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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Don't Forget!

Short and sweet today.

Join Ally and I's linkup tomorrow.  We want to know your Favorite Things for May!  For more info, click on my Favorite Things tab.

The linkup opens at 7:00 AM eastern time.



Monday, April 28, 2014

Back At It

Hey all!  Happy Monday.  This is going to be a great week.

I have one of my besties and her fiance coming to visit this week, and I can't wait!  They're going to sleep in our newly furnished (kind of) guest room.  I'll be posting pictures of what I've done so far in the next few days.

So, yesterday, I signed up for the Peoria Race for the Cure.  (Anyone else doing this?)  George is doing it, so I figured, "why not?"  It's for a good cause, and George deals with breast cancer patients on an almost daily basis.  If I totally bomb it, at least I donated some money towards breast cancer research, right?

I'm DEFINITELY not expecting a PR.  I've actually only run less than 15 times since my marathon, and let me tell you... if you don't use it, you LOSE it.  I kind of feel like I'm starting back at square one.  Really, I'm having a rough time of it.  The only thing that is helpful for me is to look back at where I was at this time last year.


I've done a few track workouts with George, and I really despise them.  For me, speed work kind of takes the fun out of running.  Not only am I huffing and puffing, I'm running in a circle and getting lapped by my husband.

*Bragging: He runs 400's in 70 seconds with jogging laps in between, no stopping. #beastmode

Just looking at this makes me bored
Again, I know that I'm definitely not going to PR for this 5k, but it might help me get back into the swing of things and get me fired up to keep on running.  I'm still trying to figure out if I have a goal time in mind or not.  Maybe I do....and maybe I'm too nervous to share it..... haha


Also, I just wanted to give a shout out to all of my new readers and followers out there.  I wrote this post a while ago explaining what this blog is all about. Mostly a little bit about our new house, running, bargain shopping, and recipes that are nearly impossible to F up.

I do a linkup every month called "Favorite Things."  I'm a wannabe Oprah, and I enjoy sharing some awesome products that I've discovered or have been using often.  Check out my Favorite Things tab up top for more info.

The next linkup will be on THURSDAY, MAY 1st.  All the cool kids are doing it.  You know you want to.  Don't worry, I'll be reminding you again.

That's all for now.  I'm off to figure out how to run 3.1 miles without losing my lunch...

Friday, April 25, 2014

$50 Target Gift Card

Hey all,

Real quick, make sure to stop over (HERE) at Holly's page for a chance to win a $50 Target gift card.  The giveaway is still going on for 2 more days and doesn't cost a thing.
If you already follow me, that's an easy entry... also, check out some of the other sponsors.

Happy Friday!!!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

George Day

Hey all!  Happy George day! (More to come on that later)



First of all, I'd like to address all of the comments and emails from yesterday's post.  I think it stirred up a good amount of conversation and was pretty thought provoking.  There's a lot in that post that still isn't 100% perfect.  Maybe I'll rewrite/correct things later, but for now, I think I mostly got my point across.


Anyways, back to George day... actually, it's not George Day as much as it is George's name day.  In Greece, and many other European countries, you celebrate the day of the year associated with the saint that shares your given name.  Most of the time, you have some sort of celebration or family gathering to celebrate those in the family with that name.

Want to see if you've been missing out on your name day?  Check this link to see if your name is on the Greek name day calendar.

George owned at least five 3 piece suits by the time he was out of diapers.  The Greeks dressed their babies like pimps.
Which brings me to my next point.  People ALWAYS, and I mean.... always.... ask me about the whole Greek naming thing.  In Greek culture, you name your kids, typically, after their grandparents.  That's why George has a ton of cousins either named George or Georgia.

I'm still not 100% sure how I feel about this.  I love the idea of carrying on a tradition and making my future child's name meaningful. It's pretty cool to know that the tradition has been carried on for many generations before.   At the same time, I don't like only being able to choose from only a few names.  Naming your kid is supposed to be fun and a personal choice, and a little bit of that is taken away when you stick with tradition.


George and I will be keeping it fairly low-key for his name day.  He has a fairly busy patient load today, so I'm going to just cook dinner at home.  Most likely, I'll make something I've made before.  I'd hate to have a Pinterest fail meal on a holiday. :)

Happy Name Day, George! χρόνια πολλά! I love you!

 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Facade

Alright guys, this is going to be a long ramble, so bear with me...

The other day I was speed walking through the mall, trying to run my errands as quickly as possible, and something stopped me.  A giant butt picture. Not only was this butt wearing a thong and 8 feet tall, but it had some 2 foot tall, shallow but noticeable, stretch marks.  Whaaaattt???

This was in the window of Aerie, American Eagle's lingerie store, and is a part of their new campaign to ditch airbrushing and show real pictures.  How refreshing, right?  All of their pictures in the store and on their website aren't retouched and show models with a variety of shapes and sizes.  I don't know about you, but seeing a giant picture of a real butt, and not an airbrushed, unattainable butt...makes me want to support them and buy their product.

A different photo on Aerie.com
Anyways... what I'm trying to say is: Real is refreshing!

I (along with a TON of other blog readers) read Elle Noel's post a few days ago about "Transformation Tuesday."  If you missed it, catch yourself up here.  I couldn't agree with her more, and this inspired me to write today's post.


Let's get real people and ditch the facade.  I mean, really.  This whole, "here is my perfect life" thing on social media is getting old.  Staging your pictures, airbrushing your selfies, editing the picture you took of your dog.  Why are we all trying to be so perfect?

I understand that if you're going to share your life on social media, you would prefer it be the better moments.  But, when you're taking a picture of a new brand of juice that you just discovered, and you want to share its awesomeness, but you pour it out into a mason jar, add a beautiful special ordered paper straw, arrange a vase of fresh flowers, put it on your perfectly organized countertop with the sunlight shining in, and throw in your Mercedes key fob for good measure....

....I'm giving you a giant eye roll.  That is not your real life, and IF that is your real life, you have too much time on your hands.

I guess the same thing goes for all of the gym stuff.  I think there's a fine line between being inspiring and being obnoxious.  While I'm just laying it all out there, I'm going to be honest.  Sometimes I feel like posting every single workout with a picture included is bragging by saying, "Hey, look at me... look at these abs...don't I look good? I have so much determination.  I'm pretty awesome."  Am I alone in this? Shouldn't your progress speak for itself? Does saying this make me a #hater?


I know what you're thinking, if you don't like it, don't read it.
Agreed, 100%.
But, I don't want to "unfriend" or stop following someone who I legitimately like because they're annoying.  I feel like I have to give them another chance. Maybe they just need some more confidence, and this is their way of asking for encouragement?

I do enjoy reading about people's progress.  The first person that comes to mind is Brandi from Mama Laughlin.  I came across her blog on Pinterest about a year ago, and seeing her post pictures of her Garmin times and mileage so honestly was really inspiring.  She posted the good and the bad, and it was very approachable and real.


Again, I know that this is a rambling, get it off my chest, post.  I guess the whole point is to just say, lets start being a little more real. Maybe we shouldn't waste so much time trying to appear perfect, and use that time to do something productive.

AmIRight?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Greek Quinoa Burgers

Hey all!  Happy Monday!  Thank GOD the weather is staring to warm up.  I've been such a slacker on running lately, but this gorgeous weather has inspired me to get back to it.

But anyways, I talked last week about getting my sh*t together as far as being more organized, and so far, it has worked out really well.  I planned for 3 meals, bought all of my groceries on Monday, and tackled the rest of my list the following days.  Having it all laid out in front of me helped tremendously.

One of the things I made last week were these delicious Greek Quinoa Burgers. I found the recipe here. If you like falafel, you will definitely love these.  I wouldn't necessarily say that this recipe is "easy," but it's honestly hard to mess up.... and that's a lot coming from me.  I'm trying to slow my roll on meat, so this is an awesome choice for "Meatless Mondays."

Here is what you need:


Prep Work:

In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil; add quiona, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook 
until liquid is absorbed, 12 to 14 minutes; set aside.




In a food processor, pulse carrot until finely chopped. Add cooked quinoa, half the scallions, beans, breadcrumbs, egg, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; pulse until combined but still slightly chunky.



Next, make your yogurt sauce and slice your cucumbers. 

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, and the remaining scallions; season with salt and pepper. Slice your cucumber in half, then make long slices that will fit well inside the pita.

Now, cover your patty mixture in some cling wrap and throw it in the fridge.  Let it chill for about 15 minutes or longer.  The longer you let it cool, the easier it is to form the patties.

Cooking:

Form mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties (dip hands in water to prevent sticking). In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium; cook burgers until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes per side. These patties still need another 5 minutes or so.


Plating/Garnishing:

Throw your burger, cucumber (and optional lettuce) in a pita and coat with delicious yogurt sauce.  Your end product should look something like this.



That's all for now!  Let me know if you try them, and if you made any changes.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Getting It Together

Happy hump day blog land.  I actually had to look at my calendar to see what day it was.  This whole not having a job thing really makes you lose track of what day it is.  Ridiculous...

Anyways, today I'm going to talk about getting my shit together.  For the past few weeks, I've been unpacking, answering the door and being interrupted by the countless deliverers, service men, and construction people, all while trying to develop a routine.  Now that most of that stuff is kind of calming down, I'm ready to get it together.

This week I started a "list."  Now, George is always telling me that my to do list should be electronic, so I'll always have it, it's editable, and you can share it.  While this makes a ton of sense, it's just not how I work.  I need a physical piece of paper. (Pretty paper makes it better).

My goal is to do a list for each week with what I need to complete for the week.  Here is this week's list.


I found this free printable from I Heart Organizing here... and yes, unpack alcohol is one of the items on my to do list. (Already done).

Next up, the running.  Oh dear have I been slacking on the running.  It's bad, like real bad.  After my marathon it took me a solid month to recover.  When that recovery time was up, it was -10 outside.  Then, I got busy with the move, so here I am. On April 9th, and I've run less than 30 miles for the entire year.  Yikes.

Well, I'm going to slowly but surely, ease back into it.  There is an AWESOME trail exactly 0.4 miles from my front door to the trail head. This trail goes on for 26 miles, so you have plenty to run on.


I'm making a point to get out and take Gracie for a nice long walk or run every day.  I would like to get my butt in shape to do a 5k or two in the summer, and maybe something longer in the fall.  I'm sitting the marathon out this year.

Lastly, I'm meal planning.  I'm picking at least 3 dinners and buying all of the ingredients on Sunday or Monday.  Going to the store every time I want to make a meal is a real drag and discourages me from cooking.  For this week, I planned barley and lentil curry soup, crock pot chicken fajitas, and Greek quinoa burgers.

The lentil soup was a recipe from Real Simple magazine, and it sucked.  The lentils and barley ended up soaking up all of the liquid, and it turned into just a bowl of lentils and barley.  If you happen to run across it on Pinterest, skip it.

Epic Fail Soup
Maybe it's the spring time that makes me feel like I need to be productive, or maybe it's just the fact that I need to get it together. :)

Do you have any goals for the upcoming weeks?

Friday, April 4, 2014

When It Rains....

Woof!  It has been an interesting week to say the least.  While I've gotten a lot done, I've also had some pretty bad luck.

First of all, I woke up looking like THIS on Tuesday.

Yes, I just put this on the internet...

It seems like I had some sort of weird allergic reaction to some oral antibiotics I was on for acne prevention.  Anyways, I developed a double chin and quoted Fat Bastard all day. My chins actually jiggled when I walked.  I felt really beautiful.

 I'm still a little swollen, but nothing terrible.  A quick round of steroids should get me back to normal in no time.



Next, one of my Favorite Things for April, the Shark Vac then Steam, BROKE.  Are you freaking kidding me?

It seems like the pumping mechanism that pumps the water through to the mop head stopped working.  Water started spurting out the back.  George and I tried to take it apart and clean out the tubing, but we couldn't get it fixed.  So, now I'm looking for suggestions for new steam mops..anyone?

RIP Steam Vac... It's been real ( Gracie has to be in any picture)


Finally, yesterday morning and afternoon, the midwest got a big soaking rain.  We got about 3.5 inches pretty quickly.  Well, the our yard and paving isn't done.  They can't do it until the ground is thawed and dried.  It has thawed, but it's a muddy mess.  Anyways, water collected right up against our house and water came through an unsealed pipe and started LEAKING in the basement.  Another WTF...

It was fixed almost immediately by our builder, but a puddle in the unfinished area of your basement isn't something you ever want to see.


The silver lining of this all?  George was actually off this week, so he was able to help me with all of this.  AND bad things happen in 3's right? So it can only get better from here?

That's all I have for now, I'm going to stuff my face and yell at something (ya know, cuz of the steroids). Haha just kidding, except the first part.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Favorite Things


Hey all! It's April, and that means...April Favorite Things.  Seriously though, where did March go?  Maybe it was because of all the moving craziness, but I can't believe it's April already.  As you'll notice, many of the things I'm loving this month have to do with cleaning and organizing.  Spring cleaning, here we come!

1.) Target Dollar Baskets- Find Similar Ones Here

As I've been unpacking, I've been trying to organize as I go.  There are cute little baskets at Target in the dollar section (they look similar to this one).  They aren't the sturdiest, but they're perfect for odds and ends.  I stocked up...big time.

2.) Nutella Single Servings- Buy it here

I rarely eat Nutella because I have no self control.  I will eat half the jar. Really, it's sad.  These little individual packets are perfect.  It's just enough to eat with pretzels, and it gives you your fix.  When you're done, you're done...unless you sneak into the pantry to get another one.

3.) Girls- Watch It Here

I've heard so much about this show, and I finally decided to check it out a few weeks ago.  Now, I am HOOKED.  I've heard some people compare it to Sex and the City, and there are certainly some similarities.  This show is much different.  I think I like it because the characters are all my age, and I can certainly relate to some of the problems they face.  I will say that this show is for adults only.  Make sure your kids are in a deeeep sleep before you turn this on.  

*Mom- I'm talking to you.  Do NOT watch this show.  You will be appalled. Love you!

4.) Method Laundry Detergent- buy it here

How have I not discovered this stuff sooner?  I mean really.  I'm a total Method cleaning product addict.  I'm sure you'll see more of their stuff in my future favorite things, but this detergent takes the cake.  The packaging is genius.  It's a concentrated detergent, and you just pump it into the detergent compartment, and you're done!  4 pumps = 1 load.  No sticky dripping, no detergent cups... it's amazing.

5.) Shark Vac Steam- buy it here

I got this as a Christmas gift a while back, and now that I have allll of this hardwood in the new place, I love it even more.  Swiffers are great, but they don't pick up crumbs and dust.  This is a vacuum for hard surfaces, then has a click on mop head, so you can steam clean after. I like that there are no chemicals and the steam heats up the messes, so they come off easily. 

6.) Microfiber Towels- buy it here

Microfiber  towels were one of the first items that I bought when we moved in.  I used to primarily use paper towels for cleaning, but these microfiber ones are so much better!  They are washable, so definitely more green, and they're great for picking up hair and dust.  

7.) City Color Be Matte Blush in Fresh Melon- buy it here

I first got this blush in my Ipsy box a few months ago.  It reminds me a lot of Melba from MAC, but not so brown.  It's the perfect blush for spring, and is really pigmented.  I also like that there isn't a whole lot of sheen, so you don't look like you're glowing (in a bad way).

8.) Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturizer- buy it here

I've always been a Cetaphil girl, but I feel like my face gets a little too oily as the weather warms up.  I'm loving this Neutrogena moisturizer.  It keeps dry skin away, but you also don't feel like you're smothering your face.  They make it in a ton of different formulations, but I use the one for sensitive skin and I love it.


Alright, that's all I have for now.  Now, it's your turn to link up! It is open all week.  Make sure to check out my guest co-host Ally, from Life As I Know It, here.