Sunday, November 24, 2013

Baby, it's cold outside

Remember like last week when it was 60+ degrees out on that fluke New England autumn day? And then remember when it turned into winter overnight?! It is absolutely freezing out today - I don't know how any of you goons are at the football games! Nutjobs. {I say this with nothing but love for those nutjobs!} The only, and I mean ONLY good news that is coming out of this cold weather is that I'm on my way to the holiday spirit!

Today was a day to stay in. To cozy up in fleecy leggings, wrap yourself in a blanket, and sit on the couch and do nothing. And while I did have the opportunity to do just that for the 2nd half of my day {and I am 100% wearing my fleecy leggings, wrapped in a blanket on the couch with my laptop atop my lap and a mug of warm apple cider next to me}, I also had a lot of Sunday things to accomplish, including folding laundry, running errands, and chasing poor Cecelia around the house with a pair of reindeer antlers and my iPhone; but more importantly, my favorite Sunday thing: cooking! 

The mister has been after me to make beef stew. I'm not sure how he got it into his head, but I will tell you, I really wasn't feeling it. Whenever I think about beef stew, all I can focus on are the stories my mother has told me about when I was a kid. I think every kid has that one food item that they eat day-in and day-out. For a period of time, all I would eat was Dinty Moore beef stew. My sister at least ate Velveeta Mac+Cheese, but no, not me. Dinty Moore it had to be. So I'm thinking that thought alone is why I'm not into the whole beef stew thing. Thankfully, tt was interested in a compromise {what a good guy.. or a guy that knows what's good for him..either way} we agreed upon a pot roast, which did the trick, and the thing came out a-mazing.

Thankfully. This year, I have so much to be so truly thankful for. Everything, really. When all is said and done, I have a wonderful life. I have an amazing fiance that treats me like the princess I think I am-he is so supportive and lets me be me and I love that about him. I have the best friends and family that a girl could ask for-they lift me up, but keep me grounded. I have a career that I love and at 31 years old, I am more successful than I give myself credit for. I have a roof over my head, food on my table, and an abundance of shoes for my feet. And for all of this, I am thankful.

As we head into Thanksgiving this week, and kick start the most wonderful time of the year, what are YOU thankful for?!

Recipe of the day

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Motivation needed.... NOW

I am having a tough go of it these days.... from a motivation perspective, that is. Diet is all over the place, can't find the time/energy to exercise, and the days are only passing me by. EmcP and I have been gramma walking in the AMs, and while that is a great start- it ain't gonna get me to skinny in my stilettos. 

I found this, that I made about a year ago, and realized that I have let the last year get away from me. And it's horrifying. I had made such progress. Such focus. Such SKINNY! 

Not ok. Not not NOT ok. I need to get that motivation back- 2014 is going to be such a big year and I need to go into it looking and feeling my best ever. I'm toying with options at this point. Gym membership, Weight Watchers, a personal trainer. TT and I have established we don't do a great job of motivating each other. 

What do you do to keep yourself motivated when it gets hard?! Help!!

I stumbled across a little article on that was titled: How to burn more Calories.. whaaaat?!  Here's how:
  1. Do a few extra sets: One minute of push-ups burns eight calories and one minute of crunches also burns eight calories. Complete three extra sets of each and that's 48 extra calories burned.
  2. Do five extra minutes of cardio: You'll burn an extra 56 calories on the elliptical, 52 calories on the bike, 34 calories in your cardio class, 49 calories on the treadmill, and 30 calories in the pool when you hang on for an extra five minutes.
  3. Pick up your pace: When running for 30 minutes, you can burn 216 calories moving at 5 mph (12 minutes per mile) or you can increase your speed slightly to 6 mph (10 minutes per mile) and burn 270 calories. That's quite a difference that really adds up over time.
  4. Pump up the incline: You know that you'll burn 270 calories after 30 minutes while running at a pace of 10 minutes per mile, but if you pump up the incline to five percent, you'll burn 363 calories!
  5. Crawl in the pool: Doing freestyle for 30 minutes burns 297 calories, while the breaststroke burns slightly less at 270.
  6. Get your yoga on: After a 60-minute Pilates class, you'll have burned 144 calories. Go for a more vigorous yoga class instead and you'll burn 269 calories.
*All calculations are based on a 130-pound woman.
Maybe I can try to work these into my life... but the motivation has got to sink in first.
Leave me some love in the comments and help me get the motivation back! xoxo

Recipe of the day

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pinterest saves the day, again!

Not sure about you, but I am entirely too lazy to hand-wash most of my day to day kitchen items that really should be hand-washed.... i.e. certain tupperwares, my knives, pieces of my food processor and juicer that I'm 99% positive aren't even dishwasher safe... the list goes on. Honestly, the only thing I really don't put in the dishwasher are my pots and pans, and that's strictly because they are new, and the old ones got ruined because of the dishwasher. Lame. 

Well, not just my pots and pans got ruined by that necessary evil that is the dishwashing machine. I have been ignoring the fact that my Kitchenaid knives have been becoming increasingly more and more rusted by the day. It has been grossing me out, but what grosses me out even more is the thought of buying new ones. I had it in the back of my head that perhaps I would see if I could nab a set on sale either on Black Friday or another time during the holiday shopping frenzy. 

Then, this morning, something came over me. I thought... what if there's an answer on Pinterest?? {note: it's sad that everything I look for is now on Pinterest. I used to automatically google. Now, googling comes second fiddle to looking things up on Pinterest.} In any event, the answer to my question was YES. 

As with any time I do research, I always check a few different sites to ensure I'm not jumping on the bandwagon of something horrible. As I scrolled through the pages and pages of ideas, one seemed to jump out at me the most often... soak 'em in lemon juice. 

Really?!?! Is it that easy and I have been dealing with gross, rusted knives for all this time? I had to see for myself, so I set myself up for my "science experiment" as I called it when tt got home and asked what the h-e-double hockey sticks I was doing. 

What you'll need:

  • Your gross, rusty knives
  • Lemon juice
  • A receptacle 
  • A good scrubber sponge 

What you do:

  1. Get your station set up. I worked on the kitchen counter, right next to the sink for easy access. For my receptacle, I actually used my biggest Pyrex baking dish. Most websites suggested using a cup, but my knives had rust on the handles too so I wanted to ensure that the entire knife was submerged. I made sure I had paper towels and a clean, dry dishtowel on hand as well. 
  2. Soak your knives. They'll need to soak for probably 5-10 minutes, depending on how bad your rust is. Because I was doing all of my knives at once {6 steak knives, a bread knife, a small one, and three larger knives, as well as my kitchen scissors} I actually used almost the entire bottle of lemon juice to ensure they were all covered. If you use a smaller receptacle, you would probably be able to get away with less juice. 
  3. Scrub away. I used my Scrub Daddy sponge to start, keeping it cold so that it scrubbed well. I realized that some of the spots were a little more stubborn, so if the sponge didn't take the rest off, I used a Magic Eraser which did the trick. 
  4. Wash, rinse and dry. Once I was finished scrubbing, I washed the knives in very hot water, and dried them completely. 

What did I learn? Well, besides lemon juice apparently being a miracle worker, and Pinterest saving the day yet again, I learned that hand-washing AND making sure knives are completely dry before putting away, will help to keep away those pesky rust spots in the future. And if I get lazy and start putting them in the dishwasher again? Well at least I know how to fix the problem. ;o)

Recipe of the day

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Jamaica, holiday plans, and Vodka

Lots of exciting things happening in my little slice of the world. At work, I found out the other day that I'm on track to qualify for our annual Sales Incentive Trip ~ which, is an all expense paid trip for me and my +1 and this year's trip will be to Montego Bay, Jamaica! I am so excited, I haven't won this trip in 2 years! It is such a great accomplishment and makes me really feel great about all the hard work I have been putting in lately. 

It also makes me appreciate my team so much. We have been working extremely hard to create an environment where we can all work together, and we have truly gotten ourselves to a great place in the last few months. I have even been asked to talk with offices around the country about the importance of teamwork and communication within the office, and my colleague KS and I were asked to host a national conference call yesterday about some of our best practices, and my director commented afterwards about how great and informative the call was. She was receiving all sorts of emails thanking her for having us speak to the topics we did. Woo!

Next. Can we talk about the fact that it is already time to get prepared for the holidays?!?!! Jeezum crow, I can't even handle it. A- Mr and  I haven't even discussed our holiday travel plans. B- My holiday shopping budget needs to be kept in very close check this year, as 2014 will be a very expensive year with all of the wedding craziness.  and C- I still can't even believe that it's time, although I am super excited because I just l-o-v-e this time of year!

And last but definitely not least, today's recipe is a Vodka Sauce made from Firefly Vodka... um, yum?! Can't wait to make it for tt! If you make it before I do, let me know how it is!

Recipe of the Day

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Leopard print nails, a fab fall outfit and another new soup

Holy Moly am I excited about my little art project from last night!! I have had zero time to go get a manicure, so I had to take matters into my own... hands. {pun intended}

I am loving the accent nail that is all over the place. I noticed a FAB mani on Pinterest that was all black nails, with a nude accent and LEOPARD PRINT! And I dug down deep into my memory and came to a realization that... "I know how to do that - and it's SO easy!!!"

So ignore the fact that I hadn't cleaned up my sad excuse for a manicure, but honestly, DIY leopard print nails are so easy to do, because you use liquid eyeliner!
  1. Choose your nail polish colors. For this example, I used China Glaze "Black Diamond" and Essie "Ladylike" with a black liquid liner. 
  2. Start off with a base coat on all of your nails {I like Sally Hansen "Hard as Wraps" Acrylic Base coat}
  3. Because darker polish takes longer to dry, I started with the darker color first, and painted the first coat of gray on all my nails, then did first coat of pink
  4. Repeat with 2nd coat on all nails
  5. To ensure that your accent nail is fully dry, I also did my top coat on the gray nails before moving onto the pattern {My FAVORITE topcoat is Cina brand that I get at Sally's Beauty Supply. Cheap cheap cheap and works like a charm, until it gets tacky, which this bottle is beginning to}
  6. Next, use black pointed tip eyeliner and draw your leopard print pattern by doing little "C" shapes next to each other. I filled in with a few dots along the edges as well. - Let dry at least 5 minutes, then use topcoat {I used "No Chip" by Sally Hansen on these, which is way shinier. I definitely need to add that to my other nails asap}
and Voila! Adorable little pattern. Note: I have also done this is the past and put little polka dots in the center of the leopard print using different colors of nail polish. Super cute. And I bet you can use the eyeliner to do dots, stripes, or anything else you'd like!! Loving it. 

And I also wanted to share my super duper fabulous fall outfit that I wore yesterday, including my new sweater from tt for my bday. Mostly because I am obsessed with the fact that I can combine color combinations that the average person a- would never even remotely think to put together and b- think know they can't pull off. #confessionsofaselfproclaimedfashionista 

From the bottom up: nude pumps {Charlotte Russe}, maroon dress pants {the Limited}, mustard cowl neck sweater {Mossimo, from Target}, black + white patterned cardi {Nordstrom Rack} ~ LOVE!

I seriously need to re-vamp my wardrobe like ASAP. So excited to have a little extra shopping money from all the royals for my birthday. I'm torn between a new bag and new clothes. Sigh... so adios until I decide.... xoxo

Recipe of the day is a Panera Swap!