This collection may make me change my ways. 

{Four} Currently Loving. I snagged these Loft jeans on cyber Monday for 50% off. Today is my first day wearing them and I am already in love. The modern fit is slim cut but not skin tight. The petite length is perfect for my 5'2 legs and hits exactly at the top of my flats. I highly recommend these jeans to other petite girls. Also, never pay full price at Loft wait for a sale or coupon.

{Five} Coming Up. Tonight we are headed for dinner and ice skating downtown Durham at the Tobacco Campus. I am looking forward to seeing downtown all lit up for the holidays. Then Sunday we are official joining a church in the area. I am so thrilled to found a church which Joe and I both feel at home. I love that there are couples our age active in the church as well.  I hope to wrap up all of our holiday shopping this weekend as well.

What's on tap for your weekend?

Linking up with Lauren ElizabethClareKarliAmanda & April .
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