Photo A Day: Cookbooks

I miss blogging but since I don’t have the time to write a lengthy post I can share random photos with a short little story until things get back to normal. :)


Let’s file this under stuff I am no longer allowed to buy!

This week I decided to tackle the closet in my living room, which is supposed to be a place to hang up coats, store luggage and a few random things. The random things have slowly taken over the whole closet. I am traveling next week so I pulled out my luggage along with everything that was on the floor of the closet.


The biggest pile turned out to be cookbooks! As I look through this pile I realize that I have never made a recipe from any of these books except for maybe 2 of them. Mostly I get recipes online so I really need to stop buying cookbooks. In my defense some of the books were gifted to me. Still I need to start using them.

I left 3 cookbooks on my table (Rocco Dispirito, the Just 5  Ingredients from Weight Watchers, and The Eat-Clean Diet) so I can use them for the next few months. When Summer comes around I will rotate them out. My home organization project has taught me a lot about my habits. It’s a very time-consuming project but very worth it.


Is there anything you collect that you’ve told yourself you need to stop buying?

Foggy Road

I captured this shot on our road trip from this past weekend. There is something beautiful and eerie about the fog.

Don’t worry I wasn’t driving and after a few miles the blue skies returned.

Foggy Road

I hope to return next month with more posts…what can I say April is busy! :)

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

TJ Maxx Shopping Haul {Photos}

Last week I went to TJ Maxx with the intention of getting a new yoga mat. Sadly they did not have any ones I liked so I took a stroll through the aisles to see what’s new. Of course I left with a small purchase! :)

I’m a sucker for their shopping bags! I have about five and I use them all the time when we go food shopping. I had to get this smaller one with their logo. It’s just too cute!

 TJ Maxx bag

Bags for my make-up and planner accessories. Brand is  sedafrance. I’ve never heard of them before but I loved the colors and the style.

Make-up Bag

Accessories bag

Washi tape for my planner. I seem to find this everywhere even though I did not know it even existed until two months ago. :)
Washi Tape

Page tabs also for the planner. I couldn’t resist, it was 99 cents!

Page Tabs

I made conscientious choice to stay away from the clothes and shoe aisles. I have to do a separate trip for that kind of shopping later this month.

Previewing Jillian Michaels One Week Shred

Jillian Michaels is NO JOKE!

If you’ve done any of her workouts then you know exactly what I am talking about. I was quickly reminded of this fact yesterday when I previewed the One Week Shred DVD. I like to watch the DVD before doing the workout but yesterday I felt like just jumping in.

Holy Heck Jillian! :)

Jillian Michaels One Week Shred

I’ve done her workouts before so I thought that I could do both the AM and PM workouts back to back. First thing she says in the DVD is that the workouts should be done separately so as to not over train. Okay, Jillian. I’m still planning to do them together. The strength workout was intense. Some of her familiar moves are also in the this DVD but with more variations to make them more challenging. She definitely kicks it up a notch. Several in fact!

After 4 circuits of the AM workout I was happy for it to be over. I know I will get better with more practice but she definitely kicked my booty with this workout. As tired as I was I took a 5 minute break, got some water and hit play on the PM workout. I can do this. Okay maybe not just yet. I think I got about 5 minutes into the cardio when I stopped it. Okay Jillian I give! It does make sense to space out these workouts in a day. :)

I checked out the other DVD options. Jillian has also included a meal plan with this DVD. I am going to use as a guide for next week. I do not eat as much seafood as is listed so I will have to make some swaps. This will be my workout for the rest of the month. I’ve been slacking on workouts but it’s time to get back to it! :)

What is your current workout? Share in the comments. :)

Signs of Spring

Yesterday I had some time to kill before my doctor’s appointment so I sat outside by the Flatiron building and took in some of the city sights. It was fairly warm on this Spring day. Surprise! Surprise! It felt good to breathe in the fresh air after being stuck inside an office for 8 long hours. I enjoyed “the quiet” of the busy New York streets. What others might refer to as noise, to me it is the sweet lullaby of the city. One that I am so accustomed to and can soothe me after a long busy day. I can relax right here in the hustle and bustle of the busy Flatiron district. In fact I took a moment to go through a meditation phrase I’ve been practicing for the last few days.

I just had to take a few pictures before heading on. One of my favorite buildings in the city behind the branches and the giant flower pots looked great. And the blue sky…how I’ve missed you!

Empire State Building 4.2.14

I was so taken in by the familiar city sights, that I did not even notice the big eggs all around the park. If it wasn’t for the tourists taking pictures with the eggs , I would not have seen the sign about The Big Egg Hunt. It’s a pretty cool thing to do. I downloaded the app but could not get it to work. Duh, my bluetooth was off! I will have to go back next week. There are tons of eggs by the Flatiron building. I took a picture of my favorite one and went off to my doctor’s appointment.

The Big Egg Hunt 2014

Egg 162

Those 20 minutes in the park were a nice boost so I could get through the rest of my busy evening. Thank you NYC! :)

No More Numbers

I’m tired! So tired of living by the numbers when it comes to my fitness journey.

I’ve noticed what stops me from working out is the choice of which workout to do. When I spend more time thinking about which workout is the “right” one to get a “good burn”, than actually working out. That’s a problem. It’s an annoying process so I end up doing nothing instead. Before I had a heart rate monitor, a FitBit, and started posting my workouts online, I enjoyed working out based on what fit my mood.  I was happier and enjoyed a variety of workouts in a week with no concern over the number of calories burned. I’ve never been a gym girl and I figured that out years ago. I no longer feel bad to say I hate the gym.  I love my workout DVDs and using a different one every day is what motivates me.

Yesterday I was caught in the same crossroad. Which workout should I do? Where is the heart rate monitor strap? How much can I burn in an hour? Oh WHO CARES? As I was procrastinating by going through my Facebook stream, I saw a status from BexLife. The timing could not be more perfect. She wrote about exactly what I was struggling with – the counting and the calorie numbers fixation. It’s not for me. I’m going to stop pretending this helps me because it helps so many others. I’m so glad finally identify what’s been holding me back. It was so liberating to go over  to my DVD collection and pick out a workout I felt like doing. I chose one I had bought last year and not used because I wasn’t sure if it was a “good burn”. Turns out it was a great workout. Period. I felt challenged and thoroughly enjoyed it.

This does not mean I hate all my workout gadgets. Not at all. They are just not working to motivate me right now. Maybe I will need them again in a few months. Maybe I won’t. Right not freedom from all the numbers is what I need and I am going to run with it. That’s not to say I’ve given up tracking my food. It’s important to track what I’m eating so I know if I lose or gain weight. I’ve gone back to paper and pen to track food, water, vitamins, and workouts in a journal. Everything is together and I even jot down any daily thoughts about how I am feeling. So far it’s working great and I’ve tracked everything since Saturday. My goal is to track for a month and see how this new system works for me.

Love trying something new!

What tools (if any) are working for you on your fitness journey? Not a fan of the gadgets, let me know as well in the comments.




A Shining Light by Judith Miller {Book Review}

This is the story of a young widow, Andrea Wilson and her son Lucas who find themselves returning to her family home after her husband is lost at sea and presumed dead. The hope is to start a new life at her father’s farm. However when she arrives things have changed drastically from what she remembers. Andrea finds herself alone with her son and limited resources. The kind people of a nearby Amana village welcome them into their community. She finds work, a place to live, a mentor for her son in Dirk Knefler, the local tinsmith, and new friends in the Sisters of the colony. Life is very peaceful in the Amana community. Andrea learns to appreciate their way of life and gets back in touch with her faith. Just as she is appreciating the riches of the simple life in the Amana village her world once again changes and she is faced with new yet familiar challenges.

A Shining Light by Judith Miller


I chose this book because I felt like I could relate to the underlying theme – moving on after a loss. I am always curious to see how different people or in this case characters handle loss. I could relate very well to Andrea and her strong desire to provide a better life for her son. Even though she doesn’t think so, she is a brave woman. It would take someone very strong to face uncertainty in returning home, and starting anew when there was no choice but to accept the kindness of strangers. The way she adapts to rules of the Amana village is admirable. She is very respectful and grateful for all they have done for her and her son. Even though Andrea is not sure about her own faith and the role it plays in her daily life she learns valuable lessons from her fellow Amana Sisters and Brothers. When she again faces a challenge she is stronger and unlike in the past is not afraid to ask for help to protect her son. Andrea comes to realize she needs this community and maybe she can truly belong here.

I liked all the underlying stories of the book besides the story of Andrea. The various relationships among the women in the village. The one apprentice who has trouble fitting in at several traditional jobs but later on it is discovered that he is in fact a very talented designer and artist. Contributing to the community in his own way. The book gives readers a glimpse into life in the Amana Colonies of Iowa. Personally I had never heard of these communities before this book. So of course I went to my friend Google to read up on it. They still exist today. Fascinating! Obviously the communities have gone through several changes throughout the years but it is always interesting to learn something new.

I highly recommend A Shining Light. It made me feel good. It warmed my heart to read a story of a community that helps each other and even takes in outsider in need. For me personally, the book helped me think about how I feel about my own faith at this time in my life. I could related to Andrea’s question about what she believed in. The book was interesting, funny at times, enough suspense and intrigue to keep the reader hooked.

Make sure to visit the author’s website for more information on this book.



Disclosure: I did receive a copy of this book from Bethany House for the purpose of review. However all opinions are 100% my own.

A Week in Pictures

I took a blogging break this week because work has been very busy these days. Also I started planning for my Spring organization project. I aim to tackle the whole apartment over the next few weeks. All while trying to get back into a workout routine and eat better. It’s been a good type of busy all round. I’m so grateful Spring is here and I cannot wait to be outside more.

To start off the week I made it a point to workout on Monday. Based on the stuff going on this week I knew my workout days were going to be Mon, Fri, Sat and Sun. It’s a weird schedule but those are the days I can carve out a full hour for workouts. I’m done feeling bad about not being able to workout every day “like everyone else”. I’m just going to work with my time,  the way I can.  #wycwyc

Maybe later on I can wake up early during the week to workout but since I have to shower right after it needs to be warm enough that I can put my wet/damp hair up and go to work. Until then I’ll work with the time I do have and stop using it as a reason for not working out.

Workout Done!

How I love you loaded sweet potato! :) This has become one of my weekly “go-to” meals thanks to my good friend Carlyn from Just Keep Sweating! If you are not watching her vlogs then you are really missing out. Especially with easy clean recipes like these. She casually tells us what she’s eating and it always looks so delicious you just have to recreate it. There are not enough words to tell you how delicious this meal is and it so filling!

Loaded Sweet Potato

I made this purchase for my fancy new camera. I wanted a camera bag that looks like a purse because I do not see myself carrying two bags when taking my DSLR out. I also really dislike all the traditional camera bags I saw on Amazon. I wanted a camera bag that looks like a purse! I found just what I was looking for at Jo Totes. I’ll do a separate post on my camera and this bag later. But I have to say I am SO HAPPY with my camera bag. It fits my camera perfectly, my iPad and has enough room for my makeup bag and wallet. It will be perfect for traveling.

Jo Totes Camera Bag

OMG, I am in love…with this lotion by Pacifica. Winter has done a number on my skin no matter how much I moisturize. I got the coconut nectar body butter as part of my March ipsy glam bag and was surprised to really like it. I am so picky when it comes to lotions. Strong smells are an immediate turnoff for me. The coconut scent on this body butter is soft and it goes on so smoothly, I just loved it.  My skin felt so happy when I put on the body butter after my shower. I have to get more! Tons more!  :)

Pacifica Body Butter

And of course all my favorite things about NYC are in this one picture. I posted it on Instagram last night and looking at it just makes me so happy. The taxis (which to me will always represent my dad), the park, the bare trees, the clouds and the sun setting just made for a great picture… if I do say so myself. This location holds a special significance for me. I would elaborate more on it but that would be focusing on the past, when all my efforts should be in looking forward. Seeing a familiar view and feeling peace is something to feel thankful for indeed.

NYC 3.20.14

Have a great weekend! :)