Monthly Recap – June

Well, another month has flown by! Is it just me, or is time on hyperdrive lately?

I’ll be honest, June was a tough month for me. I don’t want to start this post off negatively, but I feel I need to be honest. In a nutshell, there were several surprises for us that weren’t too pleasant and I struggled with my depression a lot. For those who struggle with depression, you’ll probably understand; it just gets you down, zaps your drive and energy, and it can take a while to get out of the funk. But despite the rough stuff, we DID have some bright spots!

30 for 30 Progress
As I mentioned in my May Monthly Recap, I’ve been working on saving and making more money through couponing and rebates. During the month of June, I kept utilizing those tools and I’m hoping to write some posts soon on my methods. In the same vein, I feel like we’ve got our monthly budget routine pretty nailed down. As for staying within our budget consistently, we’re still working on that!

2015-06-01 21.41.11I started working on #4 “Work on landscaping and gardening.” We’ve been trying to stay on top of our lawn and greenery this year, but due to my hubby’s work schedule, we can’t go out and manicure our lawn every weekend. With all the rain we’ve had these last two months and investing in a weed management service, our grass grows so quick!2015-06-01 19.09.59 But thankfully, one day, we were both able to get outside and tackle some yard work. While my hubby did his thing, I decided that I’d trim the bushes that were taking over our front window. After about five minutes of trimming, I was reminded of how much I hated one particular shrub. So, in a moment of slight frustration and a spur of the moment decision, within 20 minutes, I’d taken a saw to the bush and trimmed it clear down to the ground. It was both satisfying and shocking at the same time. But I honestly can’t wait to pull out the other two hedges and plant some miniature boxwoods and flowers in that front bed! Budget and weather allowing, I’m hoping to finish the project before the season changes. We’ll see.

2015-06-15 18.11.33In another spur of the moment decision and whittling down my 30 for 30 List, my hubby and I decided to move our home office. Our home office had been in a spare bedroom right next to my hubby’s man cave, but I always kept the door closed and rarely spent time back in that room. We had painted it a darker color than the rest of the house, but the room doesn’t get a ton of natural light, so it was always too dark to see anything. Plus, we still had some boxes that hadn’t been unpacked and there were still things to organize, hence the reason it was on my list this year… On the other end of our house, just off our kitchen, we have a bonus room. 2015-06-15 18.12.56We’d been using it as a dining area when we hosted friends, but other than that, it was just a big room. So, on one of hubby’s days off, we just decided to move the office into the bonus room. Turns out, we’ve ended up having more space, the room is brighter, and more functional. Plus, now we actually can use the spare bedroom as a guest room until we have kids! We’ve almost finished setting everything up and getting organized, but I can already tell you that it is far more functional and enjoyable to spend time in than the other room! I love it! I plan on writing an office tour post with lots of pictures once I’ve got it all finished!

Books Read
The Girl on the TrainI was able to read two books this month! Thanks to audiobooks, I love technology… I finished The Girl on the Train. I honestly kept waiting for this book to get interesting. But it was a little confusing at times and somewhat annoying. But not terrible overall, just not my cup of tea.

EnchantmentThe other book I read was Enchantment by Donald Spoto. I adore Audrey Hepburn and have a special place in my heart for classic movie celebrity biographies. I grew up watching classic movies from the 30s-50s. While my peers were watching movies and cartoons from the 80s and 90s, I grew in up in a world of musicals and black and white film. No regrets! I always find it it fascinating to learn about the actors lives off camera and how they grew up. Audrey Hepburn’s life is no exception. It was interesting to learn about her young upbringing and see how it influenced who she became as an adult. She was such a loving woman with an incredibly generous heart, but there were also a few surprises that I didn’t see coming. It made for an excellent read. If you’re an Audrey Hepburn fan, it’s a must-read!

Fitness
As I mentioned above, I struggled with depression this month. From being sick the month before and overwhelmed by other life “stuff,” my fitness goals kind of took a back seat. In all honesty, I found that my stress-eating had gotten out of control and I ended up gaining back all the weight I’d lost. I still logged my food and worked out on my bike, but I’d lost my self-discipline and motivation. My efforts were bare minimum and half hearted. So, I’m back at square one, but July will be different! I’m tired of this lack of motivation and the setback in progress was so frustrating! July will be different.

Travel
No travel this month. And, I’m not sure that we will be making any trips until the holiday season. I plan on writing an update, but I’ve decided to change goal #12. Instead of taking a vacation this year, we’re planning on adopting another puppy into our family. There’s no set timeline on this yet, but after talking about future goals and plans, along with discussing our budget, we realized it was unrealistic to do both a vacation and adopt a puppy this year. So we picked the puppy. 🙂 Who wouldn’t? Like I said, I’ll keep you posted on this, but I can’t say when, just yet! Stay tuned. 😉

Watched
For Fathers Day, my sweet dad wanted to go out to a movie with all of us. My husband was only able to join us for brunch before he had to go to work, but it was a fun time to spend the day with my sister and parents. It’s not been just the four of us for a while. InsideOutWe decided to go see Inside Out. I. Was. Stoked! I have been waiting a year to go see that movie, because I’m a huge nerd and love Pixar! This movie isn’t your typical Pixar, though. Yes, they have a tendency to anthropomorphize everything from toys to cars to animals to monsters (you get the idea), but this concept was unique in the fact that they were able to give a face to emotions. I LOVED it and I think it’s a great way to understand the basics of how our emotions influence us and how they contribute to developing our personality. The amount of detail and subtleties that I noticed reflected so much research that went into the film. I learned a lot as an adult and I think this would be a great movie for kids who are growing up and trying to understand why they feel the way they do…and realize that it’s ok to feel different feelings, that we need all the various feelings to make sense of life. They all serve a purpose and that we shouldn’t be defined by one feeling or another. The animation was as always, amazing. Plus, the cast was just perfect. If you’re an Office, Parks & Rec, or SNL fan, you’ll love it! I could keep raving, but I think you should go see it for yourself. 🙂

In other news, Pretty Little Liars is back on! The pilot and first few episodes of season six have been so good! My A theories are evolving… So You Think You Can Dance also started up again. Audition weeks are my favorite, so we’ve been enjoying those. Plus, they’ve been on Hulu, so I can go back and re-watch my favorite routines. It’s gonna be a good season!

Listened
I mostly listened to my audiobooks this month, like I mentioned above. So nothing too new in the listening department.

Memorable Moments
2015-06-09 21.02.49-22015-06-10 14.29.20My husband turned 28 this year and we had a great day celebrating on his birthday. We enjoyed a dinner and I baked him a cake, then later on he enjoyed a guys day out watching Jurassic World and hanging out with his guys. Our parents were able to have dinner with us and we tried the new Pepperoni Grill that opened nearby. It was incredible! All in all, I think he had a pretty good birthday this year!

Spoonflower-HedgehogsI entered another Spoonflower contest in June, which you can see here. I didn’t win, but I love entering their contests because it offers a great creative outlet, plus a fun community of artists! When they have contests, it’s neat to see everyone’s interpretation of the same subject. Every single one is different!

This Made My Day
2015-06-17 20.59.36I had a random mish-mash of things that just made my day this month. At a family gathering, my aunt gave my a Diet Coke she’d found with my name on it – spelled CORRECTLY! That never happens.

Jonathan and I enjoyed a random nostalgic jam session while we were moving the office. We found our mixed CDs from high school and had a great time guessing who the artists were. We got to explain our weird eccentric tastes and the influences behind them at the time.

2015-05-27 15.34.47I got sunset hair this month! I’m a natural brunette, but I’ve been a red head for the past year or so, which I love. I’ve never felt more myself than with red hair! But I decided to shake it up a little this time and add purple to the ends. 2015-05-27 11.32.47My stylist did an excellent job and created a color melt between the red and purple so that they transition in a more “natural” looking way… Since I work from home and don’t have to adhere to a dress code, I decided why not? I love it! 2015-05-27 16.52.27The only draw back is that my shower looks like a purple minion got splattered all over the walls when I wash it, but other than that, it’s perfect! It’s just subtle enough where you don’t immediately notice it, but in the sun, it looks kind of like an upside down sunset. 🙂

Monthly Moral
June taught me that positivity is a fight! Happiness is fleeting and joy is a choice. It doesn’t come easy. It’s a daily choice to look for the good around you or to change your perspective of your situation. The world is fallen and we are not perfect. It’s so easy to spiral into depression and despair, but we are not doomed to that. We have the freedom to choose what we make of our day and how we choose to look at it. We can’t control other people or what may happen to us, but we have full control over our response and attitude. It took me a while to remember this truth this month, but I finally did and I’m thankful. I plan on making July a better month.

How was your June? What was the best part of your month?

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Monthly Recap – April

I feel like I say this every month, but April was a crazy busy month. I don’t even know where the time went! A lot happened, but it just flew by… I was so busy, I realized that I didn’t even have time to post a monthly favorites for March! (Sorry…)
I’m linking up again with The Lady Okie‘s Project 12 on her blog. Check her out if you haven’t already!

30 for 30 Progress
I can actually cross 2 things off the list!
2015-04-27 19.42.12Pepper graduated from her Beginner Training Course…just barely. 😉 She’s definitely doing better than she was before. We’re still working on the loose leash walking and not jumping up on people, but she’s improved what little training we tried to do on our own. 2015-04-09 10.30.22She even learned a new trick, she loves to shake your hand now! We celebrated with a puppachino from Starbucks on the way home (her new favorite treat, if I come home with a frappachino now, she thinks it’s for her…)!

2015-04-17 09.27.44We also had a garage sale! This was my first time holding my own garage sale – EVER – and I was by myself for half of it too. We didn’t expect to make a fortune, but for what little we had to sell, we did pretty well. The weather was rainy too, so I was pleasantly surprised that we even did as well as we did! 2015-04-17 10.43.29Plus, I took all 3 boxes of books that didn’t sell to Half Price Books and made some cash back from that. While browsing in there I found the first 3 seasons of Seinfeld on DVD, so that was even a bonus!
2015-04-13 22.19.45

We painted our kitchen! So that’s another item almost off the list. 2015-04-14 12.57.31It feels so nice to have a different color in there! It’s amazing what color can do for the mood of a room! We also added hardware to all the cabinets and drawers. We’re getting closer to my dream kitchen! If nothing else, it feels fresher and more functional.

Books Read
What is wrong with me?! No progress whatsoever. I’m so behind. 😦

Fitness
PurseGoal-150508
I’ve now lost a total of 9 pounds! (Follow my progress here) I kind of plateau every now and then and this month was no exception. With all the crazy that went on, I’ve not been able to be as aggressive about my fitness as I’d like, but I still am logging my calories daily and working out in some form or fashion at least 5+ days a week. I still love my Fitbit and am earning cash through GymPact. All this, despite both my hubby and I getting the flu. We both felt miserable, but on the bright side, he got to stay home almost an entire work week!

Travel
No travel this month…

Watched
2015-04-18 20.08.45
Like I mentioned above, we acquired the first 3 seasons of Seinfeld and we’ve been enjoying that during my hubby’s dinner breaks as our replacement for Friends. I had never watched the show growing up and had only seen a few reruns here and there, so it’s been fun to watch it together. My hubby’s family are seasoned Seinfeld fans and quote the show often.

Another favorite show started up this month for us: MadMen! 2015-04-06 23.09.11-1We are huge MadMen fans and are glued to the show when it’s on, in other words, it’s one of the few shows we watch without our checking our phones periodically. It’s like a time machine, you’re taken back to a different era, but the stories are so multi-layered, they’re applicable to many current topics too. I love the fashion, the ad designs, and the overall way the show is filmed. The show itself is art.

I’ve also gotten into watching Private Practice on Netflix, since I’ve finished all the available seasons and franchises of my guilty pleasure of The Real Housewives. Private Practice is a spinoff show from Grey’s Anatomy (another fave of mine!) and is just as dramatic. I’m usually watching it while I’m waiting for my husband to get off his shift, so when he walks in the door, he usually will stop – while holding all his gear and Pepper jumping all over him – and ask what’s going on or say something to the effect of “why do these people have such tragic/dramatic/crazy lives?!” I have to agree, but that’s also why I can’t stop watching!

And speaking of Grey’s Anatomy… If you’re a fan, you know what I’m referring to. THE Episode that made my Facebook feed blow up with spoilers was hard to watch. Especially since I had the spoilers, I was bracing for the main character to disappear at any moment. I had a feeling it was coming from the previous episode, but it was still not an easy one to watch… When is this show going to end, now that almost all the original characters are gone?! *It’s a TV show, Kellie, calm down…

Listened
I haven’t heard too much that stands out this past month, just car jammin’ and listening to my regular lineup of podcasts while I walk Pepper or work around the house… 🙂

Memorable Moments
I’m thinking of retitling this section to “Memorable Moments” from “Family Moments,” since there are other things outside of just Pepper and Jonathan that happen (believe it or not).
2015-04-02 12.58.45This month, Pepper turned 1! She’s still a puppy to me, but she’s gotten pretty big and is growing up (just a little) in her behavior. We gave her a giant rawhide bone to chew and I even made a “cake” out of treats and dog food for her. I’m so thankful that we adopted her! 2015-04-02 18.12.59She’s been such a blessing to both of us, but I especially am grateful to not be sitting up at night waiting for Jonathan all by myself anymore. It’s amazing how comforting a sleepy puppy can be. 😉 I highly recommend any LEOW ladies getting a family dog if you can.

2015-04-05 13.40.45We had a fun Easter Sunday with my family. Jonathan thankfully had the day off and his parents were able to come up and visit. We all went out to eat with my parents and sister for lunch. I absolutely love my in laws and am blessed that both of our families enjoy spending time together! I love the rare opportunities when we can all get together.

This month was a month that fit the adage “When it rains, it pours” to a tee!  2015-04-09 09.50.18-1We had been aggressively saving all during March with our spending freeze, which was good, because we ended up needing some of that savings for all of April’s craziness. Between taxes, hubby’s car breaking down, our fence blowing over with spring storms, vet bills from an ear infection that Pepper got, and other miscellaneous expenses, we felt like we were handing out money left and right. But the reassuring fact was that we could take care of everything and still keep our head above water. God provided during this month with extra refund checks, rebates, garage sale cash, and other little ways! 2015-04-24 17.01.38We’re learning to trust God to provide even more and learning that we can live on less. It’s caused us to talk through finances even more and keep planning ahead together…as much as we can. Plus, we’re learning new things, like how to repair a fence ourselves and installing cabinet hardware, which will help us be more prepared and knowledgeable in the future!

This Made My Day
2015-04-28 14.32.08
Despite all the crazy this month, I had several sweet moments with lunches, coffee dates, and phone calls with some special women in my life. I’ve also realized that I have always struggled to make friends, so it’s been a little of stretch for me to reach out for some of those relationships and maintain others, but it’s been so rich and rewarding to cultivate good friendships. I find myself leaving those conversations feeling so blessed, recharged, connected, encouraged, and like I can conquer whatever’s on my plate. You ladies are such a blessing to my soul. You challenge me, you encourage me, you keep me accountable, and you help me know that I’m not alone. For all of you that I had the pleasure of spending time with during April, thank you! You ladies are my superwomen!

2015-04-19 17.00.51Another special moment during April was the opportunity to go see one of my favorite films in theaters with my Granny, my Aunt, cousin, sister, and Mom! My Granny took us all out to see The Sound of Music (or as I affectionately referred to as “Doe-A-Deer-A-Female-Deer” as a kid) for a special limited showing. It was SO MUCH FUN to get to see it on the big screen and notice things I’d never seen before. I know the movie by heart and found myself noticing other details like the costume design and set detail, as well as realizing the historical context. When you grow up watching a film, certain things get cemented in your brain as one thing, but then you watch the movie as an adult, you realize all the things you missed as a kid or misunderstood (for example, when Maria sings “What’s so fearsome about that…” in the “I Have Confidence” song, I didn’t hear the words separated out as a kid, I thought “whatsafeesum” was one word…). After the movie, we all went out for a bite to eat and it was fun getting to visit together and hear stories from my Granny!

Monthly Moral
I’m learning that I can’t do everything and sometimes you will get a harsh reminder of that. I’m learning that I need to take time to rest. I’m learning that I need to give myself grace. I’m learning that I need to trust God and let go of trying to make everything happen in my time-table. I’m not there yet, but I’m learning.

How was your April? What are you looking forward to in May?

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Monthly Recap – March

Whew! March was jam packed! I feel very accomplished and I’m proud to say that I got a lot done, but I’m looking forward to a less busy month. 🙂 Once again, I’m linking up with The Lady Okie and her Project 12 posts. Find how my March panned out below:

30 for 30 Progress: As I mentioned in my previous Monthly Recaps, SpringNightthere are a few items on my 30 for 30 List that I will be working on throughout the year. I made headway on a few projects this month and I’m excited to see more of my list completed! I made progress on making our office more functional (#3), I got my 401k paperwork finally taken care of (#16), I finally got a cleaning schedule nailed down (#22), and we got Pepper enrolled in training (#21)! I also started a Spoonflower Shop and entered my first contest. Even though I didn’t win, it was fun to design something based around a challenge and to be part of a creative community again. I also had two sales during the month of March! I’m hoping to add more designs to my shop in the future.
150316-MM-Day16My biggest 30 for 30 List accomplishment this month was tackling the 31 Day Purge Project from A Bowl Full of Lemons. I adapted the Spending Freeze idea from Living Well, Spending Less and incorporated it into our March project, creating my own March Makeover. It was a challenge, but it feels so good to have a decluttered and organized home! It was also really eye-opening to see how we could get through a month without having to spend money on everything. It allowed us to focus on saving and helped us stay on the same page financially! You can find out how the project went by clicking here and looking up the hashtag #MarchMakeover15PO on Instagram.

Books Read: I am so behind, it’s not even funny! No reading was done in the midst of all the productivity…

Fitness: As of this post, I’ve lost 8 pounds since I started my fitness plan in February! (YAY!) I am starting to see a noticeable difference in how my clothes fit and what I see in the mirror, plus I have more energy. It’s not as noticeable to others at this point, but it’s encouraging to see a difference. I created a separate page to track my progress here.
FitbitI also got a Fitbit! It’s been motivating to try and get all of my steps in, to track my quality of sleep, and to see that just by being more active in the day, I’m burning calories! And before you think that this Fitbit was going outside of our Spending Freeze, I was able to get a very good deal, we discussed it, and we decided it would be a good purchase!
My Fitbit syncs with both MyFitnessPal and GymPact. I’ve mentioned MyFitnessPal before in previous fitness posts, but I’ve started using GymPact which is an app that lets you earn money for working out and logging your food. I mentioned GymPact in my most recent fitness update. You can link the app with your other fitness apps and devices and set goals for yourself. When you complete or meet your goals (your pact) for the week, you earn cash that can be transferred to your PayPal account. If you miss a workout or don’t complete your pact, you have to pay. Needless to say, that’s pretty motivating to stay on track. I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks and have earned nearly $5. I know that’s not much, but it’s better than nothing and better than paying $5 for a missed workout!

Travel: No trips this month. 😦

Watched: Ever since Friends came on Netflix in January, we’ve been watching it non-stop. We finally finished the series! It was bittersweet, but it was fun and I have a feeling it will be another show for us, like the Office, that we just watch over and over again…
150325-MM-Day25We also had a movie night at home as a family and enjoyed watching Mockingjay. Jonathan and I both agree that it’s the best movie in the series so far. We were in suspense the whole time we watched it in theaters and it was just as enjoyable at home, along with all the behind the scenes footage.
My sister and I are huge fans of Pretty Little Liars, so when the season finale aired this month, we were glued to the TV. While I know a lot of PLL fans were disappointed with the season finale (no spoilers here), personally I thought that it was one of if not the best episode of the show to date! There were answers but also so many more questions and I can’t wait to see how they answer them in the upcoming season! Any other PLL fans out there?

Listened: I discovered two excellent podcasts this month! The Accidental Creative is really good and though provoking for professional creatives. But it’s also applicable to others in cop orate careers. My favorite episode for the month was “The Power of a Morning Ritual.” I was encouraged to establish a more consistent morning routine and hopefully I’ll be able to implement one soon.
The other podcast is great for when you need a laugh… Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids is hilarious! Based out of Canada, they hold open mic nights and encourage adults to bring their diaries, journals, letters, etc. from when they were kids. Some of the entries are adorable, most are really funny, some are deeper than they originally appear. Overall, it’s always a fun listen.

Family Moments: We survived a few little earthquakes (one big one that jolted both Pepper and I) and our first tornado of the season. We were only in the tornado warning zone, but it still makes me a bit anxious, so I was thankful that hubby was home at the time. Pepper slept through the entire thing…
We got Pepper enrolled in training this month! So far, she’s the only one in her class due to a schedule mix up, but she’s learning and catching on. She loves going to “school” as we like to call it and gets so excited when we drive up to the building. We’re working on loose leash walking, sit, wait, leave it, etc. The loose leash walking is the most challenging, but I’m glad we’re seeing a little progress there. It gives me some hope that in addition to being the sweet puppy she is, she can be an obedient puppy too. 😉

This Made My Day: I finished up my first sketchbook for the year! If you follow me on Instagram, you can see me post a daily sketch and since we’re almost 100 days into the year, I ran out of paper in my first sketchbook and had to start a new one! It’s been really neat to go back through and look at the sketches I made at the start of the year. I can’t wait to look through all of them at the end of the year and see how my style and technique has progressed!

Monthly Moral: With the March Makeover, I learned a lot about “stuff” and how much of it we don’t really need. I found so many things that were just that, “things” and were taking up space both physically and mentally. I had to work on letting go of things that I no longer needed and really didn’t serve a purpose anymore. I was reminded of how much of a sentimental pack rat I am. But once I started seeing the extra space that was starting to be created and realizing what I actually used, I was able to let go a lot easier and feel like I could breathe! I think I’m going to have to purge clutter periodically from our home and from my life.
I also realized that we can live on less. I went grocery and general shopping once. That’s ONE Target trip for the month! But we made it and we weren’t deprived or in desperate need for anything, plus we were able to save the extra money we would have spent frivolously. I don’t think we should try to live in a Spending Freeze all the time, but it honestly doesn’t hurt to do it every once in a while.

I’m excited to see what April has in store! How was your March?

Fitness Update! | 6lbs

PurseGoal

Just wanted to make a quick update on my fitness progress. I’ve lost 6 pounds so far!

I’ve made a new page to help track the progress on my handbag budget, so I’ll be updating that as I continue to shed the pounds.

Overall, not much has changed in my workout routine other than I’ve been using my stationary bike more often for my cardio, since it’s a little more forgiving on my knees than my elliptical. I’ve also been walking Pepper more with the weather being warmer. I’m really looking forward to her learning how to walk with a loose leash though, instead of literally dragging me through the neighborhood. Just today, she did what I was worried might happen; she pulled so hard on her leash that I fell flat on my face and busted up my knees and hands a bit. We cut the walk short today, but we’ll get back out there and work on heeling (and healing)…hopefully.

With our Spending Freeze this month, I’ve noticed that our eating has been a little healthier. We’re trying to eat up what we have before we go shopping. So far, we’ve only eaten out twice this month and I noticed after the second time that my stomach didn’t feel so great after fried food. So I think my body is adapting to healthier options and it’s becoming less appealing to just go through a drive-thru.

I need to up my water intake. Unfortunately, I feel like that’s the only area that’s really backslid this month. I’m averaging about 4 cups of water a day instead of 16 like I’ve been shooting for, so I’m going to try to be a little better about that.

GymPact AppI discovered another app to help with fitness motivation. It’s called GymPact and it actually pays you cash to workout. It syncs up with other fitness apps like MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness to log your food and workouts. GymPact allows you to set the amount of days you want to workout or log your food and then once you’ve met that goal, they pay you. If you miss a workout or a food login, you have to pay in. The app links with your PayPal account or bank account and offers breaks in your pact should you get sick, get injured, or go on vacation, etc. So basically, the people that don’t follow through on their goals pay in and in turn, the people who succeed get rewarded! I just recently started using that app and am still working on my first pact, but I’ll keep you posted on whether I keep using this app or not. So far, it’s definitely upped the motivation to workout!

So, some progress made, but there’s more to go! 🙂
Do you have a favorite fitness app or favorite exercise?

February Favorites!

No, I didn’t forget about my favorites post for February… I know this favorites post is a little late (now that we’re halfway through March!), but with my March Makeover, I’ve been so busy! Even though February was a short month, I found a few favorites that I enjoyed throughout the month… So, better late than never, here we go!

Products

2015-03-10 12.17.27So when I go grocery shopping, I like to carry my coupons that I plan on using with me for reference. It used to be a hassle trying to juggle all these pieces of paper, my phone, and picking out items in the store, but I finally found something to help keep all my coupons together! I found these great giant paper clips at Target in the office supplies. I love Nate Berkus’ products and these look classic, but also work well for keeping everything together! It’s the simple things, but I love these…

Beauty

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.43.26 AMLately, I’ve been loving several beauty products! First off, I lucked out with scoring samples of Benefit’s Roller Lash mascara at both Ulta and Sephora. I saw several beauty bloggers reviewing this mascara before it came out and I was really curious about it because it’s supposed to curl your lashes and keep them curled longer. My lashes will curl for about a minute before they start straightening out again, so I was really intrigued to try it. And I have to say, besides one other high end mascara I’ve tried, this has been the only mascara to hold a curl all day! I’m still not sure I want to shell out $24 for a tube right now, but it’s nice to know that my lashes will cooperate with a mascara for once! Right now, I’m using the Roller Lash as my first coat of mascara to hold the curl and add length. Then I apply a second coat with the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara that I mentioned in my January’s Favorites.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.48.24 AMSpeaking of eyelashes, I received a new eyelash curler in my Ipsy Bag and it has made a noticeable difference in my eyes looking more bright, open, and awake! The Emite Make Up Professional Eye Lash Curler is amazing. It gets in so close to your lash line and presses the curl into your lash without creating an awkward dent. Even when I’ve not used the Roller Lash mascara, my lashes have look more curled. I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t received this curler in my Ipsy Bag, I don’t think I would spend $25 right now on an eyelash curler, but it IS a quality beauty tool, so I still think it would be a good investment in your beauty tool collection.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.54.06 AMAnother beauty product I’ve been loving is the new L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation. I tend to have oily to combination skin that is sometimes a challenge to keep from looking too shiny throughout the day. I saw this foundation and had heard some good reviews on it, so with coupon in hand, I decided to give it a go. This foundation is awesome! It applies beautifully and smoothly, it goes on matter but isn’t cakey and my skin doesn’t get shiny. A bonus is that this line provides a light fair color that matches my skin tone perfectly. Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.53.56 AMSo for all you fair skinned ladies out there, this foundation might be for you! If you like to set your liquid foundation with powder like I do, I highly recommend using the L’Oreal Infallible Makeup Extender Setting Spray with this foundation to keep it in place and help set the foundation and powder together. The setting spray is half the price of Urban Decay’s All-Nighter or De-Slick (both great settings sprays, by the way, but a little expensive fore everyday use in my opinion), so it’s a great everyday option for your budget!

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.01.37 AMWith the new pro-matte foundation I’ve been using, I’ve started applying my foundation with the Precision Blending Sponge from the Grab ‘n Go section of Ulta. I wasn’t able to find it on Ulta’s website, but Amazon has it listed on their site. However, at Ulta, the sponge is half the price than what Amazon listed. I know that there are other blending sponges out there, but I tried this one since it was way cheaper than the popular, yet expensive, Beauty Blender and I’d never used a blending sponge in my routine. I don’t think I’ll go back to applying my foundation any other way! Using a damp blending sponge to apply my foundation has minimized the amount of foundation I have to use and gives my face a more smooth and flawless look. I’ve also noticed that it helps my makeup stay on longer than before. I’m hoping to try a few other blending sponges (this one is my next one to try) to find one that is reasonably priced but also made out of a quality material that will hold up well through cleanings. Regardless, I’m sticking with blending sponges for my routine from now on!

Entertainment & Technology

I tend to binge watch a lot of TV on Netlfix and Hulu, but lately I’ve been watching YouTube more often than TV. I’ve always loved YouTube and my subscription list is pretty long, but during February, I found myself watching a few channels more often than others:

TheKitchyKitchen – I recently discovered Claire’s channel and just couldn’t stop watching her videos once I found her. Her videos are so inspiring and refreshing. She has a lot of fun and simple recipes that are so sophisticated. Her dishes look like they would be challenging, but they are so easy and take hardly any time to make! Most of her recipes are pretty healthy too. It makes me want to bust out my mixer and start baking and throwing dinner parties. The design and editing style for her videos are very professional and it’s like watching a magazine. I absolutely love her channel! Her website is pretty neat too!

GlamLifeGuru – I have been watching Tati’s channel for a couple of years now and I love her reviews and tutorials! She shows a wide range of beauty products from high end to drugstore makeup products, but she also focuses on getting the best deal for your dollar. What I love about her channel is that she is so genuine with wanting to show her subscribers what they really want to see and goes the extra mile to answer their questions. She has a very down to earth personality that is so fun, it feels like you’re just hanging out with your friend and talking about your favorite things. She recently launched an app that allows her subscribers to interact with her and each other. She’s simply lovely and I look forward to watching her weekly videos!

PrettySparklyShiny – Kristina’s channel just makes my day every time I watch one of her videos. I feel like I can relate to her tastes and interests in a lot of ways. She does a lot of makeup videos, but she also does reviews on technology, designer handbags, and planners on her blog as well. Her vlogs are so fun to watch, since you get to follow her all over Houston and enjoy her weekends with her. She has a really positive and optimistic style to her videos while still keeping’ it real, if you know what I mean.

Clothing

Ok, prepare yourself, we’re about to get personal here. But ladies, this really is a crucial part of working out. Having the proper clothing can make a big difference in your confidence to work out and also at times, motivate you to workout. I find that when I’m wearing clothes that make me feel good, I feel better about working out, because I don’t feel frumpy. So, I discovered a new sports bra that I love. Typically, when you work out, there’s the standard sports bra you can wear…which can sometimes be a hassle to put on or take off and can discourage you from working out. At least, that’s how it’s always been for me. I decided I needed to invest in something that would make me feel feminine, be comfortable, and still support me. I discovered Victoria’s Secret Sports bras. They provide the perfect amount of support, comfort, and they make you look cute while you workout. They also offer different kinds of fits and closures which can make it way easier to wear. Yes, they are a bit more expensive than a standard sports bra, but if you’re signed up on their mailing and email lists, they send out coupons and have sales running all the time! I don’t think I’ll ever go back to another kind of workout gear. 🙂

Food

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.08.31 AMDespite focusing on my health goals in February, I did have a few favorite treats that hit the spot! Justin’s peanut butter cups are better than Reese’s in my opinion. I usually will keep a pack in my purse in case I need a little bit of protein or just a snack. My favorite are the dark chocolate cups! They’re organic and they taste so good.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.09.23 AMAnother chocolate favorite is Hershey’s chocolate spread (can you see the chocolate theme?). Since it was Valentine’s Day in February, I enjoyed some chocolate strawberries with this chocolate spread. I seriously could eat it with a spoon right out of the container, but I try to reserve it just for strawberries. 😉

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.10.28 AMI’ve given up soda with my new fitness plan and so instead, I’ve been drinking a lot of water and juice. I discovered Disani sparkling water and it has just a hint of flavor and carbonation. So, when I’m craving a soda, instead, I can mix some of the Disani sparkling water with some juice and get a healthy soda substitute. Plus, the sparkling water is good on it’s own, so when I’m enjoying a meal that I’d usually pair with a soda, I just get a sparkling water instead.

So before March is over, what have you been loving in February? Who do you watch on YouTube? What’s been your favorite snack or most motivating workout gear?

Monthly Recap – February

I don’t know about you, but for being a short month, February felt incredibly long to me. I’m glad to be in March, finally! But February wasn’t miserable or a horrible month at all, it was just full. By the way, I’m linking up with The Lady Okie again this month, check out her Project 12 posts!

30 for 30 Progress: Like I mentioned in my January Recap, there are a few items on my 30 for 30 List that I will be doing year round. You can see all my sketches on my Instagram. I had a mini love theme during February!
We made some progress on #11 (Paint remaining rooms in house) on my list. We painted our bonus room! You can check out that post, here.
I’ve also made some progress on #1 (Get healthy!) but you can read more about that below in the Fitness section.

Books Read: I started reading 3 books this month. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish any of them yet, but I’m enjoying reading them. This month took over my time and I’m really going to have to be intentional to carve out time to read more in March! I need to hurry, I’m getting behind. 😦

Fitness: So this month, I started my fitness goals! You can read my plan in my February is for Fitness postPurseGoal. As of now, I’ve already lost 4 pounds! I feel a lot better, I feel like I have more energy, my skin has cleared up, I have fewer headaches, and I’m already noticing a few areas starting to slim down. I see it, but it’s not drastically noticeable…yet! 😉 It was pretty rough the first three weeks, to be honest. I didn’t realize just how much I was used to eating in a day. I still hate counting calories, but I’m beginning to enjoy working out. The only thing that annoys me is how much time working out requires from my day. But I’m pressing on. I’m hoping to make more progress in March!

Travel: This month I went to Duncan, Oklahoma to visit family! We made it a girl’s trip and we had a lot of fun. I went down with my Granny and my Mom to visit my mother-in-law and my husband’s grandmother. We enjoyed eating lunch at Cracker Barrel on the way down and had some great conversations during the long drive! It was so encouraging and fun catching up with family and hearing our grandmothers share about how God has lead and taught them in life. I am so blessed to have such godly women in my family to look up to and learn from. My husband’s family is such a blessing, I never expected to love my in laws as much I do. They feel like family I’ve had all my life and an extension of my immediate family. I’m looking forward to when we can make another trip down to visit!

Watched: I watched the Oscars this year! 150222-Oscars3Pepper and I had our own little Oscar party at home, while I was working on various home projects. Overall, I wasn’t too amazed or surprised by anything and there were a few moments that I could have done without, honestly. I always love looking at the beautiful dresses and gowns the ladies wear and the award title designs (the stylized animation or graphic displayed to represent the movie when they’re listing off the nominees) were really well done this year! But my absolute FAVORITE moment was when Lady Gaga sang a medley from The Sound of Music. I grew up on The Sound of Music and watched it over and over and over as a kid. I adore that movie! And the icing on the cake was to see the lovely Julie Andrews join Lady Gaga on stage after her performance and present the next award. I wanted to rewind and watch that whole segment over again. It was so good!

Listened: I’ve been listening to various podcasts when I walk Pepper and that helps the time go by a little quicker. Other than that, I’ve not really listened to anything new this month.

Family Moments: Since it was Valentine season this month, I decided to do something a little different. I gave Jonathan a little surprise Valentine of his favorite treats with a little note on the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.

The first few days, he seemed surprised, but then he started catching on that this was a daily thing and I had to find creative places to leave his treats. I learned my lesson on one spot though. I know now to not leave anything under his pillow. He must have too firm of a pillow, because I had to show him that there was an entire box of Cheez-Its under his head… But he enjoyed all the little notes and treats.

Jonathan gave me chocolate and half a dozen roses!

Jonathan gave me chocolate and half a dozen roses!

Since he had to work on Valentine’s Day, we ended up celebrating our Valentine’s Day date on his next day off, the following Monday. We had a few gift cards from Christmas and we used them to eat at Macaroni Grill. It was so fun and nice to get dressed up and go out on a date (for mostly free!). We came home, relaxed on the couch, and had fresh strawberries with chocolate and champagne we had left over from New Years. (We ended up having a few bottles left over from our New Year’s party, so now we have something nice to enjoy for a few special occasions throughout this year.) 🙂
Pepper had a big moment this month! Normally, when we run out for errands or to go somewhere, 2015-02-26 16.55.48we put her in her crate with some toys and treats. But we let her stay out in the living room for a few short errands and she did so well! We’ve been wanting to eventually get her to this point so she’s not cooped up the whole time. For the most part, she’s done pretty well this month, however there was one time I came home to find our couch with some stuffing ripped out. We’re realizing that she’s showing signs of separation anxiety, so we’re trying to work on that with her. I’m looking forward to her training sessions that will begin in March!

This Made My Day: I got my hair done this month! (I always forget to take a picture, arg!) For the last year, I’ve been sporting red hair and I love it! Even though I’m naturally a brunette, I feel more like myself with red hair. I absolutely love going to my stylist, Madi. Every time she does my hair, I leave the salon feeling amazing! My stylist is able to get the most beautiful red tones in my hair every time. She’s awesome! If you live in the OKC area and are looking for an great stylist, you should check her out here.

Monthly Moral: With starting my fitness plan, I’ve realized that I am a sprinter (figuratively speaking) and not a long distance or cross country person. In other words, I can jump on an idea or a project and give it all of my energy and interest up front, but when time goes on and you have to keep going, I loose steam. This is what happened around the third week into counting my calories and working out this month. When it gets hard and it has to become mind over matter for me. I’m realizing that I need to develop more patience and perseverance. 😉

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens this March!
How was your February?

Fitness Update! | 3lbs

PurseGoalThe purse has made some progress! With my new fitness plan, I’ve lost 3 pounds so far! Honestly, it’s been a challenging 3 weeks. But I am feeling a lot better, my skin has cleared up, I’m feeling my muscles tighten, and I have more energy. No drastic weight loss, yet, but it’s encouraging to see the number on the scale decrease instead of increase! My self discipline has been going head to head with my sweet tooth 2015-02-14 10.32.40-1(Valentine’s Day chocolate and Girl Scout cookies have been strong temptations), but trying to stay within my calorie goal and making the most of what I can eat has been gradually beating my cravings. I’ve been trying to savor the treats and load up on the nutritious foods. I’ve also been trying to put in some practical stops for my cravings, like drinking water when I think I’m munchy and trying to not eat anything after 10pm. The 10pm one is one of the most challenging for me, since my hubby gets off work in the middle of the night and usually enjoys a snack as he relaxes before bed. In the past, I would usually enjoy some ice cream or something with him, but I’ve been drinking water instead.

The progress feels slow right now, but it’s better than nothing! I’m already doing more than I used to and having to log my calories has made me aware of how much I’ve been used to eating. I’m having to get used to eating less, but I also realize that I don’t need as much food as I’ve been used to. Our grocery bill was less this past week and our fridge and pantry have stayed full longer, thanks to not munching mindlessly.

2015-02-18 17.11.46-1Pepper has been my exercise buddy this month! We’ve been trying to take advantage of nice weather when we have it and go on walks. Eventually, after we get her into some training this next month, hopefully she’ll be better with loose leash walking and not drag me in a zig zag pattern all over the neighborhood. She’s definitely getting a workout and has built up her muscle!

Three weeks in and progress has been made, but I still have more to go. I’m looking forward to seeing more progress next month!