Friday, May 30, 2014

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! What are you getting into this weekend? We are working around the house, making fish tacos, and going to the movies! Since it was a quiet week around here with not much to share, I thought I would show you some hairstyles I am dying to try. I tend to get in a hair styling rut and do the same things over and over. So hopefully these will inspire me to change it up.

1. Low Chignon: Such a simple, classy updo for a dinner date.

2. Twisted Messy Bun: How fun for a summer concert!

 3. Looped ponytail: Perfect for a day of running errands.

4. Twisted ponytail: Running late? Perfect for a last minute fix.

5. Half up braid: A nice simple style for an evening out with the girls.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Meeting People Post-College

 When I was in college meeting people and making friends was so easy. I was in a sorority so I felt like I had instant access to hundreds of girls with similar interests to me. There were also people I met in class who shared my love of politics and history. We spent our evenings watching Grey's Anatomy, eating pizza, going to the gym, and planning out our course for the fraternity parties. We bonded while studying for the latest test or prepping for a debate.  Then we all graduated....

After graduation, everyone seems to move in separate directions. Some get married quickly; others focus on their career. Some move off to NYC, Atlanta, etc. while others moved back to their home towns. No matter what though, life changes and people change. I found myself in this situation, with my friendships slipping away. Even though some of us lived in the same town, our interests and priorities changed thus leaving less time for each other. Then I moved.....

I moved half way across the country to a town where I didn't know a soul. How do I meet people here? There were no left over connections from college.... No people to connect with while we all suffered through the agony of another Russian political lecture. Everyone was doing their own thing and no one knew I was there...

Today, with one year until we move again, I think about the best way to meet people and make the most of our time left here. And also, how to pick up and move again and learn to make friends and meet people all over again.

~ Get involved in activities you enjoy! I am going to take a photography class later this month...not just to finally learn how to work my camera but to meet others with an interest in photography

~ Volunteer. Find a cause that is near and dear to your heart and help out. As well as making a difference, you might make a friend or two.

~ Join a gym. Exercising is something we all need to make a priority and while you are at it, you may find a workout buddy.

~ Get outside and meet your neighbors. In the winter up here, everyone hibernates. But now that the sun is out and it has warmed up, I need to spend more time in the yard, walking the dogs, and working on outdoor projects.

How do you meet people? Do you even have this problem or am I the only one? Do you find that meeting people post-college/high school is hard?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday #4

If you stopped by yesterday then you know that I am on a mission....a mission to knock off ten annoying pounds and keep them off. So expect some healthy, low calorie, veggie filled meals.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with peanut butter and banana. This is pretty much my go-to meal when I am trying to drop a few pounds. Its about 200 calories and keeps me full until lunch.

Lunch: Mixing bowl sized salad! Lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, squash, feta, avocado, celery, cottage cheese, and balsamic dressing. About 300 calories and there is such much to it!

Snacks: Peanut butter on a rice cake....sorry to be boring but it is my go to snack. 100 calories

Air-popped popcorn as a late night snack. 150 calories

Dinner: Mushroom risotto with asparagus. This recipe is soooo good! I love it. It's definitely in my top 10. I make a half batch and we split it with roasted asparagus on the side. I just season the asparagus with some olive oil, lemon pepper, and lemon juice. Then stick it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 375. 500 calories for both.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Easy DIY Art

When Dave and I went to Mackinac Island I knew I would get some kind of souvenir. But I have enough t-shirts, hats, and koozies to sink a ship. I ran across a cute tea towel that I just had to have. When I told Dave that my plan was to frame it, he looked at me like I was crazy.

 We had an old frame laying around that would fit but the color wasn't doing it for me so I grabbed some chalkboard paint (that I also happened to have laying around). 

I painted the frame, attached the tea towl to a piece of card board, slipped it behind the glass.

 Done! I love that I have a unique keepsake of our trip to Mackinac Island and we'll always have a reminder of our time in Michigan.

What kind of souvenirs do you pick up when you travel?

Weight Loss - My Battle Plan

Confession time...I have put on a few pounds. Ugh. Last year I lost almost 25 pounds but about ten of it has crept back on . With wedding parties, the wedding itself, the honeymoon, etc., I have just ignored it. But my pants are fitting a little tighter than I would like so it's time to get my butt back in gear. I feel like if I lay my battle plan out here for all to see, it'll hold me more accountable.

This is what I plan to do to knock off 10 pounds and keep it off:

1. COUNT CALORIES: This is the number one thing that gets the weight off. I count EVERY last bite I consume. I know for many this is way too tedious but it just works for me. I like to keep my daily intake between 1200-1400 calories, depending on my activity level.

2. WATER: I drink a lot of water normally but my goal is to drink at least 12 cups of water each day. I quit drinking soft drinks at the end of 2013 and don't miss them but I do drink a lot of tea and coffee. As long as I get in 12 cups of water each day, I allow myself other zero calories beverages: coffee, tea, crystal light, etc.

3. WALK: I got a fit bit last year and it is a huge help at getting me up and moving. My goal is to get over 10,000 steps in at least four days a week. Over time I would love to do it everyday but I have to start with an attainable goal.

4. OTHER EXERCISE: My mom and I have challenged each other to do this plank challenge. I also plan to do a push up challenge.

I'll be posting recipes and tips for losing weight. I also plan to keep you updated on how much I have lost. If you are looking for a weight loss buddy, I love having people keep me accountable and I'd love to do the same for you! Email me so we can keep each other in line. :)

*I am not a nutritionist, dietitian, or doctor. When I write about my diet and health, it’s completely my own opinion and based on my own experiences and research.*

Monday, May 26, 2014

Meal Plan!

This week's meal plan is a little late due to the holiday but I have some yummy stuff planned so I have to share:

Monday- Hamburgers, corn on the cob, and fruit
Tuesday - Mushroom risotto, asparagus
Wednesday - Cajun shrimp pasta (similar to this)
Thursday - Feta, caramelized onion, and spinach quesadillas with sweet potato fries (I was supposed to make this last week and never got around to it)
Friday - Cajun fish tacos with blue cheese slaw and corn on the cob
Saturday - Date Night!

Since we got married nearly two months ago (Wow!...I can't believe how time flies!) I have been eating like I may never get another meal! What is wrong with me!....get control Nicole... So drop by tomorrow to check out my plan to knock off about 10 pounds and get back in shape.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Five on Friday

It's Friday! Yippee! We are going out of town for the long weekend. I am so excited to explore a little of North Michigan. I'll tell you all about it on Monday...

1. We will be checking out Mackinac Island and Petoskey over the weekend.

2. I made this amazing Honey Barbeque Meatloaf for dinner last night. Dave said it was the best meatloaf he has ever had!

3. I can't wait to make these strawberry cupcakes next week.

4. Yesterday I went to the thrift store in search of baskets for a little project. I got these five for $6.89 and now our wall looks so happy. I love that there is space to add more!

5. Do you follow any kind of cleaning schedule? I do laundry every Monday and Friday but other than that I just kind of wing it. I would like to get better about following a schedule.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dave's Photography

I have to brag on my hubby a little. He has a few pictures from when he was stationed in Europe that are so cool!

Tilt Shift:

Aracena, Spain



 Laax Flins, Switzerland
Ronda, Spain

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

J.Crew Factory Sale!

J.Crew Factory stores and online are having a great sale right now! I'll be picking up a few things like:

Dream Catcher Necklace - This would be great with a black top, jeans, and some fun heels...let the necklace do the work!

Simple Stone Bracelet- This would be great with a bright color dress and some summery wedges!

Ivory Anchor Collector Tee- Pair this with some colorful shorts...coral or mint would be great. Throw on some flip flops and enjoy the day!

Sun Shift- Some nude heels and gold jewelry and you are ready for a summer wedding!


We are heading out of town this weekend so I am trying to make it through the week with just what is in the fridge. This means getting a little creative.

Breakfast- two rice cakes with peanut butter, banana, and honey. This is oh so yummy and an easy breakfast.

Lunch- I had some leftover pasta from last night's dinner so I made some pasta salad. I like to call it "throw-everything-from-the-fridge-in-a-bowl-and-call-it-lunch".

Snacks- I had some pistachios in the afternoon and ate them all before I remembered to take a picture! Oops!

Dinner- Yall...I am embarrassed to say what I had for dinner but we're all being honest here....IHOP. We were out running errands so just ate while out. I only had the omelet and brought the rest home. Are they feeding a small army in that place?!?!

Once we are back I have got to reload our fridge and get cooking! Check back next week for some new recipes!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Etsy Favorites

Etsy is such a great place to find unique gifts and maybe even a little something for yourself. Here are several shops I can't get enough of:

These feather watercolor prints from SnoogsAndWilde are so pretty and would look awesome as part of my gallery wall:

This camera strap from LeslieStudio would be a huge improvement on the ugly one that came with my camera:

This fun and unique ring from MineralogyDesign would be such a great accessory to jazz up any outfit year round:

This city print from albiedesigns would be the perfect gift for my sister's upcoming birthday! She lives in the District and loves it there:

This happy scarf from leahduncan would be so stylish all spring and into the summer:

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Dave and I received a KitchenAid standing mixer as a wedding present. After receiving it, I looked into what other accessories we might want for it. Did you know you can get an ice cream maker attachment for it? With the amount of ice cream we consume, we figured it would be a good investment!

Over the weekend we made basic vanilla ice cream and it was quite delicious. We got the recipe from the little booklet that comes with the ice cream maker.

2 1/2 cups half-and-half
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 sups whipping cream
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
(No one said this was healthy!) ;)

Place the egg yolks and sugar in the standing mixer bowl and whip with wire whipper on Speed 2 for about 30 seconds or until well blended.

 Heat the half-and-half on stovetop until very hot but not boiling. Gradually stir into egg and sugar mixture while the mixer is on Speed 2 until fully blended.

Return entire mixture to stovetop until small bubbles form around the edge and the mixture is steamy...stir constantly, but do not boil. 

Transfer the mixture from the stove into a large bowl. Stir in whipping cream, vanilla, and salt. Cover and chill thoroughly in the fridge for at least 8 hours. (Sorry I forgot to take pictures of this step!)

 Assemble the freeze bowl. Turn to Speed 1 for 15 to 30 minutes or until desired consistency.

Enjoy immediately and freeze the rest!