New Year, New Resolutions

It’s the last day of 2014.  Let’s let that sink in for a moment.

And now just one more moment…

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and I’m about to say it right now…but I do not know where this year has gone!  It has flown by so fast.  As I reflect it really makes me think about how precious our time is and how we use it.  This is something I took into consideration while I was coming up with my 2015 Resolution.

When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions I’ve only started being serious about them in the past few years.  I’ve given up soda for an entire year, ran in multiple half marathons, along with a variety of other goals and plans.  I know that some say, “you shouldn’t wait until Jan. 1 to change your life”, and I party agree with them {heck, I’ve even said it before}.  However, I also don’t think that it’s a “poor” excuse of a time to start something in your life either.  We’ve all got our proverbial “clean slate” starting tomorrow, and to me that’s pretty exciting.  I know, I’m full of contradictions.

I went back to my first post ever written about New Year Res’s when I was still writing for the Marshall Rec Blog, I basically admitted to the same thing.  Now that I have had time to reflect, I still stand behind what I say.  When you’re focusing your resolutions on the improvement of yourself and those around you, I believe you have a better chance at succeeding.  Side note:  When I say “the improvement of yourself”, I don’t mean you look at the scale after Christmas dinner with cartoon-like eyes and say “OMG I need to lose 10 pounds”.  I am more referring to a personal goal.  Of course, I always support losing weight {if it’s needed} and living a healthy lifestyle, but if you’re losing weight because it’s January 1st, rather than because you yourself have a burning desire to lose it with a mapped out plan, there’s a greater chance to fall off of the wagon.  That’s why my half-marathon resolutions worked for me.  They were goals, were I had a strict plan to succeed, rather than, “I going to keep running until I can run 13.1 miles”.

This year, I only have one resolution, and it’s not fitness related at all.  This year’s resolution is….

I’ve decided this for two reasons.  Growing up, I was always volunteering- with teams, my family, my youth group, and I loved it.  As I got older, I got busier, went to college, and it somehow just fell to the wayside {horrible excuse I know, but it’s true…and probably true for others as well}.  I’ve been sucked into my day to day routine to the point where I feel like I’m not really contributing to much anymore, and I know there are plenty of things around my community that need volunteers.  I want to help in any way that I can.  I’ve also decided to do this because I love Charlotte, {and also, kind of stuck in my routine/places I go, etc}.  I’m one of those people that if I’m in a place, I want to know everything about it, I’m curious like that.  I feel like this will be a great opportunity to learn even more about my community.  I will also get to meet a wide variety of people {another thing I love}.

I registered with a local volunteering organization, Hands On Charlotte, and I have my orientation on the 10th.  After that, I can volunteer my heart out!  To make sure that I keep my resolution, I’ve decided to give myself one, unbreakable rule.  No matter what happens, I need to volunteer at least once a month.  I understand how quickly time can get away from us, and some months might be busier than others.  Regardless, volunteer once a month.  Of course I can participate multiple times in a month if I have the time, but I think that’s a good rule of thumb.

Also need to give my brother, Ryan, a shoutout…he’s the one that introduced me to this website.  He’s actually already a volunteer for them {such a good kid}.  Anyone is more than welcome to steal my idea in their own community, the more volunteer’s the merrier!

Now let’s go make the last day of 2014 a great one.  Very exciting things are on the horizon, and I can’t wait to continue this crazy journey called life!

Have a safe and happy NYE, everyone!  What are your resolutions?

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Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back

Now I have the “Welcome Back, Kotter” theme song stuck in my head.  Never even watched the show, just know the song.  You’ll recognize it too if you have a listen {and hopefully it doesn’t get stuck in your head…if it does, sorry?…}. Anyway…

Welcome back!  I hope everyone had a happy, festive, and full holiday season!  I know I did.  While I had an extremely busy few days, it was full of adventure, laughter, and being with the ones I love {more to elaborate on later}…also taking time to remember the reason for the season.  Unfortunately, Jimmy was unable to make it all the way home to NY for the holidays with his family, so fortunately for the Lavery’s, he came home with me. 🙂  He was a great addition to our normal quad-some ways, and my entire family agreed this was one of the best Christmas’s to date.

Lavery Christmas tree this year

The holiday season always makes me feel so…full…I don’t know if that makes sense.  Everything is so bright, cheery, and warm {figuratively, not literally}.  Now I just feel kind of like there’s a hole in my soul as we’re starting to get back into the day to day.  Anyone else feeling this way?

After spending the morning opening stockings and gifts, {while listening to The Edge of Christmas soundtrack}, and enjoying the traditional Monkey Bread and my mom’s Christmas Breakfast Casserole, we decided to go on our {traditional} Christmas hike.  Are we noticing a theme here?

I guess I should also take this time to mention that I got a camera for Christmas!  A Canon Rebel EOS SL1, to be exact.  While I love all of my presents equally, I had a little heads up from Santa on this one {cough..Black Friday..cough}.  It got to the point where I didn’t even want to post blogs because I new of the image greatness that was to come, and my iPhone 4s was KILLING me {RIP you little white box, I also upgraded to a 5s the other day, so this blog’s picture quality is about to blow your mind}.  I decided to take my camera on the hike with us so I could get comfortable using the thing.

Located in North Durham

The Pump Station Trail got it’s name from the old Durham Pump Station ruins that lie by the river.  The structure transported water to all of North Durham from the late 1800’s to the earlier 1900’s.  I’ve been going to the trail since at least middle school, maybe earlier.  It’s not much these days, but it’s still pretty neat to stop by and explore.

And all I’m doing here is playing with the different focus’s {foci?}

Just a few shots around the trail…

My two favorite Charlotte dudes, who absolutely love taking pictures.  Brother on the left, boyfriend on the right {from your perspective}.

And then a quick little fam pic, Jimmy even got Alba to look at the camera!

When we got back, I couldn’t help but keep playing with my camera until it was time to eat.  There are so many different settings, I found every excuse to click, click, flash.

Vintage Marshall ornament {legit vintage, I’ve always remembered this on the tree}

My sweet, sweet dog Alba.  But don’t let this glamour shot fool you…

this is what she’s really like–

Some pre-Christmas dinner snacking…

And then my mom’s famous Christmas dinner- marinated flank steak, cheese potatoes, seasoned green beans {SO good}

We finished out the night playing a little {family} friendly game of Cards Against Humanity, one of my gifts to Ryan this year, followed by an outdoor movie.  We also used Ryan’s new projector {boy had a good Christmas}, while we stayed warm next to our fire pit.

Don’t forget the holiday lover’s photo by the tree.

Although it flew by, we all truly had a great Christmas, and I am so thankful that we were able to spend it together.  I know this is a little late, but I wanted to throw a last minute Christmas post in here before we got started on the new year.

How was everyone’s Christmas/Holiday Break??

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The Christmas Tree Workout

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!  Without a doubt this is my favorite time of year, but right before the magic of Christmas Day, there’s a whole bunch of hustle and bustle.  So I thought I’d stop in and drop off a quick little in-house workout.  With most everyone traveling and running those last minute errands, workout time might seem hard to squeeze in {and a gym is probably not as accessible as if you were home}.  As long as you have a little floor space, knock this out right as you wake up or before you hop in the shower.  Of course, if you’re visiting friends and family, I always love a good neighborhood run, especially when you’ve got some new scenery.

This is basically a pyramid workout, I was just taking advantage of the fact that I could use the Holiday-themed graphics on Picmonkey.

Take the workout you see in the center of the tree and complete each round the amount of times that correspond on the tree from left to right.  So, start out with 5 jumping jacks, pushups, burpees, etc, then move on to 10, then 15, then follow your way back down the tree.

Easy peasy, Christmas Tree Workout it is!

Now time to pack in a flash and clean the apartment before the Christmas festivities begin.  I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, surrounded by those you love.  Remember the real reason for the season!  See ya Friday!

Merry Christmas Eve, all!  In what ways do you workout when you’re traveling?

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Rain Delay

At no one’s fault but my own, the weather derailed my workout plan last night {okay, okay…I didn’t check it before mapping out my plan of attack..rookie mistake}.  In addition to regularly visiting the gym, I’ve also been pretty great about distance running 3-4 times a week.  A problem I’ve been struggling with the past few months.  Last night it poured the rain and to be honest, running five miles on the treadmill was the last thing I wanted to do, so I rearranged my schedule and spent some time indoors with the Tone It Up girls.

Source

Love these babes.

Like I said, I have been running a lot again lately and although I know that how you recover is just as important as how you workout…I’m not a big “stretcher” {yikes!…hence why I had to purchase a Foam Roller and MELT Balls}.  I decided to take last night to do some circuits and focus on stretching/taking a “personal” workout day.

Here are the TIU videos that I covered:

Kettletoning {personal fav}

HIIT Training {this is a great one to wake up 15 minutes earlier for before you hop in the shower!}

Bikini Abs {the reason why I’m sore this morning}

And then wrap it up with the Foam Roller Routine

Once I was done I made dinner for Jimmy and myself– sauteed brussels sprouts and lemon pesto chicken. Very simple, very tasty, and a very nice way to make sure I’m cleaning out the fridge before Christmas break {we’re down to the basics here, people}.

Bluuugghhhh, I hate the awesomely horrible fluorescent lighting in our kitchen…oh well, the food still tasted great!

I even went through the MELT Foot Treatment while I was food prepping {aka chopping/sauteing brussels sprouts and waiting for the chicken to bake}.  It definitely required some extra brain power moving my hands and feet simultaneously {hopefully that makes sense…you know, like when you move you hand counter-clockwise and your foot clockwise?  It’s difficult.  Near impossible}.

What did you have for dinner last night?  What do you do when the weather messes up your workout plan?

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Five Things {Dec 21}

What’s going on everyone?  Another week is about to get started, and amidst all the holiday hustle and bustle I decided to stop in and cover another edition of #FiveThings for the week.

DJ Earworm United State of Pop 2014

When it comes to music, especially workout music, I love listening to mashups.  Every year DJ Earworm releases a mashup of the year by mashing up all of the top pop songs.  The 2014 mashup was released a few weeks ago and I can’t stop listening to it.  Check it out here.

Immaculate Cookies

While in the grocery store the other day, I noticed these tear and bake cookies.  They caught my eye because they are both dairy and gluten free.  Of course, I HAD to try them.  While they were baking, I checked out their website.  Apparently the company also makes biscuits, sweet rolls, pie crusts, and other types of cookies.

Newsflash:  The cookies are amazing, and I will be testing out every other product from this company.

The CC Monkey off My Back

Religion, politics, money….things you normally don’t talk about, but today is a little different.  In the past, I’ve had a pretty unruly credit card.  It’s the result of poor decision making, trip taking, a lululemon addiction, and a very warped view of how easy it is to just “pay things off”, while working multiple part time jobs and going to school.  {There Dad, I admitted it}.  This weekend I can officially say that I have paid off that credit card, and it is a huge weight off of my shoulders.  I’m just going to leave the money convo to that, but this was a major accomplishment for me, and a great way to start the new year.

Christmas brunch

Throughout the year, everyone’s always traveling on the weekends for either work or leisure.  This weekend {as is usual for most weekends around the holidays} both my brother, Jimmy, and myself were all home, so I decided to cook a very Christmas-ey brunch on Saturday.

It started with this box of Gingerbread Pancake Mix that I found from Trader Joe’s.  I also whipped up some bacon and eggs with parsley for the boys.

They also weren’t allowed to drink any of the coffee unless they drank it from a Christmas coffee mug.  House rules.

It was just a little thing, but it was a nice and relaxing way to kick off the weekend with my brother and boyfriend.  I am thankful everyday that we’re all able to live in the same city.  {We were missing the other frat bro, Andrew…he had already gone home for the holidays}.

Christmas next week

Need I say more?  Christmas is right around the corner {and there are only 10 days left in 2014…when the heck did that happen??}.  I’m having a blast soaking up as much of the Christmas spirit as I can {AND I found out that I don’t have to work on Christmas Eve…icing on the cake right there}.  No matter what’s going on this week, the fact that good old St. Nick is paying everyone a visit on Wednesday night makes it all better.  May or may not be blogging while watching Home Alone for the second/third time this season.

How’d everyone else’s week finish up?  Anyone on Christmas break yet?  What are your #FiveThings for the week?

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A Very Grinch-y Recovery Drink ‘N Other Festive Shakes

After a nice, long, and unseasonably warm 5 mile run yesterday, I came up with this incredibly tasty recovery drink.  It’s Christmas in your mouth.

Below are the ingredients:

1 cup of coconut water
1 banana
1 Tbsp of cocoa powder
2 Tbsp of Almond Butter
1 Tbsp of Flax Seeds
1 Handful of Spinach
1 Candy Cane {or a few drops of mint extract}

Did I add cocoa powder, peppermint, and spinach {for the green-effect} in my Ninja just so I can say it’s a “Grinch Themed” bev?

Yes, yes I did.

Keeping in line with the holiday spirit, I’m quickly reminded of the two other smoothies that I created last year while writing the Marshall Rec blog…the Peppermint Mocha Protien Smoothie and the Cranberry Salad Protien Smoothie {yes, inspired by Grandma’s Cranberry Relish Salad}.

Another seasonal drink I’ve been interested in trying was recently posted on Fabletics’ Insta a few days ago.  Doesn’t this Gingerbread Smoothie looks to die for?

The ingredients:

1 cup almond milk
2 pitted dates
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1.8 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup ice

What do you guys think?

Any holiday smoothies/bev’s your currently crushing over right now?
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Nutty Soup && Christmas Vacation

Last night I rushed home from work because I had BIG plans.

My frat bros and I were going to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at 7pm.  Always all about that Christmas spirit.  First, I wanted to make sure I squeezed in a quick workout, so I hopped on YouTube and completed the Tone It Up Kettletoning workout that I talked about a few weeks ago.

{Yep, there’s a little sneak peek of my headboard!  I’m obsessed with it, but to be honest I want to wait until I have better pillows so the pictures turn out all pretty…gotta wait until it’s in the budget}.

Then it was time for dinner.  I was initially inspired by a post from the Women’s Health Insta account earlier {blogger, Keri Glassman, took over for the day}.  Knowing I wanted a warm but hearty meal, I decided to heat up some organic creamy tomato soup from Trader Joe’s, but with a twist.

Flax seed and nuts for added nutrition!  Right now I only have these cashew pieces, so I added a handful {1/4 cup-ish} of cashews and a tablespoon of flax seeds to the soup while it was warming.

I also sauteed the rest of my brussels sprouts with a little garlic, S&P, and raw honey.  It was deeelish!

Top the soup off with some fresh parsley and you’re good to go.  This was the first time I’ve ever added anything like this to soup, but I was incredibly please/shocked/full with the new addition.  It will definitely be something that I will continually add to my soup in the future.

As I’ve said before…I have no pretty bowls, but I have tons of pretty mugs.  So we’re gonna mug the soup today {for the pictures sake}.

And that about sums up my night…cashew infused soup, honey brussels sprouts, water, wine, Christmas Vacation, and a pine scented candle.  Pretty much everything I wanted last night in one picture.

What did you guys have for dinner last night?  What are some of your favorite Christmas movies?

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