Tuesday, February 2, 2016

DIY Galentine's Day Cards + {Valentine Printables}

I love Valentine's Day. It can get a bad rap for being mushy, over commercialized, and focused on couples. I'll also agree that I roll my eyes every year seeing the photos of the bear and box of chocolates someone's bae got them. But it's so much more. It should be a day we tell everyone in our lives how much we love them!

I'm a huge fan of the Galentine's Day movement. Girlfriends are simply the best and I can't imagine living my life (sanely) without mine. In college and law school my friends and I would always plan a special dinner (likely Mexican food) or event to celebrate with each other. Even now that I have a Valentine I don't want to forget my girls.

These simple cards are the perfect way to show your besties you care. I stopped in Hobby Lobby and grabbed a few supplies to throw them together. Luckily, my friends have a good sense of humor.

Create your own or use these lovely printable floating around the Internet.

Do you subscribe to the Galentine's Day movement?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Weekend Highlights {Happy February}

Monday is here once again. Luckily, we had some warm(ish) weather this weekend. It was so nice to see some sunshine and get out without piling on multiple layers.

We spent the weekend celebrating my mom's birthday--61 is looking pretty good on her! My sister came into town and we threw together a birthday dinner complete with a Coca Cola cake. The story behind the cake is that my mom is a huge fan of Coke however she recently gave it up but still talks about it constantly so we thought it would be funny to make her the cake. It was really good! Of course everything tastes better when you make it wearing a dog apron. 
My kitchen was already a mess from the party on Saturday so I decided to get the most out of it and prep some crockpot freezer meals. The premise is you prep all the ingredients then freeze and it's all ready to toss into your crockpot. I use my crockpot at least once a week so I hope these turn out good! I prepped for taco soup, honey teriyaki chicken, and chicken cacciatore. I have a Pinterest board devoted to these recipes. I'd love to hear your favorites! 
crockpot freezer meals

As always here's some Monday motivation...

How was your weekend?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Favorites {Last of January}

Can you believe January is basically over? Yea, me neither. But if nothing else that means we're just closer to warm and sunny weather!

Favorite Read
I've not had much time to read this week but I've started a new-to-me Jojo Moyes book---The Girl You Left Behind.  I'm anticipating plowing through it this weekend! Here's everything else I read in January

Favorite Recipe
I'm fairly certain Ali from Gimme Some Oven can do no wrong. Her cheesecake is fantastic, her potato soup is to die for, and girl can make some good jambalaya. This recipe blew me away and I spent the night patting myself on the back but I guess she deserves the credit. If you like cajun food you have to make this! It's so easy.

Favorite DIY
Have yo ever heard of arm knitting? Me neither until I saw one of my favorite shops was having a class. Basically, instead of using needles like in traditional knitting you use your arm and it creates a chunkier pattern. Honestly, it took me a while to get the hang of it but I loved how it turned out and it was such a fun class! But I will likely never be able to replicate so don't ask me to make you one.

Favorite Looks
This torrential weather has me yearning for sunshine and swimsuits. I think a beach trip needs to happen soon! Anyone going on an adult spring break?

Left to Right : 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 
Favorite Funny
These 29 Kim K Memes that are Too Real are cracking me up.

Happy weekend friends! 

Linking up with Meet at the Barre and H5FF

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January Book Review {Books I Loved, Liked, and Abandoned}

One of my NYE resolutions this year was to read more. Part of my motivation is being accountable and setting the goal to do a post at the end of every month to share with you all! My to-be-read list is really starting to pile up on Goodreads (follow me here!)  so I've been trying to plow through it. I'm also participating in Modern Mrs. Darcy's Reading Challenge (highly recommend). This month I read a total of 5 books and abandoned 2 (I strongly believe in abandoning books that don't do it for you--nobody has time for that!)

Books I Loved
1. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton 
Kate Morton may be my soul mate author. Her books are so eloquent yet keep me turning the pages wanting more. I loved The Forgotten Garden and was so pleased that I also loved The Distant Hours. She has several more books that I can't wait to read!

Goodreads description: 
A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WWII. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941. 

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it. 

2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
I read this book as the first prompt in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge--A Book I've Been Meaning to Read. I've seen so many good reviews of this book over the past year or so but for some reason didn't get around to it. This one is a tear jerker for sure but in a good way!
Goodreads description:
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.  What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Books I Liked
1. The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion
I may get stoned for this one because I know it has a huge following but it was just ok for me. It's a very easy and short read that is also funny but I just couldn't get really invested in the characters. But it provides a perspective of those on the autism spectrum that is comical without being offensive which I think is hard to execute.

Goodreads description: An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

2. It Was Me All Along: A Memoir by Andie Mitchell
I really wanted to love this book because I adore reading Andie's food blog. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed it but it fell a little flat for me. I don't want to use the word cliche because this deals with a very serious topic but it was all very expected and didn't seem like she added anything new to the discussion.  However, it is a great source of support for those who are dealing with issues of weight and emotional eating. 

Goodreads description: A young food blogger shares her inspiring story of incredible weight loss-a journey from nearly 300 pounds to losing more than half her size-and establishing a healthy and confident relationship with food.

Books I Abandoned
I truly believe that continuing to read a book that you do not enjoy, connect with, or struggle through is just a waste of time. There are so many books out there and so little time you shouldn't waste your time.

1. A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable
This book has so much potential to be good--Paris, history, an antique dealer. But it was just not developed enough for me. The sentences were very choppy and just poorly written in my opinion. There are lots of other books that you can read to satisfy your Parisian dreams that are much better than this one. Again, this is my opinion. This book has very high reviews on Goodreads and Amazon so it may just be me.

2. Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

This book is probably one that I will eventually return to and read. I loved Rosamunde Pilcher's The Shell Seekers so when this book went on a Kindle deal I snagged it. I think this book was just a bit too slow for my attention span currently for me to invest in it. The story was pretty good though so I may return to it later when I have a large chunk of time to devote to it.

Ok, now it's your turn! What books have you read recently that you loved, liked, or abandoned?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekend Highlights {Surviving Jonas}

Is everyone ok out there? Hopefully, the worst of this awful snow is behind us. I'm so over it! I drove through horrible conditions this weekend that were enough to make me want to never get out in snow ever again. I tried my best not to let the snow get in the way of some weekend fun!

Saturday night we celebrated (mourned) with some of my closest friends as they take other opportunities and move to Atlanta. I still can't believe it as I type this! It's sad and I will miss them dearly but luckily Stefanie is the kind of friend that I talk to almost daily and I know we will be planning lots of trips to stay close. It was such a good time getting everyone together for one last hurrah in Louisville with them. We of course had to send them off with some KY swag and moonshine. 
Sunday I spent all day in training sessions. But these were actually enjoyable! I am lucky to be apart of Emerge Kentucky 2016. Emerge is a program dedicated to training and educating Democratic women interested in politics. They have programs in many states and I would highly encourage you to check it out if this sort of thing strikes your fancy. I will doing one weekend training per month for the next 6 months. I can't wait to learn more with these brilliant ladies. 
 Photo via Emerge KY

What makes the end of a weekend less miserable? PUPPIES. I get to cuddle and play with these FIVE puppies for the next few days until they're off on the next leg of their forever home journey. The cuteness is overwhelming. 

Finally, here's some Monday motivation to get us through the week! 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Friday Favorites {Snow Days}

My post title is more wishful thinking than reality because while we have had lots of snow I have been trudging through it. Adult life blows. I'm sure jealous of everyone who has got to have real snow days though! I sincerely hope we don't get all the wrath of snow storm Jonas like predicted.

Favorite Read
I've reactivated my library card and burning through it! I just finished The Distant Hours and I powered through the 500+ pages in about 3 days. Kate Morton is quickly becoming one of my favorites. What are you reading?

Favorite Recipe
Winter is prime soup season and it's all I've been craving lately. I made this lightened up potato soup over the weekend and it was so good! O'Charley's potato soup is top notch in my opinion and this rivaled it (with less calories/fat). 

Favorite Purchase
For Christmas my coworker got me the coolest gift from Sephora--Liquid Luxuries Samplers. Basically, you get a sample size of their 14 luxury scents and then a scent certificate to get a full size of whichever one you like the best. I chose the Tory Burch spray because of it's light scent and the cute bottle :) Such a good gift! 

Favorite Looks 
I've been drooling over the new Kate Spade Kitchen collection all week! Maybe I'll create a registry...one day. 

Favorite Funnies

Have a great weekend and stay warm!

Linking up with Meet at the Barre

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Office Workout Guide {Exercise at Your Desk}

Like everyone else on the planet I'm trying to fit more activity into my days but working at a desk job makes it so much harder to stay active. Yes, I try to workout every evening but does that 30-45 minutes of activity make up for the 8+ hours I spend at work each day sitting on my butt? Not a chance.  So how do you fit in more activity when you're chained to a desk most of the day?

It's hard and nearly impossible unless you become intentional.  Taking time out of your day to make an effort to get up out of your chair will not only increase your Fit Bit steps but it will also help the health of your back, neck, and posture. Sitting all day long is no bueno for your body and mind. 

Starting with the new year I set a goal to break up my workday with a small exercise every hour that I am sitting at my desk. I set the timer on my phone in hour increments and get my butt up out of my chair when the timer dings! It's been a fun challenge and I can definitely tell a difference in my energy level.

Here's what I've put together to share with you so you can join me!
Office Workout Guide for staying active at work. Exercises tailored to do at your desk!
I've divided the exercises into 3 cardio bursts along with 4 movements you can do with zero equipment, low endurance so you're not sweating like a pig, and relatively discreet so you don't interrupt the work flow of your coworkers. 

You can alter the cardio bursts to fit your office style. My office has a back set of steep stairs that I can sneak off to and get a few sets in without disturbing anyone. No stairs? Do some extra laps around the office. Living the cubicle life? Go to the break room (or even bathroom if you have to) to get your squats and wall sits in.  The seated leg lift is one of my favorite exercises to do and reminds me so much of a barre class movement. Here's a visual

If you're feeling really ambitious there are so many products out there dedicated to staying active in a work environment. I'm lusting after a walking desk but settling in the meantime with my desk peddler.  One of my favorite purchases by far! It's a bit silly and hilarious when someone catches you doing it but it works! I also know people that have gotten rid of their desk chair all together and instead sit on a bosu ball chair.

I'd love to hear what you do to stay active at the office and hope all my fellow desk working ladies will join me in this challenge!

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