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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday Shoesday: It's Pedi Time.... :)

By: Danie

You may have already jumped the gun and sported some sandals, depending on your location. I know I have totally taken the leap and rocked some cute flat sandals, sans the much needed pedicure. Hopefully no one was really checking out my feet...

Here are some really cute flats from Wet Seal! These are on my to purchase list for my trip to Jamaica later in the spring. Wet Seal has great flats all under $20. It was so hard to chose a pair of sandals but I wanted something nautical and affordable! Check out ASOS, Forever21 and UrbanOG for some cute and mostly affordable flats.

Jamaica 2012...

Couldn't choose a tank... I want them both :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fitness Friday: Detoxing 101

By: Danie

A lot of diets and work out plans start with a detox. Detoxing is meant to jump start your system and give you a clean start! Some effects are below......

There are many different programs out there, if you go to your local GNC or Vitamin World you will see different powders, pills and kits for detoxing. Personally I don't have any experience with those, so I don't know how effective they are (if you do feel free to comment).

There are easy ways to detox at home with natural ingredients and practices. A common detox is the juicing.... literally you drink liquid for three days straight. Remember that you are cleaning your system so no alcohol, cigarettes or coffee!

On your juicing detox diet you will need to constantly drink fluids. To supplement your juice try drinking coconut water (it is soooo good for you! Mix it in with your juice if you want to experiment with taste), oolong/green tea (decaf) and of course water (drink water with a little lemon it helps in the detox process). You can spice it up by making any of these juices a smoothie, feel free to add a little honey or flax seed. Try to use organic veggies and fruit when possible or make sure you wash your veggies very well because you are juicing everything with the skin/rind. I constantly refer back to this, here is my when to buy organic info!

Another interesting way to help expel toxins is dry brush your body. You can use body brushes, exfoliating gloves or mix up your own exfoliating rub.

During detox you can still work out but you will want to take it easy. When you are done with your detox slowly ease back into solid foods especially refined sugars, saturated fats and complex carbs. You don't have to juice detox, there are plenty of detox programs that include solid foods. Reasons for juicing versus other detox programs are juice packs lots of nutrients/antioxidants in a smaller dose, it is easily digestible and gives your organs a hypothetical break from processing normal fare.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Project Gutenberg

By: Danie

It seems like everyone has some sort of e-reader or tablet these days, myself and Ashley included. We actually use ours for reading purposes, however it is nice to have the option to watch movies and play games .When I first got my Nook I was buying books left and right, just loading it up... not thinking of the fact that it will probably take me FOREVER to read all of them. Oh, the details!

One of my goals was to re-read classics that I didn't fully appreciate when I was in high school and college. Well it turns out that the copyright on most of these books has expired and free digital copies are available from Project Gutenberg. There are over 38,000 epub files, kindle files and even audio book files. No fee or registration is required but they do ask that you donate to keep the cause going or donate your time by recording audio books, reporting errors and digitizing more books. Your donation is tax deductible.

How amazing is that, to use your e-readers and tablets to access free books?! I think it would be cool to start a book club and utilize the Project Gutenberg and fun. Well free-ish and fun :) You can also borrow digital books from your local library and with some tablets you are able to share books.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

by: Ashley

Howdy y'all! Anyone go all out last night? I enjoyed a couple pounds of crawfish and then... a nice big Juicy Lucy :)

"What's a Juicy Lucy" you say? Well it is an AMAZING creation where you put the cheese inside of the burger!!! Here's a picture (not my burger but close enough).  I actually found this picture over at A Good Appetite blog. 
Juicy Lucy

So I know I totally pigged out last night (crawfish and burger) but I realized that I wasn't going to have one last chance to eat a burger before I give it up for 40-something days.

Like many people, I typically give something up during Lent.  However, the last couple years, I’ve also tried to turn things around and do something good instead.  This year I want to focus on these three areas:
- Prayer (justice towards God)
- Fasting (justice towards self)
- Almsgiving (justice towards neighbor)

Prayer: For this area, I will read from the Bible daily.  YouVersion, which I’ve downloaded on my iPhone, has Bible Reading Plans.  I’ve selected one specifically for the season of Lent.   Let me know if you guys are on YouVersion too.  We can be friends on our profiles so that we can help motivate each other to keep up with our promises. 

Fasting: I am giving up red meat (this is a BIG deal for me). So this is why I indulged in a burger last night! So for 40 something days I am sticking with chicken and seafood. No more of my honey's awesome t-bone steaks :( 

Almsgiving: Each week during Lent I will give either time or money to a different charity.  I haven't picked these yet, so if you guys have one dear to your heart please let me know. 

When I was younger, I used to view Lent as just an opportunity to give up something that was bad for me anyway.  But the truth is that I should feel the sacrifice during Lent.  No, we will never truly understand the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us on that cross.  But we can honor it by trying to not live a life of gluttony.  

So what do you guys do to celebrate the season of Lent? 

By the way, if you are going to also pick up the Bible (a real one instead of on a smart phone or eReader) check out these cute paperclip bookmarks you can make:

You can find the tutorial here on How About Orange Blog

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Shoesday - Mardis Gras

by: Ashley

It's FAT TUESDAY! Which means I plan on indulging in some crawfish and hush puppies tonight and perhaps even a glass of Abita :) 

And since it's also Tuesday Shoesday, I figured you guys would love to see some Mardi Gras inspiration!! You can find these here from Ellie Shoes

Happy Fat Tuesday y'all!

Monday, February 20, 2012

You Are What You Eat!

By: Danie

I think we all put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get out there and work out, be active etc etc. It seems like the more pressure we put on ourselves to work out the less concerned we are about our diet. So its okay to work out for an hour and a half to two hours and then leave the gym and have fast food for lunch or spend two hours at happy hour. Its no surprise that sometimes working out isn't the only solution.

Eating well is's time consuming and costly. I don't care what anyone says its much easier and cheaper to drive through somewhere and get a $1 hamburger. Its also much tastier to cook with lots of oil, butter and cheese! So its time to make time to cook healthy and learn about the ingredients we put in our food.

Since we have had the baby its been harder to manage our time but I do always make time to cook! One of my favorite websites is SkinnyTaste, it has points if you are on weight watchers and it has detailed nutritional info.

We really enjoy Gina's Greek Turkey Meatballs with Skinny Tzatziki!

Rolling in at 254.7 calories per serving (4 Meatballs)... these are right on point! Greek night is awesome, we make greek salad, hummus and nibble on a few low cal pita chips. The recipe I use to make low cal hummus is below, just use a little food processor for the best outcome.

Combine 15 oz can of garbonzo beans (Drained- keep liquid on the side to adjust the texture), 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 3 tbl lemon juice, 3 cloves garlic, 1-2 Tbl Seasame Oil, pinch of salt. I serve it with a little paprika and seasame oil on top. I feel like the seasame oil makes up for the lack of tahini.... you can play with the recipe to make it more to your taste (add some more garlic? dried tomatoes? Kalamata Olives?).

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fitness Friday - Need Motivation

by: Ashley

We try to talk about fitness on Fridays to give everyone a little motivation for this weekend.  But to be completely honest with you - I'm the one that needs motivation.

Where do you guys go to find inspiration?

What I'm really dealing with right now is that I'm so tired after work that I find it too easy to just "skip" the gym.  It was easier when my honey and I were going to the gym together, but our schedules don't allow that anymore during the week.  So now there is no one depending on me to go... no one but myself I mean.

I'm not really sure how to get over this apathetic-towards-the-gym attitude that I have going on :(

I'm pretty sure that I need to start going in the morning.  I'm just drained by the end of the work day.  But if I'm going to be getting up an hour and a half earlier to work out, I'd better follow these tips for waking up more refreshed.

- Avoid caffeine after lunch time
- Resolve anything that's going to keep those wheels in my head spinning (meditation could help clear my head)
- Eat dinner early so I have time to digest (3 to 4 hours before I go to bed)

Anyone have good advice for getting up earlier to get your workout in?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Guest Book Alternatives

by: Ashley

I try not to talk about weddings too much on here because there are so many more qualified people out there with AMAZING wedding blogs.  But I desperately need some advice!  I've been very decisive on everything else (venue, colors, dress, flowers, photographer, etc.) but I'm stuck on what type of guest book I should do.

There's the traditional one like this one from Daisyblu (Etsy). It's beautiful but I can't see myself going back in 10 years to look at signatures. So this would most likely just collect dust on a shelf somewhere. 

I could create a photobook with our engagement pictures and leave blank pages for signatures and messages from our guests.  This idea reminds me of a yearbook. Also, I'm afraid that the signatures would get smeared as people turn the pages or rub their hands along it. 
Image found on Boho Wedding Blog (source: McKinley-Rodgers)

Also from the Boho Wedding Blog I really like the concept of "Make a wish, take a wish."  Any ideas as to what you would write on the wishes you are giving to your guests? Would they just be thank you notes? Or would they be fortune cookies? Should they be funny or sentimental? I mostly like how "clean" this looks and it would fit right in with my decor. 

I found this "20 Questions Guest Books" from Martha Stewart Weddings. I love the idea of asking guests specific questions.  How great would it be to read these answers again and again over the years?! But I'm afraid that my guests wouldn't want to take time away from the party to write in these.  Have you guys ever seen this done at a wedding? Would you take the time to write answers?

Along the same line as the one above, is to have a small book on every table and asks guest to write something for us to open on the anniversary of that table number.  So if they are sitting at table 5, we will read that book on our 5th anniversary. The only problem is that I won't be able to go look at the signatures right away to see who all was at the wedding. 

I love the look of these envelopes.  Afterwards I could put all of the notes into a scrapbook? 
From Ruffled Blog (photo by Meg Ruth Photography)

I could also have a sheet for everyone to fill out like the ones below (found on Bridal Guide).  But our wedding is in a very elegant ballroom and I feel like these would be better for more casual weddings.  Your thoughts?

Ok so I think I'm leaning towards the "anniversary" books or the "Make a wish, take a wish" but I want input from you guys.  As past brides, what did you go with or what do you wish you went with?  As guests at weddings, are you opposed to any of these? Would you be excited to see any of these at a wedding you were invited to?  Do you guys have other ideas that would fit a ballroom wedding atmosphere? 

Pretty please (with a cherry on top) help me decide!! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Monogram Mugs- Super Easy DIY

By: Danie

This week I really wanted to share with you a DIY I had stumbled upon. It is quite possibly the most impressive do it yourself that I have found.... who comes up with this stuff?? Well apparently Gabrielle Blair with Design Mom Blog! Call me crazy, I just thought this was awesome.

Homemade monogram mugs are great gifts and they would be awesome additions to your mug collection. This actually inspired me to make some mugs with my company logo, its a single letter... so I thought it might be a cool gift for fellow employees or even my boss. The special pens for this project come in different colors so the possibilities are endless... for the full tutorial visit Design Mom here!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lovely Tuesday Shoesday

By: Danie


I hope you are all having a beautiful tuesday and a happy valentines day! I wish I could send you all beautiful roses but I can't :( However as my gift to you... I am going to let you in on the secret!! Its an amazing website with trendy and affordable shoes. This is easily becoming my favorite website. Check out some of my Valentines Day picks.....



Big Mike and I are going on a date tonight and I am so excited to just hang out with my best friend. We enjoy sharing the day, It can be so easy to slip into the day to day and forget to just stop and show your special guy or gal that you love them! Mike might over do it with the roses, cards and dinner but its a great feeling when someone goes above and beyond all for you.

My biggest problem today is figuring out what to wear. I wish I could beam those flower shoes onto my feet!! What are you guys wearing for date night tonight??

Monday, February 13, 2012

11 Things to Know at 25(ish)

by: Ashley

A few months ago my friend sent me this awesome article: 11 Things to Know at 25(ish)

All 11 things were very insightful but here are my three favorite...

1. You have time to find a job you love

It seems like all my friends (and me included) aren't 100% happy with our current jobs. If we knew the same things freshman year of college as we knew now, most of us would probably have picked different majors.  To all my 25-ish friends, just keep your eyes open for different opportunities that might be right under your nose.  Network with people in different professions and "interview" them about what their job truly consists of. Job shadowing will help you understand the day-to-day functions.  You also have to be realistic about the financial aspect. Your "dream" job may require a hefty investment, or might mean you take a pay cut the first few years until you are established. 

4. Give your best to friends and family

We've all known that friend that when he or she starts dating someone new they tend to disappear from our lives.  All of a sudden, you don't hear from them for months and when you do they only talk about their relationship.  I've had a lot of ups and downs in relationships - and a small group of girls that have been with me through it all.  Without them I'd be lost. These lifelong friendships can't just be tossed aside when you have a new guy in your life.  The same goes even when you are married. Don't "become" your husband. Take time to truly just be with your friends and family sometimes.  Of course it helps when your significant other gets fits right in with your group of friends and your family.  Then  you don't have to choose who to spend time with! 

8. Find a rhythm for spiritual disciplines

I haven't quite mastered this one yet. I tend to get too "busy" and I don't devote enough time to prayer or church. But I know that I'm not even close to being busy yet. I don't have three kids to get ready in the morning or soccer games to rush off too.  If I start good habits now, maybe I can keep them going and pass my good habits on to my future kids. 

Check out the article for the rest of the list. (and Happy Monday!)

Friday, February 10, 2012

CrossFit, Too Hardcore or Just Enough?

By: Danie

My cousin started crossfit, within two weeks I was impressed. After a month, I think he convinced me that crossfit was hardcore and delivered results. However, he is a guy. Any man who lifts weights is going to get great results. So this caught my attention and I wanted to learn more!

There are a ton of crossfit gyms popping up everywhere.... crossfit is pretty minimalist you use your own body as resistance and there are lots of weights involved. I don't think that this is something you can do on your own, guidance is definitely needed.

I think most misconceptions for women are that the more weights you lift the bulkier you get. Well the truth is the more muscle you have the more fat you will burn. If you are doing crazy power lifting then you might bulk up but normal weight lifting might get you a result more in line with this.......

I think it is worth a try! Do you crossfit??

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Delish Eggplant Spinach Lasagna

By: Danie

I have been wanting to share this recipe for a while because it is just so delish! I cook for some picky eaters and this lasagna recipe is a favorite, I have even heard that you can't even tell that it doesn't have the regular noodles! How about that?

1-2 Eggplants (Sliced into very thin strips)
1lb Chicken or Turkey Sausage Browned (I usually get spicy)
10 oz Frozen Spinach (Thawed and Drained)
1 Jar of your favorite Spaghetti Sauce
2 Eggs
1 15 oz container of Cottage Cheese
4 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 Cup Parmesan
1 Tbl Italian Seasoning


1. Preheat Oven to 375  ( We will use a 13 X 9 baking dish)
2. Combine beaten eggs, cottage cheese, two cups mozzarella, italian seasoning and parmesan.
3. Combine browned sausage and pasta sauce.
4. The first layer- Eggplant, Cheese Mixture, Spinach, Meat Sauce then repeat as many times as you would like... I fill mine up to the top. So after your last layer you will put more eggplant on top and then top with the remaining mozzarella.
5. Cover with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 5 minutes (to brown the top)

Usually in the last five minutes I like to stick garlic bread in the oven. Its quick and easy... take some bread (whatever you have is fine...rolls, loaf bread, french) cut bread into slices if it isnt already. Spread butter and sprinkle garlic powder (sprinkle some cheese if you want to get crazy) and stick it in the oven.

My mom actually crushes fresh garlic and mixes it with her butter then butters the bread.... but this is my crazy schedule busy mom short cut :)

P.S. The photo is of a smaller version of the dish...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kitchen Table Make-Over Part I

by: Ashley

This is as much a post about a kitchen table DIY as it is about saving money.  My honey got our kitchen table from some friends. They were buying all new furniture for their house so gave us a great price.  Well the furniture served it's purpose in that it provided us a table to eat on... but it wasn't quite my style.  So instead of going out and spending $900 on the table I wanted from World Market, I decided to take on a project: re-staining and re-upholstering the table and chairs. 

Today's post is just about the re-upholstering part - and it was so easy! 

1. Unscrew the seat from the chair frame. 
2. Use the seat to measure fabric squares. I bought 6 yards of fabric (1 yard per seat) and had a little extra I hope to make a table runner out of. 
3. If the staples are too difficult to take out from the previous fabric cover - just don't take them out! :) We just covered over the old fabric.  The only think you have to worry about is the corners being too thick (might make the seat uneven on the chair frame)
4. Fold the fabric over (with the seat facing down) and start stapling. We started on the front of the seat. 
5. Now do opposite side from where you started. 
6. Now do the last two sides of the fabric. Make sure to pull it pretty tight. 
7. On the corners, watch that the creases don't show when the chair is up right.  Trim off the extra fabric. 

This is a really easy project and changes the whole look of the table! Be on the lookout for Kitchen Table Make-over Part II for my tips (and horror story) about re-staining. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday Shoesday - Oh How I Love Bows!!

by: Ashley

Wanna know my favorite accent on a shoe? Bows!!! And no one does them with more attitude and style than Betsey Johnson!  I love the studded bow on this bootie - it's feminine with an edge.  I can easily see this paired with either skinny jeans or a body hugging dress. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fitness Friday - Lost at the Gym

by: Ashley

I don't know about you guys, but sometimes I go to the gym all pumped up and ready to work out and then I can't think of a single workout to do.  I just kinda walk around... maybe do some squats and crunches or jump on the elliptical.  I hope I'm not the only one that just sorta goes blank when I walk through those gym doors.

Well I found an answer to my problem. And if you try this, you might hate me after... because if you do it right, you will be sore!  I can't take credit for this workout, it actually comes from Blogilates.  Cassey Ho, the exercise guru behind Blogilates, is amazing.  She has great fitness and health advice. I recommend you follow her on twitter (@blogilates) to get her latest updates.  But if you don't believe me about this workout, just try it for yourself!

P.S. Valentine's day is only 11 days away. My honey likes to take me out somewhere nice for the day, so the least I can do is find a new dress to wear and look good on his arm! Let me know what you guys think of these items from Francesca's:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

14 Day Love Challenge

by: Ashley

As a bride-to-be, I'm obsessed with wedding blogs. One of my favorites is The Wedding Pickle.  Melina is an absolute sweetheart!! And she has amazing insight into not just beautiful weddings, but beautiful marriages.

Yesterday she introduced a 14 Day Love Challenge.  I'm not sure what all she has in mind but day one is to start a list: 100 things you love about your significant other.  She said you can use the rest of the 14 days to complete the list and it will be part of the valentine gift.

I absolutely love this idea! Especially with my wedding being 4 months away (eeek!!) - it's a great way to reaffirm my love to this man that I will vow to spend the rest of my life with.

I know not all of our readers are married or in serious relationships, but you can always tweak this challenge to meet whatever your circumstances are. Why don't you tell your best friend or your mom all the reasons you love her?

For another way to make lists, check out this 52 Reasons I Love You Cards Tutorial from Papervine.