6 Ways To Make Your Living Space Feel More Luxurious

I love things that feel pretty, fancy, and a bit glam. As someone who works from home (therefore spending most of my time there), it’s important to me that my living space feels beautiful and luxurious. This is easier said than done for two reasons. 1) I’m on a budget which means high priced items to make my home prettier aren’t always the priority when it comes to spending money, and 2) I live with my husband, who doesn’t care about “pretty” nearly as much as I do. Neat, tidy, and clean, sure, but by no means is my husband a man that cares if the living space feels luxe and beautiful. Let’s be real: the only reason we have upgraded some of our furniture from the old busted leather couches is got as hand me downs after college is because of me and my desire to live like a married couple with a nice home rather than the hand me down bachelor pad my husband had not so carefully fully curated by the time I met him.

While buying new furniture or appliances always feels glamorous and makes home feel a bit fancier (at least that’s how I felt when we said goodbye to those beaten up leather couches and replaced them with what you see in the photos), it’s definitely not budget friendly to make such a purchase every time you want to feel like you’ve had an upgrade. The truth is you don’t need to spend a fortune or buy something large to up the luxe feel of your living space. In fact, I firmly believe that it’s the little details, the small afterthoughts are the things can make a huge impact on your space. I have a few tiny details you can add (or upgrade) to your space to help you feel a little more luxe, even if you’re just curled up on the couch watching some tv. Read more

10 Things That Happen When You Eat Healthy

A healthy lifestyle is something that many of us strive to achieve on a regular basis. Year after year, New Years resolutions are made to go to the gym, eat healthier and cleaner, to lose weight, quit smoking, cut processed food, or to somehow change our body’s current competition and situation making life better and healthier. Many of us want to do it, but a lot of us haven’t quite figured out how. In an effort to help inspire some change, I want to tell you about 10 (not-so) crazy things that happened to my body when I’m focused on eating healthy.

Now, does this mean I am 100% on plan all the time? Of course not. Just the other day I enjoyed 2 delicious slices of Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza, a Chicago classic, and while it’s not healthy, it was delicious and I enjoyed every bite. A healthy lifestyle means you’ve found a balance between eating healthy most of the time and figuring out how to work your indulgences into your plan in moderation. 

That being said, when I’m eating well most of the time, my body tells me, and there are some crazy things that happen when I’m on track.  Read more

April 2018 Goals

April is here! Spring is trying to make an appearance (although it’s not really doing a great job here in the Chicagoland area), which makes me so happy. I am longing to be outside and not wear a winter coat. 

Let’s talk about goals for the month of April. First, let’s look at progress on my 2018 goals.

Hit Goal Weight: As of today I’m down 4.8 lbs this year. I know slow and steady wins the race, but I currently feel like I’m barely in the race. For the month of April I’m switching gears and I’m saying farewell to WW Freestyle (which I wrote an entire post on) and switching to Points Plus. I had a lot of success on Points Plus and lost 57 lbs back in 2011-12, so I’m hoping my switch back will help get the ball rolling.

10,000 Youtube Subscribers: 8,840. I’m getting there and feeling great about it! 

10,000 Instagram Followers: 3,580. Growth here is a lot slower, but it’s growing nonetheless. I make it a point to post at least once a day and try to engage with others when I can. Help a girl out and follow me on Instagram. 

Read 25 books: 4.5/25.  

Project 50 pan: 17/50. This is SUCH a slow process, but I have to say I have spent a lot less money this year than in years past. All in all, a project pan was an excellent idea.

April Goals

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Saying Farewell To Freestyle… For Now…

I know. This title is probably shocking to all of you. I’m saying farewell to Weight Watchers Freestyle?  It’s true, and while part of me is a little sad about it, I’m not actually abandoning Weight Watchers, but just the current plan. Allow me to explain. 

I love everything about Freestyle except one little detail: I’m not really losing weight! As an experiment, I took the season of Lent as an opportunity to step away from the scale and to focus on what I’m putting into my body more than the number on the scale. Healthy living is not always about the number, and I needed to regain sight of that. So for 47 days, I didn’t weigh myself. Instead, I focused on eating the right foods and staying on track. I had a few indulgences and a few days where I consumed a little bit more than I would have liked, but I tracked everything and in those 7 weeks I didn’t go over my weekly Smart Points allowance once. Not a single time! This means I stayed on track and balanced throughout the entire Lenten season.  I was really proud of this, and I was certain the scale would reflect my almost 7 weeks of effort and focus. Then I stepped on the scale on Easter morning… Read more

Easter Candy Cheat Sheet |Weight Watchers Smart Points Edition

EasterTitle

Okay friends, here’s the scoop.  As I’m sure you know by now, Weight Watchers launched a new program that completely redefined the values of our Points system.  This means that everything you knew about Points Plus is now irrelevant and Smart Points are the new Weight Watchers tracking system.  With the introduction to Smart Points came the recalculating of everything we had the PP values memorized on.  This, of course, includes our beloved Easter candy.  While I had an entire Easter Candy Cheat Sheet made up with Points Plus values (and it’s still valid for those who chose to stay on that plan), I felt compelled to write up another cheat sheet for the majority of us who transitioned to the Beyond the Scale plan with Smart Points.

Due to the nature of Smart Points, which really cracks down on our sugar intake (and for a good reason), you will notice that the Smart Points values of your favorite Easter goodies have gone up drastically.  While this is in fact a sad thing, don’t shoot the messenger.  I’m just here to tell it like it is.  I didn’t get a hold of every candy out there, but I did pick up some of my personal favorites and I wanted to share the calculations with you.  Without further ado, here’s the Easter Candy Cheat Sheet with Smart Points.

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My Spring Bucket List

Spring is here! I repeat: SPRING IS HERE!!!!!

Clearly, I’m a little excited about this. As most of you know by now, I am not a fan of winter. In fact, I hate winter with the passion of 1000 suns. I don’t do well in cold, snow infuriates me (and makes me feel unsafe), and I count down the days until spring from day 1 of winter. I know, you’re all wondering why I live in Chicago if I can’t handle winters. Trust me, if it wasn’t for the fact I grew up here, my whole family is here, and I have deep roots here, I’d be somewhere else.

While the weather app still appears to have a snowflake or two on the radar (typical), since today is the first day of spring, I’m getting myself in the mood for some springtime vibes starting today. What better way to start off a new season than with a bucket list of spring things to do? Here’s my spring 2018 bucket list.

Spring Bucket List

Buy fresh flowers. Fresh flowers don’t make an appearance in my home very often (hubby doesn’t like spending $ on things that are already dead), but spring is a special occasion that literally centers around florals, freshness, and new life. Fresh flowers definitely help set the tone for a beautiful season. Read more

A Different Kind of Self Care | Life Update

Self-care is a super hot topic right now, and rightfully so, as it’s a very necessary and often overlooked thing that people should be doing regularly.  The definition of self-care is “any action we do deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” This can be practically anything from taking a nap, spending time doing your nails, going to the gym, practicing a little retail therapy, alone time, etc. Like I said, self-care can be anything, and everyone’s definition of self-care can be very different. At the end of the day, it’s about making the unselfish decision to something to care for you and you alone. 

Self-care can often be looked upon as being selfish, but it’s actually quite the opposite.  We’ve all heard the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” which is the truth. If your cup isn’t filled, how are you going to pour yourself out to others? As we hear in the obligatory safety video every single time we’re on an airplane “please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” What good will you be to others if you can’t take care of yourself?  Without making a conscious effort to make sure you’re mentally, emotionally, and physically at your best, you will not be able to be of much help to anyone, including yourself. 

While I am an active participant in my own little self-care routines of at home manicures and facials, time to do what I want, lighting candles and diffusing essential oils, and treating myself to the occasional treat for no reason other than it makes me happy, I recently started on a much more complicated, time consuming, and physically demanding version of self-care, and it could quite possibly be the most important decision I’ve made in recent years. 

I started physical therapy. 

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Currently | March 2018

Eating: No Cow bars on a daily basis. I LOVE that they’re a dairy-free, high protein bar that isn’t off the charts with fat.  They’re only 5sp per bar, which is easy for me to work into my Weight Watchers Freestyle plan. No Cow bars are always in my purse as the perfect on the go snack. Pro tip: the chocolate fudge brownie ones ACTUALLY taste like it. I’ve been loving enjoying one of those at night as my dessert. 

Drinking: Other than the usual (water and coffee) I recently picked up one of the new flavors of Premier Protein: cookies and cream. Let’s just say the flavor is spot on. I don’t typically get iced beverages from Starbucks, but lately, on my way to physical therapy (where I need an extra dose of caffeine anyway), I have been stopping for my triple espresso over ice just so I can put the cookies and cream Premier Protein in there.  Delicious and only 2sp.

Reading: How Should A Body Be? by Bethany Maloche. It’s her personal story about living with CMT, which is the same disease I have. It’s been great reading someone else’s experience and feeling like I can completely relate. Full book review coming soon. Read more

10 Tips To Help You Bounce Back After A Gain

We’ve all been there. It’s weigh-in day, we get on the scale thinking thin thoughts, fingers and toes crossed that the number goes down, and while we can hope all we want the scale does the exact opposite and decides to tell us we gained weight this week. It’s happened to every single one of us. Trust me, you’re not alone.   This happened to me not too long ago, and it got me thinking about what I can change and do right now to help make sure the following week wouldn’t have the same result. I ended up coming up with 10 things to do to help me (and you) bounce back after we see a gain on the scale. 

 #1: Assess What Happened

The first thing you need to do is reflect on the week and figure out exactly what happened to cause your gain. Of course, there are some cases where a gain happens despite the fact we did everything “right” all week long. Perhaps we had a little too much sodium or hormones are messing with us. These situations are unavoidable and will sometimes result in a gain despite our best efforts, but these tend to be the exception when it comes to seeing a gain, not necessarily the rule. Odds are we can find something that happened in the past week that might have helped the scale out a bit. Maybe we didn’t track a whole lot of BLTs (bites, licks, and tastes), which would have added up, or maybe it was not tracking entire meals that contained Smart Points, which I know I’m guilty of.  Did you eat different, less nutrient dense foods? Is working out typically a part of a week resulting in a loss and you didn’t move as much? Just check in and see if you can figure out what happened. Then think about what you can do to turn it around.

#2: Take An Emotional Inventory

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My Favorite Essential Oils & How I Like To Use Them

Within the last year, I have become a huge fan of essential oils.  While I wouldn’t consider myself to be the “crunchy” type of person, I find I really enjoy taking the natural route when I can, and at the very least enjoy some of the aromatherapy benefits that using essential oils offers. Over the last year, I have managed to assemble quite the essential oil collection, and I use them in several ways each and every day. 

While most of my collection is Young Living, and some of this list will be YL specific, I am not a total brand loyalist when it comes to being a Young Living customer.  I have recently discovered a brand called Eden’s Garden that has high-quality oils at much lower prices than YL. I am all for saving a few dollars when I can.  

Before I dive in, here are a few things about the companies is this post.  Eden’s Garden, which is what I’m starting to use for any non-YL specific blends, has a rewards program with a referral reward.  If you want to join, use this link and I earn 50 points (you don’t have to use my link either. Just go straight to the site). This system, unlike Young Living, is totally free, doesn’t require any purchases to stay active, so it’s worth joining for anyone looking to get into essential oils. To get the best pricing at Young Living you need to be a member, which I think requires you to spend $50 a year.  This is not a difficult thing to do, but I just want to be clear what it means.  You also need to be linked to someone to join, so here’s the link to become a member under meI’m not at all trying to push this business system or whatever it is, as I don’t use YL’s business structure at all. I simply use their products and being a member is a requirement for best prices.  Stupid? Yes, but it is what it is. 

Okay, now that all that is out of the way, let’s talk essential oils!

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