Write & Ramble

Good Morning! I hope everyone had a great week and weekend so far! Last week started off in a winter wonderland for me. What about where you were? How was the weather?

I used to be a snow kid. Now I’m a go out take some pictures and come back in. Don’t get me wrong if I had a sleigh and someone to push me, I’d be game to be a snow angel. Although, I did go for a walk out in the snow with my dad, so I haven’t completely changed.

I just took my phone out most of the time, but then I got the fancy stuff out and had some fun. Amazing bird photography is what I was going after, but can I share a ‘Awww! I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to’ moment with you? Well, there was this bird and I was going to get his photo as stated above, but he ended up getting behind a tree so what did I do? I had my camera ready and was waiting for him to come out the other side. You know what he did? He peeped around the other side, saw me and ran. I felt bad because I felt I may have scared him. Is that weird? Needless to say, I didn’t get that photo, but I did get a few others. Also, it was Flamingo’s first snow, so I got plenty of her. 

We ended up getting several inches of snow and the temperature has been very low here lately. They are actually calling for more the following weekend. Hoping it’s not too bad because we have some fun things planned. Good food and an illusion show. Snow update: We actually only got a dusting last night. It was pretty and fun while it lasted.

Clearly, this post is a weekly update because I honestly don’t have a theme going. Sorry about that. But do you prefer the chats? I do. It gives me the chance to just write and ramble. 

While I’m rambling, I have an idea for a few new blog posts and I would like some feedback for one. Budgeting. Do you budget? Do you need help with it? Thoughts on the subject. I actually do budget and I need to utilize it more so now than before. Would anyone actually want to see my ideas and plans on this? I can share February’s budget if you are interested. Just let me know in the comments below. 

Oh! Don’t laugh if this isn’t new to you. It’s new to me and I’m excited about it. I roasted some zucchini with Parmesan cheese the other night for dinner and it was a crowd pleaser. I personally loved the potatoes too (they didn’t have Parmesan though), but the zucchini will be done again I’m sure at some point. Not hard to make either which I’m game on. 

That’s it for today. I hope that you all have a wonderful Sunday in church. We didn’t have church last week because it snowed, so it’ll be good to be back. Until next time you can find me trying my best to do morning workouts or @FitandFabYou1 on Twitter and Instagram. 

Baked Oatmeal Squares

Happy Sunday! Who’s ready for a quick and easy breakfast recipe?

This is something you can make over the weekend and have for a quick, warm breakfast throughout your work week. Ideal for these cold winter days. It’s very versatile as well. You can add fruit, peanut butter, chocolate chips, or whatever you’re favorite topping us at the moment. 

Let’s get started. You’ll need:

2 Cups Rolled Oats

1 tsp. Baking Powder 

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Salt

2 Cups Almond Milk (You can use whatever milk you prefer though)

1/2 Cup Applesauce

2 tbs. Maple Syrup

1 tbs. Olive Oil

1 tbs. Vanilla Extract

Preheat the oven to 375.

Mix all of your dry ingredients together first. Then add all the wet ingredients together in the same bowl. Once thoroughly mixed, spray your casserole dish with non-stick spray and pour in your mixture. My dish was about a 5 x 7. Spread out the mixture so that the liquid is evenly covering the dish.

Place into the oven for 30 minutes until it’s cooked all the way through. I put mine on broil for about 2-3 minutes to add some crispness.

I have a current obsession with peanut butter, but if I had had some chocolate chips, I would have added those in as well. Like I said earlier, this is a very versatile recipe. It goes with a good bit. I’ll probably make it again, but with chocolate chips because doesn’t that just sound wonderful?

If you try this recipe out, please let me know what you think. Until next time you can find me sipping warm coffee inside while the snow glistens outside the window or @FitandFabYou1 on Twitter and Instagram.

Word of the Year

When the new year begins a lot of people choose a word of the year. I didn’t start doing this myself until last year. To me, it seemed odd to pick a word of the year, but these words aren’t just words. They hold a strong meaning to that person. It’s more of an affirmation. We hear people tell us to talk positively to ourselves and stop being so harsh. Be kind. We are human too. I, also, know we’ve all heard that we are our own worst critics and it’s true. Honestly, I’m sure the things we think about ourselves or what we think others are saying about us aren’t even true. These negative thoughts in turn change how we feel about ourselves. That’s why affirmations can be so important.

These words that we choose each year, what do we do with them? Maybe wear them on a bracelet like I had last year or even tape them up on our mirror. Words to motivate us. Words that encourage us to be who we want to be. When choosing this word or even words, we pick something strong and uplifting, right? 

My words last year were fearless and strong. This year my word is intentionality. 

Why? 

Something intentional is deliberate. Meaning it’s done on purpose. Have you ever seen someone order a meal at a restaurant without even hardly looking at a menu? They knew what they wanted and when they received it, they ate with intent? Weird, but it’s something that sticks in my brain. They know what they want and they do that on purpose. They don’t waver. They know and go. They don’t worry about who’s watching. They just do. How about someone you’ve talked to? They talk with confidence and such passion because they know what they want and they are intent and driven about that specific thing. I guess you could also call this a go-getter. They intentionally go after something with the intent that they will walk away with it. Make sense?

It’s having a plan. I know not everything can be planned, but when we plan out our meals, workouts and things that are important to us, we can them be intentional about getting those things done. Basically, like a budget. You give every dollar a purpose and a place, so give everything you do a purpose and a reason. It could be something as simple as bringing a certain food for lunch. Maybe you’re trying to be healthy or save money, so be intentional and stick to your plan. Eat what you brought and don’t deviate from it.

So many times we say we’ll do something and then we don’t. Instead, let’s be real and intentional and do things on purpose. For example, sending someone a card. Do it on purpose because you know they’re hurting and need to hear those kind words. It’ll mean the world to them.

Something else that I realized about being intentional is that we can use it against being indecisive. When we go into a store intentionally knowing what we need rather than going in just to browse coming out $100 in a hole, it saves money and time. Don’t get me wrong spontaneity and splurges are fun in their place, but it’s also a lot of more fun if that don’t happen everyday. Right? Imagine what you can do with that money and time. Place that money in a fun fund, where you go to your favorite store after maybe three months and give yourself a $50 budget to buy whatever speaks to you. How fun does that sound? Freedom to have fun. Freedom from guilt of wasting money. It’s a reward for being intentional and strong.

Maybe I’m rambling. Maybe I am making sense. (It makes sense in my head) I’ve just seen people who do things on purpose and don’t care what others think and I wanted to share my thoughts on it. Let’s be real. Stop worrying about what others think and focus on what God thinks because He is the only one that matters. Am I right? Yep!

Do you have a word or words that you have set aside for this year? Words that are to motivate and drive you? Words that will help keep you focused on your goals and dreams? If so, would you share them in the comments below. I would love to hear what everyone else chose.

Until next time you can find me intentionally drinking my coffee or waving at all my fellow Jeepers or @FitandFabYou1 over on Twitter and Instagram.

Realistic Resolutions

Happy New Year to all my fit and fab people! I hope that you are ready for the new year and have started out on the right foot already. I know that every year, new year’s resolutions come around and we make them and break them. But this year, I am trying something a little different. This could be a pretty obvious thing to do, but I want to make this a realistic resolutions list. When you think about it, I feel we don’t always make resolutions that are realistic or even fit our routine. We write down all the things we want to do and on January 1, we force ourselves to do just that and then quit because it doesn’t fit. Then what? We feel bad about it because we failed once again. 

Basically, the way I created this realistic resolutions list was by reflecting on what works for me and fits my schedule. Starting a new routine or eating healthy doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a gradual thing. That’s why I started this week trying to get up earlier. I’ve gotten up about 20-25 minutes earlier. Almost a good workout time. Small steps create lasting results.

  1. Fitness: Morning Workouts. I know. I know. Here we are again. Does anyone else feel this isn’t working for them either? Okay. Good. Morning workouts are great and they help me out so much in the evenings, but getting up is the problem. This is partly why I started gradually getting up earlier in the morning. This may not be something I stick to, but I sure would love it if I did. 
  2. Blog: Schedule Posts. I have started posting on Sundays, which seems to be working pretty well for my schedule. Please let me know if that is the best day for you all. I definitely want to stay consistent in the day that I post and also, not get overwhelmed. I want to at least have all my blog ideas for the month planned and then write and schedule posts about a week ahead of the date. Does that sound doable?
  3. Financial: Budget. I have actually already started this because I wanted to go ahead and get my brain (and wallet) adjusted to it. This is something you can’t completely go cold Turkey on, even though I am somewhat. Savings-wise I am starting fresh, but cutting back on my spending has already been in my brain. I actually sat down recently and started my January budget pages. It’s fun! If you would like for me share my ideas on this, please let me know. It’s time for me to be more mindful of my spending and give every dollar a place. Don’t just throw money in the air like you just don’t care. 
  4. Personal: Live More. This could turn into a motivational speech, but here goes. Basically, laugh more, live more, and spend time with people who love you. Those who make you forget that you’re having a bad hair day are the ones you should surround yourself with daily. You should never be an alternative to anyone. God created you for a purpose and He loves you. You should never feel worthless or unwanted. God knows you’re to die for because He sent His Son to die on the cross for you. Now that’s love! Also, don’t stress over things you can’t control. I have actually caught myself laughing at myself for goofy things I’ve done. For example, if water drips on my head, I’ll laugh about it. Stuff like that.
  5. Lastly, down time. For me, I have down time by spending time with friends and just watching Criminal Minds, but what I mean here is a reset. Basically what most would call me time. I don’t like to call it that because no amount of time is mine. All time is God’s, so I just refer to it as my down time. I would love to do this once a week, but let’s be real, I’m more likely to do this once a month. Probably be more in the winter than the summer. Why? Because I would do a bath/pamper evening. Bath, exfoliate, face mask. The works. It’s just too hot sometimes in the summer for a bath. I want to do this reset once a week or at least once a month. Anyone else do this? How does it work for you? Do you lose track of it or can you maintain it? 

One more thing that I want to add is do more of what makes God happy. The quote that I have seen around is do more of what makes you happy and I understand that, but it’s not about us. It’s about God and what makes Him happy. If we focus on what makes our Savior happy, then we will find true happiness. We can’t be happy anywhere else but in His Will.

Well, that’s all for now. I may start others throughout the year, but honestly, five is probably enough for me right now. There’s a lot to those five. Do you have any resolutions or challenges even that you want to try in the new year? Let me know in the comments. 

Until next time, you can find me zoned in on Criminal Minds or @FitandFabYou1 on Twitter and Instagram. 

Get To Know Me: Holiday Edition

Well, when you’re reading this, Christmas day will sadly be over, but I do hope that everyone had a wonderful time. Whether you spent it with family or friends, I hope that it was everything you hoped for and more. I hope that you gave gifts that made your love ones smile and got a present that just made your day. I hope that you got to see lots of festive lights and drink cups of hot cocoa and most importantly, I pray that everyone knows why we celebrate Christmas and that we wouldn’t be celebrating this Holiday if it hadn’t been for Christ, our Savior.

This post is a first for me, but I saw a fellow blogger, Smelly Socks and Garden Peas, post a Get To Know Me Festive Edition post and I thought it looked like fun, so I thought I would give it a try.

What is your favorite Winter treat?

I have two. One is pumpkin pie. Every year when fall is in the air, I love to eat a slice of pumpkin pie. It just makes the season so warm and cozy. This year, I ate too many pieces. It’s easy to say I had my fill this year for sure. My second is one my former assistant manager makes. When we had a work party or inventory, he would make these and bring them in for us to enjoy. I am not sure what exactly they are called, but it’s basically a chocolate chip cookie and brownie combined with a Reese cup. They are rich, but yummy. It’s probably the peanut butter that makes these one of my favorites.

What Christmas traditions do you celebrate?

Every year, we go to my Grandparent’s house for lunch, presents, and quality time. We normally get together on Christmas day unless it’s on a Sunday. The past few years, we’ve been playing White Elephant which is hilarious. Our family can come up with some crazy gag gifts for sure. I am typing this before Christmas, so I am currently looking forward to finding out what everyone brings and I’m hoping that we have a lot of stealing in the game. That makes it so much more fun. (Unless you have a big gift card, then it’s no fun at all.) Before my Grandmother passed, we would go over to my Dad’s side of the family and have Christmas Eve at her house. Fond memories there. Some that I don’t ever want to forget.

Are you wishing for snow this year?

Honestly, if it snows, I wouldn’t mind, but I am not really wishing for snow. I use to be one to play in it, but now, I am more likely to go out for a few to take some nice photography and come back in to warm up.

What is your favorite Christmas movie?

I’ll Be Home for Christmas and Home Alone for sure. I know Elf is pretty good as well, but those first two are my ultimate. Hoping to watch ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ tonight before the season is passed.

Have you ever built a gingerbread house? What is your technique?

I have a new found appreciation for those who build and decorate gingerbread houses. I did it once several years ago and it’s not easy at all. Truth be told, I haven’t done it since. It’s easy to say I have no technique as well. I basically just want it to stay together for more than five minutes.

What is your favorite hot chocolate?

I do enjoy a white hot chocolate no doubt, but I normally drink the regular if we go see lights or just from the Keurig. A few weeks ago, we had a hot cocoa and cookies event at our church. My youth partner and I got together and decided to give back to the church for all their support of the youth throughout the year. It was a huge hit. We had hot chocolate, coffee, and sweet treats. Of course, the hot chocolate station was complete with peppermints, cute marshmallow floaters, and chocolate spoons.

What gift are you hoping to get this year?

Well, I actually already know I am getting both of these because I picked them out, but I am still pretty excited about them. One is a new planner for the new year! I honestly cannot express how excited I truly am about this. I know I am weird, but Happy Planner brings out the happy in me. I already got one sticker book from a former co-worker and friend and I am in love with the cup sticker page. I am who I am. The other item is the AirPod Pros. The first pair of AirPods won’t stay in my ears after a few miles, so I am excited to get these so that I don’t have to worry about them falling out. At least I sure hope not.

What is your warmest wintertime memory?

I have many memories at Christmas or around the Holiday season. From going to Disney at Christmas to that time when it snowed in the mountains on our family trip, there are so many cozy memories to look back on. I know running away from my cousin at my Grandmother’s house was always a hit. Oh, and when he use to call the embers in the fireplace cheese. Maybe that’s just hilarious to me, but it’s a memory I probably won’t ever forget.

Like I said before, I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and is ready for the new year! I would love to hear your top memory of Christmas this year and even your favorite gift that you received or gave. Just let me know in the comments.

This fit girl can be found filling in her new planner with all things fun for the new year with a cup of joe on the side or on Insta and Twitter @FitandFabYou1.

Full of Christmas Fun

Good Morning! Happy Sunday! How’s everyone today? Me? Well, it’s been kind of busy here lately and Christmas is right around the corner. Literally, it’s next week. Who’s excited? Me!

I’ve just been trying to get all gifts purchased and wrapped (yes, I’m still missing one), groceries bought and things made, and still have to time to enjoy the season. Let’s be real. I love Christmas and I love just enjoying the lights and the music and just being festive. You should see me giving gifts to my friends and family. I get so excited about it. 

This week has been pretty festive though. Last Sunday, Michael and I had a Christmas event to give back to all those in the church who have supported the youth throughout the year. Honestly, it was a hit. People came, enjoyed the refreshments and the fellowship. Just hearing the chatter in the dining area was just amazing. 

Monday and Wednesday evening, Michael and I baked up a storm. We made several different kinds of fudge, peppermint tracks, and reindeer snacks. We honestly have bags of fudge leftover and reindeer snacks in the fridge to finish. We probably made up maybe 50-60 boxes once they are finished and we still have the leftover. People at work have raved about the peanut butter fudge and my dad is eating a ton of it himself. Haha. He doesn’t like to share that part. It’s that good. We had so much fun baking. The laughter was insane. Such memories. Repeat please?

Thursday, I popped over to see my friend Kim at lunch. She is a former co-worker and forever friend. I stopped in to give her and her husband some Christmas treats that Michael and I had made. When I arrived, I was greeted by her daughter’s pup and I also got to see her cat Presley. Kim is always so warm, friendly and inviting. She loves everyone. She’s such a kind-hearted person. I will hopefully see her again Monday for our group Christmas lunch. 

I had a productive Saturday to finish out the week. I had lots of things that needed to get done and I still didn’t get it all finished, but that’s okay. I didn’t go anywhere all day. I just worked on things and got somethings checked off my list. Sometimes that’s just needed, right? First, I cooked breakfast. Egg sandwich and coffee. Of course, I watched an episode of Criminal Minds. That show can get gory and yet I still watch it while eating. Anyone else? After that, I got in a quick workout before continuing on with my to-do list. 

With my workout checked off, I practiced my songs for the Christmas play at church and then cleaned out my car. The funny thing is we are always looking for an umbrella and I found so many stashed in the back of my car. Seriously, two old ones that still worked, two that I’m familiar with and two more that I believe I recently bought that still have tags tucked into their sleeves. Guys! That’s insane. I shared them with my mom because who needs that many umbrellas?! 

Once my car was clean, I gathered all the Christmas presents and wrapped like crazy. I’m not a wrapper. I’m a shopper. I’m good at wrapping (in bags, somewhat in paper), but I’d prefer to just shop for the gifts. Anyone else like this? I wrapped and wrapped and now I am complete for the year. Now to see the excitement on others faces when they open them. 

On to budgeting for the new year and next week’s planner spread. I love budgeting, but I’ve been trying to nail down my budget for the new year for probably a few weeks now. It’s time to be done and yes, I completed it and everything is accounted for and good to go. I use the Dave Ramsey Every Dollar app as well as paper budget pages in my happy planner to keep tabs on everything. I just find it easier to keep the digital up to date when I’m on the go and update the paper version once I’m home. 

Funny story. I was working on my planner spread and I stabbed my figure with the Xacto. Oops. It wasn’t too bad, but the funny part is that I was trying to get a sticker out of the book and got blood on it. The struggle. And I wanted to use that part of the sticker too, so I did. Blood and all. I actually managed to cover it up on my planner page so that’s good. It’s tight, but it works. Planner fails. Haha. 

Pretty much it. I ate dinner and relaxed with Criminal Minds and a cup of Joe from my favorite coffee shop to finish out the day. Like I said I still didn’t get it all done, but most is complete and that’s a win for me. 

Until next time…you can find me posting my latest food happenings or telling about my daily shenanigans on my Instagram and Twitter @FitandFabYou1. 

Just Keep Running

Good Morning, fabulous people! I hope that you all are having a wonderful weekend. I know that this post won’t go up until just over two weeks after Thanksgiving, but I hope that you all had a great time with family and enjoyed some yummy food and focused on what you are thankful for. God has been so good to all of us. The fact that we are alive today is a blessing from God. Amen! 

I just wanted to give you just a little bit of a life/workout update today. These are nice because it let’s me just write and be free. You know what I mean?

Basically, I have noticed that my form is getting better and I feel stronger when I’m running. Not the whole time. Let’s be real. But some of the time. I have also extended my run time which is nice. It’s amazing to see the progress along the way. No matter how small. 

I started out following a plan and then tweaked according to how I was feeling and how I was progressing. I would start by walking to warm up and then alternate between running a few minutes and then walking a few. I would do about 5 reps of these. I, then, gradually increased my running and cut back on the walking. Plus, that changed up my reps as well. It’s actually pretty cool to see my endurance and strength increase. All glory to God. The next step that I’m going to work on is longer workouts and maybe two-a-days. We will see how it goes.  

I recently learned that slower makes you faster. Mind blown. Seriously? Who knew? Hopefully that’s true. If you’ve heard this too let me know in the comments. I sure hope so. Haha. Honestly, it’s just a process that I have to stay focused on. Gradual. Like the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

If you’re in the middle of major miles or looking at a really large goal, remember small steps have big results. Just keep running. 

Also, if you’re not following me on Twitter and Instagram, you should. Give me a follow at FitandFabYou1. I post on Twitter most of the day and on Instagram usually once a day. It’s fun stuff, guys. 

Until next time! Happy Sunday!

Roasted Veggie & Gnocchi Alfredo

Happy Sunday!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend so far! First week of December is always exciting. Christmas really gets going and everyone is listening to Christmas music. I have been listening to it for months, if not all year. Anyone else like that? People are putting up their trees and outdoor decorations. It’s a cozy time of year. What’s better than a cozy, warm pasta dish to add to the Christmas feeling?

This is a different kind of pasta dish, but I don’t share recipes that I haven’t tried and that I don’t enjoy. Honestly, I made this recipe a few weeks ago and it was so good that I was craving again. That is why I am making this post.

What you will need:

For the vegetables & gnocchi:

Seasoning of your choice (I purchased the one above from a Marshall’s or TJ Maxx and it turned out great!)

Pepper to taste

2-3 Cloves of Garlic

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the alfredo sauce:

1.5 cups shredded parmesan cheese

16 oz Heavy Cream

1/2 cup Butter

1/4 tsp Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Pepper

Let’s begin!

Preheat your oven to 450. I used two different sheet pans so that I can take the gnocchi out sooner. This round I had cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, and gnocchi, so I put the green beans with the gnocchi because they would be done about the same time.

Savings Tip:
I get my vegetables at Aldi and pick out whatever looks good and usually the cheapest or I will just cook what I have in the fridge. It just depends. It honestly doesn’t matter in this recipe. You can use whatever vegetables you and your family enjoy.

I line the pans with aluminum and spray the with PAM. I then lay out my veggies on one pan and the gnocchi on the other. Drizzle the olive oil, seasoning, and pepper over both the veggies and gnocchi and then toss with your hands. Honestly, I just eyeball all these seasonings to taste. Once, everything is evenly coated, place a few pieces of garlic around the gnocchi and place in the oven. The asparagus and cauliflower cook for 30 minutes and the gnocchi and green beans cook around 15-20 minutes.

The Sauce:

While those are in the oven, I start my alfredo sauce. Start with melting the butter on low and then add the heavy cream once the butter has melted. Let it simmer for two minutes and then whisk in the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Lastly, add in the parmesan cheese and mix until smooth and creamy.

Time to serve! I take some gnocchi, a few pieces of roasted veggies, and drizzle with alfredo sauce and done! Warm, filling, and delicious!

Honestly, if these pictures don’t make your mouth water…Haha. I know I’m bias, but….

If you try this recipe out, please let me know your thoughts in the comments. As usual, please like and subscribe and follow me on twitter and instagram for more!

@FitandFabYou1

Until next time!

One of My Happy Places

Wow. That was the word of the day last Saturday as we embraced all things Biltmore. My friend and co-worker had never been before so we went and as per usual it never disappoints. I have been numerous times and yet still find it as wonderful as before. It just makes me happy. Since it makes me so happy and it’s such a big deal, I thought I’d make a post about the day. From the food to the sights to the funny moments. It’s going to be an adventure!

First, let’s start with breakfast. Most trips start with a scrumptious breakfast of some sort. Am I right? Once we got down the road a few, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel to fill up or should I say grab some morning nourishment. I opted for something small and on the cheaper side. I’m sure there are people out there that do this as well. Ever noticed that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs? Yes, me too. To prevent that, I stayed focused and ordered the kids’ breakfast sandwich and opted for grits instead of potato rounds. Of course, coffee as well.

Once we got our morning nourishment, we were off again. Surprisingly there was no traffic as we grew closer to Biltmore which worked out time wise. We ended up getting there early enough to see the horses that are on the Biltmore grounds. You can go horseback riding at Biltmore if that is something you are interested in. Honestly, I would love to, but haven’t gotten to that yet. 🙂

Next stop was the Van Gogh exhibit. This was so immersive and overwhelming. I recommend it if you are a fan of Van Gogh or are an artist. It’s incredible. We first walked into a room where you read about each piece of art and it walks you through his life. Towards the end of the room, they created a 3D set up of his bedroom painting. It was incredible.

Once we finished, we stepped into the main exhibit. If you know Van Gogh’s life, you’ll know why I say it was emotional and overwhelming. The exhibit went through his paintings as a life story. It told about his friends and his story with Gauguin and finished with his tragic end. As someone who has lost several friends tragically, this topic hits extremely close to home. This exhibit definitely made you feel the sadness that he was feeling. It was such an emotional and overwhelming feeling. I usually cry when I see my favorite paintings, but this was a different kind of tear. To see someone feel that way breaks my heart. Honestly, the fact that they said this was an immersive art exhibit was completely accurate. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I left feeling very inspired, artistic and a sense of sadness. It also makes me even stronger in my faith. The fact that he said that love is something eternal makes me think ‘Yes!’ Christ’s love is eternal and if we only accept it, we will live in that freedom that only He can give. True love and true freedom only come from Christ.

After the exhibit, we went to the house. My friend had never seen the house before so this was an exciting time for both of us. I love this house and seeing someone else enjoying it for the first time just makes me smile. Our word of the day was, ‘Wow!’ This house never disappoints. It’s just beautiful, inside and out! Some of the fall leaves were still hanging on in places, which of course, makes me happy!

I love the tea and pastries at Biltmore, so it was only fitting that we made a small snack stop to grab some tasty treats. I ordered my favorite Earl Grey tea and a cheese danish and guys, it definitely didn’t disappoint.

We made the morning reservation for the Van Gogh and then made an afternoon reservation for the house, which worked out great! God worked this whole day out perfectly. From the reservation times to the weather to even the day we went, everything fell into place just right. I’m telling you, God knows exactly what He is doing in our daily lives. With our reservation for the house being later in the day, it gave us plenty of time to see even more than I normally see and during the daylight as well. After our quick snack, we went down to the conservatory. It was so much fun! We took pictures after pictures of flowers. Colorful to unique.

Biltmore has several trails, a waterfall, and a pond on the grounds. This was the first time that I had gotten to the waterfall and we even went on some extra trails I had never been on. One was the meadow trail where I got a new view of the house. I have to say that on this trip, I took a lot of photos at different angles. Makes looking back a unique experience.

We then had lunch and went through the shops before going into the house. I only bought a few items at the gift shops this time. I know. I know. Shocker. Haha. Just imagine the amount of times I said, ‘No, I don’t need that.’

The house was beautiful as per usual. The gentleman at the door told us they had decorate differently and yes, he was right! From the trees to the mantle decor to the well-lit fireplaces, every aspect added to the beauty and ambiance of the Estate. My friend enjoyed seeing the indoor swimming pool and we even had inside joke moment right before. 🙂 It was hilarious. There was a gingerbread house replica of the Biltmore on the basement floor and a huge pantry.

Once we finished the house, we went to the giant Christmas tree in the front yard and back up to the top of the stairs for our last minute photos with the lit up tree and house. We also were able to witness God’s beautiful sunset before leaving.

Of course, I had to take my friend to Antler Hill. This is the usual stop we make before we head out of the grounds. They have stores, coffee and snacks, a restaurant, and beautiful Christmas decor. But it is Biltmore. Did we expect anything less?

At the end of the day, we went to one last store and then grabbed dinner at Arby’s.

Writing this post has made me relive the amazingness that is Biltmore. Thanks for the opportunity. 🙂 I hope that you all enjoyed it as much as I did. If you did, please let me know in the comments. If you have ever been to Biltmore, let me know your favorite part of the house or the grounds. I would love to hear from you.

Until next time.

10 Things I Am Thankful For

Good Morning! Happy Thanksgiving to all my Fit and Fab friends! I hope that you all have grand plans with family and/or friends today. I know that today is a day of thankfulness and being grateful for all the things that God has given us. With that being said, I wanted to share a thankfulness post to help set me on the right track for today and I encourage all my readers to do the same.

  1. Salvation

Honestly, without God sending His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be who I am today. Salvation is a free gift that God has given us and I would welcome everyone to take it! It’s the best decision you could ever make and the best gift that you could ever receive.

2. Ability to Run

If you have read my journey through my sickness, you’ll know that I struggled to walk, much less, run. The fact that I am able to run again and be involved in races is a huge blessing. Without God, I wouldn’t be here. Since being sick, I have placed and received medals in several races. God has blessed me with these incredible opportunities! I know for a fact that God has given me so much and I am so thankful!

3. My Job

What a huge blessing that my job is. I have honestly the best co-workers in the world. We all get along so well, which I haven’t always been able to say. It’s a nice feeling to actually want to go to work. Also, the fact that when I come back from vacation, I receive nice notes telling me I was missed is pretty awesome.

4. Sunsets

Like the quote says, ‘I’ve never met a sunset I didn’t like.’ Exactly. God creates some incredible masterpieces in the sky. From sunrises to sunsets, they are all uniquely beautiful. I am that person that takes tons of pictures of both, but they are just so pretty. How can I not?

5. Family and Friends

Today is a day to be thankful for the family and friends that we have around the table with us. It isn’t about the food or where we are eating that food, it’s about who we are eating the food with and who we are laughing with. I hope that we all are present at those tables today and celebrate another year together. God has blessed us with so many things so let us focus on that today.

6. Eyesight

This is huge. There are so many things that we are just use to and that we just find normal, but honestly, some of those things, are larger in scale than we think. Having eyesight and having the ability to see the colors of the world, the smiles around us, the red bird in the tree is a remarkable thing. These are things that just come and go so quickly and happen so often that we tend to not even notice how great they are. Without eyesight, life would be different. Let us always see something beautiful in everything. Something beautiful that I saw recently was Biltmore Estate. I will be sharing my thoughts and photos from that soon.

7. My Church Family

This family is amazing! They are so supportive and most of them have been with me since I was a little girl. They love me and care about me and I love and care about them so much. It’s such a blessing to have a strong, praying church family that you can go to when you are needing prayer. It’s nice to have people to trust.

8. Laughter

Trying so hard to think of a joke to put here, but nothing is coming to mind. I could google something, but honestly, I’d rather not. Let’s see. Give me a moment….I got nothing. Terrible. I googled. Here goes.

Some people eat snails. They must not like fast food. 🙂

I tried. I hope you at least smiled. 🙂 Let’s be real. I do love laughing. I actually have a co-worker who tells jokes all the time and that’s where I get it from. We have actually gotten into funny back-and-forth joke battles. It’s not a battle, but for lack of a better word, that’s what I am going with.

9. Coffee

Coffee and Gilmore Girls. It’s a lovely combination. I know as a teenager, I would get up right before Gilmore Girls came on and get my breakfast and coffee ready. That was the first thing that I would do in the morning. It was a thing. I have also found a coffee shop near where I work that I absolutely love. They create coffee art and it’s just the best. I haven’t been there in a while, so I definitely need to change that.

10. Creativity

Creating an ad or something for my blog or designing posters and fliers for a customer or for a church function is so much fun. It’s my thing and I love it. I feel my creativity and design work have gotten stronger recently and I am so grateful for it. It’s amazing to see how God works.

Well, I hope that we take time in our busy day to make a list of 10 things that we are thankful for. Honestly, I could go on with this list. It would go on and on. We have so much to be thankful for. I know that today may bring back sad memories for some, but try to focus on the good times that you had. That might make it harder, but I am sure it will make you laugh and smile. The most important thing that I want to leave for you is that God loves you and He wants you to be happy. Focus on the good which is Christ and He will lift you up.

Happy Thanksgiving! Until next time.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV – In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.