Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Goals for the New Year

Happy New Year! Time to set some goals for 2012. I didn't do this last year, because it just seemed so cliche. However, I decided that I would like to set some goals this year, so that I can re-visit them through out the year. I'm hoping this goal setting will help me keep on track with certain things and motivate me to finish some projects I've stalled on. So here it goes.

1. Post on both of my blogs at least once a week
I still haven't finished posting pictures from my vacation in June. I figure if I am going to have these blogs, I should probably post with some consistency. I've already posted on my classroom blog, so I'm off to a good start.
2. Finish one of my writing projects
I love to write. I have three unfinished writing projects. I am determined to finish something.
3. Exercise at least 3 times a week
I used to exercise every day. I also used to be forty pounds lighter and had a lot more stamina. I miss those days. I decided to set my goal at 3 times a week because it doesn't sound as overwhelming as 7 days a week. This means I am much more likely to follow through with it.
4. Sew decorative pillows for my bedroom
I have been wanting to do this for months. Now let me be clear on the fact that I am not very good at sewing. Pillows are the one thing I can sew that end up looking decent. I figured that I would add this to my goals, so that I would be more likely to get it done.
5. Finish the scrapbooks that I've started
I have 3 scrapbooks that I started making to give as gifts(this does not include the personal scrapbooks that I also have not finished). They have been sitting here in all of their partially complete glory for over a year. I must finish them. Ideally they will be completed long before December 31st 2012.
6. Drink more water
I drink way too much Diet Mountain Dew. I know that this is not super healthy. My plan is to slowly begin cutting down on the Dew (I have no plans to give it up completely, because I need the caffeine in the morning) and replacing it with water.
7. Pay down some of my old bills
This goal comes with several mini goals.
a. Stick to a monthly budget-this means only buying things that I truly need, using coupons, and buying items when they are on sale at the grocery store
b. Avoid Late Fees- this means sitting down weekly to pay all of the bills due the following week, so I don't accidentally miss something.
c. Making a long term plan to get rid of debt
8. Cook more/try new recipes
I have become far too reliant on foods that come in a box. Honestly, I am really tired of frozen dinners. My plan is to eat fresher, healthier meals this year. I have some new recipes I want to try.Yum!
9. Do something that is outside of my comfort zone
I'm not sure what this will be, though I am sure it will not include sky diving or bungee jumping.
10. Stick to my skincare regimen
Sometimes I get really lazy about completing all of the steps in my skin care routine. I don't exfoliate often  enough, and I don't always use all of my creams and serums. I really want to get in the habit of completing each  step every morning  and every night.
11. Focus on being thankful for the things I have, instead of thinking about all of the things I would like to have.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Packing for Vacation-Uhh!

I just got back from a totally relaxing, nine day, Caribbean cruise. Don't be jealous. Okay, be jealous.  I had a blast! I can't wait to tell you all about it.

Okay, so packing for this trip totally stressed me out. The airline charges $90.00 for luggage that weighs over 50 pounds! Oh, and that's $90.00 each way. That's $180.00 that could be used for shopping.

So, I had to make some tough decisions. The most difficult, of course, was choosing shoes. I gave myself a five pair limit. After a lot of careful consideration (probably too much careful consideration) I chose the following pairs.

I wore my fave black beaded Yellow Box Flip Flops. They are super comfortable and really easy to get on and off while going through security.  Plus, they look great with most of the outfits I'd packed.

Bold Flower Strappy Wedge Sandal

I bought these really adorable purple, flowered shoes from NYand Co for my vacation, so there was no question about whether or not these were coming with me.
That left three more choices. I decided on a really cute, comfy pair of brown, braided sandals. I figured that I needed something to go with my brown outfits. I also packed a pair of dressy, jeweled sandals to wear on the formal nights. I also brought along my Sketcher's Shape-ups for the gym.

I packed my brown sandals, dress shoes, and purple flowered shoes in my carry on to help keep my suitcase light. I packed the shape-ups in my suitcase because they took up to much space in my carry on.  

I really didn't edit my clothing choices, because I figured that one sweater or one skirt wasn't going to make that much of a difference.

I divided my jewelery into plastic baggies. I did this to prevent tangles, and because it's easier to find the pieces I want if I've packed them in an organized fashion. I divided the baggies between my carry on and my suitcase to help stay within the weight limit.

The heaviest things to pack were the cosmetics and toiletries. Of course, most of these can not go in a carry-on because of their liquid nature. So, I just had to hope for the best with these.

I was definitely anxious when I stood at the check in desk in the airport and waited for them to weigh my bag. I was ready to pull some things out and run back to the car with them.

And the weight was (drum roll, please)... 

41 Pounds! 9 pounds left for souvenirs. Yay! 

Up Next: Boarding the Boat in NYC

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rainy Days

Anime rain cloud with sad face
It's Raining Outside! Again. Not the best weather for a Spring Break Friday (especially when Spring Break didn't start until Wednesday). What to do on this rainy day?

1. Work on this blog. I've been wanting to post something new for awhile, but haven't had the time. Plus, using bright colors on a rainy day makes me smile.

2. Work on my kindergarten class scrapbooks. I am way behind, so this will give me a chance to try and get caught up. Thankfully, I ran to Michael's before the storms hit, and am fully stocked with tape runners.

3. Work on a new filing system for my bills. I've heard you're supposed to keep credit card bills for a year (not sure where I heard this or if it's true). The problem is all of my bills usually end up in a big ugly pile in the living room. Hopefully, I'll be able to stay a bit more organized now. Hopefully :).

4. Curl up with my kindle. As if I need an excuse to do this. I love my Kindle!

5. Play Angry Birds on my i-phone. This game is really hard to put down, especially when you have that one green pig that you just can't get no matter how many times you play the level.

6. Talk on the phone with good friends. It's a good thing I have a bazillion roll over minutes (mainly because I'm usually at work during the day time hours). 

7. Think of more BLOG posts. I've got plans for another food related post for this weekend.

Hoping for sunshine tomorrow.

Sun shining

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pretty Pocket Packages

The Saturday before Valentine’s Day I was in Staples and found these huge bags of paper clips for $2.50. I go through a lot of clips at work, and I thought that these would be so much fun. I also thought it would be neat to share some with my
co-workers for Valentine’s Day.  Plus, the clips have way less calories than candy. 
 I started putting them in party bags, but then I decided to try a little craft project.

I made these little cloth pockets out of material from JoAnne Fabrics. I thought about sewing them, but this was a very last minute project, and I didn’t have time to hand sew 11 pockets. Instead, I just hot glued them.

While making them I discovered that I need a good pair of sewing scissors. My scrapbooking scissors left a lot of jagged edges and frayed ends. However, I think pockets still came out really cute. They have a crafty, folksy feel.

I used some pretty, pink ribbon to embellish the front flap (and to hide some super jagged edges). I used Valentine’s Day glitter stickers to close the pockets. These were a last minute improvisation. If I do this again I would use snaps, buttons, or Velcro for closures, so they could be closed again.

I brought them to work today, and they were a big hit!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pasta Salad

Weight Watchers Tip # 2 – Veggies Are A Girl’s Best Friend

One of the few foods I love as much as chocolate is pasta. I could scarf pasta all day long (and then dream about it at night). One of the things I love about WW is that I don’t have to give up pasta. I just have to work it into the program.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to veggie it up. Adding lots of veggies to pasta helps to increase the portion size, while not increasing the points. Plus, it’s really fun to experiment with the variety of flavors that different veggies can add.

This pasta salad is adapted from a dish that a co-worker once brought to a pot luck.

I start with chopped red cabbage. The purple color is so pretty, and the flavor is really fresh.

Next I add green peas. I buy them frozen and de-frost them. I love the snappy texture they add.

Then I add matchstick carrots. I love that you can buy these in pre-cut bags. So easy!

The last veggie I add is chick peas. They do have points value, but they are super healthy. Plus, they add really great flavor to the salad.

Now for the pasta! I’ve tried to use whole wheat pasta, which I like to use with tomato sauce, but the wheaty flavor tends to overpower the other ingredients. Instead I use a whole wheat blend pasta. It has a more mild flavor than the wheat pasta and one more gram of fiber than the plain pasta.

When I boil the pasta I like to take it out while it is still really firm. Mushy pasta does not go well with all of the crisp veggies.  It’s important to let the pasta chill before mixing it in with the veggies.  
After the pasta is chilled and mixed with the veggies it is time to dress the salad. I would love to say that I make the dressing from scratch, but learning how to make home-made salad dressing is a task that has yet to be crossed off my to-do list. Besides, the original pot luck dish I adapted this from used a bottled dressing.

The original dish was dressed with a Bacon Ranch dressing mixed with those crunchy bacon bits that always make me think of puppy kibble. In this pasta salad I’ve used Ken’s Light Creamy Caesar dressing and real bacon bits. In order to keep the calories in check I use a limited amount of dressing and bacon bits. However, the combination of the dressing and bacon bits with all of the veggies creates a lot of flavor (especially, if  it sits in the fridge for a couple of hours before munching).

Currently, I don’t have any exact measurements, because I just throw it all together. However, the next time I make it I will have to measure the ingredients to figure out the points. I plan to add an addendum to this post when I do this.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Return to Weight Watchers

It is Weight Watcher’s time! Heading back to the WW this week after a long absence and a big weight gain. This lifetime member has a ways to go to get back to goal. I am not looking forward to re-loosing weight I have already lost, but I am looking forward to getting back to my former, more fashionable (I mean this only in the sense that my clothing options are less limited) size.

That being said, I’ve decided it’s time to re-visit the tricks and tips that led to my success the first time around (the one’s I shelved after finishing grad school and going to work). I plan on posting these throughout my weight loss journey. 

Tip 1: Don’t Ditch Desert

I love sweets! If I tried to deprive myself of chocolate I might be okay for a week or so, before suddenly finding myself knee deep in Hershey wrappers. Feeling deprived doesn’t work for me.

Instead of making chocolate off limits, I found some creative ways to make low point deserts. The yummy looking brownie below is one of my favorite deserts.

The Brownie is made using No Pudge Brownie Mix. It’s really easy to make.

Just stir the all natural mix in with low fat vanilla yogurt and bake. 


I use half of a serving of slow churned ice cream. Then I add some strawberries. I also find that using pretty plates somehow makes the food taste better.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Me and My Camera

I love my camera! I take pictures all of the time! In fact, I do believe that some of my friends and colleagues would probably say I take too many pictures. Although how can you take too many pictures, really? You can hang them on the wall, put them in scrapbooks, turn them into cards, and on vacay they are free souvenirs. I love pictures and I love my camera.

I bought a really cool camera a couple of years ago. I wanted to post a picture, but I couldn’t figure out how to get my camera to take a picture of itself. Lol. In fact there is a lot I can’t figure out how to get my camera to do. That’s why it’s time I get better acquainted with my beloved camera and it’s many features.

I really want to be able to take great pictures. I’ve been playing around with lighting, but some of my pictures come out dark, or blurred, or just plain awful.

So, I’ve pulled out the manuals. I do believe that they are the key to unlocking my camera’s hidden secrets.   

Notice that after two years the pages are still crisp. So wrong. Time to crack them open!