Outfit Frenzy

It’s been a long while since I’ve shown y’all my recent wears. This is mostly what I’ve been wearing in our “winter” months but you’ll see some transition outfits, especially when it’s super nice outside but my classroom is still an ice box.

I love this time of year for style because you can play with pattern and color mixtures by using layers. Also, I love boot season! This used to not be a thing but now I’m sad when boot weather ends, so I try to hold out as long as possible!

One common theme I noticed when looking back at my outfits from the past few months was the amount of burgundy/wine I wore. I love this color because of its warm hue and its ability to pair well with neutrals and even some unexpected colors.

IMG_20170209_165653IMG_20170302_182559IMG_20170105_174415

Also, this SUPER comfy swing dress from Old Navy made its presence known! I have this dress in a magenta striped as well. Sometimes when I felt like I needed some extra warmth but still wanted to wear a dress, I would either pair the dress with a cardigan or fleece-lined tights. Otherwise, I would just let the dress shine on its own.

IMG_20170117_154225

I also love wearing sweaters and scarves! They are easy ways, especially here in Charleston, to keep warm while staying stylish.

IMG_20170123_181214IMG_20170215_164806IMG_20170222_170948

Note: All of the pants you see in these outfits are some version of Pixie Pants from Old Navy! They are literally the only pant I wear to work because they are comfortable but professional and are a great cut and length for either boots or flats. I recommend every woman to check them out!

I also purchased this really cute dress from a pop-up boutique for Valentine’s Day! I’m excited to wear it out when it gets a little warmer for church or date/girls nights!

IMG_20170214_200525

Now that the weather has been warming up and been so nice the past few weeks, I’ve wanted to liven up my outfits with brighter and lighter colors! But, I’ve still had to keep an element of layering to my outfits since my classroom is always cold.

IMG_20170221_205422IMG_20170301_202628IMG_20170306_164905

IMG_20170315_162338

You’ll notice the little peek of stripes by my wrist. This day was really cold compared to the last month and I needed a little extra layer to keep warm haha!

IMG_20170314_171140

This last outfit I’m most excited about right now because I just got this shirt from LOFT’s new spring line. I saw a lot of great pieces in their new line that I look forward to checking out and reporting on (a lot of bold prints, big florals, and ruffles).

So now it’s your turn! Which outfit do you like most? What is your favorite part of styling outfits or this part of the year for fashion?

End of the No Sugar Challenge

Happy Hump Day!

Today marks three days that Cody and I have been done with our no sugar challenge. Before I get to the results, I wanted to recap some more yummy recipes we had that were added-sugar free!

We have been continuing with lots of smoothies and eggs for breakfast. Leftovers have been in abundance during week 2 so lunches were never without. And we tried a lot of new recipes for dinner.

In terms of snacks, I still kept with fruit and almonds and also got some Triscuits to snack on since they have no added sugar.

IMG_20170227_183316

Spaghetti squash spaghetti with turkey

IMG_20170302_185348

Grilled chicken and asparagus

IMG_20170303_071814

First attempt at overnight oats (recipe called for brown sugar but I left that out and put a little vanilla extract in) topped with apple and cinnamon

IMG_20170304_193802

Kale, apple, chicken salad – SO refreshing!

IMG_20170306_191314

Chicken enchilada

IMG_20170307_180628

Italian Hillside Garden Soup (from Crockpot cookbook) – ALL vegetarian!!

Things that we have transitioned back into our diet:
*Quest Bars (YES PLEASE!)
*Homemade treats (I’ve made protein balls, peanut butter finger bars, and sugar free brownies all this week… can you tell I’ve missed baking?)
*Whole wheat pasta
*Cereal (on occasion)
*Flavored Greek yogurt (not in excess since it is higher in sugar)
*Protein powders (flavored) oh how we’ve missed you!

Things we will keep sugar-free:
*Peanut butter – I baked with our old naturals PB to get rid of the rest but the Jif original is WAY too sweet now. Plus, the sugar-free PB we’ve been using is pretty comparable in price.
*Bread – We actually didn’t mind the Ezekiel bread, so why change it?
*Bars – Besides Quest bars, we are trying to keep our bars we eat more naturally sweetened like some Kind bars and Larabars
*Broth – I was surprised that every broth I looked at except at Whole Foods had some sort of sugar in it. This is something I use a lot so this is a small change to make a difference.
*Baking – I’m going to try to use more natural sweeteners for most of my baking/making but there are some true desserts that just don’t taste right without classic sugars.

All in all, our diet didn’t have to see much of a change and besides a little chocolate, I didn’t feel deprived of anything. I love how my smell and taste have learned to appreciate more natural flavors!

Now, for the results! In the two weeks of the sugar challenge I lost 6.3 pounds and 1% body fat. I was excited to see the weight loss because I wasn’t expecting that. But, I was more impressed with how my body looked and felt at the end of the challenge (Below: Left = Before, Right = After). Even now, three days into our new regular diet and I weigh another 2 pounds lighter and lost another .6% body fat… say what?!

I’m still putting my food into MyFitnessPal so I can see my macros and make sure I still stay under on my sugar and am getting enough food.

As for fitness, I am now planning to up my workouts a little bit. Still doing lifting three days a week and I am starting to incorporate running again in my regimen. Thanks to a co-worker (hey Hannah!) I have an accountability partner and someone who shares my mixed feelings about running to start up again. We are doing the C25K app and it’s great because it tells you exactly when you need to run and when you can walk, no counting minutes! I’m excited for these nights to have more light for our runs! We are also going to start bringing in a little yoga biweekly too.

Screenshot_20170308-183420

So, what do you think? Could you do a no sugar challenge? What would be your downfall?

 

No Sugar Week 1

Today was officially day 7 of our no added sugar diet, halfway through! It’s felt great changing our eating for the better. I definitely went through some withdrawal earlier in the week, having a couple headaches and some changes in my mood. Yes, I’ve still craved chocolate from time to time, but not as much as I thought I would. And this change hasn’t been as hard thanks to the support of my husband and my friends, especially at work.

I’ve noticed a change in my skin and my natural energy level. My taste buds have changed too; things that I used to be deterred from I now enjoy, like salads. I hadn’t really been looking for changes in my body since I planned to not weigh or anything until the end, but I glanced in the mirror the other day and noticed a decrease in body fat in my midsection!

During the week was easy as we had planned out all of our meals and were in a routine. We tried some new recipes and have had a TON of leftovers for lunches.

For breakfast, we’ve stuck to mostly smoothies and eggs/toast (Ezekiel bread) but also tried an oatmeal recipe that was pretty good. I’m getting a little tired of eggs though so if anyone has any ideas of how to spice them up or other breakfast ideas, that would be great!!

img_20170225_080721

Smoothie: 2 big handfuls spinach, 1 banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, unflavored protein powder, It Works Greens on the Go (berry), unsweetened almond milk – Serves 2

img_20170221_065055img_20170220_075142

I’ve been looking forward to the dinners we had planned. A lot of them required more prep than I was used to but it was worth it for the added veggies and flavor!

1 – Blue Apron Vegetable Farro Salad // 2 – Chicken Fajitas // 3 – Steak & Sweet Potato Bowl (without avocado-cilanto drizzle – didn’t turn out good) // 4 – Turkey Taco Salad // 5 – Chicken Caulifredo Bake with Sun-Dried Tomatoes (make cauliflower alfredo instead of using the jar stuff) // 6 – Slow Cooker Beef & Beans Chili

My biggest struggle was my snacks. I would forget to eat something small between breakfast and lunch and I’ve had to change my choice of snacks a little. We’ve been sticking to veggies and hummus, fruit, Larabars, popcorn, and cheese.

The weekend was also tough because it was our first time eating away from home. We were much more conscience about what contained sugar and made better choices. I even turned down dessert (and a delicious looking one too) for the first time probably in my entire life!

img_20170225_132050

Early on I realized I would be hungry not long after I would eat a meal. I decided to start tracking my food in MyFitnessPal to make sure I was eating enough and meeting my macros. The first day I tracked I was 350 calories short, not including my workout that burned some of what I already ate. My protein was also lower than desired. From that point on I made sure to eat my snacks and try to make them protein-packed. I was also checking my sugar intake since we were still incorporating sugars from nuts, fruits, and veggies. I was happy to see how significantly lower it was! MyFitnessPal had my sugar goal to be below 62 grams (that’s 15 1/2 teaspoons of sugar!!) and sad to say, there were a lot of times that I would go over that goal.

We are finding out so many new things about what sugar can do to your body and I am telling myself now and here on the blog for accountability that I will never let myself intake as much sugar as I used to. I won’t deprive myself of the occasional treat but I won’t go overboard like I used to. I will watch how much sugar is in foods and limit my intake, continuing to be conscience of the effects it has on our bodies.

God gave us one body and I want to start REALLY protecting and preserving it! I’m excited to see what week 2 has in store!

No Sugar Challenge

Hey y’all, it’s been a while!

I’ve been spending some time trying to decide the future of this blog, what it’s purpose is and my passion for it. I came to the conclusion that I still have a desire to post here but more as a journal and a place to help others instead of becoming a business, which is what I was striving towards when my passion for it diminished. I’ve also realized that I need to give myself specific days/times to blog otherwise I feel I can push it off and then it never happens. I have several things I want to talk about on here but I also know that my schedule doesn’t allow me to post all of the time and that’s okay!

Now, moving on to what this post is all about… our no sugar challenge! Cody brought up the idea last week and it sparked my interest right away. I know that I’ve had somewhat of a sugar addiction ever since I was younger. I’ve always chalked it up to having a sweet tooth, but I think that is just an excuse I’ve used to eat more sugar that appropriate. My addiction is also higher after big holidays like Christmas when I allow myself more flexibility with the amount of sugar I consume. Once we discussed this, I was all in. I wanted this to be a lifestyle change. We have become MUCH healthier in the past few years but this would take it to the next level.

Our no sugar challenge is for two weeks and eliminates all added sugar, including natural sugars like honey and maple syrup. It was crazy to see what all had sugar in it, like bread!!

First, we went through what was already in our cabinets and fridge and made note of things we used on a regular basis to find in without sugar. We threw away some things but put others away at the top of our kitchen closet in opaque bags so they were not in our visual.

Next, we made a list of what we would eat throughout the day, including our three main meals and snacks.

img_20170220_212520
**I will include or link to original recipes as I make these meals

Does anyone have any sugar free recipes they enjoy??

After we meal planned, we spent two hours doing grocery shopping, using our list and reading every label (both the nutrition label and ingredients list). It’s amazing how sneaky food labels can be!

img_20170219_125219_1

Day 1 has definitely been a challenge but it’s felt good and I love that I have Cody to do it with! Has anyone else done something like this before? Any advice?

Breakfast: High Protein Egg White Oatmeal with a scoop of peanut butter and half an apple

img_20170220_075142

Lunch: Romaine lettuce salad with sugar-free tomato basil dressing, rotisserie chicken, and colby jack cheese

img_20170220_122427

Snack: Almonds and Larabar

img_20170220_160350

Dinner: Vegetable Farro Salad from Blue Apron (modified to make it sugar free)

img_20170220_192439

Snack: Popcorn

img_20170220_204530

Escaping Hurricane Matthew

It has been a crazy past week with Hurricane Matthew rearing its ugly head along the coast. Last Tuesday when we originally heard that evacuations were going to start and school was cancelled for the week, we decided to get out of town before the big rush. Thankfully we have some friends who live in Augusta and were willing to open their home to us until the storm passed.

It was great to see our friends again and it was a lot relaxation time. My friend Alexa and I did a lot of crafting and coloring!

escaping-hurricane-matthew-2escaping-hurricane-matthew-18

She turned me onto a new book, Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. Alexa read it in a day so it must have been good.

escaping-hurricane-matthew-15

We also watched movies and drank frappuccinos.

escaping-hurricane-matthew-1escaping-hurricane-matthew-13

Despite the rain, Augusta’s weather was perfect and Cooper loved being outside, playing with the leaves. It definitely tired him out!

escaping-hurricane-matthew-11escaping-hurricane-matthew-16

Alexa and her husband Mitch took us downtown to check out the river walk and to eat at this great burger place called Whiskey Bar Kitchen.

escaping-hurricane-matthew-4escaping-hurricane-matthew-5

I decided to branch out and get their breakfast burger and it was amazing! It even came with a side of hashbrowns to complete the meal.

escaping-hurricane-matthew-6escaping-hurricane-matthew-7

We finished our night with dessert from Boll Weevil – a red velvet cake with a layer of cheesecake in the middle. So yummy!

escaping-hurricane-matthew-8

Friday night we decided to do a fun pizza and game night at the house, so we ordered Mellow Mushroom and played Catan. We love that game!

escaping-hurricane-matthew-12escaping-hurricane-matthew-14

We also couldn’t pass up the chance to eat at Steak n Shake with our gift card we got last Christmas. Love me their chicken fingers and fries with cheese sauce.

escaping-hurricane-matthew-17

Mitch is a huge Cubs fan so we went to Carolina Ale House to watch them play one night. And Sunday Cody and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Pats play before we headed back home.

escaping-hurricane-matthew-9escaping-hurricane-matthew-10

It may have been an unfortunate reason for us to go visit them but we had a great time catching up and loved the low-key week we had. It definitely rejuiced my batteries to head back to school tomorrow.

Were you evacuated because of Hurricane Matthew?
How did you spend your time during the last week if you were relocated?

Coffee Chat

So long time no blog, huh? We had a very busy September and every time I would think about blogging, I would either not have the motivation or something else would take priority over it.

Whenever it’s been a while since I’ve chatted with a friend, I love to meet up for coffee! So grab a cup of coffee or your drink choice and let’s chat!

If we were meeting for coffee, I would tell you…

  • This was the first weekend that we didn’t have something planned. Labor Day Weekend we went to Asheville with a group of friends. We stayed in an AirBnB, visited the Biltmore, and explored downtown with all of their breweries and culture.

The following weekend we had Cody’s parents in town visiting. We celebrated their anniversary with a nice dinner, hit up the beach, and enjoyed some quality time in Savannah.

Then we had six of our friends come into town and stay with us in our little apartment. We all had a great day at the beach and grilled out by the pool. And two of them got engaged while we were here, so that was super amazing to be a part of!

Finally, last Sunday we went to Charlotte for the Panthers vs. Vikings game. Although we lost and it was pretty hot in the sun, we still had a good time!

  • Married life is going great and Cooper is doing well. We had a sick puppy for a new days there mid-September but he is much better. This is a picture of both my boys I took today while we were watching football. Love them both so much!
    coffee-chat-19
  • In small group this fall we are doing the study, Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey and it is going great! I will definitely do a review once it is finished. We even got to see him speak at church today.
  • I’ve really been missing real fall weather lately. Now that it is October I’m really wanting some cooler weather where I can wear sweaters and boots and truly enjoy my pumpkin spice latte. But here in Charleston, it doesn’t feel like that until late November-early December. Hoping I can make the most of it until then with adding lighter layers and doing some baking. What is your favorite part of fall?
  • The fall TV line up is on point this year. I am completely in love with NBC’s This Is Us and The Good Place! I’ve also been watching the new season of Law & Order: SVU and am excited to check out Designated Survivor and Timeless. Are there any shows that you are loving this fall?
    this-is-us
  • Cody has been amazing and getting up with me early before work to go to the gym. He’s been leading our workouts and I’m very thankful for his help because my motivation was super lacking.
    coffee-chat-7
  • I’ve been pinning more lately, fulfilling my void of fall and finding some great recipes to try! Check out these new pins here.

What have you been up to lately? Do you ever have months where you almost don’t even have a chance to relax?

Weekend Recap + Food & Fitness #44

It’s crazy to think it is already 8 pm on Sunday. Where did the weekend go?!

The fun this weekend sort of started Thursday night when I had a girls painting night with a few girls from small group. We all met up at Fear No Easel and did one of those painting classes. I was a little nervous my painting wasn’t going to turn out because I’ve never felt very artistic. BUT, I love how they all turned out!

Weekend Recap Food Fitness 44 (4)

Friday I started coming down with a cold. Nothing like getting sick week 2 of the school year. But that didn’t stop our plans for the night. I first went out and celebrating surviving the first 2 weeks of school with some of my coworkers. Then Cody and I took Cooper on his first social outing! We all went to Waterfront Park for another movie night, this time it was Star Wars (the new one).

Weekend Recap Food Fitness 44 (3)Weekend Recap Food Fitness 44 (6)Weekend Recap Food Fitness 44 (7)

And Uncle James came out to hang with Cooper!

Weekend Recap Food Fitness 44 (8)

Saturday I woke up really stuffed up and just kind of lousy. So I spent a lot of the day lounging around and I think Cooper knew I didn’t feel good because he was so good and cuddled more than he usually does these days. It was really nice! But we had to get up eventually and clean the apartment before our evening plans.

Weekend Recap Food Fitness 44 (9)Weekend Recap Food Fitness 44

Our friends Alexa and Mitch just moved to Augusta and came into town for the night. We went out to dinner with them at Home Team then took them on a tour of King Street, ending up on East Bay by the harbor. On our way back to the car we stopped for some dessert! It was nice to spend some time with them since our wedding was the last time we saw them.

Weekend Recap Food Fitness 44 (10)Weekend Recap Food Fitness 44 (11)

Today we got up and went to church. Today’s message was about parenting, shaping the arrow. And honestly, it applied so much to my life. No, we don’t have any kids yet (well, aside from Cooper); however, I have over 80 kids in my life right now that I teach this year or are still around from last year. As their teacher, it is my job to shape those arrows, especially when some of those kiddos don’t have that model at home. Check out the message from today (it’s Part 3) because it can apply to anyone’s life! (The whole series has been great!)

Weekend Recap Food Fitness 44 (1)

Before we left church we also got signed up as the leaders of Financial Peace University for our small group, which starts in a couple of weeks. I’m really excited to learn a lot from this study and to grow even more as a small group!

Weekend Recap Food Fitness 44 (1)

After church we stopped at Target to pick up some pieces for our gallery wall we are doing in our living room. When we got home we did some lunch and I worked on planning and school work. Tonight we took Cooper on a walk, getting rained on the last part of it.

Weekend Recap Food Fitness 44 (2)

Speaking of Cooper, this is my weekly funny from him. He was just sitting on Cody’s leg like that for a good 5 minutes. We love him so much!

Weekend Recap Food Fitness 44 (5)

Questions for You:
What do you like to do when you have friends come to visit?
How do you get rid of a cold quickly?

P.S. Be on the lookout Tuesday for a reader survey! I would love some feedback from my readers now that I’ve been talking to y’all for over a year!


So this week’s meal plan is going to be a little sparse. Cody is gone 2 nights this week and we are going out of town Friday for Labor Day weekend. For a full meal plan, check out some of my past ones on my Food & Fitness page!

Sunday – Chicken Parm Pasta

Monday – Crunchy Taco Hamburger Helper

Tuesday – Leftovers (on my own)

Wednesday – Quesadillas or Sloppy Joes (on my own)

Thursday – Spaghetti Squash Skillet or a Soup

Friday – Asheville!

Saturday – Asheville!

Last weekend we joined Planet Fitness and it’s been nice to have a lot more machines available for our use! 5:00 am comes really early but it’s great to already have my workout done before my day begins.

This week I still want to do some lifting but I’ll be listening to my body during my workouts. I’ll for sure be doing some cardio to at least be moving every day.

Monday – Cardio + Abs

Tuesday – Cardio + Legs

Wednesday – Off Day

Thursday – Cardio + Arms

Friday – Cardio + Full Body

What kinds of workouts do you do when you are sick with a cold??