Tag Archives: #christmas

Blogging Resurrection – We Bought A House

Happy Friday! Man, am I happy to say that.

If you read the blog regularly you know I have been MIA for the past two months. I hope you will accept this recap as my sincere apology for temporarily abandoning F&F. 

I do have some exciting news though, we finally closed on our house! And we are all moved in. After planning on closing in October, it has been a heck of a ride. 

We actually closed in December about 2 weeks before Christmas, so you can imagine the craziness that ensued. 

After signing the papers we picked up the B dog and headed over to the house for a small celebration. 

 
  

Early the next week we got everything moved in and began the unpacking.  

I have to say the kitchen is really the only place that isn’t still in limbo. We have a lot of projects in mind already, and we are super excited to begin this exciting and slightly overwhelming adventure!  

 

Some other things that happened over the holiday season… 

Kris’ work threw an awesome Christmas party
  

(I got my dress from LuLu’s. It was a little tighter than I expected but it was definitely a good purchase. It will be worn again!)

We celebrated Christmas in Pittsburgh
  
My mom, sister, and I made more Christmas cookies than one family should ever consume
  

And we rang in the New Year with wine, cheese, and a 2,000 piece puzzle… And I totally fell asleep on the couch long before midnight. 
  
…everyone was thrilled.

That about sums up the highlight reel. This weekend my family is coming in to celebrate my sister’s birthday. 

I hope you have a great weekend! 

What’s on your weekend agenda? 

Are you currently working on any house projects? 

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The Christmas Pajamagram

Merry Christmas! I hope you spent the day surrounded by family and loved ones. We spent the last couple days hanging out with family, devouring delicious food, and getting in the Christmas spirit.

On Christmas Eve morning I went exploring into downtown Buffalo and checked out a local yoga studio.  I went to the Hot 90 class at the Evolution Yoga studio in Buffalo, NY.  I’m no yoga expert, but I would call this class a hot Bikram class.  It was the first time I have ever taken that type of yoga so it was a little different than what I am used to.  I have only ever done the hot vinyasa flow classes.  In Bikram yoga there are 26 poses that you go through twice per pose, vs the constant flow that Vinyasa style provides.  It also incorporates shavasana in between the floor poses, which was much different than finding final rest at the end of practice. This class was a good opportunity to practice good form for many poses.  Overall I would say I do prefer vinyasa style (I like a little more cardio with my yoga), but I would definitely take a Bikram style class again.

After yoga Kris and I went to Duff’s, a chain restaurant famous for it’s Buffalo wings, and kicked off the Christmas festivities!

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When we got back to the house there was a special surprise that had been delivered while we were out…

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a pajama-gram!

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Yep, it’s got the zip-off feet and everything.  I lounged around in my new Christmas jammies while we opened presents and sipped on beverages.  Then we got ready for Christmas Eve mass where I tried to be on my best behavior (something about church just makes me revert back to childhood every single time):

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Now I’m excited to enjoy Christmas round 2 in Pittsburgh with my family 🙂 But first I think the B dog and I need to hit the pavement for a short run, I definitely ate a bag of potato chips for dinner last night (whoops!).  Happy holidays!

Don’t Step in the Lava

Good morning!

Today is a busy one! Breakfast was a yummy whole grain English Muffin with Justin’s vanilla almond butter and a small glass of OJ. (Shocking, I know… you never saw it coming.)

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I guess I may need to switch it up a little bit for the new year.  It’s nearing time for a change, and my almond butter is nearing the bottom of the jar.

I’m rushing around doing some cleaning, last minute shopping, and hoping to squeeze in a run with B. Speaking of the little stinker, she’s been a real help so far this morning (not).

One of my biggest pet peeves is coming home to a messy house, so since today is the big road trip to the great white north, I have a few chores to do. Can you find the little B dog?

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Yep. No help at all.

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I’m pretty sure everyone as a kid played the age old game where the floor is lava.  Am I right? And it was an awesome game.  Well, B has the lava complex (and while it’s comical, it’s not all that awesome).  Yesterday she got herself stuck in the bathroom on the shower mat, because she thought that she couldn’t cross the lava to get to the carpet outside of the bathroom (it’s maybe a 3 ft space). I went downstairs thinking she would just manage to escape on her own, but she sat on that shower mat and whined at me until I came and got her. She is literally her own worst enemy. Once she realizes she has bolted onto an uncarpeted floor she immediately panics and suddenly starts slipping all over the place.  She is lucky she’s so darn cute.

Well I better get to it.  Have a great day!

5 Tips for Holiday Road Trips

Happy Christmas week everyone! I am one of the many that will be packing up and hitting the road this week.  We are spending Christmas in Buffalo with my boyfriend’s family.  This is the first Christmas that I will not be spending with my family and it makes me a little sad, but I’m also very excited to partake in Kris’ family holiday traditions! In honor of my tendency to become alarmingly hangry when my routine is switched up in any way, I thought I would share some tips to prepare for a healthy (and happy) road trip.

1. Eat a real meal before you leave

Especially if you are planning on working out before you hit the road.  There is nothing worse than riding that workout high riiiight until you get in the car and realize you are starving.  And subsequently end up at the McDonald’s drive through ordering a Family Dinner Box. Then hating yourself for the remainder of the trip day.  Make sure you include protein to hold you over for a while.

2. Pack portable snacks!

Pack snacks not just for the road trip but also in case you get hungry during the trip.  That way you know you have something healthy to munch on instead of waiting until you are starving and eating the entire tray of Christmas cookies.  Is there really ever a time that there should not be snacks readily available?  I always keep granola bars, nuts, a banana, or some sort of snack in my bag.  I am so guilty of of being hangry (hungry + angry), and most times there is no warning. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 😡 <—— that’s me.  We watched the Lego movie this weekend and I totally related to Uni-kitty (a little too much), this is me when I’m hungry:

happy.happy.sunshine.rainbows.HANGRY

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Hangry.
Hangry.

3. Prepare your Entertainment

Sometimes when I am sick of the radio I prepare something ahead of time that will keep me entertained and more importantly – awake. Maybe some holiday Christmas music?  The Transiberian Orchestra has an awesome Pandora holiday station.  But if you’re not feeling the music, you can also download an audio book from iTunes.  I did this for a long road trip in October and I loved it.  I am so guilty of almost falling asleep when it gets dark and I’m in the car, so I needed something that would keep my interest.  The only downfall is that you have to download it with wifi, so it takes a bit of preparation. There is also a podcast for just about every interest, which is a great time killer. Also –  I like to stock my kindle before I go anywhere so that I know I will always have entertainment if the need arises.

4. Plan Milestones / Pit Stops

If at all possible, plan ahead for pit stops or milestones in your trip.  Maybe you know there is a Starbucks off of a certain highway exit?  This gives you a chance to stretch your legs, get some caffeine, and have something to look forward to that doesn’t seem as daunting as the final destination.

5. Plan for Workouts

Many times the holidays fly by and it feels like you don’t have a moment to spare.  Sometimes there is just no time to fit in a workout, especially when you are spending time with loved ones that you don’t see very often.  But if you need a little endorphin boost (or a stress reliever), there’s no harm in having a no-equipment workout on hand.  I hate to admit it but I am so much happier when I get in a workout.  Maybe it’s the endorphins?  Maybe it’s a feeling of accomplishment? Maybe there is something wrong with me? But I’m pretty sure I do everyone a favor when I get my butt out of bed a little early to sneak in some sort of physical activity.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 6.09.52 PM    Hangry.

Safe travels!

5 Tips to Stick to Your Budget During the Holidays

Hi there! I know we are deep into the holiday shopping season, but we are certainly not in the clear just yet.  So here are 5 tips to help lesson the blow to your wallet during the most wonderful time of the year.

1. Make a budget.

This may sound like a no brainer, but I have been guilty myself of not making a budget at all.  Then I look at my credit card statement and wonder how all of those “here and there” splurges added up to an astronomical balance. Is there really a reason to buy a Starbucks drink a day just because they have red cups? (yes) Not really. There are tons of holiday traps that we fall into. Every single purchase adds up, no matter how small.

2. Hold yourself accountable

Trust me I can rationalize just about anything.  And I mean anything.  But that doesn’t do me any favors when I’m trying to stick to my budget. No one else is going to pay your credit card statement in January, and I’m betting one of your New Year’s resolutions is to save money, get out of debt, etc. Do yourself a favor, don’t start 2015 in the hole.  Trust me, you won’t regret it.

3. Learn how to use Microsoft Excel

The basic functions of Microsoft excel provide everything you need to get your budget started.  Maybe I am partial to Excel because I use it almost daily, but it’s so simple to track just about anything in a spreadsheet. If you are extremely Excel averse, there are also a handful of free apps that can help you as well:

Toshl

Level Money

Mint Personal Finance

4. If you don’t love it, don’t buy it.

OK, the reality is we are all going to do a little shopping for ourselves during the holidays.  Whether we get gift certificates, or can’t resist a cute Christmas decoration or a shirt at the mall (or target).  But hey, that’s what the holidays are for, right?  Splurging a little on your diet and your wallet.  My best advice for both is if you are not absolutely in love with it (aka – if you have to even think twice about it) then do not get it.  Personally, I know when I find “the one” – whether it’s a shirt, a Christmas tree, etc. – but I am still constantly tempted with imposters.  So when it comes to shopping (and food), if I have to even double take – I probably don’t want it that bad, and I will regret the purchase.  Here’s the great part – if I go home and regret not making the purchase (or eating the donut) – guess what?  It will still be there.

5. Use the power of tunnel vision

Don’t venture into the mall without a purpose.  Unless you have budgeted a small shopping spree, it will not end well.  So let’s assume you’re walking in with a purpose (to buy a particular gift for someone?).  Now here is the key – do not forget that purpose!  Don’t even look at that super cute purse that’s staring you down when you walk into Nordstrom’s. Put it on your wish list, and do some research when you get home.

The struggle is real, but stay strong!  We’re almost there.

A Very Festive Tuesday

I started this morning’s post with a brief tutorial on my Christmas sweater. I spent all last night watching Seinfeld re-runs and hand sewing this bad boy by the tree.

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So here is what the finished product looked like:

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A couple of weeks ago my mom found this cute glowing snowman pin, so obviously I had to pair it with my masterpiece:

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Nailed it!

Overall, I’d say not bad for my first sweater crafting! It was a little itchy and warm, but I got lots of comments.  And it’s always nice knowing no one else will have the same sweater (unless of course they also destroyed a tree skirt with the hopes of turning it into a sweater). I even got my nails up to par:

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But I still can’t believe Christmas is next week! So I ended my day with a grueling trip to the mall.  I don’t care what anyone says, Christmas shopping is about as fun as going to the airport… by the time you leave you are exhausted, sweaty, and hangry. And that doesn’t even take into account the possibility that you are still wearing your itchy Christmas sweater and 6 inch boots.  But on the plus side, I am just about done with my shopping and I’m already way too excited to give my gifts.  It makes it all worth it.

When I got home I immediately removed the itchy Christmas sweater, made a bowl of leftover slow cooker chicken chili, and followed it with a delicious piece of chocolate biscotti (my mom makes the best biscotti) and typed this post for your viewing pleasure. I hope you had a great day!  

Mom's Double Chocolate Biscotti
Mom’s Double Chocolate Biscotti

The Week of the Leftovers + The Crafting of the Sweater

Good morning!

Yesterday I started my day with a one mile run on the treadmill and this awesome circuit workout (yes, it’s from Halloween but it still kicked my butt!). Breakfast was the usual Ezekial bread with Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter and a small glass of OJ

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Followed by 2 cups of coffee (mmmmm, coffee)

Lunch was a kale, brown rice, chicken salad

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For a snack I had a cup of green tea, a hard boiled egg, and half a banana (followed by a couple pieces of chocolate candy at the office).

Dinner was leftover salmon and potatoes – I have so many leftovers in my fridge this week.  It makes me feel great that I am saving money and not wasting food, but unfortunately, it’s not very exciting.

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But do you know what is exciting?! Today is the big sweater day at work! I got a little crafty last night and combined a sweater tent with a tree skirt to create one heck of a Christmas sweater

Tree Skirt: (all Christmas supplies are 60% off at Michael’s)

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Weird turtle neck/sweater/dress:

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I completely destroyed the tree skirt by cutting out the snowman and the cardinal and pinning them on the lovely sweater:

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I even did a little a lot of sewing:

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Unfortunately, I don’t have a great place at home to get a good full length picture so I’ll have to get one later today!

Happy Tuesday!

Weekly Workout Recap + Finding the Perfect Christmas Sweater

Happy Sunday, I hope you had a great weekend!

This week my workout routine started out pretty slow, but ended on a good note:

Sunday – rest

Monday – rest

Tuesday – rest

Wednesday – 1 hr Fusion class

Thursday – 45 min. spinning class

Friday – 1 hr Fusion class

Saturday – Jingle Bell 5k

This week we have our ugly Christmas sweater party at work and the quest to find the perfect sweater is not an easy one (especially when you wait until the week before).  I have a feeling I may be creating my own ugly sweater.  But I found a couple ideas on the internet that made me laugh, so I thought I would share.

This one really cracked me up, such a creative hilarious idea:

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And this one was just cute, you would never expect it from the front:

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Speaking of Christmas ideas, I also made a couple of videos using the elf yourself website.  I know this site has been around for a while, but this is the first year I’ve really used it and I could not stop laughing. If you’ve never checked it out, you can add any picture (up to 5) and preview your video for free, and for $1.99 you can keep your creation and enjoy the ridiculousness forever!

2015 Gift Guide

Happy Thursday, my friends! With the holiday season upon us I’ve been thinking up some of my favorite things (and wants, obviously), so naturally I think they would make great gifts for someone else.  Don’t know what to get your girlfriend? Mother? Sister? Wife?

Say no more. I’ve got you covered.

1. Fitness Tracker

I currently have the fitbit flex, and I really like it.  The daily step goal default is 10,000 steps per day (which is actually more than you may think!). You can log food, water intake, exercise, and sleep. In my opinion, this feature is what separates it from the other fitness trackers. It emails you a weekly report that tells you your average statistics (including average time to fall asleep). Other options include the Jawbone Up and the Nike Fuelband. All of these are pretty comparable and would make a great gift!

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2. Sally Hanson Gel Nail Kit

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Ok, I LOVE having my nails done with gel polish.  Apparently I live pretty hard because I can chip and ruin traditional nail polish in record timing. However, I HATE paying salon prices. It seems so wasteful to pay $40 every other week to have my nails done when there are starving children in the world. So the solution – an at home gel nail polish kit.  With this bad boy my nails are done and ready to do dishes right after I finish them.  No waiting around for drying, and no painting every 4 days. I got this at Target, but it is also available at Ulta and probably other retail stores. This kit is compatible with just about any gel nail polish too! (Just make sure you don’t paint your skin, otherwise you will end up peeling it off sooner than you intend).

3. Nike Running Jacket (or really any of the new Nike Running line)

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OK, the price on the jacket pictured above may not be realistic ($350?!), but I LOVE it. Or any of the items in the new running clothing line. If you know someone who is training for a spring race and will be putting in some major time outdoors this winter, this is a great place to look for gift ideas.

4. Heart Rate Monitor

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I have actually never owned a heart rate monitor.  But I’ve always been curious.  There are a lot of times where I am happy that I don’t have one – that probably means I’m slacking in my workout (whoops).  But there are also times that I would love to know if how I am feeling matches up to how hard my heart is working.

5. Spa Gift Card

I have never been had a massage.  There, I said it. But with that in mind, i love when the yoga instructor pushes my shoulders down to help ground me in practice (is that a creepy confession?), or getting a manicure/pedicure, so I think I would love it.  Plus, many of my friends rave about it.  And you don’t have to go crazy with the amount. $40 will get a pedicure or facial at many places, and the receiver can always add on to the value if they want to make a bigger purchase.

6. Race Giftcard

I saw a lot of races offering Black Friday specials this year. I think it’s an awesome idea to buy your favorite runner a race registration.  If there is a race that they have been eyeing up but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. (Races aren’t cheap!)

7. Birchbox Subscription

I have read lots of great reviews on Birchbox subscriptions, but it’s not something that I would order myself.  However, if I received a temporary subscription as a gift I would be pretty pumped.

8. Blue Apron Subscription

Blue Apron is another online service that I have heard great things about and would make a great gift.

9. Bed Bath & Beyond gift card – who can’t find something they love at Bed Bath & Beyond

10. Yankee Candle – this is a great smaller item to top off a great gift.

I think that about covers my top picks for 2015. I hope you can find something here that will help in your quest for the perfect gift!  Good luck!

Eggnog Oatmeal & Ice Skating

Good morning!

It was an early one for me this morning, I really think I have what I like to call “reverse insomnia”.  Once my brain starts going in the morning I can’t make it stop. But trust me I’ll be useless by 8pm tonight.

About a week ago I made an impulse buy at the grocery store when I saw this festive eggnog calling out to me. So I woke up this morning feeling like I wanted to put it to good use, but I also want to use ingredients I already have.  That’s when I came up with this simple and easy Eggnog Oatmeal using the ingredients below, and it really hit the spot:

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I always have oatmeal and frozen berries on hand because they are super healthy and won’t go bad (Dark Sweet Cherries are my favorite)

Eggnog Dark Cherry Oatmeal

-1/2 cup old fashioned oats

– 1 tsp chia seeds

– Dark sweet cherries (as desired)

– Cinnamon (as desired)

– 1/4 c. Eggnog

– 1/2 c. milk (I used almond-coconut milk)

Place oats and chia seeds in a bowl and cover with water (just barely cover). Microwave for 2 minutes on high. Add cherries, cinnamon, and eggnog – if cherries are frozen, stir and microwave for another minute. Add milk and another sprinkle of cinnamon, if desired.  The finished product isn’t exactly beautiful, but I promise it’s delicious.

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I enjoyed mine with a small glass of orange juice and a ton of coffee.

I’m sure this would be good with any fruit combination, and if it’s still not sweet enough for your taste a sprinkle of sugar or honey wouldn’t hurt 🙂

Last night we went ice skating to get into the holiday spirit.  If you are in Pittsburgh and have never visited the outdoor ice arena at market square, I would highly recommend it.  A word of caution – the line was pretty long (we stood in line for about an hour), so it’s best for a night that you don’t have anything else going on.  (But it was also almost 50 degrees yesterday, so maybe that had to do with the high volume of people wanting to get their skate on.) We actually didn’t mind the wait though, there is a concession stand where you could get a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy listening to the Christmas music and absorb the festive atmosphere.

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They were also offering free horse drawn carriage rides and a number of other displays that are open to the public.

I’m hoping today will consist of Christmas decorating and meal planning for the week!

What do you do to get into the holiday spirit?