Thanksgiving Veggies: Clean Dill Dip

Dill Dip

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup greek yogurt
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 Tablespoon onion flakes
1 Tablespoon parsley

measure and mix all ingredients in glass or plastic bowl.
refrigerate dip for about two hours until it thickens.
serve with raw veggies for dipping.


Happy Anniversary!

It has been 9 YEARS since I started blogging on wordpress. Wow. Does that make me feel old or what?

Some big things have happened in that time. I am just going to post a photo collage of life and write it out.


First, I worked in Colorado for a nonprofit legal aid firm. Later I worked for a government contractor.

In 2010, I met my husband-to-be. He cheered me on as I did a 50 mile walk fundraiser for MS (the purple shirts in the upper left). In 2011, we got married. The second top picture is from my bachelorette hike party in Golden, Colorado near Red Rocks Amphitheater.

2013 in December, we took pictures with Nones and Holes for our Christmas card. We celebrated New Year’s Eve in a friend’s apartment off of Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta. In January of 2014, I started training to be a personal trainer – First at Body Design Atlanta, then through ACE.

In February of 2014, my parents came for a visit. My dad was working nearby and got stuck in his hotel for most of that week due to the latest bout of the Snowpoclypse.

I discovered Pure Barre.  This is from a run with the Pure Barre Run Club at Virginia Highlands.

We got a new truck… and Wes finally fulfilled his lifelong dream of owning an Airstream.

We took a long road trip. During that trip, we spent two weeks in Colorado where I went with my mom to quilt my first King size quilt on a long arm quilting machine.

Wes accepted a new job in Baltimore, so we went there for two weeks. He worked while I looked for a new place for us to live.

While we were in Baltimore, I tried to nail down my situation as a barre instructor. First, I took Soul Body Barre instructor training in White Marsh.

That was not my favorite brand of barre, so after trying for a long time to learn their choreography, I found and fell in love with the yoga method of barre at the local M*Power Yoga Studio.

I went on my first ever trip alone – with Nones. I went to LA in June for the IDEA World Fitness Conference.

I took the Behold the Barre Teacher Training at M*Power. And after that, me and my classmates all started working on teaching and perfecting our skills over the summer.

I had been running with the local chapter of the November Project – but this is from when I made it out to PR Day in September.

The next week, my brother came out to visit us in Baltimore for the first time.

Finally, a picture from a weekend class I attended in the early spring. This is where I met my good friend, Lauren, and we have stayed in touch ever since!

Thanksgiving Veggie: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Last week my husband and I were in Frederick, MD for the evening. We asked a friend for a restaurant recommendation while we were so far away and we got it! She told us about a greek/mediterranean place called Ayse/Meze Lounge. She said the brussels sprouts there were to die for.

Well, she was right! We loved them! (And to think we almost didn’t get them. Because a) I have never had brussels sprouts and I was a bit afraid of them and b) my husband dislikes all green things that are not avocado).

That was the end of that. We came home and I resolved myself to figuring out how to make something taste as good as those brussels sprouts. Here’s my recipe. (Keep in mind, this is for a big group on Thanksgiving. You can easily half it!)


  • 3 lb fresh brussels sprouts
  • 9 Tbsp olive oil
  • 9 Tbsp honey
  • 3 tsp garlic salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degree F.
  2. Cut the ends of brussels sprouts and then cut in half. (Or quarters if you have a lot of little ones to feed).
  3. Whisk olive oil, honey, garlic salt and black pepper in a bowl and then toss with brussels sprouts.
  4. Spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with dried cranberries and Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.


Clean Banana Protein Pancakes

This recipe makes a batch for meal prep, and while the banana adds calories — personally they MAKE the flavor of these pancakes and save them from being dry and chewy.

A very simple recipe. Depending on how you like your bananas, in chunks in the pancakes or in little bits all throughout. I used an immersion blender to get my banana well – distributed and to help with the moisture level of this pancake.


3 scoops of Jamie Eason Vanilla Whey Protein Isolate

1 and 1/4 cups egg whites

3 tablespoons almond milk

3 teaspoons baking powder

3 bananas, chopped or blended


Put protein powder and baking soda in a bowl and mix well. Then add eggs, almond milk, and banana and mix or blend. For cooking them, put a skillet over low heat (I have a gas stove, and I put it on 2, alternating between 2 and all the way down to cook). Spray the skillet with a little coconut oil spray, and pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan. Wait for the bubbles on top of the pancake to burst, and the sides to start looking solid, and then flip. Cook on the other side for 1 minute at most… and then store for meals throughout the week!

Quantity: Makes 10 Good Size Pancakes


Designing a Home Office

So in preparation for a whirlwind of fall activities, our new home has been slowly accumulating things. Most of these are things that we needed to replace because the new house has even LESS functional storage than our house in Atlanta did.

For instance, we got a bed with pull out storage drawers under it. Two big bookshelves with drawers as well. We got a sofa with a pull out bed in it for the office. And we have a TV stand with drawers for all the video game paraphernalia.

The bedroom layout is mostly settled. We just have to build the bed and find a nightstand and a cute dog crate. Currently our mattress is on the floor, and has been for nearly a year.


Layout One: This is the current office layout.

This is how the office will be set up once the sofa we bought (hooray IKEA), is put together up on the third floor. Or it is, if we leave the desk where Wes would like to leave it. (I am not a fan of having most of the available floor space used by the desk, but he is not a fan of having his back to the doorway. There are two shelves along the walls, but they can only be moved across to the other wall with the alcove because of the slant of the ceiling up on the third floor. The funny looking thing by the window is our window A/C unit. That thing is the only reason our house is livable right now (literally, our A/C stopped working this morning).

Below are some other ideas that I would like to use for layouts.


Old Office Layout

This is the last office edition. If we were to put the sofa behind the desk, there wouldn’t be much room for my husband to sit. I still like this layout because I really don’t like the idea of putting the desk in the middle of the room.


Office Layout 1

This is probably the best option to keep ME happy. But again, would have my husband sitting facing away from the door. I just feel like it works better to not have the desk smack in the middle of the room.


Office Layout 2

This layout is also one where we would have to give up some functionality. Those bookshelves both have drawers in the bottom. Putting a desk against them would probably make it difficult to pull them out.


Office Layout 3

Here we leave it the way my husband has it set currently, and put the sofa in the alcove right in front of the door. It is likely that this will block the door when the sofa is pulled out, however.


Office Layout 4

This is the other option where we leave the office as currently situated, but place the sofa facing the room as opposed to facing the wall.


Office Layout 5

When I started this project, I didn’t realize how many possibilities there were to put the office together. This may be my favorite one though. My husband dislikes that the desk blocks the door — but personally I would rather that and have a little more useful floor space for cutting out quilts in!

Which space do you think makes the most sense for us?

Disability : A Discrimination Story

Normally I don’t like to write about my disability here. In particular, I really don’t like writing about some of the negative things that happen. There are sometimes a lot of negatives. This conference had a lot of ups and downs, a lot of educating fitness pros about interpreters and hearing dogs and how to work with them within the industry. Unfortunately, there were quite a few clueless people, and they said and did things that were frustrating. By the end of the week, I was sick and tired of fighting the daily Deaf battle for my accommodations and my rights.

Today my second class at the IDEA World Fitness Conference was Jillian Michaels’ BODYSHRED class. It was only thirty minutes but we basically got our butts kicked.

So I really didn’t realize how famous or popular Jillian was (how could I?) before coming to this class. And I didn’t know how horribly people would behave just to get ‘thismuch’ closer to her and the stage.

We had a system going after the first day where one interpreter would stay and finish interpreting the class I was in, while the other one went and set up in the next class. If we hadn’t done that, we would have been far more disruptive. This way, it was all ready to go and I just walked in and took my spot.

The interpreters were consulting with Jillian’s camera crew to make sure that the spot we set up in wouldn’t be disruptive to them, or make it difficult to get footage.

So, we picked a spot, and marked off a big box in front of the interpreter that was a ‘no fly zone’ supposedly — funny how few people respect a white box of tape on the ground though.

People went crazy outside – getting all riled up for the workout. Finally they all filed in. There was a line of people right against the stage, and someone directly behind my interpreter. And then a line of five trainers behind me, trying to make sure that I still had enough room to move.

As the room filled up, a girl in a purple jacket came up and wedged herself in the ‘front row’ right ON the white box for my interpreter. So I asked her nicely to move, stating that I was Deaf and I needed to see both the interpreter and the stage, and that was why we had that box taped down on the floor.

Well, she moved an inch away from the box, but still blocking me from the stage. Then, Gilbert, my interpreter asked her to move – still nicely. And she moved back an inch. (UM — doh move means MOVE lady.) Finally, interpreter Kyla, getting frustrated came over and basically said, “We asked you twice, we really need you to move away from this space because the interpreter needs room and so does everyone else who was here before you.” This girl STILL doesn’t move.

The announcer comes out to get the crowd going — so we give it up. Jillian comes out and the group goes wild – cheering for jumping jacks and burpees. (I was all ???) lol. I asked my interpreter, “Where the heck do I have room to do burpees with that girl there?!” So we go through the workout. Occasionally the guy trainer behind me stops entirely and backs up because this girl is kicking HIM. And he moves to try and make sure I have enough room to do the workout. (This guy was a real champ.) When the workout is done, Jillian disappears. I don’t think a single person actually got a picture with her.

This girl who had been cussing me out to the girl next to her the whole time — comes up and says to my interpreter “Well, you need to tell her that if she had asked nicely the first time I would have moved. But she didn’t ask nicely and I don’t think she had the right to tell me where to go.” I”M SORRY WTF. So my response was, “Ok. Thanks a lot.” Which Kyla totally mimicked and I’m sure that didn’t help but I was so mad.

Then Gilbert comes over and we’re talking about what this girl said. Kyla says, “You know, you were completely right in asking her to move. You asked her just fine. AND there was a group of five trainers behind you nodding and trying to support you every time you did it!! You just couldn’t see them. The guy who high fived you at the end was the biggest supporter, trying to get her to move too – and then moving himself to make sure you had room to do the class.” And by then, I’m crying because I feel like a puppy that has been kicked. AGAIN.

I said, “ You know, it’s really hard to be treated like that EVERY single time I have to assert myself because I need that accommodation. I didn’t choose to be Deaf and half blind. I sure as hell would love to sit further back and be able to follow the class and not be crowded far more than I wanted to be in the front.”

Kyla says, “Yeah. But you have to remember, this wasn’t about you in any way. This was a girl who was here purely for selfish reasons. She was here for herself and she didn’t care who she crushed in the interim.”

Kyla goes, “Would you like to meet Jillian? I bet I can make that happen. I’m really good at that stuff.” to which I reply, “I don’t know.” thinking for a minute — “ Actually, I would like a picture. I don’t have a single picture of ME from this whole event”

So Kyla sneaks behind the curtain, and she talks to the guy who was running the camera. And then she pops back out, motioning me to come over…

I duck back behind the curtain. Jillian is walking up!! Obviously the exchange is nothing interesting. (My brain completely shut down at that point.) But we smile and laugh, get a few pictures, and she asks me the sign for ‘Fuck.” LOL. Of course. And then we are shooed back out and told to let the volunteers clean up the room.

IMG_4957 IMG_4956


Friendships are interesting things. Over the last four years I have seen my fair share of friendships new and old and ever changing. But it is really nice to stop and think about them and how far we have come – and how some of these maintain through everything else going on in our lives.

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real… But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. — Author Unknown

Correlating to this picture and friendships. I have had some really amazing friendships that began, ended, and had some of the strongest and most meaningful moments in the mountains.

When I was in high school I started dancing. At a practice night I met three girls who would be instrumental in the direction my life was going to take from there on out. After a few weeks of dancing with the high school group, I went to church on a Sunday with these girls. From there I got involved in youth leadership, Bible studies, small group — and this just became a part of who I was.

In college, one of my greatest memories with the three of them was our first major college ministry retreat. We went up to Lake City in the San Juan Mountains and stayed at a small camp there. I remember a hike where we all took our Bibles, our journals, and our fleeces down to a lake and read, wrote, and talked.

The summer right after college, we all went up to Lake City again with a group from the church. But things were different. Of the four of us, there were two who were at community college and during this summer trip to the mountains for a small town fourth of July celebration, things changed. Both of them were noticed by their prospective husbands that weekend.

A lot of things changed after college. By that next summer, they were married off and that left me — who had never dated anyone ever. And our fourth who had a steady boyfriend.

Then came the babies. I got much closer to one girl and was her daughter’s babysitter fairly regularly for the first few months of her life. This little girl still is really very close to my heart. She is one of the first babies I handled competently and I just adored her. I still do – even if I have moved far away and she isn’t so sure of me anymore.

It was another four years before I met my own husband. In that time, we all four went to different churches. One girl moved to Kansas and back. One had a husband who worked long hours in sales near Denver. Another had a professor for a husband so he was gone often teaching.

By my wedding, one girl was in my wedding – one was my wedding singer – and the third was only a guest.

But the most important part of those relationships? How much they have shaped who I am and where my hope and faith lies. My faith is in God, and thanks to many trips to the mountains over the years – my favorite, most happy place is in the middle of the wilderness thinking about Him and just being in the middle of the most beautiful scenery I can imagine.

Airstream Adventures : Arkansas

IMG_4617 IMG_4618

We arrived in Arkansas, and drove out to the campground to set up Twinkie. Afterwards, we went over to our relatives’ new house to visit and eat and let the pack of puppies play. The above picture is the newest puppy for the pack, Raylie – who is a Parsons Terrier and fits right in with the Schnauzers and the Westie Jack – Rosie. Salad for my meal before we ran to the grocery store and picked up everything I was supposed to be eating on my training program.

IMG_4620 IMG_4621

This is the lovely garage gym. They had plenty of dumbbells and barbells but not so many machines. I made some stuff up, worked around my training program as best I could, and then made a delicious dinner of cod, spinach, and sweet potato.

IMG_4622 IMG_4627

Another day found us with more dog photos!! Our miniature schnauzers were very good, and enjoyed racing around in the backyard with Ray Ray and Rosie. Nones and Ray Ray hanging out on the pretty rug in the living room. Another day – another dinner, this time cod, sweet potato, and asparagus. It actually turned out great!

IMG_4628  A night snuggle with Ray Ray on Auntie’s lap.

The next day we had a great time visiting some other family friends — riding their boat and talking about wake surfing. We hung out for lunch, and snacks, and really – we could have stayed much longer but we had to get home to our puppies.

IMG_4631 IMG_4633

Here, our puppies are hanging out on the beds in front of the fireplace. It was surprisingly chilly the entire week we were there – chilly and rainy. I think the only nice day was the one we were out on the boat!

IMG_4632 IMG_4636

That night, all the internet went out because of storms. So we drank tea and played Scrabble. And since there was no TV or internet – we all went to bed earlier than usual.

The next day, this is the photo I took when all the dogs were stuck outside. The only dog you can’t see is Holes because he didn’t fit on the step! This is their simultaneous ‘Let Us IN’ faces.

Airstream Adventures: Vacation (Still in MD)

On Sunday we headed out of Baltimore to swing by BWI and pick up Twinkie at the RV storage facility it has been in for the last month (since our last short trip). We called the storage place several times over the weekend as they were supposed to be always on call for people to come pick up their boats and RVs, however, after waiting outside for a while – we found a note on the door of the establishment that they were ‘closed for the weekend’ and should STILL have been on call. Eventually, we gave up and went to find a hotel where we settled in for the night with our pups.



We got in our hotel room and started working with the dogs on their training. Discovered that Nones does much MUCH better with ‘lay down’ and ‘stay’ on a flat blanket or towel than he does on a dog bed. Who knows why, but it worked. And then he told me he was thirsty, so I gave him a cup of water (we left the bowls in the car for that moment).

After setting the boys in our hotel room, Wes and I went down to the pool. We spent a while going back and forth between the VERY hot hot tub and the pool until we were both hungry and ready for a break. We got dressed and went to find some food for dinner. I managed to keep my dinner within the guidelines of my competition diet, and we had a nice time chatting.

When dinner was done, Wes wanted to do computer stuff and hang out in the room so I went down to the hotel gym to get some lifting done in anticipation that I would miss a few days while we were on the road. First I did upper body, and then some cardio. And around 10pm I went back to the room to find all my boys asleep. So I crawled in bed with them for the night.