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If The World Had A Front Porch

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If the world had a Front Porch, it would be sweet. Not just a sweet feeling—a sweet flavor; a sweet memory re-emerging; a sweet treat! It would also be in Round Rock, TX, I mean, if we were talking about FRONT PORCH FROZEN DESSERTS, that is. Oh wait, we ARE!

 

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Go ahead, grab a seat on that rocking chair right there. Now take this tall glass of sweet tea, and listen up as I tell you about one of my favorite Frozen Dessert shops in Texas!

 

One might call these the pearly gates . . .

One might call these the pearly gates . . .

 

Now, it’s no surprise that I’m a FroYo Fanatic. In fact, I almost took a photo of all the FroYo spoons I’ve saved from some of my favorite spots and then realized how utterly embarrassing it is. As a native Austinite, transplanted to Seattle, who has not been home in what seems like forever, the only reason I had heard of Front Porch was because a large number of my friends in the Austin area posted about it, tweeted about it, and posted Instagram pics of their creations. Upon seeing their tasty treasures, my curiosity was piqued and I KNEW I had to make Front Porch a Must-See on my latest visit home!

 

I think it's safe to say I've found my home-away-from-home-away-from-home ;)

I think it’s safe to say I’ve found my home-away-from-home-away-from-home 😉

 

Oh baby, I am SO glad I did! The ambiance was very calming and a refreshing contrast to the bright neon-glow of most popular FroYo shops I’ve visited. Instead, I felt right at home with the rustic wall decor, wood flooring, and simple chic containers. What also impressed me was the large variety of unique flavors! At most shops here in Seattle, you get a standard sampling of Strawberry Banana, Coconut, Chocolate, Vanilla, Taro, NSA Raspberry, and if you’re lucky, a “wild card” in (my favorite) NSA Low-Carb German Chocolate. However, perusing the flavor wall left me perplexed with a question I’ve rarely been plagued with at a FroYo shop—BUT WHICH ONES DO I CHOOOOOSE?!? I actually felt like I was at Amy’s Ice Cream (one of my favorite ATX shops when I used to eat ice cream) with all the flavor possibilities.

 

These are some GREAT suggestions, a la Amy's Ice Cream!

These are some GREAT suggestions, a la Amy’s Ice Cream!

One of the cute little touches that sets this place apart is their ability to "bring it home" with some dine-in melamine bowls!

One of the cute little touches that sets this place apart is their ability to “bring it home” with some dine-in melamine bowls!

I see you smiling coyly at me, waffle bowl . . . I hear you calling out my name.

I see you smiling coyly at me, waffle bowl . . . I hear you calling out my name.

 

For those of you wondering, Swirl Fusion is code for FroYo SHAKE!! Ugh, if I hadn’t already had my sights set on that waffle bowl and gigantic bar of toppings, I would’ve hit up the Swirl Fusion. Oh well, now I know what to order next time . . . or, YOU could order it and let me know how heavenly it tastes!

 

Along with delicious waffle bowls, they offer "bottoms" that you can add in for a unique flavor. I like that they're all about the WHOLE flavor, and not just the FroYo flavors.

Along with delicious waffle bowls, they offer “bottoms” that you can add in for a unique flavor. I like that they’re all about the WHOLE flavor, and not just the FroYo flavors.

 

Oh, and just in case there was chance of me being confused, they also helped me out by suggesting a named flavor swirl with the two flavors in each fountain. I know it sounds silly, but for me, that actually helps a lot. I just need a lot of hints in life, okay, people!? 😉 Speaking of their plethora of constantly changing flavors:

 

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As you can see, every flavor (and unique combo) features a great photo descriptor of the flavor and highlights any pertinent allergy information. Well done, Front Porch, well done!

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Who knew one wall could contain SO much magic?!?
I think I can speak for us all when I say,

“HOLY YUM!”

It was a tough choice, but one was my favorite:

I'm a sucker for lemony goodness!

I’m a sucker for lemony goodness!

Now before you go on thinking that this place is just cutting corners, let me share some of this quality goodness info with you . . .

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Kosher Certified, Locally sourced

 

Their Yogurt is sourced from a nearby Arkansas farm—Honey Hill Farms. The quality of their yogurt was much greater than the other FroYo shops that I’d tried out during my vacation, including Yogurtland, Orange Leaf, and Kimmie’s Frozen Yogurt, to name a few. It was thicker, creamier, and didn’t taste too “icy” or “strained.” Some might say that FroYo is a guilty pleasure, but honey, when it tastes THIS GOOD, there’s nothing guilty about it!

 

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The REAL deal

 

Much like many others, the toppings selection is a mecca of tasty treasures and this one blows every topping bar I’ve seen out of the water! Usually my YoBowls consist of a lot of FroYo and some basic toppings like coconut or sprinkles, but this one gave me some new flavors to try, so I did. It offered a lot more variety than any other shop I’ve been to which made the decisions of what to add both exciting and frustrating—Seriously, could I just get a bowl of toppings?

 

Sweet dreams are made of this!

Sweet dreams are made of this!

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My FAVORITE sector vector and a warm welcome to a sistah with sugar sensitivity!

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This Round Rock honey alone is worth the trip! ❤

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Oh wait, you thought it ended there? Yeah no!

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No wonder all my friends keep going back—the possibilities are ENDLESS!! They are constantly rotating those flavors, featuring some for only a few days, and then providing a very wide variety of sauces and toppings to enable your creative juices to run wild. I also got a chance to speak to the manager about their flavor selections. She informed me that her children, who help her and her husband run the shop, are master craftsmen when it comes to choosing the flavor rotations and combinations that they feature. It’s not just flavors thrown in for flavors’ sake. There is a lot of thought, care, and concern that goes into every selection. But wait, there’s more! 😉

 

This seriously rocks! Down with Muzak, up with RockBot!

This seriously rocks! Down with Muzak, up with RockBot!

 

Nothing makes me want to hang around in an eatery than the music selection. The ambient music playlist is a major factor when it comes to choosing my favorite coffee shops, so discovering that Front Porch actually uses the latest technology to let you essentially ‘rock the jukebox’ through their user-friendly RockBot app is the cherry on top to this Mom & Pop Shop!

 

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Thanks to their innovation, I can choose the playlist from their previewed options. Win-Win!

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Now I can pick a rad tune to keep my toe tappin’ as I sit and enjoy my sweet treat!

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Plus, this screen doubles as an announcement panel—always a great tool to keep handy—much classier than a printed sheet of paper taped to a front door. And I love that you can text in your comments/suggestions!

And you KNOW that no FroYo experience is complete without the right spoon. These are a great shape and texture, plus they're eco-friendly!

And you KNOW that no FroYo experience is complete without the right spoon. These are a great shape and texture, plus they’re eco-friendly!

All in all, it was a fantastic experience and I can't wait to indulge even more when I go back home in January!

I often grab a hot cup of coffee before heading into the FroYo shops here because, COFFEE, people! 😉 I’m still waiting for Seattle FroYo shops to jump on the smart train like Front Porch has and offer COFFEE with their frozen treats. 

I only wish I could have taken some of this back on the flight with me.

I only wish I could have taken some of this back on the flight with me.

 

All in all, it was a GREAT experience and I’m glad
I took the time to add this pit-stop to my itinerary.

It will definitely be a Must-Go stop when I head back home in January!

 

Thank you, Front Porch staff, for allowing me to take a tour of your shop and try out your yummy goodness! Your service was excellent and I truly appreciate your Southern hospitality. In full disclosure, they offered me a free cup of FroYo in exchange for photos of their shop to use online. The review and recommendations are all my own!

Thank you, Front Porch staff, for allowing me to take a tour of your shop and try out your yummy goodness! Your service was excellent and I truly appreciate your Southern hospitality. 

 

Well, what are you waiting for??

 

Hop in your car, blast some rad summer tunes and head on over to Front Porch for your cool and creamy weekend warm-up! 

 

#TreatYoSelf

 

FRONT PORCH on Facebook
FRONT PORCH on Twitter

 

In full disclosure, Front Porch graciously compensated me with a free cup of yogurt in exchange for photos of their shop that they could use online. The review and recommendations are all my own!


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Shop Around | Fit Life Friday

Happy  Fit Life Friday from your favorite Snackasaurus Rex!! 

Okay, okay, so truth be told, I can’t take all the credit for that nickname. I mean, I’ve been using it to describe myself for quite some time now, but a quick Google search led me to discover that there’s actually a health & fitness blogger using the alias Snackasaurus Rex. So I guess in the meantime, we’ll just refer to me as the Hungry Hungry Hippo or something. 😉

One of the best signs a Yo' Lovin' girl could ever ask for! ♥ Oh how I love Cho!

One of the best signs a Yo’ Lovin’ girl could ever ask for! ♥ Oh how I love Cho!

Speaking of snacks and FitBloggers, I thought today might be a good day to share with you some of the latest snacks I’ve been trying out. The majority of these have been suggested by bloggers that I follow. I’ll also let you know that the majority of what you’ll see is processed food. However, a good bit of them are minimally processed and I STILL 100% believe that eating unprocessed food is the best way to fuel your body. However, let’s face it, life is life and  we shouldn’t deny ourselves some tasty treats, so sometimes that 80/20 rule I follow becomes my best friend. 🙂

Thank God for coupons–they are becoming my bosom buddies!

Thank God for coupons–they are becoming my bosom buddies!

 

First up is the Chobani Bites & Chobani Champion Tubes. The tubes are a TOTAL win!! They are easy to pack on-the-go, they’re sweet and filling, packing a good punch in a little tube. The Bites on the other hand are not my fave. I kind of like the Pineapple + Caramel flavor (though it confuses my taste buds) but seriously dislike the Coffee + Chocolate flavor. It actually broke my heart a bit when I ate a couple of bites, tossed it, and set the rest on the community giveaway shelf in the fridge at work.

 

Sweet and tasty, but I probably wouldn't stock up on them. :-/

Sweet and tasty, but I probably wouldn’t stock up on them. :-/

 

Staying on the Yo’ Train, I am ABSOLUTELY in love with these Lemon 100’s!!! Seriously, it’s like eating Lemon Merengue Pie . . . for breakfast and snack time!! Those didn’t last long. Sadly, only one store carries them here and it’s one that I have to “make a trip to.” So I need to do that sometime this weekend and stock up!

 

Come to Mama!

Come to Mama!

 

Break my little PB lovin' heart, why dontcha.

Break my little PB lovin’ heart, why dontcha.

 

I love the nutrition found in Chia seeds, but this one was no bueno. It had me going with dreams of decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter (my weakness) and just left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I’m thinkin’ I’ll just stick to this . . .

 

Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Cups Trax Mix

Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Cup Trax Mix

 

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!! This is SOOOOOOO delicious!!! I could seriously eat a bag in one day. It has all my favorites in one mix: mini peanut butter cups with dried cherries, almonds and cashews. It’s like I’ve died and gone to PB Heaven! I’m asking Santa for a bag of this yummy goodness in my stocking this year!

 

Thanks but no thanks . . .

Thanks but no thanks . . .

 

I had a QFC coupon for a free cup of this Liberte Greek Yogurt, but it just tasted chalky and not tart enough. That’s lame, Yo’. #SeeWhatIDidThere

 

Stop me if you've heard this one: A Gnu and a Bird walk into a Bar . . .

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A Gnu and a Bird walk into a Bar . . .

 

This Gnu Flavor & Fiber bar was fantastic!! I was hanging out at a coffee shop before our softball game last week and I got a craving for banana bread. Then I remembered I had this baby in my bag. So instead of ordering up some of theirs, I simply got a coffee refill and munched on this. It hit the spot for sure!! Again, it’s one of those that I have to travel a bit to get to, but so worth it!

 

I am dissapoint.

I am disappoint.

 

I actually got pretty excited about this Earth Balance spread because (HELLO!!) I am a full-fledged nut butter addict who also happens to love coconut. So put the two together and what do you get?? Something I’m really not into. Sadly, the flavor just didn’t fit right and the texture wasn’t what I would consider a “spread.” I was pretty bummed that this wasn’t very satisfying. However . . . THIS gem down here:

 

. . . Is crack in a jar!!

. . . Is crack in a jar!!

 

You know that old Christmas poem where it says that visions of Sugarplums filled the heads of the sleeping children? That is false. They were OBVIOUSLY envisioning Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter! I definitely ate this one straight outta the jar. I’m also taking some home to my family when I visit this summer because, if you’ve got a treasure like this, you GOTTA share it with the ones you love! 😉 #YOLO

 

2 for a dollar makes me wanna holler!

2 for a dollar makes me wanna holler!

 

These Larabar Bites were on sale at the grocery store this week so I went ahead and got one of each to sample. These are total winners! They’re a great little on-the-go snack. They were equally delicious and left me feeling energized and full of goodness. The hard part was deciding which to eat first—my favorite cookie flavor or my favorite pie flavor. Sorry cookies, PIE always wins! 😉

Now that I’ve tried a bunch of the packaged snacks, I’m excited for the bounty that will come in the form of fresh snacks in this fruitful season we’re heading into. Yes, ladies and gents, PEACH SEASON is upon us!!!

 

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Whoooo hoooo!!! My 1st peach of the season!!! 😀


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It's a retro kinda Monday . . .

It’s a retro kinda Monday . . .

I had a WONDERFUL weekend full of good times and good treats.
For instance, yesterday, my friend Robert dropped me off at Barnes and Noble so that I could sit in a coffee shop and think through some things that have been going on in my life that I need to wrestle with. It felt incredible to get out of my house and sit in a cafe and drink hot tea
(I highly recommend the Hot Cinnamon Spice by Harney & Sons) that I didn’t have to microwave and to enjoy a piping hot bowl of chili!
Oh the little things I once took for granted.

So what better way to kick off the new week than to share some goodies with you?! Enjoy!

I got to have Christmas Breakfast with one of my 2Twelve Students and his family!

The Millers are an awesome family that have taken me in and covered me in love and guidance. Now that I’m not under house arrest, Mrs. Miller was more than willing to have me over for a special Christmas celebratory dinner. One thing you should know about me by now is that I LOVE breakfast. Any time of the day. I’m a sucker for eggs, turkey sausage, pancakes, fresh fruit, etc. Any time—actual breakfast, lunch, or dinner! So, in following up with my previous brunch party hosted by my amazing G-Mama, the Millers also treated me to a delicious Vegetable Egg Bake, Fresh Fruit, Bacon, and Coffee Cake! Another thing you should know about me is my breakdown of favorite fruits, cause well, I HEART FRUIT!!

  1. Pineapples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Honey Crisp Apples (okay, okay, and apples in general)
  4. Grapes
  5. Blueberries

What’s extra cool is that, knowing how much I ADORE Christmas (hello, we STILL have our tree up at the house), they left their Christmas decorations up so that I could enjoy them as well. *swoon*

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Learning ADRIFT from Jedi Master B—, one of my 2Twelve Student Leaders!

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I fell in love with their sweet pup pup, Danny!

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Basking in the warm glow of the beautiful lights

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I totally want to do this when I get a place of my own!

My buddy, Jolly, had me in stitches with this hilarious comic strip!

Seriously, at this point, I just gotta laugh to keep from crying 😉

Ha-larious!

Ha-larious!

 

I celebrated Birthdays with my family thanks to technology!

I’ll be brutally honest—this holiday season took SO much out of me emotionally! I MISS MY FAMILY LIKE NO ONE’S BUSINESS!!!
It’s true. As much as I’ve tried to tell myself that I’m good on my own and I don’t need to have constant contact with my family, I do. I need them. Even when I feel they don’t need me or that I don’t really “need” them to get through tough seasons of life, I do. I got to Skype with them during the holidays but it’s not the same. A computer screen is no substitute for a hug or a snuggle or a good cry sesh. It’s also no substitute for family comfort food, relaxing walks in downtown Austin, or Mamo’s Christmas cookies. Over the past few days, my mom and my youngest niece both celebrated their Birthdays. While I couldn’t be there in person, my sibs made sure to send me pics. I cannot even begin to tell you how bittersweet these pics are. I’m stoked that my mom was treated to a delicious dinner and that my niece got a super cute new pet, but I wish I could have been there as well. I did spend a good amount of time at B&N last night with the water works going because I realized that I wouldn’t get to give my niece Birthday snuggles. The good news is that I’ll get to spend 4th of July weekend with them (AND FIREWORKS!!!!!) this year!

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My mom and sis celebrating my mom’s 20th Birthday ;p

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My sibs and nieces

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my youngest niece chompin’ down on some good ‘ol Tex Mex

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My sister and the girls . . .such beauties . . . and ummmm booties 😉

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My bro bro and my oldest niece

For once in my life, I am actually factually jealous of a bunny rabbit . . . mostly because this wascaly wabbit, Lola (her present), gets to snuggle with my sweet niece on her 4th Birthday! ♥ PS: You can tell we’re related because she also walks around with no pants on 😉

I got to go out for coffee & shopping with my best friend, the Magster!

I got to finally reconnect with my bestie after a stretch of busy seasons. Yesterday in youth group, I taught the students about how a true friend cares about your INSIDE more than your OUTSIDE and the Magster is definitely one of those friends to me, as well as one I reciprocate that with. On Saturday, she treated me to coffee at ZOKA in Greenlake (trust me, if you can get your hands on a Zoka roast, you’ve got GOLD!) and some sock shopping at THE SOCK MONSTER. She finished it up in true friend fashion and grabbed some groceries for me for this week. 🙂

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Amazeballs! . . . errrr Grounds.

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Tea Maxi anyone?!?

Peanut butta’, Zoka time with mah homegirl, the Magster

 

New Fun Socks!!! DEFINITELY a treat!

New Fun Socks!!! DEFINITELY a treat!

My friend Alisa shared this with me.
I DARE you not to laugh as you read the reviews!

No really. Go. Now. Read. LAUGH!!!!

Playmobil Security Check Point

(click through to read hilarious reviews)

I am officially a Seahawks Poser!

I went shopping with my friend Heather the other day in search of some Seahawks colored clothing to wear to church on Sunday to stand in solidarity with the sports fanatics that attend Westside. Heather spotted this AWESOME sweatshirt and I got to wear it for the big game day. Unfortunately, I missed the game. Partially because I was teaching youth during the majority of it and partially because afterward, I was wiped out and needed to go home and take a nap. I slept through the game 😦 Having watched a couple of Texas games this season, I don’t feel TOO bad about missing this one. At least I got the sweatshirt, though, right?!? 😉

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I actually LOVE the style of the sweatshirt too!

Who’s ready to get wild & crazy and cheer on the Hawks?!? This Amo right here!!! Ohhh bed head and face mask, you are mah heroes 😉

 

My friend Kat is now officially a blogger!

You should definitely head over to THE WIFELY ADVENTURER and subscribe.
She’s got so much snark, wisdom, and great stories to share!

Have you downloaded the new Chris Tomlin album yet? If not, get on it!

 

(click through to listen on Spotify)

I cannot get enough of this gem. My fave songs are:

  • AWAKE MY SOUL
  • GOD’S GREAT DANCE FLOOR
  • JESUS, SON OF GOD
  • THANK YOU FOR SAVING ME

 

Yeah, and that’s only SOME of the fun!
For now, I’m gearing up for a good, strong week ahead as I start to make trips back into the workplaces I once frequented.
And now I MUSTACHE you a question . . .

 

Amo—little, yellow, different. 😉

 

How was YOUR weekend?
Did you do anything exciting?!?


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Better Than I Used To Be | Happy New Year’s 2013!

What could be better than ringing in the New Year with your best friend?

 

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3 peas in a pod 😀

Ringing it in with REAL Texas BBQ . . . and my favorite coffee (Stumptown Hair Bender) for New Year’s Day breakfast! 😉

 

My NYE party platter | Nothing says Happy New Year like real Texas BBQ! Viva la 2013!

 

Look, it’s the way the world should be, okay! hahahaha. If you read/watched yesterday’s blog post, you’ll know that I have some exciting news to share with you regarding my health update and what my new word for the year is. Well, don’t think for a minute that I forgot! Here it is, ENJOY!

 

 

My new word for 2013!

My new word for 2013

 

One way I’m going to start is with the one thing the majority of us tend to focus on during the New Year—food resolutions. (Judge me all you want—this is about renewing my body and my health.) These past few weeks have been crammed with emotional eating . . . cookies, pies, gingerbread men, candy, ice cream, fatty foods, and more. But I’m taking a tip from a nutrition blog I follow and I’m personally making this JUNK-FREE JANUARY. That’s right, back to my healthy eating habits I go. You know why? I’ve DISCOVERED over the past few days, that my body actually hates that junk. I’ve been walking around for the past few days with sugar-cramps, bloating, and nausea. It’s no bueno. So it’s back to freshness! And although in the past year, I let the comments of many around me dictate what I eat or don’t eat and how I exercise or don’t, this year is different. This year is about making wise choices for MYSELF and letting others deal with their own choices and attitudes. I’ll admit, the 2 weeks in the hospital took away a lot of poundage and now that I’m packing them back on, it’s going to be a bit easier to maintain, but I’m not putting junk back in my body just “because I can.” And that goes for more than just food. It goes for activities, habits, certain relationships, mindsets, and more.

 

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Another way I’m going to start the cycle of RENEWAL is by following my therapist’s advice. I am going to start knitting! :O She wants me to start knitting so that I can learn to be okay with being imperfect. You see, perfection is something I struggle with A LOT! The past 31 years of my life have trained me to focus on striving for “perfection” when I really need to focus on being “good enough.” So my super creative therapist suggested I take up knitting, and since I trust her and feel compelled to dare to try something new, I’m going to do it! So be on the lookout for some new posts this year featuring some of my best and worst attempts 😉

 

 

Gettin' down to the Knitty Gritty

Gettin’ down to the Knitty Gritty

 

There are a lot of things I want to do this year, but more importantly, there are a lot of things I want to BE this year. This is a year of RENEWAL. To slow down; To breathe deep; To trust; To put things back where they belong; To embrace True Love; To surrender; To dare greatly; To look in AND up; To throw out the old and knit the new in every aspect of my life. I only hope you’ll stick around with me as we journey through this new year of life, striving to be “good enough” human beings!

Happy New Year, y’all!

 

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One Happy Amo wishing you an awesome sauce 2013!

. . . and now I’m off to enjoy some Black-Eyed Peas, greens, and The Dark Knight Rises! 😉 


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On This Winter’s Night

☃ Merry Christmas Eve! ☃ 

 

Merry Christmas 2012!

Merry Christmas 2012!

 

One of my big questions for everyone during Christmastime this year has been:

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FAMILY TRADITION?

 

Knowing that I wouldn’t be spending the holidays with my family, I made it my mission earlier this year to try to set up some new traditions for myself.

  • What will holiday traditions do I want to build into my life now that I’m on my own, livin’ the single lady life?
  • What will my future holiday traditions look like when I find that special someone?
  • What will my future holiday traditions look like when I have kids?

While a few major (and minor) events have set me back recently, I have been able to establish some and I’m looking forward to developing more next year!

 

Things I’m including this year:

 

Going to see the Nutcracker Ballet 

Even though I am mandated by my PT to be housebound, she gave me permission to have a special outing. So, I received one of the best Christmas gifts—my friend Melissa T. treated me to a night out to dinner & my 1st ballet ever—The Nutcracker!! It was by and far one of the most incredible, creative, and beautiful experiences I’ve ever had! ♥

 

Christmas Eve Breakfast for Dinner

I actually haven’t made dinner yet, but I will in just a bit. It’s going to be Turkey Sausage Egg Omelet with salsa + Gingerbread Pancakes + Pumpkin Granola and Stumptown Hairbender Coffee! Breakfast is my favorite meal and so what better way to kick off a season of happiness than with those delicious treats!?!

 

Video Chat with my Family

After tonight’s Candlelight Christmas Eve service at my home church, I’ll be sitting in front of my computer video chatting with both sides of my family all the way back in Texas! I’ll also get to chat with them tomorrow!!

 

Going to Bed in my Favorite Pajamas

These pajamas are special. It's actually a big deal to me that I'm wearing them to bed tonight. They are not only my FAVORITE pajamas, but they are actually the ones I wore the day I got my wisdom teeth taken out. And while I still can't watch the video from that night that turned into a month-long nightmare, I'm determined to wear them tonight and celebrate the victory of where God has brought me through every twist and turn along this crazy journey. I am looking forward to waking up in them, not in turmoil and danger from benzos, but in joy and victory, ready to embrace this next season of life!

These pajamas are special. It’s actually a big deal to me that I’m wearing them to bed tonight. They are not only my FAVORITE pajamas, but they are actually the ones I wore the day I got my wisdom teeth taken out. And while I still can’t watch the video from that night that turned into a month-long nightmare, I’m determined to wear them tonight and celebrate the victory of where God has brought me through every twist and turn along this crazy journey. I am looking forward to waking up in them, not in turmoil and danger from benzos, but in joy and victory, ready to embrace this next season of life!

 

Christmas Morning Quiet Time Devotional

Christmas morning will be celebrated with a special quiet time devotional from my Jesus Calling devotional. I received it as a gift when I was going into the rehab center to do my Physical/Occupational Therapy recuperation time and it’s carried me along every day since. It DEFINITELY belongs on the forefront of my Christmas Day. After all, Jesus IS the reason for the season!

 

“Stockings Only” in the Morning

Even though I have a bunch of presents under the tree, I want to open the little ones in my stocking first. They are simple, small, but packed with love and care. I had friends pick them out for me according to what they thought I might like. It’s going to be a time for me to celebrate the friendships that seem simple and small, but come overflowing with love and care!

 

Mexican Food For Christmas Breakfast

This is actually something that my family does every year and I’M NOT LETTING IT GO!!! It will FOREVER be tradition! 😀 We always do turkey and ham and the traditional stuff for Thanksgiving, but Christmas is ALLLLL Mexican food alllll day! Breakfast would usually consist of Mamo’s (grandma) tamales, Barbacoa tacos on Mamo’s homemade flour tortillas, Menudo, Migas, and TONS of salsa! Tonight, my dear friend Melanie is bringing me Pozole. I’m going to save it for tomorrow’s breakfast and party it up Latin style for Christmas breakfast before hitting up the Christmas Caroling! I’ll also be enjoying some pumpkin pie with my breakfast too 😉 I can’t wait!

 

Making my own recipes for Christmas Day

That’s right! I did it! I’ve always wanted to contribute something to Christmas Dinner. My aunts always bring their signature dishes (*ahem* Holla, broccoli rice and cheese casserole!!) but I tend to come up short and just bring some canned corn that I microwaved. Not this year! I’m stepping up my game!

It took every ounce of energy I had in me, but yesterday and today, I made my Christmas recipes! Rosemary + Basil roasted carrots (Caroling Carrots); Green food-dyed oatmeal cookies [not pictured because they need to be decorated tomorrow] (Green Grinchies); and home baked + mashed Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potatoes (Yuletide Yams)! I'll be honest, there's about a third less yams in that bowl because I couldn't stop eating them . . . you know, cause I *had* to taste test them ;p

It took every ounce of energy I had in me, but yesterday and today, I made my Christmas recipes! Rosemary + Basil roasted carrots (Caroling Carrots); Green food-dyed oatmeal cookies [not pictured because they need to be decorated tomorrow] (Green Grinchies); and home baked + mashed Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potatoes (Yuletide Yams)! I’ll be honest, there’s about a third less yams in that bowl because I couldn’t stop eating them . . . you know, cause I *had* to taste test them ;p

Christmas Caroling at the King County Juvenile Detention Center

For the past couple of years, my amazing best friend, Maggie has organized an event where people from our home church (Westside Church) get together and head down to the King County Juvenile Detention Center to sing Christmas Carols and pass out Christmas gifts that our congregation has prepared for the teens. Though I am a Children’s Director, my utmost heartbeat is still teenagers and being able to give back to these hurting hearts that are without family time during this season is a no-brainer! I’m looking forward to making this a full-on Christmas tradition!

 

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my Family of Friends from the East Coast to the West Coast and my own housemates! These are ALLLL gifts from them—including stocking stuffers and regular presents. I am truly one blessed girl!

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my Family of Friends from the East Coast to the West Coast and my own housemates! These are ALLLL gifts from them—including stocking stuffers and regular presents. I am truly one blessed girl!

 

Who knows what other things I’ll add next year. What matters most is that I’m learning a lot about myself and who I am in Christ during this season of questions and soul-searching. Being away from my family is definitely an emotional struggle, but knowing that I’m surrounded by the abundant love and hope of Christ and the warm fuzzies and life that come from my Family of Friends is carrying me through . . . which is great cause right now I can’t even walk right ;p hehehehe

One more sleep until the big special day, so . . .

Merry Christmas to all and to all a GOOD night!

 


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The Sidestep | Fit Life Friday

My clothing was strewn about on the counter in the Emergency Room, showing signs of the panic that had just ensued. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself and think, “And everyone said:

Oh it’s gonna be fine. Everything will be fine. Wisdom tooth extractions are normal. Nothing will go wrong. You’ll be okay. The recovery will be fun. Nothing ever really goes wrong in these things.”

 

Remember that one time I got my wisdom teeth out and ended up in the hospital?!? Yeah that was awesome … NOT!!

Wellllllll . . . I guess I never was one for status quo 😉

 

So for those who don’t know, yesterday morning I went in to the dentist’s office to get all 4 of my wisdom teeth taken out. It wasn’t because they were infected or anything, but rather because I had a surplus of dental insurance funds that I hadn’t taken advantage of yet that would not carry over to the next year, when my dental plan was scheduled to change and exclude wisdom tooth extractions. So I picked  a time that would be most “slow” on the work end and before the year was up.

 

 

The surgery itself went fine and my mouth is healing well, although sore at times. The only major setback is that during the time of coming to after the post-op rest period, I started experiencing some extreme side effects. We discovered that I am allergic to valium, which is what they gave me to take before my extraction surgery.

I ended up staying the night at Northwest Hospital because of the severe allergic reaction to the valium. 😦 I had lost all muscle control and was having hallucinations, manic outbursts/meltdowns bouts of not breathing and medicinal psychosis caused by the drugs. After some quality time in the ER, the docs ended up administering a syrum that directly counteracts valium and shortly thereafter I was back to a more normal self. They have me hooked up to machines and are keeping me under observation because of the severity of the reaction and my because extremely low heart rate (in the low 30s) caused by the valium. I’ll be recovering here for a while while they clear out the toxins.

 

The best part of waking up in the hospital is actually waking up. The 2nd best part is love notes from your friends that stay the night to make sure you’re okay! 😀 Thanks, sis!!

 

The GIANT praise report is that at my pre-op appointment, the dentist had sent me home with some valium to take the night before, but I had accidentally lost that envelope with the packet of meds and was unable to take that. Even being in the ER last night was touch and go with my breathing, so had I taken that the night before, I may not have woken up. God has been creating ALLLLLLL sorts of Divine appointments/rescues during this!

This will definitely be a wisdom tooth extraction to remember 😉

 

 

Now, for the FIT LIFE Friday part of it all, let me start by saying that there is nothing more bummer sauce than being able to order delicious food off the hospital menu and being told, “M’am, you actually can’t have that. You’re on an all liquid diet.” DARN YOU, WISDOM TEEEEEETH!!!

 

 

In prepping for the operation, I wanted only healthy foods. I KNEW I could totally take advantage of the procedure to gorge on milkshakes, ice cream, etc, but I wanted a QUICK and healthy recovery, so I opted for Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Protein smoothies, No-Sugar Added applesauce, V8, Sugar-Free popsicles, hard boiled eggs, and 2x Protein greek yogurt with fruit.

 

 

Even the “last meals” I had the day before the surgery were delicious and healthy so that I wouldn’t go into it with junky gross food that wouldn’t promote the type of healthy recovery I was aiming for.

 

Lunch the day before was a Low-Sodium Chicken and Veggie soup with cucumbers, oranges, and some Decaf Italian Roast! 😀

My Seattle Sister, Nicki had told me that I didn’t want to eat spicy foods during recovery and that I should get them in BEFORE the surgery, so you better believe I FULLY took advantage of that opportunity! My dinner the night before the surgery was a 3-egg Cajun Chicken Omelet, Italian seasoned veggies, Honeycrisp apple slices (which I then later sprinkled with cinnamon) and some peppermint decaf coffee!! Perfect last meal is perfect!!! ♥

 

My dentist had me start a fast at midnight the night before, so I ate a bunch of italian seasoned veggies and drank some tea RIGHT before the time was up.

 

Sorry there’s no actual food showing, it was just too good to wait to snap a pic of! 😉

 

The only thing I had eaten after my wisdom tooth extraction had been a container of apple sauce, a smoothie, and a container of yogurt. Then, I didn’t have anything to eat until this morning just because of the trauma and recovery from the night before. Finally, I eased into my first snack of the day:

 

The monkey is my faithful recovery companion 😉 don’t worry, no monkeys were harmed in the devouring of this food! PS: the Butternut Squash Soup at Northwest Hospital is THE BOMB DIGGITY!! On the menu: Butternut Squash Soup, Low-Sodium V8, Orange sherbert, and Jello!

 

My friend Elizabeth works here at the hospital, and stopped by to see if I wanted anything and I had her bring me more snacks 😉

 

More V8 & Vanilla Yogurt! Yum sauce! THANK YOU, Elizabeth!!!

 

Then, I ordered some good lunch. It’s nice to know that I’m getting my hungry hungry hippo appetite back 😉

 

On the menu: Free Range Chicken Broth, Jello, Vanilla Yogurt, V8, Strawberry Sherbert, and Chocolate Pudding!! 😀 Holy yum!!

 

One of the questions that my friends had posed was whether my healthy eating habits had  been part of the reason why I had the reaction to the valium. I thought it was a valid concern as well, but the docs assured me that not only is that NOT the case at all, but that the healthy eating habits is what is helping me recover so well. All in all, recovery is going great and I should be outta here by tomorrow!! Thank you to everyone who has been supporting me and taking care of me and sending their love, encouragement, and prayers my way!

 

I can’t wait to get back to my shenanigans!!

Happy Fit Life Friday, y’all! 


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The Purple People Eater | Fit Life Friday

The new Starbucks red cups are out!

Do you know what that means????

More than happily embracing my favorite fall color combo: Black + Red ♡ Their Thanksgiving Blend brew is deeeelish!! And I’m really looking forward to trying their Holiday Blend too!

I mean aside from the fact that it means that you can now order a venti Caramel Brulee Latte with an extra shot, extra caramel sauce, and whipped topping . . . every day for the next 2 months, guilt-free! 

It also means that the holiday season is full-force upon us and we will be greeted more readily and heavily with EVERY opportunity to embrace the excuses that have kicked us off the path to reaching our healthy life goals. Let me just get real with you for a hot second. Even though I strive to avoid processed and added sugars, I have a sweet tooth too. However, I’m tired of letting it dominate my clarity of mind and my ability to be in control of my health. It’s for that reason that I bought some of Torani’s Sugar-Free syrups (Pumpkin Pie & Gingerbread . . . and soon, Peppermint). I’ve now given myself a way to indulge without letting the drug that sugar is, rule my mind and body.

I guess I no longer qualify as a “Starving Artist” 😉 Breakfast is served! On the menu: Spicy Garlic & Herb goat cheese omelet w/ onion & black beans + veggie mix & fresh pineapple and (of course) Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice coffee w/ Torani syrup boost! ♥ Happy Fall, y’all! ♥

One of my biggest goals this season is not to fall into the big “Holiday Trap.” It’s tough to do—we as Americans live to eat and food has become the center of our attention at every party, every meeting, everything. It’s everywhere, and coupled with our lack of self-control, it’s killing us. And I don’t just mean with diabetes and heart disease, I mean it’s killing our minds, our hearts, and our sense of wholeness as human beings. I just spent an entire evening at a Halloween event with adults who were eating just as much (if not more) candy than their kids were. That’s no big deal to me at all, but what killed me was that they would eat some and then say, things like “I know I shouldn’t.” and “Ugh. This is the 10th Kit Kat I’ve had. I need to stop. . . after this Reese’s.”  And my favorite, “Well, I gotta test it out for my kids, right?” That breaks my heart, because whether or not they meant it as a joke, they meant it. Eating should not be something we’re ashamed of or something we have to justify.  Food should not have THAT MUCH power over us. As I’ve been on this Fit Life journey, one of the biggest things I’ve wrestled with is developing a healthy relationship with food. I don’t want to treat myself like a dog and justify every treat because I’ve “earned” it or because it’s what’s expected of me. I want to make conscious choices about what I put into my body and learn balance and healthy boundaries along the way.

Try spending 2 weeks around all of that candy, with the smell wafting in the air each time you pass by because the guys on staff have already opened a bunch of bags and started snacking into the stash non-stop throughout the days. Good thing the smell was so sugar sweet that it was mildly unappealing at times. 😐

For instance, with the holidays coming up, it’s my natural go-to to bake, bake, bake, and bake some more! Pumpkin pie, Apple pie, Berry Cakes, Cookies, and the like generally make their presence fully known in my kitchen around this time. And since I’m living the single lady life, I usually end up having a few extra slices lying around that just so happen to end up in my tummy as I mindlessly snack on them out of convenience or stress. However, I’m challenging myself to make only savory side dishes for potlucks, parties, and special events this season. I want to DISCOVER whether or not I can break the social norm and refrain from gorging on alllll the sweets that I’ll be presented with as I go about life during this hectic stressful time.

Oh hey, I even got to sneak in a good workout on Halloween! 😉 Why, oh *why* did I decide to fill up this huge tote DOWNSTAIRS when it clearly belongs upstairs?!? hahaha!

My big concerns for this upcoming season have been:

  • Since I’m not going home to see family, I’m going to be more homesick, and therefore more emotional. I still struggle from time to time with emotional eating. This could all end badly and derail me from reclaiming my Fit Life. However, if I play my cards right and I do my best to plan for success, I can overcome another round of learning to not feed my emotions. I definitely want to be stronger in this!
  • Being involved in ministry automatically signs you up for an increased amount of cookie exchanges, parties, events, dinners, etc. so I know that a large amount of fatty restaurant foods and sweets will be more than readily available to me after a hectic day of racking my brain to make seemingly impossible things happen and it’s more than likely that no one in attendance will care if I’m eating unhealthy foods, because we’ll all be doing it together. This is where peer pressure kicks in and that’s another hard battle for me.
  • Being a Children’s Director + Youth Pastor and not using candy and treats as an easy go-to reward for these little lives, of who we are trying to teach how to live an all-around healthy, full life in Christ. I don’t want to teach these kiddos that the only way to reward themselves is with sugar treats, because God gives us so many other awesome things to reward ourselves with that won’t make us lose control, drug our bodies and cause us to bounce off the walls.
  • I DO want to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle and part of it is learning to eat in moderation. I mean, I’m definitely gonna have some pumpkin pie this Turkey day, but if I can help it at all, I’m going to enjoy one slice, and not half the entire pie (I’ve been known to do that in the past, by the way). I’m also going to be sure I eat all my fruits and veggies first. Those treat my body wayyyy better than pecan pie does.

In order to take a strong foot forward to reach my goals, I used Halloween as an experiment of sorts. I mean, c’mon, being around all of that candy for the past 2 weeks has been Temptation City! However, I was able to make it through the day with the ability to consciously enjoy every single moment, not feeling robbed of treats! And unlike my episode at Easter, I didn’t binge on a bag of Reese’s afterward. 😉 What I decided beforehand was that I was going to spend the day treating myself to some healthy and fun things that I wouldn’t normally spend money on and this would be one of those extra special occasions—much like Christmas Day. I chose 3 of my favorite fruits that I rarely buy because they’re so pricey and then I stopped off at the Target dollar spot to pick out some toys that gave me warm fuzzies. If I can spend the day feeling like I’ve got treasures waiting for me, there’s less of a desire to fill that void with candy, which has a habit of making me feel good for a 2 minutes and then dropping me like a bad habit. Here’s how it all went down:

Food Indulgences: Cinnamon Apple Spice Tea (seriously tastes like hot apple cider!), Mixed berries cup, Tillamook Light Marionberry Yogurt (Marionberry is my 2nd favorite type of pie), Strawberry Lemonade Cascade Ice, & a Honeycrisp Apple = HOLY YUM!

 

Fun Feeling Indulgences: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Coloring Books!!!!!!!!, Watermelon Fun Dip Lip Balm, A new coffee mug with one of the best phrases ever!, A coupon to Savour in Ballard (which sadly, I didn’t have time to use before it expired), and a Space Invaders Rubix Cube! 😀

And of course, I did allow myself to have a piece of candy, duh! Much to my excitement, one of our candy donations was this bag of Sugar Free Caramel Coffee Werther’s! I snagged a couple before adding them to the big Candy Zone bin, but I only ended eating one since I had been full off of the other food I’d been eating all day.

 

I made sure to eat a tasty, filling breakfast: Paleo Coconut Bread toasted w/ “Leafy” eggs and salsa 😉 Yellow peppers, my mixed berries, and TJ’s Pumpkin Spice coffee!

Snacks were packed with protein and healthy fats to keep me going full-force all day long” . . . and of course, my Werther’s made its grand entrance 😉

 

Lunch was hearty and filling: Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup, Salad & my beautiful, delicious, Honeycrisp Apple! (One of God’s FINEST creations!)

 

Not pictured (since it was so busy) was my dinner—Turkey sandwich, apples & veggies galore! Also not pictured is the Tupperware bowl of cauliflower that I brought into work that day JUST IN CASE I had a moment of weakness and was tempted to stress eat. For the record, I DID have a big stressful moment in the evening and I DID stress eat. Thankfully, my best friend Heather was in the kitchen with me when it happened. She made the comment about me “going to town on all that cauliflower” and I told her it was because I was so nervous and stressed about whether my 1st event as the Children’s Director would be a success or not. She gave me a chance to talk (and snack) it out and then she prayed for me and gave me lots of hugs. That gave me all the strength I needed to get through the next part of the evening. Well, that and another cup of coffee! 😉 When I got home, I busted out one of my coloring books and just took some time to unwind and get ready for bed. I felt that my experiment was successful and it gave me hope for this upcoming holiday season. I know it’ll have its ups and downs, but I’m definitely feeling more confident about it!

 

Happy Fit Life Friday, y’all!

 

I will say, I had about 7 cups of coffee total on Halloween. And let’s get real, if that’s not a TREAT, I don’t know what is! 😉