Month: December 2013

My Best Year Yet [2013 in Review]

I know there are recaps going on everywhere, but I felt the need to partake in this because, honestly, 2013 was the best year of my life thus far. I’m not exaggerating when I say that; I feel extremely lucky to have experienced all that I did these past twelve months and to have made many new friends (including you!).

So raise up your green smoothies in celebration as I toast to 2013:

January
I bought my first pair of real running shoes in hopes of training for my first half-marathon.

IMG_0061

February
I started this blog. << first post hilariousness right there

NFL_3

March
I celebrated my 21st year on the planet with the best parents ever.

IMG_0361

April
I completed my first half-marathon.

IMG_0599

And I partied it up at my cousin’s wedding with my family!

IMG_0717

May
I relived my childhood at Kennywood with my friend from birth.

IMG_0962

June
I started one of the best experiences of my life, my summer internship, with the never-ceasing support of my parents.

IMG_1041

July
I made a lifelong friend from my internship team who enjoys peanut butter and running and yoga and green smoothies just as much as me.

IMG_1227

August
I made the most of my time with two amazing new friends before they left Pittsburgh and our internship.

IMG_1295

One of my best babes was in tow on our family vacation.

IMG_1393

September
My grandparents finally got to visit my school.

IMG_1711

October
I visited a bucket list city – New Orleans – with a generous and hilarious friend.

IMG_2021

November
I ran the Pittsburgh Turkey Trot with my brother, something that I hope to do every year. Plus, I dyed my hair, which was a big risk for me!

IMG_2358

December
I saw an incredible show put on by none other than Justin Timberlake with my dad.

IMG_2580

And I spent some quality time with my bestie, continuing annual traditions.

IMG_2676

2013 was a year of incredible growth, and it brought me so much happiness. I made new friends, strengthened old friendships, and tried new things. I learned a lot about myself this year – what direction I want my career to take, what I am personally and professionally passionate about, and who is important to me. I realized that I love Pittsburgh and am okay with not jet-setting off to some faraway land after graduation. And finally, I learned that I am ready to move on to the next step of my life.

I don’t know what 2014 has in store for me, but I am hopeful.

See you next year. xo

Marvelous Food [MIMM #20]

Is it really weird that ending the year with my twentieth Marvelous in my Monday is really pleasing to me? It has something to do with it being an even number.

Anyway, this weekend was filled with some marvelous food, so of course I am linking up with The Healthy Diva!

I mentioned last week that we were having close family friends over Saturday night for a Christmas celebration. My parents were kind enough to hand the cooking reigns to at my request because I really wanted to try out my new cookbook!

IMG_2883

First of all, I have to add in here that butternut squash should seriously come with a disclaimer: “I may cause you to lose your hand when you peel me.” Why are those buggers so stinking hard to peel!?

IMG_2860

I decided to make Paltrow’s quinoa with butternut squash, green onions + parsley and chicken francese along with some roasted asparagus and carrots and a salad.

IMG_2862

IMG_2864

IMG_2865

She is my idol. I personally think her dishes turned out wonderfully, and my parents agreed. The quinoa salad was fresh and comforting (yes, food can be fresh and comforting!), and the chicken crisped up perfectly. The only change I made was that I didn’t used gluten-free chicken on the flour but whole wheat instead.

IMG_2867

I almost forgot about the appetizers! I made a hummus and veggie tray as well as this recipe for Toasted Almond Parmesan Dip and crackers. Yeah, that dip was amazing – savory, cheesy, with just a hint of sweetness from the almonds.

IMG_2861

It was a great evening that ended in cookies! We were so tired that we forgot to get our annual picture.

Last night, we went over my mother’s friend’s house, who she grew up with and who I’ve known forever. She made a lovely dinner for all of us. On my plate I had a kale, strawberry and coconut salad, salmon, green beans, and roasted veggies.

IMG_2885

Later I had a piece of cherry pie to cap off the night.

Have a great Monday!

Question of the Day:
Did you make anything new this weekend? 

2013 Discoveries [Spill It Sunday #5]

This week’s Spill It Sunday is all about the random and/or shocking things I’ve discovered in 2013. I’m going to try to keep this as food/fitness/self-based as possible because honestly the world shocks me on the daily, both in good and terrible ways
The Big Man's World
This year, I discovered the green smoothie. This was a biggie. Spinach… in a smoothie. And you don’t taste it. It was actually life-changing.
IMG_0862
This year I discovered that I love yoga a whole lot. It is something that will be in my life for the duration. I can’t wait to unearth more passion for this practice.
IMG_1236
This year I discovered that I am not immune to injury. Hurting my knee changed my whole perspective on working out, which was probably for the best.
IMG_1503
This year I discovered that I am strong. Strong enough to run a half-marathon, strong enough to lift weights, and strong enough to be myself.
IMG_0595
This year I discovered how rewarding taking a risk can be… also known as starting this blog. It will continue into 2014 and hopefully beyond. Thank you for finding me and reading every week.
selfiespill5
Hey, remember that time I had blonde hair?
Here’s your selfie, Arman – and thanks for hosting the link-up!
Question of the Day:
What is one thing you discovered in 2013?