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Surprise Engagement!

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Last night, Brian and I went over to our friends’ house not thinking anything about it.  We are both pretty social people and we usually end up going somewhere or having friends come to our apartment at least once a weekend, so in our eyes there really was no reason to suspect that something was different about this night.

We arrived and chatted with friends, still not thinking anything was out of the ordinary until someone mentioned that there was a surprise….a surprise??!  When Brian and I heard this, we were soo confused because we had no idea that there was a surprise and we had no idea what this surprise was.  It didn’t take long to figure out (at least for Brian) when we realized that Caitlin and Brian (one of the couples that is usually in our circle of friends) was not there!  The surprise was that they were getting engaged as we spoke and then they were coming to meet all of us to celebrate!!

It was a great celebration!

We surprised and congratulated Caitlin as she walked through the door.

She shared her story with all of us.

The happy couple!

We then spent the night celebrating, hearing the story, and having a great time 🙂

Tori and Kate match!

Me and the newly engaged bride-to-be 🙂



Today, I woke up, had some oats for breakfast, then headed out the door to my free lululemon yoga class.  It is always such a great way to start the Saturday, and after doing various workout throughout the week it is good to dedicate one full our to stretching the body out.

I also find that I am usually a pretty energetic and high strung person, so it is also good to take an hour to just chill and only focus on myself and how I am feeling.

I then went grocery shopping and picked up a little treat for myself.

Zico Coconut Water!  I have read several great things about the flavor of Zico and of the benefits of coconut water it self, and while I was in Thailand, I actually tried coconut water for the first time ever…out of an actual coconut!

The Zico water tasted great (although not as good as from the actual coconut), and I am curious as to what the other flavors taste like.  I will let you know when I try them!


I then came home and quickly whipped up a meal for Brian, my mom, my brother, and me.  My mom and brother stopped by for dinner so that I could say good bye before Kenny flew back to Florida for school.

Don’t worry, it’s healthy…and there will be a recipe coming soon!

Brian and I are now going to dog sit and read more of the Hunger Games!!


What are your plans this Saturday night?

Great Family Sunday, But Time To Clean

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Good Monday morning!

First, I will recap my Sunday.  Yesterday, I woke up bright and early and started my day with a delicious strawberry banana smoothie.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

  • 1 scoop Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 Fage Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Almond Breeze
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1/3 medium to large frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.  Drink up!
Nutritional Information
Calories: 228.9g  Fat:  3.1g  Carbohydrates:  34.1g  Protein:  23.5g
It was a delicious way to start the day…boy did I miss smoothies while I was on board the ship!
Sunday Day
After my delicious smoothie, my mom, Brian and I got a dressed and ready head to church.  After a refreshing church service, it was time to load up the car to head back to Indianapolis.  Loading up the car was fine, but I will say that I was a tad bit hesitant to drive since I have barely even ridden in a car let alone have I driven in the past 5 months.  Once I got behind the wheel it did feel a little bit strange, but for the most part, it was just like riding a bike!  I got back to Indianapolis safe and in one piece!  Brian and I had to drive separately since we drove up to Fort Wayne in his car and were taking both of our cars back, so before we headed out I made us a brand new CD of some songs that we are both in love with currently.  This mix of music is high energy and fun, perfect for wasting time on a car ride, singing along with, and working out.
Brian and Tara’s Driving Home, Singing Along, and Working Out Playlist
  1. Countdown–Beyonce
  2. Earthquake–Labrinth ft. Tinie Tempah
  3. Glad You Came–The Wanted
  4. Love on Top–Beyonce
  5. Part of Me–Katy Perry
  6. Princess of China–Coldplay ft. Rihanna
  7. Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)–Kelly Clarkson
  8. Take Care–Drake ft. Rihanna
  9. Turn Me On–David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj
  10. Turn Up the Music–Chris Brown
  11. Wild Ones–Flo Rida ft. Sia
  12. Without You–David Guetta ft. Usher
  13. You da One–Rihanna ft. Beyonce
Sunday Evening
After arriving home and unloading all of my things from both my car and Brian’s car, we then headed to Brian’s for a family dinner and little welcome home celebration.  It was great to see Brian’s family!  His dad loves experimenting in the kitchen and has most recently been experimenting with macaroons.  Not only are they pretty, but they are delicious too!

Brian’s family had been working on a little surprise for me.  While I was gone his mom had found a ton of clothing items at consignment shops that were great quality and barely ever worn!  So, I spent the evening trying on all of the clothing items and giving everyone a little fashion show 🙂  I must say, I left with a dramatically improved wardrobe!!!

This Morning

This morning, I slept in for the most part and started my day with some oats and coffee.

For Christmas, my mom made Brian a homemade Chai tea mix and she got us a Keurig, so I mixed a little bit of that mix in my coffee for a Chai Latte effect and it was delicious!!  Thanks, Mom 😉

With my oatmeal I mixed in some pea protein for added protein and about 2 tsp of peanut butter for some healthy fat.  Lately, I have been using pea protein as my main protein supplement because it is a plant based protein that my body digests well, it is not a genetically modified crop, and pea protein has virtually 0 carbohydrates and 0 fat, which means that I am literally only getting protein form the powder and I can get carbs from fruits and veggies and fat from healthy sources like nuts, seeds, avocado, and fish.

Using the powder in my oatmeal makes is thick, creamy and delicious!

When it comes to purchasing health foods such as protein powders, natural cacoa, fish oil, chia seeds, flax seeds, buckwheat, and virtually any natural beauty product that you can think of I ALWAYS use  This site is amazing because of the quality of their ingredients, the speediness of delivery, and the low cost and constant discounts that they are offering.

Right now, they are offering a special deal for March.  If you visit the between now and Tuesday, March 12 at midnight and enter in the code OGA946 then you will receive $8 off of your first order.  Not a bad deal if you ask me!

Cleaning Day

Now, that I am fueled with a good breakfast and coffee it is time to get to work and unpack everything from my 5 months abroad and reorganize the apartment…wish me luck!!

Things of Possible Interest:

Top Things About Fall

This morning, I woke up early with Brian to help him review for his exam.  This will be the last monthly exam of his that I am here for!

Breakfast was a delicious fall apple with peanut butter and coffee 🙂

After Brian was off to his exam, I went on a 4 mile run and then completed a workout that was Pinterest inspired!

Because I ran 4 miles, I skipped the 100 jumping jacks and the 10 minutes of running at the end, but I did everything in between.  The leg lifts were hardest for me!


It seems like I have been talking a lot about the seasons, but I love season changes and I just can’t help it 😉

The crisp fall mornings lately have reminded me of all of my favorite things about fall.

Fall Favorites:

Boots.  If I had my way, I would have boots in every color, height, ankle boots, you name it.  I love books 🙂

Fall decorations (even though I didn’t put any up this year!!)

Mom’s “Fall Mix”

Bright colors on all of the trees

The crunching noise when running or walking through fallen leaves.


The smell of turning the heat on for the first time in the house (this is a weird one!)

Scarves…I love being cozy!

Pumpkin…everything 😉

Garlic Pumpkin Pasta

Pumpkin Buckwheat Bowl

Pumpkin Muffins

What do you LOVE about this season???

Called In

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So, I got called into work tonight and therefore ate a super  duper early dinner.

I was craving a huge bowl of fresh veggies, so a salad it was.  I topped a bed of spinach with carrots, yellow bell pepper, onion, jalapenos, celery, Krab (the artificial stuff), and salsa.   It was perfectly delicious and totally hit the spot!


Work Fashion

Here is the latest look for the day.


Hope you all have a wonderful evening! 🙂

I Love the Avett Brothers and Vera Bradley

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Ok, so it is official!  The Avett Brothers are amazing!  The concert last night was simply perfect.


Right after I got home from work I changed into warm clothes, and boy was I cozy for the show!  I wore:  sock tights under my pants, regular socks over my tights, uggs (I officially broke them out for the first time this year!), a cami, a button up shirt, a pullover sweatshirt, my Northface jacket, a scarf, and gloves.  Sounds like a lot, but I promise you that it was the perfecta mount!

Everyone met at our apartment for some food and drinks before heading out to the show.

Kate made Smores cupcakes!

The music was touching, fun, and perfect!  The air was crisp and truly made it feel like it was officially fall.  It was the perfect night 🙂



Today, I woke up and debated whether or not I wanted to work out because I was tired and kind of in a lazy mode.  I didn’t work out yesterday, and I thought about how good I always feel after a sweat session…so I did it.  I popped in another insanity video and sweated my little tail off, and I felt great afterwards!  Just like I knew I would.


I then made myself a bowl of buckwheat.

Today’s mix-ins included:  pumpkin, splenda, peanut butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  The perfect fall breakfast!  I am so glad that Courtney introduced me to this wonderful grain.


After coming home from work around 3pm, I was hungry but wanted to save a little room for a tasty fall dinner that I am cooking up so I really just grazed on some crackers, hummus, a little bit of ranch veggie dip, and lots of celery and carrots 🙂  Sorry there were no pictures.


I then did a little online shopping at  When I did my photoshoot in May I was paid with a gift card, and after receiving an e-mail about some of their prints being on super sale I decided that I was finally going to use the card today!


I purchased a wristlet in Poppy Fields


and the pleated tote in Poppy Fields…all for under $50!! If you have ever purchased anything Vera Bradley…you know that is a steal!


I purchased that wristlet to use as a camera case.  This will be my third attempt at having a Vera Bradley wristlet as a camera case.  My mom has gotten my two the past two years for my birthday and they literally just go missing and I never find them….weird.  I hope that this one doesn’t disappear on me!!

Now, I’m off to start my tasty fall meal!! Don’t worry…I’ll share that recipe with you later tonight 🙂

Kiss that Knee Pain Goodbye!

Good Morning!

I started my day off with a knee pain free Insanity workout that was full of sweat!  Just what I had been craving 😉 It was so worth it to rest for a couple of days.

Super schweaty!

Kiss that pain goodbye!!! Thank you rest days!


I then made a PB and J Smoothie for breakfast.  Although I love my buckwheat bowls, I guess I can’t go a week without my smoothie bowl.


Yesterday’s Work Fashion

I didn’t have a chance to post what I wore yesterday although you may have seen it at my sister’s graduation.

Surprisingly, I have today and tomorrow off so I am looking forward to having two days to get anything accomplished that I want!  I have already started on my laundry….we will see what is next on the list.

A New Ingredient

Have you ever heard of wheat berries?  I hadn’t either until just recently.

Wheat Berries

Wheat berries are the bran, germ, and endosperm of the wheat minus the hull.  This grain is high  in protein with 6 grams per serving.  It can be cooked as a breakfast cereal like oatmeal or buckwheat, sauteed with vegetables and protein as a main dish, prepared as a side dish, made into a pudding, or mixed into a salad.


I decided to mix them into a salad for a light dinner last night and as something Brian could throw into his lunchbox quickly.

Fall Flavors Wheat Berry Salad


  • The amount of wheat berries yielded from 1 cup uncooked after they are cooked
(I forgot to measure how much I used, but I cooked 1 cup according to package directions and that is how much I used)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/4 cup of red onion
  • 1/4 cup of trail mix with cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas
  • 4 pepperoncini, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
What new ingredient have you cooked with lately?

Housewarming Gifts

When Brian and I headed to welcome our friends into their new apartment last night, I knew that we couldn’t show up empty handed.  Of course I wanted to bake them a housewarming gift!  Cookies it was…and they sure were a hit 😉

White Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies (original recipe from How Sweet Eats)


  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp melted margarine, cooled
  • 6 Tbsp peanut butter (I used natural crunchy) melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Combine the margarine and peanut butter in a small bowl.  Microwave in 30 second intervals until a melted and creamy mixture.
In a separate bowl combine flour, oats, soda, and salt.  In a mixer bowl combine the cooled peanut butter mixture with the sugars.  Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.  Once combined, gradually add in the flour mixture.  Fold in the white chocolate chips.
Place dough in golf ball sized balls on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy!!!
Little did I know, Caitlin had a housewarming gift for me too! She brought the Vera Bradley catalog with her!
I can’t wait to take it home to show my family!

Buckwheat Approval

Happy First Day of Fall!!!!


Yesterday, I was at work during the majority of the day so here is what I wore:

After work, Brian and I went downstairs to visit Caitlin and Julie, two of our good friends from Butler who just moved into our building!  We had a little wine, cookies (recipe to come later) and Modern Family.  It was relaxing and great to see good friends after a long day at work.


This morning I decided I would try out the Bob’s Red Mill Creamy Buckwheat Cereal.  I have made buckwheat pancakes before and absolutely loved them, but I didn’t know what to expect from the cereal.

Seriously, this stuff is great! I mixed together:

  • 1/4 cup buckwheat cereal
  • 3/4 cup water

I then microwaved it for 3 minutes and added:

Here are some interesting facts and benefits of buckwheat:
  • Buckwheat is a fruit not a grain and is completely wheat free
  • Buckwheat is a great plant source of protein (5g per 1/4 cup serving!)
  • Rich in lysine, an amino acid that is lacking in many grains
  • Eating buckwheat may keep you fuller longer, because it will keep glucose levels balanced better than other carbohydrates
Hope you all have a great first day of fall and kickoff to the weekend.
This weekend is Chelsea’s wedding weekend!  Gotta go pack!! 🙂

Breakfast Before or After?

Good Morning!

This Morning, I woke up bright and early (well it was actually still dark out) to go to Body Pump. Today, I had my favorite instructor who is great at motivating and pushing everyone to their limit!

After Body Pump, I came home and showered so that I could get ready for the work day.

I made myself my first bowl of fall oats…Oatmeal, pumpkin, cinnamon, splenda, and almond butter…delish

I then thought about the age-old question…Should we eat before or after a workout?

In my personal research and fitness education I have learned that one never wants to workout on an empty stomach, such as first thing in the morning when our body is in starvation mode. I have had instructors suggest that I eat a half of granola bar, piece of fruit, or something small to “get me going” or get my metabolism started so that I can totally maximize my workout.

But then what about eating after? I have also learned that the first 45 minutes after a workout are the prime time for eating because your body can digest and metabolize things better. So what is the consensus? I find that eating a little bit before and a little bit after works for me…What works for you??

Do you eat before or after a workout or both??? What is your reasoning???

Pump Motivation

Good Morning!

This morning, I woke up bright and early to head to the gym before work.  I did 20 minutes on the elliptical, then I had the most amazing Body Pump class ever.

I have been trying to up my weight every time because I am still getting used to the class and trying to figure out where I should be.  Today’s class was tough, but the instructor was by far the best one I have had yet!  She was peppy, motivating, funny, annnd she sang along with the songs.  Needless to say, I really liked her style!

I then came home for a quick breakfast of some overnight oats that were like an oatmeal raisin cookie.  Yum!

This morning’s bowl included:

  • Oats
  • Raisins
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Cinnamon
  • Splenda
  • Granola
I put that all in the bowl last night with some water, then this morning I added some more granola for crunch and frozen banana.  Such a yummy and energizing breakfast bowl.
Work Fashion
Here is today’s look
Off to work, and I’ll see ya later!
Things to read: