Homemade Larabars

When it came to the Whole 30, I needed to find a snack that I could always have around as a just in case. What if I suddenly got hungry or what if I was at school way longer than I thought or what if anything? My brother introduced me to Larabars which have such simple ingredients in them. There is no guessing or googling when it comes to these bars. They definitely aren’t calorie free,  but they are a quick and convenient snack. Now when it comes to the Whole 30, you have to pick and choose what bars you can and can’t eat. For example, the Peanut butter and Jelly and Chocolate Chip Cookie dough bars are off limits. But the Cherry Pie and Key Lime Pie bars rare totally fair game!

With such simple ingredients, I figured there had to be an easy way to make these bars at home from scratch. I enlisted Heath, my health nut brother, into helping me with this cause.

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The Weekly Update

The last month has been beyond hectic. There are just not enough hours in the day, and at the end of the day, I am exhausted. I am exhausted to the point where I cannot function. My dad and I each took a 1.5 hour nap on Tuesday afternoon ignoring our To-Do lists. Even though it has been so busy, it has been a good kind of busy. In the last month, I graduated from veterinary school, moved out of Philadelphia, moved back in with my parents, rode a five day stage race, my brother got married, I turned 25, and moved into my new house. The last three have all happened in the last week. I am ready for a little R and R.


Here are some major life updates!

  1. Biking // Not that biking had not taken over my life before, but it has definitely taken over more than ever in these last weeks. My dad, Heath, and I raced the Tran-sylvania Epic five day stage race over Memorial Day weekend. We all had such an amazing time that they convinced me to sign up for the Wilderness 101, 101 miles of rocks and mountains. Now, I have to get down to business and really train. I am excited and extremely nervous. I have just over a month to train. This is when I know how lucky I have to have friends and family to ride and train with me!
  2. Starting Work // Pending my final paperwork, I should be able to officially start work on Monday. Being 25 (it feels so old) and finally getting my first adult job, feels crazy. I have been going to school forever. I can’t wait to start my job and put my knowledge to the test. It is a dream come true!
  3. Moving // My sister and I finally get to move into our new place. Moving was fun and exciting for a day. Now, I am so sick of moving boxes and unpacking. My room is a total disaster, and the list of things to buy is getting longer. We didn’t realize that neither of us has silverware! I tried buying silverware and didn’t like the options, so we are currently stuck with plastic silverware until we can get some.
  4. Wedding // My brother, Heath, got married this weekend. I honestly cannot believe it. He has become such a rock and support system for me over the last three years, and I know how lucky his wife is to have him. The wedding was so much fun! It came up so quickly and flew by. Now, they are off on their honeymoon sending us gorgeous pictures of Colorado where they are biking with their dogs (We are green monsters of jealousy back home).
  5. Traveling // The four of us are headed to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard on Monday. My mom has been begging us to go and we are finally taking the trip. She has a whole itinerary planned. I am really hoping for some down time to relax and recover from these busy weeks. Plus, I am stoked to find the best lobster roll!

 

House Update 

Hopefully, this is the last update before we officially move in! This project has been coming along for such a long time, and I am so ready for it to be done so we can move in. Our move in date was supposed to be May 1st, giving a few weeks of built in leeway in cause things took a little longer. This was setup so my sister and I could move our things directly from our apartments into the house without a middle step. Currently, our things are piled up everywhere at home and in the garage.

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So much has happened over the last weeks. We went from having a house with no flooring to having flooring and having stained flooring. Picking out the stain was such a challenge. You are picking from either an online site, trying to compare to floor samples, or looking at tiny squares on the ground. I really needed my imagination to try and picture what it was all going to look like. I thought I wanted a darker wood to contrast with the light walls and white trim. However, we have two dogs who shed constantly, and I was afraid it was going to show up! We ended up with a lighter floor that looks fantastic! I love it way more than I thought I would!

The light fixtures are in! I was way more stressed out picking light fixtures and fans than I thought I was going to be. I thought I would have a catalogue to flip through and the lights I wanted would just speak to me. So wrong! We had so many sites to look through it became daunting. Luckily, some sights were just not at all what I wanted and I could cross them out immediately. Others, I fell in love with everything and couldn’t make up my mind. I had never paid so much attention to light fixtures in people’s homes before having to pick out my own! The biggest challenge to me was that I felt the light fixtures were permanent because I don’t think my family has ever made a change to the light fixtures in either of our homes growing up. I am happy with out final choices! Here is a weird picture of the foyer light. I love the dark color in contrast with the rest of the house.

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The outside landscaping and yard work has begun changing the dirt lot into a perfectly manicured lawn. I am so joking. I am no gardner and have barely any experience maintaining a yard. When we were talking to the landscaper, I made sure that the upkeep would be simple. Plus I know my mom will help me get started and into a routine. The back patio is my favorite spot. I know there will be many evenings and afternoons spent out there. One of my main must haves was an outdoor fireplace!

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Another awesome feature to this house are the reading nooks. Every room and bedroom has a little nook or lounging area for people to sit on and look outside. A big decision was picking out fabric for each room and space for these benches. The main floor has the navy and red pattern, and the others are for the bedrooms upstairs. I cannot wait relax on one of these this summer!

The kitchen is another space I am anxious to see finished. The appliances went in last week and the backsplash went up this past weekend. Since they were putting the final stain on the floor, I haven’t been allowed back in to see it! I am hoping it looks as good as I pictured in my head (designing this house without help has been a real challenge, I definitely took on more than I could chew).

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Some other things I have been checking off my list are carpets- picking one for a stair runner and another for the living room. Plates and silverware- I picked out some bright and colorful plates last week that will look great in the house! New bed spreads and sheets are a must for the new house. Lastly, trying to relax, the move in day will be here before I know it!

Learn about the rest of the house renovations here, here, and here!

Ch- Ch- Changes

This last two weeks have been a whirl wind of things. From finishing school, to a trip to Mexico, and then home to graduate. It has been full of more emotions than I could have imagined. There are been so much joy and excitement- finishing school, becoming a veterinarian, and spending time with friends in Mexico- so much happiness. But, then came the realization that I have to become an adult and all my friends are moving away from each other. I wasn’t ready for that. I miss my friends more than ever, and I wish we were all back together!

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Packing up my apartment has been a few weeks in the making. I haven’t moved in four years, and I have accumulated way to much stuff. So much of it is just stuff and junk. I piled three trash bags full of clothes to donate while I was at school and another five since being at home. I think it is finally easier to part with some things now that I am changing my focus in my life. I am no longer a kid in college and am now an adult with a real job! It feels great to get rid of so much, especially because it means less to move and unpack in a few weeks! My dad keeps pushing me to get rid of more so I don’t fill my new place with junk.

 

The house my family was renovating for me to move into isn’t ready yet. All my stuff (which is way more than I had imagined) is crammed in my bedroom at home and the furniture is in the garage. I can’t find anything, and it is beginning to really wear on me. I have lost things in the move- I am not sure if I accidentally donated things or if they are just in a box somewhere.  The house is also so close to being done that it is frustrating to not be moving into it. The excitement of being in it and unpacking it and making it my own has been such a long time coming that I just cannot wait!
My brother is getting married in less than two weeks. It felt like this day was so far away when the process all began. I can’t believe it is almost here. Everything is just about ready, and there will always be little things that need to get done over the last days. It is going to be such a whirl wind next two weeks!


This week my dad, Heath, and I are competing in the Transylvania Epic, a five day mountain bike race in State College, PA. We have rented an RV, my dad hates camping in tents, and are getting everything ready for the weekend. It is going to be a hard week of riding for me, all rocks and single track what I struggle with the most! My dad, Ron and I did a long mountain bike ride on Sunday. I fell and bent my brake lever, causing a last minute stop at our local bike shop. Lucikly, they were able to fix it easily. Keep you fingers crossed that the rain holds off!

Surviving an All Inclusive Resort

Last week I went to Cancun with friends to celebrate our upcoming graduation from veterinary school. It was an all inclusive resort, meaning all of our food and drinks were included, aka unlimited food and drinks at all hours! The most dangerous combination when you are celebrating with friends and wearing a bathing suit!

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For most of the week, we just laid around on the beach, not moving. Occasionally, we would get up and swim in the water, but usually our adventures from the beach were for breakfast, lunch, and our snack. Not the best situation. Servers constantly came around to see if we needed anything to drink. Making it harder and harder to be good!

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I know myself and know that I have no self control when tempted. The best thing for me to do is to keep myself out of the danger zone. It is really easy to be laying in bed at night telling yourself, tomorrow you are going to be good, not snack and eat no dessert, but the other side goes, hey you are on vacation and celebrating.

Here are some things I learned over the week!

  1. Make time for the gym // I like to start my mornings on vacation with a workout. For me, it means I definitely got it done. Who knows what fun activity may happen later, and I never want to miss out because I need to work out. I tend to eat better if I have gone to the gym and worked out because it kicks starts my morning!
  2. Walk through the whole buffet // Most all inclusive resorts have a buffet restaurant. I get totally overwhelmed with all the options and before I know it, my plate is piled to the sky with food. Then, you look at your plate and say you won’t eat it all, but you might, and maybe you will even go back for seconds. Planning out what you want to eat can really help you limit what you are going to get.
  3. Gym with friends // As always, you are more reliable when you have someone counting on you or encouraging you to go. Make a plan with a friend to go to the gym, exercise on the beach, or attend a workout class! Some of us went to a water cycling class where the exercise bike was actually in the pool under water.
  4. Pick your drinks carefully // I don’t drink much alcohol. There are very few drinks I actually enjoy drinking and I stick to those. Unfortunately, the ones I love are made with so much sugar. At the beach, it is so easy to fall into drinking margaritas and daiquiris and anything else beachy, but these drinks aren’t great for you. Limit these drinks and pick something else to drink along side.
  5. Exercise outside // I am not great at working out in a gym. I spend way to much time worrying about everyone around me watching me then actually getting a good workout in. Those “weird” exercises I do at home make me uncomfortable and I can’t do them in the gym. I also loathe running on treadmills for more than 10 minutes (but unfortunately you can’t always run outside in strange places). I began moving my exercises to a location either on the beach (which was extra hard) or just a remote grassy location. I was more secluded than at the gym, making me less self conscious, and it was a beautiful view!

 

I took a lot of sweaty elevator selfies after the gym! Please share any tips you have!

Cancun Senior Week

Between our last rotation and graduation, some friends decided to go to Cancun to celebrate for one last hooray! We stayed at an all inclusive resort and relaxed for five days. It was exactly what we needed to unwind after all the stress and work over the last year and a half. The views were breathtaking!

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It was the most wonderful week filled with friends, fun, laughter, and so much food! We spent almost all day at the beach relaxing and swimming. There were two beaches and six pools, one was on the roof! The resort felt super big, giving you space to move around and explore! One of my favorite places was the light house on the point!

Being as pale as I am, aka a ghost, I struggled so much with trying to keep from burning. I brought a carry on suitcase, so all my sunscreen needed to be less than 3 oz- no spray sun screen for me! I religiously put on sunscreen every 2 hours at first, and slowly began to spread it out. I wanted to get a little tanner, so I wasn’t the color of sand, but I really didn’t want to burn or over do it! I may, if you squint, slightly have a tan line, but that is so much better than harming my skin!

Being at an all inclusive resort, we had unlimited access to food and drinks, really testing our self control! There was a coffee shop (the bet coffee ever), Mexican, Italian, Asian (sushi and hibachi), American, and French restaurants, a buffet that changed, and a pastry shop! Way too many options, and we had to try them all! There were bars everywhere for you to grab a drink, even a swim-up bar in one of the pools!

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I love these guys and I am so happy to call them my colleagues!

Officially Dr. Thumel

Yesterday, I graduated from veterinary school, making me Dr. Thumel. It is crazy to believe that my childhood dream (since the age of three) has finally come true. Hours of studying and stressing has finally paid off. It’s unreal and has definitely not sunk in yet!

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Penn has an awesome tradition where veterinarians within a family or Penn faculty are able to present a student’s diploma. Both my parents came up on stage to present me with mine. It meant so much more this way! My mom was beginning to tear up and I couldn’t look at her because I knew it would make me cry.

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