Healthy & Happy

Ever noticed how you drag after a weekend of eating fried food and indulging in a few more alcoholic beverages than you normally do? I certainly do, and I’m the first to notice when I’ve gained even a single pound. Eating healthy takes more work and lots of self-discipline, but isn’t it worth it to look and feel better? I’m committing to making the change and fueling my body with what it needs to run (literally), and getting rid of the “bad” stuff. This does not mean that I actually think the wings and barbeque I had from Mac’s yesterday (yes, I had both) were bad, but they certainly aren’t the definition of clean eating.

I spent time with family yesterday after dropping my husband off at the airport and didn’t make it to the grocery store. I am planning to go this afternoon and I’m including my shopping list (Clean Eating Groceries) for you – and a meal plan for the rest of the week.

So far today, I’ve had two over-easy eggs and 1/2 of an avocado and a salad with grilled chicken, tomatoes, corn, black beans, onions and cilantro with lemon slices for the dressing. For dinner, I’m having left over ribs (thanks, Shelly & Doug) with sautéed garlic spinach and mushrooms. Since I plan on working out after work, I have a banana that I’ll have for a snack this afternoon. The grocery list is made based on what’s currently in my refrigerator and pantry, you’ll want to check your own before heading out to shop.

Here’s the rest of the week’s meal plan:

Tuesday
Breakfast: Oatmeal (if you need a recipe)
Lunch: Quinoa Salad (save the leftovers)
Snack: Apple
Dinner: Vegetable & Bean Soup (save the leftovers)

Wednesday:
Breakfast: Egg & Spinach Cup
Lunch: Vegetable & Bean Soup
Snack: Banana
Dinner: Skillet Chicken & Quinoa

Thursday:
Breakfast: Protein Shake w/ Coconut Milk
Lunch: Quinoa Salad
Snack: handful of almonds
Dinner: Herby French Lentil Salad

Friday:
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Vegetable & Bean Soup
Snack: Banana
Dinner: Grilled chicken /spinach / broccolini

Most of it is pretty self-explanatory and I’ve included recipes for those items that require more effort. If you’re not a fan of plain oatmeal, try the overnight oats recipe that I included. You’ll need a crock pot, ramekins and some time for most of these items, but it will be worth it at the end of the week when you’re already seeing a difference. Instead of waiting until after next weekend, or until the beginning of a new month (or year), why not start now?

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Where happiness lives!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we randomly saw and fell in love with a house and put an offer on it even before talking to the bank (who does that?). Well we got it, and our closing date is quickly approaching and we could not be more excited.

houseMoving gives us a chance to de-clutter before we get in the new place. Simplicity is something we both yearn for at home. The things we’ve found we’ll be okay without?: a fold up chair that hadn’t been used in 7 years (will get much more use in C+J’s house), framed artwork that no longer matches our colors (you’re welcome, mom), a futon (still up for grabs), a non-flat screen TV, 3 computers & a printer/scanner, 8 bags of clothes/sheets/blankets, tons of random picture frames (Aruba? Family? Florida?), and the rickety bookshelf I’ve had for too many years.

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to decorate a new place. My husband owned our current home when we met, so it had already been given his personal touch (in the form of a Virginia Tech room and a green kitchen). I do love the Hokies, but I’m hoping in the new house to have an office space with less maroon and orange decor. And the good news is, my husband will be traveling, so he’ll get weekly surprises when he returns home to see what I’ve accomplished!

At the top of our list for things to do/buy:

  • A new bedroom set with a king sized bed – I’m thinking the Hemnes collection from IKEA
  • A new sectional (sadly, our 10×7 sectional wouldn’t fit the right way in the new house)
  • Trees/bushes for the back fence line for privacy – I love our neighborhood but I also love privacy, plus the dogs need something to pee on!
  • 2 white rocking chairs for the front porch (I’m also patiently waiting to hear if I can have my grandfather’s glider that is so memorable from my childhood)
  • Bikes! We’re so close to everything that we can just cruise around on our bikes instead of driving and looking for parking!
  • New furniture for our darling screened in porch:

house pI know we’ll spend a ton of time on this porch, whether for morning coffee, afternoon lunch, dinner, cocktails with friends, or any number of other reasons to be out there. We are totally smitten with this aspect of our home.

I would love to hear your favorite decorating/home item sites so I can start my search for the perfect new items for our pretty little house – feel free to share in the comments!

Snow Day!

The Southeast is being pummeled with a snow/ice storm currently, but we’re making the best of it. We’ve had the biggest, fluffiest snowflakes falling around us for two days now (with some ice over night).

Day 1
Day 1

What better to do than snap some photos of this one in a lifetime (or at least once in the past 6 years) event?

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snowday3Growing up in Virginia (about 15 minutes from Virginia Tech) and both having attended school in the area, we remember snow days very well. But snow days aren’t just for kids! Go have fun with your other half (or your pooches!).

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Make snow angels, go sledding if you’ve got a good hill, take your dog outside, make snow cream (the adult version, if you please) and hot chocolate… take advantage of the snow and extra time together.

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I’m sure you can find some ideas on this board to keep you entertained while snowed in and to avoid cabin fever. What are your favorite snow day ideas?

Married in a Magazine!

In January, Carolina Bride magazine released their January/March issue and included our wedding. For those who don’t live in the Charlotte area, you can read the article online and check out the photos. We didn’t hire a wedding photographer with the plan of getting our photos in a magazine – but some do.

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Most wedding magazines are looking for the details: the creative/personal touches you put on your day. Interesting cakes or dessert bars, cute sayings or quotes, chalkboards, floral designs, inclusion of family heirlooms or trinkets, all of those make for great photos and are clearly personalized. Also, while corrected photos can be absolutely gorgeous, most magazines want photos with natural light and very little correcting.

JPRBv.St.138Some magazines will tell you exactly what they like to include. If you’re set on having your wedding featured in a magazine, be sure to check out their requirements before you sit down with your photographer for the first time. Setting an expectation up front for what you want to happen, can make the process much easier. As I mentioned in this article, sharing photos with your photographer of what you want to be captured can help them understand your style and plan for specific poses.

8ptWa.St.138Be sure to understand the magazine before setting your heart on submitting photos. Some magazines only accept photos from vendors who advertise with them, such as Carolina Bride Magazine based in Charlotte, NC. Also, they only accept photos from weddings in Charlotte or from Charlotte based couples. Southern Weddings magazine based in Chapel Hill, NC, features only Southern weddings (duh!). Making sure you have the right amount of southern will be a key to being featured in their online blog or in print. The Knot and Martha Stewart Weddings are other magazines that you could shoot for, but understand that they get a lot of submissions!

15om1u.St.138Make sure who it is that needs to submit the photos and ensure all forms are properly completed. Each magazine accepts a different number of photos, and some just want a “preview” of your wedding to see if they will consider it.

nzr2U.St.138Understanding what the magazine’s current views are will also help. If you’re submitting a DIY wedding to an upscale wedding magazine, your chances of getting accepted may be slim. The same goes if you only submit posed and corrected photos to a magazine that’s requesting candid shots, creative shots or natural shots.

OfULY.St.138Make sure to include photos from throughout the day, as well. You want some from the moment you start getting ready…

1kQlwg.St.138To the second you’re getting ready to walk out the door to head to the ceremony… 89hCj.St.138

To photos with the wedding party… 1b1lA1.St.138

Both posed and having fun… (and with matching umbrellas in case in rains)mFOZW.St.138While posed photos can be perfected with multiple shots, sometimes the candid ones are the best:

1nPika.St.138Make sure photos are taken of all the DIY items you put time and energy into:

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And those special “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” items:

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It goes without saying that you want your first dance captured from start to finish (consider how you want this to look – people in a circle around you? Semi-circle? Only you two? Do you want guests pictured at all?):

WtR8Z-1.St.138More importantly than getting magazine perfect photos, you want to make sure that the photos represent you and your husband (or wife). They should capture your day, your personalities, and be keepsakes that you want to hang in your home for the rest of your life. Getting the right mix of posed and candid shots is key, and adding in some of those fun shots with your wedding party will make you smile for years to come. DSC_6686As I’ve mentioned before (and you can see from the photos), it rained on our wedding day. We were able to get most photos done before the ceremony and then ones with everyone together afterwards in between showers. Every time we tried to go outside after the ceremony, it seemed to rain harder, so I do believe we missed out on a few shots that we would have gotten otherwise.

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Our photographer (all photos by Pixel Photo and Design) has offered to come back and capture some more shots for us – which we are debating. A) Not sure we want to get all dressed up again (rent suit, clean dress again, hair/make up) which could be upwards of $500 and B) we wouldn’t have our guests or wedding party there to participate (unless we have a 2nd wedding!). So we’ll see about a second round of wedding photos, but that’s why it’s even more important to make sure on the day of that you have all the ones that you want – and have a rain plan in your back pocket so you aren’t figuring out poses and new spots the day before the wedding.

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I did not capture all the magazines that will feature real weddings, so be sure to search for wedding magazines in your local area or region and don’t be afraid to aim high. While styled shoots can be inspirational, brides love to see real weddings, especially in their venue so they can get ideas. Share your best photos and best ideas (and go with a photographer you’ve seen featured in the magazine  if you want to up your chances) and make sure to scoop up extra magazines for your parents if you do get published!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wanderlust!

Last week, I mentioned how much my husband and I love to travel together. In our first three weeks of dating, we took a trip to the beach and the quaint town of Swansboro on North Carolina’s coast, and we visited Cleveland for a wedding (but took the opportunity to explore while there!). When we got married, we discussed our future travel plans and agreed on one BIG domestic U.S. trip a year and one BIG international trip a year. Coming up with “where” to go was the hard part.

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I created a board on Pinterest to capture all the places that I would like to visit. Italy, Colorado, Galapagos Islands, Maldives? Yes, please! While flying home from Aruba, we each made a list of 10 international and 10 domestic travel destinations and compared. Ireland was at the top of both of our lists. (Of course, travel has to be done within reason, and within your means. This pin is helpful for budgeting appropriately for travel). So, our plans for this year were AUSTIN, TX (domestic) and IRELAND/LONDON (international – and while we’re paying to fly that far, why not kill two birds with one stone?).

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Jamaica/2010

We’ve had Ireland on our bucket list for a while now and we thought this would be the year; however, with the rest of our friends getting married and buying a new house, it looks like it will be going on the back burner until 2015 (or until we win the lottery – whichever happens first). Austin was also on our list for this year and coincidentally enough, we were invited to a wedding in Austin. However, my husband is in a different wedding and will be at the bachelor party that weekend. I am majorly bummed over this one but I know we can’t do everything.

San Diego/2011
San Diego/2011

So here’s what we are doing this year: Boston, Indianapolis, Weston & Woburn (Mass), Ponte Vedra Beach (Florida), Maryland, Blacksburg, Ocean Isle Beach, Wilmington (NC), Richmond, and I’m sure a handful of other places. International probably isn’t going to happen this year between the new house and my husband’s job requiring weekly travel. I’m okay with that since we bought the cutest house ever and I’ll spend that traveling money for decorating.

Aruba/2014
Aruba/2014

However, travel is one of our “things.” It really is a big part of our life and we love those trips, whether long or short. So while we’re hunkering down and doing house things, we still need to make room in our schedule for those mini beach vacations, or spontaneous trips (ie: Alabama Shakes in Charleston), and do the things that make us happy while we work on making our new house our home.

Jekyll Island, GA/2012
Jekyll Island, GA/2012

I’d love to hear what’s on your travel bucket list – or places we should add to ours!