Weekend Wear: Trying on some color

This teal skirt is my first attempt to add some color to my wardrobe.  I found it at the thrift store last week for $1.50 but it was a little too long, so I hemmed it.

I have never hemmed a skirt before and I don't think I did a very good job.  Maybe ironing it will help get rid of that poofy-ness at the bottom?

What do you think?  My husband said "I think it looks like you hemmed it."  Nice. Real nice.

I considered leaving it calf length but I felt like I looked like my grandma.

Who am I kidding? My grandma would have never worn polyester.

She had standards. 

In other news...while thrifting last week I also bought a vintage Coach purse.  I love it and was so happy when I spotted it, but....it smells of smoke.  Like it lived-inside-a-casino smoke.

So, this week I am going to try odor eaters and baking soda.  Hopefully one of them helps to rid my new, adorable bag of this awful smell.

{This post is part of the thrifty link up party over at Spunky Chateau}

Hangovers and Holidays

Today is a holiday and it is super warm outside.  Yay for both of those things.

My husband and I went to see The Hangover, Part Two last night.  It was high-larious.  Well worth my time. 

Afterwards we went to our favorite bar, met with some friends, and I drank six pints of Guinness.

Ever since starting my new eating plan about 5 weeks ago, I haven't been drinking much.  Really, the past few years I haven't been drinking much.  I think it is due to the fact that hangovers at the age of 30 are a lot different than hangovers at the age of 22.

I would even go as far as saying debilitating.

SO, moral of this story is: go see The Hangover, don't drink six pints afterwards, and have a fabulous holiday!

{I promise a more coherent post will come tomorrow.}

Happy Weekend + Weekly Recap

Did you hear?  The last Oprah show aired on Wednesday.

Of course you hear.  Especially if you read my blog on a daily basis.  It has been all Oprah, all the time.

Her final episode still has me inspired.  Read my thoughts on it here.

Are you a small business owner?  If so, check out my latest post on Handmadeology for a few tips.

I am a little obsessed with the blog, A Beautiful Mess.  They are giving away one of their e-courses this week. I SO hope I win!

I feel the exact same way as Kendi Everyday when it comes to my recent thrift store finds.  This week I found a teal skirt that needs some love and a vintage Coach purse.  Score!

You have one more day to enter my giveaway on Miss Vinyl Ahoy.  The prize is a pair of these super cute tiny orange dahlia earrings.  Perfect for summer!

Summer unofficially starts on Monday and is my favorite season.  I love the hot weather and long sunny days.

Any fun weekend plans?

Mine  include:

Working on my second chair makeover....seeing the Hangover part 2...creating a wall of pictures in my hallway...and possibly making cupcakes.

Enjoy the weekend!

You, alone, are enough

I didn't plan on watching Oprah last night and bawling and then blogging about all her words meant to me.

Well, I definitely planned on watching and crying but she far exceeded my expectations.   So much that I was inspired to blog about it.

One thing Oprah said yesterday was something I have heard her say over and over again...

You, alone, are enough

I first learned this lesson about 11 years ago when I saw Gary Zukav on Oprah's show.  He is a modern day philosopher and I have read two of his books {Soul Stories and The Seat of the Soul}.

Hi teachings changed me.  They changed the way I look at spirituality and life and religion.  They changed the way I thought about life and my purpose for being here.

Another thing she talked about was finding your passion.  She said to figure out what it is that lights a fire inside of you and:

Go about the business of doing it

If this show had aired a year ago while I was still stuck in cubicle hell, I would be turning in my two weeks notice today.

I am so lucky that I get to do something every single day that I love but I still need reminders.  I often hold myself back for stupid reasons like my insecurities and procrastination. 

Hearing Oprah talk about how we are responsible for our own lives reminded me that I cannot take this opportunity for granted for one second.

If I don't make it work, then no one will.  I am responsible.
Another thing I loved about the final show was when she said:

every action has an equal and opposite reaction

This law is my philosophy on the earth and how we should treat it.  It is my philosophy on consumerism and the way we treat each other. 

Over the years it has become my life philosophy.

Every single thing I do affects another being - human or otherwise - and knowing this helps me to make the right choices in life.  I don't always succeed, but I try.

If you have made it this far... thank you for reading my babblings of life and the way I see it.  I have held these sentiments for a long time but hearing Oprah so eloquently express them inspired me.

She has inspired me countless times and yesterday her words reminded me that:

I, alone, am enough and that I always had the power.


So long, O

I know I am not the only one who has been nearly crying non-stop through the final weeks of the Oprah show.

I caught up on a lot of her final episodes last weekend and my eyes were puffy from sobbing.

She has had so many memorable guests and amazing moments grace her stage.  I am in shock that it is really ending.

love Oprah and, like so many others, have been watching her for almost my entire life.

I have a true respect for her and am absolutely amazed by all she has done.

I know today's final episode will me a major cry fest, but I have a meeting at 6pm so I am going to wait until after my meeting to watch the episode!

Are you guys Oprah fans?  If so, have you been watching the behind the scenes show on OWN?  I am obsessed with it and am so happy I have lots of episodes of that to look forward to for the rest of the summer.

Cherries - Bing!

I always figured I hated cherries.  They were on my list of "foods I don't like." {Which is not to be confused with my "foods I will never eat" list.}

I hate cherry flavored cough syrup and cherry flavored candy, so I assumed actual cherries would be just as gross.

Well, I bought some this weekend at the grocery store.  They were next to the grapes and I saw the grapes, but grabbed the cherries.  I do this a lot.  Should probably pay more attention when I am grocery shopping....

And you know what?   They are SO good!  Addictive good.  And perfect for my new eating plan.

I ate the entire bag in less than three days. 

In honor of my new-found-cherry-love, here are my favorite cherry flavored items spotted on Etsy.

Cherry Blossom Necklace: Alona Freeman
Large Birds Around the Cherry Blossom Decal: Decor Designs
Cherry Headband: Janine Basil
Cherry Red and Blossom Sunglass Case: Kailo Chic

Much Love Monday: Photoshop

You guys probably already know this, but Photoshop is pretty amazing.

For the past few years I have been using Picasa and Picnik - both free programs that I love and will continue to use.  But, this past Christmas, my sister gave me Photoshop and I was instantly excited to see what it had to offer.

I got home, installed it on my old laptop and...it caused my laptop to run like a snail. 

I knew I was in need of a new laptop, and wanted a Mac, but didn't have the funds. So, I just continued on with Picasa and Picnik.

Last week I got a new-to-me laptop that works about a thousand times better than my old one. 

I still really want a Mac, but it just isn't in my budget right now, so I bought a used Dell from my sister's office.

Anyways, this weekend I installed my copy of Photoshop and got totally sucked in.

I played around with it for hours.  It took me a hot minute to figure out and I still have a lot to learn....but it is SO fun!

What photo editing software do you guys use?  Any Photoshop veterans out there that want to give me a few tips?

{My great grandmother....people say we look alike.}

Check out more Monday love over at Much Love Monday.

Grateful Friday: Opportunities

I am all over the place this week:

Design*Sponge {Check out my tips for shy biz ladies}

Makeunder My Life {you still have a few days left to enter my giveaway!}

Kristine or Polly

IROCKSOWHAT {check out my ridiculously good low-fat guacamole recipe}

Scoutie Girl{Acute How-To was all about healthy homemade granola bars}

Handmadeology {My tips for newbie Etsy sellers}

Seriously, are you sick of me yet?  I am a little sick of myself....

Anyways, I am so grateful for all these opportunities. 

The blogging community is a pretty fantastic place.  In this community, I find, more often than not, people who want to help each other, promote each other, and cheer each other on.

If high school would have been this great, I probably would have been more popular.

Today I am grateful for opportunities, an amazing blog community, the weekend, and Wii Fit {it makes working out so fun}.

What are you grateful for today? 

Check out more grateful posts over at Maxabella Loves…

Right-Now Wishlist: Maxi Dresses

Do you guys own any maxi dresses?  I don't.  I see them everywhere and have decided this is the summer to finally purchase one. 

The look so comfortable.  Like wearing a nightgown all day long comfortable.

Are they as comfy as they look?  Here are my favorites from my most frequented stores.

My Level 1-10 Eating Plan : The Details

Last week I talked about the new eating plan that I devised for my husband and I a month ago.  So far, I have lost nine pounds in less than four weeks and I have a ton of energy. 

Many of you said you wanted more details, so here they are. 

Warning, this post is a bit long and wordy...

In general, my eating habits are pretty healthy. I cook and eat a lot of veggies, fruit, lean meats, and whole grains. 

But, I have a problem with portion control...especially when it comes to sweets.  And pizza.  And french fries.

I love to bake and although many of the recipes you see on my food blog, Taste, are for healthy muffins, cookies, and cakes the healthiness factor goes out the window when I consume the entire batch in two days!

A month ago I proposed a new eating plan to my husband and he agreed. Some might call it a diet, but the word diet is a bit scary, so I will stick with calling it a "plan."

This plan is based on a strictness level of 1-10 with 10 being super-duper healthy and 1 being a few steps away from a heart attack.

My husband and I are in week four of this plan and I have lost nine pounds.  In addition to the weight loss I have a ton of energy and Neil {the husband in this story} claims to be more focused than ever {if you know him this doesn't say much since he is...ummm, to put it nicely kind of all over the place all.the.time}.

The basic rules

  • All day long: water, water, and more water. {I still drink a few cups of coffee in the morning but that is a necessity.}
  • Eat small meals or snack every two hours. 
  • Focus on a lot of fruit and veg and lean protein and a minimal amount of carbs.
  • Avoid: Soda, juices, alcohol, added sugar
  • Tiny amounts of: oil, salt, and dairy

Week One - Level 10 {Super Strict}
Week Two - Level 9 {add in a little bit of cheese or salt}
Week Three - Level 7 {add in a little bit more of your favorites}
Week Four - Level 6
Now that I am in week four, I am having a few treats throughout the day but am still eating small meals or snacks every two hours.  Also, the main foods I eat are still fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.
Week 1, Level 10, Eating Plan Example {feel free to change these foods based on what you like}
  • First Meal: 150 calorie fruit and veggie smoothie {see recipe here}.
  • 2 hours later: 1/4 cup {measure while dry} of oatmeal - old fashioned or steel cut oats.  Add 1/4 of a chopped apple or a small handful of berries and a tiny splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
  • Lunch: I usually eat a salad with 3 ounces of protein {this can be lean beef, chicken breast, turkey breast, tofu, or fish} and lemon juice as the dressing.  And a cup of fruit for dessert.
  • 2 hours later: Small snack {12 raw almonds, another 150 calorie fruit and veg smoothie, etc}
  • 2 hours later: another small 100-150 calories snack
  • Dinner: Similar to lunch, but you can add 1/4 cup of brown rice, 1 small boiled or baked potato or sweet potato.  Fruit for dessert.
Each subsequent week, the strictness level decreases, add in a few treats.  For example, I added in a little cheese on my salad and a larger snack in the afternoon.

Once you have a week or two at level 9-10, level 6 will feel amazing and it will feel doable for the long term.

Extra Tips 
  • Weekends are for cheating, but not going crazy.  It is ok to have some pizza or a few alcoholic drinks.  Just refrain from drinking several bottles of wine and eating an entire large pizza. {It happens to the best of us...}
  • I have added in super dark chocolate as a dessert.  It is rich enough that I feel satisfied and it has a lot of redeeming nutritional value.  Just be careful of your portions.  You can buy individually wrapped squares.  These are great for keeping your portion in check.
  • Buy an inexpensive food scale and weigh out your food.  Portion control is one of the main keys to this plan.
  • You will feel hungry the first few days but that is just your stomach/appetite adjusting to a smaller amount of food.  This will go away and you will find that the portions you were eating were ridiculous in size!
If you have made it this far - Good luck

Let me know if you have any questions and check out my food blog often as I will be posting more of my healthy dinner recipes.

Shyness and a Giveaway

It is chilly and rainy here, which is weird.  I saw on Good Morning America that a majority of the U.S. is chilly and rainy, so I know you all feel my pain.

Days like this make me want to sit on the couch, eat junk food, and watch reality tv....which is just what I am about to do {minus the junk food - a post about my new eating plan will be up tomorrow, I promise!}.

I just have two things to share.  The first is that I was really excited to be interviewed by Jess of Jess LC and Makeunder My Life.  You can read my interview here

Also, I am hosting a giveaway on Makeunder My Life.  All you have to do is comment and you could win a $20 gift certificate to Acute Designs!

Second thing - I wrote an article about tips for shy business ladies.  I am a pretty shy person and thought some of my ideas might be able to help others.

I am so honored and thrilled to have my article published on Design*Sponge.  I adore Design*Sponge and have been a huge fan for a long time.

Check out my post here!

OK, I am off to watch the newest season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey.  I love me some Manzos.

Much Love Monday: A "new" chair

A while ago, I posted that I found these two chairs for super cheap....

I finally have one finished.  My intention was a gray wood stain and blue upholstery, but apparently wood stain only comes in "wood" colors and black.  Who knew?

So, I thought I could mix the black with a lighter color to make gray.  Makes sense, right?  Not so much...

It ended up just looking like wood.  The difference is subtle, but I really like it.  The fabric I chose is gray floral with a few blue birds throughout.  I love it and have a little left for pillow.

Have a wonderful Monday everyone! 

A lot of you commented that you wanted more info about my new eating plan.  I feel amaaaaazing and have now lost nine pounds!  I will post about it this week.  Hopefully tomorrow.  I meant to do this Saturday but my weekend was bizzzzy.

To see more Monday love, check out the Much Love blog.

Right-Now Wishlist: Stripes

I meant to post this yesterday and post about my 10 level eating plan today...but with all the Blogger not working biz-ness the past two days I am a little behind.

Anyways, I love stripes.  They are classic and perfect for summer.  I especially love this pink bag.  Pink is not a color I am typically drawn to...but I love the color on this bag.  It is so soft and pretty.

Bag: Ikabags
Dress: Forever 21
Maxi Dress: J.Crew
Bikini: Old Navy
 {I heard that ON is having a swimwear sale - 40% off...I might need to go and get this bikini.}

My 1-10 Level Eating Plan

After posting this Weekend Wear outfit wearing a pair of jeans that were too tight a week before, I got a lot of questions about my diet/eating plan.

I prefer to call it a "plan" because it is the new way my husband and I are going to eat. 

And diet just sounds too hard.

First, I will start by saying that I am not a dietitian or nutritionist, but I did attend culinary school for a year and love to cook.  And, I know a little bit about how to make foods taste better without adding too much of the bad stuff.

I blog my recipes on Taste, my food blog. 

Some of my recipes are super healthy and some are not.  I love to bake and most of my muffins, cookies, and cakes have a healthy spin - so if you are looking for a healthy indulgence check it out.

Before we started the 1-10 level plan, I ate really healthy.

Lots of fruit and veg, not a lot of meat or butter or fried foods.  My problem is that I ate too much

For example, I will make a healthy low fat vegan chocolate cake {it is to.die.for. trust me} and eat it within 2 days.  Same thing with healthy muffins or cookies. 

Just because an item is low in fat and sugar + high in whole grains, doesn't mean you can eat the entire recipe...

I would justify my over eating by saying to myself "this is unprocessed, I made it myself using healthy ingredients..."

So, in short my problem wasn't healthy eating, it was TOO much eating.

I devised a month long plan, separated into four levels of strictness.

The first week is a level 10 - the most intense week.  The first two days you will only think about food and you will want to eat everything in site.  Fight through it and it gets easier.

The second week I dialed it down to a level of 8.  The third week {which I am about to finish as I type this} is on a level of 7 and next week will be a 6.

I plan on staying at a level 5-7 from now on.  If I have a special event or over indulge for a few days, I will dial it back up to a 10 for a week to get back on track.

Food is one of the loves of my life.  I love good food, junk food, healthy food, rich food...you get the point.  I love to eat.

The amazing thing is, this plan has really worked for me and I have NO self control when it comes to food.  If I can do it, anyone can do it!

So far I have lost seven pounds and expect to be up to almost 10 by the end of the month!

If you all have made it here and aren't bored...let me know and I will outline just what my husband and I ate during the strictest level and what treats I incorporated in the next weeks.

The Paper Doll Project

A few months ago, I bought a black pleated skirt at the thrift store for a few dollars.  Despite the fact that pleats are IT this season, I couldn't figure out how to wear this skirt. 

All my attempts resulted in me looking like a schoolmarm.
So, when I was paired up with Kate of Divergent Musings for
The Paper Doll Project, I asked her to style the pleated skirt for me.

Kate suggested going with a bright colored top since the skirt is black and it is spring - aka the season of color. 

I love the flowy-ness of this skirt.  {Gordita loves it too.}

I don't own many {really any} colorful tops, so Kate's second suggestion was a white or neutral colored top {tucked in} and bright accessories....including a belt. 

I pulled out everything I own that is not black, white, gray, or brown and put it on.  

Like I said yesterday in m EBEW post, any purchases I make over the next few months are going to add color to my wardrobe. It is a must.

Colorful belt, bracelet, and ring - all on display.

Top: TJ Maxx
Skirt: Thrifted
Belt: Target
Bracelet: Anrthopologie
Shoes: Steve Madden

Paper Doll Project

EveryBody EveryWear: Floral

This is the first month I am participating in EveryBody EveryWear{read more about it here}. 

EBEW is a blog where readers vote at the beginning of the month and the winning item {floral} is worn on a set date and bloggers link up.

When I saw that floral one, I was slightly annoyed because I don't own any floral items. {And because my vote for lace didn't win!} 

I pretty much don't won anything with color or pattern at.all. 

Saturday morning I was at Old Navy and found this cute sundress for $16.  It is kind of a floral/botanical print so it will have to do.

My goal this spring/summer is to only buy clothes with a little color or a print.  All the black, white, and gray in my closet is becoming a bit boring!

Dress: Old Navy
Shoes: Aldo

Florals | Everybody, Everywear

Much Love Monday: Doing what you love

Beth Nicholls says "I believe the world would be a better place if more people were doing what they loved."

I totally agree with her.

Beth has a business dedicated to helping others do what they love.  Today I am honored to share my story on her blog.

Click here to read how I got to the point of taking the leap and doing what I love {this is a short piece, more emotional than full of facts and tips - if you are interested in those details let me know and I will put together a post about it!}.

Other things I am loving today:

-L’Occitane en Provence Hand Cream - My hands have been SO dry lately and this cream is a life saver.

-This super cute sundress I got on sale for $16 at Old Navy.  I rarely buy colors {or prints} and I am really excited to wear something different!

What are you loving today?

Check out more love over at Much Love Monday.

Have a sunny weekend!

It has been h-o-t here all week and I love it.  Hopefully it is warming up where ever you are and that you have a fun and sunny weekend.

And to all the mother's - have a wonderful day on Sunday!

{Photos courtesy of ae martin photography}

Grateful Friday: Lemons

Today I am grateful for lemons. These past two weeks, I have a found a lot of love for them.

They are the perfect "condiment" for my new diet.  { I seem to talk about lately is this diet....}

I now drink about 9 million glasses of water a day and a slice of lemon makes it so much better. 

Lemons are also my new salad dressing and marinade.

And, s squirt of fresh lemon juice makes a piece of fish {not a food I like at all} so much more tolerable.

I also love the color. It is so fun and bright and summery.  Like these lemon yellow rosebud earrings:

What are you grateful for this week?

Find more grateful posts over at Maxabella’s blog.
Happy Friday!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I hope you all are celebrating and enjoying the holiday!

I would love to celebrate with a margarita but my new diet calls for limited alcohol...which means none during the week. 

I will definitely be celebrating this weekend with a skinny girl margarita and a few Trader Jose's Light {Trader Joe's super inexpensive Mexican style beer}.

If you are looking for a healthy, yet delicious Mexican recipe - check out my food blog Taste

I have lots of Mexican {or Mexican inspired} recipes.  I am having this healthy salad tonight.

I might even go crazy and eat a whole wheat tortilla.  And it might be better than the margarita...

Right-Now Wishlist: A little sparkle

I have always felt that sparkling items are mostly suited for the holiday season....but, I am pretty much in love with all of these items right now.

A little sparkle can be so much fun.

Dress and Belt: The Gap
Shoes: Toms

Home Decor: Cleopatra and Decadence

I just finished the book Cleopatra: A Life and loved it.  I listen to books on CD while I work and this one, with the descriptions of Cleopatra's lavish lifestyle, was so inspiring.

The excess described in this book sounds amazing.  It has me thinking about gold and ornately decorated rooms and how beautiful it would be to have these touches in my own home. 

It also has me thinking about my mom and her love of Egyptian-esque decor.  {And then I think I am turning into my mother and that scares me a little bit...}

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