My Top 10 Weight Watchers Friendly Items @ Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s ranks pretty high up there on most people’s list of favorite grocery stores, and I’m no different. I often say that Trader Joe’s is my happy place. There are so many food offerings at decent prices for the outstanding quality you get. Often times they also have unique food options, which makes going to Trader Joe’s more fun than just heading to the Walmart down the road.

While Trader Joe’s had amazing food selections across the board, what I am most pleased with is how many items I find on Trader Joe’s shelves that are Weight Watchers friendly. I have an entire list of favorite things that I am sure to purchase pretty much every time I’m in that store. Since the rollout of WW Freestyle, a handful of my favorite items have decreased in Smart Points value, making it even more amazing than before.

Here are my top 10 Weight Watchers friendly items from Trader Joe’s.

Everything but the Bagel Seasoning:
If you shop at Trader Joe’s odds are you have tried this miracle spice given to us by the TJ’s gods. This magic creation adds everything bagel flavor to anything you put it on. Since I’m someone who has never eaten (more wanted to) an everything bagel in her life, I was skeptical as to if I’d like it, but since it was all the rage, I figured I’d give it a try. I am HOOKED. This blend of sesame and poppy seeds, garlic, onion, and sea salt adds an incredible flavor to pretty much anything. I use it in my eggs, my mac n cheese, on top of roasted squash, and anything that needs some extra flare. It takes things to a whole new level and I’m utterly obsessed. For 0 smart points and at only $1.99, I restock several bottles at a time because this is something my pantry will never be without. Read more

4 Lessons I’ve Learned in 4 Years of Marriage

It’s hard for me to believe that 4 years ago today I walked down the aisle in my church to marry my best friend: a man who I met so very randomly on a free dating website due to him just happening to search what kind of women might be in the Chicagoland area because maybe someday he plans to go to grad school there (spoiler alert: he didn’t).

Under no logical circumstances should mister and I have Found each other, and I’m sure if it wasn’t for the internet, this Chicago gal and Florida boy would have never crossed paths, but God clearly had another plan. When I received a message from him in my OKCupid inbox, I decide to write back simply because he took the time to write a legitimate message and show he read my profile rather than just sending a “wanna hook up?” message, which I got far too many of. Little did I know that writing back would be the beginning of my relationship with the man I would marry. It’s crazy how things like that work out, isn’t it?

Even though we’ve only known each other since summer of 2011, it feels like no time and a lifetime all at once. I can barely comprehend life before him and I can’t imagine what life would be without my husband by my side. I guess that’s a sign that things are going pretty well, huh?

In these 4 years of marriage, through crazy adventures, moves, job changes, and challenges there are a few things I’ve learned about marriage and the relationship I have with my husband. Read more

My 2018 Word of the Year

A big trend that is taking the New Years Resolution setters by storm is the “word of the year.” The basic idea behind it is that you pick one word to sum up what you want to feel or achieve that year.  It’s an interesting idea that adds a new level to the normal annual setting of goals and resolutions.  

Last year my word was “flourish.” While I did establish that flourish was the word to keep in mind, I did not do a good job of making it a point to ensure I was, in fact, flourishing. Sure, I did lose a few pounds, but not nearly as much as I intended. I also successfully trained our little puppy, learned a lot about myself and my relationship with my husband, and constantly set little goals, hoping to achieve them. I also did a great job of not putting together action plans, being completely unmotivated, making poor choices when it came to how I spent some of my time and managed to accomplish so few of the large goals I had my eyes on for 2017. Clearly, while my intentions were good (aren’t they always?), my execution was not, and therefore I do not feel like I flourished in 2017 at all. 

This year I oped for a word that will hopefully solve all of the issues I had with getting things done in years past. My word for 2018 is: Read more

Cozy Home Gift Guide 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, my friends, and that means it’s time for us to forget that Thanksgiving is even a holiday and skip ahead to Christmas shopping.  This year I’m actually trying to get a few gift guides on the blog, and here’s my first one.

As a housewife, blogger, and certified homebody, I spend 90% of my time at home, so I feel that I have the expertise to create a gift guide perfect for the woman (or man) that spends a lot of time in her cozy little part of the world.  I love having things around that make my home feel warm and cozy, and I think this list covers several different bases and price points.  Let’s jump right in.

Interchangeable Letter Board 

This is a less expensive gift on the list, but it’s a great addition to the home, especially for the blogger or Instagram addict in your life.  If I had one, you had better believe it would make a regular appearance in photos.  It’s a great place to put your favorite inspirational quote or Bible verse, or even a little note to your husband.  They come in a bunch of colors and you can find letters for them in all kinds of places.   Read more

31 Thoughts on Being 31

Happy Birthday to me!  Today I’m 31 years old, and quite frankly it feels no different from any other day or year.  As a blogger, I feel like there should be some post about my birthday, so I decided to do 31 thoughts on 31.  I actually meant to do a 30 on 30 last year but didn’t get around to it, so here we are.  31 thoughts, facts about me, and statements on life, the past year, and being 31 years old.

31 Thoughts On Being 31

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November 2017 Goals

Well, it’s November.  NOVEMBER!  I can’t even handle it.  The start of the holiday season, my birthday month, and this year, the start of a whole lot of travel for Erik and I.  Life is going to get a little crazy, so in order to reach a few of this month’s goals, I’m going to have to work myself pretty hard, but since I have lofty goals, that’s totally okay!  Here are my goals for this month. 

Health and Fitness

Get into a new weight “decade”: I don’t actually know what you call it when you enter the next 10 lbs on the scale, but we on Instagram have been calling it a decade, so we’re going to go with that.  In a perfect world, I would be in the 150s by the time Erik and I leave for our holiday travels, which is in the middle of the month.  That’s a 1.5lb loss each of my next 3 weigh-ins. Since we don’t live in a perfect world, my hope is that I can wrangle enough self-control while I’m in Florida (which is always difficult for me) to stay mostly on track and hopefully end the month in a new weight decade. Bonus points to me if I can pull it off before we go, but I’m not holding my breath.

400,000 Steps:  It sounds like a crazy number, but this past month I ended up with 406k without even aiming for a large step goal.  This goal is just to ensure that I stay moving and active, even with all of the challenges the second half of the month with bring.  Read more

Current Book Wishlist | Fall 2017 |Brianna’s Bookshelf

I would love to say that I’m a reader and love books just as much as one of my favorite Disney princesses, the lovely and intelligent Belle, but alas, it’s still not so.  I’m a work in progress, and while I’m going to have to do quite a bit of reading to reach my goal of 25 books read by the end of 2017, I’m up for the challenge. 

One of the ways to get me to read is to put a book in front of me that I simply can’t put down.  I’ve never been a regular reader, but I also grew up in the generation that had to wait for the next Harry Potter book to be released, and you had better believe that I pretty much blocked off my calendar the moment I got my hands on the latest J. K. Rowling masterpiece and plowed through that sucker as quickly as I could. In hindsight, I probably should have paced myself a bit better so I had a longer timeframe to enjoy the magic that comes from reading Harry Potter for the first time, but I couldn’t help it.  The same thing happened to me as I was reading the Hunger Games series. I couldn’t put them down.

Becuase I have this desire to fall so deeply into a book that I would much rather read than turn on the TV, I always keep a wishlist of books that I think will do just that.  Lately, there have been a handful of books that have popped up on my radar that I’m dying to get my hands on, and I’m pretty positive they’ll be books I can’t wait to sit down and enjoy.  Here’s what’s on my current wishlist.

Voice Lessons: A Sisters Story by Cara Mentzel

Don’t let the spelling of the last name fool you. Cara Mentzel is indeed Idina Menzel’s younger sister.  Everyone who knows me personally is fully aware of the Idina Menzel obsession I had when I became crazy obsessed with Wicked.  You all know her as the voice of Elsa from Frozen. While I adored her talent and voice, I couldn’t decide if I ever wanted to meet her because I felt like she comes across as a bit of a witch, if you know what I mean.  I had no idea this book was coming until I saw an amazing interview on the Youtube channel with both of the sisters on it.  Watching Idina and Cara talk about this book together actually made me feel a lot better about who Idina is as a person.  Call me crazy, but that kind of stuff is super important to me when I look at what celebrities to admire and look up to.  Anyway, the book!  This book is Cara’s story about essentially growing up in Idina’s shadow.  I am dying for a look into the home of the Men(t)zel sisters, and the book is supposedly full of great insight and amazing photos.  I can’t wait to get my hands on this and devour it cover to cover. 

Eat, Lift, Thrive by Sohee Lee

This book is written by a trainer I follow on Instagram.  She’s this crazy fit woman who is stronger than I will ever be. Her Instagram feed is full of amazing information for people looking to get leaner, healthier, and improve their overall fitness.  While I am a Weight Watcher through and through, this doesn’t mean that I am closed minded to other ideas of how to achieve weight loss and optimal fitness. I have seen so many amazing comments and reviews on Eat, Lift, Thrive, that I know it will be worth a read, even if there is not a single mention of Weight Watchers or a Smart Point in sight. Sohee discusses her Living Lean guidelines to help your diet work around you live (and not vice versa), how to overcome challenges, and her favorite strength training moves to help you reach your goals. I feel like this guide will be a perfect addition to my collection.

How A Body Should Be? by Bethany Maloche

This book is one I have to have for a completely different reason than the others.  Bethany has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, just like I do, and this book is her coming of age story about living with CMT.  As a young woman who has done the same thing as Bethany (grown up with CMT and managed to navigate life with it), I would love to hear someone else’s perspective on life with CMT.  I can’t tell you anything more about the story since I haven’t read it yet, but I’m willing to bet it is worth every penny and so much more.  If you want to know more about life with CMT, you should pick it up too. 

That’s it for my book wishlist this fall.  Would you be interested in an ongoing series involving books I’m wanting to read or reviews on books I have read?  Let me know!  Do you have any suggestions for books I should be reading?


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September 2017 Favorites

It’s hard to believe that September has come and gone already!  I actually sent an email out to my family telling them they need to start thinking about (and sending me) their Christmas lists.  Christmas!!  It’s crazy how fast this year is flying by.  

September was a busy month, as most months for the rest of 2017 promise to be.  While I was spending a lot of time running around like a mad woman, I did have enough time to discover and fall in love with some new products.  This month we’ve got some beauty stuff right alongside a few food and health related items.  Every single product is something I’ve been using and loving constantly throughout the month, and I feel the need to share so you can enjoy them too!

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45 Ways To Reward Yourself Without Food

I’m not going to lie to you.  I love earning rewards. I am most definitely motivated to get things done by the fact I know there is a special treat waiting for me at the finish line.  It doesn’t matter if the task is getting a blog post up, getting the house cleaning done, or hitting another 5 lbs lost, I will always do a better and more efficient job with my tasks if I know there is something I’m working toward.  I know, getting the thing done should be reward enough, but I’m a huge sucker for positive reinforcement, and lately, I’ll do anything to help me avoid procrastination and get things done.  
If you know me, you know that weight loss is one of my long-term, big deal goals.  For many people (myself included) it isn’t uncommon to have the reward for a job well done be a food related treat.  While this is great in theory (and some days it’s totally worth it), when one of your major goals is weight loss and healthy living, rewarding yourself with food is as counterproductive as it gets.  If you reward yourself with a big old piece of cake and ice cream for seeing a loss on the scale this week… it just doesn’t make sense!  That being said, I want to have plenty of options for how to reward myself without adding to my calorie intake, so I came up with a whole list of ways to treat yourself without food.  

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September 2017 Goals

Happy September! I’m so excited September is here, as it means the start of all of my favorite things.  Kids are back in school (I don’t have kids, but when I run errands it means there will be less of them running around the shops!), it’s the start of sweater weather, Leaves candles are easily available at Bath and Body Works, and pumpkin spice is popping up everywhere.  It’s basically my little slice of heaven. 
Even though I am no longer affected by back to school season, I still really enjoy the fresh start behind it, and I feel the need to take full advantage of the spirit of the season.  I really want to get better at setting (and publicly declaring) monthly goals for accountability purposes.  Here’s what I’m working on this month. 
Break my weight loss wall:  As you well know, I have been stuck going up and down the same 4 lbs for what seems like ages now, and I haven’t been able to get lower than 166lbs.  This month is it. It’s the time that I bust through the wall and start showing the scale who’s boss. Bonus, as of this morning I am only 2lbs away from succeeding. Bring it ON!

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