The Importance of Meal Prep: The Week I Skipped…And Why I Won’t Be Doing That Again

Ok, so I didn’t entirely skip meal prep. But compared to what I normally cook every week, I did. If you saw this post, you know I was on vacation from work for most of this week. Well, a staycation. So I figured, why not?! I will be home for most of the week, I will have plenty of time. How about I don’t do meal prepping this week?!

Bad. Idea.

Thankfully, none of the meals I planned went bad or anything. But I did delay cooking the casserole I had planned by 2 days, which did make me a little worried for our ingredients initially.

But mostly, it was the stress and lack of options. When time should I make dinner for? What is Draz taking for lunch today? (He only had 3 days off to my 5)

Some of you might think this is a little crazy. It was only a couple of days, right? It shouldn’t make that big of a difference!

It did. Some of it might just be the routine. We’ve been meal prepping for over a year now and we are used to how that works. This was out of routine, so it was a little disorienting. But some of it was that, for us, it truly is easier to have all the food for the week made in advance.

So, all in all, I don’t think I will be skipping any more meal preps anytime soon! While it may not make that big of a difference to some, it makes a huge difference to us.

But wait! I did say I didn’t entirely skip prepping, didn’t I? Well, that’s true, so here is what I made!

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Mason Jar Salads, Snacks and Treats

 

I don’t want to even imagine how much more stressful things would have been if I had skipped making our salads and snacks along with everything else!ย  At least I thought ahead well enough to know that would be a bad idea, right?

Have you ever skipped a meal prep? Did it make things harder the following week, or was it not too noticeable? Or do you think I’m just crazy? ๐Ÿ˜› I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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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!

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Friday Favorites: February 26, 2016

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had an amazing week. This week was pretty awesome here! Between vacation, starting my workouts again full force and just feeling in a great mood, this week has been pretty great. I have still been working on my newest photography project too, and this week’s photo is from that.

Friday Favorites, favorite picture of the week, dogs
Day 7 – “Rest”

And to make it even better, there have been a lot of really interesting posts that I found for this Friday Favorites! Enjoy!

Recipes

Spicy Red Lentil Curry from Minimalist Baker – Um, yes please?! This sounds so tasty! And my curry obsession may be kickstarted again by seeing this. I want it. Now

Home and Decor

The Impact of Negative Space from Censtational Girl – This is something I struggle with. I have a tendency to clutter up spaces, especially bookshelves!

Art and DIY

Scrape Wood Wine Holder from Pretty Handy Girl – Such a cute idea for scrape wood! And as I’m still just starting my wood DIY projects, I appreciate that it is relatively simple with great directions.

Life and Family

Black Lives Matter + Feminism from Uncustomary Art – This. Just this. This article is amazing, beautiful and thought provoking. I can’t possibly have said this better than she did here. If you only read one article from my list today, make it this one.

30 Ways to Show Love from The Freckled Fox – A great post from Emily! Sometimes day-to-day life can overwhelm and we can forget to show the ones we love just how much we love them. I love this list, especially because it’s not about grand gestures, but little things to do on a more regular basis.

Things You Have to Remember in Your Twenties from dizzybrunette3 – It really is good to hear sometimes that others are experiencing the same feelings that I am as I have gone through my twenties! Love this!

Blogging and Business

Switching from WordPress.com to WordPress.org from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen – This is actually something I have been considering lately and Lexi lays out the process in a clear and simple way. Love it!

Blogging without Boundaries from A Girl, Obsessed – An interesting read! Do you hold back from certain topics when you blog? I know it’s a topic I have thought about a lot and I love her take on it!

Pros and Cons of Running a Small Business from Our Freaking Budget – Since I am working towards starting my own small business, this article caught my attention. I love the way she lays outs the pros and cons! Great article!

Feeling Jealous on the Internet from Pinch of Yum – This is a seriously wonderful article! While I try to keep this in check, I can struggle with this a lot. Especially since I am just in the early stages of this blog, and even more so in my (soon-to-be) business, yet have a tendency to compare myself to people that have been blogging and/or running their businesses for years! Great read, and a great reminder to spend more time creating and less time comparing.

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Currently Creating

You know how sometimes the creative juices just aren’t there, and then other times you can’t catch up with all the ideas racing around in your head? Do you experience that too? Last month was a bit…stalled creatively. This month on the other hand! This month has been awesome! And a lot of the awesomeness has all occurred within the last week! โค

Some of this is due to taking a short post-birthday vacation. I had 5 glorious days to spend on blog improvements, a few DIY projects, an art piece and some new jewelry, both finishing pieces and pieces to be fused!

Sadly, even on vacation I have more ideas then time, but that just means that I won’t run out of projects any time soon!

I feel like I really made some progress on my jewelry this month. I have been putting some extra time into improving my wire wrapping skills and I think it’s starting to show! After some great advice from Michele over at @tigerlilywraps on Instagram, I headed over to YouTube and checked out a few channels for tutorials: Go Art Yourself and OxanaCrafts. A few of the pieces on here were actually done using the tutorials, specifically this one.

While I still feel like I have a lot of room for improvement, I’m excited to see what I have gotten done this month!

Along with my jewelry, my vacation gave me a bunch of time to work on other projects! I stained the backboard for my next mosaic and cut the sheet of glass I need to start it. This project has actually been in some stage of progress for over around 2 years, so I’m looking forward to getting some glass laid down on it soon! I also have some more pendants to be fused (and I’m waiting for some that aren’t pictured that I’m getting back today!)

Since staining that backboard seems to have gotten me in a mood, I actually stained a bunch more boards for 2 DIY projects. The “Love & Coffee” is part of one of those, so be looking for posts on those projects soon! I can’t wait to share them with you ๐Ÿ™‚

And for what is possibly my most exciting DIY project of the month. I have sanded, primed, and started painting some furniture for our bedroom and closet remodel! Now, these are all pieces I’ve had for years…The dresser for around 10 and the side tables since I was a kid. These things have gotten pretty beaten up over the years, but I think they are going to turn out great!

So that’s what I’ve been working on this month! I hope you enjoyed this little peak into my studio and home. I can’t wait to share the new DIY projects with you soon!

Have you been working on anything new lately? Any projects you’ve had on hold that you finally got to get started? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave me a comment below!

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Sunday Meal Prep: February 21, 2016

Hey everyone! This week’s meal prep is all about keepin’ things simple ๐Ÿ™‚ I was still not feeling all that great when I was planning for this prep (prep posts are staggered by one week, so this was last week) so I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to spend much time in the kitchen. I would say it was a success!

This prep took around 3 – 3.5 hrs of active cooking, so not too bad at all ๐Ÿ™‚

Meal Prep

Pulled pork, sausage and veggie stir fry, chicken curry, mason jar salads
Our main meals
cookie dough protein bites, sweet potato banana bites, grapes and cheese, healthy snacks
Snacks and treats

 

Two main dishes for this week, other than more Pulled Pork for Draz: Slow Simmered Curried Chicken and Skillet Sausage and Veggies. Both of these turned out delicious!

The Curried Chicken is from the Easy Asian Recipes cookbook. I love this book! (Not an affiliate link)

The Skillet Sausage and Veggies is from the Taste of Home Everyday Slow Cooker & One Dish Recipes 2008 cookbook, another cookbook I really love! (Again, not an affiliate link) However, the recipe below is based on the recipe I used this week. Enjoy!

Sausage Pepper and Cabbage recipe

I did also spend a little bit of time this week playing around with styling for food photography. What do you think?

That’s it for this week! What did you prep this week? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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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!

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Friday Favorites: February 19, 2016

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful week ๐Ÿ™‚ย I’m really excited to share this week’s Friday Favorites with you..I found quite a few links that look really great! But first: I started my 365 Photography Project! This is my favorite picture from this week (today actually)

The photo prompt for today was “Cover.” Now, you might be wondering why I photographed an old notebook. Well…this notebook is actually one of my most prized possessions. It is a recipe book, handwritten by my mom. It was started in 1993 and has every recipe she cooked that I liked, from then (age 5) to when I moved out right before I turned 17! It’s pretty amazing and I absolutely love it. I actually plan on doing the same thing when I have kids. Just looking at it makes me smile, makes me feel loved.

Friday favorite moments family
Day 4 – “Cover”

And now, on to the awesome links from this week! Enjoy!

Recipes
Cabbage Ginger Noodles from Naturally Ella – I have just recently started cooking with fresh ginger and I love it! I can’t wait to try this!
Lemony Soup with White Beans, Kale and Pasta from A Cup of Jo – This sounds delicious! And I have to agree with her…I love any soup with beans ๐Ÿ™‚
Pineapple Coconut Smoothie from The Iron You – This smoothie makes me wish for summer. I really want to try this one! I have never used pineapple or coconut in my smoothies, so I’m looking forward to trying something new!

Home and Decor
Water Gardens from Robinne Weiss – Their water garden turned out wonderful!
LZM Home: Photo Wall Collages from Le Zoe Musings – I love how they pulled the two collages together! We have a lot of empty walls in our home that I’m currently trying to pull together and would love if ours turned out this nice!
A New Home (And a New Bed) from A Cup of Jo – Can I just say how much I love her style!? While we are not currently looking at getting a new bed, I never thought to order one online. I will have to keep that in mind when we do look at getting a new mattress ๐Ÿ™‚

Art and DIY

Creations, Magnolia & Cotton Wreath from The Painted Apron – I love making wreaths, but I haven’t made one of this style before. I love how she breaks down how she put it together and it looks beautiful!

The Problem Of a Creative Creature from The Richness of a Simple Life – The search for creative outlets in life can be difficult and I love Niki’s take on it!
DIY Diamond Shaped Book Shelves from A Beautiful Mess – I absolutely love this bookcase! I have wanted built-ins pretty much forever, but there is no way that we can put those in here. These though?! These we could do! Would it be overkill to put these in two rooms? Cause I kinda want to ๐Ÿ™‚
Take a Seat: How to Make a Budget-Friendly Bench in Under an Hour from Paper & Stitch – So cute! And I love the idea of using a carpet piece on part of the bench!

Fitness

Top 10 Fitness Bloggers to Follow from Semi-Sweet Tooth – A couple of these I’ve heard of, but most are brand new to me and sound great! I’m looking forward to checking them out more!
Health & Fitness: Splurge & Save from The Fitnessista – Love this list! I pretty much agree with everything on here. ๐Ÿ™‚

Life and Family

You Don’t See My Sad – That Doesn’t Make My Happy Fake from This House Is Our Home – I really love this! I have always been bothered by the idea that someone is being “fake” by only showing the positive or not getting involved in hot topic debates online. I hate getting into those things and I am definitely not going to complain about my less-happy stuff online. Anna does a great job talking about this!

Blogging and Business
A Color Story Filters: Shifting Colors from A Beautiful Mess – I’m still learning a lot about photography and photo editing, so this was a great read!

Have a great weekend!

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Fitness Mini-Update

It’s been one month since I finished Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide! Sadly, I can’t tell you that I’ve been doing much since then ? My body seems to have turned on me and my fitness journey has stalled (again). It does that a lot, doesn’t it?

That is not saying I haven’t been able to work out some…it’s just been limited to mostly treadmill and exercises they gave me in Physical Therapy.

Setbacks can be difficult to deal with. I know I’ve had some ups and downs over the last month. Times where I felt like I was never going to get back into my fitness routine. Heck, there were times it felt like I was never going to feel well again at all!

Of course, that was (mostly) in my head! I am feeling better now, though I have come to the realization that the PT exercises for my back have to become a part of my daily life.

I am hoping to start BBG1 round 2 next week and can’t wait to get going again…hopefully with less injuries this time! ?

How have your workouts been going? Have you been struggling this winter with your routine or had any setbacks? How have you dealt with them? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Life Lessons: The 29 Things I’ve Learned in 29 Years

birthday muffin celebrate 29 years 29 lessons

It’s my birthday! I might be freaking out a little! But…honestly not as much as I thought I would be. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ok, this is something I’ve actually given a lot of thought to the past month or so. I turn 29 today….I think back to when I was 20 and what I thought life would be like in 9 years and this isn’t it. In fact, it’s not even close.

That’s not a complaint. I love my life! My family, Draz, my dogs, my home, this blog and all of the awesomeness related to that and so much more! Instead, it’s more of a realization that life takes some crazy and unexpected turns. Twists and turns that put me in a wonderful place in life that I could never have imagined at 20!

I’ve learned a lot along the way and still have so much left to learn! But here are 29 life lessons that I have learned so far! Some serious, some not quite so, and in no particular order, but I hope you enjoy all of them ๐Ÿ™‚

29 Life Lessons I’ve Learned So Far

  1. I don’t know what it means to actually feel like an adult. I’m still waiting for that one.
  2. Parents are people too and pretty awesome to hang out with!
  3. No one actually has life all figured out.
  4. Not everyone will like you or needs to…and you don’t have to understand why.
  5. Be present for the moments of everyday life. It’s amazing.
  6. Reach out to those that you care about, even if you’ve lost touch.
  7. Drive slower!
  8. Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.
  9. You can like who you are while still trying to improve yourself.
  10. Push your comfort zone!
  11. Don’t expect life to follow your plan.
  12. Beย unapologetically you – be honest about who you are and what you enjoy in life.
  13. Try to put a positive “spin” on things when you are having a bad day/interaction/moment/whatever.
  14. Be silly!
  15. Take care of your body – it’s worth the time.
  16. Take care of your mental health too – it’s just as important as your physical health.
  17. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.
  18. Find things you truly enjoy instead of things that just fill time.
  19. The best dates and/or moments don’t have to cost much, if anything.
  20. Quality over quantity – applies to much of life!
  21. Don’t procrastinate – it NEVER helps.
  22. Be spontaneous (at least occasionally).
  23. Smile often.
  24. Be kind to others, even when you don’t feel like it.
  25. Make sure you sleep enough.
  26. Try new things often!
  27. Give yourself a break – you can’t do everything.
  28. Always make goals and strive towards meeting them.
  29. Cut the negative thoughts and self-talk.

So that’s some of the things I’ve learned over the years. So aren’t surprising and a few took me a long time to learn. Some I still have to remind myself of. But either way, I am so excited to see how this year goes! I think that 29 is going to be an amazing and transformative year for me! (And I am so excited to share it with all of you!)

What are some of the things that you have learned over the years that have surprised you or been harder to learn? I would love to hear your thoughts!

And don’t forget that the Jewelry Giveaway ends today at 8 pm CT, so if you haven’t entered yet, hop over and get your entry in!

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Sunday Meal Prep: February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I am super excited to share this week’s meal prep with you!

You ever have those weeks where you are trying to plan out your prep and it just isn’t coming to you? That was me planning out this week. But in the end it all fell together! It didn’t take me as long to cook as some weeks, but that definitely doesn’t mean it was lacking in taste!

Enjoy!

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As you can see, we have more Island Pulled Pork for this week. Draz seems to be on a new kick! ๐Ÿ˜› Along with that, we have one old favorite, one that we’ve had once and a new recipe as well!

I am always happy when we add Jambalaya on to the menu. It’s been one of my favorites for over 10 years! The repeat recipe was Slowcooker Beef and Broccoli and I love how this one turned out ๐Ÿ™‚ I do think I used a different cut of beef than last time though. It didn’t fall apart in quite the same way that it did the first time I made it. But that doesn’t really matter, because either way it was really tasty!

This Tortellini Chicken Noodle Soup was delicious! The one thing that I will say is that I wish I would have increased the broth some…It ended up a little thicker than I would prefer for soup. But it was still wonderful and I love the addition of the tortellini!

Not pictured: my grapes and cheese snacks and one batch of our breakfast burritos.

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A little peak behind the scenes…my photography “helper”!

Jambalaya

How was your prep this week? Do you ever have difficulty picking meals when planning out your prep? What do you do if/when you do? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

Also, don’t forget that the Jewelry Giveaway ends on Tuesday! So if you haven’t entered yet, head over and let me know which one you want!

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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!

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Friday Favs: February 12, 2016

Hey everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful week! In all honestly, my week wasn’t great. I caught a pretty terrible cold and didn’t do much more than lay on the couch for most of it ๐Ÿ™ But I feel like I’m on the mend now and can’t wait to get back to life as normal! Sadly, being sick means I pretty much took zero pictures this week, so I have no favorite picture of the week. I’m looking forward to next week’s though! I’m starting a new photography project on my birthday!

Recipes

8 Ways I use Frozen Produce from 100 Days of Real Food – While not a recipe exactly, this has some great tips (one of which I had to learn the hard way!)

Spicy Skillet Hoisin Chicken from The Slender Kitchen – I don’t think I’ve actually used hoisin sauce before. I should change that!

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Shells from The Recipe Critic – Cheese, pasta and veggies?! I’m all about this one ๐Ÿ™‚

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower from Damn Delicious – I haven’t had roasted cauliflower before, but I do love cauliflower and garlic, so I can’t imagine this being bad!

Marinated Kale & Chicken Bowls from Pinch of Yum – I’ve never marinated kale before! In fact, as an ingredient, I haven’t used kale a lot, but I’ve enjoyed it when I have. And her pictures just make this dish look mouthwatering!

Home and Decor

Glitter and Gold Valentine’s Day Mantel from Organize Your Stuff Now – Oh how I wish I had a mantel…I’m not big on Valentine’s Day, but this decor is beautiful!

Fitness

The Mind-Body Connection – The Importance of Focusing on Toning Moves from Organize Yourself Skinny – Great article overall! One point that she points out that I love is to take every move slow and focus on form. When I was in physical therapy that was one of the things they stressed and that I’ve seen a lot of people slack on.

Fitness Social Media: Beyond the Six Pack Selfies from Lazy Girl Running – You all know that I am pretty much in love with Kayla Itsines’ and the BBG community…and there are a lot of six pack selfies on there. I’ve met (online) a lot of great ladies through there. That being said, I love this article!

Life and Family

Snow Shoe from Barefoot Blonde – This is too cute and sounds like so much fun!

My Book Came!!! from Uncustomary Art – I love how you can just feel the excitement radiating from her post! I can’t imagine the feeling of holding proof of all of your hard work coming to fruition.

The Complete Budgeting Guide: How to Make a Budget That Works from Making Sense of Cents – A great guide from a great blog!

I Married a Blogger from DIY Playbook – Ok, this is actually just one post in a huge loop. I would definitely check out all of them. They are pretty entertaining, informative and just…cute ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoy the list! Did you find anything neat this week? I would love to hear about it, so leave me a comment below!

If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to enter into the Jewelry Giveaway! It ends on Tuesday!

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Bingeable Media: The Books & Podcasts I’m Loving Right Now

 

I have always had a love of music and books. More times than I can count I was reprimanded in school for reading when I wasn’t supposed to be…and I can remember more than a few nights that I read for hours longer than I meant to. However, up to the last month or so, I had never listened to an audiobook!

Now, while I am still very attached to physical books, I am quickly falling in love with audiobooks. I have a lot of time at work that I am able to listen to my headphones, so I go through a lot of material.ย While I still listen to many podcasts, I’m having fun switching it up with books, both fiction and nonfiction.

Audiobooks:

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I started off with the Hunger Games Series. I had never gotten to finish reading them before and have actually been waiting to watch the movies until I finished the books!

 

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, read by Stephen Fry. This was fantastic and so much fun to listen to!

 

 

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The Phantom of the Opera. This one is not new to me, but I loved listening to it. I also love the movie and the play. I may also have the soundtrack.ย Obsessed, me?ย 

 

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What The Most Successful People do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam: I really enjoyed this quick listen ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been working (on-and-off) on revitalizing my wake-up routine and this gave me some motivation and some great ideas!

 

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Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein Series: I had read the first book once, but now I’m on the 3rd one and loving it! Sadly I currently only have up to that one. The last two aren’t available ๐Ÿ™

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Harry Potter: I am really enjoying listening to the audiobooks of this series! This is one ofย my fav series of all-time! I will admit, I was a little worried that the narrator would throw me off, but I’ve really enjoyed it so far ๐Ÿ™‚

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Anita Blake Series: This is another one of my favorite series. Unlike the Harry Potter series, one of the voices of the narrator did throw me off for a bit, but as I listened to it longer it didn’t anymore. Though I’m not sure if that won’t happen again as the series progresses. Also, if you are familiar with the series at all, you might understand why I’m not sure if I will continue listening at work!

Podcasts:

Along with all of the podcasts listed in this post, I have added quite a few more to my regular listening line-up! Here are just a few of the ones I am enjoying!

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Entrepreneurs and Coffee with Brendan Hufford: One of my favorites for entrepreneurship! Brendan is great to listen to! His interviews are always interesting and engaging, plus he is quick to respond to emails and tweets from his listeners!

 

 

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This American Life hosted by Ira Glass: I can’t say enough about This American Life. This show has made me laugh out loud (while working by myself, so I get to sound a little crazy too), tear up and gets me thinking about all sorts of topics I’ve not thought much about before.

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The Art of Charm with AJ and Jordan Harbinger: While this show is meant for and geared towards men, I have found so many episodes useful and interesting. I love the wide range of topics and guests that come on!

 

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The Fizzle Show with Corbet Barr, Chase Reeves, Barrett Brooks & Steph Crowder: Oh, what to say about The Fizzle Show…not only is this show entertaining and informative, it has lead me to so many other podcasts and people! I can’t wait until I can actually join The Fizzle Community online!

Do you listen to audiobooks and/or podcasts? I am always looking for new ones, so let me know your favorites in the comments below!

Also, if you didn’t see it yet, be sure to check out the Jewelry Giveawayย I am running Feb 9-16th!

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