Tag Archive | cookie butter

Reflections

Happy (belated) New Year! What a whirlwind the holidays are. Each year, it feels like they go by faster and faster. Anybody else feel that way? The last time I blogged, I had just finished finals, Brandon was about to come home, and Christmas was about to occur.
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Fast forward to today and suddenly I’m back in classes, Brandon has returned to Australia and Christmas is over. Where does the time go? Anyway, I was looking through my phone (and my nearly 3,000 photos…yikes) and I started to reflect on this past year. I love  how that’s so easy to do with pictures! I’ve never been one to state so-called ‘resolutions’ for the new year, but I do believe in goals, so I thought I’d state my reflections on the year instead, along with a goal to go along with each of them too.

Reflections 2013
-Personal growth happens when we least expect it
Looking back, I think I grew more as a person this past year than ever before in my life, but I never really thought so at the time. For all of last year, I was mostly just a basket of nerves. I was nervous to move beyond my comfort zone, nervous to change career paths, nervous to head back to school, move internationally, live with my boyfriend, make new friends and nervous to think about what direction my life would go in next. All of these things pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me grow. Yes it was scary, but I undoubtedly grew from it, without even expecting it.
Goal: Do one thing every month that pushes me out of my comfort zone.
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-Australia was a blessing
Moving across the world was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also the greatest thing I’ve ever done too. It forced me to grow, ignited my love of traveling, introduced  me to things and new friends, and gave me a lifetime of lasting memories, too . As hard as it was to be away from home, for me it’s harder to be away from the one I love, so everyday has its challenges. That being said, I know (now) that I made the right decision for our future, but it sure wasn’t easy at the time.
Goal: Travel to Australia with Brandon again one day.
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Distance makes the heart grow fonder
Truth is, I didn’t always believe this, but I am a whole-hearted believer now. Long distance relationships, like any relationship are based on commitment and trust, but with long-distance, I feel the belief you have in your relationship and in one another is a key component, too.   With this commitment and belief forms an unbreakable bond, and if this year has proved anything to me, it’s this. I’m thrilled to say that as soon as April hits, the long distance will be over and Brandon will be home!
Goal: Date nights once a week, minimum!
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-A week off from exercise is actually GOOD for my body
If you told me this a few years ago I would have cringed at the thought. I took a 5-7 days off from exercise at a time a couple of times this year, and it truly helped me both mentally and physically. I am so happy to be past my exercise addiction habits and ways of thinking. Rest does the body good.
Goal: Take breaks from exercise, whether needed or not needed

-I need to sleep more
I have been guilty of being sleep deprived for as long as I can remember, and this year was no exception. I need to remember how good I feel after an 8-hour sleep compared to a 5-hour sleep. My energy levels are better, my concentration is better, my mood is better…everything is just better.
Goal: 7-8 hours of sleep a night
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-I ran a lot but I’d like to run more
Since I stopped playing basketball at age 18, I haven’t felt like I’ve had a ‘sport’. This year, I really connected with running and now it kind-of feels like ‘my sport’. I’m not running a marathon anytime soon, but a second half marathon may be in my future, and it’s just so nice to look forward to running.
Goal: ‘3’ has always been my average number, so I’d like to increase my average running route from 3-4 miles to 4-5 miles by the spring-time.
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-Group exercise is addicting
I can thank Australia for this reflection. It’s there that I fell in love with bootcamps and Les Mills workout classes, and I looked forward to them almost daily. They were addicting, but in a good way. I miss them everyday.
Goal: First purchase when I move back to city/Boston area living is a gym membership…can’t wait!
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-Age is just a number
The thought of turning 28 this year sort-of makes me want to cry. ‘Late-20’s’ oh my. I kick myself just writing those words, but I can’t help thinking it!  When I look at my Mom and Dad I just hope I am just like them in my 60’s, not looking or acting a bit like ‘60’ at all, since age really is just a number.
Goal: STOP thinking of aging as a sad thing and start thinking of it as exciting part of life.
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-As you age, you learn who your friends are
Moving away was truly telling about my friendships. Oddly enough, I felt moving away brought me even closer together to a few of my best friends. Even though I’m not in the same city or state as them right now, I couldn’t love them more.
Goal: Have a girls weekend once a month.
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-Family is a precious gift
My family means everything to me, and this year, more than ever, their support was crucial to my well-being. I can’t say thank you to them enough.
Goal: Make togetherness a priority this year and every year.
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And on a less serious note:
-I have a cookie butter problem
I’m not seeking help for it since it’s too delicious, but I just wanted to acknowledge that I eat far too much of it.
Goal:  Try new nut butters….there has to be others that I like just as much, right?

-Puppies are a key to my happiness.
This might sound sappy, stupid, whatever…I am a true believer in this. Puppies always make me smile, no matter what. My sister’s puppies actually lick my tears. Sometimes I fake cry just so they’ll do it (truth).
Goal: Puppy by year end (NO MATTER WHAT!)
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I’m thankful for a wonderful 2013 and looking forward to a bright 2014.

Do you have any reflections this year?
Anyone else  have  a goal of getting a new puppy, or a pet in general?

I love Cori’s new puppy!

study bits and bites

Hey there!  I know I’m a few days late on this, but I can’t believe it’s October already! Sometimes I wish life would just.slow.down. A sure sign that time is flying for me is that my exams have begun. I feel like I just started fall classes here, yet somehow I had two exams last week, and I have two more this week.  Thankfully I did well on both of last week’s, and I’m attributing this mostly to the fact I had some trusty ‘study bites’ to get me through my long, late- night study sessions. Cookie Butter Oatmeal Energy Bites=greatest snack ever.

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Besides these energy bites, there’s a  few other things that consistently  help power me through study sessions, too. I thought it might be useful to share a couple of study habits I live by, in case anyone else out there is looking for a tip or two.  I have to admit, even though this will be my second degree, studying has not gotten any easier. Truthfully, I think in many ways it’s a lot harder the second time around because of additional responsibilities and time-management quandaries  that naturally occur as we get older. However, I also feel a major benefit of going back to school school when you’re older is that it’s likely you already know how to study. Knowing how to study is quite a talent if you ask me! To power me through daily study sessions, these are the top things that keep me in line and stop me from procrastinating: 

-Starting early
My mind is most responsive and most willing to learn in the early morning hours. By early, I’m talking 6a.m. to 3p.m. After that, my brain is toast. Since I know this, I don’t try to fight it. Instead, I just plan my study-times within those hours.

-White noise
I am so NOT a music-studier. For the life of me, I really wish I could learn while listening to my favorite tunes because I would be smiling the entire time if that was the case! However, its just never been that way for me. Instead, I turn my bedside fan on high and go from there.
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Source
Sidenote: I have a basic, boring black fan. HOW CUTE is this pink one?! Must find a.s.a.p!

-Keeping Hydrated
Staying hydrated keeps my headaches away, my hunger at bay, and  helps me focus. My line-up of beverages includes iced-coffee/water in the morning, hot chocolate and flavored water in the afternoon, and water/tea at night.
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-Having an organized ‘study-zone’
Since I haven’t studied at home (where I grew up) since I lived here in high-school, I knew my desk area in my old bedroom would need some revamping. I hit up Target for some inexpensive cork-boards, thumb-tacks, mail organizers, and other cute trinkets to spruce up my desk area a bit, and it did the trick! I don’t know about you, but when things look organized, I simply feel more organized too.
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-Satisfying snacks:
This is where the  ‘study bites’ come into play.  I love these bites because they’re simple to make, satisfying, no-bake, require one mixing bowl, and are perfect for snacking on-the-go which is what I (unfortunately) have to do most days of the week due to my class schedule.  These are full of protein (in the form of oatmeal, nut-butter, & protein powder)  but they are sweet too, and I always appreciate a small sugar-kick while studying. It helps my brain!

If you haven’t tried cookie butter, I promise you, you’re missing out. When I was in Australia, I had my Mom ship me a jar each month because I simply can’t live without it. I hope I never develop an aversion to it because I will be devastated! Lately I’ve been buying the ‘Biscoff’ brand, but whenever I get to pop into a Trader Joes, I buy their version, too.  If you don’t have cookie butter or would rather use something else, any type of nut butter will work in these bites. The best part of making these is that you can use the ingredients you have on hand. Here’s what I used in mine:

Cookie Butter Oatmeal Bites
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Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 scoop chocolate protein powder ( I used Arbonne)
1/2 cup cookie butter
1/3 cup light maple syrup
1 tsp.vanilla
2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
2 tbsp. chopped pecans
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup raisins or craisins

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in one large mixing bowl, mix and combine until you form a large ball of ‘dough’.  
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Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes. Once chilled, roll into ball-formation and place in an air-tight container.
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Voila, study bites are ready when you need them!
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I’d like to say these lasted me all week but truthfully they only lasted about 3 days. Once my parents tasted them, that was the end of them!
Have a happy weekend : –)

Are you obsessed with cookie butter like me?

Do you have a favorite studying snack ?
Any fun plans this weekend?