Friday, November 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.

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as we approach this holiday season, i'm startled by the drastic number of people who will be going without.  this year is no different from others, where families with tough circumstances cannot provide enough for their loved ones.

one of our local non-profits, the upper valley haven, has started to experience extreme food shortages this year.  and i'm not talking about prepping for thanksgiving.  i'm talking about parents who pick up a week's worth of food for their family because without being able to supplement their very minimal food budget, the parents would go without dinner so their kids can have a healthy meal.  and these parents do this week after week.

hearing stories about these people struggling makes me cry, but knowing there's a way to help inspires me.

mike and i are lucky to have enough money to never go without a meal.  and while we don't have a ton of extra cash lying around, we've got enough to help others who would otherwise go without.

i challenge you all to consider picking up a few extra cans of veggies or soup when you're at the grocery store next and donate it to your local food bank.  or maybe your market offers something like hannaford, a 'helping hands' box that costs you $10 and is filled with basic non-perishable foods that food pantries need most.   you may never know how much your $10 contribution could help someone in your community.  you may never know what a 69 cent can of green beans could do for a family's meal.  you may never know that one can of soup could be dinner for parents who serve all the food they have to their children.  

you just never know.

giving creates one of the best feelings.  knowing your small contribution could make such a big difference in someone's life should give you a huge feeling of satisfaction and pride for bettering your community and not letting anyone fall through the cracks when they're hungry.

so, in the spirit of giving, let's give!

to find a local food bank in your area, click here.



happy friday!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

{advice} finding your wedding dress


i have received countless pieces of advice about my wedding.  as you can imagine, some of it is helpful, some of it is weird, and some of it makes me wonder.  after experiencing a fantastic day at an amazing bridal salon, there have been a few things i have learned that are worth passing along.  




1.  make your dress appointment as soon as freakin' possible.  (i'm serious.)  i signed a contract saying it could take up to 6 months for my dress to arrive at the shop.  6 months.  and yes, that's reality.  (i had a mini-panic attack in my head at that reality when i realized my wedding was just over 7 months away.)  so you're gonna lose weight before the wedding?  good for you!  that's what alterations are for, and almost everyone need some alterations if you want the dress to fit you exactly!  so, just remember you're not doing yourself any favors by waiting.  **fyi:  i've been notified my dress will arrive in late march, but there are other dress makers that will really push the limits on time, so i count myself as a lucky one!**

2.  go to an independently owned, established bridal shop and, if you can, get a referral from a friend.  (or just go to madeleine's daughter and tell 'em i sent ya!)  i was referred to madeleine's daughter by my friend laura from you stir me.  i not only trusted laura's judgement on where she shopped for a dress (check out her beautiful farm wedding here), but she had such an amazing experience, i couldn't dream of going anywhere else.  once i made my appointment and shared where i was shopping with friends, i learned that several other people i know got their bridal gown at md too.  md has been in business for almost 40 years.  they know the bridal business because it's their business. 

3.  bring only your most trusted family members and/or friends.  i went into my appointment hopeful, but without expectations and it turned out to be the best day ever.  with three other opinions (my mom and two besties), i felt like i was getting 100% honesty without feeling overwhelmed by too many people's thoughts.  having the three most important opinions meant i could relax and not stress over everyone pulling me in different directions.  like i said in my finding my dress post, bringing a small army of people means you're bringing a small army of opinions.  so keep that in mind when you're thinking of who to bring.

4.  trust your consultant.  bring photos of dresses you feel inspired by, but remember that your consultant does this every single day.  she has seen brides of all shapes, sizes, colors, opinions, themes, etc.  and she can quickly narrow down your own opinions because it's her job to know her inventory and do the hard work for you.  she may bring dresses in that end up turning you off, but trying on what she brings you helps you both narrow down the (many) choices to exactly what you want.

5.  it's okay to change your mind.  nothing is permanent until you place the order.  just because you try on a dress and don't love it doesn't mean you won't want to try it on again and end up loving it.  that's exactly what happened to me.  after realizing the sample dress was well-used, i allowed myself to see it differently.  it wasn't freshly pressed the way it will be for my wedding day.  it's been stuffed into a plastic bag for hours or days (or weeks) at a time causing creases where there otherwise wouldn't be, unless i wanted it to be pressed like that.  i know that when my dress arrives, it will be perfect for me.


i hope you all have as wonderful of an experience as i did.  it was a magical day that flew by in the blink of an eye.  i think if you follow these five tips, you'll feel much more calm and comfortable, making choosing a dress so much easier.

it is like they say, 'when you know, you know!'


***don't forget to enter my blogiversary giveaway!  it ends tonight at midnight, so click through to enter to win a custom my kinda perfect piece of art!***

***please help us win a special engagement photo canvas!  mike and i are looking for anyone and everyone to head over to bethany and dan's blog post about our engagement session.  we have the opportunity to win a big canvas of our favorite photo (which will be a very hard choice!) if we get 100 people to comment on the posthead over and help us out, will ya?  pretty pretty please?  we have over 35 comments now, but we need 100 by the end of the month!  fyi: it seems the site is not mobile compatible, so please do it from a computer.  thanks!  you guys are the best!***


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

{our wedding} finding my dress


i've told you before, but it bears repeating:  i don't like shopping.  but somehow, maybe it took a miracle, i found my wedding dress in under 90 minutes.  and i believe, based on a few specific details of my experience, that anyone can do the same thing.

so, here's the story of how i found my dress, and i will follow up with another post with my advice for other brides-to-be out there shopping for your dream dress.

i made my appointment a few weeks in advance, for 10:00am on saturday, november 16th, at madeleine's daughter in portsmouth, new hampshire.  i figured an appointment over seven months out from our wedding date was good timing.  (i was kinda right, more on that in my advice post.)  

i was bringing three special people with me:  my mom and my two best friends (and co-matron & maid of honor), marileigh and sara.  (i've watched enough episodes of 'say yes to the dress' to know bringing an army to support you means you're bringing an army of opinions, too.  hence why i brought three people whose opinions i 100% trust.  that and madeleine's daughter could only accommodate up to 4 people in any bridal room.)

upon arriving to the bridal shop, i was given a quick questionnaire to fill out and the four of us were whisked off to a private bridal room.  my consultant, brandie, arrived right behind us and we quickly got to work.  she asked me about my thoughts on dresses (materials, styles, cuts, embellishments, etc.) as well as our wedding 'style'.  i brought pictures of about 15 dresses that had caught my eye online.  i showed them to brandie and she immediately got a good feel for what i should try on to kick off the appointment.  here are a few of my inspiration dresses...(don't worry, none of them are my actual dress!)...

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i had no idea of what i really wanted because, well, who tries on wedding dresses before they need to and know exactly what they want when the time comes?  i mean, it's not like i wear formal dresses often ever!  the only thing i was sure of?  no bling.  i've got a sparkly personality, but i'm not a sparkly person.  i don't like beading and bling, so that was my one requirement.

while brandie was out gathering the first dresses for me to try on, i changed into a strapless bra and slip (provided by md) and got comfy in a pretty silk robe.  i waited with mom and the girls in our private bridal dressing room for the gorgeous white gowns to arrive.

brandie returned with 5 dresses.  two were quite similar with dramatic skirts, one was quite modern, one was lace, and one was 'the one' (i just didn't know it yet).

i tried on #1 with the dramatic skirt.  i liked it, but knew immediately it wasn't 'it'.  i liked how it accentuated my waist, but it was too much dress, so out it went.  

#2 was so similar to the first one, but i liked it more.  so i kept it in the room.  

then i tried on 'the one'.  i liked it.  i liked the material, the weight, and the way it made me look.  but there was something about it that i just wasn't so sure about and it made the skirt look weird to me.  bottom line, i didn't like it enough.  out it went.  

then i tried on the one with the lace overlay.  i loved how it looked on me.  it hugged my curves and accentuated my waist, but the layer under the lace was tight.  uncomfortably tight.  like beyonce at the met gala when she needed to be carried up the stairs tight.  i could barely move my feet just to step on the little platform.  out it went.

i knew the modern one wasn't 'the one', but i tried it on anyway.  the skirt was fuller than i'd liked at that point and the design was more 'red carpet' to me than 'wedding'.  out it went.

#2 was still in the room when brandie came back with two more.  nope and nope.  i sent #2 out too.  i said, "i'm still thinking about #3...the weight, the cut, the style...so i'd like to try something more like that."

she returned with one dress.  on the hanger i liked it, but once i got it on, it was too blingy for me.  and i was still thinking about the other dress.

brandie brought it back in.  i was excited to try it on.  then i started to recognize unchangeable facts that were affecting my opinion:  it's a sample dress (not my size), it's a sample dress (that is stuffed into a bag several times a day), and it's a sample dress (not fresh and new and pressed to be the exact way i want it).

i put it on and felt really comfortable.  it was so pretty.  and it was so much lighter weight than all of the other dresses i had tried.  the color looked fantastic with my complexion.  

but was it 'the one'?

brandie asked, "do you want to go out in front of the big mirror and maybe try a veil?"

"i don't care much about a veil, but i'll go in front of the big mirror." i told her.

i loved it.  i loved the way it made me feel.  i love how it accentuated my waist.

and then i looked past my own reflection to see my very own small army, wiping away their tears.  and before i could look away, my own eyes were filling up.

"is this your dress?" brandie asked.

"yeah," i said, confidently, through my emotions.  "this is definitely my dress."


and that's how i ended up trying on 8 dresses and chose the third one i tried on.



***don't forget to enter my blogiversary giveaway!  it ends this week, so you've got plenty of time to enter to win a custom my kinda perfect piece of art!***

***please help us win a special engagement photo canvas!  mike and i are looking for anyone and everyone to head over to bethany and dan's blog post about our engagement session.  we have the opportunity to win a big canvas of our favorite photo (which will be a very hard choice!) if we get 100 people to comment on the posthead over and help us out, will ya?  pretty pretty please?  we have over 35 comments now, but we need 100 by the end of the month!  fyi: it seems the site is not mobile compatible, so please do it from a computer.  thanks!  you guys are the best!***


 

Friday, November 15, 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.


since august 3rd, the day mike proposed, i have been a ball of emotions.  i'm enjoying every second of our engagement and cannot really properly put into words how overwhelmingly lucky i feel.

and every time jason derulo's 'marry me' comes on the radio, the waterworks start.  every. single. time.  

there's something so pure and honest about the lyrics to that song.  it brings me back to that gorgeous sunny day out on crystal lake when mike got down on one knee.

we had spent five and a half years building our relationship.  we shared our dreams, our fears, our families, our friends, our entire lives...yet somehow, in one moment, i've never been so sure, so 100% positive, that saying 'yes' was the right choice.  because it wasn't really a choice.  loving mike was my choice, saying yes was the easy part.

let me explain.

during college and the years following (before i met mike), i had very few (all brief) relationships.  as i watched many friends fall in love, get married, and start families, i wondered how long i would wait to find 'the one'.  i wanted desperately to know what it felt to love and be loved.

when i was 26, i met mike.  i was afraid because of numbers:  he was 6 years my junior.  however, through getting to know each other, falling in love, moving in, and sharing our lives with one another, something happened.  i realized that after you fall in love and the exciting emotion starts to fade, you're left with a choice:

do you want to love him/her forever?

our answer?  YES.

i remember our first valentine's day together.  it was the first time we said "i love you" to each other.  we had been dating almost 3 months and i know we both knew.  and we just couldn't hold it in another minute.

and we have kept that up every day since.  all 2, 130 days.

every day we make a choice to build each other up, to support our decisions, to console our sorrows, to comfort our fears, and to wake up every day and love each other.  it's just that simple.

you see, once we made the choice to love one another, every day, without fail, everything else has fallen into place.

did it take a little while for mike to save money for a ring?  yes.  but just the same, we weren't in a rush because we had already chosen to love each other.  (just like the jason derulo song.)

and on that sunny day, on the party barge, spending an ordinary summer day out on the lake with my love, it was right.

and just like our first valentine's day together, it couldn't wait one more second.

he couldn't ask me fast enough or loud enough...

"will you marry me?"

and, like i said, at this point, it wasn't a choice.  my answer was "yes" because i had already made a choice.  i would spend the rest of my life loving this man as my partner, my husband, the father of my children, and everything will always fall into place if he is by my side.

so, wherever you are in your life: single and ready to mingle, dating, in a relationship, engaged, married, separated...whatever your situation is:  remember that love is more than an emotion, it's a choice.  if you can wake up every day and decide that you will love your partner, your husband, your girlfriend, your fiance, yourself...and keep that up every day for the rest of your life, i think all the other choices you make will be easier.

to sum up my friday philosophy:  choose love.  always choose love.

happy friday!  =)






***i'm going wedding dress shopping this weekend!  wish me luck!***
 
***don't forget to enter my blogiversary giveaway!  it ends next week, so you've got plenty of time to enter to win a custom mkp piece of art!***

***please help us win a special engagement photo canvas!  mike and i are looking for anyone and everyone to head over to bethany and dan's blog post about our engagement session.  we have the opportunity to win a big canvas of our favorite photo (which will be a very hard choice!) if we get 100 people to comment on the posthead over and help us out, will ya?  pretty pretty please?  we have over 30 comments now, but we need more by the end of the month!  fyi: it seems the site is not mobile compatible, so please do it from a computer.  thanks!  you guys are the best!***



Thursday, November 14, 2013

{blogiversary giveaway!} mkp art


**this giveaway is now closed.**

i've been excited to share some of my creative activity on here and just haven't had the chance.  well, today's the day because not only am i sharing a few of my canvas paintings, but you'll also get a few chances to enter to win your very own personalized painting!  but more on that in a minute.

let's take a peek at a few of my latest projects.

this one was for a friend.  last name begins with 'y' and her and her husband were married in 2007.  =)  they love fun colors and this will look fantastic in their colorful home.



this one was for another friend.  can you guess where she lives?




i love this one.  it's so simple and made a great wedding gift.  the wedding colors were black, red, with touches of silver, so that's where i picked my color palette from.



and you've seen this one before.  it was a successful pinterest project and was also my very first commissioned piece of work!  from inspiration to getting the paint on the canvas, it was quite an experience and i'm so glad the family that got it is so happy!




and this is where the giveaway part comes in!  i've got a blank 8x10 canvas ready to make into something just for you!  let your creativity run wild!  and just use this handy rafflecopter widget to enter! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


whatever you come up with, i know it will be great.  but, i also have many ideas, so if you need some, i've got 'em.  i love the look of the 'ombre' background like i did on the vermont canvas.  and i love having a painted background with an 'icon' in the center.  think about things you like or things that represent you (or whoever you want to give the canvas to).  maybe it's a zodiac sign or your initials or anniversary, or maybe you're a coffee drinker who wants more coffee decor (or maybe it's shoes or jewelry or a kettlebell), or maybe you're thinking about something entirely different.  whatever your ideas are, i want to make them come to life.

which leads me to my next exciting announcement:

in 2014 i will be opening an etsy shop!  once the holidays wind down and i can get a few more projects completed and photographed, i'd really like to share my creativity with the world.  so, stay tuned for the 'my kinda perfect on etsy' announcement coming in the new year!

thank you in advance for your support of my creative ventures.  i look forward to spreading my wings a little bit and finally make some of my dreams a reality.  


***don't forget!  mike and i are looking for anyone and everyone to head over to bethany and dan's blog post about our engagement session.  we have the opportunity to win a big canvas of our favorite photo (which will be a very hard choice!) if we get 100 people to comment on the posthead over and help us out, will ya?  pretty pretty please?  we have over 30 comments now, but we need more by the end of the month!  fyi: it seems the site is not mobile compatible, so please do it from a computer.  thanks!  you guys are the best!***

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

{blogiversary week} recipe!


for today's blogiversary post i'm featuring a fantastically easy recipe.  seriously, it's so easy, all it takes is one cutting board, one knife, and one pan.  and a few key ingredients:  the food.

as anyone who has been following along for awhile knows, last fall i joined a gym (kdr fitness) and most recently, i'm participating in the "d2s" (drop two sizes) contest at the gym.  along with this fitness and nutritional journey comes something most people don't expect:  creativity in the kitchen.  that's how this recipe came to be.  i was thinking of how i could create something nutritionally balanced (protein, fruit/veg, and fat) that was also delicious.  sure, there are plenty of ideas out there.  i even shared a few recipes i wanted to try here (and you can always follow my 'deliciousness' board on pinterest).

but i wanted something different.  i wanted it to be the middle of summer.  (it's not, it's getting mighty cold here in new hampshire.)  i wanted to throw some chicken on the grill and have an easy salad, like a caprese, on a bed of spinach.

*ding* *ding* *ding*

why don't i just throw it all together?!  i could create a nice warm meal out of all of those ingredients!

that's how caprese stuffed chicken was born.  

and then i looked it up.  iowa girl eats had already come up with basically the same thing.  but i was cool with it because great minds think alike, amiright?

so, here we go.  caprese stuffed chicken.

here's what you'll need (to make 6 stuffed cutlets):

6 chicken cutlets
1 tomato, sliced
cooked spinach (you could buy frozen or fresh, whichever you prefer)
fresh mozzarella, sliced
basil
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil

here's what you'll do:

1.  preheat oven to 400.  cook spinach (if you bought fresh).  i cooked mine with a little olive oil and garlic.  set aside and let cool.  line your baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease with extra virgin olive oil and a paper towel.

2.  start with one chicken cutlet.  place a spoonful of spinach on one half of the chicken.  (we are going to be folding the cutlet over the 'stuffing', so make sure you leave enough space for folding.)



3.  then place some tomato on the spinach, and mozzarella on the tomato.



4.  then place a couple basil leaves on top.



5.  fold your chicken over, and secure with a toothpick.  add some salt and pepper



6.  bake for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.




the mozzarella will get nice and ooey gooey and the aroma from the basil will smell delicious!



now there's only one thing left to do:  enjoy!


if you have any recipes you want me to try out or feature here on mkp, just email me here!  i love to try new recipes and love being able to spotlight my readers and their own creativity in the kitchen! 



[nutritional value:  each stuffed chicken cutlet is about 200 calories, 120 for the cutlet, 70 for the mozzarella, 10 for 1/4c. spinach, and 4 for 1/4 of a tomato.]



***don't forget!  mike and i are looking for anyone and everyone to head over to bethany and dan's blog post about our engagement session.  we have the opportunity to win a big canvas of our favorite photo (which will be a very hard choice!) if we get 100 people to comment on the posthead over and help us out, will ya?  pretty pretty please?  we have over 30 comments now, but we need more by the end of the month!  fyi: it seems the site is not mobile compatible, so please do it from a computer.  thanks!  you guys are the best!*** 



Monday, November 11, 2013

thank you


it's so hard to believe it's been two years since i launched this little ole blog.  two years.  seven hundred and thirty days.  298 blog posts.

in these days, weeks, months, and years, lots has happened.  i'm happy to have the chance to celebrate (or commiserate) with all of you on all things mkp.

i have a little bit of excitement for this blogiversary week, but first, just as i said on my opening post two years ago, i'd like to say this again... 

to all of our brave service men and women, veteran or active duty:  thank you for serving our country.  you make our freedom possible and without your fearless commitment to protecting our country, nothing would be as it is today.

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thank you.

please join me this week for some blogiversary fun!  i'll be sharing some yummies and there will even be a little giveaway!  let the excitement begin!


Friday, November 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.

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you guys.  you'll never believe it!  this is week 2 of the d2s (drop two sizes) challenge at kdr fitness.  week 2.  i've been working hard for this contest, but i really started kicking a$$ and taking names  my own a$$ the week before.  but that isn't the important part.  the important part is that all of my planning/shopping/prepping/cooking/working out is paying off.  my 90+% compliance in the past few weeks has resulted in this:

my (2 sizes too small) jeans fit!!!

i went in wednesday morning for my weekly jean try-on and photo, and to my surprise, my jeans actually fit.  i could button them.  i could zip them.  and, most importantly, i could breathe in them!

will i be wearing them in public right away?  no.  they're a liiiiiitle tight around the waistband for that.  but they fit.  and i'm hoping they'll be a perfect fit for our thanksgiving trip to visit mike's family.

so, if there has ever been a word of encouragement or a way to inspire you - let this be it:

just. keep. going.

you're going to have bad-ass rockstar days.  and you're going to have days that suck.  work through the sucky days and rock out the good days like a boss.

you're going to give in to cravings or cheat a little too much one saturday night.  just remember today is a new day to make awesome choices.  don't beat yourself up over a few too many calories yesterday.  yesterday is over.  today is here and now.

you're going to have days when you say to yourself, i just can't go to the gym today.  know that it's okay to listen to your body and take a rest.  and don't feel bad about it.  just pick yourself up tomorrow and get movin'.

you're going to have days when you seize every opportunity to burn calories and eat proper, balanced, meals.  savor those days and remember the pride you feel for making it happen when you have a day when you just. can't. stop. eating. the. cookies.

if you just take one day at a time or one week at a time and make a plan, you'll end up eliminating more of the sucky/cheating/resting/cookie days and have more compliant days.

then, after you've had a run of compliant days, you'll start to feel and/or see results.

not everyone can jump on the 90% compliant bandwagon right away.  and if you're one of those people, don't feel bad about it.  i have friends who feel like it's nearly impossible.  but it's all about your choices and how you can make it happen for you.  try to start with maintaining 50% compliance one week.  then bump it up to 60% the next.  in a matter of a few weeks, you'll notice changes...not always in your body or on the scale, but in what you crave or the choices you make or how much you plan ahead.

start somewhere.  start today.  

and remember:  just keep going.

you'll never regret it. 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

thankful thoughts


you and i probably both know about 238 people who are posting daily on facebook what they are thankful for in november.  i kinda like it, but by the end of november, i'm thankful it's the end of the thankful posts.

so, instead of bombarding your newsfeed with thankfulness, i decided to dedicate one little page on my little ole blog to do the task.

you see the link above -- 'thankfulness' -- and fell free to follow along.  or not.  i made it that way so you'd have a choice and it wouldn't be a regular post, just a little something, more for me than anyone.  and if i totally suck at this and realize i haven't posted in 4 days, i can make up for it and (almost) no one will notice.

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oh, and stay tuned because next week there will be a special custom giveaway in honor of my kinda perfect's 2nd blogiversary!!!  get excited and get your creative juices flowing!  yours truly is going to create something special for someone! 


thank you to everyone who has visited our engagement session feature over on bethany & dan's blog.  please leave a comment (you have until the 28th) and mike and i will have a chance to win a canvas of our favorite photo.  (that will be a hard decision to make...hopefully we'll get to make it!  with your help, of course!)  thanks in advance for your help!!! =)

wanna do us a favor?


hey!  when you have a quick second, can you please head over to bethany & dan's blog and make a comment for me and mike?  pretty pretty please with a cherry on top?!

after having a wonderfully fun day having our engagement pictures taken, and after all the outpouring of love for b&d's talent, i'm really hoping you guys can help us out!  just click here, look at the pretties, and scroll to the bottom and leave a little comment.  you can remain anonymous, it's totally fine, but just a few kind words can help us win a special engagement photo.  of our choice.  on canvas.  swoon.

so, if you need a little reminder on why you need to visit our photographers' blog (other than me telling you to do it...) and make a little tiny comment to help us get 100 (we're 20% of the way there!), here are my top favorites.







thanks, dear readers.  you're the best!  

need another link so you don't have to scroll up?  here it is! =)

 

Monday, November 4, 2013

d2s: week two


last week i shared my new plan (to actually plan/shop/prep/cook meals ahead of time) and the new contest i'm participating in:  d2s (short for 'drop 2 sizes').  and i'm proud to say, i've made it successfully through week one!

let me start with my least favorite part:  shopping.  last week when i made my jeans purchase, i went big.  not as in bigger sizes...but bigger goals.  i bought one pair of jeans two sizes smaller.  aaaand, i bought one pair of jeans three sizes smaller!  i wasn't looking forward to shopping at all, but i was pleasantly surprised at what i found out in the dressing room:  the pants actually kinda fit.  i was worried even the 2 sizes too small pants wouldn't make it over my thighs....but they did!  and the 3 sizes too small pants did too!  i was so, so surprised!  so, if you're trying to lose weight, i highly recommend buying pants 1-2 sizes too small.  try 'em on.  when you literally feel how they fit right now, you'll see just how much work you'll need to do until they fit the way you want them to.  you may think, there's no way i'll ever fit into an "x" size...but what you may find out is that it's a closer goal than you think!

speaking of goals....when my coaches and i decided i would need to be 100% compliant in three areas (getting ~1,800 calories a day, breaking that into 5 meals at ~350 calories each, and focusing on balanced/proper compliant meals with enough protein for the day), planning ahead was the only way i was going to be successful.  

knowing i need to consume about 1,800 calories a day meant adding up calories ahead of time to make sure i was getting enough (and not getting too much).  

breaking down the calorie count by meals (5 meals a day x 350 cals = 1,750 -- almost the 1,800 goal) made it easier for me to figure out nicely portioned meals that fit into the ~350 calorie package.  

and lastly, focusing on my basic dietary needs (providing my body with a protein, veg/fruit, and a fat at every meal, and making sure it was enough protein for me) really meant i was putting a puzzle together...but i also had to provide the pieces to the puzzle.

i've spent a lot of time on pinterest, blogs, and the trusty google, to brainstorm ideas that will not only fit the three areas i need to be compliant with, but also satisfy my tastebuds without having to eat leftovers 19,377 times.  last week was a success.  i altered a couple things toward the end of the week (the fish i was going to buy was out of stock and i didn't really have enough time to cook it, so i went with a can of tuna instead as my protein source), but it all turned out great.

i worked out at the gym 5 times last week (earning me 5 stars on the d2s board), i tried on my 2 sizes too small pants and had my photo taken (earning me 1 star for every week i try 'em on), and i attended an accountability meeting on saturday (earning me another star!).  as elementary as it sounds, i think seeing the stars adding up on the board will help keep people motivated.  i want to get as many stars as i can because it shows me (and everyone else) just how much work i'm putting in (and how much everyone else is too!).

and now we're onto a new week.  

i'm following a similar plan from last week, with sunday's dinner leftovers (gluten free meatballs topped with sauce and fresh mozzarella with a side of broccoli) making lunch for monday, tuesday, wednesday, and thursday.  here's the plan!  (i didn't include calorie/protein counts today to save time.  let me know if you want them, i'll update it!  but know that every meal is about 350 calories!)

monday (workout day -- 5:30pm total body)
1.  protein shake & banana
2.  gluten free meatballs with sauce and mozzarella & broccoli
3.  cottage cheese, strawberries, almonds
4.  protein shake & apple
5.  pork chop & green beans & goat cheese stuffed mushrooms

tuesday (workout day -- 5:30pm bootcamp)
1.  protein shake & banana
2.  gluten free meatballs with sauce and mozzarella & broccoli
3.  cottage cheese, canteloupe, almonds
4.  protein shake & apple
5.  pork chop & green beans & goat cheese stuffed mushrooms

wednesday (workout day -- 5:30pm total body)
1.  protein shake & banana
2. gluten free meatballs with sauce and mozzarella & broccoli
3.  cottage cheese, canteloupe, almonds
4.  protein shake & apple
5.  taco salad (1/2 c. taco seasoned beef, 1/4 c. guacamole, lettuce, tomato, 2T sour cream, 2T cheddar cheese)

thursday (workout day -- 5:30pm bootcamp)
1.  protein shake & banana
2. gluten free meatballs with sauce and mozzarella & broccoli
3.  cottage cheese, canteloupe, almonds
4.  protein shake & apple
5.  tbd

friday (workout day -- 5:30pm total body)
1.  protein shake & banana
2.  tbd
3.  cottage cheese, canteloupe, almonds
4.  protein shake & apple
5.  tbd

you notice toward the end of the week i have a few 'to be determined' meals.  i do that for several reasons.  1.  last week when i tried planning the entire five days, i had a meal planned for thursday and then couldn't purchase the fish (and didn't have time to cook it even if i could've bought it).  2.  sometimes i get a hankering for something and it's nice to try to accommodate craved flavors.  3.  i try to pick up a few things toward the end of the week anyway, like more produce, so i'll be going to the store anyway.  i'll be back later this week to let you know what else i've cooked up!

here are a few ideas that i've got in my arsenal to try.  not to mention all the recipes i've already made and love!

chicken enchilada stuffed zucchini boats

{image via pinterest}

cheeseburger soup

{image via pinterest}

toasted sesame ginger salmon

{image via pinterest}

zucchini lasagna


{image via pinterest}


spaghetti squash cheesy "pasta" bake

{image via pinterest}

so that's my week two.  i've got 5 planned workouts.  i've got 22 out of 25 meals planned for the work week.  and this weekend is the only weekend between now and the end of the year that isn't booked.

i'm looking forward to trying on my pants this week.  i can tell i've changed (by the way my clothes are fitting), but trying on the jeans will verify it.  and next week's weigh-in will confirm it.

here's to hard work and great results!  =)

Friday, November 1, 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}

i've heard this quote several times lately...and i think it's because i've needed to hear it.

comparing yourself, your family, your situation, your finances, your marriage, your friendships, your projects, your blog, your children, your body, your successes, your failures, or anything else about you with someone else or their situation is ridiculous.

not that i haven't done it.  or won't do it again.

say it with me:  comparing my life to someone else's is ridiculous.

learning to not compare yourself to others takes time.  it's something you need to learn and instill in your own self.  and it's something i'm working on.

last week i had a day where i was struggling with my weight loss and fitness journey.  i was sad i wasn't making progress like i wanted.  i was frustrated that my good choices weren't good enough.  and i ended up comparing myself to other people.  other people who have different situations.  different lives, different bodies, different likes, different dislikes, different everything.

because we are truly different from each other, no matter how similar we seem.

of course, speaking extremely basically, we are all people.  people who deserve respect.  people who deserve to be called beautiful.  people who deserve to make progress.  

but just because susie q has a different life than you, it doesn't make hers better.  it's just different.

and we all have struggles.  even susie q.  you know her.  her husband makes a ton of money, she doesn't have to work, they have a beautiful house and lovely children...and she has all of this glorious time to work out, cook dinner, and head the pta at school...but she still struggles with something.

or maybe susie q does work.  she works hard and gets raises and becomes a big-wig at her company.  she drives a nice car and lives in a sweet condo and spends every weekend traveling to cool places and meets cool people.  but she still struggles with something.

or maybe susie q uses food stamps to supplement their family's grocery budget.  she drives a practical car, dreams of buying a house, and makes practical choices for her children's christmas gifts.  she still struggles with something.

there are over 3 billion other susie q's out there.  they've all got a situation.  whether they are rich or poor or busy or lazy or work or don't...it's their situation.  and they all struggle.  with something.

so do yourself a favor, and try to start today and remind yourself every day:  

comparing my life to someone else's is ridiculous.

be content in your choices.  be happy for your successes.  celebrate milestones.  and remember to do the same for others...even when they're not your choices, successes, or milestones.

your life is yours to live, so don't compare it to others.

go out and enjoy it!

happy friday!


 
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