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 😦 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 🙂

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 🙂

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!

Giveaway

Sara (1)

 

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. 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. Obsessed, me? 

 

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What The Most Successful People do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam: I really enjoyed this quick listen 🙂 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 😦

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Harry Potter: I am really enjoying listening to the audiobooks of this series! This is one of 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 🙂

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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 Giveaway I am running Feb 9-16th!

Giveaway

Sara (1)

Friday Favorites: January 22, 2016

Hey everyone! Welcome to my new (hopefully) weekly series: Friday Favorites! This will be a weekly roundup of my favorite blog posts and articles that I find throughout that week. I hope you like them!

Fitness

7 Tips for Working Out In The Morning by Oddly Lovely

Getting Back Into Fitness by A Girl, Obsessed

Recipes

Gluten-Free Chicken Marsala by The Lean Green Bean

Slow Cooker Honey Soy Chicken by The Recipe Critic

Slow Cooker Cheese Stuffed Turkey Meatballs with Zoodles by Persnickety Plates

Spicy Chipotle Turkey Burritos by Pinch of Yum

Easy Quinoa Pizza Bowls by Gimme Some Oven

Grilled Cheese with Balsamic Onion by Naturally Ella

Slow Cooker Mongolian Chicken by The Recipe Critic

Art & DIY

DIY Brass Handle Marble Tray by I Heart Organizing

Home & Family

52 Dates to do This Year by Friday We’re In Love

Currently by Iowa Girl Eats (this is a really cute idea for a post!)

The Coffee Bar by The Small Things Blog

Friday Eye Candy: Closet Organization by A Thoughtful Place

Life and Blogging

16 Steps to Make This Year the Best Year Ever by A Fresh Start on a Budget

Cheers to Two by Venus Trapped in Mars

What IS the Value of a Blog? by Venus Trapped in Mars

Enjoy! Not many links this week, but I hope to do a bigger link up most Fridays. What do you guys think of this new series? Have you found any really great links this week?

I would love to hear your thoughts, so leave me a comment below!

Sara (1)

Plum Paper Planner Review + My Top 5 Tips for Planning in 2016

Do you love planners? I do! There is something about the physical reality of a paper planner…being able to lay everything out with pen or pencil, add designs, take notes, and so much more. I have always preferred using an actual planner instead of one on the computer or online (though those do have their uses).

The one thing that I have searched high and low for is the perfect planner layout. I can be super-picky about my weekly layouts, any extra pages, the thickness of the cover…I know it’s a little crazy, but a great planner can make things so much easier!

The last couple years I have started using them again and have spent hours looking at different stores online, reading reviews, noting my favorites and just generally agonizing over the decision (told you I’m a little crazy). This time I think my searching has paid off! Enter Plum Paper!

I have actually been using this new planner for a little over a month and have been anxiously awaiting the time to share it with all of you! With the new year a couple weeks old and now that I’ve had some time to try out the new planner, it’s time!

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I love how easy this was to customize! The cover image and words and 13 months instead of 12 so I could start in Dec’ 15 (plus much more you will see below). Isn’t it pretty?!

Monthly Pages

I love everything about the pages that make up each month! The 7 labels for the weekly categories were ones that I wrote myself. Just imagine what you could do with 7 categories for each day of your week! It took me a bit to determine the best way to use them, as some things fit in multiple categories, but I’m getting use to it now and loving it.

I added on extras, one sheet of To Do Lists and another for Bill Recording. I’ve been mostly using the To Do Lists to track my weekly menus, which is really helpful. The other thing I really love is the monthly highlights page at the front! 3 goals, important dates, things to remember, plus extra spaces for notes!

Now on to one of the other features that sold me on this planner…

the Blog Section!

They have a ton of different sections you can add on, but the one that I loved was the blog planning section! I am trying to improve how I plan the blog and I hope this will be a helpful tool in that goal. I’ll admit, I still am learning how to utilize this section and some of the pages aren’t currently relevant, but I have high hopes!

Overall, I am so glad that I purchased this planner. This is the best one I have found thus far and incredibly reasonably priced. I would predict that I will be making another purchase from them next year!

The only complaint I’ve had so far is that I wish the cover was thicker or plastic. I put my planner in my purse on a regular basis and I worry about it being bent up.

My Top 5 Tips for Planning in 2016

  1. Start off the week laying out the priorities for the week. I use this time to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything (a meeting, outing, etc) and set time aside to work in my studio and to write.
  2. Make sure you keep it with you! This is regardless of how you plan, be it a physical planner, cell phone or computer. It is so easy to think of something you need to get done and forget it by the time you get home. I take mine with me to work and almost always write things down in my first break. Also, if I remember something when I can’t write it in there, I put it in the notes section of my phone and write it down as soon as I can.
  3. Actually check your planner throughout the day! It doesn’t help you to lay things out early in the week and then leave it alone the rest of the day. Our memories are fallible, that’s why we use planners 🙂 I have had multiple times I have thought I was done when I got home, not checked my planner and then realized the next day I forgot to do something.
  4. Don’t overschedule! It’s demoralizing to constantly not finish what you have set out to do. Now, this is something I’m guilty of on a regular basis, so this is definitely a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. I really am trying to work on this, but it’s rough! I have a tendency to overestimate how many things I can get done and underestimate how long each thing with take me.
  5. Reward yourself by checking things off as you go! Each time you do it gives your brain a little hit of dopamine, which is always nice. Not only does it make you feel rewards, it provides motivation to keep productivity high so you can keep checking more things off!

How do you plan? Do you like physical planners or are you more tech-based methods? What’s your favorite? Any tips for planning? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below!

Sara (1)

November Recap, December Goals

I’m honestly a little disappointed as I write this. This month did not go as planned goal-wise. Not even a little. But, some months are like that. As much as I would love to be able to always say to you that I hit all my goals and everything went smoothly, that would be beyond unrealistic. In reality, this month was rough.

November Goals Recap:

  1. Continue working out 6 days a week using Kayla Itsines’ guide. This actually did happen for the most part! I missed a couple days of LISS, but considering that my “real” job is very active and physically demanding, I’m not too upset about that.
  2. Incorporate the “active” into my active rest day. Do a stretching or yoga session to work on flexibility and decrease stiffness. I managed this once 😦 Not nearly as often as I wanted to. Part of this was some days that ended up being my rest day for the week were not planned to be rest days originally…part of it is me being lazy.
  3. Wake up on time to do my workout before work. This has been a pretty irregular thing for me so far, but I know that my day goes so much better when I do this! Nope, nope and more nope! This did not really happen at all. I still got up some days on time, but there were just as many days I did my workout after work. The only part I did a little better was that I mostly woke up late on LISS days, which are much easier to do when I get home from work than BBG days.
  4. Finish at least 3 DIY projects Well…I worked on this one, but didn’t actually finish. One project is finished, one is still ongoing and a couple got scrapped. I did get some work done on some glass fusion pendants too, but I don’t really count those as DIY…and they are waiting to be fused, so they aren’t done yet either.

As I said, I’m kinda disappointed with how my goals went this month. I could go into all sorts of excuses, but the truth is no matter what the reasons I didn’t stay on top of my goals this month. Hopefully December goes a little better in that respect!

I didn’t get much photography done this month either, but I did still manage to get some fun pictures! Here are some from this month:

December Goals:

  1. Continue with BBG, 6 days a week
  2. Try again to incorporate active rest days
  3. Finish 3 DIY projects
  4. Less TV time – especially while writing! I’ve been working to do this more anyways and have been doing better in the last couple weeks… but sometimes I try to multitask when just focusing on the task at hand and turning off the TV would be so much better!

That’s it for this month! How are your goals going? Any new ones for December?

September Favs, October Goals

September

To say that this month did not go as planned is a bit of an understatement. That being said, I am not really upset about that either.

I started off the month in good spirits, sure that I would be telling you I had made it 4 weeks through Kayla Itsines’ BBG. This did not even come close to happening! First my back, neck and shoulder locked up. Then, just as I got cleared to restart the program and was all excited about starting the next day, I sliced my finger open. Another ER visit, more stitches, and not being able to put pressure on my finger for at least another week, possibly longer.

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I am really pleased that I am still managing to work out some, both on the treadmill and with some BBG workouts (modified when needed). I do hope that I can restart this coming month though!

I can’t say that the above pic is a “fav” but it does represent something that matters to me. I am pretty proud of myself for not giving up or having a mental setback of sorts with this most recent injury. This is the third injury in a row and it honestly feels like my body has turned against me sometimes. But I know I can keep at it, do what workouts I can and I will get back on track! I just have to remember that this is a journey and that will include times where things don’t go as I would like.

And now that I’m done whining about my setbacks 😉 On to the September Favorites!

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I did pretty good about my second goal this month, which was to photograph something every day. I did take at least one photo most days!

October Goals

  1. Work out 6 days a week, even if I can’t restart BBG yet.
  2. Continue working on my photography, but with more focus. I would really like to build up my skills and create some stock-style photos for the blog.

How was your September? Did you reach the goals you set for yourself? Any goals for October?

July In Review and August Goals

Due to a visit from my parents and a sewing machine that just wouldn’t cooperate, this post is coming out a day later than I planned on.

July went pretty well overall as far as life goes, but my goals for July went decidedly less well. The month started off well enough, but after a very minor shoulder injury I fell off track on pretty much everything for a couple weeks. While I did get back on track with my workouts, I would have to say I failed at all of my other goals for this month. This failure really has had me examining how I set goals, what caused me so much difficulty and what I can do differently from here on out to help myself succeed. Continue reading “July In Review and August Goals”