Starbucks Controls the Seasons

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You guys…

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Please tell me that I’m not the only one who is completely and utterly overjoyed at the return of the PSL!

The funny thing is that an awesome local coffee shop near my house offers their pumpkin pie latte all year round…

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And I would have to say that I think it is equally as delicious as Starbuck’s fan favorite. But it’s just something about seeing that sign…

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Maybe it’s the limited availability of Sbux’s PSL that gives it the competitive advantage over its equally as delicious opponents. 

But for me, I think that a large part of the PSL’s appeal rests in the fact that it signifies the return of my favorite season.

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Don’t get me wrong; I love summer. I love donning my bikini and sipping on some iced coffee while I catch up on some celeb gossip by the pool.

But I absolutely ADORE all things fall.

Lately, my Pinterest homepage has been loaded with fall related recipes, outfits (I CAN’T WAIT TO BUST OUT MY BOOTS!), and decorations.

I got my first PSL yesterday morning, and although Colorado was still running at a steamy 90 degrees, I could feel the arrival of fall.

My friend Afton said it perfectly…

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Congratulations Starbucks. You control the seasons.

Since she knows my affinity for all things pumpkin, she delivered a pumpkin snicker doodle cookie to me in class the other day (which I will be recreating ASAP!)

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So obviously, the past week or so has been absolutely stuffed full of pumpkin related things. As you guys know, once I get onto the pumpkin wagon…I go all out.

Since I woke up to a crisp, fall-feeling Saturday morning today, I decided breakfast would have to be equally as autumn inspired.

Enter Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes! Recipe courtesy of HealthyFoodforLiving.com.

I actually halved this recipe, because 4 pancakes seemed like a bit much for me. Especially since I planned on topping them with peanut butter (DUH!)

My version wasn’t nearly as beautiful as Lauren’s, but I am willing to bet that they tasted every bit as good!

I was extremely impressed by how dense and fluffy they turned out! After topping them with a drizzle of maple syrup, I dug right in and completely forgot about taking any more pictures.

You know your food is good when you don’t want to put down you fork to pick up your camera.

I smeared a bit of PB on them about halfway through, and that definitely took them up a notch (if that’s even possible). 

highly recommend that you guys try this recipe! It is absolutely delicious. And with all natural ingredients and only about 180 calories before the toppings, it was a fall inspired breakfast that I didn’t need to feel guilty about enjoying.

Happy Fall, my friends! :)

Favorite pumpkin/fall recipe??!

I realized I need to add more apple/apple cider related recipes into my fall inspired life. Let me know if you guys have any good ones for me to try!

How to Have the Busiest Summer of Your Life

1. Take two summer classes

Marketing

Sociology

2. Become a nanny! (For a 4 year old boy named Mattie :)

Mattie

3. Convince your boyfriend to spend 2 weeks in Colorado with you! :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Travel to Chicago, Westlake TX, and Washington DC with accounting firms that wine and dine you hoping that you will accept a job offer from them in the fall! (seriously though…some amazing free trips! :)

 

 

 

 

5. Try to squeeze in some family events!!

 

 

6.Fly to Chicago and proceed to drive 22 hours to Tampa, FL with your boyfriend to help him move into his new apartment!

 

7. Come back to Colorado, volunteer for a house/dog sitting job, and start studying for the GMAT.

not really what i’m using to study :)

8. Try to sneak some workouts and healthy meals in there! 

9. And try to enjoy every minute of it :)

 

How has your summer been?? I’ve missed you guys tons! Despite not posting or commenting, I have been keeping up with your blogs when I can! I hope you are all happy, healthy, and safe. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you guys still checking in on me via comments or emails. I will try to be back sometime soon!

Love love love!!!

 

 

WHOOOAAAAA

REMEMBER ME?!?!

Hi :)

Wow guys…I am so sorry that I have completely disappeared from the blog world.

My life has just been entirely too busy to even THINK about blogging or even reading blogs. I haven’t read blogs in so long that I didn’t even know Janae is pregnant!!! SO EXCITING!!

In my absence from blogging, I have still received so many comments and emails asking how I am doing and asking me to return to the blog and I have been so incredibly touched by that! You guys are completely wonderful. I wish so much that this could be a bigger part of my life, but at this point I just can’t promise that it will be. School is still insanely busy, I have two jobs, and I’m still trying to maintain my fitness, my social life, and my sanity!

But here are few updates of what has happened in the last coupe of months!

I turned 21!! 

I got an AWESOME birthday present…

His name is Chandler, and I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with him. 

I ran TWO more half-marathons!

My mom, sister and I all ran the Sarasota Half Marathon in March.

I ran the Horsetooth Half Marathon with my friends Kristen and Jessi last weekend!

This race was TOUGH! You start out on a hill at 6% incline…and shortly after tackle a 9% incline! LOTS of hills. But so worth it!

I started a new eating plan that was given to me by a guy who does body competitions.

Don’t worry…I’m not trying to look like this:

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Yeah…not exactly what I’m shooting for! :)

Just trying to eat clean and get back into shape for BIKINI SEASON! Can you believe summer is right around the corner?!

Anyways, I guess that’s about it for what has been going on…just staying real busy and missing you guys like crazy! Please tell me how you’re doing, and I will try to get some time in the next few days to catch up on your blogs.

Love you all!!

xoxo

Family Bonding…Bottling

Well hello!!

How has your week been?

TGIF, right?!?!

Sorry I haven’t posted again this week! Life has been a bit crazy. I’m still trying to get into the routine of my new classes and work schedule. Exciting news though! I bought a spin pass at the gym on campus, so I can bust out these babies again!

bike shooooeeesss!!!

I went to a 45 minute “ripped ride” on wednesday, which was 30 minutes of intense cycling followed by 15 minutes of abs. It was great! I’m excited to start incorporating it back into my routine.

So do you guys have any exciting plans for the weekend?

Mine is looking like a little bit of a repeat of last weekend…a little homework, some chores, and maybe a little bit of family bonding.

First off, have I told you guys that my dad owns a winery? Last year was the first real year that they sold wine in liquor stores here in Northern Colorado, so they’re pretty new. But they were so popular in 2011 that they actually ran out of wine!

So last weekend, my mom and I joined my dad up at the winery to help bottle this year’s wines. I have to admit that I have never gone up there to help bottle. I’m a terrible daughter.

It’s quite the set up they’ve got going! It was fun to be a part of.

This is my dad getting the bottler set up.

The wine flows out of the barrels and through these tubes into the bottles.

Above is my dad’s friend Dave corking the bottles.

My dad always has tons of friends that want to volunteer to come help (hence the fact that I’ve never been obligated to help)

Of course, payment for volunteer time is free wine. No wonder they are so willing! :)

Even my good friend Ben came to help for a bit!

we have to wear rubber gloves to keep fingerprints off the bottles!

Ben working with the "corker"

 After the wine got corked, it came down to me where I sealed the bottles.

Lastly, the wine went down the line to get labeled.

One of the many perks of bottling is that you get to drink the spillage! :)

There are still lots of barrels that need bottling!

So I’m sure I’ll be spending a bit of time there this weekend!

If you want to take a look at the website, go here!

Well, I’m off to do some strength training and then SPIN! :) Have a great weekend, friends! Love you!

Ever been to a winery or brewery and seen some of the process? Are you a fan of wine?

Favorite most recent family bonding memory?

 

 

Meals that Spark Childhood Memories

Hi guys!

Wow…first of all a HUGE thank you to all of my wonderful friends who commented on my last post regarding my decision to transfer and my issues with a bit of exercise obsession.

It’s so great to know that I am so not alone in a lot of these feelings! I wish all of us could just move into one big blogger community and all be neighbors and best friends! :)

I don’t know about all you other college girls out there, but the beginning of a new semester always makes me feel a little overwhelmed. Attending classes for the first time always makes me feel sort of uneasy.

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A million thoughts tend to bounce around in my head all day and all night regarding the books I need, my homework assignments, and adjusting to a brand new schedule.

Luckily, a sweaty workout always helps me out! My number one stress reliever this week has been keeping to the routine of my half-marathon training. I’m following kind of a mixture of Hal Higdon’s Intermediate training plan and one that I found in Runner’s World a few years back.

The other place I find comfort when I’m stressed or uneasy is in, of course, food.

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This morning after a sweaty elliptical + weight session, I made something for breakfast that I haven’t had in ages.

Malt-O Meal!

Anybody but me practically grow up on this stuff? When I was little, my sister and I used to have this for breakfast all the time. It’s a hot wheat cereal, very similar to cream of wheat. (I’ve never had cream of wheat, but that’s what I’m told!) Our favorite flavor was of course the chocolate kind…

What kid doesn’t love chocolate cereal for breakfast?!

I saw Malt-O Meal a while back at the grocery store and had to buy some to see if I still liked it as much as I used to when I was a kid.

I made it on the stovetop with water and added a splash of almond milk at the end.

Definitely not the most attractive breakfast in the world…

To give it a little more flavor and protein, I added a big scoop of PB and some frozen blueberries.

(Sorry for the terrible picture quality. Dark kitchen and no natural lighting = photography disaster)

Alongside a hot cup of coffee, this breakfast definitely hit the spot. It made me feel like I was a little kid again, eating Malt-O Meal with my sister while we were pretending we were Goldilocks eating porridge :)

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Life was a lot simpler when we were kids, wasn’t it?

Jordan and Bailey Christmas 1995

Definitely made me miss my big sister!!

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Any meals that spark childhood memories for you?

Best comfort in stressful times: food or exercise or none of the above?

Exciting weekend plans?!

Let’s Talk

Hey guys!

I hope you had a great weekend. Anyone else have today off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

I’m sooo enjoying one more day to relax before this busy semester begins!!

Okay. So today I want to talk about something a little bit more serious. I’ve never addressed it on my blog, because I think until recently, I was sort of in denial about it. I want to explain to you guys a little bit more about why exactly I decided to transfer home from my school in Chicago and why I wasn’t happy there.

Here’s a little bit of background:

When I was a senior in high school, I was so anxious to get out of Colorado and experience something entirely new. I had lived in the same town, the same house for nearly 18 years, and felt I needed an adventure.

my best girlfriends from high school

prom!

I had great friends, a wonderful high school experience, and lots of good memories. But we were all ready to just move on and do our own thing. So I didn’t even apply to one college in state.

When I first visited the university I attended in Chicago, I totally fell in love with the city.

The idea of living in such a big city after growing up in a fairly small town absolutely thrilled me. It was an easy decision to move to Chicago, and things seemed to line up perfectly.

I met several friends right away…

And of course I met this guy…

Everything seemed to be going exactly as I imagined.

When I went back to Chicago for my sophomore year, a lot of things had changed. One of my closest friends had decided to transfer back to her home in Ohio, and I realized that I didn’t have much in common with any of the people that I met.

As I became more and more interested in living a healthy lifestyle and working out, it seemed that my friends fell further into the typical college lifestyle. I liked to go to bed early so that I could get up early and hit the gym; they were more interested in late nights of partying and sleeping in the next day.

The “college” lifestyle has really just never been something that I feel like I fit in to. And I think the more they got into it, the more I rebelled against it.

Pretty soon, my two real friends were Ryan and the gym at school. I worked out at least once or twice a day, mostly because that is really the only thing I really enjoyed doing. Ryan was always pretty busy with baseball, so I would spend the nights that we weren’t together running on a treadmill, taking a spin class, or doing some yoga.

At that time, I was training for my first half marathon and I became totally obsessed.

Before I knew it, working out and training became my number one priority. I would even occasionally get irritated if Ryan wanted to hang out and it interfered with my workout plans.

I also didn’t realize that since the amount of time I was working out was increasing a ton, my calorie intake should have been increasing as well.

I was always focusing on eating really healthy, like I always had, but I was probably only eating around 1500 calories a day, sometimes less. And I definitely never did the late night taco bell runs or midnight pancake making that my roommates loved.

I didn’t have a scale, so I didn’t realize that I had lost quite a bit of weight since the start of the school year. What I should have realized is that I didn’t feel great. I felt really depressed, really moody, and fairly low energy most of the time. I also hadn’t gotten a visit from mother nature in several months. I also should have realized that when I got injured, it meant that I hadn’t been treating my body right. Instead, I just attributed it to the fact that runners often get injured. No big deal, right?

When my mom came to Chicago in February to surprise me for my birthday, she immediately knew something was wrong and told me that she was worried about me. I just attributed her concern to the fact that she’s a mom. They always overexaggerate, right? Ryan had told me a few times that I looked really thin, but once again, I dismissed his concern.

After a long and hard decision of going back on forth about the pros and cons of transferring, I decided that it would be best for me to just move home. I was definitely struggling with depression and really missed my friends and family in Colorado.

Honestly, I was shocked to realize that when I moved home, I only weighed 96 pounds.

Granted, I am a fairly small girl naturally. I’m only 5’2″ and come from a family of tiny women with small bones. But 96 pounds was definitely underweight. No wonder I hadn’t been feeling good!

Anyways, you guys know the rest of the story! I moved home and have been doing great. From the time that I moved home until now, I have gained nearly 10 pounds. I have come to realize that when you work out daily, you don’t need to be super strict with what you eat.

I still enjoy eating healthy foods, and tend to choose veggies over cheeseburgers more often than not.

But I’ve also learned the importance of giving into my cravings. Occasionally, you just need to eat a burger with grandpa!

Now, I feel better, I look healthier, and I learned a lot during the last year.

It was such a relief that over this Christmas season, I could feel totally fine taking a few days off of working out that I could eat whatever I wanted. I finally feel like I honestly have my priorities straight.

I got together with my highschool girlfriends over break…

…and I happy enjoyed appetizers and desserts, totally guilt free.

I spent amazing time with my boyfriend and my sister who live so far away without feeling bummed out or resentful that I was not getting a good workout in every single day.

And I’m happy to say that I owe a lot of this to you guys.

I owe a huge thank you to all of the amazing bloggers who’ve shown me that women can be strong, confident athletes without constantly obsessing over what they eat or missing a workout.

I’m sorry that I haven’t talked about this before, and I’m sorry it’s a bit of a heavy subject out of nowhere. But I really admire how you guys are all so honest with me, so I felt convicted to return the favor!

Have you ever realized that you had unknowingly been hadn’t been treating your body with the respect it deserves?

Ever gotten injured because you were overdoing the exercise and underdoing the nutrients??

Thanks for all of your support. Love you guys!!

Oops

So…remember that one time I said I hoped to be posting more often?

Yeah…

Oops.

As I said last time I posted, I have been working full time Monday-Saturday because the manager of the store I work at is on vacation, so I’m taking over.

We’re open everyday from 10-7…so it’s definitely been a long couple of weeks! My school schedule is definitely busy, but I’m rarely working nonstop for 9 straight hours 6 days a week. It’s exhausting!! It also makes it hard to find the time to do the things I really want to do during my break from school like…

1. Working out regularly!! I’m in the process of half-marathon training and want to have more time and energy to dedicate to training.

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2. Cooking and eating! I am a foodie. I look forward to planning and preparing my meals as much as I do eating them! Since I have been working so much, my diet has basically consisted of sandwiches, wraps, cans of soups, and lots of snacky things like granola bars, apples, and clementines. So sorry for the lack of foodie pics!

+

= Not very gourmet.

3. CHILLING. I felt so burnt out after last semester, and although I got some good relaxation time while my fam was here…I want more!

Working all of these hours is definitely giving me some appreciation for how great my schedule is as a student. I’m sure that when I get a job auditing after I graduate, I will be working MUCH more than I even realize right now.

So I guess this is good practice for real life! :)

Another thing that working long hours has taught me this week is that when I am tired and hungry, I tend to reach for junk food.

A lot of it. Literally all I have been wanting to eat lately is pizza and dark chocolate m&m’s. What’s up with that?!

I think that being less restrictive with my diet over Christmas break has definitely increased my cravings for treats and decreased my desire to eat fruits and veggies.

With my sweet tooth going bazerk, I have come up with a few not-so-guilty sweet treats that I feel okay about ending my night with after a long day at work.

Here are my favorites:

Swiss Miss Diet Hot Cocoa: This stuff is so good! I make it with part almond milk and part water, so it ends up being around 65 calories althogether.

Weight Watchers Latte Bars: You guys know I am a sucker for anything coffee related, and these seriously taste like a frozen latte. They disappear at our house.

Coffee Mate Pumpkin Spice creamer: Sometimes just a cup of decaf coffee with a splash of pumpkin spice creamer is enough to tame my sweet tooth. I’m sad that it is seasonal!

 Dove Dark Chocolate: I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard to have just one!! But typically one of these babies is enough to calm down my chocolate cravings :)

And last but not least…

Strawberries: but not just by themselves. Lately, I’ve been eating strawberries smothered in…

Peanut butter!!

Seriously guys…this is like peanut butter and jelly. Sweet strawberries with salty PB…pure heaven. Definitely like dessert.

I hope you’re having a great week! :)

What are some of your favorite guilt-free treats?

Do you work full time? If so, was it a shock transitioning from school to work?

 What’s up with that?!

Happy 2012

Hi my dear, dear friends!!

Oh how I have missed you all! Although it was definitely nice to take a couple of weeks to just unplug and relax with my wonderful family and boyfriend, I absolutely missed reading about your lives and sharing mine with you!

We have a LOT to catch up on! I don’t even know where to begin…I guess I will just give you a little recap of the past couple of weeks.

Ryan got here on December 16th and we enjoyed a few days of relaxing and fun before the rest of my family arrived.

We went ice skating…

(which I sucked at)

:)

We went for a couple of pretty walks

And we spent plenty of time just laying around, snacking, and watching Christmas movies

On the 20th, my beautiful sister and my brother in law arrived!

(yeah, he’s 6’7″)

We had a small party with some of our family members on the 23rd and spent some much needed time catching up, baking, eating, and laughing.

sisters!

On Christmas Eve, we went to a wonderful church service and then came home to cook an amazing dinner and just hang out as a family.

the whole gang :)

For dinner, we made a copycat recipe of Carrabba’s Chicken Bryan. Carrabba’s is one of our all time favorite restaurants. Chicken Bryan is a chicken breast topped with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes and a lemon butter sauce and served with a heaping pile of garlic mashed potatoes.

Yeah…definitely not “diet” friendly…but DEFINITELY DELICIOUS! :)

We followed this recipe, and it turned out amazing.

After opening presents and eating Pumpkin Streusel coffee cake for breakfast, we spent Christmas day just laying around in our pajamas and watching Christmas movies.

My sweet boyfriend gave me an incredible gift…

A GARMIN FORERUNNER!!

It came with a heart rate monitor strap, and his parents got me the additional foot pod to clip to my tennis shoes for more accurate calibration.

I’m totally obsessed. I have wanted one for so long! I also used my Christmas money from my grandpa to get a new pair of Mizunos. All of my new loot is making my training for the half-marathon in March way more awesome!

The day after Christmas, the 6 of us drove up to Steamboat, which is a little town up in the mountains. My parents rented a house there and we spent 5 days up in the snowy mountains without computers or cell phone service. It was so nice!

We went snowshoeing…

We went sledding…

The boys smoked cigars…

The dogs got chilly…so I snuggled with them :)

We hung out at night watching movies, playing board games and card games.

And we even got a little pool time!

:) not the swimming kind of pool time

And we enjoyed some beautiful sunrises

I didn’t want the week to be over!! It was such a blessing to have family time.

Ryan left on January 2nd, and I was sooo sad to see him go.

It seems like it’s almost harder to go back to our long distance relationship after we’ve spent such a long time together. I’m missing him terribly already.

Whew…I guess that’s enough catching up for now! I’m working full time this week and next so that I can make some good money to get me through another busy semester!!

I will try to post again soon!! I am slowly getting back into real life…eating healthier again and getting back into a normal workout routine. So hopefully that will mean more blogging, too!

I can’t wait to catch up with you guys!

Love love love!!!!

What was your favorite Christmas gift?

Have you been snowshoeing before?! It’s an incredible workout!!

What was the best part of the holiday season for you?

 

 

How to get through finals week

I made it through finals week!!

This was seriously the toughest week of my college career. Amazingly, I don’t feel like I got dominated by any of my finals! I even made it through Cost Accounting, which I honestly thought would be the death of me. Holla!

Here are a few things that helped get me through:

CAFFEINE

COFFEE!!! Lots and lots of coffee.

protein smoothies

This week, I ate a protein smoothie every single day either for breakfast or lunch. The magical formula contained chocolate protein powder, a scoop of JIF, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup almond milk and lots of ice.

They kept me full for HOURS and blueberries are supposed to be great for memory!

workouts

Working out is my number one stress reliever. This week was no exception! I got up early every day to ensure that I got a chance to work out my stress and tension. I saw this workout ^ on Courtney’s blog this week and gave it a try. It was AWESOME.

treats

Nothing tastes better than dark chocolate after a brutally long accounting test :)

rest time!

 I couldn’t have made it through this week without a good deal of sleep and relaxation time!

Since I didn’t have my man to snuggle with, our blanket was a decent substitution ;)

Luckily, I did have a pretty awesome light at the end of the tunnel to keep me positive as I struggled through a week of brutal tests…

RYAN GETS HERE TOMORROW!!!!

[The picture above is from a wedding we went to this summer. The hottie in the tangerine colored dress is my big sis :) ]

Knowing that I would end my finals week with the ultimate reward definitely helped me power through.

I know that I have been totally MIA for the past few months really and I am so sorry! My blog has really taken backseat to school and work this semester.

And unfortunately, I have a feeling that is going to be a common trend for the rest of 2011.

My sister and her hubby get here this week, so I really want to spend the holidays focusing on family, fun, food and relaxing! I have still be reading blogs and plan to continue, but I don’t plan on posting again until at least after Christmas.

I love you guys so much and I hope you have an AMAZINGLY BLESSED Christmas!!! I can’t wait to read about it!

Oh, and remember to keep in mind the real reason for the season! :)

xoxoxoxo

I’m ALIVE!!

HI!!!!

I promise I’m still alive even though it’s been a zillion years since my last post.

Unfortunately, I am currently drowning under an enormous pile of accounting textbooks.

Currently, my life consists of eating, sleeping, work, and studying.

It’s SO FUN!

:)

I miss you guys SO much and can’t wait to be done with these stupid finals so we can catch up again. Hopefully I’ll have time for a real post this weekend.

I hope you are having a wonderful week and are enjoying getting ready for Christmas!

Love you!!

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