what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Super heroes
The pups and I dressed up as a "wonderous" clan of super heroes. We just need dad to come home!

2. Candy
I loaded up on bags of candy for passing out to the kids in the neighborhood, but will resist the urge to have some for myself.
3. Football
Yep, can you believe I said it? GO GIANTS!


spooky decorations

I love Halloween. It's a time to pass out candy, watch scary movies, and cozy up on the couch. Another part that I like about the spooky holiday are all the decorations. People really get into the spirit! I found some great inspiration...

[Country Living]
[Barefoot Floor]
[Pinterest Crazy]
[By Stephanie Lynn]
[West Elm]
[365 Days of Halloween]


taco soup

Taco soup? My goodness, does Tiffany from The Gracious Pantry know me too well. She really doesn't know me at all, but you get the idea. Even better about this soup is that it's a clean eat. My favorite. Funny thing is, there isn't even a tortilla in it. Fine with me.

Take a look at the recipe...

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (veggie broth if you’re vegetarian/vegan)
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce, no sugar added
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed, no sugar added
1/2 lb. cooked whole grain pasta
3/4 lb. cooked, lean, ground turkey
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1/2 lb. frozen corn, thawed (optional)

Step 1 – Combine all ingredients in a large soup pot and heat through.


[image and recipe via The Gracious Pantry]



free people wish list

It's hard not to have a constant wish list at Free People, especially when Fall comes. They have the best pieces in. Sigh. I wish I still had my discount there. I would swoop everything up in a heartbeat, but it's better to save money on more practical things...like Christmas shopping. Always better to give than receive, right?


friday funnies

Funny pumpkins.

[click on images for sources]


thoughts on relationships pt. 3

Trust. This is number one in a relationship. Having a feeling of complete reassurance in someone else not only tells you you're in a healthy relationship, but it tells you that there is an unconditional love between the two of you. You place your heart in their keeping, and they place theirs in yours with the one hope that it won't be mistreated.

When trust is lost, whether it's infidelity, the emergence of true colors, or little white lies, the bond is broken. No matter how many feelings of attachment and love you have towards that person, eventually the ties begin to fray. You can try to hold on, but it's hard to go back to when you were blissfully unaware of any falsity.

Be with someone you know by heart, with no grey areas. Be honest. Whether upfront with who you are as a person, or if you made a mistake in the relationship. Be faithful. Be kind. Realize the valuable possession you have and care for it with only the best intentions. Whether near or far, that element of trust should always be there.

Communicate. When we are open with our feelings we avoid bickering, get what we need, and gain a comfortableness in which we share everything with our significant others. It means speaking up, being honest, and laying it on the line.

Too often we hold things in. We let everything bottle up, until it explodes out of us in messy, loud paragraphs that end up causing more damage than we intended. We think biting our tongues will be better in order to avoid confrontation, but why should we?

If you are with the right person then you won't fall on deaf ears. They will be open to everything you say.  They will be accepting of your feelings, your wishes, your faults, and yes, your complaints. Once the feelings are on the table, it's easier to move forward in a successful relationship. Be open.

Stop comparing. Every relationship is different. Unique. Special. It means you've found someone that you've built a foundation with, that wouldn't work with anyone else in the same way. It's important to remember that your relationship is yours.

Sometimes we look at other couples and say, "Why don't we do that?" or "I wish we were like that." We see the outside surface of another relationship and think it's perfect, without realizing there are many other layers that we don't see.

Be appreciative of what you have because it's something no one else has. Be even more appreciative of the person you've grown with because no one else has them. It's okay to mix things up every once in awhile, but trying to mold your relationship to match someone else's won't work. Just continue to make yours special in the way that only you can.


what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Skinny lattes
After my hour-long morning workouts, nothing beats a delicious, hot coffee that's guilt-free. The red lip just gives it a little attitude.
2. Arm candy
I recently purchased the watch I've been pining for quite sometime. I love stacking goodies on my wrists.
3. Kale salad
My mama made a delicious salad the other night when we had a little slumber party. Kale, bell peppers, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and parmesan cheese. I was in heaven.


northern wind

I hadn't painted in awhile, and I was itching to get a new piece of art going, especially one that means so much to Boyfriend and me. I embarked on the painting adventure yesterday. Sought out a large canvas at Michael's (on sale) and planned my little masterpiece in my mind.

City and Colour's "Northern Wind" is a song we hold dear to our hearts, and a song we always listen to when we are apart. It's ours. It will be our first dance, when that perfect day comes. I thought, what's more special than putting that on a canvas?

So, that's exactly what I did. Painted bits and pieces of lyrics sprawled out over music notes. It's one of my favorite works to this day. I can't wait until he comes home and we can find a spot to display it. He's got a really good eye when it comes to hanging, so I should probably wait for him to use the hammer and nails.

Remember, don't forget to do what you love. We all get busy sometimes, but if we can find that quiet time to practice something that we find happiness in, then grab onto it. It's valuable. It's special. It's what makes us who we are.


grocery list

[image source]
A lot of you have been asking for my grocery list. While it varies every week, I do have a few staples! Here is what a typical list looks like...

Almond milk
Greek yogurt
Green apples
Lean ground turkey
Shredded wheat
White onions
Whole wheat English muffins

Almond milk is delicious with shredded wheat or a fruit cocktail. Fruit is perfect to snack on, mix in smoothies, yogurt, or shredded wheat. Eggs are great hard boiled for a snack, and egg whites are healthy for breakfast. Garlic and white onions give flavor to the ground turkey. Kale works great for smoothies and salads. Whole wheat English muffins make for a yummy breakfast when paired with peanut butter. Zucchini makes a great alternative to pasta.

I don't have a lot of carbohydrates on my grocery list because at the moment I'm trying to shed the last few pounds. I also make protein shakes with my vanilla and chocolate flavors, both taste great with peanut butter or fruit. I drink a lot of water, which is why soda or flavored drinks aren't on the list. When I plan on making dinners for Boyfriend, I obviously add a few special ingredients to the list.

Everything makes for great fuel for gym days, especially when I go in the early morning and again at night with my gym buddy. This my thirty-ninth (phew) consecutive day at the gym, and I'm feeling goooood...and sore, in the best way possible. I set a goal of thirty, passed it, and now it's a goal of fifty.

I'm so proud of you guys for telling me about your own goals and thirty day challenges on Twitter and through email. Keep at it! You give me a lot of inspiration and encouragement. When you find motivation, don't lose it. Keep pushing yourself to be better. To work harder. To eat better. It's all going to benefit you in the end.


baked kale and sausage ziti

[image via Clean Eating Mag]
While Mexican food is my number one weakness, a close second is Italian food. Pasta, cheese, sauces. What's not to love? So when I found a healthier version of baked ziti on Clean Eating Mag, I was ready to indulge in a healthy way.

Here is the recipe...


  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 4 deli-fresh lean spicy Italian turkey sausages (about 15 oz), casings removed
  • 2 12-oz bunches Lacinato kale, ribs removed and leaves chopped
  • 1 lb whole-wheat ziti, rigatoni or penne pasta
  • 2 tbsp organic unsalted butter
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 4 cups 1% milk
  • 4 oz part-skim, low-moisture mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 packed cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in liquid)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated


  1. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, line a large plate with paper towel. Heat a large skillet on medium-high and mist with cooking spray. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 7 to 9 minutes. With a slotted spatula, transfer sausage to plate and cover with 2 more layers of paper towel, pressing lightly to absorb excess fat; set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. To boiling water, add kale and cook until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer kale to a colander and set aside to drain. Return saucepan to a boil, add pasta and cook until just barely al dente (undercooked by about 1 minute). Meanwhile, line a large bowl with paper towel and transfer kale to bowl to absorb any remaining liquid. Drain pasta and set aside.
  4. In a separate large saucepan, melt butter on medium-low. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute, until fragrant. Gradually whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in 1 cup milk. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer, whisking frequently, until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in remaining 3 cups milk. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking frequently, for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add mozzarella and whisk until melted and mixture thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
  5. To milk mixture, add tomatoes, salt, pepper, sausage, pasta and kale and stir to combine. Transfer to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and top with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until cheese melts and sauce bubbles, 15 to 18 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. (MAKE AHEAD: Prepare up to 24 hours ahead, but don't bake. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. To serve, bake covered for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until sauce is bubbly. You can bake this dish at home then reheat, covered, at your host's place in a 350°F oven just until warmed through.)
Nutrients per serving (3/4 cup): Calories: 338, Total Fat: 10 g, Sat. Fat: 4 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g, Carbs: 43 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 6.5 g, Protein: 19 g, Sodium: 481 mg, Cholesterol: 36 mg



lululemon wish list

I'm on day thirty-two of straight gym days. I'm starting to realize I might need more gym clothes with the gym rat I have become. What better place to look than lululemon? So glad there is one just fifteen minutes away from my house. Better think of a wish list...

[images via lululemon]


what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. New hair
Ombre was fun, but it was time to get all the red out. They aren't joking when they say it's the toughest color to budge. Back to a dark blonde.
2. Ruby Woo
This matte lipstick from MAC is to die for.
3. Memory books
I've spent a lot of my time making a memory book for Boyfriend and I. It's been so fun putting together, and help ease our distance.

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