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Friday Favorites {7.7.17}

Its Friday! I hope you’re having a great week! Today I wanted to share some of my favorites and fun things around the web. It’s a random hodgepodge of everything I love right now; hopefully you’ll find something you love too!

1. Big Sur

I love this place! We haven’t had a vacation in a while, we’ve been traveling to see family at the beach, but it’s been three years since we’ve been to one of our favorite spots. I’m just itching to plan a trip there. Last time we went to Big Sur we ventured to this cabin on a bee farm up in the mountains with the most amazing view (Did I have to say more than cabin, bee farm or mountains?).

We woke up every morning to beautiful sunrises, fresh lemons, eggs and honey and a view of the bee keepers at work- my son learned to “smell” when he sampled a sniff of this fresh lemon we picked from their farm. There was a trail they had cleared through the redwoods and we took short walks with my son who was one at the time. They also had a beautiful claw-foot bathtub with the perfect view and this lavender soap that made the entire cabin smell amazing. If you’re contemplating your next vacation, this one’s at the top of my list; I never stop thinking about this place.


2. Made Me Smile

Love these two quotes; they made me smile. I included the Instagram handles in the photo to credit the source.

 


3. Fun Products I love

I don’t think we could live without Biofreeze in our house. They sell it on Amazon and tons of Chiropractors carry it. We buy the spray version but they also make a roll-on version and a lotion. I don’t want to sound old, but I can’t comment enough about how often this has come in handy for unexpected and debilitating neck and back pain!

I bought this necklace through Noonday at an adoption fundraiser and I can’t wait until it arrives!

I just bought this book and I’m really excited about starting it.

And isn’t this cactus romper so adorable!

I am also loving this washi tape on Etsy right now. It would be fun for wrapping and for bookmarking things in my work notebook.

This long-sleeve pineapple shirt could help me remember summer even in the coldest of winters.

PS: I don’t get paid for recommending these- they’re just fun to share!


Have a wonderful beautiful weekend! Be sure to comment below with your favorites- I’d love to hear! Also, when is Labor Day weekend??? (The answer is Sept. 4th!) Hold onto your horses- your next long holiday weekend is coming for you!

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What’s Up Wednesday {6.28.17}

This Wednesday I’m writing about what’s new; here’s what I’m sharing!

It’s a fun way to check in with all of you to share just what’s been going on; I’d love for you to share what you’re up to in the comments!

What we’re eating this week

Right now one of my favorite things to eat at home that keeps us from going out are these meatball bombs. My kids love them and it fills our craving for pizza. I also have spinach salad on repeat for lunches at work and I had this amazing sandwich at one of my favorite places, Java Cafe for lunch last week. It’s a hot ham and cheese- yummy!

What I’m reminiscing about

We are knocking things off our summer bucket list and we had so much fun at the Redbirds baseball game earlier this month. The weather was just perfect and someone gave us free tickets at the gate because they purchased too many for their group! How lucky is that!

What I’m loving

Everything and anything summer. The beach, the pool, the sunshine and not having to find matching socks for my kids #justsayin

We have flip flops and native summer shoes on repeat here.

What we’ve been up to

We have been jumping into summer full swing. My kids get to attend the same school during summertime which means less drop-offs in the morning for me. We’ve been trying to spend the extra time going on walks in the morning before work and school. I’ve been doing my normal workout and then walking like it’s my part-time job just trying to shed some summer pounds.

My son also just finished Vacation Bible School in the mornings last week; it was his first official camp.

And we’ve taken two trips this month to the beach to my hometown of Pensacola Beach, Florida.

What I’m dreading

Right now I can’t even think about days that don’t involve pools or sunshine and flip flops or popcicles. We sure are enjoying summer.

What I’m working on

Right now, I’m working on career development and what my career path looks like. I’ve been preparing my development plan.

What I’m excited about/ What I’m looking forward to next month

I’m so excited for the 4th of July. We have this little neighborhood parade every year and it keeps getting better and better. It always feels like we time warp to the 1950’s for a day and it’s a full blown red, white and blue extravaganza. Here’s some pictures from previous years.

 

I’m also excited about trying a fun Colombian place we have lined up for Dinner Club. Here’s one of their spreads.

 

What I’m watching, reading, and listening to

We just finished up The Crown on Netflix and I’m sad there aren’t any current episodes. I just finished listening to What Got You Here Won’t Get You There in the car on the back to back road trips to the beach and I’ve been reading The Woman in Cabin 10 at night and finally finished it last night. It had a slow middle section, but chugged along with a suspenseful ending.

I also just listened to this podcast where themindbodygreen with Jason Wachob interviewed Melissa Hartwig, co-founder of Whole 30. She talks about a difficult childhood she experienced, her recovery from drug use, how she created Whole 30 and her “church” outdoors where she claims to have a deep, spiritual relationship with God. It is incredibly authentic, inspiring and insightful.

I’m switching it up between my audio book, my Salsa station and Shawn Mendes on Pandora.

What I’m wearing

We just moved into a new work facility and it is cold cold and blizzard cold so I pretty much have layers on repeat. I also got this cute shirt that I’m loving for Saturdays mornings.

What I’m doing this weekend

We just left my hometown of Pensacola, Florida last week where I helped to host my sister’s baby shower to bless my first little niece Sloane. We drank champagne and I had a few hours away from our kiddos. This upcoming weekend will probably be low key and full of park time and pool time, still unpacking and washing clothes from our trip.

What else is new?

We headed to a friend’s adoption fundraiser last weekend where vendors like Noonday, Matilda Jane and Lula Roe and Mbabazi House of Style featured their goodies with a contribution of their profits all going to the adoption fundraiser- what a neat idea! Click the links if you’d like to see some of the goodies and shop these retailers for a good cause.

My husband and I have also been volunteering to make coffee at our church pretty regularly this summer. I also just posted about how we feel about adoption and all about how I lived through a rare medical disease.

I also bought this foam roller off Amazon a few months ago and it is a beautiful thing for a person who holds a desk job! It arrived straight to my door in 2 days.

Happy Hump Day. I hope you’re all having a great week! If you’re visiting this site I’m glad to have you here, feel free to take a look around.

 

 

 

 

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Friday Favorites {6.23.17}

Today I’m sharing Friday favorites! I’d love to hear your favorites too so be sure to share in the comments.

We just arrived back from a weekend trip to the beach to visit family and attend my sister’s baby shower.

 

Just two weeks prior we were in the same spot for vacation. Being back to a routine means I’m taking full advantage of getting back in shape, focusing on a healthy diet and scheduling adequate time for relaxing from our busy schedule.

First up on my favorites list is date night!

1. Date Night

We try to schedule a regular date night once a month. It has to be at LEAST once a month. We’d sure love to do it more, but right now that’s our cadence. This weekend is our date time and I’m so excited. It really is important that we get out without our kiddos and have adult conversation; this down time is important for our health and sanity and really does make us better parents. Think of it like getting an oil change for your marriage. Although, you don’t have to have kids to have a date night- we used to have them before kids! Here are some things we are sure to apply for our time together.

 

 

  1. Something fun for the kids: I try to be sure to get a new movie or pull out a toy the kids haven’t played with for a while. Sometimes it’s homemade pizza or making a gingerbread house during the holidays. Whatever it is, I try to make our date night away fun for our kids too.
  2. A clean house is a happy house: I love to clean our house before date night, that way when we come home from our evening it’s to a clean home where the kids are asleep and we can continue relaxing at home the rest of the evening.
  3. Date night doesn’t have to be at night. We have gone horseback riding, we rode our bikes to the park once and had lunch, and even went restaurant hopping via Uber trying out different spots our city has to offer for drinks, dinner and dessert. Whatever you do, be sure to make reservations if your spot is expected to be busy so that you aren’t spending your date waiting in line.

2. Health Revamp

Post-vacation is always the best time for me to focus on my health. I’m rejuvenated from my time away and I’ve rid myself of some of my habits already since we’ve been out of routine. For example, I usually don’t eat the same stuff on vacation that I eat at home; it’s a chance to evaluate those routine things with fresh eyes to gain a different perspective and be intentional about what I want diet and exercise to look like. I also seem to be more adventurous after vacation, making it easier to try new fitness routines or food.

    1. New eating plan. I tried Whole 30 before and it was extremely difficult. And then someone told me that they tried it the first time with the mindset that they’d do every part of it possible, but if they slipped up they’d just continue again and keep trying. I quit after I had one bad day because I felt like I had to start over. It’s amazing how a change in perspective can set you on track. I’m trying it again and doing my best to complete it even if I have slip-ups.

     

    1. New recipes. I researched tons of new recipes and I’m excited to build them into my weekly meal planning. Here are a few below that I’m trying.

     

    Lettuce Wraps
    Spinach-stuffed artichoke potatoes
    Kale Caesar Salad

     

    1. New exercise plan. My new plan is to walk like it’s my job. This makes exercise possible with or without kids. I’m taking breaks from my desk and walking at work and we’re taking the kids walking at night. I’m also trying to walk some mornings before work. I’ve also blocked off time on my calendar for my regular exercise plan (running, weights, etc.) so that I’m intentional about how many times I can get a workout in a week. These shoes my sister gave me make me smile and get me to the gym.

     

    1. New coffee order. They say, if you drink or eat something habitually, changing that item in your diet can make a big impact over time. I removed sugar from my coffee and added cinnamon.


3. Celebrating Happy Things

I am trying to take time to squeeze in things for me that make me a better mom, a better wife and a better employee. Here’s 3 things that made me happy this week.

  • I love my necklace from Destiny Ray Jewelry. I actually got it at Beautiful Soul Boutique in Germantown, TN but she also sells her jewelry through her Instagram page and it makes me happy to celebrate her beautiful art every time I wear my necklace or look at her latest posts of her new creations. Here are some similar.

  • Nail time! I broke away at lunchtime to get a quick fix in the nail department and it was worth the 30 minutes. I usually go with some shade of pink.

  • I get compliments on my coffee travel mug all the time. It makes me happy to celebrate with my coffee and comes in different colors. It’s dishwasher safe and keeps my coffee hot; it also has a built in coaster pad.

That’s all for this Friday. I hope you can find something fun in the post this Friday. Also be sure to comment below on what you’re celebrating.

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Friday Favorites {6.16.17}

Today I’m sharing 3 Friday favorites! This time I’m sharing things that really are my favorites because if I stopped incorporating these things in my life I’d really be out of balance. I’d love to hear your favorites too, so be sure to share in the comments.

 


ONE

Weekly Meal Planning

I feel like lately, meal planning is all everyone talks about, I don’t have an extravagant or long drawn out method. For a few weeks I made all the meals in advance and that really didn’t work for me. Here’s how I manage meals as a working mom on a budget.

  1. Search Pinterest for some meal ideas.
  2. List the meals out by day in a Word document with the links to the recipe.
  3. Click each link and search for ingredients I may need to purchase and list those out in my Word document.
  4. Then I head over to my online grocery ordering site and start searching and adding the ingredients I need there. This allows me to price compare and the site also saves things I buy every week which makes shopping super quick and easy, and I’m less likely to forget something.
  5. Finally, I check out through my online grocery ordering site and select a pick-up date that’s convenient for us.

Here are a few things I consider when selecting meals for the week.

  • Balance of easy vs. more complicated meals
  • My week schedule- are we going to be home and are there days we’ll have less time to cook dinner?
  • I try to make sure to add some healthier options along with some options that will keep us excited and less apt to head for a restaurant.
  • I add one or two meals that could be pre-cooked in a crock pot or ahead of time (like chili or salad).

This method helps me save money (since I’m able to price shop better and throw less of the things I don’t need in my cart), saves me time, and keeps me from throwing away a bunch of things we may have otherwise bought that go bad. Our meals were also getting kind of borning. This way I’m mixing it up and I have been saving all the weekly menus for future reference in case I don’t have as much time to meal plan; I can just repeat a week later on.

AND I can pull up my menu document at any point throughout the week and link straight to the recipe to quickly get my meal started. I also pre-read all the recipes before so I have kind of an idea of what I’m getting into each night. Sometimes I don’t even have to have the recipe up.

I heard Memphis is getting a grocery delivery service soon… WHAT??? #lifechanging


TWO

Zero Base Budgeting

We took a Financial Peace class about 7 years ago and we’ve tried to stick to the basic principles we learned. We took a refresher course this past January and it was a great way to start incorporating some of the things we weren’t able to get to the last time around (like will planning).  One thing we have really tried to be consistent with is the zero-based budget. Basically here are the steps:

  1. List out all your expenses. There’s a form on the site.
  2. Then list out all of your paychecks and start incorporating which items need to come out of which check.
  3. Pull out the money in cash that is not paid towards specific bills and assign envelopes to those categories. For example, cosmetics, haircuts, and gifts are all categories where you could assign envelopes for this method.
  4. Don’t forget to incorporate one-time items like tax preparation and car registration and divide those things by 12 months so that you don’t have to cover the bulk of these expenses at once. By saving for them each month in an envelope you’re less likely to have a heavy hit with unexpected expenses.

Here’s an example snapshot of a portion of our budget template.

If I stopped budgeting it would really stress me out. We tend to spend a lot more on entertainment and eating out than we realize and that stuff adds up quickly. By doing it this way it keeps our whole family sane and then we also budget for things we may otherwise forget about like vacation and cosmetics! I think there are easier online ways to do this instead of on a spreadsheet, but I’ve been doing it this way for so long that it’s hard to change over to something new.

 

 


THREE

Kids Quiet Time

My older son is not so keen on naptime, so I stopped fighting it. We have an extra bedroom and when my daughter napping, my son knows it’s time for quiet time in that room (so he doesn’t distract her from sleeping). We try to be consistent with it, instituting it every weekend day, and we allow him to play with toys and look at books. We set a timer for one hour and he has a chance to decompress and relax for that hour doing one of the things we’ve put in the room for him (magnablocks, puzzles, a stack of books, legos, etc.)

This gives us a quiet house for at least one hour on the weekend days. And sometimes, I get to take my own nap in my own bed. Sometimes.

What are your favorites?

 

 

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5 Positive Things

It’s Monday and I’m back from a LONG vacation. I am happy to have had the week off to break up my routine and spend time with my kids and family, but it was a very eventful vacation and we have the entire summer ahead of us. This Monday, I’d love to share with you 5 things I’m loving right now. Take a look and be sure to comment on fun things you’re loving right now.


1. Spa Sundays

This is something I read about a while back and I’ve been trying to do it every.single.Sunday. I put the kids to bed a little earlier (like 15 minutes earlier, don’t worry, they go to bed late almost every single weekend day of their life) and I use whatever spa-type treatment I have in my house (sometimes I add one small thing to my grocery list that week) and I enjoy time for me. I make sure to prep our clothes and lunches for the week before I begin and then after spa time I try to head to bed a little earlier so that Monday doesn’t hit us so abruptly. Right now,spa favorites are bath bombs, sugar bath scrub, face masks and everything Josie Maran (and a little tea or champagne).

 

 2. Roasted Brussel Sprouts

These are so easy to make and I have been including them in our dinner line-up nearly every week. I cut the brussel sprouts up a little thinner than this recipe to make them a bit crispier and instead of fresh ginger (let’s face it, that is time consuming) I use ginger paste and put a bit of garlic paste in the mix. Sometimes I also add diced onions and top it with crushed bacon or diced almonds.

 

eatinmykitchen.meikepeters.com

3. Dream/Plan Your Next Vacation

So I started doing this a while ago because there are so many places I want to visit across the globe, but so little time and money. How do I choose? I started searching all of the countries I’m debating on Instagram and follow the ones I’d love to visit. We have a budget started and we’ll choose our first destination soon so we can start planning. Here are a few that I love so far: @switzerland.vacations @wonderlust.amsterdam @norwegianfjords  and @visit_chile

I also follow @theglobewanderer and @buckelisters which feature beautiful places all over the world like the one in this picture.

 

IG: @bucketlisters

4. These Yoga Workouts

I started following @lizettepompayoga on Instagram and just watching her tutorials makes my back pain go away. Would you try it? She also has workout videos on YouTube

 

IG: @lizettepompayoga

5. A Book to Pass the Time

I almost forgot about these books. We used to travel with them in the car  when I was little and my 4-year-old son has all his attention on them. We use it to pass the time while we’re at restaurants and during our last road trip. My son keeps making funny comments like, “where is that guy?” and “I can’t find that little boy!”

Hope your Monday is beautiful and full of lovely, positive things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spend a Day with Me! Day in the Life

On the Instagram account @betterwithbeale901 friends have been taking over for a day to show life through their eyes. I’m not sure why it’s so interesting to me, but pulling back the curtain and taking a peak into someone else’s day can be so intriguing.

Since I asked others to share, I thought it would be unfair to them if I didn’t show a day in my own life. So, without further explanation, I give you last Wednesday, a middle-of-the-week-workday for me.


Good morning! I am lucky if I can wake up before the kids; it seems like every morning is earlier than the last. This particular morning I had enough time to get up and start brewing coffee (my go-to is Cafe Bustello pods with a bit of almond milk, raw sugar and cinnamon) and get ready before this one (below) started calling for us to get her out of the crib. I try to get  the kids dressed right when they wake up so that I’m not trailing behind them struggling to get each and every piece of clothing on their squirmy little bodies. My daugher is usually running around the entire house most of the time we’re getting ready to head out the door- just sayin- if we’re talking about real life. Also, we are slowly but surely renovating our house and I can’t wait to replace this tile one day!

Breakfast is really important to me. I go on spurts where I make a bunch of eggs in advance and store them in the fridge in case we’re rushed, but our staple every morning is pretty much eggs any way you can make them- we mix it up. Bacon is a luxury we only have that about twice a week. It’s probably silly, but since my kids are at school all day I really try to make sure that they have a big breakfast filled with protein so that they aren’t hungry right when I drop them off. I want them to be able to focus on learning.

While the kids are eating breakfast I’m making lunches and throwing on my clothes and running around to pick up whatever I can around the house. I don’t know about you, but if I don’t iron clothes and prep something for lunches in advance it’s hard to catch up and get out the door on time. I also try to remember to take these vitamins every morning. A few months ago I had a full health exam and turns out I’m low on vitamin D (my husband is too), so I bought the gummy version because the regular ones make my stomach upset. My son Graham gets the probiotic too along with a daily vitamin. The kids were getting really sick for a spurt of time; I started trying the probiotic to try to combat all that.

My husband leaves about 30 minutes before we do. Eventually, somehow, I finally make it into the car with both kids and all our ever-loving bags. Once everyone is strapped in we listen to a little upbeat Trolls movie soundtrack music (says every single parent right now). Honestly, free parenting tip right here, but this is how I bribe them to get into the car, “Let’s all get in the car and we can listen to Poppy!” This particular morning since I knew I would be sharing this day with you, I asked both kids to take a pic for me. As you can see, my son takes some time to wake up (he must have inherited that from me). When I pulled out of the driveway and headed to school he cried the entire way because he wanted to go back to the driveway to take the picture again so he could smile. I love him for wanting a do-over, but we were halfway to school by that time.

 

 

We also listen to podcasts, business books and development books. The one I am listening to now is “What got you here can’t get you there”.

 

Little sister loves to walk big brother into school. She loves waving at all the parents and kids and walking on the curbs on the way back to the car to head to her school. (I couldn’t capture a pic this day, but you get the idea in the photo below, it’s our morning ritual).

Every morning my daughter runs into her class and gives her teacher a big hug to start her day. I am so thankful that my kids have such awesome teachers. The individual things they get to learn from these special educators are things that they might not have learned from me.

I then head on my short drive to work at a new facility that was just built for us. I have been working for my company for 13 years and I am so thankful to have a job I love. Here’s my new desk in our open-concept work space. I have a great neighbor that I get to sit next to every day. We also have lots of break out rooms and spaces where we can float around throughout the day depending on what we’re working on. I also have a gym membership through work; I have the schedule of classes pinned up front and center in my work space and I try to head there for lunch 2-3 times a week.

I work for a few hours and then on that day for lunch I headed out to try a new dentist. When I was younger I was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease, Myasthenia Gravis, and going to any new doctor is kind of an ordeal, since most people haven’t heard much about my condition. For the ones that have heard about it, they tend to ask me a lot of questions about my treatment and remission and diagnosis because it’s such a rare thing. But nevertheless, I’m an avid every-6-month dentist patient so let’s do this.

I headed back to work and then to a quick work meeting up the street at Starbucks. I ordered the coconut cold brew with a pump of cinnamon and wowza- it was good, but I don’t recommend it as an afternoon beverage- I definitely had the coffee jitters up until about 6 pm. Our meeting was outside until the rain dumped a downpour on our meeting, but it was nice to get a quick vitamin D fix outside.

One of the best parts of my day is picking up my daughter. She’s always so happy to see me and she drops anything she’s doing to run for me; it’s the best!

We made our way to meet my son and husband at our neighborhood pizza place for dinner. It’s just down the street and they have the best pizza and it was the perfect evening to sit outside. We always end up seeing friends we know there and it has a friendly neighborhood feel; we just love the experience. When we’re not eating out we are usually making dinner at home and making our way around the neighborhood in a post-dinner family walk.

Then it’s home for the normal routine of baths, teeth brushing and books. These kids love bath time and we let them throw a bath bomb in there a couple times a week #toddlerspatime

Although bath time is kind of a nightmare with the endless splashing-  my husband and I switch off- but I do try to volunteer to do it more often than not, because as a working parent I only get a few hours with these kids each day.

These kiddos go to bed about 7:45 to 8 and I wish I could say that I have all this beautiful free time after, but usually its spent washing dishes, preparing lunches and prepping for the next day. I turn in pretty early these days, well because I never know when these kiddos are going to wake up. We also have a pretty old pet that tends to keep waking us up at night so sleep is pretty valuable these days.

A sweet friend of mine turned me on to this tea and I have replaced my wine during the week with this. I also love those cheesy mugs you can buy when you purchase your kid’s class pictures. I gave one to my sister for Christmas one year and it was a hit- now everyone wants one!

We killed the cable a few years back and only use Apple TV but I really hardly watch it. It’s been a few weeks since we finished watching The Crown on Netflix and my husband just turned me on to a Warren Buffet documentary. Otherwise, if I do stay up its to read.

These days are long but the years are short (true cliché) and some days its a struggle to get in those things that are really important, like spending quality time as a family, having alone time, having lunch with a friend, getting in a workout, developing myself for my job.

Recently I’ve heard quite a few people say that there’s no such thing as work-life-balance, they call it work-life-iteration. I really do believe that’s true. Some weeks my job is really intense and other weeks I have some down time to better balance my home and because of that, my days can be very different. Warren Buffet says he defines his circle of importance and doesn’t stray far from his circle. He mentions that defining your end game is extremely important. I am trying to focus on what is important to me, and invest myself more wholeheartedly in those areas. I am also trying to take more time to make a mental memory of all the good stuff that’s happening before we’re onto the next big thing.

That wraps up a day in my life. Be sure to check out the Instagram day in the life posts for even more interesting day in the life stories from my friends there. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!