bake.sweat.create.

Adventures in the kitchen, in fitness and with glitter!


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Big Things in 2015!

What a holiday season it was for me! I spent over a week at home in MT for Christmas. There was a total of ten people staying at my parents’ home and it was a fun, full house. We ate, drank and celebrated, but more on that later.

Out for a long exploration around town on our action packed Christmas Eve!

Out for a long exploration around town on our action packed Christmas Eve!

We enjoyed our traditional fondue dinner on Christmas Eve and I found an awesome fondue recipe that wasn’t too “swiss-y”, my family isn’t a huge fan of the overly strong cheese. Well Plated had a delicious recipe!

Winter delivered with a beautiful white Christmas and we spent much of the day in our PJs, opening presents, of course eating and drinking mimosas!

Beautiful Christmas view of the backyard!

Beautiful Christmas view of the backyard!

The best part of the week was spending quality time with my family, siblings and their significant others and it was very special to celebrate with my future in-laws. That’s right – the BF is now my fiancé! Christmas Eve will forever be my favorite day of the year (until my wedding I suppose). We are ecstatic and so excited to start this wonderful new part of our relationship. Having our families there was so special and made for quite a memorable week!

We rounded out our holiday season celebrating with close friends at a lake house we rented at a near by lake back in Virginia. A two-night stay celebrating the new year and our new engagement was a perfect close to 2015!

Closing out 2014!

Closing out 2014!

I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings! Hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season! Best wishes in 2015, I’m back in action now with lots of DIY projects on the horizon!

MtChristmas_InstaCollage

The most memorable Christmas celebration yet!


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Juice Cleanse

My eating habits have evolved (or maybe devolved) over the last few months. Being out of my own apartment and living with friends, then moving back to Charlottesville and adjusting to eating with someone else regularly, has sent my diet off the rails a little bit. Not that I have minded, I have been indulging in delicious foods but my body was starting to mind. I have been contemplating the juice cleanse for a couple months now, just waiting for the right juice regimen and the right timing. I finally pulled the trigger last week and purchased a Groupon for Juice in the Raw’s Whenever Cleanse. It was delivered to my door and I started it on Monday. Each day consists of six juices, two green, two fruity, one beet and a coconut at night.

A few of my daily selections.

A few of my daily selections.

I liked Juice in the Raw because it offered a fair amount to drink during the day and allowed one raw vegetable during each of the three days as well. I knew I would miss being able to chew! Each bottle does have a fair bit of sugar, but it is natural sugar.

I am absolutely spoiled because the BF agreed to participate with me. I mentioned that it was going to be tough to do the juice when he was eating real food, and he showed his adventurous side and offered to join in. We are now two days into the three day cleanse and feeling pretty good. I have managed a couple of moderate workouts during the last two days and haven’t felt overwhelmingly hungry or nauseous. I have felt lighter and actually been a bit more productive at work. One day to go tomorrow! We are both looking forward to eating real meals again, especially an anniversary dinner on Thursday, but are motivated to make an effort to get back to eating a bit healthier. Wish us luck!


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Embracing A Fall Weekend!

Last weekend was a bye week for the Virginia Cavaliers football team. As they happen the BF’s employer, it was good news for him because it meant he had the weekend off! After I got in a good 10-mile run with an old friend on Saturday morning, we enjoyed the pleasure of watching college football on a Saturday afternoon and he didn’t have to worry about his work, or agonize over the play of the Hoos.

On Sunday we planned to take advantage of our relaxing weekend and go for a hike in the Shenandoah National Park. The park boasts beautiful fall colors this time of year and plenty of hiking trails to explore all year round. We decided on the Jones River/ Doyles Falls trail, it was a 6.5 mile loop, which was a max for me after 10 miles the day before, and a good mix of up and down hill. Unfortunately the weather didn’t exactly cooperate. We drove up to the park in a cloud of fog and saw threatening dark clouds through occasional breaks in the fog. We bundled up in our fleeces as we set out on the trail, determined to do our hike. We were lucky to have a nice canopy of trees for most of the hike, so we didn’t end up too soaked as the rain came down for over half the hike. But we still had fun and the colors did not disappoint!

SNPHike_Trail

Our trail through the woods and welcome canopy from the rain!

One of the three waterfalls we saw on the trail.

One of the three waterfalls
we saw on the trail.

After the hike, we needed to warm up! I was chilled to the bone by the end so we fired up the crockpot when we got home and made some Turkey Chili. The combination of three different types of beans appealed to me and we used three fresh jalapeños we had from the farmers’ market last week.  I did add the corn but used a combination of crushed tomatoes and unseasoned diced tomatoes in place of the tomato sauce to add a different texture to the chili. I cooked up the turkey, onion and spices in a skillet and added that mixture to the beans, corn, etc…, in the crockpot then about four hours later, we were ready to eat. It was the perfect meal for a rain, chilly fall evening and filled the house with a nice, spicy scent.

Hearty, delicious and healthy!

Hearty, delicious and healthy!

I also whipped a little cornbread as a side, which was awesome. I had been in search of a quick, yet delicious recipe and came across this cornbread recipe on Pinterest last week. Definitely another repeat recipe for my recipe box.

Just a bit sweet, not too dense and so delicious!

Just a bit sweet, not too dense and so delicious!

We wrapped up the evening catching a little Sunday night football on TV before heading to bed early to get a good night’s rest for the week. We needed it, we’re off to Canada at the end of the week!

 


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Moving Time!

I am in box-city these days. I have been slowly packing up my apartment this week, preparing to vacate this weekend. It has resulting in a wall of boxes around my apartment’s perimeter. My current situation is a bit in limbo – where I am going to live, if/when my boyfriend and I will reunite – all that combined with the end of my lease this month, has forced me into packing up.

The walls are moving in!

The walls are moving in!

I was lucky enough to acquire some boxes from the volleyball equipment manger at work. She has been receiving large amounts of gear for her teams for the 2014-15 academic year, so she has a collection of boxes. These sturdy adidas boxes will serve my purpose well. This weekend I make a move with the majority of my belongings to a storage unit for temporary holding. My necessities and I will move to my co-worker and friend’s house in Cross Plains for the month of July. Hopefully, by then my life will hold far less ambiguity. My awesome BF is coming this Saturday to help me move things and to spend a bit of QT together.

Moving is always a daunting, any tips out there? Wish me luck!


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Toronto Wedding Weekend

I am back from a whirlwind weekend across the boarder. It was a great celebration with my boyfriend’s family of his cousin and his bride. We flew to Toronto’s City Center airport, a small airstrip by Porter Airlines. I had a great view of the skyline on the ferry from the island airport to the mainland. It’s a convenient and scenic way to fly into the city. We then navigated north of the city to Viamede Resort on Lake Stoney. It is in beautiful central Ontario cottage country and was nestled right on the lake.

A couple snaps from the weekend.

A couple snaps from the weekend.

Perfect weather followed us all weekend. We had a bonfire, complete with s’mores on Friday night. Saturday morning I did a nice trail run with my BF’s cousin, she led us along the frisbee-golf course and through the hilly trails around the resort. It was a challenging run but really nice to mix it up running the trails as opposed to the streets of Madison. We canoed around the lake and went swimming before getting dolled up for the evening.

The bride and groom had a remarkable outdoor wedding right on the lake on Saturday, followed by dinner and dancing. Sunday morning came too quickly and before I knew it I was headed back to Chicago. One amazing detail at the wedding reception were the centerpieces. The groom’s mother, an accomplished artist, handmade the ceramic boats on all 12+ tables. They were gorgeous!

Ceramic boat complete with home-grown grass!

Ceramic boat complete with home-grown grass!

She customized each boat in line with the theme of each table, each a different country where the wedding pair had taken a trip. My boyfriend’s parents were lucky enough to take one home, after purchasing one from the artist. It was a memorable weekend and a great time catching up with my BF’s extended family I hadn’t seen like about 2 years!

 

 


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I’m Back!

Leading up to vacation I had ambitions to blog and keep up with events. However, in reality the whirlwind of vacation got the best of me. I am only now getting back to my computer and ready to update some stories! Too exhausted tonight but undoubtedly I am missing our porch and this Cape Cod sunset while back in Madison tonight.

CapeCod_Sunset

A little slice of heaven.

More to come!