Last Saturday I posted this picture on my Instagram stories…
And for the next 24 hours I had so many people DM me and ask for the recipe. I couldn’t keep this delicious recipe from you guys. I like you too much. So here is the most delicious cookie recipe you’ll ever have. Also, I’ve got to thank Craig for this recipe. This one is his baby. He has taken *inspiration from several recipes on the internet after I told him how much I loved the Oreo Chocolate Chip cookie from Sodalicious and has really perfected these. Just another reason I adore this man.
Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 C Butter
3/4 C Brown Sugar
1 C Sugar
1 TBS Vanilla
3 C Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 C Chocolate Chips
1/2 C White Chocolate Chips
15-20ish crushed Oreos
Set oven to 350 degrees
Mix butter, sugar, brown sugar, 2 eggs and vanilla until smooth
In a bowl, mix flour, salt and baking soda
Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients while it is mixing together (the dough should end up being very thick)
Stir in chopped Oreos, chocolate chips and white chocolate chips
Roll dough into balls and place on lined baking sheet
Cook 9-12 minutes
Enjoy and thank me later!
Truly, these are my new favorite cookies. If you try them, let me know! I hope you love them as much as I do. They get 10 stars and two giant thumbs up from me!
In our new house, we have a staircase that goes up to our top floor. It has been painted this pretty turquoise blue type color, and somehow within our few months living here, we have managed to really bang it up and chip a lot of the paint off. Seeing as we didn’t have the same paint to use to paint over the chips, we decided to change it up and paint it. It took us a little while of deciding how we wanted to paint it, but we ultimately settled on black and white. The hand rails, trim and larger poles (I don’t know technical names of any of this) would be black, and the middle, smaller poles would be white. You’ll get it when you see the pictures, haha. I’m not good at explaining this detail it would seem.
We started, well, Craig started, by taping it, which was no short task. With all the small details of the trim, it was a bit of a more complex situation than we originally anticipated.
Then we primed the entire area we’d be painting, and taped it so we could paint the white parts first. This was another long task!
Next, our plan was to paint all the middle, smaller poles white, but much to our surprise we learned that somehow we’d left Home Depot with two gallons of primer and one gallon of black paint, instead of gallon can primer, one gallon white and one gallon black. So, since we were still motivated to work and in our paint clothes, we just painted the large poles, and some of the top of the hand rail, the first coat of black.
After making an exchange, we finally got to paint the first coat of all the white parts! This is when we first were able to see it all coming together and we were getting really excited about this decision!
We ended with a lot of touch up work, tape removing and little fixes here and there. The trim provided many opportunities for paint to bleed and run over the opposite color. It definitely took work, but the finished product was exactly what we wanted!
*trigger warning: Mentions of suicide and murder in this post
Oooooooooookaaaaayyyyyy. Who requested this one? I just wrote it down and don’t remember who sent this request in to learn more about. Literally, I read ‘Cecil Hotel,’ and thought it was going to be some fancy hotel in New York that had a really cool history or something. Well I mean, the Cecil Hotel definitely has a history… But it by no means is a fancy hotel! Its also not in New York. Learning about this place was a whole trip. Holy cow. So strap in while I do my best to cover this crazy place.
The Cecil Hotel
The Cecil Hotel, now called, Stay on Main, is located in downtown Los Angelas, California. It opened in 1927 with the hopes of being a “polished spot,” for traveling businessmen and tourists. Two years after opening, the Great Depression struck, and some say with it, brought the Cecil Hotel its bad luck.
Now, if you were like me and didn’t know anything about this hotel, it has a long list of crimes, death and murder/murderers. In 1931, just four years after opening, the hotel saw its first tragedy when a man committed suicide in November. It didn’t take long for the hotel that was designed to be a nice, comfortable place for people to stay in, to become a place where people stayed who were down on their luck.
There were several suicides that happened inside the rooms. Several guests fell or jumped from the building. Some guests ingested poison. A teenage mother killed her newborn. A woman was found raped, stabbed and beaten and this case remains unsolved.
In the mid 80’s, Richard Ramirez, who is also known as The Night Stalker, was known to have been fond of staying at the Cecil Hotel in the height of his killing spree. Ramirez was eventually convicted of 13 counts of murder, 5 attempted murders and 11 sexual assaults. In 1991, another serial killer from Austria named, Jack Unterwager, who was eventually convicted of 9 murders, also was known to have frequented the hotel.
In 2011, the hotel was renamed Stay at Main.
What the Cecil Hotel is possibly most known for, is the suspicious death of Elisa Lam in 2013. Five days after she checked into the hotel, she was reported missing. There have been security videos released of Elisa in the elevator in the hotel acting very strangely (I watched these videos and they gave me really uneasy, freaky vibes – I’m baffled by this whole situation). Three weeks later, guests at the hotel began to complain that their water was tasting bad and that their water pressure was low. This was investigated, and Elisa’s body ended up being found floating inside of one of the water tanks that was all closed up. This was eventually ruled an accidental drowning, but its left many people – myself included – skeptical. How did she get into a water tank and close it behind her? It was also on the roof and there were supposedly alarms she would have set off going up there? Like, what happened?! Crazy. If you have some time to spare and you want to get yourself all worked up and confused, I recommend looking into this whole story.
In 2017, LA made The Cecil Motel a landmark. As of now, its currently being renovated, due to reopen in late 2021, unless the pandemic has somehow halted the progress.
Did anyone else not know about this place?! Would you go stay in this hotel after the large renovation is done? I’ll be honest. I wouldn’t. No thanks. This is a very quick version of the hotels deep, creepy history, but researching this was just fascinating. And a little unsettling. The hotel, no surprise, has been deemed as a haunted place. Ghost Adventures, a tv show where ghost hunters investigate haunted location apparently has a really neat episode at the hotel. I haven’t watched it – but I am a little intrigued.
Like I said earlier, learning about the Cecil Hotel was a wild ride! What did you think? I wonder what other hotels are out there with similar histories.
You guys. I wrote this post the other day, because I had it in my mind that today, February 22nd, was 100% National Yoga Day. Or World Yoga Day. Whatever. But this morning I woke up to just double check my facts and…turns out that day is actually June 21st. Where did I go wrong? Did I dream this date? Did I read false information? What happened? I don’t know. I’m kind of embarrassed. But here’s the thing. I already have this post all written up. I also dug out this old picture of me in a yoga photoshoot. So I can’t let all the work go to waste, you know? So without further ado, enjoy this random post about yoga, on this, NOT World Yoga Day.
I love yoga so dearly. I can’t recall when my obsession with yoga began, but it was years and years ago. Before I even knew who Craig was – which makes it seem even longer ago. All I know for certain is that yoga has always been, and hopefully continues to be, my most preferred type of exercise. If you can combine exercise with mindfulness, meditation and this form of therapy? Sign. Me. Up. Its glorious.
Yoga can get a bad wrap for just saying “ohmmmmmm,” and sitting cross-legged on a mat with your eyes closed for hours. But its not that guys. I mean, if you want it to be, it can. But its so much more. It can be a heart-pumping, sweat-inducing workout. It can be ooey-gooey movement that leaves you feeling lighter both physically and emotionally. Its beautiful. It challenges you and pushes you. It forces you to channel a spot in your brain you don’t use much otherwise. It encourages you to be in the moment and give yourself this time just for yourself.
Its special to me. Its given me so much sanity and peace. Its mended my heart time and time again. Its taken weight off of my shoulders. Its re-centered and re-focused me. Its made me excited to move and exercise. Its made me eager to take care of myself – both mentally and physically.
If you have not tried yoga before, I sure hope you’ll give it a try. Its life changing.
So tell me something. Is it weird that I’m 30 years old, and just now feeling like I’m finding myself? I mean, I don’t feel like I’ve been lost for the past 29 years, but I just feel like I’ve found my groove. I feel good. I’ve been making changes in my life that I’m passionate about and feel really great about. I’ve uncovered a new side of myself that I’m delighted to finally know and am so eager to continue on this journey with the ‘new’ me. I just feel…right. Things are lining up and I’m at peace with how my puzzle pieces have been falling into place.
I am 8 months postpartum. Obviously this still comes with its own slew of problems. I’m still battling anxiety more frequently than I like to admit. I’m still figuring out how to be the best version of myself as a mom to three little ones. I still have hormones that throw me out of whack and make me act ways I’m not always proud of. I also have post-baby hair growth happening and look a little bit like a baby duck. But you know what? Its ok. This is part of my journey. 8 months postpartum with my third child – thats a chapter in my story that I’m blessed and pleased to be living out.
I’m a month into my new healthy-living endeavor. Um. Am I vain if I say I’m killing it? For a whole month – and three days – I have stuck to healthier food choices and daily movement. I’ve stuck to listening to my body and fueling it with things that I know will help it be a better cared for, more respected body. I’ve also found some of the body-love I lost after I had my third baby. Its not all there, but hints of that same body confidence I once had are showing up more and more frequently. I’m motivated. I’m feeling capable. I believe in myself. I’m seeing and feeling physical, mental and emotional shifts in my body and mind and I’m exploding with gratitude for this whole journey. I’m so glad I finally got the guts to start it and stick with it.
I have big ideas. I knew 2021 would be the year I stop dreaming and start doing. I don’t want to give things away yet, but I have been stewing over a plan for years and years. I’m not sure why I never really started reaching for it until now. But I’m in the beginning phases of this new chapter and I’m thrilled. I’m equally as thrilled to tell you guys about it, but that has to wait until I have some experience, knowledge and stories under my belt 🙂 I’m also so dang grateful for Craig, who is without a doubt the greatest support person in the entire world. How on earth did I get lucky enough to marry the best guy? He’s been urging me to chase this dream ever since I told him about it when we hadn’t been married that long. Nearly 9 years later, and he’s still my number one cheerleader.
Life is not perfect. A lot is still messy and crazy and I still mess up like, always. But life is also really good. There is beauty in the journey, no matter how crazy. I can truthfully tell you that right now? I’m in a good, good place. I’m blessed, humbled and super duper thankful.
Maybe its because I grew up in Utah, where we’re known for our good snow. Maybe its because my birthday is in December, and I’ve always linked snow to great, exciting things, like my birthday celebration and Christmas. Maybe its because snow feels so peaceful to me, it always has. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but snow is good for my soul.
The last few days we have been getting near-constant snow. To be able to look outside and see the glorious, white and sparkly magic sticking to the grass and making me squint because of its beautiful brightness is such a wonderful form of therapy for me. Its special and calming. I feel good when there is snow outside.
Confession. I’ve had a genuinely hard time really loving and respecting my body since having Flora almost eight months ago. I gained the most weight with a pregnancy with her, and in the first few months of navigating how to be a mom of three, I neglected myself big time. I fed my kids nutritious food, but I ate what was fast and easy to eat in between chasing kids and nursing the baby. Exercise was basically out of the question, because my mom guilt causes me to believe (especially those first few months postpartum) that when I take time out of the day for me, I’m neglecting my children. Then one day I woke up and took a shower and got a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I undressed, and for the first time in a long, long time, I looked my body over and thought, “I hate it.” I haven’t had those thoughts since shortly after high school, and being in that mindset again was scary and, because I know myself and how I react to this kind of thing, it also felt dangerous. I just knew, looking at myself in the mirror, undressed and unable to hide anything, I didn’t like what I saw at all. It made me sad. Ironically, the couple stretch marks I gained at the end of my third pregnancy truly don’t bother me. It was everything else.
So I made a decision. I could sit and wallow in this self-pity, or I could do something about it to gain back my confidence. I immediately decided I wasn’t going to start this journey with the goal of losing x amount of weight, or anything like that. I wanted to feel strong. I wanted to feel healthy. I wanted to feel pride in my bodies abilities and intake – no matter what shape it took. I also wanted to remind myself every step of the way that my body is awesome – even the one I said I hated when I looked in the mirror.
I’m about a month into really being in this. I haven’t seen many physical changes, but I will say, I feel stronger. I feel more confident. I like myself more. I believe in myself and my capabilities more. I feel more pride in my body.
I’m watching what I eat. Or more accurately, I’m being mindful of what I eat. I know that I’m the type of person, that if I said that sugar and carbs were a hard no-no, I’d immediately crave them more and then splurge every so often and eat sooooo much of this ‘no-no’ food. So instead of saying that those foods are strictly off limits, I’m just more mindful of portion sizes. I strive to make sure I’m eating a lot more fresh fruits and vegetables. Basically all the stuff you learn in grade school about healthy eating? I’m incorporating that back into my diet. Something I’ve also realized in this journey is that I’m very much a boredom eater. Nothing to do? Go grab a snack. But I’m being better at listening to my body. When I feel the urge to go grab something from the cupboard, I sit for a second and listen to my body. Am I hungry or am I bored? Its amazing how often I’m just bored, and not actually hungry. I’m drinking more water and drinking less Diet Coke (ugh). I’m moving my body in a way I choose and enjoy every single day. I don’t set a time limit or goal, I just do what I know will make me happy and fulfilled that day. I’m respecting my cravings and am pretty shocked to find that I crave nutritious food really frequently! I’m just trying so hard to be healthier. My body, my mind, my self-esteem, myself…I deserve this good.
My Tips & Tricks for Adapting this Lifestyle
Wake up and put on exercise clothes. For me, I’m a lot more motivated to exercise when I’m in the clothes. So I’ve made it a habit to wake up and immediately dress myself in clothes I can exercise in. Lately, I do a workout in my home in the morning.
Think of exercise as Me-Time. 3-4 times a week after Craig gets home from work, I get back into exercise clothes and head to the gym. I’ve started to view it as time for just me to unwind and do something I know is good for myself. Its been a game changer for me.
If you’re able to, get a gym pass and hold yourself to going as often as you can.
If you’re able to, find fitness classes to attend! I love my weekly yoga class. I also occasionally take a cycling class I really like, and have several more I can’t wait to try out. Classes make exercising a little more fun in my opinion.
Find a workout buddy (if thats motivating to you).
Save something you love for your workout. For me, this means promising not to listen to a favorite podcast or playlist until I’m moving. This has honestly been one of my greatest motivators to get to the gym! I know when I go to the gym I finally get to listen to whatever it is I’ve been dying to listen to.
Try new foods and recipes that are on the healthier side. I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting and figuring out what I like and don’t like.
Eat until you’re full. Listen to your body.
Substitute sweet snacks with sweet fruit!
Drink water from a tumbler with a straw. For some reason I can pound water down when its easily accessible like this. It makes me sound lazy, but when I have to tilt a drink back or unscrew a lid, I just don’t choose to do it as much.
Don’t skip out on breakfast. Why does eating a healthy, filling breakfast just fuel me with motivation for the rest of the day? I don’t know. But its working for me.
Track calories IF you know it won’t make you turn crazy and too obsessed with calorie counting. If its going to start make you deprive yourself of whatever food – maybe opt out for now. I have enjoyed logging foods and seeing their calories, not because I want to only eat so many calories a day, but because its helped me figure out which foods are more calorie-dense than others. Its been eye opening and educational. But somedays, if I know I really want that cookie from Sodalicious thats definitely more calories than I ‘should’ eat, I let myself indulge if I feel so inclined.
Don’t focus so much on the number on the scale, but the way you feel.
Give yourself so much grace and be patient with yourself. Change doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve had to remind myself of that so, so many times. Just keep pushing. Believe you can and don’t give up! And when you slip up, remember it isn’t the end of the world. Say oh well, and try again!
I’ve really enjoyed this mental shift I’ve had. I’m finding joy in daily movement and foods that are better for me. I’m learning more about my body and what it takes to fuel it. I’m finding more self-appreciation and happiness in my body and its shape and capabilities. I’m gaining back that body-love I lost.
I’m so excited for this new month. A new month with new goals and new motivation. I’ve already set myself some physical health, mental health, spiritual and mom-life goals that I’m eager to get to work on. I don’t know where I got this burst of motivation but I’m rolling with it and am excited to see where it takes me.
I hope your February is fantastic and happy. Lets crush our goals together!! Lets not be afraid to be ourselves and reach for our goals, no matter how silly they may seem to some.
Last night I attended my weekly yoga class. I’ve been trying really hard lately to get back in the habit of daily exercise and pushing myself. I’ve been trying to gain more body confidence too, which I unfortunately lost a lot of after having my third child. I feel like my last couple weeks, I’ve been living in the future. All I can think about is what my life might look like a few months from now if I continue to hold myself accountable and eat healthy and exercise. I get so caught up in what size clothing I might be wearing come June (a year from my last baby). I’ve just been so…non-present.
Then in this yoga class, as the practice began, the lovely instructor said, “while you’re on this mat, I encourage you to only be on the mat. Keep your mind exactly where your body is and live in the present, if only for this hour.” Man, that struck me. I decided to really commit to this challenge. I set up my little mantra for my practice, and it was to be present, because heavens knows I needed to be because truthfully I couldn’t remember the last time I really had been.
So, for that hour, I was present. It took effort, but I tried as best as I could to make sure I only thought about myself, my body, my movement, my stretches and so on. I would’t allow my mind to wander to tomorrow or what was going on at home. I forced myself to think about what my body was doing and how it was feeling. I explored what I was capable of and willed myself to be a little braver and push a little deeper. It turned out to be the the most motivational and inspiring hour. It sounds silly, but at one point I found myself feeling really emotional about it all. It felt so refreshing to just give my mind a mental break and felt equally as refreshing to just focus on myself in the very moment I existed in. It was nothing short of beautiful.
I came away from that practice feeling motivated. I feel inspired to take more time to be still and be present. I may not be able to dedicate an hour every day to it, but I know I can dedicated a period of time every day to it at least. Because you know what? I deserve that. My mind deserves it. My body deserves it. My spirit deserves it.
I now want to issue the same challenge to you guys. Please, take time soon to be present. Mediate. Do yoga. Sit in your bathtub. Lay on your floor. Whatever. But grace yourself with the gift of being absolutely present. Is it nuts if I say its kind of life changing?! Do it. Then tell me about what an amazing experience it was. Lets bond over the beauty of presence.
Have you heard the news?! Jungle Cruise, in both Disneyland and Disney World is getting some major updates!
K. Not gonna lie, when I first heard this, I was gutted, but only for a moment. Jungle Cruise is one of my very favorites, so knowing change was happening scared me. Then I read more about it and now? Now I am ok. This will be cool.
Maybe, like me, you immediately thought that maybe they were changing the ride to tie into the movie, Jungle Cruise, (staring Emily Blunt and The Rock), but from what I can tell, that is not the case.
So lets dive in to what we do know.
Jungle Cruise is getting a whole new story added in. The backstory is that four people, a skipper, an entomologist, a bird watcher and a wildlife painter go off on an adventure into the jungle on a jungle cruise. News comes back to those at the dock that their boat may have sunk, so we as riders are sent off to investigate and find out what happened. Doesn’t that sound so fun? Reportedly, more information will come out later (I mean, obviously), but that being the main knowledge we have so far makes me really excited.
It is said that the comedy will be enhanced. Its also said that they way the natives are depicted will be done away with, as to make the ride more modern and better reflect the diverse world we all live in.
Imagineer (& former Skipper), Kevin Lively, said, “As part of this story update, we’ll get to follow a skipper and his passengers as their journey goes awry. Thats right, for the first time ever, the skipper role will not only be that of a live, experienced and witty guide, but also represented by a show figure within the attraction itself. In fact, the expedition will be up a tree (literally!) after their sunken boat splits apart and chimps board the wreckage, with monkey business ensuing.
But thats not even half of the hull story. Fans of the Jungle Cruise attraction may recall some boats that used to make their way around the river but haven’t been seen for a while – specifically the Mekong Maiden and the Kwango Kate. Ever wonder what happened to them? Well, you might go ape when you find out! Ultimately, the jungle gets the last laugh.”
Uh. How fun does that sound?! I cannot wait. I for one, will be waiting anxiously for concept art and new details into the changes happening. One thing I know for sure? Disney knows what they’re doing and they do not disappoint.