Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014

Aunie Sauce 2014

For the past two years, on New Year's Eve I've come on here and stated, "Last year was the best year ever!" But this year? I think this year really did it. Actually, it may not have been my best year (being that I was apart from Daniel for so much of it), but it was a year filled with excitement, travels, adventure, new jobs and learning experiences, and so much joy. Here were some of the biggest highlights of 2014:
  1. February: I posted about becoming sober. Going alcohol free during 2014 was a life-changing decision.
  2. April thru June: I attended Basic Military Training in San Antonio, Texas. Among some of my greatest accomplishments were finishing as an Honor Graduate, achieving Warhawk and Top PT Female, winning a 5k with a time of 19:17, and setting a record for the 5th fastest female run in BMT history, with a time of 8:47 for the 1.5 mile run. 
  3. May: My dad got married! I wasn't able to attend the wedding, but this has been a long time coming, and I couldn't have been happier for him.
  4. Daniel and I took several small vacations, exploring San Antonio, Texas and Redfish Lake in Stanley, Idaho in June, McCall, Idaho in July, Whidbey Island and Seattle, Washington in September.
  5. October thru December: I attended Personnel Technical School for the Air Guard at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. Some of my biggest achievements included finishing top in my class as the Distinguished Graduate, winning a base-wide 5k with a time of 19:07, and singing on the worship team at church each Sunday.
  6. December: Upon coming home from Tech School, I transitioned to a new job as a Wellness Coordinator within our hospital. Finally—the job I went to school for!
2014, it's been a busy year. Many changes, many travels, many new experiences. It's been a year filled with lots of stress, actually, though "good stress," is the more appropriate term. I'm so grateful for each day that I had, but also grateful to move forward! 2014—whoa... and that's all I have to say about that.

2015... we'll see you tomorrow! Happy New Year's Eve!

Past NYE highlight posts: 20122013

Friday, December 26, 2014

29 Years of Santa Photos

29 years of Santa Photos, Family Santa Christmas Pictures

You can't really say "We've taken Santa photos every year for the past 29-years" and not do it justice by posting an example. I mean, look at that—matching Norwegian lusekoftse's (sweaters) and all.

My mom has a book that makes the rounds on Christmas morning each year that is filled with our family Santa photos for the last 29 years. Twenty-nine years... that's 29-years of coordinated outfits, waiting in ridiculously long lines, and paying for over-priced 5x7's to fill this little book of memories. But the memories—oh the memories. They're worth every penny, every minute, every bad and embarrassing outfit and hair style that's contained in that book.

We've told our mom that we'll keep this tradition up until we have kids of our own. And by the way things have been going, that doesn't seem to be happening for any of the Driflot kids anytime soon. So Santa still may get a few more years of wrapping his arms around us while we sit on his knees and smile for the camera. Lucky, lucky Santa.

Family Candid Christmas Photo

Hope you all had a Christmas filled with love & celebration yesterday. Sending lots of holiday cheer from our family to yours!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2014

Merry Christmas striped Christmas card, Rowe Christmas 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Love ♥ The Rowe's and our favorite moments together after all the moments spent apart in 2014

Past Christmas cards: 2011 │ 20122013

Monday, December 22, 2014

Saturday Mornings

Corner Bakery Cafe Hazelnut Cream Coffee

I'd like to dedicate a post to Saturday mornings. They're my favorite day & time of the week. If it's not a drill day (the weekends when we have to go work out at the Air Guard), we have a pretty standard routine—sleep in, gym, brunch. It's perfect.

Now, truth be told, we don't truly sleep in—we wake up at 7:00 am, but compared to our weekday routine, that's sleeping in! After tossing and turning and finally deciding to get up, we get into our gym clothes, take our pre-workout supplements, and head off to the gym. After working out for 45-or-so-minutes, we start eye-balling each other and scheming about where our breakfast spot is going to be. Blue Sky Bagels? Rembrandts? Wild West Cafe? Bar de Nay? There are so many choices and we always leave with full, happy tummies.

But this past Saturday, we tried something new. And boy, were we impressed. Conveniently located in the same parking lot as our gym, we stopped by Corner Bakery Cafe—a brand new addition to The Village at Meridian. I know other cities across the US have this cafe, but it's brand new for us, and we are so glad it's here!

Surprised at how big their menu is, and bummed that they had run out of my daily breakfast staple of oatmeal (apparently, it's very popular!), I opted for the first breakfast item I could spot—the Anaheim Scrambler. It's loaded with goodies like avocado, applewood smoked bacon, and green onions... yum! Daniel ordered a plate of pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon. Both of our meals were divine and I topped mine off with a big cup of their Hazelnut Cream coffee. It was all so good!

Corner Bakery Cafe
Corner Bakery Cafe Coffee
Corner Bakery Cafe, Bakery Display Case, Amazing homemade treats
Corner Bakery Cafe Pancakes and Anaheim Scrambler
Corner Bakery Cafe Breakfast

Thanks, Corner Bakery, for treating Daniel and me to an awesome breakfast and amazing service. I don't know who picked your Meridian staff members, but each of them was kind, helpful and truly caring. They made our experience great!

Next time I want to try a panini or one of their giant soup bread bowls. Several people ordered them while we were there and they looked so delicious! If you live near a Corner Bakery Cafe, be sure to stop in and try something on the menu. And if you're looking for a sweet treat, their bakery display case won't leave you hanging—they've got sweet and savory goods galore.

Yum, Corner Bakery. Just yum. I think I like Saturday mornings even more now that you're in town.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Coming Home To a New Job

Wellness Coordinator job, Health Education and Promotion Wellness Coordinator

Two and a half years ago, I wrote a post and listed 13 facts about my job as a Development Assistant for our local not-for-profit hospital. The 13th fact said,
"When I graduated college, my one goal was to work in the health promotion field at a hospital. I'm halfway to that goal [by working at the hospital], and not far from it at all."
Last Monday, upon my return to the civilian workforce from Air Force Tech School, I began a new job—I have finally accomplished my goal! I am now a Wellness Coordinator and will be doing employee and corporate health program planning for our local hospital. To say that this job is literally my dream job is quite the understatement. Not only did I go to school and earn my degree in Health Education & Promotion, but I live and breathe "healthy living" outside the office and can't believe that I'm going to get paid to do it as a profession!

It all actually happened really fast. I applied for the position about six weeks before leaving for Tech School. Four weeks before leaving, I had a first and second interview for the position. Two weeks later, I was offered the job and accepted within the same day. I worked my last day as a Development Assistant the week before I left and did a short four-day stint at the new office before packing my bags and heading off to Mississippi. And now I'm back. Full-time. Beginning a career that I've yearned after since beginning my studies at Boise State University. This is it. I am a Wellness Coordinator.

And now, after four years as a Development Assistant, I wanted to share a couple photos of my old office that I took in October before I packed it all into boxes, you know, for old time's sake. I can't believe how much my plants had grown and how much it changed over the years. Little office with the French doors, balcony, and time where I grew so much as a person—you will be missed!

Development Assistant, historic home office
Development Assistant, historic home office, large metal A wall decor
Wellness Coordinator for Employee Health, Aunie Sauce work and health promotion

Upon my departure in October, my Foundation colleagues spoiled me with a thoughtful farewell card and sweet cupcakes. It's so rare to work in an office environment like I worked before—an office staffed with the kindest, most genuine, supportive group of ladies. Leaving them was the hardest part. But in the end, it comes down to what's in your heart, so of all the cupcakes, I chose what I thought to be the most appropriate—"Do what you love!"

And just like that, we begin a new chapter in my story. Oh, the joys that lie ahead...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Personnel Tech School

Keesler AFB Personnel Apprentice Course

Hello! After a nice, long extended absence—I'm back!

I didn't mention it here or on social media, but my absence from blogging was due to spending the last 6-weeks at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi for Personnel Technical School. It was an experience that I'll never forget. I was given the best opportunities and got to break out of my comfort zone on many different occasions... all the while working toward a graduation certificate as a Personnel Apprentice. And finally... I did it! I graduated on December 3rd, and I'm now officially a Personnel Apprentice.

Throughout my time at Keesler, I met so many amazing people and made a lot of new friends along the way. Some of my favorite memories included: singing on stage with the worship team each Sunday, participating in a Warrior Challenge (and winning it with my amazing team of airmen!), seeing lots of fun sights around the Biloxi and Gulf Coast area, achieving the title of overall female winner for a base-wide 5K, working out at the sweetest crossfit gym each day, and eating delicious food, of course! I'm so grateful for each of the experiences that took me to my graduation day. See some of the photos from my time at Tech School below.

Keesler AFB Warrior Challenge
With my Warrior Challenge first place team. We beat out several other permanent party teams, including a team of combat airman!
Keesler AFB Vandenburg
With my buddies at the Vandenburg, also called "Club V" on the weekends.
Keesler AFB Beach
The beautiful Gulf Coast beach right off base.
Keesler AFB, Biloxi Mississippi
Touring Biloxi with my wingman from BMT who also happened to be attending Tech School at the same time.
Keesler AFB, 5K for AJ 2014
I was the overall female winner of the second annual 5K for AJ with a time of 19:07. It was an honor to run for that great cause!
Keesler AFB, 5K for AJ 2014
Best buddies at Keesler.
Keesler AFB Home Away From Home Thanksgiving
We spent Thanksgiving with a sponsor family as a part of the "Home Away From Home" program. We were so grateful to be given the best Southern hospitality by such an amazing family!
Keesler AFB Worship Team
On my last Sunday at church, I sang a duet to Revelation Song with my buddy on the left, and our friend on the right played guitar and sang harmony for us. What a neat experience that was!
Keesler AFB Personnel Apprentice Course Distinguished Graduate
I ended up graduating the Personnel Apprentice Course with a 98% and earned the title of Distinguished Graduate. It was my goal to achieve DG going in to Tech School, and all the studying paid off! The photo on the right is my Personnel class. What an amazing and talented group of people. Can't wait to see them all do great things in the Air Force.

So what's next? I now will be working as a traditional Air Guardsman at home in Idaho, which means one weekend a month and two weeks per year. I'm looking forward to returning to civilian life and getting back to my job at the hospital. But mostly, I'm just excited to finally be home with my husband!

The past 6-weeks have been unlike anything I've ever experienced in my entire life. They were awesome, but truly—I'm glad they're over. It's nice to finally be able to go home and stay home now that my the last bit of my initial Air Force training is out of the way! As they say at Keesler... HUA!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Our Second Anniversary

Daniel and Annelise Rowe
Wedding Rings, Black Ceramic wedding band, Sapphire and Diamond wedding ring

Two years. I can't believe it's been two years. It doesn't seem like it can be here already, but as I look back over the year and all that has happened (attending Basic Military Training in Texas for 8-weeks, traveling around Idaho and Washington, attending Tech School in Mississippi, etc.), I'm blown away with how fast it has all gone. To be honest, it seems like I have spent more time away from Daniel this year than I've been able to spend with him!

As I type this post, it's the first time I've sat down and opened my blog account since mid-October. I've been in Mississippi for the past 6-weeks attending Technical School for the Air Force and simply haven't even had time to do anything except for study, study, study. Today on our anniversary, I'm almost 2,200 miles away from my husband, sitting in class, learning how to become a personnelist. I'm eagerly anticipating returning soon so I can wrap myself up in his arms.

This year, with BMT and Tech School, I will have spent about 4-months away from my husband. Compared to most military couples, that's nothing, but to us it has been hard. I miss him a lot. I'm very grateful that I've been able to talk to him daily through Tech School, but it doesn't take away the fact that it hurts my heart to be away from him. Our faith in God has been the biggest bond that has held us together. Without my faith and trust in God, this distance would have been much, much harder. Prayer won't bring me home any sooner, but it does help keep me at peace.

I'll be home soon and can't wait to hug and love on my husband. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, and I'm not going to argue that point one bit. I'm ready to go home and appreciate him and the amazing man that he is. I'm so grateful for our time together (and apart!), and can't believe these past two years have happened so quickly.

Happy second anniversary, Daniel. I love you so much—you know I do. Sending you a million kisses from the Gulf Coast. See you soon, sweets!

Past Anniversary Posts: Year One

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Printed, Belted, Anytime Dress

PinkBlush Printed Dress, Fall style with dress and boots
Grey and Pink Belted Dress: c/o Pink Blush, Unisex Style F1011 Black Glasses: c/o Firmoo, Tights: Betsy Johnson, Boots: Blowfish (similar), Gray Chain Link Bracelet: c/o Massi
Firmoo black eyeglasses, rectangle black plastic glasses from Firmoo
PinkBlush Printed Dress, Fall style with dress and boots
PinkBlush Printed Dress, Fall style with dress and boots

As the leaves are changing and crisp mornings are making more frequent appearances around Boise, I have finally given in to transitioning my favorite summer pieces to fall (and winter--considering how cold it already is here!).

Back in September, PinkBlush sent me a few pieces of clothing that I've cycled into regular rotation in my closet--this gray & pink belted dress, this navy & floral dress (seen here), and this amazing aqua chiffon open-back cardigan (seen here). Whether I'm wearing their pieces with sandals & sunglasses or tights & boots, they're functional, flattering, affordable items that can be worn year-round. I'm so impressed with PinkBlush's quality and the wearability of their clothing.

Also, do you see my new glasses up there? They're amazing! They're my very first pair of thick, black rectangle glasses and I just adore them. I never thought that I'd ever want a pair of plain black glasses, but after this pair--I'm sold!

Hope you're having a great week! Life is pretty busy on my end (details to come eventually), and I am not sure how often I'll be blogging in the upcoming weeks. But rest assured, all is well--in fact, it's better than ever! Sending lots of love. See you soon! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall at the Rowe House 2014 and a Present For You!

Fall Floral Home Decor, Rustic Home Decor
Floral arrangement: c/o Gordman's

I can't believe a whole year has come and gone and it's once again fall at the Rowe house. Where does time go? I can tell you one thing, I'm grateful for the seasonally-colored leaves, the big life changes ahead, and finally being able to pull my dusty boots out of the closet! It may not be full-fledged boot weather yet, but I'm wearing them anyway!

Our home has changed so much since we moved in last September. It actually feels like a home this year, and not just a house! Much of the fall decor we have up (instead of a single pumpkin like last year) was generously given to us by Gordman's. And... my friends at Gordman's were nice enough to send two giftcards to use to stock our home with the colors of fall, but—lucky for you—I've chosen to instead spend one and give one away! Continue to the bottom to find out the details & enter to win.

Fall Table Centerpiece Home Decor, Rustic Home Decor
Fall Living Room Home Decor, Rustic Home Decor
Orange pillow: c/o Gordman's
Fall Pumpkin Home Decor, Rustic Home Decor
Fall Home Decor, Dobby the Bearded Dragon
Dobby couldn't resist enjoying the new pillows, and she had to come out to say hi!
Fall Floral Kitchen Home Decor, Rustic Home Decor
Fall Home Decor, Rustic Home Decor
PinkBlush floral dress, fall dress and boots
Navy Blue Floral Bottom Dress: c/o PinkBlush (they're always having deals—use code COLUMBUS20 thru 10/13 for 20% off), Unisex Style F1011 Black Glasses: c/o Firmoo, Boots: Steve Madden, Mirror: c/o Gordman's
Fall Maple Leaves in Idaho

To enter to win the $25 giftcard to Gordman's, all you need to do is simply leave a comment below—about anything! You can get extra entries for sharing the giveaway via Twitter, Pinterest, and/or Facebook, so just leave another comment with your link(s)—one comment per link—and you'll be entered. Good luck and happy fall to all!

WINNER: Emily Frank -- Congratulations!

PS: Score 20% off any item at Gordman's thru 11/25 here

The fine print: Giveaway open to anyone who can use a Gordman's giftcard! Giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday, October 19 and the winner will be announced via email and in this post. The prize for this giveaway was donated by Gordman's. If you are having trouble commenting/viewing comments and are using Internet Explorer, open this page in a different browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Military Donut Bun

Military Donut Bun Tutorial, Military Sock Bun Tutorial, Quick Sock Bun Tutorial

Not much of a fan of the ever-popular "sock bun" trend, when I joined the Air National Guard, I told myself, "I will never be caught DEAD wearing a sock bun!" You know, because it seems like every photo you ever see of anyone in the military shows them wearing a sock bun—and I was not going to do it!

Let me tell you what, after being at Basic Military Training for about two weeks with short hair that would just not stay up in any kind of bun and having an MTI come up to me and say, "Get it together, Rowe! Your hair looks like a hot mess!" it was then that I decided to embrace the dreaded sock bun. And I decided to call it the "donut bun" instead, because that just sounds better—I suppose. After about three successful buns created with my small, brown mesh donut, I was sold. I don't care what anyone has to say about the donut bun, it's quick, it's easy, it works for almost any hair length that can be put up, and it's the only way to put your hair up in less than a minute as Reveille is going off and 46 girls are scrambling around you to get their beds made.

So whether you're researching how best to wear your hair while at BMT or just wanting to try a new updo, here's my tutorial for the military version of the sock bun.



Basic Steps:
  1. Pull hair up into low ponytail (it has to be low enough to put your ABU cap on)
  2. String ponytail through mesh donut, bringing donut all the way up to base of hair tie
  3. Fan ponytail over mesh donut, making sure to evenly cover mesh with hair
  4. Wrap second hair tie around mesh donut
  5. Secure loose ends with bobby pins
  6. (Optional) Pull & tug hair around mesh donut to create a fuller, more voluminous bun
  7. Finish with a light (or heavy—if you're at BMT) mist of hairspray
My favorite step and trick to the whole process is Step 6, where you give your bun that added bit of volume. I know the slicked-down look is so popular in the military, but I think a nice, full bun (especially if your hair is fine like mine) looks so much better and really elevates the whole look.

Also, if your hair is longer—at Step 5, you can either braid or twist the loose ends (try making 3-4 small braids/twists) before pinning them to give your bun a really chic, polished look. Unfortunately, my hair is still far too short to attempt any of those neat tricks, but the other girls at Basic Training looked so nice when they added little braided accents to their buns.

Do you rock the donut bun? I know several women who wear it out and about and I think it looks really nice—especially when it's not totally slicked down!



The little details: Eyes: Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes c/o my cousin & Younique Presenter Lindsay, Sterling Silver Wrap Ring: c/o The Vintage Pearl



Monday, September 29, 2014

The AFOQT

Officer AFOQT Test, Studying for the AFOQT, Taking the AFOQT to Commission as an Officer

At 0600 (zero six hundred, also 6:00 am, for the civilians here—which is most of you) on Wednesday, August 20th, I walked up the concrete steps of the Boise MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station), mentally preparing for a very big test that could hold a lot of impact for my future—I was about to take the AFOQT! This is the test that all future officer candidates must take to qualify for a coveted commissioned position (hence Air Force Officer Qualifying Test). Four hours later, I walked out of the glass doors with tense shoulders, a coffee in my hand, and the broadest smile on my face—I had done it!

Now before you begin to ask me the, "Why didn't you just commission when you joined because you already have a college degree?" bit, I'll just say straight-up that the Air Guard does it differently. Unless you're a doctor or a lawyer, you pretty much have to go in as enlisted and then go for a commission afterward—regardless of having a degree or not (I have a B.S. in Health Education & Promotion). So that's why I joined as enlisted. And to be honest, I didn't think I'd ever want to be an officer—I was (and still am) totally happy being a member of the enlisted force. But things change, you know? And if things do change and I decide the officer route is the way I'd like to go—at least the test is out of the way.

So, the AFOQT. It's a beast. Truly. It's like a souped-up version of the ASVAB (the test you take to join the military, which is very similar to an SAT/ACT type test), but harder, longer and requiring much, much quicker responses. I had to go to work after finishing the AFOQT and my brain was like, "Work... cannot... paper... typing... what?" for the rest of the day. Here's the test's 470-question (yes, 470!) breakdown:
  1. Verbal Analogies: 25 questions - 8 minutes
  2. Arithmetic Reasoning: 25 questions - 29 minutes
  3. Word Knowledge: 25 questions - 5 minutes
  4. Math Knowledge: 25 questions - 22 minutes
  5. Instrument Comprehension: 20 questions - 6 minutes
  6. Block Counting: 20 questions - 3 minutes
    • 10 minute break
  7. Table Reading: 40 questions - 7 minutes
  8. Aviation Information: 20 questions - 8 minutes
  9. Rotated Blocks: 15 questions - 13 minutes
  10. General Science: 20 questions - 10 minutes
  11. Hidden Figures: 15 questions - 8 minutes
  12. Self Description Inventory: 220 questions - 40 minutes
To say that this test has very short time limits is quite the understatement. I was able get through most of the sections without too much trouble, but the Block Counting & Table Reading? You've got to be kidding! Those ones go way too fast. It's safe to say I guessed on a quarter of those sections as I furiously scribbled in the last few bubbles before the time ran out. And then there's the personal description inventory—which is essentially a personality test—and that one was totally easy to finish on time; it only took me 20 minutes.

Overall, the test was alright. Some sections surprised me (like Word Knowledge—it was easier than I thought it would be) and others totally blew my mind (Block Counting—I'm so bad at it!). I am glad I studied a bit before taking it by taking a few practice tests and reading the Barron's Officer Candidate School Test book. I wouldn't recommend going in cold turkey. You only get two chances to take the AFOQT, and being prepared is the way to go.

As far as my scores go, I did just fine. I didn't measure up to my ASVAB score (which was a 96), but my scores are high enough to qualify me for any officer position I could apply for. I have been told that most officer candidates bring quantitative scores that range anywhere from the 30's to the 60's to the table—and mine were considerably higher than that, so I'm very pleased. I have no plans to take the test again to try to improve my score. I passed and ended up with an above-average and competitive score, so it's all good! In fact, I'm just glad it's over!

So the next steps? Hurry up and wait—since I'm not quite sure this is the avenue I'd like to pursue, I'm in no rush to make any huge decisions. In addition, in the Air Guard, you can't commission until a job opens up, and then you have to apply for it along with everyone else and their cousin who are going after it with hungry, hungry eyes. Most officer positions at our base are the traditional type, so I could still maintain my civilian job at the hospital and then just be an officer one weekend a month with the Air Guard. Sounds like a win/win to me! Not only would commissioning be a huge honor, but it would also be an amazing career path that could lead to many doors being opened in the future. Plus, with babies coming along someday, this could bring a wonderful opportunity to be able to, well, have more choices about which direction we'd like to go with jobs/income/etc. when that time finally comes.

So that's life at the moment. It's stinkin' awesome! No big plans, no big changes. We're just waiting, planning, dreaming—and loving every minute!

PS / / This post isn't intended to be a tell-all or study guide for the AFOQT. If you'd like an awesome breakdown of the AFOQT and tips on how to take it from a military blogger who I admire and look to for all my questions, check out Aim High Erin.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Quick, Easy & Healthy Recipes

Quick and Easy Recipes, Healthy Recipes for Bulk Meal Planning and Prep, Robert Rothschild Farm Healthy Recipes

As part of my dairy-free and healthy-eating initiative, I've started planning out my work-week meals, prepping them in bulk, and living out of tupperware containers. I pretty much eat the same things for the first four meals of the day, and then have something fun for dinner. Breakfast = oatmeal, snack = fruit or protein rice cake, lunch = protein + veggies, snack = veggies or nuts, dinner = TBD.

Here are three of my favorite work-week recipes that help keep my body fueled and my calories on track. To keep it low-maintenance, I typically take one of the basic recipes below and sub ingredients to create new combinations. It helps keep my menu fresh while keeping my time spent in the kitchen to a minimum.

Fruit and Cinnamon Quick Oats

Fruit & Cinnamon Quick Oats

Ingredients:
  1. 1/4c Quaker Quick Oats
  2. 1/4c water or milk
  3. 1/8c raisins
  4. 1 tbsp Stone Fruit Preserves
  5. 1 tsp cinnamon
Directions: Add hot water to oats (or microwave oats + liquid). Add toppings. Enjoy.

Serves: 1

Approximate calories per serving: 175

Tip: Can be made in bulk and/or as overnight oats! I also sometimes add peanut butter, powdered protein, Cheerios (yes, Cheerios—Chocolate and Peanut Butter Whole Grain Cheerios are the best!) and/or nuts. I eat oatmeal for breakfast every single day (and depending on my workout, sometimes opt for a 1/2c instead of 1/4c).

Sriracha Teriyaki Slow Cooker Chicken and Vegetables

Sriracha Teriyaki Chicken & Veggies

Ingredients:
  1. 6 frozen chicken breasts
  2. 1 cup Sriracha Teriyaki Sauce
  3. 1 sliced green pepper
  4. 1c green beans 
  5. Dash of garlic salt
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-hours. Portion out into containers and enjoy with a side of fresh veggies.

Serves: 8

Approximate calories per serving: 204

Tip: If your planning meals for you and a significant other, this is a great one to put over rice, noodles or on a bun for those who require a higher daily caloric intake. You can also sub the cup of sauce for a salsa or marinade to switch up the flavors and theme of the meal.

Chia Seed Pudding with Coconut Milk and Fruit Preserve Topping

Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients:
  1. 1/3c chia seeds
  2. 1 1/3c almond milk (or your preference)
  3. 1 tbsp sweetener
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1/8c coconut milk (optional)
  6. 1 tbsp Mixed Berry Preserves (optional)
  7. Dash of cinnamon (optional)
Directions: Mix ingredients together with whisk. Refrigerate. Mix again in 10 minutes (helps remove tapioca-like clumps). Portion into containers and refrigerate overnight. When ready to eat, top with coconut milk, preserves and cinnamon.

Serves: 3

Approximate calories per serving: 169

The credit from this recipe goes to my cousin Kristen!
A big thanks goes out to Robert Rothschild Farm, who provided all of the delicious sauces and fruit preserves to make these recipes possible! I've experimented with many of their organic sauces and found that I can modify my recipes just slightly to accommodate any of their sauces into a delicious recipe. And it doesn't stop there—their sauces double as dips (Pineapple Habanero pictured with my steak above) and salad dressings (Blueberry Balsamic over my spinach & peach salad) too!

Healthy eating doesn't have to be hard or take hours in the kitchen. If you take the few minutes to prep your meals over the weekend and portion them out for the week, you're putting yourself on that path to a healthy body & healthy lifestyle.

PS / / I was interviewed over at the Dansko blog, Word of Foot, about how to kickstart your daily routine & incorporate healthy living all day long. Read the feature here!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Seattle Road Trip

Seattle Road Trip Video Diary, Whidbey Island Trip

As I shared last week, we took a road trip to Washington to visit family over Labor Day weekend. We had so much fun. We rode the Mukilteo Ferry, took long beach walks and found several agates to add to our collections, ate amazingly delicious food (Village Pizzeria, Ivars and/or Molly Moon's anyone?), toured downtown Seattle, and spent quality time with my family.

I captured the best moments of this trip through a video diary—my favorite way to share my story. I feel like seeing life through my eyes says so much more than a single photo and words ever can express. You get raw emotions (3:51—ha!), hilarious dancing (if you're watching one of my videos, anyway), outtakes & bloopers (with my family, there are always a lot!), and a whole different perspective that delves into each scene and moment in time. You also get to see just how much we love each other. Watch the video & dance along to two of my favorite songs below.



See more photos from our trip here. I'd love to know, what's your favorite shot from the video?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Whidbey Island 2014

Whidbey Island beach

My favorite place in the entire world is Whidbey Island in Washington. I'm not sure if it's because that's where my grandparents live, or if it's because we spent every summer there as kids, or if it's because family agate hunting trips make for the most enjoyable memories. I think it's a little bit of all of it.

Daniel and I visited Washington over Labor Day weekend and stayed a couple days on Whidbey and a couple days in Seattle. Typically on our vacations, I take a ton of photos—and this time I only took about 15! I think last year I ended up with at least ten times that many. This trip, I focused on making a video diary of our time spent there, so stay tuned for that next week. You can see photos from last year's Washington trip here: Whidbey Island, Maxwelton Beach, the 4th of July, Pike Place Market, and Seattle.

Here are some of the few photos from our trip, all of which were from our days spent on Whidbey. Sadly, I don't have any Seattle photos this year. Bummer!

Ivars ice cream cone in Mukilteo Washington
After all of my raving about Ivars' clam chowder and soft serve swirl cones, Daniel knew he had to try both out while we waited to board the ferry over to Whidbey. Ivars, you have a new fan!
Maxwelton Ferry, Kittitas Ferry ride
Aboard the Mulkilteo Ferry, overlooking the Puget Sound.Whidbey Island 2014 Trip
Nanny and Papa—my grandparents (on my mom's side)—and lights of my life!
Maxwelton Beach on Whidbey Island
Exploring Maxwelton Beach.
Beach House on Maxwelton Beach on Whidbey Island
The beach house my grandparents used to live in. It's so classic and brings back the best memories.
Finding crabs on Maxwelton Beach on Whidbey Island
Daniel was all about the tide flats and catching crabs.
Maxwelton Beach on Whidbey Island
Agate Hunting on Maxwelton Beach on Whidbey Island
A small, glowing agate. We found three one day and ten the next—we will be showing them off in the video to come.
Love spelled in driftwood, Whidbey Island Love
We stumbled upon this beautiful piece of beach art.
Whidbey Island Trip 2014
Honestly, they're so cool. I love my grandparents so much!
Maxwelton Ferry, Kittitas Ferry Ride
On the Mukilteo Ferry heading to Seattle.

This trip was so much fun. I got to spend some quality time with my sister, go for two long (like 4 hours!) and perfect-weather beach walks, work out at the country club's gym each day, got to go for an early-morning run with my mom, and got to eat the most heavenly slice of pizza ever created at Village Pizzeria in Langley. No trip to Whidbey is complete without stopping at the Village Pizzeria for a slice of pesto and finishing it off with a little shopping at the Star Store!

You can also watch a video diary of our entire trip—complete with family, beach walks, agates, games, sights of Washington, delicious food, laughter and so much love. These trips always make me wonder—why do we only go once a year? My new mission is to change that!

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