Monday, December 31, 2012


I can't believe how quickly 2012 has gone by - holy moly!  What a crazy year it has been.  I got a new job, I learned so much about myself, I made some new friends, I got my head shaved (just to name a few things)... it has been awesome.

I am so happy to be where I am in life.  It is not perfect, but that's just not how life works! ;)  I feel so blessed every day to have so many wonderful people in my life, and that's what truly matters.  I have a job that I love with people I'm excited to see every day.  I'm working on improving myself.  I'm excited every time I look to the future and wonder what it may bring!

So now it's time to CELEBRATE!!!  All of the good times we've had in the past - all of the bad times we've gotten through together.  The life we've lived, and the life we have yet to discover.  Here's to the people we've come to love, and the friends we have yet to meet.

A very VERY Happy New Year to you all!!!  Have a wonderful, happy, and safe New Year!! XOXO

Friday, December 21, 2012


Hey gang!
I'm off to spend time with John's family for Christmas in Oklahoma!  Then we fly back Christmas day to spend time with my fam.  It's gonna be quite a whirlwind, so I probably won't be around for a little bit!

But I wanted to stop in and wish everyone a wonderful & safe holiday season.  Have a very very Merry Christmas, and a super Happy Holidays!

Much love,
Beth XO

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Excited about... what 2013 may bring. I have some resolutions that I'm pretty excited about, and I can't wait to see what more I can learn about myself in the upcoming year.

Feeling... a bit confused about some personal stuff, but I hope to get it all worked out soon.  I know some of it is an internal battle, and some of it is not. But I know through some faith and some work that good will come out of it, and in whatever way it's supposed to.  Vague enough?

Listening to...The Lumineers. I didn't realize how great they were until recently!  One of my favorite artists ever (Langhorne Slim) is touring with them in Europe, and I just told my friend Katie about it because she lives in Amsterdam now.  She was thrilled to hear about the show (I guess she already was in love with The Lumineers), so she immediately bought tickets - and that made me extra super happy!  I hadn't listened to their album the whole way through until I'd heard from her, and now I'm kind of in love with them. :)

Grateful for... good friends.  I love them so much.  They're there when I need them, and I've needed them lately.  Love love love you.

Reading..."Stiff - The Curious Life of Human Cadavers" by Mary Roach.  Although this book is pretty gross, it's actually super fascinating.  I really like the way she keeps humor around all of the creepy & strange details.  So far it's really interesting, but I don't recommend reading it on your lunch break.  It has some unappetizing moments. 

Loving... the simple joy and comfort that a cup of hot tea can bring.

Hating... all of the shootings I've been hearing about lately.  It makes me incredibly sad that these things keep happening.  I don't know how to stop them, but something needs to change.

Really wanting... to figure out the next step in my life.  I'm not sure if 2013 will be a year of change, or if it's just how I'm feeling right now.  I'm feeling a bit lost though, and I just want to know what the next move will be and what direction I will be headed in.

Enjoying... the holiday celebrations!  We've been to a couple awesome Christmas parties so far, and I'm just loving this time of year!

Watching... some of my favorite holiday movies.  So far I've watched A Muppet Christmas Carol (it's so wonderful), Gremlins (technically, it is a holiday movie), National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and Die Hard (hey, it takes place a Christmastime)!
And now I kind of want this shirt (hilarious!!)...

Noticing... that my life is very different than I thought it would be at 31.  And I'm realizing that I'm totally OK with that.  Honestly, 10 years ago I thought I'd be married with kids by now - or living in New York with some crazy high-paying career as a photographer.  Funny where life takes us, huh?  I'm glad that I am where I am, and that I am who I am.  I certainly didn't see it coming, but that's how life is! :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Spending Fast - FINAL MONTH (1-year total)

Welp, the 1-year Spending Fast is coming to a close!
Although my debt is definitely not gone, it has reduced significantly since the beginning of 2012.

$13,168.04 - Starting Debt at Jan 1, 2012
$7,169.78 - Current Debt at Dec 17, 2012

That means I've paid off nearly $6k in debt this year - $5,998.26 to be exact!  I still have a ways to go, but if I keep the same determination going this year I believe that by 2014 I can be 100% debt-free.  And oh what a wonderful feeling it will be!

Although I'm dissapointed that my debt isn't fully paid off by now, I understand that certain aspects of my life (and certain choices), caused it to be that way.  I took a lower paying job, I know that I spent money at times when I probably shouldn't have (but man, it was still worth it - and I'm definitely not perfect), etc.  But I've learned so much this year, and I'm ready to take that to 2013 with me.

I already know I'm going to take some kind of vacation next year, so that will definitely dip into what will go towards my debt - but life is short, and I'm tired of putting vacations on hold!  And I'm OK with that - I've accepted it.  If that means taking a little more time to get completely debt free, then I'll take it.  I still gotta live my life!

I know that it's a constant struggle, but I'm going to stick with it.  How wonderful when I can actually put money towards my savings every month instead of credit cards & interest.  How wonderful that my money won't be completely GONE the day after I receive every paycheck!  Oh man, I can't wait.

And that's what keeps me going.
Well, that and all the love & support from my family & friends of course. :)
Love you guys!  And here's to being debt-free by 2014!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas House / Christmas Bark / Javier!

Just after Thanksgiving I decorated our house for the holidays!  I've never actually had a "house" to decorate before (at least on the outside - I've always lived in apartments), so I was very excited to try outdoor decorating this year.  I think it turned out super cute!!

It was a beautiful night when I took this photo - a very pink sunset!  That's the moon in the background - pretty rad, huh? :)

Earlier this week I was working on some yummy Christmas food / cookies, so I decided to make some Christmas Chocolate bark, as well as one of my favorite recipes from last year - Pine Nut Brittle with Rosemary & Sea Salt.  Here are the recipes! 

Christmas Chocolate Bark 
Adapted from Elana's Pantry
This recipe is gluten-free! :) 

2 cups dark chocolate chips (I used regular milk chocolate, but this would be great too!) 
⅓ cup pistachios (mine were salted, but unsalted is great too)
⅓ cup dried cranberries
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt (or more, depending on taste)

In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate (stir with wooden spoon). 
Pour chocolate into a parchment paper lined 8x8 inch Pyrex baking dish. 
Sprinkle pistachios and cranberries over chocolate. 
Using a metal spatula, spread the mixture evenly back and forth to around ½ inch thickness. 
Sprinkle salt over bark. 
Allow to sit out until set, 1-2 hours. 
Cut into 16 squares and serve!

And here is the other one (it is seriously my favorite... I kinda want to eat it all myself!) 

Pine Nut Brittle with Rosemary & Pine Nuts
Adapted from Ms.T's Food52 Recipe
This recipe is gluten-free! :) 

2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups pine nuts
4 tablespoons (one half stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (I highly recommend fresh rather than dried for this recipe!) 
1 tablespoon finely ground sea salt 

Place the sugar in a large, heavy saucepan over high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until sugar begins to melt. DO NOT TOUCH IT - it will be ridiculously hot!  Lower the heat to medium-high and keep stirring just until the sugar is melted. Stop stirring and watch for it to turn a medium caramel color. About 10 minutes total. I added about 1/2 the butter at this point too - stir well (it will bubble up for a moment!) 

Stir in half the pine nuts. Allow pine nuts to cook for about two minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in half of the rosemary and half of the sea salt.

Turn the mixture out onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and spread it evenly to the desired thickness with a wooden spoon or stiff rubber spatula. Sprinkle remaining rosemary, pine nuts, and salt on top, while brittle is still warm.

Allow to cool completely--at least one hour--then break the brittle into pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature. If your brittle isn't brittle enough to break into pieces, pop it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, until it hardens enough to snap easily.

Last night we had my work Christmas party too.  I got this lovely Santa during the White Elephant gift exchange! 

We named him Javier, but then decided he kind of looked Russian.  So now his full name is Javier Svetlana-Claus.  I carried him around with me all night! 

It was such a super fun Christmas party - I love everyone I work with so much!  I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.  LOVE THEM!!

I hope you've been enjoying the holiday time as much as I have!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

New Year's Resolutions for 2013

Christmas is almost upon us, which means that the New Year is right around the corner too!  I'm very excited about all that I accomplished with last year's resolutions, and here's how I did for my 2012 list: 

Lose 40 pounds and keep it off. 
Well, I sure as heck didn't accomplish this one!  But I learned a lot more about myself, and learned to accept who I am at any weight.  Losing weight isn't the key to happiness - but learning how to accept myself, and love myself the way that I am is certainly a step in the right direction.  And I think that's much more valuable!

Exercise at least 5x a week. 
I went back & forth on this one, but I feel like I work hard to stay healthy - whatever that may mean.  Whether it's choosing to walk instead of drive, or going rollerblading with my mom instead of going to brunch - I've been finding my balance.

Not purchase any cheese or dairy from the store all year.
Well I know this list isn't starting off great for accomplishments, but I assure you, it will get better!  I totally failed on this one too.  I love cheese. :)

Visit my Grandma in Erie. 
YEP!  I did this one.  It was lovely to see her, and also very bittersweet.  We don't know how much longer she'll be with us, and that made me incredibly sad.  But I'm so glad I got to see her and spend time with her.

Find a new job that I love!
DONE!!  :)  I'm so happy at the bakery, and discovering new things about myself and what I want to do with my life.  It has been challenging and different, and I'm loving every minute of it.

Find a way to SING more!
I definitely did my fair share of karaoke this year, but it was not enough to make me feel satiated.  I need to find a choir or singing group to join so that I can do it more regularly.  I'm going to carry this one over to 2013 for sure!

Pay off ANOTHER credit card.
I am very VERY close to paying off my largest bill, and I know I will be able to do so by early next year.  So I'm hoping in 2013 I can have TWO credit cards paid off, so I'm carrying this one over too!  WOOT!

Start a garden. 
YEPPERS!  I'm so excited to get the garden going again this next year - we learned so much this past summer, and I am ready to take on the challenge again.  It is so rewarding to grow your own food!!

Rally the troops and make a crazy huge donation to a charity. 
YES!!  I'm so glad that we could make this happen with the big St. Baldrick's head-shaving event.  Our team raised over $3,000.00 for the cause, and I couldn't be happier.  I have such amazing friends & family that donated, and I couldn't have asked for a better send-off for my hairs. :)

Make an effort to dress more fashionably. 
I definitely feel like I've accomplished this one!  I think having a job where I'm more in front of the public has been helping me stay on track with looking put together too.

Remind myself daily that what I choose to eat directly corresponds to how I feel, how I look, and the world around me.
Although sometimes I do falter, I know that what I put into my body effects me in different ways!  I am getting much better about my choices, and listening to my body.

Run a 10k without stopping. 
Well, this didn't happen this year.  But that's OK!  I had a lot of goals, and with all that I have accomplished, I'm OK with letting this one slide. ;)

Take a Vacation. 
This year was difficult for vacations.  With all of the job changing & craziness of the year, I don't feel like I got a nice vacation.  I got to visit my grandma in Erie, and my sister in New York - and I'm so thankful that I got to go on those trips!  We were in Oklahoma for 2 weeks, but mainly because of the passing of John's mom, and with the emotion of the trip it was hardly relaxing.  So 2013 is going to have to be when it all happens!

Overall, I feel like 2012 was pretty freakin' great.  I feel like I learned so much about myself this year, and I can't wait to see what 2013 will bring.  There is so much I have yet to learn, and I am excited about that! :) 

So here is what I have resolved to accomplish in 2013.... 

Waste Less.
After the impact that No Impact Man made on me, I've definitely made a lot of changes in my life to waste less.  We've stopped buying paper towels (we use / wash old t-shirts we cut up instead), John has been making his own almond milk, and we're definitely getting there.  But there is so much more we could be doing, and one of my biggest things is packaged foods.

Packaging from food products makes up about 40% of America's waste.  That's HUGE.  And I don't mean just those Starbucks coffee cups, or fast food bags.  But plastic bags of shredded cheese, pre-packaged fake meat products, boxed mac & cheese, etc.  That means making my own foods as much as possible (yes, from scratch), and using mostly produce.  It's gonna be a difficult goal, but baby steps make big changes!

Pay off 2 credit cards.
As mentioned before - I gotta add this one to the 2013 list!  I will get one paid off, and move to the next - then get that one paid off too before 2014.  It's gonna be AWESOME, and 1 big step closer to me being completely debt-free. :)

Find a way to sing more!  Join a choir, or a band. 
I feel like one way to get myself singing more frequently would be to join some kind of group.  Whether it's a choir or an actual band - even just singing once a week or twice a month, it would be a lot of progress for me!  And either of those scenarios sound like an absolute blast!

Play a few basic songs on the piano. 
I need a small goal for the new piano - somewhere to start.  I do want to be able to play the piano fluidly in the future, but I need to start slowly and go over the basics all over again.  But learning a few songs the entire way through is a perfect goal that's not too far out of my range!

Take a nice long vacation!
Since I didn't get a nice relaxing vacation in 2012, I'd love to do a full week somewhere new!  It may contradict my debt-paying-off goals a bit, but life is too short to go without a vacation every now & then.

Get back into doing yoga at least once a week - more if at all possible. 
I know a few places that offer free yoga classes at least once / week, so I'm sure I could make this happen. I've been wanting to get a bit more flexible while also having some time to focus on myself and relax.  This will definitely allow for that.  Hopefully I'll be able to bump up my frequency to more, but again, this is just a baby step in the right direction!

(Check it out - it's me on the far right!  Katy is on the far left, Geneva is in the middle with the swirly back tattoo.  We did it for a charity event with Root Yoga in downtown Denver.  It was so much fun to do yoga outside!)

Start my own Etsy store for handmade cards, jewelry & crafts. 
I've been wanting to do something like this for a while now, and I think it'd be an awesome creative outlet for me!  Still working on some things to start the store with, so we'll see what happens... I think it will be tons of fun.

Contribute to a cause. 
Whether it's fundraising or volunteering - I like to try and make this a part of every year, no matter what it may be!

Get healthier. 
This is my big one for the new year!  I feel like I work towards this every year, and every year I get a little better at it.  It's never a perfect system, but hey, nobody's perfect!  And by this I mean: more veggies & fruits, better choices, smaller portions, more water, less alcohol - all that jazz.

However, this doesn't just mean food. It means work towards getting healthier mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Taking a break when I need it.  Meditating.  Moving my body, using my muscles.  All around health - not just one thing or another.

It's all those little changes that make big changes, and I believe that fully.  Choosing fresh vegetables instead of fries.  Choosing herbal tea over a glass of wine.  Choosing a long walk with a friend over sitting in a movie theater.  Listen more to myself, and others.  Find peace.

Basically just working on making myself the best person I can be, so that I can give all that back to the world. :)

What are your goals for 2013? 

All Images (except Yoga image) found on Pinterest. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Crazy time of year - again!

I know I haven't posted lately, but man, it's been crazy around here!  Ha!

It's already been quite the start to the holiday season - I've been getting a head start on gifts, decorating the house, figuring out what crafts / foods I need to make, oh my!  Busy busy bumblebee.

I did get the tree put up, and those lights along the wall?  I put little hooks on them to hang Christmas cards from them!  Fun, huh?

Fudge helped as well. :)

I'll be back to post more soon!
Hope you're enjoying this wonderful / crazy time of year!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm going to be at the parent's house for a few days, but before I left I wanted to be sure to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!! 

Do you want to know what I'm thankful for?  
Well, I'll tell ya! 
I'm thankful for... 

- beautiful snowy mornings
- giggling babies
- wagging doggie tails
- cupcakes
- family 
- friends
- love
- sympathy
- really good hugs
- comfortable shoes
- a warm bed
- sunshine
- rain
- juicy apples
- home

....and oh so much more.  I'm so grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life, and to be just who I am.  My heart is so filled with love & happiness right now! :)

Hope you all have a wonderful & safe day!  

Images found via Pinterest or We Heart It. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tom's Urban 24 - a visit to the new downtown diner!

The other day I met up with a few friends from my old job for an early happy hour at the brand-spankin'-new Tom's Urban 24-hour Diner on the corner of 15th & Larimer in downtown Denver.

Look at these lovely ladies!

They had some pretty awesome stuff on the menu, and some crazy drink cocktails that we absolutely had to try!  My favorite was the "WTF;)" - I can't remember all of the ingredients, but it contained whiskey, Coors light, red wine, orange juice, etc.  Sounds weird, but MAN it was good!

Susan got herself a "Coffee & Donut" - maple bacon doughnut, a shot of doughnut vodka, espresso, and espresso liquor.  Wowza.

And I think these may have been probably the most delicious deviled eggs I've ever had.  Truffled Deviled Eggs?  Yes, please!!

This one was my drink #2 - I can't remember the name, but it was champange with rose water syrup and some other yummy goodies in there too.  OH so good!!

How about that happy girlie!  And that pizza was friggin' amazing - cheese, arugula, mushrooms - YUM!  SO good.

Anyway, you guys should definitely check this place out if you have a chance.  It really is open 24-hours too!  And the menu is freakin' huge.  I kinda wanted to try everything!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Coffee stop

Last week on my day off I took a little coffee break with a few friends! 

I think I was the only person who didn't bring a laptop, but ah well!  It was nice to hang out and chit-chat over a good ol' cuppa joe. 

It was a pretty lovely Wednesday morning to hang out!  

And on top of it all?  The coffee shop was giving away FREE seeds!!  How awesome is that?  Our garden is going to be bigger & better than ever next year, and I am totally excited about it.  I may have grabbed a bit much, but hey, might as well stock up. :) 

Mmmm - coffee time! 

My hair is really starting to grow out, huh? 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall walk in the Park with Katy

Yesterday I had a day off so Katy and I went for a long walk in the park!

It was a beautiful day - the sun was out and warm, but there was a bit of a chill in the air.  It was just lovely!

Katy didn't make good friends with the geese (but man, it was fun to see her chasing them off!  Ha!)

We are a couple of colorful girls!

Stretchin' it out!

Well Katy made friends with at least one animal that day!

I saw this pile of leaves and I told Katy "Let's walk over here!" - we actually walked single file for a block or so, just so that we could both crunch through the leaves and kick them all around.

It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon with a good friend!
We're going to enjoy as much of this weather as possible before the real cold weather hits! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Oh my gosh - only 1 more week until my favorite holiday!!  THANKSGIVING!! 

If you remember, I posted back in early September about my Thanksgiving menu.  Yep, I had it planned all the way back then.  And man, it's gonna be delish!!

Here's my full play-by-play for the big Thanksgiving Meal: 

Egg casserole - This I'm going to make the night before.  John and I are heading down as soon as I get off work to start prepping everything! :) 
Scones!  (sticky fingers mix) - I'm trying to keep things simple this year, so breakfast will be fast & easy! 

Homemade Pimento cheese dip (with rice crackers) - I'm going to make this the night before too.  It has been hard planning for my little sister (who is gluten AND lactose intolerant), but I'm doing the best I can so that she can enjoy as much as possible!  
Roasted nuts - A family favorite!  It makes the house smell SO GOOD. 

Roasted Beet Salad with pears & almonds - I'm hoping our lovely family friend Deb will be able to make this to bring - she always does such an amazing job with the salad! 

Side Dishes
Carrot Casserole - I haven't done a carrot dish in a while, and I think this one will be a nice change! 
Mushroom Wellington cups - This is a new one for me, and may be a bit of a challenge.  I'm hoping it will be a fun one though (and hopefully a hit!)
Mashed potatoes (vegan) - Another one I'm hoping to get completed the night before.  The potatoes are always the easiest ones to make milk-free for Taryn! 
Brussels sprouts with white beans & pecorino (on the side) - I'm kinda lovin' on Brussels sprouts right now.  I think this will be a fun veggie instead of green beans! 
Gravy (vegan) - hoping to get this one done the night before too - it's always a huge hit at Thanksgiving. 
“Sausage” stuffed red onions - Another new recipe!  I hope it's not too complicated... 

Turkey (Dad / John) - I never do the Turkey - I don't even think I would know how to cook meat anymore! ha! 
Maple Glazed Tofurkey - A new recipe, but it looks pretty easy! 
AND Currant Maple Citrus Loaf - Ditto on this one, but it sounds delish.  Tofurkey's are pretty small, so we usually do two meatless-loafs instead of just 1 (so that we have plenty of leftovers!)

Apple “Cream” Pie – This will be from my Southern Pies cookbook - another first for me!  I can't wait to give it a try though.  I'm making a small gluten-free apple crumble for the little sis.  
Toasted Coconut pie (from work!!) - Yep, I recently found out that the bakery is going to give each employee a free pie for Thanksgiving!!  How totally rad is that??  I am so excited. 

And there you have it!  I'm so excited to have a couple of days off to spend with the fam.  I just love this time of year!  Man, if Thanksgiving snuck up on me this quickly, Christmas is going to be here even quicker! Holy moly!  

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!  :D 

All images found on either Pinterest or We Heart It.