2014 Year in Review!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Years Eve everyone. I hope you're getting ready for something sparkly and fabulous or following my lead and staying in, watching Netflix and ordering in pizza. 2014 has been one of my favorite years yet. A lot of changes, happiness, sadness and some of the most amazing memories. This is going to be a long post, so if you need something quick, I suggest looking at the Skimm, it will be shorter than today. I hope the rest of you enjoy! 

January: Can I be honest? January was kind of a blur. We were still living in Omaha, the weather was cold and dreary and the only real thing I can remember is that Henry had knee surgery. Oh, and I was studying for the February bar exam. That's why January flew by with nothing exciting. 

February: February, along with my two best friends, ventured up to Des Moines, Iowa to take the bar exam in a blizzard. More on that later, but turns out February was a pretty good month. I also saw Justin Timberlake in concert. Woah.

March: March was bitter sweet, it's when Adam and I found out that we would be moving to Denver! My mom and I ventured off to Denver in search of apartments. Also, Lynds and I saw Lady Antebellum, and they were amazing! Can you tell I love concerts? 

April: I passed the bar exam and got sworn in! Hooray! Of of my favorite couple days of celebration! Adam and I celebrated Easter with his family, had some amazing going away parties and officially moved to Denver.

May: May was our first full month in Denver and we experienced all the weather it had to offer, blizzards & tornadoes! We spend Memorial Day in Arizona with the family and celebrating the wedding of our great friends. Are you bored yet? Cuz I'm loving reliving these moments :) 

June: June was my most favorite month by far this year. Adam and I got engaged. Some other things happened too (like my birthday), but this was the best even ever and I think it deserves its own month. June was the month I said yes and it was the best decision I've ever made. 

July: July was a great vacation month for us, Omaha for the 4th and Tahoe later on with our family. It was so fun getting to spend the summer on the water with our friends and family. And Adam celebrated his birthday! 

August: When I think of August, I think of the revamp of this blog, engagement parties, wedding dresses and my handsome little nephew Tomas being born. It was such an overwhelming month in such a good way. 

September: I started my first job in Denver! Oh what a delicious 5 months its been! This getting paid regularly thing is quite nice. (Only 3 more months to go!)

October: Breckenridge vacations, engagement pictures, bridal showers and snuggles with my nephew. October rocked. 

November: November I celebrated 4 years with Adam, 3 months with my nephew Tomas, my first Broncos game and my first Thanksgiving with Adams family. So many wonderful things to celebrate! 

December: Christmas, baptisms and New Years. What a great month, what a great year. 

2014 was definitely one for the record books. I cannot wait to see how 2015 tops it. Tonight I will be cheersing to the memories and to the ones we have yet to make. Let's do this 2015. 
Happy New Years everyone! 

2014 Most Fascinating People; #5-1

Monday, December 29, 2014

Alright, you've read numbers 10-6, are you ready for the top 5 most fascinating people of 2014? 

#5: Shia LeBeouf. 
He started out as a child actor, and a pretty good one at that. He did entertaining movies like Transformers, Disturbia and Indiana Jones. Critics were hailing him as the next Tom Hanks, that was, until they weren't. Shia's fall from grace began when he assaulted his neighbor, got charged with criminal trespass, got into some car accidents and was arrested for disorderly conduct. It was then after his "artistic integrity" was attacked that he decided to wear this (see below) over his face and declare his retirement from all public life. I for one hope Shia brings it back, if at least for Louis from Even Stevens.  

#4: Jennifer Aniston. 
This has been a great year for all those on Team Aniston. She's happily engaged to Justin Theroux, getting serious Oscar attention for her role in Cake and defending a woman's right to work and not need to explain why she doesn't have babies yet. I've been pulling for her since the Pitt/Aniston demise of 2005 and I think she's winning in 2014. And hopefully her wedding dress will be better than the one Angelina Jolie let her kids draw all over. Team Aniston forever.

#3: Bill Cosby. 
Regardless of your stance on whether or not he did it, I think we can all agree it's pretty damn fascinating that he refuses to talk about it! I mean hello. You are Bill Cosby and 20+ woman have accused you of some pretty heinous things and you're only response is to blame the black media. Maybe it's time to make a real statement and then everyone can decide how full of shit you are, I mean if you're lying or not. Maybe his next show will be, Women say the darnest things. Too soon? 

#2: Bruce Jenner. 
Red nail polish, french manicure, diamond earrings and a ponytail. No, Bruce Jenner is not a lady, but is he trying to become one? Debatable. Even so, he's totally having the best year ever. (1) He no longer has to be married to Kris Kardashian/Jenner - hallelujah! (2) He's the second prettiest Kardashian/Jenner lady around (3) He lives in Malibu on the beach and (4) Did I mention he is not longer married to Kris! Bruce, whatever you're doing, you're winning. 2014 is your best year since you were in the Olympics, enjoy it buddy. 

#1: Blake Lively's Baby. Alright, if you haven't seen pregnant Blake Lively it's time to crawl out from under the rock you've been hiding and google her. She is the most stunning pregnant human I've ever seen. But that's not the fascinating part. The fascinating part is this new baby she's about to bring into the world. This baby is legitimately going to be raised by the two prettiest people in Hollywood. She is the daughter of Serena Wanderwoodsen (Gossip Girl, again with the rock people) And, she is the daughter of Ryan Reynolds, I hope no more explanation is needed. 2014 is a great year to be Blake Lively's baby and I think 2015 is going to be even better. 

Into The Woods

Saturday, December 27, 2014

My high-school theater did Into the Woods and it was so spectacular. When I saw this trailer, I was so excited at another chance to see it! Not only is this an A-list cast, but the story line is just so wonderful. It came out Christmas Day and while I was busy drinking wine and celebrating with the family, this will be the first movie I see when I'm back in Denver. Enjoy this little sneak peak. 

2014 Most Fascinating People; #10-6

Friday, December 26, 2014

Everyone's familiar with Barbara Walter's 10 Most Fascinating People. While we can agree/disagree on who we think is fascinating (Kardashians? Really Barb?), I'm pretty sure I've come up with the 10 most fascinating people of 2014, or at least 10 people who are having a better year than you. Here are #10-6. I'm waiting to post #5-1 until New Years Eve just in case someone super cool comes in and surprises us. I mean Kylie Jenner got popular the minute she got lip-fillers so who knows what could happen in the next week and a half.

#10: Prince George. 
He's a prince, he's adorable and his mom is Kate. I'm pretty sure, based on this face he's going to be a pretty awesome Prince. And who else can rock a sweater vest like that.

#9: Sam Smith. 
Have you all seen his SNL performance? Holy moly. Once I saw that, I knew Sammy's 2014 was going to be better than everyone's. Then he went and did 'Not the only one,' 'Stay with me,' 'Lay me down' and 19 other amazing songs, renditions and duets. Need I say more? Sam is #wining.

#8: The Duggars. 
They have 19 kids, three are married, one has 3 kids (aka 3 grandkids), another kid has a baby on the way and allegedly the 48 year old mom, Michelle is still trying for another baby. They have the #1 TV show on TLC and continue to make money going on trips, spreading their message and getting in all kinds of trouble on facebook. Wanna know what I find most fascinating? That the mom was able to come up with 19 'J' names, that takes some skills! Go Duggars, you're having your year.

#7: Men who decorate their beards. 
Have you guys seen this trend? Buzzfeed did a whole article on it. I understand the "lumberjack" style is becoming the new popular version of 'sexy'. But honestly, all I can think about is how much it must itch and how heavy your chin hair must be. But props to you guys, you brought positive attention to your facial hair. This won't happen again, soak it in boys.

#6: Gia Giudice. 
For those of you who don't instantly recognize that name, I suggest you get cable and watch Real Housewives of New Jersey right away. She's the sassy 13-year old daughter of Teresa Giudice. Yes, the Teresa who is about to head off to jail because she 'forgot' to report things like a 10-carat diamond ring, Ferraris' and boats on her tax-returns "I just sign anything". Anyways, back to Gia. She's 13 and has a band called 3KT. She remakes songs like Circus by Britney Spears and most recently released a Christmas jam. Looks like this little Giudice might be her family's saving grace as her mom and and dad head off to the slammer. Here's her (slutty) rendition of Circus. Here's her new Christmas jam. And, here's her picture. Go Gia. This will be your last best year for a while.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas everyone and Happy Birthday to my amazing mom! I hope you are all off celebrating Christmas, toasting cocktails and enjoying your time with family and friends. Adam and I are spending Arizona in Christmas this year and are enjoying the sunshine, golf, adult beverages and lots of family time. I hope you all have the best Christmas! This year has been such a wonderful year and what a better time than Christmas to reflect on all that. My heart is so full.

One of the funnest parts of Christmas for me is the decorating. This year is Adam and my first year in Denver and first year in our new apartment. We had so much fun watching Elf, drinking red wine and figuring out where all our decor should go. Here's a sneak peak at some of our favorite decorations.

I've had an advent calendar for as long as I can remember, it's one of my favorite decorations. 
the tree, the fire and henry; such a perfect christmas combo. 
our stockings 
new pottery barn christmas pillows! 
our little patio. we don't have a "real" tree, so we always have a real wreath. 

Merry Christmas blogworld, I'm especially thankful for all of you. 

Recipe: Baked Mustard Lime Chicken

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The last couple weeks have been so busy, so finding an easy chicken dinner has been imperative. I found this recipe online a while back and I'm so glad I did. It's already become one of our go-to easy chicken (paleo!) dinners.

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I used two packs of Costco chicken so we could have leftovers) 
  • The juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
How to Make: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine lime juice, cilantro, olive oil, chili powder, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until combined
  3. Pat dry chicken breasts and place in a 9x13 glass baking dish
  4. Pour marinade over chicken and bake for 25 minutes uncovered. (Mine took about 30 minutes, the chicken was huge!) 
  5. Enjoy! 
I didn't pre-chop my ingredients before placing them in the food processor and it turned out just great!  
All ready to go in! (I put a little marinade under the chicken too!) 
So delicious, and it paired deliciously with my squash from yesterday! 

Recipe: Baked Acorn Squash

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mmm, squash. I love squash. Last night I made baked acorn squash with brown sugar. The original Paula Deen recipe called for brown sugar, but to make it paleo, I used coconut sugar. I was so happy with the results. They were delicious and tender and I wish I could eat them every day.

  • 2 acorn squash, cut in 1/2
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper
How to Make: 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Cut the squash in half and scoop out all the seeds and pulp. 
  3. In a small bowl, mix the ingredients together. 
  4. Brush the mixture over the squash and place them on a baking sheet (cut side up!). 
  5. Bake about hour hour or until the squash is tender. 
  6. Enjoy! 
naked squash.
using one of my favorite bridal shower gifts
all ready to cook!

Christmas Cards

Sunday, December 21, 2014

I love Christmas cards. Well, let's be honest, I love Christmas and everything it has to offer. I love getting Christmas cards every day and seeing new pictures of friends and family from all over the county. It's one of my favorite parts of Christmas and I'm so glad that in this new age of technology, people still send cards.

Merry (almost) Christmas everyone, from our family to yours!

Recipe: Paleo Beef Stew (fail)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Today, I have beef stew for ya. Adam requested beef stew the other night because it was a cold and dreary day and some hearty stew sounded great. Until it wasn't. Yes, you heard that correctly, this beef stew was not that great. The main issue, the beef was chewy. If you ever tell Costco I said this, I'll deny deny deny, but we bought their pre-cut beef and it was as chewy as chewing gum. The broth and veggies were really delicious, but next time I'd use a different meat. Let me know how you change up the stew and make it great!

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh italian parsley, minced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 healthy pinch of red pepper flakes (I forgot this and I think it would have been so delicious!) 
How to make: 
  1. Season beef with salt and pepper and place in slow cooker. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk tomato paste into the beef broth. Pour over beef along with the wine. 
  3. Add carrots, onion and mushrooms along with the garlic and remaining seasonings. 
  4. Give the ingredients a good stir, cover and cook on low 4-6 hours or on high 2-3 hours. 
  5. Remove the bay leaves before serving, garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy! 
 pre-cut (chewy) meat
 so many delicious veggies! 

Baked chicken, mushrooms and broccoli.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

After a long weekend away, making dinner on a Sunday is the last thing I want to do. But have no fear, this is a very easy, delicious and filling recipe! I have to give Adam all the credit on the recipe, he came up with it on his own! Plus, we made lots of extras so our left-overs will be delicious tomorrow!

  • Chicken breasts
  • Broccoli, cut into pieces
  • Mushrooms
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
How to make: 
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. 
  3. Place all the veggies in a 9x13 pan. Toss with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. (I just eyed this, but I would say about 1/3 cup balsamic) 
  4. Place the chicken on top of the veggies, drizzle some more balsamic. 
  5. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes or until the veggies are softened to your liking. 
  6. Enjoy! 
 All cooked and so delicious! Enjoy! 

Recipe: Let's make Christmas cookies!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Every year Adam's family has a christmas cookie cookoff. We all bake our favorite cookies, come together and eat way too many cookies. It's such a fun tradition we've started and I look forward to it every year. This year I made one traditional cookie recipe and one new recipe from Pioneer Woman.

I know these recipes aren't paleo, but hey, it's Christmas and calories don't count right? Okay, so they do, but I can tell you a few cookies every now and then isn't going to completely sabotage your diet. Back to paleo tomorrow :)

Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
  • 2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces almond bark or white baking chocolate (i used white chocolate) 
  • 8 candy canes, I used four traditional candy canes and 4 peppermint
How to Make: 
  1. Cream softened butter with powdered sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix to combine. Add dry ingredients and mix together until the dough comes together. Place plastic wrap on surface of dough and refrigerate for 2 hours. 
  2. In the meantime, unwrap the candy canes and place them in a plastic bag. Break them up! 
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  4. Roll cookie dough in walnut-sized pieces and place on a cookie sheet. Gently press balls flat with a plain, smooth surface. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, being careful not to burn. Cookies will remain the same general size and shape after they bake. Remove from oven and place cookies on a cooling rack. Allow them to cool completely.
  5. Place crushed candies in bowl. Melt almond bark in the microwave. Dip cooled cookies into almond bark, coating half the cookie. Immediately sprinkle crushed peppermints over both sides of the almond bark. Gently set on parchment paper or other nonstick surface and allow to cool before serving.
 Pioneer Woman used peppermint candies, I used candy canes. 
 I also used White Chocolate, not almond bark, and it was delicious. 
Oh man, these cookies might be a new tradition of mine. 

Peanut Butter Blossoms 
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • granulated sugar, for rolling 
  • 48 Hershey's kisses, unwrapped
How to make: 
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt, set aside. 
  3. With an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and shortening on medium speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar, and beat until fluffy. 
  4. Add the egg, milk and vanilla extract, and beat well. 
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually beat the flour into peanut butter mixture until combined. 
  6. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar to coat. Place on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. 
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. 
  8. Remove from the oven and immediately press a hershey kiss into the center of each cookie. Bake for another minute. 
  9. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes then remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool. 
  10. Enjoy!! 

But first, coffee!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Today I'm hanging our at But First, Coffee. Come check me out!

Happy Friday!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Happy Friday Everyone! 

Adam and I are venturing off to Omaha land for the weekend. I apologize for the lack of posts this week, it's been so crazy busy, but I promise I'll be back next week with all new recipes, pictures and stories. Oh, and we can't forget about year-end wrap up and Christmas decorations! Stay tuned! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursdays Thoughts.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Happy Thursday! Hooray, only one more day until the weekend! I can't wait! Here are some ramblings from today....

1. Last Saturday I went skiing for the first time in 5 years, didn't fall, had a blast and cant wait to go back. I just wish I could be like the 6 year olds who fly down the mountain instead of being the grandma skiier that I am, oh well. At least I can pose for pictures.

2. I'm very excited to share that this Saturday I will be featured on But First, Coffee. Kallie is so sweet and her blog is one of my favorites. You definitely should start reading her blog and check me out on Saturday!

3. Did you all watch the Victoria Secret Fashion show? Did you eat pizza while watching? I for one, love the fashion show. It's like watching a movie about people that aren't real. I mean, seriously, how can one be so beautiful and thin and walk in 400 pound wings while not falling over. It's not real life people, but I love to watch.

4. Did you know that Christmas is in 14 days. 2 weeks. Have you started shopping? I'm not even close to being done, but still, 2 weeks! I better get moving.

5. Why isn't it Friday yet?

6. Have you guys heard Sam Smith's version of "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas?" Oh, you haven't, don't worry, here's a link to it. Enjoy! I currently have it on repeat in my office.

7. My (future) mother in law recommended this coconut milk vanilla creamer to me and it is heavenly. It's not 100% paleo, but I'm really enjoying having some flavor in my coffee. It makes my mornings so much more enjoyable. You should try it.

8. I'm going to try and make these apple cider moscow mules tonight and I'm super excited. They're from Sugar and Charm (such a cute blog, you should go read it now!) I'll let you know how they taste!
(picture from Sugar and Charm)

Happy Thursday everyone! 
I hope your day is lovely and your weekend is even better! 

Recipe: Maple-Pumpkin Coconut Macaroons

Monday, December 8, 2014

My big sis (in Kappa, college sorority) sent me this recipe because 1) she knows I love everything sweet and 2) she knows I like to cook/bake/eat paleo! 5 years out of college, gotta love that Kappa bond :) These were SO easy to make and pretty delicious. They are a great fall treat when you're craving sugar but want to stick to your diet. Enjoy!

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (I used pecans because I love them)
How to Make: 
  1. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Place the maple syrup, almond butter, coconut oil, pumpkin puree, and vanilla in a mircowave-safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds. Mix and return to to the microwave until everything is soft and melty. Add the pumpkin pie spice to the bowl and stir until combined. 
  3. Add the coconut and nuts. Stir until combined. 
  4. Use a small scoop and drop rounded mounds onto the cookie sheet. Refridgerate until firm, about 1 hour. Enjoy! 
get all the good stuff nice and melted
I prefer this method of smashing nuts over a food processor
huge possibility I added a little more coconut
the finished product, pre-refridgeration. 
I forgot to take a final pic, whoops! 
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