#FiveThingsSF {Feb 8 2015}

Welcome to Sunday evening, everyone!  I wanted to post this yesterday, but there were a few things that I needed to have happen first, so I wouldn’t ruin any surprises.  This will all make sense in a minute.

But, let’s get on with the Five Things for the week!

Recapping the #FiveThings thus Far {PLUS A SERIOUS UPDATE}

If you guys have been to the main page of the blog in the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed a few edits {i.e. font changes aaannndddd TABS}.  That’s right.  I organized more than my top drawer this week.  While this has been about a two week process, a few days ago I dedicated my time to update the #FiveThings page, listing the “five things” of each week next to their respective date.  Click the link to check it out.

Now, I do want to note-  there are a lot of words on that page, and even as a blogger I know how much of a turn off that can be {too many words, EW!} <—- {Jimmy Fallon joke}.  I’m in the process of adding images and organizing everything even more, so keep your eyes open for that.  You have to start somewhere, right?

And finally, on to the “serious update”.  Deciding to blog means a lot of things, one of which ultimately lies in the fact that the desire to do it comes from somewhere personal.  I think any blogger would agree with me on that.  Going through all of my “Five Things”, and seeing a very abbreviated version of the past six months of my time in CLT was for lack of a better term, really cool.  It’s part of the reason why I blog.  Not only to help others and create a positive environment/ community, but also to document my own growth.  I honestly think everyone needs to document their personal growth to a certain extent {even if you never share it}.  It’s incredibly eye opening.  As I grow and evolve, so will the blog.  It’s the “never-ending life project” {sounds super fun, right?}.  That being said, I’m once again updating #FiveThings {remember when I used to call it “High-Five Friday” for like two weeks?  Ughh, can I get some wine with all that cheesiness??}.

Trying to remain brief here, every week I blab on and on about my Five Things, but what I really want to do is hear about YOURS.  That’s right!  Read the full explanation here on the actual #FiveThings page.  What we’re going to do here is have everyone share their Five Things by simply using the hashtag #FiveThingsSF.  {I checked, nothing of any importance is associated with this hashtag thus far}.  Notice how I’m using it in the title today?  Now, you don’t have to go into storytime mode like me, just get on whatever social media venue you want, and list your Five Things for the week with the hashtag #FiveThingsSF 🙂  Sharing is caring, but it also gets you to think about YOUR Five Things, which will make you reflect and be happy!!!   {remember to read the full explanation in the link above, I’ve got to get on to #FiveThingsSF #2}….

New Jams of the Week

My friend Molly graced us all with another “Jams of the Week” this week, and it has been glorious.  The ultimate friend playlist strikes again, and I think it’s by far one of my favorites.  You can check out all of the JOTW by following me on Spotify.  Once you log in I’m listed as “christinelavery”.  Easy peasy.

Early morning workouts

I mentioned earlier in the week how I’ve been getting up for a Tues/Thurs 5:30am Bodypump class.  I used to get up on Wednesday’s for a 5:30 spin class, but with a variety of schedule adjustments and such, it kinda fell to the wayside.  Recently, I’ve been able to make it to the 5:30am classes and still get my day started on time.  I will admit, when I began getting up at 5am, it was a struggle.  However, every morning since I’ve started, it’s gotten easier and easier.  Now, if I don’t work out in some capacity early in the morning, I feel unaccomplished.

Am I turning back into a serious morning workout person again??  This hasn’t happened since 2011 {at least}…

My “One Line A Day” Journal

When I say that TONS of things are going on right now, just believe me.  I promise that I will explain everything when it’s appropriate.  Due to the fact that I’m in a position where I can’t yet just blurt it all out, I’ve been keeping daily tabs on myself with my “One Line a Day” journal.  It’s been my saving grace.  I’m particularly interested to look back on what I’ve had to say about my life once I’m through this time period.  I’m all about that growth and reflection.

This journal is blocked out to cover the next five years of your life.  Kind of intimidating, right?  Wrong!  It’s awesome!  All you have to do each day is write a line a day about whatever you want.  Did something good happen?  Something bad?  Or maybe nothing at all, you just heard a really funny joke? Write it down!  I found this at Target about six months ago.  It’s probably still in stock at a Target near you, buuuuutttttt I did find in online.  Want one of your own?  Click here.

Liz Getting Her Bride-To-Be Package

This is basically what I was waiting for to happen yesterday.

It’s an extremely exciting time because one of my very best friends and former college rommies is getting married!  {The Liz in Chicago!!}  She got engaged right before Christmas, and my other friends, Jess and Abby were wanting to put a “Congrats//Bride-To-Be” gift basket together for her.  We were finally able to when I met up with Jess in Huntington the other weekend.  Abby was still in Miami, so she helped us get everything together remotely, but we assembled it that Friday.  Yesterday, Liz finally got it!

Post to come on how to build the best “Bride-To-Be” gift basket, it was so much fun getting everything together!  {and surprising her with it…surprising people with gifts is my favorite}.

Alright people, what are your #FiveThingsSF for the week?? Let’s hear ’em!

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Paleo-Stuffed Bell Peppers w// Citrus Avocado Salad

Yoo-hoo, hi everyone!

As promised on Tuesday, I’ve decided to share the Stuffed Pepper recipe that I created on Monday.  It was scrum-diddily-umptious, and this thing will be forever bookmarked in the invisible, but totally real “Christine’s Go-To Cookbook”.  The cookbook is invisible because it’s not a real thing.  Some recipes memorized, some here on this blog, some oldies on the Rec’s blog. some on Pinterest, some in actual cookbooks, some modified off of ideas I’ve screenshot while perusing the internet/social media {hey, ideas can come from anywhere, why limit yourself?!}  I’ll organize it and put it all together someday.  For now, the invisible go-to cookbook works.

Let’s jump right in!  Enough chit-chat for this week so far {y’all saw my top drawer for cryin’ out loud}…

Ingredients: {Makes 4 Stuffed Peppers}

For the Peppers:

1 lb of ground turkey {or lean beef, your choice}
4 Bell Peppers, any color, with the tops off and seeded
1 15oz can of organic tomato sauce
1 jalapeno, diced {seeds and all}
1/2 cup of red onion, chopped
1/2 cup of mushrooms, chopped {I used organic white button mushrooms, but’s it up to you.  These can also be omitted for allergies or overall dissatisfaction of said fungi}
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of onion powder
1/2 tsp of oregano {dried and crushed}
1/4 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp of paprika
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes

Additional-  oil of your choice for cooking {I just used olive}, and cheese to top the peppers if you’re feeding someone who’s not into the whole “no-dairy” thing

For the Avocado Salad:

2 avocados, cubed and scooped from the skin
1 Tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp of fresh squeezed lime juice
1/8 cup of diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp of diced red onion
Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375.  In a large skillet, with preferred oil, saute onion, mushrooms, and jalapeno’s with a pinch of salt.  While these are cooking, take the tops off of the peppers and take out the innards.

If you have time, go ahead and separate the spices into a bowl.

 

2.  Once the onions are translucent and the peppers seem cooked through, add the ground meat and the remaining amount of salt.  After the meat is browned remove everything from pan and drain any excess oil and grease.  Then put back in the skillet.

3.  Add the can of tomato sauce and spices to the skillet and cook down to a thick paste.

4.  While this cooks down, go ahead and line the baking pan with aluminum foil.  It will be hard to get the peppers to stand up on their own, so I used additional foil to make little bottoms for the peppers.

Pepper pants

5.  After about 5 minutes of cooking, evenly spoon the mixture between the four peppers, and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

6.  As I mentioned earlier, if you’re cooking for someone that wants cheese on their stuffed pepper {i.e. the frat bros}, then remove peppers from the oven, cover with desired amount of cheese and stick back in the oven for 10 more minutes.  If you’re not adding cheese to any of them, keep the peppers in the oven for 40 minutes total.

Man, even though I don’t eat it that much anymore, there are few things more beautiful than some melted cheese…am I right??

7.  In these remaining 10 minutes, whip together the avocado citrus salad by mixing all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Then use it to top the peppers.

At this point you’re all done.  So clean up, and enjoy!!

Make these tonight.

Remember, if you have extra, you can always eat them for breakfast.

Have you guys ever made stuffed peppers before?  What modifications do you have?

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Ghee, What a Pal

I’ve recently started adding a certain fatty substance to my diet and cooking, and I wanted to share it with you all today.  As a Paleo based {eh, more so dairy-free} type of person, I shockingly haven’t been with the times, and utilizing this substance like many already do.  But let’s be honest here, when I say “Paleo”, what I really mean is dairy-free combined with clean eating as much as possible {lean meats, subbing veggies for grains whenever I can, etc}.  Some Paleo alternatives can get really “fatty” if you’re not careful, which is obvi no bueno.  It’s all about doing your research and understanding the who’s, what’s, and why’s as to what you’re putting into your body.

Anyway, cue announcer voice…

Coming into the ring, at a mere 8oz as a buttery yet non-dairy cooking oillllll…Ghhhheeeeeeee

{Jock Jams, Let’s Get Ready to Rumble, plays in the background}…are you hyped up yet?

So, what is it, you ask?  Traditionally found in the Indian culture, it’s also known as Clarified Butter.  Basically it’s cooked down, grass-fed butter that doesn’t include any water, milk solids, or preservatives.  So it’s butter, without the whole casein, dairy component.  It still has some fat, so you know, don’t go crazy and eat cups of it or put it on everything, but there are actually a lot of great benefits that go along with this cooking substitute.

Here are some of the reasons that I’ve chosen to include ghee in my diet.

High Smoke Point

This refers to “how hot” ghee can get in the pan before decomposing and smoking.  I’m sure if you’ve experimented in the kitchen before, you’ve noticed times with other oils that you’ve accidentally left on a high heat for too long, the pan literally starts to smoke.  Well, with ghee, it’s found to have a higher smoke point than most oils {olive, coconut, etc}, even regular butter, making it great for cooking.

No More Moo-Moo

We’ve already covered this, but because ghee is clarified butter, the milk component is outta here!  Which is great for those attempting to avoid dairy.  **Ehhemm**

Aids in Digestion

Due to the fatty acids that are found in ghee, many believe that it triggers an immune response that decreases inflammation and aids in digestion.

Healing for the Skin

Disclaimer, I have not tried this, but it was something that I found during research.  Similar to the same anti-inflammatory properties we just discussed, it is said that when ghee is applied directly to the skin it can help with things like swelling and burns.  I would test it out for you guys, I really would, but I have to draw the line there.  I don’t think my skin could handle it.  If I burn myself while cooking, I’ll let you know.  Not going out of my way to test that one.

Vitamins

Ghee is also found to be rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Can Help Lower Cholesterol and Risk of Heart Disease

Because of the fatty acids and compounds found in ghee, it is shown to help lower cholesterol AND the risk of heart disease by protecting you against things like carcinogens and artery plaque.

Now, although we’ve covered all of these great benefits….I want to point out that this is still a FAT.  I kept stumbling upon the idea that ghee is a “miracle weightloss fat”.  That’s a claim that I’m neither going to confirm nor deny.  Yes, ghee has all of these amazing benefits, and when used appropriately and sparingly in your diet, like many other cooking fats or Paleo-based substitutes, this can have a great and positive impact on your overall health.  It’s all about balance.  Figuring out what works for you, and YOUR body, and going from there.  Do I think ghee is your answer for losing weight?  Honestly, no, and I couldn’t go sleep at night if I condoned something like that.  I do, however think it’s a great addition//alternative to one’s cooking and eating habits.  Hence, why it is in my cupboard.

Plus, I forgot to mention that it still tastes all old-fashioney buttery.  Like the kind grandma used to use.  Only, without dairy.

Want more info?  Click here, here, here, and here.

What do you guys think?  Have you ever included ghee into your cooking?  How do you feel about it?

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Organizing Part One // Drawers

Welcome back to Part Deux for the SF blog today.  Like I said, this is a #TransformationTuesday piece…you’ll fully understand in a moment.

I’ve come to a realization about myself recently.  While I am a very driven, busy, organized, and clean individual, I am by no means perfect.

Blog of Honesty- my drawers and closets are organized to crap.  When it comes to clothes, I am a borderline hoarder, and I only have so much storage space.

I’m just going to be open and up front with everyone {not like I’m not already}, but I know a lot of us suffer from this problem.  While parts of this might be shocking and appalling, I think we will all be able to benefit from my sacrifice of allowing you into the depths of my soul that I normally just cover by closing my closet door or stuffing my drawers shut.

Okay, so it’s not THAT dramatic, but it is pretty bad.  Jimmy {who miraculously just turned into the world’s best purger {not a word} one day and had a freak moment and cleaned out ALL of his stuff} gets on me about it all the time.  I have so much to clean out that this will take up two, maybe three posts, but I promise I will show you before and after pictures, as well as share tips with everything.

Today we will focus on dresser drawers, specifically the drawer of the undergarment sort.  I know this is a problem for a lot of people.  Girls especially, because this drawer holds everything from panties to socks to sports bras to nighites to strapless bras {guys just don’t get it}.  I would like to point out that this is TOTALLY for guys too, don’t you all put things in your top drawer like ties and watches?  Now, I’m not particularly excited about showing you pictures of this, but I think it will help others, so I’m doing it anyway.  Report this as inappropriate if you want, but all you’re looking at is pieces of fabric…in a pile…so get your mind out of the gutter.  This isn’t the Janet Jackson Super Bowl Halftime show.  Your drawer is probably horribly organized too.  So read, and learn.

This is what we’re working with today

Yikes.

Before tackling this I went on Pinterest to consult the powers that be to get an idea on what steps to take {click here and here}.  I also went back and read the portion of The Happiness Project where good old Gretch talked about the how and why behind her closet purging.

After doing a little bit of research, I also ventured over to IKEA to buy some drawer organizers.  I decided on what is known as Skubb, a six piece collapsible set, that fits my IKEA drawers perfectly.

I would also like to point out that this is all I bought when I went to IKEA {are you reading this Mom and Dad?!} Did I walk around the entire store?  Yes, partly because I wanted to and partly because who can actually find their way out of an IKEA without walking through the entire thing?  Dang Sweds.

So, I got home, emptied my drawer, organized everything into piles and made 4 rules for myself.

1.  If there are holes, throw it out {this pertains to everything}
2.  If you haven’t worn it in the past 3 months or if it is dingy, stained, mangled looking, and not saved for a particular time of the month, toss it.  {this pertains to undies…girls, you know what I’m sayinn}
3.  Put it on.  If you jump around and it’s lacking in support, sayonara. {this refers to sports bras.  There’s nowhere to go but down {pun intended} once the elastic starts to loosen up}
4.  If it flat out doesn’t fit anymore…BUH-BYE.  {I say this because I have a bad habit of keeping things even when they don’t fit like they used to}  hint:  if you keep things because you think “oh I’ll just lose 5lbs to get back to what I used to be and then I’ll wear this again all the time!” only keep one or two of these items, they’ll be like your “skinny jeans” of undergarments.  But stop taking up space, let it go…into the trash can.

***And if you actually lose those five lbs, go buy something new when that time has actually come as a fun little reward.***

Once I separated everything into it’s respective piles, I was momentarily overwhelmed…

Where the eff did this all come from??? And how did it fit in my one drawer?!?!?

My one unexpected realization….why do I have so many fuzzy slipper socks?

The crazy thing is, none of these break my four rules.  They all get worn at least once every two weeks and none of them have holes.  I’ll just put them away as the warm weather arrives.  I heart slipper socks.

Long story short, I designated each pile to a Skubb drawer, followed my rules, and went to town.  I then ended up with this….

I had an extra Skubb drawer {as you can see I just gave my socks the freedom to roam}, so I used it to organize my bathing suits in another drawer.

It’s amazing how much better you feel, even after only organizing something like this.  My next project is my side of the closet, which I’ll share next week.  THAT, ladies and gents, will be a true Transformation Tuesday.

What are some of your strategies when you need to reorganize your drawers?  Anyone else struggle with this issue?

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Peppery Breakfast && Missy Elliott Inspired Playlist

Good morning all!  Today’s actually going to be a double blog day {douubblleee bllloogggg}!!  Just wanted to stop in and share my breakfast and workout inspo before going over part deux a little later.  This afternoon is going to be a real #TransformationTuesday, if you know what I mean.

This morning I got up extra early for a 5:30am Bodypump class at my gym.  That’s been my Tuesday/Thursday ritual for the past week, and I’m excited to keep it going.  I increased my weight for today’s class….shewwwieeee, baby!  Definitely glad I did that, definitely going to be sore tomorrow.  I stayed after to run through a 9-mile stationary bike interval workout {I’m a little behind on my #150byVday}.  While I was biking I listened to my new and most favorite playlist.  In honor of Missy Elliott arriving at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, I created a Misdemeanor-inspired collection.

If you follow me on Spotify, you can “follow” this playlist and it will sync directly with your own Spotify app.  If you don’t have Spotify, I still wanted to make sure you guys got it!  {{P.S.- not all of the songs on here are edited, I just went with what I could find on the app}}.  In total it’s about an hour long and totally took me back to high school.  Do I know every word to every song on the playlist?  Maybe.  I freaking loved Missy Elliott, and seeing her on Sunday night made my week.  I’ll be honest I was waiting for Snoop Dogg or Juicy J to come out with Katy Perry since they’ve collabed together…but seeing Missy was better.  These throwback jamz are definitely what I needed to get through a fun workout.

For breakfast I reheated one of the Paleo-Stuffed Bell Peppers that I made last night for my frat bro’s and myself.  In total I made four, but there were some leftovers.  The recipe was banging, for lack of a better term, and I’m super proud of myself for coming up with it off the top of my head  {the ingredients part, not the whole “stuffed pepper idea”}.  Jimmy gave it multiple thumbs up {= two thumbs up, on numerous and separate occasions}.  I promise to share it with you some time this week.

You can turn anything into a “breakfast food” once you slap a fried egg on it.  I LOVE FRIED EGGS.

Coffee, grapefruit, and squeeze a little avocado in there…because I can.

Alright, off to get a few things done today.  Be back later with that Transformation Tuesday post I was talking about {hint:  it has nothing to do with weight loss.  Although, there is a loss of something here}.

BBL

That means “be back later”, for those of you who didn’t use AIM.  What can I say?  I was just talking about Missy Elliott.  I can’t help myself.

What did you guys have for breakfast this morning?  Were you as excited to see Missy Elliott as I was?

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Monday Mantra {Feb 2 2015}

Hey February, where the heck did you come from?

It’s a new work week, and no matter if you’re team won or lost last night {or you just participated in the festivities}, we’re all dragging a little bit more on this Mundane Monday.  So, let’s make sure we’re starting it off right.  Another edition of Monday Mantra’s should do the trick! 😉

{Source}

It’s true.  I try to remind myself of this daily.  Even if something is bad or negatively effecting you, remember that there are still so many other positive things to focus on!  Holding on to negativity is a like a poison, and if you’re not careful, it can ruin a lot of other positive opportunities that might be right in front of your nose.  If something bad happens, or is making you feel negative, it’s okay to internally get mad for a minute.  Then take a deep breath, blow off some steam in whatever way works for you, and let it go.

Keep this in mind this week whenever you’re approached with a negative situation.  It’s an opportunity to make something positive happen!  Don’t let it get you down.  Thinking negatively will never produce anything positive. Ever.

{{P.S.  If you like this print, you can actually buy it on Etsy, here}}.

Happy Monday everyone!  How are you making sure you stay positive?

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#FiveThings {Jan 30 2015}

I’m not sure exactly why, but this week went by incredibly fast.  Anyone else feel this way?  Either way, it’s Friday, and another edition of #FiveThings, so let’s get the round up started.  This is the fun part! Yee-haw.

I Thought You Were Bye-Bye-Bye

While driving up to Huntington last week, I hit a dead zone {totally normal up the WV turnpike}.  My Sirius XM was fading in and out, I was tired of the music on my phone, and since I’ve had my car since ’09, I knew I had some CD’s…somewhere…  {I was actually looking for a particular CD and couldn’t find it, grrrrr}.  Either way, I found my old Visor CD Holder {anyone remember those??}, and started rifling through it.  Wowwwie-wah-wah did I find some oldies. {Photo not taken while driving} N*Sync, Goo Goo Dolls/Dizzy Up The Girl, Grease, Yellowcard, and Now 5 {the best Now, if you ask me}.  Oh yeah, and a bunch of burned CD’s compiled by either myself or my brother, Ryan.  Remember when that was a thing?  Burning CD’s?  The good old days. And the Dirty Dancing Havana Nights soundtrack…that was a good movie, I don’t care what any one of you has to say about that. I couldn’t help but laugh at my young self.  I’ve never claimed to have excellent taste in music.

Coach1K

This past Sunday, my main man Coach K hit his 1,000 win.  I know I’ve ranted and raved about him numerous times on here, so I won’t go total fangirl and do it again.  But what a classy dude.  No one deserves this more than him, and I’m not just saying that because #Duke4Lyfe.

{Source}

If anyone wants to buy me that “Coack 1K” shirt pictured here, feel free.  I like big t-shirts, so size XL please {seriously, message me…I’ll give you the mailing address}.

La Fam Pasta

I am getting too nostalgic for you?  Very well then, I’m getting too nostalgic.  Last comment/post/blog involving Huntington for awhile, but I just wanted to highlight the most amazing pasta on planet earth.  I would cheat {on my diet} every day of the week for this thing.  It’s the Pasta Capri, with homemade pasta, fresh basil, tomatoes, and homemade mozz cheese with shrimp.  This specific pasta was crafted by friend and former coworker, Cody.  Per request, I’ve given it a special place in the SF world.

But really, if you ever find yourself in Huntington, WV, you have to eat at La Famiglia.

Honest Hand Sani

As you know, I’m all about keeping things as clean, organic, chemical-free, and holistically good for you as possible.  When it comes to cleaners/disinfectants/the works, that is no exception.  I’ve really been digging the Honest Co. products lately.  As someone who uses their all-pourpose disinfectant spray on the reg, while I was at Target I decided to give their hand sanitizer a try.  {It’s only about 2.50-2.99, and Target is a great place to find a variety of Honest products if you don’t feel like the whole online shopping thing}.

Amy Poehler’s Book

As a fan of any strong female role model, and love of Tina Fey’s, Bossypants, I’ve been wanting to read this book since it came out.  Jess luckily had a copy and let me borrow it when I was in H-Town.  It’s everything I anticipated and more.  God love Amy Poehler. I’ll give you guys the full rundown once I’m finished. Allllllright, that’s all folks!  Hope everyone has a great weekend and Super Bowl Sunday!  What are your #FiveThings for the week?  Let’s hear ’em! Tags: , , , , , ,

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Breakfast and January Volunteering

Good morning, everyone!  It’s already been a great day, that’s for sure, so let’s keep this train rolling!  I started the morning out first with some in-home yoga.  The great thing about the Google Chromecast that Ryan got me for Christmas is that I can not only watch Netflix/Hulu/HBOGo right on my tv, but I can also cast YouTube.  This means ALLLLL the free workout vids I want, straight to my TV {hellooo Popsugar/Fitsugar, Tone It Up, etc}.  This morning I started out with the Popsugar Yoga Video that I always rave about, with Mandy Ingber.  I plan on lacing up the sneaks and going for a 5-mile run this evening, but I wanted to start the morning out with some activity.

You get the idea…our DVD rack game is strong.

For breakfast, I had some of my faaaaaavorite Sweet Potato & Brussels Sprout Hash, with a fried egg, and basil chicken sausage on the side.

Close-up

Plus a little grapefruit action…

Man, I love a good grapefruit!

I also wanted to fill you guys in on how my New Year’s Res is going…

This past Tuesday night, I took part in my first Charlotte volunteer activity with Hands On Charlotte,  as a part of my 2015 New Year’s Resolution to volunteer at least once a month.  I absolutely loved it.  I wish I could just spend all of my time volunteering {{anyone want to help me win the lottery so we can make that happen?}}.  My brother, Ryan, has actually been participating in this same Tuesday night volunteering program for the past few weeks and he recommended it to me.  Just to give you a brief rundown, we spent the evening at a local recovery center, that helps chemically dependent families get back on their feet.  Here, we played with the kids at the center while there parents go to classes, run errands, etc.  Having 20 younger cousins of my own, it definitely reminded me of when my family used to get together and we all would play.  The kids had so much energy, and they were so funny.  Due to the fact that it was cold we had to take it indoors.  We basically played hide and seek the entire time.  It was so much fun just to go and spend time with them, and act like a kid again.  I’ve already signed up for next week and I can’t wait to go back.  I’m also keeping my eyes out on the volunteering calendar for other opportunities.

If you guys haven’t yet, I highly recommend getting involved in your own communities in any way that you can.  Even if you’re donating something every now and again, every little bit helps!

What did you guys have for breakfast today?  How do you participate in your communities?

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Hello Huntington

Any chance to have a friend weekend is a good enough reason for me.  Like I covered in the most recent  #FiveThings, I was able to take a trip up to Huntington this weekend to spend time at my alma mater, Marshall University, with my friends!!!  This is a quick recap of that…it’ll mostly be pictures.

I got in to town on Friday around one o’clock and met up with my friend, Jess.  We first stopped by the Mulberry Street Meatball Company & Deli for lunch.  It was great to see my old “second fam”, and I got so distracted and was so hungry, I don’t have a food picture.  But trust me, it was amah-zing.

Before getting Jess back to work, I was also able to get a quick tour of Marshall’s brand spankin’ new indoor facility.  This thing is on point.

I also got to check out the HOF that’s attached to the new facility.  Not too shabby, Marshall.

Erika and Jess both had to work a little bit on Friday night, so Molly and I met at La Famiglia {where Jess was bartending}, and sat at the bar while we ate and had some wine until it was time to get ready to go out.

Chaos then ensued.  That’s all I have to say about that.

To everyone’s dismay but my own, it ended up snowing Friday night in Huntington and everything was covered when we woke up, like a dream.  I planned ahead and brought my camera, so Jess, Molly, and I headed out to Ritter Park with Erika’s dog, Oakley.  Ritter Park is a local park in Huntington where I’ve spent many a day running, walking, or just hanging out.

Check out this Canon goodness.

There’s Molly and Jess in the bottom left corner…so artsy.

And there’s Oakes!  She just loves to play.

Jess had to work at La Fam again on Saturday, so we ended up going back for round 2 for dinner.  We didn’t mind because this is literally one of {if not THE} best restaurants in Huntington.  I miss working here sometimes, the Hagy’s {owners} really are like family {P.S. Cody, you’re picture will be up Friday}.

As a group, we are legitimately the worst people to be responsible for taking pictures {and me…a blogger, for crying out loud!}  I think we just get so overwhelmed when we see each other that we get distracted and forget about it.  This was easily one of the best {and only} pictures from the weekend, at Jockey Club.

Sunday morning, we all went over to Jess’s house for brunch.  It was soooo good….better than anything we could have ordered out.

French Toast, bacon, cajun sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs, organic strawberries, and beermosas {Woodchuck and OJ}.  Easily the best thing to have while re-hashing the weekend, and our time at MU.  I’m pretty sure we sat around the table and walked down memory lane for two hours, if not more.  Even though not all of my friends were there, or could make it, it was so nice to be able to see everyone that I could.  Like I said yesterday, I ended up staying Sunday night because I didn’t try to leave until 6pm {great idea, Christine}. This allowed me to spend a little more time with Jess and watch the newest episode of GIRLS {and Friends on the ‘Flixxxx}.

It’s good to reintroduce yourself, to a part of yourself every now and then.  Quite honestly, it’s something that I’ve been needing recently.  I did a lot of growing up in Huntington {age 18-24, grad and undergrad}.  That town and the people in it are a big reason why I am who I am today.  Even if some growing pains were involved along the way.  It’s home #2.  When my friends are there with me, it’s like we never left one another and class is on Monday.  Everything in Herd Country is Kelly Green.  The boundaries of campus are marked by The Joan and Old Main, which watches over 4th Ave, serving as a navigational beaker when you need to get back home at 3am.  Houses, most of which are now used as apartments for college students, are aged with character and could probably use a paint job.  The margaritas at Rio are strong, and the arguably iconic bar owner, Herb, is waiting for you at The Union with “The Original Southern Belle”.  You can’t beat it.  Full of familiar faces, it doesn’t seem to change much, and that I don’t mind at all.  It’s not a perfect or glamorous city.  It’s Huntington, WV- a small college town with a football team, a lot of pride, and a sense of community.  Even though we all grow up and move away after we’ve learned some life lessons, it’s always ready to welcome home the sons and daughters of Marshall.

In fewer words, although I am glad to have moved on and be back in NC, I am thankful for Huntington.  It is there when you need it, and I’ve needed it and my friends, desperately.  I feel refreshed, like I hit a reset button.

Now it’s back to reality and I’m ready to hit the ground running.  Sometimes you just need a weekend off like that, you know?

How was everyone else’s weekend?  Do you love your alma mater as much as I do?

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Monday Mantra {Jan 26 2015}

Hello all!  A late in the day little stop-in for this week’s Monday Mantra.  I decided last minute to stay in Huntington last night, so I just now got back in town {not trying to leave for a 5 hour drive until 6pm will do that to ya}.  I’m glad I decided to stay though, more friend time = happier Christine.

Post on that will come tomorrow 🙂

Change is the only constant in this crazy world, and it’s a lot of what I’m going through right now.  It can at times be stressful, but I always try to keep this in mind.

Change is scary.  It’s often uncontrollable, but it can also be incredibly thrilling and exciting.  No one knows what the future holds, but if you stay positive and try to consistently do what you feel is right, you will be fine.  Recognize and respect where you came from, and prepare for what’s to come as best you can, even if you’re not sure exactly what that is yet.

Baby steps.  Rome wasn’t built in a day. ———–> These are things I tell myself on a daily basis.

Hopefully this mantra finds you well in the new week, and helps you prepare for some of your own upcoming changes!

Happy Monday, everyone!

How do you guys feel about change?  How do you prepare for it?

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