PUMPKIN OAT MUFFINS (no sugar added!)

I've always loved fall. I think it's because I'm a November baby, but every year when October rolls around I get SO EXCITED for pumpkin flavored anything. I love a good PSL and am always looking forward to pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving. (This year my birthday actually falls on Thanksgiving and all I want is one pie just for me - stay tuned!)

These pumpkin muffins are so easy and so yummy. They're the perfect mid-morning snack at work since they can travel easily. Plus, they are made with all natural ingredients and no added sugar! Talk about a pumpkin-flavored win.


Royal Wedding, Party of One

Does anyone have that one thing in their life that started out as sort of a joke and turned into a real obsession? That's my relationship with the Royal Family.

What started out as a gag-purchase of a coffee (or tea?) mug commemorating the engagement of William and Kate turned into stalking out the coffee shop where they first met...

In St. Andrews, Scotland. I also have a picture of the bathroom, because coffe, ya know? 😉
...an early morning watching their wedding before school, two more mug purchases after Prince George and Princess Charlotte were born (Prince Louis is in the plan - but you have to wait at least a year for the cute birthday portraits)...

 
...freaking out over royal horses at Balmoral and buying chocolates shaped like crowns for the Queen's diamond jubilee, and weeping on my couch at 5 a.m. when Harry and Meghan turned a wedding into a real-life fairytale moment.

LOL at the shorts and tights - how 2012 of me!
Yep. I'm that person.

ANYWAY. Like 29 million other Americans, I set my alarm for bright and early on Saturday morning, made some mini waffles, drank a bottle of champagne, and watched as the British Monarchy welcomed a divorced, half-black American into their family (complete with a sermon referencing slavery, the civil rights movements, African spirituals, and a gospel choir).


Let's break it down.

Running Playlist (And More)

I have been getting into running a lot recently. It's one of my 101 in 1001 goals to run a half-marathon (zero percent chance of that happening), but I made it a 2018 goal to run a 5k (and then if that's accomplished before June... a 10k). I used to listen to podcasts while running, but as I've been starting to run longer (and slower) I've been really craving music to listen to that matches the beat of my run.

Enter: Spotify running genre! I run really slow (focusing on distance, not speed!), but I thought it'd be fun to share some of the songs that are on my running playlist.






5 Months in Stillwater

I can't believe it's been 5 months since I moved to Oklahoma. (No really, I've been telling everyone that this is my sixth month living here. Oops.) I feel like so much has changed since my last update in December (Month #3), but I also feel like a lot has stayed the same.


Layered Skillet Fajita Nachos

So far in 2018 I've been cooking a lot more than usual! I've turned eating out into a social activity instead of going to the drive-thru and ordering pizza on the reg.

I love Super Bowl Sunday because I love the excuse to pig out on junk food/order takeout, but this year I forced myself to cook instead. I was craving Mexican food so I threw a bunch ofingredients into a cast-iron skillet, baked it, and voila! These layered fajita nachos were born.

 

OK, not quite, but they were so easy to make and tasted (almost) like the real deal from a restaurant!

HOW'D I LIVE WITHOUT: Beauty

Around when I really started to care about my face routine, I also started to care more about my makeup routine. I'm by no means a makeup expert, but these are my tried and true beginner (and mostly drugstore) makeup buys that I can't live without!


February Goals

I'm so glad January is finally over! Is it just me or did the month seriously drag on? I was looking at my calendar last week and could not believe we still had over a week left in the month! I don't remember January ever feeling so long.

Perhaps it's because this is my first ever real winter, or the fact that we had some really dreary, cold and windy days this year, but now that the sun is shining and it's not totally dark when I leave the gym at 6 p.m., I honestly feel like a new person.

It's been a while since I set monthly goals, and it's a habit I'm excited to start back up! Here we gooooo.



BOOK REVIEW: The Handmaid's Tale

One of my 2018 goals was to read 12 books this year and so far I'm right on track! I got The Handmaid's Tale for my birthday back in November and finally got around to reading it when I got back from the holidays.

The book is definitely different from the Hulu series, though still thought provoking in the same sort of way.

 

1 Smoothie + 2 Shakes

I love smoothies and protein shakes. I love making them in the winter when I tend not to eat as many fruits and vegetables as I should (give me allll the cheesy bread), but I love them in the summer by the pool, too.

I've been drinking more and more smoothies recently because it's the only meal prep I can actually get behind. I love just dumping things in my Magic Bullet and having something healthy to sip on during slow afternoons at work! Plus, unlike meal prepping veggies/meats/rices/etc, smoothies don't get soggy! You double (or triple!) any of these suggested recipes and save them for 3-4 days. Definitely a win-win!

 

P.S.: For your reference, I'm referring to a blended drink with fruit when I say smoothie, and no fruit when I say shake! Enjoy.

VEGETERIAN STUFFED BELL PEPPER

I've been trying to cook more exciting recipes in 2018. So far, so good. I ended up buying the Tone It Up nutrition guide to try and get my health in check and get inspiration for new recipes. It definitely worked and I have been loving what I've been eating! (Not to mention I feel better and I have more energy!)
  

So far, this recipe is by far my favorite. I've adapted it a little from the original recipe, but the idea is the same. It's simple to make and full of nutritious, whole foods. It's vegeterian, but could easily be made with meat (switch veggie patty mix for ground turkey) or vegan (just don't add cheese!).

10 Things

Good morning and happy Friday! Even though it's 10 degrees outside, and feels like -1 with the wind chill, I'm feeling good because it's Friday and we have a 3 day weekend! Truly blessed. Here are 10 random things I've had on my mind recently!


HOW'D I LIVE WITHOUT: Facial Products

I've been really stepping up my ~beauty~ routine in the past couple of years. Would you believe me if I told you I didn't wash my face regularly until.... college?! I remember hating the way the face scrub I got from Target when I was 13 made me feel, so I just stopped using it! It never even occurred to me to simply switch brands! Thankfully, a mix of good-genes and birth control made it so I didn't really need to wash my face cosmetically. Makeup remover was good enough for me!

...but then I got to college. And a combination of late night eating, alcohol, new environments, dirty roommates and not having a mom (or the quarters) to wash my pillowcases regularly got to me. My friend let me try some of her face wash and I remember feeling like I had just exfoliated years off my face.

I've slowly been adding to my facial routine ever since and oooomg I can't believe I went (lived!) so long without these products!

What I Learned After Moving Across the Country

I've lived in Oklahoma for about four months now! At times it's gone quickly, and other days felt like they would never end. Instead of writing my usual post-move update, I thought I'd switch it up by sharing some things I've learned from my move. I said "moving across the country" in the title, but I think most of these could be applied to anyone moving to a new town, especially where you don't know anybody.

2018 Goals

I always love the new year. Even though a majority of things remain the same, I feel like it's a chance to start fresh and make some real changes. It's so easy to say "I'll start on Monday" or "Next week I'll do it" but there's literally no better time to change your habits and set some goals than on the first day of a brand new year!