My Wedding Shoes!!!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may remember my tweets of frustration a month or so ago as I tried, unsuccessfully, to locate this pair of Badgley Mischka pink pumps in my size for my wedding day.

Badgley Mischka Xango Pink Pumps

According to the woman Badgley Mischka referred me to when I emailed the company about the shoes, the pumps I wanted first became available in April and the pink ones sold like crazy.

Great for Badgley Mischka. Bad for me.

I searched all over the internet and in local stores that carry Badgley Mischka shoes without avail. The woman I spoke with encouraged me to call my local Nordstrom and ask for their assistance in locating the shoe.

The gentlemen I spoke with from Nordstrom told me the shoes sold really quickly, but that he would call around other stores and let me know if anything turned up.

Well, it did!

Woohoo!!! My wedding day shoes should arrive in 5 – 8 business days.

(For those of you who are wondering what happened to the shoes I originally wanted… Well, I decided against them because they were more than 5 inches high. Though this would work fine with Ryan’s height (he’s 6’2”) I am already taller than all my bridesmaids and didn’t want to look like Sasquatch on my wedding day. Sooo, I opted for a more modest heeled shoe. Still pink, though. 😉 )

Lunch

I wish my lunch was as exciting as my wedding shoes, but as a serious shoe lover, that’s basically impossible.

Well, unless lunch was an ice cream sundae from Houston’s.

My lunch was still delicious though, and that’s what really matters.

Using leftover taco-seasoned ground chicken from last night’s dinner, I made myself a taco salad that included:

  • Spring mix greens
  • Broccoli slaw
  • Frozen sweet corn (It thawed by lunchtime)
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Taco-seasoned ground chicken
  • Crumbled hard shell taco
  • Salsa

Taco Salad

Salsa

Using salsa as salad dressing is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the slightly spicy tomato-based sauce. It adds so much flavor!

Frozen Corn Close Up

Okay, kids. Fun’s over!

Back to work I go! 😀

Once Sad, Now Glad

Arugula is one heck of a flavorful salad green. It makes iceberg lettuce seem like crunchy water.

I love the peppery taste of the leaves and find that it adds a lot of flavor to an otherwise simple salad.

When I saw a 50/50 combination of organicgirl baby spinach and arugula on sale at the grocery store on Monday night, I scooped it up and planned to use the leafy greens as the base for a yummy salad.

organicgirl Arugula + Spinach

This afternoon that’s just what I did! 😀

Colorful Salad

My salad contained:

The Goods

On the side I enjoyed a fresh peach and a blue raspberry Ring Pop, leftover from the bachelorette party fun!

Plump Peach

Fun fact about Ring Pops: In my advertising campaigns class in college we had to re-market a product currently on the market to a new niche. I re-marketed Ring Pops as wedding favors to young adult women.

Ring Popper

Everythaaaang

Once Sad, Now Glad

Enjoying the Ring Pop after lunch today made me think about childhood candy and the things I was and wasn’t allowed to eat growing up.

My parents never let me and my sister drink soda, unless we were at a special event (then we’d always order a kiddie cocktail)! At the time I was sad that I couldn’t offer my friends a can of soda when they’d come over to my house to hang out, and I was sad I couldn’t sip on a cold can of Dr. Pepper whenever I wanted.

Now I’m honestly glad I wasn’t allowed to drink soda. I never crave it and don’t think to order it in restaurants. I guess my parents were on to something…

What is something you weren’t allowed to eat or drink growing up? Do you still avoid it today?

Healthy Living For Beginners

Today’s lunch was odd, but tasty.

Looks Like Puke, Tastes Delicious

Sometimes the most disgusting looking food is the tastiest!

Today’s sandwich contained a mixture of:

  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 c. salsa
  • 1/4 c. black beans

I spread this guacamole-ish mixture on whole wheat bread and enjoyed it along with sliced white pepper (yes, white pepper!!!), grape tomatoes, and a sliced carrot.

Peppa + 'Mater + Carrot

Lunchtime!

So Good

Veggie overload!

Healthy Living for Beginners

Earlier this week I received an email from a reader who recently started trying to live a healthier life. She’s waving goodbye to fast food and an inactive lifestyle, but said she feels lost when she reads about healthy foods (like quinoa) that are completely foreign to her.

It can be overwhelming to change your lifestyle from a sedentary one to an active one. Just thinking about preparing your own food when you’re accustomed to eating out can be enough to deter people from taking the initiative to eat healthy.

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to flip a switch and change dramatically over night. Your new healthy life begins today, and you can work on perfecting your healthy lifestyle forever!

My best advice to those new to the idea of working out and eating healthy is to make little changes. Enough little tweaks to an unhealthy lifestyle can completely transform you into a health-conscious eater and an active person.

About a year after I graduated from college, I made a decision to incorporate more vegetables into my diet and stop eating frozen meals that left me feeling unsatisfied. This was a small change that I can honestly say completely transformed my diet and left me feeling more energetic and satisfied.

Here are some of my tips for those looking to start living a healthier life (with some pictures thrown in to keep you intrigued 😉 ):

  • Don’t fall into the “diet” trap: Don’t go to the grocery store and stock up on “diet” foods in an effort to eat healthier. A small frozen meal like a Lean Cuisine will likely leave you feeling unsatisfied.
  • Shop the perimeter: When you go to the grocery store, shop around the perimeter, where you’ll find fresh fruits and veggies and lean meats. I only venture into the aisles for essentials like bread and peanut butter. If I went up and down every aisle I’d likely end up with a cart full of Cheez-its and Oreos.

Fresh Fruit = Instant Satisfaction

  • Make a realistic exercise goal: If you’ve never worked out before, it may be unrealistic to think you’ll get in the gym six days a week right off the bat. Make attainable exercise goals, like going to the gym every other day or taking three group exercises classes one week.

Work It Out!

  • Ask those you love for their support: Living a healthy life can be very hard if your roommate or significant other is pressuring you to hit up the drive through for dinner or order a pizza. Explain your desire to change your diet and make healthier choices to them so they can support you rather than tempt you with indulgent dishes. They may even take an interest in healthy living themselves and want to join you for a workout!

Fitness is Fun with Friends!

  • Reevaluate your plate: Growing up my dinner plate typically looked like this: 40% meat/protein, 40% starch/carbs, 20% fruits/vegetables. Try to make vegetables and fruits the largest portion on your plate. I try to make sure 50% of my plate is covered by fruits and vegetables, which leaves half of my plate to divide evenly between meat and starches.

To avoid feeling like your whole life has been turned upside down, try implementing one of these tips a week. After all, slow and steady wins the race. 😉

Question of the Afternoon

What tips do you have for living a healthier life? Do you find it easier to eat healthy or keep up a regular exercise routine?

Fiesta Burgers

How to make a hungry boy happy: Have a big burger waiting when we arrives home!

Ryan got caught up a little late at work this evening, so I got to work in the kitchen solo. Initially I was going to wait for him to arrive home to grill up the burgers since the grill intimidates me, but my stomach was growling and I figured he’d enjoy having dinner ready when he walked in the door.

Though I wasn’t brave enough to fire up the grill, I did manage to make a mean couple o’ burgers on the stove.

I combined lean ground beef with salsa to make fiesta burgers!

Fiesta Burger

 I topped my burger with ketchup, mustard and relish and served it on a a bed of fresh spinach.

Burger 'n' Beans

Along with the fiesta burgers, we enjoyed green beans with a little bit of butter.

Green Beans with a Bit o' Butter

I really enjoyed the addition of the salsa to the burgers. It added a lot of flavor and kept the meat nice and moist.

Oh-so-easy!

I’m about to press publish on this lil’ post and watch The Bachelorette (and watch Frank drop a boooomb)! Ain’t no shame in loving girly reality t.v.! 😀

Question of the Evening

If you were going to make a romantic meal for someone, what would you make?

When Ryan and I were dating I think he was most impressed when I made my first whole roasted chicken with carrots, potatoes and onions, so I’d probably make something like that. It smells fantastic and has that wonderful, comforting homecooked taste!

So Long, Farewell

“…Auf Weidersehen, goodbye!”

It’s so sad when friends from college start moving away. 😦

Since I went to college at UCF in Orlando and have been fortunate enough to transition into a job in downtown Orlando, I am lucky enough to live near many friends from college. Though Ryan and I have jobs we enjoy in Orlando, others have slowly started moving away to pursue other opportunities or additional schooling.

Tonight we said goodbye to our friend Pete, who is moving to Chapel Hill to attend grad school at UNC.

Pete was in Ryan’s fraternity and his girlfriend Merri was in my sorority, and we’ve always enjoyed hanging out with these two! (Merri is staying in Orlando and they will continue stay together long-distance.)

Pete & Ryan

We met up with Pete, Merri and some other friends at Mucho, a Mexican restaurant in downtown Orlando to say goodbye.

Ready for Dinner

Once we sat down I dug into the chips and salsa.

Chips 'n' Salsa

Crunch 'n' Munch

The waiter kept refilling our basket and I swear I ate an entire basketful myself. I was addicted!

Some of the guys enjoyed some beers…

Boys

That came with free shots of tequila…

Shots

For dinner, Ryan and I shared a quesadilla and I also had a fish taco which went unpictured.

'Dilla

I left this meal a little too full. I snacked on a bunch of almonds (easily three to four servings) before we left for dinner and I think they contributed to my overly stuffed feeling.

A too-full belly was more than 100 percent worth it though to enjoy a fun evening with good friends and say our goodbyes to Pete. Fortunately it won’t be goodbye for too long because Pete is a groomsman in our wedding so we’ll be seeing him in no time at all.

I’m off to PACK for our vacation!!!

Attune Bar Giveaway

Awesome giveaway in a minute…First, dinner! 🙂

Dinner

When I’ve made tacos in the crock pot in the past, I’ve made them using ground chicken.

I changed things up a bit tonight because I snagged a pack of ground turkey from my parents’ house yesterday. Turkey tacos!!!

Turkey Taco Meat

I placed the ground turkey in the crock pot with a packet of reduced-sodium taco seasoning and 2/3 cup of water and let it cook on low all day.

When we got home, Ryan forked through the meat (which forms a big turkey-taco patty) while I got out the tortillas, salsa and lettuce.

I enjoyed two soft shell tacos and a plate full of taco salad.

Yummy

First Round

Attune Bar Giveaway

I am one lucky lil’ blogger! The wonderful (newly engaged!!!) Annelies with Attune Foods sent me four Attune chocolate probiotic chocolate wellness bars to sample before offering an awesome giveaway on this blog!

Attune Chocolate Bar

I tried four different flavors:

  • Chocolate crisp
  • Dark chocolate
  • Mint chocolate
  • Coffee bean dark chocolate

Attune Chocolate Probiotic Wellness Bars

The bars come in these flavors as well:

  • Raspberry dark chocolate
  • Almond milk chocolate
  • Blueberry vanilla

My favorite flavors were the mint chocolate and the dark chocolate bars. They were creamy and tasted so indulgent. (I promise they didn’t taste like “health food.”) Ryan tried the mint chocolate bar as well and gave it two thumbs up.

Here are some fun facts about these bars:

  • They have five times the live active cultures as yogurt
  • They have only 3 – 8 grams of sugar per bar
  • They have only 80 – 90 calories per bar
  • They have 3 grams of fiber per bar

Attune Foods also claims that those who eat these bars will feel a difference in their health after eating one bar a day for 14 days. They’ll even send you a refund if you don’t! (Click here for more information.)

Now you can see for yourself…

One reader will win a 14-day supply of Attune chocolate probiotic bars!

You will receive one entry into this giveaway for doing each of the following (Yes, that means you can enter THREE times!):

I will randomly select a winner on Wednesday morning.

Good luck!!!

(Note: This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only.)

AMA Round Eight

AMA Round Eight

More Ask Me Anything Q & As!

I’m pretty sure you guys are gonna get really sick of these by the time Wednesday rolls around and the Ask Me Anything days are over. 🙂 Until then, enjoy a few more Q & As!

You may still click here to submit an anonymous question.

I have been curious about your honeymoon plans, but someone beat me to it!!  What are you doing for your bachelorette party?!?!?  I just saw that Ryan is going on a cruise–fun to where?!?!?

I am SO excited about my bachelorette party! I will likely be having two bachelorette parties because I have good friends from college and high school and will probably be celebrating on two separate occasions because of everyone’s busy schedules. So far Bachelorette Party Part One will take place at the end of July in Chicago. We’ll be going out and havin’ fun and a group of us are actually crazy enough the end the sha-bang by running in the Chicago half marathon on August 1. Let’s hope we survive!  Bachelorette Party Part Two is in the works.

Ryan’s cruise plans are also in the works, but they’ll likely go on a weekend cruise to the Bahamas or an island in the Caribbean.

You and your sister both look great, but is there ever any competition between you about who is smaller?

No, because she’d always win. 😉 My sister and I have completely different body types. I am a “pear” with a big ol’ booty and she has a cute lil’ tooshie. I’ve always envied her figure but I don’t feel like I need to be smaller than her because I’m more concerned about feeling happy with my own body size, not my body size when compared to my sister’s. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel jealous of her body at times, but I try not to compare myself to her because we are built so differently and comparing my body to the bodies of others isn’t healthy for me, as it only leads to negative thoughts about my own figure.

I noticed that you use the Carba Nada pasta a lot. Do you try to limit your carbs?

No, I don’t. I love carbs and actually purchased Carba Nada pasta for the amount of protein it has in each serving (12 grams!). I sometimes struggle to get a lot of protein in my diet because I naturally enjoy fruits and grains (and ice cream) more than many protein-rich foods.

Do you usually choose sugar free and light products over regular?

No, I do not. I loooove full-fat cheese! Of course here are a few exceptions: I do choose to buy some sugar-free products like sugar-free Jello, sugar-free instant pudding mix and sugar-free syrup. I also use Splenda (Ah!!!) to sweeten plain Greek yogurt.

Do you usually eat all of your meals at the same time of day, or do you just eat when hungry?

During the week, I typically eat around the same time every day since I pack my meals and work full-time, and my meals and snacks fit into my schedule best at certain times. On the weekend I will eat around whatever activities we may have planned. I do like to eat breakfast before 9 a.m., lunch before 1 p.m. and dinner before 7 p.m. if I can control my meal times.

What kind of cars do you and Ryan drive?

Believe it or not I received this question a couple of times! Unfortunately I do not feel comfortable answering it for safety reasons, but I will tell you that we both drive SUVs that we love dearly. Ryan’s car’s name is “Gunner” and mine is “Lexi.”

Have you ever thought about becoming a Group Exercise Instructor or Personal Trainer part time? You seem like you would be great at either with your passion for health and wellness!

Yes, many, many times. I would love to teach group exercise classes and have particular interest in spinning and BodyPump classes. Unfortunately, as of right now I am not willing to dedicate the time required to be a quality fitness instructor because I work 40+ hour weeks and really value my free time with Ryan, family and friends. It is definitely something I’d consider in the future.

Do you plan to keep working after you get married and have kids?  Does your mother work?

Yes, I do plan on working. Right now I am fortunate enough to love my job and I cannot imagine not working or writing. My long-term goal is to be able to work as a freelance writer and be my own boss.

My mom is a nurse and worked up until last year when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and took time off for surgery and treatment.

What is your favorite kitchen accessory?

My griddle! I use this bad boy almost daily.

What shampoo/conditioner do you use?

I use Marc Anthony Instantly Thick shampoo and conditioner and I buy it at Ulta. I have the thinnest hair in the world and it’s the only shampoo and conditioner I’ve used that actually seems to make it a little thicker.

How much water do you drink in a day?

Not enough. 😦 I try to drink three three-cup bottles of water daily, but sometimes I forget to refill my water bottle and will only drink two full bottles.

How do you deal with “haters?” Sometimes I get some nasty comments on my blog and even though I try not to take them to heart, I do.

I really don’t want to jinx myself, but I feel very fortunate to have very kind readers and the comments I receive are typically very warm and supportive. I do receive some comments that I can see are a little judgmental regarding my meals sometimes, which I don’t let bother me because I eat what I eat because I love it and it makes me feel good. I know I’m sensitive and I’m sure I would have a very hard time letting mean comments roll off my back, so please continue to play nice! 🙂 My best advice for mean comments or mean people in general is to recognize that some people are unfortunately not blessed with the “compassion” gene… We’ll just beat ourselves up trying to understand what makes mean people so mean. Feel free to email me if you get a mean comment and I’ll tell you how wonderful you are. 🙂