things that are making me happy



  • Becoming homeowners!! : )
  • The generosity of my parents, uncle, and sister in helping us move
  • Discovering a delicious Thai restaurant near our new place
  • A new season of True Detective to watch
  • Plus the new show Ballers
  • My in-laws coming to visit for the 4th of July
  • Our pets adjusting well to the move
  • Iced black coffee
  • The U.S. women’s soccer team making it to the World Cup final
  • My new planner

fit by 27


What ages have been defining years in your life?

Age 25 was a defining year for me. I tore the ACL in my left knee, ten years after I tore and had surgery on the right one. I was diagnosed with celiac disease. If those two life events weren’t enough, I was also completing my first full year as a classroom teacher in an innovative school model.  With the support of my husband, family, and amazing co-workers, I finally started putting my health before work (since I basically didn’t have a choice at this point), and with their support, learned to not let myself feel guilty for it. With these emotional breakthroughs, plus the fact that I finally have a more complete picture of my health and what my body needs to thrive, and I am ready to make 26 yet another defining year for me.

By the time I turn 27, I will be consistently eating for health in a balanced and healthy manner, I will no longer fit the medical definition of obese, and I will crave and love exercising again like I did when I was a teenager.

To help me stay focused on health as a fun journey and one that is centered around more than just weigh loss, but positive habits, I created a Fitness Bucket List for age 26. Here are all the activities I want to complete by June 7, 2016:

  1. Try every fitness class at my gym.
  2. Complete Blogilates for Beginners calendar.
  3. Complete a monthly calendar for Blogilates.
  4. Go at least one month in which Dan and I only eat out one meal a week.
  5. Make at least 5 recipes from the Oh She Glows cookbook.
  6. Make at least 5 recipes from the Skinnytaste cookbook.
  7. Make at least 10 new recipes from the Tone It Up nutrition plan.
  8. Run in a 5K race.
  9. Bike 100 miles outside on my road bike (versus a stationary bike at the gym) by the end of fall break 2015.
  10. Complete the Workitout 100 challenge.
  11. Complete a Whole30 challenge.
  12. Complete the 21 Day Fix workout plan as written.
  13. Go to the gym and workout before work every day for a week.
  14. Do yoga every day for a month.
  15. Follow a Tone It Up weekly workout schedule exactly as written for at least one whole week.

I will be posting overall weekly updates on my Fit By 27 journey, as well as some individual posts about different items on my fitness bucket list. I’m very excited to finally prioritize my health and go after what I want. I know I have created fitness challenges and projects for  myself in the past, and haven’t had a ton of sustaining success. I really believe I will achieve my goals, improve my attitude, and revise my lifestyle for keeps this year not because I have finally realized life is always busy and there is no perfect time to make big changes, but because I have finally matured enough to be able to handle that fact and just do it anyway. Here’s to 26 and getting fit!

Have you ever done any of the activities on my bucket list? Are you on a similar fitness journey yourself?

*image created using Rhonna Designs app

101 Things in 1,001 Days

With it being New Year’s Day, I, like a lot of society, am excited for a new year and fresh start. I’ve written New Year’s resolutions pretty much every year for as long as I can remember. Recently, in the years 2011, 2012, and 2013, I created and followed what I called the New Year’s All Year Challenge. It went okay for me in 2011, and pretty well for me in 2012, but I did not keep up with in 2013. A lot of changes occurred in my life this past year (like moving out of my parents’ house, getting married, a new job, etc.), and trying to stay focused on multiple goals every month on top of those changes started to feel very overwhelming for me. I eventually let go of them because I tend to be a perfectionist and my lack of progress on them (due to focusing on all the other big events and adjustments going on) was unnecessarily stressing me out. While my 2014 isn’t currently shaping up to have the type of life-changing events 2013, I have decided to forgo doing a 2014 New Year’s All Year Challenge for the similar reasons. I want to achieve my goals in life, but I want to make sure I am doing so in a balanced way that doesn’t put unneeded pressure on myself.  I want to enjoy the journey and make sure I am having fun and spending time with those I love.

I am a longtime fan of Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling, and I recently realized her 101 Things in 1,001 Days project is perfect way for me to approach the next year. Well, really, the next 2.75 years. As she described it, it’s a “happy medium between writing a to do list and keeping a bucket list. It’s a way to dream big and make regular progress toward meeting those longer term goals.” So, I have crafted my own list and will begin my journey today! I look forward to sharing my progress and experiences with everyone. Happy New Year!!! : )

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Start: January 1, 2014


  1. Compete in a masters swim meet.
  2. Complete a triathlon.
  3. Meet my goal weight.
  4. Do yoga every day for a month.
  5. Stop biting my nails.
  6. Complete a Bible study.
  7. Try every fitness class offered at my gym.
  8. Take a self-defense class.
  9. Give up swearing for Lent (and see if it lasts after that!).
  10. Complete a plank challenge.
  11. Floss every other day for a month (and see if I can finally maintain the habit).
  12. Go to the eye doctor.
  13. Eat as a vegetarian for a month.
  14. Complete a squat challenge.
  15. Try 20 different workouts from what I have saved from magazines over the years.
  16. Practice meditation/mindfulness every day for a month.


  1. Attend a musical I’ve never seen before.
  2. Revisit the major museums in Cleveland (4).
  3. Go to a Blue Jackets game.
  4. Go apple or berry picking.
  5. Attend a live comedy show.
  6. Ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
  7. Eat at five new-to-me restaurants in the Cleveland or Columbus area.
  8. Go on a tour of a brewery.
  9. Attend a professional orchestra concert.
  10. Visit the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
  11. Go camping.
  12. Visit the Underground Railroad museum in Cincinnati.
  13. Obtain a passport and use it, even if only to travel to Canada (the only other country I have ever been in besides the U.S.).
  14. Visit the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton.
  15. Take Madison to the dog beach.
  16. Visit Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  17. Attend Dinner on the Diamond again.
  18. See a major league baseball game in a stadium I have never been to before.
  19. Go to a BGSU home football game.


  1. Send Christmas cards to all of our family and friends before the holiday.
  2. Host a book club meeting.
  3. Prepare a meal for my family using an outdoor grill.
  4. Do something extra special for each member of my family.
  5. Host a fancy brunch for my friends.
  6. Mail my closest friends and family cards for each birthday during these 1,001 days.
  7. Throw a party for my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary.


  1. Donate to PAWS in Madison’s name.
  2. Donate toys to kids in need.
  3. Donate to BGSU.
  4. Complete 25 random acts of kindness.
  5. Donate blankets or coats to those in need.
  6. “Pay it forward” at a coffee shop or at a tollbooth.
  7. Donate books to an organization that distributes them to those who need them or volunteer with a literacy organization.
  8. Complete 40 service hours.
  9. Sponsor an athlete at PSH or donate to scholarships offered through PCSD.


  1. Read 75 books I have never read before.
  2. Bake a pie from scratch.
  3. Make a pizza (dough and sauce) from scratch.
  4. Complete compiling and order a full wedding album.
  5. See a classic movie in a movie theater.
  6. Knit a scarf.
  7. Make 15 recipes out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
  8. Be inspired by Pinterest 10 times to either create/bake/cook something or utilize a cleaning/organization tip.
  9. Back up all my photos.
  10. Make a T-shirt quilt.
  11. Watch 10 Best Picture winning films I haven’t see before.
  12. Back up all my music.
  13. Create Snapfish or Shutterfly albums for each year since high school.
  14. Bake 12 different recipes of cookies and cut each recipe into an unique shape using our Year Of Cookies cookie cutters we were gifted for our wedding.
  15. Spend at least two months blogging consistently (five days a week).
  16. Watch Gone With the Wind again.
  17. Organize all my workout and recipe clippings from magazines into navigable binders/digital files.


  1. Start a history podcast and publish at least three episodes.
  2. Organize all my previously written swim practices and planning into navigable binders/digital files.
  3. Obtain a full-time classroom position and/or begin earning my masters degree.
  4. Learn all of the world’s capital cities and the names and locations of major rivers, mountains, etc.
  5. Develop my Honors Project (from college) into a full book.
  6. Organize all my lesson plans and resources into navigable binders/digital files.
  7. Find a way to combine my loves of social media and the field of education into something that serves a resource and/or community for either teachers or students.
  8. Truly study (not just skim/index through) all the swimming books I own and organize my notes on them into navigable binders/digital files.

Things That Scare Me

  1. Sing karaoke
  2. Buy a bikini and wear it in public.
  3. Get another tattoo.


  1. Pay off the Honda Civic Dan and I purchased in March 2013 ahead of schedule.
  2. Save at least $5,000.
  3. Create a solid budget and begin cultivating spending/saving tracking habits by following it successfully for at least two months.
  4. Finish changing name on all accounts/relevant records.
  5. Write a will and a living will.


  1. Buy big plastic bins and use them to organize the storage space/seasonal decorations.
  2. Set up a home office.
  3. Create and implement a rotating cleaning schedule and follow it for at least two months straight.
  4. Do an intake of my belongings, donate or toss what I don’t need, and organize what I am keeping.
  5. Find a more effective system for receiving mail, disposing of it/filing it, and responding to it.
  6. Style our bedroom.
  7. Style our living room.
  8. Buy an actual address book and use it.
  9. Clean my car and keep it tidy for at least two months.


  1. Find a skincare regimen that works for me and follow it for at least 30 days.
  2. Buy a grown up watch, and wear it regularly.
  3. Learn 5 new ways to style my hair.
  4. Get a pedicure.
  5. Find the perfect little black dress.
  6. Get grown-up luggage and use it (instead of using my backpack from high school!).
  7. Find my “signature scent.”
  8. Purchase a monogrammed bracelet or necklace.

 End date: September 27, 2016    


Image source

weekly gems


Have a wonderful weekend, my dears : )

new year’s, all year: 2012 reflections

All year long, you have read posts from the New Year’s, All Year series. Every month, I created new goals in categories that I (at the beginning of 2012) had recognized as the current major areas of my life: health, finances, relationships, career, wedding planning, and self-enrichment. These goals were made to be stepping stones for the “endpoint” goals I had set for each of these areas – basically, how I wanted to end the year in regards to each area. I set “stepping stone” goals in order to to take into account any new obstacles and then set realistic, measurable objectives. That way, I didn’t make a ton of super specific goals in a year-long format and then have to scale them back throughout the year due to unexpected challenges.

I like this revised, 2012 format of the New Year’s, All Year Challenge much more than the original one from 2011. It made me really assess my desires and actions every month and be more mindful and reflective in my habits.

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest


So, what were my endpoint goals for 2012? Here they are:

  • Health: live an overall healthier lifestyle
  • Finances: be more organized, balanced, and responsible
  • Relationships: maintain mutually supportive relationships that are in balance with one another
  • Wedding: have location and date set and all major vendors booked
  • Career: aggressively pursue full-time teaching position; develop my coaching skills and knowledge while also developing the school’s swimming program further
  • Self-enrichment: allow “me” time without overindulging; actively participate in passions, hobbies, interests, etc. further

And what type of progress did I make? 

  • Health: I did improve my lifestyle, though I still have a long way to go. I lost some weight, which I needed to do, I learned more about how to eat best for my needs and lifestyle by seeing a nutritionist, I joined a gym, I tried new classes and two 5Ks, and I returned to counseling to manage new challenges in stemming from my issues with anxiety. I have more progress to make, but, overall, I think I’m leaving 2012 healthier than I entered it, and I consider that a success.
  • Finances: I am definitely more responsible and organized, though I do think I can still be more balanced and more attentive/pro-active.
  • Relationships: While I am only one person in each of my relationships, so I can’t speak definitively, I would say my relationships with my family, fiance, and friends are pretty solid and mutually supportive. I hope to do whatever I can to help them get stronger and be even better of a daughter, sister, fiancee/wife, friend, etc.
  • Wedding: locations are set, date is set, caterers and baker are set, music is set, photography is set…but there is still so much to do!!!
  • Career: I did aggressively pursue a full-time teaching position, and struggled with that challenge quite a bit. While I did not obtain one this school year, I did have an opportunity that was amazing for me and has opened up more doors and support. Also, the swim program has grown in strength and size.
  • Self-enrichment: I think I still need to find a balance between work and play and how much time to devote to each without being self-depriving or over-indulgent, but I think  I did a good job this year of letting myself enjoy life and not worry as much as I used to.


I am grateful for this year. It was hard, at times, for various reasons: self-confidence, career success, finances, family’s health, concern for others, changing negative habits, balance of relationships, wedding planning, loss, etc. But it was also a good year, for many, many reasons: learning how to better stay positive and grateful, career opportunities, grace and kindness of others, health problems having manageable solutions, progress in goals and plans, cherishing memories, and the power of love, laughter, and the little things in life that brighten a day. Some of my favorite moments of the year: celebrating Dan and I’s three year anniversary, the success of my first swim season as head coach, setting a wedding date, Bowling Green visits, seeing The Beach Boys, Indians games, another summer as a lifeguard, having my own classroom, seeing my sister in plays, being hired as a district substituteand countless “little things”: Netflix nights and dinners with my family or Dan, trivia nights with friends, going to the Starbucks drive thru with Madison and Sasha in the back seat, babysitting and housesitting, listening to podcasts on drives to and from Columbus, visits with my grandma or godchildren, lunch with my colleagues at school, naps on my parents’ porch, coffee every morning, and so, so much more.

I am greatly looking forward to what 2013 holds. Even if it brings some hard times, it will be okay. Life is hard, but I’m going to enjoy it anyway.


bucket list: summer 2012

All right, so I’ve got summer on my mind (and I think that’s okay; it’s May 10th already!). Every year I usually make a “summer fun list” of things I want to do that summer, though I never shared them through this blog before. After seeing Emily’s post, though, I realized it was silly that I never thought to (especially because I have this series here on Beagle & Bear!). In any case, here’s my Summer 2012 Bucket List!



  1. Go to as many baseball games as possible.
  2. Visit a Cleveland museum.
  3. Go to dinner at Great Lakes Brewery Company.
  4. Complete a 5K.
  5. See some of these movies.
  6. Visit the Columbus zoo (I haven’t been there since before the Polar Frontier opened!)
  7. Try every group fitness class at the gym I recently joined.
  8. Go to Melt Bar & Grilled, but JUST for drinks and dessert.
  9. Go to a concert and/or camping….whatever happens to work out best!
  10. Bike a total of at least 50 miles on the towpath trail.

Basically, I just want to make my summer full of all things Ohio (including the two cities I spend the most time in, Cleveland and Columbus) while including plenty of entertaining experiences and opportunities for fitness. I can’t wait to start knocking items of this list!

Do you have a summer bucket list? What are you most excited about?


does anyone else…



…look forward to the beginning of a new month for new monthly dining specials and shopping deals?

…love Burt’s Bees chapstick?

…prefer leggings to shorts when working out?

…feel gross without two cups of coffee in the morning?

…enjoy key lime pie ice cream?

…like listening to baseball games on the radio better than watching them on TV?

…prefer Mondays to Wednesdays?

…wish *NSYNC would just go on a reunion tour already?

…have plans to see a movie this weekend?

…love giving and receiving greeting cards?



recent loves

Book – I cannot stop reading Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. I’m totally hooked! Perfect for anyone who likes mysteries and/or chick lit.

TV Show – I’m loving the show White Collar. The characters are endearing, hilarious, strong, and smart, the acting is excellent, and the writing is fun and engaging. I highly recommend it if you like shows like Bones, Body of Proof, In Plain Sight, etc.

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

App – I’ve had Instagram for several months now, but I’ve just recently become really hooked. Recording and sharing the small but meaningful parts of life adds a little extra celebration and positivity to each day. Plus, the photos of other users are so fun and inspiring!

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

Beauty – As I’ve mentioned, I’m getting more and more interested in the world of beauty, particularly nail polish. Right now I’m really loving Nicki Minaj for OPI Metallic 4 Life.

Snack – Lots of people adore cake. I’m not typically one of them. However, I do enjoy cupcakes and cake pops. As a result, I tried Starbucks’s new cake pop, raspberry truffle – and fell in love. Delicious!

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

Workout – Have you ever tried Zumba? If not, you must! I truly love it. It’s fun, and a really is a great workout without even feeling like it. I’ve been going to a class once a week most weeks for the past couple weeks. I’d love to increase that number or pick up the DVDs.

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

Quote – I find quotes by First Ladies to be particularly inspiring and wise. This sentiment by Martha Washington is no exception.

What have you been loving lately?

my life: recent happenings via instagram

First three photos: My friend Elizabeth’s cute papillon puppy, Rosie (she’s 2.5 pounds!); Madison in a basket of blankets; cuddling with my family’s dog Sasha while watching Wheel of Fortune with my parents. Middle three photos: fantastic Melt Quesadilla appetizer Dan & I shared on our first trip to Melt Bar & Grilled; my delicious BBQ chicken grilled cheese from Melt; yummy cake from Resch’s Bakery, courtesy of my future-in-laws, to celebrate Dan & I’s engagement (and in our wedding colors!). Last three photos: Dan & I before his indoor soccer game; Dan knocking down an opponent player while playing; booty from my weekend trip to Target.
Sorry I’ve been a bit absent lately. (I also apologize if there are formatting issues while viewing this post – some browsers aren’t displaying it correctly) The end of the swim season accompanied with subbing and traveling often has taken some toll on my spare time, which has been spent with family and friends with little leftover time for blogging. What have you all been up to lately?
*If for some reason you are having trouble leaving a comment, please e-mail me at or leave me a comment on Beagle and Bear’s Facebook page. Thanks for your help with this issue!