Hi guys! I hope you all had a wonderful New Years Eve! Joe and I spent our night making homemade pizza and playing Jenga. Yes, it was one crazy night.

I wanted to let you all know that I’ve registered a domain and set up a hosting service for this little blog. What does that mean? I’ve moved over here and I’m working on researching how you all will begin receiving notifications to the self-hosted blog. I’m still with WordPress, but I get a lot more toys to play with over at the .org site.

So in the mean time, I’ve posted a new blog over there. Please do check it out and if you’d like, follow me on that blog. I’m officially http://www.collectionsofawanderer.com! I certainly won’t be moving from that blog anytime soon. Changes can be a bit challenging and I’ve got quite a lot of learning to do. Please bear with me through this time. Thanks everyone!

Happy New Year!

Happy Friday, ya’ll!

I’m a bit sad that Christmas is over. The anticipation every year is heightened intensely with many holiday traditions, decked-out homes and trees with lights and ornaments, and the hustle and bustle as everyone prepares for baby Jesus. Once it’s over, the feeling is weird and slightly foreign. It feels like a “Now what?” kind of feeling. The good news is we have many more great things to look forward to in the coming weeks and new year. Can you believe it’s almost 2013? Crazy.

As an adult on Christmas morning, I’m not always surprised by the gifts I receive. Sometimes I’m even the one wrapping my own gifts or present at the time of purchase. It just comes with adulthood. This year, I received the greatest, most thoughtful gift anyone has ever given me. It was the best surprise I’ve ever been kept in the dark about. Joe’s mother, Teri, spent weeks days leading up to Christmas hand-writing every family recipe onto recipe cards. They were placed in a recipe album which I opened Tuesday morning.

IMG_1184I was so shocked and surprised by such a gesture. Every home recipe from chicken and noodles to wedding ring cookies were included. There were several recipes I had never even heard of. I loved reading through each recipe and seeing who originally made it. From great grand-parents to even Joe’s brothers girlfriend, everyone had a recipe to contribute. It was such a personal gift.

IMG_1188The first thing I thought after realizing all the thought she had put into the recipe book was the many generations this little book will get to see. Because of my future MIL, we’ll be able to carry these recipes through many generations and many special holidays. I cannot wait until I have a weekend to just whip up some of Joe’s favorite childhood recipes.

Best. Christmas. Gift. EVER!

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One last thing…

Kaye Saymington, a Marketing Manager for Stickygram, contacted me about joining their January photo-a-day challenge. Here’s what she had to say:

Here are the details of how to take part;
Every day there will be a pack of StickyGrams up for grabs, we’ll reveal a daily theme on our website and Instagram, and if you stick with us for the full 31 days you’ll earn something a little special. To enter, all you need to do is look out for the daily theme and upload your photo to Instagram with the hashtag #stickygramaday1 (with the relevant number).
Pretty cool, huh? Starting January 1st, check the Stickygram website or Instagram everyday for the theme and snap away! Don’t forget to post it on Instagram with the hashtag. Get creative and have fun with it! Instagram is one of my favorite social media sites. I’m looking forward to the “something a little special” at the end of the month. I’ll be blogging about it periodically in the month of January to show you all what I’ve come up with. So won’t you join me? It’ll be fun!

Merry ChristmasIt’s been a great few days spending Christmas with our families. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well.

I spent Christmas Eve baking our traditional Spritz cookies with my mom and attending/ushering the children’s Christmas Eve services at our church. Joe and I found some time to go look at Christmas lights the other night. Sipping on some hot apple cider while looking at Christmas lights is such a perfect way to celebrate the holiday season. Christmas day was filled with family, food and blessings. We visited Joe’s family in the morning and mine in the afternoon. My mom and step-dad whipped up a delicious feast. My mom even broke out my great grandmothers china for the holiday occasion. We ended up with a white Christmas here in North Texas. It was a really great Christmas.

Since, I’m in the mood to snuggle in bed, watch t.v. and read, you all are getting a little Christmas photo dump today. I’m off to work tomorrow so I’m taking advantage of the last few hours of my Christmas break. There may be some White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life tonight. Have a great one guys!

*I just realized I took zero photos of my actual families. Oops! Major Christmas fail!

20121223_202550 20121223_205227 20121223_205947 20121223_210416 20121223_210800 20121224_152520 20121224_162925 20121225_10293620121225_150423And my absolute favorite from yesterday…

IMG_20121225_162042

zumbaHey, we’re all still alive and the world didn’t end! Woohoo! Man, that was a close one. This lady above is praising God or just instructing her Zumba class to wave yo hands in the ayirr like you just don’t cayyer.

Okay, enough of that.

This past Monday night marked my first Zumba experience. It was fun to bust a little move to relieve some unwelcome stress.

Picture a small studio with a big mirror on one wall and a big window on another.

Picture a sweaty male instructer with a patch over one eye. (essence of cool right there)

Picture said sweaty man that knows how to shake his ba-donk-a-donk…a lot.

Picture my timid expression at the start.

Picture (or really imagine) hearing extremely loud salsa and bollywood music.

Picture one male and 9 women.

Picture a whole lot of hip shaking, leg moving, arm swaying fun.

Picture me confused 3-4 times as my coordination is lacking in my feet.

Picture jumping jacks.

Picture belly dancing skirts and a lot more hip shaking.

Picture a cool down.

Picture a satisfied smile on my face.

Overall, it was a pretty great class to start off on. This guy on Monday was a lot of fun. He was very big on shaking our hips. At one point, he stopped the music and grabbed a dozen belly dancing skirts. You know the ones that have those little shiny, trinket things that aren’t bells, but when rubbed against each other they make a ton of noise? Ha! Did that make any sense? Anyway. We threw those bad boys on and kept right on shimmying.

I went with a friend and she mentioned the other instructor is much more intense so I’m definitely interested in going back for the other teacher. The best part about Zumba is you kind of forget that you’re burning calories. I tend to stick to running and opt out of cross training so I’m looking forward to taking classes with Anytime Fitness and building a better fitness base. Maybe this should be my New Years resolution. Either way, if you’re hesitant to try Zumba, just do it! Even if you aren’t the most coordinated person, you’ll end up burning some calories and just laughing it off.

Happy Friday ya’ll. I don’t go back to work until Thursday next week. I’m looking forward to having a few days off. I haven’t scheduled any blog posts, but you’ll see me around in the coming days I’m sure. If I don’t…

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I made the decision to join a gym. Since daylight savings ended, I’ve been struggling to make it to the trail for my runs. I love running as you all know, but night running is a whole other ballgame. I’m prepared for everything that comes with night running – bright clothing, head lamp, pepper spray – but running in the dark is not one of my favorite things to do. The dark gives me the willies.

My apartment complex has a gym; however it really doesn’t do me any good if my keys won’t work to get in to the little gym. After several days of attempting to workout at home and going to management about the problem without a resolution, I was fed up.

I have friends that go to Anytime Fitness. Everyone seems to rave about it. One conversation later and I was ready to become a member. During my lunch last week, I marched right into the nearest Anytime Fitness and joined for a year.

AFIvy, the Office Manager, sold me on everything the gym has to offer. As a franchise, they don’t act like a big corporate company. Each gym is owned individually. It’s opened 24/7 with access to MANY amenities.

They have indepth security measures for those that like to shred the late night treadmill oil. It’s small enough that when you walk in you feel as if you’re hanging out with family. Classes include zumba, yoga, butts and guts, and arms and abs.

AF2

They aren’t the biggest gym, but the lack of size is made up by the highest quality in technology. T.V.’s are set up on every cardio machine. The weight equipment is new and always clean. You have the option to pay for a private trainer every week. There’s tons of equipment from balls, bands and mats. Ivy told me that every year, in September, they ask members how the gym can be improved. Members can suggest new equipment and if the owners agree, it’ll show up in the gym a few weeks later. Seriously? They actually listen to the needs and wants of their members. Sweet!

Members have a private entrance. Every time you use your key, your clocked into your private account on AnytimeHealth.com. Private bathrooms allow you to change and shower after your workout. Ivy cleans those bad boys on a daily basis! The list goes on and on.

And the prices? They don’t even compare to other places. I love knowing that I don’t have to drop thousands of dollars every year to use a gym. They’re VERY reasonably priced. And this is coming from a girl who has to really think it over when buying anything over $40.

I love that the gym doesn’t make me feel intimidated. I can easily walk in and feel at ease. It’s my perfect gym style. If you’re looking for a friendly, affordable gym, please try Anytime Fitness. Just as a disclaimer, this is not a sponsored post. I’m just a happy member wanting to share my little gym find with all of you!

Have an awesome Thursday lovies!

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