Thursday, March 31, 2011

march recap and april goals

I was in a funk at the end of February/beginning of March, and I got the wonderful suggestion from a few lovely ladies with some great ideas to get the necessary pick me up.

One of the suggestions was to make small goals, which I did for March.

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest
Here were my goals, as well as the progression of them (pink didn't happen and crossed out did)...

{1} Lose 4 pounds.
{2} Eat 3 meals per day (I skip lunch a lot and snack with the idea in mind that it's okay because I didn't eat lunch).
{3} Stick to my newly created budget.
{4} Run at least 7 times this month (this may sound silly for you runners, but I've gotta start small...I think I might start the Couch to 5k program that Zara mentioned).

I have to say that I'm proud of myself. While I didn't lose 4 pounds, I didn't start counting calories until last week, so I expect that will happen in April. I did, however, start the shred and complete 7 runs in the couch to 5k program! That was a big step for me! Also, not to make excuses, but I watched my money SO much more this month, and while I didn't stick to my budget, it allowed me to realize where to change my budget and where to tighten my belt next month. I know I'll stick next month!
And speaking of April, here are the goals I'm setting...

{1} lose 8 pounds
{2} finish the shred and continue couch to 5k
{3} stick with my grocery budget and cook at least 2 nights/week without using a recipe 
{4} eat out or get takeout only 8 times the entire month
{5} spend $0 on clothing, accessories, and unnecessary items (don't worry, I have enough new stuff from this month to show you for several months to come...)
{6} read two books for pleasure

So, those are my 6 goals. I'm going to paste them to my desktop to remember them all, and while 6 is more than last month, I think they're spread out enough to really be attainable.
And what's my motivation?

a trip to atlantis

a bikini bod

future plans to be shared as the future becomes the present...

What are your April goals? Or even just one...share with me and I'll help hold you accountable or just give you a place to write it down...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

sally hansen knows nails

I recently became interested in having my nails polished more often, and I just started purchasing some new colors and brands. I bought the Katie Perry collection and love all of the colors, but I was really disappointed with the black crackle. It looked great, but my nails literally started chipping off in large pieces the very day after I painted it on. I haven't tried it again, and I definitely will, but I have to say that my first experience was not overly successful. Anyone else have the same thing happen?

In the last couple of weeks, though, I've seen a couple of my favorite blogs (Shasta Anne and That is All.) talking about Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips. I wanted to try it but didn't really think about it until I had a long bus ride ahead of me (chaperoning) and knew no one would want to smell nail polish. I went for it!

Here's what they looked like when I applied them:

The prep process was simple: push down the cuticles, file the nails, and make sure the nails are clean and dry. To put the nails on, you pick a sticker that is about as wide as your nail, peel off the front and the backing, push the polish strip onto your nail, and stretch it a little bit to get it to stick at the top. To get the rest of the strip off, you just take the emery board provided and file the rest off. Then, push down the strip for a few and you're good to go.

Like the others said, it's a bit awkward to put on at first, but once you get it, it isn't too hard. It takes a few minutes to apply, but it doesn't smell and it's fun to have a pretty design. My Target had them for $5, so it was worth the money to have the fun pattern and the odor-less application process.

I also really liked them because they lasted! I was in sea water, snorkeling, cleaning, and doing anything but being careful with my nails for that first weekend. They lasted through that and into another week. Overall, after 7 days I was tired of them, so I started taking them off, but I think they could have lasted even longer. 

Here they are right before I started peeling:

Next time I'll try another pattern or the glittery ones. I'll probably stick with polish for a while, but I'll definitely try these again!

Have you tried them? What's been your experience?

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Monday, March 28, 2011

gina's delicious enchiladas

I've mentioned it on here before, but Gina's Skinny Recipes is probably my favorite recipe site on the internet. I have never made a recipe from her blog that was less than outstanding, and she calculates calories and WW+ points for everything she makes. 

That being said, when Tim texted me a request for "those chicken burritos" last week, I knew he was referring to the Chicken and White Bean Enchiladas with Creamy Salsa Verde I had made a little while back. When we have dinner there is usually much debate on a location or recipe, so to receive this request spoke volumes; I knew that meant they were really good.

This time I decided to document the process and wanted to share the recipe with you so you could go make it soon and get a request in the future (don't you love it when that happens?)

Here is the recipe. I won't go through all the details, but you basically make the filling and the sauce separately. You'll see a pan for the filling and one for the sauce. My main recommendation would be to use the tortillas Gina suggests and then to cut them in half and make them half the size. 

I love recipes that use onions and garlic as a base.
 After they're translucent, add white beans, green chiles, water and chicken bouillon.
Once cooked down a bit, add the pre-cooked chicken (I just boil a couple of chicken breasts before).
At the same time, start the sauce by sautéing more onion in a small amount of butter.
Then add the flour and allow to brown.
 Complete cooking with more green chiles, chicken broth, and jalapenos.
 Take off the heat, add fat free sour cream, and you're ready to roll!
 Put a little sauce at the bottom, fill the halved tortillas, layer into the pan, then top with sauce and cheese.
 Bake, and voila! A delicious and repeatable meal! 
Because of the white beans and tortillas, I couldn't figure out what to serve with it. I didn't want to add another starch, so last time I made them they stood alone, and this time I made my guacamole. I would highly recommend this recipe, as it is really easy and delicious!

What's the most recent "request" in your house? How do you usually decide what's for dinner if no one wants to pick?
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

how did i not know?

First, bare with me as I'm working on a site redesign. I jumped the gun a little bit on deleting my header.

Yesterday I was browsing around different blogs and I clicked on someone's sponsor button for EmersonMade. I was immediately bowled over. They have a new line of silk dresses and shirts that have little images on them that I absolutely love. Then I continued looking in the tops, jackets, and accessories. It's totally my style. I want everything that they have. 
I got all the images from their website.
I am writing this post completely on my own accord, as I wanted to share this beautiful line with you. I'm not getting comped in any way. I have seen emersonmade featured on other blogs before, but I've never actually looked through their site. Isn't it beautiful! What piece is not your favorite?

In my mad searching yesterday I found this giveaway, but I'm looking for more!

Hope you're enjoying a lovely Saturday! I'm just relaxing and getting some cleaning done! My mom comes to visit tomorrow, and I'm SO excited!

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Fancies and Shredding

I love Fridays for many reasons; one of those is the fun I have brainstorming a fun splurge outfit for {av}'s Friday's Fancies. Here's the last one I did. The best part about Friday's Fancies is that you don't have to look at the price tag. You can shop online and start making an outfit without thinking about what it will cost. Because it's all for fun! 

So, here is my Friday's Fancies for this week!
You're probably thinking, "so you can pick whatever outfit you want and you pick workout gear?" And my response would be, "yes, I did. Let me tell you why."

I started Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred on Tuesday, along with continuing my couch to 5k workout plan, and I found a blogger and twitter community of people who also happened to start the same time as me. It's been fun because when I lack motivation or want to see how everyone else is doing, I can tweet about it with #shredcrew and people respond so quickly. If you want to be a part of it just tell @birdgirlc and she'll add you to the list.

So, as I've found a way to stay motivated to workout and eat right, I'm finding that my apparel is really falling behind on the job. That's why my Friday's Fancies is workout gear--I really want some new pretties to workout in. So, let me tell you what I picked.

{1} The Nike Air Max+ 2011 running shoe is both attractive and functional. I love the color purple, as I'm sure you can tell, and these are so purple without being over the top. Plus, do you know about the Nike+ and iPod workout system? You put the sensor in your shoe (and with these there is a place for it), and it will tell you the pace you're going, how far you've run, and how many calories you've burned once you calibrate the system a few times. Obviously it's not spot on, but it's better than nothing!
{2} The lululemon Get Focused Tank is so cute, plus it has a built in sports bra. I like that it's not tight on the tummy so as to expose everything while you're running, and I love the cross back straps. I've never shopped at lululemon because I've never lived in a city that has one, but in terms of workout gear, it seems like a definite splurge.
{3} Staying with lululemon, I love these Stance Pants. I like foldover yoga pants, and I just think these work well with the flowy top.
{4} I have been wanting a bodybugg system since last Christmas, but I've never officially asked for one. Do you know about it? You wear it on your upper arm; it's fairly flat, and it tells you how many calories you burn on a daily basis. It is an actual measurement based on a lot of factors. I learned about it when I used to go to a personal trainer and they had them at that gym. It's quite expensive, so it isn't something that I would just buy, but it's something I think could really be beneficial with cutting back calories and working out more.
{5} Last, but I think most importantly, is a good headband. This one is again by lululemon, and I found it through Taylor at sterlingstyle. I can totally understand why bloggers get sponsored by companies, because her simply including that headband in her workout essentials made me shop around the lululemon website and inspired my Friday's Fancies post. This one is no slip and stays put while you workout, so says she and the website.

So, if you made it to the bottom, thanks for reading! What are your workout essentials and what workouts are you taking on right now? What's your motivation?
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the lovely avocado

So, it's the last day of Amber and my blog challenge! Which means real life posts commence tomorrow (or actually later today when I link up for Friday Fancies with {av}). Thank you to all of you who played along or commented this week; you've made me so happy (truthfully). I've enjoyed everything that you've written, and I'm working on coming around to everyone on yesterday's post!

The last questions is:
5. What recipe or food do you look forward to most during the springtime?

And I am thrilled for this topic. Yes, I love recipe linkups (and if you do too and haven't played along, please feel free to start today!), but I am so excited to share mine with you!

I cannot wait for spring and summer because of the lovely avocado. It's so hard and unrelenting during the winter, and it is also so expensive at the grocery store. Not during the spring and summer! They practically give them away, and I'm there to take them. Here is my favorite thing about spring/summer at the grocery story and what I do with the avocado.
I am not being cocky here, but I LOVE my guacamole. I didn't find the recipe anywhere, but I made it up! It's the only recipe that is MINE! It includes all of the ingredients above in different quantities, and it ends with this deliciousness. It is my favorite thing to make at this time of year, and I can find any excuse to do so:

going to a party? I'll make guac!
having friends over? I'll make guac!
what will go with dinner? guac!
i need a snack. how about guac?

I haven't mastered exactly how much of each to put in. I just taste as I go, but once I figure out an exact recipe, I'll share it with you.

Please share your favorite spring ingredients or recipes! I have closeted my cookbooks and find myself using the internet as my great big kitchen resource. Can't wait to see what you enjoy about spring!
Please bare with me as I continue to attempt photoshop. I am going to defeat this program one day, but it might take me a little while.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

spring and summer beauty products

Hi! It's the fourth day of Amber and my blog challenge! I've been so excited to read so many great posts and shop from other people's suggestions...

Today's question is:
4. What are some recommendations for products you'll be using this spring as you're headed outdoors more?

I have a confession to make...

When I made this question I really wanted to get tips from you all! I find that reading blogs has become my favorite way to shop and find out about new (or new to me) products to try. So, because I would feel badly just mooching off of your products, here are things I'm planning on trying this spring and summer or already do try!
dry shampoo
I've been reading a lot about dry shampoo, and it seems like a great way to ensure the health of your hair while being out in the sun a lot. I watched Linley's tutorial for a knotted bun and saw some extra benefits of using dry shampoo aside from having clean(ish) hair without washing; it seems that dry shampoo adds volume! That's one of the first items on my list to try. Do you use it? What brand?

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock
I use this on my face anytime I'm going to be out in the sun. It doesn't smell like sunscreen, and it doesn't feel like sunscreen. I have literally never gotten burned on my face while wearing this, and it doesn't feel like I'm wearing anything at all. I would highly recommend this if you're looking for a sunscreen. It also lasts a long time because it covers well.

Olay Pro-X advanced cleansing system
I've heard wonders about the Clarisonic, and I've been breaking out like crazy lately. I just don't want to pay almost $200 for something that I don't know the effect it will have. Step in the Olay System. It's $30, and it's been reviewed to be just as good of a system, albeit different in some ways. I want to give it a try. Have you used the Clarisonic? Is it worth it?

Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Blow Dry Perfector
I again haven't used this product, but I have every intention. It's like a cheaper Keratin treatment for your hair. It's billed to work for 7 blowdrys and to make your time and energy more efficient. When I head to the beach or on vacation I hate when my hair gets frizzy when I need it to be in control, so I'm planning on purchasing this product to use when I need a quick solution. I think it's around $10. I'll save up all my money to one day get the real Keratin treatment...

Tom Ford sunglasses
So, while not a beauty product, it had to be included. I've got several pairs of sunglasses that I love, and I'm not intending to purchase another. However, I absolutely adore all sunglasses made by Tom Ford. If I had endless funds, a pair of his would be an early splurge. Sunglasses in general are so important, though, as they protect your eyes and also keep you from squinting which can produce hair-line wrinkles. So, whatever make or style, don't forget your sunglasses when you head outside!

What are your spring and summer favorite products? I can't wait to find new items to try. Anyone have tips to thicken hair? Or is that something that a girl can only dream about?

And don't forget to link up below!

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

playing make believe

Welcome to the third day of Amber and my blog challenge! Thanks so much to those of you who have linked up! If you haven't, it's not too late to start!

Today's question is
3. Where are you/would you be headed for spring break this year (real or ideal)?
(March 23)

Well, I have a real spring break. It's two weeks, and it officially started yesterday. I know, I'm very lucky (and trust me, I'm very aware of this). I'm not going anywhere, but I'm so excited that my mom is coming to visit next week. If I were going to go somewhere, here would be my two dream destinations:

If I could go anywhere in the whole world and without considering the state of the government or economy in the country and the impact on safety, I would go to Greece:

My ideal destination would be Mykonos and Santorini for the beauty and splendor and Athens for the history. I want to see the blue roofs and blue water, and I want to taste the true flavors of Mediterranean cuisine. One day I'll go, I know, but until that day I'll just dream of my Greek getaway.

Domestically, I think I'd like to go to Charleston.

I've traveled a lot domestically, and I'm very at peace with the idea of having a stay-cation for the next few days, so if I were going to go somewhere, I'd want it to be relatively close and very relaxing. I love cities with history, and Charleston has that plus charm and elegance. Keeping that in mind along with the restaurants and shopping available, it sounds like the perfect getaway. In fact, it's sounding more and more enticing for my and my boyfriend's real August getaway...I'm going to keep researching. 

Since I brought it up, any other suggestions on places to visit for our trip in August? We want it to be relatively inexpensive with a lot of great restaurants. Keeping our options open!

If you're so inclined, link up below and participate in our challenge! I can't wait to see where you are going or would love to be going!
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring is in the Air Blog Challenge Day 2

Today is the second day of Amber and my blog challenge! Thanks so much to those of you who linked up yesterday! If you didn't, it's not too late to start!

Today's question is

2. What's your favorite spring outfit {or two}?
(March 22)

For me, I like taking inspiration from my favorite stores' premade outfit suggestions, and I've found some great ones so far. 

From LOFT,

I love the dress with the jacket over it as well as the sandals. I'm thinking about buying the sandals, and I'm still milling over the dress. It's been on my life for a while.

From Banana Republic,

I like the classic put together look of the cropped black pants, and I've seen a lot of colorful scarves carrying over to this spring's trends.

From anthropologie (my all time favorite)

I legitimately love everything about this outfit. I love the layering, the dress, and the hat. I want a fedora, but I'm not sure I have the look to pull it off. I think on my to do list will be to try one of the trends this season that I'm not so sure about.

Right now, I'm debating between three trends:
1. socks with wedges
2. the fedora
3. the maxi dress

What do you think about socks with wedges? Have you seen this mixed into a bunch of looks this season? I've always heard that it was terribly off limits, but between the March InStyle and a bunch of fashion bloggers, I'm thinking that it's something to give a whirl. Am I crazy?

I hope you'll link up with your favorite outfit(s) of spring. It can be something you already own or some that you've had your eye on and are thinking about creating your own from. Can't wait to see what you pick! Just paste your link below!

PS I'm back and on spring break, and I'll be catching up on blog reading, commenting, and replying today! Can't wait to see what you've all been up to!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring is in the Air Blog Challenge Day 1

Today starts Amber and my blog challenge! We're so excited, and we've been waiting for this day to come! Yesterday was officially the first day of spring!

It starts today and goes until Friday! The questions are:

1. What do you look forward to most about spring and what about winter are you going to miss? 
(March 21)

2. What's your favorite spring outfit {or two}?
(March 22)

3. Where are you/would you be headed for spring break this year (real or ideal)?
(March 23)

4. What are some recommendations for products you'll be using this spring as you're headed outdoors more?
(March 24)

5. What recipe or food do you look forward to most during the springtime?
(March 25)

So, for today, here are my thoughts on spring and winter:

What I'm looking forward to in the spring:
{1} The appropriateness of wearing flip flops and wedge sandals again. It doesn't always stop me in the winter, but I love sandals. I really like these Tory Burch espadrille wedges, but I can't decide what they'd go with:

{2} sundresses; I love all the dresses that anthropologie has right now, and I really want to get a maxi dress this season. I've never had one so I don't know where to look. What's your favorite maxi for this season?

{3} reliably warm weather. Yes, I live in Florida so you don't feel sorry for me, but I have to tell you that going from 75* to 40* to 78* to 60* is not fun. I don't normally check the weather and have left the house frequently dressed for the wrong weather lately. 

What I'll miss about winter:
{1} I'll miss having a cool house. When it gets so hot out, it gets really expensive to keep the temperature down, so it's never as chilly as it is during the winter. Oh well, I guess I'll just turn on a few more fans.

{2} jackets, pants, and boots. I love love jackets and I love love pants. I don't wear shorts, so sundresses are delightful, but I'll always really miss layering.
{3} cozy foods like chili, soups, and crock pot meals. I know there's still a place for them in the spring and summer, but that place is much smaller...

Grab a button, write your post, and paste your link below! We hope you'll join us this week and mingle to the other link up blogs!

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