Life is just a bowl of cherries.

Well, I definitely was in the minority yesterday with my wish for school today.  Unsurprisingly my wish didn’t come true – most of the school districts in the DMV (DC/Maryland/Virginia) area, as well as the federal government, are closed today.  Oh well, as much as I wish that we were in school, I’m quite comfortable in my pajamas and enjoying the scenery!

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The snow stared falling around 6 a.m. and we’re supposed to get 3-6 inches, more than we’ve seen in the past 2 years!  Although it’s not tons of snow, it’s coming down quickly and it’s during one of the least opportune times…  Morning rush hour.  If you’re familiar with the DMV area you know that traffic is treacherous and there are lots of bad drivers.  I’m not kidding when I say that driving on a sunny day is just as risky as driving on a snowy day – people are blinded by the light.

Today’s agenda most likely will be similar to yesterday’s: eating, cleaning, pinning, baking, a workout, napping, and enjoying the beautiful scenery.  Ryan went to work because he has surgery tomorrow morning and won’t be able to work the rest of the week.

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A couple of weeks ago I was asked to complete this HLB (healthy living blog) survey.  I’m not sure if/when they plan to share my responses, but I thought it would be fun to share them here too for new readers – hey elf buddies :)

1. What’s your name, blog name, and how did you create your blog title?

Name :: Allison

Blog Name :: Life’s a Bowl

Blog Title Meaning :: I’ve always loved reading quotes and think that they’re a great source of inspiration and motivation.  When I was younger I have a vague memory of someone telling me that “Life is just a bowl of cherries.”  I don’t remember who said it, but my best guess is that it was a bartender or waiter.  As a child I had a tendency to drink a lot, a lot of Shirley Temples with extra cherries, so I frequently made friends with the waitstaff at restaurants and social events.

The quote stuck with me but it wasn’t until college when I looked up the meaning – an expression used to say that life is pleasant and carefree.

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2. What’s one goal you’re working towards right now (career, personal, health)?

Physical :: This past spring I ran my first half marathon and then 2 more.  It’s hard to put my emotions and thoughts into words, but the whole experience – the training, the race, the support – was so exhilarating!  After the third half I decided to take a couple of months off from running and focus on strength training.  The change in routine has been good but I’m very eager to sign up for spring races!

Personal :: Switching careers definitely has it’s perks and pitfalls.  I’m thankful to have the opportunity to do both, event planning and teaching, but the inconsistent schedule is like a roller coaster…  Some days my to-do list is a mile long, other days it’s blank.  Fingers crossed that my schedule gets more consistent in the near future.

3. What daily health to-do is easiest for you to complete?  Which is the one you struggle with every single day?

Easiest to Complete :: A workout – it’s the one time of day where I can completely check out and let my mind wander.

Hardest to Complete ::  Drinking enough water – unless I have a water bottle sitting in front of my face I probably will forget to hydrate.

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4. Spread some blog love – which HLB do you read every single post from?

I read about 10 blogs on a daily basis, plus many more if I have the time.  Downloading the Feedly app to my phone has been a blessing and a curse – I like having the ability to read blogs whenever I’m waiting at an appointment or while I’m riding the bike at the gym, but it’s difficult to leave comments.  I wish I could figure out how to save my contact information (name, email address, blog URL) so I didn’t have to re-enter it every time.

5. How would you describe your blogging style?

I never know how to answer this question because I talk about a handful of things – food, fitness, family and friends, health updates, and a whole bunch of other random things.  One thing that stays consistent is my honesty.  I wear my heart on my sleeve so I’m very easy to read.

6. What is your tagline and why?

“Taking a bite out of life one day at a time…”  I’ve recently noticed that a handful of bloggers use this tagline, oh well.  I bet if you asked all of us that use it what it means we’d all have different answers.

I always try to squeeze as much as possible into my schedule and don’t like to rest until everything has been completed…  But I’ve gotten better thanks to Ryan.  I’ll never forget the first time that we met with our priest – she knew me since I was an infant (I was in the same play group as her son), but she was meeting Ryan for the first time.  She asked us how we’d describe our relationship and without hesitation Ryan blurted out “She speeds me up and I slow her down.”  He couldn’t have been more correct!  Over the years Ryan has helped me to realize that I don’t have to do things to feel accomplished, an accomplishment is any form of success.

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7. What is something you’ve learned recently that you found interesting?

The interview with Amazon.com’s CEO Jeff Bezos on “60 Minutes.”  He announced that we could see delivery drones by 2015 – that’s crazy, I can’t even imagine it!  Although, I did think that we’d be living like the Jetsons or Zenon by now when I was younger…

8. What are some of your favorite blogging tools?

PicMonkey is my favorite online photo editor and Rhonna Designs is my favorite photo editing app.  Instagram and Pinterest are my favorite social media platforms.  I write my blog posts in WordPress, but I’d love to find an alternative.

9. What is your healthy eating philosophy?

Everything in moderation.

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10. What is something about you that would shock us?

A lot of people know that I’m tall but when they meet me for the first time they’re surprised just how tall I am, I’m 5’11″.  In elementary school our PE teacher called my best friend and me “The Twin Towers,” ha!

Question:  How did you create your blog title?

Question:  What’s something about yourself that would shock someone you met for the first time?

— Allison

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Pumpkin Raisin Muffins

Wanna know something sweet…  Life’s a Bowl is going to be self-hosted!

It’s about time.  It’s only taken me weeks to make up my mind and there’s no turning back now.  I’m not entirely sure what the big differences are BUT I do know that Life’s a Bowl is going to be better than ever!  Hope y’all are looking forward to this virtual facelift as much as I am :)

Wanna know what else is sweet

During the fall [more than any other time of the year], I crave three flavors: apple, cinnamon, and pumpkin.  Thankfully, it seems a lot of other people do too because apple and pumpkin recipes of all kinds are e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. :)

Pumpkin Raisin Muffins

1 ½ cup white whole wheat flour

¾ cup stevia

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 15-ounce can pumpkin

½ cup egg whites

2 teaspoons maple syrup

3 mini packs of raisins

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1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Line the muffin tin with paper cups or spray with non-stick spray and dust with flour to prevent sticking.

3.  In a large bowl or a stand mixer, combine all the dry ingredients [*except the raisins*]: flour, stevia, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix until combined.

4.  In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients: pumpkin, egg whites, and maple syrup.  Mix until combined.

5.  Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until everything is well combined.

6.  Gently fold in the raisins.

7.  Evenly spoon the muffin mix among the cups, 12 regular sized muffins or 24 smaller muffins.

8.  Bake the muffins for approximately 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted into the center and comes out clean.

9.  Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Ryan and I tested the muffins hot out of the oven and thought they were good but they did not have as strong of a pumpkiny flavor as we had hoped for…  Next time I plan to add more pumpkin and a teaspoon of pumpkin pie seasoning.

And wanna know the sweetest treat of all…  Enjoying a pumpkin raisin muffin with chocolate Cho pudding!

Chocolate Cho Pudding

plain Chobani

cocoa powder

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splash of Silk Light Vanilla soymilk

XOXO,

Allison

Question:  Apple, cinnamon, or pumpkin- what’s your favorite fall flavor?  All of the above!

Question:  What’s your favorite muffin?  Blueberry?  Bran?  Chocolate?  Lemon poppy seed?  Orange cranberry?  Pumpkin?  I love the hearty texture of bran muffins and the addition of fruit such as blueberries or raisins- a blueberry bran muffin sound delicious!

— Life's a Bowl

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My First Marvelous in My Monday

I’ve seen this badge around the blog world for a few months but had no clue where it started…

That is until I clicked on it [duh] and got linked back to Healthy Diva Eats!  I started following Katie on Instagram a few weeks ago and I am slightly envious of her cool style, tasty eats, and sweet treats!

[click here to read more about Marvelous in my Monday]

Now only my first Marvelous Monday post…

Columbus Day…  I’m thankful to have a 3-day weekend!  Saturday and Sunday I spent time with friends exploring DC [yay, pickles] and getting pampered at the nail salon [Pinterest inspired].  Today I plan to finish all the to-do’s that didn’t get done-  baking, cooking, cleaning, switching from one white iPhone to another [aka my birthday present has arrived!], and sneaking in a sweat session.

Pancakes…  I cannot stop making pancakes for breakfast- they’re fluffy, full of flavor, and keep my tummy satisfied until lunch.  What’s not to love?!  This morning I tested a new recipe and it turned out pretty tasty!  P.S.  They’re not burnt, they’re brown because they’re whole wheat and they’re loaded with cinnamon!

Charlie…  He has not stopped hiding his bone.  His favorite secret spots include: behind the couch pillows, in my gym bag, behind the dresser, under any table, and behind the curtains.  He’s so silly- he’ll run off and hide the bone for .2 seconds and then runs back to get it.  Separation anxiety is in full-force!

Blog…  I am *hoping* to make a few big decisions about the blog this week.  I’ve been in debating it for the past few weeks and need to decide.  To self-host or not to self-host?  That is the BIG question!

Instagram…  I know some people think it’s silly but I think it’s awesome- a fun way to edit and share photos with family, friends, and some strangers!  I relate it to Pinterest, except it’s a personal pin board full of silly, stylish, tasty, and memorable pictures from your daily happenings :)   P.S.  Feel free to follow me: lifesabowl.

…such as when the gym is offering free car washes when you sign-up for a new membership!

…or you try beets for the first time and eat a rainbow for lunch!

…or your hubby surprises you and goes to the gym too- couples who sweat together smell together!

Baking and Cooking…  This afternoon I’m planning to spend a few hours in the kitchen.  On the menu: pumpkin pie peanut butter cups and pumpkin quiche!  I’m a bit of a pumpkin fanatic [especially in the fall] if you couldn’t tell.

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Operation Beautiful…  This month I am participating in Lindsay’s October Photo A Day Challenge.  One of the challenges last week was to leave an Operation Beautiful note- I left my note in the frozen foods aisle at Whole Foods!  Thinking that a random person would find my note was initially a bit overwhelming, “What if they think it’s silly?”  Those thoughts were quickly overpowered when I thought about finding a note myself…  We all have those kind of days when we could use a little pick-me-up!

***Feeling inspired, I have decided that every Monday I will write 5 motivational notes and post them at work, out at lunch, at the gym, wherever I am!***

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[click here to read more about Operation Beautiful]

XOXO,

Allison

Question:  If you blog, any tips for making the switch to self-hosting?!

Question:  Will you join me in my Operation Beautiful challenge?  Don’t feel obligated to do it on Monday if another day of the week works better for you…  Feel free to post a note today, sometime this week, or next Monday and link back!

— Life's a Bowl

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