- Dan, my amazing husband
- Madison, Frieda, and Harriet, our wonderful pets
- My fantastic family, my parents, siblings, in-laws, and extended relatives – they’re all extraordinary
- My excellent friends
- A challenging and rewarding job
- Buying our incredible house!! : )
- Getting to travel for through my job – to places I’ve never been, like San Francisco, and to places I’ve been to but got to discover new parts of, like Washington, D.C., and New York City
- Books (I met my reading challenge of reading 30 books this year! I’m setting the same goal for next year)
- Lots of coffee
- Rehabbing my knee
- Trips to Columbus, Madison, OH, and Bowling Green
- Hosting family and friends on trips to Cleveland
- Indians, Cavs, and Columbus Crew games
- Being diagnosed with celiac disease and starting to feel better
- Fun nights playing Mario 3D World and Mario Kart
- Meeting Matthew Dellavedova
- Easter dinner at my grandma’s house
- Many walks in the park
- Trips to the movies with Dan and my dad
- Getting new glasses and a new haircut
- Attending showers for friends’ babies and weddings, and celebrating those terrific life changes with them
- Learning to like running
- Sitting on our deck
- Visiting the Cleveland Zoo
- Board game parties at my sister-in-law Cate’s apartment
- Suppers at my parents’ house
- Biking all over
- Finally getting to visit the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH, with Dan
- Cooking in our new kitchen
- Watching football games and English soccer games
- Decorating our house for the holidays
- Back to the Future themed Halloween costumes with Back to the Future movie marathon leading up to it
- Hosting Thanksgiving dinner for our families in our new home
- A wonderful Christmas weekend with our families and time together approaching the new year : )
And of course, hundreds of little moments that bring a smile to your face every day – blaring Adele in the car and singing at the top of my lungs, naps under the electric blanket with my cat laying on my side, laughing with my husband over something silly, brunch after church, playing with my dog. My main focus in 2016 is to flourish – to focus on becoming healthier, growing in my faith, spending time with my family, and just plain enjoying and celebrating life.
What were your favorite moments of 2015? Any goals or hopes for 2016?
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:
- Try every fitness class at my gym.
- Complete Blogilates for Beginners calendar.
- Complete a monthly calendar for Blogilates.
- Go at least one month in which Dan and I only eat out one meal a week.
- Make at least 5 recipes from the Oh She Glows cookbook.
- Make at least 5 recipes from the Skinnytaste cookbook.
- Make at least 10 new recipes from the Tone It Up nutrition plan.
- Run in a 5K race.
- Bike 100 miles outside on my road bike (versus a stationary bike at the gym) by the end of fall break 2015.
- Complete the Workitout 100 challenge.
- Complete a Whole30 challenge.
- Complete the 21 Day Fix workout plan as written.
- Go to the gym and workout before work every day for a week.
- Do yoga every day for a month.
- 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
Had fun watching a FA Cup game last weekend!
- Outfits I adore: 1, 2, 3. Plus, these shirts.
- The real-life friendships of the Harry Potter cast are just the best. Also, get your Harry Potter questions answered here.
- These drawings of Baymax as other Disney characters are fantastic.
- I’m not sure that I could wear the same thing to work every day.
- These signs you’re in a relationship with a teacher are spot-on.
- If you’re having a rough day, check out this video.
- Here’s just another reason to love Anna Kendrick.
- Weddings I love: 1, 2, 3.
- Emily’s post on the power of a positive response is perfect.
- Recipes I want to try: tropical mango spring rolls, vanilla coconut panna cotta, ancho shrimp tacos, pistachio quinoa dukkah crusted chicken fingers with sun-dried tomato pesto, sriracha lime chicken skillet, easy zoodles bake, spicy mango and avocado rice bowl, apple, almond, bacon, and brussels sprout salad, and easy weeknight chicken tacos.
Dan and I at our first Indians game of the season this weekend!
- Reflections on five years of marriage. Love it : )
- Dan was the one who first showed me this video. Hilarious.
- Outfits I adore: 1, 2, 3.
- This poem. Lovely.
- Relieved to know other people Google this fact a lot as well!
- This post about rescuing dogs left me in tears – a must read.
- Weddings I love: 1, 2, 3.
- How to find the best lipstick for you.
- Mackenzie’s spring to-do list sounds pretty darn fun.
- Daffodils, yes please.
- I sorta love this pink bathroom.
- How to make your own patterned photo mats.
- Enjoyed Jessica’s post about making moments special…and the decadent milkshake recipe that accompanies it ; )
- Recipes I want to try: skinny Meyer lemon mousse, seared shrimp salad with jicama, strawberries, and avocado, raspberry creme brulee, mango salsa, raspberry banana smoothie, ham and pineapple fried cauliflower rice, almond banana dragon fruit smoothie bowl, no bake oatmeal raspberry cookie sandwiches, and spicy shrimp tacos with garlic cilantro lime slaw.
My husband and I rarely fight over the TV. We both enjoy watching sports and most of the same TV shows. We hardly ever want to watch different programs as the same time.
Except for last night.
Last night, I wanted to watch the Academy Awards – from the very beginning, on the red carpet. Dan wanted to watch the Grantland basketball hour with guest Kobe Bryant. This meant for the last half hour of the red carpet and the first half hour of the actual ceremony, our living room was a battleground. I ceded ground during the red carpet, but surged back at 8:30 when the ceremony began. During J.K. Simmon’s acceptance speech, Dan said, “We don’t have to listen to the speeches, though, right?” and switched to Grantland.
Me: “DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT THE OSCARS ARE?”
Dan: “Do you not understand who Kobe is?”
Me: “IT’S THE OSCARS. THIS IS MY THING. I’VE LOVED IT LONGER THAN I’VE LOVED YOU.”
It was a bit dramatic.
Once 9:00 hit and Grantland was over, peace returned to our humble abode and it was all Oscars, all night. My favorite moments of the show were:
- How adorable Anna Faris and Chris Pratt were on the red carpet with Robin Roberts. Don’t they just seem like a couple who could live next door to you and be your best friends?
- The opening number. I love anytime Neil Patrick Harris or Anna Kenderick sing, and Jack Black always cracks me up. Plus, I thought all the visual effects were flat-out awesome.
- NPH in general. He was a great host, with just enough of an edge (“Snowden couldn’t be here for some treason”) mixed with just enough corny (“This Oscar presenter is just so lovely you could eat her up with her spoon”). I even enjoyed the briefcase bit, though I know not a lot of people did.
- Quoting Robin Williams in the presentation of Best Supporting Actor, which was a nice homage to the late Oscar winner.
- NPH introducing Jennifer Aniston and David Oyelowo as a presenting pair by saying, “Both of whom deserve to be here,” a nod to the fact that both gave strong and well-regarded performances in movies this past year but failed to be nominated for an acting award.
- Idina Menzel and John Travolta presenting Best Song together and joking around about Travolta’s mispronunciation of Menzel’s name last year, plus NPH’s intro and follow-up jokes to their presentation (“Travolta will be back next year to apologize to Idina for all the face touching”).
- Acceptance speeches: J.K. Simmons’s request that everyone call their parents; Patricia Arquette’s call for equal pay among the sexes (plus Meryl Streep and J. Lo’s reactions); Common andJohn Legend’s eloquence; Graham Moore’s “stay weird, stay different” message; Dana Perry speaking about her son Evan and saying “we need to talk about suicide, out loud”; Eddie Redmayne’s adorable excitement; Julianne Moore being happy to win an Oscar because it could mean an extra five years of life with her younger husband; Michael Keaton saying, “I’m just happy to be here.”
- The PERFORMANCES. What a year for them! The supreme talent that is Jennifer Hudson giving a beautiful tribute to those who passed away; a pure fun performance of “Everything is Awesome” complete with Lego Oscars; Tim McGraw singing “Not Gonna Miss You,” very gracefully – the lyrics of which were just heartbreaking; Common and John Legend’s incredible performance of “Glory,” with such strong lyrics, Legend’s gorgeous voice, and the crowds of people walking behind them across a replica bridge. AND LADY GAGA HOLY MOLY. She looked so classy, and her pure talent and traditional training shown through. I was so blown away.
What were your favorite moments of the Oscars this year? What winners do you agree and disagree with the most?
- My amazing husband Daniel. He works so hard every day at his job as a teacher, is fiercely loyal to his family and friends, is ridiculously passionate about sports – both watching and doing, adores animals as much as I do, and watches all the same TV shows as me (unless they are about crime). He is my best friend and the love of my life.
- My awesome family. Not only do they give provide me with role models to admire and be inspired by , but I am especially grateful for all the help and support they’ve given me during this first year teaching at a high school with a new school model AND with my knee injury and surgery. I love spending time with them – they are always on my side, they always make me laugh, and they will always watch crime TV shows with me.
- My kick-ass friends. They put up with all my random, silly, and long text messages, non-stop Snapchats of coffee and pets, my early bedtime, and my weak sarcastic ability. They are hilarious, creative, sweet, caring, fiesty, and fun. I love them to death and can’t imagine how I’d get along without them.
- My wonderful co-workers. I have been blessed to have truly great colleagues and mentors almost every place I have ever worked, but this year having a staff that supports each other as much as this staff does is absolutely essential. I don’t think any of us would have made it this far, trying to implement his new school model and make positive changes in school culture, without each other. No one “pulls rank,” no one refuses feedback, no one is unwilling or too busy to help anyone else. We are truly a team and I am so grateful.
- My pets. I don’t have kids, and no, my pets aren’t like my kids. My pets are my pets – they are animals who love unconditionally, harbor no bitterness or ill will toward anyone, and find happiness in all the small moments. They brighten my day and the day of everyone who interacts with them.
- The “basics” that aren’t really so basic – a place to live with working heat and a sound structure, located in a safe neighborhood. Clean, running water I can get by walking two feet to a faucet. Enough nutritious food to eat and the ability to choose what I want to eat. Shoes, a winter coat, gloves, and hat that are all in good shape. Clothes in general that are in good shape. Safe transportation. Access to the Internet and a computer in my own home. All the things so many of us take for granted on a daily basis.
- Health care – including vision and dental. I know this is a sore point for some people in this day and age with Obamacare and all, but I can’t imagine not having it. I have maintenance prescriptions I require for health conditions, I get sinus infections a couple times a year, I hate cavities, and you never know when an emergency or a random accident will occur – like tearing your ACL on a trampoline on a school field trip. I am so grateful I have insurance to help my family and I afford the care we need.
- My college degree and job. My job that is my dream job. It truly feels like every experience I have had, particularly since I was in high school myself, has lead me to this teaching position. A lot of the experiences were challenging, but they all prepared me for where I am right now, which is exactly where I want to be. Not only is my job, despite its intensity, emotionally and intellectually fulfilling, but it is also contributing to my family’s financial security. I am grateful for that because I know how difficult not being in such a positive situation can be.
- And of course, the random, little things that seem silly to be thankful for but really enrich every day life: COFFEE, funny TV shows, interesting podcasts, good books, really good books, an evening spent cooking and baking, a hot bath, that thrill you get when you’ve had an extra productive day or when you get an unexpected compliment, a cold beer after a long week at work, finding a coupon for your favorite grocery item, a sunny day, easy traffic on your morning commute, killing it in your workout, catching your new favorite song on the radio, making someone else laugh without expecting to, beating that level of Angry Birds you’ve been stuck on for weeks, a fantastic night of sleep, no line at the gas station or drugstore when you’re in a rush, a clear night sky so you can see the stars, the existence of HGTV, listening to music while driving by yourself in the rain, seeing someone do something nice for someone else for no reason but to be nice or polite, hugs from small children, kisses from dogs, and so, so much more.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
1. Dan and I got married.
2. We had a great minimoon!
3. And a fantastic picnic reception.
4. We also moved into our first home together.
5. I had a wonderful time getting ready for the wedding with an awesome kick ass bachelorette party planned by my sister and best friends.
6. I had a ton of fun attending others’ weddings, including a best friend’s.
7. I was hired to be a tutor full-time at my alma mater.
8. I survived a difficult season of coaching and got to see four of my swimmers compete at Districts, not to mention watch so many others improve so much.
9. Helped quite a few students keep focused, pass classes, and graduate.
10. Finally attended my first BGSU homecoming weekend as an alumni.
11. Dan and I went to many Indians games.
12. And we did Dinner on the Diamond.
13. We went to a Cavs and a Bluejackets game, too.
14. We hosted Thanksgiving for my family and his family together.
15. So many long walks with Madison in the park.
16. Joining and going to a near-by gym, as well as joining Tone It Up!
17. Buying and using my road bike.
18. Fun parties at my sister-in-law’s apartment…including Halloween when Dan & I were beekeepers and Madison was a bee!
19. I made a new close friend in my co-teacher at work.
20. Hosting friends and family for weekends in Cleveland.
21. Going to An Evening With Scott Hamilton and Friends with my parents and spending Memorial Day weekend with Dan’s family.
22. Celebrating my grandma’s 90th birthday.
23. Celebrating the end of the school year with an early summer weekend in BG.
24. And sooooo much more! Reading as much as possible, morning coffee and relaxation, cooking dinners with Dan, hilarious times with my students and swimmers, my parents adopting another dog, visits to Columbus, holiday celebrations, basically any time spent with family and friends!
It’s been a great 24th year, and I can’t wait for what the next year holds! Here’s to 25!
I’ve had a great spring break – which started off with seeing an awesome Indians win Monday evening!
- This Massachusetts kitchen is GORGEOUS. Seriously, I had to put the adjective describing it in caps, it’s that beautiful.
- 10 health benefits of lemon.
- Love these nail art looks, and the mugs that inspired them (I actually have the owl mug in brown!)
- This story is heartbreaking but beautiful.
- I really need to break pretty much all these habits.
- 33 nonfiction books about America’s greatest pastime.
- I am intrigued by this idea of reading books of a certain theme/topic in a specific order. Have you ever done something like this? What books and in what order?
- Ways to brighten your – and others’ – day. Plus 20 more. And…15 more.
- These weddings are beautiful: 1, 2, 3.
- 10 awesome YouTube channels for working out.
- Recipes I’d like to try: roasted broccolini with lemon tahini, spring veggie and lemon Moroccan chicken skewers with minted goat cheese yogurt, banana cake with penuche frosting, twists on avocado toast, pineapple mint juleps, and ham and cheese waffles sandwiches.