Insta-Chic {4-12-2014}

Happy weekend! Hope you’re all enjoying the beautiful spring weather as much as I am!

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I went with my friend Lindsey to see Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour with Cirque du Soleil. The show was SO fun! The show featured mostly dancing, which surprised me a little since I associate Cirque with elaborate acrobatics. It was still a blast and also made me feel very sentimental since I, like many of you, grew up listening to Michael’s music and watching his music videos. I actually wore out his tape when I was a kid from listening to it too much! I enjoyed the selection of songs and how they worked in poems and sound clips of Michael talking throughout the show. And they even encourage you to stand up and dance for the last part of the show, which makes it feel like a big party celebrating the king of pop.

If you’re a big Michael fan like me, you may want to check out the official show soundtrack, which features remixes and different cuts of almost 30 songs for about $12 on iTunes.

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In other news, I’m definitely ready for Lent to be over. I want dessert! I made this chocolate banana smoothie for a post-dinner non-dessert. It was made with just bananas, unsweetened cocoa powder, flaxseed, and rice milk, but it tasted a bit like chocolate pudding. Yum! Still not as good as a cupcake, though.

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And poor Bailey had a rough week. He was sick last weekend and then had to get a tooth pulled on Thursday! He’s quite the chewer, and he actually cracked a tooth awhile ago. We were worried it may get infected, so we took him in for a cleaning, and they decided the tooth needed to come out. Poor little guy. I picked him up from the vet with the tiny paw print bandage in the photo above. Luckily, he’s feeling much better already, so he seems to be having a quick recovery.

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Hubby and I had a date night on Friday and went to the Studio Movie Grill to watch the new Captain America and get dinner.

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Dinner was okay, but we decided to get snacks and a drink after the show at Enso since we were already at the Epicentre.

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To celebrate the spring weather, I spent a little time on today hitting up a local nursery to get some herbs and plants for some pots around the house. My mom is growing some more herbs for me, so I just got two Italian parsley plants and one mint. The mint is actually called “mojito mint”, so I guess we know what I’ll be drinking this summer. Anywho, I had a great time soaking up some sun and getting my hands a little dirty. I miss growing herbs and vegetables. I definitely need to talk my family into visiting so they can install a garden in our backyard. I’m ready!

Cold Spring and No Dessert for Lent

Hello! Hope you all had a great week.

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Bailey says, “Hi!”

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I’m not sure what the weather is like where you are, but it’s been really cold around town lately. We had some 70 degree weather awhile back, but I guess that was just a tease. This week has been all in the 50′s, 40′s, and even 30′s! I’m ready for spring!

The only upside I found this past week was making a big slow cooker batch of my beef and 3 bean chili. Chili is such good cold weather food. We enjoyed ours with fresh-grated cheddar melted on top and Great Harvest jalapeño poppers on the side. Those poppers are almost as good with chili as the classic PIC – cornbread. The poppers are like white rolls stuffed with a jalapeño slice and cheddar cheese…yum! We warmed ours up in the oven for a few minutes for that fresh-baked taste.

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The weather seems to only be adding to my stress levels lately. I’d like to say I’m trying to balance that out by sleeping more, but I’m not good at going to be early. So, instead, I’ll continue to try to eat healthy and get plenty of water, fruits, and vegetables.

We had pizza for dinner tonight, but breakfast, lunch, and dinner were lacking in the veg category, so I decided to have a snack of edamame with coarse salt and zesty spices for a movie snack.

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And I gave up dessert for Lent, so no sweets for me for awhile. I’ve decided that smoothies are okay post-dinner because I get extra fruit (and often times vegetable) servings. So far, I’ve had a couple simple green monster smoothies after dinner, and though they aren’t a true dessert, I’ve enjoyed them quite a bit.

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I’ve felt pretty wiped out this week. I think things started out poorly when I spent most of Monday from 8am – 7pm in meetings at work., and I’ve been playing catch up since then. Bailey and I are hoping for some good R&R this weekend.

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Here’s something to think about for the weekend – Yogi Tea wisdom – “Let your heart guide you.”

Snowed In {Corgi in the Snow}

In case you hadn’t heard, we got a little snow here in the south. And when a little snow happens here, many cities pretty much shut down.

The downside? Since I have the ability to work remotely, I still had to work all week. The upside? Since I have the ability to work remotely, I was able to stay safe and warm at home. Hazzah! I also had the pleasure of sharing an office with the best co-worker a girl could have – Bailey. Things didn’t work out quite as well with my Zumba classes, which unfortunately had to be canceled for the week. I so missed the energy of class and my dancing friends, but I did a little dancing at the house.

Another positive from the week was how well Eat in Month prepared me for our time being snowed in. Our house was well stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables. We also had plenty of other pantry and frozen ingredients to eat well the whole time without worrying about having to leave the house. It also helped that I swung by Great Harvest on my way home from work as the snow started to pick up a call-in order of flax oat bran bread and cinnamon chip bread. I also picked up a half dozen white rolls and a walnut chocolate chip cookie for good measure.

With our laptops and a great assortment of eats, we were set. I made a new quiche recipe that yielded delicious eats for a couple days. We worked furiously on our laptops. We ate chili with extra cheddar cheese and drank lots of hot tea with local honey. And, I rode a plastic storage container down a hill as a makeshift sled. All in all, a good snow week! Here are some photos from the week (mostly of Bailey since he’s the most photogenic)…

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So, who’s ready for spring?

Insta-Chic {Recent Zumba Outfits, #eatinmonth Prep, and Vacation}

This is what I’m ready for…

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R&R!

Any other workaholics out there? I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this, but I tend to push-push-push myself as hard and fast as I can go to get all the things done that I want to do in a day. Work has been a little extra crazy, too. My project had a spike in activity, and that, combined with the right-before-you-go-on-vacation need to get all the last minute things done, has me ready for a break. It reminds me a bit of taking a really intense course in college – you bust your a$$ all year with an extra push to cram for exams at the end of the year and finally…Christmas break is on, and you can let go. I feel like I need to take a deep breath out. Phew!

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As for shopping…

I went to the mall last weekend to finalize my Christmas shopping. I got almost everything I needed in about an hour and even managed to find this Naked 3 palette still in stock. After grabbing what I thought was the last one (there were more in another part of the store), I decided to take a look at the Naked 2, which I totally ignored when it came out since I still had so much of the #1 palette left. With the help of Tony, the nice associate who helped me, we decided that 2 was actually a better fit. The 3 palette has a lot of pink in it, and that doesn’t mesh well with my skin since it has some redness going on these days. I really wanted to take 2 home with me, especially since I had my $20 off $50 VIB discount, but I needed to use that discount for a Christmas gift for someone else. I added the 2 to my Christmas wish list instead. We’ll see if Santa brings it!

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Here are some of my recent Zumba outfits – I finally wore this pink and black number I purchased at Zumba Convention this summer. The sweat pants were a little too hot to wear earlier in the year, but I’ve been rocking the tank top on the regular. It’s one of my current faves.

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And here are my “crazy pants.” I got these patterned pants at American Apparel, and I was inspired to purchase them after seeing them on Mega Jam. I love Jasmine’s dancing and style!

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I’m working hard to not let my fifth annual Eat in Month challenge sneak up on me. I haven’t started stocking up yet, but I have purchased a couple things to sample ahead of time. This frozen chicken pot pie from Trader Joe’s is a good buy. I had this for a last minute dinner recently, and it was really good for frozen food. I prefer fresh, but sometimes shortcuts are helpful.

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I also need to remember to start making some more homemade soup. I love freezing these soup leftovers because they’re so much better than canned soup. I haven’t had canned soup in years now, and I don’t miss it one bit. I like to make big batches and label them with contents and a date.

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The last week of work was a big food fest. I love how people start sharing food with each other at the office. My one co-worker brought us a bunch of locally baked croissants from Fourth Ward Bread Company, and they were so flaky, buttery, and delicious.

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I decided to make a contribution to my teammates and co-workers by making batch of chocolate chip dough balls after work and teaching Zumba earlier in the week. They were a big hit. One co-worker even said I could sell them, he liked them so much, which made me happy to hear. I won’t be selling them any time soon, but you can make them with the chocolate chip dough balls recipe, which is online here.

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As for today…today was my first day of vacation. I’m off work for the rest of the year! Woohoo! I started the day by trying to sleep in, moving slowly, and spoiling Bailey with a couple extra “just because” treats.

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And then I went with my friend Summer to 7th Street Market for breakfast and coffee. I had a sesame seed bagel from Local Loaf, which they kindly warmed for me in their oven and served with butter.

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And then Summer and I made our way down to Not Just Coffee to try their Winter Lattes – slightly spicy, chocolatey deliciousness! You gotta try one while they’re here. We loved those lattes! Coffee was followed by lunch homemade by Summer herself – roasted squash soup. Yum! She’s a talented cook and is in the process of writing a cookbook. You can check out her blog to stay apprised of cookbook updates and to hear when it’s ready. Her recipes are delicious for everyone, but she specializes in allergy-friendly cooking.

After my day of playing, I went out to wrap up Christmas shopping and run errands. And tonight, I’m getting things done before we leave town to visit family. I’m doing the last of my gift wrapping, taking care of laundry, and soon, I’ll be packing. I can’t wait for some R&R and quality time with our families. Soooooo ready for Christmas vacation this year!

Happy holidays everyone!

Christmas Decorating and Bailey Claus 2013

We put our Christmas decorations up last week, which meant we had to put Bailey’s Bailey Claus outfit on for the first time this year. All the Christmas things get packed and unpacked together, so inevitably, Bailey watches us put ornaments on the tree with his holiday costume on…every year. Yup.

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The decorating wouldn’t be complete without holiday tunes (we played the Christmas station on Pandora) and fresh baked cookies. I tried adding some peanut butter and flaxseed meal to my emergency cookies, and the result was okay, but not blog-worthy. They fit the bill for that night, though.

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The large star lantern we picked up at IKEA is quickly becoming a favorite for me.

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I made these Snow Wo-Men ornaments a few years ago using styrofoam balls and Martha Stewart glitter. The eyes and mouth are made with seed beads. The flower is felt. The “scarf” is yarn, and the nose was hand-formed using bead clay. I made six of these wo-men, and I just love unpacking them from the ornament box.

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I have one week left of work, and then I’m taking vacation for the rest of the year. Thursday is my Friday, so the countdown starts (pretty much) now!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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