#FiveThingsSF {Feb 20 2015}

It’s Friday, and once again time to round out this week’s Five Things!  Remember to share your Five Things for the week by using the hashtag #FiveThingsSF !!

Going to Durham

Like I talked about earlier in the week, getting to go home to Durham was an easy decision for my Five Things of the week.  I’m not sure when I’ll be able to go home again, but being there for a little bit was a nice treat.

V-Day Girl Time

As you already know, Jimmy and I weren’t able to spend Valentine’s Day together because of our schedules.  Since he was gone, I ended up going over to my friend, Emily’s apartment to hang out/have dinner with some friends.  Even though Jimmy couldn’t be there on that day, it was still so much fun to just have some girl time and hang out!

Dairy Free Chai Tea Latte

I’m going to share the recipe next week {I promiseee!!} but this week I created my own recipe for a dairy free chai tea latte!!!!  I’m obsessed with chai tea latte’s but the downside of it all is that they’re generally made with cow’s milk.  Thank goodness for all of the other healthy alternatives these days!

10% Happier

Now that I’m done with Amy Poehler’s book, the next one that I’m reading is 10% Happier by Dan Harris.  I’m only about 10 pages in, but I can tell that I’m already going to like it.

Duke Winning

Holy basketball game, Batman!!!!  This past Wednesday was the first of the two basketball games between Duke and UNC of the season.  Arguably the best college rivalry out there.  I was losing my mind watching the game as it went into overtime, but I’M SO FREAKING HAPPY Duke was able to pull a win out at home.

I was also happy to see that snapchat had a snap story for the Cameron Crazies that night.  That’s where I got this from.  I have no idea who’s snapchat this is, but it’s awesome.  Just like all of them were.

So now it’s your turn!

What are your Five Things for the week?  Comment below or use the hashtag #FiveThingsSF !!

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Afternoon Snack– Acai Bowls

Hola mis amigos!  A little later in the day than usual, but I wanted to pop in to share my new favorite afternoon snack with you— Acai Bowls!

The Acai {pronounced ah-sigh-EE} Berry has gained it’s popularity over the years for being one of the “superfoods”.  Taken as a supplement, juice, or in a smoothie, I’m sure many of you have at least heard of it before.  Today’s snack takes the acai berry benefits, turns them into a custard like substance, and allows you to enjoy sans-guilt {depending on what you decide to top it off with, of course}.  From what I’ve seen the most popular meal time for this baby is breakfast.  I on the other hand, don’t really like to consume that much sugar at the beginning of the day.  I’ve been really good this past year to focus on lean proteins and greens for breakfast, as a better way to start my day.  Now, aside from any fruit as a side, when I consume sugars in the morning it doesn’t seem to agree with me.  Quite honestly, it leaves me feeling a little funky.  So I eat my breakfast how I eat my breakfast and then I save this for a snack!

Making the acai bowls is easy, getting ahold of acai {frozen or powder} can prove to be a little more difficult.  Luckily, when I was home and at Costco with my mom, I found this frozen superpack!

You can use the individual frozen packs, or the powder for the bowl.  If you’re using the powder, make sure you’re adding ice cubes to get the fro-yo-like substance!

Here’s how you make it:

In a blender combine the following ingredients:

1 packet of frozen acai
1/2 banana
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup of berries {can be frozen}, for this I used strawberries
1 packed cup of organic spinach leaves {<—not NECESSARY, but why not add this?  Full of great added health benefits and you can’t even tell that it’s there!}

Blend until smooth, and pour in bowl or oversized mug.

See?  It looks almost identical to fro-yo!  Then all you have to do is add the toppings of your choice.

Here I added fresh blueberries, the other 1/2 of the banana, a Tbsp of ground Flax Seed, and the remaining little bits I had left over of my Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Seeds from Trader Joe’s {yes, those do exist, and yes, I am basic}.

So there ya have it, my new favorite afternoon snack.  Even though it is freezing outside I still enjoy it, so I guarantee this will be more than refreshing once the warm weather kicks in!

Hope you all have had a great day so far!

Have you ever had acai bowls?  What do you like to add for your toppings?

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What I’m Giving Up For Lent + Last Second Durham Trip

I tried to be creative with this morning’s title, but I got way too ahead of myself and decided to take it back to basics.  Less is sometimes more.

So, in case you were wondering, we’re going to cover what I’m giving up for Lent, and a last second Durham trip.

On Sunday afternoon, I decided to just go home for a minute to visit with my parents.  Idk, sometimes you just need to go home for a bit, you know?  This is a luxury I haven’t had for the past seven years when I was away at Marshall, so I decided to take advantage of it.  This is one of the first times that I’ve gone home “just to go”, normally it’s for a holiday or some sort of an event.  Ryan wasn’t even with me this time.  It was great to see my parents and my dog and just hang out, especially since we all got more time than we expected.

If you’ve been following the weather, we got snow all the way down here in North Cackalacky.  Due to the snow/freezing rain combo, both of my parents got to leave work early on Monday, and my dad didn’t have to go in until late on Tuesday morning!  My mom, a middle school teacher, naturally had the whole day off!  It was accidentally timed perfectly, like we had our own mini “winter break” together.  The plan was for me to stay until mid-day Tuesday, so that I could get back in time for volunteering, but we were at first concerned I wouldn’t make it back.

Let me just clarify here, this was like NC level concerned…aka everything is fine the precipitation just froze a little, but are tires even built to function on a little bit of ice?????????  I don’t think so, we should probably stay inside for the next few days.  Better go buy some milk, eggs, and bread.

That’s the inner monologue that I had prepared for you all if you’re not familiar with how snow days work down here.  We don’t do winter weather.  Winter Weather WARNING?  Two Hour Delay.  1″ of snow?  Schools out.  I’m not complaining, I’m just saying, that’s how it was growing up.  I don’t see it changing any time soon.

So, since we had some time yesterday morning, my mom and I decided to walk {more like skate, the roads were actually pretty icy} around the hood with Alba to see the beautiful winter weather.

The blue sky even came out to greet us!

And there’s that little diva now.  She had so much fun exploring.  I don’t know what it is about her, but Alba LOVES the snow.  She would probably sleep in it if we didn’t make her come inside.  I chalk it up to a “former Huntington stray” street cred mentality.

Everything felt so fresh, clean, and bright around the neighborhood.  Like it does most times right after it snows and the sky clears.  My mom is Miss. Popular, so we stopped and talked to a lot of the neighbors who were also out enjoying the same landscape.  My neighborhood has a lot of hills– perfect for sledding conditions.  As I watched the younger children in zip down the same monstrous hills I once tackled on a snow day, I smiled thinking about those times.  It was a nice feeling.

I did a little “time traveling”, as Amy Poehler would say.  {Read the friggin book.  It’s awesome}.

Now I’m back in CLT, Lent starts today and I’m ready to take over the world.

So, before we get started I want to make one blanket statement.  I’m not here to judge other people’s religious or spiritual beliefs.  I’m not here to go on a rant about why I give up something for Lent every year and why you should too.  This is my blog, I have my own personal reasons as to why I choose to make this a part of my life, and I hope that you show me the same consideration that I know I would show to you.

Ok, so now that’s out of the way {that was kind of uncomfortable, right?} let’s get on with it.  When you choose something to abstain from during Lent, it should be something that comes with a struggle.  Whether it’s a habit you’re trying to make yourself stop doing, a habit you’re trying to form, or a goal that you have by the end of the 40 days, with Lent normally comes a lot of determination and focus.

I’ve given up all types of things over the years– pushing buttons when I was in elementary school {ask my parents, this was a serious problem when I was little.  Good luck taking me down the toy aisle}, gum, sweets, meat…the list goes on.  This year I did a little recon on what I was really struggling with.  I realized that once again, I’ve been having this insatiable sweet tooth.  However, it’s not because I NEED it in my diet, it’s because it’s around my apartment and I’m bored so I eat it.  Then I get used to sweets being around and then it becomes second nature to always “have a little dessert”.  This always happens after the holidays.  So, this year I’ve decided to give up sweets {i.e. candies, cookies, chocolates, cakes, etc}.  If I REALLY have a sweet tooth, I’ll just eat a piece of fruit.  No big deal.  I’ve done it before and I can do it again. It’s going to be tough though.

I don’t know what my deal has been, but I’ve literally had zero eff’s given when it comes to eating dessert recently, and that’s so not me.  Lent couldn’t have come at a better time.

I didn’t have any type of Fat Tuesday celebration this year, but to commemorate the night before Ash Wednesday, I had a glass of merlot and some semi-sweet morsels while I unpacked.

Now it’s done.  My hands are clean and I’m saying so long to desserts and candies for the next 40 days.

Wish me luck.

Have any of you been experiencing this winter weather?  Do you practice Lent?  What have you chosen to give up this year?

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Winter Run//Playlist

I love snow…snowey, snow, snow…here it goes down… {say it in the Ron Burgundy voice, it makes sense}.

By NC standards, we’re in the middle of an Artic Tundra at the moment.  It’s by far not the worst snow I’ve ever seen here, but it’s something, and it’s icey, and frozen, and cold.  I’ve been doing a lot of yoga recently, and while I’m still running, lifting, and Bodypumping, I wanted to make sure I got a good distance run in before it all came down yesterday.  I quickly threw a “Winter Run” playlist together and headed out.

I’ve said it before, but I can listen to pretty much anything when I workout.  When I’m running for longer than 3 miles, often times I love listening to rock, folk, or indie-type music {think Dave Matthews, Tom Petty, Mumford and Sons}.  I’m not sure exactly what it is about it all, but once I get into my distance running groove, I just coast.  I want my music to match that.  I also like to actually listen to the music when I run, you know, hear the story.  It serves as a nice distraction.  Unless I have some serious thoughts to sort through, I normally spend my running time creating music videos or coming up with movie plots to match the music I’m listening to…hey, to each her own, right?  I just chalk it up to my creative brain that I can’t ever seem to shut off  {Is it okay to admit that? I mean…that’s normal, right?}

So keeping that in mind, as well as what it feels like right before the first snow, I give you the Winter Run playlist.  It’s 56 minutes long.  Perfect for a 5-6 miler, or a good old fashioned run//walk.


Riptide- Vance Joy
Mess Is Mine- Vancey Joy
From Afar- Vance Joy
First Time- Vance Joy
Re: Stacks- Bon Iver
From Eden- Hozier
Work Song- Hozier
Waiting Game- Banks
Marathon Runner- Yellow Ostrich
Dearly Departed- Shakey Graves
What Kind Of Man- Florence + The Machine
Awake My Soul- Mumford and Sons
White Blank Page- Mumford and Sons
Pansy Waltz- Shakey Graves

If you follow me on Spotify, you can follow this playlist and have it sync right to your own Spotify account.  Just as a quick catch-up, here are some other playlists you’ll find:

Along with any and all of the JAMS OF THE WEEK
&& and all of my Half Marathon Playlists
Fall Run ’14
Christmas Grooves
Misdemeanor Here {Missy Elliot inspired} Playlist

Considering that it was about 20 degrees outside, and my extremities were like frozen blocks of ice, I’m not too upset about my time.  Something I definitely want to speed up ASAP.  I think my butt literally fell off around mile 3.5 and I’m surprised my fingers didn’t succumb to frostbite.

Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little bit.  But I’m from the Piedmont area of NC {<—-like how I used my 4th grade social studies state history knowledge there?}.  Running in 20 degrees isn’t normal for us.  In high school, soccer practice went indoors as soon as it hit 40. #truth

Either way, it’s a good base point, great place to improve from!

The snow around here has now turned more into freezing rain/ice.  I know a lot more of my friends up north are experiencing a “snowpocolypse” of sorts, so everyone stay safe out there!

What do you like to listen to when you distance run?  How’s the weather near you?

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Monday Mantra {Feb 16 2015}

Today’s Monday Mantra is inspired by two things– the SNL 40th Anniversary Special {#SNL40}, as well as the unplanned timing of the finishing of Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please.  Let me first start off by saying, if you haven’t read her book yet, stop what you’re doing right now and go get it.  If you don’t have President’s Day off, leave work, and do whatever you need to do to add it to your bookshelf.  I give you permission.

Also, who else watched the 40th Anniversary Special??  What a treat.

I honestly could have read this book in a day, but I had to pace myself.  For the past two weeks or so, Amy has been like my best friend,  a cool older sibling telling me all I need to know about life.  On top of that, I’ve watched Parks and Rec since it began, but Jimmy is now catching up/binge watching it on Netflix so we can watch the final season.  So I’ve got Amy Poehler all up in my biznass, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I didn’t want to finish the book because I didn’t want Amy to leave me, and go back to her cool {real} life in NYC.  When I openly told Jimmy that was my main concern, he looked at me like the crazy person that I am.  {but it’s true! anyone that reads a good book knows what I mean, you don’t want to stop reading because you don’t want it all to end}.

The quote itself came from my pal Amy’s book.  This specific meme was actually made by Ally, a friend/former coworker {as tagged on Insta…great job Ally!}.  There are a plethora of great tips and life advice that Amy dishes out, and I’m totally right there with her on her theories regarding time travel.  You really just have to read the book for yourself, simply telling you about the advice gold-mine isn’t doing it justice.

This type of advice comes from most experienced people, in a variety of ways, but I really think we can’t hear it enough.  So often are we concerned with what other people think, way more than we should be, and this can trip us up.  Holding this concern//paranoia//whatever you want to call it, can cause us to distort how we feel or what we’re trying to do.

And quite frankly, that’s just messed up.  The more I look back on situations where I put what I think other’s are thinking before what I’m actually trying to accomplish in my life, it’s just turned into a waste of time and energy.  Anyone else feel that way?

I think what Amy is basically trying to say is– treat yourself right, work hard, and do you boo boo.

Gotcha, Ames.  {not sure if I’m allowed to call you that}

So now that I have this empty hole in my heart, like when you binge watch a show in two days flat, I’m not sure how to handle it.  I’ll probably end up watching Baby Mama tonight.

“B!#$@ I don’t know your life!”

Happy Monday, all!  I hope everyone has a great start to the new week!  What are your mantra’s for the week?

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#FiveThingsSF {Feb 13 2015}

And as I’m typing this out I’m realizing that today is Friday the 13th.

Man, Friday the 13th and then Valentine’s Day?  This is a pretty risky 48 hours for some people.

Anyway, Friday the 13th, Shmriday the 13th.  Let’s get on with our Five Things for the week!  Remember, we’re doing something different now.  Instead of just the regular old #FiveThings, we’re doing #FiveThingsSF from here on out.  Click the link for more info, but remember- pick a social media venue {Facebook, Twitter, Insta, etc} and list YOUR Five Things for the week with the hashtag #FiveThingsSF {you can tag me in it too if ya want @_skinnyfingers_/Christine Lavery for Facebook}.  The “SF” part is important because there really isn’t anything of any importance associated with the hashtag {yet}.  Using it will help us all be able to check out one another’s Five Things for the week very easily.

Last thing to remember {I know, I know…sorry}, you don’t have write the next great American novel like I somehow end up attempting every week.  Just make a sweet little list of the five things you’re thankful for this week, add #FiveThingsSF, and boom….ya all done.  Let’s get started.

Trampoline Park Date Night

There is a trampoline park by our apartment complex that goes by the name, Defy Gravity.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that for the past 8 months my frat bros, real brother Ryan, and I have all been saying “you know, we should do that some time”…and then nothing ever happens.  I don’t know what kind of woo-woo juice Jimmy had been drinking earlier that day, but on Monday night he came home after work and said, “Let’s go to the trampoline park”.

I said, “Ok”.

And then we went.  Sometimes it’s just that easy to do something you’ve been “planning” on doing all this time.  We signed our waivers online, did what we needed to do, and went over to play in the trampoline park for an hour.  I ran four miles earlier and I didn’t sweat half as much as I did while we jumped around.  It was SO…MUCH…FUN!!!

Picture an open room, the size of a department store with floors upon floors of trampolines, basketball courts with trampoline floors, obstacle course trampoline things, and tons of other stuff.  We were jumping, dunking, flipping, and racing each other.  We felt like kids again.  I should also mention that we were some of the oldest people in there…but who cares.  Jimmy absolutely loved it so I’m sure we will go again.  Next time I’ll take my phone inside so I can show you our sweet jumps.

New Armband

I’ve really been needing a new armband for when I run and workout, but honestly I just keep forgetting to get one.  That is until I’m about to grab a bar at the gym and then have to awkwardly stuff my phone in my waistband or sports bra.  This week I while buying shampoo at Target, I saw this baby for only FIVE DOLLARS.

It’s mint, it’s cheap…it’s exactly what I need.  I’ve only had it for three days, so I can’t attest to the durability and longevity of it just yet, but I have no complaints thus far.


These were at Trader Joe’s in a huge bag for $3.99.  They’re a mix between a grapefruit and a tangerine.  So, naturally I bought the whole bag without hesitation.  It’s interesting because sometimes I can taste the little hint of grapefruit…but then I can’t and I think I’m just eating a large tangerine…

Either way, it’s a juicy citrus so I’m sold.  Definitely worth a shot a $3.99.

Friend!  Hi Friend!  Friend!

Social media is a funny thing.  It’s lead us to believe as a society that in order to actually be friends with another person, we must also be able to prove our electronic friendship.  But what happens when you aren’t “friends” with one of your really good friends, on a social media page as big as Facebook?  {{Were we ever friends at all?}}

That’s actually been an ongoing thing with one of my very best friends, Jess {you’ve seen her on here, she gets some occasional air-time}.  We became friends years ago, and then I would say about 6 months into the friendship, we realized that we weren’t “friends” on Facebook.  In a stubborn and probably slightly intoxicated fake-argument we decided that we weren’t going to friend each other.  If the other person was really “that desperate” to be Facebook friends then they could hit the “Add” button.  We were sitting right in front of each other, why did we HAVE to be FB friends?  Years have gone by and neither of us has requested the other’s friendship.  It’s actually something we both were proud of.

After seeing one another in Huntington the last time, we both decided that for “sharing” purposes//the blog’s sake//yada yada yada, we should probably break the cycle and become friends.  However, Jess refused to be the one to add me {she was playing hard to get}.  So yesterday, I broke down and added her.  I felt like a young Mark Zuckerberg at the end of The Social Network when he adds Rashida Jones’ character and just keeps hitting the “refresh” button until she accepts.

It’s weird being her FB Friend now.  Nothing’s different, we weren’t hiding anything from each other, but it’s just weird.  Idk, I might unfriend her.  🙂

Yoga One Valentine’s Gift

I gotta brag on the boy toy for a minute here.  He gave me the BEST Valentine’s Day gift EVER while still honoring our $30-ish rule.  Yoga One is a yoga studio that’s right up the block from our place, and they were/are running a special for people new to their studio- 31 days for $31.  That’s right, for the next 31 days, I can go to a yoga class a day, as many days as I want, for the next 31 days.  I started on Wednesday and plan on going every day, if not 6 days a week.  Yoga One is a Baptiste Affiliate Studio.  The instructors that I’ve had thus far have been great, they help everyone individually with their technique, while still teaching the entire class.  The rooms are heated to approx 104 degrees, and at the end we get a cold, lavender scented towel that we can lay on our forehead during Savasana//Corpse Pose.  It’s just wonderful.

Yoga is something I enjoy, something that I want to get better at, and definitely something that is very humbling.  I’m excited to see where the next 31 days get me!

Speaking of which, I’m off to yoga now…TTYL!

What are your Five Things for the week??  Remember, #FiveThingsSF so we can all see.  Sharing is caring!!

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How to Build the Best Bride-To-Be Gift Basket

Like I promised on Sunday, today I’m going to share with you all tips on how to build the best “Bride-To-Be” gift basket for your newly engaged girlfriend.  Eeeeeek!!  Between today and yesterday, the blog is filled with love this week…and I love it.

It’s always so exciting when your friends get engaged.  For awhile there I felt like I was going to wedding after wedding, so many people that I knew were getting hitched!  Then there was a bit of a lull this past year {or maybe I just wasn’t getting the invite lol}, but now I feel like holy matrimony time is going to start picking up yet again.  First to kick off the trend, one of my best friends and former roommates, the Liz in Chicago!

Here we are!  #tbt to the college years…babies @ Da U

So, the main goal of a Bride-To-Be gift basket is similar to other gift baskets in the sense that it’s a GIFT to celebrate a great moment in a person’s life!  Of course it will be wedding related, but it’s also about sending items to pamper and support the newly engaged gal pal.  I don’t know from direct experience, but word on the street is, planning a wedding is stressful.  Therefore, include indulgent items in the basket that will help her relax while she’s planning.  You know, all fun pampery//girly things that you know your friend will like.  Tailor it to her!

My other two friends, Jess and Abby, knew that we wanted to get this together for Liz since she got engaged.  However, we all live in different cities, at least 6 hrs apart, so we were a little geographically challenged.  After communicating and scheming for a few weeks through a super secret group text, we waited until I saw Jess in Huntington the other week to put it all together {Abby helped remotely in MIA}.

Here are the four of us in Chicago two summers ago after a Cubs game.  Can you tell? {obviously, Liz, the Bride-To-Be on the far right}.

Ok enough chit-chat let’s talk about what to put in this thing!  Here are the five essentials needed for every basket:

{{Bridal Magazine, beauty products, relaxation necessities, motivational tools, and a personalized note}}

Like I said, tailor it to your friend, but these are the guidelines for any great gift!  First, the bridal mag-

Any bride needs a magazine to flip through every now and then for inspiration!  {just think:  this is what girls did before Pinterest}.

Now, on to the beauty products {plus some relaxation necessities}…

Here we have the following items:

Essie Nail Polish:  color, Ballet Slippers
Buxom Full-On Lip Polish:  color, Sandy {<— Liz has told us that she’s gotten MANY compliments on this, I love the Buxom line}
LUSH Bath Bombs:  pictured here we have Butterball {all white}, Rose Queen {pink}, and Tisty Tosty {heart shaped}
Face Mask && Goji Berry Candle: purchased at Targ`et

And a little more relaxation plus some motivation…

Coffee mug:  because coffee motivates and solves all problems
Champagne:  because how do you relax without it?

All jokes aside, Liz loves tea and coffee, and on top of her day to day, planning a wedding will be exhausting at times {we’re here for ya, Liz!}.  So caffeine is a must.  We found this adorable mug via Pinterest.  It belongs to Etsy shop owner, PrettyLittleVinyls.  Click here to go directly to the mug.

Adorable, isn’t it? In addition to picking out a nice basket for the foundation, tissue paper, etc, don’t forget your note!  We included a personalized one from the three of us to Liz, along with a fun little list of everything we put in the basket and why.

Put it all together and you have your masterpiece!!

This is a special, once in a lifetime moment for your friend, and it’s something that deserves to be celebrated!  Even if you can’t always be there in person for her in times like these, sending something to remind them that you’re there in spirit {or just a phone call//txt away} is just as appreciated. We’re making memories here, people!  Join in on the fun!

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What To Do When You Can’t Be With Your Valentine on Valentine’s Day

Ahhh, Valentine’s Day.  The overly marketed day of love and romance.  I say that even as someone who is in a long and loving relationship.  Now, I’m no Valentine’s Day-hater, I enjoy any excuse to celebrate anything.  I do think that it’s gotten a little out of hand in comparison to it’s history and origins {but really, what hasn’t these days?}.  When it comes to Valentine’s Day, I’ve done it all- spent the day with the one I love, received cute cards and candies from my parents, exchanged Scooby-Doo and Disney Princess valentines with my elementary classmates, gone out and created chaos, metaphorically burning cities to the ground with my other single friends, or with those same friends, just sat in front of the TV with tissues and The Notebook on loop.  All while devouring heart-shaped delivered pizzas, chocolate, and bottles of wine.  Now that I look back on it, I see nothing wrong with any of these options.  I thoroughly enjoyed every single one.

For Jimmy and I, the beginning of the year is a little more top-heavy, so we never go really crazy on Valentine’s Day.  It all starts with Christmas, then New Years {we don’t get each other gifts on this day, but this holiday can get quite pricey depending on what you decide to do}, our anniversary on January 17, Valentine’s Day, and then Jimmy’s Birthday on March 10th, this list goes on.  We aren’t in college anymore, but we also aren’t made of moola, so we made a rule for Valentine’s Day.  Limit the gift to $20 each {we’ve actually never officially honored that amount, it’s kind of transformed into the $30 gift rule}.  Then, ya know, dinner together, etc, etc.

Although I’ve had sOoOoOo many Valentine’s Day experiences {<— slight sarcasm here}, this year will be a first.  Due to our opposite and preexisting work schedules, Jimmy and I will not be able to spend V-Day together.  As the years go on, I’m finding that this is more common with my relationship-clad friends than not.  We all have jobs where schedule is everything, and for whatever reason, companies don’t recognize or honor V-Day the same way they recognize Christmas {<–also sarcasm}.

So, when ya can’t be with your hunnay on the technical day of love, here are some tips on what do to {not saying Jimmy and I followed all of these, just some ideas from one gal pal to another…these tips apply to guys as well}:  This is also assuming you’ve texted//called each other at some point on Valentine’s…

**The key is to plan ahead:

It’s all about communication {don’t worry keep reading, this isn’t a relationship lecture}.  Since you can’t be together on Valentine’s, match up each other’s schedules and see what time works for the both of you to exchange gifts//go to dinner//go to the movies.  Whatever it is you’re going to do.  As long as you’re on the same page, celebrate whenever the heck you want.

**The USPS is your friend {as long as they don’t lose anything}:

Find out the address where your boo thang will be staying and send a little something to them there.  A card, small gift, etc.  Keep in mind they are most likely on a work trip, so let’s keep it both work appropriate and something they can travel back with {no 50 dozen roses or 6ft stuffed bears}.  If the gift you have in mind doesn’t fit either of these options, revert back to number one and give them the gift at another time.  Also keep in mind how many other people might want to mail something on Valentine’s Day.  You don’t want your present to be late, or missed completely!

**Become a little sneaky-sneak:

Probably could have phrased this better, but I’m hitting a writer’s block.  All I mean here is, when they aren’t looking {or are already asleep}, sneak a small gift or card into their suitcase.  Label it, “Not To Be Opened Until Valentine’s Day”, or something to that affect.  If they’re driving to their destination, then you have a little more freedom with what you can do.  If they’re flying, keep TSA regulations in mind.  It wouldn’t be very sweet if your sweetie got held up at the airport because they unknowingly tried to bring a carry-on with a bottle of champagne tucked inside.  {oopsies}

No matter what you do, keep in mind that Valentine’s is just another day.  If you can’t have your Lady and The Tramp spaghetti dinner with your babycakes on the 14th, it shouldn’t turn into the worst day of the year.  Like I said, I enjoy celebrating anything, buttt you also don’t HAVE to blow it out or celebrate it right on the 14th to prove you love one another.  Just relax and enjoy Valentine’s Day any way that you can.  {Those heart shaped za’s are pretty dang good, FYI}.

What do you guys have planned for Valentine’s Day?  What do you do if you can’t be with the one you love?

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Easy-A Omelet How-To

Another round of 5:30 AM Bodypump in the books {can I get a woop-woop}.  It’s a busy day in Christine-land, so I still wanted to make sure I got some form of a workout in before the day started. This morning when I got back from the gym I was STARVING with a capital S-TARVING.  I decided to make an omelet.

There are a variety of ways to make an omelet.  When I do it, I follow the basic steps that I’m about to list below.  In terms of what I put in the omelet, I just include whatever’s in my fridge.  For this omelet I added red onion, sweet peppers, spinach, and mushrooms.  To be honest, exact measurements don’t really matter with me- it’s just a great way to make sure you’re using all of the produce that you’ve purchased.  Grab a small skillet, and I just add the veggies with whatever cooking oil {I used ghee here} until I fill the bottom of the pan.

So ingredients are as listed:

The amount of veggies you need to fill a pan {add a little more spinach than you would think because this will cook down considerably}
Cooking oil of choice
1 egg & 2 egg whites, whisked
A splash of almond milk {with the eggs}
Seasoning {I go with either a little old fashioned S&P or Creole Seasoning}

No matter what kind of omelet you make, always try to include organic baby spinach leaves.  They cook down so easily, and are full of amazing nutritional benefits.  Like I’ve said numerous times before- “they are the Houdini of veggies”.  You can’t taste them, but you know they’re there.

Once the veggies have cooked down over medium heat, add the mixture of egg//egg whites//almond milk to the skillet, top it off with the seasoning.

Cover the pan and allow to cook until the edges are crisp and the top of the omelet looks slightly cooked through.  At this point, use a spatula to flip one half of the “omelet mixture” on to the other.

Continuing to keep the pan covered, flip the omelet over on both sides for about 1-2 minutes.  Until the omelet appears to be cooked through.

Once it’s cooked…enjoy!  I also sauteed up some chicken sausage and toasted some “paleo bread” that I made last week.  The bread is pretty amazing and I will share that will you all later as well.  Right now I don’t have the right sized pan, so my bread slices are looking a little more like bread sticks.

Aaaaand angle numero dos.

Oh yea, and don’t forget the avacad-iiiii!!!

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday!  What did you have for breakfast this morning?

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#MondayMantra {Feb 9 2015}

I’ve been reading a lot about gratitude recently.  How to work it into your every day life, and why it helps.  I actually finished reading a short and interesting article by Arianna Huffington just this morning.  Click here to read it in full.

The article is actually what led me to today’s Monday Mantra.  I am happy, and incredibly thankful for the people and things that are in my life.  However at times, as a twenty-something, just when I think I have it all figured out I am quickly proved wrong.  It’s like I have all of these pieces to this puzzle we call life, but I’m still not able to get some of the pieces to fit together quite right, or the way I want to.  This is frustrating, it’s overwhelming, and sometimes it’s downright scary.

BUT, that’s really the beauty of it, isn’t it?  You have to experience the lows to appreciate the highs.  I think it’s healthy to be wrong sometimes, to experience rejection.  Could you honestly imagine how boring it would be if everything always worked out the way we wanted?  Looking back on things now, could you imagine how different your life would be if you had always gotten everything you wanted?  I’ll go ahead and admit it.  I didn’t necessarily plan on being where I am today, but if I had gotten everything I thought I wanted, when I wanted it, there is no way that I would be here.  With the exception of a few minor tweaks here and there {that are so miniscule, they’re not even worth mentioning}, I have this settling feeling that even though I’m going through some twists and turns right now, I am where I’m supposed to be.  With that comes today’s mantra:

Originally stated by eighth-century Muslim jurist, Imam Al- Shafi’i, I have found this to be true more than ever.  In this I find solace. 

Sometimes it is easier to be negative than it is to be positive.  We are all human, and I will admit that I can struggle with this from time to time.  However, like Huffington noted in her post linked above, “gratitude works its magic by serving as an antidote to negative emotions”.  I don’t like negativity, I try not to be around it.  By showing gratitude I’m keeping my negativity as far away as possible.  I also show gratitude by remembering this quote, and being thankful for all of my experiences, no matter what their outcome may have been.

To clarify- always, always work hard.  Hustle.  Work your butt off.  However you want to describe it.  Don’t just sit around and wait for things to come to you, that I do not agree with.  Instead, keep going through life trying and experiencing all that you can.  Work HARD.  If it doesn’t work out, it wasn’t supposed to.  If you feel like you haven’t “gotten to where you want to be yet”, that’s okay.  Who, especially in their twenties, honestly feels that way?  The key through all of this is to remain grateful.  Have gratitude for all things, always.  It will help you maintain your sanity, keep out negative thoughts, and give you an overall better outlook on life.

Happy Monday everyone!  In what ways do you guys show gratitude?  Is this something that you struggle with from time to time as well?

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