Looking Back on 2013

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I still can’t believe it’s over, and that 2014 is just around the corner. I still didn’t feel like it was Christmas until earlier this week so it’s crazy that it went by so fast.

I’ll probably do a recap of my Christmas/New Year’s week sometime next week but for now, I wanted to share some of my favorite posts and moments from 2013. As with any year, there were some ups, some downs, but overall it was an incredible year for me for many reasons, and I’m hoping 2014 is even better!

January

I experimented with homemade donuts, I took a hiatus from WIAW and I shared my orthorexia story

Some post-holiday Christmas lights in Denver.

Some post-holiday Christmas lights in Denver.

February

I broke some fashion rulesmade some Superbowl-worthy raw jalapeno poppers and shared my thoughts on clean eating

No white after Labor Day? Pssh, I wear what I want!

No white after Labor Day? Pssh, I wear what I want!

March

I compared my meals from when I started my blog until nowI tried out grain free baking and I admitted to my struggles with the scale and mirror

My first sushi night with friends.

My first sushi night with friends.

April

I got snowed in, shared my fear of rest days and feeling full and made some homemade Easter candy.

Snow in April isn't unusual but a FOOT of snow definitely is!

Snow in April isn’t unusual but a FOOT of snow definitely is!

May

I spent some time at the poolgot all nerdy about cacao powder and started my weather internship at a local TV station. 

I also reunited with an old Starbucks favorite,, the unsweetened passion iced tea.

I also reunited with an old Starbucks favorite,, the unsweetened passion iced tea.

June

I started eating more raw foods, expressed my sorrow over a second year of wildfires in my hometown and revisited an old favorite vacation spot

More pool time for this chica.

More pool time for this chica.

July

I professed my love for homemade fooddealt with some flash flooding on the job and found that being sick can be an ED trigger

I also celebrated my 21st birthday in style, even while recovering from being sick.

I also celebrated my 21st birthday in style, even while recovering from being sick.

August

I indulged in some incredible vegan carrot cake ice creamvacationed to see family in Wisconsin and got a tablet to replace my dying laptop. 

I love airports and flying!

I love airports and flying!

September

I tried out eggs (and ended up keeping them out of my diet), gave an inside look at my fridge and struggled with senioritis

I also got my third-ever manicure.

I also got my third-ever manicure.

October

I shared my thoughts on figure competitionstalked about the ‘Ashley Diet’ and did some fun things with my family during a weekend at home

A quick and yummy lunch from a local vegan juice bar and cafe.

A quick and yummy lunch from a local vegan juice bar and cafe.

November

I let you all in on my meal prepping secrets, I talked about some girl problems and I bought a bunch of fun foodie products

I went to Native Foods for only the second time ever and I can't wait to go back again.

I went to Native Foods for only the second time ever and I can’t wait to go back again.

December

I started a no-added-sugar plan before the holidays, I got through finals week with some good food and I graduated college a semester early. 

The happy graduate.

The happy graduate.

I feel like I’ve grown up so much since the beginning of the year–I’ve conquered another year of living (mostly) independently, completed an amazing internship, got through a semester taking on a full course load, dealt with some personal struggles (some are still going on), made some great friends and most of all, started my new life as a post-grad looking for her first full-time job. It’s crazy how much things have changed since this time last year, but I wouldn’t trade any of it! I’m even more excited to take on 2014!

What were some of your most memorable moments of 2013? What are you looking forward to most in 2014? 

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(Almost) Wordless Weekend

I feel like I haven’t blogged in forever, but really, it’s only been 5 days. It’s been quite the whirlwind of 5 days though and a LOT has changed, though it doesn’t quite feel like it yet…

Instead of boring you with the details of my (amazing) weekend, I’ll just share some of my favorite pictures from the last 3 ish days. It’s still crazy to me that Christmas is in less than 2 days now, since I just moved out of my apartment this morning and I’m finally home for the holidays. I’m planning on ‘celebrating’ tonight with some Whole Foods salad bar action 😉

Ashley-sized mojito at Luscious Nectar downtown to celebrate being done with finals with some friends.

Ashley-sized mojito at Luscious Nectar downtown to celebrate being done with finals with some friends.

 

Fun (and cheap) Target finds. Navy blue wedges, sparkly gold nail polish, under $10 for both.

Fun (and cheap) Target finds. Navy blue wedges, sparkly gold nail polish, under $10 for both.

Getting ready before graduation on Saturday.

Getting ready before graduation on Saturday.

 

Getting pumped to be a college grad!

Getting pumped to be a college grad!

Leaving for the commencement ceremony.

Leaving for the commencement ceremony. It was so cold, I was glad I wore pants!

 

First selfie as a college graduate.

First selfie as a college graduate.

My mom and me after the ceremony :)

My mom and me after the ceremony 🙂

My family held up signs for me, how cute!

My family held up signs for me, how cute!

 

Caught in the act of taking a selfie!

Caught in the act of taking a selfie!

The amazing vegan reuben on gluten free bread at my favorite vegan restaurant in FoCo.

The amazing vegan reuben on gluten free bread at my favorite vegan restaurant in FoCo.

 

Cute lamb slippers at Bath & Body Works shopping for my mom's Christmas presents.

Cute lamb slippers at Bath & Body Works shopping for my mom’s Christmas presents.

 

 

Soy skinny peppermint mocha and some sister and dad time at Starbucks after shopping.

Soy skinny peppermint mocha and some sister and dad time at Starbucks after shopping. My first Starbucks drink in 3 weeks!

I am so thankful I had the opportunity to attend the school that I did, have an amazing experience there, and was able to graduate in 3 1/2 years without too much stress! This weekend was incredibly fun (and busy) so I’m ready for Christmas and some down time before I start the job search. I still can’t believe I’m living the post-grad life haha.

Enjoy your holidays, and have a happy New Year if I don’t talk to you before then!

What did you do this weekend?

 

WIAW: Finals Week Food

Today I have my last final EVER (well, besides when/if I get my meteorology certificate…but we’ll pretend like that doesn’t count) and I’m beyond excited to be done with this semester. It’s been long (but it’s gone by so fast), it’s been hard, it’s been busy (taking 6 classes on top of working at the TV station every week is no joke) so I’m ready to enjoy some time off at home. It’s still crazy to think I’ll be a college graduate in a few days…

Before my emotions get the better of me, let’s get on with WIAW! As I’m typing this, I’m kinda procrastinating on studying for my Wednesday final so this is gonna be a mostly wordless post of some of the things I’ve been eating to fuel my studying (and to be honest, my procrastinating too).

Monday lunch. Miracle noodles dry-sauteed with some peanut butter/cayenne pepper/almond milk for a spicy peanut sauce, with spinach and sauerkraut added in. Organic honeycrisp on the side.

Monday lunch. Miracle noodles dry-sauteed with some peanut butter/cayenne pepper/almond milk for a spicy peanut sauce, with spinach and sauerkraut added in. Organic honeycrisp on the side.

Monday's dinner. Supposed to be a curried cauliflower soup, but really thick so it was more like a sauce. Still good, especially topped with sauerkraut and these addicting raw spicy sunflower seeds from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

Monday’s dinner. Supposed to be a curried cauliflower soup, but really thick so it was more like a sauce. Still good, especially topped with sauerkraut and these addicting raw spicy sunflower seeds from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

A quick selfie in the car before my history final on Monday morning. So glad to have my car back!

A quick selfie in the car before my history final on Monday morning. So glad to have my car back!

Monday's snackplate. Satsuma, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips, some Food Should Taste Good sweet potato kettle chips, energy bites from the bulk bin (I don't really like these), some homemade PB&J bites.

Monday’s snackplate. Satsuma, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips, some Food Should Taste Good sweet potato kettle chips, energy bites from the bulk bin (I don’t really like these), some homemade PB&J bites.

Big salad for lunch on Tuesday. One head of romaine lettuce, with some cauliflower soup/sauce as the dressing, garbanzo beans, more sauerkraut and spicy sunflower seeds.

Big salad for lunch on Tuesday. One head of romaine lettuce, with some cauliflower soup/sauce as the dressing, 1 leftover falafel, chickpeas, more sauerkraut and spicy sunflower seeds.

A very orange snackplate from Tuesday. Satsuma, sweet potato chips, carrots, and leftover pan-roasted chickpeas.

A very orange snackplate from Tuesday. Satsuma, sweet potato chips, carrots, and leftover pan-roasted chickpeas.

Strawberry Zevia makes the perfect study drink. Can't wait til I go out for some adult beverages with my friends on Thursday ;)

Strawberry Zevia makes the perfect study drink. Can’t wait til I go out for some adult beverages with my friends on Thursday 😉

Tuesday dinner. Mung bean pasta (so high in protein, and grain free), mixed with cauliflower soup/sauce, more sauerkraut and raw spicy sunflower seeds, side of homemade sweet potato fries and pomegranate seeds.

Tuesday dinner. Mung bean pasta (so high in protein, and grain free), mixed with cauliflower soup/sauce, more sauerkraut and raw spicy sunflower seeds, side of homemade sweet potato fries and pomegranate seeds.

Not quite the same as the typical college student’s mac and cheese and fast food dinners during finals 😛 Really, though, it’s been all about convenience for me as I’ve been keeping busy with studying for finals, taking a few finals and finding ways to avoid thinking about finals. Most of my meals have been quick, no fuss, and made while doing something else. Multitasking at its finest! I have no desire to cook right now, and that’s okay. My food processor has been getting a lot of use though–I’ve been whipping up homemade Larabar-like bites lately for quick study snacks. I’m more than ready to go out for sushi tonight, drinks/appetizers tomorrow and then my favorite vegan restaurant on Saturday as a grad celebration dinner!

What have you been eating lately?

Currently: December

…Also known as “It’s almost finals week so I’m stressed and practically brain dead so here’s a fun post that will take my mind off all that I have to do in the next week and a half.” All my fellow (or former) college students will understand what I’m saying here.

Current Book: I’m currently doing my best to avoid all books, even my textbooks. Just kidding, but really the only books I have time to care about are my textbooks. #sorrynotsorry

Current Music: All things Christmas music, especially Vince Guaraldi trio, aka A Charlie Brown Christmas music!

Current Guilty Pleasure: Homemade dark chocolate-covered orange slices. Remember those chocolate oranges that always came out around Christmas? These are like that, but better because I’ve been making them with satsumas (100x better than plain old oranges) and stevia-sweetened dark chocolate. So does that make them a guilty pleasure, or not so much?

Current Nail Color: They’re chipping now, but last weekend I painted my nails with my friend who has a million different nail polishes (seriously, a girl’s dream) and I used OPI The Color of Minnie and Essie Toggle to the Top for some festive-looking nails.

I can never get my nails to not chip a few days in.

I can never get my nails to not chip a few days in.

Current Drink: Celestial Seasonings gingerbread tea or water.

Current Food: Alllllllll the homemade ‘balls’, creamy & spicy butternut squash sauce, leftover grain free stuffing, pomegranates, satsumas, stevia-chocolate chips melted on everything, sauerkraut and these really good spicy sprouted sunflower seeds I got from the bulk section at Whole Foods. I like how I always list multiple things in my ‘Current Food’ section. What can I say, I love food!

Some completely random nachos from sometime last week. I had some sprouted cranberry pumpkin tortilla chips I needed to use them up, so I paired them with beans, sauteed spinach, sauerkraut, olives and homemade cranberry sauce.

Some completely random nachos from sometime last week. I had some sprouted cranberry pumpkin tortilla chips I needed to use them up, so I paired them with beans, sauteed spinach, sauerkraut, olives and homemade cranberry sauce.

Current TV Show: This question and the book question need to go, seriously. I never answer them because I’m never reading/watching anything regularly enough. I will say that my dad has been getting The Newsroom on Netflix and we watched a few episodes of that over Thanksgiving break to get caught up. I am obsessed with that show. Take my love for journalism/news and my love for (recent) history and you’ve got a perfect show for this nerd 😉

Current Wishlist: To make it out of finals week alive (and graduated), to mentally prepare myself for Christmas (not that I’m dreading it, it just doesn’t quite feel like Christmas yet to me), and to magically have my dream job right now #nothappening.

Current Needs: More coffee (haven’t had any Starbucks in almost 2 weeks), my car to start again (poor Alejandro’s battery doesn’t work after a week of near-zero temps) so I can stop taking the bus to campus, the end of school to come sooner.

This was back when Alejandro could deal with some cold and snow.

This was back when Alejandro could deal with some cold and snow.

Current Triumphs: Trying not to stress out so much. Emphasis on the trying there. I’m not 100% anxiety-free, but I’m doing better. I had a lot of stressful situations thrown at me the beginning of the week and I’m still trying to deal with those (such as my car not working, and having to take the bus to campus) on top of stressing about finals, graduation and the post-grad life. I’m doing well not worrying so much about what I’ll be doing with my life after school is over, but I need to also focus less (in a good way) on the more present issues so I don’t run myself down too much.

Current Bane of Existence: How damn cold it was here for the past week, and still kinda is. We got about 6 inches of snow last Tuesday/Wednesday and it’s barely melted due to how cold it’s been. I know a lot of the country’s been dealing with very cold weather, but even living in Colorado most of my life, we never get weather this cold for this long. I blame my Arizona-born blood for not being able to handle the cold 😀

The snow we got a week ago...and it still basically looks like this today.

The snow we got a week ago…and it still basically looks like this today.

Current Indulgence: Mung bean pasta (so good–grain free and 25 grams of protein per serving) with homemade spicy butternut squash sauce, sauerkraut and salted pumpkin seeds. It tastes like a totally decadent pasta dish but is actually healthy.

Current Blessing: Being so close to the end of my school career (for now, anyways). I feel like I’ve been a student forever, and I kinda have if 16 years is forever, so it’s completely crazy that by next Saturday I’ll be done. I’m so thankful that I’ve had the chance to go to college, finish out my degree and make some amazing memories.

Current Outfit: Chillin’ in my pajamas at the mo, but here’s a recent memorable outfit. It was from last Friday, when I had my capstone panel review. One of the most nerve-wracking things ever, but I got some good feedback and it’s all over now!

I'm so classy in my Ann Taylor skirt suit set I got on sale during Labor Day weekend and wore for the first time ever last week.

I’m so classy in my Ann Taylor skirt suit set I got on sale during Labor Day weekend and wore for the first time ever last week.

Current Excitement: CHRISTMAS (duh!), graduation and most of all, being home for the holidays. I. Can’t. Wait.

What are you currently excited about? Is it still cold where you are?

Currently: September

I’m trying to get back to a more regular posting schedule (which includes new recipes–check out my other blog for some spicy raw tacos!) but for now, I still don’t have a ton of content I want to cover, so I’m gonna go with the random and always fun ‘Currently’ post.

Current Book: This may be nerdy, but I think my nutrition textbook is really interesting. I’ve always been fascinated by nutrition & health, but before my nutrition class this semester, I never did much research into it. Now I’m finding out so many things, like how conventionally-grown oranges are often colored with food coloring to be more ‘orange’ and what those weird-sounding food additives really are.

Current Music: Sorry not sorry, but another alt song is on the list for this month. This time, it’s “Unbelievers” by Vampire Weekend. Gah, I love Vampire Weekend. It doesn’t hurt that the lead singer (Ezra Koenig) is pretty attractive…and obviously talented.

Current Guilty Pleasure: The matching mani I got done with a friend last week. Disclaimer: this is like the 3rd or 4th time EVER that I’ve gotten a mani. The first time was on my 18th birthday. I don’t get them done a lot because it’s hard to justify spending $10+ for polished nails that I could do at home for the price of a bottle of nail polish (though I can’t always get it as good when I do it myself, but at least the price of nail polish goes a lot farther). But it was fun to do it with a friend and now I have pretty taupe nails.

Perf for fall.

Perf for fall.

Current Nail Color: See above ^^^. Before this though, I was sporting Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear (my go-to brand, because it’s cheap and effective) in pink and purple, both on sale at Target for under $2 (because sadly they’re both discontinued colors).

Current Drink: Water from my freebie ‘PINK’ water bottle. It makes drinking water more fun and convenient, since I can just bring it with me to classes and it won’t spill as easily as my other water bottles did. Plus it’s gigantic, so I end up drinking more overall.

I'm loving water + Amazing Grass greens packets too.

I’m loving water + Amazing Grass greens packets too.

Current Food: Lettuce wraps stuffed with spicy raw taco filling/homemade avocado-cashew dressing, coconut butter-stuffed dates, Larabars (so great for when I’m on campus all day), all-fruit softserve from the softserve food truck on campus, figs.

Current TV Show: One of my friends got me hooked on old episodes of New Girl. I won’t be able to watch them live this season because I have CTV on Tuesday nights, but I’m definitely gonna keep watching them somehow.

Current Wishlist: For the 2nd Colorado location of Native Foods Cafe to open (it’s only an hour away from my hometown!), cute and comfortable booties (preferably cheap, too), a new phone (my contract expires in December–maybe I’ll finally get an iPhone…though I love my Android too), for this nice weather to last for awhile (can we just skip over winter?).

Current Needs: I need my budgeting skills back. Over the summer, I wasn’t buying much for myself other than clothes occasionally from money I earned doing chores or from birthday cash but now that I have student loan money again, it’s been too tempting to spend some of it on fun stuff, instead of saving most of it for rent and groceries. I haven’t been going too crazy, and a lot of it has been when I’ve been hanging out with friends and we got sushi, or manis, but I need to keep my spending in check and only buy what I need, with minimal ‘fun’ purchases.

Current Triumphs: Starting to get back into the swing of school (I still have senioritis, BUT it’s motivating me to get through the next 3 months) and being more spontaneous. I’ve gotten really close with a friend I met in our newswriting class 2 years ago, and we’ve been hanging out a couple of times per week. She also invited me to join her intramural volleyball team and even though I don’t like volleyball and I’m not one for team sports (I prefer working out solo, or playing tennis with my dad), I decided to do it. It’s only for 4 weeks, 1x per week (and we’ve already made it through 3 weeks), and even though our team sucks, it’s been fun. Hanging out with friends more often has made me realize how much I crave a schedule, but it’s made me go out of my comfort zone a lot. I’ve been saying yes to Starbucks runs and yoga sessions instead of staying home and doing my regular workouts and such on my own time. It’s been hard, but really freeing.

Current Bane of Existence: This 5 day forecast. Thursday–great! Saturday–okay. Sunday and Monday–perfect. Friday just had to be cold and rainy, right? Ugh, I am so not ready for the 50s yet. I still want the 80 degree weather back!

No. Just...no.

No. Just…no.

Current Indulgence: This deliciousness. Gah. I stopped getting these so often (read: every other week) because they were a bit too expensive (not really, but definitely for a regular purchase) and I didn’t want to get burned out on them. Now that the Whole Foods by school has stopped carrying Hail Merry tarts (WHY?), I have to make a stop at Natural Grocers for them, but they’re cheaper there anyway, so it’s a total win. Plus anything mint+chocolate is just amazing.

Current Blessing: Having my family coming up to visit me this weekend. I usually go home every other weekend because I LOVE my family and it’s nice to get a break from my apartment once in awhile (even though I live alone–I need the company sometimes!) but sometimes they get to come up and spend the weekend at my apartment. Being a hostess is a bit stressful (mostly because I keep my apartment clean and having people over makes that harder to do…and also because I don’t get to keep my regular workout schedule) but I always love seeing them and having my parents treat me to dinners out is always a plus.

Current Outfit: This was actually from Monday, but it was a navy knit sweater over a mint lace bandeau, light wash jeggings, floral hair wrap and a mint statement necklace. Anybody else feel awkward wearing jeans again after a few months without them? Ignore my weird looking thighs in the photo. I’ll be used to wearing skinny jeans again in a couple of months.

This necklace was $5...gotta love Living Social deals!

This necklace was $5…gotta love Living Social deals!

Current Excitement: In the short term–this weekend with the fam. In the longer term–graduation…just 3 months away now!

What are your ‘currents’?

Currently: August

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! You really know how to make a girl feel special 😀

I’m not sure when (or if) I’ll get back to a regular posting schedule with a vacation coming up and settling back in at scchool but for now, enjoy this little survey I always enjoy doing.

Current Book: I’m loving my new “Going Raw” cookbook. I like that it’s not just recipes (and delicious-looking ones at that) but it also came with a tutorial DVD and has tips for implementing raw foods into your lifestyle. I basically want to make everything in the book!

That burger on the cover looks unreal.

That burger on the cover looks unreal.

Current Music: I’m loving the new Grouplove song “Ways To Go” and “Hurricane” by MS MR. Alt Nation on Sirius XM is my all-time favorite radio station.

 

Current Guilty Pleasure: Phoney Baloney’s coconut bacon. Gah, I need to stop devouring this stuff–I only bought a small bag of it and the stores around me don’t sell it yet! Sooooo addicting, and awesome ingredients list.

Current Nail Color: Mint Sprint by Sally Hansen.

This goes with almost everything.

This goes with almost everything.

Current Drink: Water all day errryday in my VS PINK giant water bottle. It makes drinking water that much easier. Also, coconut water iced coffees.

Current Food: Salads at least 1X per day, protein banana softserve (though not as much anymore), protein fruit ‘cereal’ (Sunwarrior+almond milk+fruit+other toppings in a bowl), Larabars, ice cold watermelon.

These veggies aren't for eating but they sure are cute! An adorable recent IKEA find.

These veggies aren’t for eating but they sure are cute! An adorable recent IKEA find.

Current TV Show: I’m not watching much right now, but I like that new Hollywood Game Night show on NBC. I like seeing celebs in real life!

Current Wishlist: Some clothes I can transition into fall (particularly a hi-lo dress), more cute oxfords (spotted the cutest pair at a little boutique the other day!), a new planner for the school year…and motivation to get through this last semester. Senioritis is hitting me hard!

How cute is this one!

How cute is this one!

Current Needs: The need to pack! Seriously, I actually like packing but I always procrastinate. I can’t even think about packing up stuff again for school in 2 weeks…I just need to pack for vacation first!

Current Triumphs: Finishing up my weather internship with a bang. Last summer’s internship was a bit of a letdown but this summer’s was an amazing learning experience and I got to work in a great environment with awesome people. I’m going to miss that place a lot, but I’m thankful for the experience I got there. Annnnnnd, I may end up posting some of my work from there at some point on here, who knows!

Current Bane of Existence: School coming up. I’m sorta looking forward to it, but after 16 years of school, I am beyond ready to just get my diploma and move on to the real world. I loved college but at this point, I’m so done.

Current Indulgence: The vegan carrot cake ice cream I enjoyed the other day. Totally fine with having ice cream right after a delicious salad, and it was really good ice cream. It was like two of my favorite desserts (carrot cake+vegan ice cream) in one.

Ugh so good.

Ugh so good.

Current Blessing: Being able to see my extended family again. We haven’t been back to see most of the fam in 4 years and it’s good timing now because one of my grandpas is not doing so well. Hopefully our visit can lift his spirits and help him feel better. Not to mention, it’ll be great to get away for a week and enjoy a different state!

Current Outfit: Strapless blue-checked corset-style top from Abercrombie & Fitch, navy blue twill shorts from Hollister, jewelry from American Eagle.

It's getting hot again (wooo!)

It’s getting hot again (wooo!)

Current Excitement: Vacation…and college graduation in T-minus 5 months!

Answer any of the above!