My Friday Favorites 06.17.16

Happy Friday! Here are all the things I’m loving this week!

On TV –  The new season of America’s Got Talent is underway. I have never watched this show before, but was intrigued to tune in after seeing many stories and social media posts about the 12 year old ukulele playing girl that got the Willy Wonka golden ticket. I caught up with the episodes on demand and watched episode three in real time. The golden buzzer has been rung in each episode, first by Mel B, next by Howie, and this week, by Heidi. Scenes for next week show Simon reaching for it …

America's Got Talent - Season 11

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — “Auditions Pasadena Civic Auditorium” — Pictured: Sal Valentinetti — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

TV side note-  Orange is the New Black Season 4 is available today on Netflix!

On the Page – The July’s Good Housekeeping is the “Steals and Deals” issue. Filled with the inside scoop on the best sales, home decor steals, travel tips, and barbecue recipes it’s the perfect magazine to throw in your pool / beach bag and read cover to cover. 

good housekeeping july

On Instagram – I love all the different home decor Instagram contests. This week,  I participated in #justanothermantelmonday .  The winner was also my favorite pic posted! Clocks! Sunflowers! Glass Vases! Vintage books! Shiplap wall! Check out  I Dream of Homemaking for more gorgeous pics like the winner below. 

instagram

In the Kitchen – I found this recipe and blog through Instagram, too. Check out @foodbymaria for gorgeous pictures of healthy food! Don’t just push the like heart – click through to her blog for amazing recipes like this Lentil and Quinoa Salad that caught my eye. I’m very excited that summer salad season is upon us. Can’t wait to try this one!

lentil3

Wishing you all a great weekend. It is the last day of school for me so I am very excited to start summer vacation! Happy, happy Father’s Day out there to all the men celebrating especially my dad, Bob, and my wonderful husband, Larry!

What are you loving this week? Leave me a comment and let me know. Thanks for reading.

My Friday Favorites 02.12.16

Friday Favorites gingham
Here are all the things I am loving this week!

On TV – TGIT is finally back! The winter break finale of Scandal seemed to land us right back to the beginning of the whole story. Many think this show is not as good as when it started. The story line has been up and down, but lately I think the show is at the top of its game. Ever since Shonda Rhimes publicly admitted she knows exactly how and when Scandal will end, I watch every episode through that lens. How is this episode a move on the chessboard to get Olivia and company to the end of their story? The shot from the finale in November with Olivia in the oval standing on the seal, I believe, was the most obvious hint so far. Olivia in the oval – and not as some sidekick First Lady. This week’s episode furthered this theory for me and added a twist. Will it be a Grant / Pope ticket? And I am not talking about Fitz here. And if it is – whose name is first? Did anyone else catch Jake say to the President TWICE while visiting him on The White House balcony – he needs to get a view like that?  Oh poor, one-dimensional Fitz telling him there was only one way to get that view. (I bet Bill Clinton never thought that…)  I think Jake knows better and wouldn’t mind being called the First Man, especially now with his other full time gig of head of the NSA.

Featured-image-Ride-Sally-RideOn the Page –  I have been very dedicated to meal prepping for the week on Sundays for a little over a year now. The benefits include eating healthier and saving time during the week. It feels great to have big check on your to-do list before your Monday morning alarm even goes off.  Real Simple’s January 2016 has a great article, Sunday Prep School, complete with tips and step by step directions minimize your time in the kitchen to maximize your time at the table with your family. The article isn’t online yet, but here is one with some more suggestions: 10 Ways to Speed Up Dinner Prep Times

real simple_sunday meal prep 1

On the Web –This one was laugh out loud funny. This is a perfect guide for Valentine’s Day gift giving for couples who might not have romance on the agenda for the weekend. 10 Realistic Dos and Don’ts For Couples with Young Kids  You can read more hilarious posts like this one on the author, Brooke Arellano’s blog Crazy Mama Drama 

n-KIDS-VALENTINES-DAY-628x314

On InstagramI love searching the hashtag #colorcoded because I find the best pictures and people! This week I came across- Done & Done Home Decor with this fabulously color-coded, organized, red craft supplies photo – if this didn’t get picked as one of my Friday Favs then seriously, what would? Also their motto is – We organize your life. Sign.Me.Up.

done and done home

Have a great weekend and Valentine’s Day. May you not have to clean up anything in your bed after your kids serve you breakfast with love. Leave me a comment and let me know what your Friday Favorites are. Thanks for reading.

New Year’s Resolutions – 6 Month Check-In

april-9531

I can’t believe it, but it is already July. Time for my six month check-in on my New Year’s resolutions (or maybe more appropriately called – The Months When It All Fell Apart!) Click over first to my 4 month check-in and my 2 month check-in so you are all caught up.

Are you back?  Ok – let’s see how I’m doing. I am all for being accountable – so even though these were not the best months for sticking to my resolutions – I am still writing this post.

BE HEALTHY

Weight Watchers Update: I’m still on the WW program, currently in week 27. I switched from the weight loss program to the maintain program after losing a total of 22 pounds. (Full disclosure: I did gain 1 pound one week.) I continued to meal prep every Sunday throughout the school year. Now I have more time to cook each day. I am still eating a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and chicken. But, I am eating more ice cream and drinking more wine! I’m trying to remember my portions and not to over indulge when allowing for a treat.

unnamed

Coffee Update: This one has really gone down hill for me!  At the end of the school year I was buying a second cup of coffee a few times a week. I am still brewing a pot at home each morning, but pretty regularly, I pour more than one cup. Here I am enjoying a second cup while reading Amy Poehler’s hilarious “Yes, Please.”

MyCCL_readingwithcoffee

Exercise:  Do you really even need to ask?? I’m still not exercising. Insert sad emoji face here.

Once a teacher, always a teacher, so I will grade myself.

For my first resolution of BE HEALTHY, I am giving myself a:
C

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS

Date Night Updates: My husband and I have not gone on any more date nights since my last update. We are hoping to plan a few this summer!  

Quality Family Time Updates:  We are still eating as a family at dinner time and now that Olivia and I are done school, at lunch time, too. Warmer weather always allows for more together time outside and we have been taking advantage of that to the fullest.  

“Me” Time Updates: I am sleeping in a little more now (No need to get up at 4:30am when I don’t need to go to work!) I am still getting up 45 minutes of “me” time at some point throughout the day, whether in the evenings or when Olivia goes to camp in the morning.  

MyCCL_to-do

Remember the big stack of books from the 2 month check-in?  I have started three different books from my list and have not finished any of them!  BUT, since starting “the life changing magic of tidying up,” I have gotten rid of 8 bags of trash, 10 donations bags and an additional 6 bags to go to my school in the fall!!

unnamed-1

“My Life, Unplugged” Update:  This one is a draw for the past two months. In May, I was constantly on my laptop, finishing grades, transferring all my data off my work computer before I had to turn it in for the summer, and all of the million end of the year teacher things one needs to do. Once summer started though, I have been totally unplugged. Off the computer, off my phone, and not even that much TV (minus binge watching Orange is the New Black.)  

april-9475

For my second resolution of BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, I am giving myself a:
C+

So, not my strongest showing at a resolution check-in!

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?  How are you doing on the six month check-in? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Next follow up will be on September 1st.  Have a great day and thanks for reading.

New Year’s Resolutions – 4 Month Check-In

april-9531

Tomorrow is May 1 and time for my four month check-in on my New Year’s resolutions. Click over first to my 2 month check-in so you are all caught up!

Are you back?  Ok – let’s see how I’m doing.

BE HEALTHY

Weight Watchers Update: I’m still on the WW program, currently in week 14. Remembering the larger goal: BE HEALTHY, I have been dedicated to meal prepping every Sunday with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and chicken.  I have indulged a little every once in a while – glass of wine, piece of cake, Easter candy. But a treat every once in awhile is OK.  Planning and portion control are the key factors to success.  I have lost 18.6 pounds.

april-

Coffee Update: For the most part, I am still only having one cup a day. Cheat days have been St. Patrick’s Day (my extra coffee was an Irish one!) Parent Teacher Conferences (I needed a little pick me up to get through the evening,) and Spring Break week (lots of dining out so I chose decaf coffees over desserts.) I am still brewing at home everyday, but I have bought two Dunkin Donuts and 1 Starbucks (consolation prize at Target for not getting any Lilly Pulitzer.)

Exercise: I’m still not exercising. Insert sad emoji face here.

In true teacher fashion, I will grade myself.

For my first resolution of BE HEALTHY, I am giving myself a:
B-

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS

Date Night Updates: My husband and I have had two more date nights since March 1 for a total of 5 so far this year. 

Quality Family Time Updates: As a family we have been excellent about sitting down together at dinner (meal prep helps that.) My husband has been working a lot these past two months, giving my daughter and I a lot of time just the two of us. She helps me around the house with cooking, tidying up and decorating. She loves crossing things off the list when we are shopping and using my cell phone calculator to add up how much money we are spending. We also took our first family outing to a movie – Cinderella.  

“Me” Time Updates: I am still getting up 45 minutes earlier everyday and spending time just on myself in the mornings.  This “me” time has made my days more productive and less stressful.  Click here to read more about my Morning Routine.  

april-9536

Remember the big stack of books from the 2 month check-in?  Well, I can cross these two off the list.

april-9516

“My Life, Unplugged” Update:  At the two month check-in, I put this one on the lose column.  Now I think I am doing better.  No more phone at the table to Weight Watcher point out my meals, I do that all during meal prep time. I have not been bringing my iPad to bed.  I’m being more present in the moment of things, not worrying about snapping a picture of it or posting it online, but rather truly experiencing whatever I am doing while it is happening.  

april-9475

For my second resolution of BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, I am giving myself a:
A-

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?  How are you doing on the four month check-in? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Next follow up will be on July 1st.  Have a great day and thanks for reading.

New Year’s Resolutions – 2 month check-in

NY Resolutions

Today is March 1 and a great time to check in on my New Year’s resolutions. In all honesty, I’m not one who usually makes resolutions.  When I started thinking about it at the end of last year, I began writing A LOT of things down. When I looked at my crazy list, I laughed and thought, well this could be a recipe for disaster! No need to set myself up to fail. I started to look for trends to see if maybe I could identify bigger categories to focus on.

Here is what I came up with:

BE HEALTHY – this came from

  • 1 cup of coffee a day that I brew – no spending $$$
  • back on Weight Watchers – lose weight
  • start an exercise routine

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS – this came from

  • more family time
  • more “me” time
  • unplug more

How am I doing?

I have only had one cup of coffee a day, each morning at 5am on weekdays and between 6 – 7am on weekends.  I brew it myself (I set the coffeepot up the night before to automatically brew a half hour before I get up.)  Proof of this is that I still have my coffee shop gift cards I got for Christmas! When I am tempted to pour the second cup, I drink hot water and lemon instead.

 hot water and lemon

I started back on Weight Watcher on Martin Luther King, Day.  It’s too hard the first few weeks of January when holiday leftovers, sweets and other tempting and delicious things are still in the house.   I did the Weight Watchers program once before and was successful in taking off the weight I wanted and kept it off for four years. This time around, I am still counting “Points,” but trying to make healthy choices about what I am eating.  This means not buying processed food (which isn’t healthy, but keeps you in your point range.)  I keep thinking about my larger goal: BE HEALTHY, not the subcategory of lose weight.  The result is more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and in five weeks I have lost 8.8 pounds.

I have yet to start exercising.  I finally had to admit to myself that reading Fitness and Feta does not count as working out.  This has always been the biggest weakness in my life.  I just don’t like exercising and I never can seem to find the time to fit it in.  I do not like gyms and have never figured out a successful “at home” work-out routine.  I loved yoga when I was pregnant, but have always been intimidated to try it post-baby.

In true teacher fashion, I will grade myself.
For my first resolution of BE HEALTHY, I am giving myself a:
B

Next up is BUILD RELATIONSHIPS.

It’s very easy to get into the routine of your day and forget about your loved ones around you. I think it is even easier to forget about yourself.  So far this year my husband and I have gotten a babysitter three times, not because one of us is working, but so we can do something just together.  In the almost four years since our daughter was born (minus our anniversary every year) this was unheard of!  We are also working on “quality” family time.  At home, I am making a bigger effort to do more things with Olivia.  It’s easy to slip into the habit of doing things around the house while she’s playing and keeping herself busy.  These moments do not have to be monumental activities and projects (remember – I am not trying to set myself up for failure!)  Reading a story together, a small craft project, having her help me cook in the kitchen, doing a puzzle, are all small things that add up to great quality time together.

The relationship I have with myself is almost always on the bottom of a long color-coded, category organized to-do list (if it makes the list at all.)  To work on this I have set my alarm 45 minutes earlier everyday.  This gives me time for just me every morning (while I’m enjoying the one cup of coffee I get.)  I read, look at magazines, or sometimes work on this blog. I have a stack of books I want to read (some re-read) this year. It has really made me feel better about starting my day.  At first, I tried to combine it with my “unplugged” resolution, but realized that some of my magazine subscriptions are on my ipad, I like working on blog posts – basically life has technology and it’s hard to work around it!

books to read

That brings us to the last on the list – “My Life, Unplugged.”  This one is probably also in the “lose” column, with only exercise falling below it.  The ways I am trying to remain unplugged are ensuring I have a good work / home life balance.  I do not check work email until I arrive at work each day (unless it is snowing and we may get off!)  I also do not check it all weekend.  My Weight Watcher tracker is on my phone which has caused me to have my phone at the dinner table.  I am trying to “point” out everything before hand so I’m not tempting to be looking things up while preparing or eating our meals.

For my second resolution of BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, I am giving myself a:
B

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?  How are you doing on the two month check-in?  Do we have any of the same resolutions?  Leave me a comment and let me know.  I’ll do another follow up on May 1st.  Have a great day and thanks for reading.