How to Build the Best Bride-To-Be Gift Basket

Like I promised on Sunday, today I’m going to share with you all tips on how to build the best “Bride-To-Be” gift basket for your newly engaged girlfriend.  Eeeeeek!!  Between today and yesterday, the blog is filled with love this week…and I love it.

It’s always so exciting when your friends get engaged.  For awhile there I felt like I was going to wedding after wedding, so many people that I knew were getting hitched!  Then there was a bit of a lull this past year {or maybe I just wasn’t getting the invite lol}, but now I feel like holy matrimony time is going to start picking up yet again.  First to kick off the trend, one of my best friends and former roommates, the Liz in Chicago!

Here we are!  #tbt to the college years…babies @ Da U

So, the main goal of a Bride-To-Be gift basket is similar to other gift baskets in the sense that it’s a GIFT to celebrate a great moment in a person’s life!  Of course it will be wedding related, but it’s also about sending items to pamper and support the newly engaged gal pal.  I don’t know from direct experience, but word on the street is, planning a wedding is stressful.  Therefore, include indulgent items in the basket that will help her relax while she’s planning.  You know, all fun pampery//girly things that you know your friend will like.  Tailor it to her!

My other two friends, Jess and Abby, knew that we wanted to get this together for Liz since she got engaged.  However, we all live in different cities, at least 6 hrs apart, so we were a little geographically challenged.  After communicating and scheming for a few weeks through a super secret group text, we waited until I saw Jess in Huntington the other week to put it all together {Abby helped remotely in MIA}.

Here are the four of us in Chicago two summers ago after a Cubs game.  Can you tell? {obviously, Liz, the Bride-To-Be on the far right}.

Ok enough chit-chat let’s talk about what to put in this thing!  Here are the five essentials needed for every basket:

{{Bridal Magazine, beauty products, relaxation necessities, motivational tools, and a personalized note}}

Like I said, tailor it to your friend, but these are the guidelines for any great gift!  First, the bridal mag-

Any bride needs a magazine to flip through every now and then for inspiration!  {just think:  this is what girls did before Pinterest}.

Now, on to the beauty products {plus some relaxation necessities}…

Here we have the following items:

Essie Nail Polish:  color, Ballet Slippers
Buxom Full-On Lip Polish:  color, Sandy {<— Liz has told us that she’s gotten MANY compliments on this, I love the Buxom line}
LUSH Bath Bombs:  pictured here we have Butterball {all white}, Rose Queen {pink}, and Tisty Tosty {heart shaped}
Face Mask && Goji Berry Candle: purchased at Targ`et

And a little more relaxation plus some motivation…

Coffee mug:  because coffee motivates and solves all problems
Champagne:  because how do you relax without it?

All jokes aside, Liz loves tea and coffee, and on top of her day to day, planning a wedding will be exhausting at times {we’re here for ya, Liz!}.  So caffeine is a must.  We found this adorable mug via Pinterest.  It belongs to Etsy shop owner, PrettyLittleVinyls.  Click here to go directly to the mug.

Adorable, isn’t it? In addition to picking out a nice basket for the foundation, tissue paper, etc, don’t forget your note!  We included a personalized one from the three of us to Liz, along with a fun little list of everything we put in the basket and why.

Put it all together and you have your masterpiece!!

This is a special, once in a lifetime moment for your friend, and it’s something that deserves to be celebrated!  Even if you can’t always be there in person for her in times like these, sending something to remind them that you’re there in spirit {or just a phone call//txt away} is just as appreciated. We’re making memories here, people!  Join in on the fun!

Have you guys made Bride-To-Be gifts for your friends before?  What would you include in a friend’s gift basket? Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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What To Do When You Can’t Be With Your Valentine on Valentine’s Day

Ahhh, Valentine’s Day.  The overly marketed day of love and romance.  I say that even as someone who is in a long and loving relationship.  Now, I’m no Valentine’s Day-hater, I enjoy any excuse to celebrate anything.  I do think that it’s gotten a little out of hand in comparison to it’s history and origins {but really, what hasn’t these days?}.  When it comes to Valentine’s Day, I’ve done it all- spent the day with the one I love, received cute cards and candies from my parents, exchanged Scooby-Doo and Disney Princess valentines with my elementary classmates, gone out and created chaos, metaphorically burning cities to the ground with my other single friends, or with those same friends, just sat in front of the TV with tissues and The Notebook on loop.  All while devouring heart-shaped delivered pizzas, chocolate, and bottles of wine.  Now that I look back on it, I see nothing wrong with any of these options.  I thoroughly enjoyed every single one.

For Jimmy and I, the beginning of the year is a little more top-heavy, so we never go really crazy on Valentine’s Day.  It all starts with Christmas, then New Years {we don’t get each other gifts on this day, but this holiday can get quite pricey depending on what you decide to do}, our anniversary on January 17, Valentine’s Day, and then Jimmy’s Birthday on March 10th, this list goes on.  We aren’t in college anymore, but we also aren’t made of moola, so we made a rule for Valentine’s Day.  Limit the gift to $20 each {we’ve actually never officially honored that amount, it’s kind of transformed into the $30 gift rule}.  Then, ya know, dinner together, etc, etc.

Although I’ve had sOoOoOo many Valentine’s Day experiences {<— slight sarcasm here}, this year will be a first.  Due to our opposite and preexisting work schedules, Jimmy and I will not be able to spend V-Day together.  As the years go on, I’m finding that this is more common with my relationship-clad friends than not.  We all have jobs where schedule is everything, and for whatever reason, companies don’t recognize or honor V-Day the same way they recognize Christmas {<–also sarcasm}.

So, when ya can’t be with your hunnay on the technical day of love, here are some tips on what do to {not saying Jimmy and I followed all of these, just some ideas from one gal pal to another…these tips apply to guys as well}:  This is also assuming you’ve texted//called each other at some point on Valentine’s…

**The key is to plan ahead:

It’s all about communication {don’t worry keep reading, this isn’t a relationship lecture}.  Since you can’t be together on Valentine’s, match up each other’s schedules and see what time works for the both of you to exchange gifts//go to dinner//go to the movies.  Whatever it is you’re going to do.  As long as you’re on the same page, celebrate whenever the heck you want.

**The USPS is your friend {as long as they don’t lose anything}:

Find out the address where your boo thang will be staying and send a little something to them there.  A card, small gift, etc.  Keep in mind they are most likely on a work trip, so let’s keep it both work appropriate and something they can travel back with {no 50 dozen roses or 6ft stuffed bears}.  If the gift you have in mind doesn’t fit either of these options, revert back to number one and give them the gift at another time.  Also keep in mind how many other people might want to mail something on Valentine’s Day.  You don’t want your present to be late, or missed completely!

**Become a little sneaky-sneak:

Probably could have phrased this better, but I’m hitting a writer’s block.  All I mean here is, when they aren’t looking {or are already asleep}, sneak a small gift or card into their suitcase.  Label it, “Not To Be Opened Until Valentine’s Day”, or something to that affect.  If they’re driving to their destination, then you have a little more freedom with what you can do.  If they’re flying, keep TSA regulations in mind.  It wouldn’t be very sweet if your sweetie got held up at the airport because they unknowingly tried to bring a carry-on with a bottle of champagne tucked inside.  {oopsies}

No matter what you do, keep in mind that Valentine’s is just another day.  If you can’t have your Lady and The Tramp spaghetti dinner with your babycakes on the 14th, it shouldn’t turn into the worst day of the year.  Like I said, I enjoy celebrating anything, buttt you also don’t HAVE to blow it out or celebrate it right on the 14th to prove you love one another.  Just relax and enjoy Valentine’s Day any way that you can.  {Those heart shaped za’s are pretty dang good, FYI}.

What do you guys have planned for Valentine’s Day?  What do you do if you can’t be with the one you love?

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Easy-A Omelet How-To

Another round of 5:30 AM Bodypump in the books {can I get a woop-woop}.  It’s a busy day in Christine-land, so I still wanted to make sure I got some form of a workout in before the day started. This morning when I got back from the gym I was STARVING with a capital S-TARVING.  I decided to make an omelet.

There are a variety of ways to make an omelet.  When I do it, I follow the basic steps that I’m about to list below.  In terms of what I put in the omelet, I just include whatever’s in my fridge.  For this omelet I added red onion, sweet peppers, spinach, and mushrooms.  To be honest, exact measurements don’t really matter with me- it’s just a great way to make sure you’re using all of the produce that you’ve purchased.  Grab a small skillet, and I just add the veggies with whatever cooking oil {I used ghee here} until I fill the bottom of the pan.

So ingredients are as listed:

The amount of veggies you need to fill a pan {add a little more spinach than you would think because this will cook down considerably}
Cooking oil of choice
1 egg & 2 egg whites, whisked
A splash of almond milk {with the eggs}
Seasoning {I go with either a little old fashioned S&P or Creole Seasoning}

No matter what kind of omelet you make, always try to include organic baby spinach leaves.  They cook down so easily, and are full of amazing nutritional benefits.  Like I’ve said numerous times before- “they are the Houdini of veggies”.  You can’t taste them, but you know they’re there.

Once the veggies have cooked down over medium heat, add the mixture of egg//egg whites//almond milk to the skillet, top it off with the seasoning.

Cover the pan and allow to cook until the edges are crisp and the top of the omelet looks slightly cooked through.  At this point, use a spatula to flip one half of the “omelet mixture” on to the other.

Continuing to keep the pan covered, flip the omelet over on both sides for about 1-2 minutes.  Until the omelet appears to be cooked through.

Once it’s cooked…enjoy!  I also sauteed up some chicken sausage and toasted some “paleo bread” that I made last week.  The bread is pretty amazing and I will share that will you all later as well.  Right now I don’t have the right sized pan, so my bread slices are looking a little more like bread sticks.

Aaaaand angle numero dos.

Oh yea, and don’t forget the avacad-iiiii!!!

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday!  What did you have for breakfast this morning?

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#MondayMantra {Feb 9 2015}

I’ve been reading a lot about gratitude recently.  How to work it into your every day life, and why it helps.  I actually finished reading a short and interesting article by Arianna Huffington just this morning.  Click here to read it in full.

The article is actually what led me to today’s Monday Mantra.  I am happy, and incredibly thankful for the people and things that are in my life.  However at times, as a twenty-something, just when I think I have it all figured out I am quickly proved wrong.  It’s like I have all of these pieces to this puzzle we call life, but I’m still not able to get some of the pieces to fit together quite right, or the way I want to.  This is frustrating, it’s overwhelming, and sometimes it’s downright scary.

BUT, that’s really the beauty of it, isn’t it?  You have to experience the lows to appreciate the highs.  I think it’s healthy to be wrong sometimes, to experience rejection.  Could you honestly imagine how boring it would be if everything always worked out the way we wanted?  Looking back on things now, could you imagine how different your life would be if you had always gotten everything you wanted?  I’ll go ahead and admit it.  I didn’t necessarily plan on being where I am today, but if I had gotten everything I thought I wanted, when I wanted it, there is no way that I would be here.  With the exception of a few minor tweaks here and there {that are so miniscule, they’re not even worth mentioning}, I have this settling feeling that even though I’m going through some twists and turns right now, I am where I’m supposed to be.  With that comes today’s mantra:

Originally stated by eighth-century Muslim jurist, Imam Al- Shafi’i, I have found this to be true more than ever.  In this I find solace. 

Sometimes it is easier to be negative than it is to be positive.  We are all human, and I will admit that I can struggle with this from time to time.  However, like Huffington noted in her post linked above, “gratitude works its magic by serving as an antidote to negative emotions”.  I don’t like negativity, I try not to be around it.  By showing gratitude I’m keeping my negativity as far away as possible.  I also show gratitude by remembering this quote, and being thankful for all of my experiences, no matter what their outcome may have been.

To clarify- always, always work hard.  Hustle.  Work your butt off.  However you want to describe it.  Don’t just sit around and wait for things to come to you, that I do not agree with.  Instead, keep going through life trying and experiencing all that you can.  Work HARD.  If it doesn’t work out, it wasn’t supposed to.  If you feel like you haven’t “gotten to where you want to be yet”, that’s okay.  Who, especially in their twenties, honestly feels that way?  The key through all of this is to remain grateful.  Have gratitude for all things, always.  It will help you maintain your sanity, keep out negative thoughts, and give you an overall better outlook on life.

Happy Monday everyone!  In what ways do you guys show gratitude?  Is this something that you struggle with from time to time as well?

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#FiveThingsSF {Feb 8 2015}

Welcome to Sunday evening, everyone!  I wanted to post this yesterday, but there were a few things that I needed to have happen first, so I wouldn’t ruin any surprises.  This will all make sense in a minute.

But, let’s get on with the Five Things for the week!

Recapping the #FiveThings thus Far {PLUS A SERIOUS UPDATE}

If you guys have been to the main page of the blog in the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed a few edits {i.e. font changes aaannndddd TABS}.  That’s right.  I organized more than my top drawer this week.  While this has been about a two week process, a few days ago I dedicated my time to update the #FiveThings page, listing the “five things” of each week next to their respective date.  Click the link to check it out.

Now, I do want to note-  there are a lot of words on that page, and even as a blogger I know how much of a turn off that can be {too many words, EW!} <—- {Jimmy Fallon joke}.  I’m in the process of adding images and organizing everything even more, so keep your eyes open for that.  You have to start somewhere, right?

And finally, on to the “serious update”.  Deciding to blog means a lot of things, one of which ultimately lies in the fact that the desire to do it comes from somewhere personal.  I think any blogger would agree with me on that.  Going through all of my “Five Things”, and seeing a very abbreviated version of the past six months of my time in CLT was for lack of a better term, really cool.  It’s part of the reason why I blog.  Not only to help others and create a positive environment/ community, but also to document my own growth.  I honestly think everyone needs to document their personal growth to a certain extent {even if you never share it}.  It’s incredibly eye opening.  As I grow and evolve, so will the blog.  It’s the “never-ending life project” {sounds super fun, right?}.  That being said, I’m once again updating #FiveThings {remember when I used to call it “High-Five Friday” for like two weeks?  Ughh, can I get some wine with all that cheesiness??}.

Trying to remain brief here, every week I blab on and on about my Five Things, but what I really want to do is hear about YOURS.  That’s right!  Read the full explanation here on the actual #FiveThings page.  What we’re going to do here is have everyone share their Five Things by simply using the hashtag #FiveThingsSF.  {I checked, nothing of any importance is associated with this hashtag thus far}.  Notice how I’m using it in the title today?  Now, you don’t have to go into storytime mode like me, just get on whatever social media venue you want, and list your Five Things for the week with the hashtag #FiveThingsSF 🙂  Sharing is caring, but it also gets you to think about YOUR Five Things, which will make you reflect and be happy!!!   {remember to read the full explanation in the link above, I’ve got to get on to #FiveThingsSF #2}….

New Jams of the Week

My friend Molly graced us all with another “Jams of the Week” this week, and it has been glorious.  The ultimate friend playlist strikes again, and I think it’s by far one of my favorites.  You can check out all of the JOTW by following me on Spotify.  Once you log in I’m listed as “christinelavery”.  Easy peasy.

Early morning workouts

I mentioned earlier in the week how I’ve been getting up for a Tues/Thurs 5:30am Bodypump class.  I used to get up on Wednesday’s for a 5:30 spin class, but with a variety of schedule adjustments and such, it kinda fell to the wayside.  Recently, I’ve been able to make it to the 5:30am classes and still get my day started on time.  I will admit, when I began getting up at 5am, it was a struggle.  However, every morning since I’ve started, it’s gotten easier and easier.  Now, if I don’t work out in some capacity early in the morning, I feel unaccomplished.

Am I turning back into a serious morning workout person again??  This hasn’t happened since 2011 {at least}…

My “One Line A Day” Journal

When I say that TONS of things are going on right now, just believe me.  I promise that I will explain everything when it’s appropriate.  Due to the fact that I’m in a position where I can’t yet just blurt it all out, I’ve been keeping daily tabs on myself with my “One Line a Day” journal.  It’s been my saving grace.  I’m particularly interested to look back on what I’ve had to say about my life once I’m through this time period.  I’m all about that growth and reflection.

This journal is blocked out to cover the next five years of your life.  Kind of intimidating, right?  Wrong!  It’s awesome!  All you have to do each day is write a line a day about whatever you want.  Did something good happen?  Something bad?  Or maybe nothing at all, you just heard a really funny joke? Write it down!  I found this at Target about six months ago.  It’s probably still in stock at a Target near you, buuuuutttttt I did find in online.  Want one of your own?  Click here.

Liz Getting Her Bride-To-Be Package

This is basically what I was waiting for to happen yesterday.

It’s an extremely exciting time because one of my very best friends and former college rommies is getting married!  {The Liz in Chicago!!}  She got engaged right before Christmas, and my other friends, Jess and Abby were wanting to put a “Congrats//Bride-To-Be” gift basket together for her.  We were finally able to when I met up with Jess in Huntington the other weekend.  Abby was still in Miami, so she helped us get everything together remotely, but we assembled it that Friday.  Yesterday, Liz finally got it!

Post to come on how to build the best “Bride-To-Be” gift basket, it was so much fun getting everything together!  {and surprising her with it…surprising people with gifts is my favorite}.

Alright people, what are your #FiveThingsSF for the week?? Let’s hear ’em!

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Paleo-Stuffed Bell Peppers w// Citrus Avocado Salad

Yoo-hoo, hi everyone!

As promised on Tuesday, I’ve decided to share the Stuffed Pepper recipe that I created on Monday.  It was scrum-diddily-umptious, and this thing will be forever bookmarked in the invisible, but totally real “Christine’s Go-To Cookbook”.  The cookbook is invisible because it’s not a real thing.  Some recipes memorized, some here on this blog, some oldies on the Rec’s blog. some on Pinterest, some in actual cookbooks, some modified off of ideas I’ve screenshot while perusing the internet/social media {hey, ideas can come from anywhere, why limit yourself?!}  I’ll organize it and put it all together someday.  For now, the invisible go-to cookbook works.

Let’s jump right in!  Enough chit-chat for this week so far {y’all saw my top drawer for cryin’ out loud}…

Ingredients: {Makes 4 Stuffed Peppers}

For the Peppers:

1 lb of ground turkey {or lean beef, your choice}
4 Bell Peppers, any color, with the tops off and seeded
1 15oz can of organic tomato sauce
1 jalapeno, diced {seeds and all}
1/2 cup of red onion, chopped
1/2 cup of mushrooms, chopped {I used organic white button mushrooms, but’s it up to you.  These can also be omitted for allergies or overall dissatisfaction of said fungi}
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of onion powder
1/2 tsp of oregano {dried and crushed}
1/4 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp of paprika
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes

Additional-  oil of your choice for cooking {I just used olive}, and cheese to top the peppers if you’re feeding someone who’s not into the whole “no-dairy” thing

For the Avocado Salad:

2 avocados, cubed and scooped from the skin
1 Tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp of fresh squeezed lime juice
1/8 cup of diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp of diced red onion
Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375.  In a large skillet, with preferred oil, saute onion, mushrooms, and jalapeno’s with a pinch of salt.  While these are cooking, take the tops off of the peppers and take out the innards.

If you have time, go ahead and separate the spices into a bowl.

 

2.  Once the onions are translucent and the peppers seem cooked through, add the ground meat and the remaining amount of salt.  After the meat is browned remove everything from pan and drain any excess oil and grease.  Then put back in the skillet.

3.  Add the can of tomato sauce and spices to the skillet and cook down to a thick paste.

4.  While this cooks down, go ahead and line the baking pan with aluminum foil.  It will be hard to get the peppers to stand up on their own, so I used additional foil to make little bottoms for the peppers.

Pepper pants

5.  After about 5 minutes of cooking, evenly spoon the mixture between the four peppers, and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

6.  As I mentioned earlier, if you’re cooking for someone that wants cheese on their stuffed pepper {i.e. the frat bros}, then remove peppers from the oven, cover with desired amount of cheese and stick back in the oven for 10 more minutes.  If you’re not adding cheese to any of them, keep the peppers in the oven for 40 minutes total.

Man, even though I don’t eat it that much anymore, there are few things more beautiful than some melted cheese…am I right??

7.  In these remaining 10 minutes, whip together the avocado citrus salad by mixing all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Then use it to top the peppers.

At this point you’re all done.  So clean up, and enjoy!!

Make these tonight.

Remember, if you have extra, you can always eat them for breakfast.

Have you guys ever made stuffed peppers before?  What modifications do you have?

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Ghee, What a Pal

I’ve recently started adding a certain fatty substance to my diet and cooking, and I wanted to share it with you all today.  As a Paleo based {eh, more so dairy-free} type of person, I shockingly haven’t been with the times, and utilizing this substance like many already do.  But let’s be honest here, when I say “Paleo”, what I really mean is dairy-free combined with clean eating as much as possible {lean meats, subbing veggies for grains whenever I can, etc}.  Some Paleo alternatives can get really “fatty” if you’re not careful, which is obvi no bueno.  It’s all about doing your research and understanding the who’s, what’s, and why’s as to what you’re putting into your body.

Anyway, cue announcer voice…

Coming into the ring, at a mere 8oz as a buttery yet non-dairy cooking oillllll…Ghhhheeeeeeee

{Jock Jams, Let’s Get Ready to Rumble, plays in the background}…are you hyped up yet?

So, what is it, you ask?  Traditionally found in the Indian culture, it’s also known as Clarified Butter.  Basically it’s cooked down, grass-fed butter that doesn’t include any water, milk solids, or preservatives.  So it’s butter, without the whole casein, dairy component.  It still has some fat, so you know, don’t go crazy and eat cups of it or put it on everything, but there are actually a lot of great benefits that go along with this cooking substitute.

Here are some of the reasons that I’ve chosen to include ghee in my diet.

High Smoke Point

This refers to “how hot” ghee can get in the pan before decomposing and smoking.  I’m sure if you’ve experimented in the kitchen before, you’ve noticed times with other oils that you’ve accidentally left on a high heat for too long, the pan literally starts to smoke.  Well, with ghee, it’s found to have a higher smoke point than most oils {olive, coconut, etc}, even regular butter, making it great for cooking.

No More Moo-Moo

We’ve already covered this, but because ghee is clarified butter, the milk component is outta here!  Which is great for those attempting to avoid dairy.  **Ehhemm**

Aids in Digestion

Due to the fatty acids that are found in ghee, many believe that it triggers an immune response that decreases inflammation and aids in digestion.

Healing for the Skin

Disclaimer, I have not tried this, but it was something that I found during research.  Similar to the same anti-inflammatory properties we just discussed, it is said that when ghee is applied directly to the skin it can help with things like swelling and burns.  I would test it out for you guys, I really would, but I have to draw the line there.  I don’t think my skin could handle it.  If I burn myself while cooking, I’ll let you know.  Not going out of my way to test that one.

Vitamins

Ghee is also found to be rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Can Help Lower Cholesterol and Risk of Heart Disease

Because of the fatty acids and compounds found in ghee, it is shown to help lower cholesterol AND the risk of heart disease by protecting you against things like carcinogens and artery plaque.

Now, although we’ve covered all of these great benefits….I want to point out that this is still a FAT.  I kept stumbling upon the idea that ghee is a “miracle weightloss fat”.  That’s a claim that I’m neither going to confirm nor deny.  Yes, ghee has all of these amazing benefits, and when used appropriately and sparingly in your diet, like many other cooking fats or Paleo-based substitutes, this can have a great and positive impact on your overall health.  It’s all about balance.  Figuring out what works for you, and YOUR body, and going from there.  Do I think ghee is your answer for losing weight?  Honestly, no, and I couldn’t go sleep at night if I condoned something like that.  I do, however think it’s a great addition//alternative to one’s cooking and eating habits.  Hence, why it is in my cupboard.

Plus, I forgot to mention that it still tastes all old-fashioney buttery.  Like the kind grandma used to use.  Only, without dairy.

Want more info?  Click here, here, here, and here.

What do you guys think?  Have you ever included ghee into your cooking?  How do you feel about it?

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Organizing Part One // Drawers

Welcome back to Part Deux for the SF blog today.  Like I said, this is a #TransformationTuesday piece…you’ll fully understand in a moment.

I’ve come to a realization about myself recently.  While I am a very driven, busy, organized, and clean individual, I am by no means perfect.

Blog of Honesty- my drawers and closets are organized to crap.  When it comes to clothes, I am a borderline hoarder, and I only have so much storage space.

I’m just going to be open and up front with everyone {not like I’m not already}, but I know a lot of us suffer from this problem.  While parts of this might be shocking and appalling, I think we will all be able to benefit from my sacrifice of allowing you into the depths of my soul that I normally just cover by closing my closet door or stuffing my drawers shut.

Okay, so it’s not THAT dramatic, but it is pretty bad.  Jimmy {who miraculously just turned into the world’s best purger {not a word} one day and had a freak moment and cleaned out ALL of his stuff} gets on me about it all the time.  I have so much to clean out that this will take up two, maybe three posts, but I promise I will show you before and after pictures, as well as share tips with everything.

Today we will focus on dresser drawers, specifically the drawer of the undergarment sort.  I know this is a problem for a lot of people.  Girls especially, because this drawer holds everything from panties to socks to sports bras to nighites to strapless bras {guys just don’t get it}.  I would like to point out that this is TOTALLY for guys too, don’t you all put things in your top drawer like ties and watches?  Now, I’m not particularly excited about showing you pictures of this, but I think it will help others, so I’m doing it anyway.  Report this as inappropriate if you want, but all you’re looking at is pieces of fabric…in a pile…so get your mind out of the gutter.  This isn’t the Janet Jackson Super Bowl Halftime show.  Your drawer is probably horribly organized too.  So read, and learn.

This is what we’re working with today

Yikes.

Before tackling this I went on Pinterest to consult the powers that be to get an idea on what steps to take {click here and here}.  I also went back and read the portion of The Happiness Project where good old Gretch talked about the how and why behind her closet purging.

After doing a little bit of research, I also ventured over to IKEA to buy some drawer organizers.  I decided on what is known as Skubb, a six piece collapsible set, that fits my IKEA drawers perfectly.

I would also like to point out that this is all I bought when I went to IKEA {are you reading this Mom and Dad?!} Did I walk around the entire store?  Yes, partly because I wanted to and partly because who can actually find their way out of an IKEA without walking through the entire thing?  Dang Sweds.

So, I got home, emptied my drawer, organized everything into piles and made 4 rules for myself.

1.  If there are holes, throw it out {this pertains to everything}
2.  If you haven’t worn it in the past 3 months or if it is dingy, stained, mangled looking, and not saved for a particular time of the month, toss it.  {this pertains to undies…girls, you know what I’m sayinn}
3.  Put it on.  If you jump around and it’s lacking in support, sayonara. {this refers to sports bras.  There’s nowhere to go but down {pun intended} once the elastic starts to loosen up}
4.  If it flat out doesn’t fit anymore…BUH-BYE.  {I say this because I have a bad habit of keeping things even when they don’t fit like they used to}  hint:  if you keep things because you think “oh I’ll just lose 5lbs to get back to what I used to be and then I’ll wear this again all the time!” only keep one or two of these items, they’ll be like your “skinny jeans” of undergarments.  But stop taking up space, let it go…into the trash can.

***And if you actually lose those five lbs, go buy something new when that time has actually come as a fun little reward.***

Once I separated everything into it’s respective piles, I was momentarily overwhelmed…

Where the eff did this all come from??? And how did it fit in my one drawer?!?!?

My one unexpected realization….why do I have so many fuzzy slipper socks?

The crazy thing is, none of these break my four rules.  They all get worn at least once every two weeks and none of them have holes.  I’ll just put them away as the warm weather arrives.  I heart slipper socks.

Long story short, I designated each pile to a Skubb drawer, followed my rules, and went to town.  I then ended up with this….

I had an extra Skubb drawer {as you can see I just gave my socks the freedom to roam}, so I used it to organize my bathing suits in another drawer.

It’s amazing how much better you feel, even after only organizing something like this.  My next project is my side of the closet, which I’ll share next week.  THAT, ladies and gents, will be a true Transformation Tuesday.

What are some of your strategies when you need to reorganize your drawers?  Anyone else struggle with this issue?

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Peppery Breakfast && Missy Elliott Inspired Playlist

Good morning all!  Today’s actually going to be a double blog day {douubblleee bllloogggg}!!  Just wanted to stop in and share my breakfast and workout inspo before going over part deux a little later.  This afternoon is going to be a real #TransformationTuesday, if you know what I mean.

This morning I got up extra early for a 5:30am Bodypump class at my gym.  That’s been my Tuesday/Thursday ritual for the past week, and I’m excited to keep it going.  I increased my weight for today’s class….shewwwieeee, baby!  Definitely glad I did that, definitely going to be sore tomorrow.  I stayed after to run through a 9-mile stationary bike interval workout {I’m a little behind on my #150byVday}.  While I was biking I listened to my new and most favorite playlist.  In honor of Missy Elliott arriving at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, I created a Misdemeanor-inspired collection.

If you follow me on Spotify, you can “follow” this playlist and it will sync directly with your own Spotify app.  If you don’t have Spotify, I still wanted to make sure you guys got it!  {{P.S.- not all of the songs on here are edited, I just went with what I could find on the app}}.  In total it’s about an hour long and totally took me back to high school.  Do I know every word to every song on the playlist?  Maybe.  I freaking loved Missy Elliott, and seeing her on Sunday night made my week.  I’ll be honest I was waiting for Snoop Dogg or Juicy J to come out with Katy Perry since they’ve collabed together…but seeing Missy was better.  These throwback jamz are definitely what I needed to get through a fun workout.

For breakfast I reheated one of the Paleo-Stuffed Bell Peppers that I made last night for my frat bro’s and myself.  In total I made four, but there were some leftovers.  The recipe was banging, for lack of a better term, and I’m super proud of myself for coming up with it off the top of my head  {the ingredients part, not the whole “stuffed pepper idea”}.  Jimmy gave it multiple thumbs up {= two thumbs up, on numerous and separate occasions}.  I promise to share it with you some time this week.

You can turn anything into a “breakfast food” once you slap a fried egg on it.  I LOVE FRIED EGGS.

Coffee, grapefruit, and squeeze a little avocado in there…because I can.

Alright, off to get a few things done today.  Be back later with that Transformation Tuesday post I was talking about {hint:  it has nothing to do with weight loss.  Although, there is a loss of something here}.

BBL

That means “be back later”, for those of you who didn’t use AIM.  What can I say?  I was just talking about Missy Elliott.  I can’t help myself.

What did you guys have for breakfast this morning?  Were you as excited to see Missy Elliott as I was?

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Monday Mantra {Feb 2 2015}

Hey February, where the heck did you come from?

It’s a new work week, and no matter if you’re team won or lost last night {or you just participated in the festivities}, we’re all dragging a little bit more on this Mundane Monday.  So, let’s make sure we’re starting it off right.  Another edition of Monday Mantra’s should do the trick! 😉

{Source}

It’s true.  I try to remind myself of this daily.  Even if something is bad or negatively effecting you, remember that there are still so many other positive things to focus on!  Holding on to negativity is a like a poison, and if you’re not careful, it can ruin a lot of other positive opportunities that might be right in front of your nose.  If something bad happens, or is making you feel negative, it’s okay to internally get mad for a minute.  Then take a deep breath, blow off some steam in whatever way works for you, and let it go.

Keep this in mind this week whenever you’re approached with a negative situation.  It’s an opportunity to make something positive happen!  Don’t let it get you down.  Thinking negatively will never produce anything positive. Ever.

{{P.S.  If you like this print, you can actually buy it on Etsy, here}}.

Happy Monday everyone!  How are you making sure you stay positive?

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