Thursday, November 10, 2016

Ten on Ten :: November 2016

I only took two pictures on November 10, 2016. One was of my #firstredcup in front of the decorated Christmas tree that's already been up at the mall where I work for a few days. I had high hopes for a solid ten pictures throughout the day at that point. 

The other one was this. I posted it on Instagram and Facebook with the following caption:

51 weeks ago, I posted a similar picture bragging about my peers working together to buy over 200 turkeys to help give families in our community turkey for Thanksgiving. So here I am, holding a frozen turkey in front of my face once again. Only this time, it meant a lot more to me. The last two days have been rough. My heart breaks for my fellow Americans who are overcome with fear and who have already been the victim of hate. My heart breaks for those who have reacted to the election results by burning the American flag or have stated the new President Elect is "not my president". Because here's the thing, I'm an American and on January 20, Mr. Trump will be my president. Because of this reality, I want to do everything in my power to show my fellow Americans and the rest of the world that as my president, he does not represent my values. Only I can hold myself accountable for my actions so I will work to bring more love into this world instead. Tonight, I was but one small piece of a group of 18-26 year olds who swarmed the grocery stores of Lafayette and Louisville to provide turkeys for families in need this holiday season. That group included both Clinton voters and Trump voters. The focus was loving and serving our community. That's what I choose to be a part of. If there's one coherent feeling I can actually make sense of this week, it's that I'm out of excuses for choosing not to love and serve. It's more important now than ever, in my opinion. I would urge you who are unhappy with the results to get involved in your communities where you can. Vote in the mid-term elections in 2018. Accept Mr. Trump as your president, but reject the notion that love does not trump hate. Make no mistake, electoral college elected Mr. Trump, but the American people elected Secretary Clinton. Let that be a sliver of hope to you that the majority of Americans did not buy into the racism, sexism, bigotry, and xenophobia. Remember the words of First Lady Obama: "When they go low, we go high." Smile at a stranger. Meet your neighbor. Teach your children to be accepting of everyone. Commit a random act of kindness. Trust in God. 
[Matthew 22:37-39]

November 2010 | November 2012 | November 2013 | November 2014 | November 2015

Monday, November 07, 2016

November 2016 Goals


{Spiritual} Read 1 Proverb per day. Mission: Accomplished. I did this week Luke, but we rarely talked about them afterward and there were a handful of days when I had to play catch up. It wasn't really what I envisioned it being.

{Financial} Spend less money than I did in September. I did! At least $200 less.

{Social} Have at least two dates with Luke. Well, we did technically have 2 dates, but we watched the same movie over those two dates since he fell asleep halfway through Inception the first time. We gotta do better in November. Our list of things to watch is just too long to move at this pace!

{Mental} Start Sudoku again. Ugh.

{Physical} Take 10 classes toward the See Your Strong Challenge. I took 8. I was so busy with everything going on at the studio lately that I wasn't able to take the last 2 days of the month that I worked.

{Personal} Take 10,000 steps per day. I was killing it. I went from September 30th through October 13th with 10,000+ steps. On October 14th, I got home from work, Skyped with Luke for a bit, and then promptly fell asleep around 5:00PM. I woke up after midnight to discover I had only done 6,650 steps that day. I also fell short on October 26th when I only got 7,632 after a long day consisting of 2 meetings that kept me seated for a total of 3 hours. The last weekend of October, I was totally wiped out and had to give myself some grace. I logged 4,448 steps on October 29th and 5,389 steps on October 30th. If I hadn't come up short those other two days, I probably would have tried harder, but I really needed some rest.

{Professional} Finish the Front Desk Manual. I'm THIS close.


{Spiritual} Set up a plan for K2 and put together the necessary materials. We start with our official meetings this month and I need to make sure we actually have structure.

{Financial} Get my credit card's outstanding balance under $1,000. Goodness, how refreshing would it be to see only a triple digit outstanding balance?

{Social} Do something nice for a friend. Whether this is buying coffee or lunch for someone, sending someone a card for no reason other than to say hello, or something else, I just want to do something nice for someone just because I love them.

{Mental} Finish a book. I just need to get back into the habit of reading. Too much Netflix.

{Physical} Finish the See Your Strong Challenge with 25 points. Our challenge ends on November 16th. The goal is to take 20 classes and get the 5 bonus points.

{Personal} Only get Starbucks once a week. It's too easy to run down there for a "quick breakfast" that costs me nearly $10. I have tea and oatmeal at work. I don't need to get Starbucks more than once a week, if that.

{Professional} Be at the desk 30 minutes before every class starts. I've fallen into the bad habit of hanging out in the office and not actually being at the desk when clients start to arrive. I need to set a better example.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies 2.0

One of my favorite fall recipes are the Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies that I've been making since 2013. I originally borrowed the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction with some minor tweaks, but now, three years later, I've made some more tweaks. So here are my favorite Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies 2.0, back and better than ever!

2 cups + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons vanilla whey protein powder
1 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and protein powder together.  Fold in the oats. Set aside.

Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium size bowl.  Whisk in the molasses, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.  Once combined, whisk in the egg.  Add the pumpkin and vanilla and whisk until thick and combined completely. Pour into dry ingredients and gently mix.  The dough will be very thick, heavy, and sticky,  Keep mixing until just combined, no more.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets.  About 2 or 3 Tablespoons of dough per cookie. Slightly flatten the help the cookies spread in the oven.  Do not flatten completely.  If desired, press a few of chocolate chips onto the top of the cookie dough balls for looks.

Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes until very lightly browned on the edges, and still appearing soft in the centers.  (My cookies always take 14 minutes.)  Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets. The cookies' flavor is best on day 2. Cookies remain fresh and soft stored in an airtight container for 10 days.

I've always put in more spices into this recipe, so I thought I'd record it. Recently, I've been putting in less sugar and chocolate chips. (I don't like as many chocolate chips because they can be overbearing with the chewy pumpkin cookie goodness! I also added protein powder and you couldn't even tell!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Ten on Ten :: October 2016

Fall vibes at the barre this morning. 

And fall vibes at Trader Joe's 

I spent half the morning tracking down the package that had our new sock display after it got delivered to our neighbor on Friday. But it was worth it because I'm kind of obsessed. 

Took the scenic route home because construction traffic is out of control. 

Looking ahead to the week...and even a little to 2017.

Luke and I are reading a Proverb a day this month, so today was Proverbs 10.

One of my goals for the month is to get 10,000+ steps every day this month. I'm on 11 consecutive days and I kind of can't believe it. I used to do alright, but then I got into a rut where I was averaging about 5,000 steps. Yikes. 

A nice October evening. 

After dinner, I decided to light a new fall candle and have some salted caramel apple cider. 

Ending the day with some Harry Potter in my reading nook.

Monday, October 03, 2016

October 2016 Goals


{Spiritual} Prepare to lead a small group. Yes an no. I should be finding out about my small group soon, but I need to do more spiritual preparation, I think.

{Financial} Don't spend on my credit cards at all. Boom, roasted. I actually managed to do this!

{Social} Connect with 5 people I don't really know at the Young Adults Retreat. I'd say mission accomplished! I lead the breakout group for my cabin with seven girls I had never met and spent some quality time with other girls I didn't know very well throughout the weekend, in addition to growing closer with people I already know quite well.

{Mental} Start Sudoku again. Shoot! This is so easy and I didn't even do it once!

{Physical} Take 3 Pure Barre classes and 1 Platform class per week. Not even close. I've just been too busy at work.

{Personal} Don't buy breakfast. It was about halfway through the month, but I finally stocked up on oatmeal again. Then Trader Joe's released Pumpkin O's for the year, so I was pretty set.

{Professional} Finish the Front Desk Manual. Nope, I got too caught up with planning a number of other things.


{Spiritual} Read 1 Proverb per day. Luke and I decided to do this together since there are 31 days in October and 31 Proverbs.

{Financial} Spend less money than I did in September. It wasn't by any means my highest spending month of the year, but it doesn't hurt to try to spend less and save more.

{Social} Have at least two dates with Luke. Since we're long distance, our dates are pretty different than normal. We watch movies together on Skype, but we haven't done that since before he visited a month ago. There are probably some other things we could do, but sometimes it's just nice to plan a block of time to spend together, even if we're just talking.

{Mental} Start Sudoku again. Let's try this again.

{Physical} Take 10 classes toward the See Your Strong Challenge. We're starting a nationwide challenge on October 17th to take 20 classes in 31 days. So by October 31st, I'd like to be halfway through the challenge.

{Personal} Take 10,000 steps per day. Maybe that's physical too, but that's another goal I would really like to stick to this month..

{Professional} Finish the Front Desk Manual. Let's try this again.