Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year: 30 Day Challenge

Well, its been awhile. Remember my last years resolution? It was no new clothes for 2012. How do you think that worked out?

1 month?

3 months?

6months?

See, me and my sister always dressed cool...and why am I grabbing her crotch?


I actually made it 8 months, technically 10. Thats pretty good right? Could I have made it 12? Sure. You see, in August I got a new job and my work wardrobe had to be for 5 days a week, and not 3. Working from home had a great benefit of dress code: pajamas.

Anyways so month 8, I bought a few things ONLY work related. No fun stuff. Ok, so I got cute stuff that could work for both work and fun.

Then LONG story short, October rolled around and I decided I didn't care and I wanted clothes. So I fell off the wagon 10 months in. Just like a junkie, I've been purging ever since. Amazon is my new best friend. I actually haven't bought THAT much, but it feels nice.

What about that $100 I was saving a month, not shopping? What happened? Life happened. Vet bills, broken household things, you name it. You know, it happens to everyone. So I didn't save any money. BUT if I had to choose no clothes for the rest of my life for 1 more year with my dog, I would have done it in a heartbeat. The challenge taught me a lot of things:

10. Girls spend A LOT of money on clothes.
9. I have A LOT of clothes.
8. There are A LOT of clothes I have but don't wear.
7. Buying clothes make you happy. (The October when I quit, was definately a hard time for me. I was stressed beyond capacity and guess what, clothes helped. Lets get this straight. Clothes and shopping DID NOT fix the problem. I fixed the problem.)
6. Pinterest really can help your fashion life.
5. Clothing staples are key to a wardrobe. My staples (Leather jacket, brown boots, taupe military boots, dark skinny jeans, black leggings, and cardigans.)
4. You will never have enough money to have everything you want. Be creative and be satisfied with what you have.
3. Online shopping is fun, but real shopping is better. I do spend more money in the stores though...
2. Find THOSE people. The people who get bargins, who dress cute, and ask them how they do it. Follow those people on blogs too. (Shout out to Corrie Barnett)
1.  There are more important things in life to spend money on than clothes. My dog is one. Vacations are two. And there are a lot of other things that follow. Sit down and see how much you spend... and see if its worth it.

Ok so what am I going to do this year? 30 Day Challenges.

Every month I am going to challenge my self to something different. Something I want to TRY. I don't have to do it forever.. just for 30 days. You can check out this guy's blog here. He does lots of 30 Day Challenges.

Some include:
Walking everyday.
Writing a letter everyday.
No TV for 30 days.
No facebook for 30 days.
30 days of pictures.
No news for 30 days
Random act of kindness for 30 days

You get the point. Maybe people say you spend too much time on your phone. Give it up for 30 days. Maybe you are constantly seeing the bad in the world and feel jaded. Give up the news. Want to work out but can't face 90+ days at once. Try walking for 30 days.

One thing that I suck at is cleaning. This will come as no shock to anyone who knows me. I'm messy. Now, I accept that. I also understand that for Justin's sake I need to try harder. So some month I am going to clean a different part of the house everyday for 30 days. My first challenge will be food related..

January: No meat for 30 days. Vegetarian for 30 days.

 

Coming from a girl that can barely survive not eating meat on Fridays during lent, this may prove difficult. The reason I'm choosing this isn't because of animals or causes. I'm doing it because I want to branch out in my diet. I've done much better in the last year of making different foods..but its all the same. I'm excited to start the 30 days of Vegetarianism. I've discovered I'm not a huge fan of read meat.. I feel like ground turkey can substitute fine. I really like shrimp and eggs so I'm excited to look for new recipes in 2013. You can check out some of my meals on pinterest here.

I will keep you updated at the end of the month and post some of my meals. Want to join me? Have another idea of what I can do on the following months? Let me know and if you are starting one of your own... good luck!



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

60 Day Diet

Losing weight isn't easy. You know that whole "the older you get, the harder it is to lose weight" thing? It's true. What the hell? I'm 25. Anyways... hopefully you can learn some meals/ways to make weight loss not so horrible.

Last year, I got married. I was my lowest weight ever. (Before high school) I credit that to Zumba and determination. Well I lacked both quickly after the wedding. I ate whatever I wanted for about...10 months. Granted, I am lucky to not have gained more. Well, I am one of those people that needs a goal, a motivtion.

In April we decided to go to Florida with Alli and Jordan. Ok, so have you seen Alli? And Jordan? Me and Justin were like, shit. We gotta get in gear. Again, we would have been fine, life would not have ended, and we wouldn't cry our selves to sleep about how we looked.

But we had motivation. Find yours. That is the first step.

Now I hate working out and I love food. Not off to a good start.

Here is how I did it, in 60 days. I lost 14 lbs. You may lose more or less, but if you hate working out and like eating, join me, in this description on how I lost the weight.

Caution: This is not something that probably works as a lifetime change. It works for weight loss in a short period of time.

One thing you need is: My Fitness App on your phone. You put in your weight, and tell them how much you need to lose a week. It calculates the amount of calories you need to lose (set amount) a week. It also tracks your calories for the day and looks up foods and their calories. It keeps you on track.

I said I wanted to lose 1.5 a week. It told me I needed to eat 1200 calories a day. WTF?! No wonder I wasn't losing weight like I had thought. You know what that taught me? Eating out had to stop. Check your resturaunts calories before you go out. Almost every meal (salads too) are 1000 calories or more.

So now I had to balance. All I did to lose weight is: 1. Find motivation. 2. Cut calories  3. Workout

Easier said than done.

I went grocery shopping with a list of food needed. Eggs, Turkey burgers, 25 calorie cheese, 80 calorie Healthy Life buns, 35 Calories Sara Lee Bread, and  Green Giant Steamers were on our list every week.


Breakfast: hard boiled egg =70 or coffee with non-fat creamer =30 or Honey-nut Cheerios =140

(I found that coffee, made me lose weight faster the weeks I drank that)

Lunch:
peanut butter or strawberry slimfast meal bars =190  
Egg sandwhich: egg =70 cheese=25 english muffin =90 =185
Cereal= 180
Salad with lowfat Caesar/Italian with Parmesan = 100 with apple =70  =170

I would also bring a diet drink: Mt. Dew Supernova is awesome and so is Dr.Pepper 10. Both don't taste like diet which is awesome.

(I initially started with the slimfast for 2 weeks, just for lunch. The meal bars are much better than the shakes. Anyways, what I realized was, I didn't need the meal bars, if I stayed with in the same calories allotment. 190 calories)

*If you notice, lean cuisines and smartones didn't make because of their calories. Those pared with fruit or vegetables aren't bad choices either.

Dinner:


Dinner is my favorite part! That is why I saved so many calories for dinner. You can obviously balance way better than me, but I wanted my calories for dinner.

Here are some entrees that are good with low calories:

Chicken breasts in crockpot with lowfat italian/caesar dressing 150 calories
Chicken/ Turkey Burgers: Healthy Life Buns= 80 calories  Lowfat American cheese = 25 calories and Morning Star Burgers for 150 calories.  We added ketchup, pickles, tomatoes, etc.
Shrimp skewers: onions, tomatoes, green peppers, pineapple 250 calories
Ground Turkey Tacos: Ground turkey= 200 calories  taco seasoning: 10   salsa: 30 calories and shredded cheese: 90  Low fat corn tortillas: 90 calories
Spaghetti:  Whole wheat spaghetti 174 calories with tomato sauce and onions 92 calories

Those were our favorites. We swapped out sides so we didn't get bored. To be honest, it really doesn't matter. As long as your portion and count calories, you will lose weight.

Sides:
Beer: Miller Light 100 calories
Green Giant Steamers: (per serving, 2 servings a bag) 110 calories:  broccoli and cheese, broccoli cheese and rice, broccoli cheese macaroni, and potatoes and steamed green beans.
Potatoes: Cut up potatoes with seasoning and onions 110 calories (1 potato a serving)
Grapes: 35 calories a serving
Apples: 70 calories
Side salad with 35 calorie dressing: 90 calories
Baked Doritios: 120 calories ( measure out serving sizes)
Rice crispy treat: 90 calories
Bread and butter: 80 calories

When it came to working out, I will preach Zumba until I die. Only, I don't always practice what I preach. This time around, I did workout videos on comcast on demand. Kickboxing, total workout, etc. That was intense, so I stopped. I changed to walking the dog for 1-3 miles. I found that running and walking on the treadmill increased my weight loss. It was much less effort than the videos as well.

I want to point out my weekend weren't even big cheat weekends. I ate more, but I couldn't go crazy to stay on this pace. There were several weekends that destroyed my whole weight loss that week. There were a few weeks when I felt discouraged and wanted to eat McDonalds. (I did once). Its ok. Its your life. Live it.

My point is, this is for a quick fix, I can't keep up with this pace forever. BUT that being said, I found things I enjoy that I WANT to continue. I like walking. I like the treadmill. I DON'T like running. I like turkey burgers better than beef. Steamers are really freaking good. Beer isn't that bad for you. Candy is.

I've lost the weight and now I am going to Florida Friday. I am happy. I see a difference. I also am going to eat whatever I freaking want in Florida. That is truth. I am kind of over fried food and red meat. That is a plus. I know things that have senseless calories. I now think my choices will be better, but I'll still eat fast food and go to restaurants. Like I said, this isn't a life style change diet.

Long story short: count calories, find foods you like that are healthy, find active things that are fun. Don't hate yourself. Don't make unrealistic goals. No, I do not have the will or desire to look like a fitness model. If that is a goal of mine, I wouldn't reach it. Then I "fail". Don't set yourself up for failure. To be honest, I was fine the way I was before I tried. Everyone should be ok with who they are. Weight is a number and it doesn't define anyone. Do what makes you happy. Know yourself and what you want.

Here are some fun tips I learned from wonderful people in this process.

Ashley: Don't drink starbucks or iced coffee. The calories are redic. Make better choices and be happy.

Alissa: My fitness app. You don't have to eat healthy, just monitor what you intake.

Amber: If you crave something, just eat half of it. It satisfies the craving and you've cut half the calories.

Justin: No matter how much harder you work than me, I will still lose more weight, because I'm a guy.

I also learned having a partner in weight loss is much easier than going alone.


Good luck. Hope this helped. Seriously, I'm a lazy person. If I can do it, you can too.





Sunday, April 8, 2012

Making a Dining Room Table

I've come to the conclusion that my "breaks" are really just my way of doing something for the house. I always find these ideas in my head and think they will work out so easy... WRONG. Ok so I decided to redo our dining room. (I think this was our last room to redo. Yay!) As you may have seen from my last blog, I have just added the TV cabinet bar to the dining room. My next project was a dining room table. So here is what happened:

This is the dining room table. (It as in the kitchen at this point)  It separates to much bigger when you insert the leaves.




I wanted a table that could seat 8-10. So I wanted to use my current table as a base.  I wasn't about to build one from scratch. I took my measurements, and I went to Lowe's. I was planning on using multiple boards as the table top, but after discussing my little knowledge for carpentry with the Lowe's guy, he suggested an easier route. He suggested a large plywood sheet, with 2x8 boards as a border. I also then realized I couldn't fit that thing in Justin's SUV, so he delivered it to my house. FO FREE! He had a friend in the area drop it off. Nice guy. I only live like 5 mins from Lowe's, but still nice. So here is the product. My grandpa and mom helped me screw the L brackets together to make this happen. I was clueless. (At one point my mom and me tried to use the drill in reverse... so my 86 year old grandpa helped us. Sad. But he did build a house on his own, so I'm pretty sure he can still use a drill.)

Then I had to stain it. That was really easy. Then 3 coats of polyurethane....and poof!  It actually took awhile, but thank God its done.

 At this point I've spent about $110 on materials. Not that bad.  The main board was $50. Brackets, boards, stain, polyurethane, and washers were $60 more.

I then had to fix my chairs that were white. Those just wouldn't work anymore. So I spent $20 on spray paint. (4bottles) and spray painted my chairs chocolate brown. I had 5 chairs.

Chairs before:

Ok then lastly I had to make a bench for the other side of the table. Let me tell you.. this bench was.a.bitch. Jeez how hard is it to make a bench?!??! Ok well let me give you a little secret.. a bench needs 15 inch legs. I bought a 6 foot board with a 1 foot width. All I had to do is buy legs to screw in. I went to Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards. I was looking for 20 inch legs. I found them at Menards, screwed them in only to find out those were too tall. Then I went back and Justin INSISTED that I had bought 27 inch legs, so we bought 21 inch legs. WRONG. (like I said). So I went back to Lowe's AGAIN and bought 15 inch legs. 4 of them. I screwed them in and they were perfect....almost. Well 4 legs weren't enough. I felt like whoever sat on that thing was going to break through the middle, so I went BACK to Lowe's and bought 2 more. (That's 3 times in one day and 6 times in 1 week.) I stained it and here ya go....

The Final Product

Ok so it was worth it. After the bench, (6 legs at $4 each = $16 + $8 board + 6 screw plates $2 =$12) The bench was $36..damn I should have just bought one! Anyways, all together this whole thaaang was $146. Not bad..you can't get a nice dining room set for that! I am very happy with it! 

If you are wondering, that top wood board is sitting on top of my old table. Literally sitting on top. Widths are within inches, so it doesn't move. I know this blog pretty much sucked at explaining how to do it step by step, but if you need more info message me. Again, thank you pinterest.

Monday, March 19, 2012

TV Cabinet/Bar and Mini Coffee Cabinet

I am in the process of redoing my dining room. It's that neglected room that was awkwardly shaped and full of hand me downs. Don't get me wrong, hand me downs aren't bad! I just haven't had time to... "pinterest" them. So I've been scouring antique stores and goodwill for a TV stand/console to make a bar out of.

I saw a link on pinterest on how to do it, and it seemed so easy. Well, I could never find the one I envisioned, until....craigslist. Yes, it is a little creepy, but hey sometime you gotta do what you gotta do. There was a beautiful TV stand in perfect condition for $100. So I picked it up (with some difficulty shoving it into my parent's van).


The doors close and it looks great. All I needed to do to make it a bar was: add new plyboard to the back and screw in wine holders.
 The flexiboard comes in a sheet I had them cut to size at Lowe's for $8.00

These wine holders were $3.00 a piece at Lowe's as well.
                                       

The only tools we needed were a drill and some screws. We used a screw driver to remove the first backboard and TADA!

 
Now you can do fun backing like tile or glass, but I didn't feel like ours needed it. So, we added in our barware and its an organized and useful addition to the dining room.

OH! Because we freed up the space for the barware, I made a mini coffee cabinet in our kitchen. I also saw this on pinterest.



My spring break is coming soon, so my next project is a DIY barn table. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

30+ Freezer Meals in 2 hours

Me + Cooking = Lame

So usually I am the cook of the house. This is only because I get home before Justin. If you know me you know that during college I ate spagettios, pizza, and fast food. Not because I hated cooking, I just didn't really know how. I still hate cooking after work, so I saw a blog on pinterest where this woman froze her meals all at once.

I thought hey what the hell, we are out of food, and its Sunday. I've been trying to grocery shop at different places to find the best deals: Meijer, Marsh, Costco, Walmart. Everyone has their favorite. I've tried them all. Costco is awesome and has great bulk deals, but I always feel like I buy too much and throw some away. Marsh...is too expensive. Blah Blah coupons, that takes too much time. Meijer just disappointed me. It was out of the stuff I wanted (2 months in a row) I shop monthly. AND I really didn't save any. I bought 3 weeks of groceries for $240. Blek!

Walmart. Ohhh Walmart. I started there and I hated how many people were shopping at the same time as me. BUTTTT they out of everyone has the best prices hands down. I can deny my receipt EVERY TIME. I just went grocery shopping for these meals and spent $220.  ($30 was dog food) So I spent $190 on 31 meals. I even bought lunches, milk, bread, etc. Can't beat it.

*** Oh and Walmart has Diet Supernova Mt. Dew! Have you had that? It's awesome and I can never find it! Also they had Dr.Pepper 10, which Meijer hasn't had for the last 2 months.

We seriously don't go shopping until we are completely out of food... because we are lazy. Well Justin can't go shopping with me because he buys everything, so I guess I'm lazy. Check out our fridge and freezer before:


Ok, so here is what the lady did from her blog, and I did mostly the same.

She started her twice baked potatoes in the oven at 350 for an hour. Then she started her boiled chicken to shred later. While that is all going on she cooked her ground meat for tacos with salsa, seasoning, and onions. I did that as well. Then while all of that was cooking, I separated my chicken legs and breasts into ziplock bags via meal. I combined my marinades into those bags so that they could marinate as they thaw.  I then cut up my vegetables. I use a lot of onions and green peppers. I combined my shrimp and sausage with different vegetables for other meals.


After that was all done, I packed up the shredded chicken (MAKE SURE ITS COOL or it will be jello), the taco meat, and the twice baked potatoes. Lastly I made this as our multiple dinner sides:


It also is from pinterest: potatoes, onions, cucumbers, carrots, olive oil, and Parmesan.


Thats all!! It took about 2 hours, maybe a little more. I have 30+ dinners ready to thaw and either throw on the grill or warm up. Thank God! Not even including the lunch food I bought, at $190 with 32 meals, I spent $6 a meal. Not too bad. Again, I have lots of sides, drinks, and lunches (Smart Ones).

Do it. Right now. It is sooo worth it. It keeps you healthy too. There is no point running for fast food, if you have healthy food already made.

Here are the dinners I made: (or have)



Vegetables: 3 onions, 10lb bag of potatoes, 3 green onions, celery, and whole carrots.

4 meals of twice baked potatoes
2 meals shrimp stir-fry
1 meal mesquite chicken breasts
1 meal  chipotle chicken breasts
1 meal mesquite chicken legs legs
1 meal Stubs chicken legs
1 meal Carribean Jerk chicken legs
3 meals Turkey burgers
1 meals turkey for lasagna
2 meals of taco meat
1 meal shrimp kabobs
1 meal sausage ziti
1 meal sausage side
2 meals of regular shrimp
2 meals with shredded chicken
2 thin crust pizzas
1 meal of beef stew
2 meals of spaghetti and meatballs
2 meals crab cakes

Here is the blog I was inspired from:
http://www.aturtleslifeforme.com/2011/06/freezer-meals-on-cheap.html

Sunday, January 1, 2012

No Clothes 2012

My New Year's Resolution is:

No Clothes 2012

I'm going naked for the whole year! Just kidding. I am not buying ANY new clothes in 2012. As many of people have said, "No way."  Yes, way.

My whole life I've had a small closet/bedroom. My bedroom growing up was small. EVERY house I had in college I got the small room and small closet. When we bought our house... I died and went to heaven! Our bedroom is HUGE and our closet it a dream. So I finally was able to "organize" my clothes in a space where I could see them. I have way too many clothes. Now, I don't shop as much as a lot of women do, but still. I have enough.




 Sorry its messy, Actually no I'm not. Anyways, this is minus all of my T-shirts and sweat pants that are in the bedroom and also minus two baskets of laundry. Those baskets on the ground are full of shirts and jeans. So, I've got options in 2012.

With pinterest up and roaring, there are so many ideas on how to reuse the clothes you have in different ways. That's what I am going to do. No new clothes. I can only wear what I already have.  AHHH!

(I do have some clauses:  If I have to wear a dress for someone's wedding I'm in, then yes I will buy it. I also HAVE to buy sandals for  the summer. Last year Boston ate EVERY pair. I couldn't buy those now, so I will have to buy some. Let's be honest I don't buy sandals that are over $10.)  I'll put a limit on $25 on summer footwear...yikes.

I'm excited. Its a challenge. I can do it.  So, in reward to me.... I am automatically taking $100 out of my account a month and putting it into a special fund. I figured I might spend that every month on some sort of clothing/shoes/accessories.  Then at the end of 2012, I will have saved $1200! OMG thats ridiculous!

I'm thinking on using it for a December cruise, or maybe a road trip out west, cabin out west? Not sure...but it will be worth it. Because no one cares as much about what you look like, as you do.


I think I'm going to try to take pictures everyday then update monthly on my clothes selection. Wish me luck, because 1 year from now, I'll be $1200 richer! or it will be gone and I'll be somewhere really cool :)

Also, now I know how to get rid of stuff I don't want. I mean if I don't wear it after this year, I "ain't" never wearing it.

You want to do it with me?