Friday Favs: The Links I Love – April 29, 2016

It’s Friday! Did you have an awesome week? I hope you did! Me, on the other hand….not a bad week, but definitely not awesome. My back was acting up throughout the whole thing, so I was pretty limited on what I could physically. Are you tired of my back acting up all the time, because I really am! Otherwise, not a bad week! I got a decent amount done while still allowing myself some “me” time like I talked about in Wednesday’s post. It was hard to pace myself, but so great to take some time away from working. But this post is one of my favorite fun ones to work on, because I get to share all the links I love from the week! Plus it gives me an excuse to spend time reading various blogs! 

Enjoy!Links I love

Recipes

Steve’s Famous Maryland Crab Soup from Monica’s Table

12 Kid-Friendly Energy Ball Recipes Made Without Protein Powder from The Lean Green Bean

One Pan Honey Mustard Balsamic Chicken and Broccolini from Slender Kitchen

Mozzarella Chicken Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes from The Recipe Critic

Pizza Rolls from The Pioneer Woman

Smoked Mozzarella Grilled Cheese with Mushrooms and Onions from Slim Sanity

Fitness and Wellness

Eat and Get Fit from Moms Can be Fit – Too many times I see people talking about eating for fitness in restrictive ways…you know what I’m talking about, it’s the “baked chicken and steamed veggies for lunch and/or dinner every day” crowd. Now, there is nothing wrong with those. I love baked chicken and steamed veggies. But every day? Tiff talks about her normal daily eating habits and some options and it is refreshing to see someone so fit talking about real food!

Restoring Mind and Body: Natures Profound Power from Run to the Finish – This makes me want to visit Colorado so much! These parks look amazing and like so much fun. I love when you can combine gorgeous outdoor scenery with fitness and spending time together.

My Relationship with Fitness from Cupcakes and Cashmere – As most of you know, I struggle with my fitness routine. Some from injury, some from just having difficulty settling into a routine I enjoy. I really like getting a look into others struggles too, especially since it can feel sometimes that everyone has their act together and it’s just me. So I really appreciate how much she puts herself out there in this post!

Home and Decor

Injecting Colour Into Your Kitchen in 3 Easy Ways from Suburban Mum – I love the idea of small steps! While I’m a big fan of color (sometimes a little too much) it can be hard to get the right balance.

Guest Room Gallery Wall from The DIY Playbook – Oh how I love a good gallery wall. And this one is gorgeous!

Jewelry Organization from A Thoughtful Place – This is such a cute way to organize your jewelry! While I have way too many pieces to do just this, I might incorporate some more visually-pleasing displays when we finish the walk-in closet 🙂

Life and Family

Things That Make You Feel Like an Adult from DizzyBrunette3 – This list is great! And made me laugh. Sometimes it really does hit home when you are doing more “adult” things like making appointments, cleaning your home, and buying furniture!

Tulip Fields + Embracing Spontaneity from Open Spaces – I love the idea of a spontaneous trip exploring the tulip fields. And as this is only a couple hours away from me, totally possible! Great post and gorgeous pictures 🙂

Why It’s Okay to Be Basic from DizzyBrunette3 – I’m gonna start off with the fact that I have hated that term from the first time I heard it…and I absolutely love this post. We really need to stop shaming people for the things they like, whether that is Starbucks, yoga, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer (ok, I love all three of these, and that last one is my own addition to things she mentions) Just let people do what they enjoy, no shame involved. And she makes this point much better than I am, so head over there to read it!

Art and DIY

Everyone’s Painting Their Own Abstract Art, And You Should Too from Apartment Therapy – Ok, this one is not from this week, so I’m breaking my rules here. But I love this post! It has so many great ideas for some DIY art!

Industrial Display Shelves from Pretty Handy Girl – I LOVE these! They are so cute, while still having a bit of a masculine feel. Plus great build plans!

Easy DIY Pallet Clipboard Frame from Old House to New Home – Such a cute and simple idea! Perfect for loose art or pictures! 🙂

The Magic of Getting Started from Art Blog for Creative Living – I love this! I have a hard time getting going in my studio sometimes and it really is true…sometimes you just have to start

Blogging and Business

One Day I Will Find You – A Letter to My Dream Job from Vanilla Crunnch – I love how Lara talks about the feelings surrounding her dream job instead of the exact thing she wants to do. How it’s about the community, interactions and results. Great read!

The Key to Fooling Everyone Into Thinking You’re a Natural at Public Speaking from The Middle Finger Project – Fantastically written and has some great tips! I have a hard time at public speaking, even in small group conversations, and this is something I have been having to do more of lately. I will definitely be giving the advice in this post some thought!

5 Mistakes I’ve Made With Blog Photos from A Girl, Obsessed – While I still have SO MUCH to learn about photography, I do think my photos have gotten better over the last year. I love getting the chance to look back at another blogger’s progress, especially since the photos she creates are so gorgeous!

How Weekend Fun Can Help Grow Your Social Media from Venus Trapped in Mars – I love this post! Social media is a bit of a struggle for me sometimes, especially when it comes to growth. I love getting great photos out of fun outings…I just need to be a little more deliberate about it!

Time Management 101 from Simply Organized – While I think this article was written geared towards moms, I think this is really applicable to all bloggers and business types, whether they are moms or not! Great post and great reminder to own your time!

Links I love, favorite picture
I am loving the color in the trees right now! While I had a bit of fun editing, this color is actually true to how it looks in person!

That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoy this round up of the links I love and found some interesting posts! Did I miss your favorite from the week, or maybe you posted something you want me to check out? I would love to hear about them, so please leave a link in the comments below!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Sara

Self Care in Blogging and Business (Plus 5 Tips You Can Try!)

 

Life can get stressful & it can be hard to prioritize "you". But it's important, so I'm talking about why I think so & share my top 5 tips to self care!Let’s be honest, life can get pretty busy sometimes. Overwhelmingly so. Whether you are just getting started on your blog or business or you’ve been going strong for years, you have a lot of responsibilities….a lot of things you have to get done and so little time to do them. I could go on, but you all get what I’m saying, right?

So what happens? You have to give somewhere, let something go. And more often than not, that something is yourself. Now, I’m not talking sweatpants, messy hair, no make-up kind of letting yourself go (though that can definitely play a part in this) I’m talking about not doing the things that fulfill you or allow you to relax, whatever those things are. It can be a difficult thing to prioritize yourself when you have so many other things to take care of! I mean, those things can come later, right? I can’t go out to this movie when I have this blog post to write, products to make and a house to clean! I can do it later, when things are less busy. So your self care gets pushed to the side to make room for the “important” things.

Only things really aren’t ever going to be less busy. There are going to be times where things slow down for just a bit, but usually those things are then filled in with something else that will fill up your time. It’s a pretty serious cycle and one that can get out of control really quickly.fstockphotosb-9

And this is something that I have been struggling a lot with. I had slid into this cycle without even realizing it. I knew I was busy, and getting busier…but I had no idea just how little down-time I was taking until the end of last week. I kept telling myself that I had to get all of these things done right now and it’s just the price I had to pay right now to get my business going and make improvements to the blog. That it was temporary.

I’m going to get really honest with you right now. I was probably on the verge of a breakdown at the end of last week. I was stressed, not sleeping well, getting frustrated at Draz over things that never bother me normally and taking things personally when I knew they weren’t meant that way. I was feeling run down, my workouts (when they were happening at all) were sub-par. From the time I woke up to the time I went to bed I was working or busy in some form. I would guess that there was less than 1 hour in each waking day that I was not working or thinking about working, or mentally creating the next blog post, etc.

It took a near-fight with Draz over something absolutely ridiculous and a couple pointed statements from him to wake me up and make me realize what I have been doing to myself. And this is going to sound silly, but the one that affected me the most was “When was the last time you took a long bath?” Now, this might not sound like a big deal, but let me give you some context:

I used to take a long bubble bath once a week….just me, my book, some music and some candles. That was my rejuvenation time, no matter what else was going on. I counted this as an important part of my self care. And you know how long it’s been since I’ve done that? 6 months – a year. That’s right. Something I used to do weekly as my self care has been so completely pushed out that I can’t even remember when I took one last.

You may not care about long baths. And that’s all fine (though seriously, they are pretty awesome). But is there something that you care about, something that rejuvenates or fulfills you, that you haven’t done for a long time? When was the last time you did some self care? Can you remember? I know I have a few items on that list…the bubble baths, making artwork just for me, taking the dogs for a long walk, watching a movie without working on something at the same time.

rottweiler mix, mastiff mix, out for a walk, spring, dogs, self care
Draz and I taking the dogs out for a long walk right after we got Crystal. We haven’t done this in a LONG time.

And I’m going to be making sure to get more of that time in, even if that means some of my business goals take slightly longer to be completed. It’s not going to matter when I launch my business if I’m rundown, sick and unhappy when I finally do. So there will be more walks, more art that’s just mine, and definitely more bubble baths. Draz and I already did a bit of this over the weekend…a wonderful at-home movie date, with popcorn and everything! I left my phone across the room with the sound turned off and didn’t worry about what blog or business tasks I needed to work on. And you know what, the blog didn’t disappear! My progress on my business didn’t disappear! And this is something I need to remember and take to heart. Self care is important, essential even. This isn’t the first time I’ve come to this realization and prioritized myself, as you may have saw in my Journey to Happiness post. But sometimes even when we know this lesson, it can be…well, not really forgotten, but set aside.

That’s why this post is coming to you on a Wednesday. I have decided that while I work on launching the business side of things, I am going to cut down to 3 posts a week. So you can now expect to see posts on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. I hope at some point to go back to 4 posts a week (and there might be more occasionally!) but for now I need to focus on creating quality content while still allowing a little more time for self care.

So what are some things that you can do for self care? Well, a lot of that is pretty personal, but there are some that I think are pretty much universal for bloggers and business owners.Wonderlass Stock Photo 2a

5 Easy Things You Can Do For Self Care

  1. Step away from social media – For a few hours, a day, or a week, stepping away from all social media can be a really good thing.
  2. Get outside – Go for a walk or a hike!

    outdoors, woods, stone bridge, spring, self care
    My favorite place to get outdoors AND get away from social media!
  3. Go out with friends – Blogging and running a business can be very isolating sometimes. Meeting up with friends in person can be very rejuvenating.

    self care, farmers market
    To a Farmer’s Market maybe?
  4. Get dressed up – I don’t mean fancy dinner party dressed up. But a nice shirt and pants, or maybe do your hair and makeup. Do whatever will make you feel more confident and put together. I know that when I’m working at home my tendency is to be in a kinda torn up, too big t-shirt and jeans, so this is something I need to work on myself.make-up, self care
  5. Exercise – It can be easy to be inactive or get caught up with your work when you work from home. Exercise can be so helpful and make you feel so much better!

If you would like to read more on this topic or just get some fun ideas for self care, self love and a whole lot of other topics, here are a couple of my favorite resources!

I hope that you always remember to take a look at your schedule and make sure to put some time for yourself in there! Is self care something you’ve struggled with? I would love to know how you have dealt with this, so please leave a comment below!

Sara

Know someone you think might benefit from a self care reminder? Then go ahead and share this so they can see it too!

Sunday Meal Prep: April 24, 2016

Some weeks it can be hard to get going, hard to do the things you know you need to do. I love cooking, but even with that it can be hard to get the motivation going to meal prep sometimes. There are ways to plan for that though! If you know you have a busy week ahead and that by the time you get to Sunday you will be exhausted, you can plan your menu to take less time! It might still be a push to get going, but it won’t be as bad if you know you only have a couple hours of prep to do instead of 5-6 hours!Meal Prep - Eat Healthy and Delicious Food When Your Life is Busy

The week prior to this cooking session was one of those weeks. I was really busy…much more busy than usual. So when I was planning this menu on Wednesday, I knew that by the time I got to Sunday, I was not going to want to do much of anything. And so I planned accordingly. No new recipes, no meals that require 1+ hrs of active cooking…just simple, healthy, filling meals. 🙂 Enjoy!

To start off with, we were running low on our freezer breakfast burritos, so I made another batch of those! These burritos and our salads are pretty much the two things I always want to make sure I have prepped!meal prep breakfast burritos, mason jar salads, grapes and cheese

We have a lot of tasty main dishes this week! I tossed chicken into the slow cooker for some Asian Sweet Chili Sesame Chicken, which comes together wonderfully with so little active cooking time. I also made Steak Tacos and Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Brown Butter Balsamic Asparagus as a side. Along with that, I played around with a recipe I created a while back – Cabbage and Sausage Skillet. CabbageStirfryBalsPorkChop

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce
Print Recipe
This is one of my favorite side dishes to make! Quick and easy, yet fancy enough for a special dinner!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce
Print Recipe
This is one of my favorite side dishes to make! Quick and easy, yet fancy enough for a special dinner!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet; toss to coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 for 12 minutes.
  2. Just before asparagus is done, melt butter in a small skillet over med heat. Cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking pan occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle over asparagus, tossing well to coat
Share this Recipe
 
Cabbage and Sausage Skillet
Print Recipe
This is a recipe I've been playing with for a while. One of the things I love about it is how variable it is!
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Cabbage and Sausage Skillet
Print Recipe
This is a recipe I've been playing with for a while. One of the things I love about it is how variable it is!
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
Seasonings: 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne, 1/2-1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp caraway, 1/4 tsp white pepper, 1/2 tsp red pepper
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over med-high heat. Saute onion, peppers, and garlic approximately 7 minutes or until softened. Add carrots and potatoes, all liquids and seasonings (reserve 1/2 cup chicken broth), cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add cabbage and stir to mix. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add tomatoes and sausage. Reduce heat to low, cooking 10-15 minutes or until cabbage is tender, adding reserved broth if necessary.
Recipe Notes

Adjust seasonings to fit preferences. This mixture can be a bit too spicy for some people.

Share this Recipe
 

SweetChiliChickenSteakTacos

15 Minute Steak Soft Tacos
Print Recipe
Simple, yet filling and delicious! These steak tacos were originally a recipe from when I was a kid, though I have made a few changes to make them just a bit healthier!
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
15 Minute Steak Soft Tacos
Print Recipe
Simple, yet filling and delicious! These steak tacos were originally a recipe from when I was a kid, though I have made a few changes to make them just a bit healthier!
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Cut steak into roughly 1-in pieces. Heat the oil in your skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak and cook until lightly browned. Stir in water, salsa and seasoning mix. Heat to a boil. Stir in rice and cover. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Then remove from heat; let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Spoon steak mixture into tortillas. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, red onions, or any other desired toppings.
Share this Recipe
 

Everything turned out pretty delicious and I only spent 3 or so hours in the kitchen, spread out over the night. It was definitely a nice break from some of my longer meal prep, plus it was great to go back to some of my favorite simple recipes!

How do you plan for weeks that are more busy? Do you cut down on what you usually prep, or do you just push through? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

Sara

Want to get started doing meal prep for 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!

Friday Favs: The Links I Love – April 22, 2016

It’s Friday! Guys, I can’t say how happy I am that it’s Friday! Which sounds ridiculous, because I don’t have a normal Monday-Friday workweek, so it’s not like it’s the weekend for me. But still, I’m excited! The past couple of weeks have been awesome and exhausting and so many other things, but mostly exciting. And I can’t wait until things are a little more put together and I can share them with all of you! Let’s just say, there are big things coming 🙂 But right now, the big thing I want to share with you is this list of the links I love this week. There are some recipes I can’t wait to try (is anyone surprised?), some decor inspiration, and a great list about being a blogger, along with a bunch of other neat things!

Enjoy!

Recipes:

Pesto Chicken Pizza Rolls from The Lean Green Bean

Spiralized Carrot Salad with Lemon and Dijon from SkinnyTaste

Honey Chipotle Pork Roast from The Recipe Critic

Baked Chicken Fajita Roll-Ups from Eat Yourself Skinny

Home and Decor:

Our Bedroom: Before and After from Almost Makes Perfect – as most of you know, I’m currently remodeling our bedroom (still?! Yup…it’s just never gonna get done) and so I love seeing what others are doing and getting all sorts of neat ideas. We also will have a large closet (read: walk-in dressing room) like they do and I love the idea of putting a cabinet in the master bedroom! We have enough space in ours that I have been struggling with it looking too empty anywhere in the room that isn’t the bed and this is a great solution to that!

Family and Life:

It’s OK to Feel Bad from Miscelenious Blog – Wow…I gotta say, I love this post. She couldn’t be more right. Sometimes being an adult is hard. Not in the joking “I can’t adult right now” but in the truth behind the joke. This post speaks to me, to my life over…well let’s face it, over all of my 20’s

Mirror, Mirror: On Photos and Social Media from Love, Life, Surf – Great thought-provoking post. My self-image is something I have fought for years, and still fight on a pretty regular basis.

Fitness:

How to Find the Motivation to Keep Fit from Blush and Barbells – As most of you know, I kinda have an up-down relationship with exercise. I do exercise weekly, but I have a hard time keeping the routine going the way I would like to. Some of that is out of my control (injuries and such), but other parts are just not prioritizing and motivating enough. This is a great post about some of the ways you can combat that lack of motivation!

Art and DIY:

Project Restyle: Bedside Lamps from A Beautiful Mess – I LOVE how these lamps turned out. I’m a little envious at her finding a matching set to restyle! We recently restyled our own beside lamps (post about that to come) and I didn’t even think of using two colors. So pretty!

Blogging and Business:

Why I Rebranded My Business To My Own Name from Melyssa Griffin – I actually recently joined this community in the Facebook Group (a fabulous group of people!) and I love Melyssa talking here about why she rebranded.

10 Things No One Tells You About Being a Blogger from This Renegade Love – So much truth in this post. When I started (almost a year ago guys!) I had no idea how much work blogging would be. Don’t get my wrong. I love it…in more ways that I could have imagined. But I had no idea how much of my mind would be taken up with blogging and business stuff, how much time I would put into my content, how many photographs I would take. I love this look into the not-so-obvious side of being a blogger!

outdoors, woods, stone bridge, spring, links I love
Ok, so this picture isn’t from this week, or even this year. But it’s one of my favorite pics and where I wish I was right now! I actually had planned on going out to Ledges today, but it’s a bit too overcast and gloomy outside for my tastes. Instead, enjoy this picture from last year, and know you will be seeing more of them soon!

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed checking out the links I love this week! Did I miss one that you thought was great or think I would enjoy yours? Leave a link in the comments below! I love hearing your thoughts and finding new blogs!

Sara

Clean Eating on the Go with Jenn Baxter

You all know how high on the list I put eating healthy and planning ahead to keep your goals on track. But one topic we haven’t really covered on here is how to do that when you are on the go! I mean, yes, I talk about meal prepping every week(like this from last week), but how does that translate into keeping on track when you are busy running errands around town? Well, today we have Jenn Baxter from Live A F.A.S.T Life visiting to talk to us about just how to go about doing that! Make sure to head over to her gorgeous site afterwards, she has a lot of great things to say!

Enjoy!

clean eating on the go

You’ve cleaned up your diet and purged your kitchen of all the sugar-filled cookies, the salt-laden chips and the genetically modified “foods.”  You filled up the fridge with organic fruits & veggies and antibiotic-free meats.  You are rocking this healthy eating thing, and then…

You’re caught on the go.

Maybe you just got off work and don’t have time to go home and cook before it’s time to pick up the kids at practice.  Or maybe you’re on a road trip and you have to depend on the interstate restaurants for your next meal.

But you’re suddenly stricken with panic, as you realize… there’s no way to eat clean in this moment!  You don’t have enough time… there aren’t any healthy places nearby… you’re tempted to just give up and grab a burger and fries at the nearest drive-thru.

But wait!  It doesn’t have to be that way!

It IS possible to eat cleanly on the go.  Whether it’s just on your lunch break, during a day of running errands or in the middle of a road trip.

The key is to plan ahead.  

Eating clean will always be easier at home because you can control every part of the process.  The quality of ingredients you choose to cook with, the ingredients you include in your recipes, the way you prepare them and even the way they are served.

If you’re on the go or traveling, it’s obviously pretty impossible to maintain this level of control.  But you CAN still keep a fairly decent amount of control over what you’re eating by making plans ahead of time, based on where you’re going and what you’ll be doing.

So, the next time you’re getting ready to hit the road or are running short on time, try implementing some of these tips:

 

1.Pack snacks

 

Whether you’re eating clean or not, it is important to eat smaller meals consistently throughout the day, instead of leaving large gaps of time between several large meals.  This will help prevent your blood sugar from spiking and dropping erratically.  But when you are committed to eating cleanly, it is even more important to make sure you’re never caught without a healthy snack on hand.  

If you’re on a road trip or just short on time and find yourself hungry without a snack, you will be much more likely to give in and grab something quick like French fries or a milkshake.  So, make sure that never happens by preparing your snacks ahead of time!  Here are some easy ideas for clean snacks you can keep on hand or prepare ahead of time and take on the road with you:

  • Almonds, walnuts or other nuts
  • Organic blueberries, strawberries or raspberries
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Protein bars (make sure you check the ingredients!)
  • Pickles
  • Organic apples with almond butter
  • Organic applesauce
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Healthy luncheon meats (like Applegate Farms)

 

2. Look up menus ahead of time

 

Whenever I am traveling to another location or am even just meeting a friend at a restaurant I’ve never been to before, I will look it up on the internet in advance.  By checking out the menu ahead of time, you can make a plan for what you will eat and avoid being tempted by not-so-great options once you get there.  It’ll also save you some time because you’ll already be ready to order!  If you have questions about an item on the menu or want to know if they can make a substitution or leave out a certain ingredient, call ahead and ask them!  Most restaurants are more than happy to accommodate dietary requests, so don’t be afraid to ask.

 

3. Have some old “stand-bys”

 

This is especially important if you’re traveling on the road and don’t always know where you’ll be stopping for your next meal.  But once you’ve been eating clean for a little while, you will start to know which places are good to go to and what you can get while you’re there.  For instance, if you’re traveling on the interstate and are left to choose from the usual suspects, but you know you can eat salad from Panera or grilled nuggets from Chick-Fil-A, then try to find one of those before you stop.  Most chains have “store locator” functions on their websites, so you can always pull off the road and look them up on your phone too.  

 

4. Bring it with you

 

You might think it seems a little silly to pack your lunch and carry a cooler bag around with you on a normal day of doing errands or going to appointments, but you have to do what you have to do!  If you know you are going to get stuck in a tough spot where you don’t have a lot of time to eat or you’ll be somewhere without a healthy option, don’t just bring a snack… bring your whole meal!  I have literally walked into my naturopath’s office before, carrying my cooler with salad, hard boiled eggs and pickles because I knew I’d be coming straight from another appointment and would be too hungry to wait until after.  Don’t worry about what others think (which in actuality, is nothing at all because no one is paying attention!), just look out for you and your health!

5. Don’t be afraid to try something new

 

Even though it is a good idea to have some old stand-bys or bring your own food with you, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid new places altogether!  Make it a point to search for “healthy grocery stores” in an area you’re traveling to or look up new restaurants and check out their menus.  Some of my favorite places to eat clean on the go, have just been places that I found haphazardly while traveling.  Just make sure to check out the ingredients they use and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Want to know what some of my favorite places are to eat clean?  Check out my FREE Clean Eating Travel Guide right here!

Jenn Baxter, clean eating on the go

BIO

Jenn Baxter is an accomplished writer in Charlotte, NC, who has been published in numerous print publications, as well as featured as a columnist on Beliefnet.com.  Her freelance clients span across the nation, as well as Australia and the UK, in the fashion & beauty, health & wellness, travel and life coaching industries.

In 2015, she launched her website, Live a F.a.s.t. Life, based on her own experiences with clean living, emotional health and downsizing into a 160 sq. ft. tiny house, and released her first book, “Tiny Abundance:  My Journey to a Simple, Yet Fabulously Abundant Life in 160 Square Feet,” which is available on her website and Amazon.com.  She also strives to help others learn to clean up their homes, their bodies and their lives in her first e-course, “De-Clutter, De-Tox, De-Stress.”

Creating Your Own “Day Zero Project” – And Why You Should!

There are many ways in life you can go about pushing yourself and your boundaries, finding new challenges and improving yourself. There are the always favorite annual goals, along with monthly goals and sometimes even weekly goals! There are bucket lists and “30 before 30” and the list goes on. None of these seem to quite do what the Day Zero Project does.

This project allows you plenty of time to achieve some pretty big goals (1,001 days), enough items on the list that you can feel okay including some small and/or silly items (101 things) and finishes soon enough that it doesn’t seem ridiculously far off (again, 1,001 days). All of these things combine together to form one of the most fun and challenging projects I have ever tried!

Those of you who have been with me for a while know how much I love lists and setting goals. But as you saw in this recent post, 6 months ago I decided to try setting goals in a bit of a different way!Creating a Day Zero Project

101 Things in 1,001 Days. It seemed like both a lot and not very much at all when I got started making my list. But even making the list was a challenge! So now I would like to take you through why I think you should do a Day Zero Project yourself and how I created mine!

Why I Think You Should Try Completing a Day Zero Project

  1. Push your boundaries.
  2. Makes you think about what you want in your life to look like over the next 2.8 years (and beyond!)
  3. You have long enough to choose some major goals.
  4. But not so long that you can’t see the “end” of the project.
  5. Enough items on your list that you can pick some silly or less serious items.
  6. Gives you an extra push to work on projects you have been putting off.
  7. 101 Things really pushes you to think outside the box – It’s harder than you may think to think of that many items.
  8. It can be the excuse you need to do those things you keep putting off for a later date!
  9. Increases your motivation.
  10. It’s fun!

Why 1,001 Days Instead of a Bucket List or Annual Goals

So why this instead of just your normal yearly goals? I definitely set goals for 2016, and I am working towards them. And they are related to a few things on my Day Zero list. However, I like that I can put silly things on my Day Zero list that I would NEVER put as a year goal (build a snowman anyone?). Also, there are things that I put on my Day Zero list that would be really overwhelming to try to accomplish this year. It’s just not in the cards right now.

Ok, so why not a bucket list then, if it’s out to make them yearly goals? Personally, while I like the idea of a bucket list, for the most part I don’t think they are helpful in actually getting you to accomplish anything. It’s too big, too open-ended for me. The idea of things I want to accomplish in my lifetime is interesting, but I’m not going to be actively thinking about and working towards those things on a daily or weekly basis. They aren’t always going to be on my mind. My Day Zero list is pretty much always there in the back of my mind, and I am regularly thinking of activities I would like to do that are on that list!

Getting Started

Keep it Possible

To even start working on your project, you have to have your list of 101 things. It doesn’t sound like a huge thing, right? We all have things we want to do, so thinking of 101 should be easy! And yes, I could have easily filled the list with all the incredible, out there things I want to do someday. But that’s not the point of the project for me. The point is to push myself, to try new things, to create improvements in my life. It’s not to create a list that is impossible to complete in 1,001 days.

So while I was working on my list, I kept that in mind. Travel the world?

San Ildefonso in Peru - amazing place, not reasonable for me in the next couple years
San Ildefonso in Peru

Probably not reasonable. Take a weekend trip out of state? A lot more likely, but still pushes me! (If you don’t understand why this is a push, I haven’t been on an actual vacation in YEARS, even for a weekend)

Waterfalls in Portland a few years ago
Waterfalls in Portland a few years ago

If you travel a lot and it’s totally possible that you could travel to 10 different countries and you want to do that, put it on there! Your reasonable and possible is not the same as mine!

My point is, I want to actually have the chance that I could finish every single item on this list, if I try hard enough.

Push Your Boundaries

The other thing I had to push not to do was to censor myself. This was more difficult than I originally thought it would be. Some items I listed I initially resisted putting down….some because I thought they were too silly and didn’t belong on a goals list (hello there snowman) and others because they scared me to put out there in the world. Or even admit them to myself that they were goals I have. Other items seemed selfish to put down, or, and this was a big one for me, a waste of money.

Day Zero on a Budget

I have a hard time spending money on things that are not essential. I am better about it than I used to be, but it is still a struggle. And I’m not talking about irresponsibly blowing money…I’m talking about any money at all. So some of the items on my list are specifically activities that I have wanted to do for years but haven’t been able to justify to myself, like going to the opera or a play.

That being said, I don’t want you to think that you can’t do a Day Zero Project on a budget! I tried to pick a variety of items and costs, but notice that a decent amount of my items are free or very cheap! While I do hope to better my finances over the next 2 years, I didn’t want all of my items to require that to be completed. My suggestion would be to keep your list within your planned capabilities, whatever that may be. Again, I would not put travel the world on mine, because there is really no way I could afford that in the next 2 years!

One of my favorite pictures from one of my free items on my Day Zero Project - A year-long, once-a-month photo project at Ada Hayden Park
One of my favorite pictures from one of my free items on my Day Zero Project – A year-long, once-a-month photo project at Ada Hayden Park

Take Your Time

The last thing I want to point out is to make sure to take your time while making your list. I took around 2 weeks to make mine! That might seem like a lot of time, but along with all the stuff I talked about above, I really wanted to put thought into the items I listed. I wanted them to be things I really want, things that matter to me (yes, even the snowman). So I kept a running list on my phone and added to it as I thought of them. Don’t feel as though you have to get the whole list done at once!DailyEssentials

Go!

So now you have your Day Zero list and can start! I don’t have a huge amount of tips for this, as I’m still working through my own list. One thing I would say is to keep a copy of your list somewhere on hand. I actually have a couple different copies! One on my computer, one of my phone and one in a journal that is dedicated for the project! Each item on the list has a space within the journal for me to take notes, make plans and write my progress out. Now, you don’t have to do all these, or even any of these, they are just what works for me! But I would keep a copy somewhere easy for you to access when you are out and about so you can keep working towards the items on there!

Lastly, make sure you calculate your end date and write it down with your list! There have been a few times I have had to check mine to figure out when I HAVE to start an item by to complete it in time.

I really hope you think about creating your own Day Zero list, if you haven’t already!

Sara

Already doing your own Day Zero Project? I would love to check it out! Leave a link to your list in the comments below and I will include it in my next update!

Sunday Meal Prep: April 17, 2016

Hey everyone! Welcome to this week’s meal prep! I hope you are all having a glorious weekend 🙂 It feels like spring is finally here, the weekend was a much needed break and I am just feeling fantastic! And I’m pretty excited to show you all the tasty food this week…healthy snacks and some serious comfort food were the focus of this week. Enjoy!

Make you week easier with these healthier meals and treats...and only cook one day!

To start off with, check out all of these tasty looking snacks – 2 different protein balls (One for Draz and one for me), some sweet potato banana bites and one new recipe! And as a near first on this blog, I was actually kinda disappointed with these Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins. They weren’t too bad, but a little dense. I am going to try them again though and see if it was them being over-baked, which I’m hoping it is, since they sound super tasty! There were still pretty good throughout the week, so I have high hopes for improvements the next time around 🙂

meal prep Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins, Sweet Potato Banana Bites, Cookie Dough Protein Bites, No Bake Oatmeal Protein Bites

As for our main dishes, everything turned out pretty delicious here. I think my surprise favorite was the Salisbury Steak recipe. I have had a kinda iffy relationship with recipes that have larger pieces of mushrooms in the past, but not so with this recipe! I absolutely loved the gravy and just everything about this dish. This will definitely be made again, especially since this was Draz’s favorite too! 🙂

Salisbury Steak, Chicken Broccoli Chow Mein meal prep

Our other main dishes were Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry, Poor Man’s Stew and a happy return to a favorite recipe…Garlic Parmesan Pasta! I did make one adjustment to the stir-fry; the addition of water chestnuts, which I really really love. I pretty much think that any stir-fry can be improved upon with the addition of water chestnuts and I had some in the pantry, so voila! Crunchy deliciousness ! We did decide to serve over chow mein noodles, instead of rice, which seem to be quickly becoming a favorite.

GarlicPastaBeefStew meal prep

Other than our main dishes, I also whipped up some more Buffalo Shredded Chicken for our mason jar salads. And also more Mason Jar Salads 🙂 I know I said I was thinking of changing mine up soon, but I can’t yet! They are just too tasty!

SaladsandGrapes meal prep

And that’s it for the week’s meal prep! Some new recipes, a return of a delicious favorite and lots of snacks! What about you? Any new recipes this week, or a return of an old fav? You know I love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

Sara (1)

Want to get started doing meal prep for 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!

Friday Favs: The Links I Love – April 15, 2016

happy dog, rottweiler, outside, love
My favorite picture from the week! I love the weather finally warming up and that happy puppy smile 🙂

Happy Friday everyone! I’m so happy to be back with you all after my small, unplanned hiatus from posting this week! (Next week we will be back to our normal schedule and I have a couples posts I can’t wait for you to see 🙂 ) I don’t know about you, but I am so happy it’s Friday. This week has been a whirlwind of meetings, working on projects and really doing some hard thinking about where I want this blog and my business to go over in the future. There is still a lot of work to do in that area, and even more soul searching, but I’m really happy with what I’m working towards so far! But more on that later. Right now I’m just really excited to be sharing this week’s links I love with you! I found some really neat ones this week, including some from new-to-me blogs!

Enjoy!

Recipes

Classic Croque-Madame from A Cup of Jo

Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse from Gimme Some Oven

20 Minute Company Chicken from Iowa Girl Eats

Green Bean Fries from The Lean Green Bean

Home and Decor

Part 1: Come Hang Out in Our Home from The Skinny Confidential – I just have to say “Wow!” and that is really all that’s needed 🙂 This home is amazing. I love the artwork and how light it is!

5 Dreamy Tips for an Inspiring Home Office from Daily Dream Decor – Oh how I wish my home office looked like these….Someday!

Putting Up a New Gallery Wall from Love Taza – This gallery wall is gorgeous! And I had never heard of the framing company they used. I am excited to check them out for one of our own projects!

Family and Life

4 Books to Help You Create a Positive and Healthy Lifestyle from A Yellow Brick Blog – I love when I can find new books to check out! I hadn’t heard of any of these before now and I can’t wait to take a look at them! I especially like the sounds of “The Feelgood Plan”

Update on my 101 in 1001 List from Design Darling – As you saw in my post last week, I love these lists! Seeing someone else working towards theirs (and not their first one either!) plus all the links at the bottom to others doing the same is just awesome to see!

10 Unbelievably Photogenic US National Parks to Explore from A Globe Well Traveled – I can’t wait until I can visit these! I love travel, but haven’t gotten to do much of it lately. And I love being out in nature and in parks, so these are perfect!

Fitness and Wellness

Weighted Core Workout from Pumps and Iron – This looks like a great (and fun!) core workout! And as Nicole states, strengthening your core is so important!

Tuesday Ten: Tips for Managing Stress from Lauren Conrad – Stress can be overwhelming and I love this list! We all need reminders sometimes to take a time out and relax 🙂

Blogging and Business

How to Take Photos of Your Hands for Instagram from Fall For DIY –  Great tutorial! I used to have (still have?) a little bendy tripod like that but never got around to getting the mount for my phone. I might have to look into that now!

What Bloggers Wish You Knew About Blogging from The Private Life of a Girl – While I’m still pretty new at blogging, I can completely relate to a lot of these!

How I Intentionally Schedule My Week as a Creative Business Owner from Jen Carrington – As someone who is about to launch my online store, along with blogging, I love this article. Intentional scheduling and blocking out my week are things I’m still working on developing, but have been helpful so far! I’m sure as I get my schedule down more it will be even better!

That’s it for this week for me! A lot of great posts out there, so I’m sure I missed some! Did I miss your favorite one from the week, or a post you wrote that you are excited about? If so, I would love to hear about them, so leave a comment below with the link. I love to find new links I love!

Sara

Sunday Meal Prep: April 10, 2016

Hey everyone! It’s time for my favorite part of the week, meal prep time! As most of you know, I love my meal prep. I pretty much think prepping is the best thing for making my week run smoothly and one of my highest priorities of the week. And this week is no different! I am actually getting busier than ever over the next few weeks (possibly longer) and I know that it will be even more essential than ever to keep my eating on track and working towards my fitness goals 🙂

Meal Prepping for an Healthy and Easy Week: Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls, Chicken Lo Mein and Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes for a tasty and healthy week of meals!

This week’s meal prep is full of new recipes (yes, again! I love my new recipes kick!) I also cooked with a couple new ingredients this week, which was pretty fun!
SaladsBurritosGrapesAbove
Our two staple dishes for the week were our Mason Jar Salads and Breakfast Burritos. As always I am really happy that I have these every week. Our breakfast burritos, combined with my cinnamon bread and some cottage cheese, allow me to have a delicious, healthy and filling breakfast ready in around 10 minutes!
Meal Prep Sunday
On to our main dishes for the week: Healthy Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls, Healthy Chicken Lo Mein and Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes. I am pretty happy with how these turned out! That being said, while these were all delicious, there are a few things I will adjust when I make these next time. To be clear, these are in my own preparation, not in the recipes themselves.
For the Healthy Chicken Lo Mein – This actually became Chow Mein for us, since we didn’t have any Lo Mein noodles available. Also, the ounces was a bit off for the packages, so it ended up being a lot of noodles! I love how it turned out, but next time I will probably double the sauce and veggies if I use the same noodles. This dish was the favorite for both of us and will be made again!
For the Chicken Pasta – If you make this, make sure to cut your chicken into smallish tenders, or bite-size pieces. I definitely did not cut ours small enough and it was a little annoying when I was eating it later.
That’s it for this week! A pretty basic prep overall, but it was delicious! What did you prep this week? Any new dishes or ingredients? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!
Sara

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!

Friday Favs: The Links I Love! – April 8, 2016

Happy Friday everyone! How was your week? Mine was pretty good here, though maybe not as productive as I would have liked. My “regular” job was super busy this week, so I didn’t have quite as much energy or focus for things at home! That being said, I did find some great posts out there this week and am so excited to share them all with you! So without further ado, here are the links I love this week!

Recipes

How I Saved $200 Last Month By Meal Planning from A Savory Feast – Ok, so not a recipe, but related! You all know I am a HUGE fan of meal prep and a big part of that is planning. This is a really well done post laying out how to go about planning and how having a plan helps throughout the week. This is helpful even if you don’t meal prep! I planned a menu for years before I ever started prepping.

Sweet and Salty Energy Bites from Gimme Some Oven

Thai Yellow Coconut Curry with Mango from Minimalist Baker

Skillet Honey Lime Chicken from The Recipe Critic

One Pan Lemon Garlic Chicken and Asparagus from Slender Kitchen

BBQ Roasted Chickpeas from The Fitnessista

Thai Basil Chicken with Cashews from Your Homebased Mom

Home and Decor

Watercolor Hand Painted Floral Art – Free Downloadable Printable from Pastels and Macarons – This downloadable art is so cute and very springy! I am planning on printing it out myself (entryway art maybe?)

The Lesson I Learned From the HGTV Dream Home from Vintage Revivals – I LOVE this! I have a really hard time sharing my rooms, DIY projects and similar things sometimes…ok, a lot of the time…because of this fear! I worry that my house doesn’t look as pretty, well done or high end as other bloggers, that my DIY is too DIY (as if that makes any sense) and more! This article is a great little reminder that we shouldn’t worry so much about all of that.

Tips for Vintage Shopping from A Beautiful Mess – I actually haven’t done much vintage shopping. So this list is even more exciting for me! There is a vintage place I recently heard of in my hometown that I’m hoping to go to soon! Shopping trip with Mom maybe? 🙂

DIY Jewelry Organization from Open Spaces – I absolutely love this idea! I have a decanter that has been just sitting in our cabinet for YEARS and now I have a use for it! I actually have a jewelry armoire, and I don’t think I would want to use this method for overall jewelry storage. I just have too much of it. But for display, it’s perfect!

Life

Goals With Soul from SchulmanArt – With my post yesterday and my monthly goals (see April’s here) you all know that goals are a pretty big thing to me. I love how she breaks down goal setting that matters in this post.

Let Us See an Army Rise from A Pinch of Yum – GUYS! Remember last week’s post, where I talked first about the fundraiser Pinch of Yum was doing for the orphanage in the Philippines? This fundraiser raised over $40,000!! Head over to this awesome post to read all about it. I’m literally sitting over here in tears.

My Morning Routine from Cup of Jo – As a reformed sloth myself (I can’t stop giggling at that phrase) I really enjoyed this post. Morning routines can be really hard to get down. You all know I’m still struggling with mine! Plus she is doing a giveaway ending on Monday, April 11th!

Art and DIY

DIY Spring Brunch Tablescape from Organize and Decorate Everything – I’m going to be honest…I never have people over for meals. Like, occasionally my parents. That’s it. But I kinda wish I did looking at this tablescape. It’s just so pretty!

DIY Indoor/Outdoor Dining Bench from Pretty Handy Girl – I am going to have to tag this for a far-in-the-future project. This bench is so simple, yet perfect for the plans we have for our dining room! I have no idea when those plans are happening, but they are still there 🙂

Decorating with Photos from Craftaholics Anonymous – This is such a cute idea! I love this so much!

Fitness

10 Ways to Deadlift from The Fitnessista – I actually haven’t started deadlifting at this point, but I would love to get started someday!

20-Minute BOSU Interval Workout from Pumps & Iron – I can’t wait until I have a BOSU ball. This will definitely help when I eventually do! It looks like a great workout.

To finish of my favorites of the week, here is my favorite picture from this week!

Apr '16 Swing links I love
It actually was pretty cold, windy and rainy the day I took this, but we got our photos done for our monthly photo project anyways!

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed the links I love this week! Did I miss your favorite from the week, or did you write something you would like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment below!

Sara