Somewhere In Between

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Start dating someone new. Graduate college. Adopt a puppy. Watch my friends move away to their new-job locations. Grow closer to God. Pick up a laid-back babysitting job for the summer. Lose friends “due to distance”. Make new friends based solely on a common denominator: moving to Denver soon. Work toward a real estate license. Receive a hateful “love” letter from a long-ago ex in the mail…yeah, that one’s a long story. Grow further from God. Meet up with old friends. Go on a week-long “vacation” and end up buying $1,000s worth of furniture for my new Denver apartment (ouch to my I-haven’t-started-my-big-girl-job budget). Meet someone from New Zealand and reflect on the most beautiful trip I’ve ever taken in my life – see pic above. :) Reconnect with good friends. Pack my life up into boxes. Take time to reflect. Grow closer to God.

The last few months have been full of…well…^^ that. And many other little things not mentioned. In today’s modern society, I think a lot of us tend to rush through life without taking the opportunity to sit back and reflect. Reflect on our relationships with others, our accomplishments and our failures, and how we’ve grown and changed as people from the things we have gone through. We spend too much time stressing out about whatever situation we’re currently facing. Too much time planning for whatever future event is coming up next. Too much time focusing on the problems we run into instead of just focusing on the present.

I can’t say that this summer has been good or bad overall (thus far), but I can say that I’ve learned a hell of a lot about myself in the past few months. I’ve learned to love deeper than I ever have before – that includes myself, my friends, my family, and even strangers (thanks to an angel that’s been watching over me since April and has forever changed my outlook on life). I’ve learned to take other people’s hateful or insulting words with a grain of salt. That one’s a big one for most people, I think, whether or not we’re all willing to admit it. And I’ve learned that this beautiful little life we live here on earth is much too short to take for granted. Time to stop and smell the roses, just as the saying goes.

Have a good weekend, everyone! Take time to be in the “now” and spend time with those you love! 

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Good Reads

I haven’t had a whole lot of spare time this summer between working, traveling nearly every weekend, and working toward getting my real estate license, but when I do have spare time I love to read. My reading list for this summer thus far has been an interesting mix but I’ve 100% enjoyed every book that I have picked up (which is rare for me). So I thought I’d share my list. It’s a little bit of fiction/drama and a few non-fiction interesting reads. A very random compilation, but a good mix never hurt anybody!

  1. The Divergent Series (Divergent, Insurgent, & Allegiant) by Veronica Roth
    • This series was one that I couldn’t put down the entire time I read it. It’s full of action and has an interesting twist on a story of young love and despair. I saw the movie Divergent when it came out and, while I thought the movie was good, the book is much better.
  2. Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell
    • I read this book before the movie came out and thought both were equally good. The story is of a man in the Navy Seals and their mission to capture or kill a Taliban leader in Afghanistan who was thought to be allied with Osama Bin Laden. The book has a much deeper explanation of the insane amount of mental pressure that the Seals go through, both in training and while out on missions. While it was entertaining to read because of the intensity and suspense of the story, it also made me respect those in the armed forces just that much more. While I’m sure we are all grateful for those people that serve our country on the battlefields, I doubt that we consistently give it much thought. This book easily puts things into perspective.
  3. The Language of God by Francis Collins
    • Don’t let the title scare you. Whether you’re a believer or a non-believer, this book is extremely interesting. Francis Collins led the Human Genome Project, which enabled humans to take a good look at our DNA sequencing to see what humans are all about. He has also been an atheist, an agnostic, and also a Christian. This book provides a wealth of information about how our world works and how it might be related to some higher power. It’s a great book for both non-believers who are slightly interested in religion but are afraid to take a leap of faith, and also for believers who have significant questions about what to believe and what not to believe. I absolutely loved this one.
  4. The Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K. Rowling
    • J.K. Rowling is one of my favorite authors. This book is a light read despite it’s tale of an ongoing murder investigation. (Sounds weird, I know.) It’s great. Trust me! :)
  5. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruse (which I already mentioned in a previous post)
    1. I’m in the process of finishing this book, but I absolutely love it. Sophia has an intensity about her and her writing that is magnetic. She’s got a great sense of humor and makes her story of success both enjoyable and compelling. Love it so far.

 If you have any books that I should add to my reading list for the rest of this summer, comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” Recipe Added to the Dinner Page!

Time to share another awesome recipe! I tried this one last night and loved it. It was delicious and super healthy. It’s a spaghetti squash pasta with shrimp (original recipe uses chicken instead), sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, and peas. The great thing about this dish is that you can season it and add any vegetables you want to it to make it taste just how you like! :) Check it out below or visit my Recipes – Dinner Options page!

 
Author: Tasty Kitchen – Original Recipe Post can be found here: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/special-dietary-needs/spaghetti-squash-with-grilled-chicken-and-sun-dried-tomatoes/
 
Prep time: 1 hour          Cook time: 15 mins           Total time: 1 hour 15 mins
 
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 whole Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth, Divided Use
  • ⅓ cups Sun-dried Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 2 cups Broccoli Florets
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas
  • 2 whole Chicken Breasts, Grilled And Sliced
  • ¼ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 pinch Salt/pepper To Taste
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
2. With a sharp knife, cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scrape/remove seeds with a spoon.
3. Place squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet: bake for 45 minutes.
4. When the squash has about 15 minutes left in the oven, start to prepare the rest of the dish (steps 5-8) so that your squash “noodles” are still hot when you serve them.
5. In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic. Saute 1 minute.
6. Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth, sundried tomatoes, and broccoli and saute 5 minutes.
7. Add peas, grilled chicken (I used shrimp instead), and remaining 3/4 cup of chicken broth. Shake about 1/4 cup parmesan cheese into mixture (just enough to thicken the chicken broth).
8. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover skillet and simmer for about 3 minutes.
9. Remove squash from oven after 45 minutes is up. Let squash cool.
10. Using a fork, scrape the inside of the squash with the tines to remove strands.
9. Serve on top of the squash strands with fresh shaved parmesan cheese and enjoy! :)
 
 
 

New Recipes Sub-Page – Sweet Treats!

Ok, it’s finally time that I start organizing my Recipes page since I keep adding more and more yummy things for you all to look at! I just added a Sweet Treats page under the Recipes page, so if you run your mouse over “Recipes” at the top of my blog, you should see a little sub-menu pop up.

My first recipe in the dessert section is up and ready! Check out my go-to healthy recipe for when I’m craving something warm and sweet. It’s a delicious recipe for cinnamon swirl bread from Jamie Eason’s Live Fit trainer recipes. The first time I made this was about a year ago when I was much better at staying on my healthy food kick than I am now. It is SO delicious and will not leave you feeling guilty since it’s made mostly with healthy ingredients.

Enjoy!

New Favorite Workout & Yoga Gear – Fabletics

If you’re getting tired of paying for Lululemon/Nike/Under Armour prices for your yoga or workout gear, you’ve got to try out Fabletics. I have purchased three outfits from Fabletics since I “joined” as a member in February and I am completely in love with this company and their products. I was a little weary of purchasing anything from Fabletics at first because it requires a membership, but it hasn’t been a problem at all – in fact, I’d say this is one of the only companies that I’ve ever shopped with that becoming a member wasn’t a complete pain in the you-know-what.

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Here’s why I love it:

  1. It’s affordable. Every month, you get to pick from dozens of outfits for only $49.95-$59.95…yes..that’s the price for the entire outfit. Usually outfits include a top, a bottom, and sometimes a sports bra or other accessory.
  2. You can skip any month you want without penalty. Say you want to buy an outfit this month and you really don’t feel like spending any money again until 5, 6, 7 months later. That’s ok! Even though you have a monthly membership, you can “skip” any month you want to (as long as you remember to check your emails and skip each month by the 5th of every month). You can skip as many months in a row as you want to – there is no limit.
  3. The quality is amazing. Let me tell you. You know the leggings that we all love to wear to the gym for any type of workout (yoga, running, lifting, etc.)?? Fabletics leggings are AMAZING. They fit beautifully, they have compression in all the right places, they wash wonderfully, AND they’re freakin adorable. Oh, and they’re definitely not see-through so you never have to worry about that. Tell me what’s better than that. And the tops and sports bras are not only fashion-forward but also super comfy too. Did I mention before that everything is like less than half the price of what you would pay at Lulu?! Yeah. Pretty awesome.
  4. It’s fashion-forward. Ever piece sold in the Fabletics collection is super cute and many of the pieces have unique details that you don’t see when you shop at your usually sporting goods store.
  5. It’s co-owned by Kate Hudson. She’s one of my favs – not only as an actress, but also as a role model for life in general. She’s got a kick-ass body, a beautiful little family, and a super successful career.

If you haven’t tried out Fabletics yet, ya better get to it or you’re missing out! :) Happy shopping!

Summer Reading List (thanks to Lauren Conrad)

Lauren Conrad posted an awesome summer reading list on her blog a few days ago. I just started reading #GIRLBOSS and I love it already! As a recent college graduate and a soon-to-be newbie in the workforce, it’s so refreshing to read about a real woman’s ambitions and accomplishments. Especially when it doesn’t involve a bunch of freebies and money being handed to her from Day 1. Sophia Amoruso is fearless, quirky, determined, and outrageous wrapped in one…and I’m loving every second of it!

“A #GIRLBOSS is someone who’s in charge of her own life. She gets what she wants because she works for it…You’re a fighter –you know when to throw punches and when to roll with them. Sometimes you break the rules, sometimes you follow them, but always on your own terms…You take your life seriously, but you don’t take yourself too seriously. You’re going to take over the world, and change it in the process.” – from page 1 of the first chapter in Sophia Amoruso’s book, #GIRLBOSS. If that doesn’t inspire you to keep reading, I’m not sure what will.

2 New Recipes!

I can’t believe I haven’t shared my italian style stuffed chicken breasts and homemade marinara recipes on here yet! I made this dish last weekend and was instantly reminded of why it is my all time favorite go-to dish. So delicious and easy to make. Check out the first two recipes on my Recipes Page to see a list of ingredients and instructions.

The homemade marinara sauce is actually super easy to make so PLEASE try it – you won’t regret it, I promise! Enjoy! :)