Tag Archive | puppies

Friday confessions

Happy Friday to all! I can’t believe this was only a four day week. To me, it felt much, much longer. TGIF. Anyway, since it’s been a busy week, I have 8 zillion things I could talk about, but I figured I’d just ramble about a few of them today, and save the rest for next week!

Friday Confessions
1) I started a cleanse last week. Now before you start thinking it’s a ‘liquid-only’ cleanse or ‘oh-my-gosh-I’m-starving cleanse’, let me just say that it’s so NOT that type of cleanse. This girl has to eat! The cleanse I started is actually a gluten-free, dairy-free, caffeine-free, corn-free, alcohol-free, get-those-toxins-out-of-your-body cleanse that I’m doing it with my Mom. To be honest, I am 6 days in and loving it! (Please note I did not love it at first…giving up coffee is NOT an easy task. Neither is giving up dairy). I committed to cleansing for 14 days so I’m sticking to it. Truthfully, I’m doing this in order to try and self-diagnose myself as gluten intolerant or not. One more week to go! I don’t even feel like I’m cleansing though. Look what I’ve been eating:
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I’m planning on going into-depth about this in a future post, and I’ve got some great new recipes to share, too! I really enjoyed Kelly’s recap on her week of going Paleo, so that is the inspiration for my future post. Thanks Kelly : –)

2) I planned and booked my sisters bridal shower AND bachelorette party this week. I.am.psyched. The bridal shower location is perfect. We are keeping the location a secret from my sister for now, but here is the view:
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Plus the bachelorette weekend is going to be exactly what she wanted.  We’re heading to Atlantic City, NJ at the beginning of May and staying at Revel Hotel. I’m already counting down. Can’t wait to celebrate my twin,best friend, and the bride-to-be.
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3)  I am currently studying frantically for the GRE (aka the graduate school entrance exam) that I’m taking early next week. At this point, I’m just trying to have the mentality ‘I can only do my best’. Has anyone else taken this? If so, any tips? All I can say is, thank goodness for this book, and for blueberry smoothies. Those two things have helped me through!
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4) I’m currently very jealous of Brandon’s climate versus mine. Check this out:
Maine:
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Australia:
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Hmmm…where would you rather be? Miss you, B!

5) I have reached the point of obsessiveness about getting a dog. My Instagram feed is filled with these photos and it’s making it 100 times worse:
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Can you guess what kind of dog I want?  : –)
Have a great weekend, friends!

What are your confessions?
Anyone else ever try a cleanse? Like it? Dislike it? Please share!

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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!

All smiles…and Cake Pops

Today I am all smiles because today’s the day Brandon arrives home from Australia. Hip hip hooray!!!  Can.not.wait. to hug him : )
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Confession: Ever since Brandon moved to Australia, I have a tradition of reading all the cards and notes he’s ever given to me each time we are about to be reunited. I’ve done this every time we’ve been apart and I even brought them all with me to Australia and did this when he went away on business trips. I like having them close to me because it just makes me feel like he’s with me.  Handwritten cards and notes=happiness in a box. They are the best gifts of all.

Truthfully though, I have a hard time stopping smiling around Christmas. Anyone else like this around this time of year? The joy in the air is absolutely contagious in my opinion! Last week I was all smiles in Connecticut with my sister and her puppies in Connecticut. Mostly we just shopped, did wedding-related, crafts, and baked, but I am pretty sure it was my favorite week of the year!
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I do believe that baked goods play a huge part in the joy of any time of year, but it’s especially apparent at Christmas. Baking and enjoying holiday goodies with my family is one of my favorite things about Christmas, so yesterday I decided I would devote a few hours to baking. Cleaning-up aside, baking is truly my favorite hobby. Cake pops were first up on my baking agenda since I’ve been excited to make them ever since I found a cake pop pan at T.J. Maxx. I’m pretty sure this pan is available at major stores, too, since cake pops are all-the-rage right now, but this was my first attempt using it and I absolutely loved it. Perfectly round cake pops, yes please!
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I am all about making desserts healthier, but for Christmas, I think the old-fashioned way is the best way, so real butter and real sugar make these cake pops a real winner! I opted to make chocolate cake with white chocolate and milk chocolate glazes, and lots of sprinkles of course. This homemade chocolate cake is super simple to make, too. Plus, with the help of the pan, it’s a fool-proof way to nearly perfect cake pops. I adapted this recipe directly from the pan wrapper itself, and it’s a definite winner. My Dad and I went crazy over the dough and the finished product.  If you make these, I think you will too!
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Christmas Cake Pops
Ingredients
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup sugar
3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa (I used Godiva brand)
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
24 holiday lollipop sticks ( or regular, but I couldn’t resist the holiday sticks I found at Michaels!)
white chocolate, milk chocolate, or any type of chocolate for melting
Assorted sprinkles for decorating (optional)

Directions
1) Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, grease cake pop pan and set aside.
2) Combine semi-sweet chocolate chips and butter in a medium pan on the stovetop and melt over low-heat, stirring until smooth. Then remove from the heat and transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
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3) Add the sugar and cocoa  to the bowl and mix until well blended, then add the eggs in one at a time and mix until blended.
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4) Lastly, add the flour and salt to this and stir until well blended.
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5) Now add spoonful’s of the batter to the bottom of the cake pop tin (the side without the holes). Make sure you mound the dough over each hole, this way it forms a perfect circle!
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6) Place the top of the pan over the bottom half and secure the clips. Bake for 15-18 minutes. (Mine took about 17 minutes). Check them with a toothpick at 15 minutes to be safe! Once your toothpick is nearly clean, remove them from the oven.
7) Let them cool in the pan for 5-8 minutes, then remove from the pan and place them on a cooling rack.
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8) Now re-grease the cake pop pan and repeat steps 5-7 to use up the remaining dough.
9) While the cake pops are cooling, set out your bowls of decorative sprinkles. I used 4 different kinds because I have a sprinkles problem : –) Then use a double boiler to melt your chocolate (I melt about 1 cup of chips at a time). I started out with white chocolate first.
Side note: This is the biggest bag of chocolate chips I’ve ever used!
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10) Once melted, dip an end of your lollipop stick in the chocolate first, then stick it into the cake pop and roll in chocolate, shaking off any excess chocolate. Then decorate with sprinkles and place on parchment paper. Repeat this process until the cake pops are covered!
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These are perfect for any holiday party! I love them because they’re perfect if you’re looking for a  portion-controlled dessert and they are just so darn cute.
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Merry Christmas!

What’s making you smile today?

Do you have any traditions with your boyfriend/husband/significant other?

What’s your favorite type of cake pop?
Mine is vanilla with pink frosting (you know, the one at Starbucks!) but chocolate is a close second!

Playing catch up & an early halloween

Hello hello and Happy Halloween! Anyone dressing up tonight? I’ll be headed to night-class, but I’d much rather be celebrating and handing out candy, that’s for sure.  Anyway, I fully intended on blogging last week but every time I tried, studying got in the way. Unfortunately , for the time being, studying > blogging. Luckily though, my studying paid off and my midterms went great! HOORAY. So now I’m playing catch-up on sleep, blog-reading, homework and life in general.

Okay, time to talk about much more exciting things than studying…like celebrating Halloween. Prior to last year, I had celebrated the previous four Halloween’s out in Boston with girlfriends, and it was always a blast.
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Harvard schoolgirls throw-back

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Me as Barbie a few years ago!

I skipped last year (I was actually on a flight moving to Australia!) so this year I was psyched to have the chance to dress up again, and even more psyched to be dressing up with my twin sister. We hadn’t dressed up together since we were in grade school!
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Although we celebrated a few days early since they obviously needed to throw a party on a weekend rather than a week-night, it was an epic Halloween in my book. I actually really liked my last minute cowgirl costume, but I loved Kimmie and Jimmy’s pirate get-ups even more! 

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I had been anticipating last weekend for the entire two months I’ve been home, as it was the first time I was going to be able to spend multiple days with my Kimmie, and the puppies too.
Just LOOK at these adorable little boys. Bumble-bee and alligator…I die.
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At their Friday night housewarming/Halloween party we  drank a little too much,  ate a few too many pieces of candy, and played way to many games of Flip Cup. It was perfect.
Here’s the outcome to our few to many drinks:
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Whoops. Dunkin’s breakfast sandwiches, homefries, muffins, and coffees were needed in a BIG way. (That would be me with the ketchup issues.)

The rest of the weekend involved exercise, real housewives marathons, pizza, pedicures, and lots of puppy snuggling. I did not want to leave Connecticut!
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Post-run snuggles
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Cupcakes from Sugar Bakery (winner of Cupcake wars!)
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The best cupcake I have EVER eaten.
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Cuddles with my boy.
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One of our favorite things to do together!
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Peanut was a tiger for costume #2!
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Love my nephews

This week it’s been back to reality, but it’s almost Friday so that’s a positive! And since the Red Sox won the World Series last night, there’s a lot to celebrate this weekend for sure!
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What’s your favorite Halloween costume-to-date?
I personally loved being an eskimo. I loved wearing a furry-hood on my head all night, and face paint can be so much fun!

Do you like cupcakes?
I have cupcake problems…seriously I cannot be trusted around them.

Who else is psyched about the Red Sox?

Thursday thoughts

Thursday…finally. Can I get an Amen? Since I’ve been working all weekend, every weekend since I’ve been back and I have night class Monday through Thursday night, Friday night is my only true weekend night-off. However, tonight my normal  Biology lecture and lab got cancelled, and I couldn’t be happier. To be honest it kind of feels like Christmas!  Class cancelled=no one hour commute=night off=YAY!

Anyway, here’s some random thoughts on this Thursday:
-I am super psyched for my twin sister’s wedding. This past week, my sisters, cousin, and best friend (about half of the bridal party in total) all got together and purchased our bridesmaid’s dresses. We made a great afternoon of dress fittings even more fun by stopping next door for a couple of margarita’s afterwards. Shopping + margaritas = my kind of afternoon!
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-I don’t remember ever disliking a class as much as I dislike Chemistry at this time. Atomic numbers, compounds, mols, elements…UGH. The one thing I do enjoy is the teacher (she is awesome!), so I’m trying to focus on that positive.

-I am becoming even more of an ice cream fanatic since I’m working around it all the time. Would you be able to resist homemade Peppermint Stick or White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle? If you can you are a stronger person than I!
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-I can not praise Bic Bands enough. I have been wearing mine to work, to work-out, and to go-out. I just love my sparkle band!
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I’m still unpacking and settling back into my room at home. Since I haven’t lived here since high school, I’ve been finding a lot of things my childhood….like this jacket. My proof that I was once a cheerleader Winking smile
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-I have been a big-time fan of Alexia sweet potato fries for awhile now but hadn’t yet tried the sweet potato “puffs”. Um… lets just say I’m never making my own sweet potato fries again.
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-One final thing… I need a puppy in my life. Anyone out there have a King Charles Cavalier Cocker Spaniel? OMG obsessed.
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How’s your week?
Have you tried any new food products that you like lately?
Do you have a puppy? If so, what kind?!