Friday Favorites – Little Things to Love

Happy Friday! I’m joining Katie’s Friday party again today to share my favorite things from the week.

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These Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies that I made last night seem like a good place to start. My love affair with Nutella began in high school and I’ve finally learned ways to incorporate it into recipes in addition to eating it out of the jar. Long recipe short – Preheat oven to 375 – 1 stick butter + 2 eggs + 3/4 c brown sugar + 3/4 c granulated sugar + 1/2 c Nutella + 2 1/4 c flour + 2 t baking soda + capful of vanilla + lots of chocolate chips – 10 minutes!

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And to even the nutritional playing field, smoothies are also in my roundup of favorites this week!

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If I am making smoothies for myself, I will usually add a banana. If Dan is joining me, we stick to raspberries only. He’s been in a war against bananas since he was 4 years old, so we’re still finding ways to deal with that in our marriage. :)

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I am so grateful for the spring weather that showed up this week and have been loving having training sessions outside. The more space for squat jumps, stairs, lunges, planks, and sprints, the better!

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And before signing off, I also wanted to share my favorite meditation from Melody Beattie’s ‘Journey to the Heart’ this week.

“Each emotion, attitude, and experience – each piece of scenery – leads into the next. Put them all together and what do you have? A grand journey – an exciting trip that leads to someplace worth going and someplace worth being, each moment you are here.”

Reader Question – What little things are you loving this week?!

A Letter To Me

On the verge of my 26th birthday last year, I wrote ‘a letter to me’ and sent it back in time to the younger version of myself. I would say my former self, but if I’m being honest, I’m still that malt drinking, oversized t-shirt wearing, early to bed, and early to rise girl in a lot of ways. With turning 27 on its way next week, I thought it would be fun to make a spin-off of last year’s post and this time send it to the future version of myself.

So, to the future me, SURPRISE! You’re still perfectly imperfect. Once you start laughing, it’s hard to stop, you usually spill on yourself at least once a day, you don’t wash the sheets as often as you should, you’re embarrassed that your dogs aren’t better behaved, and you sweat more than the average person. And although it doesn’t always feel like it, those are good things, because they make you who you are.

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Take chances, even when they feel scary, because most likely, they always will. More often than not, those leap of faith moments are the most empowering. And if you fail (which at times, you will) keep going.

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Know and recognize the value in exploration, through travel, walks on the beach, conversation, reading, and writing. After all, β€œIt is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ― Ernest Hemingway

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Believe in yourself, protect your marriage, invest in relationships, follow your intuition, express gratitude, and try not to spend too much time worrying about what other people think. Live, laugh, and love. You’ve got this.

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Reader Question(s) – What advice would you give to your younger and/or future self?!

Treat Yourself Tuesday – Grocery Store Therapy & Reality TV

Another week, another opportunity to link up with Becky’s ‘Treat Yourself Tuesday!’

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Dan got his wisdom teeth out before the weekend, so let me tell you, things got pretty wild and crazy around here. I’m talking deep dish pizza and reruns of ‘New Girl’. We’re still in Season 1 on Netflix and every time I watch an episode, I wonder what took me so long to start watching. I hyena laugh at least 4 times per half hour.

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On Sunday, we ventured out to Trader Joe’s. We were almost out of Cookie Butter, not sure how I let that happen. Anyway, I’m weird and certain grocery and super stores (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco) provide the same feeling of retail therapy to me as a trip to the mall would for other ladies.

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And last night, we of course had to treat ourselves to the season finale of ‘The Bachelor’. Nola and Kiah were as unimpressed with this season as the rest of Bachelor Nation. And the fact that I just said Bachelor Nation makes me feel like I need to go read a book or watch a documentary to redeem myself. Bottom line is that Chris Harrison got a little feisty in the ‘After the Final Rose’ special, and that made up for the yawnfest of a season.

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Reader Question – What were the big and/or little ways that you treated yourself this week?!

One Big Balancing Act

Last night, before drifting to sleep, I had the most overwhelming sense of gratitude. I was sandwiched between our dogs, and I think Dan was somewhere in the mix too, but who can really be sure. The comforter provided the perfect amount of warmth in response to the cool room and some syndicated TV show played in the background. Most likely, ‘King of Queens’ knowing us. And in that moment, I thought, this is what I live for. It probably wasn’t long after that that Nola stiff armed me in the side, Kiah jumped off the bed to go outside, Dan turned to ‘Cheaters’ and I became too hot with the blankets all around me, but it didn’t matter, because I had experienced my rarity of truly living in and appreciating the present moment.

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It is in the moments that I am fully present that I become aware of my all too often tendency to rush through life, to look at what is next, to cross one item off the to-do-list and quickly consider what else can be accomplished, without ever looking up from the list. And while productivity in and of itself is in no way bad, I know that it cannot be the sole driving force in my life.

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I guess my conclusion, if I really even have one, is that life is one big balancing act of aiming to achieve while also appreciating what is, at this very moment.

“How you climb up the mountain is just as important as how you get down the mountain. and so it is with life, which for many of us becomes one big gigantic test followed by one big gigantic lesson. In the end, it all comes down to one word. Grace. It’s how you accept winning and losing, good luck and bad luck, the darkness and the light.” – Philosophy ‘Amazing Grace’ eau de parfum spray.

Yeah, that’s right. I just quoted a perfume bottle.

Fill in the blank – Life is…..

And by, the way, it is my sister’s birthday today. And I dedicate this post to her, an amazing woman who somehow manages to gracefully balance it all.