Minty Favorites

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There are a few colors I’ve been really into, but mint might be the favorite among them. Here are a few of my recent favs! Click each image to be directed to its original page.

First of all, this adorable necklace from Tiny Hands is SCENTED! And, did I mention, adorable? I would wear it forever except then I would probably eat more ice cream than I already do.

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Who doesn’t love chevron these days? I’m loving this sweet little dress from Style Gather.

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Oh hey, J Crew! I don’t always love your stuff these days, but this belt would go with oh so many things… yes please!

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Of course, a tote. I somewhat desperately need one, and this non-neutral from Robert Matthew Fashion would go with just about anything.

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Gotta represent my favorite store – the good ol’ Banana. These soft wash shirts are SO COMFORTABLE and I love it in this color. Can you say summer, or what?

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Last but not least, I would love this bathing suit from Victoria’s Secret for my delayed honeymoon coming up in August. However, I’m not so sure it would look quite like this on me… mostly because I’m pasty, of course. Not at all because I’m a perfectly normal, curvy size 6…

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And that’s a wrap. Do you have a favorite summer color this year?

Body Talk

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I work part-time at Banana Republic for a little extra spending money, and I’ve noticed a common trend among our customers, particularly of the female variety:

It doesn’t matter what age, size, or color a woman is, she inevitably stands in front of the dressing room mirror and me, her friendly stranger sales associate, and openly bashes her body.

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Now, here’s the thing. I think most people, including myself, know that any sales associate in a store like banana is a) legitimately there to help you find cute clothes, b) has some sense of fashion and how the clothes should fit, and c) will definitely make you feel better about yourself. But why is part c true? Because we all do a pretty darn good job of making ourselves feel TERRIBLE about ourselves. Pretty much anything anyone else says is guaranteed to be better than the mean stuff you tell yourself.

And I mean it. I stand there and look at these women and think, “I would love to look like that at her age!” and “I wish I had a tan like that right now!” and a plethora of other thoughts. Yet they stand there scruitinizing every inch, when in fact I sincerely think she looks great. And I realize, of course, I do the exact same thing to myself. We ALL do it, and WHY?

Are you familiar with the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty? It’s been going on for a while now, so I’m sure you know of it. This is just my friendly reminder to you that we all need to find ways to love ourselves, including our bodies, right where we are at. Yes, we should try to be healthy and do good things for our bodies, but it’s most important to love them. Cheesy as it sounds, we are all beautiful, because God made us and He doesn’t mess things up!

Be strong today. Be nice to yourself. Take care of yourself.

Happy Wednesday!

Summer Throw Pillow Face Lift

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So, this isn’t exactly a crafting project, but I have “home decor” in my head as “crafting,” so here I am posting it anyway. Our home is SOOO cozy, and I love it. Our living room is especially great, which is convenient since we definitely spend most of our time there. Recently though, it’s felt a little dark. Black couch, maroon chair, dark pillows and blankets…it was time for a little spruce up for summer. Now, it’s just a few throw pillows (which, for the record, my husband has now learned are MUCH more expensive than you would think), but I think it makes a big difference…

Our couch and chair before:

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Our couch and chair after:

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I went with mustard yellow, burnt orange, and dark red pillows so that they still match the red chair but add a bit of brightness. What do you think? Did I do okay??

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Lately {Springtime Adventures}

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Sorry for being m.i.a. of late, but man, I’ve hardly had five minutes to sit still! Here’s a little recap of what’s been happening lately…

The Hubster traveled farrrr away to Tapaei, Taiwan, and had a wonderful time! It was a maymester study abroad, spent studying the country’s ability to plan and deal with natural disasters. Here are a few of my favorite photos that he sent me…

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While he was away, I visited Nashville for a bachelorette party, and traveled to Atlanta to visit my lovely former roomie Katy, as well as spend a couple of days working.

Bachellorette crew…

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Me and Katy in the ATL…

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Since he’s been back, we’ve had a bit of time together, but (excitedly!!) he landed an internship in Nashville so will be spending a bit of time there this summer. So now, I’m in Columbus, he’s in Nashville, and we have many plans to be going back and forth. I’m starting to feel settled back into our house by myself, with our pup, but honestly haven’t been doing very much crafting or exciting cooking. Instead, I’ve been working at my part time job, playing with my pupster, and trying to get caught up on laundry and general house organization. (WHEN did it get so messy?? amiright??)

Anyway, thanks for hanging in there with me. I hope to have some summer fun posts coming your way soon.

Do you have fun travels coming up? Any exciting summertime crafts or foods? Please share!

Motivation Station

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They say it takes a village…and I think that applies to pretty much everything in life. When it comes to our health, there are so many steps along the way that add up to a “healthy lifestyle.” And discovering what said “healthy lifestyle” means to you is a series of trial and error. Success and failure. It’s an ongoing journey. And on this journey so far, I have tested many waters to figure out what makes me tick. I need constant motivation, which comes in many forms. I thought I’d share with you today some of my favorite technological motivation tools I use on a regular basis! I say all this with a cupcake pictured at the top of my blog, but hey, it’s about finding a balance, right?

My fitness tools…

Bodybuilding.com / Bodyspace App - I really love lifting weights, way more than cardio. But I never plan to be like, a pro or anything, of course. Remember ladies, lifting weights won’t make you big!! It will make you strong. If you’re just getting started, I recommend reading up on Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer Program. I’ve followed the plan before, and I’m following it now. I enjoy having a clear plan to follow! You’re more likely to succeed when you aren’t just winging it at the gym. So explore a little and find what type of program works for you. Along the same lines, the app for bodybuidling.com is called BodySpace and it is THE best thing EVER for tracking your workouts. You click on the calendar, it shows you your workout, and you can go through each exercise and log your weight and reps. You can even see what you did last time, add in additional workouts to your daily template, create your own in advance, etc.

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Spotify - This is my preferred method of music. Easy to make playlists, shuffle them, etc. And there a few playlists already made for you that you can just follow! Some of my favorites include: Spotify Ultimate Workout Playlist, PopSugar Cardio Playlist, PopSugar Rocking Relaxation, and of course my own massive WORKOUT Playlist that I constantly update. Obviously, it includes Britney.

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My Fitness Pal - I would like to live my life without counting calories, but sometimes, you just need to get back on track. If you have a lot of weight to lose, or have very specific fitness goals, My Fitness Pal is my favorite app / website. I like that it breaks down the nutrition for you. For example, I put in that my daily calorie goal is 1600 calories, and that I want 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat. It does the math for me and sets my goals. I really haven’t used this consistently in a while, since lately I’ve just been trying to be more focused on eating clean (on ongoing journey, of course), but like I said, if you need to count for a while to get on track, this is the way to do it.

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Map My Run - Another app I don’t use too often, but for the occasional (attempt) at a run, it’s helpful. Plus, I get friendly little notifications whenever Katy runs like, a million miles at 5 a.m., and that’s motivating too.

Instagram - Yes, it CAN be used as fitness inspiration. I’ve started following people who eat paleo, who lift weights, who eat clean, and just seeing the photos of regular people who have accomplished what you are trying to accomplish is SO helpful. I especially like to browse photos when I’m finding myself tempted by silly foods at work or other gatherings. I would say this is where I feel the most community – people commenting on and liking your photos, encouraging each other, etc. Some people I follow that particularly inspire me are runningpaleomomma, planksloveandguacamole, honeywerehome, and corinanielsen. Most of them have blogs too!

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Diet Bet - I’ve only done it once, but hey, money is ALWAYS motivating, yes? Visit www.dietbetter.com, and join a game. Or better yet, start one with your friends! It’s usually a $25 or $30 buy in, and you have to lose 4% of your body weight in a month, OR 10% in six months. I was able to do 4% during my Whole30 month, but honestly, I’m not looking to lose that much weight right now. At the end of your bet, you weigh in and if you’ve lost the weight, you split the pot with all the other winners.

So that’s it! That’s part of my fitspiration. What are some tools you use? And seriously, what did we do before smartphones??

Fresh Herbs

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I’ve always wanted to have some herbs growing outside my kitchen window, so finally, here we are! My lovely friend Katy got me this sweet herb planter for our wedding last summer, and I was so happy to finally put it to use.

So the two plants you see are cilantro, which I bought already blooming. The little pot on the left has basil seeds in it, but no basil quite yet. I have LOVED having this right outside my kitchen door when we want cilantro. And hopefully soon, basil!

An item from my 30 before 30 list is now checked off… Grow* some herbs!

*yes I am counting this as growing. I mean, I water the cilantro…and the basil will pop up eventually!! Don’t judge.

 

The Angry Bear Kitchen

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One of the most fun things about being in a new city is trying new restaurants, obviously. But even after not even a year here, I find that we keep going back to some of our favorites, also obviously. So in an attempt to try some new places, we went to a brand new spot in our neighborhood called the Angry Bear Kitchen.

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Here’s a little article from Columbus Underground: http://www.columbusunderground.com/first-look-angry-bear-kitchen-aw1

And I gotta say, I really loved it! We didn’t have anything with this nice of an atmosphere in our neighborhood before – we’re kind of in a gentrified neck of the woods. We just sat at the bar and had some wine and mussels (some of the best I’ve had, honestly). I enjoyed the bar tender, and I’d love to go back to try some other dishes. The menu isn’t posted online, but it’s uniquely creative. I look forward to exercising my taste buds there! If you’re in Columbus, go check it out.

 

Clean Eating + The Easiest Pancakes EVER

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So, upon completeing my Whole30 (which left me feeling THE BEST EVER), I was totally all like “I’m totally going to eat CLEAN like this ALL the time, and just cheat once in a while when out with friends or wanting a bit of sweets. Hooray me!”

And if I had to sum up my clean eating success since my Whole30 in just two words, they would be:

WOMP and WOMP.

Okay so, not total failure, but OMG when Easter came, so did sweets, and that really put me over the edge. It didn’t help that I made these. And THEN I made THESE. Ugh, what was I thinking. So last week was a total sweets fest, and let me just say I can feel it. Now I’m trying to find the balance. Almost no one can live 100% of the time on Whole30, or really even paleo, but I tend to be a little…binge-y, if that’s a word. I’m learning that I’m better at abstaining than I am at moderation. So I need to work on the moderation thing.

The last few days though, I’ve eaten pretty clean, without overthinking it. My goal is just to feel good consistently, and find the balance where I’m not only feeling good, but feeling confident and happy with myself! We should all feel happy with ourselves! And most the time, I honestly do. But if I can feel even BETTER, then why not?

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So have y’all seen the “egg and banana” pancakes on pinterest? They are everywhere. I was pretty skeptical, but I happened to have one very ripe banana on hand over the weekend, so I went for it. Not only was this easy, but it was actually QUITE tasty. Mash (and I mean, pulverize) a banana and an egg together. Add a hefty dose of cinnamon as well. Fry these suckers up just like pancakes, and VOILA! I drizzled a bit of Sun Butter on mine (it’s my absolute favorite non-peanut butter). Here’s a close up with a beautifully fried egg…

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And for dinner the other night, I made some pork chops on my grill top pan, along with mashed cauliflower and kale chips. It might look bland, but this is definitely one of my favorite clean meals – simple, warm, cozy, and filling. It’s clean comfort food!

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Are you on a clean eating journey? How’s it going?

Recipe Box

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Pink Champagne Icing

I’ve been working on a fun little project here on the ol’ blog – A Recipe Box!

You’ll see a link at the top of the blog that says “Recipe Box.” Click it, and you’ll find a whole list of all my recipes (well, probably not quite all of them…I may have missed one or two) sorted out by top of food. And get ready…because WHOLLY SWEETS it’s a lot of sweets. I will update the page whenever I post new foodie recipes, so if you ever want to explore or dig around a little, it should be easy to do!

I’m starting to make a few small changes to the blog as sort of an ongoing makeover (per my 30 before 30 list). This is just one of those things I’ve wanted to do for a while. I hope you enjoy it!

Cupcake Cake Bites

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CAKE BITES!! It’s been a while, I know. I really have fun making these – I’ve made giant bites, golden bites, music bites, ice cream bites, santa bites, football bites, baby shower bites, and now…

CUPCAKE CAKE BITES. They are not perfect. They are not all the same size. But this is what happens when you try something for the first time – you learn some stuff, and next time, they will just look even better!

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Aren’t they just so bright and colorful and happy? Don’t they just want to make you sing and dance? Don’t worry, if they don’t, the amount of sugar in them will. I’m sorry that I will not reveal my from-scratch cake and icing recipe here, but no worries. You can pretty much use any cake and icing recipe you want to make these bad boys. I used chocolate cake and chocolate icing for these, since that’s obviously the best combo ever.

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Doesn’t everyone love a fun goodie bag? These treats were made to celebrate Administrative Professionals Day at our office, so our three amazing admins took home these little baggies of treats…

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I had some fun taking photos…it’s been a while since I whipped out my camera, too. Good times had by all ME!

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And don’t they kind of resemble my summertime cupcakes I posted about a couple of years ago? The similarities are UNCANNY. And by uncanny, I mean that they both look like cupcakes. And the real cupcake would squash the cake bite cupcakes with a flick of it’s frosting.

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