Celebrating One Year

This past weekend, my hubby and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary. It has been an eventful year with many ups and downs, through our move to Colorado, unemployment and job searching, financial stress, and establishing our lives in a new city. It’s also been a growing experience in learning how to lean on and depend on one another, and realizing that’s okay. One thing about marriage that’s been really special for me is becoming each other’s family. Before that binding commitment, I always felt the need to maintain my independence and keep a tiny part of myself still guarded. There is a special bond and trust that exists with family members, and adding your spouse to that group creates a new kind of connection. I feel like I’ve gained a partner in life, and that we are building our own identity as a little family here in CO.

To celebrate, we visited Crested Butte for the weekend, which is called the “last original mountain town,” due to its ban on chains and focus on all local businesses. It’s a fairly small town in a country valley, surrounded by mountains in every direction. Time moves more slowly in Crested Butte, and the colors of surrounding nature are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The iPhone pics don’t even do it justice.



We had a wonderful weekend hiking, relaxing, and flying by the seat of our pants!


Dusk on our last evening


Our exhausted baby after a day of hiking – check out those rocks!

Looking back on our big day one year ago brings back the fondest memories, which were captured by my dear friend and amazing photographer, Jennifer Reeves. View more of her work here. Also, her beautiful photos landed us on a few wedding websites (below) and in an upcoming bridal magazine issue. She’s the real deal!

The Knot

Borrowed and Blue

Midwest Bride

Here’s to many more years of adventure!

The Newest Health Drink That’s Already In Your Kitchen

I’ve always been one to have my friends’ backs. And today, I’m defending a dear friend of mine who has gotten a bad rep. A friend who is always there for me, to add some pep into my step….. Okay, it’s coffee. But I’m sure many of you hold this lifesaving drink in as high of regard as I do. I would classify myself as fairly dependent on the stuff, but I’ve always had a lingering feeling of guilt for getting that extra cup. Somewhere along the way, I had been brainwashed to think it was unhealthy for my heart….or something. I recently came across some pro-coffee health articles and started digging further. It turns out that most of coffee’s health drawbacks are myths!

Recently, researchers far and wide have been discovering several serious health benefits associated with coffee. If you want the nitty-gritty, I’ll post a link to the articles at the end, but here’s the breakdown for you…



  • Three separate studies looking at the long term consumption of coffee and the risk of (1) cardiovascular disease, (2) stroke, and (3) heart failure showed moderate coffee consumers (2-5 cups a day) were at lowest risk for these conditions, compared with those who drank none.
  • Consumption had to reach 10 cups of coffee to see negative associations
  • Coffee previously blamed for causing heart disease – new research suggests in may actually help prevent it
    • Study of more than 25,000 middle-aged people (aka A LOT) – those who drank 3-5 cups per day had 41% less calcium buildup in arteries than non-coffee drinkers


  • Anti-cancer effects come from coffee’s high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds
  • Italian scientists gathered 16 years’ worth of data (A LOT) to find direct link between coffee consumption and fewer incidences of liver cancer – 3rd most common cause of cancer death
  • May improve insulin signaling, which helps prevent diabetes, which can increase the risk of developing liver cancer
  • Drastically reduces the risk of malignant melanoma
    • National Cancer Institute study of 450,000 men and women, controlled for other factors that could impact skin cancer risk, showed decreased risk
    • Regular coffee only, not decaf
    • Only people consuming 4+ cups of coffee saw significant risk reduction


Other Awesome Benefits

  • Shown to slow the cognitive decline of aging including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
  • Drinking coffee before your workout: increased energy and effectiveness
  • Drinking after your workout: coffee combined with carbs helps glycogen transfer more quickly from blood to muscles, essentially restoring muscles after a workout

Another myth to debunk is that tea is better than coffee…some researchers now believe that coffee is better for you than tea because it contains more caffeine and antioxidants, which are the main factors that result in benefits. Like most things health-related, there’s a right amount, but surprisingly, less is not always better. The recommended dosage is 3-5 cups a day, which doctors say allows you to reap the benefits without negatively impacting blood pressure. If that seems like a lot to you, remember we are talking 8 oz. cups here. I, for one, know that’s not my standard size. We’re also talking black coffee, not vanilla lattes and mocha frappucinos…now that would be too good to be true.

Bottom line: bust out the WhiteStrips and drink up!

Links: Here, Here, Here

The Diet That DOESN’T Work

Why do so many people go on a diet, to then end up gaining more weight than before? It’s because there are so many misconceptions out there about dieting and weight loss, and the majority of dieters are under-informed. Like most things out there, there is a right way and a wrong way to diet, and it all comes down to the means you use to get to the end. The end being the weight loss.

Arguably the most common method of dieting is counting calories. While it is proven that consuming less calories leads to weight loss, there are other factors to this method that also determine your short-term and long-term results. Let’s take Weight Watchers for example. As a former user of WW, the goal is to stay within your assigned number of daily calories. Let’s say you cave and eat a muffin along with your normal egg breakfast and suddenly realize you are already up to 550 calories and it’s only 8:30am. It looks like you’re skipping lunch to make up for that overindulgence, and by dinner you’re ravenous and can’t resist that second serving. Even if you managed to stay under your daily calorie allotment, this method WILL NOT lead to long-term sustained weight loss.

Skipping meals is not the way to go, and will usually backfire…right back on to your hips. Studies have shown that skipping meals can mess with your metabolism and cause you more trouble; here’s how it works.

When you skip a meal and don’t eat for an extended period of time, your body triggers a famine response, which means that your metabolism slows down in an attempt to preserve energy and your body increases fat storage for survival. The longer you go without eating, the more you are training your body that it must store (rather than burn) fat and calories, because it doesn’t know when the next meal will come. Our bodies are biologically programmed this way for survival.

diet cycle

Inevitably, one day you get off your diet and go back to eating normally. Even if you had temporarily lost weight from the calorie decrease, you’re in for a surprise. With the slower metabolism you have created, every mouthful you take is going to affect you more than it did before the diet. You will likely regain the weight from the fat that your body has learned to store during those starvation periods. And then it was all for what???

While everyone is different, these are scientifically proven processes in your body that many people don’t take into consideration. More frequent eating keeps the metabolism running and active, and prevents the body from using the emergency-like famine responses. If you think that this means your food choices don’t matter and you can eat whatever you want as often as you want, then you need to go back to the basics. Obviously, when you are eating more often (and even when you’re not), you should choose healthy food options, which also will keep your calorie count low.

So, my friends, permission to snack. But put down the Cheetos…

I'm watching you

The Color That Screams Chic

Perhaps the most underrated and easily forgotten neutral in the bunch, camel is an easy way to add chicness to any wardrobe. I’m a firm believer in pairing solid neutral pieces together when your look needs an extra dose of sophistication. Camel fits right into this and often looks its best when combined with black, white, or gray. Below are some of my favorite inspirations for incorporating camel in your everyday look as a piece of clothing or an accessory, without coming out looking like a big potato (mm I’m hungry).

camel skirtMixing with all solid neutrals and a pop of print

camel shirtThis creamy caramel top looks amazing against her skin tone

camel hatThe hat makes the look, and I adore the bohemian feel this one gives.

camel shortsThe unique structure and material of this skirt just WORK.

camel bagEven a camel bag looks expensive!

Bottom line: try camel, and I don’t mean the one with humps.