Lower Body Burn Workout

Hey all, I have some good news! I was able to give my resignation at work! And the best thing is that they are super supportive and happy for me, however a little bit sad. I was the first full time dietitian in their clinic and they really enjoyed having me around. This was a great job in my opinion, perfect for my first role as a RD, I couldn’t have found anything better.

I’m coming at you today with a lower body burn workout. Last week I did 5 days at the gym, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but trust me, it had been a while since I did 5. I feel sore still today but proud of myself. One of the reasons that I am a little sore is because of this leg workout that I made and performed on Sunday. I paired this is 30 minutes of steady cardio on the elliptical and my favorite ab workout right after it. I think I will repeat this in the future, it was so simple, required minimal equipment, and is easy to remember. I hope you enjoy!

Lower Body Burn 2

  • Weighted squat with a dumbbell:

Image result for how to do weighted squat with dumbbell

  • Bulgarian Split lunge:

Image result for how to do a bulgarian split lunge

  • Curtsy lunge:

Image result for how to do a curtsy lunge


  • Bent leg donkey kicks:Image result for how to do kneeling bent leg lifts
  • Straight leg donkey kicks:

Image result for how to do kneeling bent leg lifts

  • Fire hydrants:

Image result for how to do a fire hydrant

Family, Uncategorized

My faith and me

Hello there friends! I am happy to say that I survived bachelorette weekend #2! During several conversations with my mom, my sister, and my friends, I am coming to see this time by myself as an experience that is good for me and I am hoping that I will learn a bit more about myself. That is what my mom says at least – I think that maybe the most important thing that I will learn to do is fall asleep by myselfSmile

But more seriously, I know that God is using this time for good, whatever that may be. While I may not know yet  what that good may be– I know it exists…just like I know that he will always take care of me and my family. I move ahead with a blind faith that God is in control and to over-anticipate His plans is time-consuming and fruitless.

First, a couple of weekend highlights:

  • Friday night girls night with some great gals and Tikki drinks that took us to a tropical paradise even though it was around 20 degrees outside:

Hawaiian style old fashioned

  • Saturday packing in the morning (I loooooove to pack!) and a 5 mile treadmill run in the afternoon. I also had a bonus skype date with my hubby.

5 miles

  • Saturday Night: Using my gift-card to Whole Foods for dinner from their hot bar and dessert afterwards. I did a blog post about why I don’t shop at Whole Foods. This was the first time I have been in one of their stores. It was beautiful and I appreciated some of their delicacy items. However my mind remains unchanged. I could probably walk out of their blowing up my grocery budget for the week, even if I went for just a few items.

saturday dinner

  • Saturday night movie night with kit kat. We watched Age of Adeline. I know this has been out a while but it was never something that Zach volunteered to watch with me so it was the perfect sappy love story to watch when you are missing a loved one.
  • Sunday morning meal planning, gym, grocery store.
  • Afternoon errands, baking, and meal prep. I made a couple of types of lemon chia seed muffins. One was a gluten-free variety with a lemon glaze. They were dense but the glaze made them pretty good. Find the recipes here: Flour-less Lemon Chia Muffins and here: Healthy Lemon Chia Muffins. I also made a couple of types of quiche, both crust-less, but one with torn up bread pieces on the bottom. I didn’t use a recipe because quiches are a normal dish in this household. I usually sauté some vegetables, whip up 4 eggs with some milk and spices, and pour this on top of the cooked vegetables and 1 hearty cup of cheese. I bake them for 45 minutes at 375.

gluten free lemon muffinslemon chia seed muffins

chopped vegetables


I am a Christian, which you may have been able to tell from the topic of this blog post. I feel that it is important to say out loud on this blog because I want to incorporate this part of who I am into every part of my life. While I may be Christian, that doesn’t mean I am the best one – not even close in fact, and I know that I will always have room to grow, learn, and change to be a better person in this area of my life.

Something that I have been working on for quite some time is being intentional with this area of my life. I can definitely say that I have allowed myself to get swept up with the busyness, striving, and struggle of the world and I have often put intentionality with God at the bottom of the To-Do list. What have I allowed to get in the way? Let me share with you my list of excuses:

  1. My relationship with my family and friends
  2. My high school and then my college “work-load”
  3. Wedding planning
  4. Moving
  5. Exercising
  6. Housework
  7. Moving again
  8. Studying to become a RD
  9. Media (watching TV, Facebook, Instagram, ……and now blogging) And more..

There have been several times in the past 8 years (I was 16 when I accepted God into my heart) when I have said, enough with it, I need to make time. And there have been several times when I have not been cautious enough and once again have found myself in the same place again, hanging my head and asking God to forgive me for putting literally everything else ahead of Him.

I am very lucky to have a wonderful mom who is a great role model to me in this area of my life. While she may not know this, she is one of the reasons that I continue to fight for an intentional life with God. She prays for me, she encourages me to always seek Him in my life and make time for him, and she also shares with me what she is working on in her relationship with God. I love that I can always count on her prayers when I ask for them, and even when I do not Smile

So where does that leave us at the end of this post? I don’t quite know, but I do want to encourage any of you, wherever you may be in your relationship with God to fight for that relationship. Personally, I think that it is time that I try being intentional in a different way than I ever have before. When I try to be intentional with other things in my life I usually succeed or improve by writing that activity into my week. I plan my meals and my exercise. I think that I also need to plan quiet time with God into my week. If I need to chillax on some of the things that I think are important to be a “good dietitian,” like cooking, exercising, and blogging, then so be it. There are many things in my life that are more important than my career and God is one of them.

Question of the day: What do you do to intentionally make time for your relationship with God?


RD Advice

Meals for One: Week 1

Happy Friday!

I am a bit bummed that March hasn’t unrealistically warmed up to 70 degrees yet, but this morning’s walk to the bus stop was exceptionally beautiful.


Every Friday is Bagel Friday at work, it’s absolutely amazing! My manager goes to either Brueggers (Pittsburgh Bagel Shop) or Panera and buys 30 some bagels and flavored cream cheeses. We all get to work a little bit earlier (or at the same time I guess) and toast our bagels and eat and chat in the break room. If and when I become a manager, I will employ this strategy as it is very good for employee morale and gives us something to look forward to for the week.

I didn’t post yesterdaySad smile My apologies about that, I am finding that there is quite a bit of stuff for me to do after I get home from the gym. It won’t be long before I have to have the house completely packed up and cleaned out so I took off some blog writing time to really get packing. I made great progress but ran out of boxes….guess its back to the wine store for me!!

empty closet
My closet is looking cleaned out!


nice kitty
Kitty on my bed this morning. I wanted to stay home with her on this snowy day!

I have a new favorite Netflix show, The Great British Baking Show. It is very interesting, they make baked goods that I have never heard of before, have baking skills that I will never obtain, and I love all of the British and Scottish accents. That show and the kitty keeps me company, I can’t believe a week has almost gone by since Zach left. Here’s to the next 4sih!!


The topic for this post is Meals for One. Last Sunday I went to Aldi and for the first time I had to try to limit my purchases to enough for just one person. Did I come with a shopping and meal list?… of course! This week I had planned on the following meals:

chicken soup
Chicken vegetable soup!

-Morning Glory Muffins (double batch so I could freeze one for myself and keep them frozen for quick snacks). You seriously need to make these!

-Chicken Vegetable Soup

-Chicken with roasted vegetables

-Kale Salad

-Other: meaning I wanted to pick up some foods to try to make my own recipes with this week.

How did I do with my spending? Pretty swell, but probably could have done a bit better. I spent $35 this week on groceries. Zach typically eats 1.5x as much as I do so I should be able to spend around 25-30 dollars per week just for me. I also have to take into consideration the supplies that I had to buy for the muffins. Overall though, I think I did well.

On Sunday I roasted vegetables and chicken that I quickly marinated in Greek Salad dressing. These roasted vegetables and chicken have been lifesavers for quick meals! At the store I picked up some whole wheat 100 calorie wraps, Greek yogurt, avocados, and on-sale fruits and vegetables. A couple nights ago I had a panic moment when I thought that I had bought too much produce and that it would suddenly all be bad at the same time. I recovered from this when I remembered that I have a freezer and that I could easily freeze my left-over chicken soup so that I could focus on using up my fresh items (bagged greens, asparagus, bananas, berries, etc) before they get smelly and mushy.

Monday breakfast: Morning Glory Muffin with Plain Greek yogurt, berries, flax seed, and a few chocolate chips

Monday lunch: La Palapa left-overs. I only ate half of my meal on Sunday night (although I could have eaten the entire thing and been stuffed for the next two days!)

Monday dinner: Roasted vegetable whole wheat wrap with avocado and balsamic dressing. Salad on the side with mixed greens, mushrooms, and more avocado.

Tuesday breakfast: Muffin with yogurt and similar toppings

Tuesday lunch: Dinner left-overs. A Roasted veggie wrap plus fruit and yogurt.

Tuesday dinner: Dinner with friends.

Wednesday breakfast: Avocado, banana, greek yogurt, almond milk, and kale smoothie

Wednesday lunch: Roasted veggie wrap…see a pattern here?

Wednesday dinner: Chicken vegetable soup. Delicious! I sautéed 3 carrots, 3 stalks of celery, and one onion in olive oil with salt, pepper, and dried basil. I then added 3.5 cups of low-sodium broth and 1 lb. shredded roasted chicken. I cooked this for about 15 minutes, then added more seasonings and 1 cup of white wine. The wine made it have a really rich taste. (See above) It was delicious!

Thursday breakfast: Cereal day! Raisin bran, banana, peanut butter.

Thursday lunch: Chicken vegetable soup.

Thursday dinner: Roasted vegetable and chicken wrap with massaged kale salad (recipe for this to come later!)

Friday breakfast: Bagel Friday!!!

Friday lunch: You guessed it! Roasted vegetable wrap with chicken and left-over massaged kale salad. Although I am pretty over this wrap by now, good thing its Friday!

kale and wrap
Roasted vegetable wrap with massaged kale salad


As you can see my meals have been pretty repetitive. This is for a couple of reasons.

  1. I am not used to making smaller dishes. Therefore I end up with a plethora of left-overs and I refuse to throw out perfectly good food!
  2. I seriously doubt I would have the motivation to cook a new meal more than 3x a week. Without an audience to ooohh and ahhh over my meals, besides eating healthy, I have very little reason to vary what I am eating.

My Advice for Cooking Meals for One

  1. Pick a day on the weekend to meal prep some large batches of items. Its fun to cook in large quantities (makes me feel like I am preparing a feast) and the hard work will pay off during the week when you have zero motivation.
  2. Get used to left-overs or figure out how to re-invent last night’s dinner. If you made chicken, use it in soup, wraps, chicken salad, a stir fry, etc. If you have lots of roasted vegetables you can do the same.
  3. There is a cute trend that involves small portions of things made in a cup. Lasagna in a cup, cookie in a cup, etc. You could try this however you would have to still buy large amounts of the ingredients and then have to use them up before they go bad.
  4. Plan 2-3 meals that you will make full size for the week. From these meals you will have plenty of left-overs for lunch and dinner and if you are creative enough you can even reinvent your left-overs.
  5. There is no science to cooking for one, but these are what I have been thinking of this week.

I will have a new batch of items to cook next week. What I will be trying to do over these next few weeks is clean out my stores. I will be using up all of my pasta, rice, quinoa, freezer items, salad dressings, canned goods, etc. The rest of my spices and flavored oils are going to some of my girlfriends. I told them they could raid my pantry:)

I’m excited for this evening. Some friends and I are going to a popular cocktail bar in Pittsburgh. Pictures to come on Monday. Happy Friday to you all!

What are your weekend plans?


Fitness, Uncategorized

Lesson learned: Be kind to yourself

First, some favorites for you all:

A skype date with Zach:

Zach skype

Dinner and a Greek Yogurt Bar with Friends:

yasso bar

My morning smoothie and Morning Glory muffin (not pictured because it goes into my mouth right after I microwave it!):

breakfast smoothie

Smoothie ingredients: 1/2 ripe avocado, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 3/4 cup milk, 1 banana, large handful of kale

I am polishing off this post this morning after trying out a morning workout. No wait, I am actually writing this post at 6:25 am in my bed because I did not go to the gym this morning. Am I disappointed with myself? Hmm, maybe a tad. But I kind of had a revelation last night when I set my alarm for 5 am. “Why am I doing this?” Yep, that was pretty much it!

See, I have been comparing myself to other food and fitness bloggers. I have read that some wake up at crazy early hours of the day and go to the gym.  I was going to do the same because I was starting to feel like my efforts were not good enough and that I needed to get really fit, really devoted, really fast. But I want you to all know something, I am currently a fit, happy, and healthy person…and I don’t get up at 4 am every morning and spend 2 hours at the gym. I typically have a range of how many days I workout each week (3-5) and it changes depending on the other important activities in my life. Do I realize the importance of physical activity along with a healthy diet, yes, of course. And ideally I would love to be able to have enough me time to go to the gym 6 days each week. BUT…I also know that we go through different stages in our life when other priorities like your family, your friends, your job, your sleep (yes!!!) all take precedence before dragging your butt to the gym. I also know that many of the people that I read about going to the gym almost every day of the week are in love with their workouts and wouldn’t have it any other way. I know that I could do better, and I am trying, but that doesn’t mean that what I am currently doing is not good enough or noteworthy. Lesson learned: Be kind to yourself, realize that life is full and take a break when you need it. I don’t know who will get the better benefit from reading that, you or meSmile

I did spin class on Monday night and sweated through all of my clothing (per usual). Spin is still my favorite workout, I’m a sucker for someone yelling at me and blasting loud pop music while I ride. If the instructor is good, they choose songs that make me keep pace (I pedal to the beat!) and work really hard. I also love feeling a bit sore the next day.

For this afternoon’s workout, I will be doing free weights and focusing on my arms, back, and abs. Tomorrow I will do legs and cardio. I feel like spin (if you make sure you are pushing yourself during every class) works my legs a bit. I don’t want to make myself too sore that I end up taking unnecessary days off at the gym. While I may add in a few extra movements, here is the plan for this evening:

Awesome Arms.jpg

Arm Exercise How Many
Side fly 12-15 times, 3 sets
Front fly 12-15 times, 3 sets
Hammer curl 12-15 times, 3 sets
Tricep extension 12-15times, 3 sets
Dip 20, 15, 10
Seated dumbbell row 12 times, 3 sets
Assisted pull-up 12 times, 3 sets


Directions: Perform each exercise 1x through and then start over and perform each 2x, then 3x, continue until you do 10x through for each exercise
1 crunch
1 toe touch
1 leg lift
1 Russian twist


RD Advice

What’s Trending: The Protein Craze

Hey there folks, coming to you today with a new “What’s Trending” post. I am also trying out some new blog writing software for the first time, if things look different, that is why!

Today we are talking about the protein craze that the world is experiencing. I’m pretty excited about this post because writing it and posting it means that I had to do some research and I always love looking into research study findings and reading reputable articles.  Even so, I cannot devote days to this because I work full time and this topic is quite meaty so I apologize if I leave out some information. Please let me know if you need any further explanation in the comments section. So here goes!

The world is always gung-ho about some nutrition craze. While I am too young to have personally experienced many of them, here are a few that my clients have told me about:

  1. Butter versus margarine
  2. Low cholesterol fad (eggs are bad for you!)
  3. The “no fat” craze
  4. The Atkin’s diet craze
  5. The Paleo craze – still experiencing that one actually
  6. The Gluten-free craze, again, also still a thing
  7. and more

I figured out quickly when I began my degree to become a Registered Dietitian that I was entering a field that was constantly changing and growing. Because of this growth and the public’s continual interest in their personal health, it is important for me to be on top of trends and provide evidence-based information on any nutrition topic.

kitty 3.6

My cute kitty staring at me while I write this postSmile

So lets do a brief recap of the protein craze, shall we?

Protein has been used by bodybuilders for years. Long periods of weight lifting causes muscle breakdown and protein is used to build that muscle back up. The Atkin’s diet made high protein and low carb popular, the Paleo diet has essentially taken over the Atkins and has a similar concept of low carbohydrate and high intake of meat (protein). High protein products were in full swing once the Paleo diet hit. The market has only continued to grow.

How much protein is enough for the body?

Our bodies do need protein! I think that a big problem is that many people don’t know how much protein their body actually needs for normal functions. For an average individual aged 18-60 years old, protein needs are 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. So if you are a 130 pound female, that is 47 grams of protein per day. If you are a 180 pound man, that is 65 grams of protein per day.

If you are a baby or child, elderly, a professional athlete, on dialysis, have wounds, etc. Your protein needs will be different. Older individuals need protein to help them maintain lean body mass (1.0-1.2 grams/kg body weight). Professional athletes need extra protein for muscle repair and the additional calories that protein provides.

Protein has about 4 calories per gram. If nothing is altered in your diet (meaning you do not eliminate some food-calories) eating extra protein is putting extra calories in your body. All extra calories get stored as fat…

Are carbohydrates bad?

There have been some research studies that have found that people who go on a no to low carbohydrate diet have been successful with weight loss. The idea is that because carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, when they are eliminated (carbohydrates include grains and starches, fruit and fruit juice, dairy products, and of course any type of sugar, refined, honey, agave nectar, brown sugar, etc.) the body then goes through a process where it breaks down the it’s glycogen stores (fat) for energy. Dietary protein and fat can also be used for energy but the process is a little more complicated and the body more easily goes to fat stores first. I really agree with an article written by The Washington Post and I am happy that they go into detail about the loss of water along with glycogen stores.

In my research I also found another Washington Post article written a couple of years ago, talking about the protein craze. I was happy that most of what they said lined up with my education and the current Academy of Nutrition & Dietetic guidelines.

How do I feel about protein powder, high protein snacks, etc.?

Personally I do not buy much of these. I prefer to get protein from my foods (nuts and seeds, edamame, meats and fish, eggs, beans, Greek yogurt, etc). My husband and I are also big on budgeting so spending $25 plus at GNC for a container of protein powder or buying $2.00/bar snacks does not appeal to us. I am not a professional athlete and I do try to watch my calories, that is also why I don’t over-do my protein.

How much longer will we be experiencing the protein craze?

This is more of a marketing question really. I like this podcast that interviews a marketing expert about how much longer he thinks protein will be the public’s obsession.

What will be the next craze in my opinion?

A high fat diet. It has already started with coconut oil, avocado oil, brain octane, the Bulletproof diet, etc. Saturated fat is being touted as really healthy for you. The American Heart Association and the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics still caution about high amounts saturated fat in the diet and the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Fat also has 9 calories per gram, more than protein and carbohydrate, just in case you were wondering….

Do I follow any type of diet you ask?

Not anything extreme. I try to eat a lot of plant-based meals, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats when I am not doing a meatless meal. The recommendation for dietary guidelines suggests that we get 45-65% of our calories from carbohydrates, 10-35% from protein, and 20-35% from fat. I try to loosely follow this as best as possible. I try to eat a variety of foods and allow myself to indulge in sweet treats 2-3 times per week. I also try to exercise between 3-6 times per week to manage my muscle mass and body fat.

meatless monday 3.6

meal and wine 3.6

First pic: The inside of my whole wheat wrap. Meatless Monday special: Roasted carrots, green peppers, sweet potatoes, and onions, melted cheddar cheese slice, 1/2 an avocado. Second pic: Rolled up wrap, mixed greens salad with the other 1/2 of the avocado, red onion, and baby bella mushrooms. Wine in a mug (all my wine glasses are packed!) and a really good smelling Method candle!

Questions, comments, any articles that you think I should have read before writing this post?

Let me know! I really want to bring you all evidence-based nutrition information!



Goodbyes and Good Times

Good Monday morning to you all!

I had quite the weekend, it was a mix of emotions, sadness, impatience, peace, joy, and comfort. I believe that I felt all of those emotions in that order as well, ha!

Friday Night:

Zach and I met up for dinner with the group of PhD Economic students that he had been apart of before switching his career choice. We had a great time with these people. When Zach was considering stopping the program to chose another degree, he was very torn because all of his classmates and their significant others were such great people. We didn’t want to lose their friendship and luckily we didn’t have to. Everyone has been so great at keeping in touch with us, inviting us to birthdays and parties, we have continued to become closer with them all. A bit sappy, but all to explain why we wanted Zach to have a chance to say goodbye before he left. We ate, drank, talked – a perfect goodbye.

The rest of the night Zach made phone calls to relatives, we finished Madam Secretary (at least all the Netflix seasons) and then just soaked up some talking time and snuggles with the kitty.


Cinnamon Swirl French Toast and Scrambled Eggs with Tomato and Mushroom

We slept in a little (no morning workout for me, that was not a priority) and I made a nice breakfast for us to enjoy. Together we finished packing Zach’s suitcases, he said goodbye to kitty (sob!) and we left for the airport.

My un-showered, no make-up attire

I wore sunglasses into the airport, I am a crier and there are never enough tissues to soak up my love. I think I cried not just because I wouldn’t see or even have consistent communication with my best friend for a month (maybe longer) but also because I was a little scared, annoyed that I have to stay behind, and overwhelmed with what I have to do.

My handsome man, about to leave





Leaving the airport, I already had a plan to go to Marshall’s and shop. Yep, shopping takes away my sadness pretty quick. I think at one point I had 10 items in my arms. This is how I shop though, I pick up pretty things, walk around a bit, try them on, walk around some more, and then end up putting almost all of them back and fighting with myself in my mind over whether or not I need whatever I am still carrying.

I felt a wave of sadness when I got home, it was 3 pm on a Saturday. I felt like I needed to pack, clean, make myself lunch (late), and sleep all at the same time. I don’t quite remember what I did but I did eat something and fully cleaned both bathrooms (yes!).

Later than evening, as I was about to roast some vegetables for meals this week I got a text from a friend inviting me to a movie night – life-saver – I was starting to feel silly and sad about not having made prior Saturday night plans and I was probably going to end up in bed at 8 pm. We watched a couple of episodes of Street Food Around the World and then Arrival. I got home at 12:30 pm. Zach woke me up at 1:45 am because he was in Paris on a layover. It was so wonderful to hear his voice.

Sunday: I had my plan a bit more together for Sunday. I woke up, made a to-do list while I ate breakfast (half a bagel with egg, onion, mushroom and cheese) and got started.


I did a 45 minute workout at the gym. 30 minutes of cardio, 10 minutes of abs, 5 minutes of buttocks. I didn’t have a plan going into the gym but thankfully I ended up getting a good sweat and burn. I was planning on going to Aldi right away but swung into Goodwill, which is in between my gym and Aldi. I found a few things that I literally wanted to buy brand new at Marshalls the day before so I was happy that I saved a significant amount of money. Zach and I are being very conscious of our money (we kinda always are) so that we come back to the states in stable financial condition.

I then went to Aldi and then the wine store to grab a bottle of Malbec and some boxes for packing. I picked up a lot of fresh produce from Aldi and ingredients for Morning Glory muffin. When I came home I saw this waiting for me on my porch! Zach said that a surprise would be arriving on Sunday!


What a great surprise! I adore Michelle Obama and really admire her work with the White House Garden, Play 60, and nutrition and garden education that she provides and promotes to youth. Such an important cause and very near and dear to my heart.


Baking is not really my thing, but because it is National Nutrition Month I wanted to bring a good muffin into work this week. These turned out to be the best muffins I have ever made! I doubled the batch to leave some for myself for breakfasts and I am so happy I did! Please check out the recipe at: It is very worth your time, I promise.

I am guilty for ruining the picture because I couldn’t wait to eat one!

Between baking a double batch of muffins, packing, laundry and listening to Pandora, I barely had time to finish my last batch of muffins before meeting up with some members from the Econ group for dinner at my favorite restaurant in SouthSide, La Palapa!


I got tameles, first time having them, ever (!), and they were amazing, I am glad I tried something new. I saved half for lunch today, yay!

To sum everything up.

  1. Life is good, there is a season for everything, I am “#blessed.”
  2. Zach is safely in Lebanon and his first day of work is today.
  3. My friends are amazing. They helped me more than they know this weekend.
  4. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13. This comes to mind when I start to feel overwhelmed with packing and all of the other tasks that I have to accomplish before leaving. Take everything bit by bit, God is in control.

I hope to come to you this week with a new “What’s Trending” post. I am torn between a couple of different topics so I will just have to hurry up and decide! Try the muffin recipe, so good!




The last 6 years

This March marks six years that Zach and I have been together. Dating for 2ish years, engaged for 1ish, and almost married for 3ish (June 21st). I thought that today I would share a little bit about the story of how Zach and I met and a little from our backgrounds that led us to become the people we are today. So sit back and enjoy this post because everyone loves a good love story, right?

I moved to Lancaster, PA right before my junior year of high school. My new school was much larger than where I came from (tiny Montana towns, lol). Zach and I had a few classes together during high school but never talked to each other at all during my junior year. I was shy and he was busy with three sports a year, yearbook club, etc.

High school me during a summer trip with my youth group to Ecuador.

I had made a great friend my senior year of high school. When the school’s talent show rolled around, we decided to do a musical act together. We decided on our first practice session that we needed drums to give our song a beat. Enter Zach – one of the two people in the school who knew how to play drums. He agreed. I can remember one of the first times that I hung out with Zach, after practicing our act. I liked the way he genuinely listened to me as I talked, he had a way of being really present during conversation. He also had beautiful blue eyes that I loved looking into. Zach tells me that he had a crush on me at this point.

During the last few months of our senior year, we ended up finding each other in between classes more and more often. We would walk from calculus together with another friend of mine. She would mention how Zach pointedly looked for me after class and would jog to catch up if her and I were ahead of him.

After the talent show was over, Zach ended up asking me to our senior prom. He did it in the most nerdy way, he had our calculus teacher add a question to the end of one of our tests that used a calculus-type formula to ask me to prom. I said yes. I failed that test because after skimming the questions right at the beginning of exam time, I saw that last question and couldn’t focus on the rest lol. Against our friends advice, we started dating in the last month of high school. They thought it was silly to start a new relationship before going off to college. They were right, but we didn’t care.

A picture from our high school prom
High school graduation

We had already planned on going to different colleges, so we did the long-term thing for a few years. There were many weekend trips down to Harrisonburg, VA to spend time with him. We had many adventures during winter and summer breaks, I knew after three months of dating that I was in love and wanted to marry him.

Post graduation pie making experience. You can see the juice spilling out in this pic!


Zach decided early on to try to get done with college in three years. He ended up proposing to me during my sophomore year of college. We got married after my junior year and I ended up doing the married thing during my senior year. Given the choice once more to get married that young, I would do it again. I have been able to see my husband grow, change, and learn about himself as a man. While growth is not always a smooth road, it is necessary. Looking back at the people that we were when we started dating and comparing them to us now, I am grateful that we were together through the entire process.

Taken right after Zach proposed to me. I love his face!


Our wedding, one of my favorite days with this guy!


We have had many adventures in our short time together. Zach has come with me several times to my family home in Montana, visited my sister with me in North Dakota, we vacationed in India for 3 weeks last winter with his mom and dad. We have been blessed with many new friends in our lives together. Here is where I would use the very overused “#blessed” hashtag. I love the path that our lives have taken.

Packed and ready to go!


Now I am staring at the bags that will take Zach to Lebanon tomorrow. Another day, another adventure. When we moved to Pittsburgh, we thought that this would be our home for the next 5-6 years. I remember a meaningful conversation with some good friends over drinks one night a few months ago. They have been married 10ish years and they told us that not one part of their life has gone as planned, but it has been rich and beautiful nonetheless. I am starting to see that this is also the case with our lives. There is a greater plan for our lives that we cannot predict. I am glad to have this guy by my side through all the uncertainty and adventure that awaits us. We cannot wait to both be together serving in Lebanon. Here’s to the next two years! It’s going to be great!