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may and june challenge: repost

11 Jul

dear friends: i had to delete the previous version of this post because something happened and it did not upload properly.


i have been on a bit of a blog hiatus. so here i am, attempting to squish two months into one post. do not be fooled: i have been keeping up with my challenges and am really excited to tell you about what i am doing for july!

may brought about some fun experiments. not only did i stop shampooing my hair for 6 weeks, i also made a slew of DIY products! my hair cleaning adventure did not last very long…..have you heard about the shampoo free method? you use 1 tbsp of baking soda to one cup of water for shampoo and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar to one cup of water. i put both concoctions in spray bottles and kept them in the shower. they say that your hair will get use to not being shampooed, but mine totally didn’t. it was greasy. i did have good hair days, but the bad ones made me miss having nice clean hair. i probably won’t do that again!

i also found myself making my own deodorant, powdered laundry detergent, hand soap (fail!), fabric softner, and reusable dryer sheets. Except for the hand soap, I will definitely continue to make and use these!!!

homemade deodorant. i love this stuff!

laundry detergent – very little needed for each load!

ingredients for fabric softener and reusable dryer sheets

my june challenge was a yoga challenge. my brother and i took a class together which was so fun! i also kick started my challenge by going to a yoga retreat with my friend carly. we had a blast! (yoga photo cred goes to i really enjoyed going to the yoga studio a few times a week. i always left feeling so refreshed and energized!

doing crazy yoga moves at the yoga retreat!

and just because i love sharing what i’m doing in my kitchen, here are a few photos of some delicious treats that came out of my kitchen in may:

one of my delicious kitchen creations – subbing quinoa for the conventional rice used in sushi

raw brownie, greek yogurt, sprinkled with carob powder and agave. delicious treat!

on a sidenote….my husband and i celebrated 5 years together on july 1st! i love this man!

on july 1st, my hubby and i celebrated 5 years together!


march challenge

11 Mar

i have been incredibly busy – hence why i am writing this 11 days late!

work has been all over the place because they have me in core training (it is only offered once a year) – which has left me feeling behind at work because i’m not at my schools every day. i am, however, ridiculously excited because on wednesday i leave for QUEBEC for a week! i am going on this field-trip with one of my schools which has been paid for through a program with the YMCA. what an enormous blessing! years ago, i moved to montreal for a couple months to get some “life experience” and it is safe to say that my heart set up residence there. we will be visiting montreal only for the day on friday, but i can’t wait to go “home”! not to mention the fact that i will get to put to use my rusty french. it is all very exciting!

other than work at this trip, i have also been nursing a black eye.

a couple of weekends ago my husband and i went tobogganing and the conditions were less than ideal. we started going down the hill holding on to each other but got separated on the way down. the snow was so deep that i got stuck halfway down, and jared got stuck up the hill from me. when i started standing up to get myself going again, a group of four boys blew through me and took me out from my knees. THEN, my husband came flying down the hill after getting unstuck and smoked my face with his knee. i had the most enormous goose egg on my head. i went to the hospital, and left after they looked at me and determined i didn’t have a concussion. the situation could have been SO much worse than it was. but i have been left trying to hide my hideous bruised face for the last while. it is mostly faded now! just in time for my trip!

last month, i eluded to what my march challenge would be but was totally mean and made you wait. so…here it is:

for over a month now, i have been diligently going to the gym 3 days a week with both my husband and our friends, boe and carly. we meet at the gym at 6:15 am and get sweaty before work. it has been SO fun!

i don’t exactly have the best “working out” track record (ie: i start something and one week later i’m tired because i’ve taken on too much). but working out in the morning has been AMAZING. i also really struggle with mornings, so the fact that i have stuck with this for over a month (and that i haven’t made an excuse ONCE to not go since starting), shows that this is something i can stick to! it is so nice to have a workout partner (carly and i workout while boe and jared do their thing). and it is also INCREDIBLY nice to come home after work and not have to feel guilty about not working out or trying to find TIME after work to get ‘er done.

so, that is my challenge! and so far, so good! what are you doing this month?

February Challenge Revealed!

1 Feb


my first digital drawing - a wrinkly looking apple! YUM!


i can’t believe a new month has already begun! last month flew by and gave me new hope that i am totally capable of doing anything for 30 days.

it’s funny, really, that i came home this evening with zero desire to watch t.v. – but i will admit that the fact that i can turn it on and not feel guilty about cheating is quite liberating. yesterday i smiled, giddily, as i removed, crumpled and threw away my “find something else to do” sign. FREEDOM AT LAST!


i’ll be honest….i’m still not feeling ready to release this next challenge into the world because i’m struggling to figure out how to make it something that i can achieve. i know what i want to do, but my biggest fear is that i will fail miserably. i’ll cut to the chase:


ACHIEVABLE CHALLENGE: i will practice the clean eating principles – eating 5-6 small meals per day, consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and healthy complex carbohydrates and practice eating healthy portion sizes. i will also be conscious of drinking  as much water as possible throughout the day.

SPECIFICS: eating sugary foods and processed crap will be kept to a minimum, but if there is a time when i want to, i will keep my portion very small.  when eating out, i will try to stick to these rules as closely as possible. 

i’m not sure if this is cheating or not, but i already started this challenge on monday (just seemed easier to start my week off eating good food at regular intervals rather than in the middle of the week). so far i’m finding it much easier to do this challenge when i’ve planned ahead. my evenings this week have consisted mostly of making dinner, making my lunch for the next day as well as making my breakfast for the next morning. so there it is, my first major lesson to making sure this challenge is manageable is preparation. i even went out a bought new water bottles to have stationed at both of my schools that i can fill with water and carry around with me, just to make my life easier.

i have already encountered my first challenge with this clean eating goal……my days get so busy and the time literally flies by. how am i going to make sure i don’t forget to have my snack at 10am? today i forgot to have my mid-morning snack until it was 11:30! oops! my thought at first was to set alarms on my phone, but i don’t always have my phone with me and if it goes off it might disturb someone. i also have an interval timer i use for working out that could be easily attached to my pants that would vibrate at whatever interval i set it to. it will just look a little dorky….but i think i’m willing to look dorky to make sure i accomplish this challenge!

my second challenge has been my epic failures at trying to make hard boiled eggs for lunches. i have cooked 7 EGGS over the last week that have not turned out. what a waste! i can’t seem to get it right…they are always undercooked.


what is your february challenge? i hope you’ll join me so you can make the best of february 2012!

january challenge – COMPLETE

30 Jan

if you haven’t been keeping up with my blog this month, here is a simple little synopsis to catch you up:

2012 = 12 months = 12 month-long challenges. if you want the detailed version, check this post.

in january i set out to stop watching mindless television. and i’m happy to report that this challenge was way easier than i had earlier anticipated. if i was getting graded, i would have probably earned an A+, and that, my friends, is about as good as it gets.

january had me taking more photos, knitting, cooking, baking, spending more time with family and housemates, better sleeps………(the list goes on…)

my husband just asked me if i plan to accumulate each month’s challenge into one new habit at a time. as i said in my last post, i really don’t see myself selling my t.v. anytime soon. this challenge has been good in that it has been, well, challenging. that being said, i really miss watching the food network. it is my go to channel. it is inspiring. i learn from watching it. i honestly feel like i have gone to cooking school because i have watched the food network for what, ten years now?

all that being said, i feel like i have found a bit of peace in just doing other things. i am no longer wandering around the house desperately trying to find something to entertain me or occupy my time. i feel like that is such a huge accomplishment for me. the t.v. will no longer be my babysitter. i am able to find something else to do.


for the past week i have been trying to figure what to do for my february challenge. i don’t mind doing random challenges, but i’m actually thinking that it might be nice to have each challenge somehow flow into the next. and now that i’m not watching so much t.v., there are so many possibilities!

i will leave it at that. i will be announcing my february challenge on wednesday, february 1st. will you join me?

january week 1 – check-in

7 Jan

it has officially been one week of no television for me. i have to say that this week was made a lot easier by having the company of my sister-in-law and my niece for the majority of the week. we got some good workouts in and got to spend some quality time together.

tomorrow afternoon i will be photographing some maternity shots for some very close friends of mine, clay and denise – i will post pictures up once they are done.

monday i go back to work and i think this might actually be where the challenge gets a bit tougher for me. after a long day of work, i often like to come home and unwind my brain by watching t.v. so, it will be challenge trying to figure out what to do when i don’t want to do anything.

this week i was able to figure out a way to take photos of my food for this blog and i wanted to share a couple “behind-the-scenes” photos with you because i just think the set-up is hilarious:

this is my husband, jared, helping hold up our sunlight to get some light on the loaded bowl (recipe below). we pulled our black blind all the way down to cover an upside down superstore bin that creates an infinity screen. so funny. we live in a small space (ie: we live in community in a house that currently home to: jared and i, our friends wes and rachel who co-own the house with us and their son, judah, our friend josh, and our transient guests, my brother in law daren, his wife kerri and their daughter, eilir, as well as our friend who is visiting from egypt! full house!!!) – this was a creative way to capture my food while not having to find room for more equipment!

the loaded bowl – serves 12


3 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (or diced fresh vine or roma tomatoes)

1 c fresh chopped cilantro

2 avocados, pitted peeled and diced

fresh lemon juice (to prevent avocado from getting brown)


juice of 4 limes and zest from 1 of them

for the dressing

1/4 c evoo (extra-virgin olive oil)

1/4 c white vinegar

2-3 cloves minced garlic


1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Cover and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add beans tomatoes, and cilantro. Toss to combine.
3. Dice avocado, drizzle with lemon juice, and set aside in fridge.
4. Add all dressing ingredients to a food processor or mini chopper. Pulse until garlic is blended and dressing appears creamy. Set aside in fridge.

5. Fluff quinoa with a fork and add bean mixture. Season with salt and pepper and add lime juice and zest. Toss to combine. Serve in bowls, topped with avocado and drizzled with dressing, dividing evenly.

keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days. note: i added chicken to make this dish a complete meal.

(this recipe is from my favorite magazine – clean eating magazine )

those of you who are journeying with me – how was your first week? have you solidified your january goal? have you found your first week to be difficult? easy?

like a wave of anxiousness…

2 Jan

i didn’t set my alarm last night thinking that i would wake up naturally around 9 or 10. i am a little embarrassed about it, but i REALLY slept in. i won’t even tell you what time i woke up. is it horrible that the first thought that crossed my mind was “oh fewf! less time i need to try to fill today!”?

[as a side note, i work as a success coach and work out of two schools and so i have had the last week off and have this week off from work. my husband, however, doesn’t. he had today off but for the rest of the week, i will be home – alone – with no t.v.]

i have realized that watching t.v. allows me to pass the time without having to think too much. honestly, the television is my friend – and we are really, really good friends. actually – i think it would be more accurate to say that the television is my babysitter. unfortunately, my dear friend and companion has just died. i think i’m mourning.

i was feeling anxiety ridden today as i walked around the house trying to figure out what to do. should i read? should i bake? should i work out? should i…..

then i was kindly reminded by my husband that we needed groceries. ok – something to do. grocery shopping – check. a couple more hours of time filler.

i was also reminded that we had a dinner date with some artsy friends. an evening of company [ with real life people! ], delicious food, good conversation and working on our art projects.

the rest of this week will be quite the exercise in trying to figure out how to be content with spending some good quality time with me.

i also want to thank everyone for your support and kind words to my last blog! there are a few handfuls of people who will be journeying along with me and i can honestly say that it makes me feel so awesome that i’m not the only person who is going to struggle, grow, and learn to appreciate life in the coming year! feel free to post your progress/struggles/milestones in the comments!