Wednesday, May 30, 2012

new blog

Call me crazy, but I decided to start another blog. 

A Better You is going to be about the health aspect of my life. I will be sharing healthy recipes, workouts, tidbits about different foods, etc. I am by no means a nutritionist, dietician, or personal trainer. I am just a girl who loves to read up on health articles, scope out the Fitness section of Pinterest for minutes at a time, and am interested in how certain foods are both good and bad for our bodies. 

I want you to ask me questions, share your recipes, share your workouts. I want it to be a community of people who motivate, celebrate, and inspire each other. Maybe I am dreaming this whole blog success thing up in my head or maybe not, but I'm doing it. Join me and head on over to to see what the latest idea I have in my head is all about!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

what's for dinner: turkey enchiladas


Nonstick cooking spray
1 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 lb ground turkey
1 large zucchini, shredded
1/3 C stuffed green olives, chopped, plus 2 T olive brine*
2 jalapeños, seeded & chopped*
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
8 corn tortillas**
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar

*I omitted these ingredients...1) I hate olives & 2) I hate jalapeños 
**I could only fit 6 tortillas in my baking dish


1. Preheat oven to 375. Coat 2-quart rectangular baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion & cook 5 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. 
3. Add turkey, zucchini, olives, olive brine, jalapeños, tomato sauce, cumin, oregano, salt & cinnamon. Cook 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
4. Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels & microwave 30 seconds or until warmed through. Spoon a generous 1/3 C turkey mixture down the center of the tortilla. Roll up & place seam side down in baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas & filling.
5. Spoon remaining tomato sauce over enchiladas & sprinkle with cheese. Cover & bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven & let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

319 Calories, 19 g protein, 36 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat, 5 g fiber

Recipe taken from Fitness Magazine - May 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012


I spent my Memorial Day Weekend at the lake, along with the rest of my family. In between games of Sequence, sips of Summer Shandy, & pages of Cold Tangerines, I went on a walk with my niece, camera in tow. 

Ahh, aren't pinky walks the best?

Friday, May 25, 2012


[ via Pinterest ]
I'm pretty sure I have dealt with almost every emotion that the human body can deal with these past 30 some days. Not saying this makes me an emotion expert or anything, but bare with me as I think I've come along something that we all can learn from.

I have loved, I have lost.
 I have cried, I have laughed. 
I have felt neglected, I have felt comforted.
I have felt fear, I have felt adventure.  
I have felt rejected, I have felt needed. 
I have felt numb, I have felt animated. 
I have been independent, I have been dependent.
I have been lonely, I have been fulfilled.
I have been strong, I have been weak.

Notice something? With every bad emotion, there is an opposite emotion. Emotions are what drive us & what drive us astray. It is my job, our job, to dig for these "good" emotions when the "bad" ones are breaking us down. Take music for example. Listen to a sappy love song while you've recently been dumped & you will find yourself crawling in to bed & littering it with used tissue (complete with mascara stains. But, not like I would know or anything). Listen to an upbeat song in the morning & you will see your reflection in the mirror shakin' your thang (again, I've only heard stories of people doing this).

Go ahead. Crank up the music that puts you in a good mood & dance away. If were like me yesterday morning at 6:30 am, I am lucky I didn't get a noise complaint from the neighbors. Just sayin'. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

personal commandments

Forget the past.
Do stuff.
Talk to strangers.
Stay in touch.
Stop the venting & complaining.
Go outside.
Spread joy.
Never bother with people you hate.
Don't expect it to last forever. Everything ends & that's okay.
Stop buying useless crap.
Make mistakes.
Give thanks for: the ordinary & the extraordinary.
Create something that wasn't there before.
Notice the color purple.
Make footprints: "I was here."
Be silly. Be light.
Be the kind of woman I want my daughters to be.
Choose not to take things personally. 
Be loving & love what you find.
Soak it in.
This too shall pass.
Remember, everyone's doing their best all the time.
Imagine the eulogy: how do I want to be remembered?
Expect a miracle.
I am already enough.
Let it go, man.
What do I really, really want?
Help is everywhere.
If you can't get out of it, get into it.
Keep it simple.
Give without limits, without expectations.
React to the situation.
Start where you are.
People give what they have to give.
Be specific about my needs.
Let go, let God.
If you're not now here, you're nowhere.
Play the hand I'm dealt.
Own less, love more.

Taken from The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

recipe: chive-mustard chicken with sugar snap peas


2 T all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup white wine
1 T Dijon mustard
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 T olive oil
1/2 C red onion
1/2 lb sugar snap peas, strings removed
1/4 cup chopped chives


1. Combine flour, salt & pepper in a shallow bowl. Lightly dredge chicken breasts in flour mixture. Reserve remaining flour mixture.
2. In a small bowl, combine wine & mustard; stir in broth.
3. In a large skillet, heat 1 T oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts & sauté until golden. Transfer to plate.
4. Add remaining 1 T oil to skillet. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, & cook for about 1 minute. Stir in reserved flour mixture & cook until dissolved. Add wine mixture & bring to a boil over high het, stirring constantly. 
5. Return chicken to skillet with any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Reduce heat to medium low, cover & simmer until chicken is just cooked. Place chicken on dinner plates. 
6. Add peas to skillet & return sauce to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium low & simmer until peas are crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Stir in chives. Divide peas among plats & spoon sauce over chicken. 

I ripped this recipe out of Fitness magazine. It was quick, easy, healthy, & very yummy!

why i keep blogging

Exhibit A:

Carrie Stavenger. I just wanted to tell you that your blog is - first of all I feel like writing to someone about their blog is undoubtedly a little weird - BUT it's so relatable and I wanted to let you know that at least one other person feels like you do. I know we've never been like friend friends or whatever you'd like to call it but for realllll I feel like the walk you are on with life is awesome - even though I know the feeling of uncertainty and confusion mixed in with optimism and just wanting everything to fall into place seems impossible at times. So I'm not writing to you to claim that I know everything or even anything but I really get the ups and downs with faith, relationships, deciding on a "career" and just overall LIFE. So mostly I just wanted to say I think it's really inspiring that you put it all out there like you do. Praying/hoping for the best for you and whatever is meant to come!

I'm curious, leave a comment & tell me what keeps you going? 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

less words, more pictures

Friday night:

We cheered on the 5k runners & walkers including my mom & brother.


I ran my 2nd half marathon. My time was 10 minutes faster than last year which made me a very happy girl. I ran alongside my sister-in-law (we run well together -- bitching when the wind was in our face & laughing when we saw someone clearly older than us, pass us). My brother also ran it & finished sooner than I thought he would! I love this weekend & the sense of community that it brings. 

Saturday night:

It was my niece, Mallory's, first dance recital. I did her makeup for it, which she loved. "What's that for? What are you going to do next? Oh, that looks pretty!". It took me back to my days of getting ready for my dance recitals & getting so excited because I got to wear blush & lipstick! 


After 5 months of not seeing my brother, he is finally home. That means that for the next couple months, all my brothers will have the opportunity to pick on their little sister in person. Crap. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

i'm ready...maybe

I had a dream the other night. It was one of those it felt so real & was I sure it was just a dream kind of dreams. I wished so badly that what happened in that dream was reality. The people that were in it, the words that were spoken, & the way I felt.


what happens when our dreams get in the way of reality? What happens when reality gets in the way of our dreams?

As the days go by & my visit to Denver gets closer, my stress & excitement levels are building by the minute. My dreams are sky high. I wish you could take a peak in my brain for an hour, a minute, a couple seconds. I have hopes, wishes, ideas, all just waiting there. 

I struggle with this everyday. How do I know what my purpose is? How do I know that teaching is what I'm suppose to do? How do I know if Denver is the place I'm suppose to be? How do I know that I'm going to be ok in the end? 

One thing at a time I tell myself constantly. I am 23, with nothing tying me down, & can literally go anywhere & do anything I want. I don't have this crazy, mad desire to find a full time teaching job. Is that a sign? Or am I crazy? Either way, I'm buckling myself in for this ride ahead. In all this uncertainty in my life, there are a few things I know:

I'm ready for change. 
I'm ready for new friendships. 
I'm ready to live in a city that isn't flat. 
I'm ready for adventure. 
I'm ready to live on my own again. 
I'm ready for a big girl job. 
I'm ready to start all over. 
I'm ready to be me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Do We Need To Buy A Tent?"

Saturday morning, I was sitting at the Westra's kitchen table. I was telling them how I was toying around the idea of visiting & potentially moving to Denver. I voiced my nervousness & reflected that I was a wee bit scared of the whole idea. They told me how they had thought about moving there when they were newlyweds & Vicky went on to say, 

"Now is the time. If you don't get out now, you never will. You are young, why not? If you fail, you can move back & will have a much greater appreciation for "home". If you fail, you will learn from it". 

Amen sista I thought to myself. If I go & love it, awesome. If I go & hate it, I'll move. But I will never know unless I get myself out there. 

My friend Meghan is joining me in this whole spontaneous, yet adventurous idea. I booked our plane tickets & eventually our hotel (long story short, I must have some blonde hair somewhere on my head) last night. The good news is that we won't have to pitch a tent for 4 days!

This is so not me, by the way. You know, flying by the seat of my pants kind of thing.

Do we have a plan? No.
Do we have jobs? No.
Do we have a place to live? No.
Do we have a backup plan? No.
Do we know what we are getting ourselves in to? No.

But this is what I need. I need to challenge myself to do things that aren't planned. Things that are chaotic & stressful yet thrilling & intriguing. I'm 23 years old. WHY FREAKING NOT? (I feel like the word freaking really helps get my point across. Bare with me.)

Alright girlfriend, let's do this!

Monday, May 14, 2012

be carrie

As I was reading The Happiness Project, the author's words struck me:

As I worked on the blog, I often had to remind myself to "Be Gretchen" and to be faithful to my vision of my project.

These 23 year old hands, feet, legs, hair, everything, it's mine. No one else's, just mine. My thoughts, ideas, opinions, as they may be similar to others, only I can justify them. 

The other night I was told I was being picked up to head to a bonfire. "Can I wear sweatpants?" I asked. "I don't care, you can wear whatever you want" he said. Then I thought, heck yes I can wear sweatpants! If I can't be myself then who I am trying to play a trick on? Be Carrie.

If I want to act like a kid, I will. Even if it means riding around a plastic scooter while my niece runs after me yelling "Aunt Carrie you are too big for that!". Trust me little girl, you are never too old to ride on a scooter. 

I went to church by myself yesterday. Never in a million years would I think I would do that. I was worried of what people would think. Really Carrie? It's church. No one is judging you there except God.

As the music began to play, my hand started to tap on my leg. I instantly thought about what people would think. Isn't this crazy thinking that goes on in my head? I was honestly worried, at church, surrounded by people who were singing, clapping, letting go, of being myself. Here I was scared to be Carrie.

If I want to laugh so hard I snort, I'm going to.
If I want to blog about unicorns, I'm going to.
If I want to buy a napkin holder because it is on sale & even though I don't need one now, eventually I will, go ahead lady & ring that sucker up.
If I want to go to the store with no makeup & my hair messy, I'm going to.
If I want to go to a church that is different than the one I was brought up in, I'm going to.
If I want to cuddle up on a Friday night & watch a Disney movie, I'm going to.


Readers, it is quite silly to think about being someone other than yourself. You are wasting each day away trying to impress people, do things that deep down you know aren't making you any happier, going through the motions just to please other people. Go ahead, start YOUR LIFE. Do the things YOU want to do.

"If I wanted to get anything accomplished, I needed to keep pushing ahead without constantly second-guessing myself". 

- Gretchen Rubin

my wave story

This is a story about a friendship. Like many, we were close for a couple years & then we were not so close. The not so close years didn't mean we were mad at each other, it's just that a little thing called life got in the way. 

It wasn't up until about a month ago that Tricia & I reconnected again (even though we had been living right next door to each other for a couple months). She was interested in Herbalife & so we met for a shake date. 

While talking, I noticed that even though we had not talked for months, we picked up right where we left off. She listened to my problems & I listened to hers. She listened to my struggles & I listened to hers. We reminisced about "the good ol' days", gossiped (because we are girls), & planned our next get together.

Then she tells me she is moving 4 hours away. Ugh. For her last night in town, we went out for dinner & back to my house for a wine & craft night. We cranked up the music, poured our glass (an actual glass, not a wine glass. No, we are too good for those things) of wine, & got started on our Mother's Day gifts. 

We exchanged cards that night. After she read mine & I read hers, it was creepy how similar our words were. But these words, wow. Just WOW. People, THESE ARE WHY WE NEED TO CHERISH OUR FRIENDSHIPS.

It has...saved my life Carrie that we reconnected when we did. 

Although I find God cruel for taking me away again so quickly, I know that he has some wicked awesome plan for us we don't even know about. 

I hope that we can find a new & blossoming path in an old (not tired) friendship.

But seriously, you can move back now. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

thank you

I was going to sit down & type up some thought-provoking, emotional, probably make my mom cry sort of words. But not going to lie, I have a million things on my mind & my parents will be home any minute from being gone all weekend. Let's just say I have some cleaning to do. 

I went to Target with my nephew, Marcus, this afternoon. As we were walking in, an older gentleman who works there said: 

Happy Mother's Day!

I really need to start wearing a sign that says "THEY AREN'T MINE" OR "I'M THEIR AUNT".

Speaking of Marcus...

Marcus: "I need to get you something for Mother's Day".

Me: "Ahh, pretty sure I don't have kids bud".

Marcus: "Well, you are my fairy Godmother!"


To my mom, thank you. I could list off a million & one reasons why you rock but the dishes need to be done & your arrival is now down to T-10 minutes.

You know me, I love me some homemade gifts! Here is what I made for my mom...

If you are wondering, the answer is yes, I could not feel my right hand when I was finished. 

PS : Mom, thanks for passing your laugh so hard you snort genes down to me. Means a lot. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

let go

We seek to control our lives, but the unfamiliar & the unexpected are important sources of happiness.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

where to?

I got what I wanted. The freedom to go anywhere in this world to live, work, & play. Yet now I am a zit faced, constant headache, stressed out girl because of it. Did I just paint you a pretty picture or what?

I had a dream the other night that I was on a bus, surrounded by friends. I asked where we were and was told to look out the window. All I could see were hundreds of cars with Colorado license plates. 

I woke up. Was that a sign? I thought. 

Colorado has been one of my top contenders. But in reality, I don't have any others. When I think about potentially moving there, I don't get butterflies in my stomach or "the feeling" that it's where I'm meant to be. Should I?

Googlemaps has been my best friend the past couple days. As my eyes scan the states, I picture myself moving to one of them. Arizona? Montana? Texas? Yet I keep coming up short. 

My prayers have gone a little something like this lately:

I trust you. 
I know you are holding my hand.
I will continue to hold your hand as I know you are leading me down my path. 
Where the heck are you taking me?
Can't you just give me a little hint? PLEASE.
How do I know where I'm suppose to be? 

All I know right now is that I yearn for change. A change of scenery, people, thoughts, personalities, fads, yada yada yada. 

I'm asking YOU, my blog readers, how did you know where you were suppose to live? How did you know that where you are is where you are suppose to be? On the flip side, do you think that we will truly understand why we are where we are? 

If any of you want to just tell me where to move, that would be great. I will even sign on the dotted line for you. 

5th graders say the darnest things

"Miss Stavenger, do you have a boyfriend?"


"That's sad. You're like, really pretty"

" Looks only get you so far in life my dear"

"Well, you could, like, try one of those dating websites?"

End of conversation.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Herbalife: 24

I love running 10.5 miles...
 & not waking up ONE BIT SORE the next morning. 
& feeling like I could run 10.5 more. 
& not feeling like I'm going to collapse the second I stop running.

Why do I feel the way do?

The Herbalife 24 Performance Nutrition Line. I have an absolute love/love relationship this stuff. The great thing about it is that you don't have to be a runner. Heck, you could be a walker, hockey player, weight lifter, tennis player, dancer. You could work out 3 times a week or 7 days a week. This line fits everyone!

There are products to use before, during, & after your workouts. I just started implementing REBUILD STRENGTH (immediate & sustained muscle recovery...& it tastes exactly like chocolate milk!) & RESTORE (take one tablet 30 minutes prior to bed, kicks muscle inflammation out the door!). By just using these 2 products, I have noticed a huge difference in the way I feel the day after a tough workout. No sore muscles, no sore joints, no feeling like an 80 year old woman. 

If you are interested in learning more about these products or ready to place an order, either Facebook me or e-mail me at :

And guys, David Beckham & the rest of the LA Galaxy soccer team uses this line. Need I say more? (Other than holy smokes you are amazingly gorgeous & perfect in every gosh darn way)

* Herbalife has a 30 day money back guarantee. WHY NOT try it?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

brothers & sisters

As I move forward with this next chapter in my life, not being someone's "other half", but being my own "whole", I have had to turn to my safety net. I have fallen in to this net many times lately, & every time they throw me back up. Reminding me of what I do have, what is ahead of me, & what I deserve.

Brother: "What are you going to do now? Where are you going to move? How are you going to afford living there? You know you have to pay bills, right? 

Translation: You are my baby sister and I want the best for you

Brother: "What kind of beer do you want?"

Translation: I don't have the words that would make it all better but I do have a fridge full of beer that would taste good. Who knows, have more than 1 & it might make it all better. Temporarily.

Translation: ?

Having 3 brothers can be a real pain in the ass sometimes. A lot of times. But then there are those times where they surprise you. They have different personalities & different ways of helping me, even when they think they aren't doing anything.

Case in point - I guess I'll keep em' around.

I can't end this party without talking about my sisters.

I don't like saying that I have 3 sister-in-laws because honestly, they are much more than that. Just like my brothers, they each have their own way of reaching out for me.

Between inviting me to church to pouring me a glass of wine, from talks on the phone to talks while sitting on the driveway, I just can't get over how freaking lucky I am. Honestly, I have 3 brothers who could have screwed up somewhere in picking out their wives, yet they all scored 100%. Maybe it's the teacher in me or maybe it's common sense, but that's pretty dang good.

As I say my prayers at night, I pray for them. I pray that they have friends just as encouraging as mine, that they are given advice when seeking it, that they laugh when they need to be cheered up, & that someones fridge in their life is stocked with beer (or wine).

To my brothers & sisters, thank you.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


"Carrie Day" Itinerary

12:03 PM  -  Pick up Mallory

12:30 PM  -  Arrive at the mall

12:40 PM  -  Get manicures & pedicures. Make sure to look at Mallory when getting her foot massage. She will look like she is in complete relaxation & you will wonder if she is going to fall asleep on you. Soak in her giggles when getting her feet scrubbed. Tell her that you have almost kicked the lady because your feet are so ticklish. Get ready, this sparks more giggles. 

1:45 PM  -  Lunch. Even though you don't want to eat at the mall, she does. Don't fight it, just get in the McDonald's line & order her a Happy Meal. 

2:15 PM  -  Back home you go (even though every outfit in the store windows are calling your name, just keep on walking. Your bank account will thank you later)

2:20 PM  -  Fall asleep on the way home. Well, not YOU. Just her. After all,  getting pampered is such hard work. 

2:30 PM  -  Admire your freshly painted nails.

2:35 PM  -  The kids will ask you to take "silly faces" pictures. & this is what you will end up with.

3:00 PM  -  Get in your car & smile. You just had the best afternoon with your niece. You are one lucky aunt. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012


3rd grade: Jane is my best friend. 

5th grade: Today I heard that Jane went over to Kelly's house last night. How could she? She knows that I hate Kelly. I'm so mad at her. We are fighting!

8th grade: Me, Emily, and Claire are BFFAEAEAE!!!

11th grade: I wish I had better friends.

Present: I went to coffee with Jane today. It was fun to hear about what she has been up to. I have missed her. Even though we haven't spoke in years, she still remembers me. She understands me. She always has. 


We've all been a part of this story, in some way or another. We've been that friend that gets "dumped" by their best friend, we've been that friend that someone turns to seeking advice, we've been that friend that stops talking to someone just because they don't have the same train of thought as you. 

Friendship comes in waves. The tide comes in, stays for a while, & retreats back. No matter what anyone says, this is how friendship works. Want to argue with me on this one? Let's go. 

Think about your friends. Has there every been a time in your life where that friend has ALWAYS been there? No. Their own life gets in the way. But in times of desperate need, they are the first ones you call. They are the ones that come to you with a flotation device & drag you up from below the water (in a non-Titanic kind of way). Or if you have a friend like I do, they have the Happy Hour specials from every bar in Fargo-Moorhead on their phone, ready for your picking. 

It wasn't up until this past year that I "let go" of high school. I realized that just because I went to school with you, does not mean that I am forced to be friends with you. I should not have to impress, change, lie, or alter myself in any way just to have you call me your friend. & frankly, I don't want to. Hell to the no. It's my life & I get to pick who I want to call my friends. Lucky me.  

I'm at that point in my life where I need good, down to earth friends. I want friends that challenge my thinking, better me, call me & tell me something random, help me make decisions (decision making is not one of my best qualities), know what's wrong even if I don't say anything. 

Just last week I got a text asking me if everything was ok.

My response: No
Their response: I knew it Care!

I hadn't seen her in a week, yet she knew I wasn't all there. That's my best friend.

I challenge you to be the tide this week. Swoop in to a friends life that needs you. Even if they don't' need rescuing, I bet they have something to chat about. 

One last story.

Honestly, I don't remember having a conversation with Amber in high school. The more I read her blog & got to "know" her, it was clear that we are walking down the same path. We have some of the same struggles, decisions, changes, & joys. So, I asked her to go to coffee next week. We both agreed that our conversations would, to put it lady-like, kick ass