a valentine’s day full of joy.

Valentine’s Day. It can be such a cliché, but I don’t care! It’s such a fun day, whether you’re celebrating with your girls or your significant other– live it up 🙂

My valentine’s day started early with a walk around campus, having some ‘me’ time.
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After the boy finally woke up and meandered over, I threw together a quick breakfast from random stuff I had in the fridge. Eggs + bacon for him. Bacon, chicken + salad for her.

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The morning/afternoon were spent doing homework, getting a workout in, and running to the grocery store for Valentine’s Day supplies!

After some failed appetizers– apparently I do not know how to hard boil eggs– we headed out around campus to snap some photos. We have had this activity on our bucket list for a while, and considering we’re seniors, it was about time! We stopped by the lake, the chapel, the library, and the bell tower, and had a blast!

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^^I really do go to a beautiful school^^

Then it was time for the main course! First up: the boy came up with this delicious idea: some frozen berries pureed + champagne = bubbly heaven.

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For our main course: chicken and vegetable red curry. We actually took on the challenge and made the sauce ourselves (well we used a paste, but it’s still more steps than buying the sauce in a bottle) with coconut milk, and it was yum. I’m lucky my best friend is willing to try new recipes for me! He’s clearly the more domestic one 😉

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^^chicken, curry sauce, peppers, zucchini. delicious.^^

After dinner, we took a break from eating and built a fort. We used sheets, blankets, candles, and sleeping bags for the full fort effect 🙂

Next up: dessert time! Another recipe my boyfriend was willing to try for his weird ‘healthy’ girlfriend. Paleo molten lava cakes for two from Taylor Made it Paleo. Topped with a little salted caramel ice cream, this was divine.

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^^chocolate, will you be my Valentine?^^

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Hope y’all had a great Valentine’s/Galentine’s/Bro-entine’s day too!

Question of the day:

Chocolate or caramel?

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New Year’s Resolutions– a resolute resolution on resolutions.

    It’s 2015!

Happy New Year, friends!

Did you party the night away? Did you get that midnight kiss?

I spent my night more low key, working on some medical school applications while enjoying the classic Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Show. T. Swift, you did not disappoint.

So now, it’s January 1st. And I’m sure some/most/all of you have made lofty goals for the 365 days to come. It’s natural- new year, new start, right?

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Maybe not. What makes January 1st so special that you magically become able to both set and achieve all your year long goals? I’ll let you in on a little secret– nothing. So why don’t we take a step back, and not try to radically change every area of our lives in 1 day, okay?

The great thing about goals, is that they give us something to work towards, a purposeful direction to move our lives in. The bad thing about goals, is that we tend to make them all or nothing. And when we take a misstep, suddenly the goal is thrown out the window.

Well, it doesn’t have to be that way this year! Are you ready to change? Great, we can make SMART goals to work in that direction. But the reality is, change doesn’t happen in a day, a week, or really even a month. If you are trying to change your diet, your body, your attitude, etc…. think about how long it took you to get to the place/state that you want to change. 1 year? 2 years? Your whole life? So, give yourself a break and stop expecting that you can change in a matter of weeks.

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^^we’ve all seen this right? it’s just flat out wrong. This study in the European Journal of Science found that it actually takes 66 days for a new behavior to form. Just let that sink in– more than two months. So don’t be too hard on yourself.^^

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So just quickly– what are SMART goals? SMART is an acronym that I actually learned in my Nutrition class this semester and I love the guidelines it lays out.

Goals should be:

1. SPECIFIC. Simple and clear goals to define what you want. who/what/where/when/which/why

example: This month I will move more by doing 10 minutes of yoga every morning and going to the gym 3 times a week.

2. MEASURABLE. Goals should be measurable in a way that you can have tangible evidence you have accomplished this goal. Will you know when it is accomplished?

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3. ATTAINABLE. You can reach almost any goal, but it is also a matter of mindset. If you set a goal, you can find yourself beginning to change your life around that goal. You might think you don’t have time to go to the gym, or cook a healthy meal, but if you really make these goals a priority in your life, you will see ways to reach them that you had not previously considered.

4. REALISTIC. Are you willing and able to work toward this goal? Losing 50 pounds in a week is not a realistic goal, and when you set goals like this, you are setting yourself up for failure. Take time to consider what is realistic or not when you set your goals.

5. TIMELY. This kind of goes along with Attainable/Realistic– if your goal has no time frame, there is no sense of urgency, no reason to get yourself in motion. Set a realistic timeline, but something needs to be there to keep yourself motivated!

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I hope you guys enjoy and can set some SMART Goals this year!

check out Thinking Out Loud for more January 1st ramblings!

Happy New Year!

Thanksgiving Weekend + getting back on track after indulgences.

The rest of Thanksgiving weekend was spent relaxing, working out, watching movies, and soaking up family time.
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^^anthropologie treats for Black Friday shopping…as if we needed more food.^^

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^^seeing my sister, the best!^^

So now, Thanksgiving is over, everyone’s headed back home and maybe we’ve had 2..3..4 days of ‘bad’ or overeating.. It can be so easy to continue down the path through the rest of the holidays, and suddenly it’s New Year’s and we really need those resolutions…

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Today is Monday, a great day to start back on your healthy habits. So how to do it?

1. make a plan.

It’s so much easier to be successful when you plan. Plan your meals for the week, even if it’s just what dinner you’ll have each night. That way there is no scrambling for food at the last minute, and ending up overeating or taking down the Christmas cookies before you get to the meal.

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^^east meals, that can still be healthy. These take less than 5 minutes to throw together!^^

2. Schedule your workouts.

You make room for eye doctor, dentist, etc. appointments right? Well what is a workout besides another appointment to improve your health! Whether it is when you first wake up, or after you get home form work, scheduling in your workout holds you accountable to yourself. Just do it!

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3. Enlist your family/roommates/friends.

No one really wants to gain weight over the holidays— think of all the parties and events , right? So ask your family, friends, roomies- whoever is around- to get on board and go for a morning walk with you, or trade off cooking healthy dinners. It is a lot easier to stay on track when you know someone else is counting on you.

4. Know when to indulge and when to keep it clean.

Eating healthy is not boring. It can seem that way when there are lots of cookies, cakes, eggnog, and other holiday treats around. When you are at a party, and there is your mom’s chocolate cake that she only makes once a year, or a glass of peppermint eggnog that you never drink- go ahead, indulge. But on an everyday basis, don’t keep those treats around! Plus- if you can have them every day, you don’t need to eat them all the time, they’re not that special!

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You can keep it clean and still enjoy your foods- salads can have cheese or even corn chips and still be balanced. You can eat chocolate and stay healthy– maybe some Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter? Always takes care of my sweet tooth without the unnecessary buckets of added sugar!

Have a marvelous Monday- and a marvelous holiday season by keeping these tips in mind!

thehealthydiva Marvelous in My Monday Details!

Questions of the day:

How are you going to stay healthy this holiday season?

Think of someone right now who you can enlists as your healthy buddy!

Thanksgiving day adventures!

Thanksgiving morning started off nice & relaxed around here. How could it not with a view like this:

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After enjoying a walk with my mom, and some eggs + fruit for breakfast, we settled in to watch the BEST parade of the year! One year, my family actually went to the parade, and it was a great experience. I have to confirm though, watching under blankets with coffee and food… much better!

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Surprisingly we got a little busy throughout the day and didn’t actually get to watch the whole parade. But one thing I know for sure– when Santa comes though at the end of that parade, Christmas season has officially begun!!

Dinner wasn’t until 6:30, so mid-afternoon, I snuck a workout in, and I felt great. 3 mile run + 30 minutes of strength training. Have to keep those legs strong for running.

After a snack and shower, we piled into the car to head off to Grandma Vivi’s (my Uncle’s amazing  mom who had us all over) for the big Thanksgiving meal.

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^^on the menu: turkey, mixed vegetables, spinach with pine nuts and grapes, stuffing (rice and mushrooms — not your typical stuffing), and sweet potatoes with apples.^^

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Dinner was traditional Grandma Vivi, but not 100% typical for every family. I was so happy because I could eat everything except the rolls and the desserts- not too shabby. Overall, it was a pretty ‘light’ version of a Thanksgiving meal, but just as delicious. The best of both worlds I would say.

We arrived home a few hours later after lots of conversation and laughter, and promptly all collapsed into our cozy beds!

Questions of the day:

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

Are you a parade fan?!

HAPPY TURKEY DAY! + a random list.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!! What are you guys up to today? I wanted to stop by quickly since I’ve been so busy till today, but after this the computer will be off and it’s a day of family time ahead– I can’t wait! The Thanksgiving Day Parade is my favorite– I even went one year! But it’s better at home with food//coffee//blankets *unless you can sit in Herald’s Square.

First a quick view of this past week:

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^^I always try to workout at least 5/7 days of Thanksgiving week- it can be hard with all the family events, but it makes me feel so much better!^^

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^^and my delicious breakfasts this week I just have to share. Featuring: Applegate Organic Chicken and Apple Sausage *dairy, casein, gluten, antibiotic free*. I love this sausage and it makes for such a quick breakfast– throw few in a pan, toss some veggies in there too, and you have a healthy breakfast in a few minutes!^^

Survey Time!

Four names that people call me other than my real name:

  1. Livs
  2. Sniffles
  3. Jillian
  4. Livi

Four jobs I’ve had:

  1. Bagel Shop Worker
  2. Resident Advisor
  3. Nanny
  4. Youth Group Leader

Four movies you’ve watched more than once:

  1. The Little Mermaid
  2. Frozen
  3. Bridesmaids
  4. My Best Friend’s Wedding

Four books I’d recommend:

  1. Half the Sky
  2. Jane Eyre
  3. Don Quijote (a big undertaking, but definitely worth reading/learning about the impact this novel has had in the centuries since)
  4. Let Your Life Speak (an amazing book on life/vocation/finding your path)

Four places I’ve lived

  1. Linter, Belgium
  2. Honolulu, HI
  3. Tokyo, Japan
  4. Ceiba, Puerto Rico

Four Places you have visited:

  1. Greece
  2. Paris, France
  3. Barcelona, Spain
  4. Berlin, Germany

Four things I don’t eat:

  1. Gluten !
  2. Soda
  3. Milk.
  4. Liver. yet.

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Scrambled/fried eggs
  3. Kale (especially in chip form)
  4. Cheese

Four TV shows I watch:

  1. American Horror Show
  2. Live with Kelly and Michael
  3. Modern Family
  4. Brooklyn 99

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:

  1. Graduating from college
  2. My best friend’s wedding
  3. My family’s big move to Florida
  4. Taylor Swift concert ?! I hope 😉

Four things I’m always saying:

  1. Coffee?
  2. I have so much to do!!!
  3. Thank the Lord!
  4. Is it bedtime?

Question of the Day

What is your favorite part of Thanksgiving?! 

Pick and question and share your answers!!

p.s. for more thanksgiving fun check out Thinking Out Loud @ Running with Spoons!!

Birthday Wishes.

Hey y’all! I just wanted to drop in with a little glimpse into my birthday fun!

This birthday started of right- ringing it in at midnight with friends and my favorite boy. I didn’t last too long though, I wanted to be up for my birthday fun the next day.

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When I woke up the next morning, I showered, and then proceeded to open all my presents! NMK came over to help me sift through them, and to document the occasion of course! My parents sent so many cards, and it was fun to look at each one. My mom has become quite the artist- she drew this birthday girl on one envelope

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For brunch, we headed to Roost, a restaurant downtown. I had so many friends come, and it made the morning very special for me. I enjoyed my first mimosa and a delicious buffet!

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After getting back from brunch, I (unfortunately) had to work on some homework/studying. I also fit in a quick workout- just some HIIT cardio.

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Then, it was time for more fun! My girlfriends all came over for cake, wine, and to watch Frozen! I am clearly a mature 21 year old. Frozen is my favorite movie at the moment and it was so great to just watch, enjoy, and end my birthday on such a happy note!!

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Do you love your birthday?

Do you have any celebration traditions?

Valentine’s Day + My Best Friend

Friday, Valentine’s Day, started off as normally as usual. I woke up, showered, ate, and got ready for a day of work. Sort of. Classes at Furman were actually cancelled through 1 pm on Friday and my last class is usually at 12:30. I still had to go into the lab in the morning. I usually go on Friday afternoons, but I figured I might as well get it done earlier, and free up my Valentine’s afternoon!

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After lab, I had a quick Dining Hall lunch with my roommate. We chatted and laughed before she headed off to see her boy for the weekend. I am the only 1 out of my 4 roommates who is dating a boy at our school, so everyone was gone this weekend.

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I did some email catch up, then headed over to the gym for a workout. I did 10 minutes on the Elliptical and 40 minutes on the Arc trainer. Simple and quick.

Then it was time to shower, change, and get ready for the big Valentine’s date.

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^^white, not exactly a Valentine’s color, but it felt perfect for the evening.^^

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NMK and I went to went to the Velo Fellow, a pub-esque restaurant. We were surprisingly seated right away, without a reservation! We ordered a brie appetizer, and I followed that up with Pecan-Encrusted Tilapia. It was amazing. The boy chose the “Eastern Delight” which was a tomato-curry with chicken and rice. Delicious!

After dinner, we walked around downtown Greenville for a while, just chatting and enjoying the evening. It was the perfect date.

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The fun continued back in my apartment with our first {annual?} Valentine’s bake off. NMK and I both baked a dessert {in secret!} and then tasted them together! We wrote down our votes on index cards and then counted the ballots. It was….. a tie! We each voted for the other person. Too cute , at least we know we’re not selfish!

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^^For fun, some pictures throughout the past 2 years. We’ve been on a lot of adventures together!^^

Hope y’all had a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Holiday Highlights

Before Christmas, we had lots of parties, fun, and all around hectic-ness. My mom and I babysat, and I needed to keep up to date with my workouts {hello, half marathon training!}. With all the treats and fun, I had to make sure I kept healthy and on track. I got in a workout almost everyday, except two when we were driving pretty much all day/went straight to family after a long drive. But rest is good too!

Also, if you guys haven’t noticed, I have gone gluten free in the last month. It has to do with my Hypothyroidism, which is officially “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis” and is an autoimmune condition. Since eliminating a lot of gluten from my diet, I haven’t noticed a huge difference in my day to day feel, but I have noticed that when I eat a lot of gluten at one time/in one day, I can definitely feel a negative effect. Digestion/stomach wise, and energy wise as well. It’s an experiment in process. One of my goals for the holidays was to not overload on the gluten, knowing that it would really affect how I felt. I didn’t do a great job but I didn’t do a terrible job either!

Enough rambling… here are some holiday highlights.

Eats:

pictures of my eats are few and far between.. here we go though!

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^coffee. x1000000. I always think I’ll be more rested/off caffeine when I’m home but… somehow that doesn’t seem to happen. Enter 1 million cups of coffee.^

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A lot of savory breakfasts. In an effort to combat sugar cravings and offset treats.. I have eaten a lot of savory breakfasts in the past weeks. It’s really nice to start the day with veggies, and at least know I’m getting off on the right foot. Above ^^ spaghetti squash, bell peppers, some Earth Balance butter, and goat cheese.

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^We had friends over for brunch one morning and produced quite a spread. Yes, that is a cupcake in the background. 2 actually. What else are you supposed to do when 2 of the most adorable kids are coming over?! I ate some fruit, yogurt, granola, and some peanut butter cookies. They’re gluten free! That makes cookies before 12 ok..right? 😉

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^And last, an awesome salad I made when we had friends over for dinner. We ordered in pizza, but I was trying to stay off the gluten, so I make this huge salad from all the fixins. Everyone ate smaller side salads, but I was happy with my monstrosity!^

Workouts:

Before I left for family holidays and my conference, I got a 7-day pass to a local gym. It was so nice of them to give it to me for free, especially because they knew I don’t go to college here and wasn’t interested in buying a real membership.

Workouts mostly consisted of runs {half marathon trainings}! When I wasn’t running, I did some circuits, some elliptical, and some biking. Kept it simple while on the road with mostly cardio, which I was able to do in the morning before family time, conference things, travel, or whatever was going on that day! When I’m at home/school I can normally get away with a workout later in the day, but when traveling/away I find it so much easier to do it before anyone else is up {unless they want to come with me of course!} and not worry about when I’ll have time later.

Workout selfies… an experiment ;)-

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^6 miles. Harder than when I ran 9. Weird. But I’m getting my distance back up and getting close to half marathon ready!^

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Fun//Activities:

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^all dressed up for a Christmas party at home.^

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^The first picture is mine.. the second was made by our little 7 year old friend, Anna Grace. Yep. She’s more artistically talented than me. Mine is “more of a Christmas blob”- family friend. Pretty accurate though…^

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^Brunch with old friend, little friends, and family^

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^a huge dessert night! I made sure to conquer the {gluten free} peanut butter cookies^

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^siblings and family friends. I wonder who the weird one in the bunch is…^

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^Christmas nails. Get your holiday sparkle on. This was such a fun color!^

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^Sometimes when I’m bored, I go to the strip club. make fun presents.^

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^The result… little wrapped up presents for my awesome older sister. She had fun unwrapping all the little bunches and finally figuring out the count.^

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^The most gorgeous Nativity scene. My mom actually won it at our church one year, and it is stunning! Baby Jesus doesn’t get put out until Christmas of course!^

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^My mom did such an amazing job with our tree. Gorgeous!^

Questions:

How do you keep healthy during the holidays?

Christmas Classics

Do you guys have any special Christmas Classics//Holiday Season favorites? Living in New York the past 10 years {+ the fact that my mama grew up here} has turned me into a NYC Christmas addict. I am a firm believer that there is nothing like New York City at Christmas time…it’s simply magical. If you have the opportunity I highly recommend that you get into NYC– even just to walk around, window shop, and take in the spirit of the season!

Last week, my best friend Krista, her mom, my mom, and I headed into Manhattan together. It’s about a mile from my house to the train, so it’s easy for us to hop on and zone out for the trip! It’s almost a 2 hour train ride but we always have too much catching up to notice.

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^Good ol’ Empire State Building^

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^Macy’s decorates pretty well :)^

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^We ate at John’s Pizzeria— super touristy! But it used to be a church, which is really cool. Also see above ^^ we tried to take about 1000 pictures but… we only got one where we were both looking at the same camera.^

After lunch, it was time for the main event– the Radio City Christmas Spectacular!! Featuring our New York City Rockettes. This is one of my absolute favorite things to do during the holiday season. It has lots of numbers– from the Reindeer, to the Santas, to the famous Tin Solider number, and finally– it ends with a gorgeous nativity scene. Nothing like it to put you in the Christmas spirit. And there is a live orchestra to boot!

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^Holiday ready^

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^Nativity Scene… breathtaking.^

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^oh yea… it snowed inside!^

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^The Rockettes!^

After the show, we wandered around the city for a bit longer before realizing there was a train in 20 minutes… so we sprinted to the station and make it there 30 seconds before the doors closed. I was pretty sleepy on the train ride home.. but that just meant snuggle time with the best friend.

The perfect start to the holiday season!

Do you have any holiday traditions?

Anything that makes you feel like it’s really time for the holiday season?

Thanksgivukkah– A once in a lifetime experience!

Thanksgiving morning started off bright and early…and cold! My dad, my friend, and I ran in a 5K Turkey Trot together.

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^this is my cold weather face.. and gear. I needed a LOT of gear to keep warm. It was 30 out BUT the “real feel” was 16 degrees.^

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^we snapped some pictures together while we waited around for the race. I think I had about 5 layers on top plus the jacket? it was cold guys! My toes didn’t thaw out until the last mile of the race…oh well. We all stuck together, so we weren’t going for a fast time or anything– just for the fun of it. And it was awesome! My dad and I started this tradition last year, and I am hoping it stays around for a long time.^

Following the run, I went home and took a looooong shower. Usually I’m all about the short showers- efficient, environmentally friendly, and I just don’t like to waste my time. But it took me a while to thaw out from the cold, and then a bit longer to convince myself to get out into the cold air again.

After my shower, I grabbed some quinoa granola {gluten free} and some greek yogurt, before heading over to my friend’s house to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Macy’s parade is one of my absolute favorite holiday traditions! Unfortunately the race was at 9 {the same time the run started!} so Krista recorded it, and we watched it afterwards {with the added bonus of fast forwarding through the commercials!}.

Later, we headed over to our family friend’s house for a celebration of “Thanksgivukkah”. My family is Christian, but it was still fun for us to be a part of this cultural tradition and learn some about the meaning!

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^We each got to light our own menorahs– I chose the slide and swings one… I’m a child.^

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Dinner was delicious, and the company was better. I love being with my parents, and any other friends who are there are just a bonus. The only regret is that my sibling couldn’t make it home. My brother is a marine, and only had Thursday off {too far to travel for 24 hours}, and my sister is studying in Dublin {for her Masters woo!}. Dinner was all the classics– mashed potatoes, turkey, green bean casserole, apple sauce, roasted butternut squash, and a Chanukah twist– potato latkes. My meal was something like: lots of squash, potato pancakes, apple sauce, and some stuffing. Dessert- a little whipped cream, some fruit, and a taste of apple crisp. YUM. That was plenty of food!

And…. as a bonus: some pictures of my favorite siblings– I can’t wait to see them in December!

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I know…we used to be so cute sigh…. what happened?! 😉

How was your Thanksgiving?

Did you get to celebrate with your whole family?