Anyone else's pants tight right now?  Tis the season to be happy! Just be happy, however you define it. Who cares if your pants are tight. What matters are the meaningful relationships and simple joys you have in your life. Time is precious and if you are pre-occupied with shopping, eating and a bunch of other exhausting happenings, you are missing out on priceless moments with people. Put your credit card away, stop shopping online and put your phone away. Grab a cookie, unbutton your pants and engage in a conversation with the people who mean the most to you as 2016 is slipping away. 

Weekly Conversation

I did this crazy-ass thing this year and started doing a podcast. It has been one of the most exhilarating things I have done. I have enjoyed every conversation I have had with the people I love the most, the people who love food and care about health:  Registered Dietitians. As I am getting ready for 2017 and more adventures, I wanted to share the one podcast that started it all. Number one, numero uno, my first. It is even more crazy that since I had my conversation with Jena, she is now a new mother!  Time flies people, don't waste a single moment. 

Week in Review

I have some amazing friendships and this week was a great celebration of them. My friend Erin married the love of her life, James. It was a little dicey at the beginning of the day with a snowfall, but love prevailed and it all cleared up by the afternoon. They had a beautiful wedding and I know they will have a joyful life together. This picture says it all. 

The tribe also got together and had a cookie and cocktail club. Thankfully, we had a responsible member of the party to maintain motivation for the task at hand. Stacey, Cyril and Hollis manned the kitchen and created some delicious eats. 

Our theme for the party was to make a holiday cookie that reminded you of your childhood or something you made with your mom. My mom made a ton of cookie delights when we were kids. I know we tried to help, but I am guessing we were much of a help by licking bowls and spoons and eating cookie dough. I do remember my Dad loving all the treats my mom made and sitting at the table during the process sneaking bites. I made these peanut butter blossoms with Cyril helping me roll the dough and then dip them in sugar. This was my sissy Kate's favorite holiday cookie, so it only seemed appropriate to make them. 

Jason was in charge of making the cocktail, which seemed appropriate to have cranberry juice, with a splash of vodka for the cookie party.

Justin made some delicious peanut butter cookies with chunks of peanuts in it. Kevin got after it and made sugar cookies (with sprinkles!!!) and black raspberry jam cookies. He would not give me the recipe for the jam cookies, but they were delicious and sooo pretty. 

Workout Playlist of the Week

What I Love Right Now

I got a pretty kick ass package in the mail this past week.  Thank you Sierra!

About 6 months ago, I was out shopping with my mom and we saw a cool display of beautiful soaps at a local retailer. What was even better was the luxurious smells coming from the display. I was drawn to the lavender and the lemon poppy seed bars coming in all shapes and sizes. There were actual poppy seed in the soap. As we did more investigating, the company Pacha Soaps did not only have an impeccable message and mission, but were locally made in Hastings, Nebraska. (Side note:  for those of you who do not know, my college roommate, well-known organic chemistry guru and potato and vinegar loving, Katie Hervert Thomas is from Hastings). I love supporting locally created products and businesses and I love great smelling and beautiful personal products. 

"We are dirty hippies with a clean purpose."

"Pacha Soap is on a mission to provide the highest quality products, to promote health and well-being around the world and to implement sustainable solutions to the poverty cycle....all with veracity and love!"

Pacha Soap also gives back, number three of why I love their products. They have their "Raise the Bar" campaign to help someone in need. For every bar purchased, a bar is donated to a variety of people, including children in developing countries. This campaign also supports developing careers in soap making  for men and woman in developing nations. 

These colorful, fragrant and handcrafted soaps come in a variety of versions:  handouts loaves, bars and moons with scents like Ruby Red Grapefruit, Frankincense Myrrh and Pocket Full of Cozy; logs that are moisturizing and exfoliating with flavors of avocado, carrots, rosemary and eucalyptus; and soaks and scrubs for the bath. 

Their new product is this bar soap variety pack. You get a great selection of their scents in a smaller bar than the normal size. The bars last a long time and fill your shower or bath with scents reminiscent of essential oils. My mom loved the variety pack so much, she places a different bar underneath her pillow each week just to have the lasting and relaxing scents fill her slumber. 

I got these as stocking stuffers for all members of my tribe this year, head on over to Pacha Soap to explore their great products, learn more about their great mission and find a store closest to you to purchase a unique, made in the Heartland gift for those who make your heart beat.