My Wedding Band!!! ( & Crock Pot Spaghetti Squash)

First things first, I loved all of your tips and ideas about how to begin living a healthy lifestyle.    

If you’re looking for more advice on how to begin eating healthily or how to start up a workout routine, check out the awesome informational nuggets from people who have been there in the comments section.  You guys are some smart cookies. 🙂  

Wedding Bands = Done!  

After work today, I picked Ryan up at home and we headed to Winter Park to (yet again) scope out a potential wedding band for me. (We picked out Ryan’s band last weekend.)    

When we arrived, the jeweler had two bands, both with princess cut diamonds, waiting for me to check out.    

Option number one had nine smaller diamonds. 

Option Number One

Option number two I actually examined last weekend. It had five larger diamonds. 

Option Number Two

 After trying them on back to back, and then re-trying them on about a billion more times, it became increasingly clear that I preferred the second ring.  

I felt like the first ring looked like a ribbon of diamonds, whereas the second ring looked like five individual diamonds, almost like mini versions of the diamond on my engagement band, which I thought was beautiful.   

I had a hard time with the whole process because the second ring was more expensive and it feels kind of crazy to spend so much money on a wedding band. 

Ryan was amazing throughout the process and encouraged me to get the one I really loved because in the long run the price difference isn’t crazy and it’s something I’ll wear and treasure forever. I knew he was right, but it’s still hard to justify. Thank goodness I wasn’t with him when he bought my engagement ring! 

A Little Anxious!

 In the end we decided on the second ring and I couldn’t be more excited! I think it is gorgeous! I’m going to have a hard time waiting until October to wear it. 

Me and Mah Ring!

  Here is a picture of us sportin’ our bands. 

Our Rings!!!

 We were both feeling pretty excited! 


 The woman sized our fingers (I’m a 4.5… apparently I have baby fingers???), and we will pick up our rings once they’re resized in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait!  

Wedding band shopping made us quite hungry and we hurried home for a yummy dinner!  


Huuuuge shout out to TrailMomma for telling me that you can make spaghetti squash in the crock pot. Who knew!?!?  

According to TrailMomma,  

“If you put a spaghetti squash in the crock pot with 2 cups of water on low for 8 hours (or a tad less) or 5 hours on high you’ll come home to a cooked and ready to use squash. Keep in mind, cook less for a more “crunchier” squash as this makes it super soft . . . mix with tomato sauce, chickpeas and lots of oregano and you have one tasty meal!”  

Coincidentally enough, I purchased a spaghetti squash at the grocery store on Sunday evening. After reading her comment, I couldn’t wait to attempt to cook the squash in my beloved crock pot.   

As she suggested, I placed my spaghetti squash in the crock pot with 2 1/2 cups of water (it was a big squash!), and let it cook on low all day while I was at work.  


Cooked Squash

 I loved how easy the crock pot cooking made it to slice into the squash. Cutting into a spaghetti squash is always so hard and makes me nervous. It was nice to be able to slice into the squash withour much effort.  

Sliced and Ready

 After removing the seeds, I forked out the squash and topped it with steamed broccoli, pasta sauce and Parmesan cheese.   

Dinner is Served

Close Up

Close Up of Tastiness

 The verdict on crock pot spaghetti squash? It was really good! However, I like my “noodles” a little crunchier, so next time I will be sure to take the squash out of the crock pot after four hours or so to keep the squash from becoming too mushy.  

Mushy squash and all, I still loved this dinner!  

Of Possible Interest 

 Bachelorette Party Countdown Begins!  

Look what I had waiting for me on my front door step when I got home yesterday:  

Bachelorette Party Goodies

My wonderful friends left me a bag full of goodies and a homemade bachelorette party countdown booklet… Only SIX more days!!!  

Count Down!!!

Bachelorette Party Countdown Booklet

What to Wear

The booklet they made was beyond adorable. As shown in the above picture, it included a list of things I need to pack, organized by each day we’re there. The goodie bag included adorable bachelorette party gear, like a tank-top that says “BRIDE,” a blinking ring, a pink feather boa and more.

I have the best friends and can’t wait to enjoy a weekend of fun with them in Chicago!

Big Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I plan on tackling my first long run in three weeks! After being sidelined from a heel injury, I took some time off from my half marathon training plan to recover.My heel feels much better and I feel up to attempting to conquer a 10 mile run tomorrow! Eek!!! Cross your fingers for me. 😀

Healthy Living For Beginners

Today’s lunch was odd, but tasty.

Looks Like Puke, Tastes Delicious

Sometimes the most disgusting looking food is the tastiest!

Today’s sandwich contained a mixture of:

  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 c. salsa
  • 1/4 c. black beans

I spread this guacamole-ish mixture on whole wheat bread and enjoyed it along with sliced white pepper (yes, white pepper!!!), grape tomatoes, and a sliced carrot.

Peppa + 'Mater + Carrot


So Good

Veggie overload!

Healthy Living for Beginners

Earlier this week I received an email from a reader who recently started trying to live a healthier life. She’s waving goodbye to fast food and an inactive lifestyle, but said she feels lost when she reads about healthy foods (like quinoa) that are completely foreign to her.

It can be overwhelming to change your lifestyle from a sedentary one to an active one. Just thinking about preparing your own food when you’re accustomed to eating out can be enough to deter people from taking the initiative to eat healthy.

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to flip a switch and change dramatically over night. Your new healthy life begins today, and you can work on perfecting your healthy lifestyle forever!

My best advice to those new to the idea of working out and eating healthy is to make little changes. Enough little tweaks to an unhealthy lifestyle can completely transform you into a health-conscious eater and an active person.

About a year after I graduated from college, I made a decision to incorporate more vegetables into my diet and stop eating frozen meals that left me feeling unsatisfied. This was a small change that I can honestly say completely transformed my diet and left me feeling more energetic and satisfied.

Here are some of my tips for those looking to start living a healthier life (with some pictures thrown in to keep you intrigued 😉 ):

  • Don’t fall into the “diet” trap: Don’t go to the grocery store and stock up on “diet” foods in an effort to eat healthier. A small frozen meal like a Lean Cuisine will likely leave you feeling unsatisfied.
  • Shop the perimeter: When you go to the grocery store, shop around the perimeter, where you’ll find fresh fruits and veggies and lean meats. I only venture into the aisles for essentials like bread and peanut butter. If I went up and down every aisle I’d likely end up with a cart full of Cheez-its and Oreos.

Fresh Fruit = Instant Satisfaction

  • Make a realistic exercise goal: If you’ve never worked out before, it may be unrealistic to think you’ll get in the gym six days a week right off the bat. Make attainable exercise goals, like going to the gym every other day or taking three group exercises classes one week.

Work It Out!

  • Ask those you love for their support: Living a healthy life can be very hard if your roommate or significant other is pressuring you to hit up the drive through for dinner or order a pizza. Explain your desire to change your diet and make healthier choices to them so they can support you rather than tempt you with indulgent dishes. They may even take an interest in healthy living themselves and want to join you for a workout!

Fitness is Fun with Friends!

  • Reevaluate your plate: Growing up my dinner plate typically looked like this: 40% meat/protein, 40% starch/carbs, 20% fruits/vegetables. Try to make vegetables and fruits the largest portion on your plate. I try to make sure 50% of my plate is covered by fruits and vegetables, which leaves half of my plate to divide evenly between meat and starches.

To avoid feeling like your whole life has been turned upside down, try implementing one of these tips a week. After all, slow and steady wins the race. 😉

Question of the Afternoon

What tips do you have for living a healthier life? Do you find it easier to eat healthy or keep up a regular exercise routine?

Family Walk + Healthified Egg McMuffin

Sadie and I get all too excited when we have company on our morning walk.

Look who joined us today!

Half-Awake Ryan

A very sleepy-looking Ryan. 🙂

Ryan usually arrives at work a little after 7 a.m., but today he didn’t have to be in until 8:30 a.m., so he had time to join us on a 40 minute walk around Lake Eola.

Me and the Pup

Lake Eola is a large lake in the middle of downtown Orlando that is surrounded by a 0.9 mile walking path.

In the middle of the lake is a large fountain that, until recently, wasn’t working because lightning struck it several months ago. I’m happy it’s back on and lookin’ pretty!

Puppy Love

I loved having extra time with Ryan this morning!

We chatted about the upcoming weekend and our plans for the evening which include heading over to the jeweler to check out a potential wedding band for me! The band they have at the jeweler for me to look at has nine princess-cut diamonds on it, which is too many, but will hopefully give me an idea of the size and shape I want. I’ll be sure to post pictures later!


Post-walk we came home to make yummy breakfast sandwiches.

I made myself a modified and healthified Egg McMuffin which totally hit the spot!

Egg McMuffin: Healthified

I actually fried the egg yesterday in the pan after I was done sauteing the onions and spinach for last night’s dinner, which allowed the egg to pick up the flavor of the onions. So tasty!

Big Ol' Bite

I think I demolished this sandwich in five bites.


This is one of my favorite breakfasts because it is so easy to make, tastes savory and reminds me of childhood when my mom would make us homemade Egg McMuffins on the mornings we had a big test in high school as a special treat. (Insert “awwww” here. 😉 )

Question of the Morning

If you could create your  own work schedule, what 8-hour timeframe would you want to work?

If I could make my own schedule, I would want to work from 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. I would loooove the extra time in the evening to enjoy the afternoon, make yummy dinners and spend time more time with my friends, Ryan and Sadie.