Thursday, January 12, 2017

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

Oops, hello again. It's been so hard getting back into the groove since the holidays! Maybe because work has been super busy and so has life? All good and fun but not as much blog time as I'd like. Today, I just wanted to share a few of my current favorites that I'm loving. 
First up, recipes!

I am following Tone It Up's meals plans right now trying to kick start some weight loss (I have a post coming on this!) but I still have to make my husband happy so at dinner, I've been sticking with my new favorite Skinnytaste and just making tweaks if it doesn't completely fit what my fifth meal should look like. Most of the recipes I've chosen, though, are Tone It Up approved!

Here are some of my tried and true favorites right now: 

CrockpotBalsamic Roast  with Parmesan Green Beans.  This is one of my staples and you can easily use a regular sirlion or chuck roast depending on what's on sale. I made this for our friends on Tuesday and they were big fans, as well!

Korean Beef Rice Bowls. This is seriously the easiest recipe ever. She makes it with ground beef and rice. I swap the beef for ground turkey and the rice for quinoa because I'm cutting out starches at 3p per the Tone It Up guidelines! I also sometimes add sliced carrots if I've got them around. This is an easy one to make and take for lunches! 

Taco Chili Soup.  So what's awesome about this is if you want turkey/ground beef then you can make it following these exact directions. But, if you want to be able to cook everything in the crockpot without any pre-cooking, use frozen chicken and shred it before you eat! Another tweak, if you're wanting a thicker chili instead of soup (like my husband), skip the broth. I made it last Sunday and Christian says its one of his favorites to date because it's just a little spicy, very hearty and easy to reheat for lunches! I also now use her taco seasoning for everything taco I make! No more unhealthy store bought! 

Baked Garlic Lemon Tilapia. And this is probably my easiest "fall back" if I forget dinner or dinner doesn't turn out as well as I hoped. It's so simple and I always keep frozen fish on hand so it's easy to whip up! Also, very good over quinoa or with the roasted garlic green beans from above! 

Okay, on to some make up favorites. Last year, one of my "resolutions" was to play with make up more and I was actually pretty successful at it. I'm currently using a mix of high end and budget finds so I just want to share a couple. I may do something more in depth in a few weeks. 

Tarte - this is my favorite make up line. I'm currently using their eye shadows, foundation, foundation brush, and a myriad of lip products and I love it all! It all stays really well - especially the lipstick. 

Primer - I've tried a few, but right now I'm loving Smashbox's Photo Finish primer. I got a sample size during Christmas sales and for such a small bottle, it's already lasted about 3/4 weeks and has some life left! 

Concealer - I am OBSESSED with NYX color correcting concealer for my dark circles. It's been so hard to find something that works and this works its magic for me every day. 

Let's finish this out with one more awesome thing that I'm loving:
Of course, I love it because it's my first Erin Condren and I see why people love it! But, I also love it because I bought it at Staples. Let me do a quick break down for you. $60 for the basic planner + $10 for the rose gold binding + $4 snap in meal planner + $7.95-11.95 for shipping = $85.95

Staples: $54.99 for the basic planner + $3.99 for snap in meal planner = $58.98 BUT WAIT... It was then 20% off = $47.18

So, I got the same planner (although, it's not personalized but that's not important to me) for almost $40 less AND I didn't have to wait on shipping. Also, this is the most I've ever spent on a planner but it was my Christmas present to myself and I'm loving it.

If you haven't gotten a planner, head on over to Staples. They also have sticker books, markers, notebooks and dashboards for the planners!

Have you tried any of these products or recipes before? If you do, let me know what you think! 

Thursday, January 5, 2017


Last year, I sort of set some resolutions and I actually didn't do too bad at them. But, I don't really liek resolutions. This year, I'm setting a phrase. Not really a word, but sort basically the same idea.

First, I want to look back at 2016's "resolutions":

Drink more water. 

I don't know that this is very measurable, but I would say I've done this. I've definitely cut down my Coke drinking as well most of the time. But, it's really hard when you work for Coke and it's free to you all day, e'eryday at work. I've found that fruit infused water makes me drink more, so I try to do that whenever I can remember. 

Eat better. 

This took longer to get on track, but in the last few months I found Skinnytaste and it has changed my life. Most of her recipes are so easy to make and are pretty quick, too. Plus, I got her new cookbook (affiliate link) for Christmas and I already made one thing that was a total success last night! This year though, we're kicking it into high gear! 

Stay committed to barre. 

Done! Truly, Pure Barre is my favorite. I love everyone at my studio, and though it was hard to get there during the holidays, I'm so glad that I have my studio there on a hard day to help tuck away the stress. 

Add in some cardio. 

Okay, didn't do very well on this one. I did do some of the Platform classes at Pure Barre, but the times aren't usually convenient for me. I took one cycle class and almost died, I'm certain of it. 

ROCK this new position at work. 

I don't know that I can fully judge myself on this? But, I feel like I've done a great job. I've completed a lot of projects this year and tried a lot of new things, too, that I've loved getting involved in. I can't wait to keep learning at growing 

Recommit to With a Side of Chocolate. 

It did take me until.. October? Even though I tried to come back in August. But I did! And I'm SO committed right now and can't wait to really grow this space in 2017. I'm already loving finding new blogs that popped up in my semi hiatus. 

Play with make up more. 

Did this, too! I've really started wearing more lipstick (mostly red - red is my favorite color for everything: nails, dresses, scarves, pea coats, lips...). I've also started getting into some higher end makeup! My current obsession is this Tarte clay foundation and Smashbox Primer (affiliate links)!

All in all, I'd say I was pretty successful in 2016 despite a much crazier year than I was expecting. 

Now, what am I shooting for in 2017? If you follow me on Instagram, you saw this a few days ago but I'd like to expand upon it a little more. 
The idea actually came from my friend, Lisa. A few weeks ago, we tried a new activity and she suggested that we should make a point to try a new thing/place/activity every month this year and I LOVED that idea. 

Charlotte has so much to offer and I don't take enough advantage of that! So, this year, Lisa and I will be tackling something new every month. Although in May, she's tackling giving birth so I may have to go solo that month ;) 

But it's more than that to me. It's trying to blog more, trying to do more cardio, trying to eat healthier, trying to visit new places, trying to read more, and the list goes on and on. I just want to TRY MORE. 

The word "try" tripped me up at first, though. Sometimes it's easy to use "try" as an excuse to give up. For example, I stopped going to Platform classes because I could never get there on time even though I "tried" to get there. I stopped eating healthier around the holidays because I "tried" going to the store after work, but I left a few minutes late and traffic was bad so I just went home and ordered a pizza (#reallife). I "tried" to wake up early, but I accidentally hit snooze for 30 minutes. I "tried" to make new friends, but in reality I was terrible at following up to texts. 

It's so easy to say "oh well, I tried" and never try again. That's exactly what I want to stop. I want to stop the fake "trying" and really TRY something new, eating healthier, running, spin classes, hiking, kayaking more, blogging more, reading more and on and on and on. And as long as I'm truly trying and putting in 100% in everything I decide to do (and all relationships I intend to keep longterm), then I will have had a successful 2017. 

So this year, I'm telling myself to "just try it", what can it hurt?

I've even started a hashtag for myself to track all the new and more things I will be doing this year: #trymore2017

So, there you have it. My 2017 "resolution" or "word of the year" or whatever you want to call it. But, I'm turning 26 this year and I want to try being the best version of my that I can be. Stay tuned for what this looks like! I'm sure it'll give me lots of good blog material ;) 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

See ya, 2016.

I'm a little behind on the recap/new year posts but I had some time off for New Years and I really wanted to soak up every last moment of it before we grind on into the new year. I also failed my first test of the new year by writing 1/3/16 as the date yesterday. I'll figure it out by June, I'm sure.

Over the last year, I've made a few great new friends, strengthened relationships with some of my best friends, travelled a few new places and a couple of my favorite cities, learned SO much at work and had some amazing nights with my wonderful husband. I can't wait to see where 2017 takes us!

Monday, December 19, 2016

My Favorite Christmas Treat: Sausage Balls

Okay, so yes, it's the afternoon and I'm just not putting up a post. I'd like to say it was because I had a crazy busy weekend, but it was actually pretty relaxed and lazy but I'm still blaming that. It was a much needed slow weekend with my man and I didn't spend time on the computer.

BUT, I did spend time making sausage balls last night and I'd like to share my recipe! I only make these at Christmas and I just love them so much. My mom used to always make them Christmas Eve and we'd eat on them all day and into Christmas Day. Now, I've taken that job on and I decided to make some for my team at work!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Day at The Biltmore House

If you follow along on Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat (you should!), you would have see that Christian and I made our annual trip to The Biltmore House in Asheville on Friday.  We have done this every year since getting engaged, and it is truly on of my favorite days of the year.
We spend the entire day just soaking up time with each other with no distractions. We get to move at our own pace and do exactly what we want with no real responsibilities. So. Much. Fun.

Monday, December 12, 2016

8 Ideas for a White Elephant Exchange

It's that time of year again: holiday parties and gift exchanges. AKA, the time when you try to find a good gift for the White Elephant exchange but can't figure out what to get and it's the night before and you're scrounging around Target for literally anything that might work. Oh no? Just me then?

Well, if you're anything like me, I'm here to solve that problem for you. This list is also going to be full of "real gifts". As much as I love the gag gift white elephant exchange,  I love "real" gifts more and that's what my team at work did. Everything on this list is around $20 or less!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Things I Can Live Without (But Don't Want To)

We can all agree that overall 2016 hasn't been that great of a year for the country as a whole, right? While most of my personal life has been pretty phenomenal, the crazy natural disasters, all the deaths, the nasty election and just general nastiness of the year hasn't made 2016 the most pleasant ever. But, that doesn't mean there aren't some really good things that I love this year. I'll preface this by saying most of these are pretty surface level so I hope you weren't looking for something deep and meaningful on this hump day ;)

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