December 30, 2014

2014 in Review

If I could describe 2014 in one word, it would be uncharacteristic.

I didn't jet off somewhere new every other week or month. I didn't have nearly as many adventures as I normally do. Instead, I spent a lot of time getting to know, and falling more in love with DC. I saved a lot of money, which came in handy when life threw some curve balls at us over the summer.

Uncharacteristic wasn't a bad thing. It was still a great year. I had a lot of goals for this year. I didn't accomplish most of them. That's ok though. I'm still happy with how the year went. Let's recap.

In January, I took a weekend trip to New York with my mom to go shopping for the fabric for my wedding dress. We also saw Once on Broadway.

February brought a lot of snow to DC, a cancelled trip to Hawaii, and The Pilot's and my 27th birthdays.

After several months of not running, I started training again. In April, I skipped the Cherry Blossom but watched Holly run the race and made a new friend. I barely finished the Nike Women's Half Marathon. 

In May, The Pilot and I started our first Half together. I didn't finish, but he beat his goal time by 15 minutes.

June brought a new round of PT, some crushing blows to my running, and ultimately what felt like a fix. Out wedding finally stopped feeling so far away. We discovered Great Falls and took a trip to Vegas.

In August, I had my bridal shower. I found out I was losing my job just days after finding out that The Pilot's workers' comp from his on-the-job injury was denied. It was a devastatingly scary time for us and our wedding, just weeks away, became the last thing on my mind.

Early September brought a new job offer, an entire month off from work, our amazing wedding, and a two week honeymoon. Everything came together again, our wedding was perfect, and we were going to be just fine. 

October and November were filled with wedding/honeymoon recovering, catching up with a lot of friends and hunting for a new apartment.

In December, we took a trip to Colorado Springs, moved into our new apartment and headed home for the holidays. We unexpectedly lost The Pilot's grandfather days before Christmas and celebrated a bittersweet holiday.

This year was tremendously exciting. Despite how far away our wedding seemed to feel for most of the year, when it finally came, it was better than I ever could have imagined. I had the best night of my life dancing the night away with my closest friends, my family and my new husband. (And now that our pictures are finally in, I can start sharing them!)

While I didn't meet a lot of my goals for this year, I'm still really proud of the year I had. I may not have taken off on many adventures, but starting our marriage was an adventure all in its own. It helps that we took off to Paris and Greece for two weeks.

I'll be sharing my goals for 2015 in the next few days, but in the mean time, I'd love to hear: How was your year? What were your highlights?  Favorite memory?

December 19, 2014


Feeling... so so so happy.

Reading... Nothing. Would you believe it? I finished my book last Friday and then we moved and then Christmas shopping and I haven't had time to get a new book and all of my other ones are packed! It's ok though because I started...

Listening to... Serial. After my book club became a discussion about whether Adnan did it, I caved and started listening. I told The Pilot he needs to start listening to it so that we can listen to it all the way up our long car ride home next week.

Thinking about... how much I'm in love with our new house, new neighborhood, new neighbors, everything.

Working on... unpacking. Moving is the easiest part...unpacking sucks.

Loving... our wedding pictures! I can't stop looking at them! It's so fun to see all of the little moments that I wasn't a part of.

Another sneak peak =)
Needing... to finish unpacking before next week. I want to come home from Christmas to a fully unpacked house!

Excited about... going home for Christmas...and then deciding what to do for New Year's...and then starting something new in January...and our new house/apartment...basically all the things.

Happy Friday y'all!
I hope your week was fabulous!

December 17, 2014

Wednesday Rambles

I think I forgot that I had to work this morning. I woke up at 6:30. I had laid out my running clothes last night but then spent 20 minutes trying to find my shoes. My run was uneventful. I had some pretty bad cramps so I cut it to 3 miles, went home, made a bagel, sat on my couch and ate it, took Peyton for a walk and got home and realized that I still needed to shower and get ready and leave for work in 15 minutes. Oops.

Our move was surprisingly easy. Unpacking has been a different story. Our kitchen is in good shape, but that's about it. We were both out late the last two nights so tonight I'm going to have to get some serious unpacking done.

As much of a mess as it is though, it felt like home almost immediately. Whereas our last apartment was in a tall, high rise building that felt a lot like a dorm, our new place is an English basement which is a basement of a house with a completely separate entrance. It's perfect and I love it. I can't wait to finish unpacking, get some pictures on the wall and really make it home.

On Monday,  we finally got our wedding pictures. Our photographer had us over to his apartment, set out some wine and desserts and played a slide show of our 1,000+ wedding photos on his big screen TV. It was awesome. Our pictures are incredible. I really can't even believe how awesome they are. I'll be sharing some here, once I've sorted through them all. In the mean time, here's a sneak peak:

That's it! It's been a really busy but exciting week. I'm glad we moved this week because I'm exhausted and a 2 day work week next week sounds perfect!

December 13, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

11 days until Christmas Eve!

Today is Moving Day! You know what the first thing going up in our new apartment will be? Our Christmas tree (after our bed, of course).

You know something? I used to hate Christmas. I have definitely been both a Scrooge and a Grinch, but my handsome pilot who loves Christmas has been working on me and it's slowly starting to change. This year, I actually find myself looking forward to Christmas. He definitely brings out the best in me!

Because Pinterest is just full of holiday ideas right now, I thought I'd share some of my favorite holiday-themed pins.

I love the idea of having a home that people can constantly drop in and out of. Wouldn't this hot chocolate bar be perfect to have on hand through the winter? Thanks for dropping by, have some hot chocolate! I love it. For gatherings that are a little bit more well planned, you could whip up one of these hot chocolate recipes.

I'm all for simple decorating during the holidays. Isn't it the absolute worst when you take down your Christmas tree and all of a sudden it just feels so empty where your tree once was? This is both simple and practical and it looks great!

I absolutely adore the look of this living room. It's so simple, yet so festive.

These Christmas gift tags are too cute to not share. So is this Christmas wrapping. I love it.

Are you noticing a pattern here? Simplicity. When it comes to the holidays, I'm all about it. Though I do dream of having a 30 house Christmas village in my home one day.

While decorating is nice, who doesn't love holiday baking? I'm dying to try these Chocolate Peppermint Bars. Chocolate + peppermint? What's not to love?

Cassie from Back to Her Roots has never steered me wrong. These Chewy Lemon Snowdrop Cookies are definitely going on my holiday baking list, as are her Chewy Gingerbread Cookies. I just love gingerbread.
One thing I haven't been able to find? A recipe for crinkle cookies. I had one for the first time at Panera last year and loved it! I've seen a few recipes for gluten-free versions, but I wand the real ones. Anyone have any they want to share?

What's on your holiday baking list? 
Are you a simple, yet festive kind of holiday decorator?
Or does your set up rival Clark Griswold's?

If you aren't following me on Pinterest yet, make sure you do!

December 12, 2014

Home Inspiration

Are you guys sick of me talking about my new apartment yet? I hope not! I'm so excited to move to our new neighborhood, new apartment, everything! We're moving into a place that's bigger than what we're in now, and way more spacious, which is awesome! The only downside is that there's a serious lack of storage space, so we're really going to have to get creative!

Of course, I've been scouring Pinterest looking for ideas for our new place, so I thought I'd share some of them! I'm hoping to do a blog tour of our new place after the New Year too!

I love everything about this. It needs to be recreated in my new place.

Our kitchen counter looks a lot like this one. We'll have a lot of space between the counter and the bottom of the cabinets. While I don't love the idea of putting your silverware there, I do like the art and little buckets. I can definitely get some inspiration from this!

Our bedroom will definitely be on the small side. I love the idea of having a mantle of sorts in the room to use for extra storage! Maybe I can do something similar and find a nice big mirror to put above it in order to make the room look bigger.

I won't be painting my door yellow but I really like using the door for organization! A mirror, some necklaces, The Pilot's hats plus an OOTD will definitely help with our storage issues AND staying organized!

I love the way the wall is used in both of these! We'll probably do something more like the second photo, since the wall in question runs directly into the kitchen, but I might be able to use the space as kitchen and entryway.

These benches are gorgeous. We probably won't mount our TV in the new place, so I love the look of this, especially with the plant and basket on either side!

This, yes. We don't have the space for a bar cart, but this I can get behind! Time to recycle some wedding supplies!

So, there you have it! Do you look for home inspiration on Pinterest? We've been in our current apartment for 2 years. The exciting thing about this apartment is that we'll (hopefully) be there until we buy a house...or need a bigger place ;)

Happy Friday!

December 11, 2014


Feeling... sleepy...I had my office holiday party last night and it went long into the night. This morning was definitely not easy.

Reading... The White Princess by Philippa Gregory. I'm almost finished with it and then it's onto the last book of the series!

Drinking... Coffee.

Thinking about.... My goals for next year. I have a lot of them...I just need to figure everything out.

Anticipating... getting our wedding pictures! We're meeting with our photographer on Monday and finally getting them! I'm so excited to see them!

Working on... getting everything packed up for our move this weekend. I can't wait. It's kind of sad how much we hate the place we live right now. It was our first apartment was the apartment where we lived when we got engaged and married, and it should be dripping with sentimental value but we just hate it. I will never live in a high-rise corporate-owned building again.

Behind on... Christmas shopping! Yikes! Moving is expensive. Moving during the holidays doesn't exactly help with that.

Needing... to get serious about training. Taking an impromptu trip to Colorado this weekend was well worth it, but I missed two runs. I need to get them all in this week so I can really kick of marathon training!

Wishing for... a one year sabbatical in a warm place like Costa Rica or Indonesia, where I can wake up every morning, drink really good coffee, do yoga, run on the beach, spend an hour or two writing and then lie in a hammock and read a book or two a day.

Loving... my blog. I've had this little corner of the internet for almost 4 years now and I'm starting to make some changes to it that I'm really excited about!

I have a feeling that today is going to be a good day.
I hope I'm right, and I hope yours is to!
What's on your currently list?

December 10, 2014

Blogger Holiday Traditions

I love hearing about different people's holiday traditions. It's so fun to hear about the different ways everyone celebrates the holidays. With Christmas right around the corner, I reached out to some of my favorite bloggers to share their holiday traditions! I've been fortunate enough to meet all of these wonderful ladies and I hope you'll enjoy their traditions, and click over to check out their blogs!

First up, Carolann from The Two Year Honeymoon. Carolann is actually a friend turned blogger and lives in Hawaii with her husband. We met in college and have been really close friends ever since.

Next is Holly from Faith, Hope, & Baseball and My Own Kind of Beauty , a Cleveland native who recently moved to Michigan. Holly and I have been reading each other's blogs for years and met when she oops'd her way to Philly during the 2012 Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon! We've been friends ever since. She even came to my wedding!

Jenn, of Going the Distance, and I started reading each other's blogs about a year ago and met up for the first time over the spring. She got married a few months before I did and we bonded over all of the craziness that is being engaged!

Sara from Dear Skim is another friend turned blogger! We worked together at NYU and have kept in touch through our blogs ever since we both graduated.

Last, but definitely not least, is Christine from Dream Big Runner. We've been reading each other's blogs and sharing running stories for a few years now! When I moved to DC, we met up to log some winter miles together! She's a new mama to a beautiful baby girl!

As for me, my favorite holiday tradition is celebrating Noche Buena (literally the Good Night, or Christmas Eve) at my mom's house. We eat roast pork, black beans, fried plantains and yuca. We drink espresso, dance merengue, and open presents.. It's a truly fabulous Dominican feast and I love it! I have to say though, it was quite the culture shock the first time The Pilot came to celebrate with us!

So, there you have it! I hope you check out these lovely ladies' blogs!
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

December 9, 2014

Adventures in Homemade: Kombucha

Confession: I had never actually tried kombucha before I decided to make it. It had been on my list of new 'superfoods' to try but at $4-6 a bottle, it wasn't a habit I wanted to get into. When my favorite salad spot, Sweetgreen, offered a yoga detox/kombucha workshop, I jumped at the chance to go.

Kombucha Facts

  • Kombucha is jam packed with probiotics, which makes it awesome for digestive health.
  • It does contain alcohol, but typically less than 2%.
  • It's important to keep your kombucha away from any metal, as it can alter the taste and weaken your scoby over time.

If you're making kombucha for the first time, you'll need a few things:
  • A bottle of unflavored store-bought kombucha or a scoby*
  • Cheesecloth
  • Heavy duty rubber bands
  • A one gallon glass jar like this one 
  • Black tea (either in bags or an infuser)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • A one gallon growler
  • A funnel
Once you've gathered
all of your supplies, it's time to start. Make sure that you're gallon glass jar is clean and sanitized. I use equal parts water and apple cider vinegar to do this. 

Now, if you can get your hands on a scoby from someone who makes their own kombucha, I suggest doing so, but if not, it's super easy to grow your own! A scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) feeds on the sugar which causes fermentation. It's super scientific and kind of weird,  but at the same time, kind of awesome. 

At the workshop, I was given a scoby but didn't actually start brewing my kombucha for of starter almost a week. I had left the scoby in about 1 cup of store-bought kombucha on my counter to keep it alive and when I finally started to brew my kombucha, I had my own homegrown scoby.

Here, you can see two SCOBYs: the one I was given (bottom) and the homegrown one (top)
I threw both of them into the kombucha (pictured below), but ended up throwing away the one I had been given as it didn't grow, but the other one grew nice and healthy and I'm now on my third batch!
The round scoby is the one I grew. 
It took my scoby about a week to grow and then it was time to brew my tea.

It's best to use black tea and filtered water. I used English Breakfast for my first batch and Black Currant for my second batch. You should use 4-6 bags, or if using an infuser, fill up a large one. (When using loose tea, you typically want about 1 tsp per cup.)

Brew your tea for about 20 minutes and then remove the tea bags. I was terrified of my glass gallon shattering, so I let it cool for another 20 minutes or so before pouring it into my gallon jar.

Once your tea is in the jar, add the full cup of sugar and mix well. Then, let your kombucha sit overnight or until room temperature. Since the scoby is live bacteria, you don't want to "shock" it with extreme temperatures. 

Add the scoby to the tea, cover with cheese cloth and secure with a rubber band. Store in a cool, dry place. 

Now, the brewing begins. The process can take anywhere from 10-21 days, depending on how sweet or tart you want your kombucha. The longer it brews, the more tart it becomes. 

As your kombucha brews, your scoby will grow. It might sink to the bottom, or stay floating at the top. It might turn on its side, it might stay centered. All of this is normal.

This is my scoby in my brewing kombucha, after about 7 days.
Once you've brewed your kombucha to the desired taste (you can taste test it as it brews from around Day 5 on), you can either bottle it in your growler (clean and sanitized!) or add a few days to the process to make it nice and fizzy.

Remove the scoby and about 1 cup of your kombucha and set it aside. Then, using your funnel, pour the kombucha into a growler. (You can strain it first if you want.) Cover the kombucha and store in a cool, dry place. With your scoby and premade kombucha, you can start another batch and let the whole process begin all over again! 

Carbonating your kombucha typically takes 3-5 days. I let mine sit for 3 days. Once it's to your liking, store in the refrigerator and enjoy!

**It's important that everything is clean and sanitized when you're brewing bacteria. You don't want any bad bacteria mixing with your good bacteria. The best way to do this is to use filtered water and vinegar for cleaning, filtered water for your tea (just to be safe), and allow everything to air dry.

Have you ever made kombcuha? Ever tried it?
Questions? Leave them in the comments!

December 8, 2014

Oops...We went to Colorado Springs

Yup, we're moving next weekend. Nope, we aren't completely packed but my sister made plans to fly from San Francisco to Colorado Springs to meet my dad, brother, sister and grandparents for the weekend and I just had to tag along.

The Pilot and I left DC on a late flight to Denver Friday night. My sister and brother-in-law picked us up and drove us the hour and a half drive out to Colorado Springs. It was almost 2am when we got to the cabin that we'd be staying in, but my brother, sister and dad were waiting up for us. We quickly opened up some Colorado beers, ate some cookies and then headed to bed.

The Pilot were up at 9am, partially due to jet lag, and partially due to my brother-in-law waking us up to get on the road to head to the US Air Force Academy.

We spent about two hours at the Academy, visiting the Cathedral and walking around campus before heading back to the cabins to meet the family for breakfast.

We saw a reindeer!
Next up, it was time for the highlight of our visit...the reason we were take my 5-year-old nephew to the North Pole.

My dad has been taking my younger siblings to the North Pole for years but it was my first time. It was awesome. 

There were rides and Christmas shops, a magic show and funnel cake, hot chocolate and apple cider, and of course Santa. This Santa was by far the best Santa I have ever seen. He spent a good 5 minutes with my family, telling my nephew stories about how naughty his grandpa (my dad) was when he was a kid. It was awesome...and enough to build anyone's Christmas spirit!

We couldn't leave without taking a picture with Santa!
When we left the North Pole, we headed out for pizza and then went back to the cabins for cake and ice cream. 

The Pilot and I woke up at 4:15 Sunday morning to catch a 6:15 flight out of Colorado Springs back to DC. It was a super short trip but so well worth it. 

Yup, this weekend put us behind in our packing, but you know what? It was well worth it to spend the weekend with my family. Sometimes, you just have to drop everything and be with your family, if for no other reason than to just be blissfully happy and to feel unbelievably blessed. 

How was your weekend?
Have you ever been to Colorado Springs?

December 4, 2014


Feeling... good. I had an awesome run last night. As a result, I was on an endorphin high and didn't go to bed until midnight but that's ok!

Reading... The White Princess by Philippa Gregory. It's Book 5 in the series I've been reading. I'm not that far into it but so far so good.

Interested by... this article about the remains of King Richard III that were recently found in an excavated parking lot in England. I'm fascinated by this because the King Richard is a key player in the series that I'm reading. The article is interesting because it basically says that his DNA doesn't match who his father was said to have been...which is fascinating because his mother basically went around tellling everyone that she had an affair and that her son Edward, was a bastard, all to unseat her son Edward and put her son George on the maybe George was her only true heir? Fascinating.

Eating... a bagel. I love that my office constantly has bagels. It's great for those mornings (like today) where you just can't get yourself out of bed.

Watching... The White Queen...the tv series based on the book series I'm reading. I'm also totally hooked on Master Chef Junior and Holiday Baking Championship. I would be watching more Christmas movies except that ABC Family seems to think that only three Christmas movies were ever made.

Working on... Running, and it's going great!

Anticipating... our move next weekend! I think we're in really good shape with packing. So hopefully, everything will go smoothly!

What's on your list?

December 3, 2014

A Holiday Gift Guide

Let's talk about holiday shopping. The spirit of gift giving is supposed to inspire generosity, but let's face it, for most of us, it really just inspires stress! This year, I've decided to put together a gift guide that I hope will ease some of your own holiday stress! These gifts are based on gifts I've gotten and given that I've really enjoyed. Happy shopping!

1. Monogram Jewelry Box - I bought these jewelry boxes from C. Wonder as bridesmaid gifts for my bridal party and they all loved them! They come in a few different colors and the monograms are a really nice touch. This cerulean color is new and I adore it. I might have to pick one up for myself!

2. Alex & Ani Bangles - Along with the jewelry boxes, I also gave each of my bridesmaids Alex & Ani bracelets. Everyone got a different one based on their interests and there are so many to choose from!

3. Flannel PJs - Who doesn't love a comfy set of  flannel PJs? Victoria's Secret makes amazingly comfortable pajamas and when these city print ones caught my eye, I was bummed I didn't put them on my own Christmas list! If you're shopping for someone who tends to get warm, they also make cotton PJs as well!

4. Monogram Tray - Who doesn't love monograms? Add this to your list for your friend that just got a swanky new place, newlyweds (whether they're still in a tiny apartment or not) or just anyone who loves a good monogram. I love trays and this Acacia tray from Mark and Graham is gorgeous. Best part? The monogramming is free.

5. A Bloggers' Cookbook - Every time I go to a party or family event, I whip something up from one of my favorite bloggers. Everyone than thinks I'm a fabulous cook and it's a win all around. Pick up a cookbook written by one of your favorite bloggers. You'll be supporting the blogging community and turning someone on to the wonderful world of blogging. I haven't picked it up myself yet, but I recommend Seriously Delish by Jessica.

6. The Art of Shaving Starter Kit - For the guys in your life. The Pilot got this Lavender Starter Kit as a groomsmen gift last year and he loved it. They offer a couple of different scents including lemon, sandalwood and unscented.

7. A Travel Guide - Know someone planning a big trip this year? Whether it's a honeymoon or a trip they've been planning their entire lives, guide books are an awesome way to jump start their journey. I've had a lot of success with the Lonely Planet books. Want to get really creative? Pack the book with some other goodies from that place.

8. A local Christmas ornament - I bought White House Christmas ornaments for almost everyone in my family last year and they were a huge hit. They come out with a new one every year which is awesome. Just moved away from your family? Living in a big city? Christmas ornaments are a great idea, especially if they represent something you really like about where you're living.

9. A copper coffee press - For the coffee lover, this copper French Press is gorgeous. I don't use a French Press but after spotting this at World Market, I just might have to.

So there you have it! I hope this list offers some great ideas for you to kick start your holiday shopping! If you aren't on EBates yet, you seriously need to jump on this! I've gotten over $200 cash back from EBates this year..and I'm not even that big of an online shopper! (Referral link)

December 2, 2014

My Christmas Wish List

I love reading other bloggers' holiday wish to lists,  and I love posting mine. It's fun to look back at previous years' posts and see what I've been eyeing over the years.

As I'm getting older though,  my Christmas list has started to be more of a list of what I really need, than what I want.

Last Wednesday was in DC. The morning started with pouring rain, which quickly turned to sleet and snow and I realized that I'm definitely in need of some cold and wet weather gear.

I love this coat from LL Bean. It's warm, functional and really cute. My winter coat is very warm, but definitely not waterproof.

The moment a drop of rain hits DC, the city becomes a sea of Hunter boots. I feel like owning a pair is a rite of passage in DC. I recently discovered that my rain boots have cracked so it's time for a new pair.

Speaking of boots, I absolutely adore these wedge boots. I need a new pair of brown boots and these are so fun and fashionable.

Because a girl can never have enough shoes, I love these plaid flats from Tom's. I have a pair in a different color and, while they took awhile to break in, they're amazingly comfortable and I get tons of compliments on them.

Warm and wet weather aside, I've been eyeing this Kate Spade bag for months. I don't actually have a nice leather bag and I love the year round functionality of this one.

One of the things we registered for that I would really like is this Le Creuset grill pan. It would be great for cooking chicken or fish on the stove top, especially come summer time when it's too hot to turn on the oven.

In line with kitchen things, I spotted these cutting boards at a little shop near my office and fell in love with them. Not only are they space savers, but I love that they're separated by use!

Speaking of cooking, I have a dozen cook books in my Amazon Wish List that I've been eyeing. I adore cook books and I'm always looking to add to my collection.  A few on my list? Flex Appeal: A Vegetarian Cookbook for Families with Meat-Eaters, The Kitchn Cookbook, Seriously Delish, and Share: The Cookbook that Celebrates our Common Humanity. 

So, there you have it. My Christmas wish list. Come back tomorrow for my Christmas gift guide! What's on your list?
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