Friday, June 29, 2012

Spending Fast Update - 6 months down, 6 to go!

Yep, that about sums it up. 
June was hard.  Not just because it's the beginning of the summer and all that, but with the unexpected 2 weeks in Oklahoma and everything that went with that - I didn't track my savings for June.  I spent some money, and am not going to beat myself up over it.  So there. 

Unfortunately that does mean that I'm not as close to paying off my debt as I would like to be at the 6-month mark.  BUT I'm working my butt off at getting back on track, and it's gonna happen.  I just need to keep working hard and keep my chin up.  

The good news is, my debt is down $3,837.75 since January.  I want it to hit the $4k mark SO BAD - but it will get there soon!  I can feel it! 

So it looks like this year-long spending fast might take a little longer than a year... and possibly closer to 2.  Unless I magically get more money coming in soon, or a higher paying job (one of the two). ;) 

I'll keep my fingers crossed! 

Thanks (as always) for your love & support! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My first SOCK BUN!

I have been seeing the Sock Bun everywhere lately - on Pinterest, my friend Alyson's Farm Blog (her hair is fantasitcally long, and she rocks the sock bun like no other, I swear), YouTube, etc... it's a sensation! 

It's pretty darn easy to do as well!  I thought I'd give it a try this morning since it's been so hot, and get my hair outta my face for the day.  I LOVE the way it turned out! 

 Oh my, that mirror is dirty!  Haha!  Please ignore my lack of cleanliness there.

It was my first try, so it's certainly not perfect, but I'll keep practicing.  I just love that the added oomf from the sock makes it look like I have more hair than I actually do.  Pretty rad.  

Here are a couple of good videos to watch for tutorial (the one for Mr. Kate is absolutely hilarious - she's crazy, and totally cute).  

YAY for fun new hairstyles!  

I keep wanting to cut my hair short again, but it's so much fun to be able to change up my current longer style.  It's a blast!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pierogi Dinner / Power Juice & Healthy Breakfast

While I was at the Farmer's Market last weekend, I found some AMAZING hand-made pierogis for sale!  If you've never had them before - it's basically a Polish-style dumpling, or ravioli.  They're usually stuffed with anything from cheese & potatoes (the ones I got), to cabbage.  You usually serve them with a lot of melted butter & onions, topped with a dollop of sour cream (if you feel so inclined).  They're delicious, and my dad has gotten me hooked on them since childhood! 

John helped me whip up this meal the other night - and it turned out great!  I just sauteed some sliced onions in 1/2 olive oil, 1/2 butter (I didn't want it to be TOO much butter), then added the pierogi, and covered the pan with a lid. 

I let them simmer for about 5 minutes, then flipped them over, and tucked them back under the onions for another 5 minutes.  They were perfect! 

The salad we made was awesome too - here's the recipe for that: 

Simple Healthy Salad
- kale
- spinach
- romaine lettuce
- 1/2 a beet (grated)
- 1-2 carrots (grated)
- chopped pecans
- honey 
- olive oil & balsamic vinegar

Place the chopped pecans in a hot pan, and toss gently to toast them.  Drizzle with a little bit of honey, toss again, and set aside.   

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, mix well, and top with the pecans. 

This was a lovely crunchy compliment to the savory, buttery pierogi!  


This morning I wanted a healthy breakfast, and since I'm doing Weight Watchers again (just to get back on track a bit from our unexpected Oklahoma trip), I didn't want to have any toast or anything like that.  

Also, I was inspired to start using my juicer again, so I made an awesome super-juice to go along with my meal! 

Low-Carb Delicious Breakfast
- 2 eggs (I used the ones I got at the Farmer's Market - free-range, organic, local - they taste SO GOOD)
- splash of almond milk
- slice of cheese (I used veggie cheese - mozzarella)
- zucchini (diced)
- spices
- 2 tomato slices (diced)
- hot sauce (I used Siryacha)

Crack eggs into a bowl, add a splash of almond milk and season with spices.  Beat well, and set aside. 

In a medium pan over medium heat, add the zucchini and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the beaten eggs, and the cheese slice (I tore mine into smaller pieces).  Keep moving the eggs around until well scrambled, and they begin to cook.  

Meanwhile, dice the tomato, and set on your plate.  Top with the hot sauce. 

Flip the eggs around, and remove from heat just when they have stopped being runny (they will continue to cook when you remove them from the heat, and be perfect)!.  Add to your plate with the tomatoes.  Yum yum! 

It was filling, savory, and a wonderful start to the day.  My juice was a perfect sweet accompaniment as well! 

Beth's Super Juice
- 1 beet 
- 2 apples
- 5 carrots
- 1/2" slice of ginger (or more if you like, but a little ginger goes a long way!)

Add all the ingredients to your juicer, stir well, and enjoy! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Refashioning Tips - Update your closet (for free!)

I randomly came across this blog yesterday through my Pinterest page, and I'm just loving all of this girl's refashioning ideas!  She takes old clothes and makes them new again - and shows you how she does it through her blog.  SO awesome.  

Now I need to get myself a sewing machine! ;)  

Here are some tips that she gives on her site (for "Refashion 101"): 

1. Learn to use your sewing machine. This is huge for me. Your clothing will most likely look homemade if you are just tying knots, or gluing things on. You only need to know the basics of sewing for most refashion projects, but doing real seams will make a world of difference in making your clothing look professional.

Utilize Pinterest. There are so many amazing ideas on there, but not just DIY projects. Most of the things I make or refashion come from outfits I see models or other bloggers wearing. An idea is usually sparked when I see a model wearing a shirt with a similar color or pattern to a shirt I already own, and from there I can figure out how to manipulate my shirt to look like the models'.

Make a "repair box" and then go through your closet and put everything in there that you don't wear.  Going through your closet one piece at a time lets you know what you have to work with when refashioning. Then when you see a refashioning idea, you know exactly what you own and how you can use it to make a piece you love. Also, work on each piece in the repair box one at a time. Seeing each item individually can help the task seem easier. Attacking your whole closet at once will get overwhelming really fast. Some of my clothes have only needed a simple seam for me to love them again (baggy sleeves are a big one for me...I've taken in so many sleeves and suddenly the cardigan or shirt fits me like a dream and makes me love it again).

4. Clean out your closet.
I have a strict policy that I don't keep anything in my closet that I don't like and won't wear. I either get rid of it or put it in the repair box. Having a big closet full of clothes that I don't like makes me unhappy. Who cares if you have a lot of clothes in your closet if you hate them all? It's okay if your closet is small if you love and will wear every single item in there.

Don't be limited to your closet only.  Utilize your husband's (or boyfriend, or brother) old clothes, if he's going to get rid of them. I did that with my polo refashion, and it's now one of my favorite tops. Also, there may be lots of potential in cheap thrifted items -- taking in the sides or hemming the bottom can often make an awful piece into an amazing piece.

Accept the fact that some clothes are not fixable. I've sent plenty of shirts to Goodwill, or thrown them away, because there is nothing I can do with them (after I've tried). Don't hang on to it forever, hoping that it will somehow get new life, or it will become a thorn in your side or a wet blanket for your creativity. Sometimes you just have to throw things away. It's okay.

Learn how to layer. Pinterest is another great guide for this, as are fashion blogs. Style is about putting pieces together in interesting and creative ways. If you learn how to mix pieces, you have endless outfit possibilities, even if you're using the same pieces over and over. Use belts, scarves, cardigans, and tights to mix and match your clothing, and make it feel new and fresh. I've had some of the same pieces in my closet for years that I've always worn the same way, and suddenly when I layer them together, new interesting outfits are born.

Re-purpose. Put a shirt on over a dress, and turn that dress into a skirt for a day. Or the opposite -- put a skirt on over the dress and turn it into a top. Use a thin scarf as a belt, or a headwrap. Wrap long necklaces around your wrist to create the look of several bracelets. When you start thinking outside of the box, style and creativity start developing.

If you can, buy something new every once in a while. Having a new piece in your wardrobe can spark new ideas, make a bunch of new outfits, and make you feel like your closet is staying current. 

 I love love LOVE tip #8 about re-purposing things that you wouldn't wear in a "typical" way - sometimes I struggle to think outside of the box for sure. 

Check out Merricks Art here, and send her some love!  Her style is super duper cute, and she has some really amazing & creative ideas. 

I really want to go through my closet and give it a facelift, especially since I can't go shopping due to my Spending Fast.  Not only is this method FREE, but it's totally green!  I LOVE THAT! 

All photos from Merricks Art blog. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer evening on my front porch

Just before the craziness of the last couple of weeks began (and before the record high heat wave!), I had an evening to myself that I spent relaxing on my front porch.  I brewed myself a cup of Tension Tamer tea, wrote in my journal, and watched the beautiful sunset. 

In an effort to watch less TV (in my case, Netflix), I've been trying to find new ways to relax and wind down.  Honestly, this was one of the nicest evenings alone I've had in a long time!  I think I was even more relaxed than I would have been if I'd watched one of my favorite TV shows instead. 

How could you NOT find that soothing, right? :) 

I even wrote a little poem about everything: 

twilight pale pink
slight creak of my rocking chair
nothing but the poetry in the breeze
and rustle of leaves
children laugh
branches bend and sway
the air wraps me in gentle colors
puffy clouds
hint of blue
a perfect temperature
I feel my skin
it's like I'm swimming
herbal tea - sip, sip
simple joys
a leaf falls
a moth flutters
I smile

How do you relax and wind down from a long day? 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Moving on - Living life!

Well, I'm finally back in town after a rough couple of weeks.  I can't even explain how good it feels to be home.  My friends and family are so amazing too - the support and love they've showed me throughout this rough time in my life (and John's), has been phenomenal.  I'm so lucky. 

And now it's time to pick up the pieces and move on.  Challenge myself, strive to be happy every day, and love as much as I possibly can.  Because if there's anything the past couple of weeks has taught me, it's that life is precious - and there is SO much of it to enjoy every day.  And I'm going to do just that. 

Firstly, I am going to get my Spending Fast up & running again.  It was difficult not spending while we were in Oklahoma as we packed in a rush, and I certainly didn't pack enough for 2 weeks away.  I also found some amazing shoes that I bought as retail therapy (no really, they're amazing - you'll see).  But I want to be free of this so that I can do all of the things that I want to do - without worrying about money holding me back.  I can do this.  I can be free. 

Secondly, I'm going to get back on top of eating well, green, locally, and happily.  Less sugar and fat, more fruits & veggies.  All that good stuff. 

Thirdly, jogging.  We did some jogging while we were away (John was awesome at this - I'm so glad he's doing it again!) - but I had a rough time.  Mostly because I was pretty out of my element, and it's so unbelievably hot & humid in Oklahoma (even early in the morning!) that I kept feeling overheated and exhausted.  So I'm going to get back into it again here in Colorado, as well as doing more yoga.  'Cause yoga makes me feel so amazing, and truly puts me at peace with myself.  It's time to bring it back again. 

And so - on with life!  On with living it!  On with being me!  :) 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A beautiful life...

John's mom, Amy, passed away yesterday morning.

She was a wonderful person, and I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to meet her and become her friend.  She was loved very much by all of her friends and family, and she will be missed. 


To everyone out there who smokes... again - please quit.  For your friends, your family, yourself. 
To learn the facts:
To get help:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Can't sleep...

What do you do when you can't sleep?

I've already played 3 rounds of Solitaire (lost all 3).
Watched too much TV (that I wasn't even interested in).
Browsed the internet / checked my email / facebook / pinterest.


I hate not being able to sleep. 

Hope you all are doing better than I am right now! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Thoughts on life / Thoughts on death

We made it to Oklahoma now, and John and I have been spending a lot of time with his family while we're here.  If I didn't mention it before, we're here because John's mom is dying of lung cancer, and she probably won't be with us much longer. 

I'm sure you already know this, but if you smoke - PLEASE QUIT NOW.  I don't care if you think it's hard, I don't care if you think you can't do it.  Do it for your family.  Do it for your friends.  Do it for your grandchildren.  Stop being so damn selfish, and GIVE IT UP.  You're not just hurting yourself.  You're hurting EVERYONE.

OK - whew - had to get that out.

Anyway, it's brought on a lot of interesting feelings and thoughts.  Thinking about death.  Life.  Fear.  Hope.  

I've had a lot of time to think about all of these things in the past few days, and it's been a lot of weight to carry.  It's good though - I don't think of it often, and I believe it's healthy to do so.  I think it will make me stronger in the end.  It's hard right now.  But what doesn't kill us...

Anyway, I think I'm rambling a bit. 

It's nice that there is so much family here for support.

We're getting along.  Together (thank goodness). 

Life is just so precious.  And so short.  I feel like we should do everything in our power to live it as fully, happily, selflessly, wholeheartedly and vibrantly as we possibly can. 

I feel very lucky to have as much love and support from friends and family that I do right now.  When we left in a whirlwind on Friday I was worried about all the things we'd left behind and how much that needed to be done when we were gone.  I was panicked.  My family said they would take care of things.  My friends said that they would drop everything to help.  They assured me that it would not be a burden, that their thoughts were with me and that they loved me (Katy, I'm looking at you).  My heart swelled with love and strength, and I feel so lucky. 

That's what life is about I guess.  Our relationships with each other and the happiness we can find there.  The comfort and love. 

I'll try to keep posting while I'm here, but I certainly don't want to be a Debbie Downer!  Just thinking about a lot of stuff at this point in time.  Unfortunately right now we have a lot of time to spend thinking about everything, and there are times when we find it hard to keep our minds occupied.  That makes me glad I have a blog!

Thank you all for your love and support.  All of you. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dealing with stuff - Song For Sid

I know I haven't been around as much lately...  I got sick this week with a pretty bad cold, and only just started feeling better last night.  Luckily it was just in time for the Langhorne Slim show at the Bluebird (he's probably my most favorite singer/songwriter and live performer on the planet).

He performed a new song that he wrote about his grandpa, Sid - and I was tearing up pretty bad.  Here is a video:

It's just such a lovely simple song, and with all of the stuff I've been going through lately with people getting older, people on the verge of dying - it made me sad.  I've been thinking a lot about how precious life is and how we need to enjoy every moment, and make our lives the best they can be.  Eat well so that we can live our lives fully.  Exercise so that we can be strong enough to chase our kids or play with the dog.  Educate ourselves so that we can always continue to learn.  Love deeply.  Cherish friendships.  Dance. 

After seeing my grandmas in Pennsylvania I thought a lot about life and death.  Happiness and sadness.  I think a lot about John's mom too, who may not be with us much longer due to cancer.

People come into our lives, people go.  Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. 

Just thinking about these things right now...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Memorial Day Dinner - and a leisurely breakfast

I was on a flight for most of the day on Memorial Day, so I was pretty tuckered out when I got home.  I thought about going to join some friends for a cookout, but honestly I just wanted to stay put, and spend time with my fella. 

So that's exactly what happened.  And it was great! 

We watched some TV, ran a few errands, John took a nap while I cooked up some food staples for the week and did the dishes, then we made some dinner. 

Vino, anyone?  Haha!

We grilled up some veggie burgers, and John made his famous fresh salsa.  I also cooked up some green beans, and made a little quinoa dessert with coconut milk, honey, granola, and fresh fruit.  It was so yummy. 

We even let Fudge come out and wander around in the yard while we ate.  He's not usually allowed outside - he's definitely an indoor cat.  We worry about him too 'cause he doesn't have any claws, and there are some strays that like to hang around the neighborhood, and we wouldn't want to leave him defenseless if he got into a scuffle.  

But now he loves coming outside so much that he meows SO LOUDLY at the door every time we go outside, that we practically have to let him out now!  Such a whiner.  Ha! 

I was going to crop my feet & John out of this picture, but I think it looks kind of awesome.  :)  Our veggie burgers were still cookin' on the grill at this point, of course. 

The wine we had was the Gnarly Head Zinfandel - it was SO GOOD.  Really rich and full of flavor!  John had never had a Zinfandel before, and he really liked it.  

Oh, John - such a ham. ;)  Haha!  
Those burgers were pretty darn good, too! 

Fudge even got to roll around on the sidewalk.  He was in heaven.  And very very dirty. 
All-in-all a wonderful Memorial Day! 


This morning I woke up and realized that since I've been feeling a tad bit under-the-weather, I still got up early enough to enjoy a leisurely breakfast.  It was a wonderful surprise, as normally I get up early so that I can do my workout and start my day.  I usually don't have time to sit down and eat - and since I didn't workout this morning (I want to be totally over this cold first), I got to enjoy my meal slowly! 

I made some grits on Memorial Day (man, they take a while to make from scratch, but they are SO worth it), so I had a pile of them with 2 scrambled eggs (from a local farm - they were amazing), some sliced avocado, and hot sauce.  Toast rounded it out with unsalted butter & strawberry jam. 

I even had a cup of P&G Tips tea with soymilk & honey - yum yum!!  It was perfect!

I sat and enjoyed it all while reading No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy.  I got hooked on the author after reading The Road for our last book club book.  He's truly an amazing writer, and I think the film version by the Coen Brothers definitely did it justice.  I'm about halfway through now, and really enjoying it.  

After enjoying my breakfast, I walked into work and enjoyed all the flowers.  
A wonderful way to start the day!  

Now if only I could get up at 5:00am every day to do my workout AND have a leisurely breakfast!  HA!