Waiting for Stormageddon

It’s Saturday, and like a lot of people in the Northwest I’m spending the day prepping for Stormageddon, A huge weather front is supposed to be hitting the Seattle area any time now, bringing with it a good amount of rain and high winds. Rain is kind of our jam here, but heavy wind is a big problem as it has a tendency to knock down trees, making them fall down on power lines and take out the electricity. According to the forecast, tonight’s storm has the makings of the biggest in over a decade in our area, with the biggest saving grace being that it is supposed to move through fairly quickly.

I’ve spent the day doing all the power-dependent stuff that makes our household function: doing laundry, charging phones, cooking up food so it won’t go bad if our electricity goes out and stays out. Bill ran the vacuum and cleaned up the apartment so we won’t inadvertently trip over something and kill ourselves if we’re reduced to using flashlights and candles to see in the dark. I bought a bunch of non-perishable food so that we won’t starve if we can’t use our stove or microwave (I’m hoping we don’t need it and I can just donate it all to the food bank next week).  Since I work for the power company, I’m on call, and am really hoping we don’t lose our power here because as long as my lights (and my Internet) stay on I can remain in my cozy home and not venture out into the storm to help out at work. Depending on the severity of the power outages, the next few days could be long ones as we all band together and try to keep our customers in the know about our restoration efforts.

It makes me so happy to see all the nice comments on social media from people who thank the linemen for the work they do, and all the well-wishes as they encourage all employees to stay safe. I definitely know that going without power can be a huge inconvenience, and it’s reassuring to see so many people who are more concerned with the safety of their fellow humans than put out that they may not be able to watch Netflix for a day or so.

The good news is that so far, it’s relatively quiet outside and I’m feeling good about our level of preparedness in this situation. I’ll be happy to get through tonight so that one way or another, I know what the next few days are going to look like.


Good Choices on a Tough Day

I don’t say things like this too often on my blog, but yesterday was rough. I’m usually pretty good at shaking off a difficult day at the office, but after I left work last night it took phone calls to both Bill and my mom and an hour of Zumba to get me out of the negative head-space I left in. When I went to bed, I still felt very anxious about the day’s events, and even this morning I had a hard time motivating myself to get ready and come into work (it doesn’t help that it’s the time of year when it’s still dark outside as I’m driving into the office, making me feel like the day really hasn’t begun yet and I ought to be snuggled warm and cozy in my bed).


Luckily, once I actually got to work the day has been a huge improvement over my bad Monday. I came in early so that I could get a jump start on the day’s work and have been pretty productive. Last night I made plans to go to a hot yoga class with a friend after work, which I think will be a huge help with any lingering anxiety. And I’m beyond proud of myself for getting through a hard day without turning to junk food. Instead, I talked about my feelings, exercised, and made plans with a friend to follow up with more self-care. I know that it was just one day, but I feel good about the choices I made. Hopefully I won’t have any more super-stressful days for awhile, but if I do, I feel more confident that I will be able to handle them in healthy ways.


One of my favorite things about being a blogger is the network of fellow writers that I’ve gained over the years. We read each other’s posts, offer support to one another, and make each other stronger. I adore you, my blog buddies, and I love how inspiring and thought-provoking all of your posts are!

Today my friend Kate over at All Things Kate wrote just such a post, in which she pledges to give up sugar for thirty days to get her sweet tooth under control. So much of what she says really hit home for me – especially about how she rarely understood after the fact just why she accepted offers of food that she knew she didn’t really want to eat. She talks about how she’s realized that her love of chocolate and sweet treats is more of an eating habit than just having a sweet in moderation. As I read her honest words, the little metaphorical light bulb didn’t just flick gently on above my head; rather, it lit up brighter than the Griswold house at Christmas time. I am SO guilty of this very behavior, of eating a dessert one day, having a couple of beers the next, popcorn at the movies the day after that…you get the idea. This isn’t eating in moderation, this is a habit.

I’ve been telling myself that I’ve really improved my eating habits and that I’m making healthy choices most of the time, but now that I’m looking back, I don’t think that’s actually true. Rather, I think that I was eating healthier meals, but then using that as justification to supplement those meals with desserts and treats. I’ve been deluding myself, but I don’t want to anymore. I want to be honest with myself about what I’m putting in my body, and I want to break this junk food habit and move back to a standard of healthier eating.

By myself, I can do pretty well. I can plan what I’m going to eat and make healthy meals for myself. I can pack my lunches for work. But I have a hard time resisting invitations to go out for food/drinks with friends, because I love my friends and I want to spend time with them so I always hate to say no. Office food is a struggle too – it seems like someone’s always bringing in donuts or cookies or other such fare. The craziest part of the whole thing is that I know I feel so much better when I resist these things, and yet I still want to eat them.

So what does all this mean? I think that each person approaches their eating differently, and different things work for different people. For me right now, this newfound awareness of how I’m REALLY eating is pretty strong motivation to make changes. It also doesn’t hurt that I have a fast-approaching wedding and a beautiful wedding dress that I want to feel fabulous wearing. I am going to do my best to be healthier, because I can’t keep up this junk food habit and maintain the active lifestyle that I want to live in the long run.


A Mushy Kind of Post

In my post yesterday I mentioned that October holds a couple of very special anniversaries for me. Today is one of those – it’s the one-year anniversary of Bill and I’s engagement!

A year ago it was a beautiful October today, sunny and unseasonably warm, perfect for a long drive around the Olympic Peninsula. I was expecting to spend the afternoon enjoying a relaxing drive and taking in beautiful scenery, and I was not disappointed. What I was definitely NOT expecting was a proposal!

My very favorite place on the Peninsula (and in all of Washington) is Ruby Beach. I hadn’t been there in years, so of course I wanted to stop there and walk around. Bill and I had a wonderful time taking in the scenery and building cairns on top of pieces of driftwood.


Ruby Beach on the day we got engaged

I always loved this beautiful place, and now that it’s also the spot Bill picked to ask me to marry him, it is even more special. I will never again visit that beach without remembering the perfect afternoon we spent there, and the moment when he asked me to share the rest of our lives together.


Sharing a just-engaged kiss

Our wedding is planned for March, just five months away. Although it seems like a long time, the last year has flown by so fast that I know the next five months will pass in the blink of an eye. I am so excited to marry this man who is everything I ever dreamed of and more.


October Love

I unintentionally went MIA there for a couple of weeks…things have been rather unremarkable lately, and so anytime I would pull up a new page to start a post, I’d stare at that blinking little cursor and sort of draw a blank. But I’m back now, because the cure for writer’s block is to write, yes?


It’s October now and I couldn’t be happier for it. Autumn in the Pacific Northwest is simply glorious. I love the crisp, cold air in the mornings, the changing colors of the leaves, the way I’m now craving hot tea instead of iced. Although I do love summer, I think fall is my very favorite season.

Last weekend I pulled my sweaters out of storage and rehung them in my closet. Time to pack away the summer clothes, I won’t be needing THOSE for awhile! I’m happy to be able to wear leggings and oversize sweaters, scarves and cozy vests. I packed away some of my lighter sundresses, but kept out a few because I can wear them with boots and cardigans in the fall.

Although October seems to have morphed into the season for All Things Pumpkin Spice, I’m really not a pumpkin spice fan (I do like pumpkin pie, and the pumpkin-scented Yankee candle, but not pumpkin SPICE), so my go-to “fall” drink at Starbucks is a chai tea latte made with almond milk. It’s SO good! I definitely recommend it over the high-calorie Pumpkin Spice Latte.

October is also the month in which I celebrate two very special anniversaries – more on those later!

And of course, Halloween is in October, and I absolutely adore Halloween. I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow my love of dressing up in a great costume. I also really like scary movies, and during the month of October I can re-watch my favorites!

I think it’s going to be a great month!

Biking to Work

Right now my coworkers and I are experiencing some driving pains, as the streets all around our office are being torn up and repaved before winter. There is a LOT of construction going on, and there are pieces of equipment and cones everywhere. Yesterday when I left work, I was very confused about where I was supposed to go, even with a flagger standing in the middle of the street to assist! Luckily, I work earlier in the day on Mondays, so I got to work before the road work started and left before most people in the office buildings lining the street were ready to head home.

I knew that today would be worse, since I would be arriving for and leaving work around the same time as most of the other people. If there’s one thing that makes me crazy, it’s being stuck in traffic, especially traffic that is just not moving. I had an important meeting scheduled for today, so there was no way I could just work from home, I had to come to the office. But I decided that I didn’t have to drive, I could ride my bike instead.

I love my bike. I’ve had it for just about four months now, and in those four months I have gained a lot of confidence. This morning was a new milestone for me, my first solo ride. I decided to drive as far as Log Boom Park, then ride the Burke-Gilman trail a little over six miles to my office.

I had taken the route before and was comfortable with it, and it was a beautiful morning for a bike ride. Bill went to the park with me to help me unload my bike from my car and make sure I got started out all right (have I mentioned that he is the best fiancee ever?). I kept my ride leisurely, averaging a pace of 10mph, both because I wanted to enjoy the experience and also because I didn’t want to get super sweaty! My office does have a shower that employees can use, but I didn’t want to have to re-wash my hair.

It took me just over half an hour to arrive at the office, which was considerably less time than it would’ve taken me to get through all the road work to park!

Even though the road construction is still going to be a pain (I can’t bike to work every day, there are days I will need my car during the day), I’m glad that it pushed me to try biking to work because I really enjoyed the new experience. Sometimes great things can come out of minor inconveniences if we use them the right way!


Slow and Steady

Like a lot of people, I had Monday off from work. Isn’t it funny how short weeks can somehow feel like the longest weeks ever? Maybe it’s just because we’re cramming five days worth of work into four days, but for whatever the reason I always feel like these four-day weeks have a tendency to just drag on.

Although this week feels like it will never end, I’m still amazed at how quickly the year is flying by. Kids are going back to school this week, and Halloween decorations are already out in the stores. While I adore the holiday season, I am not ready yet! I need more time!

I realized as I thought about how quickly the year has gone that it’s been awhile since I wrote anything about weight loss or my renewed desire to be healthier. Truthfully, there’s not a lot to report: I only lasted about a week and a half on the meal plan that my friend so enthusiastically designed for me last May. Even though she did her best to make it something fairly simple and easy to follow, it didn’t take long at all for me to feel restricted. When I cheated and had a hot dog at a baseball game, she scolded me for my weakness, and I felt like a total failure. I rather passionately declared that I quit, and swore to myself that I was not going on ANY meal plan again.

Over the summer, I pretty much entered into a screw-it mentality when it came to food and just ate whatever I wanted. Naturally, this approach had the opposite of my desired effect, and I gained a few more pounds. To be honest, I was just so sick of worrying about food and weight that I really didn’t care…that is, until my clothes started getting tight and brought my free-for-all eating to a screeching halt.

A friend of mine recently started marketing the M3 Body System from Modere, encouraging friends to take the M3 Pledge. What that means, is that you take a 90-day pledge to use the three products every day, and pick three lifestyle changes to commit to. It seemed fairly simple to me, so I agreed to give it a go. I chose to commit to avoiding fried foods, walking 7500 steps per day, and drinking 60oz of water per day. The steps and water I was already doing rather habitually anyway (I am one of those people who genuinely loves plain old water, especially when it’s cold!).


Pause for a picture of my face

On Modere’s website and on the Facebook group my friend added me to, there are raving testimonials that THIS is the program that was clicking with people. For me….eh.  I completed my first month on the M3 last week and was down four pounds, which I was happy about for sure, but the results were nowhere near what I expected. In August I returned to my beloved Zumba class on Monday nights, and I started keeping a food diary again, so those things may have had more to do with the weight I did lose than the M3 products did. In all fairness, there were days when I didn’t get in my 7500 steps, and I haven’t been very faithful about taking the Sync before dinner because I have a hard time squeezing it in between my evening workout and my dinner. I did try taking it after dinner, as some recommended, but I consistently noticed that I would weigh more in the mornings when I did that. I have enough product to finish out September, and I may order the Flourish and Slim products by themselves going forward, but will not be purchasing the whole system again since the Sync is mostly going to waste.

Even though a four-pound weight loss seems minimal at best, it actually made a big difference in how I feel and how my clothes fit (I did break down and buy a couple of pairs of jeans on Poshmark in a size up from what I had been wearing previously). Truthfully, all that matters to me is looking and feeling good in my clothes, no matter the size on the tag.

Right now, I’m happy with my Monday night Zumba classes, and Bill and I are trying to get in as many weekend bike rides as we can before the weather gets really rainy. I love long rides, and would like to go over 50 miles before I put my bike away for the winter (so far, my longest ride has been 45 miles). I do feel better when I exercise regularly and so I’m trying to get a decent workout four times a week. My eating habits are far from perfect, but I’m finding that keeping a food diary is helping me to be much more mindful of what I’ve eaten all day.

So, small progress. I’m trying to be content with the slow but consistent weight loss I’ve been achieving since the beginning of August, reminding myself that I cannot undo three years of bad habits and lose three years worth of weight gain overnight. I am trying to remain motivated while staying kind to myself. For September, I am going to try to keep to a consistent workout schedule and keep tracking my food, which seems to work really well for me.

So, that’s where I’m at…I’ll try to remember and post another update in October. Everything in moderation, including weight-focused blog posts, amiright?


Salted Caramel Muffins

Happy Tuesday! I’m feeling so refreshed after a relaxing three-day weekend, and I’m excited that the weather is starting to cool off and fall is nearly here. While warmer summer temperatures make me hungry for lighter fare like salads, once the days begin to get chilly my urge to bake returns. I could happily spend all of fall and winter in my kitchen, whipping up yummy treats (although I am usually discouraged from doing so, as most of my baking is NOT healthy!).

On Sunday, I really wanted to make a nice breakfast at home, but was pretty limited on ingredients. Rather than change out of my cozy pajama pants just to run to the store, I whipped up muffins using things that I already had in my kitchen. Although I wasn’t sure how my concoction was going to turn out (when Bill asked me what I was making, I replied honestly, “Probably a big mess”), I’m very pleased with the recipe and got a couple of requests to share it.

One of my favorite things about this particular recipe is that since it is so low in sugar, these muffins are relatively guilt-free while still being tasty. I couldn’t help sampling this one before I snapped a photo of it!


Salted Caramel Muffins

What You’ll Need 

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup Oikos Salted Caramel Greek Yogurt


  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray if not using muffin liners
  2. In a large bowl, combine flower, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine; set aside.
  3. In a second large bowl, combine egg, sugar, milk, canola oil, Greek yogurt, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring gently until smooth and combined.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop or measuring cup, evenly distribute the batter into the cavities of the prepared muffin tin, filling each to about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 5 minutes at 425F. This initial baking period with higher heat will help the muffins form their domed tops.
  7. Lower oven temperature to 375F and continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes, until tops are set and lightly golden and a toothpick insterted into the center comes out clean.



August Birchbox Review


This month’s Birchbox theme is ‘Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop’, and it is filled with great products that stand up to a busy lifestyle. We’ve been having a heat wave here in Seattle, so my box arrived just in time to stock me with product samples that can withstand both the higher temperatures and my crazy summer schedule!

This box was one of my very favorites so far this year, it was filled with samples that I just loved!

stila Matte About You Liquid Lipstick in Patina

My first foray into using a liquid lipstick wasn’t exactly a positive experience (it was a bright red shade and NOT flattering on me!) so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this sample. The Patina shade I received is a soft pink and pairs perfectly with my lighter summer makeup routine. 

Davines Your Hair Assistant Blowdry Primer

I’ve tried Davines samples before, and I love their products! I’m desperately trying to grow out my hair, and I rely on heat protectants to keep my hair healthy and able to withstand a bit of heat styling (right now I’m addicted to flatiron beachy waves!). Not only did this blowdry primer smell nice, it didn’t make my hair sticky or greasy. It’s reasonably priced and I would definitely buy it!

derma e Purifying Daily Detox Scrub

I confess, I am addicted to face products. The skin on my face is very sensitive, and I do my best to take good care of it I loved this product, as it left my skin super soft while not being overly abrasive or scratchy. It’s only $15, which is a ridiculously good price for a product that works this well!

Davines Your Hair Assistant Prep Shampoo and Cream Conditioner   

I have to admit, as much as I love this brand, this product was not my favorite. Both the shampoo and conditioner smell amazing, and the shampoo lathers nicely. However, it left my hair feeling a little stiff and dry, and I had to use quite a bit of detangler to comb through my knotted hair after I rinsed it. For the price, I can get shampoos and conditioner that leave my hair much softer.

Manna Kadar Cosmetics Daydream Palette

The sample I received was a highlighter and bronzer, and I really like both! The colors compliment my fair skin tone nicely and I get good color pigment without having to cake on the powder.

Liz Earle Brightening Treatment Mask

I confess, I was a little hesitant to try this sample as it bears the warning that it is not for sensitive skin. However, after reading good reviews about it I decided to go for it, and I was pleased that it left my skin glowing and didn’t cause any redness or adverse reactions. I get enough samples like these that I probably won’t spring for a purchase, but I did like the way this product made my face look.

Hiking Mt. Pilchuck

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost halfway through August! Summer is winding down, although it’s been so warm out lately that it’s hard to believe that fall will be here soon.

Although I absolutely love the city of Seattle and all it has to offer, sometimes I crave fresh air and mountains and wilderness. Luckily for me, one of the best things about living in the Pacific Northwest is that both the city and the mountains are an easy drive from my home in Edmonds.

Last weekend, Bill and I got our mountain fix by hiking up Mt. Pilchuck. The trail up to the summit is fairly short, 2.7 miles, but it is STEEP. I admit that I found it extremely challenging, although well worth it – the views are breathtaking!

I thought that we were incredibly prepared for the hike. We brought along our day packs, filled with bottles of ice cold water and Cliff bars to snack on along the way. I remembered the sunscreen, but quickly wished I had brought bug spray – the bugs ate me alive along the way!

We had a blast and are already scouting out locations for our next hike!

pilchuck 4

Bill and I at the summit

Pilchuck 3

Fire lookout at the summit

Pilchuck 1 Pilchuck 2