Nothing a Good Dose of Christmas Nostalgia Can't Fix

I’ve always loved a good dose of nostalgia and there’s nothing quite like the holiday season to fill my void for the stuff. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the whole shebang, I always find myself getting caught up in the smells, sounds, the warm fuzzy feelings, and traditions that all come wrapped up in this season.

In my last post I shared a little about the way I grew up and all the change that has come with life as a military brat.  I’ve learned to embrace change and adapt to new settings.  In fact, I enjoy change.  But when it comes to Christmas and the holiday season, I’m all about traditions. Despite all the change and newness of moving from state to state and school to school growing up, the traditions of Christmas time are always a comforting nostalgia each November and December.  Sometimes I feel a little crazy wanting everything to be set up roughly the same way, the same decorations, the same songs playing in the background, the same cookies in the oven…but that’s the beauty of tradition right? (please just say yes and tell me I’m totally normal for this.)

Daughter of an American Hero

Today I'm sharing a more personal post. As my dad gets ready to officially retire from the military after 31 years of service, I’ve found myself reflecting on what that means.  31 years of my dad’s life were dedicated to serving our great country, through the Army National Guard for 10 and the Air Force for 21.  There has never been a moment that I have not been so proud to be my dad’s daughter. And as I get older, my respect and pride for him only grows.  I’m so thankful for my dad’s service to our country and to my family.

My dad’s retirement has also got me thinking about what it’s been like growing up as a military brat.  Being a college student, I often get asked, “Where are you from?” However, for a military brat, this question isn’t your simple city, state answer.  It’s usually, “I live in ______, but I’m not really from there. I’ve also lived in _______, ________, __________, etc. etc. etc.  I’m a military kid.”  Often, the follow-up question is: “Wow, is that hard?” Is it hard to leave behind friends? Sure. Is it hard to not have a place that you can call your “hometown”? Yeah, sometimes, I guess. Is it hard to pick up and leave as soon as you finally feel settled? I suppose.  But the thing is, I love it.  I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being a military brat has given me so much.  I would never in a million years trade the way I grew up for anything.  

Fall Fashion: Wish List

Since today is the first day of fall I thought it would be fitting that I share with you my Fall wish list! I love summer so I'm sad to watch it go but I do always love the change that comes with a new season and there are plenty of fall festivities that I am excited for! Although it is still pretty warm where I live, I've been starting to compile a list of things in my head that I want for the "real" fall weather. These are some of the items on my wish list! Everything is linked (click/tap the picture for direct link to buy).

Booties/Ankle Boots:

I have been wanting a pair of ankle boots for a while but have yet to actually make the purchase. These are two that I have been contemplating. The first is a pair of TOMS, which is kind of surprising! I love how simple they are and that they can be dressed up or down--so much versatility! The second pair is one I've been eyeing also. I love fringe detail and the small heel that gives a little height without being uncomfortable to walk in (aka more along the lines of something I would wear on an everyday basis).

My Current Favorites!

There are so many products and things I have been loving lately so today I thought I'd share with you my current favorites! Enjoy!

Food Favorites: 

Townhouse Pita crackers

Y'all.  Pause. These are SO good. My mom and I love to eat these with hummus but even on their own, they taste so yummy! There are a couple different flavor varieties but my favorite are the Sea Salt ones. This is a great chip alternative for when you get the munchies but don't want to sacrifice eating healthier options!

All Blended Up: 3 Easy and Delicious Smoothie Recipes!

If you know me, you know that I love a good smoothie. And for a while now, I have been obsessed with making smoothies at home! They are so easy to make, delicious, healthy (or indulgent when you want it to be), and the options are endless! I love experimenting with different fruits and add-ins to make the perfect smoothie. So with that being said, today I thought I'd share a few of my favorite smoothie concoctions with you all.

Tropical Smoothie's "Beach Bum" Copycat Recipe: 

I love Tropical Smoothie but unfortunately the closest one to where I live is about 45 minutes away so I don't get to go too often.  Lucky for me I have figured out a way to get the delicious flavor of their "Beach Bum" smoothie at home.  Disclaimer: it's definitely not quite up to speed with Trop Smooth (they have a magic touch, I think.) BUT it is still SO good and SO easy to make! For a few weeks I think I made one of these every day (oops. not sorry.)  Here's how I do it!

  • 5-6 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 banana sliced (freeze the other half for a future smoothie!) 
  • 1 serving Carnation Breakfast Essentials nutritional drink mix (rich milk chocolate)
  • 1 cup milk of your choice--I have used both vanilla almond milk and 2% milk, both are delicious!
  • (optional) 1 tbsp peanut butter--this is not an ingredient included in Tropical Smoothie's "Beach Bum" but I do like to add in some peanut butter from time to time as an extra source of protein! You can never go wrong with PB, am I right?!

Deflategate Absurdity

Innocent until proven guilty? Not a relevant phrase in the world of NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell.  Yesterday, the public was finally given a decision from Goodell on Tom Brady's appeal of the 4 game suspension he was given this past May. This punishment was handed down to Brady personally, along with a $1 million fine and the loss of two future draft picks on the New England Patriots team. These punishments came as a result of the highly insubstantial Wells Report. All of this comes back to the AFC championship game vs the Colts, which by the way, the Patriots won 45-7.  Next thing you know, the Patriots were being accused of deflating footballs.  There is so much wrong with the entire "Deflategate" situation and the handling of it by the league.  I could go on and on about each flawed basis of the circumstances but to keep things short and sweet, I'll stay focused on four key points that I feel the need to address, especially for those that talk, talk, talk, without any knowledge of the actual situation.

1.  Where is the evidence?
Four time super bowl champion, Tom Brady, is being blamed for and accused of having knowledge of purposeful deflation of the footballs used in the Patriots' AFC championship game vs the Indianapolis Colts this past season.  This blame is being assigned to one of the NFL's greatest ever with no hard evidence. What is the basis of the accusatory claims toward Tom Brady? The answer is speculation and the Wells report which, if we are being honest with ourselves, is simply more speculation. The report stated that it was "more probable than not" that Tom Brady was "generally aware" of football deflation having taken place.  The laughable qualities of that claim are so strong. The ridiculousness of the penalties being put on Tom Brady and the Pats based on these empty accusations is so over the top and extremely nonsensical.

NYC: Shania, Pizza, Shopping, Oh My!

So….long time no post. I could go on and on about why I haven't been keeping up with blogging but to be honest, there is no good excuse. But I've finally made my way back to the blog and am excited to start posting a lot more.  Make sure you subscribe to my blog with your email address to be notified every time a new post is up! (:  With all that being said, today I wanted to share a little glimpse of a recent trip I took to NYC with you all.

Last week my best friend came to visit me and we took a mini trip up to New York City.  NYC is a big tourist spot, obviously, but we had one HUGE reason for making our way up there: Shania. Twain. I repeat. Shania. Twain.  We are both big Shania fans to say the least and were super stoked to be headed to Madison Square Garden for Shania Twain's Rock This Country Tour.

Since we were headed to NYC for the concert we had to take advantage of the shopping and pizza while there. I mean, we'd be crazy not to right?! First stop after checking into our hotel? Don Antonio's for our first taste of New York pizza. Don Antonio's is located on W 50th and 8th if you ever happen to find yourself in the city. My uncle, aunt, and cousins had recently visited and recommended Don Antonio's to us and it definitely did not disappoint (SO GOOD).  Few words were spoken after the pizza was put down on our table other than the occasional, "Wow, this is so good."

Up until the concert that night, we spent the rest of our day walking around the city and doing some shopping. Walking around New York City was such a change in pace for me, having lived in mainly small towns my whole life. I tried to imagine living there and have to admit that I don't think it's for me. (It's fun to walk around and pretend though right?) We walked all the way down to Central Park which was a good distance from our hotel. It was a day filled with a ton of walking in general, which was probably good considering the pizza we had devoured. 
I was especially excited to go in the Kate Spade store on Madison. The store was so pretty and I definitely wanted to buy everything including the chandeliers and pink couches, meant for trying on shoes upstairs. I couldn't help but snap a few pictures (obvious tourist to all the locals).

Maintaining the Dynasty

Let me start by saying that I am a die hard Pats fan, born and raised.  Super Bowl XLIX saw near tears, shouting, cheering, and jumping around the living room at my household and it feels so good to, once again, be Super Bowl champions.

With their Super Bowl XLIX win under belt, the New England Patriots have entered an undeniable territory of revered status as one of the greatest NFL teams of all time.  It is no secret that the vast majority of this success has come under head coach, Bill Belichick and 3-time Super Bowl MVP and 4-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, Tom Brady.  This dynamic duo is indisputably one of the greatest pairings to ever set foot in the NFL.  In fact, I would dare to say that these two are THE greatest—individually and as a pair.  Through intelligence, strategy, and an exceptional attention to detail, Belichick and Brady have gone 4-2 in the Super Bowl within the last 15 years.  What a record.  It is through this success that many football fans have made the decision that the New England Patriots have earned the right to be called a dynasty within this league.  The question that comes to many at this time is this:  How long can such greatness be maintained?