Christmas Update, and a Personal Request

Happy Day After Christmas! (AKA- Boxing Say)

How was everybody’s Christmases? I hope wonderful! And filled with love, great family, good food and some super fun presents.

Ours was choc full of all the above. Just look at the tree, and all of those presents!

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Craziness. My grandmother’s house was filled to the brim with gifts, carol singing, treats, old Christmas home movies and lots and lots of love.

So imagine my surprise when I returned to the house after Christmas Eve church to find the stockings all hung by the chimney with care…

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All except one.

Yep. See the sock? That’d be my father’s.

My stocking has gone missing.

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My gifts were stuffed into my dad’s stretched out sock.

Merry Christmas, indeed. 😉

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All joking aside, I must admit that I myself got lots of great gifts yesterday. This lucky duck got absolutely everything she asked for, and then some. This being just one of the many, many great things I got.

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Yes, that is a replica of Uncle Si’s tea cup, courtesy of my brother.

It just cracks me up!

It was indeed a wonderful Christmas, spent with people I love. 🙂

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So is anyone using today to recover from holiday sweets binges or staying up too late on Christmas Eve? Normally, that’s what this lady would be doing. However, I’m a big girl now– with a big girl job. 😉 So I was back to work bright and early this morning.

Truthfully, I feel a little bit like I’m fighting through a “Holiday Hangover” today.

But I can’t be sleepy- there’s so much to do!

In a few minutes, I’m heading over to Shane’s house to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday. We also might be attempting a little of this action…

But I was informed that he couldn’t make my any promises.

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So we’ll see if that tuns out to be the case or not.

I hope you all have a splendid Thursday evening!

 

–On a side (and very personal) note: If all of you lovely readers out there could send your good thoughts, love and prayers to my family, that would be so appreciated. I don’t want to get too detailed, but a member of our family that we love very much could use a lot of prayer right now. Truly, any support, good wishes and prayer would mean the world to me and to my family. Thank you!

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The Ultimate Monster Cookie (Possibly)

Happy Sunday! How has everyone’s weekend treated them so far? Good?

Great!

Things around here were pretty busy yesterday. What with all the wrapping, baking and hurrying to complete errands before the ice and snow started falling down. By the way- does it not just look gorgeous out there? I’m really no fan of the snow, but when it looks as festive as it does outside right now- even I can’t complain!

So yesterday, I challenged everyone to see if they could guess where my super clever post title came from. Well guess what? Somebody guessed right!

 

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Yep, tha’s right- Amanda could always read my mind when we lived together in college- looks like some things never change!

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Another “as seen in yesterday’s post” element, I did some special Christmas baking yesterday afternoon…which resulted in these gems.

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Yes, finally! After a little over 6 months I pulled out my favorite cookie recipe and decided to make them again for some folks at work and our family Christmas.

The technical name for these bad boys are Monster Cookies, but that simply doesn’t do them justice. They are “Amazing Monster Cookies”- and I humbly refer to them as my specialty. 😉 It isn’t just me, though- my family often refers to these as “Meredith’s cookies”.

They have quite the fan base.

This recipe is a must try!

What you’ll need for these Amazing Monster Cookies:

– 1 cup Crisco

-3/4 cup granulated sugar

-3/4 cup brown sugar

-2 eggs

-2 teaspoons vanilla

-2 cups flour

-1 teaspoon salt

-1 teaspoon baking soda

-2 cups quick oats

-1 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet

-1 cup butterscotch or peanut butter chips

-festive M&Ms (whatever fits the season or occasion- for these, red and green!)

Directions- A La my stellar severly lacking photo skills:

After preheating the oven to 350 degrees, cream your crisco and suagrs together with your ghetto hand mixer, then add your eggs and vanilla and beat.

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Slowly add in your dry mixture to the wet mixture, beating everything together as you go. (It takes me 4 “rounds” of pouring in my dry ingredients and mixing everything together until I finish.)

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When this step is successfully completed, the dough should be lighter in color, smooth and not very sticky.

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Then (and here comes the good stuff), add in your oats. The original recipe I have for these calls for the oats to be beat in with a mixer, but I prefer to use my big wooden spoons to just stir it all in because I love the texture the whole oats give the cookies.

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Also, as a side note- can we talk for a second about how massive this container of oats is? Like…yowza. That is a huge thing of oats.

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Easily 3 times the size of your average oats container. Who-ah. (<—that’s for you, Shane. 😉 )

Anyhoo, after you beat or stir in your oats, it’s time to add the best parts- add in your chocolate chips and butterscotch chips! Stirring these bad boys in gives quite the arm and shoulder workout, by the way.

After these steps are cmplete, guess what? You have beautiful monster cookie dough that should look like this:

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Drop by rounded however-size-spoon-you-like-your-cookies-to-be (Tablespoon is cool. So is serving spoon.) onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Then, take your festive M&Ms and put a couple (usually 2 is good, otherwise all of the yummy mix ins in the cookie will cause the dough to split and not hold together during baking) into each delicious ball of dough– and wallah!

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You’re ready to make some serious cookie magic.

Put the cookies into the pre-heated oven for about 10-12 minutes- 10 for gooier, less done and 12 for “well done”.

(Remember, the cookies will continue to bake a little when you pull them out of the oven and they’re cooling- so if you think they look about done but not quite- go ahead and take them out. The bottoms might get too done otherwise!)

When all is said and done, you’ll have around 2 to 2 and 1/2 dozen cookies (depending on your “spoon size”) of really yummy monster cookies that will definitely be a crowd pleaser. I know mine always are!

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And hey, if you wanna claim this recipe as your own, I get it. Just don’t forget to let me know how your cookies go over!

Losing 2 Whole Days

Well hi there! Points to whoever can guess what inspired that title post. 😉 It seems like its been quite a while since I last stopped in to chat. 2 whole days with no post? Yeesh. It seems longer! There was a lot going on with work this week- we were on deadline for the Magazine.

Deadline didn’t mean that there was no Christmas fun to be had around then office, though! There was plenty of gift giving, white elephant exchanges and other goodies to be had. Some solid workouts were thrown in as well, along with a renewed 2014 goal.

So let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?

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Earlier in the week, the wonderful and talented ladies that design our magazine put together and gifted us some pretty awesome gift baskets.

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The little basket is super cute, and it was positively loaded with goodies!

A Starbucks Caramel iced coffee Via, plenty of candy treats (some super unique ones that I would have sworn no one else liked as much as I do!) and the best part- that gorgeous Starbucks gift card!

Did anyone else know that you can register your Starbucks gift cards and have them on your phone? You can reload them, get free coffees and get all sorts of other cool perks? The gift that keeps on giving!

There was also a delicious packet of Land o Lakes hot cocoa in there that I promptly tore into and shared with my mamma.

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And that little candy you see there? That, my friends, is a mini Toberlone. YES- the very same candy we all came to know and love through FRIENDS. (Ya know, the episode where Joey wants the Toberlone from Ross’s girlfriend/fiance/wife/British lady, Emily?)

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Yes, normally they are quite a bit larger. (Understatement?)  But this little baby was just perfect for me while sipping on some of that cocoa. YUM.

(I don’t know if any of these fine ladies read the blog, but if they do—-Thank you again for the wonderful treats, girls!)

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Alright, this goody basket wasn’t the only awesome gift I received this week! No, no…there was much fun to be had still.

On Monday, my coworker had a very fun gift for me. Check this out:

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Isn’t that so cute? I thought it was hilarious. Because it’s true. My boss, my coworker and I go through coffee like it’s our job. Holy smokes, it’s insane.

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Case in point- this very giant large black coffee that was absolutely necessary yesterday morning after our week on deadline. (I just love that sign- it speaks so much truth.)

She also had a wonderful book for me from author/mega-preacher/ motivational speaker Joel Osteen. It made for a wonderful gift and I love all of it! (Thank you so much, again! 😉 )

Yesterday, we had our staff/contractor Christmas get together. We all met for lunch at a local Mediterranean restaurant called Adrian’s for some good food and good company. We also had a “White Elephant” gift exchange that wasn’t really white elephant at all- all of the gifts were top notch!

I ended up snagging this gorgeous bottle of Moscato from one of our photographers. Does he have great taste in wine or what?

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Moscato happens to be Shane’s favorite type of wine, so of course I took this with me last night when I went over to his house. We each tried a glass, and it was simply delicious.

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And it’s from Italy? No Barefoot or Yellowtail for us, no siree! (Let me just say that I actually adore Yellowtail, but my inner wine snob was very excited to have this pretty bottle to open up!)

It was a great get together, all in all. 🙂

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Today, my dad had the job of Santa and delivered some gifts around to some of our family friends. When he returned home, he had some gifts in hand in return!

One of our good family friends always gives us the best home baked cookies and delicious Baklava- which she delivered beautifully on this year as well. However, there were some other things in the bag this year that had me super excited:

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She got my mom and I both the gift of fitness! We have 12 Jazzercise classes that we can attend for free this winter- and I am super pumped!

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While I’m totally into my strength training and stair mastering right now, you can never go wrong with trying out some new exercises classes. I danced for 14 years (from when I was 3 until I was a Junior in high school) and dancing is in my blood. I’ve always been a Zumba fan (despite the fact that I don’t feel like it gives me quite the burn other classes do), so Jazzercise is right up my alley. It will be a great addition to my current program!

I’m loving all of these thoughtful, hilarious and exciting gifts so far this season! Have you guys gotten any exciting gifts yet?

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Workouts:

I can’t remember if I mentioned this already or not- but Tuesday’s workout was a 30 minute leg session and a 40 minute stair master workout.

Wednesday was a rest day.

Thursday was an “A.M. Fat Burner” workout from my old pal, Mike.

Friday was a 40 minute back/triceps/biceps workout and a 35 minute cardio session on the stair master.

Today (…here in a little bit, as soon as I get off the computer) is a P90X workout of my choice. So that has yet to be decided! I’m leaning towards either Kenpo or Cardio x…but I’ll be sure to let you guys know!

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Alrighty then, I have a bunch of stuff to get done today! It’s supposed to get really icey and snowy (probably right as this is posting, since it’s a sneaky scheduled post 😉 ) and so I’m anticipating being slightly snowed in today.

I really, really hate ice. And snow. Mostly because it keeps from doing things I want/need to do (like having lunch with friends and cuddling with my fiance), but also because it’s just such a hassle.

Oof.

I have some Christmas gift wrapping, some organizing, meal prepping for next week, workout scheduling for next week- and, some very special Christmas baking to do!

Know what that means?

YES– I’ll have a brand new recipe for you, coming up tomorrow! Can you just feel the excitement?

 

 

My First Wedding Present

*The Workouts and the Wedding page were updated today!

Before I get to anything truly “blog” related, I feel like I need to share something with you guys…

I have pretty awesome friends. And I have a lot of them. They’re all gorgeous, brilliant, loving, supportive people- and they are giant blessings to me.

I got to see one of these giant blessings today for lunch! It was a huge treat to get to see Amanda (my maid of honor) and her mom today for an early lunch. They live in KC, but were down here visiting Amanda’s grandpa.

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Isn’t she pretty? (This is a recycled photo from our trip to Chicago earlier this fall.)

It was great to see her (I hadn’t seen her in 2 months), and we shared a delicious lunch at the country club that my parent’s belong to. I had a wonderful chicken salad sandwich on sourdough raisin bread with the best sweet potato fries ever.

YUM.

After lunch, before I headed back to work, Amanda said she had a special present for me. She said she had meant to give it to me at a shower, but since she had it already and was seeing me today- she didn’t want to wait.

It turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous bracelet from Kate Spade specifically meant for brides.

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Around the outside, cute sayings like “Kiss the Bride” and “Cue the Confetti” are engraved into the bracelet.

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On the inside, there’s an engraving that says “Happily Ever After”. It’s absolutely beautiful, and also exciting. Know why?

It’s technically my very first wedding present. 🙂

I love it. (Thank you again, Amanda! <–I know she actually reads my ramblings 😉 )

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Okay- so last night was pretty much your standard Monday night gym session.

I did shoulders and core, then tagged on 45 minutes of stair master afterwards that looked an awful lot like this– while watching some Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Those women are nuts.

Once I hopped off the oh-so-tall stair master machine, I came face to face with this fella:

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You probably can’t read what that says. Well, I’ll tell ya. It says…

“You’ll have to rearrange all of your workouts for next week and the week after cause of Holidays and blah blah blah…”

Yep. Closed early on Christmas Eve, Closed early New Year’s eve, closed on Christmas day (which I’m 100% okay with. Christmas is Christmas.) and closed New Year’s day- with some other days with odd hours mixed in there too.

I’m all for taking holidays off. I am. But those are the days when I have twice as much time to get my workout in, and I like to have options. I’d be totally cool if there were no employees there- I’m cool with brining my own towel! And water bottle. And not having the TVs on or the ceiling fans going.

I might be a little spoiled at my gym.

Oh well- workout DVDs it shall be then.

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Alrighty then folks- on that note, it’s going to be a busy couple days from here on out, so I’m gonna head over to the gym and get my leg workout in for the week! I also have a new workout coming your way, and a pretty cool informative post for tomorrow.

Catch ya later 🙂

Sunday Set Up on a Monday

Happy Monday!

Did anyone else’s weekend just zoom by? Mine flew- I guess I was busier than I thought?

Friday night, Shane and I stayed in and watched Fast and Furious 6. It was definitely bitter sweet- knowing they’ll have to continue on without Paul Walker is actually really sad. He seemed like a pretty great guy, and I know his presence will be missed.

On a happier note, that movie really is a solid one. It has a good cast, great special effects and a story line that’s pretty hard to hate. 😉 In all seriousness, it’s a very entertaining movie that Shane and I are both huge fans of. From what I understand, a portion of the proceeds from purchasing the DVD go towards Paul Walker’s charity, Reach Out World Wide.

Even if you aren’t a big F&F fan like we are, the movie is worth purchasing if only for that reason.

For those that want to know a little bit more about the charity, here is some verbage from it’s “About” Page:

While part of a relief team responding to the massive earthquakes that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010; Actor/Producer Paul Walker saw a gap between the availability of skilled resources and the requirement for such personnel in post-disaster situations. Following the trip he contacted a group of his friends to assist him in forming ROWW with the purpose of filling this unmet need.

ROWW is a network of committed professionals with first responder skill-set (including project management, logistics, heavy equipment operation, EMT, paramedic, firefighting, and healthcare, etc). The volunteers provide their expertise when disasters strike and augment local resources with the goal of accelerating relief efforts on a worldwide basis. ROWW has developed Standard Operating Procedures that facilitate arriving quickly, clearing access, providing basic necessities and medical assistance to ease the survivors’ pain and bringing hope in the bleakest of circumstances.

 

Like I said, Paul Walker seemed like a great guy. I pray that his legacy can be extended.

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Okay, on another, much lighter note- Shane and I discovered a new tasty treat in the organic section of Dillon’s on Friday…

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Guys, this stuff is delicious. It’s light and airy, light on calories and big on flavor. We got the theatre butter flavor (it wasn’t buttery at all, but instead had a great nutty flavor that was awesome) and we both gave it 2 thumbs up. (I’m gonna try the cracked black pepper flavor next time!)

And the best part? It’s made with my favorite secret health food!

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Chia Seeds- woo!

 

Definitely a scrumptious snack. 🙂

On Saturday, my mom and I had an appointment with our florist for the wedding. We got all ready, headed over there, got out of the car and- nothing. It was closed. Apparently, there was a miscommunication?

So my mom and I decided to go shopping for Christmas presents instead.

This also didn’t happen. One look at the beyond crazy parking lots everywhere and we were down for the count.

 

Yeesh.

 

What we did end up doing was going to a local interior design store to check out some great local artists. Our good family friend was there showing her paintings, and my future sister-in-law and her husband were also there.

They take gorgeous photos, make hand bound note books, pretty boxes made of wood flooring and more amazing hand made items. They’re all gorgeous, and well made. I was glad I got to go see it all! (Plus getting to see some of nieces and nephews is always a wonderful thing!)

 

Saturday night, my parents and I decided we wanted to try a new burger place for dinner. It’s called Fizz  and it serves all kinds of delicious burgers and other side items. We chose to share a regular order of their sweet potato fries- which were a hit with me and dad. I also got their 1/4 lb. American Burger.

YUM.

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I highly recommend you guys try this place out!

Late Saturday night, Shane and I went to a 10:30 showing of The Hobbit. I don’t know if it was the fact that it was late, or that we were hungry…or what? I just wasn’t all that excited about it- which is saying something. The Lord of the Rings movies from back in 01, 02 and 03 are 3 of my favorite movies of all time. I don’t really know why this one didn’t excite me at all, but I guess the one from last year didn’t either.

Oh well!

On Sunday afternoon, Shane and I hit some stores for a little Christmas shopping of our own. I can’t tell you where we went exactly, but I did find some great stuff- currently, all my Christmas shopping is done! Woop!

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So I know I missed posting on Saturday and Sunday, so this post has sort of been a combo of weekend stuff all smashed up together. I know it’s Monday, but I’d like to go ahead and do a Sunday Set Up anyway!

Here’s what this weeks workouts are gonna look like (I’m starting my program over again, but adding my own spin to it with different exercises and cardio throughout):

Monday- Shoulders/Core + cardio

Tuesday- Legs + Cardio

Wednesday- Back + Cardio

Thursday- Core + Cardio (subject to change due to work schedule)

Friday- Arms/ Legs + Cardio

Saturday- Chest/Back + Cardio

Sunday- Yoga/Rest

Cardio= 45-60 minutes of whatever cardio I’m feeling that day, either stair master, elliptical, cardio DVDs, treadmill or running outdoors

So that’s it for me this afternoon- Alright kiddos, I hope you have a great rest of your Monday! I’m off to fuel up and head to the gym 🙂

A Little Goal Re-Evaluating

Well hello- thank goodness it’s Friday, right?!

I don’t know about you guys but this week has been busy, busy…and next week will be too. I have no idea when I’m going to get all my shopping done! I did some online (I bet you could have guessed that) but still have lots to do.

I can’t wait for Christmas (can you believe it’s only a week and a half away?) but man the season has just flown.

Anyway, I hope you all had a fantastic Friday! I know I did. I got the day started right with a delicious breakfast a la my desk.

PB and banana on a whole wheat bagel thin + a whole whopping lot of coffee. Delicious.

Work went by super quick today, possibly because it was such a busy day. We have a lot to get done between now and next Friday and I’ll tell ya what- I was feelin’ that today.

After work, I went straight to the gym. Today, I worked my shoulders and my calves (back on schedule!) and of course, couldn’t leave without giving a little love to the stair master!

Is it obvious how much I’m loving that machine? 😉

I felt sort of nerdy, because I decided to use my own 50 minute workout today…but I couldn’t remember it. Definitely had to look it up on my own phone.

Yep. That’d be a screen shot. (Totally jazzed about seeing my domain name on there though. That never gets old.)

After workout, it was time for dinner. No one over here was feeling like making anything, so we opted for carry out from our favorite local place- Cafe Maurice.

 

What you see there is a chicken kebab platter with hummus and a Greek side salad. Holy yum. They easily have the best hummus around. (For you Bella Luna fans out there…you know it’s true.)

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Okay guys- it’s time for another moment of truth. I really want to strive to keep it real around here, so if I feel like I’m struggling with something-chances are you’re going to read about it on here. So here it is- let’s talk about that Holiday Health Challenge from a couple weeks ago.

As you might recall, I listed the parameters as being health and fitness related.

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Just a refresher.

Now, you might also recall what I listed as being my own personal goals:

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In the interest of keepin’ it real, I think it’s time to reevaluate some of these.

I’ve quickly come to realize that for me, some of these goals are simply not feasible. I totally warned against this in that post, and found myself falling victim to it anyway. Oooof.

As far as eating clean- that one is pretty doable. Trying a new recipe every week, however…not so much. I’ve discovered that the sound of cooking is generally either a) not appealing to me or b) I’m too busy/have too weird of a schedule to pull it off if I’m not anticipating it.

Now, I realize this isn’t going to fly here in about 5 months (whaaaaaat?) when I become a Mrs. 🙂 So I’ve decided to keep this goal, but to be more specific.

  • I will attempt to try a new recipe once a week, on Sunday nights.

As far as fitness goals, I’m pretty happy with how I’ve done adding 5 extra minutes on every week. I’m also feeling good about making fitness a true priority (not in my list, but was sort of an “add on”).

What I haven’t done a good job of doing is yoga on rest days and visiting new classes. The former has been a problem because I get to my rest days and I’m just beat. And yoga ain’t no joke- have any of you ever tried the P90X yoga? It’s a beast. (That being said- I’ll start trying harder to fit it in.)

With the latter, I’ve had some issues because the gym I currently belong to simply doesn’t offer many classes that I have access to due to my schedule. They have a boot camp I can make, a yoga I might be able to make and a spinning class on Saturdays. Now, I might still try and build these into my schedule for the last little bit of the challenge.

But what I was considering instead was incorporating one new/different fitness DVD a week. That way, I can add a little spice and variety to my regular workouts while also getting some good feedback for you guys on the workout review page.

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Alright kiddos, I’m glad that’s all out in the open. I’m happy with my re-evaluation and I hope this post can inspire some of you to maybe re-evaluate and modify your own goals rather than just throwing in the towel all together!

 

 

Speaking of throwing in the towel… it’s time for this gal to hit the shower and get cleaned up for her hot “let’s stay in and watch a movie” date with her very sweet man.

Have a great Friday night guys!

 

 

Random Photos for Random Blogs

Alright folks, how is everyone feeling this afternoon?

Tired? Me too.

But there are some pretty exciting things on the agenda for tonight, so I’m definitely looking forward to that! Besides that, it’s also Thursday…which means its also almost the weekend!

Anyhooo, I hope you guys got the chance to check out Mike from this morning’s post– like I said, he’s super nice! And he succeeded in making this girl love lifting weights again- which I haven’t enjoyed since high school.

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I don’t have really any pictures to post on here this afternoon that have any relevance, so here:

For lack of having nothing better to post- this is a delicious bowl full of clementines that we currently have sitting at the office. I LOVE these things. I eat like 4 a day. They are so ripe and juicy and perfect this time of year, it’s insane.

The only negative with these here cuties is that they’re pretty banged up. My boss is currently trying to teach my how to juggle, and these are bearing the brunt of that. Poor things.

Still taste awesome though. (<—I’ve never noticed how much I use the word awesome before. It’s everywhere. Holy smokes.)

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So you might have noticed that my workout from last night didn’t match up to my workouts I listed on Sunday. Well, that’s because I knew I wouldn’t make it to the gym tonight and wanted to make sure I got a good back/biceps workout in this week.

Why can’t I make it to the gym tonight, you ask?

I’ll be on the other side of town with my parents and Shane’s parents, watching him perform in a Christmas play/musical. From what I hear, it’s pretty cute, and I love watching Shane up on stage. He’s so good!

(Sidenote: We actually met doing theatre here, back when we were kids. And by met, I mean…I had the biggest crush on him ever and he pretty much didn’t know who I was. Obviously, that all changed. 😉 But it took him a while!)

On that note, it’s time for me to head over that way. But I’ll leave you with this, semi-unrelated photo of our bannister Christmas lights! Aren’t they pretty

An Exciting Development

TGIF!

This week flew by because we were so, so busy- but I’m super excited it’s the weekend, none the less!

Like I mentioned yesterday, we had our annual work Christmas party last night.

It was a huge success, a lot of fun, and everything just looked gorgeous!

There was some incredible food.

A fully stocked bar.

And loads of very happy people in attendance! It was a great night, for sure.

Needless to say, I’m feeling very sleepy today. Not to mention my feet are killing me- I wore such cute shoes yesterday (black suede pumps, about 5 inch heels) but MAN did they ever do a number on my tootsies.

Yow.

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In other news, I was extremely excited to find this waiting for me when I got home last night.

I was especially excited when I saw that it was their New Years issue! WOO!

Can you guess which “Resolution” I was the most interested in?

(Hint- it’s one of these…)

Well, if you guess “Run Your First Half Marathon”- then you guessed right!

Running has always been something that I’ve longed to be good at. After a couple failed race attempts earlier in the year, I vowed never to sign up for another race again…until I had solidly trained and knew without a doubt that I could do it.

So, I’m working backwards a little bit. I’m going to train for the half marathon…and then sign up for it.

Tricky, huh?

I’ve wanted to tell people that I was running a half for sure this spring, but I held back on this exciting little development until I knew for sure I had the guts to follow through with it!

As far as which race I’ll be running, I’m going to sign up for the Prairie Fire Spring Half Marathon that will be happening here on May 4th.

I’m feeling especially excited about it because after I run it (which I will!) I can say that I ran a half marathon before I got married!

I have no idea why this is important or exciting to me- but it is.

Go figure.

(Fun fact– my little cousin, Chad- who really isn’t so little anymore as he’s a freshman in college- ran the Fall Prairie Fire half marathon and won his age group. Talk about impressive.)

So, in preparation for my race, I’ve downloaded a new app to help me with my training.

Yes, I know it says it’s a 10k training app.

That’s because I have a good 5-7 weeks before I actually need to start the training for the half. That being said, I feel like I should at least be able to run 5-6 miles without stopping before attempting to run 13.1

Just a thought.

Snazzy, right? This thing is great. I plan on trying it out on Sunday- I’ll be sure and let you guys know how it goes!

Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Good Thursday afternoon, all! How’s it shakin’?

Before we recap last night, something very exciting is happening!

Last month, Shane and I and a bunch of our friends entered the Doritos “Crash the Superbowl” contest with a commercial we like to call… Bold Moves. Well, guess what?

WE MADE THE SEMI-FINALS! We beat out 4,500 other entires from around the world to make it to the top 24! So if you get a chance, please please pleeeease go to the link and vote! Rate us a 5, and we could win 1,000,000 dollars! (Ours is the thumbnail with the guy wearing a Speedo…made of Doritos. 😉 )

Thank you!

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Last night, mom, dad and I trekked out in the bitter cold to find ourselves a Christmas tree.

My whole life, we’ve been been a “real tree” family- pine needles, tree sap, freezing Christmas tree lots, the whole bit. Although, I’m sorry, but there’s just nothing that compares to the amazing pine tree smell that you can only get from the real deal.

 It’s the scent of Christmas!

Besides the amazing smell, we’ve always gotten real trees as part of helping out our community. My dad volunteered for the Wichita YMCA Christmas Tree Lot for 25 years, and I think it holds a special place in his heart.

And mine too, to be honest.

So where did we find ourselves at 5:30 last night?

That’s right! The YMCA lot we normally go to wasn’t there this year, so we had to do a little research to find another Y lot nearby.

Dad went out ahead of mom and I a few minutes early to do some “advance scouting”- we found him having a few laughs with the lots volunteers. He had three trees picked out- al of which were quickly shot down (too tall, too fat at the bottom and too short).

Things were looking pretty grim (and very cold), until my dad pulled one more tree out from underneath the pile- and that was it!

 (<—those volunteer roots run deep)

 (<—- he was so excited)

Done and done. 🙂

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In other, less exciting news- I ended up going back into work last night to get some things straightened out for deadline, and to help my co-worker with our very special Christmas gift to our boss. (It turned out awesome, but took some time to get coordinated!)

Long story short, I didn’t end up hitting the gym yesterday.

In the end, I really wasn’t feeling it- and I think that’s okay. I did plan on getting up and getting a workout in this morning, but that didn’t happen either. I think I needed sleep- I snoozed through my alarm for a whopping hour and a half.

Yowza.

 So, I’ll be taking my rest days in the middle of the week this week! I won’t go today (we have our annual Christmas party for our client’s tonight) so I’m chalking yesterday and today up to rest/off days and will get “back on track” tomorrow!

In the past, I would have beaten myself up endlessly for missing two workouts in a row. OR I would’ve shifted into “eat everything you can because you’ve already skipped your workout anyway” mode and made some really unhealthy decisions.

 I’m not doing either of those things today. 🙂

Instead, I’m going to enjoy this extra “rest” day, have fun tonight at our party (we have awesome clients), have a few bites of some of the more exciting holiday treats (as per my 6 Tips)- and call it a night.

I always look forward to “fresh starts”– looks like tomorrow will be one of them!

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Here’s what my “week in workouts” will look like now:

Monday– Legs/Gluts + 45 min. cardio

Tuesday– Chest/Legs + Cardio circuit

Wednesday– Rest (work/wasn’t feeling it)

Thursday– Rest (work party until 8:00pm)

Friday– A.M. 30 minutes cardio, P.M. Shoulders/ Calves + 45 minutes cardio

Saturday– Back/Biceps + 60 minutes cardio

Sunday– yoga + 35 minutes cardio

I usually do Back/Biceps on Thursday (not this week!) and I missed some extra HITT cardio Wednesday, so I’ll add them back in accordingly. Sundays are usually rest days anyway, and Saturday this week only called for 40 minutes of cardio anyway.

Perfect!

Plus, I’ll get to start breaking these bad boys in tomorrow!

These things are light as a feather, totally cushioned (they have memory foam in them- how cool is that!?) AND I got them for that killer Cyber Monday price.

6pm, you’ve done it again!

Holiday Health Challenge

Good Monday morning, all! Is anyone else super pumped to be back into a normal routine today? Don’t get me wrong, I really love having long weekends and spending extra quality time with family- but I am a gal who loves a solid routine.

After 3 or 4 days of relaxing, indulgent food, wine, wedding dancing and 3 days off from the gym- let’s just say I am more than ready to hit the gym today after work! Plus its leg day- YESl

Anyways, enough about me- On to the good stuff!

Alrighty, for those of you who caught my post last night, you probably saw that I mentioned an upcoming holiday challenge. Well, here she is:

The 30 Day Holiday Health Challenge is something I came up with over the weekend. Everyone always talks about making New Year’s resolutions. Likewise, everyone tends to wait until New Year’s to make them.  Not only that, but the statistics are pretty discouraging. 35% of people who make New Year’s resolutions break them.

Unfortunately, I can say that I am definitely one of them. I don’t know what it is, but I never fail to break my resolutions, and it usually doesn’t take me too long to do it.

Well, not this year friends! This year, I’m taking the initiative to insert all of my “New Year’s resolutions” into my lifestyle before the New Year.

By doing it this way, I’m hoping that by the time January 1st rolls around, everything I want to incorporate into doing next year will already feel like a habit- or at the very least, I’ll have bettered myself in some way! It’s a win/win.

Here’s how the challenge works:

  • There are 2 components- healthy eating and exercise ( you can choose to do one or the other, or both!)
  • The challenge is 30 days long, and begins todayDecember 2nd. It ends on December 31st.
  • For the fitness component, you can choose from really any fitness related goals- incorporate a new style of training into your routine, try a new-to-you exercise/move every day, try a new fitness class once a week, join a boot camp, start strength training, add 5 extra minutes to your workout every week, ect. The possibilities are endless! Or, deam each day of the week a specific training day for a given muscle group/cardio exercise and stick with that for the 30 days. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s something you can sustain for a month!
  • For the healthy eating component, it’s super versatile as well- something like trying a new healthy recipe once a week, introducing a new-to-you healthy food every day, trying “clean eating”, cutting back on soda/coffee, trying to eat less processed food, ect. Again, lots of possibilities here!

The focus of this challenge isn’t to lose weight or “get in shape”, even though those will likely be some of the perky byproducts of introducing some of these other New Year’s worthy healthy habits into your life. 😉

Instead, the focus is on health (hence the challenge name) and trying to find a fun way of beating the New Year’s resolution curse- all while trying out some new exercises or finding a great way to “healthify” your favorite holiday treat in the process!

Here are my personal Holiday Health Challenge goals:

Fitness-

  • add an extra 5 minutes onto my workouts every week
  • try at least one new fitness class
  • incorporate yoga or pilates into my rest days on Sundays

Food-

  • “eat clean” 6 days a week
  • try one new healthy recipe a week

Of course, I’ll be reporting everything back here on the ol’ blog. Half the battle is accountability, and I’m very lucky to have this little sounding board here to help with that. 🙂

If you want to take part in the Holiday Health Challenge (and the possibility for giveaways and prizes!) feel free to leave a comment and let me know, or follow the blog for posts and updates!