Thursday, February 23, 2017

Behind Closed Doors: Book Review

I made "reading more" a part of my 30 Before 30 list. I also set a personal goal of reading a book a month during 2017. I've always enjoyed reading, I just never made it a priority and never set aside the time for it. I didn't think it would be something I stuck with, but so far, I've surprised myself! I read The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena in January (didn't love it) and Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris in February.

I am a sucker for any type of page turner mystery novel. I mean, I grew up helping MK+A solve any crime by dinnertime, after all.... Behind Closed Doors did not disappoint. After The Skimm and Emily from The Sweetest Thing both recommended it, I knew it had to be good!

With Jack and Grace it was love at first sight. Jack's tenderness towards Grace's sister, Millie, who had Down's Syndrome, won Grace over in an instant. They were the perfect couple. But, after the wedding, Grace discovered some things about Jack she didn't love.... but I won't give anything away!

The book chapters go back and fourth between past and present - bouncing between the wedding and early stages of marriage to the present, troublesome time. I read it quickly - I even stayed up late reading and woke up early before work the next morning to finish it! I will say that the first few chapters were just so-so, but once the big secret is revealed, you can't put it down. And, the ending was perfect.....I hate it when I devote time and energy into a book and the ending is terrible!

Do you have any book recommendations? I'll be picking out my March read soon!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Pass the Baton

In recent episodes of Fixer Upper, Chip has made it a thing to "pass the baton" to Joanna, meaning it's time to decorate! We are FINALLY nearing that stage at our White House on the Prairie!!! The renovations are almost complete. They are finishing the wood floors today and will start painting on Monday....then all that is left are the final touches like installing light fixtures, hanging bathroom mirrors and shelves, hooking up the sinks and toilets, etc. I CANNOT WAIT! We think [hope] it will be done by the end of February.

I have been day dreaming about how to decorate this house for months and months. I am ecstatic to get our stuff in there, get organized, figure out where everything will go and make it our home. It has come such a long ways since October! Every night when we stop by to see the progress, I hate leaving. I can't wait to live there....I might never leave, ha! I included a few sneak peaks below, but stay tuned for the real before and afters soon.

The only bad part is that our old house hasn't sold yet. We want to keep it staged while it's on the market, so we might be moving to the new house with just our clothes, kitchen stuff and an air mattress! Luckily we bought a new refrigerator, couch and TV.....that's basically all we need to survive, right?

Thanks for reading! If anyone wants to hire me as an interior designer, I'll accept payment in the form of Starbucks gift cards and/or homemade cookies.

Monday, February 6, 2017

My Favorite Phone Case

I've gotten more comments on my Bernese Mountain Dog phone case than on any other phone case in the history of phone cases.

Not that I blame's the cutest thing, ever. The best part: the design is easily changeable and the case is protective - drop test approved - and affordable!

With Casetify, you can purchase the New Standard Case, and then buy as many backplates as you like! I started out with a basic white girl PSL + Berner plate, then I went for the Classic Christmas vibe, and now I'm rocking the Berner + Cactus backplate. It's so easy and fun to switch your look out seasonally, and each backplate is only $15, so it's budget friendly, too! You can even upload artwork or pictures to design your own. I have a whole gallery of favorites saved for when I get the itch to change things up. There are few things in life that I love more than Berners and cactuses, this one might stick around for a while. Sorry not sorry.

Casetify has millions of styles, dog breeds, name it! They even offer cases for laptops, Apple watches, iPads and several other brands of phones. My only complaint is that shipping takes a while (they custom print each case), so if you are ordering something for a specific season, do so in advance!

If you want to try Casetify out for yourself, use this link for $10 off. You'll have to let me know what design you choose!

Happy shopping!

P.S. Can we talk about the countertops?!! They were just installed at our new house a few days ago. I CANNOT wait to move in - hopefully everything will be ready by the end of the month! 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Skimm'bassador Status

The North Face Hat (I've been wearing this non-stop since my SIL & BIL got it for me for Christmas - thanks guys!) | Light Down Jacket (soooo warm - Cole has a matching one! Adorbs.) | Swifty Tech Long Sleeve | Jeans | Hunter Boots

My wildest dreams have come true! I am officially a Skimm'bassador.

What's a Skimm'bassador, you ask? Let me start at the beginning......

theSkimm is a daily email bringing you every bit of important and relevant news information including sports, weather, politics, world peace (or lack there of) and everything in between. It is all delivered in the wittiest of ways - sometimes even with subtle references to Backstreet Boy lyrics or '90s sitcoms.

Basically, theSkimm makes it easier to be smarter. For a twenty-something girl like myself who is juggling a full-time job, renovating a house, selling another, keeping myself fit, volunteering, raising two precious puppies and trying to find the time to enjoy life, date my husband and maintain friendships in between it all, I just don't have time to watch or read the news. I would literally have no clue what was going on in the world if I didn't wake up to theSkimm each weekday morning with all the major highlight's waiting for me in my inbox. Thanks to them, I can even [sometimes] carry on sports conversations with my husband!

Now, as for being Skimm''s basically like a club for people who really love theSkimm and have convinced 10 or more other people to start reading it on the daily. You get free swag (like my tote bag in the pictures above), VIP party invites, insider information, discounts, prizes and a whole lot of other fun stuff. For example, I just got a $20 bottle of "winter" rosé for $8......if that's not a win, I don't know what is.

If you want to give theSkimm a try, just follow this link. You will get me one point closer to receiving my next Skimm'bassador swag item! I only have five points to go before I get a Skimm T-shirt. Not to pressure you or anything, but you can always unsubscribe if you don't like it........;) but I seriously doubt that will be the case.

Thanks for reading! It means so much.

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P.S. theSkimm did not pay me to write this post. I just really enjoy reading it, am pumped to be a Skimm'bassador and I love getting free gifts in the mail.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

So, I Did a Juice Cleanse

I've been curious about juice cleanses for a while. So much so that I put it on my 30 before 30 list! I haven't had the best relationship with food recently, and I felt like I wanted a fresh start in 2017, so....I ordered a 3-day cleanse to start the year off!

I did a lot of research, both on the opinions of people who had done cleanses and the companies that sold them. I settled on the 3 Day Classic Cleanse from Jus by Julie.

The 3 Day Classic Cleanse includes 18 juices - six per day. They are numbered one through six and you are supposed to drink them in that order. The main/green juices are the same each day, but the "snack" juices vary. I really appreciated the variety to keep things interesting! My favorite was PB & Jus, which tasted just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I also thoroughly enjoyed the Chia Berry, which reminded me of Strawberry Lemonade. Matcha Chia aaaaaalmost tasted like a cinnamon latte, if I closed my eyes and tried really hard to pretend!

I went into it thinking the first day would be a breeze (thanks to having a major caloric surplus after the holidays, I thought I'd be too full to care), the second day would be kinda tough and the third day would be the biggest struggle. Boy, was I wrong.

Day 1
I started off strong. I didn't really miss breakfast (I wasn't that hungry to begin with) and made it through my first two or three juices with ease. Then, it hit. I was hungry. I felt light headed. I was exhausted and weak and basically felt like I had the flu. My head was pounding and Excedrin didn't help. The instructions that I received along with my juices said egg whites were allowed, if, I had egg whites for dinner - the tastiest egg whites I've ever eaten! They made me feel a little bit better, but I ended up taking a nap because I was so miserable and I went to bed around 8:30, just to end the day. I could barely stomach the last juice and honestly considered quitting on Day 2.

Day 2
I came to the conclusion that my body was in dire need of protein. I eat a pretty high protein diet and all six juices combined didn't have as much protein as one of my regular meals. That being said, I bent the rules and had protein powder + water for breakfast. Technically I was still drinking my meal, and I think it really helped! I also had egg whites again at lunch because I was STARVING. After the egg whites, my hunger subsided for the rest of the day. I did, however, continue to have a pounding headache. I felt good enough to go to the gym, although I only rode the recumbent bike for 35 minutes, which is significantly less work than I normally do. I calculated that I burned almost four of the six juices off......yikes.

Day 3
I started the day with egg whites - since they seemed to have such a positive effect on previous days. I did not battle a headache and was never overly hungry! I had protein powder + water at lunch to keep the momentum going. Again, after lunch, I wasn't very hungry at all. I found that I was forcing myself to drink the last few juices and/or drinking them very, very slowly - whether I was just tired of them or my stomach had shrunk, I don't know! I definitely felt the best on Day 3; I rode the recumbent bike and did some ab work at the gym with ease.

Overall, I'm glad I did the cleanse. I wouldn't necessarily want to do it again, but I think it was the clean start I was looking for. I originally had considered doing Jus by Julie's One Day Cleanse (on Day 1 I really wished I had), but considering how each day got significantly better, I'm glad I went with the 3 Day version. I didn't weigh myself before I started (too afraid of all the cookie weight...) but I definitely feel slimmer and less bloated/"blah" than I did a few days ago. I feel like the cleanse reset my brain and reminded me that food doesn't dictate my life or control my day.

I was, however, slightly disappointed in the texture of the juices. When I buy fresh juice from Trader Joe's or Sprouts, it is often very thick and filling. These juices were watery (sometimes chunky) and did not sit heavy at all. I think having a heavier juice would have made it a lot easier to adjust on Day 1. I also really think the juices should have more added protein - even the juice titled "Raw Green Protein" only had five grams! My quads can't survive on five grams of protein!

By the end of the cleanse, my mouth tasted very acidic which I didn't like...but afterwards, anything I put in to my mouth was bursting with flavor. If you want to gain a new appreciation for chicken breast, rice and broccoli, try doing a juice cleanse! You can try a Jus by Julie cleanse (or any their products, like PB & Jus), for 40% off if you use this link.

Have you ever tried a juice cleanse? Would you ever? I'd love to hear your thoughts! In the mean time, I'll just be over here enjoying chewing real food again.