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Friday, March 29, 2013

friday philosophy


sometimes i come across a quote that bears some kind of significance and i want to share it with you dear readers.  sometimes it's based on where i am in life or a certain event, sometimes a quote just reminds me of a friend, or sometimes it makes me think.

{image via}


that pretty much sums up the relationship my bff and i have.  all the time.

at the gym.  at the grocery store.  in the car.  while cooking.  while shopping.  while crafting.  no matter where we are, we're definitely having the time of our lives together.

oh, and i've lost count on how many times we've been asked if we're sisters.  it's ridiculous how often it happens.  especially considering how infrequently it happens to her and her actual sister.

don't you love having friends that you just have a total blast with no matter what you're up to?  i know i do! 

happy friday!

=) andrea

Thursday, March 28, 2013

gettin' my nails did (and yours too!)


there is something i've always enjoyed about painted nails.  it's fun...it's colorful...and it reflects a little about your personality without any words.

i see lots and lots of nail colors and designs on pinterest, like these...

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but i'm not very good at painting my own nails.  i'll do it sometimes...but i always feel rushed to get it done and like there won't be enough time to dry thoroughly no matter what time i start.  a few weeks ago i did my nails, and yet again, they turned out terribly.  i globbed it on too thick and the next morning i had sheet marks embossed in my purple fingernails.

talk about attractive.

and then something magical happened.  the salon i go to, just paradise, offered shellac for 20% off as a 'facebook friday' special.  i called immediately and made an appointment for that day after work with steph.  to say i was excited would be an understatement.

follow just paradise on facebook!

i had heard from the salon's owner, eden (who also recommended the marrakesh shampoo and conditioner that has changed my life) that shellac is incredible.  it resists chipping and stays nice and shiny for at least a couple of weeks.

considering my terrible luck with regular nail polish not looking good after just a couple of hours, i knew shellac would be worth a try, especially if it really did last two weeks.  so off to my appointment i went!

at the time, i didn't take any pictures of the process steph went through doing my nails or any pictures of my actual nails when they were done.  in the back of my mind i thought, i could definitely blog about this, but i want to make sure i love it before i get ahead of myself.  

well, here i am to tell you -- shellac has changed my life.  i love it so much!

my natural nails are soft and tend to peel, one of the reasons i keep my nails short.  (also, the fact that i can't grow them long contributes to keeping them short.)  since my nails are just not thick and strong, shellac is the perfect answer.

and i went back after 15 days to have my nails redone.  before my appointment i snapped these pictures of my two (plus) week old shellac job:




that's after two weeks!!!  it held up so amazingly well!  no chipping at all!  basically, it looks brand new, except it's grown out!

i did, however, on the 14th day, experience a small amount of lifting of the shellac from my nail...particularly on my thumbs.  since i type on the computer almost all day (and answer the phone and i'm an admitted-picker) i'm quite pleased with how long it lasted, even with the minor lifting at the two week mark.  i tried to get a picture of where the lifting was occurring on my thumb...really you can just see my nail (that's white) and the color.  it's hard to see they are separating.



oh, and don't mind my ring finger on my right hand...it's funky looking, so don't be alarmed.  when i was 5, my neighbor-friend came over to play and accidentally shut my finger in the door of my house, on the hinge side.  my poor little finger looked all mangled and still kinda does, but it's my funky finger.  at least i have something to talk about when i get my nails done.  and, i'm a picker...i pick at my fingers (hang nail anyone?), and that poor funky finger is the most hunted victim...so the shellac on that nail is less than perfect, but it's because of my picking, not because of the shellac!

so, i hope you're impressed by my two (plus) week old shellac because i am totally impressed!  and because i've gone back to get my nails redone (this time with jessica), and i'm trying to get my blogging butt back in gear, i documented my experience in photographs!

but first, let me give you a quick run-down on the shellac process.


there are two options:  shellac manicure or just shellac paint.  i opted for the manicure because, well, i needed it!  it's like a regular manicure where you soak your fingers to soften the cuticles, and then they give you a little t.l.c. on your cuticles and nails through trimming and buffing. 

then it's time for the shellac.  

because i already had shellac on my nails, jessica had to remove it first, before doing my manicure, so bare with me.  

jessica put acetone-soaked cotton on my nails, wrapped them in foil, and had me sit for a few minutes while it worked hard on the shellac.



then she just lightly scraped the softened shellac off my nails.



here they are all shellac-free!  and a little dry from the acetone!



next was my manicure.  i soaked my fingers in the bowl of manicure magic...



and after a little trimming and shaping, my nails were already looking a lot better!



next jessica took out her light buffer to smooth out my nails and make sure they all looked shellac-ready!



one last swipe with a sanitizer to remove any extra oils that will prohibit the bonding of shellac to your nails...



and now it's shellac time!  there's a special shellac base coat and top coat, along with the special formula colors that must be used.

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first was the base coat followed by a few seconds under a uv light to cure.  





next comes color, two coats, each followed by two minutes under the uv light.  



and last, the top coat, another few seconds under the uv light, a quick wipe of alcohol and you're good to go!




doesn't it look amazing?!



i love how shiny it is...how fresh it looks...and can we get a little side-by-side action of the two week old vs. new?




incredible!

i don't think i could say enough awesome things about shellac or the salon where i had it done.  just paradise is full service salon.  they do cuts, colors, special occasion up-do's, tanning, manicures, pedicures, waxing, feathers, extensions, perms, straightening...and they carry a ton of different products!

now, for the price.  compared to regular manicures with regular nail lacquer that isn't as strong, shiny, or long-lasting as shellac, the prices are good!  the shellac paint job is $28.  with a manicure it's $34.

but, eden has a special offer for you!!!  any my kinda perfect reader that wants to try shellac for the first time will get 20% off at just paradise!  just make sure to mention it when you make the appointment!  if you want to call right now, the number is (603) 448-1244.  tell 'em i sent ya!

shellac is great for weddings, proms, other special occasions, or if you just want your manicure to last longer than a few days.  i, obviously, highly recommend it!

be sure to go over and 'like' their facebook page!  every friday eden offers a 'facebook friday' deal...sometimes it's 20% of color, products, shellac...but it's definitely worth following!  right now they have a facebook promotion for a giveaway of a free manicure and pedicure!  seriously, go check 'em out! =)

no really, go now!  you never know what great deal will be announced for 'facebook friday' -- tomorrow!!! 

in chip-free and colorful nails...

=) andrea


p.s.  full disclosure:  i was offered a discount for blogging about my experience with shellac at just paradise, which i requested the same for my readers.  the opinions i've shared are all my own.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

new year, new you -- results!


on saturday, the contestants in the 'new year, new you' contest all gathered at our gym, kdr fitness, for a little celebration for the end of our 6 week challenge.

if you're new around these parts -- first, welcome!...and second, you can follow my weight loss journey through these posts and about the most recent contest, 'new year, new you', here, here, here, and here.  the short story about the contest is that there were 12 teams of three and the goal was to get the most points and the winning team would win $1,500.  points are earned through working your @$$ off -- 1 point for every pound of fat burned and 2 points for every pound of muscle gained.  there.  you're up to speed.

{image via kdr fitness facebook page}

let me tell you -- it was so. much. fun. to see all my gym buddies in regular clothes.  freshly showered.  not dripping in sweat.  and most of the women were even wearing make-up!

we were all so proud of ourselves and each other for the hard work we put in during the contest...we could hardly wait to hear who won.

okay, i won't leave you in suspense for another minute:  we didn't win any prize.

but you wanna know how we feel about it?  great!

no, seriously, we feel so awesome!  my team, brenda, marileigh, and i are just so proud of ourselves and all the contestants.  and everyone else feels the same way!

ben, the owner of kdr fitness, started his presentation by saying, "you guys really are all winners."  and as cheesy as it sounds -- it's true.

we just spent the last 6 weeks going to the gym religiously and eating only the most nutritious meals.  we've made friends with other members.  we've pushed ourselves and each other.  we've grunted out that last deadlift, swing, slam, press, insert-gruntable-exercise-here, etc.

so basically, we just spent the last 6 weeks kicking our own @$$e$.  and boy does it feel good.

collectively, the group of thirty six participants lost about 180 pounds!!!

you can't deny how freakin' awesome that is!

now, i must send out a huuuuuuuuge congratulations to the team that won the entire contest taking home $1,500:  team bacon.

congratulations my friends!!!

{image via kdr fitness facebook page}


tom, teena, and jess (left to right) made up this seriously fierce group.  tom and jess have been married for almost three years and teena and jess work together.  these three people are absolutely amazing.  they are inspiring, encouraging, and everything you'd want in a gym buddy. 

not only was teena a member of the winning team, she also proved that no matter how far you have to go, if you just try, you may surprise yourself.  although, i wasn't surprised at all to learn that teena lost the most amount of body fat and lost the largest percentage of body weight during the contest.

way to kick some serious booty, girl!

i'm so so soooooo proud of all of the contestants and my team members, brenda and marileigh.  we all worked so hard and even if we didn't win a prize, we are all winners for working so hard on our own fitness journeys.

for my stats -- i lost 7.2 pounds during the 6 week contest, but my fat loss was 8.8 pounds, meaning i gained 1.6 pounds of muscle.  go me! =) 

now i'm looking forward to the next contest.  it starts in about a month!  and you know i'll keep you in the loop.

if you have any (and i mean any) questions about my progress or journey...about working out at kdr...about how i eat....how often i work out...etc....please (really) don't hesitate to ask me.  just email me here!  i know it's not easy, trust me, but rarely are the easy things worth it.  seriously, if you have any questions or need a little budge, i'm your girl!

congratulations again -- to team bacon, to my teammates, and to all the members (and non-members) who participated in the 'new year, new you' contest -- i'm so proud and honored to be among this elite group.

see you at the gym!

=) andrea


Friday, March 22, 2013

friday philosophy


sometimes i come across a quote that bears some kind of significance and i want to share it with you dear readers.  sometimes it's based on where i am in life or a certain event, sometimes a quote just reminds me of a friend, or sometimes it makes me think.

today's quote isn't a quote...it's a video, with several good quotes in it.  it's heart-warming and inspiring.



family is....everything.


happy friday!

=) andrea




Wednesday, March 20, 2013

first day of spring



today is the first day of spring.  every spring, especially early on, i feel a sense of renewal.  not just for the world around me that is turning green and literally coming back to life, but also for myself.  

i get a feeling of wanting to improve.  wanting to learn.  wanting to grow.

so, today, on this first day of spring, i hope you are able to look ahead to the future and feel a sense of renewal.

=) andrea


p.s.  today is a bittersweet day for me, as i share in mourning the loss of short, precious life...a son of one of my friends.  today would have been his 4th birthday.  in honor of little oliver, please say a prayer today for all of the families who never get to take their baby home from the hospital.
 

Monday, March 11, 2013

c25k: day one


i did it!  i started the c25k ("couch to 5k") program!  you may have seen this photo i instagrammed yesterday:  (follow me! i'm mykindaperfect)



the weather was perfect:  50 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, and a slight breeze.

and i had a perfect companion:  my bff.  (she's a runner and a really great cheerleader for me!)



we headed out at about 11:30 after gulping down a couple of delicious protein smoothies with some fruit.  

i knew starting a training program like c25k was the only way to get me running...and i mean the only way.  the thought of running for several continuous minutes (or miles!) is a bit daunting right now.  i've never been a runner...but i've never really tried either.  i know a lot of my roadblocks are in my head...like feeling like my endurance is just so limited...but if i just try, i'll see how far i can actually go!

so day one went well!  we ventured out on a quiet road near my bff's house.  it's a dead end road that's a mile long, so we parked a bit away to get our warm up 'brisk walk' in (making our journey just a little over 2 miles).  then, following the instructions the lady told us through the c25k app on my iphone, we switched between 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of running.  we had only finished about two thirds of the route when the day's program was complete!

so, like the champions we are, we just kept going with the program until we were almost back at the car...jogging for 60 seconds followed by 90 seconds of walking.  on our last jogging interval, i pushed myself to go to 'the next telephone pole', which put the jogging passed 60 seconds to more like 90!  go us!

pushing yourself is hard...but once you've done it...boy does it feel good.

{image via}


i told myself, "you can do it."  and i did!  like a boss!

damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.

so, with day one down...i feel so much better.  i've actually stepped out in my sneakers and followed a program that will help me improve my running and complete my goal of running a 5k this year.

oh yeah, about that.  i'm totally doing two.  when i told my bff and a few other friends about the color vibe run that's coming to new hampshire, they were all excited to say "we're in!!"...and how can i say 'no' to that?!  (and i'll be participating in the 5k 'fun run' at my 10 year college reunion the following weekend!)

so...mark your calendars for may 25th:  my first 5k.  maybe it can be yours too!

if you're interested in joining my team, just send me an email here.  so far we've got a team of 5 and anyone else is more than welcome to join in!  registration is $43.75 (including a $3.75 processing fee) and includes a color pack and a white t-shirt.

in setting goals and pushing yourself...

=) andrea

 

Friday, March 8, 2013

friday philosophy


sometimes i come across a quote that bears some kind of significance and i want to share it with you dear readers.  sometimes it's based on where i am in life or a certain event, sometimes a quote just reminds me of a friend, or sometimes it makes me think.

{image via}


progress is a funny thing.  it makes you play mind games with yourself.  lately i've been working hard to keep myself motivated and continue to set new goals.

guess what?  i've set another goal.

i am going to run a 5k.  

no seriously...i'm really gonna do it.  i'm starting my training tomorrow because i have never been a runner and really need to focus on making it happen if i want to succeed in this goal.

i thought doing a 'color run' this year would be a fun way to fulfill my goal.  there's one in boston in july...so i thought 'maybe'.  

then i learned there will be a 5k 'fun run' at my 10 year college reunion in june.  i decided: that would be my 5k.  i would be back at my alma mater, with all my friends, celebrating all the progress i've made.  

then this morning i learned there's a color vibe run in new hampshire the week before the one at my reunion!

decisions...decisions...

so, like i said, progress is a funny thing.  it makes you play mind games with yourself.  

one year ago i thought about trying a 5k, but never actually got that far.  

today, i'm considering doing two 5ks, on back to back weekends.  and if i don't do both - i will do one.

seriously?  that is progress!

since joining kdr fitness and changing my life in september, i look at so much so differently.  i'm enjoying the fresh food i'm eating.  i'm making new friends at the gym.  i'm seeing people running and i'm incorporating it into my life.

and as far as weight loss goes, i have made progress.  and i view every pound i've lost differently than i did before september.

before, when i was down 1 pound, i thought 'really? just one pound?'   

today, i celebrate each and every pound i lose because a.) i can and b.) i worked my @$$ off for it.  is losing 1 pound in a week or two frustrating sometimes?  yup.  i won't lie.  but is it satisfying to lose weight, even if it's one pound at a time?

hell yeah it is...because that's how you lose weight.  

{image via}

and now, being twenty-something pounds lighter than in september, i do feel better.  i do feel a sense of accomplishment.  

now...off to accomplish my goals.

tomorrow:  day one of c25k.  wish me luck!

=) andrea 


p.s.  the 'new year, new you' contest is almost over!  next week is week 6 and our final weigh-ins!  our team has made awesome progress...losing overall weight, burning fat, and gaining muscle.  brenda, marileigh, and i have been exchanging emails of motivation...whether it's a recipe or a tip or a few words of encouragement.  we've been working hard, both in our individual programs and also at bootcamps.  and we'll continue to work out and eat right...because that's what a lifestyle change is all about...changing your life.

happy friday! 
 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

throwback thursday


i love how people share their 'throwback' pictures on instagram on thursdays.  in honor of that, i figured i'd go ahead and occasionally share a throwback picture here.  and maybe a little story.

today, i invite you into the world of high school.  my high school senior year:  1998-99.  i was co-captain of the cheerleading squad.

here's the evidence:



cheering was so. much. fun.  seriously, i had a blast.

we danced, we hollered (holler!), and we got the crowd going.

what do you do to a raider you meet? 
you get down on the floor, you can't pray on your feet!  
ask a mighty raider for his mercy to give, 
and maybe, just maybe...
he'll let you live!

(oh yeah.  i went there.)

my co-captain, tia, and i were best buds (and we're still really close).  we did a uca camp for the whole squad and tia and i were named all-stars that year.  we had a wonderful opportunity to go to australia and participate in an easter parade at the (then) newly built (and still being constructed) olympic park in sydney.  (remember the olympics were held there in 2000?)

i'll share more photos of that trip on another thursday.  i figure the photo above of me in my football cheering uniform is enough embarrassment for one day.  (and don't you worry...there's plenty of embarrassment in my mom's photo collection!)

happy thursday!

=) andrea


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

breakfast for dinner


i love breakfast.  i love eggs and bacon and pancakes and toast and syrup and omelets and coffee and tea and anything else that says 'breakfast'.

and i've just fallen in love with a new breakfast recipe that couldn't wait to share with you.  i bet you'll never guess where i found it!  

pinterest**coughcough**pinterest

not only is this a delicious breakfast (or breakfast for dinner) recipe, but it's easy and healthy!  and you can totally customize what you put in it depending on your preferences.

ready for my new favorite breakfast for dinner recipe?

ham and egg cups

here's what you'll need:

deli ham slices (i bought sara lee pre-packaged low sodium sliced ham)
eggs (i used 3 eggs to make 6-8 cups)
veggies of your choice (i used broccoli), chopped
shredded cheese (optional)
milk
salt & pepper
muffin tin

here's what you'll do:

preheat oven to 375.  spray your muffin pan (just the spots you'll use) with cooking spray.  this particular time i made 6 cups, so i just sprayed 6 spots in the muffin pan.  i recommend 3-4 ham and egg cups per serving.

next, place one ham slice into each muffin spot on the pan and press them in to form a 'cup' shape.  then put your veggies in each cup.  i used about 1 cup of chopped broccoli to make 6 ham and egg cups.




now, get your eggs in a bowl withsalt, pepper, and enough milk to properly scramble the eggs.  then - get your scramble on and pour scrambled eggs in each ham 'cup', about 2/3 to 3/4 full.  (the eggs puff up some while cooking, so you don't want to overfill each 'cup'.)



top with cheese if you want.  (i've had it with and without cheese - they're both delicious!)

now just put the muffin pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes and when they come out the ham will have crispy edges, the eggs with puff up, the veggies will cook, and the cheese will be all melted.  talk about delicious!



i love the savory flavor of these little ham and egg cups!  you can add whatever veggies you want (i've also used green pepper and onion) and have a healthy meal with protein and veggies!

i paired mine with my favorite parmesan tomatoes!




what a delicious dinner!

here are a few tips that i thought of while making this yummy breakfast for dinner:

1.  depending on how you like your veggies in egg dishes (and what veggies you're using), you may want to pre-cook them a little.  i chopped the broccoli quite finely, so it cooked well in the eggs, leaving only a slight crunch once cooked.  i like it like that, but if you'd rather they be fully cooked, i recommend pre-cooking.  

2.  try making these by just cracking an egg in the ham 'cup' and baking that way.  it turns out like a soft cooked egg inside the little ham cup.  if you like runny egg yolks, that would be a great way to try this recipe.  i love runny yolks, but i also like to sop up the yolks with toast, and since i'm not eating bread these days, i opted for the scrambled variety.

3.  experiment!  try different veggies and cheese combos.  i have a slight obsession with mushrooms and goat cheese together -- and i bet that would be a great combo.  or how about asparagus and parmesan?  or even tomatoes, spinach, and mozzarella...yum.  the combinations are endless depending on what you like.  you could go greek with feta cheese with spinach and mushrooms or go mexican with peppers, onions, and pepper jack cheese.

this is a must-try recipe for people who like eggs.  packed with flavor, a great source of protein, and pretty darn easy!  sounds like a winner to me!

have you tried any new recipes lately?  any pinspired recipes?  pinterest has been my go-to spot for recipes for over a year and most of them have become repeat offenders at my house.  if you want me to feature one of your recipes here on mkp, just email me here!

in ham and eggs and breakfast for dinner...

=) andrea
 
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