High Five for Friday!

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Since it was a short week for me thanks to MLK Day, it made the workdays fly by! I wish every weekend was a 3-day weekend. It’s amazing what I can get done, especially around the house, with that one extra day! However, the rest of the week has been pretty busy, so I’m linking up with Lauren to share the highlights of my week:

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1. I got an iPhone 5s. For those of you that know me, this is a huge deal. I am a big Android fan but they seemed to get very buggy after a while. I’m still not a huge Apple fan, but I really like my iPhone so far (especially the fingerprint scanner— my work email requires a password on my phone, so this feature is so nice.  I love not having to enter the password every time to unlock my phone.  Plus, it’s GOLD! I love, love, love anything gold!).  If you have any recommendatons on good apps, please let me know!

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2. We got snow! It was just a few flurries, but for Wilmington, this is a big deal. This is the town that had 2-hour school delays just last week for COLDNESS. 

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This is me doing Dandayamana-Dhanurasana (bow pose)

3. I made my goal of making to yoga 3 times this week!  I haven’t been very regular about going due to the holidays and some craziness at work.   However, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to make it a priority and get there at least 3x/week.  In case you are wondering, I practice Bikram yoga. You can find more info about it here

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Not only did I get rid of a bunch of clothes, but I also organized my closet by type and color. #slightlyocd

4.  I cleaned out my closet.  I am going to take it all to Clothes Mentor and see how much of it they will buy from me.  Then the rest will either be given away to friends or donated to Goodwill.

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5. I am very excited to have an entire Saturday to myself.  I don’t know what has happened to me over the last few years because I used to be such a social butterfly and would’ve never enjoyed “alone time.”  But now I look forward to it! I have a couple of errands to run but I’m thinking most of my day will consist of catching up on Downton Abbey and maybe re-watching Gilmore Girls for the hundreth time.

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My Philo(Sophi)

^^^See what I did there?!

I have been wanting to switch up my skin care routine/products for a while.  I’ve been using Clinique for about 18 months, and while I like it a lot, my skin had still been breaking out frequently.  Someone, please tell me when zits are supposed to clear up? I mean, come on, I’m  practically verging on 30.

My sister had been raving about Philosphy‘s skin care products for months, so I thought I would give them a shot.  I picked up trial size version of this set a couple of days ago after talking to one of the associates about my skin care needs.  It included the Purity Made Simple 3-n-1 cleanser, When Hope is Not Enough facial-firming serum, and Hope in a Jar moisturizer. The associate said this set would be a good one for clearing up the blemishes I struggle with, as well as offering some preventative anti-aging since I am not getting any younger. 😉

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It’s been 3 days since I started using this set and so far I am very happy!  I had a couple of zits on my chin (that’s where I break out most often) and already most of them have cleared up.  It also doesn’t irrate my sensitive skin at all.  My skin feels so clean and soft — I feel like it really gets all the makeup off which I was concerned about since it didn’t have a toner like Clinique.

I also picked up Philosophy’s Total Matteness serum. This was another recommendation by my sister. She should really be writing this blog, not me! She always has great recommendations. 

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Anyway, I am IN LOVE with this product.  Both my sister and I have rather large pores especially around our noses.  I have tried several products and techniques over the years to cover them up, but nothing seemed to work.  This product has completely changed that!

I have been applying the serum morning and night right after I use the Purity 3-in-1 cleanser before the When Hope is not Enough serum and the difference is amazing already!  I wish I had though to take pictures before I started.  My pores are already looking significantly smaller and more tight.  I can’t wait to see the results after several more weeks of use.

What are your favorite skin care products? Have you ever used Philosophy?  I would love to hear your recommendations and experiences!

 

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Stitch Fix

I just signed up for Stitch Fix after reading about it on a blog I follow, The Christian Wife Life.

Have you heard of Stitch Fix? If you haven’t, they send you personalized clothes and accessories based on your Style Profile.

You pay a $20 fee for each box to be shipped, but it applies as a credit toward any of the items you decide to purchase.  Anything you don’t want, just ship it back for free!

I can’t wait to see what comes in my first box, which should come at the end of February!

If you decide to sign up for Stitch Fix, will you use my link? It is https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3401437!

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A Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The month of December got away from me completely… seriously, I don’t know where it went.  Actually, I don’t know where this entire year went. I am having a hard time grasping that it is 2014.

Anyway, I apologize for being so MIA this month.  We left Christmas Day to go to Disney World and Universal Studios and just returned yesterday.  Between that, Christmas, my birthday which was earlier this month, my nieces’ birthdays, and all the other holiday festivities, I couldn’t seem to find the time to sit down and write a post.

One of my goals for the New Year is to be more consistent on that though!  But for now, I thought I would share a few of the highlights from this month:

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Got an updated pic with my two favorite toddlers.  I just can’t get enough of them!

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We went to Enchanted Airlie here in town for my birthday which was on the 13th.  We try to go every year— I love seeing all the lights.  It’s very romantic. ❤

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After we visited Enchanted Airlie, we went to Carrabba’s for my birthday dinner.  My friend is a waitress there and she snapped this picture of us for me!
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Another friend took this picture of us in front of the Christmas tree at church.  I was going to use this for our Christmas card, but I was a slacker and never got around to ordering the cards. Oh well!

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Our life group Christmas party (sans kids!)

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My nieces’ birthday party (they are 2 years and 1 day apart)

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Family birthday dinner.  My brother is thrilled as always.

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We got to ring in the New Year at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance!  I loved every minute of it, but I will never do that again.  It was crazy crowded the entire week were there.  But I can mark that one off the bucket list!

Hope you have had a wonderful holiday! I would love to hear about it!

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High Five for Friday

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I’m linking up with Lauren from thelaurenelizabeth.com for High Five for Friday! 

TGIF! TGIF! TGIF!

Can you tell that I am excited it’s Friday?! Having a normal week after having a very short week thanks to Thanksgiving (no pun intended haha) was rough!  However, there are only 2 more weeks until Christmas break so I can’t complain too much.

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My beautiful sister!

1. Thanksgiving definitely spoiled me.  It was so much fun to have a few days off and spend time with my family, especially my sister.  It seems in recent months that our schedules have been very opposite, so we have gotten to see much of each other.  However, I think we spent more time together in just a couple of days last week than we have in nearly 3 months.  It was awesome.  I texted her Tuesday and told her I was having withdrawals.

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He really does love me…

2. I also have been getting to see my brother more regularly.  However, he refuses to take a picture with me, so I had my hubby help me snap this beauty…

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Target. At 1 a.m. Post “Black Thursday” craziness. And still tons of deals. And no lines.

3. My hubby and I ventured out for Black Friday shopping (Note: Black FRIDAY… that means we went shopping on FRIDAY, not Thursday.  I refuse to go out on Thursday.  Maybe I’ll post my rant about that sometime soon lol).  Anyway, we headed out about 1am after 3 Dr. Peppers and 2 cups of coffee.  It was totally worth waiting until that late/early/however you want to look at it! There was NO ONE out.  We went to Target, Kohl’s, Best Buy, and LOFT, and all 4 places still had everything in stock that I was looking for and there were no lines.  I actually felt bad for the workers because they were just standing around, clearly bored and tired.  Having worked in retail and on Black Friday for several years, I personally would rather it be busy so the time went by faster.  It was great for us though!

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Don’t let this picture fool you. The glasses are actually navy, not black.

4. My new glasses came in this week.  I normally wear contacts, but have really been wanting a good pair of glasses so I could give my eyes a break (if you wear contacts, you understand this).  The pair I had were about 5 years old though and the prescription was off, so I only wore them at night.  I picked these Kate Spade glasses out a couple of weeks ago at my annual exam and they finally came in! I absolutely love them!

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I’m a turkey!

5. I got 3 strikes in a row last night at bowling.  My husband’s last day at his current job is today, so his coworkers and boss took him out for a “going away” party of sorts, and they let me tag along.  I am normally a horrible bowler, so I had to take a picture!  It was a fun way to send goodbye.  I know my husband is going to miss them.  He’s worked with them for almost 5 years, but we are both very excited about his new opportunity!

How has your week been?

Pumpkin Muffins and Thanksgiving Blessings

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all are getting to enjoy some time with family and friends, though I know there are a lot of people who have to work or have family members abroad. If you are in the later category, my thoughts are with you. Military families especially are on my heart right now. Can I just say how incredibly thankful I am for your sacrifice and service? Because I truly am. You are the reason we get to enjoy this holiday and all of the upcoming holidays in peace and freedom. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now, on to the Pumpkin Muffins. I am obsessed with pumpkin-flavored anything and I won’t apologize.

I discovered this recipe a few years ago and it is one of my favorites to make during the Fall. It’s really easy, yet delicious. I would really like to try modifying it to make it gluten-free, but I struggle with how to do that on recipes I already have, so if you have any suggestions on what GF ingredients to substitute in, please share in the comments!

The recipe I use is Paula Dean’s Pumpkin Bars but I make them into muffins using a muffin pan.

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Muffin Ingredients:

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4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Muffin Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

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Combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin and mix with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

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Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until batter is smooth.

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Pour the batter into a greased muffin pan (usually makes about 20 regular-sized muffins).

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Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

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Icing Ingredients:

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8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing Directions:

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Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.

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Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined.

Stir in the vanilla and mix again.

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Spread on cooled pumpkin muffins and enjoy!

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What is one of your favorite pumpkin recipes?

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Thankful

If you are on Facebook, you’ve probably seen some daily posts from friends about what they are thankful for.  I didn’t participate myself, but it has served as a reminder to me about how blessed I am.  I mean, just the fact that I am sitting with my house, which is has heat and running water, means I am richer than half of the world.  Hard to comprehend sometimes, isn’t it?!

So with that said, here is what I am thankful for:

1. My husband.  He is the most patient, caring, self-less man I know.  I truly cannot imagine going through this journey of life without him.

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2. My family.  My family is weird and loud, and we love to eat (I mean c’mon, my dad is full-blooded Greek, what do you expect?!?).  We can also get on each others’ nerves and fuss and fret, but at the end of the day, you will be hard-pressed to find a family as loving and loyal as we are.

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The Varnams

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The Chopelas side

3. My dog.  If you are a dog person, you just understand this one…

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4. My friends.  I have some really amazing friends who I can be completely myself with.

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5.  My job.  There are days where I honestly dread going to work, but I have to remind myself that at least I have one.  There are so many people that have spent months, even years, trying to find jobs, and I am blessed to say I have one.

6. My house.  Sometimes I wish for something bigger, with more closet space and a yard.  But I have to remember that I have a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in, and so many wonderful memories have been made here.

7. The holidays.  I just love this time of year, the reminders of the things that are important, and the time with loved ones.

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Pretty much sums up our family

What are you thankful for?

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I’m sorry for that thing I said when I was hungry

This is a great post! I know I have had to apologize on numerous occasions to my husband because of something I said due to just being hungry which made me irritable. A

Fit and Feminist

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A couple of weeks ago I found myself embroiled in a bit of an interpersonal snafu.  I was trying to broach a sensitive subject with care and delicacy, hoping that I could not only get my point across but that I could do so in a way that was diplomatic and fair.

The problem is, I tried to do this while I was hungry.  And so instead of being careful and delicate, I struggled to find the right words to convey what I wanted to say, and then finally, I became frustrated and blurted out exactly the wrong words required by the situation.

After I finally got to eat something, I realized what I had done, but it was too late – the damage had been done.  And not only that, but the damage had radiated outward in a domino effect of fuckery, and I found myself spending the next…

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Chilly = Chili

Now that the weather is starting to cool down, one of my favorite things to make is chili (mainly because it is EASY…)

I use my mother-in-law’s recipe, which calls for a lot of beans. You can use whatever kind of beans you like, but I recommend at least 3 different kinds. Also, another thing she uses is Cream of Mushroom soup. I know, seems weird, but it is really good! Anyway, here is a breakdown of the recipe:

1. Brown the meat. Don’t overcook it, but make sure it’s pretty well brown, barely any pink left. DSC_0319

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Using the “Mix-N-Chop” utensil from Pampered Chef— it’s my favorite for cooking ground meat!

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2. Drain the extra grease from the meat, then put the meat in the crockpot.

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Another awesome tool from Pampered Chef (my sis-in-law is a rep for them so I have a lot of PC stuff)

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3. Add beans (including juice in the cans) and cream of mushroom soup. I also threw in chili powder and Penzey’s Mural of Flavor seasoning. Stir.

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4. Set crockpot on low for 8-10 hours.

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5. Add your favorite toppings (cheese, sour cream, etc.) and enjoy!

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I forgot to take a pretty picture of the chili scooped into a bowl with toppings, so this picture will have to do!

What is one of your favorite “chilly-weather” recipes? Please share as I am always looking for new ideas!

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Color Me Rad

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Aren’t the port-o-potties a lovely backdrop?

Last week,  some coworkers and I participated in the Color Me Rad run/walk here in town.  It was a blast and very well organized!  Considering there were close to 9000 people there, that was a VERY good thing!

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Some RAD ladies!

One of the things I like most about this run/walk is that it isn’t timed, and that it is suppose to be FUN!  The main goal is to get people to be active, whether they are running it or just walking it.

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post-run… errr, walk…

So many other races can be very competitive and though there is nothing wrong with that in of itself, it can be intimidating.  We just walked it and enjoyed every minute of it!

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another post-walk

Have you ever participated in Color Me Rad or some other sort of run/race?

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