An Open Letter to My Niece

My dear sweet little girl,

By the time I want you to read this you will no longer be the sweet innocent little child you are today. You will be a pre-teen girl who is faced with the hard decisions life is beginning to throw at you. I am writing this letter to you now because our pop-culture has inspired me to. Right now you are one of the few little girls in my life. The Good Lord has blessed me with boys and I’m sure this is part of the reason why. See, Auntie shudders to think of the expectations that the society you are being raised in is going to put on you. I shudder to think you may grow up idolizing girls like Miley Cyrus and Rhianna. While these girls no doubt have some amazing talents I’m not sure they are who I would hope you will look up to. So sweetie I’m writing to give you some characteristics I hope you will look for in an idol.

If you look back throughout history the names that are remembered are always the ones that are sophisticated: Grace Kelly, Lady Di, Jackie O, Barbra Streisand, Oprah, Angelina Jolie and I hope one day Jennifer Lawrence. These women are strong, sophisticated and classy.

That doesn’t mean they take crap from others. Angelina Jolie is a pioneer in human rights and at the same time is a renegade who has publically gone against the grain on a number of issues, including her lack of desire to solidify her long time relationship with Brad Pitt.

So when you get to the point in your life where you want to be like Miley and tell the world you can do what you want to and say what you want to remember this; you can do that with class. Read some of the articles quoting Jennifer Lawrence talking about why she didn’t starve her self to play Katniss Everdeen. Watch a Grace Kelly movie. Read about about all the charitable work Angelina Jolie has done over the years. Then make the decision to say what you want to say.

While you will only be young for a short period of time they are called your formative years for a reason. The actions you partake in now will form your life. You can make the decision to change the path you are on at any time but it wont be easy.

In return for you thinking before you speaking and remembering that class is always better than shock value, I promise to try my hardest to live up to the standards of the women I hope you idolize. I vow to be classy myself, to walk in God’s grace, to think before I speak and most importantly remember there is always somebody watching.

With all my love,

Auntie Rae

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My One Week Challenge Recap

I’m going to keep today’s post short and sweet for you all! I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could seriously just leave the post at that but I’ll elaborate.

I made it Monday through Friday without a single carb, only a few pieces of cheese and most notably, NO CHOCOLATE! I really didn’t think that last part was possible.

I feel really good about my accomplishment. I have very little craving for carbs right now at all so I’m going to extend the carb ban Monday through Friday of most weeks until I can get down to my goal weight. What I learned this week is that I love cheese way too much to give it up entirely. I’m going to keep cutting back but I wont deny myself that pleasure any more. I also learned I really can have a healthy lunch even with all the craziness that is going on around here at lunch time. And I was surprised to learn that I can feel full from just a salad.

So how did your week go? Meet any goals? Tell me all about them!

Laundry Room Reveal

If you follow me on Facebook (I’ll wait so you can click the link and press like…. šŸ™‚ ) then you know I had a little project going last weekend. Today I’m going to tell you all about it.

I hate laundry! But I have two boys, two cats, a dog and husband so its sort of an everyday thing around here. In our old home we didn’t have a laundry room just this rinky dink closet. When we first bought this house I was so overjoyed just to have a laundry room but alas, that wore off quickly. My Pinterest feed has been filled with beautiful laundry rooms for ages and I had some serious design envy. I finally decided I was going to sit down and make some decisions about what I wanted and then just do it! The room is not very big at all so I knew I wouldn’t be adding anything major. And really we didn’t need a ton more storage as the room was currently functional. It just wasn’t pretty. I needed something to hang clothes that don’t go in the dryer on and the shelf we currently had was not working for that.

I decided to go with a big LACK shelf from Ikea above the washer and dryer that could be used for functional things as well as pretty things. I also decided to go with a towel bar I had hanging around the house that we bought at Ikea ages ago. The hardest decision was the paint. I knew I wanted something on the light side because the room is so small but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go muted or bold. Ā Eventually I decided that muted was the way to go. I wanted the Laundry Room to make me feel like I was in a cottage at Martha’s Vineyard. Well as much as anyone could feel like that while folding dozens of mis-matched socks. I narrowed it down to two Martha Stewart colors from Home Depot; Spring Melt and Rainwater. I love the color that Rainwater puts on the wall but ultimately it was not right for the room. Spring Melt won out! Now that it is on the wall I could not be happier with the decision. It’s light and fresh and airy and just perfect!

Sunday morning Hubby had to go to work for a few hours. So I put Buggy down for his nap and T$ and I got to work. Mostly that means he did about three strokes and decided this was a “Mommy job” and he went off to play Legos. I did the entire room without taping and just was careful around the baseboards and ceiling. Luckily I have a pretty steady hand. All in all the painting took me about an hour an a half to finish. As soon as hubby got home he hung up the shelf and frames for me and VOILA! my laundry room was complete!

Before:

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Laundry Room Before2

After:

Laundry Room 6

Laundry Room 4

Laundry Room 3

Laundry Room 1

Laundry Room 2

Laundry Room 7

Laundry Room 8

Laundry Room 12

How did I do? My goal was to have a Pin-able laundry room, did I achieve that? What are some rooms you have done in your home and been thrilled with the outcome?

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Challenge Day 2 Recap

Today was a hard day! I was super hungry all day long and more than that I was craving sweets like mad! I can proudly say though, I did great!

Breakfast was a really yummy berry smoothie that I of course had to split with the boys. T$ ended up drinking all of his plus some of mine! What a mother does for her children…

Lunch was the meal I was dreading most today. I was hungry and didn’t think my salad could possibly satisfy. Well it did! WAHOOO!!! I put every veggie we have on it. I was going to whip up some avocado dressing but the boys really wanted to go play outside so instead I drizzled olive oil and balsamic. I could have added more balsamic Ā and it would have been even better!photo-1

Dinner was steak with green beans. Hubby was a genius and decided we were not doing any dishes at all so he grilled the green beans in a foil packet. They were so delish!

We did bath and got the boys to bed and then sat down to watch some tv together and that was the absolute hardest part of the day. I wanted some chocolate SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO bad! Finally I had to have something so I got up and had a spoonful of organic peanut butter and two strawberries. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t as good as some dark chocolate but it did the trick and I went to bed happy.

I really need your help, tell me what is your GO TO HEALTHY SWEET? Please share, share, share!Ā Untitled-1

Challenge Day 1 Recap

As I told you all yesterday I have given myself a challenge to skip the carbs and the sweets this week. The inspiration for this came from realizing I was just shoveling in way too much bread and sweet stuff. A friend of mine, Chrissy from Eco Chic Baby and Home, had done a sugar fast a while back with great results. Obtaining from sugar really helped curb her cravings so I’m hoping I have the same results!

So here is a recap of how yesterday went:

Hubby and I stayed home in the AM to take T$ to his first day of the 4 year old preschool class! (Yes, there were some tears, no they were not from him) Since Hubby was home he of course wanted to make breakfast. An Egg Sandwich for him (one of my faves) but I was a good girl and just had an egg, a greek yogurt and one slice of bacon. Then there was lunch, which I warned you all was going to be super hard for me. I ended up getting a mixed green salad from a bakery down the street from my office. I asked for no gorgonzola and when I got back to my office I opened the box to see there was gorgonzola. I took this as a sign from God that he felt I had earned a little bit of cheese since I refused the bread for breakfast. I told you, these are my rules šŸ™‚ After a torturous drive home (uggg traffic!!!!!!) Hubby fired up the grill and we made some great jalapeƱo turkey burgers wrapped in lettuce. We were both starving at this point so I cut up some cucumbers and some of those mini sweet peppers and we snacked on those with a bit of humus. Ā I thought I was going to really miss the buns but it turned out I didn’t miss them at all. I also made someĀ jalapeƱoĀ poppers with cream cheese and bacon. Cream cheese technically should not be a part of what I’m eating but I COULD NOT resist these poppers. Ā As the night winded down Hubby and I sat down to finish watching 42 (Seriously one of the best movies I have ever seen. Do yourself a favor and go watch it ASAP) and he busted out a bag of carmel corn! As hard as it was to not snack on that yummy goodness I resisted the urge and made it through the movie snack free!

Now you might read this and think day one didn’t go so well. I mean I did have cheese twice. I however, think day one went really well. I made way better choices than I normally do and that is what this is all about. This is a lifestyle change not a 7 days and I’m done thing. Today I’m going to really focus on getting more water in, and trying harder to cut the cheese out. I have my snacks all prepared so that should be an easy part of the day for me.

What is the one food you struggle most with steering clear of? Help me out and tell me how you do it!

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One Week Challenge

I may have a bit of an addictive personality. When I find something I like, I love it! I obsess on it and I’m not great about moderation. One of the vices that I have struggled with my entire life is food. I LOVE to eat. I love the experience. I love the different tastes. And I love the emotion associated with a good meal.

I grew up traveling a lot and a huge part of experiencing a new culture for me is experiencing the cuisine. This of course wouldn’t be a problem if I just loved the stuff that was good for me but alas I’m not that lucky. I am not a girl that is stoked to have a salad for dinner. Now put a plate of bread and cheese in front of me followed by some yummy dark chocolate dessert and I’m thrilled.

Now I’m not one to jump on any diet bandwagon. I really believe that you shouldn’t cut out an entire food group and that your better off just eating an overall healthy diet with the right portions from every food group. Since I had Buggy (a very short 16 months ago) I have done a good job of losing the baby weight. I’m at a weight that is actually less than before I was pregnant with T$. But my body has changed a ton and I just don’t feel like I’m at a great weight. I feel like if I lost an additional 10-15 lbs I would be much happier. In order to jump start this weight loss I’m going to go one week without my biggest enemies carbs and sweets. I’m doing this for me so I’m not going to set up any rules or anything like that but I am going to share my meal plan for the week with you and blog about how I’m feeling.

We eat pretty clean for dinners so I know my biggest challenges are going to be breakfast and lunch. Breakfast is almost always some sort of carb so I’m hoping if I can cut carbs out of this meal I’ll sort of lose the craving for them.

I’m limiting my snacks to veggies with hummus and fruit. This week I’m really trying to keep it simple and most importantly keep it to REAL food.

Monday:

Breakfast: Greek Yogurt and Strawberries

Lunch: this day will be hard because I go into the office on Monday’s and always eat out. I’ll share with you what I chose.

Dinner: Turkey Burgers wrapped in Lettuce instead of buns

Tuesday:

Breakfast: Berry Green Protein Smoothie

Lunch: Spinach Salad with Avacado Dressing, cucumbers, grape tomatoes and green onions

Dinner: Steak & Green Beans

Wednesday:

Breakfast: Pink Breakfast Smoothie (subbing avocado for banana)

Lunch: Watermelon Salad with a bit of Feta, Mint and Balsamic Vinegar

Dinner: Spaghetti Squash with Sausage Tomato Sauce

Thursday:

Breakfast: Pink Breakfast Smoothie (subbing avocado for banana)

Lunch: Spinach Salad with Avacado Dressing, cucumbers, grape tomatoes and green onions

Dinner: Rotisserie Chicken and Salad

Friday:

Breakfast: Pink Breakfast Smoothie (subbing avocado for banana)

Lunch: Spinach Salad with Avacado Dressing, cucumbers, grape tomatoes and green onions

Dinner: Left Overs

What are some of your favorite healthy meals? How do you curb cravings?

Erin Condren Product Review

Today I am super stoked to share with you my absolute favorite organizing products. Back in 2011 I came across a blog {I wish I could remember which one} Ā that did a review on theĀ Erin Condren Life Planner. I have always loved a paper planner. I just like to have something tangible in front of me. I’m weird like that I know. But I’m not alone because Erin Condren has a cult following! People cannot wait for the moment they can order their new yearly planner. In fact I just ordered mine and cannot wait to get it! This is the only way for me to keep everything I have going organized. What I love most about this planner over everything else I have ever tried is the morning, afternoon and night sections. It could not be more perfect for my life. Morning is where most of my reminders for work go. Afternoon is where my house chores normally go. And Evening is where my blog notes go. The 2013-2014 Life Planner even has a section for me to put our meal plan! HUGE addition in my opinion. If you want a full on tour of the Life Planner visit here.

I also have an Erin Condren Notebook. This thing I TRULY LOVE! I make a to do list for work every week. I have since the day I started and I have always been very particular about the notebook I keep. It needs to have the right sized lines, it needs to be the right thickness in paper, it needs to be crazy sturdy to stand up to little fingers, warehouses, and wine spills. This notebook is ALL of that and then some. I adore the pouch in the back to throw my receipts in when I’m traveling and the size is perfect to fit into my bag.

The Functional Family Planner is a new product that Erin Condren introduced just a few months ago. When I first received the email I just filed it away thinking, “I already have a planner, I don’t need this, too.” Then my office got a bit of an overhaul and the DIY dry-erase calendar I had was replaced by my Martha Stewart Wall Unit. I lived without a “family calendar” up for a while. Then it dawned on me… as the boys grow older and we start doing more and more activities I wanted a place where everyone could see what was going on. And of course it had to be stylish. Ding ding ding, Functional Family Planner please!

Lucky for me this also was right around my birthday so my awesome mom purchased it for me! EVEN BETTER! This is the product I never knew how bad I needed until I had it. It is just the perfect spot to put all the craziness that is going on in our life down onto paper. You can either purchase the chore chart or the schedule pad. I opted for the schedule pad. And to make it last even longer I split the page in half and fit two weeks onto one page. I love that I don’t have to remind my hubby what is going on in a week. It is just all right there in front of him every time he walks in the house. I foresee this being a huge help as each year passes with the boys. I also really love the dry erase portion that has a spot to fill out all the important numbers, etc. for whenever we are out.

So enough talking about all these great products! Check out the pics below:

I have to also mention that I did purchase their pens last year and hated them. This year I purchased the new marker type pens with my Functional Family Planner. I LOVE them! They are the perfect addition!

What do you do to keep your busy schedule organized? Is it important for your significant others and children to know what is on the calendar?

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