Friday, November 30, 2012

Food & Beer Friday :: A winter ale.

Even though the weather here in North Carolina is unpredictable as ever (high 60s-70s this weekend after low 50s this week), I'm still focusing on seasonal winter beers.  I haven't showcased a local NC brew recently, and it was past due!

I liked the Cold Mountain way more than I was anticipating!  Sorry Boston friends, I enjoyed it more than the Winter Warmer.  I could certainly taste the hops, and I enjoyed having them to balance the spices.  Highland Brewing (located in Asheville for you North Carolinians) says that the spices vary from year to year depending on available, best quality ingredients.  Think vanilla & hazelnut!  Fun fact: This beer is named after an actual NC mountain peak!  I enjoyed this beer so much that I really want to go out and get a six-pack!  Now if only I had that fireplace to curl up beside...

I paired this beer with a left over black bean burger on a bed of greens topped with guac & an easy fried egg!  That's my kind of comfort food (and drink)!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Weighing-in Wednesday :: Jillian's DVDs.

Long ago, I used to do a "weighing-in Wednesday" series.  While I'm not technically weighing in these days, I figured I would try to utilize the occasional Wednesday to hold myself accountable (especially throughout the holidays).

I've become a fan of work out DVDs since becoming health conscious.  It's nice to wake up in the morning or get home in the evening & just pop-in a DVD.  Sometimes the hassle of going to the gym discourages me: packing a gym bag, dealing the crowds, not getting a "good" spot in a class, having to get ready in the locker room, additional driving time/less sleeping time, etc.  That being said, I'm a lover of the DVD.  I only have two fitness DVDs that I use on a regular basis.

Almost a year ago, I started tried to start Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.

It took a long time, but I eventually finished the shred.  I continued to do the shred on and off when I wanted something to use at home for toning up.
The details: Jillian focuses on the 3-2-1 methods.  This is 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs.  In the shred, there are three circuits.  There are three levels in the DVD.  I decided to do each level for 10 days.
Pros & Cons: This shit works.  I felt like I could see a difference in my abs & I definitely shed some pounds back when I did it.  On the flip side, lots of specific exercises are repeated.  Also doing each level for 10 days can get really boring.

I finally moved on to Jillian Michael's Ripped in 30.

I've started Ripped a few times but have yet to follow through completely.  With Mexico on the very close horizon, I made the commitment to finally get this shit done!  I'm currently on Week 3, so I can only comment on where I am so far.
The details:  Same thing.  Jillian's 3-2-1.  There are four weeks of workouts.  I'm not too sure how Jillian's math adds up in this one.  She recommends working out 5-6 days/week for four weeks.  Obviously, this does not add up to 30 days (Personally, I'm doing 6 days/week for five weeks and plan to repeat week 3 & 4 work-outs for the fifth week).  Intensity increases as the weeks progress.
Pros & Cons:  I like Ripped much better than the Shred.  Ripped does not repeat any exercises.  You don't repeat within a circuit, a week level or the entire program.  The variety definitely has me on my toes & interested in what each new week will bring.  Ripped is also more intense, so I feel like I'm getting more out of it than I did the Shred.  Conversely, the intensity & variety makes the exercises a bit more difficult.  I find myself closely eyeing the models and wondering if I am doing some of the exercises correctly.

All in all, I'd recommend both DVDs!  Beginners should start with the Shred.  If you're a bit more in shape (although I certainly wouldn't have said I was toned or "intermediate"), go for Ripped!

The other things on my plate that I am so excited about are...

[I'll be giving weekly updates on this awesome idea that Meghan introduced me to]

[I came across Commitment Day via Allie & am thrilled!  Seriously check out the deal on the day & sign up even if it's not in your city.  Our New Years plans are in the air, but I totally want to participate since there is one in Raleigh.  It's an amazing cause that I definitely want to get behind.]

Monday, November 26, 2012

Life Lately :: It's officially holiday season.

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it is officially time to buckle down and focus on the holiday season!  It's no secret that I adore Christmas and the special feelings that come along with it.  It certainly doesn't hurt that D and I have made it a tradition to give each other the gift of travel and go on a special vacay before Christmas every year.

Unfortunately, it makes December fly by so quickly.  Last year, I did lots of homemade gifts, and I plan to follow suit again this year.  Between buying gifts, making gifts, decorating, traveling, and still working...I'm getting a little overwhelmed by what this holiday season will bring (and it's not even December yet!).  For now, I'm going to try to cherish all the little moments while I can. Here's some of the little things making me happy this holiday season.

 [Lots of crafting going on around these parts!  Two DIY projects have already been completed.  Time to move on to presents! Note to self :: crafting should be done year-round because it's so fun!]

 [Loving this simple outfit for errands and an airport run.]

 [Nothing like adult apple cider & a hot buttered rum candle to get you in the holiday spirit]

 [This gal just makes me smile all the time.]

 [Thanksgiving Day outfit! Plus a little bit more happiness when a belt that you previously could barely even wear is too big #win]

 [No shame in bathroom pics. Gotta show those curls though! Perfect for a chilly night at Terrapin.]

 [Warming by fire & tailgating for my first Georgia game in 3(??) years...oh and I love my $13 Target kicks.]

 [Jittery Joes.  My favorite coffee shop ever.]

 [Gameday in Athens!]


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Being crafty :: Lit doorway garland.

Back when I showed you my glitter clothespins, I had an ultimate project in mind.  It's finally time for the reveal!

This was my muse.  When I saw it, I knew I had to try it!  For the doorway garland, it's ridiculously easy!

You'll need:

  • Pre-lit garland (or regular garland plus lights) - I got mine from Target for just $13
  • Command hooks (I only used three)
  • Twine
  • Glitter clothespins
  • Glitter letters (see below)
First - Arrange your hooks on the wall.  I used one in the middle, a bit above the door frame.  The others went on the top corners (on the wall though, not on the actual frame itself) of the frame.  Obviously I'm not a stickler for perfection, so I didn't measure.  Just eye-ball it.

Second - Hang that beautiful garland!

Third - Measure out the amount of twine you'll need.  Tie one side of the twine to your Command hook.  String on your glitter letters.  This is where the centering got tricky.  Next year I plan to get the centering a bit better.  I tied knots between each letter so they wouldn't move, but I don't think it was completely necessary.  Once the letters are on, tie the other side to the opposite hook.   

[I twisted the hanging twine around the garland]

Fourth - Don with your glitter clothespins & use them to display your holiday cards!

For the specifics on the glitter letters...

 [Draw your letters on the cardstock.  I drew them on different pieces but side-by-side to ensure they were pretty close to the same size]

 [Cut out those letters!]

 [Go ahead and punch your holes before you glitter up]

 [One-by-one, I used Mod Podge to wet one side of the letter then sprinkled glitter over the letters.  I dumped excess glitter over extra card stock so I didn't waste too much glitter.  I let the letters dry over night on a plate.]

[My letters didn't stay flat after drying.  While it isn't noticeable in full pictures, it's obvious close-up.  In the future, I may use cardboard (from an old box) which will stay better and the color would go well with the glitter & twine.]

What DIY crafts are you attempting this holiday season?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Food & Beer Friday :: Winter Warmer.

Considering it is officially post-Thanksgiving, I consider it winter and holiday time!  Food & Beer Friday is following suit.  I'll be featuring lots of winter beers throughout the remainder of 2012 (um, how crazy is it that we are almost into 2013...well if the world doesn't end :)).  In honor of some of my favorite Boston blogger ladies (hello, Alex & Anna!), I'm starting with a native Boston brew.

Harpoon's Winter Warmer just may rival some pumpkin beers with it's spicy aroma!  You can definitely  smell the cinnamon and nutmeg before you even take a sip of the beer.  Fun fact: Harpoon has been brewing this beer since 1988, and it's their first-ever seasonal beer.

Honestly, there is not a lot going on in this beer.  D wasn't the biggest fan; he thought it was lacking in body.  I have to agree.  It really is a typical ale with spices.  Do I like it?  Sure!  As the label displays, this beer is going to get in in the holiday spirit!  The aromatic spices are going to dominate your nose and taste buds.  Don't worry about hops; there are no bitter hop flavors in this one!  This is an easy-to-drink beer that would be perfect for sipping on by the first at your holiday lunch.

If you're in the Boston area, go meet up with those awesome Boston bloggers and enjoy this beer straight from the source!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Being crafty :: Glitter clothespins.

Yay!  I followed through with my Christmas decorating DIYs!  I'm almost done with the final project, but I figured I'd show you part one.

Don't pretend like you don't love these & won't use them for a plethora of other projects around your house following the holiday season!  This project is so easy.  There are plenty of tutorials on Pinterest, but I used this one as a template.

I used Martha Stewart glitter, the fine kind.  I prefer the glitter fine, but you can compare to these DIY clothespins that use thicker glitter.  The process is amazingly simple from here.

  • Step 1: Dip your brush in the Mod Podge.  You don't need too much. 
  • Step 2: Swipe a thin layer over one side of the clothespin.
  • Step 3: Sprinkle glitter over your clothespin (I did that over the plate to catch the extra glitter). Knock off the extra glitter.
  • Step 4: Set on non-glittered side to dry!
I did a combo of big and little clothespins.  I glittered my big clothespins first, so I actually just "dipped" my mini pins in the excess glitter in an effort not to waste any of my precious substance.

So easy!  I can't wait to show you all the complete finished decorations adorning my clothespins!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Happiness lately.

Source: via Kristin on Pinterest

It seems like forever ago that I wrote about having a fresh start, turning over a new leaf.  While I followed through with some of my goals, the game changer was a new job.  This was three months before I started my new job.  I officially realized I could never be happy working in a job that made me miserable.  My current job is not perfect.  Some days are stressful, but I am happy.  While you may not always see my happiness shining through (especially with lack of blogging recently), I'd rather focus on that than a boring monologue about what I've been up to.

Things making me happy lately:

+Our December Mexico trip
+Fitting into much smaller clothing sizes I've never seen in 10+ years
+Working hard on Ripped in 30
+D telling me that I can price cleaning services
+Gift buying
+The idea of DIY-ing some gifts & decorations (must follow through)
+Buying glitter
+Not supposed to have favorites, but a few special kiddies at work warm my heart daily
+Not having to shower daily (healthier hair due to better eating habits?)
+Dawson's Creek eps & having Anna watching them too (they're much better with a twitter buddy)
+Hour long work breaks, Whole Foods down the street, and lots of time to read.
+My new desk & the prospects of finally decorating that little space

I would honestly like to go on, but I'll save the rest for later.  And I'll leave you with this little beauty that I totally want to frame.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Life Lately :: Winter prep.

I am over the moon to be co-hosting this week's Life Lately!  I don't do too many link-ups but this one has had me hooked from the beginning.  Along with Alli & Hayley, I'm co-hosting with Andrea (from The Blonde Ambitions) and Hallie (from Life : Oceanside)!  One reason I adore this link up is the ease of it all.  Go ahead and get with the program.  Link up!  Seriously, all you have to do is follow your hosts & co-hosts (which is everyone I just mentioned above) via GFC...and you probably already follow them because we're they're all awesome!  Once you verify you're following, simply link a post!  That's it!  It's preferable to link a post about your life, but it can be anything!

Now that you're down with the dirty deets, let's get on to the even better good stuff!  First, how is it November?  And {almost} half way through November at that.  I've been trying to get a head start on holiday shopping & decorating while enjoying the brief times that D is not on the road.

 [Obsession with my holiday postcards from Rifle Paper Co.!]

 [Drinking one of my favorite beers on a nitro tap (along with three others) the night before my 10k]

 [Since I didn't have anyone meeting me at the finish line, I hung out and watched some of the elite runners finish half marathons in the same time it took me to run my 10k.  Amazing.  Then my hands got super cold and I left.  Lame.]

 [Post race outfit & rocking my $13 sneakers from Target.  Love them.]

 [Really obsessed with pulling out vests last week.  Then, we had 70+ degree weather this weekend.  Vests will be back in rotation next week]

 [Figured Lady Liberty was only appropriate for election night viewing alone.  And then I stayed up to watch it all!]

 [The great egg mystery of 2012 was solved on Saturday.  Found 14 eggs in one day.  Now to get the girls to use the egg box in the coop.]

[Irish coffee while spending 5+ hours at the bar watching football & drinking.  My kind of Sunday.]


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