December In Review, January Goals

So if you saw Tuesday’s post, you may be wondering why I’m posting again about goals. Well, while I talked about my goals for the year yesterday, I still want to make sure I’m keeping myself accountable for my monthly goals.

December Goals:

  1. Continue with BBG, 6 days a week – I did continue with BBG..I did not manage 6 days a week. I got sick partway through the month with a nasty cold, took a week off to recover and have been fighting my way back into a routine ever since. I am going to get back into it though, no matter what! Now that the holidays are over and my schedule should mostly be back to normal, this should be easier to accomplish.
  2. Try again to incorporate active rest days – About 50% successful. I did really enjoy the days where I managed this! But between the week I was sick and our Christmas celebrations, I missed adding yoga in to a few rest days.
  3. Finish 3 DIY projects – I only finished 2, but I’m really happy with how they turned out!
  4. Less TV time, especially while writing! – I did pretty good at this for the most part! I still wrote some while watching TV, but the majority were written at my desk while listening to instrumental music. This is definitely a habit I’m going to keep up!

December Fav Photos (Other than the DIY projects above, which are some of my favs too!)

January Goals

  1. Start establishing a morning routine – Wake up 30 minutes earlier. I know I’ve tried to get up earlier in past months, but I think I was trying to push to get up so much earlier too quickly. I’m instead going to try to wake up 30 minutes earlier each day this month, making sure to use the time productively.
  2. Start at least one art project – By this I’m not referring to the DIY projects I do, but instead one of the art pieces I’ve been wanting to start on.
  3. Active rest days – I’m going to keep working on this one. Hopefully with a much calmer month now that the holidays are past, I can finally manage to add this in to my routine!

That’s it! Are you planning on setting goals for this month, or are you working on your goals for 2016 instead? Or are you doing both, like I am? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sara (1)

2015 In Review and My Goals for 2016

2015…What a year! I have been thinking over how to sum up 2015 and it’s been difficult to say the least. 2015 has been a year all about change and growth for me, in so many ways. I am so thankful for the support of both my parents and Draz (formerly known as Boyfriend :-P) throughout this year. As with any period of growth, this year was not without it’s frustrations and difficulties and I don’t know what I would have done without them!

My relationship with Draz has been one of the biggest factors in the changes that have occurred. We’ve been together for a little over a year and a half now and it’s through his support, feedback and help that I have found the confidence and motivation to finally do some of the things that I had dreamed about in the past!

One of the major changes of the year: I started this blog! I can’t believe I have been blogging since April! (really May, since April just had my Introduction post) This blog and all of of the people that it has brought into my life have helped motivate me, push me and grow my confidence, along with so many other things.

The other huge change this year: I am finishing this year in the best shape of my life! I have struggled with my weight and fitness for so many years and for the first time in my life I feel comfortable and secure in my own body. No, I’m not where I would like to be yet, but I now believe that I will be and I’m loving the process of getting there! Plus I have found such an amazing community of BBG ladies on this journey and I can’t wait to get to know some of them better!

While these two things are the biggest changes this year, there are so many other smaller ones…many of which I can credit to the confidence I have found through my blogging and fitness journey!

I am happier and more content than I have been in so many years. I have formed a couple new friendships this year, though this is something I still really need to work on….I have a hard time meeting new friends.

I also started making things again, which is something that I have really missed. I’ve even put some of my pieces up in the house! Our home is really starting to come together more and I have been decorating, which I hadn’t done very much of in all the years I have lived here.

All in all, this year has been amazing…So many changes, many of which I would have never dreamed of a couple years ago!

Now we are on to the next difficult part: A few of my favorite photos from this year! This has been really really hard for me to narrow down! Enjoy!

 

If 2015 is any indication, 2016 is going to be an incredible year! Here are my goals for the coming year!

Personal

  1. Keep my workouts at an average of 5-6 days a week.
  2. Take 1 exercise class
  3. Take 1 class for building a new skill, like metalworking, painting, or wire wrapping.
  4. Start and/or complete 1/3 of my Day Zero project

Blog and Business

  1. Average 3 posts a week on the blog
  2. Learn how to use 1 new platform or social media site
  3. Have at least one guest post on the blog
  4. Launch my jewelry business and make first sale

What things from this year are you really excited or pleased about? Any surprises? What about your goals for the upcoming year? I’d love to hear your thoughts and plans!

Sara (1)

Sunday Meal Prep

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas earlier this week!

I decided to mix things up a bit this week and I’m so glad I did! Enjoy! 🙂

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Draz had a roll of pepperoni that he let me take a few slices off of for my grapes and cheese snacks. It was a really nice ‘treat’ for this week!

On a side note, you will be seeing the Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffins a little less often from now on. I realized that, between those and the Sweet Potato Banana Bites, I was eating sweets up to 2-3 times a day sometimes. Healthy treats, yes, but still more often than I probably should be. So I’m trying out freezing some of the muffins and having them over a 2 week period!

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Turkey Chili Mac with Jalapenos: Half of this went into the freezer. I love meals that can prep me for busier weeks in the future!

Balsamic Pork Chops: I love these! They are really quick to make and so delicious. I served them with steamed jasmine rice and Balsamic Brown Butter Asparagus.

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas: These are one of Draz’s favorites. One of the things I really like about these is that I can make some for him with white tortillas and a few for me with wheat tortillas.

BalsamicAsparagus

That’s it for this week! What are you cooking?

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

Merry Christmas!

Hey everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your holidays, whether you celebrate Christmas or another holiday! We celebrate Christmas and I am loving having an extra day off of my day job this week 🙂 Then this weekend Draz and I are headed to my parents to celebrate with them. I can’t wait to see their house! My mom always goes all out every year for the holidays and it always looks great!

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I hope you have a great holiday, filled with family, friends, love and some delicious food!

Sara (1)

Sunday Meal Prep

Hey everyone, welcome to this week’s meal prep! This week was pretty light on the prep, time wise.

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Our two main meals for this week are One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta and a chicken curry based off of this Red Curry Lentils recipe.

For the curry recipe, I first cut up some boneless, skinless chicken breasts, seasoned them with Penzey’s Tandoori seasoning and sauted them in light olive oil. When the chicken was almost cooked through, I added the onions and then continued on with the recipe as shown. Towards the end, I did add more coconut milk than the recipe called for to make more sauce, since adding the chicken made it more thick. It turned out pretty good, especially for my first attempt!

What are you making this week? Do you like changing up recipes like I did with the curry, or do you stick to the recipe? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

Fitness Update: 2 Months of Kayla Itsines’ BBG Complete!

Two months of Kayla Itsines’ BBG done! For those of you who missed this post or may not know who Kayla is, BBG stands for Bikini Body Guide and is a 12 week workout program I am currently working my way through!

I’m not going to lie, this last month was rough, mostly schedule-wise. The holidays and my day job kinda threw everything off track. That being said, I’m really proud of myself for all that I did this last month! I did miss a few LISS workouts, and one resistance workout (kinda two, but that shoveling definitely should count as a full body workout!) but even with that being the case, my strength has shown improvements and I’ve been feeling much better overall!

The two workout sets (weeks 5 & 7 and weeks 6 & 8) are set side-by-side to show progress. The workout circuits are the same in each week, so I love seeing that I made it through a little farther in weeks 7 & 8! It wasn’t a huge amount of progress, but it is there!

Measurements Progress Kayla Itsines' BBG Week 8

These progress pics were taken a little late and after not working out for a couple days, early in Week 9. I’m loving that I’m actually seeing progress now! (Although I’m pretty sure some of it is finding clothing that actually seems to work for progress pictures)

Hopefully I will see more visible progress in the next set of progress pics, but either way I know that I’m making improvements, so I’m just going to keep at it and trust the process!

Also, the reason that the side progress pic is a Week 1-Week 8 comparison instead of Week 4 like the others is that the Week 4 side pic was really weird and not accurate at all!

Kayla Itsines' BBG Week 8 progress pictures side viewKayla Itsines' BBG Week 8 progress pictures back viewKayla Itsines' BBG Week 8 progress pictures front view

I am redoing Week 9 next week, due to fighting a nasty cold all week this week. Even with that delay, I am loving this program and feeling better than ever!

How is your fitness journey going? Are you finishing the end of the year like you had hoped you would? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sara (1)

DIY Burlap Trees: A Quick Christmas Decor Project

Can you believe that Christmas is just around the corner?! It’s such an exciting, yet busy time of year. Now, I don’t know about you, but I still have a bit of decorating to do. Ok, I still actually have a lot of decorating to do. It’s been a busy couple of weeks! So, if you still have a little decorating to do, or even if you don’t, you might enjoy this quick and easy Christmas DIY!

Materials not shown in the picture:

  • hot glue gun
  • scissors
  • red beads (or other decorations you may want to use)

Wrap the burlap strip around the capped -tree top-

Steps not show:

  1. I cut down two of the cones with a serrated kitchen knife, so the trees would be 3 different sizes.
  2. The cap for the tree was two squares of burlap glued on the top, overlapping.

Wrap the burlap strip around the capped -tree top- (1)

Wrap the burlap strip around the capped -tree top- (2)

Step not shown: Trim off any frayed parts that are sticking out more than you want them to. It’s burlap, so it’s going to have “unraveled” bits either way, but you can clean it up some once the tree is completely covered.

Wrap the burlap strip around the capped -tree top- (3)

After I had put on the silver garland, I decided I wasn’t a big fan of the ribbons I had originally thought to use. Instead, I added some red beads to imitate ornaments. I love how this turned out!

And that’s it! This project didn’t take much time at all to finish and is the perfect addition to my snowman collection!

Have you made any new decorations for Christmas? Are you all done decorating, or do you still have some left to do? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Sara (1)

Sunday Meal Prep

Hey everyone! Welcome to this week’s meal prep, which is going to seem a bit different than normal.

Ok, so through my day job I get a lovely %25 discount once a year. This year a lot of that went towards groceries! When this discount was used also meant that we did most of our grocery shopping a few days early. So a couple things didn’t get cooked for on meal prep day, namely more of that Slow Cooker Korean Beef from last week. So that was already cooked, hence why there is only one main dish shown on here today. That stuff is delicious and so easy to make, plus Draz loves it! Plus the chicken for our salads got cooked one day in advance. I made double of that as well, the rest being frozen after I made the salads.

One of the things that we decided would be worth making extra of is our breakfast burritos! So a lot of my meal prep time went to making these, but we won’t be running out for quite a while…There are almost 70 total!

Our main dish for the week, other than the Slow Cooker Korean Beef, is this Spicy Beef Vegetable Stew from this cookbook. This was a new recipe for me and turned out delicious! (By the way, this cookbook has some of my favorite recipes in it and is really cheap on Amazon. If you are looking for a new cookbook, you should definitely consider this one! Also, not an affiliate. I just really like this cookbook.)

That’s it for this week! What are you making this week? Do you ever cook something in bulk to make things easier later, like I did this week with our burritos? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

 

 

My Top 5 Tips for Setting Goals for 2016

Ah, the new year…The time for reflection, celebration and resolutions. Next year everything is going to be perfect! I’m going to do all of these amazing things to change my life! Right?!

Ok, while there are people out there who set their resolutions like that, that’s not what I’m talking about today. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of resolutions. Most of them sound exactly the same and very few are achievable. They are generally these huge, vague yet life-changing statements with no actionable plan as to how to go about making those changes. Get in shape! Eat healthy! Save money! Quit my job! All great concepts, but without breaking these things down and planning out how you want to do that, these things are almost impossible to stick to.

It’s my belief that setting resolutions like these are the reason a lot of people only stick with whatever resolution they set for the first few weeks and then continue on with life in exactly the same way they were pre-resolution.

Now, goals….those are a different story. I love goals! As you’ve seen in previous months (like this post and this one, for example) I love setting goals for myself. Some months I do well, some not so well. But I always have those goals in the back of my mind. I’m currently working on my goals for the next year, so I want to share some of that planning process and mindset with you!

  1. Be specific. Goals work best when they are clearly stated and you can look at them and say “Yes I finished that goal” or “No, I didn’t.” Being specific also makes it much easier to break down that goal into smaller pieces, especially if you have a larger, more complex goal in mind.
    • DSCN1222_picmonkeyedExample: You want to to end 2016 in better physical shape than you are at the end of 2015. What does that look like to you? Does that just mean you’ve lost weight, or you can lift a certain amount? Are you going to exercise, change your diet, maybe both? How many times a week do you want to exercise? How do you want to change your diet? These questions can go on, but you get the idea.
  2. Be realistic. Setting a goal that is far beyond what is possible is not only setting it up to fail, but is very demotivating and demoralizing. While I know that some of the goals you may have in mind are huge life changes, realize that they may not be achievable in one year. How can you break those down into 1-2 smaller, more manageable goals that you can work on this year to get you to your ultimate larger goal?
    • Example: You want to start your own business, quit your day job and be self employed full time, making $100,000 a year. Outside of extreme examples (I’m sure that there are a few people that have managed this) this probably isn’t likely to happen in one year. Especially if you haven’t even started your business yet. Instead break that down into a few smaller goals, like getting the business started and making your first few sales.
  3. Write it all down. Don’t just write out you main goal. Write down the steps you will need to take to get to that goal, plans for setbacks, smaller goals within that main goal, etc. Planning is essential for success.
    • DSCN1439_picmonkeyedExample: You want to start eating healthier. You’ve already narrowed down what that looks like and how you want to achieve it. Now write down steps like finding X number of healthy recipes, cleaning out your pantry, setting up for meal prepping or cooking in general, etc. Plan how you will stay on track through things that might cause you difficulty, like stress, holidays or eating out.
  4. Pick a focus. By this, I mean choose goals that focus on 1-2 areas of your life, instead of spreading yourself thin trying to change everything. Now, I mostly mean this for brand new goals, not continuations of existing goals. But even then I would say not to try to focus on too many at once. Change can be hard. Cliche, I know, but true. Instead of trying to change something in every area of your life and overwhelming yourself, try to narrow it down to a couple areas that mean the most or would have the most impact.
  5. Plan, Plan, Plan! Ok, I know this was kinda covered in all the other tips, but it’s important enough that I felt it needed it’s own number. Start planning now for the changes you want to make in 2016! Goals are much easier to start working on if you have everything laid out, and sometimes the planning period alone can take a week or two.
    • DSCN1580_picmonkeyedExample: You want to exercise 6 days a week. Lay out where you will exercise, what exercise options you want or have available, what time of day works best with your schedule, etc. Spend a week or two looking at your schedule and how your week generally goes, noting when you have the most availability or energy. If you need to join a gym, now would be the perfect time to start looking at them and pick which one to join.

So there you have it! My top 5 tips for setting your goals for 2016! What tips do you have to set and succeed at your goals for the coming year? I would love to hear them! Let me know!

Sara (1)

DIY Dessert Bowls

Are you hosting a meal this holiday season? Or maybe just would like some unique dessert bowls for a special dinner? Then these dessert bowls might be the perfect DIY to add to the tablescape!

These were inspired by this post by Jenna over at The Painted Apron and really got me thinking about something similar I could do to dress up my next special dinner! If you haven’t checked out her blog, you really should! She has some fantastic projects and so much more!

Draz (Formerly known as Boyfriend) doesn’t drink wine, so we didn’t really have a need for the wine glasses that were done in the inspiration post. But I do love making special desserts! So I pulled out my plain glass dessert bowls! (I have a set of 4)

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They are pretty, but also kinda plain. Now, I don’t have any golf leaf like in the other post, but I do have silver liquid leaf! I decided to basically allow it to drip as it would, creating a more organic design. My original idea involved putting dots on the bowl too, hence the sponge. I ended up decided those would be too much and I liked it the way it was, so the sponge wasn’t needed. Also, use a cheap paintbrush for this; it will be ruined when you are done!

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To get these drips, I loaded up the paint brush and ran it around the base in a thick line. Each bowl took at least 5-6 times reloading the paintbrush to get this effect.

After the drips dried in this direction, I turned over bowls and did drips the other direction as well.

And then they were done! Excluding drying time, this project takes less than 20 minutes of active work….perfect for a quick DIY before the holidays arrive!

I didn’t have any desserts on hand, but I did have this delicious post-workout smoothie! I love how the drips look around the food and can’t wait to see how they look with some mousse!

Do you like doing DIYs for the holidays? If so, are you making anything this year?

Sara (1)