Friday, January 31, 2014

Five on Friday

Happy Friday Friends! I'm linking up today with 4 of my favorite blogs for their weekly 5 on Friday link up! Thanks for hosting AprilChristinaDarci and Natasha

I'm in love with my new celebrate plate! The football at the top comes off and can be replaced with another charm for different holidays. I can keep the plate displayed year round changing it for each holiday. Swoon! The football is for Superbowl Sunday! 
I have been off work/snowed in the house since Tuesday. That's basically a whole week off work. It sounds nice but seriously, no. I have been going stir crazy stuck in this house! Today marks the first day in 72 hours I have left my house. I have been the happiest girl in the world to finally get some sunshine and fresh air!! My days have been filled with a whole lot of laziness but I'm so happy the snow is melting and I can be just a little LESS lazy. 

palette on the floor anyone?

This was when the ground was mostly just ice... the 6 inches of snow didn't come until after this picture

The extra time off work gave me the perfect opportunity to read a book I've had sitting on my dresser for months. Has anyone else read it? It was an amazing book!

I have been loving drinking lemon water recently! I have been putting a few slices of lemon in my Nalgene water bottle that I keep with me all the time. The lemon continues to flavor my water all day. I mostly do it for the taste but these health benefits aren't too bad either! 

I get to celebrate a good friends 24th birthday tonight! Whoop Whoop! Friends since we were little babies in dance all the way through college and then into the working world. Happy birthday Carroll, love you! 

check out those bangs.. 

our sophomore year of college, once again, we were babies! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

J's Mexican Bean Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries

Last weekend Justin made homemade Mexican bean burgers with sweet potato fries for dinner one night. How lucky am I to date a guy who loves to cook? I think I'll keep him around (; They turned out to be absolutely delicious and fit right into my plant based whole foods diet. He has made bean burgers in the past, but these were different in that they have a Mexican kick. I even picked up some of the supplies to make them myself this upcoming week! 

J's Mexican Bean Burger

1 can drained pinto beans 
1 egg or you can substitute the egg for1 tablespoon of flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water. Let sit for 5 mins
1/2 cup sautéed pepper 
1/2 cup sautéed onion  
Minced garlic to taste 
1 packet taco seasoning 
2 cups salsa 
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs 

Start by mushing 1 can of drained pinto beans. (You can use any type of beans. I plan on using black beans to make mine) 

Mix mushed beans, sautéed peppers and onion, garlic, bread crumbs, salsa and taco seasoning and egg (or flax seed/water) together 

Form patties and cook in skillet on medium heat until firm. Serve with whole wheat buns and your favorite burger toppings! 

 Sweet potato fries were the perfect side item to our Mexican Bean Burgers. I have always loved sweet potato fries more than normal french fries! They are also super simple. I would actually start these before the burgers as they take a while to slice/bake.

Slice 2 sweet potatoes. 

Toss sweet potatoes with just enough olive oil to lightly coat. Add paprika, salt and pepper. Align on baking dish (try to spread them out. We probably should have used a larger pan) 

Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and browned. About 30 minutes, turning occasionally. 


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Puppy Fever

I'm enjoying another snow day off work today! They have already called school off for tomorrow and chances are Friday will be called off as well. I'm enjoying my days off for sure though! I stumbled across this Budweiser Superbowl commercial video this morning and oh em gee... MELT MY HEART. I already have puppy fever bad and this video didn't help at all. If you haven't seen it, watch it now. Trust me, you wont regret it. If you have seen it and you're anything like me you're watching it on repeat as we speak. 

If that doesn't warm your heart on this cold snowy day I don't know what will! On a more serious note, my prayers are with the children, parents and teachers in Alabama snowed in at school as well as the many cars stuck on the highway all over the south. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snowed in with no snow

Snowed in with no snow.. makes no sense right? Well that is currently what is happening around here. My county called school off for today however it is 1pm and we haven't seen a drop of snow! Furthermore they also called off tomorrow when we once again, haven't seen a drop of snow. I know it's coming but since it isn't here yet I can't help but wish we could have gone to school today to avoid a makeup day! Oh well.. If the weatherman holds up his end of the deal my guess is this will turn into a snow week not retuning to work until Monday. We will see! In the mean time this is what my "snow day" with no snow is involving.. 

Catching up on some of my favorite shows like Hart of Dixie and Nashville 

My favorite Bath and Body Works candle 

Room by Emma Donoghue. I picked this book up forever ago but haven't had a chance to read it yet. This week is perfect.

Tons of papers to grade and work to do. My bag is currently 
sitting, untouched. But I promise, this work WILL get done. 

How do you entertain yourself when you're snowed in?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weekend Recap

Sometimes I feel like I live for the weekends... Just letting the work days pass so that I can make it to Friday night and sleep in Saturday. I always love recapping those weekend days that pass all too quickly. Here is what my weekend visiting J consisted of:

Homemade Mexican bean burgers and sweet potato fries made by J all by himself! SO yummy! 

Saturday, we were up and about pretty early to eat a [huge] breakfast and pick up a birthday gift for J's brother. Lucky for me while we were out I came across some crazy good sales. I'm talking $10 banana republic cords and a $12 loft sweater just to name a few. How can you say no? That night we celebrated Bradley's 25th birthday with his family. It was so much fun! 

A late Saturday night called for a very lazy Sunday. After lots and lots of laying around I finally made the dreaded drive home. I will be so happy when we no longer have to drive 3 hours on the weekends! I was super happy to finally get home and get in my bed to catch up on blogs. This is sometimes my happy place... so peaceful! I hope you all had a nice weekend! Now my friends in these parts can get on to preparing for possible snow Tuesday/Wednesday!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Currently listening to.

This work week has flown by for me! I haven't had a typical week by any means and I have to say it's been a nice break. Monday of course was MLK holiday and no school. Tuesday and Wednesday happened to be teacher workdays. All my fellow teachers out there know how NICE a workday can be! I get to actually do things like have a lunch break, go to the bathroom, take a 60 second mental break to walk to the water fountain.... all things that do not happen on a typical day for a first grade teacher. The workdays also came with snow! We had enough snow to cause a 2 hour delay yesterday and today. Those 2 hours really make a difference in the morning! I can officially say after this week I am very rested and ready to head back to a normal schedule at school.

Moving on ... I have always loved finding new music to listen to. If you're anything like me you always have the radio, I-pod, pandora, etc, playing. I listen to music so frequently it's easy to get tired of the top "radio hits" quickly. Here are some of the songs I've been loving lately.

Glen Templeton- Ball Cap 

Cole Swindell- Chillin' It

Eric Church- The Outsiders 

Frankie Ballard -Helluva Life 
....y'all.. I LOVE this one! 

David Flanning- Drink you Away 

Obviously I listen to a lot of country.. ha. Are there any other songs I need to add to my "must listen to" list?! Happy Thursday friends! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Changes in my diet

Today is all about a new "thing" I've been doing (I would almost call it a hobby but not sure that's the right word? I'm talking about my diet, and no I don't mean the I'm going to do this for 10 days to loose weight diet, I mean what I actually eat on a daily basis. My food diet.... Let me back up and start with a little background. I welcomed the first few days of 2014 in with the worst sinus infection ever and possibly something more. Not quite sure what I had but I know I spent 3 days in bed miserable. What did that leave time for? Netflix! Instead of starting a new show I decided to watch a documentary called Forks Over Knives. With no background knowledge of this movie I had no idea what to expect. The whole documentary was about following a plant based whole foods diet. I found it so interesting that it caused me to watch more documentaries and do way more research on the whole topic. So, with that being said I've been [for the most part] following a plant based whole foods diet the past 20ish days. 

So, plant based whole foods diet. 

What is that?! Plant based whole foods diet means you eat only plants, vegetables and whole grains. If it comes from an animal you don't eat it, if it's processed you don't eat it. Many people think "oh thats vegan" but it is actually quite different. Without going into too much detail, not eating processed foods and only whole grains versus things like white bread is the main difference between plant based, whole foods and vegan. 

Why? I totally get this question. Why would you give up things like hamburgers, fish, hot pockets, etc.. all foods I once loved! For you to really understand the why you HAVE to do the research for yourself. Watching documentaries like Forks Over Knives and Vegucated are great places to start. The book Engine 2 Diet is also awesome. What I learned is that by following a plant based whole foods diet you can drastically lower the chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and much more. What has become the norm in America as far as food is causing these diseases to skyrocket like never before. I also think once you really start to think about what you are eating and where it comes from your idea of eating changes. I don't want to look at an ingredient label and not be able to pronounce 20+ of the ingredients. Chances are these chemicals are slowly poisoning our body. So whats the big deal with meat? Well meat isn't the issue but the hormones and chemicals put INTO our meat before it ever hits the grocery store is the problem. I could go on but still don't feel like I know quite enough and don't want to say anything that isn't true. If you are curious though watch the videos! It's truly eye opening. 

"Some people think the whole plant based, whole foods diet 

is extreme. Half a million people a year will have their chest 

opened up and a vein taken from their leg sewn onto their 

coronary artery. Some people would call that extreme.”

- Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn

But... Do you feel like you are missing out on foods? No, I honestly don't! I've been eating really awesome meals! I'm still eating burgers, pasta, pizza, tacos, etc... just without meat and with tons of vegetables! But.. you posted a picture of sushi yesterday? you put creamer in your coffee.. you ate a hamburger last week. Yes, yes and yes. I have not 100% changed my dietary lifestyle. I have made a major shift however. I think it's a process and something that takes time. It's a whole new way of thinking about food. 

The best part? I feel AWESOME. Seriously, so much energy all of the time. No more 2pm slumps. I've also dropped several pounds and noticeably have a smaller waist line. This wasn't in any way the goal but is also totally welcome! It even adds motivation to stick with it. It's also been so fun to try out new recipes and new ingredients! I've been surprised how much produce is out there I haven't ever even tried or heard of!  

The hardest part? Other people. Not everyone has supported this decision and that can be hard. It's not fun to have to justify your meals to your closest friends but I've realized it comes with the territory. It's a new way of thinking and isn't for everyone. I get that... I just wish people would sometimes keep their negative opinions to themselves (; ..Oh and chocolate. That's also the hardest part... I can't quite give that one up yet! 

In the end.. Will this be something I do forever? I have no idea.. I just know that I have enjoyed trying it out and plan to keep it up a little while longer to see where it goes. Will I eat a oh so perfect Bojangles Cajun Fillet biscuit? Probably. But will I eat one every weekend? No way. What it all boils down to is being more aware of what I'm eating and doing what's right for me. Has anyone else tried anything like this?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekend Recap

I don't know what it is about that one extra day on a long weekend that makes the biggest difference. I feel SO much more rested on a 3 day weekend versus typical Friday- Sunday. J came to visit this weekend and we did what we do best- eat, watch movies, be lazy and eat more. Here are some of the highlights from our weekend. 

Homemade pizza. Our new thing is one side veggie for me and one side normal for him. It's all about compromises right? (:

random sushi date. yum!! Sushi can be expensive but we have a local place that has buy one get one rolls on M-F. J is never here on week days because of work so this MLK holiday served as the perfect opportunity. 

I teach therefore, I drink. Enough said

We also went to see the movie Ride Along which was absolutely hilarious. I've always thought Kevin Hart was so funny and he did not disappoint in this movie!  

I broke out my kitchen skills one night- spaghetti squash with basil, asparagus, and black eyed peas with mushrooms and onions. 

Notice how half our pictures are of food? I'll just throw it out there that long strolls around The Fresh Market, brownies and Moes happened in that mix too. (; I hope you had a nice long weekend also! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Words to live by

I have a board on Pinterest called words to live by and this post is about just that. All the words I think but didn't say or maybe just the ones I needed to hear. Sometimes it's just nice to hear a few words of wisdom. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bachelor and other Ramblings

Alright ladies, we made it through Monday! There's hope in making it to another weekend. Look at that, we just finished a weekend and I'm already counting down the next. I can't help it! That is my motivation every time my 5:20am alarm goes off. Anyways, I did have a wonderful weekend! I made my way to see Justin at the beach. I had been craving sushi so Friday he took me out to get my sushi fix. Saturday was so rainy and dreary that it made the perfect weather to go see Lone Survivor. It was an amazing movie! I always love a true story and this one didn't disappoint. It amazes me the level of commitment our armed forces have. I am truly thankful! 

That night J and I made a homemade pizza. We used a whole wheat crust with all kinds of goodies on top... pineapple and mushrooms included! J did his side normal but I opted for no cheese and all veggies on top of my side. We are worlds worst for ordering a pizza hut big box but I can say our pizza turned out just as tasty and MUCH healthier. Sunday we watched the Panthers game (insert tear... they tried!) and said our goodbyes. 

Moving on to much more important things. Like the Bachelor. Just kidding! This show is totally not important and cheesy in every way imaginable however I have to watch. How about that Electric Run 5k? I participated in the color run last year but this puts that to shame. For those that missed, its a 5K in the dark with neon glow in the dark lights EVERYWHERE. It brought me back to being 6 years old watching Rainbow Bright. I might have even looked it up and found out it will be coming to Raleigh in September of 2014. Any takers?! Sign me up.. so fun! 
Doesn't this look like a fun 5k?

The next date however did not impress me at.a.l.l. The fact they tried to force two girls to pose nude is bologna. I thought it was rude and tasteless. It definitely put those girls in a tough spot! Thank goodness Lucy tagged along and could happily fill in one of those spots. Home girl's gotta find some clothes! Victoria is another odd one. I can't deal this early on with all the crying. It's the second episode. Get it together!! I'm still loving Renee.. I think she is very sincere. She also reminds me a tab bit of myself. Well that's all for today. Happy Tuesday!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five on Friday

Happy Friday Friends! I for one could not be more thrilled that it is Friday! I've been battling a sinus infection for over a week now so I'm praying the weekend will bring some relief. (fingers crossed!) I'm linking up today with 4 of my favorite blogs for their weekly 5 on Friday link up! Thanks for hosting AprilChristina, Darci and Natasha

This week I broke in my brand new Keurig that I received for Christmas. I don't think I realized I make a horrible not so great cup of coffee normally. I never know exactly how much water and how many scoops of coffee to use so I tend to guess and hope for the best. I always though it tasted fine but after having my perfectly measured Keurig coffee several mornings in a row I now realize mine has not been the best. Lesson learned. Cheers to good coffee! 

How many Bachelor fans are left out there? I missed last season so I am not in on the Juan Pablo hype. I did tune in for the premier though and plan to watch this season. All of my friends, co workers and even hair dresser talk about it all the time so I have to stay in the loop! There's always going to be the crazies and the drama. This time it was the one who spent her whole time crying (don't think this show is the right time for you dear) and the poor girl who thought her name was called at the rose ceremony. Bless her heart... I know she was embarrassed! As far as my favorites, so far I'm loving Renee and Victoria. 

Y'all.. be proud. I have been rocking a whole foods plant and vegetables diet this week. The movie Forks over Knives has really inspired me to eat WAY more fruits and vegetables than I have in the past. I don't know how long I will stick with it but I'm really enjoying the results so far. Check out my grocery cart this week! Whoop whoop! This week I've been cooking up a storm... lots of asparagus, black bean and kale quesadillas,  sweet potatoes, kale chips, veggie soup and fruits/nuts. 

It's official. I have spring fever. Yes, it's only early January. This happens to me EVERY year! I start itching for warm weather and sunshine! I've vowed to not buy a single new item of clothing until it's warm outside so my wish list is currently revolved around bathing suits and summer dresses. How cute is this one?!

Last but not least, simply the fact that it's FRIDAY. I'm so excited for the weekend and a break from work! This weekend I'm heading to see Justin at the beach. Saturday is calling for a high of nearly 70 degrees.. what a relief after the near 0 degree temps we've been facing! I plan on getting some long walks in as well as enjoying some sushi and homemade veggie burgers! Have a nice weekend! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Downtime Fun

This is day #2 my school has had a 2 hour delay. No complaints of the extra sleep for me! It has been AMAZING to stay up a little later, sleep a little longer, and drink my coffee a little slower. It's the simple things right? With these crazy cold temps we are all experiencing lately nothing soothes the soul more than a little cozy R&R. For the past few weeks I have been enjoying any spare time I find to simply do nothing but relax (and stay warm!) These are some of my favorite things in my down time.


Y'all.... I have a problem. I have been getting caught up in way too many shows! The problem is once you watch one episode then you have to finish all 4 seasons. Let's not joke though. I love it! Currently I have been obsessing over Scandal, Prison Break and food/health documentaries (VERY eye opening). What are your favorite shows to watch?

The best socks EVER
I can't wait to change into these socks when I get home from work. Not only are they adorable they are seriously the softest socks in the world (but not fuzzy.. there's a difference!) Ironically the brand is actually called "Worlds' Softest". No cold toes for me! [please don't judge my odd looking legs from this angle. I wanted you to see how fun they are though!]

Hot Chocolate 
I love a hot drink when it's cold outside but sometimes coffee and hot tea just can't hit the spot. That's when hot chocolate is perfect. yum! 

Pinteresting (did I just make that a verb?) 
I've been busy busy busy pinning and trying lots of new and healthy recipes. I really want a place to store my favorites so the next DIY project I'm planning on is a cookbook that I can continuously add to. I can't decide on the best way to go about completing it though. I want to make sure it's sturdy and last. Any suggestions?

I wont deny that I've had my fair share of lazy days lately. How do you like to spend cozy nights at home?