Sunday, November 30, 2014

5 Winter Favorites


Originally I had planned this post to be a "fall favorites," but now it is snowing and the temperatures are freezing. Therefore, I have made the executive decision, to write this as a winter favorites instead! So, lets get this party started:

1. SNOW! I absolutely love snow. Obviously, I enjoy it more when I don't have to leave the house/my bed, but even then... it is my favorite. I would 100% rather have snow stuck in my hair and all over my clothes, then get rained on. Besides, if it "feels like 12 degrees" outside, I'd like to have something pretty to look at.

2. STARBUCKS/COFFEE: I like coffee all the time, but if I'm cold, coffee is even better. Plus it keeps your hands warm.

3. BOOTS/SCARVES/SWEATERS: Pretty much anything that I can put on, to cover my gut or three chins, is a favorite.

4. SNUGGLES: If you have read my blog for like five minutes, then you know that I am obsessed with my husband. This is definitely not a secret, but you may not know that he is usually less than thrilled when I get all weird and clingy. My only saving grace is when it is cold enough in our house for him to accept my advances!

5. HOLIDAYS: Thanksgiving, My Birthday, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years. Spending time with family, exchanging gifts, and having time off of work. There is nothing better then the holiday season!

Friday, November 28, 2014

[Still] Thankful



Because "Black Friday" is crazy and everybody seems to get selfish, I decided to write about what I am thankful for, even after the Thanksgiving rush has ended. Like Kayla said, I can be thankful on a Friday (even when I am at work & nobody else is)!


I am thankful for:

   my husband
   my puppy
   our life
   being silly together
   our big (& often times crazy) dreams
   our goals
   my family
   dry shampoo
   friends that surround me in positivity
   bloggers that completely support me 
   my job
   creativity
   freedom & flexibility
   financial stability
   pizza
   the confidence to speak my mind  
   thoughts & opinions
   my health
   my love of water
   mindless television
   dr. spencer reed
   my education
   warm weather & sunny days
   travel
   snow
   shellac manicures
   shopping
   leggings
   occasionally jeans
   "crazy" colored lipstick
   holiday beauty product gift sets
   hair dye
   candy
   this blog
   you :)


    it should probably be noted that this list really is in no particular order...
  
  


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

[Extra] Cheesy Potatoes


This recipe is called "extra" cheesy because I honestly used between sixteen and twenty-four ounce of cheese, instead of the recommended eight ounces. I will tell you, I am not sorry. I am sorry that we didn't dice the onions smaller, but you live and you learn.

What You Need:

2 pounds    frozen hasbrowns (thawed!)
1 cup          diced onion
1 can          cream of chicken soup
1 pound     sour cream
1/2 stick    butter (melted)
8 ounces    shredded sharp cheddar cheese
                  salt & pepper

How You Make It:

step 1.    mix all ingredients in extra large bowl.
step 2.    pour mixed ingredients into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish.
step 3.    sprinkle additional cheese on top with salt and peper.
step 4.    bake at 375* for one hour.


How You Can Win $130

Didn't I tell you that I am participating in a giveaway today!? I'm participating in a giveaway today and it's really good!

Recently, I have become cheap, like real cheap. Not so cheap that I refrain from shopping, just cheap like I try to buy tons of inexpensive stuff. For that reason, Forever 21 is my new obsession, which makes this giveaway even more awesome. Now a few words from my blog bff Helene:
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Beat Black Friday! Who cares about Black Friday when you have the chance to win $130 to Forever 21! I've gotten together with some awesome ladies to give you the chance to win big, no long lines here.

 Amanda ~ This Is My Real Hair // Megan ~ Soup of the Day // Elle ~ The Lady Errant

Jenn ~ Hello, Rigby! // Erin ~ South To Southwest // Lynsey ~ Eternally Wanderlyn // 

 

Monday, November 24, 2014

My Mom's Cherry Cheesecake


My mom makes the most delicious cheesecake on the planet. It is seriously so good and pretty easy to make too.

What You Need:

1 (9-inch)       sugar cookie pie crust (graham is so last year)
8 ounce          block of cream cheese, softened
14 ounce        sweetened  condensed milk (not to be confused with evaporated milk)
1/2 cup           lemon juice (from concentrate, don't get crazy with real lemons)
1 teaspoon     vanilla extract
21 ounces      canned cherry pie filling (chilled)

How You Make It:

step 1.    in a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy.
step 2.    slowly mix in sweetened condensed milk, continue mixing until smooth.
step 3.    stir in lemon and vanilla.
step 4.    pour mixture into crust and chill for 3 hours.
step 5.    top with cherries and grab a spoon. it's too good to share.

You can definitely eat the cheesecake without any toppings, or you can put some other random fruit on there. Whatever you want to do will be delicious. If you end up making this, let me know. My mom will be thrilled to hear about it!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Sloppy Omelette


This is one of those amazing recipes that just happened to me.

Picture it, you are starving, trying your best to eat clean, and all you have is a fridge full of left over produce. And then it hits you, chop it up, throw it in a skillet, and dump eggs over it! It is so good, so full of protein, and totally healthy. I am going to give you a "recipe" but its just what I did for the set up in the picture above.

Remember, you can use whatever you want/have on hand!

What You Need:

1-2 slices     Ham
1-2 slices     Turkey
1/4 cup       Green Pepper
1/2 cup       Cherry Tomatoes
2 whole       Green Onions
1 cup           Spinach
2 whole       Eggs

How You Make It:

Step 1.     chop everything into whatever size you like.
Step 2.     cook veggies first, the time for this will depend on how crunchy you like them.
Step 3.     add meat, it's already cooked so you just want to heat it up.
Step 4.     coat all of your ingredients in the egg, then scramble.
Step 5.     by this time it has been like 10 minutes and your meal is ready to be enjoyed!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lettuce Tacos



Lettuce Tacos are great because they are tacos and they are healthy. Healthy because they don't have a shell, right? Cheese is healthy for your soul and veggies are healthy for your muffin top.

What You Need:

1 pound        lean ground beef
1 package     taco seasoning
1 package     shredded cheese
1 container   sour cream
1 batch         pico de gallo
1 head          bib lettuce (trust me, it is the best of all lettuces!)

How You Make It:

Step 1.     prepare taco meat per seasoning package directions.
Step 2.     use lettuce as a plate, make your taco right on top of it.
Step 3.     get a fork just in case things get messy, and then eat it.




Tuesday, November 18, 2014

doing the tupperwear/dishes

The Pros & The Cons :: Meal Prep


As with anything in life, meal prepping has pros and it has cons. For me and my "lifestyle" meal prep has proven to be an extremely beneficial activity. I strongly support it, and these are the reasons why:

Pros:      

1. It's a huge time saver. Even if you are the kind of person that enjoys cooking delicious meals for your family, or the kind that hates being in the kitchen, meal prep can save you time and get you prepared for a delicious meal (for one or for many). Cooking a larger amount of a couple specific meals takes a lot less time then making those meals every single night. You can still make whatever you want, you just do it at one time.

2. It saves you money. You have a list of your recipes and the ingredients, you go to the store and buy them. Simple as that. You have a clear plan and you aren't distracted by the Twinkies and the Cinnamon Toast Crunch. You also save on food going to waste. How many times have you bought something and then thrown it away before anybody ate it? I have done that way more than I would like to admit.

3. It is easier to be healthy and to avoid eating random "unscheduled" foods. You are in a rush, you ended up working late, and you have to be somewhere shortly after work. Great news! You already made a delicious and healthy meal, so go ahead and heat it up. Its also a lot easier to skip those brownie bites at work when you know you have something that looks like the "sloppy omelette" waiting for you at home. 

Cons:        

1. I only do meal prep for dinners. But lots of people meal prep for all three meals as well as snacks. I think those are the people that have the issue of the food becoming boring. I usually make one or two dinners and rotate them every other day. I make things that are really really good, they taste amazing, and I'm usually excited to eat them. I don't have an issue with getting bored, but its always a risk you take. You gotta weigh the options, be a little bored or be fat :)

2. If you don't eat the meals like you planned, they could, very well, go bad. Another reason to stick to your plan! You don't want to waste food "when there are children starving in Africa." At least that's what my mom always told me!

There it is in black and white, there are far more pros then cons. Try it for yourself and see if it helps you reach goals.



Monday, November 17, 2014

Transparency



Week one of my November #MRHChallenge is complete, & it is time for a recap.


When I am working on post ideas, or anything related to this blog really, I try to remain as honest as possible. Even on my social media accounts (instagram is my big one, but I also have a twitter) I try to post in a (mostly) positive and honest way. Its really important for me to be truthful and hold myself accountable for what I am/am not doing in life, because my main goal is to help others become healthier and happier. I can't be successful helping you if I am a liar.

With that being said, this past week I have done a pretty terrible job at staying on track in regard to my overall health and fitness. I could list a million excuses, but the truth is, I just ended up being really lazy. I started my new job, it was dark when I got home, and I made the choice that relaxing was more important than following through with my schedule. I also found a lot of new temptations at this job. This company loves to feed its people, they have snacks in all of the conference rooms, donuts, and pot lucks every week. I definitely struggled, but I think I have gotten it figured out now. I am all caught up on the Week 1 WODs and I am ready for Week 2! Are you?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

some unbelieveable facts


I have had my new job for 4 whole days now, and I must say, things are looking good! I'm not sure if I had mentioned before, but this job is actually at the Credit Union that Aaron just left. He worked with the company for just over three years, and during that time, I got to know a good number of people, and also the company itself.

I now feel comfortable enough to share, that in my previous teller position I felt pressured to do things that I didn't necessarily agree with. There was never anything clearly stated that said, "push this product, regardless of how it screws the customer," but I found myself doing things and making compromises that I just wasn't happy about anyway, "just to keep my job."

I have always wanted to help people, and some days I would go home from that job and feel like I had done the exact opposite. I felt pressured by my sales goals, and I felt stuck in a hostile work environment, where everyone was desperate to meet their own goals. I am very excited to be finally stepping into a corporate culture centered around helping people achieve financial success. I truly believe that the Credit Union cares about their members, and I feel empowered by that belief. I think that this will be a real opportunity to impact my customers lives in a positive way.

This focus on helping others achieve financial success has also changed my own financial focus. Following the advice of fellow bloggers (and friends Kayla and Erin), Aaron and I have started using the Dave Ramsey Envelope System. I cannot even begin to tell you how good it feels to 1) pay cash for something! and 2) see those debt balances dwindling. We now use cash for everything, even gas and groceries. The actual process of going to the bank, taking all the money out, dividing it up and placing it in envelopes is very time consuming. I think spending all that time with your money makes it so much more real to you. At that point, spending it is something that you actually feel, and it doesn't feel good!

Since getting on board the Dave Ramsey train, Aaron and I have created a firm budget, paid off one credit card, paid off a small loan, and made a schedule that projects that we will pay off our large credit card in 3 months, and our house in 2 years. All this may not sound big to you, but it is making my life SO much less stressful. We have been trying to pay off the large credit card for years, seeing it come down to 3 months is insane to me. And as far as the house goes, we will be paying off our 30 year mortgage in a mere 6 years and before we are 30! How many people today get to say that?

The best part is, you can access the Dave Ramsey site, completely free. I highly recommend that you check it out.

Monday, November 10, 2014

my 5 fitness favorites






I saw the idea, "your favorite instagram accounts" on Helene's blog quite awhile ago. I knew I wanted to do a favorite's list that was based on fitness/weight loss accounts, and, after being told by a friend that anymore than five accounts would be excessive, I finally decided on six. What can I say, I've always been a little excessive. I definitely follow more than six awesome fitness/health/weight loss journey accounts, but these are the first that came to my mind.

  • Crossfit: the official Crossfit instagram. You know that I have a Crossfit obsession, and although I am not doing it as much as I wish I was, I love looking at the pictures/videos.
  • GraciesJourney: a weight loss journey instagram account. Tons and tons of before and after photos! Gracie is so so motivational. She also has a youtube channel.
  • MSHELLLLL: I just love all of her pictures. She is clearly so dedicated to health and fitness. Extremely motivational.
  • SUPERCLEARY: two favorites, Crossfit & Photography, all in one place!
  • GlistenFit: she posts workout ideas, meal ideas, and she has a pitbull. It would have taken less time for me to tell you the negatives (read: none).
  • Unifit_Inspiration: I just like this account for the pictures, lol.
  •  
     

    Sunday, November 9, 2014

    lucky number 14


    I like to think of myself as a seriously well-rounded employee. I have a little bit of experience in a whole hell of a lot of areas. That is why I try to find the silver-lining in the fact that, today, I am starting job number 14.
      
    1. Farmer Jack
    2. Hollywood Video
    3. Meijer
    4. Rite Aid
    5. University Book Store
    6. Hollywood Video
    7. Woodworking Shop
    8. Rite Aid
    9. Construction Management
    10. Construction/Engineering Firm
    11. Architecture Firm
    12. Small Architecture Firm
    13. Bank of America
    14. Credit Union

    Like I have mentioned before, I don't exactly know what I am doing with my life. I have all the education, a ton of experience, and yet, I haven't found the exact thing that gives me it all... Which I guess is actually pretty normal. It's probably not even that often that someone does find a job that "has it all." Happiness or money... I think that I would like to have both. Perhaps job number fourteen will be that job! Wish my luck friends.
     

    Saturday, November 8, 2014

    20 Mini WODs

    So, if you don't know what a WOD is, then you probably think I am making things up. But I am definitely not, it is a Crossfit term, and simply an acronym for: Workout Of the Day. Obviously, you are more than welcome to participate in my "challenge" and do other workouts, no workouts, whatever you want. I just find it really helpful to have something laid out for me, having the expectation and understanding of what I need to do tomorrow keeps me ready and prepared. You can either use this calendar as your own, or you can just use it to know what I am up to that day. The best thing about putting this stuff out for everyone to see, is the accountability I feel. Nothing like some good judgement!

    *if you would like a PDF copy of these workouts please feel free to comment or send me an email*


    Friday, November 7, 2014

    I Challenge You

    Unless I am using it for a hashtag on Instagram, I don't typically like to say that I practice "clean eating." Actually, I take that back. I love to say that I am, but its just not completely true. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of clean eating, you can read about it HERE. For me, I just try my best to make the healthiest choice in every situation, and of course, sometimes it is easier than others. It isn't that I don't believe in 100% clean or Paleo diets, in fact, I admire and support those people that can uphold a diet like that, I'm just not even close to being one of them.

    In the beginning of this year I participated in a Paleo-ish and workout challenge. And, surprisingly, it wasn't as hard as I had expected it to be. However, it was still difficult. It was much more work and prep then anything else. At the time, I was pretty unfamiliar with meal prepping, so I was constantly in the kitchen, chopping, slicing and cooking three meals a day. I was also not seeing many results because I wasn't taking the right prescriptions for my insulin and thyroid problems. All the work and lack of progress really began to get me down and I eventually dropped out. But now it is time to try again!

    For me, things like this are most successful if I just throw myself completely in. Quit the junk cold turkey and don't look back. But I understand that most people (at least the ones that I know) don't operate in the same fashion. If you are one of those people that like to take health/diet/exercise one step at a time, then I would definitely recommend eliminating (or cutting back) only 1-2 things every two weeks.

    For example (a person who drinks 2 cans soda/day):
       Week One: decrease your intake by 50% (1 can/day)
       Week Two: eliminate your consumption completely five days a week (1 can/day 2 days a week)
       Week Three: eliminate your consumption 100% (no more pop!)

    Now remember, I am not a doctor, nor am I a nutritionist. I am just a girl sharing my own experiences.

    Other tips for success:
       Always take "before photos" and measurements in the beginning.
       Update with progress pictures and measurements every few weeks/month.
       Set an end date. Yes, this is a lifestyle change, but working towards a date and then measuring success and adjusting or setting a new goal always helps.
       Use meal prepping to make your life easier! I will have a post on this next week.
       Make sure you are eating enough. Track your calories using an app. It's too easy to under eat on a clean diet.
       Do small daily workouts every single day.
      
    For the month of November, I have one simple goal: practice what I preach (or in this case, blog)!  I am sharing my beginning weight and measurements. I have taken progress photos... but there is noway I am sharing those until I have an after photo to make them less horrendous.

    I really hope that you will join me in this month of healthier choices. And if you do, please let me know! I love comments (tips/tricks/motivation), seeing your progress photos, and food porn. Be sure to follow me on Instagram and use #MRHchallenge (tag me too!) so when can support each other. I know we can be successful if we help one another out!

    Starting Stats:
    Neck: 13" - L Bicep: 13" - Bust: 38.5"
    Waist: 37.25" - Hips: 39.5" - L Thigh: 23.25"
    L Calf: 14.75" - Bra: 36DD - Weight: 152.6"

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    55% (5/9 ain't that bad)


    When I had the fantastic idea to post an update on my Fall Bucket List, I actually thought I was killin' it. Looking at it... it seems that I'm really not. I mean, I'm half way, but when does fall even end? I probably need to speed it up.  I still need to bake a pie (sounds like a good Thanksgiving activity), watch a scary movie, donate to a food bank, and go on a hayride. When I made this list, I thought it would be really fun to go on my first ever haunted hayride... I have been informed otherwise, so I probably won't do that one at all. The secret is out, I am a wuss. Judge me!

    http://www.thisismyrealhair.com/2014/10/typical-white-girl.html
    http://www.thisismyrealhair.com/2014/10/throwback.html
    http://www.thisismyrealhair.com/2014/10/throwback.html

    Monday, November 3, 2014

    Friday, October 31, 2014

    my own BIG reveal


    Day 31: Costume Reveal

    So the truth is, I am not revealing a Halloween costume. My surprise is that I have been in Mexico since Wednesday! Keeping this a secret has felt nearly impossible... so much so, that I'm not even sure if I successfully did.

    I am so happy about this trip for so many different reasons:

    For one, hello, it is Mexico and Michigan is cold and rainy. I couldn't love 78 degrees anymore than I do right now.

    Two, the whole Mexican situation is happening, because I am finally going to be a bridesmaid! One of my greatest friends, and a bridesmaid of mine, got engaged in November last year and decided, quickly, on a destination wedding. Megan is definitely fulfilling all of my vacation wedding dreams. (Thanks dogg)

    And finally, the third reason, the wedding is at exactly the same resort that Aaron and I spent our honeymoon last year. It is really like a second honeymoon, and I am so, so, looking forward to spending the time together. And, we have a ton of time for good friends and all the excursions we can afford. Fingers crossed for dolphins!

    Helene in Between Blogtober

    Thursday, October 30, 2014

    30 things: get to know me


    Day 30: Thirty Facts About Me

    When I first saw this prompt, I was excited. I have been in desperate need of a new "about me page," but, I have been putting it off. My list of facts really brought out some thoughts and descriptions that I don't think I would typically use. For that reason, I think it turned out pretty entertaining.
    1. I love travel and seeing new places.
    2. ...but I don't really like the outdoors that much.
    3. I believe that one day I will have seen every one of the fifty states.
    4. I have almost three complete university degrees.
    5. I am horrible at spelling. Like it is so bad, that sometimes it seems like I am joking.
    6. I love Taylor Swift...
    7. I love singing as loud as I can, but I usually won't around other people.
    8. Concerts are one of my favorite things to do.
    9. I do not have cable, or "over the air" television.
    10. I download old shows and binge watch them (Criminal Minds - holla!).
    11. I have been dying my hair since I was 14 and I don't see any indication that I will stop any time soon.
    12. I used to be real fat, like seriously fat.
    13. I have lost around 50 pounds.
    14. I still want to lose 20-30 more.
    15. I love Crossfit, but I left my gym.
    16. I think that my instagram presence is stronger than my blog.
    17. I compare myself and my life to others, but I wish I didn't.
    18. I have a love/hate relationship with my dog. I love her, but she makes me NUTS.
    19. I really like the idea of lipstick.
    20. ...but I think it looks silly on me.
    21. I like taking selfies with only half of my face in them.
    22. I got my first job at a grocery store when I was 15, because my mom wouldn't buy me plaid pants.
    23. I have had fourteen jobs total.
    24. I get a thrill out of creating a budget and sticking to it.
    25. Paying off debts is one of my favorite feelings.
    26. Sometimes I feel irrationally angry, about things that don't concern me.
    27. I also have anxiety issues (those, too, are irrational).
    28. My dog has over ten nicknames, I created all of them...
    29. I call my brother Ryan, "Brother" exclusively 
    30. I am 24 years older than my youngest sibling (Samantha) but only 5.5 years older than Brother
      Helene in Between Blogtober

      Wednesday, October 29, 2014

      the ABCs


      Day 29: My Most Embarrassing Moment

      Here in Michigan, the summer means going on vacations "up north." And for my family, going "up north" typically includes visiting Mackinac Island. If you aren't familiar with the island, you can read about it HERE, or you can trust that it is pretty much just a tourist trap. Literally, an island that you can't escape from without a boat, ferry ticket, or airplane.

      My most embarrassing moment goes back to the summer of 2006(?). This was before Aaron and I did a lot of road trips, and I was very uncomfortable with public restrooms. I'm still not the biggest fan, but I have learned that you better go when you get the chance. This particular summer, my family had decided that we would take a girls weekend trip up north. So, my mother, my grandmother, my Aunt Becky and I all went, and we obviously decided that we were going to go to the island.

      As I mentioned, getting to the island requires a ferry boat (for us poor folk). There are pretty standard run schedules for the ferries and you just have to wait until they come back to take you. So of course, without fail, I had to pee. It wasn't like a porta-potty or anything, but it was pretty bad, and it was extremely close to the general waiting area.

      I went in the bathroom stall and I could still hear the people in the waiting area talking. I immediately knew it was not gonna happen. I went back out and took my mother into the bathroom with me. "I need you to make some noise so nobody can hear me!" She began to sing the ABCs over and over, louder and louder.

      Sure it allowed me to pee, but it also allowed everyone to laugh. Absolute horror.


      Helene in Between Blogtober

      Tuesday, October 28, 2014

      three things (that don't scare me)

      Day 28: Things that I am Superstitious About

      I actually wracked my brain about this topic, and it turns out that I am not superstitious at all! In fact, I laugh at superstitions...

      http://instagram.com/hairlesspete

      1. Black Cats: I have one. His name is Jag and he is a real piece of work. I'm pretty sure that is to be expected since he grew up with me and my brother... we are both pretty big aholes and now the cat reflects the same exact personality. If he is hungry, he will bite you HARD until you feed him. He is great.
      2. Friday, the 13th: Aaron was born on the 13th, I was born on the 13th, and we got married on Friday, the 13th. If anything, I would say this is a damn good date for me.

      http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2012/04/how-far-would-you-go-to-pick-up-a-penny/

      3. Tail-side Up Coins: Yeah, definitely do not practice that rule. I am broke, if I see money on the ground, I am picking it up regardless of the face. Although, sometimes, I do think about that show/movie where they glued coins to the ground and made fun of the people trying to pick them up? Then I feel shame and keep walking.

      Helene in Between Blogtober