Favorite Posts of 2019

While I’ve only been blogging for about 4.5 years, it’s really crazy to look back on when I first started to the present. So much has changed in my life and in my little space on the world wide web. I wanted to do a round-up of some of my favorite posts and memories in 2019. These aren’t based on statistics related to views or anything. Just times I love to look back on that give me a big smile. I hope you enjoy this walk down ole memory lane with me!

(1) Under the Sea: Matt and I visited the Chattanooga Aquarium after dining at Naked Foods Chatt, and it was just a positively amazing weekend!

(2) We’re Off to See the Wizard: Kaci and I had the pleasure of seeing the Wizard of Oz on the big screen, and it truly gave me chills! It was shown in celebration of its 80th anniversary.

(3) Re-energized, Rejuvenated, Recharged: This was just a fun weekend from start to finish! Kaci and I took a succulent class at Stanley’s Greenhouse, and while sadly, they didn’t make it through the winter, I was very proud of my arrangement! We managed to include a lot of great food in this weekend too.

(4) Rain Showers, A Bridal Shower, & a Visit to Biltmore!: I got to attend my friend’s fun bridal shower, and Matt and I were very grateful for another one of my friends for giving us a free day pass to Biltmore. We had only visited the first time on our honeymoon, so it felt special to return!

(5) She Had Magic Legs: 2019 was the first year I participated in the Lucky Kidney Run, and it did feel great to participate in a worthy cause towards bringing awareness to kidney disease. It was a really tough run as I hadn’t been running but instead was doing Barre3. I still think that helped me tremendously.

(6) Amazing Friends, K Brew Expansion, & Barre3 Intuitive + Mindful Eating Workshop: I never imagined Kaci and I would be holding our own workshop at our favorite studio, but we felt so honored to share the message of Intuitive Eating and Mindful Eating! Since then, I’ve had two or three attendees come up to me to tell them how helpful our class was and that they bought the book and began to incorporate the principles into their work with patients. ❤ So fulfilling.

(7) It Was a Treat Yo Self Kind of Weekend: Aside from poor Matt’s rash and sinus infection, this was a fun weekend! Kaci and I attended the Retropolitan Craft Fair, which they hold one in the spring and one during the holidays. Our visits get better each time! We love to support local and get out in our community.

(8) Taking Things to New Heights: After living here for our whole lives, Matt and I finally went up into the Knoxville Sunsphere for the first time!

(9) Thankful for the Brave Who Sacrificed for Our Freedom: This weekend was so epic and filled my heart! Time with one of our best friends and her sweet family at our lake house then a hike on Max Patch with the most gorgeous weather with Kase, D, and Axl.

(10) Here’s to Another Spectacular Year: Our 31st birthday weekend!

(11) Living It Up Nashville Style: For the second year in a row, Matt and I took a weekend trip together to celebrate my birthday, and this past year we visited Nashville. We had such an incredible time! Our AirBnB was awesome, and it turned out to be exactly the trip we needed.

(12) July 4th Weekend Part 1 and Part 2: This was the best July 4th I had enjoyed yet!

(13) Weekend Spent at the Track: Matt performed really well in his race, and we had a wonderful weekend! Well, except for me falling on the metal bleachers. Ha! Klutzy for life. Then we capped it off by getting to visit with one of my best friends and her sweet family as they had just moved to OH!

(14) ‘I Love Lucy’ on the Big Screen!: Another moment in which I watched my favorite show, in amazing color, on the big screen, and it truly gave me chills! I never thought I would get to experience this. I so loved dressing the part too to honor Lucille Ball and her amazing fashion.

(15) Early Third Wedding Anniversary Celebration: When Matt and I enjoyed the Ruby Falls Salad from Naked Foods, I said how I wanted to visit Ruby Falls one day. Well, we finally did! That and See Rock City, and despite it raining, I had such a good time. Then I put together a last-minute scarecrow Halloween costume for Cruze Farm’s Trunk-or-Treat, and what a super fun event! Yes, I’m in my 30’s, but I love getting dressed up and keeping my kid-at-heart mentality alive.

(16) FNCE 2019 Recap 1 and Recap 2: I had only attended FNCE once before in 2015 when I presented my thesis project, and it was in Nashville. This past year it was held in Philadelphia, and I didn’t know anyone personally, but I didn’t let that stop me. I met some incredible RD’s who I consider friends now, and I met several who I knew via social media but now I know in real life. Everyone was just as they are online, and I felt so fortunate to be in their presence!

Even though our holidays are worth mentioning again, I figured I would stop here since they were recent. Suffice it to say, 2019 treated me so well! Yes, there were some rough times, challenges, and not-so-pleasant experiences. But the good far outweighs the bad, and putting together this post further reinforced how much I have to be thankful for. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and first weekend of 2020!

 

New Year’s 2020

And just like that, we’re now in a new year and a new decade. It’s really hard to wrap my mind around the fact that this is true. I know I love a good reflection, and I, like many others, have been looking back on the last ten years. Certainly some of the best things in my life have happened – we brought Jackson into our family, I became an RD, I got married – but I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the difficult times. If you feel less than because you don’t have as many accomplishments to share, please know this does not mean you had any less of a worthy decade. We all have our own stories and journeys! These differences should be celebrated. I love the quote Karin, my step-mom, shared by Anne Frank: “what a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t even happened yet.”

  Tuesday // New Year’s Eve

I ended the year with a delicious breakfast that included sweet and savory, my favorite! The last two baby gf buttermilk biscuits – one with honey and one with pb, two sunny side up eggs over wilted greens, and an apple.

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These photos of the babies were taken the night before, but I had to share. They’re so cute!

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Rachel is loving all of their new toys!

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This was taken New Year’s Eve morning. ❤ ❤

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I got ready and headed over to our Barre3 studio to take an amazing class, and the sky was so pretty as I left our place!

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I treated myself to a peppermint mocha from Mahalo using my gift card, and it is the best I’ve tasted. Sweet but not too much and so creamy!

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I went by my clinic and ended up working half a day, which was just fine. I got to work with one of my sweet friends and coworkers, and we knocked out some tasks together.

Once home, I enjoyed some of our leftover lasagna soup that hit the spot.

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I also had a mug of Blueberry Cheerios with RX almond butter, chia seeds, and almond milk.

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I wore my new Lil Bub sweater from Matt and adore it! So well-made, comfortable, and adorable.

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I dropped off a bag of donations at Goodwill, shopped at Kroger, then got back home to make our dinner. I sautéed half a large onion and the rest of our zucchini and cauliflower, added the last of our roasted purple cabbage and pulled pork that I thawed from the freezer, one can of organic chickpeas, and a carton of butternut squash soup. It turned out amazing! We had homemade buttermilk cornbread and sautéed kale on the side.

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I couldn’t help but take a trip down memory lane. This was New Year’s 2015. Our hair looked similar and a mirror image. Haha

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THIS MEMORY! New Year’s 2016. Mason so desperately wanted a taste that you can see his tongue going for it the last frame. So stinkin’ cute!!

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His last New Year’s with us going into 2018. </3

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Cozy baby girl.

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Our sweet Jax!

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I believe these were the first photos we three took together when Mason was a teeny baby. It was on or just before New Year’s Eve 2010. He grew into his ears, and he always had the biggest, most amazing green eyes!

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My heart melts when I look at these!! He loved his dad, his rescuer. Without Matt there to scoop him up into our hearts, I shudder to think what would’ve happened to our baby boy.

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I couldn’t help but want to get a photo with our baby. May seem silly, but it feels so weird to have entered the decade new purrarents to him and to leave it without his body physically with us. He always is though in our hearts and memories.

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We watched more of the Grand Tour, laughed so hard, enjoyed a snack – toasted strawberry swirl bread with pb, cinnamon, chocolate, and a banana – and then crawled into bed at 11:45. We basically made it. Ha

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Wednesday // New Year’s Day

We woke up to a gorgeous day and these snuggly babies.

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But Rachel wasn’t ready to take on the day just yet. Lol!

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I snacked on a banana with pb and cinnamon to tide me over for our brunch.

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We met with Kaci and Drew at The Dancing Bear Bistro, which Matt and I have enjoyed for dinner twice for our anniversary. But we’ve never been for brunch. It was epic! Such a variety of food was offered, and we all were incredibly pleased.

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The menu.

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But first, photos ❤ We all wore plaid, so we were the plaid family.

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2020 😉

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Cuties!

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I saved my muffin for later, but it was delicious. Basically a cake with powdered sugar, which was fine by me. 🙂

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First plate for Kaci.

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My noms.

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Matt’s second plate I think. He sometimes is all, “do you have to take a photo?” and then asked, “do you not want a photo of mine?” Hahaha

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My second plate. The grits were outstanding as were the greens and hoppin’ John dish.

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Final plate, which looks sad, but I wanted to taste as much as possible. The potato hash was excellent, the seafood stew was so flavorful, and I loved the crispy parmesan with the asparagus. A chocolate coconut bite for a sweet finish.

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Such a gorgeous restaurant and grounds!

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Then it was time for more photos! This is where they hold weddings, so we took advantage of the gorgeous set-up.

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Our signature twin pose. Peace out.

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So cute!

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Smooch

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It was very bright but so pretty!

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Kaci really got some great angles. 😉

 

I couldn’t resist some SnapChat fun.

Matt’s boss bought a new shop that will be much better for them. The only downside is it doubles his commute. But we drove over to look at it before heading home.

I got changed and met with Kaci, Drew, and Axl for a New Year’s Day hike. We covered about two miles or a smidge more, and it felt so good! Axl is our trusted trail guide pup. He looks so serious, and I love it!

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I enjoyed my muffin when we got back to the car then hung out for a bit longer before I headed home to make dinner. A simple salad for us both topped with an olive spread, Hilary’s veg burger, hummus, and chips. So tasty!

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I was still hungry, so I had Blueberry Cheerios, banana, and Betsy’s seed butter. We watched the final episode of the Grand Tour, which was emotional. The three hosts have been doing the show together – formerly known as Top Gear – for 17 years. Thankfully, they have a different series that they’ve created, so we get to see more of them!

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That concludes our celebration! I sure hope you all had an incredible holiday and woke up feeling ready for this day and year. If not, give yourself grace and patience. Speaking of which, ‘patience’ is my word for the year. My intention is to find more patience with others and life in general. I’ll be back tomorrow to share a round-up of some of my favorite posts and memories from 2019!

 

Soaking Up the Last of 2019

I get so nostalgic during the holidays and reflective at New Years. I just can’t help it! This being my last post of the year feels so bittersweet. It’s been a great year overall, but it most definitely had it’s difficult times. Grateful for all that I learned and overcame.

Matt is so dang sweet and surprised me with this belated Christmas gift! I mean, come on. How precious is it? I cannot wait to finish it together and frame it!

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Friday

Breakfast was ah-mazing. Fluffy cheesy scrambled eggs over wilted greens with two mini gf buttermilk biscuits with strawberry mango jam.

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I finally rocked my Oleg Cassini blazer again! Sadly, one of the buttons came off, so I’ll have to get it threaded back on, which is no biggie.

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I put up my new box from Diane and the cat sign from my friend at work who chose my name in the gift exchange. They are at my second clinic, and they put such a big smile on my face!

Sadly, my throat started to feel really scratchy but that was the only symptom I had. I decided to try Starbucks’ “Medicine Ball” tea, and it helped a lot!

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I stopped by Marshall’s briefly, and I *loved* these trees. So cute!

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After going by Target, I came home and put together a quick meal that turned out very well. We split a baked sweet potato and topped it with seasoned roasted red cabbage, ham, melted Swiss, and avocado. Seems weird, but it tasted great!

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For a snack while we watched The Grand Tour, I enjoyed shredded wheat with pb, almond milk, an apple, and my herbal tea. This show is hilarious! I highly recommend it. I’m almost in tears sometimes. I love the three hosts.

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Saturday

So I got up earlier than I had expected and then when I took a bite of my oatmeal, it was terrible. Even though the date on my milk is well into January, it must be bad. It sucked to dump out my bowl including my pb and j. I remade a bowl with almond milk.

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After I got ready, Matt and I went to Haw Ridge Park to hike. It was a gorgeous day! Ever since 2006 when we discovered a gall at the arboretum, we’ve had fun spotting them. Had to get a selfie.

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We spotted my car from up on the trail. Haha

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Made it to the top of the ridge! It wasn’t a particularly hard hike, but there were some steep trails that definitely increased our heart rate.

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I love this! It was really bright if you can’t tell. 😉

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Being all artistic and stuff.

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After we got back to the house, Matt went to work on his race car, and I went to get a late lunch at Broadway Market.

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They just recently moved locations and reopened, and it’s so lovely!

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I ordered their chicken quesadilla with a side of vegetable soup, and it was huge! So. Good. I ate until I felt satisfied then packed up the rest.

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I couldn’t get enough of these arrangements. The café is owned by a husband and wife, and their daughter made these. They’re gorgeous!

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After I took another quick shower and cleaned our place a little bit. I sipped on some green tea and relaxed. Once Matt got home, I got started on dinner. I found these fries while at Target, and they are wonderful. Highly recommend them.

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Diane gave me this water, and while some carbonated waters can mess with my stomach, this was great!

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Dinner was made from “processed” foods, but it was still balanced. Processed shouldn’t be a word we fear. Beyond Meat burger with delish pickles, mayo, and mustard / vegetable fries with ketchup / salad kit with a creamy pepita dressing. This meal wasn’t homemade per se, but boy was it perfect!

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I had a slice of our TJ’s fudge loaf cake with yogurt mixed with beet powder and pb powder. Beets and chocolate were made for each other! We watched another episode of the Grand Tour. I know I sound like a broken record, but we typically just follow one show at a time plus it’s so good.

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Sunday

We slept well and late, and then I made a stellar breakfast. Part of my leftover lunch (I got three servings out of it, and it’s was priced so well!), wilted spinach, and an apple with sunflower chia seed butter. Love sweet and savory combos!

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I started coloring my Lil Bub Coloring Book. Isn’t she adorable?

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I committed to cleaning and organizing our place from the kitchen to the bathrooms, dusted, vacuumed, did some laundry. The whole bit. It feels so good to be clean and organized as we enter the new year!

Lunch was leftover salad with a mug of shredded wheat with butter toffee pecans.

I used the self-clean setting on the oven, which worked wonders. You can see it glowing in the photo below. However, our place smells awful. I’ll need to open the windows.

Snackage included chips, carrots, and hummus.

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Then for dinner I made Alexis’ Vegan Lasagna Soup. Five stars! I couldn’t find the pasta sauce she called for, so I used a jar of Otamot that I gave to Matt in his stocking. 😉 I met the founder at FNCE, and I thought it was a great tasting sauce.

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Tada! Freshly shredded parmesan on top. Matt went back for seconds – big compliment. 🙂

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I didn’t take a before because it was atrocious. But on the left was after the clean cycle, and on the right is after I wiped it with a wet rag. So much better!

Our babies couldn’t be any cuter!

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I had a mug of yogurt with cinnamon, banana, Multigrain Cheerios, and pb. Classic combo that will never get old.

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I hung my new Lil Bub 2020 calendar in the office of my home/main clinic, and I just love seeing her face!

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One of my coworkers and sweet friends surprised me with this lip balm. How fun is it?! I’ll take everything avocado, thankyouverymuch.

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We had to exchange my Heidi Hull necklace because it had a nick in it, but Barre3 customer service is the best! They got this replacement to me quickly, and isn’t it gorgeous?

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I adore my necklaces and more importantly, I appreciate Matt giving serious thought to them. He knows me so well!

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I truly wish you all the very best as we leave 2019 and enter 2020! May you know that you are enough just as you and do not owe anyone weight loss or manipulation of your body. Instead of a resolution, try coming up with one word or phrase that you would like to work towards in the coming year. ❤

Christmas Eve + Christmas Day 2019

Hello, and happy Thursday! Like Dorothy states in the Wizard of Oz, “my! How quickly people come and go so quickly here!”, only replace “people” with “holidays”. On our drive home yesterday from Matt’s mom, Diane and step-dad, Tim’s house, I couldn’t believe Christmas was already over.  But writing this post is wonderful as I get to already relive it.

Tuesday // Christmas Eve

Matt and I started Christmas Eve with a delicious breakfast. Two warmed baby gf buttermilk biscuits, wilted greens, and seasoned sunny side up eggs. Plus I had some mango on the side.

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Later in the morning, I donned my Goodwill sweater one last time and joined my work crew for a fun holiday party!

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I enjoyed some of the food that was provided and went back for a few more bites of things. I had a wonderful time! Our manager surprised us with a White Elephant party, and I won a really pretty Vera Bradley cosmetic bag. We did our gift exchange as well, and then I went back home to start getting ready for our late lunch with Matt’s mom and step-dad.

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One of the sweet gifts I received from our gift exchange was this frame for Mason. Lindsey knows how much he means to us, and she wanted to contribute to his memorial. I was so grateful! The message is absolutely how we feel.

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❤ Our heart.

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She also got me another cat decorative item that I’ll be putting at my other clinic, a beautiful ear warmer, and this EOS set.

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Kaci and Axl came over for her to give her gifts to the babies. Axl is finally feeling better! But it was really upsetting to see him and hear about him feeling awful. Kaci was a sweetheart and got me TJ’s gingerbread candle and this exfoliating trio!

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Once Matt and I were ready, we joined his mom and step-dad at Sunspot. They were very kind and agreed to take our family photo for us. ❤

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Our meals were fantastic! Table shot.

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I had their Caesar side salad and their chili mac: Beyond Burger, black beans, green chile, plant based mac and cheese, and roasted tomato. It was outstanding!

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After we left, Matt and I went to Market Square to soak up some of the holiday vibes one last time. The day was so mild that it was really pleasant to walk around in the sunshine.

The artist changed the mural to a wintery scene, and red cardinals make me think of my grandmother. ❤

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This is on the back side of the ice skating rink.

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Matt nailed it and got “Knoxville” in the photo. 🙂

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Knoxville’s gorgeous Christmas tree!

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I love this shot!

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As well as this one. He’s talented at being able to angle it and move us far enough away to get the star. I ride the ole struggle bus. Where would I be without him. 😉 ❤

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We walked to Old City Java and then Awaken, but understandably, they were both closed. I loved the walk and seeing the window art!

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It turned out for the best anyway because I made a delicious beet cocoa latte at home with cinnamon, ginger, honey, and frothed almond milk. ‘Twas very enjoyable.

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I enjoyed the rest of my pasta from lunch with a salad for dinner.

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Sweet kitty snuggles for us both! Peep my cozy Christmas pj’s from Target a few years ago.

Then a banana with plenty o’ pb for a snack. We watched the Grand Tour and then got to bed so the big guy would come by the house!

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Wednesday // Christmas Day

We slept really well and slowly got out of bed. It was so needed! This day marked four years since Matt, with Mason’s help (!), asked me to be his wife. It will always warm my heart to think back to that morning.

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I made us each a gingerbread oat muffin topped with maple and yogurt + an apple with pb on the side. I used Ellie Krieger’s gingerbread oatmeal recipe as an inspiration. Tasted really festive and enjoyable!

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Then it was time to open presents.

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Matt spoiled me in a huge way! He surprised me with a Lil Bub sweater and coloring book, owl necklace that is absolutely adorable, Heidi Hull Barre3 necklace, and a gift from Mason. He got us a replacement blade for our single-serve blender tumbler, and since Mason was our smoothie-loving baby, it was from him.

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Isn’t this so pretty? He said the sideways heart looks like a B for Barre3, and that’s how I look at it too.

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He also surprised me by re-gifting this engraved photo album I gave him on our one year anniversary. It still has empty sleeves to be filled, and looking through it made me smile so big. It served as a beautiful reminder of just how far we’ve come and how much wonderful time we’ve been together.

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My mom snapped these. Check out the cool portable CD player. 😉 I had super long hair when we met, and Matt kept his longer due to not wanting to cut it as often. He’s cut his own hair since middle or high school. We’ve both gone shorter over the years. Haha

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I’ve never looked cuter.

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I’ve probably shared this before, but I just love it. Our first Christmas together in 2005.

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Christmas dinner at his mom’s then apartment. His brother Chris and Shannon (they married but decided it was best to go their separate ways), and Brian and Anne (Brian’s now ex-wife).

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We went to Zuma Fun Center one day and played arcade games and Putt Putt golf. His shaggy hair. He looks so cute! The bottom photo was our anniversary when I gave him this album.

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I *hated* my hair and complexion. The hair stylist royally botched my haircut, and my acne flared up off and on for a few years. I’m glad I didn’t choose to avoid the camera. It doesn’t bother me to look at now. So if you feel like your body isn’t good enough or worthy of photos, just know your relatives will love to have photos of you to cherish.

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Okay thank you for going down memory lane with me. Back to Christmas! The babies have toys galore now, but what did they want? Boxes and wrapping paper, of course!

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Rachel was determined to fit!

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Playing with her new catnip carrot from us.

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More presents. But Jackson just wanted more noms.

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Speaking of which, lunch was a Sweet Earth frozen vegan pasta over greens. It was just what I needed.

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All ready and most definitely wore my owl necklace!

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We picked up Matt’s dad and headed up to Diane and Tim’s. I called my dad and Karin and got to chat with them. I miss them so much and hope we can have Christmas together next year!

Diane had quite the lovely appetizer spread! Artichoke hearts, beets, olives, vegetables, hummus, crackers, deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, cheese, and later stuffed mushrooms.

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Let the photos begin! Matt wore one of the flannels I found for him on Amazon. The brand is actually Amazon Essentials, and they’re both really soft and nice! He looked so handsome.

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We were under the mistletoe, after all. 😉

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Group shot with Chris and his girlfriend, Kayla.

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Diane with two of her three boys. She looked so festive! I loved her blinking necklace.

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Also, she had a really pretty table setting.

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Love Christmas dishes!

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Dinner was wonderful! They made a juicy ham with pineapple, turkey breast, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, and we brought salad and roasted green beans/butternut squash/onion/Brussels sprouts. I roasted the green beans from fresh and bought a frozen bag of the other vegetables by Pictsweet. They’re frozen but are meant to be roasted. The salad was a kit in a bag and included kale and other greens, pepitas, dried cranberries, and poppy seed dressing. All of it was perfect. I went back for seconds of some things and felt pleasantly full.

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We opened presents before dinner, and Diane made me this teal scarf! It paired with my red sweater is reminiscent of our wedding colors. She spoiled us big time!

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I loved looking at her ornaments. I know white lights are the trend, but I love colorful lights on a tree. It’s what we did when I was a child.

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We think this poinsettia was just spray painted, but I love it!

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I made TJ’s boxed gf fudge chocolate quinoa loaf cake.

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It was rich but so good. We had fresh pineapple and whipped cream with it plus tea.

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Once we took Larry home, we got in and fed our sweeties, and then unloaded our gifts. So grateful! She knows me really well. Go Macro bars, Nuttzo nut butter packet, chocolate covered ginger, blueberry nut clusters, tahini bars, his and hers mugs (heart eyes); Pioneer Woman tea bag tray, stickers labels, and pinch bowls; magnetic bookmarks, etc.

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How cute is this? She saw my Instagram story of me rolling our coins to use for my “Mahalo fund”, so she gave me a roll of quarters for said fund. So perfect! Chris also gave me a gift card. I have already paid them a visit today.

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And this pink Himalayan sea salt lamp is so pretty! It changes to eight different colors and will be the best kitchen nightlight.

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She never forgets about the babies either, so they got a fun toy too!

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Thursday

I was in denial that I had to go to work today, but it’s been a good one. I threw together this outfit and had to wear my necklace and scarf.

I truly hope you all had a wonderful holiday! But if you didn’t, please know my heart if with you. Christmas doesn’t feel the same without my mom, grandparents, and Mason, but I know they’re watching over and celebrating with us. I’m thankful Matt’s family is one I call my own, and I’ve celebrated 15 Christmases with Matt. Here’s to many more!

 

Holiday Traditions

Hello, and happy Christmas Eve Eve! It’s hard to believe Christmas is almost here. I’m excited for it!

Friday

Here is a great example of how much Intuitive Eating has changed my life for the much better. This meal was meh. The overnight oats I purposefully left plain with milk, hemp hearts, and flax, but the Golden Delicious apple was not good in flavor. I added cinnamon and pb, but it was not much better. The good thing is my day wasn’t ruined. Not every eating occasion will be amazing, but I had fuel in my system, and for that I was grateful.

I am starting to make my office at my second clinic feel more personalized. I just need to print a photo of all three of our babies for the frame on the left!

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Fresh hairs. My hairstylist is the best. I had to grocery shop at Kroger, so I figured I’d continue my trend of store mirror selfies. Ha!

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Dinner was steamed beet spirals, pesto chicken, and Dr. Praeger’s carrot tots with ketchup. Very good!

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I made Erin (of Well Plated) Turkey Chili for us to enjoy with Kaci and Drew at the lake house on Saturday. I wanted the flavors to mingle because chili is one of those dishes that gets better with time.

Dessert was shredded wheat hidden by a banana with mixed nuts and milk. We watched an episode of The Grand Tour then called it a night.

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Saturday

We slept great and didn’t get up until after 9:00. I had simple shredded wheat and milk out of our pb jar with an apple on the side.

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Sweet snuggles with Jax while I sipped my coffee!

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I then got to work making Vegan PB Cup Cookies by Alexis. I used these pb bites on top.

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Before baking.

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After. They definitely got to know each other. Lolz. They aren’t magazine worthy, but there were tasty!

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Lunch was a simple salad of greens, carrots, ‘shrooms, cannellini beans, Italian dressing, and lime Siete chips. I ate a banana, then we loaded up to head out to the lake house!

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Matt built a wonderful fire.

I love being goofy together! Kase snapped these candid shots and goofy poses.

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I’m going to steal his Sherpa-lined plaid one day. It’s so cozy!

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Drew and Kaci are awesome and brought this tv to leave out there and downloaded The Grinch for us to watch! I love Jim Carey’s version. It never gets old! We watched it while we did a craft for Matt and Drew’s parents for Christmas.

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Group shot! It took several attempts, and in the last few, Axl was down for the count. Haha

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Love them!

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I can never have too many photos. I love to have them to look back on and smile. Thankful to have a camera at our fingertips. We definitely didn’t have nearly the same number of photos when we first began dating!

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The chili turned out amazing. We topped our bowls with Greek yogurt, pickled jalapenos, avocado, and cornbread dressing from Thanksgiving. Axl photo bombed me!

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The cookies look weird but taste heavenly. Mmm mmm. Highly recommend them.

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I forgot to snap a photo, but after Matt and I got home and settled, we sipped on tea and ate some cereal while we watched The Grand Tour. We were still hungry, so we honored said hunger no matter the time.

Sunday

I woke up with about seven hours of sleep and couldn’t fall back to Z-land, so I was up and at ’em. I made Shakshuka with leftover pasta sauce, and boy oh boy was it amazing! I enjoyed it over wilted greens with the last of our carrot tots. I noshed on an apple after as well.

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This time baby girl kept me company while I sipped my cuppa Joe. I could just eat her up.

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I baked cornbread to enjoy with our leftover chili and on Year’s Eve with dinner.

I did a calming Barre3 flow that felt so good for my mind and body.

I split a salad kit between us and added a cheese stick (which is glowing, ha), beet spirals, beans, and crackers.

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Then it was off to a super fun event at Norris Dam State Park in which Blinky the owl was brought out and the park ranger discussed facts all about owls! My owl-loving heart was so happy and fulfilled. She flew into a car some 17 years ago and broke her left wing, so she’s been kept safe in captivity.

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She was precious.

I was pumped! I wish I could’ve held her on my arm, but I respect that she’s a wild bird with fears for humans still. So I stayed a safe distance for her comfort.

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She is a barred owl, and she and barn owls are my absolute favorite. My owl tattoo is based on a barn owl. They are the ones with a heart shaped face.

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Once I was back home, I made a beet mint hot chocolate. I realized the key is to heat the almond milk gently on the stove because holy foam. My frother really worked!

Some shredded wheat with pb.

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Dinner included a simple salad, the rest of our chicken, and homemade gf biscuits.

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Here’s what they looked like before they did time in the oven.

I mistakenly made them too small, but they actually worked out and cooked through. They’re gf but taste classic! This will be our go-to recipe.

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Banana and Betsy’s seed butter in our yogurt tub for dessert.

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These memories of Mason warm my heart!

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Sweet Axl Rose had to go the the Animal ER (same one where Mason was diagnosed with cancer 💔) because he kept getting sick and could not eat. They said all looked well and that he may have eaten something or caught a stomach virus. They gave him IV fluids and said he was good to go home. So Kaci and Free are heading over to get him! I hate seeing any of our babies unwell.

I’ll be back with a recap of our Christmas. Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and I wish you all well!

Friday Favorites!

Hello, and happy Friday! The last Friday before Christmas. Eeeps!

Kaci and I were so fortunate to be able to take a Barre3 class together on Tuesday, and it was so incredible! I know I say it a lot, but I’m very grateful for having a body that I can safely move. Talking with some of my patients who report being unable to go up one or two steps breaks my heart.

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Kaci’s tank top has Lil Bub on it, and we ordered a bandana each. She’s riding a paper airplane. Isn’t it adorable?

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I couldn’t fold it to allow her to show more, but I wore my earrings too. Funny that I pinned back my hair this week because it was longer, but others commented that it was pretty and well-styled. Just goes to show I need to always keep my perceptions in check! Instead of thinking of my hair as in need of a cut, I could see it as long enough to style in this way. 🙂

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One of my incredibly sweet friends at work surprised me with this mug and an adorable Christmas card. I love it! I feel very understood and appreciated.

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Of course I had to “test it out” and enjoyed a café au lait at Mahalo that day.

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So good!

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I went by CVS to get a few things for Kaci and myself. I got us each this sparkling water to try. At first it was not as tasty as I had hoped, but funny enough, as I sipped on it, I really grew to like it.

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 I also grabbed a few CLIF Bars, and I munched on this one that afternoon. It was so satisfying! Anyone else enjoy these?

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I also saw this at HomeGoods and had to grab it. I do enjoy having some different nut butters on hand. I love the crunch of it!

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I’m on the hunt to find this at Aldi. I love a fun, specialty cheese! They always have some awesome flavors to choose from.

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These Dove Chocolate messages are always welcomed. “Smiles are free, so share them.”

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I have been tired of my razors as I seem to keep buying cheap ones that don’t shave well. Kaci recommended this Harry’s razor. It’s made for men, but I love the design, color, and so far it seems to do a pretty nice job!

For breakfast on Thursday, I had two fantastic slices of toast. Mango + avocado on one, beet powder and ginger mixed into yogurt and topped with pb on the other. Loved these combos! Not the mention the pretty colors.

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I enjoyed the remainder of my Mahalo savory gallette (with apples, caramelized onion, blue cheese, pecans, and a buttery flaky crust) with wilted greens, sunny side up eggs, and a mandarin orange. This made for a fabulous breakfast!

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Matt and I finished The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Season 3, and we loved it! We’re really looking forward to the fourth season. We highly recommend this show! It’s on Amazon Prime, which does stink because we don’t keep a Prime membership. We’ve had to use free trials.

We also have been watching The Grand Tour, Season 4. The three hosts are hilarious! I love watching them banter back and forth, and I do learn a fair amount about cars.

I’m a sucker for these reflective posts. This was my Best Nine on Instagram. I have to say it captured my year pretty well!

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I hope everyone has an amazing Friday and weekend!

Rockin’ Our Tacky Christmas Sweaters

Hello and happy Monday! I don’t about your weather, but ours has been all over the place from hot to cold, spring to winter. It’s now quite warm today, but we had snow last week. Every day is a toss up!

Friday

Let’s get into this recap, shall we? Rewinding to Friday: I made hot oatmeal with beet and cocoa powders, spices, oats, oat milk, and I topped my bowl with banana, pb, pumpkin, and maple. I took inspiration from the first drink I tried at Mahalo last July: their red velvet beet latte. 🙂

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After a good day at work, I came home and snuggled with our sweeties before I tidied up and made dinner. It was really simple, but sometimes meals won’t be fancy or Instagram-worthy, and that’s ok! Canned organic cannellini beans warmed, steamed green beans with pesto, roasted potatoes and onion from frozen with ketchup. We did love the combo!

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I polished off the pumpkin with yogurt, spices, vanilla, hemp hearts, and Cheerios with Cinnamon Oat Clusters. We watched two episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel then slept in soo late!

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Saturday

We woke up early to feed the babies and woke up maybe once or twice more but kept falling back asleep. Then we got up at 9:00 with me having an eye exam at 10:00. I took a photo of my breakfast, but I think it got deleted. Whoospies. I had a packet of ancient grains oatmeal mixed into a tub of yogurt plus oat milk, cinnamon, and pb. An apple on the side for a delish crunch. My apple craving is still going strong!

Matt is over me and my Snap Chats because the filters are almost always girly. Bahaha. He was an absolute sweetie and took my car to the shop he used to work at and changed two tires and then balanced and aligned them. He also bought the tires for me, and we’ll change the other two next spring, but they still have life left on their tread.

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My eye exam went well. My prescription barely changed, and while my eye pressures were high, they had decreased. I have my other appointment already scheduled for this week. My maternal grandfather had glaucoma, so they take extra precaution with my pressures. I don’t know if I have thick corneas or benign ocular hypertension, but I just always pray for good eye health.

I walked over to Joann’s to get a few supplies for Kaci, Drew, Matt, and my double date at the lake house this coming Saturday! I proudly wore my Lil Bub sweatshirt and beanie.

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I did some shopping at Tuesday Morning then sat at Panera Bread and only had to wait a little bit for Matt to pick me up.

For lunch, I enjoyed an Eating Well chicken pesto orzo meal over wilted spinach with a few baby carrots.

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Cheerios with RX almond butter and almond milk completed my meal.

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This is what I stepped out of the shower to: my furry body guards! Who were sleeping on the job.

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We got ourselves ready and made our way to Kaci and Drew’s for their annual Tacky Christmas Sweater Party! Axl Rose was so excited to see his Uncle Matt!

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Look at his face! ❤ “This is my friend.” Axl was ready with his reversible bandana.

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Here is my sweater I made thanks to Goodwill’s fun event! Matt wore his sweater from last year because it’s so awesome it deserved more use.

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Kaci in her Goodwill sweater too plus we wore the same pants and similar shoes without planning it. It’s like we’re twins or something. Axl had to get a photo with the ladies.

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I brought two types of gf Blue Diamond crackers – pecan and ranch rice, Siete chips, and Siete sprouted bean dip. They were all a hit! Kaci provided grapes, cheese, and sausage. I went back for a little more until I felt satisfied. I also sipped on some of Cruze Farm’s eggnog that I adore. Perfectly spiced and creamy.

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The group! Minus one of Drew’s friends, his wife, and their two sweet kids. Unfortunately, several friends were out of town or at another event and couldn’t make it. This time of year is so busy! We completely understood, and they were all missed.

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I got right in there with the kids to make ornaments and then decorate sugar cookies. I’d like to think that being a kid myself still will make me a good mom one day. 🙂

This was so nostalgic!

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Since we didn’t eat our Toblerone nougat pie for Thanksgiving, we brought it to share with everyone.

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It tasted like a stellar candy bar! It was studded with almonds and a lovely chocolate outer crunch. Mmm mmm.

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Sadly, sweet Matt gets bad allergies from most dogs, so we had to leave a bit early because it was getting difficult for him to breathe. We got nice and comfortable at home and had snacks while watching an episode of Maisel. I mixed beet powder (yes, I’m hooked) into yogurt and had it with banana + pb and pumpkin raisin crisps. This was such a satisfying snack!

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Sunday

I’m going to turn into a beet, but I’m not mad about that. Ha! I mixed one teaspoon with two scrambled eggs + a splash of oat milk. I cooked them in unsalted butter seasoned with Italian seasoning and garlic powder. I enjoyed them over toast topped with mashed avocado + lemon and wilted spinach. Fuji apple on the side.

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I was able to count out $50 in coins for my Mahalo fund! Very exciting stuff. Jax was curious as to what I was doing.

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I managed to do some laundry, dishes, vacuumed, moved my body to a lovely Barre3 flow, and then sat down to a snack plate-style lunch. Warmed beans with mango habanero hot sauce, crisps, carrots, and cheddar rubbed with coffee and lavender.

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I received this incredibly thoughtful card and stickers from Kristi, who I met in Philly! I ordered my “Breathe” t-shirt from her Etsy shop, and I highly recommend anything of hers as a Christmas gift!

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I finally took our glass recycle to our center and shopped at HomeGoods for a few more stocking stuffers for Matt.

I snacked on a chocolate sea salt trail mix bar then went by K Brew for a decaf iced latte. It was so warm that I was craving an iced drink.

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I did a small shopping trip at Aldi and stopped by Kaci and Drew’s to see them for a little bit before heading home.

After I got our whole chicken into the oven, I snacked on mushrooms and sweet potato chips with hummus. I went back for more chips then realized I ate a little too much. Intuitive Eating is amazing because there is no failing. I didn’t fail myself or a diet. I simply ate a little extra such that my dinner was slightly smaller. No biggie!

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Said dinner was fabulous! Pesto chicken, roasted seasoned zucchini, and chicken and herb basmati 90-second rice. I felt that in making a whole chicken I was back on my Sunday supper game. 😉

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We got ready for bed, each grabbed our tea and a snack, and then we laughed our way through another episode of Maisel. I had a banana with yogurt, spices, and plenty of pb.

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Monday

I made an oatmeal muffin with pb and an apple this morning that was delicious. I decided to pair my black lace tights with my black booties, thrifted red velvet dress, and moto jacket.

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My manager said I looked like a biker elf but that it all did go together. Um yes, I do believe so. And a biker elf sounds fine by me. Lolz.

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I treated myself to lunch at Mahalo with my “fund”, and man was it the best! Eggnog latte with their savory caramelized onion/apple/blue cheese/pecan gallette.

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So luscious! I normally don’t like eggnog except when it comes to Cruze Farm’s and a latte.

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This dough. So flaky, buttery, absolute perfection.

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Always working on finding happiness in my present life! It’s very healthy to strive for more, but there is a balance between that and always finding peace and gratitude for what we currently have.

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Wishing you all a beautiful week. Not that much longer until Santa will be visiting us!

Gettin’ in the Festive Spirit!

Good Monday afternoon! I sure hope this post finds you very well. I have say that despite not being stoked about the weekend coming to an end, today has been wonderful! One of the best nephrologists that I have the pleasure of working with complimented me on my outfit as did one of my sweet patients, I received a lovely gift from our Lead RD, and I have felt happy. Thankful for days like this!

I absolutely have to share this video. It comes up on my memories every year, and I never ever grow tired of watching it! Mason was only about six to eight weeks old, and Rachel was barely two years old. Look how itty bitty Mason was!! He grew fast, though. I wish I could’ve protected my baby and kept him cancer free. I know that’s not how life works, but my heart remains incomplete. But am I forever grateful I was chosen to be one of his two mamas. Kaci and I love our babies more than anything.

Friday

For breakfast, I enjoyed a Quaker cranberry almond protein oatmeal cup made with oat milk and a banana + pb on the side.

I also brought out this cute mug for my coffee.

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Rachel was so sleepy! She didn’t care that the shower curtain was draped over her. Sweet princess needed more Zzzz.

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Went with a little bit of a Christmas-y look pairing my green argyle with dark rust-red cords. I’m now permanently covering two clinics, and I worked at my second one on Friday. The staff are all really sweet and helpful!

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I was so fortunate to be able to take a free yoga class at Thrive Functional Fitness. It felt amazing!

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Love their pretty décor.

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Once home, I made a quick but tasty meal for us: carrots and spinach cooked from frozen with the last of our taco bean mix over Thanksgiving cornbread dressing. The cornbread + taco meat tasted like a tamale. Definitely recommend this combo!

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Dessert was a mug o’ Greek yogurt, granola, pb, and a crisp apple. We had wanted to watch the newest season of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but we decided to relax then get to bed.

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Saturday

Matt had enjoyed a pb and j for an evening snack, so it got me craving the combo. I decided to make my oatmeal with cinnamon and oat milk then topped my bowl with banana, pb, and strawberry rhubarb jam. It’s a bit runny, but it still tastes great.

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I just love these messages, and this one was especially eye-catching.

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I finished a short Barre3 flow at home then got our place straightened up before I got ready. I dressed in my Christmas best. 😉

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Down to my socks…

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And my stocking earrings!

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I grocery shopped at Kroger, put away our goods, then picked up Kaci for a fun day together! We attended Nostalgia’s Holiday Open House. They’re vintage and thrift booths have some of the best finds. I loved this table!

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All the holiday décor made us so happy and really got me in the festive spirit.

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Twinklet mirror two-fie!

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They have such cute owl artwork and figurines!

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I sipped on some hot cocoa and thoroughly enjoyed these cookies. I found one top that was very pretty, and I decided to get it for us to share.

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Is this retro tv-turned-aquarium not awesome?

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After we left, we swung by Whole Foods, and I grabbed a salad from their salad bar. I’ve been craving tofu for a while, so I chose it, guacamole, tahini dressing,, and other goodies. It was so fresh and lovely.

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After we ran a few more errands together, I dropped Kaci off at their home and went downtown to get me and Matt free Petro’s. Matt won a year’s worth of free Petro’s!! You may recall we visited Petro’s after they first opened, and we both entered their drawing. I was so excited when he told me!

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I forgot how busy downtown on a Saturday night during the holiday season would be. Parking was a bit of a chore, but I scored a great spot in the garage nearby. Let me tell you, some girls were dressed like it wasn’t a cold December night. I just don’t understand that. I’d rather be bundled up and comfortable.

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I decided to try their vegetarian Petro’s original with olives and jalapenos. It was so good! Matt had their Baja again, which is always a perfect choice.

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I enjoyed apple “nachos” with Fage TruBlend vanilla yogurt that I just discovered and Cheerios Cinnamon Oat Crunch. While I love to be out and about, I was thankful to be in my pj’s relaxing at home rather than downtown that night. Anyone else extroverts but enjoy quiet evenings at home most nights?

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Sunday

Cheerios Cinnamon Oat Crunch topped with thawed berries and mango, pb, and oat milk was a great choice for breakfast after sleeping in until close to 8:00.

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Matt was so sweet and took my car to change the oil and filter + rotate my tires. So I prepped dinner ahead of time, washed the dishes, did some laundry, cleaned a bit, and then enjoyed a quick lunch. Salad with two warmed Siete chia wraps filled with avocado and hummus.

A little while later, I had vanilla yogurt with walnuts, chocolate chips, and an apple.

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I showered and then made us clean-out-the-pantry chocolate bark thanks to the inspiration by Simi! It included chopped prunes, dried cranberries, granola, and mixed nuts. Here it is before I froze it and then broke it up into smaller pieces.

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I made matcha mate grapefruit tea with honey before downloading the FNCE session recordings that were just released. Excited to listen and earn more education credits!

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I love the filters that work with fur-babies! This kills me – Jax is so cute!

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Once Matt brought my car back to me, I swung by and picked up Kase for a quick trip to HomeGoods. We saw so many cute things that we had to resist! This was beautiful and so fun – full of TN landmarks.

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Another mirror photo of us. 😉 I feel like we look really twinny here too!

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I specifically went to HomeGoods for two frames. I chose to frame Paris’ downtown Knoxville drawing. Petro’s has these and crayons for kids to color, but I decided to frame it and add it to our TN wall mural. 🙂

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I also finally got a frame for my artwork by Morgan Harper Nichols!

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For dinner, we had pita toasted with Aldi sharp cheddar coated in coffee and lavender. It is amazing! Earlier I made a thick soup that included seasoned roasted Brussels sprouts, green beans, and celery + pulled pork and Aldi organic pumpkin soup. I stretched the soup out into more filling servings, which I was proud of. It doesn’t look pretty, but it was wonderful.

I had a banana with RX almond butter for a snack.

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Monday

Breakfast was so delicious! I bought beet powder at HomeGoods, so I made overnight oats with one packet of Bakery on Main Ancient Grains oatmeal, beet powder, Fage vanilla yogurt, oat milk, and pumpkin. I topped it with RX almond butter, and it was perfectly earthly, doughy, and sweet. Also, that color!

I will be back for a Friday Favorites post that I hope sparks some inspiration. Have the best week ahead!

Question: Do you like overnight oats? If so, what are your favorite combinations?

Thanksgiving Weekend Part 1

I hope this post finds you all well today! I was busy yesterday for the first day back from the holiday, so my Thanksgiving weekend recap part one is coming a day late. I’ll cover from Wednesday to Friday, then I will pick up with Saturday and Sunday in part two. 🙂

Wednesday

I enjoyed a visit at Mahalo, and their pretty tree and Christmas decorations were so cute! I love the blue theme that matches their café.

I ordered a café au lait and a cheddar scone. I *love* savory pastries more than sweet. Any fellow savory/salty fans out there?

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This extra caffeine gave me a boost to make out Thanksgiving spread that evening. I made my grandmother’s cornbread dressing, homemade cranberry sauce, roasted green beans and potato medley with pesto, and Alexis’ Maple Balsamic Roasted Brussels and Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Pom. I used purple Brussels, and I just loved how colorful our sides were!

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Dinner was a delish salad with Dr. Praeger’s chick’n tenders dipped in CFA sauce. Quick and so satisfying.

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Thursday / Thanksgiving

I made pumpkin spiced oatmeal topped with pb and brown sugar to start my Thanksgiving.

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I felt like moving my body to Barre3 NOT to earn my food but to give thanks to my able body. I had to wear this tank from Body Over Mind Apparel! The flow was perfect.

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After getting showered, I enjoyed a Siete chia cassava wrap warmed and topped with wilted spinach, Dr. Praeger’s American burger, mashed avocado, and Caesar dressing. Perfect flavors!

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Matt roasted our turkey and did a really nice job.

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We picked up his dad and headed up to his mom and step-dad’s for the day. Kaci was very sweet and let me borrow her sweater from Val’s.

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Delicious appetizer plate.

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My plate. I accidentally came to the table slightly less hungry than I wanted, but no guilt. I ate what I wanted, and I knew that if I became overly full, no biggie! My body would just digest the food all the same.

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Matt and I went on a short walk and looked at some of the Christmas lights in their neighborhood. We later sipped on tea and enjoyed a lovely dessert plate. His mom made a wonderful crustless gf pumpkin pie as well as a gf pineapple cake, both included coconut flour. She also made a fruit salad. So perfect!

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She gifted me this cut potholder too!

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Friday

I completely forgot to take a photo of my breakfast. Doh. I enjoyed cereal and fruit out of my almond butter jar.

I made a turkey and cranberry sandwich with mayo and greens to take with me on a hike.

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After taking care of some tasks around the house, I thought I left in time but got lost trying to find the meet-up. Several other people could not find the trail guide or group either. They didn’t do a great job of providing the details. No worries, though because I met a really sweet girl who was enjoying the day with I believe her two young nieces. We created our own hike!

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The day and weather was really perfect. Not hot but not super cold.

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She pointed out to me to pay attention at the bottom of any waterfall – that there is a stack of rocks strangely enough. Anyone know of why people do this? What it signifies?

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I ran by Wal-Mart for a few things, and then I came home to shower and enjoy this snack plate.

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I did a little decorating, and it made me feel happy. I got this candle from TJ’s, and it smells like Christmas!

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Love this retro brush trees!

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Our baby tree, nutcrackers, and stockings.

I enjoyed a plate of leftovers for dinner. Matt spent the evening with a friend who was in town for the holiday.

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I watched some of my colorized ‘I Love Lucy’ episodes, sipped tea, and I finally got back to coloring in my coloring books.

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Banana with pb, spices, yogurt, and Cheerios.

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And that’s a wrap! Please share some highlights from your Thanksgiving!