Thursday, December 19, 2013

60 Day Challenge Recap

Remember back in October when I started a 60 Day Challenge at Pure Barre {here}? Well, Sunday marked 60 days and I pleased to announce that I completed my challenge with time to spare! In fact, I actually did 41 classes during the challenge!

 // Follow me on Instagram // 

I completed my 40th class two days before the challenge was over and I got to celebrate with a glass of champagne. Pure Barre Boulder was actually celebrating their 3rd anniversary, but it was perfect timing for some bubbly.

I can't tell you how excited I was to finish the challenge and see my star in the final column, especially because about halfway through the challenge I calculated out the rest of my time and I was starting to worry I wouldn't finish, especially with impending obligations and weather that would keep me from the studio.

It felt great to finish and I loved looking at my visit history after the fact and seeing that my push to get 40 classes in two months put me about 25 classes away from earning my 100 Club socks!

I'm so glad I found Pure Barre. It has seriously changed my life. I don't know of any other exercise that I would be looking forward to doing 3 to 5 times a week to meet a goal of 40 classes in 2 months. Sure, I love spinning, yoga, boot camp, walking, but Pure Barre takes the cake and I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Check out some of my other posts about Pure Barre:

2 Weeks of Unlimited Pure Barre | Pure Barre, 5 Classes In | What Is Pure Barre? | Pure Barre Class #9 | Pure Barre Update | Christian Hits the Barre | 60 Day Challenge | Comparisons

  Have you met any fitness or health goals lately that you'd like to take a second to share? Brag away in the comments! :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Craft Night

Attention GFC followers: GFC seems to be a thing of the past, as it's now missing from my sidebar. Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin' to keep up with Hannah, Here! posts. 


Over the weekend, I had a casual craft night with Stephy -- my first craft night ever! I'm not sure how most gals run their craft nights, but Stephy and I did our own crafts instead of both doing the same thing. But actually, I did borrow one of her craft ideas from earlier in the week.

Anyway, I made candy covered pretzel thins for us to snack on and we spiked some mulled apple cider with salted caramel vodka. Yum!

 Here's what you need: 

I want to stress, these are not chocolate covered pretzels. These are not yogurt covered pretzels. They're candy covered pretzels and they're amazing. I used white candy and red/white/green sprinkles to be festive, but Michael's has a huge variety of colors and of course they make just about any color and combination of sprinkles ever.

Follow the directions on the Wilton's bag to melt the chips. I used a double boiler because my microwave was broken at the time. It was incredibly easy and the candy melted fast! I dipped the pretzel crisps into the pot (and kept the water on the bottom simmering to keep the candy warm) and then fished them out with a fork. I only used the whole pretzels to make it look nicer and more uniform and because they're easier to fish out. I let the excess candy drip off the pretzel and then placed it on wax paper to dry. They dry within an hour, so add sprinkles relatively quickly so they stick!

I decided to do two projects, the first of which was to decorate a wreath. I picked one up from Michael's for about $8 and then just fluffed it up a bit. I found the thinnest part of the wreath and added a burlap bow to make it the bottom. I used {this} tutorial to make the perfect bow. The rest of the wreath, I filled with gift tags. I found some in the $1 section that read "joy" in glitter letters and I found another set that were glittery and had a stocking, a tree, a snowman, and a candy cane

For a first time crafter, it was pretty easy and doable.

Here's a few close-ups:

My other project was inspired by Stephy's craft, seen below.

I cut six-inch strips from my burlap and added a triangle shape to the bottom of each strip. Stephy had some four-inch stencils she let me borrow for the letters and I alternated red and green acrylic paint for each. I added the white ampersand and then used a snowflake printable from some random website as a stencil for either end.

I'm so happy with it, especially the snowflakes! I want to do more already! For now, I hung it on the mantle, but I rehung the stockings and they're covering the bunting right now. 

And don't forget New Year's is just two weeks away. Do you have your NYE essentials yet?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ten on Ten :: December 2013

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month!
Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!

 I braved the long lines at Kohl's and Target and scored some awesome essentials for Christmas for both Christian and me.  Yes, that shirt is from Elf.
// Pajamas // Tie // Tee //

 Look at my sweet, shy boy. Holmes is one of my four foster kittens. (Sherlock, Watson, and Moriarty are his brother and sisters.) He's still skiddish and scared, but we're working on him!

Enjoying a Santa belt sugar cookie (just one, I swear) and some hot chocolate, complete with mini mallows and a mini candy cane.

While most people seem to be getting their snow now, we got ours a week ago. This week was the warmest it has been since Tuesday (mid-20's), so the snow is here to stay! For now, at least.

Also at Target, I got new gloves, which I'm so excited about since my last pair had a giant hole in them. I'm also excited that they double as mittens! 
 // Gloves //

Pure Barre Boulder: Where I spend most weeknights. Tonight, I took my 38th class toward my 60 Day Challenge of 40 classes. Fingers crossed I'll be done on Thursday, three days ahead of schedule!

Even on a cold, very windy night, 29th Street Mall is ready for Christmas with twinkling lights, bustling shoppers, and giant, glittery presents.

Sweet potato smash fries are what dreams are made of. I enjoyed a nice long dinner with my dear friend Krista as we mostly talked about How I Met Your Mother. (Any other fans out there?)

You know when you're so into your conversation (about fictional people on the television show you watch), you don't notice you're the last two people in a restaurant and all the employees are just hanging out, ready to leave? Yeah, that was us.

Ending the night by a cozy fireplace and a trimmed tree. I'm so excited about Christmas this year and just soaking up every moment of it. If you follow me on Instagram (@HannahLarson42), you can see just how much I love Christmas every day!

{Was anyone else having problems when they uploaded their pictures to the post, they would be all grainy and washed out? I had a hard time with three of my photos and it was very frustrating!}
ten on ten button

Monday, December 09, 2013

Christmas Cookies Gift Box

This Christmas, I'm trying to be a little more Pinteresty.  I already debuted my hot chocolate bar {here} and I had the best time putting it together.  When my family told me how touched they were that I did that for them, I wanted do it again!  It feels good to do nice things for other people and Pinterest is chalk full of ideas for just that.  Also, I'm a little over this gift card craze and wanted to give special gifts with homemade touches, even things that people could enjoy together.

One of the gifts I put together and have already given twice is this Christmas cookies gift box.  Since people usually do their holiday baking before the 25th, I delivered the box to my aunt, uncle, and cousin over the weekend when I babysat.  My hope is that they can spend an afternoon together baking and decorating cookies and create great memories with their loved ones in the process.

The great thing about this gift is that you can dress it up or dress it down.  I was able to do a slightly simplified version for a nice White Elephant exchange (meaning not joke gifts) that had a price limit.  I'm a big fan of baking myself and every year, I look forward to decorating holiday cookies with my family, so hopefully people can enjoy the same thing since it's literally wrapped up in a bow for them!  This year I tried to focus on creating the Spirit of Christmas for people, rather than buying cliche, obligatory gifts, because Christmas is more than that!

For my aunt and uncle, I added an extra roll of gluten free cookie dough and three cookie cutters: a holly leaf, a Christmas bow, and a snowflake.

I filled the box (from Hobby Lobby) with shredded paper (Michael's) to hold everything in place and make it look nicer. I got plastic crafting ornaments from Michael's and filled them with different Christmas sprinkles. (Use a funnel!)  For the cookie dough, I rolled it into a log and made sure it had a light dusting of flour (not flour for the GF roll) so it wouldn't stick to plastic wrap. I rolled it into some wrapping paper and used baker's twine to tie off the ends.

Unfortunately I didn't manage my time before leaving the house either time and didn't get to get the pictures I wanted, but you can find the original pin {here}.

Be sure to add some baking directions. I also included the royal icing I use for my melting snowman cookies. And keep the dough refrigerated until delivery.

Follow me on Pinterest @HannahLarson42.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Hot Chocolate Bar

Earlier this week, Kym at Travel Babbles posted a picture of the hot chocolate bar she made for her kitchen {here}.  It was so adorable, I had to do it myself and since it's so easy and pretty cheap, I figured I'd share with y'all.  P.S. You have to check out that post because she has so many Pinterest-worthy ideas, like a "25 reasons why I love you" advent calendar for her hubby and mini apple apples!

Kym used the cutest apothecary jars, but I went by what was on sale at Hobby Lobby.  Her jars give it a more whimsical and Christmas-y feel I think.  ;)  Also, the one thing I keep forgetting to get at Michael's/Hobby Lobby is chalk, so I added the number for the countdown board.

Christmas countdown board - $1 at Target (dollar section)
Medium glass canister - $6.99 at Hobby Lobby, 50% off
Small glass canisters - $5.99 each at Hobby Lobby, 50% off
Irish coffee cups - $2.49 each at King Soopers, 30% off
Red & white string - $2.99 at Hobby Lobby, 50% off
Mini glitter ornaments - $1 at Target (dollar section)

We already had the tray, I just laid down a white dish towel on it to make it look a little nicer and give it some texture.

I dumped out a can of hot chocolate mix into the largest canister (and it was just the right amount).  I got a large bag of mini marshmallows and a 40-count box of mini green and red candy canes.  I have extra of everything in the pantry to restock when we're low!

We're not the biggest lovers of hot chocolate or sweets at my house, but it brightens up the room quite a bit and it will be great for guests who come over during the holiday season.  Plus, this week is all about the single-digit temperatures and snowfall, so it's perfect for keeping cozy by the fire!

By the way, here's what we're workin' with in Colorado today: 5 inches of snow and 10 degrees.  What better day to enjoy a hot chocolate bar is there?


Wednesday, November 13, 2013



Yesterday was my 50th class at Pure Barre Boulder, if I'm counting correctly.  One time, when I was around 15 classes, someone asked me why I was counting.  It's because you get to have a little celebration when you reach 100, 300, and 500 classes.  (That celebration includes signing the designated bar and getting socks for your new "club".)  That means I'm halfway to the 100 Club.  Halfway to those special black and red socks.

Also yesterday, I read this post about comparison on Pure Barre's blog {here} and it really hit home for me, especially Michelle's picture at the end.  Wide calves is like the bane of my existence and I'm constantly comparing myself to those skinny minnies whose boots fit perfectly and loosely and who have toothpick legs.  That's just not me.

Honestly, I thought 10 classes into my journey with Pure Barre I would have a whole new body and I didn't think it would take much work.  Apparently in my mind, stepping into the studio would instantly change my body into this long, lean figure.  That hasn't really happened.  At all.

But that's not to say that my body hasn't changed.  Lately, when I'm lying in bed on my side, I've been admiring my outer thighs (and ignoring my "flabby stomach" that's hanging there...because of GRAVITY).  They're strong and toned.  There's nothing to pinch on my outer thighs; it's just muscle.  And that's thanks to 50 hard classes at Pure Barre.  (Well, 49 classes.  One time I got no sleep the night before and was literally just going through the motions, faking my way through class.  I can tell I didn't work hard because there wasn't a drop of sweat on me by the end of class.  But that was just one day.)

Still, despite my small victories, I still find myself comparing myself to other girls in class.  There are certainly many more ways to improve my Pure Barre experience, but I've come along way in my 50 classes and I don't give myself enough credit sometimes.  Like the quote above, I'm still in the beginning stages of my Pure Barre journey, but so many women there have been going for years.  I can't compare my beginning to their middle!  So instead of thinking about the girl next to me who has no problem with the near 40 pushups we do at the beginning of class or the girl whose hips never come untucked during seat work, I'm going to compare myself to me for once (I'm going to talk in third person for a second):

1st class Hannah could barely make it through weight work during the warm up.
50th class Hannah can do the entire routine without dropping the weights, and keep her shoulders down and away from her ears.

1st class Hannah could barely do one of the three thigh exercises without coming out of the pose.
50th class Hannah can do all three thigh exercises without coming out of it.  She just embraces the shake and breathes through it, rewarding herself with deep stretching after.

1st class Hannah felt more work in her standing leg than her working leg during seat work.
50th class Hannah still feels work in that standing leg, but she crunches her Pure Barre ledge and her outer seat and thighs even come to a shaking point sometimes.

1st class Hannah never felt her abs work during the under-the-barre ab portion of the class.
50th class Hannah realizes that the deeper you tuck, the harder you work.

1st class Hannah faked her way through the rest of the ab work, thinking all those years of crunches were a joke.
50th class Hannah knows her abs need to shake if they're going to change, and she needs to stay in it if they're going to shake.

Since I'm being totally honest here, 1st class Hannah couldn't even hang during the "final 2 and a half minutes of class" where we just tuck our hips and squeeze our thighs in a bridge position.  But that was the first thing I conquered at Pure Barre and since the day I did, I never let my hips touch the mat until class is over and it's time for the final stretch.

The bottom line is I have so much more room to grow and so many more muscles to make stronger, but I've come a long way and I don't give myself enough credit sometimes.  Pure Barre is tough.  I've taken Rachel and Christian to Friend Fridays and both of them were sore and got their butts kicked.  They're the two strongest people I know!

Last week when I was headed into the studio, another one of the ladies in class said, "I'm so glad you're here!  I love when we're in class together!  You have such perfect form!"  My response was an aghast, "Who?  Me?" literally clutching my chest with my jaw dropped.  That made me feel really, really great because there are plenty of women who I look at to check my own form against sometimes.  It's kind of cool to know someone does that with me!

You may recall that I'm in the middle of my {60 Day Challenge} at Pure Barre Boulder.  Tonight will be my 20th class towards the 40.  It also means there's only one month to complete the challenge, which means in the next 30 days, I need to go to 20 classes.  I've been slacking on weekends and I need to pick it up!  But I'm halfway there, just like I'm halfway to 100!

Happy tucking!

Check out some of my other posts about Pure Barre:

2 Weeks of Unlimited Pure Barre | Pure Barre, 5 Classes In | What Is Pure Barre? | Pure Barre Class #9 | Pure Barre Update | Christian Hits the Barre | 60 Day Challenge

If you're interested in Pure Barre, there are studios across the country and more opening all the time.  Check out the website {here} to find one in your state. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Apple Orchard

On Sunday, my friend Krista and I went to a local apple orchard.  It's far too late for apple picking (the owner said early September is best), but it's never too late for apple cider donuts!

It's a cool place to visit in the fall and I'm determined to make it early enough for pick some apples next year!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ten on Ten :: November 2013

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month!
Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!

 {9:00} A quick trip to Starbucks calls for pumpkin soy chai for her and dark roast with toffee nut for him.

{10:00} Christian and I went to church for the first time since Easter and it was just what we needed.  Pastor Jim talked about Martha and Mary, who washed Jesus' feet with her hair. 

{11:00} It has been such a beautiful weekend here in Colorado.  According to my November 2012 Ten on Ten, it was snowing big, wet, heavy flakes last year.  No sign of snow today!

{12:00} Crafting with Dexter Morgan!  Ever since Netflix put the first four seasons of Dexter on Watch Instantly, I've been watching non-stop.  Plus, I tried my hand at crafting today.

{1:00} Baking, now that's more my area of expertise.  I used the cookie cutters I received from Heather today and they were awesome!  Everyone needs a squirrel cookie cutter, I think.

{2:00} Last month, I started giving Christian monthly date cards {here}.  I had a hard time thinking of something good for November, but it finally came to me this week.

{3:00} My friend Krista and I visited a nearby apple orchard.  We were once again far too late for apple picking, but we really just went for the apple cider donuts.

{4:00} During halftime of the Broncos-Chargers game, Christian and I took his dogs for a short walk around the neighborhood.  One of his neighbors had raked up piles and piles of leaves.  Soon, they'll all be gone!

{5:00} My not-so-healthy snack for the second half of the football game.  It was delicious, I must admit!

{6:00} Since the Broncos won, Christian bought dinner.  $14.99 surf 'n' turf at Outback!  We took it back to his house to watch last Wednesday's episode of Survivor.

ten on ten button