I Love Mondays (and Why You Should Too!)

I have a confession to make: I love Mondays! 😱

I know, it sounds crazy right? I’ve spend most of my life longing for the weekends and dreading the return of Monday. Monday means work, obligations, chores, routines, schedules, appointments, and all of the other things that we don’t necessarily look forward to as school children or as adults. There’s a reason that having a case of the “Mondays” is a thing.

This was my life for the last 30 or so years. Don’t get me wrong, typically once my Monday started and I was off to school and back with my friends, it ended up being just fine. Of the many Mondays I have been blessed with on this earth, I’m willing to bet there’s actually a decently small percentage of time that I dreaded them. Sure, I went through phases, and I most definitely had some very “Monday-feeling” Mondays, but overall I don’t think I’ve ever hated them.

Now, I don’t just tolerate them, but I actually love Mondays. I’ve managed to switch it up in my mind where quite often Monday is the best day of the week. If all goes according to plan, I went to bed at a decent hour on Sunday after a relaxing evening at home so I’m energized and ready to hit the ground running. Let me tell you, it’s truly a game changer.

Monday has the power to set up your entire week!

Do you ever notice that most of the time the type of day or attitude you have on Monday tends to carry over to the rest of your week? If you start the week grumpy, stressed, and bogged down with work and life, odds are you’re going to feel that way until Friday when the work week finally ends and you can let loose and try again next week. Take a second and and flip the script. What would your week be like if you had a spectacular Monday? You woke up energized and happy, ready to tackle the week’s tasks (both planned and unplanned) and take steps toward accomplishing all the things? What would your week be like if you started it like that? What does that ideal Monday look like for you?

Go ahead and visualize it for a minute. I’ll wait..

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Rachel Hollis x QVC Clothes Have Launched!

Love her or hate her (full disclosure, I’m one of the people that loves her), you have to admit that self-help guru (is that what I should call her?) Rachel Hollis is doing things right. She’s a 2x New York Times best-selling author, has a sold-out self-help conference, a documentary, 2 top charting Podcasts, an online morning show, online coaching, an awesome goal setting journal, and now she has her own line of clothing! As someone who is regularly encouraged and inspired by Rachel, I am thrilled for her and her success. It’s really cool to see a woman dominating in her industry.

Because I’m a fan and a blogger, I felt it was necessary to share Rachel’s latest endeavor with all of you. If you’re looking for a few new things to add to your wardrobe, perhaps this is it. Rachel designed a line of clothes meant to be cute while being exceptionally comfortable. As I sit here in yoga pants and a fitted T-shirt, this wardrobe philosophy speaks to me on a personal level. From a new take on the good old t-shirt to a dress that doubles as a kimono, Rachel has a practical line of clothing to offer the everyday woman in a wide range of sizes (XXS-3x).

Is there anything you might be interested in picking up? I’m personally debating between which size to get the adorable sweater & with one of her camis to go underneath it. I like things a little more fitted, and since this line is super flowy, I’m thinking I’ll need to size down. Let me know in the comments if you’re planning on getting anything from Rachel Hollis X QVC!

My Workout Playlist

Since music is such a huge part of my life, one of my goals for the month was to put together a few playlists to share with everyone. Today, I’m sharing my Spotify playlist of songs I love to listen to while working out. Some of the songs are uplifting, most of them have a great tempo, and some are just plain fun.

What other playlists would you like to see from me? What songs would you add to this one?

The Friday 5 | April 26, 2019

Why hello there blog, my dear friend. I’m sorry I am not a good blogger and have been neglecting you so much for so long. I promise I am actually trying to rebuild our relationship. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s going to take some time, but I think we’ll get back to the place we once were and maybe even be stronger than before. I promise. 💗

1. A Brand New Computer

My husband is an amazing man. His personal computer has been failing him for a long time, and he kept talking about getting a new computer and this week he finally did…sort of. Since he really only uses his personal computer to do our finances and to maybe browse the internet, he actually decided that he would take my 5-year-old MacBook Pro and I would be the one to get the shiny new one. I mean, who actually does that?!

So here I am, listening to the keys click-clacking away as I type on my new MacBook Pro. Stronger memory, storage, and processor to make my job of creating video and blog content easier and faster. I’m not going to lie, the fact I really enjoy the feel of this different keyboard is one of the things that inspired me to sit down and start typing out a blog post this morning. Watch out world! I feel like this new computer will help inspire me to get things going even harder.

2. A Weird Struggle For a Child-Free Woman

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7 Spring Must Haves

Springtime has finally arrived and it is glorious. Granted, it’s still a tad chilly here in Chicagoland, but the sun is shining and there is no snow on the ground at the moment so I will take that as a win. To me, spring means freshness and renewal, as well as a time to prepare for summer. This got me thinking about some of the products I tend to use or fashion items I tend to look for in preparation for the warmer months. Since I found (or already use) some pretty awesome things, I figured I’d share some of them with you.

Fashion

You all know I’m not huge on fashion blogging, nor am I really a fashionista in any sense of the word. I love things that are comfy and easy to move in. I consider it a bonus if they look super cute. My fashion picks are two things I recently aquired and love, and one thing I’d just love to have.

First, let’s talk about my “would love to have” item. I feel like a good looking, clean cut and flattering denim jacket is a great piece for spring. I’m really getting into the basic T with a fashion jacket over it look, and having a nice denim jacket would be the perfect addition to anyone’s spring wardrobe. This jacket from Macy’s is super cute and gives great lines and is decently affordable (and as of 4/12 it’s on sale).

I saw this amazingly bright chrome t-shirt from White House Black Market online and ever since I saw it I could not stop thinking about it. As I said before, basic tees are something I wear on the regular, and a lot of my tees are dressed up ones with a little bit of sparkle. I love all things glittering and shiny, so I needed to see this shirt in person. The other day, I went to the store and tried it on. It’s everything I ever needed in a chrome colored t-shirt! Flattering, shiny, and not see through. Epic win! Even better, WHBM was having a 40% off the entire store sale, so the shirt landed in a more reasonable price range. Needless to say I now own it and can’t wait to wear it out.

Finally, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you about my latest purchase from Grace & Lace. I bought their super stretch zip up midi shorts and they’re basically the best pair of shorts I’ve ever owned. I had them in time for my latest trip to Florida, so I was able to give them a solid test run. They’re stretchy all over, including an elastic band in the back which helps keep things super comfy. The length is perfect: long enough to not be showing your booty, but not so long that you feel like you’re in Bermuda shorts. They come in several denim shades as well as new colored pairs as well. I currently own the olive green and the mid wash denim, and I just ordered a pair in black. I will likely acquire most, if not all colors eventually. I wear a medium, but they are clingy enough (not constricting though. They’re perfect!) where I know that if my body dropped a size, they’d still fit fine. This will be my most comfortable and stylish shorts season ever!

Beauty

My first spring beauty choice is my all time favorite spring nail polish: OPI You’re Such A Budapest. For several years now it has been my go-to springtime purple shade. It’s light and fresh, and I truly feel like it’s a purple shade that can go with almost anything spring has to offer. I wear it all the time during the spring months and I will continue to do so until OPI stops making it.

Sticking with the pretty purple theme, I have been loving Stila’s Glitter and Glow eyeshadow in the shade “Plum On.” I own several of these shadows, and while they’re all amazing, this deeper (but not too deep) purple shade is the perfect pop of color to was across my lid. It offers me my favorite color and a little bit of sparkle, which basically makes it my perfect eye shadow.

In the warmer months, I love using a lip gloss with a hint of color. I recently discovered the brand Lano and am obsessed with the two lip products I already own by them (a strawberry lip treatment and their original ointment), so when I saw they had these pigmented glosses, I knew I had to get them. While I don’t have them yet, my Ulta 20% off coupon just came the other day, which means I will own them soon. If they’re anything like the Lano products I already own, then I’m certain I’ll love these too.

Finally, I think a spring refresh means something new and awesome to your skincare routine. One of the best serums I’ve ever used in my life is the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. This magic potion is packed with good for the skin ingredients that make my skin soft, smooth, and I swear it even helps clear things up a bit. It’s one of my all-time favorite facial serums, and I’m pretty sure it’s perfect for all skin types, making it an ideal universal suggestion as a new step in your skincare routine. Have you tried this serum?

What are some of your spring time must-haves?

Brianna’s Favorite Chili Recipe

Chili is one of my favorite comfort foods. I am very particular about my chili because I don’t like spicy foods, and neither does my mother, which means that if my father wanted to cook chili that the whole family would eat he had to come up with a flavorful recipe that didn’t rely on heat for flavor. He started with my grandmother’s recipe and made some changes, then eventually, my sister took dad’s recipe and modified it (aka made it even better…sorry, dad), and from there I took her recipe and turned it into this. So what started with my grandma has evolved into one of my all-time favorite WW friendly recipes. I only wish she was around to try my version of it.

This recipe makes a stellar bowl of chili. It is super easy, filled with good for you things (except the brown sugar, but hey, no one is perfect), and fits perfectly into Weight Watchers Points Plus and Freestyle plans. I truly hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Diva and the Divine’s Turkey Chili

A delicious bowl of comfort food that will leave you feeling full and satisfied for only a few WW Points, regardless of what plan you’re following.
1 Cup is 3 PP and 2 SP
1.5 Cups is 5 PP and 4 SP
Course: Main Course
Keyword: chili
Servings: 12 Cups
Author: divaandthedivine

Ingredients

  • 2-3 diced Bell Pepper (diced) 2 or 3 peppers based on preference, diced to preferred size
  • 2 Onions (diced)
  • 1 lb 97% lean Ground Turkey Can use other meats but points might change
  • 2 cans Black Beans
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 4 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Minced Garlic Add more or less depending on preference

Instructions

  • 1. Dice peppers and onions to the desired size
    2. Brown meat in a pan. *Full disclosure: I use 97% lean ground turkey and drain the extra fat after it has been cooked and I call it a 0 Smart Point food. If you want to follow things specifically by the book on WW Freestyle either use 99% lean meat or recalculate the recipe using 97% lean. I did use the 97% to calculate Points Plus*
    3. Put everything in a slow cooker. Stir, and turn on high.
    4. Cook until veggies are cooked down and the chili’s consistency is to your liking. I typically cook it on high for 3-4 hours, then turn it on low for another 2-3 hours.
    5. *OPTIONAL* If the chili needs thickening, corn starch is a great option. Mix a small amount of cornstartch (1 tbsp MAX) with enough water that it mixes well. Pour mixture into chili while stiring consistently, and continue to stir for a minute or two. Then let it sit and simmer for 10 minutes. This should thicken your chili.
    6. Serve as desired  

5 Things I’m Doing To Go After My Goals

I’m currently sitting at my local Starbucks at 3:04pm determined to get this Friday 5 post up today, Friday. One of my goals for the month of March is to get out of the house to work at a cafe or something at least once a week. Winning! I also wasn’t sure what my “5” should be for todays Friday 5, so I sat and sipped my latte and started thinking about life lately, and I’ve been working my booty off on several things to get the metaphorical ball rolling down hill towards achieving some major goals in the hopefully not too distant future, so let’s talk about that. Here are 5 things I’m currently doing to truly go after my goals instead of just talking about going after them instead.

1. Embracing Who I Really Am

I recently re-read the book The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin, and this time around it was a game changer. When it comes to personality quizzes, I am one of those people that will sometimes try to answer based on who i want to be instead of what the most truthful answer actually is. After getting completely fed up with how frequently I let myself down when it comes to getting things done and achieving goals, I decided it was time to re-visit this subject and actually be honest about who I am. It turns out that I am an Obliger, aka the type of person that needs external accountability to achieve any goal or task. Once I really thought about it, this made perfect sense.

I’m good at making sure my home is clean, there are always groceries, and I often will get destracted from other work in order to do housewife tasks that I notice should get done. Why? Because I know it will please my hardworking husband to come home to these things being done. I am also very diligent about showing up to the gym whenever I have a Bodypump or pilates class to go to. Why? I feel some weird obligation to the instructors.

Days that I don’t have a class and can go to the gym on my own time are the days I will literally spend hours arguing with myself over if I should actually go or if I can talk myself out of it. I have no one else to keep me accountable, therefore I don’t do what I’m supposed to do. For two months I have had “Diva and the Divine finances” on my to do list. Did I do anything about it? No. Instead, I got them done only when my husband said he needed them becuase he scheduled an appointment with our tax guy. Once someone else needed me to do it, it got done in 2 days.

As frustrating as this trait is to me, I’m starting to embrace it rather than change it, and the results are already starting to show. Finally accepting who I am at my core instead of trying to change my core has helped me use my tendency to my advantage instead of having it be a negative thing. I mean, I’m all about self-acceptance, and I guess this is a part of it I’ve never thought about before. This will be life-changing. Stay tuned for more as I navigate my way through this.

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March 2019 Goals

Starting the month with a fresh set of goals is one of my favorite things. There’s something that I find incredibly empowering about new goals to check off a list every month, and while I don’t always get them all done, it’s still a great feeling to have ideas a plans laid out. For 2019 I am using the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets as my goal setting planner and I have been loving it! Not only do the Powersheets do an amazing job of helping me figure out what my goals should be to begin with, but they also have monthly goal tending sheets that are laid out to help you plan your goals in 3 ways: Monthly action items, weekly action items, and daily tasks.

This month I have two types of goals to tell you about. In this post we will talk about my tending sheet, but since the first day of the Christian season of Lent is right around the corner, I have some specific goals I’m setting for that 40 day period as well. Let’s dive in.

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5 Things I’m Excited About Right Now | The Friday 5 | 2/22/19

1. My New Space Heater

It took me all winter long (and 3 years of living here…), but I finally purchased a space heater for my home office, and it’s been amazing. Just yesterday I figured out the true trick to keeping my office warm: space heater on and the door closed. I only do this when I’m home, of course. I love having my desk by a big window so I can get natural light in my office, but what I didn’t realize when picking out where my furniture would go was that the giant window basically acts like a vacuum for all heat, which means that anything below freezing basically promises that my hands will be frozen within 5 minutes of sitting at that desk ( one of the joys of having a nerve disease). Anyway, this little heater has been well worth the $35 I paid for it

2. Chocolate Covered Strawberry!?

Built Bars released a new flavor for Valentine’s Day: Strawberry!! For those of you that don’t know, Built Bars are the latest protein bar to hit the WW Instagram trend, and for a good reason: they’re awesome. Truthfully, some people can’t stand them, but I think they’re an amazing tasting bar. They coated in real chocolate which means they feel like a dessert substitute while packing 15 g protein into a bar that is only 3 points, both on Points Plus and on Freestyle.

These bars sort of have the chewy texture of a chocolate covered marshmallow when they’re at room temperature. I prefer to keep mine in the fridge so the get a little chewier. They’re perfect for me at that temperature and I love them. Strawberry is my favorite flavor of pretty much anything, so I can’t wait to get my hands on these.

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The Friday 5 | 2/15/19

Good morning and happy Friday! We made it through yet another week of bi-polar weather. This week contained the holiday of love that people love or love to hate, Valentine’s Day! Who is hitting the stores for the deep discounts on all the chocolate?? Anyway, on to today’s 5!

1. My Valentine’s Day

My husband and I had zero plans to celebrate this day of romance together for 2 reasons:

  1. He’s been working like a mad man. Even though he’s working locally (which isn’t the norm), most days this week he has gotten home after I’ve gone to bed and been up before me in the morning. There was no way we’d cross paths on Valentine’s Day
  2. We have so many celebrations in quick succession that we opted to move Valentine’s day to the middle of summer so we can make some random day extra special.

This means that the day of love was going to be all about me loving myself. I did do some work, including publishing yesterday’s blog post: 14 Ways To Be Your Own Valentine (Just because the day is over doesn’t mean these things don’t still apply). I treated myself to a much needed pedicure early in the afternoon, and then came back home to do other things (aka more work) until it was time to go to the gym for my usual Thursday evening Bodypump class. Our instructor (my friend, Nichole) made comments about how we (the class) are each other’s Valentines. The ranking goes: ourselves, our fellow pumpers, then our spouses. Based on the amount of time I’d be spending with my spouse, she wasn’t wrong. 😂While I was at the gym I was informed by FedEx that the special treat I ordered for myself to arrive that day, Baked by Melissa cupcakes, were delayed and they would not be there in time for me to enjoy them. This infuriated me, so plan B ended up being Portillo’s chocolate cake, so I stopped there after my workout to grab my favorite salad and some cake before heading home.

While in transit, my husband informed me he was on his way home, which was a huge surprise. I knew it wasn’t to see me though. He was exhausted and had hit his limit. After I ate dinner, took a shower, and got my cozy PJs on, I cuddled with hubby for a whopping 10 minutes before he fell asleep at 9:30pm. Poor guy. The romance was real, let me tell you. 😂 Luckily, I don’t need a special day to encourage the love in my marriage. We regularly do special things for each other and I know I’m loved each and every day. So, after hubby fell asleep, Gracie and I hung out and cuddled while I enjoyed Portillo’s chocolate cake and edited today’s video. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

Incase you’re wondering, Baked By Melissa gave me a full refund on my order because it didn’t show up when it was guaranteed to. Amazing customer service and if I enjoy the product, I will definitely use them again.

2. Winter Scalp Like WOAH

Does anyone else have killer winter scalp issues this year? All of these sub 0 temperatures and the crazy bi-polar weather has my scalp itching and flaking like crazy. I know this isn’t a glamorous topic, but it’s real life, my friends. If you suffer from the same issues, what do you do to help? Outside of dandruff shampoo, I’ve tried several things, including purchasing this highly rated scalp serum, which helped a little, but not as much as I was hoping. As we speak I upped my game and have a homemade coconut oil + essential oils scalp treatment on, which seems to have helped a bit. It means I’ll be going to the gym with greasy hair, but whatever. I also read that you can make a DIY scalp scrub with epsom salts and coconut oil, both of which is sitting in my house as we speak. That’s a lot cheaper than one of the big deal scrubs, and I can make it at home?? Sign me up! I’m open to all other suggestions. Let me know!

3. Who are you and what did you do with MY Gracie??

For the last two days, Gracie hasn’t been shy about laying on my lap. This is a HUGE deal. My dog doesn’t cuddle. My dog doesn’t even want to obey the command “come” or have anything to do with me unless she is in the mood to play. Yesterday she actually fought her way onto my lap while my computer was there, so she had to sit awkwardly because I was working. Anyone with a small dog? If yours didn’t like to cuddle when they were small, how old were they before they became cuddlers? I’m loving this new change, but I fear it’s a fluke. I got Gracie to be a mommy’s girl and a snuggler, and instead I got a daddy’s girl who hates cuddling..until now??

4. Made For More

You all know my obsession with Rachel & Dave Hollis. Guess what! The Hollis Co’s documentary of the Rise conference is available on Amazon Prime! It’s an incredible documentary that will leave you feeling inspired and fired up about life, and I highly recommend you check it out. I might rewatch it tonight while my husband is at his guys night out at our church.

5. Let It Go

I’m just going to leave this here. Are we excited about this?? I can’t decide, but I think I’m excited. What are your thoughts?