Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2017 Resoultions

Resolutions. As 2016 draws to a close I, like so many others, am reflecting and looking forward to 2017. In 2016, I swear I had a revelation. Resolutions should be attainable. 

2015 was not my shining year. I was in a very dark place as 2016 was approaching, so my rock of a man pushed me to set resolutions for 2016. He then taped our resolutions to the side of the refrigerator and told me we'd achieve as many as we could in 2016 and that he'd be there for me for every challenge. 

C's 2016 Goals: Hunt something, manage money better, continue schooling, follow through with gym

My 2016 Goals: Save more money, hit 10,000 on Fitbit as many times as possible, go to the gym more, make this semester my bitch, radical acceptance

These goals were actually realistic and therefore, we felt able to work towards them. We really had success with every goal we set (except C hasn't had a chance to try out 'hunting something' but we'll get there in 2017!)

As the new year is quickly rolling in, this year, I am the one to push for resolutions. Here they are.

C's 2017 Goals: Graduate from the police academy and don't get fired, hunt something, continue higher education
My 2017 goals: Graduate from nursing school, use my camera more, improve at running, spend less time on social media

Our 2017 Goals: Set a wedding date, save for a wedding, go camping

I wish you wellness, peace, health and happiness in this new year.


Sunday, July 31, 2016


I fell off the face of the bloggersphere for a little while, but life certainly has not slowed down. Here are the 30 second spark notes of what has been going on lately:

- Spent the spring semester dying a slow death of medical-surgical nursing. 

- Found a new adventure for this August and put the wedding date on hold. 

- I actually have started conditioning and training myself to be a runner. (Instead of just telling myself I want to like running, but not getting up off the couch.) I'm actually doing it!!

- Finished my med-surg rotation for nursing school in May. 

- Worked my bum off for summer courses the first half of this summer. 

- Adventured in New Hampshire, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket.

- Played in the mountains a whole bunch. 

- Calib got hired for his dream job!

- I started a new nannying job in addition to the hospital.

- I only have 2 more semesters until I become an RN!

Every day is an exciting adventure. I couldn't feel luckier with this life of mine. 

(Cheesy lines over... Here are some pictures of my dog who is still painfully adorable and perfect.)

Getting to See Dreams Come True

I think it is important to celebrate. To celebrate birthdays, accomplishments, sunny Saturday afternoons, and a perfect cup of coffee. I am so lucky and so blessed to have so many things to celebrate.
Tonight though, I have even more than usual to celebrate. Tomorrow morning, at the merry hour of 3am, my Calib will start his first day of the police academy and in short six months, settle in to his dream job. If I have learned anything in the almost seven years that I have known this man, it is lessons after lessons about motivation, determination, and passion. For longer than I have been in his life, Calib has held another love and passion for law enforcement. There are pictures of five year old Calib - grinning ear to ear in the passenger seat of a cruiser. How many people see their childhood dream actually come true? Calib is doing just that. Every job, every hard earned drop of blood and sweat, every uniform, every mission/deployment/training, and every moment have led to this experience. 

I am so excited for what you will learn, Calib. I am thrilled to see you come this far after years of hard work and I cannot put into words how much pride, confidence and love I hold in you. Thank you for reminding us all that hard work does pay off and dreams do come true. 

This would is a better place for having you in it, Calib. I love you. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Honey Banana Recipe

Friends, I have just discovered the most yummy treat! So good, in fact, I am actually still eating it as I type this out.

I pride myself on being a generally pretty healthy eater. I really had to make a habit of it a few years ago when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. It is one beautiful silver lining that came out from when I was so sick: I am pretty healthy eater these days! :)

However, despite the fact that I love to eat healthy, I still get SUCH sugar cravings! I have to issue insane amounts of self control when I pass the candy aisle in Target, man. And if I have a big exam coming up, a good old snack of Sour Patch Kids is how I like to treat myself while I am studying. Today though, I may have just found the game-changing snack of all snacks!  (Drumroll please!!!) Pan-seared honey bananas!

Journey with me, friends, to a land of deliciousness!

This recipe took all of five minutes to make and totally satisfied my sugar craving.


The required ingredients are ones that I always have on hand in my kitchen.

- A banana
- A bit of honey
- A sprinkle of cinnamon
- A spray of coconut oil non-stick spray

The steps to this are TOO EASY.

1. Slice your banana.
2. Lightly spray your frying pan with the coconut oil and drop in your banana slices in and let them simmer for a minute or two.


3. Using a spatula, flip the slices and drip the honey on your slices. (I just did the tiniest drop because I was concerned that if I drizzled the honey, it would burn too quickly on the hot surface of the pan.) Let them simmer again for another minute or two.

4. Transfer the slices to a dish and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Enjoy them while they are hot!


I swear, they're like candy, but without the part where you feel like you're going to die after eating them.

Hope you all enjoy these as much as I did!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

DIY Wedding Planner

If you read my last post  -  you may have heard that C and I are engaged and full in the wedding planning swing! But I am persistant in keeping it beautiful and special, but low key and far from extravagant. I already booked a ceremony venue – it’s a mountain, it’s the woods and our reception venue is our family’s yard. Done and done. (See - low maintenance.) We are trying to rule out the unneeded added details (For example - programs or bridesmaids dresses! No need for those since our only guests at the ceremony will be the equivalent of our ‘wedding party’.)
However, I am still a planner and a micromanager. I have two to three calendars that I refer to daily to keep myself in line. It’s just who I am. So despite my best efforts to avoid wedding obsession, I wanted a wedding planner. I LOVE planners! I love organizing. And I love C and can not wait to be married to him! But every wedding planner I perused was the epitome of traditional (beautiful and bridal, but just not for me.)  and not to mention they were $30-100 each!
So, crafty little me decided to make her own!

How cute is this little binder?!

My wedding planner feat. Jefferson sleeping in the background

Here is what I used:
I turned to the glorious “Dollar Days” section in the front of target and found the following:

  • -       Little 3 ring Binder - $3
  • -       Little dividers - $3
  • -       Little pages – 3
  • -       Gift labels -$2 (used for binder tabs)

These were the sections I used for each divider (with subcategories)

  • Important
    • Behind this tab I have a wedding timeline, my bridal party info, day of the wedding checklist, an emergency list, and vendor contact info.
  • Budget
    • Behind this tab, I have lists and worksheets regarding our budget and spending for the reception, food, alcohol/drinks, flowers, photos, music, decor, ect. I also can keep a list of the costs of each vendor here.
  • Guests
    • Behind this tab is my full guest list, an organization to keep track of  info for each guest (i.e. table number, events attending, RSVP, hotel, and gifts given.) The save the date and invite info can also be filed here. 
  • Ceremony
    • Behind this tab, I can file info from our Justice of the Peace, our vows, any readings, guests attending, and a schedule. 
  • Reception
    • Behind this tab, there are many things that can be filed such as: seating plan, floor plan, vendors [catering, DJ, photographer, rentals, catering, bakery, ect,] menu, bar menu, speeches and toasts, songs/dances, activities, decor list.
  • Misc
    • Behind this tab, I will be able to keep track of any beauty details such as hair/make-up/dress, a registry list, and a list of received gifts. 
  • Blank pages
    • I like having all of the blank pages in the back as each section will require a different amount of space, so I can add to each as needed. 


From there, I searched on Pintrest (of course!) for worksheets and templates to include in this.  Making my own binder allowed me to omit the things that did not apply to me (such as putting down a deposit on my ceremony location – since mother nature is free.) but it has given me structure to organize and plan in one complied space.

This is such a simple way for me to think about our wedding celebration, but have it be my way - laid back and full of love! 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Our Journey To "I Do"

For anyone who missed the memo (or who doesn’t follow me on Pintrest - ) Guess what!? C and I are engaged!!! As a Pintrest addict (like – if this was a diagnosis, I would be the poster child for 'Pintrest addiction'...) I regress...  – as an avid pintester, I was surprised by myself that once we were officially engaged, I had no interest in having a wedding.
I have nothing against them. They are fun and everyone deserves to have a special day. But never once have I heard a bride say “planning this wedding was so relaxing, gosh, I was never stressed once!” Never.
Again, this is just how I feel personally, but I do not want to be the one to stress and become a bridezilla. And I am pretty proud that we are homeowners at 21 and 23 years old -  with that said, the idea of spend $30,000 on one day when we could put that number towards a chunk of our mortgage – it just blows my mind!
I personally, would be over the moon to take a walk down to town hall and tie the knot with the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. It’s the marriage that I am passionate about. But to my fiancĂ©, a wedding and celebration of our love is important. I so appreciate him and that he is making sure this is a special occasion and that we'll have no regrets in acknowledging so. And I value this love so much, I am more than happy to celebrate it.
We spent a long time going back and forth with wedding ideas. Finally, we came to a decision.

New Hampshire is our mecca. It’s our safe space. It’s the most beautiful place I have ever been and I feel so lucky to have grown so much of our love in those mountains. So where better than within the forest trees to wed ourselves to one another? We plan to marry this summer at the summit of one of our favorite hikes with our parents and siblings. Later in the day we will invite friends and family to the yard in New Hampshire for a wedding celebration. 

Low key – high love. These are the values I am so excited to bring into our marriage.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Living With Celiac Disease

When I was seventeen years old, I got sick. At first, my parents and I just assumed it was another round of a stomach bug. When it lasted for weeks with no end though, it proved to be something much more serious. After running a multitude of tests, labs, and procedures, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Suddenly, it seemed clear that I was not just prone to strep throat, stomach bugs or stressing my self to the point of throwing up (Okay, the last one could go either way, but I regress...) as we had just assumed in the past years when I always seemed to be ill. I struggled still even after getting diagnosed. While I was able to start with the singular treatment available for this (eating a diet that strictly rules out gluten) I was still reactive. For almost two years after being diagnosed, I still was throwing up daily. They ran many more tests and procedures, but were never able to confirm a reason for my continued response (aka puking my brains out.)

However, time has passed and I am well managed now. As "Celiac" and "Gluten Free" have been such trendy words lately, I decided to answer some of the most frequently asked questions that people ask me about this.

Q: What is Gluten?
A: Gluten is a protein. It is mainly found in 3 types of grains: wheat, rye and barley.

Q: What is Celiac Disease?
A: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorders cause the body's immune response to attack itself. In Celiac Disease, this happens when the protein, gluten, is ingested. In our intestines, we have zillions of little hair-like things called villi that line the walls and grab all sorts of nutrients out of the foods we eat. The villi then take the nutrients and help distribute it throughout our bodies. Celiac Disease causes the villi to not recognize the protein, gluten. So, instead of grabbing the gluten, the villi kill themselves off in an attempt to protect the body from absorbing this apparent intruder. This process causes the body to try to expel the offending ingested thing (gluten.) For me, this meant spending my senior year of high school with my head in the toilet... for others, it could present with frequent diarrhea... or both. It's a charming quirk.

Also, Here is a link that shows some signs and symptoms listed by the Celiac Disease Foundation. 
and this is a super extensive list to make your head spin. (Just to show how varied the presentation can be. This is part of why it is so difficult to diagnose! Each patient presents differently!)

Q: How do you treat/cure Celiac Disease?
A: There is no cure for Celiac Disease. The only treatment is to strictly rule out all sources of gluten from your diet - forever.

Q: Can you just develop Celiac Disease/Why didn't you have it as a kid?
A: This answer varies. For me -  they said it was most likely genetic. My dad got diagnosed with Celiac Disease about 5 years before I did. He was totally asymptomatic, it was an accidental finding during other medical testing. My doctors think the disease passed down to me, but was dormant in my body and was then triggered by an immune response such as the flu - annnndd I then became symptomatic. This means there is a good chance I was doing years of damage to my body without knowing it. 

Q: What do you eat?
A: I don't know, what do YOU eat? (Just kidding.. sort of.) Learning to live on a gluten free diet definitely had a learning curve. I had a serious treatment team of doctors and professionals to help me learn though. I also learned lessons about what I could and could not eat the hard way... But now I am a pro. I eat a regular sort of diet, I just buy different breads and pasta and substitute somethings for other things and I have to be extremely mindful of making up for what I am not getting nutritionally. If you're really interested in this question, maybe one day I'll do a post on my diet and sample meal plans or something. 

Q: But you can cheat once in a while, right?
A: No. Never. First off, I have never crossed a meal that looked good enough to accept the pain and discomfort of an autoimmune reaction (or the part of throwing the whole thing back up.) And unfortunately, those aren't even the worst part of the autoimmune response. Even if I weren't to react, my insides are still affected. The villi will always be killed off by gluten, that will always result in malabsorption, malnutrition, and delayed healing. No amount of chocolate cake is with that. 

Q: I touched my beer. Can I touch you now or would it make you sick?

A: Unless your touching my intestines - we're good. Celiac is not an allergy - it is an autoimmune disorder. (There is also little risk of me getting sick from kissing my fiance after he's eaten bread... Yes, because people don't think it's weird to ask me that... IT IS WEIRD TO ASK ME THAT.)

Q: What is a gluten intolerance?
A: I can't give you as detailed of an answer on this one, as I have not experienced it. But here is what I've gathered over the years. Some people eat a gluten free diet because it does not agree with them, or their body is intolerant to it. (Think Lactose intolerance, same sort of thing.) However, it's a gray area. There is no way to test for it or diagnose it. It's a painful game of trial and error, figuring out what your body is intolerant to. Gluten is a sneaky little bugger that is ever present in an average American diet. This means that more times than not, gluten might not be the culprit to their illness or distress. (I think I remember a study that said this applied to close to 97% of those with a gluten intolerance, but don't quote me as I heard it on NPR and can't find a source to link here now.) Now, I'm not doubting that there is something wrong, I've been in that boat of not knowing, it sucks and it is super scary and frustrating. But since gluten is ever present in the American diet, when we rule it out, we rule out just about a billion other ingredients, proteins, chemicals, ect. That means that you could inadvertently be ruling out something like soy, which is actually the culprit of your problem, but you think that it is gluten! And just to be clear, I am so not on a high horse about this. I was able to be given a medical diagnosis and know for sure. I cannot imagine how frustrating it must be to have no way to know for sure what the problem is. The short answer is that a gluten intolerance is an adverse reaction (Usually GI discomfort from what I've heard) and Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten, and celiac also has terribly distressing reactions.

Q: How do you know for sure that you have Celiac Disease?
A: Celiac Disease can be tested for. Once they think it might be a possibility, they run blood tests. If those come back positive, they'll do an upper endoscopy and take a biopsy of your intestines. That biopsy gives the doctor a definite answer. (It's like the pregnancy test of Celiac Disease, haha!)

Q: How do you go out to eat?
A: To be honest, any time I eat anything that I personally did not prepare, it's a gamble. But, you can't just stop living because your intestines are unfriendly and hostile to the world. At this point, I'm becoming a seasoned veteran at eating out in a gluten free style. I look the restaurant up, check out reviews from other gluten-free eaters, I call ahead of time to check to see what they can accommodate and I review the menu online ahead of time. Most of the time, I'm okay. And if I do get sick, I'm not going to die right at the table, I'll get through it - it's not the end of the world.

Q: Do you get annoyed by people who say they have a gluten intolerance because it is so trendy right now?
A: Yes and no. Maybe gluten really is the culprit for that person. If so, I'd love to sit down and share a gluten free pizza with them. Yes, it is frustrating to see someone order a gluten free pizza and then order a beer. (Beer is liquid gluten.) It's frustrating to see the lack of understanding or lack of care. It is also equally if not more frustrating to have my gluten adversities be taken less seriously because of the 'gluten free' person who also orders a beer. If a person preparing my food lacks care and precision when preparing my food because she assumes I am hopping on the bandwagon of gluten-freers right now; I pay the price. It affects the entire rest of my day, my body, and my long-term health. 

Q: You didn't tell us why you are not annoyed by these people though.
A: To speak to the 'no' in the first part of my answer, these people are also helping me. They are bringing light to gluten free and Celiac Disease. When my dad was diagnosed around 2006, not a single person knew what Celiac Disease or gluten were. A gluten free pasta was hard to find and was guaranteed to be equivalent to cardboard. Now it is popping up all over the place and some are actually pretty good. (Sure, slapping 'gluten free' on a product is making great marketing for the company right now because of the trend, but hey, I'm not complaining that more options are popping up!)

Q: If you cannot drink beer, what can you drink?
A: Great question. Seriously. Because there is no straight answer that I've come across. Beer is 100% off limits. There are a few solid and safe choices such as wine (comes from grapes) and cider (comes from apples.) After that though, it gets tricky. Some say that most all other alcohol is off limits. Others say that EVERY alcohol (Except beer) becomes gluten free during the distilling process and that all will be safe. 99% of drink companies don't put out a statement either way. On gluten free discussion forums, some say to test it out and see how you react. For some that may work, for others it won't. It also gives you about a 50/50 response on most drinks. SO. If you know the definite answer to this question, come take a seat and tell me, first round is on me. 

Q: So you're so much healthier now that you eat gluten free. Is it a healthy life choice to change to a gluten free diet?
A: Yes! IF YOU HAVE CELIAC DISEASE (or another medical reason.) If you are just looking to lead a healthier life or looking to lose weight - gluten is not a magical bean to make it happen. This drives me more crazy than anything else. If you rule gluten out, you need to have support from a gastrointestinal and a registered dietitian. (read: not nutritionist, registered dietitian.) And probably a therapist wouldn't hurt either. It is not a solve-all or a way to lose those 5 pounds. If you have no health adversities to gluten, IT IS GOOD FOR YOUR BODY. It is part of a balanced and healthy diet. If you straight up cut it out, you're also cutting out about half or more of the other nutrients, proteins and other VERY important things that make your body work. I cannot stress this point enough. I could probably write a whole ranting blog post on this alone. 

These are the questions I undoubtedly hear every time Celiac Disease comes up. I hope you feel a little more well educated about this condition. If you ever have any other questions, please feel free to ask me!!!