Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Enough is Enough for 2014

2013 was an amazing year.... I watched my baby girl grow up before my eyes, won trophies, met my goals, and even surpassed a few. We traveled. We ate. We shopped. But really, when it comes down to it, it was the people that I spent 2013 with that made it amazing. I have so very much to be grateful for, and sometimes I get too wrapped up in the day to day frenzy of life to be appreciative of the blessed life that I live.

So, that's my resolution for 2014. This year, I'm going to take time to appreciate life. I want to take time daily to reflect on my blessings, and remind myself that what I have is enough. I don't always have to be striving for more. Enough is sometimes simply that... enough. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 in Photos

2013 was an amazing year for my family! We were so blessed to spend time with loved ones & reach major milestones in our lives. Here's a little trip down memory lane... 

In February, we took a trip to Lake Placid with some of our best friends... 

In March, Ella had her Six Month Photo Shoot

half marathon
At the end of April, I ran my first half marathon in DC!

In June, we bought our first house! 

Once school was over, I took the whole summer off & spent it with Miss Ella!

In August, my cousin Tyler got married. Which meant lots of family time (and pictures). 
To finish off our summer, we took a family vacation to Myrtle Beach!

In September, my sister got engaged! 

We took Ella's first trip apple picking in September. 

I dressed Ella up as a skunk for Halloween!

And to round out the year, we celebrated our merriest Christmas yet! 

Cheers to an amazing year & the amazing adventures that await in 2014! 
Sunday, December 29, 2013

Back at Home Means Back to Business

We're finally back at home! We drove in after our last family party last night & after about 20 trips to the car, all the gifts/luggage/food are here. Notice how I didn't say that they're unpacked... because we aren't even close to that point yet. We do have all of Ella's toys in the playroom & I do have all of our new clothes in the wash... but they haven't made it to the washing machine yet.

Eric let me sleep in this morning, mainly because I'll be taking care of her the rest of the week while he goes about his normal routine. Once I got up, I knew what I had to do. It was time to weigh in & see how much damage had been done. Now, I'm pretty open about the fact that I don't weigh myself on a regular basis. But I knew how much I weighed coming home from Thanksgiving (125.5 lbs) & decided to see how much had been accumulated over the past month. Thanksfully, it wasn't as bad as I'd though it might be. Since my diet had consisted of fudge, sugar cookies, and mashed potatoes over the past week, I was convinced that I would be over 130. Luckily, I came in at 129. That's about a pound a week throughout the holiday season. Certainly nothing to brag about, but I know that it could've been far worse.

So after I surveyed the damage & breathed a sigh of relief, I headed to the grocery store to stock up on food for our second week off. It's going to be a week of detox around here... so lots of fruits, veggies, and white meat went into the cart. It was not a cheap trip by any means, but I know that I'll feel better after cleaning up my act this week. 

My plan is pretty simple. I'm going to cut back on simple carbs & cut out the sugar while stepping up the protein & fiber. I'm also going to fit in tough workouts all week long. My goal is to get 2 of those 3.5 pounds off quick & to start building up my muscle again. January is a rough month for me, because it's competition season & I'm at practices, games, or competitions every day. I'm not going to let that stop me though. I refuse to let myself make excuses. Both Eric & my mom got me some sweet new running gear & I plan to use it! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fake Christmas Morning

Hey there everyone! I'm out & about getting my hair done & running all sorts of errands with my Aunt Babs today while Ella plays with her grandma! I'm also blogging from my phone, so apologies for all of the weird formatting that will inevitably happen. 

We had "fake Christmas morning" at our house on Saturday. We wanted Ella to open her stocking at our house, with our tree, with just her mom & dad. I know it's selfish, but we share her all Christmas long & wanted some time to ourselves. 

She loved her mini-ball & her dwarves. She also completely understands how to unwrap things now, which makes it more exciting for me. 

For now, we're relaxing at my parents' house with all of our family nearby. I'm going to soak it all up & eat all of the sweets I normally stay away from. Hope you all have the merriest of Christmases too! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Social - Holiday Edition

What is your favorite holiday season tradition?

My favorite tradition is decorating the tree. I just love it. We do ours the day before Thanksgiving & it sets the tone for the whole season. I love sitting on the couch at night, admiring the white twinkly lights. Added bonus this year - Ella claps when we turn the tree on every night. It melts my heart... 

Do you have a certain holiday movie you watch more than others? If so what is it?

ELF! I make it no secret that it's my absolute favorite! 

Show us your favorite Pinterest decoration that you wish you could have.

What is your favorite holiday song?

Sleigh Ride is my favorite to sing along with. I love the bouncy beat. If I'm watching a live performance, Carol of the Bells and Hark the Herald Angels Sing are my favorites. 

What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Oreo Balls! I just love them & while they aren't holiday specific, that's when my family makes them. It will take a tremendous amount of willpower to refrain from eating a dozen of them on Christmas Day. 

What is on your wish list this year?

Hunter Wellies, new running tights, comfy sweats, & clothes... I love clothes. #fingerscrossed
Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Ramblings

Yesterday was the last day of school before our two week winter break & it was glorious! We all wore Ugly Sweaters & got all festive. The kids loved it. We had a holiday concert in the afternoon & I treated my students to donuts & a feast of candy - which I never do, because let's face it, we're dealing with an obesity epidemic. But it's Christmas, and the best way to watch Elf is while consuming sugar. So we feasted. 

My friend Kristine brought me this wonderful sweater to wear yesterday. She insisted that I post our festiveness up here on the blog. So here you go Kristine...

And it was Christmas Pajama Day at Ella's daycare! Priceless! 

Ella's BFFs
Then, we had our Cheer Christmas Party - also hosted at Ella's babysitter's house, because she's also my team mom. We ate tons of spaghetti, salad, bread, and dessert. Then, we did a Christmas sock exchange, followed by a Secret Santa. Ella got to open a present too! 

Today we're on our way to Eric's dad's house for our Christmas celebration with them. Be sure to follow along on Instagram, because not only will Ella be looking all sorts of adorable, my 6 month niece will be there too! I can't wait to see them in action! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Reality Check

Sometimes I have to give myself a reality check about my appearance. For instance... yesterday morning I was getting ready & was convinced that my thighs had grown overnight. My jeans slid on the same as always, but as I stood taking a few pics of my outfit, I noticed that my thighs were touching slightly. If you follow Blogilates, which you should, you know that it's been a huge topic lately & maybe that's why I zoned in on them. But either way, my thighs don't touch & even if they did - does that make me less attractive? I'm going to go with no... 

Being a fat girl is something that you never shake. I was overweight for the first 18 years of my life. The stigma of that never fades. The hurtful things that were said in junior high & high school stick with you. I wish that they'd run out of me with every drop of sweat that was required to lose the weight, but they linger. Even though it's been 8 years since I lost the weight, I still struggle. I'm always questioning my appearance, and while I know that may be considered vain, it's a part of my own daily struggle. There are days where I wish I could just call in fat & spend my day at the gym. That's a little mentally unstable though, so I push through & go about my business like a non-crazy person. 

In my mind, I know that I am wearing size 2 jeans with an extra small top today. Rationally, I'm aware of those facts. Emotionally, my thighs are huge & I look like I have a beer gut when my shirt gets static cling. It's like living with a fun house mirror some days... 

It's OK though. We all have good days & bad days. We push through. We find people to give us the reality check we need. My sister will tell me if I look fat. My mom will roll her eyes when I'm being ridiculous. My sweet husband is well trained enough to know that no matter what, just go with "you look gorgeous dear..." And then there's my inner voice... nobody's perfect, just do your best. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Let's Be Honest... I'm Probably on the Naughty List

OK people, it's time for a dose of honesty around here. I need to fess up. I'm probably on the naughty list. And let's get real... you probably are too.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about all of the little things I do on a regular basis that aren't exactly ethical, moral, and/or legal. Such as... 

Sampling from the Bulk Bin 

I'm the worst at this. I can't go into Wegmans without dipping my fingers into a bin of gummy worms & sampling a few. I boldly stare at the sign that says "NO SAMPLING" & do it anyway. #improbablygoingtohell 


I'm a lot better about this now that I have Ella. But I still do it... 

Hiding Purchases 

Ummm, I hope I'm not the only one that does this, but I often race home to get the packages off the porch before Eric gets home so that he doesn't see what I've ordered. Christmas has been especially rough, as I've just told him he's not allowed to open anything because it might be a gift for him. He's smart enough to know better though... that's how he discovered my new J.Crew jacket. #balls

Call In "Sick" 

I don't do this very often, but I do do it occasionally. I've found that it's even easier to do now that I have Ella too, because no one questions when I call in & say, "Sorry, I won't be in today. Ella isn't feeling well." No one questions an 18 month old! They all say, "OK, I hope she gets feeling better." It's too easy & I fight the temptation all of the time! 

And the list could go on & on... 

What could land you on the naughty list? 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What I Wear on Winter Weekends

My winter weekend wardrobe is pretty simple... fleece leggings, boots, a scarf, and a coat. It's pretty much all you can get away with when out running errands in this weather. It was 10 degrees on Saturday, then a balmy 27 when we went to Holidays at the Market. I go for warmth, not style in those types of conditions. 

Here's an honest look at what I wear on winter weekends... 

leggings - Cozy Orange // boots - MIA // scarf - Forever 21
vest - Land's End // sweater - J.Crew Factory
This was me, bundled up for a shopping trip with my sister two weekends ago. We weren't headed anywhere fancy, so I didn't feel guilty wearing my leggings. I was so warm & cozy that the 20 mph winds barely even phased me...
leggings - Under Armour // scarf - Forever 21 // jacket - J.Crew
bag - Phillip Lim for Target // boots - MIA
Let's talk about my jacket in this photo. I've been coveting it for months, but haven't been able to justify the price. Lucky for me, J.Crew had 30% off last week & I ordered it as a Christmas gift to myself. I'm so in love with it and even though it isn't technically a winter coat, it is water & wind resistent, which makes it great for layering. 

skinnies - Old Navy // boots - American Eagle // scarf - Gap
sweatshirt - Gap // hat - H&M 

Last up is the outfit I wore to Holidays at the Market. It was a cold & snowy day. I would've preferred wellies, but sadly Santa hasn't delivered on those yet. So instead, I opted for my booties & made the best of it with cozy socks. I love that the look was festive, without looking too Christmas-y. 

So as you can see, when it comes to winter weekends, skinny jeans are "fancy," leggings are the norm, boots are an essential, scarves are too. I wouldn't have it any other way. (Unless anyone wants to fly me to SoCal, in which case I'd take that too...)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I woke up to a ridiculously icy wonderland this morning, making my morning commute far more interesting than anticipated, but we made it! 

I dropped Ella off at daycare with her snow pants & snow boots. I'm hoping that I'll get some outdoor action shots from her babysitter today! She really needs some fresh air in her system. I think she's getting just as antsy for Christmas Break as I am. By the way... we aren't allowed to call it "Christmas Break" at school, or even "Holiday Break" which I could probably get behind... it has to be referred to as "Winter Break" and I think that's just dumb. 

Moving on... I'm wearing my new Wrapped in Rubies cardigan from Kiki LaRue today & I'm in love! I paired it with fleece lined leggings & high boots - so I'm extra cozy on this blustery day. If you're looking for something festive but comfy, this is your jam... 

Here's another shot because I just love it that much... 

And to continue on with the randomness, I just have to share this link from Today. It had me crying before 8 a.m. - so incredibly touching & an amazing reminder that professional photographs really are a worthy investment. My greatest fear in life is that I will become ill, or tragically pass, and leave Eric to raise Ella on his own. But this story made me feel better, because I know he'd find a way to remember me too :) 

Well, that was a little too dark to end on... so I'll leave you with this sweet picture of Miss Ella at practice the other day instead. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holidays at the Market

Yesterday, we shoveled out & bundled up to go to Holidays at the Market, a Christmas fair held at Rochester's Public Market. It only runs for three Sundays in December, so it was our last chance to go. Even though the weather wasn't ideal, Ella was still excited. She wanted to get out & test her new snow boots...

We met my sister & Matt at Boulder Coffe to get the party started with hot chocolate. Hot cocoa with real milk is my absolute favorite & the barista even did cute little Christmas designs for us! 

very excited to see her Aunt Britt

After our hot cocoa, we walked around to all of the vendors. There were lots of trees, wreaths, and evergreens for sale. We bought a few hand painted ornaments and real maple syrup. Everything was reasonably priced and I think there are probably more vendors when the weather is better. 

Our final stop was to take a carriage ride with Santa! It was Ella's shot at redemption & I had high hopes. I thought that if all of us were together & she didn't have to sit on his lap she'd be ok... I was only half correct. I got in with her & we sat next to Santa. We did good for maybe a minute, and then she insisted on going to her Aunt Britt, who was safely seated across from Santa. 

I managed to get a picture of the three of them together...

Then Santa (he was an awesome Santa by the way...) had a brilliant idea. He suggested that I get off the sleigh & hold her facing the other way, then he would sneak in behind us. Genius! I absolutely love the photo we got! Thanks Santa! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Finish the Sentence - Christmas Edition

Happy Thursday everyone! I'm only 6 school days away from Christmas Break! Hallu - freaking - llujiah. It's already complete & utter chaos around here. Thus, I'm grateful that Jake & Holly are back with another edition of Finish the Sentence. That's just about all my mind can handle today...

1. My favorite Christmas was.... last Christmas. Everyone says that Christmas is more fun with a kid. They're totally right. It's definitely more expensive & slightly more stressful - but seeing her open gifts, even though she was basically only interested in eating the wrapping paper, made my entire year. I cannot wait to see her in action this year! 

2. The worst Christmas I had... was the Christmas Eric & I spent apart. "We were on a break." It only lasted a month, we got back together on New Year's & were engaged 6 weeks later, but it makes me sad knowing I missed a Christmas with him. 

3. That one gift that made me scratch my head and say, "Hmmmm" was... anything from my mother - in - law. She finds the weirdest stuff. For instance, footy pajamas (last year), head massager that looks like it could poke your eye out (2 years ago), and a table cloth the year that I was still living in a dorm. I just roll with it... 

4. One year I.... spent Christmas day with my family then promptly headed to the airport with Eric. We boarded a plane to Miami & spent the next 10 days with his uncle. It was amazing! Sadly, Uncle Jeff lives in snowy New York again... 

5. I think the worst gift to give is.... anything from Bath & Body Works. I worked there during college & I can assure you that anyone who is in there purchasing a gift basket is doing so because they have absolutely no idea what to get the person. It's totally impersonal & rarely used. Just get a gift card to a restaurant instead - everyone loves to eat! 

6. At Christmastime I typically.... gain 5 pounds from fudge, cookies, and oreo balls. Oh... and booze.  

7. Typically, family Christmas.... is my favorite. Our family Christmas consists of my immediate family & my Aunt Babs' immediate family. I adore my Aunt Babs & her family too. So it's one of my favorite days of the year. 

my favorite aunt & fellow Elf
8. If I could change one thing about the Holiday season.... I'd have a treadmill & wifi at my parents' house. I'd feel a lot less guilty about all of the crap food I was eating if I could at least run it off. And a house without wifi - absolute torture. My cell service sucks too, so I'll pretty much be MIA whenever I'm there. 

9. It is so hard to buy for.... my mother. She buys herself whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Apparently that's the joy of having an empty nest - you get to spend your money on yourself. 

10. My favorite Christmas tradition is... singing! I love to sing Christmas Carols. 

11. Santa, baby, bring me a .... new pair of Hunter wellies, a designer handbag, and the whole J.Crew holiday catalog. Oh, and world peace... 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Weather...

I am a northern girl. I've been born & raised in the Northeast. Snow is a natural part of my life. I don't think twice about gunning it to make it up the driveway. I own multiple parkas. Gloves & scarfs aren't just an accessory, they're a necessity. This is reality in the north. 

Watching all of my favorite Texans get iced in over the weekend was a somewhat comical experience. I get it, it's Texas - you don't have salt trucks & snow plows. But you've got to cut us northerners some slack when we giggle at you. This is what we do every day for 4 months a year! And let's be honest - it can really suck to watch you all trot around in flip flops & tshirts when we're still dealing with freezing temps. Let us have our fun at your expense... 

I started to feel a little bad about my snickering though, and decided to help y'all out by putting together an essential outfit for freezing temps. I own a variation of all of these pieces & they're my go-to on the weekends and snow days. 

North Face Fur Hooded Parka // Fleece Lined Leggings // Hunter Wellies
Buffalo Check Scarf // Pom Pom Hat // Tech Gloves

Stay Warm! 

PS - I'm wearing the fleece lined leggings today as tights under my skirt. Best decision I've made in a long time...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Deck the Halls - Advent Calendars

The price of advent calendars just amazes me, I think they're astronomically priced. However, I always had one as a kid & want Ella to have one as well. So, I made my own. 

However, not everyone has time to do that, so I thought I'd present you with some other options. Like I said, they can be really pricey, so I'm covering a variety of price points & if you're just as cheap as I am, check out the DIY option I chose - here. The shop owner did hers a little bit differently than I did, and I just love it! 

If you aren't crafty or just have zero time on your hands... here are a few of my favorite store bought options! 

from aLittleFrayed on Etsy
from MooreMagnets on Etsy
from Pottery Barn Kids

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