Friday, November 2, 2012

30 Day Challenge- Week 1-2 recap

I made myself a 30 day to a healthier me promise, read my promise to myself HERE


I meant to recap after week one, but obviously that did not happen. Well better late then never...right?

Week 1- I was really good about my goals this week! I only missed my daily exercise once, I mostly kept up with my GRE practice, I don't think that I missed reading the Bible once, I definitely ate more vegies and did not do well with drinking more water. I am very proud that I did not have even a tough of chocolate!!! I did decide that as my one cheat I would have frozen yogurt, not quite ice cream...which is on my no eat list, but I had to have something sweet lol. 

Week 2- (over on monday)- I have drank more water, exercised almost every day, kept up with the vegies and increased my water intake. I have still not touched chocolate (I have really wanted to) and have avoided the other items on my do not eat list. I have completely forgotten to do my GRE practice questions...something to improve upon. Yet, I have kept up with reading the Word almost every day.

Moral of the story...

I'm not perfect but I am trying to make these improvements. I feel healthier in my mind and my body. My husband has even said I look thinner, which was not really my goal but it is a nice plus!! 

I challenge everyone who reads this to commit to give up something or add something to your daily to-do list to make yourself a healthier person :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Taste of Home

This recipe just cannot help but remind me of home. 

Actually every time I see a butternut squash it reminds me of my mom in the kitchen cooking up this delicious dish.

I don't think that my recipe is quite as good as my mom's, but really how could it be? Below you will find the best I could do. I must say we did eat it all, between just my husband and I, so it must be pretty good. 

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Slice your squash in half length wise. 

2. Lightly spread a butter spread (I used promise) over the squash. I would say I used about 1 1/2 Tablespoons over the 2 halves. 

3. Use a shaker of cinnamon and sugar over the entire squash and then put 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar over that. 

4. Bake your squash for about 60-90 minutes of until a fork can be inserted easily. 
5. Let your squash cool for about 20 minutes until you can handle it. After that just peel away the skin and put your squash in a mixer until soft. 

6. ENJOY!!! It is just so yummy with all the great flavors that were cooked together. Yum!

Monday, October 29, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

I can hardly believe that we could make detergent for about a year for $20. 

It just blows my mind how expensive detergent is (Tide is easily $15 for 100 loads, which never seems to actually last 100 loads.) 

You can find the recipe here from Being Creative to Keep My Sanity. My only critique is that we used a food processor to make the Fels Naptha soap into a powder form. We have a small processor so I only processed one bar at a time and made sure to break up the soap with a knife before processing it. 

We mixed all of the detergent in a double bagged garbage bag. We put the bag in a small clean bucket to add all the ingredients and then closed the bag and shook up the mix. We then put our containers in the tub and cut off the bottom tip of the bags to funnel the detergent into the containers. 

Oh and I found my glass container at Salvation Army for $5! You can also get them at Target for $8 or $9.

And thats it! Now enjoy the great way this detergent works :) I think it works better then tide!

Delicious Eats!


That is the only way to describe my current cooking style! 

My goal has been to limit the amount of preservatives we eat, and they are just in everything! Salad dressing, frozen food, soup, lunch meat, ugh...the list goes on and on and on. I know in this world and with our busy schedules it will be almost impossible to completely cut them from our diets. But a girl can dream...

The delicious salad above it a combo of my farmers market finds from this week (except the olives). I even made the dressing!! It is so so so so yummy and was adapted from the recipe found Here.

Cilantro-Lime-Ginger Dressing 

4 large (6 small) Cloves of Garlic
2 T. Fresh Ginger (just estimate)
2 Bunches of Cilantro (trim the stocks off)
1/3 Red Onion
 Juice from 3-4 Large Limes
1/2 cup White Wine Vinegar
2 t. Crushed Red Pepper
1 t. Salt
3 T. Honey
1/2-3/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1/4-1/2 cup Olive Oil

Put it all in a food processor (or a blender if you don't have a processor). You may need a bit more oil or vinegar if it seems to thick from the cilantro. 

It should keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

These delicious pretzel dogs were so fun and delicious! The recipe was from Brown Eyed Baker who is an absolute genius.

My little version of a...
 ...Monte Cristo...
...from let over french toast.

2 slices of French Toast
1 slice of Thick Ham
1 slice of Thick Turkey
1-2 t. of Apricot Jam
1 slice of Provolone Cheese

Make a sandwich out of the above ingredients minus the jam. Wrap your sandwich in paper towel and microwave for 45 seconds. After you take it out of the microwave and put on the jam. 

Eat Up! Yum!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Falling in Love with Autum Dessert!

With all this eating healthy I have been doing I was completely craving a little piece of something sweet. But with cookies, pastries & chocolate off limits I was having a hard time thinking of something that would keep my healthy habits unbroken. 

Luckily, my rules said nothing about adult beverages (which would not be considered healthy at all)...and we have had our martini glasses for months and they had yet to be used. So a martini it was, now I just had to find a fun recipe with the little alcohol we have in our apartment. Actually, we only have Gin. So that would be considered very limited in the martini world. 

This recipe for an Apple Cider & Ginger Martini caught my eye and it was utterly delicious!! Watch out tho, this recipe will sneak up on ya if your not careful.

With that I was thinking that a baked apple would be great. I just love apples in the fall. A crisp apple has to be my favorite all time snack and the fall opens the doors to a fresh crop of apples, yum!

I searched and search the internet and could not find just the right recipe. Nothing felt right with trying to eat a healthy dessert. Well you know what to do then, make one! 

I can up with...

 Spiced Pastry Cream Baked Apples

Friday, October 26, 2012

Guest Bathroom Makeover

Calvin and I just do not do well with white walls, and the walls in our apartment were ever so white when we moved in! 

No amount of colorful wall hangings could help this place. It just felt cold and uninviting.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October Favorites

1. Pumpkin Carving with my Hubby- We had such fun this year with our pumpkins! I think they really brought out our personalities and I just love em'!

2. Coffee Pressed Coffee- I am in absolute love with my coffee press! Now that I have mastered making a good cup o' joe with it I could not be more pleased. Every morning with just a little brown sugar and soy creamer and I am off to take on whatever the day may hold :)

3. Sriracha- I admittedly went through a bottle of this stuff in a month. It is by far the best hot sauce out there and is awesome on everything from eggs to soup! YUM! (PS- it is pretty hot but has a nice flavor)

4. The Hunger Game Trilogy- If you have not yet read them I highly suggest you do. You will not be able to put them down! I just finished "Mockingjay" today in about 48 hours. If you have already seen the movie I still recommend picking up the first book, there is so much more detail in it that I think you will still be on your toes!

5. Vintage Chunky Sweaters and Shorts- With it being about 60-70 degrees here all the time I am just obsessed with shorts and sweaters! Most days you can find me in my new favorite Izod sweater I found at the thrift shop and my favorite Gap shorts (which were also a thrifting find)

DIY Burlap Runners

This post is loooooooong overdue! I made these runners almost a year ago for our wedding. 21 runners in all. I have to admit, it was not much fun to spend my last spring break as an undergraduate student making these lol, but they were worth it! They looked soooo great on the tables at the wedding. I cannot remember exactly what they cost me, but it was under $1 each...which beats the $6-$10 they go for after they have been used for a wedding (yep, I sold mine on in their recycle your wedding section for about $175)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

30 Days to a Healthier Me


...Confession time....

...I have been planning this post for a few weeks now and avoiding committing myself to actually doing it. Since Calvin and I got married a few months back and went on our roller coaster of an adventure, and as we continue that said adventure I have not been taking care of myself very well. With all the craziness and adjustment I may have turned to food more then once (or twice...) for a sense of comfort. 

Lets just say our lives have been ticking time bombs for change since the moment we said "I Do." I have never appreciated change very much, even though my life seems to always be in constant life changing change mode. 

Moral of the story...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ramblings from my Morning

A few weeks ago our pastor brought up the political side of being a Christian. Which of course led to the judgement of the world talk. I think those of us that have grown up in the Church know what I mean. We have heard before that as Christians we are not here to judge but to love others as Christ loves us. 

Kinda a blow to the head isn't it? 

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
John 13:34 NLT

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Touch of Spice: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Calvin just LOVES Chicken Tortilla Soup! I have never tried my hand at making it before but I am sure glad that I did tonight! It was soooooo good and actually really easy!

Continue reading for the recipe...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Farmers Market, Charlotte Style!

I just love farmers markets! The fresh vegies, happy people getting great deals, how could you not love it! The farmers market was a bit (ok, a lot) different then the farmers market that we went to in San Fran. For starters there were no nudists in sight lol. Otherwise, I just found it really interesting that this market has buildings and it open tuesday-saturday! Honestly, it was a bit smaller then I expected but the prices and produce were awesome!! The best prices I have seen at a farmers market yet!

Staying Organized

It amazes me how much work it is to take care of a household for my hubby, myself and our dog. With bills, grocerys, coupons, budgets, meal planning and cleaning up after us I feel as I have a full time job. So while I sit here daily and apply for jobs I can just hardly comprehend staying on top of it all when I am employed full-time. But there is always a solution to staying organized and I always like to make it "fun?", while as fun as it can be...

I had spotted a "Home Binder" on pinterest awhile back and just had to make my own. While the ones I found were helpful for ideas they just didn't match my style or what we needed them for, so to InDesign I went and here is what I came up with! Under each sample you can download the PDF so you can print them for yourself.

I also plan to make a Christmas Gift Planner, Birthday and Anniversary Reminder, Checkbook Log, Blog Idea Calendar, Monthly Master Calendar & a Fridge "need" List. But those will be added on as soon as I finish them. The ones below I have found to be very helpful!! Enjoy!

Read More for more home binder PDF's

Monday, October 8, 2012

Desk Organization

As much as I would love to show you the entire desk, because I LOVE our desk!! We got it off of craigslist (of course) for about $100 less then it retails for at Ikea. The whole picture is still "In Progress" (and a bit messy!). So we will just stay away from that for a bit. But while working on the whole picture we saw this awesome inspiration pic on Pinterest, Found Here.

We just loved the idea so we just had to put the pieces together! 

Pumpkin Time & Fun Fall Date Ideas!

Our "Modern" Pumpkins. Mine is the Owl and my hubby made the chevron!
I am not really sure that my husband or I really got the memo about being adults. We are all about fun during fall! We love apple picking, pumpkin carving, corn mazes and it seems the best time of the year for wine tasting! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Bit of a Reality Check. Faith.

"Hold My Heart" Tenth Avenue North

As I sit here writing on this old and worn out laptop, typing with a hand that has just stopped hurting from all the typing and searching the internet for jobs, I feel drained. In all of those jobs I have been applying for I cannot say that even one of them feels like it would "fit." I will admit that I have even ignored a few "704" local numbers that have called my phone today. I feel like a stubborn toddler. 

 You see, deciding to major in Psychology was a tough decision for me, and I feel now in this moment that it was the wrong decision. The life I dreamed of before that decision was full of Fashion, money, traveling the world, and being what I deemed to be "perfect." At that time my schooling was easy, honestly the classes were so fun that studying was often reading the latest Elle or Vogue. Then reality hit. My life took a turn, due to my stupidity one summer and it changed me. 

Really God changed me. 

He turned my life from being "me" centered to Him and with that I struggled with the dream life that I knew I could be headed for. God always knows what you need so he brought me a friend, really a mentor, to open my eyes. She too had a difficult life and it brought her to help others, really to share her story and live as an example. Her story is really amazing and she even wrote a book about it! She helped me to see that my past, being unique yet relatable could really help others. She even threw around the idea of us writing a book together! But at that point I was too young, and fragile in my faith so I didn't see the value in that awesome offer. 

Very long story short(er) I ended up in Psychology longing to find my place with helping others yet still not really diving into my faith. Now as I am graduated, married, and looking for a job in a place that both my husband and I feel we are suppose to be, I am discouraged. Affording graduate school seems at least a few years off and finding a job in anything resembling helping others seems almost impossible. While there are some jobs available here in Charlotte, almost all of them seem to have nothing to do with what I feel called to do. 

Its times like these that the stubborn side of me wants to throw my hands up in the air and crawl into a corner. Trust me, I am good at pouting. But this time it seems that God is maturing me. For the first time, at 22, after a little pouting I am able to pick up His word and try to find a bit of hope when I just feel like crying. I know its pathetic, I can obtain a good job with decent pay and my husband and I will have just what we need, but I am afraid that I will feel as though my time is worthless. 

So here I am, praying that the Lord will provide a job that I will find some joy in. That I will feel as though in some small way I am making a difference. Here I am throwing up my hands and letting God take the wheel. 

I knew in this time that I needed to read and meditate on those words, but where to start? I remembered our pastor saying a few Sundays ago to start in John when you don't know where else to go. So to John I went. 

As I read it occurred to me that the Lord came to this earth to be an example and to pay our debt. He is the example of love and grace, patience and hope. This is the example I need to follow no matter where He puts me. I've already decided that I will be a woman of integrity in this job search, I will be honest about where I feel called (which is graduate school when we can afford it), since most of the company's want career minded individuals I know this may hurt my chances. I truly believe that the Lord will provide a job that will be where HE needs me. Not always necessarily where I want to be, but He will have a purpose for me and that is what I need to strive for. 

Plus, I always have this blog. Which I love :) The song up top I came on pandora while I was meditating on what I read in John and it really spoke to me. I know that the Lord is holding my heart and that to me is quite a comfort!

S'mores Brownies!!

Found this yummy dessert to take to a friends house one night :)

The recipe can be found here @ Recipe Girl
...since I did not have enough chocolate around I needed a brownie recipe that used cocoa powder so I used the one found HERE

DIY sweater quilt!

This post has been long overdue!! I made these two blankets LAST Christmas! The red for my brother and the blue for my dad :) I think they turned out great! I found the how to on a tutorial Here!! I honestly think that her blanket turned out much better :) I would definately suggest using only wool sweaters. I used whatever I could find but I found that the 100% wool worked best. I will admit they are harder to find, but it is possible!

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Bit of Sparkle!!

I found this pretty craft on Pinterest of course!! All props go to the The Sweetest Occasion!! They are the creators of this awesome project :)

I think that my glitter was a bit larger then what they used in the above tutorial, but with two coats of ModPodge and glitter it worked just fine :) I plan on putting these away till Christmas, I think they will be just adorable with some candles glowing through the glitter! 

A Splash of Color (and a painting tip!!)

We decided our white walls were "blah." Just too much white for our vibrant personalities lol. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

DIY Tile Coasters

Another awesome pinterest project!! These coasters are so easy and can be great for a pop of color! You can find the complete tutorial HERE.

They are so cheap to make too and would make perfect gifts! I will say that the clear coat is very necessary! We did use it but I might even put an extra coat on it for extra covering. 

Craft Crate Coffee Table & Succulent Planter

Our awesome coffee table is done!!!
Let me just warn you that I swoon just a bit over this table. We ABSOLUTELY love it! Not only is it an awesome design by DIY-VIntage-Chic, but it was relatively easy to do! It is nice and big and has tons of storage for books and such :) Plus, with the empty square that is left in the middle you have so many options! Currently ours is a succulent planter, but our square dishes from crate and barrel fit perfectly in there as well! Which means a perfect place for appetizers or a plate of dessert when guests are over! Or you wan just remove the planter and such and have a table for board games! Awesome!  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fun s'more bar toppings!!

Marshmallow,  Chocolate and Strawberry S'more!
For our 3 month anniversary we celebrated with a S'more night!! No we haven't been celebrating each month, but we figured having our apartment and really starting our little life deserved some celebrating!! So after a little research from the World Wide Web we picked some awesome flavors!

DIY Antiqued/Distressed Dining Room Table

Drum roll please......


The table before the refinish...
...and After!!!
We are quite proud of this beauty, it came out just as we wanted :) While I am not going to give you an awesome tutorial (pretty much because we had no idea what we were doing and made mistakes) I will give you some tips and tricks that we learned.

Wine Bottle Sconce

This little beauty comes to you from an awesome project found on pinterest!! You can find the DIY instructions HERE. You will see that we made a few changes to the tutorial. Calvin added a piece of wood from a pallet, and the "Top plate connector/ceiling flanges" that we found at Home Depot were longer and flat unlike the ones featured in the tutorial. We found them by the ceiling rosettes.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Spinach Pesto Lasagna Rolls

After looking for a lasagna recipe to make one night I came up with this little recipe. With it just being two of us I didn't want to make a large lasagna and then be eating it for days, I really wanted something I could freeze. So I decided that the Lasagna roll recipes I found looked best for us. After looking at a few different recipes I decided to make it my own. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Wedding Bathroom Baskets

Since we decided to have our reception at the Cleveland Zoo that meant having our guests use the "public" bathrooms that are available to zoo guests during the day. While the zoo did have them cleaned before our guests arrived they were still not the nicest bathrooms you have ever set your eyes on. Thus, to help our guests forget that they did not have beautiful facilities I decided to make "Bathroom Baskets."

Saturday, September 8, 2012

San Fran...Final Days

We will never forget the time we were able to spend in San Francisco. We learned so much about ourselves, life, our marriage and what is truly important to us. I am sure we would still be there if Calvin's mother's cousin had been able to accomodate us during Calvin's internship. It is such a beautiful area (especially in the south bay, where the sun shines everyday :).

Up-cycled Twine Vase/Decoration

This simple but adorable craft comes to you from your recycling bin! My hubby loves this larger bottle of Chocolate Stout that can be bought by the bottle at Trader Joes. I just love the size of the bottle so I had to find some way to repurpose it and this seemed like just the solution. Read more for the tutorial!! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Fluff-Fondant Hearts

Since we were still working with a tight budget on Calvin's Birthday I decided to make him a special dinner and dessert. I just could not think of a better cupcake then to make him Chocolate Stout cupcakes. This of course meant adapting a chocolate cake recipe, which could have potentially failed horribly. But I gave it my best go anyways, and amazingly it worked! I adapted the recipe found on the side of the hershey cocoa powder container to work for this experiment (and I only made 1/2 a recipe which is 15 cupcakes).

Morning "Green Machine" Smoothie

I love my morning smoothie! It makes a wonderful breakfast and gives me the needed energy to start my day. My awesome Aunt Annette first fed me a delicious smoothie just like this one, the only difference is she uses fresh ginger (which is delicious, but unfortunately since I have an arrhythmia I cannot have ginger) and she uses 1/2 a pear instead of a kiwi. Her smoothies are sooo delicious! Wish I could pop over to Iowa right now and have her make me one :) The ginger makes it taste like dessert! YUM!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bridesmaid Survival Kit

I wanted to make the girls something special as a bridesmaid gift. With the small budget I had to work with and the large number of bridesmaids I had to be savy! So I made place-mat bathroom bags (tutorial to come) and filled them with all the things we love and need as girls. Add a cute note and it came out perfect! I also just could not resist making wooden hangers with their names on them (again, tutorial to come :)

Asking the girls...

It was really important to me to find a special way to ask the girls to be in the wedding! I'm only gonna do this once so I want it to be a great experience for everyone involved. So I found some inspiration and did my best to recreate it! There are so many fun options that I had so many ideas! I actually ended up using two different types of cards because I just could not decide :) 


Alright...So when I created this blog I told myself that I would post atleast once a week. Ok lets get realy here people. It seems to have been a month or more since I signed my little butt (ok big butt lol) in and gave you some details of the awesomeness I have been crafting up!

Some wedding crafts. Some to keep my sanity. Even some baking! I could tell you all the lovely details of what I learn in class on a day to day basis...but seriously. I WANT you to read my blog! Not scare you off with all the craziness the Psychology world has to offer!

Alright. Lets start with an awesome craft I did before I got engaged...yes back in April-ish... I made my aunt these awesome magnets!! Pictures and How-to...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

DIY Wine Bottle Sleeve...

...from a sweater sleeve!

          I promise this is an easy craft! If you don't have a sewing machine you could probably 
use liquid stitch (found at any local craft store). For the sake of this post I used a sewing 
machine, really because I LOVE my sewing machine and can't get enough of it! :)

A Change of Scenery

I think that the biggest lesson Calvin and I have learned since we have gotten married is that "your plan" in life is not always the actual plan. God's plans may be tricky, but He does know best! We figured the move to San Fran would be permanent (at least somewhat) but that was not His plan for us. 

We found out the hard way that the only way to move pass the amazing opportunities in San Francisco was to go there, figure out that it is impossibly expensive there for a newly wed couple and move on to next plan that the Lord had for us! We were so blessed to have such a great friend to stay with there. Natalie was absolutely amazing, understanding and patient with our crazy situation. She was such a doll and we are so so blessed to have her in our life! 

Moral of the story is sometimes you just have to give things a shot. We do not regret our decision to give Cali a try, and I think if the opportunity presents itself in the future we would definitely consider going back, but next time we will be fully ready for the crazy cost of living there and the unique environment :) 

We are happy and slowly getting settled in Charlotte, NC. We are buying cheap furniture to refinish and getting our crazy separation anxiety dog settled. Who is currently barking at thunder (boy do our neighbors love us right now) but in time I am sure that we will be very happy here. Minus the bugs. The bugs have to go. But that story is for another day :) 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cookin' Queen

As we were on our way home from the beach Saturday Calvin spotted what looked to be a local favorite. A cute little BBQ joint in an old train car. It looked and smelled delicious!! Of course he looked at me with the eyes that said, "Lets get some BBQ!" my look back to him obviously reminded him of our tight budget. So I just promised to make him some good BBQ for dinner :) We decided instead to stop and get him some dark beer (which is def. on his favorite things list) and I devised a plan...

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Exploring- San Fran Style

Today we found ourselves venturing to Moss Beach California. Just a short drive from where we are staying you can find some of the best tide pools ever! We had such a fun day of searching for little creatures. This would be such a fun place to travel to on a family vacation. So many little chitlins (aka children) were having the time of their life :) There is so much to learn here that the kiddos had no idea the wonderful things their minds were taking in. It is quite awesome to see little ones learning :) Read more and see all the great creatures we found!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

San Fran Farmers Market!

What an awesome day at the farmers market! Not just any farmers market either, the top rated farmers market in the Bay Area. I had been doing a little research and this seemed to be the place to go. A large market of produce, cheese, hummas, pita, goat cheese, fruit, the list could go on and on! They also have a great little area across the street in a park where local crafters show off their talent. A place I plan to get gifts in the future :)

Friday, July 27, 2012


A Deep Breath...

I have completely neglected this blog for much too long. Moral of the story is planning a wedding where you want ever single thing to not only be affordable, but most of all memorable takes ALOT out of you. Lets just say there were mental breakdowns in that line of work. Oh moving across the country in a U-haul takes a little bit of time too lol.