Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tiny Home Gathering

When we finally finished the tiny home, we had a huge house warming party to celebrate! Most of the pictures turned out blury, I'm not even sure who was taking them... but it's worth the memory! It was such a good night, people came from all over Texas and (since it was still technically summer) all over the U.S.! I can't tell you how happy it made me to have all of these beautiful people there to celebrate this huge accomplishment of ours. Even people that I hadn't seen in months or even years, stopped by to help us commemorate. It was glorious. 
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It's not a party without a bonfire, right? 
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For the party, I mixed up a special batch of ghost pepper infused tequila. Only the bravest of the brave dared try my fiery concoction. As you can see by my face below, it was pretty intense. I loved it. Others... didn't. But such a night requires a little mischief and my ghost pepper tequila did just the trick! 
I don't know why I love this picture so much. His face! 
Also, I can't figure out why we only have pictures of the four of us? There were a lot more people, I swear! I guess we just.... well we took a bunch of pictures and then....forgot about the camera. It was probably for the best anyways.... Oh and speaking of more people, we fit an astonishing amount of people in this little home of ours! Luckily we have land to hold the rest of the crowd but I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it was at capacity. Two thumbs up for the tiny home!

What a beautiful night it was to embrace the tiny home, surrounded by all of the people we love the most. Even my dad traveled up to enjoy the festivities, which is saying a lot! 

I look forward to having many more night like this. Friends in tiny homes, what can be better than that? 
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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

Let's talk about HEALTH! 

So I started getting really serious about my health and fitness last February. While I wasn't as dedicated as I could have been (hey, I have a life, I'm not perfect), I am pretty proud that I kept up a decent workout regimen for almost the whole year. You can see my 5 month results here from the time I actually began. And then in about June/July, I started training for my 60 mile bike ride which I successfully completed made it through without dying. Woohoo! 

During all of this time, I had built up some serious muscle. I mean, not a lot but more than I ever thought I was capable of! I had rebuilt my abs and my legs were more muscular than ever! And don't let me forget about my arms, I was surprised they had any substance to them at all! Needless to say, I was pretty happy with myself.

After the bike race in August, I tried to work out a few times a week but nothing too serious and then the holidays came and I (surprisingly) got really motivated again. I actually got a gym membership and Brandon and I started working out together. Which is really fun by the way, to have someone to workout with. 

Buuuut he just got a full time job and I'm probably going to have to cancel my gym membership. But that's ok! Because I recently found this amazing lady, Kayla Itsines that has created this workout plan called the Bikini Body Guide (doesn't that just sound yummy?!) that is absolutely perfect! 

 This workout plan is so great because it doesn't require any major equipment (just simple tools like dumbbells and medicine balls) AND I can do it all from home. Plus, the workouts are only 28 minutes long and the whole workout plan is pretty flexible so I can squeeze the workouts into my week whenever I have the time. 

But the best part of all, is that it's had so much success from women all over the world! The community around this bikini body guide is so incredibly inspiring and extremely helpful when you need a little extra motivation. I can spend hours going through all of the awesome transformations on instagram that all of these women have gone through. And it's all kinds of women too, with this one goal of getting healthy and happy

Anywho, I'm really looking forward to stepping up my workout routine and finally get that six pack I've been pining for! I've spent the last year gaining muscle and keeping my diet in check, now it's time to lean up and get ready for summer! 

Bikini Bundle
Because I already have a pretty solid diet, I decided I probably don't need the H.E.L.P guide so I decided to only buy the Bikini Body Guide. This is what it includes: 

12 week workout plan 
189 Page Guide
Effective Cardio Methods
Target Problem Areas
Each Workout Under 30min

"Starting with my Bikini Body Guide is SO simple! Each workout during the 12 weeks is presented in a basic format, making it easy for you to get started right away. The program begins with smaller challenges, then ramps you up over the following weeks, to higher levels. This allows your body to continue adapting, and helps to avoid plateau. A glossary of each exercise is also included to ensure you have the best direction for form, and technique."

And I should note, it also comes with a few weeks of pre-training for those beginners that aren't completely ready to jump into the hardcore training. And it is hardcore! She says "easy" but these workouts will test you and your determination to really have that dream body. I mean, it's absolutely worth it but you gotta do some work to get there. It is by no means, "easy". Simple, yes. Easy? No. 

But enough of my blabbing, I'll let some of those transformations do the talking! These are what lured me into this guide in the first place! 
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If that doesn't motivate you, than I don't know what will! I mean, who doesn't want a butt like that ^^

I thought I'd write out how the workouts go for me so here is the first week!

Week 1: 
Day 1 (leg day) // Sweating buckets, it's totally kicking my butt. I did each round twice during each circuit. Holy wow. Also, I took a minute between circuits otherwise I might have died. Or passed out. Or puked. 

Day 2 (LISS) // Went for a brisk hike for 45 minutes and worked up a nice sweat. It was really nice, I'm very lucky to live right next to this state forest. Hiking for the win! 

Day 3 (arms and abs) // Great workout, not quite as taxing as leg day as my whole body didn't move around as much but just as challenging as my upper body seriously lacks strength to do a whole lot. I finished the first round of upper body exercises twice in each circuit (with girly push ups though, I can't do full on ones yet) but the second round of ab exercises, I only did about 1 1/2. They just seemed to take a bit longer. Definitely still sweating a lot though. I did it first thing in the morning and hopefully will maintain a nice boost of energy for the rest of my day. Now to carb up! 

Day 4 (LISS) // Went for another hike, this time with Brandon and my mother in law. It was beautiful as always and the weather was perfect! Hiked about 2 1/2 miles in 45 minutes. 

Day 5 (whole body) // I like the whole body workout, it's a little less intense as the exercises are more spread out and not focused on just one portion of the body. 

Day 6 (LISS) // In Marfa! For my LISS, we went hiking for a couple hours at Davis Mountain State Park and it was a dream. Working out on vacation can be fun if you make it! 

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Pumpkin Patch

So this one time, we went to a pumpkin patch with my sis and her *new* family. And it was great.
This is kind of belated, I know, I know! But I just couldn't resist.
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Trying so. very. hard. IMG_8050
Oh. No? Ok.... I'll just KARATE CHOP IT. 
Oh guys, meet my nephew Lucas! I'm kind of obsessed with him.  
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These people right here? I really love them. I'm not one for commercialized pumpkin patches where they charge you 5 bucks to bounce on a dang moonwalk buuuuut it was totally worth it. Even just for this picture. PRECIOUS. 

By the way, that's my brother. Not the baby daddy... cause that would be weird. Just had to put that out there (: 
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mercury in Retrograde

If ya haven't heard, it's that time again! Mercury is officially in retrograde! But never fear, it sounds like things are going to be 
looking more up than down. Here's what the pros have to say: 

"The coming retrograde will be an extremely important one showing us a new look at what’s been unveiled, or needs to be unveiled, in our lives. Things from the past will be reevaluated, re-examined, or understood differently. 

“We can get a new look at our goals and ambitions within a larger social whole, as well as new insights into old friends and past group work. Some will get insights into how to manage something differently to achieve a greater ability to contribute in the world, and at times brilliant short cuts can be glimpsed that will accelerate our growth. 

“Consider the next 3 weeks as a bridge between an old way of seeing things and a new understanding of a bigger picture and how everything fits (or doesn’t) in that picture. This time will bring interesting insights through looking back or within about prior relationships, past goals and ambitions, and why certain things came down the way they did… 

"All of us will have a new understanding of what matters to us by mid-February, and will find ourselves ‘liberated from adverse conditions by spectacular events that mobilize us to action,’ which may involve some form of ‘cosmic visitation.’ 

“This will be another important retrograde, where the past will be reviewed to see what we can and cannot bring with us into the future in mid-February. 

“It will help us rehearse or do the research we need to get ready to spring forward in early March, clear about what we know, what we need to know, and what must happen if we are to move forward in our lives. 

“Renewals, returns, reconnections, reunions…are promised by this retrograde.” 

"We will all have the opportunity to look ourselves in the eye and see who’s really looking back at us, before painting on the face we prefer to show the world.” 

“We are speaking here not of intricate scams executed to deceive but of the everyday twists and turns we undertake to avoid coming face to face with who and what we truly are. It is time to illuminate our inner world and look around with eyes wide open to all that we see."

From // Mystic Mamma

I don't know about you guys but I've been definitely feeling this coming. A few things in the insights above are so relevant in my life right now like learning how to manage things differently, new perspectives, understanding what I need and don't need in my life, and a lot of looking inward and into the past to figure out why things happened the way they did and perhaps how to deal with them in a new and improved way. I look forward to delving into these new ideas, reviewing the past, and preparing to move onward. And thinking of it, this relates so much to the first post I did yesterday. Crazy. 

Today, I spent the better part of my day watching this interview that my friend did with the wonderful, Teal Swan. It was brilliant and mind blowing and just what I needed to hear. I had to watch a few parts over again just to wrap my head around it and I'll probably even watch the whole thing again just to soak it in deeper. But she talks a lot about using this time, meaning the retrograde, to our advantage to do "shadow work" which is essentially working on the thoughts that you hold that are not in alignment with source energy, oneness, connection to a higher power, whatever you want to call it. So basically the negative thoughts that inhibit you. She encourages us to use this reflective time to focus on ourselves and work on those things holding us back. Here is the interview done today, I highly recommend watching it: 

So shadow work is exactly what I'm going to do! And if you're interested in doing some emotional healing too, here are a few Teal Swan videos on shadow work that can help you get past those deep unresolved issues that keep triggering certain events in your life. 

I'm not one to fret over retrograde, most of the time, because I know things (good and bad) happen for a reason. But I must say, I am particularly excited about this one. I don't know what it is about working through problems that makes me feel all giddy inside, maybe it's because I can see an end in sight? We'll see I suppose! Happy Retrograde! 
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Vegan Muffaletta

Growing up with a mother raised in New Orleans, muffalettas where a household favorite. So when I became vegan, this was something I was determined to make a substitute for. But honestly, substitute is a terrible word for it. I think this vegan version is just as good, if not BETTER than it's meaty counterpart. But coming from a veggie lover, that statement may be a little biased.... Anyhow, here is my veggie version of the famous Muffaletta. Enjoy! 

Olive Salad Necessities:
Jar of green, pimento stuffed olives (I usually buy the small olives but it doesn't matter)
Half jar of Giardiniera
Can of whole black olives (Or Kalamata)
1-2 tbs of Capers

-Process ingredients until they become finely diced but not mush! You can also hand dice them if you don't have a food processor, just mix everything in a bowl when you're done and you're good to go! 

Other things you can add: 
Couple cloves of garlic 
Pinch of parsley 
Pinch of Oregano 
Dash of pepper 
Couple tbs of Olive oil (I avoid this to lessen the fat content)

Roasted Bell Peppers 
Chopped Onions 
Avocado (I prefer mine more of guac(mashed) style but chopped is cool too)

Other things you can add: 
Sriracha (a necessity in our house)
Tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes 
Oil and vinegar drizzled inside 
Artichoke hearts 
Portabello mushrooms (raw or sauteed with red wine/balsamic vinegar) 

All on 1 loaf of Ciabatta Bread (toasted is how I prefer it)

Then you start your layering! Start off with your bread, spread on some olive salad, and top it with all the filling options to your liking! I have this problem where I tend to load sandwiches up too much... so I try to keep the filling options to a maximum of 5. 
And there you have it! Eat it cold, room temp, or heat it up to bring out the flavors, and they're even better the next day as leftovers! Mmmmmm mmm!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Here we GooOOOOoooOOO

So, where to begin? Well I don't want to jinx myself but I think I'm coming back to blogging! It's only been 2 months but I feel like so much has happened. I mean, it is a new year and all. We've had a super long Christmas holiday, and then of course there was New Years and Eliza went back to school, Brandon got a ((new)) full time job, I got back into the swing of work, I started a pretty solid and regular workout routine, and we've been slowly tinkering away on the house to get random things done. But boy, this two months has felt like forever. 

I've really missed blogging but I definitely needed a break. Things got a little too overwhelming there for a little bit and some time away was much needed. But I love this little blog of mine because it's always been a place I can come to share, like a journal of sorts and that's something I've always valued having in my life. Plus I love all of you guys and the wonderful support you have always had for me. But I think this time around, I'm going to switch it up a bit. I feel like I've grown a lot over the past year so naturally, things here will be changing as well. I mean, that's how that works, right? 

So before I get back into regular posting, I guess I just wanted to start off by filling in the gap and I guess responding to my last post in which I left in a not so great state. I'm a lot better now but the holidays were kind of rough. However, I want to start the New Year off right. I want to start by looking forward, not dwelling on the past. And to do that, I'm just going to go ahead and get it off my chest, if that's alright with you. So here goes. 

Like I said in the previous post, my best friend (and I mean BEST friend) moved away to New York which seems like forever away. And while I'm insanely proud and happy for him, it's also kind of sad and just really, really sucks. I don't know when I'll get to see him again and I think that's the worst part of all. I was really spoiled to have him only a few hours away the past few years and over the summer especially, got to visit him a lot. And it was really great, so this drastic change kind of shook me up. *sigh* Why can't we teleport yet? 

After he moved, the holiday season sprung up on me and I decided I needed to get my butt into gear and make a little money while business was good. And I did! I got really busy and did really well for myself. The success was very reassuring, almost relieving too. I had been worried a lot about where my business was going and if I could really make it happen for myself (there are those fears again). But it was a really good thing. 

And then Christmas break came. My entire family went to New Orleans for Christmas because we think that it will probably be my Grandpa's last. I was not exactly looking forward to this, as I knew it would be somewhat of a somber trip. My Grandpa has alzheimers and has been steadily declining in health, increasingly over the last year (you can read more about my last visit here). I don't get to see him often and so every time I do, it's kind of a shock to see what condition he is currently in. He's had a stroke since the last time I saw him and so now he doesn't really talk anymore. He can't walk so he has to be pushed around in a wheelchair and I'm pretty sure he didn't recognize me about 90% of the time. We spent Christmas day with him but I don't think he had any comprehension of what was going on. He just kind of sits in his wheelchair all day and gazes around with this bewildered look on his face. I tried to enjoy my time, but that trip was pretty heavy on my heart. 

But the break was nice, it gave me some time to reflect and gather myself. Whenever Eliza went back to school, I started working again and made goals for the New Year which was really nice. I took a lot of time to re-prioritize and figure out what exactly I wanted to accomplish. I've been working through all of these blocks and fears that popped up so that they don't hinder my success or passion or motivation to make my dreams come to life. I've been thinking a lot about these feelings to try and figure out where they came from and what I've determined is that most of it is a result of all the pressure I feel being put on me by people in my life, namely my parents. My life isn't "normal", I'm well aware of that, I've taken some pretty wild paths that a lot of people, (especially older, more ignorant individuals who are already stuck in their ways) don't understand and so they fear them. And they have these "expectations" of me, you know? I guess that's a typical parent thing, they want you to go to school, get a degree, land a successful (but probably horridly boring) job, make lots of money, buy a house, raise a family, blah , blah, blah. And it just gets really overwhelming to try and live up to all of that. Especially when I'm doing it all cattywampus and backwards and definitely not to their standards. 

I'm usually pretty good at doing my own thing and not letting the opinions of others effect me but I guess I just let some of those things slip through my wall the past few months. It's like inception you know, the smallest thought could just completely ruin everything. But the thing I've learned the most is that they wouldn't bother me if there wasn't some little belief inside of me that maybe it could be true. It wouldn't bother me if there wasn't some part of me that didn't believe in it myself. And that's the thing, you see there is this person in my life that I've let plant these evil thoughts inside my head. He has this uncanny ability to pray on people's insecurities and completely tear a person down. It's a wicked, awful thing and I've gotten stuck in his neurotic crossfire multiple times. But the worst part is, he is part of my family. He is someone I (well kind of) trust and care about and that I've let become an influential part of my life. 

But when he recently attacked me and told me that I needed to grow up and get a real job and a real house, I knew I couldn't take it anymore. I was so proud that I stood up to this person but at the same time, it was still extremely hurtful to know that this person truly believed all of the things he was saying about my life. Anyways, I don't want to blab on about my family drama but long story short, I ultimately decided that this person is no longer entitled to a place in my life because I believe I deserve to be treated better than that, especially by people that claim to love me. And so that brings me to the New Year! Instead of letting these negative thoughts and perceptions dictate my life, I am working tirelessly on just loving myself. I know what I believe and I can no longer let these fears distort that. 

I don't want to blame others for my problems though. Obviously, they are my problems, I shouldn't have let them form in the first place. I shouldn't let others dictate my emotions and skew my beliefs. But it's an evil thing to go after someone in that kind of way, especially someone you "care" about. It's abuse and I know I deserve to be treated better than that. I deserve to have loving, understanding, and supportive people and my life. It's my right as a person and I won't demean myself by associating with a person that doesn't respect me enough to treat me the way I ought to be. 

So this year, my biggest goal is self-love. I don't know how or even at what point I stopped believing in myself and letting people like that effect me but I do know that it's going to change. This year I'm going to love myself completely and unconditionally. This year I'm going to keep chasing after my dreams, no matter how far-fetched they may seem to someone else, and I'm going to make them all come alive. This year I'm going to trust in my beliefs, trust in my passion, and trust in my direction, I know I am going to do great things. This year I'm not going to let others berating and judgments twist my intentions or obscure my path, I'm going to follow my heart and know I am doing what is right for me. This year I'm going to be happy and full of faith and confidence and be grateful for all of the wonderful things in my life, all of the amazing accomplishments I've made. I'm going to surround myself with all of the beautiful people that love me and support me. And I'm going to have greater experiences than I could ever imagine. 

This is my year. I can feel it! 

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Where I'm At

Hey guys. I know it's been a while, my posts have definitely been far and few between. Every time I try to get back at it, I just fall off the wagon again. I've just been in a weird.... place lately. Now that we're done or practically done with the house, I've been trying to figure out where to go or what to do next. And it's kind of scary. I've been so focused and devoted to finishing the house for over a year and a half now, to be done..... it makes me feel kind of lost and off-track.

So this is where I'm at. 

I'm trying to pick up my business again. I've been really reevaluating everything, taking out products that aren't doing well or that aren't quite right and making a really solid product line so that I can figure out how to make this thing work. I've been taking it slow, I really want to make sure everything is just right. But again, it's kind of scary. The tiny home project seemed like such a big task but in the end, we didn't need anyone else's approval to succeed or get it done. But it's so different with my business. I completely rely on other people to be successful. I rely on my customers, wholesalers, and consigners for my business to be doing well and that pressure is really getting to me. I suppose the lesson here is that I shouldn't concentrate on other people's opinions and just worry about how I feel about my business, what I think is the right choice. But it's a lot easier said than done. I mean, other people matter too right? So how do I make sure I'm satisfying everyone else while staying true to myself? 

That and I've been having a few ups and downs lately. With life in general. Just trying to find a balance with everything and feel like I actually have my shit together. 

I'm trying to move forward and get excited about making things again but there's a lot of fear that I still need to work through. I guess it's just a lot of uncertainty and I don't know... lack of faith in myself? Instead of being excited about this new beginning like I usually would be, I'm just scared and overwhelmed. It's new to me, this fear, this apprehension and doubt, and to be completely honest, it's kind of freaking me out. 

Today has been a rough day though. I'm sleep deprived, under carbed, and my best friend just moved to New York (like literally today) and it's been kind of hard for me. 

Hopefully the next week will be better though. I'm excited for a big market coming up that's getting my butt into gear with making things and all. I think it will bring a lot of good things for me, emotionally and physically, including a little Christmas $$ so I can start thinking about gifts! I'm just now realizing how soon that's going to be coming around and my brain is gearing up with all sorts of ideas on things to make! 

Gosh, I didn't intend for this post to drag on for so long! But I just wanted to get that out. I feel like I've had a lot on my plate and blogging just hasn't been a priority. I need some time to go out and make things happen for myself I guess. I can't make any promises on when I'll be back to blogging but I don't think this is an end of any kind. I love blogging too much to let it go for too long. 

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