Tuesday, January 27, 2015

21 Day Fix *Results*

This is the wallpaper that I've been staring at on my phone for the past 3 weeks...
The results are in! It's safe to say that my first round of the 21 Day Fix with Shakeology was a success. I lost 5 lbs, 2 inches off my waist and 1.75 inches off of my hips. I didn't really have a goal "inch-wise" but I was hoping to lose 8 pounds. Regardless of not reaching that particular goal, I'm still very proud of my results. 

Week one was tough. I was sore for the entire week until I had an active rest day with yoga on day 6. By week two I noticed my endurance was a little better and I wasn't in a constant state of soreness. I can't say it was a breeze by week three, but I definitely noticed an increase in my strength. Certain exercises came a little easier to me, I was able to complete more reps and use my heavier weights (8 lbs) in some cases where I previously opted for the lighter ones (5 lbs). I liked how I didn't have to wonder which workout I would do each day, it was already mapped out for me. Three weeks however was enough for me. I started to get a little bored of it towards the end...I'm ready for something different. 

The meal plan was much easier than I initially thought it would be. Somehow I felt a little restricted in the beginning but the more I learned about it, I realized there actually is a lot of freedom. Now I have a much better sense of which types of food to eat, how much and how to spread it out throughout the day. They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit (get it), and I definitely believe this to be true. There isn't really anything I feel like I'm lacking. I'm not starving, I don't feel like I'm missing out. Snacking has never really been my thing -although I do when I'm bored and my diet is already spiraling out of control. The key is definitely planning it out and making sure you're working certain healthy foods into the day that you love. I feel confident that I could take it from here for a bit and not have to religiously count containers. We'll see how that goes for a while. I'm going to continue with Shakeology for a bit too. I'm thinking of doing a separate review - spoiler alert - it will be a good one!

I still haven't figured out exactly what my new plan is as far as exercise. I've been eyeballing PiYo, but I'm going to hold off a little longer and do some more research. In the meantime I'll still do my 21 Day Fix workouts, expand my horizons with the multitude of YouTube workouts that are available and utilize my gym on the weekends (the hours of the gym in my complex right now are terrible).

Forget the numbers on the scale! I feel fabulous because I know I'm doing something good for myself. The fact that my clothes fit MUCH better, my energy levels are up and my back no longer hurts me  24/7 is a pretty big bonus! Like I said from the beginning...I wasn't looking for a quick fix (for lack of a better word). I did this to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle. I'm pretty motivated to keep at it! Being part of a challenge group truly helped me stay on track especially on those nights when the last thing I wanted to do was hit "play"! Thanks to my coach Leah, my good friends Sherina and Rachel and all of the ladies in the January group for all of the support! Let's see how the next 21 day challenge goes! 
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

What's cooking this week?

Today was technically the last day of the 21 Day Fix, however I worked way too hard over the last few weeks to just throw it all away and go back to my usual eating habits. More on my progress and my plans for my next 21 day challenge soon. The real challenge for this upcoming week is the fact that I'll be away most of the time for a work conference in Daytona Beach. I wasn't even going to share this sad little meal plan, but here it is anyway...
Tonight: I made Sunday Sauce for Hubs and a giant salad
Monday: 21 Day Fix Turkey Chili - leftovers frozen
Tuesday:  Hubs - Chili - The REAL kind
Wednesday: Hubs - BLT's
Thursday: Hubs - Brats and pierogies
Friday; Leftover Chili - burritos

This weekend was extremely low-key and relaxing. Knowing that I'm going to be away this upcoming week gave me absolutely no desire to go out and do a thing! Work has been nuts and I've been missing my peanut. We just stayed home, played with toys, colored, watched movies - it rocked!  Hubby and I got started on season 1 of Dexter and we're hooked. See, it doesn't get much more low-key than the weekend we just had. This little "life of the party" didn't seem to mind a bit. 
Have a great upcoming week!
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Our Home: A Work in Progress

I've been holding off on posting this because we're not done furnishing our new house. Then reality set in and it occurred to me that I'll probably never really be "done". The other night we ordered the clock and the bookshelves (that I've been eyeing for months now) and I realized I've reached a point that's finally worth sharing with you all! After apartment dwelling for five years, it's been such an amazing feeling to have our own space that we can make completely OURS! It's a total work in progress, we have a long way to go. Here's are some of our newest additions to "Casa de Sko"!
New Home

The table and rug (which is 5x7) fit beautifully in our entryway! In my opinion, the three blue upholstered stools were a beautiful addition to our bar height counters. And that media console took me FOREVER to decide on, but I'm glad I took my time because it's perfect. Little fingers have a way of making their way into the slats but at least they are wide enough that we don't have issues using our remotes for all of our components. The clock will take the place of the giant burlap wreath I have above our TV, hopefully it will look as good as I'm imagining it in my head. After some convincing, we ordered two shelving units for either side of our sofa - I don't handle asymmetrical well! They will be used mainly for toy storage...or an attempt at toy storage. I'm on the lookout for the perfect bins/baskets. 

I'm not just making a purchase to fill a space like I've done in the past. My mission has been to make sure we absolutely LOVE it before we buy it. It's been fun browsing the stores and scouring the internet for all of these items. Granted, most of these are from Target - but I really do check other places first. Target just has most of what I want and as a bonus...happens to be super affordable!

Bit by bit as we fill our house, it's all coming together. I have no clue what our style actually is. Is warm and cozy a thing? An interior designer I am definitely not...but I love the direction we're heading in! Next I'll focus on more of the details like artwork. Our walls are still pretty bare! We're getting there though!

I'll share photos soon, I promise!
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Sunday, January 18, 2015

What's cooking this week?

I'm already prepping for week three of the 21 Day Fix. Week two also went well and I'm proud of myself for staying on track even with all of the birthday festivities. Honestly it hasn't been that difficult to stick with my nutrition plan because I've been SO busy! There's been hardly any idle time to overthink anything. Today we went to a first birthday party...besides picking from the veggie platter, I had 5 of those little crock pot sweet and sour meatballs. I'm counting it as a red container and not beating myself up over it. 

The batch of chili I made last week made WAY more than I needed so I've still got some stockpiled in the freezer that will be making an appearance again later this week. Luckily, I love chili! 

I'd be lying if I said that it's not a little boring alternating the same meals every other day. This is coming from someone who is used to something new and exciting on the menu almost every night. It's been an adjustment, but knowing it's temporary helps. Officially this is the last week of the 21 Day Fix (update coming soon). Now I have to start thinking about what my meal plan will be looking like in the future. 
Tonight: We had....Steak Kabobs from Fresh Market for us both with fingerling potatoes and steamed broccoli
Monday: Ribs for Hubs with potatoes and baked beans /  Clean Chicken Tortilla Soup for me
Tuesday:  21 Day Fix Pork Carnitas (Hubs will just have larger portions and I'll have to look away)
Wednesday: Leftover ribs with Mac n' Cheese for Hubs  / Clean Chicken Tortilla Soup for me
Thursday: Pasta with Vodka Sauce for Hubs / 21 Day Fix Pork Carnitas for me
Friday: Meatloaf for Hubs with fries / Clean Chicken Tortilla Soup for me
Saturday: Pasta with Vodka Sauce for Hubs / 21 Day Fix Turkey Chili for me

Today we celebrated our friends' daughter Chloe turning one! Total "Mommy-fail" on getting a photo of Ella playing with her bestie at her party today. I'll admit I was a little wrapped up in catching up with friends I haven't seen in a while so I wasn't my usual "snappy" self! Here are a few photos that I did manage to capture at this fun party for a very happy little beauty!
Isn't watching kids smash cake the best?!
Happy Birthday Chloe Parker!
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Saturday, January 17, 2015

My Thirtieth

My thirtieth birthday fell on a Monday so the Sunday before, my friend and co-worker Sherina came over with her son to watch Ella while Hubs and I headed over to Epcot for the evening. We had dinner in Mexico at La Hacienda de San Angel, which is a favorite of mine. It's been a while since we've been there without the babes, so we were finally able to try out Test Track since the latest's SO different, very fun! 
Ella also had a blast that night playing with her Buddy Trey!
On my actual birthday, I arrived at work and was surprised with all of this! My work family is so good to me! The gifts were all attached by a ribbon that I pulled out one by one. The streamers stayed up most of the week and put a smile on the face of all who entered. (Okay, almost happened to be a tough week!)
A little later in the day, these beauties arrived from my parents!
Hubby had to work really late that night. When Ella and I got home there were more beautiful flowers waiting for me, sweet cards and even a bowl of yummy fruit in the fridge instead of the usual cake or brownies. What a supportive and caring guy! I had a great evening hanging with this cutie....

She even started saying "happy" just in time!
As I'm sure you can see, my 30's are off to a great start! Thank you so much to all of you who made my day perfect!
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Monday, January 12, 2015

Cool With Thirty

Happy Birthday to ME! I don't feel any different, at least not yet! Obviously, I can't help but think "30...already?" It seems as though time seriously started flying once we moved to Florida. No, I really don't think 30 is old (I would say that) but it is a little crazy to think how much has happened in the last decade. My 20's were amazing. Each year better than the last. Hopefully the trend continues!

Did you know I've been blogging for most of my 20's?! Yup, I started in 2009! I thought it would be fun to share thirty posts - seemed an appropriate amount! 

Soooooo, that escalated quickly! I definitely skimmed over a very important year....but that would be another list entirely. It's hard to remember life before Stephen anyway, so this list truly sums it up well! The point is, my 20's rocked. I'm so happy I started this little blog of mine, now at least I'll be able to look back here know, when my memory starts to go! 

Truthfully, I don't mind turning 30 at ALL. My favorite age truly is right now. My 20's have served me well and I'm ready to see what's next. Life's good, I'm content and beyond grateful. It's exciting to think about everything that's on the horizon for me and our family in the next decade. It's like a blank slate. Let's do this 30! "All good things"!!!
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Sunday, January 11, 2015

What's cooking this week?

Here we go again - meal prep for week #2 of the 21 Day Fix. Week one went reallyyyyyy well, I made it! The food is spread out so much throughout the day that there isn't really a time where I'm so hungry that I want to die. The only time where I catch myself looking at the clock is right before lunch. Maybe I just need to have my mid morning snack a little later, but it's not like my tummy is growling and I'm about to run off on an eating binge. Honestly, my biggest struggle has been drinking enough water while at work. My work day is so busy I could go hours without drinking anything! I'm trying to be more aware of it, plus my co-workers Sherina and Rachel are doing the same program and we've been trying to remind each other whenever possible. 

Having my food prepped and portioned out prevents me from making bad choices. There are no choices to make, it's all ready to go. Plus, with the amount of time I'm spending planning all of this....I wouldn't want to have done it all for nothing. 

This week I wanted to step it up a notch for dinner. My dinners last week were pretty basic. It didn't bother me too much, but I don't want to start to feel like I'm eating the same boring and bland foods every week. Let's just say last week's lunches excited me way more than dinner. I need something yummy to look forward to later in the day to keep me motivated! For week two I chose two dinners to alternate between that are both very flavorful (starting Monday)! 
Tonight: Baked Ziti for Hubs / Lemon Dijon Grilled Chicken Salad for me
Monday:  21 Day Fix Turkey Chili for me
Tuesday: Ginger Citrus Chicken Stir Fry with Sriracha for me
Wednesday: Baked Ziti for Hubs  / 21 Day Fix Turkey Chili for Me
Thursday: Brats and Pierogies for Hubs / Ginger Citrus Chicken Stir Fry with Sriracha for me
Friday: Steak and Fries for Hubs / 21 Day Fix Turkey Chili for Me

This week seemed a little easier to plan. Stephen is working late a few nights so I didn't have to factor him into the equation on those days. I've got a giant tray of baked ziti left in my freezer from Ella's birthday party. It's probably for the best that Hubs makes it disappear before my 21 days are up...also it's been in there a while so it's time! 

Now I need to figure out how I'm going to prep all of this. Here are a few other recipes I'll be making to enjoy throughout the week:

Obviously you could guess what we're doing today! Between meal prepping you know I'll be playing with my favorite little girly! Look how silly she is on her zebra scooter! She just can't quite figure it out just yet...
Happy Sunday!
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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Lauren @ Lot 48 {Guest Post}

hello never the same spice twice readers!! i am lauren and i blog over at lot 48!! i blog about really anything that pops into my head.  you won’t find diy posts, fashion or beauty posts and you will rarely find recipes.  i like to blog about my life, entertainment and really just anything that is fun! 

but today i want to talk about loving your body.  loving yourself.  this is something that i greatly struggle with and i know there are a lot of women out there that struggle with it too, which is why i want to talk about it.  i want to help, i want to show you that you are not alone and that you ARE in fact beautiful and worthwhile.
year before last, before i got engaged, i was at the heaviest i have ever been.  i was disgusted with myself.  i hated myself.  i felt worthless, disgusting and gross all the time.  i had rolls of fat over every pair of pants i wore and i hated getting dressed.  i was so fed up with how i looked that i joined weight watchers and lost 16 pounds and got back to my “normal” self again.  

the thing with losing weight is you get really tired of sticking to such a strict diet.  my self esteem was so low and i was so convinced i was an ugly cow that if i went to the gym to workout and it was closed, i had a huge fit.  i had to work out 6 days a week!! i had to! i had a wedding dress to fit into!! i was NOT going to allow myself to look fat in my wedding pictures.  i was completely obsessed with my weight and when you do weight watchers, you weigh yourself once a week.  that day of the week when i weighed myself determined my happiness.  if i hadn’t dropped, i was in a horrid mood and was nearly suicidal i was so obsessed with losing weight.  even if the scale was the same, i would get furious and feel worthless.  once i started to really move along with losing weight, people started complementing me on how thinner i looked and people told me they could particularly see it in my face.  which is true, my face and belly and thighs is where the fat was.  it felt so good to hear people compliment me and notice that i had lost weight and worked so hard.  my self worth was completely dependent on what the scale said.

i have been married for 11 months and now weigh my “goal weight” that i was never able to achieve when i was losing weight.  i am at my goal weight, and i still think i am fat.  during the time of losing those 16 pounds, i was seeing a therapist for my self esteem, given how low it was.  he told me something that i think about often and that you should think about too: “it doesn’t matter if you lose every single pound of body fat and become skin and bone.  you will still find something wrong with you.  even if you lose it all, you will still find something wrong with you.  the issue isn’t losing weight, the issue is losing who you are, believing that you are worthwhile, despite what the scale says and that you deserve good things and to be loved.  you can always find something wrong with yourself.  you need to change the way you look at yourself.”  

i think about that often, and particularly now, i think it is so true.  i am at my goal weight and i still find things wrong with me.  my pants don’t fit anymore.  it doesn’t make any sense because i am at my goal weight but they are too tight!! the only thing i can think of is that i put them in the dryer too many times and they shrunk.  because it doesn’t make sense that i am skinnier than when i bought the pants, but they don’t fit.  

i want to love myself, i want to be nice to myself, i don’t want the scale to determine my happiness and feelings of self worth.  so every morning i say to myself “you are beautiful, you are skinny, you are worthwhile, you deserve good things.”  i am so paranoid when i post pictures that i look fat, but is all in my head!! i am beautiful!! i am worthwhile!! i deserve good things!! i am not fat!! my pants shrunk, time to buy new ones, who cares, it’s fine! it’s okay! 

and so what if you are bigger?  so what if you are overweight?  so what?  why should that matter?  answer:  it shouldn’t.  instead of making new year’s resolutions to lose weight, make a resolution to love yourself regardless.  to believe that you are beautiful regardless.  work on it with me!! pop by the blog and say hi as we work on loving ourselves together! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Baby Girl is talking!!! Okay fine, it's babbling, but we are communicating! It's so fun, I'm in love with all of her little words. It's not just the words she says, it's how she says them and the inflections in her voice. Swoon! Since coming home from New York it's been blowing my mind how much she says now. We can really pick up on certain words. Other words...I'm still trying to figure out! It's been so fascinating, especially because every day it seems like there's such a noticeable difference. Here are a few examples of some favorite "Ella-isms":

MaMa or May-mi = Mommy
DaDa or DaDeeee = Daddy
Ah-Gah or Gah-Guh = Grandma
Bump-Uh = Grandpa
Bup = Up 
Oon = Spoon
Lella = Ella
Kah-Kah = Chica
Guac-Guac or Wock-Wock = I think means "rock rock" when she is rocking on her owl
Geeeeeze = Cheese (literally uses this when taking pics and eating cheese)
Ahh-Da = What's that
Lu-Lu = Ladybug
Og = Frog
Cack Ack = Duck
Ocka = Socks
Ooze = Shoes
Baby = Baby (nailed it)

These past few days I've been looking forward to coming home for a new reason. I just can't wait to hear her voice. She's non-stop! No one told me how fun trying to decipher your kid's words can be. No joke, I'm pretty sure she was trying to tell Stephen "love you" as I was bringing her into her room for bed tonight. Now I know this is a typical "braggy mom post", but I never want to forget the sweetness! She's growing up too fast! Look! She's already practicing for her cooking show! #endbrag
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Trying Something New

My decision to give the 21 Day Fix with Shakeology a whirl was less about a New Year's resolution and more about the fact that my 30th birthday is right around the corner! No worries, I'm not actually freaking out about the big "three-oh", it just seems like a good point in my life to try something different. 

Yes, this is definitely outside of my comfort zone. I don't mean exercising and eating right...I'm cool with that. I mean trying an actual structured diet and workout plan. I've never specifically followed a diet or even attempted to. Diets and New Years resolutions are two things I'm not typically a fan of (for me personally) but I'm all about trying something new, stepping out of my comfort zone and all of those cliché things! I'm famous for often switching my healthy habits on and off. I'll go out on a limb and admit they've been switched off more than on - especially since August! [Insert the usual excuses here.]

My main goal is to be able to kickstart a consistently healthier lifestyle. Lately my energy levels have been so low! This is understandable only to a point. I've been on break for two weeks now! No difference. Losing a few pounds and toning up would be an added bonus (ya think)! 

The best part about making a commitment to try something structured is that there's absolutely NO guesswork. Generally, I have an idea of what to eat/not eat and I know there are a ton of resources for free home workouts. Now, instead of watching YouTube for 45 minutes to find the perfect workout to do, I know exactly which workout I'm doing on each day. Much easier (at least that's what I'm thinking)!

So this program is no joke, like I said in my post yesterday...planning the meals were a challenge! For the most part, the meal plan is mainly about portion control. That will take some getting used to but I'm thinking this first week will be the hardest. I haven't actually received the program in the mail so I based it solely off of all the research I did online in order to fudge it for a few days before I receive the workouts and Shakeology mix. 

I guess I should have mentioned that I HAVE to start today because I'm part of a challenge group.  Hello, accountability! It's about 40 women, all different shapes and sizes, doing this for varying reasons. It's just beginning but I can already tell this is going to be an enlightening and amazing experience! I'm pretty motivated to make some positive changes in my 30's! I'll keep you all posted how it goes! Wish me luck!

Also some positive vibes for my first day back to work would be appreciated, YIKES! 
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Sunday, January 4, 2015

What's cooking this week?

Okay, this is going to take some getting used to. Here's what's happening in the meal planning just got a little lot more complicated. I've decided to try out the 21 Day Fix so now I'm planning for 2 separate dinners. Actually, three if you count Ella!

Why don't I just have Hubs eat the same thing as me? Besides the fact that I think it would be mean to have him eat the same few meals every night (talk about one extreme to the other), he can't afford to be losing any weight. I didn't think this endeavor would be THAT difficult since I plan my meals out on the weekends anyway, however making the meal plan and shopping list was SUPER challenging. Plus, for me - I'm really planning EVERY meal of the day, so factoring in how I'm going to feed Stephen (that's his real name you know...) just added another piece of the puzzle. 

So, this is going to go on for the next three weeks and beyond that, I'm not sure what's going to happen. It should be interesting! Hopefully it gets easier! How could I NOT share my dinner plans at this point... especially being that I'm in meal planning overload at the moment, so here's what dinner will be looking like. Did I mention I'm  not actually starting until Monday? Tonight = last supper!!! How am I not making Mexican!?!
Tonight: Mom's "Bowl Tipping" Chicken Soup
Monday: Leftover soup for Hubs / Leftover shredded soup chicken, lemon garlic green beans and a sweet potato for me
Tuesday: Italian Sausage and Peppers (mine will be chicken sausage and the peppers and onions will be made on our grill skillet - much healthier!)
Wednesday: Pork Loin with Sweet Potato and baked beans for Hubs / Same for me but green beans instead of baked beans
Thursday: Whole Wheat Pasta with Alfredo Sauce for Hubs / Whole Wheat Pasta with broccoli and grilled chicken for me
Friday: Steak and tater tots for Hubs / Leftover pork with green beans and sweet potato for me

Enough about food, here's a cute picture of Ella! Oh yeah, I got a fancy shmancy new camera...please be patient while I figure out how to work it! 
Happy Sunday!!!
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Friday, January 2, 2015

NYE Festivities with Mal Smiles

You may already know that Mal is not only a blog bestie of mine, but a real life one too. About once or twice a year I'm lucky enough to get to see the smile in person. We make the long distance friendship work, but the fact that her parents live right by me helps juuuuust a bit! 

For the second year in a row, we were able to celebrate New Year's Eve together and this time I was able to meet Little Miss CKW. This adorable little sweetie is just as cute in person. I can't wait for her to be old enough to play with Ella! Here's a little glimpse at our low-key NYE fiesta. My friend Liz and her husband came over to have some laughs with us as well, it was a good time as you can probably tell!

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