Wednesday, September 30, 2015

October Goals

HUMP DAYYYY! Bam. Hope my friends are doing well today! I'm so glad y'all liked my Travel Logistics post on Monday. I love all of y'all.

Okay, so I'm fully aware that today is September 30th and not October 1st but I wanted to touch on my goals today rather than waiting till next week! I am still sorta shellshocked that it's already October. I feel like I blinked and September was over. 

I kept my September goals simple and I'm pretty happy with my progress. 

1. Get my hair did. <-- Hope y'all got that joke and don't think that I just have awful grammar. But yes, I did cut AND color my hair! I'm still loving my change. Read a little bit about my decision beforehand here. Here's a quick before and after!

Before: Ginger life

After: Blondes have more fun!

I've been really happy with how it came out! Now I'm saying the pros and cons of keeping it up. Budget is a big factor in my decision. Sigh.

2. Work on decorating our living room. I added some great pieces to our TV stand this month! I posted about some splurges or steals for decorating here!

3. Create a Facebook page for my blog. Well, technically this didn't happen in September but the process has begun so stay tuned :)

4. Utilize more link ups. DONE! Thanks to my blogger friend, Julie, for the ideas! Here are a few that I've joined in on this month...

Link Up

Link Up

Link Up

Link Up
5. Get involved in a Women's Bible Study. Well, this kinda happened. My roommate and I went to one and met with the leader. We've been pretty slack about going the following 2 weeks. There's no excuse but we plan on being better about it! 

Okay so now on to October...

October Goals

1. Pack and prepare for my trip that will be here in a little over 2 weeks...eek! Time flies when you're working so I want to make sure I'm very intentional about planning what to bring and how to pack it. I've already begun shopping for a few pieces but am still on the lookout for a cute but comfortable go to shoe for my trip.

2. Figure out my new routine. On Monday I began my new role at work, which changed my shift to 9:30-6. Now that I don't have to be in there till later I want to make the most of my mornings. It's going to change my workout routine and I want to incorporate more quiet time.

3. Getting some dental work done. Last month I went to the dentist and found out I have a partial cavity..sigh. I haven't been able to get in with my work schedule yet. I want to get that taken care of. Also, my dentist gives free teeth whitening as long as you stay on top of your regular appointments. I need to find time to get that scheduled as well!

4. Meet up with friends/family that are in Charlotte. I have a lot of people I know who moved here as well that I haven't seen. Also, I do have some extended family here. I would love to be more intentional about meeting up with everyone!

5. Plan book club! I'm so excited for this one. Some of my coworkers and I decided we wanted to start a book club and I'm hosting the first one. I need to plan a date, book to read, and a few appetizers for the party. I would love to hear any suggestions!

Well everyone I'm really excited for October! I'm looking forward to my big trip and accomplishing a lot at work. I'll see y'all back here on Friday for some favorites! xoxo

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Post Grad Travel: Logistics

Hi friends! Another Monday is here, sigh. Thank you all so much for your kind words on Friday about my first "real" day at work today! Your encouragement is such a comfort. 

A couple weeks ago I mentioned my big trip coming up in just a few short weeks. If you haven't read it you should really check it out! Today I thought I'd share a little more about the logistics of my trip., Airbnb, and train rides.

So up first, flights. I wanted to keep flights at around $1500 or less. It is still a lot of money but considering I'll be flying for 3 legs of my trip it is a pretty reasonable budget. My first step is to find bundle flight deals. My favorite websites to use to find cheap flights are Kayak and Google Flights. You can add multi city flights, which I had to do, and they search airlines you wouldn't even think to use. For instance, the majority of my flights are using Air Canada. Who would've thought? Things to consider while booking on bundle flight sites...

1. They add cookies to your browsers, which causes prices to rise. Google how to clear cookies from your particular browser and do so periodically.

2. Make sure you have sufficient layovers. Often with bundle sites you use several different airlines so if one flight is running late the other airline doesn't care. Having layovers can help with this. 

3. Check baggage regulations. Often flights appear cheap till you go to book them and you realize that they don't include checked baggage. 

I also had to book a flight from Brussels to Bilbao, Spain where I'm meeting up with my family. I used Google flights then booked it directly with Brussels Airlines. They have a really user friendly website and they put prices in dollars!

For my stay in Brussels I decided that I wanted to stay in a flat versus a hotel because of prices and because I wanted to have some space. I'll be staying there for awhile so I want to have a place to unpack and cook some. It's good for the budget and for the experience to go to a local grocery store and try to make something for yourself. Just a small travel tip :) Some of my favorite memories in Russia was us going to the grocery store on the corner and trying to figure out what to eat for breakfast.

I digress. I found a really nice flat in a great location on Airbnb. If you've never heard of it, you should check it out! Shoot me an email and I can give you a travel credit for your first stay in Airbnb. Keep in mind that Airbnb is pretty much everywhere! Full disclosure, I paid under $450 for 6 days including fees and taxes. Again, it's still a lot of money but way less than I would've spent at a hotel and I have more space. A couple tips for Airbnb...

1. Only stay with hosts that have a lot of reviews. I read thoroughly through all reviews and I'm glad I did. I saw comments that weren't necessarily bad but things I wouldn't want in a flat. For instance, I saw several where the apartment was over a bar so the guests couldn't sleep. A selling point for the flat I chose is that it is in a central location.

2. Look out for security deposits and cleaning fees. I don't think they do the best job of advertising them, especially security deposits. I saw several hosts with absurd security deposits. Think...over $1000!

3. Utilize the filters when searching. You can filter for price and space, which is nice but they also have search filters for host language. This is especially important when traveling abroad. It would be pretty challenging to schedule a key pickup if the host doesn't speak English!

I'll be in Brussels, Belgium for 6 days before heading to Spain. During that time I've planned day trips to visit Bruges and Ghent. One of the most magical parts of traveling in Europe is that you can travel to so many different locations quickly. I got 2 day trip train tickets (roundtrip!) for under $100 using Rail Europe. The train rides are very quick and inexpensive. It's a great way to go see more of a country without having the commitment of changing your accommodations. 

Well, I hope y'all found some of these tips helpful! I plan on sharing packing tips, budget tips, and more soon! I would love to hear any tips that you have or if you want to know any details of my trip that I haven't shared. Y'all are my people. Have a good one! Xoxo

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy, happy, Friday! I can't believe it's already here. I am dreading nervous about next week. Next week I am officially out of training and on my own in my role. I'm nervous about not having the support system of my peers and my coaches but I know it's time to figure somethings out on my own. I saw this quote on Pinterest and it made me feel better!

I think there's some truth to this in life :) Also, don't I look so legit with my headset. Oh yeah, looking good. Watch out world. 

Here are my favorites this week!


I talked a little bit on Wednesday about healthy recipes I've been whipping up! Here's some proof I actually cooked what I posted about...

Oh my goodness so delicious. I seriously love every recipe I blogged about. Especially, the brussels sprouts!


In addition to healthy eating I try to hit the gym. Granted, it was rocky this week because I've been so tired but I made it yesterday morning to bootcamp. I absolutely love going to bootcamp/circuit training type of classes. I love that I'm so tired and sweaty afterwards. It show's I did something!

I set up everything before anyone else showed up. It was 6:20 am. I couldn't function without coffee.

For every class our instructor writes our workout on the mirror. That's what we did yesterday. The 1 minute sprints about killed me.

I have such a love/hate relationship with working out. I love the feeling of completion afterwards but during it is torture. I've talked about it before but starting your day with a workout changes your whole day. It makes you feel better about yourself, gives you a sense of accomplishment, and gives you more energy! I'm so lucky to have a gym in my building at work.


Last Sunday, my sweet baby cousin, Leona, was baptized. I love her so much and I like to think that we have a special bond. She's so content and snuggly. I could hang out with her all day! Here she is when I babysat her a few weeks ago.

Sadly, we did a bad job of taking pictures on Sunday but here's a cute one of my girl and me.

Love that girl so much! I wanted to give her a special present that she could see and think of me. I got her a classic book that has been around forever. I pray that she grows up to be her own person who loves others. 

I also got her a sweet picture with a Bible verse on it. I wish I took a picture of it but it was so pretty!


Last weekend my roomie and I watched the Emmy's. I honestly didn't have any interest in the awards but I do love to see what everyone is wearing. Here are a few of my favorite looks.

Julie Bowen is stunning. Also, her arms look fantastic! I love the unique neckline and a pop of green with the earrings.

Kerry Washington is my spirit animal. She is flat out flawless.

If you asked me a few years ago if I would've picked Lady Gaga as one of my best dressed celebrities I would've laughed. But her look for the Emmy's is classic yet edgy. I love the angles of the dress.

Sarah Hyland is adorable! I love the merlot color with her skin tone and I love her short, beach, bob. 


So on Monday I guest blogged for Julie at Say Yes to Happy. I was owning my crazy as a way for y'all to get to know me. Well, my first item I owned was that I still sleep with my very worn out baby blanket, "T." I figured it was only fair that I show you a picture of my favorite blankie :)

Just like I said, he's hardly a blanket anymore but I still love him. I seriously sleep with him every single night. He's been with me on all my foreign travels. I'm too old for him, I know, but I don't care! haha :) 

Alright friends, have a great weekend! I'll see you back here on Monday! XOXO

Link ups today!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Healthy Meals

Hello my people! Hope everyone is doing great. I loved hearing y'alls' feedback on my Guest Post on Monday. If you missed it, you should definitely check it out. Let's just say...that I talk about how potatoes gross me out. Yeah, it got real.

Well, a month ago I talked about how I was going to start eating healthier rather than dieting. I've struggled some but I feel like I've gotten on track for the most part. When I mentioned some recipes I received some feedback to share some of what I've been cooking. So here I am! I've tried a few recipes I think you will love. For the most part I eat cereal for breakfast and a quick meal like leftovers or sandwich for lunch. So I'm sharing recipes for dinner and dessert!

I pretty much solely cook chicken for my protein. 

I loved this meal. What I liked about it was that it was an entire meal in one. Also, it has lots of veggies in it. It was super delicious and easy! I loved that I stuck the chicken in the crockpot in the morning and assembled the bowl when I got home from work. Also, the healthy ranch dressing is delicious.

I love this chicken. It's my favorite thing to cook after work because it's so quick. All you need is a stocked spice cabinet and chicken thighs. I usually mix the spices the night before so it's quicker in the afternoon.

The chicken is very tender and flavorful. I also love that it's just spices for flavor. Healthy and delicious is my jam.

Sides are tricky sometimes. You don't want to be cooking a million different things at the same time but you also can't just eat chicken. Sides are when I get very excited. My new obsession is brussels sprouts. I have no idea why but I'm liking it. Mostly because they are so healthy and I crave them...what!? My go to brussels sprouts recipe is this one...

...they are SO GOOD. They are quick and easy. Seriously, try them. I'm not exaggerating when I say I've made 3 pounds worth of brussels sprouts with this recipe. Is that weird?

Or this one is tasty too...

Yummmm I want some! These are yummy because they are more chargrilled. Usually, I pair chicken, a brussels sprouts dish, and another dish. Maybe my mashed cauliflower that I blogged about awhile ago or roasted sweet potatoes. 

And I always have to have dessert after dinner. It's a horrible habit but it is what it is. I'm pretty good at avoiding sugar during the day but at night I like my treat. I mentioned that I was going to try the healthy frozen yogurt and I did. It is so delicious. I would never know it was so healthy.

It tastes like ice cream and really does the trick for my sweet tooth. I mentioned it on Friday but I also am loving me some pumpkin muffins! Well, it might not be the healthiest dessert ever but it's also not awful for you. The best part too is that I feel very satisfied after just 1. It's 1 box of spiced cake mix, 1 cup of white chocolate chips, and 1 can of pumpkin. Bake for 15-17 minutes at 350 degrees. So easy and so good!

I am obsessed. So that's what I've been eating lately. It isn't strict calorie counting but it is eating cleaner and incorporating more vegetables. I've already lost a view pounds and my clothes are fitting differently just from eating better not less. I don't feel deprived at all. 

I would love to hear what y'all think! Any yummy recipes I should try next? Well toodles for now friends. xoxo

Linking up!

Link up

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