Wednesday, March 4, 2015

February Goals Revisited

I know I say this every month but time sure is flying by! I'm so ready for spring and I really hope it comes soon. I miss being outside. In the meantime, lets see how I did with my goals last month.

1. Paint nails once a week. I get ridiculously excited every Sunday to pick a new color to paint my nails. I had a dark purple the first week, pink for Valentine's Day week, blue for the coldness, and black for the last week. 

2. Lose five pounds this month. I lost three pounds and progress is progress so I'm calling it a win. 

3. Do a morning devotional every morning. Check! I have actually started craving this time with the Lord and enjoying it. I'm getting so much out of it. God is really stretching me. He is convicting me to stop worrying and to fully trust Him. It's not just a one time decision. Learning to trust Him and give Him full control is a daily, hourly battle. It's capturing my negative thoughts. My worries. My fears. And giving them to God and not letting myself stress and worry and get anxious.  

4. Follow Jillian Michael's Body Revolution workout and meal plan. I am still following the videos religiously and actually enjoying them more than I ever have. I can tell I'm getting stronger and leaner. Before and after pictures are everything. I take them at least once a month and I'm already noticing a big difference which is encouraging. I'm not following the meal plan as much as I thought I would. The meals include a lot of fish and I am just not a fan of fish. I should at least try one recipe from her though.  

5. Read 3 books this month. This was a fail unless reading Cook and Enjoy and Better Homes and Garden counts because that is all I've read this month. The library is renovating so everything is out of place so it's hard to find books and most of the ones on my list have been checked out. I'm also going to blame the kitchen reno taking a lot of my time this month. My girlfriend is letting me borrow a few weeks so I'll be back in my groove for next month.


6. Meal prep on Sunday. I'm never going to be one of those people that preps like that above picture. I have been robbed one too many Sundays stressing that I was not meal prepping like this. It's nothing against people that do this. It's amazing! But it's not for me. I'm giving myself grace on that. What works for me is making a breakfast quiche for the week or boiling some hard boiled eggs, prepping a few berry smoothies, and making one meal that we can have leftovers for lunch Monday. I've been doing that the past few Sundays and it's working for me. 

7. Host dinner once this month. Check! Well, I hosted brunch but it still counts. It was a fun family day. It had been a little over two months since we had people over and it was nice to open our home up again. To show off the kitchen. To take advantage of the hill in our backyard and sled. Good times!

8. Be the kind of person who does what they say and means what they say. Check! Anytime G and I would starting saying we should do something we would immediately decide on a game plan to do it. We talked about missing our old small group so we discussed a few dates that would work to have them over and sent an invite. We talked about how much we loved doing our kitchen, but would love to be somewhere warm next February so we started to budget and plan and start slowly adding to our vacation budget to make that happen.

9. Spending freeze. Check! All we bought were groceries and a few takeout meals this month. If we did order takeout we either had a gift card, a coupon or could justify it because we could get 4 or 5 meals out of it (i.e. pizza, Chinese, etc). We cooked a ton this month. Didn't buy anything frivolously. (This one was tough because Bath and Body Works sent about a thousand emails on candle deals. The struggle is REAL. But I stayed strong!) Only ate out on our anniversary (with a coupon)! It was a good month and we were able to build up our savings again.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ten for Tuesday

1. This weekend was a good one. There was lots of coffee, Girl Scout cookies, candles burning and book reading. All my favorite things.

2. We had friends over for dinner. I made Dashing Dish Crockpot White Chicken Chili and it was a winner. Seriously, so flavorful. We picked up chips and salsa from our favorite food tuck and now it's my new favorite meal to make for people. The chips and salsa are a hit. The chili is a hit and super easy. Good conversation, good food and good times!

3. G had soccer games to watch so I decided to start Scandal and see what all the fuss was about. Oh my gosh. I get it now. I'm so addicted. I'm already into season 2 and I just cannot get enough. I love a good television show that can suck you in and make you care about the characters. I love the plot twists and cliff hangers at the end of each episode. I know everyone says this, but I want to be Olivia Pope.

4. I started reading Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love) and it's so good. It's all about marriage. The history of marriage. The cultural views of marriage. Her decision to wed again after a tough divorce. It's so good. I had a hard time putting it down which was just what I needed. I missed reading a book I couldn't put down. So interesting! Her writing is just so easy to read. I wish I could write like her.

5. Is anyone else watching American Idol? There is some killer talent on the show right now. I will never tire of a young, talented musician coming alive on stage. Doing what they were made to do. It is so interesting to watch these young kids transform on stage and do what they love. I don't have a favorite yet. I'm still sad Cody Fry went home. But I am loving all the country music going on.

6. Can we just talk about how adorable Manny looks in this MSU jersey? I think our coworkers are wearing G down because he actually bought this for Manny. I think he's becoming a MSU fan. Go State!

7. Dunkin Donuts Chocolate Donut coffee is the best thing ever. I veered away from it and tried their cinnamon and vanilla, but the chocolate donut flavor is the best. I don't think I can go back now. It's just too good.


8. The weather was actually sunny and in the high 20s this weekend. It felt so warm after the crazy negative temps we've had. It was nice to be able to walk Manny again. If I'm being completely honest it was just nice to go outside without my face hurting.

9. G and I were invited to a family friends' wedding up north in July and my whole family is going. We booked a condo for a long weekend up north. I'm seriously so excited!!!! SUMMER. Time with family. Friends. Celebrating love. Dancing. Lake Michigan. Beach. Sand. Sun. Ella. Does it get any better?!

10. I heard about this great travel site airbnb and I thought I would pass it along. I love it. Great rates. Great options. It's addicting so don't say I didn't warn you. Also! This article about what tea looks like in 22 countries. #17!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Mondays with Manny

Look at that open mouth shot with a tooth sticking out. Scary Manny! I'm sure if he saw this he would hate it because it's not his most flattering shot.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fit Friday!


Workouts this week:

Sunday - Rest
Monday - Walk an hour on lunch and Body Revolution (BR) Workout 7
Tuesday - Walk an hour on lunch 
and BR Workout 8
Wednesday - Walk an hour on lunch and Cardio 2
Thursday - Walk an hour on lunch
Friday  - Walk an hour on lunch and BR Workout 7
Saturday - BR Cardio 2

Weigh in this week:

Pounds Lost: 0 pound
To Go: 45 to go
Total Lost: 11 pounds

Thoughts this week:

A funny thing happened this week. All those crazy hard moves I thought there was no way I could do without doing the modifier. The one legged squats. Star jumps. Jack knife crunches. I. Could. Do. Them.

It was never that I couldn't do them. It was that I doubted I could do them so I didn't do them. But something in me changed and I felt strong. I felt like I could. And I did. The mind is powerful. That quote really spoke to me. It wasn't the fear of failure holding me back, it was my own doubts holding me back. 

I realized what has been holding me back all this time. Why I've been maintaining 11 pounds lost and not pushing past it. Is fear of failure. Doubt. Because I didn't lose weight in time for California last January. Because I didn't lose weight for last summer or for that wedding in November. Fear of failing AGAIN because I've failed so many times before. Doubting I can do it because I didn't do it before.

Then I wise friend told me exactly what I needed to hear. I need to get out of that mindset. It's holding me back. I will fail if that's all I worry about. Progress is progress and even if I don't reach my goal, but I've moved TOWARDS it. That's a win! It's the only way to come out of this whole journey not feeling like a total fat loser. 

I can't think about failing. It's all there - I know I need to eat my portions throughout the day. I know I need to exercise. Weights, cardio, rest, etc... I know what to do, and I know that I can.

So why bother thinking about failing.

Not loving what you see on the outside is okay as long as you're trying to change it and you still love what's inside!

 It's a good lesson to learn now. To take each doubtful/fearful thought captive and not let it get the best of me. It can be life changing. It can be a game changer.

Breakfast this week:

My sweet coworker brought me in a non fat cinnamon dolche latte and I had half of it Friday and the other half Saturday morning. Such a fun treat!

My braekfasts are going to look especially great this week because I had leftover brunch food from Saturday. Sunday morning I had Dunkin Donuts Cinnamon coffee with a cinnamon roll. Perfection!

Another favorite breakfast as of late is two clementines, a blueberry muffin and a hard boiled egg.

Lunches this week:

Sunday we had a late lunch of Dashing Dish's Chicken Pad Thai. G chopped the chicken and green onion while I made the sauce. He cooked the chicken as I read directions to him. We made a great team and I had a blast cooking together. Bonus: It made great leftovers for lunch Monday.

Leftover Chinese food from Friday night. I had this Friday, Saturday for dinner, Tuesday and Wednesday for lunch. Love it!

Leftover brat with a side of Brussels sprouts. I buy these in bulk in the freezer section and pretty much eat them with every lunch and dinner. Occasionally I'll switch it up, but these are just my favorite.

Snack this week:

I switched up my snack this week and I've been enjoying a cup of cottage cheese. I know you either love this or hate it and I LOVE it. I always forget to buy it at the grocery store so I'm glad I remembered this time.

I made G and I these cute mason jars with 1/2 cup berries, 1/2 cup Light 'n Fit vanilla yogurt and 1/2 cup Special K Low Fat Granola. It was the perfect afternoon snack!

Tazo Chocolate Mint tea is my new obsession.

Dinners this week:

Second week in a row of meal planning. Who am I?! Blame it on the new kitchen for keeping me motivated to meal plan and cook. G and I have started meal planning together while we drink our coffee Sunday mornings and it's turned into kind of a fun thing for us. I think we are more successful when G is part of the planning and has a say in what he wants to eat. I am not sure how long this will last but I'm gonna roll with it. I think doing two crock pot meals a week and one grilling night helps. Those are super easy nights. If we had to prepare a 30 to 60 minute meal each night it wouldn't happen. We save those types of meals for the weekend.

Sunday - Dashing Dish's Chicken Pad Thai. Winner, winner!

Monday - Crock Pot Salsa Chicken. It's a favorite around here and we went about a month without having it so it was time. YUM!

Tuesday - Pizza and Brussels Sprouts. We veered from the meal plan a bit because I had a coupon and it just sounded amazing. Well, and I had a grilling meal on for this night and it was so windy so we postponed the meal for Wednesday.

Wednesday - Brats and asparagus. I was too hungry to take a picture of mine so here is G's plate. Grilled asparagus is EVERYTHING.

Thursday - Leftover bread and Brussels Sprouts.

Good reads this week:

Because Being Healthy Means Not Always Being Health
6 Reasons I Make Cooking at Home a Priority 
How to Handle the Negative Voice in Your Head
Confessions of a Food Blogger

How are you guys doing?
How do you meal plan? Any tips or secrets? 
Did you read a great article this week that was too good not to share?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Lame" Things That Are Actually Awesome When You're An Adult

I read this article and it inspired this post. Feel free to add on in the comments!

1. The smell of coffee brewing in the morning. Is there a better smell in the world? I'm pretty sure there isn't.

2. A clean house. I don't LOVE cleaning but I absolutely love the feeling after it's over. I feel I can tackle the world when my house is clean. I feel stress free. I feel I can finally relax.

3. A stocked fridge. A clean, stocked, organized fridge is such a luxury. It means the meals have been planned and if it's the weekend I don't have to go anywhere if I don't want to. 

4. Using a coupon. I'm not a big fan of shopping unless it means I'm going to get a great deal. That is the thrill of it for me. Knowing I saved x amount of money is usually more exciting than what I purchased.

5. Dinner in the crock pot. Knowing dinner is cooking all day while I'm at work and I don't have to think about what's for dinner is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. It's like having my very own personal chef when I get home and I love it so much.

6. Brunch. I get really excited about doing brunch. I need more brunch in my life actually.

7. Sleep. Why did I stay up late so much in college? Heck, I went OUT at 10:00. That is just crazy. I love sleep. I am asleep by 10:30 most nights. Sometimes I'm even asleep by 9:00 and I feel so refreshed the next day. 

8. A home cooked meal. I could kick myself for all the times I complained about the meals my mom cooked growing up. And leftovers. Oh, the whining I did about leftovers. I'm so sorry, mom. Now that I know the time and the prep that goes into making a meal I so appreciate a home cooked meal. These days nothing makes me happy than leftovers. I don't have to cook or decide on a dinner. It's done and it's the greatest feeling.

9. Fine wine. Ahhhh the days of Boonesfarm. Now that just tastes like pop. Ick. It's about quality over quantity for me. The days of Bud Light are over. I prefer a nice, cold craft brew. My wine taste isn't too refined, but I do enjoy a good quality pour.

10. An outfit that is flattering and comfortable. And bonus: WARM. It's hard to find that perfect combination but when you do you buy five. Am I right?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

20 Things I Hope I Never Forget About My 20s

I got this idea from Whitney and loved it and knew I wanted to write my own. I love being in my 30s. I'm getting more comfortable in my skin. Advocating for myself. Standing up for myself. Getting wiser and more mature. But my 20s was such a magical decade and a lot of really awesome stuff happened I do not want to forget.

1. Graduating college and spending the summer after with girlfriends. In college I learned friends can be family. I met so many wonderful people in college that I still talk to to this day and I am so thankful for that. I will never be one of those people who declares college the best time of my life. But I did learn a lot about myself. I grew up a bit. I had real life experiences and made friends with some really good people and I don't want to forget that.

2. Going to graduate school for theology and graduating was one of the hardest things I ever did. It stretched me. I will forever treasure that experience of deeply knowing my God and wrestling over theological issues. Debates and discussions with friends and fellow students. Long conversations with my dad about what I learned in class. It was a challenging time, but it's one I look back on with fondness. I'm proud of what I accomplished.

3. Accepting my first full time job. My first salary, 40 hour a week job! I felt like I arrived. I was an event planner and I loved it. It was hard work and stressful but I could be creative and I loved the adrenaline rush of it all.

4. Making a soul mate list. My best friend Claire and I had some bad luck with boys. We went on some pretty terrible dates. So we put together a list of non-negotiable traits our future husbands had to have. I will always remember sitting in her living room putting that list together.  

5. Dating Garth. He was my first real boyfriend and I loved every second of our whirlwind romance. I still do. He worked until 10:00 p.m. so I would come over after and we would hang out until 1 in the morning and then I would drive home and wake up at 5:00 a.m. to nanny. The crazy stuff you do for love.

6. Getting engaged! G proposed on our first anniversary of dating and I was not expecting it at all. But I knew I wanted to marry him during the first month of our relationship so I was ready. We went to Cheeseburger in Paradise to celebrate. It is still to this day one of the happiest moments of my life.

7. Marrying the love of my life. Growing up I didn't dream of getting married. Actually, deep down I didn't think I ever would get married. I was so picky and I never had a serious boyfriend so you can imagine my surprise when I fell head over heels in love with G. When you know you know. The saying is true. Our wedding day was the best day of my life. It was perfect. Being surrounded by everyone you love all in the same room. Celebrating you. Cheering you on. It's one of the best experiences I've ever had and I look back on that day fondly.

8. Honeymoon in Hawaii. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The honeymoon is the best vacation you will ever take. Everything is so exciting and new AND you're in paradise. Does it get better than that? Oh, it does. When you get home you get to open wedding presents. Kauai will always have a special place in my heart.

9. Buying our first mattress. It was the first time I truly felt like an adult. Buying a mattress was such an adult decision and it was fun! I just wish someone told me to splurge and buy the king mattress though. It would have been worth it!

10.The weddings you get to attend and stand up in. Instead of all the graduation parties you attended every weekend after high school you now get to go to all your friends weddings. One summer G and I had eight weddings! I love weddings so much. I think it's such a privilege to a part of someone's special day. A day they will never forget. 

11. Living in my first place with a boy. Our first apartment was 400 square feet, but I loved it. I will always remember starting our life there. G's dinners when I came home from work. Sleeping on an air mattress the first few months of marriage. Deep cleaning the whole place in less than an hour. The drug bust across the hall. The Die Hard and James Bond movie marathons. Bike riding around the nearby lake. That red wall I adored.

12. Hosting and attending our first dinner parties. I remember our first year of marriage G and I had hosting dinner parties down to a science. We always made Costco Spinach Pasta, salad, and garlic bread. We each had our roles and we executed perfectly. Our menu has expanded since then, but I'll never forget hosting and attending our first few. I remember thinking, "This is what being an adult is like. I like it."

13. Buying our first house. There is nothing like that feeling of getting the keys to your first house. I remember running into each room of the house and yelling "It's ours!" and I remember not being able to sleep that night because it was too quiet. No neighbor slamming a door. No water turned on and off. Just silence. It was golden.

14. Settling into a new town and a new job. Big life decisions. Being a grown up is hard sometimes. But loving your new job. Meeting awesome new people through work and church and feeling at home is priceless. 

15. Watching G get baptized. It is one of my most proud moments of being his wife. Watching him publicly declare his faith. Tears in eyes. Such a beautiful moment I don't ever want to forget. 

16. Leading small group. G and I led a few small groups for a good few years and made lasting friendship. Had deep, real conversations. Developed authentic relationships. We laughed together. Cried together. Talking about meaningful things. Went on vacation together. Talked late into the night. Did life together. 

17. Hosting my first major holiday. I loved every second of hosting. It was Thanksgiving and my brother and SIL came and helped carve the turkey. It was such a fun day. The weather was unseasonably warm so there was football throwing in the front yard. Appetizer station. Drink bar. Candles burning. Turkey cooking. I mean, even our ice machine worked for the first time since we moved in. It was all straight out of a holiday special and I loved it.

18. Learning to cook. Oh, how far I've come! The first time I went to the grocery store I held a bulb of garlic up to a sweet lady and asked her if it was minced. She smiled politely and showed me where to find minced garlic. It was an adventure but I'm getting better.

19. Flying down to Florida to see the grandparents. It was our first married Thanksgiving. Flights were crazy expensive. But we knew we had to go. It was important to us. We had the best time. It was precious quality time with grandparents and a vacation G and I love to talk about. It was the last time we saw my grandpa. It was the best decision that we went and I would do it all over again if I could.

20. The moving around. All the moving around. Moving home from college. Moving to two different apartments and then to our first house. So much moving. Bless our family and friends for helping us move from top floor apartments for pizza and beer. I'm pretty sure we're all too old for that now. 

What won't you forget about your 20s?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Weekend Recap: Brunch, Sledding, and Family Time

This past weekend was a great one. G painted the trim around the door and window Thursday night so we are officially done with the kitchen!!!! I love love love the way it turned out! Friday night we put the basement back together again and I just cannot even tell you how nice it feels to have the house in order again and the whole house clean. Insert sigh of relief.

Saturday morning G and I drank our coffee together and then we got ready to host brunch for my family. I put in a spinach, feta egg bake and set up the beverage station. Fresh brewed coffee and mimosas. The event planner in me came out.

I made strawberry and blueberry muffins the night before and G cooked up some turkey sausage. I set up a yogurt bar with vanilla yogurt, low fat granola, blueberries, mangos and strawberries. Jess and Eric brought champs and orange juice, my parents brought pizza bread and Jess' parents brought cinnamon rolls. All of the food was such a hit! I'm not sure why I haven't hosted brunch before. It was so fun!

We ate and talked and watched Ella eat blueberries for the first time. Spoiler alert: Cutest thing ever. It was fun showing off our new kitchen too.

Ella relaxed on my lap for a bit while we all hung out. We took selfies, obviously.

She loved it!

And she nailed the selfie.

The plan was to sled in our backyard. Ella's first time! It has been in the negatives, but Saturday was in the 30s. Perfect for sledding! After the negative temps it felt really warm.

She loved it! She was smiling the whole way down. 

I think the adults enjoy sledding even more though. 

It was such a fun family day. It became a competition between the boys as to who could go the furthest. My mom won getting all the way to the tree behind my dad. Impressive!

I think it's safe to say Ella is a fan of sledding. Manny, on the other hand, was not. Yes, G took him down the hill and he squirmed like a fish the entire time. I think this will be an annual tradition and I can't believe next year Ella will be able to go up and down the hill herself. Can't wait!

After sledding we all sat by the fire to dry off. Manny and Ella fell fast asleep. We relaxed and talked and just had a nice, low key day. Everyone left around 3:30 and G and I cleaned up, took Manny for a walk and watched a few shows.

Sunday was low key. We watched Dexter again and I finished season one of The Blacklist. Bahhh The Blacklist is so good! I can't believe I have to wait until May for season 2! It was nice to get into Dexter again though. I didn't like how Season 7 started so we stopped watching for a few months. But we decided we should find out how it ended so we are watching again and I'm starting to enjoy it again. I don't want to give anything away, but it's starting to draw me in again. 

G and I don't have a good Thai restaurant near us so we made Dashing Dish's Chicken Pad Thai and it was amazing. We were definitely skeptical, but it was so flavorful! And it didn't include a bunch of crazy ingredients you would never use again.

G watched soccer and I watched a bit of the Oscar's. The opening number was so amazing. I watched it at least two more times. So good!!!!

So that was our weekend. Finishing the kitchen. Cleaning and organizing the basement and house. Brunch and sledding fun with family. Binge watching Dexter and The Blacklist. Cooking Pad Thai. The Oscars. Perfection! How was your weekend?