drop forty

You are aware of what's been an ongoing fight to remain fit. You read about it here and here. I'm so happy to say that hard work and dedication pays off. I dropped forty pounds since exactly two years ago. I don't care if it's silly to pat myself on the back.

I feel better than ever. I am happy with where I am in my life, and who is in it. I'm happy in my skin. 
I'm ready to take on anything.

Before and after

part of me

I'm not the biggest Katy Perry fan, but when her songs are covered by brilliant people then I do tend to enjoy them. Her newest hit, "Part of Me" is an empowering song in the aftermath of a breakup. My friend, Drew took the song and made it absolutely beautiful. Take a listen.


friday funnies

In honor of an Anchorman sequel, here is the gag reel from the classic.


guest star

The lovely Stylelista of Stylelista Confessions was kind enough to let me guest blog for her while she is soaking up the rays in Hawaii. Jealous. I jumped at the chance to be a part of her fabulous blog for a day. You should really meander around her fabulous blog for the latest in fashion and style tips. She's a real gem that I have the pleasure of being dear friends with.

Check out my post here.

coffee + workout

There are two things (out of a lot of things) that I love in life. Working out. Drinking coffee. I was happy to read up on how the two go hand-in-hand. The Stir provides six reasons to sip a cup o' joe before you hit the gym...

1. Caffeine can help you work out longer and harder: According to researchers in one British study, young men who drank a sugar-free beverage with caffeine an hour before working out were able to work out for a longer period of time and do more reps without getting exhausted than they did when they drank the same beverage without the caffeine.

2. Caffeine can improve your accuracy: Another recent study found that soccer players were able to dribble, head, and kick the ball with greater precision and agility after drinking caffeine. Caffeine not only made them more alert, it also improved their fine motor skills.

3. Caffeine can help you go faster: Sprinters, marathon runners, cyclists, rowers, swimmers, andtennis players can all get a speed boost from caffeine. And because it's perfectly legal for competitive athletes to use, caffeine is, according to The New York Times, "the most popular drug in sports" today.

4. Caffeine can help you feel less tired: The subjects in that British study reported feeling less tired after workouts before which they had drunk caffeine, even if they had worked out for longer.

5. Caffeine can make you feel better about your workout: Those same British study subjects were also more excited about working out again after workouts before which they had consumed caffeine.

6. Caffeine can be delicious: Latte, cappuccino, espresso ... mmmm!

Now I will enjoy my morning workouts even more after I sip on that sweet, energy goodness. I'll avoid the Frappuccinos though.
[click on image for source]


what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. The Hunger Games
I know I posted about the books last week (here), but I saw the movie and now I have to rave about that too. Jennifer Lawrence was amazing in it and made me want to be a warrior woman!

2. Early celebrations
I celebrated my birthday a little early while my dad was in town. We ate at the delicious Elements at the Sanctuary resort, which was incredible. The desserts were peanut buttery goodness and out of this world. 

3. New boots
As an early birthday gift my dad bought me the boots I've been wanting from Steve Madden. I refuse to take these suckers off even if it is heating up. I feel just like Katniss in them (Hunger Games reference for those of you who might be lost).
[click on images for sources]


new set-up

My friends know me well enough to know that I can't keep my bedroom a certain way for too long. I get bored easily and need a change of scenery. Today was that day. I moved some furniture around (almost got crushed by a bookcase), dressed my bed in different bedding, and painted a new picture.

The space feels more cozy and creative. More me. Also, with the bed pushed against the wall there is so much more room for activities! Yes, I'm quoting Step Brothers. But really, the next bedroom piece to save up for is a throw rug for the center of the room, which is now empty.

Here are little tidbits of the revamped room...

chicken tamale pie

How did I just now stumble my way through the interweb to find Pinch of Yum? It's a mouth-watering foodie blog with tons of recipes, whether you want a sweet treat or a healthy dish. I opted to post a recipe that's more on the healthy side, since I've been posting calorie-packed desserts here and here. Sorry, guys! I couldn't resist.

Healthy doesn't mean it's not tasty, though. Take a look at this delicious Mexican dish...

  • 1/3 cup fat free milk
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (14 3/4 ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8.5 ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce – I recommend going with an authentic Mexican brand
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 3/4 cup shredded white cheese (I used Raclette – random, I know, but it’s what I had on hand, and it ended up being delicious!)
  • cilantro and crumbled Cotija cheese for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine the first 7 ingredients (milk through green chiles), using just 1/2 tablespoon of the taco seasoning, in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a round pie plate (mine was glass) coated with cooking spray.
  3. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. While corn is baking, toss the chicken in the remaining 1 tablespoon taco seasoning. When corn is done – it will be just barely set and golden brown – pierce entire surface liberally with a fork. Pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with cilantro and Cotija cheese.
This makes about 8 servings, at 286 calories each. Not bad, eh?!
[photo via Pinch of Yum]


sunday spark

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."
-Maya Angelou
[click on image for source]


do as dogs do

I love my wet-nosed, silly, caring critter of a pup. I love her because she is so many goodies wrapped into one furry gift. I think it's high time we take notes from our pets, and do as they do...

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
Enjoy every moment of every day.

[words via EmpowHER]


Here are some Instagram snapshots from the past week...

1. Motivation
2. Sleepy Chars
3. Pup at work
4. Bedroom nook
5. Breakfast
6. Dutch Bros. love
7. Butterfly garden
Remember, you can follow me at: bskystevens!


friday funnies

These Facebook messages from FOD made me giggle...
[images via Funny or Die]


recent buys

After taking a looong break from any sort of retail therapy and saving up some paychecks, it was time to shop! Thanks, mama for treating me to some birthday items! Here are some new additions to my closet, room, and makeup drawer. I'm sure some of the goodies will be worn in some upcoming posts.

1. Bralettes by Urban Outfitters. The comfiest things on the planet!
2. Bunny Candle Holder by Anthropologie. Just a new nightstand pal.
3. Fringe Bag by Forever 21. Love the coral color, the fringe, the size, the price. Everything.
4. Slingback Pumps by Enzo Angiolini. These perfectly match my dress I just purchased for an upcoming wedding.
5. Motorcycle Tee by Truly Madly Deeply. Love this tee. So soft, comfy, and badass.
6. Give Me Sun! by MAC. Gives me that warm glow.



Goals. I have them. We all have them. They vary from person to person, but that's what makes them special to each of us. I have my own that I've chosen carefully over time that live cozily in my head and heart. Some are huge, some are small. Some are easy, some are hard. Some might be unrealistic, but is anything really impossible? I say no.

It's like they say, "If you can dream it, you can do it." You have to believe you can, and you have to start towards it. Stop putting it off. Stop saying you'll start tomorrow. If you say that then you'll say it the next day and the next and so on. Tomorrow won't come.

If you want a better body, eat right and exercise. If you want better grades, study. If you want a promotion, work harder. If you want to date, get out there and meet people. If you want to start a new hobby, get the supplies and dabble away. If you want to move on, cry it out and put it behind you. If you want to save money, start budgeting. If you want that dream job, then go for it. 

There are so many things that are possible, but it's up to you to get to it. It's up to you to start. No more tomorrow. Today.

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. The Hunger Games
I honestly can't stop reading these books. I've been zooming through them. They are seriously addicting, and I can't wait for the movie to come out. 

2. Tone it Up!
I'm always looking for inspiration/motivation when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle. I found two trainers that I adore. Katrina and Karena (as mentioned here) are fabulous. Check out their site. It's filled with workout videos. Yes!

3. Hair appointments
I just went for a cut and color (thanks, mama!) at my salon. I said buh-bye to split ends and helloooo to a new shade of auburn. I especially love the scalp massages. Ahhh. Heavenly.
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