Sunday, January 29


I got this format from Iowa Girl Eats (one of my fav food blogs) with a few edits of my own, and I thought it would be fun to mix up my daily life posts with this type of update! Let me know in the comments or on Facebook if you'd like to see more posts like this. 😊

Time and Place: 9:14AM, sitting on my couch in my apartment and covered by our softest, biggest blanket. I'm still in my pjs, drinking some coffee. I need to get another cup...

 I've been trying really hard to track my food again since the new year began and I've been doing really well. I've been eating really healthy... except that I've had nachos for like, two days in a row. 😂 Guys, they're just sooo good! I'm not even talking about "fancy" nachos, like the ones we made a few weeks ago - I'm talking about microwaved nachos with Tapatio Doritos, Mexican cheese, and adobo seasoning. I can't stop eating them!

Enjoying: Our Roomba! J's mom bought us the Roomba for Christmas and it's been SUCH a huge help around the apartment. I don't mind certain chores, but there are a few things I hate doing. One of those chores is sweeping. With two cats and hardwood floors, we were sweeping once a week and we just weren't keeping up with all the cat hair and dirt. We use the Roomba about every other day and it's made a huge difference in how clean our apartment is and feels. It's pricey, but it saves us so much time because we don't have to sweep and vacuum - we let the Roomba do it for us, and we're free to get other things done (or just relax).

Friday, January 27

10 Things I've Learned About Running

I have never been a “runner.” Like, I was that girl during middle and high school who made any excuse not to run during P.E. I once went to the chiropractor and tried to use my back alignment to get out of doing the Mile Run (it didn’t work). It wasn’t like I was “unhealthy” – I was maybe a little chubby in early high school (certainly no more than I am now), and even in high school when I lost around 40 pounds, I still couldn't run because it turns out you need to eat food for that.
 Running in front of other people was only a little bit embarrassing, but I was never the last person in, so I really didn’t mind.

In college, I didn’t really exercise until I started dating J - a cross-country runner - and even then, I didn't go running right away. I lost weight at the beginning of the relationship (nervous weight? Anyone else have that issue?), but I still wasn’t “fit” by any means. I was healthier than I had been - I was eating better, snacking less, and moving more, though mostly due to a really hectic schedule - but I only went running once or twice that year, in the dark. I saw a raccoon crawl out of a gutter once and it was terrifying but also really cool.

When I graduated college and moved in with J in Iowa City, my habits changed dramatically. I was gaining weight at a record pace due to feeding both of us and feeling “encouraged” by his hefty boy portions which he was running it off without even thinking. I was just learning to cook – trying out unhealthy but delicious family recipes, still figuring out what worked for both of us and our bodies and our budget. 

We lived in this tiny apartment, but it was right next to this lovely trail that went all around Coralville. J encouraged me to try running with him. It was a disaster. I have no idea why, but I turn into a total baby when I run with him. Every time I run with him, my pace sucks, I whine, and I feel terribly guilty for feeling like I ruined the run for him. So I started running on my own, and I started loving it. I was still averaging a 12:30 mile, but I was going more than one mile at a time for the first time in my life. J gave me tips, and my pace and distance improved. I began running 2.5 miles pretty regularly, and finally made it to 3.1 miles one day. I was so proud of myself! A few months later, J and I did a community race together and I ran just around 5.4 miles – by far the most I had ever run (or have ever ran) at one time.

Tuesday, January 24

Homemade Popcorn

Growing up, my mom always made us popcorn from scratch. We had microwave popcorn on hand too, but I have so many great memories of watching movies with my family with a giant bowl of homemade popcorn in front of us. I think I just asked one day how she did it and my mom walked me through the steps. The first couple of times I made it on my own, it was just awful - I remember burning it and having to dump the remains off the side of our deck, haha. However, with practice, I did manage to make homemade popcorn while I was still in high school. Now, I feel like a pro at it!

Saturday, January 21

Trader Joe's Shopping List

I go to Trader Joe's pretty regularly to get groceries and lunches - I think J would prefer going to a "normal" grocery store, but TJ's items are a little smaller, usually a lot cheaper, and as someone who eats mostly vegetarian/pescatarian, they are sooo many options that appeal to me compared to a regular grocery store.

Someone on Facebook the other day suggested I post what I buy at Trader Joe's, and I'm happy to oblige. 😊 I do want to point out that this is not a "normal" list for me - we usually have at least 1/3 of the items at home already, so my list is usually a lot shorter depending on how many "basics" (like olive oil) I need to restock.

Friday, January 20

This (Work) Week in Clothes

Shirt: StitchFix (via Jillian, my sister in law) // Jeans: Kut From the Kloth via StitchFix (and Jillian) // Shoes: Nordstroms, Caslon Gia Lace-Up Booties

Tuesday, January 17

Life Lately {vol. 58}

J and I spent New Years Eve with some "new" friends and it couldn't have been more perfect.

The only phone picture I got that night, naturally. 😂

I love salads from Trader Joe's, and one of my favorite ones is their Asian chicken salad! It's mostly slaw and rice noodles, but the vinaigrette is sooo good!

Thursday, January 12

New Hair & Review

A few weeks ago, I dyed my hair. It was kind of a big deal to me - I haven't colored it since it was red (way back when I was in New Hampshire, like a year ago). At the time, I was sick of having to keep the color up. Red is a particularly hard color to keep vibrant, and I was spending sooo much money on professional color and box color just to keep it looking nice. 

I decided I was going to let my natural dirty-blonde color grow out, and proceeded to wait through the weird color transitions. There were a few weeks there where my hair probably looked more stupid than I even remember. But in the end, I was blonde again and didn't need to color my hair anymore. It was a relief... for a while.

Tuesday, January 10

2017 Goals

Every year, it feels like half the people on my news feed are super into resolutions, and the other half hate everyone in that first group, haha. I feel like the new year is a perfect time for reflection: for looking back on the past year, giving credit to yourself for the ways in which you made yourself a better person, and marking the areas in which you still need to grow. If the new year is the time for you to reflect, more power to you. If you reflect at a different time of year, great.

This year, I tried something new: I brainstormed goals. I looked at the goals I had last year, I looked inwards at the things about myself I wanted to change, and I made bubbles on a sheet of paper. It was fun to do because there was no self-judgment for a goal not being "good enough." I just wrote things down, sometimes getting more specific and sometimes getting more generalized. I found that some goals were related, so I combined them. 

Wednesday, January 4

Easy Pickled Jalapeños

When J and I lived in New Hampshire, we got take-out nachos all the time from this local Mexican restaurant called Hermanos. We were completely obsessed with those nachos. We got the same kind every time (Betty and Shirl's - which had chicken, pickled jalepeños, this kind of garlic oil, avocados, and tons of cheese)! We always asked for baby portobellos on the nachos, while I took off chicken and J asked for blue corn chips. 

They are the most perfect nachos in the world - but one of the reasons they're so good is because of the pickled jalepeños. You can also get jalepeño salsa to go with it, which is the perfect blend of spicy and sweet. After dating/being married to a guy from Arizona for the past 6 years, I learned to love spicy food, so is it really any wonder I learned to love jalepeños?

This summer, J was having an off day and I decided to cheer him up by recreating these nachos. So first, I had to learn to pickle jalepeños. It sounded super daunting. I don't pickle things. This is not my scene. My family doesn't do any pickling as far as I know. I started by googling, naturally, and realized that it wasn't really hard after all! I don't follow recipes well (I'm always changing things), so this is a mix of a couple of the first recipes that came up.

Tuesday, January 3

Welcome to 2017

It's finally 2017 and I can't tell you how grateful I am that 2016's finally done. I've seen a lot of posts on Facebook from people expressing how, "Well, 2016 wasn't that bad," and I couldn't disagree more. 

When people complain about how bad this past year was, it doesn't mean that nothing good happened in 2016. A lot of artists died this year - people who inspired us, who meant so much to us, who changed our lives and gave us hope that we weren't alone in this world. I won't even get into the election. The point is, this year was so terrible because we lost a lot of hope - and the new year is the perfect time to believe in that hope again. So as much I hate that whole, "New year, new me," stuff, we need hope right now. We need to believe that this year will be better - and that we have to power to enact change. 

Sunday, January 1

2016 Recap: This Year...

This January... I began to appreciate the beauty of New Hampshire in a new light since I knew we'd be leaving soon // I made reading fun books a priority again // I learned that chocolate and coconut were really fucking yummy together // We sent out our Save the Dates // I re-organized our bedroom closet // We began the year in Hilton Head with my family // I sent in my application for the New Hampshire Bar // J had to change a tire on his car (it was my first time ever doing this or even helping, so it was a bit momentous for me) // I recommitted myself to working out and started a planking challenge for myself.

This February... I bought my bridesmaids dress for my bestie Liz's wedding // J & I flew to Denver to get to know the city before deciding whether or not to move // I worked out a lot // I discovered cookie butter // J & I had breakfast from Snooze for the first time // We went to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (and loved it, because we're nerds) // J made friends with our friend, Erin's, dogs // I accidentally broke our wooden cutting board (with my very, very big muscles) // I tried out new recipes and attempted to be more adventurous with food // We saw "The Revenant" with friends // New Hampshire continued to remind me how beautiful it was // My local choir began practicing for Mozart's Requiem

This March... J finally got the jacket from Drive he'd been wanting for years // I started sorting through our stuff to prepare for our move, which means I found a bunch of hilarious stuff of J's from high school // We ate a LOT of nachos from this local Mexican restaurant (and I still miss them - we have yet to find a suitable replacement, particularly since we could get them to go and watch "Bob's Burgers" at home) // I rediscovered my love of frozen grapes // I ate a LOT of cookie butter // J sent me the most romantic text I've ever gotten, which was him saying, "Come home!" with this picture of Takis and wine // I got my box of Barbri books to study for the Bar Exam!

This April... I kept working out, because mama had to fit in her wedding dress (plus it made me feel really good, so) // We played a ton of board games with some friends of ours who got us hooked // I had my last day of classes // Erica flew back to New Hampshire for Barrister's Ball // Abby & I were a perfect couple for the dance (I mean, our guys were there too, but we look really, really cute together) // I had my last performance with my local choir // I had my last day of work at my internship // I interviewed simulated clients for one of my DWS classes.

This May... We hung out with friends a lot, especially after Jay and Tyler (and Ella!) got a new house! // I packed up everything in our apartment // I learned how to study and work out at the same time // J and I flew down to Hilton Head to see my family, then drove up with them to see my little brother graduate college // I went to a cat show, because of course I did // My law school class rented out a small amusement park for the afternoon // I was voted (technically I tied, but whatever) Looks Least Like a Lawyer by my classmates // A few amazing friends helped us pack up the uBox with all our furniture and most of our boxes. It's incredible how much we packed in there, and we couldn't have done it without their help // I got sworn into the New Hampshire Bar, and graduated from law school the next day // James and Leif caught a mouse in our apartment. It was Leif's first time catching one, and he was really territorial about it (though they still didn't kill it...) // J and I drove our cars, filled to the brim with the rest of our belongings, to Iowa City // I got to see one of my best friends before we left town // J and I drove to Des Moines // I had my bridal shower at my mom's law firm // J drove back to Iowa City the night before to see his mom, and then they both drove to Des Moines the next morning to help us move // With everyone's help, we found our new apartment in Denver and unloaded everything from the cars!

This June... I joined a barre studio // Studied for the bar exam almost every day // Worked out almost every day // Tried to keep reading throughout the study process // Drank way too much coffee. I think I was averaging around 3-4 cups a day, and started getting headaches in the afternoon if I didn't have a cup. Whoops // Put together a bookshelf and a TV stand from IKEA // Went to Snooze a few times // Started a part-time job doing contract work at a firm in town // Flew back to Iowa for Liz's bachelorette party // Fell in love with our neighborhood

This July... I worked out almost every day // Studied every single day for the Bar Exam, for around 6-8 hours a day // Gave up trying to figure out the Rule Against Perpetuities // Met with one of my favorite people/mentors from New Hampshire who happened to be in town // Went out for dinner once or twice with J, when he could convince me to stop studying // Ate sooo much watermelon I'm surprised I'm not made of watermelon // Bought pre-workout again (and didn't regret it for a second) // Walked with J in Washington Park almost every evening in the weeks leading up to the Bar Exam // Went on a few girl-dates to meet new friends // Took the Colorado Bar Exam, then got very drunk // My bestie, Kendra, sent me local cupcakes to celebrate // I went to my first CLE after the Bar Exam

This August... J and I got our wedding rings delivered in the mail // I continued working my butt off (literally) at my barre classes // I drove back to Iowa for Liz's wedding and loved helping her celebrate // I had another job interview in town // J and I flew to Hilton Head to see my family and to have a mini "vacation" after working so hard this summer // J left a few days before I did and didn't have any problems, but I got caught up in Delta's systems crash and didn't get home until two days after I was originally supposed to // Our friends Jay, Tyler, and Ella visited us in Denver! J had to work most of the week, but the rest of us went to Estes Park!

This September... I got some underwear for our wedding (made by a friend of mine who's kick ass at what she does - check her out!) // Got into running again // Had our pastor unexpectedly drop out of doing our ceremony, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because J and I got to create a very personal ceremony from scratch - plus, Jay agreed to officiate! // I discovered new areas I loved around town // J and I continued walking around Washington Park while the weather was still nice // One of my professors from law school was in town, so we chatted and had some coffee (then my Uber driver bailed) // I unsuccessfully tried to recreate the nachos we used to get in New Hampshire, but they were still really delicious! Plus, J thinks my homemade salsa could be award-winning, so I have that going for me // I went out for drinks to meet young lawyers in town // My little brother sent us lamps from our wedding registry - our bedroom has been "finished" for months now, but at the time, it seemed so complete and grown-up, haha! We do love those lamps, though // I continued working for law firms while I searched for a full-time job // My (now) husband is really, really cute // We went to see a Thursday show in town

This October... I went for a lot of walks around our neighborhood // J and I drove to Iowa for wedding prep // I was sorted into Hufflepuff (kind of) // We did errands and found ourselves outside of Wooly's, our wedding venue // I got my hair cut // I got my dress fitted for the last time // I found out that I passed the Bar Exam! // J and I headed into small-town Iowa to celebrate his grandma's birthday // My bridesmaids, family, and I got our nails done at a small salon in the East Village // My Harry Potter-themed bachorlette party was da bomb dot com! // We had our rehearsal dinner the Friday before our wedding // J and I got married!!! // We drove back to Denver a few days later, and my mom was kind enough to write "Just Married" all over the car in soap, haha. I loved it so much! // I hung up some signs from our wedding around our apartment and started dreaming about getting more tattoos // I also hung up some decorations from my bachorlette party (they're still up) // J and I drank (a lot) during the last Presidential debate // I had another job interview... and I got the job! // I started my new job!

This November... I got accepted to the Federal bar in Colorado as well as the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals! // I replanted some of the succulents left over from our wedding // I dragged J out of bed to go vote (he was happy to vote but not happy to be awake) // I had one of the worst nights of my life, but woke up ready to fight // My friend, Erica, got us tickets to see "Jersey Boys" as a wedding present, so we went out for a date night // My friend, Erin, took me out to the opera just for fun, and it was one of the best nights I've had this year. The setting of the opera was actually in Colorado, and I thought the show was charming, weird, perfect, and basically everything I love about opera. Erin gets me, haha // J and I went for another walk in Washington Park // I made homemade chicken noodle soup for the first time // I have a new baby (second) cousin! // I started purging our apartment of things we no longer use, need, or like // We "hosted" this year for Thanksgiving, so my parents and little brother flew into town  // Unfortunately, it's probably the last time we're hosting because James (one of our cats) scratched my mom's face and she had to go to the ER. She's totally fine, but it was terrifying // J and I bought a fake tree for the first time this year // My mom got me a gift for passing the bar exam!

This December... I got my latest Stitch Fix in the mail // I bought the cats a new scratching post, which they're obsessed with // I put up some Christmas lights in our bedroom // We tried out a new restaurant (Uncle), which is now one of our favorites // I dragged J to see the lights at the Botanic Center in town. It turned out to be a great night, even though he wasn't convinced at first // I made Christmas cookies // I had my very first court appearance as an attorney // My grandparents sent us a homemade Christmas tree skirt that I'm OBSESSED with! // I finally joined a gym in town and started working out again // I used my last LUSH bath bomb and treated myself to a bath with chill music while I read // I made gingerbread houses for the first time ever // I've been really good about working out this month // I made homemade Chex Mix with my mom's recipe // I took J out for a birthday dinner on Christmas Eve, which was incredible! // We both got quite a haul for Christmas // Everyone at my office was getting sick, so I took some Emergen-C - but given the glass I used to drink it, it looked like I was having red wine at noon, haha // I finally got my Colorado driver's license!

If you follow me on Facebook, I've made no secret about the fact that I've hated this year. 2016 has been one of the most stressful, heartbreaking years of my life. That isn't to say that good things haven't happened, particularly to me - I mean, I graduated, became a lawyer in two states, moved across the country, and got married to the love of my life. But I'm not filled with a lot of hope for the coming years, and that sucks. I've been feeling very down about the future lately.

That said, today is the first day of 2017, and I am feeling more hopeful today. I spent last night with Jacob and two new(ish) friends, drinking some kick-ass moscow mules and champagne, playing Cards Against Humanity, and mostly just talking. I don't think I realized how lonely I've been here until last night. We had so much fun, and I really needed that to end this terrible year. Ending on the right note.

So, here's to 2016 being over. Here's to all of our accomplishments this year, all of our worries, all of our pain, and all of our hopes for 2017. It's going to be a better year. We're smarter, stronger, wiser, and ready. Let's do it.