friday favorites

friday, july 23, 2021

I am not anxious for Fridays to come right now! Time slow down! I am linking up again with Andrea, etc. right here.

Here are a few things that were my favorites this week or just things I want to tell you!

I still love my Charlotte Tillbury cream eyeshadow but about a month ago I took a chance on a Burt’s Bees version for less than half the cost. I really like it! It isn’t quite as good, but I would definitely buy the Burt’s Bees again.

I apply with a perfectly sized brush that I think I got in my Ipsy subscription a long time ago.

I have been drinking less alcohol this summer but sometimes I crave a fun drink that isn’t water! I have enjoyed this combo. I use about a half of a Crystal Light lemonade and add this Kroger brand Pineapple Coconut sparkling water. I’m sure you can find this flavor at other stores besides Kroger.

I enjoyed this podcast this week. Have you checked out The Lazy Genius? I feel like if I get one new thought or idea out of something it is worth my time, you know?

I loved the spicy chicken I got at the bbq place on Sunday.

Here is Tom’s pulled pork and beans with pulled pork in it. Sometimes I carry out just part of a meal. Do you ever do that? I added our own corn and potatoes.

Mason and I have been talking about doing breakfast one day for a long time. We finally made it happen this week. My favorite breakfast place is called Wild Eggs, but Mason had never been. I usually go with girlfriends.

Mason ordered a breakfast version of the famous hot brown from our fair city.

I ordered the farmer’s market skillet.

I forgot to tell you all last winter but I have made a decision. I really think the Felina brand black leggings from Costco are my favorite for lounging or wearing with an outfit. I am not the only one that thinks this because I have heard this from others on the internet. They are also available on Amazon but in Costo the two pack is $10 I believe. They were out at Costco a couple of weeks ago so I grabbed a pack.

These have a wide waistband where my original ones (that I have had for probably 7 years) don’t. These might even be better. I tried to get a photo for you.

Anyone else tried this brand?

It had been a long, long time since I had made my chocolate chip cookies (which are really Nestle Tollhouse’s recipe). Tom, Jack, and Mason were quite happy!

I thought this was the best!

I made an excellent buffalo chicken dip this week! It is actually one WW point if you eat all of it which I did.

It would be so good with celery or in a wrap with lettuce and tomato. I only had cucumber and it was great with that, too.

I saw pumpkin stuff out already! As much as I love pumpkins, I am not ready to think about them yet. I try to do apple flavored things in September and leave the pumpkin for late September – early October.

Let’s get serious for a moment – this is not a favorite. As I did my little errands this week I noticed more and more people – customers and employees – wearing masks. Apparently the Delta variant of the virus is crazy contagious and our numbers are up. Are you seeing this, too? I am so worried that this will mean another compromised school year. I cannot teach in a mask and I don’t want my students trying to speak Spanish in a mask.

And, I wonder about our immune systems in regards to other viruses. Will everyone get so sick from being so protected and isolated for so long?

What were your favorites this week?

I hope you had many!

Amy

shop with me – Aldi

thursday, july 22, 2021

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I gave Aldi another chance. I have more time in the summer to do crazy things like shop at multiple grocery stores. I was really impressed with the re-vamp of my nearest store. I love many of the concepts they use! I love that it is German. Tom was born in Germany and I have German ancestry. I have been there 3 times and it’s a great country to visit. If you don’t have an Aldi, maybe you have a Lidl? I have heard these are becoming more commonplace here in the U.S. Also, Trader Joe’s is related and many of the products might remind you of theirs.

Let’s get started…

First, you have to have a quarter. The quarter gets inserted into the cart to release it from the chain of carts. I have seen Aldi devotees that have a quarter in a pouch that stays on their keychain. Apparently this is the first aspect of shopping here that saves us, the consumers, money.

The produce comes first.

3 beautiful looking zucchini for 99 cents. That is a good price. I love to go to farmer’s markets and support farmers, but dang, they charge a lot. Do you feel the same?

They do name name brands, but there is not much selection. I have one kid who loves Cheezits but not the “extra toasty” variety. Here are some other examples of name brands:

Some of the prices are good and some a more expensive than the on sale prices at my Kroger. I also live in an area where the cost of living is fairly cheap.

You see lots of the Aldi Clancy’s brand. They make the packaging look very much like the big national brands.

Wheat Thins are Thin Wheats – haha! Doesn’t it look just like the big name brand box? I have not tried all of these to compare.

They have a great cheese selection. I bought this Havarti again because it was delish. $3.00 for a block of a good cheese is pretty good. I went with the blue label because I knew we loved it but I was really curious to try the jalapeño.

I found these wraps that are zero WW points. There is regular and everything but the bagel flavor. I really like them.

Here I used one as a bun for my turkey dog.

Here I used one as a bun for my Trader Joe’s Quinoa Cowboy veggie burger.

This is a decent price on the fresh mozz I use on my pizzas. These are also great with grape tomatoes and balsamic glaze.

I like the jarred salsa for my Mexican Lasagna and some dips I make. This is a great price on a giant jar. See how the stuff is shelved? Another money saving measure is that they don’t remove the items from the boxes and do the neat or not so neat shelf stocking as they do in regular supermarkets. Smart, I think!

My cart was starting to get full…

You also have to either bring your own bags or buy the bags at the check out. I bought 3 paper bags for this trip at 8 cents each. They are very cheap and I don’t mind this because it is standard in Europe and I think it’s smart. This is another way they save money. They don’t bag for you which is another cost-cutting measure.

I spent $70 and got quite a bit. I think the price would have been at least $100 at Kroger.

I bought Keto one point buns for me and mini whole wheat pitas for me. I plan to make homemade pita chips using olive oil Pam and some salt.

The boys have been enjoying bagels for breakfast and they report that these brioche bagels are really good. They love mini muffins so I buy those for quick breakfasts. Jack leaves the house at 8:15 and is gone until 5:00 now for his Shakespeare project. He spends four weeks getting ready and then will spend the fifth week performing in our Central Park.

This is the produce I got.

During the pandemic I started making food for Ernie to supplement his dog food. He now gets cooked chicken, green beans, and carrots on top of his food. He is spoiled. So, these cans were great for that. I got a can of potatoes for a recipe and broth for soup. And, here is the salsa.

For snack items, I got these. Our friend told us the cookies taste just like Girl Scout Tagalongs. Why did I buy these? I put them in the freezer and only tried one but it was yummy!

The chicken was about the same as Kroger.

Below the chicken is an example of the German influence. My family liked these when we went to Germany so I bought them.

And, these are the sandwich and charcuterie items I bought, along with some butter for under $3 for baking. There is spreadable cream cheese under the butter. Don’t judge the cheap-o packs of beef. Jack loves the 80s appetizer my mom made where you spread cream cheese, roll up, and cut into 3 logs.

By the way, I took these photos on the long counter they have after checkout for you to bag your own purchases with the bags you either bought or brought. The cashier scans your items and puts them back into your cart. Also, the cashiers are seated, not standing, and are known for being super speedy and efficient. And, there is no small talk. It is quite German in the sense of no nonsense and efficiency. I like this because there are some cashiers in my Kroger that I avoid when I shop in store. They are slow, talk too much, and want to ask me about what I’m buying. Sometimes I’m in the mood for that, but sometimes I just want to get out.

Funny side story: I love going into grocery stores in other countries because I feel like it’s such a great way to learn the culture and not just be a tourist. During my semester abroad in Spain, my roommate and I would go to the grocery weekly to get our snacks. In Germany in 2016 I got in trouble by the cashier in a grocery for not being ready with my purchases on the belt quick enough. It felt like a “Soup Nazi” moment.

A better look at the cookies:

They may even be better than a Tagalong. And they don’t cost $5 a box!

So, I am trying to only do Aldi this week along with what I have in the freezer. My freezer is really full and I need to shop there!

Any recommendations? Are you an Aldi shopper? If you have a Lidl, how much resemblance is there?

Also, I heard that many young adults and college students shop at Aldi. My niece is one of them. I love that the younger generation is learning to be frugal and smart with their money.

I am sure there are much more informative posts about Aldi out there, but I hope you enjoyed this!

Amy

what I wore Wednesday

wednesday, july 21, 2021

Linking up today with The Style Six here so check out some posts!

Here is what I’ve been wearing over the last week…

I have a new place to take my photos. Mason has been super accommodating about being my blog photographer. I so appreciate it. I haven’t used my tripod in quite awhile.

Here is what I wore to anniversary dinner…

Chico’s silky top, palazzo pants in petite from Steinmart (now gone from my city – boo!), consignment gold clutch, and Coconuts by Matisse woven wedges. I think a black wedge would have been better here?

This was a running errands outfit. Gold Birks (now nicely broken in), denim Target Universal Thread cut offs, new blouse from TJ Maxx.

Yes, I did get another new blouse from TJ Maxx. You see, my cell phone company let me pick a $3 gift card from a variety of stores and I picked TJ. What’s a girl to do? I got this for $15.

I had an Apple watch but then it was not fastened and slipped off my wrist and cracked on my driveway. I haven’t been able to figure out how to fix it. I have asked a few shops. So, I thought I would like an old fashioned watch. Ok, you got me, Billie from Sex/Life wears a super basic classic watch with a leather band.

I perused Amazon and found this for under $20 and it is Nine West.

I wore this Saturday to the Paristown Flea outdoor market. My other denim Target Universal Thread, new TJ blouse from last weekend, and Gold Birks.

Look what Mason sent me while I was on an errand. It should read, “I’m gonna miss taking outfit pics for you when school starts up again”.

Not sure if this is true but so sweet!

This is what I wore to the outlet mall. I think the flowy top needs a more fitted bottom.

And, I wanted to report back about my ON Cloud shoes. I love them. I love that you slip them on and there are no laces. I may need to tighten them at some point but I’m not sure how. If you have narrow feet, you may not like the slip on feature.

I thought it might be helpful to show you what I ordered and returned like this. It feels too fancy for a coverup and I really don’t need more. If I had a Mexican resort vacation or something it is really elegant but not coverup material. I think shorter looks better on me due to my height.

I ordered this and I’m so pleased with the quality but ultimately I decided to return it because of fit on me. I do recommend it to others, though!

And, I am in love. This looks like a boutique dress. I love the pattern so much.

The sleeves are cute!

So, let’s call these August back to school purchaes, mkay? See what happens when I try to do a shopping ban?

If you look at the above dress on Amazon, the listing has all different styles of dresses. Why does Amazon do that? It’s so weird!

I still do not have the privilege of shopping the NSale, but if these are still available, this is a great price. I had them and lost one. I wore them all the time. They are so fun.

What have you been wearing lately? What have you been buying lately?

Amy

food diary

tuesday, july 20, 2021

I thought today I would take you through an entire day of my stomach. That sounds very science class documentary, no? I am going to show you in photos what I ate last Monday. I also will show you a few products I have been buying and enjoy.

I always start my day with two cups of coffee that end up being 1.5 cups because I throw it out when it gets cold. I gave up my beloved Dunkin Donuts Extra Creamy creamer because it was 4 ww points. I only get 16 points on WW Purple, so…nope.

I ditched sugar or any type of sweetener in my coffee several years ago but I am not woman enough to take it black. I wish I could. I discovered these mini moos and really like them. I use one per cup of coffee. If I just have one mini moo it is zero points but if I have two mini moos it is one point. I like saying “mini moo”.

One or two mornings a week I make a veggie mixture. I use olive oil Pam, salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning and combine mushrooms, zucchini, and onion. I don’t really like green, red or yellow peppers but those would be good, too.

Then, for breakfast I have been making a veggie scramble most days. I sometimes will add some potato – I like to chop up a leftover baked potato. I sometimes add a tiny bit of shredded cheese but I don’t really miss it when I don’t add it.
The cheese makes this breakfast one point.

This keeps me full until lunch time.

Around 11 I have a bit of instant coffee powder mixed with water and a half of a Premier Protein. If I don’t have it around this time I will have it for an afternoon snack around 3-4. I like to get in the 15 grams of protein from this shake. It is one point for half.

For lunch I had already cooked grilled chicken from Costco (will not buy it again – no bueno) with buffalo sauce and a homemade ranch I did from non-fat, plain Greek yogurt and some ranch seasoning. This was one point.

And, here is where I splurged with my homemade skinny biz pizza dough pizza. This was 6 points.

Dinner was a baked potato with spray butter, asparagus, corn, and a turkey dog wrapped in an egg wrap. This was four points.

My after dinner snack was this popcorn for two points, a light string cheese for one point, and a dum dum for one point. I went over by a bit, but I used some of my weekly extra points this way and I walked and got 3 activity points.

You will notice that I didn’t have any fruit on this day! I love my veggies but find it harder to make myself eat fruit. I know many might be the opposite!

Any suggestions? What meal would be your favorite?

Amy

hello monday

monday, july 19, 2021

How was your weekend? Mine was good! I am linking up here with Heather, Tanya, and more!

Let’s go back to Thursday night – our 21st anniversary! Thank you all for the kind wishes for a happy anniversary! Some years we don’t go out but this year I knew we wanted to try a new restaurant in town so I made us the only reservation I could get – 5:00, baby! Early bird special works for us. I met Tom on his way home from work and it was perfect.

It is a steakhouse; they started us off with a fresh baguette and a yummy butter.

I asked for a glass of La Marca prosecco and got this cute little bottle! I am a sucker for anything cute. But, I love La Marca. My SIL got me on this kick, I think.

I ordered grouper on a bed of zucchini noodles in a saffron broth. It was good!

Tom ordered a small filet with fried crab rangoon sushi and mashed potatoes. They also gave us a bottomless salad. I tried one piece of the sushi and it was delish!

It was really good and we took home a bunch of food and enjoyed it again the next night.

Tom semi-humored me for a photo. That’s how he feels about me asking the server for a photo and not how he feels about 21 years of marriage.

Friday a big thing happened – I found the unicorn at my Kroger! Do you like Reese’s Cups? I think this tasted like a melted one – but cold.

Also, Friday Mason and I started watching Big Brother. It’s our tradiiton of a few years. We tape them and were late to start but we finally watched episode one over lunch on Friday. It’s fun to watch together.

Friday night I made fried rice, egg rolls, and the leftovers from Thursday night. I made egg roll in a bowl for me.

Saturday morning I headed to the Paristown Flea. This was my second time to go and I was meeting Elizabeth, my friend who is 29. We also included a guy who is 27 who just moved here. He is a friend of my friend and she reached out when she found out he was moving here. I have been giving him information on places to go in town but I hadn’t met him in person yet.

Why are they so tall?

Elizabeth had a bloody mary and I had a mimosa and our new friend had an Ale 8 – Tom’s favorite drink and a Kentucky soft drink. He loved it.

We talked for quite a while at a table, walked around and shopped, then went to one of three food trucks. Elizabeth and I split this amazing pretzel with gouda beer cheese (and that was the majority of my food for the day!) and

Hooks (our new friend) had a gourmet hot dog.

It got really hot as we were leaving. I went home and cooled off then Tom had been wanting to go to the outlet mall to go to Columbia, Under Armour, and North Face. You may be surprised, but I am not a fan of outlet shopping. It’s a scam! Just kidding, but I just don’t think it’s that great. I will say that I was surprised by the decent end of season prices but I didn’t get anything. It was really crowded in many of the stores and I hate that.

Loft had some good things but nothing I had to have. Tom got some good deals at Under Armour.

He and I were on our own for dinner so we just visited the Chick Fil A drive through where I got 12 grilled nuggets. We went home and watched some tv.

Sunday I drank my coffee outside. I haven’t done this much lately because July and August are the devil’s armpit in Kentucky. I am in a reading rut. But, I started something promising yesterday morning. I will tell you if I can stick with it.

Then I went to Aldi for some staples and also for a blog post. I was a hater for awhile but my local store has improved. If you have an Aldi or a Lidl I think you can save some money. I will post about it Thursday, I think.

Then, for the first time since 4th of July, we made it out on the boat. I invited our besties but they were busy. I swear that I have seen less of my friends this summer than last. Do you feel that way, too?

But, something cool happened that might not have if I were entertaining on my boat.

See the boat below… that was as we were both leaving, but I looked over when we were anchored in the cove and told Tom I thought the woman was my friend from college. I had reconnected with her on Facebook and she also teaches high school at a school in my district. We had plans to do lunch some time this summer. I yelled, “is your name Shannon?”, because what did I have to lose? And, it was her! We both got on floaties along with our husbands and met between our boats. We talked for almost 2 hours. I didn’t even know they had a boat. I am so happy I took a chance and hollered at her. Ha!

This is the dumbest thing. This BBQ place is right by our boat launch and I have never stopped in! What is wrong with me?

So, I decided to do it after boating and came home with some delicious pulled pork for Tom and spicy smoked chicken for me. Look at me taking these risks on a Sunday! Just kidding, of course.

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Let me know in the comments!

Amy

friday favorites

Friday, July 16, 2021

The weeks need to slow down! I have a professional development coming up at the end of the month and then I think my brain will be in “school mode”! But, I will still have a couple of weeks to eek what I can out of the rest of the summer!

I’ve hit that point of summer where I’m thinking I have to make sure I have done everything I planned to do, you know? And some of those plans include a day to stay in pjs and binge watch Netflix! Believe it or not, I have not had many lazy days!

I am linking up today with Andrea and many more here.

Here are my favorites from the week! I would love to hear yours in the comments, too!

I haven’t bought much in the way of beauty products this summer. I am trying to use up what I have and I am happy with what I have. I should do an updated beauty product post just in case you are looking for the best bang for your buck like me!

My dear hairstylist and friend recommended this eye cream and it’s magical. Some days I have deep craters below my eyes. This tightens instantly and it really is amazing. I got it from Amazon. I have been using this without a concealer, believe it or not.

I am watching Virgin River Season 3 and enjoying it. Yes, it’s very Hallmarky but summer is the time for that. I just finished Sex/Life (OMG – it’s very R!) and it was just a good summer show, too. I can’t really get into The Bachelorette. I tape it and skim but it doesn’t hold my interest. I am in a bit of a reading rut again. I have a few library books but I’m not really excited about any of them.

My hydrangeas are still going strong. I show you this because look what I found…

This must have been right when we planted/transplanted it from my childhood home!

So, that is why 17 years later it is doing so well! Moms, if you are looking for an activity, let your kids water the plants. I also found that kitchen utensils in a baby pool or a bathtub were tons of fun! You can see Mason using the measuring cup to water!

I had a goal this summer to try some new local coffee shops or go to them and sit and read. But, I have not wanted to drink my calories and just haven’t bought much coffee shop coffee. Mason and I had an opportunity to try a new one the other day, though, and it is super cute. I got a small Americano with one splenda. I really like it. An Americano is espresso with hot water so there is no cream but it’s surprisingly good!

They have a super cute interior and a cute patio.

Do you all have something like this? I bought it from a craft fair and it has little beans or something in it. You microwave for 45 seconds and put it on your head for a headache or on your abdomen for cramps or wherever. I used it this week for cramps and it really helps. This might be good for teen girls. They do have them on Amazon and I think they are considered heating pads.

O.k., I am so excited about this favorite. I did tell you about it last week but I have more to report. I bought a $5 LED light for gel polish. Seriously, it was only $5 on Amazon.

I received the base and top coat which are totally necessary. They make a huge difference.

This is the collection I got last week.

I went through the whole process correctly: one base coat, cure under lamp, one coat of color and cure under lamp, a second coat of color and cure under lamp, a top coat and cure under lamp. It sounds like a lot but I had a show playing on my ipad and it took way less time than going to the salon. And, they were dry instantly!

It’s not perfect, but I think I will get better. I am going on four days with no chips. I like to change my colors frequently anyway, so I am fine with only a week or so. I hope the removal process won’t be bad.

Anyone else try gel at home?

One day this week I cut some of the above hydrangeas for my friend Beth because we were meeting for lunch. Beth is the plant lady I want to be so I knew she would appreciate them.

We went to Cafe Classico which was the Argentinian place I went a few weeks ago. I got a salad and

lentil soup. I love lentils and had them a lot in Spain.

And, we had to split the pommes frites.

We also had a nice glass of Argentinian white wine. It feels so decadent to have wine with lunch.

My family really likes this queso from Costco. I have refrained except for a tiny taste. I put it on quesadillas and burrito bowls this week, too. It very much tastes like restaurant queso and you do need to put it in a bowl and heat it up in the microwave.

If you have not tried the Truly Punch it is time! The lady loading my groceries at Kroger said they can’t keep it in stock.

I am very much still a paper planner person. My current one runs out at the end of the month so I was in search of another July – July layout. I went to Michael’s in search of the skinny Happy Planner, but they didn’t have it. I found this cute plant design instead. It is pretty small but I switched over to it and I’m liking it so far. It will fit nicely in my purse or school tote.

I write everything down and cross things off after accomplishing them. I know phone calendars work for many but I still like paper.

We have the option to do online professional development or in person PD. We need 12 hours a year on our own – so basically two days worth. This is a recent change as we did have to do 3 days on our own. I decided to attend two full day in person sessions because I just can’t stomach anymore online stuff. I have a colleague who is doing an hour here and three hours there, but sometimes I believe it’s just easier to bite the bullet and get ‘er done. What do you think?

We also have two days before the students come back on August 11. So, we go in to our building for meetings on August 9. Before that, we have to set up our classrooms and get a day’s pay to do so. Mason has said he wants to help. He has helped a lot in the past. I spend a lot of time at home working on lesson plans, handouts, and stuff like that. Why am I talking about this? Anyway, at the beginning of August my mind will go to school mode.

So what were your favorites this week? Of course, you all are always my favorites. Thank you for your kind responses to this week’s posts. If you missed them, click here for hello monday, here for my news about what I’ve been eating, here for What I Wore Wednesday, and finally, here for my anniversary/honeymoon pictures.

Amy

PS – I don’t have cool tabs or anything fancy on my blog, but I do have a magnifying glass/search feature at the top right of my blog if you want to type in something you are looking for. If there is something you can’t find, let me know in the comments.

PSS – Fellow bloggers, advice on organizing my blog? Also, WordPress says they are charging me $300 (up from $60) for the year next month. I think it has to do with storage. Any advice on that?

21st Anniversary!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

It’s hard to believe that we have been married for 21 years today!

I feel like every year I talk about our wedding and put this photo – one of my favorites – on the blog:

This year I thought I would dig out the honeymoon photos! This required taking photos of photos so the quality won’t be that great. Our honeymoon was in the era of “take your film to Walgreen’s and wait 7-10 days for it to be developed into prints”.

We went to Aruba! I think we had to be at the airport at 3:00 a.m. after our wedding reception!

Dinner on the beach:

I remember really liking all of my honeymoon wardrobe. Tom still owns most of his clothes he wore! I don’t own a stitch anymore!

Dinner at a romantic outdoor place that had the trees all covered in lights:

The food in Aruba was really good. We did not do all inclusive because we wanted to be free to go wherever.

On this day we sea kayaked and snorkeled. We snorkeled at least three times during the week. We are not big on just laying on the beach!

We had a disposable underwater camera.

We went on a “pirate ship” and snorkeled around a shipwreck.

Tom did a flip off the boat; he was invited to do so, he didn’t just do it!

We rented a “Jeep” one day and saw all of the 60 square mile island. I remember we thought this purple rental was funny.

We saw lots of cool things while exploring. It is very windy in Aruba; there are even trees bent from the wind.

Tom used to get so tan.

Is that Fabio? Michael Bolton? Matthew McConnaughey? It’s my new husband!

This was a famous bar so we had to check it out.

I remember being excited to return home and just be married! And, a year and a half later we would find out we were having twins!

We have a dinner reservation tonight! Hopefully Tom will gaze into my eyes and profess how much more he loves me today than he did 21 years ago.

How long have you been married? Where did you go on your honeymoon? I love hearing others’ stories!

Amy

what I wore wednesday

wednesday, july 14, 2021

Hello all and thank you so much for your support and kind words in regards to my post yesterday. I continued to second guess myself after I scheduled it to post. But, from the comments you all left I am now happy that I put it out there in the blogosphere.

I am linking up today with The Style Six here!

Let’s just pretend I never mentioned taking a shopping break in July, o.k.? The way I shop, though, I think you have to strike while the iron is hot, you know? (Do you all use that expression? Maybe I shouldn’t use it? What even is the history with that?) I have my little boutique and my consignment shops that I pop into and I have a running list of holes to fill in my closet. Also, I did a nice purge of things I wasn’t wearing – so I felt I was hyper aware of what I should be wearing and what things I “needed” to add.

I added this velour/velvet Old Navy top for $8. I have the burgundy and the mustard from a few years ago. I like to have a short sleeved winter/festive option because homegirl gets hot sometimes, you know? I am the homegirl to whom I am referring. Is three of one shirt too many? Maybe? I just imagined this looking chic with some black pants and black heels. I love the look of navy and black when done intentionally. We won’t talk about the time I was a student teacher and wore identical navy and black pumps – one on the left foot and one on the right foot.

And, this Chico’s kimono was $18 – kinda pricey for consignment – but I know that the original price was probably steep. I love the navy/white tie-dye/ikat look and thought this would look great with white jeans. I often size down in kimonos because more billowy isn’t always a good look on me. When you have a larger chest you can look bigger with oversized items. I did purge about 10 kimonos and many of them were too big.

A closer look at the design:

If you are local, those were both from Clothes Mentor. I feel that their quality is down and their prices are up but I still do find things every once in a while and I try to go in once every couple of weeks. It is super organized – by size and color – and it is right next to my favorite Target so it’s convenient.

Then, if you read my hello monday you know that I popped in to TJ Maxx on Saturday specifically looking for something to wear to dinner that night. When I was in my early 20s my friends and I did that almost every Saturday – we would shop for something to wear that night! I feel that I have teacher blouses but not necessarily going out blouses. You could still argue that this is more of a teacher blouse, but I loved it.

And, I found this blouse which I would not say is a going out blouse, but I loved the simple greenery design and the material. I have to have comfortable material or I won’t buy it!

And, the true test for me of a good purchase is if I wear an item right away. I wore the red on Saturday night below.

I wore it with white jeans that I cut off myself from Old Navy and my beloved MIA clog sandals.

Then, on Sunday, I wore the white blouse to eat lunch at a Mexican restaurant with friends. I paired it with my Target cut offs and my lace up sandals and an old consignment clutch.

I also tried the front tuck both on Saturday night and Sunday and found it to be flattering. I have not thought I could do it.

Finally, I wore the cut offs again to run errands on Monday with an old Old Navy black top and my black patent Birkenstocks. Nothing exciting but you have an instant outfit when you pair cut offs with a top, right?

What have you been wearing? Are you going to shame me for my purchases? Ha!

At this moment, I am not planning to shop the Nordstrom sale and I am already tired of hearing about it. I am going to eat some words, though. I do think the Spanx faux leather leggings are great. I talked last year about the Target Wild Fable and the Aerie crackles in comparison to them. I think the material of the Spanx is pretty magical but last winter the waistband was rolling down on me and uncomfortable. I am hoping that they will be comfortable this year with a few pounds off. With that said, if you think you will wear faux leather or had a starter pair like I did to see how much you wore them, I think they could be a good purchase of the NSale. I hope that makes sense! I think a big ticket item like a leather jacket or a purse could be a good thing to buy, too. Remember you can always return it if it isn’t perfect. I will let you know if I do buy something.

As always, thanks for stopping by. You make this a really fun hobby!

Amy

Eating Lately

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

My most frequent summer breakfast – sauteed veggies topped with egg

This is a very personal post, and it has been in my drafts folder for quite a while. On April 8th, I started cleaning up my diet. I wanted to wait awhile until I shared it with you. It’s not you – it’s me. I was scared to put this out here because I don’t want to fail and become a hypocrite.

Also, I want to make this a permanent lifestyle change with more balance and I don’t want to consider this being on a diet with an end date! You may remember I started WW in March 2019 and did really well for a couple of months and then summer came and I got lazy and didn’t want to have to worry about it. Now I am pretty mad at myself because I had already started, you know?

Ultimately, I decided to finally share this post because it may help someone else. And, it may help me to put this out there and get more ideas from you!

You might be scratching your head thinking, “I just saw her happy hour or restaurant foods” – yes, you did! I am still making room for those in my weekly plan! Again, this is a lifestyle change and I want to sustain it and not hate my life while doing it!

My main goal is to be healthier and that can be partially achieved by getting down to a better weight. I never really struggled with weight until after I had my twins and I did really well until about age 34. I had them at 30 and then I picked up running again (I ran from age 24-34) to lose the baby weight, but then life happened and I got busy and had lots of excuses. I also had some neck issues and a chiropractor suggested it was from running and said I should stop. I’ve spent the last 15 years accumulating “baggage”. In addition, I was learning to cook and enjoying the fruits of my labor – too much – if you know what I mean. I love and appreciate good food and drink and never want to be fussy about what I can and cannot have, if that makes sense. I think that food and drink are so tied in with a joie d’vivre or love of life.

I feel kinda weird sharing this but below was around age 27 when I was running almost daily. I am wearing white pantyhose?

And, this is such a happy memory. This is from my sister’s wedding which was only two months after mine. We have so many funny stories from Kate’s wedding. Maybe I will share them with her permission some day!

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I gained a bunch of weight while pregnant but two years later and I was back in pretty good shape. Sadly, there are not many pictures of me. Moms, make sure you get in the pictures! These were all pre-smart phone, of course!

On April 8th, I started by using the old WW zero points food list and I tried to mainly eat those foods. The points system is really very easy. The macros thing makes my head swim, but I know that works for many people. And, maybe some day I will learn how to do that and what that means.

Basically, the zero points list encourages you to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and very little processed foods. I love vegetables and eat way more of these than fruits. I think I prefer cooked vegetables to raw. I am not a big fruit person, but I am trying to add more. I do love a banana for a mid morning snack; I also like to talk about how a banana is so filling and comes in its own perfect compartment – lol. I love to have eggs involved in my breakfast and those are zero points. This start date also coincided with me having to go back to school in person. I was able to pack my breakfast and my lunch and that helped a bunch, I think.

I was and have been inspired by bloggers I read namely Joanne and Katie, and my blog reader and friend Kim. Kim has been a great source of recipes. Kellyann is also a big believer in WW and she is an inspiration for maintaining a balanced and happy life while staying healthy. My RL bestie Heather has kept what she learned in WW going for over 20 years. She went to WW in the early 2000s. And, this is the main reason I finally decided to post this – maybe this will help someone else out there who is struggling. The above people have no idea I am mentioning them. Oftentimes you don’t know that you are an inspiration to others!

On May 1, not even a month after I started I was having success and decided to officially join WW. I took the assessment and it told me I should do the purple plan. There are also blue and green plans. I am tracking foods on the app but not attending any meetings. The app has recipes and a ton of information.

Some things I have learned:

I know that I need protein to fill me up! One way to do this is with my iced coffee recipe. I take a packet or scoop of instant coffee powder and add a bit of water and stir up really well, then add half of a Premier Protein shake which is 1 point. I have also found drinking it from a mason jar or wine glass feels fun and decadent at home. When I take it to school or elsewhere I put it in a Starbuck’s reusable cup with lid and straw! This feels like a nice treat to me! My favorite is still vanilla but now I also love peanut butter chocolate and caramel.

Other than that, I would say I am trying to not drink my calories. I do have a cocktail a couple of times a week, but I have really reduced my consumption of alcoholic beverages. I have coffee in the morning and then I just drink water the rest of the day. I rarely have a soft drink or really any other drink. The app also has a place for you to record your water intake.

I needed to look at serving sizes. Kim also recommended a food scale. It is nice to be able to weigh your foods for a more realistic picture of how much you are eating.

A weekend breakfast of an omelette and turkey sausage links:

Like I said, it really helped that I started this when I went back to school in person and packed both breakfast and lunch each day. Almost every school day I took a 100 calorie English muffin with one egg and one slice of fat free American cheese. I prepped these on the weekends. Then, I got into the breakfast burrito kick using a low carb tortilla and including egg, a tiny bit of cheese, a tiny bit of potato, and random vegetables if I had them. I could have also added turkey bacon or turkey sausage.

An example of what I packed for the day:

breakfast sandwich from above, banana for snack, baked potato and avocado toast for lunch, piece of Dove dark chocolate, gummy vitamins, and a brown rice roller if needed.

taco salad for dinner

Below, I made my fried rice with cauliflower rice and my husband’s with regular rice. This is my plate with a bit of the regular rice, too. This turned out great with cauliflower rice!

I love veggie burgers and found this Trader Joe’s to be really good and spicy! I have tried 3 other brands now and the quinoa cowboy is definitely my favorite! I put in in a low carb wrap sometimes with dill pickles and mustard.

Another taco salad with spicy cauliflower and a bit of a ground turkey hash on the side. I have been learning to love ground turkey!

A weekend lunch of avocado toast, turkey, a laughing cow wedge, and celery

non fat Greek yogurt with berries and a bit of granola

I love celery! These three items from Trader Joe’s are great for dipping with celery.

I made meatball subs for the family and I had turkey meatballs on light bun. I am just doing easy variations for me, but still having the same meals. I used Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs for me and regular meatballs from the freezer section for my three guys. I often do small swaps for me but we all eat the same dinner. I think I am making the boys and Tom eat healthier, too!

A simple bean burrito on a low carb tortilla for a school lunch

Egg roll in a bowl with ground turkey and cole slaw mix. You add soy sauce and water and I added a bit of oyster sauce. This is a very low point meal and it’s delicous!

The famous zero point vegetable soup with cabbage. I used v8 juice as my base so it’s more like 2 points. This was my lunch one week. Egg roll in a bowl was my lunch one week and sweet potato lasagna with ground turkey was my lunch one week. You use sweet potato slices as the “noodles”. I need to do that recipe again and make it better. It has potential! My sweet potatoes were not cooked enough – probably because I didn’t slice them thinly enough.

A dinner of open faced veggie burger with melted cheese and pickles, potato chunks with romesco sauce, and brussel sprouts. The fam had regular burgers.

Derby night restaurant meal:

The vegetable platter – it was so good!

I am making better choices in restaurants but I am saving up the extra points you get weekly to use on Saturdays normally.

For dessert, I have been making a mug cake (I shared the recipe a few weeks ago), having a mini muffin (shared the recipe last week), or having one of these. They are so good!

Here is the list I used for the first 3 weeks:

Then, after 3 weeks, like I said, I officially joined. color. You guys, guess what is zero points on purple? The potato! Is there a more perfect food? Now, they don’t mean the potato in greasy french fry form, unfortunately! Lol!

I feel really lucky that I like to cook and find new recipes. That has helped a lot.

Other things that are helping me:

I unfollowed decadent food accounts and started following some WW accounts – people who are on the plan or have like-minded recipes.

I started walking after school with two co-workers during our 8 weeks of in person instruction.

There are no foods I cannot have. That is an important mindset. My dietician friend doesn’t like when people say “bad foods”.

I will absolutely not stop doing fun things! It was eye-opening to realize how much involves food! I mean I did know that, but it is so true! And, I may do a recipe post once a week but I won’t talk about this ad nauseum, I promise!

Now, I guess you want to know how I am doing if you are still here…

I have lost over 20 pounds so far, but the biggest thing is that I FEEL so much better already. I am sleeping better, I have more energy, my clothes are looser, and there are probably more things I am forgetting.

I am still scared. I am still learning what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat. I have a long way to go, but again, I don’t have an end date; I want to treat my body better always.

I would love to hear about your journey or your thoughts on a healthy lifestyle!

Thanks for reading,

Amy

hello monday

Monday, July 12, 2021

It’s time once again to link up with Lindsay, Tanya, and many more here to see what everyone did this weekend.

Friday I went back to the adult pool with my friend Elizabeth and it was so much fun! The time went by so fast and we talked and talked. I need to go alone with my book one day but I also love the company, you know?

Here is the front of the historic home. I think it’s just so picturesque!

Friday night is just easy to do pizza, right? This is kinda weird but I make myself the skinny biz pizza while Tom gets his $1.00 frozen Totino’s and if the boys are home they get a medium Domino’s. Hey – it works for us right now. Tom loves Totino’s supreme and doesn’t love my skinny pizza – but why? It is so delicious! Mason likes it but Jack is so picky. So, anyway… a little crazy but it works!

We are now watching Kim’s Convenience and Superstore together when all 4 of us are at home.

Saturday morning I did some veggie prep.

And, then I went to Aldi and again was super impressed by what I found. I am thinking about showing what I bought if you all are interested.

Then, I hit up TJ Maxx specifically looking for “going out” tops. I found this below and thought it had a bit of an Anthropologie vibe which is quite a high compliment for me.

And, I found this blouse.

The test for me of a good purchase is if I wear it right away. I am happy to report that I wore the red one Saturday night and the white one Sunday. They cost $39 combined and I was quite pleased. Please don’t bring up my July spending freeze, because… oooops.

Then, Tom and I saw the 1:00 Black Widow. It was really good. Again, we love the theater! It is so fun to go again!

Tom washed and cleaned the interior of my car for me and it looks so good. I am a neat freak with my car.

I ordered and received gel polish and a lamp but thought the base and top coat were included. Still, I was pretty impressed by the product on my first try. Anyone do gel nails at home?

Our two couple friends came over at 6:30 and we had some cheese and crackers and cocktails and then all piled in our car to go out to eat. As we were going out to the car the skies opened up and my back and hair got soaked. Oh well! You can tell that I look like a drowned rat below!

I had a mezcal grapefruit drink that was really good.

Guacamole with vegetables and house made chips:

Pecan crusted brie:

I ordered mahi mahi tacos and they were delish! It was an upscale (pricey) Mexican place.

It was a fun evening! I love riding together instead of meeting at the place. Tom is always the designated driver!

Sunday morning I did the once every couple of months Costco run.

Oops…I veered from my list quite a bit.

We were supposed to take our friends on the boat but we still had rain in the forecast so we did lunch at another Mexican place. Can you really eat Mexican too much?

I had fajitas and they were so good!

This mural is part of the restaurant.

Then, we hit up the farmer’s market that is held in the neighborhood where the Mexican restaurant is.

We came home and I watched some Virgin River and fell asleep on accident. Anyone watching Season 3?

For dinner, we heated up leftovers from the weekend and added a few other things. Sunday night seems like a good leftover night, right?

What was the highlight of your weekend? I hope you have too many to choose just one!

Thanks for reading,

Amy