Winter Break Recap

It’s back to real life this week (well, almost- school starts next week), but winter vacation has been glorious! It was so nice being in California with my family and soaking up the warm weather (aside from the weird cold snap). We stayed in Newport and went to Disneyland, California Adventure, and Knotts Berry Farm. It was amazing and I am so thankful for my amazing family!

It felt good to have a couple weeks off, but being back in a somewhat normal routine feels good too. I ate my weight in junk food (Disneyland Churros are apparently a huge weakness of mine), and only got a couple workouts in at the hotel, so my body was ready for some normalcy. January isn’t my favorite month by a long shot, but it felt good to come home and snuggle up in my own bed. I’m finishing packing up the Christmas Decorations, and I still can’t believe how fast the holidays went! The year seemed to kind of stretch on and on, but ever since I started school in the Fall time flew by.

I’m excited for a fresh start to the new year, and crossing my fingers it was better than 2014, which was definitely a lesson-learning and “growing” year. And in no particular order [and not the best photo quality] some highlights of the trip….


amazing sunset in Newport Beach ^^/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fcf/67995535/files/2015/01/img_5285.jpg

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls ^^


 Christmas Eve with my babe ^^


 Downtown Disney^^


 California Adventure^^


NYE at Disneyland^^


 Space Mountain 🙂 ^^

Happy New Year!


Motivation Monday: Gratitude isn’t just for Thanksgiving…

A little note to myself to remind me that I am more than the shape or appearance of by body.

thankful heart

Dear Cassie,
Remember to thank your body! It allows you to LIVE…experience the beautiful smells of the fall candles you love. Your body gets you up in the morning to go to work, school, & take care of your family. Your legs let you walk through Costco, the mall, hiking trails, up stairs, chase toddlers. They let you RUN! And run some more on the treadmill.  And squat a lot of weight. They are strong. Your arms squeeze your husband tightly. They hold babies and carry groceries. Lots of groceries. And lift a lot of weights. Those hands put so much work into typing papers and cooking dinner. The heart that feels so much love, and the mind that got you into grad school. Remember to thank your body. All of it. REALLY appreciate all it does for you, and for others too. It’s beautiful and it’s strong.


Motivation Monday: You vs You

Between Social Media and TV, Movies, Ads, etc…there are millions of messages thrown at us everyday. Telling us what we “should” or “should not” be. What you should have, how much money you should make or spend…blah blah blah. It’s great to become motivated and inspired by other women, but it can become an unhealthy obsession. Everyone is at a different place. A different step in life. A different chapter. Different circumstances. It’s not fair to compare yourself to anyone other than YOU. YOUvsYOU

I am definitely guilty of the comparing game, but when I re-focus and think about where I was 1 year ago or even a few months ago, I realize that I’ve made progress. I’m heading in the right direction. So this week work on comparing yourself to YOU and only you!! You can look back at past photos, journals, facebook- whatever. If you aren’t headed in the direction  you want to be going, only YOU can decide to change gears and go where you want to go. This applies to all aspects of life- fitness and physical health, emotional and spiritual well-being, career and school life, etc. No one can force you, just like you can’t force anyone else to change. We all decide for ourselves.

Happy Monday! Have a great week. Here’s to a step in the right direction…..


A Brand New Month…

It’s a new month and a new school year- perfect time to set some goals! I recently read about setting weekly goals in a few categories- school/work, health/fitness, spiritual, etc. I thought this was a great idea to do on a monthly basis.



It’s one thing to run a few ideas through your head, but another to write them down and separate into categories. It will make your life easier and you’ll be more successful. Win-win!  So this month, set a couple goals. They can be long term (for the school year or semester), weekly, monthly- whatever. But writing it down significantly increases your chances of success.

And to keep me accountable, here are a few of my goals:

  • keep up with all of my reading for school
  • track macros everyday (especially weekends)
  • nightly scripture study

I also plan on having these written on my calendar to remind me.

Happy Tuesday! Have a great 4 day week. 🙂



Motivation Monday: Wise words from Jillian

Just wanted to quickly share this from Jillian Michaels’ book Unlimited. I plan on doing a full post about the book soon, but for now- one of my favorite passages.


“The truth is, there are no rules. Period. Anything is possible if you have the knowledge and do the work
Lets be clear: wanting things and feeling worthy of a great life do not mean you think you are more deserving or better than everyone else. We are all deserving of happiness.”



I LOVE this so much. It really spoke to me when I read it the first time, and I’ve gone back to read it many times since. Having high expectations of ourselves is healthy. God wants us to have a happy and successful life. On that note, Happy Monday!


Book Review: The Power of Habit

Ah. Such a great read. It’s about pathways in our brains that cause activities to become habits. He approaches the topic from a personal, community, and organizational perspective. I found it interesting to read up on how the culture and subculture of large companies grew from (seemingly) small occurrences that eventually became the norm.

power of habit


From simple activities like why we go to the cafeteria at the same time every day- to casual gamblers becoming full-fledged addicts who spend their life savings and then some in the casino, the book is presented in an easy to read way, mixing anecdotes with research.

It was a quick read and really got me thinking. I don’t want to summarize the whole thing so I’ll just talk about the basics.

The basis of every habit is a habit loop:

cue —> routine —> reward

This really got me to look at my behaviors, and think about the cues that cause them (taking pretzels from the pantry, or going out to get a diet coke) and why. What reward am I seeking. Am I really hungry? Do I need caffeine? Am I bored?

While the habit loop is simple, the author does not suggest that changing habits is easy to navigate because (obviously) everyone is unique. We have different triggers and emotions tied to our habits that can make them more or less difficult to break.

However the simplicity in the habit loop does create clear guide for how to start a new habit. He used the example of leaving running shoes right by the bed. You see them every morning (cue). You go for a run (routine). You feel accomplished/ endorphin high, etc. (reward)

In order to begin a new and lasting habit, we need to identify cues to remind us of the habit, and it’s equally,if not more, important to have your routine attached to a reward. That reward keeps us coming back for more, and our brain craves it!


ANYWAY…I def recommend. I couldn’t stop yacking about it to my husband while I was reading it!

Have you read it? What did you think?




Motivation Monday: Lessons in spin class

I mentioned last week that I’m loving spin class lately (or studio cycle as it’s referred to on my gym schedule). I usually want to cry/puke at least once every time I go, but I also get an endorphin high like NO other. I think that’s what keeps me coming back for more. The calorie burn is so good and the dark room, big screens, pumped up instructor, and loud music make the class go by so fast!

it's a good dayLast week the instructor said something that really stuck with me. She was talking about enjoying now. Not waiting until the weekend or vacation or whatever. She said If you spend your days waiting for summer you miss out on some really beautiful rainstorms. And boy is she right. Lately I’ve been trying to soak up this beautiful summer that is right in front of me. The mountains are looking handsome this time of year, and having a view of them as I lay out at the pool at my gym is pure bliss. More and more I’ve been realizing that it’s the little things that really make life awesome- having my favorite lunch (chipotle burrito bowl), curling up with a book at night, sleeping with the window open and feeling the warm summer breeze…’s the simple things.


So even though today is Monday (the most dreadful day of the week),make it your mission to enjoy the little things today!



Book Review: Happier at Home

I read Gretchen Rubin’s  Happiness Project about 6 months ago, and I was excited to dive into part 2 when I saw it at the library a couple of weeks ago. Some quick background- The Happiness Project was based around 12 months spent focusing on personal resolutions to improve happiness going month by month. The second book (obviously) focuses specifically on happiness at home- relationships with her family members, organization, honing a skill, etc. every month for a school year.



Without summarizing each of her resolutions, I wanted to focus on a couple important truths I gleaned about happiness

  • “Happiness doesn’t always mean being happy”  It’s important to note that her focus was clearly not on immediate gratification- which is very different, but sometimes in our culture can be masked, as happiness. Sometimes (or more often than we’d like) we need to do something challenging- and while at first it may be difficult or annoying- it will eventually bring contentment. Everyone has probably experienced this after cleaning the house or organizing a closet. “Outer order contributes to inner calm”.
  • “Happy people make people happy, but
    I can’t make someone be happy, and
    No one else can make me be happy”

I love this because it demonstrates that happiness can really set a tone. [side note- I’m currently reading Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer so I’m interested to read more into the power of positivity as far as yielding more positivity]

  • “Just because it makes some people happy, doesn’t mean it makes me happy.”  I LOVE this. Everyone has their own definition and version of happiness and this includes hobbies. I find joy in exercising, cooking, and reading books about positive psychology [and I’m obviously a 40 year old trapped in a 24 year old’s body]. My happy does not equal your happy and that’s ok. That’s what makes the world go round.

Finally- One question Gretchen brought up in The Happiness Project was “Is it a waste to spend so much time and energy focusing on my own happiness?” I think the answer is no. No one else is going to improve my quality of life except me. Only I can make me be happy. And when I’m happy, that positivity will reciprocate and then will I be ready and willing to help others.

Have you read any good books lately? Have you read the Happiness Project? What did you think?