Saturday, February 14, 2015

Q&A a Day book

Super cute journal! It's small, with simple, but interesting questions for every day of the year. This version is the 5 year version but they also have ones for kids, 3 year, and a couples one! The questions are geared towards adults but not adult content just things like the question below: How did you get to work today?
I'm obsessed and I just got it a week ago! It's adorable. I wasn't sure what I would think of it based on some reviews that complained about the small size but I think it's perfect. 4 lines are available For each day, and you can start anywhere you like throughout the year. The edges are lined in gold (I did not paint my nails to match, just happened to have painted them gold a couple of days before it arrived). 

It's definitely smaller than a traditional paperback book in height, but about the same in width. The pages are thick so it probably won't bleed through easily. I used a normal ballpoint pen so far with no issue. I'm planning on buying some for gifts this year. Love it!!!!!!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Skinnytaste recipes review

I was sent this book to try out from a book review blogging program. I got to pick the book and I had been anxious to try this one out. We picked out a few recipes that we all agreed on (yes even the 12 year old). We tried a mixture of a few for a few different dinners and were pleasantly surprised with almost all of them! I was actually most surprised of my kiddo's reactions and would highly recommend this cookbook.

Find the book here:
The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor

I was able to find a variation of almost all of the recipes we tried on her website as well so here you go!

Roasted Acorn Squash with brown sugar
Pleasantly surprised. The child SWORE he'd hate it. Tried and he was in love with it. He said it tasted like candy. We all enjoyed it immensely and it was soooo easy. The book used maple syrup instead of brown sugar but other than that, not much of a difference.

Roasted Asparagus
The book had a slightly different recipe, adding lemon, which is what we did. We love roasted asparagus.

There are also some sesame green beans from her book that didn't have a comparable replacement on the site. They were delicious!

Creamy Cauliflower
We did use cream cheese instead. It was a recipe we had already been using from her site but we love it. I would eat potatoes with every meal but the other half won't let me so he made some substitutions!

Baked Zucchini Sticks
The kiddo has asked for these almost every day since we made these. We've made them twice and he's in love with them.

Oven Fried Chicken
Similar to the book recipe, we added some extra spices and the book had corn flakes instead of bran flakes and a different initial coating. We added a bit more cayenne, soaked the chicken overnight in buttermilk (per the book) and even my Kentucky born boyfriend approved of it!

As a family, we all really enjoyed these recipes. The boyfriend and I loved the oven fried chicken the most, with the acorn squash being a close second; the child was all about the zucchini fries. There are several other recipes we have marked as a family to try and I can't wait.

I think my favorite thing is that there weren't any odd ingredients. Everything can be found at a normal grocery store and easy to prepare. 

All opinions are my own. I was given the book in exchange for my honest review and opinion but honestly, like most books I review, I chose this one because I already interested in it. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Matcha green tea

I've heard of this stuff for what feels like forever but hadn't had a chance to try it! It was always either too expensive, or I had no idea what to do with it (honestly, that latter one is more true than the former).

So on a whim, I decided I HAD to try this stuff. I purchased Kiss Me Organic's from Amazon a few weeks ago. I love matcha green tea latte's from a local coffee shop so that was the first thing I made!

I like almond milk more than dairy milk, mostly because my boyfriend is lactose intolerant and my son finishes the dairy milk before anyone else can touch it, so I made it with that. There were quite a few recipes for this, but I kind of just combined them to make my own.

Matcha Green Tea Latte with Almond milk
1-2 teaspoons of matcha green tea powder *if you LOVE green tea, add more. If you aren't sure, add less.
2 ounces of hot water
6 ounces of heated almond milk
Preferred flavoring: 1/2 to 1 tsp Almond extract or vanilla, or both!
Optional: Agave, honey, or raw cane sugar for sweetness

Sift the matcha green tea powder and then pour in the hot water to dissolve.

Add the almond milk, and whatever flavorings you want and shake.
Pour over ice if you want it cold (my preference).

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Favorite books of 2014

I love to read, and read a lot (I'm also a speed reader by nature so my quantity of books read in a year is high!) Due to being on a medical leave for the last, almost three months, I've read even more than normal. So I decided to make a list of some of my favorite books I've read this year.

An Unquenchable Thirst was interesting and a very different read from a former sister of Mother Theresa's ministry. From the original trial period within the group, to her over 20 year service. An inside look into the Missionaries of Charity, how they become sisters, their daily life, how charity worked for the group.

And the Mountains Echoed. I love Khaled Hosseini and his other books, The Kite Runner, and A Thousand Splendid Sins, are equally as good as this novel. I would say this book isn't the tear jerker the other two are however, but it does focus on more characters at a time whereas the others focused primarily on just a couple of characters. A beautiful book .

Neil Gaiman has the craziest writing and Good Omens is definitely crazy! It is a comedy that was written alongside Terry Pratchett, and follows the lives of a witch, a fallen angel (demon), an angel, and the birth of the son of Satan.

I've read quite a few social impact books this year and I Am Malala was the last one I read. Most people know who Malala is, and this book is written from her perspective about her childhood, the events surrounding her shooting, and life after.

Mindy Kaling. Hilarious. Relatable. You want her to be your best friend.

Lean In, by the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg brings forth in this book reasons why women hold themselves back in their careers, why they shouldn't, and ways she messed up, and moved forward.

Mighty Be our Powers is another socially conscious book that totally had me riveted. I think I read it straight through and didn't sleep if I remember right. Leymah Gbowee tells about life before war hit her area and during, the hardships faced by her family and herself, ways she overcame them, and life now as she works towards saving her homeland and women's rights in her country.

A book written by a women raised Catholic, felt like religion was empty and wasn't sure she even wanted it anymore, then found her home of faith.

By the founder of TOMS, Blake Mycoskie gives a bit about his background, how he founded the company, why, and how, if we want to start something that matters to us and the world, some tips and tricks to do so.

A book about mythological creatures in a modern day setting. LOVED IT!

I don't normally read books that are categorized as women's literature unless it's a classic, but dang it Liane Moriarty writes some intriguing, mystery books!

Teenagers acting all crazy. A rich family and some insane secrets. Good book for adults or teens.

Another book by Liane Moriarty. I've read a few of her books and What Alice Forgot is my favorite. A woman has an accident in spin class and her world is turned upside down because she can't remember how she got there.

Amy Poehler, like Mindy Kaling, it's relatable, and you want to go out for drinks with her. She discusses her childhood, how her career started, her love affair with Tina Fey, career and her marriage, divorce, and kids.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lower body Fitness gifs

Because they can be awesome. Some of the ones I'm posting today are from this Tumblr and made by this YouTube channel.

Burpees. Burpees are evil.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Lifting options for women+giveaway

Training style for women courtesy of Fitocracy! It goes over some varying styles of lifting training based on the physique desired.

Next up is a training plan that is mentioned constantly all over the place. Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer. It is a 12 week nutrition/lifting/cardio (I dislike cardio...) and is great for beginners, or if you're just getting back into training after a long absence. There are recipes, exercise examples linked, and each day has a specific plan outlined. You change it up every 4 weeks nutrition and intensity wise, and it's pretty fantastic! 

As someone who dislikes cardio, unless it is on my bike, I LOVE lifting complexes, especially if I know I will be short on time, or if my schedule looks crazy for the week. T Nation has some great examples of barbell complexes that will kick your butt.  

I've created some of my own complexes that are similar and I really enjoy them. A complex is a series of lifts with a barbell where you perform each exercise back to back and you don't finish until the first "set" is over. Like a really long superset! I typically perform mine as an 8x8 with no, or little weight on the bar. It gets HEAVY! 8 exercises for 8 reps each, 3 rounds.

Example of a full body complex I do:
Shoulder Press
Good Mornings
Back Squat
Straight Leg Deadlift
Front Squat
Calf Raises
Hip thrusters

I had been planning on this post anyway, and I received an email about a giveaway to win a Digital HD copy of the Arnold Schwarzenegger's Pumping Iron documentary! As someone who loves lifting, there isn't a much bigger inspiration than Arnold. Though I think my first introduction to him was watching Kindergarten Cop as a kid ha ha.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I went ahead and added a Rafflecopter widget to make this easier. The content of this post was my own idea and was in the works prior to being asked to host a giveaway for the dvd and it happened to coincide with the post. All opinions are my own. I was approached by a marketing company on behalf of Lionsgate films and asked if I'd like to run this promotion.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Personal/Professional Development

This is something that has been weighing heavily on my mind for quite some time. I don't feel like I have a direction available to me, and I'm not sure why so I'm working on it. I'm also having to take a sabbatical from work due to some health issues, so there will be some new activities to try.

First off, I am doing a Mindset reset, 10 week challenge that I heard from Danny Johnson who runs the blog/empire The Sweaty Betties. It's called the JillFit Mindset, and is a 10 week daily email challenge. I'm only at the end of week 1 and am intrigued so far but haven't gotten far enough to really judge it. (I actually started this months ago, but due to medical issues, have had to hold off but I am starting it over today!)

I also bought a Groupon for a local yoga studio. It has great reviews, and seems like it might be fun. Plus, it's less than 10 minutes from my house, and has manageable times.

Rosetta Stone. I've had this for a long time, and while I can understand conversational Spanish, and read it enough for basic comprehension, it's always bothered me that I'm not more fluent with it. I think I'll be working on this over the next few weeks as well.

Budget! This is something I definitely need to work on. There are just so many cute workout clothes & so many good books...

The books (I'm not sure I know how to write a post anymore without books being involved somewhere...)

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by the COO of Facebook and was a former executive at Google. I borrowed this book from my local library as an e-book and really enjoyed it, much more than I thought I would. 
That we haven’t failed the mothers and grandmothers who made our ambitions possible. And yet, in a deep and profound way, we are failing. Because feminism wasn’t supposed to make us feel guilty, or prod us into constant competitions over who is raising children better, organizing more cooperative marriages, or getting less sleep. It was supposed to make us free—to give us not only choices but the ability to make these choices without constantly feeling that we’d somehow gotten it wrong.

Start Something That Matters Book by the guy who started TOMS is definitely inspiring but also full of useful information, and he freely admits he originally started it as a way to make money and it kind of took off on it's own.
“servant leadership.” Coined by writer and business consultant Robert K. Greenleaf in his 1970 essay “The Servant as Leader,” the term refers to someone who uses qualities like empathy, listening skills, stewardship, and awareness rather than power to assert his or her authority to lead.
I'm also learning Illustrator. I enjoy working with art, and the computer and this seems like a logical step. As a blogger and someone becoming more involved with social media, I think this is important.

 I think it's important to try new things and get out of my comfort zone; which is something i haven't done in a while but definitely need.

Advice on new things to try? Or your favorite activity?