Birthday Meals

Happy last day of the 2014 and thanks for the birthday wishes from the last few days :) I’m typing this on Tuesday night after a wonderful 20th birthday. I don’t know about you, but on my birthday I always want to do simple, low-key activities. I’ve never had parties on my actual birthday (I celebrated with friends on Monday night!). I’m also not one to say, “it’s my birthday let’s stay out all day long and do crazy things.” The perfect birthday to me involves some form of exercise, delicious meals and quality time with family.

That’s exactly how my day went.


I opted to have a lazy morning around the house instead of working out first thing. I had my usual breakfast of two bowls of oatmeal with peanut butter and fruit while watching the Today Show. Fun fact: Matt Lauer and I share the same birthday and Al’s and Savannah’s were earlier this week. Seems like I’d fit right in on the show ;)


After my workout I showered and went to one of my most-frequented restaurants, Piquant, with my mom and sister. I’ve gone to Piquant for the past 3 birthdays because I love it so much! I got my usual “power salad” with spinach, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, avocado, brown rice and roasted chicken with a dijon mustard vinaigrette. I practically licked the bowl clean!


The restaurant is in a cute area of town with other shops and boutiques so we wandered around for a bit after lunch. While I don’t normally request to go shopping, I did ask to go into Lululemon next door to get some new pants.

We made our way back home and after I ate an un-pictured snack of a KIND bar and an apple, all three of us took naps on the couch. Yes, naps. Napping is my favorite non-guilty pleasure so I made sure to include it during the day.

I know most people like to go out for dinner on their birthday, but I’d much prefer a home cooked meal. Plus, you can go back for seconds and thirds. My mom made salmon, roasted sweet potatoes and zucchini noodles with tomatoes, green beans, pomegranates and avocado. Yes, I eat these foods all the time but they’re my favorites, what can I say? This was plate one of a few…no shame.


How about this for a birthday cake? If you haven’t caught on I’m not a huge sweets/baked goods person. I’ve had gluten-free cake many times but it’s really not my favorite (and not as good as real cake according to my family). Edible Arrangements have been more my style for the past few years.


I opened presents and spent the night playing games with my family. While typing this post I had a few spoonfuls of peanut butter to cap off what my sister called “a very Emily day.”

Here’s to a great year!

Do you prefer going to restaurants or staying home for dinner on your birthday?

The Merriest of Days

What better way to start off the week than by recapping one of the most marvelous days of the year?MiMM

On Christmas Eve we drove to Orlando to celebrate the evening with family. We went to Christmas Eve service before eating a delicious dinner. On the table: ham, salmon, lasagna, roasted vegetables, salad and sweet potatoes.


The weather has been warmer than normal for this time of year so we were able to eat dinner outside by their pool. Gotta love Christmas in Florida!

After dessert and some present-opening, we drove back home and got ready for Santa ;)


No matter how old I get, Christmas morning is still so magical. I hope to never lose that feeling. It was just the four of us for the entire day and it ended up being pretty perfect. As for gifts, I guess I was a very good girl this year. I feel very lucky…I’ll keep it at that.


I do want to share this ornament I gave to my mom (a personal trainer and wine lover) because I loved it…

After a very lazy morning, my dad and I went for a quick run before dinner. We had an early dinner (3:30) of leftover fish, ham, salad, sweet potatoes and watermelon. I specifically requested the last item, if you didn’t guess. Even though we were in casual clothes and eating a hodgepodge of food we used our nice Christmas china so it felt fancy.


Following dinner we played rummy 500 and then joined in with the rest of America and streamed The Interview. It may have been the dumbest most anti-Christmas-spirit movie ever. A few laughs but I’m sure glad we didn’t pay to see it in theaters.

The excitement is still hanging around here because my birthday is tomorrow (finally 20!) and my mom’s is on Sunday.

I hope you and your family had an equally wonderful day.

What did you eat for Christmas dinner?

What was your favorite gift that you GAVE?

The Evolution of a Christmas List

Even though I posted a Christmas wish list last week, we’re changing directions today and talking about the meaning behind the list. Let’s start out with a little Christmas timeline, shall we?

0-3 years old: I have a really good memory, but not this good. My mom tells me stories of how she would re-wrap old toys for me to open. She said the baby/toddler years were very cheap!

3-7 years old: I started tuning into Christmas. I would write elaborate letters to Santa, ask him questions about his year and end the note with one big gift request. I remember asking for a playhouse, my first American Girl Doll and Britney Spears everything during that period.

7-11 years old: I got smarter. I realized that Santa does a pretty darn good job at picking out gifts so maybe I could get a little more specific (and greedy). Now I didn’t just ask for one thing…I wanted a karaoke machine AND an American Girl Doll in one year. A gymnastics mat AND a digital camera.

The fact that I'm sharing this photo means I really like you guys

THE karaoke machine. The fact that I’m sharing this photo means I really like you guys

At the latter end of this time, I learned the truth about Santa. It kind of changed my Christmas demeanor for a while.

11-15 years old: I was a Christmas list making professional. I would start weeks in advance and make a PowerPoint presentation (with links to exact products). I set VERY high hopes for Christmas morning and may or may not have cried after opening gifts. Whether I was crying because there weren’t anymore gifts or because I didn’t get what I want, who knows. But I placed a very heavy importance on the gifts.

15 years old-now: I get it. I get the meaning of the season. I am very strong in my faith and was raised in the Church, so it’s kind of embarrassing to admit that it took me that long to embrace the reason for the season. But Christmas is about so much more than just the presents now. While I still have wish lists and usually ask for one big-ticket item a year, I don’t expect (or want) to receive everything. More than anything I LOVE seeing other people open gifts that I picked out for them. It doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact, some of the best gifts aren’t. One year I had all of our home movies turned into DVD’s (instead of the ancient videos) so we can watch them regularly. Another time I bought an ornament and wrote a special quote on it for my parents.

DSC_1003Over the years I’ve thought less and less about what I want and more about I can do for others. The things I ask for now are practical, and dare I say boring. Workout clothes, yoga packages, running sneakers, cooking ware (?!), bras, and underwear. I was tempted to even ask for a gas card so I can take a few weeks off from paying for that, even though it’s so cheap now.

I still have a Pinterest board of “wish list items” because I’m human, it’s fun to dream, and in all honesty, I am fortunate enough that my family gives a big gift or two every year, so a list is helpful for them. But seeing my family smile, laughing together, and making memories will forever be at the top of my real list. Those things make me more excited than any present ever could.

What is on your real list this year?

Health & Fitness Wish List

Happy best day of the week! Following in suit with the rest of the blog world, for today’s 5 Things Friday I’m sharing the top 5 health and fitness gifts on my Christmas wish list. Hopefully Santa is reading.


1. Fitbit. I’ve wanted one of these for a while for a very non-health and fitness reason: Tory Burch makes Fitbit bracelets. I love everything from Tory Burch so in order to get the bracelet, I need to get the Fitbit. In all seriousness, I’m really interested to see how many steps I take during a day and what my sleep pattern is like.







2. A kettlebell. Over the summer kettlebells became my favorite piece of equipment in the weight room. I loved it’s versatility and found many effective workout routines using just one kettlebell, as opposed to two dumbbells. None of my gyms in Miami (campus or apartment) has kettlebells but I have enough space in my apartment that I can use one for a home workout.

3. Athleta’s “Hidden Agenda” tank. As someone who wears workout clothes to class (out of pure comfort and laziness), this top looks like an actual top. AKA it will look like I tried to get ready for class.



4. Sweaty Bands. I wear headbands almost every day because headbands = easiest hairstyle ever. I mainly have plain black headbands so I’m looking to switch it up and add some sparkle to my life head.

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5. Runner’s World Magazine subscription. I am a self-proclaimed magazine hoarder junkie. Actually, it’s my dream job to work for a running magazine, so I think that can excuse my behavior. This is one of my favorite magazines because it’s not about “getting skinny” or “losing the last 5 lbs.” It’s about priming your body and mind to be the best runner you can be. Tons of tips, recipes, race reviews and inspirational stories to motivate you during training and the off-season. Plus it’s like a getting a gift every month in the mail!


Image source

 What’s on your wish list this year?

Do you workout in your home/apartment? What equipment do you use?