Friday Favorites

Another installment of my (current) favorite things! Per the usual, it’s a hodgepodge of things that I’m currently loving. They follow absolutely no theme, which seems to be a theme in itself for these posts, and are in no particular order.

Toddy Cold Brewing System

As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently on a cold brewed coffee kick. I’ve seen “cold brewed” coffee before, but never had the opportunity to try it from a store, and was too lazy to try it at home on my own. The difference between cold brewed coffee and “traditional” coffee is simply the lack of heat. Instead of heating up the water (in a coffee maker) and having it flow through the coffee grinds, a cold brew uses regular water. Because it’s cold water the process takes a little bit longer, but what you get is basically coffee concentrate, meaning in order to enjoy it you need to mix it with water or milk. Since I’m an avid iced coffee drinker, the idea of already cold coffee that I don’t have to cool down and subsequently water down with ice cubes was appealing.

Toddy Cold Brew

I had seen the Toddy online, and added it to my Pinterest board of “Gift Ideas” (don’t judge me, it makes it easy for people to see things I’m not going to buy for myself, but would like as a gift when the occasion arises), and got it for my birthday! The instructions are simple (grind up some coffee, pour in water, pour in grinds, repeat, let sit and then filter), and it produces a decent amount of coffee concentrate that can last for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. I’ve enjoyed it a few times now, mixed with both water and milk, and LOVE it. I use about half the amount of ice cubes I used before, and the flavor is awesome (hard to describe, but definitely “smoother”). I definitely recommend checking this out if you’re an iced coffee fan!

Hydroxatone CC Cream

I don’t usually wear makeup, and even when I do it’s definitely on the minimal side. So when the craze of BB and CC creams started, I figured these would be a perfect addition to my morning routine, as I could kill multiple birds with one makeup stone. Since I don’t wear makeup often, I really don’t know enough about the differences between primer, moisturizer, tinted moisturizer, BB cream, CC cream, foundation… the list goes on. I have an elementary understanding, but that’s where it ends, and is a huge reason why I don’t wear makeup. The other reason is that I have what I’d like to refer to as the ultimate combination platter of skin – dry, oily, acne prone, dull, bright…. I’m really not sure how I have it all, but I do. So naturally I’m wary when it comes to my choices, as I don’t want a product that will accentuate any of my “problems.”


After trying a few free samples of BB and CC creams (gotta love the Ulta and Sephora samples that come with your orders), I realized that there were only a few things I needed in my “everything” cream. I need it to: moisturize, mattify, and balance my skin without clogging it up. I didn’t think I was asking for much, but apparently I was! A lot of the creams were either the wrong tint, not oil-free, or left me glowing (and not the ‘dewy glamorous’  kind). Enter Hydroxatone’s CC cream! This cream has all the benefits of a typical CC cream (color corrects, smooths out your skin, etc.) but it also has salicylic acid to aid in mattifying your skin and also prevent break-outs! Of course I thought it may be “too good to be true,” but after a few days of using it (in translucent), I couldn’t be happier. It leaves my skin feeling fresh all day while moisturizing and not leaving me a ball of shine by the afternoon. Now I just need to find the right kind of makeup to wear over it for those rare makeup days!

Oiselle Mio Mesh Tank

I don’t know why I waited so long – I think I tried to convince myself that I wouldn’t like it because 1. it was too “everyday wear” for me, and 2. the mesh would be more annoying than not. I suppose the first reason I didn’t think I would like it is the same reason why I’m yet to try a running skirt. But eventually after seeing so many awesome reviews by people who generally enjoy the same things as I do, I ordered it. I mean, with the summer heat and my timidness for sports bra running, I figured I would try this ‘light as air’ tank top.

Mio Mesh with the Strappy bra & Rogas
Mio Mesh with the Strappy bra & Rogas

Well, I’m kicking myself for not having ordered this top earlier. I should have known better than to doubt Oiselle! I now want one in every color, and then some. I’ve worn the top a few times since getting it last week; once in the pouring rain, and once on a super hot long run. By the end of both runs my shirt looked the same – completely soaked! Despite the fact that the shirt was really wet, it didn’t feel heavy or cumbersome to be wearing on either run, which is rare. Also, because it’s mesh, it breathes really well allowing for some airflow (even if it’s just a hot air breeze), which is always welcomed on a soupy hot day. I really wish I had more than just one mio mesh tank, but at least I have the one!

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

This is a cookbook I actually ordered quite a few months ago, but only recently started cooking from it. I’ve been so wrapped up in Pinterest recipes lately that I’ve really neglected my cookbooks. So, I’ve recently been trying to get back into “use the cookbooks you already have” mode, and found that this particular book pairs nicely with my weekly fresh box. I think I’m often intimidated by vegetarian cookbooks because the recipes have a lot of ingredients, and a lot of times the things they call for aren’t easily found at my local grocery store. But thanks to the fresh box program I’m signed up for in the summer, the fruits and vegetables I have are not only fresher, but I also get things that my grocery store either doesn’t carry, or rarely has.

Snack plate with leek fritters, tabbouleh, & hummus
Snack plate with leek fritters, tabbouleh, & hummus

I’ve made a few things from the book so far, but my favorite has been leek fritters. At first glance they don’t seem to be different from any other fritter recipe, but the addition of cinnamon to the mixture was a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t really sure what the sweetness would bring to the table, but I absolutely loved it. I served the fritters with homemade tabbouleh and hummus for a dinner “snack plate” and really enjoyed it. I have a bunch of other recipes bookmarked to try – I just have to remember to open up the book and step away from Pinterest!

So those are my current favorites… what are some of yours?!


Thanksgiving this year was the very first time in my 26 years that I didn’t have turkey. While I was convinced the temptation would be too much and I’d cave as the bird was being carved, I managed to stay true to my new vegetarian lifestyle! I even went so far as to make my very own stuffing. The stuffing that is always made includes sausage, so I subbed the meat version for some veggie sausage, and couldn’t even tell the difference. Matter of fact, my co-workers didn’t notice either, and voted me to a 2nd place tie during our office Thanksgiving on Tuesday.

Whether you eat meat or not, I thought it would be helpful to round-up some left0ver ideas. I’m not usually one for “round-up” posts, as I find they’re boring and repetitive… but once in awhile I find one that I appreciate. Of course, in preparation for Thanksgiving there were a ton – recipe ideas, decoration tips, workouts to help you beat the bulge, etc. But what about once the guests are gone?! If you’ve ever hosted Thanksgiving, you know that aside from hosting, figuring out what to do with all the leftovers can be just as daunting of a task. I’ve hosted quite a few times, so there are a few recipes I’d like to share with you to help you clear out the fridge!

First up: Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

The great thing about this “recipe” is that you can really use whatever you have on hand. It reminds me of the infamous Thanksgiving dinner sandwich, except in casserole form. You can pile it all into a baking dish, set it in the oven, and you have yourself a hodgepodge of Thanksgiving dinner all in one happy dish. This would even be good without the turkey!

Next is Turkey Noodle Soup!

As the weather is getting cooler (kind of), who doesn’t like a good soup? Of course you could take the time to use the turkey carcass to make a soup, but after slaving in the kitchen for hours on Thanksgiving, who wants to be bothered? This is a quick and easy soup, again using ingredients you already have on hand. Pair this with some leftover dinner rolls and you’ve got yourself a solid meal!

And finally, Crunch Turkey Quesadilla .

No round-up of recipes from me would be complete without something involving a tortilla of sorts. While I don’t have a picture since it was from early in my blogging days when I didn’t understand the importance of text + pictures, I promise it’s delicious. I think cranberry sauce would be an excellent “salsa!”

So, there you have it… three of my favorite post-Thanksgiving recipes. There are so many great things you can make from leftovers, and I’m sure I will discover more this year. I hope everyone had a great day with family and friends, and if you’re shopping today, are staying sane. I’m laying low today and Turkey Trotting on Saturday!

Don’t forget to enter my Under Armour giveaway! You have until Monday 11/26.

Do you have any favorite post-Thanksgiving recipes?
Did you (or will you) turkey trot over the holiday? How’d it go?


Sweet Sips

As a Tastemaker for Daily Buzz Food I get to opt-in for different products and cross my fingers I get chosen. So, when we were offered the chance to sample some Sweet’N Low, I signed right up. I’m not one to use “fake” ingredients which is probably your immediate thoughts when thinking about sweeteners, but I grew up with the pink (Sweet’N Low) and blue (Equal) packets littered in my parent’s coffee cabinet. Due to my dad’s health, he can’t have caffeine and also has to lay low on sugar, so I grew up knowing all about the boy and girl colored packets.

Typically, I abide by the “all in moderation” mantra, believing that if you use real ingredients (no matter how ‘bad’ they are for you), as long as you don’t gorge yourself, it’s okay. While this holds true for the most part, there are those instances where you either don’t want the real stuff or you can’t have it. That being said, I think it’s important to have options like Sweet’N Low available. The sugar substitute is made with saccharin, which they describe on their website is “the oldest of the approved low-calorie sweeteners available in the U.S. today.”

In their quest to make the world a little sweeter (something I can absolutely get behind), they have a slew of recipes where Sweet’N Low can be substituted in for regular sugar. So, I figured the logical place to start would be with drinks. While I don’t usually add sugar to my regular morning coffee (I drink it as-is because I’m hardcore, obviously), I’m more than okay with other sweet treats in liquid form. I’ve been all about tart cherry juice lately (thanks to winning a Cheribundi giveaway), so I wanted to somehow incorporate the juice into my concoction. Couple that with a bunch of mint laying around from my CSA box and we have ourselves a Cherry Mojito!

Now I’m far from a cocktail connoisseur, but this combination had just the right amount of sweet, tart, and of course alcohol flavors. It may rub some mojito purists the wrong way (do those exist?), but I think it’s a light and refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for the summer.

Cherry Mojito
– Serves 2 –

4 oz. rum (I used Bacardi Superior)
6 oz. tart cherry juice (I used Cheribundi “skinny cherry”)
3 Sweet’N Low packets
10-15 mint leaves
Splash of seltzer water

1. In martini or margarita glasses, place half of the mint in each glass.
2. In a shaker, combine the cherry juice, rum, and Sweet’N Low with some ice, and shake until mixed.
3. Pour the liquid over the mint, and top with a splash of seltzer. 

Disclaimer: The Sweet’N Low packets were sent to me as a member of the Daily Buzz Food Tastemaker Program. All opinions are my own. 

Eurotrip 2012 Food: Berlin

The first stop on our 12-day European adventure was Berlin.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the trip there was off to a rough start, but we made it eventually. If we want to get technical, my first meal of the trip was a shared black bean Smash Burger before boarding the plane (for the first time – we had to deplane for a bit before finally taking off).

Since it was an evening/overnight flight, we were served dinner, and I opted for the vegetarian selection. I assumed it was either going to be a bunch of bland steamed vegetables or a variation of pasta primavera, but I’m happy to report I was pleasantly surprised; it included some chana masala, basmati rice, and palak paneer. While it wasn’t the prettiest of meals, it was much more than I expected for in-flight food – I’m used to just a bag of mixed nuts and my choice of soda. It was surprisingly flavorful, and despite it’s own questionable appearance, looked a lot better than the chicken or beef options.

Once we arrived in Berlin, (even though it was the middle of the night at home) we got down to business and set out on foot to do some sightseeing. We checked out the Berliner Dom, and just wandered around for a bit to try and get a baring of where we were. Our first meal in the city was at Maximilian’s, where we learned the hard way that you seat yourself in Germany. We walked into the restaurant and stood there like deer in headlights as waiters and waitresses walked past us as though we didn’t exist. After realizing we were supposed to seat ourselves, I cursed myself for not looking up dining etiquette prior to the trip. I quickly Googled the information (thanks to my husband buying a cheap data plan once we landed), and learned that in addition to seating yourself, ordering a glass of “still water” is frowned upon. I usually drink water with my meals, so this was a bit of a disappointment. I supplemented the water with a liter of weissbeir, as any logical person would.

Knowing a little bit about the food culture of each city prior to visiting, I knew right away what I was going to order – currywurst! It’s a big deal in Berlin, and they have little shops and street vendors selling it everywhere. I like curry, and I like wurst, so I had no doubt I’d enjoy the concoction. It was served with pomme frites, and I ate it like a true European – knife in my right hand and fork in my left! My husband ordered their version of meatloaf which is nothing like what your mother makes – it tasted more like a delicious ham steak to me, and he devoured every last bite.

For breakfast on our first full day, we went to Chipps at the recommendation of a friend who had visited Berlin a few months earlier. They have a lot of really delicious vegetarian and vegan options, which in a city that loves their meat is appreciated by someone like me. Everything on the menu sounded delicious, but I eventually settled for some scrambled eggs with baked beans, veggie bacon, toast, and a mixed salad.

It was the perfect fuel for a day full of sightseeing, including an amazing walking tour that highlighted all the notables in the city. We actually got really lucky and had a tour guide that was a history Ph.D student at Humboldt University; I learned SO much, and the tour was completely free! As a side note to all the food, I would definitely recommend checking out these tours if you are thinking about traveling abroad. But back to the food…

While our dinner the second night was far from traditional (I wound up ordering a burger and my husband had sliders), it was enjoyed at a table that provided us our very own beer tap at The Pub. That’s right – Paulaner weissbeer was right at our fingertips; we had glasses, could fill them up on our own, and paid per liter. The even cooler part was that the ordering of food and getting the waiter/waitress’ attention was also done through the computer attached to the tap. I’m all for the “experience” of dining out, but sometimes it’s nice to not be asked how I’m doing right as I take a giant bite of food, or equally as annoying be unable to get the waiter or waitress’ attention when you need them.

The rest of our mornings were spent at Starbucks for a few reasons – there was one on every corner (no different from around here!) and they had free wi-fi, which allowed us to plot out our day’s plan of attack. While it isn’t a glamorous sidewalk café, one of those Starbucks does happen to be right across the street from the hotel where Michael Jackson dangled his baby out a window, a mere stones throw away from the US and French embassies. Go figure.

For dinner on our last night, we headed to Jedermann where I enjoyed some super creamy and delicious spätzle while the hubs had weinerschnitzel; I figured it was necessary to end the trip with a more traditional dinner.

We had an evening flight from Berlin to Copenhagen, so we had a pretty full last day. I made sure to take a trip to Fassbender & Rausch for some much needed German chocolate, and some really delicious Indian food at Amrit. It was the perfect end to an awesome four days.

By the time we were ready to part ways with Berlin, I felt as though I was really getting a handle on the city. I was able to differentiate between East and West Germany, I could generally navigate to the larger landmarks, and I was getting the hang of pronouncing different things (like the ß letter is pronounced as a double S, so straße is strasse – the word for street!), and it felt like a city I could live in.

There is no way I could do any of the sights we saw justice in a recap – there is just SO much history in the city – it’s a pretty great place, so that’s why I decided to just stick to the food. You’ll have to go check it out for yourself to see all the amazing sites and learn the history!

Have you ever been to Berlin? 

Super Sides

Every year it takes me by surprise just how quickly the Holidays come and go. Only a few days ago I was echoing the sentiment I do every year; “I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas. It doesn’t feel like it.” The next thing I knew we were at my husband’s parent’s house enjoying Christmas Eve dinner, and then in the blink of an eye we were leaving my family after Christmas dinner. This year has flown by and been one of the biggest years of my life yet. There will certainly be a recap of sorts coming tomorrow!

I had the honor of being a Hormel Foods Extended Family Food Blogger for part of the year, and our last challenge was side dishes. For me, side dishes are often times my favorite part of a meal, becoming the star on the plate. Growing up, we always had a few things on our plates (meat, vegetable, maybe a starch), but I’ve found myself in the kitchen mostly making meals that can all be enjoyed in a bowl, or on a small plate. This isn’t to say the dishes themselves don’t require a lot of pots and pans to get to the end result, but it’s usually just one thing.

After looking through Hormel’s website for some inspiration, I decided to make two side dishes. Growing up, I was (and still am!) a huge mashed potatoes fan. Call me crazy, but I love instant mash just as much as homemade mashed potatoes. Sure, the homemade thing is better, but in a pinch the boxed flakes aren’t half bad. So, I made bacon-ed up mashed poatoes, and a veggie loaded chili dish (because I love everything chili related). Even though chili is usually the key player, this is a perfect side to have with pork, beef, or some marinated and grilled chicken, or you can enjoy it as your main. Maybe even over some mashed potatoes!

I had seen a recipe for Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes on How Sweet Eat’s blog, and had been jonsing to try them. I was going to make it for Thanksgiving, but my mother-in-law’s plain ‘ol milk, butter, and hand mashed  potatoes just can’t be replaced. In honor of Jessica and her love for bacon, I thought she’d appreciate me adding some bacon to the potatoes. And let me tell you, this was a delicious addition! (recipe below).

As for the loaded veggie chili, it’s close to my heaven. Sauteed veggies (onions, peppers, etc.) are some of my favorites, smothered in spices and combined with some Hormel chili couldn’t be easier, or tastier. I actually think this would be a great burrito filler as well, or over rice or mashed potatoes if you’re looking to have it as the star of the show. But, it’s a great side dish as well, and sneaks in a lot of vegetables without you even realizing it. Of course I’m not one to hide my vegetables, but for those of you that are veggie shy or have dining companions that are, this is a great way to get them in.

Browned Butter & Bacon Smashed Potatoes – adapted from How Sweet Eats 
– serves 6 –

3lbs yukon or russet potatoes (I used russet)
1 cup milk
6 Tbsp butter
4 slices of bacon (I used hormel)
3 Tbsp of bacon fat
salt & pepper to taste

1. Chop potatoes (I left the skin on, but you can peel them first if you’d prefer) and put in a large pot, filling just above the potatoes with water. Boil for about 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are tender
2. Meanwhile, cook 4 pieces of bacon in a medium pan, about 4-5 minutes on each side until they’re nice and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate when done.
4. Keep the pan on, and add the butter, stirring it constantly until it begins to brown (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat.
3. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and then return them to the pot. Using either a potato masher or hand mixer depending on if you liked smashed or mashed, mash the potatoes until they’re to your liking.
4. While mashing, add in browned butter, bacon fat, crumbled bacon, and milk. Season with salt and pepper

Veggie Loaded Chili
– Serves 4 –

1 yellow onion, diced
2 green peppers, diced
1 jalapeño, diced
1 15 oz. can of corn
1 15 oz. can of chili with beans (I used Hormel)
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp taco seasoning (I used Chipotle)
1/4 tsp Adobo
1/4 tsp ground cumin

1. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil, and once glistening add in onion, pepper, and jalapeño. Cook until all is just about tender, 5-10 minutes.
2. Add in spices and allow to cook together, about 2 minutes.
3. Add in tomatoes and corn, cook an additional 5 minutes.
4. Add in chili and cook until heated through, about 2-3 minutes.
5. Serve over rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, or by itself. Top with cheese if desired.

A New Project!

I don’t know how or why this idea came about, but I’ve decided to try something new for the next few months. Each month, I’m going to tackle something, and do it for the entire month (hopefully). I just recently finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (check out the blog here), and of course was subsequently inspired. Now, I’m not looking to “happify” myself (yes, I made that word up) per se, but rather to try and do things whole-heartily that have been swimming as ideas in the back of my head for months, maybe even years. I’ve already got ideas for the next four months, and then I’ll reevaluate the project after that.

You are probably thinking; “what does this have to do with food? This is a food blog.” Well, each month may not necessarily deal with food, and if that’s the case, I’ll likely leave it off the blog. But for those food related months, you better believe I’ll be writing about it! Conveniently, two out of the three ideas that I already have are food related, which should come as no surprise since it’s one of the only things I think about (alright, that isn’t true, but it’s high on the list!).

As you’ll see from the months below, they follow a pattern, which I didn’t even do on purpose (at first). The months flip flop between being food related, and being fitness/health related. These are by no means “new year’s resolutions,” and I feel the need to point that out for a few reasons. First, it’s almost November, and there are still two full months until the New Year. But more importantly, if I label them as such, I’m likely setting myself up for failure. These aren’t requirements so much as things I would like to increase and do within my every day routine. I’m not going to punish myself if life gets in the way and I can’t make it out to run 4 times one week in December, or if it just isn’t in the grocery budget to buy ingredients to bake one week… I’m doing this to increase my personal enjoyment and do things I like – not make them into chores (I have enough of those)!

Hopefully November and January will prove to be a success in terms of finding and creating new recipes to meet my goals. I’ll likely start off each month with a plan of action, and update within information accordingly. If I do what I’m supposed to in January, there should be at least one baked good posted a week – but we’ll see!

So, here’s the plan. Fingers crossed I stick to it, and this isn’t something I abandon right away, or even a month or two into it. I’d like to at least tackle the four months I already have outlined. After that, I can reevaluate.

November: bake something every weekend (other’s recipes, or my own)
December: run at least 4 times a week – it doesn’t matter if its 2 miles or 20 miles – get out there
January: go full-out vegetarian for the month
February: practice yoga at least 3 times a week – can be at home, or in a studio

Have any of you had similar goals/projects for yourselves? Have they been successful, or complete washes? Any advice? Spill!

Sweet Potato Chipotle Beer Chili

This month’s Hormel Extended Family Food Blogger theme was slow cooking, specifically with a Crockpot. They actually sent me one in order to create my meal – how awesome! Having only just made my very first meal a la slow cooker last week (it was this), I was psyched to give a new recipe a try. I really love the idea of a slow cooker, since it gives you the opportunity to set up your meal, go about your day, and come home to something delicious. I will most definitely be putting some type of slow cooker meal into heavy rotation in our house this winter.

Because it’s fall and the weather is slowly getting cooler, I first knew I wanted to make chili, and as an ingredient have what I consider to be a classic fall food – sweet potatoes! From there, all the other ingredients kind of fell into place based on what I invision a good chili to include. And, of course I had to add beer – its such a great cooking ingredient. This also made enough for leftovers, which is always appreciated. While I don’t mind bringing frozen meals for lunch, I would much prefer a leftover, and I can’t justify eating out more than once a week (if even that).

So, after a long run and making a trip to the Halloween store in hopes of finding a costume for my husband, it was great to come home to this!

Sweet Potato Chipotle Beer Chili… with Turkey
– Serves 4 –

1.25 lbs ground turkey (or leave this out, use ground beef, etc.)
1 large Spanish onion, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 8 oz. cans diced tomatoes with jalapeños
12 oz. Mexican beer (I used Corona)
2 chipotles in adobo, plus 2 Tbsp adobo sauce [or less depending on your spice preference]
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder 

1.  Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker
2. Cook on the high setting for 2 hours
3. Serve with your favorite chili toppings (shredded cheese, sour cream, etc.) 

Quarter Life

Today, I turn 25.

It’s hard to believe that I’m 25 – sometimes I think to myself there’s no way I’m THAT old (yes, I know that’s not old at all), and other times I think to myself it’s amazing I’m still so young. Either way, today is my birthday! I’ve always loved my birthday, but who doesn’t?

Growing up, I was never in school to celebrate my birthday. In second grade, though, we made it all the way to June 27th because there were horrendous storms all winter, and we had to make up all our time off. Because I couldn’t have the in-class birthday celebrations on my actual birthday, during the last week of school my mom would always bring in watermelon that we would enjoy as a class outside. I always thought it was so cool to do something different, and looking back, my mom certainly had the right idea by giving the kids watermelon instead of cookies, cakes, and candy! My birthday parties were always a blast – roller skating, bowling, going to the pool, movies and pizza… my parents always made sure I got to do what I wanted.

Birthday party at an ice cream parlor. Checkout my sweet scrunchie!

Throughout high school and college, my birthdays started early, with 6am long course practice where I ususally had to do something “fun” to celebrate, such as a 400 free for time, or maybe some laps of birthday butterfly (while everyone stayed on the sidelines using a kickboard to splash). Even when I turned 21, I was up at the crack of dawn to get my swim in.

All the swimming paid off - Landmark Champs '08

I always loved the fact that my birthday was in the summer, and I never had to spend my day at school or in class. Even when I was working during the summer, I somehow always managed to get my birthday off. Since joining the real world, though, I’ve spent most of my birthdays at work. It’s really been quite a different experience. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m older, because I’m at work, or a combination of the two, but my birthday just doesn’t have that same pizzaz it used to. That isn’t to say I don’t love the day!

So today, aside from work, I’ll be celebrating with my wonderful fiancé and family, with dinner and of course cupcakes. I know this year is going to be epic – I’m getting married, running my very first marathon, and most importantly, really planning on loving every minute of it. I can’t wait to see what the year has in store for me!

Bring it on 25!

Sisterly Love

Sometimes it seems as though my sister and I are years apart, while at other times it feels like we’re much closer in age. There are times when she acts like the adult and I’m the child, and vice versa. The truth is, though, we’re 6 years apart (almost exactly since we were both born in June), and even though I grew up wishing I had sibling(s) closer in age, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Growing up with someone so much younger than me was actually a lot of fun – sure, we didn’t get to share clothes until she was in high school and I was already in college, but it was fun to bring around my “little sister” who was just so darn cute.

First day of school!

Today, my “little” sister turns 19 – not so little anymore! It wasn’t that long ago she was introducing her self as “Just Kate,” because people couldn’t understand her name wasn’t a nickname for something else. Or that she was obsessed with Gulla Gulla Island and Barney. When for her second birthday she got a Lamb Chop plastic plate (which my parents still have!), or when she turned four and we celebrated at McDonalds in the ball-pit. When she made it through the awkward middle school years beautifully, and was the swimmer to beat throughout her elementary days all the way up to her very last swim season as a senior in high school. And most recently, when I saw her off to college, hiding my tears as I hugged her goodbye, remembering her tearful goodbye to me, 6 years earlier. Oh how time flies! Now here we are just three months before my wedding, with her as my maid of honor.

So happy birthday, Kate! We’ve had our moments, but you’re the best sister a girl could ask for.


Today marks the three year anniversary from when I entered the real world.

Sure, you could say that my graduation from The University of Scranton back in May of 2008 was my official push into the “real world,” but I like to think it didn’t officially begin until a week later, when I pulled on my big-girl panties and set off on my very first day of work at a “real job.”

Me & Two housemates, post graduation

Looking back, it seems surreal to think I’ve already been out of college for three years, have been working for that long, and am just beginning to embark on more exciting things within my life. Today also just so happens to be a special marker in our wedding planning.

That’s right folks, a mere 100 days until I walk down the asile and marry my very best friend! It seems like just yesterday we started dating. Now we’re in the crunch zone with wedding related things arriving in the mail, etc., almost daily. My how time flies.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds – I have grand plans and can’t wait to fill you all in! 🙂