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Well, clearly the world did not end. Yay! The new year promptly arrives on our doorsteps at midnight. 2012 seemed to move at a rapid pace, yet held so many lasting memories. I looked back on last year's 'reflections' post, and am so happy to write a completely different post this year. Last year's post was about "what if's" and missed chances, while this year I embraced the word "yes" and put fears aside.

I took a chance on graduate school, and wound up as a preschool teacher working my way through school. I took a chance on a relationship, and wound up with the love of my life. I took a chance on leaving Tempe to move in with Boyfriend, and wound up with a warm home and my own family of critters. I took a chance on putting my words out there, further expanding this blog and meeting wonderful people along the way.

I said farewell to the people who weren't good for me. Realizing I was too old for childish behavior and toxicity, I left friendships far behind me without looking back. I said farewell to the struggles of part-time jobs to find a steady schedule and pay, along with a passion for teaching. I said farewell to the ol' dating game that was filled with indecisive, careless little boys. I said farewell to the draining lifestyle of bars and parties, to find a bigger wallet and a bigger picture.

It was a year of hello's and goodbye's, in which I put my happiness first. Selfish? No. It's my life. I have one chance to live it. I chose to make it all that it can be, without regrets. I followed my heart. I did what was right for me. I stopped listening to the opinions of others. I moved forward. I refused to settle.

I push you to do the same this upcoming year. Find your own pathway to happiness, and take it. 
Make 2013 your year.


gypsy warrior wish list

I haven't posted a wish list for Gypsy Warrior in quite some time. Since the holidays are over, it's time to save some money to purchase my own lusted after items.I'm really digging neutral colors lately. Can you tell?


cookie butter frosting

[Cookie butter on fudge brownies]
If you haven't had Speculoos, you haven't lived. Boyfriend introduced me to this fabulous cookie butter a few months ago and my taste buds are obsessed. Wanting to take the delicious spread a little further, I asked myself, "Why not make Speculoos frosting?" You bet your pants I did just that.

Now, if you don't know where to buy Speculoos, or what it is...let me fill you in. Head to Trade Joes, look in the peanut butter aisle, purchase, eat the jar. In those exact steps. Cookie butter is like a peanut butter spread, but it tastes like graham crackers. YUM.

For the frosting, you will need:
3 tablespoons of Speculoos
3 tablespoons of softened butter 
2 tablespoons of milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Stir that up with an electric mixer, and you have yourself some amazing frosting. I've put this on fudge brownies, chocolate cookies, and my fingertips. Everyone who has bit into one of my desserts (not my fingers) has had seconds, thirds, and always ask for more next time. Try it out!


what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Giving
I think the act of giving is more rewarding than receiving. I love seeing my loved ones tear open the wrapping paper to see what you thoughtfully placed inside. It's such a good feeling.

2. Fire
Boyfriend lit up our fireplace for the first time. It was a perfect way to end our Christmas, listening to the fire crackle and watching a Pixar film.
 3. Receiving
Getting gifts is fun too!


'twas the night

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There is magic in the chilly air. There is happiness and joy dancing around. Christmas lights are twinkling. Trees are sparkling with ornaments, old and new. Jingle Bells is playing, and although I've heard it a thousand times, it doesn't lose it's charm. Cookies are baking in the oven, filling the house with a sugary aroma. Presents are wrapped delicately under the tree just begging to be opened. I'm surrounded by so much love. It is the eve of Christmas, and it's one of my favorite days of the year.

There are so many memories tied around this holiday season. As a little girl, my family and I would sit by the fireplace. I loved the crackling sound and the smell of wood hitting me in warm waves. We would watch It's a Wonderful Life. The black-and-white classic grew on me as I aged. I think began to understand the lessons it held. I still have that movie, thanks to my dad. Afterwards, we would sit in silence in the glow of the fire. We would open one small gift before bed. It served as a teaser for what the morning had in store. It was so hard to sleep this night. My ears were perked for the sound of bells and reindeer hooves clip-clopping on the roof. I would finally doze off, with hopes Santa would enjoy the cookies I set out.

Everyone has different traditions, and they change as we get older and begin to form our own families. This year, I am spending Christmas Eve with my wonderful love, and the family we have built with our two pups. We get to create our own traditions, and combine our past ones. I've never felt so blessed.

I hope that wherever you are and whoever you are with, you make memories and traditions that will last a lifetime. Enjoy this special night.
Merry Christmas Eve.

snowy eve

Boyfriend, the pups, and I ventured to Flagstaff this morning in hopes of snow. We kept checking different weather reports, which all told us various temperatures and forecasts. We decided to just go and see what was in store. We were in luck. There was a snowstorm as we entered the city limits, and white snow coated the ground and trees.

We ate at a little mom and pop diner that claimed they had the ultimate biscuits. After sipping down some hot chocolate, we were served the ultimate biscuits. They were bigger than my head. Both our jaws dropped and we could only finish one of the four. With full bellies, we headed out to find the perfect hill.

We found one as we drove down the I-17. We parked, bundled up, leashed up the pups, and slipped and slid as we walked through the snow. The dogs did great for their first time in the snow. Charlie was a bit cold and Nugget just wanted to run around. We sledded and had a snowball fight. It was a really wonderful Christmas Eve in the snow.


sunday spark

"You are an unfinished work in progress. One of the good things about life's challenges: You get to find out that you're capable of being far more than you ever though possible."
 -Karen Salmansohn


good thoughts

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When you think good thoughts and have good wishes for the people around you, life all of a sudden becomes brighter. This makes you shine brighter too.

Your insides reflect your outside. All the makeup, hairstyles, and clothes can't cover up what's inside. Ugly thoughts make for ugly people. Beautiful thoughts make for beautiful people. You have to work from the inside out.

So, throw away that nasty mindset. It becomes an awful cycle that you won't be able to climb your way out of.

Always looking for negatives, in a sea of hopeful positives will never bring you happiness. Look for the good in all situations. It's there, you just have to go through the bad, and do a little soul searching in order to find it.

Taking jabs at people doesn't make you fulfilled. It gives you a quick moment of release, until you're on the hunt to find another way to bring others down. You don't have to be best friends with the whole world. People have their differences, but being spiteful just stunts your growth as a person.

Let go of prejudices and judgments. 
End the pointless search for drama. 
Say goodbye to negativity. 
Throw away any bad thoughts. 
Stop the cycle.

Live your life, and love it in the process. It's yours for the living, so you might as well make it a good one as a happy person.


tobi wish list

The holidays are quickly approaching, and my mind is still compiling some last minute wardrobe wishes. I'm sure they will remain exactly that, wishes, but it's fun to put outfits together up in my noggin. I looked to TOBI this week. It's been awhile since I posted a wish list for their items.


what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Boyfriend
He comes home from tour today. I get to be reunited with him after I get off work, and then watch him play at the Nile tonight. I am beyond excited. I've missed him so.

2. Winter Break
I am happy to have finished my third semester of graduate school, and that I have a nice mental break. Success.
3. My class
After the horrific events that took place on the 14th, I have been enjoying every minute with my kids.
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