August is officially here, three days ago, and that means summer is coming to an end. Please cue the tears. Everyone around me knows that I prefer summer to autumn. Personally, I enjoy the longer evenings, the warmer weather, and the sights, sounds, and smells of that take me back to a more laid back time in my life.
True autumn is just around the corner, but as Ileen perfectly said on Sunday, “summer is not over so please do not rush the season, I am dying fast enough!” Sorry Ileen, to share this statement, but I absolutely loved the truth behind that comment. Live passes quickly enough and I want to spend as many moments as possible enjoying the present. It just so happens that the present moment is summer, and there are still some summer activities that I want to complete before September.
Although I want the theme for this month to enjoy the present, I do want to look back at the past two months. June and July are always two busy months for Lynden and me. Between birthdays, holidays, and community events it is a miracle we find down time. Additionally, June means budget season in the Local Government World. Most nights I would come home worn out and ready for bed. So, in a true my fashion I am going to share with you highlights of our summer thus far, snapchat style of course!
Living in a small community there are many "trending" activities I never get to experience. Eating from a food truck is one of those experiences. Naturally Shelby and I had to stop when we stumbled upon Waffle Love.
During May Shelby welcomed another horse into her life. This beautiful colt is named Smoke.
Is this photo necessary? No, but who wouldn't want a Happy Fathers Day greeting from Lily Padder?
Turns out I also enjoy painting picture frames. Someday I plan to share a tutorial. Raise your hand if you are interested..
Lynden teases me for being a "true millennial who snaps photos of her food. Shelby and I picked up thurs delicious meal when we took the colt to the vet.
Every June my family participates in the Annual Mike Ballard Memorial Golf Tournament. Usually I sell raffle tickets at the event. This year I enjoyed my adult lunchable as I attempted to raise money at the turn.
Did you know the Harry Potter series turned 20 this year? Yes, I wore my tank top and made Harry Potter Drinkware to celebrate.
Lynden and I traveled to Colorado to spend a few days with Ileen at the beginning of July. This was the first time Lily has been to Colorado since she was 8 weeks.
The three and a half hour drive was apparently a twelve hour drive for Lily. Just ask her. Thankfully when she was stretching her paws we rewarded her with a pup cup from Starbucks.
During our getaway Ileen took us to Redstone and Glenwood Springs. Yes in true millennial fashion I'm sharing food porn with you.
Okay last one for a moment.
The next day we went to the Black Canyon of Gunnison. This is a beautiful gem is worth seeing. Although there are hiking opportunities, we simply walked down to various look out points.
See, more food. Really though how could I not share a photo from the Greek Festival!
In addition to helping to "organize" the Annual Greek Festival 5k, I also helped with children bingo. Never again will I call out those boring numbers. As sometime from the church said, how do you not sound monotoned when calling out Bingo numbers?
That weekend Lynden and I also joined our friends for a birthday celebration 😊.
In The Upcoming Weeks
As I mentioned earlier, summer is not yet over. In the next few weeks I plan to share a new product review, with Duke's help.
I finally will have an update on my Living Room improvements.
Until next time though I will try my best to not be lazy like fat cat.
And get plenty of quality sleep like Gracie so that I will bring you those much anticipated posts! 😉😉.Read more link tex
Hello, blog world! I know, I have been absent and I promised to give away some gift cards; so first thing first I want to give away some Starbucks Gift Cards. Yesterday I officially drew two names. Congratulations to Valyn and Jamie, both of you won a $5 gift card to Starbucks. Please check your emails later this afternoon for the official details.
Now that I have that topic out of the way, time to have an official post. As I mentioned, I have been absent for some time. Although I realize my blog is small and my subscribers are not fretting over why they have not heard from me, I still feel bad for not posting anything decent. I have felt uninspired which is partly attributed to some family issues that have been on my mind. At this point in time, I do not plan to share; those close to me know what is going on and what challenges I have been facing. Please just know that everyone in my life is healthy, and the things on my mind distracting me are of a personal nature.
Regardless of the reasons, I have felt uninspired. I recognized this feeling about two weeks ago and have contemplated ways to find motivation. One of my favorite post types is reviews. In fact, at the start of the year, my goal was to have one to two various reviews per month. This will count for April, shall we see if I can share another one in May?
I also, in case you were unaware, am a 29-year-old woman who does not like her body. Shocker, I know! I have discussed this before, and I know I am by no means overweight. My overall health is great, and I have stretched out my clothes just enough that I do not need to replace my entire wardrobe. Still, when I look in the mirror I am not happy with the 20 pounds I have packed on over the past three years. It is from my inactive lifestyle and stress eating. Seriously, I enjoy working out but getting in the mind frame to actually work out takes hours. Am I the only one like this? I sure hope not.
What I have needed is a kick-start; something to spark my fitness enthusiasm. Lynden’s mom and little sister Shelby suggested Take Shape for Life. Shelby has been using the program (on and off) for the past year and has seen wonderful results. From what I have witnessed the program does encourage a “healthier” lifestyle. However, after some research, I concluded that at this point in time this is not my program. Feeling lost again I turned to the program I never actually followed, FitGirls.
FitGirls is an online community which strives to help others achieve their fitness and health goals in a positive manner. The recipes are comprised of whole, nutritious foods. While it has its drawbacks, I personally like the knowledge and resources provided. Users are required to purchase the necessary e-books to gain access to the various programs recipes and fitness tips. I have already purchased the 28 Day Jumpstart and the Fit Girl Cookbook.
Although I failed horribly at completing the 28 Day Jumpstart I still remember the advice the book provided. Therefore I decided that I wanted to try the FitGirl Detox. As some of you may know, last year I did a four-day detox. This was something I went at on my own by gathering recipes via Pinterest. I did lose some water weight on that diet, but I was nervous the entire time that I was overdoing it. This time, I decided to follow a Detox Plan that was not as restrictive, and not meant to suck you dry of all your water weight. My hope was (or still is) that this plan will kick-start my commitment to lose some weight and bring fitness back into my daily routine.
The FitGirl Detox is a seven-day plan consisting of three meals and three snacks, or three menus. Overall the plan is to help remind users that our body naturally removes toxins on its own, and stresses that eating “healthier, whole” foods is what helps your body feel better. Does that make sense? The book explains it in a way that makes sense, but I am not into copy write infringement. Basically, the point is this: potions, juices, and oils are not going to magically make me lose several pounds in one days’ time. The focus is eating better, not avoiding eating; and that my friends, is something I can get behind.
I began the FitGirl Detox the Monday after Easter. Instead of telling you what meals I followed and what meals I cheated I will simply say that overall I followed the meal plan. One of the days meals were swapped, one day where I had a Subway Salad for lunch, and one breakfast that involved nothing green. Still though, during these changes, I made healthy decisions about what to consume.
The food overall was decent and I do want to briefly share what each meal plan contained, and yes I did swap out some ingredients. Sorry, kale we are never, ever getting back together.
Days 1/2 – Beginning Days. Aka “Let’s Do This!”
- Breakfast: Glowy Goddess - A mango, almond butter, banana smoothie
- AM Snack: Cinnacorn – Popcorn topped with Cinnamon
- Lunch: Sushi Undressed – Think California Roll with Shrimp and not wrapped up
- PM Snack: Protein Love Bites – Strawberries topped with chocolate/almond butter
- Dinner: Fit Girl Pesto and Salmon – Need I same more?
- Dessert: Peaches N’ Dreams Pop – Homemade “healthy” Popsicle
Days 3/4 – Middle Days. Aka “You Have This!”
- Breakfast: Zesty Mermaid Smoothie – Banana, Cashew Green Smoothie
- AM Snack: Brekkie Cookies – Oats, bananas, apples, dates baked together.
- Lunch: Steak Salad Dippers – Basically for me a steak salad in a spring roll
- Dinner: Brunch for Dinner – Eggs, sweet potato, chickpeas, and kale (if you must).
- Dessert: Blueberry Lemonsicle – I think you can figure this one out
Days 5/6/7 – End Days. Aka “I Should be Over This!”
- Breakfast: Green is the New Orange – Orange, Mango “Green” Smoothie
- AM Snack: Capreggse Cups – Little, Italian-inspired omelet bite.
- Lunch: Party in My Mouth Bowl – Modge podge of rice, avocado, beans, chicken, etc.
- PM Snack: Perky Chia Cups – Never actually tried
- Dinner: Stupid Easy Stirfry – Noodles, veggie assortment, and protein mixed together
- Dessert: Strawberry Fitlato – Banana Ice Cream, kind of.
Overall, I enjoyed most of the food that I ate and felt better by the end of the week. In the middle of the week, however, I felt tired and worn out; of course, fasting for Holy Week the prior week may have attributed to my tired feeling. Who knew you needed iron in your diet? Just kidding.
Also, my lips were incredibly dry even though I drank plenty of water. Finally, they are feeling normal again. Oh, and my skin was dry, definitely uncomfortable.
As I mentioned though, I feel better and maybe a little lighter? According to the scale, I lost about 4 to 5 pounds of “water weight.” I recognize that this is not necessary fat that was lost, but Lynden told me the other night he could notice a slight difference.
In short, I would recommend this plan to someone, but in moderation. Not everyone will benefit from following the full seven days, especially when in poor health. Of course, I am not a dietician or health expert, my opinion is based on my own experience. Personally, I believe that a healthy eating plan is always wise, even though I never follow it. I also believe that moderate detoxes once every year or so have some benefits.
My goal from here on out is to eat better for the next, well forever, but realistically 6 to 8 weeks. Will I have unhealthy meals? Yes, my Chile Relleno the other night was not healthy. Of course, a girl does not turn down a Chile Relleno because a girl never gets to them! Still, I am going to give it my all and hopefully lose some weight. Maybe I will even surprise you and report that I have started to work out on a regular basis! Who knows, only time will tell.Read more link tex
Sunday mornings are the best. For me, they are usually quiet and allow me to wind down from the hustle and bustle of the prior week while preparing for the upcoming week. Yes, I know that rather than sitting home sipping coffee or tea, I should have my behind in a church pew. Sorry, mom (and more importantly God) for my fail. Please know I have a good foundation though and do feel the right amount of guilt over my “less than perfect attendance.”
Anyway, as I was saying I love Sunday mornings. In our home, they are typically quiet and perfect for planning out my upcoming week. Did anyone notice my lack of posts last week? No? Well do not fret, I most certainly noticed, and felt guilty about it. Last week was a crazy week at work. In fact, after this post is written I am going to straighten up around the house, give Lily a bath, and work from home to try and figure out that crazy week! Oh, and yes I realize everyone will read this post on Monday. In the blogging world I have learned it is necessary to write posts in ahead of time, otherwise, life gets the best of you!
Today’s post is a lifestyle, or update, for my “large” fan base. Just teasing, I know I have several friends and family members who occasionally read through my blog. Thank you guys, I really do appreciate the support. I also know I am slowly building a small following from fellow bloggers, and thank you for the support! Recently I joined several Facebook groups to help improve my blog. I absolutely love these groups. Everyone is extremely supportive and eager to help each other out. Who knew the blogging community was so awesome?
This past weekend was an enjoyable few days. Friday evening, after a long day for Lynden, Shelby, and me, we all sat around visiting and laughing. Shelby finally learned that she is the only one that has the ability to immediately put the fear of God into Lily. Apparently, my 4 pound Yorkie is tougher than Shelby’s 89 pounds Weimaraner, just ask them! Lily will get into a barking trance and practically bully Duke and Gracie out the door. After which she just stands on the porch growling and wagging her tail. Yes, I have an odd Yorkie; but in fairness are there any “normal” Yorkies in the world?
Saturday was “Girls” shopping trip with my mom, Megan, and Isabella. For my mom, Megan, and me this is a regular occurrence. Okay, more irregular now, but in the past something we would do every few months. This Saturday ritual stopped when Megan moved to Colorado and I went up the school at the U of U. It was reinstated when Megan moved back to Carbon County. Of course, now that we are all adults, these shopping trips are few and far between. Still, though, they are a great way for the three of us (now four) to get together and catch up. Side note: Thomas I know you probably do not miss these shopping trips but trust us we sure miss you!
Our day started out slowly because little miss was being fussy. Maybe she knew about the day that lay ahead of her. Perhaps Uncle Thomas forewarned her about these trips while he was visiting during the Holidays!
Once we made it to the "big city" aka Orem, we stopped to eat at the Spaghetti Factory. Growing up we always ate at the Trolley Square location in Salt Lake City. I love that there is now a closer location, okay it has been there for about fifteen years. Usually I tend to order the same item, the spaghetti with rich meat sauce. This visit though I thought I would mix it up and order the managers special, spaghetti with rich meat sauce and mizithra browned butter sauce. Why go to far outside the box?
After exchanging some items, and visiting various stores, the day ended with another fussy session courtesy of little miss; and kind of Mama Bear, but in all fairness 10 minutes alone in the car with a screaming baby would upset anyone! Calming down Isabella after that long shopping day seemed impossible. Do not fret, all little miss needed to be was to fill up her diaper. After that, she was calm the entire ride home! Overall, the day was enjoyable! Just look at the awesome snapchat photos below! FYI you can follow my snapchat at etzel87g.
Lynden’s day was not as enjoyable as mine; it was however far more productive. His mom decided to come to town on Friday, although she almost did not make it into the house because Lynden happened to lock the door the moment she was walking up the steps! Opps! Thankfully for Ileen, whose hands were full, I saw her walking up!
On Saturday Lynden and Ileen worked to put up blinds and curtains. Yes, after three and a half years in our home we swapped out the “old lady” curtains, and what a difference it has made. Now, however, we desperately need to paint our kitchen and front room. Bright yellow walls with bright white cabinets and blinds, is extremely offensive! Hopefully, a light shade of gray will look better. Only time will tell, and hopefully that time is within the next three months.
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Christmas Eve is only a week away! Try as I might, I am not ready. I will get there; it is the same “mad rush” every single year. As I mentioned earlier I am trying my best to “cut back.” Still though, there are some things I cannot give up, such as my Christmas tree and decorations.
Lynden always jokes that the only time the house looks nicely decorated is from October to the first week in January; okay that is being modest, my Christmas decorations are up until usually February. It is true though, I do not know how to decorate my home. Come the holiday season however, I am a pro. In all fairness I have had plenty of training in decorating for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Plus, it is how I was raised. My mom always goes out for the season. She changes almost all of her decorations for these holidays.
Marketing seems to work on me, as do all the suggested pins on Pinterest. For whatever reason, I want new Christmas decorations. Did I run out and buy them? No, because like most people we are on a budget, especially this time of year. Instead I made some new ones. About two weeks ago an idea took root in my brain. It was one I could not let go. Christmas Gallery Wall; lord knows I have plenty of Christmas wall décor. My goal was that by creating the gallery wall, my desire for new decorations would dwindle.
Have you tried to google Christmas Gallery Wall? Do it, I dare you, because you will find very little. In fact all I found was advice from Blooming Homestead – Holiday Gallery Wall, Little House of Four – Christmas Entryway Gallery Wall , How To Update Your Gallery Wall for Christmas by Emily at my Kirklands, and a few others. Okay, to be fair all two of the three blog posts references are fairly new. Maybe these fellow bloggers had similar struggles. While I do not need to rip off someone else’s hard work, but I do need inspiration to get started. I admire those people who can find creativity in the oddest of places. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. Thankfully though, we live in the digital age.
So how does my gallery wall compare to the more “professional” ones, because trust me those ones listed above look amazing. How did I manage this all on a tighter budget? Did this idea help cure me of my desire to purchase all new Christmas decorations?
Nostalgia was the sense I hoped to create with my Christmas Gallery Wall. I am an adult, and I love everyone who is in my life at this moment in time. Still, this time of year I find myself reminiscing of the days when the sight of Santa’s black boots stomping down the church stairs brought a tinge of excitement to my stomach. Christmas was such a magical time of year for me as a child. My brother and I would share a room on Christmas Eve; me on the floor and he in his bed. It never occurred to me that my mother could keep a better eye on the two of us if we were sharing a room. Less chance that we would sneak out to see what Santa would bring us, for fear that the other would tell.
I just want to give a shout out to Rachel Beaker for sharing this image. Please tap picture to see originalObviously as an adult there are so many other wonderful parts of Christmas I am able to enjoy. I enjoy watching my nieces and nephews anxiously spread reindeer dust around the front yard to help guide Santa’s Sleigh. I look forward to spending Christmas Eve, and Christmas Morning with my mom and Bill. I do not even mind running from this house to the next to ensure that we see everyone. Even most of all, I love those first moments on Christmas Morning when Lynden and I first wake up. He will keep Lily in our room as I go to grab her stocking. Yes, I know she has no clue what I am doing; but seeing her tail wag as she sniffs that stocking is priceless. I cannot even image how as a parent it feels to see their child’s excitement, but I do think that moment is perfect for our little pack. As an adult I am able to appreciate the true meaning of the season, which for me is simply spending time with family and close friends. Still, when someone looks at my Christmas Gallery Wall I want it to remind them of the Christmases of Ol’, or whatever happy moment with family and friends they remember.
To begin, I assessed all the decorations I had on hand. Thankfully my wonderful sister likes to periodically by Christmas Decorations for my birthday. I have also managed to secure a few items here and there throughout the years. Still though, I did not feel like I had anything that was the overall focal point of the wall. An ideal solution, when you are on a budget is to do one of two things; shop at discounted stores or make your own.
If I lived close to a Hobby Lobby or Tai Pan, I could have simply ran there as both stores have great pieces to fill in the gaps in your décor. Unfortunately the closest Hobby Lobby and Tai Pan are over an hour away. Instead I visited Walmart, hoping to find material to make my own décor; and maybe to find a random piece that had not been picked over yet by the Black Friday masses.
At Walmart I was lucky to find a cute Christmas Tree Hanging that said PEACE. It is something I could not make myself. Actually, given that it is Walmart brand, I surprisingly love this piece.
I also remembered one of the first things I had ever pinned, a beautiful, red Noel sign. The original idea, Pottery Barn Inspired Noel Tutorial, was posted by Sand & Sisal in 2010. It is absolutely stunning and very easy to make. Although I am not as in love with my Noel sign, I do think it helps bring the wall together.
To finish off the wall I also added a photo of my mother’s porch. My stepdad Bill does an amazing job decorating the home. It may seem weird, as it is not my front door, still I love the beauty of it.
Overall I think I added too many items to my wall. I kind of screwed up placing the “Believe” sign at the top. Chances are next year I will change it. My goal is for Lynden and I to paint the living room during the upcoming year. It may need a coat of paint or two, you know to cover up where I messed up the wall just right above the believe sign.
Oh, and my other decorations you ask? Well I figured why not also share a few photos of the other decorations filling our home.
This is our tree; I opted out of ribbon this year. Next year I plan to change up the colors by adding burlap. I am noticing I have developed a twine and burlap theme over the past few years. Each year I try to purchase a new ornament from Oliveto Fine Gifts and Furnishings. There has apparently been a rustic theme, and next year I plan to continue with it.
We do not have a fire place in our house. So during Christmas I decorate around the electric one we have in the living room so our stockings are “hung by the fire with care.”
Finally, this is my beautiful winter scene. I actually leave this out during the winter months. If I could decorate the entire house this way for Christmas, I probably would, because I love that the colors are simple and elegant. Oh, and yes the Gallery Wall did help me remember that I do love ALL of my Christmas Decorations.
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