January 31, 2016

January Recap

January was a great month. I felt like I had something to focus on for the first time in a long time. I mentioned that I never set any goals last year and I felt like I was just moving through the motions. The past few years had been so full of big, life-changing things - grad school, moving to DC, getting married, new jobs - that I wanted to just go with the flow,  and I did,  but I also felt like I was just moving through the motions all of last year.


One thing I'm really happy about is that, for the first time, I wrote a blog post every single day this month. It took a lot of planning, but I'm really happy that I did it, and I think it helped me to find my blog's voice again. 

Here's a look at how my month went:

Miles Run: 19

Minutes of Yoga: 630

Books Read: 3
Trips Taken: 2
  • 24 hours in Dallas,
  • and this weekend's girls trip to Sundance.
Snow Days Used: 3

New Recipes Made: 10
Blog Posts Written: 31
30 Before 30 Items Completed: 1

Highlights
  • Making it through 20 days of my yoga challenge 
Lowlights
  • Cutting my yoga challenge short because of back pain
  • Super low mileage
The Month Ahead

Looking forward to:
  • Birthdays! The Pilot's and my birthdays are both in February, just 1 week apart!
Challenges to take on:
  • 1 night/week no computer or TV
  • 30 days of yoga: I'm determined to do this 30-day challenge, no matter how many times I have to start over!
  • Instagram Challenge: Are you joining in the fun?
To-Do
  • Update my blog's travel page
  • Finish my taxes
  • Buy a new PC
  • Set up my home office
That's how my month shaped up! How did yours? 
What are you looking forward to in February? 

January 30, 2016

February Instagram Challenge

I hinted a few days ago that I was starting an Instagram Challenge for the month of February, which happens to be my birthday month! I'm the last person in the world to embrace the "birthday month" mentality but I got excited about the fact that I'm turning 29 in a month where we'll have 29 days, and I thought an Instagram challenge would be fun.

I participated in Helene's Instagram Challenges last year and found a lot of fun, new Instagram accounts to follow, so I'm taking a page out of her book and launching my own! Here are the prompts:


I'm slightly terrified that no one will join, but hey, if it's just me, then so be it! Do one thing a day that scares you, right? I might just throw in a giveaway for anyone who completes the challenge!

So join in! It will be fun! Share the prompts on Instagram and use the hashtag #29infebruary.

Happy 'gramming!
Do you have a February birthday?
Will you join in the fun?

January 29, 2016

Reading Lately

Today, I'm linking up with Chelle for her new monthly Reading Lately link up! Click on over to say hi and join the fun!

I've always had a hard time figuring out the best way to post book reviews on my blog. For awhile, I would write a review every time I posted but those posts weren't really getting read, and I found that I wasn't reading those posts either, so last year, I decided on quarterly book reviews, however, that felt too infrequent, so I'm hoping that this monthly link-up will offer the sweet spot I need to share all my the books I'm reading!

"The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah - I had a really hard time getting into this book. I thought it moved really slowly and there was never a big plot twist. I struggled through it but I really wanted to keep reading, so I did. The ending blew me away. It was beautiful. It brought the whole story into perspective and I fell in love with it. I think I'll appreciate this more if I read it again but I do recommend this book. It truly was a wonderful story. Challenge Category: Historical fiction.



From Goodreads:
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime. 
"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - I didn't think it was possible for a book about WWII to be funny, but I couldn't stop laughing through this book. Told at the end of WWII, this book follows author Juliet Ashton on her journey to finding a topic for her next book, which she finds after receiving a letter from an unknown man who has found her name in a copy of a book that he owns. Challenge Category: A book written by two authors.


From Goodreads:
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island. Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. 
"The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese" by Michael Paterniti - This is first nonfiction work of the year but it doesn't read like nonfiction, it reads like travel writing and I love it so far. I'm about halfway through the book, and at times, I forget that I'm actually reading nonfiction. Paterniti has a wonderful way with words that makes you feel like you're in the story right there, with him, eating cheese that is made out of love. Challenge Category: A book about food. (Maybe...this book is about so much more than just cheese!)

From Goodreads:
In the fall of 1991, while working at a gourmet deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Michael Paterniti encountered a piece of cheese. Not just any cheese. This was Paramo de Guzman, a rare Spanish queso reputed to be the finest, and most expensive, in the world. The cheese carried its own legend: Made from an ancient family recipe in the medieval Castilian village of Guzman (pop. 80), the cheese was submerged in olive oil and aged in a cave where it gained magical qualities-if you ate it, some said, you might recover long-lost memories. Too broke to actually buy the cheese, Paterniti made a quixotic vow: that he would meet this cheese again someday. Flash forward ten years, when Paterniti has finally found his way-family in tow-to that tiny hilltop village to meet the famous cheesemaker himself, a voluble, magnetic, heartbroken genius named Ambrosio. What Paterniti discovers in Guzman is nothing like the idyllic slow-food fable he has imagined. Instead, he wanders into-and eventually becomes deeply implicated in-the heart of an unfolding mystery, in which a village begins to spill its long-held secrets, and nothing is quite what it seems. 

What are you reading lately?
Have you read any of these books? 
Don't forget to check out my book challenge!

January 28, 2016

Currently...


Feeling... relieved. My back is finally starting to feel better. I wanted to try to get back on my yoga mat last night, but I still wasn't feeling great.

Reading... "The Telling Room: A Tale of  Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese" by Michael Paterniti.


Watching... I watched so much TV this weekend during the blizzard! I got hooked on "Jane the Virgin", watched more episodes of "Happy Endings," watched "The Giver" (which I thought was better than the book), watched the first episode of "Mercy Street" which I didn't love, and caught up on this season of "The New Girl"

Thinking about... This quote:


Working on... An Instagram challenge for the month of February! I'll be 29 next month and there will be 29 days in February and I think that sounds like a perfect excuse to have some fun on Instagram!

Needing... to figure out what to do with my student loans. It may cost me more up front, but I'm seriously considering refinancing. Has anyone had luck with this?

Wanting... to take a trip somewhere for mine or The Pilot's birthdays next month!

Craving... ice cream.

Annoyed by... people who don't shovel their sidewalks. We got more than 2 feet of snow this week and with the plows coming through, snow banks are over 4 feet high. My street is somewhat busy, so it's had to walk on the sidewalk when it hasn't been shoveled and then I have cars beeping at me to get out of the road!

Excited... about my weekend trip to Sundance!

Hoping... that everything goes well with my flights this weekend and that I can get in and out of Salt Lake City ok!

Loving... this 3-day work week! Thanks snow!


What's on your 'Currently' list? 
Did you write a similar post this week? Don't forget to link up!
Will you join in the fun with my Instagram Challenge?







January 27, 2016

5 Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up

I had major dreams when I was a kid. I wanted to do everything, see everything, and be everything. I blame Barbie. I loved Barbie when I was growing up. I probably had 100 Barbies and I played with them constantly.

I've read so many articles and blog posts about people who refuse to buy Barbie dolls for their kids because they supposedly promote an unhealthy obsession with body image.

What? It's a DOLL. I didn't look at Barbie and want to look like her, I looked at Barbie and said "Wow! I can be an astronaut, a teacher, a veterinarian, and the president ALL AT THE SAME TIME." I didn't actually want to be any of those things, but I knew that I could be!

Today, just for fun, I'm sharing my list of things I wanted to be when I grew up.


1. A Cookie Baker - Not a pastry chef. Not a baker. A cookie baker. I wanted to grow up and spend every day of my life baking cookies. I think I still want to do that.

2. A Veterinarian - This didn't last long. I wanted to be a vet until I told my dad that I wanted to be one and he made me watch "Old Yeller" and "All Dogs Go to Heaven" back to back. I basically cried for a week and vowed to never, ever be a mean, horrible vet who puts animals to sleep.

3. A Marine Biologist - We took a trip to Sea World San Antonio when I was in kindergarten and I was obsessed with the fact that people actually had real jobs where all they did was swim around all day and play with dolphins. I told my mom I wanted to be one when I grew up and she taught me that they are marine biologists. When it came time for my Kindergarten graduation, the teacher asked us at graduation practice what we wanted to be and for the life of me, I couldn't remember what it was called! I explained it to the teacher and she had no idea what I was talking about. I told her I needed to go home and ask my mom and asked if I could tell her tomorrow and she said, "Don't you want to be a teacher like the rest of the girls in the class?" Cue my first ever feminist rant. The next day at graduation, the teacher called my name and said, "And when Christy grows up, she wants to be a teacher!" and my mom said "What?! Since when" and then I told my mom how dumb my teacher was and that I never wanted to be a teacher.

Kindergarten Graduation
4.  A "Filmologist" or A Movie Producer - Oh man, this one lasted for awhile. I was obsessed with movies and wanted to be Steven Spielberg or James Cameron. I wanted to go to UCLA or NYU and study "filmology" so that I could be a big bad movie producer. I even started writing a screenplay starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson (which is super ironic now that Leo is starting to look like Jack) about Leo being falsely accused of a murder he didn't commit in a fancy restaurant. It was going to be huge.

5. A Broadway Producer - My mom put me in theater school when she realized that I was actually serious about wanting to be a producer. I performed in community and regional theater productions all the way through college. I actually started college as a theater major, focusing on production. Freshman year, I was cast in my school's production of "The Vagina Monologues" and became fascinated with global women's issues. The following year, I was selected to produce the campus production, raising more than $10,000 in the process for a local DV shelter. I also changed my major to International Affairs, focusing on global women's issues.

The only one I still harbor fantasies of is being a cookie baker because let's be real, that would be awesome! What am I actually doing with my adult life? Writing. I love it. I always harbored fantasies of writing a book (still do), but I never thought I could build a career out of being a writer who doesn't write books. I write grants, and I love the process and challenge of it. I love that I can work with different non-profits on a variety of issues, including those I'm most passionate about. This isn't the career path I ever thought I would take but now that I'm in it, I wouldn't change a thing.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 
Is it remotely close to what you're doing now?
If you write a post like this, let me know! I'd love to read it!

{Linking up with Jenn and Jessi today!}

January 26, 2016

Weekly Workouts 4

Last week was a total bust. I was feeling great going into the week with yoga sessions, but I knew I was in trouble when I hadn't run by Wednesday and we were expecting the blizzard of the century. It turns out the blizzard would be the least of my worries.


Monday: 30 minutes of yoga

Tuesday:  30 minutes of yoga

Wednesday: 30 minutes of yoga

Thursday: Off

Friday: Off

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Off

Notice I said Off instead of Rest? These weren't Rest Days. On Thursday, I got hit with crippling back pain as I mentioned this weekend. For the next three days, I couldn't get out of bed. I was in so much pain. Finally, on Sunday, not wanting to trek to the ER, I found a doctor to see who gave me a steroid injection along with some other meds and the relief was almost instant. I'm really bummed that I had to take so much time off of yoga. I'm so determined to do a 30-day yoga challenge, and this is the third time I've failed. There obviously wasn't much I could do, but I'm finally feeling better and hoping to get back on the mat and on the road soon.

I will complete a 30-day yoga challenge. Maybe not this week, but I'm going to keep pushing through until I've done it and I know that regardless of how many times I have to start over, the simple task of trying to make it to the mat every day will make me a better, stronger runner. Right now, I just need to focus on getting well.

How do you handle setbacks like this?
Today, I'm linking up with Tracy and Alyssa for Training for Tuesday!

alyssagoesbang

Looking for more weekly workout inspiration? This week, I recommend:

Courtney @ Eat, Pray, Run DC and her thoughts on the Hansons Marathon Method
Danielle @ Ooh Breathe, Just Breathe 
Susan @ Susan Runs
Tracy @ A Change of Pace

January 25, 2016

5 Books to Read Before They Become Movies

Book lovers have always been wary of their favorite books being made into movies. There are some, that are written so perfectly, and others that leave out so many details, or even change the ending! Some of my favorite book to film adaptions are "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and "The Hunger Games." I haven't seen the second part of "Mockingjay" yet but I actually thought that "The Hunger Games" films were better than the books! I thought the first two Harry Potter films were incredible, was disappointed with the third, and will never forgive the fact that Neville's back story (the scene where Harry, Ron, and Hermione run into him visiting his parents at St. Mungo's, and the fact that Neville could have just as easily been "The Chosen One") was left out of of "The Order of the Phoenix."

One of the categories on my #planestrainsandbooks challenge is to read a book that is being turned into a movie this year. If you're participating in the challenge, or even if you're not, here's a list of books I've read with film adaptations being released this year (in order of how excited I am about them)!


5. "The Zookeeper's Wife" by Diane Ackerman - I actually didn't like this book. I didn't think that there was enough material to make into a novel. Based on the true story of a zookeeper and his wife who hid Jews from Nazis in their zoo in Poland during WWII, this book fell flat but I do think it will make an incredible film. With Jessica Chastain starring, I think this will be one example of a film that was better than the book.


Expected Release: TBD

4. "It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War" by Linsey Addario - I haven't actually read this yet, but it's been on my to-read list for awhile. A memoir, this book details Linsey Addario's experience as a photographer in Afghanistan, covering both the front lines as well as the human cost of war for Afghan civilians. The film will star Jennifer Lawrence as Addario with Steven Spielberg directing.


Expected Release: TBD

3. "The BFG" by Roald Dahl - This was one of my favorite books growing up and I reread it last year as part of the book challenge I was doing. It's a children's story about a little girl named Sophie who gets kidnapped from her orphanage by the Big Friendly Giant who transports Sophie to Giantland, where they become fast friends and set out on a plot to save all of the children of the world from being guzzled by giants. Steven Spielberg is directing the Disney film with Penelope Wilton set to star as Queen Elizabeth.



Expected Release: July 1, 2016

2. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" by JK Rowling -  "Fantastic Beasts..." is a Hogwarts textbook so I was surprised to see that it will be turned into a movie but I guess that means they can't really screw it up. It's being directed by David Yates, who did the last four Harry Potter films and stars Eddie Redmayne, who is the celebrity love of my life. Colin Farrell and Jon Voight will star as well.


Expected Release: November 16, 2016

1. "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs - Growing up, I always loved the fantasy genre. My mom read about "Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone" in the New York Times when it was first released and picked me up a copy and my life was forever changed. This was the best fantasy-genre book I've read since Harry Potter. If you haven't already, please pick up a copy of this book. The third and final book in the series was released this past fall and I loved the way the story ended. Directed by Tim Burton, the film will star Judi Dench, Samuel L. Jackson and Allison Janney. I'm a little wary of Tim Burton directing, but this is one that I'll see right away.


Expected Release: December 25, 2016

Have you read any of these? 
Which ones are you excited to read and or see?
What books that you love have been optioned for film?

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January 24, 2016

If We Were Having Coffee {Snow Day Edition}

You guys, this weekend is crazy and I honestly love it. There is so much snow, it's ridiculous. With well over two feet and DC declaring a State of Emergency, this weekend has definitely been eventful. I've never seen snow continue to fall nonstop for this long. Since I am not leaving my house anytime soon, let's have a coffee date, shall we?


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Peyton is loving all of this snow. She got a little bit lost trying to find our house on her evening walk last night, but she's having a blast. Although, I think this Florida-born pup is confused as to where she actually is since, all you can see anywhere in any direction, is snow.


I would tell you that I had grand plans for baking and reorganizing during this snowstorm and I haven't done any of it. I've been couch-ridden with crippling back pain that nothing is helping. This has meant no baking, no reorganizing, and unfortunately, no yoga or running!..although, I wouldn't be running in this anyway.

I would tell you that I really hope they close my office tomorrow. Aside from the fact that snow days are great, I don't think I could physically get to work. My street hasn't been cleared and the sidewalks are atrocious.

 I would tell you that I finally sent in my passport to get a new one since I ran out of pages and changed my name. I had major anxiety about this because I don't ever like to be without a passport. Of course, the day I dropped my passport off, my mom called and asked if I wanted to go to Belgium in three weeks BUT her trip got postponed and the US Passport tracker says that I should receive my passport on or about this weekend...only three weeks after I submitted it!

I would tell you that I'm excited to link up next week with Chelle for her new Reading Lately link up! I might link up with her every month instead of doing quarterly book reviews. We'll see!

What would you tell me if we were having coffee? News from the outside world, I hope!
I'm off to make some more hot chocolate!
Stay warm everyone!

January 23, 2016

5 Hot Chocolate Recipes to Weather the Storm

Good Morning! We're in the blizzard of the century here in DC with snow projections of anywhere from 8 to 30 inches of snow! There are already at least 15" on the ground and the snow isn't expected to stop until late tonight.

I honestly can't believe my luck that The Pilot will be here to take Peyton out in the snow weather the storm me.

As long as we don't lose power, this weekend will be filled with hot chocolate and movies! I love hot chocolate so I've pulled together a roundup of some hot chocolate recipes that will definitely make an appearance in our house this weekend! If you're also weathering the storm, I hope you have the
supplies to try some of these out!


French Hot Chocolate - Well Plated

Photo credit: Well Plated
I've been dreaming of another trip to Paris lately and this recipe, based on the famed hot chocolate from Cafe Angelina, may just be enough to satisfy me for a few months! Even if you don't love coffee (like The Pilot), the espresso powder will bring out the flavors of the chocolate making it absolutely decadent!

Decadently Thick Italian Hot Chocolate - The Stay At Home Chef

Photo Credit: The Stay At Home Chef
I think I'm the only person in the world who used to drink Starbucks' Chanticos. This recipe for rich, thick hot chocolate is strongly reminiscent of it. It has butter in it, so you know it has to be deliciously rich and creamy!

Drinking Chocolate - Crazy for Crust

Photo Credit: Crazy for Crust
"It's like drinking hot ganache." That was all I needed to know about this recipe to pique my interest!

Coconut Tres Leches Hot Chocolate  - Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Photo Credit: Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Tres Leches is a Latin American staple when it comes to desserts and this recipe turns the cake into a drink perfectly! With both coconut and condensed milk (something I always have on hand!), this is sure to be delightfully rich and thick...perfect for hot chocolate!

Nutella Hot Chocolate - Planes, Trains, and Running Shoes


I couldn't leave out my own favorite recipe! I've never actually posted this recipe because it's just so simple. Take 1 heaping tablespoon (okay 2 tablespoons) of Nutella and drop it into a steaming hot cup of your favorite type of milk. Stir and drink!

What's your favorite way to drink hot chocolate?
Is it "hot chocolate" or "hot cocoa" in your house?
Are you expecting snow this weekend? How are you weathering the storm?

January 22, 2016

Know Before You Go: The Sundance Film Festival

The 2016 Sundance Film Festival premiered last night and I couldn't be more excited! I went to the festival last year with an awesome group of girls to celebrate my sister Zuzy's 40th birthday and we had an incredible time.

This year I'm going back with an equally awesome group of girls for Ally's bachelorette party! I wanted to write a post about the festival and some useful info for current or future festival-goers!


1. When to Go - The Sundance Film Festival lasts for two weeks. If you want to go see celebrities and are less interested in the films, the first weekend is definitely your best time to go,  but if you're looking to see films and enjoy the actual festival,  I recommend the second weekend. Don't worry, though,  you'll still see some celebrities!  Last year,  I saw Robert Redford (swoon!), Sarah Silverman, and Viola Davis!

2. Where to Stay - Downtown Park City is approximately 2 inches long. Seriously. It is the tiniest, most adorable little town I've ever seen and it is beautiful! During the festival, there are shuttles that run early in the morning until 3 am shuttling festival-goers around. If you can stay in a condo outside Park City that's close to a shuttle stop,  I highly recommend it. Taxis are few and far between and Uber will cost a fortune. We stayed about a mile outside Park City last year in a condo that had a fireplace and a hot tub in the living room. It was amazing.


3. How to Dress - You want to think less Hollywood glitz and glamor and more ski bunny at Sundance.  After all,  Park City is a ski town and you can literally see skiers sliding down the slopes from Main Street with ski lifts skimming the rooftops.  It snowed the entire time we were there so good snow boots, a heavy winter coat, hat and gloves are essential!  Don't forget your sunglasses! The snow glimmering of the mountain is blinding at times!



4. Utah Liquor Laws - Utah has the strictest liquor laws in the country and is important to understand what they are. First, beer has a lower alcohol percentage than in other places (anything over 4% is considered liquor), so if you're looking for strong beer, stick to bottled, rather than what's on draft. If you're drinking wine or hard liquor, you aren't allowed to order a second drink until you've finished your first drink. You also can't order alcohol until you've ordered food. This was only a problem when we went to one restaurant and had terrible service. If you really want to drink, I recommend shopping at a nearby grocery store and picking up some booze for before you go out.

5. The FILMS - The films are the best party of the festival! The films take place at different theaters all over Park City. I highly recommend seeing something at the historic Egyptian Theatre. Tickets are sold in packages and, starting the first week of the festival, individually. Purchasing tickets can be a process but if you don't get any, don't worry, the E-Waitlist is a great option! Here's how it works: two hours prior to the film you want to see, you check into the film via the Sundance app. You'll get a number and then you line up in numerical order at the theatre shortly before the film starts, and they allow in however many empty seats they have. It sounds like a gamble but I got into every movie I tried to last year. BRING CASH! If you get into the films via the E-Waitlist you can only pay with cash. If you're opting for the E-Waitlist, definitely aim for films at the Ecclester Thea, which is a high school auditorium, and has plenty of seats!


What do you think?  Does Sundance sound like something you'd like to attend? 
Have you been to Sundance? What would you add to this list?

Oh! The winner of the giveaway for Mindy Kaling's "Why Not Me" is Kristen from See You in a Porridge! 

January 21, 2016

Currently...


Feeling... okay.

Reading... "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Oh my goodness I do not want this book to end. I fell in love with it less than 50 pages of the way through and now that I'm almost finished, I love it so so much.


I also really love this Thought Catalog article on things to start doing for yourself. It has some great advice.

Watching... "Happy Endings." How did I never watch this show when it was on the air? I had never even heard about it until about a year ago. I'm so glad "New Girl" is back on! I've missed that show!

Thinking about... signing up for a race that I'm terrified to sign up for.

Needing... to file my taxes.

Wanting... to take a trip somewhere. After taking big trips in July, September, and October, I'm anxiously thinking about my next adventure.

Annoyed by... this cough I've had since the weekend that won't go away.

Excited... for my first Stitch Fix which is supposed to arrive today!

Hoping... for the impending snowstorm of doom to bring on a snow day!

Loving... that The Pilot has been home all week. He started a new job in early December and has only been home twice since he started training.


What's on your 'Currently' list? 
Did you write a similar post this week? Don't forget to link up!
Don't forget! Today is the last day to enter my giveaway for Mindy Kaling's "Why Not Me?"
The winner will be announced tomorrow!






January 20, 2016

What's Hap-"Pinning" - Adventures in Homemade

I'm linking up with Jenn and Jessi today for What's Hap-"Pinning" and talking about one of my favorite kitchen experiments: Adventures in Homemade!

Adventures in Homemade is what I call my adventures in tackling homemade versions of food items that are typically purchased. Some of these, like homemade yogurt, tomato sauce, and kombucha, have become staples and I haven't bought them since I started making my own.


One of my goals for 2016 is to dive into even more homemade adventures! Here are a few recipes I'm aiming to try my hand at this year. First, some kitchen staples that I might be able to throw into my rotation and stop buying completely.

How to Make Crackers at Home: The Kitchn
Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Dough: Two Peas in their Pod
How to Make Butter in a Stand Mixer: Living Well Spending Less
How to Make Homemade Fresh Mozzarella: The Kitchn


Next, some special occasion recipes that I wouldn't make all the time, but would love to make a few times and have in the house when we have friends or guests over!

How to Make Croissants: How Sweet It Is
How to make Homemade Soft Pretzels: Recipe Boy
Attempting At-Home Macarons: Long Distance Loving

I would also love to get into making my own pasta, but I think I need the pasta maker attachment for that! Wouldn't it be fun to make my own pizza entirely from scratch with my homemade mozzarella and homemade pizza dough?

I've been eyeing this cookbook lately full of homemade recipes! One of the things on my 30 before 30 list is to cook my way through a cookbook. I haven't chosen one yet, though, so this might have to be it!

If you want to follow more of my Adventures in Homemade, you can follow my Pinterest board where I pin the recipes I'm planning to try out or follow me on Instagram, where I use #adventuresinhomemade! I've already got plans for a few recipes this weekend. Stay tuned!

What are your favorite homemade recipes to make?
{Linking up with Jenn and Jessi today!}

January 19, 2016

Weekly Workouts 3

Throughout this entire"Yoga Camp," each practice focuses on a mantra. Two of the mantras this week were "I release" and "Go with the flow." I can be really hard on myself when I miss a workout, especially when I'm in training, but this week, I had to respect my body's limitations, let it go, and go with the flow. 


Monday: 40 minutes of yoga

Tuesday: 25 minutes of yoga. The practice was 45 minutes long but I wasn't feeling well at all. I had this strange stomach pain but wanted to try to practice anyway, thinking it might help in some way, but it didn't.

Wednesday: As much as I tried, I just couldn't practice. My 30-day yoga streak came to an end on Day 12.

Thursday: Finally feeling better, I finished the practice I didn't get to on Tuesday and did Wednesday's practice as well, totaling an hour.

Friday: 35 minutes of yoga

Saturday: 30 minutes of yoga

Sunday: 1 hour of yoga (two practices)

I didn't run once last week. Monday was supposed to be a rest day and I wasn't feeling well on Tuesday or Wednesday. I felt well enough for yoga on Thursday but not well enough to run and then I was traveling this weekend.

I could say that it's ok that I didn't run this week because I'm not training for anything right now, but I think what's more important is that I learned that sometimes we get sick, and we have to release any expectations and just go with the flow. I'm happy that I still made it to the mat six times last week, and this week, I'll get back on the road (or, more likely, the treadmill since it currently "feels like" it's 4 degrees outside).

I might not be training right now, but this challenge is helping me prepare for training, because I'll carry the mantras, lessons, balance and strength I'm learning and gaining from this challenge into my next training cycle, and I know I'll be a better, stronger runner because of it.

Looking for more weekly workout inspiration? This week, I recommend:

Megan @ Run Megan Run

They had tough weeks as well, but they were both able to find the silver lining and their recaps shed some light on my own tough week! 


How did your week go?
How do you come back from a week that didn't go as planned?


January 18, 2016

Real Talk: Sometimes Traveling Sucks

Let's talk about airlines.


I've never met anyone who hasn't had at least one miserable, horrible experience with a flight. I definitely have had my share of terrible flight experiences.

There was the time that my direct flight from India got cancelled after a bombing near the airport and I had to pay $600 in  fees to change my flight to one with two connections, one of which got rerouted, making it three stops before I finally made it home...32 hours later.

Or the time that I flew 15 hours on an international flight to Africa without food after I had requested a vegetarian meal in advance and the plane hadn't been stocked with them. 

How about the time that my bag got lost and when it arrived, it was COMPLETELY empty...as in EVERY SINGLE ITEM out of the bag had been stolen...dirty clothes and all.

I could go on and on...and on...and on...and on but you get it. Sometimes traveling really sucks. The problems I've had can happen on any airline. Flight problems are inevitable.

Airlines have so many moving pieces, it's a miracle that flights take off and land every single day.

My husband is one of the many moving pieces that make that happen. He flies anywhere from 3-5 flights a day and I'm constantly in awe of how he does it. 

He started flying commercially five years ago, at the peak of the recession, when most airlines had furloughed thousands of pilots and when finding a job as a pilot was considered to be nearly impossible. He is truly living his dream. He loves being a pilot...which is not an easy thing to love doing. It's stressful, it's tiring, it doesn't pay well, and he's never home. He's still working his way up in the industry so instead of flying to glamorous places like London and Singapore, he's flying to places like Cody, WY and Harlingen, TX, but he'll get there one day. He's working really hard to.

This is why it really grates me when people ask who he flies for, and their immediate response is "Oh that sucks. I hate that airline."

Umm. What am I supposed to say to that? 

This isn't an isolated incident. It happens all the time. I always respond with something like, "Well, he's really happy there." Then they proceed to tell me about some horrible story they've had and how they'll never fly that airline again. 

There are three major airlines in this US...they're known as legacies in the industry. My husband works for one of them and he's really proud of that. I'm really proud of that. So I'm sorry but I really don't care that you had a bad experience on that airline one time...and he doesn't either. 

The pilot rarely has anything to do with what causes your lousy flight experience. They're just there to fly the planes.

So the next time you meet someone who's a pilot (or married to one!) and they tell you who they fly for, just tell them that that's great and leave it at that. Save your horrible travel stories for brunch because honestly, they're much better with a drink in hand! 

January 17, 2016

The Highlight Reel

I've been consistently blogging for nearly six years. What started as a hobby to keep me busy when I was living alone for the first time in Boston has turned into a nearly full time side project that has kept me motivated through every training cycle I've been through and led to incredible friendships with people I never would have met otherwise.

I thought it would be fun to look at my blog 'through the ages' to see just how much things have changed in these last six years!  I hope you enjoy this little walk down blog memory lane as much as I have!


It wouldn't be right to start with anything other than my first post or the list that started that drove my blog's name at the time - 25 before 25.

I ran my first half-marathon in Boston and signed up for my first marathon right after I got home. 

I wrote a letter to New York when I started to realize that my love/hate relationship with the city was leaning more toward the latter.

I wrote "the story of us." 

I took a solo trip around the world with stops in Sarajevo, Belgrade, Rome, and finally, India.

Once I turned 25, it was time to change my blog's name

I graduated with my Master's.

The Pilot and I moved to DC

A few months later, I went out for a run and my knee gave out, signaling the beginning of the IT band injury that would plague me for the next two years. 

Six months after we moved to DC together, The Pilot took me by complete surprise and asked me to marry him

I almost quit running after one year and two rounds of PT hadn't helped me. 

Two weeks before we got married, the nonprofit I worked for went through a merger and I was laid off from my job. The Pilot and I were thrown into married life...before we were even married.

But we did get married

I never did quit running and after two years of being hurt, I finally made my marathon comeback in Chicago. 

There you have it. My blog's little highlight reel. It's been fun to look back on what I've documented in this space over the last six years and I look forward to seeing what makes the highlight reel in 2016!




January 16, 2016

Keep Calm and Bark On

When Peyton came out of surgery, she was a mess. She was so hopped up on pain killers that she couldn't walk straight and with the cone blocking her peripheral vision, well, she was a hot mess. It was so sad and pathetic, and kind of hilarious.

The meds knocked her out for most of the day every day but then she would be up all night, restless and probably in pain. 

She would wake up every 2 hours panting, whimpering, licking her cone, getting up, walking around the room, sitting back down, then doing it all over again. After 3 days of this, I was miserable. It was like having a newborn. Every time she would wake up, I would rush over to her to see what was the matter and see if I could somehow make her more comfortable but I couldn't do much since I didn't really know what was wrong. 

Last week, I mentioned that Chewy.com came to the rescue with the soft food diet she needed to be put on, but they also sent me these Pet Naturals of Vermont Calming Dog Chews. 


Made with all natural ingredients, these treats help calm your pup without sedating them which is exactly what I wanted for Peyton.

The first night I gave these to her, she didn't get up once through the night and after three nights, I was a believer. They definitely helped keep her calm through the night while she was trying to get comfortable with her cone and I plan to hold on to these for other occasions where Peyton could use something to calm her down...like when we go out of town, or when there are fireworks outside. 

If you have a pup who gets anxious whenever you leave for work, or at any other time, I definitely recommend these Calming Dog Chews. They don't make Peyton loopy the way her meds, do but they definitely calm her down enough to allow her to lay down and relax...all while letting me sleep!

Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. No compensation other than the product was provided. 


January 15, 2016

Giveaway: Mindy Kaling's "Why Not Me?"

It's no secret that I love to read. Last year, I read more books in a year than I think I ever have and I made it a point to blog about the books I'm reading with my Quarterly Book Review posts and by updating Goodreads almost constantly. If you want to keep up with me there, let's be friends!

This year, I definitely want to read just as much as I did last year, if not more, and I'll keep posting about my favorite reads and checking out book recommendations from some really great bloggers (like See You in a Porridge and Running 'n' Reading).

Today, I want to share one of my favorite reads from last year. I loved Mindy Kaling on "The Office" and I love her even more on "The Mindy Project." She's the only comedian whose books I've actually enjoyed and I devoured both of her books in a day or two this past fall. So, to share the love, I'm giving away a copy of "Why Not Me." It's a quick, light read that is sure to make you feel better about those New Year's Resolutions you might have already forgotten about!


Winners will be announced next Friday, January 22nd here on the blog and will have 48 hours to claim the prize before a new winner is announced. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


January 14, 2016

Currently...


Feeling... terrible. I've had this horrible stomach pain since Monday night and it isn't going away.

Reading...
"The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah. I feel like it just started getting good about 250 pages in...and then something happened and I was like UGH. I think I'm in the minority in how I feel about this book.


Watching... "Mozart in the Jungle", "Downton Abbey," and "Happy Endings." I started streaming "Happy Endings" on Tuesday when I was home sick and then stopped 4 episodes in because I realized The Pilot would love it.

Thinking about... whether my weekend plans are still going to stand with me not feeling well.

Needing... to start feeling better so I can run some miles!

Wanting... winter to be over.

Annoyed by... people who ask me if I'm pregnant, especially when it's completely out of the blue. This question is never appropriate.

Loving... all of the new recipes I've been trying to find some new staples so I've been trying a new recipe almost every night for the last two weeks and everything is so good! I might have to do a round-up pot to share them all!

What's on your 'Currently' list? 
Did you write a similar post this week? Don't forget to link up!






January 13, 2016

A Day in My Life

I've always liked reading day-in-the-life posts and getting a glimpse into someone's typical day, so I decided to do one of my own! I did this on Monday and it was a thoroughly ordinary day for me, but here goes!


6:00 My alarm goes off. I'm a big snoozer, so I hit the snooze and fall back asleep. 
6:25 I finally pull myself out of bed and settle onto the floor with Peyton for some puppy snuggles
6:30 I start the coffee, drink some water, unload the dishwasher and water my plants. 
6:40 I sit quietly with my coffee while waking up and thinking about the day ahead.
7:00: I check out Yoga with Adriene's latest video and realize it's too long to do this morning. That's the downside with this 30 Day Challenge I'm doing...the videos go up at 7am so I usually don't have enough time to do them in the morning. I stretch out on my mat anyway, do some cat/cows and spend a few minutes foam rolling. 
7:10 I start getting ready for work. 
7:50 Time to take Peyton for a walk. She chases a lot of squirrels and wants to spend way more time outside in the blistering cold than I do.
8:15 I head out the door and make my way to the metro. I grab two books on the way out to donate to a Little Free Library on my way.



8:25 I get to the metro and notice that the trains are way more crowded then usual so I don't get a seat and get to play the balance game on the metro.
8:55 Surprisingly there are no metro delays, and I'm off the train and on my way up to my office. I realize I lost a glove on the coolest day of the year so far. Great.
9:00 Get to my desk, realize I didn't lose my glove. Yay! I settle in to read emails and check out my to-do list for the week.


10:00 Catch up with some colleagues before settling in to eat an underwhelming bowl of overnight oats and get some work done.
12:30 Heat up my lunch...leftover mac and cheese with sundried tomatoes.  In the summer, I usually walk to a nearby park to eat my lunch with a book but in the winter, I just eat at my desk and then go for a short walk.



12:45 Finish lunch, check some emails, start mentally preparing myself to head outside.
1:20 Bundle up and head outside. The windchill is in the teens so I immediately regret this decision.
1:50  Head back into the office and spend the afternoon working on year-end reporting
5:05 Leave the office while it's still light out. Yay! Hop on the metro and open up my book.



5:50 Home sweet home. Time to take Peyton out.
6:20 Time to finally hit the mat for some yoga!
7:05 Feeling really good after some much needed yoga time. Now...dinner! I preheat the oven and chop up some broccoli which I forgot to do yesterday. Everything else is ready to just throw for the roasted broccoli and quinoa salad I'm making. 
7:15 Throw the broccoli in the oven and hop on the shower
7:25 Put on sweatpants and fuzzy socks and  eat dinner



7:30 Devour dinner while watching Mozart in the Jungle, spend some time playing with Peyton and her new toy

8:20 Do the dishes, clean up the kitchen and call the Pilot. He's in Dayton, OH tonight.
8:45 Take Peyton for a walk
9:30 I'm surprisingly tired and have an early morning run planned so I settle into bed with a book and fall asleep by 10. 

So, there you have it, a typical day in my life. In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have chosen a Monday...Mondays are pretty underwhelming for me and despite going to bed super early, I didn't get that early morning run planned yesterday since I was home sick, but I'm hoping to get better as the week goes by!


What's a typical day look like for you?
Have you written one of these posts lately? Share the link! I'd love to read!
Don't forget to link up tomorrow for Currently...
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