Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dear Twenty-Something Self // part three

In the third and final part of this series, I have Patty and Jen sharing how they would answer to the question:

What would you tell your twenty-something self?

Don’t let what others say about you define who you are.  The world is full of opinions and as a young person the challenge is to learn what to do with the opinions and judgements that come your way.  Ask yourself if they are true and if they are not, let them go.  Don't let them have power over you or define who you are.  Laugh at yourself and embrace the gift of imperfection!   There is such freedom in not needing to be perfect, and laughter helps heal those not-so-perfect moments.

                                                         - Patty
* * *

Life gets better with each year. Let go of the things that aren't serving you. Walk with Jesus, develop your relationship and trust Him. Freedom comes in letting go. What I can tell you is that in trusted community, prayer and enjoying the bible, you will find the answers and direction you seek. God is your father, your protector, your healer and your provider. Explore your relationship with Him, just as you would with any person you'd like to draw near to. The desire He's planted in your heart will grow with joy and laughter All you need to do is let go and follow Him.

                                                      - Jen

A big THANK YOU to all six women who contributed to these posts! In case you missed the first two parts…here you go! 

P. S. Let's open the discussion, shall we? What would YOU tell your twenty-something self? Comment below!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dear Twenty-Something Self // part two

The responses I got after posting yesterday was overwhelming - my phone wouldn't stop going off!  I am so pleased that you all are enjoying this "mini series" as much as I am. Today I have my friends Mary and Vicky sharing how they would answer the question:

What would you tell your twenty-something self?

"Explore the world. Make some new friends. Take risks. Be independent. Live life LARGE! You know, I have a daily tear-off calendar and one of the pages said, "Life is not an emergency." Don't sweat the small stuff!"
                                                  - Mary

* * *

"After college its normal to feel like you should have the rest of your life all figured out.  But you don't.  Not now.  Or after grad school.  Or after that first big hire.  There are so many more firsts to come.  So open your arms wider, embrace all the opportunities to come your way, and know that you'll never really feel like you have it all figured out.  And its ok.  

You think you know yourself pretty well.  When really?  You are only about half-baked.  You won't be close to fully baked until you are moving into your 30's.  Being in your twenties is the most free you will ever be.  So go.  Do.  Be.  And just know, you'll fall down 5 times, but get up 6.  Whatever you do, just keep moving forward.  Out of the experiences you garner at this age, you will learn the lessons you need to grow more fully into who you really are. 

Lean in.  When the going is rough.  When the job disappoints.  When the boyfriend leaves.  When things fall apart.  Lean into the experience, and go all the way through it.  You'll come through the other side, wiser.  Stronger.  Better prepared to tackle the next hard thing coming along.  If you learn how to do this now, you'll grow in grace and trust your emerging instincts." 
                                                                                           - Vicky, The Westra World

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dear Twenty-Something Self // part one

No matter if I’m with one friend or a group of them, there is a certain topic of conversation that undoubtedly always comes up. It is the fact that not one of us has a clue as to what we are doing with our lives.

In a way it’s comforting knowing that I’m not the only person who prays each night for a sense of direction and guidance and answers. I’m not alone when I call a friend while sitting in traffic, asking for reassurance that what I’m doing today is preparing me for tomorrow...even when I am oblivious to what it holds. It is not only my set of eyes that looks in the mirror wishing to see something, someone completely different reflecting back. When I see the couple walking hand in hand at the park, what I'm blinded to is the handful of other single souls walking around the park, too.

Now that I'm in the second half of my twenties, I desire insight from women who have been where I am. I reached out to a handful of them in my life who have left an impact on my heart one way or another. One is a stay-at-home of two little ones. One is choosing joy daily while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. One has known me since the day I was born. One is part of my church family. One is whom I aspire to be like when I am a teacher - spunky, positive, and encouraging. One has two children, both grown up and on their own. I asked them all the same question: 

What would you tell your 
twenty-something self?

Today in part one of three, I have my friends Brandy and Kim sharing their "words of wisdom".  


"Learn to love yourself. Love ALL of yourself (good and bad) and embrace who you TRULY are. Don't compromise who you are for anyone. It's your time to shine for you. Learn to make yourself happy because, if you do, you will always be able to find happiness."
                                                                  - Brandy

* * *

"Wear high heeled shoes today because at 40 something they don’t feel so great. Hug your parents, tell them you love them, thank them, spend TIME with them, and make memories. Strive to reach your dreams. Don’t ever settle - period! Be a good friend; make time for “Girl Time”. Visit a nursing home and you will realize how fast time goes by. Make a bucket list and don’t be afraid to put things on the list you think are too far out of reach, life changes. 

Finally and most importantly…. Love your God with all your heart and all your soul. Always place God first, PRAY unceasingly. I bet today I say “Thank you Jesus” at least a dozen times a day. I never did that at 20. Green lights, Thank you Jesus, just drove across the train tracks and the lights went on, Thank you Jesus, one of my kids call or text, Thank you Jesus. A friend messages me to write a little story, Thank you Jesus.

So today I challenge you to do 3 things. First is take time to listen. It may be a bird singing, it may be your child, it may be a friend, it may be silence. In silence you will find God.  Just listen. The second is to be grateful for everything. Be grateful that you have a job, a family, a car, a bike, you can breathe, just be grateful. I guarantee there is someone who has it worse than you. Lastly, Pray. Thank you Jesus is a prayer.  I think sometimes we don’t pray because we think we don’t have the time. We don’t need “extra” time to pray. Pray in your car, in the shower, at the gym. God hears what’s in our hearts."

                                                                                                               - Kim

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Another Story to Tell

Remember when picking the theme for your birthday party was the most stressful thing in your little, tiny life? I do. Remember when going to Party City and picking out the plates, napkins, and party favors provoked feelings similar to those you feel on Christmas morning? I do. Remember when you turned 26 and got a concussion at the Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias concert? I kind of do.  

When I was looking at tickets to buy for an upcoming Avalanche hockey game, I saw that this concert was taking place on my birthday. I tossed around the idea of going, mixed in with other things like, "do I really care to see these performers? Who would join me for it let alone on a Tuesday night? How many drinks would it take to make me forget this is what I chose to do for my 26th birthday?".

My girlfriends were in and we were all in agreement that: This will be fun! Hilarious! Entertaining! Work is going to suck on Wednesday! 

We started the night at Brooklyn's for drinks, girl talk, and…

...laughs. Many, many laughs. Before we knew it, it was time to head across the street for the concert. We were all unsure of what to expect but assumed it was going to be one big dance party and that our odds of prime people watching were in our favor.

We were right about both. See "dance party evidence" above. It all went downhill (literally) during the last song. One second I was dancing and the next second I was on my back in the row ahead of me. The guy behind me "fell" on me which propelled me forward, throwing my jaw out of place and instantly I could feel my body starting to bruise. While my friends were helping me up, the guy fled. It took about a day for my jaw to get repositioned back into place and the right side of my body has the most beautiful, rainbow-colored bruises on it. I got a minor concussion and still have a constant headache but thanks to Tylenol, Netflix, and a snow storm making me stay in bed, I'm doing alright! 

I already know what I'm doing for my 27th birthday and that is staying home where the encore of the night won't involve getting a concussion and putting a man on my "MOST WANTED" list. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

{K I T C H E N} Products You Need To Know: Part Three of Three

1. La Croix Sparkling Water

I kicked my pop habit a couple years ago and formed a new habit of only drinking water and coffee. While this isn't necessarily bad, it was starting to get a little boring. I had my first can of La Croix at a friends house a few weeks back and have since been hooked on this calorie-free, sodium-free, and sweetener-free drink. It comes in a variety of flavors including Coconut, Berry, Peach Pear, Passionfruit, and more! This lady gives La Croix two thumbs up!

Where I Buy It: Target

2. Vegetable Noodle Maker by Veggeti

 Oh baby, what would I do without my voodles?! If you have never heard of the word "voodles", it's because you have probably never known that you can make noodles out of vegetables with the help of this snazzy kitchen utensil. From zucchini to squash to sweet potatoes, just spiral it through the hole and you have healthy, low-carb noodles.

*I bought my veggie noodle maker at a small kitchen store in Minneapolis. I do not know the name of the company who made it, however, Vegetti is a very similar product that produces the same thing.

Where I Bought

I thought Skinnygirl only made "skinny" alcoholic drinks so I was taken by surprise when I saw this popcorn at the grocery store. The flavor of butter and hint of sea salt is the perfect amount and won't leave you feeling guilty for eating the entire bag (which is only 160 calories!). Skinnygirl Popcorn also comes in Lime & Salt flavor, too.

Where I Buy It: King Soopers

4. Misto Olive Oil Sprayer

This product was designed with the health-conscious in mind. MISTO is a reusable, refillable sprayer that adds flavor, uses less oil, and reduces fat and calories. I have only put Extra Virgin Olive Oil in mine, but you can also fill it with lemon or lime juice, and vinegar, to add a light mist to your salads, meats, pizza, and more!

Where I Bought It: Bed, Bath, & Beyond

5. Prodyne Fruit Infusion Pitcher

Gone are the days when drinking "fancy" water was only for the salon and spa. Now, you can enjoy infusing your own water at home with whatever foods/herbs you would like. Whether it be cucumber, mint, strawberries, or lemon, simply cut up the ingredient, put in the center part of the pitcher, fill up with water, and soon after you will have added a little pop of flavor to your H20!

Where I Bought It: Bed, Bath, & Beyond

Saturday, February 14, 2015

What Being Single Means

I just settled in to my favorite bookstore/coffee shop. I took the long way here, driving on one of Denver's main streets that has mountain views that will make you almost get in a handful of fender benders. I passed by ice cream parlors and restaurants and coffee houses that all had one thing in common: a man and a woman sitting across from each other at a table.

While I'm envious that others are spending today celebrating their love, as they should, I'm reminded just how lucky I am to be single. We all want what others have because let's face it, we are human and were hardwired to want more and be more and feel more. But as my thoughts on being single rest well within me, I want to share some things with you single folk that will make you see that the freedom of being alone is a beautiful thing.

  • You will never get this time back to learn, grow, and develop into the person you were created for. Take these moments to truly love yourself so you are prepared to love and give yourself fully to someone else. 
  • You don't have to justify why that $3.00 coffee just doesn't taste as good as Folger's. No one else is looking at your bank account. 
  • You have more time to learn from other relationships in your life. Make mental notes of what you do/don't want in your next relationship. 
  • You have the freedom of doing whatever your little heart desires without running it by your partner. 
  • Want to spend all day in your pajamas? Those sweats are all yours. 
  • You learn to be independent and figure problems out on your own. 
  • You are a pro at making a meal for one. 
  • You get the whole bed and closet to yourself! 
  • Want to move? Move. Want to stay late at work? Stay. Want to travel? Go. 
  • You get to decorate your house with your own style and don't have to worry about it looking like a locker room or hunting showcase. 
  • You can make a salad for lunch, arrange the strawberries to resemble a heart, take a picture of it, and not worry about your other half questioning what you're doing.

Being single is enjoyable 90% of the time, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want that passionate and heart skipping love sooner rather than later. What I do know is that one day, I will have it. I will be one of those women sitting across a table from a man on Valentines Day. I find such great comfort and a rumbling dose of excitement for when that day comes! 

H A P P Y  H E A R T  D A Y!

Monday, February 9, 2015

{F I T N E S S} Products You Need To Know: Part Two of Three

1. Sports Bra by Old Navy

Ladies, we all know the importance of a supportive sports bra so hear me when I say that this is by far the best one I've come across. With a price tag of $16.50, this playful racerback bra is available in a handful of fun colors. It does come with padding but if that's not your thing - no worries - take em out! 

Where I Got It: Old Navy

2. The Stick 

When training for my marathon, this product was right alongside me. The "Marathon Stick" model that I have is perfect for long distance runners because it is the most flexible of their models so it contours to your muscles while giving you a light massage when you need to work out your tight calves or hamstrings. This is one of those "it hurts so good" kind of things, but whether you are in training or not, I highly recommend it for those of you looking to prevent injury and rehabilitate your muscles!

Where I Got It:

3. Socks by Kushyfoot

As a blogger, companies will contact me asking if they can send their product(s) to try in exchange for a review. When a PR Firm e-mailed me recently about wanting to send me some Kushyfoot socks, I figured, socks are socks, right? Wrong. I found myself wanting to do laundry more just so I had a clean pair because they are just so comfortable! They are great for cardio-based workouts because of their built-in padded soles and extra cushion. Kushyfoot has many different style socks ranging from athletic to yoga to casual and are available to men, too! 

Where I Got It: this product was given to me in exchange for a review but you can order yours HERE

4. Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor

I always felt like I pushed myself during workouts but it wasn't until I started wearing this heart rate monitor that I realized I wasn't…or at least to my full potential. This watch and heart rate monitor sensor combo work together to give you accurate information during your exercise. While wearing the sensor around your chest, it picks up your heart rate and projects it on your watch screen. Other features that can be read on the watch are calories burned, average and maximum heart rate of training, target zone of heart rate, and heart rate target zones to keep you "on track" during your workout. 

Where I Got It: Best Buy

Saturday, February 7, 2015

{B E A U T Y} Products You Need To Know : Part One of Three

1. Dry Shampoo by Dove

Whoever invented dry shampoo deserves a lifetime supply of hugs and kisses. I didn't even know it existed up until this year and now after using it every other day, I can't imagine life without it…or the extra time I have to enjoy my morning coffee!  It is healthy to give your hair a break from shampoo and conditioner and to let it get a little greasy. If you're like me, my hair gets stringy when greasy but after some sprays of this product, it thickens up my strands and soaks up the grease. Bonus: it smells amazing.

Where I Buy It: Target

2. "Killer Queen" Perfume by Katy Perry 

I give all credit to my friend, Ali, for getting me hooked on this perfume. After staying with her when I ran my marathon, I used Katy Perry's "Killer Queen" body lotion and became more than just a fan of her music. I'm not one for super fruity smelling perfumes and this is anything but. It's rich, smooth, and based on how frequently I get complimented on the scent, I'd say we all have a little room for some KP love in our hearts!  

Where I Buy It: Ulta

3. Aquage Uplifting Foam 

When my hair lacks in the volume department, this product makes up for it. After finding Aquage Uplifting Foam, you would have thought I discovered the 8th wonder of the world. I can't tell you how much I hate when my hair is flat on my head. You don't need much, just a few sprays applied directly on your roots, and you will notice an instant lift after your blow-dry.

Where I Buy It:

4. Naked Palette Eyeshadow by Urban Decay

Remember when blue eyeshadow and Bath & Body Works roll-on glitter was your free-ride to popularity? I do. I also remember looking like a clown and always finding sparkles on every inch of my body. Now that we are grown and mature women, I'd like to introduce you to this eyeshadow. I own two of the three (I think that's all there is) palettes form Urban Decay. Both have more "earthy" tones but are quite different from one another, making it fun to mix and match colors from each. My mom taught me a couple things about makeup, but applying eyeshadow wasn't one of them. Did you know that if you go to ULTA they will teach you how to apply it for free? Take advantage and learn how to get that smokey eye look the right way and not the "I look like I have two black eyes" way. 

Where I Buy It: Ulta

5. "Better Than Sex" Mascara by Too Faced

One thing I would never change about myself is my lashes. They are long and thick and always out to play. I give credit to another friend, Danielle, for applying this product on myself one Saturday evening. A little bit clumpy but not too much, they amplified my lashes and made them stand out even more!

Where I Buy It: Sephora

6. Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer by Too Faced

This bronzer smells like hot chocolate so do I really need to continue? I will, but only to say this stuff adds the perfect amount of color on my face during the winter months. Remember, bronzer is not to be used on your entire face! Consult with an ULTA makeup artist to teach you how and where to apply it.

Where I Buy It: Ulta

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Recipe: Roasted Beets & Butternut Squash

The first time I ate beets was about a month ago. After one bite, I knew it was love (or something like it). I was initially turned off by the color but the taste was similar to a potato which made up for it. Potato = carbs = happy Carrie!


  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until coated. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender. 
Serves 4

I've been taking a serving of this and a 4oz. seasoned chicken breast for lunch and it has been hitting the spot. This would also be a great side dish for your next social gathering! Enjoy!