The Oatmeal Recipe

So. I go through breakfast phases. For the longest time (when we lived in Florida) I drank a green smoothie pretty much every morning. Then I went through a yogurt bowl phase where I ate vanilla yogurt with banana and peanut butter day after day. After that was the protein pancake kick.

And while I still love all of those, right now I'm all about the oats. Not overnight oats (which I love during the summer) but just regular, hot oats. I eat them at least four times a week and have found that they are one of the only things that can actually keep me full until lunch time, which is important since some days that isn't until 2 or 3 PM for me. 

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And what kind of person would I be if I didn't share the recipe with you all?! Not a very nice one.

In all seriousness, these oats pack a punch thanks to the protein almond milk that I use and the healthy fat from the peanut butter. I swear by Silk Protein Nutmilk - a combination of almond and cashew milk -  and it truly makes all the difference. Adding half a banana to the base keeps them thick, fluffy and voluminous. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (I use Trader Joe's GF oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Toppings: nut butter of your choice, remaining half of banana, fruit - whatever you want!
  1. Heat your stove on medium high.
  2. In a small pan, combine oats, almond milk, water, mashed banana and vanilla. Stir.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, and then whip oats repeatedly for 2-3 minutes, or until liquid starts to thicken.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and let oats boil for 60 seconds.
  5. Whip again, and then remove from heat.
  6. Pour into bowl and add toppings! I typically add peanut butter, jelly and the other half of my banana but go crazy and add whatever you want!

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday! 

While I'm certainly not planning for this blog to be a diary recap of every day in my life, I do intend on recapping weekends, trips, and random days because those are some of my favorite blog posts to read by others AND I think it's fun to show how life changes day in and day out.

That said, this was one of the least exciting weekends in a while thanks to the downpour we had in Baltimore from Friday - Sunday. It definitely forced me to slow down a little bit but I am missing sunshine and warmer temperatures now more than ever.

Friday night I went to Corepower and came home to eat dinner and watch the Olympics opening ceremony. It was a long week at work and all I wanted to do was sweat on my mat and go home and relax. We worked on chin stand (my favorite!) and the message of the class really spoke to me. It's crazy how yoga can change your perspective on life in such a short amount of time.

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Saturday morning we woke up and while Nick walked Bentley, I made breakfast. I'm still having a moment with these PB&J oats and promise I'll share the recipe soon. I've been eating them almost every morning for the last few months.

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I went to the gym with the intention to run six miles but ended up only being able to get five in before hot yoga.

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And then bounced straight from the gym to my yoga studio. My teacher Angela was in California last week so it was so nice to have her back. Her Saturday morning classes are always the perfect combination of challenging and relaxing. Angela is so real and down to earth and one of those teachers that I really click with. 

After yoga, I swung by my favorite local juice store, Pure Raw, for my go-to matcha mango bowl. I think I've officially made it because when I walked in, the guy at the counter said, "Hey Claire! The usual?". Yup.

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This baby is loaded with matcha, mango, almond milk, banana and topped with cacao nibs, coconut, granola, blueberries and almond butter. So good and refreshing after a hot yoga class.

I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the house and working on the blog! It was rainy and cold so I didn't have much motivation to leave aside from a quick Starbucks & Target run.

Saturday night I made dinner for us. We had a TON of random veggies that needed to be used so I roasted up some purple potatoes and brussels sprouts for me to eat along with a veggie burger and made quinoa-stuffed peppers for Nick. Then we spent the rest of the night watching Fixer Upper and researching for our Italy trip!

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Sunday morning I woke up and went to a special class at my yoga studio. My two favorite teachers, Angela and Jenna, taught a C3 inversion class and it was such a fun way to start the day. 

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The rest of the day was pretty standard: grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, etc. I did swing by the gym to walk for a while because being trapped inside was making me feel a little stir crazy and I just needed to get out and moving. 

And now it's Monday and time to get back to work!

2017

Happy New Year! Like seemingly everyone else in the world, I'm really excited for 2018. I have a lot of personal and professional goals for the year ahead, and after spending a week off of work, feel more motivated than ever. I was so focused on planning and executing my dream wedding last year that my entire life revolved around it from January - August. I'm not going to lie, it's a breath of fresh air to have a whole new year without the pressure to plan, plan, plan!

But before looking forward to my intentions and goals for 2018, I want to take a second to reflect on and appreciate all that 2017 was. It was by far the most life-changing year of my life. One of my favorite bloggers (and humans) Amanda writes her year-end reviews in a short, simple format and I'm totally stealing the idea because I love it. And because it really forced me to sit back and reflect on each month, which was challenging and fun at the same time.

So here's to you, 2017...

I turned 28. Spent a week in NYC at Social Media Week immersing myself in all things social media. Ran through Central Park in February, in shorts. Ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile race in DC. Got bronchitis on Easter and stayed up coughing for two nights straight. Flew to Austin with all of my favorite girls to celebrate my bachelorette party. Drank way too many margaritas and tequila shots on said bachelorette party. Flew to Denver to watch one of my best friends get married. Ate the best tacos of my life in Boulder with Nick. Helped throw a bridal shower for one of my best friends. Ran and PR'd in the Zooma 10K in Annapolis. Spent an amazing long weekend at the beach for the 4th. Worked. A lot. Ate a lot of acai bowls. Ran along the docks in the city almost every weekend. Received the sweetest bridal shower from my maid of honor and best friend, Courtney, and Nick's Aunt Karen. Watched two of our closest friends get married in Lancaster, PA. Flew to Chicago to celebrate my friend Jacque's bachelorette party. Spent a day on a boat on Lake Michigan. Fulfilled one of my life-long dreams and got to be in a commercial with Bentley. Married my favorite person. Then spent a week at the beach recovering from the wedding. Drove to Bethlehem, PA to stand beside one of my best friends as she joined the marriage club. Spent a long weekend in London, and fell head over heels for the city. Got invited to visit Facebook's office, and had to pinch myself that this is, in fact, my job. Ran a half-marathon. Added highlights to my hair for the first time ever. Helped win one of the biggest accounts for our agency. Ran a Turkey Trot with my mother and sister in-law. Nailed my chin stand. Spent the holidays with my family, and best friends. 

The Wedding

August 26th was perfect.

It's funny how you can spend months and months planning one day that comes and goes so ridiculously fast. From the moment we got engaged (and even before, if I'm being honest) I dreamt of what our day would look like.

And I wouldn't have changed a single thing.

After a late night following our rehearsal dinner, I woke up the morning of our wedding ready to get the day started. Since it also happened to be 6:00 AM and I didn't have any plans until my girls were to arrive in my bridal suite at 9:45, I started the day off with a run. I ran a few miles around the small town of Easton before joining my mom and brother for coffee. By the time we got back to our venue and I showered and set out my bridesmaids gifts, it was time for the girls to make their way up. It was FINALLY time to get going!

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We popped champagne, I gave them their gifts and then we headed to the salon to spend the morning getting ready. Our venue was amazing and had a salon on the first floor, making it easy for us to hang out and relax and go back and forth to our rooms as needed. My planner set up a mimosa and coffee bar as well as lunch for us while we were getting ready. Before we knew it, it was time to go up to the bridal suite and put on THE dress for real!

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Time really started to fly at this moment. One moment, my mom and my maid of honor, Courtney, were zipping me into my dress and the next I was heading down to meet Nick for our first look.

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Cue the water works.

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Then it was time for pictures with the bridal party and our families before the ceremony. I know it's not for everyone, but I highly encourage a first look. It gave us time to see each other, just the two of us, AND knock out a ton of pictures so we could enjoy our cocktail hour!

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Then it was time to get married.

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Our ceremony was the best. Nick's Aunt Gini officiated the wedding and it was the perfect mix of sincerity, seriousness and humor. When we rehearsed, it felt like the ceremony would take forever but it was over before I knew it and then it was time to kiss the bride!

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Our reception was a BLAST. Our good friend Mebaa is a DJ and he played the best music, the dance floor was packed the entire night and I think I sat for maybe 10 minutes the entire time. I barely had any time to eat! 

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If I could, I would relive this day over and over again. It was truly the best day and I can't even start to put into words how loved we felt. Cheers to MARRIED life!

Bridal Shower

Over the weekend, my friends and family threw me the most perfect bridal shower!

Nick's aunt Karen, one of my most favorite people in the world, hosted the shower at her house and she and my best friend/maid of honor Courtney, along with a handful of my other friends, could not have planned a more perfect and "me" shower.

I wanted something really relaxed where my closest people could all be together and just spend the afternoon celebrating! From the decorations that fit my wedding color scheme perfectly to beautiful hand-made favors by my soon to be sister in law to the chocolate peanut butter cake, everything was amazing. It has honestly been one of the most humbling experiences to see how many people near and far genuinly share my excitement and happiness for the big day.

We spent the afternoon drinking champagne and eating a very Claire-approved lunch of salad, quiche, couscous and shrimp salad. Courtney set up an adorable mimosa bar and there was of course, lots of fruit and crackers to snack on as well.

Once everyone ate, we played a few games including a hilarious Q&A game that my friend Becca set up with Nick. She sent Nick a list of 25 questions and had him record a video answering, and then I had to answer them. Every time I got an answer wrong, I had to chew a piece of gum and it got to be pretty disgusting once I had 12 pieces of gum in my mouth. 

Once the games were over Nick showed up and it was time to open presents with the help of Courtney's daughter and my flower girl, Emma.

And then it was time for cake! Courtney ordered the cake from my favorite bakery, SugarBakers, and it was the best I've ever had. Not only was it gorgeous but it the flavor was perfect for me - chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. 

Overall Saturday was just such an incredible day with so many people that I love. I can't believe our wedding is less than TWO months away!