Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How to Keep Your Resolutions

Hello there! And Happy New Year's Eve!

You guys, it has been one heck of a few weeks. Sometimes life just smacks you in the face and you forget how to cope with everyday things. But hopefully, you figure out how to get by. Or you just fake it until you make it. Either way.

Resolutions are a funny thing. Most of us make them, but most of us also break them before February even gets here. 

We have the best intentions: losing weight, being better friends, learning new things, experiencing new things, kicking bad habits... But we aren't quite sure how to get there. Or we lose motivation. It's very easy to forget a resolution or to give up completely when things don't happen easily. But that's life and it's really hard sometimes. 

While thinking about my own resolutions, I came up with a few tips on how to actually achieve said resolutions.

My resolutions for this new year are to be a kinder person, to get back into the shape that I was in just two years ago, and to be more conscious of the foods I put into my body and the body products I put on my body. 

I resolve to blog more often, even without Internet access at home, and I will learn how to braid my hair. 

And finally, I will learn how to use my sewing machine. For me, these goals are huge. I have a long year ahead of me, but if I can achieve these goals I will also have the best year ahead of me. 

Cheers to a fabulous, healthy, and happy 2015!


Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Favorites

Hello, hello. It's been far too long since I've posted. Whoops. I've been busy, had my parents in town, and for the past couple days I've been sick. Yuck! So, here's a roundup of the last week, prior to being sick of course. Have a wonderful weekend, friends. I hope to be back soon with more workouts, recipes, and diy.

Friday, December 5, 2014

DIY Boot Cuffs {Holiday Gift Idea}

I adore boots. I really do. I will wear boots in the middle of summer, when it's 90 degrees outside. And I am so excited to be getting a pair of Frye boots for Christmas. I'm going to wear those things until I die :)

You can only imagine how excited I was when I first saw the adorable boot socks that everyone's making. How could I not want a pair(s)!?! Here's the tricky part... I have a huge foot, size 12 to be exact. So, it wasn't surprising that I couldn't find any long and cute boot socks in my size, not even handmade on Etsy.

Out of pure frustration, I took it upon myself to make my own sort of boot sock contraption... a boot cuff! It's basically a faux boot sock. I don't take credit for inventing the thing; I'm sure it was thought of years ago, but I'm pretty proud of myself. It's not a real sock, but it looks like it is and it has the cute factor I was looking for. Add buttons, ribbons, or embellishments if you'd like. I like to keep things pretty simple over here :)

Oh, please ignore how hairy my leggings are. I have two cats and no sense of self awareness until the photo is already taken.

Knitting your own Boot Cuffs is really easy. All you need is some yarn (I used super bulky leftover from a project), a pair of knitting needles (I used size 13), and a needle to stitch the ends together. I casted on 13 stitches and knitted until I had a long enough cuff to fit around the top of my calf, under my knee where the top of my boots hit. 

Need help with knitting? No worries. I've got you covered in my "How to Knit a Coffee Cup Cozy" tutorial. Just cast on 13 stitches (more or less depending on your yarn) instead of seven and knit until you reach your desired length.

Happy crafting, friends :)
And have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December Plank Challenge

I hope everyone is having a fabulous week so far :) It's my second day back at work after the Thanksgiving holiday and though it feels good to be back in a routine, I'm missing time with friends and family and not really having a schedule or deadlines.

But, I do have a lot to look forward to. It's December after all and that means Christmas! Christmas is my favorite holiday and it's such a magical time of the year. Decorations make me happy and the Christmas playlist on Pandora is making me even happier. We haven't decorated our apartment yet, but I'll be getting around to that soon :)

I thought it would be fun to add a fitness challenge to my normal workout routine and thought a December Plank Challenge might be fun. We use our core everyday, with every movement, so it's important to build core strength.


Feel free to adjust the length of time based on your personal fitness level. Start with a manageable length of time and add 30-second increments each week to really challenge yourself.

Plank everyday for maximum core strengthening :)

See ya Friday with a fun holiday DIY gift idea for the ladies in your life!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monkey Bread

Hello, hello! I hope all of you enjoyed Thanksgiving weekend. It was so nice to have such a long weekend and after having five days off from work, I don't want to go back ;)

Would you want to leave this view??

And of course I had to stop here :)

I loved spending so much time with my family and I ate entirely too much. Time to get back on track! 

But before I get carried away with fruits and veggies, I want to share a recipe for Monkey Bread with you. My mom made this version for Thanksgiving morning and we couldn't get enough of it.

You've probably seem monkey bread recipes before, but this baked good was new to me. It is so delicious and hard to eat just one piece! So dangerous :)

Monkey Bread

Recipe from the Bridgford Parkerhouse Roll packaging :)


1 package Bridgford Parkerhouse Rolls, thawed
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 oz package regular butterscotch pudding mix (not instant)
2 tsp cinnamon


Grease a tube pan. Mix the sugars, pudding mix and cinnamon. Set aside. Sprinkle ¼ cup of sugar mixture on the bottom of the tube pan. Dip each piece of dough into the melted butter and roll it in remaining sugar mixture. Evenly place each piece into the tube pan. Top with the remaining butter and sugar mixture. Let the dough rise until it doubles in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until it is well browned. Remove from the oven and invert on a large serving dish. Monkey bread is best served warm.

See ya on Wednesday with a new workout to help burn some of these holiday calories :)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Four-Layer Pecan Pie

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving!! I ate way too much and felt miserable... sounds about right! My mom cooked most of the meal, but I did contribute a pie.

I knew I wanted to contribute something that didn't involve a lot of work on Turkey Day. With only one oven and a million things that needed to be cooked, I was not going to get up at the crack of dawn (after driving forever the night before) and bake it. So, I crossed my fingers, made the pie last weekend, wrapped it in two layers of plastic wrap and two layers of foil, stuck it in the freezer, and hoped it would fair well.

Folks, I am happy to report that this pie is delicious and you should go make one ASAP. It has a delicious graham cracker crust, a creamy cheesecake layer, a sprinkling of pecans, and a delicious sweet sugary layer on top. It's quite heavenly. Just make it, ok?

Four-Layer Pecan Pie

Recipe adapted from


1 graham cracker pie crust
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
4 eggs, divided
1 cup corn syrup
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, 1/4 cup of the sugar, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract, and 1 egg. Beat at low speed until smooth; set aside. In another medium bowl, beat 3 eggs. Add the remaining sugar, the corn syrup, and the remaining vanilla; mix well. Spread the cream cheese mixture into the pie crust. Sprinkle with the pecans and slowly pour corn syrup mixture over pecans. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until the center is set. Let cool, then refrigerate 4 hours or until ready to serve.

Hope you're having a wonderful day!!!
Still feeling over-stuffed? Get your fit on with my Turkey Day Workout!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turkey Day Workout!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I have a lot to be thankful for, especially for all of you!! I hope this day finds you in good company, surrounded by lots of friends, family, and good food :) 

We arrived at my parents around 11 pm last night and enjoyed sleeping in this morning. My mom made breakfast and we watched some of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (as we do every year), and she’s been cooking all day long for our feast. Thankfully, I only had pie and sweet potato duty :)

In the event you get a little too carried away with the food, I’ve got you covered with a quick workout that’s sure to make you burn off some of those holiday calories. Give it a try, even if it’s just to justify another slice o’ pie!

Here's what to do: Set your timer to 50 seconds work, 10 seconds rest. Perform up to 3 rounds for an awesome workout.

A few reminders: listen to your body and take breaks as needed, stay hydrated, and always start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down.

Have a wonderful day :) 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Table Place Cards

Hello, happy Monday. Hope you all have had a fabulous weekend. We've had the most laid-back weekend over here. It's been nice, but sort of a little too laid-back, if that makes sense.

Even Arthur has been a little too lazy...

You guys, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I'm so excited and I can hardly handle it. We're going "home" to visit my parents and I can't wait to see everyone and eat some delicious food! It will also be nice to get away from work for a few days. I love my job, but this girl needs a break.

Are you guys planning a big Thanksgiving feast?? We are! I have pie duty, but I won't be driving home until late Wednesday night. The oven will be occupied all day Thursday, so I made mine yesterday and stuck it in the freezer. If it turns out well, I'll be sharing the recipe on Friday :)

And speaking of Thanksgiving, look at these fun cupcakes at Whole Foods. They crack me up! I'm not sure how I feel about the one meant to look like mashed potatoes, especially with the "gravy" running down it.

I'll also be printing these fabulous little place cards for our table. I made them today and they're the perfect amount of festive without being tacky. I'll hand-write everyone's name, fold it in half horizontally, and place it at their spot. Feel free to copy/paste or save it and edit it as you please :)

Have a wonderful week :)
How early do you start cooking for Turkey Day??

Friday, November 21, 2014

Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Friday, friends! I know it's the weekend for many of you, so I wanted to share a fun treat: Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I've mentioned dozens of times that I have a crazy sweet tooth. I just can't help it. I usually give in and I try for moderation, but it's not always easy-- especially when most cookie recipes make dozens of cookies. 

And it's not always easy to halve or quarter a recipe. Baking is a science after all and if a recipe calls for 3 eggs and you want to make a quarter of that recipe, how on earth do you decide how many eggs to add?

So, I spent better part of an evening finding the best small batch cookie recipe for you, my friends. And what I found is that Nicole over at knows her stuff. Her recipe is my answer to the "I just want a few chocolate chip cookies" problem. 

This recipe makes just 12. Or 18 small cookies. It's up to you.

Just try not to eat them all by yourself, k? Or do. I won't judge you :)

Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
6 tablespoons butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


In a small bowl, add the dry ingredients and mix well. In another small bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Mix until creamy and smooth. Add the vanilla and egg to the wet mixture. Mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Once well combined, add the chocolate chips (you may want to stir them in with a spoon instead of the mixer, if you are using one). Chill the dough for up to an hour, but preferably overnight. Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350*, scoop out the dough into balls and place on your cookie sheet 2" apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and delicious :)

Have a wonderful weekend, friends :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lunge Attack Workout

Hello, friends! I hope all of you are enjoying your week so far. It's been a crazy few days back at work for me and I'm wishing it was Saturday already. Why are weekends so short??

When I have a lot going on, it's easy to not find the time to exercise. But the funny thing is, all I really need is exercise in those moments. A quick sweat session is all I really need to clear my mind and get me feeling sane again.

This quick Lunge Attack workout will do just that. It consists of just five exercises with either 15 or 20 reps of each exercise, repeated three times through. I guarantee your body and mind will thank you and I'm hoping your legs will feel the burn. Mine did :) Hurts so good!

Remember to listen to your body, stay hydrated, and always start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down.

Enjoy, friends! And you will definitely want to stop by on Friday. I have a delicious recipe to get your weekend started right :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Weekend Things

Hello, hello. I hope all of you had a fabulous weekend. I'm still enjoying the tail-end of mine. It seems like weekends are so short, but I try to make the most of them. Here are a few photos of my weekend.

Fun wrapping paper at Target

Love the painted on windows downtown

Salted caramel cupcake to share @thepepperedcupcake

Sunday funday

 A pumpkin cheesecake donut to share from @9bakeryandlounge

crazy Arthur

I still can't believe I grew this crazy looking flower

and the true star of the weekend: I made homemade wheat bread :)

Have a fabulous week. I'll be back to share a yummy recipe along with a workout and a diy. Stay tuned, friends :)

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Best Brown Rice Method

Hello, friends and brown rice consumers. Let me take a moment to profess my love for brown rice.

Brown rice is the best. It has protein. It has fiber. It is so versatile. It can serve as a key ingredient in any salad bowl (think Chipotle), it can be an awesome addition to fish tacos or stuffed peppers, and it can even serve as a filling side dish.

But let me ask you a question.

How many times have you followed the directions on the back of the brown rice bag, and ended up with a glob of mushy rice that by no means resembles what you would get from a restaurant???

I know I have!!  Until now anyway...

A few months ago I was finally fed up. I was flat out tired of gross-tasting brown rice. I can cook white rice perfectly, so why was my brown rice turning out awful???

I must have read a dozen recipes and tried a half dozen and this is the one. I don't know the science behind why this method works well and the others don't.

I only know the best method only method that I will now use to cook my brown rice. This one.

The Best Brown Rice Method



rice (any type)
water (4 cups of water to 1 cup of rice)
salt, to taste


In a large pot, boil the water. While the water boils, rinse and strain the rice in cold water. Once the water is boiling, add the rice to the pot. Stir and reduce the heat to meduim. Cook for 30 minutes, uncovered, while stirring occasionally. Once 30 minutes has passes, strain the rice and return to the pot. Remove the pot from the heat, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and let sit for 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes has passed, uncover the pot and fluff the rice with a fork. Season with salt as desired.

Ta-da! No more bad brown rice ever again. And seriously, set your timer for the 30 minutes of cooking and 10 minutes of resting (steaming). It doesn't turn out quite right unless you follow the directions :)

Have a super lovely weekend, friends :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Hello and happy Wednesday! If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably already seen these photos. But in the event you don't (what are you waiting for??), here's a glimpse of life lately...

a night at the fair

fried oreos

HIIT workouts

the best meal ever

A Million Ways to Die in the West

when you're out of iced coffee, you take a morning walk to Starbucks

flowers make everything better :)

first 9 experience @9bakeryandlounge

filming taking place downtown


Hope you are having a wonderful week.
I'll be back Friday with a recipe staple :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Make Your Legs Cry (Full-Body HIIT Workout)

Hello, hello. It's Monday again! Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

It's really feeling like fall again and I couldn't be happier. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and if everything goes as planned, I'll be making a trip home to see my family, get my hair cut by my favorite stylist, and even run the Turkey Trot 5K. I'm so excited. Fall is my favorite season for sure.

Please don't let the title of this post scare you. It's really not that bad :)

I've said it before... HIIT workouts rock. I love how quick and efficient they can be. So much better than an hour of steady-state cardio and I always feel so accomplished and proud afterwards. This 9 minute 35 second workout works your entire body, but will really target your legs. Get ready for the burn! Repeat the set 3x for a killer workout.

p.s. If you don't know what the 1, 2, 3 Push-up is, here ya go.

*As always, please honor your body and take breaks as needed. Start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down.

This week's workouts look a little like this:

  • Monday: "Make Your Legs Cry" workout + 1-mile run (fast)
  • Tuesday: 3-Mile run
  • Wednesday: HIIT workout + 30-minutes cycling
  • Thursday: Rest day
  • Friday: 4-mile run
  • Saturday: "Make Your Legs Cry" workout + 1-mile run (fast)
  • Sunday: Rest day

What workouts are you planning this week?
Make it a great week :)