Froyo When It's Freezing

This new year has been off to a crazy start! I had a big project due on Friday, so it's been a busy week so far. This past weekend was spent running all over, but it felt really productive and I'm looking forward to this new week. We also start our new small group this week and we are so excited for that!

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Andy had a guys' night planned for later that evening, so I headed home after work and cleaned up a bit before making a bowl of popcorn and catching up on our DVR. I ended up falling asleep maybe 30 minutes into a movie I had recorded earlier in the week and didn't wake up until Andy got home much later that evening. Is it just me or is falling asleep on the couch to a movie / show one of the best feelings ever?


The next morning, we headed out to the gym -- it was so packed and I was not feeling it. All the machines were taken and there were people everywhere; despite this, I still managed to get a decent leg workout and some cardio in. I think I'll be switching to later workouts until all of these January Joiners are gone! 

After our workouts, we hit Costco to grab a few groceries for the week -- I was excited to find a huge bag of cauliflower rice in their frozen section. This has been my new favorite thing -- I've been making burrito bowls (cauliflower rice, black beans, cumin, tomatoes, olives, sour cream, avocado, taco seasoning, fajita veggies, etc.) out of it lately and it's been nice to switch up my lunches a bit! 

After showers and some lunch, we relaxed at home for a bit before heading out to Mall of America for the evening. Apparently all of MN had this same idea because it was packed -- probably due to the fact that it was freezing outside!


We made a return at Nordstrom, popped into a few of our favorite stores, purchased some new teas, and ate dinner at FireLake, which might be one of my new favorite restaurants. I had brunch there for Allie's bachelorette party back in August, and their dinner menu was just as good! I had the butternut squash + apple bisque paired with a puffed wild rice side salad and both were amazing!


As we were about to leave, we walked past a new macaron shop that had recently opened. I had to pop in and grab one before we left -- macarons are one of my favorite treats ever! 

Sunday was spent packing up a few items to take to our storage unit, laundry, meal prep, and blogging. I also read a good chunk of a book that my sister recommended to me -- it's so creepy but I can't stop reading it! 

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Later that afternoon, I grabbed froyo with my sister and little nieces at my favorite yogurt place. It's been SO cold here lately (most days the highs were in the low negatives), but things are really looking up this week with highs in the low 30s! I'm really looking forward to getting a car wash later this week because of it! 

What was your favorite part of your weekend?
Favorite froyo toppings?

My New Old Job

Happy Friday! Instead of my typical Friday Favorites, I've got other news to share! This week has been SUCH a whirlwind with a lot of things going on, but I'd have to say the best part of my week was starting a new job! 

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Long story short, I left my job as a designer for Life Time Fitness last spring and started freelancing at a design firm in the area. I freelanced for them on and off over the past six months and they extended a job offer to me last Friday. 

I also had another job offer pop up that same day, so there was a lot to think about! That's why we went out last Saturday evening -- to celebrate my job offers and weigh the opportunities.

After much thought and consideration, I chose to accept the offer at my current freelance gig and I'm so excited to be a senior designer on their creative team! I love the people I work with and the work that we do -- I'm looking forward to all of the projects that become of it! 

My "first day" was on Wednesday, but it was easily the easiest first day ever -- I already knew what to expect, knew everyone's name, and knew that I enjoyed the job! 

With that, I'm off to work! Have a great weekend! 

PS I'm linking up with Erika today.


An Almost Record-Breaking Weekend

It was a hot one this past weekend -- we almost hit record-breaking temps due to highs near 90! Starting today, it looks like we're finally back to the cooler temps and I could not be more excited. I'm working for a bit this morning before meeting my auntie for a lunch date and then heading to a meeting later this afternoon but first wanted to recap our weekend! 

On Friday, I headed out to J.Crew and I'll be sharing my fall fashion finds on Thursday this week so be sure to check back! After the mall, I swung by Trader Joe's to pick up a few items -- including some pumpkin goodies such as my favorite pumpkin butter! This stuff is so good on everything! 


Later that evening, we headed out for our weekly date night -- this time to Mall of America! We decided to hit the mall to walk around since it was so hot outside. 


On the way there, we swung by the Volkswagen dealership to have our new license plates put on our new car. They ran it through the car wash while we were waiting inside, and it felt so good to start the weekend off with a clean car! 


While walking through the mall, I told Andy I needed to stop at Bath & Body Works to smell all of their seasonal candles. 


All of these smelled so good -- especially that cinnamon pretzel one! 


After B&BW, we passed by the Lindt store -- they were passing out pumpkin spice truffles, so of course we had to try one of those! They were good, but I think this flavor is my favorite.


We browsed through the fall collection and sale room at J.Crew (I was at their factory store earlier that day), but left empty-handed. The sale room is definitely hit or miss.


There was also an event going on in the main rotunda to celebrate the launch of Fuller House season 3 -- there were so many bean bags spread out across the floor for shoppers to watch a few episodes. Super random! 


After walking around for a bit, we each grabbed a snack -- I went with my favorite concoction (Birthday Cake Remix) from Coldstone. Not healthy in the least bit, but I enjoy ordering it every once in awhile for a special treat.

We wandered around for a bit more before calling it a night and heading home. It was crazy how hot it was when we left the mall around 9pm -- I told Andy that whenever it's over 85 degrees and humid late at night, it always reminds me of Hawaii! I feel like their temps don't really dip down as far overnight like ours usually do.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty low key -- a few trips to the gym, small group, and dinner at my Grandpa's house. It was hot, so we stayed inside for the majority of the weekend -- here's to hoping that yesterday was the last hot day of the year! 

PS I'm linking up with Biana today.

Favorite candle scent?
What's the weather like where you live?

Back to the Bob

Happy Monday! It's been a bittersweet weekend over at our house -- on Thursday afternoon, I received a phone call from my mom to inform me that my grandma had passed away unexpectedly.

This was completely out of the blue, as my grandma was a healthy and active 74 year old. I think we are all still in shock since it was so unexpected -- especially since she was so young. Prayers for our family during this time would be greatly appreciated.

Moving on to the next day, on Friday I chopped off my hair! I went back to the inverted bob and I'm so happy with my decision. I've been alternating between this cut and medium length hair over and over again since 2009 and each time I go back to the bob, I remember how much I love it.

I end up growing it out after awhile because I miss being able to wear ponytails, but once it gets past my shoulders, I'm usually over it! I love long hair, just not on me! This short, sassy 'do just fits me better! My stylist (and friend!) Krista, curled it for me before I left the salon, but I'll be sure to snap of photo of it styled straight this week! 

On Friday evening, Andy and I headed out for a walk since it was so nice outside! Blue skies and lots of sunshine! 

Once we returned home, we had a mini "Christmas in the Summer" evening and ate sugar cookies while watching Christmas Vacation. Random, but super fun for something different! 


The next morning, I met up with my friend Jen for a coffee date at our local Starbucks. Jen and I are in the same small group together (which starts up again in a few weeks -- yipee!), and it was so fun to catch up with her while sitting on the patio.

After leaving the coffee shop, I headed over to Ulta to pick up some new styling products for my short hair. I left with mousse, new hairspray, and a texturizing spray. I also picked up a new teasing comb -- I've used these in the past and they are the best!  

I also sent my friend Danielle a message for some recommendations because she's the queen of short hair, and I'm excited to try out those products as well! Once I nail down my new styling routine, I'll do a post on my favorite short hair products; in the meantime, here's a post about my long-hair routine! 

Side note, did you know that Batiste has a larger size of dry shampoo?! I thought the medium sized can was their largest size and was pleasantly surprised! I typically use a higher-quality dry shampoo such as this one for everyday styling (mainly to give my hair more texture / grip since it's so fine-textured), but if I just need a little dry shampoo before hitting the gym or something, I use a cheaper brand like Batiste.

After Ulta, I headed home to hit the gym with Andy. We both did our own workouts while we were there -- it was a lifting day for him and I caught up on texts, emails, etc. while on the elliptical.

I texted this quick pic to my stylist, Krista to show her my fun little 'do for the day! My hair's a little messy since it was a cardio day, but this tiny French braid (actually, I think it might be a Dutch braid since I braid on the outside rather than the inside) with a little messy bun kept my hair out of my eyes!

Once we wrapped up our workouts, we headed to the Arboretum to walk around since Andy hadn't been in awhile! I usually meet my aunt or sister at the arboretum, so it was fun to have Andy join me this time around.

Since Andy hadn't visited the Arboretum in awhile, I suggested we walk to the new honeybee and butterfly exhibit so he could check it out!

They have the cutest red barn next to the new exhibit, so we took a few photos of that as well! We ended up taking the little trolley back to the main garden center since we were hot and hungry by this point! We literally caught the trolley just in time! 

Later that evening, I walked to our local library to pick up a book I had on hold and also grabbed a few new ones. I checked out at 4:59pm and the library closes at 5pm -- living on the edge, I tell ya! 

Sunday was a rainy, gloomy day. Andy hit the gym and then went to hang out with a friend while I stayed home and read this book all afternoon before taking an unintentional nap on the couch. Yesterday's low-key afternoon was exactly what I needed. This book is SO good! I think it was my friend, Janae that had originally recommended it, but if you enjoy thrillers, definitely check it out! 

P.S. I'm linking up with another blogger today -- be sure to check out her site! 

What's your go-to hair product?
I need a new hair dryer -- any recommendations?

Find Your Fitness

When it comes to fitness, I've been pretty active my whole life. I took dance classes starting in elementary school and eventually taught all kinds of dance in high school. Tap and hip hop were my two favorites and I loved practicing all day, everyday. I was homeschooled during this time and was able to rearrange my schoolwork schedule in order to be at the studio multiple days per week. This meant a lot of eating dinner at 10pm alone at our kitchen table while studying for my geography exam, but it was worth it because I lived and breathed dance.

To keep up with my crazy dance class and teaching schedule (most weeks I would take and teach around 10 classes with many of them back to back to back), I started running as a way to build endurance. Eventually, I switched from dance to long-distance running because I found that I loved that even more.

Running was definitely my "me-time" and after a few months of pounding out miles on my parents' treadmill, it got easier and more enjoyable. During this time I also worked out with my dad at our local Life Time Fitness. We'd head to the gym often later in the evenings and do our own separate workouts. I used to just use the cardio machines, but after awhile, I found myself getting bored with just those so I started playing around in the weight room while I waited for my dad to finish up his workout. 

Post college, I started taking running more seriously and eventually did some local races like a 5k and a half-marathon. It was through the half-marathon that I realized I loved running, but not necessarily races -- too many people and I tend to psych myself out and run too fast rather than pacing myself like i did on my solo training runs.

After the half marathon, I felt a little burned out from training, so I switched to strength-training.

I met with a personal trainer at my local gym and he gave me some tips and tricks for following a more consistent weight lifting program. I really enjoyed this new type of workout and stuck with weight lifting as my main workout for the next five years. 

I started gaining muscle and obtained a lean body composition -- I loved setting challenges for myself and increasing the weights I was lifting.

Two years ago, I started working with a nutritionist and coach -- it was then that I decided to toy with the idea of competing in a bikini competition. The structure and rigidity worked really well for my type-A personality until it eventually took a toll on my body.

I was lean and in the best shape of my life, but my body was NOT happy on the inside. I kept pushing through -- thinking that my body would eventually calm down, but things only got worse and my coach expressed concern that my body wasn't responding as well as it should be despite my near-perfect diet and training schedule.

My hands and feet were constantly soaking with sweat, I was experiencing hot flashes daily, my period was all over the place, and I had horrible insomnia, among other symptoms.

I was going through a really stressful stage of life, and that coupled with a low-carb, 7-days a week training program caused my hormones to go crazy. After a month of contemplation, I finally emailed my coach and told him I needed to listen to my body and take a break.

It was during this crazy competition prep that I lost my love for fitness -- it started feeling more like a job than a hobby that I enjoyed. I switched from being at the gym 7 days a week at 5am to not lifting more than a couple times a week.

I lost a lot of my hard-earned muscle, but it felt so good to be able to go out with my friends, eat at family dinners, and run errands for the day without packing my cooler full of weighed protein, veggies, carbs, and fats. I still eat a clean diet, but it's not nearly as rigid as before.

Over the course of the next few months, I started incorporating more walks into my life as a way to give my mind and body a break so that my hormones could balance out (more on this topic another day). I tried lifting a few weeks here and there, but I felt like my passion for strength training just wasn't there anymore. Andy suggested picking up running again, so as of June of this year, I'm back to that three days a week. 

Will I ever prep for a bikini competition again? Probably not, but I do know that I will eventually be back to the weight room. One of my favorite quotes is something along the lines of "not every hobby needs to become a career." There is such truth in that and something that I need to remind myself because I'm such a passionate and driven person.

The point is, just because you love something at one point in your life, doesn't mean you have to stick with it forever -- some things are only meant to be with us for a season or two. And who knows, maybe it will come back to you later in life like running did for me.

Not going to lie though, I still miss my crazy biceps from my lean machine days, but ice cream sure does taste good on a regular basis! ;)

What's your favorite way to stay fit?
Favorite workout song of the moment?