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my life in my words


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Walls And Cannonballs | Fit Life Friday

 

Oh if only! 😉 Okay, so there’s actually something pretty heavy that I just need to get off my chest. Beware folks, it’s about to get a little ranty up in here. The weight that’s been on my chest (okay so really my mind) has actually been a lot of the astounding feedback people have given me along the way to developing a healthier lifestyle—saying yes to maintaining regular exercise and no to certain foods that I don’t value as worthwhile for my personal health. I’m just overwhelmed and heavy-hearted from statements like:

 

“Well it’s not like any of it matters. Once you get older / get married / have kids, there’s no point in trying to stay in shape or eat healthy. You’ll see. Just wait for it.”

“We’re all going to die eventually. We may as well indulge in deep-fried foods while we’re on our way.”

“It’s not like you can actually control your cravings.”

“I can’t believe you don’t get sick of eating all that healthy food.”

“It’s not like you need to watch what you eat anymore—you’re already skinny.”

“A little ___________ never hurt anyone.”

“Do you really think you’re going to be able to maintain this in the long run?!? Good luck with that. It’s a very rare thing for someone to actually do that.”

 

And to that, I say “PHOOOEY.” Phooey. Phooey. Phooey. Those mentalities are exactly what kept me unhealthy and unhappy for so long. No thank you. I’ve felt what it is to be healthy and free from old toxic mindsets I have NO desire to turn back. Do I believe in indulgence? Oh you better believe I do! But the mentality of throwing in the towel and just “letting myself go” after reaching my healthy goal weight is out of the question for me. I’ve spent my entire life quitting on myself—why would I come this far just to quit all over again? What does it benefit me to sell myself short of a full, healthy, happy life?? I don’t believe it does.

Is maintaining a healthy lifestyle easy? Honestly, most of the time, yeah it is! It’s become a lifestyle for me, so it’s pretty automatic. I’m not gonna lie, it does get rough at times. The most difficult part for me is dealing with the judgement and snide remarks of those who don’t understand why I choose to eat or not eat the things I do. But I’ve seen the positive results of my healthier choices and I’ve felt the fulfillment of reaching my goals and the bliss of seeing and hearing about others who are reclaiming their health. And THAT far outweighs the bitter remarks, jeers, and sneers. Will I struggle as I continue to maintain? Sure—that’s what I’m anticipating, at least. It’s all par for the course on this journey, but I’m also determined to keep moving forward while I’m on it. I’m constantly learning through it and along the way, I’ve learned more of why I do what I do and what healthy boundaries I need to keep in place so that I can be the best I can be when it comes to my overall health. It’s for that reason that I continue to set monthly goals.

So what do my goals look like now that I’ve maintained my healthy weight for a month? Like this:

 

September Goals:

Lifestyle: No-Shopping Spree  

  • Things allowed: Rent, Utilities, Bills, Meal-Planned Groceries/Food, anything that improves my wealth or brain (such as mutual funds, finance books, magazines, etc).
  • Things NOT allowed: Gadgets, Clothing, Decorations, Furniture, Online goods, Impulse purchases, On-the-go snacks & coffee.

Numbers: Increase daily protein intake (at least 15.6g per meal).
Fitness: Reverse Lunge Challenge

 

Aside from wanting to continually develop personal disciplines as I navigate my journey to optimum overall health, here’s why I chose these goals for the next month:

Lifestyle Goal: No-Shopping Spree

Remember when I said that I fully believe in indulgence? Well I meant it—only, I’ve come to realize it’s not ALWAYS a good thing. Lately, I’ve been overindulging and my bank account is starting to reflect that. I mean, really, this is what’s been happening to my purchase history lately:

 

Lots of bonus snackage that isn’t part of my meal plans.

Lots of extra stops for coffee on-the-go instead of making drip at home.

Lots of drinking coffee out at shops instead of working from home and saving the moolah. Especially since this order was a Clover Press coffee—SUPER rich and tasty, but also SUPER pricey! This definitely counts as a big indulgence!

Treating myself to the more pricey coffees—granted I can brew this at home, but it’s the 3rd bag of higher-priced brand coffee that I’ve bought in this month alone.

PS: This coffee brew is SPECTACULAR!!! I was drooling just from the aroma of the machine grinding it, and when I had my first cup this morning, I understood more fully what love is. 😉

 

It’s a rare occasion that I have a vehicle, but a friend of mine let me borrow his while he is out of town, so I’ve been capitalizing on it and visiting more places that I normally wouldn’t sans car. Therefore, sweet indulgences abound . . .

 

The only sad thing about this one is that I only got through a couple of bites of the Nanaimo Bar. When I picked it out from the case, I thought it would be more of a creamy custard because of the wrapper it was originally in. When I peeled off the wrapper and discovered that it was actually a stiff dessert, I decided to just go for it anyway, even though I was majorly disappointed (since I was craving something creamy). I took a couple of bites and it just tasted like pure sugar and it was way too sweet for my liking. I decided to give it a rest and come back to it. However, after 10 minutes, my stomach started hurting from the sugar overload. Honestly, I think I may be developing a sugar sensitivity. I’ve noticed my stomach hurts after eating my “treats” that have a high sugar content. I’m still waiting for my doc to get back from out of town so that I can get that checked out/tested, but in the meantime, I’m okay with cutting out the excess sugars (that don’t come from natural fruit). As I’ve gone through the No-Sugar Challenge and this journey in general, I’ve DISCOVERED that I don’t NEED excess sugars to live—they’re just a treat, and I can always resort to sugar-free treats to feel like I’ve indulged. 🙂 But yeah, the Nanaimo Bar was actually quite disappointing.

 

 

Moving on to other pricey indulgences . . .

 

I’ve been wanting a Sandlewood candle SOOOO bad but most places I’ve visited to purchase one have made the blend either too weak or too strong. This one is JUST RIGHT, so naturally I snatched that sucker up . . . and it snatched up a pretty penny. :O SO worth it though.

I bought this because a blogger that I follow recommended it. I’ve tried other things that they have recommended and I’ve been pleasantly pleased. This, however, disappointed. It was way too salty and the espresso flavor wasn’t very tasty. Lame.

As of late, I’ve been eating out more for social events and it’s definitely been adding up!

These babies have become my latest form of crack! I’ve never been a fan of sparkling water, especially flavored versions, but these are super delicious and addicting! I usually put away 2 a day. Granted, they were on sale, but I need to still treat them AS a treat, not a staple item.

 

With the holiday season coming up, and all this job transitioning, I REALLY need to be more aware and have a tighter rein on my finances, so I think this No-Shopping Challenge is gonna help me reach that goal!

 

Numbers Goal: Increase Daily Protein Intake
(at least 15.6g per meal)

Protein is gooood! Reallllll gooood! However, it’s also been more scarce recently than I’d like for it to be. Protein takes time to prepare, unless I just snack on a protein bar. I COULD snack on a protein bar, but even protein bars have been processed a bit and this past month (and even still) I was really striving to eat REAL food first. I want to develop the habit of eating less-processed as a go-to and the more processed as a bonus. But the REAL proteins take longer for me to serve up—Boiling eggs; Cooking meats; Scooping out healthy portions of PB onto my snack plates (I tend to go overboard—c’mon, it’s delish!!!); Blending up a smoothie;  Cooking/Roasting beans; Cutting/Shredding cheese; and so on. Jeeze! Can you tell how lazy I am???

 

Late night snack: Sunflower Butter + Mashed Banana (banana courtesy of my awesome Food Fairy!)

 

In an effort to practice getting in more protein, I decided to utilize the blessing of my friend’s car to drive over to Whole Foods and pick up some ONCE AGAIN Almond Butter that another blogger I follow recommended. Well, Whole Foods only had that brand’s sunflower butter, so I bought that instead. I tried a big spoonful once I got home with it and it just didn’t taste good. 😐 It was too salty and it had a funky aftertaste. Honestly, I think I’m just more of a cashew butter girl. I much prefer cashew butter to peanut, almond, and now, sunflower butter—it’s officially a thing. Since I didn’t like it as a standalone snack, I decided to add it to a mashed banana to see if I could tolerate it when paired with another flavor.

 

Sadly, I didn’t. This didn’t taste as awesome as it does with cashew butter. 😦 Lame.

 

So I decided that before I attempted to return it or give it away, I’d try it this morning with oatmeal. Oatmeal is “drier” than the banana pudding concoction I had made, and I thought maybe if I paired it with some chopped dates it would be a nice flavor combo.

 

It wasn’t. I even used LESS of the sunflower butter, but it’s just such an overwhelming flavor that it ruined breakfast for me. 😦 Sorry, sunflower butter, you gotta go.

 

The good thing is that I’m going to use up the chickpeas I have in my pantry at home to make homemade lemon garlic hummus for the week! Opa!!! Speaking of, here’s my meal plan for this next week—packed with protein!!

Mid-Morning Snack: Bison Jerky & Dates
Mid-Afternoon Snack: Broccoli + Lemon Garlic Hummus + Strawberries
Dinner: Turkey and Spinach Paleo Ravioli + Roasted Brussel Sprouts

And finally, 

 

Fitness Goal: Reverse Lunge Challenge

Fact: One of my LEAST FAVORITE exercises is LUNGES!!! They are the devil. However, I really want to work on sculpting a better backside and legs, and I *guess* rumor has it that lunges really help with that. :/ 

Therefore, I will be coming up against my arch nemesis, the lunge, and doing

40 reverse lunges per leg every day!!!

EEEEEPS!!! Wish me luck—this is gonna be a doozy!!!

So yeah, those are my goals for September. I’m equal parts nervous and excited, simply because they all take a lot of planning, thinking from different angles, and a LOT of SELF-CONTROL. But that’s going to be a good thing—I just know it!

What about you? Have you set any goals for this next month?

HAPPY FIT FRIDAY, Y’ALL!! 😀


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Baby Your Baby | Jolly Birth Announcement Photo Shoot

Errr . . . I mean . . . what??? ;p

 

So where DO babies come from?!?

 

 

From the Jolly family, of course! That’s right—my best friends are pregnant with their first baby and I could not be MORE excited! There are so many things I love about the Jollys (I mean, the name is rad enough):

  • They balance each other’s personality out perfectly
  • They do things that are uniquely “them”
  • They are both very creative
  • They each have a great sense of humor with a healthy balance of snark, wit, and irreverence
  • They don’t take life’s worries too seriously
  • They really know how to whip up some delicious meals
  • They lean towards more practical than emotional solutions to problems
  • They care about the environment and about getting the most out of natural resources
  • They have hearts of gold that give and serve out of the deepest love

It’s for those reasons and MANY more that I have no doubts in my mind that they are going to raise their child in a beautiful, healthy, safe, and loving environment. Bottom line: That kid is SUPER blessed because his/her parents are a powerhouse team!

 

Check out those cute cloth diapers!

 

Not only are they an amazing couple, but their friendship is pure gold to me. So naturally, I was beyond thrilled (and majorly honored) when they asked me to do a photo shoot for their Birth Announcement photo! We headed out to Ravenna Park and got everything set up to create a fun and simple shoot on a more natural (less modern) playground structure. They really wanted it to have a vintage minimalistic look, so I tried to keep the photo style simple and just let the happy couple . . . and Heather’s teeny tiny baby bump . . .  shine through!

 

Enjoy!

 

 

We also got some great outtakes from the shoot!

 

 

See, they really are SO much fun to be around! It’s no wonder I spend the majority of my free time doing things with them, right? 😉

Once again,
CONGRATULATIONS to the Jolly family!

I’m looking forward to many more family photo shoots (and play-dates) with you!


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It’s All Coming Back To Me Now

 

To say that life has been moving along at a rapid-fire pace would be a major understatement. When I said I was along for the ride during this transitional time of stepping into the role of Children’s Director at my church, I had no idea I would need to be duct-taped, zip tied, and buckled in. What a rush! But just between you and me—I LOVE IT!

 

My awesome co-workers at Westside!

I’ve been able to be a part of so many great events and I’ve done everything I can to snatch up every life lesson I can along the way. Since life has been one thing right after another, it’s hard to keep up and post about each one, so I figured I would do a general recap of some recent highlights! So go ahead and strap yourself in securely, throw your hands up in the air, and get ready to scream!!!!! . . . or not. Whichever. That’s cool. 😉

 

Revving up my engine with some delicious coffee before taking the stage as Flash Skyrunner

 

We had a VERY successful Vacation Bible School week and I got a chance to know the kiddos and their parents better, as well as spend some sweet moments with our youth volunteer team! They were even sweet enough to help me cool off . . . in a DUNK TANK!!

 

Welp, it’s been high time flying the friendly skies, but it appears to be time for this happy pilot to meet her icy dunk tank doom! Muah ha ha ha!! :O

 

Yep! There I GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! 

 

I seem to have wet myself :O

 

By the way, that was actually my FIRST EVER time in a dunk tank and it was SUPER SCARY!! I was 100000% nervous . . . I may or may not have peed my pants. :-/  We went straight from VBS into the 2Twelve Student Ministries camping trip! No, really, I mean it. Right after we tore down and cleaned up from the last day at VBS, Heather and I drove straight to the grocery store to pick up last-minute supplies and then headed to her and Jolly’s place to get the tents set up and get the dinner supplies ready for the students to show up that night. Even though prep was a rush, things were all as they should as the students all showed up and we just laid back to relax and cook a nice dinner around the campfire.

 

That is . . . 

Until I decided to roast my corn over the fire.

And I’m just gonna go ahead and get this out there—I AM NOT A CAMPER!! I know next to nothing about camping, including how to properly cook corn over the fire. So I ended up stabbing myself in the hand as I tried to get the poker stuck through the side of the corn. And THEN as I was sticking my corn in the fire, it fell. Twice. And on my 2nd time of grabbing it out with the poker, I decided it would be a good idea to grab from the fork side and not the handle side. So now I have a nice little burn scar on my left hand. Coooooool. Reallll cooool. Or hot, rather. 😐

 

I. Are. Smart. And that corn is the DEVIL!! :”'(

 

So the night continued and we all had a blast playing MAFIA the rest of the night! As we finally headed to the tents to grab a couple of hours of sleep, the girls had a zany idea, and I didn’t have it in my heart to refuse their heart’s desire.

 

 

I mean, c’mon, it’s just Sharpie right? It comes off easily, right? Yeahhhhhhh.

 

Just when you thought I couldn’t look foxier, I woke up the next morning to . . .

O.M.G. so smexy . . .

 

Seriously, those girls crack me up and it just makes me love them so much more! ♥ Did I mention that immediately after the last kiddo left the next day, I had to wipe my face clean and head out to Geek Girl Con? Yep. Gotta love it!! 😉

 

Super stoked to launch our new “LIFE’S A JUNGLE” series!! Happy Sunday to Westside Kids!! ♥

 

The week after VBS was spent re-decorating the rooms and getting things ready for our new Children’s Church series, LIFE’S A JUNGLE! It was so rad to have some wonderful volunteers helping out and to see the kids get excited about being in church on a Sunday morning!

 

Children’s church keeps it rockin!

The next event on the calendar involved some fun Back-To-School shopping excursion complete with

Dressing Room Shenanigans

Annnnnd I’m a dork 😉

Trying out new looks at Claire’s 

I know, I know, TOTAL fashion icon 😉

 

And a PERFECT PURCHASE!

I wasn’t sure whether to get this sweet jacket or not, but thanks to the positive feedback on Facebook, I GOT IT!

 

And I’m glad I did, cause I’m in LOVE with it!

 

Sometimes we get a little outta control at my ‘ol 9-to-5 😉

 

Then we had a couple of church potluck BBQs, which DEFINITELY called for my other recent purchase:

WONDER WOMAN SOCKS!!!

GREAT HERA, these babies even have little capes on the back!!

 

And to top it all off, was the big announcement from my best friend, Heather J. and her hubby that they are PREGNANT with Baby #1!!! There was so much excitement in the air this past Sunday when they announced it! They were super creative and announced it to the kids in Children’s Church first and had them go tell their parents the BIG NEWS. Having known about it for a while, it was so heartwarming to see everyone jump up for joy AND finally be able to join in the fun!!

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE JOLLY FAMILY!!

 

With all these fun times going on, it’s been a work-in-progress to determine a work rhythm through the transition. I’m still working on finding it and learning what boundaries I need to set up and how to navigate working 2 part-time jobs without making them 2 full-time jobs. The good thing is that both sets of co-workers have been SUPER supportive and my accountability partners are holding me by the collar to make sure I stay focused on the things that matter most. 🙂

 

My co-workers at the ‘ol 9-to-5

I love the go-go-go lifestyle, and I know that it will be a constant forward motion as I
grow into this new role and schedule shift, but I’m feeling more ready for it than ever.
However, I’m also looking forward to the next couple of days flying by
so I can enjoy a relaxing weekend and LABOR DAY! 🙂 Wheeeee!! 

 


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I Dreamed A Dream | Fit Life Friday

I feel like a wild ‘n’ happy kid all over again!
I got a visit from one of my FAVORITE FAIRIES!!

THE FOOD FAIRY!!

Seriously, I have been abundantly blessed in the food department lately! Awhile back, I Grammed (Instagram) a pic about an awesome grocery shopping feat and shared the Gram with my Twitter followers:

Dude, this is huge, okay?!? Pacific Northwest grocery prices are OUTTA CONTROL ‘spency! :O

To which one of my friends replied:

So, in order to answer that friend, and anyone else with similar questions, I want to take the opportunity to use today’s Fit Life post to share some of my tips/tricks. I’ll start by saying that none of this is particularly revolutionary, just some things I decided to try out paired with some Divine appointments.

The week I made the big grocery score was not really different from any other week in my meal planning adventures. I had my list of meals I was going to make and I was ready to put together my list. Before I headed to the store, I went up to the kitchen to see what supplies I already had so that I could cross them off my list. I had so many half-used items on my shelves and in the fridge/freezer that I had to take everything out and set it on the counter to see what I could cross off. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: Why don’t I just take inventory of all the things that are out on the counter and instead of adding to it, start getting rid of it! I threw away a lot of stuff I had tried but didn’t end up liking. And then I made my list:

Throughout the past couple of weeks, I’ve crossed off things that I’ve used up. What a HUGE difference it all makes, cost-wise!

From there, I took my list back to my room, cleared off my list of previously planned meals and then went to my FOOD IDEARS Pinterest board to search for recipes that called for the items I already had on hand. After that, I put together a new meal plan and listed out the new groceries I would need in order to make those meals happen. What started out as a list of 25 items was reduced to a list of 7 items! As I shopped my list, I noticed that some items that were similar to what I needed were on SALE, so I got those instead. And by the time I left the grocery store, my grand total was $28! And for what I normally spend on a week’s worth of meals, that is CRAZY AWESOME SAUCE! It felt so great to walk out of the grocery store without spending a ridic amount of money on my Hungry Hungry Hippo needs. 😉

So here’s a few things to keep in mind to save money on food:

  • PLAN. PLAN. PLAN. — Create a menu featuring recipes that use the same ingredients as what you’re already buying anyway. That way you’re not left with half a can of beans for the week and nothing to do with it but let it rot or toss it.
  • Clip Coupons — Sign up for your local grocery store’s rewards/coupon program and pick up the little newspaper on the way in. Use that information to save you some dinero. Seriously, I just picked up a FREE carton of eggs because I’m signed up for QFC rewards and they send me coupons for stuff like that all the time!
  • Take Inventory — Write down what you have already and challenge yourself to create meals to use it up in your weekly meal prep.
  • Bring on the Subs — If there’s something on sale that’s similar to what you have on your list, go for the $ale item. **Disclaimer: One thing I’ve trained myself to do is to read the nutrition info labels on the back of things. While sale items are nice, there are some things I won’t buy even if it’s on sale. If the sale item has significantly more added sugars or more sodium than the original item, I won’t buy the sale item. I’ll pay the extra that it takes to keep my food habits low-sodium and less processed.
  • Invest in a food processor — The majority of the time, produce is cheaper than the canned business. Also, it’s FRESHER and you know there won’t be additives AND you can buy as much/little as you need, as most cans have a little more/less than a recipe can tend to call for.

As I mentioned earlier, there’s another reason why I’ve been able to save more on my food and that is because of the power of relationships and Divine appointments. Here’s what I mean:

My Food Fairy Godmother is my best friend, Heather J. She’s part of a co-op that gathers leftover food from grocery stores. This is the food that stores are not legally allowed to sell because they’re about to turn or they’ve reached their box expiration date. The co-op then takes all the food and other supplies back to their warehouse where everyone involved is given a chance to look through it all and take whatever they want home. So what Heather SO GRACIOUSLY does—because she’s got a selfless heart of gold that always goes out of its way to invest in and bless others—as she grabs food for her and her husband, is look through the fruit and produce with me in mind as well. Every week on a certain day, she’ll bring me a bag of produce and other goodies that she knows I can use to make my meals for the next week. And that picture of Heather’s note on my house whiteboard at the top of this post? Well, it’s just the best love note ever because I walked up to the kitchen, saw the note, and then looked down to find a huge bag of food loot! As I set it all out on the counter to store in the fridge, I found the 3 bags of salad she had written about also sitting on one of my fridge shelves! Here’s how happy my shelf looked like once I got it all stored on my shelves:

Om nom nom nom! I’m in produce HEAVEN!

I thought it was extra funny because as I had gotten home, I checked the mail and found that the latest issue from my subscription to EATING WELL magazine was in there. And on the cover, beaming just as beautifully as ever, was a feature of my FAVORITE fruit!

Oh glory!

Knowing that it was my favorite, Heather made sure to bring me a lot of apples in my goodie bag, so I was one happy camper! I’m REALLY looking forward to using the apples this week! She also included 2 grapefruits and that turned out to be an excellent choice. I’ve always been afraid of grapefruit, but since I could tell it was on its way out, I decided to have one for breakfast and one for at dinner. It turns out that when you rub the slices with a little Stevia, life isn’t so bad! 😉 I actually really liked them!

“Trying a grapefruit for the first time, thanks to a special delivery from my awesome Food Fairy, Heather J.! I dig it & it’s a perfect pairing w/ my Sweet Potato Pancake!”

[Sweet Potato Pancake Recipe]

I got to doll up my Turkey Taco Chili dinner thanks to one of the bags of salad that Heather left me! And since fruit has become my preferred sweet treat, I opted for a dessert of juicy strawberries! Glooooory!

[Crock Pot Turkey Taco Chili Recipe]

The Food Fairy’s generous donation also helped me with my snacks today!

The only thing I had to buy was the almonds! This makes for one happy tummy 🙂

Another Divine Appointment

is that my workplace has a co-op garden as well, and those that use it to grow food usually bring their leftover crops to work and set them out on the counter free for the taking! Those offerings help me out with my weekly snacks as well. This past week, my boss brought in a HUGE bag of apples (my fave!) and told us to PLEASE take a bunch home with us. . . .UM, OKAY! No problem!

Fruit Loot

Guess I’ll just eat some with my lunch . . . and dinner . . . and . . . well, you get the point 😉

And of course I’ll save some for later too. 😉

More Divine Appointments . . . 

My friend/mother/mentor, Kathy, will often let me know of deals happening at Costco and Central Market and will offer to pick me up sale items that I can’t get to because I don’t have a vehicle or a Costco membership. So this week, she picked up some greek yogurt on sale and so I decided to pick up some chia seeds to try out. A lot of bloggers I follow recommend chia seeds, so I’m looking forward to adding this to my greek yogurt parfaits this upcoming week!

Ch-ch-ch-chia!

And my friend Glenda, who I lovingly call G-Mama, was cleaning out her bookshelves and came across 2 Clean Eating Cookbooks and decided to gift them to me! This week has been SO full of treasures!!

THANK YOU so much, G-Mama! ♥

So I guess the best way to end this would be to actually share my next week’s meal plan with ya, eh? Sweet! It includes things I had leftover from last week’s recipes and the new loot I got from my Food Fairy. Here it is in all it’s tasty, low-cost glory!

Breakfast: Greek Yogurt + Chia Breakfast Mix
Mid-Morning Snack: Green Beans + Almonds + Apple
Lunch: Deviled Egg Wraps + Salad
Mid-Afternoon Snack: Cauliflower + Almonds + Apple
Dinner: Potato & Vegetable Salad w/ Lemon Pepper Turkey

Happy Fit Life Friday, y’all!

Y’know, you can always count on me to wear the latest in Children’s Director fashion 😉

PS: If you have any other money saving ideas for meal planning & shopping, please feel free to share the love in the comments!


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Triumphant

I mean, I *guess* you could say I *kinda* like apples…

How ’bout dem apples?? 😉 My boss brought those in from her apple tree and they are SUPER yum! I kinda feel like a hoarder though . . . even though she said take as many as you want and there are still a bunch left!

But even more than that, I love APPLES TO APPLES!!

Especially when I get to spend the evening playing it
with a bunch of my closest friends!

Sharing life and love is just my kinda thing. Whether it’s getting together to hang out and play games, or if it’s one-on-one lunch dates

Enjoying company picnics with my rad co-workers

Or days spent cleaning and organizing my workspace with my best friend

Enjoying quality time and home-cooked meals with my friends and their kiddos

Potluck nights with my awesome Community Group

Cruisin’ the streets and having lunch with my best friend’s mom

Embracing my awkwardness and lack of hand-eye-coordination with my Zumba buddy

Catch-up Coffee Dates with friends I haven’t seen in what seems FOREVER

or celebrating Birthdays of incredible ladies
that inspire me to live my life to the fullest!

There are just way too many reasons to celebrate life and those that are a part of it!

Another thing I love is getting treasures in my mailbox. And a few days ago, I got some mailbox treasures that will help me celebrate others for a nice long time!!

I came home to a package from one of my favorite crafters, PLAIN JANE’S CARDS!

Jane Grizzle is an incredibly creative and crafty lady. She makes beautiful cards, of which I’m a HUGE fan! They’re simple, clean, fun, and festive—which is just my style!

I had recently participated in a giveaway she was hosting on her blog and I WON!!!

“What was the prize??” you might be asking. Well, let me tell you . . . nay, let me SHOW you!

Check out this CELEBRATIONS CARD LOOT!!

I’m so excited to have won these lovely cards because there are so many people in my life I want to share these with!
Thanks, Jane!!

And now, for a little celebratory tune up on this here blog!

Go ahead, get up, shake them hips, do a little dance, and CELEBRATE LIFE!


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Safety Line | Fit Life Friday

Look! It’s a Fish-Eating Jicama!! . . . get it?!? oooohkay.

 

So I know I’ve mentioned before that I have a really hard time choosing my monthly FITNESS goals because let’s face it, I’m going to naturally choose something that isn’t AS challenging as I think I should. I actually have rowdy mental debates with myself each month when deciding on a new challenge. So I tend to ask for help and do a lot of searching online for ideas. Ironically enough, I’ve also recently been asked for help with giving others ideas for challenges and goals. So here’s a GREAT starter! It’s the challenge I decided to tackle this month:

 

COMPLETE THE ABOUT.COM 30 DAY FITNESS CHALLENGE

It’s like a giant box of fitness chocolates—you never know what you’re gonna get! Once you sign up, About.com starts e-mailing you the next day with fresh daily challenges that include:

an Active Challenge
(Accumulate at least 10 minutes of extra walking today.)

an Exercise Challenge
(Do at least 20 minutes of medium-high intensity cardio exercise.)

a Flexibility Challenge
(Perform this Seated Stretching Routine at least once today)

a Nutrition Challenge
(Change your eating habits for one day.)

and a Mind/Body Challenge
(Take at least two minutes to do the following relaxation:)

  1. Sit in a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Close your eyes, if you can, and shrug the shoulders up towards the ears as high as you can.
  3. Hold for 2 seconds and release.
  4. Repeat the shoulder shrugs five times.
  5. Slowly roll the shoulders backwards three times.
  6. Roll the shoulders forwards three times.
  7. Take five slow, deep breaths, feeling your belly expand with each inhale and contract with each exhale.
  8. Use each exhale to ease any tension in your shoulders, neck and forehead

 

Every day holds a new set of challenges and you never know what’s going to come your way until you get the email each morning. I was skeptical about signing up for it, but it’s proved to be an EXCELLENT challenge to master, especially since I’m such a planner. It throws me for a loop daily in the best ways possible. For example, one of my recent Nutrition Challenges was to try a new fruit/vegetable! Considering how particular AND clueless I am about switching up my veggies, I opted for the veggie and asked my friend, Jeana for help.

She recommended the Jicama. I recommended that we just forget the whole thing! 😉 Jeana and I will frequently grab lunch together at Metropolitan Market near my office, so at one of our lunch dates we picked out a good one from the produce sector vector. Since I was already full and there wasn’t enough time left in my lunch break to eat it right then, I took it with me to eat later and had one of my co-workers assist me in documenting the experience:

 

Oh Mighty Jicama . . . you scare me!

 

Slicin’ that sucker up!

I’m skurred. 😦

 

Taking that Jicama plunge . . .

 

Not bad, not bad!

 
The good news is that I didn’t die!!! World domination is MINE! Muah ha ha! 😉

Honestly though, I DID enjoy it and I’ll eat it again for sure. It’s crunchy, filling, and actually reminds me of water cress a bit… which I LOVE! It was definitely a challenging experience because it forced me to step out of my comfort zone, but I’m really glad I did it!

So if you are just starting out on your own Fit Life journey, or if you’re racking your brain to find a well-balanced Fitness Challenge, I highly recommend you give this one a whirl!

(PS: I get nothing from raving about this challenge except the satisfaction of knowing that others are jumping on board and choosing to make the little changes that make the big difference in reclaiming a healthy lifestyle.)

Happy Fit Life Friday, y’all!!

 


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Odd Soul | Geek Girl Con 2012

Hey everyone! So I have a confession to make . . . as if it wasn’t blatantly obvious. I AM A NERD. That’s right, one giant geek girl! And as such, it’s only fitting that I would join my fellow geeky friend, Nicki, for an afternoon out at Geek Girl Con!!! Okay, so some people can go to the Baseball Hall of Fame and just ogle every last glove or broken bat. Still others will stand with their jaw dropped as they gaze upon the flying buttresses at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. I however, choose to geek out . . . over PAC-MAN!

 

Can you EVEN blame me?!?

[Crocheted INKY by Nerd Jerk]

So there, my secret is out! My freak flag is OFFICIALLY flying!! Wait, what’s that you say? This is not news to you? You figured as much? . . .oh. Okay then. Well since that’s all out in the open, I guess it’s time to share some pics from my fun day at the Con with Nicki!

 

All registered, ready to take on the Con!

 

The entire day was like one giant amusement park ride. I mean, I won’t DO roller coasters, but a give me a full day surrounded by people dressed up as my favorite superheroes and gaming personas and you can just go ahead and install some pearly gates in front of the main doors. The entire day was filled with interesting discussion panels:

 

For the record, I heart roller derby and if my life wasn’t jam-packed with a million other things right now, I’d seriously consider doing derby as a hobby in my free time!

 

One thing that got my mind going was during the Roller Derby panel when one of the speakers mentioned that EVEN THOUGH the Rat City Rollergirls bring in significantly more revenue than the majority of sports and events hosted at Key Arena, they are still never afforded recognition in the SPORTS section of the newspaper. Instead, you will find blurbs about them in the LIFE AND STYLE section—that’s sick and wrong, y’all! Derby is just as much of a sport as basketball is!

 

These are the fabulous ladies that were part of the Roller Derby / Quidditch panel

 

I really enjoyed everything each panelist in each session had to say throughout the day and I felt that attending these sessions opened my eyes up to see just how big the Geek Girl community is and it reinforced a sense of camaraderie for me as a Geek Girl!

 

An attendee asking the panel a question while dressed in dragon cosplay. NBD.

 

The other great panels we attended were . . .

 

GEEKS RAISING GEEKS | What do you do when your daughter would rather play Barbie™ than Dungeons & Dragons? At what age is Assassin’s Creed an acceptable video game? How do you deal when raising a kid who just doesn’t fit in?

 

ART AS BUSINESS ONLINE | Learn helpful tips on running an online art or craft business. Panelists discuss selling on popular market places like Etsy, finding your audience, using social media for promotion, connecting with your customer, & the pros/cons of creative commons. Find out the reality of protecting your designs online & some basic rules of running a small business.

 

GIRLS LEADING THE ROBOT UPRISING: FIRST Robotics | See robots on parade! More than 290,000 students around the world participate in a FIRST Robotics program. This isn’t your ordinary classroom work; it involves things that geeks love: LEGO, costumes, innovation, and big ideas—and, of course, robots!

 

PS: I TOTALLY want to get my youth group kids involved in FIRST Robotics! It’s such an incredible program!

GEEKY TECHNOLOGY IN WOMEN’S HEALTH | Medical technology is advancing rapidly with our increasing reliance on personal handheld devices. Managing your medical data is easier than ever. Technology can assist in communication with health practitioners, increasing one’s wellness, and helping with special needs throughout a woman’s life. Check out several gadgets that track information for women and learn how to use them in your daily life.

 

I know, I know, it seems like all we did was sit and listen to people talk all day, right?!? No worries, we made sure to squeeze in a lot of fun to offset all the information overload! We filled our day with . . .

 

SHOPPING!!!

Ohhhh glory! I AM IN HEAVEN!! ♥

 

Can I just have ALL the things?!?

 

I actually had to pull myself away before buying their entire collection of these, but rest assured, my wedding guest book WILL be one of these Scrabble books custom-designed by these guys!

 

 

I feel obligated to tell you that by nature, I am NOT a shopper. I actually dislike shopping a lot. In general it just seems like a chore—a long, boring, expensive chore. However, pour a bowl of Geek Syrup over it and I am the VISA QUEEN! Check out all this loot I got:

 

SO much nerdy goodness!!

 

But if you were to ask me which purchases were my FAVORITES, I’d have to go with these two:

That’s right, y’all! A LEGO heart ring and a MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE repurposed journal!

 

 

And as if I wasn’t in shopper’s heaven already, it just so happened that Chewbacca graced the market floor with his presence!!

 

Reminiscing over that epic moment when I got to hug + get a pic with Chewbacca!! ♥ ♥ ♥

 

We also made sure to get in some delicious noms nearby!

And I think it’s safe to say that EVOLUTION FRESH is my new FAVORITE eatery in downtown Seattle!

. . . and yes, that IS a Chewbacca cookie!! It’s a brown sugar cookie that one of the panelists, who runs Just JENN Recipes, handed out to everyone in our session. It was delicious and I can’t wait to make some of my own!

 

Other highlights of the day: 

 

Posing for pics with Bejeweled Plants and Zombies

 

Me Casa Es Su Casa . . . don’t mind the Zombies 😉

 

Ogling Board Game Central!!! Is that TICKET TO RIDE I spy????♥

 

Sneaking in some gaming time

 

And we finished off the day watching THE MOST HILARIOUS Improv group I’ve ever witnessed before:

NerdProv

LOTR skit for the win!

 

Not only were we treated to an excellent improv show, but a woman even proposed to her boyfriend and he said YES!!!

 

Ahhhh young geeky love! She proposed with a customized MTG Card!

 

Zombies -vs- Unicorns debate time!

 

And if you don’t believe me that this troupe was just perfectly hilarious, I will leave you with this clip of the group doing a sketch where they perform the same scene to different styles shouted out by the audience. They do the following scene à la Stanley Kubrick, Gilbert & Sullivan, Quentin Tarantino, and Michael Bay. ENJOY and may the SCHWARTZ BE WITH YOU!