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26 Lessons I Learned by 26

Last week I turned 26 years old. Which is strange because I feel like just last week I was celebrating my Golden Birthday, 25 on April 25th. Turning 25 was fun, it still felt young, it was my first birthday being married and my twin sister, Whitney, was here with us celebrating.

Turning 26 was very different. A week before my birthday I received an early morning phone call from one of my best friends to tell me her sister had died in a car accident. Four days later was the funeral of Nancy-Jane David, who felt like a little sister to me in high school. I haven’t shared any of this on my social media platforms out of respect for her family but they have since shared and will continue to. We had all been together just three weeks before at Georgia’s bridal shower. I had not seen Nancy-Jane in a year or two and one of my main takeaways from that shower was NJ. She was stunning. She was smart. She had everything in life to look forward to. She told me about her plans to continue grad-school in New York City. I encouraged her to do so and we laughed about a few memories we had from when I lived there. I remember in recapping the excitement of the shower with my mom and gramma, my need to express to them how amazing Nancy-Jane was and how happy I was to see her thriving. What a beauty! Inside and out. 

Ever since I heard the news I have not stopped praying or thinking about Nancy’s family, my second family in high school. And as my birthday rolled around, I felt it to be completely unfair. How can I grow another year older when someone we have loved so much will never be 26? This felt and still feels heavy on me. It’s not something I can fully express. 

Luke organized a surprise dinner party for me with some of our friends in Malibu and as I expressed my gratitude for them, I told them what I had been thinking all day. “This year, perhaps more than ever, I am thankful to grow older, because I recognize not everyone gets to be 26. I cherish today in their honor.” 

I feel almost an urgency to write the below. I want to be able to remember what God has been teaching me, to see and recall how He is moving in my life and in the lives of others. We will not know this side of heaven why some of us live to be 21 and others 105, but I do know this, I will see Nancy-Jane again in glory thanks to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Georgia so eloquently has said, “All is well NJ.”

26 LESSONS I LEARNED BY 26

  1. Life is short and meant to be cherished.
  2. You should definitely move across the country a few days after your honeymoon.
    • My mom and mother in law won’t necessarily agree with this first lesson (I love you both!), so I am here to explain briefly. One of the most exciting and challenging things Luke and I did in our first year of marriage was move me across the country. The “leave and cleave” move that law school required allowed us to create our own family unit and bound us together early on.
  3. My husband, Luke, is a renaissance man. During my 25th year of life and our 1st year of marriage he sang and led worship at a funeral and then 2 weeks later, he did so again at a wedding. All while studying for the California Bar Exam.
  4. A growing family is a huge blessing.
    • I never thought much about my husband’s family before I got married, I think when I did think about marriage I thought solely about my husband and kind of obsessed over him (and how tall he would be). I could have never dreamed up the family I would gain through marriage. I have the most incredible mother and father in law and gained three little sisters. I like to say little even though the oldest is just a year or two behind me. We also gained a brother this year through my twin sister. She married an amazing man named Jeff who has quickly become one of Luke’s best friends.
  5. Holidays change as you get older but it’s always for the better.
    • A big takeaway from this past year was thinking back on holidays and how they change with a growing family. Don’t be worried. It’s fun to have new traditions and people to share them with.
  6. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.
    • This lesson I have learned by living far away from family, specifically my mom and sister. Living on the opposite coast of Whitney, I call her at breakfast and she is eating lunch!
  7. Focus and invest in the friendships that lift you up and encourage you.
  8. Different life stages require different friendships.
  9. Tame your tongue.
    • I could try to fully explain this lesson but instead I’ll share this link. 
  10. Prayer is powerful.
  11. Comparison is the thief of joy.
  12. Choosing to be grateful can cancel out anxiety, frustration, worry and fear.
  13. Her success is not your failure.
  14. Delegation and communication are the two key components of a strong operating startup.
  15. Face to face communication (especially in conflict) is always best.
  16. Document moments but don’t let that take you away from being present.
  17. Traveling is the perfect way to broaden your horizons and can give inspiration that helps you dream bigger. See more here.
  18. Mom knows best. *These are in no specific order, or this one would be higher up!
  19. A healthy lifestyle is a moment to moment choice.
  20. Balance is a continual journey never a destination.
  21. Don’t forget to give yourself grace.
  22. As much as you work and play be sure to rest.
  23. Dogs really are man’s best friends.
  24. Beach walks can be healing.
  25. Show up.
  26. The best is yet to be!

Whole 30 Cobb Salad

Recently, I have been enjoying a homemade Cobb Salad during my lunch break.

One of my favorite perks of working from home is having the ability to make my lunch and use my kitchen during my lunch break. I love being in the kitchen. The best part (in my opinion) about this lunch is the whole 30 approved Primal Kitchen Ranch Dressing. I got mine at Erewhon Calabasas but if you don’t have an Erewhon nearby it’s also at Whole Foods.

Whole 30 Cobb Salad

Ingredients:

  • Living Lettuce (Or any type of greens)
  • Purple onion
  • Tomato
  • Yellow bell pepper
  • Bacon
  • Shredded chicken or sliced turkey
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • Avocado oil
  • Avocado Ranch by Primal Kitchen

You can adjust your serving size to whatever you need but I usually like to fill a plate with greens and then use kitchen shears to cut them up so I can have lots and lots of them. Then I will do 2 pieces of bacon, 2 hard boiled eggs, 1/4 chopped yellow bell pepper, a few cherub tomatoes and a dash of Avocado Ranch dressing.

Top with salt and pepper, enjoy!

Vanilla Protein Smoothie

This morning, after my workout and catching up with clients, I decided to go ahead and run a few errands. Usually, I’ll make a veggie omelette each morning BUT today I needed something quick to get out the door.

My Vanilla Protein Smoothie was the perfect option.

VANILLA PROTEIN SMOOTHIE

Recipe:

  • 1 cup frozen spinach (I get a bag at Costco and keep it in my freezer.)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder from Traders Joe’s
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 3 ice cubes

Blend and enjoy! Preferably on the beach and not in your car running errands. 🙂

Easter Weekend 2017

It’s the morning after Easter! I hope you and your families had an amazing weekend. 

We were up early and headed to Santa Monica where we attend Vintage Church LATo our family, Easter is a day of celebration but something that we focus on every day. The resurrection and new life we find in Jesus Christ! He is risen!

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And can I just say that all of the volunteers and staff at our church truly outdid themselves this year. It was gorgeous! Their main decoration piece was flowers… and you know how I love flowers. 

Yesterday afternoon we had joined friends in Westlake at Luke’s bosses house. It was so fun for me to get to know everyone he’s working with and their families. We are kind of Pepperdine obsessed!

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We wrapped up the day with a beach walk with our dear friends the McCollum’s. Soaking in all the time we can with friends who are graduating and moving in May.

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One Year Anniversary Trip: Terranea Resort

In December, Luke and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary at Terranea Resort. Directly after we dove into the holidays and Luke started studying for the California Bar Exam, which he took in February. The above explains my months delay in sharing how wonderful our trip was! 🙂

Terranea Resort is in Palos Verdes about an hour from Santa Monica on a Sunday afternoon (which is when we drove down).


From check in to checkout we had the most amazing experience. Terranea is set high above the ocean on a private 102-acre peninsula paradise, it’s like stepping into a whole new world – minutes from the craziness of Los Angeles. On three sides, you’re surrounded by the Pacific and across the channel is Catalina Island. From the resort lobby and outdoor gardens to private terraces and inviting courtyards with outdoor fireplaces, we found many places to relax and unwind. Exactly what we needed after finishing Law School!


Our first meal took place at Nelson’s, the more casual option. Let me just say it was delicious!


We explored all afternoon, which is easy to do as all of Terranea is completely walkable.


I highly suggest taking time to get a massage or facial at The Spa. There is a private pool for spa guests that has outdoor fireplaces and quiet places to lounge. Even better is the post therapy rooms within the spa that are up above the pool. Our couples massage ended at sunset so we relaxed next to an indoor fireplace in a private room with the terrace door open wide. It was amazing!


We celebrated our 1 year with dinner at Terranea’s Mar’sel Restaurant. Mar’sel offers the ideal location for an elegant dinner. Mar’sel (a play on the Spanish word for “sea” and the French word for “salt”) offers a twist on California cuisine. With a seasonally rotating fine dining menu that features locally-sourced ingredients (citrus and herbs from the resort’s grounds, hand-ground chocolate, farm-fresh eggs), mar’sel combines approachable luxury with a breathtaking setting.


I (of course) was eager to use their workout facilities and was happy when Luke joined me for (his first ever!) spin class. The 6:30am outdoor spin class meant we watched the sun come up over the ocean in front of us. Worth the early wake up call! The gym itself is state of the art with any machines or equipment one would want. The gym is directly across from The Spa.


Breakfast postspin was at the newly renovated Catalina Kitchen. This was my favorite meal of the trip! I LOVE what they’ve done here. Catalina features a cohesive New American menu with a California coastal sensibility. Dishes are simply composed and make use of high-quality, seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients. We will definitely be back!


The only regret I have is not bringing our golden doodle, Maui. Terranea is pet friendly and perfectly designed for well behaved pets to join you on your weekend trip. We can’t wait to be back!

Two Delicious Breakfast Bowls

It has been a rainy new year in Southern California! When I moved to California last January it rained on us the whole drive in from the boarder to Calabasas so this weather makes me sentimental to my first few weeks in California.

Sometimes on gloomy days I like to brighten up my mornings with colorful breakfast bowls! Here are two of my recent favorites.

ACAI BOWL

Recipe:

  • 1 Sambazon Acai Smoothie Pack
  • 1 banana (half in smoothie, half as topping).
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries (in smoothie).
  • 1/4 cup Purely Elizabeth Original Granola
  • 2 Strawberries

Oatmeal Bowl

Recipe:

  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 pack Wild Friends Chocolate + Coconut Peanut Butter
  • 2 strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup Purely Elizabeth Original Granola

I hope this brightens up your Foguary! 😉 Let me know if you try either of the delicious and healthy options above.

Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

Yesterday I whipped up this quick and easy smoothie for lunch. While peanut butter can sometimes make smoothies feel heavy this recipe is light and delicious. Enjoy!

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SERVINGS: 1

½ c fat-free milk
½ c fat-free plain yogurt
2 Tbsp creamy natural unsalted peanut butter
¼ very ripe banana
1 Tbsp honey
4 ice cubes

COMBINE ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and serve.

NUTRITION (per serving) 366 cal, 18 g pro, 40 g carb, 3 g fiber, 32 g sugar, 16.5 g fat, 3.5 g sat fat, 151 mg sodium