Rose: Things I’m Loving Lately

A few simple things have been bringing me a lot of joy lately. And, as we inch closer to Thanksgiving, I find myself being grateful for these little things.

1. My Avalanche pullover.

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I adore this hoodie. Mine is similar in shape to the one featured above but a different color. I have literally been living in this thing since late October. I needed something warm for a chilly Penn State football game, and my stepmother bought this for me. I love the way it fits me and the neck guard comes in handy. And, as the temperatures continue to drop, this gem certainly keeps me warm at night.

2. Amazon.

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Thank you, creator of Amazon, for making my life so much easier. Thanks to this site, I have 80 percent of my Christmas shopping accomplished — all with the click of a button. Some friends and family members have created wishlists, too, which makes shopping a cinch. Plus I can watch movies and TV shows for free thanks to my Amazon PRIME membership (which was worth every single penny).

3. DIY Projects.

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The holidays always have a way of inspiring me. I want to make presents. Bake cookies and pies. Get crafty and make cards for people. This then extends into other projects like new lampshades
. Over the past few days, I’ve been scouring the internet looking for ways to make my own headboard for the guest bedroom. I have lived in apartments long enough to know that if you don’t decorate them, you’ll live to regret it. So I’m putting things in motion now.

4. Enchiladas.

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I never seem to tire of this meal. A little spice and zip. A hearty portion. This is the perfect meal for a cold late fall evening.

What are you loving lately?

Rose: DIY Lampshades

I haven’t been home for a weekend in a while, so I made this weekend count. I have an endless list of DIY projects to tackle, and one has been on my list for quite a while. Ever since I remodeled my bedroom, I’ve been wanting to jazz up some funky old lampshades. I’ve shopped around, but no stores quite had what I was looking for. Thanks to the brilliance of Pinterest, I found an online tutorial providing step-by-step instructions for making your own cloth lampshades. Voila!

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These lampshades were in rough shape. I’m not sure what quite happened to them, but let’s just say I blame the cats. The trouble is that these lamps screw at the top, which is sort of uncommon now. I couldn’t buy a shade that fit, but I didn’t want to trash these either. See my dilemma?

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After spending far too much time at Joann Fabrics, I decided upon a print that matched the decor of my bedroom. Sure, it looks like macroni, but the purple was perfect. I followed these instructions to a T and the end result looked something like this:

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They weren’t perfect, but they were pretty darn close. Plus they only took about 30 minutes to prepare. I think they look perfect with the gray-yellow-purple scheme I’ve got going on …

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What’s interesting is that they look quite different when the lights are turned on. I like it, but I must admit that I’m still getting used to it being a little dimmer at night.

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Have you ever tried something like this? How did your results fare?

Jenna & Rose: Holiday Help Clean Eating Challenge

It is absolutely no surprise that the holidays are the most challenging time of the year to stay on tracking with clean eating and exercise. Our family is centered around food. It is EVERYWHERE. Between the plates of cookies and the bowls of chips laying everywhere, it can feel overwhelming. The thoughts of “well, it is the holidays. I’ll just clean things up come January 1.” start to take over.

Not this year. There is no need to feel guilty, negative, or overwhelmed this holiday season. We are here to help and we will do this together!

We will be hosting a Holiday Help Clean Eating Challenge from December 1-24. Three coaches, triple the support. We will give you the tools you need to focus on clean eating in December. You’ll cut the cravings, and learn what it means to feel great this holiday season. And hey, you might even lose weight, too.

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This challenge is designed for newbies, and we will be incorporating Shakeology (a great early Christmas present for yourself!) to help us stay on track. Click here to apply, and we’ll follow up with you about your goals and intentions.

We hope you’ll join us!

Jenna: Cut the Sodium (Heart Healthy!)

A great way to protect your heart and prepare for a healthier holiday is by cutting down on the sodium. The average American eats between two and four times the recommended daily value of sodium. I predict that over the few years, salt will finally gain the negative attention that sugar did right before the Atkins craze. Anyway.

When I was first diagnosed with hypercalciuria my doctor recommended a diet that was low in sodium, as well as medication. I was very strict for a while (averaged about 1500 mgs a day) and saw great results. However, slowly over the last year, I’ve slacked off. I have started having problems again this week, and as I know many factors play into this, I am going to make an effort to get back on track. With the holidays coming up I know I’ll need to focus even more, but I want to make it a priority.  Here are some tips I use to follow, and want to start adapting back into my daily routine!

Make smart swaps.  Canned tuna typically contains 300 milligrams of sodium per 3-ounce serving, which doesn’t include mayonnaise. Substitute fresh grilled tuna steak and you’ll only be getting 40 milligrams of sodium. (source)

Swap out any shaker salt for salt-free seasonings. Mrs. Dash will change your life. Add cayenne pepper for an extra kick. CUMIN IS MY FAVORITE. You can add tons of flavor with no added salt.

Read labels.  Track how much you are eating. You’ll be surprised. Just today, I looked at Skinny Pop and Cinnamon and Sugar Pita Chips. The Skinny Pop popcorn only had 50 mgs of salt, when the pita chips had 170.

Make it yourself. Packaged, canned, and restaurant food is PACKED with salt. It preserves the food for longer, and makes it taste good after it has been frozen. If you are craving something specific, chances are you make it for less than 1/2 of the salt it will contain in any of those other places.

Rose: Holiday Card Making

Last night, some friends and I attended a Christmas Card workshop at PaperSource. I had attended this workshop last year and got some great ideas for holiday cards. Because I couldn’t make their scheduled workshop, I hosted one of my own parties last night. What a great way to gather together a group of friends!

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What I love about these workshops:

  • They are designed for all levels of crafters.
  • The cards are made in a step-by-step fashion and led by an instructor so everyone can easily follow along.
  • The cards range from simple to advanced.
  • They have a large table that everyone can gather around, share materials, talk, etc.
  • The cost ($25) isn’t horrible considering the quality of materials you receive and the cards you get to take home.

While some of the cards were a little too basic/simple for me, I had a great time learning a few new methods (including envelope lining — see in the lower right-hand corner of the graphic above). So often I get together with friends at a bar or restaurant. It’s sort of nice breaking that trend and having a project that we’re all doing together.

Now it’s just time to figure out what to make for my own holiday cards this year … Hum….

Have you ever gone to a workshop like this?