Another Week


Well, my blog post calendar/schedule slightly failed. It’s been 12 days since I wrote my last post. However, if I get as far to hit publish on this post, I will have outdone last month’s count. This week is Spring Break, meaning there is no cap on my hours at work. You can sure as heck bet I am working the full 40 hours. Talk about a vacation.


The weather is finally starting to warm up. It’s been raining off and on the last two days. My peonies and daffodils poked their heads above the cold black dirt early last week. The leaves have been raked, and the trash from all these filth bucket college students has been disposed of. To say I’m ready for my favorite to season to be begin would be an understatement. I have always had an affinity for spring, likely because it’s my birthday season, but also because I love watching the world bloom. And it’s certainly not just nature, I think even people start to poke their heads out of the dirt.


I’ve been focusing much of my time on my professional future. Mostly by obsessing over my resume, following the leads of a few people who have been so kind as to offer advice and connections, and a lot just down right whining with my new found friend, Brooke. As May 7th creeps ever closer, you can’t help but feel the serious pressure of adulthood. I know I’ve said this many times, I am feeling both excited and terrified, and the degree to which I’m affected by those feelings changes daily. Today, I’m hopeful that this week I will perfect my resume and get it into the right hands before the end of April.


I’ve been feeling a little rough around the edges. With all the ‘get out and there and adult’ stuff, it’s easy to find comfort in candy. I’ve totally plateaued in the weight loss world. Not that it’s all about losing weight, but I was on a roll for a while. I think now that I can ride my bike again, if I can just avoid emotional eating, I will kick my 25 Before 26 goal, no problem. But, for more immediate results, I went to see my dear friend Jac at the salon yesterday. Four hours later and…


I couldn’t be happier. Jac is a hair Goddess. If you live in the area, make an appointment with her at Hair Biz on San Marnan.

-Saturday at the post office, the old boxes are my favorite
-There’s something for everyone at the thrift store
-Catching a UNI game at Toads with Mom, I went for the company and chips
-Babes out on Main
-Sunset bike ride with Brynn
-Lunch on the roof of the Union with the bros
-Breakfast nachos, a new regular
-Silver hair wasn’t built in a day, but stage one sure is pretty


Winter Road Trip | Exploring Northeastern Iowa

On Sunday, my Dad planned a little road trip for the two of us. First, we headed to Manchester, Iowa. This past summer the town completed a whitewater park in the river that runs through town. A good friend of my Dad’s played a huge role in bringing this awesome attraction to Northeastern Iowa. While I may not have a chance to get into the water there anytime soon, it was interesting to learn a little about how the course works.

From there we stopped at the Field of Dreams movie site, the grotto in North Buena Vista, Sny Magill Mound Site and Pikes Peak. We enjoyed lunch at 1-R’s St. Olaf Tap, where we spit what might have been the biggest and most delicious tenderloin I’ve ever had. Also, I pet a mini horse.

We maybe kinda sorta might be related.
Check out this picture and this picture from my last trip to Pikes Peak to see the difference between seasons. I much prefer the summer shots.

A great little adventure, and a perfect way to start off 2016. Another mark towards one of my 25 before 26 goals!

‘It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.’

I’m writing this post after getting a few inquires from my last post when I mentioned I had lost weight. I am no expert, CLEARLY. Not to mention I ate breakfast twice today, once was at Dunkin’ Donuts, and I then followed that up with chicken strips. But hey, it’s totally okay to eat like crap sometimes, it taste good.

So here is my average human being advice on how I’ve been working at being a healthier average human being. I bet I have said this like 300 times, and there are probably a few people in the world that are really tired of hearing it, but it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. SERIOUSLY. The word diet is basically a swear word, like the really insulting super bad kind that never accidentally slips out when you’re around your Mom. You might lose weight on a diet, but you will 99% of the time gain it back. A diet is a quick fix, not a solution. More than likely you have to change your lifestyle to become healthier, so here’s how my lifestyle has changed.


I have not been meal planning like I planned to back in May, but I have been counting my calories. I use the Lose It! app. I have tried My Fitness Pal, but that thing is not a pal. It made me feel bad. Lose It! is not trying to be your pal, it’s just telling you how many calories you ate, how much exercise you’ve done, and how many calories you’ve consumer/burned in your day. Yes, it gives you a goal, but it’s not yelling at when you go over…Okay My Fitness Pal doesn’t yell at you either, but I just didn’t like it.


I’ve committed myself to not buying bread or sweets (other than cereal which is basically candy), and trying not to drink alcohol during the week. Bread leads to grilled cheese, and peanut butter and jelly, and BLT’s, and breakfast sandwiches, which are all great in moderation, but who the hell is moderating my sandwich intake? It’s supposed to be me, but I have no control over making sandwiches. So if there is no bread, there is no excessive sandwich making. And alcohol, well that’s a no brainer.


Without sandwiches, I’ve been eating healthier alternatives such a zoodles, spaghetti squash, and all the vegetable stuff in between. My Mom recently gave me a smoothie maker, which is both convenient and fun. I highly recommend investing in one. Clearly, produce is my new best friend for all meals. Besides produce, I eat eggs or Greek yogurt at breakfast, at lunch I like low-fat cottage cheese and deli meats, and at dinner I usually toss in a protein like chicken and whip up sauces to make meals more exciting.


Lastly, in the food department advice, follow the serving suggestions. If you’re counting calories you have to put in the serving. ONLY EAT THE SERVING. I can’t live without a crunch, especially at lunch, and crunchy vegetables don’t count. I pretty much always have wheat thins, or pita chips, or something in the crunchy category. As I reach my 30 pound goal, I may have to cut these out, but for now I will take the 100 some calories for the 14 crackers. It’s worth it. But only eat the 14 crackers, otherwise you might as well just eat a grilled cheese because SCREW IT.

Oh one more food thing, if you have an ALDI, buy your produce there. Seriously. So much cheaper than anywhere else. SO MUCH CHEAPER. Really, why are you shopping anywhere else for anything else unless you need Jiff or Q-Tips? Oh and weekends are for eating whatever you want, especially pizza. And drink water, like all the water.

Physical fitness wise, yoga is my go-to activity. I can’t recommend Yoga with Adriene enough. She is the most hilarious, positive, chill person on the Internet, I swear. I really want to be her best friend, but practicing with her videos will suffice. I kicked off my ‘fitness journey’ by doing her 30 Days of Yoga. Really, I’m not a huge exercise till you sweat person. I don’t mind sweating, but I hate showering. My skin is sensitive and I have better things to do with my time than bathe. Thus there is no dedicated cardio time in this lifestyle change, but again, might have to happen to reach the big 3-0.


I live the pedestrian life. I haven’t had a car in over a year now, which obviously only works if you live within a certain proximity of your daily activities, have a Mom who takes you shopping when needed, and have friends who will always pick you up (THANKS EVERYONE). Life without a car has literally forced me to be physically active. On average I walk just over 3 miles a day. I believe this has hugely contributed to being more active and positive in general.


LASTLY, I believe the number one contribution to my lifestyle change is cutting out negativity in my life. I’m sure the health benefits of eating and exercising make me feel better too, but I’ve weeded out a lot of negative, and filled in the gaps with lots of positive stuff. From a whole pack of new friends, to new responsibilities that have lead to new passions, the positive feels I have for life right now make everything easier. So smile, live in the present, and do what makes you happy!

I hope this has inspired you, or encouraged you to try something new, or just made you laugh a little. What do you do to live a happy healthy life?!



25 and a Half


I’m halfway to 26 today! I have been diligently working on my 25 before 26 goals. Okay, maybe not diligently, more like ‘through some sort of miracle’ a bunch of my goals have been checked off. Many of them are more long-term, mental goals, which can’t really be checked off until the big 2-6, but I feel pretty good about where I am at with all of those.

1. Create blog content that I am proud of, and feel less guilty about how often I post. Feeling much less guilty now that I am writing for Odyssey. I still really want to focus on this little gem of a blog come spring because I know it could be a vital resource when I apply for jobs. Oh god.. jobs.
2. Maintain my current GPA. 5 weeks left in the semester, really not sure where I am at on this one.
3. Appreciate Iowa through travel. Doin’ it. Lovin’ it.
4. Go on a mother/daughter adventure – Chicago: Holocaust Museum and IKEA
5. Build a professional portfolio. After this semester my portfolio should be lookin’ pretty darn beautiful.
6. Propagate an excessive amount of succulents and give them away to friends! Crossing this out despite not giving anyone a succulent. I propagated, they grew into tiny succulents of adorableness, and then they died because my human life was happening and there wasn’t a lot of room for plant life. Oops.
7. Grow an herb garden from seedlings.
8. Finish the beauty room: hang pictures, cover pillows, etc. Just one more pillow to cover, and one more picture to hang, then I’m calling it good.
9. 30 days of biking COMING SPRING 2016
10. Put a bird feeder in the yard.
11. Paint the front door red.
12. Complete a month of yoga challenge.
13. Get in the habit of meal planning, and grocery shopping once weekly. Ehhhhhhh… see item 25.
14. Be more patient.
15. Finish at least one internship. 5 weeks left.
16. Update and re-design my resume.
17. Mail birthday cards often. I’ve mailed 3, so not doing super great but not failing.
18. Host a themed party each season. FAIL.
19. Wear my glasses (and maybe get new ones). FAIL.
20. Clean out my closet, and stop hoarding clothes that I never wear.
21. Be kind, caring, and more available especially to those who need me.
22. Have a girls night at least once a month (sorry Jess and Becca, I guess you have to do this too). Successful thus far!
23. Look at events in life with a best-case instead of worst-case interpretation. Or just ask. (goal inspired by this article)
24. Make at least 5 of these crafts. Christmas, a time for crafting.
25. Drum Roll Please….. Lose 30 pounds! The loftiest (but totally achievable) goal on the list! So probably the most exciting part about this, I’m over halfway there. Yep. Totally crushing it. Writing about this in a separate post, because turns out I have a lot to say about it. Shocking, I know.


I am super duper happy with how 25 is coming along. 25 is like the chapter before what will probably be one of the best chapters in my book of life, and so I am trying to do everything I can to prepare for it. In the last 6 months I have made so many kind, passionate, and talented new friends, built stronger relationships with the people I love the most, and have felt so much happier and healthier in doing so. While I have pretty much no clue what 26 will hold, I love knowing that 25 has given me a plethora of new skills and experiences to be able to do almost anything I set my mind too.

Here’s to six more months of 25! Cheers!

Pontoon Party

The last weekend of August was the highly anticipated pontoon trip. Okay, being honest, any trip involving water or a boat, I highly anticipate. But, this was one particularly special because it was basically the last weekend of summer, the last hurrah, the calm before the storm, etc.

Anna booked this amazing pontoon, complete with grill, on Big Creek Lake. Sam, our captain and Anna’s boyfriend, motored us around the lake all day. Kudos to Sam for getting a crash course is pontoon driving and totally nailing it. From one end of the lake to the other, and in and out of coves, not to mention the boat was full of hooligans. Nailed. It.

The weather was practically perfect. While the sun didn’t make much of an appearance, it was still warm enough to swim. We dropped anchor in a few coves to jump off the boat and use life jackets as floaties. The best part was being able to just sit on the boat and not fry in the sun. We drank mimosas, grilled, and even flew a kite.

After our water adventure, we all set up camp at Jester Park. My Dad lent me an amazing tent, tall enough to stand up in. I am never again going back to a tent that you can’t host a dance party in. After we set up camp, we ventured out on short hike through the woods. The trail led to this beautiful overlook of Saylorville Lake. We spent the evening gathered around the fire, roasting brats, hot dogs, and marshmallows.

What a fantastic weekend, with a wonderful group of people. There was never a dull moment. I would highly recommend boat rental at Big Creek, and camping Jester Park.

So long sweet summer! I will miss you, but I am so excited for fall. #PTP2K15

So Long Summer

My summer is officially coming to a close. Monday brings the start of the fall semester, the first day of my internship, and the beginning of my final year as a college student. Holy. Crap. The next 9 months will require some serious dedication and passion. It’s mostly all good feels as I dive head first into the future, but there is a very big part of me that is absolutely freakin’ terrified. I’ve worked my ass off for this, and at the end is supposed to be this magical glorious thing where all the hard work will pay off, the puzzle pieces will fall into place, and all will be right with the world (of Hannah). But.. I can’t help but think, HOLY CRAP what if it doesn’t go as planned?! What if I suck!? What if I totally screw this up!? What if I HATE the ‘future’ that is supposed to be the rest of my life?! But I have to do it. I want to do this. And it’s all going to be okay. Best case scenario, folks.

Phew, that was a little overwhelming. With that being said, here are some photos from summer that got lost in the shuffle.

An attempt at propagating succulents.. they all died. That week when my house was bursting with peonies. Practically every night of summer offers an amazing sunset. Did a little volunteering at the College Hill Arts Festival. Lost photos from the car show, the family sailing day, and lots of fun nights with great friends. A sunset from Ragbrai, and a photo with the newest addition to my pack of babes, Brynn (major girl crush, she’s cool as hell). A plant that I didn’t kill, cherry tomatoes. Beach, and a different beach. Zinnias from seeds gifted to me by Sweet Marie. Lastly, full grown baby yellow tomatoes.

Over the summer have I had added beach comber, flower photographer, and sunset time lapse junkie to my list of titles. My Dad gave me a Joby GorillaPod a few years ago, and over the summer I have finally mastered it’s versatility. I use a small mount for my iPhone 6 and then attach that to my tripod. Works like a charm. The video above was taken on my phone while attached to my bike handle bars.

For more photos, time lapses, and frequent updates in general, check out my Instagram; @sweethannahpea. Thanks for the memories Summer 2015.


The time finally came (and went, very quickly) for my Mom and I to take our mother-daughter vacation. It only took us TWO YEARS to get it together and actually go. We opted for Chicago because it’s close, it’s cheap, there’s activities, and there’s IKEA!! *insert little kids cheering soundbite*

We spent a solid 6 hours in Ikea, and still that wasn’t long enough. They closed an hour early for a private event. Not sure what the private event was, but I would like my next birthday party to be a closed Ikea event, please and thank you. We filled a shopping cart, drank lingonberry soda, and didn’t break the bank. It was pure bliss.

A first for us on our trip was staying at an Airbnb. It was absolutely perfect. Our host, Ben, was incredibly sweet and offered so much more than a hotel would have. I would highly recommend Airbnb, if you don’t know what that is, Google it.

Monday morning we dined at The Lucky Platter, a place I had found via Yelp. Best breakfast I’ve had in, maybe ever. I had the Benedict Florentine, poached eggs, honey black ham, sauteed spinach, sundried tomato, and hollandiase served on cornbread, and a bloody mary, of course.

Following breakfast we visited the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie. I would give it a 6 out 10. It was informative and home to a plethora of personal artifacts that were interesting, but it lacked in many areas. I did not feel any type of personal connection to the exhibit, despite the majority of the items being actual personal donated items. Every artifact was labeled with one of those tiny museum labels where the text was too small and the light in the exhibit was too low, so it felt like we spent the entire time squinting to read the tags. The most moving and interesting part was an actual train car that took people to the death camps. Overall, unless you’re particularly interested in the Holocaust, this museum was not worth the relatively low $12 entry fee. — The picture above is a replica of a ghetto, made by a young man while he was trapped inside. He buried it in the dirt floor of a building and returned to get it when the war ended. —

After several hours inside a building learning about one of the most horrific events in human history, we decided to do something a little more fun and exciting with our afternoon. The Lincoln Park Zoo has free entry, tons of animals, and many of the animals are kept in beautiful old buildings. We saw most of the exhibits, my favorite being the big cats. At one point the lion, tiger, and leopard were all .. meowing? roaring? Making noise. It was pretty awesome.

By the end of Monday I was so over walking. We opted to take the quick stroll down to Lake Michigan and just sit for a while. For dinner we had an amazing Chicago Style pizza from Lou Malnati’s. If only we could get a pizza like that for delivery around here. I’d never leave home.

On Tuesday we to Wicker Park, a recommendation from my friend Brynn. We spent the morning mostly window shopping, although we both made purchases at Ragstock. For lunch Brynn recommend Big Star Taco. It was DELICIOUS. Next time I’m ordering more tacos and a pitcher of margaritas.

What an excellent adventure. I officially love Chicago. Thanks for everything, Mom! Can’t wait for the next one.