Cheers to 2013!

Oh my goodness where does the time go?! It’s already January 11th, 2013. (And posting on February 6th! Ack!) I started off the New Year with a couple great friends playing Scattergories, drinking wine, and eating yummy food and Rumchata cupcakes. I am so excited for this New Year! THESE are the best years…not high school, not college…but the Real World. Call me crazy, but it’s true. I am traveling, making memories with friends and family, in the best shape of my life, setting higher goals, challenging myself with new opportunities teaching abroad, and having fun!

For the first week of the new year I spent in Omaha catching up with friends, and grandparents. On Thursday of the month I flew up to Chicago to visit a dear friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in two years. It was wonderful to visit with her and play with her new baby- who is almost 1 now! I truly cherish our friendship and am so wow’d how we have stayed such good friends despite the distance! Amazing.

My state travels continue next week as I head to Phoenix to run my first full marathon. Yes, that’s 26.2 miles. And I’ll be 26 years and 2 months. Figured it was rather appropriate timing for this bucket list activity.

Now on to Resolutions… as I eat two chocolate chip cookies and drink coffee…AFTER my 5:30 spin class that I woke up for at 4:43 just to get a new spin bike. Worth it? Duh!

1. health. I’m really considering attempting to go gluten-free or at least really trying to cut back. Just because I’m a crazy runner does not mean I’m the healthiest eater, because I’m actually really bad…let’s just say dessert is a food group in my world…not salads. (Hence the cookies for breakfast! I swear I will do better the rest of the day!)

2. writing. I want to write on a more professional level and really research topics that I want to talk about rather than writing about how I’m feeling. Developing my writing on this level is something I want to work on for lesson plans, letters, emails, blogging…etc.

3. my attitude going into Chile or other country experiences. I want to totally immerse myself in this experience. I’m going to learn Spanish, get to know and spend quality time with my host family, salsa dance, have fun, try new food, and challenge myself to become a better teacher and to utilize resources- not take the easy way out when it comes to lesson planning or developing a spelling bee or debate club (I actually have the opportunity to do these things when I’m there as a part of my contracted teaching hours…it’s divided up between class time and extracurricular activities.) BECAUSE… when I was in Korea…looking back I did a lot of comparing and complaining and criticizing…sometimes it’s hard to see how my attitude was while I was there or I didn’t catch myself falling into this category of being negative, but I know I did. And moving forward I want to be able to grow as a person and appreciate the culture I am in rather than doing the 3 Cs. I don’t think I was aware of the conveniences and amenities of America until I didn’t have them, and I had a lack of appreciation…now that I’ve lived abroad for a significant amount of time I have things I really miss about Korea and wish I had them again, but I also have a greater appreciation for things back home too. Knowing that I can live without certain things and that there’s things I will grow to love somewhere else and will miss those when I leave too. Just being aware and truly “live” in the country I’m in rather than displacing myself and not giving all I should in the opportunity.

Later in the month….

As you may have noticed I haven’t blogged at all in 2013…so! here are the top 10 highlights of what’s been going on…in no particular order….

1. On the 12th I was dropped off in Lincoln at my college roomie’s…hung out with her and did arts and crafts, made dinner, and ate at our usual bar and had our routine of chips and cheese and a beer at noon.
2. Spent the week with another friend, prepped for marathon- did lots of yoga and spin; had a lovely dinner at Bread and Cup.
3. Found out I have to renew my passport- eek!
4. Left for Phoenix on the 17th. Flight was cancelled. Rebooked through SW to get to PHX that night. Arrived at midnight. Rental car was a Crown Victoria (Vicki).
5. Went to my old Starbucks and the lady remembered me!!! and asked a bunch of questions. 🙂
6. Ran my first marathon at 26 years and 2 months— a mile for every year. 🙂 Final time: 5:23:46. My split for the half was 2:11. Averaging 10 minute miles until mile 20 then got the worst side ache imaginable. BUT—I finished! SO THRILLED!!!!
7. Spent time with friends and co-workers…lovely lunches, dinners, and conversation! So blessed with such amazing people in Phoenix…a huge thank you to everyone for making my visit so incredibly special!!!
8. Ate at my fave restaurants: Yogurtland, Yogurtology, True Foods, Oregano’s, and Tommy Bahama’s (for their Pina Colada cake!) and also had yummy homemade food too. Walked around Tempe Town Lake. Got a massage, hair done, nails done, waxed…oh the days of being pampered in Arizona! Shout out to my amazing massage lady and hair stylist! They are the best!
9. 70 degrees and a sunburn on race day. 75 the day after…and one day of desert rain. Amazing!!!
10. Desert Sunrise as I freeway drove with the window down and a bit of heat on the way to the airport on my last day. Strikingly beautiful- just like I remembered! 🙂

What a crazy first month of 2013!

New Year’s Wine

Rum Chata Cupcakes

Love this View!

sweet baby!

View from Happy Hour- in an old law firm’s library

Love my friend!

Snowy view from the plane

Pinterest Craft

January in Arizona is perfect!

Yep, it was my idea…but I KNEW you could do it!
So proud of you my friend!

Ladies Lunchie! 

Sooo ready to rock!

Runners and our Amazing Cheerleaders!!!!!

oh how lovely Tempe Town Lake is!

afternoon delight of wine, hummus, veggies, crackers, and cheeses
what a gorgeous day!
Scottsdale Quarter

True Foods

yep We ordered take-out pina colada cake from
Tommy Bahamas
The bartender definitely gave me a look like
“you eat cake?”

beautiful sunrise

best morning coffee- thanks Brittany!!!

January 29th
In my attempt to be healthy….here’s a new twist on my fave:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Milkshake (vegan)
makes 24 oz (about 2 servings)

2 frozen bananas
3/4 cup almond milk (homemade or store-bought)
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup (optional)
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ice cubes (about 2 handfuls)

Throw all the ingredients into a high-powered blender, and blend until smooth and creamy.

Not too bad…but I left out the maple syrup…and I’m thinking I may have to have a little sweetness added.
I have also started *gasp* lifting weights. Something I haven’t done since college. Well after researching different routines I devised a plan! Incorporating legs, back, shoulders, arms, and abs I think I’m on the right track! (Ready go 200lb leg press!) And the next day I was so sore…
And one more recipe before I post!

Peanut Butter Banana Mug Cake (another Detoxinista recipe!)serves 1
1 very ripe banana (with brown spots!)
2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter, or nut butter of choice
1 whole egg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
dash of cinnamon (optional)

Directions:If using an oven, preheat to 350F.
Combine all of the ingredients into a mug, and mix until relatively smooth.
Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the center is firm.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then dig in!
Note: Because I don’t own a microwave, the oven is my preferred method for baking. I think it’s worth the wait, but of course, if you prefer the microwave, please feel free to use it–> I’d guess about 60 seconds would do the trick, but use your best intuition, as microwaves vary. (And please let me know how it works for you!)

And yet another delicious recipe!

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash CasseroleAuthor:
Prep time: 1 hour 15 mins
Total time: 1 hour 15 mins

Serves: 4-6
Cooked spaghetti squash has a surprisingly similar texture to hash browns, and blends seamlessly into this simple hash-brown-like casserole. Combined with sauteed onions, creamy yogurt, and a bit of raw goat cheddar, this creamy dish is classic comfort food, without leaving you uncomfortable later.
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon butter
½ yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup plain goat’s milk yogurt, or greek yogurt
3 oz. raw goat cheese, shredded and divided
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, and remove the seeds. Place the squash halves cut-side-down on the baking sheet, and cook for 35-45 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce the outer shell.
Once you have removed the cooked squash from the oven, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and saute the chopped onion and garlic until tender and slightly golden, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the cooked onion and garlic to a large mixing bowl, and combine with the yogurt and 2 oz. of shredded goat cheddar, and season with salt and pepper. When the spaghetti squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the noodle-like strands into the bowl, and mix well.
Transfer the mixture to a 2.5-quart casserole dish, and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining ounce of goat cheddar over the top, and return to the oven to bake for 30 minutes at 400F.
The casserole is ready when the top is a light golden brown, which makes for a crunchy crust! Serve immediately.
Delicious! 🙂


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