Guys, what a year! I can hardly believe it’s over, but I can’t wait to see what next year has in store. This last month has been a crazy one for sure, filled with finals, cold weather, sporting events, holidays, baking, cleaning, cooking, and so much more! This was also the year that I started bogging, so it will forever hold a really special place in my heart. It has been one crazy adventure and I’m sure next year will be full of more friends to be made.
That’s been my favorite thing about this experience: I’ve made some really good friends through blogging. I love reading their content, because they’re not only super talented people, but they’re incredibly inspiring and insanely supportive! It’s a wonderful community here and I hope they all had a great year as well.
And, while we’re talking about favorite things, it’s that time again, where I share my favorites from the month.
Health and Fitness
//one// Cold Run Fun. Even though I’ve been vocal about not being a fan of cold weather, I did kind of enjoy the serious temperature change when I was running. Even though I’ve learned to be pretty proficient at running in some serious heat, it’s an entirely different beast to tackle running in those lower temperatures. Especially when that unbelievably cold wind is blowing right through your clothes.
This month I wrote an entire post about tips for running in the cold weather and it was a lot of fun. These are all things I’ve been doing for the entire month to keep myself out there and getting my marathon miles in (it’s happening next month, guys, I can’t believe it!) The winter is when I get some of my best times but it can also be some of when I get my worst injuries and I’ve yet to have any issues this time around, which is awesome. Seriously, it’s been a good running month.
//two// Winter Workouts. I love working out, even though I sometimes grumble, groan, and complain. But it can get stressful when it’s dark in the mornings when I’m going to work and the sun is setting when I get home from work. As someone who likes to workout outdoors, I dislike the fact that the lack of daylight hours makes it feel impossible to get anything done.
So this month I’ve been all about the winter workouts. I’ve been doing some weight training in front of the television and I’ve been walking on my lunch breaks as part of my cross training. It’s been a great way to get me moving and keep me active when the weather is too cold to go outside. I’ve also rekindled my love/hate relationship with my treadmill and have been doing some major speed work, which I’m excited to test out even more on the trails.
//three// Holiday Health. I’m so active and keep such a strict, steady diet, but when the holidays come about, I can pack on the pounds if I’m not careful. It’s all that baking I do. But I can’t stop because it’s darn fun and dang delicious!
However, since I’ve got my sights set on next month’s marathon, I’ve had to be pretty conscious about my health this holiday season. That’s what inspired my post about how to avoid weight gain during the holidays. These tips have, thankfully, helped me keep an eye on what I’m eating and making sure I have enough energy and good proteins to get me through a training cycle. And of course I wanted to share these tips and tricks with you guys and see if you had any to share as well!
Style and Beauty
//one// Eyeshadow. As someone who doesn’t wear a lot of makeup and hardly ever ventures out of her fashion comfort zone, I really wanted to make this month’s challenge one where I experimented with eyeshadow. I love watching beauty gurus on Youtube (usually when I’m knocking out some miles on the treadmill) because I love seeing people so passionate about their art and creativity, but I haven’t been very experimental with my look since high school. However, before I make this a challenge, I want to do my research and make sure I’m doing it right as far as brands and techniques, so I know that I’m giving it the best effort I can.
//one// Year End Recap. One of my absolute favorite posts to write this year was my year end favorites, because it was such an amazing trip down memory lane. It was not only a great practice in reflection, but it was also really relaxing and thrilling to look back at all the things I was lucky enough to experience this year. It was a beautiful writing experience and I really do feel so blessed to have had so many wonderful adventures this year.
//two// Cold Weather Hikes. Cold weather can’t keep me inside! It just inspires me to bundle up and look super cute and comfy when I head out to brave the frigid temperatures. And even though I don’t necessarily love seeing all the dead leaves or watching the gray twigs of trees reach up and scratch the skies with their wicked fingers, I do enjoy being outdoors. The squirrels have their winter fluff and the birds have their chill facing fluff and I’ve actually enjoyed my time taking cold weather hikes.
Plus, it helps that I like having an excuse to put on my soft, comfy, hats, gloves, scarfs, and coats. Hiking is just that much more awesome whenever I feel like i’m looking super cute.
//one// Fantastic Fudge. You had to know that someone with such a sincere sweet tooth would have a heyday with the holiday season, because it’s literally the perfect excuse for baking and making some sweet treats! This month I shared a recipe for some really simple, basic fudge that is creamy and absolutely beautiful. I’ve been eating fudge for the entire month and have yet to get tired of it!
This is one of my favorite, chocolate fudge recipes. There are so many different things you can do to fudge. Different add-ins and flavors. But I love going back to the basics and this recipe does just that. It’s quick and simple but so yummy.
//two// Caramel Chex Mix. Since December can be a stressful month with the pressure of the holidays, I wanted to share another quick, tasty recipe for a sweet treat and decided to share this recipe for caramel Chex mix. It takes only minutes, it makes a huge batch, and it’ just a really pretty little snack. This is one of those little treats you whip up a huge batch of when you’re going to have some guests and it’s a nice treat to have while indulging in a conversation. I love the speed and simplicity of this one and hopefully you do too. Plus, the taste isn’t overpoweringly sweet, which you taste buds might be getting tired of by the end of candy season.
//one// Netflix Binging. Since it has been so cold, I’ve been indoors a lot, under my blankets, wearing fuzzy socks and drinking hot chocolate. So, naturally, since I have less daylight to be outside, I’ve been catching up on all the shows I love, old and new. This month I shared a list of some of my favorite shows from both Netflix and Hulu. These are the things I’ve had playing all month and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them.
A lot of the shows are some old favorites, like The Office and That ’70’s Show, but I do have some newer additions. Also, a lot of them are comedies, but I do enjoy having a good laugh.
//two// Quarantine. When I first picked up this dystopian young adult novel by Lex Thomas back in the summertime, I was looking for a book that I thought might interest some of my male students, since they can be the hardest ones to inspire to read. But, I’ll be honest, I was fully expecting yet another sub-par young adult dystopian novel.
Luckily, I was insanely pleased with this read. Sure, there were some moments when I felt the book could have done more or been a bit better, but overall, I really enjoyed this read. It was quick and I thought it was fairly unique. It’s about a group of kids who get infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. To survive, they form gangs that are not above violence and downright animalistic behavior to survive.
This book was packed with action and different than a lot of the things that I’ve read before. And despite the premise sounding cheesy to me, it was actually pretty well developed. I seriously enjoyed this one and my kids have been collecting their names on a waiting list to check this one out of my library.
//three// Gift Giving. Of course, it was the holidays, so I also had a lot of fun coming up with the perfect gifts to give all kinds of people. That’s why I was inspired to write these posts about giving gifts on a budget and giving non-book gifts to book lovers. It was a lot of fun to write, but even more fun to see the joy on people’s faces when they got something I knew they would love.
These have been some of my favorite things for the month of December. It’s been a pretty interesting year filled with ups and downs, but I’m so pleased with all my accomplishments and I’m very much looking forward to another great one coming up. What were some of your favorite things this month? Leave a comment down below and let me know. Also be sure to follow my blog for more favorites.
Until our next adventure, stay curious.