I hope you all enjoyed your holiday season! Mine was great! However, just like the rest of 2012, it was so hectic and went by so fast! Drew and I visited our families in our hometown over the holidays and it was so nice to see them. We also got over 16 inches of snow while we were there! It was so fun and so pretty! I really miss that about winter when I’m in New Orleans!

Check out my Instagram to see more photos of our holiday vacation, including the snow, the scarves I crocheted, and our quick getaway trip to Saint Louis while we were home as well.

I know it is after Christmas now and I should have posted this sooner, but I wanted to share with you our first ever Rowland family Christmas card!

It was extra special this year being our first Christmas as a married couple! Drew’s birthday is also on Christmas, so it is always a special holiday around here.

I’m naturally a really self-reflective person, always re-evaluating my goals and how I’m meeting them, but I love how the holiday season gets everyone in a reflective mood — focusing on family and what is important, thinking over the past year and then making goals they want to meet in the upcoming one.

2012 was a really crazy year for me/us. A whole lot of wedding planning, Drew graduating from college, Drew starting work in a salary position, expanding our business, getting married, going on our honeymoon (to Boston, New Hampshire and Maine — I still need to blog about that!), working on making our apartment our home, and me getting closer and closer to graduating as well. It was a great year, but a really busy/crazy/hectic one, and I’m happy it is now over. School has gotten more and more intense as I’m getting closer to graduating and this past semester really seemed to take over my life. I was at school from early in the morning to really late at night (some of my classes didn’t get out until 9:30 at night!) and didn’t have time for a whole lot else (including blogging — that’s why I’ve been so MIA). I’ve really been stretched thin lately, and I don’t see it getting too much better (actually probably much worse) until this upcoming semester is over and I graduate.

However, even though 2013 will probably be a hectic year as well, I’ve got a lot to look forward to! I graduate this year! I could not be more excited for that day to come! I’m so over the whole college lifestyle and everything that comes with it. I’m also excited to see what job opportunities lie ahead and what I end up doing once I get out of school. So many exciting things to pursue!

I also have a lot of big changes in my life for 2013. As of the new year, Drew and I are now on Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. This is such an important change for me this year. As a single woman, I had a older, used car paid for by my parents when I turned 16 and a scholarship that covered pretty much all my college expenses. I knew people lived in debt, but never really knew what that felt like. When I got married, I inherited from my husband a car that has monthly payments, a lot of money in student loans, and a small amount of credit card debt. Debt sucks, y’all. A couple months of that stress and I decided that is all I could take. Dave Ramsey’s book really is life-changing. It makes you think about money, spending and debt in a whole new way. We have re-evaluated our budget and are doing all we can to diminish our debts as quickly as possible. Our goal for 2013 is to pay off all credit card debt and Drew’s car by the end of the year. Hopefully in the two years following that we can get all of Drew’s student loans paid off. Those payments are not something I want to live with for any longer than humanly possible. Even if that means sacrificing a lot of other things along the way (like eating out, spending money on things for our house we don’t need, extra television stations, extras on phone plans and bigger things like waiting to buy a house or start a family). So hopefully we can get that over with and get on with our lives! Really, I know we are just starting this, but if you have any debt or need tips on managing your money, saving for retirement, saving for college for your kids, or just want to live in financial peace, read Dave’s books. I really think everyone needs to read them. Your life will be changed. I’m warning you.

If that wasn’t a big enough goal to start out 2013 with, I also have big lifestyle changes in the health department. Over this past summer I found out that I have hypothyroidism. That basically means that my thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone and in turn causes a whole slew of other problems — exhaustion/tiredness, lack of concentration, impaired memory, depression, headaches, acne, digestive problems, problems being able to stand cold temperatures, problems with metabolism, weakness, muscle aches, etc. I’ve been experiencing different levels of these problems for the past several years and didn’t know what was wrong with me. Being in college and therefore working late nights, being stressed out and not getting enough sleep also tended to exaggerate these problems. I was so thankful to finally figure out what was causing the symptoms though. Hypothyroidism can be treated — but that means I have to take thyroid hormone supplements every day and likely will have to for the rest of my life. After I started taking the thyroid supplements and got my levels in the right place, I was feeling much better, but still not perfect. So I didn’t stop there.

After the endocrinologist didn’t say much different, I headed to my dad’s nutritionist to see what was the cause of the hypothyroidism and how to better combat it. I never believe that medication is the only right and final answer to anything! I want to get to the source of these problems and treat that. So I met with this nutritionist and although we are still working through my hair analysis to figure out what nutrient deficiencies I have and what vitamin supplements I need to take, I’m as of 2013 on a much stricter diet to maintain optimal health. I found out that I have sensitivities to wheat and milk (I had suspected this before), so although I’m not necessary “allergic” and I’m not going to break out in hives when I eat/drink them, I can’t digest them as well as I should be able to and they are therefore not helping me or adding any needed nutrients to my diet. I also have sensitivities to soy as well, so I’m staying away from that. Soy has a lot of hormones, and my levels of estrogen are already really high, so soy isn’t good for me because of that. In addition, my diet suggests I cut out corn products, they are so genetically modified these days that there isn’t much good left in them and white rice as well (starchy, carbohydrate-rich foods aren’t really so great for anyone). So this year (and for likely the rest of my life), I will be doing my best to not eat wheat, white rice, corn, soy or milk. Yikes! I also need to up my meat intake and my vegetable intake. I can still have other less-genetically modified and more nutrient rich carbs like red and white potatoes, beans, peas, lentils, quinoa, oats, sprouted grains, wild rice and limited amounts of brown rice. I also need to limit my sugar intake (as does everyone) to practically zero, so I’m trying to use only honey, agave nectar, and very limited amounts of turbinado sugar as a sweetener and limiting my fruit intake (again most fruits today have been so genetically modified that they contain so much sugar and not as many nutrients anymore — but I can still have it all, just a limit on my daily intake). I also am limiting my salt intake and only using Celtic sea salt (pure salt, no additives). The diet only lets you drink water as well (along with herbal teas), but I already only drink water, so that really isn’t a change. There are some other rules as well about what to eat with what (eat meat and veggies together and then eat starches like potatoes, peas, beans, lentils with vegetables, but don’t eat meat with potatoes/beans/lentils, etc. One is acidic, one is alkaline, so eating them together limits nutrient absorption) and the doctor also told me a lot of really great health information, but I’ll leave it at that. I would recommend everyone see a good nutritionist and start eating right for themselves!

I’ve been at it for the last week or so, and really so far, it isn’t that hard. You just have to change your mindset from eating for comfort to eating for health. There are also a lot of really great recipes out there that are gluten/rice/corn/soy free. I really didn’t eat that much corn or soy before anyway, and not enough white rice to make it that hard to cut out (plus it is easy enough to sub for brown rice or wild rice). Wheat is the big one (pasta, bread, baked goods, etc.) but there are lots of gluten-free options and lots of other flours to bake with (almond flour, coconut flour, quinoa flour, oat flour, etc.), so it really isn’t that difficult either. I haven’t missed milk yet, but I can always sub that with almond milk or small amounts of raw milk if it becomes a problem. I’m excited to start feeling better and being healthier!

So here’s to a healthier year this 2013 in many ways!

Do you have any goals for the new year?


  1. So glad we got to meet up while you were here!! And I totally feel you on the debt…that is something we are working on with a vengeance this year! Hopefully we both can get this knocked out this year! 🙂

    1. Yes! I’m so glad we met up. I had a great time! We’ll have to do it again sometime! Although, as far as we know right now, I don’t think we’ll be back again until July. Good luck with your debt! It is hard to get out from under it, but I think it will be so worth it to get it paid off sooner rather than later! 🙂

      1. I agree! We will obviously have student loan debt for awhile, but that is debt that doesn’t affect you when you go to buy a house, etc…and they are pretty laid back if you have a personal situation come up and can’t pay. The credit card debt is another story. We don’t have much, but it’s hard to knock it out when there are so many other bills. 🙂

        Hopefully we can figure out a way to meet up again! 🙂

  2. So excited to see you guys are starting the total money makeover! My husband and I also started this debt free mission on January 1 (even if I have to drag him and his free spirit along at times). Love Dave and his teachings, gives me hope that common sense isn’t totally lost these days! At 25, we now feel like there is a way of getting out from under the weight of student loans. Best of luck for your final semester, it goes fast! 🙂 Your apartment is beautiful, love everything you have done to it!

    1. Sorry it took me so long to reply! Blogging and everything else has taken a backseat to schoolwork this semester, but luckily I’m so close to being done and can get back to normal life soon! I’m so happy to hear of someone else that is doing The Total Money Makeover as well! I think reading Dave’s book and starting on that journey this year has made us so much stronger as a couple and the stress relief of making positive progress on our debt has been great! We got all credit card debt paid off in February and our goal is to pay off Drew’s car by the end of the year. After that, we just have Drew’s student loan debt to work through! Hope you guys have made good progress as well! 🙂


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