Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holiday #StaplesSharpie Twitter Party

 TheSharpieFamily-576x405
| image via Sharpie blog |
From DIY to organizing your life there's one marker you can always count on and that's Sharpie. We're excited to be teaming up with Sharpie to talk about all the ways we love to incorporate Sharpie markers into our everyday lives. We'll be discussing fun ideas for creating during the holidays with your family and for your home, staying organized and stocking stuffer ideas. Right now Staples is offering the 12 count multi pack for $6 and who doesn't need a 12 count of Sharpie's in their lives?! Come join us for some holiday fun and enter to win some gift cards to fill your home with all kinds of Sharpie possibilities. 
Here are the details:

When: Tuesday, December 10, from 8-9 pm EST (5-6:00 PST)

Where: On Twitter, using the hashtag #StaplesSharpie

Who: Be sure to follow our hosts @PollinateMedia, @munchies_mama, @jenhatzung, and guest of honor @Sharpie

TweetDeck: We recommend following along using TweetDeck for the party. Search for our #StaplesSharpie hashtag + add a column to follow along

Prizes: We will be giving away gift cards to Staples throughout the party. 2 $25 gift cards and 2 $50 gift cards

We’ve also made it easy for you to let your followers know about this twitter party. Just copy and paste the tweet below.
Join us as we chat about @Sharpie & our favorite ways to use them! 12/10 at 8pm EST RSVP http://bit.ly/1hGr9T6 #staplessharpie #pmedia
Please RSVP using the link below (enter the URL to your Twitter profile) to be eligible for a prize. All winners will be chosen randomly from the RSVP list. Winners must be present and participating during the party to be eligible to win a prize. Be sure to follow the Party Hosts, along with using the hashtag in every tweet about the party.

This twitter party is sponsored by Sharpie as part of a social shopper marketing campaign with Pollinate Media Group®. #StaplesSharpie #pmedia






Thursday, October 24, 2013

diet, weight loss and infertility

Back in January of 2012 I weighed almost 160lbs. For my 5 foot 7 inch body that was too much.  I was unhappy with how I looked, how I felt and combined with my inability to get pregnant made me miserable.  My weight loss journey began with weight watchers. You can read more here

I was committed to get down to 130lbs.  I followed the points plus weight watchers plan and within 3 months I was down to about 135lbs. A month later I hit the goal weight!  I could not believe how much better I felt. Following the points plus program really helped overhaul my diet.  I ate way more fruits and veggies, I ate far less carbs and more appropriate portions of meat.  It was by far the best way for me to get my eating habits under control. 

What I liked best about weight watchers is that it wasn't about depriving yourself, it was about moderation.  I can now eat smaller portions of not-so-good-for-you foods, I have a few bites and I am satisfied. 

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This after photo above was taken this past summer. Since then my weight has stayed steady between 126-128lbs.  A weight I never thought I would be at.  I share my actual weight, not to focus on the number, but to see how much different I look and how much healthier and happier I am.  Let's face it, as much as we say "who cares about the scale", sometimes it matters.  I do not weight myself every day, but sometimes the scales helps keep  me on track.  Just seeing it in the morning reminds me to make good choices.  

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As part of really getting my body, hormones and weight under control in 2013 {also because I turned 30 this year and wanted to start a new decade feeling my best!} I began focusing on clean eating instead of doing the points+ system.  I felt it was time I really start focusing on putting the best nutrients into my body since I finally had portion control under control.  In a few weeks time I really started to see a difference in my body.  This after photo above was taken in late summer and I can see how much different my body looks from the after photo at the top.  

I also began following recipes from Gwyneth Paltrow's book, It's All Good, thanks to Andrea, aka @gwynethmademedoit.  As soon as I opened the book I was hooked.  I read a paragraph where she talks about soy. It basically talked about how the presence of phtyoestrogens can mimic estrogen, bind to estrogen receptors and disrupt hormonal balance.  This made so much sense to me, a few months prior to getting her book I switched from soy milk to almond milk and I noticed a change in my body and hormone levels.  {I have a medical diagnosis for infertility, so I am in no way saying it was caused by the soy milk. I started drinking soy milk a few years ago when I realized I could no longer do milk. I have had infertility issues for many more years than that.} Reading that paragraph pretty much  had me hooked.  

In addition to the clean eating I was really focused on cutting back on my gluten in-take.  Not because I wanted to try the latest fad like so many people assumed, but because I knew my body doesn't process it well. I cut it out for a few weeks and then one night had a beer and 2 slices of pizza with Scott, about 2 hours later I felt like death, same thing a few weeks later. It was now obvious that gluten should be done in moderation for me. I also felt really good when i focused on eating less gluten.  

My final big change thus far is juicing.  Not a crazy juicing cleanse, just straight up juicing a few times a week for breakfast or a mid-afternoon pick me up to get me through until dinner.  Again, my body loves it and I feel good, see a pattern here? I am doing things my body likes and it in turn it is making me feel great.  You really need to know your body. I know I could not do a paleo diet, too much meat for me. There are days where I have no desire to eat meat and thus I get my protein for the day in other ways. 

This is all still a work in progress, some days I splurge on things like cheese, or some carbs, but all in moderation.  I am really working on giving my body the best food and nutrients I can in hopes that it will help with some of my infertility issues.  And if it doesn't? It is still a win because I am in the best shape of my life and have never felt better. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

fear of the future and unknowns

As time goes by and our little family stays the same size I often worry that I will become too involved in my own daily life.  Does that make since?

I worry that I will get too into my job and won't be a good mom.  That I will be too focused on wanted to be a successful business woman and I won't want to slow down and enjoy mama moments.  

scarf: forever21 // top, skinnies & flats: Target // bag: Francesca's

I then fear that once I am a mama I won't want to work at all. Ok, really that is not true.  I know that I need to have something for myself, I like to be busy and involved. I like to have something I can call mine and be proud of. Something that doesn't relate to my husband's career as a naval officer but is instead my own.  So maybe that fear is more how will I balance it all.  How will I make it work?  

These fears give me doubts about being a mother.  These fears make me question if I am supposed to be a mom.  How does one balance it all? I see that as a common every day burning questions asked every day by moms around the world.  In a world where we think and expect to do it all the idea of living this life and adding a baby to the mix seems scary.  

I struggle with being successful in my career.  It is a mix of the horrible comparison game and my crazy over the top standards I have for myself.  I don't know what the future will look like. I have no idea the path  my career with go when we have kids. I have no idea when we will have kids, so all these unknowns have my anxiety and fear wheels spinning like crazy. 

I have to remind myself to be intentional about what I add to my plate and the thoughts that I have.  I know stressing over the unknown and things I can't control are a waste of time but the devil is so tricky and finds ways to let that ugly head creep into my vision.

Each day is a chance to start over and remind myself that in God's time it will all happen and the self-induced stress over the unknown is a waste of time.  Every day I get the chance to start over and a better attitude than the day before. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rejoicing IN the struggle

At the end of last week I started the study of James in the SheReadsTruth series.  Saturday morning I read James 1:2-4 as part of the Day 2 study.  The words pierced me like an arrow.


A reminder that trials and other not so fantastic things are give to us to learn and grow from. They are given to us so that we may be unwavering in the Word and in Jesus.  Raechel's words also spoke to me: 

"We pray the bad times away. We beg that they would never come at all. We ask The Lord to remove our thorns, to help us to endure our hardship, and to bring us through them as unscathed as possible. Lord, help us get well soon!
But James has an entirely different take on trials.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”
Don’t get over them. Don’t rush through them or past them. Rejoice –> IN <– them. {here}.  

So many times I prayed for God to end the hardship that came along with infertility. I would pray and beg him to "fix" me, to bless Scott and I with a baby.  It wasn't until I began to realize that this was all a part of his plan that I began to change my prayer.  My prayer went from asking to be pregnant to asking for guidance. 

My faith has grown and strengthened so much from my struggle. My husband's faith has been strengthened as well.  Our marriage has been strengthened beyond words because of our infertility trials.  Reading these verses and the bible study reminded me to stop praying for it all to just go away.  I should continue to pray and ask God to use me how he will and show me how he wants me to be a light for him.  I know one day I will be a mom, it will be in God's time and this struggle will have prepared me for the journey.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

What not to say to someone dealing with infertility

Happy Friday! 

Why are Fridays so fantastic? I think the idea of date night, plus 2 days off makes me feel like I just won the lotto! 

I have been pretty open about my infertility walk for the last 2 years. That first year it was something I thought we would deal with quickly so I didn't think we needed to share our struggle.  Fast forward 3+ years and I realize it would be impossible for me to keep this struggle bottled up.  



It gets hard to not share our infertility journey when people ask about kids. If you try and say "no, not yet, hopefully soon" people somehow think that is an open invitation to say "oh, you are young. you have plenty of time" or "well be sure to enjoy this time because there is no going back".  Sometimes I just nod my head and move on to the next topic, but when people get pushy with their advice I then share a tiny bit of my infertility story.  This usually leaves them shocked and unsure what to say. They usually back track a bit and apologize for asking and then I assure them it is ok, and that I openly talk about my infertility. 

When I go to blog conferences the topic comes up rather quickly in a conversation with a person I've just met.  They usually ask what I blog about and I say "life, clothes, our military adventures and my struggle with infertility".  When I shared this with a women while at BlogHer back in July I got a response that left me speechless. 

We shared what we blogged about and I said my line from above. We continued to talk and she began to tell me about a new blog she was going to start.  Long story short she compared the pain of dealing with infertility to the pain a mom feels when she sends her kid off to summer camp.  I stood their dumbfounded.  I had no idea what to say. I think I nodded my head, smiled, took a sip of my cocktail and began to quickly think of a way to excuse myself before I laid into her about how she should NEVER EVER use that comparison again. 

I soon found a way to excuse myself and quickly told my friends I was with and then texted some girlfriends of the crazy encounter.  I needed a bit of assurance that I wasn't being crazy and overly sensitive.  To be honest, the comment didn't bother me as much as it would have a year ago. I think I was more shocked than anything. But the reality is people say things like this all the time to women struggling with infertility, women who are very vulnerable.  The woman I had this lovely encounter with seemed to be someone who doesn't think before she speaks.  She probably has no idea why or how what she said would upset someone struggling with infertility. Women who struggle with infertility and share their story don't expect everyone to understand or know what to say, we know it is hard topic to talk about. We live and breathe the journey so we know.  What we do expect is for people to have compassion and not take our struggle as a joke and make it seem insignificant.










Thursday, October 17, 2013

a reminder to be the light and other #infertility ramblings

oh goodness me, I clearly failed at blogging for #31 days.  

but we'll just continue where we left off, sound good? GREAT! 

last night I spend a few minutes talking with a friend about infertility. the struggle, the pain, the facebook announcments, telling the in-laws, dealing with fertile mertiles, the whole 9 yards. 

she shared with me how good it was for her to read my story, for her to know she wasn't alone. 

it was a great reminder to me why God wants me to share my story. i truly believe God gives us struggles so we can be a voice, so we can be the light.  

i know i am at a place in my fertility walk that i never thought i would be at 2 years ago. 

i am at peace. 

 a starbucks treat selfie

i have accepted i might never be pregnant, but that doesn't mean i won't be a mom. my path to mommyhood might be different than most and i think God might using me to share that journey. 

while i have accepted the possibility of never giving birth i still get sad sometimes. i get sad that i might never have that first look at a baby boy or girl and see Scott's gorgeous piercing blue eyes.  i might never hold 7lbs of beauty that is a mix of scott and i. that part is hard to swallow. 

that feeling of sadness sometimes washes over me at the most unexpected time.  a reminder that the infertility journey has so many sides, sides you never expected to see or deal with. 

but each day i'll push on. i'll work to understand and accept God's plan.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Join us for a Hillshire Farm Twitter Party


It’s Fall Y’all!  As temperatures begin to fall and football fans everywhere rejoice for their beloved pigskin, we are ready to talk all about Fall cooking with Hillshire Farm.

Hillshire Farm Twitter Party

Photos from Hillshire Farm

Do you have a go-to Fall recipe? Are you the gal who puts on a big spread for your favorite football team? Maybe slow cooking, and comfort foods are your specialty. If you’re ready to share your love Fall, comfort food, and Hillshire Farm come party with us!  From smoked sausage to lunch meat, Hillshire Farm’s products are full of flavor and taste great. We’re so excited to be partying with Hillshire Farm next week as we chat about their awesome recipes, lunch meats, sausages, and more. We hope you’re ready for a good time because we’ve got so many great things to share.

Here are the details:

When: Tuesday, October 15, from 8-9 pm EST (5-6:00 PST).

Where: On Twitter, using the hashtag #Buy3Save3

Who: Be sure to follow our hosts @PollinateMedia, @fashionistammc, @jenhatzung

TweetDeck: We recommend following along using TweetDeck for the party. Search for our #buy3save3 hashtag


Prizes: We will be giving away 4 $25 SAFEWAY gift cards throughout the party.


We’ve also made it easy for you to let your followers know about this twitter party. Just copy and paste the tweet below.

Join us as we chat about Hillshire Brands, Fall, & our favorite recipes! 10/15 at 8pm EST RSVP: http://bit.ly/1be0XJr #buy3save3 #pmedia

Please RSVP using the link below (enter the URL to your Twitter profile) to be eligible for a prize. All winners will be chosen randomly from the RSVP list. Winners must be present and participating during the party to be eligible to win a prize. Be sure to follow the Party Hosts, along with using the hashtag in every tweet about the party. This twitter party is sponsored by Hillshire Farm as part of a social shopper marketing campaign with Pollinate Media Group®. #buy3save3 #pmedia









Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Please don't forget about my #infertility

Today has been a busy day at work. Really the last week, including the weekend has been pretty fast paced and B.U.S.Y. 

Since I want to spend some quality time with the husband tonight I thought today's infertility post should be a re-share of a post I wrote a few months ago for SpouseBuzz. It was a post that got way more attention and comments than I thought it would. {I did not read the comments as I know most of them are not great. Be warned if you do read them, people are mean.}



I usually find the online community I entered many years ago to be a place to find encouragement and inspiration. As a woman who just turned 30 it has become normal to wake up to new Instagram, Facebook and blog posts with women announcing their pregnancy, in both my online community world as well as my in-real-life friends and family.

But these bloggers and other creative women I once went to as a source of inspiration are quickly added to the list of blogs/posts to avoid.
 
The reality is I cannot stomach another blog about the joys of pregnancies or worse the complaints of pregnancy.

Click here to finish reading the post.

sunnies: c/o Firmoo // top: Anthropologie // boyfriend jeans and flats: Target

{I wrote this post in February and had it published in April, I am at a much better place now. I'll be blogging more about that this month.}

Monday, October 7, 2013

infertility and comparison


I totally forgot to post yesterday, whoopsie.  

I find myself playing the comparison game, a lot. I am guilty of it in so many aspects of my life but I think I do it most often when it comes to being pregnant/having a baby.  When I see a new post on Instagram or Facebook announcing someone's pregnancy I can't help but start comparing my life to theirs. 

It never ends well. 

I often end up crying or being beyond angry. 

Not angry at them, but angry at my situation. 

The feeling of anger seems to be happening less and less, which reminds me of the progress I have made about dealing with my infertility.

But I still can't shake the comparison game. I compare their age, how long they've been married, etc. Some aren't and that is also a hard pill to swallow, the post about someone who wasn't planning to get pregnant. And then sometimes i count how many times a day they complain about their pregnancy and then how many times a day the complain about their newborn/toddler.  I know it sounds crazy, but the people who complain about EVERY.SINGLE.THING make me want to scream. It's hard to see someone make a huge deal out of not being able to take cough medicine while pregnant while I can't get pregnant.  I know they are not rubbing it my face but they are still hard posts to read.

I'm trying to remind myself that we often tend to compare our bad with other peoples good, not the best comparison. I know that God's plan for me is perfect.  When I stop questioning God about his plan for others and instead focus on the timing of his plan for me I am a much happier person. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

your present circumstance...

When I spend too much time thinking about our struggle to start a family I end up getting too focused on the now and how "bad" things are.  This quote is such a great reminder that our current circumstances are part of God's plan. I truly believe we will be better parents once day because of it. Whether they are babies I give birth to or babies we adopt this struggle is preparing us for an amazing journey in the future.


\\ i found this image on pinterest with no source, if is yours please let me know so i gave site proper credit. //

Friday, October 4, 2013

My friend Emmy {and her awesome planners!}

 
Today I want to share with you a friend who makes amazing planners, has a huge heart and is in the process of adopting their 3rd baby.  You can read Emmy's story here and here

Her Amazing Much Ado About You 2014 planners are on sale until October 10th. I promise you will love it! Swoop yours up today and support this amazing woman and her family! 



Thursday, October 3, 2013

The day I took time to ADVOCATE for #infertility

Back in May I took the train up to DC to storm the Hill for Advocacy Day 2013.

It was a day I will never forget. 
 
Stephanie and I with Senator Patty Murray {WA}. We spoke with her briefly and thanked her for introduced the Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvement Act S 131.

All of us who stormed the Hill for infertility with Representative Larsen.

I recently wrote a post for SpouseBuzz about my experience.

"I didn’t think my voice would be powerful enough, or my story strong enough to convince our national leaders to make some much-needed change.

I went into this day thinking I would just sit back and let others speak -– boy was I wrong."

You can read the full post here.

*photos are from Resolve.org's flickr.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

finding my faith, again...

In the beginning of our infertility journey I was unaware of how much emotional pain I would endure. My history of issues with my ovaries, prior surgeries etc I knew there was a pretty good chance it would take us a while to convince, in my head I though maybe 12-15 months or so. We found out about 4 months after trying to start a family that there were various reasons why I couldn't ovulate and thus was going to get pregnant, a diagnosis of Polycystic ovary syndrome {PCOS} was made.  There were also many other health issues that made more sense after the diagnosis. 

It was around month 18 or so that I really began to feel the emotional toll of infertility.  Friends and family members began to announce pregnancies, which then lead to birth announcements and it was hard.  It was hard to see pictures of babies and not be sad. Then the sadness turned into anger, anger at myself and anger at God.  The anger manifested and was often times pushed towards my husband.  Nights of yelling, crying, and being a hot mess were what my poor husband had to deal with after a long 10-12 hour day at work.


In the Fall of 2012 during the same time I began to feel this anger and sadness I really felt a nudge from the Lord.  Scott and I would attend church a few times a month but I wasn't spending any time reading the Bible or actively worshiping God.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and joined a weekly Thursday morning bible study at the base chapel.  God lead me to exactly where I needed to be. I met women who I didn't feel would judge me for my lack of knowledge about the Bible, heck they didn't judge me about anything. They really made me feel comfortable. I was able to share and open up about my anger towards God and how my faith was failing and I couldn't understand why God was "punishing me".  The first study we did was 6 weeks and in those 6 weeks my heart and relationship with the Lord changed in major ways.


I began to feel like I could function again, not by myself but this time with God by my side.  I am not sure the women in the bible study will ever really know how much they helped me in my time of need. How much they encouraged me to see the good in all of Gods plans.  I was reminded again that God has a plan for us all, but it is in his time, not ours. These women shared their brokenness to be a voice for Gods word.  It was by the example of these women that I would later realize God wants to use my story of infertility to help others, even if it is just to spread awareness about infertility.  He wants to use my brokenness for good.  2 years after that first bible study I still have days or weeks where I struggle, but I know my heart would not be at peace about our infertility journey if I hadn't looked up the base bible study and forced myself to go.  Scratch that, let's be real, it was God pushing me to go.

earrings: The Limited // necklace: Target {a gift} // tank: H&M // skirt Loft {$4 total score!} 
// belt: Francescas// sandals: The Gap

These photos were from our trip this past summer to Newport, Rhode Island. My husband is becoming quite the photographer!

pleated poppy

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Our infertility journey began more than 3 years ago


This past July marked 3 years since Scott and I began the journey to start a family.  It has been a crazy 3 years, so many highs and a few lows.  Last May I wrote my first blog post opening up about my struggle to conceive and my issues with infertility. 

Here is the beginning of the post, you can read the entire post here:

Scott and I have been trying to have a baby for 20 months, almost 2 years. Enough time to have had a baby and be pregnant with a second. We have not been very successful, as is evident by my lack of a baby bump.

Let me clarify, we haven't been casually trying for the last 20 months, we've been doing every thing in hopes of conceiving a baby. We started to try and track ovulation but I wasn't ovulating, clearly I wasn't going to get pregnant if I wasn't releasing any eggs. I have had a hunch since an early age that I was going to have difficulty getting pregnant. My hunch combined with some medical issues meant after 4 months of trying my primary care doctor was supportive of testing for fertility issues.

My hunch over the past 10 years was correct, I have polycystic ovarian syndrome PCOS, which means that I don't ovulate on my own/regularly and that my hormones are slightly out of whack.

I wish I was writing for the next #31days about infertility and was going to end the month with a happy ending, but I am not. I am writing for the next 31 days to share my story.  To share the thoughts and struggles that come infertility.  To share the good as well as the bad that as come from accepting the fact that I might never be pregnant and adoption might be our only hope. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

31 days: blogging about infertility

Hello bloggy friends. 

This little blog sure has been abandoned a lot this past year. 

2013 has been a year of so much change, so much good, so much hope and trying to simplify.

The blog took a back seat while I sorted out many other projects.

Joining The Nester again this year for 31 days seemed like a no brainer way to get back to blogging.


Last year I blogged about 31 days to a better me. This year I am blogging about my infertility journey.  I have talked about it on the blog in the past, but I think there is so much I haven't shared. I am going to use the next 31 days to share more of my story, get back to writing and get back to blogging.  I hope you will follow along! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

some thoughts on blogher13 & {what i wore}


How is it that blogher 13 was almost a month ago? Time seems to be flying by lately. With Scott gone I feel like my day goes a bit like this. 

wake up  >  coffee  > workout {some mornings} > walk khloe  > work  > lunch  >  work  >  make dinner  > try to unwind  > bed time.  It seems to be a routine I have down and means it is 8 pm before I am settling in and the last thing  i want to do is turn my computer back on.  I have so much I want to share but time seems to be my enemy lately. I might try and schedule my day into 30 minute increments and see if that helps. 

Blogher was a whirlwind of fun. I met so many amazing new friends and was able to hang out with a few old friends, including lots of time with Alissa {who snapped these amazing pics of me on my iphone}.  

necklace: c/o caroline g // sweater: francescas // ruffle tank: forever21 // coral wrap bracelet c/o adies lovelies // belt: gap // polka dot skinnies: marshalls // bag: nordstrom rack // green flats: jcrew 

I went to my first blogher in 2011 and I have to say again I think the best overall part of the conference was the networking and connecting with others.  I met Maya and was so happy to get to spend a good chunk of the conference with her. We also spent the evenings eating some amazing food and sipping cocktails in Chicago. So much fun! {plus she was as geeked as me to meet Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, more on that in a later post.}

{i cannot tell you how much I love my necklaces from Caroline g's shop. they are the perfect finishing touches to any outfit. Head on over to her shop and see what pretties you find. }

One of my favorite sessions was getting to hear Todd Porter and Diane Cu from White on Rice Couple speak at viewfinder day.  If we've chatted about blogher at all then you know how obsessed I am with a video they shared with us about  how to poach eggs.  The video shows you how to poach in egg in such a beautiful way. You really have to watch it see what I mean. 

Todd and Diane spoke about how a video can be moving and inspiring without words.  I love this idea. Creating a video that is void of a voice over but instead lets the film do the talking is something I really love.  Letting the images tell the story and feelings that are evoked.   

There was a part of their chat that really stuck out to me "The most perfect things that you create are usually the ones that are the most imperfect".  Those words gave me a sense of peace when I think about this blog, my photos,  and the images and videos I create for work. The imperfections make it real.  I need to not worry about making something perfect, sometimes the rawness of it helps the message.  I use to be obsessed with everything being perfect. I didn't like anything to look old or out of place. Over the last few years I have embraced the messy imperfections that are in life, in my home and in me. I now think I love the imperfect look more. I think that is why I have fallen in love with old pieces, they have a story, they have wear, they have meaning. I need to start looking at my work like that as well.  

The tips and encouragement they shared with us a viewfinder day was just what I needed as I will be working on creating videos for work.  The timing of this sessions and the words of Todd and Diane could not have come at a better time. 

I hope to share more of my time at blogher real soon.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Recipe: Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Oh hey folks, remember me? I know, I know, I've neglect this corner of the internet world a lot lately. But today I am popping in to share with you my latest obession:

Cauliflower Pizza Crust! 



I use this recipe here via Lauren Conrad's website. I do however tweak it a bit.

I up the cauliflower to just shy of half a head.  I cut down the cheese to 1/2 - 2/3 a cup.  

I make it as thin a crust as possible. 

I only cook it for 10 minutes, and put under the broiler for 2 maybe 3 minutes.  

After the 10 minutes of cooking and before I add my toppings i used a thin metal spatula to "unstick" the crust. 

I like to top it with sauteed Kale and mushroom, and thin slices of uncooked heirloom tomatoes {they get warm from the few minutes under the broiler}. 

The final steps, use a pizza cutter to remove any of the burnt edges, add tons of chopped basil and enjoy!



Someone asked me if you can taste the cauliflower, I say no.  I think cooking it, adding cheese, garlic and oregano make the cauliflower taste disappear. But please don't be fooled this won't make you feel like you are eating a deep dish slice of dominos pizza, but it will remind you of pizza, satisfy your craving and not wreak havoc on your diet. 

Because I use more cauliflower and less cheese I do not consider this to serve 2, I eat the whole thing myself! It is under 400 calories for the entire pizza and that is well within my eating plan!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Free Weekly Social Media Calendar Download

Happy Monday Loves!

This week I am busy getting lots of social media posts organized for the week since I leave for #BlogHer13 on Wednesday, hoooooray!!

Last week I shared on Instagram that I couldn't find a weekly social media calendar that I like so I created one myself. So many of you loved it I thought I would share it for all of you to use. :)

Download here.


The purpose of this is for me to be able to write down a quick discription of the FB post I created for our morning, afternoon & evening posts. Some days I have more posts to schedule but I always make sure we have at least 3 posts.  For example, we currently have 5 bloggers doing a series of posts for us about different stages of deployment.  Last week the topic was "Why I blog".  So when I schedule one of their posts on fb I will simply write "Jacey blogs" so I know what the post was about. If I share it as a photo with the link I might also write in "photo" so I know that as well.  Then I use the twitter and google+ icons to put a check next to if I schedule the same post on those social media platforms as well.  

This sheet works for my visual needs and is great when I will be on travel for work{or play} so I know what is scheduled.  It also helps to make sure I don't duplicate posts or share something similar back to back.

{The posts I create and the links I share for my job at Blue Star Families don't always have an image that would make it good for Pinterest so I did not include that icon, but you can just add a 3rd check.}

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Shrimp, Bean & Avocado Summer Salad {quick & easy recipe thanks to All You Magazine!}

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and All You, but all my opinions are my own. #lifeforless #pmedia http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO

I love magazines, my love might be something close to an addiction.  I think it has something to do with the pictures that inspire me. Whether I am reading about fashion {affordable fashion of course!}, recipes, home decor or DIYs I always put down my current magazine read inspired to create something or re-do something! 

Last fall we moved to the south.  This California girl is adjusting well, but there are still some things that I don't understand but I am sure people think that way about us west coast peeps! One thing I did notice soon after moving here is the magazine All You.  It was not one of my magazine options back in California when I would stock up on magazines for a beach day or travel day.  When I was asked to check out the magazine for pollinate I might have squealed a bit! I was able to go just down the street to Food Lion to grab the current issue of All You. I also see it when I check out at my local Harris Teeter!  The good news is the magazine is now offered all over the US and in a variety of stores! You can go here to see all the places you can jump in your car and drive to to pick up the latest issue! 


All You is jam packed with so many amazing articles about how to live life on a budget, but still have fun! I for one love to save a few dollars whenever I can, it adds up in the long run. All You's tag line is "enjoy life for less" and they do a great job of creating a magazine that helps you do just that!

They have some beyond cute and affordable DIYs to spruce up your house or garden.  There are literally more than a dozen recipes that look delicous and do not break the bank, a double win in my book! Tons of beauty and fashion advice as well as an article about how to clean your house faster and cheaper! I am ear marking that page to read when we get back from vacation next week!



I picked up All You one day after a long day of work. I was exhausted, it was warm out so the idea of turning on my stove kinda made me wanna cry.  I decided to pour myself a fruit infused water and peruse the magazine and relax before I tackled dinner.  I have a slightly bizarre way in which I read a magazine.  I look at it in numerous rounds. The first round I kind of skim each page and if any of the titles or pictures grab my attention I stop and read the article a bit more.  Of course the first articles that caught my eye were those dealing with fashion.  After I read about how to pick the most flattering dress for your body type I was then stopped by this article, "1 week, 5 easy meals."  I still needed to make dinner and low and behold one of these 5 meals was beyond easy, Roasted Shrimp, Avocado and White Bean Salad. It required quickly cooking the shrimp, chopping up a few veggies and opening a can of white beans.  Hello quickest dinner ever!



What made me even happier about this dinner was I had almost every single ingredient in my fridge and pantry as part of my "staples," which means it is a great dinner when you haven't been to the grocery store in a bit and super affordable. I usually always have a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer, they are so easy to throw into a pasta or rice dish and now a bean salad!  The only ingredient I was missing was the tomato, I substituted a red pepper instead.  The only step I changed in the preperation was the way I cooked the shrimp. Since it was a typical super hot and humid Virginia summer day I did NOT want to turn my oven on so I quickly cooked the shrimp in a pan on the stove top for a few minutes.



I think the entire meal took 20 minutes from prep to plate, so perfect after a looooong day of work. The real test though was my husband, he scarfed down the dish! A sure sign I will be making this dish again, soon!  At a steal of $2.99 All You magazine is my new life saver for quick and healthy dinners!


Ingredients

  • 12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 15-oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 1/2-inch dice {I used a red pepper instead}
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice 
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 small avocados, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch dice

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. 
2. In a bowl, toss shrimp with 1 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on baking sheet and roast until just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; let cool slightly.
3. Add beans, tomato, onion and cilantro to bowl with shrimp. Whisk remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, lime juice and crushed red pepper in a bowl. Pour over salad; toss to combine. Fold in avocados. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

pattern mixing {what i wore} & infertility ramblings

Today is a day that is kind of hard for me to deal with.  It is a date I never really thought I would have etched in my brain, but life is funny that way. It throws you curve balls when you least expect it.

gold chevron necklace: Lisa Leonard // turquoise necklace: made by me // top: Forever21 // skirt: Ross // heels: JCPenney {$5, a total steal!} // purse: free {slightly embarrassing but I found it in the trash at an old job. it was a desk trashcan, not the dumpster!}

3 years ago we decided to stop birth control and try to start a family.  3 years later we have no baby but instead countless doctors appointments to go to, and countless procedures to cross off the list as being tried.  Most days are fine, but every now and again it is hard.  It is frustrating.  We have been trying to start a family since before people we know who now have kids were even married! That is often times a hard pill to swallow.  

I remind myself it will all happen in Gods time and according to his plan, but damn it, sometimes I want to scream and yell and ask him why! Ask him why he gave me such a desire when I was so young to be a mom and then for our journey to start a family to be such a struggle. 

We are trying to embrace life right now and do things we know will no longer be so easy once we have kids. 

Over the holiday weekend we took a last minute day trip to Richmond, VA. Just about an hour and a half northwest of us.  It was so easy to jump in the car and go. As much as I try and tell myself to enjoy these things I can't help but sometimes get a bit sad and jealous when I see others posting pictures of their new adventures with baby in tow. 

Each day I think I am slowing getting to a better place. I know I am in a far better place today than I was about 18 months ago. 


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

having compassion

Today is a pretty important day in politics and our country. 

I know, I'm starting off a post talking about politics, something I usually steer away from.  But today I feel like it is weighing on my heart to share.  I fully expect to lose followers and read mean comments but I think it is important for me to share what is on my heart. After all it is my blog and it is for me, I don't blog for anyone else. 

Today the supreme court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act {DOMA} unconstitutional. This means legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples. 

This is important to me because my brother is gay. This ins't something I have shared with people, not because I am embarrassed, but because it is something he should be able to tell others when he feels it is right. 

I remember the night he called to tell me. I remember crying uncontrollably. 

I was crying because he was clearly hurting from feeling like he had to keep this in. 

I was crying because he was telling me as a kid he prayed to Jesus EVERY night to make him better.  

I was crying because he had felt so alone for so many years.  I remember telling him that he is my brother and I will love him unconditionally always. 

I cried for days. I cried because I knew the struggles he was going to endure. The rude, mean and horrible things people would potentially say to him. It hurt my heart then and it still hurts my heart now. 

I am a Christian, but I get so angry when people say the Bible says being gay is a sin and therefore should not be tolerated. I get angry for many reasons.



I get angry because the Bible teaches us to have compassion and tolerance for one another. Ephesians 4:32 says "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you". 

I get angry because the Bible does not say we will have a say in another persons judgement day.  We do not get to go before God and plead our case as to why someone should or shouldn't go to heaven.  That is something between each of us and God.  

The Bible says lying, cheating, adultery and so many other things are bad and sinful.  Yet we somehow think that being gay is a greater sin. A sin is a sin.  We all sin, Romans 3:23 says "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God".  It does not say we all sin but some are worse than others. 

John 8:7 says When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again, we ALL have sinned.  So why do we feel it is our place to say that being gay is a sin that is worse than anything else. We all sin and therefore we do not have any room to judge others.

I get so sad and angry when I hear Christians being so mean and hurtful.  How do you in the same sentence call yourself a Christian and then be so mean and nasty.  It just baffles me. 

The repeal of DOMA is so important to me because if my brother should decide to join the military and serve his country and be willing to lay down his life defending our freedom I think he should be afforded the same rights as my husband {and I} and every other heterosexual married couple have.  Plain and simple,  if he has a partner they should be afforded the same rights as I am. 

I want to be the big sister and crush people that say mean and hurtful things to my brother or about my brother, or about being gay.  I want to turn to those Christians who quote scripture to say being gay is a sin and remind them that throwing stones and lacking compassion and tolerance is not very Godly. 

I cried today writing this post. I cried because my heart aches because I will never forget my brother telling me that as a child he prayed to God every night and ask him to "fix" him.  My heart aches because I want to be able to go back in time when we were kids and tell him it is ok and I will always love him and that he should not be afraid to be who he is.  

I can only hope and pray that one day we will be compassionate and tolerant of those that are different from ourselves.  I hope that we will remember it is not our place to cast judgement on others.  I will continue to support issues, causes and rulings that give my brother the same rights and freedoms that I have.

random ramblings {& a retro inspired look!}

Oh friends, how does everyone do it? I feel like I write this post every few months, how in the world do all you amazing bloggers get out 4-5 post a week each and every week? 

I know I spend a bit of time in the evening watching tv or reading to just calm my brain down, but I have no idea where else I would find time to get a blog post done every single day.  I applaud all of you who have it together. Clearly this gal does not. 



Last night Scott found out one of the guys he graduated OCS with drown over the weekend.  He was 24 years old. It was such a shock. I remember briefly meeting him the week Scott graduated.  24 is so young, he had his whole life ahead of him.  Scott says he worked so hard and pushed through each week because he so badly wanted to graduate and be a commissioned Naval officer.  Now just over a year later his life was cut short.  

It is moments like this where I have to wonder what God's plan was/is.  It is hard to see it sometimes. I know he has one but seeing someones life end too early makes you question God's plans.

This blog post is becoming a rambling entry of what is swirling around my brain.

I am in love with this dress from Loft, it was $12! Crazy talk, I know. It is such a bright fun dress for summer, and then come fall and winter it will be perfect with a sweater, tights and boots!

I am also obsessed with the sock bun. Now that my hair is long enough it is one of my go to hair styles for hot humid days, it is also a great options when you should wash your hair but are too lazy. wait is that only me? oh well, we all know I go 3-4 days some weeks without washing my hair.  Life is too short to wash your hair every day!


necklace: caroline g // dress: Loft // earrings: the limited // wedges: target // purse: francesca's



Fashion & Faith


Friday, June 21, 2013

coffee date friday on the train {and some hello apparel love!}

Fridays are one of my favorite days of the week. You are wrapping up with, and you have the whole weekend to look forward to!

If we were having coffee together today it would be on the train headed to DC for a quick 36 hour work trip.

After we got settled into our seats I'd tell you how much I am loving my hello apparel tank.  While it does say Ok, the Ok stands for Oklahoma. After the tornadoes in Oklahoma hello apparel sold tanks where all the profit when to the OK red cross.  They were able to send a check for $90,000!


tank: hello apparel // polka dot skinnies: target // sandals: target // purse: vintage coach bag, thrifted // sunnies c/o firmoo

Part of why I think this is so cool is because I believe social media played a huge part in the amount of sales they had, and thus the amount they were able to send to the Red Cross.  I am aware of the brand hello apparel, but I do not frequent their website, and I do not think I even follow them facebook.  But I do follow them on instagram, my favorite social media platform ever! They posted about their plan to sell the tanks and give the money to the red cross.  Then my feed was filled with pics of friends who had bought they tank and were supporting the cause.  I have to admit, I jumped on the bandwagon.  A cute take for $15 shipped and I am helping tornado victims, sign me up!

While sometimes I think social media can have negative affects and focus on the crazy and the bad in life I truly believe most use it for good. They use it to connect with others, to share information, to help brands grow.  Social Media and blogging are a very cool thing, and they can be a source of income for people.  While I do not make money blogging, I do make money from social media. It is my job. It is something that I say with a huge ginormous smile on my face. The blogging is what lead me to the social media.  So maybe this little blog doesn't pay the bills, but it is the catalyst for what does! 

It is so cool to me to know that brands want real people, real bloggers to share their brand.  Of course I believe if you don't believe in the company you should not blog for them. I also believe that you should have a genuine connection with their product. I get contacted all the time by random people who want me to post about kids stuff.  Clearly they do not really pay attention to my blog because:

1. i do not have kids.
2. i do not blog about kids stuff, and
3. i don't blog about kids because i have infertility issues!

I know my readers, friends, fans etc do not come to my blog for mommy talk. So it would be ridiculous for me to blog about kid brands etc.  I think my voice, my authenticity and the value of my opinion would be diminished if I wrote about any and everything just to make $25. 

tank: hello apparel // belt: thrifted // shorts: loft // sandals: Mark // pouch: Gussy Sews {the gussy club}

I love when I read sponsored posts that are clearly a good partnership between a brand and a blogger.  It is a very small number of times I read a sponsored post and I can't help but shake my head because the lack of connection is so obvious.  It makes me uber happy to say those posts really are very few and far between, because it means people value their brand and their voice.  

Wow, my coffee date got a bit crazy, didn't it? I am just so geeked about how cool it is to work with brands and companies doing social media and blogging.  

Since I rambled on for so long now would be the time I get us a fresh cup of coffee from the cafe cart and then zip my lips so I could be all ears to listen to what you have to say. 

I also love that they sent us an email showing the check that was sent off!

*** I was not paid to write this post about hello apparel, I bought the tank and I just love it and the meaning behind it***

linking up with alissa 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

live life anchored {what i wore & marriage ramblings}



Marriage is hard. 

There I said it. 

That first sentence should be no surprise to anyone.  I never thought marriage would be easy, but some days man do I feel like a failure.  

Last night in our small group we discussed Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. {this is my second time in a few weeks reading this verse, clearly God is reminding me of what I need to do.}

We talked about how we think the bad things come out in us because of our spouses actions and that is the root of the nastiness.  Really the bad things are in us and they come out of you regardless of who is with you.  Meaning the nastiness is me, my feelings and my issues are why I act like a crazy person and flip out when Scott doesn't put the tupperware away like I like {true story.}  

For what ever reason I am able to not loose my cool openly when others do things to upset me, but when my husband does I act like a crazy banshee.  I think often times I am not even upset at anything he does, I am upset at something earlier or with myself and I take it out on him. 

The person I love most, I often treat the worst.  

That was a hard statement to write. Admitting that makes me feel horrible.  

I am working on trying to not get upset and take my anger, frustration, insecurities etc out on my husband.  In our small group we talked about getting to the root of a feeling.  Am I really feeling angry or am I using that word to mask a feeling I don't want to admit to?  Maybe I am embarrassed, embarrassed for a situation I was in or that I did something my husband did not like.  Instead of saying I am embarrassed I mask that feeling with anger and yell and then of course cry. 



shirt: printed palette // skirt: forever 21 // wedges : target

I love this shirt from the Printed Palette.   Live Life anchored, it is a great reminder for me. It is a reminder to make sure my life is anchored to the word and Jesus.  To make sure I don't loose sight of doing all things for him. 

I often times feel like I am not good enough, or worthy of his love.  But that is the beauty of his love, it is unconditional.  None of us are worthy and yet he loves each and every one of us.  
 
No power on earth or heaven can separate us from God's love. Not our sin, not any authority, not any spiritual force. God's love is unshakable and can always be relied upon. 
Romans 8: 38-39

These verses in Romans are also a reminder that if God can love me my issues and all, ALL of the time I can surely love my husband, ALL of the time.  If God can forgive me every day I can forgive my husband.  I am not any better than he is, no sin is greater or lesser, they are all sins and God forgives them all, therefore I surely can forgive the tupperware cabinet not being to my liking {again, true story}. 

I struggled sharing this today on the blog, but I want to be honest here. I want to be able to share my feelings, even if they aren't pretty.  I need to say these things so I can remind myself I do not want to act that way. 

pleated poppy
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